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In honor of stuffing our faces tomorrow until we can’t move, I thought I’d take a minute to mention a handful of things that I’m thankful for at this time of year…

  • DVR. Is it weird that I’m listing this as numero uno? It’s not in fact the TOP thing that I’m thankful for in life, but I’d be lying if I said that lately, it’s not right up there. Thank God for it these days, because without it, I wouldn’t know what’s happening with Silver and Teddy on nine-oh, or get to peak at some yummy on Grey’s.
  • My God son. He’s brought so much joy to my life. New York isn’t that close but thankfully it’s not too far for a quick road trip.
  • My grandparents. I took care of the most adorable 91 year old man this past weekend, and it reminded me of how blessed I’ve been throughout my adult life to have the relationship that I have had with my two sets of grandparents. I miss my maternal grandparents every day, especially around the holidays, but I am truly blessed that I had them in my life for 26 years, and grateful for the close relationship we shared. I’m also thankful for my father’s parents, who are still healthy and fairly active at the age of 81 and 82.
  • The ability to laugh at myself. Because I’m kind of a hot mess sometimes. I trip over things, I fall during my runs, I’m not the most coordinated all of the time, and I’m thinking of a million different things at one time most of the time. As such, I mess up sometimes, and if I weren’t able to laugh at myself, I’d be in tough shape. I’m thankful that I’m able to make light and find the funny in most all things. I don’t have time to dwell on the little stuff.
  • My family and friends. This one shouldn’t go without saying, because I truly do feel like I lucked out in this department. I have family near and far that I love more than everything, and amazing friendships that feed my soul.
  • My drive and motivation. Not driving driving, like a car. I’m kind of a terrible driver sometimes, admittedly. But I am thankful for the fact that I have a hell of a lot of motivation and determination these days, which takes work sometimes, but has proven thus far to be so worth the effort.
  • ManFriend (Matt). Of course, I’m thankful and smitten for all the reasons you already might assume, but lately, he’s really outdone himself as far as pulling all this extra weight around our apartment. I’m hardly ever home to cook, and he almost always has a meal on the table. He does the laundry. He cleans. And he puts up with me on my stressful, freak out, crazy days, which happen a bit lately, and for all of that and so much more, I’m thankful.
  • My cat. Last night I was eating roasted broccoli and leftover won ton soup and a side of chicken fingers, and Cosmo came up to me, snuggled into my sweatshirt, and started purring and kneading at my hair. He loves this. Sometimes it’s at inopportune times (like when I’m eating), or usually when I’m trying to write a paper or something, and last night was one of those times. But I didn’t mind, like I sometimes do. He looked up at me, still purring, and right then and there, I felt so thankful for my furry little buddy.
  • Al Roker & Meredith Vieira. This video really gets me. These two ran the NY marathon a couple weeks ago, and everything about this video gives me butterflies. Which I guess means I’m thankful for the two of them? I know this is also an odd one, but gosh darnit, I’m thankful for people like Al and Meredith who show that real people can train and complete a marathon too.
  • All of you. Thank you for stopping by over here and commenting and supporting me and my running and my crazyness on the regular!

Hope you all enjoy the holiday tomorrow, and any turkey trots you might have going on. I know my 5K first thing tomorrow morning will be…interesting, to say the least. These legs haven’t seen much of the pavement since 10/10, so this could be another one of those times where laughing at myself comes in handy.

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what’s up

So, here’s what.

Would you believe that I haven’t ran more than one, five mile run, since the Chicago marathon?

So I figured, okay, free pass for say, a week or two after the race. Afterall, I had been running, non stop, roughly five days a week since well, March or so. Back then I was training for my half marathon in May, then I jumped right into marathon training. I’ve been constantly on the run, literally in life in general- between working full time, nursing school full time, marathon training full time. It’s been… a lot. So I figured, I deserve a little break, a little reprieve.

It’s been nice. To sleep a spec later in the mornings, to not have to plan my weekends around long runs, to be able to throw back an extra glass of wine and not have to worry about feeling not awesome the next morning on my run, to have less laundry to do, to grow my toenails back (I know, for a girl who likes a nice pedicure treat on the regular, these past six or so months have sucked), etc. It’s all been nice. Awesome, even.

Want to know what’s not been so nice though? The guilt. The five pounds that I’ve put on. The let down.

I know so much of this is normal. When something is so much a part of your life, of your existence for months on end, to train for and reach a goal and then… have it behind you, I think it’s kind of a loss. And not that I couldn’t have kept up with the running, but as we all know, if you don’t have a race on the books to gear up for (or maybe this is just me), then I feel a bit less motivation and drive to keep at it all.

I feel guilty for slacking more than the two weeks that I had set in my head as “break time.” I knew I wanted that time for some recovery, mostly physically, but also mentally, emotionally, the whole shabang. A little break was good. But now? The little break is almost a month break; I haven’t run more than five miles ONE time, and I feel guilty and stupid about the fact that I can’t get it up for running like I once did. I miss it, but at the same time, the snooze button seems so damn appealing at 5:04 am. (I can’t set my alarm for normal times.)

And the weight. I know that’s a superficial reason to be whining about this, and perhaps the weight isn’t noticeable to you or my best friend or Matt or anyone, but I know what’s happening inside these skinny jeans here, and it’s not pretty.

So I know that the solution is probably just to shut up, stop whining, and lace up my sneaks and get the hell out there. I know once I get back into it I’ll feel better. But my drive is low, I’m not feeling it like I was a few weeks ago, I miss having big race on the books, I can’t find a freaking big race to PUT on the books, and it’s getting cold outside. And I’m a wimp. I don’t do cold too well.

And damnit, I want to whine about it.

**UPDATE** I forgot to mention that I am signed up for a Thanksgiving 5K, so there’s that.  It’s something.  Yet, I’ve been signed up for a couple weeks and still… here I am.

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my little pumpkin!

I’m going to see this little pumpkin this weekend in New York!

And it’s his Mama’s birthday! I can’t wait to spoil them both and finally drink some cocktails with my girlfriend. She’s taken a break for oh, nine months + and me, well, there’s been no break but, that’s not the point. I’m going to see my dear friend and it’s going to be a wonderful little weekend. Cheers!

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You guys, my friend Carla is having a giveaway on her blog for one of those awesome metal displays to hang your race medals on!

By the way, here’s Carla and I after the Chicago Marathon!

DC and Boston finally meet!

I’m going to be honest- I don’t really want you to go over there and enter to win, because that decreases my chances of winning, and I WANT TO WIN!

But, I’m doing the right thing here and helping myself out by getting another entry for this little post) and letting you all in on this little giveaway, so that you too can enter for a chance to win one of these!

Head on over and comment on this post to try and win!  (Or not.  Because I WANT TO WIN!) 😉

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Two years ago today, on a crisp, windy Autumn evening, I walked into a little pub in Boston for my last first date.

Happy Anniversary to my Matt!

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meanwhile…

I miss the running!

I don’t necessarily miss the obligation of the training, and I do welcome a bit of a break these days when everything else on my plate is piled miles high. Not having to run "x" miles on this or that day, a long run this weekend, that’s a good feeling of freedom these days. I welcome that wholeheartedly.

But, I do still kind of miss it.

Which is why, I know I need another race on the books. For me, having a goal in mind to work towards makes SUCH a difference. I’ve been googling left and right on marathons coming up, half’s, 10k’s, etc… and pickin’s are kind of slim. Turns out, the races I’d like to run are on weekends that I have clinical for nursing school, and other options are few and far between.

I know I don’t have to do another full marathon. In fact, my schedule really doesn’t allow for it right now, as I’m busier than ever.

At the same time, while I am so proud of the fact that I finished Chicago and loved every moment of it, I know that I have a faster marathon in me. I know that if it weren’t blazing hotter than hell out there, I could have run significantly faster. Part of me wants to prove that to myself, like, now. I’m feeling kind of antsy and frustrated about it all. I’m sure I’ll work through it, but having another one to look forward to might help….

I know, there will always be races. I did just run a marathon not even two weeks ago, but you know what they say… once you catch the bug….

For now, I’m focusing on smaller goals. I’m thinking that I’d really like to work on my half time, and work on a new PR under my 2:00 time a couple years ago. I feel I have that in me.

In the meantime, I’m running whenever the hell I feel like it. Or not. I’m sleeping in later. I’m enjoying wearing heels again! Matt and I are running a 5K for MS on Thanksgiving so that we can pig out on treats all day. I’m trying to take it all in, plan my next move.

What would you do?

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I finished!! 

 
Not just now.  It’s three days later and I’m just now really getting around to doing an appropriate race recap.  I put my legs up on Monday night as Matt and I were watching Dexter, relaxing after the whirlwind of a weekend we’d just had, and started to try and do a recap here, but it just wasn’t happening. 
 
I needed a couple of days to take it all in.
 
In a word?  Awesome.  The race was amazing.  From the million + spectators (no joke!), to the event itself, to the thousands of volunteers handing out water and Gatorade and bananas on the sidelines, the whole experience was hands down one of the most thrilling of my life.
  
I’m a marathoner!
  
(Picture of me dorking out when I saw Nilsa at around mile 23.  Hey, at least I’m smiling!)
 
What an incredible race.  I’m not sure that I’m really allowed to have any complaints at this stage of the game, first marathon and all.   Afterall, I finished! My only real complaint, was that it was HOT.  Super, crazy hot.  Not unlike the heat that I have trained in many a time this summer, BUT, when you sign up for a Fall marathon, you kind of hope and somewhat expect that it will be a nice, crisp, Fall day.  Well, not so much.  While I knew that the weather was one of those things I just had no control over, when I saw the reports of temps reaching near 80 on Sunday, I wasn’t too excited. But, I knew I could do it, given that I’d done training runs in much worse.
 
While the heat most definitely had a huge impact on my time, the fact of the matter is, I finished the marathon!  And I’m so, so excited about that. 
 
Heading out of Charity Village, where I checked some stuff in the Girls on the Run tent before the race, I was beyond excited to run into my buddy Kevin!  We had tried connecting the day before, both on our cell phones walking around downtown, SO CLOSE to one another but not able to find each other.  Then, out of a sea of 45,000 people, who do I run into?!  KEVIN!  (I have a sweet picture of us at the start that I’ll have to upload here… I’m still working on getting all of the photos from the weekend organized.)
 
It was so nice to be able to start with my Boston running buddy.  If I didn’t have to stupidly stop to pee at mile 3, chances are we would have continued the whole race together.  Kevin finished about 4 minutes before I did, just about the time it took me to wait in line for the porta potties, do my thing, and get back out there.  In the humungo crowd of thousands, I wasn’t able to find Kevin again to catch up.  But I knew he was out there… somewhere!
 
Speaking of starts, and sweet moments, one that has special meaning to me, and you will understand this more if you know the background story about Matt and his marathon journey, is that the two of us were able to start together.  I can’t tell you how meaningful this was for me.  To be able to start the race with the man I love, when I wasn’t sure up until just days before how that would all work out, well, it was really something, let me tell you.
 
Here we are AFTER the race…
 
(He was apparently planning to go hunting after the marathon!?)
 
Matt and I stayed together until about mile 5.  We were pacing really well, going under a 10 minute mile, which was my goal for a sub 5 hour finish.  I knew I wasn’t supposed to have any big time goals in mind, or any time goals AT ALL for that matter.  I’d been warned about that from seasoned marathon buddies.  But I think on some level, we all go into a race like this with some sort of goal in mind.  Anyway, at the end of the day, my main goal was to just finish, and finish happy which I totally did.
 
 
Matt and I smooched and parted ways at the 5 mile mark.  He told me that he was going to find the moms, who were there cheering us on.  This was our plan from the get-go.  If he decided he wanted to stay behind, or stop, he made me promise that I wouldn’t let this affect my race.  While this was hard for me to accept, I knew that it was the right thing for this race.  We’d talked about it in-depth many a time.  He knew how conflicted I felt about not sticking with him, the guilt I experienced.  How I felt that I would be “leaving”  him.  He talked me right out of that.  Matt is amazing that way.  He didn’t make me feel bad for a minute for any of that.  He reminded me of how hard I had trained for this race, and encouraged me over and over that when he decided he would hold back, that I was to go on.
 
And go on I did…
 
So turns out, Matt told me he was stopping at mile 5.  But he told me that so that I wouldn’t worry.  And obsess, and worry some more (worry is what I do best?).  Instead of stopping at 5, guess what this champ did?!  He went on to run half!  This came seemingly out of no where, for a guy who hasn’t been training for such a distance in months.  Though it surprised me on some level, at the same time, I knew Matt had it in him to pull something like this off.  What a great accomplishment for him; I am elated for him, and so proud of his strong finish!
So now Matt was off on his own, doing his own race (unbeknownst to me!).  Up until the halfway point, I was pacing pretty well.  I wasn’t even paying too much attention to my watch, I could just feel that I was running well. 
 
And then, the heat hit.  We’re talking upper 80’s here, whooboy, it was a hot one.  I kept plugging along, but I knew I was slowing down.  I was craving more and more water, but conflicted because I didn’t want to chug the water at the aid stations, for I knew that would make my stomach a mess.  I walked through every water station from 13.1 out.  Walked slow, real slow, at some of them.  And then you know how it goes, once you walk, getting back to it and running is even tougher.  But I didn’t have too much of a choice.  I knew I didn’t want to walk any of the race OTHER than the water stops, so this was my chance to kind of regroup.
 
 
The one and only time I walked besides the water stations was when I saw Nilsa and her husband around mile 23.  They ended up being the only people who I knew that I saw on the course (more on that in a minute), so I had to pull over and say hello for a minute.
 

And stretch.

The main “hurt” that I had during the whole race was my hips.  So weird, because my hips NEVER hurt.  I guess you just never know what will happen on race day! 

Speaking of cheering and all?  Having my name on my shirt?  Such a good idea!  People were cheering for me left and right the whole entire race!  While I’d heard that this could either be a good or a bad thing… could give me some great motivation, might get a little annoying, I loved it.  I figure I put my name on there for a reason, and you’re damn right I appreciated every single “go Meg!” that I heard on the sidelines.

So, the second half of the race was getting hotter and hotter.  And the course went from a “yellow” caution level to a “red,” “high” alert level.  There were warnings on the course to slow down, to walk if needed, not to push it.  And a lot of people did walk.  This is a part that I struggled with, seeing people hurting.  Not for nothing, because hell, I was hurting in my own right, but seeing people on the sidelines walking, or limping, or worse- at the first aid tent getting IV’s, that was tough to see.  I really felt so much empathy for them.  I can’t even imagine training so hard for such a big event, and having to bail out midway through because of a medical emergency. 

Some people say that the last 6 miles are the toughest.  Afterall, I had never run beyond 20, so yeah, I was pretty freaking nervous for 20-26.2.  But the worst of it for me?  Was roughly miles 17-19.  It was just so god damn hot out there.  This whole second half of the race was in the blazing sun, whereas the first half was at least in the shade.  While there were spectators everywhere, they kind of dwindled down a bit at around mile 17 or so, and I found these 3 miles to be the toughest.

Around mile 20, I kind of felt a burst of energy.  And I mean, that’s all relative because it wasn’t as though I was going into sprint mode here.  But I did feel like, holy hell, I’m six miles away from being a marathoner!  Something clicked then, and I knew I could do it.

Mile 20 was also where I was hoping to see the moms.  I knew there was a very likely possibility that I would miss them, or they’d miss me, and unfortunately that’s what happened.  Turns out, the moms were on the left side of the road cheering, and I was on the right.  I knew my mom was out there, nearby… somewhere, and though I didn’t actually see her, that kind of helped me get through another mile a little easier.

One of my favorite moments of the race was when I could have sworn that I was coming up on mile 21, and not two minutes later, I saw that I was actually at 22!  WIN!

When I say that miles 20-26.2 weren’t awful, they most definitely weren’t easy.  It’s that feeling where you know you’re close, but I also knew I was about an hour away.  My everything was kind of aching at this point, the sun was beating down like crazy, and damn, was I thirsty.

This picture is one of my favorites for two reasons.  First, look at how freaking happy I am, at mile 26?!  I did make it a point to try and smile every time I saw a photographer (but also have learned that I run with my tongue out a lot?, thanksverymuch marathonfoto.com).  Secondly, see this dude  here in blue?  He’s from Ireland.  I came across him right here, and he was walking.  He looked so strong and I don’t know, I know some people may find it annoying when they are walking, to have another runner to tell them to “be strong!, you can do it!”… but I had the sense that all this guy needed was a little encouragement.  I looked over to him and told him “buddy!, we’re almost there!  come on, run with me!”  And he said his legs felt so weak, he wasn’t sure he could do it.  I told him damn straight he could do it; we were SO CLOSE to the finish line.  He told me this was his third marathon, that he had come to Ireland for this race.  I told him how this was my first, and told it to him straight right then and there, that we were running to the finish.

He cooperated.  😉

He was so gracious and such a cool dude.  At the last couple seconds, when we could see the finish line right there, he pushed me, “go ahead girl, you go for it!”  And you can see above, we finished pretty much right together.  Kind of fun, and definitely memorable, that little encounter.

And so, I finished!  I’m a marathoner!

(I had one sip of that beer, and then tossed it.  One of those things that seem like a good idea at the time.  And who am I to pass up a free brew?  Remember, it had been a week since any alcohol consumption over here.)

What a race.  To say I had an incredible, amazing, wonderful time, would even be an understatement.  I’m just so, so excited about it all.  I trained hard for this thing, put in some serious time and energy into this, and I achieved my goal!

I’m totally loving the marathon.  Would you think I’m crazy if I told you I tried to sign up for another one in about a month in NH, but found out that it’s on a weekend I have clinical? 

I’m already addicted!  I want more!  More of the rush, more of the energy from the whole experience.  I loved most everything about it, and I am so, so happy that I’m able to say today, that I am a marathoner.  No one can take that away from me!  Woo!

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