Training Workouts

Before I get into the actual post, I just have to SHOUT about three things:

  1. My bro (read his blog on Coaching, Training and Motivation) just ran at an indoor track meet last night in the Bronx. He came in 3rd in his 1-mile heat, running the mile in 4:56!!!!!!!!!!  (He told me that at the end of the 3rd lap, he expected the guys behind him to catch up. When they didn’t, he said to himself, “I’m going for it!”) SO PROUD OF HIM! We always call each other right after a race if we’ve done well. We’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders.
  2. All my working out is actually working out! I’ve stayed about the same weight (110) but it’s been turning into muscle (I hope) so on a lark, I tried on a size 0 pair of jeans, thinking I’d never get them above my thighs.  Imagine my surprise when I could, and even close and zip them up, and then like what I saw!! WOOHOO (Needless to say, I bought them, and what a bargain, they were on clearance at the Gap Outlet!! Yes, a store which I should never enter unsupervised.)
  3. I’m a total newborn to the climbing thing, but I already love it. Gonna keep working on it, especially now that I’ve bought my own gear!! Bought myself an REI membership, and already earned enough back in dividends that it pays for my lifetime membership fee of $20. YAYYYYYYYY (Went on my own today, met some new people, and some cool coworkers of mine who also climb.  Even got to work on my belaying skills!)

So, okay….

I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to @Jillwillrun of the Jill Will Run blog, for coming up with the idea for this post. She said it should be titled “how to be a plank goddess” but I think “wanna-be” is more fitting right now. 🙂

As you may have realized if you follow me on Twitter, or have read through some of my recent blog posts, you’ll notice I do a lot of abdominal planks while at the gym. Not sure how it happened, I used to do them only once every few months, but I have now come to realize that they’re a regular part of my routine now, and can tell me how good or bad my workout may be that day. A kind of bellweather, if you may.

I like to do a few different types of abdominal planks:

  • the two-footed style, with weights on my back type
  • the one-footed style (albeit with feet changes every few minutes), sans weights type
  • the feet on workout bench, arms on big stability ball type
  • the left/ride side oblique planks, arms-on-hip type
  • the left/ride side oblique planks, arms-extended-in-the-air type
  • the dynamic, feet moving to elongate your body type
  • the arms in a triangle type
  • the arms straight type

Hey, you have to vary it up. Otherwise, like all other exercises, it can get boring and your improvement will eventually plateau.

Here are my records, time-wise:

  • One-footed style: 11 minutes
  • Two-footed style with 7.5 lbs of flat round weights on my back: 6:19
  • The two-feet on workout bench, arms on big stability ball style: 4:45

Some people joked with me on Twitter that I should try to go for the Guinness World Record.  Curious, I looked it up. It’s held by a guy in the UK, set in December 2010.  19 minutes, 58 seconds. Only thing is, on the web it doesn’t say whether it was one-footed, or two-footed??!

Anyway…here are my tips on how to do planks and fight the boredom that can set in. These are in addition to doing a lot of core work, and arm strength work, and leg strength work. (Are  you noticing a pattern? A lot of strength training can go a long way.)

  1. Cannot stress this enough – have rocking tunes on your iPod.  You’ve got to have it blaring in your ears, so it can be one thing you focus on, rather than a body part shaking.  What has worked for me recently (don’t judge): Blow by Ke$ha, Rocketeer by Far East Movement, Hold It Against Me by Britney Spears.
  2. Focus your mind on something pleasant. This can be a really good race you’ve recently run, a race you’re going to run, or an absolutely beautiful piece (or pieces) of scenery at your gym.  Same sex or opposite sex of you, whatever makes you happy. (Hey, I’m not gonna judge!)  If that scenery is close by and won’t move over the course of the next 5-10 minutes, so much the better. 🙂  OR see #3 (which can be done in addition to #2 if you so choose.)
  3. Focus on something interesting, whether it be the person working with a trainer near you on a skill you don’t already have, or people doing pushups/arm lifts simultaneously with barbells (true story, saw it the other day.)
  4. Take off your watch and after you press start, turn the face away from you. Trust me, you do not want to see the seconds ticking away. They’ll go slower if you can see them, just like watching water boil
  5. Related to #1 above.  If you like to car-dance, then try to plank-dance. How, you ask?  Well, clearly all you can move is your head. You might get some stares, or look weird, as I do, since I have got no rhythm (or almost none) but you’ll enjoy your time few inches above the floor mat even more.
  6. Have a friend watch you. Or even better, have that friend time you, so you can’t lie to yourself about your true record.  Even better if the friend knows your time record. It’ll motivate you to try to break it often.
  7. Make sure your back is stretched out well before you attempt any of these, but most especially if you are using weights on your back. Be sure to have the weights equally weighted onto your lower back. (Your quads may feel sore afterward, but that’s because they are trying to help absorb the weight so all the stress is not on your lower back.)
  8. Don’t be afraid to occasionally change feet if you are doing the 1-footed style. Trust me, you don’t want your strength to get lopsided after a while! 🙂
  9. Keep a towel near your head or underneath you. This is for the safety and hygiene of others around you, who really don’t want to fall and slip in your sweat afterward.
  10. Last, but certainly not least, I have found I can set more personal records for myself if I do my planks first before the rest of my workout. As to why, that should be obvious. I have more energy then!

Oh, and Dude in the UK, just know this, I’m coming for you…..  I’ve done 11 minutes on one foot, I’m coming for your (probably) 2 footed record!!

(That’s right, you gotta have a goal. And you may notice your confidence building in other areas too, as a result, as you get better and better at maintaining planks.)

If anyone tries any of these, please let me know how you do, and don’t be discouraged if you only last for 30 seconds to a minute the first time around. We all have to start somewhere – before you know it, you’ll be hitting 15 minutes! 🙂

p.s. If anyone thinks that it’s too soon for me to be looking at “scenery” in the gym, as one of my good friends reminded me, I’m getting divorced, but I’m NOT DEAD! And no, I’m not considering the nunnery either. 🙂  I’m working on getting my life to a level of normalcy where I’m happy as often as I can be.


Yep, I really do. Guys, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m not out there shaking my boobs for everyone to see, no matter how much you wish that were the case, LOL. Running topless=running bra only. I think this will be my new Season of Topless Speed! 🙂  Because, honestly, when it’s hot and it’s humid, what is the point of a shirt anyway?  A towel that you wear as clothing? POINTLESS.  I run much faster without it (if you don’t believe me, see my time below.) 🙂

Today was Track Tuesday.  I’ve started something new at track practice. Running with my iPod. I figure, I’m usually runing by myself anyway, so why not motivate myself by actually listening to music, rather than trying to get a song going through my head just before I arrive, and then use my mental playback powers? You know what? It totally makes a difference.

I’ve decided to start following the mid-distance workouts, rather than those for the folks running long distance, so I can really focus on speed. Tonight’s workout was 6  300s, with active recovery of 200 shuffle, or as I call it “the old lady jog, where it looks like you’re running, but really you’re not because both feet are always touching the ground.”  Water break, then repeat, for a total of 12. While some people hate the shorter distances, I absolutely love them because for me, it’s basically a sprint.

Average 300 meters without tunes: 1:15-1:16. (First 4 done wearing a shirt/top.)

Average 300 meters with tunes: 1:11, with my fastest being the last one, at 1:09. (All done topless.)

Best two songs for this evening: Your Love is My Drug, by Ke$ha, and Untouched, by the Veronicas.

Tonight, I also tried out one of two new running skirts I bought last Saturday when I picked up my number for the half marathon. I figured, we got 13.1% off of what we bought that night, so why not pick up one?  Ok, how about two?

PR Mesh Skort (photo from Brooks Running)

The one I wore tonight is by Brooks, and it’s called the PR Mesh Skort. I gotta say, I loved it!!  I bought it in an XS because there is no drawstring around the waist, unlike the Nike one I bought (in a small.)  The shorts underneath didn’t ride up at all. The mesh definitely makes the fabric pretty breathable, so my fear of overheating never actually became a reality. (Truth be told, that’s why I’ve never work a running skirt before.  I figured wearing two layers would get too hot. It was about 80-82 tonight when we had practice.) 

There is a pocket in the back that will take some getting used to – it’s not as deep as I’d like, but I figure for races of 5 miles or less, I can get by with just one packet of sports beans so it should be enough. It closes with a zipper, which makes me feel good about storing a car key in it too. 

Oh, an added bonus – it’s girly!  Just my own personal opinion, but it appears to be more flattering to the figure than the shorts we ladies get to wear to run.  So here’s what I say, ladies:  we work hard for these legs, we might as well show them, LOL!    There is a retired gentleman who is part of our track workouts, whose name is Bob. I told him I was trying out the skirt tonight in case I run a race on Saturday, and because he’s kind of injured, he was hanging out with our two lady coaches. He yelled out “nice skirt!!” at one point, and then he told me he got some good-natured grief from the coaches.  He was like “she’s trying it out, I gotta tell her it looks good!” 🙂

Too bad I can’t wear it in a race I just got an email about, called the Ladies Night Out at the Great Leg Road Race, in Lowell, MA.  (I’ll be out of town.)

P.S. from Wednesday a.m.  My only bad news is that I think I might have plantar fasciitis again. For those of you who have never had this, thank your deity of your choice.  It felt better as I warmed up and ran more last night, but walking Ruthie this morning, it felt like someone was stabbing me through the bottom of my foot. I even wore that ugly-ass night splint all last night too. Felt ok when I got up, but the walk this morning was hell!

Cliffs at Gay Head, Martha's Vineyard

And a wackadoodle is what I have definitely been the last few days.  Moods up and down, feeling insecure, then confident and positive (more like normal).  Frustrated at being moody, we all know the drill…

Scallop seashells are my favorite to find, other than conches. Finding a double one like this is unusual

I was listening to the local radio tonight in my car on the way to track practice, and one of the radio hosts (a woman) said “Let me explain women to you. We’re NUTS. We’re hormonal. We don’t make any sense.  We’re missing something. We make up situations in our mind and then act on them as if they’re real.”  I found myself laughing out loud because that’s how wacky I have felt for the last few days.  Women reading this – you have to agree, this is sometimes pretty fitting. Men reading this – you’re probably wanting to vigorously shake your head in agreement, but are looking around in fear thinking that your significant other (or any female) may be standing near you and will give you a smack upside the head. 🙂

 I am SO glad that if my hormones are going to go totally insane, it happens right now rather than this weekend, because as you all probably know, I am running  a half marathon that I actually care about, this weekend, on Sunday, June 27th!!

Corporation Beach, north side of Cape Cod, MA

Because I normally run in the morning, I have noticed that on days when I have track at night, I just don’t know what to do with myself during the day. But tonight was good for me. There was another guy there, Dan, who decided to also run the 13.1 Marathon this weekend. So, they had the two of us run 6 repeat 800s (rather than 400s like everyone else), and at about what pace we’d run if we were running the half marathon. We did each of them at about 4:31-4:32, and I’m so happy to say that we were totally able to talk in a very conversational way. I actually felt like we were kind of just doing a warm up the entire time.  Tells me what a long way I’ve come over the last two years, when that would have seemed impossible.

That was exactly the boost I needed.   After the slip-n-fall debacle of the 5K this past Saturday, my last long run on Sunday was absolutely atrocious. I couldn’t get enough sleep the night before, didn’t eat my normal Thai food (Father’s Day celebration the night before at the in-laws) and just all around sucked. I couldn’t keep any focus on my run to save my life.  I’ve not been able to do anything consistent on my long runs over the past few weeks, pace-wise, at all. So, knowing those repeats were actually slower than what I’ve been doing on my own, is a good thing.  When I got home, Bill noticed a change in my kind of down mood from yesterday afternoon, and I said “yeah, running always helps.”

View at about mile 5.5 of the 13.1 Marathon course, few weeks ago in fog. On a clear day, you should see Boston's skyline.

However,  I know that I can do all of the hills without needing to walk up them, because I forced myself to do that two weeks ago when I ran the entire length of the course. (Walking at one point or another though, may be a different story.) 

I’m hoping that having a lot of other runners around will help motivate me and keep me on track come Sunday morning. Dan, with whom I ran tonight, will likely beat me over the distance, although I can sometimes beat him in the shorter distances.  Our coach, Kristina, who some may know as Marathon Mama on the Competitor website, is also going to run it but I’ll never see here once it starts, since she wants to run it in about 1:40! (A time I can only, literally, dream about.)

Hope you enjoy the photos – many are from my vacation on Cape Cod. The water on Nantucket Sound and the ocean was sooo blue.

View from Ferry leaving Martha's Vineyard

Ok, so if any of you were standing right next to me right now, I’d probably be talking about 500 words per  minute. Yep, adrenaline still flowing from track practice, can you tell?!

And you’re probably wondering how the three items mentioned above are related.  I can tell you, not at all!

Let’s talk food:  So, Oreo Enablers (and I think you all know who you are), I have a very important question, so I hope you are all reading this. Are mini Oreo Cakesters the same as an Oreo? They have chocolate and a cremey filling, but they are more like a “cake,” a la Little Debbie.  The mini cakesters come in 100 calorie packs. Would that be violating my oath to not eat any Oreos until my half at the end of June?  At any rate, there is no way I am giving up all chocolate until then. I can’t even go a day without some form of its goodness. 

Oreo Cakesters, by The Impulsive Buy,

I think someone should stand at the finish line of the half-marathon at the end of June, with a HUGE package of Oreos. That could work for motivation!! 

Sex Lube: Yep, you read that right. Sex lube, as one of my coworkers calls it.  She is new to running, and was telling me she always gets blisters between her toes when she runs or works out. So, her thought was to use K-Y jelly between her toes.  When she said it to me, I looked at her like “Come again?  You want to use sex lube between your toes?  They’re going to get aroused or something on your workout?!” (This girl totally cracks me up with her questions sometimes.)  I was like, “um, they make something called Body Glide, it sells for $7 or $8 at Marathon Sports right up the street!”  I think she thought it would be too expensive, but hello?! Can you imagine that sticky mess of K-Y between your toes?! 

And now, I realize I might have just taken this blog to new lows… And I can only imagine the weird spam this blog is going to get now… 

Running Bras: Ok, I’m on a quest to find one that fits properly and actually doesn’t chaff.  I’m fine with the uniboob look as long as it otherwise does the trick. WhenI was in Marathon Sports after my 12 miler that resulted in major chaffage/hickey-looking kind of spot on my neck that burned like a bitch whenever sweat rolled into it during the 2 90+ degree days last week, I tried on a few. Inside their dressing rooms, they have conveniently placed some signs that tell you if a bra fits you properly or not. Shows cleavage in front or on the side? Too small. That accounts for about almost all of my bras, I now realize. Could be that they’ve shrunk, or just that I never bought the right size. 

Anyhow, the options that they had for me to try kinda made me laugh. One was a zip-up-the-front option, that made me think “you must be joking” when I tried on the one for a Size  C person. As Lis pointed out last week whenwe got together, that one is clearly made for guys. Um, yeah… Others included underwire.  Really? Underwire? And EXTRA padding?  Really?  I want to look padded while running?  Has anyone ever worn an underwire that is TRULY comfortable through multiple uses, let alone exercise?? Somehow, I think not. 

So, this weekend I bought one by Moving Comfort, in a size medium. Supposed to fit a 34C-36D person. Does anyone else the difference in those two sizes?! GOOD LORD.  When I first put it on tonight, well, let’s just say I found yet another use for the Anti-Monkey Butt powder (which is essentially talc and some other kind of powder) and leave it at that.  I wore it to track, which was in very humid weather since we had some lamo thunderstorms this afternoon, and well, um, it’s kinda supportive, but there is movement from side to side. Weird thing is I felt the movement more when I took my shirt off (was kind of serving as a towel anyway), than when I threw it back on after just one lap.  I’m going to give it a few more tries and see if it gets any better. Hopefully after one or two runs through the washer, it might also soften up a bit. 

Track practice – I say, bring on the humidity, I can take it! 

Yeah, I know, big talk from an asthmatic. 

Occasionally, they change things up at our practices and give people some freedom to run according to how they are feeling that night. Tonight, everyone had the option to do either 800s or 400s, in any combination, as long as they ran a total of 3-4 miles for the speed portion of the evening.  I stuck with 400s the whole evening, because to be honest, I just wanted to run FAST after what I felt was totally abyssmal this past Sunday. 

The twist: we had to give an estimate of our time for each segment and we had to run without watches. They literally gathered up our watches, and we were supposed to run based on feel.  If you needed a recovery lap, you could tell the coach you’d run a slower pace, but then you really needed to try to hit it.  

I did find (don’t think it was cheating…smirk) that I could count to myself on the straightaways and then do the same thing on the curves, to see if I was speeding up or slowing down. Anyway, long story short, I did the first one at 2 minutes just to see how my legs felt after Sunday, and yesterday’s strength/cross-training, and honestly, I was able to talk with no problem to the two guys running with me.  I only did one other lap over 2, and that was what I used as a recovery lap from the one before it. My second and third ones were about 1:55 and 1:53, and after that I wanted them all to be faster. I would say 1:46 as my guess and do 1:43, and then found that in the range of about 1:44-1:47 was my comfort zone. Two of my 400s, including my last (!!) were 1:38. 

Mom, I know you’re mathematically challenged. (And yes, I see you shaking your head, asking “Me?” with that wide-open look you get when you know you’ve been figured out.)  That equates to about a 6:32 minute mile pace, so about as fast as Jamie runs his marathons.  So yep, I can run with him for the first quarter mile, then fall over, and let him run the rest of the way at about that pace, or a bit slower.  

Yeah, it’s still kind of sick when I think about how fast my brother is. 

What this tells me is that I definitely did not run on Sunday to the best of my abilities.  I have really got to work  on the mental toughness side of things. So, Thursday morning, my plan is to do hill work. I found a hill this afternoon that is aboutt .3 miles  long, and I’m going to charge it  as my boss advised, at least 5 times. I’m fine with downhill running, thanks to my brother, but the uphill part is where I need to build confidence. I’ll take a picture of the hill and post it if there’s a way to give it justice, because it’s a hill where you can feel the difference in your car shifting as you drive up it. 

Saturday my plan is to get up even earlier than normal and try to be down near the June race course by around 6:15/6:30 and get going on a 12 miler again. (The rest of the course is flat, so I know I can handle that.)  So much of that course is really pretty, I have to focus on that and not the hills that seem endless! 


New avatar for Twitter? Of course it includes Ruthie!!

Well, where do I start?  Maybe with a few observations I’ve made over the last few days and an explanation of the pictures at the top of this post.

New pic for work if I crop it?

I want you all to know, I do wear NORMAL CLOTHES and can look NORMAL when out of running gear.  I need a new avatar picture for Twitter, as well as a decent picture to put on research guides we do at work, so I had him take some last night.

Bill took a ridiculous number of photos of me this morning, wherein I’m stuffing my new shorts with stuff, so much so that you’d wonder how I could walk, let alone run. (sigh)  And, looking at many of them, I see they have the uniboob bra look going on. (Ladies, no further explanation needed, right?)  I found out yesterday when shopping for a new one, that I have been wearing them too small.  Let’s hope the new one doesn’t chaff my skin all to hell.

Pre-Race Carbo Loading:

You know you eat too much Thai food when the local Thai restaurant knows your voice and order over the phone, and when you walk in, they ask you how your running is going. They missed me last year when I didn’t do any distances over the 15K mark. For the record, the meal of choice that works for me for long runs is Country Pad Thai with Chicken and Shrimp, and an order of Steamed Shu-Mei.

A Favor to Ask of Women Everywhere Who Run:

Please, please, please , for the love of all that is good and holy, make sure at least your pants and/or shorts/running skirts fit properly, or at the very least, are not too small, even if they don’t fit you correctly otherwise.  Example – before the race, I’m on the ground, stretching, and Bill says to me, “Terri, look up and straight in front of you.”  Thanks to Bill for that image – it was the butt crack of a rather large woman sitting down on the bench in front of me. (I don’t want to sound snarky that she was overweight, just that I wish her capri tights had fit better.)  He still felt the need to giggle like a school girl. Yes, folks, my husband is 3 years old. That’s right, I married a 3 year old. 🙂  (Ladies, am I the only one with this problem? Somehow, I think not.)

However, I did see another woman running toward the beginning of the race, who I think was all in powder blue.  Her running skirt – well, she either had matching blue underwear, or it was the compression shorts doing something they never should do. Long story short, she had the biggest wedge I’ve ever seen, and I saw way too much of her butt cheeks. My thought “wow, I didn’t need to see that, and also, it’s only the first mile, that CANNOT be comfortable.”  Yet another reason I don’t think I’ll ever wear a running skirt, I cannot imagine pulling that crap down every few seconds for miles to go.

By the way, folks, you are all VERY WELCOME for that image. 🙂  I had to live with it, now  you can too. 🙂

Best Distances for Me:

I am a much better runner at distances up to about 10K.  Really, the 5 mile race seems to be where my strength lies.  I’ve even broken what I consider the elusive 8 minute barrier for some of my miles run in the 3Mile and 5K range, and over the past year, I’ve been happy to place sometimes in the top 25% or top 1/3 of folks in my division or overall.  That rapidly slides downward when I try to go further.

Spent the $ on Optic Nerve running sunglasses. Bigger than I'd normally wear, but less dorky than the hat, no?

I should have taken the 5Mile option for today, but today was good for my first attempt at the distance since November 2008, when it was much cooler and I ran a half in something around 2:17. I need to keep in mind, today was really more of a training run for me, and it was hot out (well, very sunny, and 68ish to start).  My asthma didn’t start to affect me until about mile 11 or so, when I was definitely finding it more difficult to catch my breath.

Twitter and iPhone Apps and How They Can Help:

So, if any of you followed me on Twitter today, you already have an idea of how I did.  I used the I Map My Walk app on my iphone, which enables gps and also connects to your Twitter account. The gps is definitely a bit off as I have found over a few trials, and then today, when it said I ran 13.68 and my Garmin said 13.24.  But part of the race was in downtown Boston and anyone who’s run or driven in a bigger city knows how the building can mess with the GPS, even the one in your car.  So while my official time was much slower than I wanted, at 2:15.24.  My Garmin  had me at 2:14 and some change, with 13.14 for distance, and I was like “damn, I’m not at the finish line yet!? Go away, blasted sun!”  Also, the minutes per mile do seem a bit slower than reality – I noticed that the other day when I tried it out on a 3 mile run – 9:35 on the phone which was actually 9 flat, 9:08 when actually 9 flat (it takes it a bit to warm up, I think.)

However, I will say this about that app – if someone is your “friend” on the app, they can do real-time tracking and see where you are on the route. This is great if you have folks trying to meet up with you in places – they know exactly where you are. If you are running a full or half marathon, I’d suggest paying the $1.99 if you have the iphone. For the spectator, it’s worth it. Plus, the iphone GPS worked through the material of my camelbak.


  • Division: F 30-39; 599/968
  • Overall: 3468/4950
  • Fastest mile on my Garmin: 8:53 (yep, mile 2, too early)
  • Slowest mile: let’s not talk about it

Race course:

view of the start and finish line from walkway over Seaport World Trade Center

It was really well supported with cops/state troopers (this is a race to honor law enforcement who have been killed in action, so of course, they were there in large attendance) blocking off all of the roads.   It started near the Seaport World Trade Center, so there were good sea breezes down there. It takes you through downtown Boston, past  City Hall, and some other notable areas, before shooting you over the Longfellow Bridge onto the Cambridge side of the river. (You know, the city with a few world-class academic institutions.)

Stuffing 1 of 2 back pockets, these shorts are awesome, will review them @ later date

Running on Memorial Drive is usually pretty cool to do, especially since this part of the course is an out-and-back and you can see the leaders coming toward you at one point.  You can see the skyline of Boston.  It’s also pretty flat. Unfortunately for me today, it was flat and BORING. Really, I think that was part of what did me in. It just kept going on and on and on. We turned around near the university that encases a lot of its buildings in brick, and around mile 8, I saw Bill. He’d seen me earlier but I had not seen him (somewhere around mile 4, I think? When I was still running well, somewhere in the 36-37 minute range.)  With all the traffic, he was lucky to get back to the finish right before I did, which tells you something, because around the time I saw him, I told him I felt like I had nothing left in the tank.

Racers on Memorial Drive, across the river from Boston

The good news (for me anyway) were no stomach issues on today’s run. I stuck with NUUN in  my camelbak and Powerbar Gel Double Espresso 2x Sodium and Endurolytes. (So glad I can still use those, they are like miracle pills.) However, I wonder if I do need to go with more carbs in my drink, guess I can try Gatorade again over the next few weeks.

I tried to go with the advice that one of you had given me to repeat “never quit, never die” in my mind, but it wasn’t working as well as I had hoped.  I think I need to get back some mental toughness and focus when the distances goes longer than 10K. (My first 10K was at 58/59 minutes though, which is encouraging for me come this fall when I run the Tufts 10K, which is a course I know well, and a major part of it is on, go figure…Memorial Drive!)

So, while I am disappointed in my overall time, and a bit worried about my coach’s reaction when I tell him (because he thinks I can do 1:52, for which I think he’s on crack), I need to remember, it’s still better than 18 months ago.  This was my first run at this distance in 18 months – I’m still building endurance.  And, there’s always room for improvement. The legs are there (luckily no pain today, even at the end), the heart is there, the lungs are (usually) there, it’s just the brain I need to work on. When all work in conjunction with each other, as we all know, it’s a beautiful thing.

Happy Memorial Day, everybody!

"24" image by John Griffiths, via

Or, should I say, the mornings after, when I used to watch 24 and Lost on DVR?!  Really.  You guys out there who are fans of either show will understand.  (If you’ve never watched either, ARE YOU SERIOUS?)

 No more Tuesday emails back and forth with my friend, Karl, another 24 fan. No more wondering how Freddie Prinze Jr.’s awful acting still has not gotten his character killed off. (Realy, could he have been more stiff?) No more listening to Jack Bauer yell at people as his normal tone of voice, or watching and hoping Dahlia Hassan just goes nuts and whales off a great bitch slap at President Taylor’s face! 

No more Lost. No more of me saying “I love Sawyer!” every time they show his character on screen, or listening to him call Hurley various names. No more scratching of the head and saying “huh?” to whatever just happened on the screen, and then watching Bill get frustrated because I didn’t understand (of course, sometimes I may have been distracted by whatever I was trying to do on my computer at the same time, I admit it.)  The creators of that show truly were genius.  And yes, I did like the finale in case you’re wondering. I cried.

If you people have never watched either show, I have one word for you: Netflix. I should not have to explain this any further. 🙂

Anyway, enough of my complaining.  I can always wait with baited breath for the return of the Vampire Diaries and Supernatural. Two shows that when they come on, my husband needs to excuse himself so he can stab himself in the eye repeatedly with a fork, just to get himself out of his misery.  Nah, not too dramatic!  (Ladies, agree with me on this if nothing else — Ian Somerhalder is beautiful, and his character Damon is by far the best developed and acted one on the show!)

So, today was the second day of 90+ temps in the Boston area.  I’ve been continuing to do a lot of gardening/mulching stuff outdoors, and I guess it’s helping me to acclimate to the weather, if there can be a good upside to sweating as much as I have the last few days. Luckily, my husband and his friend who lives across the street helped to put in all 4 of our window units, so tonight the house is bearable. Ruthie the dog isn’t panting just to survive, anyway.

We had track practice tonight.   Those of us training for full or half marathons were originally supposed to do 8 x 800s with active recovery, but because of the heat, I don’t think anyone did more than 6. I didn’t.  My fastest was probably somewhere in the 3:49 range (compared to something like 3:40 a few weeks ago), and I had one really bad one in the middle where I didn’t get enough time in between, and it showed, because my time was something like 4:08.  I carried my inhaler the whole way just in case.  It’s not like I usually feel like I am going to have an attack or anything (don’t worry, Mom, I’m not stupid, I take it easy when I need to), but it does help me to recover faster than I otherwise would, I think.

For those of you wondering what some of our other workouts have been, last week’s was what they call a “whistle workout.” For two minutes, those of us doing longer distances would run at a hard pace, and then when they blew the whistle, we’d run slower to recover for one minute. They’d blow the whistle and the whole thing would start again, for 8 repeats. We then get a break for about 3 minutes to drink water, etc., and then you’re off again for another 8 repeats, or a total of 48 minutes running time.   They had us running around the North Andover Town Common in the pouring rain rather than the track, so it was a nice change. My mileage added up to somewhere around 5.5 miles that night too! 

And now, because I have to get up early and get more gardening done, to quote Desmond, and (as I saw, on Lindsay’s blog, it’s one  of her favorite lines too): “See you on the other side, brotha!”

"Lost" by Sebas, via

Running track, photo by Dr. Geee,

I’m in shock tonight for two reasons. One is awesome, and the other…yeah, not so much.

Ok, bad one first. Got home from track practice tonight (yep, it started last week), took off my running shirt to jump into the shower, and guess what I saw?  That’s right, blood on my running bra.  I silently freaked out (ok, maybe not so silently because I was worried I had the problem usually only guy runners have), and then realized it was from one of the seams on my running bra. 

Note to Jill of Jill Will Run – I’ve been meaning to write you with this piece of advice for your bigger busted Team Challenge runners  – lube up “the girls” before every run. I mean, REALLY lube them up with Glide.  At first, it may seem weird, but they should just take it from me, it’s necessary.  Tonight, my Glide stick was getting down to the bottom so I guess I just didn’t use enough.  Or, it’s a sign from above that I need new running bras. (Speaking of, ladies, (or men, if you for some reason know this, and if so, don’t tell me how — please), how do you know when your running bras are shot?)

Anti-Monkey Butt Powder, pic from

So, as I sit here, I have Anti-Monkey Butt Powder on my boob.  There, I’ve said it. One sentence in the English language I never thought I’d say, er, write. I’m 37, and I’m out of diaper rash ointment even though I have no kids, so I’ve resorted to what I have left in the house.   There’s another statement I never thought I’d utter, er, write, either. Two for two. Anyhoo…the anti-monkey butt stuff works well for what it’s (ahem) designed for, so I thought, “why not?”

Oh, and the second reason I’m sitting here shocked — well, because of something my coach said to me tonight which shocked the s*&H*#(t out of me.  He thinks I should be able to do a half marathon at the end of June in about 1:52.   I just kind of looked at him like he’d been smoking something causing hallucinations, and I wondered if he’d be willing to share (JUST KIDDING!)

I was not going to say anything about my time goal for the half-marathon I’m planning at the end of June because I was worried about disappointing myself and all of you, especially with the course having a fair number of hills (and a nice number of downhills, I have to admit.)  But now I guess I’ll put it out there.  I was going to try for 2 hours.  I said that to my coach after saying to him “there’s no way I can do a half in that time” and he looked at me like I was lying to myself.  He thought that based on all the paces I’ve been running, I should be able to handle a half-marathon at that pace, and be able to hold onto 8:25/8:30 minute miles.  (Please keep in mind when I did 2 halves in 2008, my times were something like 2:15 an 2:18, although I was training for a full at the time. Speed was not something I had.)

Personally, I think he has a whole lot more faith in my abilities than I do. But it was really nice to hear something like that. He certainly helped me tonight to push myself on my last 400.  He said it didn’t look like I was too taxed (or something to that effect) being able to do all of the intervals tonight at paces below 8 minute miles, so that’s why he thought I should be able to do the half at that fast pace.

So, I don’t know we’ll see – he did give me advice on what paces to run a lot of my runs during the week. I just don’t want to completely stress myself out on all of my runs, you know? I’m going to try but I also don’t want to get injured.

In case you are wondering, or want to try doing what we’ve been doing (without having to go to a scheduled practice), here’s what we’ve been doing:

Last week:

Run 3 1-mile repeats, with a partner.  One person runs, the other person times. The goal is for each mile, to run each lap faster than the lap before it. This doesn’t mean that you have to pick  a pace to start off with that you can then build on for the next 12 laps, just for the next four.  The idea is that each mile should roughly come in around the same time, give or take a few seconds, if you are pacing yourself right.

My first  mile= 7:54; second mile = 7:53; third mile = 7:57.  (This last mile had my fastest 400 though, of 1:46.  I love having a kick!)  Most of my first laps were about 2:05-6ish, then I tried to speed them up by at  least 3-5 seconds per lap, and try to go as fast as I could on the 4th for each repeat.

This week – ladder workout:

For the folks running 25 or more miles per week (which this week will likely include me, as I have to run 10 miles this weekend, we did the following (everyone else was either doing shorter distances or the walk-to-run program):

  • 400 – 5k pace (1 minute rest)
  • 800 – 5k pace (1:30 minute rest)
  • 1200 – 5k pace (2 minute rest)
  • 1200 – 5k pace (2 minute rest)
  • 800 – 3k pace (1:30 minute rest)
  • 400 – mile pace

My coach wanted me to keep the 1200s with 1:54 laps (those were certainly hard, I may have missed the mark by a second here or there, especially for the second 1200.) When I was on the last lap, he ran over, caught me at the 200 mark and yelled out that he wanted me to try to do it in less than 1:45.   I looked down at my watch, saw 48 seconds, and basically thought “holy shit, I’m dead!”  The second 200 was definitely difficult, but I’m so happy to say I did it and looked down just as my watch changed to 1:37. I did actually see the number 1:36 there for less than 1/100th of a second!! I honestly don’t think I’ve run a 400 in that pace since high school, which, as all of you can tell who can handle basic math, was about 20 years ago. (EEK, THAT IS A SCARY THOUGHT!)

Oh, and I’ve broken down and bought a foam roller. Give it up to the power of persuasion. I saw that such fasties like Lindsay bought one, and I know she never stretches (god only knows how she does the running she does without it), so I thought “hey, I want one too!” Still getting the hang of it — it feels weird. (The first time I used it – my legs felt more tired afterward – does that make any sense?)

Anyway, signing off for the night – if you’ve reached the end, you’re really a hard-core blog reader, aren’t you?!

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