where did that come from?

Seriously!  I wanna know!  I decided mid-workday to sneak in a few miles before yoga tonight, and by the time I started at 5:15, I was down to only 30 minutes of available run time.  Fun fact:  I was halfway through my first mile before I realized I did–in fact–only have 30 minutes; up until then I thought I had 45 minutes and that yoga started at 6:15, not 6 pm.  However, 30 minutes is better than no minutes, and I simply repeated that to myself over and over again.

I headed out and somewhere toward the end of the first mile, I turned onto Girard Ave and ran into a sucker of a head wind.  First mile: 8:25.  Not too shabby for a warm-up and feeling crappy.  Not only was I out of breath and feeling sluggish (a.k.a PMS), I was fighting the wind for more than a mile.  Imagine my surprise when my watch beeped and mile 2 clocked in at 8:04!  I knew I was putting in more effort into the wind, but didn’t anticipate getting much faster.

I ran the length of Girard, and after the wind grew stronger as I rounded Parkdale Elementary and turned onto Buffalo Rd toward the circle, it died down.  At the circle, my watch beeped again: 7:43.  No way.  Now it was on.  I’d had negative splits each mile, and my OCD-self just had to keep the trend going.  I pushed up Main Street, trying to fight for each second but starting to really tire.  Once I turned right onto Olean and then Oakwood, I was at 3.5 miles but wanted that 4th.  I ended up doing that ‘turnaround thing’ a runner does when she’s basically where she wants to finish but still has a little more distance to go, so I continued down Oakwood, then ducked left on King, then turned around and ran back up Oakwood…and then back again.  I was so tired and when my watch finally beeped, I started walking and could barely contain my heaving chest.  Mile 4: 7:35.

Muscle memory, guys.  That, and some real mind-over-matter.  Honestly, it’s all the training I did last summer.  I may not have felt like I had it today (and on many recent runs), but clearly my legs did.  And before my marathon training, I never would have pushed myself to that much discomfort so easily.  This run definitely buoyed my spirits, re-ignited a desire for speed and gave me a little more confidence in my fitness level (even if the Lloyd’s taco truck in my tummy says otherwise).  It also–just as any good workout session does–renewed my desire to keep less-healthy food choices to a minimum.

And, lest I bore you with more details of my run, check out my new shades!  I’d actually been thinking of buying a pair of these Goodr sunglasses for awhile now, and it turns out I won them in the Winter Warrior Challenge!  I wasn’t able to attend our party at the end of March (SUCH a bummer), and Debbie just gave them to me this week.  I’m in love, and they are totally making me re-think my decision to get prescription sunglasses for running. If these aren’t ‘me,’ I don’t know what is!

NYC Marathon 2017

This weekend was a whirlwind and I’m sure I’ll regret taking a day off when I’m buried in work, but IT. WAS. WORTH. IT.

It’s been the summer of marathons here in our sleepy little village, and I wasn’t going to let my friend, Stacy, go to the Big Apple solo for her big day.  NO ONE should be alone for an event like that…no matter how strong, fierce and independent.  (Because that’s Stacy, to a T.)  During a marathon, anything can happen, and isn’t it nice to have someone to hold your stuff, wave from the sidelines and make sure you get back to you hotel OK?!  (Clearly I’m projecting all my fears onto someone who had none of them, but let’s just focus on how nice it is to have a friend waiting at the finish??)

Speaking of how nice it is to have friends around…  Look who I ran into at the Buffalo airport?!  Our other NYC marathoner, Ed, was on my flight!  (Stacy left the day before.)

After a couple back-to-back trips out of the airport this summer, I’ve figured out the best place to put together a healthy meal is the last little shop on the left (I can’t remember the name, but I’m pretty sure it has ‘Go!’ in it.  They even offer a military discount!)

I saved the fruit and nut mix for later, which came in handy the next day sometime after the race.

After Ed and I navigated from JFK to Midtown and to our respective hotels, the three of us met up again to hit the expo.  Going to the Javits Convention Center and taking in the excitement made me realize how much I missed out on that by doing Erie this year.  I remember running the Chicago Marathon and loving the expo.  My next marathon will be a big city race!

Stacy’s one goal was to find a massage (she’s dealing with some IT issues), and–sadly–there wasn’t one to be had.  However, she DID find the next best thing, the Theragun.  She fell instantly in love, but the $500+ price tag was just *a bit* too much.  Plus, she could totally retrofit a drill to do the same thing–of this I have no doubt.

On our way back, we got glimpses of some inherently ‘New York’ things, like yellow taxis, the Empire State Building, and we even took a spin around Macy’s.  Andrew and I spent a long weekend in NYC about five years ago and had a blast eating our way through the city, walking our butts off and taking in all the museums.

Our hotel was super close to Times Square, and the whole city was ready for race day.

That night, we grabbed some Thai food (I know what you’re thinking…who eats Thai food before a marathon?!  Well, Stacy and I shared a mild Pad Thai and a salad and skipped the wine.  Ed opted for spicy chicken without a second thought.)

Ed’s wife, Gayle, flew in that afternoon and joined us for dinner.  Our total bill was $43…split four ways I think that might have been the cheapest dinner to be had in the city that night!  Cheers to a great race!

The next morning, Stacy and Ed walked to the library to board busses that would take them out to Staten Island, where the race begins.  Gayle invited me to breakfast at her hotel, and that was a blast.  What a fun gal she is!  (Sadly, she and I managed to spend the ENTIRE day together without taking a single selfie. Blogger fail, big time.)

After breakfast and before marathon-watching, I met up with a sweet friend from the dietetics program at Buff State: Stevie!  She’s working at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center as a dietitian and living in Astoria, just across the river from Manhattan. It was so fun to catch up!

Stevie, Gayle and I hung around near mile 25 (5th and 59th, at the Plaza Hotel) and saw some of the wheelchair racers finish, then decided we should hoof it over to 1st to see if we could catch the elite men and women.  We missed the elite women, but caught the men!  Meb is in the orange shorts!  This was his retirement race.

After the men passed, we had to decide what to do next: jump on a subway to Brooklyn and try to catch our runners (who started after the elites) around miles 8 and 9, or try to catch the elite women back where we were at 5th and 59th, just before the finish.  To me, it was a no-brainer; I wanted to see the elite women!

Gayle and I hoofed it BACK to 5th, just in time to see SHALANE FLANAGAN coming around the corner!!!  I felt like such a fan-girl!  I love her cookbook, Run Fast Eat Slow (written along with her college running friend, Elyse) and follow her on Instagram, so I knew she was trying to win this one.

I was shrieking and trying to both watch her and take pictures.  I knew right away she had it in the bag–she was so strong, powering toward the finish and no one even in sight behind her.  Go Shalane!  By winning, she ended a 40-year span in which no American women had placed first in the NYC marathon.

After that, both of us bouyed by seeing Shalane, we decided it was time to try to see our runners.  We tracked them using the app (SO handy!) and headed BACK to 1st, enjoying the crowds and energy and noise.

We literally *JUST* missed Stacy, but were able to see Ed, who did not hear our deafening screams.  (The girls in front of us surely did.)

Incredibly, I even ran into the family of an acquaintance of mine, the girl with whom I roomed at the NYSAND Leadership Meeting, because they were carrying around a giant photograph of her!  Super small world, and I’m pretty sure they thought I was crazy.

Gayle and I grabbed sandwiches for lunch, then headed BACK to 5th and up into Central Park to try to catch our runners again.  This time, success!

Here’s Stacy, excited to be less than two miles from the finish! She blew us kissed and ran right on by.  She was right on track to break 4 hours.

Gayle and I meandered a bit through Central Park as we headed toward the finish area.  It’s a beautiful place and I hope to run there next time we visit.

Gayle and I parted ways–she headed back to the hotel to charge her phone and wait for Ed–while I fought the crowds to get to the ‘family meet-up area’ to meet Stacy.  Below, that’s the Plaza Hotel!

Stacy finished just under four hours and within minutes of her goal.  Sadly, we didn’t get a selfie, either!  Boo. She and I shuffled with a bazillion other runners back to our hotel, where we spent time visiting with her mom, aunt and uncle, who also came to see her run.

We capped off the night with drinks in the hotel bar and I grabbed to-go pizza slices (Stacy was fading) we ate in our jammies, in our beds, while watching HGTV.  I’m not sure anything could characterize a girls’ getaway more than that.  (We even did our nails the day before.)

Stacy and I said goodbye to NYC early Monday morning, when we rode in a cab in the wee hours while it was still dark.  I got a glimpse of Rockefeller Center and decided Andrew and I need to get back to the big city sometime soon.

Congrats to Stacy, Ed, and the other 50,000 runners!