Wednesday, October 29, 2008


It's gone. Gone gone gone. I almost don't know what to do with myself...and it's not just the running...I know that'll come back fairly quickly. It's with everything. I sit for the first section of the CPA exam in about 3 weeks and I am not prepared at all. I'm on chapter 3 of a 9 chapter book and I'm messing around on The Nest. I know I need to study. I actually kind of WANT to study because I really, really, really want to pass this section. But I want to know what's going on in the lives of my Internet friends too. I keep thinking that if I put half the effort I put into my training into my studying, I'll pass. Yet, here I sit, typing out a blog entry. I lead a sad, little life.

And sometime in December there will be a post from me whining about how I failed miserably. I really need to pull my crap together. :(

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm taking the plunge

I'm getting a new tattoo. I've said for the past several months that I'd do it if/when I finished the race, but I had a hard time figuring out exactly what I wanted. I'm not big on pictures (so no running shoes, or pictures of little running dudes or anything like offense to anyone who has something like that, I've just never been into it) so I was kinda stumped. I finally decided that I wanted something written in Greek (since the marathon has Greek origins) and I thought "Victory" would be kinda cool...except "victory" translated into Greek is "Nike." Yeah, loses some of it's coolness. Even when put into Greek characters, I knew what it meant and I just couldn't bring myself to walk around with "Nike" written on my body for the rest of forever.

Anyway, my sister Aliza, who rocks by the way, helped me translate a few things (she's a History major and has taken some Greek I said, she rocks) but none of it seemed right. Finally a couple of weeks ago the hubs and I were talking about it (well, I was talking and he was sitting there quietly and nodding his head when appropriate...he's not a tattoo fan) and he came up with a great idea...the word "Determination." I let it sink in and hmm...I like it. I like it a lot. It describes the whole journey in one, little word...exactly what I was looking for. Since it was kinda late, I just threw it into an online translator and went with whatever popped out and thought...hmm, looks good too. This is it. Thank god I remembered to ask Aliza to look into the translation yesterday though because it turns out the word I found was "Definition" not "Determination" so that could have been a huge mistake. So Aliza translated it last night, drew it out for me and now I have an appointment on Saturday, Nov 8 to get it permanently engraved on my right foot (remember my foot problems? That's why I want it on my right foot). Aliza did such a good job drawing it out that the artist suggested going with what she drew, making changes only for some spacing issues. Have I mentioned that my sister rocks?

Anyway, this is what it translates to, except it's in my sister's handwriting and the first A is capitalized, and actually the "a" is not supposed to look like this at all, but this is the best I can find online:


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The reason we're all here...

I've had a hard time thinking about what I would say when I actually got around to sitting down and putting my thoughts out here in cyberspace. The buildup to Sunday was so long and once the race was actually over it took a while for me to sort out my fact, I'm still in the process of sorting them out, so I'm sure I'll be coming back to this down the road.

Sunday morning came faster than I thought it would, but at the same time, it felt like it was taking sooo long. We got up at 4.30 AM so I'd have enough time to eat, get dressed and make my way down to the starting line. Even though I was so tired Saturday night, I couldn't sleep. I wasn't really nervous, but I just had a hard time. It didn't seem to matter though - I was wide awake when the alarm went off, and I didn't even need the second alarm to go off before I was out of bed and eating my pre-run breakfast (pop tart and banana for those of you nosey people). At 5.45 me, Mike and my mom all headed down to the starting area to meet up with Denise. The entire time, I felt nerves at all. I was just really excited. I think it helped that I'd spent the past couple of days telling myself that it was "just another long run."

I finally went to line up at 6.45 and made my way all the way to the back of the pack...I know where I belong! On my way back there though I found a 5:30 pace group and I stopped - big mistake. After chatting with them for a while, I admitted that 6 hours was probably more realistic for me, but I'd start out with them and just try to keep their balloons in sight. They were such a cool group of people! Honestly, if they weren't so nice, I would have been smarter and left them alone! I didn't even hear the gun go could have been because I was so far back, or - most likely - because I was too busy running my mouth with my new found friends. Anyway, before I knew it, we were off! I stayed with the pace group for the first mile and then realized that as much fun as they were, there was no way I was going to manage that pace for the next 25 miles, so I dropped back. It was so sad seeing their balloons slowly bounce away in the distance, but by Mile 12, I couldn't see them at all anymore.

I wish I was able to break the race down mile by mile, but I really can't. I was out there for hours and hours, and I know it was a long time, but it's still a blur. The course was so pretty and wound it's way through downtown Denver and past some points-of-interest in the city, as well as some gorgeous parks and some really fun neighborhoods. The race went very well for me. I know it wasn't fast by any means, but it wasn't bad. The only horrible thing that happened was my iPod froze up at Mile 18 and a race official was a few feet away when I made that horrible discovery...and he had news for me. He said "Just so you know, you're about 2 minutes slower than the 6 hour pace." Yes, thank you for pointing out my's not breaking news. He wasn't being rude, and it WAS the truth, but talk about horrible timing. Anyway, I was forced to finish the last 8 miles with no music. 8 long, grueling miles.

Everyone told me that the marathon really starts at Mile 20, but I don't think it got much harder until Mile 22...but even at that, I honestly don't think I ever hit the wall. I was literally expecting a giant brick wall to drop from the sky at any moment, but it never did. I won't lie - it hurt. My legs hurt. My back hurt. My feet hurt. There was this clapping sound in my ear that wouldn't go away, so even my ear hurt. But it wasn't the kind of pain that makes you want to stop. I never once asked myself "Why am I doing this?" I saw Mike, Denise and my mom at Mile 23 and I said "This is so hard. way." But the second the words were out of my mouth, I wondered why I'd said them. Yes, it was so hard. It was, by far, one of the hardest things I've ever done, but OF COURSE I was still doing Seattle! I'd been re-thinking my training program the last couple of miles by that point, 100% intent on doing even better then.

Also somewhere in the 23rd or 24th mile a bunch of bicycles had caught up to me and another woman near me. I heard them talking amongst themselves and figured out that they were part of the race crew and were sweeping the course...but I was going to be the last road racer. Yep, you read that right. They decided to open the road right behind me. I don't know how I pulled that one off, but I'm so glad I did. It would have been horrible to have to finish on the sidewalks! Anyway, this got me and the other woman talking and I found out that she was turning 50 soon and she had just finished up her last round of radiation the week before the race...she'd survived thyroid cancer. It took everything inside of me to not stop running right then and there and burst into tears. We spent the next couple of miles going back and forth, one of us in front of the other. At 25.75 she caught up to me again and said "Can I stay with you? You're going to finish this thing and I'm not sure I will. I need to be with someone who will finish." I showed her my watch and said "We have less than 3/4 of a mile to go. We're both going to finish!" The next thing I knew, Mike was by my side saying "the finish line is right around that corner, you're going to run a marathon!" I looked up and saw the 26 Mile marker and took off.

The shoot was so long and I felt like I was running so fast down it. My legs were on fire and my feet felt like they were bruised and blistered, but I couldn't stop. I heard the announcer say "Here comes Valerie into the finish line" and all I could think was "raise your arms for the picture!" I swear, hearing the beep of the timing mat was one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard. My mom, Mike and Denise were all standing right in front of the finish line and I couldn't help jumping on top of Mike as soon as I was done. It was officially one of the happiest moments of my life.

(In order: Almost there, FINISHED!, and Completely Exhausted but rocking the pink Crocs!)

The official chip time was 6:08:15 and I was the last one in my age group. I'm 100% happy with it. :)

I've read so many marathon race reports and thought how can it be so're out there for so long??? But really, it's so hard to summarize the entire race and to put it into words. It's really something that you need to experience and even then, I don't think it'd ever be the same for different people. I've heard so many times that running a marathon will change your life, and I'm still waiting to see the change in mine. No matter where I go, or what happens to me down the road, I'll always be a marathoner. Emotionally, I feel a little different. I feel like I can take on anything now. And even though it sounds a little dumb, the fact that I did those last 8 miles without my iPod - my lifeline - I feel even stronger for it. I feel proud of what I've done...not only the race, but the fact that my husband has definitely decided he's doing the next half marathon that comes up and most like a full within the next year or so...and our friend, who despised running only a year ago, is so excited and motivated now and has decided he wants to give a marathon a shot. Inspiring others was something that I never thought would come of this, but if it I'm speechless. For once.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I survived!

Official time was 6:08:15. I'll have a full report tomorrow or Tuesday.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I am so nervous. I'm sitting in my hotel room right now, waiting for Mike to get back from the gym (yeah, he's that crazy and won't even take a day off during vacation). We went to the expo last night and picked up my race packet...I couldn't believe how emotional just that experience was. I'll admit it - I got teary. I can't believe I'm here! We spent a little bit of time walking around the expo, spending a little bit of money...I did a lot better than I thought I would and I only bought this little belt thing that holds your bib on it and has a little pouch that expands to hold all kinds of goodies. Oh, and I bought my 26.2 sticker to put on my car tomorrow afternoon too. The weirdest part was that there are no finishers shirts...I was very disapppointed, but I guess I'll have to settle for something else. Oh! And I found a pace bracelet for a 6 hour marathon! I know that's insanely slow, but it's what I'm hoping for (ok, I'm truly hoping that something magical will happen and I'll finish in under 4 hours, but just incase...). Anyway, I grabbed one of those sad is it that you're SO happy to find a 6 hour pace bracelet and then realize that they put the Boston Qualifying times right in front of it? Yeah, way to rub it in that I will NOT be finishing in the 3:40 needed to go to Boston next year.

Anyway, I'm heading back today for a lecture on Marathon Nutrtion and to hear a two-time Olympian speak (I can't remember his name for the life of me right now) and to probably buy just a palin ol' Denver Marathon shirt.

I'm doing okay so far...I definitely have butterflies but I'm more excited than anything. All that keeps running through my head is "OMG I'm running a marathon tomrrow!" and 'OMG that's a really long way!" and "OMG I hope I make it!" and "OMG what am I thinking, of course I'm going to make it!" and just regular "OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG" when I run out of other things to say. I think god and I are pretty tight right now with all the talking to him I've been doing today.

So yeah, I'm just trying to relax and keep my stomach from jumping out of my body. So far, so good.

Countdown to Denver: ONE DAY.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I wanted to do this later, closer to the race, but I'm afraid I won't have time, so I'm doing it now.

There are a few really special people who have been unbelievably supportive over the past year of my insanity and while this may not be the most exciting blog entry ever, it's the most important I've ever written. This is my "Thank You" to those amazing people.

My parents - they thought (ok, knew) I was nuts when this idea first came out...and after the first few arguments over it, they finally gave in and jumped on board. I know my dad really wants to be joining us on the 6 1/2 hour drive to Denver (and back on Monday!)...and the hours upon hours at the expo all weekend...and the hours chasing after me and waiting for me at specific mile stops on Sunday...but he can't and I understand that. Sucks, but trust me, I know how it goes. My mom has to board her new puppy and I know that kills her, but she's doing it. - They rock.

Cathy, my mother in law and Danny, my brother in law - totally awesome people. They get super excited over the race any time it's mentioned. Danny's saving our lives by watching the dog and cat this weekend. Thanks!

My sisters (Aliza and Hopie), brothers in law (Nick and Ricco) - They all listen to me go on and on...and they all deny that they'll run the next one with me, but I know they will. :)

Terie - The most awesome coach ever who became a good friend. It's because of her that I'm running this race.

Denise - takes a GOOD friend to travel all the way to Denver to watch you run for hours on end (ok, she really wants to go to the expo too!). This is an amazing, beautiful woman. I'm so lucky to have found such an awesome friend!

Tracey, aka: Runner - Without her, I wouldn't be where I am. We don't get to talk nearly as much as I'd like, but I know she's cheering me on.

Reynetta - one of the best friends a girl could have. We don't see each other enough, but she's my biggest cheerleader.

Paula - You always have the right thing to say at the right time. Everytime I'm frusterated with this whole thing, you get me back where I need to be. We may not know each other IRL, but you're one of my best friends.

Alicia and Jacq - My absolute best friends. You guys put up with all my craziness...both the running craziness and the regular craziness. I wouldn't be me without you girls.

Mandy, Kristin and Kylene - Your Emails save me every single day of my life. Knowing that you're thinking of me on Sunday will save me then too.

Heather, aka: Rotty - Woman, you keep my motivation going when I'm sure it's gone forever.

The rest of my May 2007 Nesties - I've never met a group of women more inspiring and supportive. From the first time I ever mentioned running a marathon (which was in June 2007...yep, I remember) you girls have ALWAYS been the ones to tell me "you can do it." Not one of you have ever told me that I couldn't or that I should re-think my goal. None of you questioned my sanity (you should have)'ve all let me ramble on and on for the better part of a year about stuff you don't care about. For that, I thank you and I love you all.

And last, but furthest from the least, the hubs - words cannot describe the gratitude and thanks I would like to express. He has let our house fall apart. He's gone to bed at 9.00 every Friday night for 8 months now and sacrificed seeing our friends. He's even had the same dinner with me every weekend all throughout training...and none of it with a single complaint. He's listened to my whining about sore muscles, my pace and things that don't need to be repeated here...and he's put up with it. If I had the chance, I'd marry him all over again, just for these reasons. Mike, I love you just for putting up with me during this time - all the other reasons are icing on the cake.

Thanks again to everyone. I will update again after the race!

Countdown to Denver: 3 days!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The last...

Tonight was my last run before the marathon and I went into it with mixed emotions. I've been pretty nervous all week, but I've really calmed down over the past day. Tonight for some reason, I was really sad knowing that it was the last one before the race. It's kinda hard to's not like I'm never going to run again. My plan is to take a week off and then to slowly build my mileage up again.

Anyway, I had a hard time deciding where I should go for this monumental two mile run. Logically, I should have just stayed home and run around my little neighborhood...but a hundred laps around my condo community is just too much monotony to handle. And it's too easy to quit when I get bored. I could have gone to my mom's house and run in the arroyo behind her house, which is what I did last night...or I could have gone to Maraposa Park...but neither one of those options seemed right. Suddenly, it hit me. The Bosque. I know what you're ALWAYS run in the Bosque! Yeah, I'm down there a lot, but tonight was so fitting. This is where it all started, on a cold day in early February when I first met up with the In Motion group (most of which would later become ABQ Fit). So that's where I was nice too. Not too many people, the weather was good.

So this is it. Just lots of rest and carbs now...stuff I'm actually good at! I have one more day at work and then we leave on Friday morning. Now I just need to resolve the crisis I'm having with my iPod, and I'll be okay. The next time I put these running shoes on, it's for real!

Countdown to Denver: 4 days!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


So I just got back from my last group run with my fellow ABQ Fitters. We ran 10 miles on Tramway (can you say "hilly?") and even though I'd plan to make it only 8, I was feeling so good at the 4 mile mark, I decided to keep going and make it 10. According to the non-ABQ Fitters I know, 10 the week before a marathon isn't a good idea, but it's too late now. I still feel great. Granted, I felt something pop in my stupid, god forsaken foot around 8.5 miles (yes, the same one that hurt all last month...and even in the same, stupid place) and it hurt pretty bad, but a little bit of walking seemed to help. I'll just make sure to ice this week and I'm sure it'll be okay by the time I get to Denver.

Anyway, I'm a little sad that the season is over. I've made some totally awesome friends, and even though I know we'll stay friends through Winter Warriors and In Motion and probably ABQ Fit next year, it feels like the end of an era. Hell, it IS the end of an era! I've finished training for my first marathon - that's a huge deal! That's about as huge a deal as doing the race itself! I was talking to one of my friends a couple of weeks ago, after the 19 miler, and she pretty much told me that she was surprised I've made it this far. She didn't come right out and use those words, but that's what she meant. I don't blame her at all - when I first told her I was going to run a marathon, we were sitting at TGIFridays drinking beer and I was almost 40 lbs heavier. It didn't upset me at all to hear her say that, and she really meant it in the nicest way possible. But I have to be honest too...I'M a little surprised that I've made it this far. I know myself...I have a habit of starting things that sound great, but after a couple of weeks, forget about it. Once it gets hard, I'm out. Why do you think I was 40 lbs heavier in the first place? Yeah, the beer had something to do with it, but my love for sleeping in and sitting on the couch also contributed.

So anyway, I'm saying it publicly...regardless of what happens over the next 8 days, I am really, really, really proud of myself. I have already proven to myself - and probably to a few others - that I am capable of so much. Now I just need to show myself that I'm capable of 26.2!

Countdown to Denver: 8 days!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh crap

I'm running a marathon in two weeks. TWO WEEKS.

Excuse me while I go puke.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So Long, Farewell...

Even though training isn't 100% officially over, it feels like it is. 8 miles this Saturday and 10 miles next Saturday...that's nothing! Ok, I know it's something but after the hell I put my body through this past weekend - not to mention the hell that is coming up in 17 short days - this is nothing. Anyway, it's a little sad, but happy at the same time. I won't miss getting up at 4.30 AM to choke down a peanut butter sandwich (oh god, just the thought makes my stomach turn) and I am SO excited to be able to go out and do something on a Friday night...but I know how it's all going to work out. One weekend off, and even at that, it's probably not an "off" weekend. The ABQ Fitters that are going to San Antonio next month have their 22 mile run on 10/25, so my friend D and I are going to ride our bikes in the Bosque that day to make sure they stay hydrated and happy. Plus, on 10/26 is the Day of the Tread bike ride here in ABQ and I'd like to do the 20 mile ride (ok, I wanted the 50 or 80 mile ride, but lets be realistic here...I'm running a freakin' marathon the week before. Let's not kill ourselves too quickly). But the following weekend, I know I'll be up and ready to run again...maybe not at 6.30 in the morning, but definitely before noon. I know, I still amazes me that I can be anywhere before noon on a weekend. And in spandex at that.

I'm not fooling anyone either. I have the Seattle Rock n Roll marathon in June and I want to train better for that than I did Denver. Hopefully work will slow down (HA!) and I will be able to increase to 5-6 days of running for that. But right now, working 50+ hr weeks kinda kills any kind of fun you may have on the agenda. AND...I haven't told the hubs just yet (because I'll get a lecture on spreading myself too thin or something lame like that) but I want to do a century ride next year. Or least really bond with my bike. God, I miss that thing.

Anyway, I was just kind of going over my thoughts from the past few months and wow. I just can't believe that this point in my training is already here.

Countdown to Denver: 2 weeks, 3 days