Monthly archives: February, 2015

Thankful Thursday 2/26/2015

Here’s the thankful Thursday list of the moment!

  • My sister is passing through town on the way to visit friends and I’ll get to see her (& my BIL) for a few hours after my long run Saturday!
  • The oven was fixable (igniter) so….baked fries and roasted kabocha return
  • Arctic Zero (especially yummy with frozen cherries) – shouldn’t be eating it, but right now it’s a lesser evil
  • That meetings at work where people seek out and listen to others’ opinions are the norm, the expectation
  • Compliments on my work from people I work with
  • The kindness of colleagues & co-workers expressed in sympathy cards, emails and visits/calls
  • Podcasts (though I continue to fall further behind as they seem to be releasing more often these days and having more interesting guests and topics)
  • People’s faith in me and my abilities and dedication – my chiro, my tweeps and blog readers, friends and family…..even (especially) when I’m not always feeling it myself
  • Finding new books to read
  • Coconut manna, kabocha, jam, honey and nut butter! (and baked chips….)
  • Finding another new tea I like
    Double Dark Chocolate Mate tea

    Double Dark Chocolate Mate tea

What’s on your #thankfulThursday list this week?



Training Recap – Week of Feb 16, 2015

Boston is less than 8 weeks away. It doesn’t quite seem real yet except for the increasing frequency of emails from the BAA and the bursts of nerves. Twitter discussions re what can be carried on the buses, the bus trip and other details of Boston veterans’  experiences are starting to help it sink in.

What I think will make it a bit more real for me is the Boston Marathon course views from Trainer View. (I can’t find a DVD of the course anywhere…the company Outside Interact that used to sell DVDs of such things has gone all ipad/app and my old iPad won’t handle it.)

I heard about Trainer View through the Zen & the Art of Triathlon podcast – Brett, the host, RAVED about it, uses it for indoor cycling training (often viewing other countries) and has even had the developer on as a guest. Started for cyclists, the site stitches together Google street views along a route and allows you to play/view the route at your chosen speed. There are multiple Boston Marathon course selections on the site! The developer even tweaked it when I emailed to ask if the playback could go down into running speed instead of just cycling speed. It works on computers, iPads and even iPhones (at least it did till my phone choked on the internet momentarily). My iPad is too old to handle it, so I plan to use my iPhone on some treadmill runs to follow the course and watch it multiple times on my computer. You can get a lot of the features free, but the Pro subscription ($12 a year) lets you bookmark, pause and some other things.

Note – I have tried this site/product a few times and plan to continue using it. I can’t say it’s perfect and I can’t go into detail on use, flaws, etc. as I am still pretty new to it. It seems to suit my purposes. I’ll grant you the slideshow nature of it can be a bit tough to look at – especially on an iPhone balanced on a treadmill as I run – but it is helpful and the developer is working on a product that might smooth it out some. It’s already showed me that the beginning of the race is on smaller roads than I had been imagining, working on wrapping my head around that.

I am NOT affiliated with the the Trainer View developer, or his company, or with Brett (other than listening to his podcast). I don’t benefit in any way if you use it – but if you try it and it helps you, I’d love to hear about it because I truly enjoy helping other runners. I am just sharing the info because it’s cool and you might think so too.

Good news: the lovely treadmill service people fixed my treadmill Monday.

Less good: it started making a somewhat speed-dependent ticking noise, noted after my run Saturday and at the beginning of my run Sunday.

Good news: after some back-and-forth emails with the treadmill service people, they recommended I be the only one to run on it for the time being (sorry DH) and ordered a new motor, board and walking belt from the mfr. Hopefully they’ll be able to come out next week and replace all those parts and get everything back in the utmost spiffy condition for the last weeks of Boston training.

In other news, we seem to have hot water back – knock wood, an appliance repair guy is coming Wed to look at the stove – which I fully expect will need replacement, and I’m tolerating the leaky toilet in my bathroom as long as I can. Priorities – treadmill first.

Run: 53 miles – back over 50, woot!

  • T – 11mi with 8mi at potential MGP. Tough but I got it done. I’m trying to figure out if the pace I’d initially targeted for myself is really too ambitious, so this is a bit pulled back from that “super ambitious” pace to “ambitious”. Since I need lots of miles at MGP (or slightly faster when I do speedwork), it needs to be a faster pace I CAN maintain, not just one I WANT to be able to maintain. (Long-time readers may recall me going through this prior to Baystate – wasn’t any happier about it then, but there’s no point hurting myself if the pace my mind wants isn’t yet in my body. I’ll push to get faster, but it may not be in the huge leaps I’d prefer.)
  • W – 5.5 “easy” pace miles
  • Th – 9mi with 6 x (0.5 at “super ambitious” pace, 0.25 jog). Again, tough but I got it done.
  • Sat – 23 miles. 1 mile w/u then increased pace by 0.1 mi and repeated that increase every 3mi for rest of run – last 3 mi was at 34-47sec slower than MGP (depending on which pace I choose), then 1mi c/d. That 5% hill in the middle of mile 20 is definitely something I’ll be glad I’ve practiced. Good HR at the end. My feet were pretty sore at the end, suggesting I need to change shoes.Listened to:

    Wore the medium FlipBelt, 10 gels in it this time. Tolerable level of annoyance. Found myself reminded that when my hands are cold, I can’t open the gel packets, have to use my teeth which is pretty messy.  All GU day: Vanilla Bean mi 3.5, Salted Caramel mi 8, Vanilla Bean mi 12, StrawKiwi Roctane mi 16, BluePom Roctane mi 19.

    Got up early but decided to try to start run later to inch closer to Boston start times. My guess is that I’ll be in the waves that start at 10:50 (second to last) or 11:15 (last), though I’d surely like to be in the 10:25 wave. I managed to start the run around 9:30. Progress. Just means I finish so late!

    I had half a Hammer bar 90 minutes before starting the run. May need to move that earlier – eat half a bar quite early then maybe half an hour before. I was hungry and felt a little off on blood sugar starting the run, but did fine. Can’t sleep in as I imagine I’ll have to be up at 5AM on race day in order to get to whatever form of transportation I choose to get me to Hopkinton, where then I will wait with thousands of others.

    It’s really starting to hit me just how different from any other race I’ve done Boston will be, in so many ways.

  • Sun – 4.5 easy recovery miles. Didn’t sleep well – had a really hard time falling asleep, couldn’t get my HR down (67 is too high for me to sleep) and was too warm because of the way our upstairs gets heated, so I didn’t even fall asleep until 1-2AM. Could have done more miles but decided not to. Felt yesterday’s run in some soreness, tightness but nothing unusual, L ham most cranky as seems to be the case. Listened to Another Mother Runner with Denise Dollar, the founder of Heart Strides, a non-profit helping mothers caring for critically ill or special needs children by providing them with running shoes (and maybe gear) and guidance. Heart Strides is now a non-profit partner of the AMR tribe! Wore my second-to-last pair of new Adrenaline 13s, definitely was time to change shoes. Looking at the numbers post-run, had 422.46 miles on the shoes I ran in Saturday and I usually change shoes between 300-350.

Bike: 30 min M, F
Core: M usual routine, W & F added in some moves from Carrie Tollefson (once I watched the first video, which I got in an email from her, I also went and looked at more videos on her youtube channel – fun!)
Arms: nope
Wharton flex: W-F 
Chiro exercises: Thurs after run
Coach Jay GSM routine: Thurs after run – did Myrtls after runs Th, Sat, Sun
Other leg/body strength: a few lower body leg lifts, ham curls & supermans on my big inflatable ball
Calf stretches: daily
Walk: 15 min before runs
Drills: before runs
Other: Chiro Tues, massage Sun

Hope your training is going well, have a great week!



Weekend Update Feb 21-22, 2015

This post is part of Tara’s Weekend Update linkup – go see what everyone’s been up to. Been a while since I posted one of these.

8 weeks to the Boston Marathon – we’re well into single digits now….

RUN

Sat – 23 miles. 1 mile w/u then increased pace by 0.1 mi and repeated that increase every 3mi for rest of run – last 3 mi was at 34-47sec slower than MGP (depending on which pace I choose), then 1mi c/d. That 5% hill in the middle of mile 20 is definitely something I’ll be glad I’ve practiced. Good HR at the end. My feet were pretty sore at the end, suggesting I need to change shoes.

Listened to:

Wore the medium FlipBelt, 10 gels in it this time. Tolerable level of annoyance. Found myself reminded that when my hands are cold, I can’t open the gel packets, have to use my teeth which is pretty messy.  All GU day: Vanilla Bean mi 3.5, Salted Caramel mi 8, Vanilla Bean mi 12, StrawKiwi Roctane mi 16, BluePom Roctane mi 19.

Got up early but decided to try to start run later to inch closer to Boston start times. My guess is that I’ll be in the waves that start at 10:50 (second to last) or 11:15 (last), though I’d surely like to be in the 10:25 wave. I managed to start the run around 9:30. Progress. Just means I finish so late!

I had half a Hammer bar 90 minutes before starting the run. May need to move that earlier – eat half a bar quite early then maybe half an hour before. I was hungry and felt a little off on blood sugar starting the run, but did fine. Can’t sleep in as I imagine I’ll have to be up at 5AM on race day in order to get to whatever form of transportation I choose to get me to Hopkinton, where then I will wait with thousands of others.

It’s really starting to hit me just how different from any other race I’ve done Boston will be, in so many ways. (and looking at google street views of the course – more on that another time – reminds me that the start will be much more like Baystate’s in terms of small roads than like a big city marathon, which is how I think of Boston…good to figure this out now)

Sun – 4.5 easy recovery miles. Didn’t sleep well – had a really hard time falling asleep, couldn’t get my HR down (67 is too high for me to sleep) and was too warm because of the way our upstairs gets heated, so I didn’t even fall asleep until 1-2AM. Could have done more miles but decided not to. Felt yesterday’s run in some soreness, tightness but nothing unusual, L ham most cranky as seems to be the case. Listened to Another Mother Runner with Denise Dollar, the founder of Heart Strides, a non-profit helping mothers caring for critically ill or special needs children by providing them with running shoes (and maybe gear) and guidance. Heart Strides is now a non-profit partner of the AMR tribe! Wore my second-to-last pair of new Adrenaline 13s, definitely was time to change shoes. Looking at the numbers post-run, had 422.46 miles on the shoes I ran in Saturday and I usually change shoes between 300-350.

NON-RUN

Sat  –

Got done with my run late – the last couple hours I got to watch the snow fall through the open window. After my Ultragen and coconut bread toast, puttered a bit then sat down with some kabocha and nut butter for a snack. But the afternoon flew by so quickly! I decided I wanted to take a quick Epsom salt bath and shower before dinner…..that’s when I determined the hot water had gone out. Yes, seriously…in the same week as the treadmill (fixed at least for now), the outlets (fixed at least for now), and the oven (still unusable, needs repairing or replacing). Let’s not forget the ongoing leaky toilet. The universe has an odd sense of humor. But, DH flipped a breaker and we gave it overnight just to allow for the possibility that the recent frigid cold (and associated very cold water) was too much for the heater to handle, and Sunday morning we had hot water again. I’m glad but it makes me nervous since I feel like I really don’t know what’s going on so it could happen again.

DH trudged through the 4-5″ of snow and the sleet to pick up pad Thai for himself and some summer rolls, and I made dinner out of a summer roll (rewrapped in my tapioca paper, without the rice vermicelli) and some rolls I made myself! Shredded carrots, cucumber, avocado and my tapioca paper – which I really like and which is much easier to work with than I recall rice paper being (thought you have to keep it very wet) – then a dipping sauce of coconut aminos, which I’m going through like you wouldn’t believe, and sunflower seed butter. We wound up starting so late we only watched two shows – back to back episodes of Arrow. Read some of a book on a TransEurope race while noshing on Arctic Zero – both chocolate and vanilla work very well with the frozen cherries from Costco, which I’m eating very quickly.

Sun – After my run, breakfasted on bacon and got my fix of coconut bread toast with manna, jam and honey. Cooked two kabocha in the microwave and fell prey to the temptation while I was packaging it up. Cooked some Brussels sprouts, then headed to my massage. After that pleasure, came back to finish prepping food for the workweek, or at least Monday. Sat down with another kabocha snack to try to catch up online including writing this post! Now, it’s dinnertime. We’re going to repeat last night’s meal and watch some TV. Probably will have some of the extra yummy potato chips tonight, just wasn’t in the mood last night.

Looks like a “regular” week – MWF in office, T/Th telework with my chiro appt. I’m waiting to hear back from the treadmill people about whether a ticking noise I noticed yesterday/today is a problem. I’m all for having them come out and replace the motor, board, etc. ASAP so I can stop being nervous about it! We also need to get the oven addressed. We don’t use it often, but we do miss our baked fries and it’s a lot easier to roast an oven full of veggies all at once than cook them in the microwave. This means getting a repairperson out, an estimate, then coordinating with our landlord  who thankfully will pay (though we have to take time off work or use telework for service appointments…we love our house, but we’ve had to do this for other things). So realistically, this could take few weeks. Sad face. Oh well, the treadmill is the most important thing. As long as that holds out (knock wood!) the rest is manageable – though I’m surely not looking to test that theory.

How was your weekend? Dealing with weird weather, house or life stuff on top of training?



Thankful Thursday 2/19/2015 & Things I’m Looking Forward To

Welcome to another #thankfulThursday!

Here’s the list of the moment

  • My treadmill!! (and the wonderful folks who responded to my distress call and got it running for me after it died on Sunday)
    my beloved Landice L8

    my beloved Landice L8

  • That even though the oven and 4 nearest outlets don’t work – happened overnight Saturday – the microwave (plugged in elsewhere) and stovetop burners still do. Managed to cook 3 kabocha in the microwave.
  • Heat in my house
  • Electric blanket (thanks to MIL!) keeping me snug while I read in the evening
  • Books and videos about far-flung races and places enticing me, distracting me, making me think and dream
  • Libraries – electronic and otherwise – so easy to satisfy an itch to know more about almost anything with no cost or commitment. Just found out today our local library has a garden tool checkout program – not what I think of with a library, but I can see where they’re going and it’s kinda cool.
  • Coconut manna – really loving this lately on coconut bread toast with various jams and honey, or on kabocha…had to buy more!
    coconut manna

    coconut manna

  • Blue sky and sunshine on new-fallen snow….and for my DH who dug out my car and shoveled before I had my chiro appointment
  • Being able to help people in any way, big or small – especially those who are trying to do good for others or who are having a tough time
  • The internet, again, yet, still
  • Mail, UPS and FedEx – I order things and they magically show up at my door…seriously, how cool is that?!
  • Strawberry chocolate tea, yum

Bonus – there’s a great “Ten on Tuesday” blog prompt/linkup I found through Sprite Writes. The Tuesday part conflicts with my regular training recap post, but I liked this week’s prompt – Ten Things I’m Looking Forward To – so I decided to throw it in today’s post. My sister would love this topic.

I’m looking forward to:

  • Working a puzzle with DH – his parents and my sister are “puzzlers” and we thought it might be a fun activity to do together, whether in concentrated bursts or by each of us working it when we have a minute
puzzle - Norway fjord

puzzle – Norway fjord

  • Following my tweeps who are racing this weekend, whether at the Disney Princess races, the Tokyo Marathon or ultras. Have a great race!
  • Listening to new podcast episodes, like one from Runner’s Connect with Margaret Webb, whose Older, Faster, Stronger I have read multiple times and rec’d, perhaps a Ginger Runner with Ellie Greenwood talking about Comrades (ep 45 avail in iTunes and on youtube), maybe Greg McMillan on Surviving the Race (Marathon) Freakout on Trail Runner Nation. (I have the e-book.)
  • My long run
  • Reading Running Times after my long run this weekend
  • Potato chips while watching TV on Saturday night
  • Wearing the SmartWool compression socks that I ordered from an active.com sale (yes!) which showed up today…very comfy, nice compression. I’ll mostly wear them for work/day wear but I probably could run in them if need be (DH has).
  • Following Mark Hines (love his MdS, Jungle Marathon, Yukon Arctic Ultra books) & David Johnston at the Iditarod Trail Invitational that starts 3/1
  • Looking at travel guides (or watching travel DVDs) – fun, interesting, I learn a lot whether or not I ever go to those places
  • Watching Meb and others at the NYC Half Marathon on 3/15 (via web feed) and Meb’s book, coming out April 7 (I preordered when it was announced!)

What are you thankful for, and what are you looking forward to?
I hope both lists are long!



Training Recap Wk of Feb 9, 2015

Boston is 9 weeks away as I write this (Monday around lunchtime) – hard to get my head around it, single digit weeks….scary!

Last week (and even the beginning of this week so far) I have still been quite tired, despite efforts to get more sleep (go to bed earlier and sleep later). I took M-W off work, teleworked Thursday and was convinced by my boss to take Friday and Tuesday off as well. Sleep has been very challenging….the pattern seems to be one decent night followed by a bad night of insomnia, frequent waking, upsetting dreams. (except for Sat/Sun which were both poor, ugh)

We had huge winds and temperature drops overnight Saturday, which didn’t help my sleep. It also seems to have taken out 4 outlets on one outside wall and our oven (no ignition, no sound of gas, but can still use the burners). So, we need an electrician. (on top of needing a plumber for the leaky toilet in my bath that makes it virtually unusable….) Had to cook kabocha in the microwave (which didn’t get blown, yay, but had to be moved…a bit of unwelcome chaos in the kitchen) and bummer of no baked fries this week.

Then, Sunday morning as I went to warm up for my run……my treadmill died. Belt wouldn’t move at all. You can begin to imagine what this did to my mood and stress level, major freakout time.

I found a place in Maryland that services my treadmill (Landice, under lifetime warranty) sent them email and called AND they called me back on Sunday (!), asked questions about the problem, and said they’d send folks today. The woman also said that since Landice would have to send parts/approve warranty repair, I should look for other treadmills for a bit. (She understood how important it was to me and said they’d do everything they could but they couldn’t speed up getting parts if needed.) Sunday was spent trying to calm myself down, calling local gyms to find three day trial passes – there are 4 near me – thinking about which days I could go into the office to use the gym treadmills,  and trying to figure out how to make it all work for the next week or two. I even contemplated how fast I could get a new treadmill into the house. Hours of new stress I didn’t need piled on…..

Two treadmill service guys arrived promptly at 9am on Monday, and managed to diagnose the problem – motor brushes. AND they had two replacements on the truck, what an unexpected gift!

They replaced the brushes, cleaned and lubed the unit, and got it running. They said it should be fine to get me to Boston but suggested I set up an appointment at a convenient time when they could replace the motor and the board, both of which were okay for a while (but could be replaced pre-failure given technician assessment). These guys too understood how important getting my treadmill working was to me.

I almost cried when the belt started moving again, DH saw that moment hit me. The overwhelming relief actually kind of drained me, made me tired (on top of poor sleep for a couple nights and the other life events…).

No, I didn’t immediately get on it and run. I wanted to, I really thought about it, but Monday is a XT day and I decided to take that on top of yesterday’s rest/XT and let it be. Maybe yesterday’s one extra day of rest will help my legs somehow and kick my training into another gear for Boston. Cross your fingers. No, really, I can use all the help I can get!

Run: 39.2 miles (below 40, shudder, trying to just roll with it, extra recovery, right?)

  • T – 9mi:  2mi of w/u at increasing paces, 1/2 Salted Caramel GU then 4mi at MGP (rest of Gu at mi 3 of set). Quite hard, not sure I could have gone further – best toward end of 1st mi of set, then 3mi cool. Felt hot during the pace segment. Afterward, having breakfast and reading online, had my first visual migraine. Very scary. I’m putting it down to stress.
  • W – 8.1mi: 1mi w/u then ran the rest at ~90s slower than goal pace. Should have been easier than it was. Made myself NOT look at the clock/mileage on the treadmill the whole time (this was quite tough).
  • Th – 9mi: supposed to be speed intervals – 3mi increasing pace warmup (Vanilla GU at 2.5), tried first interval but no way upper L ham was going that fast, had to drop back till I found a speed that didn’t bother it there (just both hams lower down, more normal) which turned out to be 26s slower than MGP, not faster as should be with intervals. Argh. Did 5.5mi at that pace, taking 2nd Vanilla GU at 6.35. (McMillan considers this pace a “steady state” pace, part of the stamina grouping of paces.) This felt harder than it should have, and I felt a bit wonky. Not sure I should have needed that second packet of GU. HR higher at end of run than I’d prefer. Didn’t sleep well W night, this was first day back at work (telework) also, so I was up earlier than in prior days. Felt kind of woozy after run. Had a massage at end of day.
  • F – Didn’t run. Too wiped. 30 min on bike. Thursday night, I dreamed I was running the last 6.2 of a marathon in a city, down a hill then into a parking garage and up and around many many levels against streams of ppl (it was all going to be those uphill garage loops to the end). In the evening, had unpleasant GERD/indigestion and soreness in my back from massage (this happened again after my Sat massage, think there’s parts of my back that just don’t like the massage much as they need it)
  • Sat – 13.1mi: plan said 90 min progression run (whether I looked at 4-5/wk or 6-7/wk plans…) But that seemed too short for me in my anxious state, so I decided I wold allow myself to run 90min – 2 hours, cutting it short if I was too tired or sore or such. 2mi warmup, then increased the pace every 2 miles (last 2 miles 13s slower than MGP), 1.1 mi cooldown. Took Vanilla GU mi 3.5, Salted Caramel 6.5 or so, Blue-Pom Roctane 9.5 or so. HR at end was fine. Had to grab some food and rush to massage.

I listened to Marathon Talk. (Tom’s back from his California holiday!) If you’ve been reading the story in the news in the last week or so about a study saying “faster jogging” is bad for you, you definitely need to listen to this ep starting at 37 minutes in. Tom’s Dad is a big stats guy, lots of experience in epidemiology and medicine stats and he goes through the study info in detail. If you’re not going to listen on a run, pull the dropbox document linked with the podcast and look at the charts while he talks. Very interesting, well done explanation.

Saturday night, tuned in to watch Bernard Lagat break the 40+ indoor mile world record at Millrose!

  • Sun – No miles. See above. I biked for 30min, wore my new 10# weight vest for 3 hours including when I did this jump rope routine (that’ll get your heart rate up and tire your legs out!) and did a few squats and wall sits.

Bike: 30 min Sun
Core: W, F
Arms: don’t think I did them at all
Wharton flex: M,T (not good)
Chiro exercises: Th – full set of Ohnos/skaters, 10 leapfrogs, 10 double leg and single leg squats with improved form!
Coach Jay GSM routine: Myrtl stretches W, Sat; Th did LC #1 & Myrtls incl leg
Other leg/body strength: Hamstring ball curls T, W, Th – straight leg bridge on ball W, Th. Did a few squats Sun w/ weight vest, 1 wall sit.
Calf stretches: managing these daily I think, but calves continue to be tight
Walk: 15 min before runs, 30 min on Monday in Asics
Drills: before runs
Other: Chiro Tues, massage Th & Sat.

Hang in there everybody, especially those training for Boston or training in New England! 



Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day! (whether you are with someone or not – remember, you can be your own very special Valentine)

Decorations from the “holiday house”, neighbor who decorates for every holiday – such a pleasure to see when I drive by.

Neighbor's house decorated for Valentine's Day IMG_0573 IMG_0574 IMG_0575



Thankful Thursday 2/12/2015

I think another installment of various things I’m thankful for is in order this week……

  • my DH – for everything….and on top of his regular and extra support of late, brought me two different bouquets last Sunday – one of yellow tulips to go with our cheery yellow kitchen and make it feel “spring-ier” (hope they last through the cold snap) and one with some lush beautiful red roses that have kept me company next to my laptop all week – he has been so understanding and kind
  • my sister – for being not only my sister but my friend, and someone I can say crazy or weird or inappropriate things to, knowing she’ll get it and not think less of me
  • my dear friend K – for making time to talk to me despite kids, work, school, time zone differences and a schedule that tires me out just to see
  • my twitter buds and blog readers  – your support and kind words of sympathy, understanding and encouragement mean a great deal to me, and give me some solace and comfort
  • that I am lucky enough to be able to take a few days off work, though I’m still reeling a bit
  • finding a new jar of coconut manna hidden in a cupboard, since no store here carries my fave brand anymore and I’ll have to order online
  • getting huge jars of my variety of Nuttzo at Costco cheaper than the smaller jars! (thanks to DH’s keen powers of observation for seeing it)
  • going out for tea with DH
  • my massage therapist, chiro and office manager – there for me in so many ways
  • sunshine
  • pictures of cute fluffy dogs (and penguins in sweaters) – keep ’em coming!
  • shows on DVR, Netflix, Amazon Prime
  • anything that makes me laugh for even a moment
  • SmartWool compression socks
  • podcasts
  • my Kindle and e-books about far-off races (also starting to revisit my mental training books….going to need some help in that area)
  • chocolate Arctic Zero with frozen cherries (yes, I went back to it, at least for a bit)
  • watching replays of Bernard Lagat and Jenny Simpson at New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, loved the Cooldown post-race interviews too!
  • video interviews with cool runners like Magdalena Boulet (another role model)
  • discovering that hamstring curls on the inflatable ball help my cranky hams
  • having things to look forward to like watching Lagat in the mile at the Millrose Games (taping it since it’s Valentine’s Day evening)
  • inspiring people/runners like Gilbert Tuhabonye (“met” him in Kristin Armstrong’s Mile Markers book) – a living reminder to “run with joy”

What’s on your #thankfulThursday list?



Training Recap – Wk of Feb. 2, 2015

This week I’d hoped for a turnaround in my training, better speed and to feel stronger. That didn’t happen. Then, late Friday night, my Dad died rather unexpectedly. As I write this on Tuesday, I feel numb, disoriented, sad, tired and empty. The world feels weird and off-kilter, and so do I.

In light of this loss, it could seem odd or even “wrong” that I’d be thinking or worrying about my training for Boston and the race itself, but I am. I suspect many of you DO understand how important it is to me though, and that everybody grieves differently.

My chiro today suggested I focus less on my time goals – while still aiming for them – but try to “enjoy the heck out of the next two months of training and the race” and remember that it’s already an accomplishment to have qualified (good fortune combined with hard work), to – as Dave McGillivray would say – have “earned the right to toe the start line”.

A year ago at this time, I was still dreaming and hoping for my first BQ. Perhaps I haven’t celebrated or absorbed or “owned” that accomplishment, or my PR which BQ’d me for 2016, as much as I might have, always focusing on the next goal. It’s a bit like not believing it really happened or like it might somehow “un-happen” or get taken away from me. I have to, want to, keep getting better in my running and racing. But some dreams have come true, more will yet, and I want to get better at taking joy, pleasure and satisfaction from those achievements.

Well, that was pretty rambling….that’s kind of how I am right now. (trying not to beat myself up about it, only partially succeeding) I’m easily distractible (can barely read one blog post before I click to another tab, searching for who knows what), interrupt myself in the middle of one task because I remembered I should do something else, and forget or can’t come up with words or finish sentences. I’m also (sorry DH) easily irritable, though mostly it seems to come out at myself or at drivers on the road. I feel waves of sadness or emptiness and try to surf them till they pass. It’s all still somewhat surreal, and I know from experience I just need to let things happen as they will, let my mind and body go through the process without trying to direct it. The body/mind is wise in some things and will try to protect me and keep me safe; I just need to figure out when to listen or if I ever need to override them. (impulses to stay in bed longer than necessary or overeat comfort foods are not ones I need to listen to)

I AM going to be trying to get a little bit more sleep (nudges from the universe over the weekend in the form of a tweet from Greg McMillan and a podcast with Sage Rountree made me decide to give it a try). Heck, it’s cheaper than most of the other efforts I’m willing to throw at my running though it’s not easier. So what that effort means, since I have a day job that governs my schedule, is trying to go to bed earlier. This is frustrating because it’ll get me further “behind” (in my own little mind) on blog and web site reading, posting, books, household stuff. It may also drive changes to my eating schedule. But we’re approaching 2 months to Boston (inside 10 weeks) so now’s the time to get started. Boston training (physical and mental) have to be my priority.

I expect that my posting schedule and topics may change for the next few months due to the circumstances of training, work and life, but I do intend to keep the blog going as much as I can. I enjoy writing the blog, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Feel free to ask Qs or suggest topics, though I’ve a list of topics already… I hope you will continue to read, and be patient with me on this part of the ride.

Now, last week’s training. (doesn’t it seem like ages ago?)

Run: 46.25 miles – wanted to get over 50 miles.

  • T – 10 miles. Wanted to hit a MGP run, 4x2mi. Not even close. 2mi warmup, 2mi MGP (felt too hard), 1mi recovery pace, decided to try a different speedwork run (6-8 x 0.5mi faster than MGP) did one 0.5mi rep and said “nope”, 0.5mi recovery pace, decided, ok, the last option is 1min on/1min off at that pace, did 1min and just bagged it, did the rest of the run at recovery pace. Took about a gel and a half over the course of the run. My legs just don’t want to go fast and it all felt so hard. I do NOT understand. In early Dec., I did 6mi at MGP plus a mile faster and nailed it. I should be well-recovered from last year’s races and the ultra by now. Is this stress?
  • W – 5 mi ez pace. Warm in the room (61-63)
  • Th – 7 mi recovery pace. Tired, groggy, bad dreams. Hormone ick. Decided to just run “whatever” and that’s what it was – my default lowest speed. Room was warm again. I seem to be reacting more strongly to any kind of warmth. Sore from the TRX (mostly arms/shoulders). No appetite.
  • F – 3mi in new Asics with my orthotics instead of their cushy insoles. Not as comfy, but more room in the shoe. I noted less slapping. Room was 57 degrees, felt much better. Shoulders and arms still sore from TRX.
  • Sat – 16 mi, slow long run. I’d been up till at least midnight first finding out about my Dad myself around 9:30, then telling DH and calling my uncle, my Dad’s youngest brother, then had a hard time falling asleep. I woke up around 6 but spent way too much time doing things other than running prep, so I didn’t even start my run till 9:30. Boston starts late, right? 2mi w/u, then tried close to MGP for 0.25mi (too fast, pulled back), then 7.25mi at 70s slower than MGP, then 6mi ez pace.

I listened to Marathon Talk first of course, and told myself I could stop after that if I wanted (which would have gotten me 10 miles, very important to me to get double digits on a long run day). When I got close to 10 I decided I wanted to try for more miles even though I didn’t really feel like it. Taking such a huge mileage hit on a long run as the race gets closer would just really bother me. So I decided I’d treat myself and listen to RunnerAcademy with Sage Rountree, since I find her very comforting and supportive, and decided just to run at recovery pace for that podcast. Took Vanilla Bean Gu at mi 4.75, Straw-Kiwi Roctane at mi 12. 61 degrees in room (too warm). Possibly my back discomfort could be related to the FlipBelt in which I carried 9 Gu again. Hoping my back is just going to adjust. Some occasional sharp pains (fleeting) in feet – both feet, different places, kinda weird. Myrtl stretches after. 15min on bike an hour post run still helped. (that distraction stuff again, delayed my cooldown)

Saturday post-run, I watched the web feed of

XC in Boulder,
track & field in Boston (New Balance Grand Prix),
an ultra race in California (Sean O’Brien 100k) online

and the evening NBIGP events on NBCSN
Thanks USATF for the live stream of the championships and meets and the NBSCN time and ultrasportslive.tv for ultra coverage!

Valentine’s Day brings us Bernard Lagat at Millrose!

  • Sun – 5.25mi, recovery pace. I had thought about running a 5k today, only a few blocks away – and the weather was ridiculously warm for February – but decided against it. No way I could hit a pace I’d be pleased with, thus no need to pay $ to run a route I can run on my own. The forecast for the (fairly close) 10k on 2/15 is way too cold, I think. The same running store is putting on a 5k/10k/double on 3/1 in DC. Part of me feels like I should do either the 10k or the double as part of my training (and/or to set a 10k PR) but it’s far enough away I won’t decide yet.

Bike: 30 min Mon, 15 min after Sat long run
Core: M, W
Arms: W
Wharton flex: T-F
Chiro exercises: nope, and I can feel the bad effects of missing this, GSM and too many core workouts in my running
Coach Jay GSM routine: Myrtl stretches W, Sat, Sun
Other leg/body strength: Wed at lunch: TRX incl 3 sets of 5 hanging ham curls, lots of arm, a little attempt at core. Runner startups not quite right. My core w/o plus more supermans, swimmers. Pigeon each side. Standing hip openers.11 x 30sec on/off intervals on rower, level 1 – 1000 meters!
Calf stretches: managing these daily I think, but calves continue to be tight
Walk: 15 min before runs
Drills: As usual, though I did skip them Friday and Sunday
Other: Chiro Tues, massage Sun.

Definitely need to get back into my routines with chiro exercises, Coach Jay’s GSM and my core. May not be in top form, but must try anyway.

Trying to keep in mind a quote attributed to Lauren Fleshman, though I can’t find the original piece right now (if you have it, please put the link in a comment):

“there is no such thing as a perfect training cycle, but there is such thing as excellent adaptation”

Hope your training is going well, especially those training for Boston or training in New England! 



Words Fail Me – Farewell Dad

My dad died last night up in New Hampshire.

He had been getting worse for a while, and didn’t really get over a bout with bronchitis last fall, which led to other problems. Things had gotten bad enough that we were able to get him hospice care starting a couple of weeks ago, which allowed him to stay in his assisted living situation and not have to worry about being hospitalized. However, we hadn’t expected things to happen so quickly. The staff called my sister, who lives only a few miles away, to say he was struggling with his breathing and they thought it might be the end. She rushed over but he was gone before she got there.

It’s been five years since my dad fell in my childhood home on Jan. 28, 2010. (I spent DC’s snowpocalypse in Chicago, my sister and I siting with him in ICU, then getting him into a nursing home/rehab.) We were incredibly lucky to be able to find him good living situations we could feel comfortable with both in Chicago and New Hampshire, where we moved him last April, thanks to my sister. We were lucky to be able to get him the best care possible, though his many conditions presented treatment challenges. We were fortunate we were able to feel that we were doing the best we could for him, even as the situation worsened. In the end, we were able to follow his wishes and I am grateful he didn’t go through a prolonged period of suffering.

I am not sure what or how often I’ll be posting for a bit, I think I’m kind of still in shock. I’ll probably still be on twitter on and off. I appreciate all your kind and supportive thoughts and words and your sympathy. Give your loved ones an extra hug and an “I love you” today in memory of my dad.



Thankful Thursday 2/5/2015

I decided to do something a little different today, so it’s Thankful Thursday!

As you’ll know if you read the blog or follow my tweets, my runs haven’t been all I’d like lately, I’m concerned about training, obsessing about boards under my treadmill and my eating habits, and I’ve got some family stuff going on that’s a bit of stress on me. One of the ways I deal with times like these is looking for the good.

Below is a fairly random list, in no order, of things big and small for which I’ve been thankful lately. Items may overlap in one way or another.  This list isn’t meant to be all inclusive or mean I’m not thankful for things that I don’t list – neither of us have time for the near-infinite list of things I’m thankful for! – it’s just a snapshot. Enjoy, and perhaps make your own list…

  • Frozen wild blueberries that taste like a really good jam or cobbler, fragrant with summer
  • Getting a handwritten thank you note from the leader of a team I worked with last year on a challenging “job”, all the way from Chicago
  • Seeing adorable moppets from the day care center at work when the elevator doors opened yesterday, prompting the gentleman in the elevator with me to relate his conversation with a couple of them earlier where he’d learned they were “TWO!” from them holding up their fingers, as children do, and seeing him mimic them to explain it to me
  • My chiro and his new office manager
  • The elderly couple I met at the chiro, she with a walker, he bent over, both moving slowly – they took the time to listen to the office manager brag about me going to Boston, and turns out the man lived in Cambridge until he was 10 (still has the accent) and we chatted a bit
  • The nice young woman trying to help me in the supplements aisle in the health food store
  • Genuinely nice co-workers who are a pleasure to talk to
  • Having more than one bathroom so we don’t have to get the toilet leak addressed immediately (as long as I’m willing to trek to another bathroom)
  • Wool running socks on cold days
  • Books – whether purchased or library, physical or Kindle, even when I can’t find just the right one, I can find somethng
  • Anne Lamott
  • Kindness, big or small, whether it’s directed at me or I just learn about it
  • Being able to help someone in any way
  • Being able to make someone laugh or feel better, even if just for a moment
  • Feeling heard and understood
  • The support of my tweeps and blog readers
  • Things to look forward to, soon and not so – track meets and races I’ll watch on the web, a three-day weekend, potential future races
  • Possibilities
  • Hope
  • Seeing runners on my way to and from work
  • People walking dogs, especially small fluffy dogs
  • Crayola-bright flowers from last weekend, still hanging in there
  • New fun badges for my RoadID
  • Hearing the birds again in the morning and evening
  • New podcast episodes and new podcasts
  • Knowing that Friday brings Chinese and TV, and Saturday my long run
  • Finding inspiration in books and quotes
  • Things on the internet that make me laugh
  • Fleece
  • Pink clouds at sunset

That’s enough for this installment.

What’s on your #thankfulThursday list?