October 2008

I just wanted to wish good luck to a few folks that I know are running the NYC Marathon this weekend.  John from NYC is a reader of mine, and if you can believe it, he ran the Maine Marathon, as I did, just a short month ago! I can’t believe his body is back up to running that far again – if it were me, it’d end up being a death march!  (John, when you write up your race report for the Runner’s World Forum, send me the link and I’ll put it on here too!)  GOOD LUCK, RUN HARD!!  (By the way, they have our pics online!) 

Jamie and I were bib numbers 832 and 342.  Look at how many they got!

And KCH, from the Run-Faster blog, is running it too! I know you’re going to do just so awesome!!  Can’t wait to read your race report!! I have a feeling you’ll meet your top goal. 🙂

I hope for both of  you, the weather is as wonderful as it is here today. Last night when I finished running, it was dark and only 38 degrees, and let me tell you, that was COLD!

By the way, I went for a consult with a physical therapist yesterday – I have a case of plantar fasciitis but it is workable, and I can still run (although I think he’d like me to really tone it down.) He’s given me some exercises and I am going to start seeing him 2 times a week (next week only once because of my own schedule) and he said I will need orthotics at one point. He didn’t want me to change anything before my race on Nov. 9th (the half-marathon in Portsmouth, NH.)


Since Bill and I met with our financial advisor tonight (she’s quite cool by the way, and great at explaining business terms to a non-business minded type like myself), no running for me two nights in a row, or any kind of exercise for that matter.  To make things worse, last night when I got home from work, I literally could have eaten our kitchen stove, metal parts and all. So I went with the eaieset thing possible, Kraft’s Easy Mac. Yep, not even the type of macaroni and cheese that comes in a box, and at least requires margarine and milk.  I went straight for the “add water and nuke” variety!

Ok, so I do have a great picture to show everyone tonight however.  DRUM ROLL PLEASE….

My Nephew, Sean at his Kids’ Marathon in Grand Rapids, MI a few weeks ago!! I love how his bib number is 26.2!! 🙂  I am so proud of him. My sister is supposed to write up a race report about his and Jack’s race, from their sister Katie’s point of view. Katie is about 16 months old.   Can’t wait!




By the way, I took a page from John in NYC, a fellow Maine Marathoner, who has already signed up for some races next year (and is running the NYC marathon this weekend.)  I just signed up last week for the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon, on May 3rd, 2009.  (It used to be called the Runner’s World Half Marathon.)  My brother might run it too but I’ve told him he can run this one at his own pace – I know there’s going to be a deep field at this one, and I like to see him challenge himself.

Happy Running everyone, I hope to be out there tomorrow night!

A lot of  you have made good points in your comments. (Alien, you hit the nail on the head.) Keeping  motivated these past few weeks has been pretty difficult. My running partner from the summer, Lis, her injuries have continued – she just found out today that on top of the shin splints, she also got the IT Band Syndrome in both knees. We’re still not sure if she’s going to be able to do the race in a few weeks.  The days have markedly seemed to grow shorter, all of a sudden (at least it feels like it.)  And not having another race for a few more weeks, while running in colder (and feeling much colder) weather has been hard for me to get used to.

But last night, I decided to switch bikes again at the gym, and I felt like it was easier to do than the past few weeks.  Maybe I’m finally fully recovered? Maybe it’s the Phytomax pills finally kicking in?  I had fully intended to do a speed workout tonight at the gym, but I only ended up leaving work around 7:30 p.m. and I was completely starving! I’m teaching some kids tomorrow how to do Canadian legal research – go ahead, ask me anything, I might be able to work through it!  🙂 

The good thing about the last two days is that I have realized again how much I loved doing foreign legal research like I did at my last job.  I am truly hoping that as my workplace goes through its re-organization in the coming months, that I will be able to do that kind of work again, and not be limited to just a few countries as has been the case for the past two years or so. In a way, I feel like a sponge, but I also feel like I am learning more with this type of subject specialty work than what my current title lends itself toward.  

Earlier this week, I downloaded some new music off of i-Tunes, and got the book UltraMarathon Man, from my library.  After reading Jill‘s review of it, I immediately put in a request for it.  Thanks Jill!  Oh, and I put Spirit of the Marathon on my Netflix queue, can’t wait to see it – thanks Lisa for suggesting it!

By the way, here is a link to the music video to one of the songs I just got Chocolate, by Snow Patrol. I LOVE Snow Patrol – their music has always helped me run in the past, how in the world did I not  hear this song before?!  I just need to come up with a new mix now for the Seacoast Half-Marathon.  I think I could use suggestions from all of you as to good music!  PLEASE!!

Below is another song I downloaded, not one you’d run to, you’ll see. But I find the singer’s voice haunting, let me know what you think.

Into Dust, Mazzy Star


Oh, and when I got my home, even though Bill is out with friends, he put two magnets on the top of our stove grill – 13.1 and 26.2, from the Support Store.  I so wanted one of them before the marathon but he thought it’d jinx me!  YAY!!!!!

Ok, gotta get back to my handout for the kids tomorrow – hope everyone else is able to get out there and running!

Silver Lake, Thursday morning, in the mist

The lake was eerie, but so amazing at the same time! I took these really quickly and then headed off to work. I’m also putting here some pictures of two trees on my property – they are oak trees, I believe, so they really hold onto their leaves, for what feels like FOREVER! (Sorry, I see some of them are turned on their side!) To see them larger, just click on the thumbnails below.

The other morning it was 25 degrees when I went to work. Yes, I mean it, really, 25 degrees. And I wonder why it is hard to get out of bed in the morning, in the dark. While I like the change of seasons, it is hard to get up in the dark, and come home from work, just about in the dark. Pretty soon we’re going to have to change the clocks, and then it’s going to get even more difficult. I am not sure if I will need to get a stronger headlamp or not, I don’t want to spend even more money on gear for running, so we shall see. (I did just buy two pairs of tights, which were about $40 and $45 each.)

Many of you commented on my last post that I should start running with a group or a partner, and I agree. While Lis and I really liked running together over the summer, we do live a bit away from each other, and with the darkness like I mentioned above, it’s unrealistic to think we’d be able to run together in the evenings. We had hoped to run together at least a few times before the half-marathon we have in a few weeks, but she’s been hiking a lot with her husband, and still feeling the effects of those shin splints when she does, sometimes. So, I’ve been contemplating joining the Merrimack Valley Striders, the running group of my colleague and friend Will, who just ran the Bay State Marathon last Sunday.

Part of my problem with running by myself so much lately is, as Will says “I know and have heard all my own stories before.” 🙂 Sometimes I am simply bored, others, I am thinking about stressful things, clearly not helping matters. Also, I found out this past Saturday, I appear to be sweating about the same level as this summer (almost) but when it doesn’t feel like it or you can’t see it as easily, it’s pretty hard to judge how much fluids to take in. I can’t be the only one with this problem.

I am happy to say that on Saturday, shades of the old “running me” broke through at times, and I felt pretty good. I ended up doing 11.1 miles – when I started, I ran somewhat of a new route for the first 6 miles or so, thinking the “newness” would help me to keep my mind active. The first 3.5 miles were definitely the hardest. I kept it mainly flat the whole time too, on purpose. (I have other routes I can do during the week that are “rolling hills.”) What’s sad is that I really did feel the miles in my legs toward the end, like I used to when we were building on the mileage all summer long. 11 Miles shouldn’t feel like that when you’ve just done 26.2 three weeks ago, should it?

I did find some music helped. John Mayer’s “Say” came on my iPod, which made me think of that movie “The Bucket List.” That reminded me of a T-shirt this guy was wearing, and who ran the marathon “crossing one thing off of your bucket list: priceless!” It made me think of what a good experience that Maine Marathon was just a few weeks ago, and it also made me think about that movie. I’ve not seen it yet, but it’s about two guys who are terminally ill and they do all this stuff on their life lists. I’m not dead yet, far from it. Thinking about that, I found I could keep on going. Anyone else out there have a song that involves such a stream of consciousness like that?

Anyway, I am really not sure what to do over the next two weeks – do you do a “taper” for a half-marathon? How do I handle/what kind of mileage should I be doing if I run three days a week and then ride the bike 1 or 2 days? My plan was to do a 11 or 12 miler next Saturday to remind my muscles what it is like to run that far.

Here’s the Trailer for The Bucket List:


Yep, absolutely no motivation whatsoever. I don’t think my legs have fully recovered from the marathon. I am still having problems getting my legs to go as fast on the bike as they did before the big race, and tonight I just didn’t even run. Last night, nothing – stayed home and did some work on my computer. Tonight, I was on the stairmaster because I felt like if I had to ride the bike alone tonight for another 45-50 minutes, I might just shoot myself. Figuratively, of course.

Part of me wonders if I have now hit that point of overtraining. I even found the stairmaster difficult to do. What started out as a 45 minute workout on that machine ended up being 30 minutes, and then riding the bike for 15 minutes seemed to drag on forever. In the meantime, I also seemed to be sweating bullets. What do you suggest to get out of an overtraining funk? (Keep in mind I also have a half-marathon in about two weeks, so I can’t just completely stop, no matter how much I might want to.)

Part of me thinks the changes we are experiencing/going to experience, at work, is now manifesting itself in my being unable to concentrate on my workouts in the evening. Don’t misunderstand, I think a lot of the changes to come at my workplace will ultimately be for the better. We have a new director who is pretty dynamic, and seems to really “get” how to work with people. He’s the same age as me, I think, yet our pay grades are so different! However, I don’t think I would want to take on all of his responsibilities – there is something to be said for being an individual contributor, in my book.

A big part of me realizes I am lucky to have a job right now, what with all the layoffs I am hearing about every day when Bill and I first turn on the news in the morning. It’s enough for me to want to not turn on the TV in the morning, and then drive to work in silence so I can’t hear more bad news on the radio. My older brother lost his job a few months ago, and he’s told me how tight the job market is right now. He’s heard about people being offered jobs, then those jobs are delayed, etc. It’s kind of scary, honestly – it takes me back to 2001 when I was laid off, not just once, but twice, in the same year. I also had friends then who were offered jobs, to start on a Monday, only to get a phone call the preceding Friday, telling them that the job was not actually going to exist. One of the companies I worked for hired someone as an independent contractor, only to “reorganize/downsize” two weeks later.

I’ve seen academia downsize before, and now one of the other larger schools in our metropolitan area has put on a hiring freeze that was widely reported in the newspaper. That’s scary.

Sorry to be such a downer.

Guess this all makes a case for trying to stay positive, right? I’m certainly going to try, anyway. Tomorrow is a new day – I’m also going to try to take on more of my husband’s attitude of letting things slide off of my back. Wish me luck.

By the way, if anyone knows of a place that needs a CPA with a lot of auditing experience, just shoot me a note. That’s my shameless plug for my older brother. He’s got a great work ethic, is quite competent, and is also a very decent person.

Completely random, does anyone remember this song?

The Good Kind, by the Wreckers

PLEASE ignore the fact that you’re seeing One Tree Hill in the background – this was the only acoustic version I could find on YouTube. (I like the acoustic one better.)

In addition to running lately, I’ve been getting back to my freelance work, so I’ve not been able to post every night.  I do research for a wonderful author who’s published many books and articles, and this is her second book that I am working on.  She works for some great institutions, and she is such an amazing human being at the same time – I am so lucky to have met her a few years ago. It allows me to do some historical research, some law-related, but not all, which is a nice break from what I do on a daily basis.  It’s great to learn from the research you are doing, and from the person you work for, at the same time.

Anyway…the weather is changing here, and if it’s possible, I think my body is trying to reacclimitize, but this time, rather than to the heat, to the cold.  I have noticed my asthma has been kicking in while running, and today my doctor told me it’s alright to double up on my steroid inhaler as I approach a long run day, or a race day.  She prescribed a higher level steroid inhaler for me, so I’m going to start taking that soon and see if it makes a difference. 

Tonight, I ran 6.32 miles (per the trusty Garmin 405) and my legs were fine, my body was fine, my lungs were not, and neither was my confidence.  I know, my biggest problem while running is mental.  I need to have more confidence in myself.  I find myself out there sometimes, doing well, physically, and then I start to wonder when  it’s going to fall apart, or I start to think about walking, and then it starts to go downhill.  At times, I thought to myself, “no one can take this time away from you, this is your time” and that seemed to help, but only for a short while.  Not to turn all of you out there into therapists, but if there are ways you can suggest to help increase your self-confidence, or books you’d suggest I read, I’m all ears for suggestions.

So here are reviews on products I’ve recently used for the first time:

CS By City Sports Women’s Endurance Run Tight: 

City Sports here sells tights under their own name, for a bit less than the brand names like Asics.  I realize not all of you (or most anyway) don’t live near me, so here’s the info: they are 87% polyester, and 13% spandex, and they are worth every penny, plus you can buy them online.  There is a bit of elastic at the ankle, which keeps them close to the skin, and there’s a drawstring at the waist so you can adjust as needed, as well as a few pockets to throw an iPod into if needed. 

I bought a pair of full-length tights and one of the capri length pairs.  Both have kept me quite warm – and dry. Saturday’s run was in 36 degrees at the start (yep, pretty friggin cold if you aks me) and tonight’s run was in the rain and half of it was in darkness (read: decreasing temps).  Parts of me got cold and wet on the run but not my legs.  Oh, and they sold the full length tights in XS, so I was psyched – not that I think I’m tiny but I’m short, so the length is perfect!

Nike Thermafit Running Gloves: (click on that link for a picture, it was the only one I could find)

They’re pretty much black fleece, with a little key pocket in the palms, very nice detail! I did notice that they took about a day to dry (maybe a bit less) after I wore them on Saturday for my 8-miler.  I will say, they totally kept my hands warm, and I think the rest of me, in turn, too.  When I took them off, I did notice the rest of me would get colder, and as soon as I put them back on, I was nice and toasty warm again.  Definitely worth the $20 or $25 I spent on them.

Petzl HeadLamp:

This picture is from Amazon, but on REI’s online site you can also see the 4LED lamp version.  My headlamp has the 2 LED lamps.   It is pretty bright and on a night like tonight it was good to show cars I was on the road, as well as elluminate the road so I could see where there were leaves, pine needles, etc. However, if you live in an area where there aren’t a lot of street lights, I might suggest you go with the 4-LED bulb.  This is useable for proximity lighting – you can shift it around, so tonight when needing to see what I was stepping on, I angled it down toward the ground. It is very lightweight and I’ve never had it move around on my head at all. However, I do wish it was a bit brighter for nights like tonight when it was raining and a bit slippery outside.  

A Race Like No Other, by Liz Robbins 

This is an AWESOME book, about the 2007 NYC Marathon.  I swear, after this book (described on the Harper Collins website), I almost want to run that race, if only NYC didn’t scare me so much.  (I always feel like there is a sign on my head that says I am from out of town.)  It was such a fast read – it discusses the experiences of the elites like Gete Wami, Paula Radcliffe, and Jelena Propopcuka, as well as Martin Lel, Hendrick Ramaala, and Abderrahim Goumri, as well as some of the elite wheelchair racers like Edith Hunkeler.  (One thing I didn’t know about, but which pisses me off, is the drastic difference in what wheelchair racers get paid for winning vs. the runners!)

Anyway, the writer is equally adept at telling the story of runners like you and I, who race for the sake of racing, and run for our own private reasons. She tells the story of a cancer survivor running a marathon for the first time, hitting the wall toward mile 21 or so, but still perservering. She tells the story of a former alcoholic, who even served time for her addiction, who runs an 8:40 mile, and of some of the background stories of folks who volunteer at the marathon. (If you read Runner’s World, there were some excerpts that were included in a recent issue.) There is a great bibliography at the end that refers you to newspaper and magazine articles as well as books for further reading. The writer traveled to Europe and Africa to interview the elites in their homes, and saw where they do their training, as well as discussed some of the difficulties they’ve had to overcome. This book appears to be well-researched, and written in a very easy to understand prose.

If you are needing inspiration or motivation to keep on running, or get back into running, even if you are not a marathoner, I suggest you pick up a copy of this book – you won’t be sorry.

I’m so happy for everyone who ran this weekend and who had positive experiences.   My sister told me that her oldest son, Sean, had his picture in the newspaper around Grand Rapids, from the kids’ marathon yesterday. She thought that originally he was one of a whole bunch of kids that had their picture taken, and then they found out that it is a solo shot of him with a caption saying “Giving it his all.”  I’m hoping she’ll now allow me to show you his picture, because I’m so proud of him and Jack, but I’ll respect her wishes if she doesn’t. 

His dad, Steven, also did well this weekend – he was hoping to do the half-marathon in 2:15 but he ended up doing it in 2:07. Awesome! And now they are thinking about doing the Martian Marathon because there’s also a kids’ marathon with that one too.  I guess every mile marker, there’s another alien!

My friend Will ran the Bay State Marathon today – I saw he did decide to do it after all, even with his knee troubles – I am so happy for him – 4:37 and some seconds was his time.  Congrats Will!

My Law Review student, Nico, ran the Desert Island Marathon and finished in 4:33:50 – again, AWESOME! He wanted to do a 10 minute-mile pace and I’d say he was successful, wouldn’t you?!

And did all of you fellow bloggers see Alissa’s awesome result in the Nike Women’s Marathon? 4:11:02 -that is SICK considering the hills I am sure she ran!

Kaolee, awesome job on the 5-miler! And Erin, I am glad you are feeling better today! Both of you will do great on your half-marathons that are coming up!

As for me, I was pretty low-key, running-wise this weekend. I ran 8.11 yesterday morning but honestly, I was feeling some pain in the back of my left knee yesterday, enough that I cut my run from 9 miles to 8, and I didn’t do anything today, exercise wise.  I plan on asking my doctor about it on Tuesday at my already-scheduled appointment.  I can’t believe I did all that training for the Maine Marathon this summer without injuries, and now it’s as if my body wants to fall apart on me!

By the way, for those of you who are headphone/iPod wearers out there, did you see this report that says that listening to music can help increase your endurance by up to 15%? and that it can make your exercise experience that much more pleasant?  Check out the report from Brunel University here!

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