On Monday, I proved to myself that not only was “Boston Strong” but that “I was strong.” In the middle of freezing rain, super windy conditions, and low temperatures (mid 30s), I ran and completed my first Boston Marathon. It was not at all pretty, fun, or wonderful. It was actually quite the opposite; horrible, gruesome, difficult, and treacherous. Boston is considered the most prestigious of all world marathons with everyone having to time qualify to run, and I was super excited to attempt the master of all races. Due to the weather conditions, I knew that it was going to be difficult to run my hardest. So instead of racing, I focused on perseverance and completion.
Expo picking up my number.
At this point, loyal readers are probably sick of hearing about my marathons and the recaps. I know — I get it, in the past 4 years, I have completed 9 marathons — and in the last 7 months, THREE! There is not much more to say that is different about each race, and yet, this race is different. The NYC marathon is the most incredible marathon on the planet, and this year, when I gave up any expectations and ran to enjoy myself, was even better and more successful than imaginable. Giving up expectations, having no pressure, and just relaxing in to the moment made all the difference. I soaked up every second, looked at the views, talked to people, applauded my fellow runners, and truly enjoyed every minute.
Good or bad, I decided that my outfit for the marathon was going to be the exact same one that I wore a month ago for the Chicago marathon — yes, much colder temperature wise in NYC (my mistake in Chicago) but the shirt was a success in Chicago, so I went for it again in NYC. And man oh man, SUCCESS it was. Literally, once a minute, someone in the crowd would yell “Go Mama” — and I would yell “Thank you” and wave my hand up. It made me feel connected to the crowd and all their energy and positive vibes definitely helped.
This past weekend, I ran my 8th marathon in Chicago. It was a terrific day but not a great race (or even run). It was super hard out on the course and I walked away disappointed and upset. I went in hopeful after a good training season with high mileage, fast speed runs, and a strong mental set….but for whatever reason, Sunday wasn’t my day and I didn’t do well. Without making any excuses, one thing after another happened — I had a side ache from the get go (and still have it!), my Nike App was totally off (it said I ran 27.5 miles so therefore was off the whole time, making me super confused…), I lost my caffeine gum, the top of my water bottle with my nutrition in it fell off, I sweat uncontrollably (it was 77 degrees), yada yada yada….nothing went well. And so I started to derail mentally, and thought I should quit because each step was hard on my side and nothing felt great – …..all of that to say, it was my hardest marathon to date, both mentally and physically. I clocked in a 3:33, but know I can do much better.
The trip was quick — I left Saturday morning at 9, and came back Sunday night at 930. Quick turn around, but happy to make it short and the marathon the focus of the weekend. Before I left for Chicago, I did lots of legs up the wall to help relax my body…
Tomorrow, I leave for Chicago for my marathon weekend. This time, I am going totally solo and will fly, run, and stay COMPLETELY alone. I am not sure what I am more nervous about; the 26.2 miles on Sunday, or the fact that I will be alone for 36 hours (I am not good alone for long periods of time). I know I have a bajillion friends and family to call, and I am actually staying at a runner friend’s extra apartment (I met her when running the 2015 Paris Marathon and stayed with her at the Chicago 2015 Marathon — and yes, that is only after meeting her once while running… runners are AWESOME), BUT BUT BUT, who am I going to wake up in the middle of the night to tell them I am nervous????? MY BABERS WILL NOT BE THERE TO TELL ME TO GO BACK TO SLEEP AND NOT TO WORRY. ***GULP**** In any case, I am packed and ready to go on my adventure. And here is what I packed.
This is of me, two years ago, eating dinner before the marathon. I am planning on eating there AGAIN. So cute and good. I look tired, because heck, I was most likely tired. And I probably look even worse now. ALSO, please note my red nail polish. It is a belief of mine to always have my nails painted BRIGHT red before marathons (mind you, my nails are almost painted red year round, but especially right before marathons), because my sister, Courtney, told me that it is a good reminder to “run like fire.” And so red nails, it is.
A good friend of mine who happens to be a kick ass triathelete, ultra-maranother, and marathoner (slacker), turned me on to Generation UCan for fuel during my training runs and marathons. This friend is so fast and knowledgeable that whenever *she* tells you to do something, you do it.
This friend gave me a care package for one of my recent marathons, and it had everything a marathoner would want or need; water bottles, sleeves, gu blocks, and lots of UCan packages. As always, such a sweet and loving friend, thank you!
I just returned from a quick trip to Paris where I completed by 4th Paris Marathon (7th marathon total). It was great fun — both the trip itself and the run, and now I am looking forward to not traveling, not doing long runs, and staying put….. at least for the next couple of months (I have already planned my next two marathons…). Here are pictures of the weekend! (And what day is it today?)
We landed at 2 pm on Saturday, 16 hours before race time. So the only thing we could do that day was go to the Expo to pick up our bibs and get settled for the race next morning. YUP. The race at 8:20 am the next morning! Here is our feast pre-race.
I did it! Two days later …..and the obsession and high continue. Here is my recap of the New York Marathon 2016.
Breakfast. Oatmeal, coffee, and flowers (thanks Laura, for so much more than just these flowers!) And yes, I ate the oatmeal as Breakfast #1 before the day began.
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 ( 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.
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 which mentally handicapped me for a little bit. That said, I managed to get through it and overcome.
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 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!
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). 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.
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!
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!
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. 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.
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)
One of the best aspects of running the marathon is the ability to eat more than normal. HELLLOOOO carbs, HELLLOOOO sweets, HELLLOOOO doughnuts!
Bag and Babers
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.
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!
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!
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
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).
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…
The map of the race. Unbelievably scenic and beautiful!
Off the plane. HELLOOO BAGUETTTTEE!!!
First stop. Running Expo to pick up my bib number! EEK!
Saturday preparation lunch. HELLLOOO BAGUETTE. Encore!
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 (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 pre-race. Carbo-loading. Yep, eating spaghetti. And I despise pasta. But you do what you gotta do!
Friends joined us for dinner.
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.
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!
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.
I MEAN, CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS RIDICULOUSLY BEAUTIFUL SKY AND SUN AND VIEW?