July 2008


Tonight’s power music was, I know, SO CHEESEY, but it was two songs from the Rocky movies. Survivor’s “No Way Out” and the song that played during the Training Montage of Rocky IV. (Yes, they have been put on here before, but the Training Montage bears repeating.) For the song by Survivor, see the post immediately below this one.

Training Montage

I started out thinking I’d be following the FIRST plan of doing 7 miles. First mile supposed to be “easy”, then 5 miles at marathon pace, then the last mile at “easy” pace. This doesn’t account for the DISGUSTING HUMIDITY FACTOR that we had tonight. We’ve had rains off and on tonight and after it rains, at first you think the humidity level has gone down, but really it bounces back with a vengeance and gets even more disgusting. (Today started at a humidity level of 85%, by the way, making our 75F temperature feel a lot higher.)

So let’s see. The first mile tonight was in the pouring rain. That made my shirt basically weigh a few pounds extra. I ended up running the first 2.6 miles, then having a mini “I can’t do this” attack, then me snapping out of it when No Easy Way Out and the Training Montage came on.

Tonight, when I saw the hills I purposely had planned to run up and down, instead of thinking “oh my ‘expletive deleted’ God” I thought “Attack! Attack!” and it actually really helped. Tonight’s course was kind of rolling in the middle, which I found I enjoyed for the pure variety, and I know I need to get used to running on surfaces that are not always flat.

Ok, you all know how I love my Camelbak, the pink Mini-Mule, right? I do, I really do. However, whenever you need anything, you have to basically stop, take it off, and get your crap out of the pocket. This is not normally a problem. I’d try to do it while running, but then I’d have to worry about hitting the bezel on my Garmin 405 (LOVE THAT THING) and oh, can’t you just see me with all my High Maintenance Gear?!

So, I ended up running into the dark a bit. Shouldn’t have been a problem, after all I had brought along my headlamp in case this happened. I tried to turn it on (again, had to stop to get it out of the Camelbak storage compartment) and what happened is that one of the batteries had, unbeknownst to me, fallen out. So I couldn’t get it to turn on, it was getting darker by the minute, water was literally rolling off of my hat in the 150%+ humidity (I am exaggerating, yes, but not by much in the aftermath of our showers/storms this evening.) So I just said “screw it” and ran back home as fast as I could so I didn’t die by being hit by a car, for the last 2.6 miles.

Altogether, the run was 7.97 miles, and it took an hour and a half. I think I had my watch going even when I stopped, because I KNOW I was running faster than I normally do, and running somewhere in the range of 10 minute miles or less for the beginning part of the run. The last 2.5 miles or so were definitely faster – so that’s what I am counting as important for me for this evening, that it felt great to be out there and running. Hard to believe on Saturday I’m going to be running almost twice as far, but I’ll deal with that when I get to it. It’ll be cool to have run 14-15 miles before it even hits noontime, don’t you think?!

I was thinking tonight while I road the stationary bike like a demon, how motivating some music really can be when you are working out. This video below is for my running partner, who likes Rocky movie music and it helps her to keep going, and going, and going, like the Energizer Bunny! (But we both agree, even though she didn’t see it) the last movie out sucked!

And yes, I really have to update my music/video page – that’s on tap for tomorrow – what else is vacation for?!

Also, I found out last night that my friend Corey Canada (he started out as my husband’s friend, but I consider him to be mine also) who ran the Boston Marathon this past spring and is part of the reason I am doing this marathon in the fall, cannot run right now. He said he’s injured, and is biking and swimming to stay fit while he can’t run, and that he’s running vicariously through me. Well, then, this Saturday’s 14 miler is for you, Corey! Heal quickly and fast!

For those of you who are relatively new to my blog, you can read about Corey here and here.

Call us weird, but both Lis and I actually had fun doing speedwork and stadiums last night at our nearby Burlington track. At one point I counted, and there were at least 20 people at the track, either walking or running. That was pretty cool to see. The only part that seemed really hard was, I’d say the 3rd 800 we did, especially because the sun had really come out from behind the clouds and we could really feel it. So, I admit it, we cheated, and we took more than a 2 minute breather between the 3rd 800 and the 4th and last one. We waited probably like 4 minutes. I just felt like I needed to rest a bit and not be dizzy.

The hard part we have with Lis is that she’s never run a 5K and so, trying to figure out paces when the FIRST program bases things off of that distance, can be a bit difficult. We finally figured out that she was running something close to a 28:30 or 28:40 5K because most of her 800s were pretty consistent in ending up to be about 4:20.

For me, I was kind of stupid on the first one out, of course. I wasn’t calculating my pace right, did the first 400 in 1:50 (normally my 400 pace) and then said, “ok, whoa slow down a bit there, or you WILL die later on in this workout.) (Alien, don’t laugh but I couldn’t figure out how to get my stopwatch set, even though I’ve used it many times in the past. I am just not the gadget guru that you are.) So my first 400 was way too fast – something like 3:50, then the next two were around 4:05 or 4:06 and I think the last one, having had the cheating break of 4 minutes, was something like 4:00. So I failed in the “trying to be consistent pace” sake somewhat, but I felt good afterward.

I had mentioned to Lis about doing stadiums, which idea I had gotten from this post of Tamara’s, which totally cracked me up. (And Tamara, I know what you mean about sending the kids, my sister once came to visit after I had surgery, and she just enjoyed the peace and quiet for a few days.) At first she thought I was nuts, but to be honest, we both had a really good time doing them. We saw another guy doing them at one point too, when we had taken a break, and it hit us that although we may not be speed demons and couldn’t hope to actually win a race if our lives depended on it, but we are in pretty good shape compared to a lot of people. (Not that this guy was out of shape, I commend him for working out and getting out there) but we realized for our ages of 35 and 44, we are doing pretty good and have come a long way since the start of training.

I have to say this about our training together. We are both Type A personalities (although I am certainly working on not being one all the time, I guess it’s ok to be Type A in some parts of your life) and at one point she went to her car for Gatorade while I kept on going. Later on she felt like she needed to do more stadiums to catch up with me. Then when we were both thinking of quitting, I said “ok, I’m just going to do 5 more” thinking honestly that’s all I could do. So she decided to do the same. Five turned into 15. Do you see where this is going? Then I took a break. And said to myself, “ok five more.” This when I got the look of death from the middle of the bleachers. And almost laughed out loud. I thought to myself “if one of us doesn’t say this has got to stop, this could go all night!”

So friendly competition is, as Martha Stewart says, “a good thing.”

Oh, and I finished the Every Second Counts book by Lance Armstrong, which was awesome and I highly recommend to everyone. Now I just got word that the book Replay by Kevin Grimwood is in for me at the library – woohoo! Nice beach reading, and good for thought pondering. I heard someone talking about it on NPR, I think, when I was out on the West Coast and was so intrigued I ordered it immediately. I also can’t wait to get the book written by Lance Armstrong’s mother, now there is a STRONG, AMAZING woman!

I’ve not written in the past few days, and my reason is that I am trying to relax, on my own little stay-cation. READ: I have a week off and my husband does not. So I’m not going anywhere, just staying around home, sleeping in, and taking it somewhat easy. We have a little town beach that I can go to for free so I’ll probably be doing that later today before meeting Lis at the track for a speed workout this evening.

As I write this, I’m sitting on my deck outside under the umbrella. Except for when a car drives by, it’s actually pretty peaceful. I can look at my perennial garden and my vegetables , and see how tall they are getting with the massive amounts of rain we seem to have been getting these last few weeks (which is really weird for New England) – normally we don’t get this much rain at the end of July. In spring, yes. In the heat of summer, no.

I say I am “trying” to relax because of a few things. Work is so busy for me right now with trying to get so much stuff done before the students come back (I know, I know, it’s only the end of July) that I feel like the tsunami is approaching. I try to remind myself, this is the way it feels every year, despite which school you find yourself. It always has a way of getting itself done. So, just try to breathe.

The other is this, I am realizing that the marathon is just about 2 months, maybe 9 weeks away. I just started following that Run Less, Run Faster book, because when you start that program you have to already be up at about 13 miles for the long run, which we just did with the team last week.

That book is a 16 week program, and here it is about 9 weeks before the marathon (I’m figuring this without a calendar in front of me) and I’m on what, week 2? I guess I just have to do what I can, and try to get through it, and remember, this is my first marathon. My goal should be to finish it, with a pulse, and on the same day as I started (that’s a nod to the Marathoning for Mortals guy.)

I guess one thing that has changed about me with all this running though is that I am better able to relax or to try to not make these ridiculous goals for myself every day, which of course, are not likely attainable, and then which make me feel like crap, when inevitably I don’t get through all of them. I realize now it’s ok to have small goals each day that you can attain and then you can feel better about yourself.

I’m reading my second Lance Armstrong book now, Every Second Counts, and I’m enjoying doing just that for blocks of time, just sitting there and reading it, and not wanting to do several other things at the same time. This is about his time after he got through the cancer but was still going back for the check-ups every year so he was dealing with that dilemna of “ok you survived cancer, now what are you going to do with your life?”

He says something on one page 8 that stuck with me: “[T]ime is limited, so I better wake up every morning fresh and know that I have just one chance to live this particular day right, and to string my days together into a life of action, and purpose.” I think for all of us, that purpose means a little something different. This week I’m spending some time thinking about that, as I try to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and enjoy my workouts.

Happy Running everyone, whether you’re running a mile, 2 miles, 10 miles, or more!

I realized I had not written about our TNT run this morning. But first, I have to tell you what was going on at the lake in Wakefield (where we start our runs) since 6 p.m. last night.

So you all remember when we did that trail race back on July 5th, right? And my little brother ran 50 miles? Well, starting at 6 p.m. last night, and going until 6 p.m. tonight, there were people running as many laps around the lake as they could. One time around is 3.16 miles. It’s called the 24 Hour Around the Lake Race. By around 10:30 this morning, there were some guys who had done about 84 miles. CAN YOU IMAGINE? Seriously, I can’t! I can imagine people doing ultras on trails, because that is a bit easier on your body. But this was on sidewalk (in some places around the lake, there is a bit of a sandy path) but otherwise, you’re talking about running on the street over, and over, and over, and over again. I asked someone’s support team person if the runners were doing it to raise money but I guess not. Rather, the Wakefield schools and some other groups get money earned by the race.

So, anyway… We ran 12 miles together today. I felt a lot better than last week because the humidity wasn’t there like last Saturday. However, our team waited a while to make sure people that were showing up, did show up, so we started out, I’d say close to 7:20 or later. Then once the sun came out, it really came out. When I got home this morning, I think the temps were in the high 80s or low 90s. Lis didn’t feel so great toward the end, I really think she was pretty dehydrated, or had waited too long to take some GU (that’s what we both deduced). I keep teasing her that I am like a drug pusher, trying to get her to take some of my Endurolytes. I keep saying to her, “the first one’s free… then you have to pay….” in a taunting voice. ha ha ha I’m telling you, those things are just amazing. I am SO GLAD I found them. They really give me that boost I need because I sweat so much, and I can definitely tell I am losing a lot of salt when doing it.

Afterward, I ran a mile on my own, in an under 10 minute pace, so I felt good. Maybe it was the 1 Endurolyte that I took after we finished. Maybe it was seeing all those ultrarunners still going strong after about 15 or 16 hours, that kept me motivated. Yep, I’d say it was the ultrarunners that did it. Next week, I may be doing the long run with the team on Saturday morning all on my own, as Lis is likely going to be hiking on Mt. Washington, so we’ll see how I do!

My TNT Mentor, Dave Copeland, was only able to make it to the first half of pratice today, but I think I can cut him some slack… he is running the NYC Half-Marathon tomorrow. He got into it by lottery, which is pretty cool.  I can only imagine how cool that would be to run a race with such spectator support. Many of my races, there aren’t too many people around until the end. Anyway, he’s a really good guy, and he got into TNT because of his dad. If you’d like to know more about Dave, you can get to his blog by clicking on the link within my blogroll, or just clicking here to see his website.

No running tonight – we are on tap to run 12 or 13 miles tomorrow!

When I got home tonight our newest People magazine issue had just arrived.  On page 39, there is a great review of the show Mad Men, which is on AMC, Sundays 10 p.m. EST.  You may not know this, but one of the bloggers who I read daily is Southbay Girl, over at Planet Nyyep Running, and she’s been hard at work on that show now for quite some time. She works killer hours, but still retains a sense of humor and gets out there and runs with her dog Velcro as often as she can. (And yes, there are lots of pictures of Velcro on her blog – Velcro is such a cutie, in my opinion.)

Anyway, the review says this (I”m cutting it short – for the full thing, go get your own magazine. 🙂

“Like a vintage-shop treasure, there is unexpected beauty in the show’s exquisite details: a maraschino cherry floating in a Tom Collins, a housewife’s nip-waisted slhouette, the click-clicking of typewriters. But beyond thes surface pleasures, this is a show with a throbbing pulse — characters move and breathe and talk in ways that feel both real and new.”

Way to go, Penny!!! As a hat tip to her, here’s a video of the Opening Credits that I found on YouTube.  I’ve never seen the show before, so now I think I’m going to have to start watching!

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