Saturday, October 31, 2009

Racing for the Cure with my 13 year old

Greetings from sunny and 70 Houston, TX! A few weeks ago my 13 year old daughter and lots of her friends got up at 2:30AM and headed to downtown Houston to set up for the Komen Race for the Cure. It was eerie being on the streets at 4AM but it was the most remarkable thing I've ever seen. I've lost count of all the races I've benefited from someone else's early morning rise and dedication.
At 4AM there were hundreds of folks out setting up. Our group made the balloon arches for the start and finish and some of the ladies did the arch for the Breast Cancer Survivors. It was just amazing. By 6:30AM there was a race start/finish and everything ready to go. The girls worked their fingers to the bone. Those with the craft-friendly fingers went to town. (I do not have those fingers). I took pictures and was happy to be there and to see it all happening. Then at 7AM most of those Moms/Daughters left. They got in their cars and went for neat breakfasts and female bonding time. My poor daughter and her friend knew better. They had come with me. I had put safety pins on their shirts and as soon as the work was done we changed into run gear and walked the area. There were thousands of people-- mostly women milling about. There were as many people as there were in Staten Island getting ready for the NY Marathon when I ran it a while back. I watched the girls. The friend's Mom is a breast cancer survivor. This 13 year old girl already knows the terror of breast cancer. Her Mom was home with the flu, but this girl was determined to run for her Mom. We got to the line and started the race. I loved every minute of it. I was weepy looking at the head scarves and dark pink shirts of the survivors. We had our yellow volunteer shirts on and stuck out as not belonging in the race. This morning I will never forget. I will never forget pacing them and then realizing I did not need to move them along. They are 13, but they are touched by a horrible disease and were running strong. I'm in awe of the future.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where oh where is Dorothy?

I'm here but surprisingly don't have much to say about running. Why you may ask? Well it seems that after Freedom's Run something was ignited inside of me. I was frustrated/happy/angry/sad/elated and found that all my energy was best focused on Marine Corps in order to feel normal again so I blogged and blogged. With that being said I ran *the time of my life* at MCM this past Sunday and am just plain happy.

I knew in the first couple of miles that my ultimate goal of 3:25ish was not going to be run that day. My legs were tired - tired from Ragnar Relay - tired from Freedom's Run - tired from sitting in class for two days straight - tired. I did however still feel that I had some sort of fitness left even though I completely was coming to grips with the fact that I probably peaked at Freedom's Run or even Ragnar Relay. Instead of getting angry or upset, I felt a sense of peace. I felt like I was having fun. Fun you may ask? How can I describe running a marathon as fun. Well it was just that. All twelve of my marathons - whether or not I had a good time - whether or not I hit the wall - were some of the happiest days of my life. So yes even though I was tired, I was having fun. This marathon literally went by faster than any of my other marathons and here is why.

I did not start out too fast - in fact I started out wayyyy slower than my goal of 8 min pace - 8:43 in part to the fact that it was more crammed than any MCM I have run before. This unknowingly helped me to never really hit the wall. Sure I slowed down - but it wasn't from hitting the wall - it was from my legs telling me "Dorothy you have asked us for allot and we are trying to give you allot but girlfriend for the LOVE will you please stop asking us to race back to back marathons?!?!" The time also flew because I was looking forward to seeing my husband at mile 10, mile 15, and mile 21. Each time he handed me a full water bottle and I handed him my empty one, I just couldn't wait till I was at 21 when he would run me into the finish. It went by fast because I realized that since the April of 2008 - I have had a baby(Miles), lost the baby weight, nursed my son for 15 months, took care of two kids and kept our townhouse clean while trying to sell it, sold our townhouse and packed it up, moved to a house and unpacked, ran 6 marathons, pr'ed at 3, qualified and ran the Boston Marathon, re-qualified three times for Boston, ran Ragnar Relay(Team Saucony Rocks) and came in 2nd overall with a team average of just over 7 minute pace for all 197 miles, and ran and pr'ed at every race distance in 2009. WOW. I just ran and kept thinking about how proud of myself I was. How amazed at all this girl had accomplished. How I would have never guessed that I would have made it to this point in my life! Who knew that a girl who used to run 11 minute miles would one day run a 3:31 marathon?!? Certainly not me!

I guess the peace from the race is spilling over and I just haven't had that much to say. That and I've been busy recovering, working on my coaching test, and tomorrow I have to sit in another class ALL day long so I can become CPR and first aid certified.

So there you have it. That is where I have been :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What happened to the newsletter?

Many of you are wondering what happened to the seeMOMMYrun e-newsletter. And I am getting quite a few emails asking why members are only receiving a handful of "AD" emails lately. No time like the present to address this issue.

As moms, we know how busy life can get. Right? Well, my life is no different from any of the fabulous, busy moms who use this site. Busy, busy, busy.

I WOULD LOVE TO FIND SOMEONE TO HELP WRITE ARTICLES FOR THE NEWSLETTER. Email me at if you are willing to help find a couple of interesting articles and email them to me for the newsletter. This would be a huge help and take a bit of the burden off my aching shoulders.

The 2 or 3 "ad emails" that you have received over the past couple of months are from sponsors (aka. people who pay to help keep the site afloat). Without them seeMOMMYrun would either have to become a membership-fee-based site or would simply go away. So it is very important that seeMOMMYrun has a few sponsors to help out!

For those not interested in receiving sponsor emails, you can login and "Change Your Options" to no longer receive emails. Simple!

For those who lovingly accept sponsor emails, I salute you. Hopefully, I bring you some great deals and fun products that make your life a little easier.

I hope to send out the next e-newsletter in early November. It's about time, right?????

Thanks for your support,

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gotta Walk Before I Run

Gotta Walk Before I Run.

Turns out, this isn't just a metaphor. Nine days post-partum: My birth went well, no damage to my plumbing, I've been up and moving, well...since giving birth. I delivered at a free standing birth center and was sent home just 6 hours after my boy's arrival - and I was happy to be back in my own bed.

My mother came into town 2 days later. Now, my mother means well, but at 69 years old, her body isn't what it used to be. In fact, she's a wreck. Plagued by manic-depression, she gave up living years ago. Long story short, she can't stand for more 10 minutes, she shakes to much to write, and gets lost going to her mailbox. Frankly, she needs to live in an assisted-living facility, but refuses. What makes it tragic is that she'd rather have a hundred ailments listed on her gravestone than try to take care of herself. This week, I took care of two "infants."

I made her dinner while trying to teach my 2 day old to breastfeed. I helped her buckle her seatbelt after I hooked in my 3 day old into his carseat in order to pick up my 4 1/2 year old from preschool. I unsuccessfully tried to get her to shower while re-diapering my 5 day old.

I'm thankful my birth went well enough that I could keep my family going AND care for my mother. But I'm exhausted. I'm tired and sore and angry that I couldn't take it easy during my son's first week of life. I'm upset that she invited herself into my home for 8 days knowing full well that she couldn't help walk our dog, drive my son to school, help with meals or even clear her own dishes. I'm furious that she came with a runny nose and loud cough - and now my 4 1/2 year old and I have it.

I want to run. I want to strap on my running shoes and refuel with each step. I want to erase my bitterness by sweating it out but I can't. I should have been healing, but I've been up and moving non-stop. After driving my mom to the airport, I'm just now realizing how sore I am. I know I have to walk before I run, but I didn't think walking would be such a challenge. I know it's only been 9 days since a major event - giving birth - but a 20 minute walk shouldn't have been so hard. Maybe I'm just aching because I've lost my mother.

Marine Corps Marathon Finishers Videos

Today I feel like I ran a marathon. It always takes two days for the soreness to really kick in for me. Yesterday I was a tad sore but it was similar to what I would have felt after a hard 10K. This morning I'm walking around feeling 30 years older. I have heard from numerous different people that taking a bath in epsom salt helps to relieve soreness after racing. I then saw on Ryan Hall's blog that he takes them - I figured if it's good enough for him then it must be good enough for me! So I gave it a try this morning. I don't know if my soreness is improved or if it's a mental thing but I certainly feel better after a warm bath.

If you haven't checked out your finish video then click here. I think it's so cool watching yourself moments before you cross the line.

How is everyone else feeling today????

Monday, October 26, 2009

MCM and my number break down

WOW - What a whirlwind weekend!!!!! Friday and Saturday were spent sitting in a class room in Arlington for my Road Runners Club of America Running Coach Certification Class. The class was great and I was happy to have some familiar faces in the class. I learned a ton of stuff that I can't wait to apply to my own training and also share with all of you.

Marine Corps 2009 was the 7th year I headed down to DC for the race. As always it was amazing and I can't say enough how much I love this race. I have so many thoughts right now but after being in class for two days, running 26.2 miles and then getting woken up by Miles at 5am this morning - I'm exhausted. So I'll just share my number break down tonight and hopefully blog more tomorrow about my experiences!

MCM 2009
3:31:21 - My fastest marathon to date
182 Overall Female - out of 8,280
1341 Overall - out of 20,936 finishers
67th in my division

MCM 2008
3:36:41 - My fastest marathon at the time
239 Overall Female - out of 7,150
1637 Overall - out of 18,279 finishers
71st in my division

My age grade from last year was a 62.5% - this year I'm up to a 64.1%. 60% is considered a Local Class Athlete. 70% is considered a Regional Class Athlete. I'm improving and that's all I can ask for!!!

I'm so beyond proud of myself for all I have accomplished. Yesterday I ran faster than I ever dreamed possible.

I can think of no better thing than finishing the fastest marathon of my life with my husband by my side cheering me and pushing me on. Without him I would not have achieved half of what I have.

**Congrats to Rebecca S, Kate R, Jessica H, Jenn Z, Zoya, Lauren P, Lisa R, and all the other wonderful women who rocked it yesterday!!! WE ARE STRONG MOMMIES!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Fun Run

If you live in the Fairfax County, Virginia area, come meet me and my family at the

3rd Annual Costume Halloween Run at Burke Lake!
(A Fairfax County Park Authority event.)
*Must be in costume to participate.*

Date: Sat. Oct 31, 2009
Place: Burke Lake Park - Shelter A
Race start times:
Group A - 9:00 am 13 and older
Group B - 9:15 am children ages 12 & under (plus their parents if running as chaperones)
Distance: Group A will walk or run around Burke Lake (4.5 miles)
Group B will run to the dam and back (approx 0.75 miles)
Cost: $10 children 12 and under; $15 ages 13 and older

Goody bags, refreshments and a raffle following the race in Shelter A.
Shelter A is next to the big playground with the rainbow twisty slides.

Haines Point: Marine Corps Marathon

I've been talking alot lately on my personal blog about Marine Corps Marathon(I'm running this Sunday). I've been getting alot of questions about the race and I think some of them may be beneficial for any of you mommies running on Sunday. So here is a bit of a cut and paste job from my other blog - hope you enjoy :) Run Happy Mommies!!

Haines Point(East Potomac Park) - These two words used to evoke fear among Marine Corps Marathon runners. This, the loneliest stretch of the race, came at about 20 miles. Not only were you already starting to possibly feel defeated or hit the wall but then you were hit with this windy, lonely, peninsula that is surrounded by the chilly waters of DC. Because it is a peninsula it is very hard for spectators to get too - so don't count on seeing anyone during this part of the course. I've never run it when it wasn't windy out there. So like I've said before if you like wearing hats, wear one so you can tuck your head down a little and avoid getting any junk in your eyes. Also depending on what time of day you hit this point it can be extra sunny as the trees do not cover the whole road. Try to stick to the sides of the road where there is the most shade and remember to put sunscreen all over, even though you will hardly think you need it before you start.

Good news though. YOU are stronger than this part of the race. ANNNNND no longer is this part of the race at around 20 miles. Last year they changed the course and so runners will hit this-not-so-fun little stretch at about 12-14 miles. So like I said YOU are stronger than this lonely little stretch. Be sure to have your race day mantras ready to tell yourself(in your head of course) through this bit and you will be good to go!

Next question to address is the corral system and going out too fast. I've been asked how you could start out too fast with so many people at the start slowing you down. Yes - there are a zillion and one runners out there. However it's really up to each individual to place themselves in the correct corral, meaning that some people who are slower than you will start in your corral and some people who are faster than you will start in your corral. So really there is no way of knowing if the person next to you is going too fast or too slow. You will also have TONS of adrenaline flowing through your body. There isn't a Marine Corps start that has not reduced me to tears. Tears of joy, of excitement, of pride in this wonderful country we call the US of A. So it's easy when the gun goes off to let your emotions get the best of you and take off like the wind. You will feel great, it won't feel fast, you will think WOW I am kicking butt right now....but it's too fast and you will pay for it later. Better to start out too slow than to go too fast. Also don't waste energy weaving around people. Trust me - it's very aggravating at the start and tons of energy can be wasted passing's part of the reason why I keep trying smaller unknown races. Just keep telling yourself though that you are running your own race and let these people do all the weaving - you will be passing them in the late stages of the race when you feel great and they don't. Run the pace you planned to start out at(everyone in my opinion should come up with a reasonable game plan before the race). For me this pace is going to be around 8 minutes - much slower than I started out at Freedom's Run....hopefully this will help me not give up in the later miles like I did there. PATIENCE is very very important when it comes to the marathon distance, it's like no other race, which is part of it's lure.

As for me - I went on my last easy run before MCM this morning - pushing the babies of course. Then I sat them in the grass to watch me run strides on my street. I may do some more strides early Saturday morning if I have time. I'm taking a Road Runners Club of American Running Coaching Class that meets all day Friday and all day Saturday - so I will be MIA. This means that I had to head to the store today to stock up on food for Sunday and my own food for the next two days. They will be providing food for us, but like I've said before - this is not the time to try new things. I bought four, yes four bags of brown rice - remember that we need to store up as much glycogen in our muscles as possible right now. Bananas for potassium, apples for fiber, water - to force me to drink the enter huge bottle each day - chocolate z bars, peanut butter puffins and sugar free red bull for before the race, and a magazine to take my mind off all this marathon stuff!

If you have any more questions let me know today!! Otherwise I'll be back Sunday afternoon!! Off to go do laundry and pack my bag for Sunday :)

Good LUCK all MCM'ers

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the better marathon

Not the “perfect” marathon, I am hoping to run a better marathon. I am running the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday. It will be my fifth marathon, or my fourth (depending on how you count, since I didn’t finish my second marathon).

I have never finished strong. I think it comes down to a simple problem: I start too fast. I have indeed finished three of the four marathons I have run. But, in two of those, I was reduced to frequent walking breaks for the last 6-8 miles.

In the past, I have been concerned about speed, though my time goals have been realistic while also being challenging. I can finish a 10K in 48 minutes, a half marathon in 1:45. That should mean I can finish a marathon in 3:45 or even less. I did that, once, for my first marathon, my best marathon. New York City. I was 28 years old. I had been running for a mere 1 ½ years. (I am no high school track or cross and field runner. In high school I was smoking and taking soccer juggling to fulfill my physical education requirement. My dad ran, but I had no interest.)

During that first marathon, I did slow down a bit for the last four miles, but I didn’t have to walk (I tried, but when I walked, I felt I would never start running again – so I kept plodding and finished in 3:43).

For my second marathon, I had a time goal – to qualify for Boston. Don’t know why. I don’t really care about running Boston – but it was a goal. Problem was I did not do any speedwork. So, while I covered the proper distances, I started too fast and my legs literally seized up around mile 19. A terrible disappointment. Maybe I could have walked it out, but the time goal loomed so large in my mind, and I knew I would never make it.

After that, I didn’t care about Boston. But I still cared about speed. I trained with a group for the 2002 National Marathon in Washington DC. (The one that went bankrupt the next year, canceling the 2nd annual race. It has been revived under new management with a new course.) I was convinced by my training and the coaches that I was capable of a 3:50 finish. So that’s the pace group I ran with. But the pacer had us going too fast, running 8:20s for the first five miles. I can do that, easy, for five miles, but that is not my marathon pace. I knew I was in trouble by mile 16. I had dropped off the pace group with two friends who were also suffering a little – but less than I was. I took walk breaks and wanted to stop by mile 19 (again – I know, the wall). But my training friend pushed me, talked me into continuing. Eventually, she ran ahead. I finished in 4:15.

I ran no marathons for six years, during which I had two kids and kept running and racing 10Ks, 10 milers and half marathons. In 2008, with my two kids aged 4 and 1, I looked to the Philadelphia Marathon. I was talking running with a new friend in my town, a friend I made because I saw her running in the early AM as I do and we both had 4-year-old sons who became good friends in school. I mentioned Philly, and she said, “Sign up; I’ll do it, too.” That little push did it.

Again, I thought 3:50. I am now dedicated to doing speedwork on a regular basis. My race times for other distances hold steady and strong. But, once again, I started too fast (trying to catch up to the 3:50 pace group, with their bouncing balloons). I knew I was in trouble by mile 10. That’s bad. I walked at each water station, then every mile. At mile 23, the 4-hour pace group balloons bobbed past, and I pulled myself together and suffered for the last 3.2. I finished in 3:59.

So, how to fix the blow outs? I think I just need to have some self-control and trust in the beginning – and avoid pace groups. My time goal is now 4:00. That I can probably do “comfortably.” And maybe I’ll even surprise myself and finish strong.

I want to run a better marathon. Five days to go.

I'm getting an Ironman tattoo!

About a year after my first was born, I ran a marathon despite stopping training the last 6 weeks due to shin splints. I ran with the mantra "I survived a 7 hour labor, I know I can run for at least 7 hours if I have to." My time was 6 hours 45 minutes.

Well, my friends, on Sunday around 2pm, little Graham joined us after 21 hours of natural labor. He is beautiful and healthy and was well worth the challenge. I look forward to sharing tales about our upcoming adventures. Thanks for the encouragement this entire pregnancy.

I will be posting my birth story on my blog in the next few days.

An Introduction!

Hi Mommies!!

My name is Dorothy and I live in good old Northern Virginia. I'm a mom of two wonderful little children, Chloe Raine - 3, and Miles Lincoln, 17 months. I love to run and all things running. I'm currently in tapering mode for marathon #12 - Marine Corps.

I'm excited to be a new contributor to the RunMommyRun blog and look forward to getting to know you all!

Run Happy ~ Dorothy

Monday, October 19, 2009

Racing with a Stroller

I have found that East Coast races pretty uniformly prohibit the use of jogging strollers. When we moved back here from Hawaii, we were so disappointed since we ran with our jogging stroller in half-marathons and 30K races out there. Just to make sure, I checked the Marine Corp Marathon and 10K race, and they don't allow strollers either:

The race organizers generally cite the liability as the reason why, but I'm not sure who they are worried about - the kids in the strollers or the other racers. While it is certainly easier to run a race without the stroller, sometimes the hassle of finding a sitter makes it look highly desirable.

If it softens the blow at all, though it was fun to run with the stroller in relatively LONG and SMALL races with the stroller, I also brought my stroller for a Race for the Cure 5K and it was a disaster! Shorter races with big fields - and the MCM 10K definitely falls in this category - never spread out enough so that you can comfortably run with the stroller anyway. Either you have to hang out in the back of the pack or CONSTANTLY call out "Passing on your left" and maneuver past other runners. It was not fun.

I got a little jealous when I read about the man who ran some awesome time with his jogging stroller in a marathon because,
1. He practiced with his stroller like two times before the race and I have to push this stroller nearly every time I jog.
2. He probably got special permission to run with the stroller in the race because of the good publicity, but whenever I've asked race organizers, I just get, "No."
3. If I hadn't had a baby every two and a half years, I'd be pretty darn fast too!

Good luck finding a sitter!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thoughts at 40 weeks 6 days (a.k.a. Why I'm Carbo-Loading)

My due date has come and gone by a week.

I can't help feeling like I've signed up for an Ironman competition without knowing when it will be...I could be mid-meal or in the grocery store or watching Jon Stewart and the Race Director will suddenly shout "And GO!!!" and I'll have to roll into a 3, (or 5, or 8, or 10, or 15, or 40?) hour event. I'll have to find my team, grab my gear (probably in the middle of the night) and start this race without mile markers or warming up; without proper foresight to be well-rested or even fed. (Not to mention my photos will totally look like I'm an amateur competing on the Kona Course.) The anticipation is killing me!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thoughts at 39 Weeks and 6 Days Pregnant

These last 9 months or so have developed a new pattern in our household: I'm usually awoken in the morning by my 4 1/2 year old climbing into bed with me at 7:15, when he rearranges my pillows and blankets so he can lay down and pretend to sleep for 10 minutes; then he gets really close to my face and whispers "I'm ready for my breakfast now."

He's a natural snooze button: the initial wake up, then 10 minutes until his announcement, then he gets up to get his bowl and fill it with cereal giving me about 10 more minutes before I waddle over to pour the milk.

The other morning, I woke up long before anyone else and enjoyed the stillness and solitude of dawn, like I used to on my early morning runs...only minus the run. My boy kept up his ritual, but whispering to his dad instead when he realized I was missing. Soon enough, he stumbled upon me in the living room, saying sweetly "When I saw you weren't in bed, I thought you were out running."

It was such a lovely reminder that my old routine wouldn't be traumatic to reinstate once the baby is born. I'll adapt to our changing family yet be able to keep the frame of who I am. And it gave me hope that, no, the strains of pregnancy aren't forever - I will become strong and invigorated soon enough. And my family will help me.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Go Daddy!

Passing other runners out pushing jogging strollers is pretty rare around here. Certainly there are more on popular paths than in the woods behind my house where I usually run, but nevertheless, I've recently observed something I found surprising. There are a lot of dads out there pushing strollers!

Now that we are out every* Saturday morning doing the training-for-a-fall-marathon thing, I've noticed that very nearly every jogging stroller we see is pushed by a man! Sometimes Mom is running alongside too, but not always. I feel that I've short-changed all the dads out there pushing along, but I wonder if the stroller manufacturers have too.

My husband and I have had the good fortune to run together more often recently and again the question arises of who should push the stroller? We are both about the same speed so the solution is not obvious. We are both a little competitive, but it is no longer just about "being the man" or that sort of thing. I think that we both really appreciate the benefits that can come from pushing all that extra weight around. Once you've already resigned yourself to a run of some distance, you might as well get the most out of it, right? You wouldn't want to carry all that extra weight on your person because of the possible damage to your joints, but pushing your little kiddies up those big hills can really pay off!

The beauty of a double stroller is that it is SO wide that on the really big hills, we can both fit behind the handlebar to push together.

But I wonder
1. Who pushes the stroller in your house?
2. If or when Dad pushes, is the stroller built to accommodate the typically larger frame of men?

I feel like the handlebar on many brands would be uncomfortably low and that the wheel base is perhaps too far back (relative to the handlebar) such that a runner with really long legs might accidentally kick the rear axle with long strides. Are those problems for anyone out there? Should we march on the stroller companies to fix this?

*Except, of course, the Sat. after I had surgery to remove my appendix. I'm always making excuses...