Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to LEGO!!!

Lego celebrates it's 50th birthday ... no, I don't remember a time before the little plastic bricks ... I barely remember a time before TV's had remotes. Because most people don't realize the therapeutic properties of these little cathartic gems ... I am encouraging everyone to visit the LEGO site and shop away!!!!

Here's a little snippet from the tribute page ... "The LEGO history began in 1932 in Denmark, when Ole Kirk Christansen founded a small factory for wooden toys in the unknown town of Billund in the south of the country. To find a name for his company he organized a competition among his employees. As fate would have it however, he himself came up with the best name: LEGO – a fusion of the Danish words “LEg” and “GOdt” (“play well”).

Barely 15 years later Christiansen discovered plastic as the ideal material for toy production, and bought the first injection moulding machine in Denmark. His courage, input and investment paid off: in 1949 he developed the LEGO brick prototype, which continues to excite countless children and adults to this very day. Over the years he perfected the brick, which is still the basis of the entire LEGO game and building system today. Of course there have been small adjustments in shape, colour and design from time to time, but today’s LEGO bricks still fit bricks from 1958."

Play on. Play well. Just Play.

This post was prompted by a lovely reminder from my aunt, Debbie (or maybe I should say, a reminder from my lovely aunt, Debbie ...) Thanks, AD!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Too good not to share ...

This just in from - in today's motivational email -

"Coach's Notes:
Much has been written about the need for physical recovery. Most experts agree that for the runner under 40 years old it takes about one day per mile to recover. For those of us over 40 it takes about 1 day per kilometer to recover. So anyway you look at it's going to weeks before you can even think about getting back into a training routine.

Being out of that routine can play havoc with your emotions. After all, your life has probably been well organized around your training. Suddenly, that organization is gone. It's easy to feel depressed and out of sorts.

It's easier to understand that your body needs to recover. You can feel the aches and pains. But your spirit is feeing just and banged up as your body. Give it time to heal."

This is in response to the overwhelming favorite question ... "Are you still running?" Well duh, after making myself get out of bed in the wee hours (a.k.a still dark outside) for almost 5 months, I'm not going to stop now. But seriously, I did need just an ever-so-tiny break. But all of that's over now.

It's back to business - only 9 more weeks to the day of the ING Atlanta Half Marathon. I'll keep posting. Does this look like the face of someone who would quit?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Life after ...

A friend told me this morning to "push through the apathy". I'm giving it my best shot. Jumping back on the running band wagon has been more difficult than I thought it would be - but I definitely feel better after I run. The hardest part is just getting out of bed, then the next hardest part is putting on my running shoes ... once I'm dressed with shoes on and contacts in ... I'm good. It's all downhill from there.

So what's next? The ING Half Marathon in Atlanta, March 30, 2008 ... after that ... we'll see. It all depends. My cousin asked me if I was bored yet ... I laughed as I responded, "uh, no." It felt good to sleep in. But as I was advised today, "I must push through - "the apathy". It's time to get serious again.

I thought of a good headline for me finishing a marathon ... "Lisa will finish a marathon when it snows in Atlanta" ... who knew?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why I run - by Yo Burstein

On the Saturday before the marathon, Yo read us a poem that she wrote in honor of our training efforts ... I think this sums it up! Thanks Yo! We couldn't have done it without you!

Why I Run

We woke up early each Saturday
To fill our tummies with Gatorade

As we began our run up Valley Road
We prayed our legs will carry the load

We loved the bond of running in a pack
It helped the stories and the yak

We wanted to quit, we wanted a beer
Where is Water Stop Bob, is he near?

Tommy, Bruce, Katie, Yo & Chuck
They coached us with a great big heart

We run for Honored Heroes we hold dear
And for those far and those who’er near

Johnson Ferry, Columns & Northside Drive
Will I ever survive?

For the hours on the road
You have helped a Leukemia patient’s load

We loved being part of a team
Perhaps fulfilling some kind of dream

I thank you for ALL that you’ve done
And the miles that you’ve run

Especially the money you have raised
Your effort we give praise

Changing Lives One Mile at a Time…
You will be a better person at the Finish Line

Thank you from the bottom of my heart
For being a part of Team in Training!!


Yo Burstein
Coaching Assistant Team in Training
2008 Phoenix Marathon

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I definitely got my money's worth

It's over ... yes, that is a medal around my neck ... oddly enough, it's the same medal that the guy who finished 4 hours BEFORE me got. Therefore, I definitely got my money's worth. It took 7 hours and 7 minutes (maybe because I like 7's and it's a lucky number) ... if you subtract a water stop at mile 6 where I almost lost my bagel, then it took slightly less than 7 hours. And, if you take out the dancing that I did at mile 19 (there was a good band on that stage) and the photo opps and family hug stops at miles 13.1, 18, and 22), it probably took me about 6.5 hours - still a heck of a long time.

Before I start with the recap, I will say that overall this has been an incredible journey. I'm still processing it all. I went into an autopilot mode right before the start of the marathon and I think I am just now coming out of it. Team In Training for just the Phoenix Rock and Roll Marathon and Half Marathon raised over 3.6 million dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am in awe just thinking about that. On the way back from the Grand Canyon on Monday (we took the Grand Canyon Railway), a man about my age approached me and said, "I just want to thank you." I smiled and said, "You're welcome, but why?" He said, "Because of the money raised that allowed research to be done, I am a 23 year cancer survivor". So am I glad I did what I did? Yes! (Although, my feet are not so sure at the moment - eventually though, they too will come around.)

So here's the scoop.

I really don't remember much about Saturday (the day before the race). I know I made my family drive the course with me (I wanted to see the hills for myself ... let's just say, "hills" might actually be a bit generous). I know I went to the TNT pasta party and that's about all I can remember - I'm sure there was more, but I was sort of in a fog.

I woke up at 5 AM on race day, ate my bagel, banana and sports drink ... dressed, and went downstairs to meet the "team" in the lobby. The TNT organization is truly a well oiled machine, you really don't have to think for yourself, which is quite handy when you're preparing for your first full marathon (or half marathon). They do just about everything for you and keep you on track quite literally from start to finish.

So fast forward through the team photos, the last minute well wishes, the handing out of garbage bags, the bus trip to the starting line and finding the appropriate coral (mine was the last one, #11 ... see previous post!). There was no gun start, just the Star Spangled Banner and off you go ... which in a coral start with 11000 other people was, well, kind of slow. The garbage bags (for those who don't know) are to keep you warm. The temperature at the start was about 46, so the bag (with a hole for your head) keeps you insulated, then you shed it after you warm up and toss it into a trash can or on the curb as opposed to throwing away a perfectly good t-shirt or jacket.

For the first 3.2 miles, Bruce, one of the TNT coaches ran with me. He kept saying, "your pace is fast, Lisa, you might want to slow down a bit ... you'll thank me in the later miles." I said, "I know Bruce, my head agrees with you." (Apparently my feet were too far away to hear the conversation or weren't paying attention as usual).

I had to make a pit stop around mile 6 (right before the first split time for those who were following along). There were two port-o-potty's and about 7 people - so I waited ... not opting to run a few more miles before the next bio-break opportunity. When it was my turn, I went in and almost came directly back out ... but my bladder wouldn't let me. Apparently one of the people before me had some "issues". I don't know how long I actually spent in that enclosed space, but I can tell you it went something like this ... "Don't breathe, don't cough, don't breathe, don't cough ... OMG, don't touch anything ... silent scream ... " When I regained consciousness and breathed fresh air again, I said to the person behind me ... "whatever you do, hold your breath before you go in there." If only the person in front of me had said the same thing.

Prior to the port-o-potty incident, I had thought to myself ... ok, cool - I did a 10K warm-up for my 20 mile training run, I feel good. As opposed to the 20 mile training run being a warm up for a 10K ... the point is, I was still energized.

It took me a few miles to recover after mile 6.

Between miles 10 and 12, there was a lady standing on the street with a sign that said, "Because of you I am alive." Talk about motivation, I started to run faster. By 13.1, the halfway point, I felt pretty good (a little tired, but still keeping a decent pace). Doug, Dominic and my mom were there at the half way mark with camera in hand and rejuvenating hugs.

The Rock and Roll events have stages about every mile with different bands performing. I heard just about every type of music there is throughout the event, but somewhere close to mile 19, there was an awesome band (I wish I could remember what song they were playing, but I heard so many good ones, I can't quite pin it down in my head). At this stage, there were a few wacky people dancing with the runners as they came by (now, think about this, at this stage of the marathon, you're not with the serious runners, those guys had already been finished for about 2 hours, had their ice bath, and were into the celebratory alcohol phase). I was watching the fun for about a quarter mile (Phoenix is a rather flat course and you could see and hear things from a good distance). When I approached, it was my turn and I took advantage of it, it was good to stretch out some muscles and have fun. I was tempted to stay and party with those guys for awhile, but thought maybe I should finish.

The point here is that at mile 19, I was a bit tired, but still smiling and having fun. And, shortly before my dance fest, I had another photo opp and family hug session - it was amazing to have them there - maybe a good part of the reason I felt like dancing at mile 19.

The family was also there as I smiled through downtown Scottsdale - but shortly after that, things got a bit more challenging.

The day was fairly windy (I think they said 15 - 20 mph winds but I'm not certain) - it warmed up into the 60's, but the wind was still a bit chilly. So by mile 22-ish, it was starting to become difficult to breathe. As I learned from my 20 mile training run, the more difficult it is to breathe, the slower I run (who knew?). I tried to borrow energy from the birds that I saw (and wished that I had wings). I learned afterwards that my dear friend Barb was sending images of butterflies - well it worked, because I got through that mile. But then I saw an abandoned skate board ... was anyone responsible for that?

Somewhere after that, I don't remember exactly - I stopped running ... I just couldn't anymore - I had to walk and although I tried to walk quickly, there wasn't alot left. At mile 25, Yo, one of my coaches, was waiting for me. I have never been more happy to see anyone. She phoned in that I was not lost and we made the last stretch together. I remember telling her that I was nauseous and dizzy and that my feet hurt. She said, "OK - let's run a bit ..." She and Page are friends! No, seriously, she asked if I had been hydrating and made me stop at the next water stop and then encouraged me to run again!!!! As I look back on it, it was awesome - I probably would have done whatever she asked at that point because I just wanted it to be over. She kept a positive and encouraging spirit - urging me forward and reminding me that I had done such an amazing thing!

Chuck and Bruce were there a bit before mile 26 and the three of them escorted me across the finish line! When I thought I couldn't take another step, Chuck held my hand and beamed some extra energy my way. I crossed the finish line and then Chuck whispered, "OK, now's the hard part ... you have to keep moving."

I vaguely remember them cutting the chip from my shoe and putting the medal around my neck and stopping at the ice tent for a bag of ice which I placed on my shoulder (I think it was sore from all of you pushing me forward!!!!). I also remember stopping to pose for a picture and then finally being able to sit down when we reached the TNT tent (which must have been at least another half mile from the finish line!!!) The picture above was taken after I had some water, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and an oatmeal cookie. The smile is genuine, I was so glad it was over! I think that Dominic looks more tired than I do in the picture ... bless him - he had to wait a whole 7 hours for me to finish! I did get an awesome hug though.

I returned to the room for my obligatory ice bath ... I actually looked forward to it! Mom brought me a beer and a cheeseburger and a few hours later, we all made it to the victory party . Doug and I danced for about 3 or so songs, and then I was done. Yes, I did feel like dancing - sore feet and all, it was an incredible experience.

Now here's the funny part ... I think I may have to do another one to see if I can get a better time! Not this year, though ... it's only half marathons at least until the end of the year.

Stay tuned ... there will be more posts - probably some pictures of the Grand Canyon and definitely about the Half Marathon I'm going to do in March!

My sincere thanks again for everyone's support and encouragement along the way!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

At approximately 12:16 AM on Friday, as I was putting clothes in my suitcase, I asked Doug if he printed off some of the confirmations for our trip. He said no, and proceeded to "take care of that". A few minutes later, he sang Happy Birthday to me ...

That was 1.

Somewhere around 12:40 AM, I stopped panicking. I noticed that I was breathing deeply and I easily fell asleep.

Only to wake up to Doug towering over me saying "It's time to get up" - it was 4:30 AM. I said "No." - there were further attempts to convince me, but I remained firm until 4:40.

When we woke Dominic up around 5:30 AM, he sang Happy Birthday to me.

That was 2.

We were packed and ready to go with the car started at 6:34 AM. My mom arrived with Sausage biscuits and coffee and of course sang Happy Birthday to me.

That was 3.

We easily made it to the airport and got through security before 8 AM ... even with the first security guy chatting with me about my birthday and the marathon.

That was 4.

By 8:05AM, we were safely ensconced in the comforting haven of the Crown Room ... where I received several random acts of kindness because it was my birthday ...

That was 5 and 6.

I phoned mentor Page to alert her of my presence at the airport and was serenaded on the phone with another delightful rendition "Happy Birthday" from her and those surrounding her.

That was 7.

The flight went by fairly quick ... Dominic played for a bit, watched a DVD on my laptop, and played with the Photobooth camera ... see picture above. And, at the end of the flight, the flight attendant announced my birthday and everyone clapped!

That was 8.

The entire traveling party, Doug, Dominic, my mom, and I arrived safely as did our luggage and our room was ready when we arrived at the hotel (the conveniently located Hyatt downtown). When we picked up the car at the airport, the car attendant noticed it was my birthday from my license and wished me a Happy Birthday.

That was 9. OK - it wasn't quite the airport - I think we were on the rental car bus for an hour (or longer) AND the bus driver DID NOT announce my birthday (hmmph) - thank goodness the attendant managed to pull through!

I received Happy Birthday's from the Race Packet Picket volunteers at check in as well as an "in person" serenade from Chuck, Page, Yo and the gang when I ran into them at the Expo.

That was 10. Note: I was scolded by Page because I was holding a tasting cup of beer. Now I ask you, they had a beer tasting at the Marathon/Half Marathon Runners EXPO ... what else was I supposed to do? It's my birthday! Chuck said, "Yah, they finally had to throw us out when we were there".

I attended a mini seminar by John Bingham. If you've never read anything by him, you should - he's hysterical. Oh, and he had everyone in the audience sing "Happy Birthday" to me (when I asked my question - which I'll get to in a minute).

That was 11.

I am in the 11th coral to start on Sunday (in the back ... by choice this time). My race number is 11496 (I broke that down to ... "11" because my birthday is the 11th... "4" and "9" because 4+9=13 and I'm running my first marathon on the 13th ... and "6" because I would like to finish in 6 hours! Let's call that Numer-lisa-ology.
It's just how my mind works.

Prior to listening to John, I had a mental chat with myself - "I have trained, I am ready, I know it will hurt (but it will be temporary ... I can do absolutely nothing else about anything now". Except of course, hydrate, stretch, rest and eat carbs. :-)

On Thursday, I had some awesome inspirational emails, face to face chats, and phone calls - thank you!!! All, which definitely attributed to me reaching the "it is what it is" state.

So back to my frame of mind (no panic) and John Bingham. After listening to his story, my question to him was, "What mind games do you play at mile 20?" His answer was simple. The first 20 miles are his "marathon" - he runs with purpose and respect . When he reached 20, the last 6.2 are his "play time" - he slaps hands, talks to everyone he can, takes in the scenery, absorbs what he can from the course, and truly experiences the marathon ... he says sometimes those last 6 miles take him 2 hours! (I, of course can relate to that.) He also made the point that for those of us who run slowly, actually get a better value for the amount of time and effort that was put into the race ... why would you want to hurry through something that took you 4 or 5 months for which to prepare? I love this guy.

I have had a fabulous birthday (and yes, there were many more birthday serenades, text messages, emails and general good wishes throughout the remainder of the day)! You all are awesome ... and I am humbled by how fortunate I am to have such a phenomenal support network!

So, yes, I will DEFINITELY have fun on Sunday ... I WILL finish, and I'm sure there will be a certain amount of pain (no caps on that one) - but in truth, I don't believe I would have gotten this far without all of the prayers and positive energy that continually surround me!

Oh wait, Doug is singing a final "Happy Birthday" ... have to run now!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I still can't seem to get focused ... even the simplest task seems overwhelming (i.e. putting Christmas decorations into boxes). I have managed to do laundry and find those safety pins, but I know the real panic (yesterday's emotion was merely a test run) will set in soon.

The following are some comments I've received along the way, since I can't seem to find my own thoughts -

After my first 12 mile run:

"If you flew to the equator and in between pina coladas decided to take a really big ladder and start climbing until you hit the Ozone Layer (unless you picked a place that had a hole in the Ozone Layer, in which case you'd be climbing for a while); you'd have travelled about 12 miles, and by the way you'd have past the height of Everest at the half way mark. Just because you can drive 12 miles in the comfort of your car in 12 minutes (or 2 hours rush hour in Atlanta) doesn't mean its not a distance of some effort. Hopefully the pain has diminished to the extent that you appreciate that !"

OK ... so keeping that in mind, by the time I finish the marathon, I will have made the Ozone Layer round trip and will proceed to tunnel through the earth for 2.2 miles .

After my 20 mile run:

"No, it's not easy, just remember that at 20 miles, you've just done a warm up for a 10K".

Now there's motivation for ya ... OK ... good one ... that will definitely keep me focused at mile 20.

A few days ago from Coach Chuck ...
" ... when you cross the finish line you will be a member of an exclusive group that represents less than 1/10 of 1% of the population of the United States that will ever complete a Marathon."

I have to continue the attempt to organize the legos ... and I don't think they're magnetic.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Magnetic Forces of Panic

Magnetism has always fascinated me. When I was little, I loved those little magnetic doodle pads with the magnetic shavings and pre-drawn faces or objects. You took the magnetic pen and moved the shavings around on the face (beard, mustache, hair), etc. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here.

I also loved etch-a-sketch (although never very good at it) and could attempt drawing for hours. Even now, if I see a magnetic desk toy ... like the one that has thousands of pieces of shiny metal chips that you can form into sculptures ... I can't resist playing with it.

Magnetism is literally everywhere - remember the atomic chart and little electrons buzzing around the nucleus? OK, how about electromagnetic waves (radio waves, microwaves, um, light). So the point is, magnetism is EVERYWHERE.

Even Panic.

I thought I was fine yesterday - not so much this morning. In the wee hours, I dreamed of running, of my feet hurting, of forgetting to hydrate, of trying to find safety pins to pin on my race number but not a safety pin to be found on the planet ... I woke up in a cold sweat thinking that today was Thursday and that I had only one more day to "prepare".

Silent scream.

Today is Tuesday, I will hydrate, I will stretch, I will rest, I will prop my feet up, and I will find every safety pin in my house and put it in my suitcase.

Maybe the panic is attracted to my magnetic personality ...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Trying to organize my legos

The knee was better by New Year's Day ... still sore, but better. By Saturday, the 5th ... everything was back to "normal". I arrived early to the "last" GTS - we did a warm up lap, we stretched, we ran.

Let me mention that I DID NOT want to get out of bed on Saturday morning. It was 30 degrees when I arrived at the church parking lot where the TNT group meets. T-H-I-R-T-Y ... that's below freezing on the Fahrenheit - if you'd rather convert to Celsius ... click here (geek).

Anyway, it was cold, my leg-o's were cold, my finger-o's were cold, my nose, my ears ... you get the idea.

By mile 3, I was getting warmer ... but my nose was running faster than I was.

At mile 4 (the turnaround point for the day, we were only doing eight), I finally reached a comfortable body core temperature (but I had on 3 layers of clothing).

On the way back, I tried a 2/2 pace (run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes) ... I liked it, it was fun, especially the part when Jim (the runner with the watch) said " ... and, we're running ... and we're walking ... and now we're running, and now we're walking ..." It reminded me of a cruise director somehow - only I wasn't lounging on the Fiesta deck, sipping a daiquiri - oh and it was 30 degrees outside, not 85 - ok, maybe it wasn't so much like a cruise after all.

I finished at close to a 13 minute pace (including water stops) - so I think the 2/2 pace might be a keeper - the 8 miles went by in a flash ... only 18.2 more to go!

As for organizing my legos this week ... I'm doing alot of mental push-ups ... "I can do this, it will hurt, but I can do it". I'm hydrating and eating carbs and making lists.

But perhaps there are a few more legos under the sofa that I haven't found yet ...