Chicago Marathon 2015: The Race

Not that any of you asked, but for the 0.5% of the people that are interested in the running aspect of my recent marathon, here it goes! (I am an over-sharer, not an under-sharer). Marathons are HARD MOTHERS, like flipping H-A-R-D. Not only is it a physical exercise, but it is also a mental / emotional / spiritual challenge. Somehow, you have to dig down into your body and make it happen — and like I said before, it is only you yourself that can make it happen….so the race recap, begins!

 

I am SOOOO beyond heinous in this picture, but I think it is a good image of what a marathon feels like. My eye is half closed, my body hurts, I am trying to smile but I can't. I AM A HOT MESS. But proud of it.

I am SOOOO beyond heinous in this picture ( I AM A ONE EYED MONSTER!), but I think it is a good image of what a marathon feels like (this is post marathon — notice my medal). My eye is half closed, my body hurts, I am trying to smile but I can’t. I AM A HOT MESS. But proud of it.

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Chicago Marathon 2015

I was fortunate enough to run the Chicago Marathon  this past Sunday, and man oh man, what a rush, joy, privilege and honor it was! Sorry for so many marathon posts (YUP, fully addicted #cantstopwontstop), but here is the recap from my weekend. First and foremost, huge shout out to two special people that made this weekend possible: Michelle, my dear friend I met on the course at the Paris Marathon this past April, who hosted me and was so generous and giving; and my bestie in the whole wide world, Amy, who flew across the country to support me and my crazy habit. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I love you! And of course, also another thank you to my running-widow-husband who allows me to disappear and do what I love… thank you!

 

My bib. And a ticket for a free beer after the race (didn't use it). Notice, I was in the slowest wave and it mentally handicapped me for a little bit. That said, I managed (I dug deep) to get through it and overcome that setback.

My bib. And a ticket for a free beer after the race (didn’t use it). Notice, I was in the slowest wave which  mentally handicapped me for a little bit. That said, I managed to get through it and overcome.

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Why I Run

To be completely honest, not too many people are supportive of my running habit. My parents think I am bonkers; my husband, although supportive, bears the brunt of the time commitment on the weekends; strangers tell me to ‘rest my body’; my kids think every time I run I am gone for half the day; my joints here and there scream STOP; my quads are ginormous and horse-like; and my nerves pre-race / pre-long run bring insomnia and anxiety. But I can’t stop. I love it. There is something about running that brings me a sense of freedom, escape, meditation, nature, beauty, relaxation and peace. Every time I step outside to run and I look out at the sky, I just release a sigh of relief and think, “Thank goodness! Here I am again!”

 

Yesterday!

Yesterday during an 18m race in Central Park! I am the one with the crazy face in the middle. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see my family!

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More 2015 Paris Marathon…

Last Paris marathon post — Promise! I just have to write one little more blurb to not have post-wedding-depression…and then back to Fashion, Fun, Family, Food, Funky! But now…fitness (get it, things that start with “F”) OK. Some more pictures!

 

I am the farthest thing from a cool cucumber when I start a run. Hello anxiety, hello nerves. I couldn't stomach much the morning of -- I only ate half as much as I normally do pre-run, but somehow it didn't matter. I also ate 5 GU energy packets throughout the run (miles 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 22).

I am the farthest thing from a cool cucumber when I start a run. Hello anxiety, hello nerves. I couldn’t stomach much the morning of — I only ate half as much as I normally do pre-run, but somehow it didn’t matter. I also ate 5 GU energy packets throughout the run (miles 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 22). And yes, I am a geek with TWO fanny packs. Each had their own purpose, so I rocked two of them, making myself double cool.

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2015 Paris Marathon

Thank you so much to friends and family far and near who supported me along the way to complete my 3rd Paris Marathon (4th overall) on Sunday morning. Over the weekend, every other minute I received an email, text, or phone call to say “Good Luck” and it truly meant so much to me (and still warms my heart). So thank you. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all of you, so huge hug, kisses, air kisses and high fives!

 

Post race

 

This time around, instead of doing a recap of the whole marathon (it is the same kind of emotions — success, heartache, determination, etc…), I am going to tell you what worked and what didn’t work. If you are considering running a marathon, pay attention!

 

What worked:

 

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2014 NYC Marathon- We Did It!

Geez louise, holy moly, what an amazing day! The conditions were extremely difficult: cold weather, damp, and 20 – 40 MPH winds. Nonetheless, Ken and I finished the NYC Marathon and *both* made our goals: Ken broke 4 hours (3:58) in his first marathon ever and I ran in 3:38 which qualified me for the 2016 Boston Marathon. It was an incredible, emotional, and gratifying day. We both worked so hard — physical training and fundraising, which required time and energy, and we are so pleased that we raised $13,525 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of our family member Joanna.  More later (I am tired!) but here are some pics.

 

Welcome to 4:45 AM Sunday morning at our house.  Getting ready for our 6 AM bus to Staten Island.

Welcome to 4:45 AM Sunday morning at our house. Getting ready for our 6 AM bus to Staten Island. This was my actual running day attire — but it took until mile 13 to get to this point — I layered so many shirts, gloves, hat, jackets, and discarded them slowly.

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NYC Marathon Expo

After another night of no sleep (hello, jet-lag), I managed to pop in to the TCS New York Marathon Expo. I know, I know, I know….we had no choice to attend (we had to personally be the ones to pick up our number, no task rabbit messenger service for the marathon), but in addition to being a check off on my to-do-list, it also sparked some energy and fireworks into my veins. WE ARE RUNNING THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON IN TWO HOLY CRAP DAYS!

 

Big grin (better than sore muscles)

Big grin (better than sore muscles)

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NYC Marathon- Here We Come!

Big announcement from the Natori Family — Ken and I are running the 2014 New York City Marathon! November 2nd — just a little over one month away! We are both excited, nervous, energized, inspired, and motivated to run. After a full summer of runs out in the Pacific Northwest, we agreed that this was the year to do it. And…. the couples that run together, stay together! Inspired by Joanna, and her fight for life, we are running on behalf of Team In Training, a charity benefiting research for Leukemia and Lymphoma. We both feel moved and committed to run to raise money on behalf of the life and memory of our dear friend and family member. Joanna gave it all she got, enduring chemo, radiation, hospital life, isolation, pain, and discomfort. Running 26.2 miles is nothing in comparison. So we are doing this for Joanna.

photo-(8)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to run the NY Marathon 18 mile Tune Up Race. It was exhilarating. Great race! It helped that I made a friend on the course, Stephanie. STEPHANIE — where are you? Who are you? I don’t know your last name and want to find you!

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Paris Highlights

AHHH Pareeh……How I really love thee. If I could, I would move there in a heartbeat. I have had the privilege of spending a lot of time there in my life time — as a child in the summers with my dear and lovely French family (I went to a French immersion school, and lived with an exchange family for the summers) to my adult life with the Natoris and their beautiful apartment. It is unlike any city and I am in love. Here are the highlights of my trip this past weekend for the Paris Marathon! A whirlwind trip, that will forever be remembered!

 

The Marathon

 

Obviously, the main reason I went to Paris, but just one of the many activities I did over the weekend. The route was incredibly scenic and beautiful!

 

Place de la Concorde.

Place de la Concorde

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2014 Paris Marathon

I did it, again! Thank you to everyone in my life who supported, encouraged, motivated, inspired, cheered, and helped me through my journey of running the Paris Marathon. The run was an unbelievably challenging and rewarding gift, and would not have been possible without everyone in my life. An incredibly huge shout out to my fabulous mother-in-law who traveled from Japan be there for me, as well as my beloved father who traveled from Sweden. Would not have been the same without them (Ken was in NYC taking care of the kids — thank you!), and I am forever grateful of their love and support (and how amazing is it that my parents and inlaws get along so well? Makes me want to cry, I am that lucky of a girl).

 

The start.

The start

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2013 Paris Marathon!

SO, I did it!!! Thank you to all the people who supported, cheered, and encouraged me to complete one of my lifetime dreams. I ran a marathon! In Paris. In my goal time. It was heavenly. Almost as heavenly as a fresh, hot Parisian pain au chocolat…

logo

The map of the race. Unbelievably scenic and beautiful!

The map of the race. Unbelievably scenic and beautiful!

Off the plane. HELLO BAGUETTE!

Off the plane. HELLOOO BAGUETTTTEE!!!

first stop

First stop. Running Expo to pick up my bib number! EEK!

Allez Yael!

Allez Yael!

Saturday

Saturday preparation lunch. HELLLOOO BAGUETTE. Encore!

little walk

From our Saturday walk (I went with three friends, who all ran and finished!) A quick sightseeing excursion before the WHOLE REST OF THE DAY ROLLING, STRETCHING, and PREPARING FOR THE MARATHON THE NEXT DAY! double eek.

stairs

Stairs (5 flights) up to where we were staying (thank you Mrs. Natori!). Can you imagine how we would cope post-marathon if the apartment building didn’t have an elevator? THE HORROR! #firstworldproblems

dinner

Dinner pre-race. Carbo-loading.  Yep, eating spaghetti. And I despise pasta. But you do what you gotta do!

friends

Friends joined us for dinner.

selfie

Ok, I am really bad at selfies to begin with, but a seflie of me and my pre-race jitters is even worse. But I had to include it.

fashion designer

Do you believe that my mother-in-law is a fashion designer???? Can’t you tell by my look? HAWT DAWG!

Pre-race! Left to right, my friends Brad (one of Ken's best friends from growing up), Jenny, and me in the hood with the snarky face.  Picture taken by Pamela.  We all finished!

Pre-race! Left to right, my friends Brad (one of Ken’s best friends from growing up), Jenny, and me in the hood with the snarky face. Picture taken by Pamela. We all finished!

running

Yep, I took this on the run with my camera. It was one of my “rewards’ for finishing a mile. Pretty picture even with the runners in it.

sky

I MEAN, CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS RIDICULOUSLY BEAUTIFUL SKY AND SUN AND VIEW?

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