Hi! My name is Kim LiCalzi. I blog at www.runfortherabbit.com/Kim. On my blog I write about my training for the Hamptons Marathon in memory and honor of my husband’s twin brother, 1st Lieutenant Michael LiCalzi, USMC, who died in Iraq while serving our country in 2006. I am so honored to be guest blogging for Theodora on Memorial Day. When I run, I think about Mike, I think about my family’s devastating loss, but most of all I think about his heroic sacrifice for our country. Today, on this beautiful Memorial Day, I ask you to remember our Fallen Hero, Mike, a local New Yorker, who gave his life for us, as well as all of the other men and women who sacrificed it all.
Every marathon has a story. I have run three marathons and each one conjures up different memories, images, sounds, smells.
New York: bounding over the Verrazano, Frank Sinatra’s booming voice muffled under wind and waves, the crowd starting to rumble on the Queensboro, and turning the corner. Ah, Manhattan, the best welcome in the world. I had tears in my eyes climbing first avenue, and my mouth was sore from smiling so big.
The Marine Corps Marathon in D.C.: I had Ace in the Hole Foundation on my chest, and my husband’s twin brother’s name on my back: “In Memory of 1st Lt. Michael LiCalzi”. I never ran with more pride. A group of marines tapped me on the back, told me they knew Mike, ran with me, cheered for me, and helped carry me through. The finish line was at the top of the hill, marines lined the edge of the course, their expressions telling us “you can do it.” I finished, collapsed into my husband’s arms, and felt Mike’s presence around us.
Miami: I ran over two bridges, the first lined with sleeping cruise ships in the dark water. The next bridge, I watched the sun arc over the water, pink and orange rippling over the boats. I remember the sponge someone handed me in the last mile and squeezing the cool salty water onto my head.
My next marathon will be the Hamptons Marathon. I can tell you the race will be fantastic. I will run for Mike again, but this time, with my husband. Instead of waiting at the end, he will be beside me, and we will finish with the strength and determination that his brother had.
The training is a little more forgettable. My mom always told me a marathon would be like childbirth. At the finish, I would forget all the pain of training and the 26 miles. In the end, she was right.
As far as training goes, the Miami marathon sort of toasted me. I was running outside in the snow, in the cold. I had a very difficult time breathing, and after a run my chest and lungs felt like they were on fire. I also developed at attractive sounding cough that would not go away. But what was worse was my mindset. I was way too caught up with mileage. I would get down on myself if I couldn’t manage over 10 miles. I would think that anything under 6 miles was a waste. I stopped trying new exercise classes because I was terrified I would be sore for a long run.
I realized after the marathon that I needed a break, I needed to ease my mind, and make running fun again. So, for a while I ran small distances, got rid of my watch, enjoyed the fresh air. I also tried new classes: a variety of Equinox Group Fitness, Corefusion, and many invigorating yoga classes at PureYoga. I began to feel better about myself and actually stronger. I took a personal training class at Equinox Academy and learned a lot about the human body and training it. I learned the importance of variety, rest, and the overload principle.
And then, I signed up for the Hamptons Marathon. It feels amazing to be running again. I love the park, the exhaustion, the runner’s wave. But, this time, I am making sure that I have time to cross train and strength train. It is very important for my body to stay strong to conquer that fourth marathon.
But I’m really doing this to keep my mind at ease. I need variety, I need to know that my muscles are working as well as my heart, and I need to know that sometimes I can take my time, and leave my watch at home.
What do your marathons make you think of? Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by training?
Have you ever taken a break from a sport? How are you training for your next marathon? Are you including strength training? How is training for your second (third, fourth,…) marathon different from training for your first?