Sunday, June 26, 2011


Funds collected to date: $944.40 (36%)
Amount needed to reach pledge: $1,675.60
Miles Ran This Week: 18 (longest single run = 6.5 miles)
Weeks to Go: 19

On Wednesday night I met up with my running group for a timed run. This basically consists of running at a solid pace for a certain distance (in this case it was 3.44 miles even though they said it was 3.2 but who's counting...?), recording that time, and seeing if you beat it next month and the month after that, etc.

In the distance, thunder rumbled, but I figured that a little rain never hurt anyone. Except the Wicked Witch of the West, I suppose.

Ready, set, go, and we were off. It turns out in my running group I'm an "Intermediate." This means basically I've run before regularly so I'm not just starting to run AND doing a marathon (and yes, there are people doing this!) but it also means I'm not fast like the so-called "Experts" (jerks). Generally there's a few girls at my pace, but not on this evening. So despite starting out with a few dozen others, I found myself somehow running on my own sans iPod.

"Oh, well," I thought to myself as I ran along the dirt path of one of Central Park's bridal paths. "This will be a lovely time for relaxation and personal reflection. I will try to be one with nature and push out negative thoughts and be zen.

But then. The skies opened up and it started raining.

Actually, let me rephrase. It started downpouring. In a big way.

"Ok, Meredith, you are soaking wet. But...actually it feels kind of nice to be wet from nature rather than from your own nastiness, actually. Let's carry on."

(The above photograph is not actually me. It is a representation of what I believe my spirit to have looked like at the time the rain began.)

As you may remember, the path we were running on was dirt. DIRT. After about a mile of running in the deluge the Artist Formerly Known As Dirt because a flooded mud-bath. At this point, things got dicey, but as I had to get back to the beginning anyways (where my bag was being guarded under a bridge by the local trolls), I had no choice but to carry on.

And carry on I did.

At the end this is an almost exact replication of what I looked like:

Now, despite this little snafu in my quest to achieve inner peace through running, I actually feel very good about completing that timed run. Since I was wading through the Nile for half my run I am BOUND to beat myself next month. As I've mentioned before, I like to win very much so I am looking forward to my victory. Also, I truly have come to realize that the miserable running days do make the lovely ones just that much better. I know, my optimism is grossing me out as well.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the other runners,coaches and staff that were there for the run that day now think that I am totally baller. Please do not correct them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm too sexy for my...neon green running singlet?

Funds collected to date: $894.40 (34%)
Amount needed to reach pledge: $1,725.60
Miles Ran This Week: 20 (longest single run = 5.5 miles)
Weeks to Go: 20

Fashion and running. Never the two shall meet.

You can try to be cute when you run. Actually, let me rephrase. Many girls are -- in fact -- cute when they run. I happen to not be one of them. Aside from the sweating (see earlier post regarding copious sweating), as I mature in life I have come to two main conclusions regarding athletic attire:

1) (And this is the big one). It is better to be weird-looking and safe and/or not in pain...than to be cute and dead.

2) I don't give a crap what you think.*

*I mean... I kind of do. But I'm trying to ignore it at a bare minimum.

In case you are ever going to embark on some madness yourself or are just really curious why people have all the weird gear when they run, below is just a brief overview on some of the attire I sport whilest out running. In public. Regularly.

As mentioned above, you don't mess with sneakers. I'm not saying you need to spend your life savings on running shoes(unless your life savings is about $100 and then, actually, that's exactly what I'm saying). These are the most important think you'll buy and it's legit important to get them right. Or so says all the experts. Either way, I'd like to not mess around with the foot situation in general.

Oh and also? Have a good and Gentle (yes, with a capital G) pedicure place. Things get messy down there.

These go between your feet skin and the aforementioned expensive running shoes. It is important to buy socks that will keep this purpose of separating the two comfortably (and dryly) as long as possible.

Non-cotton. That's all I have to say. My wise friend Sam, who has been running marathons the past few years, told me those words a long time ago and they ring as true as the old adage I just coined that goes: "You don't want to run in your own sweat for 20 miles."

I bought this hot singlet to run with to show my Team For Kids pride. I actually get a free one when I hit the 50% mark, but I wanted to have an extra as well.

To be completely clear, lime green is not my color. But I will refer you to my two rules above. Also, I heart Team for Kids and gots to represent. Also this will help you spot me (and my team-mates) when I run 26.2 miles on November 6, 2011!

I now run in hats or awesome headbands. Why? Because they actually keep me cooler. And the previously described sweating. And the hair. Ugh. It's just better for the public in general if I wear them. Please see above for my newest awesome spirit hat.

There are many other things I have amassed along the way:
* ipod (although I actually run with it less and less...) with an ipod armband running thingy. That's the technical term.
* Spibelt fanny pack Don't judge. I can feel you judging but you don't even know how great this thing is for holding my gels, gu, keys, money, ID (You know, in case I'm going drinking after. It happens.), cellular telephone, etc. It stretches to fit whatever you put in it. You're welcome to join me on a run because I bet you could just jump into my fanny pack.
* Belt water bottle thing that you always see sporty people running with in parks This was given to me (thanks Sam!) and yet to be determined how I respond to it. Hydration = smiley face, so it's probably a good idea.
* fancy watch with pedometer My garmin watch which tells me my pace, time and total distance is a god. If I could build a house of worship dedicated to Garmin Watch, I probably would.
* Foam roller For rolling out your muscles after a long run (evidently?) Yet to be formally used, so right now it's just a lime green decoration in the corner of my living room. It keeps the yoga mat I never use company.
* Ice packs Sam, the guru of running, also recommended this. It frightens me, but I took her advice and they are in the fridge waiting.

The above does not even count the various bars, gels, gus and other odd forms of ingestible "gear" that I have purchased already. According to other experts / masochists it is vital that I try these things out in advance so that I'm not experimenting on mile 17 on race day. So I'm a human guinea pig in my own lab experiment entitled: "On not killing yourself whilest running a marathon."

Overwhelmed yet? So am I. But it's okay! Because regardless of what I end of wearing, doing, saying, or seeing (I'm not ruling out halucinations just yet) that day, I know that I will be damn gorgeous doing it. And if not, I can probably always get a job directing traffic at JFK, so that's plan B.

Friday, June 17, 2011

God Save the Queen

Before I begin, let me again stress that I am quite possibly a lunatic. 26.2 miles. MILES. I decided to do a bit of research on why it is this exact amount. Think you know the answer? Think again!

Many people can cite that the legend behind this ridiculous sport's origination was that some dude ran from Athens to a place called Marathon to warn of battle or something, which is 26-ish miles away. Then he died. Hooray.... [Sound of awkward applause in the background]

But the original marathons in the Olympics were NOT 26.2. Oh, no, they were actually 40 Ki (or about 25 miles) in the first few Games and Boston Marathons. And even that was somewhat questionable and non-standardized.

But in 1908 that changed for the Olympics held in London. Evidently, the organizers of the event (planned for 26 miles this time...upping the ante I guess?) wanted the runners to end directly in front of Queen Alexandra's royal box. Meaning they would have to run an extra half lap around the track inside the stadium to finish there. This distance was 385 years -- or -- 0.2 miles.

And it stuck.

The reason I bring up this history lesson is two-fold.

First fold: I now blame Queen Alexandra of England for everything that goes remotely wrong with my training.

Second fold: This is a prime example of my nerdiness.

For training, they recommend that you put together a schedule and keep diligent records of your mileage, times, etc. Not a problem! Running the mileage? Potentially an issue. Tracking it in an MS Office-based format? Absolutely not an issue.

I have created -- nay -- crafted a chart for myself that has become a bible. Tabs for proposed schedules from experts are included with one main worksheet tracking - by day -- color-coded planned workouts that get actualized several times a week, including training obstacles (i.e. weddings, bachelorettes, showers, and other drinking bonanzas) and major milestones and holidays. Oh yeah. This ain't no disco, my friends.

I have made a diagram to make this simpler for you:

I'm a nerd, and I love it. I'm not sure it actually makes me faster. But gosh darnit, I think it definitely makes me sexier.

No? Not that either? Just more organized?

I'll take it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I won!*

*if you don't count the 1593 people that finished before me.

Funds collected to date: $744.40 (28%)
Amount needed to reach pledge: $1,875.60
Miles Ran This Week: 17 (longest single run = 10K race (6.2 miles))
Weeks to Go: 21

Yesterday I -- along with 4,500 other women -- completed a 10K race through Central Park. My finishing time was 56:16 which averages a 9:04 pace! And yes, I am probing for compliments, because that time is FREAKING AMAZING! It's a 10K PR for me by FIVE FULL MINUTES! Ridiculous.

[For those who are not up-to-date with the running "lingo," PR is "Personal Record" and not "Puerto Rico." We are talking about racing here, not vacation planning.]

So why do I run races so much better than everyday runs? Why do people pay money to run these things? After doing this for a couple of years now (sporadically, but still) I have a few "rules of the road" which answer these questions.

1) Running races is a fabulous way to augment a training schedule. It gets you in the mode of getting up in the morning, into your gear and in the zone. It also is a great way to "break up" your training and minimize monotony.

2) People cheering for you makes your run faster and easier. This is why I will harass you to come cheer me on for the marathon. (November 6, 2011. Write that down).

3) When you have paid to run a race, one may be less likely to conduct yourself the night before in a manner which may deem inappropriate for running. Money talks, people!

4) Pacing. It's fun to pick people running around them who are going about at your speed (or desired speed) and striving to stay with them. Okay, maybe it's not "fun," but it a thing.

5) The knowledge your race time will be recorded for all time on the NYRR website personally drives the spirit in me. If I run slowly I will see it and be mad I wasted money running badly.

6) Although you're really only racing against yourself in these things...I like to win regardless. Did I mention I can be competitive?

But you know what is the absolute best, best part of a race? The after-running brunch with friends! Yesterday's 10K was also run by Colgate friends Jen, Sarah and Serena and b-school travel-buddy/past MeriG blog star Ashley!

So, yesterday I not only added to my training schedule and completed a 10K in personal record time...but I also got to spend some quality face-stuffing time with friends. Um, winning. Duh.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Most Interesting Woman Alive?


Funds collected to date: $719.40 (27%)
Amount needed to reach pledge: $1,900.60
Miles Ran Last Week: 21 (longest single run = 5 miles)

The name of the game this week has been consistency. I'm trying to get to a point where I can run multiple days (albeit relatively "short" runs each day) and not die. While it's true that I did successfully not expire this weeks despite taking only two days off from running in total...things have been a bit touch and go. I'd like to say that I'm being a true champion, running easy as I discover inner peace through meditation during my solo runs towards greatness. In actuality, things have looked less like a Nike commercial and more like...well...this:

The scary thing right now is that I ran a total of 21 miles this week. I will run 26.2 miles at some point in one go. Hmmmm. This is going ot be interesting.

There are two cool side-benefits from running your first marathon that I would like to share. Firstly, it really does provide a phenomenal first-date topic of conversation. Seriously. I'd say it's about 50% of what I talk about on blind dates and I believe it to make me fascinating and impressive, much like the Dos Equis man.

The second key benefit is that you do meet people along the way who are either also training for the big 26.2 or have done so in the past. It really is a bonding experience being able to talk about training trials and tributions [please note the alliteration....and moving on!] As part of my money-raising efforts for Team for Kids, I'll be able to participate in group runs with them, and I'm excited to meet new people through this new "hobby" of mine.

Before I leave you for this week, I just want to provide a heartfelt thanks to the overwhelming support I have received so far, not only monetarily but also with your well-wishes and kind words. I am so excited to be 27% of the way to my fund-raising goal! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." - Jim Ryun