Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Make a New Start

Today's music: Misplaced by Moshav (think Creed - only Jewish instead of Christian), particularly the song "Lift Up Your Head:"

So lift up your head child and open up your heart
Today is a new day, gonna make a new start.

That's what today's run felt like. It was my first real run in two weeks and it wasn't a good one. It took me just as long to run a 5k distance as it did to run a 10k distance before this cold felled me a couple of weeks ago. I know that I need to be patient with myself, I'm getting to an age where I don't recover like I used to and all that - but it was still frustrating to be unable to run a full mile.

I did a run/walk today - running until something cried "Uncle" and then walked to full recovery before attempting to run again. Of the whole distance, I probably ran half of it. There was a time that would have been a joyous moment but now it feels weak.

At least I made it through the distance. I know I couldn't have attempted this a week ago. I suspect that by my Monday New Year's hangove race I'll be closer to "normal"... and yes, I will take it easy and listen to my body and all that folks, I'm impatient but I'm not stupid. I know it won't be long before I'm back on track and this blip on the radar will be just that; however, it doesn't keep me from feeling frustrated in this moment now.

But as the song says: today is a new day, gonna make a new start.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

TAG: Fun With Books

From L*I*S*A's blog:

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Tag three more folks

OK, the nearest book to me is:

A Great and Glorious Game by A. Bartlett Giamatti

There are only 121 pages - so I will go to page 121 instead of 123 (which is blank) and is the statement about banning Pete Rose from the Baseball Hall of Fame for life. The three sentences are:

"The matter of Mr. Rose is now closed. It will be debated and discussed. Let no one think that it did not hurt baseball."

How true is that?

OK... who's next? Nini? Pat? Denise? anyone?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sometimes the cold catches you

I caught a cold. It's been chasing me for a while and it looked like I beat it until Sunday morning when I woke up and I felt like crap.

I knew it was coming and took four days off last week. I just didn't have the energy to go out and run. I thought that if I took a few days off then I'd be fine. But Sunday morning the stars just weren't aligned for the Old Magoun Saloon race.

First up - picking up Gazelle Boy at his father's house. Good thing I called ahead because no one was up in spite of hammering out specific times when he picked up the boys Friday afternoon. The reason for the call ahead of time - because I knew that they'd still be asleep in spite of making definitive plans.

We were almost to the race when I noticed the heat had stopped working in the van. About two blocks away, the van began to smell funny and the "check gauges" light came on as the temperature gauge rose.

Not good at all.

Then, when we lined up, I started up my Nike+ only it had a hard time finding the sensor and kept turning itself off. While I started off well keeping up with the pack, about a mile in my lungs just said, "What are you doing?" and seized up. It wasn't an asthma seize, more like a traffic stopping protest march to remind me who was in control.

Yes folks, I was tired, cranky and wasn't real fond of the government at that point.

Fortunately one of the race volunteers was right there and gave me a ride to within a couple of blocks of the start/end before going on to his next traffic direction post. I could have walked the race or even have walked back - but this just made life nicer.

Gazelle Boy came into a neck and neck race at the end, with the other guy pulling a shoulder ahead of him for the 12th & 13th spots. We went inside, had some eggs and juice and decided to see if the van could make it the 20 minute drive home.

Good thing I have AAA.

We made it to within a couple of miles of home when it was clear the van was toast. The radiator was leaking - it still had water/fluid in it, which is good, but it was clear there was a leak somewhere in the system. I called Mr. Bear who met up with us and sat there until the truck showed and then followed us to the mechanic.

By then I was toast. I got in my jammies and curled up on the couch to read the papers and have been down ever since sucking on zinc lozengers and drinking water like a camel at a desert oasis.

Today I do need to get myself in motion whether I want to or not. I'm feeling far better than I did yesterday but I'm sad that I don't have the energy to run or do yoga or anything.

Of course, for some reason, blogger flagged me as a "spam blog." WTF???? I originally thought the email they sent me was some sort of phishing expedition - you know like the fake AOL and Ebay messages that appear in my mailbox on a daily basis. But in logging on this morning, I found out it was a real message and now have to go through the "hey folks, really, I'm not a spam blog" process. So who knows when this will finally go up at the site.

Just another reason to nag Mr. Bear to put blogging software up on our server.

In the meantime - Happy Christmahannukwanzica to everyone.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Running Down a Dream

Sunday I ran for 6 miles.

I didn't run/walk, I didn't walk. I ran 6 miles. I had never run a full 6 miles before that and I felt fantastic.

I also stuck to plan this week - 30 minutes of yoga on Monday (and one foot sort of off the floor in crow pose now) and a 4 mile run today.

But what happened last night was one of those odd, "I can't believe I did this" moments.

Every spring there is a 10 mile race in Washington, DC - the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. It's limited to 10,000 runners and it always fills up the first day of registration. Yesterday was the first day of registration and last night I thought I'd see what would happen if I tried.

It was as if something possessed me from the moment the thought crossed my mind until the registration confirmation email appeared in my inbox a few moments later. Think about it - 10 miles; in DC; on April 1... what was I thinking?

I obviously wasn't thinking it was the last weekend to get my home ready for Passover or traveling back and forth... you know, life details. Instead I was thinking about how beautiful it would be to run along the Potomoc with the cherry blossoms in bloom to welcome spring properly.

I never understood people who traveled far and near for certain races and now here I am doing what I didn't understand before. That race will mark the start of my 11th month of running and, right now, I can think of a better way to celebrate.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Baby it's cold outside

I have to admit that I never thought I'd be able to run in the cold - but this week has taught me differently.

Today I went out for a 5k run in balmy 38* temps. It was hard getting myself dressed and out the door. I reasoned I did a half hour of yoga and it was cold out. But it wasn't as cold as yesterday. Mr. Bear pushed a bit too reminding me it gets dark earlier these days and I needed to get out before it got dark.

I finally headed out around 2:30 and set the iPod for a 5k run and loaded up a 140 BPM podrunner mix. It's funny, in spite of one of my better 5k times, my pace wasn't as even as it normally is - today's looked a little more roller coaster like when the Nike site plotted the time and distances.

One thing I did notice was that being a shade dehydrated can make a huge difference in your run. My legs felt tighter. I was truly aware of making them work today. My mouth was dry the whole time and felt like I had cotton in the corners. Not exactly a pleasant feeling. I'm glad it was a short run today.

Wow... 5k is a short run. An easy 3 so to speak - I really have come a ways haven't I? Tomorrow is my long run day and I'm planning on a 6 mile run. I haven't decided if I'll go over to the Marsh Post and do Paulie's course but throw in an extra loop somewhere (that's what all those mapping sites are for... right?), over to Heartbreak or along the Charles someplace. I'll figure that out later tonight.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Red Queen's Race

It is currently in the mid-20's here in the Boston area and there's a fierce wind kicking up every so often. But I was having a Red Queen's race week (you know - where you have to run hard to stay in place). Between meetings and errands and getting kids here and there and going to workshops and... well, you get the picture.

This mean Wednesday's run didn't happen. There was so much to do and at least I got my yoga in. Then Thursday was the first chance I've had to crash. So now it's Friday and I've missed two runs. It's cold and windy and I've never run in the winter before.

But I had to go. I knew if I didn't, then I'd be indoors and all the good I've done so far would start to melt. So I pulled on my running tights and compression shirt, shorts and fleece pullover and then zipped my vest over the whole thing. I had a fleece headband around my neck and over my mouth and nose, hat and gloves and set out the door for my four mile run.

A half mile in, the headband was off my nose and mouth. A couple of miles in, the vest was partially unzipped - although when the wind kicked back up, I zipped it again.

I ran and I ran, my feet moving to the steady beat as I did so until the Nike voice told me I had 400 meters to go near the path entrance. I ran past the entrance, touched a tree and ran back just as I got the "congratulations" message for running my 4 miles.

I walked in the door of my house and peeled off the vest - which was soaked with my sweat, as was my fleecy.

I realized I probably could have kept running... it was one of those kinds of runs - but I'm still in a Red Queen's race with too much to be done and no time to do it in. But I got 4 good miles in and tomorrow I'll get my 2-3 miler in that I missed as well this week. It's supposed to warm up tomorrow - it will be strange going out without the layers, but at least now I know I can do it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Road Less Traveled

Today was a big victory - I went out running even though it was below freezing.

For some folks that might not be that much, but for me it's huge. Because of my asthma, I often find myself reaching for the inhaler when temperatures hover around freezing or lower. I've been concerned... nervous and I guess a bit scared about this time of year.

Today was the first step taken to get past all that by going out for four miles.

Granted, I now have a cold weather gear wish list (winter tights & mock turtle neck; gaiter; etc.), but I went out pretty sensibly and it worked.

I also took a trail I normally don't. There are some spots where I normally run where I turn around and loop back to the start. Today, instead of turning around, I chose to cross the street and keep going up the path to see what I could see. When the voice said, "Congratulations, you're at the half way point..." I turned around and headed back.

To be honest, the view was the same no matter what side of the river you're on and whetehr your in Boston, Waltham or anywhere in between along the river.

But it was something new, something underdone for me. I strayed out of my safety zones today: running while it's cold out and a new path.

All in all, it today was a victory all the way around.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Pretzel Logic

I've been following this Baron Baptiste Yoga DVD for athletes and today is a "stretch and strengthen" day - ergo, it's a yoga day.

Yesterday I also picked up a buzzy, squishy chair cushion (read a cheap massage pad for a chair filled with those squishy foam thingies).

Between the two my hips and lower back are just saying, "Ahh!"

Tomorrow I have a 4 mile run scheduled and it looks like it might be cold. There is a piece of me saying, "but it's warm inside and maybe you can do yoga again instead of running..." But I know, in the end, I'll go out for my four and feel better for it. Who knows, maybe I'll run a little faster so I'm not out in the cold for as long as I could be.

Looking over my training calendar that has all my planned activities in it (runs, cross training, etc.) for the month is a hair intimidating. All I need to do is knock off each activity, one by one - day by day, and I know I'll be a stronger person for it. None the less, it can still feel a bit daunting even though it's mapped in virtual bits instead of stone.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

An Accomplished Five

My niece, Nini, talks about the "bed magnet." Today was a day where I had a hard time escaping the bed magnet. I really meant to get up at six so I could get my run in early. Then it was 6:30. Finally, at 7 I realized if I didn't get up now, it wasn't going to happen - so I forced myself out of bed and down the stairs to get ready.

By 7:30 I was stretching and getting ready to do my planned 5 miler at Heartbreak Hill.

It was cold - the low 40's but felt colder. Such a sharp contrast from just the other day when it was just shy of 70. I started with my jacket zipped, my hat and gloves firmly in place as I sparked up DJ Steveboy's 131BPM nudge mix. By the end of the first mile, I had unzipped the jacket half way. A half mile later, the jacket was fully unzipped and by the two mile mark the gloves were in my pocket.

About a half mile in, there was a woman who was clearly struggling with her walk/runs. When I caught up to her, I asked if she needed a partner today. Smiling she said, "Thank you... that's so nice, but no - no I think I'm fine but thank you."

I was glad to offer her assistance because I thought about how lonely it can feel when you're struggling and how many times I wished someone had stopped to offer me some help. Like her, I probably would have said no thank you, but it's just when someone offers that can make a difference.

Sunday morning means the running clubs are out in force and most were friendly as they passed me going the opposite direction. Mostly it was the solo runners out today who were waving and greeting people they passed.

Instead of running back up the carriage road after turning around at BC, I opted to run up the side of Commonwealth Ave where the grade is more gradual. I wanted to see if it made a difference and to be honest, I really couldn't say. I suspect it was easier than the steep carriage road grade, but in the overall scheme of things - I honestly can't say.

In fact, in studying my run profile, I would have to say that my pace was steady throughout today's run. I'll have to try this run again and use the carriage road at the turnaround to see how they stack up.

Overall, it was a run of accomplishment. That sort of, "Hey, I got up and did five miles... I can handle the food shopping and everything else I need to do," sort of feeling. It's nice when that one big thing is out of the way and I can move on with the day.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Summer's last gasp

Today it was in the mid-60's and gray (yet again). Everything about it just felt wrong. I mean, it's DECEMBER first for crying out loud.

But I couldn't resist one last run in short sleeves and shorts before winter finally comes to town and hunkers in. So off I went with the thought of covering 3 miles.

Just before heading out, the cat suddenly looked up and starting meowing at me. "Meow, meow, meow," she cried out in staccato bursts, "Meow, meow!" It was kind of wierd, but I knew how she felt, the day had one of those horror movie "don't go in the house you moron" feels to it.

I suited up and headed out any way. Along the path there were squirrels. Not the usual one or two playful guys that run and jump along watching my progress. There were lots of squirrels everywhere. They were skittish and confused. In fact, instead of staring you down like normal, if you glanced their way they turned tail and ran! They were in bunches and solo - no matter where you looked, there they were.

The path was practically empty today too. I had the place to myself and again I was wondering if this was the horror movie set up - the cat, the squirrels, the odd weather and gray day. I could almost hear the cello strains in the distance, so I was on high alert around me as I turned DJ Steveboy's mix down a notch.

Every so often a fellow jogger would come the other way and I'd breathe a little sigh of relief. Then there was the guy riding his bike like a bat out of hell - his navy blue rain coat flapping behind him like a Scottish Superman cape in his wake. I finished the first loop and went back for the second.

Again I had one of those "screw it" runs where my body just decided it was walking. So I walked for a while and then it decided "screw it" again and began running. It was odd. On the last leg of the trail towards the entrance, I was again alone - no one in sight when I suddenly heard fast, heavy footfalls behind me. It came from no where and I jumped with a bit of an "eek!" only to see the captains of the high school track team blow past.

"Sorry..." they called out.

By the time the rest of the team came along, I wasn't surprised but I was glad to be done with my run for the day.

When I walked in the door, the cat looked at me with one of those smug cat looks. I'm not sure what got her meow going earlier, but whatever it was it was over.

Now the rain's here and the temperature is beginning to drop. Time to put away the shorts until the spring. Summer's over... it's about freakin' time.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bodies in Motion

Because it's an odd week. Normally my schedule would be: Sunday - 5 miles; Tuesday - 3 miles; Wednesday 1-2 miles; Thursday 3 miles and cross training and rest days on the other days. But things conspired ... as will happen and I found myself doing my long run on Tuesday instead of Sunday.

This lead to the problem: what to do about the other runs before next Sunday's long run?

After kicking the idea around for a bit it hit me: why not turn the 2 three milers into four milers and I'm all square.

So I went out for four today and the first two miles were fine but then something odd happened. At the 2 mile point I just didn't feel like running, but I didn't want to stop moving forward. I wasn't out of breath or sore or anything like that, I just didn't want to run.

I asked myself, "Self, is this a bad thing?"

Then I answered myself, "Silly Pika, this isn't a bad thing. It's in the mid-60's in Boston and tomorrow is the first of December. The sun is shining, the world smells fresh and clean and maybe it's just a day to slow down and enjoy all that."

"Good point Self," I said and then walked the last two miles. Of course, I now walk much faster than I did last spring. Nonetheless, I enjoyed moving along the paths - a body in motion reluctant to come to a stop or resting point.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An easy five

It's an odd week. Normally I do my long run on Sunday - but that didn't happen for a multitude of reasons this week. So I was doing a quick rearrange of the schedule and I got my five miles in today.

It really was a pleasant five along the river.

The temps were in the upper 40's and the sky was gray... heavy with rain that wants to fall but isn't quite ready yet to come down - but you know when it does it will be in heavy, flooding sheets.

I mapped out a 5 mile route before heading out and I have to admit, I was a little afraid of the distance. I think it was such a significant goal last summer when I was training for the Tufts 10k, that the thought of running 5 miles was a bit frightening. But I loaded up a 152 beat DJ Steveboy mix and was off.

There was never a point where I felt strained - it was just nice and comfortable the entire run. I love it when a run feels like that, like it could just keep going like the Energizer Bunny. A couple of times I could feel my feet starting to drag so I'd lift my heels a little and I'd be back on track. Then there are those spots on the route where I'd normally slow down and start to feel the run, but instead my feet just kept moving.

I realize that every time I go out for a run, I get a little closer to the goal of "going out for an easy 5" on a regular basis. Today was one of those days and I couldn't be happier.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

In the Dark

It was one of those days where I needed to crash, but I also needed to run.

At 5 pm it was already dark, but I figured I had to run, mapped out a 3 mile and a 5 mile route along main roads, suited up and headed out the door. It was a good run tonight, comfortable in spite of the temps hovering around 40* and not too weird for the most part. Running at night's not as friendly as during the day. People don't greet you or nod in acknowledgement - they pull the darkness around them and scurry on past.

I was coming to the end of 3 miles and feeling pretty good. I was breathing well, the body was feeling great and I decided to add the two mile loop on when I missed a curb cut and went down on my knee.

The brand new running tights I was wearing for the first time - history. Even in the dark I could tell I did a pretty good job scraping my knee. I stood up and ended my workout on the iPod and took a few steps. Everything felt pretty good, so I guess I'm pretty lucky.

Just before I fell, I was noticing things like how weird it was to be sweating while watching my breath make little puff clouds in the cooling air of the night. I was thinking about how empty the streets were for a Saturday night, guessing most people are still either sleeping off the turkey and pumpkin pie or out of town. No dogs out being walked, no couple strolling around the block.

It was actually kind of lonely.

I don't think I'll be running at night again anytime soon. If I do, it will be on the treadmill in a gym - especially since the holiday offers are coming in the mail. Maybe having a backup plan for days like today would be better than taking my chances on dark streets, uncertain surfaces and curb cuts hiding in the night.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today's lesson: I eat 150 BPM podcasts like desert after a full Thanksgiving meal - with steady gusto and determination.

Race Report: Gazelle Boy, my niece, Nini, and I all ran this morning in the 8th annual Hingham Thanksgiving 5K through Wompatuck State Forest.

This was an early race - 7:30 am - and crowded. There were about 600 runners. This was a fundraiser for the Hingham xcountry and track booster club - so even though they are a rival team, I feel good about supporting a sport that isn't just basketball or football. (Where most athletic money goes.) I checked the weather on line before leaving - 40* and overcast with showers predicted.

I hoped the weather gods would smile on us and hold off on the rain (they did) and Gazelle Boy and I headed out to meet up with Nini. Sorta SIL came to watch us finish and was our "support crew" - holding things like my glasses, keys, wallet, etc.

When they said "7:30 start," they meant it. I had barely pinned on my number and set up my podcast to play on the Nike+ when the gun sounded at exactly 7:30 and the 600 or so runners were off.

This is a pretty flat course - some rises and dips - but nothing major. Today I selected the 150 BPM DJ Steveboy mix. I figured I had a comfortable 4 miler at 142 BPM, why not kick it up a notch for a shorter distance?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, best laid plans and all that...

The run started at the high school and entered the state forest. We ran along the auto road through the woods - which was a really relaxing and pleasant run.

The first mile was good. Someone was there to call times and I was surprised to hear 11:44. I'm usually around the 12:00 to 12:30 point in a race. Overall my pace tends to hover around the 12:30 - 13:00 minute mark. But I also knew I wouldn't be slowing down because the beat was really driving me.

Around me were accomplished triathletes and runners who were coaching their kids. We passed back and forth throughout the race. Whenever the younger kids (probably in the 7-9 year old range) would start to get discouraged, I'd say something like, "C'mon, you know you're gonna beat the socks off me," or "You gonna let an old lady beat you?" They'd scamper off and I'd pass them later when they were walking and then they'd scamper past me after they recovered.

Just as the voice in my ear said 2.5 kilometers to go, I got a stitch in my side.


So I slowed to a walk and kept driving my elbows and heels until it finally subsided. I came up on the water station just before the 2 mile point and gratefully drank a cup as I was getting that cotton mouth feel on the edges of my lips and started running again.

The person was still there calling splits - this time for the 2 mile and he yelled out "24:16"

"Hmm... not bad," I thought. I realized, in spite of the walking, I was still making good time. About a half mile down the road, after we came out of the woods to see the high school, I could feel the stitch returning.

I took it down a little bit and started counting the phone poles - just make it to the next pole - and then counting off a 4 beat as I ran. The race finished by running through the parking lot and onto the track to run the last 300 meters.

One of the kids I had been encouraging along the way was starting to slow. I caught up and said, "C'mon buddy, you made it this far now finish strong." He put the pedal to the metal and cruised across the line while I was coming up on the home stretch.

As I came up on the finish, I couldn't fully read the display as I run without my glasses on. It looked like 39:12 as I approached. Not my best, not my worst as I headed into the chute.

When I got home, I sat down to see if the times were up yet - they were (that was fast especially since there were no chips in this race). Turns out my final time ws 36:19!!! That's an 11:41 pace and moving towards my goal of a 10 minute mile.

This is a PR for me totally shattering my last PR of 38:36 back on Labor Day.

Woo Hoo!

Gazelle Boy did his usual finish at the front of the pack thing and Nini ran sub 10 miles. All in all a good outing for all of us.

Now it's time to go assist Mr. Pi in cooking today's meal.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Four Good Miles

Now that the bulk of the HTML issues are out of the way, I can go back to recording what's going on run wise.... especially since said issues lost one of my dailies.

The other day I ran a crappy 3 miles. The Nike+ turned itself off a mile into the run and didn't record 2 of the miles - but it didn't matter, they just weren't happy miles. Between the rain and the humidity and everything else, it was just not an enjoyable run and I literally slogged through it.

Today was a different story. I decided to go and run the BA Event 4 mile course. It's fairly flat and it doesn't have too many places where you can ditch - so it was a good one for me to do after a putrid run the other day.

I loaded up the recent DJ Steveboy mix - which is a 140 BPM mix - and started running. I'm really liking running to a steady beat and it shows when I sync up the Nike+ because the line is pretty even instead of up and down like a roller coaster.

Running along different parts of the Charles River, you see different folks. This morning I passed one of the Harvard Women's teams out doing their road work (and thanks for the "looking good" shout out you gave me - I was at 3.5 miles at that point). I passed people out doing their dailies or weeklies, older people walking, and (of course) lots of folks like me.

In the end, I averaged a 12:30 pace for 4 miles and it felt good.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

under construction

OK... did something truly stupid here, Blogger pushed me to beta and I hit the wrong button on a template shift and... well, let's just say I'm sitting here with my trusty, rusty HTML quick guide and books trying to figure out how to fix things.


Sorry if the link to your blog disappeared. I'm trying to restore everything. Hopefully this will all be fixed by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

170 BPM

I downloaded a podcast from DJ Steveboy that was 170 Beats Per Minute - what a rush!

Outside of Lance Armstrong coming on at the end to congratulate me for running my fastest mile so far, I have to credit the podcast with getting me through the last half of my run today.

The day started off gray and rainy. BLEH! I knew I had an appointment to get my teeth cleaned and figured, since I didn't get to do my stretching yesterday, I'd pop on the yoga DVD today. I spent a half hour doing the pretzel thing and then headed to the dentsist. (Look Ma! No cavaties!)

On the way home, the sun broke through for a little bit befor the clouds began to edge in. I figured I'd try getting my 3 mile run in before it started raining again. The first half went well - I was grooving along to the techno dance mix when I felt my chest tighten up. There was a blanket of humidity just pressing down on me and I realized too late that I left my inhaler at home.


So I started walking to catch my breath. (Of course this lead to a series of random thoughts about how do you catch your breath if running takes your breath away - but I won't go there now because I'm embarassed to admit to a series of bad puns that resulted from that thought.)

Have you ever tried to walk to 170 bpm? It's not easy becuase your feet keep trying to move with the music. As a result I found myself power walking, using my arms to help propel me forward. Even though my breathing was a bit shallow for a mile, it still felt good to be moving. Once my breathing was even and deeper, I did break into a jog with the music. A couple of times my breath would catch and I'd slow it down to a walk again and then pick back up when I could.

In the end, I did a 5k loop in 40 minutes today - a good mile of that walking. That's not bad at all.

I'm excited about trying this again when I'm not so debilitated and I'll be sure to remember my inhaler next time out.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rock and Roll Girl

After a couple of lean running days, I went out to calibrate the Nike+ and put ina total of 4 miles.

As I said, it was a couple of lean days while I was in Lancaster, PA looking at schools with Gazelle Boy. A mile and a half on the hotel deadmill wasn't quite as torturous as it was in New York a couple of weeks ago, but it was still frustrating. I would have much rather of been out trying to run alongside the Amish buggies, but circumstances didn't quite allow this time through.

So I went to my regrouping spot: Heartbreak Hill.

The first mile was tough. In fact, after running it and checking my calibration (it's till off by .16 miles - which can add up), I was ready to turn around and head back. But I told myself I had to do the four miles total, so I trotted up the hill towards BC. I hit the two mile mark and thought, "Man, I'm done." Between the humidity and everything else, I was pretty sure I was done but I figured I'd give it my best and turned around to start off running.

After the voice on the iPod said "2 kilometers," (I had set it for a 5k distance since I already had the first mile done) I started walking. Inside my head the inner loser started in on me. I wasn't a 'real' runner if I had to walk and those sorts of statements. I thought, "I'm not really a runner..." and then stopped myself.

I was wearing my Tufts 10k shirt and thought, "If I'm not a runner, how did I manage to get through that race?" I began thinking about the times and miles I've logged not only here but also in San Diego, New York and Lancaster. Some of them road miles, some of the treadmills. Obviously I AM a runner because if I wasn't, why would I do those things?

I started to run again just before the iPod voice told me, "Congratulations, you are now at the halfway point." Then the song "Rock and Roll Girls" by John Fogerty came up and those immortal words that described today, "Sometime I think life is just a rodeo, the trick is to ride and make it to the bell."

That, boys and girls, is today's theme.

I ran the rest of the way down the hill, reaching my imanginary finish line shortly after I was congratulated for "reaching my goal" (told you that .16 adds up).

Tomorrow's an XT day for me, so I'll probably do some yoga or the balance ball to stretch out my muscles. Maybe I'll make some time to head over to the high school track and try calibrating things to be just a bit closer to real. If not, I'll just keep adjusting like I always do.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Press the Center Button... start your workout.

At least that's what the voice in my ear told me to do this morning when I went out for my first run with the Nike+ kit. There are a couple of fumble points during the workout - like when I wanted to pause it while I waited for a traffic light and instead it gave me a distance and time.

For the most part it was kind of nice to have a voice telling me "You have gone 1 kilometer."

Unfortunately, what the iPod thought was 1 kilometer is different than what the USTFA map says is 1 kilometer. In fact, it ended my 5k workout at the 2.5 mile mark on my GIS mapping software.

So this means I'm going to have to head down to the track at some point to calibrate the running measurements because the walking is pretty close.

There is a piece of me that wants to keep the Nike measurements - it had me doing a total of 3.55 miles at a 10:53 pace instead of the 3 miles at just shy of 13 minute pace (12:54 today), but I know better.

Once it's all calibrated, I suspect that this will be an incredible tool to help me. I know there are training podcasts that you can download and such, so I'm pretty excited.

Until then, I'll remember that pressing the center button gives me current distance, time and pace while pressing the pause button is the first step to ending the workout. It won't be long before these things are automatic and I'm looking at my progress charts at the Nike site with a smile growing sense of confidence.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Yesterday was my birthday - so Mr. Bear and the boys pitched in to get me a 2 gig nano with the Nike+ kit.

Woo Hoo!

My best friend gave me an RC Mach 5 (go Speedracer go) - which I promptly used to annoy the cat.

Today was about getting the iPod set up and calibrated. It's accurate enough for me. I went out for a walk - which the kit picked up as 2.25 miles instead of 2.23... I can live with that for now. Sure, I'll probably recalibrate at some point when I'm doing longer distances, but for now I'm OK.

The Nike+ support site has a section where you can set goals for yourself, so I decided I'd like to do at least 40 miles in the month of November. That's 10 miles a week, which I should be able to do. If nothing else it will get me off my butt on those days when I'm looking outside and thinking, "But it's cold out there...."

Because my morning is already pretty solid tomorrow (new editor, new deadline), I'm hoping to get a run in tomorrow around lunch time and see how I do with it then.

So I'm happy. I have a couple of cool new toys to play with. I think the cat likes the Nano better - at least that doesn't chase her around the kitchen and spin out doing donuts on the tiles.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


The title cut of the new Buffett album got stuck in my head this morning: everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you.

It was stuck there for two reasons: the first being that's the CD in my car right now and because I ran 2.35 miles in the pouring rain this morning.

The kids needed a ride to school and I'm figuring, I'm in the car, why not drive to Heartbreak hill and do my miles there this morning? Just as we got ready to leave the house, it began to rain. "But," I think, "I like running in the rain."

Of course the last time I ran in the rain, it was during a heat wave and not in the low 40 degree temps of November. Let's just say that after this morning I realized one more thing to add to my wish list: a goretex rain jacket for running.

The surrealness of the weather lead to an interesting run - one of those ones where you leave your body periodically because you start thinking about something and next thing you know, you look up and think, "Where the hell am I?"

This was particularly unnerving as I revised my running plans from a 5 miler to 2 miles because of the weather and realized I was at the Kosher strip mall - well past the 1 mile marker of Centre Street.

What was unnerving was somehow I ran through a major intersection without noting I was running through a major intersection. My body may have been in Newton, but my mind, apparently, was somewhere over Rio.

Coming down the hill I was a little more aware of the intersection but my mind kept traveling to exotic locales - the old city in Jerusaleum when I saw the Orthodox school kids waiting for the bus, the Plaza del Vecchio when I could smell Italian spices in the air and, of course, Rio just for fun.

Just as I got to the corner of Walnut Street, I decided to punt the last 1/4 mile and head straight for the car. I was starting to get cold and I was soaked so the thought of a heater and shelter seemed good. I listened to the rest of the Buffett CD as I drove home. I probably would have stopped for coffee if I had brought my wallet - instead I came home, showered and ate an English muffin.

Of course, just because the surreal nature of the run was still with me, I began to wonder why was it that I couldn't wait to come home and peel off my wet clothes so I could hop in the shower? Since one surreal moment deserved to linger, I dug up some Mike Nesmith stuff to listen to while I worked today. Not surprisingly, the song "Rio" popped up.

I think I need to pull up a bunch of songs with "Rio" in the title... Nesmith, Duran Duran, that 70's band that did the song "I Go to Rio" - I'm sure there are a ton of them out there.

In the meantime, I probably won't go to Rio - but then again I just might. If I do, I guess I'll take the weather with me... and my running shoes.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's November!

Yeah... where did the year go?

Well, new month, new play list. Last night it started when I got Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" stuck in my head and ended with me listening to "Rio" by Mike Nesmith.

In the end I chose the mellower chick set for November but I'm seriously thinking of a second set that's a bit more upbeat. Of course, there's always the cowbell set on my mp3 player (we need more cowbell!!!) and the funky set if I need upbeat.

On a different note, this morning my body felt transformed. I hadn't realized how much havoc a week of inactivity can wreak on a body. Today I felt taller and stronger - ready to take on the world. I'm considering taking the bike to a trail and going for a ride since I know yoga ain't happening between kids popping in and out and late starts from everyone. I'm already dressed and realizing that the only xt I can really get in is a bike ride unless the pool's open tonight.

At any rate, here's this month's play list "November Run":

Janis Ian: When the Party's Over
Jill Sobule: Too Cool to Fall in Love
Carly Simon: Coming Around Again
Vanessa Carlton: A Thousand Miles
Joan Armatrading: Love and Affection
Carole King: Beautiful
Rickie Lee Jones: Danny's All Star Joint
Joni Mitchell: All I Want
Maura O'Connell: When Your Heart is Weak
Kathy Mattea: Guns of Love
Faith Hill: This Kiss
Madonna: Don't Tell Me
Sheryl Crow: Every Day is a Winding Road
Dixie Chicks: Ready to Run
Shakira: Hips Don't Lie
Nelly Furtardo: Maneater

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

No Tricks, Just a Treat

Halloween - one of my favorite holidays.

Today I dressed up like a runner and ran for 3 miles in 39 minutes and it just felt good to be running again after a week off.

The only reason I took a week off, to misquote John Lennon, was due to the fact that life happened while I was busy making plans. One of the things that did happen last week was I stopped by the New Balance factory store to pick up some running tights for Gazelle Boy. While there, they were having a pre-inventory sale along with the Breast Cancer Awareness month sale. As a result I picked up a pair of 816's for a song.

The 816 has motion control - the thing I've been loving in the Brooks addiction. A couple of months back I asked someone at the NB store what they had for an equivalent and the shoe she had me try on was nothing like it. Last week I noticed this on sale and tried it on. It's not the same as the addiction, but running in it today felt good. It's a good shoe and I'm glad I found it.

At dinner the other night, my nieces and I began talking about maybe doing the Hyannis half marathon in February. On further reflection, I don't know if I'd be ready for a half, but there is a 10K race that day as part of the slate of events. I figure that's probably about my speed... let them run the half and I'll do the 10K.

Gazelle Boy would like to join us. He's run that distance just when he's out running. I'd like to see him do it rather than sit on his butt all winter. He can probably train with the winter track team (he hates winter track because "it smells bad") for his runs as well as on his own. It will be good for the two of us.

In the past, I've always treated dressing on Halloween as something about me that I want to reflect on for the year. So today I dressed as a runner and don't it feel good.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bittersweet Symphony

Sunday's race was a joy, but it's the last bit of anything I did this week as I fought off this damn cold. I've done OK in terms of holding it back for the most part, but all week I had hot and cold flashes while I did what I needed to do in terms of normal life.

Then I woke up this morning with packed sinuses and a splitting headache. It feels like a bunch of tap dancing squirrels had a party in my mouth and forgot to tell me - at least they must have had a good time considering how dry and nasty it feels.

Right now the remnants of Hurricane Paul are attacking New England, so waking up to a cold rain doesn't help. Nor does the reality that this is Gazelle Boy's last cross country meet ever as a high school student. At his last home meet the other day he ran a 19:19 5K. Today the conference converges in the Blue Hills and he is running the varsity leg today for his final race. By the time he runs, there are wind advisories in place and, in the Blue Hills, this means it will be that much worse.

I'm such a mom at times, I went out and got him running tights and made him pack those, his compression shirt and running gloves for the race. I'm bringing towels and blankets with me so that he'll be comfortable after the race.

Today is bittersweet and it feels like the world is in tune with the turmoil parents feel that year we're given to let go of our babies before they go off on their own life's mission. This is the year filled with "lasts" - last xcountry meets, last dances, last classes, you name it. It is highly emotional and it is a part of life. I would never try to hold my son's to me long beyond their time, but I also find myself looking at the baby pictures wondering where time went.

There he is as a toddler with blonde curls and dimples; in first grade where the smile is now a grin; as a cub scout joyously jumping after winning the pine wood derby and so on. Then I look at this picture of a handsome young man with an enigmatic smile and deep dimples that is his senior picture.

Who knew 17 years could pass in the blink of an eye?

Perhaps that's why I wasn't running this week - sorting through years of memories and steeling myself for the new role I will play in his life is what I've been feeling. It started earlier this week when I made the travel plans to visit the one school he's wanted to go to since he first got to high school.

Next week will be better. Perhaps I'll do the Travis Roy race tomorrow to get myself jumpstarted, perhaps I'll just try an LSD depending on the weather. (High wind warnings are now being posted for tomorrow as well.)

Perhaps I'll just snuggle deep under the covers and hibernate, knowing the world is changed but it will all be OK in the end.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Brisk Sunday Run

Yesterday I was in a Syosset, NY hotel using the deadmill. I say that because the thing was well used and just a horrible experience on many levels. The worst part was the exercise room is right next to the breakfast room, so while I was running a creepy guy was watching me run.

Or should I say, he was watching my chest run. EWWWW!

After a mile on the mill with creepy guy watching through the window, I decided to drop down to a walk - but I wanted to run so badly that I gave up after logging 2 miles.

Today, I'm home again it was time for the local elementary school 5K fun run/walk. Because I wrote about in the paper, I felt I had an obligation to run in spite of the temperatures in the mid-40's. Because I'm an idiot, I wore my running skirt instead of pants - so when I wasn't running, I was cold. I also gratefully took the long-sleeved t shirt they offered and wore it over my long sleeve tech shirt... a move I regretted about half way through.

There were around 100 of us - which is the biggest group they've ever had. We started off running past the playground and soccer fields, making a u-turn to run up the other side of the road before heading off into a winding path through residential side streets. At the first mile, someone was calling out splits - which was nice. I once again found myself going out a little fast - 11:36 - and knew if I didn't slow down, I'd pay later. I had my chance a few hundred yards later when I got to the first water stop and walked through.

I kept winding along through the streets, wondering where the second mile was. At the second water stop it turned out we were well over 2 miles in. The girl didn't understand the question of "How far are we." She was telling me to keep going because I was almost done. The boy with the trash got it, he was a runner, and said I was just shy of three miles!!

At the end of the stree, by the school were a crowd of folks I knew who had run or volunteered for the day cheering for me. It was nice to come into that encouragement. I know it was a slow race - 40 and change - but that's fine. I ran it on a day I didn't want to run. I also ran it after a half hour of doing yoga with the Baptiste DVD before walking a mile home from the school.

It was a good run. A good run on a brisk Sunday morning on a sunny day... and sometimes it just doesn't get too much better than that.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In the Middle

Today's song: "In the Middle" by Jimmy Eat World

I started off the day waiting for the house to clear up so I could pop in the yoga DVD. There's just something about working out to a DVD where you just don't want people to walk in on you and start laughing - so I got a bit of a late jump on it.

The funny thing about yoga, I'm always surprised at where I'm flexible and where I'm not. For example, when I reach overhead for a simple back bend, I'm pretty tight but I can fold one leg over the other, lie flat on top of them and reach out pretty far forward.

While it's clear it's going to take a few times before I know what comes next and be able to flow right into it, I have to say I could honestly feel the difference today when I went out for my run.

First of all, my knee didn't makes itself known until the second mile. This is good as it's usually nagging me early on. So I ran farther and I actually ran faster than I have been - about a 12:20 mile.

When the knee started to act up I was a bit frustrated. The inner loser quickly made itself known, reveling in a moment of weakness. All those feelings of "I'm such a poser" popped up again. When the Jimmy Eat World song popped up on the playlist.

"Hey, don't write yourself off yet
It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best, try everything you can.
And don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away."

It was enough to carry me through the self-doubt that sometimes hits me. Even though I say to people, "I'm a runner..." or "I started running last May..." there's still that piece of me that holds back. Which is why I was interviewing Dean Karnazes instead of running the Shillelagh Shuffle. I was scared I'd be too slow and just didn't want to come in last. I need to get over the whole last place thing, I know it - but it's always a toughie.

Even then, I did 2.5 miles in 32 minutes. Not bad considering a chunk of that was walking. I'm definately doing the yoga thing again, if for no other reason than to see if it helps the knee even more.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hotdog Running

There's an old joke about how the Buddhist monk approaches a hotdog vendor and says, "Make me one with everything..."

This weekend I thought a lot about my running. I obviously have some goals - such as a 10 minute mile (which is written on a star stickie and hangs over my computer as a constant reminder) and, once the 10K distance becomes as comfortable as the 5K distance, to train for a half.

So how does that happen? Obviously part of it is running more, training smarter and working on basics. Another part is cross training and, now that the indoor pool is open at the high school, I'll probably start swimming again a couple of nights a week.

But I also want to be more flexible, more able to stretch my body as I push my limits and it seems the best way to do that is to try yoga. Since I'm not going to make time to go to a regular class, I figured I'd pick up a DVD or something I can do in the privacy of my living room... literally. I was in the neighborhood of Newbury Comics and decided to swing by and see what they had in the used DVD bin and hit paydirt.

In there was a series of Baron Baptiste Power Yoga DVDs - including Yoga for Athletes - for $4 each. I immediately called Nini to see if she wanted any and ended up buying the five on the shelf. Most of them will be living with Nini, but I figure on keeping the one for Athletes and maybe one other beginner one so I can mix them up a little.

So I'll give this a try and see if it helps.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dean Karnazes

I started this morning by doing a 2 mile Heartbreak Hill run - the mile up to Centre Street and back. Because of the stiffness from the other day, yesterday I found a 15 minute yoga routine in the "On Demand" section our cable system has and gave it a whirl. Nothing too demanding - some breathing and simple stretching into a downward facing dog and then pulling back into child's pose.

This morning I could feel the difference and realized I need to do more of this. I know there are some yoga for runners DVDs out there - so maybe I'll give it try to see if that addresses some of the issues currently dogging me.

It was a good 2 miles today. I stretched before and after my run today and by the end I was a little sorry I hadn't gone out for more but I was a little nervous about time.

Today was the day for Dean Karnazes to run the Boston marathon route as part of his 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states. I was at Newton City Hall to watch them pass at the 19 mile mark and then at the end to see the group finish. He did his best to keep everyone together and cross the finish en masse as part of his philosophy that this shouldn't be about him but rather about the power of teamwork.

Since I wanted to write about this in comparision to a 3 miler across town to benefit Special Athletes, I wanted to make sure I had enough time to get home, change and make it back to catch the people who paid to run with him.

My other regret on the day - I could have done my interview while running alongside Karnazes. Fortunately I'm smart enough to know that I'm really too slow to do something like that and it wouldn't have been fair to everyone else who was excited about the opportunity to be part of something bigger than they probably imagined when they started running.

I'm glad I chose to cover this instead of the smaller race - not because it was more important but because it was something unique... sort of like turning down a gig with the White House press corp to go cover live events half way around the world. Both are a good gig, but sometimes you just have to run with the more unusual over the expected.

Tomorrow will be about yoga and balance ball and stretching, but today was about watching history.

Runners cross the finish line together

Dean Karnazes after the race

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Indian Summer

Today is an Indian Summer day.

New England has this sort of median time between summer and winter that weaves through the autumn called Indian Summer. These are descriptions of days that smell like fall but are warm enough to be like summer. The nights are clearly autumn in nature when radiational cooling causing temperatures to quickly drop, but the days are delightful.

After last night's rain, the river is high, the streets still have spots where the water is puddled, the asphalt dark with moisture as the water evaporates. The leaves are bright on the ground and on the trees - looking like a world afire - and the air is crisp. Unlike the cloyingly humid days of summer, Indian Summer is literally a breath of fresh air.

On such days, running is a joyous activity.

But I've been a bad Pika. I haven't been stretching after my runs lately and today I felt it, tempering the joy with little twinges of pain reminding me I'm not as young as I used to be. What was going to be a three mile push turned into a mile and a half easy tempo run as my shins cried out, "Remember us? You've been ignoring us and we will not be ignored!"

My calves echoed the sentiment as well, but let the shins do the bulk of the talking.

I know these aren't shin splints. Believe me, as someone who lived with them for an extended time both as an aerobics instructor in the mid 80's and a member of a dance troupe, these aren't shin splints but the muscles around everything reminding me I'm not as young as I used to be.

Still, today's run was truly enjoyable. If for no other reason than to stride through the fallen leaves and breathe the clean air that comes after a rainfall.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Tufts 10K

It finally arrived - the big race I've been anticipating for months, the Tufts 10K.

This race is a huge milestone for me on many levels. It was my first real 10K and the longest I've ever run. It's a women's race so it's supposed to be "empowering." It's supposed to be high energy and so many other thing.

It is, by far, the largest race I have ever run. There were around 7,000 runners and walkers lining up on Beacon Hill at the start. So many that it took close to six minutes to cross the finish line. While I am glad that it was big enough so that someone like me could feel like they accomplished something, but it wasn't what I thought it would be.

For one thing, my running it came into question when I woke up. Sunday I was stiff and sore from assembling my new desk/hutch over the weekend and felt like I might have pulled something. When I woke up, the muscle I thought I might have pulled a little was a deep, sharp, scary pain. I told myself that if I still hurt at 9 am, I'd call the race and took a couple of ibuprofen.

You may be thinking, "Wait a minute, if you took ibuprofen why would you hurt at 9 am?" For most people you would be right, but when I'm in pain not even 800mg (prescription stenght) of ibuprofen is going to mask that sucker. I took the recommended OTC dose to dull the edge a bit and give myself a good sense of what's what. By 8:30 all the pain was gone - this told me that I either slept on it wrong or I needed to talk myself into racing. I suspect the later as the pain has not returned at all.

The knee felt good, but I also was aware enough after the wake up call to wear the knee brace. Something I was glad of after the 3 mile mark.

I met up with Nini, her friend Kate and my sister and headed over to the starting line with them. Because Nini and Kate are fast - they moved up to where they should be and my sister and I started towards the back but in front of the jogging strollers. (Do not start me on the mom groups who block pathways and the roadway at races by running side-by-side to chat. You may normally run faster than I do, but if I'm having a hard time passing you because you're blocking the roadway, then you're running too slow and are a hazard.)

The race starts by going through Charles Circle up and over the Longfellow Bridge onto Memorial Drive and past MIT to the BU Bridge. The first mile was pretty much about getting through the folks who didn't care about seeding and just were doing it how they wanted. I have now decided my one big suggestion to race organizers is to start the walkers 10 minutes after the runners go off to avoid a lot of the jamming up at the start and along the course. I did a 12:30 first mile, which is about right for me and I was settling in nicely. I walked through the first water stop and picked up again, still weaving through folks to the second mile split - where I was holding my pace. Then the heat began to get to me and my knee got a little wonky, so I figured it was a good time to do run/walks for a little.

About this point I found myself near two women - one was clearly coaching the other through run/walks and had one of those watches with a timer on it. When they would walk, I'd walk, when they'd run, I'd run. It was incredibly helpful. I compared them to two other women doing something similar but different. The other pair of women it was clear the "coach" wanted to run while the other woman was struggling. The fast woman would run ahead and then yell back, "C'mon, you can catch up to me," and then run on.

Her friend had a pained look on her face and was clearly struggling and finally was beginning to give up around mile 3. I passed her and said, "You know you're going to end up beating me don't you?" She just smiled and said, "Thanks."

If she finished, she did finish ahead of me because my knee made it clear it wanted to walk for a while and when I reached mile 3 in 40 minutes, this was the "walking" mile. This part of the race you're going back the other side of Memorial Drive, under Mass Ave to a turn around point around the Killian Court area and make a hairpin turn to go cover the other lane of Mem Drive to the Mass Ave bridge (aka the Harvard Bridge). Every so often I would jog a little and then walk a little. Because I did not wear the mp3 player (rules said you weren't supposed to... trust me, that's a rule I'm breaking next time because I really missed my pace music) for some reason I got a variant of a Broadway tune stuck in my head. I started hearing, "Walk a little, run a little, walk a little, run a little - walk, walk, walk, walk a lot run a little more..."

It got me through that mile in 15 minutes - which was good. I'm now at 55 minutes so even if I walk the rest of the route, I'll be close to my guess of 1:30-1:45 for the race.

For people not familar with the Mass Ave bridge, like 40 or so years ago one of the MIT frats rolled a pledge over the bridge and measured it in "Smoots" - the pledge's last name. Every year they go out and make sure the measurements are still clearly marked and recently rolled his grandson - who was pledging to the same frat - over the bridge to see if measurements still held.

They did.

I measured my run/walks by the Smoots at this point. Run 150 Smoots, walk 100 Smoots, run 150 more ... there are the race photographers, so it's time to keep smiling and running ... oh what the hell, I'm almost to the end so when I get to the end I'll walk to Comm Ave.

I ended up doing something slightly different for Mass and Comm Ave. I'd run a block and walk a block until I got to the Public Garden. Oh damn, more race photographers - smile and run, smile and run - look like this is effortless right?

I turned the corner near the finish and realized I was running the last quarter mile and wanted to see my family badly. I don't know why, but I really wanted to see them. There they were at the end with Mr. Pi holding up a sign that read "Run for the Cookie" holding a 3 pack of Milanos. I couldn't stop laughing. I know I always have a cookie for Gazelle Boy when he runs his xcountry meets and stand at the end yelling "run for the cookie," so that Mr. Pi did that to me was too funny for words.

At this point, I'm laughing and I hear the race announcer shout out my name and "in the red shirt, throw your hands in the air." So here I am laughing as I throw my hands in the air crossing the finish line. I stop my watch at 1:27:33 where my sister is in the chute waiting for me with a smart water. That I really needed because I stopped taking water after the third water stop because it was tasting funny to me - which said I had enough water. The smart water tasted good.

It's was a good race even if it wasn't one of my strongest or most comfortable ones. But this is like the Ryka Irongirl race - finishing it proved a point to me, that I can do this. I'll probably do another 5K in a couple of weeks and plan on running longer distances now that I can.

Today is about reassessing things - figure out what I want to do next in terms of setting goals and such. For example, I know I would like to be able to run a 10 minute mile at some point. I'd like to fully run a 10K at some point and maybe do the Disney half with Gazelle boy in Jan '08. But for today, I'm all about regrouping and pulling my office back together.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Meeting a legend

Tonight I went to a dinner where Joan Benoit Samuelson was the guest speaker as part of the race weekend festivities.

Because the event was sponsored by a financial company, the first part of the talk was more along the lines of what the company was pushing in terms of dreams, goals, etc. Once she began taking questions and talking about things, it really took off.

It was a small crowd, only a couple of dozen people or so, but there were some good questions. She talked about how nutrition, like everything else, is something you keep in balance and you really don't need to obsess about things. While she tends to eat organic and whole foods, she also eats red meat and sweets.

She talked about how winning the gold medal was a highlight but not the high point of her life and how she is planning on running the 2008 Olympic trials for the marathon because it's going to be in Boston. The next big goal is running that trial at the age of 50 (which will be in 2008... so the timing works) within a time she set for herself.

The parts that were really helpful to me was talking about strategy. How you don't think of a marathon as 26 miles but rather in separate races - like a 10 mile and then a 10K and another 10 miler; running negative splits and why it's important to go out a little bit slower to start and then pass people at the end. Another tip was when a race is tough, rather than looking at the road or the mileage markers, look at the person ahead of you and focus on catching up/overtaking them. I think we all do that to a certain degree, but it makes sense to focus there rather than on times or miles when having a tough race.

I have to say that I'm truly excited about the race - it's only a day and a half away. Because I just spent the past couple of days assembling my new desk, I haven't been running ... which is probably a blessing in disguise. Tomorrow I'll probably go for a walk and take it easy while I get ready for Monday.

But this was one more reason to really like this event. A chance to meet someone who inspired me and so many others is really a nice treat.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Six Miles

My sister came by and we went out to do a 6 mile run/walk to get ready for Monday's 10K. I've never gone more than 5 miles, so it was nice to have someone to push me along. In spite of walking a mile or so of it when my knee was a little wobbly, we managed to do it in 1:26 - much faster than I anticipated running that distance.

I'm now confident that I can run, and finish, this race - something I wasn't so sure about a couple of weeks ago. I'm feeling more confident than I have in a long time about all this as we come up on the date. It's exciting and I'm sure the expo this weekend will be crazy fun.

I'm excited about the pasta dinner on Saturday night where Joan Benoit Samuelson is the guest speaker, Mr. Bear said he'd go with me, so that will be even more fun.

But today was good - it was another "hurray running" day. Even though it's only in the low 60's it was just right for running. I mapped out the distance ahead of time at the USTFA site and we took off from there. I'm thinking that Saturday I may go for four miles on Heartbreak Hill and then just give it a rest until Monday. Until then, I'm feeling good.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Down by the banks of the River Charles

Today is a gorgeous day out - one of those days where New England weather rules because it's unwilling to give up summer just yet. It's October and 73 degrees with the sun shining and I have some time before I have to pick up kids - so what better way to fill it than with a run along the banks of the Charles?

I went out for 2.5 miles - I had time but not tons of it - and I'm feeling a lot better now. My knee didn't bother me in spite of not wearing the brace, so I guess the ankle weights are helping. My time is moving back to where it should be (down to 13 and change today from 14 and change the other day) and, if I had the time, I would have gladly have gone further.

As it is, I'll take the day, the mileage and the time and put them squarely in the Hooray running! column.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday morning

I don't know why, but I just can't walk when I'm listening to Green Day's song "Holiday." That drum beat starts and next thing I know, it's carrying me along with it's rhythm. Sometimes I think I should put it on an endless loop to see what happens.

Today was the first run I've done this week. I've been taking walks and relaxing because I've been scared of hurting myself. The stitches from them removing the mole and surrounding skin are right on my bra line - which is irritating in its own right - and I have been really panicked about the chafing of my running bra over the dressed wound.

I even bought a pair of 5 lb ankle weights to start building my quads and calves to better support my knee when I run and have been working with those a little this week. So it isn't a question of being a schlub - even though it felt that way - it was more of a question of fear. What am I really afraid of?

This morning I woke up to the reality of October and thought - dammit, I just need to get out there. I don't know how much of the last couple of weeks have been the reality that my confidence was shaken at that 10k and how much of it was that i'm overwhelmed with everything, but the reality is doing one 3 mile run a week just isn't enough - not when I was doing so well until a couple of weeks ago.

So I got out there and ran 3 miles in 43 minutes. Funny, there's a time when I would have been all "woo hoo!" about that, but now I'm feeling like it was slow. Yes, it was slow in a good way - easing back into things and all that - but there's that piece of me that wanted to go longer and faster. Especially with my recent motto of faster, leaner, stronger. Bottom line is not only did I do it, but my knee and the stitches were fine while I was out there - I guess compression can be a good thing.

I'm sure that after I have the stitches out on Friday I'll feel more confident. In the meantime, I need to set some goals for the week:

Today - 3 miles
Monday - 3 mile walk
Tuesday - 3 miles
Wednesday - 3 mile walk
Thursday - 5 miles
Friday - 5 walk
Saturday - 2 or 3 miles
Sunday - rest

It's a little ambitious but I really think I need to prove to myself I can do it, so I've set the bar a little high for this week. It's OK, I wouldn't set it there if I didn't know I could do it.

Time to put together a new playlist, probably with more Green Day and Weezer on there... that would be good.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Always wear sunscreen

Always. Don't argue with me about it - just do it.

I went in for my every other year dermatology appointment a month or so back and the dermatolologist said, "Let's just pop that mole right off your back." She numbed the area, removed the mole and called a week or so later to say the mole was benign but....

The but was that the area was in a "premelanoma" state and they wanted to remove skin from around the area. This is the point at which it's not skin cancer but it probably would have been if they hadn't caught it when they did. So now it's carving a hole in my back, six months from now probably would have been a very different story. I know it's no big deal - but it's one of those brushes with things we'd rather not think about moments.

The moral of the story folks (say it with me): ALWAYS WEAR SUN SCREEN.

As a result, I have to take an extra day off of running because I want to make sure nothing gets jarred open, so instead I'm going to go out and walk like six miles today. It's not a hard thing to do at all.

A quick update on the bike fund. I've been doing the "savings scavenger hunt" method of painlessly putting aside a few dollars here and there. What I do is put any ones I receive ending in 7 or 11 in my piggy back, which has now added up to $43. This is not counting all the change in my change jar that I rolled - which brings the total to $65. Granted $10 or so was contributed by the youngest as a "sorry I helped wreck your original bike that you adored." So by the spring I should have a healthy chunk o' change to go out and get a nice road or hybrid bike.

::Doing a happy pika dance::

Well off to literally run errands... or would that be walk errands?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy 5767!

Since we all make resolutions around new years (Jan 1st, birthdays and such), my resolution this year is to be faster, leaner and stronger.

Oh wait, I'm already working toward that.

So to celebrate, I did what I love doing on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur: instead of shutting myself up in a stuffy, overcrowded building, I went down to Scituate Lighthouse to get a little review and perspective.

I honestly believe when you grow up somewhere you have this sort of odd connection to the place. For me, I spent the bulk of my teen years sitting on the jetty by the lighthouse. Sometimes I would ride my bike there, other times I'd walk from Minot Beach all the way along the shoreline (except for one little stretch that was a bit tough to scamble around - so I'd just walk a block on the road) to the lighthouse. As an adult, I find myself there when I need to think things through and I always go down at least once during the High Holy Days.

Saturday morning dawned gray and ominious. It wasn't long before it started raining, which frustrated me a bit. By noon time it had stopped and it hit me - why didn't I bring my running stuff and cover from the lighthouse to First Ave and back. According to the USTFA maps, it was 3 miles and - if I started and stopped in the right spot, I could make it the 3.1/5k distance.

The roads around there are relatively flat - so it wouldn't overly stress the knee I've been nursing pretty much all week. I wanted to run because, after a week of nothing, I felt like a total schlub and that was not a good way to start a new year.

Mr. Bear came with me and brought a book. He likes sitting down there and meditating or reading - it really is a relaxing spot. So I started on one side of the lighthouse and took off with the Funk soundtrack for background music. (Yeah, yeah, it was a Jewish holiday so maybe I should have thrown on some Matisyahoo or Soul Farm - but I hadn't synced the mp3 player in over a week so it seemed Funk would be the right thing to shake me out of my lethargy.)

I ended up running it in 42 minutes - not bad, not great. It's 3 minutes off my best pace (so far) and, at the turn around, I allowed myself to walk for a 2:30 because I could feel the inner loser start saying things like, "What about your knee?" I use the walking as a test in these situations. I set a time I'm going to walk - in this case it was until the end of the song - and I must walk the set time. If I'm antsy to start running during any of that time, I remain walking and begin running again at the time I determined. For me it's a sign that I'm able to continue running all the way.

Within 30 seconds, I was antsy.

By the end of the song, I was so relieved to start running again, that it was no longer a question of could I run the distance and was more of a statement I can run the distance.

It was also a good run. I love being able to smell the ocean and hear the waves crashing as I run. Even though Cedar Point is heavily built up with bungalows, cottages and more than a few mcmansions on stilts - there are some stunning stretches where you can look out and just see open ocean stretching out for miles. Also there are those handful of salt marshes between rows of houses out on the point itself instead of manicured lawns. When you get to the lighthouse and hae the open ocean on one side of the jetty and the harbor on the other, it can be as dramatic a contrast as night and day.

Yesterday they were both pretty even, but I've been down there days when the harbor was still and calm while the waves on the ocean side were breaking higher than the roofs of the big houses down there.

When I finished, I walked out to the end of the jetty and sat on the base of the beacon light at the end for a while just watching waves form and seagulls playing in the wind. One flew by with a crab in its mouth which it dropped slightly behind me on the jetty to break open the shell. There was only one stinkpot (motorized pleasure boat), but the person piloting it was taking it slow and seemed to be enjoying being at sea - a welcome relief as often I see people in those boats going like a bat out of hell, skipping across the surface like a rock across a pond.

Instead there is a calm around me. Eventually a dad comes out with his two little boys to interupt my reverie and I realize it's time to come in. I make my way down the jetty as I see another father and son heading out - this time carrying fishing gear. A little girl plays further down on the wall under the watchful eye of her parents and a wedding party begins making their way down to the harborside beach with photographer. As I get to the end, anther limo pulls up with a second bride for photos. I hear her tell them, "I have no problem climbing up on the rocks..."

It's funny because she's in a sheath style gown and high heels. As I get back to the car, the other wedding party is back from the beach shaking sand from their shoes and hems before climbing in the stretch Cadillac SUV limo waiting for them. We drive off shortly after they do and we notice the bride and her escort (looked too old to be her new husband... but who can tell these days) standing atop a particularly high part of the rocks so the lighthouse is framed behind them.

"It was a good run today," I tell Mr. Bear as we drive off.

"Glad to hear it. You're knee feels OK?"

"It feels just fine," I say as I lean back into the seat and peel open a banana and repeat "it was a good run."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'm so over the DNF

(NOTE: I was in the process of posting this Monday when my router crashed... apparently it didn't post - so I'm trying again.)

I just got a call from the race director who apologized for yesterday's mix up.

I suggested a few things (which he said he wrote down and likes):

- a cone or something with arrows to direct runners in case they get missed by volunteers

- doing a group walk/run class out of the JCC to prep for next year's race to have people who can walk, run or walk/run it for fun next year

- talk to the timing company about staying longer (They didn't see the last runner on the course and assumed everyone was in.)

Not to mention a lot of the regulars over at the Runner's World forums were not only sympathetic but help me put a lot of stuff in perspective - as well as sharing their stories of DNF's, running a course backwards, being sent the wrong way (or not directed at all and going the wrong way) and such. It's hard when you're in the heat of the moment with a level of expectation to step back and say, "shit happens." It's much easier to do it a day or two later when you have a little time and perspective.

So I'm officially over it now. As I say there were some good things that came from it - including a new way to think of myself. That in itself means it was worth it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I was planning a 6 mile long run as part of my training for the Tufts 10 in October when, the other day it hit me: why not sign up for a 10k this weekend? I'm planning on running the distance anyway, there are water stops and support along the course... makes sense to me.

So I signed up for the Run by the Sea 10k at the JCC in Marblehead. The weather was beautiful, a race course along the ocean - what more could a girl ask for?

Apparently I could ask for volunteers that give a flying fart in a dixie cup for the slow, fat old ladies at the back of the pack.

But I'm a little ahead of myself here.

I was a bit nervous about signing up because I looked up last year's results and there weren't a whole lot of folks at my speed... but it looked as though there were only 100 people listed and I've seen it before where the results of the first xnumber are posted but there were others behind them.

There were about 150 people at the start and it was clear the roads weren't closed (except for the initial start when traffic was held up for a few minutes until the pack thinned). Not good signs, but the guy with the bullhorn said, "Go out and have fun" after reassuring us there were "volunteers at every intersection" to make sure we were headed the right way.

So I start towards the back of the pack, as I usually do, and it isn't long before I'm the last runner. I'm not too worried because I now know from experience that plenty of people do run/walks or go out to fast and do recovery walks along the way. I can handle this right?

About 14 minutes in and not seeing a mile marker (maybe it was behind that group of people on the traffic island? But that didn't seem like a mile? Perhaps at the bend where the clam shack is...), my knee started to complain a great deal. I suspect it never really fully healed from twisting it a month or so back, but I did wear the neoprene brace today after last week's 5 mile run left it a bit sore.

Across the road I see a 5 mile road marker, so I figure I'm probably around the 1 mile mark and decide to take it easy on myself... run a mile, walk a mile, run a mile again. Between the knee and giving blood, I wasn't out for a PR or anything like that, just get my 6 in and work from there.

Finally a water station is looming up ahead. The woman who I keep trading places with for last now passes me so I'm last again. I lose sight of her because I can't tell if the two people taking up the whole sidewalk in front of me are part of the race or just walkers. Not to mention the people out jogging, walking their dog and everything else that happens along a busy stretch of public beach front.

I make it to the water table and grab a glass. The guys ignore me and I see a runner go off to the left, so I follow. About a half mile down the road, someone in a volunteer shirt calls out, "Are you running the race backwards?" as she sees me coming up the road.

"No," I reply, "I'm just the last runner."

"I think you're going the wrong way."

I screech to a halt.

"Excuse me?"

"You're going the wrong way, didn't they tell you at the water table to go right?" She pulls out the map and, sure enough, the route went to the right around the neck and looped down the road I am now running the wrong way on.

I could have sat down and cried at that point. I was already the last person. Not only that, because I know have to go back and loop around, I know there's no way I can catch the pack at all along with adding up to another mile to my run. The volunteer looked concerned - she could see I was upset and, to be honest, she was too.

"You could try running down to the point and back - that's probably the same distance and you won't be lost on the course at all."

I do my best to keep my composure as I say - "That's OK, I guess it just wasn't my day today," as I turned around to walk back to the start/finish. As I walk off - OK, as I stomped off - fighting back the tears and anger and emotion that's welling up inside, I see a new water station across from the one where they ignored me before.

I then did something rather childish, I took off my number and said to the woman there supervising the teens (the ones who ignored me) and said, "Do me a favor, in the future if you're not going to tell the fat, old, slow runners where to go on the course, then pick a spot where you don't have to tell anyone where to go."

She was only slightly apologetic... I understand as I probably wouldn't have wanted to been a stranger engaging me at that point. I tossed my number in the trash bag there and kept walking/stomping back.

I went into the registration area to get my bag as they were doing the kid's race registration. I looked at the guy behind the desk and said, "Look, I need to tell someone this and you're probably not the right person but someone with this race needs to know..." and told him what happened. He did apologize profusely and asked for my name and phone number so he could have the race director contact me.

I headed off to shower (one of the perks of this race was they advertised showers would be available) and, now that I had traded my previous huff for a brand new snit, headed out. I got to the entrance where they were breaking down the finish line - 1.5 hours after the race started. I figured the woman I was trading places with must have crossed and figured I'd take a drive to see how far I did make it.

I hadn't gone a half mile when I spotted her walking up the road - so she would finish with no time, no applause, no fanfare... only her personal sense of accomplishment.

Turns out that I logged 4 miles today - 2 running (including the off course part) and 2 walking back. I also realized that I had walked those 2 miles at a 15 minute pace.

I realized in that moment I walked 2 miles as fast as I used to run them a few months ago and over 5 minutes faster than what I think of as my walking pace.

This is where I need to cue the spooky music because fate had a funny little kick in the pants for me. Mr. Bear had left a Grateful Dead CD in the car stereo and just as I realized that I am now walking faster than I realized, the chorus of the song "Estimated Prophet" caught my ear:

Like an angel standing in a shaft of light
rising up to paradise, I'm a gonna shine.

This is where I start thinking about personal accomplishments, progress and labels. I have been OK with the fact that I am middle-aged, slow and fat. Being able to see myself in that light has been good for me, but am I becoming more of the label? If so, how do I change it so that it better suits who I am becoming? Who am I and all that...

It struck me at that point that I am a strong woman - I've had to be for a number of reasons (not the least of which is that's how my mother trained us girls to be). I am growing stronger on a number of different levels. Maybe it's time to think of myself differently. Maybe I need to start seeing myself as a healthy woman who is growing stronger and faster rather than slow and fat.

So, I used that to toss my new snit. Yes, I'm still upset - I didn't get to run my race and that bites. I have my first (and hopefully last) DNF, which makes me feel like a quitter. Even though I know I'm not. Even though I don't feel like I did anything, I really did accomplish something by getting out there. It just doesn't feel that way right now and that hurts.

I'll run my six miles either later this week or next week, I know that... it's just I didn't expect to have my race shut down that way.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Recovery miles

I gave blood Monday and the Red Cross person suggested that I wait until "at least" Wednesday before I start putting any mileage in again. She pointed out that, since the red cells carry the oxygen and I had just donated 10% of my red cells - it would take a little for my body to replace them and I shouldn't expect to much.

At this point I'm pretty sure that some of my lost enthusiasm is because I was nervous about running again after that warning. Suddenly it was noon time and I was still in my pjs - which isn't like me at all - and I knew I had to take action.

I started by putting on my running clothes. It didn't matter if I sat all day in them, it was a physical reminder I had to do something. After a few minutes, I got up and headed out the door to the running path. I figured I'd do at least one mile but the goal was a mile and a half and two miles if I felt good.

I also left the watch at home. No pressure to keep a pace or anything like that - just figure out my timing after the fact by adding up the time of the songs on the mp3 player.

So I went out and the first half mile didn't feel great but it wasn't bad either. I decided to try for the two, but a quarter mile later I realized I really wasn't up for two today, so I headed back. At the one mile mark - where I enter and exit the running path - my head wanted to turn and leave but my feet kept going on their own to do another half mile loop.

In the end it was 1.5 - my goal of the day. When I added up the times, I realized I did it in 19 minutes or a 12:40 pace.

Maybe I should leave the watch home more often.

The rain from Florence is supposed to hit tomorrow and come down through Saturday. I actually like running in the rain, so I'll try to get three miles in on Friday. Maybe I'll go back over to Heartbreak to get over this little glitch as well, maybe just map out 3 miles in the neighborhood. We'll see.

I'm thinking about running in a 10k on Sunday since I was planning on a six mile run any way. The sun's supposed to be back by then and I figure I'd rather do a relatively flat, fast course in Marblehead this week than wait until next week and try the Marine Corp 10k in Milton through the Blue Hills. I don't think I'm ready for that yet. Either way, if I get one in before the Tufts 10k, I'll probably feel a lot better knowing what I'm capable of doing.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The joggers go running two by two

Knowing I'm giving blood on 9/11 and knowing I have to try and get a 5 mile run in before I give blood, I decide to go out on Sunday morning.

I'm scared of doing a five mile run - I've never run that far before and I've never run for more than 40 minutes at a stretch. I've been out longer than 40 minutes, but that was doing walk/runs and there are still times when I struggle running three miles. So with all that in the back of my head, how am I supposed to do a five mile run?

My answer is: where do I face all my challenges? On Heartbreak Hill of course.

Running up the Commonwealth Ave carriage road isn't as hard as it would seem, it's really more of a mental thing because of the nick name and what it means to runners in the marathon. But because of that mental thing, I'm able to get past a lot of my demons there. My inner loser gets a severe ass kicking everytime I do a run there. No wonder it's become one of my favorite running spots.

So around 8 am, I pulled up at City Hall and walked to my starting point and stretched. As I stretched, you could begin to see the runners coming two by two down the road. Running along encouraging or just chatting with each other. Some were fresh, just starting their runs. Others had that sweaty gleam from exerting themselves.

I made a deal with myself that I would run at least 2 miles or 30 minutes up the road - whichever came last. I had to keep reminding myself of that deal as I went along because I wasn't mentally ready to run for some reason.

Centre Street - the 1 mile point - is really a mental barrier for me. Once I get past that point it really gets easier. The hill is still climbing at that point, but it's like there's a piece of me that says, "Good job - you've got a mile done and that's the hardest point." The other mental barrier is Hammond Street, which is the crest of the hill.

I made it past Hammond on the way to Boston College and I was feeling good. The runners are still coming solo and in good sized groups - but mostly they're running in pairs. I can hear their chattering to each other over my Funk soundtrack because I really don't have the volume up when I run since I like my soundtrack to be more background music than anything else. As I come down the hill toward the BC campus, I feel like I can go six miles. I feel good and I don't want to stop.

Is this the "runner's high" I hear people talking about?

I can smell breakfast all around me. The scent of coffee from Dunkin' Donuts - perhaps among one of my favorite smells ever - and frying bacon and toast from the greasy spoon on the corner. I run over past the green line stop to the wall of the former Cardinal's residence. Touching the brick wall marks 2.5 miles - the halfway point. It doesn't matter if I don't run all the way back, it matters that I'm putting in 5 miles total. As I touch the wall, I call out, "I fucking rock!"

A couple of sleepy people on benches outside of the shops look up with a puzzled expression. I don't care, I'm smiling and happy. I've just run 2.5 miles in 35 minutes. It may not be a speed record, but I did it and I'm thrilled as I turn back and start up the hill again.

Now this is the problem with running up and over a hill... you have to run back over it before you can run down the other side. The grade from the Cardinal's residence to Hammond is pretty steep and I'm shuffling along thinking, "I promised myself I'd do 4 miles - I have to make it to Centre Street."

There is a strong breeze blowing in my face. I know that this isn't ideal but it feels great. I keep going up and up and up and up, keeping my eyes on the street ahead of me instead of looking down. I'm scanning the road signs as I shuffle along watching for the one I know will make a difference. I'm looking for the Hammond Street sign as I run one of the longest 3/4's of a mile in my life. Finally I see it and I heave a sigh of relief because, from here on out, it's downhill all the way.

I keep going down the hill, past the synagogue and Kosher strip mall to Centre Street. I did it - four miles and I'm still in pretty good shape. Not great, but feeling OK. I start down the last mile of the hill and I want to tell everyone I pass on the road, "I just ran more than I ever have in my life!" I'm that excited because every step past the four mile mark and I step I haven't really taken before. Instead I can feel the grin on my face as I work my way down the road - the only indicator is when I pass the Johnny Kelley statue calling out, "I did 5 today Johnny." I can hear him say, "That's what I'm talkin' 'bout girl," as I go past.

I run across the crosswalk at Lowell Ave - my start and finish line - with my hands in the air again. I've done it, another personal milestone. As I stop my watch I realize I've broken two barriers because flashing back at me is the time: 1:10:06... a 14 minute pace and pretty even up and back... 35 out, 35 back.

Every time I do one of these runs, I feel that much more confident that I can do the Tufts 10k in a few weeks. Until this point I've been thinking I couldn't run 6 miles, but now I'm seeing I possibly can and it feels good.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Quick miles on busy days

I realized I reached another milestone today. Now that school has started and we're reestablishing routines, I realized that my normal time for running doesn't quite work for a couple of reasons - mostly involving getting kids out the door.

Also, looking at my calendar for the day, I realized time is very tight due to appointments and such. (Yes! Great Fenway Writer's series today with Leigh Montville!!!) Before a few weeks ago I would have ditched my run entirely today thinking: oh I'll just run more later...

Instead I changed up, ran a "quick" mile (under 13 minutes) and then showered up before heading out to my packed late morning/early afternoon schedule. I did it because a quick mile is better than not running at all.

I don't know if I'll get a run in tomorrow and it means I've only got about 6 total for the week - but I did slip it in.

By the way, the Fenway Writers' Series was fabulous as always. Montville is a wonderful story teller and he told great ones today. He started by talking about how he got his job at the Boston Globe in '67 and then stories about Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. He also told the story about how he was asked, "If you could spend a week with either Babe Ruth or Ted Williams - who would it be and why?" He explained he'd spend the week with Williams, who was interested in all sorts of things and could speak on them but if he had to choose between them for spending one night...

I have to agree - partying with Babe Ruth must have been a trip way back when but even in the height of my party girl days it would have been a stretch to go more than a night or two at that pace.

I might try to sneak another mile in before going to the game tonight, we'll see. I know that I'm torn between doing the Race for the Cure on Sunday and other things I should do. Again, we'll see. I know I have to get my long run in before I give blood at noon on Monday 9/11. (By the way - make that day a day to do a public service. I don't know why I started giving blood on that day, but I did. I think it feels right to know that, on the anniversary of a day where so many lives were senselessly taken, I can maybe save one through my actions.)

But I'll figure out when to sneak that run in over the next couple of days. I know it will happen but knowing I'm now at a point where it's more important to sneak in a quick run rather than live with no run is something new and exciting.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back to school

Not me Lord, the children you gave me.


The punk, the teen and John Steed - and I have no one to blame but myself and the liberal media conspiracy.