Rain, Rain…Go Away!

Dear Sunshine, Please come out.  Love Jillian

I think Mother Nature forgot that it is fall because lately it has been in the forties and rainy all day!  Blah. 

I have a super fabulous weekend planned and I am not going to allow a little cold and rain to ruin it! 

Tonight it is all about the Phillies- Game 2.  Last night was a real nail biter and I spent most of the game pacing and watching with my hands over my face!  It was insane with little time to get my heart rate in check. 

Tomorrow I have a 5k.  It is slated to be 42 degrees and raining.  Oh and the entire course is down by the river, so it’s going to be a cold one!  I love this race though and would run it in any weather.  The race is in my hometown and I know the course well.  I ran it last year in the freezing cold and already wasn’t feeling well, so it was not one of my finer races.  I am looking forward to a course PR and perhaps another sub-30?!?!?    Tomorrow night I am going out for my friend’s birthday to an authentic Mexican resturant.  Mexican is pretty much my favorite so I am looking really forward to this meal and some post-race margaritas! YUM!

Sunday I have a team meeting.  We were supposed to go on a Hayride but the stupid rain isn’g going anywhere fast so it was cancelled and moved to a not-so-fun (read: not a hayride) location.  The best thing about Sunday is that it is my Pop-Pop’s birthday.  He has been really sick this year and there were many long nights in hospitals where we didn’t think he was going to make it.  He is still pretty sick but he has hung on; this birthday means so much because I honestly didn’t know if we would be celebrating it this year.  I seriously love my Pop-Pop so much and I am just so happy that I will get to see him on his birthday. 

A pic of me and my Pops in 2006- I really hate how I look here but it is such a great pic of him!

pops 

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  There are a lot of races going on this weekend- good luck to everyone! 

TiaRT- Follow The Yellow Brick Road

This weeks TiaRT comes from Melanie.  She asks:  Scarecrow asked for a Brain, Tin Man for a Heart, and Lion for Courage.  If you could meet the Wizard of Running and ask for anything, what would it be? When your wish was granted, how would your travels down the Yellow Brick Road of running be different?

I thought long and hard about this and what I realized is this: I have a laundry list of things I would like to have to make my triathlon/running experiences different.  And by different, I mean better of course!  At any rate, I narrowed it down to the one that I think would change everything…and then I threw one in for fun cause, well…I am fun 🙂

Breathe In…Breathe Out…– if I could ask for anything from the Wizard of Running (let’s pretend he is also the wizard of Triathlon) it would be the ability to be more relaxed on race day.  From the minute I wake up on a race day I am a ball of nerves.  The worst part is that being so anxious usually affects my confidence level.  The joke with my teammates is that if they see me on the race course they yell “you’re in not last place” because I get so worked up about what I cannot do that I forget all of the things I CAN do.  I start to think about all the things that could go wrong and way in the back of my head is the lingering fear of failure.  Judging purely on last week’s race, I know that when I am relaxed (ok I was still anxious, but certainly not as much as usual) I have a lot more fun.  And really, racing should be fun.

Longer Legs Please…– if it were possible (and since we are talking about wizards, it might be) I would want longer legs.  My whole life I have been short and if I could change anything it would be to have longer legs (um, and thinner thighs).  I feel like I have to work twice as hard because my legs are so little and lets face it…finding a good pair of running pants is a bitch!  Yeah, in my next life I want to be 5’7 and (since we are making wishes)I want to look like this girl:

gouch35’7 and fab abs to go with it…I’ll take it!

Props Wednesday- Meet Carolyn

Meet Carolyn.

She is a 26.2 princess 🙂 and I love her blog! 

This is the perfect week to give Carolyn props, because she just QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON at the Chicago Marathon! 

Go Carolyn, go carolyn, go!  A BQ is pretty much the most awesome thing ever and I am so happy for her. 

Carolyn has been running marathons since 2005.  Her 10th marathon, in Austin, is coming up in early 2010.  Then it is off to Boston!  She really deserves it too!  Not only has she been working her butt off to get to Boston, but doing while under a decent amount of life stress.  She is proof that running is cheaper than therapy (one of my favorite shirts) and that you can still achieve huge goals even when life seems against you.  It really is an inspiration.

Ok readers…you know the deal…go check out Carolyn and give her a shout out for the BQ!

Baltimore Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Baltimore Half Marathon and before I begin the race report I would like to list three things I learned during this race:

  • I have zero ability to translate an elevation chart to reality: I knew that there would be hills.  I had heard all about it.  I saw the pictures.  The chart was right on the site.  Still, nothing could have properly prepared me for what that really meant.  I live in NJ…we don’t have hills.  You know where you can find hills??  Baltimore.
  • I love 13.1 distance:  I seriously look up to those of you who do the 26.2, but for right now the half distance is definitely the one for me.  Running this made me even more sure of my decision to drop from the full to the half in Philly.
  • A PW can also be a PB:  Time wise, this race was a personal worst.  As for everything else…it was a personal best.  Out of the half-marathons I have ran, this one was my favorite.  It was by far the most challenging and also the most fun because I didn’t go into it putting pressure on myself.  It was mentally the toughest race I have ever ran and I did it…and I did it pretty darn well.  It really showed me that sometimes, the clock doesn’t matter.

Now…about the race….

Friday:  My mom and I drove down Friday to the expo for packet pick up.  We got there pretty early and other than parking being a little chaotic it went very smooth.  The expo was fabulous.  Very well put together and a lot of stuff to peruse through.  I grabbed my packet, lots of free swag and we did a little shopping too!  It was a good time but we didn’t stay too long because we had to be back in NJ.  It is about an hour and forty-five minutes from my house to Baltimore, so needless to say we did a lot of driving this weekend!  The original plan was to stay overnight but my family had plans for Friday night that could not be missed.

preFriday at packet pick up.

Saturday: Race Day!

Time/Pace: 2:36:46/11:57

Overall: 6280/7813

Gender: 3336/4519

Age: 1000/1219

Pre-Race:  Wake up call was an early 4:45 and we were on the road by 5:30.  After a quick trip to WaWa and back to my house for a forgotten IPOD (o.m.g that would have sucked to forgotten!!!) we were on our way.  Oddly enough, we hit so much traffic!  The marathon start was at 8am and all runners who wanted to park were advised to get there early; I had originally planned to leave at 6am but I am so glad we went earlier, because lucked into an amazing parking spot (like 300 ft from the finish line!).  Once we were there I realized I forgot my race belt (or as my friends fondly call it, my fanny pack) and I was not pleased.  Then I realized I forgot my GU.  WTF- I was so off.  I really think I was unprepared because of how little pressure I put on myself for this race.  I wasn’t neurotically checking my stuff 397 times before the race or worrying about every little thing.  While this is great, it did suck not have the stuff I depend on.  My mom quickly McGuyver’d my shorts, pinning my phone into the pocket so I could have it with me and that made me feel much better.  As for the GU, I was out of luck.  I was nervous about not having it, but hopeful that I ate enough pre-race and that there would be food on the course at some point.  After about three porta-potty stops (I pee a lot!) we met up with my mom’s friend who lives in the area and came down to watch.  We had time to kill but the half marathon start was quite a distance from where we parked so we spent most of the time walking over.  It was really cool because once we got to the corrals (or pens as they called them…so we are pigs, not horses) the lead male runners of the full marathon were going by.  We got to spectate about 40 mins of the race before we were lined up to start.  Just as we lined up…the rain started.  It was cloudy, but humid, so I welcomed it.  And off we went…….

Race:  I went into this race with a goal of simply having fun and enjoying the race.  The first mile of the race was extremely congested and it wasn’t long before I came upon the first of what would be many hills.  By mile two I fell into a good stride and felt really strong.  I don’t know if it was because I was so lax about the race and having fun or what, but I didn’t even look at my watch once until we came to the 5k point.  The whole race was one giant mental test…hill after hill…but even when it was at it’s toughest, I kept on going.  I was so mentally strong that I didn’t even care about my time.  Despite the rain and the hills, I was having a great time taking in all the spectators.  There were so many wonderful people out there giving out all kinds of goodies.  And because I was not carrying any nutrition on me, I gobbled it up like I was shopping at Costco!  Gummy bears, skittles, starbursts, fruit snacks, pretzels…and at mile seven powerbar gel!!!!  I was so happy to get some gel I tore in and took it without even realizing I didn’t like the flavor.  It didn’t matter…I needed it!  It came at a good time too because I was starting to feel a little crappy and it was the perfect pick me up.  It was at this point that we ran around a beautiful lake and it was so peaceful.  With the exception of the lake, the entire rest of the course was FULL of spectators.  I loved having them all around but I will admit the loop around the lake was some welcomed quiet.  I even turned off my IPOD just to listen to the sound of running for a while.  Somewhere around mile nine and going uphill, my IPOD died.  Luckily, with all the music and spectators around the course, I didn’t really need it.  Miles eleven and twelve were by far my toughest…more hills and the roads were getting pretty slippery.  Basically up until then, I ran/jogged the entire race, with the exception of walking through water stations…but at twelve I walked. A lot.  As I approached the last mile, I knew I had to pick it up.  While I wasn’t out there trying to PR, I did have a time goal and at that point, it was within reach.  I sucked it up…and pushed on through.  My goal was to stay under a 12min/mile pace and I came in at 11:57/pace.  A personal worst time and I was THRILLED.

Post-Race: Got my medal and at a lot of food!!  Met up with my mom and her friend and after some pictures we walked over to the harbor for lunch.  There were lots of racers in the harbor!  We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and then made the drive back home.  Once I was home I took a bath/shower and then pretty much crashed.

Overall, the race was great.  The organization was the best I have ever seen, the security was great and the energy was awesome.  Some of my favorite spectators included a guy in a recliner chair holding a sign that said “If it were easy, I would be doing it”, a girl with a sign that said “Your legs must hurt because you are kicking so much ass”, a little kid who had a fake hand on a stick and was holding it out to people to slap and a guy who was jamming to rappers delight while dancing in a crab suit.  Like I said, the energy was awesome!

I feel so good about running Philly in six weeks.  I am hoping to be able to combine my will to succeed and PR with my (new) ability to not pressure myself.  My goal for Philly is definitely to PR, but I know now that not pressuring myself makes for a much more fun race.  Right now, I feel really great…I am training well, running well and focused on my future goal.  Life is good. 🙂

Props Wednesday- Meet Aron

Meet Aron.

I have been a reader of Aron’s blog since before I started my own blog.  I was drawn to her blog for a few reasons:  she is a kick-ass runner, she writes honestly and openly and her doggies Kylie and Emma are tooooo cute.  But then very best thing about Aron is how down to earth she is; Aron’s blog has a very high readership and it would be easy for her to get a big head and become clique-like about who she will or will not read/comment.  But that is so far from the truth- Aron takes the time to respond to all her readers, whether it is the form of a post or in a comment.  I appreciate that and think it is a large part of why she has such a great following.

I have learned so much from reading Aron’s blog- she is brutally honest when it comes to her training, racing and reflections after a race.  I admire this in a blogger because it takes guts to really put how you feel out in the open.  Aron does not hold back; she embraces the good days and also the bad.  She revels in a great race and accepts the not-so-great.  She is positive and encouraging.  Like I stated before, Aron is real.

Aron has been chronicling her journey for a little over two and half years when she was training for her first marathon.  Since then, she has run 5 full marathons and a host of other distance races.  Aron has hopes of, at her next marathon, getting the conveted BQ and whether she does it next month or next year, I know Aron will one day be running Boston.

Many of you already have “met” Aron and a few of you have been lucky enough to meet her in person too!  For those of you who aren’t familar with her blog, check her out!

Squish A Boob & Save A Life

Unless you live under a rock you are all aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Breast Cancer is close to my heart as I have known many people who have been affected by the horrible disease.  In February 2010, I am running the Donna Half-Marathon (with Morgan!!!) to support breast cancer.  100% of the race proceeds go to breast cancer research.

I do not want to overdose you with statistics that you can read anywhere.  I do however, want to share a few things to spread awareness.

This is my favorite shirt in reference to breast cancer.

shirt

I love this one too

shirt2

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Great video!

You may remember me telling you about JILLWILLRUN and her amazing trip to Washington DC for the Global Race for Hope. Well she and her mother participated in this documentary!  Major props!!

For you readers; two Pay It Forward requests:

-Please take a few moments, if you don’t already, and check yourself.  Then tell five people and ask them to tell five people.  Think about the people you can reach by just telling five people!

-Spread your own message: write you own blog entry about Breast Cancer or post some pictures or if you don’t want to do your own, feel free to link people here.  Please…just get the message out.

Breast-Cancer-Ribbon

This post is in honor of my grandmother, a two time breast cancer survivor (1975 &1984).  She turned 86 last month.  Here she is with me soon after I was born in 1981.

mom-mom

What are some ways breast cancer has touched your life?  How are you spreading awareness?