Interesting reading


I did it, FINALLY. Didn’t think I could possibly freak out a guy who runs 100 mile races, injuring himself halfway and continuing to run on for 60 more miles.  [He’s signed up for the Leadville 100 in August, I can’t wait to go see and support him, and take him to the hospital afterward in the medivac helo. :-)]

 He’s the same guy who ate a Nathan’s Hot Dog from a NY State Thruway rest area, the day before he decided to run a 50 mile trail race.  (Yeah, that didn’t work out so well for him and his intestines, as you can imagine.) The guy who just ran a mile last week in 4:56, and does 6 X 800 repeats at 2:45, which is a seriously sick pace I can’t even fathom for one 800.

 Last week I actually set a new record for myself with a two-footed, weighted plank. 7.5 pounds (just spread the weight out more evenly), and held it for 7:30.  Yep, blew away my old record of 6:19 that I blogged about last week. Yay!!  One thing I did learn – not to do that again while wearing my racing flats. My feet kept sliding on the mat the entire time, and then my calves were killing me for most of the rest of the week.

When I told my brother this, he said I blew his mind – I DID IT!!  Then, he said that he can only do it for about 2 minutes without shaking and stopping. I was like “really??” Wow! Never thought I’d hear that.

I realized today that “running topless” remains a popular phrase whereby people find my blog and tweeted about it. A male friend of mine, who shall remain nameless out on the West Coast where he lives and whose first name rhymes with “hill,” suggested a few terms I should use in my next post and see if they drive up traffic. I will just put them in bold font throughout this post, and also use them as tags to see if his prediction comes true.  🙂

Wow, are those people going to be sad when they get to my blog…. ha ha ha

I actually had a really good weekend. Went climbing with a new friend I made at the gym.  It’s the first time we’ve hung out, and I felt like I’d already known her for a long time.  So, that was very cool.

That's the climber, toward the top of the red stripe. Notice the tall ladder to the right, for a height perspective. People in foreground are sitting down.

My friend had never top-roped before, so they wouldn’t let her take the test at Metro Rock Gym (we went there because we knew the other place, Boston Rock Gym, was having comps (how they refer to competitions in the climbing world, I am learning), all day long. But, I took the top-rope test (which means I can climb and belay people there) and passed (phew!). We then just decided to boulder for a few hours. By the time we were done, my palms had gotten calloused (a good thing for doing it on a regular basis, going forward), and  my fingers hurt, but luckily the rest of me, other than my fingers, were not really that sore. Guess my body is getting used to the new muscle groups being used.

This guy made it look so easy. Needless to say, there's not an extra ounce of fat on this guy. Insane in so many ways.

The Metro Rock Gym definitely has a much different feel to it. Some of the top-rope routes are much taller than at the other gym (which kinda freaks me out), and it’s a much larger room, rather than a few rooms. The crowd does tend to be a bit younger, because it’s accessible by the T. I even saw a woman who was “climbing topless.” Get your minds out of the gutter, boys. She had on a sports bra like I do when I run topless.  She wasn’t necessarily stacked enough to fill a DD-cup (really, guys, how many do you think actually exist who do?), but I was glad to see that kind of thing was acceptable there too.  (Yeah, it might take me a while to get to that point, however.)  I think I will probably go to both depending on my schedule, but I definitely like the approach the folks take at the Boston Rock Gym, and can understand why a lot of people prefer the atmosphere of it too. 

We were clearly newbies there, as were a lot of other folks. But a really friendly, supportive and experienced boulderer gave me some pointers, which definitely helped every time I tried it afterward. (He was helping out another newbie friend at the same time as he was helping the two of us.) I was crouching up my body too much, and holding all of my weight on my arms, when I should have been resting them, and I also learned that once you commit to take a move, you just have to go for it.  And I just got a book called Training for Climbing (yep, I am a librarian after all), and a good portion of it is about mental training, something I think I can also apply to running.

Guy is just about hanging by fingernails, and the wall also forces him to be leaning back away from it, like an overhang. Cannot imagine the upper body strength it takes to do that!

I went to see a bouldering comp on Saturday night at the Boston Rock Gym. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s climbing that doesn’t involve ropes, and usually you’re not higher than 25 feet in the air (probably even less inside, I’m not a good judge of height), and if you fall, you land on crash pads. It’s great to have a spotter for support, but you can do it alone. Some of the climbers involved in the Finals were professionals, and it showed. I’ve posted a few pictures throughout the blog.  While they really don’t do the climbers justice, since they were taken with the iPhone 3G (which doesn’t have a flash), the strength and control these folks displayed was pretty awesome. Guys had to start one route by jumping and grabbing the handhold with one hand (seriously difficult), and at times, both men and women had to climb upside down to pull $ off of the boulder. (Yes, part of the incentive to do well…)  It got me inspired.

And ladies, yes, the guy is bouldering without a shirt on up above in one of my pictures. For some reason, still unknown to me, a lot of the guys tend to “climb topless.” If I ever figure out why, I’ll let you know. I can just think of so many ways that that could cause pain if you made the wrong move. Or, on the ropes. Can we say “ouch?”

My brother asked what I liked about the rock climbing so far. I told him it’s a new challenge for me, and one that  I think I can get better on given time and lots of practice, and some good mental and physical training. As runners, I think a lot of us are in really good shape, but let’s admit it, we usually have little chicken arms. Rock climbing is definitely a sport where you can easily find out where your muscles are weak. I’m hoping it helps me to improve my running times.  And, honestly, the people in that world seem to be so chill. Concerned about safety, of course, but it’s a nice break from where I spend my working hours. (I like my job but the institution can, at times, be overly concerned with its image, to its own detriment.)

The only bad thing that happened this weekend is that Ruthie’s dad and I will continue talking about and arranging for visits with her, but that will be it. I don’t want to go into details here, other than to say I think it’s for the best, honestly.  It’ll make for more of a clean and final break, and maybe it will help us both move forward more easily. No, I’m not made of stone, I do think it’s sad, but it honestly is probably a good step for both of us to take right now.  And Ruthie remains the one thing we both love, so I’ve included a picture of here too. I’ll continue to take lots of long walks with her and love and hug her to death when she visits.

Ruthie playing with one toy while another one waits to be mauled, lying next to her.

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Chestnut Hill Reservoir after way too much snow. John Hancock and Prudential Towers are off in the distance.

Oh My God, Terri’s posting again! For the second time in less than two weeks!  What are we going to do?  whatever are we going to do??

Um, dramatic much, Terri?  Yeah…maybe just a little.

But isn’t that more interesting of an opening than just a post called “Goals?” Come on, admit it, it is.

Sigh.  Ok, maybe not, but here it goes anyway.

And by the way, in case you are one of those lucky bastards out there (ahem, Glenn, from the blog of The Running Fat Guy, or Jill from JillWillRun) (@gwjones00 and @jillwillrun on Twitter) who don’t usually see snow because of where they live (trust me, I know there are more of you out there), I am going to sprinkle pictures of the snow throughout this post.  There is something called the Shaq-O-Meter, and basically it measures the snowfall we’ve received, and compares it to Shaq of the Celtics. Let’s just say, right now, he can see over the snow banks, but not for long. If the snow were water, I’d already be treading water. And, I’m not a great swimmer. Yeah, I’d be drowning very soon. Middle-of-the-Pack Girl wuold then be known as Dead Girl Floating.

Ok, so where was I? One of my friends who has read my blog for a very long time told me last week that he liked how the tone of my posts over the past few ones have started to become more like when he first started reading my blog. I’m going to treasure that email from him.

Ruthie, very sleepy after a long night walk. It goes without saying, I will continue showering her with lots of love and attention. 🙂

Lately, I have been feeling more like writing. That’s why I think my anti-depressants are working. I’m starting to take joy in more lately.  For many months, I’ve not wanted to write much, even in (or is it on?) this blog.  I’ve really begun to love reading again. For several months, I couldn’t even get through a magazine.

So, as I  mentioned in my last post, I’m carving $ out of my budget to meet with a trainer a few times. We met for the first time this past Saturday for about 45 minutes (thankfully he won’t charge me for the full hour we’d originally planned on), and well, yeah…I have weak triceps.  I know this because they are the one part of me that is still sore.  He basically ran me through a lot of full-body workout exercises, so we could focus on building strength and flexibility, and on my brother’s advice, how to strengthen my inner core muscles. I understand that these are lower in your core than your 6-pack muscles. While my abs are getting more defined, I have no idea what a six pack on a woman looks like. So, if I ever get there, I’ll let you know.

As I said to a few of my coworkers who were saying they were unhappy about the way they look today after kids, I am actually happy with the way I look now. It’s taken me a lot of work to get there, and I reminded them of my weight loss plan: “stress, and getting divorced.” Not necessarily something you want to go through to lose weight.  I only lost 11 pounds, but I’m on the smaller side to begin with (ok, I’m a midget, or almost one, at 5 feet, and a quarter inch.)

Ruthie's mailbox: please note that the snow is a few feet higher, and it's Jonly an. 31st.

So, the flattering part was when he had me do some bicep curls, and a few other things with free weights, he said that I was already strong, but we’ll work on toning and building more lean body mass (or was it muscle mass?)  Yay, a trainer thinks I’m strong!  (Believe me, this guy is strong but not in a “I eat steroids for breakfast and drink creotene” way, so I was very flattered.)

By the way, in case you are in the Boston area, the trainer’s name is Rich Rowland, and he works out of the Boston Sports Club in Watertown. I definitely recommend this guy, and that club in general. It’s run very professionally and efficiently from what I can tell.

So, my goals, not necessarily in any specific order.

  1. Get into the best freaking shape of my life.
  2. Build speed from last year (ok, get it back), and break into the 23 range (even if 23:59) at the 5K distance, and break 50, (again, even if 49:59) for the 10K distance. My PRs are currently 24:45, and 50:56 (for 6.29 per my Garmin).
  3. Really work on my diet and make sure I am eating healthy.  (This means continuing to use my blender on a regular basis. More to be said on that later.)
  4. Return to the attitude of “food as fuel.”  In so doing, waste less of it. If I don’t want to eat it, I can always blend it into a smoothie. Also, continue eating veggies, especially spinach.  (Never as a child did I ever think I’d say that!)
  5. Try to return to that positive mindset I had when training for the marathon. It helped me to run better and have a better outlook on life in general. I’m getting there now. Still a work in progress.
  6. Continue to put myself out there and try to make friends who I feel really comfortable around, as well as strengthen the friendships I already have. This is hard for me to do because I am so afraid of being rejected by others right now, and my self-esteem has been ebbing and flowing. There are definitely days where I don’t feel like I deserve someone being nice to me or showing that they care about me. Another work in progress.
  7. Gain as much knowledge as I can from books such as Body for Life for Women: A Woman’s Plan for Physical and Mental Transformation, which was recommended to me by my trainer. (Will let you know what I think of it when I’m done.)
  8. Continue working on healing myself by working through things with both my therapist, and my doctor who have my best interests at heart.

Last goal, but it’s definitely not least. If I can afford it, I’d like to go through the RRCA coaching certification program. Because I am also saving to go and watch my brother, Jim (also a running coach with a blog called Coaching, Training and Motivation) run the Leadville 100 this August, I need to do it in an economical way. And hopefully meet some of you in person FINALLY!  (Already planning onvisiting Fern, known as @sitbones on Twitter.)

And oh yeah… get better with time management so I can read more of your blogs on a regular basis like when I first started blogging a few years ago.

And oh yeah…have my credit card balance paid off by August. When with Bill, we paid it off every month. I don’t like having that hanging over my head. At all. It’s doable if I budget smartly, and continue saving at the same time.

Wow, wordy post. Maybe I should add “gain self control and preciseness” into my list of goals?

Thanks for reading.  I’ve got to head for bed so I can get up and run/bike tomorrow morning. While I’ve not loved the treadmill in the past, right now, it’s much safer than running down the middle of the streets just to avoid falling on ice. It kind of increases your chances of being human roadkill, know what I mean?

What I wished we had as a view right now. Photo taken last fall, looking toward Boston from Castle Island in Southie

How can you not love this face?

Wow, it has been a while since I posted on here. And it’s been a while since I’ve been in the mood to be on Twitter a lot. I go in spurts. Sometimes I’m just about addicted to Twitter, other days I don’t want to really get on there, especially during lunch because 20 minutes later, there I still am, typing along with  my thumb and pointer finger (I know, I’m weird, I can’t really type with two thumbs.)

Anyway, what have I been up to since the Claddagh 4-mile race? Well, I was supposed to run a 5-mile race the following week, on March 14th.  Unfortunately that also fell on Day 2 of a 3 day deluge of rain, during which our area got 10 INCHES  of rain.  We are now in the middle of getting somewhere between 4-6 inches again.  Mind you, some folks have not stopped pumping water out of their basements during that time because we’ve had a few normal rain storms in between.  Lovely.

I feel like a wimp, but I just didn’t feel like running that race in a downpour, with 25-30 mph wind gusts.  I hated to disappoint my friend Meg, and I really did want that 3rd medal, but I guess for me, the third time (next year) will be the charm and I’ll finally get all 3.

Let’s see – I went to a Celtics game on St. Patrick’s Day, thanks to my husband who won seats just 14 rows off of the floor.  Nothing like being in Boston on a day that celebrates the Irish. 🙂  Then I took a few personal days and took it easy.

Penny and Terri at the tweet-up - finally we met!!

During my personal time off, I traveled to NYC.  I am so happy to report that I FINALLY met Penny, aka @southbaygirl on Twitter, of the PlanetYnnepRunning blog (she recently had to protect her blog so you have to request the ability to be read it).  She was in NYC to run the NYC Half Marathon, and asked if I could come down from the Boston area to meet her. I figured it would likely be the closest we could ever get to each other, so I went down and stayed with my brother and met her at a tweetup, and then again on Sunday at, and after, the race. She is, quite honestly, one of the most generous and genuine people I have ever met. And I felt like I’d already known her for quite some time. Because, in a way, we have. We’ve read each other’s blogs now for almost 2 years. Amazing, huh?

While I was in NYC, I had a great run with my brother on Sunday night (in SHORTS, no less.) Oh yeah, did I neglect to say that while I was there, it was also about 70 degrees? I know Penny was aggravated/frustrated by that, but for my part, I was LOVING it. (Especially since it went back to the 30s this past weekend her in MA.)

Penny and I, with @tinyjenna, @followjocelyn, and @katiemiller at the NYC Half Marathon

What’s on my horizon?  Um, a lot.  Work this Sunday, April 4th (volunteered to work without realizing it was Easter. Sigh.)  A big legal research teaching event on April 9th. A  5 mile race on April 10th.  Packet stuffing for the Boston Marathon. Then, the Boston Athletic Association 5K on April 18th, the day before the Boston Marathon.  Oh, and I’ll be meeting Lindsay, of Chasing the Kenyans, or @lindsaydecken on Twitter, the weekend of the Boston Marathon – hopefully she’ll be able to stay with me at least part of the time without having an asthma attack (the animals could do it.)  Yay!  (She’s another person whose blog I’ve been reading for at least 18 months now!)

Oh, and there will be more dog training classes in our future. We broke down and have taken Ruthie twice, to get her more acclimated to being around other dogs. We now realize it’s out of fear that she gets into fights. She even got into a fight at the dog school this past weekend. It was suggested we get her a muzzle – it will still allow her to breathe, of course, but sends a verbal cue to owners and other dogs that she is not one that plays well with others so much.  She loves people, though, and she really wants to be friends with our calico, Callie, so things could clearly be much worse. But doesn’t she look so sad?  (Bill petted her the whole 2 minutes this muzzle was on tonight and then she got a treat right after we removed it, so she wouldn’t feel like she was being punished.)  We’ve been told to put it on her at random times so she doesn’t just associate it with dog school.

Ruthie and her muzzle, looking so sad

Oh, and I have also been writing a lot more lately. Thanks to @ridgeley on Twitter, who was extremely generous with her time and advice, I bought myself a Toshiba netbook a few weeks ago. I absolutely love it.

toshiba nb305-450 - picture from newegg.com

The battery power is great, the screen resolution is wonderful, it weighs almost nothing.  And, I LOVE the keyboard. I feel inspired just looking at it.  I’ve been taking it to work and am able to write on it almost every day at lunchtime.

And, for reasons I cannot go into, I have pulled myself out of, or begun to, anyway, pull myself out of a negative funk at work. I’ve decided to give more of the benefit of the doubt to some people and also to try to not let the stress of others affect me as much. I can try to help them and support them, but I can’t take everyone else’s problems and turn them into mine. It just weighs too much.

All of this, in addition to finishing Stephen King’s 1074 page tome, Under the Dome. And continuing to run in the early a.m.  I’d like to extend a  personal thank you to Turtlepower1 on Twitter for worrying about me. He got me motivated to write on here tonight!

Oh, and I have a few more products I can write about now – so stay tuned! (Nope, I didn’t forget about my cold weather running products, not at all!)  Hey, if you buy them now, they’ll all be on sale. 🙂

Yep, it’s been a pretty busy three weeks.

Of course it’s all relative.  What seems “long” to me now is probably like a short walk in the park for a lot of others.  Other runners, that is.  Last week, I had lunch with a friend. When I told her I’d run a bit over 7 miles that morning, she said “that sounds far.” So did my husband, when I’d told him the route I’d run.  To me, I felt like it was short, compared to all the tweets and blogs I read, where people are getting out there and doing 16 or more (hell, anything over 7 qualifies.)  It makes me think back to 2007 when I’d done all those long runs in the summer while training for the Maine Marathon. Back then, 3 sounded so short. Hell, 8 sounded short. I still look back in amazement, and think “did I really do that? 26.2? In one day? The same day I started?”

Not having a long(ish) race yet picked out on the horizon, it is hard for me to rationalize getting out there and doing more than say, 6 or 7 on the weekends.  I know, I know, for a 10K, I should be running about 8 on the weekends. But again, not so many of those even on the horizon. Yes, I live outside of Boston, which is definitely a running/walking city, but the 10Ks don’t happen every weekend. 5Ks, pretty much, yes, but not the longer races all the time.

Let’s be honest. I would much prefer to do longer runs over the spring and summertime than I would here in the winter.  It’s much easier to sweat and lose layers as needed, than to sweat and then feel colder because the sweat gets cold. Honestly, it can be kind of miserable. Yes, I had the option to run with some folks from MVS yesterday morning at 8 a.m. but that would have meant a 30 minute drive to meet them, and I just wanted to sleep in on Saturday since I have to work today, and on the holiday.

Anyway, a weird thing happened yesterday. The weather hit 45 degrees here.  Beautiful and sunny. You think I could get myself out there to run? Nah. Went to the gym instead.  After much thought, I figured out why.  Two reasons.  One.  The idea of doing a “long” run two weeks in a row just made me want to say “Ugh.”   Last week I did 7 miles because it was something I hadn’t done in a while. So it was new. (It is no longer new, when done two weeks in a row.) And when it’s nice out? Yet still cool? I don’t know how to dress for that anymore!  🙂  No, really.  Call it short-term memory loss.  I’m all good with dressing for frigidly cold weather now, even for running in it. But dressing for semi-nice running weather, where I might need fleece to start with, but not end with? Too difficult for me to choose!

So there I was – literally all dressed – hat/headband: check; Garmin: check; Road ID: check; long tights: check; two layers on top, getting the third out: check; iPod (with playlists still erased, ugh again): check.  And then I decided not to go. My husband looked at me and said “if  you don’t want to go, then don’t. You won’t enjoy it anyway.”  So I didn’t. I rationalized, I’d run 5 miles the day before at a good clip (average: 9:16 pace) so today I could just ride the bike.

And, so I did. All 18 miles a hill workout, I rode the bike, while reading a great book, The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. It’s a book told from a dog’s point of view. Absolutely hysterical, and also really sad, at parts. I highly recommend it!

The Art of Racing in the Rain (photo from Amazon.com)

Don’t you love it when two things you love come together? (For me, that’s reading and exercise.) By the way, I’m noticing I can now put the bike on Level 6, and it doesn’t seem like I am working too hard. But I digress…

Tonight we’re supposed to get rain, then rain mixed with snow, then snow tomorrow morning. And you know what? I’m excited to run in it if I have time (read: not too much shoveling to do) before heading out to work on the Martin Luther King holiday. (Yeah, kinda sucks I am working, but this way I get a comp day to take on Friday!)

Does this make me strange?   Well, at least it won’t be considered “long” even if I can find time to get in 4-5 miles. I just want to make sure that I retain the fun in running, you know?

Hope you are all enjoying a good, fun holiday weekend.

I just talked to my brother this morning and found out he’s taking a later train so I’ve got a few minutes to write up a quick post.  Just to let you all  know, I’m not dead. 🙂 This is the second weekend in a row that I’m not home. Well, 3 actually.

After my last post, Bill and I went to Cape Cod for a few days. It was to celebrate my birthday, take a few days for ourselves, and to allow him to recharge before he started a new job the week of Veteran’s Day.  So far, so good on that front.

Last weekend, I went to NY for a meeting at  Columbia University. I went a few days early and stayed with my brother in Brooklyn.  We ran together from his neighborhood for about 5 miles on Sunday and then he did another 15 on his own. He used my Garmin for the part he ran alone and now he wants one for himself. I lent it to him for this past week so he could get used to it, and I think he’s planning on using it in the race tomorrow, where I think he’ll find his mile splits will be more consistent, since he won’t have to wait at traffic lights all along the way.   Originally, he was planning on running the Philadelphia Marathon to try qualifying for Boston (it’d be his third Boston if he does) but because of all the crap he’s been dealing with in life lately, he’s not been able to run as much as he’d like (which explains why last Sunday’s run for him was 20 miles.)  He said he really didn’t have much to taper from, so he wasn’t going to.  Now, his goals are to qualify (first goal) with something like 3:20 and 3:30 being his 2nd and third goals.  Regardless of his end time, I’m just proud of him for gutting through everything and doing this tomorrow.   I have told him, if running makes him happy, then that’s what he needs to and has to do.  He has to worry about himself first in this life.

So, yesterday I drove down to Allentown, PA.  My grandmother is buried about 15-20 minutes from here, and as soon as this post is written, I’m going to check out of the hotel and go see her and pay my respects.  Last time I was down here, I asked her for a little help for my brother and she came through with flying colors, as he ran a 2:55.  It’s no surprise to me that she’s still helping us out and providing such positive energy even though she’s no longer of this earth.  I’ve been running these last few weeks I’ve not posted.  On one morning in particular, I was feeling quite tired, and felt I needed a little extra help.  I said a mental prayer asking for her to give me a hand, and I am not exaggerating to say that I did feel a slight pressure against the middle of my lower back. It was just enough to keep propelling me forward.  I’m one of those people who believes that souls sometimes travel together from one life to the next, and that my grandmother’s is still around, even if it’s only in my mind.

I’ve also been trying to find more balance in my life.  I’ve done a lot of reading, and recently, have been writing more.  For the last few recent months, work seemed to consume me. If it wasn’t the day job, it was the freelance work, and I was beginning to become resentful. I was also trying to find time to run.  Not doing well with all of them.  I recently read a book called 29 Gifts, and realized I was doing everything from a place of scarcity.  I’ve since written down my fears, about writing, about my life in general. And what a relief it was.  They always say that things appear to have less power when you write them down, and I’ve always said “oh yeah, I mean to do that,” but then never followed through.  Well, now, I’m running (somewhat, just not sticking to a rigid schedule), writing, at lunch or in the evening if I can, and reading a lot. It’s the stuff I enjoy.  

My only problem is that when my creativity seems to be flowing, mental-wise, where writing is concerned, it’s usually in the evening when I need to get to bed if I’m going to get up early in the morning and run.  Anybody got any suggestions as to how I can survive on a regular 6 hours of sleep? Because that’s what it’d mean – going to bed around 10ish and getting up around 4ish.

So anyway, if you find yourself up around 7 a.m. EST or even PST, please send some positive vibes toward the Philly way. My brother and all the other runners could certainly use them.

Thanks for listening.

Do I get the award for the longest blog post title?

Thank you to everyone for the kind thoughts the last few days. Through the beauty of what is the weekend, I’ve calmed down and gotten over things. Phew!

Anyway, yes, people, me, scrawny me, did a plank pose this morning for 4 minutes. It might have helped that it was the first thing I did at the gym, rather than last, but hey, 4 minutes is 4 minutes. I was pretty solid too until around 3ish minutes. After about 3:15, then the legs and arms started shaking, I have to admit, but I stuck to my guns and held it. And yes, I am proud of myself. 🙂

I’ve never been a “recovery run” runner. It annoys the crap out of me to have to tell myself to run something like 2 minutes per mile slower than I normally do. Last summer, I decided I’d ride the bike on those days.  This summer, I have to admit, I am worried about the elevation chart for the Boilermaker road race.  I think  I may take a weekend trip home to my mom soon, so I can drive as much of the course as possible. (Yes, it’d probably be wise to run it but I don’t know that I’d have the time to get it in. Ok, ok, we’ll see.)

So, after lifting and using various weight machines, to bulk up my arms more than they already are by virtue of carrying a backpack daily, I decided I’d use that blasted stairmaster machine that looks like an escalator that goes nowhere. I will now dub it the Stairway to Hell.  That machine makes every single person who uses it sweat like there’s no tomorrow. But it does get your heart rate up, and some articles I’ve read said it can help with running hills. So I climbed something like 109 floors, which is almost 2 miles. I put it on speed intervals, and then on the “speed” intervals, I take the stairs two at a time. It’s a good workout for what I think are my quad muscles.

Then I rode the bike for about 15 minutes or 5 miles, and read my book, which is very good by the way, Third Degree, by Greg Iles. They say that if you want to be a good writer, you have to read a lot of good books. So, there you go. I am finding myself to be a more discerning reader now, and I find myself trying to pick out different literary techniques out of my reading.

Ok, and on to the review, which is one I’ve been meaning to write for a while.

Women’s  Running Magazine:

Why did I subscribe?  I figured I would try out the first 3 months for free, through one of those Active ads that you are forced to see when you sign up online for a race. Y’all know what I’m talking about. (Did I just say/write y’all?  I’m not even from the south!)  I digress…

When I first got it, I thought, “eh, nothing special. I can take it or leave it.”  Some articles on food, hydration, ads on running bras, etc.  More yoga stretching poses, this is nothing special that I can’t find in some of my other magazines. Then I was talking to Jill on Facebook (of Jill Will Run blog fame). She said she’d met the people behind the magazine at one of her race expos and she wanted to support what they were trying to do. I decided I’d give it another month.

I got the next issue. This one had a pretty in-depth article about 2 women and how they faced the juggling act of being moms, having families and still trying to fit in their running. It talked about what experiences they had when trying to run while pregnant, and what it was like coming back from that ordeal. I really liked that article because it didn’t shyaway from saying it like it is. And I think you all know from some of my earlier posts how I am worried that if I did ever get pregnant, that I wouldn’t want my running to be interfered with, but I can’t imagine how that could be possible. In short, that article spoke to me.

They also have a section called “Women Who Move” which provides inspiration from runners like us. And I don’t get the impression the magazine is only aimed at marathoners, unlike Running Times (which I’d outright just cancel if it didn’t have so many interesting articles on elite athletes that I love.) So, I think I’m going to continue getting it when the paid portion kicks in.

New blog on the blogroll:

Oh, and one last thing – a new blogger (or should I say, new to me) found me by virtue of one of my recent posts about a long run) and I’ve taken a look at his blog.  I  like it! We’ve got something in common in addition to running (the law, although he probably still likes it at this point whereas I am not so much in love with it) and it’s too funny – he has the same WordPress theme my blog started with!  I’ve added him to my blogroll, in case any of you are looking to add some new ones to your lists – Just the Distance. So, check out his blog, drop a comment or two, and give him a reason to procrastinate on studying for the Bar! (Speaking as someone who has taken 3 bar exams (and passed), believe me, I know, he’ll be looking for any excuse to do so! LOL!)

Plan?:

In addition to doing  more strength training, I am considering returning to my 3 mile/5K Monday morning runs to remind myself how it feels to run really fast (relative, of course).  I’m worried that as I continue to do these longer Saturday runs again, I’ll continue to slow down again like last summer. It gives me 36 hours before my track workouts because they are only in the evenings.  But as of right now, I’m not so sure how my legs will feel at 4:30 a.m., since I worked out so long at the gym!

Ah well, thanks for reading. I’ll post pics of my garden with all of its glorious mulch later this week – this post is already long enough!

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!

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