June 2008


So, not much to report today since I took today off. To be honest, I don’t think I stretched well enough after the race yesterday and the 15 minute walk back to the car shortly afterward didn’t do me any favors at all. My legs still kind of hurt today – I even think they feel worse today than they did after my 11 mile run last week.

I did read a good book over my vacation though – it’s an autobiography of Marla Runyan, who was the first legally blind woman to run in the Olympics, in Sydney, Australia. The name of it is No Finish Line. She wrote it with the same person who helped Lance Armstrong with his book, Sally Jenkins. Believe me, Marla is amazing. She runs races, and she can’t even see the people clearly who are running around her, and she can’t see the finish line. Imagine what that is like. It sounds like she grew up with an amazing mom, who fought for her every step of the way. And she’s just so incredibly fast. What I liked was that she acknowledges her shortcomings, and she realizes now she was overtraining for many years. That’s something I have done in the past, and am worried I may sometimes be doing now, since I feel like my speed (what little I ever had) has just seemed to dissipate lately.

So, speaking of speed, i just got another book from my library tonight, which was recommended to me by Alissa of the Balancing Act blog. It’s called Run Less, Run Faster. This is the book that suggests you run 3 days per week, and cross train on the other days. I think I need to sit down and really look at it. I personally am not going to lose sleep if I never run a marathon fast enough to qualify for Boston. (After all, if you run Boston, then you have to train through the winter, and to be honest, who knows if I will do another one after this October? Time will tell if I really like this distance, and if my body can truly handle it.) I guess now, I have to figure out – do I really want to really push myself, or am I happy with the speed I am running? Sometimes I find my best runs are the ones where I just say to myself, it’s not about the speed at all, but whether or not I feel happy running right now, and just taking in everything around me. (Guess that’s why the thought of running on a treadmill makes me want to take out a fork and stab it in my eye repeatedly. Nice image, isn’t it?)

I got the Marla Runyan book a few weeks back when I was really hurting for inspiration, and a good run. The Lance Armstrong one, It’s Not About the Bike, is the next one I have on tap. (Can you tell, I read a lot, and sometimes a few books at the same time?) I’m hoping both can do the trick and continue to inspire me this summer through the really crappy runs, because I am sure that there are more out there, just lurking around, waiting to happen.

Two unrelated thoughts to my reading:

1. For those of you who try to pick spectator-friendly races, the New Charles River Run was given a D+ on that scale by my husband, Bill. He said as soon as the race started (i.e., the herd ran past him) he saw that there was basically no one left other than as he put it, “him, and the people who started to take apart the start line.” He walked for 10 minutes trying to find a bridge to try to see me somewhere else, and couldn’t find one, then started back in the direction he’d come from. To see people finish, he said you either had to “stand in the mud” behind the American Legion building, or stand up on the bridge in the blazing sun (it was hot and humid yesterday.) As he says, it’s all about the spectators. When Jamie and I run the Maine Marathon in October, he’d like one of us to wear a siren, and the other to wear a strobe light on the top of our hats, so he can see and hear us coming from far away. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the man I married. 🙂 (And, yes, I do know he’ll be reading this…ha ha ha).

2. I am toying with the idea of joining the Virtual Run Club, but think it may be best to do so after the next two weeks, since I’ll be traveling for a lot of it. (Are you reading this, Chris?) I have to figure out ways to get my long runs in over the next two weeks, however. This weekend, I’ll be watching my brother run that 50-miler (I still think he’s insane) in Western New York. My brother-in-law is running the 50K (and Bill keeps threatening to sign me up for the 25K even though I’ve never run that far, and wouldn’t be able to make it at this point.) I’ve volunteered to help pace my brother toward the end, but I still think that even on my fresh legs, and his tired ones, I’d be slowing him down. Sad, I know. The following weekend, I am going to be at a conference, where they are having a 5K race, but it’s on a Sunday, which throws off the long run-Saturday schedule, so I really have to do some advance planning. (The 5K is also at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m., so that’s another reason I am still debating whether or not to do it.)

Oh, and I know I need to get started with that 100 push up challenge thing now that I am back from vacation. Should be interesting to see how many (or should I say, how few) I can do the first time!

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Bubbleshare is back up, so here are the pics I mentioned in an earlier post tonight. The first photos are of our whale watch – we left from the Barnstable Harbor – rode out for two hours, past Provincetown, and finally saw a shark and some whales. In some of the photos, you can see the mommy whale with her calf, who showed off for us and got really close to the boat, I mean, as in “20 feet away close.” He even decided to jump for each of us – although all I saw was the splash at the end!




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The next is of our bike ride in the Cape Cod National Seashore. I decided that since I was on vacation, it was ok to give myself a bit of a break this week and do some cross-training outside, and more importantly, to spend some time with my husband. He has a very nice Gary Fisher bike, unless mine, which is a Huffy (yes, a Huffy, I’m not making it up) girl’s bike. After that, we drove out to Provincetown, which is literally as far east as you can go before you hit England, unless you are in Canada, I think. (If I’ve made a geographical mistake in saying this, please forgive me.) We also rode bikes on Friday night but didn’t have a camera with us that night, sorry! (See, I can relate anything to running/training!)




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These next pictures are of Smuggler’s Beach in Yarmouth, MA, in the fog. The beach and jetty are right on Nantucket Sound, which then leads into the ocean. Nantucket Sound is known for how fast the fog rolls in.




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I wish I could say the New Charles River Run was better history for me than it was, but I’m not going to dwell on it for too long, or try not to anyway.

It was a 7.5 mile race,  combined with a 7.5 mile relay race (not sure how far they were each running – short of 2 miles?) and a 5K.  There were about 1096 finishers in my race – officially I came in 937. The weird thing about this race is that they gave us timing chips to wear. However, there was no pad at the beginning, so everyone’s chip started at the same time, whether or not you were right on the starting line or not. Needless to say, I was not. Also, I know the time that shows up on Cool Running literally is not the same as what I saw when I stepped on the pad at the end (yep, there were two pads at the end, don’t you think they could have spared one and placed it at the beginning?!).  All of us were wondering, “why are we wearing these things, if they are just going to give us times based on the gun anyway?!”  Based on when I started and stopped the Garmin, my time was more like 1:18:20, so I think my mpm pace was 10:20, as my Garmin also said I ran about 7.58.  I’m not being picky, I just like to know more of my real time than what shows up online. (Although lately, my Garmin has been bothering me, pace-wise, it doesn’t seem to be very accurate for very long. It can say I am running 15 minute miles when I’m definitely not, but then also say I am running 8 minute miles when I am walking. Go figure.)

I did walk a few times – just not through all the water stops. I wore the hot pink Mini-Mule, which, admittedly does make me kind of hot sometimes, but at least gives me the freedom to drink whenever I want to, not when the course has water at the side of the road (I do have that stubborn, if not stupid, independent streak in me) and used Gatorade this time rather than PowerAde. I think with as much as I sweat (that’s something else I have come to realize, I sweat way more than I think I should, so I am ordering salt tablets tonight online) the  Gatorade is more for me than PowerAde, and it seems to be easier on my stomach.  I found out tonight that my brother in law uses Smarties candies rather than Gu, when he’s running. Maybe he has something there…I may have to try this! 

This morning it was so humid that at one point it was actually misting during the race. Have I said before how much I HATE HUMIDITY? 

So here’s the abbreviated race report.

I ran with my training partner, Lis, for the first few miles – at one point we got to a water stop – think it was around 3 miles, and I had to walk further than I wanted to – I just let her go – I knew she was feeling much better today than I was and I didn’t want to hold her back on my account.  I thought I could keep her in my sights and just catch up to her eventually but I ended up not doing that. She beat me by about 30 seconds to a minute – I am very happy for her as that is the furthest she has ever run. Another girl on our TNT team, Charlene, beat both of us, without headphones! I’m also very happy for her as this was the furthest she has ever run too! I am very glad that for both of them, this was a good experience, especially for Lis, because this was her first race ever, and because she said she had had a cold all week and was feeling nervous for not having run too much as a result. I told her afterward, obviously, for her, resting was the right thing to do.  

The toughest miles for me were around 3.5 to 5.5 or so.  Way back when I first wrote about things that I think about as I race, I remember I wanted to get stronger every time I run. Well, today I added a new goal. Even if most of the race makes me feel like I am sucking big time I can at least try to finish strong, and that’s what I tried to do today.

The last 1.5 miles felt pretty good. Maybe it was the Gu finally kicking in, who knows? Anyway, I decided for the last mile or so I would try to count people I passed. I think I counted 16. (We were kind of spread out at that point.)   Also, when I looked down and saw I had another .5 miles to go, I thought of Tom from the Running Lounge’s comment – that maybe I could make that last 800 yards or so stronger, and that’s what I did. When I looked down and saw I had .15 or so to go, I tried to really kick it in – I’ve run longer sprints than that. So I did.  And I finally finished. At one point today, I felt like I’d never get there.   I also wish we had not had to park so far away that it took us 15 minutes to get to our car afterward. I guess that is what Ibuprofen is for. Love that little miracle pill.

Pics are below – it looks like Bubbleshare is back up and running – yay! (You can see my comments if you go to the actual Bubbleshare site by clicking on the images – I am in a blue hat.)



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I wish the storm we eventually got this evening had come this morning. I took some pictures of the sky outside my house – it was literally that gray/dark in the sky!



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I am back from our week on Cape Cod. Rested, yes, definitely got more sleep, thank God. I learned a few things about myself while I was there.

  1. The name of this blog seems to be woefully inaccurate. “Slow ass” might be more accurate.
  2. As time goes on, I appear to be running slower, if that is even possible.
  3. I LOVE running in the evenings, preferably right around sunset, MUCH more than running in the morning. Morning running person, I am NOT.
  4. I LOVE running in the dark. Yes, let me say it again. I LOVE running in the dark, so much so I bought myself a flashlight so I could do it some more, and live to tell about it. 🙂
  5. I LOVE running near the ocean like Penny does with Velcro because (a) it’s so pretty and (b) there is usually a good breeze that goes along with it. The smell of the salt marshes near it at what appears to be a constant low tide, I can do without. (READ: it smells like a porta pottie that’s filled to the brim.)
  6. It is ok to take two days off after your long run if your body needs it. I did.
  7. “Please don’t stop the music” by Rihanna can be a very motivating song.
  8. Last but not least, I CAN RUN FOR TWO HOURS WITHOUT STOPPING!! That night, I seriously could have kept running forever, at least I felt like it. (The knees made their own comment during mile 10-11, the furthest ever I have ever run. Ever.) Yes, it was slow, 11 minute miles, but I don’t care one bit. The point is, I did it. :-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-)

The route I did for last week’s long run took me out of my in-laws’ neighborhood, into Hyannis Harbor, out toward Hyannisport (where the Kennedy Compound is located) and back again. The ocean breezes felt so good! I had started out, thinking that sunset was at 9 that night (not sure how I got that into my head, but I did.) It was actually around 8:25ish, I think. The Garmin stopped on me twice with no explanation (the nerve of that thing!), so Bill and I had to drive the route a few days later – and we found it was about 10.9 miles, so oh hell, I’m going to round up to 11!! I was originally planning on just running for an hour and 40 minutes, but then just felt like keeping on going. After the two weeks of crappy runs before it, it was so needed!!

For those of you who would like to see some pictures of the Cape and our travels (it was a low-key vacation, plagued by lots of “unsettled weather days” so a few of the boat tours we wanted to take were cancelled for lack of sign-ups) I’m going to use Bubbleshare as soon as the website comes back up, and put pictures on here for you.

This was the song that kept me going that night – Rihanna’s Don’t Stop the Music.

Yep, it’s true, I’m going on vacation, and to say I am ready for it is a giant understatement. The suitcase came out yesterday and it’s already mostly packed.  I didn’t run tonight – didn’t even get home until after 9. I’m writing now because I know that even if I were to try to sleep, I’d probably lie awake for a few hours, and then sleep only an hour or so at a time. That’s been my pattern for the last few weeks for some reason, except on the weekends when I feel like I almost was getting too much sleep. (Bill insists that is not possible, to get too much sleep – I think the jury is still out on that.)

By the way, these songs are on my most 25 played on my Nano – the first may start a bit slow but toward the middle and end, it definitely picks up. The video’s not one of the best I’ve ever seen but the song is one of my better running ones.

Snow Patrol, Open Your Eyes

And, on the more mellow side of things, Patty Griffin, Heavenly Day.  My suggestion is that after a run, lie down on the grass and look up at the clouds like she says in the song. I did that recently, and I felt instantly much younger and less stressed. Guess I should have done that a few times or listened to this song a few more times this week at work.  I’m happy to say I’ve been to at least one of the places shown here.

I’ll be back online sometime on the 28th. Keep on blogging so I have a lot of reading to catch up on when I get back! And of course, happy running.

I’ll be sure to post some pictures (with Bubbleshare, now that thanks to Penny, I know about that and wordpress looks to support it) of the Cape, maybe some whales if we see them, especially for you landlocked souls, and the New Charles River Run.  We may go to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket for a day, not sure yet. Anyway, it’ll be nice to unplug for a little while, ya know? (Please believe me when I say you don’t want to know what real estate on those islands costs. It’s a whole different world, that we just visit by ferry.)

Thanks to everyone for reading, especially these last few weeks when I was down on my running. Knowing that there are others out there going through it at the same time makes things a little easier, and of course the moral support is wonderful.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

Note, I didn’t say I didn’t work out. I just didn’t run. Actually the reason is kind of embarrassing in that it shows how sometimes I can be, well, on the dingbat side, especially if my coffee hasn’t kicked in before I leave for work.  🙂 It’s happened once or twice before, but tonight I took it as a sign at the end of a long day.  I forgot my running bra. Yes, the one item that I own that is actually the most important to run with, over even, (I shudder to think this), my iPod. And I was kind of bummed because I had my Winchester hills on tap for tonight, which if I can get through them, give me a huge sense of accomplishment, and after my running slump of the last few weeks, that would be awesome to feel.  So, I came home, ate and then went to the gym, rode the bike and then did a gazillion crunches and what I call straight-leg lifts, but I am sure that there’s a real name for them, and some other exercises.  I am hoping my ab muscles hurt for the next few days like they did last week. (I sound demented, don’t I? Ah well.)   FIGMO.  There’s a new acronym I learned today – take some guesses and let  me know what you think it means. 🙂 (Lis, Run Addict, any guesses?)  (There, I’ve given the rest of you hints by showing that those with a military background, present or past, should know what it means….)

So the next two nights I couldn’t run even if I tried. We have an interviewee candidate dinner tomorrow night, and then a drive to the Cape after work on Friday. Friday, in my opinion, can’t come fast enough right now. The last few days have been very fragmented, to the point where I don’t feel like I can concentrate on anything for more than about 20 minutes at a time.  We all have those days, but why do more of them seem to come right before vacation?!  Anyway, relaxing, running, and getting some color on my pasty white skin is definitely in order for next week…

True, I’ve been a bit stressed, but I did learn some good news the other day. I found out I’d been up for an “award for excellence” that is given to a few people, law-school wide.  I didn’t actually win, but the law school is quite large and to be nominated made me feel pretty good. It tells me I am doing some things right.  My colleague from the library who did win really does deserve to have won – he is one of those folks who everyone really does like.  

I leave you with a song that has kept me going on many a run and is probably going to be good for me toward the middle of the marathon. I warn you though, it’s 10 minutes long.  They say that techno or electronica is good for runners – that it’s about the right number of beats per minute.  Although, I don’t know that you could listen to it for 4 hours or more! 🙂

Techno Rave – Blade – Vampire Dance Club  – By the way if you stare at this screen for a few minutes, it can put you into a trance, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

If you haven’t seen the Blade movies (I’ve only seen parts myself – summary: Wesley Snipes is a badass), see the video below:

Blade Trinity (Movie Clip) Techno Music

 

 

 

Honestly, the fact that I ran 5 miles tonight is due to her.  We met at Horn Pond, and ran 3 miles, had some water and stretched a bit, and then ran another 2. It could have been longer but we looked at the time and said “ok, 5 is good for tonight.”  We had pouring rain in the afternoon and that made it a bit humid when we started, but I didn’t notice it too much because we were too busy talking. We even first missed our trail turnoff because we were talking (luckily we’d only run a few feet out of the way.)  Also, she’s fearless when it comes to “trails trails” and took the lead when I didn’t know where we might turn out. When we’d come to a fork in the trail, she just somehow knew which one to take. (She wears her heart rate monitor, and I wear the Garmin, so between the two of us, we have the gadgets covered.)  Thank you, Lis, I appreciate it.

By the way, I’ve seen this video a few times, and it’s still painful to watch. It’s of Robert Cheruiyot in the 2006 Chicago Marathon. Please God, let this not happen to me – I’ll be so sweaty at that point, I’d probably launch myself into the crowd, that is, whatever crowd may still exist by the time I drag my butt over the finish line.

How Not to End a Race

By the way, and this is totally unrelated to falling on the mat, did you know that they sell running shoes that have pee holes in the bottom? Seriously, that way if you don’t want to take time to visit the porta pottie, you just pee down your leg, it runs down into your sock, and then out your shoe. My brother has a pair. When he first bought them, I said “Jamie, do you think that maybe you’re getting too fast now? Because I’m thinking, that is just wrong if you are getting to the point where using the actual bathroom is considered too much of a time suck.” 🙂  He just laughed.

I also used to work with a woman who was really fast in the marathon. As in, she met her husband at the Olympic Trials, fast. So yes, a fast person met another fast person, and then they had a kid, someone who at the age of 5, will likely be much faster than I could ever be.  (She said one time he took his time running the Boston Marathon, and did it in, yes, are you ready?  2:35.)  The line to hurl forms to the right of me, thanks.  Anyway, this colleague ran a race once where the person running in front of her was crapping herself. 

I think it is safe to say that I will never find myself with that kind of a dilemna.  Either of them. There are just some things that I think should not be done SIMULTANEOUSLY with running! 🙂 

By the way, folks, I am really sorry if I have now cursed some of you into having bad runs.  I will try to send back the good karma to all of you that you have sent my way the last few days. I’m going to try to do my Winchester hills tomorrow night because where I’ll be on the Cape, hills are pretty much nonexistent on that scale. Then I have a few days off until this weekend. Trying to do my really long run all on my own is going to be rough. I think new music on the iPod is in order.

 

 

 

 

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