October 2009


Today we ran in, well, how can I put this, ok, how about using the word “slop?” That’s what it was. Cold, raw, rainy, slop. Not downpours, thank God, but I’d say steady rain.  When the temps are only in the 40s, it can make it seem downright miserable.  After the race, Lis said she thought it was the wettest race she’d ever run. I think she may be right. We’ve run in snow and rain before but this was just raw.

The good news is that Lis also ran in this. The bad news is that we didn’t meet up before the race, because of a snafu with my fancy iPhone. As in, she was calling me over and over, and trying to text me, and I was doing the same, and we were connecting.  When I finally was able to use her phone after the race and call my husband (who had not come to the race because of the weather and who could blame him?), he said I’d probably have to reset it. Good God. When I had a less fancy phone, this never happened. Technology doesn’t always make things better.

So, basically before the race, both Lis and I sat in our cars, separately, trying to stay warm.  I went looking for her where the 10-minute milers lined up before the race (I assumed she’d put herself in that category even though she’s faster) but I didn’t see her anywhere.

Today was not a great day for technology. She’d charged up her Garmin last night and then it froze itself, thereby draining the battery. She had just enough time to charge it up this morning so it’d get her through a half hour race.

I may have dressed too warmly for this race, but it was so cold out, I knew once I’d stop running, I’d be freezing to death. I wore my brand new Brooks capri tights (love them!), my Brooks ASRs (which have not seen running since last winter), and one of my heavier long sleeve base layers with a long sleeve jacket over that. Oh, and my $3 pair of gloves I bought when I watched my brother run the Philly marathon a few years back, which I absolutely love because they keep hands warm, but not too, too warm like my fancy running gloves.

I have to say – this race has become larger and larger every year. 1500 people signed up online, but the Cool Running results only show 1015 people came out today. Can’t say as I blame anyone who stayed home. This year, they even had a race mat at the beginning (yay! net times!!) and had people line up according to pace.  Well, there were signs for the 7 minute mile pace, 10 minute mile pace, and walkers, anyway. The rest of us just went by the honor system and I think people were pretty honest. I put myself right smack in the middle, thinking that’s where you should be if you’re in between an 8 or 9 minute mile. No giant slalom for me today, thankfully.

As I ran today, I thought of the motto for the Tufts 10K race, which is “Start Strong, Finish Stronger.” That was pretty much my motto for today as well.  Knowing how my ankle felt earlier this week, I didn’t think I would get a PR at this distance, and that was alright for me. I’m running for life, right?

My Garm showed my first mile was 8:32, and I remember thinking, “alright, that is exactly where I want to be. That’s manageable. Now just speed up a little bit.” My second mile was 8:32.  Not bad at keeping it consistent. My third mile was my strongest: 8:15. Now THAT I am really content with, considering I have not done speed work since July, and my ankle is still a bit bruised, and it kept reminding me before the race, “I’m not at 100% remember? More like 80-85%, so let’s not push it, ok?” (Yes, my body parts really do talk to me. LOL.)

I did stop briefly at both water stops they had (yes, 2 water stops for a 3 mile race. They do things well at this race, including the food afterward: chicken pot pie soup, hot dogs, fried dough, etc.) My brother told me it’s good to let your body relax for a few seconds, as it’ll help you keep running faster in between, rather than getting tired toward the end. He said that’s what he did when he PR’d at Boston, and seeing as he’s much faster than me, I’ll take the advice.  The only time I felt a bit tired was about mile 2.6, but then I saw a guy walking and I yelled out, “we’ve got less than a half mile left!” hoping to energize him to get running again. I have no idea if it worked.

This race is really flat, and it’s a 3-mile loop through the town of Newton. If you’re not familiar with Newton, just know it’s known for being one of the safest cities in the country. READ: it has $$.   Lots of the proceeds go to the Special Olympians of Newton. I saw a kid with Down’s Syndrome, walking after the race, and he had this really huge trophy in his hands. How cool is that?

Here are the stats:

  • Official time: 25:29, Garmin time of 25:27 (average pace of 8:26)
  • Offiical distance: 3 Miles; Garmin distance run: 3.02
  • Place overall: 371/1015
  • Division place: Female, 30-39:  28/131 (I’ll take it!)

Oh, and by the way, it’s kind of snowing/sleeting here right now. All those of you in warmer climates, I would so like to trade my cold, raw slop for your heat right now. Really.

So, since I didn’t get any pictures of the race due to the iphone’s technical difficulties, I have a few other non-related race pictures below. Some are of Ruthie because she’s just way too cute for words, and I know not all of you are on Twitter, where I post some others, and there are two of the clouds and lake near my house, which I’ve been running around in the mornings when the ankle hasn’t hurt. Enjoy! Also, thanks for reading (still, I know I’ve not been a frequent blogger lately.)

By the way, do you need to have the Nike+ system to run the 10K Race for the Human Race, if it’s actually holding one in your city? There is one in Boston next week and I’m thinking of doing it.  Please drop me a comment if you know anything about it! 

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After last week’s face plant/yard sale run, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.  Lis, my running partner from last year,and now friend, and good luck charm, is running it with me. We don’t know how this happened, but I’m 1317 and she’s 1318 – they have the numbers posted online. Too funny!

By the way, in case you’re wondering or missed this beautiful image I posted on Twitter, here’s what my ankle looked like on Tuesday morning.  It’s still a bit black and blue toward the lower part of my foot (where you see that lovely stripe) but it’s not swollen anymore, thank God.

The ankle the day after the face plant

The ankle the day after the face plant

 

Kinda gross, huh?

I agree.

I tested it out on Friday morning, ran a whole whopping 3.4 miles but it held up.

Oh, did I forget to mention that those 3.4 miles were in 34ish degree weather? Cold enough that my sports beans were getting hard (WTF?) and it was snowing. Yep, you read that right. Snow.

It was only October 16th, for christsake!

I am NOT ready for this. I was wearing my warm base layer, a rain jacket and long pants.  Oh, and gloves and my warm winter running hat. (Hey, I’ve not acclimated yet.)

My last few morning runs, I’ve done without headphones, so I could enjoy the beautyof the silence and being out there so early.  Friday, I did not need to be reminded with every breath of how miserable it was outside, so I put on the headphones and blasted the music.

At first I almost didn’t run.  After all, let me say it again – it was SNOWING. But once I warmed up, I have to admit, I smiled once or twice while running my laps around the lake.  Something made me think of Lis and I running a race in the snow in February, and how, around here, you just have to grin and bear it, or you’ll find yourself on a treadmill for more months than you can count. And I’d rather be shot in the head than run inside on a treadmill like a hamster, for months on end. Been there, done that, no more, thanks. Not unless it’s speed work.

Speaking of speed work, I think, if we can swing it financially, I want to join indoor track again this winter. I really enjoyed it. In the winter I have to run alone so often. It’s nice to be with people again. Even if it does mean running around a track where 11 laps make a mile.

So, the weather report for tomorrow’s race time goes like this:

Rain and wind. High 43F. Winds NNE at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall around half an inch.

So glad to not be doing the Baystate Marathon in that.

I know, you’re all spitting mad that you can’t run in crap like that like I am, aren’t you?!

🙂

I cannot believe it’s been two weeks since my last post. I don’t think that’s happened on this blog, ever.

Ok, resolve to never do that again!

I have to preface this report by saying that literally, over the past few weeks, there has been more than one day where I have almost given in to the temptation to quit running. Literally, quit. I’ve had very low motivation to get out there and get running in the dark, knowing that it may still be dark when I’m done. Not even having the sunrise to look forward to can be really difficult especially when you are in the final laps of what feels like a marathon of busyness (not sure if that’s how you spell it, but, oh well) at work. Ever since the LLMs arrived on August 10th, I’ve been going non-stop. Just two more weeks and I can get back to being more of my normal self.

Because, as my brother says, life happens, or as I say, shit happens, I had kind of lowered my goals for this race. Originally, earlier this year, I wanted to break something like 54-55 minutes. But I’ve not done speed work now basically since July and have felt it on my runs. I’ve also really cut back on the mileage so I wasn’t sure what I was capable of today.

I was happy today to have a coworker running the race for her first time. I’ll just call her M. She just started running this year and the longest run she’s done before this was 5.5 miles, so I was so proud of and happy for her to have run the race in just over 65 minutes. She did really awesome.

We met up around 11 a.m. and walked around and checked out the booths to see what was being given out, what was being sold. She has been looking for a rain jacket and she got one that was originally $80 for only $31!! The price said $39, but who were we to question the wisdom of the gods that brought the price down even further!?  (It’s funny because not too long before that she had said to me that she was going to try to not make any impulse buys.  What can I say, it doesn’t take much time around me for someone to plunk down some money for running gear?!)

This race always has a lot of porta potties at the beginning but this year, I think even more could have helped. I felt like the lines were longer than in the past. Long story short, they were singing the national anthem while we were still in line.  So, I didn’t get to line up with people running around my pace.  For that reason, I never really felt like I could hit my target running pace for at least the first 3 miles. It was, as my brother says, like doing the Giant Slalom around people.

As usual, there were walkers who had chosen to line up way further forward than they should have. So, as you are running along Charles Street, which allows cars to park on both sides, you’re completely crammed in, like sardines, and trying to get around people is frustrating as hell. If you’re walking within the first quarter mile of the race, and you’re surrounded by runners, then you lined up in the wrong place!  I could tell that there were others like me, trying to get around the crowds anyway they could, running up onto the sidewalks, trying to avoid spectators, etc. I tried to do the same.

Which leads me to what my husband calls my “big yard sale” or what others may refer to as a “face plant.”  Does it count as a face plant if you don’t actually connect with the ground with your face, but you do connect with just about everything else? ! 🙂  It was bad enough that I heard people (over my headphones) yell out “whoahhh… are you ok??!” All I could say was “oh shit! and then I just kind of sat there stunned for a few secs, and then I got back up, gingerly, I have to admit.  I hobbled a bit, just walking, to see how bad my right ankle was. I started running a bit and then just got going again.  I thought to myself “I am NOT stopping running this race now!” And then I thought to myself, “dammit, I’ve got to work myself past all these people again!” (I’m just being honest. It was just so crowded, and yes, I do realize that to some people I may have been frustrating if they were trying to get past me too.)

Anyway, I finally got going again, and realized at this point, the arm warmers could come off. (Did I forget to mention it was really cool here today – the high was supposed to only be around 55 and at noontime), and my little mini-stretch gloves that I bought for $1 last week.  I’ll miss them tomorrow, yes, but I didn’t mind giving them up since they were so cheap! 

A little bit after the first mile or 1.5 miles, I could see the elite runners coming toward us on the other side of the road. I could pick out Katie McGregor with her red hair, and the Ethiopian runner who came in 2nd last year (and either 7th or 8th this year), and then in another minute or so, Joan Benoit Samuelson, who has a very noticeable running form.  That helped to get rid of some of the frustration I’d been feeling up until then.

Since I think I left my running bottle at work yesterday (I work occasional weekend shifts) I had to stop at some of the water stops. I had brought a few endurolytes and some of my sports beans with caffeine (love those things!). Unfortunately, the first cup of water I grabbed had all of about 2 ounces left in it, so I did the best I could with it.  I decided I’d walk through the water stops I needed to stop at, and make sure to get the water in me, not on me. My brother said it’s the strategy he used when he PR’d at the Philadelphia Marathon a few years ago. I think it does help me to keep on running faster in between the stops.

The next few miles were pretty uneventful, but I was so surprised by the number of women who I saw actually slowing down while running down the very small, few inclines on this course. Don’t they know a downhill is FREE SPEED? 

At the mile 3 marker, I saw 29:42 on my Garmin and thought I could possibly beat an hour if I kept up my pace, or got a bit faster.  I did pass a woman on the Mass Ave bridge (between mile 4 and 5), who was walking, and I tapped her on the back and said that she was doing good, at this pace, she could break an hour. She just smiled at me and let me keep going. I think later on I did see her running again.  When I got to the mile 5ish water stand, I saw my watch was at about 48 minutes and change, and was a bit worried I’d slowed down to a pace that would put me over an hour at the end. But I knew I could go faster and I really did want to break an hour.

In between Mile 5 and 6, there was a guy standing on the side of the road in a tux. He was good looking and reminded me of the Nike race in San Francisco where at the end, you get a Tiffany necklace from a guy in a tux.  There were a few other young, good looking guys on the side of the road, with signs and big smiles for all of us –  I thought, I’m sure they are helping a lot of people to keep going! (I told my husband about it and he said maybe he had a girlfriend running, and I said, maybe he was going to propose to someone?! To which my husband said, oh yeah, proposing to a sweaty girl, I’m sure!)  

Anyway, I digress. At about mile 5.6 or 5.7, you arrive at the  Boston Public Gardens.  At this point, I knew I needed to be on the inside, to cut as much distance as possible, and I didn’t care if I needed to run up on the sidewalk again, or what I had to do to get around people. I looked at my watch and saw something like 54 as the front number, and thought, I guess I really can break an hour today even with the “yard sale” debacle and everything.  I just picked up my speed and got going.  I am happy to say I was sprinting at the end, and could remind myself that I did “start strong” (except for the yard sale move) and did “finisher stronger,” which is the mantra of this race. 🙂 🙂

 Here are some stats for today – it’s a PR since I started running a few years ago, and that’s never bad:

  • Garmin distance: 6.31 miles (giant slalom, remember?) offiicial distance: 6.2 miles
  • Garmin time: 59:04; official time: 59:00
  • Average garmin pace: 9:22; average official race pace: 9:30
  • Place overall: 2304/6020 runners (per Cool Running, although I heard there were over 8000 runners)
  • Division place (women 30:39): 727/1835 (Magdalena Lewy-Boulet won my division, so I don’t feel so badly for not doing better)
  • Mile 1: 9:52 pace (includes the “yard sale”)
  • Mile 2: 9:26
  • Mile 3: 9:20
  • Mile 4: 9:29
  • Mile 5: 9:46 (think I spent  more time walking through the water stop)
  • Mile 6: 8:54
  • Last .2/.31 miles: 7:29 pace

Below are some pics I took with my phone. I’m kind of bummed because I used the camera zoom app and then forgot to actually “zoom,” so they look a bit blurry.  In case you are curious about the final results, and want to check out how the elites did, click here.

By the way, Kristin in WA, of Running with the Runner Girl fame,  I would love to run this race with you if you can ever make it east for Columbus Day (I know you don’t get it as a holiday but take it anyway!) (She recently posted about how she’d love to run this race some day.)