November 2008


Well, this was a good Thanksgiving weekend. A lot of driving in a short period of time, but good.¬† My mom in upstate NY cooked – she’s a good cook. ūüôā

Jamie got in late from NYC on Wednesday night – around 11 p.m. so by the time we got home, it was about 11:30, and by the time we actually got to sleep it was after midnight. We were a bit tired when 6 a.m. rolled around on Thursday morning. We wanted to leave by 7:15ish to get to the race and find parking. 7:15 turned into 7:30 (this is not a surprise for anyone who knows us) and we got to North Andover by around 7:50 or so. Luckily we found parking, and it was pretty close to the finish line, which was awesome considering I didn’t want to have to walk a 1/2 mile afterward like last year (when we had no clue as to how close we were really parked to the finish line.)

Anyway, imagine 7000 runners for a 5K and 5 Mile race with the same starting time, some with dogs, some with strollers, some fast, some slow. We were crammed in pretty tight, so tight that Jamie and I felt like we were indoors, and both of us took off our outer layers as we got to the start line – we were already warmed up.¬† The Merrimack Valley Striders have pictures of the race on their website – if you scroll toward the bottom, you’ll see the crowds at the starting line.

Now, did I forget to mention that basically the first¬† mile (actually even more) of the Feaster Five is UP¬†A HUGE HILL?! I am proud to say, we made it, and I didn’t stop until around mile 1.5, when seriously, my lungs hurt, and I felt like I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs. I am noticing that much more this year, and am beginning to wonder if my asthma medication needs to be changed.¬† I took a few puffs on the inhaler and we continued on.

After that first uphill, the race is pretty flat, thankfully.¬† We had great weather, and it was in the high 30s/low 40s.¬† I carried my water bottle causing my brother to just laugh in the morning as I struggled to unravel my headphone cords, and just say “you’ve just got so much…..GEAR!!”¬† Yes, I am a “GEAR-HEAD,” AND PROUD OF IT!

Anyway, before the race, I visited the porta-potties while Jamie ran around a bit and tried to keep warm. During the race, he stopped at the first water stop, and when we passed the second he didn’t stop, even though I kept urging him to. It was at this point that he admitted he needed one of the porta-potties.¬†¬†

When the 5Mile runners join up with the 5Kers, there is a wooded area to the right side of the road, up a hill. I saw Jamie start looking and I was like “I know what you’re thinking!”¬† So he took off when he saw a good spot where he could hide a bit from the crowd (but with a race that big, there really is no complete way of hiding), and said he’d catch up.¬† Another runner asked me if I thought he could really catch up to me, and I was like “um, yeah, he’s a 6 or¬†7 minute miler, I have no doubt of it!”

Anyway, long story short, he did.¬† Around the 4 mile point, I saw that we were already at 41 minutes. Jamie asked me if I still wanted to break 50 minutes and said he could get us there if I did. I didn’t think I could do a 9 minute mile considering my lungs had already had me walk twice at this point and told him so. But the amazing thing is that when we hit about mile 4.70 or so, I did feel pretty good.¬† We also had a downhill at that point (followed by a steep uphill right afterward, which I knew about), and I yelled out “free speed, right?!”¬† That’s been¬† my motto ever since our marathon together, downhills = free speed.¬†

So we took off, and 200 yards from the finish, there’s a guy with a megaphone telling you about that distance, and even though it was pretty difficult to sprint up a hill, through crowds of walkers (and yes, dogs and strollers doing the 5K),¬†I looked at my watch, saw it¬†said 48:22, and knew I could finish¬†under¬†50 minutes!!¬†

End official time for me: 49:23, and 49:24 (we’re still not sure why I seem to finish ahead of him when we run), and our places were 1901 and 1902 out of 2600 or so.¬† So yep, in the middle-of-the-pack, just like I like it! ¬†

I am so thankful to be able to run with my brother in races like this, it makes it all the better. No pics though, neither of us carried our cell phones during the race, and Bill didn’t go to watch, he slept in!

Hope you like the pictures, they are me with my mom’s cat, Persephone (my mom had no choice about her name, she just adopted her a few years ago), her dog Amos, who is just such a lover-boy, and the snow that we woke up to in upstate NY on Saturday morning.¬† Thought those of you in warmer climates who never see snow might like it!

Hope everyone had a great holiday, and ran happy at the same time.  (I took two days off, worked out today and am going to hopefully run outside tomorrow, taking the day off.)

happytg_windyangels Photo by WindyAngels/flickr.com

Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and to those of you running tomorrow, especially Lindsay of the Chasing the Kenyans blog (which I have recently started following) good luck, and enjoy yourselves!  Lindsay is probably running a lot more than the rest of us Рshe has a FULL MARATHON in Atlanta!!

I volunteered today at pre-registration for the Feaster Five  Race tomorrow, and it was a very fast 3 to 4 hours, let me tell you! Pretty cool to see that for many people, it was their first race ever. You could see the excitement and nervousness on their faces. That was all of us at one point!

I feel very grateful to have virtually “met” so many of you this year. Your support is so appreciated, and I hope I have been able to return the favor in kind.

And to those of you who are traveling, please be safe!

Run Happy!

sag-iconI just read tonight that the SAG Union asked for strike authorization. They’ve been working without a contract since June.

Last year when the writers went out on strike, my husband, Bill, and I bitched about there being no good TV on at all.¬† We complained that it’d be 2 years before we’d see a new 24 episode. We complained that it’d be forever until we’d see a new LOST episode.¬† So yes, we were bored, but that’s about the extent of how the strike harmed us.¬† It didn’t affect our livelihood. However, that can’t be said for all of us.

I’ve been reading Penny’s blog at Planet Nyyep Running now for some time.¬† She is working out in Hollywood, in the entertainment industry.¬† She’s not one of those folks making millions or getting paid¬†money when shows get rerun over and over, or when they go into syndication.¬† She’s one of the camera operators, and one of those folks who you don’t see BECAUSE they do¬†their¬†work¬† so well.¬† She works on the show,¬† Mad Men, which won lots of kudos (and awards) this year. Enough said. ¬†

If you read this post of Penny’s, you’ll see how a strike could affect¬†her and others like her.¬† No wonder she works the crazy hours she does sometimes, she never knows when her work might come to a screeching halt and there’s nothing she can do about it!

So, please, if you can spare the 10 seconds that it takes, please go to this link, and sign the No SAG Strike! petition!    THANK YOU!!

Oh, and by the way, I’ve added more of my pics to the box on the right. Feel free to download any you like.

I am a bit frustrated. I am kind of sick of being a 10 minute-or-so miler.¬† I know it’s not particularly slow but it’s not particularly fast either.¬† The weather here this weekend was sunny at times, but so windy, that after raking a ton of leaves yesterday, I was not about to go out there and run 8-10 miles.¬† Yes, I have the right clothes, but I just couldn’t do it.

So I thought I’d run for the whole 99 minutes that our treadmills can do, at our gym. I made it to about 83 minutes (8 miles) and then guess what? The tummy got me, and that was it. I thought of finishing up, but then decided against it.¬† 8 Miles on a treadmill – thank God there were two silly movies on the TV that I kept bouncing back and forth between.

Anyway, I have decided to get back into my strength training again – with all the training the marathon took, I didn’t have that much time to keep it up.¬† And now I notice a difference. So at the end of every workout now, the plan is to try to do at least 10-15 minutes of working with weights of some kind.¬†

And also, more speedwork. I really want to at least built up my speed if I’m not doing all the mileage I used to. I think my longest runs on the weekends will now be between 8-10 miles, especially if it’s going to be so cold.¬† It is just so hard to stay motivated when running by yourself in the bitter cold. I do envy those of you who live in warmer places of the country. Wind chills in the single digits and teens, yeah, it’s just not the type of weather to get you out there.

I planned on lifting weights this morning but it was less than 12 hours since I was at the gym last night, and when I woke up, my neck and shoulders hurt, so I went back to sleep. Now I am feeling a bit guilty. And my hair dryer went on the fritz this morning. Sigh.

I’d love to get down to be able to keep up a solid 9 minute mile, that would be awesome. Now I just have to get to it.

Anyway, I did have fun meeting some people yesterday at the packet stuffing. They said that the Feaster Five Road Race already had about 5800 signups, and last year they got about 2500 during the three days of registration beforehand.  Should be fine. And the people I sat and talked with were very nice.  Dick Hoyt and his son are going to be there again this year Рyou should check out their web page if you want some inspiration.

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Per Accuweather, the real temp outside right now is about 25 degrees. However with the wind it feels like 5.¬† (And¬†it’s cloudy, althought not quite as dark as this picture, which was taken outside of my house earlier this year.) ¬†I do remember distinctly what it was like running in the cold and crazy wind of last weekend. No thanks today!¬† Today, I’m going to put myself at the mercy of the escalator-to-nowhere, to get some hill workout-heart pumping going on.

Call me a wimp, but I am going to work out at the gym today, and do my longish run for the week tomorrow afternoon when it might feel like it’s in the 30’s.¬†

I am volunteering to stuff packets tomorrow for the Feaster Five Road Race.¬† I understand that they are on tap to have more than 7,000 runners this year, so this should be fun tomorrow!¬† I am hoping to meet some of the folks in the Merrimack Valley Striders running group, which is the group one of my co-workers belongs to. (He’s a diehard, this windchill of today probably wouldn’t stop him from getting out there.)

I saw the weather forecast for today last night, so decided that I’d forego the Thai food until this evening, and then hopefully have a good run tomorrow afternoon.

Hard to believe, a year ago this weekend, my brother ran his first sub-3 hour marathon, in Philly!  I just remember this suprised look on his face for the rest of the day, it was great.

Run Happy, everyone!

Call me weird, but when it comes to doing speedwork, I am finding that if I have to do it alone, I prefer to do it on a treadmill rather than at the track. Mentally I can tell myself it’s not as far, even though it’s the same thing.

I couldn’t believe that when I got to the gym today about 5:35 a.m. or so, there were people who were already finishing up. Our gym opens up at 4:30 a.m., obviously those are the folks who are there when they open their doors.

This was the first time I’ve done speedwork now in about 7 or 8 weeks, since about two weeks before the marathon in Maine. I figured that the race is 5 miles next week, so it’d be best to do 400 repeats.¬† I started them off at 7.3 on the treadmill, then upped it to 7.6 for the 4th through 10th repeats.¬† I walked about .1 in between each one.¬† The last two were definitely more difficult, I think because my brain was waking up by then.¬† ūüė¶

I also tried out new orthotics/soles in my shoes.  My phsyical therapist recommended I try some that I could find at my local running store before resorting to custom-made ones, which he said could run several hundred dollars. No thanks!  I have to say, after the first few minutes, I got used to them, and could hardly feel a difference between them and m other insoles toward the end of my workout.

They are called Powerstep. powerstep2¬†True, $28 is not cheap but it’s less than a few hundred, so I’ll take it!

Here’s the bad news – it appears that I actually have plantar fasciitis worse in my right foot than I had it in my left. The left foot and knee are feeling much better since I’ve been going to P.T. but every time he massages my right foot it actually feels worse than I remember it ever feeling for the left foot. So I may be unlucky enough to have to buy one of those night splints to use for a few nights.¬† But the good news is that I am still able to run without a lot of pain, at least on my weekday runs ¬†– P.T. definitely makes a difference!

Tonight, on what is one of the coldest nights we’ve had in a long time, and on a day where we had wind chills in the teens, I’m grateful to have a warm house to be in, and a car with a heater that works really well.

Run Happy Everyone!

I don’t know about all of you but I have found that over the past seven or eight months my diet has definitely improved.¬† I’ve got a different relationship with food now – I think of it as fuel.¬† I also find that I am hungry somewhat often during the day – maybe it’s from thinking too hard, or nervous energy.¬† Regardless, I wanted to share a good cookbook with all of you that I recently checked out from my public library.¬† I did see that Amazon has some pretty cheap used copies (read: less¬†than $12!!)¬† There are about 700 pages of recipes! cookbook¬† So far Bill and I have found that we like the pasta recipes the best.¬† During the first meal I made out of it, he said he felt like he was eating out at a restaurant! ūüôā

While the title of the book would suggest you can only use fresh ingredients, so far, we have found that it’s ok to substitute some dried ones we already have (can’t afford to be going to the grocery store on a daily basis, after all.)

One other thing to mention – with every order I’ve made from Hammer Nutrition, they’ve sent along one of their newsletters/magazine issues.¬† They do note that when training, you should not replace the fluids/electrolytes/sodium you lose, but to replenish them. There’s a difference.¬† According to their research, the body just can’t absorb it in the same ratio.¬†¬† Here’s what they suggest:

  • Fluids: aim for 20-33% of the loss to be replenished.
  • Sodium: aim for 20-35% of the loss to be replenished.
  • Fuel: aim for 30-40% of the loss to be replenished.

If you’re interested in trying out any of their products, now is the time to do it. They are having a customer appreciation sale until Dec. 17th, with some items being up to 50% off.¬† A few of you had commented on using the Endurolytes with good results, well, now is the time to buy them, as a lot of their products will be going up in price after January 1.¬† endurolytes¬†If it’s your first order, be sure to use my “referrrals and discounts” link on this page, and you can save an additional 15%.

I am thinking of ordering some of their Premium Insurance Caps since they are deeply discounted. If I do, I’ll let you know if I think they help. premium-insurance-capsI know it’s weird but I am always afraid of getting sick, and with all this outdoor running lately, even more so.¬†

By the way, the wind chills here today made it feel lke it was in the lower 20s or teens this morning. Needless to say,that’s a bit cold for me, so I was thankful that today was my day to ride the bike, wahoo! So thankful to be inside where it was warm!

Tomorrow I’m going to try to do speed work – wish me luck, as I’m not sure how this is going to happen when I’m half asleep!

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