Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reunions, The Healthy Kidney 10K, and the First Members of the HONOR ROLL 2009

I wanted to keep my previous post up as long as possible, but there's just too much to talk about. Rest assured, I'll be reminding y'all over and over again that I am running the marathon for Fred's Team, trying to raise money for the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research, and doing it in honor of Liam Witt. Oh, wait a minute. I just did. So please, click here, or on the link to the right of the page, and make a donation to my marathon effort for this very amazing little boy and this very worthy cause.

Speaking of which, at long last are the very first inductees to the FRED'S TEAM HONOR ROLL!
Let's hear it for
whose support of my efforts has been unwavering every year.

This brings our first tally going to the Aubrey Fund to a good start --


Let's try to get to the halfway mark -- $1800 --by the end of June, whaddya say? Please send my blog link to anyone who you think might be willing to support pediatric cancer research and celebrate the life of a remarkable little boy who's beating the odds thanks to the Aubrey Fund. Or if they just want to throw in a few ducats to make sure that the ridiculous sight of me huffing and puffing my way through 12 Cat Hill repeats in August is one we all continue to enjoy.

Before we get to the running stuff, a few weeks ago I attended the reunion of my old summer camp. When I was in high school, I attended Camp Ballibay, a theater and performing arts camp located in Camptown, PA. Back in the day, I had aspirations of being on stage instead of backstage. Anyways, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Not that I was any great shakes as a performer, I was not, but it didn't matter. It was just all so much fun, and the friends I made there were some of the strongest friendships I had ever made. Unfortunately, distance and life get in the way, and we all drifted apart. Twenty-five years later, enter Facebook. One day I get a message from Frazier Sinkler, my friend Paige's younger brother, and the next thing I know, we're all back in touch and a reunion is in the works. About 30 of us attended, and there's no word in the English language to express how good it felt to see everyone again. It was as if no time at all had passed between us, except that every conversation started with, "So what have you been up to for the last 25 years?" Folks sent Frazier all their pictures from camp years, and he put together a slide show with, I'd guess, about a thousand photos. Every single one of them brought back good memories. I have a few of them, and if I get less lazy I will post them, so you can see what a few years and a good haircut can do.

I can't tell you how grateful I am to have everyone back in my life again.

On Saturday I did the Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park. Somewhat ironic, I thought, to do a 10K celebrating kidneys when I'm recovering from my first bladder infection of the season. How did this happen? Well, I know how it happened, but why so darn soon? Usually it waits until mid-way through the season. I'm hoping this isn't a preview of coming attractions.

It was very strange weather in the Park -- if it's possible to be both cold and hot, it was. Not to mention super-humid, my nemesis. Went over to the baggage check to see if any of my Teammies were lurking, and saw Kal. Kal is amazing. He's one of those people who goes, "I'm free this weekend. Think I'll run a marathon. " And he does. Kal and another Teammate, Tom, ran the -- hold onto your hats -- NORTH POLE MARATHON. Yes, there is such a thing. Who knew? Well, he did, because he ran it. Or, should I say "ran" it, because, as he said, after a while it just becomes a death march. He finished in just over 7 hours, this from a man who normally runs in the 3-hour range. My favorite quote from the press release about the marathon is this, about the womens race: "Pushpa Chandra of Canada edged out Great Britain’s Daniela Spiridigliozzi in the closing stages to win in a time of 7:27:31." Edged out? At seven-plus hours, there is no "edge."

The course: a full clockwise loop and change of the Park, ending at Tavern on the Green and the marathon finish line.

I was not shooting for a time. I knew I would be under an hour, the question was, how much? I have done zero speed work all winter. Just some hill work, and trying to get my endurance up. I figured Jeff will kick my arse with the speed work once Team training starts up in a few weeks. My endurance levels have been funky these past couple of weeks -- one day, a ten-miler is a breeze, another day I can barely do four. I don't know what this means. Part of it could be that my training has been inconsistent -- with the new steno stuff going on, I haven't been able to settle into a training routine. I'm also not sleeping as much as I should. And, you know, I'm a woman of a certain age. Things are, let's say, happening.

That being said, I have been a little more consistent these past two weeks, and stepped up my mileage a bit, so I'm hoping that what it is, is that I'm wavering on the edge of a breakthrough in endurance, and that's why it's so weird. Fingers crossed.

Just as the starting gun goes off, it starts raining. It was a cold rain, and it felt great, even though I hate rain in my eyes, and was wishing I had worn a hat or visor. It rained for maybe the first 15-20 minutes. Once it stopped, Central Park once again became Central Swamp, but the weather was so odd, I couldn't tell if it was cold and hot. And the strangest thing happened -- midway through the Great Hill (the one on the northern end of the Park) is a water stop. Right after the water stop, I could see my breath. I guess it was the combo of the cold water and the humidity, but I've never had that happen before. That's all we talked about the rest of the way up the hill.

I may be slow, but for some reason, I've always been pretty good at hills. At least that's what I tell myself. They don't wear me out as much as I think they should. Even though I dread them, I look at them as a challenge to overcome. That helps. A friend who is training for an ultra says to shorten your stride and slow down a little, that helps you get up hills with less effort. I don't know what I do, but I'll try that next time and see if there's a difference.

The last mile or so was a slog, just because of the humidity. I also started feeling hungry, which I hate. I didn't have my usual bagel and banana breakfast, I had bread and banana. Could that have really affected me? I'll never mess with the winning formula again!!

Crossed the line in 56:43. Not bad, but not my best time, by a longshot. I would have liked to be more in the 55 minute range. Soon, I hope! I'm really pinning a lot on training. I really want to break 4:00 this year.

Made plans with some Teammates for meeting up at the Tuesday Wall Street Run (that's today) and went home. As I walked back home, along the last half-mile of the route, I stopped to see if I could spot any stray Teammates, or my friend Cris. And lo and behold, there was Abby!! Abby had to sit out last year's marathon, she fractured her hip during training. We started the Team together, and were at about the same speed that first year. The thing about Abby is, no matter how tough the workout is, she's smiling all the way through it (That's why MSKCC uses her picture in Fred's Team ads. I just look like a sweaty freak.) This was her second race of the season, she had just begun training again. She was exhausted, but nonetheless -- smiling!! I jumped back on the course and ran with her to the finish line. It's so great to see her again, and on the road, too. Hooray!!

No work today, heading down to the World Financial Center to pick up my stuff for tonight's race.

More anon, including the first NYC Running Bloggers Meet-up, the Wall Street Run, and this year, I promise, CONTESTS!!

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