Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Always ready for a good time

So it's a recovery week and we are a little loopy. I mean, come on now, only 25 miles max this week?!?! It's been great!! Today was the first run since Sunday.

Even during more serious weeks Joe and I aren't the super stars of the track on Wednesday nights. I at least try to pretend I know what I'm doing, Joe doesn't even put in that much effort. He's very open about the fact that he believes track is a terrible form of torture and he would be happier sitting on the sidelines chatting with anyone and everyone who walks by. He's kind of the kid in your 5th grade class that everyone just laughs at and is not sure why. (I love him and can say these things.)

So tonight was like most track nights and we did our thing. Who knew that the best show was yet to come? After the run we headed out for what was meant to be a cool down. The problem being Damian decided to tag along or Joe invited him, I'm not sure how it happened. Now I am no longer the slowest woman on the track, but pretty close and Joe is not that much faster than me, Damian on the other hand, can shut down anyone on the track and not even break a sweat. Why Joe insisted on cooling down with us was beyond me. He can walk faster than we can run! I kept my mouth shut and went along beside them. At one point I look at my watch and we were hitting a 9:30 pace, now this is my long run pace NOT for a cool down! Damn them! I tired to hang back but they didn't get the hint so I decided to ruin their fun.

With a quarter mile to go we sent Joe out with a 30 second head start with Damian following behind. It was painful to watch, but well worth the laughs. Poor Joe, even from a distance you could tell he was pushing it and what was even funnier is that you could also tell that Damian was gaining and he wasn't pushing it! It was like watching a show on animal planet where the beast is chasing the prey! Before long they were both gone and I settled down into my much slower and more comfortable cool down pace. By the time I reached the track they were both doubled over, breathing like they had just finished a track workout and not a cool down. Joe lost, although he tried, maybe next time we'll give him 30 seconds plus Damian can only run backwards!

Days till NYC: 94 (95 days til the heels come back out)
Miles trained today: 5

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Running, Biking, Swimming, Oh my!

I write this blog about my running and really try to keep it focused, but today I have to include my foray into the world of triathlons. Back in the dark and dismal days of my foot injury, I felt that I would never be able to run long distances again. Since we all know I'm not built for speed I choose to try my hand in a triathlon. Now at the time I decided to do this I was biking and swimming 5-6 days a week.

Fast forward to the present day. I am running long distances again and haven't been near the pool or on a bike in over 2 months. What the hell was I thinking?? And to make matters worse, my sister registered with me so I couldn't just back out and pretend I forgot. Today was the day of the Crabman Sprint Triathlon, 1/4 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike ride and a 5k. Oh God!

The swim was first and the most nerve wracking from my perspective. I had been having nightmares about it all week. When she inked my numbers onto my arm during check in I wanted to ask if I should also list my blood type for when I was dragged out of the water. We were in the hot pink swim cap wave and I anxiously watched 3 groups start swimming before me. No emergencies that I could see. We just had to swim straight out, take a left at the buoy, swim straight to the next buoy, take another left and swim till we hit sand. I can do this! The race director starts to count down to our start, I come close to peeing my pants. Before I know it we are in the water. Let me tell you how much it sucks to try to swim, breath and watch where you are going all while keeping an eye on the buoy and not get dragged under by the surf. I did what you shouldn't do and panicked. Had I been able to figure out how to flag a lifeguard I would have, but how could they tell I needed help with all of us in the water. I decided it was safer to stick it out. I couldn't tell how fast I was going, but every-time I looked up the buoy was no closer. Finally the straight away, well sort of. I have a hard time swimming straight in the pool with the lanes clearly established so the ocean completely messed me up. By the time I reached the 2d buoy I should have felt a sigh of relief, but I remembered how hard it was to get out this deep. Now I was tired. When you are tired on the road you can stop, in the water with no sight of the bottom, you do nothing but keep going. They had said to swim until you feel sand in your hands. Every stroke I was grasping for the sand and it felt like forever until I felt it. Finally I was climbing out of the water, I had not drown! No time to celebrate, this wasn't a swim race, I still had 2 more events.

Running to my bike I threw on my sneaks and shirt quickly and headed out. This was actually my favorite part of the day. We were tooting around the back roads of South Kingstown and I was on a high that my life had not ended. At this point I decided I just needed to enjoy myself. There were some bikers taking themselves really seriously and I would grin when they would pass me. I felt even better when I started to pass others. It was a two loop course so finishing one I knew what I was in for. Pulling into the beach parking lot I felt great! Come on now, a quarter mile swim followed by my longest outdoor bike ride this year, this was great!! I cheered for myself getting off the bike.

Then it hit me, or it hit my leg muscles, the pain! I had heard that the hardest transition is bike to run, but hadn't prepared myself for how awful it would feel. I ran by Joe and shouted "this hurts". My high was quickly faltering. I can't give up now, I'm a runner! I wasn't going to let this part do me in, so I dug in. I decided I would do what my body would let me and not walk. We hit the first mile marker and I was in shock, it can't only be a mile, I'm close to death again. They had to be wrong, it felt like 2 miles! Oh well and I kept going. Things started to loosen up after 1.5 miles and my mood was improving. I was going to finish this! We hit the final stretch, I was moving more quickly than when I had started. We turned the corner to the crowd and the most disappointing thing a runner can see, the crowd was silent. Screw them! Cheer for me!! I didn't die!! I'm finishing a triathlon!! I again was screaming and cheering for myself and having a great time. The crowd got into it and before I knew it we were done.

One more thing off my list!

Days till NYC: 87
Miles trained today: 3.2

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh, The Blessing

I'm not even where to begin with this one. Maybe it started this morning, when we went to grab some Gu and found we were out. 14 miles was going to hurt with no Gu. It was a small misstep, the first of many tonight. Then lets fast forward to the 2pm slab of icecream cake, very tasty, very bad idea. I had to eat it, it was for my b-day. 4 hours before gun time, I'd digest it (around mile 8 I was cursing it).

Now lets move to the drive down to Narragansett. A 50 minute ride took close to 2 hours. We sat on Rte 1 for 12 minutes waiting to get off the highway, debating if we would make it in time. We parked the car and had 8 mins to get the half mile to get our numbers and hit the starting line. We thought we might actually make it when we could see people lined up and then the gun went off. Can we please catch a break?!? Oh well, we keep jogging to the registration table, only to find they didn't have our on-line registration. I wasn't about to fork over another $60 for this. They were nice enough to take our word for it and give us new numbers. At this point we are pushing 10 minutes past 6, what's the rush?? We took our time, hit the restrooms and finally headed to the now empty starting line.

It was pretty funny that we were running alone for the first 2 miles. I wondered if it would be like this the whole time, luckily we caught up to the pack of the pack just before mile 3. Our official time for the first mile was 19:05! Hysterical!! Now I had planned to time ourselves and realized at mile 3 I hit the wrong button and my watch had not been running since the start. Nothing else can go wrong, please!! It's too bad, I'm not ordinarily focused on comparing my times from year to year, but had been curious about this one. Now I have no idea, I'm not sure how far off we started from the gun time and didn't push go on my watch when crossing the start line. I do know how it felt. Much better than last year, a lot of that had to do with the weather, it was perfect for running. Muted sun, cool breezes, low humidity, last year was nothing but hot brutal sun. Maybe because we didn't start with everyone else, or because we have more confidence but this year felt comfortable and enjoyable. For most of it we were smiling and joking, who cares when you finish when you started dead last!

After finishing, all I wanted was water. Too bad there was none to be found. We didn't have much time to complain because the race was 10 miles and we ran a mile before starting, leaving 3 miles to run at the end. I wish I could say our good times continued for these miles, but they were terrible. We called it after 2 when we passed the car. Not shabby, I'll take it. Next year I won't eat icecream cake, I will have Gu and I will take a half day off of work and I will only run the 10 miles. All that said and done, I'm glad we ran, even if it truly was our own race!

Days till NYC: 99
Miles trained today: 13

Thursday, July 23, 2009

100 Days

100 days to go! Almost there, not really but it's getting closer. Tomorrow we will hit the double digits. I'm starting to worry a little, not too much, but it's there. That fear of injury. Never did I think I wouldn't be able to run the Providence Marathon. I'm not the kind of runner who gets hurts, it's those fast ones that get hurt. Well I was that runner. When can I get really excited about NYC? When will the training be enough? Last night I felt a little tightness in my calves, so focused on stretching (and yes I'm still wearing heels during the day). Will this turn into anything? Today felt fine, but still any little ache causes me pause, will it morph into a bigger injury. For now I'm trying to stay out of my head and focused on the miles. Trying to be smart about it. Trying to enjoy it (although marathon training isn't really THAT enjoyable). 100 days to go, just a few more runs between now and then. My legs can hang in for it, right?

Days till NYC: 100
Miles trained today: 7

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yeah, that's right, bring it!!

So I did it tonight. I ran to track! Seems like not a big deal, but who else has done it? That's right, I dare you to try it. I've been planning it for a few weeks, and always found a reason not to run. There is something about running to an event that seems overwhelming to me. I've thought about running to work and never done it. It's not like a routine run where all you have to do is run. Tonight I had to get somewhere and be there at a certain time. Things could go wrong, what if my timing was off!? What if I got lost? What if I had an injury and had to walk? Who knows what could go wrong!!?? It was only 3 miles, but a very specific 3 miles. Too bad for me that between my house and the Brown track and 2 rather large hills. To go around the hills means an added 2 miles and today I didn't have it in me. My plan was to be direct and quick, meaning I had to go over the hills. I actually didn't simmer down until almost 2 miles into the run. I kept talking myself into turning around. Luckily I didn't and kept on running. Coming down Rochambeau I had a smile like hitting a finish line!! I survived the hills!! I survived the highway over pass!! I survived the daylight!! I survived the heat!! I just RAN to track!! What the hell is wrong with me??

Now I had to survive the track workout, and too bad for me it was a quick workout so I had another 2 miles on the road before packing it up and heading home. I have to say though I have been grinning ever since, maybe I'm delirious from dehydration or maybe it from conquering my anxiety about running to a place, but I'll take it regardless! Bring on NYC, I'm ready (well not yet but working on it)!

Days till NYC: 101
Miles trained today: 7

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

yet another run

That's what today felt like, nothing special. It served no purpose other than to get the miles in. What's funny though it how quickly running comes and goes. Before I got injured we were running 50+ miles a week, long runs were 16-20 miles, daily runs were 7-10 miles. I remember being so proud of us and then the injury struck. It knocked me out for 3 months and I gave up the marathon. Nothing serious to anyone but me (any maybe Joe who got sick of paying for my runs on the g-trainer). I remember whining about the fact that I would never regain this level of fitness. If you had asked me then I was certain that running would never be the same. Come on now, me running 7-10 miles a day before work, it was unreal and in a heartbeat gone. Well today I recalled that irrational thinking, here we were a few months later and getting back to that point. Most of my runs are now 7+ and in a few weeks will be even more. So today's run was nothing but a reminder that I've done this before and will continue to do so. I'm not sure why running this much matters to me, but it does. Today it mattered enough to get us out of bed and on the roads in the rain!

Days till NYC: 102
Miles trained today: 7

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What goes down, sometimes comes back up

So it was hot again today. I was hesitant from the get go, thinking about leaving the long run for tomorrow and going easy today. Once I got going I ran out of excuses and when I thought about turning around after 2 miles Angela and Anne-Marie joined me and convinced me to go a little further. Before I knew it we were 6 miles deep, too late now. No problem for the most part things felt alright, no big aches and pains. My new partner is a talker so we chatted for a while and I tried to distract myself from the task at hand. I have to apologize to all though, running up Angell St was a very mean thing to make you all do. I'm sorry and promise to fix that if we ever run this route again. So we finished up back at the Edge, but I wasn't really done. It had only been 10 miles and I need 13. What to do? Anne-Marie left us and Joe wasn't feeling up to it. So we went home, I got Mia ready and we headed out for what should have been an easy 3 miles. Here's the problem, during the time we sat at the Edge and debated about when to run the final 3 miles, I downed several large glasses of water. So about 1.7 miles into my 3 miler that water didn't stay in and I didn't sweat it out! Yep, I tossed my cookies on my run. It was not pleasant but I have to say I have a small amount of stupid pride. Loosing it on a run is similar to a little chafe, if you aren't running hard or long these things don't happen. It's a badge of honor. Now Joe completely disagrees with me and has already yelled about listening to my body and proper hydration and the risks of heat exhaustion...blah blah blah. Here's the thing I got my miles in and he didn't! A half marathon complete for no reason other than I can on a random Saturday! Lesson learned, no more large water breaks during a run and will be more careful during this weather, don't need to repeat the act again this summer :)

Days till NYC: 105
Miles trained today: 13

Friday, July 17, 2009

Am I being punished?

We run in the morning to avoid bad weather, especially in the summer. What went wrong today? Was it because I cut in line at the DMV? I don't know why it happened, but we got up at quarter of 5 and expected to beat the heat. Instead we got out there and it felt like high noon. Instantly I was sweating. To make it worse we decided on running a new route. Ordinarily this can be exciting, something different. Too bad that today the new route involved way more hills than required on an easy Friday morning run. Once we hit Mineral Spring Ave the fog rolled in, we couldn't see beyond the next block, this was going to be interesting. The highlight of this route was going to be running along the water on Rte. 7. Rather than water all we saw was more fog! At this point we couldn't see more than a few feet in front of us. So what do we have, heat, humidity, hills, and fog....a great run. I'm glad I got up for this one! The new route was basically a rectangle, so we had very few turns and some very long straight aways. On Twin River Road, I thought I was going to die out there. It just seemed to go on for hours, I wondered how long we would be out there before someone came searching. Finally 246, Charles St. We live off of this road and it should be downhill, here comes the easy stretch! Too bad we were close to 3 miles from home, but we had made it this far. 7.5 miles before work in terrible conditions. When we made it home we were soaked and it wasn't all sweat. I wrung my shirt out in the bathroom and it was similar to if I had come in from a rainstorm. It felt like a punishment and all I did to deserve it was enter a stupid lottery not fully thinking of the consequences if our numbers got picked!

Days till NYC:106
Miles trained today: 7.5

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why oh Why

I'm not sure what made me decide last night to suddenly become rigid in my training. I really questioned this at 5am when the alarm started going off. It couldn't possibly be time to run again! We got off the track last night after a rough workout in the heat and now here it is, less than 10 hours later and it's time to run again. Shit! This was going to hurt. Unlike other mornings, there was no talk of rescheduling the run. We got ready in silence, knowing what we were each thinking, and headed out the door. I wish I could say once we got moving things got easier, but that was not the case. Things were tight and uncomfortable the whole time. Once we got far enough away from the house that the urge to turn around and walk home subsided there was some idle chatter. By the time it was over though things started to improve. A morning run wakes you up more than any amount of coffee, by the time I got in the car things were perfectly aligned. I was ready to tackle my day. Too bad I crashed at 9:30am and was ready to return to bed! Let's see how tomorrow goes!!

Days till NYC: 107
Miles trained today: 4

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

20 weeks

So it's started for real!! Training for NYC. I know, I have been training. But now it starts for real. 20 weeks out, no more slacking, no more excuses. I have spent the last week pining over my schedule, must say it looks pretty. That's not going to help me cross the finish line, so I have to make that pretty schedule translate into hard miles. I pledge that starting this week I will plan my miles in advance and unless stopped by injury will get them done as planned. I pledge no skipping long runs. No more getting cornered at the end of the week!

Here's the thing, I'm still pissed about the Providence Marathon. We ran the Breakers and finished it, but Providence was supposed to be our marathon. We trained hard and were focused and then the dreaded injury. Joe doesn't get it, he still got to run. He improved from his Breakers finish time, I still haven't had that chance. It's a hard pill to swallow and I'm not over it. I won't be over it until I finish a marathon better than the Breakers. I'm not doing 2 track workouts, 1 hill workout and a long run a week to have a shitty time. I want this and I want it bad.

Days till NYC: 108
Miles trained today: 7

Saturday, July 11, 2009


This was going to be tough. Joe is running a race today, so that leaves me to run alone today. We have plenty going on this afternoon so it was going to happen this morning or never. It came close to not happening, I was stalling. It wasn't until Mia pulled me out the door. She wouldn't calm down this morning, it was like she knew it was going to me be and her. Enough already! We got going, 30 mins late, but we were running. Some would complain about the weather this morning, it was in the 50s, in my opinion perfect running weather. We had the roads to ourselves. The nice thing about running with Mia is I don't have to worry about going out too hard, she has one speed and won't allow me to push past it. We took one of our old winter running routes and recycled it. This route is nice for early mornings. We run along roads that are typically filled with traffic and people, but early in the morning we owned the roads. Heading down Mineral Spring, we were alone, passed one woman on her way to the bus stop. There was some light traffic at Lonsdale, but it quickly thinned. I wondered where everyone was, from my perspective it was a nice day out. Running down North Main only some buses passed us, to Mia's dismay. She hates kids, bikes, and trucks and busses, we survived it. I almost couldn't believe it when we hit Charles St for the last 2 miles. For a run that almost didn't happen we were having a blast. We made it home and don't have long to relax before moving on to the next item on our to do list today, but the run was out of the way!

Days till NYC: 112
Miles trained today: 7

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Perfect Night

It was 4:50am, the alarm went off. We got up, got dressed, close to out the door....and then we went back to bed. It was just too much. So tonight we regrouped and thank God we did because it ended up being perfect! With all the complaints about the weather I haven't heard enough about what it's been good for. It's been great running weather. Nice and cool, not too humid! As we turned onto the Blvd there was a sea of people running towards us. It was exhilarating to see all those other people out there. If it had been typical weather for a July evening we would have been hiding in AC. Going up Hope St we had to dodge people all over the sidewalks, more people enjoying themselves! A cop cheered us along when we had a half mile to go. I'm so glad we got called back to bed or we would have missed this!

Day's till NYC: 114
Miles trained today: 7

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Do or Die

So I've backed myself into a corner this week. I ned to get in 37-39 miles and had planned to run 6 days with one day off. Well it's Wednesday and I haven't run at all this week. That means I have 4, 6.5 mile runs and a 12 miler ahead of me. Yep, that sucks! So today I had a plan, I would run to track and get my miles in that way. A great plan, until the storms rolled in. I had one foot out the door tonight when the skies turned back and the thunder started. After much debating I drove to the track. When I got there it was still a downpour. What I really going to do this? I have no choice. I got out of the car and slowly dragged myself onto the track. Not even halfway through my first lap there was a BEAUTIFUL rainbow in the sky. It was perfectly formed and had incredibly sharp colors. By the time I finished that lap it was gone. But it was just enough for me. Had I dragged my feet any longer I would have missed it. And, had I been on track with my mileage this week I wouldn't have been there early, so I was meant to see it. I'll get my miles in, I have my motivation for the week.

Days till NYC:115
Miles trained today: 6.5

Friday, July 3, 2009

My slow partner

Mia runs with us about once a week, her longest distance to date is about 8 miles. To say she runs with us is an overstatement. She quickly walks next to me, never breaking into a run or even a jog. It's pretty embarrassing to be going full out, breathing heavy with sweat pouring down my face and I look next to me and she's just walking along. Her running career started about a year and a half ago when Joe was injured. I didn't want to run alone so I volunteered her for the job. She doesn't mind running in the rain or cold, but with the heat, she doesn't go out if it's over 70ish. Mia, like most women, struggles with her weight and therefore continues to run. With a weekly run she keeps her weight to a svelte 35lbs, any higher and the vet starts to nag us about her diet. Little does he know it's hard for runners to control their appetites!

Up until recently we have been perfectly matched training partners, but we've hit a snafu. I'm getting too fast for her. She prefers a 10 min mile. This allows her to walk along with no effort, as we've gotten faster her endurance has started to suffer. At a 9:20 pace she can hang for 3-4 miles and then she poops out. Part of me wonders if it's an act because at the faster pace she doesn't have enough time to sniff out the route. Every runner strives to achieve more speed, but it's tough when you become faster than your running partner. Now if I started to get faster than Joe I would be psyched and rub his nose in it, fortunately I don't have this competitive spirit with Mia.

I'm not ready for Mia to retire from running, but I'm not sure how Bob will take it if I tell him I had to hold back so my dog could run with me. For now I keep her at the 5 mile distance and pace myself to ensure I don't outrun her before we hit the car, it would be quite the workout to have to run the last 2 miles carrying my 35lb running partner.

Days till NYC: 120
Miles trained today: 5

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why do I run?

I'll be honest, running is not my favorite activity, but yet I spend hours doing it. So today, in honor of the fact I have completed not 1 but 2 track workouts this week I am going to list the top 10 reasons why I run.

1. I like to eat without thinking about if I will gain weight. Since I started to run I have found that it doesn't matter what I eat.
2. I like to brag. There is nothing like hot dogging it at work about my 7 mile run that morning.
3. I like to run with my dog Mia. Anyone who knows me, knows that I like Stanley way more than Mia. But the dog can run!
4. I like to bitch about how much I hate to run. What can I say, I'm a help rejecting complainer :)
5. I like that I get better at it.
6. I've met nice people who run. At this point if I quit running I would have to leave New England, too many people who peer pressure me to return.
7. I like to own the streets. There is something that happens at 5:30am on the streets when no one else is out there, it's amazing.
8. I like to be outside. Since we have started running we spend so much more time outdoors, there is nothing like fresh air to clean your mind.
9. I want to get faster than Joe. Mark my words, it may not happen until we are racing each other with canes, but I will beat the bastard in a 5k someday!
10. I like how it makes me feel. I felt terrible going into tonight's workout and after a tough workout I'm feeling at peace with where things are in my life right now.

Days till NYC: 122
Miles trained today: 5