Thursday, September 29, 2005

Vegas is starting to go to my head...

I had a strange dream last night. Maybe it was because my bookie friend yesterday asked with some concern how I'd be in Vegas on a Saturday night and not be out partying. Maybe it's because Bart Yasso sent me this note (along with the next cycle of my training plan) "Vegas here we come. You need to bet your race number on the roulette table."

Or maybe it's cause I would wake up with a sore throat and slightly feverish on Thursday so my mind was under some duress. Whatever it was, I had a weird Vegas dream Wed night...

It is the morning of the marathon. I'm in Vegas, walking around with sis, looking for Vegas bloggers I had planned to meet. I start to think: "Werent we supposed to have had pasta together last night? Did they forget me?" then wander into a small, crowded room. On one side is Jeff, typing away on his computer. What he's typing I don't know. He doesnt look up. People mill in the background. I see Scott and Brit, immediately noticeable for their red hair. Brit is dressed in hippie clothing, her hair is in beautiful dreds (?). Moo is on her back. Both are full of energy.

We're having the pasta gathering now, I soon figure out. Um, ok, I think, puzzled, but the race is this morning.

I find myself next watching swimmers doing sprints in practice. I jump in and begin sprinting. Halfway through my first sprint I realize Im about to run 26.2 miles and shouldnt I be conserving my energy?

I am now in the middle/end of my marathon. I'm feeling strong but see no one i know throughout the race. There are no clear markings for the race. Volunteers are scarce. I've been running so long I know i must be near the end. And yet, there's only one water station throughout the race, I suddenly realize. I veer off the course to a water station I know to be near. I know it's near cause it's near the start of the race where I am now. But after, I can't find my way back to the path.

I find my family, my mom, sis, grandma (planning to be at race) and brother (not planning to be at race). They are hanging out. I see Scott again. I wait patiently for a volunteer to get off his cell phone so he can point me back to the course. Family and fellow Vegas bloggers are chatting, snacking on recovery foods. i want to finish so I can join them.

I get impatient. Why are volunteers so scarce? I'm told it's because it's VEGAS, and who wants to volunteer for a dumb running race in VEGAS???

I tap the volunteer on the cell phone. He motions he's on the phone. I wait more. Finally, "Excuse me," I say as loudly as I can. "You can have that conversation in a second, I just need to know where to go to get back on the course so I can finish this race! I've run 20 some miles!"

He gives unclear directions. I begin running on a courseless path.

The telephone rings. Dream is over. My throat is killing me. My boy says he's been rained out from work, will be home soon. Ok, I manage to get out.

I've a scheduled 8 mile hill run today. It's pouring out, I'm feverish, with sore throat. I skip it.

Just as well, I ran at least 20 in my sleep.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My cool shirt and confessions

Confession: Last night at ski club we were having a tai chi instructor come to teach us a few things, explain how tai chi could help our skiing. So I had to dress comfortably. What to wear, what to wear...Oh, is that my brand new bright red with yellow print shirt I got at my recent tri? Why, yes it is. Though I'm wearing bright orange lounge pants I put the shirt on, look in the mirror. Interesting combo, nice use of color. Yes, I'll wear it.

After the meeting my buddy who invited me to ski club is introducing me around. 'She's a marathoner," he says. "and you can see from the shirt she also does triathlons.' Aw shucks. I dart my eyes modestly to the ground, shuffle my foot, blush. (totally embarassing but cool anyway. shameless!).

He introduces me to one girl who is member of local running club, a leader in it really. My buddy says maybe I can run with one of the groups. Girl is not outwardly welcoming, nor particularly pleasant. Does one of those things where she looks you up and down and her nose wrinkes in surprise (I am forced to write again that yes, runners come in all shapes and sizes). Asks how long i've been doing tris, says the idea of a tri seems hard. I excitedly tell her that anyone can do a tri! In fact, I don't even own a bike, I tell her. Whoa there, cowboy, did I just see a look of disapproval?

We discuss women's running groups, men's running groups. They meet every week, difft workouts, diff times.
"How come those aren't listed on the local runners web site?" I ask.
"They're informal," Im told.
"Oh,"i say "But wouldn't it make sense to put them on the web site so people looking for runners can show up?"
"They can post a message on the message board looking for runners," she says.

To me, there seems to be one word for that: exclusion, which of course is the opposite of inclusion, which is what it would be if the runing spots were listed on the local runners web site, where they would seem to make the most sense.

I'm given her business card and told I can email her for the top secret meeting times and spots. Gosh golly can I, can I? I'm honored! OK, i'll stop being mean. But I'm thinking I may not email.

Finally, I must make one more confession: last traning cycle was a hodgepog of exchanged runs and workouts. This meant rather than try to start up my new cycle on the heels of a 12 miler (a 12 miles that should have been done two days earlier), I bumped back the start date of my next cycle by a day. I keep thinking I'll have a Flatman-like cycle, but so far, hasn't happened. I'll keep trying.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Feed the birds, tuppence (twopence?) a bag...

Like Mary Poppins, I feel the winds are changing. Not just in the seasons, which today showed signs, evidenced by the slowly floating leaves that noiselessly landed in my path during the entire run, and the slight cool breeze that still managed to mix with enough humidity to drench my pigtails today less than 2 miles into my run

No, I'm also talking about the running winds. It's been a tough few weeks for runners I've been checking out. Hammies, ITB problems, inexplicable pain behind the knee. But this weekend, I seem to have been reading more 'Things have cleared up!' posts. I'm in there.

Today I had a 12 miler, longest so far. No pain. I mean, I can't believe how good the leg has been holding up. Maybe it's my gymnastics, the extra, extra, stretching or maybe cause somehow i always end up with an extra rest now and again (missed workouts. not good. but maybe good?). Anyhow, whatever it is I'll take it. And I'll even take the annoying chafing that happened on thighs today. Dumb running shorts!

couple questions, I'd welcome advice. Ive been having trouble eating before a scheduled long run. I practically gagged down a quarter balance bar today before deciding that was all i could eat. Same thing before my recent tri, when all i could manage was a 1/4 power bar. It's like, i chew and chew and chew and the pieces dont get smaller and I just get more and more nauseous. I've got a strong stomach, so I'm willing to try most suggestions. Any good liquid pre-long workout suggestions? oh, and after run too. I know i should eat right away, cause of the recovery thing, but again food is just the last thing I want. (Swallow whole, anyone?)

also, i'd love suggestions on running bras. I'm not small on top. i hope no one thinks i'm bragging here cause really, big ones suck for running. Suck. Id love a bra that has so much support it's like i'm a boy, that's how little movement there is.

While this is a few days late, happy fall! Snowboarding season is just around the corner...

Final Race Report - Patriot's Tri, Bath, PA

Blessed are those lucky enough to have friends that double as training/quilting/hobby partners. Having two of my girls with me in last Sunday's race helped all over. We giggled as we stretched and shouted each other along throughout the race. LM and Kim decided last minute to do the tri – LM did swim, Kim the bike and run. Here, in their words (edited for space) is how it went down for them.

By the way, if you haven’t already, check out Stephanie’s blog (linked to on the right). She did her first marathon Saturday. Her race report is a tale of one girl’s dramatic journey as she pushed her body to its limits and never, never gave up no matter what went wrong (and much did, from injury to dumb runner shop employee). Inspiring.

I find it odd that they feel the need to write all over your body (Ed note: took me a week to take off the 12 markings they put on. either that's too many markings or i don't scrub properly). I was mostly nervous about getting kicked in the face or swam on top of but as soon as I found out that they were starting us in waves I was immediately relieved. I couldn't see a thing so whenever I would swim to see where I was in relevance to the buoy I had to redirect myself b/c I was aiming way off! When I reached the halfway point my arms felt like lead weights but I knew that would happen which is why I took it out slow and sped up throughout the thing. I was very happy that I
2)didn't get kicked in the face
3) did well considering I haven't swam more than 5 laps worth of swimming in about 6 years except for one day at LA fitness when I felt really motivated to do 50 laps for some odd reason.

I kept swimming at the end to try and get a fast time and I swam right into the dirt!... I could barely run b/c my arms were just dead weights and didn't want to move but somehow I did and passed 6 or 7 people on the grassy hill up to the bike area where I passed my chip around my ankle to Kim and she tore off on the bike! I definitely have been bitten by the tri bug though and want to do the whole one next time all by myself!

Swim .4 mile 11:45 (zoinks!)

T1: 52 seconds (blaa-zing. That’s 14/157)

So at 34, and after barely doing anything that required more physical exertion than feeding twenties into a slot machine, I decide to start running. Sounded cool, and the idea of doing a tri as my first EVER event, much less two months after i started running, sounded challenging. I'll try anything once.

Thank God no one told me about the bitch-ass hills beforehand. I was pumped when I first started the ride. After hearing "Left", "On your left" for like the 100th time my brain said "You stupid ass idiot-what made you think you could do this? These people do this all the time, have cool outfits, and actual road bikes. (Ihad mountain bike) DUH!!" Then I thought, "I'm not out here for them-I'm out here for ME."

My spoken goals were to 1) Just finish, and 2) not finish last. No way I could just stop riding-I had to get to the finish, as no one would find my lifeless body lying on the side of a rural road somewhere in Bath, Pa. As I pulled in and saw LM and PR's boy standing there rooting me on, I uttered "F*** This" quite loudly.

Bike 15 miles: 1:08:32. try to top that in two months lifetime training!

T2: 46 seconds. (Wowsers. That’s 30/157!)

I was in no way prepared for the way my legs felt on dismount-as if someone tied them to the ground. I shook my head and I meandered VERY SLOWLY through the check point, seriously doubting I could continue. Remembering that I was there for me, I went on.

After mile 1 the circulation finally started coming back and I found a steady, albeit slow, stride. "Never again" was going through my head when I passed a cow I'll call Bessie-those moos came at such an ironic time-and i changed my attitude right then and there. I chugged along and 1.5 miles later, when I crossed that finish line (goal 1 complete!) and saw I wasn't last (goal 2 complete!) that was my vindication.

I was met at the end of the finish line by PR, who greeted me with a big hug and show of support and knew I made the right choice by competing. (The flashy finisher's key chain was pretty cool, too!) Ten minutes later I was actually talking about how I want to perform next year. I have been so motivated by this experience to really step up my training and run as many days a week as possible, even if it's only a mile run a day, and modify my eating even more. I truly know what a "runner's high" is now.

Bessie-I owe you a big bale of hay! And next year I'm even going to do the icky lake water. (Now-where the F*** is my victory martini...)

Run 3.1 miles: 33:45 (what a finish!)

Total: 1:58:39

Check back for 2006 Patriot’s Triathlon results next September. Three full race reports. One spot. Don’t miss it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Running not to be behind fellow competitors and training schedules

Among other things, Scott's recent post inspired me to run today, despite being v. v. tired and a bit hungover from long weekend. After all, Scott and me are both doing Vegas, and I need to show up as trained as him. ;-)

It also got me to thinking about training schedules, missed workouts, and my recent reshuffling of workouts. Danny says he just pretends missed runs weren’t even part of his scheduled workouts. I sort of do the same. This weekend I did early-in-the-week reshuffling because of weekend plans. Those later changed too.
So ultimately,

Monday was easy 5 miler. Rested instead. After all, I did a tri the day before.
Tuesday, Wed: followed schedule.
Thursday: Did Friday’s easy run instead of rest day knowing Friday I’d rest cause of travel.
Friday, rest.
Saturday’s planned 12 miler would be Sunday, I’d already decided.
But Sunday I was tired and a bit hungover (see above) so decided to do Saturday’s 12 miler tomorrow and tomorrow’s easy 5 today.

Phew! So much rescheduling, so little time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

finishes, finishers

Hi...Hi there.

If you're reading this, it's because you've stumbled across the FOURTH PLACE FINISHER in her age group in the sept. 18 patriots triathlon. I know, I never would have figured after my disastrous BIKE to have such a fabulously sounding finish...and yet, there it was on the results field. Like a gleaming star, a free martini, a full moon...

Are you wondering how many were in the field? No? You're just nodding along, perhaps smiling proudly, as you share my happiness? Thanks! I mean, being compared all the time takes its toll. How can one measure up if they're always being compared??? They can't, let me tell you.

FINE, there were 5!

So here are the splits:

.4 mile swim: 14:30 (88th out of 155 )
Thoughts: Not bad. Not bad a'tall. That's a 36.15 per mile pace, not far off from my college time, when I was in far better swimming shape. Next time, I will risk being kicked in the eye to shave off a few seconds.

T1: 2:20 (slowpoke)

15 mile bike: 1:04:44 13.9 (147th out of 155. holy elvis batman -stole line from drew -slowpokie!)
Thoughts: Well, no surprise here. My bike leg sucked. ALL HILLS, for which I was un-mentally prepared for, thanks to a bald-faced LIAR of a web site.

T2: :52 (you speed demon, you)

3.1 mile run: 25:51 8:20 (85th out of 155)
Thoughts: 8:20 pace. I missed goal by .51. What made this time neat, however, was my legs were shot after all these hills that were in the bike (not sure if i've mentioned the hills in the bike).

Total: 1:48:16

On Sunday, after my tri, my spirits were very low, spent day moping around. I didn't even feel like giving a race report -- EVER -- but i knew it had to be done, if only to tell the world about how misleading the web site was about this race.

I knew I had finished near the bottom of the pack because of how few people there were remaining. It was a blow to my confidence. I started doubting myself, why I do this, why do i suck. Times aren't the reason we train, or enter races...and yet, you want to hit what you know you're capable of doing. I felt I failed Sunday.

I didnt. I got out what I put in. Fair enough. I hope I kick future attitudes like my Sunday one to the curb.

I beat my first California tri times on swim! Yes, bike! I actually did a faster bike here on a mountain bike on a hard uphill course than I did on road bike in nearly flat course. I tied the run.

Final thought:

1. why must girls always be stuck with the dumb pink caps? pink does not match any racing suit i've ever had. and, it's 2005. let's get with the times! men wear pink quite comfortably all the time.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Patriots Triathlon Complete. 9/18

What follows is a race report from the Sept. 18 Patriots Triathlon in beautiful Bath, Pa. I try to keep this blog clean, since RBF (running blog family) seems family friendly and all. If foul language offends you, I’d skip the bike section. With that in mind:

LM, Kim, my boy and I arrive to our race destination early Sunday. Brrr. Chilly. I hop around with excitement. LM tries to wake up. Kim recounts her Saturday. The race is highly disorganized, and more than 2/3 of the field (including us) are race day registerers. Race will start late, it is announced. People whine. We don’t really care. The sun has popped up. I continue hopping with excitement. The announcement comes: mandatory meeting before race. Then, first wave. I’m in the third wave, LM in the fourth.

Chapter 1 (.4 mile swim): I’ll title this one: “The Icky-less Lake”
Kim had earlier agreed to do tri, then backed out, the prospect of swimming in the ‘icky’ lake a bit much for her. But there was a relay option, and LM agreed to do swim. I stand with the pink hats, readying for the countdown. Bam! Off we go. The water is nice and warm. The lake is tiny but the field is small. It’s clean feeling. I’m winded by the time I reach the first buey. Hmm, better slow down, ain’t…gonna (cough, sputter on inhaled water)…Ok I’ve calmed down, found a rhythm.

The lake is a popular fishing spot so I try to look for little fishies as I swim. Toward the end I get temporarily frustrated that I’ve gotten caught behind a breast stroker who could take out one of my eyes with the right kick/my face connection but decide any effort to pass her would be fruitless, perhaps save me 3 seconds on the clock. Not worth it. Swim over, I run to the bike.

LM, who had gone in the wave behind me, is steps behind me. She’s CRUSHED the swim. LM, you: a. rock and b. are my hero.

Chapter 2 (15 mile bike): I call this one, affectionately: “The Fucking, Bitchass Son of a motherless goat Bike ride”
Biking is my weakest of the three tri events. I’m a slow swimmer but this is more a product of natural ability than background and training. I played water polo and swam in college; at my peak I was still the slowest or second slowest on the team. Sucking at biking is more a function of a lack of experience. And it would help to own a bike. Have I mentioned I’m undertrained too?

The tri web site says “The bike is on gently rolling hills with a few technical turns.” Now, I’m not from Pennsylvania. So I can’t say who decided to write this or what went through their minds to say this when the COURSE IS ALL FUCKING ALL UPHILL. OK, fine, the first ½ mile is downhill. The rest is an endless route of HILLS, HILLS AND MORE FUCKING HILLS. The web site is a LIAR. I don’t know what mile I’m on that I realize this. I don’t know cause there are NO MILE MARKERS ANYWHERE IN SIGHT. All I know is that I’ve been huffing and puffing, barely able to catch my breath for what seems like an eternity. The hills don’t stop.

I ask a man who’s directing traffic ‘how much longer?” All I can make out is “just over….hills.” I continue on. I have a frantic thought that maybe it’ll be OK if I just don’t go on. I haven’t seen anyone in ages. It’s just me and THE GAWDDAMN HILLS. When the hill is less hilly than the other hills that are more hilly, I take the opportunity to admire the bike course. It’s gorgeous, a country road with scenic views of green, green trees, barns, country homes and streams and farms. I see three ostriches.

Chapter 3 (3.1 mile run) This one’s easy to name: “Hello, Loverboy!” (said like carrie bradshaw from ‘sex and the city’ admiring a pair of shoes)
Dear, sweet running. Darling, sweet running. Was it I that just a few days ago that I practically put you down, so excited was I in my bike bliss? I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Forgive me sweet running. No matter what comes between us, you will always be my first love, no matter how good I get on the bike, no matter how fast I never become in swimming.

Ok, the first ½ mile is rough. My legs are a goner from the BITCH ASS 95% UPHILL BIKE RIDE. They are cement blocks. Don’t think I can do my hopeful 25 minute 5k. Then, the kinks are gone. I have my stride back. I feel good, life is as it should be, for that moment. It’s me hitting the pavement. I’m finally passing people, after having not passed I don’t think a single soul in bike. Running feels so right. The stress of the bike ride is melting away.
I finish.

My time is a less than stellar 1:48. Don’t have splits yet. I’m going to blog later with my and Kim/LM times as well as get a little feedback from Kim and LM from their first tri experience. LM is an experienced and accomplished runner but she’s never done tri. She said she kinda got the urge to do an entire one. I hope she will. I hope she trains with me for next year’s planned half ironman. I’m gonna need someone.

For Kim, this was her first race EVER. She’s in her early 30s and only started running a couple of months ago. She’s heroic. Poor thing, having such a BITCH ASS HARD BIKE RIDE for her first race (I’m sure she’ll have a thing or two to say about this) but nonetheless, she rocks. ROCKS!

Friday, September 16, 2005


i try not to post when i'm in a real extreme mood, be it bliss or misery. but tonight it seems appropriate, in light of my earlier post, written with such happiness and eagerness. in case you're wondering:
1. stayed at work hours late. my 'welcome weekend!' came several hrs later than i originally thought.
2. there would be no run. i even changed into run clothes super early (pre 6 p.m.) and waited for clearance to go. it would not be forthcoming.
3. there would be no sushi.

so now i'm mad. but really by time i've finished writing this, i'm sad. such a pretty night planned. well, roll with the punches and all that.
now tho, i will welcome the weekend (if only half heartedly)!


Join me in welcoming in a fine weekend! Hurrah for the end of a long week. Ive got a lite run this afternoon planned with Kim, sushi for dinner (an extra, extra special treat) and then tomorrow it's rest and hydration. I hope to with LM and Kim have full race report sometime Sunday.

Awhile back, after seeing on Jeff's and Scott's blogs about running downhill and uphill, I asked for more input. Getting very little, I decided to ask Bart Yasso, of Runner's World. He is designing the program I'm running as I prepare for Vegas.

Q: Today I did a hard hill workout. It got me to thinking about whether my form was OK. I think I may have hurt myself training for Vermont marathon by doing too many hill workouts. Is there a better downhill/uphill form?

A: The best way to run any hill up or down is to have your body over your feet.
I call it nose over toes.
You need to keep good posture and lean with the hill.
On the downhill it's harder on your body to hold back and break with your quads.
P.S. I have been meaning to write to tell you what an awesome runner you are and how thrilled I am to have you as part of my pilot class.

OK, I added the ps. but there's what he's got say, anyhow.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

quote of the day

My media colleague received a letter from a reader, informing her she'd ended a sentence with a preposition. Her response, which I adore:

"Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put." -- winston churchhill

confessions of adult-onset athlete

Kim passed this along
Confessions of an Adult-Onset Athlete
One woman's journey from college couch potato to competitive marathon runner.

i give the girl mad props. i also encourage her to eat!

wed postscript

Well, after calling home and hearing my boy was about to go to bed, I decided I'd go do at least 5 of my scheduled 10 miler.

Instead, I changed at gym, decided I'd already won half the battle, and figured Id do as much as I could before gym closed at midnight.

That ended up being just over 8 miles. Phew! Feels great. Normally I may've just bumped it to tomorrow but with race Sunday, I wanted to leave a little bit bigger gap between big workouts.

And come on, wake up BEFORE work to do long run? Seriously. I mean, I know me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bikes are so much cooler

Long time no talkie, dear bloggie of mine!

Turns out the plan is to have LM and Kim do Sunday's tri with me. Great news. Kim at first demurred saying 'the icky lake water' was too much for her, but they have a relay option so LM is planning to do swim. Makes it might nicer knowing i'll have friends doing race too. I was getting a bit nervous. after that it's breakfast at my place, con mimosas. I'm to take this race as merely a training tri, not a race tri. so with that sound advice in mind, my goals:

.4 mile swim: <25 min. (i am being generous here)
15 mile bike: <1 hour (this will be the hardest)
3.1 mile run: <25 min. (um, borderline)

I rode Kim's bike Monday while she ran, testing it out, even tho i'm gonna use her husband's bike for the actual race. I don't have a bike you see. I LOVED IT. "im never running again!" i yelled in bliss as I took off down the parkway. Woosh. I passed a runner. Woosh, woosh, woosh! "bye slowpoke runners!" i thought to myself. how come i never did this before??? It's so much cooler passing runners than sludging along being passed by bikers and other runners! I learned to handle the gears so that i'll get the best power coming off the hills and going into them. I love my bike! I mean, Kim's bike.

Tuesdy, back to reality. Did easy 4.5 miler with Kim. After first dreadfully hard mile, run felt decent. Only occasionally missed speedmachine.

It's been a busy week. I've got a long run planned for today (see right column) but it's 930 p.m. and im still at work (delayed by this brief blog post). Busy week, and it aint easing up. Maybe tomorrow morning 10 miler? Does that sound realistic for miss early riser herself?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sunday's nonworkout thoughts

I've spent the day reading and watching TV. Well, that with 2 hours of housecleaning.

It's Sept. 11 anniversary and there's still much news of Katrina. Fox did kind of interesting pre-game coverage with much Katrina and trade center lookbacks.

NY Times did a ton of Katrina coverage, much interesting, some predictable. They did the 'what happened and what went wrong' analysis for delay in Katrina. Worth checking out.

My favorite pieces, though were on the Op-Ed. ill share links to them here. this one's by alice sebold, author of 'the lovely bones.'
"These tragedies, it's worth remembering, grant us an opportunity to understand what is perhaps our finest raw material: our humanity. The way we at our best treat one another. The way we listen to one another. The way we grieve." this one's from the times' public editor. he looks at how the new york times covered new orleans the last decade.
"What readers would have been more likely to find in The Times's past decade of news coverage of New Orleans were stylishly written articles about the city's charm, cuisine and colorful characters. While some of those articles dealt with crime in the city's predominantly black neighborhoods, the issue of poverty was seldom explored in any depth."

hope everyone had a nice Sunday. off to watch chargers beat cowboys. (hope i am not coming across as callous!)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Shoulda stayed home. The Lemon Drop Revisited.

There are nights for going out and nights for staying in. Last night, I went out. Wrong choice.

I was all dressed and ready to go. Make up done, hair had fallen into place. Then I realized i had left my wallet at work. No ID. Decided I'd go anyway before my boy said drive to bar was ridden with cops. I decided I was better off playing it safe. Changed into pajamas, settled into quiet night. Then LM and Jen call; Jen's bday was occasion for going out.
"Do you want to go?" they ask.
"Ya but I don't have my ID, we won't be able to get in any clubs," i tell em.
"Who cares. Do you want to go?"
"Um, OK."
I rush to change. 20 minutes later they're at my house. Turns out to be a bad decision.
Early in the evening, Ms blabbity over here blabbity blabs some sensitive information. Im heard by involved parties, I realize in horror. The night sours. It spins out of control. No need to relive it except to note WHY DO I NEED TO BE SUCH A BIG MOUTH.

All parties have since forgiven me. Lest they are reading this, I apologize again.

The night also means im less than fresh for my inaugural run with my new running partner, scheduled for 11 a.m. Dude's local TNT coach and ranked triathlete in the state for his age group. He answered my online post on the local running web site looking for partners. That's the site i met my dear LM.

Saturday dawned stunning. Nice sunny weather and a nice breeze. We meet. He looks like a runner, very slender, body fat 0% and fast. He just looks fast. He likes to run about a 7 min. mile but has assured me I can set the pace. No one has ever mistaken me for a runner. Sometimes, people have looked me up and down, a quizzical look on their face, when i tell them I'm training for or have run a marathon. But runners are lean and long!, their faces say.

The run is brutal. Brutal. We plan on doing 4 loops, which is about 5 miles. I've got 30 minutes marathon pace scheduled. ya right, i think, just steps into my run. There will be no 30 minute run at an 823 pace. There will be no such run becuase my legs are thick, having been filled overnight with lead. I will them to move as I have successfully so many times but I'm practically perplexed from how terrible the run feels and how my body isnt listening. The fruit shake I drank before run is sloshing around and it's threatening to come up. i KNEW there wasn't enough time between drinking it and the run!

I somehow keep up a conversation, mostly by just asking questions. He tells me about next week's tri, the course (which is quite helpful!). He's doing it too. We do 3 loops. He says we have done 4. I am 99% sure we have done three. Like I'm in any mood to point this out. In fact, he probably noticed my condition and said we'd done 4 out of kindness...and pity.

I have not had such a bad run since what I call the lemon drop run. That was in March and LM and I had gone to show Fri night, then had early (noon) run in freezing conditions. We had several lemon drops (LM's favorite). Never again did I have another run so bad en route to Vermont marathon. I am hoping the same will hold true for this run and Vegas.

I almost blogged earlier in the week about how wonderful I'd been feeling in my runs lately and how, despite them requiring effort, they were not especially taxing but for a few occasional patches. I didn't want to jinx myself. Oh well.

My legs are tired. I think Wed's high intensity hill workout is finally catching up to them. Luckily, no injuries or unnatural aches to report. Me ees just tired.


After Saturday's horrible, terrible, no good, very bad run, I call LM. She's with Hummer, another running/going out friend. She's hungry. We agree to meet at Friendly's. I dont think I've been to Friendly's since I was 13 and we did a study tour in D.C. and PA. I don't know that the chain is on the West Coast.

It's a gorgeous, stunning day. It almost feels like we're near the ocean. A breeze is blowing, it's clearn, sunny. It's wonderful.

When we're ready to pay LM orders a sundae to go. She'll eat it on an outside table since it's freezing in the restaurant. Hummer and I go up to settle check. When we return, LM is just about done with sundae. Well, we'll go outside anyway to sit in the nice sun.

Two hours later, I am curled into a ball, laying down, watching traffic on one bench, LM is on her back sprawled out on another. Hummer has gone to make a phone call to pretend he's not with us. With no plans (well, Hummer and I had no plans, LM had a ginormous list of things to do. She will get to 25% of them) we've deemed Friendly's our hangout spot. Yes, for two hours we alternate between sunny tables and shaded benches shooting the shit. We spend part of our time debating what to do next. Hummer and I are ready to hightale it down to Atlantic City, where my friend is. LM though has some family function she must attend.

So we chill in front of the Friendlys. I really enjoy it. I think it may be safe to say I'm now a true Pennsylvanian.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


yesterday i posted on the local running web site for a new running partner. I met LM there, who turned out to be a dear friend/excellent running motivator/coach. I figured I can't lose. So I get a response from a cat who is part of TNT (team in training). He responds to just about every post from those seeking partners.

I have nothing against TNT'ers. How could one? Seriously. In fact I cheer those purple shirts super hard while I'm running or watching a race. If you can A. run and B. run for a cause you're a step better than me. Yet, like that little Brownie I was that barely managed to sell 10 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies cause I hated sales, the idea of fundraising is like a huge, gigundo obstacle for me.

So he writes back, says he's TNT local coach. I write back, cool, this is when I run but i should let you know I'm not interested in TNT events this year. Next year, I tell him, might be different. Then I send a difft' message asking does he know about local triathlon.

He emails tonight with a link to the race. It's ON and now I can sign up!!! I'm telling you, that running web site is a gem, a blessing, a can't miss.
So like, I'm planning to do this tri in oh, 10 days but i've been unable to get any information on it. When I try to register it sends me to 2003 page. I emailed director and the email got bounced back. Was really hoping to do at least one tri this season, which is almost over for us East Coasters. What is the problem, race directors? Loud and clear on the home page it says "Sept 18. Patriot's Triathlon." I mean, "9TH ANNUAL Patriot's Triathlon." Sheesh.

While trying to remain modest I'd like to draw your attention to my sidebar. I copied Nancytoby and did the planned vs. actual training schedule. My [planned was a rest OR XT. I did XT. Pat on back. Skipping three consecutive workouts, as I did last week? So last week's news.

Id like to know what's wrong with my goggles though. They fog now and bring water in my eyes. These were the goggles that treated me so perfectly in my first tri in 2004 i swore I'd never wear another brand. I left gym eyes bloodshot and stinging.

That didn't prevent me from checking out muscled men in gym. I can't help but check them out, in their tight shirts and muscles bulging, straining really from the weight of the weight they've trying to lift. I feel I'm doing a duty really. These dudes spend hours and hours and hours getting their body looking like that. They're begging to be looked at. I'm happy to oblige.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hills and Holes

Woke up happy and refreshed at 9:50 a.m. (i know, to the trains leaving daily at 4 a.m. and the west coast bloggers having already done their runs by now that sounds impossibly late). ate half a cliff bar, half a cup of coffee. Did dishes and stretched as I waited for food to digest. Already, my morning was more productive than yesterday so it's already a good day.

It's 2 miles to my favorite runnig spot, the parkway, where I do 85% of my trainig. The parkway's ideal for its streams, shade from the many trees, wildlife (today spotted several baby chipmunks!) and the runnnig terrain is a soft mix of dirt, pebbles, and gravel. The 2 miles there however, are straight up and down hills. I'd say maybe 15% of the run is flat. It's tough. Well, I should say, the uphills are tough.

So today was two back and forths to the parkway (for 8 miles) and a mile loop at parkway for a little extra distance.

The first 5 miles were OK. I ran to parkway, did loop and headed back to start. Now it was time to head back to parkway for final loop. Around mile 5 1/2, my legs turned to jello. They were barely moving yet i was panting, mouth wide open as i struggled to get more breath. My workout called for "good effort," luckily nothing was said about speed. My thighs burned but I willed my body -- "just a 1/2 a block to the downhill" I promised it. I made it to the top but then had to walk to catch my breath. At mile 7, I reached the parkway again, took a drink from the fountain...and braced myself for the 2-mile run home. I took several deep breaths, gave myself a little pep talk, and off i flew.

haha, flew. Sometimes I wonder how i look during these runs, pushing so hard, panting, mouth hung open and tongue partially out...yet not going anywhere.

Got home and saw my fine running socks had a hole in big toe! I resist buying running gadgets, watch, etc feeling they are merely a ploy by running stores to empty my wallet. Like expensive socks. My six cotton pairs for $6 were more than good enough for me, I decided. Then, when I got to my first long runs, I couldnt's top blistering. I explained the blisters as well as my theories on buying running gear to the kind man at the running store last time i bought shoes. he was polite, then said yes, but these socks can really cut down on blistering. he threw in a pair with my purchase. instantly, the blisters disappeared. Ta da! I am hooked.

Now I need to buy one of those pedometer+'s flatman and scott have. Unless I'm at gym I never know how fast i'm going. Like today's run was 81 minutes. Did I slow down a lot at the end? Or start slow to save energy and turn it on at the end? Who knows? But i'd certainly like to.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The 10 miler

Day 10, Cycle 3: Rest.
Yesterday, Sunday: Day 9, Cycle 3: Long Run, 10 miles, 90 minutes (give or take a minute).

I'm beginning to think I've not calculated my runs correctly. While 90 minutes isn't anywhere near blazing, it's about a 9 mile pace.. That seems faster than I was going since it was warm and I walked up steep hills. The ITB band has been tingling on steep hills. I think hills is where I hurt my leg last time around, when I was training for my May marathon.

By the time i dropped off J at airport, and waited for lunch to digest and nails to dry, it was 2. It was a warm day and by mile 3 I was really struggling. The first walk break around this time felt so good I wondered if I should just walk the rest of the time. I've been so focused on time lately I forget that running 10 miles is actually quite far and requires a little more mental preparation than I'd given.

Then as if i'd ordered it, a cloud cover dropped the temperature several degrees. It gave me a burst of energy and I ran semi-comfortably the rest of the time.

Yesterday I also added some gymnastics into my pre and post stretching. I did a back bend that i held for about 3 seconds before collapsing. Guess my wrists aren't as strong as they used to be. And I did some handstands against the wall, pulling my legs forward to stretch and strengthen legs and maybe lower back. I'm hoping that by improving my flexibility I'll be less prone to injuries. I'm not very flexible. I used to finish among the bottom in that sit and stretch thing we were tested on every year in school. i'm sore from my legs to my back to my shoulders. At least today is a rest day!

Sunday, September 04, 2005


It's midway through my fourth day without it. I am listless, tired, and feel a crankiness I do not show. I'm sluggish and, though my clothes seem to fit fine, I have gained 97 pounds.

On the second day without it, Friday, I registered for the Las Vegas marathon. Sunday, I walk into a running store. My feelings of tiredness and sluggishness instantly lift. As I try on flip flops, examine shoes, water belts and the prices of gu, i can't help thinking: i'm a fraud. Why am I here when I haven't done it since Wednesday and it's now Sunday. The clerks don't bother with me. I buy "I Run, Therefore I am -- NUTS!"

I've had company this gloriously beautiful holiday weekend. My two girls I didn't realize how much I had missed till I saw them again. We laughed, caught up, had serious, thoughtful conversations, went dancing, drank too much. But with preparing for them, and then different activities, I have not run going on 4 days.

I practice self-deception, I tell myself that Saturday's rafting trip (because that was so f'in fantastic a post on that follows) which involved at times heavy paddling was a cross training session. It wasn't.

Saturday night, after bbqing with a neighbor, we head out to the club. My girl C orders a margarita. I watch the bartender make it: 3 parts tequila, 2 parts Gran Marnier, one splash of lime. Now THAT'S a margarita. I quickly order one. Later, another round. Even later, safe at home, C loses margarita. She is the lucky one. Sunday, she wakes up refreshed. I don't. I was supposed to wake up early so I could do run before they woke up. I wake up at 11 a.m.

We visit nearby local town, a quaint row of shops and historical buildings. They need to go to pick up a few items at store. I sense opportunity. Drop me off at home, I tell them, so I can run and i'll give you directions to store. They agree.

I come home, put my running clothes on. Instantly, I'm prettier in old running garbs. I stretch. Off i run. First 2 blocks my right thigh hurts, my left knee hurts. The air is dry and difficult to suck in. Then, as always, a rythm sets in. I run, my breathes becomes regular and my body adjusts. I return a new person. I am energetic, I feel good. I have lost 97 pounds.

I make a quickstyle dinner. We head to local amusement park. I walk in, hand in hand with my boy, my two girls in front and a tasty afternoon sunshine hits my face. LIfe is good.

Cross Training, Rafting style

Excuse the long post. But I just loved this day and wanted to remember it.

My girl J arrives early Saturday. Me and my two girls had a long planned whitewater rafting excursion. But I find out Friday the dam release has been canceled for lack of rain, and one pal wont be in till Saturday night. She's been down South covering the hurricanes. Understandably, she wants to be nowhere near water.

So J and I decide to do what I explain is rafting for babies. It's called summer rafting. It's low grade, low level, low excitement far as I can tell. But it'll be relaxing, I tell J when I let her know of change of plans. We can lazily float and weather is supposed to be perfect. Sure, she says, sounds fine.

We arrive. Families everywhere. Big families, extended families. We're gonna get stuck with one of those big crazy families, I tell Joy. Watch. The lede guide comes by. “Just you two?” he asks.
“Ya,” I tell him. “And we’re fine rafting alone.”
“I have no problem with that,” he says, and walks away.
J and I give a high five.

After our safety session, we head to river. We choose raft. We take our seats. We practice paddling. We’re sitting in the wrong place. We’re paddling wrong, one guide tells us. We look at each and shrug. Our cover as experienced rafters has been blown. As we’re getting ready to leave, a man comes over. “Can I join you?” Neither of us says anything. “OK,” we finally manage. We wanted to be alone, like he cares. He sets himself in comfortably. Turns out he’s a floater guide, assigned to go from boat to boat to assist struggling rafters. We also become headquarters since we have space for the first aid kit and other if-things-go-wrong-equipment.

Time to pull the raft into the water. J and I each take a rope and with our new guide, whom I’ll call Charlie since that’s his name, prepare to shove off. We are pulling the heavy raft, stumbling over rocks. We’re deep enough to jump in the raft. I, Miss Outdoorsy/Wanna Be Raft Expert, lose my balance and FALL COMPLETELY IN THE RIVER. I have fallen, trying to look pro-style and hardcore, BEFORE we’ve launched. J gives a horrified look before she cannot contain her laughter any longer.

Off we go. Look for the V’s, that means you’re clear and away from rocks. Avoid the water rushing inward and down, sign of rock. Charlie is explaining all this as we start off. OK so maybe having Charlie with us to start wasn’t such a bad thing. In minutes, it’s like we’re experienced rafters. A short while later, we stop for lunch. Then it’s back off. Charlie, perhaps satisfied we’ll not overturn at the next large rock, joins another group.

With just two of us, it’s easy to get into a groove. We get stuck on rocks, sure, but we quickly emerge as the group’s stars (if you don’t mind me saying so). An unfortunate consequence is that we’ve become both headquarters and camp Charlie. Charlie joins us in between looking for the next struggling rafters. We are ordered to swim to raft 465 so he can jump on or to paddle faster to the right or left to avoid rock. While at camp Charlie, he rests. J is becoming irritated. “Are we gonna get a cut of what you make or what?” she asks him. He pretends not to hear. We are seriously working.

He joins next raft. Rafts are ordered to line up single file to enter narrow portion of river with lite whitewater. The boat in front of us plows right into a large rock. The boy sitting nearest the rock hits it with his back. It has caught the boat off guard. He tumbles backward into the river and goes under our boat. He begins to panic. “Calm down,” J tells him. “Relax. We’ve got you.” I get the paddle. He jumps onto our boat, we paddle to get him back to his crew. We have accomplished our first rescue.

“It feels good helping people,” I say. She agrees.
”There’s a word for us,” I add. “Heroes.”

And off we paddle.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Viva Las Vegas (and orange tees!)

It's now official. Vegas, it's just me, you and 14,999 other runners Dec. 4. I signed up today, forked out the 100 smackers (why so muchie for race considering we're all gonna gamble and throw away our money in city anyway?).

But this post isn't about me. It's about the shirt.

Scott has been busily designing a T-shirt to be worn during race. It's for Vegas bound runners and supporters but he's sort of talking about possibly doing something more so members of Running Blog Family can wear a similar one during their races, wherever they may be.

What follows is his note. He's got five designs. Vote on one or offer suggestions completely unrelated to initial offerings! Even if youre not running Vegas, suggestions are MOST welcome. Particularly if other bloggers seem interested in shirts. If you hate the design, Scott wants to know. Right, Scott? So without further adieu:

"If you remember, several of us have been working on a design concept for a technical RBF shirt. We found a place online to order from. The first batch we order will be for those attending the Vegas Marathon and will have language to that effect printed on the back, but with that text missing or changed the design could be recycled for future RBF attended events. I hesitate to leave comments on other people's running blogs, asking them to go to my blog and participate in the design process because I don't want anyone to feel spammed but I'd like to get as wide of an input as possible. Can you help get the word out?Thanks,Scott Dennis

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Downhill running

There was a brief discussion on downhill running at Jeff's site a few weeks ago, but I was hoping for more input.

What is proper form on downhill running?

I was watching the alcatraz tri a few weeks ago. The top of the pack, which is what TV was following, appeared to be running straightlegged down the hills. I found it interesting. I have been trying it. No verdict yet.

I tend to lose speed on the downhills cause I don't want to hurt my knees or anything else. Suggestions?

She will qualify, she will not qualify...

Said in the singsong voice of 'She loves me, she loves me not' plucking flower petals.

Day 4, Cycle 3: 5 Minute Easy (9:31 pace), 20 minutes marathon pace (8:19), 5 minute easy (9:29).

Because we were headed out for LM's going away celebration (:-() and I got held up at work, I rushed in workout. Glad i got a little something in, but it was half of what I was supposed to do.

Thoughts are random on the treadmill, particularly if you're like me and you don't listen to music. I started doing calculations during my 20-minute marathon pace portion: based on 20-minute intervals, and my goal of a 3:40 finish time, that's really only 11 chunks of 20-minute runs, 10 more than I did last night. Sure last night I added wrong and thought it was 10 chunks of 20-minute runs but no matter. i've fixed that now. Easy cheesy.

Also though on the treadmill: I can qualify for Boston, i can't qualify for Boston. I can qualify for Boston, I can't qualify for Boston.

my goal of 3:40 is quite ambitious. My marathon time was 4:16, a 9:48 average pace (not to make excuses but was running injured). I did my half marathon in a far closer-to-hopeful-time of 1:50, or 8:33 pace. My training first time around averaged a 9 or just under pace. This time I'm on a tougher schedule. They say not to expect to cut off major chunks of time (36 minutes may for some be considered a major chunk of time).

In the bottom of my thought pool, there is a part of me that thinks it's rather unrealistic to try for 3:40. Next to that thought, there's a little part that thinks maybe I can qualify.

Well, nothing to do but go train.

The Original RC Prepares for Big Move

Today, I've got a cross training workout I'm trying to motivate for. My slight headache appears to be departing. Good. I shouldn't have had a headache in the first place cause all I drank was beer last night. And a shot. A single shot of tequila because alas, the time has come for LM to move.

I've mentioned LM is moving to nearby big city. She'll now be about an hour away, which doesn't seem like much but it sort of is in that it makes weekday night outings nearly impossible. I guess that's not the end of the world but she has been partyrunner's dearest friend since moving cross country. After I met LM on local running web site, we quickly clicked. We just as quickly went from being running partners to going out partners. The latter is where we've been for months now.

I remember the first time LM and I went for a run. Snow was all over the ground and it was cold, with temps in the teens. It was the first winter outdoor run for this SoCal girl. But in my excitement to begin training after I decided in January to run my first marathon, I was at least prepared, clotheswise. That $250 shopping spree did me fine.

She was faster than I, something Id already told her in our online conversations, so she did most of the talking. I didn't have much spare oxygen. I found it really weird, and I mean, really weird, that approx. 95% of our conversation focused on running. I was like, 'This chick really just talks about running! She really just spent our whole run talking about running!'

It would be several months before my transformation into running nerd was complete. But it happened. LM and I met for a beer a few weeks before her Boston marathon. We spent 95% of the conversation talking about running, I excitedly doing much of the talking. Then when Kim did her first run ever, everytime the conversation went away from running I noticed I immediatley brought it back.

So on this fine, sunny Thurs morning, I tip my coffee cup to LM, the original RC (running coach).