Monday, December 16, 2013

A year in pictures!

This was my first instagram pic of 2013. Fitting since this year was awesome.

In January, we did a Bridge to Brunch run with some of my favorite runner gals!

In an effort to do an indoor winter activity, I joined a skeeball league with some other Texans! 

In early March we celebrated Fairley's 1st birthday and Tonya came to visit from Texas!

In March, I ran the DC half for the second time! The year before we were in shorts! 
Crazy east coast weather. 

In April I spectated the Boston Marathon. A memory I will never forget. #BostonStrong

In May, we went to NJ to spectate and cheer some friends in the NJ Half/Marathon! So fun!

We had our first, #runnerhappyhour! Thanks for leading us well, Beth! 

In May, I attended Fitblog for the second year in a row. An incredible event hosted by Fitness Magazine. They are so kind to us. A great day learning about fitness, nutrition, etc. 

I had a mini reunion with my dearest childhood friends back in Texas!

My family came to visit me! We had a blast as always!

I PR'ed the Brooklyn Half. An amazing, hard fought day. 2:05:12 (Pace: 9:34/mile)

Summer 5K Series in Brooklyn

Marathon training with some of my faves... and then eating all the bagels.
Katie got married! I attended her beautiful wedding in Virginia Beach! 

Tonya moved to NYC!!!! And we celebrated her 30th birthday with some BBQ and Blue Bell in New York... obviously. 
In October, I took my first (but not last) trip to Chicago to visit my friend Liz! An amazing city!

Quick trip to Austin, Texas to see this gal get married! Love these women. 

Picking up my bib for the NYC Marathon!
These two are my favorites. I love them beyond words. Their friendships have blessed my life in so many ways this year. 

I stayed in NYC for Thanksgiving and had an incredible view of the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Parade! Despite missing my family, my NYC family made it a perfect day. 

Celebrating 3-0 with my runner friends at Jacob's Pickles!

Love them so much. They made my 30th Birthday a night I will never forget!

Here's to 2013. You've been good to me. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I ran the New York City MARATHON!

I want to start by saying that Sunday was truly one of the best days of my entire life. I have never felt the excitement and adrenaline from anything else and I am so glad I finally got to run my dream race. I also want to say thank you to ALL of you who cheered, sent messages, prayed, made signs, stood for hours to spectate, and made this marathon the best ever! I had heard it before but I can say with confidence, there is nothing like the New York City Marathon. No marathon will ever compare to Sunday. My heart is so so full right now. I am still smiling like a fool!

L-R: Katie, Anne, Me, Brittany, Sarah, Beth 

The morning started bright and early with a 5:45 am wake-up call. Katie, one of my dearest friends stayed with me in Brooklyn to head to Staten Island together. As luck would have it because the 4 train decided to run local we were late so were able to run into all these lovely ladies. It made the morning go by quickly and it was so fun to see and chat with all of them before the race. Definitely helped calm the nerves! We arrived to Staten Island, and after going through security we eventually said our goodbyes and headed to our respected start villages. I was the only one who was in the Green Wave, so I had some 'me' time for a bit before I needed to head to my corral.

By 10:10 were in the corrals and being lead up to start in the bottom section of the bridge. The cannon went off promptly at 10:30 and about a minute later I crossed the start line. I was on the bottom of the bridge and despite it getting bad 'reviews' I honestly didn't mind. I could still see everything and the fact that the wind was pretty terrible I didn't mind running on the bottom. The climb didn't seem super tough, but that was probably just the adrenaline and excitement of it all. I knew coming off the bridge I was going to see my good friend Morgan right about the 5K mark so that gave me something to look forward to! 

I saw Morgan and her cute dog, Berkley and gave them a wave and kept on moving. I settled into a comfortable pace in Brooklyn and felt great. I really loved Brooklyn! Everyone was so pumped and it was great to hear crowd support. I can say that my outfit of choice for the day was a huge success! SO many people yelled " Go Texas, Hook'em!" which of course made me so incredibly happy. I was feeling good and knew that 4 miles later I was going to see my good friend, Katie who would have my first GU to take and some water. I was loving 4th avenue and counting down the blocks to get to her at 4th Avenue and 10th street. I saw her from afar and she had this sign: 

You guys, I have the best friends ever. Katie was so excited to see me and so was I! She gave me a quick pep talk and I continued on! The rest of Brooklyn was amazing and the crowds just got better and better through the course. I was still absolutely loving the race, the spectators, the signs, the cheers. I knew I wouldn't be seeing anymore friends until Queens so I just focused on moving forward and willing the miles to tick away. They did and before I knew it I was almost to the Pulaski Bridge where I would be looking for Kristin, who was going to have this sign:

Seriously, I wanted to see this sign SO badly but I could not spot her anywhere. Sad day. This is where the day turned really sad because as soon as I stepped on to the Pulaski Bridge both of my quads cramped.. terribly. I could not believe I had cramped this early on in the race. I just shook my head. I stopped for a minute and then kept running despite the immense amount of pain I was feeling in both legs. I literally couldn't believe it was happening, but through it all not once did I ever think of quitting. I was determined to make it out of Queens and into Manhattan no matter what it took. I went over the Queensboro bridge and despite the climb seeming like it took forever it wasn't too terrible. When I turned the corner that led to 1st Avenue the crowd was just 100% INSANE. I knew that I was now at 60th and I just had to make it to 97th to my friend who would be waiting for me with a GU and water. In the meantime I was able to see, Jen volunteering at Mile 17! Again, despite the pain, seeing her made me so happy! Right after Jen, a random spectator had a banana and I took it and was so thankful. I was wishing and praying it would be help with the cramps. I finally reached 97th to my friend and fuel and powered forward. I winded up seeing several friends along 1st Avenue, including, Ashley aka Running Bun who snapped a few photos for me including one of my all times faves: 
That's my dear friend Melissa to my right!

Somehow I'm smiling but geez louise I was hurting so bad. Seeing friends along the course is really what pushed me through. I knew I just could not give up and couldn't quit even though my legs continued to try to tell me to stop, to give up. I remember seeing a sign in Brooklyn that said: "Finishing is the only effing option.". Word. I remembered that and I knew that was what I had to do no matter how long it took. Melissa left me to tackle the Bronx, gave me some words of encouragement and told me she'd see me at the Finish Area Family Reunion. The Bronx brought some more rough moments despite trying to plow up the Willis Avenue Bridge I just couldn't anymore. I stopped and walked it to conserve some energy for the rest of the race. On the bridge I saw, Emily, who was SO happy and smiley :) (You looked great, woman and congrats on a great race!) When I was leaving the Bronx behind I got a little teary eyed because I knew I was back in Manhattan and I knew that the finish was finally within reach! Thank you, Jesus! I probably was crying more tears of joy than anything. My next goal was to make it to 127th and 5th Avenue where two of my best friends from college would be. I know Candace would have her little girl with her so knowing that made me soooo happy! She also made a video for me where she was saying 'Run, Leticia, Run'. 


Yet again, I cannot thank my friends enough for their support on Sunday! I would not have made it without them. I forgot about the miles and just remembered the friends I'd see along the way. I stopped for a quick hello with the three of them and then continued on to 5th Avenue. Living in NYC and running up 5th Avenue many times I knew that an incline to Central Park was what awaited me. It was hard, friends. I was so frustrated that my legs would just not cooperate but again I kept repeating a mantra that an Austin runner told me, 'Keep Moving Forward'. I remember vividly getting to 94th Street and 5th and telling myself I was running the rest of the way, no more walking, I was finishing this and getting that medal. I entered the park and the cheers continued. I was so excited to finally be there! I winded up seeing my old roommate, and fellow Texan, Elise right at Mile 24. I gave her a thumbs up and was so grateful to have seen her at that point. I hit Central Park South and again the crowds were overwhelming. I was so happy, so grateful, so tired, and so ready to be done! I turned into the park from Columbus Circle and kept pushing as hard as I could. I remember seeing the 400 yards to go sign and I think I yelled 'YES' out loud. Made it up that last climb and finally saw the famous finish line!

Done! My time (5:37:13) was nothing that would make a record book and in that moment I could care less. I fought hard for that finish line, really really hard. All I knew was that I had accomplished a dream of mine by completing the New York City Marathon. Physically, my body had the toughest day it's ever had in a race over the past two years. My quads failed me hard at mile 13! Like seriously? But mentally I had the best race I've ever had in my entire running career. Never once did I stop believing. Never once did I contemplate quitting. I was so determined to finish no matter what and that's just what I did. One of my biggest goals for that day was to smile a lot... and I did that all day long. 

Thank you to my family, friends, the runner community, Finish Line PT, my physical therapist, Alison, my running coach Michele, and so many others for making this dream of mine become a reality. My heart is bursting with joy and I loved every (painful) moment of this race. I will never forget it. I am proud to say I'm forever a Finisher. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

4 years.

On Saturday, I celebrated 4 years of my 'journey'. I still remember the first workout I went through with my trainer, Albert. It was rough. I actually specifically remember the fact that I thought 10 minutes on the elliptical might kill me (it didn't). I was so out of shape, but also so ready to finally take hold of my life, lose the weight and live a healthy life. So today, I stand here 100lbs lighter (what?) filled with so much energy, focus, and determination.

I remembered and reflected over the last 4 years as I ran for over three hours and capped off the day with 18 total miles. After being injured for the last 6 weeks this was just the run I needed leading up to the NYC Marathon. I ran along the East River, down in Battery Park, and up the West Side Highway taking in some of my most favorite sites: all the bridges, Statue of Liberty, etc. I listed to a Mumford and Sons Pandora Station and forgot about the pace, but just focused on putting one foot in the front of the other. I have come a long way in four years and a lot to be proud of!

I almost can't believe that in 11 days I'll run  my 2nd marathon! I never could have dreamed this life up myself, but am so thankful these days now. For the past 2 years, every day I've dreamed of running this race, and I can't believe it's so dang close! Running has truly changed my life for the better and the community I've made through it can't be compared to anything else. I have made a commitment to myself to stay on track and keep up an active lifestyle and never plan to return to who I once was. Thanks for your support a long the way!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Brooklyn Half Marathon: PR City

I started training for the Brooklyn Half the week after my very less than stellar performance at the DC Half Marathon in March in which I finished in a blazing speed (just under 2:15). Someone remind me to never run a 'fun' half with no serious training. That was very stupid in my opinion. I trained hard and smart the past 8 weeks and knew that I had put in the work to run a PR. That was my biggest goal going into yesterday. 

My good friend, Liz, came in from Chicago to run the half and I was excited to have a friend to travel with to the start and chat with in the corral before we got started. We took the subway as it was an easy option since I live a block away from the 2, 3. We arrived to the start right around 7am. Before we knew it, it was 7:35 and time for Wave 2 to get started. Liz is faster then me so right before we crossed the start we said our goodbyes and knew we'd see each other again after 13.1! 

I crossed the start line to listening to Rihanna's "Diamonds", one of my favorite songs. I was smiling, and was so ready to run this race. The first half mile is a complete downhill... that helped my smile. When I got to the bottom of the street and made the turn to make a slight climb up Flatbush I could feel that my mouth was already dry. CRAP. We left my apt at 6:20 and it was now 7:40ish and I hadn't had any water in over an hour. Stupid, stupid mistake. Right past mile 1 there was a water stop. I contemplated stopping or not but I knew that stopping for 10 seconds would be better than not stopping and risking something worse happening later. My first mile was 9:24, a little fast but basically on pace. We ran around Grand Army, and then back down Flatbush. The downhills in the race are kinda awesome. Mile 3 clocked in at 8:57... too fast for me. I told myself to tone it down a bit or I'd pay for this later in the race. We entered Prospect Park, and a familiar route was upon me. I've run several races in this Park and I knew what was ahead of me. There is one long climb, but asides from that hill, P.P. isn't too hard. 

That hill is in between miles 5-6. When I reached the top of that hill I just felt 'off'. I was on the verge of throwing up (TMI). I contemplated pulling over, but instead I tried to push through it. I didn't feel great. Had I gone out too fast? Was I dehydrated? What if I don't finish? Instead of letting those feelings defeat me, I knew that the toughest mile of the course was over and decided there was nothing that would keep me from Coney Island and my medal. Mile 6 clocked in at 9:47, my slowest mile of the day. I knew that since I wasn't feeling 100% I'd just take water as I needed it and tried to keep my goal pace. I exited Prospect Park, and the song, "Feel Again" by One Republic came on and it just made me realize that running makes me actually feel so alive. (Yes, I'm cheesy, sorry!) I got on Ocean Parkway and I knew I was just going to give it everything I had those last 5 miles. I literally said to myself, "Leticia, you don't get up every morning, run paces that are uncomfortable in training to not PR today. YOU GOT THIS! Let's go." Michele (my amazing running coach) has taught me to be a good mental runner. I can do anything as long as I believe it's possible. 

Miles 8-13 are honestly pretty boring. It's a straight shot down Ocean Parkway all the way to Coney Island. I would check my watch from time to time. I stopped a couple of times for water. Every time I glanced down at my watch, my pace was on track. I knew that a PR was definitely in reach, I wasn't sure by how much but I knew if I held on it was mine. At mile 10, I looked at my watch and knew that as long as nothing bad happened in the final 5K I was pretty much a shoe in for a PR. The final three miles flew by. Before I knew it I saw the 800M to go sign. Two more 'laps' if you will. I turned the final corner, heading to the boardwalk, up the ramp, and could see the finish. I didn't even look at my watch. I just gave it all I had. I crossed the finish line. Hit stop on my Garmin and read the time: 2:05:10 (unofficial). BAM. I had done it. I was so, so, happy!

Mary Wittenberg, the CEO of NYRR was right at the finish after I got my medal and she gave me a big handshake and said congratulations! That was a cool moment for me! When I finished I was so exhausted but I looked right ahead and saw a familiar face! It was Jen! She had also PR'ed and we walked down the boardwalk together, grabbing some water and snacks. It was so nice to celebrate a PR immediately with a dear runner friend! 

My PR before this was a year old, as it was from last years Brooklyn Half. I needed this race. I needed a confidence booster going into marathon training later this summer. Every part of yesterday was fantastic. Even when I didn't feel great, I tested my mental ability to not give up and push through when it's really really hard. Yesterday, was half marathon #7. It was Lucky #7 for me. I'm still smiling! :) Thanks for all your texts, tweets, and well wishes! This runner community is one of the greatest things to happen to my life. I am forever thankful, encouraged, and motivated by ALL of you. 

Brooklyn Half Finishers: (L-R) Jenny, Carla, Allison, Beth, Me, and Liz

Final Stats:
Net Time: 2:05:12
Pace Per Mile: 9:34

Hope you had a great weekend! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Watching the Boston Marathon from Boylston Street

Before I went to Boston this weekend I thought that today I'd be writing a recap of how amazing of a day Marathon Monday was and how it was so awesome to see all my speedy friends run and finish what most people aspire to do someday. The day was indeed perfect until about 2:50PM. 

Christine, Carla, and I arrived to Boylston Street, just south of the corner of Hereford around 11:30am. The iconic 'Left' on Boylston to head towards the finish line was an amazing place to watch. We saw the elites zoom past (literally) followed by many many others who were approaching mile 26. We screamed, we cheered, we had so much fun watching everyone! We were able to easily spot all of our friends and cheered for them as they were so close to being done! 

Around 2:30, we were around the corner on Newbury having a late lunch. We were sitting at a table and I could actually still see Boylston. I looked over a couple of time before and continued to see a stream of runners go by. I smiled knowing they were all seconds away from crossing the finish line. As we waited for our food I was chatting with Christine, as my phone was nearby charging. We both felt and heard the explosion but in that moment neither of us mentioned it to the other. It was one of those things that we felt but didn't panic. About two minutes later I looked back towards Boyslton and just saw a crowd of people running towards us. In that instant my heart just started beating fast because I knew something was not right. I knew what I had felt a couple of minutes before had to have been something bad. I grabbed my phone and texted my sister to look online at the news and tell me what was going on. At that point she said nothing was online and that it was just news about the winners. I opened my twitter feed to see this:

Do not go near the finish line at the -- 2 explosions in buildings

I was pretty much speechless. None of us knew what to do or think. I immediately started getting texts/tweets as many knew I had been near the finish line supporting my friends. In the minutes after I tried to piece together in my head who had finished around that time. I knew all of my friends had been done for 20-30 minutes so no one would have been in the direct vicinity. I didn't know the severity or how many people were impacted. All I knew was that I was in the middle of chaos. It is a day I will not soon forget. Eventually we made it back to Christine's cousins apartment and then back to South Station to head home to NYC yesterday afternoon.

All of my friends are safe, I am safe.

The events that unfolded yesterday are senseless tragedy. They make no sense. It's a reminder that hate and sin is very real in this world. It saddens me, that's for certain. But what does not sadden me is the resilience of runners. This community loves each other. This is a sport where it doesn't matter if you are a 2 hour marathoner, or a 6 hour marathoner, what matters is that we care and take care of one another. I am forever thankful and proud to be a part of this community.

On Saturday afternoon with our favorite Boston Marathoner, Celia, (to my left) at the finish line. I never would have imagined that a finish line that is so meaningful would be wrecked with severe and utter tragedy two days later. 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's Spring... kinda.

Yesterday it was in the mid 70's and spring like weather. Today, and the for the next few days the highs are in the 50's. I don't get you NYC weather. I don't get you at all. Regardless, I took full advantage of the nice weather and the fact that I work about a hundred yards from Battery Park and went on an easy 4 mile run after work. I had forgotten what it felt like to run in shorts outside. In case you are wondering, it's awesome.

This wasn't exactly what the sunset was like, but this is a picture of my favorite spot in all of New York City. When I turn the corner and see Lady Liberty in the far off distance, suddenly all seems right in the world. It happens to me every single time I run down in Battery Park. There's something about the freedom of running in a place that has produced so much good in my life that just overwhelms me with joy for this city and my friends who have become like family here. I'm thankful. 

So here's to warm(er) weather, outside running, and shorts... just a few of my favorite things. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My second 10K: Scotland... but not in Scotland!

One of my dearest friends from Austin, Melanie, came to visit me last weekend. In the weeks prior as we planned the details about the trip I said that on Saturday mornings I usually go for a long run. It just so happened to be that I had also planned to race a 10K in Central Park. I asked her if she would be up for a loop of the park and seeing the sights I get to see on a weekly basis. She agreed and signed up, what a trooper! This was only my second 10K to ever race so I wasn't sure what to expect. I have slowly been building up speed so no PR this time around but I was still pleased with my finish considering the the race was super crowded, did lots of weaving, and Central Park hills are pretty relentless. My 'real' goal of the day was simply to finish under an hour and that I did. 

The Stats: 
Net Time: 59:32
Pace: 9:37
AG: 50.96% 

I ALWAYS fall right at fifty %  in my age group. I am just going to embrace the fact that I'm neither super fast nor super slow. 

Over and out. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sunset via Brooklyn. This picture doesn't do justice to how beautiful it was but it will give you a glimpse. Also, I think Spring has finally arrived in New York City. Clap clap!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Living in the moment.


After living in NYC for two and halfish years it is pretty obvious that I love it here. I have loved the life that I have made here. I've made incredible friendships, endured some of life's greatest adventures, cried a lot, laughed a lot, and been thankful for each day that I've been blessed to call this place "home". There have been amazing days and there have been not-so amazing days. They say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere and I think I finally understand what that means...

It is no secret that hailing from the great state of Texas I have a ton of Texas pride and love my great State (see what I did there?) Anyway, often times I still feel like I'm living a double-life. While my roots are from Texas, my family, and friends too I often feel a pull that I am missing out on so much by not being there. You see, I struggle with major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and it pains me to not be around so many people that I love who are 2000 miles away from here. I've had a major case of the winter blues the past couple of weeks and have toyed a lot with the idea of moving home. You know why? Because it would be easy.

But life isn't always easy. And the choices we make each day don't always make sense. But I know that these two and half years in NY have changed me for the better, changed me for life. The experiences I've had here will forever be a part of a distinct chapter of my life. I am going to try to stop living with so much FOMO of Texas because that's not where I live. I live in New York City and this is where my heart, and its affections have to be planted. I have made memories that I will cherish forever. I have friends who love me, who support me, who have been there for me when I wanted to give up on this place and for that I'm truly thankful. We've come from all over the world to live in a city of millions, and you know what? It's been so so fun.

Last night as I was on my way home from DC, right before entering the Lincoln Tunnel you have an epic view of Manhattan via Jersey (seen above). I looked out the window and I just smiled. I smiled knowing that I was going back to the City. I was back home, even just after 24 hours. I was coming home to my favorite apartment, to my awesome roommates, to my friends who I love so dearly and to a life that is richly blessed beyond belief. I'm not promised tomorrow. I'm not promised the date of when I'll move back to Texas. But I am promised this moment. And for this moment I will cherish New York and all that comes with this crazy place! :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

30 Before 30!

Hey people! Happy 2013. As promised here is my 30 before 30 list of things I hope to conquer before my 30th birthday in December. Here's hoping it's a fun year!

1. Run the NYC marathon! :) 
2. Play mini golf at Pier 25 on the Hudson River
3. Run a mile in 7:15min (I hope I don't die)
4. Visit a winery
5. See Matilda on Broadway
6. Take a cooking class with a friend
7. Visit a beach/go on vacation
8. Read 5 books
9. Visit an amusement park
10. Go kayaking in the East River
11. Find a mentor
12. Run on Roosevelt Island
13. Try Bikram Yoga
14. Go on a cupcake tour in NYC
15. Go to a Knicks or Nets game
16. Host a brunch 
17. Ride bikes in Central Park (yes, like a tourist)
18. See the Rockettes 
19. Go to dinner at the famous, Peter Luger Steakhouse
20. Fly a kite in a park
21. Eat only fruits and vegetables for a week
22. Visit Boston 
23. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge at night
24. Go on a scavenger hunt
25. Go back to my old neighborhood in Queens and eat my favorite bagel
26. Run 1000 miles 
27. Volunteer at a race
28. Memorize a chapter of the book of the Bible
29. Bake an apple pie 
30. Celebrate the last night of my 20's in EPIC form!

I promise to blog about some of these! Feel free to join me on any of these adventures!

Oh and just for fun, here is my favorite pic of 2013 so far:

Runners. Central Park. 1/13/13