Monday, November 23, 2009

Next up...the BIG ONE

I ran the Philadelphia Half-Marathon yesterday--2:01 time...not so bad! About 2/3 of the way through the run, I decided to try and do it under 2:00. Ran my buns off for the last 4 miles and got pretty darn close! It was a great run for me and a beautiful day--I was definitely in "the zone." But throughout the race, I couldn't help but think that the next time I am running a race and cross the 13.1 mark...I will only be HALF WAY DONE! It is a daunting thought.

I am a creature of habit--I always follow the SAME tried and true training program for all of my races. My thought--if it ain't broke, don't fix it. For a full marathon, my program is 16 weeks training for Boston begins on December 28th. That means that the first 1/3 of 2010 will be spent preparing for April 19th! Again, daunting thought.

The truth is, I really enjoy the structure of a training program. 3 runs during the week, 1 long run on the weekend. Keeps me active, lets me eat what I want, keeps me SANE. Unfortunately, my current lifestyle presents several training challenges. First is finding time to run. Runs are any where from 30 minutes to 3 hours! Next is finding people to watch my kids when Theo is not available (he always is when he can be...xoxo) so that I can run solo (no such thing as a 3 child jogging stroller...although not sure I would even want one considering my double stroller weighs about 50 lbs plus the weight of my kids (20, 39 & 43 lbs)...pushing & running is no easy feat). Lastly, a marathon training program forces you to really take care of yourself. Eat well to fuel the long runs, watch your alcohol intake to ensure proper hydration, get enough rest to allow for adequate recovery, stretch and do my PT exercises to stay in alignment. All of this on top of taking care of 3 kids...where I often put myself as last priority. And, man, do I love (or is it need???) my wine!

With the completion of the Philly Half, I embark on a much needed 6 week training hiatus...time to wrap my head around my self-imposed New Years Resolutions! I also wanted to send out an all around request for running song suggestions (read my 2nd blog entry...)!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's so wrong with the 80s?

A huge percentage of my running mix is 80s music. The other day, my friend Nicole and I were swapping our fave running songs in an effort to mix things up a bit...and she said "If yours are all 80s songs...don't bother!" WELL, EXCUSEEEE MEEEEE!

I love 80s music. There, I said it! If you know me, this isn't a big surprise... I was born in the 80s were my HEYDAY! Everyone else out there in my age bracket---do you not feel the same way??? I particularly get crap from my college friends/husband...who were born in 1974. Is there THAT much of a difference in our ages? I mean, I guess being in 9th grade IS that different than being in 7th grade.

The first song on my running mix is "Blue Monday" by New Order (1983). EVERY SINGLE TIME I set out for a run, be it 3 miles or 18 starts with "Blue Monday." Then, I ALWAYS have "Whomp...there it is" by Tag Team on the playlist somewhere (ok, technically 1993...). And, how about "Our House" by Madness (1982)? That song fondly reminds me of being in 5th grade. "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield (1981)? YES YES! I loved this song so much that I played while driving to the hospital for my 2nd and 3rd c-sections!

I mean, what is so wrong with "Mr. Roboto" by Styx (1983)? When I am running and the song hits the chorus... "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto...Domo, Domo...Domo, Domo..." I pump my arms and legs and am flying! I have even been known to sing outoud. "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol (1981)---The fast pace of that song just pulls you along. "Kick" by INXS (1987...)--my very first concert as well as the subject of several posters on my wall in high school (RIP Michael Hutchence).

And no cool down would be complete without "Purple Rain" by Prince (1984). Man, that song elicits every good feeling an 8th grader can have when asked to dance by her BIGGEST CRUSH at the Creekwood/Kingwood Victory Dance!!!

It is safe to say that we run to songs that motivate us and make us feel GOOD. The 80s were a very happy time for me. Lot's of good memories and significant experiences. This isn't to say that I don't have any cool, current music on my mix. I will have to thank Nicole for suggesting "Shake" by Ying Yang Twins & Pitbull (always love a good song about bitches and hos)... But, mostly for me, it's the each, her own!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Why the blog?

Hello! My first attempt at blogging...bear with me.

I have decided to capture my training experience blog-style as I prepare to run the 2010 Boston Marathon on the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute team (my 2nd!!) in memory of my mom, Patty Shields (thus the web address). So, for those of your supporting me or just interested in my process...welcome!

Running this race is a BEAR. Well, any marathon is a bear...I have done 3 and everytime I hit mile 18, 19, 20ish, I just want to die. I mean, you are so far into it...but you have so far to go. I read a cool book about running the NYC marathon (A Race Like No Other by Liz Robbins) and at one point, it explained WHY humans hit a wall at about this point (something about glycogen and carbs...). It made me feel better because there is a physiological reason WHY it happens.

I will never forget the despair that I felt around mile 18 of the 2008 Boston Marathon. I KNEW that Heartbreak Hill was still ahead of me...and I was already dying. Thank the LORD that Jill Swartz jumped in and ran with me for the duration. I mean, I would have finished. I would NEVER have quit. But having her there, goofing off and getting the crowd to yell for me was enough of a distraction to keep my feet going one in front of the other.

So, why do I do this? As the title of this blog simply states---I am Running For Patty. Mom died 15 years ago. I can hardly believe it as I type it. My husband, kids and most of the people in my adult life never met her. My brother has now been alive longer WITHOUT her than with her. It is a sad, awful thing. She was so sick, so quickly---and all the while, I was in college. I never really had ANY part of her illness. I can imagine that she is probably glad about that. But I have so many regrets. It honestly just feels like a bad dream from a past life.

Two years ago, I was way into running. I was two years out from having my 2nd baby (Declan). Back in shape, coming out of a major post-partum funk, feeling like I was finding time for myself again. I ran the Philly Distance Run (1/2 marathon) in September and decided that I would just keep training and go for the Philly Marathon in November.

I was doing a long training run, coming down West River Drive and had a crazy thought--I wonder if I could ever qualify to run in the Boston Marathon (you must meet a certain time to run that race...unless you run on a charity team)? I got home from that run and hopped on the computer. Pulled up the website for the 2008 Boston Marathon and saw the date for that race---April 21, 2008. I got chills--it was the exact day that mom died...14 years earlier. I noticed the Dana-Farber logo on the site---and remembered Jill Swartz (life safer mentioned above!) ran the Boston Marathon on a charity team--Dana-Farber. I had to be on this team. It was meant to be.

And the rest is history. I ran that race on that beautiful day, Monday, April 21, 2008. It was hard as hell, but no where near as hard as my mom had it during her illness. My family surprised me by wearing "Yell For Amy/Mommy" t-shirts...which meant SO MUCH to me to see them at mile 18! When I turned that corner toward the finish line banner...and everyone was screaming, and I saw my family again...I pointed up to Mom and I said, "WE DID IT!!!"

And on the way home from the race, Regan and I saw a rainbow sliver just peeking out through a cloud. Just a little secret wave from mom.

That is why I am doing this again.