I realized the other day I’ve not posted in a few weeks. We are starting to get into the busy season at work, and for once, I’m glad for this time to come. It’ll keep my mind active, and in a good way.
I’m also starting to take a Spanish language course in the evening, two nights per week. It’s not for a grade or anything, but the hope is that eventually I can use the language at work because my library collects a lot of foreign-language materials, from many countries that don’t translate their legal materials into English.
I have to admit – at first, I was not totally thrilled at the idea of taking a class again. I feared that many of the students would be much younger than me, as was the case when I last sat through French (“refresher for me”) classes at the university affiliated with my former employer. However, yesterday I realized that part of the reason I like my job is because every day you can be asked a different question, and every day you can feel like a sponge all over again. I like learning about a lot of different things – I hate getting bored and doing the same thing over and over again (although there is something to be said that a routine can also be comforting sometimes, especially in times of stress.) Also, age is what you make of it. It can only make you feel uncomfortable around others if you let it. If you’re confident in and happy with yourself, it will come through. People will want to be around you.
And, speaking of self-esteem, when I made some major changes to my life about a month ago, a good friend’s husband gave me some good advice – he had gone through a similar experience and said “be sure to lean on your friends.” That is some of the best advice I’ve received. In addition to my longstanding friends, I’ve also made some new ones. Over the past few weeks, some individuals that were formerly just coworkers of mine have become good friends. And guess what? They’re also runners! :-)
Speaking of which, this is (usually) a running blog, so…
I am probably going to run a few 5K races over the next few weeks. One of my coworkers/new friend and i are thinking of trying out different running groups in the area together. I remember how nervous I was the first time I went to a track workout with MVS, and how I felt intimidated by other runners who were clearly faster than me. We both feel like we’ll feel more comfortable meeting other runners if we go together.
Another coworker/new friend is thinking of doing his first race ever. Needless to say, I am so excited about the prospect of running a race again with someone on their very first time out, as I did about year ago with my friend Amy. Being a guy, and younger than me, he is gifted with speed I can only work on achieving, but I think at the 5K distance, I can keep up with him, and possibly set a PR at the 5K distance. How awesome would that be?! (Needless to say, I’m also enjoying teaching him about all the running products/fuels, etc., that only a running nerd like me could enjoy, LOL.) I am really hoping that it can be a positive experience for him, and that we can pass tons of people in that last half-mile (oh yeah…that’s the competitive spirit in me coming out, LOL.)
I guess you could say that by teaching someone new(er) to the sport (my friend has been running for a while now, he’s just never raced), this is my way of giving back to a community that has done so much for me, and for which, I am so extremely grateful. I’ve learned so much about how to properly fuel, how to work on mental toughess, racing, apparel, etc., from reading so many of your blogs, twitter feeds, etc. While I could have done it on my own, I’ve realized how much better it’s been to learn from others. I know could not have gotten through my marathon back in 2008 without the help of my brother who ran alongside me, at such a ridiculously slow pace for him. So, I hope I can repay at least a little of that kindness out into the ether, so to speak.
Anyway, stay tuned for some upcoming race reports, and hopefully some new PRs. Until then, I leave you with a very cute picture of Ruthie. She’s looking out at the “city version” of Dog TV. (She’s coming back again this weekend, I can’t wait!!)
Ruthie watching trains and cars go by, on Dog TV (so exciting!)
Reservoir at night, loved the colors and way the clouds looked on Saturday
My friend Sarah came over on Saturday to hang out, and help me put things together. (Seriously, I have a problem with reading directions and putting things together. It’s like my brain doesn’t know how to make sense of the pictures unless someone reads them out loud to, or with, me.) THANK YOU SARAH! We went for a walk that night to check out the neighborhood and walk around the reservoir, which is when I took the picture to the left.
My younger brother, the crazy long-distance runner, and running coach, was in town this weekend for a very quick overnight visit. With everything that’s been going on, he’s wanted to come up and visit so we could have a good talk, and we definitely did have several while he was here. He’s 15 months younger than me, and growing up we fought like “cats and dogs.” Mom always said that we’d fight each other to the death, but let someone else pick on one of us, and we’d turn on that other person with an equal vengeance to protect each other. So if your kids are like that now, take heart, they can grow up to be pretty close, as we are.
Whenever my brother comes for a visit, it’s always short. Sometimes he arrives on a Wednesday night, and then we run the Feaster Five on Thanksgiving morning, getting into a car a few hours later to drive to my mom in upstate NY. Sometimes it’s at Christmas, again, a short visit. Sometimes I’m able to go to NYC for work and I stay with him for a weekend.
View of large pond in Blue Hills. Someone said today it was Houghton's Pond, but I don't think that's the right shape. Think it might be Ponkapog (sp?) Pond.
He’s never been able to really see Boston on his visits, so this morning, I took him down to the Blue Hills area which is located south of the city. It’s where they hold the 13.1 Marathon Boston (yes, it was a running joke that the Boston race was not really in Boston but a decent drive south of the city.) Definitely not a race whose course had you running around downtown’s skyscrapers, like my first half marathon of the year, which was the Run to Remember on Memorial Day.
Tiny buildings way off in the distance is skyline of Boston, from the Blue Hills observation tower (looks like a "castle.")
While I was training down there this summer, I found out that there are some pretty easy trails that lead to the top of the largest blue hill, and you can look out over Boston from an observation tower. My friend Lis calls it Great Blue Hill. So, that’s where I took my brother today. I apologize for the quality of this photo and how small the city looks in the distance (everyone, get out your magnifying glasses) but just take it from me, the view is amazing.
By the way, this photo is of Great Bue Hill but I took the photo at 5 a.m. on the morning of the half-marathon. You can’t see the “castle” from where we took the other pictures posted here, but it gives you an idea of its size anyway. It only took us about 15 minutes to hike to the top. Lots of kids were doing it too, albeit at a slower pace.
the large hill that we climbed today, which I learned while training was called Big Blue, by hikers
I then drove my brother over most of the course that I had run in June. He said that a few of the folks he coaches in NYC also ran it, and complained a lot about the lack of cups, as well as the mile+ long hill that basically killed everyone. I said now he could go back home and tell them he really understood. He couldn’t believe we had run such a hill and then still had about 1-2 miles to go! We also hiked up the first “summit” hill that we ran in the race.
Well, maybe walked is a better word than “hiked” since our walk was up a road, not a trail (they close it off on Sundays during the summer.) He thought that hill was pretty steep, about a 10% grade. I said “yeah, that wasn’t the hard one for me, once I did it once in training.” Felt damn good to say that! I believe the road is called Chicktawbut, but I always pronounced it as chick-too-a-butt. I know, I’m an idiot. Once it got into my brain that way, it got stuck.
Last but not least, I just had to show my brother the hill in Newton that I’ve been running up and down to confirm that it really is Heartbreak Hill. I’d say the involuntarily twitching of his fingers confirmed it. He was like “OH NO, OH NO” when we drove down it. “This hill comes at the absolute worst spot in a marathon,” I believe were his exact words.
Lucky for him, I didn’t make him run it….:-)
Anyway, I’ve mapped out a new route that has me running down and up it, and I can’t wait to make that a part of my normal training. “Oh yeah, Heartbreak Hill? I run that all the time…” LOL