Saturday, September 06, 2014

August 2014

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I want to thank everyone for the comments in my last post. Except the anonymous coward who wrote "Good" (what the hell is wrong with people??) Anyway, thank you all. I got a lot of email on Facebook too - none of which I responded to - but I appreciate your replies.

But I felt the need to let you all know that I'm ok. I really am. I still haven't found a new WW meeting but I've been marathon training and August turned out to be my highest mileage month of running EVER! I ran (are you ready for this??) 112 miles. Yes, one hundred and twelve! I've never crossed the 100 mile mark in a month. My previous highest mileage month was last August and it was 87 miles. I can't even wrap my head around that number: 112. Wow!

Of course I never take off from biking, either. That's a part of my life and can't imagine it not being a big part of my life. I love my bikes. August also included birthday week, which was filled with lots of fun and adventures.

I just wanted to write this short post so that you weren't all worried about me. I'm in a decent place. I feel better than I did when I wrote that last post but to be honest, I felt so terrible last winter I couldn't have written anything. It would have been far too dark and depressing. Which is why I hid from everyone.

Anyway, I'm here. I'm ok. And I'm still not planning to regularly update this or my other blogs. You can always send me a friend request on Facebook (where I post way too much) but send me a note so I know how you know me. I currently have nearly 400 friend requests. I will not accept anyone I don't know in real life without a note. This is my personal page so I like to have some idea who you are. Thanks :)

You can also follow me on Instagram or just keep track of all my photos on Flickr.

Thanks again for all your support and concern and I hope everyone is having a great summer!


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Tomorrow is the last bike tour of the year for me, The NYC Century, and I'm raising money for #VisionZero. If you can donate to this important cause (safe streets for all!), please check out my donation page. Thanks :)

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(that picture was taken last Sunday, 08/31 at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I swore I'd never go to that event and what a shitshow it was! I only went because I wanted a sandwich from Chickpea & Olive. I thought it wouldn't be crowded since it was Labor Day weekend. Boy way I wrong! I hate events like that. Anyway, I couldn't help but get that photo with their vintage napkin dispenser)

Sunday, August 03, 2014

What's been in my head lately

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Obviously it's been very long since I've posted...

I get asked fairly often why I stopped blogging/will I blog again - especially now that it's marathon training season. The short but vague answer is I stopped for a few reasons, which I don't want to get into. And I honestly don't know if I have it in me to post with any regularity again. That was such a different time in my life and sometimes I wonder how I did it. I do appreciate hearing that you miss me or miss my writing, so thank you, but I just don't know. Things changed. I changed. I've been through a lot since then. I just don't know...

That being said, I have been kicking around some thoughts in my head lately that I feel the need to write/talk about, so here goes:

I don't know what it's going to take for me to get myself back on track. I've been off so long now I barely remember how to do it. I don't know how I ever did it. I tried a few times with new meetings but for 2 years now I haven't been able to find a meeting I like and commit to it. Therefore I haven't been going to meetings. Of course that means I'm not tracking. And that leads me back to a lot of terrible habits and things I'm not proud of. And it's been so long that it feels like I just can't even snap out of it at this point.

I've been trapped in a circle of thoughts that goes kind of like this: I hate where I am and I hate how I feel and I hate how I look. But then I remind myself that when I lost all my weight, and was at my smallest ever and felt amazing - I sometimes missed being 'thicker'. I'd see women who were bigger than me, and looked great, and be jealous of them and I missed being bigger! It didn't make any sense to me! Here I was, having finally done what I thought was impossible - losing all my weight and feeling more amazing than I ever felt in my life, but part of me missed being bigger like them. This confused me at the time and I still don't understand it. But it made me realize the thoughts I've always had in my head about my self acceptance had less to do with actual weight/size since I was experiencing those same thoughts even at my smallest size. It's hard to explain - though I was glad to be at my smallest weight, and didn't want to go back to a higher weight, I wanted to be seen both ways - small and fit but also thick. It might not make much sense. It barely makes sense to me now and I've had 4 years to think about it.

I guess I got my wish? Since the marathon I've put on 20 pounds. Mostly because the winter was so terrible and I let all my old habits return. It was so bone chillingly cold (the coldest winter of my life), so dark, so dreary, so soul-sucking. I spent every night eating too much and sleeping. I was definitely in a minor depression. I saw very few people socially for months - I purposely avoided them. As a result, by the time spring rolled around I'm clocking in the scale in the 170s and I feel terrible! I HATE IT. I don't know what the hell I was thinking when I was smaller - and why I missed being bigger - because I'm here and I hate it so much. I remember this feeling and it sucks. I hate what I look like and I hate how it feels on me. I hate having to search for something to wear because nothing fits. And I hate how it affects my mood/attitude/personality. But here I am. And I know I did it to myself. And I know I'm the only one who can change it. Yet that's the problem - I don't change it. I still drink way too much beer and order dinner out at least 6 nights out of the week. If it wasn't for eating pretty healthy at work and keeping up with most of my activity, I'd probably be at least 200 pounds again.

Of course this means I also negatively obsess about all the parts of my body I've always hated and been self conscious of - especially (of course) my legs. My thighs especially. I'm so horrified by the sight of them. Nothing fits me. Walking is a chore. Running isn't easy either. I carry so much weight in my inner thighs and am reminded of it every second of the day with every step I take, every time I look down at myself on my bike or on my chair at work. I see them. And they're huge. And I hate them.

I try to force myself into a better space mentally by reminding myself how lucky I am that I have 2 legs and that they actually work. These legs have carried me everywhere for nearly 43 years. They've given me the ability to bike over 15,000 miles (? maybe more) so far and they can walk and they can run! They don't run fast but they were able to get across 26.2 miles of roads so that I could cross the NYC Marathon finish line (a memory I will treasure forever!) So I try to never take that for granted - the fact that I have working legs. But I know they can be better - stronger and leaner - because they once were. If only for a brief time.

Side note - On May 29th I was having a beer with a very dear friend. We were both complaining that our weight that had crept up over this winter, and both trying to make the other feel better about it. Three days later he was in a horrific collision while on his bike. He was in a coma for a while. He had brain surgery. It's been more than 2 months now. He's still in the hospital. He's out of the coma but hasn't spoken yet. I visit him every week and think about him every day. I've made it part of my marathon training to run to the hospital to visit him. I want nothing more than for him to make a full recovery and get out of there, but it will take time. The thing is, he's lost weight since he's been in there. Probably the same winter weight he had been complaining to me about. But I am certain that if he had the choice he'd keep the extra weight in a body that can move around vs being an "ideal" weight in a body that can't do what it used to do. Every time I run I think of him. I tell myself I'm running for him because he can't right now. And despite my unhappiness with the size of my legs or what they look like, I'm so so so thankful that I can use them. I try to never take that for granted because I know nothing is guaranteed and it can be taken from me at any minute, especially considering how callously cyclists are treated by some drivers in NYC. They'll endanger your life just so they can get to a red light 3 seconds faster. It's revolting. Anyway… please keep my friend in your thoughts. He has a huge support system of people pulling for him, but the more positive vibes, the better. 

It's been a long time since I felt good about myself. And when I get compliments from people regarding how I look or if they tell me I'm an "inspiration", it's hard to accept those compliments. I feel worse than I've felt in years and I'm not sure why anyone is inspired by me when I feel like such a failure. And to be clear - I do not define myself as a failure because I gained weight. I define myself as a failure because at this time I feel like I've given up - I know what the problem is but I'm not doing anything to fix it.

But I'm so tired of living like this. Of feeling like this. I'm so tired of being a slave to food. I'm so tired of thinking about food. Obsessing about food. Eating food. I'm just so tired of it. But I don't know how to turn it around.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Gluten Free, Day 1

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In case you missed it, I mentioned that I wanted to go Gluten-Free for 30 days, just to see what it was like. I have not been diagnosed with any gluten intolerance and as far as I know I have no sensitivity to it. But I've heard how much better friends of mine feel after being gluten free (specifically Amanda). So much so, that I figured there is no harm in trying it myself.

Since I have no symptoms now, I don't really expect to notice a difference. But if I'm wrong, and at the end of my experiment, if I saw improvements to say my breathing, running, or had less severe daily allergies  - basically anything that would dramatically impact my life - I would consider removing gluten from my diet. Or at least remove most of it, and reintroduce a handful of things to see how it impacts me.

Today was Day 1 and below is what I ate (followed by the PointsPlus values). I admit, I had to google "Is ____ gluten free" many times today, but I'm pretty sure I made it through the day without any gluten. However, if I made any obvious mistakes or you have advice, leave it in the comments.

Breakfast:
  • Coffee with Almond Milk - 1
  • Steel Cut Oats - 4
Morning snack:
  • Vanilla Coconut Yogurt - 1
  • Blackberries - 0
Lunch:
  • Super Salad! - Kale, Tempeh, Chickpeas, Pomegranate Seeds, Scallions, Chia Seeds, Tomato, Raw Dressing from Sun in Bloom (I checked the few ingredients and am pretty sure they are all GF) - 7  (*I forgot the avocado!)
Afternoon Snack:
  • Pistachios - 3
  • Banana - 0
Dinner:
  • Coconut Oil, Broccoli, Peas, Onions, Bell Pepper, String Beans, Asparagus Spears, Tofu Shirataki, Lukas Veggie Burger, Purple Cabbage, Cilantro, GF Hoisin Sauce, Sriracha - 7





That all adds up to 23, which means I have 3 PointsPlus to go spend - I think I'll go heat up a piece of GF bread and throw on some PB2. Yummmmmmm!



I'm not sure how often I'll blog about my experiment over the 30 days but I will definitely blog after the 30 days to let you know how it went.

Before you mention it in the comments, yes, I know beer has gluten. This obviously means I'm going 30 days without my precious elixir. Yes I'll miss beer, but I bought some GF beer in case I really have a hankering for something beer-like. I'll also miss seitan & vegan sausages, but I'm sure I'll survive without my fake meats for a little while :)



Finally I have to wish you all a Happy New Year! And if you're in the path of the storm, be careful out there tonight and tomorrow. Sarge is keeping an eye on things for me -


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Winter Wonderland with William & Giveaway: CitiBike Day Pass!

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Well, today is New Year's Eve and I hope you all have something planned to ring in the new year, however makes you happiest. I'll be going to a party and have nothing to wear

Despite living in NYC, I have no desire to ever be in Times Square at midnight when the ball drops. However, I was there yesterday with my good pal William (aka Sour Balls) and we did something very fun…

I read in Gothamist that there would be 6 stationary CitiBikes set up in Times Square to generate power for the New Year's Eve ball! Since I had plans to spend the day with William in midtown anyway, this was added to our to-do list. In case you are wondering, the to-do list included:

  • Grand Central Terminal
  • FAO Schwarz
  • Bergdorf Goodman windows on Fifth Ave
  • Gingerbread houses at the Parker Meridian
  • Rockefeller Center & Christmas decorations on 6th Ave
  • Rockefeller Tree/Ice Skating Rink
  • Le Pain Quotidien for lunch
  • Times Square
  • Bryant Park

Back to the point of my story… I dragged William through a frighteningly congested Times Square to get to the CitiBike station set up on 42nd St and 7th Ave -



We waited in line just a few short minutes and then we were allowed to ride bikes for 3 minutes! I was so excited - SO EXCITED! I haven't been on a bike much in the last 2 months since it's been so cold out and am just always happiest when I'm pedaling - even a stationary bike.

When it was our turn, I threw off my coat (even though it was freezing outside) because I didn't want it in the photos.

I was already pedaling away yelling to William "Get on your bike!"



Happy happy girl!



I was pedaling really hard and fast because I wanted to generate as much power as possible in the short time I was there -



William got off his bike after about a minute, but I stayed on the full 3 minutes.



And the woman manning the bikes was good enough to snap a few shots of me so I could upload one to Instagram. The most exciting part of that IG post was that whoever manages the @citibike account commented on it!



I love knowing that we did a teeny tiny part in powering that ball that will be seen by over a billion people world wide tonight! How cool!

Thanks and I <3 citibike="" p="" you="">
After riding, they were giving away free hot chocolate which I insisted William get (hot chocolate was also on my list of things to do). Here's a photo of William with his hot chocolate at Bryant Park (which is where we went after Times Square)-



So it was a great, holiday and fun filled day with one of my favorite people in the whole world!

Now for the Giveaway -

For all the people that helped power the ball with the help of CitiBikes yesterday, we were given a free day pass to rent a CitiBike! Of course I'm a founding member, so I have no need for this pass and would like to give it away to a lucky reader. If you'd like to win this day pass and try out New York City's bikeshare program, please leave a comment below to be entered. I'll close the comment section on January 13th at 9pm and pick a winner that weekend using a random number generator.



Things to keep in mind -

  • The pass is good until July 1, 2014, so you can pick any day between now and then to use it. This means you can wait until the nicer weather is upon us.
  • Obviously you should live in NYC (bikes are available in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn) or be visiting by July 1st.
  • You should also be comfortable with the idea of riding a bike in New York City streets (If you don't regularly ride in car traffic, this may not be the best way to start!)
  • The overtime fees apply - that means you can only keep a bike out for 30 minutes at a time. Any time over 30 minutes will initiate the overtime charges. But you are allowed to dock a bike and immediately take out another one. This pass is good for unlimited 30-minute rides for a full 24 hours from the time the card is activated.

If you have any other questions, check out their site or let me know. Otherwise leave a comment below for a chance to win.

Happy cycling and happy new year!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Last Week's Accomplishments and the Upcoming Week

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It's been eons since I've written one of these!

Wednesday November 13 - Tuesday November 19

    Accomplishments & Great Moments:

    • Tracking - I tracked all week! A full 7 days! I can't even remember the last time I did that. In the course of my first week on plan, I went to dinner with my Dad, hit the Vegan Shop-Up at the Pine Box (my favorite Saturday afternoon every month!), had drinks with friends, went to the bar for beer & pizza and had Chipotle for dinner one night. And I still survived! I tracked everything and didn't go over! I'm super proud. Here's a snapshot of the Points+ values I earned & used for the week -


    • Another exciting thing was join a new gym. I had quit the YMCA earlier this year since I rarely ever went but I miss classes like yoga, pilates & weights. I didn't want to rejoin the Y so I joined Chalk Gym in Williamsburg. It's a beautiful gym, fairly new, and although it's not as close as the Y, it's a short 15 minute walk or 5 minute bike ride. The other advantage is they have classes at convenient times. I knew I'd have to go to at least 6 classes a month to justify the $85 fee, and I can easily do that.
    • Since joining Chalk, I did a Pilates class. I can't even believe how much I missed Pilates! The great part about the class I took was that it incorporated a lot of stretching, including with a foam roller, and that's what I desperately need because I just don't stretch or do enough foam rolling on my own.
    • I also took another class called clASS and as you can imagine, it was geared toward the lower body. We did lunges and squats pretty much non-stop for a half an hour. I rarely ever break a sweat in spin or even running, but in this class, I was drenched in 5 minutes. This was another thing I missed, this kind of class, and it was great! I was sore for a day and a half.
    • As a post-marathon treat, I got my first ever massage! I went to a beautiful space called Body Mechanics, just steps from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. It's run by a woman named Beret Kirkeby, a massage therapist who is also a runner. In her practice, she works with a lot of runners and athletes, in addition to providing massage for mothers and really anyone seeking relaxation. She first spent time making me feel at ease - getting to know me, my history and making sure I was comfortable with the process before she began. The massage itself was on a heated table - which was awesome. It took me a little while to relax but once I did, the massage itself was great! I had a few expected tight spots (quads, hamstrings, glutes) but there were some areas in my back that I didn't even realize were tight until she got to them. When the massage was over, she even showed me how to put KT tape on my quads - which I'm going to try before I run my next half marathon, since my quads always get sore between miles 11 and 16 (it's what fatigued first during the marathon at Mile 11). I left there feeling like I was floating. It was a great first massage experience. Thank you, Beret!
    • On Saturday I went to Central Park to run one 4-mile loop with Melanie. She was running NINE 4-mile loops, doing her first Ultra Marathon! It was a 60K, which translates to 37.2 miles. Crazy, right?! By the time I got there, she was on her 7th loop. It was my first run since the marathon. I could *barely keep up with her*! Her slow pace is my fast pace and I think she was supporting me more than I was supporting her. It was fun to be there with her and share that special day. Congrats on your first ultra, Melanie!
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    • Here's a snapshot from my activity spreadsheet -



    What I'm Working On and Upcoming Events:

    • I'm hitting a different Weight Watchers meeting tomorrow night where I will see some old friends. I likely can't keep it as my regular meeting, but it will be nice to make a guest appearance.
    • I'm going to do a gluten free month as an experiment. I'm thinking of January. That will give me enough time to figure out the little adjustments I need to make and things I need to avoid (believe me, I know this includes beer!!!!) I don't expect to be gluten free forever, I just want to do a one-month challenge to see how different I feel.
    • I'm running my first ever Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving. It's in Prospect Park on Thanksgiving morning and yes, there's a medal :)

    As for what it's been like since recommitting, I already feel so much better just being on track for 1 week - mentally, physically and emotionally! The first 2 days were a little rough hunger-level wise, but I know they would be. They always are. I knew it was temporary while my body adjusted to taking in the right amount of food (as opposed to how much extra I had been eating). It's been 8 days now and I've adjusted a lot already. The hunger is minimal and far more manageable. I'm also not as tired as early at night, which is a nice bonus.

    Tracking is the key to my success, I always knew that. So I will make sure to track again every day this week and just get back into making healthy choices and returning to all my other healthy routines. It actually feels great to be back to doing those things, I missed how great it feels. Of course I want to keep this good momentum going so I will just keep working on it one day, one meal and one decision at a time. :)



    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    The Marathon Diaries, Part 41: The NYC Marathon 2013, random

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    I realized after re-reading my last marathon post that there were a few things I forgot to mention, so here are a bunch of random tidbits I should have included in the 3 part recap or the "After the Marathon" post-

    Stretching
    It should come as little or no surprise for you to hear that I barely stretched. I stretched about 2 minutes before the marathon and not at all after. Obviously this is not ideal and could be why I got sore so early on and it took me forever to recover.

    Podiatrist
    Five days after the marathon I had an appointment with my podiatrist, since my feet always hurt and my stupid pinky toes were still hurting. He basically said (and I quote) that I "traumatized" my pinky toes. He had to (this is gross) shave down the skin that became hardened ridges under my pinky toes, where they curl under my 4th toe (since there is no room for them). He also popped blood blisters I've had for months that were so bad I just thought they were black and blues. And he told me that my shoes aren't wide enough in the toe bed, I have to get wider shoes and/or have these stretched out. I haven't done any of that yet. He also prescribed epsom salt baths (I've done it once) and said I have slight athlete's foot and gave me a prescription for that (which I haven't picked up). And he showed me how to use bandaids and tape to tape my pinky toes so they are forced to sit straight (and not curl under) but I tried yesterday and already forgot. Basically I'm a terrible patient with traumatized pinky toes.

    Place
    Tuesday, 2 days after the marathon, when I finally was walking around again, I went to a store in my neighborhood. The cashier saw my medal and asked me what "place" I came in. I laughed so hard I might have snorted. I said "I don't know, but I'm sure it was close to last!" That question made me curious, so when I came home I looked up my stats… Out of the 50,304 finishers, I came in 49,014th place! So I wasn't that far off with my estimate!


    Tylenol
    Remember in Part 2 of the Recap, I mentioned that around mile 18-19, I took 2 tylenol? And the woman said I'd feel much better in about 20 minutes? Well she lied. That tylenol didn't do a damn thing for me!

    Pam Anderson
    I can't believe I forgot to mention Pam! One of my marathon goals was to beat Pam Anderson. And with my 5 hour 30 minute goal time I should have. But of course my body wasn't in any mood to run on marathon Sunday, and I did much more walking than expected, so my actual time was 6 hours and 34 minutes. It turns out Pam beat me - at 5 hours and 42 minutes. Congrats Pam! (I love this photo of her after the marathon)





















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    Recovery Run
    I'm not joking when I tell you I could barely move on Monday, the day after the marathon. I could barely walk across my apartment to get from my computer to the bathroom. And once there, it took all my upper body strength to lower me into a seated position and then back up again. I was truly a mess. So what does my crazy runner friend Mary Harvey tell me I should do to recover? You guessed it - go out for a run! (I told you she was crazy) I didn't know how to explain to her Um, Mary? I CANNOT EVEN MOVE - I CAN BARELY WALK! There was no way on earth I could even get INTO my running clothes, let alone run. If I could explain it another way: If you have any idea how awful I felt after mile 20, when I was walking and unable to run during the marathon itself - I actually felt WORSE on Monday than I did at that moment. If I couldn't run then, I certainly couldn't run now! lol crazy runners...

    Finisher Photos
    I finally got to see the photos they took of me at the end of the marathon. These were the two moments I was waiting to see and of course will buy:


    seconds before crossing!


    after getting my medal from Amy and heat sheet. Still freezing and in pain but so happy!

    Stats
    I love numbers! First, here is my data from Runtastic -



    Look how many cheers I got! 372! Thanks you guys!

    Here is my data from the Weight Watchers Active Link:

    92 activity points! Bring on the beer & fries!


    And here's my heart rate monitor totals:

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    Videos
    I also shot a few videos during the marathon! These are all in Brooklyn -

    On 4th Ave in Brooklyn, a band playing the Beastie Boys!




    On 4th Ave in Brooklyn, coming up a band playing Rockaway Beach!







    Here's one in Greenpoint



    Next Year
    Prior to actually running the marathon, and especially as I was training, I thought this would be a one time deal - that I'd just run it this year and that would be it. But now that I've run it, I can't imagine Marathon Sunday coming and NOT running it. As much as I love to watch it as a spectator, I think it would make me so sad to watch but not be running it. Even before I was sure if I'd want to do it next year, I had already qualified for 2014 by running the NYRR 9+1 program. So I'm already in. And for next year, my goal will be to train better - to figure out what I can do differently so I have more energy and not get sore so early. I have a whole year to get in better shape and better prepared and this time I will know what to expect. It may not be as special as my first but it will certainly still be awesome!


    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Recommitting

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    I mentioned in one of my marathon diaries posts that I had put together a list of things I wanted to do after the marathon - things I neglected for a while that would fill my time while also preventing me from tailspinning into depression over the lack of sunlight, lack of biking weather and the post-marathon blues.

    The most important thing to do on that list was to recommit to Weight Watchers.

    It's no secret I haven't been at my goal weight since early 2011 - and that's because I haven't tracked (at all), haven't been to meetings and haven't made all of my healthy lifestyle changes a priority for a long time. Fortunately, I remained physically active, but my food choices and behaviors have been far from ideal. I've been aware of everything I was doing but I did it anyway.

    When my meeting on Park Ave closed about 2 years ago (the one where I reached goal), I never found a new meeting that I stuck with. I tried a few but none were the right fit for me. I always said - because I know - that if I don't go to meetings, I don't stick with the program and am prone to gaining weight. Of course in theory I shouldn't 'need' the meetings. I "know" the program. I know what to do. But if I don't go to meetings, I just don't do it. I need that weekly meeting to hold me accountable and to refocus myself. I like the support aspect even though I don't talk much. I like to listen. I always get ideas from the leader or members, or hear something that helps or inspires me. When I don't go to meetings, many of my old unhealthy behaviors resurface, and I let them.

    I know this pattern about me and I also know I do not want to ever go back to anywhere near my heaviest weight (or higher!). I know I don't want to undo all the physical, mental & emotional progress I've made over the years. And I don't want poor eating to affect my health.

    I've known for a long time that I needed to get back on track. And last night I went to my first meeting since April.

    As I was waiting to check in, I thought about how being in this particular meeting for the first time felt so different than other first times I've been to a Weight Watchers meeting. It didn't feel like I was rejoining and starting from scratch because I hadn't let myself gain back most or all of the weight as I did all the other times. It just felt like I was recommitting, which I was.

    That made me think back to the very first time I joined Weight Watchers ever - in January 1989, on a Friday night, at the center in Cross County Mall in Yonkers (also now closed). My leader was Terri, a blonde woman. I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. I hadn't weighed myself in years and told the woman weighing me that I was "around 160". It was one of those old doctor scales with the sliding weight. I remember she kept sliding and sliding and sliding that thing until it reached 185 - a full 25 pounds more than I had convinced myself I weighed. I remember being shocked and disappointed that I weighed that much. I hadn't weighed that much since I was 13 years old (I was 180) and in 1985, I had managed to get down to 150 on my own (just by cutting out candy & soda, I was a vegetarian but didn't incorporate any sort of balance or healthy eating). Now it was 1989 and I was back at that weight.

    Since 1989, I had been on and off program, rejoining probably 12 - 15 times.  At my lowest I was 140 in 1992 and at my heaviest I was 208 in 2004. And in the years between 1989 and 2005, I was up and down in that 68 pound range repeatedly.

    In all those times at Weight Watchers, I never reached goal because I never really changed my thoughts or my behaviors. I just cut back on calories. I didn't change how I ate (I continued eating a lot of candy, garbage, processed foods - living on mostly empty calories). I didn't think differently. I didn't act differently. And one other thing was consistent: In all of those years on and off program - from 1989 to 2005 - I never once worked out. Not even one time. Not one minute. I absolutely totally stubbornly refused to even consider the dreaded E word. (Exercise)

    Then in September of 2006, just 10 months after moving to Brooklyn, I found myself at 35 years old and 200 pounds again. Again!! I vowed it would never happen again! So I joined my first NYC meeting. I was thankful to be attending a whole new meeting in a whole new city where I didn't know ANYONE (as opposed to joining and rejoining at that same Yonkers Center for 15 years).

    I remember walking into that church basement in Williamsburg so vividly - down to what I was wearing that night and the sweet older Italian lady who helped me find it (Josephine!). I remember weighing in at 196 that night (despite my own scale at home registering a 200 the day before). I remember feeling so tired of everything - tired of being so big, tired of being uncomfortable in my own body, tired that I was missing out on my life because of food. Of course that would be the first night of the time I truly changed my life - my behaviors, my thoughts, the food I ate and of course I began to exercise. That would be the beginning of the journey when I made it to goal for the first time in my life in July 2010.

    I thought about both of those last night - my 2 strongest 'joining Weight Watchers' memories. And I thought about how I don't ever want to feel like I did on either of those nights.

    I'm glad to say I didn't feel that way at the meeting last night. But also I know that if I waited any longer, I could have easily been back in that same situation where I was in 1989 or 2006. I don't ever want to get to that point again. I don't ever want to feel that way again. And fortunately I know I don't have to. I know it's all in my control and I'm finally ready to gain control again.

    I know there will be a short adjustment period while I get used to eating properly again. I have to relearn Points+ values and start cooking again. But I'm actually looking forward to it. I miss how good I felt when I was eating right and I remember how that feeling spilled over into everything else, making every aspect of life more pleasant and more manageable. I'm looking forward to that. I know it takes about a week of eating well and being on plan for me to feel completely different. It's one of those feelings that are difficult to describe, but when you feel it, you don't ever want to not feel that way. And I want to feel that way again. I'm ready to feel that way again. And I will feel that way again soon.


    Thursday, November 07, 2013

    The Marathon Diaries, Part 40: After the Finish Line

    Links to this post

    This post will recap from the moment after I got my medal until I went to sleep that night. But first I'm including a few photos from during the marathon that other people snapped of me. 

    As you all know, Amy was the first person I got to see after I crossed the finish line. I already posted the photos of us together but there is another one that I think is pretty great. A friend of hers snapped this one too. It's the moment she gave the medal to her friend Tuhina, and later, to me. (check out Amy's great recap of the NYC Marathon, written from the perspective of a medal giver, social media reporter *and* future runner of the 2014 NYC Marathon!)

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    @theawesomemom
    I'm so glad that moment was captured. I have a hard time looking at it without crying. It's really powerful to me and brings me right back to that place and time.

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    Then there's this photo, from just past Mile 12, which is great because not only can you see me running on Manhattan Ave (in my neighorhood of Greenpoint!) but in this photo of me,

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    photo by Matthew Schenning

    I was taking *this* photo of them -

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    haha! How funny is that? I love it!

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    Amanda also got a shot of me when I pulled over to greet her & Robbie (after I saw that amazing sign she made for me)

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    Ok now picking up where I left off in the final installment....

    Directly after getting my medal and heat sheet, and saying goodbye to Amy, I began my long walk out of the park. Out of nowhere I heard my name. It was Jessica, one of the volunteers with NYRR. She's not a runner, but her job revolves around assisting runners. If you've ever run in an NYRR event in Central Park that passes the 72nd St transverse on the West side (and I think all of them do), Jessica is always there - holding back the crowds of pedestrians from walking haphazardly into runners on the course. That intersection is rough, so this is no easy feat, I assure you! This is a photo of us in May -

    with Jessica, my favorite NYRR person
    me with Jessica from NYRR

    She's so good to me personally and also great at her job while also being kind, supportive and sweet. She even stayed at work 1/2 hour late for me one time over the summer because I was on my way to pick up my bib and my bike got a flat. Anyway, it was her that I bumped into moments after finishing. And I was so thrilled to tell her "Jessica, I did it!!!!" I know she was proud too. :)

    Then I had to find the exit out of the park. Keep in mind, I was absolutely freezing and had been for about 2 hours. I was also in a lot of pain. Walking wasn't even easy. I kept asking every 10 feet "Where are the ponchos?!" "Where is the exit?!" I never got a direct answer, I just had to keep walking. I called my Dad to tell him I finished and was on my way out of the park and should be there soon.

    Eventually we were allowed to exit the park at 77th St and Central Park West. But then we had to walk south to 72nd to get our ponchos (I had just walked north from 72nd inside the park. I was not amused) Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I saw the volunteers handing out the ponchos on 72nd St. I was so happy to get that fleece lined poncho, you have no idea.

    Then I crossed 72nd St, heading west, where I told my Dad to meet me. At the corner a cute man told me he liked my outfit, or my hair, and I thanked him. Then I looked at his face and said "I know you - why are you so familiar?" A friend with him said "That's Jackson from the Biggest Loser!" Oh my god, I loved watching him on BL! I was always a big fan of Jackson! Naturally I had to take a photo with him (after giving him an enormous hug)

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    with Jackson from the Biggest Loser

    He congratulated me and then I kept on walking west, anxious to get in my Dad's car because I was so cold and sore.

    Just a few steps later, who should I see? You guessed it - that team of 3 spectators that I had already seen 5 or 6 times along the course! They somehow spotted me (again, despite being hidden under my poncho!) and I'm pretty sure I hugged one of them. I thanked them and told them how they were truly one of the highlights of my day and it was so much fun to see them so many times. I couldn't believe I kept seeing them (in every borough except Staten Island!), or that their friend must have been running at the same pace as me (poor thing). It was such a nice way to end the night, being able to see them   and talk to them. (Even more amusing - one of them found my blog and left a comment on the first installment, I was glad they decided to google "bitch cakes" and find me!)

    I walked the long block to Columbus Ave and waited for that light to turn green. I knew I was less than a block away from my Dad at this point and so close to relief. I crossed the street, looked up and there he was on the corner! I'm not sure I've ever been more happy to see him in my life. I actually said "Oh thank god it's you!" and gave him a big hug. He had his arm around me as we walked down the street to his car. Getting into the car was no easy task either. I couldn't really bend my legs. I just sort of sat my ass on the seat with my legs out stretched straight in front of me, scooted myself in by backing up and slowly and eventually bringing my legs in with me. He laughed at me. I don't blame him.

    I was thankful to be in a car going home and not biking home. On the one hand biking would have been a great way to relieve the soreness in my legs but on the other hand I hate biking in the cold or the dark and it was both of those things. Not to mention my feet were killing me.

    As we drove home, my Dad asked me what it was like. I didn't even know where to begin. I was all over the place with my story. I remember telling about the woman in the wheelchair at Mile 24, the waste of time in the marathon village for that TV nonsense, Amanda's sign, how many people came out to cheer for me, William! (who my Dad is dying to meet), getting the medal from Amy at the finish line  I just rambled and rambled the whole ride home, telling him what I still tell people "It hasn't hit me yet. I can't believe it happened!"

    I made it home and when I walked into my hallway, my neighbors (the talented ones from Two Arms that cheered for me on Manhattan Ave) had left this on my door. How sweet is that?


    I came home to this beautiful sign on my door
    thanks Mike & Karen!

    I snapped a quick photo in my glamorous fleece lined poncho -

    I never thought I'd make it home!

    I peeled off my socks, afraid to see what my feet looked like since they hurt so much. My pinky toes were purple and the left one had a blood blister. Great.

    Then I got in a much needed hot shower. I showered but didn't touch my hair or make up, which I thought was funny because it actually looked ok. I had been up since 3am. It was now 7pm. I survived cold, wind, a little rain, crying, eating a bagel & banana and drinking a lot of fluids. Yet my make up was still pretty decent looking. I found this fact so amusing that I recorded this video -





    Then I headed to the bar, which was 3 *long* blocks away. I can't even tell you how slowly I was walking. I considered taking a cab. But I knew the walk would help, even though it was tough. Suddenly curbs were like walls though. And stairs?! Forget about it! I walked down my stoop stairs backwards, gripping the banister for dear life. But I made it there. I was at Bar Matchless!

    Amanda was already there with Robbie. She said "I have something for you!" and handed me this -

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    That, dear blog readers, is a "bouquet of asparagus". OMG I love her so much! She knew my very bad Sarge would likely destroy the flowers in no time and asparagus was something I could eat. What a great & hilarious idea, right? She also brought the signs that she made for me - the ones that were hanging on her fire escape a few hours earlier. I can't wait to hang them up!

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    Me & Panda! So happy!!!
    A handful of other friends came out to congratulate me too!

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    My friends Heidi (who was out cheering) & Izzi
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    Friends Elaine (who was also out cheering!) and Jeff
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    Friends Becky & Al

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    and of course friend Crazy Runner Mary Harvey & John - both of whom were in Long Island City cheering

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    Becky, Me & my medal

    aw Erich came out <3
    and Erich came out too
    It was wonderful to see my friends, answer their questions and just be able to talk about the marathon and everything I experienced and felt that day. But let's not forget, I was also here for the beer and fries :)


    it's been 6 weeks since I had fries!
    Brooklyner Weisse & fries!

    The funny thing is I'm usually not hungry after a long run. I could only eat half those fries! But I did enjoy 3 beers.

    And that was it for Sunday night. I slept much better than I expected. I usually have very fitful sleep after a long run but I think the fact that I walked so much actually helped in this case.

    Monday:

    I was basically completely useless. I never left my apartment or even got dressed for that matter. Walking from my bedroom to my bathroom often felt like an insurmountable task and actually getting into any sort of squat position to sit, or stand up from a seated position was basically the most challenging thing I've ever done in my life. My feet were also still pretty sore - though mostly just my left pinky toe. I had the day off work and was happy to not have to do anything.

    It took me about 4 hours to read all your comments just on Facebook. Four hours. I'm not kidding. I must have had over 1000 comments there alone. And when a friend of mine from Allure saw the video of me after the marathon, with my nearly perfect makeup, she asked me what products I use and wrote this piece about me.

    The rest of Monday was just spent uploading photos, catching up on social media and working on the first blog post.

    Oh yeah, and I popped that stupid blood blister.

    Tuesday:

    I showered, got dressed and ventured out of the house for the first time since Sunday night.

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    I'm sore but I'm wearing heels, damnit!

    I was still sore in my quads, still had trouble walking down the stairs but sitting/standing was slightly more manageable. My big plans that day were to retrieve my bike from Long Island City (she'd been there over 48 hours!), go to Road Runners to get my medal engraved and vote. Those don't seem like huge tasks, but considering the shape I was in, they were.

    I wore my medal on the bus/subway/walking around Manhattan and so many people congratulated me and asked about the marathon. Of course I wanted to talk about it so it was nice to be able to share my experience.

    I was so excited to get my medal engraved, especially because I thought I had missed my chance by not going on Monday. Thankfully they did it Tuesday also. As luck would have it, I bumped into and met Amy's friend Tuhina - the woman in the photo with me at the top of this post, also crying while she gets her medal from Amy. We waited in line together and talked about the marathon - a first for each of us. She is absolutely stunning -

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    Tuhina & Me
    I got my medal engraved!
    My name & time on the back of my medal
    Wednesday:

    I was back to work. My quads were still sore, walking down stairs was still very challenging but I could sit/stand without issue. And my pinky toe still hurt.

    Back to work!


    My co-workers were so excited to see me and hear my story. And I wore my medal all day.

    I went to my spin class (which felt GREAT on my quads) and my class gave me a dozen pink roses! How thoughtful!

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    thank you Bronxville Fitness Center!


    Thursday/today:

    My quads are about 90% back to normal and I can walk down the stairs with no issue whatsoever! But that damn pinky toe is still killing me. I have an appointment at the podiatrist in the morning.

    I'm exhausted and finally going to bed. Good night everyone :)

    Wednesday, November 06, 2013

    The Marathon Diaries, Part 39: The NYC Marathon 2013, Miles 23 - Finish Line!

    Links to this post
    picking up where I left off in the second installment...

    After crossing the Mile 22 marker, I tried to run for a little bit. I lasted a very short distance. Everything hurt. My quads the most, but really everything from my quads down had some element of soreness or pain - especially my stupid useless pinky toes that I need to have amputated.

    I thought it was funny that despite being slower than I expected, I kept pace with the 5:30 pacer. That was my goal time and obviously this guy was having just as rough a time as me. I wasn't going to finish in 5:30 and neither was he.

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    From this point on the course, it was all mental. My body had given out long ago. I didn't like it, but I had admitted to myself that I would be walking the majority of these next 4 miles. So I did whatever I had to do to make sure I got them done. I continued to enjoy the music, the crowds, the signs, and despite my physical pain and disappointment in my fatigue, I kept a smile and a good attitude. I was not going to let anything get me down. I had worked too long and too hard to get here and this experience - a first marathon - only comes along once in a lifetime.

    To pass the time in my head I thought about a lot of things and made sure to keep it positive. I thought about my Grandpa Frank, Grandma Margie, Great Grandpa Mario and Rasha, all of whom aren't alive anymore but would all be so proud of me. I thought about all of you on many occasions - some of you specifically, things you've said or ways you've inspired me - and I thought often about the fact that there were people all over the globe at that very moment that were cheering for me, many that I never even met. That's a surreal and beautiful feeling. I don't think many people have that kind of support and I consider myself very lucky.

    When it got especially tough out there I reminded myself of 2 things:

    1- Amy is waiting at the finish line with my medal
    2 - My Dad is waiting outside the park to drive me home

    I knew that no matter what happened between now and then, and no matter how long it took me, those 2 things were true. I had both of them waiting for me and was so looking forward to seeing each of them.

    I passed the BGR girls, always full of excitement -

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    Yep. Still keeping pace with the 5:30 pacer.

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    At this point I was freezing. Although it was still light out, the streets were dark in Manhattan because of the shadows cast by the tall buildings. I couldn't feel my hands and I couldn't get warm since I was just walking. I wasn't even walking as fast as I normally would because I was so sore. I fantasized about that poncho we were going to get at the finish line. I dreamed of a time when I would be warm again.

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    I knew it was only going to get worse too because I could see the sun was very close to setting.

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    Just before Mile 23, I ran into a friend of Janet (who I started with). I never met Beverly before but she knew me from Facebook. She joined me and walked about a half a mile with me. I was thankful for the company and the distraction.

    Mile 22: Friend Beverly

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    Mile 23!

    In the distance, through the trees in Central Park, I could see that building I like and photograph often -

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    As I made my way down Fifth Ave I thought back to that amazing Fifth Ave Mile I ran not long ago on this very street - when I ran the fastest mile of my life at a 9:21 pace. That was a spectacular day and unforgettable run.

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    The crowds were getting thinner, but I was thankful for anyone that was still out. Surely they had been there for hours and it was cold and getting dark now.

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    Though the crowds were smaller, the thing is, from this point forward, it seemed every person cheering knew exactly what I needed to hear. Every cheer seemed so perfectly suited for this incredibly tough portion of the run.

    I remember a young healthy looking woman on the right telling us how awesome we are, telling us that she couldn't do what we were doing and she kept repeating how awesome we were to be doing it, to be marathoners. She looked like someone that could do it if she wanted to, but she insisted we were awesome - even though none of us were running at this point! She insisted on our awesomeness - because we were doing something she could not.

    Then I saw someone smiling at me and photographing me. It was Christina, who I recently met on the Tour de Bronx. I was so happy to see another familiar face.

    Mile 23: Friend Christina

    I think I told her how awful I felt and she took a few photos of me. But I didn't stick around long. At this point I really wanted to finish. We were so close to entering the park!

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    We entered at 90th St, I posed for one of the professional photographers and blew Frank Lebow's poster a kiss.

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    Once inside the park, I went to the port-o-potties for the 3rd and final time on the course. A woman bystander offered to hold my heat sheet while I went in. She could see I was in pain, too. When I returned to retrieve the sheet, I was just so thankful for her kindness, I thanked her repeatedly. She told me it was the least she could do for me considering all that I had done today. The least she could do? All I had done today? She made me cry.

    It's those little gestures that were so touching. Because, I mean, I didn't do anything - I decided to enter this crazy event, train for months just so I could wake up super early today and push my body well beyond what it has ever done and clearly beyond what it wants to do. No one made me do this. I did it to myself. It's not like I'm not out here helping society in any meaningful way or doing anything to benefit anyone but myself. Yet she treated me, and all the spectators treated me, like I was magnificent and special. I don't know what it is about a marathon but people really do treat each other so beautifully. It should be like that every day, but I'm happy to take it this one magical day.

    I was so glad to be in Central Park - knowing the finish line was truly close now. And though I knew I wasn't going to be finishing as strong as I would have liked, I wanted to appreciate the simple joy of being in Central Park in the fall. It is absolutely beautiful.

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    Despite all of my discomfort, I was still smiling. I really hadn't stopped smiling since I began this crazy journey hours ago and boroughs away.

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    I can't tell you what a beautiful sight this was - Mile 24!

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    a blurry Mile 24 marker

    Not only was I thrilled to see I had completed another mile but was looking forward to seeing my final friend on my list, Marcus. His running group, the Front Runners, was manning the next water station. I gave him a hug and told him that I was in so much pain but was so happy to see him. He understood and offered me encouraging words. He has one of the most pure and beautiful souls of anyone I've ever met.

    Mile 24: My friend Marcus
    Love you, Marcus!

    I remember coming up on this sight and saying out loud "Mother Effing Cat Hill!"

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    there's the cat statue on that rock. She's blurry, but she's there!

    I thought about something I once told Jenn from work and that I often tell myself, "Take advantage of a downhill". Yes I was sore but I know I can get longer strides by running on a downhill, so I did it. I ran for that brief down hill. And as the road inclined again by the 72nd St transverse, I walked again.

    From this point forward, there are very few pictures because it was officially too dark to get a clear shot while I was moving, so I will recreate the last 2 miles with mostly just my words...

    As I had mentioned earlier, I really hadn't stopped smiling since I started this run, despite the pain and  the few emotional crying outbursts, I had a smile on my face all day. But that all changed between Mile 24 and 25.

    It was at that point on the course, on my left, where I saw a spectator. It was dark in the park but I saw her. She had a wide smile on her face while she cheered her heart out for us. She told us how great we looked. She was as excited as any of our other spectators had been all day except...

    She was in a wheelchair.

    I briefly wondered why she was in the chair - was she born that way? Was it an accident? An illness?  - but mostly I was just filled with amazement that she was not bitter about it. She was out here cheering for us, the able bodied people, and she was doing it sincerely with a smile. I was moved to tears just absorbing and processing it all.

    I always remind myself how lucky I am. I'm always so thankful to have been born with everything in tact and functional. And when I run past someone who is differently advantaged I remind myself again how very fortunate I am. I don't ever want to take that for granted because I'm aware it can be taken from me at any moment. I like to think about that fact when I run, because I'm guessing there are people who would do anything in their power to be able to run or even walk. I'm lucky enough to be able to do both, though walking was about all I could muster at this point. I know how fortunate I am and I'm extremely thankful for it. Seeing her there reminded me of 2 things: 1) It's all about attitude and 2) Even  though I had nothing left in me to be able to run anymore, at least I could walk. At least I could walk.

    And then we crossed Mile 25.

    With every step I take, I know I'm getting closer to the finish line. I have no more smile. I have only tears. But they're tears of "Oh my God. I'm seriously about to do this. I'm so close to finishing the New York City Marathon!"

    But before we can get to the finish line, we briefly exit the park at 59th St -

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    As we are leaving the park, there is a young woman chanting at us: "You. Are. Amazing! You. Are. Amazing! You! Are! Amazing!"

    I can feel my internal excitement and the external excitement of the crowd mount even greater as we get closer and closer to the finish. I'm crying even more now.

    I'm walking as quickly as I can across 59th St, still crying. People are still cheering for us. A cop tells me I have half a mile to go - HALF A MILE TO GO! - and high-5s me.

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    My heart is racing. My blood is flowing. I want desperately to be able to run but I'm in so much pain. I tell myself that when I get into the park at Columbus Circle, I will try to run.

    I'm already crying thinking about what is about to happen, and a woman bystander shouts at us: "You're about to become marathoners!" Oh my god, she was right! This was really happening. It was once again exactly what I needed to hear at that precise moment!

    Another is telling us "You're so close! Just go into the park at Columbus Circle!!!"

    I enter the park and look to the left. I see the Mile 26 marker and make my way towards it.

    I walk faster, psyching myself up to run, because I am NOT crossing that finish line while walking!

    I start walking up that last and final cruel hill that leads to the finish line.

    I'm staring at the finish line. It's in my sights and it's all I can see - The blue banner that is the finish line of the New York City Marathon.

    I'm now 400 meters away. I think of the McCarren Park track where I did all those speed work sessions. 400 meters is one lap. I've done this a million times. This is what I've been training for!

    I crumple up my space sheet and toss it to the side because I do not want it in my finisher photo.

    I tell myself that I don't care how much pain I'm in, I'M RUNNING ACROSS THAT FINISH LINE!

    At the 300 meter mark, I begin my pained run towards it.

    As I run, I don't even feel my body. I hear and see nothing else. There is only that finish line.

    My eyes are transfixed on it. I don't even blink.



    And in those final seconds, I'm aware that every single long run, every single track workout, every sacrifice I made the for every running event the last two years, has all led up to this.

    This.

    One.

    Final.

    Moment!

    The moment where I throw my arms up in the air and with tears in my eyes, I become a marathoner!

    The moment where I cross the finish line of The. New. York. City. MARATHON!!

    I crossed that line, stopped in my tracks and cried really hard. A man came over and hugged me and told me it was ok, and to cry it out. I break loose from his warm hug to tell him my friend is here with the medals and I need to find her.

    Before I can even look for Amy, I hear "Sheryl!"

    She spots me and comes running over to me. We're both crying. It was the best cry and best hug I might have ever had in my life. I was so happy to see her and so happy to be able to get my medal from her. I had her put it around my neck and we cried and hugged some more. It was one of the absolute most beautiful moments of my life and as long as I live, I will never ever forget it. I remember Amy's first ever run. It was in Central Park just a year ago. I made it a point to go to Central Park on that freezing morning and be there for her when she crossed the finish line even though I barely knew her. Today, she was there for me at the most important finish line in my life.

    This is a selfie I took -

    My friend Amy was waiting with my medal

    Here's another great shot her friend took of us -

    Taken seconds after crossing the finish line of the ING #nycmarathon last night. I was so lucky to have a friend waiting for me on medal duty. @theawesomemom was a huge part of my day and I couldn't wait to see her.   You can see the tears in both our eye

    And that's it. That's the story of how I became a marathoner. Something I am so proud of and will never forget. Something I will think of very fondly for the rest of my life.



    Since Sunday night, I've been bombarded with questions about how did I feel, what was it like. It is tough to put into words with a quick answer, because it is enormous. But I would sum up the NYC Marathon like this: It's not so much about running, as it is about love. To explain...

    I have literally never felt so loved in my entire life as I did this past Sunday. I felt loved by people that know me in real life that were bursting with pride for me. I felt loved by so many of you that took time to track me that day, send me messages on the course, blow up my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and cell phone. And I felt loved by my city - the millions of every day New Yorkers that came out to cheer for mostly random strangers who were doing something as silly as running a marathon.

    I've truly never felt so loved and it is for that reason that I am certain I will run the NYC Marathon again next year. I'll have to figure out how to train better so I don't fatigue as quickly but I have time to work on that. In the meantime, despite being sore for days, having had the experience, I can't imagine not doing it. It was probably the single greatest experience of my life (I can't think of another that tops it).

    I'm absolutely amazed at myself. Not for finishing - I knew I'd finish come hell or high water - but for having the nerve to do it at all. And though it happened 3 days ago, part of me *still* cannot believe it. It still feels like a dream. But if it was a dream, it was the most beautiful dream I ever had in my life and I don't want to wake from it.

    Thank you all so, so much. Thank you Melanie for helping me train, crazy runner Mary Harvey for always making me think I have more in me even when I don't, Amy for waiting for me at the finish and being the person I get my medal and first hug from, my Dad for being there with a warm car and my protein shake, to all of you who came out on the course to cheer for me, to all of you who followed me and send such heart warming messages of love and support, and to my running team North Brooklyn Runners for allowing a slowpoke like me on the team. I may have been the one on the course but all of you helped me get there! You were there with me and I did it for all of us.


    Before I go, I want to mention Mrs Kim since she wasn't in the part 2 blog and a few of you asked about her. The day before the marathon I stopped in the shoe store. Her daughter was in there and since she speaks English fluently, I spoke to her. She told me they had to attend a family christening on Sunday and that Mrs Kim couldn't be there. I was, of course, sad. But obviously I understood. So on Sunday when I ran past that corner I thought about Mrs Kim, even though she wasn't there. I knew wherever she was, she was thinking of me. I stopped into the shop yesterday to show her my medal. She congratulated me and held my hands and apologized. I know how much she wanted to be there and how sorry she was that she missed it. I told her it was ok and that I had her in my heart when I ran past.

    Finally, I'll end here and the next post will be post-marathon stuff; what I did that night and the following days.

    Then maybe if you're lucky I'll stop talking about the marathon for 5 minutes. Maybe. :P