February 2009

Mountain Lake at Sunrise, by Brentbat, at flickr.com

Mountain Lake at Sunrise, by Brentbat, at flickr.com

I had a few “moments,” I guess you could say, this morning on my run. 

  • My I-am-glad-to-be-alive moment = seeing the sunrise.  It’s amazing how much color it had considering how grey the rest of the day was. The sky was bright, almost blood-red at the bottom, bright pink like a young girl’s blush, and then bright purple like lilacs, on top.  Over the next few minutes, the colors gradually  faded a bit, but since I was running by Silver Lake, which is still frozen in parts, it was still beautiful.  I really wished I’d had a camera with me to show all of you how bright the hues were.  Even brighter than in this amazing photo, above.
  • My WTF? moment = looking down and seeing my Garmin is not accurately reflecting distance. Time, yes. Distance, no.  It would say my “pace at the moment” is 9:06, yet my average mile pace was 12:14.  HM, me thinks there is something wrong with this picture, eh? (I am now thinking how that last sentence must read aloud – why the hell am I talking with an Irish accent?!)  Ok, I digress…
  • My YAY moment = getting home, knowing that I covered 4.2 miles (I did an out-and-back run that I know equals that distance) in 38:48, and it was my “hilly” (it’s all relative) route!  Yay!!!!
  • I went out there today thinking it’d be my easy run, and it came out to 9:14 average pace – yayyy!!!

Ok, on to an inspirational thought or two.  First, I’d like to say a big thank you to Jill at Jill Will Run, for suggesting the idea to write these posts. I like how they make me think of things, and I’ve learned a bit about myself while writing them.  I also hope that they’ve touched some of you out there in a good way too.

This morning when I was driving to work, I was listening to one of my favorite radio stations.  They were telling the story of this man, I believe his name was George Hanson.  Anyway, he works for Steinert Pianos in one of their locations in Massachusetts.  It sounds like his location is closing, after 136 years. He has been working there as a piano tuner and repairman for the last 61 YEARS.   The man is now 90 years old and he still wants to keep on working.

Can you imagine?  In a world where there is so much bad news every day, where you’re bombarded with it by the media every time you turn on my computer or TV, isn’t it great to know that there is someone out there who has such a great work ethic and attitude?  He says he just can’t sit still. He is hopeful Lowes or Home Depot will hire him!  I think most of us can only hope that we are in that good shape, both mentally and physically, when we get to that age.

Here’s another thought for you – the lady with whom I’m going to be writing that article.  Her  mom is 91.  She had a stroke a few months ago after having had surgery.  She is now living again on her own, and she’s fired her home health nurse because she didn’t feel like she needed one.  AND she goes to an exercise class!!!   I honestly think that a lot of molds were thrown out when they made folks from that generation of my grandmother’s.

Hope you all like the picture! Ok,  I REALLY have to finish my submission tonight for Runner’s Lounge!


 Another take on the word “track”

Photo by Janusz L, fllickr.com

Photo by Janusz L, fllickr.com

I hope that title doesn’t offend anyone.  It’s just what my husband calls my Tuesday night track practices, is all, and he means it in a good way. I think he’s happy I’ve found other folks out there who love running as much as I do, enough to torture ourselves on a weekly basis.

A large number of folks had run a 10 mile race this past weekend, so they were given modified workouts.  I ended up only being able to run with Francine and another lady named Diane. Diane usually runs in a group much faster than us but she’s missed a few practices so she decided to stick with us.  Diane is one of the folks who prefers to stick to the paces on the card, so that was good for Francine and I, as we usually do also, as much as we can anyway.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe we only have two weeks left after last night.  I definitely feel like I’ve gotten much faster. Sometimes, the 41-42 second pace almost feels a bit easy to me, which is a great thing. 

  • 39 second = 7:09 mile pace
  • 4o seconds = 7:20 mile pace
  • 41 seconds = 7:31 mile pace
  • 42 seconds = 7:42 mile pace.

Here are the stats of last night’s workout – most included one lap walk/jog recovery in between:

  • 6 laps 42 second pace
  • 5 laps 42 second pace
  • 4 laps 41-42 second pace
  • 3 laps 41-42 second pace
  • 2 laps 41 second pace
  • 5 laps 41 second pace
  • 4 laps 41 second pace
  • 3 laps 39-40 second pace
  • 2 laps 39-40 second pace
  • 2 lap walk
  • 5 laps of .5 pick up and .5 walk  – for this we tried to run as fast as possible – one of my 1/2 laps took only 14 seconds!

I hope we get to do another time trial by the time we are done – Francine mentioned that between the first week and a few weeks ago, she’d brought down her mile at max speed from 7:56 to 7:19.  I think when we first started, I might have been able to do a mile in 8 or 8:15, and only if you’d been chasing me with a loaded gun.

Also, Diane gave me quite the compliment last night – she said she thought I was built like a sprinter. No one has ever called me that before that I can remember. 🙂  She was also quizzing me about my long runs since I told her I’m doing a HM in May, and she was like “oh, you’ll be fine to do that with your base….”  Now I’ve just got to be able to hold onto the pace!

I am also happy to say that when I was pacing us, I was pretty dead on! Yay!

My inspirational post is coming – just not tonight probably as I’m working a longer day today than usual. (Or, as Bill was kidding me earlier, I am actually working a 10 hour day, the type of day MOST people work.)

Hey, that’s why it’s academia, and we DON’T get paid the big bucks…Plus, I need to get my Runner’s Lounge article submission done! Reminder everyone, they’re due this week!

HappyRunning everyone!


“Run fast and run furious.” 

I have to send out a huge thank you and hug to Willie in OK (his blog is See Willie Run) for giving me my mantra for today’s race.  I kept repeating it in my head anytime I thought “wow, it would be so nice to walk right now, you’d be disappointing no one but yourself” and then also on the huge KILLER hill during the first mile of the race. I am not exaggerating – this was pretty much the elevation gain of the race. Did it have to be all at one time? 

Both Lis and I had the same thought as we ran up it, “is it ever going to end?” The hill was one of those hills where you can literally see everyone around you slowing down the higher we got.  She ended up running 29:35 or so – I am happy for her especially because she’s been working 65+ hour weeks, so running on top of that is pretty difficult.

After the first mile, seeing the official clock say 8:40, I thought to myself I should only go faster for the rest of the race, or at least keep at that pace. I knew the only major incline was behind me, so I felt good about my pace. Considering my 5K from a few weeks ago was on a totally flat course, and I was on target to at least run that pace, even with a hill, I think I was doing well at this point!  My little brother, Jamie had advised me, after the first mile, even if you think you are going too fast, just keep going, don’t freak out.

I am pretty happy with my results:

  • Division (F30-39): 21/107!!!!
  • Place overall: 261/677
  • Time:  Official was 25:14, but I think my real time was more like 25:05 or so. Lis’ watch was about 9 seconds faster than the official time.  I forgot to stop my watch immediately until after I’d gotten my medal, I stopped it at 25:16.
  • According to my watch, average mile was 8:25, but that was with the time of 25:16.
  1. My first mile was the slowest, at 8:34 but that had the killer hill, so I am fine with that! My plan was to run about 8:30s the whole way, but guess what? I GOT FASTER as the race went on – yippee!!!
  2. Second mile: 8:25
  3. Third mile: I think about 8:05!!!!!!!  (When I stopped the watch it said 8:12 but I know that was stopped too late.)  

Pros of this race:

  • Mainly flat with the exception of the ginormous hill.
  •  Disposable chip timing.
  • We got our names on our bibs, just like the elites do!
  • Pretty cool medals.
  • Short race, I love this distance!
  • A pub where Bill could stay warm inside during the race.
  • A PR for me!! 

Cons of the race:

  • The pub did not have nearly enough support.
  • Besides the ladies’ room in the pub, 3 porta potties for over 600 people.  Do I need to say more?  Lis and many others found a construction site a few blocks away and used the porta potties there.
  • NO TIMING MAT AT THE BEGINNING.  Seriously, thanks for the chip, but in a race this huge, no one’s time is accurate except for those literally starting on the line.
  • Absolutely not enough bartenders (they had all of 3, split between two bars), people dispersing food and beer at the end.  Some people were taking 2 and 3 beers at a time while the rest of us stood there in line behind them. We finally gave up and went inside and paid for beer.   (I’m not a drinker, but even getting water was going to be next to impossible.)

We were very lucky to get the race in before the miserable rain started.  The temperature has gone down at least 10 degrees so far today, and it’s miserable and raw outside right now.  Absolutely pouring rain.

Ever since Chris Brown’s debacle with Rihanna, it’s hard to listen to that song. So now my favorite one to run to is Closer, by Ne-Yo (embedding is disabled on YouTube.)  I like the line “I just can’t stop” while running – appropriate, don’t you think?

Here are some pics of Lis and I before the race – note the twin Garmins! 🙂 It was just starting to rain – that’s why I’ve got the hood up, although I ended up ripping it off after about 30 seconds, and I was definitely too hot while running with 3 layers on – ugh!  As you can see the start line was a bit crowded, it was a little difficult to get your right pace going for the first .3 or .4 miles.


By the way, I ran a 5 miler yesterday and I felt like my legs were still strong today, very happy to say. Yesterday’s run taught me that I feel comfortable running paces in the 9’s, even against the wind (that’s where the slowest mile came from).  Average pace was 9:38 for 5.17 miles distance.

Next week, the 4 miler is at Claddagh Pub!  Next week, I need to try to not lose a glove (I untucked my base layer and sent one flying, only to look behind me and see it getting trampled.)

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Road to Heaven, by fd, on Flickr.com

Road to Heaven, by fd, on Flickr.com

I know I generally post these on a Wednesday, but I was so into my Eclipse book (#3 in the Twilight series) that I didn’t even want to turn on the computer last night. Some days, you just have to unplug after work. I know you all understand.

Last week, the Alien left a comment that got me really thinking. When asked what inspired him, he had trouble answering the poll (admittedly these polls are not very user friendly, I don’t think they allow you to answer with more than one option.)  He mentioned that he inspires himself (I hope I am paraphrasing accurately.)  I applaud you,  Alien, yay! I am so proud of and happy for you. I am happy to say I think I am also getting to that point in my life.

Let me explain, and I apologize if this post makes me sound self-absorbed, I am tending to think of it more as self-awareness…

I know everyone’s faith differs, so you can take or leave this post.  Some people feel that before you are born, you actually plan out your entire life, and that there are five exit points that you can choose from. Going along with this thought is that when you experience a feeling of deja vu, that is actually your life’s way of telling you that you are on the path you are supposed to be on, at that very point of time. (I believe I got this from Sylvia Browne. Like I said you can agree or not agree, it’s totally your choice.)

I’ve chosen to follow that view about what deja vu means.  I have sometimes experienced deja vu in a happy setting and in a not-so-happy setting.  What it reminds me is that I’m on the path I’m supposed to be on, and the decisions I’ve made are the ones I’m supposed to have made to get to this point. Even the sad events I’ve seen or experienced were supposed to happen.

The last few weeks I’ve had a feeling of peace around me that has been somewhat new, but very welcome. I’ve made decisions to do things that were, and at times, still seem, to be scary.  Things like the following:

  1. Running faster. Can you imagine? Running faster seemed scary to me at times – I thought it would be painful, I’d have lots of breathing asthmatic problems. I wanted to avoid that.  However, after a while, being content with my 10 minute pace forever seemed scary.
  2. Writing for myself, in addition to this blog.  What scared me (and still does a bit) is thinking people might not like it.  If that’s the worst thing that happens to me, then I’ve got it good.  Knowing I can come home and write and have that sort of release, in addition to running, helps me get through the day at work when things are not going so well.
  3. Choosing to not be friends with people full of negativity.  This is something that has bothered me for quite a while, with one person in particular over the last year and a half. I decided in the past to let it go, but lately I’ve realized I had not actually done that in practice.   Now, I really am to the point where I don’t care – I really don’t give a crap. I figure the other person has chosen to be miserable and carry a grudge. I refuse to apologize for having made a decision that is better for me. It takes so much energy to be negative, and so little to be indifferent.  I choose indifferent. It is a relief to be able to say that.  (Lis, I hope you are reading this – you never have to counsel me on that subject again – yay for you!)
  4. Realizing my life is not just about my job. For the longest time I let it be all-consuming to the point where I was miserable and it was all I thought about. I am much better at shutting it off now when I walk out the door (of course I can always have relapses but they are farther and fewer apart.)

I now get inspiration from having confidence in my decisions and not second guessing everything (other than what to wear to go on a run on those iffy-weather days, just ask Bill how annoying that is to him.)  I hope you all can do the same, and feel like you’re feeding your soul.

In the words of Morgan Freeman, “Get  Busy Living or Get Busy Dying.”  Don’t let fear rule your life.

I’ll close this post by using the title line of one a song I’ve been listening to a lot lately: Enough for Now (by The Fray).

p.s. My brother told me today he’s definitely running the Vermont 50 in September, which allows pacers. Which means I get to pace him!!! 🙂

I don’t know about you, but I think this dog has the right idea about what to  do on a treadmill. 🙂

Dog Sleeping on Treadmill by Normanack, on Flickr.com

Dog Sleeping on Treadmill by Normanack, on Flickr.com

Because the schools in this area are now on mid-winter break (soooo jealous of high schoolers right now) so we all have to do our track workout on our lonesome.   For me that meant this morning before 6 a.m., which is kind of a good thing because your brain is not completely awake for the entire exercise. Thing is, your body is. And sometimes yelling out, “are you blankety-blank-blank KIDDING me?”

Ok, done with the dramatics. The only potentially dramatic point was when I got unceremoniously kicked off of the first treadmill, by the treadmill.  I was walking along at first and it was fine. Then I kicked it up into high gear (literally, 8.1 mph, which is 7:24 pace on that thing) and it said “NO USER DETECTED” and decided it would just take a break, as in caput.

I was like (internally only, of course) “I’M A USER, I’M A USER!!” And then “WTF???” (this part might have been out loud.) Hey, it was before 6 a.m., and mot of us at that point have headphones on anyway.

So I jumped on the treadmill to its left and did my workout from there.

I decided to do a combo blend of what our coach suggested for Group G and Group F (Group F being the faster of the two.)  I put the treadmill on 8.1 for most of the “fast minutes” and down to 7.0 for most of the slower minutes in between.  It was a bit faster than what he suggested for Group G, but a bit slower than what he suggested for Group F.

Lindsay, I did figure out what he meant by using the PACE of Mile/5K estimated effort.  My mile pace was 7:24 (8.1) and my 5K pace was 7.0 or 8:34 on the treadmill. That made sense once I got going.

I have to admit, during repeat 4 of the “fast minute, steady minute, fast minute, steady minute, fast minute” intervals, I did have to hang onto the side of the treadmill for about 15-20 seconds during two of the “steady minutes” and I did bring the “steady pace” down to a mixed blend of 6.8 and 6.9,    But at the last repeat, I was able to get it back up to 7.0 and 8.1 speeds again.  I also made my last “fast minute” last for 90 seconds. See, I can even manipulate time!


On a totally unrelated matter, Bill and I figured out where we are likely going on vacation.  OOOHHH, I CAN’T WAIT…  swim-up pool to your room… it looks and sounds like heaven. Please God, let it not be too good to be true, and that my boss is still cool with giving me the time off when we can go… (and in case you’re wondering, it was the fact that Bill could take three steps out of his room and step in one of 12 pools that made his choice.) 

Did I forget to mention we might be going three weeks before my half-marathon?  Sigh.  But it’s vacation, I refuse to feel guilty, especially with the crap winter we’ve had.  Even if it will cost more than what we originally planned. We don’t have kids yet and we’re not big spenders, and it’ll be our first REAL destination vacation in just about 5 years.  Since our honeymoon. I think it’s alright to want to go, don’t you?

I am so sorry that Bill had to work on Sunday and today.  Everyone should get a 3 day weekend once in a while.  But that’s the life of a consultant, needing to be available for all clients who may or may not be open on  a holiday.  There are some good benefits to working in academia, even though it’s not always a cake walk as everyone assumes.

I have enjoyed myself this past weekend – the race on Saturday morning (although it felt a bit “off” since Bill was not there at the finish line), reading and doing a lot of writing.  I got a few books out from the public library: an FAQ book for beginning writers (I think they mean “beginning” in the sense of starting to write and try to get published.  (I was published in law school but I don’t count that in the same sense.) I got another book on what not to do when writing a novel if you want it to get published.  Some of the examples were really funny, and so far I have not seen my writing in the errors that they point out (let’s hope things continue that way until I’m finished with that book.)

I’m hoping that I can have all the basic answers I need before I meet with my article co-author (and basically my mentor where all of this will be concerned), hopefully next week.  I also did a lot of research this past weekend for our article – there’s a lot to be discussed though before the actual writing of that can begin.

Oh, and I am almost, but not quite, embarrassed to admit that I also started reading Eclipse over the weekend. I agree with Lisa that Bella is a much better character in this book than in New Moon.

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer, cover from Amazon

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer, cover from Amazon

(Don’t worry, folks, if you haven’t read the series yet, I am not giving anything anyway!)  I know I’m pathetic – I just ordered it through Amazon last week and I got it out from the library.  I think just having these books around after I’m done with them will help to keep me writing because of the positive mind association I have with knowing that I started writing while reading them.  And, because I’ll remember how so many people, including myself, find it hard to put them down.  It’ll help motivate me and remind me that I want my writing to have the same effect on the reader.

You know how certain music can really keep you running? Certain music can really help you write and concentate too.  For me right now, that group is The Fray, and Angels and Airwaves.  I’m trying to keep positive associations with Forever by Chris  Brown, but now all I can think of is the fact that he beats his girlfriend, which makes me mad, for two reasons. One, who the hell does he think he is?  Two, I really like that song – this sucks!

I really need to mix up a new playlist for my next three Sundays – I just signed up for the Irish Wild Rover Series, which is 3 Sundays in a row.  Feb. 22nd’s race is 3 miles, March 1st is 4 miles and March 8th is 5 miles.  Lis and I are going to do them all – just pray for us we get good weather (it’s supposed to snow this Sunday – why couldn’t we get a break JUST ONCE?!)

Below is a picture of what the medals look  like if you do all three races – they are like pieces of a puzzle that fit together.

Wild Rover Pub Series medals

Wild Rover Pub Series medals

Anyway, I have a few things to do before I hit the pillow for the evening. I need to get up early in the morning to attempt my speedwork on the treadmill (the high school where we have Tuesday’s sessions is closed this week for midwinter break.)

This is our workout, but what confuses me is that our coach writes the pace should be at Mile or 5K estimated effort.  The thing is my 5K average pace was definitely not the same as my mile time trial! (8:29 vs. 7:29 pace) 

Group G: repeat the following 5 times, with walking/jogging for 2 minutes after each 5 minute session:

  • 1 min: 7:40-7:50 pace
  • 1 min: 8:40-8:50 pace
  • 1 min: 7:40-7:50 pace
  • 1 min: 8:40-8:50 pace
  • 1 min: 7:40 pace

So I’m going to see how I feel – if that seems like it’s not enough, I might try Group F’s workout:

  • 1 min: 7:20 pace
  • 1 min: 8:30 pace
  • 1 min: 7:20 pace
  • 1 min: 8:30 pace
  • 1 min: 7:20 pace 

Group F’s workout seems like it is more of the paces that we’ve been doing each week. However, I did do weights this morning and am still feeling it now in my legs, so we’ll have to see how my morning legs and brain feel.

I hope everyone will have a good Tuesday and can get out there running!

I started to write this as a response comment to everyone and realized its length was building exponentially!

Thank you so much everyone for all of the advice.

 Glenn, I think you may think I am faster than I am -I really don’t think I could ever break 2 hours in a half-marathon! My most recent one was 2:18, so for me 2:13 would be awesome, especially on a course with hills. I’m flattered you think I could keep up a fast pace for that far!

 The short races over the next few weeks are all on Sundays. That is the only day of the week that Lis (my running partner from last year and now my friend) can race, since she’s a CPA (you can imagine how busy she is right now), and I really like seeing her at these things. The ones we’re going to do over the next few weeks are part of a Pub Series. So based on the advice of everyone, I think I do need to work out a way to get more running in, and to get in some longer time during the week. Maybe I can figure out a way to work in my comp time from work and take a morning off here and there on a Friday. It’s all a juggling act, isn’t it?

I did get out there and run today – the air was very cold but the sun made it warm at the same time. I was kind of disturbed when I got home to find that I had sweated through not one, not two, but all three layers I was wearing on top.  I only ran 8.3, and at a certainly slower pace than I’ve sometimes done 11 before.  Yesterday’s race was only a 6K, but I certainly felt it today. 

To be honest, I am feeling a bit like I am burnt out on running longer distances right now (how weird that now 10 miles seem long, whereas last summer it felt short.)  I’ve been running double digit runs on weekends now for what seems like 9-10 months and I feel like I need a break.  I realized at the end of my run, when I sped up and got my legs really moving, that’s when I felt happiest. I am liking this short speed thing (and yes, speed is all relative – compared to all you folks out there who read this blog,I am sure I’d have the role of the tortoise if we were put together in a race.)

There was one positive about my run today.  During the last 3 miles or so, I saw someone running in the distance in front of me.  At first I thought they were walking. Then I looked closer, and I thought it was a senior citizen out for their first run.  As I got closer, I thought it was a middle-aged woman with blond hair.  When I ran past the other jogger, I saw it was a middle-aged man with longer hair.  I yelled out to him that he was doing really well (I’m always worried about sounding condescending to someone else when I do this), gave him a big smile which he returned, and then kept on going.

Seeing that guy concentrating so hard on what he was doing (it really looked like it was his first time out) gave me the boost I needed at that moment, to keep on going and get home. I figured if he could do it, so could I.

I’m going to think about everyone’s advice (thank you again) and come up with some sort of revised training plan from what my track coach gave me. I might ask him to revise it but there are so many people on the team that I’m worried it would take too long to get it back.

Anyway I hope a lot of you get to enjoy a three day weekend like me! I’m looking forward to a lot of reading, organizing and writing tomorrow.

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