Tag Archives: Birthday

Happy 4th Birthday, Where’s the Finish!

Where’s the Finish turns 4 today!

I can’t remember what it was like to be 4 years old, but I’ll certainly remember this past year in running (or not running).  From my sprained/broken ankle, to the misdiagnosis, the first rehab, the correct diagnosis, the second rehab, and the final (very late) return to running, it’s been a painful year without a lot of blog posting since I didn’t have much running stuff to write about.

Central Park’s version of “Reflection Lake.”

But that’s all over now, and I’m already in the eighth (8th!?!) week of training for the NYC marathon (12 weeks to go!).  I took the last two weeks totally off from running, however, as I was on vacation in the Pacific Northwest (Washington & Oregon)!  It was an amazing trip and I throughly enjoyed myself (and all the fish & chips & Dairy Queen…) but returning to running the last couple days has been painful.  Not because of my ankle, or even my knees, but because I feel like a bloated slug full of broken marbles and quick-setting cement.

Eating all of this yesterday on a food tour also did not help.

To be honest, even though I’m incredibly grateful and thrilled to be running again, running still kinda sucks.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s much better than not running, but there are still many days when it’s really, really hard, and it’s hot outside, or it’s too cold, or it’s raining, or I’m tired, or there’s something on TV (there’s always something on TV), or I’d rather reorganize my sock drawer than go out for a run.  And even when I do get out the door, sometimes the actual running sucks, too, and I feel heavy, and slow, and I can’t breathe, and everything hurts, and I’d rather be folding socks and watching TV.

Saw this in Central Park on my run today. So prophetic…

So, yes, there is hard work ahead.  And I’m trying to keep in mind what the cute PT told me recently – this marathon is about returning to running, not about speed, not about time.  It’s about being healthy and uninjured and enjoying myself.  I can’t compare myself to where I was a year and a half ago, or play the “what if I never injured myself” game.  I can just keep slogging out the uncomfortable miles and hope the growing pains don’t last too long.


And as I do on every blog birthday, I reflect on my goals.  Even though I’ve been stuck on state #24 for a long time now, I still hope to run a marathon in all 50 states (although half marathons are so tempting… but I’m not ready to drop down to that level yet).  I still hope to improve my running speed and endurance (which should be easy at this point since I’m bargain basement).  And I hope to celebrate many more birthdays with all of you!


How do you deal when running sucks?  Is rhubarb crisp an acceptable substitute for birthday cake?  What if you put a candle in it?  Share in the comments!

Hello, New Age Group!

Ridiculous unicorn hats are perfect for birthdays… or anytime, really.

Any runner can tell you that the only good best part about getting older is entering a new age group – which I did this week!  Hello and congratulations to the 40-45 group, as I will now be bringing down your average!


I also got some amazing running gifts for this big birthday – a Garmin 935 (!!!), a snazzy (and fast-looking) pair of Under Armor running sunglasses, and a gift certificate to Jackrabbit!  The running stuff makes me so happy because it shows my friends and family haven’t given up on my running, despite the seemingly endless break, and because I’m finally able to use running swag again!

Yes, this was at the end of my run – not even two miles!  😐

The Garmin Forerunner 935 deserves a full separate review but since I’m not so good with tech, and because there are many other, much better and more detailed reviews out there, I’ll just say this watch does everything (including give you text and email alerts from your phone just like an iWatch) and it magically synced with my couch to 5K app without me even telling it to (it vibrated and gave me the run/walk alerts just like the app, so I could conceivably run without headphones now).  I might turn 50 before I discover all the things this watch can do.

Pretty sunglasses 🙂

I start week 4 of Couch to 5K on Monday – they bump you up to a full five (5!) minutes of running.  My ankle is holding up ok, but my knees and the rest of me are a little upset I’ve gone back to this running thing.  Shhh, nobody tell my joints I’ve hit 40 (but I think they already know).


And if you want to watch Nike’s attempt to break the 2-hour marathon, you can stream it live tonight on Runner’s World (it starts at 11:45 pm EST or 8:45 PST).  The only bet I’ll make is that I’ll be asleep before we know the result.


How do you celebrate your milestone birthdays?  How many birthday cakes are too many for a single birthday?  Do you think we’ll ever break 2 hours in the marathon, and if so, when?  Share in the comments!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Where’s The Finish!

Me in my dreams.

Me in my dreams.

Whelp, I did not see that coming.  As you know, I sprained my ankle what feels like a million years ago (aka a little over 12 weeks) and I still can’t run.  So what do you write about if you can’t run but have a running blog?  Apparently a bunch of posts about spraining your ankle, and not much else.


A year ago I was just coming off EMT camp and loving life.  I’m happy to say that after that I mostly stuck to my goals, running lots of marathons (Twin Cities, PhiladelphiaRocket CityMississippi BluesLittle Rock, Garmin, and Delaware), qualifying for Marathon Maniacscross-training and getting in better and better shape – until The Injury.  I was also on a really good marathon schedule, running one every month or two – until The Injury.  Volunteering as an EMT at the NYC Marathon was great, and I got another volunteer EMT position in the city which was also wonderful – until The Injury.  So, state of the union-wise, the last 12 months weren’t totally terrible, just the last three – you know, since The Injury.

Artist's rendering of The Injury.

Artist’s rendering of The Injury.

Oddly enough, I’m more optimistic now about finishing the 50 states than I was two years ago.  Yes, I can’t run at all right now, and I still have no idea when my ankle will be well enough to do so, but after 24 states, my feelings towards covering 26.2 miles have changed a bit.  Maybe it’s because I allow myself to walk a lot (a lot) more than I used to, or maybe because I’m almost halfway to my goal, but I think it’s do-able and it’s still my main running goal.

Oh yes, I will.

Oh yes, I will.

It’s also kind of amazing to look back and realize how differently I feel in only two years (and I honestly don’t remember being injured that much, either, but apparently I was?).  All these changes happened so gradually I could’ve sworn I haven’t changed at all, and yet here there’s internet proof.  Now I’m Class Passing (aka cross-training) up a storm, I’m optimistic about 50 states, and I’m finally admitting that I have no immediate plans to esthetically improve this site, despite the fact that it is begging for it.


I also still might get my 9+1 NYRR races in this year (to qualify for the NYC Marathon in 2017), as my physical therapist is reluctantly allowing me to walk the social 5K this Thursday.  And yes, I’m still going to PT twice a week (and doing all the exercises at home every day), although since the cute guy isn’t at PT anymore I have to go solely for health reasons.  Booooring!


Finally, various other updates:  I walked 2.5 miles on Sunday without much problem, I’m still going to spin classes where I’m very much behind where I was 3 months ago but slowly improving, I started going to yoga again and can’t do child’s pose but my squats are improving in depth, and I’m going to Nashville this weekend for a bachelorette party.  Somehow those are all actually related, but I can’t explain how.


How have you changed as a runner over the last few years?  Are you watching Bachelor in Paradise?  Is it not the show we deserve, but the show we need?  Share in the comments!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Where’s The Finish!

Worth bursting my lungs for this view (behind the cabins at "EMT Camp").

It was worth bursting my lungs for this view (on the trail behind the cabins at “EMT Camp”).

It’s the second anniversary of WheresTheFinish.com, and much like the clock in a marathon, I don’t know how the time went by so fast.


I haven’t posted in a while because I spent the last month in Leavenworth, Washington, learning how to be an EMT (with some wilderness/remote skills added for good measure).  It was an amazing course full of amazing people, and I already miss being there.  If you have any interest in that sort of thing, I highly recommend it.


This is the kind of thing you come across while running around an EMT learning center.  (Don't worry, the blood was corn syrup.)

This is the kind of thing you come across while running around an EMT learning center. (Don’t worry, the blood is actually corn syrup.)


On the running front, I only managed to run 6 times over the entire month, and those runs were mostly walking up a steep trail and then picking my way carefully back down.  I have a lot of work ahead of me to get ready for my 4 marathons in 4 months this fall/winter…

A small segment of the "blue" trail behind our cabins at EMT camp.

A small segment of the blue trail I “ran” behind our cabins at EMT camp.


One of the reasons I wanted to become an EMT was so I can volunteer at the medical tents at races.  I hope to do that for the upcoming NYC Marathon and other NYRR races – but I also hope to see exactly none of you at the tents!


Otherwise, compared to a year ago I feel pretty good about the whole running thing.  I’m still woefully out of shape, but I’m not super injured right now (I always feel a little bit injured, as any runner can probably relate) and I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll get into better shape over the next year.  I’m still working on my full marathon in every state goal and I’m still having a lot of fun doing it.  I’m going to try to do more group runs (and runs in general) and I might sign up for a NYRR class again to gain some speed.  And I just registered for both the NYC Pizza Run and the NYC Cupcake Run because those races are basically made for me.


As for this website, I hope to do a bit more with it but I also said that a year ago.  As always, let me know if you have requests for particular content and I’ll do my best.  Until then I’m getting this shirt and living in the 32%.


How’s your summer going?  What races or goals do you have planned for the rest of 2015?  How much cake am I allowed to eat this week because of a website’s birthday?  Share in the comments!

Happy Birthday, Where’s The Finish!


WTFinish 1st birthday

Celebrating 1 year with MS Paint.

Happy first birthday!  I started WheresTheFinish.com one year ago today, and while I’ve enjoyed having this new blogging aspect to running, I’ve had a pretty bad year in terms of actually pounding the pavement.  From the Polar Vortex to new and (not) improved injuries, unexpected events led me to my first two DNS marathons and my Personal Worst marathon time.


In fact, these last few months (of injury and of being unable to train in even the half-assed way I call training) have made me seriously re-think my marathoning goals.  As of today I still want to run a full marathon in every state, but at this rate I think that desire is going to dwindle due to frustration.  Again, hasn’t happened yet, but I can feel it, and to temper that thought, I have to create some back-up plans.  Just like every marathon should be run with multiple goals in mind (so missing one goal won’t “ruin” your marathon experience), my marathon-of-marathons (aka the 50 States) needs to have another goal besides finishing 50.


It’s always been about the fun, the travel, and the experience, but right now it’s strongly tied to the full 26.2.  But I might have to swallow my pride and lower it to 13.1.  I don’t mean to take anything away from those who have the goal of a half in every state, but for me the real challenge was the full – I always felt that even without much training I could power through 13 miles, and thus a 50 States goal would only be one of travel and scheduling if it were only for half marathons.  A full marathon was (and increasingly is) a serious physical challenge for me, and one that I am never 100% sure I’ll be able to accomplish.


But these weeks of not being able to run at all, and the daunting prospect of needing to finish 37 more states, has sucked some of the fun out of the adventure.  I love traveling to these random towns and seeing the US in a way I never would otherwise, and I love being social with other runners at the pasta dinners and the races themselves, so I don’t want to give up race travel entirely.  I must remind myself that there is no gold medal* for finishing a marathon in every state, and no one besides me will ever care if I do it or not.  It’s really only the Type-A gunner inside me that won’t view the “half or full in every state” as a true accomplishment.  I’m going to have to have a chat with that gunner, show her my plantar fasciitis, my tendonitis, my patellofemoral pain syndrome, and my random hip pain, and try to convince her that halves are good enough.  She might hold out a few more years (especially if the injuries subside), and she might even see me through all full 50, but she might also concede that halves might have to do for now (and then she will promptly justify why that’s a good decision, not only for health but also for sightseeing purposes, and while we’re at it, why don’t we try going for a new PR in that half time?).  Shhhh, gunner, this is all still very tentative, and I still have vague hopes to run the Blerch and plans to run Chicago and Houston.


This was meant to be a “happy birthday” post but I suppose re-evaluating the main theme of this blog is an appropriate thing to do on an anniversary.  I have no plans on quitting the blog (I know you were worried…), but would love to hear any feedback on what kind of future posts you’d like to see – race recaps, general travel info, candy reviews, gear reviews, random posts about my running life, other running topics I haven’t covered but you’d like to see?  Please share your blog desires in the comments, and I promise to consider them as I eat candy.


Also, to celebrate this site’s 1-year anniversary, I’ve signed up for the NYC Pizza Run.  It’s about 2 miles of “running” and 3 large slices of pizza-eating, and, let’s be honest, I would have signed up even if it wasn’t the website’s birthday.  I might only barely be able to run right now, but my pizza-eating skills have only improved with age.  Expect a full recap with at least one photo of which I’m terribly ashamed.


Finally, some random housekeeping – sorry for my lack of posts; they are only equaled by my lack of running.  I still owe you a bunch of Montana photos/posts, and I also took an unexpected cross-country road trip last week, wherein I visited a lot of states but did not run a step.  I will get to those soon-ish, as Blerch is rapidly approaching (6 weeks away!), as is Chicago (only 9 weeks!).


*I just discovered the lucite award that the 50 States Club used to award finishers has been replaced by a paper certificate!  This is both a devastating blow and also oddly liberating, as I was willing to run my knees into the ground to get that damn lucite award, but I’m not willing to do much for a paper certificate (diplomas notwithstanding).


Do you ever re-evaluate your running goals?  Do you like pizza and live in the tri-state area?  Are you outraged by a paper certificate replacing the lucite award?  Do you think it’s ok to eat birthday cake for a website?  Share in the comments!