March 2009


I had such an awesome run this morning, not in terms of speed, but in terms of scenery.  I didn’t take my phone with me because it’s a RAZR and it weighs a bit much for the tiny pocket in my capri tights. So, instead, I took a mental catalog of the sights as I went along. Even if I had taken my camera today, I think the pictures would have turned out crappy anyway. It was so cloudy that it took a while for my Garmin to pick up the satellites, if you can believe it. 

If you’d like to see some of my older posts where I took lots of photos, please click here.  You could also look at my archive from April 2008, if you like. 

A few things to note – you have to be really aware of where you are running and all of the  traffic here in D.C. They love their rotaries (as do we in Boston), but it seems like there are cars coming at you from everywhere.  I love the fact that there are lots of paths to run on, as even I am not brave enough to literally run in the street here like I do at home.   You’d take your life into your hands! And HOLY CRAP! it was windy!! More about that later.
Anyway, here’s my foray into being a tour guide – I hope those of you who have never been to D.C. can get a good picture in your mind of my run/trip. This really is a cool city to run  in, and a lot of the runners tend to be the type who wave or at least say “good morning.”  (Did you all read that article about waving/not-waving in Runner’s World, about an issue or two ago? I got a kick out of it because I’m definitely a waver.)

Starting out from my hotel, if you run about .4 miles, you’ll find yourself in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial. If you looked over to your left, you can see something amazing.  The Washington Monument, and behind it, the Capitol.  To the left, you’d see the Lincoln Memorial. It was pretty awesome at the time, as the sun was trying to break through the clouds behind them – you could see a bright stripe of orange.  I was able to take a picture of the Iwo Jima memorial last night but it was also very cloudy then so I’m afraid it didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked.  You then pass by the Netherlands Carrillon which expresses gratitude of the Dutch people to American assistance given to them in WWII.

As you go past the Carrillon, you then see the Arlington National Cemetery in front of you. I’m kind of bummed that I won’t be able to go into it again this year while I’m here. I’m leaving on Wednesday, and the cemetery only starts extending its hours past 5 on April 1st, when it begins staying open from 8-7 p.m.  It is so sobering to realize, as you run on the path outside of it, and see the hundreds of rows of graves, and think that every single one of them stands for another person. As I was running by it, I pictured a lot of our military folks all standing there. Really sobering.

After the Arlington National Cemetery, which is about a mile into our run, the next monument you come to is a new one, I believe. It’s for the Sea Bees, and it’s on your left as you run toward the Memorial Bridge. So now you hit your first rotary.  This one is not nearly as bad as the one that circles around the Lincoln Memorial, trust me! But it’s also when the wind started to gust pretty strongly (the weather forecasted 18 mph winds, yeah, I would say that they were just a wee bit off on that!)

Tangent: It was pretty cool to see the Lincoln Memorial when it was not completely covered with tourists, as it usually is in the evening, although by the time I was heading back over the Memorial Bridge, the tour buses had started to pull up in droves.  I didn’t run up the stairs like I did last year because I was running out of time and had to get back to my hotel! The Lincoln Memorial is about 1.6 miles from my hotel area.

Anyway, continuing on from the Lincoln Memorial, if you run heading toward the Washington Monument, you’ll see the famous Reflecting Pool.  On your left you’ll see the Vietnam War Memorial (i.e., “The Wall”), and on your right you’d see the Korean War Memorial.  I used to think the Vietnam War Memorial was my favorite, but as I was running today, I thought of how life-like the statues are with the Korean War Memorial.  They are placed so that they look like they arewalking through the fields.  All of the guys are dressed in many layers of clothes, and have very heavy weaponry on their bodies as well as heavy packs.  They all look exhausted, and a bit haunted, too, I think.  Depending on how the light hits, you can see the statues reflected in the dark grey wall to their right. 

Ok, so now we are coming up on what was my favorite part of my run today.  You come up on the WWII memorial.  You’ll see that there are lots of columns arranged in a circle. On each of the columns is a wreath.  Each column has a state’s name on it, and there’s a fountain in the middle.  This is one of the newest, if not THE newest monument.  This was the furthest I’d run on any of my runs last year.  Today, I figured I still felt good and had some time, so I ran up to the Washington Monument.  I looked over to my left and there was the White House. Really absolutely beautiful.  Pretty amazing to think that I could see all of this in the span of just 2.5 or so miles.  I felt pretty grateful for having been able to do that run this morning, and was glad I waited until after sunrise to do it.  (I may be brave at running in the dark at home, and even brought my headlamp with me to D.C., but I have to admit, I don’t feel entirel comfortable running in a strange city, being a female, and not knowing the places where an attacker could hide in the dark, even though my airport cabbie said that it’s safe to run on the running paths and biking trails around my hotel.)  I don’t like inviting trouble, you know? I did stop during my run a few times – once was at the Washington Monument, because I just wanted to soak it all up, and enjoy where I was for the moment.  I wasn’t running for time (my Garmin definitely shows that). I also needed to get out of the wind (which was insane on top of the small hill on which the Washington Monument is perched) and have some sports beans for caffeine for the return trip!  (By the way, that was about 2.8 miles from the hotel.)

The run home was definitely more difficult, for no other reason than because the wind was freaking insane!! Especially as I was crossing the Potomac.  At times I felt like I was standing still,and was really happy I had brought along my gloves and hat. In fact, I’d say there are only two “cons” about running down here. Ok, three.  (1) lots of traffic to worry about. (2) lots and lots of wind, especially when crossing the potomac.  (3) not being able to run in the street, you end up running on lots of concrete sidewalks, which we all know is not good for your legs! But I’d say that the beautiful views more than make up for those flaws.

There is one other view I should mention I saw on my run today.  As I was fighting the wind while heading over the Memorial Bridge, with the Lincoln Memorial at my back, I saw at the hill that sits at one end of the Arlington National Cemetery, the building that houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  JFK is buried close by, and there is a flame that is always burning, near his grave. If you ever get to D.C., I’d suggest making the trip up there. It’s pretty cool to watch the sentries walk back and forth in sync as they guard the tomb.  I remember it also being very quiet at the time, as if even little kids knew that this was not a place to yell and scream.

Anyway, total distance was 5.6 by the time I got back to my hotel. It totally helped to start my day off on a good footing.  I suppose it also helped that I was able to get a good 10 hours sleep last night.  The night before, some idiots were slamming doors all over the place on my hall, at 3 A.M. IN THE MORNING.  At one point, they woke me up and kept me awake, as all of the MORONS decided that they’d prefer to talk OUT IN THE HALL, RATHER THAN THEIR ROOMS. I finally had had it, and peeked out and asked them to keep it down.  “Oh, sorry,” is what I heard in response. The thing is, they didn’t look like they were 21, but older.  (Of course, I was half asleep, with no contacts in, so who knows?!)  I talked to one of the bellhops tonight and he said that they received lots of complaints on Saturday night, so I don’t think I was the only person they bothered!

By the way, the crocuses below first made their appearance in our yard a few days ago- spring really is coming if you see them!

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Remember how my track coach said he’d informally send a work out to us this week even though we are not yet in spring track season?

·          12-14 x 440 at 1:48-1:50 sec with 15-30 sec rest

Seriously?!

I’m trying to be positive and everything, but really… I don’t even know if I could do that with someone running with me, to help push me!

There is absolutely no way I can do that.  I had 90 second rests last week. I might fall over with this, and if I do it, it’d be on a treadmill. One on which it is very tempting to jump off of, as it’s in my hotel!

On a positive note, the sun is now shining here in D.C.  Can’t wait to get outside and take pictures!

Lincoln Memorial at dusk

Lincoln Memorial at dusk

I don’t want to jinx it, but so far my trip has been smooth.  Flight was good, left on time, I even sat in the exit row without having to pay extra, and had an empty seat next to me. What else can you ask for, right? I was suprised at how empty our plane was on the way down here, but hey, I was flying on a Saturday after all.

My luggage didn’t get lost – I always consider that a plus (having lost one bag PERMANENTLY on vacation in Myrtle Beach a few years ago), although now Delta charges $15 for each bag you have to check. That kind of sucks considering there’s so much you can’t carry in your carry-on bags nowadays that you are basically relegated to having to check a bag no matter what. Bill and I are hoping that is not the case when you fly first class, which we are doing when we go on vacation.  I just found out yesterday that we are flying first class when we go thanks to my brother-in-law who is just amazing. He’s a member of the Platinum Club with Delta (he hit the 1 million flight miles at least a year ago, I think, can you believe it?) so he was able to get us tickets in first-class. The only other time we’ve done that is when he helped us get tickets for our honeymoon, to Aruba.  I love my brother-in-law!!

I ran with the ladies from my running group this morning.  We all agreed it is so much better to run with people than to tough it out by yourself.  We ran 6.29 miles and it didn’t feel like it at all. I was so glad I did it.

Tomorrow I have to be at the conference by 9 for 2 workshops, so I need ot make it an early night, but the picture above was one that I took last year with my cell phone on one of my night runs while I was here.  Below is a picture I took of the Iwo Jima Memorial last year.  (It truly is HUGE!) Hopefully this year I can go walking around at night with my real camera, and will try to take some really good pictures for all of you, especially for those of you who’ve never been to D.C. before. If you haven’t, you so HAVE to come to this city, it’s really like no other.

Iwo Jima, in the early morning around 9

Iwo Jima, in the early morning around 9

I can’t believe April Fools Day is really my 1 YEAR BLOG ANNIVERSARY!

Have a great night everyone!

Two runs, in two days. Couldn’t have been more diametrically opposed from each other if they tried.

Thursday was awesome. I set a PR for myself with the 5-mile distance.  46:40, average pace of 9:20.  That’s better by at least two minutes. Not bad considering the second mile is a lot of ups and downs. It’s also when the sunrise began, and Untouched by the Veronicas came up on my iPod. Explains why that was my second fastest mile, even in 23 arctic degrees!  The rest of my route is pretty flat, but still I do run early in the morning so I was happy that my sleepy brain and legs could keep on going.   The sunrise was gorgeous. I think because it was so cold, it made the color stripes appear more crisp than normal. They were pink and green (preppy colors!)

Yesterday was not so great. The first two miles were just fine, pretty decent anyway, and it was in the 30s so I was down to two layers in the morning – wahoo! However, once I got to my turnaround point, you know, as far away from my house as I could be, suddenly I didn’t feel so good. On my way back, I looked longingly at the swamp/wetland I passed (you know it’s not good when that’s the case), and probably would have used them if they weren’t literally off the side of the road, and I was wearing white! (Yeah,  not great camoflauge.)  I also passed some kids waiting for the bus, and toyed with the idea of asking if I could use their bathroom in their house, but then I was thinking, they’d look at me as if I was a weirdo.

Oh, and earlier in the run when I reached down for my sports beans, what do you think I left at home?!  So, anyway, I found out yesterday, my body felt worse when running than walking, so I pretty much speedwalked home as fast as I could.  Ah well. It was a shorter run anyway, so at least I didn’t have any other major problems!

Anyway, I have to get ready to go meet some friends for a quick 5 mile run this morning and then get home to pack for D.C.  It’s supposed to be in the mid-60s there this week, and seriously I don’t know if I’d even know how to dress for that kind of weather right now, it’s been so long!

Yep, it is “officially” over. But our coach said tonight that if people still wanted to get together over the next few weeks, on an informal basis, he’d come see us run and  help us with workouts. His coaching program starts up the Tuesday after the Boston Marathon, so on April 21st. Our MVS coaching program starts in the second week of May, I believe. They are hopefully going to talk about it at the meeting tomorrow night (which I might skip because they usually only start after 7:30, and I get up early on Thursdays – 4:30!!)   So I guess I”ll have to wait and see which works best for my schedule. But I can say that these track workouts have definitely helped me build my speed and self-confidence, so I know the coach is doing something right.

Tonight was COLD.  I also had to run ALONE.  I think most sane people thought tonight was too cold to do track work.  Someone from MVS said at the beginning, “wow, you guys are diehards.”  I said “yeah, or idiots, take your pick!”  (There is a fine line between the two, isn’t there?) 🙂  

Does anyone else out there find that when they run on a 400-meter track, the curve between the 200-300 yard area is the hardest for them? I’m fine for the first 200, and then I slow down for that part, then with the last 100, I’m just trying to get across the line. Know what I mean?

Tonight’s workout is below – I found it hard to keep to the pacing tonight for some reason, and the cold definitely affected my asthma. When I got home I coughed a few times, and Bill asked me if I had been smoking for the last 20 years, that’s how bad I sounded. 😦

  • 4 x 400 at 1:52 pace (75 second rest)
  • 200 jog/walk after 4 x 400
  • 4 x 400 at 1:47-48 pace (90 second rest)
  • 200 jog/walk after 4 x 400
  • 4 x 400 at 1:42-1:44 pace (90 second rest)
  • 3 consecutive laps of jog/strides on the curves and straightaways (yeah, mine strides looked more like jogs at that point.)

For the most part, I was able to keep to the paces, but in the beginning I was doing 1:42 laps and my last one was 1:48. Tonight I was also dizzy at points during laps 9-11, which is unusual for me. I think it’s a combo of work stress and not having drunk enough/eaten enough during the day. I kept popping my sports beans and drinking gatorade to try to counteract it.

Oh, and I have NEWS.  On Saturday evening, I’m heading to D.C. for 5 days for a conference. Computers in Libraries 2009.  I know, it sounds like Nerdfest 2009, doesn’t it?  Bill always teases me that it must be hard for speakers to give talks when they’re getting shushed by everyone all the time.  Yes, the husband gets a slap for that remark, are you kidding?!   

Anyway, I’m excited. This marks my 1 year BLOG ANNIVERSARY as of April 1st.  I also picked my hotel because it would allow me to do runs past the Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, Korean Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, WWII Memorial, and many more. How can you not be inspired running by all of that?  Do I need to say more? 

If you’ve not read my blog that long, I will try to take more pics again while out on my runs there, although they’ll be morning runs this year, rather than evening. So maybe I can just take normal tourist pictures this year, rather than moving ones?!  Or, I can just link to last year’s posts, so you can see the pics!  I LOVE D.C.! Especially this time of year, it’s much warmer than Boston, and the Cherry Blossoms are blooming!!! 🙂

So, I received a very nice compliment from one of my fellow Striders tonight, a gentleman named Bob. He met my friend and coworker, Will, at last week’s hosted run, and he told Will how I’ve always been positive and full of energy at track practices.  It was nice to know I could have that effect on someone, to me, it means that my learned optimisim that I’ve been working on over the past few years is starting to come more naturally, and for that I am glad. (Note to Mom reading this: pick your jaw up off of the floor! Yes, I am still the daughter that made your life a living hell as a teenager. LOL!)  Mom, LOL means Laugh out Loud.  (Sorry readers, she’s not into texting, but she does love her cell phone…) 

Anyway, I found this photo below and it seemed really calming and peaceful. I think we could all use a little bit of that, don’t you? Enjoy. 

Beautiful View of Sequoia National Park, by ipagey (flickr.com)

Beautiful View of Sequoia National Park, by ipagey (flickr.com)

Balancing Scales by Hades, on flickr.com

Balancing Scales by Hades, on flickr.com

I realized I have not been blogging as much lately but it’s a matter of balancing.  I’m 95% sure I am not going to be doing the half marathon in May after all, and it’s a matter of whether I want to make the time to train for it now. Funny how I did long runs all winter long, thinking it’d give me a good base for the half marathon, and what they effectively did was to burn me out on distance running.  (But I made my hotel reservation last week just in case I change my mind.)  So, I hope Alissa doesn’t mind me borrowing the theme from her blog for a day.

We went to my friend Corey’s fundraiser on Saturday night – in case you’re not familiar with him, please read this post. He is raising money for the Miles for Miracles team at Children’s Hospital, Boston.  He said that after expenses, each of the three guys cleared $1800!  Bill and I got a few good items in the silent raffle, both Red Sox related!  Great parts about the night  – (1) I met Abi Simpson’s mom, Noellia, and she is a wonderful person; and (2) Bill got to hang out with his college friends who he doesn’t get to see too often anymore.)

I have decided I am really not  a trail runner. I went back up to the Harold Parker State Forest this past weekend with intention of running 5-6 miles on trails. Got to about 2 miles, as all I could see in front of me was snow and ice. Then I decided to run on the roads.  I only ran about .3 miles, and at this point,I was so aggravated, I just turned around, ran back to my car, got in and drove home.  However, after Sunday’s amazing run of 4.5 miles on a new loop I’ve discovered (which has its share of uphills and downhills), I realize I’m just burnt out on long distances, not running completely. My average pace was 9:26, which I think is good considering the inclines on that route. Only the first mile is somewhat flat and that’s why I did it in 9:08.

I really think this is going to be my Season of Short Distances!!

I have had a mental block on my fiction writing lately. So, I picked up a few books about developing plots, put out by Writer’s Digest.  I read the entire thing in about 1 1/2 days, and now the flow is coming along much better. I realized there is a lot Ididn’t know about writing a novel, and I need to do my preparation/background work first rather than just writing a bunch of scenes and just “hoping” their cohesion will magically come together somehow.  That isn’t being creative, it’s being lazy.  (Luckily, what I’m finding is that as I brainstorm, more ideas come to me, and I’m realizing what I think are weak areas in logic at the same time.)  I’m even considering joining in an online workshop after we go on vacation, if I can find one that is not too expensive.

By the way, it has, in the words of a favorite blogger, Erin, turned freaking arctic here today! I was debating running this morning, woke up, realized the wind chill was supposed to be something like 2 degrees at 7 a.m. (when the sun is up!) and said, no thank you, today, reading about plot will take precedence.  Tomorrow evening is our last track practice (sniff, sniff) until possibly spring track, so I hope it gets a bit warmer tomorrow night.  There’s hope for that, because yesterday, it was in the 50s here! I was able to finish my run with just one layer of clothes = wahoo! 🙂 twilightbookcover1

Two of my new favorite songs to run to are Poker Face byLady GaGa (yes, I know, I’m embarrassed) and Love, Sex, and Magic by Ciara (and I just might have to download this remix version if I can find it.)

Lastly, for all those of you out there who loved the Twilight books, have you seen the movie yet? It’s first on our list with Netflix, I can’t wait!!!!!!

Oh, and I’d like to say sorry to my blogging friends for not commenting as much lately – things have gotten crazy!

I wanted to draw everyone’s attention to a recent comment that was left on my blog about last week’s Inspirational Thought post, just in case you don’t get the updates automatically.  It is from Noelia, Abi Simpson’s mom.  She sounds like a pretty amazing woman, herself.

“Hi Corey and Terri, You really got me. I’m still drying my tears, but I want to express to corey  What an inspiration you are to us. You Have the spirit of a champion and the heart of gold. You know Abi is a current Children’s Hospital patient and she will be for the rest of her life. We wanted to get involved on the fund raising because we have seen what children’s hospital can really do for children 1st hand. As her mom I have seen Children’s hospital save Abi’s life a couple of times. A couple of years ago she was on life support for 3 weeks and hospitalized for 3 months because of a bad cold. The doctors, nurses and technology truely saved her life. Their knowledge and will not to give up on a wonderful little girl that loves to go to school, enjoy her sister, loves listening to music, playing with friends and family every chance she gets.  We are so lucky to have this kind of medical care around us. You are an amazing person to actually have corrage to do something real and not just stand by and watch.I love your unselfishness and will to make a diffirence.

I also have to add that seeing you at the turn and knowing that YOU JUST RAN 26.4 miles with my daughter in mind was one of the proudest moments in my life. We have that Boston Merathon Medal hung high in her room.  You make a true diffirence on real life. We can’t wait for this years.”
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A lot of you have left me comments over the past few days, suggesting that I run distances that I love, not what other people think I should do.

Can you imagine if you ran not only because you loved it, but because it was a means of supporting your family?  I guess that explains why Kenyans so dominate the international running world. I love how the first video shows them running in figure 8s types of formations.

Train Hard, Win Easy, Like a Kenyan

Enjoy the Kibera Fun Run video below, which was held to celebrate a year of peace in Kibera, Kenya.

Hope you’ve all had a good week so far.

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