It’s tomorrow!

bib

Right now I am sitting on the couch in my friend BC’s apartment listening to the hustle and bustle of the early Saturday morning NY streets below. I have been awake for a couple of hours. There is a lot going on in my brain.

I arrived in New York yesterday morning in what felt like the start and end (I am still not sure, I suppose it is both) of an enormous journey, but in reality was a two hour flight from the ATL.

A message from my aunt this morning

Well Nik, we have gone full circle. This time last year you were arriving in Australia. We will be with you every step of the way. Looking forward to the finish photo and medal. Be brave. With love

It’s true, on this day last year I was landing in Australia. When I took off from LA the 2012 NYC marathon had not been cancelled, when I landed in Sydney it had. Either way it didn’t matter so much to me then, but because of the cancellation I had the opportunity to run this year. I would probably have not been able to otherwise. Small things.

Yesterday I went to the Expo to pick up my bib. There were thousands of people there, expothousands of fit looking, marathon running types of people. It was a daunting experience. The bag check, id check, the bib pick up and then the only possible exit is through the rest of the expo area.  A bit like the people you always curse when traveling with small kids and you have to travel through the duty free shop on your way into and out of customs, the very clever organisers funnel you into the world’s biggest ASICS NYC Marathon shop where people are in a frenzy buying themselves mementos and gifts for family and friends.  While you stand still, trying to think and take it all in you wonder why you can’t – it must be the DJ in the middle of it all pumping tunes designed for maximised purchasing opportunities. If you don’t move you are at risk of being knocked over – good practice for the start line tomorrow?

I didn’t go with the shiny silver jacket with inbuilt red flashing lights on the shoulders, not sure if it was an 80’s throwback or not but not that many chilly days in Atlanta to justify.

silverjacket

The shirt I wanted to get wasn’t in my size, but I was able to buy it anyway for the PBM who by chance was corresponding with me via fb chat at that exact time and was happy to take the XS on offer.

freyashirt

After I made it out alive from the ASICS store there were rows and rows of running related things that were what I imagine to be a bit like a runners heaven running shop.

It was about the same time that a message came in from another friend having seen my check in to the expo (I am nothing if not a slave to social media)

You can never buy too much gear there

Thanks for the green light Soph!

Luckily the headbands were in my size so a did snap up a few of those, although not all of mine say 26.2.

headbands

I got a couple of other t-shirts and thought I should stop then – and didn’t go through with the thigh warmers, shoes, flouro long socks or various protein bars or the Vitamixes on offer.

I did want the gloves but left without them somehow.

glovesAfter I escaped the madness and was walking back to BC’s there was a beautiful New York sunset.

sunset

Tomorrow’s high in NY is predicted to be 9 degrees celsius. Chilly and windy. Better than too hot I suppose. The OAC (from Kili adventures) ran a marathon in Myanmar today where the temperature was 32 degrees celsius but the ‘comfort level’ was 39!?

In other news as I start in the final wave at 10.55am I wasn’t keen on being on a bus at 6am and having to wait at the start line with my 48 000 closest friends wearing running gear and garbage bags, so I enquired about alternative transport yesterday at the Expo and was able to get on a Staten Island Ferry at 8.15am, which will bring me to the start line at about 9, a much more acceptable arrangement.

I am feeling the love from around the world so much. Thank you all for your messages via various forms of social media and telephone. I treasure every one of them and will draw on them tomorrow.

I suspect ( not having ever manged more than 11km) a marathon is like childbirth where you set off with good intentions but take sound medical advice if required through the process.

Thanks Sally C for this giggle with excellent advice.

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I may not get to 42 sponsors tomorrow but there is no harm in trying. I will be chasing Sponsors to be Committed to Testing for the rest of the year, and a very long time yet. I believe that awareness of possible symptoms and testing when appropriate are so important.

How to sponsor me for your very own kilometre – click here and don’t forget to let me know which kilometre you want. Again I am focussing on value for money, your kilometre will last at least 7 minutes!

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Numbers marked in red are taken, perhaps your lucky number is still available?! Snap it up now before those that haven’t chosen yet pick it.

How to be a sponsor committed to testing – send an email to randomthoughtsnikki@gmail.com to let me know and get along to your local GP or pharmacy, whatever way is accepted in your country of residence and do yourself a favour and get tested. I won’t be asking for medical results or certificates ;)

It’s a small crowd so far, but don’t let that deter you from joining.

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6 days

shoes6 days.

In 6 days these shoes will take me on a journey that I will probably never forget. A journey I can’t yet imagine fully without waves of panic and a little bit of nausea.

The shoes are in honour of my mum who fought Bowel Cancer (or Colon Cancer, dependsphoto 1 which country you live in as to what you call it) for over six years with a ferocity that would surely have carried her through many a marathon.  I can’t believe it was only 11 months ago she was standing in my living room, wearing the hot pink shoes she bought on arrival in Atlanta, to do another walk around our neighbourhood, even after discontinuing all treatment and having two stints in hospital during her three month stay with us.

She never gave up. I hope that I don’t give up on Sunday.

I am running / plodding for the Jodi Lee Foundation. The gorgeous Jodi was a fabulous friend of mine. Jodi was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer at 39 and passed away two years later, after a tremendous battle. Although friends from ‘home’ our families both lived parts of our lives as expats, happily landing us in Asia at the same time. They visited Hong Kong and we visited Vietnam, leaving great memories of fun times – but not the best group photos. Note to everyone, even though you may hate photos of yourself, have photos taken with your friends often, they are not the most important memory but they are pretty good to have.

The Lee / Moffitt trip - Hoi An 2006

The Lee / Moffitt trip to Hoi An 2006

After she passed away, her husband Nick founded the Jodi Lee Foundation. The foundation promotes awareness of Bowel Cancer (particularly in Australia where 1 in 12 will develop Bowel Cancer in their lifetime), education about the importance of screening and the tests available and aims to improve the uptake of regular and appropriate screening by those at risk.

With Sarah in South Africa, 2011

With Sarah in South Africa, 2011

I am running for Sarah, a friend from Hong Kong. Our sons were best friends in pre-school and beyond. Luckily her husband is South African with family in Durban, so we were treated to more than one visit during our time there.

This photo was taken a couple of months before Sarah ran the GreenPower in Hong Kong, a grueling 25km trail race, she set a cracking pace and recorded a great time. The race was one month before she was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in Stage III.  What followed, was a tough and unimaginable treatment process that lasted almost a year. As with Mum (most of the time) and Jodi, I followed from afar – only able to offer support by electronic and telephonic means. The tears I cried on March 2nd this year when I received the email saying her tests had come back showing the all clear were real, heartfelt and happy.

This past week I cried again, our neighbour’s 34 year old brother died of Colon Cancer. I had never met him, but his family have been our ‘go to’ people this move. They are wonderful and generous and have made our landing here softer. This weekend I will also remember Corey.

Mum, Jodi, Sarah and Corey never gave up. I’m going to try very hard to remember that for 42.2 kilometres on Sunday.

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As the big day approaches I am loving all the messages of support I am getting from places near and far. I appreciate that there will be people thinking of me from so many countries around the world, some of which will have daytime at the same time we do!

I may not get to 42 sponsors by Sunday but I am going to do my best. I will be chasing Sponsors to be Committed to Testing for the rest of the year, and a very long time yet. I believe that awareness of possible symptoms and testing when appropriate are so important.

How to sponsor me for your very own kilometre – click here and don’t forget to let me know which kilometre you want. Still so many to choose from and don’t say I don’t give value for money, your kilometre will last at least 7 minutes!

Slide1

Numbers marked in red are taken, perhaps your lucky number is still available?! Snap it up now before those that haven’t chosen yet pick it.

How to be a sponsor committed to testing – send an email to randomthoughtsnikki@gmail.com to let me know and get along to your local GP or pharmacy, whatever way is accepted in your country of residence and do yourself a favour and get tested. I won’t be asking for medical results or certificates ;)

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The Marathon that wasn’t

It’s all in the history books now.

Monday October 29, Hurricane Sandy landed ashore in the New York, New Jersey coastal areas and beyond causing untold (if we can even use that word anymore with so many kinds of mobile social media) damage, loss and destruction.

Thursday November 1, while controversy was swirling like the remnants of the storm about the increasingly unpopular decision to keep the 2012 NYC Marathon on schedule I boarded a plane to Sydney rather than my scheduled one to New York.

Friday November 2, instead of a joyous and long planned reunion in New York, the PBM picked me up from the arrivals terminal at Sydney airport and drove me ‘home’ to Mum.

The PBM hadn’t been able to make the trip to New York because of travel chaos with ever changing flights and schedules and two of the three major airports being flooded and shut down. She had planned the time off so she used it to chauffeur me to my waiting family. I could not have driven after that flight and knowing what was to come. I am more than a little bit grateful she was there for me, that day and in the days and weeks to come. Really the PBM has been there for me ever since she declared me a scowl-ly person who was nicer than my face led her to believe in the halls of college at University twenty years ago.

Friday November 2 New York time, they cancelled the 2012 NYC Marathon. The runners already in town having managed to negotiate various travel methods to arrive had already picked up their numbers and were ready to go. Instead of running on Sunday November 4, over the weekend they joined numerous clean up efforts to help out the area so battered by the storm.

Jodi Lee Foundation CEO Nick Lee was one of those in town to run and kindly did a touch of souvenir shopping for me. Now I have a small but important memory of the marathon that never was. I don’t think I sent a thank you – I’ll put that on the list.

11/04/2012 as they say in these parts

11/04/2012 as they say in these parts

Wednesday November 7 Australian time, Tuesday November 6 – US time when the Presidential Elections were underway I was having an awkward conversation with the lady in the Bunnings paint section about these colours

IMG_6525

and how much you might need for this

Hot pink to match her shoes

Hot pink, it’s a theme

as it turns out we didn’t use as much as we thought of the highlight colour but were pretty happy with the results just the same.

IMG_6543

The world has changed forever.

On November 3rd 2013 I will run the NY Marathon.

I have started my search for just the right pair of hot pink shoes to do it in, once I find those I PROMISE I will start training seriously.

Watch this space…..

IMG_6524

12 days

When I got back from summiting Kilimanjaro mum said to me ‘Wow, now you have conquered that mountain, you must feel like you can achieve anything you set your mind to’.

I hadn’t stopped to think about it like that, I was still so exhilarated from making it and chuffed I had achieved a goal I had set way too casually over a conversation with friends. For a while after that I did try to apply it to my life, when things were hard I thought, I climbed that bloody mountain – I can do this. Then, as the memory of the hurt and the pain of the climb faded, it seems so did my strong belief in myself to achieve anything I decided to do.

Last week was a tough week, a very tough one. I wrote about it here and illustrated it as below.

I wrote about the cancelled flight – but right there lurking between the two travel emails was another message, a scary one.

The New York Road Runners looms large, they are the ones who kindly send regular emails with all kinds of information about the run, training and race day tips as well as important to know logistical information such as the number of port-a-loos that there will be at the starting point.  1700 is the number if you are interested, should you choose not to use these when the call of nature arises you will be disqualified from the race, a by-law that may have been implemented post the 2005 London Marathon.

Last week not only my flight was cancelled, training was cancelled (one run for the week doesn’t really count), eating wasn’t cancelled – on reflection it may have been better if those two were reversed. It was meant to be the big week, most miles, longest long run big strain before the tapering weeks. Didn’t happen.

My brother – on the phone in between medical and logistical conversations – told me he had sought advice on my behalf from someone who had done a couple of Hawaiian Ironman events and just done the Coolangatta Gold on the Gold Coast. He told Ironman he was worried his sister ‘didn’t have the miles in her legs’ and what should she be doing at this stage?

Let me be clear, although its kind of him to worry, I am worrying plenty enough for everyone that I don’t have the miles in my legs. The answer from Ironman was beyond terrifying – I should be fine if I was clocking over 100km’s a week and doing 35km each long run.  After I put my hands over my ears and sang ‘la la la’ I explained to my brother that as he knows, I am a 42 year old amateur just trying to get through one marathon after which there is a big chance I shall announce my retirement from the sport.

Last week I didn’t feel like I could do anything, I wanted the world to stop, I had moments minutes and stretches of hours where I forgot about the marathon altogether.

Then I thought about what mum had said to me, I thought about why I decided to run this marathon which I wrote about here and how so much of that has changed. The underlying reason is still the same – bowel cancer sucks, big style.

I feel pretty useless sitting around at home with a sore throat, I want to keep busy and do stuff. That will include a run tomorrow after bus drop off in the increasingly chilly no longer Hotlanta mornings, it will be my second this week, back on track for now.

I am still working on my target of 42 kilometres, 42 sponsors and 42 screening tests.

I’ve only got 12 more days to make it happen.

If you’d like to commit to screening yourself for bowel cancer before the end of 2012, please email me on randomthoughtsnikki@gmail.com and I will add you to the tally.

If you’d like to sponsor me and pick your favourite number between 1-42 (that is still available) click here.

PROJECTED WEATHER UPDATE for Sunday November 4th

Looks like it might be a little bit cooler than previously predicted

Lows 38 F / 3 C

Highs 48 F / 8 C

Increasing cloud – Garbage bags optional

Do I need a garbage bag?

The other day as I was breaking rule number 2 of my own Top Ten Tips for climbing Kilimanjaro and watching far too many videos of the New York Marathon and marathoners from days of yore, yore including last year inclusive of blazing blue skies, I had a shocking and terrible thought.

What if it rains?

I instantly texted the PBM with this terrible thought. Strangely, given our increasingly difficult time zones for communication it was in her waking hours.

Her immediate response.

Or snows?

I can always count on her to reassure me.

Given her reply it seemed perfectly legitimate to research the weather for the NYC Marathons of recent history.

Accuweather.com had the following to say

The average low from past New York City marathons is 47 degrees F, and the average high from past New York City marathons is 62 degrees F.

However, with the race occurring on the first Sunday of November every year, the temperature differences can vary greatly from year to year.

The coldest morning low in New York City’s Central Park on the morning of the marathon over the past 20 years was 34 degrees on Nov. 5, 1995. (This is Fahrenheit – about 1 degree Celsius – YIKES)

The warmest afternoon high in New York City’s Central Park on the day of the New York City Marathon over the past 20 years was 73 degrees F on Nov. 4, 1990.

The ING NY Marathon official website gives the following succinct information

What is the weather likely to be?
Average temperatures from past New York City Marathons:

  • Average high: 62°F/17°C
  • Average low: 47°F/8°C
  • Mean average: 55°F/13°C

Let me commend them right now for using the C there. The trauma of mathematical conversion is more than I can manage.

No-one mentions anything about rain or snow. That’s positive – right? Further searching revealed that in the great chill of ’95 while waiting for hours at the start (what – hours at the start? More research required) there was spurts of rain and snow, excellent – NOT.

Suggestions in this situation are to add garbage bags to your kit in the morning to keep a little dry and warm while waiting for the start. While I am desperately hoping for no rain I am betting any media would love a shot of second time starter Christy Turlington doing a twirl in a garbage bag pre-start.

A site with tips on marathon running in the rain warns of increased chafing, just what I need, and for men to cover those nipples with appropriate items, apparently Breathe Right strips are superior to Band Aids in this situation, take note boys.

Given we are no so close *whispering* to race day I can now search out long range forecasts for the day

Accuweather
Low 42 F / 5 C
High 52 F / 11C
Chance of precipitation – 25-55%

Weathertrends360
Low – low 40’s
High – high 50’s
A little picture of a sun covered by white cloud

Then I went to another site and it wanted $4.95 for a weather forecast for one day in November. I am not that desperate to know if I need to pack a garbage bag or not.

Since my last post 42 I have been so excited to receive messages from people who have sent words of support, sponsored me and also very importantly have taken the pledge to be screened for Bowel Cancer before the end of 2012.

The running tally’s are as follows

and

There is still 22 days left to reach my target of 42 people in each of the boxes.

Folks I am running 42kms in a tutu there is nothing more embarrassing than that for someone who hasn’t worn one since she was 5 and has a physique better suited to say- an Angry Birds bomb bird outfit. Come to think of it, there looks to be a lot of warmth in the bird.