Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Day 1- Mentally I think I was still in my drive to keep moving forward and get the job done. Despite having the opportunity to sleep in a bit, I found myself waking up at 6am and at my desk at work before 9-- working away at one of my more urgent deadlines coming up. I had class all afternoon, and aside from some obviously sore muscles was actually feeling pretty good. Then suddenly in the middle of one of my afternoon classes it hit me--- I was EXHAUSTED!!!!

Day 2- Pure exhaustion continues. Although my muscles really aren't all that sore-- this type of tired is really difficult to describe and I'm pretty sure is only experienced after trying to run 26.2 miles in a wind tunnel. I don't really feel sick, I don't feel like I need to sleep all that much more, it's just this deep, deep down feeling like I was repeatedly hit by a truck recently and I'm confused why I seem to have no external injuries. Like I said....impossible to describe! :) But I'm finally getting some perspective on the race. I am proud I finished-- and I immediately cry anytime I watch the Mile 23 video of Becky, Danielle and I. That pain is still very memorable so far-- I wonder how long it will take me to forget what that felt like. I have a feeling it's a memory that's going to last a little longer than it did from Arizona.

From the finish line to home

Once I crossed the finish line I was very business like about getting through the rest of the finisher's chute. I got my timing chip removed, picked up my medal, my finishers shirt, my Carl's Jr. Chesseburger (yes, you read that right-- just after your medal you get a cheese burger-- Carl's Jr. is one of the race sponsors) grabbed some food, and then stood staring back at the course. I had no idea where the rest of my group was by this point. I was fairly certain that all of the DRC runners had finished their races by this point, which likely just left myself, Danielle, Becky, and James somewhere on the course. I was dying to know how everyone was surviving and was really hoping to see them at the finish line, but I didn't have any idea if they had finished 20 minutes ahead of me, or would be another 20 minutes behind me.
What was most frustrating was I didn't have much time to try and figure it out. While the bus trip with DRC was great, the timing definitely caused some post-race anxiety for us slower full marathoners. I had wrapped up at the finish line a little after noon. If I hurried (which seemed impossible) I was hoping I'd have enough time to make the 6 block walk back to our hotel, pack, and shower before checkout time at 1pm. Geez! This was more time pressure then I felt on the race course! Suddenly I'd gone from just being happy to have finished this marathon to what felt like an all out timed race to the hotel.

Not that I had any past precident to compare this too- but had this been the case I think I would have set a new PR. I made it back to the hotel, packed, and showered--- and managed to walk out of my room at 1pm on the dot. Check in time at the bus was 1:30-- so I grabbed some food in the hotel lobby cafe and for the first time had a chance to sit for a moment since my finish.

DRC runners filled up the lobby, all looking exhausted, and most of them walking funny. For the first time I found James-- who had finished a while after me. I was so glad to see him and so proud of him for finishing his first marathon under such horrible conditions. He told me he had heard Danielle and Becky finished as well-- which was great to know. I couldn't wait for all of us to get together and compare survival stories about the last few miles.

The bus ride home was pretty mellow. I slept, tried to get in on a few trivia games, and finally arrived back in Dallas around 6pm.

Monday, April 27, 2009

26.2 in Oklahoma

Pre- race - Gerard Bischof

"Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and
the last part with your heart." Good luck Princess, have fun!

Mile 1- (Hari & Nirisha Garimella)
Off to a great start through the streets of downtown Oklahoma City. You're always warned against going out too fast the first mile, but the course was so crowded at this point I don't think I could have gone faster if I'd wanted to. Danielle and I were happily running along having a "Can you believe we're finally here?" sort of conversation when I mis-stepped over a storm drain and nearly rolled my ankle, causing several runners behind me to gasp in horror. Yikes! Fortunately my ankle survived the incident without injury-- but I definitely payed more close attention to the ground after that. So much so that I nearly missed a shout of encouragement from Amanda (mile 24 sponsor) from the sidelines.

Mile 2- (Bruce & Janet Mortensen)
So far so good, still crowded on the course. By another miracle we met up with James (Mile 18) from our pace group and enjoyed running together the next few miles.

Mile 3- (Max Davis & Denise Tyler)
Things still going smoothly. James, Danielle and I chatted about Max and Denise- who we figured were preparing for the Big Sur Marathon in California at that very time. We knew they had bigger hills ahead of them then we did, so we sent them our best mental energy (at this point we still had some to spare).

Mile 4- (In Memory of Nell Mortensen)

"Grandma Mortensen is cheering from the angelic sidelines!!!

Oklahoma really is a beautiful place-- green grass and trees everywhere. Already it's starting to feel a little warmer than I'd prefer, so the wind at this point actually seems like a blessing. (In another few miles I will have long forgotten I was ever grateful for this wind).

Mile 5- (Randy & Sarah Swann)
The spectators on the course were awesome. So many neighborhoods came out to cheer and offer us support. There were kids handing out chocolate and other goodies, and one of my dreams came true...on the side of the road one spectator was holding out a box of donuts for runners to take!! The road was still crowded with runners at this point and I was on the wrong side of the road-- but I still regret not going back for one of those donuts! (By the way, my other dream is for someone to offer me a cupcake during a marathon-- someone please note for Texas). :)

Mile 6- (Karen Rodrigue, Genevieve Medina)
More amazing spectators-- here I missed a photo op of John Wayne in the cheering crowd. Yes really, someone had a life sized cut out of John Wayne and had him cheering with their group on the side of the road. My Dad would have been so proud!
At this point we passed the first time check- 1:07-- not a bad pace for me considering things were still pretty crowded up to this point.

Mile 7- (Jeff Venable)

"Roll the dice, you win again! Say "Hi" to the person behind you!"

Ah, a mile message from Jeff, a fellow runner who understands the need for distraction during long distance races such as this. It appears that Jeff was going to send me on a bit of an obstacle course during this run. :) Okay, I played along...the runner behind me looked confused. lol.

Mile 8- (John & Linda Digman)
At this point (as with most runs), mile 8 is about the point where I start settling in to my pace and feeling good. Mile 8 was still enjoyable-- although I could tell the varying hills up to this point had taken a little more out of me than usual.

Mile 9- (Bruce & Janet Mortensen)

"Thank you doesn't seem adequate...but thank you! Hope your race goes well and
that you have a blast. Since you have angel wings, it shouldn't be too difficult!"

Mile 10- (Vicki Connerly)

"Psalm 46- God is our refuge and strength--He dwells in his city, doeth
marvelous things, and saith: Be still and know that I am God." "Anna, you are
doing marvelous things with your life! May you find the strength from God
to push you through. I know Susan will be routing you on! Remember, be still, and you will find strength."

Mile 11- (Jeff Venable)

"Everybody wins on mile 11! Slap hands with the next person that you
see on the left side of the road!"

Mile 12- (John Ratti)

I had lost my group by this point, which was okay because after awhile it's hard to keep up conversation when you're just focused on breathing.

Mile 13- (Genevieve Medina)

"Anna, You're half way done! You've accomplished so much in your training
this season. You've made some amazing new friends, of which I'm very proud
to be. Enjoy yourself and don't worry about crossing the finish line. Susan will give you the strength to get there".

Next timed check in point- 2:29-- the hills were still taking a little more out of me and off my pace than normal, but so far things seemed reasonable.... little did I know that just after we passed the time mats we would arrive at the lake were we would turn into the wind for the second half of the race. I made that turn and immediately felt as if someone shoved me backwards. After having the wind at my back up to this point this was a shock I was not ready for. The rest of mile 13 was really rough!

Mile 14- (Roxanne Olvera)

"The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles
to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep." -Robert Frost

Anna, you are on Mile 14 now, and you are half way to the
Finish Line! Know that at this very moment you are being supported by
people near and far. Now, keep moving! You’ve got more miles to
cover, not just in today’s race, but in your life. Susan is with you right
now and so are we. See you at the Finish Line! –Roxanne

Very appropriate quote from Roxanne at this point. Miles and miles to go-- and what disturbed me was that by mile 14 I had 'hit the wall'. There's a common belief in marathons this happens around mile 20 or so-- that sudden feeling that you just can't go any further. In Arizona this happened for me at mile 24-- so having a feeling this intense at mile 14 was definitely mentally hard to handle. Struggling to adjust to the winds for the remainder of mile 13 took more out of me than I realized. I really worried I would have nothing left to get anywhere near the finish line if I didn't really work hard to adjust my strategy. I just didn't know what it would be...

(---Mile 14 for Roxanne Olvera---)

Since I sponsored mile 14, I was done with my race (half marathon) by that point. I do remember hanging by body over the barricade as they cut the timing chip off and then walking around in a daze trying to work the cramps out of my quads. I finally found Vicki and the others from my training group. After regrouping, Vicki and I walked back to the hotel to shower, check out, and walk back to the finish line to grab a seat on the bleachers to cheer you and the others in.

Mile 15- (Meredith Levin)

"As you start mile 15, remember that you have ALREADY accomplished somethingthat the vast majority of people in the world haven't come close to doing. You are a strong woman - allow that strength to carry you through mile 15 and the remainder of your race."

I was ready to admit at this point that I was very unhappy! Other than just continuing to move forward I had no plan for how I was going to manage the rest of the race. The wind was driving me crazy-- it seemed to overtake every one of my senses. I felt like if it would just stop for a few minutes I could clear my head and come up with a reasonable plan-- but the wind would not be stopping anytime soon.

Mile 16- (John Lampton)
"Triumphs without difficulties are empty. Indeed, it is difficulties that make
the triumph. It is no feat to travel the smooth road". -Source Unknown

John's message could not have been any more appropriate at this point. Things were definitely difficult and I was just angry. I couldn't think of anyone necessarily to blame that made any sense-- so I blamed the race organizers (which I realize is rediculous by the way, this tells you about my mental state at the time). I cursed them for creating a course with so many hills and so much wind (as if they had any control over that), how could they invite so many people to an event knowing there would be such horrible conditions???

Mile 17- (Bruce & Janet Mortensen)

Since I had been facing the same winds and the same hills for the last 3 miles, it finally set in that my situation was not going to change-- so I had better change my attitude instead. I guess you can refer to this as the 'acceptance' phase of my grieving process. In a way I was grieving. I had trained hard for months for this and had put in what I thought were all of the necessary preparations to do well. Then I felt like I had shown up for my 'final exam' and was surprised with a test in a completely different subject I wasn't at all prepared for. This wasn't the race opportunity I was planning on.

Mile 18- (James Alfred)

Mile 18. I did think of James (now somewhere on the course as well), who had sponsored this mile after my confession that Mile 18 was my most miserable training run for my Arizona marathon-- and he then led our pace group on an awesome 18 mile run that weekend! It reminded me that there were people involved in this endeavor besides me-- and although it felt really lonely on the course right now, I needed to stop being so self-centered and remember all of the people in my life who had supported me to get to the race, and there were a lot of them. So I thought about my sponsors-- and the little bit of me that was still considering the possibility of just stopping the race was trying to come up with a way I'd explain my decision to my sponsors. I wondered if they'd want their donations for Susan's Foundation back-- I didn't think so, but just the thought of it made me stop even considering the possibility of dropping out.

Mile 19- (In memory of Evelyn Bierman)

"Grandma Bierman is hovering near the finish line with a plate of cowboy
cookies (with butterscotch pieces)!!!!!"

Then I start thinking more seriously about what this race is really about. Forget about the hills, the heat, and the wind, forget about the fact that everyone of my muscles is burning and I ran out of breathing machine medication way too early, forget about my miserable self-centered attitude--- this race was to remember 168 individuals who, because of someone else's actions, were no longer here. I thought about how they would probably give anything to be back on earth with their families and having any kind of experience here-- and here I was complaining about the fact I was alive to live another day and have this opportunity in life.

Mile 20- (Travis Gillies)

"Susan is lookin down on ya right now, and she's smilin!"

I did think about Susan- a lot, and I thought about my Grandmothers. I thought about how at any moment, whether it was 9:02 for those in Oklahoma City, or a surprising cancer diagnosis for Susan, your belief that you have unlimited life opportunities ahead of you could all be changed in an instant.

I thought about what Amy talked about at the dinner the night before. This situation, this pain, was temporary-- if I spent the rest of my one opportunity for an Oklahoma marathon cursing race organizers for not controlling the weather I was just robbing myself of having what could be an amazing life experience.

Mile 21- (Kent & Gail Mortensen)

"You can do it Ann Marie!!! There is no doubt in our mind that you are a
champion, you never give up!!! Go Anna!!!!!!"
Love, Mom and Dad

I was going to survive this marathon and as much as it hurt-- I was going to be positive about doing it! Reaching the mile 21 point was somewhat of a relief because I had reached where the wall was expected to be-- and had now recovered from the shock of having it show up 7 miles early. I was doing far more walking at this point then I'd ever imagined I'd be doing in a race I trained to run for-- but walking uphill in this wind was definitely a challenge. At the time it was the only way I could keep moving forward-- and I had already decided I would keep moving forward.

Mile 22- (Team Goatman)
I met up with Danielle and Becky on the side of the road just before this video-- we didn't talk long but it was pretty clear they had both hit their walls fairly recently too. I think Danielle hated me for taking this video at the time but I promised her that someday she would want to remember this (hopefully I'll be right about that someday- it's probably too early to ask her just yet). I'm not sure how obvious it is, but I think all of us were fighting a loosing battle with tears at this point.

Mile 23- (Chris Stratton)

"Live, Love, Run".

I lost Danielle and Becky again somewhere in mile 23. I was getting really emotional the longer I stayed with them as we tried to talk each other through it. Everytime I got emotional it just got harder to breathe, and since I had run out of breathing machine medication by this point-- I was really struggling to keep my breathing even and unstressed as possible given the conditions.

---(Mile 23 for Chris Stratton)---
Mile 23 was actually my worst mile split of the entire race. It was the last stretch of Classen. I pushed through the entire stretch hard but the wind was just too much. I had to walk through the last stretch of that mile through some misters but that helped me finish the rest of the race. Mile 23 was cruel and unusual punishment.

Mile 24- (Vishal Patel & Amanda Witty)

Ask Yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes”.”
- Paul Tergat

Mile 25- (Danielle Gable)

"My Dear Anna, you're a RUNNER! Less than 1% of the population run marathons and you're doing it right now! Granted your vision is now fuzzy, your legs have gone numb, and you can't comprehend what i'm writing-YOU'RE A RUNNER!! and you're an amazing friend. Run for yourself to kick prednisone's butt, run for me knowing you've been my crutch for support, run for Susan knowing you're making her proud, run for those people cheering you on the sidelines, run for your life knowing these 5 hours are part of life's journey and you are making it happen. Thanks for touching my life in such a phenomenal way. NOW RUN!"

Mile 26- (Bruce & Janet Mortensen)
Hot, hot, hot!!! For the last few miles I had started pouring cups of water over my head at every water stop.

Mile .2 to Finish- (Justin Turley)
Just after I passed the mile 26 marker I realized I couldn't see the course ahead, meaning I had no idea where the finish line was, (or even if it existed). When a volunteer (who I might have hugged had I the energy at the time), said just turn this corner and it's 6 blocks to the finish-- you're going to make it! This was great news but 6 blocks sounded like an awfully long way by this point- and I was hoping I could keep up running for the last mile. I turned that corner and as promised-- off in the distance was a huge banner that very clearly said FINISH-- honestly I thought that 6 blocks was too far for me to run without a walk break by this point given my plan to conserve breathing until I could get more medication. But once I got that finish line in sight I didn't take my eyes off it-- and as long as I could see it I wasn't going to stop running!!I remember almost nothing about what was going on around me by this point. My friends (and recent half-marathon finishers) Vicki and Roxanne were in the finish line stands cheering and took this picture. Unfortunately between my finish line survival focus and the wind roaring in my ears I didn't even hear them. But it means so much they were there to see my group finish so late in the day and cheer us on!!! Thank you Roxanne and Vicki!!!!!
A mere 5 hours 22 minutes and 8 seconds since crossing the start line, I had never been so glad to stop running!

Pre-race Jitters

After the dinner we walked back to the hotel and I was eager to get my race gear set out for the following morning. My new friend and roommate Kristi and I stayed up for a bit obsessing (well, I admit it was mainly me obsessing and Kristi supporting my obsessions while she knitted:)), about race details before finally getting to sleep. It's pretty well known that no one sleeps well the night before race morning, so a lot of us had planned on utilizing a sleep aid of one kind or another to help us out.

Even with my dose and a half of Nyquil, I still managed to wake up every hour to see what time it was. At one point I remember looking at the clock at 12:30am and wondering if that might be too early to get up. Fortunately I must have gotten in a few hours of sleep our 5am alarm was the next thing I remember.

Here's my roommate Kristi- calm, cool and collected before her half-marathon....

We met up with more DRC runners in the lobby and walked to the start line together. With 19,000 participants and even more spectators all milling about, it was a miracle I was able to find Danielle prior to race start- but I'm glad I did. Once we got gear bags checked and found our way to the starting corral we got in on the opening ceremonies, which included 168 seconds of silence and the national anthem prior to race start. That, combined with the fact the start line was at the memorial, already had me pretty emotional before we even began.

How did my 2nd marathon anxiety compare to my first? I'll admit it wasn't quite as bad, but I wasn't feeling relaxed about it either. Sure, I knew that I had conquered 26.2 miles once before. But as any runner will tell you, regardless of your health status, the body that worked for you one day might operate completely differently on another. You can train as hard as possible for those first 20 miles or so-- but you can never know for sure how your body will respond when things get tough.

This training program actually had me running more miles and more hills than what I'd done for Arizona, so I felt very prepared. But then, there was the weather forecast... temperatures in the 70s (that is considered rather warm for a marathon), humid, cloudy, and WINDY--- 20-30 mph winds expected throughout the day.... and rumor had it that for the last 13 miles of the race we'd be running straight into it. Oh boy.... let the fun begin!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pasta Dinner

The traditional 'pre-marathon' pasta dinner was held just next to the memorial. Danielle, Kevin & I got there just as they started serving. While the food wasn't gormet by any standards, just being there and experiencing the environment and people was worth it for me.
Over the next few hours I have no idea how many people they served, although tables and chairs were definitely in high demand.

It was amazing how much the volunteers at this event were so focused on doing whatever they could to make sure you had a great experience. Many of the volunteers for race weekend are family members of those who lost their lives in the bombing, and included everyone from older adults to very young children. I met some great people and heard some amazing stories.
During one part of the program the race director introduced elite runner Amy Palmiero-Winters. As a last minute idea I decided to record her talk and I'm glad I did. This video is a few minutes long but it's worth watching. (I apologize for the lack of video and sound quality here. The shakiness was my fault- I forget some of my medications have that side effect. Some of the background noise is a preview of the Oklahoma wind you'll hear more about later).

What you miss hearing just prior to this video beginning, is the race director saying that Amy was invited to participate in the OKC Marathon this year with the idea and expectation that she would set a new elite women's course record. A few days before the event she talked to him again and said that after thinking more about the purpose of this marathon and what it stood for, she had a different idea of how she wanted to be involved....

Her talk was the perfect set up of the whole race experience for me. I stayed a little later at the dinner to meet some other DRC members, but the travel and heat from the day were definitely catching up with me and I was getting tired. I wish I would have taken more pictures at the dinner because I met a lot of great new friends that night and since the following morning would be so crazy with race festivities, I wouldn't get to see most of them again that weekend. (Update- Thanks to Pat for taking more pictures at the pasta party than I did- I borrowed a few from her).
As everyone continued to socialize I found myself quietly looking across the memorial at the Survivor tree (in the background to the right of the photo below), thinking about Amy's talk, and what I wanted this race experience to mean for me. This is something I wish I took the time or had the chance to do for so many things I participate in in life. So often I feel like I end up jumping from one activity to the next just trying to keep up and meet deadlines, meet goals, etc. It's amazing how taking just a moment to reflect and plan for your participation in something can change so much about your experience.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

From the expo it was about a 6 block walk through downtown to the memorial. Downtown Oklahoma City seems to be a nice place--We kept running into these random brightly painted buffaloe on the walk...
and saw some unique modern art.
This is one of the 168 banners that were placed along the race course- in memory of each of the victims of the bombing there over 10 years ago now.
This church has a tradition of being involved in the marathon each year by holding special race-related services (included the blessing of the shoes), as well as a free pancake breakfast the morning of the race which appeared to be pretty popular. Overall, I seem to be fairly tolerant of what I can stomach before running long distances-- but pancakes is one of the few things that don't do well for me before a run, so I didn't make it to the breakfast race morning.
The memorial is an amazing place. The first thing you see walking up is this long wall of flowers and memories people leave in memory of the victims.
Entry to the memorial-- We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.

The two main walls of the memorial are separated by a large reflecting pool. Each of the walls have one of two times carved into the stone-- 9:01, the time when Oklahoma City was innocent on that day, and 9:03, by which time the city had changed forever. It really is amazing to think about the impact of what can happen in an instant.

The buiding next to this area serves as the Memorial Museum-- and is the same building that was there when the bombing took place. You can see along this wall a lot of the cracks and damage-- resulting from the impact of the bomb.

Also on that same wall---
The only remaining part of one of the original walls of the Federal Building.
After the bomb went off this was the only tree left remaining standing in the building courtyard and has come to be known as the Survivor Tree. It is one of the most beautiful and perfect trees I had ever seen, and has become symbolic for a number of different things around Oklahoma City-- including the spirit of the Memorial Marathon. The focus of this event is not on the terrible violence of that day-- but remembering what was lost, and finding the hope to move forward.

Just outside the entrance to the museum--
While I was at the memorial later that night, I overheard one gentleman introduce 2 teenage children to one of the guards as two of the 4 child survivors of the bombing. He talked about what a pleasure it has been to see them grow up in the midst of trying to deal with the great losses their family endured that terrible day. More proof of just how much the families impacted by this tragedy seem to be focused more on hope than on anger over what happened.

Just inside the museum--

I would have liked to have visited the whole museum, but they were nearing closing time and I was trying to limit the amount of time I spent on my feet anyway that day. So we spent the next few minutes relaxing in the courtyard waiting for the pasta dinner.


We arrived in Oklahoma City and checked into our hotel along with a mass of other runners. We quickly got settled in and then headed across the street to the convention center for the Expo. We took care of business first and picked up our race numbers, checked that our timing chips worked, and picked up our t-shirts. From there we were free to browse the vendor booths and relax until later in the evening.

I had gotten so used to spending time with my own pace group that I had forgotten how many other DRC members there are I really didn't even know yet. So while I enjoyed chatting with them, I was also eagerly looking for Danielle-- who had driven up with her husband earlier that day. This would be Danielle's first marathon and I was almost more excited for her to experience all this than I was for myself. At last we found each other and went into a brief picture taking frenzy.

By the way-- you may notice I'm practically kneeling in every picture with Danielle--- this is an attempt to accomodate the drastic differences in our heights. lol. My number for Marathon #2--- 613.
Danielle and her husband Kevin (running his first half-marathon), with their race numbers. A nice feature of this race was having personalized bibs. I was boring and had Anna put on mine-- but Danielle and Kevin went with the more adventerous Gablemania1 and Gablemania2.
The expo was crowded, but wasn't anywhere near the size of the expo for the Arizona marathon. So it really didn't take us long at all to walk around and see everything. After we'd done our browsing we decided to head down to the Oklahoma City Memorial....

OKC or Bust

I won't keep all of you in suspense for long. I made it back from Oklahoma and have officially completed marathon #2. Although there is quite a story that goes along with that....it wasn't nearly as straight forward of a race as I thought it might be.

It will take me a little while to post all the pictures and updates...so I'll just do a little bit at a time. First things first....
Saturday morning I woke up to meet the DRC club bus to Oklahoma. First stop was to drop off my dog, Lilo at boarding for the weekend. I had to give a shout out to her because of all she puts up with to accomodate my crazy school and running schedule.

Next stop to my friends' Jen and Andy's house where they kindly agreed to have me keep my car for the weekend so as not to leave it in an empty parking lot. Thanks guys! Jen gave me a ride to the DRC clubhouse from there. I was a little early-- but Pat was already there and oozing with DRC enthusiasm to get everyone off on the right foot. Pat gave leis to everyone and had the bus decorated in a Hawaiian luau theme. :)

For the next little while it was just some chatting and waiting around for the bus's arrival.

A little after 10am we were finally on the bus and ready for the 3 1/2 hour drive to Oklahoma City. The bus ride was pretty mellow. I got the chance to meet a few new people and play a few quiz games to help pass the time. I also got in a few naps I didn't realize I needed.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oklahoma Marathon Countdown- 1 day

This is it! Very soon I will be headed out to meet the DRC crew for the bus ride to OKC. I'm packed. I'm sure I forgot something-- it will be interesting to discover just what that is.

I slept great last night. (The second night before the marathon is the most important night for sleeping well-- it's pretty much guaranteed you won't sleep well the night before the race).
Rumor has it we're running into 30mph headwinds for the second half of the race. I think I said it once before-- wind is NOT my favorite weather for running-- but, in the spirit of the 'lemonade maker' inspiration for this endeavor-- I'll make the best of anything that comes my way! :) On the bright side I think we'll manage to avoid the rain.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be thinking of all of you. Have fun putting in those miles this weekend. Start sending me pictures and reports of your adventures this weekend if you can. I'm hoping to have pictures and race report news up by Monday.

Let's do this!

Happy Running!!!
Thank you again!

Friday, April 24, 2009

26.2 Oklahoma Miles

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone!!!!
With just 48 hours left to spare until race day-- all 26.2 miles have found sponsors. Amazing!!

If you'd still like to be a part of the Oklahoma action, it's not too late.... there is still room for unlimited pre-race sponsors. You can become a pre-race sponsor by making a donation of any size (no matter how small) to the Susan Mortensen Turley foundation. Every little bit will make a difference.

Oklahoma Marathon Countdown- 2 days

As of 4am (when I found myself awake this morning), I am officially so excited for marathon #2 I can hardly stand it! There is not a whole lot to do at 4am so long as you're not running-- so I figured I'd come in to work early for the day and at least be productive. I still have to pack later. For a last celebratory carb loading splurge a couple of us are meeting at Sprinkles cupcakes tonight!!

I think I have my spine and hips adequately lined up again. My quad muscles are nearly the same size, which is a good sign. I can't wait to run again! I've only been resting and laying off the miles for about a week but it feels like so much longer than that. Bring on the 26.2!!!

I'm also becoming just a little bit paranoid about getting mile 4 (the last mile) adopted out before the bus leaves tomorrow morning. I will run better knowing all the miles have found good homes. :) So I'm definitely going to put some effort into that today as well.

Last day to send in those mile inspiration messages.... don't let your mile be lonely and uninspired! :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oklahoma Marathon Countdown- 3 days

Carb Loading!!
The concept of carb (carbohydrate) loading prior to an endurance event is based on the concept that your body stores this kind of energy longer-- and you'll need a lot of it on race day. So a few days prior to your endurance event, you're typically encouraged to increase your carbohydrate intake.
For elite runners I'm sure this serves a very specific purpose and is important to do a specific way. For the rest of us... it's just fun! Once I've been about 6 days away from a marathon race, I pretty much give myself the green light to each pretty much whatever I want that week! So this week I've been living it up! Danielle (who will be running her FIRST marathon in just 3 days), and I went out for a little carb loading party recently-- it was great!! A cheap pizza buffet, several selections of dessert, and a short walk to prepare us for the second dessert of the evening- a hot fudge sundae. Now a hot fudge sundae doesn't even qualify as carbs but- like I said-- it's really about pigging out for a few days and knowing you've earned every bite of it. :)

So- in just 3 days all you sponsors will either be running your miles in OKC or putting in your miles in whatever location you happen to be. So enjoy yourself and carb load appropriately tonight! :) I sure am!

Just 1 lonely mile left still looking for a sponsor...

And for any sponsors who still need to send me their 'mile inspiration messages'- please do ASAP. The bus leaves Saturday morning and my computer won't be coming with me.

Happy running (and eating) everyone!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Race Day Weather Update

Okay everyone! Those of you who followed my request to pray for cooler weather and cloud cover in OKC on Sunday-- thank you, but please back off the prayers now. The latest update for Sunday is a 40% chance of severe weather (rain/wind, hail, possible tornados). In the event of very severe weather, I'm sure they'll call off the race. I actually really like running in reasonable rain/drizzle-- but a lot of it will make use of a camera and my breathing machine during the race difficult. So now, start wishing for a just a little sunshine! Thanks! :)

Oklahoma Marathon Countdown- 4 days

Training alone (Arizona) vs. training with a group (Oklahoma). Here's the difference...

18 mile training run (Arizona)-
My first time running 18 miles-- I was nervous for this run all week long. The night before I went over and over everything I would need for the next morning, planned what I would eat beforehand, etc. That morning I woke up as excited as ever and drove out to my chosen running spot. Most of my long training runs for Arizona were around a small 5 mile loop-- which for this run I'd be doing about 3 1/2 times. No one knew I was out there. The first two loops were okay. Loop number three things started to get difficult and I started to get lonely. At one point all my muscles stiffened up, my feet became numb, and I actually started to wonder why I ever thought I'd be able to run a marathon-- clearly I wasn't going to survive this 18 mile run. The last 1/2 lap I was angry. I'm not even sure who I was angry at-- I think I was mostly frustrated and in pain-- and I felt like no one knew and no one cared. I finished the run with mixed emotions-- for one I had run further than ever before, but I was angry, tired, in a lot of pain, and doubting myself. I went home and for the rest of the week I mentally relived the pain and frustration-- every day fearing my 20 mile run two weeks later.

18 mile training run (Oklahoma)-
The week leading up to this run I was out for revenge-- to beat the miserable experience of this distance the first time. I posted messages to my pace group leaders and friends about my anxiety and got tons of support. James, who would end up leading my pace group for this run even sponsored Mile 18 of the marathon for Susan's Foundation-- which already got me off to a very positive start mentally. The entire week leading up to the run we sent each other messages back and forth sharing excitement and giving last minute pieces of advice. The morning of the run we met at the clubhouse early and all started off together. We laughed and joked for the first few miles as we warmed up. Then the difficulty started to set in and problems arose. Our anticipated water stop for the half way point was not where expected. James calls Vicki, another pace group leader on her cell phone (in the middle of her group run), basically just so we could have someone to comiserate with us. We laughed through the mishap and ended up begging for water at Burger King. Next water stop was missing too-- and we realized none of us had brought along emergency money. But we happened to pass another pace group leader who kindly gave us a loan and we make a running detour to a convenience store for Gatorade-- still laughing and joking. Mile 16-- we realize we managed to get off of our mapped out route and were 4 miles away from the clubhouse. Which means by the time we arrived back at the clubhouse our 18 mile run had turned into a 20 mile run-- and with the extra time it took us to find water we arrived back much later than anticipated. Given that we are the slowest full marathon pace group anyway, we're used to most of the other runners having cleared out of the clubhouse for the day before we got back.
So at last we get back to the clubhouse..... and were shocked to find 8 or 10 people, pace leaders and members of one of the half-marathon training groups, all waiting for us-- and walked in to a room full of clapping, cheering, hugs, pictures, and even some congratulatory chocolate donuts.
I will never, ever, ever forget that moment of getting back to the clubhouse after what could have been a miserable run-- and getting that type of a reception.

Moral of the story: Train with a group! If there isn't a big organized running or walking group in your area that meets your needs, start your own little group of just a few people. Having the support of pace group leaders, and other runners who all end up becoming some of your best friends is one of the most amazing things in the world!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oklahoma Marathon Countdown- 5 days

Two things I can address in this update post: time and weather.

Time: Now that I have a first marathon time to compare things to, several people have asked if I am looking to beat my time for the OKC race, or what time I'm aiming for. For my first marathon, when someone asked me what time I hoped to finish in, I typically responded with..."you mean this is timed?" And I'm glad to say I feel just as casual about my time performance in this marathon as well. My biggest goal--- finish! Even better if I can finish smiling. Even better than that if I can finish before the official finish line actually closes. Beyond that- I have no specific time goal. My thoughts currently are to keep this attitude for my first 5-10 marathons, and then maybe at that point I'll consider PR concerns.

I personally like John Bingham's advice about running a marathon with a fast time goal--- don't do it! You've paid all this money and spent all this time training for this amazing event-- why rush through it?? Take your time, take lots of pictures, talk to people-- enjoy every minute you can get out of it!! If you really want to know how fast you can run 26.2 miles-- then some random day go chart out a course in your neighborhood and time yourself. :)

Weather: Current forecast for Sunday in OKC is warm and WINDY! If any of you are praying folk, please work in some requests for cloud cover and less wind!! Thanks. :)

Sponsor updates: I've heard from a few people who are reporting how they plan to complete their miles for Susan's Foundation. OKC marathoners Vishal and Chris have promised to moonwalk their sponsored miles (or at least part of it). So let's hope they catch that on video!
For the rest of you, keep thinking about your plans-- and be sure to make a big to-do this week about putting your feet up, carb loading, and telling all your friends you need to rest up for your marathon participation this weekend! :)

Still 2 miles left to go on sponsoring.... keep spreading the word! Thanks!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oklahoma Mile 3 Sponsors

Max Davis & Denise Tyler

Are you runners?
Yes, we are runners (16 and 13 marathons respectively)
What is your favorite race distance?
The Marathon is our race of choice.
What are your hobbies?
Our hobbies are running, kayaking, juggling and attending estate sales (hunting
for treasures)
What is your favorite food?
Pizza (every Friday night)
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Paris, France
What is your favorite quote?
"You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit" (from one of the
Why did you sponsor a mile to support the Susan Mortensen Turley Foundation?
It is a Great cause.
Any particular reason you chose mile 3?
We selected an early mile, so Anna would still be fresh.
Note from Anna:
Max and Denise have been my pace group leaders for almost all of my long runs with DRC this spring. I don't know what I would have done without them! Every run they keep themselves entertained by counting the number of squirrels they can spot. I've tried this myself and it's actually much more difficult than you'd think-- particularly in later miles I get too tired to be that observant. :) But as seasoned marathoners Max and Denise make almost every run look easy. Just recently they both completed the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge (a race which I aspire to complete someday).
This Sunday while many DRC members are marathoning in Oklahoma, Max and Denise will be running the Big Sur marathon in California-- which I've heard is a much tougher course!
Good luck Max and Denise!! Thanks for all of your support this season!

Oklahoma Marathon Countdown- 6 Days

Hopefully all you mile sponsors have gotten started on your homework for the week. :) If you're confused as to just what that is please check the last few posts.

One more thing for you do to today if you like.... the Oklahoma Marathon has the nifty feature of Participant Tracking. Really this is a way for you to stalk your favorite marathon runner without the hassle of actually traveling to the marathon. Follow this link and enter the information for the runner you want, and on race day you will receive text messages or email updates when I complete certain sections of the course and when I cross the finish line! How cool is that??


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Calling all sponsors... get moving! :)

In just 7 days we will start off on the Oklahoma experience of 26.2 miles! Did you catch that? That's right, I said "WE". What is unique about the Oklahoma race is that it just so happens that many of my mile sponsors (amazing members of the Dallas Running Club) will be running the race as well.

For the rest of you, if you thought your 'virtual marathon' involvement ended with your donation- it doesn't have to. I'm asking each of my mile sponsors to take just a few more steps (literally) to get involved in the experience. On April 26th (race day), plan some way to cover your mile(s) wherever you might be. You can run it, walk it, roller blade it, jump rope it, or if you're really "anti-activity" for some reason, drive it! It doesn't matter what you choose to do- have fun and be creative with it. Get your friends and family involved!! While I'm running each of your miles in Oklahoma City next Sunday and I start getting that "I can't go any further" feeling at mile 22-- I want to know that somewhere on that day-- my mile sponsors are moving too- and that will keep me going! :)

So start planning how you want to complete your mile on April 26th. And be sure to capture a few pictures or videos in the process if you can. By the week of April 27th, not only will I be posting the pictures, videos and stories of my race report-- but I can post your mile reports as well.

Have fun! If you've got a plan on how you'll cover your mile you're especially proud of, please email me so I can share it with others.

And sponsors who are DRC members who will be running the race that day... please send your reports of how you covered your mile for Susan's Foundation as well (any mile you chose to focus on during your race counts). You can do something 'wild and crazy' for that mile, or keep it part of your regular race strategy. Whatever you do, have fun with it!

Alright sponsors-- let's get moving! :)

Oklahoma Marathon Countdown - 7 days

If my time estimates are correct, at this time next week I should be somewhere around mile 10! :)

"Inspire your mile"- All OKC mile sponsors, please write a short message you'd like me to read as I begin running your mile in Oklahoma next week. Your message can be inspiring, encouraging, funny, whatever you choose.... it's your mile! :) Please email your message, along with your name, and mile number to me at anagram8@hotmail.com no later than Thursday, April 23rd. Remember, if you are a sponsor for more than one mile, please include one message for each mile.

I did this for my Arizona marathon and my mom put all of the messages into a post-it booklet I carried with me on the course. This was a key part of why I had such a great first marathon experience. Being able to reassess and focus on my sponsor and their message each mile really helped keep my attitude in the right place, kept me moving forward, and helped me keep the big picture in mind of what this fundraiser has been about. If you'd like to read examples of what previous mile sponsors have written for their messages, you can glance back at my '26.2' post from January.

Thanks everyone!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Oklahoma Marathon Countdown- 8 Days

Yikes!! How did we get to single digits already?? Actually, I know how. Someone please remind me not to plan my next marathon just before finals week. :)

Just 8 days left...what could go wrong now? Well, I actually had a few of my
chronic spine allignment problems catch up with me this week-- so I've been
doing more resting and stretching than running. Thursday I tried to get in my 9
mile run on Katy Trail. I ran 4 miles, walked 2, and then finally accepted I was
going to have to call this one quits. Since then I've been stretching, resting,
and trying to will my legs to be the same length again. Have you ever tried
running with legs of different lengths? Yes, it's a challenge-- and if you
persist trying you will quickly cause numerous other allignment and neurological
problems that will sideline you for weeks. This was the lesson I learned last
summer, so now I try to be smart and catch it happening early. I'm feeling
confident that if I play it smart this week I will be more than ready to plow
down finish line #2 in Oklahoma City!
We have just 4 miles left to go on sponsoring. Again to everyone--- thank you, thank you, thank you!! If you all agree to keep spreading the word to get those last 4 miles covered, I'll agree to stop slacking off on daily countdown posts-- and focus on getting all lined up (spine and all) in time for OKC NEXT SUNDAY!!!!
Check back in tomorrow for an important announcement for all OKC mile sponsors!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Oklahoma Mile 25 Sponsor

Danielle Gable

What is your hometown?
Harrold, Tx. don't try to find it on a map. you won't. population: 107 people, 35 dogs & cats, 345 other various rodents, coyotes, and snakes.
Are you a runner? YES!
What is your favorite race distance?
Even though I have 2 weeks left til my first race, I would have to say a full marathon. It's something I never in a million years would have thought I would do but I'm loving every second of it!
What is your profession?
Video producer/digital marketing
What are your hobbies?
running, of course! also painting, photography, and entertaining my 4 dogs
What size shoe do you wear?
What is your favorite food?
spaghetti!! and cupcakes with a big glass of milk. Not together, but separately they are delicious.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
St. John, Virgin Islands-it's where my husband and I were married recently.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney. also: "Dream big or go home" -as interpreted by me
Why did you choose to support the Susan Mortensen Turley foundation by being a race sponsor?
Susan's story is a very compelling one that touches anyone whether or not they've known someone with cancer. Every little donation helps a greater cause that's bigger than us and those that can help-should.
Any particular reason you chose to sponsor this mile number?
Anna made me. jk. She cleverly came up with it since this mile will be my distance PR! until i finish the race of course, then that's out the door.
Who would you like to challenge to become a race sponsor for the Oklahoma Marathon?
I challenge all my lazy friends that think running is stupid!!! If I can train for and run a marathon, at least they can reach into their pockets and donate to a fantastic organization.
Anything else you'd like to add?
um, i'm scared!! 11 more days til OKC!
Note from Anna:
Danielle (aka- "Hypothermia Girl" from past videos) is one of the runners in my small pace group. She has been great to run with the past few weeks! She has never ending determination and enthusiasm and is an extremely supportive friend. I'm very excited to be a part of Danielle's first marathon experience. As excited as I am for Oklahoma as Marathon #2 for me-- I have a feeling that nothing will ever quite compare to the magic of your first marathon. Danielle has worked so hard for this and I know that if she can survive these last few days of nerve wracking anticipation/excitement (which she will)-- she will have many more successful marathon finishes in her future!