Monday, December 9, 2013

Final Marathon Pics

I finally downloaded the actual marathon pictures so I thought I would share them with you.

There is nothing like giving yourself a month to digest this huge thing you did. Look back at the pictures and realize how incredibly awesome it was.

Yes, I felt like crap for 8 miles. But that was nothing in comparison to the greatness of the overall marathon. I can't wait to do it again.

I finally understand why you would want to do this again and again. And also why you would never want run again. But I have learned so much just in reflection. How could you not want to try that again? Just to learn what you are made of and how God wants to whisper to you that you are His FAVORITE just cause you said yes to this big epic thing?

Let's go. Only 340 more days until I can get back there!

I'm going to do my best to narrate what I think my thoughts were at these points during the race:

Mile 7/8: FEELING AWESOME AND TOTALLY KNOW THE CAMERAS ARE THERE. I haven't seen one person I know, but I feel like the world is cheering me on. 

Somewhere on First Avenue. I just ran straight past Matt and the kids. Didn't get to say hi and it crushed me. This has to be around mile 17. Just a short 10 miles later and I feel like death has crept inside of my back and is starting to get ahold of me. I know I only have 10 MORE MILES TO GO. Wasn't a great time in my life. Head down and trying to work through it. 

I want that photographer to die. You can see my tummy starting to bloat. It's not a good sign. BUT--EMPIRE STATE BUILDING IN THE BACKGROUND. So that's pretty awesome. 

Just more miles. This race is endless. 

The start of mile 18/19. I walked up that bridge. Then-NO LIE, I saw the photographer and it was downhill, so I started running. 

We are coming down 5th Avenue. The barricades are up and it is the final three miles. It is close and SO FAR. I just ate an orange from someone on the street. In New York City. WHAT AM I THINKING? Which is what I then thought over and over in my head as I dry heaved in Central Park bushes just a mile later. Cool.

My sister and Matt were staked out on Mile 25 right next to the photographer. Like could touch his camera. This was the best I could muster. I felt the darkness closing in. I told Matt I was going to die. Shellie (my sister) shook a cow bell at me and Matt told me to die later. LOOK AT MY EYES. I'M DYING. Like Lance Armstrong at the end of the Tour de France on Alp d'Huez. This was ridiculous.
This was my final mile. I felt like I was alone in NYC. It was so cool to think about being escorted by the police. Check them out. FINAL MILE.
AWW YEAH. Profile Pic to beat all profile pics.

But there's another photographer and I'm 500 yards from the finish. So pumped. Imaging Jesus and all the saints welcoming me home. LOOK AT EVERYONE'S FACE! JOY! EXULTATION! 

FINISHER. I didn't die! I LOVE THIS! 

I puked behind that blue thing. And felt a whole lot better. As you can tell. 

I really do love running. LOOK AT MY FACE! I felt the embrace of so many people, Jesus and the joy of having accomplished this race. It was so incredible. 
 This was truly one of the most joyful things I've done in my life. I can't wait to do it again.
I'm trying to figure out my race schedule for the Spring, but you can be sure that I'm running more and more than ever.

It doesn't have to be running. But find your passion and let Jesus speak to you deeply through it. Let others see Him while you are loving what He made you to do it! GO. NOW! He will help you find the time, money and ability if He wants you to do it.

"There are many creative ways to cultivate interest in the Gospel by displaying Christ's love. Often the most natural expression flows from doing the things we love." --Becky Pippert (Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I'd say I'm recovering pretty well.

I've gotten the sweetest little sercies in the mail from Inheritance of Hope supporters (Mike and Ike's, fun socks, a gift certificate to get a pedicure, an hour long massage!) and then today for work, we had to go mountain biking. Tough life right? 

Our newest client has recently built an incredible mountain biking trail right outside of downtown Brevard and they are in need of a signage system to let visitors know where they are in the trail plus what they are seeing and why it is important.

Today was the day to go ride the trail and see the project first hand.

We rode/hiked the first half of the trail. It is REALLY TOUGH. Like crazy hard. Uphill. We got so excited we actually riding our bikes that we missed our main turn (this is why they need signs) and we ended up riding/hiking our bikes an additional 2 miles.

After a disastrous downhill decent that resulted in a dead-end and a long mile long hike with bikes STRAIGHT BACK UPHILL, I declared this to be the worst thing I have ever done. Which is hard to declare since I almost died of dehydyration three days ago. But it really was.
That little dip in the middle? That's where we went straight down and then STRAIGHT BACK UP. UGH. 

We finally found our way and had the most exhilarating, amazingly beautiful and thrilling bike ride I've ever had. We descended over 1000 feet in elevation in a little over 2 miles so it got rowdy with hairpin turns, switchbacks, waterfalls, riding in the middle of fallen trees and did I mention that is absolutely beautiful here in WNC?

I am SO tired. But it was SO worth it.

Love this life!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Run the Mile You're In-QUICK RACE RECAP

A few bullet point pieces of advice that I heard before the marathon:
  • Don't walk around the city too much. You'll leave your best miles while sight seeing.
  • Be careful with food and drink. It's easy to get distracted with the city lights and sights. 
  • Stick with the plan you made before the race. Don't let race day emotions get the best of you. Stick to the plan. 
  • Run the mile you are in. Don't get ahead of yourself. Don't think about the past. Just run one mile at a time. 

Well. I botched all of that. 

I didn't know it at the time. 

I thought I was being careful. But in retrospect, I walked WAY too many miles in the city. I drank hardly any water (compared to at home). On race day, I threw away my water bottle at the start. I planned to carry water with me for the first 10 miles because I didn't want to fool with the water stations. But I got jumpy and tossed it.  The last bit of advice I had to follow: run the mile you are in. Only during the last 6 miles of the race. Because I had no choice. 

When you know you hate water stations and you don't really sweat in general, it's a bad idea to throw away a water bottle. And a really bad idea to not drink anything for the first eight miles of a 26 mile race. That's what I did. I was so focused and so happy to be running, I just RAN! And didn't drink anything. 

NYPD Police Helicopter just being bad a** and doing its thing. I had to stop and take a picture. 

I saw Matt, my sister and brother and the kids at mile 8 and was thrilled. The crowds were amazing! It was incredible. I was booking and feeling good! I left them and kept trucking and took a gu. It hit my stomach like a ton of bricks. I realized then I might be a in a little bit of trouble. I started looking for water stations and for people handing out bananas. My calf started cramping a little. Not a big deal. But worrisome. 

I kept on going, started hitting the water stations and taking on gatorade. 
We went through some awesome neighborhoods in Brooklyn, then hit Queens. Went across the bridge into Manhattan which I was so looking forward to. Mile 16. It was supposed to be the highlight of the race. Literally your "fastest mile". 
I was crashing. I was looking for my crew of supporters and only saw them after I passed by. I was so sad. I saw the Inheritance of Hope cheer crew on the other side of the street and couldn't get over. 
Any juice I had in me was gone.

I took on another gu and my stomach started cramping. 
I made it two more miles to 18 and couldn't go anymore. My legs and lungs were fine. But I was bent over with back spasms. This has never happened before! 

I walked for a minute or two and then people started yelling at me. "Leslie-let's go!" "Run for HOPE Leslie!"
Yep. They got a picture of me suffering. And that guy NOT suffering. 
I picked myself up and kept going. But slowly. Everytime I came through a water station, it killed my momentum and I had to stop. Stretch out my back and take a minute. Then classic New Yorkers would start yelling at me again.  I ripped off the pace wristband I was wearing to encourage me to finish in 3:40. That was long gone.

So I got going. 
But then I hit Central Park. Mile 24. 
I really thought I couldn't go anymore. I stopped. One girl running actually hit me on the back and yelled at me "You're a charity runner?! Get going!" I mean-New Yorkers are no joke on how hard they are on you. 

Right after that, a kind man looked at me and said, "It's okay Leslie, walk up this hill. Who cares? You're going to finish." 

That's when I started running again. I ran past a women who literally was passed out on the course and I thought, "That seems like a solid option right now." Sleeping instead of running with pile of bricks in my stomach. 

I ran through the Mile 25 marker and saw my crew again and just stopped. Told them I was going to die. They told me that was ok. Then told me to go finish. One woman next to them remarked how I wasn't even sweating! This is a clue that something is very wrong with you. 

I picked it up and just ran without thinking or even looking around. I just wanted to be done. 
All of the sudden around Columbus Circle the magical signs started showing up 1/2 mile to finish, 400 yards to finish, 200 yards and everything was splayed in blue and orange and people were all running to the finish and I thought to myself, "What if this is what going to heaven is going to be like?"
Kinda awesome with the motorcycle cops behind me. 

And it hit me: 
You don't get a say in how your final days are going end. 
My friend Amy didn't get to determine her end. Neither did our friend Jay Whitaker who died last weekend. This race brought me so close to understanding that it doesn't matter what those days look like.  I was so disappointed to not end the race in triumph and joy and with ease like I had planned and hoped for. How much is that like Amy and Jay? 

As I was rounding the turn, the Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was playing. Which has been my theme for this whole race. And it has never been more true. But I got just what I needed to finish. 

With Jesus we all get to finish. We all get the medal. But we don't get to say how it goes. 
That's the race. 

Of course, when I get to heaven, I hope I don't throw up endlessly once I cross the line in a fit of dehydration. 

This was after I threw up a few times. I felt a lot better. Then I felt a lot worse. Then better after I threw up some more. Awesome. Finisher. 4:17:18. 30 minutes after I wanted. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I think I'll go for a run today

PowerBar Run from Ryan Lawrence on Vimeo.

"The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can't dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon." -Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

I'll see the finish line in a few hours!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Oversleeping: Daylight Savings Time-1 DAY!!!

Tomorrow is the race!
I can't believe it. Shellie and I ran a great 5k this morning and I got to shake off some nerves while helping Shellie set a PR. We had a great time together.

Now, Matt and I are heading into the city for some pre-race time with Inheritance of Hope and then the race tomorrow. Of course, the time changes tonight and everyone I meet brings up this super famous episode and clip from Seinfeld.

I will NOT OVERSLEEP. I will be at the start on time and get this thing going.
I swear. :)

See you tomorrow. It's RACE DAY. Just a reminder, the race will be nationally televised on ESPN2. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, watch Run for Your Life on ESPN2 tonight. It's a documentary about Fred Lebow and the NYC Marathon. It is so inspirational and will make you want to run this race next year. I swear!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'd Like to Be a Bird, But if Not-I'll Be a Runner-4 Days!

My friend Dusty sent this video to me as inspiration for the race.

And I loved it so much I had to share it on here. Just watch him climb those trees.
 And, I want a cabin in the woods like that.

He said "Just think of all those dreams lined up before a race..."


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Track Your Runner-5 Days!

The New York Road Runners have officially released the application in the iTunes and Google Play store that allows you to track runners on race day. So if you'd like to add this app to your phone, you can play along at home and watch my progress:

New York Road Runners Link

Also, here are directions if you want to watch the race live. It is going to be aired on ESPN2! Starting at 9:00am nationwide! WOOHOO!

New York Road Runners Tune In information

Also there will be a finish line camera on the New York Road Runners page that you can watch me try to finish the race. I am hoping to cross anywhere from 1:35pm to 2pm. So that is a good window of time to hang out in front of the computer if you are into that kind of thing. If you track me on the app-you will know FOR SURE when I should cross.

My bib number is 25206 and I am registered under my full name so that should make it easy to find.

(last year's commercial)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bandit Catcher-6 Days

With all the talk about race security, there has been so much advice about making sure that your race number is SEEN at all times on the course. Otherwise, you will be considered a bandit in the NYC Marathon.

Here's the deal with being a bandit. I've had friends do it. There's something fun and mostly harmless about it. The race starts, a few miles down the road you hop on the course and you get to jog for fun along with all the people that have paid, trained and planned to be there.

The biggest deal with being a bandit is you never, ever, ever should plan to cross the finish line. You just don't get to do that. It's what separates people running the race from the spectators. Which ultimately a bandit is a thief of services.

Spiritually, I think it is so interesting to think about. Jesus says he will separate the wheat from chaff and sheep from the goats. The runners from the bandits.

A New York Times article about Bandit runners said this:
"One man had a blue bib — from a completely different race. A woman ran past two catchers after showing a folded bib in her pocket, but a third catcher looked closer and found the bib was from last year’s marathon.

A boy, about 10, wanted to escort his father to the finish. But the bandit catchers did not allow it, and the boy shuffled to the side, where his father returned to get him after finishing. Another man held an infant, hoping to share the big moment. The catchers let him by.

“I wasn’t taking the baby,” Richard said.

A pair of friends had joined the race at the Queensboro Bridge. Fernando Bedoya of Bolivia and his friend, Giorgio Groppi of Italy, wanted to cross the finish line but knew it was not the right thing to do.

“They run for 26 miles,” Groppi said of the waves of runners behind them, headed to the finish. “We run for 10. We are just pretenders.”

We run to finish. Not just say we ran a few miles of the race.
6 Days Until the Marathon!

Bandit Catcher: 2011 NYC Marathon from Elbert Chu on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Support Your Marathoner-7 DAYS!

One week until race day! I've been reflecting on my last race and for sure, the hardest part of the Asheville City Marathon last month was the fact that there was no crowd support. No friends. Matt had to drag our kids out of bed at 6:30 in pajamas to get them down to the race. AND he had to bribe them with Bojangles (he wasn't sad about that).

Crowd support is HUGE to a runner. 
I've been running by myself for nearly 16 weeks now. On race day, I'm not interested in doing that any more. 

But it is a big deal to ask friends and family to take on the expense of going to NYC to cheer me on. Check out what ASICS is offering! 

It's called 
You go to this website and you can enter my bib number. When I cross a line, it will automatically trigger a video or picture message from YOU while I'm on the course! Isn't that cool? 

Here is a video about it:

I don't know if any of you will do it, but it would be a HUGE surprise if anybody does!

Another cool detail of just how big and awesome this race is. They think of the coolest things that add value for runners!
My bib # is 25206 and I think that's all you need!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Week 15! 8 days left!

Now THIS was a tough week.
I got in a car accident on Monday. 
I had a run scheduled every day. 
My kids have two teacher work days AND my husband is out of town all week. 
AND the marathon is so close and I really don't HAVE to run but I need to run to maintain my fitness and to not lose my mind. 

The taper has made me super twitchy. 
I've been trying to watch what I eat, drink and focus on every single little activity I do.

Which will make you pretty mental if you let it. 
And so I tried to rest while I wasn't doing all the stuff you can read above. It was challenging. NO DOUBT. 
But look! I ran. And I thought I wasn't running that much and then I turned around and somehow cranked out a 33 mile week. Somewhere around Thursday I was pretty cranky about running a lot of miles still. But I did it. Thanks NYRR training plan. 

Somehow this week I ran 6 more miles than last week and about hour more. This adds up. In a real way. 

I mean. This is a lot of time running. And this is just one week. Somehow I have made it through 15 weeks of this. I can't believe it. And now I am into the FINAL WEEK.

Which means I get to wear this shirt every day:

YAY! It's marathon week people! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

NYC Playlist-9 Days!

Some people have been asking, so here it is.

The playlist.

I have it on Spotify  so you can see it there and listen. For free. Here it is: SPOTIFY

Have I mentioned my love for Spotify? I doubt that it will work for the marathon with 47,000 + spectators all trying to use their phones, so I am going to play it safe and have all these songs preloaded on my phone.

But WOW. Spotify. It's a game changer. Especially for Young Life leaders. $10 a month and you don't have to pay for music? That's just crazy.

Anyway, here is the playlist.
It's all jacked up in the formatting cause it's meant to go in a CD case.

I decided after listening to Spotify for the last two weeks to add about 40 songs to the playlist that all my donors gave me. The little changes will give me a boost and these songs are ALL fun and surprising to me even know. I have been changing playlists as I have gone along so I wouldn't be too bored with my music.

Also, I don't even know IF I will listen to much music during the race.
All of the blogs I have read suggest not running with music that much because the environment surrounding this marathon in particular is not one to insulate yourself from with your own music. But just let it go and enjoy the whole day.

I plan on doing a little of both. Enjoying the environment but when I need to refocus and get my pace back on track--plugging in and getting after it (perhaps when I'm feeling really tired).

We'll see!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Clear As a Bell-9 Days

It's been fun to run for a charity and to realize just how many people are running for charities. In fact, one of my Young Life girls from back in the day is running for a charity in the race and we will get to see each other in NY! She will be traveling all the way from California on behalf of her team. I can't wait to see her.

The charity aspect of the marathon helps make all the training and dedication worth it because you realize that you are running for something much bigger than yourself.

Before, I wanted to run for me. Because this was MY goal. MY thing. What I wanted to do.

Now? It's because it's something that God wants to use in my life to show me how he cares for ALL walks of life. This is something much bigger than myself.

I love this video because it gives the vision of a runner in NYC and having a heart for the city. Which I definitely do. As I have run, I have found the solitude and quiet that I have needed on a daily basis. I sure could use the time having my "quiet time" being in the Bible but I am sure of this--I have never prayed more or been in deeper conversation with God about life and those I love than I have in the past four months. This time has been so rich for me. I have surely grown because He has run every single mile with me. Or I should say, I have run every mile with Him.

Craig Mayes NYC Marathon for the NYC Rescue Mission from Kensington on Vimeo.

Five Boroughs-Isn't Enough

Asics | 5 Borroughs from Real Productions on Vimeo.
Five boroughs isn't enough! I'm so excited!
Today is our travel day and we made it to New Jersey! Onward to New York tomorrow for the expo! YAY!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Can Almost Taste It-10 Days

10 Days. 10 DAYS. 
That's a week and a half. 

I was running yesterday and I remembered how intimidated I was by all of the days of running I had ahead of me when I started. 
And here I am. 
A week and a half away from the race. And the training is completed. I am simply running every day just to keep my body loose. And to look forward to the race and the finish line. It made me think of this verse.

"I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize"… Philippians 3:13

In my life with Christ, I have not achieved anything worth noting. I have to press forward, forgetting the past and look forward to what lies ahead.

 In my life with running, all I have done is trained. Which is an accomplishment however-IT IS NOT THE RACE ITSELF. Just the preparations. 
It's almost enough to make you exhausted. Is it all for nothing? NO WAY. The race is the best part! With God and in reality. It's the easy part. There is refreshment, people cheering you on, music, adrenaline. It's also when all the training gets puts to the test. And you have to further than you ever have before. You have to go the distance. 

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

And everyone wants to cross the finish line. 
Even those who haven't put in the training. Or been prepared for the race. 
We have to work up to the idea that we CAN do this. 
Check out this video:

ING NYC Marathon Week from Infinite Media on Vimeo.

If you can get the idea that YOU CAN get to the finish line, then you will want to start the race. 
It's an idea that builds. ING knows that. New York Road Runners knows that. Jesus knows that. 

Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Find Your Strong-11 Days!

I love this video for showing how amazing Central Park is.
The connection between Central Park and Asheville isn't as much as stretch as it might seem.

The same landscape architect for Central Park, Frank Law Olmsted-designed the grounds for our famous Biltmore Estate which happens to be one of my favorite places to run AND is home to my favorite race in Asheville, the Biltmore 15k. And the Asheville Marathon (which also takes place on the Biltmore Estate) recently announced that Inheritance of Hope is going to be their charity partner in race in mid-March. *Cue the spring marathon plans*

Find Your Strong Project - Central Park from Saucony on Vimeo.

"If you are from out of town, I encourage you to run through Central Park."

This is the biggest lesson I've learned this year. There is no better way to see a city than with your running shoes on. I can't wait to run through Central Park on November 3rd!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Can I Get a Medic Over Here?-12 Days

Lord willing I won't need to see any medical staff on race day.

But it is a HUGE detail of running a race this big. Especially in light of the Boston bombing tragedy-it really brings to the surface how crucial the medical staff is during a race day.

I love the images in this video. It shows the humanity of running the race and how special the medical staff are who take care of us on race day. 12 days!

New York City Marathon from on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day After

Here it is. The Day after. And this is how I was moving through the airport. No doubt. Struggle bus.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The City Where Every Day is a Race-14 days!

Why run NYC?

Because it was the first. The best. The biggest. And well...if you are a runner-you have to run NYC.

Alec Baldwin tells you why its amazing.

NYC Marathon Alec Baldwin from Marc Beroza on Vimeo.

2 weeks from tomorrow I will be hitting the starting line!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Fans-15 Days!

I am definitely looking forward to having the multitudes of crowd support to get me through this race.
As I've been reflecting on the race, I was getting a little bummed about there being nearly 2 million spectators and knowing a handful of people throughout the race.

It is going to be so awesome to have this face to cheer me on:

And of course these faces:

and THESE faces:

And this year because my brother Drew lives in New Jersey, he'll be there too! 

But in the face of 2 million people, it is tough to think that I'm even going to SEE them! 

Then I heard from the charity that there are volunteers from Inheritance of Hope that are all along the race course that will be looking for my charity shirt and cheering for me! How cool is that? Another incredible benefit of running a race with charity. It's running on a TEAM of people that are pulling for you! 

Like a cloud of witnesses. 
Hebrews 12:1

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him (ME) endured the cross."


Get ready people. The crowds are the cloud of witnesses. Look at it that way and you will never been the same. 

It is such a picture of Heaven. I can not wait. For the race and for Heaven. 
Let's run this race. 

2011 ING NYC MARATHON - THE FANS from rook productions media on Vimeo.

Also, I will have the signs to look forward to. Just laugh.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Timing-16 Days!

Becoming a more serious runner means that you become seriously more intense about data. You want to know exactly what your times are, what they mean, how you can do better.

What this means in a big race like the NYC Marathon is that there are 48,000 runners who ALL want that data. And maybe their families want that info too.

So as you can imagine, the logistics of timing a race like this is INSANE. Check out how it gets done and done accurately.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

17 Days-How Did My Heart Get a Knife?

Just 17 days until the marathon which means just 15 days until we LEAVE for the marathon! It's getting so close!

I am doing my daily recovery runs and stretching. Trying to eat right. Because I have all of THIS to look forward to.

Please don't let my heart stab my lungs.
Please don't let me poop my pants. Or pants my poop.
Please don't let Rob Thomas get stuck inside my head.

I'm gonna do it. Gimme that space blanket!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

18 Days!

It's official! I got my bib number, corral information and start time today. The best news I found out is that I get to run on the top level of the bridge leaving Staten Island. This is crucial because nervous runners will stop and pee while on the bridge and it hits the runners below (this may be runner rumor but I didn't want to find out) and it is way more picturesque to be on the top level! YAY! It is starting to get crazy around here.

AND I am only ~$75 away from raising $6000 for Inheritance of Hope!

This whole process has been crazy wonderful from start to finish and I really hope I get to do it again. It is thrilling and I find myself overwhelmed with thankfulness from top to bottom. Everyday that I go run, I can't believe that I am able to do it.

It sounds weird, but I haven't missed a single workout on my plan so far and I have no idea how that has happened except by grace. I didn't even do that in college when I was playing soccer! Every day that I knock off another workout, I literally stand amazed that I just completed what was asked of me.

There is a great article in Christianity Today about the rise of charity runners and the author said, "The running path became a kind of church for me. Part small group, part quiet time, part worship, part memory verse practice time (I wore out the verse "I can do all things for Christ who strengthens me"). I wasn't just developing my muscles. I was growing spiritually."

I can easily say the same for me.
I have been so encouraged. Deepened. Thoroughly challenged to become a different person through this process.

I've also noticed that because I'm so tired, I'm actually emotionally available to people where before I might have been more defensive or on the move.
I have time. I'm able to listen and not talk. I cry really easily.

I am already dreading this being over. I am sure I will have post-race depression. Sure of it.
18 Days!

Monday, October 14, 2013

19 Days-Fill My Playlist Update

19 days left until the marathon.
The details are needing to get filled in.

Like-am I am going to listen to music or just let the crowds carry me along?

Reading runners blogs have led me to the conclusion that I will probably need a balance of the two. There are miles where the crowd is just awesome and all I need. And miles where I need to focus and let Pavlovian mentality take over. Just settle into my pace with music my body has trained to over the last three months.

So here is a playlist update thanks to all the amazing contributors to Inheritance of Hope:
This is EXACTLY 3:44 minutes of music. 
Which is EXACTLY the time I am predicting that I am going to finish. 


I might need a few bumper songs. Just in case I bonk. 
Not that it's going to happen, I'm just saying...

Last minute donation challenge:

How much MORE $ can we raise in the next two weeks? 
Donate here and let's see? 

Add your song to the playlist.
Encourage me. 
Run with me.
I run with you.
I think about you while I run in NEW YORK FREAKING CITY. 

No brainer. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

First Avenue-20 Days!

Right now, we are making the big time race plans. Where will we meet after the race? What are the best places to watch? All the little details that go into one person running and 8 people cheering you on.

The only mandatory location of the NYC Marathon is somewhere along First Avenue. 

 "When you first run up First Avenue in New York, if you don't get goose bumps, there's something wrong with you." - Frank Shorter, on the New York City Marathon

Saturday, October 12, 2013

20 Miles Today, 21 Days Until the Race!

This was a tough week. My hardest week of training so far. Coming on the heels of finishing an 18-mile run last week+a 13-mile race the week before, my legs have been tired. 

Heading out for my longest and most challenging run yet this morning, I was pretty nervous about how my body was going to hold up.

Thankfully, I had an incredible support team of Amy Noll and Kyle Murphy to tag along and keep my spirits up. 

We started climbing the roads around 6:30 this morning and felt good. My splits were where I wanted them. Around mile 11, Amy split off from us. She took some of our early morning gear which was nice to unload (lights and gloves).

Kyle and I continued and my training plan asked me to consider dropping the pace into race pace around the 1/2 marathon mark for three miles. We managed 2/3 miles. My legs started feeling tired. Like really tired. At that point, we were hitting 15 miles at a much quicker pace than last week. So we slowed a little as we entered downtown Asheville. I could sense that we were getting closer to the end of the run and started feeling good again. (A little espresso gu with caffeine may have contributed) and we lifted the pace again. Amy joined back up with us at mile 16. Around mile 17/18, every little hill started making me hate running. I started praying. Hard. 

Also Kyle started talking to me about buying cars. I don't think this run was any trouble for him. Which made me want to throw him in traffic and be in complete awe. Ugh. People who are better than you without trying.

We managed to wrap up the final two miles and then I wanted to be done running. But my body did not like the shock of stopping suddenly. I was one giant cramp waiting to happen. We had to go running MORE to cool down so my body wouldn't freak. 

I finished the run with my favorites: Gatorade and chocolate milk. The grossest taste combination you can imaging. They have to be consumed separately. 

Most of the time you would think you would eat the world after doing something like that. But my body really hates food after a long run. I can hardly choke down a banana until dinner. But tomorrow? Watch out! 

This was a hefty week. 40 miles of running. 6 hours. 
But now it starts to peel back little by little until the race. The hardest training work is done. The hardest mental work is ahead! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hurt-22 Days

I have a day off today from my training schedule to get my body slightly rested for my last big time long run before the marathon. I have a 20-miler to complete tomorrow morning. EEK.

There is no reward without pain, so I am getting ready for the hurt. I love this commercial from Nike using a cover by Johnny Cash of Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt". It shows the ups and downs of sports. Not everything is a victory march. Especially the guy throwing up mid-run. Bring on the hurt. Well...maybe not. 22 days!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What's Next?

People have been asking me what's next after the NYC Marathon and truthfully I don't know!

I'd love to get through this ONE BIG STINKING RACE first.

But there is a fun race here in Asheville that is coming up in March that is run by my favorite race organizers (iDaph) and they are organizing a marathon on the Biltmore Estate.

I'm definitely considering it, but haven't entered. Yet.
The coolest thing about the Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore Estate is they have selected Inheritance of Hope as their charity! Funds raised from the race will go to IOH. How cool is that?

You can register for the race at and the race is sponsored by Mizuno.

So, as much as I say I don't what I'm doing next, I am ENTERING to win an a free entry into the race. It gets pretty expensive to enter races. And I think we all know what a challenge it has been to raise $ for IOH. I wouldn't mind doing that again. But let's go for a freebie eh?

I would wear a Mizuno Wave Evo Ferus in this race if I wore Mizuno. You can check out the Mizuno website here where they have a shoe guide and they ask you crazy questions to lead you to your right shoe. It's pretty cool.

We'll see! The contest ends tonight. So...

Volunteers-23 Days!

Since we hang out with high school students all the time AND I went to high school in NYC-this video hit me pretty close to home. One of the aspects of any road race that is required is volunteers. Tons of them. There is no real reason to volunteer for a race except maybe your organization is going to be a financial beneficiary of the sponsoring organization OR you have been really convinced that this is worth your time and effort by a very passionate person.

Having cheered on friends and family at races and having run TONS of races, I can say that I love the volunteers.

Having lived in NYC for four years, I am so looking forward to how ridiculously hilarious the New York version of volunteer is. Their accents, what they say, how they cheer. Somehow it is altogether different than what you get in Asheville.

 I mean, our marathon had mandolin players. So...we're different here.

The volunteers work so hard. They have to be on the race course early in the morning and leave after the last runner. Cleaning up all the cups. Standing the whole time. Yelling. I am sure that this is EXHAUSTING volunteer work. It's not an easy day.

I'm gonna be looking for the High School of Dual Language in Brooklyn. NO DOUBT.
Watch this video at least until you see the SEA of runners coming down the road. It is crazy.

I also love hearing the hs students talking about inspired they are by the runners who are running for all reasons. It gets me so PUMPED.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Find Your Greatness-24 Days!

The New York Road Runners (the organization that puts on the NYC Marathon) said when the hard training is over it's like "hay is in the barn."

I'm in the middle of my hardest week but it feels like the rewards are just around the corner. And I keep remembering why I started this. To run for hope. To run for Amy. To run because others can't or won't. To run because I never thought I could with my own limitations.

In watching a lot of videos for these posts, the overall theme that I have come away having learned in preparation for the marathon is that the race is truly a vision of humanity. All walks of life overcoming their own limitations to accomplish their personal goal.

For the elite runners, to perhaps win the whole race.
For the advanced runners, for an incredible time to qualify for another race.
For the intermediate runners, for a personal record or just to run a great, mind blowing, once-in-a-lifetime race (this is me)
For everyone to have started and finished something that was bigger than themselves.

Very few people can simply wake up in a morning, run a marathon and finish it feeling good. At the very least, they will have learned that they will train the next time.

Running these last three months has taught me so much more than I realize now. But at this moment, it has taught me being determined to not quit is a huge accomplishment. And one that I will have in common with the other 47,000 runners on November 3rd. That is my strong today.

The hay is in the barn.
My greatness is in finding a will to do THIS that is stronger than the will to quit.
I can only claim because of Jesus. He has helped me every day. All glory to Him in this. Phil 4:13.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Great Things Take Time-25 Days!

AI just made it through one of the toughest workouts that I had left to complete before the race. 7 miles with three miles of intervals tucked in the middle.

It was hard.
But right near the end when I was getting fatigued, my music shifted to an old song that used to push me through hard workouts in college.

"Great Things Take Time" by Ed Cash.
Maybe it's cheesy now. Honestly, I have no idea because it means so much to me that I am not a good judge.

The end of the song has this lyric:

"Now perhaps in your fearful forest
You've found that you have fallen down
Don't be sad, don't be scared,
No, do not be afraid
Because there is one who can pick you up
Off the ground
You see if your destiny is to be carved
Into a perfect thing
Then life does not begin until you die to
The way your living "

I have always loved that. If your destiny is to be carved into a perfect thing, then life does not begin until you die to the way you live. 

The way I want to live is sit on my couch and eat cookies. But my destiny is to be carved into a perfect thing. So I have to work hard at excellence in my life. Not perfection but excellence. My sister shared with me a quote from Brene Brown that resonated with me this week, "When you strive for perfection, you get repaid with shame. When you strive for excellence, you are becoming the person you were made to be."

I'm not trying to be perfect. I'm trying to be the person God made me to be. 
I love having the time to run in the morning to reflect on all of this. It has really opened up my heart and mind to what my day will hold.

25 days! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

I'm Not Like You People. I'm Not Normal-26 days!

Buster Martin 101 | 'How To Live Forever' from Mark S. Wexler on Vimeo.

When you start running, people of all walks of life start talking to you about running. How they can't run. How they ran one time. How running hurts, it's boring, they can't run a mile much less 26.2.

I love this video because it shows the sea of humanity that is going to be running the NYC Marathon. I do think that anyone can run a marathon. I have built up very slowly over the last year to this mileage and gotten my body ready for this endurance at this pace and level. But, people walk/run these things! And amazingness happens when you say yes to hard things in your life. And follow through on the challenge.

26 days! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

27 Days! Final Hard Week

Here we go! This is the hardest week of training left. I am supposed to run nearly 40 miles this week and finish off with a 20-miler on Saturday. After this, I start relaxing the schedule little by little to get my body rested and fresh for race day.
But first I have to get through this week. So, 27 days left and I'm get fired up! Needing motivation to work extra hard for one more week! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Week 12: 28 days!

This was quite a week! I followed up the race from last week by trying to run to recover and just get to Satutday so I could survive the long 18 mile run. And I did it! 

Now, I only have three weeks of running left until the race. One long run and two weeks of tapering. 

That means this next week is my last hard week of training! 
I can't believe it! 

The race is getting so close and every day that I run it feels so close. I'm pumped! 

Gear of the week: 

not my target sports bra. It gave me serious blisters on the long run of the week. 
Lesson learned. 

Spibelt: it's a belt that holds your phone around your waist.  I just ordered a new one that will hold more gels. Mine has been awesome far. It holds my phone perfectly plus my id, a gel or two. It is awesome. 

Next week is a 20 mile run. That's huge for me! I can do it!