Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My own Academy Award speech

I’d like to thank the Academy…..or maybe this sums it up best.

Thank you….

….to my heart and soul for showing up for my 16.4 mile long run today
….to my shins for displaying a new level of toughness
….to my husband for coming out to check on me just when I needed it most
….to the wind – wait, scratch that.  After 2 days of gusty winds, we are presently not on speaking terms my BodyGlide for covering all the right places
.…to my husband and friends who are injured, yet make a point to support me and ask about my run
….to friends who have told me I inspire or motivate them (what a gift to know that)
….to my blogger friends who continue to inspire me through your running and non-running experiences

The wind, a stomach issue, and bad sleep all kicked my butt today.  But you know what?  I kicked back.  And boy, that felt good!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I figure I got some resistance training in as well as cardio…..

Not sure what the wind gusts are measuring at, but I can say that I had a love/hate relationship with the wind during my run this morning.  LOVED it when it was at my back;  HATED it when it was in my face and just about stopped me in my tracks!


The sun is shining, which is a huge improvement from yesterday's rainy and raw weather.  I just completed my third run for the week.  That’s kind of a big deal since I'd been struggling through a little bit of a running funk.  And most importantly, I feel good.

I’ll take it.  Even the wind.  I’ll just pretend my wind burn is really a sun-kissed tan from a faraway vacationland…..

Friday, February 24, 2012

Random Ramblings

There’s such a strong correlation between running and feeling good.  No two ways about it.  The last month and a half have been a bit of a blur because of my new job, and more so, because I’ve been doing some traveling.  No complaints…trust me!  However, I continue to struggle (new job or not) with getting my mid-week runs in.

The times when things get stressful and deadlines loom is just when I start to throw running to the back burner.  The stress of a given day tires me and motivates me only to go home and camp out by the pellet stove with Bella.  I’m quite sure that, even if we owned a treadmill, I would still slack off. 

I’ve had a big deadline to make something happen at work that hasn’t been able to happen for over two years.  I was told when I first started that if I could pull this off, it would be such a coup.  And I would be a hero.  Well, I made it happen.  I’m proud of my work and am toasting some efficient working my butt off with a 3-glasser boxed wine.  Don’t judge.

Thanks for letting me brag!  The point though isn’t what a rock star I can be at a job I love, but more of how much happier, healthier, and more positive I feel when I continue to run through particularly stressful times.  Why do I stop just when I need it most?  Recently, I was talking with a friend and I lamented that I’ve misplaced my running oomph lately.  I’m still happy to be running Boston and still hungry for it – but lately I’ve felt hungry in a “jelly roll” kind of hunger versus a “turkey dinner with all the fixin’s” kind of hunger.  OK, goofy analogy – I guess I’m slipping there too!

Weather and darkness definitely play a part in the degree of motivation I feel on a given day.  Yesterday, I was able to get about two-thirds of my run done in the daylight/dusk before it turned truly dark.  Today, my boss kicked me out early, so I was able to get my whole run in true daylight.  Funny how much better running in the daylight feels.  I didn’t even care about the rain/freezing rain that started shortly into my run today.

Ultimately, running evens me out.  It provides me the clarity to gain perspective, solve problems, and write blog entries.  With or without my watch, running has become one of the best parts of me.  So I’m sorry Running, sorry I seem to ditch you just when I need you most.  I promise, it’s not you; it’s me.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chasing my mojo

So we’ve all had them.  THAT run.  You know, when all is right in the universe, your body feels strong, your mind feels strong, and you own the road.  Today was most definitely NOT that run.  It was hard physically and probably more importantly, mentally.  I felt tired and unfocused.  I was fortunate to have Scott and Martyn with me, but even that didn’t seem to help in its usual way.  I spent the first hour trying to find my mojo.  Chase my mojo is more like it.  But I refuse to focus on the negative, because long training runs aren’t supposed to be pretty.  I like to save “pretty” for the marathon finish photo!

In retrospect, the strong shin twinges I felt during my morning walk with Bella messed with my head.  There’s only one thing worse than heading out for a 20+ miler and feeling unsure if you can finish it.  What’s worse?  Not being able to run at all.  Being well versed in perspective, I talked myself off the ledge, tried to temper my inner shin dialog, and headed out with the guys.

I was worried about my shins, I was worried about not being able to finish.  I was worried about Scott and his injury.  You name it, I had it covered in the “worried” department.  But then somewhere around mile 9/10, my patience paid off.  I started to fall into a more comfortable pace and stopped worrying about everything.  Martyn left us at around mile 11, so Scott and I fell into step and ran a few quiet miles side by side.  That’s when Scott started singing his chant, “1….2….chugga chugga choo!”  I don’t know if it helped my pace at all, but it sure made me smile.  It turns out we were perfect company/support for each other today. 

Slogging through today’s run is symbolic of so many things we experience in life.  I think that’s why I relate so well to the distance.  Each tough long training run like today signifies another obstacle I acknowledged, conquered, and celebrated.  Running teaches me patience in all facets of my life.  My recently attained “dream job” is proof of that; I slogged through my time at my previous job, trying to be patient enough to make my next move.  Today’s 21.5 miles was not pretty, but patience paid off in a successful completion and the long awaited post-run feeling….”Aaaaah”

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A smile only a puppy can bring

I had wanted to include this video in Bella's "happy birthday" post.  Day 1 with Miss Bella was a blast.  She's just too cute! 

Enjoy :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cat's got my tongue

I want to write.  But here’s the thing;  I don’t really have much to say.  Been working, running, living, and getting it done on the run…..

But here’s another thing;  my mother got worried because a) I didn’t answer 2 calls (phone acting up – honestly!), and b) I have been too quiet on my blog.  I think it’s cute that my mother looks forward to my random updates and worries when there are none.  We’ve since caught up and all is right in the world. 

But I still don’t have a whole lot to say for some reason.  So, I’ll just settle with…

Hey Everybody!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gatorade-cicle (a long training run report)

Today was a cold one!  I realize it’s Winter and that it’s supposed to be cold, but during this unseasonably-warmer-no-snow-kind-of-New-England Winter, my cold tolerance is a bit low.  Anyhoo….

Had just shy a 15 miler on today’s agenda.  My friends Martyn and Andy offered to join me.  Scott usually runs with them, but sadly, he’s injured.  Over the last couple of weeks, he’s been nursing a foot issue which seemed like it was starting to rally.  Yesterday, the opposite calf struck him down.  I’m not sure what’s going on, but it stinks to be injured and I feel for him.  I took one for the team though, and jumped in his place to run with the guys. 

I was a little nervous about being “that slow runner” and holding them back.  I had a laundry list of things that didn’t feel quite right today, but I refused to acknowledge them, let alone utter them out loud.  I’ve been pushing the sore throat back down as far as it can go, my stomach was “eh”, my shins were questionable.  And did I mention it was cold (~12 degrees)?  And windy.  Enter wind chill.

Our route was a hilly one.  Aren’t they all??  It’s one of my favorite routes actually because of its peacefulness, its winding roads, its hills.  There’s a pretty reservoir along the way where we usually see a number of ice fishers camped out there.  This year?  No ice.  The only ice seemed to be caked onto my mittens, my facemask, and my bottle of Gatorade.  It was one of those days where the wind was blowing so consistently strong that my facemask froze along with my sippy top on my Gatorade bottle.  My layers were well situated however, so I was never truly cold – except for my eyes which did their share of tearing up.

At approximately mile 11, Martyn and Andy jumped into Scott’s truck (Scott had come out to check on us and provided a great water stop).  Martyn had raced yesterday and won his age division!  Andy had run a long-ish run yesterday as well.  I thanked them profusely for the great company and the inspiration to hasten my pace.  Running with people who are faster than you is a sure way to test your own mettle and maybe run a little faster than you thought you could. 

The last 3+ miles felt like the “marathon shuffle”, but I kept on moving forward.  I enjoy running solo as much as I enjoy running with friends, but I was feeling a bit beaten up.  The faster earlier miles along with the wind was taking its toll on my energy level.  I probably could’ve used a 2nd GU at some point, but I never quite timed it right out there.  That’s why long runs are so important – better to make timing mistakes or pace adjustments during a long training run than during the actual marathon!

Off now to ice the shins (preventive measures) and put on my awesome compression calf sleeves.  If nothing else, the compression sleeves make my legs feel warmer.  And after this morning’s Gatorade-cicle run, I’m all about being warm.

Happy Birthday Bella!

Wow, how is it that my little puppy has turned 4????  Seems like yesterday that Scott brought her home to me on April 1st.  As a sidenote, I wasn’t convinced this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke until I saw Bella with my own eyes!!!!

Bella at 7 weeks old....can you stand the cuteness!!!!
I was approximately 6 months into my Master’s program when Scott found a Labrador breeder in Vermont.  On an evening when I was sitting in a classroom, Scott conquered the 3+ hour ride up to Vermont to pick our little angel up.  The town was so close to the Canadian border, we joked that Bella had dual citizenship.  For a 7 week old puppy though, driving home in a crate for 3+ hours when she’s been warm and cozy amongst her littermates and mama her whole short life, this was no joking matter.

Poor Scott.  Bella was not a good car dog from the start.  Since Scott had no copilot for the ride home, Bella stayed in her crate in the back seat.  Apparently, she cried incessantly until Scott finally took her out of the crate and brought her up front with him.  Add equal parts puppy pee and poop, mix, add more crying, and boy, what a mess.  I repeat, poor Scott.

Things have improved 500% since that day!  Bella’s a beautiful dog (yes, totally biased).  She lives to play – mostly retrieve – but has a very serious, intent, and focused side to her.  I always comment that she “seems to really think things out”, which I take total credit for.  Her focus or “dog on a bone” mentality?  That’s all Scott.  Yeah, I realize I’m talking about a dog taking after her human parents, but c’mon, I like to brag too!

A couple weeks after we brought Bella home, our neighbor contacted the same breeder and now there were two in the neighborhood.  So, from almost the beginning, Bella and her sister Bauer have been together.  They play together, swim together, pull the Kong out of each others mouths, hunt for moles, and yes, sniff each others' butts.  It’s been pretty cool to watch the two sisters grow up together.  They’re both very lucky dogs, who are spoiled and loved.

Lots of puppy play

The ultimate play date
Doesn't get much better than this!
One of Bella's favorite friends, Bruno, who left us last year :(
Not a puppy anymore.....
So for all the dog hair, scratches in the wood floor, vet bills, kennel bills, and begging (for play, not food!), I wouldn’t trade her for the world!  She makes me smile and laugh and cheers me when I'm down.  She just about knocks me over when I arrive home, whether from a 30 minute run or a 3 day business trip.  I still thank Scott to this day for bringing her to me.  I love our little family.
What you can't see is the meaty bone bribing her for this smile!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


After a long, meandering walk with Bella this morning, I headed back out to run.  I had a short, very easy run planned because my shin has been a little grouchy lately.  I left my watch at home and grabbed my usual gear:  hat, mittens, and…..pepper spray.

Today was also the Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold.  I’ve never participated in a virtual run of any sorts.  I’ve read about plenty of virtual runs or races, but this was one I needed to be a part of.  As I’ve written about previously, the tragedy of what happened to Sherry Arnold has weighed heavily on me (and so many others) ever since I first heard.  As a woman, a runner, and just a plain human being, I’ve been angry, sad, fearful, and now, hopeful.  I’m hopeful because a) it’s a much more productive emotion, and b) there are too many good people who outweigh the evil.

With that said, I found it difficult to run this morning.  The weight of mentally rehashing the events as I know them felt crushing.  I began imagining what might have happened and, without actual facts to go by, we know the mind fills in the blanks (right or wrong).  So, I had to push those terrible thoughts out of my head and focus on how happy I am that I’m able to run, that even though my shins are a little grouchy, I’m still physically able to get out and sweat.  I’m overwhelmed at the positive energy from so many people all over the world – all dedicated to running/walking/moving in memory of someone many of us never knew.

How can I stay in the “angry” space when “hope” is winning?  Sadly, Sherry’s family will never be the same, but I’m hopeful that they feel the camaraderie and the positive energy that has risen from the ashes of this tragedy.  As someone who didn’t know Sherry, I have gained something from this experience;  I have gained hope and a greater respect for the human race.

Go Us!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's all mine...

First, the fitness center.  I got there earlier today and there was not a soul in sight!  I chose Treadmill #1 (chance of only having one neighbor) and went to work.  Sidebar:  Last night, I had the same Treadmill #1 and there were two other women on #2 and #3.  Now, I don’t know #2’s story, but her cell phone bleeped obnoxiously throughout her (and my) workout.  At first, I thought “It might be an app for a heart rate monitor”.  And maybe it was, but it just seemed too sporadic.  I was slightly annoyed, so I decided she probably had a sick child or something else equally urgent (like a killer Words With Friends word).  It was better than letting my annoyance blow up into full blown pissed-off-ness.  I just don't get wanting to be connected like that while on a run - but that's me.  Moral of the story?  Having the fitness center all to myself was truly priceless. 

I’d hoped to run a bit more than 3 miles, but I decided to listen to the red flag that came in the form of a weird “pulling” feeling in my right calf/shin area.  I’m still flirting dangerously with my shins and, after they carried me like the true champs they are for 20.5 miles on Sunday, I do not want to piss them off.  So, at 3 miles, I called it a day. 

Secondly, dinner.  Oh.My.God.  I discovered this gem on the menu.  Just me and this delicacy –
Salmon & Scallop Dori Anne

The menu described it as, “Broiled salmon with grilled scallops on straw vegetables with a raspberry vinaigrette and lemon sage reduction”.  I describe it as –

To my defense, I skipped lunch.  I had very little time between my 5 meetings today, so lunch fell to the bottom of the to-do list.  Since I was headed for a run the second I got back to my hotel, I knew I’d need something to give me a little kick.  Enter a peppermint GU Meaghan gave me.  I know, I already revealed I ran a whopping 3 miles.  I don’t usually take a GU for 3 miles, but remember, it doubled as lunch.  OK, I’ll move on.

I must get more of these!  Seriously, they taste like peppermint patties.  There is danger here though – I may take 17 of them during my next long run because they're THAT yummy!!

Back to work for me.  After a couple of hours of “all about me”, I need to get back to the business of coffee (you know, the stuff I don’t drink?).  A mere technicality.  Because, like the fitness center and my dinner, my work is all mine too.  Unless there are some takers out there....  Anyone?  Buehler?


Sunday, February 5, 2012

I get by with a little help from my friends…

The last couple of weeks have been marked by tragic events.  The disappearance and presumed murder of Sherry Arnold, though many miles from me, haunts me.  I wish they would find her; her family deserves that.  Last week, I talked about the sudden passing of Mr. Slowsky.  Only 53 years old and not well known to me, he crossed my running path a number of times and made me smile.  And then just this past week, a former coworker of mine succumbed to breast cancer.  All of 47 years old.  These events have weighed me down and forced me to contemplate life (and death), but have also kept me on the straight and narrow to remind me to do my job while I’m here:  live life to the fullest.

So for 20.5 miles today, I did just that.  I felt good and I felt notsogood, but I felt.  Triumph!

My friend Martyn was on the fence about his running plans when I bumped into him yesterday.  I told him what distance I was tackling and what time I was leaving and left the rest up to him.  He arrived at my doorstep this morning and we took off.  My hope was that he would accompany me on my first 10.5 mile loop.  He’d been having a less than stellar 2 week period and was hoping my slower pace would be a good way to ease back in.  I don’t mind being the slower friend – it got me an awesome running partner for my first half of my 20 miler.  I don’t mind at all.

At about the 17.5 mile mark, Scott and Martyn arrived to check on me.  I was doing fine – actually, feeling remarkably good for that point in the run – and lit up like a kid in a candy store when Scott held out a handful of these –

Now I sit here with some minor chafing battle scars, basking in the glory of completing my first 20 miler for this training cycle.  I’m eternally grateful that my shins especially locked it up for me (minor twinges, but mostly fine), that I had a friend to keep me company for the first half, and that I have a husband who checks on me and goes the extra mile to support me always - even though he had just run his own 20 miler. 

I’m also grateful for my ability to run today.  Although the tug-o-war of life and death continue around us all, we honor each other by grabbing life by the neck and shaking it for all its worth.  And I’m very fortunate to have family and friends around me to remind me of this.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012


That’s how many days I have to decide if I want to do this 50K trail race –

On a double loop course that looks like this –

Things that make ya go hmmmmmmmm…..