Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Run of 2009

New Year's Eve 2009 started with a 5:15 am wake up call. Why crawl out of my warm bed so early to brave the sub-40 temperatures- on my vacation none the less? You guessed it-- had to take advantage of my last 2009 opportunity to loop White Rock Lake with some of my favorite running friends. :-)

This was a great event attended by well over 100 runners to celebrate 2009's end and to benefit the charity Marathon Kids.

A few pics of us making all efforts to stay warm pre-run. Still on my to-do warm running clothes!! I've already decided I don't want to tolerate winter running season freezing to death.

The loop run was cold, and tougher for me than expected. This was the furthest distance I'd run since the White Rock Marathon 2 weeks ago, and I was still feeling the fatigue. My usual energy kick at mile 7 never came this run.
But not every one will be your best. In spite of that, this was a great chance to celebrate with many of the friends I made in 2009, and to meet some new friends as well I'm looking forward to running with in 2010.

All total, I ran 1,014 miles in 2009, and created many, many more great memories than that along the way.


Join the Marathon #4 Adventure

I've updated the top of the blog to include several new ways you can be a part of marathon #4 for this year. Here's a few more details on each...

Marathon mile/pre-race sponsors: We're welcoming back mile and pre-race sponsors for the Seattle race. Marathon miles will open for sponsorship Feb. 1, 2010.

Join 'The Team': Commit to training for and running the full or half marathon in Seattle on race day. Runners and walkers of any ability level are welcome!! What a great adventure to take on for the new year-- running and raising money for a great cause! Set your own fundraising goal and plan. I will help keep you motivated and on schedule by posting regular blog updates on your training and fundraising progress. ('The Team' will probably get a new name later on- one thing at a time for now). :-) If you're interested in joining The Team, please try to let me know by Feb 1st-- esp. if you're a new runner or walker. We want to make sure everyone has time to get on a good training schedule-- and I'm happy to help anyone with that who needs it.

Join 'The Team' Fan Club: Commit to being in Seattle on race day to cheer on and support Susan's Foundation runners across the finish line. Hold signs, ring cow bells, hand out oranges/Gatorade, take pictures... What a great way to vacation and see Seattle while supporting a great cause! The Fan Club idea was inspired by all of the friends and family who came out to support me for my Arizona marathon, and most recently by Debbie Van Winkle- who was such an incredible support toward helping me finish the Texas Marathon strong. Marathon fans and supporters are a KEY part of every runner's success. We couldn't do it without you!!! Fan Club members can also set a fundraising goal if you'd like. Updates on Fan Club members will also be posted on the blog throughout the training season.

Please email me at if you're interested in joining any of these groups! For past marathons, my commitment was to only run each marathon if I was able to find sponsors for each of my miles. Because you all have been so generous and supportive, I'm expanding my goal for future marathons because I believe we can do it. In order to run marathon #4, I need to find sponsors for all of my marathon miles, AND find at least 4 other runners to join The Team for the Seattle race. (For marathon #5, I'll be looking for at least 5 Team members, etc. -- so if you can't commit to June, there will be many more opportunities!)

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Votes are in!!!

Marathon #4 will be in Seattle, Washington on June 26, 2010. I can't wait!! Thanks to everyone who voted.

Link to Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon:

Don't forget this time I'm looking for team members to run the full or half-marathon and join me in raising funds for Susan's Foundation. More details to come... :)

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Recovery in Progress

Granted, I've only done this three times so far- but I am always amazed at how intense the post-marathon recovery process can be. Every recovery so far has been a little different, likely because all three races involved different levels of training and experience, different race conditions, or just varying physical conditions of my body at the time. But a few things do seem to be consistent in the recovery process from marathon to marathon...

1) Muscle Soreness- While the first two days or more post-race do involve muscle soreness (perhaps I should put that in all caps?), I've found that I'm at my most uncomfortable just after I cross the finish line.
Remedy: I've learned the best way to overcome this is to keep moving and keep going about my regular routine. I'm certain that sitting down right after the race, or staying in bed for days post-race would be the worst thing I could do.

2) Getting Sick - I either get sick or come close to it after every race-- usually some kind of a cold or flu-onset feeings. If you think about all of the germs you encounter during a marathon day, combined with all the finger food you consume-- yuck!-- this should not be such a surprise. Not to mention you're typically sleep deprived out of excitement the few days before.
Remedy: Baby yourself and go on high-germ alert during the post-race week. Go to bed early every night you can, wash hands a lot, eat healthy, etc. If I stay on top of those things I can usually fight off whatever sickness is headed my way.

3) FATIGUE- This qualifies as all caps because it's a sneaky fatigue. Aside from a few easy walks during the post-race week, I lay off running altogether. Towards the end of the week I start feeling great in my day to day activities- and start getting anxious to run again. It has been the same every race. By 7 days later I think I'm ready to jump back into my regular training routine-- and that first recovery run back I get a HUGE reminder that I ran 26.2 miles 7 days before! It's a hard feeling to describe. I'm not sore, not injured -- I just 'don't have it'.
Remedy: Patience. My first week back to running I run no more than 3-4 miles per day, and keep those runs REALLY easy. Gradually, toward the end of the week I start feeling like myself again on runs.

Today Dallas welcomed in 2 inches of snow just in time for a White Christmas!! So I put in 5 miles on the treadmill. It was the best-feeling run I've had since December 13th. So things are getting back to normal-- it just takes time. :-)

I've already had some people contact me that they are very interested in joining the Team and running in marathon or half-marathon in June for Susan's Foundation. This is such incredible news! Getting this team started just feels right. This is not something I can do alone. I may be taking a cue from how Susan lived her life here, but it just seems that everything in life is so much more successful and more meaningful when we're in it together!!

As you celebrate the holidays and the time for New Year's resolutions comes up-- please consider joining the Team and running for Susan's Foundation. It is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience and certainly could not be done for a greater cause.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Join us on Facebook

Get updates on blog posts, training and fundraising by joining as a fan of Anna's Marathon 50 on Facebook...


Friday, December 18, 2009

Where do we go from here?

Texas Marathon post-race soreness has subsided. So-- let's do it again!! :-)

Make your vote (top right corner of blog) on which state we'll visit for Marathon #4.

Both are great options! Despite the summer month, the weather should be nice in both locations. Both work well for a grad student schedule. I have family in both states I would love to see. Seattle's race course will likely have a few more hills than San Diego-- but I'm up for that challenge this time around. I've never been to Seattle and would love to visit for the first time, but then again, who doesn't love San Diego in the summer as well? :-)
I'll run where you send me--- so place your votes and I'll try not to sway the voting too much one way or the other.

Care to join me?? This time around I'm looking for a few runners or walkers to join in on the fun! Look for more details to come-- but in general, I'm looking for some teammates of any running or walking skill level who'd like to make it a goal to participate in Marathon (or the half-marathon) #4 as part of the team to help continue raising money for Susan's Foundation. You can work on your training and fundraising where ever you are until race day. I'll give updates on your progress throughout the training season on my blog. On race day we'll meet up in either CA or WA, and run or walk for a great cause!! Who's in?? :-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

After the finish line

Once I crossed the finish line the first order of business was to step off to the side and assume the post-race puking position of head down/hands on knees. Fortunately the actual puking wasn't necessary-- but a few moments to collect myself and my breathing certainly was. A volunteer walked over and started to offer me a post-race ambulance, however by the time I stood up I smiled and declined.

I picked up my finisher medal, and then my space blanket from the very enthusiastic finish line volunteers and began wandering around in a haze. The first people to spot me were Vicky and Vicki. (Thanks for getting this picture). :) I felt bad because I still wasn't in much of a position to chat at this point-- but I really appreciated that congratulations and first hug across from a friend after the finish line. I've known the Vicky on the left as a pace leader for several months now, and I can still never figure out how she manages to finish every long distance run looking like she's ready to pose for a magazine cover. :-)
Not long after I began to re-unite with more friends. James, who crossed the finish line not long after me, and Ashley who had knocked out her first marathon with an impressive 4:28 finish. (Yes, I've suspected for some time that Ashley is Wonder Woman, and this just confirmed it).
My bestest running pals--James and Ashley
Ashley and I--
It was such an incredible day! Standing there with so many great friends I realized that this was one of those days that in I never wanted to end! While I'll always hold a special place in my heart for my Arizona marathon as my very first, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to top the experience of running in Texas and having so many close friends by my side (running, cheering and volunteering) throughout the day and throughout the season.

Time check: I said initially that I didn't have a time goal for this race, and I didn't. But, given that this is a race after all, it's always interesting to see how things come out on the clock. When I stopped my Garmin at the finish line, it read 5:05. However this was a bigger chip/gun time discrepancy with the race clock than should have been-- so while I thought there was a possibility I may have beat my fastest time (5:13), I knew I'd have to wait for the official results because something wasn't quite right. Official finishing time ended up being 5 hours, 16 minutes-- three minutes over a PR time. I realized the discrepancy in times on my Garmin was the result of the 'auto-stop' feature which kicked in anytime I paused for a bathroom break or to munch on a cupcake (for example).

My reaction to the finish time? Great!! Given the circumstances of the training season and missing so many long runs, I honestly expected to feel much worse and to have to walk MUCH more of the course than I did. Did I regret missing my PR by those few minutes I spent stopping for cupcakes and taking pictures? NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST!!! In fact, if I could do it all again, I'd add another 20 minutes on my time if I could go back and capture a few more pictures and hug a few more friends. Like I said, marathons are not about the running for me!!

Eventually I said good-bye to my friends and began to collect my things to head home. I could have easily taken the train back to Mockingbird Station (the way I'd arrived that morning), however given that I was right at the start of Katy Trail (which leads directly to my house) I decided to walk the 2 1/2 miles home. Crazy, right-- after running 26.2? Maybe-- but I would have done the same way again for 2 reasons:

1) I was STIFF!! My legs were burning in pain and I was having a LOT of difficulty walking normally. Based on past marathon recovery experience- I knew that sitting down would be the worst thing I could do- it's best to keep moving. And it worked- by the time I got home I was practically walking normally again (though climbing stairs was another matter entirely).

2) Many of my training runs preparing for today had been on Katy Trail, and it seemed the perfect place to stroll and reflect on all that had happened in the last few months, and what an incredible day it had been. It was the perfect wrap up to a perfect day!!

Thank you so much to all of my sponsors who helped this to happen for such a good cause!

Texas Marathon - Miles 21 - Finish

Mile 21 -- Kent & Gail Mortensen

I had acheived my major goal of the race of making it to the mile 20 cupcake! I told myself I'd worry about the last 6.2 miles when the time came. Well, that time had come- and still on my cupcake high, I felt fantastic!! (Looking back at the race course elevation map now, I can see that I might also be able to attribute that feeling to being on a big downhill- but I don't think I processed that at the time). I just knew I felt great. I glanced down at my Garmin (aka- fancy running watch for you non-runners out there) and began to calculate where I was in terms of possible finishing time. Huh-- you know, I actually might be able to break 5 hours. I picked up my pace...

Mom & Dad- Thank you isn't enough to express gratitude for all of the support you've given me- not only for this crazy, running adventure I've been following, but in all aspects of my life. I don't think it's any coincidence that for all three of my marathons thus far you have been my mile 21 (aka- 'the wall') sponsors. You've stood by me through some of the best, and some of the most challenging times in my life and I'll always be grateful for your support.
Mile 22 -- Mark Olateju

I was 'flying' (disclaimer: sub-10 minute miles is flying for me for this distance) down the race course passing runners right and left. I'd never felt so good-- particularly at mile 22!! I was elated!! I didn't see any reason why I wouldn't be able to maintain this pace the few remaining miles to the finish. I was invincible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark- To the Superman of the Dallas running world-- I attribute the (albeit brief) feeling of invincibility I felt you to you sponsoring this mile. How could I have felt any other way? Particularly when my mile 22 sponsor ran his FIRST full marathon at White Rock and easily pulled off a Boston Marathon qualifying time. You are AMAZING!!! Congratulations!! You bring much more to DRC than talent and speed; your caring and friendly nature are appreciated by all!

Mile 23 -- Rob Bever

Ouch, ouch, ouch!! Unfortunately I managed to lose my invincibility just before hitting the mile 23 banner. RATS!! Now I felt less fantastic and just more pain. Just my feet and lower legs really. Well, every teeny, tiny muscle and tendon in my feet and legs was SCREAMING!! I kept reminding myself that these last few miles made up the infamous 'marathon wall' and that getting through the wall intact was largely a product of mentally staying positive. So I tried hard to stick out my running pace, but it was clearly slowing to a crawl. I continued to check my Garmin and calculate finish-time possibilities. Maybe I could still get in a sub-5 hour finish-- although to do that I'd have to be strategic. By this point my legs and feet had become so stiff that I figured out my walking pace was going to be much faster than the only running pace I could muster right now. So at this glorious mile I bust out the ever-so-cool race walking form.

Rob- my cuz-- this last year has been overwhelming, hasn't it? Our family has definitely been through a lot together. I'm so glad I was able to be so close to each of my cousins growing up. Many times it felt more like we were all siblings than cousins. Losing one of us this year has without question made me appreciate each of you more than ever. Thank you for always being there and being one of the most caring and generous people I know!

Mile 24 -- Rob Bever

Several of my running friends have commented (or complained) at different points that my walking pace was their jogging pace. (Thank you, Dad, for the long legs I suppose). Unfortunately I'd lost James to muscle cramps not too far back-- so I tried to continue my speedy walking abilities and take advantage of them as much as I could. Also at this point I had arrived at the Dolly Parton's--- the famous nickname for one stretch of road in Dallas that is mainly flat except for 2 big hills. (No further explanation needed on the name I suppose). It turns out the hills also provided some comic relief in that the water station at this point was very well staffed with a bunch of guys in dresses-- complete with Dolly Parton-like 'enhancements'. This definitely gave me a laugh and had I not been so wiped out I would have stopped to get a picture.

Mile 25 -- Pat Metcalf

Walk on! Walk on! The street is still lined with supporters shouting encouragement to keep going, and giving the good news that the rest of the race was all down hill from here (literally thank goodness!). For me, it always feels defeating to have to walk a race course in front of spectators (or approaching water stations, camera men, etc.), but physically at this point I had no other options. I just had to finish-- and this was the only way I could do it.

Pat- I'm so sad I missed the human Christmas tree at the finish line-- but having it captured on photo makes up for it! :) Your pace group (as are all of your pace groups) for this half-marathon was so lucky to have you. How could you NOT have fun running 13 miles with a human Christmas tree. One of my main motivations for working on picking up my pace this year is to be able to run with your group someday! Thank you for being such a great friend this past year. Your sincere caring nature and enthusiasm makes this world a better place every day!
Mile 26 -- Roxanne Olvera & Greg Hall
(From Roxanne & Greg): It was a grand adventure, now it's time to reflect on the greatness you have accomplished. You have honored your cause. From above the spirits are proud. We are all proud of you Anna!

Another Garmin check: Okay-- breaking the 5 hour mark may not quite be reasonable for this race, but I thought I still had a good chance of coming away with a PR (personal record) time.

Roxanne & Greg- here we are again. Thank you again so much for being a huge part of my Dallas family. Sponsoring miles 13 AND 26 was so appropriate for both of you- as you've never been 'fair weather friends', but friends who are always there at all points in my life journey. Thanks so much for all of your care, concern and support- particularly while I was quarentined with H1N1 for much of the season. You guys are the best! :-)

Mile .2 - Finish -- James Alfred

I kept telling myself that if I was smart about keeping my walking pace, I could probably save enough ability to at least run for the finish line when it came into view. Once I turned the last corner and saw the finish line ahead, my first thought was, "Holy Crap, that is REALLY far away!!". Seriously, all the way down the road still. I attempted a running pace, but it became clear that if I really wanted to be bull-headed enough to maintain it to the finish that I'd cross the finish line and subsequently pass out. Well geez, as a slower than slow recreational marathoner there was certainly no need for that sort of drama--lol. I figured as long as I had control of my situation I'd leave the medical staff open for runners who unfortunately had less of a choice in the matter. I had a choice- and I wanted to maintain consciousness, so I did my best to put my ego to the side and kept walking to the finish. Once I finally got within a few hundred yards I busted out the 'let's get this over with' pace (which, according to my Garmin is around 8:35), and exhausted (but conscious), happily crossed the finish line.
James- I know we've talked about it again and again in the last few days-- but thank you SO MUCH for making my Texas Marathon experience what it was! I have no doubt I would not have enjoyed the experience nearly as much had I not had you by my side for 20 plus miles. You told me when you sponsored this two-tenths of a mile that you were all about finishing!! Well, you did it!! Finished a first marathon in Oklahoma under horrible conditions, finished the Chicago marathon in better (yet awfully chilly) conditions, and then set at personal record at White Rock!! Go get 'em, James!! Our runs together are not ending anytime soon! :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Texas Marathon - Miles 14-20

Mile 14 -- Rob & Serena Lambaise

We are now halfway around the lake, and got a brief break to stop and visit with Randy who had come out to cheer on James!! Still feeling good, running happy!

James and Randy--
Me and James-- Serena & Rob- Thanks so much for sponsoring mile 14! Serena, it has been great to get to know you this past year. You have such a positive, optimistic attitude that is so much fun to be around. I hope to cheer you on at many more triathalons and running races in the future. And thanks for being my travel buddy on marathon morning- it got my day off to the perfect start. Congrats on running a great half-marathon at White Rock!
Mile 15 -- Lauren Ratner

At mile 15, my mile 20 cupcake anticipation begins to increase. Debbie had said she'd made a special sign for me and to start watching for it around mile 15. So watching for it I was!! I have a tendency to zone out when I run sometimes, so keeping me alert and looking for this sign was a bit if challenge, although it was keeping my mind off my increasingly uncomfortable feet, and I was grateful for that.
Lauren- Congrats to the first-time half marathoner!! Did you ever imagine you could run 13 miles when you joined that couch to 5k program over the summer? You worked so hard for this and I'm so excited for you. I'm so glad you joined DRC and jumped right in to getting involved and getting to know everyone. I look forward to sharing more running and cupcake memories with you next year. Thanks for sponsoring mile 15!

Mile 16 -- Kristi Madden

By this point, I'd still made no sighting of my special sign from Debbie, but we had reached the water stop staffed by our DRC friends, which we'd been looking forward to for some time now. First we spot our ever-enthusaistic Assistant DRC Training Program director, Stephanie, dressed as- what else? a cheering banana!!
The next people we were excited to see were our friends Greg and Roxanne (mile 13 and 26 sponsors), who had been busily handing out water and oranges to needy runners for the past few hours. I was so excited to see Roxanne, I gave her a huge hug! I would have loved to stay and chat/take more pictures-- but they were both very busy with their volunteer duties as well so we moved on ahead. Kristi- My wonderful neighbor who I wish I got to see more often! :) Thanks so much for sponsoring this mile, Kristi. It was great to see you race morning (although briefly) at the rail station. I wish I was fast enough to keep up with your half-marathon pace group so we could talk more often. I'll keep working on it. :-) Congrats on running a great half-marathon!
Mile 17 --Nancy Smith Mitchell
We now start wrapping up our loop of the lake. I'm still intently watching for my cupcake sign which I have yet to find. Somewhere along this mile James and I begin to exchange comments that this run is starting to hurt.
Nancy- Thanks again for taking the initiative to contact me and support my fundraiser this summer and fall. I did think of you during this mile, particularly what you said about how at this point you always liked knowing the miles-to-go countdown was in single numbers. That was a happy thought, because I was beginning to hurt!
Mile 18 -- Natasha Murray
My feet were past the point of hurting and my enthusiasm was beginning to wane. As we crossed our last bridge across the lake I made the confession to James that I really did HURT, and I was starting to have a hard time remembering why we kept running these crazy marathons. Within 30 seconds of making that comment, we rounded the corner onto Garland Rd. and lo and behold MY cupcake sign was dead ahead!! I was so excited I screamed, jumped and danced right up to it. I was well aware that James, many other runners, and a nearby cop directing traffic around us got a good laugh out of this, but I didn't care! I had found my sign at last!! Thank you Debbie!! As I was setting up for a picture one runner (who I didn't even know) shouted out "Team Sprinkles- Powered by Cupcakes" (our Team Sprinkles T-shirt slogan). Boy! Apparently word was really getting around about cupcakes. lol.
Me with my long-awaited cupcake sign--
James laughing at my cupcake enthusaism-- Natasha- I've had so much fun getting to know you the few times we've gotten to volunteer together. Hopefully we'll get to do it again soon because I doubt I'll be joining your speedy pace group anytime soon... but I'll keep on dreaming. :) Thanks so much for your support! It was great to see you race morning!
Mile 19 -- Hari & Nirisha Garimella
My mile 20 cupcake was just a mile away. Seeing my sign had given me a brand new burst of energy. I no longer noticed the painful feet. I felt like I could run 10 more miles if necessary. I just had to get to that cupcake!!!
Hari & Nirisha- I wish I got to talk to you both more often. I always enjoy visiting with you when I get the opportunity! Jay gets cuter every time I see him. Thanks so much for your involvement with DRC, Team Sprinkles and being so supportive of my fundraising for my last two marathons. I look forward to getting to know both of you better at DRC events next year.
Mile 20 -- Debbie Van Winkle
From Debbie: "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe" -Anatole France Anna, you dream of this and of a better world. You havve trained for this and each day you work for a better world. Because of you- many believe in that better world. I am so proud of you.
A-ha! this was it!! The moment I reached the mile 20 banner I began ernestly scanning the crowds for Debbie. She was no where in sight. Maybe I missed her? Maybe she hadn't made it to mile 20 yet? Maybe she couldn't find a parking spot? Maybe.... and then, there she was...
...eargerly waving be ahead, cupcake in hand. I ran to her, hugged her and cried! This was not about a cupcake. Granted, I was excited for the cupcake-- and let me tell you-- it was an AMAZING cupcake (homemade chocolate with chocolate silk frosting-- oh yeah, baby!!). But all the emotion surrounding reaching this mile had less to do with the actual cupcake, and everything to do with how it feels to have people in your life you support you and believe in you so much that they will give up their entire Sunday (and more than that with all the race preparations) to cheer you on to your goal.
It's one of the those moments you sincerely hope that everyone gets to experience at least once, if not multiple times in their lives. To have someone acknowledge and appreciate all of your efforts, and celebrate their achievement with you. I say it all the time, but running marathons is not about the running. It's about life. It's about the people you meet along the way, the life experiences you accumulate while training (both good and bad). All of the support I had gotten from Debbie, James and many others to reach mile 20 was just a representation of all of the support I'd gotten throughout the past year. Reaching this point was a chance to celebrate and reflect on that. I'll never forget it!
I now had achieved my mile 20 cupcake. However.... the finish line was still 6.2 miles away...
Debbie- I know I've tried and tried to tell you, but there just aren't enough words... THANK YOU!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Texas Marathon - Miles 9-13

Mile 9 -- DRC Fall Marathon Training Program

Mile 9 was a pleasant downhill jog to White Rock Lake. James and I both commented that it felt like we were returning home. Running around the lake is a 9 mile loop and is a very regular route for DRC training runs. It's also one of the most beautiful places in Dallas and I love it there! I was also getting excited because I was reaching my first 'mental goal' of the race-- reaching mile 10, where I would for the first time see one of my greatest supporters of the race, my friend Debbie! As luck would have it, Debbie showed up just a little bit early!! :)
I was SO EXCITED to see her!! Debbie would spend a very long day out on the course to support us, and as much as I keep trying to tell her how much it meant to me, I'm not sure she'll ever completely know. This was the first point I got a glimpse of my mile 20 cupcake and it looked AMAZING!! Debbie offered to let me take one then, but I was determined to wait until I'd knocked out 10 more miles. I was still feeling good!

DRC Training Program- I've trained for marathons with the program and I've trained for a marathon by myself. Without question, DRC is the way to go. The amount of effort all of you put into your jobs is incredible. I have made so many wonderful friends and learned so much through this program. THANK YOU!! (And thank you again Nelson Prater for making sponsorship of this mile happen).

Mile 10- In Memory of my grandmother, Evelyn Bierman

The next several miles around the lake were a very flat, comforting and familiar run for James and I. We continued to chat and catch up on each other's lives. Things were much quieter running around the lake than they had been running through neighborhoods, and in a way the peace was a welcome break. Although the support from the sidelines didn't end-- we both started to laugh when we got shout outs of encouragement from three kayakers on the lake. :-)

Grandma Bierman- You would have loved this mile. It was calm, peaceful and beautiful, just as your presence in my life always was.

Mile 11 -- Jean Groce

Happy, comfortable, just rolling along. I had been warmed up to this running pace for several miles, and now was just the opportunity to mentally and emotionally process everything that was happening. It hit me how much my life has changed in the past year in so many ways. I thought about how grateful I was that I was physically able to participate in this (slightly crazy, some would argue) hobby of marathoning. 12 months prior to this I ran my first marathon, and did it while taking a lot of steroid medications and using a breathing machine every three hours. Today, thanks to some great doctors I'd come across this year, I was on much less steroid medication, and hadn't used my breathing machine in months-- and I was feeling great!! Life is good!

Jean- The Fairy Godmother of Team Goldilocks! I am so happy that I've gotten to know you this past year. Your continued support and encouragement of the DRC Walking Groups is inspiring. My best memory of you this training season is when your doctor asked you to stop running for a short time. That next Saturday DRC had a long run on the schedule. Instead of taking advantage of the Saturday morning opportunity to sleep in, you got up early and stood on a sidewalk corner on our running route to clap and cheer as we all ran by. I will never forget that! You amaze me Jean!

Mile 12 - Veronica Mayer

For the most part, all is still going great. But this is the first mile when I realize I have gone just beyond warm-up distance and my feet just start realizing they're in for more than a regular mid-distance run today. But no worries, mentally I'm doing great and enthusitasm is still high!

Veronica (far right, below)- Thank you so much for your support of my fundraising and training goal! I've enjoyed the brief exchanges we've been able to share through Facebook and Race Nation, and hope to get to spend more time getting to know you in person this next Spring. Congrats on completing White Rock with your relay team!!

Mile 13 -- Roxanne Olvera & Greg Hall
(From Greg & Roxanne): You now reach a fork in the road. The path forward takes you to the finish.... the path back will return you to the start of this journey. They are of equal distance, but only one will give you the award and victory you seek. It is an easy choice. Move forward and grab the glory you deserve. Today you run, tomorrow you rest!
Reaching the half-way point is always a relief. It was also at this point I took my mid-race dose of Tylenol. Oh yes, the feet were beginning to feel it! But we had no thoughts of turning around or giving in. Just a few miles away we were looking foward to meeting Randy at Mile 14, and our DRC friends at the mile 16 water stop. If we weren't feeling perfect by those points we were determined to at least look as though we were. :-)
Roxanne & Greg- Two of my favorite DRC people! You have been such fantastic friends this past year. Thank you so much for all you do for DRC and for working so hard volunteering to make this a great event for everyone. Roxanne- our Team Marble Slab meetings were some of the highlights of my experiences this training season. I loved sharing those times with you and look forward to many more important meetings in the future! You are a wonderful friend!

Texas Marathon - Miles 1-8

Once the gun went off, it took James and I almost 20 minutes to finally reach the starting line. It was a well-rewarded wait. Thousands of people screaming, music playing, TV cameras and confetti flying everywhere. There aren't many opportunities in life where 'regular citizens' get to feel like rock stars-- but this was definitely one of those opportunities. The weather was absolutely perfect and we couldn't have gotten off to a better start!

The first part of this video (highlights of last year's race) will give you the best idea of what the race start felt like on Sunday. AWESOME!!

Mile 1 -- Jolee Swann

The excitement of the start line continued throughout the first few miles of the race. The course was crowded, the sidelines were crowded. James and I had the chance to exhange some passing comments with a few nearby runners (including the previously mentioned Ninja Turtles).

Coming into this race (particularly given the H1N1 obstacle I encountered during training season), I had no expectations whatsoever about time goals or pressure not to walk for any particular distance. Mentally I had broken up the race into several smaller pieces. My first goal was to celebrate the experience and get to mile marker #1. The entire first mile was AMAZING!! My only regrets were that it ended so quickly.

Jolee-- I tried to imagine what an infant's reaction would be to all of the celebration that morning. You would have loved it!! SO MUCH to see! I thought of you and your parents several times during this mile. Thanks so much for supporting me!

Mile 2 -- Bruce & Janet Mortensen

Okay-- I had finished mile 1 and now was time to start focusing on my next goal-- reaching mile 10. Mile 2 continued to be a huge celebration as we began our journey out of downtown Dallas and started getting to more residential areas. Many residents had set up camp on their lawns that morning to see the spectacle of runners go by. I was still feeling great and James and I trotted along happily chatting away and taking in all the excitement around us. Miles 1-3 were all a gradual uphill climb, but so far I think we were too distracted to notice.

Bruce & Janet-- What can I say? Thank you so much for the opportunity to run for Susan's Foundation. Being a small part of such a great cause to remember and honor Susan has made my marathoning adventure more touching and meaningful than I ever thought it could be. Susan has given an incredible gift to our family of keeping us close, both before and after her passing. In addition, she's given an incredible gift to the world through her foundation. Thank you for supporting me in being a small part of it!

Mile 3 -- Bruce & Janet Mortensen

Somewhere during mile 3 I finally ditched the extra jacket I'd worn to the start line. As I was now getting warmed up I realized that keeping pace with James was keeping my running just slightly faster than I would have run on my own. Given the circumstances of my training season, my plan for this race was to start 'really slow' and then slow down. For me, James was running more of a 'slow' rather than a 'really slow' pace-- but I was having so much fun running with him I decided to stick it out as long as I could before asking for mercy.

Mile 4 --Nelson & Kelly Prater

We now enter the very upscale Turtle Creek neighborhoods, which give us the chance to ooh and ahh over the mansion sized homes and ornate Christmas decorations. It was interesting to hear the comments of other runners as we passed, many of them echoing my own thoughts. "Could you imagine having to clean a house that big?" lol. But the drastic differences in our living arrangements clearly didn't have any impact on today's events. The Turtle Creek residents gave us a lot of fantastic support and encouragement.

Nelson (below, center) (and Kelly, whom I hope to meet soon!)-- It has been such a pleasure getting to know you through the DRC training group this season. You are without question one of the kindest and most generous people I've gotten the pleasure of knowing through DRC. I wish you a well deserved congratulations on completing your very first marathon at this event, and look forward to running many more training miles with you (and eating many more of your baked goods) next Spring. You are such a great inspiration and reminder of the possibility of acheiving personal goals and maintaining an awareness and generosity for others in the process. Thank you!

Mile 5 -- Miaisha Moore

Mile 5 finally brought us as close as we'd get to my street and my little apartment. There's something very comforting about running a race course that follows your every-day running route. At this point I'm still feeling great, and decided that the pace I was running with James really was feeling much better than I expected, so I decide to keep with it as long as I can.

Miaisha- It was great to exchange emails with you this summer and learn more about the friendship you and Susan shared. Thank you so much for contacting me and supporting my running this summer and fall.

Mile 6 -- Jeremy & Melissa Goodman

Still running strong- though starting to get a little overwhelmed with how crowded the course continues to be. As we cross over the freeway we get our first glimpse of the half-marathoners (the faster ones anyway) heading back the other direction toward Katy Trail-- which means shortly the course will be splitting and the congestion should ease up quite a bit.

Jeremy & Melissa- Amazing how Facebook can connect you with people from so long ago, isn't it? :) Thanks so much for taking the initiative to contact me and support my running and Susan's Foundation. Jeremy, after all those crazy college years we spent at NAU it looks like you've really grown up after all. Who would've thought? lol. j/k. Honestly, thanks for your support and I hope to get the chance to see you in Phoenix sometime and to meet Melissa.

Mile 7 -- Bryan Crabb

Late into mile 7 we say good-bye to the half marathoners (aka- reach the point of no return for the full marathoners), and comment on how suddenly we've gained so much space on the course. It's at this point we start scoping out who our running buddies would be for the next 19 miles or so. We seem to have lost the Ninja Turtles somewhere, but have now come across a lady in a pink curly wig, several running Mrs. Clause's (or Santa's helpers-- not exactly sure, but very cute outfits), and Lolita-- a very petite lady running in a HUGE foam green cowboy hat that I'm fairly certain must have outweighed her. I don't know for certain if she made it the entire distance with that hat-- but if she did, I'm AWFULLY impressed!

Bryan- Thanks so much for stepping up to adopt the very last available Texas Marathon mile! It has been great to get to know you through DRC and Team Swedish Fish Kickball this summer. I'm sorry that kickball season prompted an unfortunate break in your running plan (darn injuries), but I'm so glad you were able to make a full recovery and were out pacing one of the half marathon groups at this event! I look forward to watching you pursue and acheive many more of your running goals in the future. Your continued dedication is inspiring!

Mile 8 -- Tamara Adamson

Yee-haw for mile 8! This is typically about how many miles it takes me to get warmed up and feeling good about my pace, and fortunately today was no exception. It also probably helped that we were now on a downhill starting to head toward our loop of White Rock Lake. The residents in these mile 8 neigborhoods were awesome. Many had set up BBQs in their yards, and were calling out cheers of encouragement as we passed by. And don't think we didn't appreciate that, given that we were at the back of the pack, they'd not given up on cheering already. It's one thing to shout "Looking good, runers- keep it up!" to 3 or 4 runners. But to do it continuously for well over an hour shows quite a bit of dedication-- and it really meant a lot to us!

Tamara- My ever-dedicated, Team Sprinkles fellow officer. You are amazing! I have no idea how you manage to keep up all of your positive energy and enthusiasm the way you do when you're involved in so many projects. Every time I turn around you've found another worthy cause to devote your attention to. I hope you don't ever think that your caring and dedication goes unnoticed. Congratulations on completing your very first marathon at White Rock!! I had no doubt you could do it!

Race Morning

It is a pretty well accepted fact that you can forget about sleeping well the night before a marathon. I got to bed early Saturday night but it didn't really matter. I lost track of how many times I woke up to check the clock. By the time I finally decided it was not too early to get out of bed (just before 5am) I think I'd totalled maybe 3 hours of sleep that night. But it never ends up mattering much. On race morning you're running on too much excitement and adreneline to notice the sleep deprivation.

I met my friend Serena (on the right in picture below) at the DART rail station just before 6am to catch the earliest train to American Airlines Center (AAC) we could. We were quickly joined by many other DRC friends on the train platform- all nervous with excitement.

Once we arrived at AAC, the corridors were PACKED full of runners just looking to stay warm before heading to the start line. It is impossible to describe how much excitement and enthusiasm lined those hallways!! I can't think of anything close to even make a comparison.

Once sunrise finally came around, we began our way to our start line corrals. This is where I finally ran into my very good friend Ashley (below), who would be running her very first marathon that day!! I can't even begin to describe how excited I get for people running their first marathons. Of course they are all exciting, but nothing quite matches the experience of your first. Ashley was already teary and emotional at this point, and I was too. I was so glad to see her then and give her one last good luck hug! Ashley runs a faster pace then I knew I'd be running, so I figured this would be my last opportunity to see her before the finish line that afternoon.
This is also where I met up with another very good friend, James. We had made last minute plans to start the race together and I'm so glad we did! James has been such a great friend and supporter of my fundraising the last two marathons. He also survived the infamous Oklahoma Marathon with me back in April. Thankfully, he managed to recover from that as well, and had since run the Chicago Marathon in October. Today both of us would be running our 3rd marathon (all three in 2009). Hard to believe!
And here's me, #3097. The 'E' at the end of my number indicated what corral number I'm in. Corrals are assigned by expected finish time (faster runners up front) in order to help space out runners and avoid anyone getting trampled. I was in the last corral (with the slowest runners)- although this was no problem because I've also learned that the last corrals also have the most fun people in them. Case in point, not far from James and I were all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! :=)
This was my attempt to catch a photo of some of the start line chaos from way back in Corral E. It was a sea of runners as far ahead as we could see. The start line wasn't even in view yet (up ahead and around the corner).

Texas Marathon Expo and Pre-race carb-load

Saturday was Marathon Expo day; held downtown at the Dallas Convention Center. It was very crowded with excited runners, and I got there fairly early to pick up my race number, shirt, final instructions, etc. Typically, expo = SHOPPING for marathon souvineers and taking advantage of great deals on running gear, but I actually didn't end up buying anything this time (combination of household budget cuts and saving for holiday travel/gift shopping). I walked around a little while and ran into a few people I knew. (Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures that day and I now regret it).

But here's one funny story that represents the wide range of people I've met through running this past year: I ran into one friend (Limo) that I hadn't seen since summer kickball and got to chatting with him about his race plans. He told me that he was not 'racing' on Sunday, but might be running to help pace a friend. This was because he was still recovering from his last marathon recently in Fort Worth. "Oh," I said, "how did it go?" "Pretty well", says Limo casually, "I won." This made me laugh out loud. Not because I was surprised (Limo is an EXTREMELY talented runner), but because I realized how few people I actually knew who could make that statement about a marathon without being sarcastic or funny. LOL! In case I didn't already realize it before, this is why one of the most popular slogans for recreational runners is "In my dreams I'm a Kenyan." Congratulations Limo!!

I left the expo a little earlier than I expected to. I could tell I was having trouble finding my "marathon spirit" this weekend. Without one of my good friends there the whole experience just wasn't the same. I ended up carb-loading by myself at home that night (if you can call frozen pizza carb-loading I guess) and watched "Spirit of a Marathon" trying to get myself in the right mood for Sunday's race. It took a little work, but I managed to promise myself I'd focus on what was good about this weekend (because there was LOTS of good), rather than on what was missing. I thought a lot about my mile sponsors, the reason I was running, and a lot about Susan. By the time I went to bed I'd managed to put things in perspective fairly well I think.

Texas Marathon - Pre-race Report

Since I missed a few pre-race countdown days, I'll try to catch up here... Several people have asked me (and I'd asked myself on several occasions) how I felt (pre-race) for my 3rd marathon compared to my first. Without a doubt the excitement and the anxiety are both still there, although it seems that as I get more marathon experience in- the ratio of excitement to anxiety changes a little bit. I knew I had completed 26.2 mile runs twice before, so mentally that helped the anxiety level some, but I was still incredibly excited for Sunday to arrive. Starting around Wednesday last week I started waking up multiple times at night and by Thursday afternoon it was almost impossible to focus on anything non-marathon related.

Friday was a welcome day because I had a long day at work (good distraction from pre-race nerves), and then had a Team Sprinkles meeting that evening. This was our last meeting of 2009, and was especially exciting because so many of us were wound up and excited to run on Sunday, and we'd be celebrating the recent Las Vegas Marathon Wedding of two of our members, Max and Denise. Yes- they were married as they ran the Las Vegas marathon!! We couldn't be happier or more excited for them! We celebrated their recent tying of the knot by giving them a 'run-thru wedding reception at the Sprinkles meeting.

Max and Denise completed everything from making the wedding toast (with Gatorade of course :-)), the wedding dance, taking a photo, cutting the wedding (cup)cake, tossing the bouquet, and more in an impressive 1 minute and 3 seconds.
Team Sprinkles co-presidents Genevieve and I were surprised with holiday cupcake gifts. Team Sprinkles-- happy, carb loaded (and cold, I might add), and ready to run on Sunday!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3 down, 47 to go!

My apologies for getting behind on the 10 day countdown. :( In spite of that, thanks to all of your support and donations, we can check Texas off the 50 marathon list. I successfully completed the Dallas White Rock Marathon today and had a fantastic time in the process. Check back to see pictures and a full race report posted in the next few days! :-) (Now... if I could just figure out how to make Texas red on that map).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

4 days

Taper Topic of the Day: Marathon Spectators

Die hard sporting fans are typically associated with particular athletic endeavors such as hockey, basketball, football, etc. These folks often adorn themselves in their team's colors, pay astronomical amounts of money for game tickets, and scream and yell at every little trial or triumph their team experiences during a game. I find it interesting to note that I've never heard of any marathon spectators referred to as die hard fans, although I would argue that the truely dedicated marathon spectator is more deserving of accolades than any other sporting fan.

Cheering for a marathoner is no easy task. You don't have the option of setting up your lawn chair, cracking open your favorite cool beverage and watching all of the event drama unfold before your eyes. As a marathon spectator, you spend most of your time (HOURS of it, keep in mind) doing one of two things: running to the next possible course point of catching your marathoner, or waiting patiently at that point- wondering if maybe they already passed by, or if they collapsed a mile earlier and will never be making it your way.

Marathon spectators are an integral part of a successful finish for any marathoner. Be they friends or strangers, you have no idea what it means to a marathoner to get that shout out of encouragement when you are certain you can't go a step further. Those that carry signs with witty (and even not-so-witty) slogans of truth or encouragement are equally comforting, giving a runner a brief opportunity to smile and take their mind off the task at hand. Even better are those who hand out food and treats of any sort. :)

The family and friends who took all of the time and effort in their day to come cheer me on at my first marathon in Arizona encompass all of my most cherished memories of that event. The medal, the finish line experience, the bands, the free t-shirt are all good, but an expected part of your race experience that go along with your entry fee. To feel tired, lost and alone out in the middle of a 26.2 mile course and then spot a fan who gave up their entire day just to watch you pass by for a few seconds, means more to that runner than you could possibly know.

I have received an incredible amount of support from many people (many of you mile sponsors) in the process of preparing for the Texas Marathon, and I'm hoping to catch many of you out there cheering or volunteering on the course or running the race. I have no idea who I can expect to see, but every familiar face will be a welcome sight.

I particularly want to give a public word of thanks to my mile 20 sponsor, Debbie Van Winkle, who thanks to an early summer kickball injury was cheated out of racing herself this Sunday, but wasn't about to let that stop her from supporting her fellow running mates. Debbie has dedicated herself to be stationed at the mile 10 and then mile 20 markers to cheer on her friends and provide any type of support they might need (including my much anticipated mile 20 chocolate cupcake)! :-) Just knowing Deb will be at those points is making a huge difference in my mental preparations for this race. I don't feel overwhelmed at the thought of running 26.2 miles in just 4 days. I'm focused on running 10 miles to see Debbie, then another 10 to see Debbie again and attain that much sought after cupcake. Then, there is a vague realization that I'm required to run a few more miles beyond that as well, but I'll worry about that when I get there. :)

Thank you Debbie, and thank you to all of you who will be out cheering, volunteering, or in any way supporting the race this Sunday. We couldn't do it without you!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5 days

Yep-- I missed a day. Sorry about that. :)

The weather forecast seems to keep changing significantly for Sunday every time I check. Now I'm actually concerned about it being too warm. Just in case, I've decided not to make any final decisions on race day attire until Saturday.

I enjoyed a rest day yesterday and today ran an easy 4 miles on Katy Trail. I'm feeling good and ready to run on Sunday!! Now if I can just survive the rest of these work and school deadlines this week... :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Texas Marathon Mile 9 Sponsor

Dallas Running Club (DRC) Fall Marathon Training Program

-- represented by DRC Training Program Director, Chris Stratton--

Where is your hometown? I suppose Boise. That's where my family lives anyway.

Where do you live now? Big D. Close enough to spend lots of time with DRC.

What is the farthest distance you've ever run? 26.2 miles, and not a mile further.

What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday morning? Running with all the fine folks at DRC. While I hate waking up early, I love nothing more than being out running with everyone. Perfect way to start a weekend.

What is your favorite workout song? Wow. That's a really hard one. That probably changes weekly but right now I'm loving lots of French House. Stuff like Lifelike, Daft Punk, Alan Braxe, Fred Falke and a lot of remixes they do. It's just the perfect tempo for running. Upbeat but not rediculous rave tempo.

What is the first thing you think of when you think of Texas? Heat. And lots of it.

What is the bravest thing you've ever done? I once ate 2 Sprinkles cupcakes within 15 minutes. I was laid out for the night.

What is your favorite candy? Maybe Hot Tamales or anything peanut butter and chocolate. I am shoving Milk Duds in my mouth as I type this.

What is the biggest goal you're currently working toward? Trying to get several hundred runners through the fall training program and completing their half or full marathon in December.

Where is your next vacation destination? Peru. I'm hiking Macchu Picchu in May.

What movie inspires you the most? Red Dawn. Wolverines!!!

In which state would you like to see Anna run her next marathon? Somewhere cold. All three of yours so far have been in warm states. Go west! Go north!

Why did you choose to sponsor mile 9? It's Nelson Prater's fault. He is entirely too good of a baker. One thing led to another and his generosity has led to DRC helping out. That's the beautiful thing about so many in DRC. They are always thinking of others.

Why did you want to become a marathon mile sponsor to support the Susan Mortensen Turley Foundation? Well, I and many others supported back when we met Anna in the Spring. Obviously, Susan's story is touching and one of the reasons so many of us run is because we are fortunate enough to be able to. Her story is one many of us can relate to and puts an incredible perspective on the gift of running and the gift of life.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

7 days

Today I did 3 easy treadmill miles with a good friend visiting town. Initially I was excited to show her Katy Trail, however the 30 degree temps this morning prompted a change of plans. As the chances for precipitation next Sunday keeps going up I'm starting to regret not having running tights ready to go. I may end up on a last minute shopping trip to find some this week. As of early this morning I think that the pre-race jitters are starting to set in just a little. This is where the fun starts. :-)

It's also that time to start collecting mile inspiration messages from each of my Texas sponsors. If you've been a sponsor for past marathons, you know what this is about. But for those newbies out there-- each sponsor sends a short message I will read as I begin to run their mile number on race day. It can be inspirational, funny, encouraging.... whatever you want your mile to represent. These messages have been a huge part of personalizing past marathon experiences for me, reminding me of the importance of the cause I'm running for and encouraging me to keep going as things get hard. I'll also post each of your messages to the blog in the post-race report.

For the rest of today I'm focusing on RESTING!! The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of work, school, travel, socializing and FUN-- but the lack of sleep and rest time is starting to catch up with me. I'm going to try and lay pretty low this week to be at my best on race day.

8 days

Okay, so technically I missed the day 8 countdown window-- but since the sun hasn't risen on day 7 yet, I'm hoping this still counts. :) The nervousness is starting to set in just a little bit. The updates on race day temps are about the same as what I posted earlier, but now with an added 30% chance of showers in the mix. I'm starting to wonder if not having running tights is going to be a mistake. BRRRR!!!! I got in a few short (cold) miles on Katy Trail this morning. I felt a little more fatigued than normal- probably the effects of a fun social life I'm enjoying right now. :) My plan is to get in a few more short runs this week just to keep myself sane- but for the most part start to focus on RESTING!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

9 days

Today is the first opportunity that has come up to view the predicted weather forecast for Dec. 13th. Low of 40, high of 59. Partly cloudy. Assuming that holds up, we're in for perfect running weather!!

I did a very pleasant 5 mile run on Katy Trail last night. Every third person I ran by had to comment on my attire.... long sleeve shirt and running shorts. Granted, it was COLD!! But I somehow survived last winter season without running tights, and now I'm kind of feeling stubborn to see if I can do it again. lol. But honestly...BRRRRR!!!!!

I love running in cold weather but there are a few disadvantages. Probably the most annoying being loosing the use of your hands. My first DRC training season I ran with my friends Max and Denise as pace leaders, and I remember having to ask them for help anytime I needed to unzip the pouch on my belt anytime I needed food, breathing machine, etc. lol. I'll definitely be running with gloves on race day.

It still hasn't completely set in I'm running a marathon in 9 days. I know it will hit me at some point. In the meantime I have no shortage of things to keep me busy. Ahh- the blessings of distractions. :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Texas Marathon Countdown - 10 days

If it's possible for a marathon to sneak up on you, this one certainly has. In the future I'm going to make a specific effort to no longer schedule marathons so closely to final exam week! Well, ready or not- here it comes! From a running standpoint, I'm pretty happy with the recovery I've managed to make post H1N1. It wasn't an easy process, but I did manage to do several long runs while I was visiting Arizona and they actually felt pretty good. One of my runs was around the IronMan Arizona Course so I could spectate the race that day. WOW!! I'll admit that the idea of competing in a triathalon has never appealed to me. (Biking and swimming are not my favorite activities). But seeing those athletes complete such an event was incredible!! It makes completing a marathon look like a warm up jog.

For the past few days I've been back in Dallas and enjoying the cool weather (it even snowed yesterday) to run in again. Last night I entertained myself by running through Dallas' upscale neighborhoods ooohing and aaaahing at the Christmas light displays.

It's a little too early to start obsessing about potential race day weather forecasts-- but if the forecast stays similar to what it has been this week... race day is going to ROCK!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Texas Marathon Mile 7 Sponsor

Bryan Crabb

What is your hometown? Dallas, TX

Where do you live now? Dallas, TX

What is the farthest distance you've ever run? 26.2 miles

What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday morning? Running at the lake with friends.

What is your favorite workout song? Business by Eminem

What is the first thing you think of when you think of Texas? Home.

What is the bravest thing you've ever done? Served in the Navy for 4 years.

What is your favorite candy? NECO wafers

What is the biggest goal you're currently working toward? Trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Where is your next vacation destination? Aberdeen Scotland

What movie inspires you the most? Bravehart

In which state would you like to see Anna run her next marathon? Florida

Why did you choose to sponsor mile 7? First, it's my favorite number, but it was the only one left, so lucky me!

What did you want to become a marathon mile sponsor to support the Susan Mortensen Turley Foundation? I think it's a cool way to raise money for a great cause, and being done by a wonderful person.