My Fundraising Page

Sep 04, 2012 by Solange Deschatres

One Disneyland Half Marathon completed! Wow. It has been one exciting whirlwind of a weekend. Where do I even begin?

I picked up my race packet at the Disneyland Health and Fitness Expo, where a wide variety of runner-oriented clothing merchents were selling every kind of gear--with sparkles, and energy snacks and electrolytes sellers offered samples galore. I stopped by a booth hocking sunglasses, thinking, "Oh, I'll just try on a pair, they're probably way too expensive for this girl." I refuse to buy sunglasses over $50 because I lose them, and I was certain these things would be upward of $100. The saleswoman stuck a pair on my face and, immediately, I feel in love with the featherlight feel and the contour and fit. "You look like the Terminator!" a friend later told me. Obviously , yes, I bought them. They were only $30. Score!

The inspiration dinner was a glut of pasta, followed by a lot of cheering for top fundraisers and tearing for seven-year-old Kimi, a little girl with a rare form of leukemia, but plenty of joyfulness and spunk. When she received her very own pair of glittering purple and green TNT Minnie ears and clambored up to the microphone to ask the entire ballroom, "How do I look?" the whole crowd burst into giggles. It made me so glad to be able to play a part in saving such a beautiful little life.

We watched the fireworks from our hotel room at 9:30 p.m., knowing full well that I had to be up at 3:15 the next morning, in order to gear up and meet my team downstairs at 3:45. Race night, you don't really expect to sleep. I was up pretty much every hour, on the hour, until 3:00 rolled around, and I decided just to get up anyway.

The lot of us were groggy, yet nervous and excited for the early race start. As a team, we hoofed it over to the starting line of the race, and hung out until about 15 minutes before gun time, when we found our respective corrals and waited for the big start.

The start carried us off through surrounding Disney streets and right into the California Adventure park, around mile two, where we saw the "Cars" characters and found our way into "A Bug's Life." From there, we made our way through Disneyland, where characters like Peter Pan and Wendy, Daisy Duck, Chip and Dale, and Ariel stood waiting for pictures, and green army men from "Toy Story" ad-libbed with the running crowd, through megaphones, as we passed.

The fantasy world was short, however, and, by mile four, we were out of the park and running through the city of Anaheim. Still, we met cheers and entertainment all along the route by TNTers, locals and other spectators. At mile five, a few of my fantastic Westside TNT teammates held up personalized signs for me and a few other of our team members. Hearing someone call your name along the route is an incredible feeling!

Miles six and seven had cheer squads, bands and a few dance troupes along the way, and I heard many cheers from TNT squads out there. These miles had a slight upward incline for almost the entire way. My foot started to complain. By mile eight, the pain was pretty awful, and I thought, "What if my foot doesn't hold up?" After dealing with a few minor up and down hills, I found myself on flat ground again, and found my foot not hurting. At around mile nine, Coach Ed I. found me, and asked me how I was doing, and told me that I was one of the first members of our entire TNT team that he'd seen. He'd seen about five others (the fast people), but no one else.

"Really?!?" I asked.

"Yes. Don't let it go to your head, but you're one of the first." He said, laughing.

That little bit of info plucked me up a bit, and I marched on through Anaheim stadium, where we got to run around the field and see ourselves on the Jumbotron. Popping up on the other side of the stadium, we saw team after team of cheerleaders from various high schools, TNT supporters, and other fans.

I heard someone say, "Only a 5K to go!" and I looked up. Mile 10! I was so close to the end of the race, yet still so far. My legs were beginning to burn after three weeks worth of no midweek runs. My foot stabbed on and off, as we navigated hills or inclines. The effort felt tough on my body, but my heart and lungs felt like well-oiled machine bits. A TNT coach popped in and asked me how I was doing. "Great!" I said, confidently, surprised that the words came out effortlessly, even though my legs felt exhausted.

At mile 11, Joe and JoeAnn, a couple of my Westside teammates reappeared with my personalized sign, screaming their heads off. It may have been even more delightful at mile 11 than it was back at mile 5.

Shortly thereafter, I ran into Coach Ed A ., where, after feeling my foot twinge for a half a mile, I was wondering if it was finally cooked. After running with him for a little while, however, it disappeared. "See? It's all mental!" he joked.

I was getting excited as we swooped back through the Disney back lots. Spectators got thicker and thicker as we flew past the last water stop after mile 12. Home stretch!

The marker for mile 13 soon appeared out in front of us, yet, the finish line was nowhere to be seen. The path looped to the side, so the remaining .1 miles was just out of eyesight. My legs burned, but I picked up my pace ever so slightly for that "strong" finish, making sure that I was smiling brightly across that line. I finished!

My unofficial time was 2;19, about a 10:30 overall pace, but we haven't yet received official results. I am just so happy that I finished, my foot didn't fall apart, and I got a really wicked cool fancy medal to boot! :D

I am so grateful to my coaches and teammates for all of the amazing support I received in undergoing this challenge, and I'm so excited to keep going with the training,a nd to enter more distance races this year!

I'm also looking for a new challenge with TNT: An Ironman! Get ready for this one--it's going to be a doozy! :D :D :D

Starting Off On The Bad Foot
Aug 26, 2012 by Solange Deschatres

Last practice before race day today. Time has zoomed by! Three months ago I might never have thought that 13 miles would be a piece of cake. Now, here I am, and I'm ready for it.

Before every big race comes "the taper", where you run less and relax so that your legs are "fresh" for race day. Today's "long" run was a mere eight flat miles. No problemo! Except that I wasn't sure that I'd finish.

After last week's hellacious run, the top of my foot swelled overnight. I Googled it, and the only logical explanation was the dreaded, "Extensor Tendonitis"--an annoyingly painful, yet long-lasting tendon injury. Horrificly bummed, I iced the devil out of my foot, took anti-inflammatories, and stretched the thing however I could. Most online sources said that tendonitis could last one to two weeks. I was hopeful that this little problem would be a best case scenario.

This morning, there was no pain after walking on it, only a tiny tinge of pain when I rotated my foot a certain way. I decided to risk it and run, telling myself that I'd stop if the pain severely returned.

The first several miles of the run had me feeling good and heading out at a great 9-9:15 pace. I felt like this could be a comfortable race pace, and yet, would still get me in under the time that I was hoping for. Unfortunately, the comfort part was fleeting. As I headed down past mile four, the pain in my foot intensified. Crap.

At this point, I was already at the farthest part out, so there was no point in stopping. I bore through the pain and tried to focus on the scenery and the great company of my pace group. By the time we got to mile 8, my foot felt horrid, but my body felt fine. We ran it in at about 1:29 (that was with the 2 water stops).

When I got back, I stretched my foot and my other muscles. It didn't hurt much while walking, like it had last weekend. I hope that's a sign that it's in better shape this week. Either way, I'm going to rest it like crazy before Disney.

Worst case scenario, it still hurts in a week. I will be so joyful and distracted by the awesomeness of Disney, that my foot will be merely an annoyance. I know that I can get through it. For now, it'll be rest, ice, rest, ice. Wish upon a star for me! Last update will be next week!!!

All In All It's Just Another Brick In The Wall
Aug 19, 2012 by Solange Deschatres

Whoah, guys. I am still recovering from this morning's 12-mile run in the sun today. With temps reaching into the mid-to-high 80s and 90s today in the intense California sun, we had our morning cut out for us. We met in hilly Palos Verdes again at 7:30 in the morning, and, by 8:00, we were already sweating standing still.

No rest for the weary, we hunkered down and climbed the hills along the pathways 'til sweat flowed like waterfalls down my body and my breath felt unusually labored. By the time we hit mile 4.5 at the aid station, I was arguably sweatier than I'd ever been in my life. Luckily the aid station came equipped with packets of salt for the runners to replace lost minerals, and I dumped an entire packet into my Gatorade cup.

Assistant Coach Lisa and i kept joking about how the only thing we kept talking about was how hot it was. We were all suffering. Our group opted to take a few slightly longer walk breaks and to briefly stop to take a couple of pictures near the Palos Verdes lighthouse to cool down a bit. I started feeling slightly better around mile 6-8, but then lost my mojo around mile 9-10. My internal fears spiked. I began to wonder if I would be able to endure the heat, which compounded the fatigue I felt in my legs. I recovered a bit on the long downhill stretch back toward the Malaga Cove shopping center, where we started, and found the power to run it up two final hills, and on through the finish line.

For all of our lollygagging, the hills and extra walk breaks, we made the 12+ miles in about 2h30m. I kind of think that I'll do just fine with Disney. Oh, nice, flat, not too hot Disney! :D

After the run, I felt out of it and sweaty like a beast. I chugged one whole bottle of water, but still didn't feel right. I dashed into the local market and grabbed a huge Gatorade and a chocolate milk (it sounds gross, but, after a run like that, it's actually a sweet, good-for-you, amazing thing). After half of a chocolate milk and a few swigs of Gatorade in the shade, I began to return to myself a bit.

I guess this is the part where I learn how really, really hard running can be. That mind fights really hard to psyche you out and make you quit. However, you also have to make sure to take good care of yourself, especially in the heat, and listen to your body. Hydratiion is key on those long runs. Plus, I'll bet that a good night's sleep makes all the difference. I was in San Diego the night before and got, maybe, 4 good hours of sleep before this practice. Sleep might have made this a little less brutal. Still, now that I know what I'm capable of under extreme conditions, I shall think nothing of getting myself through the challenges that lie ahead.

I think that I've earned myself a good evening of relaxing nothingness. Two weeks til Dis Day! Yayyy!

So Close, Yet So Far.
Aug 12, 2012 by Solange Deschatres

Just about every runner or athlete has to deal with the dreaded injury. Things are going along fine with your training, then, one day, something happens that totally throws your lucky streak. Because training becomes your life and the high that you get from running makes you feel so incredibly powerful, many runners try to deny that they are, in fact, injured, often running through muscle pulls, tears, joint pain and other problems. Being "tough" about it is the absolute worst thing to do, and actually ensures a longer time on the sidelines, watching other runners swiftly pass you by.

Friday was the perfect example of how easy it is to injure yourself, even when you're doing everything right with your training. I was running one of my regular midweek, hour-long runs, when I noticed a woman and her big Chow Chow coming my way on the sidewalk. I made a move to the street to get out of their way, and my foot found a slight hole or crack in the road. My ankle crumpled slightly to the side, and I felt a strange flash of pain, a sort of cooling sensation shoot up my leg, and then, a few steps later, I was all right again, no worse for the wear (or so I thought).

Later in the evening, I noticed a bit of soreness in my leg, but nothing major. By the next day, that same muscle had become tight and painful when I walked. Even walking the dog that morning was no fun. I iced it and tried to rest it as much as possible, hoping that, by some miracle, it would be okay enough to run 14 miles on with TNT the next morning. I consulted my coaches, and, the general consensus was that I should rest it.

"I was hoping that you wouldn't say that," I told Coach Ed I. on Facebook.

I was so looking forward to the run. One of my teammates, Charlene, mentioned that she'd been aqua jogging, and, if I wanted to try it, she would go with me. I told her I'd see how I felt in the morning, as I was still hoping for that miracle, but that i'd try it.

This morning when I woke up, I pointed my left foot this way and that and felt only a tiny tinge of pain. Great! Then, I stood up and started walking around. Not so great. It had actually stiffened further overnight, so the first half of my dog walk in the morning was even less fun than it had been the day before. Needless to say, Sheila and I did not get very far before going home.

I still showed up for the meeting and heard an amazing story about a lively young woman and friend of a teammate, whose life was cut short by cancer. Stories like these remind me of how lucky I am to have an able body and to be able to run in order to raise money for people who really need help. It's important for me to remember that, although I've been briefly sidelined, it's only temporary.

Charlene met me over at the Santa Monica Community College pool to brief me on how to take up the whole aqua jogging thing. Basically, you wear a floaty belt and move through the pool as if you are running. It's not as easy as it sounds. It feels very weird at first, mostly because you're running and you feel like you're not going anywhere. I went up and down the lanes for 2.5 hours, steadily jogging and sprinting to get my heart rate up. By the end of my run, my legs felt feeble, but I wasn't pouring sweat like I would have at the end of a long TNT run, so, that was kind of nice for a change.

As for my leg, it's on ice now. Hopefully I'll get back to running on it in a few days, once the pain takes its leave. Then, I'll be stronger than ever after this new aqua jogging thing! Look out!

Just A Dozen Miles...And A Great Incentive To Give!
Aug 06, 2012 by Solange Deschatres

The deadline to donate to WIN a $50 gift card has been extended! I guess that people were a little dazzled by the Olympics and by the Mars Curiosity Rover landing this weekend, so I'm going to extend the entry deadline to Monday, August 13, 2012 by 9:00 a.m. PDT. Remember, 10 or more people must give $5 or more for the raffle to happen, so share, share, share!

I'm not going to lie, the double digit runs are brutal, especially when the first four miles are all uphill like they were on Sunday. I felt like The Big, Bad Wolf, coming to blow the houses down of the wealthy Brentwood/Santa Monica residents, by the way that I was huffing and puffing. Just when I thought I'd reached the summit, the road would wind around and reveal yet another long, uphill climb. As I fell further and further behind our muscular group leader, I wondered if I was going to be able to make it the full 12 miles.

Mercifully, the route via San Vicente to the beach was a gentle downhill slope. As we flew through flower-perfumed, shaded neighborhoods, my strength and vitality begain to revive. Still, the rest of the runners in my pace group were all seasoned half marathoners and marathoners. I was the only newb, and I wondered how I would fare on those final, painful miles.

The last uphill incline run, around mile 10, had me grasping for something to mentally hold onto. Coach Ed A. said that there comes a point during a race that it becomes almost more mental than physical. He said it was important to keep talking and not to focus too much on the activity itself. Fighting the urge to think about how tired you are is a lot harder than it seems. Luckily, i had our group leader, Carla, by my side, pushing me forward through the mental anguish.

When I finally crossed our group finish line, a sense of tranquility came over me. Okay, maybe it was also the homemade peanut butter cookie that I shoveled into my mouth shortly thereafter, but I felt accomplished, spent, proud. I felt like a warrior.

Next week, we're adding on another TWO miles. Yep, that will be longer than a half marathon, folks! I think I'll be well-prepared for Disney, don't you? :)

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Supporter Comments

    "It's a worthy cause. I am glad you are achieving your goals in the process. :-)"

    Nathalie Deschatres

    Mon May 14 01:24:40 EDT 2012

    "Yay, Solange! xoxo"

    Nicole Betz

    Thu Jul 12 12:02:55 EDT 2012

    "Go Solange!"

    Josh Markus

    Thu Jun 21 10:49:15 EDT 2012

My Fundraising Total

Raised: $2,260.00 | Goal: $2,200.00
103 %

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