The Final Words of a Marathon Rookie.
Oct 13, 2011 by Luz Corona
This is it, people. I am 4 days away from running a marathon for the first time. Everyone has been asking – how do you feel?
Last time you loyal readers were here, I was ambitiously looking to elbow my way into the Hamptons Half before even I was even registered and already planning a 20 mile run that day. And clearly I was just kidding about listening to my body, the NUMERO UNO rule to follow during this kind of training (or in general). Shortly after that post, I ran a 16 mile run that still haunts me not because of the distance, but because my tunnel vision had me so focused on getting to that number that I ignored all red flags. Who would have thought that panting through 12 miles and limping the next 4 was going to lead to consequences? Not this gal!
I spent the next week in and out of running until my teammates gave me a reality check that HELLO GIRLFRAND that ankle was not going to heal itself. After days of resting, icing, and advil’ing, I was good to go the week before Hamptons. Gliding through a 3.5 mile run with the team and I was feeling good, feeling great. SYKE! The next day I fell victim to the early season death flu that seemed to knock everybody out. Another week out of running, out of work, and right into bed for the next 7 days I went.
So why am I giving you a play by play of the fickle immune system that belongs to Luz F. Corona? Because it is the main gig in the fiesta of insecurity playing in my mind right now. Why am I using cheesy metaphors, you ask? Probably because I just watched How I Met Your Mother. Anyway hard to believe I was much more confident back during mile 14/15 than I am now, four days away from the big showdown. The two weeks I lost through my own fault are really taking a toll on my mental game plan for tackling those San Fran hills.
And then I am brought back to the REAL reason I’m here:
All the aches, miles, pre-dawn runs, and so forth, I bring myself back to the person I am grateful to be bringing with me to San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Marathon. My pain and complaints cannot compare to the people that suffer through months of chemo and don’t always get to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am one of the lucky ones that got to keep her mother and best friend and that is why I am going to rock 26.2 miles of asphalt.
And then I am brought full circle to the people that made it possible for me to make it this far. You! And by you, I mean the dozens of friends, family members, and even strangers that believed enough in my story to donate and keep me going. Because of you I was able to raise almost $4,000 that contributed to the $63,000 the LLS Westchester chapter raised this year. Times are truly rough these days and it is a beautiful thing to see that so many people still donate for a good cause. And what an awesome surprise to see old friends and new friends offer words of support, regardless of how close we were. I mean it when I say I will truly never forget it.
And to those that are wondering, I am not done! Well I’m done with this lengthy post (it’s getting late) but I am most certainly not done with running! It looks like I will be joining the alumni crew and running the NJ Half in March as a non-fundraising mentor. I can only hope I can be as great to my future mentee as my support system was to me. Joanne and Sandy, thanks for making my first TNT experience an amazing one and making me want to come back for more. If I could give you a lifetime supply of GU gel as my way of thanking you, I would. But I can’t so a framed picture of my face will just have to do.
(Motivation for the past two weeks courtesy of Allison Steinberg)
So my final words are these:
I’m ready to rock 26.2 miles of running.
My TNT family is full of rockstars.
My mother is the most beautiful person I know.
THANK YOU :)
P.S: I can’t wait to have burgers and beers.
Sep 05, 2011 by Luz Corona
…days to go until the big day, yowza! Training is in high gear (or hasn’t it always been?) as we all near our “big days.” Double digits continue and my TNT teammates have been so motivated in their training as they near the starting line for the Hamptons Half and Full on September 24th that I have decided I cannot possibly miss out on this fiesta. Yes, two weeks before the race and registration is full – seems like a great time to elbow my way into this thing (blame my inner child for this “I want” moment). All is yet to be confirmed but keep your fingers and eyeballs crossed for me.
I am also due for my 20 mile run that day so it looks like a 7 mile “warm up” before the Half is on the agenda for that day. Over the past two weeks, my body has given me a bit of a reality slap telling me “HEY you determined little diva, stop working me so damn hard.” I may have gone a bit overboard on hills training following the 14-15 mile run at North County Trail a few weeks ago and my back went kaputz. The usual body achiness went up a few notches affecting my ability to function in general, much less run. This was one time where being a couch potato was living the good life.
Now I am back and ready to rock. A few 5:30 am runs with an old friend throughout the streets of Peekskill and TNT team runs throughout Westchester have got me back on the grind. Sometimes suburbia ain't so bad.
Riverfront Park, Peekskill (courtesy of Westchester Mag)
And I have officially met the fundraising minimum of $3,200! New goal is $4,000 because I know there are enough good people out there that can help make this happen. Every penny goes to finding a cure for cancer so I thank you all for joining in on this ride.
Peace, love, and protein.
Double Digits Bonanza.
Aug 21, 2011 by Luz Corona
That’s right, my millions of fans out there – we are hard at work and mastering the double digits!
This past weekend we, as a team, worked hard to make our goals for our half and full marathons. Running has always been enjoyable for me but when you’re running with a group of people who are striving to push it to their limits too, it’s different. There’s usually a feeling of accomplishment following our long Saturday runs – of course having your teammates there at the end of a run to congratulate you on a job well done plays a role too. But this past Saturday, we knew we were getting closer to the big day. We set out on the North County Trail - the Hamptons Half peeps had a successful 10 mile run and my way motivating mentor Joanne pushed me to 14 miles (plus 1 mile walking so technically 15). After “gliding” through a good chunk of our run, good ole summertime weather caught up to us and challenged us. Challenge accepted - in yo’ face humidity! Mental energy is key in this process – Joanne fueled mine with advice and stories to distract me from my aching hip bones and soon enough she was counting down so that we could finish our 14 strong. Marathon training is a personal journey for people, but in this case we rely on each other to prepare in making it to that finish line. There are injuries and conflicting schedules along the way, but we all have running on the mind and I have no doubt that all the hard work my amazing teammates and I put in will pay off on our big race days (do you hear that Ally!?) :)
I can go on and on about how amazing it felt to reach a personal best, keeping at a decent pace, how it feels like I need new legs (or a new body), etc. However, it’s a little hard to really put into words. There was a sense of accomplishment in the air and that right there is the beauty of running.
Eating, breathing, and sleeping hills for the next two months - San Fran, you will be mine!
"I Run Because I Can."
Aug 10, 2011 by Luz Corona
My apologies to the millions of faithful readers out there who wait for this to come out. I know, I’m on everyone’s Top 501 Favorite Authors list. It really has been one doozy of a month. I am currently recovering from an amazing run I had today with some TNT ladies at Kensico Cemetery. For all of you who ran scared from the monsoon into your comfy houses and probably watched some real good HBO movies while pigging out to delish foods, we had some mileage to build, people. The skies cleared up just in time to give us some hazy clouds and 80 degree-ish temperature for a 5 mile run through some new peaceful territory. I’m not a fan of hills but I’m under the impression that San Fran isn’t going to get rid of them anytime soon so here’s to sucking it up and make a TNT mantra “we love hills” my new favorite phrase until October 16th. Don’t expect me to sing that tune after October 16th unless there’s some crazy incentive like a plethora of Chaco Tacos waiting at the top, though.
Running around in circles has seemed to be the theme of my life for the past 3-4 months (or 22 years?) It has taken some readjusting to shift focus on what’s really important right now – building up to run 26.2 miles and actually enjoying the ride at the same time. I know that doesn’t really make sense – “26.2 miles” and “enjoying” all in the same sentence!? Emily Faherty’s article “I Run... Because I Can: Countdown to the New York City Marathon” in the Huffington Post summarizes every emotion that one comes across during their TNT experience. After years of being involved in sports, one eventually learns that at the end of the day mental energy is just as important as physical energy, if not more.
I run because I can. Although it’s never been summarized so perfectly before, this is what has gotten me through every single run in my life. A few years ago my friend lost his leg in his battle to cancer. This was a friend that fought this rigorous battle at the same time as my mother, something I had a hard time understanding – how could this sickness just come out of nowhere and take over two people who had lives to live? He had gone to school to run on the track team. But cancer doesn’t care about agendas or who it chooses – it is a battle that we can only hope will one day be eliminated.
The day I found out my friend lost his leg, I went to the place that has always brought me a peace of mind – the Van Cort Elementary School track. There is nothing special about this track – the field is overgrown and the shady areas are not enough to completely relieve the sun beating down. I didn’t even go to school there. But it is full of memories of my Lakeland Panas Track Team practices - warm ups, cool downs, easy to brutal practices, fooling around with memorable friends that shared the same insanity I did for running around in circles for 2 hours, friends I’ll never forget. It is a place where I know my finish line is wherever I choose it to be. That day, I don’t know how long I ran, I don’t remember my playlist, I don’t remember all my thoughts. I only knew that I ran for myself, for my friend, to enjoy the ability to use two healthy legs just stretching out in front of me, going and going until my body could no longer keep up. My friend did recover and found an alternative to keep his love for running going – we run because we can.
Well, there you have another story that has kept me going through this insanity. All the i’s are hearted and T’s are crossed – on Monday I signed my recommitment papers and am officially running in the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco on October 16th in the honor of the most wonderful person I have in my life. I can’t believe it either. No, literally I can’t believe it so someone get out the super soakers and soak this gal back to reality! I know that day when I’m crawling by mile 16 (ok maybe not crawling, maybe just slightly limping that can easily be masked by some swagger) I’ll be thinking of all of you who have supported this craziness. And then I will just pop back up and swagger for real all the way to the finish line! Roses will be thrown, Chaco Tacos on silver platters, Tiffany’s jewelry left and right! Well maybe not all that but do know that I will be thinking of all of you and there is no option of giving up after so many people believing in me. My Christmas themed fundraiser “Jingle Bell July” was a huge success – friends and family came out to Division Street Grill and brought me $900 closer to my goal. The combination of classic Christmas songs, live music by the rockin Radio Rental, generous raffle prizes from local businesses, and everyone that supported the cause was enough to bring some merriness to July Please be sure to check out the pictures from the night in the link in the post below.
Well next time I promise to supply bookmarks for these extensive entries I’m throwing your way – bookmarks, tomatoes to throw, audio tapes so you can listen to it in the car, you name it I got it!
Happy Wednesday almost Friday,
Merry sweaty Christmas.
Aug 10, 2011 by Luz Corona
We did it, everyboday! A little late on the update, but my Christmas themed fundraiser "Jingle Bell July" at Division Street Grill raised $900! It was a night of merriness and a reminder of how blessed I am to have so many people come out and support this crazy ride. I also received a Certificate of Appreciation from the town congratulating me on being a part of TNT in honor of my mother. JBJ also made it into The Examiner and PennySaver Community - what a way to ease the nerves and kick off the event.
I cannot thank you all enough for coming and can guarantee that, like all the other people that have donated to my fundraiser, I will truly never forget those who believe enough in me to support me.
A brief but enjoyable picture story of the night can be found here - for some reason having a little difficulty in loading all these here but hope you all enjoy :)
The temperature is rising and so is the Christmas cheer.
Aug 10, 2011 by Luz Corona
Looks like this one will have to be a quick update on this crazy but amazing ride that Team in Training has turned my life into:
- "Jingle Bell July" made The Daily Cortlandt! A great article that takes a look into the program that is having a huge impact on my life and how it all began.
- MORE raffle prizes generously donated by a few of my favorite local eats!
Stay tuned to my fundraising page to hear about the rest of the raffle prizes that are coming in and how it looks like Santa Claus may be coming to town early this year to help spread the holiday cheer at Jingle Bell July!
Training has been going well with the exception of a few minor health issues that got in the way but that run in FDR tonight is getting me right back on track where I'm supposed to be. It was an up and down week but I won't get into hairy details - all that matters is that with my family standing strong, everything will always work itself out.
When self-motivation is on the slacker side, I remember the reason I started this whole thing. Running has always been my release, a way to disconnect from everything and I just enjoy the fact that i'm blessed with the ability and the health to run while others are not so lucky. In addition to the fact that I can do what I love to raise money for a foundation that means so much to my mom helps erase the crankiness for 5:30 am runs. Doesn't completely erase it, but it helps :)
Mile 8 is still on the mind. My baby sister graduated from Walter Panas HS on Saturday so unfortunately I was not able to make the usual team run. The occasion, however, more than made up for the guilty conscience. It was a great occasion that served as a reminder that it would take a lot to break us down - at the end of the day it's the 4 of us who will always be there for each other.
Well this update was a bit of a snooze but just a look at the whirlwind that has been going on since last time. Next time, I promise to talk more about the deer in FDR with the crazy eyes that everyone says there's nothing to worry about but they're not fooling anybody!
Jun 20, 2011 by Luz Corona
Saturday, 6/18, marks the first time I've hit my "wall" throughout this whole journey. I knew it would happen eventually due to the reason that it has been smooth sailing ish (emphasis on the "ish") for the most part in terms of preparing physically.
For those of you wondering how exactly the training is done, we are given a calendar in the beginning that serves as our "guide." Every Saturday we meet up as a team for our long runs. The mileage increases every week and to prepare, it is divided up in the weekdays leading up to the big team run. It has been repeated that this calendar is only a guide because everyone's physical abilities vary and that it is to be followed to the best of one's capacity.
Well this past Saturday clearly handed me back my "capacity" and gave me a bit of a wake up call in a lot of things. By the last hill, I was barely keeping a jogging pace, maybe more so of a crawling pace, if you will. It was the first time I've met such a challenge in my history of running and for some one who does not like speaking weakness, it didn't sit right with me at all.
This is where the mentors come into play and boy, do they own their roles. I had the guidance of my own mentor, Joanne, who just completed her half marathon a few months ago and now preparing for a full, along with Bob, another mentor from Team in Training. With Bob right next to me not letting me give up (literally) and Joanne along with another fellow runner keeping up the pace, I was able to make it jogging back to the parking lot where the rest of the team was. Bob explained to me that he's found with first time marathon runners, they hit a certain wall around mile 6 or 8 and find it very difficult to push through but once they push through, they will truly be ok. Or something to that extent, blame the blazing sun and lack of endurance for the hazy story telling. Regardless, I will never forget it because it was a hard wall to hit, but I broke through and it's on to preparing for next week's goal - mile 8. I'm beginning to realize that if I'm going to make it through this thing, I'm going to have to start looking at it through a "glass half full" type of perspective.
Whew what a story but I felt like it was something that left a mark on me. Thanks for listening to my "dear diary" moment and I promise to keep it less fluff and more tough.
The Big 5-0, Runner's World, & Merry Christmas in July.
Jun 13, 2011 by Luz Corona
Today marks the big 5-0 for Luz Maria Corona, who is currently celebrating this milestone on a cruise in the Bahamas. For those of you who know my mother, this woman goes big or goes bigger with whatever task she takes on and clearly her 50th was no exception. Last I heard from her was hours before the ship set sail with an update that she was on her 2nd or 3rd Cosmo and then it was Arrivederci mamacita - see you in 8 days. Cheers to many more birthdays with you, mom.
Team in Training has already affected my life in so many ways and we're only in the first month. Talk about a life-changing event. I guess I never really gave much thought to birthdays until my mother's 50th started nearing and combined with Team in Training on the brain constantly, this birthday seemed to dig up a lot of feelings that were stored away for a while. Years ago, we didn't even know if we would have another birthday with my mom. The image of her in her chemo treatments quiets me instantly whenever I feel a complaint of a new ache coming on. I don't think I'm really ready to get into what I was feeling during the time she was sick, I just know that this was someone who was not ready to give up and if there was ever an individual who celebrates life like they should, it's my mother.
On another much happier note, Team in Training was featured, along with other essential organizations fighting the war on cancer, in the July issue of Runner's World. A look at this whole experience through the eyes of a runner and I gotta say, it's pretty on point. A great read for you history buffs, science buffs, and those that are just plain curious as to how the heck the insanity of fundraising to run 26.2 miles will help save lives. I can feel myself getting stronger and healthier every day so this whole training to run a marathon business really has had quite the impact on me, imagine that.
And finally a Save the Date warning for Christmas and no, it's not December 25th! "Jingle Bell July" will be held on Tuesday, July 12th, from 6-9pm at the exquisite Division Street Grill in Peekskill, NY as part of my fundraising efforts. $25 for a jolly night of hors' d'ouevres, cash bar, live music, raffles, and much more! A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - more details coming your way this week so get those sweater vests ready because Christmas is here early this year, baby!
(Courtesy of Golden Logos)
Off I go to catch some zZzzz before my 5:30 am run...I have come to appreciate sleep much much more during this journey.
Thanks everyone for your donations and support!!!
25% has never looked better.
Jun 01, 2011 by Luz Corona
Beyond overwhelmed with the support I've received over the past week and a half - $800 down, $2,400 to go! Allow me to have a mushy moment - those thank you cards i've sent out cannot really express my true gratitude for those that have donated. I am truly touched and I think my faith in people has been a bit restored.
Running has been ok so far. Group runs are a huge help in getting those 2-3 miles a day and the coaches, mentors, and fellow runners are awesome.
Off to catch some ZzZ's as I have a lot of running ahead of me tomorrow as well as the next 4 months and we all know that's the understatement of the century.
Luz Maria Corona...
May 21, 2011 by Luz Corona
...the source of my strength and inspiration to take on this event.
2007 started out to be another regular year for all of us. I was finishing up my first year of college, my younger sister was finishing the 8th grade, and my father was working and probably on a regular schedule of playing soccer in his free time. My mother was excitedly getting ready to finally embark on her journey to Europe to visit my aunt in Spain and eager to explore the other side of the world. Little did we know this journey was not the only one waiting for my mother that year.
After finally attending the doctors' appointments that were postponed until her return from Europe, my mother was informed that the nodules in her thyroid contained Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer cells. Although the illness tested our individual character, the one person who was the strongest and still remained to be the glue to our family was my mother. The chemo treatments, the nausea, the loss of her beautiful curls, and the endless physical pain were not enough to defeat her positive spirit and the understanding that this would not be the end of her. We will forever be grateful for the overwhelming support from our family and friends that offered a helping hand and were alongside us my mother’s fight for her life.
We are one of the lucky families that had a happy ending to this story and will maintain that happy ending through the constant efforts of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The wondrous Luz Maria Corona, who is now in her fourth year of remission, is in her 3rd year of fundraising for LLS’ “Light the Night Walk” and continuing to make a difference in LLS and in the lives of others.
What originally started out to be a challenge of physical endurance turned into running to make a difference, like my mother.
Team in Training gives us the chance to dedicate our minds, bodies, and souls in honor of the millions of individuals affected by these blood cancers. Your support will get me one step closer to that finish line waiting for me in San Francisco and help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society family get one step closer to finding a cure. I promise I will not take your efforts for granted and if you can find the time to help support the cause, I can find the physical and emotional strength to complete the Nike Women’s Marathon on October 16th.
Wish me luck and a HUGE thank you in advance for taking the time to read this!
Luz F. Corona :)