Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello out there

Between work, writing and my ankle acting up, I let things slide again. I am thrilled to report 2010 was a cast free year!

To start the New Year, I have signed up for the 10k race that is part of the Hyannis Marathon as a way to jumpstart myself. My cross training will include using my Wii and riding my bike further distances. I also have access to the gym at Framingham State University as a student, so I hope to check out the facilities there as I have a gap between work and classes on Monday and Tuesday afternoons.

I'll also be keeping up a food blog of my journey on Weight Watchers back at What's For Dinner. In case you forgot about that blog (I know I did), I started it a few years back before I injured myself and was a tad bit more serious about running.

So happy new year. Enjoy the last 2010 has to offer and when the day dawns anew, let your life dawn anew as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A note to the sun

Dear Sun,

I know that we're moving into November; however, I do have a request. Could you please stop pressing the snooze button? I know that over the summer it was really annoying when you were acting like a college student OD'ing on energy drinks and I suppose you had to sleep off that rush; however, this is a bit crazy.

This morning it was pitch black out at 6 am, so I waited. Last week you would be rousing yourself around 6:15 or so and I felt pretty good about going out and not fearing a car would mistake me for a speed bump. Today I waited. And I waited. Then I gave up and went out around 6:30 without you.

It was dark and it was weird running in a sort of haze of street lamps where it was more of a shadow time rather than dark or light. It wasn't until the electronic voice declared I was at the half-way point 20 minutes later that you suddenly jumped up and started to wake up for real.

I get it, we all have days we want to sleep in but this is a bit ridiculous don't you think?

So here's the deal, you need to find some way of getting your act together in the morning so we can go back out for our runs together. I kind of miss your company in the early parts of my run. When the alarm goes off tomorrow, try not hitting the snooze button and join me.

Trust me, you'll feel better.



PS Have a nice day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Tonight is the Bruin's home opener - we all should rejoice.

I rejoiced by going for another good run this morning. I did 3 miles of 3 minute run/walk intervals winding up with a 5 minute run to end things. My legs feel good and strong and it was a nice way to break in the new pair of Thing 2 (my shoes are always Thing 1 and Thing 2).

For some reason I thought of Buddy this morning. Buddy the Beagle was the President for Life (and still is in spirit) of the Somerville Striders Athletic Club. I have heard us describes as drinkers with a running problem. I would say we keep our running in perspective and balance with our life.

As I was running this morning, I thought about Buddy. Perhaps it's because there were no dogs out this morning (a rarity around here), so I filled in the gap. Maybe it was the beauty of the morning. Maybe because it's Thursday and summer Thursdays are when I saw Buddy. Perhaps I was thinking I might be able to do Paulie's Thanksgiving Run. No matter what, today's run was a good one and Buddy was a good dog. Perhaps that's the connection. :)

So tonight I hope to hear lots and lots of happy goal music from the Garden and I'll raise a Guinness tonight in memory of Buddy. Next run on tap is a long one Sunday morning, let's see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I just can't quit you...

On September 7th I went out and had an amazing run. The world felt good and then I got to work and it all went quickly south. That day I did something I had never done before, I punched out and left. I was fed up and the fat lady sang.

After the initial "what do I do now?" panic, a window opened for me and I barrel rolled through it. The local elementary school called, they needed a classroom aide, was I available? Why yes, yes I was. But it did catch me up in a whirlwind of everything that needed to get done as a result and running was the last thing on the agenda.

Don't get me wrong, I have active. I now commute to work on my bike and I'm in constant motion at school: walking up and down stairs, monitoring the playground, etc., but I had not been running. When the Tufts 10k was looming large, I asked my class: "Who thinks I should run 6 miles on Monday?" Almost everyone raised their hands.

I was done for! So I registered for the Tufts 10k with an ambitious goal of a 13 minute mile but figuring a 15 min mile of mostly walking. I did walk the race and had a 14:50 pace for a time of just over 1:32, but I realized running was not going silently into the dark night and this morning I got up, pulled on the running tights and my compression shirt and hit the streets.

The plan this week is 3 minute intervals (3 minutes running/3 minutes walking) sandwiched between a 5 min walking warm up and a 5 min walking cool down. So today's 40 minutes looked like this: w5+(r3/w3*4)+r5/w5 = 3 miles in 40 min.

It felt good to be out again in the dark as it lightened into day. It was never a struggle and my pace felt good. If it goes this well on Thursday, I'll push the interval to a 4 min run on Sunday. I have to say, it feels good to be back. :)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Road and Track

This morning was about checking out the new track at the new high school. For years, I've had no access to a track unless I wanted to drive across town to another high school. It was no big deal not to run on a track, I was never a runner until a few years ago so it was no biggie.

Over the summer, they finished the construction on the new high school a half mile from my house and today's the first day of school. I figured rather than run on the road, I'd try some intervals: run a lap, recover a lap.

A long term goal for me is a consistent 10 minute mile over distance. My fastest has consistently been a 12 minute mile, more often than not, I'm usually around a 13/14 minute mile. So I see this as a good chance to build speed and consistency on a level, forgiving surface. It was a good call.

My average running pace was 10min/mi for the 1/4 mile loop and a 15 min/mi for the recovery walking. When I was starting out at the beginning of the summer, I was running a 15 min/mi and walking a 20 min/mi.

I may give it a try again tomorrow morning and then go for a good run on Thursday to ring in the New Year... we'll see. But for now, a solid 2 in the books + the 1 to get there and back for 3 good miles.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Today I hit a big goal - 4 miles in under an hour.

I have spent the summer chasing goals: running more than I walk when I go out; running more routinely and running 4 miles in under an hour. Today I hit all 3 milestones in a single run and it feels fabulous.

It comes on the heels of being asked "What's your goal this fall?" Fall? Already? I hadn't hit my summer goals fully. But with one week left until labor day, I guess it's a good question to ask. It was probably what pushed me along this morning as well as I thought about strategies and goals for the fall.

What I came up with was: continue to run more routinely; begin pushing my pace; running the Tufts 10k in under 1:10 and be able to do a Thanksgiving 5k in about 30 minutes.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Taking the scenic route home

I stepped outside today and a line popped into my head: "Every time I back out of my driveway, I'm just taking the scenic route home..."

Today's run was a scenic route home. The sun was starting to shine through the clouds as the skies cleared after days and days of rain. The sunrise was beautiful as it broke, the sky was a light, bright blue touched by hints of rose and yellow and orange as the sun broke over the horizon. The temps were cool, the air was fresh and it was just a scenic route even if it was the same roads I run over time and again.

Every run brings it's Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy moments - here was mine today: the difference between a mocking bird and a regular bird is that a mocking bird watches you run towards it, lazily hops off to the side and tweets as if saying, "Is that the best you can do? You're pathetic." Regular birds don't even bother to acknowledge you.

I hate them both.

My other Jack Handy moment: if coyotes are killing local pets, why don't they ever feast on the damn chipmunks eating my strawberries and tomatoes?

In the end it was a good run and I feel stronger for it as it was a reminder that fall is almost here and I couldn't be happier for it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dreams of what could be...

This morning was a morning I had to beat back the bed magnet and push myself out the door. We are entering the time of year when 5:30 am is dark and today it was raining. But I made it downstairs, grabbed my obnoxious yellow BAA jacket and opened the door.

Sometimes running in the rain can be a beautiful thing, sometimes it's just wet. Today was somewhere in between. I felt pretty bad ass out there holding myself to what I now call my "fives" (five minutes walking at a 15 min pace/five minutes running around an 11 min pace) since I took last week off from life, the universe and everything.

I could have run longer and farther, but I need to be aware of my ankles. Cursing myself for the stupidity that lead to past injuries and fearing future injuries.

At one point I was lamenting my speed, or lack thereof, while I watched the real bad ass athletes going past in the other direction. That was when it hit me, I will never be fast enough.

When I was "running" a 15 min mile, I dreamed of running a 10 min mile consistently. Now I walk a 15 min mile and run around a 10-11 min mile and I long to be able to run faster. I want to run an 8 minute mile. What happens when I get there? I won't be content until I hit 6 minutes? What's the cut off: a marathon, an ultramarathon, the ironman?

Like my weight, I don't know if I'll ever be satisfied. I lament I have only shed 15 pounds after a year of Weight Watchers and still have at least 35 more to go. But when I get to goal, what will my attitude be then? When I was 125 lbs of solid muscle in college, I wasn't happy with my size. I kept thinking, "If I only could lose 10 more pounds...." I would love to be that size again when I thought I was fat.

Like the rhino on the treadmill longing to be a unicorn, at some point I will need to accept this is who I am and my boundaries. It's not to say I can't improve, only that sometimes we all need to take a step back and look at what is and celebrate.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nu Shooz

I feel this should start with, "Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been 11 days since my last run...." That's what today felt like, the release of a clean soul after doing penance.

When you struggle with the sort of funks I fall into at times, there is this odd tug between I know running will make me feel better but I don't feel good enough to run. It's a horrible spiral until you can finally break out of it some how, some way. For me, it was a new pair of shoes to break me out of the spiral:

I have been tempted to try the Newton's since I first laid eyes on them last spring. A lot of runners I know and respect have been wearing them and really like them. But they are pricey. The fates aligned and conspired and with great thanks to Paulie, yesterday I walked out of Marathon Sports fitted and ready to go.

Like all new design of shoes, these force your body to align anew and force your foot to strike differently. The advice to get used to them is go out for some short runs - a mile or so - a few times. Try some speed work and then, once you're used to them, go for it. So this morning I went out for a short run - my 2.25 loop.

Walking in them is nice - they match my walking stride nicely. Running, well let's just say I understand the advice. The entire time I was making notes: tighten the right laces, more weight on my left and so on. The best feel I got was when the song "Devil's Dance Floor" by Flogging Molly began to play. Between the steady rhythm of the music and the way it drives me to run through whatever I may be feeling, it is the perfect song to cover a fair distance at speed and get a good feel.

I am interested to see how I run in my Saucony's for my next run... since I need to go some distance again and I'm quite comfortable with these for distance yet.

I'm excited again and this should be the bit I need to propel me back into the "Running makes me feel good, so let's go for a run" cycle again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Knuckles Up

This has been one of those weeks where I really understand and can empathize with Stephen Slater, the Jet Blue attendant who snapped on Monday. Like him, I deal with an angry, indifferent general public. I just got worn down listening to everyone tell me how much they hate Steve Jobs, hate Apple and, by extension, hate me.

So this morning I got up and I ran. I ran to angry celtic punk. Each foot fall making satisfying contact with the pavement as I ran in the early morning light. The sweat washing away my anger and frustration while stinging my eyes as it rolled down past my eyebrows. This was the run I needed. This was the run that reminded me why I run.

Through the angry pounding there were moments that made me smile. The bird hopping down the sidewalk ahead of me playing catch. The squirrel that darted back and forth and around me. The smiles and waves of other runners out there today - all of it conspired to channel the anger away from my soul and let it drive me along the road so I could see the joyful things.

It would be a lie to say all is forgiven and I will be open for another day of customer anger, but I am better equipped to handle it today because I ran hard this morning.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

I like running

I do. I like running a lot. Days like today remind me of that reality.

It was the same 4 mile run I do on a regular basis. Today was about pushing some limits in myself and I'm proud to say I rose to my own challenge. Granted there were some uncomfortable moments that made me wish my route had a bathroom on the way - so having to walk large segments until things adjusted properly is not fun, but it's not the worst that could happen either.

The running was longer and stronger than I have done in a long, long time. My goal of a consistent 10 min mile is within reach. I see, I feel it and I'm so close I can feel myself breathing down it's hot neck. It was the type of run you come in from, go about your day and see people running and think, "I'd like to go out for another run and join them...."

So the goals for this week: mileage will creep a little this week - 4 miles today and 3 miles on both Tuesday and Thursday. The 3 miles will be limit pushers of longer/stronger run segments.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

There's a word for that..

humid.... crazy.... fabulous....

Those were words on the edge of my consciousness this morning as I went out for 2.5 in heavy, heavy humidity.

Humid has been the word of the summer. It's been a tough summer for asthmatics like me. If it weren't for two puffs of the steroid inhaler before going to sleep each night I would be in horrible shape. No steroid inhaler means lots and lots of rescue inhaler, which means the shakes and upset stomachs galore. Steroid inhaler means I pretty much leave the albuterol in my bag and maybe I might need it in a really touch situation.

Crazy is another word that struck me. Here I am sweating like Richard Simmons in a bedazzled nylon outfit under TV lights. It's not hot out - 75* maybe - but the humidity makes it feel like you're running in a cloud. I'm sweating buckets as I slowly jog along. I purposely slowed myself down today once I opened the front door and realized just how bad it was out there. Most folks were snuggled in air conditioned bedrooms while I'm out huffing and puffing.

Fabulous was another word that came to mind. To finally beat the humidity instead of it beating me was nothing short of feeling fabulous. I ran slowly and steadily in one of the loneliest runs I've had in a good long time. Practically no one was out (see above about air conditioned bedrooms) so it was me out there pushing myself.

There's another word I should add here: accomplishment. I was wearing a shirt I earned in the Apple Nike+ challenge this year. I had a comfortable gait while running. I managed to start shaking the inner loser off my back.

In the end, it all adds up to one thing as best expressed by Tony the Tiger: it was


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

two steps forward...

Going out for 2.5 miles felt like a step back instead of a step forward. Really, going out for a half hour was like going out for a quickie. And yet, this is how I'm adding a run and mileage. As I said, the increase plan this week was to go from 2 four mile runs to 1 long run on Sunday and two shorter runs on Tues/Thurs. It's more mileage, more time running but sensible.

This morning I got to the turn around point. Normally I cross the street and run up the hill, not circle back. It was a hair frustrating and yet I felt I could (and did) run for longer stretches. My stride felt relaxed and it was a good run.

It also allowed me to beat my inner loser back down. The inner loser used to run with me a lot a few years back. He usually resurfaces after an injury and I have to beat him back down again. This morning, after I turned around, he stuck his head out of that dark place and began whining: he was tired, he couldn't breathe, this is hard, isn't that why you're not running as far today? wah wah wah wah wah.

For a second I slowed my stride and thought about walking when that strong core in me said, "What the hell are you doing girl?" I grabbed onto the reality that I was reducing to increase... a bit of a paradox I guess. Was I straining a little? Well yeah, the humidity was creeping up a bit this morning ... but no biggie. I pushed forward and left the inner loser crying on the curb.

Like the garden gnomes in Harry Potter, he'll climb back in over the garden wall when he gets a chance and thinks no one's looking but for now I'm good and strong and on my way to being a strong runner again.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Can I get a Woot!

This week's challenge: add a run and miles without overdoing. So I decided to add a third run but make my Tues/Thurs run a 2.5-3 mile run.

So today I set out for a 4 miler and along the pedestrian mall piece on the way back I did my Achilles grapevine while listening to some Flatfoot 56 doing some amazing pipe playing. I flew through and at the end of the block I let out a "WOOT! YEAH!"

One of the Sunday gazelle runners going by smiled and gave me a high five.

Funny how runners do things like that. I have seen folks congratulate other runners when they let out little "woo hoo" stuff. I've seen runners help complete strangers get through a difficult stretch - running or walking along with them and encouraging them.

It's a good feeling that even in a sport where it's you vs yourself, you're still not alone.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

real motha fo ya

Here are some facts of life:

Humidity sucks.
Chaka Khan is fabulous.

I set the time for 45 minutes, like I usually do, with plans for my 4 mile route. The goal is to complete the route in under 45 minutes and over the past few weeks, I've been coming closer to that goal - even if I still have a long way to go to reach it.

Ten minutes into my run, the heavy, stifling blanket of humidity was smothering me. The thing is, this morning's playlist was the fabulous Miss Chaka Khan. Miss Chaka does not allow you to stop until you drop.

Another fact of life.

So I changed plans. Rather than focus on my 4 mile run, I decided to walk some major hills in the area. Hills that make Heartbreak Hill look like an oversized speed bump kind of hills. Further, I set a different goal: 15 minute miles up motha sized hills. I took a right hand turn off my usual route and started walking.

Now what makes these hills bad is not so much the size of them, it's the deception they create. You see, they wind around in a funny way so you don't realize you've crested and gone down the hill until that final turn and you have to go uphill, again. Thus my assertion that this route is uphill both ways. But there it is and there I went and eventually I crested on last time and ran down the hill to my house.

My average pace on the motha hills? 16 minutes. Not bad, not bad at all. :)

I couldn't have done it without Chaka. So happy Thursday everyone and if you need something to get you going, a little Chaka or maybe some Funkedelics should do the job quite nicely.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

I stepped outside and there was an ever so slight bite in the air.


This rebuilding effort is going well. I'm not keeping to the training schedule in that I haven't been doing my long runs. I just don't feel like I have the mileage to be building like that, but I'm feeling stronger. If it means putting off my half until Hyannis in February, so be it. This is one of those long haul/big picture things. It's a matter of constant reevaluation as I go.

Today was the closest I've felt to "running" in quite some time. The periods of running are taking less effort and I can push past the interval where I normally start walking. Longer running + shorter walking = feeling good.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The drums, the drums, the drums, the drums OH!

Like most people who run to music, I'm looking to the music to set the tone and rhythm to the run. Last week I added the album "Knuckles Up" by Flatfoot 56 to my iPod and today I decided to give it a try running.

Excellent choice.

Flatfoot is a Celtic punk band (think Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly or the Pogues). When I saw them last week, their piper blew me away and I picked up all 3 of their CDs. The one thing about "Knuckles Up" is the way the piper and the drummer keep such an even rhythm through the music that it was easy for my feet to follow. It made for a great run, especially after last night's storm seemed to have broken the humidity.

I think the best description of Celtic punk came from my son a few weeks ago when my mother asked him about his Flogging Molly t-shirt. He looked and said, "It's where your Irish music meets my Irish music in a happy place."

Another, far more comfortable, 4 miles are in the book and tonight is a Marsh Post night. Since it's the Michael Collins run, I'll be working the finish chute and grooving on Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfetones for a more traditional Irish feel.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Humidity: it's the killer

I'm not really a summer person. I don't think I ever really was. I'm more of a temperate climate sort of girl. I love chilly mornings where the weather is brisk and it warms up to maybe beyond needing a sweater a little later in the day and ending with a nice snuggle under a bit of a blanket to end the day.

So when the humidity rolled in a couple of weeks ago, I knew it was trouble. Last week I barely made it two miles and then everything moved back indoors to AC and gentle stretching. It set me back a full week in training as a result and this morning I knew I had to start powering through the weather and just cope.

At 6am it was 68* and 83% humidity.


The first two miles were fine: w5+r5, circle around the stop light pole and back down the hill. Then I started to feel it. The next mile was r3+w7 and the final mile was "screw it, I'm walking...." As they say, it is what it is and I've got 4 in the books for today.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Let the training begin!

Here is the half marathon (beginning level) training schedule Nike+ has laid out for me:

Half Training Schedule











Run 4 Miles

30 min XT

Run 4 Miles

30 min stretch & strength


Run 6 Miles


Run 4 Miles

30 min XT

Run 4 Miles

30 min stretch & strength


Run 7 Miles


Run 4 Miles + 20 min strength

30 min XT

Run 5 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min stretch & strength


Run 7 Miles


Run 4 Miles + 20 min strength

30 min XT

Run 5 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min stretch & strength


Run 8 Miles


Run 4 Miles + 20 min strength

30 min XT

Run 5 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min stretch & strength


Run 5 Miles


Run 5 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min XT

Run 3 Miles

30 min stretch & strength

Run 2 Miles


Run 10.2: 2 mile warm up 10k time 2 mile cool down


Run 5 Miles + 20 min strength

30 min XT

Run 6 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min stretch & strength


Run 10


Run 6 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min XT

Run 6 Miles + 20 strength

30 min stretch & strength


Run 11 Miles


Run 6 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min XT

Run 6 Miles + 20 strength

30 min stretch & strength


Run 11 Miles


Run 6 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min XT

Run 6 Miles + 20 strength

30 min stretch & strength


Run 12 Miles


Run 6 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min XT

Run 6 Miles + 20 strength

30 min stretch & strength


Run 8 Miles


Run 5 Miles: 1-2 miles easy; 2 min tempo 3 min recover

30 min XT

Run 4 Miles + 20 strength

30 min stretch & strength

Run 2 Miles


I added in the cross training per Hal Higdon's general wisdom. Per my general wisdom, I'm leaving Saturday and Monday as rest days and Friday as my stretch & strengthen days based on my general overall life. Also, on days where it looks like they're back to back, I'll actually focus on things like core strength one day and arms/legs another so it's not really backed up.

So here's to the start of something new.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Let the games begin

Today is the fist day of training for my first half marathon. It was already in the mid-70's and humid at 6 am, but I got my backside out the door and covered 4 miles.

There is one thing I look for when I start any running/health program: bunnies. For some reason, if I see a bunny when I'm starting something or really struggling, somehow I know it will all be OK. I don't know why, I just do. As I started this morning, there was a bunny just sitting on a lawn a couple of feet from me watching. He didn't try to hop away or anything, he just watched as I went past. About 1/3 of the way through, as I was feeling the humidity, there were two bunnies playing off to the side. The happily played - darting towards me and away before disappearing under a bush. It really renewed my sense that I'm doing the right thing with the right plan.

So 4 miles are in the books and it's time to shower and move on with my day thanks to the bunnies. :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

3.1 on a Sunday morning

After realizing the cramping problem was due to the Asics (damn! I liked those shoes too), I stopped in a Marathon Sports yesterday to be refitted. I left with a pair of Saucony Pro Grids to try out over the next couple of weeks to see how they work out.

I also had the summer cold from purgatory last week that had me feeling a little like Ariel in "Little Mermaid" as I had no voice for 2 days along with our companies 3rd product launch in 10 weeks... well, running was the last thing I had time for (along with grocery shopping and laundry).

This morning the sun was up, so I pulled on my new shoes - which look sort of lizardy because they're a moss colored green with silverish mesh over them - stoked up the Nike+ and headed out for my 3.1 mile route. It was clear when I started running that my lungs still weren't 100%, not surprising to me given last week's congestion, so I opted for a w5+r5 option for the route. That was pretty comfortable for me over all. By the end of the week I'll decide if I'm doing the 4 mile Hingham 4th of July race or not next Sunday.

Out on my run today I interrupted several groups of squirrels out playing tag in 3's and 4's. A couple of them hopped along with me, making me laugh. The birds were in full chorus and you could smell the flowers in the air. Summer is truly here and the world seems to be soaking it all in. All in all, it heralded a nice return from my break as I start to gear up for my half training.

So let's hear it for summer, new shoes and running.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

once again, this time with feeling: OWWW

I took almost a week off from running. Any walking I've done has been in my old shoes... per usual. No problems, the calf felt fine so I went out for a run and sure enough, a mile in I got hit with crampcrampcrampcrampcramp again.

After a half hour of normal household stuff (carrying laundry up from the basement, making breakfast, etc.) it feels fine. So tomorrow I try a new experiment: wear my old shoes for my run and see what happens. If things are fine, then I know it's the shoes. If they aren't, I'll call my ortho.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

another run turned walk

OK, maybe the leg cramp is coming from needing new warm up strategies. Maybe it's because I haven't been taking my vitamins. Maybe it's just one of those things.

I honestly don't know, but I don't like this happening again 10 minutes into my run. I did try pushing past it, but no.

So today it's a case of searching the net to see what I can figure out. I know it's not fatigue, my mileage goal make look insane, but that's just recording the walking I normally do as well as the running for a Nike+ challenge. So that leaves nutrition and stretching to work on.

Starting today: I will lay out my vitamins for the rest of the week and make sure I take each one. I think I'll start by moving my PT to the front of my run instead of end. Perhaps that will help loosen things up enough.

Tomorrow instead of running in the AM and walking the Marsh Post course, I will walk in the AM and PM and see how that feels. I'll take Friday off, walk Saturday and my "long" run Sunday will maybe be 3 or 4 miles. If I can't make it through Sunday's run, I'll call my orthopedist on Monday.

Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Today was w5+r10+owowowowcrampcrampcrampow w5+r5+ owowowowowcrampcrampcrampowowow w5 +PT for 2.5 miles

I don't like it when my calves cramp up at all. I haven't really had that problem, I hear about it all the time with runners, but it never really hit me before.

Before the owowowow moments, I noticed some things. I am walking faster. Because of a Nike+ challenge at work, a lot of us are logging our walking as well as our running. I'm covering more distance in less time, which is nice. Today when I went out, I realized that I am covering a 1/4 mile more than I used to in the same time. That is, I walk for 5 minutes as a warm up. Normally that takes me to just inside a set of traffic lights, and then I run. Today it took me to the far side of the lights and then some.

It used be that I would hope to cover a full mile in 15 minutes. Today I noticed I covered close to a mile and a quarter in that same 15. I didn't feel any faster and I wasn't exerting myself more ... or at least it didn't feel that way and there I was - all the way down the block. :)

A little heat and massage and the cramp is now history and it's time to move on with the day. Here's to it being ancient history.

Friday, June 04, 2010

How did I get here?

Today's run was brought to you by some Funky Soul music...the fabulous MISS CHAKA KHAN and Stevie Wonder.

It started by pushing myself out the door on a muggy morning after hitting the genius booger on the iPod while listening to "I Feel For You." iTunes knew better than to mess with a good thing and kept putting up some old school Stevie Wonder mixed with Chaka Khan and every so often tossed in a few other bits here and there.

The first five minutes of my run were, "Well, at least I'm out here." Then the rest of the run was "How did I get here already?" At my turn around point I figured, "Oh, I'll run as far as the turn off and then I can walk." At the turn off it was, "I'm here already? I guess just down the hill..." next thing I knew, I was at my stop running and cool down point.

All in all, an odd run with some old school funk and soul to carry me through.

Not a great run, but a good one and many days that's more than a girl can hope for in the end.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Gotta have the funk..

which would have been today's soundtrack instead of Green Day but apparently my funk stuff is not on my iPhone. Hmmmm.... time to make some new playlists I guess.

Funks happen. For me I know one is about to start when, like the other day, I sat on the couch dressed and ready to go out for a run but couldn't bring myself to make it out the door. My shoes sit there begging me to just slip my feet in and they'll carry me the rest of the way, but I just can't muster the whatever to even do that much.

They always end the same way as well, that is me sitting there in my running gear and I slip my feet into my shoes and they carry me the rest of the way.

It happens to all of us. It's not about whether things in our lives are pressing or sad or happy or busy or whatever. It's just sometimes you gotta have the funk. The problems come when you wallow in it or let it eclipse your overall goals.

Today was a good run. I got 2.5 solid miles in with running and PT. Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown did a good job helping my shoes carry me along the way.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

of yellow chalk lines, wet blankets and tonsure tails

The first half of my run was good today, but 20 minutes in my stomach was not a happy camper and it slowed down to a fast walk. Some days that happens.

Last night I set up a training schedule: Hal Higdon's 10k plan until July 4 and then cut over to the Nike+ 12-week half marathon training plan. I figure I need the base of six mile runs, which I get with Hal, to start half training.

Since tonight is a Thursday race and I don't really like running later in the day, I decided to go for a short run this morning and then walk tonight. After a couple of days of 90* temps, the rain moved in last night cooling everything down. It was still humid, like running with a wet blanket on, but much much cooler. As I started out it looked like there were yellow chalk lines following gentle curves and odd patterns. I was intrigued by whomever would go out and draw so fluidly on wet pavement until I came upon a puddle and realized it was the pollen the rain washed out of the trees.

I saw a family of a Quail like bird. Without my glasses, it's hard to tell if it was a pheasant, quail or some other similar bird. But it was cool watching the little birdies running and playing in a puddle under the larger birdie's watchful eyes.

Among the usual folks I see on my route, today there was a man in business attire walking a labradoodle. He was balding to the point of having a tonsure (when you're completely bald on top with just the rim of hair wrapping around your head from ear to ear) with a pony tail about the length of my middle finger. "That sums up that look entirely," I thought somewhat unkindly as I ran past. Seriously men, if you're bald on top like that, the pony tail just makes you look like a fool.

It was a good run but 20 minutes in my stomach gave a heave and let me know it was an unhappy camper. I know I haven't been eating all that well lately and I still need to find the right combo of stuff. I'll figure it out and there will be a few more uncomfortable runs in the meantime, but today was an interesting tale of running as I followed the pollen chalk lines home.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A pleasant walk

In the fading light of day, I caught this picture of Johnny Kelly's upturned face. The statue, Young at Heart, is along Commonwealth Ave at the start of Heartbreak Hill by Newton City Hall. The statue is the young Johnny Kelly winning his first Boston marathon and the old Johnny Kelly, crossing the finish line of his last full Boston Marathon. They have their hands clasped in a victory grasp - the young and the old forever joined together encouraging all who go past.

Johnny is the coach in my head. When I run along Comm Ave, I always call out my intended mileage for the day to Johnny. Tonight I went for a walk as it started to cool down. Some one started hanging their race medals on Johnny last 4th of July and now there is a 2008 and 2009 Baystate marathon medal hanging around the neck of the young and old Johnny.

Tonight I liked how the light caught his face and pulled out the phone to snap a picture. Tonight's walk was a reminder that sometimes I need to look at familiar routes with new eyes. Next time I pass Johnny, I will call out my mileage like usual, but when I come back, his eyes will shine a bit differently as I go past.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thank you rhythm section

I'm still struggling with motivation but I did push myself this morning and got out the door. I almost turned around at one point but then I noticed the drummer on "Melissa" by the Allman Brothers. There it was, whispering in my right ear, "step, step, step..." as I worked my way up the hill. On all the music this morning, I would hear the drum gently whispering in my ear to move along: just another step here, and here, and here again.....

By the time I turned the corner for the last 3/4's of a mile or so to home, I was good. I could feel my stride steadily continue on beyond the music so that when "Good Riddance" came on - which has no drums, I could pick up on the guitar and stay in tempo.

So thanks to the rhythm section for getting me through my 3.1 today. I really needed that.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A walk and a run

Last night was the Blues Run at the Marsh Post - one of the "big" races. It's a 4.2 mile course and last night 1300 runners showed up. I don't run the big races anymore. I work the finish chutes, but last night I got there early enough to walk the first loop before the race and, after the race I walked the second loop for my 4.2.

But I still needed to get my 3rd run in this week, so I laced up my running shoes this morning for my usual w5+r30+w5. It's getting to the time of year where it's warm in the mornings and warmer in the evenings, so I forget I have to change my hydration habits. On my way back I realized I had cotton mouth, so I stopped at a water fountain and it really slowed me down. While I was able to pick the run back up - something I wouldn't have done in the past - I realized that maybe it's time to think about how to hydrate during my runs now that summer is coming.

All in all, it was a good run this morning after a solid walk last night.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the Tuesday blahs

I was just not motivated to run this morning, so I didn't. It's not a couple of crappy runs either, it was just a motivation issue. So I had to ask: why am I sitting here in my running gear surfing the net instead of running?

Two reasons: Last night a cyclist was killed at an intersection along my running route. It heavily creeps me out that a person lost their life there and I think I need a little time and space before I run there again.

The other reason: what am I training for? I know I can consistently run a 3.1 distance. I've been doing that the past few weeks and I'm pretty comfortable with it. So what's next? This is the point where I need to pick a race distance and train for it. Probably a 10k. I know the one I was looking at on June 13 isn't happening for me - I have a work meeting that morning (feh!). That means I need to find something to work towards consistently and motivate me now that my challenges are all kind of tapering off until the summer.

So here's the deal: I will pick a 5k, 10k and half races to train for and lay out some training plans. I'll go for two runs this week (tomorrow and Friday most likely) and be back on track by my long run on Sunday. Then I'll have a reason to send my sorry butt out the door in the morning rather than surf the net.

As they say: it's a plan.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The craptastic run of suckitude

which turned into the walk of frustration. It happens and when it does, I ask myself: why?

I think I figured out why today. I didn't eat dinner last night.

Well, I didn't eat a good dinner. What I had for dinner last night and the night before was half a jar of Pedroia premium salsa with black beans and corn and half a bag of corn chips. Not exactly the fuel of champions.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to make myself a berrylicious smoothie of awesomeness, go to my weigh in and try again later. Perhaps just a long, pleasant walk along the river or something and then map out my workouts for the week. That should fix the problem for today and (hopefully) going forward.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Today Apple has challenged all their employees to walk 3k (1.8 miles) or run 5k (3.1 miles). I know there's a Thursday night race in honor of Buddy the Beagle tonight; however, that's a 2.6 mile course and I just don't like running at the end of the day.

So instead I decided I'd run this morning and go for a walk this evening with my husband at the Buddy tribute.

It's odd how at 7 am EDT and I'm watching the numbers from the folks in England and Germany appear. Later on I know I'll see the numbers from across the country appear and then off towards the Pacific Rim. It's not even 7:30 in the morning here but 125 people have all ready logged runs and I'm smack dab in the middle of the pack.

The other marker for me is the goal I set for myself: 50 miles in the month of May. Right now, I've complete 19.6 miles - which is pretty much on track. OK, I'm a half mile behind but I'll pick that up either tonight or with my long run on Sunday.

So the iWalk/iRun challenge is in the books... time for a shower and to head into work. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another day, another 5k

I headed out this morning for a 30 minute run. I didn't want to push hard, I just want my body to be "Oh yeah, it's Tuesday. Time for another half hour run...." So off with a comfortable pace today. I did my usual pattern: walk for 5 minutes, run for 30 minutes and cool down with another 5 minute walk before doing my PT exercises.

For the 50 miles in May goal I set for myself, I'm right on track. I know that I set a 100 miles between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July - which is what the May goal was about for me. If I could do that, then I could do the holiday challenge at work.

Right now I'm struggling with finding the right exercises to add in order to deal with a bit of heel whip I'm having with my right foot. When I'm aware of it, I can focus a bit on how my foot is positioning itself and such, but I know I need to do something... I'm just not sure what. People talk about crap like Q angles and such. It's all Greek to me.

Is it that I need to be a better informed runner or just shut up and deal? I personally have no idea. For now it's hitting the intertubz to see what I can find in terms of training.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


Reframing is one of those psych terms used along with "changing the negativity tape" and other sorts of phrases. What it really means is "wake up dumb ass."

This morning's long run was a reframing run. Right now it's difficult for me. It wasn't that long ago that I would go for a 5-6 mile run on a Sunday morning. Running a 10k race was a comfortable challenge and I enjoyed it. This morning I had to literally talk myself into 3.5 miles.

First it was the "I know it's up hill, but it will be down hill when you turn around..." speech in my head. Then came the "This is the farthest you've run in a long time..." speech. On the way down the hill it was, "Hey, it's all down hill from here..." before the, "C'mon, just 5 more minutes..." and then the landmarks. There were times when my legs were heavy and I just didn't feel like it was in me. I began to ask myself: "Why?"

Why am I beating myself up for not being where I was before injuries? Why am I beating myself up for pushing myself on my runs but not on race courses? Why can't I just enjoy this like I used to?

The answer is simple: because I knew I could do better once and want to do better again. Like all things this takes time and I can be rather impatient with myself. I demand more of myself than perhaps others do in situations like this.

But I did it. I ran my 3.5 miles today. I've had better runs and I've had worse. I'll go out and do it again next Sunday as well... maybe on a race course, maybe not. We'll see. Right now, I'm reacquainting myself with running on a regular basis and that requires a lot of rethinking - reframing if you will - who I am and what I am capable of at this moment in time. Not what I could do years ago, but, rather, what I can do now.

So put me down for 3.5 thinking about it miles today. Soon it will be just another 3.5 mile run but for now, I'll think about it.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Let the Races Begin

Last night was the first Marsh Post race of the season.

These races are a 2.6 mile course along the river and I tend to struggle with running in the evening, but I love these weekly races. I love the people, I love the community and I love a relaxed race environment.

But I'm still not 100%

So I took off with the others, not expecting much. I decided to keep up with a couple of friends. One is recovering from an injury and the other was keeping him company. I ran with them along the route, a little bit faster and harder than I normally do. I pushed myself pretty hard, but it felt good. After 2 miles, I had to slow it down to a quick walk off and on until the end.

I crossed the finish at the 33 minute and change mark for just over a 12 minute pace. That's my old running pace! That feels pretty good.

As for the music I ran to, it was the mix I put together for the Doyle's 5 miler - that race I wasn't ready for that turned into a 2 mile run and 3 mile walk. The other night I realized just how good a mix it really is. It has a nice pace, a nice rhythm and a lot of good music.

Here's to a new season of Thursday nights and hopefully, by the end of the season, faster and faster times.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me!

On May 1, 2006, I started a couch to 5k program. The idea was to get my son running for lacrosse and I knew he wouldn't do it alone.

On May 1, 2010, I spent the day spreading mulch and gardening thinking about how after two pretty big injuries, I am now able to run a 5k. I thought about finding a 5k nearby to celebrate; however, with the walk for hunger in Boston and the March of Dimes walk in Lowell ... there's nothing really nearby. So I went back to my "challenge" route back in the day: Heartbreak Hill. It's still a challenge, don't get me wrong, but not like it was back in the day.

It felt good to be back. After a grade 3 sprain. After a partial achilles tear. After regaining the 15 pounds I shed when I was running, I was still out there. I was still running and my pace is increasing. Thursday night will be the first night of the Marsh Post runs which are every Thursday until the end of September.

I'm back bitches... I'm back. :)