Sunday, December 30, 2007

...and a Happy New Year!

I hope everyone's holiday was as good as mine. There is nothing better than spending a few good days in a festive mood, laughing, eating and drinking all you want with the people you love the most. Oh yeah, and the whole "presents" thing is pretty cool too.

Since so much has happened in the last couple of weeks, and we all know how much I love making lists and taking pictures, here is the lowdown on Christmas/08.

First and foremost, the Friday before Christmas MY BROTHER CAME HOME FROM IRAQ!!!!

It was a few weeks earlier than they had planned and it made a great Christmas gift for all of us, but mostly for him, his wife and their three kids. YAY! Best gift EVA!

Here we are at Christmas, oh, about 27-28 years ago.

Then a few days before Christmas, J's parents came to visit. I am very lucky in the in-law department. They are the easiest house guests ever and we love having them around.

After driving up to stay with my parent's, we all went to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.


Here we are keeping ourselves entertained during intermission.

Can you believe all these gifts are for six adults?

We ate an impressive Christmas Eve feast. My mom makes the best Christmas Eve dinners and this one didn't disappoint. The potatoes were insane.

I got to see my Godson Hamish again on Christmas. He was sporting the spiffy new bib I got him a few weeks earlier.

He wasn't the only tired one from all the Christmas hoopla. Zero was pretty exhausted too.

Apparently I was good this year because Santa (Jeremy) treated me very well and surprised me with a shiny new Michael Kors bag!

Since I have never spent more than $75 on a purse in my life I am constantly scared I am going to accidentally drop it in a puddle of mud (even though it hasn't rained here in weeks) or spill coffee on it's shiny camel-colored skin. So I used a gift card and some extra money from a few gifts I had to return to pick up another bag. I saw this Lucky Bag before Christmas that is equally as awesome, yet much less expensive. This way, I wont ruin the first bag with my everyday klutziness. Yay, TWO new bags for Christmas!


As far as running goes, there hasn't been much of that in the past few weeks. This morning Jeremy and I went to South Beach and walked a 4 mile stretch up the boardwalk and back for a nice, fast 8 mile walk. That was the most mileage I have done since the Columbus Marathon in October.

I spent the week before Christmas going to the gym a lot. This is the one good thing about not being able to run, I have been forced to start lifting again on a regular basis which is nice and much needed. I have also been stretching a lot which has been helping a little. Of course the week of Christmas, with the inlaws coming in and driving us all up to my parents house, I got no workouts in. Unless you count uncorking countless wine bottles from our celebratory drinking and washing dishes from the 5 million times we ate as working out. Needless to say, I haven't stepped on a scale in over 2 weeks. Oh well.

The good news however is that I found out from my doctor that the MRI resulted in no lower back problems. So Friday I decided to try running a slow three miles to see how I felt. Once again at mile 2-2.5 the tightness in my leg got so bad that the knee just had no support and basically gave out. I did run a bit slower this time though and took two minute walk breaks instead of one, which helped it to be a bit less excruciating when I was done.

That afternoon I went to see a PT. She was amazing and after evaluating me told me I have a pretty badly inflamed IT band, a bit of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome and REALLY tight quad muscles that need to be stretched (which was probably causing a lot of my problems). After giving me an ultrasound and an IT band massage that almost had me crying on her table she said three things that really excited me.

1. She told me to keep running. She said I just need to go slow and stop as soon as the pain starts, three times a week, every other day. If I don't run, then start again, the pain will just come back.

2. She said it's probably easily treatable with more massage, heat and some serious stretching.

3. She said there is still a chance I could run at least the half in Miami.


I am trying not to get my hopes up too high, but we will see.

As much as I loved this woman there was one catch. She didn't take my insurance. And even with my Footworks Marathon leader discount, (she was recommended by the person who runs our running group) it was still $100 bucks a visit and she wanted to see me twice a week for at least a month. So I thanked her for making me writhe in pain, paid my hundred bucks and made an appointment for another PT this Wednesday. Hopefully, he will be as positive and as effective as this woman was and I will be out there running soon.

Until then, it's another day at the gym tomorrow and maybe a slow 2-3 mile run on New Years Day if I don't celebrate too much the night before.

Happy New Years everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

I am sure I will not be posting until after the Holidays seeing that my in-laws are already here and we will be driving out of town over the weekend to go visit my parents.

So I hope everyone has a safe and happy (insert holiday here). Enjoy the festivities, the food and drinks, and enjoy your families (even if you want to kill them- haha, it IS the holidays after all!)

And happy running, to those who are still doing that sort of thing ;)



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Madness

I think it's safe to say that I think I may finally be done with all the holiday hubapaloo. I actually came home from work last night and had no shopping to do, gifts to wrap, cookies to bake, homemade Christmas cards to design or packages to send and was confused as to how I was supposed to spend my evening.

Here is a little pictorial of the past week and a half.

Company Christmas Party at O Asian Grill.

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Notice the beer in my hand. This picture was taken on a FRIDAY night at about 10 pm on South Beach. After we left the party at 11pm, it took us (Jeremy and I) two hours to get home (accident on the bridge) and we didn't get to sleep until after 1am. We then had to wake up at 4am for our Saturday morning training run with our groups. Sixteen miles to be exact. Mind you, I am still injured, so I wasn't even running, but BIKING! Ugggghhh....

My Godson's Naming Ceremony

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I finally got to meet my little Hamish (Hay-mish), What a cutie! It was a good night with old friends. We had a blast even though we were exhausted from the night before.

Here's a picture of the proud papa! (hehe)

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(that's SCOTCH by the way...a big-ass glass of scotch)

And here I am with Wendy, one of my best friends from high school.

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When I wasn't at work, the rest of the week back pretty much looked like this...

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I suppose I have replaced my fixation with running with a case of Christmas OCD. Oh well, I needed something to keep me from feeling sorry for myself.

As far as running is concerned, I tried running twice last week. Monday, I got to mile 2.5 before my knee started to give. But this time I noticed the pain and how it worked. It it no longer an issue with tendonitis, but is something related to sciatica or something similar. It starts with a dull ache deep in the muscle ('scuse my French, in my ass), then as I run it goes down the back of my leg, causing a numbness that eventually surrounds the knee and causes the knee pain.

After walking home the last 1/2 mile of my run, sobbing from frustration and sadness, I finally decided to call my dr. and made an appointment.

I got in the next day and he seems to think it has something to do with a Lumbar Compression, blah, blah, I went and had an MRI on Saturday and am still awaiting the results. All I know now is that any dream I may have held on to about the Miami Marathon is finally gone. There is no way I am doing the full and it will be a miracle if I do the half at this point, especially since my dr. told me not to run for a bit.

I have been going to the gym, lifting weights, getting to know the elliptical again and trying to focus more energy on my abs and lower back. I have also made an effort to spend at LEAST 20 minutes stretching EVERY DAY! Of course today I was exhausted and decided to stay snuggled in bed while the winter winds (60 degrees) blew through my open bedroom windows. It's just so much harder for me to get motivated to go to a crowded, obnoxious gym than it is to run outside in the beautiful South Florida winter-ish weather.


Friday, December 07, 2007

No time for anything...

I've been a little busy lately with all the Holiday madness coming up. With making homemade Christmas cards, baking cookies, decorating, shopping, work, etc, I have had little time to think straight. I don't know why I think I am Martha F-ing Stewart sometimes.

But all in all, I enjoy it. Plus, it keeps me from thinking too much about the whole "knee issue" that wont seem to go away.

I had a couple of three mile runs last week that were fine. Then I attempted a 6 mile run last Sunday and had to stop at 4 because I could feel my right knee acting up. Then I took a couple days off and tried again on Wednesday with the exact same results. Sigh.

Needless to say, tomorrow I wont be running the 10 miles I had hoped with my group while they do 16. Looks like it will be another Saturday on the bike. The thing that really sucks about this is that my holiday party is tonight on South Beach and I wont even be able to enjoy it because, once again, I have to get up at 4am to BIKE! Ugh. Does anyone know if it's hard to coast on a bike if you are hungover?

It's an extremely busy weekend that goes a little like this:

• Tonight - Holiday Party on South Beach

• Tomorrow morning, 4am - 16 mile bike ride with group

• Come home, pack

• Drive 4 hours to Sarasota

• 4pm - Hamish's (My friends new baby) naming ceremony (non religious christening basically)

• Afta party at the Roo (a great bar in Bradenton with a ton of imports)

• Sunday morning/afternoon - looking at houses in Sarasota (looking into buying a property)

• Dinner with parents and friends from Miami

• Monday morning, wake up at the crack of dawn to drive back down to Miami (4 hours) and go STRAIGHT to work.

Ugh, I'm exhausted just typing it!

I am however, super excited to meet my new Godson Hamish (or Hamster as I like to call him).

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I also love looking at houses, so that should be fun too. Even if we don't know if we are going to buy anything.

Hopefully soon I will have a moment to stop and check up on all you guys to see how everything is going. Maybe I can even get a few miles in myself.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Day!!!

First off, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I know I did. And now I have something to truly be thankful for.

For once in my life, my utter laziness has worked in my favor. All this non-running the past 2 1/2 weeks has really helped my knees. I still have a slight pain in my left knee when I bend it back too far, but the lingering pain in them from sitting is completely gone. So after a seemingly endless hiatus, I decided to muster up the courage to try and run a slow, steady 3 miles this morning.

After about 5 minutes of running I must have looked like a crazy person. I was literally smiling so hard from the excitement of a pain-free run that I felt like my face was going to split in half. On every run I have had since the marathon (all three of them), the pain under my knees came on as soon as I was done warming up and by 2 minutes was full throttle. This time, that burning pain in my tendons was nowhere to be found. I did feel a little sluggish and had a little bit of discomfortin the left knee but I think it was because my legs were rusty from all inactivity, wine drinking and eating this past month.The best part of all though, was afterwards there was no pain whatsoever, even later as I sat at my desk all day. This is a pretty good sign.

So without getting too overzealous, I am cautiously jumping back into the running pool. I am going to try another 3 miles tomorrow and on Saturday, while my training group is doing 14 miles, if I feel O.K. I will attempt to run at least 6 with them and then finish on the bike. If my knees cooperate, I need to start getting my mileage up so I can catch up with the group and our schedule. Otherwise, my laziness and inactivity will keep me out of the Miami Marathon, not my knees.

Other than that, I have finally put up the trees and decorations.

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I even have most of my Christmas shopping done. Now if I could get to wrapping gifts, making cards (I don't know why I feel like just because I do graphic design I need to design our own cards), and making Christmas cookies I may be able to relax enough to enjoy the holidays this year.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

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Good luck to everyone during their Turkey Trots!!!
Run, eat, drink and be merry!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Long Lost Me.

So, I haven't been around much this past week or two. Between not running and the impending holidays, I haven't been thinking about blogging too much. However, my solemn vow is to spend some time this weekend at my parents house on the couch with the laptop, stuffed from Turkey and Pumpkin Pie, catching up on all you running nerds. I miss my pals. :)

So things have been OK. I have spent the past week walking Zero and getting to the gym a couple of times to lift and work out on the elliptical. Nothing too exciting. Saturday morning was my Miami Marathon training group's first 20 mile run of the year. Since, there was no way I could run it, I decided to borrow a friends bike and ride along with them. It sounded like a great idea until:

A) I had to get up at 3:15am to NOT run.

B) I had to spend over FOUR hours COASTING on a bike.

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My ass/crotchal region is still recovering three days later.

I am still glad I went though. I think it was good for me to get up and still be a part of it so that I just don't sit around and feel sorry for myself. Also, the weather was so nice Saturday morning, I actually had to wear a jacket the entire time. That's pretty much unheard of around these parts.

At the 10 mile turnaround we all gathered for a group picture that came out great considering we huddled together in about 3 seconds to get the shot. I'm third from the left on top :)

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Other than that, things are good. My knees are feeling better every day, but they are still a bit sore and tender. The most random things hurt them, like when I tried to do crunches on a stability ball yesterday. It was murder! So strange. The good news is it gave me a great excuse to not do crunches.

I am hoping with another week of rest, ice and Motrin, they will be better soon. Hopefully.

In other news, I have been tagged by POM and Leana to post 5 random facts about myself. There are hundreds of thousands of weird,random facts about myself, but I will try to keep it brief.

Fact number 1:
I worked as a bartender/server/manager in the service industry for ten LONG years. Every time I go out to eat, I thank my lucky stars I went back and got my degree.

Fact numero dos:
I, much like POM went through a "dark" phase in high school. I wore all black and about 30 cross necklaces, had REALLY big hair, listened to only metal music (mostly Metallica, Iron Maiden and Anthrax) smoked ALOT of this and that and had a pretty bad attitude in general.

Here I am at 15, smoking in the girls bathroom in high school. Lock up your sons!
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From here I went through my "alternative" phase, my "grunge" phase, and my "hippy" phase, with better and broader music following me every step of the way.

Here I am at 22, living in Athens, Ohio.
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I think I never realized who I was for real until I was about 24 years old. Which is just a normal person with really good taste in music from all her different phases.

Fascinating Fact number 3:
Goat Cheese sucks! Yes, that is a fact.

Fact Four:
If I hold open a door for you and you just walk through it without either grabbing it from me or saying "Thank You" I WILL say something mean to you. You can blame my living in Miami for my increasingly thinning patience with bad manners.

Final Fact (5):
I quit smoking last year after a 16 year habit. It really makes the whole running this easier.

Next up (forgive me if you've already been tagged):

1. Taryn (when she's back)
2. Sonia
3. Micki
4. Irish Blue
5. Leah

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Yeah, I suppose my good luck had to end sooner or later.

The good news is my flu left almost as quickly and mysteriously as it had appeared. I was sick as a dog from Saturday to Wednesday. It hit me all at once and just stayed bad.

Until I woke up on Thursday and I was magically cured.

I felt great. I still had a slight sniffle, but my head was no longer congested and I had no cough at all. I was so excited to get out there and run on Saturday with my group I couldn't even stand it. We had a 16 mile run scheduled and since I had only run a total of 4 miles since the marathon, I decided to meet them at their 10 mile mark and run in a conservative 6 miles with them at the end.

"Six miles is nothing", I thought. "My flu is gone, and my knees only have a slight dull ache after I sit for a few hours, nothing to worry about", I told myself.

I'm sure you can detect my ominous foreshadowing.

So I ran. Not fast, but a nice, easy pace with walk breaks. The last mile, I fell to the back (way back) with another in my group that was having some issues. I wasn't tired or having any ill affects of the flu, but my aching, throbbing, fire-ridden knees!

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By the time I was done I could barely walk. We went to breakfast with a large group and as I sat, I couldn't even lift my legs. When I went back to pick up my car later from the 10 mile mark, I could barely drive. Yes, it hurt to lift my legs from the gas to the break pedal. Thank God I got rid of my stick-shift last year!

My friend Kevin who is not a medical doctor, but has his PhD in Exercise Physiology talked to me and told me it sounds like Patellar Tendonitis. Of course I need to get checked out to make sure, but after doing a bit of research on my own, it's word for word how I feel. Unfortunately, the first treatment is to STOP ALL RUNNING. Then ice, ice some more and to not run some more.

As we all know, it is pretty hard to train for a marathon without running.

I know I should be happy with my first marathon. I did one and it was great and blah, blah, blah. But I really want to do Miami as well. AND I was looking forward to the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and the Sarasota Half Marathon in March. I had this whole grand plan about the next 6 months of my life and this has totally threw me for a loop.

Not to mention I can't work out right now (since I can barely walk) and this makes being a part of POM's weight loss challenge a bit difficult. I have officially GAINED 4lbs since the marathon.


And then there is the weather. The beautiful, wonderful, HUMIDITY FREE weather is FINALLY HERE!!!!! What I wouldn't do to be out there running in this awesomeness! Damn you evil Miami and your summer devil weather!

The good news is, I have a plan. Half-assed, but a plan nonetheless.

I have started getting up in the mornings and walking my dog for at least 30 minutes. If I can't run, at least we both will get a little exercise by patrolling the neighborhood in the A.M. This is good for her since the time change makes it hard to walk her at night. Not so good for me since she is 12 years old and walks like a 90 year old woman. Oh, and she stops to sniff EVERY THREE STEPS!!! But whatever, it is nice to hang out with her outside in the mornings.

I also have this whole group leader thing to worry about. Saturday is their first 20 miler and instead of running it, I plan on borrowing a bike and riding with them. We have two other leaders in the group, so I could just skip it, but I feel being out here with them doing something will help me from sitting at home and feeling sorry for myself. It will also keep me from staying up late and eating/drinking on Friday nights, which will help me from gaining more weight (beer and pizza are my downfalls).

Along with that, I am still making it to the gym in the mornings a couple days a week to lift with Jeremy and soon, my knees will feel better enough so I can use the elliptical again.

So my plan is to not run for at LEAST three weeks. Do NOTHING that aggravates my knees in any way. Then on December 3 I will go out for a 1-2 mile run (with walk breaks) and see how I feel. If I'm OK, I will work my way back up. If it still hurts, I am totally screwed and need to make a doctors appointment because I have probably really messed something up. For now it's rest and ice packs on the knees every 2 hours. Plus Motrin. Oh how I love Mortin. Who needs stomach lining anyway? Maybe without it, I will stop stuffing my face with beer and pizza.

Unfortunately, I will more than likely not be able to do the full marathon in Miami. If I feel good in a few weeks, I can maybe attempt the half, but if I feel any pain at all, I wont do it. it's just not worth it to me for this much pain. Of course, I could try the half in Miami and the full in Sarasota, but I don't even want to get worked up about that just in case.

Cinderella (the band not the princess) wasn't kidding. You really do not know what you've got until it's gone.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


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I feel like crap.

I know I should be thankful that this sudden case of the flu came on this week and not two weeks ago (and I am), but it still sucks. I feel like crap.

Did I already mention that?

Unfortunately, the flu is not the only thing keeping me down these past couple of weeks. It seems that running 26.2 miles was a little bit too much on the old knees. I guess that's what happens when you have chicken legs from the knees down. Anyway, I have developed a case of Runner's Knee in BOTH knees which has prevented me from jumping back into the swing of things for my Miami Marathon Training program. It's frustrating for two reasons.

1. Everyone else I ran with feels great.

This is awesome for them, however it's killing me that everyone is out there running 13 miles and I can barely get through one. It hurts to know I felt so good during training and the marathon and now I am injured.

2. The weather is incredible right now!!!

I have been waiting MONTHS for this weather to get here. I have been running in 85+ degrees and 80+humidity in the DARK since MAY just reassuring myself that even though the summers here SUCK, the fall/winters more than make up for it. So here it is, the first cold front of the year. The highs are in the low, low 80's, humidity in the low 70's and it's AMAZING! And here I sit in my house, for the FOURTH day in a ROW, watching people run by my house.

Yes, I am totally feeling sorry for myself, I know.

I did get to the gym a couple of times last week. I lifted a couple of times and rode the elliptical once, which only bothered my knees at the end of the 40 minute workout. Then last Thursday I woke up early for a slow 3 mile run, ran for about 7 minutes, then turned around and ran back home. My knees just weren't ready.

Then Saturday, my Miami Training group had a 13 mile run scheduled. I decided just to run the first three since I still wasn't sure. It was O.K. but definitely still hurt. And the rest of the day my knees were killing me.

Then I got sick.

So since then, I have been sitting on my couch, drinking Thera Flu, blowing my nose, icing my knees and popping ibuprofen. Nothin' but a party around here. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Race Pictures!!

Here are the exciting race photos courtesy of (obviously). Stupid watermark.

There are a ton. I guess that's what happens when you stay to the side to do walk breaks, you get in every picture!

This is towards the start as you can see by the big-ass grin on my face.
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This is what happens to your shirt when you try to run through a water stop.
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Still looking pretty happy...
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Flat course, my ass.
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Here we go, now we are getting more accurate.
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Look at how fast I am pretending to be!
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This is the ONE picture I wish would have come out well (in front of Ohio Stadium on campus). Of course, we were taking a walk break!
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This is the very last stretch to the finish (The part where I was crying like a big-baby!)
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Not the best finishing picture. These girls in front of us stopped as soon as they crossed and we almost crashed into them.
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Here is my proof that I finished. Get it?!?! "PROOF"!?!? Hehe, that joke never gets old.
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Check out some more pictures of our trip to Columbus here. Including the marathon, our B&B in German Village, the OSU tailgate and various other spots of Columbus. Enjoy!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Columbus Marathon (Part 2)

I woke up early, refreshed and surprisingly not stressed.

And like a gift from God, my knee felt a million times better. The ache was still there, but much less threatening. And when I jogged back and forth across the hotel room, I couldn't feel the ache at all. I held my breath and said a prayer that after 20 miles of pounding, I still wouldn't feel it.

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We met Kevin and Marissa in the lobby. I peed for the 15th time, and then we headed outside. I have to say, our hotel was perfect. It was only like a hundred bucks (I'm used to Miami prices) and it was a HUGE suite, very clean, comfortable, had a great view of the river and was RIGHT in front of the start of the race.

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So close in fact, that when J decided he needed to use the bathroom before the start, instead of the port-o-potty (about 5 people deep, not too bad), he instead went to the hotel to our room on the 7th floor.

I of course had to pee again since 15 times is obviously not enough. The lines closer to the start were miraculously short and I will say this about the Columbus Marathon. Those port-o-potties has T.P. ALL DAY LONG! I don't know how they did it, but it was awesome.

As we waited for the gun to go off, I felt really calm and happy. It was chilly, but the weather was going to end up in the mid-70's so I knew it was going to be warm. I tossed off my long sleeve and felt great knowing that I wasn't going to be soaked in sweat in 30 minutes.

The gun went off (of course I never hear it) and we shuffled our way to the mat. Once we hit the mat, we instantly had room to run. They capped the registration at 10,000 and it made for a nice race. Not too big, not too small.

The course was amazing. We started out on E. Broad which is lined with countless amazing, old churches. This part of the race was filled with laughter, smiles, hope and adrenaline. I felt great and so did everyone around me. Kevin and Marissa were right behind us for the first few miles. We all did our first few walk breaks together, making each other take them, clearing our way off to the side, making sure we walked fast and single file, But as the miles went on, we wished each other well, and Jeremy and I were off.

Next we ran through Bexley's orange and red tree-lined streets. The fall leaves popped brightly against the deep blue sky and the air was still crisp but comfortable.

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The homes in this hood were out of control and Jeremy and I were quick to realize that we had no business being in this neighborhood when we were living in Columbus, which is why we didn't recognize it. It seemed as though every 10 seconds you would hear someone say "Holy shit, look at that house!" or "Wow, look at that beautiful park!". It definitely kept the mind off running for awhile as we contemplated how much a house that size would cost in Miami and why exactly we moved again.

It was also nice how everyone in the neighborhood seemed to come out to sit on their lawn (big-ass lawn) with their kids and their dogs and cheer us on. It was like people were tailgating the marathon! I loved it and it kept the smile on my face for miles. People in Columbus are so damn friendly!

I took my first GU at mile 5 and subsequently at 10,15 and 20. Since I wasn't carrying water I realized the easiest way to take it was to open the pouch when I saw water up ahead and take the GU as I was running. Then I could walk through water and wash it down. It worked out really well and I did a good job of taking fluids at every stop and mixing my Gatorade and water at every other stop.

The only bad thing about stopping for water while doing walk breaks is that sometimes we would finish a walk break and there would be water about 20 yards ahead. So, sometimes our walk breaks ended up a little long which made for some weird splits that were all over the place.

Soon we ran through picturesque German Village which was awesome.

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They had some great bands playing in the streets and there was still a lot of crowd support. Then we turned for our 5 mile trek up High Street. A lot of people said that this was the hardest part for them (including J) but I loved it. High Street was fun because you get to see so many different pockets of Columbus. First we ran by the Brewery District, then as we got closer to downtown, the half-marathoners were finishing their race. This was great for about 5 minutes as we heard the rush of the crowd cheering "ALMOST DONE!", until we realized they aren't talking to us. Next thing you know, it was suddenly quiet, much less congested and the race was finally starting to begin.

I should say that it was about at this point where I first felt myself getting tired, although it was short lived and faded fast. I got my head straight and soon felt fine.

I also noticed that I really didn't even start sweating till about mile 10. And it wasn't so much a sweat as it was a light perspiration. In Miami, my clothes are SOAKED by mile three. The only reason I was soaked in Columbus was from Gatorade sloshed on the front of my shirt.

Next on High we ran by our old gym.

Eight years ago, after Jeremy and I started dating we both suddenly gained a lot of weight (like most new couples do).When I say a lot, I don't mean like 10 lbs. J was about 60 lbs heavier than he is now and I was about 20. Six months later after seeing some Christmas pictures of ourselves, we'd had enough and decided to do something about it. We joined this gym in downtown Columbus which was a huge feat for me since I had never worked out a day in my life. The first day we were there, after we lifted, Jeremy told me to walk for 20 minutes on the treadmill. I remember barely being able to get through those 20 minutes. The treadmills faced a wall of windows that looked down over High Street and I remember staring down at the Statehouse and thinking I would never finish. When I was done, I was so out of breath and red that it looked as though I had run a 10K. Three months later and 15 lbs thinner walking wasn't keeping me entertained enough and I decided to attempt the one thing I always said I would try but never did, running. I got on that treadmill and ran (with walk breaks) for 20 minutes. It was one of the proudest days of my life.

So here I am with Jeremy running past that old gym, looking up at the wall of windows and seeing the treadmills lined up where it all began. I wouldn't have bet a cent back then that one day I would run a marathon past that building.

An emotional moment to say the least.

We continued up High Street. We passed the Short North and all our old, favorite bars.

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We passed the Ohio State Campus and marveled at all the shiny new buildings that had replaced the old run down nightclubs. We passed the Newport Music Hall where we went on one of our first dates to see Ben Folds Five.

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And as the neighborhood progressively started to get more shady and run down, we passed Hudson Street, the street where we first lived together. Yes indeed we agreed, we had come a long way.

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As we turned off High Street around mile 17 I was still feeling pretty good. I was tired but not dead. I do remember trying to scratch the back of one leg with the other during a walk break and realizing that my legs were really heavy and my quads were tighter than normal. I commented to Jeremy that it was funny how training in Miami was more a test of endurance since it is so hard to breathe in the heat and humidity, but my legs are ALWAYS warmed up, so they never hurt. But in Ohio I wasn't struggling with my endurance at all but my legs were noticeably sore.

Then we hit Upper Arlington.

Now, everyone had been telling these tales about how flat Columbus is. These people are liars. Of course after living in a place where the highest training hill is 80 feet above sea level, a pancake seems hilly to me. As soon as we got into Upper Arlington we hit a little hill I wasn't prepared for. I mean, we weren't running in San Francisco or anything, but it was gradual and long. We ran it though, as we did every other hill we encountered after that and we didn't walk once. I was pretty proud of this fact especially since we were the ONLY ones running up the first hill. The hill part was OK, but recovering from it was harder than I thought. It kicked my ass and took me about a mile to get my mind and body focused again. This is when I started to get tired, but no matter how hard it was, it still wasn't as bad as my first 20 mile run in Miami in August. I knew I was well prepared for feeling tired and out of it.

The next few miles were kind of a daze. The energy would come to me in waves. I remember running along the outskirts of campus along open fields and it being a pretty boring part of the course. I remember some guy blasting "All That Jazz" from a speaker in his front yard while dancing around. I remember high-fiving little kids as they lined up in the streets, I remember yelling "GO TRIBE" to a lady in a Cleveland Indians Jacket and she replied,

"Go Tribe? GO YOU!".

I remember being exhausted one minute, then focusing on a runner in front of me and going into a complete zone for about another mile. I felt like I could go on forever. Then a few moments later, the wave would crest and I was once again exhausted.

Then I remember crying.

As we ran along Lane Avenue around mile 22 some lady yelled out something encouraging, I don't even remember what it was, but I got really emotional. All the sudden the weight of what I was doing came crashing down on me and I literally felt like I was choking on my emotions. The tears started to flow.

J: "Um what are you doing?"

Me: "I don't know, I just got really emotional all the sudden."

J: "You can't get emotional at mile 22!!! Suck it up lady, we got a job to do!"

This is why I training with J is so good for me. Mr. Common Sense is there to remind me that there's no crying in RUNNING! And sometimes, that's just what I need to hear.

I sucked it up. We kept going. We ran though campus, but it was mostly a blur. We then turned down Neil Ave to run through the Victorian Village and I hit another zone and sped it up a bit. Then, after we took our last water stop and I downed some Gatorade at Mile 25, we took off.

As we turned up to Goodale Park, the crowds suddenly swelled. The cheers got louder and seemed to surround me. As I passed spectators I remember looking them in the eye as they screamed to me "You look strong, keep going!" I tried to thank them but only a muffled grunt came from my mouth as I ran by. I started feeling nervous from the crowds and all the emotions that were building inside of me. The sounds, the cheers, the runners, the sun on my face, it was all too much and I suddenly felt like I was going to throw up. I asked Jeremy where our walk break was and he said,

"Oh, you wanted to take another one?"

I could barely utter the word "yes" as I slowed to a walk. It seemed as though everyone left in the race was suddenly running by us as we passed the last 1/2 mile mark. Jeremy urged me to not leave it on the course when we were so close to being done. I was strong, he said. I was going to beat my time goal. Then after I got mad at myself for waiting till the last possible moment to get tired, (I mean really, who runs 25.5 miles of a marathon and then stops?) I collected myself and with a final "O.K" we were off.

We turned the final bend to the finish line that was (thank God) downhill! As we passed all the cheering spectators my emotions/weariness got the best of me and I started sobbing uncontrollably. I really don't remember anything about this last stretch except me crying, the roar and blur of the crowd and Jeremy grabbing my hand and raising it up as we crossed the finish line. As we slowed down to stop I grabbed him around his waist and he held me as I cried like a baby. A medic actually came over to us and asked Jeremy if I was OK.

"Yes" he assured him with a slight chuckle, "She's fine."

Next thing I knew, he led me to have my chip cut off (still crying). Suddenly a kind lady was hanging a marathon medal around my neck and congratulating me on my achievement. I don't remember seeing her, but the warm-hearted tenderness of her voice made me cry even harder.

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After I composed myself and we made our way through the lines. I grabbed some food, but that last thing I I could do was eat. I nibbled on a few things, drank a ton of Gatorade and hobbled our way to the sidelines to check out our splits.

1. 10:57 (not bad for a start)
2. 10:45
3. 10:48
4. 11:07 (keeping it slow early on)
5. 10:38
6. 10:22
7. 10:11
8. 10:37
9. 10:30 (right on pace)
10. 9:56 (getting a little excited)
11. 10:48
12. 10:36
13. 10:34
14. 10:08
15. 10:48
16. 10:43
17. 10:34
18. 10:13 (Jeremy keeps trying to reel me in)
19. 10.31
20. 11.01
21. 10:33
22. 10:20 (crybaby)
23. 10:43
24. 11:09 ( a long stop with water)
25. 10:40 (felt good this mile)
26. 9:49 (no wonder I wanted to throw up)
.2. 1.45

Our pace was right on and I ran a negative split by less than a minute! Not bad for marathon number one.

Then we watched as Kevin and Marissa came in. Kevin ran it with her as well and she knocked a whole 30 MINUTES off her time from her first marathon! She's my hero!

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The rest of the day was filled with Marathon stories, hobbling around (my knees are still recovering 7 days later), big juicy Mushroom Swiss Burgers and Scottish Ale at Barley's Brewery (the brewpub where J and I met when we both worked there 9 years ago).

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And like the dork I am, I fell asleep on our bed with my medal still draped around my weary little neck.


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