A Long Time Coming

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A year ago I was sitting on the train in Chicago and having a nervous breakdown, which had been going on for about a week. My boyfriend had moved and I was a bit shaken with where I was going in my life. I had a job that I really didn’t like and stress that was just eating at me. I needed a challenge. I needed a new goal.

I had a memory hit me when I was on the train. I’m 21 years old and it is 2002. I am volunteering at the Chicago Marathon. I was volunteering at the end of the race and moved by seeing all of the runners cross the finish line. At that time, I was woefully evil to my body as most college students are. I decided I was going to run a marathon…someday.

My attempts at running failed…but I kept that light shining. I kept the hope that one day I could push myself to be one of those girls who would run NYRR races on the weekends and get medals. Somehow 2008 was the year I would put that into motion.

I went home to Arizona soon after I saw the boyfriend and on that visit I told my mother “we are running a half marathon” even though I had managed to only really run for 15 minutes on the treadmill. She was excited for it and we both trained and ran the PF Chang’s Half-Marathon in Phoenix last January. It was rough, I was very emotional and not sure that I could keep running…but I did. I ran 10 New York Road Runner Races on my weekends in New York, giving up drinking and late nights for healthy food and morning lattes and brunch with my friends Clive and David. I qualified for my second marathon even though I had barely started training for my first.

I quit my job. I lost some weight. I got a new job that I’m in love with and finally singed up for a wine school that I had looked at for 3 years in hopes of getting my sommelier’s license. I saw friends get married and have babies and I got back in touch with what I am capable of as a slow but steady runner. I found that I am the only one in charge of my strength, my body and my life choices.

A long time ago when I was in a production of “Annie” my mother gave me a button that said, “Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal.” Enjoy this moment for this moment is your life.

I may have a rough time tomorrow. I may be slow and doubt myself at certain points but I have made that choice in my life to not run away from those things that scare me. Sometimes you gotta just do it and believe that the journey will be worth it.

Good luck to everyone running tomorrow. I’m lucky to be running in such amazing company. Thanks to my friends and family for being so supportive and my amazing boyfriend. Thanks to my cyber twitter friends that have given me amazing advice and most importantly thanks to Clive and David that taught me how to run and like it!

October 10, 2009 at 11:23 pm 2 comments

Chicago Marathon Expo

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I love running Expos!

Ok, so really I love any place that has booths and swag. Today was fun because the boyfriend and I got there super early so it wasn’t too crowded. He did a photo essay of me running around being overly excited. The photo above I think is the best…I was very perky picking up my race bib and such…it just feels so surreal this is actually happening.

I met some amazing people, and saw and old friend from Northwestern! I have to give a shout out to Geneva Hampton, Executive Director of the Little Rock Marathon. She was there all dressed up (photo below) and after graciously taking a photo with me she answered a lot of my questions. Her advice was some of the best I’ve gotten so far and it calmed me down a lot to hear “just have fun, enjoy each place, focus on the amazing experience…you only have one first marathon.” Also she stressed the idea of getting your pace down and not worrying about making up time.
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I got a lot of fun stuff at the expo including a free water bottle from Luna, a cute shirt from Lulumon Athletica, a sport shell jacket that I am going to wear to keep away the wind in the morning, some new socks (not for the race, just in general I’m always losing socks) and lots of magazines and fun coupons. Below is some of my amazing swag.
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I did talk to the ladies at the Princess Half-Marathon booth and got a tiara which I then put on Princess Fiona the Maltipoo. I don’t think she was too pleased.
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The marathon shirt is so cute and I’m super excited to wear it in New York at my next NYRR race. Wow, I’m finally going to be a member of the marathon club! Now just to hydrate and feed myself enough so, come Sunday morning I feel like a rock star. The good news is that it looks like the weather forecast (after looking more dire every hour) is now looking better.

Weather now is: 51/40 degrees and partly cloudy…getting better!

October 9, 2009 at 7:23 pm 1 comment

Chicago :)

Well I’m off. Feeling strong and very nervous. I keep trying to imagine what the day is going to be like. I am told this is going to “change my life.”

I think I need a success right now. I’m in a bit of a funk. I am at a crossroads with what to do with my life and as much as I want to be an actress the life of auditioning over and over again starts to wear at your heart. It is odd though, fall always stirs something in me that really wants this to work…that wants to still strive to make this less of a “work every now and then” to a career.

Odd, this whole process has been a bit emotional.

I’m excited for the expo, the party after, and mainly to be able to update my facebook status to let the world know that this crazy journey was all worth it.

My trainer stretched me out this morning and I’m eating well and feeling strong. Can’t wait to see my boyfriend and my mom!

October 8, 2009 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment

Norway Run

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I am so happy that I ran this race today. When I saw there was going to be a Norwegian Festival with a 1.7 miler, 13.1 miler, kids races as well as Norwegian food and music I couldn’t pass it up! My grandfather was from Norway and when I was a little girl I learned a lot about my heritage. I went to Norwegian camp in Michigan and even had my own 30 min show at the Oslo stage of the Norsk Hostfest in Minot, North Dakota singing both in Norwegian and English.

The last ten years I haven’t really thought much about my heritage but it is something that I am very proud of. I wanted to first run the Grete’s Great Gallop but was told by my running buddy (and mentor) David “you can NOT can NOT run a half-marathon the weekend before your marathon.”

Good advice David. So the Norway run it was, 1.7 miles. It sounded, after all of this running, like a cakewalk but I decided to do 4 beforehand and then push hard on the race. It turned out really well and I broke the 10 mile/m pace for the first time EVER in a recorded race. I ran it at 9:23! It was a super short one but it is part of a bigger goal for me to pick up my pace and do The Race to Deliver 4m under 10 mile/m once I’m recovered from Chicago.

After the race I stuck around for a while and enjoyed the beautiful day in the park. I’ve never gone to the festivals after the races but this time I couldn’t pass it up. Since I’m “carbo loading” this week I was more than happy to enjoy the waffles as well as the bagels with Norwegian smoked salmon and imported cream cheese. It was a whole breakfast! I went to the Lillehammer Lodge booth for the Sons of Norway after and I took some quizzes on Norwegian history and culture. This does sound super dorky but I had a really good time.

Right before I left I got to listen to some traditional Norwegian music and then I took a long beautiful walk through Central Park. The Grete’s Great Gallop was going on and I cheered on some runners before coming home.

I’m a bit sore from this past week. I need to make sure I’m running on fresh legs so I’m taking it very easy the rest of the weekend and taking a yoga class at Crunch tomorrow. So great to be back running NYRR Races! This fall should be a great one for running once I take a few weeks off after the marathon.

Distance: 1.7 Miles, 2.7 Kilometers
Date/Time: Oct. 3, 2009, 8:15 a.m.
Location: Central Park, NYC
Weather: 67 degrees, 93% humidity, overcast.

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October 3, 2009 at 3:35 pm 2 comments

Jackrabbit Love

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I really love myself some Jackrabbit. Tonight, after having a bit of a nervous breakdown about this upcoming marathon I went to the Marathon Q&A at the Upper East Side location.

I had to get myself some Sport Beans and I had also heard that there was a $5 jackrabbit running shirt you could buy that if you ran it in Central Park you would get free GU. I hate GU but it is an adorable shirt and $5 for a shirt sounded like a great idea.

Somehow I ended up also buying some arm warmers (to work with for my races post-marathon since at this point don’t want to mess with what I’m doing). I think I am more geared up for Chicago thinking that this is not an end but just the beginning.

There were some amazing experts there who were very helpful. Some of the best advice that I got was…

1) You last week before your marathon is ALL ABOUT REST! This is the hardest thing for me to do…just do easy runs and not push myself or try to run farther that I am supposed to.

2) Missing some of my runs on my schedule wasn’t such a bad thing- When my body hurt (from my weird fall in Argentina) it was good that I rested. I can’t be woeful about any missed runs on paper.

3) Ginger Chews- I have never heard of this but I do use ginger when I’m on boats and planes for general seasickness. These also have sugar in them so evidently can be used as a sport bean alternative. Now, I don’t want to start using these before my marathon but like I said…this is part of a bigger journey.

So I’m REALLY excited. I’ve been eating lots of complex carbs (quinoa…like every day) and also sleeping and getting my life in order. When I leave for Chicago I want to only think of the finish line.

October 2, 2009 at 2:05 am Leave a comment

Marathon in 12…

After an amazing 12 miles today that flew by I am going from being super nervous to being very jazzed up for the Chicago Marathon. I was supposed to run those 12 miles on Sunday but after this wedding that sort of wrecked me I needed some rest. I took Monday and did some cross training and then hit 12 today.

So yes, I am a little off but I didn’t want to miss a long run and to be perfectly honest I’ve done my long runs off schedule but gotten them down. I’ve had highs and lows, a couple injuries and some of the craziest weekends ever.

So I have done everything I was supposed to but on my own weird schedule. In the end though 12 miles was a breeze which is really shocking thinking that 12 miles into my first half-marathon I wanted to lay down and die.

So 26.2 awaits me. How will it be? I don’t know. I do know that my boyfriend, my mom and some amazing Chicagoland friends will be cheering me on.

If you want to follow my running you can sign up for text alerts:
http://live.activeresult.com/msg/MSG-signup.tcl?event_id=37

Last Name: Westlie
Bib #: 175000

September 30, 2009 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

Crazy Time

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Wedding #3 DONE! Next stop, Chicago Marathon

I have been so out of it lately. I am excited to taper but I am getting so nervous about the marathon in general.

Has my training been perfect. No.

Am I excited. Yes.

This weekend was just nuts. I went a couple months ago from having a lot of time to not only run but also write then I went on a crazy bender of weddings, travel and work.

So now I’m sitting in my apartment with my puppy realizing that I need to be in major life detox for the next two weeks before the marathon. I feel like sometimes I push myself way to hard. I was so good lately with my training and even though I have been running I have had so many roadblocks lately.

So tonight I am making myself quinoa, tofu and lots of veggies. I am going out for a nice run tomorrow in some beautiful fall weather and also make sure that I’m staying home and being a hermit till the big day.

September 28, 2009 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

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