About Me

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Movin' on Up!

Yeah, sing it like "The Jefferson's!"

My blog had moved, so if you read this, go here now:


And, remember, don't be shy, leave a reply! (Comments make my life).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fly Me to the Moon...

Actually, don’t. I like my feet on terra firma, thank you.

I write this from above 10,000 on some plane that I thought 10 min ago was FOR SURE going down. I was actually so scared, I rang the flight attendant and actually asked her the following:

“Ummm, so it seems this plane is slowing down a lot and kinda shaking and also turning…are we about to plummet to our death?”

This would not be the first time I’ve asked a flight attendant this sort of question, by the way. For the record, the ALL give you the same response, “Oh no, this is normal, you just look at my face and if I look worried, then you should worry and if I don’t, you shouldn’t.”

I don’t believe them anytime they tell me this (do you think those flight attendants on the flight from Brazil to France that went down in the Atlantic knew a thing?). But, you better believe I watch the flight attendant’s facial expression like a hawk. I also listen to the pilots like its God speaking to me.

[Doesn't look worried....yet]

I’m not sure why I’m such a nervous wreck flying. You’d think I’d be over it by now as I fly about once a month. But, nope, still the girl rebreathing into her hands who, at times, has her hands over her eyes during take off as it that is going to make it all go away (who is also intermittently saying “oh my God” like it’s a tic). Pray to God you never sit next to me on a plane.

I try to remind myself that “its all physics” and that “these pilots are very well-trained and safety checks are numerous.” Still, I have thought the following in flight (not this particular one, on different ones): that the wing was going to fall off, that the plane was breaking in two, the engines were about to fail, that the wing was on fire (that one was actually just the red light on the wing flashing), that we were going to roll over because we were banking too much…this list could go on and on.

I get particularly nervous on Airbuses (rather than Boeing, yes I have a preference in manufacturer of my plane). I think the Airbus A330 or whatever it’s called was in several crashes in the past few years. Also, I had a particularly bad experience (and by bad experience, it was my completely fabricated experience) during a flight from DC to NYC on said Airbus. I SWORE that when we were taking off and then turning that the plane was stalling and just KNEW we were going down. On this particular flight, I was with my whole family and my mom pretended like she wasn’t related to me (and then whispered to me, “Do you see ANYONE ELSE freaking out on this flight?!?”). My sister had to calm me down with some TV show on her iPod. Thankfully, we are all still alive.

[dreaded airbus A330]

I also get pretty nervous on these commuter jets (Embraers) that I fly between NYC and TN because these are the ones that went down in KY and near Syracuse (first one was on too short of a runway and second one was a problem with ice on the wings).

Basically, no plane is ok with me.

I should really go into a flight simulator before a mile race or something because my adrenals are working at the level they would if I were being chased by a tiger in the Serengeti. I swear to you my epinephrine level is through the rough. I would run a mile under like 6 min or something, I’m so amped up.

Thankfully, we are, for now, in some smooth air. But, I mean the nose does seem a little downward pointing and we are DEFINITELY not descending yet…

And, now we’re kind of shaking...FANTASTIC. And the lights are off. I hate that. I feel like I’m sitting in a cocoon of terror.

[the word cocoon reminds me of the very hungry caterpillar]

So, I’m going to soothe myself by listening to Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” on repeat. I think the song, on a whole, is a terrible influence for the younger set, but KP knows how to make a catchy song…

Monday, June 13, 2011

Smile! Unattractive Brightroom Photos

I don't think I've ever had one attractive race photo. Brightroom either gets me really far away (sometimes thankfully) like on Sat:

...where I am definitely stopping a few steps before the finish line. Yeah, it was that painful.

Or look like a hot mess:
["Mommy, help! This is too far!"]

Or look like I'm barely moving, which is somewhat disturbing to me:
[Shortest Stride EVER! Yay! I win something!]

I mean, it appears as if one foot IS marginally moving in front of the other....maybe by 5 cm.

I have found ONE cool photo...both of my feet are off the ground.
[White girl has mad ups.]

But, mostly, the Brightroom photos AREN'T keepers.

On that note, I'll leave you with what Courtney told me at around the 5K marker on Sat (she ran the first 5K with me).
"Meggie, I am not running faster, you are running slower." -CLM

In my head, I was laughing, but I couldn't waste my precious lung reserve on that.

On Saturday, I will be 3/4 of a doctor. I hope this doesn't scare anyone...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Climb Mountains While You May

The title of this post comes from a camp song, called "Go Gently." Anyways, speaking of camp...

Whenever I'm a parent, one thing I WILL do is send my kids to camp. I went to a most fabulous camp, Camp Illahee, in Brevard, NC as a camper for a total of 5 years and as a counselor for 1. My mom jokes that my 5 year pine-tree pin (given to on your 5th summer) is my most expensive piece of jewelry. [And she's probably right.]

A lot of people think parents "ship their kids off" to camp to "get rid of them" and that the kids really don't like it. Not true in 99% of cases. My first year as an Illahee girl (1994!) I went to the 2 week session, which runs concurrently with the 4 week session. When my parents came to pick me up, I was less than pleased to see them and BEGGED to stay another 2 weeks.

I could go on and on about sending your kid to summer camp is one of the best things for them, but I will try to be brief and summarize in bullet form:
  • "Making it" for 4 weeks sans parents teaches you that you can be independent and successful. A huge confidence booster in and of itself and a prelude to college in some respects.
  • In reference to the first bullet, camp gives you A MILLION chances to be successful. Big and small achievements don't go unnoticed, whether its cleanest cabin, passing a new swimming level, hitting a bullseye in archery, making a really cool lanyard, or just being polite kid. You will leave camp feeling like a rockstar.
  • Camp gave me a chance to try a million new things I never would have done otherwise. I've kayaked down the Nantahala, rock climbed Looking Glass Rock, "swam to Dolly's" (if you swim 2 miles over the session you got to go for ice cream at Dolly's), made a bench in wordworking (which I still have), vaulted on a horse (like gymnastics on horseback), and done a back-tuck in front of the whole camp at the gymnastics show (talk about feeling like a rockstar). Sorry Mom and Dad, but I don't think you all would've taken me rock-climbing.
  • You learn that getting caught in the rain is ok. You will just get wet, you will not die. Sleeping without A/C is fine. A spider may crawl in your kayak, but you will live to tell about it. Walking outside to the bathroom is not inhumane. --> Basically, you learn live in the elements and be a little tougher.
  • You spend pretty much all day (and night, really) outside in the mountains. What's better than that?
  • You write letters on real stationary. With stamps. No cell phones, computers, facebook, etc.
  • Camp is full of awesome role models from the leadership down. Your kid will try to emulate good people.
So send your kids to camp. They will thank you for it one day. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

Speaking of stationary, Madeline sent me this awesome card:

Damsel in distress, if you will. Another bah-na-nas card from Madeline.

If any of you were wondering how the little Mini 10K went down today, I'll tell you, it was HUMID. I finished around 52:21 (my pr is 49:52). I ran the first 5K in 25:30...and the 2nd in 26:40ish. Lets just say the humidity, the hills, the "only social running" lately hit me hard in the 2nd half. But, thats ok. [Ok, I'll admit, at first, I was thinking "Man! Have a maxed out in running?!?] I just reminded myself that I wasn't training for this race and it still served as good kick in the butt to start "training" again soon (coupled with copious amounts of "social running," for good measure.) So, no pr, but you know what, I got out there, I tried, and I finished. I realized there's a LOT of work to be done if I want to be as good at running as I am in my head (ie a BQ and other little "goals".) I got a medal. And I made the website with my 2 great friends:

5 points to whoever recognizes the sticker on my shorts...

Anyways, its 9:30 pm. I'm exhausted and going to sleep. All this talk about camp makes me feel like I should play taps or something...

Here's the chorus of "Go Gently," which inspired the title of my post. I think its a good thought to the day with, too.
Climb mountains while you may, and sing your songs,
Start living everyday; it won't be long before you turn around
and wonder where life's gone.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NYC Forgot Spring

First, Mother Nature tried to keep making winter "happen," and now summer is in full swing. Apparently, there was some spring thrown in there, but I must have missed it. This is probably because I spend the majority of my day inside.

I actually somewhat like summer running. I think its because when I run really slow, I have an automatic excuse in "it was really hot." Perfect, right?

In case anyone was wondering, I have brought back the ol' sportband when I have remembered to put it on. Its horribly uncalibrated, so I should probably get on that for accuracy's sake.

On another running note, when I first started running I took a lot of walk breaks and consider this a "failure." I tried to blame it on the fact that I was used to little breaks in between hard bouts of effort in tennis and not the fact that I was either out of shape, mentally weak, or just terrible at running. The other day, when I was procrastinating studying for my surgery exam (as I am now), I read this on purplepatchfitness somewhere (shout out to Jesse Thomas [www.leapdaysports.com], a super triathlete, who is coached by this guy which is how I found this awesome website):
We include walk breaks for every level of purplepatch athlete (including the pro's!) to allow perfect biomechanics, limit unecessary stress and optimize recovery.

Which got me thinking, are walk breaks all that bad? Should I incorporate so I actually run more than I shuffle? Hmm...

Courtney and I ran some 400s and 200s on Tuesday and I don't know which is more painful, those or a marathon. I definitely was in some gastrointestinal distress for 24 hours afterward. TMI, I know. The conversation before we started will give you some insight into our friendship:
- M: "So, I'm not gonna stay with you."
- C: "Yes you are"
- M: "Mmm, ok. You can time them."
- C: "Ok, lets go."
- M: "Wait! I'm going to time them to."
- C: "You're only doing that so you don't have to keep up."
....start running
- C: "Stop sprinting."
- M: "This is fine!"
...200 meters lady

Courtney, Jess, and I then saved the corner of 1st Ave and 25th Street from a terrible fire. (The garbage can was on fire and we called 911...go us.)

Needless to say, this little Mini 10K is going to be hmmm....well I'm just not going to think about how unpleasant it might be.

I gotta work on thinking positive.

I'm curious if anyone out there amongst my vast, vast readership has thoughts on 1) walk breaks and 2) my attitude towards running.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thumbs Up, Everybody!

If you're in need of a little inspiration before starting this work week (or school week or just week), look no further than this cutie who just learned to ride his bike.

I'm gonna need some inspiration this week to get myself in gear to study for my surgery exam (June 17) as well as this end of the year oral exam (June 18). You better believe I will be celebrating on June 19th.

If anyone reads this, I want guesses on what I will run the mini 10K this weekend. To aid in you guesstimation, I will give you a little Meggie 10K history:
June 2009; Mini 10K; 1:00:11
Dec 2009; Joe Kleinerman; 55:22
April 2010; Scotland 10K; 55:05 (which is basically the same as above)
Dec 2010; Joe Kleinerman; 49:52

If you need some extra help, my last 5K (in March) was 23:58 and my marathon (May) was 3:48:03.

Bust out those TI-83s and get crackin'....

On a totally unrelated note, I literally ran into the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck this week. Consider it a sign from God if you do. Its like Mr. Softee, but better. I got the Salty Pimp, which is vanilla Softee with caramel + sea salt + dipped in chocolate. It will be the best $5 you will spend. So, I suggest you seek him out.

Thinking of getting up at 5 am to run a quick 4 miles (not actually fast). Have to be in a 6:50. I just don't know if I can drag myself out of bed that early...

Saturday, June 4, 2011


A few years back, Oprah (love ya, girl) ranted and raved about her newest favorite thing, a book called "The Secret." Apparently, if you think about what you want, it will happen. (I think its more elegantly stated that positive thinking can lead you to increased happiness, wealth, health, etc.) Simple, huh?

I read an article a few months later (I can't remember where, its been several years) where basically the author made fun of the book. I took her stance, too. I mean, sure, I can wish for a pair of Christian Louboutin's all I want, but that doesn't mean I'm going to get them. (I realize wishing for material possessions is not the point of the book, but I still thought the concept was crazy.)

A year or two later, the 2008 Olympics rolled around and I'm an Olympic junkie so I'm glued to the TV for those two weeks. I'm slightly obsessed with gymnastics so, of course, I do NOT miss any of the gymnastics competitions (or the national and Olympic Trials leading up to it). In case you missed it then, Nastia Liukin ended up winning the Olympic All-Around title, the most coveted title in all of gymnastics, beating out Shawn Johnson, who was highly touted to win the competition being the reigning World Champion. In interviews later, Nastia revealed that in the year leading up to the Olympics, she had read "The Secret" and made a vision board that included images of the gold medal to be awarded at the Beijing games to inspire her as she trained. Worked out pretty well for her...

[this is one of my fave images ever]

It wasn't until I started training for this past marathon that I entertained the idea of reading "The Secret" and making a vision board. My goal was a a pretty big reach for me in terms of my running ability so I probably needed a little extra belief in myself to make it happen. I didn't do read "The Secret" (not enough time in medical school this year), but I did make a vision board on a 2 week break I had from school (partly out of boredom). I didn't achieve my goal like Nastia (that perfect bitch), but I think partially it was because I didn't really believe what was on that vision board. I think I'm a little too much of a realist sometimes to really wholly believe in something that I know could happen, but is probably beyond my reach.

A few weeks ago I read this, on a blog about some girl who became an amazingly fast runner (went from like a 4 hr marathon to now close to 3 hrs, which is nutzo):

This took my PR of 3:39:17 down to 3:20:25. I still say that I talked myself into it. For months leading up to that race I woke up every morning looking at the post-it note on my bathroom mirror that read simply “3:20.” [http://thelogicoflongdistance.blogspot.com/2011/05/interview-candice-schneider.html]

Sounds kind of like a quasi-vision board, no?

After reading that, for a hot sec I was all pumped up and got my post-it notes ready to rock. Then, I came back down to Earth.

While I'd love love love (as Teresa Guidice would say) to qualify for Boston at NYC (3:35 for my age group), I realize that would be pretty tough for me as it would need to be a huge PR (by like > 10 min) and NYC is a pretty tough course. So, should I go around putting 3:35 on post-it notes everywhere? I'm not so sure...

I think making your goal a little higher than what you can probably do pushes you a little bit more and you'll achieve something much greater than if you had set your goals "realistically." For example, my goal for the past marathon was 3:40 (the old qualifying std). I didn't get it...I was 3:48 (a 21 min PR!), but if I had set my goal of a more "realistic" 3:50, I probably would've run 3:52.

So, it remains to be seen if I'm going to have post-its with 3:35 or some other goal time posted around my room. Check back in Nov...(if I keep this blog up)...

And, then, after writing all of this, I still wonder why I even care what I run a marathon in. I mean, it really doesn't matter, it has no bearing on my future whatsoever. Is it just being kind of fun a good enough reason to care? I digress...

On a completely different note, if you actually know me in real life, you know I love sending cards. I send them for most holidays and my friend, Madeline, and I send cards back and forth to each each other, usually particularly witty ones or ones with excess sparkles and Disney princesses. Here is one of my favorites from Madeline from recent memory:

[If you can't read it, it says "Trust me, totally hot."]
[sending me a card makes me happy and I will send you back a totally hot one, probably from Papyrus]

Has any of my vast readership done something (like the post-it notes, vision board) that helped them achieve a goal? Spill it, peeps...

[I really need to start studying...]

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Running With Scissors

Ok, I don't run with scissors. But, I also don't run with a Garmin, a GPS watch, a heart rate monitor, the adidas micoach, or a homing device. Once upon a time, I ran with the Nike Sportband.
Then, I noticed I was mostly staring at the thing most of my runs (mostly my pace and then internally yelling at myself, "WHY CAN'T YOU MOVE FASTER."). So around April 2010 I ditched the sportsband and went sans any timing device. It took some getting used to at first, and a couple of times I actually looked at my wrist to find nothing was there, but I started to really like just running by feel -- if I felt like running fast, I ran fast; if I felt like running slow, I ran slow. (Most of the time, it was the latter).

Around July, I got a watch. Since then, I've really only used it to time myself for workouts or if I'm running for a certain prescribed time. Other than that, I never time myself. So, if you ask me what pace I run at or how long it takes me to run 5 miles, I have no idea. I'm sorry. I enjoy running this way...it takes all of the judgement out of running (at least for me). Running without timing myself is probably the most hippy, zen-like thing I do (other than that, pretty straight-laced, structured, scheduled, organized, do not deviate from schedule, etc...)

I don't think I'll ever go Garmin (but, like Justin Bieber says, "never say never"), but, first of all, I don't think I can run with this monstrosity on my wrist:

I run slow enough as it is. Every ounce counts. That thing definitely is gonna cause some wind drag. Also, I know those things beep at you if you set them to do so if you go over some pace. I'm sure I would do this and then at some point, when I'm angry mid-run, would yell back at it (something like "OMG. SHUT UP! I AM TRYING TO GO FASTER") causing me to look like a psychopath running in NYC, which, come to think of it, wouldn't be so out of place. Finally, I think I'd rather spend my money on manis/pedis and cabs than a Garmin. So, unless someone has a compelling argument for why a ginormous Garmin watch helps them, I'm gonna pass.

Recently, I've thought about bringing the ol' sportband back again. I think sometimes I may go TOO slow because I know I won't know how fast I'm running anyways. I think bringing it back may make me run faster instead of slacking off just enjoying the scenery and people watching in NYC. And, maybe, it would make me a better runner (Hmm...). I also want to challenge people on Nike+, including Lauren Fleshman (http://asklaurenfleshman.com). I just need to figure out a challenge I could win. Hmmmm....

If anyone reads this in succession (doubtful), I did run those 10 miles and then used it to justify a cheeseburger and fries. Plus, it was Memorial Day...what else am I supposed to eat on Memorial Day?!? I then got a few hours off this afternoon, so Erika and I got our run on (and, hopefully, our tan on). And then I ate some cookie cake. It was a fabulous afternoon.

Anyone out there for or against watches, sportbands, Garmins, mi Coaches, etc?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Game. Set. Match. And a Blister.

I had the good intentions of doing a "long" run today (long is not that long these days). But, sleeping in until noon (amazing) coupled with 90+ degrees and the fact that I ran 7.5 HILLY miles the day before put a damper on my motivation.

I felt like I needed to move around though as I ate a ton of cookie dough:And my brain tends to think like this:
So, I asked the little bro (Harrison) if he would hit with me after he was done with his "real" tennis for the day. Tennis is sort of a family affair in our household, minus my sister who wants nothing to do with the sport. I started playing around age 14, played in college, and hope to dominate the mom leagues some day. My brother plays competitively, too, and is now 17 looking at his college options. I taught him everything he knows (Ok, not really, but I like to think I did) and drove him around TWO WHOLE SUMMERS when I was in college to fabulous tennis destinations like like Columbus, GA and Little Rock, AK. Little H kindly took it easy on big sis, probably because he was tired from his 1.5hrs of tennis beforehand.

I love running these days, especially because it fits in pretty well with my lifestyle, meaning it is the most efficient, no fuss exercise I can get in with my busy schedule. But, today made me really I miss tennis a lot and running probably won't be able to fill the void of not playing tennis (for now).

Tennis is, for me, a bit more expressive of a sport than running. From the clothes to yelling after a point (which I am prone to being guilty of), I feel like I can make tennis my own, give it my own style. Maybe I just haven't gotten to that point in my running yet.

There's something also about just going and hitting the crap out of the ball along with screaming and yelling that is just so satisfying. At least it is for me...

Here are some pics AND a video of me and little H's hit. Of course, I'm posting a video where I didn't miss and my brother did. To his credit, he took the pace off a bit for me (much appreciated, little H).

[Video is proof you can move you feet and bend you knees minimally when playing tennis is you want to!]

Down side to not playing much over the past 3 years....BLISTER.
And how do the Smith kids refuel after hitting on a 90 degree day? Picky Bars, of course! (Harrison will actually eat them, which is proof that anyone would like them).

So, I'm putting that long run off until tomorrow and, if all goes as planned, may try to work in about 10 miles tomorrow once I get back to NYC. "Try" is a key word here though. Motivation to actually do that tomorrow much appreciated (if anyone actually reads this). You better believe I'm taking some of that cookie cake back to NYC with me so maybe THAT can be my motivation to get out the door tomorrow...

(PS: thanks again, little H! You're the best brother a big sis could ask for)
(PPS: Steve, if you read this, I'm prepping for women's interclub.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Picky Bars

So, the only people who read this blog (all 5 of you) probably already know about my love affair with Picky Bars and I probably gave you one. (Ok, maybe not you Amelia, but I will give you one when I see you next!). I eat 2 per day when I'm running and, lately, I run just so I can eat one in the afternoon (sad, but true). Hey, whatever gets you out the door, right? Right.

Although if you're reading this I've probably already espoused to you about why I love them, I will outline my top reasons why I love Picky Bars here, in case you've forgotten.

Top 10 Reasons Why I Like Picky Bars.

1. Made by nice people (who are also incredible athletes): Seriously, Jesse, Lauren, and Steph (and Ben, employee #1) are good-natured people who happen to be both incredible entrepreneurs in addition to being incredible professional athletes. Freaking over-acheivers.

2. Seriously taste good: Imagine a PB and J with some chocolate thrown in. What's not to like?The almond one is also a bit squisher and reminiscent in texture to cookie dough to me. How can you beat healthy cookie dough?

3. I can recognize what’s in them: Ok, I am guilty of drinking diet coke (fake sugar and chemicals), but I try to eat stuff that looks like actual food rather than something ending in -ol or -ose (eg: sorbitol, dextrose). Picky Bars fit the bill on this one.

4. Perfect size (both in calories and in portability): They're like 200 calories. If I'm not super hungry, I eat half. They're little guys, so I can keep them in my white coat, my scrub pockets, my purse...anywhere.

5. Ability to throw one down quickly: This is key on my current rotation, surgery, where you don't know when and where you may get to eat next. I haven't timed myself, but I think I can throw one down in about 10 sec.

6. Holds you over: Picky Bars have gotten me through some LONG days in the hospital. 8 hour surgeries. 14 hour days. I know they're made for the athletic type, but they also work for us nerdy, med student type.

7. Chocolate Chips: Makes them seem a little dessert-ish. I eat around all the chocolate chips first and save those for last.

8. Its a Conversation Piece: Most people I know haven't seen them, so they ask me about them. So, bring them to your next party for a little conversation maker (ok, maybe not, but you will probably get asked about them).

9. Allergy Friendly: I don't have any food allergies myself (knock on wood), but I imagine its nice for people who have food allergies to have something they can safely eat without worrying that they will get a bout of raging diarrhea or need to use their epi pen (although please still carry around your epi pen if you have a nut allergy).

10. I Like The Reason They Started Making Them: Legend has it that Steph and Lauren started making them for Jesse when they were both injured and needed another outlet. I admire their ability to keep their lives balanced, something I don't do so hot with all the time. I'd say their strategy paid off if you look at their results from the past year.

So, there you go. I highly suggest you order some here: pickybars.com . I order the pro pack, obviously.

A bonus reason: Picky Bars has such a hold on me that when they tweeted they had a new flavor to try if you were one of the next 12 orderers, I immediately jumped on it like a lion to its prey. The only other time I've felt that strong of a desire to buy something was 2007 when I was at the Coach Legacy Boutique and they told me there were only 30 of this certain handbag in the world. If you know me and my shopping habits, you know putting something on my all-time powerful shopping experiences list is a big deal.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pie in the Sky

I struggle with goal setting. Here’s why – I tend to think that with enough hard work I can do anything. Yet, when it comes down to it, I’m too much of a realist to actually believe I can achieve that pie in the sky goal.

Let’s take my most recent marathon (of all 2 that I have done) as an example.

I set a goal way, way back when (ie sometime last fall) that I wanted to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon, which would be a 3:40 marathon. Last October, I ran a half in Central Park at pretty much the exact pace I would need to run a marathon in to qualify. Being the idiot I sometimes am while also aided by endorphins, I though “jeah, you totally got this!” (I stole “jeah” from Ryan Lochte whom I follow on twitter and l.o.v.e.)

So, I signed up for the NJ Marathon in hopes that 1) I would spot a NJ Housewife and 2) I would BQ (just joking on #1…kind of).

I trained pretty hard (at least I think so, I mean, as much as you can while also being a med student), but as it got closer to said very very very long run, I got less confident that I was actually going to be able to do it. I think its because I realized that when I tried to run my “goal pace” on some long runs, it was really hard. Or maybe I’m just a wimp because usually when it comes to races I have to talk myself into racing instead of “just jogging this one.” I’m not sure why that’s so hard for me.

Because I’m incredibly stubborn, I still started with the 3:40 group. I held on to them until….16? I’m not so sure...all those middle miles kind of blend together and all I was thinking about was getting to the next mile marker (and yelling at Bruce to get my water; I got to sound like Kris Jenner for a lot of the marathon going “Bruce!!!”).

I finished in 3:48:03. To pat myself on the back, it was a pretty good improvement from my first marathon (Feb 2010), which I finished in 4:09:59. Don’t worry, I celebrated accordingly (and used it to justify anything I wanted to do for the next week). But, it wasn’t my “goal” so I was kind of…disappointed.

In retrospect, I think 3:40 was (and still is) my goal, although maybe my expectation when it came to race day should’ve been different than my goal. So, maybe from here on out , I should keep my ridiculous goals, realizing that I may not get them on the first go round, and then set an expectation closer to the day of what I can realistically do.

It was suggested to me by an extremely good runner far, far wiser than I to set 3 goals: an A, B, and C. Kind of like a “holy shit I can’t believe I did that goal,” a “that was a good day goal,” and “that went alright” goal. I think that may be better than setting an expectation, as expectations seem, to me, to have a negative connation. Like, if you don’t meet them, you really didn’t do so hot.

Sometimes, I wish I didn’t like to set goals and could just float through life happy with whatever comes my way. But, then I guess life wouldn’t be as fun and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

Anyone good at the realistic goal setting thing? Is there such a thing as a realistic goal or should they all be kind of unrealistic so you work hard…

Or maybe I just think too much...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Erika Owes Me Some Shoes

This entire running thing is all thanks to (or could be blamed upon) Erika Olson (for those who don't know, Erika is my former teammate).

At my 23rd birthday (2009), Erika talked about how she was training for a marathon. I thought she was insane and was somewhat afraid she might die, but I was also secretly jealous of how much she probably got to eat.

I had been trying to run myself some, but I never really “got” running. It wasn’t a game, no one won…I had no clue how so many people found this “fun.” I also could not wrap my head around how I could play a 3-hour tennis match easily, but couldn’t run for more than 30 min without wanting to shoot myself. And that made me really frustrated. I chalked it up to the fact that I just wasn’t “made” to run so I should probably stop trying (which is what I did for the first 23 years of my life).

About two weeks later, I texted Erika to ask her how she could possibly like running. She told me she made it social and suggested I come run with her on Friday after work. I agreed, figuring it would be, like, 2 miles since she told me she “couldn’t run too far because she had her long run the next day.” She then suggested we do this “little loop that John and I do, its about 5 miles.” I told her she was freaking nuts and I could not run 5 miles without needing an ambulance. Somehow she got me to go run with her…and I made it! I ran 5 miles WITHOUT STOPPING!

Needless to say, we ran super slow but I had run the farthest I ever had in my entire life WITHOUT STOPPING. I’m pretty sure I told everyone I knew (and didn’t really know) that day that I ran 5 miles.

Erika and I continued what I called the “Friday trots.” And, I was motivated to run on other days so I could make it through that 5 mile run with Erika each Friday (seriously). I can’t tell you how many runs Erika had to coach me through where I was SURE I was “going to die.” [cue Erika saying “just focus on Chelsea Piers, the golf nets, smooth to the finish” and cue me asking how much further we had to go and if we could stop for a hot sec]. To her credit, she was much faster and in much better shape than I, yet, she never once complained about me being super slow or whining or needing to “take a break for a sec.”

Erika also invited me to this “running club” started by a mutual friend, Stacy (another NYU-er). I was pretty reticent because anything that was a running “club” sounded like it was for “runners,” and I definitely did NOT put myself in that category. Plus, I didn’t want to finish last/have everyone wait on me. I finally went sometime in May. And I’m pretty sure I did finish last (and still do a lot). But no one cared and they actually all cheered for me when I finished. I couldn’t believe how supportive a group of people could be for someone they barely knew (and who clearly sucked really badly).

In June, I was convinced to sign up for a 10K. Note to others: you should know how far a race is before signing up for it. When I found out a 10K was 6.2 miles, I immediately freaked because, obviously, I had never run farther than the 5 mile Friday trots. Luckily for me, two sweet people (Claudina, Alanna) from that “running club” were just there to run it for fun and ran the whole thing with me. After I finished that race, I was pretty hooked .

That was 2009.

I also can’t forget to mention my two med school running buddies, Jess and Courtney, who also put up with way more whining than they should have (old habits die hard).

Its now 2011 and I’m happy to say Erika and I still Friday trot (not every Friday, but still a good bit) and now Katie (another teammate) joins us (she was injured in '09). [Basically NYU tennis has turned into a post-collegiate NYC running mob.] And, I definitely still go to that running club.

Katie, Me, Erika, Stacy
All Proud Products of NYU Athletics Golden Era

So, thanks, Erika. I’m a little sad that my story didn’t get turned into an essay for some applications you had recently, but at least it made it into the blog world, right?

[And if you're wondering why Erika owes me some shoes, its because if I hadn't started running, I wouldn't have needed all these shoes. Er I wear size 8, Lunarglides. ;) ]