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. :)