Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why are we doing this?!?

When I decided to train with Griffin's Friends, I had just come off a summer training cycle for a fall marathon. My experience was easy enough and uneventful, and I was looking forward to this new endeavor. Unfortunately I was a little caught up and not thinking about what winter in New England brings.......

According to The Republican, roughly half of this winter's snow (~20 in) has fallen this month - and we're only halfway through February! So it's no wonder that Tim and I woke up on Sunday and decided that we would run indoors. We are lucky to have this option, and doubly so since we have two options: treadmill and indoor track.

Last week was a step-down week, so our long run was only 10 miles and we figured that would be easy enough to do indoors. Tim decided to stick with 80 laps (!!!!) on the indoor track while I decided to split up 3 mi, 4 mi, 3 mi, as track, treadmill, track. The first half hour went by nice and quick as we ran together and chatted. After a weekend away shoving food in our faces, the exercise felt great. It was a grand old time, until we parted ways......

Halfway through my solo run I said to myself - WHY AM I DOING THIS?! This thought has come up during runs all winter long, and I always have to remind myself of why I am running long distances during these cold & snowy winter months.......

*THE KIDS: Mostly, it's for the children who are currently battling cancer. Whatever they are going through is infinitely worse than the slight discomfort I feel about getting out of my bed every Sunday and doing these long runs. While I am not a doctor, nor a family member, I can help bring them moments of joy.

photo taken from GF facebook page

*TIM: Have I mentioned how incredible of a man Tim Lynch is? Well, he's a thoughtful, caring, and dedicated individual who has overcome this battle himself. My life has been enriched by his presence, and it's hard to believe that he has had so many second (third, fourth, ....) chances at life that have allowed him to be here today. He does not take the gift of life for granted and is doing what he can to make the world a better place for others. And although he was not a runner 6 months ago, there's no question about his ability to conquer the marathon now.

This is my inspiration, this is why I am out in the elements. (Un)fortunately we are no longer going to be running the Boston Marathon, but I'm excited about the change of venue. On May 4, we will be running The Walter Childs Memorial Race of Champions Marathon in Holyoke, MA. We look forward to having a huge outpouring of support in this hometown run and will continue to train our hardest.

In the meantime, you can support our fundraising efforts here....thank you! 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy (belated) New Year!

I am not usually one to make goals with the change of calendars, but something pushed me to do so this year. However, I also have a problem with humility so I wanted to wait and see if I could stick to yet another self-imposed challenge! My goal? Just do it. More on that in a little bit, first I want to do a brief 2013 recap.......

Last winter I was training for the annual St. Patrick's 10K Road Race in Holyoke. I was newly recovered after a combination of hip and back injuries and was feeling optimistic. I had run my course PR and kept my targeted pace throughout the course, not to mention that I unexpectedly sprinted the final .2 miles. I felt strong, motivated, and back on track.

Upon returning home, I looked at the calendar and realized that I was on course to run the very half marathon where I was scheduled to volunteer. With the support of my family, boyfriend, and last minute volunteers I was able to register for the Wallis Sands Half Marathon in NH. As a Valentine's gift, Tim paid for my registration fee. This time I smashed my 13.1 PR by 5 minutes. I decided here that the half marathon is my favorite distance to run, but the possibility of running further had creeped into my brain.

Using the money I had received from my April birthday, I signed up for the Smuttynose Brewfest Marathon, also in NH. I wasn't sure what exactly I was getting myself into at the time, but my running partner had completed her first marathon just six months earlier, so I knew that my goal was within reach. And the rest is history..... 

Now, what's on tap for 2014? I expect this year to build on my experiences from last fall – the theme of new challenges is still in the air. It's exhilarating and terrifying all at once, which is why I have chosen “Just do it” as my mantra (thanks, Nike!).

Walking billboards! Tim's mantra: Underarmour = stay warm

While last year was an absolutely incredible time for me athletically, I now have to focus on school and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. Thus far I have applied to 12 summer internships, applied for my passport, spent a long weekend in NYC and decided to run the Boston Marathon on April 21.

Yes, you read that right...I will be running my second marathon only six months after my first. At first I wasn't sure about this prospect – Could I do it? Would I want to? But with a summer research internship comes the sacrifice of triathlon season and fall distance events. Alas, what's a girl to do?!

My decision to run Boston also serves a larger purpose as I will be running with the group Griffin's Friends, an organization which supports families as their children battle cancer, and my boyfriend – a cancer survivor – will be running alongside me. We have recently set up our fundraising page which you can find here.

We began training around Thanksgiving but were reluctant to make a public announcement until potential injuries were put aside. At this point we are preparing for a 12 mile group run on Sunday and have logged quite a few miles together outdoors, on the track, and on the treadmill.

This training cycle is much different from anything I have ever done before: my running serves a purpose beyond myself, I'm training with my non-runner boyfriend, and I'm working toward this goal as a member of a team. The dynamic is so different from what I have experienced before, and I have learned a lot about myself already. Most importantly, I have learned how to break down my self-imposed boundaries and enter my dis-comfort zones. It has not always been easy, but I am ready to leave stagnancy behind and move forward with my life. This is just another part of the journey.