Saturday, November 21, 2009

Run Forest, Run

I'm sitting here in a hotel room in Pennsylvania trying to get myself to head to bed. A 4:00AM wake up call is in the near future and I really need to get some rest.
The Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon
is taking place in 10 HOURS!!!
I'm ready, I'm excited and I hope to run like Forest!!
I-pod is charged, running clothes are ready and race time is at 7:00AM!!!
So for now I leave you with...
Run Forest, RUN!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Still Running

I'm still running!!
I know it has been a while since I have posted anything but life is crazy busy right now and it seems like blogging has taken the third seat back in my life. I will get back to blogging on a regular basis...I promise!
What's new might you ask?
Well I am running the Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon next Sunday.
It came up very sudden and I thought about not doing it but here is my chance and I better do it now. What if something happens a year from now and I let this opportunity pass me by. I was planning on going down and back the same day. That would entail leaving at 2-2:30AM to make the start of 7:00AM. A little nutty but that's me! Todd surprised me yesterday and booked a room at a hotel near the King of Prussia Mall.
I'll run the race, head back and take a shower and then Mall time!!
So for now, I'll keep on running and breathing that cold fresh air in every morning run. I'll enjoy the 1/2 marathon in a wonderful city of Philly. I may even run up the steps that Rocky ran up...after the 1/2 though! I will keep you all posted and I leave you with...
run girl, run

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Morning Run

Running this morning consisted of me, the dark skies and my thoughts. 4:50 the alarm clock rang, I tumbled out of bed, made myself a cup of coffee and got ready. It was warmer than the previous mornings (40 degrees) but still chilly enough to wear running pants, long sleeved shirt, running fleece, hat and gloves. I headed out to my running partners house where I waited for 15 minutes for her to come out. No such luck, I thought maybe she had forgotten or that maybe her husband had to leave earlier than expected to take his mom to the hospital for her knee replacement surgery this morning.
Well it was just I headed out by myself into the dark. It was hard to get my breathing down as the air was so cold on my lungs. I started up one of the hills and right in front of me was a shooting star. Very cool indeed. I ran 2.2 miles and then my running partner came bolting out of her house with big deal. I had so many different things to think about...planning my day and week, figuring out what to have for dinner, creating some pottery and more. I talked to Kim for a minute and then headed back out for another 1.1 miles. Upon running up the same hill...ANOTHER shooting star.
It is truly something special the sights and sounds you get to experience while on your runs.
Thank you nature...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Baltimore Marathon 2009



I finished my first marathon and it was simply AMAZING!!


It has been a week of rest and recouping for me and I apologize for not completing this blog entry sooner. I have so many memories and thoughts of the marathon that I would like to share with you. First and foremost I would like to thank Todd and Graydon for being there with me from start to finish. It was a long journey of 6 months preparation work to get me through to the end. I also would like to thank my running partner Kim for all your advise and early, early morning runs!!! I would also like to thank all the people who donated money for "Donate Life" the charity that I was running this marathon on behalf. As of right now I do not have a count on the donations as they are still coming in. I will close out the donations by Sunday and then tally all the $.
Stay tuned for that revealing.


We headed down to Baltimore on Friday morning and much to our surprise when we got there it was humid and HOT. At least 82 degrees, sunny and I was a little anxious about running in that temp. We checked into our hotel which by the way another BIG Thank You to Ken!! The hotel was literally right across the street from the start line. After checking in, we headed off to the Expo to pick up our running packets and all the goodies that went along with that. The Expo had tons of different vendors set selling merchandise. Afterwards we headed around Camden Yards Baseball Field to check out the scenery. What a nice stadium...we will definitely be heading down there for a game sometime.


At dinner time we walked past the inner harbor to check out all the sights and sounds on our way to Little Italy where we had dinner at Sabatino's. We met up with Nancy McGowan and her team members and families. They were running the marathon in relay style. It was nice catching up with Nan and meeting all of her daughters. I had a delicious dinner of homemade fettuccine with butter and bread. It was good...but I didn't dare have any sauce or extras on my pasta.
Just plain old pasta for me!!


The marathon morning I woke at around 5:30 to start getting ready. A couple of Facebook feeds, bagel, coffee, oj and a banana and then a warm shower to loosen up. Todd had all my running clothes out for me so I wouldn't have to worry about it!! We headed down to the start with the temps in the high 60's and partly cloudy. I started stretching along a fence and met 2 couples from North of Syracuse. Over 20, 000 people there and I stood next to them...

The first photo above is a pic of the starting line. They had the elite runners staged in the front, you know all the Kenyans and Russians who run faster than I can even dream about. It then went by minute miles...7 minute miles, 8 minute miles etc. I wound my way through the crowd to find the 9-10 minute mile crowd. There were a ton of us all huddled up next to each other.

Upon standing there for a while Todd noticed this guy standing right, I mean RIGHT in front of me. The front of his shirt read DeRosa. Now those of you who know me, know that THAT is my maiden name. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!! Todd yelled to me, "Hey, the guy in front of you is a DeRosa". I grabbed his shoulder and spun him around and introduced myself to him. We spoke briefly and then the National Anthem was sung. The announcer in a dramatic voice said...Runners take your MARKKKKKKKK, Get SETTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT


And off I went with a BIG smile on my face and a lump in my throat. I said a prayer before I left asking God to guide me through the race without injury and then I asked my DAD to help me keep strong and be with me throughout the race. I knew it was a sign when that DeRosa guy was in front of me. Plus there were many more signs to come....


We headed up the long hill (one of many, many) and we were out of sight with our loved ones. I felt absolutely GREAT and had GREAT time for the first 5 miles, even 10 miles, even 15 miles. Throughout the miles we went through the projects of Baltimore, around a lake, out in the boonies of Baltimore where the spectators were few and far between. The i-pod kept me focused and calm during some difficult hills and plains. At one part we went over a very broken up street of cobblestone and it took some good concentration not to injure yourself on it. The streets were in OK condition. You really noticed a difference when you headed out of downtown Baltimore. In the project sections that we ran, the streets were very banked and in rough condition. Pot holes, broken up pavement and more roughness of the roads made it tricky to keep going in a straight line. Remember you have tons and tons of people around you....


At one point I was running with 2 guys who had Virginia Tech shirts on. Remember I told you about the signs...well there was one for Todd. So during that time of trying to catch the guys I was thinking about Todd and how supportive he has been. I reached the top of a hill and glanced to my left and there were two people walking a dog just like ours, another sign. She is a Catahoula Leopard Dog and they really are a rare sight to see. During that time I kept thinking about our dog Callie and wondering if she was really missing us as this was the first time we left her all alone. Thank you to all of our friends who came and looked after her!! We appreciate it!!! At 9:30 on the mark, a song came on the i-pod that is Graydons...strange though, it was right when he started his Kids Race, another sign. I said out loud "Do good buddy" and a know I got a few strange looks from that! As we wound our way around the city and through the park I saw several spectators that resembled my Dad. It really calmed me in knowing that he was there in spirit with me...another sign. The last of all the signs was a red bandanna laying right in the middle of the road. It was about mile 20 and I was having some inner demons working against me and that red bandanna reminded me of my running partner Kim. She always carries a red bandanna with her when we run. As I ran over it I said out loud "Kim".
I know this all may seem weird or very strange to you people, but talking out loud and thinking about all these signs really helped me get through the race.


Throughout the marathon the spectators were incredible!!! They had miles with different things going on for us. The M&T mile had a band and they handed out these blow up clacker things that people were waving and making noise with. They kept cheering us on all they way through these miles. Under Armour had a mile with a DJ playing music, huge flags blowing in the wind, fruit, gatorade, power bards, gu and etc. A couple of schools actually got together for different miles. They had their school bands playing music, they were handing out water and gatorade....such fun!! There was also a gummy bear mile at mile 23, where they gave away over 400lbs of gummy bears. As you ran by they stuck these huge red trays of gummy bears by you so you could grab a handful. For the next 1/2 mile the streets were littered with discarded gummy bears. I was always on the look out for those special areas because you never knew what was coming around the bend.


Amongst the many many hills there were, one in particular sticks in my head. At the bottom of this at least mile long hill I looked up and saw the wave of runners and thought to many more of these hills can I handle. I was feeling really alone (strange as there were tons of people around me), tired and starting to get hungry. I heard some music and at that point I was thinking it was coming from one of the project houses. As I got to the very top of the hill, there are all these neighbors in the street. They were playing LOUD reggae music, dancing and waving their arms in the air. They were cheering us on so wonderful it completely changed the way that I was feeling at that time and I felt like I could take on the world!! The kids were jumping up and down and standing on boxes for us to high five them when we ran by. It was simply AMAZING!!! The support from this little project area of Baltimore...I am so impressed with them!! Also to the guy who was just past this neighborhood who was standing on the roof of his car in a tiger costume with "Eye of the Tiger" playing really loud from his car!

At mile 13 as I was heading down the hill in front of the harbor, I saw Todd and Graydon waving frantically for me!! It was such a great sight to see....Graydon with the camcorder and Todd with the huge backpack for me filled with anything and everything I could possibly need. I grabbed a bite of a power bar, took a sip of gatorade, kissed both of them, tossed them my sunglasses and off I went again. The above photo is my coming on the far side of the road.
At mile 18 I decided that the next port-a-potty I saw I was going to stop for a quick relief. Unbeknownst to me, my insides had something else planned for me. Unfortunately I threw off my time by 20 minutes at that one and only stop I did. It must have been the adrenalin, gu, gatorade and whatever else was going on inside of me at that time, but it really did a number on my insides!!! I was so upset being in there for so long. I was worried about having my legs cramp up because of not being mobile, getting cold, and trying to make it another 8 miles on a sick stomach. Not good!!! BUT, the skies parted their ways, I opened the door and headed out...into the rain with a good feeling of not being sick anymore! It did rain off and on throughout the race and only one time I could recall that it came down pretty heavy. But overall it was a relief to have that coolness of the rain wash over your skin while your body is working so hard!
Around mile 22 I realized that the race was close to being over...and then the i-pod quit on me. At first I was really bummed thinking that I needed that music to get me through but I sucked it up and decided that I would enjoy these last few miles left of this great race. Just at that point there was this African American woman standing to my right on the side of the street. She was clapping her hands and yelling to us "Good job ya'all...but ya'all are CRAZY....and you have a long way to GO". Her friend that was with her hit her and said something to her and she replied "Hey, I'm not gonna LIE to them, they do have a LONG way to go and there are more HILLS and they all are CRAZY". It made me laugh soooo hard I thought I would have to stop and collect myself. From then on I was determined to finish the race STRONG.
My toes hurt pretty good from mile 18 on...I knew I was having some issues with them and at one point tried to stop and take my shoe off to reposition my sock. After I slipped the shoe off I looked up to see a woman with a sign...the sign read "PAIN IS TEMPORARILY...PRIDE IS FOREVER". I put my shoe back on a trudged on through the last miles. Strange though...this woman was every where in the race with that sign. I wondered how she got around there so quickly :)
Another memory was this guy in a light blue running shirt with light grey hair. I was focused on the road and felt someone running close to me. I looked up and saw this guy with a big smile on his face. He was older than I am and I was a little confused at first because he kept looking, smiling and not saying anything. I said "Hi, how ya doing?", he said "OK but not as good as you". OK WEIRD....and then he kind of drifted back. After the race was over and I was in the runners village and I saw the same guy!! He was walking towards me, saw me, stopped, winked and smiled. I smiled and said good job and we went our separate ways.
I didn't see him again...
Was he real???
After the 22 mile mark I kept on thinking one mile at a time. When I saw that big old 25 mile mark I kicked in the last mile as much as I could and really did finish exactly the way I wanted to...Strong!! Here I am in the middle of the pack right at the end. At the time Todd took this photo it dawned on me that him and Graydon were close by. They had their whistles and I heard them, then I saw them jumping up and down, arms pumping in the air. I passed them with only about 200-300 yards to go and broke down crying while running. I was so happy to see them and so proud that I was finishing and so sad that it was over.
Well...then I couldn't breathe so I told myself to knock it off and finish strong. I sprinted in as fast as my legs could go and crossed that finish line!!!
They ushered us into walkway where they handed you the silver blankets to keep warm and your medal. Once that medal was in my hands I started sobbing and couldn't stop. I saw the people from right in the very beginning of the race who were from North of Syracuse...they finished right in front of me. I congratulated them while sobbing and they must have thought I was a loon but I didn't care...I was just so proud!!
I worked my way through the crowd to the spot that Todd told me to meet him at. I saw them...went over Kissed and Hugged them and then it was time for some food. They had crab bisque which at first was a little bit of a shock taste because of the saltiness but then it tasted soooo good!! I found bananas and more water and headed out to see Todd and Graydon.
This photo was while I was waiting in line for the soup....
So....that is about it!!
After this pic, we headed to the kids village where there was food and music and commotion. Todd and Graydon got lunch while slipped out of my running sneakers and put on my slides. A much needed relief to the toes. We headed out of the area to where the finish line was and cheered on the runners coming in. At that point I had enough and just wanted a shower....we went off to the hotel where the shower helped loosen my stiff legs!!

One proud chick!!
My shirt that Al & Sherry's printed for me with the charity...
Graydon wrote on my arm before the was nice to see it throughout!!
The end!!
But not the end of running or racing or marathons!!
Stay tuned for more to come!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2 Days to Go!!

Packed and ready to go!!
A friend of Todds wrote me a nice little note...
It says...
Start slow...
Head up...
Shoulders back...
Finish strong...
Run like you own the road!
Thanks Scott!!
I appreciate your words and will take them with me throughout the marathon!
Also, a special thank you to all the people who sent me well wishes!
I will keep you all posted tomorrow and Saturday!
Stay tuned for photos of Baltimore!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

4 Days to Go

OK, the nerves are starting to really hit me...
I know I can do it but when you think about how far 26.2 miles is,
it makes second guess all the training I have done.
Have I done enough running, am I eating OK, how about sleeping....
Well, we'll find out!!
run girl, run!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

6 Days Away!!

It is almost here!!
I ran 5 miserable miles this morning and let me tell you why it was miserable. My right hip is killing me. Yesterday I sat through a whole college soccer game on a cold, hard, metal bleacher and I think that's what did it.
I need to call my chiropractor first thing in the morning to see if I can get in for a emergency appointment. I think with that and resting a few days I should be OK for the weekend...
rest up girl, rest up!!