I am blown away by the number of people who have already given such positive feedback and by the amount already donated (thanks to two little angel friends of mine and their husbands who are in my prayers tonight!). I hope my sister is feeling the love and support. Again, I know she doesn’t want people feeling sorry for her, but she is a total fan of the blog and loves the idea of spreading awareness about AS.
She has always been supportive of whatever I want to do and has listened to me blather on about running for years. I am sure that some days she just wants to tell me to shut up already–I’m griping about sore feet, and she can’t even turn her neck on a bad day. Still, she listens and cheers me on…and I love her for it!
I figure that since a few people have already donated to my fundraising page, I should devote this post to a little info about my planned run and ways anyone can help. As I mentioned previously, I am “sort of” a runner but have never run a full marathon. I am planning to run the Garmin Marathon on April 20th, 2013, and I want this blog to tell the story of the training process, which I think can be fairly entertaining. Maybe it’s just because I love to run, but I love reading blogs and people’s running stories, and when I was a newbie runner I loved to read anything I could from runners to help guide me.
Full disclosure: I am no expert runner, nor am I a medical expert on AS, and while we’re on the subject, I’m no great writer either. This means that barring great literary talent, a housekeeper or a chef, you can expect an excessive use of ellipses (I like them…I do!), occasional improper punctuation (does the exclamation point go inside or outside the parentheses?), excessive use of commas and a sprinkling of cuss words for effect (“my sister’s disease totally f*#$ing sucks!” “My quads are the s#*t!”). I will not spend much time perfecting my posts.
Now you’re warned. I feel better getting that off my chest…(see?)
So the marathon is on April 20th, and I have chosen the Hal Higdon Novice II training program. Friends of Tiff (FOT) may not care, but running readers might. Why did I choose this program? Basically because I want something that’s readily available (read: free) and have read a lot of positive reviews of his training methods. I like his description of the runs required and the fact that I can use the Chicken Exit if needed and bump down to the Novice I program at any time.
The official training starts on Monday, and in preparation I have been building base miles for a few months now. I’m at a comfortable 19-20 miles per week. Part of me feels like I shouldn’t think the marathon is any big deal. Many of my friends and FOT have run the distance (and I welcome your comments and advice by the way!), and millions of others have done it too. So I feel a bit silly blogging about it, like I’m making a bigger deal of it than it is and should just shut up. Blogging is always a self-congratulatory look-at-me listen-to-me kind of deal, and I recognize that and feel a little uncomfortable about it.
But then again, many people have pushed out a 9 lb., 7 oz. baby like I have (or bigger), and let me tell you, we all deserve credit for our hard work!!!!!!!!!!! So that’s how I feel about the marathon. It doesn’t matter how many people accomplish it, it’s still difficult, and it still makes for a great story (I’ll spare you my birthing stories, but I do think I should have been handed a trophy or at least some sort of plaque for giving birth to the first one!). What’s more, I can take the story and the race and raise a little money to support my sister and raise awareness.
I found a great website (from Runner’s World magazine) called Charitybets.com that will help my fundraising. I like this website because it does more than just let people donate –people can bet on your performance. I set a time goal for the race, and people can give in any one of three ways.
First, people can make a “flat” donation. This means that whether I make it to race day or not, your donation amount goes to the Spondylitis Association of America. This is the standard donation.
BUT, if you care to make it interesting and want to dangle a bit of carrot in front of this slow runner, you can make an “over/under” bet on my race. This means that if I meet my time goal for the race, you donate a specified amount. If I don’t meet my goal, you donate the “under” amount (which can be whatever you want it to be.) If I don’t make it to race day, you will be emailed and can then decide whether to donate any amount at all.
You also can make a “progressive donation”, which is a sliding donation amount based on my performance.
I am a competitive gal, so I liked the betting part of it. I love poker, and I love a competition, whether real or imagined. For example, I took a new pair of running shoes to the gym a couple of months ago to try them out with an easy 2-mile treadmill run (I NEVER run on the treadmill but had to for the trial). I ended up running a 5k pr simply because some girl got on the treadmill next to me and starting running sort of fast.
I’m not proud, but I am honest. I had to beat her. She didn’t even know I was there.
Of course, you can decide never to give a dime to the page…and that’s okay too! If people just read about this disease so that they can recognize symptoms in themselves or loved ones, than part of my mission is accomplished.
As for my time goal? For me, it’s bodacious, audacious, all the aciouses. I wasn’t sure what to put, given that I’ve never run a marathon before, so I used my favorite running calculator (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/4/4_1/96.shtml) and plugged in some somewhat recent times to come up with a really difficult pipe-dream kind of goal.
I’ve run two half-marathons in the past two years, one at 1:52 (Geneva, Switzerland) and another at 1:58 (Paris). These races equate to 8:32 and 9:00 paces. I also ran a 10k in the spring at 53:37, which is an 8:37 pace, and frankly, I wasn’t running my best at that point.
I’ve set my time goal at 4:15, which is a 9:43 pace per mile. That pace sounds so slow to me given my typical pace–until I think about sustaining it for 26.2 miles. Dayum! That’s plenty fast. Like one percent chance of making it fast. Maybe I should enter a wine-drinking contest to raise money instead and quit torturing myself!
Fast runners who read this might be laughing, but I am intimidated (and again, I welcome advice from any runners who read this). I do have a plan, though, which I’m happy to share.
I’m going to crawl up the ass of the 4:15 pace runner and hold on for dear life. I am so clever and strategic. Think I can do it? Care to make a wager?
Oh, and one more thing–my long runs will be on Friday, so I think I’ll do a regular Famous Feet Friday quick post with a celebrity marathoner time. Some will be inspiring while others will make me want to slit my wrists. Today’s Famous Feet Marathoner is Al Roker, who finished the 2010 New York City Marathon in 7:09:44. I am encouraged.
Thanks for reading and I hope that you’ll stick with the blog and follow the journey. I am off for an 8-mile run…housework be damned! I hope to give more info on TiffeeG in my next post. Stay well, protect your health, and if you are an AS sufferer, all my prayers are with you!!!!!!!