Monthly archives: October, 2015

Thankful Thursday 10/29/2015

So what am I thankful for this week?

  • Having big ambitious goals gives me so much room to improve and grow that I can strive to be better in multiple ways every day and know I can do the same tomorrow. I’ll also get to hit smaller goals along the way.
  • Progress – my chiro and I both feel my obliques are improving, though not 100% yet. Also making progress, one step at a time, on other goals, big and small. The obliques mostly take non-action and patience, while the others require effort.
  • My chiro and that I can see him as I need to, I’m very lucky.
  • Stepping out of my comfort zone.
  • Pleasant surprises….My evening walks – part of trying to maintain whatever fitness I can while my obliques heal – have shown me pretty trees, and one night when I really had to force myself to go out, I met Rosie, a beautiful collie, and her person, and we chatted for a few minutes. It was very nice. That made me feel better, and I remembered the library had a book on hold for me, so extended my walk to go get it, making me feel a bit better mentally and physically and of course, walking longer.

Seen on one of my walks….he sat up and practically begged me to take a picture, waiting frozen in position.



And tonight – this guy, wandering the streets bold as you please (tomorrow is trash day and people have their cans out)….at first I thought it was a really big housecat.



  • That I have the resources to have my (2004) car serviced so it can safely take me and DH to see his parents at Thanksgiving.
  • Getting to watch Meb and others at the NYC Marathon! I’ve been looking forward to it. Good luck to all tweeps and readers running it, have a great day! (if you want to watch live, info here, app & runner tracking info here) Did you know NYRR is holding A Night of Champions event on Sunday, with a silent auction?
  • I’m really enjoying podcasts, whether walking or commuting…I need to update my podcast list post so you can enjoy them too. I was encouraged to find out I’m not the only one who’s behind on episodes and still finding new podcasts – Seth Godin posted about it.  Lately I’ve been listening to Julia‘s Running on Om (I remember when she started!) and have heard Karen Smyers (champion triathlete and fellow thyroid cancer survivor) and Joanna Murphy. I’m looking forward to more good interviews including Lauren Fleshman and Jay Dicharry.

On a less lighthearted note….

A dear friend, an incredibly nice, smart person who I’ve known for 20 years (!), shared his 3rd cancer diagnosis this week. (He’s the one whose travelogues I’ve mentioned in other TT posts.) My heart breaks for him and his family. I’m grateful for knowing him and for all the good he’s done and the help he’s provided to others, that he has his beloved and wonderful wife by his side, a grown son he’s close to who’s a good guy, living parents and a doctor brother to support him, and that he’ll be getting good medical care. If you’d like to send some healing thoughts his way, that’d be appreciated.

  • My friend’s diagnosis jolted me and reminded me of how precious our time is, and I’m grateful for the reminder, though I wish the situation wasn’t happening. It’s made me think, and I hope I can continue to move forward spurred by the renewed sense of finite time and by knowing that our choices add up. As Deena says, “Goals aren’t just pursued in the moment, but in the choices we make throughout the day.” I want to live a quality, purposeful life. I keep reminding myself that attention is a currency, just like money, time and energy.

“Now is the only time. How we relate to it creates the future. In other words, if we’re going to be more cheerful in the future, it’s because of our aspiration and exertion to be cheerful in the present. What we do accumulates; the future is the result of what we do right now.” -Pema Chodron

What – and who – are you thankful for? 

What are you doing right now, with your choices, to pursue your goals and create the future you want?



Thankful Thursday 10/22/2015

beautiful trees in Lowell

beautiful trees in Lowell the day before the race

Baystate Marathon sign

Baystate Marathon sign

post-race area trees

post-race area trees

Race-related gratitude

  • I got to toe the start line at my goal marathon. I’m grateful I was able to train and race. As Bart says – take no finish line – or start line – for granted.
  • I finished my goal marathon, didn’t walk, fought for every second through the pain in my obliques and whatever else was going on with my body (and then in my mind), and squeaked a BQ. I am grateful for what my body and my mind/will were able to pull off under the circumstances, and for a BQ this year to go with the ones from last year.
  • It’s still an amazement and gift to me that I’ve BQ’d at all, let alone multiple times. Not that I didn’t work for it, but still, wow. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel real. I want to work on owning that accomplishment and the joy that goes with it.
  • That I have people who will help me readjust my thinking if I lose perspective briefly. There are plenty of folks who just physically can’t do what I was able to and who would give anything to be able to do it. I’m very lucky.
  • I get to run Boston for the 2nd time (!) next year and try to improve my BQ there. What a privilege and gift – not that I didn’t work for it, but I had help, support and luck to get to this point, and I know it.
  • I got to see my sister two days in a row! I always love spending time with her (and enjoyed spending some time with my brother-in-law too).
  • The leaves on the course (and everywhere else over the weekend) were very pretty. I love New England.
  • It may have been cold, it may have been windy at points (headwind in the last miles!) but it didn’t rain or snow as had been forecast at various points, and the sun made it plenty warm. There are also a lot of lovely tree-lined shaded sections of the course.
  • The race was (again) well-organized, with super all-volunteer staff. Kudos to the Greater Lowell Road Runners!
  • There were people out cheering in sections, kids who wanted their hands slapped, high schools staffing the water stops, and the XC kids running the gear check again. I even recognized a gear check kid from last year. Great vibe and atmosphere.
  • Had yummy pad Thai and veggie sushi for dinner Sunday night, and the leftovers for breakfast Monday morning.
  • Tried some new gluten-free treats that were pretty good – but thankfully not good enough to be an obsession or something I feel compelled to order.
  • I was reminded that any time I can talk about running to someone, I feel excited, energized and happy.

Since returning home

  • Safe plane travel across the country to get me back here…how cool is it to be hundreds of miles away in only a couple of hours? And a nice gentleman got my suitcase out of the overhead, no way I could have managed it (flight attendant put it in). On the flight out, I saw a young woman putting an older couple’s bags in the overhead for them, just kind of took charge. Nice to see.
  • People spreading joy and helping others – if little kids can do it….
  • Reminders that the spirit of runners is something to be proud of and celebrate (via @sowhatirun )
  • More perspective. I am grateful I am healthy and able to run.
  • Sunlight seen through fall leaves driving to my chiro appt
  • My chiro, who will help my obliques heal faster, and that I have the resources to see him and a job that allows me leave for my appointment & lets me telework.
  • Clever, creative Halloween decorations on houses in my area and on way to chiro
  • A new column from Kristin Armstrong, so often she’s written just what I need to read, when I need to read it. I’d love to meet her, and Gilbert.

What are you thankful for?

If you’re racing this weekend, have a great race! If you’re “just” running, enjoy every step.

Thankful Thursday 10/15/2015

pretty flowers

beauty in unexpected places

The Thankful Thursday of race week is here! I’m very thankful for…..

  • DH and his unflinching, unwavering support, especially in the face of issues popping up at bad times, my peaking (tapering) madness, life stuff….I’m so lucky
  • My sister
  • My dear friend who – despite traveling a LOT on short notice for work recently – keeps in touch and is a source of encouragement and support, believing in me
  • My triathlete work colleague, who’s helped me analyze every workout lately, plan/replan, assess sleep and GI issues, and dither endlessly….and she even seems to enjoy it
  • My chiro, who knows just what body parts to fix and just how to help me get my head on straight
  • You all!

In unpacking old bags, gathering items to pack, sorting, etc., I found the list I’d made last year (the night before Baystate, in the hotel) of all of you out there – family, friends, tweeps, and blog readers – who’d wished me well and said you’d be thinking of me and sending good vibes for my race. The list had more names than the race had miles, and it’d probably be even longer now. It warmed my heart and supported me then, and it does now. Thank you.


From the Chicago Marathon

From elsewhere

And from a new video series following Meb as he trains for the Olympic Trials!

What are you thankful for this week? Who or what is inspiring you? 

Thankful Thursday 10/8/2015

Happy Thursday! Hope all my fellow peaking & tapering runners are hanging in there….

caution - tapering runner

Among the many things I’m thankful for lately…

  • I executed my last long run to plan last weekend, and it was a good solid run.
  • The taste of EFS Liquid Shot Vanilla gel – a flashback to my successful races last year. Maybe that’s a good sign.
  • My re-creation of the local pizzeria’s gluten-free BBQ chicken, goat cheese and artichoke pizza on Udi’s gluten-free crust – it’s pretty good, cheaper and more controllable
  • Friends who send me pictures from their travels, sometimes while they’re still in progress
  • Inspiring interview with Deena as she goes after the women’s American Masters Record at Chicago , with some insight into how her training and life is different as a Master, but still “I love the pursuit of progress”
  • Seeing this clip of Joanie with tips on goals in races – I was there when it was filmed in April at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Expo! (one week before my first Boston…and I got to meet Joanie and also Bill Rodgers)
  • Reading Anna Weber’s account of her OTQ at Twin Cities after finding her blog in the last month, so happy for her.
  • Stories like this one that remind me how many good people there are in the world….
  • More of all the good things than there is time or energy to do, enjoy, accomplishing – while frustrating sometimes, it IS the human condition, and I’m so lucky to be spoiled for choice and overwhelmed with options
  • Moments of seeing and reaching for – or at least opening up to – possibilities
  • 300 consecutive weekly episodes of Marathon Talk – hats off to Martin Yelling and Tom Williams for this great resource of information, humor, inspiration and community, doing it for love and giving it away for free. My deep appreciation, guys….every week, you’re my first listen on my long run, and I look forward to it. Relentless positivity! (and still hoping for more Parkruns in the US)
  • The Eugster, continuing to set World Records! (400m WR 2.21.34)
  • A few trees trying to change color where I am, and seeing beautiful fall pictures from elsewhere
  • Random pizza night on Tuesday, movie with DH – a nice treat and a change to my routine I enjoyed
  • Everyone’s race reports and prep for their races, via twitter and blogs – I wish you all the best!

I’m looking forward to….

  • seeing my sister in a week
  • Watching the Chicago Marathon! That’s going to be my Sunday morning breakfast porch enjoyment. Two of my role models/heroes are running (DeenaJoanie) as well as other runners I enjoy watching (Wesley Korir, such an impressive person) and runners somewhat newer to me (Fernando Cabada, hear him on his life story, different than so many of us, here on the latest Runners Connect podcast). Plus, it comes with shots of my hometown! I’ll be rooting for tweeps as well.

Note – as of Thursday evening, Joanie appears to be ill with a stomach virus, not sure if she’ll run. If she does run, she won’t be going for her goal of a time within 30 minutes of her 1985 time.  this time. Sending good thoughts, hope she gets better quick whether or not she runs. What a bummer for her and us all!

One final note – RIP, Miki Gorman, pioneer in women’s running, marathon champion and ultrarunner. Thank you.

What are you thankful for, and what are you looking forward to?

Race Nutrition Dilemmas & Decisions

Apologies for the TMI you’ll find below, but hey, I’m among friends and fellow runners, right? We all deal with this stuff at some point. Hoping you can share your thoughts, experiences and perhaps help me with a decision. I’m not crowdsourcing the decision or anything like that, but always looking for data, balance, more objective points of view.

If you’re a past blog reader or follower of mine on Twitter, you may be aware I have some GI issues. GERD (low acid diet & PPIs), hiatal hernia, gluten/lactose intolerance, possible FODMAP intolerance, IBS (“we don’t know the cause or a fix so we’ll name it”), other food sensitivities and GI crankiness from hormone swings or other unknowns.

Pre-race (day before) and in-race nutrition are things I am very careful of, practice in training, and try not to change. Especially 2 weeks before race day of a goal marathon. It’s all about finding what works, repeatability, control, and minimizing variables.


(here’s the TMI part….)

I’m getting pretty worried re GI issues on my runs, specifically, bowel/elimination. There have been several long runs (today’s, at mile 13 of an 18 miler) or long speed sessions where I had to stop my run to sprint to the bathroom. (so glad I train on my treadmill!) Looking back, I see one occurrence in this week and each of the last 3 weeks prior (at least) where I either had to stop or by the end of the run (including this past Tuesday) or if I’d gone further I was going to have to stop. This is in addition to having multiple movements pre-run (and every day), which has been happening over the last few months.

I don’t know the reason for these issues. I don’t know if it’s that I’m trying to get faster, or if it’s something in GU (what I’ve been using this year) that my stomach just won’t tolerate after a certain time/distance/speed. I also don’t know if there’s some other thing going on, but I’m going to address what seems to be the proximate cause, run nutrition.

Background: last year for my Shamrock and Baystate BQs and PRs, I was using EFS Liquid Shot gel, which I loved, and didn’t have any stomach issues (other than regular burp-back, which can happen for me with plain water), and I didn’t have to stop. (I did take about half a Vanilla GU at mile 24 of Baystate, according to my race report, and they will have GU on course if I needed it.) But EFS is only available in flasks, which means carrying it those flasks somehow either in a belt, which my tummy doesn’t love, or a vest, which was prohibited at Boston.

So in 2015, preparing for Boston under those constraints, I switched to GU and carried it in a flipbelt at Boston, and was going to carry it in pockets of shorts and bra at Baystate. If you recall, I had some bowel issues around mile 19 of Boston, requiring a portajohn stop. At the time I put it down to undercooked veggies the day before, and to hormones (which were certainly in play) but now I’m wondering if it was the GU. (I’ll deal with what I do for Boston 2016 later.)

DH says it could be nerves and that I’ve been nervous for my long/hard runs for weeks now. He may be right but I didn’t perceive that today and didn’t feel that way (not a nervous agitated stomach). Today and Tuesday were just one of those “gotta stop NOW” things. Also, I could be nervous on race day, so should take that into account.

In terms of day before race/long speed session/long run:

I have been trying to eat less fiber/more carbs the day before my long runs and my long speed sessions (like Tuesday’s 15 miler with 12 at goal pace). I moved away from my chicken and steamed veg dinners and have had white bread with honey, turkey, rice, soup, etc. for dinner. I’m trying to nail down a suite of safe packaged foods I can buy when I travel to races (soup, GF bread, nut butter, lunchmeat, chips, oatmeal or similar) or things I can cook in the hotel (sweet potatoes). I can see no reason for these changes to cause GI problems, and because I’ve been trying a variety of meals, I’m not immediately seeing a common factor in what I eat the day before these issues.

For in-race nutrition:

I’m considering options (aka changes), of which there are only a few in my mind, and all of which I have limited time to try. But the “nothing new on race day” rule means I DO need to try whatever option I think I’m going with. The race is 10/18, so I’m entering peaking (or taper, for those who use that). Tuesday’s plan is tempo intervals, if I feel my legs are up to it, next Saturday is a half distance run with goal pace miles, the rest of the runs are shorter/easier and might not require gel or be good tests.


  • Stick with GU, load up on Immodium pre-race

Pros: it’s what I’ve been training with; not sure it’s the problem; I like the variety of the flavors and choices for added electrolytes, caffeine, amino acids; I’ve used Immodium in non-race situations in the past without incident and have read of other runners with twitchy tummies taking it pre-race.

Cons: if it’s really something in GU that my system can’t take, the Immodium may not be enough, and the combo might be unpleasant. I don’t know if I have enough runs to know that the Immodium will sit well with goal pace miles or if it might cause other problems during the race.

  • Go back to EFS, whether in hard/soft flasks, carry in the waistband of shorts or go back to my vest

Pros: this worked well for me in PR races last year, the liquid consistency and using the flasks allows me to add water to the gel and not have to take as much water at aid stations, not be gulping a packet and spilling/gulping from a cup which could add to GI distress.

Cons: since I don’t know if the GU is the problem, I can’t be sure this is the fix, and have limited test opportunities; just because it was fine last year doesn’t mean it would be fine now; carrying the flasks is a pain/annoyance/weight, and one that I haven’t trained with in over a year – are a couple of runs enough to test the stomach, the vest and weight/speed effects?I suspect I’d wind up wearing the vest even if I could fit a soft flask in the waistband, as I might want extra gel. Of course, having to stop would be likely to take more time than the weight and the vest would add.

(FYI, I am not considering the cost/waste of shipping stuff pre-race in this decision, as I plan to do it anyway with some food and other items/backups – due to TSA restrictions and wanting to fly carry-on only. Also not considering cost/waste of leaving extra behind, tossing empty flasks…gotta do what you gotta do for a race. #firstworldproblems and guilt, but hey)

  • Go back to EFS and load up on Immodium anyway (belt and suspenders)

Pros: see 2nd bullet, above

Cons: see 2nd bullet above plus don’t know if the Immodium will sit will with goal pace miles or if it might cause other problems during the race

I’m leaning toward going back to EFS, trying flasks in shorts on Tuesday and the vest after that. I’m also leaning slightly toward one dose of Immodium after my first clear-the-pipes at the hotel on race day. I plan to get up by 4:30 for an 8am race, to have plenty of time for use of the hotel bathroom before and after a warmup, and before heading to the race site where it’s just portajohns in the cold. I’m also looking at anything else I changed recently in terms of food/supplements and if possible, reverting whether or not it seems possibly related.

Here’s where I ask for your experience, thoughts, opinions….please share! 

Thankful Thursday 10/1/2015

It’s the first Thankful Thursday of October!

Saw this decoration in a store – despite encouragement from store personnel, he didn’t come home with me – don’t need more stuff!

cute little pumpkin guy

cute little pumpkin guy

We’re getting into fall in our own way.

low -key fall decor

low-key fall decor


Time is flying, my race is in 2 weeks. How did that happen?!

Meanwhile, lately I’ve been thankful and grateful for many things big and small, among them:

  • gluten-free waffles
  • support from my DH, chiro, dear friend, & triathlete colleague as training is peaking, my body is speaking to me, my brain is spinning, and my mouth is going….don’t know how people put up with me sometimes, I swear
  • Popchips
  • when I get through the night without a stomach ache
  • veggie “sushi”
  • when I wake up less than 5 times during the night
  • so many yummy flavors of Gu/Roctane….and for finding out which ones I am not fond of well before the race (interesting-to-me note: when I take one before I start running, it tastes different than when taken on the run)
  • starting a new pair of quad sleeves
  • making my own gluten-free pizza…it’s not perfect (yet), but it’s good, cheaper and controllable
  • my chiro suggesting I stop my leg strength exercises the last few weeks before the race – I think it’s helping my recovery
  • recovery drink – making myself take it after long or hard runs makes a difference
  • telework – seriously, deeply appreciated
  • Meb and Deena‘s records last weekend, so inspiring! Can’t wait to watch their next races, hoping to see them compete in Rio.
  • learning through podcasts, articles – so many ways I can improve as a runner and a person, always working to move closer to my potential and my best self
  • finding inspiration and encouragement in so many places – famous folks and regular folks and their stories, told through web sites, podcasts, magazines, books

Looking forward to:

  • watching the upcoming weekend’s Twin Cities Marathon (and US 10 Mile and Masters Marathon Championships), rooting for some folks including Anna Weber and Mike Wardian
  • the next weekend, watching the Chicago Marathon with Deena and Joanie!
  • seeing my sister in a couple of weeks!
  • reading new books I’ve put library holds on – the pleasure of anticipation

What are you thankful for, and what are you looking forward to?