Lori’s Race Report, or How Baber Schooled the Hamptons Half!

29 Sep

I am so excited to leave for CA tonight.  I ran 9 miles this morning at around an 8:30 pace.  It was supposed to be at a “tune-up” pace, which is “all-out” but guess what — my marathon training program doesn’t account for the fact that I ran 16 miles yesterday that I didn’t want to have to do this weekend, and I have gotten no more than 6 hours of sleep any night this week because of G-d knows why.  Anyhow, yeah, I just got a little defensive. 🙂  I am still cranky and clearly need sleep and California sun. 🙂

Anyhow, without further ado, here is Lori’s race report from her first (of many, I think) half-marathon!

Back in July, I had a case of “temporary insanity.”  I was innocently walking down the street minding my own business, probably on my way home to plop myself in front of the tv. I saw a flyer for Team In Training (TNT), an organization that helps you train for endurance races in exchange for fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I went home and Googled their website and saw they were having their last information meeting the very next day.  So I attended it, found out the impressive work they do to conquer cancer, and the next thing you know, I found myself signing on the dotted line to run the Hamptons Half Marathon on September 23rd.  WTH?

The reason why TNT really caught my attention is because my good friend Mark (AKA “Spider) was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML).  He informed me when he found out, but we really never talked about it much after that.  And I didn’t know if he wanted to talk about it or not, so I just basically ignored the elephant in the room.  But I decided if I could do this race and raise some money to fight leukemia, it would show him that I am not avoiding the subject and that I do care.

As Katie can attest, I am not a runner.  I’ve always been a “wanna-be” runner from afar. Instead I took great pride in being the best cheerleader to my running friends. I LOVE making pretty signs and cheering my friends on during the NYC marathon, while sipping my warm Starbucks latte as they passed me by in the November chill. (proof of my signage ability in Katie’s 9/23 post!)

I can’t say enough positive things about the training program. Much to my surprise, I stayed extremely committed and met the group almost every Tuesday after work to run in Central Park and on Saturdays to do our long runs throughout NYC.  The biggest surprise to me was how much of a time commitment this took.  It made me understand/appreciate why Katie is constantly running so much before her marathons.  I was seriously clueless about what the training entailed before taking on this endeavor.  The Saturday that we ran across the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge is the day I experienced a dose of runner’s high.  I mean, seriously, who would’ve thought that this girl, who thought three miles on the treadmill was an accomplishment, could literally run to Brooklyn and back?  I was kind of catching on to what Katie was feeling.

The weeks felt like they flew by and before I knew it race day had arrived. The night before the race it POURED  – I was whining to anyone and everyone who would listen.  Running in the rain was never in the game plan, and I was so upset thinking this is what I was going to have to endure.  The first thing I did the morning of the race was jump out of bed and check the weather outside.  I was ecstatic to find no rain!

I had butterflies the whole time getting ready for the race.  I was just so nervous of the unknown…could I really finish this race? would I run out of gas? would the truck have to scoop me up?

I became good friends with one gal in TNT, we did most of our long runs together, and she was much better at pacing than me, so selfishly, I was really looking forward to running side by side with her. But at mile four, she said she felt congested and started walking. She told me to keep going, I felt extremely guilty for abandoning her, but I forged ahead.  We didn’t have rain, but we ended up having a lot of humidity – it definitely affected both of us and I don’t think any of the racers were expecting to deal with this heat this time of year.

I felt lonely running on my own, especially knowing I had nine more to go.  I wavered on putting my name on my shirt, but what the hell, I did it.  The crowd was slim in the Hamptons, but wow, hearing your name from complete strangers really does lift you.  It inspires me to be the loudest spectator for everyone running the NYC Marathon on November 6th…I’m talking to you, Sweaty Katie! (*editor’s note– YOU ROCK!!!!!)

To me, the biggest benefit training with TNT were the coaches – they were invaluable (minus my assigned “go-to-coach” – she probably couldn’t identify me in a crowd and she ended up being useless).  So I didn’t have her as a resource, but I had all the other amazing coaches to help me. They sacrificed every Tuesday and Saturday to be with us, to teach us, to guide us, to motivate us. During the race, I would encounter a TNT coach every few miles cheering on the side of the road, and they would jump on the course with me asking how I was feeling, offering advice and encouragement.  Best advice was from Felicia, I whined that I was SO hot (temperature wise, certainly not look-wise at this point in the race), and she told me to pour water over my head and back – who knew?  Just little things like that meant so much to me — they were seriously like guardian angels and I couldn’t be more appreciative.

Lori and her TNT buddies pre-race!

At mile 12, I was losing steam. What happened to that adrenaline that everyone said would get you to the finish line?  This is when it was confirmed that my pacing sucks. The devil on my left shoulder was telling me to walk, but the angel on the right  shoulder convinced me to keep running.  At mile 13 I was dying – I was so friggin’ close, but I could not see the damn finish line ahead of me. Once again, a TNT coach (one that I had never met before) came out of nowhere and jumped in and told me, “the finish line is right around the corner, you’re almost there, keep on going.”  Turns out he was a coach from the Brooklyn program and I luckily saw him at our victory party that night and was able to thank him profusely for being there when I needed him.

Crossing the finish line at a somewhat decent time was quite emotional.  Hell, the whole journey was emotional — doing something I really didn’t think I had in me, receiving generous donations and support from family and friends, while letting “Spider” know that although I can’t get rid of his leukemia, I hopefully made a small dent to go toward research so that he and others suffering from this disease can live a long and prosperous life.

The TNT program may not be for everybody, but for an absolute rookie like me, it was exactly what I needed.  I know the mass TNT purple shirts in Central Park can be obnoxious and annoying, but I wear it with pride. As much as I depended on TNT, I depended on Katie just as much, if not more. Unbeknownst to her, I assigned her to be my “go-to” coach, since my designated TNT one was so horrible.  Katie was there for me day in and day out – checking up on me, asking what my training entailed that week, giving me tough love on those days that I told her I wanted to blow off my run (kinda didn’t know she had it in her – oh, sweet Katie, where’d ya go?), letting me text her to report that I got the friggin’ run in (that she made me do), so I could get a get a “good job, Baber” text in return, informing me that tapering was not going to make my stamina disappear, and most importantly — helping me decide what I should wear on race day!  She was there to answer every neurotic question I came up with. I’ve always admired Katie’s dedication and commitment to running races, but even moreso after experiencing one of my own (albeit 13.1 miles less than what she does on a regular basis, and at a much, much, MUCH slower pace!).  This girl is amazing and I am so grateful to have her as my personal coach, but more importantly as my personal friend. Thank you so very much, Coach Katie for taking this journey with me.

Total badass champ at the finish, lookin' foxy to boot!

*editor’s note– Lori gives me WAY too much credit, but G-d bless her for it.  I had an amazing time doing the very little that I did for her, and love to fantasize that one day I’ll be good enough for, and have enough time to be, a running coach!  Anyhow, CONGRATS to Lori and thank you for writing this absolutely beautiful and funny report!

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3 Responses to “Lori’s Race Report, or How Baber Schooled the Hamptons Half!”

  1. Jenny Berkshire September 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Awesome, “baber!”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to Suffer Through a Race While Injured « Katie's Sweaty Life - December 19, 2011

    […] I met up with Lori and we exchanged goodies and had tea at this really cute spot in Midtown East called David’s […]

  2. Katie's Sweaty Life - March 15, 2012

    […] and in case I don’t get another post in before–  I’m watching Lori and Cheryl run the NYC Half on Sunday and hoping I catch a glimpse of Josie, too!  Good luck to […]

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