Things that change depending on your viewpoint (just like this photo, it could be from early morning or early evening):

  • Thinking you’re fast or slow, compared to other people (like my bro, who told me his goal is to run Boston with average paces of 6:20/mile)
  • Thinking you’re fast or slow, compared to some of your own racing times
  • Thinking you’re feeling “weak” or “tired” one day because you can only hold a 1-footed plank for 7:26 (knowing your record is much longer), also knowing most people would be happy with half of that
  • Feeling sore from a workout you think is hard (hopefully a month later it will seem easy)
  • Feeling like today is a great day (or not), depending on what happened the day before
  • Feeling in control of  and satisfied with your life
  • Feeling like things in life will get better, or not
  • Feeling like it is better to have diminished expectations of people and things, because it’s easier, has less likelihood of hurting you, or whether that’s taking the easy way out.

Last summer, I really didn’t think things in my life would improve. Someone told me, don’t worry, things will get better. I didn’t believe them at all because I was consumed in sadness and depression. Today, I have a core group of old friends I still rely on (as well as certain members of my family), and many new ones have come into my life. Many of you reading this should know who and what you are to me. Today, I know a bad day is just that – a bad day, one that will pass, and even if the next one isn’t great, there will be better ones, and compared to what I have been through, it’s still better now the way things were.  It goes hand-in-hand with “feeling in control and satisfied with my life.”

Two years ago, I thought I was happy with being a 10 minute miler. Today, I’m running comfortably in the 8 mins range, and am aiming to be within the 7 minute range by the end of this year. I look at the progress of the past years, and especially the last few months, and know I can continue onward. I’m still not as fast as my brother, who wants to run Boston this year in 2:42, but I’m getting faster relative to him. (Sadly, I am not growing any taller in relation to him.) I’ve even run a race where my first mile was under 7, something I would never have thought possible! (And I still kept going, I didn’t fall to the ground with a sign on my head saying “please drag me over the finish line, don’t trample me.”

I held a 1-foot plank position this morning for 7:26. Just didn’t feel like I had it in me, and felt weak. Not too long ago, I would have been psyched with that! Now I know I can do better.

A little while ago, I was afraid to take chances, paralyzed with fear in many ways, and thinking I couldn’t deal with being on my own. Now, I feel comfortable in my own skin, not afraid to meet new people, and try new things. I’m still afraid of heights, but now I can point to the fact that I can scale a 30 foot wall sometimes and not feel afraid.

I sometimes think it would be easier for me to go through life just expecting a lot less of people. Then I wouldn’t be disappointed at times, or feel hurt, which is something I’m trying to avoid right now. But then, I think that that would make life kind of boring, and it’d take me back to that safe cocoon I used to live in, when things were comfortable, even if I didn’t feel completely alive. So when those defeating thoughts come  to mind, I try as hard as I can to push them away. I recognize my mood for being down, and just try to deal with it and move on.

First Totally Unrelated Topic:

Guys, do you tend to work harder when there is a girl on a treadmill next to you? A very nice coworker of mine said he won’t get on one, if there’s a girl next to him, because he knows he’ll work himself harder than he should. (He’s recuperating from knee surgery.) He said to me “Terri, I don’t know what it is you women have, but you can just keep going and going and going…maybe it’s the stress you’re trying to get rid of, maybe you just zone out, maybe you just have more endurance…” and then proceeded to tell me of this amazing woman he saw running at his gym, who was running before he got there, and still was, at a fast pace, after he was done and showered, and ready to go. (You go, girl, whoever you were!!)  Hey, if I ever make a guy on a treadmill next to me work harder than he would otherwise do, I just say “dude, you’re welcome!” 🙂

Second Totally Unrelated Topic:

I met the owner and manager of the Boston Rock Gym last night when I was there climbing. Turns out someone had read my earlier blog post that mentioned I’d gotten the climbing bug as well as the name of his establishment. When he realized I was there last night, he wanted to meet me. He was a SUPER NICE GUY! He even offered to belay me some nights if I didn’t have a partner, saying he would love to get the opportunity to have some fun like that!  He even showed me a sneak peak of what they are putting together for their bouldering competition tomorrow night, March 26th. The guy has so many years of experience, I would love to learn or get tips from someone like that!

You never know who your words can affect, and how that person can, in turn, affect you. Just hope that it’s always positive.


Sorry to start off a blog post with a cliche, but it’s an accurate way to describe me over the past few weeks, or last couple of months. Anyway, I am happy nowadays. Yes, occasionally I have lapses, where everything is not 100% wonderful. [I think it’d be kinda weird if I were to walk around with a constant smile on my face, don’t you?  In Boston, that sort of thing  can get you killed! Especially in the grey days of winter! :-)] But for the most part I’m happy.

A friend recently wrote me on email and observed that twice recently I’d referred to myself as immature, and he wondered why. When I thought about it, I realized it’s because sometimes I don’t feel like I have the right to be happy, or that I was selfish making the decision I did last summer.   Yes, I tend to have an inner voice that can be severe or judgmental sometimes.  But luckily it’s a voice that is getting a lot quieter.

I know that some of you who read my blog also take anti-depressants. I think a lot of people don’t quite understand how they work. I’m still learning about them myself, but this is what I can say about them. Whereas in the past, emotions would sometimes hit me very hard, and I wouldn’t be able to think rationally about them, now I can. Depression can make you think lots of things, you can project ideas of what you think other people are thinking about you, and they seem real, although they are completely not the case. Anti-depressants allow you time to actually think about things, so you’re not just automatically reacting to things. At least where I am concerned, they have allowed me to return to more of the person I used to be.

And I think it’s a good thing. Clearly, it shows, because a female coworker who has been with us for about a year now said to me today “you seem happy. how are things?” When I asked her if she knew I was getting divorced, she said “yes, that’s why I said something. You really do seem happier lately.”  Later on, someone saw me after a long time and said how much they liked my hair. It brought another smile to my face.

Before, I probably would be wondering when the proverbial other shoe would be dropped. Now, I try to not go there mentally and I’m trying to go with the flow of things as much as possible. If something bothers me, I look at it for what it is, and try to think about it a little instead of just reacting.

On the running front, things aer also improving. I’ve met with a personal trainer 3 times now, and still have a couple appointments left to go. I’ve been doing most of what he suggests, with the time I have. The strength work and especially the core work have made a huge difference. Normally I’ve kept my pace on the treadmill to 6.7 mph, and it was starting to feel really easy. The other day I did the “random” (read: HILLY) workout, on level 6, so I was going up to inclines as high as 5, and I found I could keep my pace just about between 6.6 and 6.8.  The incline would very rarely dip down below 1, and even then only for a short period of time.

And my best piece of news, some of you may have already seen on Twitter. I have been focusing on doing a lot of planks lately. Yes, my name is Terri, and I’m a plankaholic. 🙂   I used to just do them straight-armed on the floor, with one foot held on top of the other.  My record used to be 8 minutes. Lately, on my trainer’s advice, I’ve been holding planks with my feet on a bench, and my arms on a big stability ball. My record for that is 4:45. (Yep, so close but yet so far from 5 minutes, LOL.)

My record for one-footed planks, on the floor is now ELEVEN MINUTES! Yesterday, I started out with the goal of making it to 9, but I felt pretty strong still at 8-8:30, so I just decided, “ok, let’s see how long I can go.”  I was so happy to see my stopwatch hit 10, and I was like “I can still hold onto this!!”  I am also happy with how my strength, abs, and all around training is affecting my overall health, both physical and mental. My stomach is now flatter than it’s ever been! And I weigh about the same as last year, when I was so stressed, except that now, it’s muscle, or becoming muscle.

Being able to hold that pose for that long inspired me to run faster on the treadmill, so I did 3.1 at 7.0, level 1.0 incline. And it felt EASY/comfy.  And it also inspired me to get the process rolling to get my name changed in as many places as I possibly can, before it gets changed officially. So if you’re on facebook and connected to me, you’ll see my last name has changed. So has my Twitter account.  It’s my way of reclaiming who I am, for me.

Now my goal for this weekend is to run really well in the An Ras Mor 5K, that is run by my running group, the Somerville Road Runners.  I figure, if I start to feel like I’m failing during the race, I will remind myself I just did an 11 minute plank this week, and if I can do that, I can do anything I set my mind to.   Nothing or no one can take that achievement away from me.

Nothing can take away your happiness, either, unless you let it/him/her do so. That is something I am going to try to remind myself of more often, going forward.

Still trying to keep  in line with my blog’s tagline: Moving Forward with Optimism.

Castle Island, South Boston, Autumn 2010. Loved the blue tones of the sky and water.

I remember our great plan for picking my brother out of the crowd the first time he ran the Boston Marathon. Just look for his yellow racing flats. They’d stick out because they were so bright, right?  Of course….  How little did we know, it was laughable.  Imagine our faces when we saw the lead pack with Kenyans and Ethiopians come flying through. In yellow racing flats.  And the first numbers of the 1000s and 2000s.  Many in yellow racing flats.  And my brother was right behind them, as he had started in the corral with the 3000s.  (The following year he moved up to the 2000s.)  Yep, the boy has some speed and endurance, that’s for sure.  (Speaking of speed, be sure to read his most recent blog post on Coaching, Training and Motivation. You’ll see what I mean.  Just goes to show how attitude can help you out so much, and hold you back.)

I used to always think that racing flats are only for the elites, or people like my brother. You know them. The Super-Fasties.  As I was running on the treadmill today, I thought that my shoes were feeling a bit heavy (the balls of my feet always hurt at 4 miles, so no matter if the display is covered, I know how far I’ve gone at that point) and that if I were racing, it might be good to have something a little bit lighter than my trainers. So, I’m hoping to get some advice from my brother as to what would be good for me to try.  I wouldn’t be using them for a marathon distance or anything, just 5Ks and 10Ks, so hopefully they wouldn’t help me incur injuries.  Who knows, maybe the lighter shoe will help me break into the 23 and 49 minute ranges this year? All I know is, I’m willing to give them a try. Any advice from any of  you out there for a good racing flat, if you’re usually a Brooks Adrenaline (stability) kind of girl??

My mainecoon, Chloe. Usually she looks pissed in pics because of her colors. In this one, she just looks, well, perplexed. 🙂

As to the other places I’m creating room for improvements in my life, well, this weekend I just felt like getting rid of a bunch of stuff.  The totally-dead sneakers I saved to use in the garden? GONE.  The “librarian skirts” my friend Liz (aka the Fashion Nazi) always didn’t want me to wear because she thought I looked like a moving piece of clothing (I thought they made me look thin if I wore a form fitting top with them)?  GONE. The two briefcases I had from when I was a law student and then lawyer (please don’t hate me)?  SOOOO GONE…….. My bar exam scores from Pennsylvania and from the CLE classes from New Jersey?  WILL BE GONE WITH THE SHREDDER AT WORK TOMORROW. And, some of my grandmother’s things with which I never had a connection, but always felt like I needed to hold onto them, because throwing them out=throwing her out?

That last part was definitely hard.  But, I realized, I’ve still got my memories of her, and no one can ever take those away. No one can ever take away that feeling of a special connection I always felt with her, and they can’t take away any dreams I occasionally have of her.  And, come to think of it, I still have the clothes she wore on that Easter Sunday which was the last day I saw her before her major stroke and heart attack. I don’t think anyone has ever known I’ve been holding onto them all this time. But I think it’s time to let them go too. They no longer smell like her, and they’re literally, just clothes.

Quite possibly, the largest flower I've ever seen. Grown across the street from where I work, August 2010.

One other place in my life I realize I need to declutter is all the guilt and self-loathing I’ve put on myself over the past 7 months. It’s not helped anything.

My therapist helped me realize last week that I tend to look for forgiveness from people but at the same time, keep jumping forward to take the blame for everything onto myself. When I start thinking that I’ve completely ruined Ruthie’s dad’s life, I start to make myself feel worse and worse. I need to remember my friend Lis’ advice (she’s always given me good advice since we trained for the marathon, even though I didn’t always agree with or listen to it at the time.)   She said that I did us both a favor last summer, and now he (Ruthie’s dad) can find someone else to be happy with, just like I can. 

Some people, like my mom, may never understand why we’re no longer together, or how some people can drift apart.  Sometimes it just happens.  Things change in a relationship and people may need different things. I’m not trying to sound cavalier at all – believe me, I’ve thought long and hard about it.

Ruthie’s dad has told me he is no longer mad at me, so I’m starting to not be angry with myself either.   Otherwise, I’m not going to move forward, and to stay in place is just not an option.  My running times are not the only thing that’s going to improve this year.

I’m smiling again…

Rocks at Rockport, August 2010.

p.s. I did 9.01 miles on the treadmill earlier today. For what reason, you ask? Yeah, I have no idea other than now my slow but steady pace is in the high 8s or low 9s, and I wanted to see how long it could last.  I read through some old posts and saw how excited I used to get when I could run a whole *4 miles* at 9:30.   If you do put the hard work in, it really can change things, in more ways than one. 🙂

This post is actually two posts in one, which is why the title is so freaking long! The second post was promised to @mickdo100 on Twitter.  He’s been very good to me, and has always been able to read between the lines where my tweets are concerned, for which I am very grateful.

Yes, there really are two cars under there. I call them "car cocoons."

Since it’s been so nasty out, and I’ve not run a race in a while, please enjoy the photos spread throughout this post, again. I saw Ruthie the other night while her dad was out, and I had time before my board meeting. And I know you’re all dying to see how much snow we’ve got.  (Gee, thanks, Terri!)  The snow is part of the reason why I’ve been running inside so much lately.  (Plus, the “scenery” in a gym can be beautiful in a whole different way from a solo run outside in the elements. I think you know what I mean…)  But seriously, running inside also makes me feel like I’m not so alone with all these people working out around me, which is nice.

This photo was taken from inside my car. Notice how tall the snowbank is. This is in Ruthie's town.

Ok, so first part of this post:

One song that I listened to over and over toward the end of July last year was the song “It Is What It Is,” by Lifehouse.  I would go out on runs and literally listen to it over and over for the entire run, while I got lost in my head.   Physically, I would feel like some days I was flying, other days that I was really dragging, and then I’d look down at my Garmin to see that I was running paces in the low 8s. That’s what stress will do for you.

I hadn’t listened to the song a lot since, because it reminded me of that time when I was really hurting and really confused, and didn’t know if I was coming or going. I was crying just about every day.  Running allowed me an outlet in which to think all on my own, or to get out there and just not think about anything. I think those of you who are runners (past or present),  reading this, understand.

I've been trying to grow plants/herbs from seed inside. The plant lights really cheer up the place, and work!

Well, the other day it came on my ipod when I was on the treadmill. At first, I was going to turn it off, and then I thought to myself that I needed to change what thoughts came to my mind when I hear it. So, instead of thinking of how down and out I felt last summer, I thought of how much my life has changed since. I realized I’ve come a long way, and then I think I was smiling. (I’m sure that freaked out a few people around me, “what’s this weirdo girl doing, smiling at nothing?!)  Anyway, I listened to it a few times and realized I was saying to myself “you’ve come a long way, you know that? It’s been a lot of work and effort but it has been worth it, and now you are being true to yourself.”  (Luckily I wasn’t actually talking out loud, that would have been, well, kinda weird, don’t you think?)

This is quite a change from the last 6 months, when my self-talk (for lack of a better term) has been pretty harsh and judgmental. I am trying to let go of that. Lately, I’ve been feeling more of an urge to go back to that positive mindset I worked so hard to cultivate during my marathon training in ’08.  I’m really happy with that change.

Running Topless:

Ruthie with one of her many, many toys...

I mentioned this on twitter the other day, and it really got some people’s attention, LOL. My friend Bill  says that the phrase “running topless” definitely means something different to a guy than it does to a woman. Heh, Heh, Heh!

So, let me put it out there:  I’m thinking when a guy hears the phrase “running topless,” he thinks of boobs hanging out everywhere. A woman thinks, ok sans bra.  Note to guys out there – if you need to wear a running bra to cover up your man-boobs, um….yeah….we really don’t wanna see that!!!  EEWW A woman never wants her guy’s boobs to be bigger than hers, trust me on this. 🙂

On the other hand, if you’re a good looking guy and wanna go topless, by all means, go with that feeling!! Please!!  Tee hee.

Anyway, I’ve definitely heard women talk about smaller women who “run topless” as well as write about it on their blogs. Um, and the commentary is not always so nice. Well, there may  be reasons they go topless.  They could either (1) sweat like a farm animal, or (2) actually be a farm animal, or (3) be trying to show off their body.  In my case, I’m in option 1.  Definitely. 

So, please, if you see a girl in the gym, and you’re pissed at her for being one of those “little girls wearing almost next to nothing,” well, maybe you should thank your lucky stars that you don’t sweat like she does. 🙂   And if she doesn’t put her top immediately back on when she’s all done running, you never know…she could be trying to cut down on laundry, not trying to show everyone what she’s got, boob-wise.  (Not that I would know about that…..LOL)  Also, be glad she doesn’t wink at you, as someone suggested I should react!

So, you may have guessed – I’m having a fling with the treadmill. Not sure if it’s a May-December kind of thing or not, but I’m just going to go with it for now and rack up as many miles as I can or want to do.  They are doing a spring challenge at my gym, and I didn’t start out being competitive, but so far, I’m in 11th place out of about 100. (The goal is to run/bike/elliptical 204 miles between MLK Day and opening day for the Red Sox, or the distance between the Bronx and Fenway.)  While I’ll not win it (the leaders are training for the Boston Marathon, so they’re putting in insane mileage right now), I’m paying more attention to how much I’m running and biking. I really want to be toward the front of the pack – this is one time where I’m not gonna settle for “middle of the pack girl.”

I’m sorry if my last few posts have made me sound like I’m self-absorbed. I’m just trying to work through a lot and my therapist thought it was a good sign that I’ve taken more to blogging lately than writing in my journal.  If you’ve read this far, thank you!

I know, everyone. Don’t faint. Yes, I’m posting again.  I have been meaning to post for some time, but work has been extremely busy. And, to be honest, until a little while ago, I was in a rut.

Boston’s winter has not been kind, and we still have a long way to go til it’s over. We already have about 3 1/2 times as much snow as we normally do for this time of year. I’ve not run outside in over a week, basically because my options include (a) running on very slippery, uneven sidewalks, if they are even shoveled  or (b) running down the middle of the right hand lane on my street, which, by the way, is a major road in Boston. So, this week, I once again (gulp, heavy swallow) embraced the treadmill once again. And the Escalator-to-Nowhere stairclimber. Tomorrow, I’ll be hugging the recumbent bike again.  It’ll be nice to see my long lost friend again.

I’ve now been on Prozac for something like 2 or 3 months. I can honestly say that it is making a huge difference. I’m very glad I finally decided to start taking it.  My doctor said we’ll know I’m at the right dosage, when I don’t feel just “better” but “normal.”  We recently upped my dosage and right now I feel like I am at that level of “normal.” Yes, sometimes I feel a bit sad, and sometimes lonely, but those times are becoming fewer and farther in between.

I am trying to focus on my friends, and meeting new ones too.  At my request, my mom and I have taken a bit of a break from each other. At least where I am concerned, and I know this may sound harsh, this is for the better. I am not sure when I will reinitiate contact, it’s one of those things I think I will know the time is right, when the time has come.  And, in case you are wondering, she no longer reads my blog. She said she stopped when I started using abbreviations (you know, such as WTH? or WTF?) And, I don’t think she understands or thinks anti-depressants or medication actually help.

Until then, I greatly appreciate the support of my friends, both those I see in person, and those I talk to online. I also love my doctor and therapist. Both of them have been wonderful, and have been asking all good questions (not always the easiest to answer, but that’s ok, to get better is to go through some hard stuff occasionally.)

Also, things between Bill and I are good. They are very civil. I think we are both moving forward with our lives. It really doesn’t help to be caught up in the past. I find that if I think about the past, it only makes me sad, by and large. I’m not trying to not think about it, but to focus on good stuff.  It’s taken a while to get to this point with us, but I am glad that we are in this place now. He’ll always have played a big part in my life, and I hope to be friends with him in the future. I’m just going to keep moving forward.

My gym is running a Spring Challenge, where you have 204 miles to go as a goal between MLK Day and Patriots Day. I figure I can do that as long as I don’t have any injuries, because you can accrue miles by running/walking/biking/elliptical.  Nope, unfortunately the Esclator-to-Nowhere doesn’t count, but the trainer who runs the program told me she’s thinking of challenges that involve it. I understand that participants may get some perks, and they will likely put together some group runs, and maybe have us run some 5Ks and/or 10K races. I told the trainer in charge of the program about the 10K I will be doing on Super Bowl Sunday, which is supposed to be fast and flat, and along the water. It also has a 5K option for those who so choose, which would be good for newer runners, so she is going to check it out. I offered to help her find some good races – whether or not she takes me up on it, is fine. It’ll be nice to meet more runners, and especially if some of them are new to the sport, I feel like I can offer a lot.

Today I ran 6.27 miles on the treadmill, starting at 6.7 as the speed, increasing up to 6.9. I was pleased to see my average pace overall was 8:49 because it felt nice and easy, very aerobic. I’ve been working on my abs and doing some strength training too. Today, I held a plank for 6:10, my longest time ever!!! And that was at the end of my workout, when I usually feel like I am going to turn to jello!

And, here’s my big news: I am going to start working with Rich, who is a Master Trainer at the gym, next week. My first session will be an hour long, and then after that, I will likely go down to half hour sessions (just because they are a bit more affordable.) Rates for Master Trainers are a bit higher than for personal trainers, but I really like this guy. He’s very down to earth, and encouraging, and friendly, and I don’t worry that he will be texting someone else while he’s working with me. I did a free session with him a few months ago when I first joined the gym, and I really liked his style of coaching. So, wish me luck–when I asked him if I should work out the day before our first session, he laughed and said “I wouldn’t…” LOL 

And yes, ladies, in case you are wondering, he is very cute.   Hey, I would have to be lying down in a coffin, 6 feet underground to not notice! I am sure that women throw themselves at him all the time, and that he’s perfected the “I’m gonna act oblivious act to avoid an AWKWARD situtation” act out of necessity.  (To be honest, I consider this a good, healthy sign that I’m even noticing things like that.)  Yeah…never been a problem I’ve had to deal with, LOL.

Needless to say, I am ready and willing to have my butt kicked. Changing up my routine has been good, and gotten me out of a rut that I badly wanted and needed to be out of. And my weight as of today was 110, which has me very psyched!

I realize some of these pics that I have included in this post, you may have seen before through Twitter, but what’s a blog post without some pics of my animals? The cats even seem to be getting along better, “sharing” each other’s food. (Um…yeah…it’s more like “stealing” each other’s food, but hey it’s only semantics.)  So, the move has been good for them, and even while it has meant going through a lot of pain to get here, I think things are starting to become good for me too.

Thank you to everyone for all the amazing support these last several months. I hope that by writing this positive post, you can see how much I appreciate it and value it.

Onward, and upward.

By “Flying,”  I mean I’m on a total high after today’s race.  🙂

All I can say is, I pushed. I really, really pushed myself on this one. And, what I’m most happiest about now is that I didn’t let myself down. I had a goal in mind – I was afraid to tell too many people in case I couldn’t achieve it, but I did it. I DID IT!

Loved the way the sun's rays scattered on top of Ruthie at old house

My brother, the running coach at Urban Athletics NYC’s World Trade Center location (ask for Jim Saint-Amour if you call), gave me a suggested goal of 51:25 for today, based on my fastest 5K time of 24:45.  Now, my brother’s always been an optimist and one of my biggest cheerleaders when it comes to running, so I thought he was being overly optimistic.  But something he said to me last week on the phone really stuck with me during this race: “sis, it’s gonna be hard, and you’re not gonna have anything at the end if you do it right. You’re gonna feel totally wiped, but you can do it, sis. You can do it, go for the time, go for the time.”

Favorite memories from today: 

  • Seeing Joan Benoit-Samuelson at around mile 2.75 for me (over 3 for her!) and seeing the huge smile on her face as she looked at all of us running in the opposite direction.  This woman ran Chicago yesterday in 2:47:50, and she was kicking ass again today, and there she was, cheering for us, can you believe it?!  I yelled out “Go Joanie!” when I was pretty close to her and she looked right at me and smiled. Definitely gave me a boost there!
  • Seeing the women age-group winners, and noting how amazing these women look. The woman who won the 60-69 age group was 69, and set a record for 69 year olds by 2 minutes! If I look anything close to how awesome those women look when I get to those ages, I will be SO happy.  I often get mistaken for being in my late 20s/early 30s (and hee hee, sometimes even a law student!)  It’s sooo gotta be the running!
  • Seeing the elite runners, including Katie McGregor, one of my personal faves, and much earlier in the race than I’m used to. (I’m telling you, I started much further forward in the pack this year.)

Ruthie, pooped, after a 3 mile walk on Saturday

Unlike last year when I found myself near the porta-potties as they sang the national anthem, I was waiting on the street by 11:45.  I didn’t do a lot of warm-up, just some stretching, so my legs felt a bit heavy for the first mile or so. As you can tell from my stats, I did a bit of weaving. (My friend, Dan, who is new to racing, now understands my aggravation with people lining up at the 7 minute mile pace, only to begin walking about 200 yards after the start line. In case you’re wondering, yes, he got some weird looks from the women around him, since this is a race “for women.” Doesn’t mean they dont’ allow guys to run it, however.)

I have to admit, I saw how close I was to the start line this time around, and part of me felt like “I can’t be here, I’m not supposed to be this far up in the pack.” But part of me also felt like “you know what? I’ve been working my butt off all year, I do belong here!”  Still, it made me nervous to pass Dan after a few minutes, and then I didn’t see him again until he had just passed Mile 4, and I was about a half mile back from him. Seeing that difference between us made me feel better and like I was on track.

This was one of the first races I’ve run where I’ve looked down at my watch and felt happy with my splits. I passed the 3 mile mark at about 25 flat (net-time), which I knew put me on target to finish with a “51” in the first part of my time. That definitely helped to quicken my legs when I looked down and saw 8:39 as my current pace at one point. I told myself to kick it up a notch and get moving, and the next time I looked at my watch it said 8:04 as my current pace. Definitely an improvement!  

Watching a very captivating episode of "Dog in the City" TV

Up until very recently, my goal for this race had been 54-55 minutes, and I thought even that would be really hard. However, running with my friend Dan once a week for the past month or so has really, really helped. He’s younger and a naturally gifted runner, that much is obvious, and I’ve grown much stronger mentally by running with him. I didn’t use to do tempo runs (they scare the bejesus out of me) but running with him, we talk, and I don’t stop when I otherwise would.

I took a look at my times for this race since I started running it, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. This year, I’ve had much, much more personal stress in my life but one good thing that’s come out of it is that I’ve never run this well in my life before. My recent races have given me that one small time frame where I can forget everything else going on in my life, mentally, and just focus on what’s happening physically for that brief distance of 5K, 5 miles, or 10K.  It’s also been the one constant in my life these past few months, other than the support I’ve had from family and friends. I think without it, I might have felt like “losing it” a lot more often than I have.

Past 3 years:

  • 2007: 1:02:13
  • 2008: 1:00:09
  • 2009: 59 minutes (this race involved a face plant, and sprained ankle around mile 1)

 Stats from today – wow, what a difference!

  • Garmin time: 51:52
  • Garmin distance: 6.29
  • Garmin average pace: 8:15 min/mile
  • Official time: 51:51
  • Official distance: 6.2 miles
  • Official average pace: 8:21
  • Division place: Women 30-39 = 234/2079 (Top 11%)
  • Overall place: 715/6719 (Top 11%)

I definitely felt like I left everything I had in me, on the road, today.  As we neared the Boston Public Gardens, I had a feeling I could beat 52 minutes, but it would involve a very fast last quarter mile. I couldn’t do an all-out sprint like I normally do at the end, but I was able to pick it up, and my last .29 on my watch was at a 7:04 pace. This, after my 6th mile in 8:06!!  I have never been soooo glad to see a finish line in my life.  It was such an awesome feeling to look up at the finish line clock and know that after subtracting 45 or so seconds, my net time was under 52! I DID IT!

Anway…

Sorry, no pics from the race.  My car broke down last night, so I had to do “bag check” which included my cell phone. I wanted to race with as little extra weight on me as possible. I know many of you are “Ruthie Lovers” so I hope you like those instead! (She came for an overnight visit this past Saturday.)

Allow me to float through tomorrow, now….yay!!!

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.