Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Philly 8k...resolved

So Philly is on, apparently. LM, my original running coach, plans to do the marathon bandit in preparation for Boston, which she qualified for in 2004. And Kim wants to do the 8k, even though I truly suspect her motives are more based in partying after or before than running.

An 8k sounds like a good way to get rid of race jitters. I get jitters on race days, the same way, the same time even. And it'll be fun, since we may hang around another day so Kim can hit the bar circuit (like I'm complaining).

So it's Sept. tri (sprint, with an easy swim, only *650m!), Nov 8K race and LAS VEGAS.

Jeff - has John said anything?

Scott - you are hysterical.

* correction: the original post said i was swimming 650k. um, that's pretty far. i meant meters.


That's the last time I buy the supersize ground beef package. Tonight marks the third night in a row I've eaten red meat. I'm sorry if any vegetarians are reading this.

I buy the best ground beef possible, 93 or 95% lean but it is ground beef, so I'm not under the belief I'm eating necessarily healthy.

Sunday: burger
Monday: burger
Tuesday: meatloaf, that I made. What I did was basically mold and throw remaining ground beef that my boy had previously seasoned and bake. I ate it, he didn't. It was good. I mean, it was basically a baked bunless burger with ketchup. Ketchup on meatloaf...what a foreign thing to me. Mom never made it with ketchup, that's an American thing far as I can gather. Of course, her was ground beef with salt and onion and baked. Not my favorite. Do not mean to offend mi mama. Luckily, she's not the online type.

But if there's anything I dislike more than eating red meat three days in a row, it's wasting food.
Gosh nabit there's food leftover...

I'm on my way....

Sung to the tune of "We're on our way" from that commercial a few years back from budget motel or motel 6 or whatever.

Today: Easy 4.6- miles. Unsure of distance. But I estimate I did between 4.66 and 4.75 miles in 40ish minutes. That's close to my Boston qualifying target. My sched said easy run, but sometimes when you're training for a pace much, much faster than you, "easy" must, for a time, not be so easy.

Hurricane Katrina (I can hardly believe the devastation) brought a tropical humidity to my area, several hundred miles away from that crazy thing. I'm not complaining, in light of the havoc being wreaked as I write, but i'll simply point out I was dripping buckets. Buckets and buckets and buckets. My towel was soaked, my hair was dripping, I couldnt see.

But I'm not messing around anymore. So the fast pace must be upheld. I know it's because I've trained so slow but I seriously wonder if an -8:30 pace for 26 miles is even possible. You can't know till you tried. However, my left shin (is it my shin? I have trouble pinpointing problem areas since a general spot seems to hurt) has acted up as of late. In light of my (overly?) ambitious goal, I'm gonna schedule appointment with physical therapist to see if orthotics would ensure a safer route for the next few months as I push my body farther than it may be expecting.

Monday, August 29, 2005

November 8K -- Questions

1) Are you a good kisser?
Ok, kidding. That spam pop-up appeared just as I was about to write this.

1)My friend and new running client Kim suggested doing 8K Philly run Nov. 20, 2 weeks before my marathon. I think it'd be good last race before my marathon two weeks later. It's not a long distance, so I think I'd be good. Thoughts? OK to run it hard?

p.s. Kim suggested getting a hotel and excitedly talked about going out on South Street the night before the race. Id ask if this was a good idea, but I have a feeling the answer is no.

Vegas for the Elite

I'm doing Vegas marathon Dec. 4, as my profile indicates. Fellow Vegas runners are getting shirts for runners and supporters to wear in race. But today I find out from Jeff that RBF (running blog family) has selected Vegas for a sponsor race (or something like that).

There will be shuttles, assistance for transportation and a pasta feed the night before the race. Oh and a 5K, 10K and half marathon the day before for supporters (ie sis!). The goal, Jeff said, is to make RBF runners feel like elite athletes!!!

I have not felt like an elite athlete since my sister and I used to play gymnastics in our front yard. We had a brick wall that doubled as a balance beam. The long grass straightaway was both our vault and -- less commonly as we often tumbled in the family room -- the area for the floor routine. For hours we'd make up routines and perform routines, inspired by Kim Zmeskal, Shannon Miller and Sveltana Boginskaya, of Belarus. We'd try not "break" during our routines when the announcer (the sister not performing) said something purposely designed to make us fall off during a routine.

Mostly, I won. Most importantly, I'm the older sister. But I could also do slightly harder routines. Front handsprings for instance. And I could go to a back bridge from a standing position, even if trying to kickover sometimes involved a dozen failed attempts.

So back to Vegas. How fun that will be! Too bad Jeff's not gonna be running. He was gonna pace me (for the first mile anyway, since his goal is like 6 or something crazy like that). Still, should be such a fun experience! I was pretty stoked when I heard.

Also fittingly, today I got my Vermont marathon final results magazine from my May marathon. I poured through it, re-living the weather through the photos and learning about the winners (which I'd heard about from my boy, who'd made a lot of friends at finish line) and what was an exciting race. Looking forward to another unique, memorable experience in Vegas.

Running...into people you sorta know

Day 2, Cycle 3: Cross Train. 31-minute hill bike ride (gym) 7.5 miles. 1,200-yard swim (500 easy, 200 breast stroke, 300 arms only, 200 cooldown).

In my line of work, you inevitably run into people who want nothing to do with you. They wish not to be interviewed, they don't know nothing, they'd like to tell you why your job and place of employment sucks. Really, why the entire media sucks.

A few weeks ago, I ran into just such a fellow. He wasn't talking, he didn't know anything. "Im not talking to you!" he told me several times. "I'll talk if you give me $10,000," he also told me repeatedly. Usually, I'm like whatever. I mean, I understand some people aren't going to want to talk, and far be it for me to be one of those aggressive, obnoxious paparazzi types. But I finally got annoyed, when this kid wouldn't stop it, long after Id walked away to see if anyone else would talk. I finally snapped "Look, I've heard you. You don't want to talk. I'm over it." in a really not nice way. I could see in his face he felt like he'd been scolded. I felt bad. I mean, he really was just a kid, probably late teens, at the most early 20s.

So today I walk into gym and hear something as I pass three guys. It sounds like "Oh, it's the newspaper girl." I shook my head, nah, imagining it.

Minutes later I'm hard at work on the bike, sweating through a hill workout. Who should sit next to me but those same three guys. I look over: it's the guy who wouldnt talk to me.

Hmm, a bit uncomfortable. But I pressed ahead, giving and feeling the sidelong glances. Of all the places to meet.

But why should I be surprised? In my small town, the gym is THE spot. You'd be hard pressed to find a bar that pops off most nights. But the gym, it's always crowded. Looking for a place to park during rush hour? Prepare to circle.

I run into this guy often. I mean, he works right down the street from my place. Maybe I'll try talking to him next time. Patch things up. Maybe we could be workout partners. Stranger things have happened.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Today I took out my braids

...The little braids I got done in Mexico a little over a week ago. Official end to vacation, official end to half-a-- training.

Day 1, Cycle 3: 6-mile hill workout (58:40, avg 9:53). 1 mile cooldown. Total: 7.

Today was my hardest workout to date. I almost skipped it, taking a nap after lunch and reading. In the daze of a lazy afternoon nap, I decided to start on Monday with day 1 of my third cycle, a day late (cheater). Then I woke up in a fit of guilt (was raised Catholic; I credit this with what I think is a very strong guilt complex), rose to do laundry, try and clean the house and rushed off to do run.

Started at tough 8:49 pace on level 12 on treadmill, which alternated between a 2 and 7.8 incline. By minute 18 I had to slow down. I felt my lunch ready to come up, which made no sense as I'd eaten three hours prior.

I walked every 7 or 8 minutes for 1 minute. My running pace was for most of the run was a 9:31 pace.

The run felt good. My invisible wall has always come around miles 2 and 3, as it did once again tonight. By the end of the run, I began picturing the end of the Vegas marathon, qualifying. I ran harder. In my vision, in typical dramatic fashion, I had crossed the finish line somewhere around 3:39 and was doubled over um, to be polite, tossing my cookies.

Anyway, was somehow motivated by this. Well, whatever motivates you, you know?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of the Week...

Thanks, Frank. I agree.

Day 10, Cycle 2: MISSED EASY 5 MILE RUN

I'd grade this cycle a C. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself since I only missed one workout. Two if you count my cross training workout, which I decided to include as a done workout since I turned cartwheels on the shore and body surfed for approximately 8 minutes.

I worked today, my turn for the Saturday rotation. Turned into a 10-hour day. Gym closes at 8 p.m., it's getting dark now early so I missed my shot at outside run (could have done at least short one had I brought my clothes).

I'm now blue, sitting at home on a Saturday night, too tired to go out, too restless to sit in. I am going to spend the next 10 minutes feeling sorry for myself. But first, what went wrong this cycle, which started out promising enough with hard tempo and hill workouts and steady easy mile days:

1) I ate too much, and not the right mix. I eat generally well (by my standards). So it's not like I ran out and eating fast food. Rather, I just ate too much, and too late (10 p.m. quesadilla anyone?). And I definitely did not have enough fruits and vegetables. Part of this is because I returned from long vacation Tuesday and have yet to go grocery shopping. Meals consisted of putting scraps together, pizza and eating out. Now I'm making excuses. Cut it out.

2) I seem to have lost my focus. Do I honestly think I can qualify for Boston with my little happy 9 minute + runs? When exactly do I plan on kicking up the speed? November?

3) I did not get enough sleep. I tried but had counted on two late work days that later turned into days. So instead of going in at 3 p.m. I entered work at 10 a.m. which cut out sleep, leisurely workouts, etc. (boy, sure sounds like I'm making excuses again). I don't suppose going out until 1:30 a.m. the day before having to wake up for 7:15 a.m. interview helped either.

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. Or rather, the first day of Cycle 3. You will see a new me. The big test will be Day 4 (or is it 5) when I do my tempo: 15 minute easy, 40 minute marathon pace, 15 minute easy. Boston qualifying marathon pace is 8:23/mile. Since I'm being careful about injury, I'll likely do more like a 840 or 845. Still, that will be a challenge.

Now I'm gonna go mope and feel sorry for myself and think about why I need to suck so much when I clearly don't have to. But then I'll get distracted by the football game and reading "Nickle and Dimed" and I'll remember my problems are pretty darn little.

Nite nite. Off to (briefly) feel sorry for myself.

Friday, August 26, 2005

So yesterday, so yesterday...

Day 9, Cycle 2: Rest

Just a quick little post to let out my unbridled nerdy passion -- top 40 music. Can't get enough of it. So what if I'm leaving my 20s? I can't bring myself to stop shopping in the juniors department (though I must admit the clothing has become more and more um, young, really) and I can't bring myself to stop loving people like Ashlee and Jessica Simpson. Cancellation of Newlyweds? A sad night. Ashlee coming to concert recently and me getting to photog it? A happy night.

So I just got off the phone with Hilary Duff. Hee hee. I'm silly. It was exciting. A new question emerges -- will I ever stop being a bop?

Also, I just found out my friend is being to Florida to cover the hurricanes. Hmm. She is sent to cover a natural catastrophe and I am interviewing celebs. Well, you can't always be changing the world, right?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Real Sports

If you get a chance, and want some inspiration, check out Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel tonight. It features an awseome athlete, he's 65 and has done hundreds of marathons, triathlons, and ironmans....all while pushing his disabled son in his wheelchair.

His marathon time while pushing his son in his wheelchair? 2 hrs, 53 minutes.

Inspiring. Touching. Reminds us that athletics is just part of something so much more...

The 1 and a half calorie Tic Tac

Well, tonight's dinner is pizza and beer. Both excellent carbohydrates to replenish myself from my long run (7.5 miles) today.

Yesterday I wrote how I smoked 3 cigarettes. Turns out experts were correct in not prescribing cigarettes as part of a distance runner's diet. My first mile I struggled to capture my breath as I hadn't in months. Lesson learned. No more 3 ciggie days.

I cracked up picturing Scott in Washington in bed eating pepperoni and saltines late at night. And Jeff sneaking a clove and perhaps reminiscing of days gone by.

It also got me to thinking: Were those 100-calorie snack packs Nabisco makes meant to be eaten in increments of three?

Late Summer Runs...

Day 8, Cycle 2: Long run, 7.5 miles. Longest run since May marathon. Felt very good.

Ran with Hummer and Kim today. A weird thing happened on the way to the run. I spoke with Kim briefly at work today. She'd gotten into car accident and was shaken up, and stressed. She asked if I was going running. Ya, I told her, 6:30 p.m., Hummer might come.

For my training for the May marathon, which officially started in January, I ran 90% alone. I got used to it. Enjoyed the solitude. LM began training hard for Boston while I inched up more slowy. Today as I dressed and stretched, I began looking forward to joining my running partners.

And then, before I realized it, the run was over.
The chatting, the small talk, the jokes, the grunts about the hills, and finito.

I also noticed that by 730ish it was dark, and I began to feel a cool breeze that lets you know fall is just around the corner. I started to feel a twinge of nostalgia for another lovely summer coming to a close.

But I remember how beautiful my course is coated in snow, and the mist that rises from the creeks. And this year, I've already got the winter wardrobe ready!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Three cigarettes

I'm embarassed to write this, and I hope not to appall or offend anyone, but i had 3 cigarettes today. I've always been a casual smoker, in the last few years averaging a pack every couple of months. So that's an average of 1 to 2 a week. For some reason, running hard makes me want to smoke more.

In what seems to me to be the pure world of running/fitness, does anyone else suffer from unpure lapses? Does anyone read this, and rather than wrinkle your nose in disgust, be like, 'ya, i feel you.'?

If you do, send your experience. If you don't, feel good you dont. And I'll try and cut back. But no promises.

Vegas Bound

I'd like to draw everyone's attention to my new sidebar. Thanks, SD, you, as you did during your past weekend run, rock.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Doctor (RC) is in

Day 6, Cycle 2: 4.5 miles easy

On Tuesday, Kim and I ran with the newest addition of our running group, Doe. I'm not sure whether he will remain a regular but it was great having him out there. We did the first mile and a quarter loop all together. Since it was his first run in several months (years?) he borrowed Kim's bike for the remaining 3 mile loop. Off we ran.

Kim has f'in amazed me. Just over a month ago, I joined Kim in her first run ever, a mile and a quarter (same one Doe ran). We walked three short breaks and Kim couldn't catch her breath enough to chat. She was like, stoked on herself. As she should be. i saw a post I think SD did, about bringing running to people.

I totally agreed. I feel like i've brought unpleasant things to people: drinking, smoking, (insert x). Bringing running to people is such a satisfying feeling. Healthy, fun, rewarding. Signed, the running ambassador.

Back to Kim. She couldn't do it, she was told. We'll see how long you can last, they told her. Now look at her. Seriously.

It's been two weeks since we ran together and I cannot believe the difference. We did a 4.5 mile run. Her pace had literally almost doubled (Seriously) and she handled the distance with ease.

A runner kidded Doe as he biked behind us to get a whip.

We've added a race to my schedule: a Sept. 18 sprint triathlon. She's biking and running regularly. We'll do some quarry swims (my colleague owns a quarry on her property). It's totally scary for no real reason. I mean, I'm a strong swimmer. But I guess cause it's so deep, this one's 250-300 feet deep. I swam horizontally, when I first swam in it a couple of weeks ago, losing my breath almost instantly (surely mental) and rushing to the side for a break.

Still, it should be a good primer. I'm glad to be getting at least one more race before Vegas.

And for those of you not thinking about, who's for a half ironman in 2006? I'm not sure where, I'm not sure when, but i think it will be fun.

Vacation Running

Phew! Back on online. Brother doesn't actually have Internet, he uses wireless connection from neighbor which more often than not was down. So I'm back to my regular postings. It's nice to be back.

Rather than go through the ins and outs of each day's runs, I'll just point out one thing -- I stayed on track the entire vacation! Thank you. Thank you very much. I mean, I mostly did. If you catching approximately 5 waves bodysurfing (water chilled considerably and suddenly) and doing cartwheels along the ocean cross training (and I do for purposes of being able to back up what I wrote above) then by golly I did it.

Of course, why I think it should be harder to stay on track when all you have to do all day is socialize and perhaps visit your favorite former haunts is beyond me. But I think it deserved a mention.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Today, I count my blessings

Overheard this morning while flipping through TV stations:

Next time you're stuck in traffic, remember some people don't have a car.

Next time you whine about your job, remember some people have been out of work for months.

Next time someone makes you feel small or criticizes you or brings in their misery, be thankful that you're not the one doing it.

Next time your car breaks down a mile from assistance, remember there's a quadrapalegic who would love the opportunity to walk that mile.

The Race

Smiling down happily were the race gods Sunday, sending near-optimal running conditions to FR (aka sis) in her racing debut, a half marathon. My mom walked outside to survey conditions, then said something like "Perfect running weather." My mom has never ran. I mean, more than a few feet at a time. She'd heard us talking the night before about the forecasted weather and how great it'd be for running. Sunday's conditions met her approval.

The course FR ran isn't an ideal one. You start in one section of the city then make your way to the other so it's hard to position yourself. Basically, people wait at the finish. Spectator support was practically none.

My mom and I got to the finish around 8:30 a.m., just after the 8 a.m. start time. We began walking toward the start. Between mile 12 and 13 the winners started to come in. I think he finished 1:07. My mom spent the next half mile talking abut how he looked like he'd just started running, how effortless he looked, how he looked like he was flying! Indeed.

Late into mile 11 is a large hill which my mom and I walked down. The plan was for me to hook up with FR around mile 10 and bring her on in in a good pace. The hill was huge. My mom's like, I do'nt know, can she do it? I remember my first half marathon. Just when I thought I was done with hills, right after mile 13 out popped one the size of a suburban house's driveway. The announcer yelled "And here comes heartbreak hill!" Quite funny only it felt gigundoly huge. How would FR handle the hill, roughly 3 city blocks?

My mom stopped at a cafe for a coffee and a sweet between 11 and 12 and I ran off to get into position to meet FR. I quickly walked down the closed streets, largely quiet save for the runner's heaving breathing and occasional chatter between runners. Right before mile 10, I heard FR shout my name. Right away I could tell she looked strong. She was running with her boyfriend, who also looked good.

"How you feeling?" I asked (after I'd run quickly ahead to snap a few photos).
"Fine. My knee's killing me." said FR
"You're looking strong. Better than I thought. You're almost at the end."

Off we ran.

"The hill at the end's pretty big," I told her a bit later. "Do you want to try running up it?"
Yes, she said.
"OK, right before the hill, walk a bit to rest and get ready," I instructed.

"My knee feels like it's going to crack in half," FR reported.
I quickly racked my brain -- could one really crack their knee in half while running? I decided maybe, but highly unlikely.
"It won't, sis, It wont," I reassured her.

More running.
"I think my toenail just fell off," came the update.
I nearly gagged, trying desperately not to a. picture that and b. act like I was about to gag.

Here came the hill.

Of all the valuable things partyrunner's coach LM taught her, it's how to handle hills. I marveled in our early runs together how she didn't pause when going up hills. She just kept running while I'd begin to lag behind. I became determined to conquer hills. No longer would they be the patch of the run where I slowed down. Id' keep my form. I trained aggressively on the hills.

"Remember," I tell sis. "Hills are really just flat land with a bit of elevation."

She attacked the hill. Objectively, as her RC (running coach) I can say she looked surprisingly good. Hardcore. She walked a bit, more to rest her knee, but kept right on going. Up the hill she went, rounding the turn for the final stretch.

right before mile 13, I left her. I'm running ahead, I told her, to get in position to get a shot of you at the finish line. I sprinted ahead, completely and totally sure she had the race in her pocket.

Seconds after I was in position, there she came. I got her photo. She turned in her chip, got her medal with the brightly colored ribbon and met her. Emotion overcame her, she had tears in her eyes she was trynig to hold back (was that a tear in RC's eye?).

Minutes later, her boyfriend passed. I missed the shot, alas, but when he crossed the finish line, he looked up and closed his eyes, and he gave a quick pump of his fist above his head. You could feel his sense of accomplishment and pride. Wish I'd gotten the photo.

FR's final time: 2 hours, 25 minutes, beating her projected pace of 11 minutes per mile by a few seconds.

Last night, we had a dinner party. Over carne asada and Coronas, FR asked what people were reading. Without waiting for an answer she quickly jumped in: "Oh, Im' reading 'Marathoning for Mortals.' It's a great book."

FR is hooked. While for a while there she couldn't understand how all i could do is talk about running, now she understands.

Good job, FR. Your coach, and sis, couldn't be more proud.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Part 1: Sis's first ever half marathon

Raise your hand if you've ever run a long-distance (half marathon or longer) in a pair of shoes you've run in approximately once? Right. I can't see you but I'd guess no one raised their hands.

Such was the situation after sis (FR for fledgling runner) broke her shoes THREE DAYS before her first ever race, a half marathon Aug. 14.

I'm her coach, as I've detailed in this blog, an experienced runner with three entire races under her belt. As such, it's a coach's responsibility to remain composed, stoic even, in the face of such adversity. I never let on how worried, practically horrified I was, that my baby sis, er, I mean, client, was running under such conditions.

We dined the night before with sis and her boyfriend, also running the race. He was a bit quiet, nervous no doubt. Sis seemed OK. After dinner she called to say she was, well, kind of nervous and wasn't sure she'd be able to sleep.

My voice like soothing honey, I reassured her she'd done the work, there was nothing more to do, told her to get everyone ready racewise (put the bib on, attach the chip to her shoes) and above all, to have fun. Races are the gathering of thousands of people who've come from wildly varying places, some having overcome unimaginable obstacles, everyone converging to accomplish one goal. It's neat. Incomparable really.

She texted at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning: "Thanks 4 all your help coach. Now just me and course."
I quickly wrote back: "Have fun!"

This is not meant to be a dramatic cliffhanger but broter is kicking me off computer.

Coming soon: The Race

Cycle 1 Complete

Since I'm behind, a quick update on the bread and butter of this blog -- running.

Sunday (Day 7, Cycle 1): Ran 3.1 miles (as i joined sis on final miles of her half marathon) and walked 3.1 miles (to meet sis for final miles of her half marathon).
This was to be break day, but sis's running event changed things up. More to come on race.

Monday, Tuesday: (Days 8, 9 ,Cycle 1): Rest days.

Wednesday (Day 10 Cycle): Easy 4 miler along the beautiful coast. Was supposed to do 5 but miscalulated. Just as well to rest the ITB band. Iced upon return.

So goes the first Cycle of my path to Vegas. The program I'm running is based on a 10-day, rather than the standard 7-day, training schedule. It's a program designed by a well-known ultramarathoner. His theory is that the body needs more time to recuperate and rest in light of so many injuries being overuse ones. A long run, then, happens every 10 days vs every 7. The downside is that some long runs will fall on weekdays. Since I work both day and night shifts, this presents no problems.

Look for more details on the plan in either a late fall or early winter edition of Runner's World.

I'd grade my first cycle a B+. I felt good but ITB acted up early in cycle. I'm nursing it though. I feel good, and stoked to be back training.

A Primer on Horses

As i suspected, Internet access has been limited since I've been on vacation. Sorry for break between posts.

I hadn't planned to pick up yet another title this trip out West but that's the way it worked out -- Call me RB: running bookie. Apparently I'm a skilled horse gambler.

First things first -- has anyone spent 6 hours straight in the comfort of the sports book section of your local Las Vegas casino? If you haven't, one could easily argue, you haven't really lived.

Bookie friend and I spent 6 hours Monday in Mandalay Bay, which easily has the nicest sports book of any of the half dozen ones we popped in on, including the new Wynn, the newest Strip addition, a pretentious casino which disappointed me.

Of the 15 or so races I bet, I flatout lost only about 2. Day's end purse: -$15 -$20.

Sure, I didn't leave hundreds or thousands up, but I drank for free and passed away the day enjoyably.

After the Dec. 4 Vegas marathon, the sports book of the Mandalay is where you might find me. For fellow Vegas-bound marathoners, I'd be happy to offer my tips and teach you how to read the line (well, maybe not every line since I'm not entirely sure what every single abbreviation is).

Services, like those as my running coach duties, are free. Act now before rates go up.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Waves wash away ITB injuries...(I hope!)

Day 6 (Cycle) 4 easy.

FR (fledgling runner), mom and I headed to coastline for her to try out running shoes she'll use in race. Earlier I detailed how her shoes fell apart approx. 3 days before her first long race, a half marathon.

At the same time, I had an easy run scheduled. While my mom splashed in the water, sis and I took off down the shore.

Beautiful weather for running, cool, overcast. She and I ran an easy 10 minutes before she headed back (to not overdo the day before race) and I kept going. Leg felt fine. RC liked the shoes.

Rather than ice my leg when getting home to ease trouble with my ITB band that flared up again last week, I decided to let nature's saltwater heal. I took off my shoes and socks, and dipped in the water. If during the week I am home training near the shore this seems to ease my pain, I will begin taking saltbaths in the tub of my landlocked apartment.

For now, I'll spend as much time as possible in and near the ocean. When I'm not in Vegas betting on the horsies of course...

The Countdown

FR (aka sis) 1/2 Marathon: 13.5 hours and counting

She's begun to get nervous which in turn is making me, her infallible RC (running coach), also a bit nervous -- as well as highly annoyed with the race's web site and paperwork. How many races have you guys ever done where SPECTATOR INFORMATION was NOT PROVIDED even in a web site's FAQ. Me? NEVER in my ENTIRE three-race history.

But I am keeping my cool. I am keeping my composure.

Now i will go get ready for dinner at an Italian restaurant with group. Since I am not racing tomorrow I will order a stiff martini to drown away my annoyance. But just one. I mean, RC has to be ready to offer support and all that, and also join FR for a few miles at the end.

Race pics to come. SD has generously and patiently offered to sort of walk me thru making my blog cooler. That and more to come...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Missed hillworkouts y comida

Day 4 (cycle 1): Scheduled hillworkout. MISSED.
Today, Friday, scheduled rest day.

As I mentioned, my ITB band flared up a bit Wednesday. It's so early in my training I've decided to back off a bit. I may have gotten overeager in my excitement to begin running after forced break. I'll continue to follow the schedule I've received but will practically half all my workouts.

The timing was just as well as my boy had a London broil marinating in the herbs of his herb garden when I came home from work. And a tomato salad ready to go. No one cooks better than my boy, a former chef. He's good to me. I'm spoiled.

Speaking of being spoiled, it sucks really bad to go home just twice a year cause of the distance, but when you do go home, you get all kinds of special treatment. My mom is already preparing un grande vat de refried beans y salsa. Good Mexican food on the East Coast is crazily hard to find. I'll sweetily ask my mom to make enchiladas (even though my grandma usually makes them and does my mom even know how?) and will spend the rest of my time at the wonderfully fantastic and cheap taco shops dotting the coast.

Better go pack.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Trouble in FR's Half Marathon Paradise

FR (aka sis) just called. Her 23-year-old (not really but practically) New Balance running shoes have begun to crumble. She's got a hole in the front. Bad news. They are very old. Very, very old. She called 2ish weeks ago asking if she should buy another pair. I knew how old they were but my advice was no, it was too close to half marathon.

That advice may have been OK, but perhaps a more seasoned veteran would have suggested new running shoes 3 months ago. Since my rates are reasonable (free) I will not beat myself up too hard. There are things I can't/don't think about. Yet.

I will bring two pairs of my current shoes home. We'll do the water on the ground test to see if our feet are similar (i'm slighly flatfooted). She'll wear the most comfortable pair.

Wish us luck!

Take it easy...

Day 4 (Cycle 1): Skipped planned 4-mile hill workout. Plan called for 6, I had decided early in week to do 4 to not aggravate leg. But after Wed's pain decided to call it off after briefly debating 2 miler.

Tomorrow's rest day so Saturday I'll be ready for my run -- I forget what it is. Also tomorrow, I'm traveling. I'll post pics from sis's half marathon Sunday and also from Vegas trip immediately to proceed it.

Posting may be sporadic during the 10-day trip. Even though I dont know if anyone's reading since I get no comments. Feedback, lest I neglected to mention, is welcome!

I'll post pics of the course, full of partyers and tourists, in August. I'll place a bet in the marathon's honor. If I win, I'm buying a round in December.


Day 3 (Cycle 1): 4 mile easy. Turned into 3 after ITB band started acting up. More on that later.

As loyal readers may recall, Tues night I detailed my credentials (3 races) and explained I was a running coach. My coaching skills were in full effect on Wednesday.

First, this exchange between FR (fledgling runner aka sister) and RC (me, for well, running coach). As background, FR's first half is Sunday in beautiful southern California. I'll be joining her at the end to bring her in for the finish.

From: FR
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 5:03 PM
To: RC
I’m not running half marathon I decided.

From: RC
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 2:05 PM
To: FR
yesh you are sis!

From: FR
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 5:05 PM
To: RC

From: RC
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 2:08 PM
To: FR

From: FR
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 5:08 PM
To: RC
Okay fine!

With that crisis averted, it was time to head off to my run with my three friends. Two are clients, Kim and Hummer. LM is partyrunner's original coach.

It was a lovely day at my favorite running spot. I'll post pics which we took someday soon. I keep saying I'm gonna put pics on but one day I am!

We did first loop together, the four of us gracefully running on the soft dirt path. Well, sort of gracefully. Then three went off onto other loop running, K said she'd do run/walk. At the first bridge, LM and Hummer turned back around. I had planned to make it to the next one. My ITB band, incredibly started acting up. NO! I shouted inside. NO! I shouted inside again.

Then I remembered everyone had put their stuff in my car and I had the key so I turned around. Perhaps I pushed to 6 too fast, perhaps I've done too many miles. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas.

The run ended successfully in that Hummer and Kim, and LM returning from long break after Boston, all did 3 miles. Nice.

I went home and iced the ITB band. I'm backing off on my training.

music festivals

Last night I wrote detailed post about the music festival Tues night. I didn't realize there was blog maintenance going on and I lost entire post. Grrr. I'll sum it up now.


Too many teenie boppers, lots of music, none of it good, bad crabcake sandwich and worst of all: no polka.

Yes, the festival known for its polka on this night had country western. I'm not against all country, just anything that's not by George Strait or Garth Brooks. So we left a bit later.

But not all was lost. You could walk the city streets, large beer in mug in hand. And a 22 oz. beer for $5...not bad.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


When I'm not talking about running, writing about running, reading about running or actually running, I'm a running coach.

With three races (one a sprint tri) under my belt, it's hard for me to think of anyone more qualified. So far I've got 2 clients. A third may be joining the team tomorrow.

I did not set out to become a coach. Running is like a flu bug, you catch it from being around it. Because I talked about running incessantly, Kim, coworker, wanted to try. Little sis, always a casual runner, decided to try a half marathon. It's this Sunday, and since I'm headed West for a visit, I'll be joining her from mile 9 on. I will offer encouragement and firm words of support while I push her to go faster. I'll take my cues from her, who during a slow transition during my sprint tri yelled "Pick up the pace!" drawing an unpleasant remark from the woman next to her, which she ignored. But like Sis says, she's real.

Kim had never run in her life. In her early 30s, she was ready for a challenge. She's now hooked.
What follows is actual testimonial from Kim, written earlier today: "I've definitely noticed changes with me-places where i had some problem areas are quickly disappearing. plus, i've gotten into working out with some weights at home, too. I'm definitely more confident than i had been, and proud of myself. I've been challenging myself mentally when i run, too, which transfers to home and work."

I couldn't help beam with pride.

Hummer, whom I'll call until I get permission to use his name, told me the other night he was unhappy with the shape he was in. So he's planning to join Kim, LM and me for a run Wed night. He's tinting the windows to his truck so he said he might not make it back in time, he said. And I'll try again to have him out sometime soon in case he doesn't show.

I'm also a running advice columnist. I'll be excerpting comments from previous Q&As to give you a sample of the type of work I do (even if it's just emails between sis and i. still). Stay tuned.

Swims and food

Due to my bookie's demand- er, request, I shall now properly capitalize and punctuate, making the blog easier to read. I had to agree blogs that do so are easier to read (plus my bookie was making the suggestion)

Day 2 (Cycle 1): Popped up (OK, hit snooze button twice) at 8 a.m. and headed down for the earliest morning workout I've done since winter. (take bow: Thank you. Thank you very much). Finished 1,550, rather than 2,000 because of time getting tight (see above). Swim felt good.

Then I ran home and ate two scrambled eggs and two pieces toast with butter. When I train, I give myself total freedom to eat what I like (within reason).

A couple of questions.
I'm curious as to what others' eating habits are? Do you really watch what you eat or just kind of? How much would a few extra pounds (say, 5 or 10) make in final run time?

And this isn't question so much as thought. Since I'm following training schedule from practically famous running guru I have extra motivation. But perhaps more so is knowing there is a running blog community to which I am held accountable. Or rather, I think there is. No one could be reading but how would i know?

So thank you, running community, for the motivation.

the fun's over...or is it just beginning?

today, monday, marks day 1 of my official 'road to the strip' training program. i'm feeling sluggish and tired as i head to the gym, two hours later than id hoped thanks to a late assigned story, which i find quite curious, as for weeks i'd felt fine and full of energy! funny isn't it? it's like my body's like, whoa. whoa there. let's just do our lite runs and swims and carrry on our merry way.

im training off a program designed by a well-known editor and ultramarathoner (if i knew how to link i'd have linked under ultramarathoner but i dont and delayed run cut off part of evening i'd devoted to learning better blogging) he's designed a pilot program and i was selected to test it out. what, you may ask? you have a personal coach? ya, that's what i thought as i ran around giddy for days telling anoyone who would listen or understand. but the reality is i get emailed my cycles which maps out 10 days. es todo.

today: tempo run. for vermont marathon, i mostly just ran. had mileage check points but that's about it. i will see if i like the structure of a program. since i'm hoping to qualify for boston i need discipline.

15 min easy: 10 min pace
20 min marathon pace: 15 min at 9:05 and 5 minutes at 8:49 (while below my marathon qualifying time of 8:23ish ((gulp)) i have a feeling speed workouts were part of my undoing and itb band injury so speed workouts will progress v., v. slowly)
15 min easy: 10 minute pace.

tomorrow it's x training. i'll swim, let's shoot for 2000 yards. if the pool is crowded i'll do bike. i have to do it early in the morning (815, ugh) cause after work's it's girl's night out to a local music festival. my friend and new running partner kim is bringing jello shots and frozen booze pops. never had one. i will get my first taste of polka. my coleague who went to festival over weekend said dance floor was reminscent of nat'l lampoon's european vacation, when rusty did chicken dance in germany. cool.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

goose, jerks and hummers

today's 6 miles were the longest ive run since my may marathon, after which i was sidelined with itb band injury. as i stretched a goose wandered up to me, eyeing me curiously. i asked him (she?) how he was doing, what he was up to. as he came closer i thought it cool, but then started nervously looking around to see if i could be near his (her?) family's eggs. finally when he was within touching distance, i started to slowly walk backward. i guess he got bored and walked away.

i love where i run. within the first couple hundred feet, i saw a bunny and a fattie groundhog. and as if appreciating the weather as much as i, a little bird sat calmy near a stream, his beautiful red and black wings spread out daintily next to him.

about a half mile later i passed a guy practicing his chip shots. i said hi, he says "hey, nice job, losing that baby fat!" i gave one of those laughs of disbelief before yelling "jerk!" back over my shoulder. it's men like that that make women try for those unattainable standards of beauty. why, just before my run, i had (vainly) admired my decent fitness level. a half mile later the slight was forgotten. another reason to love running...makes you forget anything but your feet hitting softly the ground.

in other news last night was such fun. we went to happy hour then dancing. my girlfriends and i met these these guys a few weeks ago. they work together and they're such well-mannered, attentive and just all around nice guys. LM (running partner)and i never go through a night without discussing running since we're running nerds. anyway got about 5 of us to agree to run next spring's half marathon in town. so excited, i'm gonna be the coach! of course, they agreed to run seeeveeral drinks into the night so we'll see what actually happens.

oh i rode for the first time in a hummer, it was one of the guys'. i didn't know it was a hummer at first -- it was one of those truck hummers. terrible environmental wrecks those things. but i couldn't help but love it! the back window goes down and it's got this cool video screen. i am not a material girl but this thing deserves a mention cause it was f'in sweet.

Friday, August 05, 2005

vegasbound, summerstyle

hurrah! i've just booked with a pal two nights in vegas. in less than two weeks i'll be plopped at a table making horse bets with my bookie friend. i can hardly wait. while there i can also check out the home of my future marathon (dec. 4), but this month with a drink in hand calmly sauntering past the glitzy, glam of the strip. is anyone else training for vegas? if you haven't decided which fall marathon to do, consider it. think about it: cheap flights (from anywhere), cheap rooms, running, new friends, a cocktail toast before many are even awake.

as for this evening, here's how the decision went down.
for background,my bestest local friend and fave running buddy LM is soon moving to a nearby big city.
me: what are you doing?
her: getting ready to go to bar (our fave fri night bar). what are you doing?
(at this point i open my mouth to tell her i'll join her but am interrupted--)
her: going running?
instant guilt sets in. i have my gym bag packed, i'm ready to go. i explain.
her: no! i'm moving soon and you have to come and spend time with me! don't go running, do it tomorrow!
me: ok! see you soon!

negotiating with oneself

i like running for several reasons, not the least of which is designing your own schedule and being solely responsible for decisions you make. for example, i'll miss this morning's run because i want to watch this episode of vh1's "kept" but i'll make it up by running a previously unscheduled sunday. one, rather than teammates, pays for a lack of training. and so it is that tomorrow, or rather today, i decide whether to squeeze in a scheduled x training day, head into the 'big' city to party, stay local with g-friends and/or wake early to do both of any of the above (not a desirable option). since i'm getting rather sleepy right now i guess i'll figure it out in the morning.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

the little green dress

a slinky turqouise dress.
it's the one i'll wear after i, si dios es servido, complete the dec. 4 las vegas marathon. too little for standard cocktail parties or black tie but perfect for the town with the brilliant marketing campaign. it's a bit tight, a byproduct of too much cheese, too many beers, too little running as i recovered from injury from may marathon, my first.
join me on my journey to vegas with an ambitious goal of qualifying for boston, and properly rocking the dress.
the shots begin: 10 a.m. Dec. 4.