Friday, February 27, 2009


Lately it has taken me over 10 minutes to get dressed for running. Almost as much time as it takes for me to run a mile! Today I was done in under 5! We missed the alarm this morning, which left us with an evening run. I’ll be honest; we almost didn’t make it out there. By the time Joe came home I was snoozing on the sofa, the wind was howling. After a few minutes of debate, closer to 45 minutes, we got geared up. It was still 55 degrees! Hitting the road felt great, there was no burn when the wind hit us. It was a regular run at a regular pace. It wasn’t until today when I realized how much pressure the cold weather has on us to get the run done as fast as possible. Today I was out and about, peering in windows of those who were too dumb to pull their blinds. Before I knew it we were turning around at the top of the hill on East Ave, the wind had been behind us to this point. Even in our faces it wasn’t bad, in some ways refreshing. Heading down the Blvd, I was reminded of the New Bedford Half Marathon from last year. It had been our first half marathon and what we had trained for all winter. It was a surprisingly warm day and much like today we ran into a warm breeze for several miles. Before we hit the end of the Blvd, someone drove by and beeped and waved. Who knows who it was, but hello back to you. Heading up the other end of the Blvd, things felt strong, we were moving at a nice clip. For about a mile we compared stories about our work days and then fell back into the running. I run slightly behind Joe, close enough to touch him, and prefer him to be on my right side. I don’t know how or when we established this pattern, but if we are out of sync I move to correct it. Heading up Elmgrove we were lapped several times by a “showoff”. AKA: someone who takes running more seriously than us and is more focused. He didn’t look like he was enjoying himself nearly as much as we were. Before I knew it we were back at the car. I have to say it was nice not to have winter nipping at our heels, I know it will be back again before the end of the weekend. For tonight I’ll take it, it was a nice taste of spring.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back to Basics

The alarm went off at 4:45 am. It had been a while since an early morning run, we had transitioned to evening runs. But alas we could not abandon the early mornings. Off we went, the wind was howling and the temps were in the mod twenties. I didn’t even think about what we were getting ourselves into. It couldn't be worse than the wet run from last night. Dressed for cold I had on 3 pairs of pants, 4 shirts paired with gloves and a hat, 10 steps into the run I was overheated. I lost the gloves and scarf. Things went well, we got into our rhythm. At the top of the hill on East Ave we picked it up a little. A run with a little banter is a good run. After a mile or so our partner picked it up and left us in the dust. No worries, I’m not trying to win the marathon, just finish it. Around Butler I noticed how light it was getting. I also noticed how nice this run felt. Part of me expected to be sore, it was day three of running, but no pain. We turned up the other side of the Blvd and there was some conversation about where the route should go next. Worried about the time, we headed towards Elmgrove Ave. Things were going right along, we regrouped and were all going at the same pace again. I realized how cold it must have been when our partner’s sweat was forming icicles on her hair. It didn’t feel that bad out, thankfully. Heading up Elmgrove I started to feel that nagging pain in my left ankle again. This pain has been on and off for a few weeks now. Last night I had a debate with my coach about what impact my work shoes were having on it. I’m not ready to give up my heels yet, I’m going to try an ankle brace first. Regardless we were at the end of the run and I could see the car. At this point I was running on the opposite side of the road from Joe and he was slightly ahead. I tried to push it and overtake him. Unfortunately I picked it up too soon and couldn’t hold it until the end. He saw what I was doing and picked it up as well. He won this sprint to the car but we’ll have more to compete against each other!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Run, Interrupted

Off we went this morning, goal complete 14 miles. We were on our regular 4.2 mile loop. First loop complete! We lost our compadrie after that loop, her excuse; she had a kid at home who wanted to play. Joe and I stood around and debated stopping early, unable to come up with a good enough excuse we started out for loop #2. The weather was nice, in the 40’s with full sun and no wind. Just as we finished loop 2 I though the next 5.5 miles would be no sweat. Then the unthinkable happened, my running partner got sick. He wasn’t going to be able to go again! This had not happened to us yet! What to do, what to do?!?! I couldn’t leave him so we headed home. I promised myself I would get the 5.5 in later in the day. Those miles followed me around like a heavy weight. It got worse when the skies opened up and it began to rain all day. Around 5:30 I ran out of excuses. Joe was still not feeling up to running. No one else was dumb enough to head out there in this weather. Wait, I spoke too soon. I had forgotten about old faithful, Mia, my boring brown dog. I knew she could hang. I didn’t tell her about the rain when I got her ready to run. Poor thing, she was so excited, tail wagging, prancing around the house. Off we went. She did well, once we got out there it wasn’t as bad as I expected. The worst part was our anxieties about running alone at night in the dark. Both of us spook pretty easily. Since I’m here blogging about it, clearly, we completed the run safely. Back in the car we were dripping wet, but not cold, at least I wasn’t. I’m not sure she will follow me out of the house so willingly next time, but for today we got our miles in.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

13 miles

It was 14 degrees with the wind this morning, it took me less than 14 seconds to decide to put off running until after work and go back to bed. As I was changing for work, I really had no intention of completing all the miles. Come on now, 13 miles, that’s a half marathon. As I waited for my running partner several runners passed me by, if they are out there I had no excuse. I started out on the first 6.5 mile loop, surprisingly things felt good. No ankle pain, no shin splints. I started to feel the weight of the day fall behind me, that’s saying a lot, today was a Tuesday after a 3 day weekend. We made quick work of the first loop and now the real challenge, I had to wait for Joe and start the whole thing again. Water…Gu…here he is. I stopped for only 3 minutes, but it was long enough to become soaked in sweat. This was going to suck. Off we went, his first loop, my second loop. Things were good until I hit the Blvd. I started to get very hungry. At the cross with Elmgrove, I glanced longingly and thought about cutting it short. Not giving in, we ran forward. At Rochambeau I had thoughts again about cutting it short. If I did that I would have nothing to brag about. A few steps past Rochambeau I knew I had to finish. To be honest at the end of the Blvd., I thought I was going to die. My hunger was full blown and it was getting cold. Some how I tuned it all out and pushed up the last mile and a half. Last time around I remembered how strong I felt, this time I was tired but still moving. I tried to focus on my form. Before I knew it we were turning on Intervale, not much left to go. Joe pulled ahead, I noticed that with every breath out he was engulfed in a pocket of steamy air. When I started running the sun was out and it was still somewhat warm. Finally the stadium, I had done it. 13 miles after work. 2 years ago I could barely run 3 miles, needless to say I’m pretty proud.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just me and my dog

Changing things up today. I didn’t run the same route at the same time with the same old people (sorry guys). In fact there was an extended period of time where I decided I was not going to run at all today. After getting dinner in the oven I realized I had over an hour and nothing to do, well nothing I wanted to do. Maybe I felt guilty, who knows, but I decided to go for a run. Joe wanted nothing to do with the idea so I would be on my own. Not wanting to run alone in the dark I leaned on my old running partner. Mia, my dog. She has put some miles down in the past but lately it’s been too cold and we’ve been running too far. Today would be perfect; it’s warm enough and only 3 miles. We hit the road and took off quick, no time to waste. I felt like we flew through it, too bad I didn’t time it. Running 3 miles isn’t bad, before I knew it we were done. I didn’t have time to ponder the meaning of life or guess which body part would get frostbitten first. No wonder people enjoy running, if you aren’t training for a marathon you can get it done quick!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

the god awful parkway

I’ve been neglectful this week. Running has not matched with the rest of my life. After a panicked call to the coach, it was agreed I could recover this week and run what I could and next week get back into the swing of things. Saturday allowed for an opportunity to run part of the marathon route. Sounded like a great idea. We arrived at the Edge a few minutes early, instantly I started to plan my morning. If no one else showed, we weren’t going to run. Fat chance, we were joined by other eager runners in a few moments. Oh well, lets get tis over with.

Crossing the Henderson Bridge, I was going too fast, but it felt good. It was colder than I had expected or wanted it to be. Focusing on speed meant I wasn’t focused on the temperature. Not long after hitting the other side of the bridge, I fell back with my regular group, going at my regular pace. By now I had pissed off my legs, nothing like taking off like a shot without warming up in frigid temps. We stopped for a few minutes to stretch. I would be lying it I didn’t admit to wanting to turn back around and hit the car, alas we pushed forward.

I can tell you one thing, this marathon is going to suck. If you are planning on coming to cheer, please do me a favor, drive up Vet’s Parkway in East Providence, now image running up that. I told you it’s going to suck. Down by Dairy Bee, we turned back onto the bike path, if we had been on bikes I would have wished for it to be open. Unfortunately soft serve ice-cream in the middle of a 10 mile run it not a good idea, it better not be open during that marathon, that would be a bad joke.

Coming back along the bike path was nice and flat, but the wind was full on in our faces. Within minutes I couldn’t feel my chin. I would have complained but I could look to my left and see the dreaded parkway and was thankful we didn’t have to deal with that on the way back.

Overall a good run, I need to do more of these on the bike path. Newport was bearable because we had become so familiar with the route. The problem with this is East Providence is apparently very hilly and the people who designed this route are terrible running terrorists. Call me when they create a marathon on a fairly flat or with the slightest downhill grade.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hell on Earth

The alarm went off at 7, my mouth was dry, my head was pounding. As I landed hard on my pillow I thought “there’s no way”. Just as I began to shut my eyes again, a feeling a guilt washed over me. Let me at least try and run. By 9am I had downed 2 pieces of peanut butter toast, too much water and some Excedrin.

I had trouble managing my i-pod when I arrived at the starting point, but was determined to try for 16 miles. Never mind the fact I had been out until the wee hours the night before and enjoyed myself too much. 16 miles on a good day fully prepared is difficult, this was going to be impossible. We took off and at first it felt good. 2 miles in my shins started to ache, I knew it wouldn’t last the whole time and pushed on. I decided that no matter what, I would finish. Decided it was my punishment. I’ll never be able to complete the marathon if I punk out on the long runs. We did this same route 2 weeks ago, I can do it again today.

We finished the first 4.2 mile loop with a 10 min pace, not too shabby. Water…Gu…back on the road. Heading back down Angell St., my quads started to tighten. This was bad, I’m on mile 5 and already pooped. Around mile 7 I felt the Gu kick in and started to gain some pep in my step. Reached the car again, water…Gu…let’s go. Joe didn’t look good, I didn’t feel good. There was an unspoken understanding between us that this was hell and if we talked too much we wouldn’t finish.

Off we went, I have neglected to mention how nice the weather was. At this point in my run, I was dressed in shorts and a tank, the sun felt great on my shoulders. That’s the only thing that felt great. When we turned on to Elmgrove, I was dragging. We still had about 5 miles to go. It was going to be a hard finish. Last stop at the car, everything hurt, I had stopped paying attention to my watch.

We headed down Hope St. for the last time. That first mile was the hardest, we were so close to the car, the urge to turn around was unreal. We ran by a man and his daughter who we ran by earlier in the day. I wanted to shout to him how far I had ran, it’s not like we were out for a quick 5 miles and I looked this bad. 16 god damn miles makes everyone look bad! When I saw the bank in Wayland Square, where we turn onto Angell, I thought I was hallucinating, finally the end was near. I don’t remember the last mile, before I knew it we were at the car. I can’t believe we finished it, hung-over and all. This posting is late because the run almost killed me, spent the rest of the day moping around the house.

No more drinking before a long run, lesson learned.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Backed into a corner

Somehow I end up here at the end of every week. It's Friday and I have over 30 miles to run. I don't know how it happens, every week I swear it won't happen again and here I sit. I would have run this morning but it was 3 degrees out and god only knows what the wind chill was. So that leaves me with 10 miles on Friday night, 7 miles on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. What the hell!!! Oh well, we have to get the miles in. I meet the crowd on Elmgrove Ave at 5:45, must admit there was a big push towards forgetting the run and going for beer. Someone reminded us that the miles must be done. Off we went. After a few minutes I was huffing and puffing, we had taken off too quickly due to the cold. Not too worry after a bit we settled into the routine and kept going. There was a lively debate about liking winter and being motivated. Although I love winter and prefer it to summer every year, it's getting old. Today my winter running outfit took me longer to put on than it takes me to run a mile. I'm a slow runner so it took a LONG time. I can barely recall the days of shorts, a tank and my sneaks. I'm also sick of the impact the winter has on my body. My face has permanent wind burn and my ankles and knees ache from Dec thru March due to the hard road surface. What do I love about it? I love that I run in this, I love that I can complain about running 50+ miles a week in the frigid temps that drive most indoors. I love that my physical and emotional well being is so important to me that running is up there in my priorities. Too bad it's not high enough for me to spread it out during the week and not have to cram it all in on the weekends. Ask me on Sunday afternoon if I still love winter running, also ask if I wore shorts!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Criteria for a good run

I saw it all the time, today was a "great run"! I'm wondering if I am defining a "great run" correctly. I want to compare my first 2 runs for this month.

Last night we had planned to do 10 miles after work, instead we slowly looped the Blvd, ending up with a measly 3.4 miles. My legs were sore the whole run. We stopped several times to stretch. Our pace was HORRIFIC, nothing I would ever admit to! Based on those facts I would have labeled it a "bad run". But I had fun! It was Joe and I after work, we were both in good spirits. The entire time was filled with jokes, laughs and stories from our day's. In that respect it was a "great run".

This morning was 10 miles starting before 5am. It was long and grueling. Many miles passed with little conversation. 10 miles takes enough time for even Joe to run out of things to say. There were times pushing it up the hills that I became sick to my stomach. We held it at a strenuous pace (at least for us it was). When we hit the last stretch, I thought this was a "great run".

How can they both be "great runs"? I have to learn to enjoy more than just the running itself. Many great people have joined us on our runs. Great conversations have been had as well as some BIG laughs! Running is individual as much as it is social. It can be a "great run", when it's been a run that you don't want to list in your training log. So come and join us, I promise it will be a "great run" in one way or the other!!