Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thank you, Marine Corps Marathon

Not only did the Marine Corps Marathon give me the opportunity to train, run, and finish the race of a lifetime and accomplish a major goal, but it gave me the opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to as many of the Marines as possible that I met the day of the race. This event allowed me to feel a part of something much bigger, something so emotional that I won’t soon forget and can never appropriately put into words. I got to see and experience why the Marine Corps Marathon is known as the People’s Marathon.

The day was perfect. The weather was beautiful and the 26.2 mile route was laden with history, monuments, gorgeous scenery, and a challenge to “beat the bridge”. It isn't the race route that I recall. As a matter of fact, I only remember noticing two monuments; the Capitol and the Washington Monument that was under construction. What I do recall are the people.

Bundled up in hats, jackets, and scarves against the chilly morning air, men, women and even children in strollers came out in droves; and never left. Spectators were not at just every mile marker, but at every step of the race. They held handmade signs of encouragement or humor, rang cowbells, cheered, shouted and clapped their support to one and all runners to the finish line. Heck, there were even spectators handing out Halloween candy to the runners for that added sugar boost.
The volunteers were numerous and amazing. These are the people who were up before the sun on race day in the chilly fall morning, setting everything up to make the Marine Corps Marathon enjoyable and memorable. They manned the port-a-potties (a thankless job), manned aid stations, helped hand out water and Gatorade, and were our general cheerleaders for 26.2 miles. They were the police blocking roads, keeping the streets safe, and who clapped along with the rest of the spectators as we passed their security point.

For me, the incredible and emotional part of the biggest challenge and race of my life were the Marines. These men and women not only made us feel secure, but they cheered, applauded, high-fived, shouted boot camp orders, and handed us Gatorade and water as we made our way to the finish line. They were the reason we pushed ourselves and continued to run when our bodies screamed in pain and wanted to give up.
The best part was the opportunity to shake hands with these Marines and thank them for their service. And at the end of the race, when I crossed the finish line a Marine placed the Marine Corps Marathon medal over my head, and then she saluted me. That little act was my undoing. I thanked the Marine and the others standing near her, shook their hands, and walked away with tears streaming down my cheeks and a grin on my face.

I may have accomplished something great that day, something I perceived to be a tough challenge, but it is nothing compared to what these Marines face and live every day and all to keep us safe.

I have never felt more humbled or proud.
Thank you to the US Marines not only for your service, but for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime.

I salute the Marines; thank the Marine Corps Marathon coordinators, volunteers, and all the spectators. You made this race for me and made this the People’s Marathon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Virtual cheers for the Marine Corps Marathon

It’s almost that time! Thirty thousand runners will line up to run the streets of Washington, DC for the 38th Marine Corps Marathon. And where are you? Are you along the streets cheering your favorite runners to victory, encouraging them to block the pain? Or are you snuggled in your bed nice and toasty warm?

If you can’t be at the race you can still cheer on the runners and the Marines, you can do a virtual cheer. Send a tweet or post something on Facebook. Send up a virtual cheer!
Here are some typical cheer signs we will see along the way. Make one of your own and send it to the social media sites and give a shout out to all the Marine Corps Marathon runners, the Marines, and the volunteers that are making this event happen.

Here’s a few ideas:
Toenails are for sissies
Pain is temporary, glory is forever
Keep going, dig deeper
Beer awaits you
If it was easy, I’d be doing it
Stop reading, keep running
There’s only sweat between you and the finish line
Hot, sexy Marines ahead
I’m proud of you
Get your mind off the pain, rock this like a hurricane
Chafe now, wine later
No one made you do this
Smile if you’re not wearing underwear
Runners have balls, other sports just play with them
Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment
You’ve endured the training, now celebrate the pain

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Twenty-four hours to the 38th Marine Corps Marathon!

Twenty-four hours to the race of a lifetime! Or should I say an accomplishment of a lifetime. Twenty-four hours to the 38th Marine Corps Marathon!

Who would have thought a year ago I would run a marathon, let alone the Marine Corps Marathon also known as the people’s marathon. A race built around 38 years of tradition and support for runners and our military. I alongside 30,000 other runners will be running the streets of Washington, DC, passing monuments while United States Marines hand us water and Gatorade and cheer us on.
The race hasn’t even started and I’m already in awe of the coordination and overwhelming enthusiasm that the race volunteers and Marines have displayed. Everywhere I turn there is someone in a Marine Corps Marathon shirt or jacket offering to help.

Yesterday at the packet pickup, two Marines gave me my bib, pins, Marine Corps Marathon patch, and the program for the event.
When I walked into the Health and Fitness Expo a Marine saw me standing in the middle of the aisle gazing around (I was struck by so much) and offered to help get me started. She handed me my race bag and walked me over to get my race shirt. Then she told me to enjoy the expo and the race and sent me on my way. I walked around the event for two and a half hours.
Last night was the first timers Pep Rally, and event for folks running their first marathon or their first Marine Corps Marathon. Remember your high school pep rallies? Picture that on a much grander scale. Cheerleaders and mascot greeted you as you entered, cheered at various times, and posed for pictures.

A slide show displayed on two large screens, the Marine Corps Marathon race arch sat on stage along with a bunch of race sponsors and an amazing speaker named Robbie who pumped enthusiasm into you with his words. With this man behind you, you could not possibly lose.

We ate appetizers and drank and listened to various speakers tell us how to prepare for Sunday’s race. Great advice like bring a garbage bag to wear to keep warm while waiting for the race to begin, bring tissue in case you have to go to the bathroom without the benefit of a port-a-potty, run your race and your pace, and probably more importantly to smile and enjoy the run. We mingled with other runners where I met a Navy submariner and an older Army gentleman.
Tonight is the carbo-dinner where I have no doubt the meal will be packed with carbohydrates, more words of wisdom will be shared, excitement and enthusiasm will ripple through the hall, and new friends will be met.

At 5 AM Sunday morning all of us will be up and finding our way to Runner’s Village near the Pentagon and the race start. Start time is 7:55 AM, October 27, 2013.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Journey to the Marine Corps Marathon

It’s almost here! I am one week away from reaching my BIG running goal for the season! My stomach is flip-flopping, my nerves are jangling, and my heart trips over itself every time I think about it, but I’m ecstatic that the main event is only seven days away.

How did I get here?
It all started six months ago when a friend of mine suggested my next running goal not be just a marathon, but the Marine Corps Marathon. So when registration opened up for the Marine Corps Marathon, I was one of the thousands of people who sat at her desk and entered her information and waited then did it again, and again, and again until it finally went through. Yes, the registration site couldn’t handle all us crazy people coming at it all at once.

Once I received the email saying I was registered, that’s when the fun began!
The first thing I had to do was come up with a training plan. Yeah, well, just do a search on the Internet and you will find any number of them. I looked at them and basically took my race schedule for the year and incorporated several with that. I’m not an all-out runner, I do the intervals of run then walk so I trained according to that. The hardest part for me was working in the longer runs. Ugh! Running more than 10 miles by yourself or without a carrot dangled in front of you is challenging to say the least and sometimes very boring.

The boring is where I learned about getting the right music playlist. It gave me something else to focus on beyond the strides, the staying upright, and the timing of when to drink and when to toss a Gatorade Chew in my mouth. Once I got enough Eminem on my playlist I was set! Not kidding. Those of you who know me know I am a country music girl. Yeah, not when it comes to running. When Eminem hits my ears it’s just the right motivation to keep you moving even if you have blisters on the bottom of your feet or you can barely lift a leg for the next stride.
My training plan definitely included many races, way more than I am sure some professionals or elite athletes would recommend. But, for me I needed the added motivation of the people and the exuberance of crossing a finish line. More for me was the goal of getting faster. The races allowed me to challenge and push myself to improvement. Add to that I kept a spreadsheet of every race and the finish times so I could track progress or not. Oh, yeah, I got better, stronger, and faster!

Running alone is not enough to train for the Marine Corps Marathon or any long distance race. You need to work your core, strengthen your upper and lower body and learn to eat right to achieve a fitness level that will allow you to endure.
Thank goodness I already had the best trainer. Jon Tobey of The Fitness Factory is a fantastic group and one-on-one trainer. He listens and designs plans to help achieve your goal. And the training is never static, which is a personal pet peeve of mine. Every Friday was different! I never knew what to expect. Some days we’d kill my core, others we would do supersets of arms and core or legs and core. My favorites were the days he added in some boxing. Who doesn’t love to punch something! If that wasn’t enough, I did a double workout on Tuesdays where I incorporated Jon’s thirty minute metabolic meltdown class and his forty-five minute bootcamp. On Thursdays, I did just the metabolic meltdown. Great fitness classes that will challenge every part of your body.

So I had the running plan. I had an amazing trainer. Now all I had to do was figure out how to achieve the weight loss and eat for the fitness level I was trying to achieve. This was harder for me. Until I found my naturopath, Dr. Kristen O’Dell of Bedford Natural Medicine. This woman saved me! Almost two years ago I was diagnosed with kidney issues without knowing the cause. Kristen not only identified the issue, she treated it naturally! On top of that, she identified a root cause as to my health problems that I wasn’t even aware of. I have something called leaky gut syndrome. We identified the foods my body wasn’t absorbing, which just so happened to be almost all the foods I ate on a daily basis. Then we changed my diet and added a nice amino acid called glutamine to my daily routine. All I can tell you is that her supplements and the change in my diet have gotten me to be much more physically fit from the inside.
People ask me every day how I can eat like I am. For those of you who do not know, I am not eating gluten, egg, or dairy and many fruits and vegetables. I eat nothing processed when I can help it. The only vice I have not given up is my Mountain Dew. I have it every morning with my glutamine and magnesium powder poured into it. Yeah, both Jon Tobey and Kristen O'Dell cringe when I say that, but you know, a girl has to have one vice. [GRIN] When you want something bad enough you will do whatever you have to do!
In every pursuit of a physical goal there are bound to be injuries. Luckily my big one came early on in the training. I woke up one morning with excruciating back pain. I tried to blow it off, but that didn’t work. I ended up at a doctor office. Much like my kidneys, I was not satisfied with not being able to identify the issue and fix it. I’m a smart cookie though, and I found a magnificent chiropractor. The issue is my SI joint. Apparently, it doesn’t always like to stay where it belongs. Dr. Mark Stagnone of Stagnone Chiropractic has kept it in line and kept me running. I am grateful because I believe seeing him once a week has truly helped improve my running. Plus, he recommended I take glucosamine for my joints. Bonus! I no longer have to run with a knee brace.

Thanks to these three people I have a fitness level that I am ecstatic about and that I know will allow me to reach that finish line.
Speaking of people, I have to mention several people who have supported, harassed, harangued, and goaded me during this training. There are more than a few, but there are three that have done so on a regular basis and it is much appreciated. First, my friend Tony, a fellow runner who talked me into this life-changing goal. Thanks to Tony pushing me, I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon and more than likely, I will be running even further next year. My friend, Brendan, who whenever I started to doubt myself and my ability, would post words of encouragement or plain old tell me to get over myself. Can you ask for a better friend that one who tells you the truth?! Then we get to Heather. Heather is a runner I met this past year and we would meet up at several races. When I wasn’t scheduled for a race on a weekend, Heather would send me links to races and egg me on to join her. Who needed rest! Heather has always been faster than me so she became my carrot in those races.

Thank you all, and thank you to all my other friends and family who supported me. I will keep all of you in my heart when I run the Marine Corps Marathon next Sunday, October 27.
For those of you thinking about chasing a major goal in your life, here's a quick word of advice.
No one else can do it for you. There are no shortcuts. Will it be difficult and challenging? Yes! Will you wonder if you can do it? Yes!
All it takes is discipline, determination, and heart. If your heart wants it, your mind and body will follow.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Snacks for 24-hour Dewey Readathon

Closing in on the halfway mark of the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-thon. Next up on my reading list is Capsized by Sharon Sala.

How goes it on your end? Oh, my tail end is numb from all this sitting! Just remember to get up and move around. Stretch those legs. Do a little dance and get that circulation pumping.

I'm on my first bottle of Mountain Dew. Bring on the Dew! I've also got some Fritos, some gluten-free almond clusters, some homemade energy bites (love these things!), Gatorade, and for a change of pace, I've got Coke.

If I get really desperate, there's coconut milk ice cream in the freezer.

What are you eating to keep up your energy up for the next twelve hours of reading? Got any favorite snacks?

Eight hours into Dewey Readathon

My morning started out with a 3 mile run from Badgers Island, Maine to Portsmouth, NH. It was chilly and damp, but lovely.

Immediately after the event, I drove home...listening some more to Thankless in Death by JD Robb. Great book!

As soon as I walked in the front door of my home, I cleaned up quick and got into some comfy clothes, grabbed a Coke, and curled up in my favorite chair with a book.

Then these fuzzy little guys I named Mischief and Mayhem decided they had to curl up with me to help me read. Isn't that sweet of them? Yeah, well try sitting for three hours with adde
d weight on your legs. My hiney is, shall we say, numb.

I just finished reading The Pirate by Jayne Ann Krentz. Who doesn't love a great hero and a strong, sometimes stubborn heroine?

I'm stretching now and then jumping into my next book, Bouganvillea by Heather Graham.

I went from old paperback that has been on my shelf for months to now using the Kindle? What's your favorite reading material? Hard cover, paperback, ebook?

Well, I'm back to reading. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What's on your Dewey Read-a-thon reading list?

Yesterday, I introduced you to the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-thon and encouraged you to sign up. Now that you've done that. . .and I know you have. It's time to think reading list.

Do you have a To Be Read pile? Go ahead, pick them up an move them next to your favorite chair.

This is a perfect opportunity to read a backlist of your favorite author so stop by the used bookstore and grab a handful of books.

If you're not sure what to read, click the link as Dewey Read-a-thon has recommendations. Anything goes. You can read comic books, children's books, fiction, non-fiction, even listen to audio books. It all counts. Just read!


I am doing a mixed bag of books this time. I've got a couple of backlist books tat have been on a shelf for months. They should be short and sweet and romantic. Then I'll move into a few romantic suspense books by some of my favorite authors.

On my list is:

Legacy by Jayne Ann Krentz
The Pirate by Jayne Ann Krentz
Faces of a Clown by Stella Cameron
Going Once by Sharon Sala
Bougaivillea by Heather Graham
Shelter Island by Carla Neggers
Capsized by Sharon Sala

If I finish those then I've got two historical romances in the wings waiting for me:

Brave the Wild Wind by Johanna Lindsey
Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey

In case my eyes need a break, I have JD Robb's latest novel, Thankful in Death in audio book.

What's on your list?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Are you ready for the Dewey 24 hour Read-a-thon?

Have you signed up for the Dewey Read-a-thon? It's this Saturday, October 12. Hurry up!

Twice a year the Dewey Read-a-thon is put on and twice a year I sign up. You should too!

Got a large TO BE READ pile of books? Been wanting to read a really good book, but just haven't had the opportunity? Have a New Years' resolution to read a certain number of books or to read more?

Now is the time! Sign up for the Read-a-thon and make the time to read.

What is the Dewey Read-a-thon?

The Dewey Read-a-thon is a reading challenge. For 24 hours! For 24 hours you read books, post in blogs about your reading, and visit other readers’ blogs. You also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day and win prizes.

It is 24 hours of self-indulgence. Sit in your favorite chair, under a nice cozy blanket and read. Or find a booth in your favorite café, with a cup of java and read. Since the read-a-thon is for 24 hours don't forget to pack up on the snacks and caffeine to keep you going.

Speaking of keeping you going...If you can't spare the time to read then why not participate in the read-a-thon as a cheerleader and egg those of us that are crazy enough to do it on? Sign up as a Cheerleader.

Help promote reading! Sign up, tell your friends and your relatives and have them sign up. Make an event out of the event.

But most of all...READ!!

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