Tuesday, March 18, 2014

LA Marathon March 2014

People keep asking me how the LA Marathon went.  All I can think to say is, “It was hard.”

I know this sounds a little bit obvious but it is the only way I can describe it.
I guess I should change my answer to, “I had a hard day”, but alas.

Some days you just don’t have a great run and unfortunately there was the perfect storm of situations that made this true for me last Sunday.
It’s a mixed bag of emotions.  I didn’t think it was possible to be so happy and feel so accomplished at the same time as feeling so disappointed.

I REALLY wanted to do well this year.  I didn’t expect miracles.  I wasn’t trying to do anything spectacular, but my body and the weather had other plans.

BUT -and there is a BIG BUT here- I still feel excellent.

For all the sweat, tears, chaffing and disappointment, there is this sense of invinsibility.
It never occurred to me that I wasn’t going to finish.
Not when the temperature hit almost 90 degrees.
Not when my weak hamstring started giving me a hard time.
Not when I started crying for the umpteenth time.

And here is why:
A month before the marathon, I started a list.  This list was of 26.2 people who have inspired me in some way.  Each person has touched my life in some way and I thoughtfully  assigned each person a mile.
Then I sent them a card that told them what mile they were assigned and why I chose them for a mile.
It actually worked.

When I was running, and then walking (the wheels fell off the wagon about Mile 17ish), and I started to think I was defeated, I switched my thoughts to my Mile Inspiration.  I looked at their name on the index card that was in my pocket and I remembered the things they do that make me proud to be their friend and blessed to have them in my life.

Because of this, I could not quit.
Because of them, I accomplished a goal.

Many people came and saw me along the route or encouraged me via text and I would be remiss if I didn't mention:
Sara and Vicki with their "coffee" at Mile 6
The Criner's and the Mangione's in front of the Pantages - this is when I lost it the first time, but they offered water and fruit and hugs....just what I needed
Laura and Vayden's awesome signs at Hollywood and Highland
Ditto and Litto in front of the El Capitan
Brandi and her pretzels and words of encouragement at Mile 18
Deb, Staci and Mel's texts as I ran!

Although I was saw many people and received a ton a texts, a marathon can be a lonely day and I spent the better part of 7 hours and 4 minutes alone.

But I was never really alone, my 26.2 were with me. They were moving my legs forward. They were the voices in my head telling me I could do it. 

They were in my heart bringing me peace and for that I will forever be grateful, not just for how they got me through the day, but for how they get me through EVERY day.

My cup runneth over and I will spend each day trying not to forget this.

Because no matter how difficult March 9, 2014 was, I still felt like this after and it was ALL because of THEM!

10 Reasons Why I Love To Run- SF Marathon Blog #2

Everyone runs for a different reason.  What started for me as a way to lose weight has become a way of life.  There are many different reasons why I love to run, here are my Top Ten:

1.       Black toenails are a badge of honor                              
I’m a girl.  I’m a vain girl. I keep my toenails pedicured and painted….but my favorite moment at the salon is when I get that shot of pain as the poor person working on my feet takes of my nail polish.  I look down and see the gorgeous victim of my hard work and training…a black toenail and I post a picture on Facebook or send it to my RBF (Running Best Friend). 
In fact, after our first half marathon, she texted me pictures of her black toenails while we were lying on different beds in the same hotel room because we were both too tired to move.


2.       MY RBF
Speaking of my RBF, running gave me Ditto (aka the other Heather).   I’d like to believe we would have become friends regardless, but we bonded over training for our first 5K together, decided to run our first 10K together and rocked our first half and full marathons with one another.  We run together at least twice a week, even now while she’s building a person in her belly!  I’m so blessed to have found a friend like her and I have running to thank!

3.       It takes a village
I am so lucky to have a large group of friends who run and/or support my addiction to running.  This year while training for the LA Marathon, my friends who didn’t need to run the kind of mileage I was doing took turns during my longer runs to support and help me.   A typical long run looked like this:
5 miles from my house to meet
Ditto who is pregnant and ran 5 miles with me to
Marcy who ran another 5-7 miles with me while pushing her two year-old twins in the running stroller
It truly takes a village!


4.       Have you seen my sweet buns?
 I am not “Model Hot”, I’m not even regular “Hot”.  I’m overweight and a little lumpy.  However, my gluteus maximus is F.I.N.E.   I mean like high and tight and sweet.  As I said before, I can be a bit vain.  If you ask me my favorite body part…it’s my butt.  See above for proof of it’s sweetness!

5.       Yeah, I downloaded Ke$ha. 
Wanna make somethin’ of it?  I am forty years old.  I love music, but generally like stuff like Dave Matthews and James Taylor.  I’m an easy listening gal….except when I run.  My running mix runs the gamut from Incubus to the Foo Fighters to the Beastie Boys to Jay Z.  If it pumps me up, I want it on my mix! Running gives me the excuse to download music that might be considered a guilty pleasure for someone of my age.
…uh, no…I’m not listening to Miley Cyrus, I just downloaded it for my running mix.

6.       Eggs and Oatmeal and Pizza and Beer
As someone who is constantly at war with my weight, I make a conscious effort to watch what I eat on a normal day…but after a long run?  I crave eggs and bacon and oatmeal immediately after.  I’m sure this is due to the fact that Ditto and I started doing breakfast after our Saturday morning runs back in the day.  But after really long runs (half marathon or longer) I want the breakfast after the run (regardless of what time I finish) and pizza and beer for dinner.
And I don’t feel bad giving in to those cravings when I’ve spent the better part of a day burning calories!

7.       Your outfit is soooo cute!
Ohhh, where’d you get your running clothes?  So what if I’m getting all sweaty and gross I still want to look cute, especially since running pants make my butt look so good.  I love finding the perfect pants (pockets for nutrition and Chap Stick and a drawstring), the perfect shirt (long enough to cover my gut, cut for a girl!) or  cute accessories! AND I wanna match!  The perfect running outfit not only makes you adorable, but it makes you faster…its science.

8.       Oh the places we will go…
Want an excuse to go on a cool vacation?  Sign up for a race some place you’ve never been!  I have run in San Diego, California, Dallas, Texas and Dublin, Ireland.  Running a race in a dream vacation spot makes you feel a teensy bit less vacation guilt!  How about a run through San Francisco this July?

9.       The RUNGASM
It may sound weird, but it happens.  You hit a certain speed or mileage and you suddenly get the chills.  Goosebumps creep up your arms, butterflies rock your stomach and a huge smile creeps up your face.  It might not be like the real thing, but it’s the closest you’re gonna get with your clothes on.

10.   It makes me look and feel like this…

Experience your own rungasm on July 27th and sign up for one of the fabulous races at the SF Marathon!

Because I Can- SF Marathon Blog #1

"The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince." 
— Vince Lombardi

I spent a lot of time writing and re-writing this blog.
I tried to be funny, creative, smart and inspirational all at the same time, but it just sounded so phony.
If there is one thing I pride myself on, it is my authentic nature.  So, I hit delete and started over.
Here’s the deal.  When I weighed over 300 pounds, I was constantly telling myself two “truths”.
Truth #1
Heather, you can’t do things because you’re fat.
Truth #2
Heather, you can’t do things until you lose weight.
These two sentences guided who I was.  They made the decisions for me.  If I was a business, these “truths” were my mission statement.
And then I found running.
I used to tell whoever would listen that “I only run if someone is chasing me. And even then I might not.”  But I was inspired by a friend to try.  She told me that I could run a 5K and as a member of the Board of a non-profit that produces a 5K each year, I thought it would be a good plan to train for that one.
When I started my journey in late 2010 I had 3 goals.  I was going to work out 3 days a week, run a 5K and lose 150 pounds.  The first two came very easily.
Goal #1
I now work out at least 5 times each week.  I run, swim, bike, lift weights, and play Dodgeball or Ultimate Frisbee.  Every Wednesday I have a calendar alert to remind me to plan my workouts for the next week.  Once they’re in my calendar, barring any emergencies, these are meetings with me that take precedence over anything else.
Goal #2
I fell in love with running so much that I ended up running my first 5K two full months earlier than the original one I signed up for.  Since my first 5K in March of 2011, I have run about 30 organized races including 2 Sprint Triathlons, 20 Half Marathons and a Full Marathon.
Goal #3
The weight.  That’s a bit more difficult.  I continuously lose a little, gain a little, lose more, gain a little.  As of today, I have lost about 60 pounds.  At my peak, I was down 80.  But I’m not giving up.
The point of this is that my mission statement has changed. The word “can’t” has taken a significantly smaller role in my life and I couldn’t be happier. I don’t dwell on what I can’t do, but I’m inspired by the things I can and although I’m still technically obese, I don’t let anything stop me from fulfilling my goals and dreams.  
For me, running was what changed everything.  I may not be fast. I’m not BQ-ing or breaking any tape, but with determination and perseverance, I AM finishing.  And I have a new mission statement…..
“Because I Can.” 
I once caught myself saying, “I used to think I couldn’t do things because of my weight, but now that I know I can, I kind of want to do everything.”  I truly feel like there is nothing I can’t do with a little determination and perseverance.
As of today, I can’t fly an airplane or speak Italian or play the guitar.  But you know what?  With enough dedication, motivation and practice I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I could do all of those things.
The best decision I ever made in my life was to decide that I CAN and go out and do it. 
I want people to know that size doesn’t have to stop you from fulfilling your dreams.  I think the average non-runner has a skewed idea of what runners look like.  Sure the top athletes and the ones placing in their age groups and even some of my fellow TSFM Ambassadors “look” like runners.  But many of us don’t.  Many of us have thick thighs, big bellies and chubby arms.  It doesn’t mean we can’t do it, it simply means we used more Glide.
My point is this, don’t NOT TRY because you think you can’t or you have to wait “until”
If you have a dream, whether it is to run a 5K or the San Francisco Marathon, there is no time like the present.  All you have to do it take some time to believe in yourself and train properly and you can finish anything you strive to accomplish.

Because YOU Can.