Monday, April 30, 2012

The 'it' factor



To start, I have to congratulate my younger sister, Bri, on not only completing her first half marathon (The Illinois Half) but completely rocking it. She came in at 1:54, a solid 8:45 pace. Coming off the heels of a wild spring break, and working two jobs, that’s pretty damn impressive.

Run Bri Run!
Transitioning into the topic of this post… that right there is why I’m in love with running.

I’ve voiced this before; I’m well aware that I jumped on the running bandwagon. That it’s more recently become ‘cool’, that races are filling up in record times, and more and more options for racing are popping up across the country.  Similar to yoga, it’s safe to say running is definitely trending in the fitness world right now.

But why has it so quickly stolen my heart? Keep in mind; it was only 2 years ago that I ran my first half marathon. And shortly after crossing that finish line, I turned to Andrew and said “There’s no way in hell I could turn around and run another 13.1. I don’t know how people do that.”

But where there’s a will, there’s a way. That’s why I love it. Because almost anyone, of any height, size, weight, and age can complete a race if there's desire behind it. There’s a curiosity factor that comes with it too; the very reason I ran my first marathon. I didn't get why people were doing it, and I was curious to test my own limits. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.


Of course, there is always some kind of training involved. But usually once you’ve slapped down the money for the race entry fee, that’s enough to keep you motivated to put in the miles for the week. So why am I ranting about this? Because I honestly think it’s beautiful. Just recently my office put together 3 teams of 4 who are going to be running in the Baltimore Running Fest (the marathon relay) this fall. The team’s currently consist of people ranging from experienced runners, to people who haven’t run further than the mile required in gym class. But people are willing to try. 

Anyways, there’s my rant for the day. If you’re reading this post and laughing at it, sorry I'm not sorry. It’s what I believe. You can do it. Sounds cheesy, but you can. It’s an experience I think anyone who is curious about, or has any kind of desire, should try. And believe me, I get it, some people just don't want to. And that's fine too. Everyone has their different passions, whatever they may be. Just find something.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chances are...


Yesterday, at 12 p.m., was the ING New York City Marathon lottery.

As many of you know, Andrew and I both had put our names in, without much thought behind it. According to the website, there is an 8-12% chance of getting selected, due to high volumes of applicants. Apparently in 2011, about 140,000 people entered the lottery.

By 1 p.m., neither of us had received emails, and kind of dismissed the thought. In my mind, I consoled myself by saying, "I really can't afford it right now anyways." Jokes on me.

Near the end of the day, when I was checking my banks accounts, I noticed a pending $255 dollar charge on my credit card, from the New York City Marathon. Following this discovery, I logged into my New York Road Runners account and glanced at my status:

Marathon registration status: Accepted 
Entry number: 967831 

Apparently I have a marathon to run this fall.

See you November 4th New York City. 

Couldn't be more pumped.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My weekend retreat

This weekend was extremely uneventful. And I loved it. With Andrew out of town Friday and Saturday night, I took the time to catch up on a lot of things. From grocery shopping to toe nail painting, I essentially ‘pampered’ myself.

 Post-Boston I took four days off from working out. It was the longest time off in, do I dare say, years? Yes, most likely since high school. It felt good though, and was definitely needed. Sunday I went for a short 4 mile run, yet the rain and the cold made it less enjoyable than I had hoped for. Wasn’t too psyched to have to pull out my running gloves either, as I thought for sure those had been packed away from the next 6 months or so.

Brrrr

Another lame highlight of my weekend was Sunday at church. Church itself was great, but what made my day in particular was seeing another man, wearing this:


I was actually wearing mine as well at the time. From what I understand most runners buy them at the expo, and each year has its own color so that you can easily spot other runners from your year. I saw an older man wearing his at church, and got super excited. My first impulse was to walk up to him and offer him a fist pound, but I realized that may have been overkill.

Alright, last item. I’m super pumped to announce that my blog is officially a member of Healthy Living Blogs (see the badge up there on the top right?!) I joined not only to gain my blog a bit of publicity, but to help keep myself on track with my posts, and the direction that I want my blog to grow. Healthy living/well-being is an area I LOVE learning about, as well as sharing with others about. This is why I plan to add a smoothie/oatmeal section on my blog, which will be updated with a new recipe once or twice a week. Smoothies and oatmeal are staples in my diet, as I eat both of these meal items on an almost daily basis, and like to think I have a few recipes up my sleeve.

More to come on that though. My bed's calling my name. Sweet dreams!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Post Race Blues

It's funny really. I have been warned multiple times and I've read all of the articles about it. I have even heard stories from other runners. Marathons trash your immune system. Wear it down to just about nothing, making you extremely vulnerable to illness the week or so following your race. 

Had to share this one, love the water dripping off.

I guess that would explain the simultaneous development of pink eye and the flu.

Eating like crap the past two days didn't help I'm sure, as my lunch on Tuesday literally consisted of frozen yogurt and a soft cinnamon-sugar pretzel. Yea, that's right... take the term 'indulge' to a whole different level.

Praise the Lord for a job that lets me work from home. So, after a night in front of the toilet, my day today consisted of laying in bed, Gatorade in hand, and laptop on lap. For how crappy I felt, I was still an impressively productive worker.

Today marks day 3 of re-cooperating. Coming down with the flu has really thrown me for a loop, because I felt like I got hit by a bus for most of the day. Yet as I finish off a piece of dry toast and start pumping the fluids back in a bit more aggressively, I can feel my body thanking me. I'm confident that tomorrow, day 4, will provide massive improvement in the soreness/tiredness. Day 4 will also be the last of my rest days.

Because of course, I already miss running. I already long for something new to train for; a new challenge in short. I don’t like not having long runs scheduled on weekends, or races to countdown to.  That's why it was a delightful surprise yesterday when Andrew agreed that we should enter the New York Marathon lottery.

That's right, he said we.

While the chances of actually getting randomly selected for the race are slim (about 10%) it's still something to look forward to. The drawing is this coming Monday, so I'll give you the update then. It's a November race. If we don't get in, I'm still debating if I want to pursue another full in the fall, or stick to halfs for awhile. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The 116th Boston Marathon: Recap

I know I was very public about this yesterday, but I’m going to voice this one more time. Boston, I love you.

This may ramble on, and I don't apologize if it does.

packet pickup!

When I started receiving more heat warning emails from the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A) on Saturday morning, urging runners to reconsider racing, I knew that goals 1-3 that I shared with you on Friday were out the window. As many of you may have heard, the B.A.A gave all runners the option to defer to running the 2013 race instead, due to heat. From what I understand, only around 400 runners ended up deferring. 

As I approached the starting line at 10:20 AM yesterday morning, I had no idea what to expect. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, temperatures were rapidly approaching 80 degrees, and I was already sweating. I hadn’t even started running yet. I knew I had to be smart, and for the first race of my life I couldn’t push my limits. Because as the B.A.A eloquently phrased it in their warning emails, “Speed kills.”

Yet, as I've said in the past, I don’t like doing things without a goal in mind. So as I started off the first few miles holding a sub-8 and knowing it wasn’t going to last, I started to reformulate my plan.




My #1 goal was to finish. From the 10k marker and on, runners were dropping like flies. Seeing runner after runner on stretchers on the side of the course, or suddenly stopping in the middle of the road with dazed looks in their eyes was enough to instill a large amount of fear in me. A fear that kept me drinking either water or Gatorade about every half mile, and snatching about every orange slice I saw being offered from fans. According to the Washington Post, about 2100 runners were treated at some point for heat related injuries. From what I saw, that seems about right.

Goal #2 was simple: keep running. I didn't want to walk. I realized about halfway through it was unreasonable to set a pace goal, as I was only getting slower. So I simply said to myself ‘Just keep swimming.’  Paces dropped super low, at one point to low 9 min. miles at both the infamous Heartbreak Hill and mile 25. But I never stopped. And I’m so proud to be able to say that. 


About 1 mile out from the finish, I formed my final goal. I glanced at my sweaty watch and realized I could reasonably stay within the 3:30’s. So as I turned the final corner and the finish line was finally in sight, I hauled ass (which to fans probably looked like a half limp/half skip) to make it under that banner with 40 seconds to spare. An official email from the B.A.A confirmed the below stats this afternoon.


Kaitlyn M. Comiskey
Net Time3:39:20
Overall4464/21554
In Gender818/8966
In Division653/4580

Hugging it out with the sis


The crowd, the city, the people, the drunken students; they made that race. Literally EVERY curbside of EVERY mile of the course was lined with people. Cheering me on like I was their hero. Saying the nicest things in the world, although they had no idea who I was. I took off my headphones and gave them to Andrew at the 10k mark, realizing about 2 miles in that it wasn’t the music I wanted to listen to, it was the people. I had my name written on my arm (as many runners did) so that fans could cheer me on by name; it was probably one of the best decisions I made all day. One woman screamed from her driveway (most likely intoxicated) “I am SO proud of you and I don’t even know you!” I also had the blessing of passing Team Hoyt on the course; a father who has pushed his son in his wheelchair in over 1,000 different races across the country. If you haven't heard of them, check them out here.


Even at the end, even at mile 22 when I started the steep decline from heartbreak hill, I couldn’t help but smile at the drunken students yelling hilarious encouragement. Signs simply reading “You are f*cking awesome” gave me chills in the midst of the 85 degree heat. There wasn’t even a need for water stands, as every other driveway and corner had local residents handing out their own water cups, lemonade, Gatorade. Orange slices, popsicles, salt, bags of of ice. Wet sponges, towels, and sprinklers were in no shortage, and many residents even had their hoses dragged down to the streets. Kids stood with spray bottles and handfuls of candy. Students offered beer, free kisses, and high fives. Local authorities of several towns opened up the fire hydrants, and the spouting ice cold water was more than welcomed. Two fire departments also set up cooling/misting tents on the side of the course, and many runners took advantage of the short detour to run through and cool off, including myself. Cars laid on their horns from the interstates below as we ran over bridges, and local bands set up outside of bars and restaurant to provide us with uplifting jams.



Handing off the headphones.

It was beautiful. Even with temperatures pushing 90 degrees on parts of the course, it was the most amazing experience I’ve had. Tears welled up in my eyes several times as I plugged along; they actually are again as I write this. In short, this race taught me an amazing lesson. It isn’t always about the PR. As much as I was ready to do it, and go balls to the wall, running can’t always be about that. It was all about the experience. A race that’s older than any living person in this country, and a city that embraces its history wholeheartedly. I felt so loved, all 26.2 of those miles. From start to finish, THOUSANDS of volunteers were present to make it possible, and thousands of fans to make it epic.

How am I today? I’m sore. But I’m happy. My feet hurt, and I’m contributing that to running in pretty soggy shoes the last 10 miles of the race. I made a point to zigzag across the course to run through just about any hose/sprinkler that I saw. I don’t know if I would have finished without them, but with the advantage came some seriously wet shoes/socks.

Let me wrap this lengthy piece up with a gigantic thank you. Not only to all of my friends and family who sent the texts, voicemails, facebook/twitter messages, and emails, but to my boyfriend, sister, and wonderful friend who made the trek out to Boston to see their crazy girlfriend/sister/friend run 26.2. They were wonderfully devoted fans, and popped up 3 times along the course to offer encouragement; an impressive feat in itself on a straight line course, having to use an unfamiliar train system to get from point to point.

Meg and Me :)
Lastly, I have to thank Boston. Thanks for putting out so much love yesterday. As a heavily accented Boston dude at Fenway said to me on Sunday after spotting my orange Boston jacket, “You’re a f*cking stud. I can’t even drive in a cah that fah.” Just like Colorado, I can officially say; Boston, you have stolen a piece of my heart.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Boston Bound

It’s so incredible to me that Boston is in 2 days.  I can remember finishing Colorado last May, and everyone asking me if I thought I would run Boston, if I was excited that I qualified for it, etc. My response was always something along the lines of “I don’t know, it’s still so far away.”

And here we are.

Screen shot. Baltimore Half.

 I’ve been thinking through what I've want to write in this post for the past month or so. Honestly, up until a few hours ago, I was psyched to share my three goals with you guys, as I felt confident that I would be able to meet at least one.

Then, around 10 AM this morning, I received an email from the Boston Athletics Association saying the following:

“Marathon Monday in New England can offer a variety of weather conditions, and from what we can see, this Monday will be no different. The forecast for April 16th is calling for higher than normal temperatures on the course.  If a cold front does not come through the region by mid afternoon, temperatures are predicted to reach into the low 80's.  Combine these temps with a south west wind, you may be running in a moderate level of heat and in dryer than normal conditions.”

The email continues on to inform me about different forms of heat illnesses, so that I can be prepared. Essentially, the only thing I got out of that email is that I should be prepared to run a lot slower pace than I was hoping to.

GAHHHH
It’s one of the many gambles of running I suppose. You sign up for races 6 to 9 months out, and have no idea what conditions to expect on race day. And even as I now begin mentally preparing myself for a potentially hot and deflating race, I know I’ll be more than a little upset if things go much differently than planned. After all, when you spend almost every day of every week for FOUR months training for ONE day, it’s hard not to get a bit distraught.

This makes me laugh.

 However, I will continue to cling to the rationale that weather changes quickly, and I have no control over the situation. That being said, I’m still going to put my hopes out here on ‘paper’ for you all, as these are what I've had in mind the past 4 months as I've been training. And although they now seem more difficult to reach, they’re still there.

1.       PR: My one and only marathon clocked me in at 3:31:34… I really want to come in under 3:30.
2.       I would love to hold an average of a sub-8 min. mile pace.
3.       Qualifiy for the New York Marathon this fall. (sub 3:23)

#3 would be doable for me… if everything falls into place. Basically I would need the perfect storm for this to happen. Take that however you want to.

Lastly, I have to add this thought. I said it last night at my small group, and I’m going to say it again now. My #4 goal… and THE most important one, is that I don’t make this race about me. Because it’s not. It’s the 116th Boston Marathon; a beautiful tradition that many would kill to experience. And I’m blessed enough to be able to run it. I’m blessed to even be able to run at all. So goal #4 is that I don’t make this race about me. That I make it about Him, the tradition, and everyone who ever has, ever will, or ever wished they could run in it as well. 


I’m also hopeful for an awesome weekend with both my friends and family. It’s going to be the first time in the city of Boston for all of us, and I plan to soak it all in the best that I can; from the food, to the historical sites, to the Red Sox game on Sunday! The race itself is Monday morning… my wave starts at 10:20. I’ll be wearing a neon purple Nike tank, if you feel like watching out for me. Prayers are welcome.


Expect a lengthy race recap early next week! Cheers!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Let the Countdown Commence

Before I launch into a hyperventilating mess about how Boston is 1 (one) WEEK from TODAY, let me give you a recap on the weekend.


Virginia Beach Recap


If I had to use one word to sum up my Easter weekend in Virginia Beach, I’d probably use ‘refreshing.’ Aside from the drive from hell long drive through DC traffic, it was super relaxing. The weather was beautiful, and it was fantastic to be with family. My cousin and his wife have a gorgeous house and pool near the water, along with two huskies who love anyone who is down to give a belly rub. It made me miss being around pups.

Wrigley & Grace

We arrived Friday night and took the time to catch up, as I hadn't seen my cousin Bobby in about 6 years. It was my first time meeting his wife, who is also a retired collegiate volleyball player, so we had plenty in common.

Saturday began with a late breakfast, and then a visit to the beach. In attempt to be low maintenance, I changed my scheduled 12 mile run to a shorter 6, which Andrew came along for. We wound through a forest trail that was padded with so many pine needles that I thought I was running on air. I’m not sure Andrew would say the same, but I have to applaud him for cranking out a solid 6 when his usual average is 2-3.

We left Sunday afternoon shortly after church and an indulgent Easter brunch, in efforts to beat traffic. However as we headed out of town, we both agreed it would be fun to take the longer route, back up the coast of Virginia/Maryland instead of through busy Richmond and D.C. It was an epic decision, as traffic was light, and the views were superb. Overall a successful, relaxing mini vacation in my book.

The mighty Atlantic


The vacations continue this weekend – to Boston! The countdown is on… one week from now I’ll officially be a Boston Marathoner... probably feeling really sore, and hopefully really happy. Stay tuned for the next post for my top 3 goals for Boston.

Cheers!

Friday, April 6, 2012

VB

Ahhhh, beloved Friday. I don’t know about you guys, but this week absolutely flew by. I love it.

On Wednesday afternoon a box full of my summer clothes arrived from my mom… all 40 lbs of it. It was much needed, as temps out here continue to climb. She also surprised me with a few new clothing items, one of which I’m wearing today. Summery! 



my BIG box
Wednesday also surprised me with a corporate email saying that Friday would be a half day, which absolutely made my day. So, here I am now, back at home on a Friday afternoon, about to head out the door…

Where, you ask? VB. When I first saw the abbreviation used in my Aunt’s email last week, my mind instantly went to volleyball, because that’s the abbreviation I’ve always used for it.  But in this case, VB means something even better. Virginia Beach! My cousin and his wife actually live there, and my Aunt and Uncle invited us there for Easter weekend. The drive will be around 4 hours, but lucky for me I have an excellent driver. And lucky for him, I’m an excellent passenger who offers a variety of entertainment. To start, I’ve already got a few CD’s made, with some great jams which I will sing every word to.

Anyways, I’m going to keep this one short, because I’ve gotten run. Not literally, for once. However, Saturday will be a short 12 (wonderful), hopefully close to and/or on the beach.  Yes.

Happy Easter! And for all of you who believe... let's not forget the reason for Easter. It's not all about the eggs and jelly beans.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Seeing Green

First off, it’s been called to my attention that some of my pictures haven’t been showing up? Sorry if you were one of the people who were affected by this, and I’m pretty sure it should be corrected now. Someone let me know if it’s not…

This week has definitely started off on the right foot. Work finally has me doing just that… work. Definitely still a lot of training to be had, but it feels good to be able to help people. The weather has progressively been getting more and more beautiful, so that’s definitely helping the good mood.

As I mentioned on Twitter, I’m starting a ‘hoarder’ drawer at work, full of snacks and other goodies I may need. It makes me happy. Something that doesn’t make me happy? My badge for work. I look like a tool in my picture, for lack of a better word.
Sign me up for the next Hoarders Episode


I'm keeping this small, for your own sake.
Since I've been released from daily lunches with my coworkers, I’ve finally begun packing my lunch. I foresee many green smoothies in my future, as I’m trying my best to keep it healthy leading up to Boston. My go-to green smoothie recipe is:

-One banana fresh or frozen
-A handful of spinach (or frozen)
-Tbsp of either peanut butter for protein (or almond butter, vanilla protein powder, greek yogurt)
-A couple ice cubes
-About a cup of soy/almond milk, and half cup of water
(If I want to mix it up, I’ll throw in some frozen berries, pineapple, etc.)

It delicious, keeps me full, and is excellent for my health on so many levels.
(Props to my dear friend Dave for giving me this basic recipe.)

Today after work I embarked on my hill training, which is always a combination of horrible and fantastic… usually in that order. After the fact, I feel great, and it’s obviously something that’s been necessary for these 26.2 coming up. The next few days will be a mix of both cross training and running as my schedule gets fairly dicey.

That’s it for now, I’ll keep you updated on the taper!

Cheers!