Best Race Ever! (10k in Lisbon, Portugal)

Olá Readers! Boas festas!

I am blogging to you as I come down off my runner’s high, having just run the El Corte Inglés São Silvestre de Lisboa. I really don’t know where to start – this was a 10k race with over 10,000 runners through the center of Lisbon, which is all decked out for the holidays. It was one of the best run races ever – well organized, amazing swag, high-quality race shirt, chillaxed people, fantastic route, real bottles of water at the water stations, fancy finisher medals and even pretty printable certificates of your results! And, all for the amazing price of 10/12 euros (for comparison, US races of this caliber run 45$+). (It was also the easiest international race I’ve run – no EKG and health certificates like Italy, no local sponsor and finger prints like Japan – true stories). It was soooooo much fun, I wish I could truly share the experience…but these photos from my Luddite 89$ phone (and one from the official website) will have to suffice – we start with me after packet pickup the day before, continue on to the race start and past some of the sights – and end with the yummiest post-race meal ever!

Portugal is super cool by the way, so stay tuned!

New York City Half Marathon

Ciao Readers!

I am already in Lucca Italy, so slower strolling on my mind and agenda, but I couldn’t let the NYC half marathon come and go without a post!  Honestly, I’ve been waiting for 2 reasons – 1) the internet here in my apartment in Lucca is down for the second day in a row (add in gross sheets and ARG!) and 2) I was still holding out hope that the “nice” runners I met in the subway were actually going to email photos from the run as promised (I really regret not running with a phone/camera, that’s what I get for joining the 21st century so late).  But alas, we will do the best we can with what we have….

The day before the run (actually for 3 days before the run), there was a big expo/packet pick-up, where you got to get your number, shirt, spend money on more shirts, and find your name on the wall of runners (and panic wondering if your plane would get in on time in the snow so you didn’t miss the window to get your number):

The run started off in Central Park (where a nice woman took a picture AND emailed it to me):

We started in waves (different start times, as you can’t have 20K people all start at once!) and then in corrals – amazingly enough while I was in the last wave, I was NOT in the last corral (i.e. I was not the slowest runner there – actually came in 400-something in my 600-something person age group).  From this point words do not do it justice, so I will search the Internet for photos that do – picture a completely snow-covered Central Park bathed in bright sunlight – and then picture 20,000 people running through it, at one point doubling back and passing each other – the energy was palpable (I tried to psychologically harness it to help my momentum)…

photos from the interwebs (not convinced the first one is this year):

After we made our way up and back through Central Park (about 6.5 miles) we got to run straight down through Times Square (7th Ave.) – for some reason that was even a bigger rush (or maybe just one I could appreciate more because the VERY hilly part of the run was over).  Alas, more bad planning – while I knew Steve was waiting on the sidelines along Times Square to wave, we managed to miss each other in the giant crowds and 10+ blocks (again, Hope, carry a phone).  So, while I am not in this (that I know of – you can play find Waldo), Steve took this:

After the rush of Times Square, all that was left was another 5 miles down Manhattan in the 34-degree weather to the final rush of crossing the finish line!  I have to say, I look pretty good after 13.1 miles (and less freezing than those around me):

Honestly, it was the MOST amazing race I have run, so I will have to revamp my “top 4 runs of all time.”  Though, if I can get a little philosophical on you for a minute…..  For the first 6 miles I had a lot on my mind, so I knew I wasn’t fully appreciating what I was experiencing – I would tell myself to be Buddhist and in the moment and then I finally started to pay attention and take beautiful photos in my mind’s eye (yes, I know, real ones would have been good) – which just gets me thinking about how fast life passes (waxing poetic after turning 50 I suppose).  And, speaking of turning 50 – I trained for this race like I haven’t trained in a long time – I felt GREAT – I fathomed myself running at record speeds (for me) and didn’t even start to get tired ’till mile 12 (usually hits between mile 8 and 11) – so I was really surprised that I was at least 5 minutes shy of my “PR” (personal record – something many runners strive for).  I can’t help but wonder – was it all those darn hills (6 miles of them) or are there no PR’s left to get after 50……..?

 

Newyorktoitaly

Ciao Readers!

It’s been awhile!  So, the title of this post is a play on the title of my blog, and a preview of some hopefully exciting blogs to come.  I am off to New York next week to run the NYC half marathon (check out the very cool course – map below).  As you all may remember from my other posts about running, I am no world-class athlete, so I got into this race the old-fashioned way – by getting my name drawn in a lottery.  It was very exciting to get the email this past December telling me I had made it in.

Now, I have to tell you I was worried about going, as I (had) an upcoming jury trial in April.  I thought I was cutting it close, but would make sure I was well-prepared in advance.  Then what do you know – the trial just got reset for June.  While that was rather disappointing, suddenly I had a big swath of open time….and lots of miles saved up…..and the ongoing dream of going back to Italy (to language school in Lucca to be precise)….  It seems as though the universe wanted me to go…..so after NYC I am off to try and remember how to speak Italian (and I am certain, take a cooking class or two).  Stay tuned!

Born to Run!

Ciao Readers!

So, today we’re going for a run.  Now that we’ve decided to go HOME (yes, I said it), it’s hard to keep a Buddhist mind on the present and not start thinking about the future – the people I’ll see, the food I’ll eat, what it will take to get a law office up and running….  But, one thing that does keep me in the here and now is running!

Running, especially running in races, was/will be a huge part of my existence.  Do you have something like that?  Maybe art or music or a hobby – something that you’d be adrift at sea without?  Well, that’s running to me.  If you would have told me that 20 years ago I would have laughed in your face (seriously).  So, for those of you who haven’t already heard the tale, let’s go back a  bit…

I am not naturally athletic.  That’s an understatement.  I was so not-athletic that in gym class in jr. high I would be the one left on the track, trying unsuccessfully to finish my laps when everyone was already in the locker room – usually resulting in being late to my next class and getting detention.  Up until age 31 I had never run a mile in my entire life.  Then came law school and the accompanying stress (law school stressful – who would have thunk?).  The lawyer I was extern-ing for was an avid runner and suggested I give it a try (lawyers are over-achievers; I know several that do ultra marathons [50/100 miles]).  Ha! (that’s what I said) – but then I thought “might as well….”…and the rest is history.  Well, a long, drawn out history.  I bought a book about how to run and followed its advice – starting with running as long as I could (about 30 seconds), then walking, and so on.  After many months I completed my first mile ever – if you would have seen me and my excitement you would have thought I just won the Boston Marathon!  I was shocked, but I loved it – it felt great, gave me time to clear my head every morning, and opened up an entire part of me that I didn’t know existed.  By my last year in law school I ran my first 5k, and then at age 40 I ran my first 1/2 marathon (with dozens of 5k’s, 10k’s and sprint triathlons in-between).  When I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon it was the most amazing feeling.  I kept thinking that I would have bet a million dollars that was something I would never do in my life had someone bet my younger self….my first half marathon

(me at the finish line)

As you may recall, my attempts to participate in organized runs here have been less than fruitful.  Couple that with my recent broken toe, and running has fallen to the wayside for several months.  Until recently.  My toe can now take some light jogging, and with the knowledge that we’ll be back in time I’ve already signed up for the Duke City Half Marathon in October (and have a 10k in September).  Something about having an organized run – complete with a goal, an energetic crowd and a cool t-shirt (my Pop’s entire wardrobe is practically made up of my running shirts) makes a world of difference – I just can’t seem to get the same feeling from running on my own with no specific goal in sight.  Now that I’ve signed up for a couple, I have something to work on here in the here and now – getting back to being able to run the distance in time!

I have participated in so many runs I’ve lost count – everything from a 5k on the Vegas Strip with my sis-in-law in the rain on my 38th birthday to down a mountain in Colorado and around a lake at the foot of Mt. Fuji in Japan.   Here are my top 4:

Run for the Zoo – I wrote about this run in a previous post, so won’t repeat myself.  It was the first organized run I ever did and remains my favorite as the energy, t-shirts, organization and camaraderie are as good as it gets.

run for the zoo 2012

Saiko – A 10k around lake Saiko which is at the base of mount Fuji.  I ran this in 2008 with an international running group – folks from all over including the U.S., Japan and Argentina.  (We ran around the lake I’m standing in front of.)  Most amazing scenery for a run yet! (Can you pick me out of the crowd, Waldo style?)

saiko race3snyhope mt fuji sny

Slacker Half Marathon – I learned about this run from someone at a race in Albuquerque.  She was wearing the “slacker” t-shirt from the race and it piqued my curiosity (and desire to own a similar shirt); I signed up for the race and we, along with my parents, went to Georgetown, Colorado the following June where the race is held.  It’s called the “slacker” because you run down a mountain – from the top of the Loveland ski slope at 12,000 ft. into the town at about 8,000 ft. (it’s not as easy as the name implies!). (That’s me about to cross the finish line, turquoise shirt – I never said I was fast!)

slacker half   before...

The Lobster 10k – this run is part of the festivities that go with Rockland Maine’s Lobster Festival held the beginning of August every year.  It was a great run, partly because you got to dress like a lobster (okay, I didn’t realize I had accidentally bought a crab, not a lobster hat), but also because you can pig out on 3/$25 lobsters when you’re done!!!yum! (My Pop’s doing just that….)

Organized runs, here I come!!!

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