September 30, 2013

My newfound love of trails

If you've been following this blog over the last few months, you've probably noticed that I've been working more trail running into my training runs - exhibit a and exhibit b.  With Marine Corps Marathon being a notoriously hilly course, trails have been one way that I've been incorporating the dreaded elevation shifts.  I'm also realizing that they are so much easier on my knees and were a welcome break from the summer sun.  Not to mention, there is usually awesome scenery!
The view from my trail run on Saturday on a trail
along the Chattahoochee River
I've tried out a few trails locally and several while I've been traveling over the summer.  Each offers new challenges and new things to see!  Especially while traveling, they provide a nice opportunity to experience some local scenery while finishing a workout - win-win!  Here are some info on my two favorites in the Hampton Roads area.  They are always busy and bustling with athletes and leisurely walkers, alike, on weekend mornings.

Noland Trail in Newport News, VA: This trail is a 5 mile loop around the Mariner's Museum and Lake Maury (which empties into the James River).  It's peaceful and serene and one of my very favorite places to walk or run in Hampton Roads.

Cape Henry Trail at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, VA: This trail is the longest of those in First Landing.  Oddly enough, we used to bike and hike through First Landing when our family lived in Virginia Beach when I was in high school.  Now I use this trail as a key leg of my long runs - a break from asphalt and concrete, a spot with a real bathroom and some quiet serenity in the woods.  Beware of creatures!  I saw a rather large snake (looked like a copperhead) crossing the trail when I was here last.

Are you a trail runner?

September 29, 2013

Weekly Roundup: September 29th

Finally I am starting to feel normal again after my ten day battle with the flu.  My favorite run of the week was yesterday, when I finally felt that my breathing was nearly normal and I could run and not cough a lot. This was also a special week for me, as I joined a coached running group and did speedwork at the track on Thursday morning! Sadly I had to wear my fluorescent vest for my morning run yesterday despite starting my run at nearly 6:45am. November 3rd and daylight savings can't come soon enough!  Marathon training is going well for Christine as she continues the countdown to her race in late October.
Fashionable vest and two lights!
Here is our week in review:

Sunday, September 22nd
Pam: 6 mile run (10:00 pace)
Christine: 20 mile training run!

Monday, September 23rd
Pam: elliptical 35 minutes, weights
Christine: Rest day

Tuesday, September 24th
Pam: ran 4.11 miles
Christine: 3.75 mile run (at 9:00 pace) outside

Wednesday, September 25th
Pam: bike outside for 35 minutes
Christine: Stretching and foam rolling

Thursday, September 26th
Pam: track workout  5 X 1000 meters (average 5:07
Christine: 5 miles - very hilly
It's always dark for morning runs now!
Friday, September 27th
Pam: rest day  (played 9 holes golf)
Christine: rest day

30 Day Countdown for Marine Corps Marathon!

Saturday, September 28th
Pam: long run 8.25 miles at 9:40 average pace
Christine: 8.2 mile trail run

What was your favorite workout of the week?

September 28, 2013

I've Joined Without Limits!

I have trained on my own without a coach for the last three years.  It always sounded fun when I read other blogs of people joining their running group for an evening run or the Saturday long run.  Having someone help with a training plan has also been on my radar for a while.  Actually, last April, I attended a session at my local TrySports store providing all the details about the coaching/training  group called Without Limits.

Each time I planned to fill out the forms and join, something stopped me from following through.  Finally, I pulled the trigger Tuesday and yesterday was my first session. I joined the group at the UNCW track for a 5:50 am workout.  I was really nervous  not knowing what to expect, how fast the other runners would be and if I would fit in.  When I arrived,  I immediately met the head coach, Tom Clifford as I walked onto the track.  Soon after, I met coach Kristen and she got me set with the workout plan.  First we had an easy mile around the track followed by squats, leg swings and a few other exercises to get warmed up.

Pushups from Pigeon pose!

The workout for the day included sprint work of 1000 meters.  I was put in a group with 3 other ladies and our first 2 were at 5:19 pace and our last 2 at 5:07 pace.  We did these on target and then I did one additional one on my own and that was at 4:55 pace.  Oops, I went a bit fast, but my speed was consistent for the each 400 meters and then the last 200.  After the speedwork, we had some additional exercises including planks, some jumps for the younger runners (they saved my joints and I skipped those!) and of course some stretching.  The only disappointment for me was the weather.  We had light rain, which is never fun, but overall it was fantastic and I can't wait to meet with coach Sami on Saturday.  She will write up my training plan and also give me my one on one session and help me with my form, cadence etc.  The group was so welcoming and I especially enjoyed chatting with Linda during the cool down phase of the workout.  I can't wait to go back next Friday for my next group workout!

Do you workout with a group?  Do you have a running coach?

September 27, 2013

My Journey to 26.2: 30 days (012)

It really is the final countdown until the Marine Corps Marathon.  Today marks the one month mark until the day that I will set out to conquer 26.2 miles.  I can't wait!

The first signs of Marine Corps Marathon HQ in Arlington
From Marine Corps Marathon Facebook page

September 26, 2013

Tower of Terror: Are you ready to be terrorized?

With just over a week until the Tower of Terror race weekend, it seemed the perfect time to provide all the details for this fun race weekend.  While we are unable to participate this year, we are so excited for all of you with this opportunity!
Starting line Tower of Terror 10 miler 2012!
Weekend Schedule:
Packet Pick-up at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
12-4 on Friday, October 4th
10-4 on Saturday, October 5th

Disney Happy Haunted 5k Trail Run: Saturday, October 5th at 7:30 AM

runDisney Kids Races: Saturday, October 5th at 9:30 AM

The main event...the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-miler: Saturday, October 5th at 10:00 PM

Followed by the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash on Saturday, October 5th at 10:00 PM

Your visit to the expo will be much smoother if you bring a signed copy of your race waiver with you. The expo will have many things to occupy your time besides standing in line printing your waiver.  Last year's expo looked really fun and here is an idea of what you can expect!  RunDisney provided a chart for corral placement here.  If you think you qualify for a different corral, be sure to bring proof of time of a 10K race or longer to the runner relations booth at the Expo.

If this is your first night race, be sure to get plenty of rest during the day and don't walk your legs off in the parks!  Plan on checking a bag so you have some dry clothing to change into after running.  The after party might not be alot of fun if you are wet and cold.  Also, include wet wipes,  a plastic bag for your running clothes and a drawstring bag to hold everything.

Finally, our mother/daughter friends Allie and Sunshine ran this race last year and provided a great recap for us. We loved their costumes too!
Adorable, right?
Have a great time and please tell us all about it.  In fact, if you are interested in providing photos and comments about your race experience we would love to feature you on the blog!

September 25, 2013

Journey to 26.2: Twenty! (011)

Another milestone en route to 26.2....the twenty mile training run!  You know I did 19 a few weeks ago, so this was really not much different.  Just one more mile.  But for those that have crossed the double-digit-run-that-starts-with-the-number-2, you know the mental weight that comes with this run.  It ain't easy, yo!

It wasn't my best run.  It wasn't filled with excitement and happiness like my 19 miler was.  On the contrary, it was filled with grey skies, a questionable rumbling in my tummy and a lack of excitement.  Oh yea, my Garmin also died and I was hating any type of fuel I tried to get down.  Oh and one more thing...I spent Saturday afternoon and evening at "Ribtoberfest" fueling on bbq and beer.  Great combo, huh?

For nearly four hours, it was a bit tough to stomach, literally and metaphorically speaking.  A few years ago, I would have quit.  But there was no quitting on Sunday.  I was in robot mode.  There was no question in my mind that I was going 20 miles if I had to crawl.  I made my way to the gym when the Garmin died and found some water waiting in a friend's mailbox for me.  It was cold and refreshing and an instant pick-me-up.

And while I was all alone on the road that morning, I was reminded that I have an amazing support system who have helped me make it all of the miles.  I have my local buddies who always call and offer to go out for a jumbo meal post-run or listen to me drone on and on about my latest mileage or lament my achy quads.  And then there are my virtual running buddies.  It was awesome knowing that Danielle and Lisa were also out for their twenty milers in preparation for Marine Corps just like me on Sunday morning.  We traded encouraging texts and tweets.  It's so great to have those people, even if we all live hundreds of miles away.

The funniest part of the whole thing...Lisa posted something on Facebook on Monday about "it takes a village" for marathon training and I kept telling myself that for my last 6-8 miles on Sunday.  Apparently our brains have started functioning on a similar wavelength with all the running!

Have you ever broken through a big mileage barrier, physical or mental?


September 24, 2013

A new kind of race...with zombies!

A few months ago, one of my coworkers started asking around if people were interested in signing up to run a Zombie race in October.  Immediately, I jumped at the opportunity!  I figured it would be a fantastic way to bond with a bunch of my workers and experience another type of race.  After reading about others' experiences at similar events, I was sold.  Not to mention it would be a great way to usher in spook season!

I did a little more research on the company leading the event next month - Walkers 4 Wishes.  The event benefits The Ride for a Wish Foundation and also Toby's Dream Foundation....both of these organizations are aimed at providing wishes for children with debilitating or terminal illnesses.  The crazy part...I worked with Toby from Toby's Dream.  We sat 2 cubicles away and I even attended his funeral when he died far too soon at the young age of 29.  I vividly remember all of Toby's service for organizations aimed at fulfilling wishes for children...and I seem to remember a child or two making their way to our workplace to take in the large ships.  What a crazy, small world.  So this was another reason for me to get on board with this event.  Not to mention that every penny raised will go to the charity beneficiaries.  Awesome stuff!

So anyways back to the event.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with a zombie run, it's similar to any other 5k with obstacles, except there are also zombies who will try to steal your "life", aka flags on a belt, similar to flag football.  It is a timed event, but I highly doubt I will be running for time, especially since I have a 22 mile training run on tap for that morning!

And there are the celebrity appearances from Walking Dead!  I don't watch the show, but I know everyone and their brother does...Madison Lintz from the show will be there as will Russell Hantz from Survivor.  Pretty cool for a local race!

I'm really looking forward to participating in this event, especially with the connection to my former colleague, Toby.

To find out more check out their Facebook page.  And if you'll be out there, let me know.  I'll high five you as I blaze past the zombies!


September 23, 2013

Racecations and the Implications of the Kenya Mall shootings

As many of our readers know, we are travel loving girls.  Since my husband Tom retired five years ago, we have continued to explore new places with our love for adventure and travel.  Earlier this year, we had the good fortune of spending 3 weeks in Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.  I even had the awesome opportunity of running with a Kenyan that I wrote about here! We also trekked with gorillas in Rwanda, another fantastic adventure that had been on my "bucket list" for quite a while.  With the most recent al-Qaida linked attack at a mall in Nairobi killing at least 68, with many still held hostage at this time, clearly Kenya will be off most people's travel destination list.  Sadly we have become a world where many destinations are unsafe and if nothing else, we would not be comfortable traveling to them.

Giraffe Manor, Nairobi
I have been exploring race options in remote places, but clearly I am now happy to run races in the continental US. The national park races, including Zion, Redwood, Grand Canyon look great, and would give us the opportunity to explore the western part of our country where we have only spent a little time. The Space Coast Races are also really popular and something we may investigate in the future.   We would love imput from our readers as to your favorite races in the US.  We are building a wish list of great races to add to our race calendars in the next few years!

September 22, 2013

Weekly Roundup: September 22nd

This was a very tough week for me with a bad case of the flu hitting me hard at the end of last week.  However, I am feeling better, and while I still have a cough, today I will attempt to run.  Yay for small progress! Best of all, I can try out these new things that I bought while out shopping at my favorite local running store, TrySports! The honey stingers were on sale for 99 cents and the Zulu brand socks were on sale for $9.99 for a 3 pack.  They will be great for the gym and golf if they do not work out for running!

With flu season coming early this year, check out some tips on how to avoid it out here! You do not want to end up sick in the middle of your training cycle.  In the meantime, Christine is still training for her first marathon and here is a peak at of our week of workouts, or lack thereof for Pam!

Sunday, September 15th
Pam:  flu
Christine: 3 miles running, 10 miles on elliptical trainer

Monday, September 16th
Pam:  flu
Christine: 30 min boot camp workout at home

Tuesday, September 17th
Pam:  flu
Christine: 5 mile run

Wednesday, September 18th
Pam: walked dog 1 mile, still not well
Christine: rest day

Thursday, September 19th
Pam: walked dog 1 mile
Christine: rest day

Friday, September 20th
Pam: played 9 holes golf, walked and carried bag
Christine: 3 mile run

Saturday, September 21st
Pam:  rest day
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, abs, stretching 

September 20, 2013

The Happiest Race on Earth....Pam's version of the race!

Christine wrote a great recap of the Half Marathon race that we ran together.  However, her sunny outlook and recap were much different than the race day I experienced.  Sometimes a race does not work out the way you had hoped. Sometimes you just are not feeling up to the challenge the morning of race day.  And sometimes you need a kick in the pants to get going.

Walking to the corrals at 4:15 am, I was already nervous about the race.  After an injury August 8th to my quad muscle, my training had not been stellar leading up to race morning.  In fact, I had more than a week when I did not wear my running shoes.  July 28th had been my last long run and that was 11 miles.  When finally cleared to run, I managed one long run in August, on the 21st and it was 10 miles.  I digress....after a fun 10k on Saturday, now we were planning to run the half marathon at a good pace, trying to break 2 hours which would be a PR for both of us.

After getting into our corral, it seemed like it was immediately time to start. As usual Disney had all the magic with fireworks for a wonderful start to the race.  Christine was very excited and seemed really calm which probably made me even more nervous.  I did not want to disappoint her.  We started out and immediately I knew the heat and humidity were going to be a problem.  However, I tried to stay calm on the outside, but unfortunately, I never got comfortable during the first 5-7 miles of the race.  Christine asked how I was doing at about mile 3 and I remember smiling and saying, "I'm doing fine."  However, I was really struggling already.  At mile 4 or 5, I told her to please go ahead, that I did not know that I could keep a quick pace and I wanted her to try for a PR.  She refused to go ahead and was very encouraging which is exactly what I needed.  By the time we got to mile 9 or 10, something clicked in and my body and mind were actually enjoying the race.  Around mile 11, I gave Christine a big smile and said, "Let's take this home, we can do 2:03."  That is exactly the time we did and I am so proud of Christine.  She gave me the courage to keep going and we had a blast crossing that finish line, especially with some extra confetti that probably was for Sean Astin....we finished right around the same time!

So proud of my girl!
      This was probably the hardest half I have run from a physical and mental standpoint.  I am ready for the
      next challenge and hopefully we will meet that elusive sub 2 hour goal soon!

September 18, 2013

When Do You Replace Your Running Shoes?

This topic has come up alot when I chat with other runners about gear and accessories and everyone seems to give a different answer.  When I first started running in late 2010, I purchased my shoes at the New Balance outlet in Lawrence, MA and chose 3 pair with a minimal amount of help from a staff member.  Not knowing that getting properly fitted shoes was essential to comfort and good running style, I used these shoes for about ten months.  After the Disneyland Half Marathon 2011, I finally visited a running store and got the proper fit and shoe style that worked for my feet.

My current shoe collection in use! I am a Brooks girl!
One of my questions was how long I should keep the shoes before I got a new pair.  I searched online and found lots of different answers, but in the end, everyone needs to decide what works best for them.  Here is an article I found that was particularly helpful from Runner's World.

For me, 300 miles is the maximum I run on my shoes mainly because I have such a hard foot strike, despite being a tiny female.  A few extra dollars on shoes saves me trips to the doctor and prevents injury, a win win. One of the things that I did after that first purchase at the running store was go back less than a month later (when there was a sale) to buy another pair.  Alternating your shoes gives them time to dry out, and gives the cushioning a chance to recover.  I never wear the same pair two days in a row. Despite this excessive amount of shoes in the photo, they are all used regularly and  two pairs have probably just one or two 10 mile runs left in them and one of the pairs was relegated to dog walking only after being retired from running!
How often do you replace your shoes?

September 17, 2013

How to Avoid the Flu - What I Should Have Done!

Last week, I traveled by airplane to visit my mother and unfortunately, caught the flu during one of my short flights to Boston.  Flying so soon after returning from the wonderful 5 days in Disneyland with limited sleep definitely had my resistance to viruses at a low point.  Sadly, I came down with probably the worst flu virus I have ever experienced.  Five straight days wearing nothing but pajamas and barely feeling like eating is no fun.  So, I thought a post on how to stay healthy and avoid the flu would be appropriate as the season for flu germs is already upon us.
My table accessories for the past 5 days!

1.  First and foremost, wash your hands frequently.

2.  Get plenty of sleep, at least 7 hours a night if possible.  Studies show those who sleep longer are better able to fight illnesses.

3.  Avoid touching your face

4.  Aerobic activity 3-4 times weekly will increase your resistance to germs.

5.  Drink plenty of water!  This is a must for runners, so an easy thing to keep up with.

6.  Take Zinc with first signs of a cold.  Proven to diminish the length you will suffer with a cold, taking zinc tablets is an easy inexpensive way to help yourself get well quickly.

7.  Have Lysol wipes handy for cleaning surfaces that may have been touched by many people

8.  Always have antibacterial gel for your hands in your car, purse, gym bag etc.

Finally, if you are really worried about public transportation, be armed and dangerous with these items:

Michael Jackson mask,  wipes and gel

What do you do to avoid the flu?

September 16, 2013

Disneyland/DCA Park Fun

We had a fantastic few days gallivanting around Disneyland and California Adventure while we were out west for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge.  We got to hit up some amazing rides, enjoy some fantastic food and meet lots of our buddies!  So, without spending a lot of time on text on this post, I want to share some of our best photos and a quick list of our favorites.

I was obsessed with this bunny teacup

Minnie coming out for a darling retro Fly Girls show

The secret to avoiding a line on Radiator Springs is the single
rider line...this time we ended up in the same car!

Riding California Screamin' solo
Watching the sun go down over Cars Land
Eating on the Mendocino Terrace at Gold Vine Winery....
awesome apps and beautiful setting

* Radiator Springs - it totally lives up to the hype!
* Baby pink castle.  It's SO pretty!
* Amazing restaurants that don't require planning 6 months in advance
* Walking to the parks and between parks
* Seeing evening fireworks from the hotel
* World of also lives up to the hype.
* Trader Sams is a very fun watering hole
* Soarin' has no line in California
* Cars Land is amazing - so cool!

What is your favorite thing about Disneyland?

September 15, 2013

Weekly Roundup: September 15th

It is always a bit tough to get back into the swing of working out after vacation. A nutty, busy week at work for Christine and travel and ensuing illness for Pam were additional contributors. The good news is that the temperatures continue to drop which will make for great weather for outdoor runs.

Sunday, September 8th
Pam:  25 minutes eliptical, 1200 meters rowing, weights
Christine: 1 mile easy run, 30 min elliptical, abs, weights

Monday, September 9th
Pam: Speedwork  10 X 400 average pace 7:41 total 5 miles
Christine: 2 hours heavy cleaning (this seems like cross training to me!)

Tuesday, September 10th
Pam:  30 minutes bike, weights, Bosu ball, walked 3 mile trail
Christine: 4.5 mile run with hills on treadmill

Wednesday, September 11th
Pam:  tempo run  4 miles 36 minutes
Christine: Rest

Thursday, September 12th
Pam: flu
Christine: 3.5 mile run outside

Friday, September 13th
Pam:  flu
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, September 14th
Pam:  flu
Christine: 1.5 mile run, 30 min (5 mi) bike ride outside, stretching

How was your week?

September 14, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

We left off our Dumbo Double Dare Challenge with our recap of the Disneyland 10k.  On Sunday morning, we were in for day two and the second part of the challenge - the Disneyland Half Marathon. We planned to run this race for time and had high hopes for a PR.  The weather was predicted to be hot, so that was definitely a concern for running a fast race.
Tweedle Mom and Tweedle Daughter ready to go!
We headed down to the corrals at about 4:45ish.  It was an easy walk from the Disneyland Hotel and we avoided the traffic jam of runners unlike the previous day.
Tweedle Mom headed to corral A!
We made it into our corral and bumped into a few friends, sharing nervous energy (like every starting line!) and some smiles.  One of my favorite things about Disney races is seeing our buddies - loved seeing Krissy and Lisa.  We took a quick port-a-potty break and then headed back to line up.  Given that we were in corral A, we decided to line up toward the back, knowing that we didn't want to be near the front with all of the speed demons!

A few moments later, we were off onto the streets of Anaheim for our first few miles.  Knowing we were both looking for a PR, I was in charge of keeping us on pace in the beginning of the race.  The first mile was very congested so we sort of kept pace with those around us.  We waved to Danielle and headed into California Adventure.  I never get tired of running through the parks in the early morning before they're open - it truly is magical.  After California Adventure, we were off to Disneyland...and quite possibly the best part of the race - running down Main Street!  

By this point, we were getting onto pace for our goal time, but I could tell Mom was having a bit of trouble.  We headed over an overpass and she urged me to go ahead.  I told her that the Tweedles stick together...and besides, I'd much prefer to run together!  Soon, we were back onto the streets of Anaheim with mariachi bands, Spanish dancers, tons of marching bands, and gazillions of glittery cheerleaders.  As a somewhat related aside, we were a huge hit with the cheerleaders - we got lots of shout outs which was really fun and a great pick-me-up as the fatigue of the latter half of the race set in. 

Around mile 9, I started to really struggle.  Luckily mom tends to be a second half runner so she took over as pace car.  Running through Angels Stadium was just as awesome as I expected.  The Girl and Boy Scouts cheering was amazing.  Very cool element on the course!

Pretty soon, we started approaching Disneyland property.  We saw the Disneyland exit sign on the highway and I started getting excited...not only for the end of the race but to be back on property.  Mom started pushing the pace a bit and I found a little get-up-and-go in my legs.  As we neared the finish, the crowds increased and so did my morale.  We noticed Sean Astin with Kelly and Mindy and managed to run just behind them down the stretch toward the finish.  Bonus - there was confetti still falling as we crossed the finish after Sean crossed - totally cool!   
Wish they had captured both of us in the frame!
No matter how many times I cross a finish line, I'm always thrilled.  This time was no different, save a little nausea that I was feeling.  We got our bling and made our way through the shoot, pausing to talk to a reporter from the Orange County Register briefly (apparently we made it into print, but I'm waiting to get a copy of the article!).  

The hardware is pretty amazing!

This was an amazing race weekend and so fun to complete Disney's inaugural challenge event!  19.3 miles through Disney parks and surrounding areas is pretty fantastic.  It was also a good warm-up for Dopey Challenge in January....and proved that I have much work to do to get prepared for that race.  
19.3 miles and 4 medals...not bad!
Without a doubt, this ranks as one of my favorite runDisney race experiences.  The "newness" of running in Disneyland was extra magical for me!


September 12, 2013

It's Time to Start Dopey Training!

With the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge in our rear view mirror, it is time to start concentrating on the biggest weekend of races we will ever attempt.  The Dopey Challenge is a humdinger and after reading through Jeff Galloway's training plan on my flight home from Boston yesterday, I have my calendar ready to get started.

I'm the nerd who likes to write on the calendar and keep track of all my training for a specific race.  So, I make a paper copy of the training plan!  Jeff's plans are easy to follow and his plan for the Goofy Challenge that I followed last year worked out beautifully.  so, I hope to find this works just as well and I finish in an upright position!

Since I kept last week pretty easy, I am altering this week's plan by including a long run on Saturday.  This plan has a mileage increase every other week, with back to back runs starting in two weeks.  After my sister agreed to run a race with me next month in the Boston area, the week of October 15th will also be altered slightly.  During my Goofy training sticking to the schedule was important, but making sure to stay healthy is equally so.  Sadly I returned from Boston with a bad cold and cough (hello airline travel) so I am hoping to keep my run schedule intact for the rest of the week.

Do you train during illness?  How is your Dopey training going?

September 11, 2013

12 years later

September 11th is a day that will never be "just another day."  It will always be tainted with the horror and fear that resulted on a blue sky morning 12 years ago.  It hit me last night as I was running on the treadmill that I spent that morning out on a run just before I heard the dreadful news.  I was starting my sophomore year of college at Bucknell University.  On Tuesdays, I had class at 10 am and I often would workout before class.  On that particular morning, I decided to go for a run.  I was on a good running streak and often did 2-4 miles with my girlfriends, often chatting the whole way.  But let's call a spade a spade, we were mostly running to work off the candy we picked up at the C-store, late night pizza or cheap wine...there were no half marathons here, friends!

These were the days of disc-mans and other big clunky music-player gadgets.  I had a water-resistant CD player that was encased in rubber...a nod to my former swimming days.  For whatever reason, I settled on my Moby CD that morning, thinking to myself I needed some calm on this run.  Call it intuition, foresight or just a coincidence, it was most definitely necessary.

After my 3 mile run, I headed back into my dorm, passing the common room on the way to my hall.  I noticed quite a few students gathered around the TV, which was definitely not the norm.  I stopped and gasped at the footage of the first plane hitting one of the towers.  It was haunting, shocking and quite frankly, unbelievable.  It was hard to comprehend.  I quickly headed down the hall to catch my roommate, Bethany before she left for class.  She was from Long Island and as I suspected, hadn't heard the news.  She ran down the hall to the common room to see the news on TV and I was headed to grab a quick shower and find out if my 10AM class was cancelled.  The rest of the day was a blur.

So back to running...kind of....there are lots of "heroes" races that I've seen, benefitting service members of all kinds - military, police, fire, national guard and the like.  These are great ways to say thank you and show your support for those that were so heroic on one of our country's most challenging days in recent history.  I've often found that the running community can be a great show of solidarity and I expect nothing less on the twelfth anniversary of that terrible morning.


Running Genes: My Speedy Sisters!

Anyone who follows our blog knows that we (Christine and I) have only been running a few years.  While I was in my late 20's, I was living across the country from my family deep in the heart of Texas due to a job transfer for Tom.  My ability to keep up with my family was limited due to the high cost of long distance calls and no Internet or easy way to communicate.  During this time period, both of my sisters were involved in running and while I knew that fact, until very recently, I had no idea how fast they were!
Post-race and Alison is wearing her Boston shirt!
Here is just a little glimpse into what they accomplished, during their time running races.  My sister Alison ran the Boston Marathon in the late 1970's (could not remember year) in a time of 3:35.  She also accompanied Christine and me to Walt Disney World in February 2011 for her first race in over 25 years.  She had pretty much given up running, but Christine talked her into running the Princess Half Marathon and we were so excited to see her results.  Not only did she run a fantastic time (1:54), but she killed her age group finishing in first by over 7 minutes.  Since then, a bad foot has kept her from being able to run with regularity, but she did join us again this year and placed 5th despite very little training.

My sister Chris (Christine's namesake) has always been very athletic having excelled at field hockey and golf while in high school.  Whenever she tried a new sport, she dug in her heels and figured out a way to be one of the best on the field, golf course, track or wherever the competition was held.  Running was no different and she ran her first marathon in DC, the Marine Corps Marathon on November 5, 1978.  She had been in a boot just 10 weeks prior to the race due to a foot injury.  However, she managed to run Marine Corps in 3:19.45 qualifying for the Boston marathon at the age of 28.  Unable to run Boston the next year, she ran two more marathons, both in San Diego in the late 1970's, and her best finish there was 3:05.
Marine Corps Marathon, November 1978
Lady Equitable Foot Race, March 1978
So, what has happened to me you might ask?  My running genes are not in the neighborhood with my sisters, but I still have the drive and work ethic to make progress.  I love hearing their race stories now that I am running races with regularity and just today, Alison agreed to run a race in Boston with me in October.  Now I need to find a race and date that work for both of us! Thankfully we are in different age category, because sibling rivalry still lives!

Do you have relatives that run?