Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good-bye 09

Today was the last run of 09, uneventful treadmill run, nothing special.  What is special is the year at a glace, the fact that I did run today, that I ran all year.  I faced 2 injuries during the year and countless hours at PT and the dreaded G trainer.  One marathon slipped out of reach and the other was more than I could have imagined it would have been.  There was a triathlon; I still thank God I didn’t drown.  2 10-mile races that were both adventures one due to weather and the other a late start, a 3 race challenge in Bermuda, countless road miles with friends and great laughs. 5k’s, Falmouth, and a 4 miler were also sprinkled in there throughout the year.  I’ve learned that I’m nothing if not determined, why else would I still be out there.   A new year of running means a new year of goals, new races, PR’s, more laughs; there is also the fear of failure, new injuries, and old injuries.  I hope I can achieve a balance between the extremes and continue to grow as a runner.  Looking forward to the Half Marathon Challenge with Jenn!  A 3rd marathon, Chicago??  Throw some more 13.1’s, 10k’s, 5k’s, mix in the never ending hours of morning runs and sprinkle that with track workouts and we have a great year planned.  Happy running and a Happy New Year to all!

Miles trained today: 3

Days till the Manhattan Half: 24

Monday, December 28, 2009


It never feels good to hear the alarm on Monday's, more so now because it's a signal that track is next on the schedule. 4:45am has become more difficult with my new found coffee obsession combined with the fact that I continue to brew pots well into the late afternoon.  This morning with 4 hours of broken sleep the alarm signaled it was time to go.  The plan was a 3 mile run outdoors before track.  To be honest I don't remember the ride there other than thinking Joe got lost as he was so far behind me.  When we started out my arms were off, my feet were barely shuffling.  Thank God it was a balmy 26 degrees with no wind, we could be lazy today.  The route takes us down Lloyd, I come from the perspective that to start with a downhill is a nicer way to start any run.  There was some delirious laughter and the eyes weren't staying open as long as they should.  We seemed to be the only 2 out and about.  Turning onto Elmgove I kept my focus on the road ahead, straining to see the blinking light in the distance that signals the turn up Rochambeau.  There was a slight frost so the debris on the side of the road seemed to shimmer slightly.  I noticed that I felt more awake, not fully there but my arms were moving at the correct angles and my feet were lifting fully off the ground.  Rochambeau is a good and a bad sign.  Good in that it signals that we are heading back towards the track, bad in that it's the start of the only 2 hills.  As we were running up, we passed a walker who had every inch of skin covered with several layers.  I'm not sure there were even real eye slits, we giggled about it turning on to Hope St.  Nothing left but getting up and down the hill now.  We ran by the Y and I smiled at those on the treadmill, forgetting that last week I was one of them!  Just as I had settled into this run we were turning into the parking lot.  The real running had yet to start, but at least we had finally woken up.

Miles trained today: 5ish
Days till the Manhattan Half: 27

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Flexibility and patience

This is my new training terms, flexibility and patience.  In the sense that my training models are a guide and not law.  I will no longer always focus on getting that last 10th of a mile in.  I will no longer fret all week about where I am in terms of my mileage goals.  If I get there great, if not lets look at why not and move on.  This week has been a perfect example of that, I am aiming for 25 miles for the week.  Had planned for a long run on 10 on Friday, we got up late and that didn't happen.  New plan, long run on 10 on Saturday, we only went 3.5.  Old me: time to freak!  New me: no problem, we'll aim for 6-7 for tomorrow and move on.  The more I stress about this the more of a chore it becomes.  I will get there, it will take me longer than those who have been running for years, but I'll get there.  Being patient and flexible with the plan will allow me to enjoy the process and hopefully result in a higher likely hood of achieving the goal.  Please remind me of this in a few weeks when I start to regress!

Miles trained today: 3.5
Days till the Manhattan Half: 29

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I'm looking for a running stipend, just a small one.  Enough that I can go to part time at work and have more flexibility with my running schedule.  It was so nice today to get up a little less early. Sip a cup of coffee before heading out.  We got in an easy 3 before hitting the track, there was no time pressure, just running the miles, didn't even bother with a watch.  We were able to attend the later track session, 7am.  Living life on the edge!  Track seemed more relaxed, there was no watching the clock, worrying about getting out on time to rush to work.  I had time for a short cool down and some idle chat afterwards.  The whole morning was a tough workout but had a very nice feel to it.  If all my mornings were like this I might just enjoy running a little more!  I don't want my stipend to be based on any expectation that my running will improve at all, just that I will have a more relaxed attitude about the whole thing. So if there is a sponsor out there who supports the the middle of the pack forward them my information.

Miles trained today: 6ish 
Days till the Manhattan Half: 31

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How bad do I want this?

To stay motivated during the winter months and not turn to an over abundance of cross training there has to be a desire to run.  Today my schedule got mucked up, we didin't get out there this morning and then my afternoon got screwed up with timing and traffic and messy roads.  It was treadmill or nothing.  Do I want this?   Todays run alone means nothing, it is only when it is combined with all of the other runs that it means something.  One run will not help with my goals, but all my runs will get me closer.  I needed today's run, there was no way around it.  I have 3 weeks of steadily increasing mileage ahead of me.  No one is telling me to do this, the only one counting the miles is me.  I am also the only one who will really care come race day what the numbers say.  Today I wanted it bad enough to run 4 miles in my basement on a treadmill.  

Miles trained today: 4
Days until the Manhattan Half: 33 days

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Half Hot Chocolate and Half Coffee

When we headed out this morning it was about 18 degrees and just the act of breathing the cold air in my mouth was painful.  I spent several minutes, probably close to the first mile thinking about how this run would be a waste.  There is no way I could last an hour and a half outside in this.  I had started to accept that this run was going to happen, when we turned onto North Main St and faced the wind head on, there aren't words to describe how awful it felt.  After battling the hill on Smith St., I was very focused on not missing our turn onto River.  To miss this left would mean an additional 1 mile and in this weather I might not have survived it!  I think I started to zone out on Chalkstone Ave, we had run this portion of the route earlier.  

Suddenly, after I don't know how long, I had a vision. A steaming cardboard cup of deliciousness (surprised that spell check knows this word), a large half coffee half hot chocolate.  I wondered if the Edge had served such a creation, if they didn't I would beg.  I imagined the smell of the chocolate mixing with the scent of coffee.  For a few miles I became lost in my dreams of this drink.  After I came back to earth and realized that we were STILL out there running, I remained focused on this hot beverage.  All I had to do was get to the coffee shop and it would be there waiting for me, coming up Gano St I might have started to drool while thinking about it. Finally we arrived in Wayland Square, I couldn't get to the counter fast enough. "Can I have a 1/2 hot chocolate, 1/2 coffee" a pause, what if they say no?!?!   "Sure".  It was as good as I had dreamed, this hot beverage is the reason I survived the run today.

Miles trained today: 9
Days till the Manhattan Half: 40

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Runners lung and other things to accept

It some point I am going to have to shut up and accept it.  Accept the fact that winter running has started and there is no turning back.  

From this point forward it will take close to 10 mins to get dressed for a run.  

A hat and gloves will be mandatory, it would be helpful if I would start leaving them in the same spot.  

My nose will drip constantly and if I don't wipe it, we risk things freezing that shouldn't.  

The wind will slice through all of my layers, regardless of the numbers.  

My laundry pile will triple in size due to all of the layers, and it's a pain how many of the winter items cannot be dried.

My lungs will seize up following a run and "runner's lung" (that cough that develops after coming in from a cold run) is not treatable.

I will try to focus on a new topic tomorrow, that is if I continue to make the poor decision to run in this when I should stay in bed!

Miles trained today: 5.2
Days till the Manhattan Half: 42

Saturday, December 12, 2009

layers upon layers upon layers

When we headed out today the weather called for 23 degrees feeling more like 19.  Meaning no matter what I wore this was going to be cold and likely fairly uncomfortable.  Now there is a fine art to dressing for winter runs.  The goal is for the fewest possible layers that will keep the sweat away from the skin while also keeping the wind out.  Now when you first step outside it's always a shock to the system but a mile or so in, you start generating heat and don't want to get overheated.  Too few layers and you are going to freeze, too many layers and you will sweat and then freeze!  Also keep in mind that for running it doesn't help to be so bundled that you resemble the kid from A Christmas Story!!  Today I played it safe, 2 pairs of tights with a pair of light pants (only because there is no way I can be seen in public with only the tights).  2 shirts and a light jacket for wind prevention with a hat and gloves.  Overall I was warm enough with getting over heated, next time I need a tighter first layer as my stomach was cold when running into the wind.  That said as I sit and type my fingers are still defrosting.

Miles trained today: 5.1
Days till the Manhattan Half: 47

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not a great one

Today was pretty terrible, awful in fact.  I keep reminding myself that the bad runs are par for the course and that it won't last forever.  I have been slowly increasing my miles, so my legs have been working consistently for the last 4 weeks, maybe I'm tired.  It was after work, which is not my favorite time of day to run and I was alone.  These two factors didn't impact my run on Tuesday, so what gives.  On the way home I stopped and got new shoes, thinking that will help.  

Part of me had hoped the days of bad runs were behind me, this summer/fall I recall more bad runs that good runs.  It's hard to keep the emotions and imagination in check.  What it bad today, because my legs are gearing up for another injury?  Foolish I know, but that's how I start to think.  I had decided not to write about today's run, but then it's like it never happened.  For me it helps to hear that I'm not the only one who has bad runs.  To be perfectly honest, I started out and realized pretty quickly that things weren't falling into place.  I gave it a mile and just a little beyond that and did a check, wasn't feeling any better so I turned back and ran to my car.  5 miles was my goal and I got a pretty shitty 2.25 in.  It happens, and I'm hoping that my cutting it short and getting new shoes the rest of my runs this week will feel better. 

Miles trained today: 2.25
Days till the Manhattan Half: 49

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Of course I ran in this

Runners can be very odd.  One of the strangest things is running in conditions that no one should be out in.  Then you hear them talk and it's like comparing war stories:

"Yeah, I was out there this morning, crazy."
"Oh really, remember that storm in October? I ran during that one."
"What about that blizzard last Feb?  I was there."

You get my point and any runner who claims to have never done this is lying.  I have participated in this smack talk.  Why do we do this?  I think for most, running in any weather will typically feel better than no run at all.  

There is also a sense of excitement, or at least this morning there was.  To get out there when there would be even less people on the roads.  In the snow, things seem very quiet and still.  In the busiest of neighborhoods it seemed like people had paused for a moment to stay in bed.  The few people waiting at the bus stops where withdrawn and very silent.  The cars that passed were moving more slowly and seemed to also be quieter.  Running up Power road and seeing a sidewalk with fresh snow, looking back and seeing only our footsteps, I took a moment just to grin.  For a run that had wind whipping in no consistent direction, snow blasting us in the face, treacherous footing that required purposeful attention at every step, it was peaceful, calming and centering. 

So of course I got up at 4:45 this morning and ran in this mess, loved every minute of it!

Miles trained today: 4.1
Days till the Manhattan Half: 50

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No Devices

I was sitting in my car at the Lincoln School end of the blvd, trying to talk myself out of today's run.  It's too cold.  I'm tired.  There are plenty of things that need to get done at home.  Joe's not here.  It was the other runners who got me out of my car, no one I knew, but there were plenty of them out there.  If they were running, the least I could was to try it.  

Before I knew it I was out and moving, SHIT!  I forgot my watch, I knew that going back to get it would mean the run would be over before it even really started.  I've run this enough to know the distance and have run enough that even without my watch I have a pretty good idea of my pace and the mile markers.  It was nice, I found that I was lost in my thoughts early on.  I relaxed and settled in, weighed the pros and cons of my day.  Cleared my head.

Turning around I set my sights on a runner in front of me, she was one of the ones that inspired me to get of of the car, maybe a quarter mile a head of me for most of the run, not too far.  I focused on trying to catch her.  Although I didn't it got me to run the 2nd half faster and with more intensity (who needs the track!).  

A run I had been dreading ended up being a nice nightcap to the end of my working day.  I'm not sure running without my watch made it more enjoyable, but I certainly did get lost in my run today, gave some though to looping the blvd for a 2nd time, but gave in to the heat of my car. 

Miles trained today: 3.4
Days till the Manhattan Half: 51 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Running on Ice

There was less than an inch of snow on the ground, not even enough for me to think about calling the run this morning.  How bad can it be?  Famous last words!

Our street was a slick sheet, but again it's a side road that is always the last to be plowed.  Joe thought it would clear out by the time we hit Charles St.  Rather than running, we looked like we were doing an interesting walk/hop combo for close to the first half mile.  What's the point, this is killing our speed.  Things were getting slightly better until we had to dodge icicles falling off the power lines!

By the time we turned onto Smithfield, enough had melted that running on the shoulder was comfortable.  Jenn was with us today, a training run for the half marathon in January.  It's likely that the road conditions for that race will mimic today's!  

I'm clearly unprepared for running in this mess, and would be perfectly content if today was the last run that had me holding my breath hoping not to fall.  Alas, it's New England and there will be several more like this so I better get over it!

Miles skated today: 3
Days till the Manhattan Half: 53

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Oh Saturday

I have to admit, like usual I was not looking forward to today’s long run.  There is just a mental block when it comes to Saturday runs.  I’ve decided they don’t work for my running schedule, so make it harder than it needs to be. 

We started out with Erin and Melissa, it was nice to have some company, no offense Joe.  There was some banter in the beginning; it’s always a nice distraction.  What race did you just run?  What are you training for now?  Any fine beers recently consumed?  NYC 2010??  Chicago 2010???  It’s going to be a big year!!  No big run happens without these weekend runs, and did I mention it was raining!!

Around mile 3 every settled in, headphones were adjusted and music was turned on.  Erin pulled away, she’s just a few steps faster, and I had no desire to push it.  I noticed that I was able to stay with Joe and Melissa but would loose it on every hill.  Damn it!  This is a sign that I have to stop putting off more serious training.  Indoor track anyone??  My aversion to these workouts is worse than my aversion to Saturday runs.  It’s like the dentist: you know you have to go or things are going to get a hell of a lot more painful. 

Surprisingly when we hit the top pf the Blvd, I was not out steam.  Melissa decided to run 8 rather than 7 so that helped.  Before I knew it we were making the final turn down Angel St, time to let out what ever was left.  It felt good knowing I had finished what I set out for, didn’t skip out even though the urge was strong.  These runs are where I build the base and more important than the races I complete.

Miles trained today: 8

Days till the Manhattan Half: 50  

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Treadmilling it

Came up the stairs from the locker room, no time to think, just get on and hit go.  No, you cannot go back to work, you have to get this done.  It doesn't matter that you aren't really training and Bob won't call to check in on Sunday, get this over with.  

Alright, 3 miles that is 12 times around this electronic track.  I can do this, hell, I did more than this all summer.  Yeah, that was outside with the group and this is inside and alone, but it's kind of the same.   

Go!  First lap, shit, the timing was off, I have to speed this up if I'm going to make it back to work on time.  God this really sucks, maybe I'll stop after a mile and try again later.  SHUT UP!  You are doing this, you are already here and sweat is building, you didn't waste your lunch for 1 mile.  

Half way there!!  Success!!  6 laps to go, maybe I can do this a little faster.  Ohhh, hold on there, not too fast.  Better, hold this pace for 2 more laps.  Look at those runners outside running by the window, I should be out there.  FOCUS!  4 more to go, lets get this over this, a little faster now.  

Sweet!!  2 to go, lets fly now.  Try to hold in the groans, there are other people around and they won't understand.  And we are done, no time to celebrate, must get back to work.  Next time remind Joe not to sabotage the outdoor morning run!

Miles trained today: 3
Days till the Manhattan Half: 53

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The sights made it worth it

For some reason our alarm is set to disney radio, meaning that at 5am I was jolted awake to a very loud Miley Cirus.  All I wanted to do was bury my head under the pillow, but up I got.  32 degrees, when we started, in a few weeks this will feel warm.  Today it was FREEZING!  Once we hit the roads things were moving slowly.  Joe was a few steps ahead of me and we were quiet.  I'm not sure we spoke a work to each other for the first 2.5 miles.  I wasn't paying much attention to my surroundings and can't recall what thoughts were going through my mind.  Just focused on getting one foot in front of the other and getting back home.  When we took a right onto North Main St, this is my favorite part of this route (both our 5 and 7 mile loops).  The road is very wide and during the day very busy, but in the morning it is quite.  There always seem to be a few cars on the road, but the city is still quiet.  Typically my pace picks up, I love to run on the wide shoulder.  At about the 2.5 mile mark I looked to my right and noticed the moon, it was gorgeous.  Very large and very yellow with some smoky clouds.  Just as I was noticing it, Joe turned to point it out.  Had I chosen to turn off Miley and got back to bed I would have missed the entire experience.  It was just enough to get me through the last few miles and back to my warm house.  

Miles trained today: 5.3
Days till the Manhattan Half: 54