Week 3: I ran in Bangkok today….

Thank you humidity Thank you humidityToday’s forecast? 99% humidity with a high chance of vomit.

OK, so, I did not really run in Bangkok. I ran in my hometown, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but it might as well have been Bangkok. I met my running group at Fleet Feet for an 11 miler this morning at 7:00. We, incorrectly, thought, that by starting at 7:00, we’d be beating the heat. Nature must have laughed at that. Before the run, Kylah checked the weather on her phone – 99% humidity. No, I am not making that up. Also, the weather icon was waves. None of us had ever seen that before but we decided that it signified steam. Like the steam coming off the road.

Off we headed. 1 mile into the run, Nancy, who runs “naked” (yes, she has clothes on – she just does not run with a watch or an app on her phone) asked us how far we had gone and when she heard we’d only gone one mile, I think she cried but it was hard to tell because of all the sweat on her face. The rest of us were mentally cussing.

I wish I could accurately put into words the misery that was the run. Even my shins were sweating. There were four of us. We have all run half marathons, marathons or competed in Ironman 70.3 races. We are not novices but we might as well have been taking our first running steps, we struggled so hard. Dimity, my coach, had suggested to me that I swallow my pride about running full distances and interject some walk breaks into my runs but I resisted. This morning, I asked for walk breaks, feeling bad about dragging the group down, but they all agreed. I think it was the only thing that saved us all from falling down in a steamy puddle on the ground like the witch in the Wizard of Oz!! We still managed a decent pace.

Wicked Witch of the West Melting

At about mile 8.5, I suddenly developed a horrible headache and felt nauseated. I seriously thought I was going to throw up. It was the closest I have ever come to actually puking while running. I had to interject a few more walk breaks. I looked like I had jumped in a swimming pool – my tank top was literally so wet, I could ring sweat out of it. My group had planned to run 9 and go for coffee while I ran my last 2 miles. When we got back to the parking lot, I stopped at 9 miles, missing the last two of my 11 mile run. Of course, I felt horrible about bailing on the run. I spent the (iced) coffee hour obsessing about my inability to run 11 miles when I’ve run 13 before.

After we parted ways with the rest of the group and Sissy and I were walking back to the car, I admitted to her that I thought I had lost my running mojo. That I was not going to make it through marathon training. She confided that she felt the same way about her running. I said, maybe, it was the heat. She was not so sure. We had to stop in Fleet Feet for a few things and it turns out, Jerry, our half marathon coach was working this morning. We mentioned to Jerry how we felt and he said it was definitely the humidity. Jerry is like a running genius – he can answer any and all questions about running. He said that running in high humidity is the same as running at altitude. Your body tries really hard to produce more more red blood cells to help you breathe. Your body makes extra sweat that cannot evaporate. The good news is that he said, once it cools off, we’ll basically be total badasses who can run at least 30 seconds per minute faster because we spent all this time training in miserable conditions.

When I got home, I found a good article about running in high humidity on Runner’s World. It turns out that, if you run long distances in high humidity, you can become dehydrated so your body pumps more blood to your essential organs, leaving your stomach to fend for itself so, many runners feel nauseous. Bingo! If you keep running, you may get dizzy. Bingo! They suggested that I run on a treadmill if it is that humid, again. RW, I think you might just be on to something!

Instead of beating myself up, I guess I am proud I managed 9 miles in some of the worst conditions I’ve experienced in my brief running career. The next time we’re slogging through through conditions like a country in Southeast Asia, I’ll just remember the badass runner I am going to be in Philly in 53 degree weather and low humidity! Maybe, I’ll go out for Pad Thai tonight!

 
 
#Bikram #Running !

 

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26.2 Reasons Philadelphia is Better than Honolulu

Philly Marathon logo 2012

OK, so most people would agree that Philadelphia is not actually better than Honolulu. Honolulu is on most people’s bucket list. How about 26.2 reasons why I am genuinely happy that I am running the Philadelphia Marathon instead of the Honolulu Marathon?

Here is the back story behind this post: Dimity and Sarah chose the Philadelphia Marathon before they announced the AMR 26Strong contest so I knew, if I won, we’d be in Philly on Nov. 23. I’ve been there twice before.

We were all registered when Saucony and Competitor Magazine decided to offer all 13 teams a trip to run the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 14. I immediately wanted to go! Alison, my fellow AMR trainee, was uncertain. She is a teacher and it would be hard for her to get time off to go all the way to Hawaii. Dimity, to her credit, was willing to hear me out on going but once the details came, it was clear it was not possible. December 14 is not a great time to be away from home. We’d have to fly out on a Friday and return on a Monday. 24 hours of travel for 48 hours on the ground, 5 of them running a marathon, with a 6 hour time difference? Maybe, if I was 20 years younger or did not have to come back to NC and be a parent! But, alas, I am 42 (43 at race time) and my kids are not really going to cut me some slack. So, we all four agreed to stick with Philly so, in the spirit of positivity, here is my list:

1. Cheesesteaks. I really, really like cheesesteaks.

2. It is within driving distance. Not being stuck on a long plane ride after running a marathon will be a plus. I am also not a big fan of flying, in general, and I will be flying to Montreal in September and to Anaheim in January.

3. AMR Tribe support. It sounds like we’ll have our own cheering section of Bad Ass Mother Runners running the race and in the crowd!

4. My husband gets to come with me without having to buy a $1000 plane ticket.

5. You can’t do this in Honolulu:

6. I love Bruce Springsteen and he has that great song about Philadelphia. Actually, that song is probably not the best for marathon training – “I was bruised and battered, I did not my own face”. Well, let’s hope I still recognize myself. The battered and bruised thing might happen, if this training is any indication of what it is like to stay on your feet for that long.

7. Philadelphia is flat. Flat is good.

8. Average temperature in November in the City of Brotherly Love: 53 degrees, no humidity. Average temperature in Honolulu in November: 78 degrees and 1000% humidity! While 78 degrees sounds great for laying out on the beach, it sounds hard for running 26.2 miles.

9. I get to run past the Liberty Bell. There is no Liberty Bell in Honolulu. There are 13 miles of the run course along the Pacific Ocean in Honolulu but where is the history lesson in that? I’ll have to look up some fun facts about the Liberty Bell to entertain Dimity while we’re running.

Independence Hall: Liberty Bell

10. Cheesesteaks. Did I mention my love of cheesesteaks?

11. Allegedly, it is always sunny in Philadelphia.

12. Betsy Ross made the first American flag in Philadelphia. There was no star for Hawaii.

13. We also get to run by the place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. Dimity is in trouble because I have the entire preamble to the Constitution memorized. No, I did not learn it in law school. It was School House Rock and I know it to a catchy tune. That should be good for at least one mile’s worth of distraction.

14. Philadelphia is considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the country. Being chased by ghosts might make me run faster!

15. There are more than 400 craft beer brewers in Philadelphia. I love beer even more than cheesesteaks. I wonder how many I can try before we leave town? Do you think there will be beer at the water stops?

16. Mustard was invented in Philadelphia in 1768. I really like mustard. Mayo can be outlawed, as far as I am concerned. They only have Kona coffee, pineapples and Macadamia nuts in Hawaii. Who am I kidding? Kona is the best coffee I’ve ever had. I do like mustard, for real, though.

17. Philly is on the East coast. There will be no 6 hour time lag to get used to like there would be in Hawaii. (Thank you, Alison, for the correction).

18. The fact that we are taking a car instead of flying means I can pack as much running apparel and gear as I want and I can buy as much stuff as I want at the race expo. My requirement to be completely over-prepared for every possible race day scenario, will be satisfied. I don’t travel light, at all, and a car equals packing FREEDOM!!

19. The marathon is sponsored by Gore-Tex. This means we won’t get wet during the race, right? (See #11, above).

20. The Philadelphia Marathon is ranked one of the top 10 courses in the country and 30,000 runners run in this race. That makes for an exciting atmosphere. It also means it is highly unlikely that I will come in dead last, always a concern when you know going into it that you are looking at 5 plus hours of racing.

21. The Philadelphia Marathon is a Boston qualifier. That means other runners will be chasing their dreams. I’ll just be trying to finish in an upright position. It is important to have goals!

22. There is a Kelly Drive in Philadelphia. We’ll see a lot of this road during the race, because, apparently, it is a part of a really long loop. We’ll run down it for the last time at mile 25.7. I’ll have to stop for a picture, if I am still alive by then.

23. Philadelphia is the fifth most populous city in the United States. That will make for a lot of crowd support. I fully expect to see some funny signs.

24. Soft pretzels are a big deal in Philadelphia. Carb loading, anyone?

Four fresh soft pretzels, ready to be pulled apart and chawed on

25. Philadelphia is also known for Scrapple. I will not be partaking in that local treat. If you don’t know what that is, don’t Google it because some things are best left unknown (like what exactly goes into Scrapple). My husband, however, was raised by a Philadelphia native who served him Scrapple for breakfast so, I am sure he will eat enough Scrapple for both of us!

26. Philadelphia has a professional Frisbee team. Yes, they really do. I’ll bet we can’t see that in Honolulu.

26.2. In all seriousness, no matter where I run a marathon, this is truly a great experience which I get to share with two women, Dimity and Sarah, who convinced me, a total couch potato, that I could not only run but that they “get” me and all those other Bad Ass Mother Runners out there. I also got to make a new friend with my fellow victim, I mean, trainee, Alison, who will tackle 26.2 miles for the first time with me (OK, so maybe only about 2 miles actually with me because she is way faster than me but she’ll be waiting at the finish).

In the meantime, I’ll keep laying down miles, mentally calculating exactly how many cheesesteaks I can eat after racing 26.2 miles!

 

Saucony 26Strong Week 2: Be Kind to Yourself

 

Week 2 of TLAM has officially started and I already feel like a failure. I type this post in an un-air conditioned kitchen because one of the units in our house is broken. We probably won’t have a repairman out until Monday. This will mean being hot, not sticking to our healthy meal plan because we can’t turn on the oven and missing work to meet the repairman. Because I’ll have to miss work to meet the repairman at some point this week, I would feel guilty bailing on a work a little early to get in a cross-training swim at the pool before picking my kids up from camp and preschool. I missed yesterday’s training run (which the TLAM plan said was a “do not bail” run) because I discovered the hot house upon arriving home from work yesterday (did I mention the AC in my car is also broken and I am waiting for my husband to install the new compressor sitting in the garage?) with two hot, tired and grouchy children so, instead of running on the treadmill (that side of the house has AC) for the “must do” run, I took the kids to eat at their favorite place (I did choose a healthy salad instead of the feta cheese omelet and home fries I wanted) and then went to Home Depot to buy a room air conditioner so that Mike and I did not end up sleeping in a race car bed with a 3 year old or crammed into a double bed with an 11 year old. We really, really like our grown up space. I also recognize that these are all first world problems. No one is sick. Everyone has a place to live. We have food to eat. No one is actually going to melt, although the children claim they might.

I had intended to run after we got the unit up and running but it had to be installed and that involved a lot of cussing and was not completed until 9:30. So, no run. That means I will have to get the run in on my cross-training day today, which means I should not meet my running group at 6:00 AM tomorrow for 6 miles because, for recovery purposes I should wait but, I’ll probably do it, anyway. See the domino effect? What you can’t see is all the negative self-talk going on in my head.

I am not kind to myself. I am already telling myself that, if I can’t even do one mandatory 4 mile run on Week 2, how do I expect to actually finish this marathon and not make a fool out of myself? Yes, I jumped off the cliff after just a small stumble. Welcome to life inside my head.

I do this in lots of areas – “Look how cute so and so looks in her running clothes. You, self, have no business wearing a shirt made out of spandex”. “So, you finished a half marathon? If only you had not walked through that water station, you could have had a faster time.” “Why are you taking a walk break? Real runners don’t walk.” “Oh, dear god, never let another photographer take another race picture of you ever again”.

Another Mother Runner said in one of their books “never say something to yourself you would not say to one of your running friends.” When my friends finish a race, I say “Wow, great job. That is amazing.” I don’t say “If you had not walked through that water station, you would have finished 10 seconds faster”. When someone shows up in a new running outfit I say “Oh, that is so cute. You look great in that”. I don’t say “You are not a size 2 so you should not leave the house in spandex”. The thing is, I really mean these comments when I say them to my friends. I love my running friends and I am genuinely proud of their accomplishments. I also always think they look really cute in their running clothes!

I graduated from my undergraduate program with honors. I graduated from my first masters program with honors. I graduated from law school cum laude in the top 20 students in my class. I earned a second masters degree from a top ranked executive on-line program at the #2 School of Public Health in the country, while working full time, getting pregnant by surprise, giving birth to a premature baby and raising a daughter with special needs. I don’t say this to brag. I say this to demonstrate to you all that I am not used to failure because I don’t allow myself to fail. I am also an only child (you’re shocked, I am sure) so the hopes and dreams of my parents were on me and only me. They had no Plan B if I ended up living under a bridge! With running, I often fail. Not every run is great. Not every race ends the way I want it to.  I am not fast. I am not thin. This is supposed to be fun. However, if I don’t meet some preconceived goal in my head, I feel like I have failed. Then, when running feels great, when I feel free, when I feel like I can fly, I am truly happy and I feel like I was meant to do this.

So, I need to accept that life got in the way this week. It will get in the way again, more than once, before November 23. I need to adjust course and move forward. I also need to be kind to myself. I got that 4 mile run/2 miles at race pace run in today. I will remind myself that, two years ago, I was eating McDonald’s for dinner and sitting on the couch every night. I could not walk a mile in 20 minutes. I have already succeeded in changing my life. Everything else beyond that is just the cherry on top.

Week 1: On weak glutes and the color of running shoes

Photo from Naked News Girl on Tumblr – Get it “bad ass”? Plus, who does not love a costume. And wine.

I am going to call Week 1 of TLAM Marathon Training done. The first half of the week went well, the second half, not so much but I laid down 5 miles on Thursday and 8 miles this morning with the Best Running Group, Ever (I seriously love those women but that is a post for another day). High pollen content and humidity have flared my asthma so that has been a real joy. Technically, tomorrow is the last day of Week 1 and I am supposed to rest. I doubt I will because, instead of cross training this week, I paid people to torture me. I saw my physical therapist, Smurti Shah, on Monday and I saw my sports massage therapist, Suzanna Dupee, on Friday. These people hurt me and I pay them to do it. They are also super cool people I enjoy talking to and experts at what they do.

Why do I need to see these people so regularly and pay them to torture me? I have weak glutes, you see. Apparently, you need to have an ass to run efficiently. I have no junk in my trunk. All the junk went to my belly and my boobs (running as a well endowed woman with the ever present gift of a saggy belly from 70 pound weight loss, two pregnancies and a c-section, will be covered in my “I don’t look like a real runner” post). It seems my Irish ancestors could not outrun the invading Norsemen because they had no glutes and that is why we are all blonde or red-headed in my family (Norsemen? Makes me think of Eric Northman. Eric Northman and his naked, very well endowed glutes on my TV every Sunday night, but I digress). Without strong glutes, you have to “fire” your running from other large muscles like your quads and hamstrings (at least, this is what Smurti tells me). Apparently, these muscles don’t like that and they become cranky and sore. They also make other muscles, like you plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, all achy, which is called tendinitis (-itis means inflamed, learned that in my on-line medical coding class). As an aside, runners discuss their injuries like war wounds. It can be annoying, we know, so if you ask a runner how they are, and they start telling you about their injuries, just nod and say “wow, that sounds like a problem, you should do more planks”. Planks are the solution to everything, by the way.

I fire from my quads to make up for having no ass. This makes my Achilles and IT band unhappy. So, I pay Smurti to rub on these things very hard with a metal wrench (it is a technique called “Graston” but I think it should have a Spanish sounding name because I think it was invented by someone during the Spanish Inquisition) and to show me exercises to strengthen my glutes and to “release” my hip. (Runners are always “releasing” things). This results in me doing walking lunges around my house and planks in front of my TV while our black lab, Pepper, stares into my face wondering why we are not going running, my children laugh at me and my husband to look over the top of his iPad and declare he thinks I am doing them “wrong”.

I pay Suzanna for a “focused session” once every two weeks, assuming I can get in to see her. First, she is the best massage therapist I have ever known and every runner and cyclist in town knows that about her, too, so getting in to see her is a challenge. Second, she is a professional cyclist (massaging is her side business) so she has a pretty packed racing schedule. This is not a spa massage with scented oil, dim lights and new age music. This is a “what hurts this week and I will release it”, hardest massage you have ever felt massage. It hurts so much but it feels soooo good. Runners also embrace pain. We’re weird like that. She is a miracle worker. It also sounds like a luxury but is not. She is very reasonable and very necessary. I cut out other luxuries like going out to lunch during the work week and pedicures to see Suzanna. Besides, who wants to pay to have someone paint your black toe nails? I am sure they are commenting, in Vietnamese, how nasty my feet are. I am limited in my color selection to shades of blue, green or purple. Pink, my signature color to steal a line from “Steel Magnolias”, does not cover up black.

When I saw Smurti this week, I took all my pairs of running shoes. This required a shopping bag (from lululemon, of course) because, not only do I have the three pairs Saucony gave me for the program, I have my other pairs, as well. She videoed me running in all my pairs to determine which pair I looked the best in. Sadly, this has nothing to do with which color I like the best (pink or purple) or that matches my running outfits (I have serious matching issues) but which shoes I don’t heel strike in. It seems, overly cushioned shoes allow me to heel strike because it does not hurt because of the cushion. Heel striking, with my weak glutes, makes my Achilles hurt even more. So, to travel 26.2 miles in a forward motion, without messing myself up, will require me to strike with my mid-foot. I ran in all my pairs and the winner was the Saucony Cortanas. She told me “you look like a runner with perfect form in those”. I made her repeat it again – a runner with perfect form! Me? Yay! We also determined that another pair will work to alternate but she wants me to run the marathon in the Cortanas. Luckily, I happen to think they look pretty sharp, too!

photo

 

So, on tomorrow’s non-rest, Rest Day, I will likely lift some weights and might ride my bike on the trainer in front of the TV. Seems like there might be some big soccer game or something like that on tomorrow? : ) There will also be lunge walking and planking and children laughing at, not with their, mother. In the meantime, happy running, my friends.

 

 

 

Week 1: 26Strong – Motivation Part 1 (the first of what I am sure will be a multi-part post)

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My Motivation Board (yes, I saw it on Pinterest) and my medal rack. Is it cheesy? Yes. Does it work? Yes. I used something similar to motivate myself to lose weight. It is in my closet and I see it each morning when I go to get dressed for work and each night when I put on my pajamas. It has motivational quotes, autographed pictures of Meb and Lauren Fleshman, pictures of me and Carly at the finish line of races, an ad I ripped out of Runner’s World for the Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon to help me remember why this is fun, and finally, my very own copy of Train Like a Mother Marathon training plan.
Train Like a Mother Marathon plan, Week 1, Day 1, Run 1 – an easy 3 miles with 4 acceleration gliders. Done. It was easy. It was fun (permission to run fewer miles than my regular run? Thank you, Dimity, I think I will enjoy this). But….the schedule gets ugly fast (yes, I put the happy face next to the finished runs):

photo-1

Right there, in Week 6 it says “13 mile Long Run”. On Week 6, we’re already at my longest distance to date? Gulp. Well…

Boy, that escalated quickly  - Boy, that escalated quickly   Ron burgundy

This week, it seems exciting and new. I love having a goal. Ask me in 7 weeks, when I have run farther than I have ever run, if this is still fun, and I might have a different answer! Thousands of other Badass Mother Runners have used this same plan and have crossed thousands of marathon finish lines and they all somehow found the time and the motivation to get it done. I will, too, with the help of Dimity (my coach), Alison (my fellow victim in 26Strong) and all of y’all!

 

Saucony 26Strong Program

26_Strong_social_graphic

 

The Saucony 26Strong Program is a training program sponsored by Saucony and Competitor Group (Rock N Roll race series, Women’s Running Magazine, Competitor Magazine) where 13 coaches (mostly fitness bloggers, coaches and trainers) are paired with 13 trainees attempting their first marathon. As part of the program, coaches and trainees blog, Tweet and Instagram their progress and advice. The program pays for each team to run a marathon. Saucony outfits the teams in gear. Check out the webpage here http://running.competitor.com/saucony-26-strong

Here is a lesson in impulsivity. After running 2 half marathons, I started thinking about maybe, possibly, one day, at some point, running a full marathon. Can you tell I was undecided? It is one of those things that, as distance runner, you feel like you should do at least once in your life but aren’t really sure you actually want to do it. Everyone kept asking “so, are you going to run a whole marathon?”. Runner friends of mine, who have run for years, told me if I was going to do it, I should do it now, rather than waiting until I was older and possibly, more injured. So, I thought I would give it a go in 2015 (I wasn’t all “carpe diem” about running 26.2 miles. 13.1 was/is still hard).

Fast forward to Another Mother Runner party at Capital City Run Walk in Raleigh in late April. If you don’t know the ladies over at Another Mother Runner,(Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell Davis), you should run right over and check them out. I found them when I first started on this fitness routine. They wrote two great books called “Run Like a Mother” and “Train Like a Mother” which helped me with this whole thing called running. They show tired, stress out mothers how to fit running into their lives and how to not feel guilty about it. They are also seriously funny and I love a good laugh. They travel around the country holding parties at local running stores where they read from their books, inspire the AMR Tribe (as we’re called) and give out great swag. Oh, and there is beer! The Raleigh party was packed! I don’t think we could have fit one more mother runner in that store. During the presentation, Dimity and Sarah mentioned that they were chosen by Saucony (one of their sponsors) to recruit two women who wanted to train for their first marathon to be part of the Saucony 26Strong program. “Hmm”, I thought, “Maybe training for a full marathon would be easier with a coach and 1000s of women watching my progress. I’m a sucker for accountability.” They said to check out their website for details.

I wake up every morning long before my family and spend a little time on social media, pinning things on Pinterest, etc. So, the next morning, I logged on to the AMR website and submitted my entry for the 26Strong Program with absolutely no forethought. I wrote a little post. It was not well thought out. It contained typos (hey, I was on an iPad at 6:00 AM) but it came from the heart. Why I wanted to run a marathon (I wasn’t sure I wanted to). I never win anything.

The next week, on a Wednesday, I woke up and checked my e-mail. I receive e-mails when AMR updates the blog. There was a link to the blog post announcing the winners for the AMR team for Saucony 26Strong. I clicked through, expecting not to win and then, there was my name as Dimity’s pick! WHAT?!!!!!! I woke everyone up and told them I had won. My husband said, “What? You’re running a marathon? When? Are you sure? How are you going to fit all this training in?” (always the voice of reason, that man). My 11 year old daughter was super excited (she met the AMR group at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo) and my son was like “Where is my chocolate milk?”. Here is a link to the AMR post announcing the winners http://anothermotherrunner.com/2014/04/15/two-winners-26strong/

I accepted, despite mine and everyone in my family’s reservations. I am running the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23 with Dimity, Sarah and the other AMR trainee, Alison as part of 26Strong. In the meantime, I’ll put in the training miles and blog about my progress. I’ll probably also complain but I will always tell myself “I get to do this” (quoting a fellow member of the AMR Tribe, Adrienne Martini). Hang on for the ride, friends. It is going to be hard. It is going to be fun. It is going to be epic to cross that finish line.

Race Report: Four on the Fourth Race, Carrboro, NC – July 4, 2014

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I ran the Four on the Fourth race yesterday as part of Le Tour de Carrboro, a local series of races. Last year, I ran this race as my first race with the Fleet Feet No Boundaries training program. I started out walking to lose weight but then, I needed to transition to running, and I wanted company. OK, I also wanted someone to make me actually run. There is nothing like peer pressure to keep one moving forward. Our training program ended with this race last year. It was hot. I was heavier. I was slower. I finished. I remember how exciting it was to cross that finish line (in the back 1/4 of the pack – did I mention that I live in an EXTREMELY fit town? People actually run to the races, run the races and then, run home while I am still dripping sweat trying to get to the finish line).

Fast forward to this year. 70 pounds lighter. Several minutes faster. 4 half marathons, one 10 miler and several smaller races in between. It still felt great to cross the finish line (still in the back 1/3 of the pack, super fit people are just faster) but it was bittersweet today.

See that extremely cute brunette in the picture with me? That is Natalie. She was the Program Coordinator at Fleet Feet for all the training programs. She is genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met. I called her before I signed up for NoBo (as it is affectionately called around here), certain that there was no way I could ever join a running group. The website for the program said that there was a place and a pace for everyone. That no runner would ever be left behind. Despite this, I was sure they were not talking about me. Honestly, how could anyone ever wait for me to attempt to run? I told Nat all of this. She could not have been more encouraging or more reassuring. So, I signed up. I showed up for the first meeting. Not only did she remember our conversation but she hugged me and introduced me to others and I immediately started chatting up some other women (did I mention that I can make friends anywhere? Port-a-potty lines, at the grocery store, anywhere. Yes, I am one of THOSE people who talk to you while you are minding your own business). Those women are now my best running friends (BRFs, to borrow a term from my 26Strong Coach). I can’t tell y’all enough about the impact Natalie has had on my running life. She believed in me as a runner before I believed in myself.

Natalie just left the Fleet Feet program to take a job at a leadership institute. She will be wonderful in this position. I will be sad when I go back to Fleet Feet for the Fall Half and Full Marathon Training Program on July 29. But, I am sure the person who is going to run the programs, going forward, will be equally wonderful.

My point of this post is to never underestimate the power of positive people in your life. I am surrounded by positive people in my running life (not so much in other areas of my life) and I firmly believe that it impacts my performance. If you can dream it, you can achieve it!

Onward to full marathon training on Monday. Gulp.