3 out of 4 legs work well...

but when it's the front leg that you were told 4 months ago had cancer in the bones, i realize one should feel lucky that they got 4 solid months of a happy waggy dog.

her spirit is still awesome. her personality too. but her body? is failing.

and her owner/mom is just heartsick.

not sure how much time is left, but it's likely not too long...

it's going to be a rough week.

on the flip side she's still here now and we're going out for a slower walk that she still loves...


haven't run more than 5 miles in about 5 days.

this weekend i'll run 3, maybe 5 on saturday. it's our 2nd annual runner retreat to celebrate our awesome 2009 season at friend kim's cabin.

since my last post i remembered a smattering of NYC details to share:
Favorite tidbits I failed to mention in the last post, random order.

1) african man holding a sign with "Twizzlers' on it and the african translation handing out candy. just by himself on a corner. then an older (more than 70 i'd say) european man running next to me with his individually wrapped twizzler was not able to open it. Man nudges me, worried or questioning look like 'can you please tear this baby open for me?' i did. he smiled and kept on truckin'. awesome.

2) similar story to above but without the elderly man. an asian woman holding 'Swedish Fish Here' hand made sign in english and kanji or some asian translation and a little gladware full of red swedish fish. again. awesome.

3) a man. with 2 prosthetic legs. changing them out. Mile 10 or so. In the middle of the route/road. With his pit crew of friends helping. WOW.

4) the sound of thousands of runners and sticky shoes. Gatorade Endurance formula was on the course...it's full of more sodium and other 'goodies' to keep us hydrated. it also has to have more sugar in it. because SO MUCH was on the roads, esp the later we got into the race that when we throw our cups to the side, there's always splash out of what you didn't drink (non runners? we usually don't ever down the whole cup...) so with all that gatorade on the road, our shoes literally stuck to the road for a good 1/4 mile past each water stop. very very weird. shluck shluck shluck shluck....as we all kept on pace..

5) related to above? so much water and gatorade on the road led to the cups themselves literally composting down as we ran over them...most races have people with brooms or rakes get the cups over to the side to prevent runners from slipping/tripping on them. but with so many people on the course it was nearly impossible for them to do that at certain points without becoming hazards with rakes. so composted trampled wet clumpy bits of gatorade cups were all over the road. again, just not the norm...and kinda interesting.

it was an amazing event. it took about a full week for the whole experience to really settle in. yes. i WOULD run it again. it was amazingly cool, even if i still can't believe they let me in...

my next event is not until January, unless I become one of the millions (yes that many) on Turkey Day to run a 5K. which I just might. where's one right by my house. can't really pass that up...and i have the whole day off before turkey day to clean house for our house full of friends to attend thanksgiving dinner. no family near here so it's just us and the friends hanging out. much wine, much delicious food, a variety of topics to laugh about and no dysfunction :) amen!

January is when i hope to travel to phoenix to see baby Julia, mom Karen and dad Jerry...it also happens to be when the Rock N Roll Phoenix marathon and half is. Let's not think crazy. I'd be doing the 13.1. this girl is taking retirement seriously. IF i run a marathon at all next year it'll be Chicago. It's on Oct 10th. That would be 10.10.10. Which I think would be awesome karma and a stellar way to remember when I ran it ;) I still remember 8.8.88. The lights went on at Wrigley Field for the first time. I remember such useless things sometimes...but there you have it.

on the homefront, we got back from Winnipeg, Manitoba on Monday. Mark had a big basso profundo solo to sing in a Rautavaara piece last weekend. The choir director flew us both out, put us up in a beautiful hotel and paid Mark on top of that to take part in this. Very cool! Mark is now wishing he could sing full time and ditch retail land. But reality is that singers just don't make the millions...esp basso profundo singers. yet?

Cora is hanging in there but the limping is getting much worse as time goes on. She was great until about 2 weeks ago. I have a sinking feeling we are in a much diff position now than we were all summer. I hope she sticks around for another couple of months but I know reality may not play out that way. We really don't know. The vet is astounded how well she's done til now. But he has told us many times we're really lucky it's gone this way. And that we just have to see how this continues in the coming weeks. Her spirit is still awesome! Her shoulder sadly is not. We'll keep you posted...

On that note, it's time to get some chores done. Peace & love, ~jd

the recap of the amazing race...

pull up a chair. this is my longest story ever.
of course it's completely optional and i realize some of you might likely just scroll through the pictures. have at it...


a beautiful dedication statue to fred lebow. the founder of the nyc marathon 40 years ago....(he died of brain cancer in the last decade :( very sad.)

oct 30th. fly to NYC LaGuardia. Check in to the very nice Marriott at the airport.

If anyone ever runs this race in the future, I *highly* recommend going with the travel agency that works with the marathon. *super* reasonable rates at the Marriott and a START LINE BUS on race day. SUPER handy!

never been to New York. it was quite the experience. i think Christmas there would magical. the tree. the twinkling lights. the skating rink. the Barney's windows...okay anyway...marathon weekend was magic in it's own way :)

we went to the expo first.
VERY. AWESOME. amazingly this girl didn't spend a million of Visa's dollars as I just couldn't justify $120 for a jacket just because it had the official ING marathon logo on it....I *have* race jackets. That said, I DID go a little crazy at NikeTown on Saturday with some race gear ;) Not too crazy but a few shirts, new shorts (which yes, i totally wore on race day) and a race hat.

niketown bus :)

the expo had welcome signs in about 6 languages.

it was like 'it's a small world marathon style'. and just as much with the many thousands wandering the aisles of vendors, etc.

and at the expo i met my old friend bart yasso. he's famous in the running world. he has a workout named after him. YASSO 800s. google it if you're curious for more. This man has run just about every race you can. Death Valley. Antarctica. A nudest race. ALL of them almost. Super great man...and he signed my bib for me. good karma there!

Friday night was the pasta dinner at Team MS headquarters. Met some great team members..One had just run the NY Ragnar race. One was a priest at St Patrick's Cathedral. One was a businessman from CA. and the list goes on...very nice folks and we learned our team raised $206,000!!! The largest sum yet that they have ever raised for the NYC MS chapter, and the largest team (about 60 folks). A great way to end our first night in the big apple...good pasta, much running talk and inspiration for those we're running for. During the race, early on, maybe mile 5, a man ran up to me and said "are you running for MS?' me: Yes! Him: "*I* have MS!" Me: "Then I am running for YOU!" and he ran onward in his own race...pretty cool!

team MS at our table...

oct 31st. Halloween. Except, in NYC, it is really hard to know who's in halloween garb and who's version of 'fashion' is different than where I live....
we wandered town a bit, wandered central park *a lot* esp the last 2 miles of the course....

walked the final few miles and saw the finish line for the first time...

found dinner that night in Little Italy. Which is right next to Chinatown. Which I found not that pleasant (Chinatown, ie pirated DVD hawkers on every corner, fake handbags, fake rolexes, all of it. i paid, PAID a DOLLAR to pee in a disgusting burger king. because I had to....

dinner btw? was very pleasant :) example A.

lights out about 11pm with the time change. Runners know that one never sleeps well the night before a race. ESP a big race....

alarm set for 4am on November 1st. alarm doesn't even have a chance to go off. this girl's internal clock just knows when to wake up. 4:10 up and at em.

climb into pre-laid-out race attire.

something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...
pack up a few essentials. find the start line bus down in the lobby at 5am.

(news break: pictures stop here as I didn't take a camera with me on the course. MANY people did, but I had a goal to make and quite honestly I just didn't want to jostle the camera let alone did I have room for one with 2 water bottles, 6 GU packs, pretzels from the plane, gum & sweet tarts :) I was a running snack market!)

buses arrive at the verazzano bridge at 6:15am or so. find a spot to 'camp out' for a solid 3 hours and chat with the following folks. a 40ish VIP man from Ottawa who's run 14 marathons, a 65 year old gent (school administrator) from Miami who hopes to run 3:50 in his first marathon; a lovely Scottish visitor who gave me his brand new sleeping bag to stay warm in when he left with the first wave, a group of 5 Ireland residents who I loved hearing speak, and 2 ladies from the Netherlands who spoke Danish only. (or so it seemed). Again, can you hear It's a Small World in your head? This was in every sense the 'everyman's Olympics'. I couldn't believe I was here. All of these people within about 10 feet of me. And the many many many other international and stateside visitors...

9:30 or so I started the walk to the start line and to the UPS vans to drop my sweats bag and de-layer at least one layer. Temps when I arrived at basecamp were in the upper 40s and a little rainy. Not ideal but the race itself stayed dry! HOORAY!

9:40 was the start of the first wave of elite men and 'general' population (aka fast) folks. the cannon was shot...and Frank started singing "Start spreading the neeeeeeewsss'....SO COOL! The cannon shook the earth. all of it. SO. COOL. they did that (thankfully) for all 3 waves, so that when you crossed the start line officially Frank was singing his heart out to you and all of your close 14,000 friends. (the # of people the started in each wave). And you heard him on the entire 1.5 miles on the bridge....

My start wave was 10:20 and stupid me forgot to start the Garmin until about 3 minutes into the race. Thank god they have people to keep track of your time for you at events like this ;)

Miles 1-10 or so FLEW. For me, this is saying a lot. I never think the miles just melt away where you are all of a sudden like, whoa, 10 miles down? But this time, it really happened that way.

10-17, steady, kept on. Ran with the 5 hour pace group which is why I met my goal of running sub 5. Also ran with a great awesome girl about my age named Emily. Almost the whole race. She was a New Yorker so I kept asking 'where are we now? which borough is this?' Very helpful to run with a local ;) her 2nd marathon, and the last one was NYC last year. The course was great, the support like none other on the sidelines, but it was work, and the concrete *killed* my joints. I have never been this sore :( Worth it? Totally.

Around mile 11 Emily and I were running on the left side of the road. Fans were yelling our name the whole way for about 3 miles...'go Jennifer! looking good' "Run strong Emily!' and so forth. Finally a voice behind us said 'are you guys famous? how does everyone know your name??' the rule is if you are running a big race, put your name on your shirt! who doesn't want support of strangers telling you to put some hustle in it??

We explained this to Kelly. I know her name because this girl (me) LOVES Sharpies. So at the start line/camp area I found a blue one on the ground. You can't let a good Sharpie go to waste!! So I tucked it in my hip pack. Lo and behold, I said, well, I happen to have a Sharpie. Run with us, and at the next water stop, I'll put your name on the front of your pretty plain white shirt. 30 seconds after scrawling K-E-L-L-Y, sure enough, she got lots of 'Go Kelly!'. happy girl strode on :) and Emily and I kept on our way as well...

After mile 18, this girl was starting to tire. I knew Mark would be meeting me at 22.5 miles in with a banana to have some 'real food' and not have to just be using GU. GU works, but after a while it really can make you feel just blech.

Mile 22.5 I found him. He? Was doinking with the camera. Apparently my sub 5 pace was not in his plans so the one time he was adjusting the camera, he missed taking a picture or two. But I got the banana, so bigger deal sealed :) And? He got to witness the elites and pros as they ran by like cheetahs.
Here's Paula...poor in pain Paula. She's still a phenom to me...

here's the 'general population' running past mark...

Miles 23-26.2. the hardest yet. Emily and I just kept plugging along. We ran most of the course like this. Run a mile, walk a minute. It's the Jeff Galloway training plan. But we did 'blow off' a few walk breaks, esp at the end. Despite the great crowds, it was time to get this DONE.

I told Emily a few times 'if you feel a surge, please by all means go ahead. I'm going to keep this steady pace going and if what you say is true (her Garmin worked the whole time; mine timed out on some of the bridges, etc for some weird reason) we were 50 seconds ahead of pace. She too felt good but not 100% so we hung together til the waning 800 meters. Then she found her pocket of energy and took off. See you soon, I thought.

400 meters to go. Keep going, Just Keep Going. (at this point I literally was talking aloud to get myself there).

200 meters. UH-OH. what is this? This horrible I am going to lose my GU Banana Lunch feeling? DAMN IT. Okay here's the thing. the last 200 meters is RIGHT in front of people who have paid a good small fortune to sit AT the finish line area. Like this...

And THIS is when I got the heaves feeling. I never actually lost my lunch but I had a few good dry heaves (sorry, it's part of the true story) and I literally pulled myself over to the side and stopped for about 20 seconds to either lose it all in front of poor paying people or to breathe through it, regain composure and keep going. I did the latter thank God.) Must. Keep. Going. I haven't worked my ass off to literally have it tank AT the finish....just trot it in....just. believe....a couple of deep breaths later (and this whole lil episode took about 30 seconds if that) I was running towards that beautiful blue line and the silver cloaked runners after it (in their heat blankets). run run run run....

FINISH line crossed. this race? COMPLETE.

THEN it was time to stand and shuffle a few inches, literally, at a time to the UPS trucks with our dry clothes in them in the sweats bags and get our goody bag with an apple, a bagel and a gatorade. But imagine running sub 5 hours and then STOPPING. No stretching. No ice for your legs. Nothing but shuffling for a solid 30 minutes or so. again, another reason I'm so sore. and why almost anyone who ran the marathon was clearly visible from blocks away post race.

However, that all said, it was a phenomenally well organized event for 43,000 runners. And I really can't think of what they'd do differently at the end to prevent the log jam of runners waiting to get their bags and exit the park.

I finally found Mark (brought the cell phone with on the entire journey so I COULD find him quickly at the end and on the course) we took a photo and capped off the most amazing race so far.

On the phone with one of about 5 people...crying tears of 'it's done! and wow!'

Would I do it again? Probably. Next year? Too soon to tell. Did it exceed my expectations? I really don't know what my expectations were except to finish and *maybe* PR (set a personal record). I've got the tiny seed planted that says "Chicago" on it. Not sure though. I'm going to enjoy retirement from 26.2 for a while...a good LONG while...

Finish time? 4:58:27. 17 minutes faster than my last 2 marathons :) I'll take it.

Thank you again for ALL of the phenomenal support from friends near and far. I literally could not have done this without all of you.

Much love,
The retired for 2009 Marathoner

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