Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Part One: The End

I am incredibly humbled every time I think back on the last few months. From the people who didn’t even know me, but offered me a ride to the early morning Saturday practice when I sent out a pleading email, to my close friends and family who came out to my fundraisers, donated to the cause and gave me encouraging words of advice and support. To my coaches, my mentors, and the amazing people who work for LLS, I admire your selflessness and dedication to your team members, giving us every opportunity to not only succeed, but have fun in the process.

I have a lot of people to thank, so I figured I would kick off my last entry before the marathon identifying some of those people who have been such a great support to me over the past few weeks/ months (heck, I’ll say it - years).

Bob: Thank you for giving so generously to my fundraising goal - and for all of the helpful tips on what I should expect once I arrive in San Francisco!

Dave: You are my very own marathon superstar! A man, who not only runs them, but trains on his own. You amaze me. After I’m finished with this marathon I’m hoping to sign up for a 1/2. Let me know if you are interested in doing one with me!

You are such a good friend. Thank you for not only donating to my cause, but motivating me to do my training run the same day by coming out to join me! Let’s plan a gathering of sorts to celebrate your recent trip and my marathon completion next week!

Ben: My Myspace/ Facebook buddy. LOVED the amount you put down as your donation! Thank you so much for your encouraging words and best wishes! You’ve been through it, so you know what is ahead for me! Ugh - mile 22….

Emily: You are from my original running group - high school track! You are also my fundraiser groupie - I love it. Let’s make hanging out more of a habit, shall we? This whole, “going years without seeing each other thing,” well, I just don’t like it!

Julie and Luis: Mi mejor amigos! It means the world to me that you donated - especially after just buying a house! [You must like me ;)] I can’t wait to have time so I can come up and see the “new” place. I am sorry that I am not able to see you more. Know that you are always in my thoughts, and I love you both very much! (Alright, enough mushiness for one public blog…)

Miriam: My most vivid running group memory I have of you is when we were out on the Mall during a late, very windy, Fall night. Everyone else was at least a mile ahead of us, and we decided to shorten the route a bit - however, coming back up from the Capitol Building we hit this tunnel of wind that was so strong it was as if we were swimming through it for at least 1/2 mile. Good times. You such a great person, I’m so glad we have stayed in touch - thanks so much for your donation!

Uncle Jack and Aunt Marcy: I love you both very much. Thank you for your support in every sense of the word through this journey - and all the ones that came before it (and, I’m sure, for all the ones to come). You are two very special people in my life - I’m blessed to have such a wonderful family!

Your donation does not show yet, BUT it should be posted soon! I am continually in awe of your perseverance, strength and love. You are a man to be honored and admired - and I hope you know that I do both. With more love then can be shown in a blog, hugs and love from your grand daughter, your girlfriend, me.

To All My Fundraiser Participants!
You helped me raise $1,327.53! Wow. Just plain wow. You rock!
A special thanks goes out to:
Giant, Best Cellars, The Green Turtle, and McFadden’s!

Another special thanks goes to
Alex Block, without whom my blog would not be half of what it is today. Thanks for taking the time to work with me on “upgrading” it, especially since you aren’t fan of Blogger.

So, as my training has started to wind down, I feel pretty, to be honest, out of shape. I haven’t been putting the intensity into my workouts like I did 2 or 3 weeks ago, and the miles have been steadily decreasing. Apparently, it’s completely normal to feel this way during your tapering process, but that doesn't reassure me as much as I'd like it to.

How do I know this is normal? Well, since you asked - every week, we get a “Coach’s Update” email, which tells us where we will be running that weekend, any important TNT race updates, as well as running and injury tips. September 30th’s email focused on the upcoming tapering period of our training and contained an article by Runner’s World (yes, we all revere them as our runner’s bible) which gives us a guideline on what we should expect and how we should proceed during our last three weeks before race day, breaking it down week by week, and separating it into mental and physical preparation.

"Every good marathon-training plan should "taper" during those final 21 days. That means you run less and rest more. For some people, the idea of backing off on their training just before the big race seems counterintuitive. "So many runners train hard right up to the day of the marathon because they're desperately afraid of losing fitness if they don't," says Patti Finke, who coaches 250 marathoners a year as co-director of the Portland (Oregon) Marathon Clinic. "What they don't realize is that in those last few weeks it's the rest more than the work that makes you strong. And you don't lose fitness in 3 weeks of tapering. In fact, studies show that your aerobic capacity, the best gauge of fitness, doesn't change at all."

Mind you, I got the stomach flu, or food poisoning (jury is still out on that one), right at the beginning of my taper period. I was unable to run until late in the week, and even then I was only able to take it easy. Combine that with my hamstring and groin soreness [again, I always feel weird when talking about my groin pulls, but that is what it is. Side story - I had felt a little strain in my groin (especially up and down inclines…um…yeah…already nervous about the hills! Don’t really need anything EXTRA to drive that home, thanks.) on the run this past Saturday, so I talked with the coaches about it and commiserated with some of my teammates who had aches an pains (read - all of them). The word “groin” was being thrown around left and right. No thang - no one batted an eye. Skip ahead to today, one of my (very sweet, very thoughtful) teammates writes to me to ask, “How’s the groin feeling?” which sent me into giggle overdrive. I wanted to slap myself on the wrist - if everyone else can talk about my groin with a straight face, why can’t I? Oh right, I have the maturity level of a 7th grader. I forgot.], I’m nervous that I am not prepared for the marathon. Deep down I know I am and that I’ll be fine - I have no endorsement deals that I need to worry about losing, so when I don’t come in first no one will be shocked. I DO want to do well, and was hoping to beat my previous time (5:05), but I have to prepare myself that that may not happen (but, to be honest, I’m not sure that is a possibility. I will be crushed if I don’t beat last marathon’s time, and if I come in way later…well, let’s just say - it’s a good thing there will be Tiffany’s, chocolate and lots of wine at the end of it all.). Touching back on that Runner’s World article, the first thing listed under this week’s (the week of the marathon) mental preparation tips is: "Confidence should be the focus of the final week," says Hays, "but you may still experience anxiety. If so, remind yourself that you're physically prepared because you did the necessary training, and you're mentally prepared because you did the necessary trouble-shooting and goal-setting."

"You may still experience anxiety" - okay, covered that one on the check list!

As for training, I won’t be really “training this week.” It’s all about keeping the body loose and the head clear. Example - today, I went on an extremely easy, seriously-I-can't-believe-I'm-jogging-at-this-pace, 2 or 3 mile run. (No aches, no pains, felt good. Did lots and lots of stretching afterwards.) As for the bible, here is what Runner's World said I should be up to this week:

Training Checklist
1. Beginning on Monday, do no runs longer than 4 miles. And when you do head out, remember that these jaunts are more for your head than your body, because training has little effect this week.
2. Almost all running should be at 11/2 to 2 minutes per mile slower than marathon goal pace--except a Tuesday 2-miler at marathon goal pace, sandwiched by 1-mile jogs. Again, if you want, throw in some quick 100-meter strides after one or two of your workouts. This helps fight off the sluggish feeling that can occur during your taper.
3. Three days before the race, run just 2 to 3 miles easy.
4. Two days before the race, don't run at all.
5. On the day before the race, jog 2 miles to take the edge off your pent-up energy so you'll sleep better that night.

Nutrition is also a big part of the last few weeks. Protein is mentioned a lot in order to help rebuild and repair muscle tissue (I have been making sure to incorporate egg whites and lean turkey/ chicken into my diet more lately), carbohydrates are also very important (pasta, crackers, bread - oh my!), and who could forget water? People could swim in me I drink so much water every day now. On top of keeping hydrated, I also decided to cut out any and all alcohol consumption the last two weeks before the marathon. First - we all have experienced what our body feels like after a night of drinking. Nothing says, “let me hit the snooze alarm…again,” or, “wow, I’m dehydrated,” like throwing a few back the night before. Secondly - even not getting to the point of intoxication, alcohol isn’t/ wasn’t advancing my training in any way - so, why continue to put my body under undo stress right before the race? Why, indeed. So I nixed it. Plus, Napa Valley’s wine will be that much more sweet when tasted through lips that have been deprived for awhile.

Ah, Napa. I look forward to sampling your wares :)

As for the last two TNT training runs…they went okay. I took them about a minute per mile slower then I would typically run, trying not to pull my hamstring any more then it was. It was a great opportunity to catch up with a few running teammates, and enjoy the morning [both runs started an hour later then usual. I actually have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I get to spend a little more time in bed and possibly use the Metro. On the other, I get done the run later then I would have if we started at 7:00 am and using the Metro increases my “get home” time - stupid weekend time schedules and track work!!! (grrrr)] This past Saturday we started and ended at the
Iwo Jima Memorial, most likely because this is where the Marathon Corps Marathoners, who have been training with us as well, will end their race (good luck, good luck, good luck!). I have to say, I don’t envy their steady incline in the last mile. Ouch! Taking a look at the elevation levels for Nike, it’s not as if we don’t have any inclines built into our race (cough - San Fran - cough), but the race planners were nice enough to include a glorious 2 mile decline at the end. Thank you, I’m sure I’ll be appreciating that even more in a few days.

One of my teammates snapped a few pictures before our run, and sent me the one of the two of us. Take a look at it and see if you notice the same thing that I did (okay...I've highlighted it with yellow arrows, so missing it will be hard, but...take a look anyways)

There is an indentation showing on my left knee from the past few months of wearing my knee brace! I hadn't noticed it before seeing this picture. Back story - I moved (yet again) and had been finally unpacking all of my boxes and setting up my room (leaving it in a disarray). Although my knee brace was used during the week, I put it down somewhere and was not able to find it when getting ready for practice Saturday morning. Since my right hamstring has been tight lately, I decided to keep my right knee wrapped and try out my left knee with no brace. It did really well - and I wasn't having any issues with it for the 8 miler (though, I'm not risking it for the marathon, and I WILL be wearing it then). When this picture was taken, I had not worn my brace in two days. I later found it in one of my bags containing weekday workout gear (duh). It was a huge relief to find it. The mantra is - don't wear, eat, or do anything different on race day then you have been doing in practice. The idea of loosing such a crucial article of gear, days before the race, did not rest well in my belly.

Again, thank you to everyone who has support me through the last 5 months of training - whether it was a kind word, a ride to practice, or generously donating to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on my webpage. If you haven't donated, it's not too late. Please visit http://pages.teamintraining.org/nca/nikesf09/lmozer and make a tax deductable donation right now. A few bucks makes a world of difference to the patients battling these blood cancers, and the families that are by their sides watching them struggle. I may have reached my fundraising minimum (it doesn't show yet, but I will actually be slightly over!), but the ultimate goal is a cure. Please help LLS. Please donate.

My Nike Women's Marathon journey has almost come to a close. I'm anxious and want to do well, but also feel like I have already kind of won. I met some really amazing people, I'm on the brink of completing my second marathon (never thought I'd do one!), and it's all been in the name of a truly wonderful cause. I wish there was some sort of montage that could show a summation of the last few months, but I will have to substitute classic Rocky instead:

All the prepatory leg work has been done - it's time to man up and run 26.2 miles. But first, I'll have to stop over at the Expo and get my free manicure. Have to look cute for the camera...smile!


  1. Glad to help with any web issues you might have. If I hadn't, I wouldn't get to watch Rocky training montages.

    One nitpick - No beach running with Apollo Creed?

  2. It was a toss up between the two. Ultimately, the slow motion close-up kind of made my decision for me.