FFTFL premiere

FFTFL premiere

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sunday Sunday

A dream 6 years in the making for Charlie and I will come to reality on Sunday. Three of those years were consumed by entering the harsh marathon lottery, countless hours at the computer waiting for that glorious golden ticket saying "You have been accepted," suffering a knee injury and enduring surgery, physical therapy and the long road back to running long distance, and then taking on the daunting task of fundraising for a charity for the privilege to run the NYC Marathon. I am hoping to make him and myself proud and have many fond memories of the crowds, the course and the friends I will see along the way. And I am very excited to share this dream come true with Jennifer, my great friend I met through our From Fat to Finish Line! I *know* NYC will not disappoint us!

I could have run more, further, faster, harder, lost more weight (hovering at 170), cross trained more. I can't change any of that now. All I can focus on is the reality that Sunday will be one of the best days of our lives. I am so fortunate to have such a supportive and caring spouse, and he will be by my side every step of those 26.2 miles, no matter how slow I may go. The dream is to cross together, holding hands, tears most likely rolling down our cheeks. It will take us more than 6 hours. I am resigned to the fact that it could be more like 7 hours, or even 8, but that's just more time to soak in the atmosphere that is NYC and the biggest marathon in the world. Chills and goosebumps will be immeasurable as we crowd into our Green Wave 4, Corral B 11 am start. 

It's hard to believe it's finally almost here. This day has been built up in my mind for so very long. Friends have shared their experiences with the course that takes you through all 5 boroughs of the greatest city in the world, in my opinion, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Visualizing that finish line is overwhelming. I will either be sobbing, unable to catch my breath, or just numb, stunned like a deer in headlights.

Our first race together, the Smith Point Bridge 5k, 9/11/10

We've come a long way from the denim shorts (yes, I ran in denim shorts my 1st 5k, 6/5/10) and cotton tees. We have spent countless dollars on race registrations, travel expenses, running gear and nutrition. I can't even conceive of the hours we have spent running. And Charlie has sacrificed his only day off of the week to get the training done. To say he is dedicated to this dream would be an understatement. So, when I say I am a "one and done" marathon runner, I really believe it. It has consumed our lives this year. If we aren't running we are talking about running, hanging out with our runner friends, fundraising for it, etc. I feel like I hardly see my kids and they haven't seen a "Big Sunday Breakfast" since probably March. There's been a lot of muffins in this house the last several months. This lady needs some bacon and eggs! The kids would like some French Toast and a breakfast sausage! If we were ever to do another marathon, it would have to be big, like Hawaii or Italy big. That is NOT happening any time soon.

I have just one more day to get together all the things necessary to run 26.2- two sets of running clothes, hydration bottles, Sports Beans, Gatorade Chews, Powerbar wafers, Gu, Honey Stinger Waffles, registration forms, Garmin, camera, Gymboss timer, gum, pain meds, visor, mittens, throwaway jackets and  Bodyglide. Saturday we take the LIRR into the city for the expo to get our bibs and then we head to New Jersey to stay overnight with Jen and her hysterical husband Marty and adorable son. Then it's up with the roosters Sunday morning to get on a bus from the Meadowlands to Staten Island to wait, wait and then wait some more. The anticipation might just kill me before the marathon ever gets a hand on me!

And then we finally toe the start line in our corral. Hopefully Frank Sinatra's 'New York, New York' will be playing for us as we put one foot in front of the other, heading over the Verrazano Bridge, leaving one of the 5 New York City boroughs *quickly* behind. I am excited to see all my friends along the way. I look forward to the live bands, the fun signs and spectators lining the course. I can't wait to see sights of the city I have not already seen! But I eagerly await the moment we turn off Columbus Circle and into Central Park to finish the biggest marathon in the world and have that glorious medal wrapped around my neck, beside my Charlie, my biggest fan and supporter. 

our last long run- a 10 miler on 10/25

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

20 Miles

Our 20 miler took place on October 11th, and I surprised Charlie by creating a Facebook event and inviting my friends who were able to join us along our run's course. I wanted to make it a celebration of all the hours of training we had endured for this dream race of ours. We started at Laurie's house and she was only able to do the first 4 miles with us before heading off to work. Danielle ran alongside us for the first 6 and Deb helped us finish the last 7 after doing a Selden hilly 12 herself,  but my friends Jennifer and Kris were with us for the entire 20 miles. Jennifer finished the Marine Corps Marathon strong this past Sunday, so it was her last long run as well. However, Kris is running NYC and for the same charity, as well. I spent a lot of time getting those 20 miles in, 5:40 to be exact, (not stopping the Garmin for any of our breaks, which was 20 minutes!!) and the last 2 were painful, but I did it. We did it. We even did some tailgating in front of Laurie's with some celebratory Apple-Ahh-Ritas and chocolate chip cookies! 

Our 20 mile starters...

and finishers, enjoying some DD thanks to Laurie!

Now to tack a little 10k onto the end...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Taper Time

I can NOT believe we are a mere 14 days until the big event! I am trying to keep my nerves in check and focus more on how exciting the entire marathon weekend will be. We've done a few long runs since my last post. The most memorable ones are the 18 mile marathon tune-up run on September 20th and last Sunday's 20 mile celebratory long run.

On September 20th we were up at 2 am to prepare for the journey into Manhattan. We took the 3:45 am train from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station. From Penn we took a cab up to race day registration, which was on the east side of Central Park, all the way up at 102nd Street and 5th Avenue. We managed to arrive before the NYRR volunteers were ready for us! So we waited a little while, got our bibs and t-shirts then headed to baggage drop-off, which wasn't ready for us, either. I was already prepared by having our clothes and such in clear race bags so I could just slip them out of our backpacks for inspection. After that line we headed to our 'H' corral (which was the last corral) and waited some more (on huge rock formations) for the 7:00 am start.

The sun's coming up!

The run consisted of 3 6-mile loops of Central Park. The first loop went phenomenally. The goal was to stay under a 15:00 mile, since the course cut-off was 4 hours and 30 minutes. I was a full 15 minutes ahead of that pace after the first loop. And then the rolling hills of Harlem and the park in general were getting to me. I started walking a heck of a lot more. Charlie was fully aware of our pace since there were pace clocks at each mile and he was concerned we would slow down too early and not make the cut-off. I started to really bonk at only mile 7. Getting through that second loop was nothing short of a miracle. Passing the finish chute in order to go out for the third and final loop was a major test of will!

The last loop had to be 12 miles. It seriously felt like it! I made sure to run every downhill there was, but I walked a ton and in mile 16 or 17 not only did my left calf start to seize but that hammie started crying out for mercy as well! I never experienced that before! I even stopped and rubbed them both a bit, but I knew if I stopped moving too long, every other part of my body was going to throw in the towel as well. So we pushed on. The "Make Cat Hill your bitch" sign was the funniest thing about the entire course. And we finished. 4:22:08. 8 minutes to spare and it brought us both to tears.

We had a 2:00 pm reservation at Tavern On The Green for brunch to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, and by the time we finished running and got our backpacks and wits about us it was about noon. That meant we had 2 full hours to change clothes and make our way to the west side of the park. We passed the restaurant THREE times on the course and would you believe we could not make our way over there? As lovely as the park is, there is no walking path that just cuts across directly from east to west. So we meandered our way around for a full hour and a half until we just broke down and asked a kind nanny for directions. Our sight-seeing helped kill all that extra time and worked up the appetite I always lose after a long run!

a view of The Eldorado on the other side of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Greywacke Arch
Cleopatra's Needle
So, when we were within sight of the restaurant we stopped and changed in the restrooms at Le Pain Quotidien, a little bakery in the park. (I pissed some ladies off for taking too long as one of them made an announcement that "there was a long line.") I surprised Charlie by wearing a new little Vera Wang dress and cute slide sandals I found on clearance at Kohl's. It's a surprise because I rarely wear dresses and Charlie likes me in them. This one was incredibly comfy with pockets and I felt nice in it. We were dressed in our "smart casual" wear as per the restaurant's dress code and for a celebratory dinner of our truly blessed 20 years together.

Tavern On The Green was just beautiful. I requested we sit in the Central Park room which had beautiful cream colored furniture and a glass wall with a view of the al fresco dining right on the park. It was a gorgeous day and the room was filled with sunshine and romance.

This is a screenshot from the restaurant's website of our table, right next to that side table. It was a much prettier scene the day we were there!

 We started our meal off with a great apple ale:

Hit the spot!!

For brunch we split two entrees, the Tavern Burger and the "chicken" and waffles, which was duck confit instead of fried chicken. Perfection!!! I couldn't believe how ravenous I was after that run, but every bite was amazing. To finish off the dining experience...

...cake to celebrate my love's 49th birthday. Every aspect of the restaurant was just impeccable and worth every penny. Maybe it was the fact that we had just covered 20+ miles (remember, we got "lost") and that's why the food tasted so damn good? Maybe it was celebrating our love enduring 20 years of life's ups and downs that made the ambiance so romantic? I don't really care. That afternoon will go down as one of our top ten days of our lives.

But the fun and celebrating didn't end there! We had one night booked at the La Quinta downtown near Penn Station. The Tavern doorman walked a block over to Central Park West to hail us a cab so we wouldn't have to walk another step on our already sore legs. Such service!! The room was probably the smallest we've stayed in but the hotel has recently been renovated and it was beautiful. It had everything we needed. ;)

This picture was taken from the room's entrance!

A great feature of this hotel was its location. It was a short walk to a sweet Irish pub called Foley's with a literal ton of baseball and sports memorabilia. AND it had a phenomenal view of the Empire State Building from the rooftop bar!

lit up with blue and white pinstripes in honor of the subway series between the Yankees and the Mets

up on the roof

We slept like logs that night. I really need one of those 'thermapedic' fancy mattresses!! The next morning we had the complimentary breakfast in the hotel then walked around Koreatown and window shopped. I didn't get Charlie to try kimchi. We should have had the kimchi dumplings instead of the chicken fingers in the pub! Oh well. Next time.