I leave for Las Vegas in four days.
I’ve been excited about this trip for a long time. Not only will I be running the Las Vegas Half Marathon on Sunday evening (attempting to PR — have I mentioned that?), I’ll also be out there with my nice friend Brian — it’s his half marathon debut — and we’ll be celebrating his birthday. Lots to be psyched about!
But last night, after a very blah Chisel class at the gym, I was reminded of the real reason I’m going out to Las Vegas to run this race.
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is the charity sponsor for the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, and I’m honored to be running as part of CCFA’s Team Challenge program.
Through Run For The Rabbit — and with your help — I raised more than $20,000 for CCFA. I’m still pretty blown away by that number and I’m so humbled by all of the support I received throughout the fundraising and marathon training process.
Now I get to join thousands of other runners while we crush the Vegas Strip.
Last night I attended the Team Challenge NYC travel party at the CCFA offices. It was my first time meeting all the Team NYC runners and Daphnie, the team coach. Everyone was nice and everyone was so excited. The race on Sunday is most peoples’ first half marathon — and for many of them it’s their first race ever. The energy in the room was totally contagious and I left the meeting feeling all kinds of giddy about this race.
When the meeting started, we went around the room introducing ourselves and saying why we’re running this race or who we’re running it for. I awkwardly let everyone know that, “I’m Ali and I’m running this race for…myself I guess…because I have Crohn’s…or colitis…but I’m also running it for my brother, who has Crohn’s, too, and for all the great people I’ve met through this program.”
And then I did a little involuntary giggle and my throat made a weird noise. Nice to meet you, everyone.
As each team member shared his or her reasons for running, I actually teared up a little, which was weird. I wasn’t expecting to get emotional, but all the stories really touched me. Of course it warmed my heart hearing from the people who were training for the race through flare-ups (power to you all!), but I especially loved hearing from the people who were running in honor of their loved ones. It’s pretty cool that people are willing to train for a 13.1 mile race to raise money for something that will help people they care about. I like that.
It’s been two years since I ran a race with Team Challenge and I forgot just how great this program is.
I also found out last night that Team NYC is the top fundraising team in the country. I was the second highest fundraiser on Team NYC, and the sixth highest fundraiser in the country! Apparently, by being in the Top 10, I get to use special porta potties at the start line. That may be the new highlight of my life. I am psyched. Special toilets! Just for doing a good deed!
I went to sleep last night feeling very happy and grateful.
Then I woke up this morning feeling sleepy.
My alarm was all, “Ali! Wake up! Time to run! Do what Coach Cane told you to do! Gooooo!”
Yeah I know, Coach Cane isn’t technically my coach anymore. But he still helps me out when I send him emails saying, “I’m going to try to PR on Sunday. What should I do this week?”
He graciously responded within minutes with some sage advice:
Go crack some heads in Vegas. You don’t need to go crazy with the taper — just don’t do anything hard after tomorrow. Unlike some other runners, you don’t seem to respond well to a big taper, and it’s not really necessary for a half marathon. I’d do some long intervals at goal pace tomorrow — maybe 3 x 1 mile at HM pace with 1/4 mile recovery jogs — and then cruise with some easy runs the rest of the week. Do an easy jog when you land, and throw in a few striders so you can feel some speed, but keep them short so you’re not tired.
Isn’t he the best? Here’s a picture of his new son Simon, in case you forgot what he looks like:
The plan for this morning was a one-mile warm-up, three miles at my half marathon goal pace and a one-mile cool-down.
The warm-up mile was lovely, the first goal-pace mile was lovely, the second goal-pace mile started to feel like work and the third goal-pace mile was a real bitch. And the cool-down was delightful.
Brian was in charge of wearing the watch and setting the pace, which is the plan for Race Day. My plan is to just try to stay with him.
We were both hurting a bit this morning by the end of the run. My legs are definitely ready to chill now as Race Day approaches.
Also, I ran in a tank top and shorts…on November 29. I love it.
So now I have my Team Challenge singlet, I have my playlist ready to go and I have my last speed workout completed. I’m good to go, right?
I’m honestly a little freaked out at the thought of trying to maintain a 7:45 pace for 13.1 miles. I’m trying not to think about it too much, but it scares me. I know that if I dwell on the number on the watch — which thankfully I won’t even be wearing, but still — I’ll get all mental and crazy.
So to summarize:
- I’m really really excited to be running with Team Challenge.
- I might have access to private porta potties.
- My hamstrings are sleepy.
- My plan for Race Day is to start running fast when I cross the start line and not let up until I cross the finish.
Have a great Tuesday, friends!