Monthly archives: November, 2014

Friday Five – Gratitude

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!

Today’s topic is Gratitude. I think it’s particularly appropriate that we’re focusing on this topic the day AFTER Thanksgiving. Gratitude isn’t just for one day of the year, it is needed every day and some days more than others.

I’ve found that the more I can focus my thoughts, attention and energy on what I’m grateful for, the better off I am. I feel better, I have a better attitude, I’m more pleasant to be around, better able to support others and do good things. All this benefit to me from the relatively simple (though not always easy) practice of noticing and naming the good things in my life and the world, big and small – or even the absence of bad things, or just that it could always be worse – and allowing the natural feeling of gratitude that exists inside to swell to the surface for a moment and perhaps cause me to say or do something positive, which makes me (and perhaps someone else) feel even better. It’s a virtuous circle.

The list of who and what I’m grateful for would be pages and pages long. So here are just a few thoughts and other gratitude-related links for you.

I am so incredibly grateful for

  • My health & that of my family and loved ones
  • My running and all it brings/gives/teaches me, all the people and resources supporting me in my running in any and every way, including my tweeps and my blog readers. I have learned so much about myself through running. And in the last year I have realized dreams I barely dared to hope might come true, and achieve goals I might have thought impossible. Now I am (cautiously, eagerly, with fear, with excitement) dreaming bigger, faster, scarier dreams and goals, and planning my journey toward them.
  • People who love me and support me, laugh with me, cry with me, and put up with my quirks, both family and friends, near and far
  • The mind-boggling good fortune of my life – the country and family I was born into, freedom and safety, my job (present and many past), a roof over my head, indoor plumbing, safe and plentiful food and water, insurance and health care, the people who’ve taught me, encouraged me, helped me…..
  • Reading and writing, learning and connecting, curiosity, generosity and all the good in the world….there is so much good and beauty in the world, so much need, and so many working to make things better for others. There is always someone (or some cause) to support, someone who needs a kindness or a listening ear, and I’m grateful that I have the opportunities and the ability to help and serve.

Speaking of those who serve others…..I’ve mentioned Felicia before but want to encourage you to read her blog and support her efforts. This retired Marine Major (Wellesley grad, helicopter pilot!), daily deals with ongoing medical issues that would keep many of us from doing anything other than the minimum. But that’s not her way. Not only is this runner smart, tough, courageous, driven and determined, she is grateful, humble and generous.

While being the mom of two adorable small ones and studying for the LSAT – so she can better help others as an attorney – she is devoting tremendous physical and mental effort and time to her 12for12for1200 project. As she says “retired from the Corps, but not done serving”. She’s running 12 races, totaling 1200 miles, in 12 months to raise funds for the Semper Fi and Marsoc Foundations.

From her blog: The Latin phrase “non mihi, sed tibi, gloria” is my family crest’s motto, it means, “Glory to thee, not to me.” It is a phrase of service and giving, about assisting others to achieve and to succeed. I am raising funds to give back to two organizations which aid injured military personnel and in doing so, giving back to myself – by deciding that I will achieve what they said would no longer be possible.” 

A quote from a recent post: “There’s been some fun activity at the house this week, one munchkin sick for four days plus our downstairs heater conked out Wednesday evening, and yet, I wake up grateful every morning; I’ve no reason to be otherwise.” 

Even in accepting the decision of a military board so she can move on, she is grateful:

“I am grateful for the leadership and mentorship I received, the lessons I learned, the experience I gained and the people I have met and can call friends and family. I am grateful that there were those throughout this process who looked after me, who assisted me, from the medical and legal side, as well as those who continue to help me transition and move forward. I am grateful and humbled that I was given the opportunity to serve; I did my best to do so with honor, with courage and with commitment.”


Please take a look and support her in her efforts however you can – if not with funds, then with RTs and your best wishes. I am grateful for people like Felicia who go above and beyond to help others (but don’t think of themselves as extraordinary) because they inspire me and remind me not only that there is good in the world, but that there is always something I can do to serve.


One last thing from me:

If you are grateful for something or someone (or to someone) – say so. NOW.

Now is all we have, and it could mean a lot to someone to hear your words.


Here are some posts on gratitude by one of my favorite columnists/essayists, Kristin Armstrong. I highly recommend her book Mile Markers, and her posts in the old Mile Markers column on Runner’s World and her new columns on their Zelle sub-site.

Thought for Trot – this year’s Thanksgiving thought – you can see it builds on the ones below…..I echo her “turn a holiday theme into a life practice”

The List

Little Luxuries

Carrying the Weight – go further…when you make the list of what you’re grateful for, include the “why” – and when you thank someone, tell them too!

A post from Leo on 10 ways to show gratitude….and one on why living a life of gratitude can make you happy.


Who and what are you grateful for, and why?


Almost Wordless Wednesday

Ready for tomorrow?

cranberry sauce

cranberry sauce

I’ll have 4 kinds of cranberry sauce/relish available – these two plus apple-cranberry conserve and cranberry orange relish from Whole Foods. I love putting cranberry on turkey, turkey sandwiches, chicken, just plain bread….when I ate oatmeal or hot quinoa, I’d even use it to top them!

What’s your favorite cranberry dish?

Weekend Update Nov 22-23, 2014

This post is part of Tara’s Weekend Update linkup – check out her site to see what everyone’s been up to! 

Hard to believe that Richmond is already over a week ago. I guess that’s good?


Sat – 10.15mi, recovery pace. This turned out to be a less pleasant run than the 4 miler on Thursday. Go figure. Tried UCAN before, didn’t like effects on energy and blood sugar. The hunt for pre-run fuel for late start races continues. Tops of feet quite sore from the (FAIL) Adrenaline 15s (which we now refer to as “the shoe of evil”) which have been returned. Sorer than I’d have expected in the evening, probably sorest since race day.

Sun – Nope. (surprised me too!) Wanted to get some more miles in, but the tops of my feet still hurt, I was kind of tired and a little sore. I beat down my ego and the mileage monster telling me I MUST run. Walked 30 min, raked leaves for 20, swept the porch. Did Whartons. Does eating too much kabocha count as XT?


Saturday – First sweet potato since Richmond for “breakfast”. Roasted a 5 pound kabocha!

5 pound kabocha

5 pound kabocha

(It was so good I had to go to the store and get more.)

6 more kabocha!

6 more kabocha!

Spent time online all day following tweeps at the JFK 50 Miler – lots of awesome runs there! So happy for my pals. Worked on my training plan a little. Now I at least have an outline of runs planned for December. Need to plan strength & flexibility training and then lay out the full plan to Boston. I have a lot of work to do. I suspect it’s back to 2 a day workouts (of some type) minimum, with 3 a day as many days as I can manage.

DH & I were both feeling uninspired by our normal dinner options, so decided to forage again. Thawed some pulled pork from our favorite “local” BBQ place (in Woodbridge, so we hit it on the way back from Richmond). Mine was accompanied by exciting shredded carrots and mushrooms. Watched a couple of our stored TV shows, kind of a lazy evening back and forth between TV and online.

Sunday –

While I was on the treadmill, DH went to Whole Foods, bringing back the usual yummies plus a special treat for our holiday table. I’m so lucky!

tulips for Thanksgiving

tulips for Thanksgiving

After a treat of AeroPress decaf, had egg whites & zucchini and bacon for breakfast, followed by some of yesterday’s kabocha. So yummy it became apparent that I hadn’t cooked enough! So, while I was out doing a little porch sweeping (post leaf-raking), roasted another couple small ones from the collection I bought yesterday. Gorged myself on those pre-massage, not the wisest idea. Seriously, you even have to hide vegetables from me!

I found a pair of men’s Adrenaline 13s in size 9 2E (I’m women’s 10EE) online and they were delivered on Sunday. I tried them on and didn’t immediately need to rip them off my feet. I’m thinking I’ll walk in them tomorrow, maybe even run a few miles (shoe quest trumping XT day if my legs will allow). That way, if it seems like they will work for even a while, I can try to order any more the same supplier has…while awaiting the 6-8 pairs of shoes I ordered Thursday and Friday.

men's Adrenaline 13s

men’s Adrenaline 13s

Monday is an “in office” day. Tuesday will be usual telework and chiro. Wednesday I’m going to telework and take a couple of hours off in the afternoon to pick up our holiday food orders. The weather looks nasty Wednesday, rain changing to snow! (after mid 70s tomorrow) The long weekend will be mostly relaxing, puttering around the house, running and another massage.

Hope you had a great weekend! Please tell me about it in the comments.


Friday Five – Favorite Fall Foods

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!

Today’s topic is Favorite Fall Foods.

I doubt anyone who’s read this blog or my tweets will be surprised by the list…

  • Kabocha – I buy as many of them at a time as I can find, since they keep so well and I can eat so much!


  • Pumpkin anything – even pumpkin puree out of the can (sometimes spread on bread w/ jam, sometimes mixed with protein powder for a fluff, sometimes straight). Of course, Pumpkin Spice Arctic Zero, which didn’t really have any pumpkin in it, and which apparently they’ve stopped making (boo! I think they didn’t sell it well enough). Here’s a Triathlete mag post on ways to use canned pumpkin (I mixed it in with store-bought regular or lemon hummus when I used to eat that, quite good, and used in brownie/cake mix as well, back in the day.)
paleo bread with pumpkin puree, TJ's blueberry preserves and Penzey's pumpkin pie spice, warmed in the microwave

paleo bread with pumpkin puree, TJ’s blueberry preserves and Penzey’s pumpkin pie spice, warmed in the microwave

  • Sweet potatoes – some varieties like the orange Jewel and Garnet, as well as the Japanese sweet potato are available year round (Hannah seems to come and go) but so far fall is the only time to get my purple purples! (Stokes purple sweet potatoes)
purple sweet potato breakfast

purple sweet potato breakfast

  • Root veggies – beets (fresh and roasted by me, packaged, or canned – easiest, like the below), sometimes parsnips…I don’t like turnips as much and haven’t tried rutabaga. I think my fave Brussels sprouts count.
canned beets

canned beets

  • Fall fruit: apples – dried or in applesauce or in some way cooked like my cider reduction attempt, pears, and Asian pears 
Kuhn's applesauce, our fave from the local farmer's market

Kuhn’s applesauce, our fave from the local farmer’s market

apple cider reduction, from Kuhn's cider

apple cider reduction, from Kuhn’s cider

What are some of your fall favorites? Got any good recipes to share? Have a great weekend, especially if you’re racing!

Richmond Post-Race Thoughts

After the race report and the pictures….what’s left to say about Richmond? What I think and what I’ve learned…..

So what happened with all my back and forth about goals, you may ask? (and fairly so, since as a blog reader and/or twitter follower, you heard a lot about my indecision….)

Even the afternoon before the race, I was debating goals with DH over our pre-race “dinner” at PF Chang’s. So many options….

I think I finally went into the race – while still wishing for a PR, magic day, whatever – with reasonable goals:

1) don’t do anything stupid – and by stupid I mean anything to jeopardize my health, Boston training or my ability to do the ultra in December and become a Maniac

2) finish, and

3) do the best I could on the day, whatever that turned out to mean. I had thoughts of seeing what I could do and pulling back if it became evident I couldn’t hold the pace I wanted, and that’s exactly what I did.

How’d I do?

100% at least as far as I can tell at this point.

I think I’m in reasonable shape, stiff and sore but not more than I’d expect, and no new niggles I’m aware of (did have some disturbing twinges in my outer left ankle during the race, and my left PTT/arch is no happier than it was pre-race but why would it be). I do feel (I think) a bit different for “running” the marathon instead of “racing” it (at least half of it) though if/how that translates to faster or better recovery and return to training remains to be seen. The chiro said my hips and back weren’t “that” out of whack. He seemed surprised, as even training weeks can do that sometimes.

I think I can do the ultra, though I’ve got to look at how to train for what my goals are for that without impacting speed and ability to train for Boston – and I need hill work for Boston but not for the ultra, so…For the ultra, debating a time goal in addition to goals 1, 2 & 3 above that I had for this race, but I may just leave that be. I finished my 2nd of 3 races to Maniac, did so with an effort and attitude/mindset that lets me hold my head up as well as continue on my plan, and got a pretty decent time out of it.

So I’m in the satisfied to pleased headspace, tilting toward happy. Whether I left it all on the course or not, probably not, given I was a bit more coherent at the end. I knew I’d have to be though, as I was on my own and had to get back to the hotel, etc. and the point of this race was NOT to drain the tank. But could I have pushed any more without driving myself into a hole of past-niggle injury, wiping myself out system-wide due to the cold? (blowing up and having to walk would have probably caused me to go hypothermic) I don’t know and there’s really no way to say. I think I ran smart, and that’s what’s required to be able to run for years to come and continue to improve.

Things I learned:

I can run 2 marathons within 4 weeks.

(I have to say that again – I can run 2 marathons within 4 weeks – it’s pretty awesome and amazing on its own! Having it be my 3rd marathon of the year, plus running a half and a 10 miler, well, that’s not shabby. And this race was not a slog-fest, and my time was okay/acceptable, especially considering.)

As DH said – I learned that my performance – a better than BQ time – is likely REPEATABLE. Not a fluke, not just lucky in one magical race.

I learned I may be decent at running downhill, especially if I work on it & I found a new way to run uphill at least on one hill.

I re-learned – no surprise – I need/want to be a lot stronger, especially late race, and get more hill experience. While watching the 12k Championships online Sunday morning, I looked at one of the small hills in Alexandria and told DH I wanted to be strong enough to not even notice those hills.

I am proud I didn’t beat up on myself much (would say at all but probably did a little) during the race. I told myself to do what I could. Later in the race, I did look at people and wonder what it was that made them (look) stronger than me, and how I could get stronger next race and in training. But that just means I want to get better and am willing to work to do so!

I learned that Baystate’s mind/will issues are not always going to happen. (whew!)


I was pretty nervous beforehand about whether I’d be able to pull off a 2nd marathon (at all, let alone one I wouldn’t feel bad about) in 4 weeks. I did, and I don’t feel bad about this one. I’m sure there are finish times that would have made me kind of upset, where I’d have to remind myself that the goal was to finish, uninjured and able to go forward to the ultra/Maniac and on to Boston, more importantly, but I finished with a time I’m still proud of. Lucky and I know it.

I think of where I was a year ago – DNS’d Richmond due to injury, ran the 12k instead.

I think back to 10 years ago, and the injured (and much slower, less trained & fit) runner I was then. If you had told me I’d run this time – regardless of anything else – I would have been THRILLED. If you’d told me the circumstances – my age, having had cancer, lingering/new injuries, 3rd marathon in a year, 2nd in 4 weeks, I would have been SPEECHLESS. And disbelieving. I AM GRATEFUL.

And I will say it again – IT WAS ALL WORTH IT.

Richmond Marathon Race Report (BQ #3!)

Here’s the Richmond Marathon race report….more thoughts/musings may come in another post. Just like every race is different, every report is a little different, so if I don’t cover something you expect to see or want to know, feel free to ask.

The short version: BQ #3, 2nd in 4 weeks!

Least fast of my 3 2014 races & BQs. Please don’t read that and think “Is she complaining?” and stop reading. I absolutely am not. That’s simply a comment on my finish time – which still beat BQ by 3:26!  I am GRATEFUL. I am – taking a big step back – a bit flabbergasted. Of course I pretty much always want to PR even if I say it’s not a goal (don’t most of us?), but at least part of me knew that would be pretty unlikely without magic dust or something similar. But I DO know that if you’d told me, during injury struggles last year and 10 years ago, that I would have run 3 marathons in a year, gotten BQs in all of them (a couple pretty big ones), PR’d big time in 2 of them, run 2 in 4 weeks and be feeling pretty decent – I’d have been speechless and probably thought you were crazy or had mistaken me for someone else.

The long version (get your coffee/snack ready): 

Pretty good race!  The leaves were incredibly gorgeous, especially for a couple of miles right along the river (though that path could use some resurfacing). There’d be points where leaves would just rain down on us, glowing in the sunlight. Some were huge! The colors were something else. I tried to imprint them on my mind and kept thinking/saying “so pretty” and trying to absorb how lucky I was. I wish I could share the images with you. Having run both the half and the full at Richmond now, the full is definitely the prettier course.

As you’ve no doubt heard/read, it was very cold – below freezing at start (28 maybe, may have hit 40 by finish). I couldn’t stop shivering while standing around pre-race. Probably burned more glycogen than I expected that way….walked to start, then spent 20 min in portajohn line, then had to hustle to corral, get spectator help to take off my fleece pants and start! (My shoes’  tongues felt kind of misplaced from the pulling off of the fleece, which concerned me a bit but eventually settled out.) So my legs were completely not warmed up despite drills in the hotel and the walk over. I even think the cold affected in how my shoes felt – the road felt very hard on impact in the first few miles (and I think my feet were sorer later too). I couldn’t really feel my toes and the front half of my feet till we got through the first mile.

Fortunately, we had full sun for most of the race, and other than the bridges there were only a couple of light breezes where I thought “ooh, that’s chilly”. (the Lee Bridge around mile 16 had a NASTY crosswind for the whole half mile) We did pass through shade in a number of sections, so every time I thought about ditching a piece of my kit, I reminded myself of the possibility of shade again and kept it all. I think it worked well. I’d say it was my coldest race this year, but more sun – and less wind – than Shamrock, thank goodness. My legs were quite chilly at several points during the race, and especially during the breezes, which went right through my shorts and over my bare legs….

I wore:

  • North Face Better Than Naked Split Shorts (very light – bought some shorts the day before, but…..rule #1 “nothing new on race day” won out here)
  • Champion C9 seamless bra
  • North Face Better Than Naked s/s shirt (again, light, meshy – the race bib and vest helped some)
  • Nathan arm warmers, then a charcoal handwarmer on inside of wrist at bottom and inside upper arm under a 2nd set of arm warmers (Frank Shorter brand, fleece-lined, bought at expo – yes, I know, violating the rule). Wound up keeping that config the whole race. Managed to wash one of the charcoal packets with my kit yesterday, but no issue.
  • Manzella gloves (bought at expo)
  • Smartwool earband under North Face visor – kept the earband on until the last downhill into finish as I knew it wasn’t a great look in pix (proofs prove me right)
  • Of course, sunglasses

I went out around race pace, found a guy clipping off super-consistent miles who had to be local based on how many people were saying hi to him by name (“hi Adam!”) even in areas with minimal spectators and from how well he seemed to know the absolute best place to run in the road at any point. He was impressive in his consistency and how well he prepared for/ran corners (learned a lot from him) so I hung with him till maybe 10. I slowed down a bit, he speeded up. (Earlier, in the first few miles, I had horrible sharp pain in some of the small muscles between my left lower ribs – not exactly a stitch, maybe something to do with the vest….wasn’t sure for a little bit if I could keep going in the race if it kept up, but thankfully it passed. Maybe being so intent on watching Adam helped.)

I tried to keep pushing the pace (keeping an eye on average pace as it dropped) till about mile 16 even though I knew pretty much in the first mile it wasn’t going to be a PR day. Then I said “ok, now its’ a training run” and stopped pushing. I was getting a little more tired and feeling heavier legs as the miles went by. Eventually I got worried about how many people seemed to be passing me and what my time would be, but kept telling myself finishing was all that was important. I realized somewhere after 20 that I could beat BQ and picked it up from 23 on.

I actually had fun on the downhills! There was one long shallow one around 6-7 that I really enjoyed running. Once I got a sense of how long it was, I just got to clear road space, opened up my stride and took about 30 seconds off that mile. I knew about the super-steep one at the finish (about the last 0.3 – 0.5 miles) and tried to get ready for it and run it carefully, resulting in only one moment where it felt like my shoe scuffed or caught and I almost stumbled. I finished really fast because of the downhill, and it felt pretty cool. Seeing Bart at the end of the chute was great – though I almost ran into him as I was going so fast! But I got my high five and hug from one of the nicest, coolest guys around.

This was the slowest of my 3 races this year, but I still beat BQ by a few minutes! (average pace only 6s/mi slower than Shamrock on a much hillier – comparatively – course, 2:09 slower total time than Shamrock) Slowest BQ of year, but since I had a great BQ for 2016 at Baystate last month, doesn’t matter. This one would probably would be enough to get me in to 2016, but my Baystate time lets me register earlier and be in an earlier start wave. (I’m very excited about that and proud of my Baystate time.)

I think there were more little hills than the course profile suggested – or than I understood…since reading profiles isn’t perhaps my strongest skill.

My Garmin says this was the profile:

Richmond 2014 elevation

Richmond 2014 elevation

There was that one extended downhill I hadn’t expected to be extended, and the super-steep uphill in the late miles wasn’t where or what I thought it was. Nevertheless, in both cases, I managed well. I even found a new way of running uphill on one hill that might work better than how I usually try to run uphills.

I may not have hydrated enough. Given the cold, I’m not sure I’d do it differently….I needed to make a pit stop of much of the race, but didn’t stop. (that whole “then you have to get started again” thing…) I had a headache at dinner Saturday night. We had to keep the hotel room thermostat set into the 80s to get the room tolerably warm, so all that heated air did not help. (I pushed fluids Saturday night but woke up Sunday with a headache which dissipated quickly after allergy meds, tea and water.)

Someone tweeted an interesting RunnerAcademy piece today on how cold affects pace that suggests the cold would have affected my ability to hold pace and the energy I used/needed…but I think I run best in 30s/40s, maybe low 50s if it’s a shorter race, so it may not have affected me this much. Good to know it’s a factor though and good to keep in mind the caloric effect of trying to stay warm. (For other cold weather tips, see this.)

Should I have taken more gel to offset the cold and my pre-race shivering, which no doubt burned glycogen? Maybe. But I hadn’t trained with much more than I took, so that would have been a risk. I wasn’t hungry (once we started) or bonky, so it’s hard to tell if I’d have felt better or run faster with more fuel.

I took the same amount of gel as at Baystate (1 serving at start, then every 3 miles then half a GU Jet Blackberry gel at 25) but I may have needed more due to the cold….not sure how I would have gotten more in me though except to take it every 2 miles which seems excessive and might have caused stomach issues. Took a mouthful or two of water a few times on course (cold water!) and with the gel at 25. My EFS is mixed with a little water in the flask though, so I wasn’t completely without. I think I took in ~190 g of carbs over the race, about 50g/hour. Water, maybe 12 oz total.

From a geek perspective, my Garmin time and chip time were an exact match, which has never happened before. Also, my Garmin shows 26.36 miles, which is probably the closest to 26.2 I’ve ever gotten – glad I followed “Adam” and hopefully I can retain what I learned from him and use it in future races.

The mental game: 

I was a bit worried about how my mind would handle this race given how hard Baystate had been.

Richmond had moments of pain or discomfort (ribs, a couple of ankle twinges and a ham complaint on an uphill) or once I thought “you know, I could do the half and walk off the course” (not true, since the race split early, and would have derailed my Maniac efforts) but those moments were pretty fleeting. My legs certainly weren’t happy about the Lee Bridge and my brain/ego wasn’t happy with me slowing down. Really, I’m not sure how much happier my legs were running slower, but I pushed them hard early so who’s to say they wouldn’t have been fine if I’d gone out slower. But there wasn’t that overwhelming, continuous “I want to stop, I just want to stop” that I felt at Baystate.

I even enjoyed part of the race near the river (still in first half of race, miles 7-9ish), it was so pretty with the leaves and the sunlight and the river. I wanted a wide angle lens to take it all in. I really loved the beautiful trees along the way (I love fall colors).

I liked the challenge of following Adam and trying to run his lines and learn from him and his consistent pace.

At one point in the middle part of the race, knowing the course profile (I thought) and that we’d have an uphill ending at 18 after which it would smooth out till the finish, I told myself I couldn’t walk or use the portajohn till 18, then I could do whatever I wanted to the finish – take restroom breaks, walk, whatever – as long as I finished. Of course, I immediately would tell myself I couldn’t walk because I would get too cold, but I’d go through the promise/don’t walk cycle in my head every so often. Fortunately, my need for a portajohn seemed to vanish eventually (though it really didn’t).

Later in the race, I thought about the people I was seeing and how hard it must be for most of them in their own ways. I don’t know that running a marathon is easy for too many people, so you have to think everybody’s struggling with something, especially after mile 20 or so. I was impressed with the Richmond SportsBackers team folks, especially late in the race, coming back to encourage their runners, running with them, riding next to them, whatever it would take to get them to finish. I thought of other people I knew doing the race like Christine and Briana, and what their goals were.

When I was hurting a little, watching my average pace drop and getting passed by what seemed like lots of people, I’d remind myself by talking to myself that:

  • the goal is to finish and not be stupid, do whatever it takes to make that happen – if it turns out to be walking or running a pace that you’re unhappy with, so be it….but don’t walk because you’d get way too cold and you don’t really need to (I didn’t walk at all)


  • I’m so lucky….this is beautiful and there are people who’d kill to be able to be doing this, no matter how you might feel at the moment

I probably dropped off pace more than I needed to once the goal became “just finish”. I say this because when my brain finally kicked in and I realized that “hey wait, I can maybe still BQ”, I was able to pick up the pace by about 15-20 seconds a mile (ignoring the downhill boost). I’m glad I realized it, and it’s good to know I can make a final push like that.

I’m generally satisfied to pleased about this race, both my effort and the outcome.

I’m grateful I was able to do it, and I thank you for your support!

Miscellaneous thoughts about the race/event organization:

  • Beautiful leaves on the (heavy) medal, and pretty leaf ribbon. Blanket seems nice enough, and the finisher’s hat is kind of nice. The tech shirt – women’s cut option! – is a nice fit and drape with lower hems in front and back.
  • Gear check for the full, at least for my wave (I moved up a wave at the expo) was MUCH better than it had been for the half, both drop off and pickup.
  • The expo was well-organized, but as in past years, big enough to be a bit overwhelming, and crowded because we got there at lunch. Something about the overhead lights makes me tense and want to get out of there quickly. Probably not the worst thing as otherwise it’s some decent shopping – though I wish the organizers wouldn’t funnel you through all the race merchandise to get to the rest of the expo, a bit tacky and I tend not to buy if I feel forced in some way.
  • Nice of them to have water at every mile after 20 (earlier was every 2) but some of the streets were narrower and there was still a bit of slowing at water stops that possibly could be improved with changing placement or staggering of tables. Seemed to be plenty of volunteers and water when I came through.
  • The cheer stations are a great spirit item for some, as are the bands – but I prefer my own music and found myself getting irked at having to repeat a song after having it drowned out. This got more frequent when the water stations were only 1 mile apart. Just me being late-mile cranky.
  • There were plenty of spectators. (Best sign I saw: “Vortex Shmortex”) Even on the Lee Bridge, some of the (few) people walking would stop to cheer and clap, and the race (and maybe SportsBackers) had a few folks out there to cheer us on, one with a megaphone. On that bridge, cheers could be helpful.
  • The folks at the finish line were organized, each doing there job, including taking the top off the water for you…wish I’d noticed it was gone as I spilled a little. (however, they couldn’t answer my question as to where the bag check truck was, which was just up the road)
  • The post-race festival was probably nice, but I don’t stay at those things. I knew they’d have finisher merchandise available from running the race before (stashed a $20 just in case) but they should tell folks ahead of time as if you didn’t carry cash/credit card or have someone meeting you who did, you couldn’t buy anything. Nice to have hot food/drink (coffee, hot chocolate, pizza) available for those who could/wanted to indulge.
  • The steps/bridge and walk back to the hotel aren’t any more fun after the marathon than the half, but at least I knew to expect them, and truly, it wasn’t THAT bad. I think the walk back to the hotel probably helped me in fact, but I felt bad for some of the people I was walking with who hadn’t checked warm gear for post-race. Can’t imagine how cold it would have been to walk back in just running clothes, sweaty and cooling off, but at least they had the finisher’s blanket. I put – on top of my gear – a shirt, sweatshirt/hoody, hat, sweatpants and was okay.

Overall, I’d recommend the race and would consider running it again.

So, that’s the report! More to come in another post on post-race thoughts and what I learned. If you have questions, please ask! 




Weekend Update Nov 15-16, 2014

Short and sweet. Race recap and musings to come in other posts.

Friday, we drove to Richmond, hit the expo, Dick’s Sporting Goods (for longer shorts I pretty much knew I wouldn’t race in), PF Chang’s and Whole Foods before retiring to the hotel to snack and prepare for race morning.

Saturday – COLD race day!

Wore this:

Richmond race kit

Richmond race kit

Wound up wearing both pairs of arm warmers (but blue instead of yellow) with those charcoal hand warmers between them at inner arm/top and inner wrist/bottom. Note, make sure to take them all out afterward….one wound up in the laundry with my race gear! No damage done though. Wore yellow gloves instead of the black shown. The yellow & blue fleece arm warmers were Frank Shorter brand, purchased at expo. Yellow gloves Manzella brand, from expo, similar to these. Liked the color, didn’t want to wear my BreathThermo gloves as I’d expected to toss them – but for 3rd race this year, kept them on. (seems to be the year of chilly to cold marathons for me, makes me wonder what the ultra will be like) Earband, gloves and arm warmers stayed on the whole way. Can’t say the black wool ear band UNDER the white visor is my best look, but did the job.

Earned these:


Richmond medal 2014

Richmond medal 2014 – pretty and heavy!


Richmond 2014 shirt

Richmond 2014 shirt – nice vneck women’s fit tech tee

Had a wonderful wonderful dinner here, totally recommend the place! Great food, terrific service. I had a good burger, really good sweet potato fries, and AMAZING crispy Brussels sprouts with some house made tangy sauce. (I’d order those again and maybe the fries and not even bother with anything else…they’re that good.) I ate instead of photographing, so you’ll just have to trust me.

Pints of this – but the vanilla maple flavor – were consumed both Friday night and Saturday night, along with dried bananas and sweet potato chips.


Arctic Zero

Arctic Zero

Sunday, this happened – a treat to myself after watching the US 12k Championships online:


Decaf Americano from Starbucks, GRID stick

Decaf Americano from Starbucks, GRID stick

Then we drove home, where we unpacked, went for a 45 minute walk, puttered online and had dinner while watching TV and relaxing.

How was your weekend? Did you race? Tell me! 

Friday Five – Cold Weather Running Tips

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!

Note: I’ll be running Richmond tomorrow, but I’m not carrying my phone. Thus, any updates on the race will be delayed until I complete it, get my gear bag, and make my way back to the hotel while drinking my recovery drink. (so, not until early afternoon) Once back at the hotel, the below will be employed for recovery and catching up with you all:

epsom salts, waterproof iphone case

epsom salts, waterproof iphone case


This week’s topic – very appropriately – is cold weather running tips.

For those of us racing this weekend – I’ll put the cold weather racing tips up front. If you have more, please share in comments!

Racing in the cold/wind, from Runner’s World and Running Times:

throwaway clothes

cold weather racing

racing in the wind 

One more race tip – grab some of the handwarmer packets you see at drugstores, sporting goods stores. You can hang on to those pre-race and even a bit into the race if you want. Might help, and easily tossed.

Cold weather running is something I’m not yet an expert at, since most of my runs are on the treadmill, but here are some things I’ve learned.

  • Dress as if it’s 10-20 degrees warmer than it is. You shouldn’t be warm enough when you walk out the door. That said, as the temperature drops, take it seriously. You may need to wear a buff or gaiter to help you warm your breath and protect your nose and mouth. And keep those ears covered!
  • Warm up inside if you can (treadmill, lunge matrix, stairs, other dynamic warmups) to make the transition less painful and allow you to run sooner. You DO warm up before a run, right?
  • Head and hands are biggies for me in terms of how cold I feel. Beanies and gloves are your friends (wind blocking or not) – they can go on and off as many times as you need to regulate temperature, provided you’ve got somewhere to stash them when they’re not being warm. If you don’t want a hat, maybe try an ear band. Wool and products like Mizuno’s BreathThermo line (gets warm when damp, but still wicks) can be very helpful, and synthetics are great at blocking wind. I’ve worn lighter warming gloves under ones with more wind blockage – bulky, but effective. However, it’s my understanding that mittens are the way to go, and from some cold runs where I wound up pulling my icy fingers back into my palm inside my gloves, I can believe it. I just bought a pair of gloves with mitts that go over them (Nathan, for reflectivity – I hear Saucony makes great ones for warmth, may pick those up too) I’ve used some of those charcoal “expose to air for heat” handwarmers you can buy cheap on runs – either in my palms or stuffed on the back of my hands under gloves. (I also keep some in my car.)
  • Feet are another matter. I don’t have anything but my Brooks Adrenalines, which are pretty lightweight mesh (and don’t have great traction) so my feet tend to get cold. The only things I’ve found that help are Feetures light cushion merino wool – a wool version of my regular low cut socks. That of course leaves a gap at my ankles between my tights and socks, but not much to be done about it. I have Mizuno Breath Thermo socks that sit higher on the ankle, but they’re thin and not cushioned, so they’re warmer, but my feet take a beating. I may try SmartWool at some point, but I don’t need that many pairs of cold weather socks.
  • Layers help keep you warm and multiple thin layers can be less bulky. You can also wear lighter clothes under a good jacket and unzip. I find getting my neck and upper chest cool from unzipping can help cool me down if I overheat. I’ve worn fleece neck “gaiters” or pulled big fleece headbands down around my neck for warmth, then up again to warm another spot or cool.
  • Be careful if the temp is close to freezing and it’s damp – there may be slick spots or black ice on the roads and sidewalks. If you can wait until the temp goes up a little, it may be safer.

One extra tip from me – before you leave on your run, prepare your recovery drink, which is likely cold (or your snack) but also prepare a hot beverage (coffee, tea, cocoa) and put it in a thermos. You could even do this with oatmeal or some other hot food you enjoy post-run, put it in an insulated container or keep it warm in a crockpot. That way, if you’re really cold when you come back, you can start your warmup immediately from the inside out.

Above all, be safe! There may be some days it’s not worth the risk of injury or other health impacts to go out for a run due to extreme cold, wind, precipitation or ice. Sometimes, the treadmill is the way to go, or even skipping a run. (I know, I know, but think long term)

Here are tips from people with more knowledge and experience – hope they help!

Great guide from Michigan Runner Girl, just posted this week!

Running in the cold – Runner’s World articles

Share your tips with me – I may need them this winter if I try to train outside more often! 


Almost Wordless Wednesday

Today’s Almost Wordless Wednesday….”bone broth” is mentioned on many paleo sites and in paleo cookbooks. But it always seemed you had to make it yourself, and that was unlikely to happen. So when I saw this on the shelf locally, with holiday food items, I grabbed a box! Yet to try it.

turkey bone broth

turkey bone broth

And today, I found they had chicken as well, in large and mini sizes! I got a couple minis.

chicken bone broth mini size

chicken bone broth mini size


Training Recap – Week of Nov 3, 2014

Here’s last week’s training recap. 3rd week post-Baystate. Richmond is 11/15. Knock wood, legs seemed to start coming back this week.

Updated Monday night:

I’m sort of not processing that Richmond is in 5 days, and really haven’t figured out how to deal with running in 28 degrees. (short sleeve & arm warmers w/ shorts – will it be enough? in full sun, would my tank be ok?). I expect tomorrow (a day off work, thankfully) and Wednesday (telework) to be a suddenly accelerating flurry of list-making, packing, etc.

I’m also starting to get nervous, as I might have goals for the race. Yes, I know I said “to finish” and “training run”, but I may go for something else. Or I may not. Or I may start that way and back off. Goal #1 is healthy body for Boston training – Boston is 23 weeks from today. Goal #2 is to finish for progress toward Maniac. After that….but I’m not sure if I’m more nervous that I’ll 1) want to go for a goal and not have it on the day and fall short of that goal 2) not push myself and thus possibly not learn the extent of my abilities as well as test my limits (and execution, and mental toughness, and physical fitness). I guess no matter what, I’ll learn some things about myself.

Run: 41.2 miles

  • T – 10 miles, tempo intervals:  3mi warmup, then 3x(1.25 on, 0.5 jog) at 27s/mi faster than race pace, 33s mi faster than race pace, 39s/mi faster than race pace. 1 packet of Vanilla Bean GU, took some before each rep. HR132 at end. 1st rep was a little work, 2nd good, 3rd ok but harder. Same workout I did at this point before Shamrock and Baystate except I forgot the jog intervals were supposed to be 0.25, not 0.5. Oh well.
  • W – 3.1 miles at recovery pace. Better as it went along. Noticed a definite boost from my FRS chews this morning – either the new bag has a bit more oomph, or I really needed the little caffeine they provide and reacted to it. (probably the latter as the time change has left me a bit more tired this week)
  • Th – 8 miles, including tempo. (pre-Shamrock, this was a fartlek run, but Greg McMillan’s new e-book plan had this as a tempo run, which I did before Baystate, so I stuck with that workout for Richmond) 3mi warmup, 4mi at 20s/mile faster than race pace, 1mi cool. Calves very tight. 1st mi a bit hard, 2nd mi good, 3rd ok, 4th settled in but not sure how much longer I’d have gone. Used Salted Caramel Gu, split between 1st 2 tempo, 2nd 2. Reasonable. Maybe I’m doing sort of a reverse taper & peak for Richmond by accident. (it’s actually an approach but I hadn’t really planned it)
  • Sat – 13.1mi: 6 mi w/u ez pace (increased pace every 2mi), 3mi race pace, 4x1mi each 0.1mph faster than prior mile (about 7s faster per mile), finishing with 0.1mi at 0% incline (downhill) at 50s faster than race pace. Wanted to load up on GU without my usual EFS gel to buffer it, see how my stomach took it. Took a Salted Caramel at mile 3, a Blue-Pom Roctane at mile 6 (slight headache in the temples after this, which passed within a mile) and a Vanilla Bean at mile 9. I’d originally planned the Jet Blackberry – the most caffeine of all the ones I use – for mile 9, but decided to go with the less-caffeinated Vanilla in case my brief headache was from over-caffeinating. (I figured out on the run that taking the 4 GUs I plan to is almost the equivalent of my mug of tea in caffeine levels, plus the FRS chews I take beforehand on run days – might be a bit more than I’m used to.) My stomach handled them fine though, so I think I’ve got my fueling plan for the race now. Tried my North Face BTN short sleeve shirt with arm warmers – I think I can use that for the race if needed or I may just go with my tank as the vest does help keep me warmer (overnight low the night before is forecast to be 30, with race day sunny, high of 49). I’ll bring both and decide (I always bring multiple outfits for an away race.)
  • Sun – 7mi, recovery pace. Despite the gorgeous weather – and breaking with the pattern I’m trying to hold of mimicking the runs up to Shamrock and Baystate – I ran inside on the treadmill. The “reason” – I have a tendency to go too fast on recovery runs (hit goal pace in this run pre-Baystate) and the treadmill prevents that. The reason behind the reason – wasn’t sure how my legs felt or if I’d be able to push myself to hit the mileage I wanted if I went outside. And – bonus – I listened to Desiree Linden’s interview on the excellent Cloud259 podcast (they describe her in a tweet as “unflappable” and I’d tend to agree). I am enjoying learning more about this accomplished runner (5th place in 4 of the World Marathon Majors, and 2nd at Boston by seconds!) who flies under the radar. She’s smart, tough, funny and has a good perspective. I also heard a brief interview with her on Babbitville Radio. I’ll be looking for more with Desi, especially as we approach the Trials.

Bike: M: 40 min in AM, 40 min at lunch at work; 40 min at lunch at work; F 30 min in AM, 40 min at lunch at work
Core: M, W, F
Wharton flex: 5 (skipped W & F to keep dinner on schedule – gotta keep an eye on this)
Chiro exercises: nope
Coach Jay GSM routine: slacking….at best Myrtls a few days
Calf stretches: Didn’t actually count it – did them most days, multiple times. Calves have been a little tight.
Walk: 15 min before runs. Added a 30min post-work walk to test new Adrenalines.
Drills: Back to regular drills, if a bit less energetic than usual.
Other: Chiro Tues, massage Sun

Onward to Richmond!