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?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

16 miles!

Welcome back everyone! Thanks for stopping in and reading about my running journey again. Yesterday was a big day, and a very very hard run at that. I ran a full 16 miles...well 15 2/3, but I'll explain why in a second!

So we started off, bright and early at 8:00am, it was a pretty cool morning but perfect for a long run. I ran with Don, a friend of Kyle and mine, for the first mile and a half. He is a much faster runner than I am so I told him to go on ahead, I didn't want to slow him down.

After that, I was on my own for another 3 miles. It was nice, I was just chugging along at a comfortable pace, no pain, no problems. Then at about mile 4.5, one of my coaches caught up to me from the other direction and ran with me until mile marker 6. It was nice to have company for a little bit because we talked about a lot of stuff and it helped to take running off my mind. Before I knew it, we were at the second water stop (at mile marker 6). Plus, our trail for the day took us through some pretty nice neighborhoods and Coach and I talked about how nice it would be to live in those houses we can't afford. Although, most of them had McCain/Palin signs out in front of them, so I probably wouldn't fit in anyway.

When we got to that water stop, Don had hurt his knee pretty bad, so Coach stayed behind with him, and luckily, the other 3 girls running were still refueling. So I was able ran with Sara (my friend and Don's girlfriend) for awhile. We had 4 more miles to go before we got back to our starting place, but then we still had to run out 3 more miles and come back 3 miles to get our full 16 in. It was a pretty run, running by the local wineries and their grape vines were turning fire red and golden yellow. We did have to walk up a few hills but for the most part, we did pretty well.

We made it back to the starting point in just over 2 hours. Did I forget to mention my blister? At about mile 5, I started feeling some pain in my left arch, and before I knew it, I had a pretty good size blister formed and stinging me every step of the way. When I made it back to the starting point, I stopped and taped it up, had a glass of juice, and I was on my way again. Other than the blister, I felt pretty good about the first 10 miles, however, the next 6 miles, well, those are a different story.

So Sara and I took off to finish the last 6 miles of our run. We kept telling ourselves it was no big deal and normally, 6 miles wouldn't be hard but after 10 miles, holy cow, 6 miles feels like forever! We were running, slowly, but steady, and stopping just for a little bit every mile to walk some. Our legs were starting to feel about 20 lbs heavier every step at this point. We knew the water stop to turn around was pretty close so we walked about a quarter of a mile until we found it. We filled up on water and Gatorade before heading back for the last 3 miles.

At this point, my legs were in some serious pain. It hurt to lift them every time I took a step. We tried to jog but Sara and I laughed, saying we felt like we were giving it our all but if people looked at us, they would think we were walking kind of funny. At about 2.25 miles to go, I told Sara to go ahead because it seemed she could at least jog. I on the other, I was in pain and my body didn't want to go another step. The next two miles were pretty hard- I would jog for a minute or two, walk for a minute or two and then stop and stretch, hoping to stretch out some of the pain I was feeling. It was a long process and by the last mile, I thought I was going to collapse. I started seeing spots and my knee was in some serious trouble...I thought I might have to crawl back. Luckily for me, Carol, one of my teammates was leaving the park when she saw me and must have noticed my condition when she pulled over and told me to hop in the car. Thank Goodness for Carol, she drove me back the last 1/3 of a mile- I was shaking and trebling, my body was in shock from the distance.

Thanks goodness it was over! I have learned to really love running and it was amazing what my body was able to do yesterday but I've also learned I still have a ways to go before I'm ready for my marathon because this run was seriously one of the hardest things I have ever done.

By the time I got home, I could barely walk and I was hopping around on one leg because my other knee was in so much pain. I stretched some more, took a hot shower and scheduled my very first full body massage! It was wonderful...a little painful, as she was rolling out the knots in my lower back, my thighs and my calves. She asked me if I knew what my IT band was (muscle that runs through your lower back down through your leg to your ankle area)and I said "yes" and she said "it's really tight" and I said, "oh really? my calves are giving me a lot more trouble" and her answer was "yeah, those are even tighter". Oh the glories of becoming a runner!

Well, overall, I'm still very sore from my run yesterday and although I didn't finish that last 1/3 of a mile, I did complete over 15 miles and I couldn't be more amazed! Thanks for your support!

Picture: Sara and I coming up to the 10 mile marker! woo-hoo!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So, I know it's been a whole week again! Time is hard to come by these days as we spend more and more time training for the marathon, which is less than 8 weeks away at this point. When I'm not training, I'm fundraising because I'm starting to get a little worried about my fundraising pot. I need to have $3,900 raised by Dec. 14th and I only have about 30% so far! Yikes! Otherwise, the funds are coming out of my pocket and we all know I'm not a millionaire. :P

So besides for my fundraising worries, I've been doing my normal weekday runs except I'm still experiencing calf and shin pain whenever I get moving. I try to ignore it while I'm out on a run and I am sure to roll them and stretch them when I have the chance but I hope it heals soon! We are scheduled for a 16 mile run on Saturday and it won't be very much fun if I'm in pain the whole time. Send some healing prayers my way if you can!

Today was another track run and there weren't too many people there because many of my teammates ran the Nike 1/2 marathon this weekend in San Francisco and are recovering still. GO TEAM! WOO-HOO! and they all kicked butt, running up those big SF hills! Good job!

But back to the track workout, Shannon and I ran together today and it was great. I usually help set the pace and this allowed us to finish our workout nice and steady. We did 3 laps (fast!), then walked 1/2 a lap, then we ran 2 laps (fast!), then walked 1/2 a lap, and then ran 1 lap (fast!) and walked 1 full lap before completing the whole "ladder" sequence over. Considering we are both usually around 11-12 minute milers, we did pretty well with our longest lap at 2:45 and our shortest at 2:10. Good job Shannon! Thanks for your help and motivation! I'm so lucky to have such a great team!

Well, to finish out for the night, here is a video that I thought was pretty inspiring. Please take a minute to watch it!

And please take a moment to make a generous donation ( if you haven't already to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society- you can HELP SAVE LIVES!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm still alive (after another 12 miles!)

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry I haven't written in a whole week! It's been a busy one. Saturday, we had another 12 mile run and it was a tough one. The first couple of miles I felt alright, but my legs were a little sore and my nose kept running- I was stopping practically every mile to blow my nose. It became pretty annoying. With the seasons changing, I find my California allergies acting up. I call them CA allergies because I never had allergies back home in Michigan.

Kyle ran the whole 12 miles with me, which was a special treat because he is usually much faster than me but he was great motivation and kept me going. We did the whole route, in 2 hours 42 minutes- not bad, considering all the water stops we took, the traffic stops, and the darn nose blowing stops. I was exhausted after the run and was looking forward to a hot shower and a nap! Here's a picture of the two of us on mile 9!

We also did a hill workout tonight- it was a great trail....EXCEPT... it was pitch black and we spent most of the time trying not to trip on a rock or fall down a hill. I'm also having some pain in my right leg from this weekend and that made it a tough run today. But it was beautiful...rolling hills, full moon and city lights off in the distance. I would love to run it again before sun down, but maybe not until my legs feel a little better.

I also wanted to take a moment and ask you to make a donation ( if you haven't already) to help fund the research to fund a cure for Leukemia, Lymphoma and other blood cancers. It's a great cause and I'm hoping all these miles I'm logging will actually help make a difference- BUT I NEED YOUR HELP TOO!

Thanks for your help and support (and for reading my blog)


Love, C.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

3.2.1. or wait, was it 2.3.1?

Welcome back to my blog! Tonight we had a track workout down in San Ramon. I haven't quite decided yet if I like track workouts (besides from running on the track by myself on Mondays). We have some pretty fast runners on our team and they leave me in the dust, even when I feel like I'm giving my all, I look at them and feel like I'm not even moving! But then again, God didn't bless me with legs that go on for miles and a lot of my speedy teammates have legs like Heidi Klum. Okay, maybe not like Heidi Klum but they do have some nice height on them.

Today, we were split up into team's of 3 (Runner #1, #2 and #3). Our workout was sort of confusing...let me see if I can explain. So Runner #1 first ran 1 lap, then #2 ran 2 laps and #3 ran 3 laps ( I was #3 on our team). Then, once #3 was done, #1 would start again, but this time, would run 2 laps, #2 runs 3 laps, and #3 runs 1 lap. Then, once #3 finished their 1 lap, #1 would start again, this time running 3 laps, #2 runs 1 lap and #3 runs 2. Confused yet?

So, when we were running our assigned laps, we were to be running at an 85% effort- which means give it your all pretty much! To make it more confusing, when you were waiting for your teammates to finish up their assigned laps, you were to be running the reverse way on the track in a nice easy jog. However, a nice easy jog is much slower than running at an 85% effort, so if you saw your teammate was almost done with their assigned laps and you weren't close to the starting line, you had to sprint across the track or field to get to that starting point.

It was pretty confusing having people running all over the place and trying to keep track of your teammates and what "assignment" you were to be running. Oh, and did I mention Coach Al wanted us to do the whole circuit- twice?!?!!? It was fun but it ended up taking too much time and we cut it a little short. Overall, I ended up doing about 4 miles and 2.75 of it was at full effort.

I was feeling a little slow again today but I am feeling much better overall and very happy to be back outside and running. Kyle, on the other hand, is still fighting off his cold so please send healthy thoughts his way. They will be much appreciated!

Have a wonderful rest of the week...I'll write more on Saturday after my long 12-mile run!


Love, C.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A case of the Mondays...

Happy Tuesday Morning everyone!

It's Monday night and I just finished my 50 minute run. It was a tough one because I haven't hit the pavement and put on my running shoes since last Tuesday. You see, Kyle brought home a cold bug last Wednesday and he had a pretty bad cold all last week and is still fighting off the congestion and cough. I have a pretty weak immune system so of course, the first day he came home sick I started to get a tickle in my throat. Therefore, I've spent the last few days trying my best to keep from getting a full blown cold. Drinking OJ, taking my vitamins, getting plenty of rest and best of all, I made a HUGE pot of homemade chicken noodle soup for the two of us to eat over the weekend. I think it all worked because I feel much better and managed to escape a real cold but I spent all my energy trying to stay healthy and missed out on all my runs.

However, the first day back to running after 5 full days off was pretty hard. I did a total of 4.5 miles but found my shins and calves getting sore and I needed to stop and stretch them every half mile, sometimes walking a lap or two around the track. I'm not sure if it's because I had so much time off or if it's because I ran a pretty quick mile (10 minutes) my first mile on the track. I was really excited to be running again! Seriously, I've gotten to the point where I really look forward to my runs and I missed them these past couple of days. Tomorrow I'll be down in San Ramon for a track workout and then this Saturday we are doing 12 miles again, but don't worry, we'll be up to 16 miles before the end of the month. I'm not sure whether I should be scared (16 miles? yikes!) or ecstatic to have more accomplishments to look forward too?

Anyways, just a few quick reminders, if you are in the area, I'm hosting a fundraiser this Friday at Sports Basement in Walnut Creek from 6-9pm. It will be $10 at the door but that includes dinner, plus there are raffle tickets for sale (good prizes!) and you get 20% off everything in the store. Stock up or buy some Christmas presents!! Lastly, if you haven't yet donated, now is the time! I only have a few more weeks to accept donations!

Thanks for all your support!

Peace, love & a cure!

Love, C.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

At least I'm consistent...

Hello everyone! So it's beginning to feel a little bit like fall with the leaves changing color and the evenings are cooling down (finally!). Yesterday I went out for my YOYO run (YOYO= you are on your own) and did 50 minutes on the local high school track. I felt awesome, I had a good pace going (11:30 per mile), faster then my usual pace (12:00 per mile) and I had my breathing down. I ran by myself because Kyle has been injured for the past couple of days and the doc told him to stay off his feet. I actually enjoyed being the only one out there- it gave me time to think and clear my brain from the everyday stresses of fundraising, working and wedding planning, not to mention the state of our economy. I ended up doing just under 4.5 miles but I stopped at the 50 minute mark...I could have kept going!

Today we did a hill workout- my, oh my, those hills were awful today! No matter how hard I tried, I just didn't feel like I was moving. We run some pretty long steady hills down in Danville and in the past, I could run the big hill in 4:06 minutes but today, I couldn't get up that darn hill faster than 4:21 minutes.

Coach Al always plays games with the team on hill days because he is always trying to get us to become more consistent with our paces. Last time, he had us run up the hill once and didn't say anything to us but "get to the top at a nice easy pace." Then, he took our watches away from us and told us to run the same hill as close to our original time as possible. Most people went faster than their original times because they were putting forth more effort, I on the other hand, ran the hill only 1 second faster than my first time and for my consistency, I won a prize (Shot blocks and Gu- doesn't sound like much but believe me, they are gems on 8+ mile runs).

Well today, Coach Al had us run up that same LONG hill 3 times and he told us to keep it consistent- he even let us keep our watches this time. My first time was 4:27, then 4:21, and then 4:30. Even though I was having an "off" day I still managed to win the prize because I was consistently slow all three times- only an 11 second difference between all my trys! Most people had a 20 second range. But hey, at least I'm consistent. When I'm slow, I'm slow and when I'm really slow, I'm really slow ;)

Well that's all for now- I'm exhausted, but I hope everyone out there has a good day! :)

PS. Sorry I haven't had any pictures lately- it's been getting dark earlier and we haven't taken too many. I will try and post some from our run this Saturday but it's supposed to rain. For now, here's a pic of the cupcakes I made for last weekend's Honoree BBQ. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's Saturday, so you know what the means!

It is Long Run Saturday! We did 12 miles today out in Moraga, it was a beautiful trail and we ran 6 miles out and 6 miles back. I felt great the first 7 miles, I had a pretty steady pace, my breathing was in control and my legs were moving. Overall, I thought this run was going to be easy. BUT THEN, around mile 7 my legs started to get tired and I noticed some stinging on my feet. By the end of mile 7 I had full blown blisters on both the arches of my feet. I have high arches so it was pretty painful running with blisters, so I stopped and walked as fast as I could for about 2 miles. When I made it to the 9 mile mark, Coach Al was cheering me on and said he would run/walk with me back to the starting point. We ran mile 10, walked mile 11 and ran mile 12. Let me tell you, he is a great coach, because had it not been for those stupid blisters, I would have ran all three miles. He talked to me about his amazing wife and all her running accomplishments (she is some lady and can beat all the boys in race!) and it took my mind of my tired and achy legs. I am tired but happy I completed all 12 miles.

After the run, we had an Honoree BBQ to honor all those people we were running for. It was very inspiring and again, made me so very thankful for my family, friends and my health. Here are some shortened versions of our honorees' stories:

* Joe and Ruth- Joe and Ruth are a married older couple. Joe was diagnosed 8 years ago with cancer and thanks to Ruth, his wife and caregiver, recovered and has been in remission for over 6 years. However, 2 years ago, Ruth found out she had lung cancer and had to have 1/2 of one of her lungs removed. Ruth is still in recovery but is thankful to be alive everyday.

*Jon- My mentor, runs in honor of his best friend, who was supposed to be his best man in his wedding, but unfortunately, he passed away 6 months before his wedding. Then, 2 weeks before his wedding, Jon also lost his mother to cancer. John named his first born son in honor of his best man and runs every race in honor of his mother and best friend that he lost.

*Miss Maes - was a client of a teammate, Michelle, and was full of life, she was a young single mother to two very young children. She had been having problems and went to the doctor. The doctor misdiagnosed her as having IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) in reality, she had colon cancer. She fought for her life every single day and her last words were "this damn cancer". Unfortunately, Miss Maes lost her battle to cancer just over a month ago and left her children without a mother.

As you can see, we are running for some very brave and amazing people. If you haven't made a donation yet, I'm asking you to please, make a difference and give to this amazing organization to help find a cure!

Thanks for checking in and check back soon! I might have some new pictures to post up! :)

Peace, Love & a Cure!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Where did all that SPEED come from?

Happy Tuesday everyone! :)

Tonight was our second track workout down in San Ramon. It was a tough workout because again we focused on speed but can somebody tell me where all that speed came from?!?! We all know I'm not the fastest runner, but today, I ran faster and harder than I ever have and I surprised myself by it. So here was my workout and following the distances are my times. Keep in mind a normal lap around the track (400 meters) takes me about 3 minutes.

400m - warm up
Stretching and abs
400m - 2:15 minutes
200m - walk
800m - 4:31 minutes
200m - walk
1000m - 6:00 minutes
400m - walk
400m - 2:15 minutes
200m - walk
800m - 4:25 minutes
200m - walk
1000m - 5:35 minutes
800m - cool down jog

We covered 4.25 miles today, and 2.75 miles of that was running at full throttle. If you can't tell, I'm still shocked at the vast improvement I made compared to our last track workout and also, my overall normal pace. I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow but hey, it's all worth it. It reminds of this guy's shirt I saw this weekend that said on the front "If you think training for a marathon is hard..." and on the back it said " TRY CHEMO" It made me think how lucky I am to have my health and healthy family and friends and most importantly, the ability to run for such a great cause. If one good thing comes out of my blogging, I hope that I encourage one more person to join Team in Training. I think it may just be the best thing I have ever decided to do.

Well I should get to bed but I wanted to throw it out there that I am hosting a Team in Training Fundraising Party at the Sports Basement in Walnut Creek on October 10th. If you are from the area, mark it on your calendar!


<3, Clara


Saturday, September 20, 2008

San Francisco- why couldn't you be FLAT?!!?

Rise and shine! It was 6am on Saturday and today was our 10 mile coached run in San Francisco. So I got ready and then proceeded to drag Kyle out of bed too (he is NOT a morning person). Once we were finally in the car, we headed over to Sara and Don's place so we could all ride together. It was a 40 minute drive before we arrived at Sport's Basement in San Francisco.

Due to the length of our run today, we had varied start times based on our regular running paces and because I'm slower then everyone in our car I was supposed to be there at 7:15. When we arrived at 7:25, I saw my group on the go already. I was bummed because they all pretty much run the same pace as me and that means I was going to get left in the dust with the next group that went out....they all run 9 minute miles and have legs that go on for days and we all know neither of those are true for me! GRRR. So I signed in, ran a quick half mile warmup before stretching with the group and getting started on my first ever, double digit run. The group pretty much left me in the dust but lucky for me (unlucky for Sara), her knee was bothering her and she took it pretty easy with me the whole run.

I could tell pretty early in the run that it was going to be an "off" day. Unlike the week prior, I was feeling tired very early in the run and with all the hills we had to run up, I was having trouble getting my breathing in rhythm. As a new runner, breathing correctly is still a very hard thing to control sometimes.

For the course, our first 4 miles was from Crissy Fields all the way to Pier 39 (Fisherman's Wharf) and back, the last 6 miles were running past Crissy Fields, up a HUGE hill, through some trails, (with beautiful views of the ocean and GG bridge), down steep wooden stairs to touch the gate below the GG and then finally back to the finish.

Overall, Sara and I finished in just over 2 hours. I'm so glad I had a running buddy for a couple reasons, one, I really needed the extra motivation, two, it was a really confusing course, three, it made the 10 miles seem much shorter than it actually was. Thanks Sara for your support! And even though it was a tough run, I'm feeling great, no pain or soreness, a day after the run. Keep your fingers crossed it stays that way!

I'm looking forward to another week of training, and I hope my long run next Saturday (12 miles!!) goes much better than this week's. Thanks for checking in and thanks to everyone for your support and donations. I truly, from the bottom of my heart, appreciate your support in this crazy journey I decided to embark upon.

Pictures: Views along our 10 mile run and me getting as many electrolytes and gummi bears at a water stop as I can in hopes it will make me move faster!

Peace, Love and a Cure!

PS. If you haven't already, you can donate here at my donation page!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quick Update!

Today was a cross training day but because we went rollerblading on Monday (due to Kyle's knee pain) we decided to do our run today. We ran at the Las Lomas High School track and I managed to keep a steady 11 minute pace (1 minute faster than my normal pace) and ran 4 miles in 44 minutes. 4 MILES! Can you believe it? I can't! Just 4 weeks ago I was struggling with 2 or 2.5 miles and today I ran 4 without any problems! Just had to share this moment of encouragement with everyone...any progress is good progress and man, it feels great :)

Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful day today! More to come on Saturday after our 10 mile run through San Francisco. Pray for me- that city is full of hills!

P.S. Here are some pics from our team social on Saturday. It was a lot of fun and the cheesecake I made for Sara's 25th birthday was a hit :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Week in Review: Week 6

Hi everyone! Thanks for coming back! So this week was our 6th week of training for TNT and we started it with a track workout on Tuesday down in San Ramon. It was a difficult workout as it was the first time we focused more on speed than long distance endurance. We did our normal stretches and then we were off. We first ran 400 meters, walked 200 meters, ran 600 meters, walked 200 meters, and then ran 800 meters- all as fast as we possibly could! Then we did the same workout but backwards with a 1/2 mile cool down (Picture: that's me doing my cool down with 2 fabulous teammates). I don't think I have ever ran 3 miles so quickly but my hamstrings were convincing me of this as well over the next couple of days.

Wednesday was a cross training day and we are allowed to do any type of exercise as long as it doesn't encourage pounding of the feet (i.e. more running, soccer, basketball, etc...). Yoga and weight training are recommended but it was a beautiful day and I felt like being outdoors so I grabbed my Rollerblades and Kyle, and we went rollerblading along the Iron Horse Trail for an hour. It definitely made me feel like a kid complaints here! :)

Thursday we had a buddy run at Heather Farms. Those of us running full marathons were scheduled to run 45 minutes- I ran with my friend Jenny. She is a wonderful running partner! We talked about all kinds of things including wedding planning, work, etc... and before we knew it 45 minutes was up and we had ran 4 miles. It made me realize how in only a short month and a half, my body has already made huge progress and is running further than I ever imagined.

Today, Saturday, we had our 8 mile mentor lead run down in Livermore. It started off cool and cloudy but the clouds eventually moved to the side and it became a bright sunny morning. The trail was breathtaking, taking us through vineyards and rolling hills. I managed to keep a solid pace going through most of the run and managed to get the same time as last weekend, just with a longer distance; 1 hour 34 minutes to complete 8 full miles! Woo-hoo!!

Well, thanks for checking in! I'm off to a team social tonight to celebrate our achievements thus far.

Peace, Love & a Cure! -C.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

7.6 miles

It was early Saturday morning, my alarm clock went off and I knew what was to come- a full 7 mile run in the already hot Walnut Creek sun. I put on my running capris, my TNT jersey, my running socks and shoes, my heart rate monitor, my water belt, my hat, and my sunglasses. Did you know you need this much stuff to run?!? I headed off to Heather Farms to join the rest of my team for quick announcements, stretches, shout outs and a moment of silence for those who are currently battling or have lost their battle with cancer. Today, we were running in honor of Kendra who has been cured of Hodgkin's Disease for 10 whole years!

The run started off slow but steady (okay, okay, I'm always slow but at least I try to be steady) and it went well for the first couple of miles. In mile 3 we had to climb a very steep hill, although it was short, it was difficult due to the grade. Once I was at the top though, I had a great view of Walnut Creek and the mountains in the distance. After the hill, about a half mile later, we had to run through this long tunnel that took us under a busy road, the tunnel was very skinny, maybe 4 feet wide and only 6 feet tall. I had to take of my sunglasses because it was so dark, I wasn't really sure where I was headed. We ended up spending about 3 miles along trails that intertwined through local neighborhoods, which gave me something to look at most of the time.

By mile 5.75, I was starting to get some lower back pain. I've been getting this sometimes along with some shin and knees aches, but nothing consistent so I don't think it's too serious...although you never know, especially running that many miles every week. So I took a little break and walked awhile. Around mile 6.5, Coach Al caught up to me and started talking to me. He's great motivation and helped me finish the 7 mile run along with the 0.6 mile "extra credit". Overall, it was a great run- I completed all 7.6 miles in 1 hour 34 minutes (including a couple water breaks, and stopping for traffic). My legs are tired but I feel great and I'm so proud of myself and my team for making it 7.6 miles today! Great job everyone!

Peace, Love & a Cure! - C.

P.S. Thanks again to those of you who have donated. Here are some of the ways your money has helped- so you can see, even a little bit counts!!REMEMBER- to donate, visit my donation page at:
$1000 supports one week’s salary for a medical researcher at UCSF, Stanford, or Berkeley who may discover key information to developing curative treatments for blood cancers.
$500 provides a blood cancer patient with financial assistance for one year.
$500 allows 10 patients to log on to a webcast and hear the latest information in treatment for their disease.
$200 provides a Family Support Group Program for one year for a patient and their family.
$150 allows 5 patients to make a First Connection with a trained peer volunteer.$100 provides 3 patients access to an information teleconference.
$75 is the average cost of tissue typing to become a bone marrow donor.
$50 is the cost of a CT scan
$40 is the cost of sending a comprehensive packet of information for children with cancer.
$35 pays for transportation expenses for a patient living in Northern California’s most rural areas to treatment at a comprehensive cancer center.
$25 covers a single prescription co-payment.
$5 is the cost of sending a newly diagnosed patient information about support and their disease.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Very First Blog!

Hello Everyone!! This is the beginning to my blog that I've been promising to start. My apologies for the delay, I've been having a hard time finding the time to write between my new job, wedding planning and most importantly, training for the marathon!

Let me just say this past month has been amazing. Before TNT, (Team In Training- you'll see me write it often) I would often take a yoga or spinning class, or run on the treadmill or weight train. Since starting TNT, my life and body has already changed drastically. We train 5 days a week, rain or shine, heat or heat (it's California folks, it's HOT here) At the start, 2 miles felt challenging and only a month later, we are running 7 miles at a time and although it's still a challenge, especially in this very hot California sun, I can feel my legs getting stronger and I find myself looking forward to that runner's high.

Please don't get the wrong idea- yes, I am a runner, but a very very slow one ;) But hey, at least I'm getting outside and doing something, right? Most importantly, everytime I run, I remember the reason I'm running and that is to help find a cure for the horrible blood cancers out there that claim lives every single day. I want to thank those of you who have already donated and encourage you to tell others about my mission (and my blog)!

Well that's all for now but stay posted for highlights of my 7 mile run this Saturday!

Peace, Love and a Cure- C.