October 13, 2012 – Hartford Marathon
3:41:35 (pictured right l-r: Karen Fortier, Lara Favreau, Lymerunner, Lisa Labonte. Click on image to enlarge.)
Eighteen weeks ago my friend Lisa Labonte and I decided we wanted to try to qualify for and run in the Boston Marathon before we turned 50 years old. Lisa was recovering from a broken shoulder and having to take time off running, so setting this as our goal seemed like a great way to challenge ourselves.
We roped in our running buddies Karen Fortier and Lara Favreau and training began. We followed Hal Higdon’s 18 week intermediate training plan but added interval training on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays waking at 4am to be at our local track for a 5am start. In fact, Karen and Lara were NOT training for any marathon, but just because they are that kind of friend, they woke up early and did this crazy training with us. I guess the training was addictive; Lara decided she was also going to join us to run the marathon. We picked Hartford as we’ve been running the ½ marathon there with our good friends Joanna & Pat Connor who also play host to us for the weekend. In fact they put on a dinner the night before, make sure we’re all in bed at a sensible time, get us to the start of the race on time and put on one of the best post race parties ever!!! (Thx guys!!! We don’t call Jo the nurturer for nothing!) The hard work and sacrifices paid off. The marathon was perhaps the best run I’ve ever had. It was textbook perfect. The weather was perfect, starting off at about 40F and warming to about 54F during the run. The course was beautiful and flat, my fuel, hydration and pace all worked out. I needed to run it in under 3:55 to qualify for Boston and ended up running it in 3:41:35. Lisa ran despite having severe stress fractures and extremely infected toenails, a trooper like none other! Karen, a Hartford ½ marathon verteran, rocked the ½ marathon again this year, setting a new PR in the process. I have to include a quote from Karen here because at the start of the race, we all joined hands and snaked our way through the crowd to get to our pace times, but apparently, and I didn’t hear this, someone yelled out: “You’re not that good!”.
“Undeterred by the voice calling out, “you’re not THAT good”, 4 tribe athletes lock hands & snake their way through the masses to get a more advantageous start to the Hartford Marathon & just the Half Marathon for one tribe athlete. The good start lead to a great finish with 2 tribe athletes completing the marathon in qualifying times for the 2014 Boston Marathon, a valiant finish by another tribe athlete who ran with a stress fracture & painful infected big toes, & a PR in the half marathon race. Oh yes, we are THAT good!” – Karen Fortier
Supporting Lyme Disease Awareness
In support of my battle with Lyme Disease, my friends decided they’d all wear their Jimmy the Greeks Maine Mall 5K for Lyme Disease. I was touched and humbled by this gesture. Two days before the marathon I learned of two other people who had lost their battle to Lyme so I decided to add to the back of my shirt, which Joan Benoit Samuelson signed, the message “Lyme Can Kill, Fight Lyme Disease”. Along the run we had a conversation with some fellows who also have Lyme and whose family are still struggling with the disease. I was also passed by a woman who told me she had Lyme Disease and thanked me for wearing my shirt. It was in honor of everyone with Lyme that I was so proud to cross the finish line strong, qualifying for the Boston Marathon in the and hopefully raising awareness about the disease in the process.
September 9, 2012 – The Nation Tri, Washington DC
Runner on Team “High Cadence – GET IT UP” 10K @ 46.46
(pictured left l-r: Lymerunner, Andrew Woznica, Lara Favreau. Click on image to enlarge.)
(picture right: our finishing times, that’s right, we came in 6th overall for the coed teams!!! Click on image to enlarge.)
In September we traveled to Washington DC to participate in The Nation Tri in support of Lymphoma funding and research. My sister Annette has Lymphoma, is in remission, and cycles with a passion unrivaled by any (well, except maybe my husband). This was my first year doing this event as the “Tribe” had done this event the previous year. This was also my husband’s first triathlon and my friend Lara’s first mile swim in a triathlon. Lara is a fantastic all around athlete, but the prospect of swimming in the Potomac wasn’t filling her with warm fuzzy thoughts. Yet she totally rocked the swim. After standing outdoors in 48F weather for over 45 minutes, dressed only in a tri suit, (see photo left) she did the swim in a whooping 32 minutes!!! My husband didn’t suffer from any nerves the way I usually do and hammered out a solid 1:13:59 25 mile ride.
Between 3 groups of friends on coed and all female teams plus two friends who did the whole triathlon solo, we had a fabulous time, worked hard and raised money for a great cause, supporting my sister and all with Lymphoma. (picture right: l-r: Joanna Connor, Deanna Colacito, Pat Connor, Lymerunner, Andy Woznica. Click on image to enlarge.).
August 5, 2012 – Beach to Beacon 10k
48:58.7 (crazy hot humid day, 85F)
Founded by Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist, the race celebrated it’s 15th year anniversary, raising money for the Center for Grieving Children. This year marked a special year for me for two reasons: 1. it was after running this exact race 5 years ago that I became ill with Lyme Disease, thus being able to run it 5 years later brought me full circle in my Lyme journey and 2. I got to meet and run pre-race with the founder herself, Joan Benoit Samuelson!!! (picture left l-r: Karen Fortier, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Lymerunner, Karen and I are wearing our Jimmy the Greek Maine Mall 5k for Lyme Disease that just happens to match Joan’s Nike top perfectly! Click on image to enlarge.) This race usually kicks my butt. The humidity usually starts to take it’s toll at mile 5 with the last mile being uphill with a nice challenging slope into Fort Williams, where the race finishes.
If I didn’t have my good friends running along side me, it would be a lot harder, but with them, I am consistently getting my time down for this race. Hopefully next year I can take even more time off. We’ll see. But it’s really about being with friends and donating to such a worthy cause. (picture right: Lymerunner, Dan Donahue, Lisa Christopher Labonte and Catherine Sam Kane. Click on image to enlarge.)
July 29, 2012 – Tri for a Cure Triathlon
Relay team Lymphomaniacs, (my sister has Lymphoma, she rode, our friend Rachel, another cancer survivor swam)
Runner of 5K @ 21: 36
I wish I could remember the exact date my sister phoned me up to ask me what I was doing July 29, 2012!!! I think it was a weekend day in January or February, so I told her I didn’t think I had any plans at all and she said good, how would you like to do the Tri for the Cure with me as the runner on my team, the Lymphomaniacs. From that day forward I knew July 29, 2012 would be an emotional day. First, remembering my sister-in-law, Valerie Coulombe and valiant fight she put up against cancer, losing the battle in April 2011 filled me with a sense of purpose and pride (photo left – running in memory of Valerie. Click on image to enlarge.). The Tri for the Cure is an all women event that raises money for the Maine Cancer Foundation. Athletes are cancer survivors, family and friends and it is truly a site to behold when you look at the sea of over 5000 women who are all there to support one another. In fact, I dare anyone to watch this YouTube video and not be moved: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKhXMs4abKk.
The second and possibly most emotional part of the event is that the athletes all get to cross the finish line together as a team, and knowing I’d do this with my sister, and Rachel, both survivors, was one of the most poignant moments in my whole running career! (photo right l-r: Lymerunner, Annette Coulombe, Rachel Dyer. Click on image to enlarge.)
June 6, 2012 – Pirate Tri: Clock Time 1:26:57.9
Swim: 12:39, Bike: 48:34, Run: 22:24
(picture left l-r: Elliot, Andrew Woznica, Lymerunner, Annette Coulombe before the start of the tri. Click on image to enlarge.)
So after letting me talk her into the Polar Bear Tri (our first tri ever), my friend Lara suggest we do the Pirate Tri, her logic being, why let all that cross training go to waste. The distances were further, the course a bit tougher and unlike our first tri, the swim was NOT in a pool, but rather in an open body of water. I just want to emphasis this one more time, the swim was NOT in a pool but in an open body of water, my first ever competitive swim in open water in fact! And the completely brilliant thing about this whole swim was that I only found out 2 minutes before the swim began exactly how far out I was going to have to swim.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression “there’s nothing like being thrown into the deep end”, but this was going to be very, very deep and I wasn’t being thrown in, I was willingly going to plunge myself right in there, facing one of my biggest fears in the process (picture right: Lymerunner emerges from the swim and starts taking off her wetsuit preparing for the ride portion of the tri. Click on image to enlarge.). However, there’s another saying, “volunteers make out better than draftees”. At the time I didn’t realize that my swim was going okay and was only a minute off my pool training time and 6 seconds faster than my first tri swim in a pool, but now I’m looking forward to 2013 when I hope my new found confidence (because I didn’t drown) will help me take even more time off my swim.
I also hope to work harder at my cycling (I dropped my water bottle the first mile into the ride and knowing I’d need it, had to go back to pick it up). All and all, the sense of achievement from doing this event was amazing. I faced up to one of my greatest fears, overcame it, had a strong performance, and helped raise money for Camp Sunshine in the process. (picture left: Lara Favreau and Lymerunner post Pirate Tri. Click on image to enlarge.)
May 5, 2012 – Polar Bear Tri: Clock Time: 1:18:51.2
Swim: 12:42, Bike: 37:33, Run: 23:37
(picture right l-r: Lara Favreau, Karen Fortier, Lymerunner, no matter how fast we swim, no matter how far we sink, no matter how far we run, we are officially triathletes, Click on image to enlarge.)
Cinco de Mayo and this was the first triathlon I have ever competed in. Thanks to Plantar Fasciitis and the need to take time off running, I decided to cycle and swim to stay fit, keep my joints loose and stay on top of Lyme. Starting with Coach Troy Jacboson’s “Spinervals” in my basement (Oct. 2011), I gradual developed a strong love for having the phrases “Get it up” and “high cadence” yelled at me. I wanted to share this delight with others so proposed to my running buddies that they join me on this escapade. Being a group that is always up for a challenge, I knew they’d say yes, though we all had major parts of the tri to work through, for example, two of us weren’t strong swimmers but moreso, none of us had ever done a tri and none of us knew exactly what the flow of the tri was, how it would work, how we’d transition, etc. We watched YouTube videos, spoke to many friends who had done triathlons before, got as much advice as we could from many different sources, ran mock triathlons ourselves and thought that on the day it would be what it would be. We weren’t the fastest, but I think I can say we were the most enthusiastic and I think that rubbed off on the other athletes. This also turned out to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever done in my life and I can truly say that it has opened a whole new door of athletic possibilities for me. Can’t wait to do it again in 2013 and hope to take 18 minutes off my time. Wow, already setting 2013 goals!!
April 29, 2012 – Jimmy the Greek’s Maine Mall 5k for Lyme Disease
5K @ 23:08
(picture left: thank you card with a montage of photos from the day. Click on image to enlarge.)
This is quite possibly the biggest and most important event I’ve ever organized, and with the help of Jim Albert (Owner, Jimmy the Greek), Stephanie Millet (Marketing Manager, Maine Mall), Tony Myatt (race director), Amie Levasseur (LymeBuddies), my family, and a group of tremendous friends, the first ever Jimmy the Greek’s Maine Mall 5K for Lyme Disease came off without a hitch!!! First, what a learning experience! My laundry list of all that had to be done was extensive, from mapping the route to policing, city permits, coning, organizing volunteers, promoting… it seemed there was always something new to think about or organize. And yet, for a first year race in Maine, it was quite a success. The race had 299 registered runners and walkers and more than 40 volunteers! People came as far away as New Jersey to honor loved ones with the disease (picture right: A group of runners from New Jersey pick up their race packets and shirts from Jimmy the Greeks. Also pictured in beige top, Allyn Genest and Lymerunner. Click on image to enlarge.)
My running buddies from Massachusetts also ran en masse for this inaugural event. This year, we are confident of attracting over 500 participants. All proceeds go to help children with Lyme Disease and other Lyme-related causes. The 2013 date will be Sunday, April 28, 2013. Please contact me for more details and watch for blogs about the event! (picture left l-r: Joanna Connor, Martha Hall, Pat Connor, Lymerunner, Heather Taylor. Click on image to see enlarged view.) (picture right: Lymebuddies business cards.)
For a full gallery of images, click here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3737915923447.2166617.1142607922&type=3
April 7, 2012 – Burns Run for Education
CK Burns School has put on this race for the past few years as a way to raise much needed funds for the school. As my children have and still attend this school, it’s the perfect way to help out. Parents, friends and family all take part in this race. There is also a kids fun run and this year my son took part in the event. We both had a PR for this race, and I even managed to come in first in my age group!!
February 5, 2012 – Mid Winter Classic (10 miles)
1:24:10 (slightly warmer, 24F)
(picture right: Lymerunner preparing for 10 mile run in hilly Cape Elizabeth)
In 2011 I signed up for this race, very optimistic about my chances for a great run. The weather, as always precarious, had other ideas and the event ended up being cancelled. This race is capped at 800 participants and sells out fast, but my registration from 2011 guaranteed me entrance into the 2012 event. There was only one problem, my father underwent open heart surgery the Friday before the Sunday of the event. I didn’t know if I would have the mental or physical strength to run. I was exhausted with worry for my father, 80 years old, for how he would make it through the surgery and how he would recovery. Before going under, he told me he wanted me to run for him but I didn’t want to leave him for the amount of time it would take me to run the race. Then again, as it was a capped race, I didn’t think I would feel so great about taking the place of someone who also wanted to run but couldn’t get in because I had their spot and chose not to run. So, in honor of my father, as true a trooper as there is out there (he used to jump out of airplanes in his teens to fight forest fires!), I laced up my running shoes, donned my winter running apparel and attacked all 10 miles of this race, returning to his hospital bed 2 hrs later to be back by his side. I think it did us both good; when I returned to the hospital my father was actually up and walking around (with the help of a walker and several members of staff and family by his side), making a full recovery in less than 2 months. I never doubt where my sister and I get our fighting spirit from.
January 15, 2012 – Jimmy the Greeks Frozen 4 miler
31:02 (run in 8F weather!)
After 4 months off running and with only 2 weeks of runs in the bag, I decided I just had to do this race that has become my staple start of the new year race. I mean really, if you can run 4 miles in 8F weather, wouldn’t that set you up nicely in the confidence stakes for the rest of the year. Also, this event supports a great charity, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and also helps send children from Old Orchard Beach to camp. As always, my running buddies from Saco and Massachusetts were on hand to do this event with me. (picture left l-r: Karen Fortier, Pat Connor, Andy Martindale, Lymerunner, Joanna Connor. If I look a bit possessed it’s probably just because I was experiencing the joy of sensation coming back to my face after such a brutally cold run!!!)