Monthly archives: August, 2014

Weekend Update – Aug 9 & 10, 2014

Two posts on a Monday? Yes, I decided to join Tara’s Weekend Update linkup this week!

So what did I do this past weekend? Well, it was a weekend much like any other (which is a GOOD thing in my world!) but may not be that exciting for you to read.

Friday night – After a day of telework and HR follies, ended the week with my standard “Chinese” (steamed chicken and mixed veggie) dinner and a couple DVR’d shows before settling down with some books, my frozen banana chunks with nut butter and some yummy Arctic Zero.

Saturday – Rise and (sorta) shine. R quad/adductor still bothering me, so did 15 min of e-stim on it before my walking warmup and drills. As usual, Saturday morning is dedicated to my long run (pre, during and post). Got 21 miles, though at a slower pace than I’d wanted/planned. Listened to episodes of MarathonTalk, Runners Connect, and UltraRunnerPodcast. Did my Myrtls and 30 min on the bike with recovery drink before making myself eat. Only salty stuff tasted good (other food even tasted “wrong”). Hung out online for a while before heading to the porch to read Marathon & Beyond and getting cleaned up for our Saturday takeout dinner of pulled BBQ chicken. Watched more TV/DVD shows, snacked and read. Was asleep by about 10.

Sunday – Woke up around 6, lazed in bed till 6:45 (this is the day I “sleep in”). Got up and puttered some in the kitchen (dealing with dishes, doing some food prep) while my tea brewed. Did my warmups and then did a 7.25 ez pace run. Felt pretty decent after yesterday’s long run, not that I wasn’t sore in some areas, but nothing new, unreasonable or unmanageable. Yay! Post breakfast (bacon!), DH grilled so I did veggie prep and portioning, and did my food prep for being back in the office Monday (after a week of telework, so lucky). Tonight we’ll have leftover BBQ and watch more TV, then read and hit the sack for another busy work week!

So what was new this weekend? Two things….

1) My first Thai massage on Sunday – recommended by my regular sports massage person as she knows I’m not quite as stretchy and bendy as I might be. It’s kind of a cross between massage and yoga, except the massage therapist does all the work, positioning your limbs, manipulating and massaging. It’s not quite as massage-y or stretch-y as I would have expected, but it was pleasant enough, and having someone kneel on your glute mins is an interesting experience! Hope it helps loosen them up a bit. Not sure I’ll try it again, but not sure I won’t.

2) Flu shot! When I stopped by the local pharmacy this week, they told me the flu shot was in stock. This particular Rite-Aid pharmacy usually offers it before anyone else (even ahead of last year by a week). Since the vaccine can occasionally make me feel “off” for a couple of days (not every year, but enough so that I am cautious), I usually do it on a Saturday or Sunday AFTER my long run is safely completed. I get mine earlier than anyone I know because I don’t want my training or racing disturbed by either side effects of the shot or by getting sick. It takes about two weeks to hit its peak of effectiveness in your system, so I’ll be prepared by the time back-to-school germs start floating around work again. If you’re training for a fall race, especially one that involves travel, get your shot ASAP.

What happened in your world this weekend? Racing, training, other good stuff? Share in the comments and make sure to visit some of the other bloggers linking up with Tara.

Happy Monday!

Friday Five – Five Race Memories

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps

Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
Make sure to stop by their blogs for their picks and hop along to the other bloggers in the linkup, featured at the bottom of their pages!

This week’s theme is “5 Race Memories”.

1st race that I remember – Frank Lloyd Wright 5k 2002

Looking at results online, it looks like I did a 5k Veteran’s Day race in 2001, and I can kind of picture the start. But the first race I remember was a 5k in my hometown in the spring of 2002. What I remember most is that it was a Sunday and it was raining pretty hard and fairly cold. I wore a yellow rain jacket from Lands End that I still have – completely not made for running but fairly water-resistant. It was my first experience running in the rain, and it completely put me off running in the rain. My socks and shoes were soaked, and the “squish squish” noise and feeling really irritated me.

Indianapolis at Lawrence Marathon 2004 (my 2nd marathon)

I’d trained to run this race in 2003, but had caught an upper respiratory infection on a plane trip just prior and ran the 5k instead (setting a PR I only broke a couple of years ago!). So I was determined to run it well, and trained really hard. I trained myself (unknowingly) into an injury, which I carried into the race thinking it was just one of those “you run, you hurt” things.

Race day was going to be colder and more windy than I’d planned for, in the 40s plus wind chill, and I remember buying a long sleeved base layer and a rain vest at a local running store the day before (both of which I still have – the vest is huge because everything was still unisex then). It also drizzled on and off, not the best conditions.

On race day I found a woman to run with, we were going at a nice pace and stayed together all the way until mile 20, when I stepped down and a horrible pain shot across the bottom of my left foot from the inner ankle to the outer bone under the little toe. I was sure I’d broken something and had to stop for a moment as the pain was so bad. I tried to run a few steps but it hurt too badly, and I told the woman to go on since I didn’t want her time to get screwed up. (she finished in 4:52) I was so upset, and mile 20 was in a state park, not on a road where someone would see me – though there was a sag wagon that came by.

Here’s where I want to make a point – do NOT do what I did. I decided I would not DNF. So I finished the race – doing the last 6.2 miles incredibly slowly. I walked, ran when I could – sometimes the ankle didn’t hurt much – and probably cried some, though at least it was raining so you couldn’t tell. I did this in cold, wind and rain, so I’m really lucky I didn’t get hypothermic. However, I’m pretty sure that I added on some additional damage that didn’t have to have happened. As I said, I saw a sag wagon at least once, and I’m sure there would have been volunteers at some point where I could have stopped. I DID finish, in pain, in 5+ hours.  But not DNFing that one race may have added months or years to my injury recovery time. Not worth it. As someone once told me, there’s a fine line between stubborn and stupid, and I definitely crossed the line.

1st race post cancer – 5k at Indianapolis at Lawrence 2006

In July 2006, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. In August, I had my thyroid removed, and in September got to ingest radioactive iodine (glow in the dark, woo hoo).

After the treatment finished, the long process of getting the thyroid meds adjusted to the right level began. Basically, this is “tweak the dose, go away, get a blood test in no less than 6 wks, have a followup with the doc, repeat”. It’s a very challenging process for a number of reasons I won’t go into but suffice to say getting the dosage to what’s right for you both feeling-wise and numbers-wise is not as simple as one might think, and it can take a long time. It’s very frustrating, and does affect your energy and running.

I was determined to get back to running though, so 2 months after the surgery, when I’d only been back on meds for a month, we drove to Indianapolis at Lawrence (6 hours) and I ran the 5k. I remember friends being really worried about me doing it so soon and telling me to walk, but I was bound and determined to run the whole thing, and I did. It managed to be only my second-worst 5k time, but I was proud of myself for doing it, and that was the start of the road back.

1st sub-2 half marathon – Richmond 2012

In the summer of 2012, I changed jobs to the one I had now and I think this has made a huge difference in my running. After a not-so-great (above 2h) half marathon at the National Half in DC in the spring, I started training for the Richmond half in November, I wanted to run with the 2 hour pace group. I lined up with a couple of other women with the same goal behind the pacer with balloons, but the pacer dropped the balloons at the start, never to be seen again. One of the women and I hung together till about mile 9, chatting when we could and passing each other back and forth at aid stations when we couldn’t exactly keep the other’s pace, and then I lost her at a water stop. I wish I’d gotten her name so I could thank her for all her support. She was from somewhere in the DC/MD area….

(I also crushed my 5k PR a few weeks later.)

BQ – Shamrock, March 2014

I still find it hard to believe this happened sometimes. I treasure it, and probably even more so for how hard it was, especially all the work I put in coming back coming back from last year’s injury. I’m amazed by how many things went right for me “on the day” and how lucky I was. My most vivid memories, I think, are of the Fort Story wind tunnel miles (and how brutally hard they were physically and mentally) and of finishing knowing I had left everything out on the course. I’m rarely proud of myself, but this is one time I am.

What are your top five race memories? What are you most proud of, race-wise? 


Almost Wordless Wednesday – garden edition

Hectic week here, family stuff, work stuff, training, etc. So…..behind on my blogging. Rather than leave you without a post today though, I thought I’d share some garden beauty with you. Enjoy!

My Angel Face rose is blooming for the second time this year


Angel Face in August

Angel Face in August


No idea what this is but it’s pretty (think it’s the neighbor’s and it’s being strangled by my honeysuckle)


pretty purple flower

pretty purple flower


These are growing in the 2 spots where I planted kabocha seeds earlier this summer! Just think, my very own kabocha…..

kabocha 1

kabocha 1

kabocha 2

kabocha 2


At a nearby house – any of you garden experts know what this plant is? It’s really cool looking and I might like to plant some!


mystery plant

mystery plant

mystery plant stalk view

mystery plant stalk view

What’s growing in your garden?

Happy Wednesday!



Training Recap – Week of July 28, 2014

So how did the first week of the 12 week Baystate training plan go?

Run: 45.6 miles – I wanted 50, but I’ll take 45

  • T – 7 mi. This was supposed to be longer (probably 13) with 4x2mi at MGP. 1mi w/u, 1mi ~1min faster, then 2x2mi at MGP with 0.5 recovery. Tired. Felt this in glutes/outer hams/quads. Kinda disappointed and frustrated, knowing it was not the run on the plan and was going to mean my mpw would be low again. Maybe I could have done more and I’m just not pushing hard enough. Hard to tell. Partially redeemed myself (not really) by getting all my chiro exercises AND my GSM, leg circuits and Myrtls done. Interestingly, legs stopped hurting as soon as I stopped running and were fine all day, including during/after my chiro appt, but hams got sore during evening and overnight.
  • W – 4mi recovery pace. Last mile alternated 0.1 at 2% incline, 0.1 at 0% incline. This was probably a bad idea given ham soreness, but I felt bad about not getting yesterday’s run “right” per plan and wanted to get a little something more out of today’s….which is NOT the point of a recovery run. Look at me letting my ego win over my intent to be a smart, durable runner – don’t do what I did. Got started late after core (didn’t get up/moving early enough) and had to get into the office. Hams sore. Thinking issue might be fueling, took 1/2 scoop Tropical Orange UCAN as directed about 1/2 h before run. TMI alert – it immediately gave me gas. It tasted nice, but didn’t seem to make me feel better.
  • Th – 8.5mi. 2mi w/u, 2mi 30s faster, 2mi 30s faster, 2mi old MGP, 0.5 new MGP. Plan was 70-80 minutes, last 20 fast. Hit that. (finally! feels like I haven’t been hitting the plan in ages) Hams sore even before I started. Tried the UCAN again, same result plus the bonus of feeling better when it wore off after 90min and having to make multiple stops during the run. Thinking it’s just not for me. The protein (low) drinks seem to sit ok for snacks or mixed w recovery (guess the starch makes them more filling) but I think I’m just going to stick with my First Endurance gel plan that’s worked for me in the past. Tempting to try some of the GU gels, that’s still a possibility, but as the weeks progress, less of one.
  • Sat – 21.1mi! (2nd 20miler since Shamrock) 1mi w/u, 20mi at 64s slower than MGP (close to fast end of EZ/LR pace ranges) then 2x15s strides. Took about 300 calories of gel in 4 doses at “water stops”. This hurt legs more than cardio, took mental effort to keep going with soreness. Decent run, not great, but probably the best I could have asked for given how the week went. I’ll take it as a sign of improvement. May have helped that I slept in chair for 5 solid hrs last night (10p-3a) during which time my body got to repair itself w/o usual multiple interruptions! During pre-run drills, noted pain in upper/mid outer-ish R quad. Hadn’t been there yesterday or felt during walk. Popped up doing lunge matrix and has stayed with me since, grr. Stretching, roll recovery, compression. Felt it during some of the Wharton ham work. Will get chiro to work on it Tuesday. Wish I could get a massage though.
  • Sun – 5 recovery pace miles. Sore and stuff but probably not unreasonably so. R quad spot (knock wood) seems better. Other points like L glute min, R VMO a bit crankier. Quick Myrtls after.

I see in my notes that I have been waking up congested every day this week. (Keeping a log is so helpful for things like this!) Think there is something flaring up my allergies (DH having similar problem). Saturday and Sunday my voice even sounded funny in my ears, like I had something stuffed in them. This could also be affecting my sleep/performance. Still eating small sweet potatoes, hoping that perhaps the added carbs are helping.

Bike: 2 (M/F) 1hr, plus 45 min after Saturday’s long run
Core: 3 (M AM/W AM/F AM) – Better. Friday’s was pretty decent.
Wharton flex: Mon, Tues, Wed, Th, Fri, Sat, Sun
Yoga: None. Unless you count bow pose and my core routine. 
Chiro exercises: Full set of all on Tuesday! 30 Ohnos! 
GSM routine: only 1 (boo) on T, too sore Th
Myrtl routine: 5
Calf stretches: T, W, Th, Sat, Sun (I didn’t write down if I did them M/F)
Elliptical: None. 
Pool: None.
Walk: pre-run 15 min warmups plus a quick walk at lunch at work Monday
Drills: before every run – lunge matrix, high knees, skips, butt kicks, butt kicks moving in reverse, karaoke, added forward/back leg swings
Other: weekly chiro visit

This coming week, due to a big diplomatic event in DC that will really snarl traffic, I’ll be teleworking M-Th (and may add Friday just because). I’ve got all day meetings W/Th though. (Th will be tough as it’s one of my speedwork-ish days, have to fuel to be able to concentrate) That’ll be a bit different, but I don’t mind being able to stay at home. Hope the extra time saved lets me sleep a little extra or work out longer or get  other stuff done…and I won’t have to do so much food prep daily. Deadline for applying for my supervisor’s job is Friday, and that’s going to take hours to do. Plus, blogs to write and some extra blog/web/social media stuff to work on. Another busy – with good stuff – week in store! Even if occasionally overwhelmed/stressed, I’m pretty darned lucky.

<40 days till I can register for Boston, <11 weeks till Baystate!

Have a great week!

Friday Five – What’s New

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps

Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
Make sure to stop by their blogs for their picks and hop along to the other bloggers in the linkup, featured at the bottom of their pages!

This week’s theme is “what’s new”.


I am trying Kindle Unlimited (which isn’t unlimited by the way, you only get 10 at a time…don’t get me started). The selection is not as good as I’d anticipated, somewhat disappointing, but I’m going to give it at least the first free trial month. I was able to try a book I’d wanted to read, for free, and then wound up buying the next in the series (of 6) as I’m sure they intended. Here are other books I’m reading (or re-reading in the case of Personal Record and Let’s Take the Long Way Home) and loving lately:

five of the books I'm reading right now

five of the books I’m reading right now

I recommend them all for different reasons.  I’d say the Caldwell is a must-read, a beautifully written, heart-wrenching memoir of a friendship that will make you feel lucky if you have such a friend (or make you long for one).


I go on streaks. I’ll eat something daily, or multiple times a day (or week) until I get sick of it…hey, sometimes it happens. Lately I’ve been eating a lot of:

Arctic Zero with chocolate syrup (swoon, I could just drink it even though it’s all chemical no chocolate), tons of frozen bananas with nut butter, paleo bread turkey and avocado sandwiches for breakfast, and lots of eggs – poached or hardboiled or just egg whites – with nutritional yeast, and (not pictured) salads of romaine lettuce with Honeycup mustard or Annie’s lite honey mustard salad dressing.


five things I'm eating a lot of lately

five things I’m eating a lot of lately

I’m also trying to work on controlling my eating (despite the above) and trying to come in under my calorie target for the day. I’m stress eating evening snacks, and right now don’t have the willpower left to stop that, so I’m making tweaks in other areas of my eating to compensate. Sometimes, all you can do is all you can do.

WRITE (no photos, sorry!)

One thing that’s new is that my work is pretty busy, busier than it’s been in the whole 2 years (this week) that I’ve been there. It looks like it’s going to keep up for a while. Another new thing, which you may have caught in tweets, is that my boss moved to another team in the organization. I’m quite bummed about that as he was a great boss and we really got along. How I feel about my boss is a huge factor in my job satisfaction. But, in an effort to keep our supervisor one of our team members rather than someone from another team, the other two women who do the same job and I are all going to apply for the position. I hate applying for jobs, especially federal jobs – it takes so much time just to get all the answers done and worded to catch the filters and loaded in the system, but it must be done. I don’t think I’m the likely pick, as I’m the least senior in the organization (but I have the most federal service, and past industry supervisory experience as well as federal team leader experience) but who knows. Better me than someone else from outside.

Non-work writing – aka blogging….I joined with a new linkup on the 21st (Runners Tell All) and may be joining yet a third that I heard about. I may not do any of them all the time as blogging 3 days a week along with blog reading, running, work and life is about all I can manage unless/until I get better and more efficient at it. But, it’s good to try new things.

Also, I’m thinking about some different types of posts – book reviews, or lists of books I’m reading, and potentially even some “deep-ish thoughts” kind of posts. Writing can help me think things through and sometimes those thoughts or that process might be of help to someone else even if I write it mostly for myself. I’m also open to suggestions, requests and ideas – what would you like to read on the blog? What would interest or help you? Topics, questions, let me know!

What would you like to read about on the blog?


I decided I’d try to stay focused on my goals and make smarter decisions about food and my use of time when I’m not running, trying to architect my life and my behavior to support my training and goals in every way reasonable and possible. One way I decided to do this is to wear my Garmin to work. It reminds me of Meb and him quoting Coach Wooden’s saying that it’s not only being the 2 hours you train, but what you do in the other 22 hours that matter.

wearing my Meb watch to work - eyes on the prize!

wearing my Meb watch to work – eyes on the prize!

Another relatively new thing (last few weeks) is trying to simulate Baystate a bit more on my long runs. One way I do this is by limiting when I can drink (and thus when I take a gel) to when the water stops will be. So this got taped to my treadmill…

Baystate water stop mile points, taped to my treadmill for long runs

Baystate water stop mile points, taped to my treadmill for long runs

The next thing will be trying to adjust the treadmill to the Baystate course profile. I have some spreadsheet work to do on that but it needs to happen soon. Until then, I may just randomly do some 2% or 0% incline/decline segments in my long runs, to start to get my legs able to adjust.

Happy Friday, have a great weekend!

Tell me, what’s new with you?