September 2009


pinkribbons

 

Luckily for me, Chris is in town for two weeks, for work, so we ran the Race for a Cure 5K this morning in downtown Boston. Except for the sun, it was perfect weather for running, where I’m concerned. There was so much pink everywhere, it was awesome. You know me, I always start somewhere in the middle, and there were still people crossing the start line even after I’d been running for about 4-5 minutes.  There were tons of walkers and they were even cheering for the middle-of-the-packers!  I just found myself smiling, I couldn’t help it, seeing how happy people were. I didn’t even feel that first mile, which was my fastest. (Will I ever learn to not go out too fast?!) Today, the adrenaline got to me, I admit it.

I don’t have pictures, but rest assured I wore a lot of pink.  Socks with pink edging, bright fuschia pink shirt, black shorts with lots of pink on them. My hat was white but I put the “eye glare stickers” on the top of my hat, and the chrono D timing chips were hot pink!  And I had on pink lipstick and pink blush. 🙂

I think, overall, the race is well organized. I would have liked to see mile markers but there were water stops close to each of the “mile” points, so I guess you could have relied on just them. But you all know me, of course I was a running nerd, and wore my Garmin. It told me I ended up running 3.16 miles. Ah, well.

I think Chris may have wanted to kill me this morning. He thought the race started at 8:30, so I think he wondered why I was dilly-dallying near my car once we parked. (I’m high maintenance when it comes to running, I had to make sure I had all of my gear set up.) An extra perk – right after we parked, a lady pulled in with an SUV behind me, and I saw it was Donna, a lady I sometimes run with on Saturdays, another MVSer!  But we had to register, so it was a short reunion.  That woman is amazing – she’s running 22 miles tomorrow, so she was walking today with a group of friends, one of whom I think is a cancer survivor.

At first, Chris and I lined up together. I realized we were in the 10-minute mile range, and I knew that, despite my not running so often lately, that would put me in a spot that would have me doing a lot of weaving in the beginning. Chris told me that he was going to take it easy and that he wouldn’t be talking to me anyway if we ran together, so I asked him if he minded if I moved up a bit. He didn’t, so we set up a place to meet each other afterwards and not lose each other.

Anyway, the course was extremely flat, and part of the first mile had you running toward the city of Boston’s skyline (it started at the Seaport World Trade Center, which is right along the water.) You turn around after about .3 miles, and then start heading away from the city.  After I hit maybe the first mile mark or so, I realized we could see the winner, a male, coming back in our direction. Can you imagine? I’d only been running for something like 8-9 minutes at this point, and here this guy was, almost done.  And there was no one around him for quite a while at that point. (As I look at the results, I now see that the second guy must have caught up to him, or at least gotten close.)  I screamed out for this guy, and a whole bunch of people clapped, and you know how usually the leader is in a zone at this point? Well, this guy looked at all of us, gave us a big smile and waved. How cool is that?

I found during mile 2 and 3, that I definitely need to get back to speedwork, and running on a more regular basis, again, and at a better pace than what I’ve been doing. And core work, definitely. I felt stomach cramps whereas before I usually didn’t get them, while running at these paces. I walked for a short bit between 1.4 and 1.5ish, and ate some of my sports beans (I’d been up since about 5:30 at this point and needed something more than the granola bar Chris had nabbed for me.) And I walked for a tiny bit past mile 2, and got myself some water in a bit. So, I’m quite surprised at my “average” pace and splits on my Garmin.

  • Mile 1: 8:23
  • Mile 2: 9:01
  • Mile 3: 9:14
  • extra .16: 7:53 pace (didn’t feel like I could sprint at that point but I guess I was doing alright)
  • Garmin time: 27:55, official net time for the race: 27:44.
  • Garmin average pace: 8:50
  • Official average pace: 8:59

There were a total of 2362 people (but it felt like more).  Here are the race results on Cool Running.

  • Place overall: 750/2362
  • Place in division (Females, 30-39): 97/508 (yep, totally shocked about that!)

It was cool to be in a race again – it’s been about 2 months since my last one, so this was fun. And if you’re wondering how I could run today and not last week, well, I’m on antibiotics now. I went to the doctor this week and found out it was basically my sinuses making me miserable. I love antibiotics.

Now I can’t wait for the Tufts 10K in a few weeks, on Columbus Day!

 

p.s. For those of you with wordpress blogs, what is this that it looks like the default on my blog is to “not” allow comments? WTH?

I’ve run a total of 4 times in the past two weeks, and tomorrow would have made it 5. You all know this is just not like me. But I’ve not felt myself over the past two weeks, either, health-wise. Stress at work has already brought two of us down, and a few others are feeling those annoying “tickles” you get at the start of something.  I’ve been taking mucinex and echinichea and lots of vitamin C, and cold-eeze now for the past week or so. This morning, I woke up, and it hurt when I coughed. And then, not to be gross, got rid of some green stuff that was sitting in my lungs.

Once I took the  muxinex DM for the day, it didn’t hurt as much, but it’s this dry annoying cough I’ve got now.  I’ve thought it over and knowing I’d likely be going by myself to the race in the morning, I’m going to sit this one out. I went and picked up my race number today and was delighted to see I’d registered early to get a long sleeved technical shirt, which actually looks pretty cool. And that the money they make from the Lone Gull 10K goes to Camp Sunshine, which is a camp for terminally ill kids and their parents to go to.

I’m bummed. This was going to be my first 10K of this year. It’s a distance I really like. The race runs along the ocean for a good few miles. That’s also actually part of the reason I’ve decided to sit it out. Everyone says you shouldn’t run when a cold has settled in your chest, I definitely know that. I know that at race time, it’s going to be pretty cool in Gloucester, and the wind coming off of the ocean will make it feel even colder. That, and I don’t want to think about how I’d feel afterward, sweaty and cold walking back to my car, still fighting whatever bug I’ve gotten and can’t get rid of.  I’ve been in that “i feel like i’m sick” or “i feel like i’m getting sick” mode now for over a week, and I’m just sick of it. I’m not feeling like myself, but not feeling bad enough to just stay home and stay in bed all day either. Know what I mean? But I’ve got another busy week ahead of me and I can’t afford to get totally knocked out. The Tufts 10K is calling and that’s in a short three weeks.  And, Lis is not running it with me after all. Her shin splints have come back and reared their ugly head, so she had to take some time off, and didn’t think running 6.2 miles on hard surfaces was going to help things. I agree.

So, tomorrow, I think I’ll just go to the gym and ride the bike. After sleeping for a long time. Last night, it was a battle to stay up until 9. Then I was in bed until almost 8 this morning. Again, another thing that’s pretty unlike me, unless I”m pretty worn down. This just sucks. But I know it’s for the better in the long run. And it’s not like my running has been stellar lately either. I’ve had a hard time motivating myself lately.

Anyway, I hope everyone else gets some good runs in this weekend.

I’ve been feeling a bit worn down the past several days, and I know it’s from stress. I’ve tried to get a lot of sleep over the weekend, and only today decided I’d try to ride the bike, hoping to sweat out the toxins. I think it helped some, and am going to try running again tomorrow morning. We’ll see how it goes.

Ok, so that’s it for the running bit of this post. To me, the important part follows below.

I had a conversation the other day with a student that I’ve replayed in my mind several times since. It helped me to put my stress in perspective, and once again, remind me, that no matter what you’re going through, there’s very likely someone worse off.

I can’t say all the details on here, but in a nutshell this is it. I work with a lot of LLM students, more so now in my new role at work.  LLMs are students who have been foreign-trained, and already have one law degree. The LLM degree is a master’s in law.

Anyway, I remember thinking when I saw this student, that he looked familiar. And I was right.  He started his degree last year, but didn’t finish in the one year that is customary. Long story short, he decided to not return home, and now because his former country is so f….ed up, he likely won’t see his family for at least 5 years.  Can you imagine the stress this kid has been under? (I say “kid” out of habit, but he and I are likely not too far apart in age. And he’s probably light years ahead of me in maturity based on what he’s experienced.)

This is a student who had to defer acceptance to our school for at least three years. Each year, the school said he could come. And each year, his country said “nope, you can’t leave.”  It’s quite difficult, if not downright impossible, for me to know what that feels like. I’ve been able to move freely ever since I was born.

This student is someone who immediately humbled me and when I said to him “thank you for helping me put my troubles in perspective,” he apologized. This is a student who, no matter how little money he has, still tries to send something home to his family, because he feels like they need it more than he does.

This is a kid who I definitely want to help.   And made me feel glad for asking to have certain responsibilities taken off of my plate last week so I could work with more LLM students like him. They work so hard, and are grateful for any opportunity they have to learn.  He asked me to be tough with him this year, and make him work hard to get his paper done so he can graduate. Well, ok! I can make him work hard!:-)  I really want to see this kid graduate next May.

Can you imagine what it’d be like to not be able to see your family for 6 years, and not because you don’t want to, but because some idiotic government says you can’t?!

I’m so glad to be an American, that’s for sure.

I originally wrote this post on Monday and then my computer had Internet problems so I didn’t get to publish it immediately, and then was so busy this week at work, when I got home every night, the LAST thing I wanted to do was look at a computer screen!  Oh, and by the way, my first attempt at making homemade wheat bread that I mention below – it worked out well!

In not-so-great news, I’ve not run since Monday, and have been feeling pretty worn down, so I’ve been letting my body take it easy.

******************************

You know that part of Forrest Gump where he says that he just started running, and then he kept on running, and then he ran some more? That’s what I felt like tonight.  I ran 8.48 miles on Saturday so that mentally next week when I run the 10K race, I can say to myself “keep going, it’s not as far as last week” when I want to stop. I rode the exercise bike yesterday for about 50 minutes, and then today set out to run 5.  My legs felt like lead at first, and my right shin just didn’t seem to want to warm up. For the first 3-4 miles or so.  I stopped a few times to stretch it, to no avail. A woman stopped me and asked for directions (I was of little help, as I don’t know the names of all the streets I run on, or in those neighborhoods, I just know where I’ve started and where I’m going to end up.  That last part sounded like a metaphor for life, didn’t it? If so, I wish it was true.)

The next three miles – well, when I hit mile 4, I was thinking, it’ll be nice to just do 5 today and be done with it.   Then I saw a family walking home from Silver Lake. To me, nothing says summer like walking home from the beach. And then I smelled someone’s campfire. That did it. At this point, I was smiling to myself, and thought, ok, let’s just see if I can do 6 tonight and then finish the loop around the lake by walking as a cool-down.  Then one of my favorite songs came on my iPod – “Everything’s Magic” by Angels and Airwaves. I listened to it at least 4 times as I ran around the lake again – it’s about 1.7 miles around. Ran past some of the same people walking, twice.

Then I decided, as I’ve been doing lately, to run up and over the train overpass – my thinking is if I can keep doing that at the end of my runs, not just at the beginning, it’ll keep me feeling strong, and help with my confidence during races, especially at the end. It worked. I sped up and then I kept going, even when I would normally stop. I ran my little extra almost-half-mile at the end, and voila, 7.3 miles.  It was in the range of 10 minute miles, only because of the last bit at the end.  I don’t care.

I am probably not going to PR this coming weekend, and that’s fine.  I decided tonight while out there on the  road that I have to just be happy now with feeling good on my runs. I’ve got too much going on at work and with life in general to put a ton of pressure on myself where running is concerned.  I want running to remain something I do for fun, and not something that I have to do, or an extra point of stress. No thanks.

So in two weeks, my goal is to have fun – hopefully beat 1 hour, but if I don’t, don’t beat myself up. I’m not familiar with the course, unlike how I am with the Tufts 10K race I’ll be doing in October. Lis is also running the Lone Gull 10K next week, and so far this year, she has definitely been my good luck charm. I’ve always run well when she’s been running also. I think it’s because of my mood when she’s around. Things tend to go well and she helps me to feel balanced.

In other parts of my life…

Bill and I had a good, pretty relaxing holiday weekend. We went for a long walk with Ruthie this morning – he showed me neighborhoods that they like to frequent, and which I’ve not run down before so now I have a new short route if I want it.

I think eventually Bill and I will move further out from the city (I know I’d love to have more open space) but for right now the market sucks so we really can’t think of selling. And our commutes would just get longer so that’s something to consider too.  It’s not that I want a bigger house – just more land, more wide open space.  Funny, that’s what upstate NY is like, where I’m from.  You never realize what you have/had until it’s gone, I believe the song goes.  So, we’ll be happy where we are.

We also did something a bit different this weekend – after 5 years we are finally using some of our wedding gifts that we’ve not used but have been meaning to. Like the ice cream maker. Now that we have a second freezer downstairs (courtesy of Bill’s mom and a house they inherited and are renovating to sell, yayyyy, we love it!) Bill wants to make chocolate ice cream.  He made up the mixture today and while I’m at my Friends of the Library board meeting tomorrow night, guess what he’ll be doing (other than making a mess out of the kitchen, LOL)?

As for me and tools that have not been used, but look like they’re going to start getting quite the workout – I used our standing mixer (I usually just use the handheld.)  To make bread dough. Yes, you read that right. I am trying to make bread from scratch.  Ever since I read Jenna Woginrich’s book, Made From Scratch,  I’ve been wanting to do things the more old-fashioned way. Well, I made a huge mess out of the machine – I had bread spooging over the side all over the place (Bill said it looked like the machine had thrown up, I think) but I also had fun. Right now, as I sit here writing this, I’m waiting for the bread to finish rising and then fall. Something about cooking seems to help me relax lately.

Wish me luck that I don’t screw this up.

Oh, and I’m doing latchhook right now. Yes, I am not afraid to admit it. Some of you out there might be wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Some of you may be laughing because you remember doing it yourself when you were a kid.

And, I’m also reading Chicken Soup for the Ocean Lover’s Soul. True sentimentality, I tell you. I’m not afraid to admit it. I’ve said to Bill that many of the essays in this book have made me cry. He said, “isn’t that the goal of all of those books?” I said “yes, probably so, but as long as it helps me to feel better about the world and life, then it’s good enough for me.”

One of the essays had a line that goes like this:

“Try reaching back: Since the human mind can hold but one idea at a time, you blot out present worry when you touch the happiness of the past.”

On my run tonight, the happiness of the past took hold in both memories of running some of my fastest races, and of times in my life when my grandma laughed so hard, she cried. I could literally hear her giggling away in my mind as I ran.

“You blot out present worry when you touch the happiness of the past.”   Good words to live by.

Thanks for listening.

Not much blogging lately. Sorry. Trying to find a balance between crazy-busy work (but busy in a mostly good way), freelance work, time with Bill and the animals, and running. Notice I wasn’t able to say writing.  That has fallen by the wayside, and I hope for not much longer.  The freelance work for M is slowly getting closer to completion, so we can shop the chapters to critiquers and possibly an editor for thoughts.  M and I are definitely prioritizing it this semester.

I find that lately getting up around 4:30 or so just seems normal.  That’s scary. I either research or run, or try to do a combination of both, or walk with Ruthie.  Last week, Bill ran a small bit on one of his walks with her, and he said to me “she took off on a full gallop!” And then he said it basically looked like she was smiling. He suggested I maybe do our “short loop” that we do in the mornings with her, but while running.  So today, we did.  It was fun, and I could tell that she was disappointed at one point that our walk/run was coming to a close so shortly. I could tell she wanted to stay out of the house a bit longer.

She’s kind of funny because she seems to be less distracted by sounds and smells when we are running along.  It’s definitely been a good distraction technique for when we see other dogs.  You see, we’ve realized she doesn’t mix super well with other dogs. Last week she had a scuffle with another dog which resulted with us taking a trip to the vet last Saturday.  At first she seemed fine (it happened on a Tuesday) but when we looked at her face on Saturday morning, we didn’t like the looks of her little bite wound.  So, she got another rabies shot (her most recent one had been about 45 days prior) and we’ve been giving her antibiotics since.

So, now when I see her running toward another dog, I just yell “come on, Ruthie Ruthie” and she starts running again.  She really is so cute.  We just need to coordinate ourselves better – this morning at one point she stopped right in front of me and I ran right into her. Then, another time we were running along, and she stopped suddenly, but seeing as I’m attached to her by her leash, I kept on going! But luckily I was able to stop quickly and no one was hurt.

Having Ruthie has been good for Bill too. He takes her on long walks every night for at least 2 miles and they do their bonding thing.

As for me and my running, well, I’m not going crazy with mileage, but I am trying to get out there. Lately sunrise has only been around 6:10, and I’ve been trying to avoid having to use the headlamp (it just reminds me of wintertime running, and honestly, I don’t want to go there mentally yet.)  So I’ve been doing runs of about 4-4.5 miles or so. Last weekend I totally took off from long runs – it was Bill’s and my 5 year wedding anniversary, and I just felt like taking it easy. So I did.  The week before, I met up with Lis for a nice 6-miler at the Minuteman Historical Park. There were lots of runners out, even in the ridiculous humidity, and we walked often (for me and my asthma) but it was still awesome to see her and run and chat with her again. I’ve really missed those runs together.

I have been trying to concentrate on beautiful views that I see in the morning. Running past the wetlands this week, when it’s been really nice and cool, it’s just been breathtaking around dawn and at sunrise. At both the wetlands, and especially at Silver Lake, there’s usually been a fair amount of mist. It lends an otherworldly quality to the landscape, and I’ve been trying to take mental pictures with my mind so I can calm myself down during the day at work when I need to. 

Anyone else out there do that?

I’ve not been caring about my pace too much, trying to keep it within the 9s most days and sometimes succeeding but not always. And that’s ok. Goals can change sometimes.  As in, I’ve decided I don’t think I’m going to do a half marathon this fall. I’m happy doing my shorter distances this year.  I’ve got two 10Ks coming up, and I’m going to see how I do. They are both on flat courses (hallelujah!) Keeping, or trying to keep, a balance in my life is more important to me right now than just trying to build more distance into my routine.

Speaking of balance, I think it’s time for me to get to reading some of your blogs before I crash for the evening!

Thanks for reading.