FFTFL premiere

FFTFL premiere

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mental Road Block

I don't know what it is but going past the 13.1 half marathon distance just scares the ever loving shit out of me, and so instead of just doing it and getting it over with, I pussy foot around it. Two weeks ago, 14 miles was on the Galloway schedule. We went to the refuge and chaos ensued. The bugs got the best of us and we called it a day after 5+ torturous miles. Last Sunday we didn't run long at all because Charlie was recovering from a fall at work and a nice gash to his head. 14 had to get done yesterday.

So I hemmed and hawed over the best way to tackle 14 miles. I conferred with Charlie and my friend Laurie. OPTION 1: Run a 7 mile out and back run westward on Montauk Highway? That's kind of boring, a bit dangerous and I wasn't quite sure of the availability of restrooms and convenience stores along the route. OPTION 2: Head to the Selden Hills course, run the 10k course then a flat-ish 4 mile out and back course on Bicycle Path. Advantages to this plan of attack were running with others on the course and using the car as home base for fuel replenishment, but I still don't know about the bathroom situation, and would I even want to run a mile let alone 8 after the hills?... or OPTION 3: Run my local neighborhood for as many miles I can get and then go out onto Montauk Hwy for the last few out and back.

I chose door #3.

The benefit of running local is if I feel like death warmed over I would be close to home and all the comforts of it (read: TOILET!). Another advantage was most of the side streets by me have been repaved, so running is more pleasurable and less treacherous not having to dodge this winter's potholes. Instead of using my Gymboss and the 2:1 run/walk intervals, I decided to run the length of the side streets, which is about half a mile, then walk the cross streets. This method worked pretty well for the first 6 miles. I managed to get them done under 1:30 and then 8 under 2:00. I had a couple Gatorade chews and experienced my first Honey Stinger Waffle. We stopped several times to enjoy many of the neighbors sprinkler systems. It was going well and I was pretty proud of myself.

Then the overwhelming desire to drink something COLD and refreshing came over me and I needed water, with ice, and a straw. So we headed back towards home and Dunkin' Donuts. We got a large lemonade iced tea and walked. I was ready to call it quits at 10 miles, but I was feeling great, actually enjoying myself and Charlie's company. I turn into a happy camper while walking. We agreed we weren't going to attempt to run after walking so much and with fluid-filled bellies. I managed to get us home at 12.05 miles. I felt good enough to continue, but with our stops along the way (chatted with a friend and cousins) we were already out for 3+ hours, so we called it a day.

Am I looking back on the run and wishing I just did the 14 miles? Of course. I might have been able to run another 2 miles, zig zagging my way back to DD at maybe 10 miles, then walking the 4 additional miles. Charlie just asks "How much are you planning to do today?" and sets it in his mind to do it. I bargain and finagle my way out of it. And I am the only one who suffers for it. I SO wanted to be able to write the post "I DID IT! MY FURTHEST DISTANCE EVER!!" But that will be for another day. Next Sunday is our son's birthday, so we're going to head back to the hills for that challenging 10k course, knowing it won't take us forever and a day AND will be great preparation for the bridges and Central Park hills of the NYC Marathon course. So August 9th it must be.


Mistake #1: I rested the entire day on Saturday, but I went to the gym on Friday and got on the rowing machine for 15 minutes. I haven't rowed in a while and although I loved it, my hip flexors and shins were pissed at me. They were still tight yesterday morning.

Lesson: Don't do anything new a few days before long run day.

Mistake #2: July is hot and humid on Long Island. And guess what? It gets hotter the later in the day it is! *GASP*

Lesson: Try your damndest to get out before 7:45 am.

Mistake #3: Got all my gear together and filled my two 10 oz hydration belt bottles full to the brim with Gatorade. 20 oz of piss warm Gatorade is not enough fluid for 3+ hours of activity in said hot and humid weather.

Lesson: Either create a loop course to make pit stops at home to refill fluids or plant a stocked cooler on the course or make a quick pitstop on the course.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

101 Days

Gulp. Double gulp. 101 days until the NYC Marathon. Training? This shit is hard! Now I know why only 1% of the population has finished a marathon. If it was easy we'd all be doing it. So far my longest run was the half we did on June 14th. That was a challenge to say the least. Running a fall marathon means training in the Long Island heat and humidity. I don't want to turn into a whiny bitch, but my 5' 175 lb body was NOT made for running in those conditions! I melt like the Wicked Witch of the West out there!

Since the half, my longest run/walks have been 10.65 miles (in 3:02) on 6/28, a 10k (in 1:30) on the Selden Hills course on 7/5 and 7.85 miles (in 1:47) on 7/16 with my running buddy Laurie. The 6/28 run involved a lot of walking, but the 10k and 8 miler were pretty strong runs. It was my 2nd 10k on the hills and Charlie's 1st. That course is no joke, and I think running slow and steady shorter distances on it will prove to be better training than trying to go long on the flat area around my neighborhood. The huge hills are a mental challenge that I really need to stay engaged and NOT talk myself out of getting it done. Plus, the course is about a 20 minute ride from our house and a gaggle of people are always out doing their runs, so it's a lot like the atmosphere of a race, without the entry fee!

We're Hillbillies!

My buddy Laurie and I doing the Suffolk County Marathon 8 mile training run in Sayville

According to Galloway's plan I am behind, which really helps add to the stress of all this. Last Sunday we attempted a 14 miler in Wertheim Wildlife Refuge only a few blocks from our house. We were nearly abducted by the multitude of insects inhabiting the hot and humid woods along Carman's River. It was really funny at first since Charlie was bombarded pretty much the moment we got on the trail. And then they started attacking me. Not so funny. We tried our hardest to get the hell out of there and the 1.5 mile loop somehow turned into 4 miles. It was like being in the hedge maze of 'The Shining.' That run felt like the biggest waste of time, but we got out there and did 5.5 miles in about 1:30. I don't know exactly because somehow my Garmin didn't shut off and it managed to add 1.7 miles to my distance while sitting on the kitchen counter???

We didn't even attempt a long run this past Sunday because Charlie had a little mishap at work the Tuesday before. Apparently he was stocking a warehouse shelf and fell about 10 feet off the ladder, knocking his head either on the ladder or the concrete floor. He had a really nice gash in his left eyebrow and was gushing blood. He refused medical treatment or a ride home. I got the pleasure of observing him for signs of a concussion and watched him sleep when it was time for bed. And the next morning he had the perfect purple eyeliner on his upper lid. Now it's a complete shiner, reminiscent of Petey from 'The Little Rascals.' He was forced by his boss to see a doctor on Thursday before he was permitted to return to work. Other than a horrific scar, he's going to be okay.

I'm Spanky!

I've been pretty consistent with getting to the gym to either do a short run or cross train. I <3 the adaptive motion trainer. It's a combination of a stepper, elliptical and arc trainer that gives my hips a great stretch and continues to strengthen my legs without any impact whatsoever. If I'm not on that, I'll put in some time on the arc trainer or elliptical. The silver lining through all of this is I've lost about 18 pounds since February 16th. Of course those were pounds I found with inactivity and overeating during my year hiatus from running. This truly is a never-ending journey! I want to be down another 10 pounds on marathon day, which is about 3 pounds a month. Doable. No- DONE! No excuses. Please hound me on My Fitness Pal- my screen name is lindak71.

Today I signed us both up for the 18 mile Marathon Tune-Up run on September 20th (Charlie's 49th birthday) in Central Park. The course is 3 six mile loops complete with aid stations. The course limit is 4 hours and 30 minutes. That's a 15 minute mile average. Sounds doable, but I need to step it up the next two months to get there. My first 5 or 6 miles are strong and consistent, and then I start listening to that nagging voice in my head, screaming at me "THIS IS HARD!" "I FEEL LIKE SHIT!" "MY LEFT CALF IS ABOUT TO START CRAMPING!" "HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS FOR 26.2 MILES??!!??"

My friends who have completed the NYC Marathon previously continue to tell me that the palpable energy of the city and the 2,000,000 spectators will get me through it when I don't think I can. I pray they are right. And when I don't think I can do it, I need to put one foot in front of the other for all the people who WISH they could, including all of the kids that the EJ Autism Foundation, the charity I am running for, helps support here on Long Island. The BEST news I have to share with you all? Due to the tremendous turn out I had for the paint night/raffle event I hosted this past Friday, I ACHIEVED MY GOAL!!!! My friend Geri with Let's Party 'Artsy is a great painting instructor, and 28 friends and family members came to support my cause, painting a beautiful red sunflower, as well as purchased hundreds of dollars worth of raffle tickets for prizes donated by RoadID, Albionfit, Fusion Life Brand, Tupperware, The Pampered Chef, Bulu Box, Martha Clara Vineyards, Sayville Running Company, Kay Cameron Jewelers, Unique Fitness (my gym!) and Vanity Hair Salon. I am SO grateful to everyone who wants to help kids diagnosed on the autism spectrum as well as help me realize my dream of running the NYC Marathon with Charlie. I need to remember each and every one of you who helped while I am out there pounding the pavement. I shall not squander this opportunity and your generosity!!

All my friends and family's masterpieces!

I continue to fundraise.... My NYC Marathon Fundraising Page

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Slow and Steady

Can I say I am thrilled I am running my dream race as my first marathon? The NYC Marathon just has something about it that draws me to it. Maybe it's the opportunity to run with 50,000 other runners through the streets of all 5 boroughs. Maybe because NYC, specifically Manhattan, is probably my favorite place on earth and the finish is in glorious Central Park. Most likely, however, it's probably because it will be my first and ONLY marathon. I know a lot of people say they are "one and done" and then get the marathon itch desperately needed to be scratched... I just don't think this body can take much more!

Following Jeff Galloway's run/walk plan has helped mentally, somewhat. When running, I can feel better knowing I only have to run for two minutes. I can handle that! But holy sh*t, that 1 minute walk break goes by 4 times as fast!! My short runs during the week have been great. I hit the treadmill at the gym and the runners around me really keep me going, like I am proving something. I'm a runner, dang it! Yesterday I managed to start off walking 1 minute, then ran the next 11 minutes to complete my first mile. I would have managed the 2nd mile the same way if I hadn't had the bladder of a frigging hummingbird! How does one sweat buckets, take in only 16 oz of water and *still* need to pee? First 1.8 miles in 21:30, (insert bathroom break), then another 2 miles in 25 minutes. So close to 4 miles. The right hip and the left heel are feeling it, though. Came home and iced the hip and rolled the feet on a frozen water bottle. Feeling much better this morning.

A major milestone last Sunday for Charlie and I was running our first half, Hope Runs Here, since the shit-show Festival of Lights Half Marathon in Brooklyn, November 2013. We went from one extreme to the other! 22* with a windchill of 'colder than a witch's tit' to 75*, God-knows what humidity, running 13.1 on the surface of the sun. The saving grace was that it was in MY town, 5 minutes from my house, running many of the roads of our regular route. We got to pass my niece's house where my 8 month old great nephew "cheered" me on, and since my cousin wasn't out (when I TOLD him to be) I harassed him from the street. The furthest we ran up until the half was 10.45 miles, and I had to walk much of the last 2 because my left big toe locked up on me. Never experienced that before. So, the plan the week before the half was TONS of water and a daily banana.

I really ate well and hydrated the week before. I stuck to the plan. I worked a race with the timing company the day before and that really helped lift my racing spirit. I just couldn't plan for that heat. We started out well, under a 13:00 mile the first 2 miles, and then hit the port-o-potty. I thought that was going to be a sign of things to come, but the bladder held up after that, however, the brain slowed down. After passing Keri's house at almost mile 4, along the bay, where there is usually nice wind gusts, the air was still, and hot. Did I mention it was hot? No shade? No wind? Humid? I knew we were at the back of the pack and I am SO okay with that now. It can't be about time for me right now. It's about getting out there and finishing. Just after that we met a 68 year old woman named Louise and chatted with her through the beautiful Smith Point Estates. Such an inspiring woman!

We walked a lot with Louise. Then she found another friend and we were able to start our run/walks again (like it was Louise's fault...). This course had phenomenal race support! Water at every mile, EMTs riding the course, ambulances every few miles... they were certain to take care of anyone in need. I was asked several times if I was okay, maybe because I was melting right before their eyes.We plodded along. Slower, but feeling good. I started to notice a twinge in the left calf but willed it away, maybe with a little more walking. After turning down Pinetop and being showered by several hoses and sprinklers, I was only 2 short blocks from my house, but heading home wasn't an option. I needed to get this run done to prove I could do it again, even if it was almost an hour slower.

There was a course limit of 3 hours and 15 minutes. Under cooler circumstances I may have made it. By mile 11.5, on William Floyd Parkway, a police officer was telling the back of the pack they should not turn off and instead head to the marina and the finish line to beat the clock. There was no guarantee I would beat the clock if  I did short the course, but on top of not making the limit I would feel guilty about short-changing myself. Charlie and I decided to stay on course and grind it out. All finishers got a medal, whether they were timed or not. My medal needed to mean something more than just race bling. It had to prove I could do that half mary again. It is half way to a marathon, which is only a little more than 4 months away. A few of us pushed on.

I am sad to say we didn't beat the clock. We had a finish time for a split second and I managed to get a screen shot before the timing company amended the race results. I managed a "sprint" at the end and Charlie and I crossed the finish line hand in hand. There is no picture of that because the race photographer must have punched out. But I finished, 13.1, and I wasn't hurting. I didn't start sweating profusely, feeling the need to both regurgitate and defecate at the same time. My system wasn't in shock. I was able to receive all of my friends' congratulations and love for getting back out there and making it count. I am very thankful they stuck around for us!!!

I even enjoyed a post-race beer and I NEVER drink beer!
our truly earned race bling

race results- not dead last (like Brooklyn!)!

Not the best picture but the gang is ALL here!

We got to enjoy a post-race party and socialize. There was no hour long commute ahead of us! I could only imagine how I would have looked getting out of the car after a ride like that! The 5 minutes nearly did me in! Maybe that was because we stupidly (sorry Gigi, Jan and Laurie) parked at my niece's house which was over a mile away! I believe I walked that mile at 1.0 mph. I was begging a couple of kids to go get a ride for us. 

Since we did the half, we are ahead of the marathon training plan. There will definitely be some schedule adjusting of long runs. For example, I am not too sure I will be doing a 17 miler on my son's birthday on 8/2 or the 23 miler on my birthday in September, especially since we have tentative plans to run the NYRR 18 mile marathon tune-up on 9/20, Charlie's 49th birthday. It's three 6 mile loops in Central Park. There's a 4.5 hour time limit on that. Definitely need to pick up the pace.

I am doing all of this to for the EJ Autism Foundation. I'm still fundraising and am just over half way to my $2,500 goal. I have a big paint night/raffle event coming up in July, and if I get a big enough crowd, I might just hit my goal a few months early!


Monday, May 11, 2015

Life Is Beautiful

April was a good month. That's a bit of an understatement. The premiere of From Fat to Finish Line happened at the Nashville Film Festival! It was a whirlwind trip for Charlie and I. We landed Saturday at noon and left Tuesday, same time, but we made the most of every minute we were there! Mark, team mate Lealah's other half, picked us up from the airport and we had a mini reunion with Allison, Lealah, Rik and Cynthia. Meredith and Dave were napping after the 5k the team had run that morning, so I didn't get to catch up with them before Allison generously drove us to our hotel across town.

I purposely picked the Hampton Inn Green Hills, the closest hotel to the premiere location, the Regal Cinemas Green Hills 16. We could see the entrance to the venue from our window, a very short walk for people who didn't rent a car! The festival site mentioned a different food truck would be on site every day, and I spied the big red truck from that window. We ran down and each got a Sonoran dog from The Rolling Feast (delish) and bumped into Brian, one of the talented cameramen who worked on the documentary. We went back to our room and while snacking I was texting Jen (From Fat to Finish Line, Jersey Jen, Runner #7, awesome chick) and I was trying to figure out where she was staying. Well, turns out, we were in room 504 and she was in 502! I jumped up and ran to knock on her door, only to think, "Maybe I should have asked first..." She wasn't *quite* ready, but after getting to finally meet her talented, sweet husband Marty I got to give her a big squeeze.

Pried myself away from Jen so we could get ready for the pre-premiere red carpet activities, which included photos in front of a step and repeat on an actual red carpet and several interviews of both the cast and the team from Media Meld Studios, the production company that developed the doc. We finally got to meet up with John and his husband Ric, Meredith and Dave, Angela and her Dave, and those Charlie and I saw after the airport. It wasn't quite right being there, just the 7 FFtFLers. For different reasons, Katie, Andrea, Ada, and Jen couldn't make the premiere and Carly was going to the second screening the following Friday. It was definitely a  bittersweet celebration.

Charlie and I before the premiere

red carpet photo shoot

So, we've seen a few rough cuts of the film before the premiere to give our 2 cents as to what we think is perfect or could be improved. Nothing can compare to seeing it on that huge screen with the sound system that a theater has!! This was the probably the 6th time I have seen the film and I *still* needed tissues, which Cynthia graciously shared with me! Hearing the other 11 stories of their fight against obesity and their breaking points is heart wrenching. I could see a piece of me in every scenario told. There were definitely many, many funny moments throughout the race captured on film, but seriously somber ones as well. The film pretty much embodied the roller coaster of events and emotions one goes through on his/her weight loss journey.

the q&a session after the screening


The word surreal doesn't even come close to describing what this night was like. All I can say is that I am so grateful I was able to experience it and that Charlie was there to share it with me. We are looking forward to the film possibly screening a lot closer to home so our kids can see it on the big screen as well as all my family and running friends.

The rest of the trip was spent reconnecting with my team mates, talking and laughing, A LOT!! There was a lot of good food and drinks added into the mix. We didn't see much of Nashville and I am okay with that. I know there are must see attractions, like the Grand Ole Opry, but country music isn't my thing, so it just didn't have the pull for me to take time away from my friends to visit. Unfortunately, John and Ric left first thing Sunday morning, Lealah and Mark that afternoon, and Rik and Cynthia Monday morn, so we didn't get enough time with them. Monday we had a great breakfast with those that remained.

and then there were four...
I have to thank Michelle, a From Fat to Finish Line Facebook group member, for coming all the way from Pennsylvania to be at the premiere and hang out with us! She has a great success story of her own and is a triathlete. The From Fat to Finish Line FB group is a great place to find inspiration and support for your own fitness/health journey. Athletes of all sizes and capabilities post and comment on what they are achieving on a day to day basis. Since I am training for my first marathon, I find the information and opinions of others a great help in figuring this whole thing out. More on that to follow...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Big Things

Too much time has gone by without an update. I get in a funk and the last thing I want to do is write about *said* funk. But things are looking up my friends. I entered, yet again, the NYC Marathon lottery back in February. Third time's the charm, right? Not. Lottery day came and went and I got the sad notice I was rejected, dejected, not even picked LAST for the team! Well, since Charlie gained acceptance last year through the lottery and we deferred his registration to this year since I just could NOT attempt 26.2 miles after knee surgery and rehab, I decided to guarantee myself a spot by running for a charity. I am honored to be running for the EJ Autism Foundation, a local charity that helps support school and day hab programs right here on Long Island. It's a daunting task, raising $2,500, but I've got some fun ideas for girls' nights and then there's the letter campaign. If you are looking to support a great cause and would like to help my fundraising goal you can find my page here.

So, Charlie and I will be following the Jeff Galloway run/walk interval marathon training program and it actually started this past Sunday! We're running two minutes, walking one minute and managed three miles in 37 minutes. This is a long, gradual program that leaves a lot of wiggle room for unforeseen circumstances and maybe second and third attempts at a long run. The actual marathon falls on week 30 with two weeks of recovery runs after the marathon. Should be an interesting, long and hopefully gratifying journey!

With the thought of becoming a marathoner floating through my mind, we got the amazing news that our From Fat to Finish Line documentary was accepted into the Nashville Film Festival this month! In just over one week we'll be sitting in the Regal Cinemas Green Hills watching our stories being told on the big screen! I didn't think we would ever be able to afford the trip, and in all honestly, money has been very tight, but this is a once on a lifetime moment. Charlie wouldn't let me pass it up. When I found a $215 plane fare from NYC to Nashville, we realized it wasn't horrifically expensive and that Charlie should come along. He has been my biggest cheer leader, my running mate, my best friend. He went with me to Miami to be there for me when I ran in the Ragnar Relay and the filming unfolded. It is only right that he be with me to share in this. The word "surreal" doesn't even begin to describe what this feels like.

If you're in or around Nashville on April 18th around 6 pm or Friday the 24th, come and see the premiere of the documentary with us!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Honesty = Best Policy

There are a lot of factors that play into that number. Pain, knee surgery, inactivity due to pain and knee surgery, overeating, overeating crap, more inactivity, more pain from weight gain and inactivity, working two part-time jobs which amounted to a full-time job the last two months, stress from never having enough money... all valid excuses, but excuses none the less. So, no more hiding. Major reality check. I am weighing in 42 pounds over my lowest weight (I believe I was there long enough to take a photo of the scale in August 2011) and 34 pounds over my From Fat to Finish Line before/after shot. Time to grow up and do the things I know I am supposed to do more importantly for my *health*, not the number on the scale. I feel like crap, my joints ache, I look like Shamu when I roll out of bed in the morning and my sweats are tight. My SWEATS are tight, people.

No more excuses. No more whining. Time to work again and make "me time" a priority. NYC Marathon in 342 days.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bad Things

It's been a rough winter and an unfriendly spring for me. The harsh weather made it nearly impossible to run outside, and I didn't renew my gym membership in February because it just wasn't doing it for me. I love my Fitbit still and wear it religiously, but nothing compares to being out for a run. Well, in April my knee pain made me hit my breaking point. I couldn't even run a tenth of a mile without acute pain. I knew something was very wrong. I made an appointment to see an orthopedist.

At the appointment, the in-office x-rays didn't show any fractures, and then my insurance initially denied an MRI. After submitting it again, for a stress fracture, it was approved. On April 16th I had the MRI and on the 22nd I discovered I not only had a tibial stress fracture, but a meniscus and MCL tear. The stress fracture can take 6-9 months to heal completely and the tears require surgery. Now I just have to decide WHEN to have surgery so I don't lose out on work with the photo studio. I believe July will be our slow period and I'll have 2-3 weeks to recuperate.

Because of the stress fracture, I'm not even allowed to walk for exercise. I can use an elliptical but I don't have the gym membership nor the money for one at the moment. I feel like I'm sinking fast. As of today, I am 25 pounds heavier than that Ragnar Relay From Fat To Finish Line magnet that adorned both vans on our 200 mile journey in January of 2013.

I'm struggling with food and I'm sad about my situation, which makes me turn to food for comfort, which in turn causes me to gain weight. I'm caught in that vicious cycle. Seeing all my friends running race after race is a bit frustrating to witness, knowing I might not be taking my first running steps until sometime this fall, if that. What makes my situation even more depressing?

Charlie was selected in the NYC Marathon lottery drawing. I was not. However, after A LOT of research, I found a local charity to run for. It would mean raising $2,500 in order to earn my spot, and the founder assured me I would achieve that with her help, as well as all my family and great Island Girls Running friends' support. And then I had my MRI and got the results, so I had to inform her that I was not going to accept the invitation to run for her this year. I assured her that whether I get picked through the lottery or not, I will be raising money for her foundation next year. Charlie can defer his registration to 2015, after paying for both this year and next year, and I will hopefully be in amazing form to cover those 26.2 miles.

I'm trying to keep busy while I'm home. I have a list a mile long of things I need to get done around the house to make it presentable for both Chelsea's Sweet 16 Sleepover and Charlie's high school graduation party. I managed to rake the front yard in 3 days and am SO close to getting the entire back yard cleaned up for the first time probably ever. I've been taking it very easy and moving so slowly to make sure I don't further injure myself, so not to worry. The crappy weather recently has been conducive to window washing, so I only have a few rooms left to complete. I've washed and rehung curtains, as well. Things are getting crossed off, making me feel accomplished.

There is some good news in all this gloominess. I have another 8 days of work this month with the photo studio, and tomorrow is my 2nd race working for the timing company. It was a real eye-opener, seeing what the timing company does to catch every runner that crosses the finish line. A piece of advice- make sure you pin your bib on your front and don't obscure it with anything! The antennas sometimes can't read the chip on the back of the bib if it's covered. If you run a race, you want it to count!

How are you all doing with your fitness and health goals? I need some inspiration and motivation ASAP.