August 2008


I am so happy, and I could not have done it today without Melissa, my running partner. She’s recovering from shin splints, but she still met me at 7 this morning (I was of course the second one to arrive, she is always so punctual). She kept track of my times between water stops, and said after a while she could time my arrival within 30 seconds to a minute. Now that’s scary! But she’s a CPA, so that does not surprise me.

Overall, she said my time was about 3:20 – that didn’t include the time I took at stops. Until those last 3 miles, I think I was doing between 10-11 minute miles. She was happy to see I was back to my usual sweaty mess at the end, and so was I. No more potassium pills for me, thanks!! I did the teams 5.6 mile loop in Beverly three times – my third lap around was actually shaping up to be the fastest of the three, I think, even when I walked after about mile 14.6. It’s not hard to figure out why – at that point, I just wanted to finish!

The day started out sort of rainy – so you could say 100% humidity, I guess. At this point, I’m used to that. Changed shirts at about the 11.2 mile point (like I said, I sweat a lot, so I’ve even ordered 2 TNT shirts for the marathon.) Luckily it stopped by the time I’d done the first 3 or so miles. It stayed overcast for most of my run, until around the 14.5 or 15 mile point.

At the 13.1 mile water stop, an elderly gentleman was walking past Melissa, and I think he asked how far I’d run and he couldn’t believe I’d already run 13 miles, with 5 more to go, so he asked if we were doing this for a cause. We told him we were both going to be doing a marathon in October, and he was very nice with his remarks and wished us luck. It’s amazing how something like that can buoy you when you need it most.

I am happy to say that I didn’t walk between water stops until I hit the 14.7 mile point. That’s when Melissa told me I was actually running faster that loop than the other two. I have to admit, at that point, I really did feel like a 70 year old woman, or at least like I must have been running like one. But who cares? I felt much better this time, especially at the end, than I did last week. I took 2 ibuprofen around mile 9, anticipating that “tired pain” I got over the last 2 miles last week. That definitely helped – preemptive pain relief!

Oh, and as I was literally about .3 from the end, that’s when the commuter rail decided it needed to come through. “Are you [expletive deleted] kidding me?” is what I yelled out – you can enter your favorite swear word in there – mine began with an F 🙂 Melissa got coffee and I got chocolate milk with a bagel at the Dunkin Donuts afterward. Chocolate milk has never tasted so good!

When I got home, after showering, just like last week, I sat in ice in the bathtub. Sounds painful, but really it feels so much better afterward. Tonight, my husband and I are going out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary of a few days ago, and tomorrow we’ll do something else, hopefully on the water. Tonight, I’ll just be too beat to do much walking around, big surprise right?!

I do have a question though – when you hit that 15 or 16 mile point, what kinds of things can you do to keep up the mental edge to keep going? That’s when the “tiredness” hits me – I need distraction techniques!!

I downloaded new tunes last night on the iPod – what a difference! While this song is not really fast enough to run to for long, it kind of sums up how I felt today:

Melissa, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. This run today was for both of us – you’ll be back to running with me and kicking my butt soon enough.

Maybe it was because it was run mainly in the dark. Mainly it’s because today there was basically no humidity for a change. Maybe because it’s my anniversary. Maybe because the planets are all aligned or in retrograde. I don’t know the reason why, and I don’t care. All I do know is tonight felt great, and now I have ice on my legs so that they feel great again on Saturday for the 18 miler!

By all accounts, tonight should not have been a great run – didn’t eat as much all day as I normally do. Got home and unwrapped the roses my husband had left behind (two different bouquets since he was not sure which I’d like more – all red, or a bunch of pink, white and yellow.) (Yes, ladies, he has learned after all the years we’ve been together – when in doubt, get both!) 🙂 Anyway, I only left at about 7:30 and planned on running about 6 miles. This is my rolling hill loop that I do when at home on Thursday nights. Tonight, where I normally feel the hills, I could hardly remember running up them.

Normally I don’t mention work on this blog, because I want to keep my work and my running life separate. But today I think part of my great run was due to a very positive experience at work. My boss and I made a presentation to a large number of students who act as mentors and advisors to first year law students. We showed them a project we’ve been working on steadily for over a year, and it was pretty great to hear some of the students say loudly enough for everyone to hear “that’s cool” and to hear how amazed they all were to know all of the services that we offer. I work in such a large school that it is very hard to know if you’re succeeding or not, whether you are “getting to them” (meaning the students, and everyone else). Today, I felt like we did get to them, and we heard some very favorable comments from the students who arranged for our talk afterward. I cannot tell you how good that felt. The last time I felt like I had such a great run was after I talked to the Law Review students as a group and felt like the meeting went well. These two meetings were, I hope, just the beginning of our opening the lines of communications with many students. Never overvalue the strength of word of mouth in getting your message across. Anyway, the positive feelings from both meetings crossed over into my run and I’m glad for it.

Now let’s just hope I can keep those positive feelings going on Saturday!!!

Happy Running Everyone!

One good thing about all the cross-training I am doing – it gives me some time to get some reading done (during the warm-up and cool down periods anyway, in the middle, it’s just too much to try and do, while maintaining rpms of 95-100 on a higher level of resistance.)

I just finished Bart Yasso’s My Life on the Run. If his name sounds familiar, it may be because he works for Runner’s World and he is the guy that takes part in a lot of unique (or some may say, crazy) types of races, such as nude running, running with burros, etc. If it’s unconventional, he’s very likely done it.

His story is told with a lot of self-deprecating humor (exactly my kind of person). He explains how running changed his relationship with his dad, and very importantly, himself. He had a problem with drugs, that running helped him to overcome. He talks about his job with Runner’s World, making me want to move back to where my family came from (Runner’s World is based in Emmaeus, Pennsylvania where I have family still.) My favorite chapter is the one where he mentions those people whom he finds to be inspirations, such as Ryan Hall, Billy Mills, Sarah Reinertsen (a woman who ran a marathon as her prosthetic leg, literally, fell apart.) He also mentions as inspirations, Mike Huckabee (the former Republican presidential candidate) and George Hirsch, his dad, with whom he was not close earlier on in life when he felt he was not as athletic as his older brothers.

Also helpful are his various training programs for a variety of distances, from the 5K to the marathon for newbie and seasoned runners alike. He also discusses his famous Yasso 800 theory (I’d never heard of it, before, I admit, but it is supposed to help you determine your marathon time.) He also talks about training on a 10-day rather than 7-day cycle, which I’ve also heard is very good for you. The last chapter details the must-do races, all over the US and in a few other countries. (Lisa, you’ll be happy to know the Hood-To-Coast relay is one of them.)

I think what I liked most about this book is his message that running is a sport for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are short or tall, skinny or not, whether you like to run in the day, night, rain or sun, and whether or not you look good doing it. It is a sport that accepts whomever wants to do it, at any level. You don’t have to be a Kenyan and break Olympic records, you just need to enjoy doing it.  (That guy was amazing, though, wasn’t he?)

And, because I’m a law librarian by day, well, I liked the index at the back of the book. I recommend it as a good read if you like to run and you like biographies. If you’re a Runner’s World magazine reader, you’ll recognize a few of the stories from the excerpts that they ran a while back.

Now, I’ve got just one question – if your Life Fitness stationary bike gives distance in “miles or km” how in the world are you supposed to know which you are biking? I’ve been assuming I’ve been doing km all these weeks but realized tonight I might be doing miles! Which sounds more realistic – 16.4 km biked in 45 minute, or 16.4 miles? I’m busting my butt the entire time, with rpms between 95 and 100, sometimes even more!

Tomorrow is my 4th wedding anniversary – yay to Bill and me!

Happy Running everyone!

My “coach” (aka my husband) had a sneezing fit tonight on his way home from work and then his sinuses started killing him, so he missed my track workout tonight. Oh well, at least I didn’t have to listen to him blowing a whistle nonstop as he had promised he might.  His excuse – “I don’t know when I’m supposed to blow it or when to stop, so how about I just do it nonstop?”  My answer – “sure, if you don’t mind it being shoved somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine.”  I’d like to thank Tamara for giving me that idea. 🙂

So my track workout got shortened tonight. I was feeling good at first, and then felt kind of lightheaded, and then started to lose all ambition. These track workouts went much better when I could do them with Melissa, I have to admit. I was supposed to do 2 x 1200 with 2 minute Rest Intervals, and then 4 x 800 with 2 minute Rest Intervals. I managed the 1200s, and 2 of the 800s. I think I did the 1200s faster than I should have (6:05 and 6:09, should have been 6:15), and then the 800s were 4:05 and 4:09. Melissa, my running partner, if you are out there reading this, should be happy to know that I only tried a few stadiums and then, because I am now getting paranoid about injuries, decided to stop. Does everyone else out there get like this as they get closer to a big race, or am I just being a Nervous Nelly?

My Running Times magazine had an article in it about doing varying types of long runs when training for a marathon. Personally, I go out there with the goal of finishing it and trying to feel good while doing it. They suggest 5 varieties, along with various books:

1. long and steady (that’d be mine) (with suggested reading: Run to the Top by Arthur Lydiard and Garth Gilmore)
2. long run with surges (with suggested reading: Speed with Endurance by Bill Squires and Bruce Lehane)
3. fast-finish long run (Melissa and I have tried this too, I like it for the last mile if I’m feeling pretty good) (with suggested reading: Paul Tergat – Running to the Limit by Jurg Wirz)
4. long run at marathon race pace (guess it’d be good if I really had a clue what this is for me) (with suggested reading: Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas)
5. pace-change long run (with no suggested reading) (for me this means really slow changing to just plain slow)

Do any of you out there do this? Should I, as a first-timer? Have any of you read any of these books?

Oh, and by the way, I signed up for another half-marathon, the Sea Coast Half-Marathon, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Nov. 9th. Melissa and I are planning on doing it together since she can’t do the Women’s Only Maine Coast Half-Marathon on September 21st. I have a feeling I will like that distance better, especially for next year, so that training doesn’t take up so much time. These longer runs are taking more out of me every weekend.

I think it’s so cute. Amy in Michigan probably knows all about this.  My brother in law, Steve, is signed  up to do the Grand Rapids Marathon on October 19th.  The organizers are also having a kids’ marathon.  The way it works  is like this – the kids sign up and then they need to run 3 miles each week for the next 8 weeks or so. They even have their own workout logbooks.  Then, on the day before the actual adult marathon, the kids go, and get their own bib numbers. They run the last 1.2 miles of “their marathon” on the actual course, over the last 1.2 miles of the 26.2 mile course.  They all get finisher medals too.

My sister’s kids are 7 and 4, with the baby just turning 1 this past June.  She said it was a bit difficult for Jack, the 4 year old, to do a mile, so they are going to start off slower with him and just do a half mile each time out.  I guess he was upset that he couldn’t keep up with his older brother but she kept telling him, “Jack, it’s ok, you can walk, we don’t need to run the entire way.”  For those of you new to my blog, here’s one of my earlier posts about Jack, whom we refer to as The Tank.  (I don’t have pictures of the kids’ faces on this blog to respect their parents’ wishes.) 

Anyway, I’m surprised more races don’t do something like this. It’s a good way of getting the kids involved and getting them interested in exercise, I think. My sister will likely do the race with them and push Katie in the stroller.

I had my hair cut after the run this morning. My hairdresser, Linda, and her partners at LLJ Hair, have been nice enough to have a can and poster at their counter for the past several months, helping me with donations.  Today I am using as a bookmark, a little piece of paper with two girls’ names on it – Brittany and Nicole.  They are 8 and 10.  They were at the hairdresser yesterday and saw my poster. Linda explained to them what I was doing, that I was running to raise money for cancer and that it’s a bad disease, etc.  Little Brittany had $3 on her and put it in the can. Her sister put money into it too, and then Linda said they asked their mom for more money to put into the can, and she said it was “their” money so I guess it might have been from their savings or against their allowances. I am amazed. I know what even $3 is to a little kid. I told Linda that hearing about this made today’s run worth it, even the last 2 slow and somewhat difficult miles that I ran/walked.  Linda asked them to put their names down on a piece of paper that she would give to me today when I came in. Needless to say, I am going to write each of them thank you cards.

I’ve been writing thank you cards to everyone who’s given me money up to this point, and I’ve seen at least one colleague at work with it taped to his shelf above his desk.  My running  partner, Melissa, said that a lot of people at her work have done the same so she can tell how much it means to them too.

Speaking of Melissa, she did come to practice today even though she couldn’t run, and it was really good to have her there, checking in on me at the water stops and encouraging me the whole time. I don’t know why 17 seemed so much longer to me before today, it just did. I honestly never thought I’d see the day I could say I’ve run thar far.  Next week we don’t have a team practice but she’s still offered to help me do an 18 mile run on my own. She’ll be allowed to run 3 miles that day by our coach so she’s planning on running my last 3 miles with me. At that point, I’ll be needing the motivation to keep going, and will have slowed down so it won’t be as hard on her legs. At least that is our way of thinking.

About today’s 17-mile run, I’ll say this.  There were several of us who were to run 17 miles at the start, I think.  There were only 2 of us who did the whole distance, I found out.  We did a loop 3 times through a very beautiful section of Beverly and Wenham, MA. There are lots of horse farms, HUGE homes with gorgeous, HUGE lawns, and lots of shade cover, I was happy to see that. Some rolling hills. A really nice route.  I was stressed the first time through, not knowing what to expect and if I had gone down the right road even though we only had two turns (I’m so bad with directions even though Melissa had written them down.) Melissa could see it on my face.

 Thankfully by mile 3 or 4, my legs had loosened up and I felt like I was hitting my stride. The second loop felt great and I was catching up to my teammates who I had not even seen the first time around since I think I started later than them. The third loop, I asked one of the mentors if I was the last one out there, and was told that everyone but Charlene and I had been pulled.  That definitely gave me a boost, knowing my coach thought I could do the whole distance. I felt badly for everyone else though – we are all working so hard, either through illness or injuries, and we’re all stressed about doing 18 miles on our own next weekend.  The last 3ish miles – well actually the last two, I just felt sore and tired, like my legs were saying “ok, we’re done. Let’s go home.”

I did one thing last night I will never do again.  Last week I had cramping around mile 14. It could have been I needed more potassium in my diet, or that my calves needed strengthening to equal my thighs’ strength now that I am doing so much biking for cross-training.  Last night I took a potassium pill. Today those last 3 miles I felt sluggish, and I realized over the third loop I was not sweating like normal, which kind of worried me.  I could find a dry spot on my shorts, that was freaky.  Everyone tells me to sweat as much as I do is a good sign of a healthy system.

So next week I’ll be back to a sweaty mess and happy for it.

One thing I did today I’m doing from now on. I sat in my tub with 3 or 4 bags of ice for 15 minutes or so. Felt weird, but a good weird. Couldn’t feel my legs when I stood up, but that was also a weird good.

Tonight, after going out to dinner (no way am I cooking), I plan on watching the Men’s Marathon. I’m hoping Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein and Brian Sell all do well. I have a soft spot in my heart for Brian Sell because he always considers himself the “slow” guy on the team.

Let’s hope Ryan or any of them can look like this tonight:

Sorry to ramble, but Happy Running Everyone. I am taking tomorrow off from running, I think I deserve it!

My running partner is injured – shin splints.  She told me what her symptoms were last night and I thought, that has to be it. Luckily today she saw a doctor who also runs, and that was his diagnosis. So she can’t run for about 3-5 weeks.

So, the first item I say I am scared of, half in jest. I was telling my husband that now I have to do speed workouts on my own on the track. He offered to come and help me, as long as he gets a whistle.  For those of you who don’t know my husband, you should know that I generally tell people I don’t have kids, because I already have one, and he’s 34 years old.  That’s enough work!  Click here for a picture of him(He’s the one without the hat.)

You have to now picture my husband with his whistle, a trucker’s hat on his head with the word “coach” in big letters, a clipboard, and a pair of old shorts from the 70s with a pair of knee socks pulled up to his knees. Maybe with a really out of date shirt like they used to wear on the show Chips in the seventies. Are you getting this image? This is what he has threatened to do.  Lord, give me strength….sigh….I may have created a monster.   😉

Ok, second thing. Tomorrow we run 17 miles. I don’t know why this is worrying me so much. Last week was 16 and that was alright. Maybe it’s because 17 is really leaning toward the 20 side of 15, and that makes it seem that much longer.  I know it’s irrational, I have to address that and move on, and use the same techniques that have kept me calm the last two weeks, especially when I ran 15 miles all on my own and felt great.  It could be because we are running in a different location tomorrow, and I’ve made peace with the route we run in Wakefield. 

Anyway, I need to put to work some of the quotes I’ve underlined from my Running Within book, such as these below:

  1. “Remember that any distraction will persist if you resist.  Rather than expending energy fighting the distraction, view it as a friend who visits occasionally.”  The book then says to tell the distraction you’re busy, you’ll get back to it later.
  2. If you’re going to run on an unfamiliar course, “you can still mentally prepare for the challenges of such a course. In a relaxes state, you want to visualize how you felt during previous successful performances….Remember that was you and it can be repeated.”
  3. Control what you can. “Any attempt to control the results or outcome of a run or race is useless. Trying to control that which cannot be controlled creates the usual counterproductive physiological reactions of anxiety, pressure and tension.”
  4. “Fixed mind-sets about what is possible obscure the unlimited boundaries of your potential.”
  5. “Affirm that new courses are my power.” (emphasis in original.)

Just have to keep repeating those to myself.  Good luck to everyone who may be running races this weekend or conquering new distances or times.

Happy Running Everyone!

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