The Morning of the Marathon

The last I left you Brian and I were off to bed at the Hyatt Regency.  I had an alarm set for 345am in order to eat a good breakfast and be able to digest before the run.  Brian’s alarm was set for 5am.

The starting lineI woke up around 3am on the morning of the marathon and thankfully was able to fall back to sleep for the next 45 minutes until my alarm went off.  I hoped out of bed, grabbed my water bottle, banana, small thing of peanut butter, a greek yogurt and instant oatmeal that my mom and brought me and went into the bathroom so I could turn the light on.  Since the room we had did not have a microwave or a fridge Brian and I had to get creative.  We kept our yogurts in an ice bucket filled with ice and I used the coffee maker to have hot water to make my oatmeal.  But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do! I drank an entire bottle of water while eating my meal and was back in bed trying to fall asleep at 4am.  I laid in bed half asleep half thinking about the race for the next hour and 15 minutes.

Brian was up at that point and he showered and I helped make his oatmeal.  Then I was able to shower and start putting on my marathon clothes.  It was a surreal experience thinking about running the race in a few hours and also thinking about how it would all be over in just a few more hours.  For those of you who are wondering, I was able to be fully digested before heading out the door at 6:20 to head to the start of the race.  I would say for a first timer I timed that right.

marathon morningWe met my mom in the hallway and headed out the door all race ready though according to this picture I look pretty much asleep.

Now here is where it gets a little interesting.  As we left the hotel it was drizzling.  Just a light rain.  We walked the mile from the hotel to the area where the corrals were set up for the start of the race which was at the Museum of Natural History. We grabbed the little bottles of water they were handing out (they had fruit as well but we were all set) and then it was off to gear check to drop off our bags which of course they made you walk up a hill to get to the UPS trucks waiting in order of last name.  This meant mine was at the exact opposite end of where Brian’s truck was.  Then we hit up the port-a-potties that were set up at the top of the hill rather than fight the lines at the bottom.

That is another piece of advise I would give to runners – go to the bathrooms that are away from the crowds so you don’t have to wait as long and they also have been used less.

After that little stop it was starting to rain a little harder as it approached the 7:15 mark. The sun was also starting to rise behind the clouds – so at least it was no longer total darkness.  We got to our corrals at about 7:20: Maddie, Maya, Kristy and I were in corral 17 while Brian was up in corral 2.

A corral for those of you that do not know in a race is the wave you start the race in.  Each corral at least for this race started approximately 2 minutes behind the previous and each corral is set based on your projected finish time that you select.

Marathon racers readyMy mom took pictures of us in our corral and getting ready to start. And then it was time to get serious as the corrals started to move each going at their own pace.  And then it was on, the countdown for our corral, the start of the race, my heart was beating and I was at the start line.  Everything I had worked for 18 weeks for was leading up to this moment….3….2….1….Stay tuned for the race!DC Rock n Roll Start

Marathon Weekend Begins

After a week of MDP training, Brian and I flew into BWI on Thursday in preparation for the marathon weekend.  I kind of goofed up and booked our flights thinking our training was the following week so it wouldn’t conflict.  My advise to future MDPs, check your schedule and if you do have a conflict with a training time be honest about it as soon as you find out.  Sarah and Jillian were both really understanding because I was genuinely concerned and it had been an honest mistake. Thankfully we worked it out and missed training that Friday and took a floating holiday, I call it my marathon holiday.

Brian and I wanted to get the flight out of the way and give ourselves time to adjust and get two good nights sleep leading up to the marathon, rather than worrying about work and flying the day before.  Plus we were worried that the Buffalo winter goes until it feels like ending so we didn’t want to chance a weather delay and not get a good night sleep the night before.  Best to limit the stress in the days leading up to the marathon; as well as, enjoy the entire marathon weekend rather than just go for the day.

So we arrived in BWI to bright and sunny weather. One of my friends who was running the race with me picked us up from the airport and we drove to her apartment in Baltimore.  Maddie is a saint, she did not have to pick us up at the airport which was 25-30 minutes away from where she lives.  Maddie is one of those friends who we could talk for hours and never get tired of each other which is why she was perfect to run a marathon with.  By the time we were all settled and Maddie had taken her dog to camp for the weekend we were all starving.  We then headed to an awesome dinner at Golden West Cafe and had amazing burgers.  Followed by a treat of a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie which we brought back to enjoy and ate about half.

The next day Maddie dropped us off at the train station (she had to go to work until 3) and we headed into DC to pickup our bibs at the Expo.  We also picked up Maddie’s because we weren’t sure how traffic getting there would be and it was only open until 7 that night.

Tip: If you are running with a friend and one of you can’t make the expo ask them to pick up your race packet or offer to pick up theirs- it will save you the headache because as it gets later in the day the expo gets more crowded and the lines get longer.  For Rock n’ Rolls you a copy of their ID and their original race form.  I had Maddie write a note granting me permission as well just to be safe.

After checking into our hotel (The Hyatt Regency) we walked to the expo which was about a mile from the hotel.  This was about 1pm.  The expo was interesting there was a lot of sales going on and vendors that wanted you to test out their latest products.  One thing I was surprised at was the limited amount of free things that were there.  I had heard marathon expos were all about sample products.  Jelly Belly was passing out their variety pack of sports beans which I love and planned to use already at the race and PowerBar was handing out small samples of their bars that were going to be at the end of the race the next day but as far as free products go that was about it.  There were also some contests you could enter and a few games you could play.  Brian and I picked up our tags, got our shirts and bags that were given to us by the race, took a few pictures and bought a pint glass with the marathon logo on it (pint glasses are kind of our thing) and then we determined it was time for lunch. DC Rock n' Roll Expo

At this point it was about 230 and we decided we would head to the Corner Bakery Cafe that was just up the street from our hotel.  It is very similar to Panera Bread and looked delicious (I had never heard of the company before and we actually found out there is one right in Buffalo).  He and I both got a panini and a soup, it was a little pricey but we were on vacation, don’t know how often I would actually go in Buffalo but it fit the bill that day.  I had the chicken pomodori which was awesome! Unfortunately when we left we forgot to check the bag because we were both so tired and hungry and they had forgotten Brian’s soup.   We called and they said we could walk back – even though it was less than half a mile the day before a marathon we just wanted to rest.  So he and I split my soup and ate our sandwiches, after all we were planning to go to dinner with my family that night.  Then after eating we both passed out for well over an hour.

Sadly my mom and sister weren’t able to get into DC until almost 10pm so there wasn’t much time to enjoy with them before really needing to fall asleep.  But we were able to go to Carmine’s with my Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and her daughter.  Brian and I walked from the hotel to the restaurant (approximately half a mile if we hadn’t gone in the wrong direction for half a mile).  But it all worked out.  My cousin had plans to run the full but hurt her knee in training (must run in the family) so she decided to run the half instead.  It was a delicious family style meal and Brian and I hitched a ride back with them and at that point we started getting in the race mindset.  race gearAfter laying out all of our clothes for the race and taking one last look at the weather (it had been another gorgeous low 50s day in DC that day but was scheduled to rain all day the next day), we turned on the ACC tournament and did a nice long stretch out and waited for my mom to arrive.

Without realizing it Brian and I had walked nearly 6 miles the day before we were slated to run 26.2miles!

Advise to future first time runner – be mindful of how much you are walking – don’t just sit around the day before but also just be careful about how much you are walking.  We ended up being fine but could have been rough.

We also probably were not drinking as much water as we should have been that day, even though we carried around my CamelBak water bottle the entire time we probably needed more water.

Another tip for runners, make sure you are carrying a water bottle with you at all times.  One of my friends who has run several marathons with her mom goes out and buys a gallon water jug at the store and just carries that around with her the day before a race.  That way she knows exactly how much she is drinking and makes sure she is hydrated.

My mom and sister arrived around 9:45, we said hello and good night to them (they dropped off our breakfast for the morning it was off to bed as we had a big day ahead of us!  Stay tuned for the morning of the race.

The Countdown is On for the Marathon

DC Rock n RollI can’t believe it…race day is less than five days away.  In five days all the training, all the sweat, all those runs I didn’t want to do will be worth it.  I will be running the streets of DC with two of my great friends, Maya and Maddie, my cousin Kristy, Brian (who is running much faster than all of us) and some others who will be running the half and carrying the rest of us home after the full.  🙂

We will also have a great support team. Our families, friends from college, family friends and 22,000+ other runners families and friends cheering us on.  It will be an experience.23

I do not think I will be doing this type of training ever again so I intend to take in every minute it of, all 4 and a half hours of it, if everything goes well.

Over the last 3 weeks I have been battling knee pain, strained hamstrings and probably taking on to much.  If I could go back I would definitely add strength training into my program.  I think going from such a high impact sport in basketball to a completely different type of high impact sport of running, I took for granted my strength training and did not make it a focus.  I would also try and dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes a day to stretching and rolling out.  I really tried to do a lot more stretching as I got further into it but I need to make more of a habit out of it before I need to do it.

But unfortunately I can’t go back now.  As I sit and write this post, icing my knee and hip (a side effect of walking around this weekend and compensating for my left knee) I think about making it across the finish line of the race with Maya and Maddie, cheering each other on and finishing together.  I never would have imagined running this race with the two of them, never would have thought that five years ago when we graduated high school that we would be celebrating that anniversary with a marathon – 26.2 I still can’t wrap my head around it.  It is also Pie Day (3.14) so I know K.A.F will be watching us from above and motivating us and driving us forward.  We run this for you Ms. Ferris.

This will probably be the most intense and crazy thing I ever do but I will be able to say I did it and it will only make me stronger! Holy count down –  4 days, 12 hours, 35 minutes!

marathon running

Where has the Time Gone?

where has the time goneIt has been a while since I last blogged and it is really sad! I love blogging but lately being able to take the time to write a post, edit, make it look nice and share with whoever is reading this about my life has been a struggle.  I tell you training for a marathon, coaching two teams and working a full-time real world job is no joke and I don’t recommend it.  I recommend doing 2 of those things at the same time no more especially if you haven’t truly learned the balance of the real world lifestyle.  I use to think I was superwoman but now I am tired woman!  Only have to hold on one more month for the season and under 2 for the marathon training.

Oh another thing I don’t recommend is training for a marathon in the middle of winter! Unless you absolutely love the cold, snow, sleet, rain, hail, ice or the treadmill this time of year in WNY is not good!

As far as the actual training itself I will be running 18 miles this weekend which is SCARY! I had to do 16 miles 2 weeks ago and had to do it on the treadmill because it was 1 degree out and for me running outside for 2.5 hours did not seem fun when you are frozen.  To keep my mind from going crazy I ended up doing a combo of sprint walks for a part of it so I was constantly using my brain instead of going stir crazy.

I am less than 2 months out now, flights are officially booked, hotel rooms are booked and Brian and I are ready to go…well kind of.  I am really excited to do it with some of my family members and 2 of my really great friends from high school.  Our plan is to really just enjoy the morning run (haha 26.2 miles of enjoyment), take a lot of pictures and really catch-up.  These are the type of friends where we could not see each other for years and we would pick right back up where we left off so hopefully the stories between the three of us will keep us going for the full race!

I am also really excited to run around DC.  Getting to run without traffic on the course will be nice because we will be able to see all the monuments, hear some awesome music every few miles (it is the rock n’ roll marathon so there are a lot of bands) and by some miracle crawl our way to the finish line and spend the rest of the day “celebrating”.  When I say celebrating I mean sleeping, taking a long shower, refueling with a ton of food and hopefully the hotel hot tub!  And if by some miracle we are still alive – celebrating with a few drinks.

I plan to try and make more time in my busy schedule to blog about the different areas of my life and to my MDP readers I have not forgotten to update you on some of the exciting things that we have been doing in the program!  And finally an update to the new team I am working with at the bank!  Life is moving fast, it is so crazy that I have been working for more than 6 months already!

Refreshing with Resource for a Marathon

training for a marathonMarathon training officially kicked off this week. It is crazy to me that a girl who hates running would commit to something like a 26.2 mile race but I am financially committed to the DC Rock N’ Roll Marathon on March 14th, 2015  and I will take it as my greatest challenge to date!  The phrase YOLO is something that is often thrown around with college parties, doing crazy and often stupid things – but to me running a marathon can be summed up with the phrase – YOLO.

I look at it this way – yes 26.2 miles is a staggeringly long distance.  The farthest distance I have run to date straight is 6 miles and that was Friday but I know I can do it.  Talking with a lot of people that have run marathons they say if you can run five you can physically run the marathon.  I have to look at this as a personal challenge because the marathon is not a physical battle but a mental one.  I know that the energy of the crowd will propel me through the first half and then it will be me vs. my mind the second half.  Right now I feel like I am in the best endurance shape of my life – I have always been training for something and why not train for the biggest race of my life and the biggest mental battle.  My body is not getting any younger.Run for the resource

Going into training, I know there are going to be challenges I have to overcome, the first being, it’s Buffalo from November – March.  What was I thinking – it snows, it gets below freezing so I know that I have to be prepared for a lot of treadmill work in the coming months.  At least there is a plus side, it will be college basketball season and there will be awesome games to watch as I run! I find I run best on the treadmill when I cover up the time on the machine, have a towel with me, have Netflix going on my iPad and then read the subtitles on the TV in front of the machine.  Since I do not have changing scenery to distract me I have to distract my brain with multi-tasking.

Another thing that I am going to have to combat is the holiday season.  With my family traveling to NYC for Thanksgiving this year, making sure I get those runs in will be key! And then for Christmas, I will not have access to my gym and my mother lives out in the woods which means home treadmill work it is!

Another thing will be working around my coaching season with practices and games.  I am coaching two teams: a JV team and a 5th and 6th grade team for the private school right near my house so making sure I find the time to get the runs in without over stretching myself with my day job at M&T and budding coaching career is going to be a challenge.  I will have to decide whether waking up at 440 to hit the gym right when it opens at 5 is better than sleeping until 6 to get into work by 7 and running after practice at 6.  resource on the shelfIt will really depend on my mood; however, thankfully none of the long runs will be affected by my crazy schedule as they all take place on the weekends – my team is lucky, we will always have late Saturday practices if we have them so I don’t have to worry about getting the run in after practice.

Finally, I am going to have to make sure that I am drinking water regularly throughout the day.  Whether I am running in the morning or at the end of the day it is going to be so important to focus on staying hydrated and thanks to my Resource Water from Influenster, I am set to take on the day at work, during practice, during my runs and throughout my daily life.  Running takes a lot out of you but water can help you get it back.  My plan for the race is to start experimenting with gels and water now as I start to get into those Refresh when you are not traininglonger runs.  I am not much of a Gatorade girl so water is going to vital to my training and progress!

In 18 weeks when I cross that finish line in DC with my cousins and one of my best friends I will know I have beaten myself and my mind.  I don’t care what time I get – though it would be great to hit under 4, more realistic will be under 430 – I just want to finish without stopping.  This is one time my mind will not get the best of me!

I received the Resource water complimentary of Influenster for testing purposes as part of the #ModaVoxBox!"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."


graduationIt is hard to believe that graduation was just over a month ago and I am now the holder of two degrees, my masters and my bachelors.  It seems like just yesterday I started as a freshman at RIT and was living in the dorms.  It is amazing to think back on all that I accomplished and experienced.  My friends told me in high school that they believed I was destined for college, college was going to be my best experience to date and they were right.  College was so much better than high school for me at least but for others it is a different story and that is okay because everyone’s path is different. College for some people is an extension of high school, they don’t learn anything new in the sense of life experiences, they may pick up a few new math equations or understand new subjects but they don’t experience what college has to offer in the sense of growing up.  For me college was a time of coming into my own, figuring out who I was a person and who I wanted to be in the future. katherine schwarzeneggerNow I am not saying I have all the answers but who really does.  During this month off, I have spent time reading by the pool and really relaxing.  Reading nothing of great importance in my life but just reading because I enjoy it.  My latest book that I finished in three sunny days by the pool was, I Just Graduated…Now What?by Katherine Schwarzenegger and if you are like me a recently graduated student, I highly recommend reading it this summer.  I do not know if I would have picked it up had I not won it from Barnes and Noble in their end of term twitter contest but I am very glad I tweeted my piece of advice for college students because it allowed me the chance to realize I am not alone in how I am feeling post-graduation. RITMy copy is signed by the author; however, she may never know who I am.  If by some chance she does happen to read this post I want her to know that we have a lot in common in the sense that we both strive to do good in the world, leave our own mark and break out of the shadows (her shadows may be more public than mine but none the less what I saw from reading her book is that a name does not get you everything – you have to work just as hard if not harder to prove your worth). Katherine, if you are reading this, I hope that one day I have the chance to meet with you, maybe collaborate on a project together or just pick your brain on different things.  As was stated in your book, you are young but can still have a voice.  You may not have all the answers but who really does? Growing up is about finding your path because every piece of the puzzle makes for the journey.  Hopefully one day our journeys will cross because your book was truly inspiring. Sorry to my readers for my slight tangent,  I Just Graduated…Now What?, is a compilation of interviews of famous people who have been down the road before the graduates of today.  Katherine interviews: athletes, actors, comedians, DJs, politicians, talk show hosts, entrepreneurs, rising chefs and many other public figures whom you may or may not know, who struggled with the What Now question.  Katherine tells her story of her recent graduation in the Spring of 2012 from USC along with many others in a youthful way that will keep you turning each page because it is extremely relatable.  Whether you read it to make yourself feel better about where you are at, to see that you are not alone or to be inspired to follow your dreams, this is a must read during the summer after you graduate! Going to college at Rochester Institute of Technology may not have been my dream school growing up; however, after a few weeks on campus, I knew it was meant to be.  It is hard to believe I almost crossed it off my list thanks to a terrible recruiting visit there during October of my Senior Year of High School.  Life is funny sometimes, at RIT the campus looks flat and boring at first sight, the bricks all look the same and there appears to be no character.  But when you take a closer look and join the RIT community, you realize like each student attending, the bricks are all unique.  The unique blend of cultures, majors, colleges, ethnicities, programs, clubs and teams at RIT – offers students a one of kind experience.  RIT is no longer just for the techies but I will say if you do not believe at least a little part of you is a nerd, RIT is not the school for you. RITLooking at RIT from a distance people may say, how did you go there for four years? Why stay?  Because RIT was my home, RIT was where I was supposed to be and RIT is a huge part of who I am today.  I believe that you define your own college experience, you choose your own level of involvement and you decide if you will be the type of student that embraces the opportunities given to them or sits in the back of the room and does not give anyone a chance to get to know them.  I was not the later of the two options if you can not tell.  I took every opportunity I could to become someone who was recognizable and not just because of athletics.  I made sure my professors knew me as the student so that when it was time to come looking for career advice, they were willing to help me. I was very fortunate to have some great professors in both my undergraduate programs and masters programs.  I would not have traded the experience for the world.  People have asked me, “If you could go back, knowing what you know now would you choose a different school?”  Without hesitation my answer is “no shot”!  RIT The next question that tends to follow is, “Would you have gone back for your MBA right away if you could do it again?”  My answer may be more calculated but it is along the same lines, “Yes, I would because I had many loose ends left to tie up.  As an NCAA athlete you are given four seasons for your sport, just four.  Having only used three of them, I had my class, my seniors, my senior year, and my team to return too, they weren’t finished with me and I wasn’t finished with them.  I also had a lot of goals that were not accomplished yet and when I set goals, I plan to achieve them unless it is not physically possible. There are not a lot of people in the world who get to say they were a student-athlete let alone a four year student-athlete.  It takes commitment, sacrifice, desire and passion to play all four years because it is stressful but it can be done and I am proud to say I am a part of the four year student-athlete club.  I am the type of person who completes what I set out to accomplish and I had committed to four years of basketball at the division three level and I was not willing to walk away just yet from that promise simply because I was faster at school than the average student.  graduation caps I believe that the commitment and loyalty shown in college is just as important to perspective employers as past work experience.  The lessons and work ethic learned on a team in college are life lessons I will carry through with me to the real world.  Plus, had I not gone back to RIT I wouldn’t have been able to redefine and grow the Tiger Den program and make all of the connections I did this year. But if I was asked had I not completed my undergraduate career in three years and done it in the traditional four, I can’t answer that question because I was not in that situation.” RITA masters was always in my future it was just the timing and for me, four years and two degrees later, I could not be happier.   Remember that everything you do, each step you take whether you feel like it is a step towards something or not, is a step on your path. My biggest advice is try to live your life with no regrets.  If you think it is something you could regret by not doing, just do it.  I knew that if I did not take my selfie crossing the stage during graduation then I would regret it.  What harm could come from me doing it? Well, the picture may not have come out perfect but seeing the look on the Mr. Saunders face, yes, E. Philip Saunders, the namesake of my college, was a look I will never forget.  He was cracking up and smiling and I hope will now remember me.  It may be something as little as that but those little things will add up to a lifetime of memories.  saunders college of business

The Thing I Never Thought I Would Say

Following my collegiate basketball career, I pondered how I would stay in shape without the daily practices, “optional” workouts, pickup games, weight-training, pre-season and post-season workouts and summer training.  It was really the only workout life I had known.  I had always been training for something and at the end of the season it was a weird feeling to not have another season to train for and knowing I was never going to be tested again.

It has been 2 months since the end of the season and I have learned to adapt to a different pace because as my life changes and different things fill my time I need to accept the fact that any workout, no matter how long counts.  In season we would train for hours, be on the court for two hours a day or just play pickup because we could.   But in the real world, with everything life has to offer you don’t need to train for hours on end to stay healthy. Even a half an hour workout is better than nothing.

runningBut lately I have started picking up a new habit, one I never saw coming.  Something my friends and family would never have believed if I had said it before.  I am becoming a runner.  I used to despise running.  The thought of even doing a mile made me cringe.  But what I have learned that with not having someone breathing down my neck, counting down the seconds before I have to run it again, there is something peaceful about working out for yourself.  I love waking up and starting my day with a workout.  The sense of accomplishment before your day has really started is awesome.

Now I am no marathon runner….yet…but I am enjoying running further each week.  I have found something that allows me to forget about the stress of the world and just be alone with my thoughts.  Running to a playlist of country music allows me to get lost in the stories of others for a little while.  My next goal will be to build up my mileage to run a half-marathon in under two-hours which is about a 9 minute mile on average.  Who knows, maybe someday I will work my way up to a full-marathon.

YES, I want to run a half marathon – you heard it here, I have set my next goal and something to work for.  I am planning on signing up for one at the end of August in Buffalo in the next few weeks.

starting is the challengeToday I ran 4.38 miles which is a really nice loop.  That was the distance that I had a goal for on the day and in my head that was as much as my body was going to do.  Building my mileage slowly will allow me to prevent injuries.  I also have to build up my mental strength.  I do not think physically the distance would be as bad; however, for me mentally finding the strength to keep going is going to be the challenge.  My head tends to be my own worst enemy but I know if I work on it that I can build up the ability to run the distance without my brain shutting me down.  I have already seen a difference in my mental capacity because a 2 mile run is now a short run for me and a year ago I would never have said that!

I love the freedom that running allows.  The challenge and the ability to see how far you have gone.  There is something to be said about the fact that you are always moving forward in a run.

I am not following a program now but doing what feels comfortable to me and making sure that I am pushing myself farther each week.  I am pushing my speed on my mile and a half and making sure that I add in the strength training each week; as well as cross-training on bikes and ellipticals.

I think after college has wrapped up, graduation has happened and I go on my CRUISE (yes, thanks to the boyfriend) I will start a 12 week program to officially train my body for the half-marathon.  I think that will help me stay on track and make sure I build up my mileage in the right way.

Life after collegiate athletics is definitely different but if you are a true athlete, athletics and competition will never fully leave you.  The thrill of the challenge will always be with you – it is just a little different in stye.