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I Ran So Far Away

Mood: Rested | Drinking: Water


Last year at this time if someone had told me I would run not just one but two half marathons, I would have fallen over laughing.

But change is possible. With a smidgen of faith, a lot of hard work, three pairs of running shoes, and a little help from my friends.

Last year at this time, I had just started running. I could barely run for a block or two before feeling like my lungs might be full of fire ants.

And now? Now I’ve got 13.1 competitive miles under my belt — twice. Not to mention a couple of 5ks thrown in for good measure.

It’s an amazing thing.

So is running with 20,000 other women (give or take a few brave men). The Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon in San Francisco is billed as a women’s race, and marketed with a whole lot of pink banners.

And I have to tell you, it’s very different, running a race course with a bunch of women. A woman bumps into you and actually says she’s sorry. Women on all sides cheer (and sometimes drag) each other on, mile after sweaty mile. Compliments about hairstyles, t-shirts, and choice of footwear are easily passed about between strangers.

I never really considered a half marathon to be a nurturing environment, but in this case, it was.

I ran my first half marathon in Phoenix back in January, after training for 3 months with Team in Training. This time, I trained myself (with occasional accompaniment from my fabulous running buddy, Allegra).

On race day, Boy dropped me off a block from Union Square in the wee dark hours of the morning and from that point until I crossed the finish line, I was on my own. I trained on my own, ran on my own, and finished on my own, and goddamn, am I proud of myself! 😉

I finished the Phoenix Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon course in 2 hours, 55 minutes, on a hot day over flat roads with only 3 months of training to back me up.

My goal for this Nike race was to beat my own time, and I did: 2 hours, 52 minutes, on a foggy morning over San Francisco-sized hills with a year of running experience behind me.

The best part, besides crossing the finish line, was all my friends who got up early to come and cheer along the way, including my juicy nephew, Jude, and my parents, who just happened to be in town from Illinois. Thanks to all of you!

The other best part? Turquoise Tiffany’s boxes held aloft on silver platters by handsome tuxedo-ed men. And one of them (the box, not the tux man) is all mine.

I’ve been resting up all week, after a nice post-race soak in the ocean, and I think I’m ready to run again.

Time to go pound some pavement…

-Lo, who doesn’t photograph well when sweaty.

Run Like a Girl

Mood: Jittery
Drinking: Lemonade

Three days from now, just before sunup, I’ll be shivering in Union Square with 20,000 other women, waiting anxiously for the sound of the starting gun.

Then I’ll be off and running 13.1 miles through San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.

Waiting at the finish line will be a bunch of firemen in tuxes holding Tiffany’s boxes. A nice way to end a race, yeah?

So if you’re up early this Sunday, think of me and send me a wish for fleet feet and foggy weather, won’t you?

-Lo, lacing up her running shoes.

Rock and/or Roll

cactus_medal1Mood: Sunny
Drinking: Tea

13.1 miles?

Pffft. Piece of cake!

I ran my 13.1 on Sunday the 13th in Phoenix, AZ and had a fabulous time doing so, thanks to my running buddies Roy & Michael.

Since it was my first half marathon ever, as well as my first visit to the sprawling, sunbaked metropolis of Phoenix, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

All the unsolicited advice I received before the event went something like this: “Your goal should just be to finish. Don’t worry about how long it takes you.”

Which is all very reasonable. But I am an overachiever, so I set a time goal for myself.

I wanted to finish in under 3 hours. Quite realistic, I thought.

As it turns out, I was right. My official finish line time was 2:55:22.

And that’s even with the unscheduled run into McDonald’s for a bathroom break at mile 1.5. Hey — standing around for 2 hours waiting to start whilst drinking a bottle of water will put a girl in an emergency situation.

So in spite of the unexpected wait in said McDonald’s bathroom (I wasn’t the only girl on the course with the brilliant idea of peeing in a fast-food joint instead of standing in line at a porta-potty), in spite of the southwest sun and the warmer climate, I still met my time goal. So I’m rather pleased with myself.

Plus, a few last-minute donors cranked my fundraising total up to nearly $4,500 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which kicks ass.

All in all, it’s been lovely. I highly recommend both Team in Training and running a half marathon with good friends.

As a bonus, I got to take a little side trip into the Superstition Wilderness and wander around the beautiful desert. As you can see, Boy took the opportunity to photograph me, my shiny new Marathon Medal, and a friendly Saguaro Cactus while we were there.

And since I was lucky enough to have my cinepoem partner, Michelle, with me, we shot a new cinepoem out in the desert while we were at it. So that’s two new cinepoems in the can: Yellow, which was shot over Thanksgiving in the central valley of California, and our very first poem with cacti cameos, Strange. I’m not sure which one of those will hit the Internet first. You’ll have to stay tuned…

Meanwhile, I’m happy to be back in foggier climes, and so is LeeLoo, who is NOT a fan of the desert. Too many prickly things that get stuck in tender paws.

I’m going to sign off with a few shout outs to deserving parties:
* Roy & Michael, who are both more experienced runners than I, but stayed with me every step of the 13.1, just because they’re that awesome
* Chris & Shel, who drove there and back and toted camera equipment way out into the wilderness, and also made such lovely cheering signs to hold up for us along the race course. (Including a special “Run Lola Run” sign from my pal Eric.)
* Boy, who took a thousand photos and was staunchly supportive and makes everything better just by being there.
* Kathy, Lani, and Allegra, who sent me voice and text messages on race day that made me run that much faster.
* All my Team in Training coaches and pals who helped me learn how to run mile after mile after mile.
* All of you who donated to the cause and sent words of encouragement along the way.

You rock my socks right off. Thank you for everything!

-Lo, who starts running again on Monday.

Get Set

ready2runMood: Ready
Drinking: Water

Five days left ’til I’m off and running.

The P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon is Sunday the 13th.

I’ve got my Aasics all broken in and my shot blocks stocked up and I even bought purple hairbands to match my grape-colored Team in Training singlet! I’m all riled up and ready to run 13.1.

Of course, I have to get to Phoenix first.

Boy and LeeLoo are coming with, and so are my friends Chris, Shel, Roy, and Mike. And Roy and Mike are not only coming with, they’re running the half marathon with me. Because they’re just that cool.

I’ve got a few more days before I go, but they’ll be filled with planning and packing and squeezing in one more Team track workout at Kezar Stadium, so I probably won’t have time to write again until those 13.1 miles are behind me.

So I’d like to thank all of you who have sponsored me by donating to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thanks to you, we’ve raised nearly $4,000 ($3,940 at last count) to help find cures for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma. You definitely went above and beyond, and I’ll be thinking of you all when I strap on my running shoes on Sunday.

I’m very much looking forward to all of it, from the starting line jitters to the finish line triumph (and probably tears), to all the miles of running in between.

And as a bonus? Shel and I are going to do our very best to squeeze in a desert cinepoem shoot while we’re there. Because it would just be silly to pass up a cactus cameo, you know?

-Lo, who won’t forget to stretch.