Sunday, September 29, 2013

Turning the Page

I finished my third half-marathon this year on Saturday! And I had a personal record in the toughest conditions I could have ever imagined.

The first mile was fairly well lit with street lights and my own adrenaline. But after that, it was like running well...running in the dark with 1,000 other people. Except, there was oncoming traffic. Seriously. Oncoming traffic. Like buses.

Around mile 3, ALL the lights went out. Running in pitch black dark at 6:20 up (straight up) a road to then encounter the toughest road in Asheville. Slight uphill, with speed bumps every 800 yards and broken pavement. In the dark. It was crazy.

But I was feeling good. So good that I didn't believe my runkeeper lady who was telling me my split times. The first mile 8:02, 2nd: 8:07 and I kept dropping. While I was going uphill. It was insane.

Around mile 7, I was starting to fade a little. I'd had a fast previous mile and knew that I had 1/2 of the race left to go and that was when my NYC playlist totally delivered a gem to me. A song I haven't heard the entire time I've been training: Country Song Played Backwards by Rascal Flatts. This was a song put on the list by Will Odom and it was what Matt and Will came out to every meal at Frontier this summer. I literally laughed outloud and my whole mood was lifted.

The next mile, Matt surprised me at the foot of the toughest climb in Asheville. 1000 feet in elevation in one mile. You just have to keep moving. I cranked out a 9:30 mile beating my best time by almost two minutes.

I was fired up!

I ended up finished the race in 1:44:28. Which is right at 7:58 miles for 13.1 STINKING MILES in the MOUNTAINS on what is regarded as one of the toughest certified half-marathons in the country. And I feel good. Like really good.
Natalie Knauer and me with our finisher medals.
Yes. I'm wearing a beanie and a long sleeved shirt. Not pictured are the gloves I'm wearing. When I'm done running-I GET COLD. Like hypothermic cold. Thankfully, I was prepared on Saturday! 

So good that I'm not too scared that I have a 42 mile week ahead of me with an 18-miler next Saturday. Eeeep. Ok, maybe a little scared.

But I'm only 35 days away from the NYC Marathon which feels like its going to be here in a blink of an eye. The weeks are passing SO QUICKLY now.

I'm pumped.

It has been the biggest blessing to run with Inheritance of Hope. I have been MORE blessed to run with this organization than I could have ever believed. I don't know how to describe it. But it gives all this work depth and meaning. And I love every minute. I've met families impacted by IOH and volunteers, supporters in the last few weeks and they have blown me away by their passion to help families and care for them.

It has really kept me going through the tough days and miles.
If you haven't donated and would like to, let's do this thing! I'm still fundraising even though I've met my goal. All the money still goes to families fighting terminal illness! Inheritance of Hope.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Run These Hills

I'm running in the Asheville Citizen-Times 1/2 Marathon on Saturday.
And if you follow me on Twitter you would know that I am none too happy with the race organizers about this particular race. 

For the last 11 weeks, I have been training not for this race, but for the NYC Marathon. But I strategically registered for this race as a tune-up for NYC. I want to get a good feel for racing, distance and to be honest--have friends join me in the race atmosphere and celebrate the achievement of having trained for such a long time. I still have 6 weeks to go until the NYC Marathon so this was a important time frame to get me to my "final push."

 I had spent some time during my day on Monday on the race website to confirm final details and get things in order for the race week ahead. That is when I noticed an important piece of information I had overlooked in all the weeks prior. 

Race Start Time: 6am.

The National Weather Service notes that sunrise is 7:23am. 
I would like to finish my race by 7:45. 

So I will have 20 minutes of daylight while running. 
Also--my family doesn't wake up until MINIMUM 7am on a Saturday. 
Am I going to assume the same for the rest of Asheville? 

I really was hoping for a fun race atmosphere in my home city on a beautiful warm September Saturday. 
My race will have been over for HOURS by the time the weather rolls out. 

I feel really disappointed and frustrated. So, I'm running 13.1 miles in the dark. By myself on Saturday. 
And I paid a lot of money to do it.
You can believe that I won't register for this race again. I feel duped by the organizers. They took a lot of runners hopes and sold them out to a potential sponsor who doesn't want runners blocking its entrance for hours. (MY THEORY)
This is why they call training for a marathon one of the hardest things you'll do in your life. 
Dealing with frustrations, disappointments and annoyances but still having to run through it teaches you so much. 
I am learning. 
I don't know what yet. But I'm learning. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Day Lululemon Called

Imagine your typical Tuesday afternoon.

Then, you get this phone call:
"Hey Leslie, I read your story in the paper. And I heard you talking last night about your passion for Inheritance of Hope, your friends and the marathon and I just want to do something for YOU. I'm at Lululemon. What are your sizes?"

After I picked my jaw up from the ground, I scrambled to remember my sizes because Lululemon tags are almost as long as receipts from CVS so I always rip them out. 
I figure it out and relay the information.

Five minutes later, my friend calls back and says, "I told your story to the management here and they want to give you a whole outfit. How fast can you get down here?"


I make a mad dash down to Kichen Place in Biltmore to the Lululemon store where the nicest people in the world work (and work out and play and maybe have the most fun anywhere) and they greeted me with confirmation of FREE OUTFIT for raising money and running the race and they thought that was awesome. 

So I got down to business. This is my pre-Lululemon clothing transformation. I am clearly GIDDY.

This is me in the Race Me Short Sleeve Shirt and the Speed Tight. I LOVED this shirt. The pants had a lot of extra material. Which they did tell me they could hem, but I like a crop pant typically so this wasn't really for me. My face tells you how much I love everything I am wearing. I could run 20 miles or go to sleep. It's all so comfy. 

Here I am in the Track and Train Tank and the Mod Moves Crop. Super Cute! But as a former soccer player, I just can't get into the polka dots. If I was buying it just to go to aerobics class or run in fun 5k's around here, I would be WAY into it. These pants fit like a dream and so did the top. But I really don't know what the weather will be like in NYC in 7 weeks, I had to pass.

I obviously did like the pants. They had pockets on the side of the legs (which I would never use) but they added a cute detail. And they were so comfy. But here is where I hit my stride. I tried on this Run Swiftly Tech Long Sleeved Shirt that literally feels like my baby blanket. It is so soft. WINNER.

So I retuned to the running shirt I liked (Race Me Short Sleeved Shirt) and paired it with the Fast Cat Skirt in all black. Quick side bar here: If you are like me at all and have a slight problem with a little pee pee when you run, get a running skirt. No one will KNOW. It covers your "zone" and you look SUPER CUTE. <<<<<<<<

So this is the outfit I chose! I've run in it three times this week-that should tell you something. I absolutely love it.

Here are some awesome things to keep in mind about Lululemon because if you see their prices, you might have a heart attack.

I run in their items almost every day and none show wear and tear. I've had a pair of pants for almost two years that I have run in at least weekly and they look brand new. I definitely can't say the same about ANYTHING I've bought at Target, Marshalls or whatever. My Nike pants have held up but they can get pretty stinky.

Lululemon running gear has (I know this sounds bogus-but I'm telling the truth, it works) an anti-stink fabric fiber. My clothes just don't smell bad. Have you ever been next to someone running at the gym and their clothes have that "sour been in the washer too long" smell? Doesn't happen with Lululemon clothing. I swear.

No chafing. Maybe TMI, but whatevs. They have the seams on the outside of the clothes so there is no rubbing when you're running.

I've bought cheap running clothes and you pay for what you get. A bad run that makes it hard to believe that people like to do this for hours. Get the right gear that makes you feel amazing and watch what your body can do.

OH! I forgot the most important thing about Lululemon clothing--it pulls you together. Like, it tightens your bottom and core up because of the design. So you LOOK better than you actually do. See examples above.  If you ever see someone at the gym and think, man--they look awesome. Why don't I look like that. Check for the label. I bet you they are wearing Lululemon pants. NO JOKE.

Also, this brings up an important rule. Running pants are not real pants. They are dangerous to men everywhere. So, take heed. Wear them running. Wear them to work out. Then change into PANTS. Otherwise you will attract attention. And maybe you like that. Maybe you don't. But you've been warned.

I am SOOOO grateful to Lululemon at Kitchin Place for being so awesome to me. I got a whole outfit PLUS the long sleeved shirt thanks to my amazingly generous friend. Go! Try them out! You won't regret it.

Week 9 Training Update

Last week was a "recovery week" and it definitely felt like it. My long run was 12 miles and somehow that brought me great relief. And I got to have three days off. My total mileage was still 31 miles but I felt fresh as a daisy approaching this week. It's crazy what taking a couple of miles off and one extra day will do to your body!

But this week was no joke. The prescribed mileage for the week was 35-40 miles with a 16 miler on Saturday.

Starting on Monday, I had a 7 miler to complete. But half-way through I felt something was not quite right with my body. I got freaked out and quit around 4 miles. Went to see the doctor on Wednesday and she told me everything was fine and so I got right back to it. It's crazy how you have so many hours alone thinking about how you are feeling that as soon as you don't feel awesome, you want to know WHY.

So I got right back to training and managed to get my miles in. My legs are feeling that I ran 4 days straight and so my training pace went down a bit but I got the overall mileage I wanted.

On Saturday, I joined up with the running ladies and we knocked out 12 miles together and I tacked on additional four so I could get my 16. It is so fun to run with someone for a majority of the long run. I am really going to miss them for the last month of my training. We have the Asheville Citizen-Times 1/2 Marathon in two weeks, so I think they will all stop running once they hit the finish line. :(
I will still have my 20-miler to accomplish! 

Saturday long run was pretty great. A little off my pace for training but that is what you get when running in a large group. I was only off by a minute or two so I am not going to stress. 

And it was another record breaking week! Woo HOO! 

Gear of the Week:
Smart Wool Running Socks: The temperature dropped substantially last night and it was 51 degrees to start running this morning. I would have run in these socks if it had be 65. They wick sweat incredibly and no blisters. I really love them. Wish I had more than one pair! Into the wash they will go. 

Gatorade Carb Blocks: I got these in my StrideBox a few weeks ago and they really hit the spot around mile 10/11. It is just enough sugar and carbs to give you a boost when you need it but not too much to overload your stomach and give you the trots. 

Lululemon Fast Cat Running Skirt: I have a super fun story to share with you in my next post, but I LOVE my Lululemon running skirt. It is a peeing mom's best friend when you run. No one can see and you look super cute. It also wicks away any moisture really fast. LOVE it. So glad I have it. I'm hoping for warm weather during the marathon so I can wear it. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thought of the Day

Feeling like that this week.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Inheritance of Hope - WLOS News13 - News 13 Charity Challenge

Check it out: Inheritance of Hope has a chance to win $1000 from our local news station just for liking their page! The contest page isn't open yet, but the news station did a great job covering the charity and showcasing exactly where the funds raised will go to and how impactful they can be on the life of a family.
Inheritance of Hope - WLOS News13 - News 13 Charity Challenge

Friday, September 6, 2013

Check it out!

I organized a fundraiser for Monday, September 9th at Hi-Wire Brewing (one of my clients through my advertising agency Big Bridge) and the local newspaper decided to cover the event, Inheritance of Hope and me running the NYC Marathon. Pretty fun stuff!

Asheville mom Leslie Sloan runs marathon for nonprofit | The Asheville Citizen-Times |

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I just watched this video from ING NYC Marathon and it got me so pumped for the race. I mean PUMPED! I got so teary eyed thinking about how I am going to get to join in this experience in just under two months. I can't believe it.

If you have the time, it is WELL WORTH IT. 

The Road To The Finish from StoryView on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Carrying On

“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
President Theodore Roosevelt
Speech at the Sorbonne
April 23, 1910

These weeks are hard. I am cranky. Tired. 

This week is a recovery week which is actually really hard to do. Slowing down instead of forward progress feels like I am open to criticism. I am feeling weaker due to grief, sadness and just overall exhaustion. 

I need a recovery week. 
A high achievement is around the corner. 

Monday, September 2, 2013


I completed my running plan this past week. It went great. I feel fresh and am so glad that this week is a "recovery week". 

On Friday, I finished up a 15-mile run. I was feeling really proud of myself. I showered, got into work and checked in on email and social media where I saw this news: 

Michael Ollis, a childhood friend of mine was killed in action in Afghanistan.

His father was my coach. The first coach I ever had that said these words to me "If you want to play college soccer, you can get there. Let's do what it takes." And then he helped me to do exactly that.

His daughter Kelly and I spent every Saturday and Sunday together playing soccer. And you know who was always there? Michael.

During every practice and game. Meal and party. Little Mikey was there. He was 10ish years younger than us but he was hilarious and we all loved him like he was our brother. 

I remember hearing he was going in the Army and going to the Middle East. Every time there was a major conflict or attack, I would be scouring the news for a piece of information about him. Hoping for the best. Every time he came home and the family would post pictures on Facebook of him,I would breathe a deep breath and be so glad he was safe. 

On Friday, a classmate from hs posted the news of his death of Facebook and it was the first thing I saw. It felt like I got hit with a bat. 

I am so deeply sad. Mikey was killed in Afghanistan during a battle with an IED and small arms fire. He was only 24 years old and had recently been awarded the Bronze Star. He was truly a hero.

With my own father having retired from the Army, I know the sacrifices families make to protect our freedom. But never have I felt it so acutely as I walk around my town in relative safety and freedom. 
I am so proud to have known and loved Mikey Ollis. He is a American Hero.

As my father said yesterday when I spoke to him, "You don't get to choose those whom you fight for. We stand for freedom and that what he was doing." It's a different life and one that is hard to explain or understand when our biggest problem is that we ran out of coffee filters and forgot to buy more. In other parts of the world, life or death is actually being worked out daily. Simple basic necessities are being fought for on behalf of innocent people. And we have 24-year-old men standing up and dying and fighting for just these people.

I am so proud SSGT. Michael Ollis. I am so sad for Bob, Linda, Kelly and Kim. 
I feel a million miles away because I am. 

These are the times when it is hard to have moved away and to have lived a deep life with those you lived amongst. 

I can't wait to get up there for the NYC Marathon and hug their necks.