Sunday, August 18, 2013

Running While Mommy Meets Big Andy

As most of you know, I have been away for the last two weeks.

We had a wonderful time visiting with friends and family but it was a lot of driving and too many hotels!

My parents live in New Jersey now, but very close to Philadelphia, my home town.  One of the things I wanted to do for a long time, is meet Andy of Running My Ass Off.  This would be the first time we will be meeting in person.

If you had asked me two years ago, what I would gain by adding running to life, I am not sure "friends" would have made the list.  However, that is one of the best things that has happened since July 2011 and Andy is just one of the ones that I am thankful for.

When we were planning our trip, I let him know we were coming and asked if he would be free to meet.  I had no real plans in mind but I wanted to make it as easy for him as possible because Mrs. Andy is due with baby number two, like any second.

Once we narrowed down the day, he asked if I wanted have lunch or run.  He mentioned that he had a "potentially cool, unique "Philly" thing to do", which was running related.  How could I pass that up!

His plan was we run the Ben Franklin Bridge.  This bridge runs from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and the length up and back would be about a 5k. There is a pathway that runs along the bridge for runners, walkers and bikers.  There is also a pretty cool race across this bridge every year that is now on my "to race list".

Where to meet was another issue.  He googled parking and came up with Franklin Square Park witch is basically the bottom of the bridge.  I went back and forth with whether or not to drive myself or have Mr. RWM drive me.  I have not driven in Philadelphia in a very long time and even when I did drive there on a regular basis, I wasn't that good at it.  Parking seemed simple enough but I didn't want to take any chances so I opted for Princess drop-off and pick-up.

Now having said that, I am sure a few of you are thinking I am nuts meeting a man I met on the internet.  Well, you are right, I don't think you should go around meeting any Tom, Dick or Andy that says "hi" to you on FB.  If you have been reading for some time, then you know that Andy and I have a history and I knew he was real and vice versa.

We have supported each other for at least a year and a half now.  He started running just four months after me and my blog is just a little older than his.  We have been at this for really, the same amount of time and honestly, it feels like we were supposed to be on this journey together in some strange way.

Parking ended up being easier than I thought it would be and we were a few minutes early.  It gave Mr. RWM and I time to check out the park.  It had a Merry-Go-Round, playground and a really cool miniature golf course. All the holes were Philadelphia land marks.

There was a spot to get food and plenty of places to sit.

Andy texted when he got there and in a minute I saw him walking towards us.  There was no mistaking that it was him.  We hugged right away and I introduced him to Mr. RWM.  The three of us chatted just a few minutes and then Andy and I were off.

Now, something I didn't consider about this run was it's difficulty.  As soon as we hit the bridge we were going up and up and up.  I found myself struggling more than usual.  I had two puffs of my inhaler 30 minutes before my run but I had some breathing issues.  Maybe 30 minutes was too long?

I was getting really pissed off and we had only been running 5 minutes!  Conversation was good and Andy started to ask me a few things and I felt like I could only answer him in short responses.  I was a little embarrassed but my pride got in the way not to mention my stubbornness.  This asthma thing is new to me and I still think I can wish it away.  Funny how that's not working.

Once we got to the top, if flattened out for a very short time and then we started the downhill.  I was feeling much better at this point but not my normal self.

I loved talking with Andy face to face and run, which is something we both love and the thing that made us friends.  We talked about our families and how the preparations were coming along for the new baby.  We tried to pinpoint how we first started to chat online, but neither one of us remembers.  It may have been a comment on the blog or the C25K site.  It really doesn't matter now, this is where we are and that makes it all good.

We have supported each other every step of the way and I am so thrilled he is taking on triathlons, before me.  LOL  He thinks I am badass because I am tackling 26.2 but I think the same of him because he swims and will compete and finish in his first tri next year.  I look forward to following him along on this next journey, which I know will keep me inspired and motivated.

 The run back up had Philly in our view and it was an awesome site to see.  Once we were to the top of the bridge again, we snapped a few pics with Philly behind us.  The shots turned out great.  Philadelphia has always been my favorite skyline of any city.
So Cool!

Once we finished running, we found Mr. RWM and we chatted a little more.  The sun was shining and the weather was perfect, nice little breeze on the bridge, and a day that I will remember always.

Back to the car, I was explaining to Mr. RWM how difficult the hill was and how, I think, my asthma made it all worse.  As I was saying that, I started to think of all the things I wanted to ask and tell Andy, but so focused on not dying, I forgot. I usually talk WAY more than I did during our run, just ask my regular running buddies.  I am not worried though, we will talk soon and I have no doubt that we will run together again.

Andy wrote about our run here.  Hope you check it out and follow his blog.  He does some fantastic reviews and giveaways, not to mention his weight loss, running and upcoming triathlons.

As far as training, well things are not good.  Week four I ran but did not hit the miles I needed too.  Week five, I ran once.  I missed a long run plus two short ones.  I feel horrible about it but will just get back on track and move forward.  Just trying to figure out the best way to do that.

My missed long run for week five was 10 miles but this weeks long run goes down to 7 miles.  Week seven has a long run of 12 miles.  I am not sure if I should just do what is planned or change the 7 mile run to an 8 or 9.  If a plane leaves Philadelphia at 10 am and a train leaves Chicago at 8am...  LOL, well you know what I mean.  What would you do?

Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts.  I still have to tell you about vacation and about my Run With All Your Hart Virtual.  Hope to get those to you this week.

Tell me what is new with you.  How is your training going?

13 weeks to the Philadelphia Marathon!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole


  1. I love this post. I feel like I was with you and Andy all the way... from the first C25k comment 'til your run! Sorry about your asthma. Mine has been kicking in a bit for the first time in years... maybe something in the air. Don't fret at ALL about your marathon training. You are in forward motion now and all will be well. While training for each of my 2 marathons, I learned that a training plan isn't an end-all... it is a guide. You will be perfect. Perfect! Thanks for sharing...

    1. Oh thank you Sharon! Yes, it is a guide and I think I am still early enough to make it all work. I think the heat and maybe the cars contributed to the asthma. I am in forward motion as you said and I will just do the best I can.

  2. Chalk the breathing up to nerves. I know our first 2 or 3 runs I was gasping for air I was so nervous!! For the long run, go for the 12 and plan it so you have a couple of shorter bailout opportunities. My long run was 17 for today. I made 14.3 (and yes, that .3 is important). I planned my route to have a few short cuts in the event things weren't going as well as I would like. I made it until the last short cut opportunity and called it good. The long runs are the important runs and living life and enjoying family and vacation are also important. It is all about balance, and sometimes that is just tough. You are early enough in your training and know your body well enough to know when it is time to call it and head home to avoid injury.

    1. Yeah, nerves and maybe the cars, which Mr. RWM just pointed out. Hmmm...

      I do think I am early enough into this plan to make it all still work. I will just do the best I can. I will do my best with the 12 and just see how it goes. I am sure you will be one of the first to know!

  3. How awesome that you got to meet your online friend IRL!! I'm new to your blog so don't know anything about either of you, but I'm not new to meeting online friends, so I know what a cool experience that can be!! Fun!

    1. Thanks Jenny and thanks for checking out my blog!