Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Happy Halloween!

Over the weekend I pulled out some old long sleeved "Chappelle's Show" t-shirts and a pair of "Stuckeyville" sweatpants that I won't mind discarding on the Marathon trail. One thing about working on t.v. shows--they all give out gym wear as gifts. So, I won't need to make a trip to the Salvation Army to buy disposable clothes. Check that off the list.

I ate the last of the oatmeal this morning. And, the bananas were too ripe to eat, so I had to pitch them. I'd planned a trip to Trader Joe's anyway. That'll happen after work. Check that off the list.

Kiersten and Jessica arrive Thursday. That means cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, and getting Kiersten a belated birthday gift. I think I can do some of this tonight and tomorrow.

The key is to stay focused and calm, and not let excitement and anxiety get in the way of enjoying the week. So far I've been okay. Last night I was in bed by 10:00, asleep by 10:30, started waking up at 5:15a.m., but stayed in bed until 6:33a.m. when my alarm went off.

Met Alison this morning at 7:00. Tomorrow we'll meet at 6:30. Then 6:00 on Thursday. This will be good practice for Marathon morning when I'm sure we'll be up around 4:00. I'm anxious just looking at it.

And now for the part where I talk about something completely unrelated. I'm reading a good book called "The Russian Debutante's Handbook" by Gary Shteyngart. I know it's good because the little I've read so far keeps me coming back, but I can't say it's really sinking in just yet because I'm busy thinking about (insert the word "Marathon" here).

Is "Heroes" a good show? I can't tell. It seems interesting, but do I want to follow it every week? I'm already committed to BSG, and I feel it's enough to sustain my need for serial sci-fi drama.

Look at that! I talked about entertainment for a whole 2 paragraphs before my mind drifted back to running! Yes, they are short paragraphs, but it's a start.

NIKE makes these fantastically comfortable dri-fit shirts that I LOVE. And, they come in an aray of rich, bright colors. I sound like a commercial. I know NIKE has been in trouble for their sweatshop practices. But, I love their clothes. They make the best clothes for women. No one else I've found so far really cuts clothes properly for women's bodies. It's embarrassing! Women have been athletes now for, what, like hundreds of years? And no one but NIKE has figured out how to make flattering yet functional clothes for the ladies?!? So, NIKE has my money. I even like some of their running shoes. Ciara is also a die hard NIKE fan, as I might have mentioned in a previous post.

Clothes: $100.00
Oatmeal and Bananas: $2.30
Knowing where all your shit is the day of the Marathon: Priceless

Monday, October 30, 2006


We ran the Poland Springs Marathon Kickoff 5 mile yesterday morning. I wore my brand new running pants that I got, along with some other winter gear, from NIKETOWN on Sunday, thanks to Ciara who, very awesomely and patiently, accompanied Alison and I to the store and gave us her 40% off discount! If that's not cause for a "Woo-Hoo" I don't know what is. So, my winter running wardrobe is looking good; I have no excuse for not running outside December - March.

It's very important to do a long run in your Marathon clothes before the Marathon so you know they're comfortable, if they cause chaffing, and how well they breathe. With that in mind, I bought new clothes that I've run in maybe once for, like, a four miler. Okay, my shorts have been through two 20 mile runs. They're great--just a little chaffing around the waist band, but nothing a little Body Glide can't handle. I bought a red shirt that maches my shorts and a long sleeved shirt to wear for the start. And I got a new hat. Everything matches. So, if my clothes start bothering me, well, at least I'll look cute, dammit.

We're going to Ciara's place on Thursday night to put our names on our shirts. Last night at Uma's Bill asked if I was going to put "Chief" on my shirt. I think I'll put "Go Erica!" on the front and "Chief" on the back.

Am I competitive? Alison says I am. Maybe, but I don't think I am competitive with other people; I compete with myself. At races I'm not concerned with Alison's time, or Ciara's time, or anyone's time. I think about my time, about what I can do, and what I want to do to feel like I had a good race. If I'm feeling strong and think I can run a little faster, then that's what I want to do. When I have an injury, like the IT band pain I dealt with earlier in the year, I "take it easy" as they say. I'm not one to put myself in jeopardy, but I hate taking it easy. I do. And, I'm not going to take it easy if I don't feel like it. So there! Seriously, though, it's not in my nature to back off. I'm always pushing, even just a little bit, to see what will happen. If I run a little faster, what will happen? If I take a left instead of a right, where will that lead me? I don't like playing it safe. And, if that means I'm competitive then so be it.

My Mom is like that. She quietly and confidently goes after what she wants. And, she's humble about her accomplishments, but she doesn't shy away from praise. I know she's amazing, and so does everyone around her. I think when someone is confident, but somewhat reserved about what they've achieved it can be sort of threatening or intimidating. Why is that?

It's going to be cold: 52 degrees for the high with 10% chance of showers. Sunny, but cold.

Thursday, October 26, 2006



Oh my GOD I'm tired! Please, someone just give me a cot and a blanket so I can crawl under my desk at work and take a very long nap! Coffee doesn't help. Nothing helps. Getting to sleep at a decent hour might help, but that never seems to happen. I was smart, though; I planned nothing for next week, so, except for work, I'll be able to get home by 6:00, eat by 7:00, and crash in front of the t.v. I'm going to bed by 9:00p.m. every night next week so I can practice getting up at 4:00 or 5:00a.m.

How is it that people don't know the distance of a marathon? Isn't it taught in school during the Greek Mythology unit? I feel like it's pretty basic knowledge. I knew and have known that a marathon is 26.2 miles since I was a kid. The fact that so many people have asked me "how long is a marathon?"--should I find that troubling and a reflection of the poor quality of our educational system in this country? Or, am I being a snob? Once, an actress who shall remain nameless, asked me how long a marathon was and I told her; then she asked what my longest run was, and at the time it was a 1/2 marathon, which I told her; she then asked how long a 1/2 marathon was. Okay, I sympathize on one level because I, too, and bad at math. But, come on, it's basic math!

I'm grumpy today.

I don't know how to contain my excitement / anxiety. All I want to do is talk about the marathon, which is driving my co-workers crazy. I'm trying to think about other things, like writing projects, politics, and shopping, but I can only sustain those thoughts for brief moments before I find a way to relate them to running: "I hope Barack Obama runs for president. I wonder if he attended the Chicago Marathon?"

Since we're on the subject of politics, I think I'd quit my job and work for Obama's campaign if he decided to run. The thought of him as Prersident of the United States gets my heart racing as much as thinking about the marathon. (Damn, I did it again!) I like Hillary. I LOVE Barack. I worry that someone is going to try to assasinate him. I had that fear after his DNC 2004 speech, the one that had me and all my friends crying like babies. If I worked for him I could be responsible for keeping the staff in shape. Campaign staffs always get fat and eat lots of crap and drink tons of coffee. I could make everyone get up and run 3 miles before stuffing their faces with egg mcmuffins.

Monday, October 23, 2006



I'd like to take a moment to pay some serious love and respect to New York City. Training here has been such an amazing experience. Sometimes when I'm running along the Hudson I have to slow down and take it in: wow, I live here! I run here! We all complain about New York--it's too expensive, it's crowded, it's cold. But, everyone wants to live here. I don't know where else I'd go and be as excited, happy, frustrated, anxious, content, peaceful as I am here.

This is a beautiful city. It's also an ugly city, especially in the Bronx. Okay, let's not lie, the Bronx ain't pretty. At least, the one mile we have to run in the Bronx is very unattractive. On Sunday we did the last 10 miles, starting at 59th and 1st. It was a great run with a big turn out from my running groups TRIPLE TOWN THREAT (Ciara, Marianna, Marne, Jeremy, Erin, I'm sure I'm forgetting someone) and TEAM GORGEOUS (Amanda, Sasha, Andy, Nancy). Crossing the bridge into the Bronx was very cool. My runs, as I said, mostly take place in two areas, so not only was the course different, I also got to leave Manhattan, which, mentally, was a nice change. However, someone needs to put some garbage cans on the street corners in the Bronx. So much litter! I'm sure they'll clean it up for the race, but the fact that people live up there with garbage all around them is pretty depressing. What a difference a few garbage cans would make.

Once we got back into Manhattan it was only 6.2 miles to the finish. And, when I saw the finish line, man, I got so choked up. Even writing this now gives me heart palpatations. I cannot believe I'm running the marathon. There have been moments during my training where it's hit me like a lead weight that this is real, I'm making this happen. And, seeing the finish line on Sunday (the bleachers are already up) was a huge rush.

The last 10 was great. I felt strong. And, this was one of the only runs I've done where there weren't water stops, so we ran the whole thing. It's good to know I can do that. I carried a Gatorade with me, and sucked down one GU which was enough.
Psychologically, this was a great run. I know what to expect for the last hour and a half, which is a good feeling.

I bought my marathon shirt yesterday. I guess I have to run the race now.
Shop at Jack Rabbit Sports. They give NYRR members a discount on clothes and shoes. Very cool.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


17 days and counting

The other night Alison called me and said "20 days to go!". I couldn't sleep for the rest of the night I was so excited.

On Saturday, October 14, we ran our last 20. Alison and I met up with Nancy, Lisa, and Marne at 7:30a.m. at the Park (with a capital "P"). Let me just take a moment to acknowledge the wonderful friends we've met through running. There's Ciara (marathon #3 for her this year and a friend for about five years now) and the whole Triple Town gang; Amanda, Sasha, and Nancy who we met in running class; and Lisa and Marne who Alison met in running class. Running with a group of positive, fun people makes a world of difference, and, last Saturday was huge.

So, we started at the west side of the Park at the entrance on 60th and CPS. The plan was one 6 mile loop, two 5's and a 4. I had two Gu's with me. I'll digress for a moment and say that I've discovered the Power Gels have way too much sodium for me; Gu works much better despite it's unfortunate name.

Our group was pretty gung ho except Lisa, who is just over training. She's a really strong runner and, typically, runs faster than us, but I think she's just beat. I was worried she'd give up somewhere along the way, but she didn't. Marne, unfortuantely, had to bail around mile 8ish due to IT band and knee problems that got worse as she went. Poor Marne. She's been trying to shake this for awhile; she has drugs, sees a PT, ices, but it's not gone away. She swears she's meeting us this weekend for our 15 miler, but I'm concerned.

And, I've also been worried about Alison, who's IT band problems have turned into tendinitis of the glutteous maximus. She's doing these marathon stretch sessions before and after every run, plus icing her butt and knees. Okay, yes, it's kinda funny, the frozen booty and all. But, I must admit, I have had moments of real concern. If Alison gets worse and can't run on November 5, I will be crushed. I want to cross the finish line with my main woman who has gone through every minute with me, and if she's not there it won't be the same. So far she's not even talking about bailing. I'm so proud of her. I think several months ago she might have considered it, but now she's really dedicated. I remember last year she'd come up with every reason in the book why we shouldn't run the marathon. Now, she gets pissed off at her doctor if he even suggests she can't run on an injury! I love it!

This last 20 was leaps and bounds ahead of the 20 before. It was fun! We talked the entire time, which kept me from focusing on my burning belly (around miles 6-7), my frozen hands (it was pretty cold and I didn't have feeling in my hands until around mile 15) and the very slight pain in my right ankle. Nancy told us all about her boyfriend, who she's madly in love with; Alison talked about her dating life; Lisa talked about her non-dating life; I talked about GREY'S ANATOMY, which made me cry last week. The end of the episode when Izzy reads the letter from Denny and you hear his voice? It was so moving. I miss Denny. Why'd they have to kill him?

At the end of the run I felt great. No real pain. I was tired, of course, for the next two days, and I skipped working out on Sunday. But, I really felt, and feel, that if I had to run the marathon now I could.

We finished in about 3 hours and 38 minutes, which is consistent with our other 20s. I'm beginning to think there's a real chance we'll finish the marathon in 4 hours and 40 minutes. If we stay at our current pace it should be no problem.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006



Second 20 mile run. By myself. I'm not going to lie--it was hard. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I just felt drained. I took my iPod with me as I was worried about how I'd stay engaged without Alison, but, wouldn't you know it, the batteries died around mile 10. So, there I was, stuck carrying my iPod in my hand with another 10 miles to go.

I have a love / hate relationship with Central Park. I feel it's my home away from home, my church, my nemesis, my support. I know the loops too well, I know the cat is going to be there taunting me, I know the west side incline on the north is going to frustrate me and I'm going to want to give up every time, but I keep going because I won't let it defeat me. When I hit mile 10 (the same time my iPod gave out) I decided to add a loop around the reservoir just to shake things up as I was really starting to hate the park, so at mile 13 I turned into the entrance of the reservoir around 86th street, hit the fountain, waved to that dude who I'm not convinced is really alive, the old man who has run many marathons and they have information about his life posted, why can't I remember his name? Anyway, I started mile 14, thought I'd do three loops and finish the last two on the street. After the first loop I was irritated with the reservoir, I was tired of being in the park, I just had to get out of there. So, with 5 miles to go I ran down the east side, back up the west and exited out 72nd street.

On the street I discovered my irritation wasn't just with the park, but with everything. The sounds of cars, the people walking down the street, the smells of the vendors. Everything was bothering me. I wanted to scream or hit someone, or laugh really loud in an obnoxious, scarry way. But, I trudged on, one foot in front of the other. I tried to think of how I'd feel when I finished; then I thought about what I'd eat for dinner. My knee hurt. I had a horrible cramp in my side. Around the last two miles I passed a man who felt compelled to encourage me, I must've looked like I was in pain. He said "You can do it" and, while I appreciated the support, I wanted to punch him. It wasn't personal. I was just tired and pissed off for no reason other than I was at the end of a really hard run, and the end wasn't coming fast enough.

At my street I "crossed the finish line" and walked to my door just a few steps away. As soon as I got in the elevator I cried. It was the first time since I started training that I really questioned why the hell I was doing this. I collected myself before entering the apartment as I didn't want to scare Kirk with my tears. I was fine, just emotionally and physically run down, literally.


Last week the long run was a 13 mile, which I did by myself in the park. I had two glasses of wine the night before, started my run around 10:30a.m. and it was the longest run of my life! The week before I ran 20 miles and felt great. Last week I could barely crank out 6 miles before I was ready to call it a day. I pushed through and completed the mileage, but it was not fun. So, I'm not drinking anymore. I think I was dehydrated from the wine. Plus, it was unusally hot and humid for late September.