Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NYC Marathon Week

After several months of training, I am in taper mode leading up to the NYC Marathon on Sunday November 4.  I am more prepared than I ever have been and my legs are ready to run 26.2 miles at the fastest pace they have ever ran for that distance.  I am confident that if the weather is on my side, that I will be able to run a personal best on Sunday (my previous PR is a 3:17).

Unfortunately…the weather this week is not on my side.  I don’t know if anyone has heard the news, but a big storm blew through the east coast and is causing some issues in NYC…  


Millions are without power and NYC is essentially shut down.  The transportation systems that keep NYC moving are not able to function.  No one can get into NYC, no one can get out, and no one can get around the city. 

How the heck will they hold this marathon in 5 days? 

The NYC marathon officials are staying positive and released the following statement on Tuesday:

“We’re assessing today with the city what the damage was and the ability to recover as quickly as possible.  The New York Road Runners is moving ahead with everything we can do to be on the way to putting on a great marathon on Sunday.”

The article in which I pulled this statement discusses in detail the marathon itself, the expo, transportation in and around NYC, and flight travel to NYC.  There are so many unknowns at this time, there are so many questions that need to be answered.

Will my flight to NYC be cancelled on Friday, will I even be able to make it to NYC by Saturday?? If my flight makes it, how will I get from the airport to my hotel?  Will my hotel even have power and water by Friday? Will they be able to host the expo? Where will I eat, will restaurants even be open? How will I get to the start line if public transportation is down? Will they be able to clear the course of debris?  Will they be able to get enough (clean) water for the aid stations? Will they be able to guarantee safety of the runners if hospitals are shut down and ambulances are tied up for hurricane relief? 


Honestly, NYC’s focus needs to be on it’s residents and on getting the city back in order. The last thing that NYC needs is to worry about 40,000+ high maintenance runners taking over their city. Plus, it wouldn’t be smart to hold a race of this size in a time like this (unless things dramatically change in the next few days).

In my opinion, I don’t think that the NYC marathon will be happening this Sunday, or at least for me anyway (I see little chances of me being able to travel to NYC on Friday, have a hotel room waiting for me and being able to navigate the city and make it to the start line).  

With that being said, what they heck are marathon officials going to do??

Entrants paid $255 to run this race, not to mention the cost of flights, hotels, and other travel incidentals.  If they allow deferrals, will they make everyone pay another $255 (or more??) to run next year?  That would essentially be a $510 marathon, just for the entrance fee(s) alone.  That would be effing ridiculous and scandalous if you ask me.  I sure as heck will be asking for, at the very least, a discounted entry into the 2013 NYC marathon.

Nobody is to blame and there is nothing that can be done but wait; wait for updates and then make an informed decision. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Exceeding Expectations

This past weekend Jeff and I were in St Louis.  We went to a Cardinals game…STL Cards Game
…Met the newest family member who arrived just in time for our visit… New Leonard …And did a jump photo at the St Louis Arch…
Barb Jump Arch But the focus of the weekend was for Jeff to run the St Louis Rock and Roll Marathon!
stl rnr logoComing into marathon week, Jeff decided that he would shoot for running a 7:15 pace or run a 3:10 marathon.  Based on his training and how he performed in the Denver RnR Half Marathon in September (1:30:33), I was confident that he would achieve this goal. 

He had discussed trying to run a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time (under 3:05:00), but was unsure if he could do it and didn’t want to add unnecessary pressure to make that his goal.  Honestly, I thought it was a stretch for him to run a 7:03 pace for 26.2 miles and was glad he had made this decision.  I didn’t voice my doubt in a BQ time, but I was glad he was being practical. 

The night before the race I overhead Jeff talking with his older brother Chris. They discussed Jeff’s training and Chris felt like Jeff was conditioned to run a BQ time.  Chris encouraged Jeff to play things by ear the next morning, but to start out at a 7:00 minute pace and to try to maintain this fast pace (or faster if he felt good) for as long as he could (and this is advice coming from someone who has qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon 3 times, with a personal best of 3:00:06).   

Chris is an extremely positive and confident person and began to give Jeff a pep talk; I witnessed Jeff’s face light up and saw an added confidence that I had not seen in a while.  I knew Jeff wanted this, he wanted to run a 3:05 and to qualify for Boston.  I began to believe in Jeff as well and felt like such a Negative Nancy for not believing in him before!!!! 

The morning of the race Jeff was positive, confident, and felt great.  He was giddy with excitement and could not wait to get to the start to begin his 26.2 mile journey.  The weather was perfect, in the 50s and sunny, and Jeff was in his hometown.  Jeff would definitely get a PR (he previous PR was 3:19) and HOPEFULLY a BQ time.
pre raceI planned to wait at Mile 1 (near the hotel) to cheer for him, run to mile 5 to catch him again, and then wait for him at mile 16 where I would jump in and run the last 10 miles with him.  I would carry a water bottle with electrolytes, GU, and my cell phone.  We decided that I would maintain a 7:00 min pace so he could just follow me and not concentrate on a time or pace.  I would also give him water/GU/electrolytes when he needed it.  Jeff’s parents, Bob and Marcia, were also on the course riding their bikes to cheer him on in as many locations as possible. 

Mile 1-5 I saw Jeff cruising along with a HUGE smile on his face, ahead of the 3:00 pace group.  Obviously he felt good and was going with a faster pace (about a 6:45 pace).  I called Bob and told him Jeff had ran by and they waited for Jeff at mile 3.  Jeff ran by and Bob and Marcia rode their bikes along side him for the next few miles.

Mile 5- I ran ahead to Mile 5 and waited a few minutes before the runners began to run by.  The 3:00 pace group passed and Jeff was a few minutes behind him, right on pace.  Again, he was cruising along with a smile and said he felt great.  mile 5Miles 5-15.5- I ran to Mile 16 where I waited for Jeff.  In the meantime, Jeff’s parents saw him several more times and rode next to him for portions of the race.  Bob called me periodically to give me updates and said Jeff was looking strong and was maintaining a 7:00 pace.  Things were going very well!  I was actually getting nervous that I could not keep up with Jeff and did a few strides along the course to get my legs ready to move fast.

Mile 15.5- I spotted Jeff and hopped onto the course.  Jeff still had a smile on his face and immediately said, “I feel great! I can do this, I think I can maintain this pace!!!”  Alright, let’s do this!!! 

I ran beside Jeff or slightly ahead of him and offered him water/GU whenever he wanted.  I would sprint ahead and get more water and would lead him to run the most efficient route.  I would warn him of a hill and remind him to use down hills to his advantage.  I was having an absolute blast! 

Jeff began picking off people and probably passed 10 men from when I jumped in.  We started seeing people struggling, but Jeff remained strong and on pace.  At Mile 18 Jeff got a side stitch which remained for a few miles.  I gave him more water and reminded him to tighten his core and try to concentrate on something else.  Gradually the side cramp went away and he could concentrate on finishing strong.
jeff marathon Around Mile 23 there were several up hills and Jeff began to slow.  Another gentleman was running with us at this point and starting pulling ahead.  I stayed with the man who was running around a 7:05 pace and both of us were yelling at Jeff to keep up with us.  I could tell Jeff was ready to finish.  He wasn’t struggling, but dropped to a 7:20-7:30 pace. 

At mile 25 Jeff looked at his watch and exclaimed, "I TOTALLY have this!” Apparently he had calculated that he was going to make it under 3:05.  He then demanded that I call his brother Chris.  So I dialed up Chris and put him on speaker and ran beside Jeff the last mile with Chris and I yelling out encouragement.  With the finish line in sight, Jeff’s legs kept slowing but he pushed on.  I got off course with 1/4 mile left and sprinted up the sidewalk towards the finish.  I thought he had done it, I was sure he had snuck under 3:05 to qualify for Boston.

I jumped over the fence to join Jeff just past the finish line and gave him a huge hug.  No hug back, instead I hear a string of expletives as he thrusts his watch in my face.  It read 26.53 miles and a total time of 3:05:06.  $hit.  I told him to not be disappointed yet and to wait for the official chip time.  We walked out of the finish area and Jeff started to feel better, I mean he just shaved 15 minutes off his PR!!!!
done running Then I got a call from Chris who checked the official results.  “3:05:04.  He didn’t get it.”  Somehow Jeff had energy left and throws his water bottle against a building, “THIS IS BULL$HIT! The course had to have been long or the time is off!! 4 SECONDS?!?!”  I felt so terrible for him; I can only imagine what he was feeling and what was going through his mind. 

Regardless of being 4 seconds shy of a BQ time, he ran phenomenally.  He felt great and enjoyed running in St Louis on a beautiful day.  He exceeded his expectations.Jeff Time I am so proud of Jeff and how far he has come!  Especially considering he gave up running for over a year and just started getting back into it this January. 

Oh and he is already scouring the internet for a marathon to run in the next few weeks.  His legs feel great and he wants to try to run another marathon while he still is in great shape…… he WILL get a BQ time the next time he runs a marathon.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Leonard Family jumps around Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park

This past weekend we had VISITORS!  Lara’s parents and brother flew in Thursday night and Jeff’s parents flew in Friday from St Louis (Lara’s dad and Jeff’s dad are brothers). 

The weekend started off on a positive note; the Cardinals beat the Braves to earn the Wild Card spot in the playoffs.  Yet again, baseball season continues for St Louis fans…..joy joy happy happy.

We booked a rental up in Estes Park, CO for the weekend.  Then rental house came equipped with this yard ornament:


That was the best rack I’ve seen in years.

Saturday we drove from Estes Park to Lake Granby.  The route took us through Rocky Mountain National Park.

RMNP Drive Route The drive was gorgeous and we got to see some great views from the car.

RMNP scenes from the car

We got out of the car here and there to soak in the views and to document our stop at the Continental Divide.

RMNP RegularThe highlight(s) of the day have to be our jump photos.  We could not pass up the perfect back drop to perform jump photos and managed to get every family member to join in on the fun.  I don’t think we have laughed so hard in a while.  Here are the best jump photos from each family member:

Leonards Jump RMNP

We have perfected the following jump photo poses from left to right: “The Wrangler,” “The Classic,” (right facing) “The Mario Brother,” (both left and right facing) “The Frogger,” “The Cheerleader,” “The Classic,” (left facing) and "The Frassic” (combination Classic and Frogger). 

We had so much fun with this, it’s now a Leonard family obsession (or at least I am more obsessed with jump photos)!  Seriously, these jump photos are getting out of control.   But I don’t care, it is so much fun and you come away with hilariously awesome photos.  No more posed photos for me, BORING!

We jumped on the Continental Divide (on the Atlantic Side)!ContDivide_1 ContDivide_2 IMG_3155

Then we jumped above the tree line (we love the Frogger jump)!

RMNP Above Trees 

RMNP Above Trees 2 RMNP_9 We had a great weekend with the family in the mountains.  In addition to jumping around a lot, we ate some delicious donuts (not just donuts, that was just my favorite part of eating this weekend) and did some much needed relaxing.  Hopefully the family comes back soon!

Yet another successful weekend in Colorado!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dog Shaming

Have you seen that website where dog owners post photos of their dogs with notes of the bad things they did?  Its called www.Dog-Shaming.com Check it out for a dose of laughter.

I have caught a few Dog-Shaming-Worthy photos that I have taken over the years and thought I would share my version.

Winterized Jay

corn dog

bad elle

photo bombed.

jay and elle Quick Head Turn