“do epic sh*t”

that was my favorite marathon sign that was not made for me personally.  I told one of my friends that I wanted to run the marathon because I wanted to do something that was not ordinary.  Ordinary is a very subjective description: people who run marathons are said to be 1% of the population, on October 8th I was one of 40,000 runners.  Those numbers don’t exactly sound like I’m doing anything thats so unique but it DID feel very extraordinary to me.

Unique or not I’m going to do it again next year: I’d love to help another great cause and I plan to train for a faster run.  Making this personal commitment left me with a decision to make regarding which charity I would run for this time.  It is difficult because there are so many charities that do so many great things, I however am nothing if not loyal and when I think about training (the process of going from not running through winter to crossing the finish line) I know what team I should run with: in 2018 I will run as on official member of Team World Vision.  They say that they “go further together” I felt that to be true while training for the marathon and I see it still as we all adjust to our new normals.

RANDOM THOUGHT: You know what was really wild?  My heart and my lungs got me through the marathon like a champ!  I know, of course; but I used to think that running for that long would leave me winded.  I was not a runner when I thought this, my only experience was sprinting for the train in the morning, and that STILL gets me winded, I just recover a lot faster.
I was congratulated yesterday on having finished the marathon, I told them that year ago I hadn’t even run a mile.  It’s possible, get out there and do (more) epic shit!


running, running and things related to running – lessons learned:

Last week I got in only a single training run before the long run on Saturday.  I made it through all 18 miles; but I felt the difference of going into a long run well trained vs NOT. Because Chicago Marathon is next month, September is the most important month of training and I plan to do my best to be a “model” trainee and stick to the schedule!

Of course if it were that easy I would have been doing that all along.  I’ve been pretty good but by no stretch have I been perfect when it comes to sticking to the schedule and doing what I should be doing as a non-professional athlete. Some of my lessons learned so far are:

I am not a professional runner, I have a career and I have a life neither of which evolved around running. Tuesday mornings are a mid-week long run (this week 9 and next week 10 miles), I cannot fit that in before work without being late or depriving myself of sleep (I’m already up at 4).  Last week I ran for as long as I could, this week I took advantage of the holiday and ran that run Monday, next week I’ll go back to doing what I can.  I think that taking a sensible approach that does not completely let me off the hook is the right way to go.  I KNOW that I can finish the marathon in under 6.5 hours, my goal is to do so with the ability to move the next day ;)

I have not been working my core the way I should and now that the miles are getting up there I’m kinda feeling it but I’m also a little miffed that I ran 18 miles but don’t have the definition that I want around my mid-section.  Running has toned my arms and my core is stronger but when fatigue sets in form gets sloppy. A strong core and hips will help me to not maintain proper form and not hurt myself.  There really are no valid excuses here “if you have a floor, you must work your core” . . . I hear you Coach Mark.

I am a salty sweater. I read somewhere that people who don’t eat much salt and drink a lot of water tend to be salty sweaters.  go figure.  Because I am loosing so much salt when I run I need to work to get more in.  Typically I don’t care for salty foods, I have a few indulgences but they are not necessarily the healthiest of choices.  My solution will be two-fold:  instead of carrying water with me I will carry a sports drink (nuun) and I may give salt tabs a try.  OR . . . I can just have a delicious cheeseburger and fries from Portillo’s the night before a big run ;) this one might be a definite.

On Monday something terrible happened, chaffing.  I have Body Glide that I use on my feet to prevent blisters (my one true injury to date) and sometimes I put it on my legs when I run in shorts, Monday I did not.  Monday was relatively humid and my run was long.  I suffered the consequences of not being prepared.  I stopped to try and use my lip balm a few miles from the end of the run . . . . . I doubt it made matters worse but I would not jump to the conclusion that it worked.  I give myself credit for the creativity.  Aloe gel burned, A&D ointment seems to have had the most soothing and healing outcome.

The decision has been made to run the marathon in my favorite running capris ;)

A few weeks ago I was having a great run but when I stopped to get water I noticed that I suddenly felt dizzy.  Passing out is a fear of mine, I’ve joked about it long before I started running but it’s still a fear.  I took my drink of water and walked the last mile.  Later that day I started researching what happened, I had been feeling just fine, I was hydrated and fueled, I had a comfortable pace going . . . it turns out that my mistake was rooted in a bad habit.  I ran to the water fountain took my place in line, and stood there.
What I didn’t realize is that my heart alone does not pump blood, all of the muscles in our bodies “pulse” to help our hearts circulate our blood.  When I stopped running those muscles stopped helping, but my heart was still expecting the assistance so in that moment my blood pressure dropped and I became dizzy.  What I SHOULD have done and now do is that I begin walking as I approach the water fountain and as I wait I continue to move around.

If anyone has ever wondered why the chute is so long after the marathon it is in part to keep runners walking and to get their hearts a chance to adjust to not running so that fewer faint.

I also tend to experience a (seemingly) dramatic drop in body temperature after I stop running, I will be donning a silver cape (heat sheet) after my marathon and will probably have warm clothes checked in my bag.  This too is normal . . .

With a month left I am also facing the reality that I need to make a push in fundraising.  I would have a hard time asking a coworker to spot me for lunch because I left my wallet at home but I haven’t had a problem asking my friends to join me in supporting a worthy cause, I just haven’t done it with as much frequency as I would like to (time getting away from me, busy life, yadda yadda, yadda).  It is time for me to be “that guy/chic” who wants to do something good and get everyone else around her to do it too.  I don’t expect you to run, though I would have recruited you if you showed any inkling; but I am asking everyone that will listen to donate to my fundraiser because it means that much to me.  Be “that guy” as often as you can, there is no shame in being passionate about something worth while.  (link below in this post and above on the “donate” page.

This has been a long winded post about a lot of different things that relate to marathon training and I’ll close it out with saying to listen.  Listen to your body when it tells you that you need (not want) something and listen to your soul when it wants to answer to a calling.  There is a reason you are getting that message.


If you know me you probably know that I decided to run the marathon because of my dad. You may or may not know that I chose my charity because of my daughter (and my best friend’s daughter, my other best friend’s son, a sibling or two and my younger self . . .) who suffered from depression.

You probably also know, or have a strong inkling, that I am a volunteer.  Not consistently, but if there is a worthy cause and you need some (wo)man-power I’m in!  I donate blood, I help old people, it’s just the way I am.  If I could qualify for the marathon based on speed I would still be a charity runner because I sincerely believe that not only can I make a difference but that I can influence others to help make an even larger impact.  So I set my mind to it, I enthusiastically committed to Team Erika’s Lighthouse, I started running (first time ever). Once our fundraising page was set up I sent hundreds of emails and with each donation I received my feeling of accomplishment grew.

As the summer progressed my mileage increased and I began to develop regular routes. Chicago is pretty flat so I sought out inclines. From my perspective things were going well, I wasn’t at my fundraising goal yet but close and I’m definitely on course to be a marathon finisher.

Then I got an email from the high school communications director about the sudden loss of a student. Within hours I learned that she had taken her own life and a few days later I learned how. Somewhere in the middle I learned about parts of the kind of person she was.  Suddenly too many old feelings resurfaced in me and I fell into a slump and lost most of my desire to run. When I did begin to run again I could not bring myself to run the street or bridge where she died.

It took about three weeks to get there and I broke down when I did.  It helped with my healing a bit but it still hurt.

Today I allowed my run to take me back and noticed flowers. I’ve been wanting to share these feelings / to write this post so I went back to photograph them.  As I approached the bridge I saw a young man standing towards the middle, wearing all black, longish hair, he left before I got there which is just as well.  He may have thought I was some weird, morbid, old lady taking pictures of flowers placed to honor the girl that died.  In addition to the flowers was a cross country medal that I hadn’t noticed in the dark of early morning.


I took my photos then headed to the train and then I saw fresh yellow daisies in a lock where the young man had been standing.





I’m so very sorry that you were suffering and that you are not here today. In the short time that you were here you were loved, you were loved by many, and from what I’ve read you were pretty awesome.  You not being here has broken a lot of hearts, it has changed peoples lives.  There are some trying to figure out how to love you and still move forward without betraying you and I would imagine that is terrifying.

I didn’t know her and I don’t know her parents, so I will not put her name here.  Her name will be on my singlet above my heart with one other; on my back will be the names of those who struggled with depression but thankfully are alive today (they are not alone).  If you want to add a name to my singlet let me know the name and where it should be placed, I have no judgement just love.

If you know someone that is suffering from depression or having a hard time, talk to them, encourage them to get help, let them know that they are not alone, hug them, look them in the eyes and be present with them, let them know these feelings are not permanent and that they are loved.  You never know when your words or actions will make the type of difference that pauses time just long enough to create a different outcome.


halfway point (said in my best NRC+ female voice)

I have reached the halfway point in my marathon training and 77% of my fundraising goal. Today is August 7th and two months from today I'll probably be at the expo and trying to get some sleep because in the morning I'm going to run the marathon.
Yup, just like that ;)

Things have gotten really real.
This Saturday I ran a 6k so that Getahun (Gae-Ta-Hun) could have clean water. I ran what he typically has to walk just to bring water to his family, except I didn't have to carry a heavy Jerry Can. I picked one up (its heavy). I saw half a dozen guys carry one the full 6k and once again I was reminded of how fortunate I am.

I am very fortunate indeed.

The training miles are rapidly increasing, tomorrow morning I'll run 7 miles, and on Saturday 15 :0

I've decided to get a monthly membership is a sports recovery facility. My only injury to date is a large blister and I'd love to keep it that way.
I like running, my biggest hurdle lately is the time commitment. Morning runs equate to not getting to work early and waking up before 5:00 am six days a week. But when I miss a run I feel weird, one day off feels like DAYS.

Most of this post fits into the category of things I never would have expected I would be saying!

I love it when a plan comes together!

After a few weekends of mulling over my “perfect” pitch letter last Friday I pulled the trigger and sent it out: to coworkers, personal contacts and many of my LinkedIn contacts (as of this moment I’m about 2/3 of the way through all of my contacts).  The magical thing was that within five minutes of sending the email I got a donation!  If you are interested in sponsoring a portion of my marathon there is a link at the upper right of this blog, I’ll thank you again; but thank you!

147939641468551In addition to officially starting my fundraiser I decided that my slight cold had lifted enough that it was time to get back into the gym:  Sunday – leg and core, Monday – Ballet Sculpt (barre meets mat), Wednesday – core and leg.  Things were going great, I was getting in some well needed gym time.

By Tuesday my fundraiser had surpassed 25% of my goal of $2,620 or $100/mile.  By Thursday I had hit 50% and as of last night I am at 57%; one week after I sent out the bulk of my initial donation request letters.  I have to be honest in that seeing the support of my friends, family and colleagues roll in like this made me feel like a champion!  As Friday rolled around the weather shifted to temperate spring, so that morning I (woke up before my alarm) and went for my first run in about three weeks.

In my slight break I came to a few conclusions: I need to go slow now to go faster later and that to get to where I want to go, I need to push myself a bit.  So, per usual, I laid my outfit out the night before; had a really good idea of the route; made a conscious effort to keep it slow and steady with a goal to run for about 10 minutes.  I ran 1.3 miles with only TWO short, walk breaks.  For me this was really awesome!  It felt like a slower pace than I want but my heart and lungs are not used to running and until they get there I need to be more moderate.  At the very end I sped up to where I wanted to be and it’s clear that I have some building to do, and that’s okay.

Last week started with a plan of action for fundraising and training and all of the steps that went into those plans paid off.  This won’t always be an option because life will come in and changes things around; but man you gotta love it when it all comes together!