Tag: Friday Five

Friday Five – 5 favorite fuels for running/fitness

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

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

This week’s theme is: 5 favorite fuels for running/fitness. My twitchy tummy makes this a list with no surprises for regular readers.

1) Pre-run: Beet Elite, FRS chews. A serving of BeetElite is about 30 calories, 2 FRS chews 40, with a little caffeine. For races or long runs with lots of goal pace miles, fast-finish long runs (FFLR) or simulator runs, a bit of gel/water right at the start.

BeetElite and FRS chews

BeetElite and FRS chews

2) During long runs, long speedwork and races:  EFS Liquid Shot Vanilla

Lately I’ve been trying GU as a backup since my vest can only hold 2 flasks of EFS (only downsides of EFS is they aren’t really in stores and  they don’t sell in packets as well as flasks). I’ve tried 4 flavors so far and liked all to varying degrees. They seemed to sit okay in my tummy, though each has only been tried once. All have caffeine which is new for me. L to R: Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel, Jet Blackberry, Roctane Blueberry Pomegranate.

3) Post-run Recovery – Ultragen. Right combo of carbs/protein to replenish my stores, and super-easy on my stomach. Cappuccino, yum.

EFS Liquid Shot, Ultragen and GU

EFS Liquid Shot, Ultragen and GU

Backup for post-run protein when I’m at home on telework days is Hammer Whey protein, alone or mixed w/ water, “milk”, applesauce or pumpkin puree. Can be eaten hot, cold or room temp. I’ve also used it as an afternoon or evening snack, and I’ve even brought it to work a time or two. A little Torani sf syrup or sweetener doesn’t hurt. You can also add nuts. Another option is to make chia seed pudding w/ whey.

4) After my recovery drink/protein: sweet potatoes! With or without nut butter, coconut manna, maple butter/honey but always with celtic sea salt.

5) Daily nutrition: My daily nutrition is pretty consistent (some might say boring). I tend to eat the same things over and over because I like them and they work for my tummy. I eat a lot of kabocha and other squashes – but mostly kabocha when I can get it, as it’s my favorite. I often eat it plain, but I’ve been known to top it with nut butter. I also eat root veggies like beets – lately lots of beets, a small can a day. Frozen bananas, with nut butter and celtic sea salt, are almost a daily staple.

Kabocha piece and whole, Japanese sweet potato (L), Stokes purple (R)

Kabocha piece and whole,(center), Japanese sweet potato (L), Stokes purple (R)

6) Speaking of nut butter, it deserves its own place in the list:


my fave nut butters

my fave nut butters

 What are some of your favorite fuels for running or overall fitness? I’m always on the hunt. Happy Friday!

Friday Five – Fitness Inspirations

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

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

This week’s theme is: 5 Fitness Inspirations (only 5?! sorry, gotta make the list longer).

You’ll find most of mine are older and have dealt or are dealing with some fairly major life and/or medical challenges. Many of them use their lives, stories, and running to reach, serve and help others – so they’re inspirations to me in more ways than just fitness.


-something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone

-a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something

Non-elite athletes

My sister – She ran the Chicago Marathon in 1980 – I think it was the LaSalle Bank Marathon back then. We still have the photo taken of her during the race. She started having knee problems after that and stopped running the next year. Though she’d moved away, she came home to visit sometimes and I remember her training through bad weather, and one picture of her in red hoodie out running down the middle of our street after a blizzard, you could see about half of her above the snowbank. I read the training book she behind left over and over. It was Running for Health and Beauty by Kathryn Lance, and I think it was published in 1977!

Bart Yasso – One of the most positive, enthusiastic and encouraging people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and the honor to know. The Mayor of Running is a runner with amazing accomplishments, but I admire him for his love of running and runners, and his dedication to us and to the sport in the face of pain and illness. He continues to do whatever he can to support us all, facing his challenges with a positive attitude, grace and grit that can too easily make us forget the daily struggles he faces. (read his book)

Felicia Wilkerson – Retired from the Marine Corps and dealing with many medical issues herself, she is running 12 races for 1200 miles in 12 months to raise funds to give to two organizations which aid injured military personnel. She says that in doing so she is giving back to herself “by deciding that I will achieve what they said would no longer be possible”. She’s an accomplished athlete who moves forward in the face of many daily challenges and some larger obstacles, which she mentions about but doesn’t highlight, all in the service of others.

Sarah Reinertsen – I had the great good fortune to hear her speak (after reading her book) at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Festival in June. What can you say about a young woman whose motto is “fear less, live more”? Her determination, her honesty about her struggles, and her work to help others make her an exceptional human being as well an exceptional athlete. (read her book)

Erin Henderson – Mom of 12 (yes 12!), coach and competitive runner going for an Olympic Trials Qualifying time, Erin also supports charities like Girls on the Run Foundation, helping young female runners in Ethiopia.


Many of the elites make balancing running, family, community/service to others (and for one, a day job) a priority in their lives, and something they demonstrate as well as talk about with others.

Meb Keflezighi – As if his life story wasn’t inspiring enough, his work ethic, consistency and utter dedication to running has fueled multiple comebacks and wins, an Olympic Marathon medal and a historic, amazing Boston Marathon win. He’s also a husband and father, “Maintaining Excellent Balance” and helps others through his foundation.

Joan Benoit Samuelson – I still remember watching her win the Olympic Gold Medal. She has gone on to many other running accomplishments as well as raising a family and being involved in various organizations that work to help others and her area in some way. I’d love to run Beach to Beacon someday!

Deena Kastor – Chicago Marathon winner, Olympic medalist, American Record holder for the half and full marathons and now World Record holder for the Masters half marathon! Deena has worked hard for many years, come back from injuries, and always maintained a positive attitude and perspective on her running. She has crafted her life around her running, but without letting it take over. Her family is obviously a priority, and she mentors others through the Mammoth Track Club (she emailed me back when I sent in a question!), recently hosted a Runner’s World Ask Me Anything – then showed up at RW HQ after her amazing race! Can’t wait to read whatever book she’s writing.

Mike Wardian – Mike is another supremely positive and enthusiastic guy. I’d love to get him and Bart Yasso in a room together (maybe Dean Karnazes too) – no bad mood or problem would be too much for them to overcome! Local to my area (though I’ve yet to meet him), Mike’s twitter bio says it almost all: father/husband/ship broker/endurance athlete. I suspect the order is intentional. Mike has amazing athletic accomplishments, but works to bring his family along on his adventures and does local races and organizes races to support his sons’ school.

Shout outs to these folks who inspire me too:

Lisa Gonzales – Ovarian cancer survivor coming back to running, Lisa shares the ups and downs of both of those aspects of her life in a frank, funny and moving way. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Amy Pope Fitzgerald – Living with Lyme Disease (as is Bart Yasso), Amy runs and supports others with the same illness, and is a positive and encouraging soul. (She’s encouraged me to run the JFK50 Mile!)

Jacqueline Millet – Jacquie started running late in life, and took the V60 (60 year age group) win at the Comrades Marathon! She runs many many marathons and intends to keep on going. I have tried to encourage her to blog, so if you get in touch with her, please do so as well!

One more thing my inspirations have in common? Gratitude, frequently expressed – for the support and help of others, for the opportunities they’ve had and have, and for whatever they can do, regardless of whether it’s more limited than in the past or has changed due to things outside of their control. They, and many others including many of my tweeps and bloggers/blog readers, inspire me every day. I thank them – and you – all.

Who are your fitness inspirations and why?




Friday Five – Fave Fall Activities

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

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

This week’s theme is: My 5 Favorite Fall Activities!

I’m not sure I have “activities” per se…but I love fall – my favorite season – and here are five of the things I love to do in the fall.

  • Walk and look at the trees, alone or with DH, by the water, in the neighborhood, in a forest preserve.
  • Drive the GW Parkway or some other scenic road and look at the leaves.
  • Get my one pint of apple cider at the Farmers Market for my one or two servings of cider a year. I usually drink a small amount, hot or cold, and in past years I’ve boiled it down and made sort of a cider syrup topping. I’ve also cooked kale or other things IN apple cider.
  • Get decorative pumpkins, gourds and flowers in seasonal colors – orange, burnt orange, yellow – and decorate the front steps of the house.
  • Decorate inside and out for Halloween! (I prefer Dia de los Muertos in concept, and sometimes we decorate for both. DH loves Halloween.) I enjoy seeing the little kids in the neighborhood trick or treating – some of them are just adorable with very clever costumes.
  • BONUS fave – I make pumpkin dishes – like my low-fat pumpkin no-pie….egg whites instead of eggs, nonfat evaporated milk (have to make this non-dairy now), stevia and a little brown sugar (or splenda/sugar blend) and some sort of binder starch (was cornstarch, now would try coconut flour or arrowroot). I use the basic Libby’s can recipe – and the amazing Penzey’s Pumpkin Pie Spice – and bake the filling in a pyrex dish (use Pam or similar), letting it bake into sort of a custard or pie filing. It can be eaten hot or cold, as a side dish, snack, breakfast or dessert! It’s also good mixed into oatmeal or yogurt if you eat such things. By the way, Penzey’s is a great source for spices, either mail order or in store – I love their Vietnamese Cinnamon and Double Strength Vanilla extract, but haven’t gotten anything from them that wasn’t high quality.

Here are some lovely photos of fall leaves (already!) from around the world, from the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.

What are five of your favorite activities in the fall?

Reminder –

  • YogaVibes is offering a special deal through the end of September, $150 for a full year of 24×7 online access to many teachers and classes. I always rec Sage Rountree‘s Yoga for Athletes…..but there are other teachers and classes as well!


Friday Five – My 5 Favorite….

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

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

This week’s theme is: My 5 Favorite ______

Favorites from the past!


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – I have a very old hardcover version with color plates, hand-bound by my great-uncle, who was an actual bookbinder! This edition looks sort of like mine.

A Wrinkle in Time – I still have my copy from childhood. Who didn’t identify with at least one of the characters?

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

Crystal Singer – wonderful character and terrific writing, I stlll have phrases from it in my mind decades after first reading it

The Soul of a New Machine – amazing narrative nonfiction, and geekery as well, added to my interest in computers

The Alphabet Series by Sue Grafton – many happy afternoons with this series, though I probably dropped it around R


I can’t eat these treats anymore, but present them for your potential indulgence…

  • Arizona – Ooey Gooeys (among other things) from Tammie Coe in Arizona – DH and I served these at our wedding reception. If you are in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, you must seek their products out. Everything we have had from them is terrific.
  • Chicago – Carol’s Sugar Cookies – my favorite of their decadent flavors (holy cow, they have gluten free/nut free now but not in plain sugar) – got them at Whole Foods stores there
  • West Virginia – (tie) Peanut butter chocolate chip soft biscotti from this place in West Virginia, when we lived there – or the blackberry pie from this place, best.crust.EVER.
  • Any Indian restaurant – naan and kheer
  • Any grocery store – Reese’s Puffs – the perfectly dangerous snack while reading. I could eat at least a half a box at once. Yes, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups were my favorite candy (never got to try the dark or white chocolate versions) but the perfect milk chocolate was always a plain Hershey bar (or kisses, in a pinch…and yes, I did get to eat pumpkin kisses and enjoyed them).


These won’t be shared except to describe them, some of them I don’t even have any more.

  • My admission essay to a graduate writing program, about my thyroid cancer experience
  • My posts on my BQ race
  • A speech I wrote for my boss at a former job….I channeled lots of emotion along with the facts, got into my boss’ head and mannerisms, and it rang like crystal. I read it out loud and there was a stunned silence until the boss said “you should be a speechwriter”.
  • My papers in college for my Shakespeare classes (I minored in Literature, mostly Shakespeare – I ran them out of Shakespeare classes and had to do independent study)
  • Essays I wrote for myself after my mom died


(favorites at the moment, I hope to make some new favorites soon!)

  • My BQ – I’m still very proud of myself
  • My first race post cancer, the 5k at this event, which I highly recommend (I’ve done the 5k, half and the full, my 2nd marathon)
  • Runs in the Sedona neighborhood near our favorite B&B
  • A run on the Mount Vernon Trail with DH on New Year’s Eve – we started around 11:30, ran down to see fireworks, and ran home. It was cold and we had the trail completely to ourselves.
  • My half marathon PR at Richmond in 2012

What are your five favorites from the past in any or all of the above categories?




Friday Five – Blogs to Try

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

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

This Friday’s topic is “Blogs to Love! Share your five (or more!) favorite blogs that others may not know!” I read a LOT of blogs – feedly tells me I have over 300 subscriptions. However, I’m sure you’re familiar with – and read – many of the same ones. Here are some hopefully new-to-you blogs or sites to try.

(Someday I may create a “Blogs I Read” page…too many to do a blogroll. If you’d like to see that kind of page, please let me know.)


Shelf Awareness

The Poisoned Pen (sign up for their monthly Booknews, check out Poisoned Pen Press, watch archived events, visit them in Arizona!)

Kirkus Reviews (so much on this site)

Politics and Prose (archived events as well as reviews, etc.)

The Millions

EAT (I make no promises about any of the recipes – I read them, didn’t say I cooked!)

My Heart Beets

So Let’s Hang Out

Hold the Grain


Foodie Underground


Nieman Storyboard

The Science Writer’s Handbook

Writing Tools

Columbia Journalism Review

Creative Nonfiction and Brevity


Erin at SeeMomRunFar – mom of 12, going for an Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier (OT)


Salty Running


Lisa at Run Like a Coyote – ultrarunner and ovarian cancer survivor


Elden, at Fat Cyclist –  über mensch and funny guy (take some time to read a little of his history, I’ve followed him for years)

Adrienne Martini of MartiniMade (and Martini Fridays at Another Mother Runner)

Zen Habits

Meredith at SwimBikeMom (her book Triathlon for the Every Woman is fantastic)

Facing Forty Upside Down (Patty Chang Anker, author of Some Nerve)

Blog by LuAnn Cahn (multiple cancer survivor, reporter, author of I Dare Me)

NPR’s Sandwich Mondays

Enjoy! What are some of your favorite, lesser known blogs? Give ’em some love in the comments, help them find a new audience.





Friday Five – Race Day Rituals

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

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

This Friday’s topic is “Race Day Rituals”. Regular readers will likely be expecting some elaborate labyrinthine set of steps from me, as you know I’m all about routine and habits….but I am not sure I really have any. I train as I race, to the best of my ability and need, and all my routines are about trying to be as consistent as possible, minimizing variables for the most predictable results.

  • The only “ritual” that might be different, and it’s the night before, is laying out my race kit, writing the emergency info on the back of my bib (you DO DO that, don’t you?) and pinning the bib on. The intent is that I don’t have to think about it in the morning.
  • Shortly after waking, you’ll find me taking supplements, making and drinking my Beet-Elite (beet root concentrate) and munching FRS chews. I prepare multiple flasks with my gel and water combination (EFS First Endurance Liquid Shot in vanilla). I put on sunblock and get dressed in my race kit.
  • For any cool weather races, I bring throwaway clothes. Some expos (I think Richmond is one) have a vendor selling clothing items cheap, so you can pick up new items and know they’ll be going to a good cause in good condition. I always bring my own though. (sometimes it’s an item my DH is ready to donate) Have to keep in mind that it needs to come off easily, so open bottoms on the legs (will still have to sit down to take pants off) and button/zip tops instead of over the head styles are best. I’ll wear gloves that I get at races or the expo and may or may not ditch them at the start.
  • Depending on where the race is versus where I am (usually at a hotel), I may walk to near the start line to do a jogging warmup, or I may jog to the start line and back to the hotel briefly. (Rule – use actual bathrooms till the last possible moment)
  • When he’s able to come to my races, DH stays with me till close to the start, often encouraging me to move up in the corral, taking my throwaway clothes or gel flask, etc. away for me. He’s great support for my nerves, but at some point, I need to either get in my own head or start chatting to other runners and get in “race mode” so he wishes me well and melts into the crowd to reappear at the finish.

What are your race day rituals? If you’re racing this weekend, have a great race!


Friday Five – Fall Preview

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!

On this Labor Day weekend Friday (whew, we made it!), the theme is “Fall Preview”. You remember fall, right? Here’s some of what I’m looking forward to!


I just bought Elite Minds to add to my mental race preparation collection – a lot of reading and visualization between now and Baystate!

I’m looking at some new interesting training books that are out now like 80/20 by Matt Fitzgerald (recently on RunnerAcademy podcast about this book) and The Well-Built Triathlete by Matt Dixon (I’m not a triathlete, but I believe many of the same principles apply). I’ll also keep an eye out for Fast After 50 by Joe Friel (December).

I’ve pre-ordered Older Faster Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer by Margaret Webb.

I’m also looking forward to a number of non-running related books, including:

Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline and some cozy paperback mysteries. I’m sure there are other books I’ll want as soon as I know they’re coming out!


Fall brings with it more squash, hopefully the return of the purple-inside/purple-outside (Stokes) sweet potatoes.

purple/purple sweet potatoes

purple/purple sweet potatoes

It also brings me one of my annual treats, apple cider! (about one cup a year, from a local provider at a farmers market) I might try to make some baked paleo apple cider cinnamon sugar doughnuts/holes I’ve seen recipes for, maybe this one or this one or this one. If you have a recipe recommendation, let me know!  I think I still have that mini doughnut pan I bought and never used. Weighing against making them – my laziness, schedule and fear of eating the whole batch. (that’s what the freezer is for!)

I’ll likely make my “low fat pumpkin no pie” at least once. Basically, make the regular filing recipe with egg beaters and low fat “milk” of some type, limit the sugar, bake as a custard. If I make it, I’ll try to remember to post pictures and the recipe! It’s great cold, hot, as a vegetable, dessert, breakfast, mixed in oats/quinoa (if you eat them).

my favorite coffee mug - it misses me

my favorite coffee mug – it misses me

I’m not sure why, but I’m REALLY craving coffee lately. Probably my memories of the alertness and comfort factor more than anything else. I even thought about bribing myself with an iced coffee from Starbucks if I did something, but the logistics of bringing my own sweetener, not being able to use their milks, and so on made that less fun the more I thought about it. So did worrying about what the acid would do to my stomach or if my system could handle that much caffeine after all this time. I’m wondering if an Aeropress (recommended by MidpackBiped as making less acidic coffee) might work for me, with some decaf. If you have an Aeropress, do you find it makes less acidic coffee? Do you love it? I’ve given up on the dandelion “coffee” I was using (too much acid kickup after) so my only other option for coffee – or, since it’s fall, faux pumpkin spice and gingerbread “latte” drinks is the sugar free Torani coffee syrup mixed with another sweet syrup, and that gets too sweet.

I’m thinking about reasonable ways to get back to my race weight before Baystate. My snacking habits have added a few pounds since then, and I’m not happy about it. Also, my training was going well (possibly better than it is now, but I have more stressors outside running right now) and raced well at a slightly lower weight, so it’s possible that “just a few” has more of an effect than it used to. I love my snacks (and of course, emotional/stress eating and night snacking are challenges for me). So, I’m trying to come up with ways to address this and knowing I’m running short on time. Labor Day might be a good “last fling” before really bearing down on this aspect of my training. I have plenty of willpower, I’m just using it for more things, and it is a bit finite. But, this is about choosing what I want more over what I want right now, and I can try harder.


As my training continues to ramp up and my day job/life is taking more energy, I may tweak posts, change post days, write about different things. I might also introduce some new themes (perhaps deeper subjects or some lighter, funnier or shorter ones) and join more or different linkups. I appreciate the feedback I’ve gotten to my questions about what YOU want on the blog, and I’ll be working to incorporate some of your requests and suggestions. Thanks for reading, responding and caring enough to tell me what you think. Please keep the conversation going and let me know what you like, what you want more/less of, etc.!


You know this already….more training and finally, races!! (that sounds more confident/excited than I am just at the moment, working on it!)

Baystate Marathon – Oct 19

Richmond Marathon – Nov 17 (I need to contact them to use my deferral from last year and register for this ASAP!)

Across the Years – Dec 28 – Jan 3 (need to register for this and make travel arrangements)

I’ve thought about doing shorter races in between, but likely will not unless I jump into a holiday 5k in November or December. The recovery from something like a half cuts into my training too much, and for me, the shorter races aren’t worth giving up training time right now.

Aside from the above things I’m looking forward to, I love fall’s colors, temperatures, the feel and smell of crisp air, and all the wonderful and fun things that are part of the fall season, which is my favorite season by far. Think of the chill in the air (great for runs!), the sound of leaves scudding down the street in the wind and the play of light through the colors, sweaters, fireplaces and wood smoke. The only downside of fall being my primary racing season is that weekend long runs/races and fall weekend getaways don’t mix (especially with my dietary constraints), and the training plan/race schedule must rule.

Here are some lovely fall photos and trips to whet your appetite for the special beauty fall brings….I grew up in the Midwest, so am partial to the reds and oranges there, but I’ve learned to appreciate golden hues as well. It’s all good.

What’s your fall preview?  What are you looking forward to?

Friday Five: 5 Things to Love About…

Happy Friday! Reminder – get your flu shot NOW to avoid impacts to your fall training and racing!

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

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

This week’s theme is “5 things to love about…..”


This is a topic very near and dear to my heart. I may write more about libraries and books in the future, but for now, just know that I wouldn’t be who I am without reading (and thus libraries). Reading is that integral a part of me, from the age of 3 when I learned to read….hence its presence in my twitter handle and blog name.

#1 – BOOKS. FREE BOOKS. As many as you want (usually) on almost any topic you can think of or want to know about – even more so if you can do interlibrary loans. This is an absolutely amazing, mind-blowing concept if you really think about it. (I know, it’s paid for with resident taxes, etc. but still)

#2 – Non-book resources. Depending on the community, a patron may also have access to DVDs, CDs, e-books, magazines (physical and electronic) and even things like online training. These are all available to me in my current library system, and I take full advantage of it. We check out TV series, movies, travel shows and educational/athletic DVDs, music or book CD, access Consumer Reports online (gave up our subscription). I’ve looked at the French language classes online after being advised they were one of the few providers teaching Quebec French in addition to Parisian French.

#3 – Librarians. Fabulous folks, right up there with teachers for loving both knowledge and people, and wanting to share as much of the former with as many of the latter as possible! I considered being a librarian and went to my first year of college intending to be a teacher. Almost without exception, the librarians I’ve been fortunate enough to meet have been smart, helpful, creative, kind, funny and just all around good people to chat with about almost anything! And some of the displays at my local library, from book arrangements by theme or topic (including “books with blue covers”) to customizing the outside drop box for Valentine’s Day and Halloween, have just been a lot of fun as well as getting me to go look at an item I might not ordinarily have. They put a lot into their work, every day, in the service of others, and it shows. (thank your local librarian!)

#4 – Community. The first aspect of this is how, and how well, the library serves the community. My library system has book groups, children’s reading time (with dogs to help children!), foreign language conversation groups, public interest groups, support groups, and on and on. They bring in speakers, many who are noted authors. It’s also a place I see many children and adults being tutored, whether in math, a foreign language (or English), test prep. The library has gardening events, hosts art exhibits inside and outside (a new photography exhibit is lovely, the prior one was oil paintings by a local artist, and last year outside were metal flowers painted by local school kids). They want to be a place people are comfortable, people visit for many reasons, and people care about and cherish. I think they’re doing a great job.

The second aspect is how much people IN the community value their library system. The town I grew up in (50,00 population, 1.5miles by 3miles) had 3 libraries – 1 Main facility and 2 branches. Fantastic collection, programs and staff. I was amazed when I went to other places and the libraries weren’t of the same quality. The town I live in now has an excellent system, and residents have voted against cuts to library funding. That says something (good) to me.

#5 – Dewey Decimal System. (sorry to those who prefer Library of Congress Classification – but it’s not intuitive, and do they have their own rap song?) I loved being able to find a particular book, then browse the nearby shelves for books on the same or related topics. (629.45 – manned spaceflight, for example)

I have about 30 items checked out from the library right now. (serious) They include travel memoirs, biographies, friendship memoirs, fiction, mystery, narrative nonfiction, YA fiction and scifi, business or self-development, a TV mystery show, a travel show, travel guidebooks and health-related books. I may also have an e-book or two on my Kindle. I have another 25 on hold, easily.

Libraries are a magical place, with books being windows into almost any and every topic, experience and endeavor or interest you could possibly think of. It’s kind of like being able to try every flavor of ice cream in a store with unlimited flavors. Even if you turn out not to like one, there are others to try (and how bad can it be since it’s ice cream – or a book). If it’s not to your taste, you can find something that is. Once you find one you like, you can find others similar to it or related (thanks Dewey and the librarians!). Or you can just wander and see what looks good. And you can do it over and over again, as often and as much as you want (with none of ice cream’s downsides). I’m utterly spoiled (and tremendously grateful) by my library and its riches. I live 3-4 blocks from my local branch. Safe to say they see me often.

When was the last time you were at your library? Stop in over the weekend, and make a good weekend even better! 





I have been so incredibly lucky.




What do you love about libraries?

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five – Free Friday Randomness!

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

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

This week’s theme is “free Friday”. This translates to “post whatever you want”. After a busy week at work, my brain can’t come up with any interesting ways to set up 5s, so welcome to Random Things in My Brain/Life Friday! You’ll get to watch my associative (think link hopping) mind work in a stream-of-consciousness post, kind of a shorter, typed version of the Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcasts (squirrel!).

(side note: I’d love to hear your thoughts on the blog – see this post and leave me comments or tweet/email me – much appreciated!)

I’m so glad I bought a home e-stim machine. I’ve been using it a lot the last two weeks on my R VMO (pre-run, during conference calls, in the evening). My chiro is on vacation next week – for one of my harder training weeks, boo – so I’ve gotten extra sticky pads and checked my battery supply. (and scheduled both trigger point AND sports massages)

Speaking of massages, I’m starting to schedule them more frequently than I used to. Not sure if it’s harder training, being a smidge older, life/physical stuff or what, but I seem to need them more. Or maybe I just want them more often. It’s hard to know. I really WANT a deep, relaxing massage where I walk out saying “ahhhh” and things magically don’t hurt…but I always wind up asking for and getting one that’s more focused on my current areas of concern, meaning the massage hurts more and the next couple days are kind of ouch-y. This means giving up some of my porch time on the weekend to make sure I get them on Sat or Sun instead of say Thursday, which can affect my Sat LR. My old MT, who moved to Lake Tahoe, is going to be back in town in a couple of weeks, working out of a studio down the block and I have one massage left in the package I bought. She’s a very nice young woman and it’ll be good to see her again.

I’m in week 6 of Coach Jay‘s strength routine. Loving the Scorpion, really not having luck with the Hurdle exercise, so I must need it. Not sure what I’ll do when I get through week 8. Maybe go back to 5 and repeat. Also looking at other exercises: Greg McMillan has some core workout videos I have access to since I’m a PRO ($ but not bad) member of his site, and there are lots of others around. Jay Dicharry‘s book has some good ones, and I just ordered Pete Magill‘s new book (enjoy his Running Times Masters columns and heard him on Runner Academy podcast this morning, convinced me to buy the book). There are so many great options, it’s a matter of what I need, what fits together, what I have time to do and what I will do. (also on my list to read – Smilin’ Hal Koerner’s new book on ultrarunning, though I believe it’s trail focused and I’m road focused)

Speaking of McMillan, I’m seriously considering his Boston training camp in Phoenix – but it’s over Valentine’s Day, so TBD. I’m also thinking of his Boston VIP experience. (Any readers done one of his camps?)

Speaking of books, I’m loving Kristin Armstrong’s Mile Markers and I didn’t think I would. Can’t believe I haven’t read it before as I love her columns. I really need a posse of female running friends like she has. That makes me think of doing some of the local Pacers store fun runs to try to find some! They don’t start till 5:30am though and they conflict with my XT days and my recovery run day…and as you know, I hate variation from my plan. They do send out their routes ahead of time (except Mondays, as the email always arrives Monday evening) so I can se distance and how many hills there are. I did one run with them last year that was fun, and I’ll have to make myself get out and do it again. It’s only blocks from my house. But it won’t be tomorrow as I’m going to try to drag myself to the pool as soon as they open. (ugh)

I’ve probably got 20 books out from the library: mystery, fiction and nonfiction. On my “owned” to be read pile, I have a stack of paperbacks, some hardcovers and a LOT of stuff on my Kindle (the limited unlimited as well as purchases). But I’m in a phase where I seem to want something exactly like what I’ve most recently enjoyed in any given genre, which is causing me to buy up series one book at a time and hunt around. Somehow I feel guilty getting more when I haven’t read what I’ve got – but it’s kind of like having a taste for something particular, nothing else will satisfy.

At some point when I have/make time (probably not till post-Boston), I think I may want to volunteer with Girls on the Run or at Pacers races or other events. For non-running volunteering, I might consider something related to reading/literacy. There may be a program through my employer. There’s also a neat organization called One Brick (that I found out about through this book) that has one-time volunteer opportunities so you can match an open window in your schedule if you can’t make a multi-week commitment. They have multiple chapters around the country (see the Chapters menu item). The challenge I have is that most of the opportunities are Saturday mornings, aka my inviolate long run time. I’ll figure that out later.

This is sort of like one of those coffee date posts – if one of us was drinking hot water with chemical-laden fake coffee syrup instead. (hey, it’s what I can have!)

I’m really loving these socks right now. I’m sleeping in them every night and I wake up with (actual, visible) ankles and decent feeling calves – and I can wear the toe separator so my bunion doesn’t get too aggravated. (many of the compression socks are so tight they put too much pressure on the bunion, which is not helpful)

I’m crossing my fingers for the Brooks Ariel 14s, release date Sept. 1 (according to them on twitter today). I love the wider toe box – and lighter weight – of the Adrenaline 13s, but in the 14s, they moved the trim to where it would blister my little toe (same way they screwed up the last Ariels, which caused me to go into Adrenalines). The Ariels are also more motion control, but I’m wondering now if that will be a good thing given the strengthening I’ve done since I last wore them. Could be overkill. On the other hand, I wonder if then I could get rid of my custom orthotics for running at least, which would allow me to put off longer finding someone new to do gait analysis or visiting my old chiro. Of course, I hate that I’ll have to be addressing shoe changes in the next 10 months with so many races. No more variables or risks!! I need to see how many pair of Adrenalines I have left – I think I might have enough to get through the end of the year. I AM tempted to order the Adrenaline 14s again just to make sure they won’t work (maybe I got a bad pair, though other folks have had problems) and maybe a pair of the men’s too. Perhaps I’ll order them all at once.

All my unread blogs at the moment are ultra blogs – think I’ll save them for Saturday during breakfast. This weekend’s porch reading will probably be finishing my July/August Marathon & Beyond and reading August UltraRunning. Plus Magill’s book if it shows up in time. Trigger point massage Sunday afternoon will cut down on porch time though, as will food prep for Monday work.

Work has been busy this week, interview stuff on top of a busier-than-normal phase with the various teams I support. While I haven’t heard back on MY application for my supervisor’s job (our crack HR staff at work…the stories I could tell, if I could tell you) I have had the chance to do in-person and phone interviews for the position at my level. I’m hopeful about one candidate in particular but the hoops and delays from trying to do this while people are on travel or August vacation are quite irksome. And we have to get this done by Labor Day, or we could lose the billet. That would mean 3 of us doing 4 people’s work for the foreseeable future, which none of us want (it took them a year to get me to replace someone who retired, and I heard how fun that wasn’t).

I need to find some bright yellow flowers that are heat/drought-tolerant (though we water daily) to put in my Boston blue planters. Ideas?

I need to get airline tickets for Baystate. Got an email from them saying the conference center where I got my reservation (5min walk from line!) is already sold out. I’m feeling not ready for Baystate. (I don’t mean ready to toe the line, I mean how training seems to be going) Not sure if I’m where I was at this point in Shamrock training or not. With so much going on in “life” (work, family, stress, body weirdnesses) I can’t really tell how I feel as well as I’d like. Just trying to trust the training process and the plan (based on McMillan, as I did for Shamrock). OTOH, being my own coach, I always wonder….

I need to get on the ball with the Richmond marathon folks and use my deferral from last year to register. Part of me wants to wait to see how I come out of Baystate (as I won’t do Richmond if I’m not recovering well) but I think there’s too much risk of a sell-out. (already have hotel) A couple pals are running the race – Christine who was so awesome to me at Shamrock, and Casey newly from RVA who runs for Team Massey against cancer – hoping we can all meet up whether or not we run together.

Need to check the dates for registration for Across the Years and start looking at hotels and airfare.

Less than 2 months till I can register for Boston!

Think I’m out of steam….So, after one more shameless plug to tell me your thoughts on the blog – see this post and leave me comments or tweet/email me – I’ll leave you to your Friday and wish you a terrific weekend. If you’re racing, hope it’s a great race! If you’re running, have a wonderful run. If you can’t run, you have my sympathies and I’ll think of you during my run, sending good, healing vibes your way.













Friday Five – Five Race Memories

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

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

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

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

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

Indianapolis at Lawrence Marathon 2004 (my 2nd marathon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st sub-2 half marathon – Richmond 2012

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

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

BQ – Shamrock, March 2014

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

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