Sunday, December 21, 2008



I am so excited to be writing again because now, I am writing as a first time marathon FINISHER! WOO-HOO!!!!! These past 4 months finally paid off as I crossed over the finish line in the 2009 Honolulu Marathon, but don't be fooled, those 26.2 miles were the hardest thing I have ever done in my life both physically and mentally, but let's start from the beginning...

It was 3:15 am on December 14, 2008 and the alarm was beeping. I jumped out of bed to start preparing for the big day ahead of me. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, put my hair up and put my contacts in. I got dressed and put my brand new TNT jersey on that I had decorated with my name, names of people I was running in Honor of and some team cheers. The night before I had pinned my number bib onto my jersey and put my electronic chip on my shoe (used to record your times) I felt great and I was excited to get started. Kyle and I headed down to Don and Sara's room to fuel up on PB&Js before heading down to the lobby to meet our team.

At 4:15am we met the team down in the hotel lobby before walking to the starting line which was about 1/2 a mile away from our hotel. There were thousands and thousands of people lining up, over 20,000 to be exact in every shape and size. We kept walking towards the front so we could get started right away. Minutes before the start (5:00am) a beautiful display of fireworks went off and a canon was fired and then... THE RACE BEGAN (and so did the rain!!) !

It took about 2 minutes before I actually was able to cross the starting line but then I was off- slowly of course! Knowing that I had had a couple of injuries I was nursing and knowing that I had 26.2 miles to finish that day, I took it slow right off the start, running about 13 minute miles. The rain was coming down pretty hard but I didn't mind as I ran through the streets of Honolulu at 5 in the was dark out but the Christmas lights were beautiful and the energy of the crowd was AMAZING!

I made it around the first 4 mile loop and was feeling good, especially as the crowd cheered me on. I was enjoying it all so much, that I found myself forgetting that I was actually running a marathon and had to bring myself beck to reality. By mile 7.5 we were starting our climb up Diamond Head, which, with all my training, felt like nothing at that point in the race. Although, with the rain coming down so hard, there was practically a river coming down the mountain, drenching every ones shoes! (wet shoes and socks = blisters = no good!!) I continued on and continued feeling good. There were so many people out there cheering us all on, passing out water, Gatorade and even cookies! The rain had subsided by mile 10 and the humidity was starting to kick in. 2 miles were my knees. :( The injuries I had were starting to bother me.

I passed the halfway point (and laughed, did I seriously have 13.1 more miles to go?)and felt alright, but had to start a walk/jog series because I was starting to have some pain- my knees were not going to cooperate. I was able to continue the walk/jog routine until mile 16 when my knees gave out on me. It hurt to try and lift my legs in a running motion but it felt alright to power walk. So I did. I found myself able to walk faster than some people were able to run. I kept telling myself that I was going to finish, I could do this!

By mile 20 my sanity was starting to fade and the pain was unreal. Blisters, knees, quads, hamstrings...everything hurt. I mean, everything. I was simply walking at this point and had thought about crawling a couples times. Crawling couldn't be this hard. But thankfully, a TNT angel, I mean coach, came up to me and gave me some encouragement. She told me to lay on the piles of ice bags at the next water stop to ease the knee pain for a little bit and to take my mind of the pain by counting my breaths or something along those lines... I decided to sing Christmas Carols to myself because it seemed more enjoyable that counting my breaths. So here I was, in Hawaii, at mile 2o something, singing Winter Wonderland so I wouldn't think about the pain. Can you say crazy?!? Yes, I think at this point I had lost my sanity.

I continued walking, and could feel myself getting slower and slower, at that point, another angel (coach) showed up. He could tell I wasn't doing so hot so he asked me if I had eaten anything lately. I hadn't (losing your sanity makes you forgetful) so I took my last GU. Within minutes, I could feel my body using up those calories and I was gaining my mental strength back but my feet were still throbbing.

So I continued on. At mile 24, I hit Diamond Head again, although this time, it felt taller, longer and much more difficult. Thankfully, one more angel had arrived and he walked me up the hills...although I walked backwards as he talked to me and helped me dodge things on the course. Walking backwards up the hill gave my quads a break and worked different muscles for a little bit. At the top, I felt better (feet were still throbbing) so I power walked to mile 26 before jogging the last .2 miles and crossing the 26.2 MILE FINISH LINE!!! My time wasn't what I was hoping for 6:55:38, but hey, I FINISHED A MARATHON!!! and it felt GREAT! (Kyle finished before me and even cheered me on in those last few steps)

A few things I forgot to mention....

1. This was a HARD marathon...even seasoned runners said it was difficult and took them longer than expected due to all the elements (rain, humidity, heat, etc) so I should be THRILLED that I even finished... and I AM! :)

2. I am so thankful I ran with a felt good to run for a cause but it was so wonderful to have coaches on the course to help me through really tough times and it was really cool to have people you didn't know, cheer you on because you both were wearing the same jersey! GO TEAM!

3. I brought lots and lots of food with me, it's really important to keep your body fueled during such a big event. I had 5 GU's, 2 packets of Gummi Bears, a power bar, some raisins, and some pretzels.

4. There were some crazy people out on the course, a guy running in a thong, another in a tiger suit, 2 Japanese girls dressed up as sexy Santa pandas (what?!?!?) But hey, it was all in fun!! :)

5. Okay, so I was hoping to finish in 5-6 hours and didn't come close to that due to the elements and my knee troubles but that's okay, because I caught the runnin bug and I am going to do it again because I know I can beat my time!! So my question to you is....when do you want to go running with me?! :)

Well, I hope you enjoyed my blog... I really enjoyed sharing my journey with everyone and I hope to continue blogging, I'm just not sure what the topic will be. I can't believe I have become a runner let alone finished my first marathon. I can't WAIT to do it again!




PS. There is still time to donate!!! I am only a couple hundred away from my goal!! Please help me meet my fundraising goal!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Happy Holidays!

We can't be home for the holidays but don't worry, we'll be there in spirit!

Love, Clara and Kyle

PS. Stay tuned, the marathon is this Sunday and I'll keep everyone posted with how it goes. I am feeling alright, still having some knee pain but am looking forward to crossing the finish line. No matter how long it take to get there!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holidays, Frustration and Determination

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was very enjoyable- I cooked and spent most of the day in the kitchen, but I didn't mind since the kitchen seems to be one of my favorite rooms in the house. There were six of us in total and we had more than enough food. We spent time playing Apples to Apples (it's a card game, I highly reccomend it!) and it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed having four days off in a row. We went into the city on Friday night to the lighting of the big tree in Union Square and we also saw the Macy's window's all decorated for the holidays, they were so cute!! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday as well!

In regards to running, boy oh boy, I am not in a good position right now. Since I last wrote, I have visited Dr. Morganstein twice. First, last Tuesday, my first visit, I discovered I had horrible shin splints in my left leg. The Dr. worked on getting the knots out of my legs (which, for those who know me, I started giggling as I didn't want to cry in front of the doctor with how painful the treatments were. Knots in your muscles are no fun!!) and he even hooked me up to a machine with an electric pulse, in an effort to get the blood flowing and the muscle loosened up. He also told me not to run for a couple of days.

Taking the Dr.'s advice, I didn't run until Saturday morning when I went out for a nice easy jog. I started off feeling tight but I kept going hoping I just needed to warm up. We got about 2 miles out when I started having knee pain and tension in my Achilles tendon so I told Kyle we should turn around. By the time I got back, I was still having pain, and it progressively got worse throughout the day. So I went back to Dr. Morganstein's office yesterday and he said my legs felt okay but to continue taking it easy. He taped up my foot/leg in hopes of giving me more support over the next couple of days with just daily walking and I am going back to his office tomorrow for more therapy before my run on Saturday. He said to see how I feel on Saturday but to brace myself, because if I don't feel good after, 4, 8 or even 10 miles a marathon might not be the best idea as it could potentially cause long term problems. As much as I want to run, I don't think it would be worth any long term ailments.

I am really bummed as you all know how hard I have been training this season to not only become a runner but to train for one of the hardest races a runner can ever run. I am stretching and thinking positive thoughts in hopes it will heal all of my sore muscles and tendons and if worse comes to worst, I will WALK the marathon because I am determined to cross that finish line. Can you send some positive thoughts my way though as I really want to RUN the marathon?!? I'll keep you all updated as to how I feel after the run on Saturday because the countdown has already begun...11 more days until the race!!

I would also like to take this moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout the season. This journey has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life but the whole thing has been wonderful. Thank you for your kind words, generous donations and encouraging comments. If you haven't donated yet, there is still time...I'm only $663 away from my goal! (please pass this on to anyone and everyone you know!)



PS. GOAL ACCOMPLISHED: Back on Sept. 23, I wrote "if one good thing comes from me blogging, I hope I inspire at least one person to sign up for team in training". Well last week I recieved a comment from a total stranger who told me my blog had encouraged her to start running and to run a marathon with team in training. Isn't that great?!? Good Luck HEIDI!!

Pictures: Kyle and I at the Union Square tree lighting. My homemade apple pie for Thanksgiving! Our home at Thanksgiving ( and yes, my Christmas tree was already up!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I need a miracle here!

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Mine was a little disappointing. This weekend I was supposed to complete my last long run before the marathon....a full 20 miles! But as you know from last week, I was having some issues with my calves and shins. I was still feeling tight on Saturday but coach said to take it easy and see how far I could go. He also told me to listen to my body and stop when my body told me to. I was really hoping my issues would just go away because I was looking forward to a long run, especially since we were running at the Berkeley Marina, which provided us AMAZING views of SF, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and the Bay Bridge.

But they didn't.

I made it out 4 miles with a walk/jog combo before I decided I really shouldn't be out there. It was closer to the next water stop than to turn around and head back to the start line so I just kept walking. The more I walked, the more I hurt. Luckily, Doug, from the other team who was running with me at first, ran ahead and told my teammates I wasn't doing so great. To my rescue came Cindy and Heather who took me back to the start where I cheered on all the others who completed their 20 milers (wish I could have been one too!)

In an effort to help my healing process, I scheduled an hour long massage yesterday. I made Kyle get one too because he DID finish all 20 miles and he was looking pretty sore! We limped into the massage place and left feeling much better (although not completely healed). I am also going to try and visit Dr. Morganstein this week (sports therapist) in hopes of having a quicker recovery.

Coach told me to take it easy this week and up until the marathon because it's better to run the race under trained and healthy than to try and run it well trained and injured. I do think I am well trained, I worked so hard this season and overcame so many challenges I never thought I would. I will be very disappointed if I am not able to run the marathon as the last four months of my life have been dedicated to running and training. So please, send your healing thoughts my way...I CAN'T miss this marathon!

Thanks for all your support this season! Have a WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING and remember to give thanks for all your blessings!


Love, C.

Monday, November 17, 2008

4 weeks away....the countdown begins!

Can you believe it? My marathon is only 28 days away! Yikes.....I'm not sure if I'm ready for this. I still have 4 more weeks to train including this Saturday which is our "big" run of 20 miles but I'm still nervous. I missed my 18 miler because I was hosting a Rummage Sale as one of my fundraisers. It was a huge success too- I made over $1,000 on it! Woo-hoo! That brings my fundraising total to almost $2,500! Only $1,500 more to go, so this is a friendly reminder to donate to a wonderful cause if you haven't already!

But back to reality...
I missed my 18 miler last Saturday so on Sunday I went for a run, but got caught in the dark and only ended up doing about 6.5 miles. I would normally run in the dark if I was on the track or with my team, but I was all alone on the Iron Horse Trail and didn't want to take any chances, you know, there are coyotes out here!

I took Monday off from running so I could do the hill workout on Tuesday. The hill workout this past week was different from those before because they were longer hills and less steep than before. They really hit you hard, but overall, I felt like I had a great workout AND I felt stronger! I must be getting stronger because my thunder thighs are not getting any smaller. (Grrrr!)
Moving on, I took Wednesday off as well so I could attend the San Antonio Send-off....some of my teammates flew to Texas this weekend to run in the San Antonio Rock & Roll marathon....which sounds pretty cool! They have a different band every mile, what a great way to take your mind off running. I posted some pictures of the kickoff at the end of this blog.

Thursday I worked very late and coach said to stay off our feet on Friday's before big runs so I really didn't get as much running in this week as I had hoped.
Along came Saturday morning and off to Heather Farms we went to attempt another 16 miler. I was feeling some tension in me left shin and calf. I thought I just needed to get warmed up and stretch and the pain would go away, and it went away a little but by mile 4.5, it had come back and I was in some serious pain. Kyle was running with me and we stopped at a bench so I could stretch some more. Kyle even tried some of the massaging techniques on my calf that Dr. Mogenstein (Sports Therapist) uses on Kyle's injuries - holy moly....I wanted to cry. It kind of felt like my muscles had tangled up all together, like the way small chain necklaces will tangle if you don't take care of them. It was like trying to massage the tangles out, but they never untangle because they are metal and the links just get knotted worse. I was able to jog slowly back for another 3 miles, but with 2 miles to go, Kyle kept trying to encourage me to run, but I couldn't seem to express to him how much pain I was in and barely made it back to the start.
When I got home, I soaked in a ice bath, before taking a hot shower. Afterwards, I slathered BioFreeze all over my legs and after that, I had Kyle massages my calves with the foam roller. I was still in pain yesterday, and was limping around the house. Today, I can still feel it but I feel much better. I will probably take the next couple of days off so I will be able to do my 20 miler. I'll keep you all posted! Wish me luck and send some donations, er, good thoughts my way!



#1 Kyle and I with Coach Haakin and Carl.

#2. Words of Marathon Wisdom from Coach Al
#3. Our wonderful leader Lindsay (left) and a team Honoree (right)!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

*Rain, Mud and Hills*

Don't those sound like every one's favorite things when it comes to running? :P Well our run included all of those things yesterday morning and then some!

We woke up, bright and early at 6am so we could get something in our tummies, get dressed and get over to Don and Sara's apartment by 6:45am before heading off to the Redwood Regional park in the Oakland Hills. We got sort of lost back in the woods, but luckily, we saw some of our teammates' and our coach's cars drive by us and we were able to follow them through the winding roads. We arrived about 10 minutes late so we quickly got out of the car, got the directions for our run and we were off!

It was still dark out when we started to run, and it was lightly raining but it pretty calming to be out in the middle of the woods, at dawn, with nothing around except for a couple of other runners. I even heard an owl off in the distance. The first 4.5 miles of our run were a steady uphill climb.... which was extremely difficult. Especially since the rain had been falling all night and the mud got pretty thick in some parts of the trail. A couple of times, I had to stop and scrape the mud off my shoes because it felt like I was carrying an extra 2 lbs on each foot. I enjoy running but I'm still not strong enough to run steep hills for 4 straight miles, so the first part of my run included a lot of power walking mixed with running.

I eventually got into my running rhythm at about mile 3 and I felt pretty good. Our turn around point was at mile 4.5. As we headed up the hill, we had some beautiful views to enjoy, overlooking valleys of redwood trees; there were even little clouds floating through the trees that made it seem movie worthy. I made it back down, and although we only did 9 miles (we were supposed to do 14) our coach said the difficulty of the trail was equal to a 14 mile distance, if not more. I would have to agree because a 9 mile run would normally take me just under 2 hours, but our 9 mile uphill run yesterday took me over 2 hour and 40 minutes...and I wasn't extra slow either. It was just a really hard run!

At the end of the run, I was honored to receive the Spirit Box for the week and will have to find something pretty good to add to the box! Thanks Team Oz!

Well I will be training like normal this week, plus getting ready for my 18 mile run next weekend! Although, I won't be able to join the team because I'm heading up a fundraising Rummage sale next Saturday to hopefully grow my fundraising total. If you are in the area, feel free to drop off donations or come by to shop! Saturday Nov. 8th 9am-3:30pm. at The Kensington in Walnut Creek.

Have a great week everyone!

Pictures: Here are some pics of the trail....isn't it beautiful?