Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ok, so 6 miles is still a "short" run right?

This is my 6 miler. I was going to do just 3-4 miles, but I felt so good and my legs wanted to keep going so I did 6 miles. Plus, if I just do 4 miles it skips my favorite part of the run, the huge hill. Up and back. It was cold out, according to weather channel in the teens but feels like single digits, but I must have layered just right because it didn't feel like single digits at all. The sun was bright and beautiful and there was only a little wind on the way back. It felt great. Now I need some lunch. My tummy is rumbling. I'm thinking either pizza or leftover chicken curry. Maybe even BOTH.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

GOOFY is coming

OMG I just read the final race instructions for the Goofy Challenge and I'm starting to freak out. I'm actually doing it. A half marathon AND a full marathon. I'm so excited and so nervous. It didn't really hit me until today. I just got butterflies in my gut. I have to get both my bib numbers and a wrist band and then run the half and get a new wrist band and then run the full and then get my GOOFY MEDAL!!!! Holy crap. I can't believe it's next week. That snuck up on me really fast. I'm totally ready and trained, I just need to do the hardest part now - REST. It doesn't help that I'm on vacation and bored and I want to run or go to the gym. I gotta find something else to fill my time. Next week is gonna fly by and then I'll be in Florida! Woohoo.

Well, on the training front, I did a nice easy spin class today. Just sort of cruised. The music was so chill I could have taken a nap on the bike. :) And then I did take a nap when I got home. After I donated the last of my fat clothes to Salvation Army and got my car inspected. So, I guess it was technically a rest day. Tomorrow I want to do a short run, maybe 3-4 miles. It will be tough to not do 6 miles. I feel lazy doing a short run, but my body needs to rest now not push and challenge myself. Now is not the time for that, I have to hold onto that urge and that energy for next weekend. I have a nice easy tune up race Friday in Lowell, Lowell's First Run 10K. Then it's pretty much takin it easy til I fly down to Florida.

As for Fundraising, a ton of the company matches from Wyeth/Pfizer showed up today on the webpage and brought me to $2608.70!!! Over the halfway mark. And some of the checks I mailed in after my wine tasting haven't showed up yet so I should be really close to $3000. I just want to hit $5000 before April so that when race day comes I can run and feel good about hitting both of my goals, running Boston and raising money for a great cause.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Learning to love the Taper

Saturday I was going to get up early and do a short easy 4 mile run before spin, but when my alarm went off, my bed was way too comfy and I hit snooze instead. Still made it to spin class for some active recovery. Good class, I pushed, but not too hard, was dripping sweat by the end, but didn't create a puddle under the bike so it was just a light workout. :)

Sunday I stayed in my PJs all day and watched a Criminal Minds marathon on A&E. Good times. I love my couch.

Today, I got up and cleaned my house a little, cleaned out my closets and made a pile of clothes to donate to salvation army. I have three huge bags of stuff. Mostly old workout gear that is too big for me now. I'm only saving one pair of dress pants from my Fatty McFatterson days as a reminder of how far I've come and the awesome progress I've made. Anyway, after cleaning up I put on my running gear and headed out for a quick run before driving my donations to salvation army. I started out a little tight in the hammies, but after the first mile or so I loosened up. Then about 2 miles into the run it started to sprinkle a little. I kinda like running in the rain so I kept going. Up my favorite hill to make it a nice 6 mile out and back loop. At the top of the hill when I turned around the rain started coming down a lot harder, then with about 2 miles to go it turned to a slushy mess of freezing precipitation. A mile and a half to go and it was near white out conditions. Huge, heavy, wet snowflakes falling down and hitting me like little tiny punches from Mother Nature, and you know what I said, BRING IT ON B*TCH! I finished strong and felt great, aside from being soaking wet and half frozen. It was a great run.

Unfortunately for salvation army, I'm not going to go out and drive in this nastiness so, my donation to them will have to wait until tomorrow. I have to go out tomorrow anyway, need to get my car inspected and run a few more errands.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Awesome 6 miler followed by a feast

Slow and lazy start to the day today. Made some waffles and had some tea and eventually got dressed and went for a run. The sun was out and for once the temperature was above freezing. I only needed one pair of pants and one pair of gloves. My legs were a little stiff from the 14 miler yesterday, but I still made quick work of my 6 mile out and back. Powered up the huge hill and turned around and came home. Hopped in the shower and headed to a friend's house for Christmas dinner and to play with my favorite adopted nephew, Zander. Beef tenderloin that melted in my mouth and baked potato and my favorite - green beans. THANKS Jen and Scott for a great meal!! And thanks Zander for playing cars and trains with me.

Christmas eve was great too. Shrimp scampi, crab cakes, spinach salad, and my chocolate cheesecake for a very special birthday girl, Madison Rose. Thanks to the entire Wright family for inviting me to join and making me feel like part of the family. It was so fun to watch Madison and her sister Dylann getting ready for Santa to come. Writing a note and leaving cookies and milk, and christmas dust. A whole new thing that kids do now, it's oats to attract the reindeer and sparkles to guide them to your house. Cute!

The whole holiday experience made me wish I was a kid again and saw Christmas through those innocent eyes again, all the magic and pure joy. I'm totally jealous of them. I really wish I saw it that way. Anyway, it was a great holiday and I got in a few runs too. Only a few more days until Disney!!!! I can't wait.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

4 miles, $400, and nice 14 miler

Tuesday I got up early, bundled up and did a quick 4 miler. Nice and easy, a little slow, but better than Monday's run. I think my feet just don't like the yaktrax or the snow. It's like running in sand and it's a lot harder and not fun. Plus, I totally get more dehydrated in the winter and start to feel like crap on a short run that shouldn't be a problem. I refuse to bring water with me for 4 miles, that's just silly.

I wish I could say the $400 was in donations, but it wasn't. I spent all day yesterday at the subaru dealership dealing with a check engine light that eventually cost me $400 to make it go away. By the time I got home I could have gone for a run, but a nap seemed like a better idea so I slept on my super comfy couch for 2 hours. It was awesome. Just what I needed.

This morning I woke up really late. First day of my vacation that I've slept past 5:00am. The sun was already coming up and the temperature was starting to rise just above freezing. Perfect for a long run, probably the last one before goofy. I was going to do 10, but felt so good I kept going and did just over 14 instead. The first 3 miles were a little rough, just getting comfortable and finding my rhythm. Then I felt great. Picked up the pace a little and cruised through the next 7 miles. The last 4 miles were great, at race pace, uphill, into a headwind, really pushed myself. I might do another 14-16 this weekend, but I don't really need to. About 2 weeks to go, I could do an easy 10 miler and then stick to shorter runs and rest days for the remainder of my taper.

Happy Holidays and happy running!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Slow, sluggish 6.5 miler

You would think after two days of rest my legs would be fresh and ready to run....NOPE. I went out this morning to try and do a long run, ended up just doing 6.5 miles because my legs felt like lead weights and I had no energy. Maybe it was because I didn't have my normal breakfast or maybe I'm coming down with a cold, who knows but it was not a great run. I just didn't have it in me today. By the end of the run I started feeling a little better, so maybe if I went longer I would have done ok, but I'd rather not over do it. I'll try again tomorrow.

Anyway, after my run I went to the bank to get checks for the cash donations I got at my wine tasting and then went to the post office to mail them out. I should be getting close to $3000 now. Very cool. Hopefully, after the holidays there will be more donations and then maybe a few more fundraisers and before I know it, I'll be over my goal and it will be race day. I can't wait.

For now though, I think I'm going to curl up on the couch and watch a movie with a hot cup of tea and nod off into nap nirvana for the afternoon. I might even enjoy some left over cheesecake from the party this weekend. Yum.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rest won't kill me right?

I never thought it would be difficult to convince myself not to run, but I struggled with the decision yesterday. Thursday I was up late baking the triple chocolate cheesecake for the raffle winner and I had to wake up early to finish it with the chocolate ganache topping and decorations before going to work to deliver it.

Friday I took spin class and felt, meh or blah. Just didn't have much energy. Afterall, I probably only got a few hours of sleep. I took a nap in the afternoon and actually slept right through lunch and woke up in time for a quick early dinner before I went out with some friends Friday night. We went to a very cute place in Cambridge called Cuchi cuchi. It's decorated like a 1920s underground bar during prohibition. All the waitresses were dressed as flappers and the drink menu was very original. The drinks were creative concoctions that were most likely the drinks of the 1920s that inspired many of todays "cocktails". The origin of the modern mixed drink was actually back in the days of bathtub gin because the alcohol was so harsh they had to mix it with fruity juices to make it drinkable. I didn't have any because I was driving, but just reading the menu was intoxicating and entertaining.

I was out later than expected so I didn't wake up as early as I normally do on Saturday morning and I had so much to do to get ready for my wine tasting I knew that squeezing in my 12 mile run would be tough and the 20 miler I had planned for Sunday probably wasn't going to happen because of mother nature dumping a giant snow storm on the area. I felt really good about my 10 and 18 last week and with just three weeks to go before the Goofy challenge, I was torn - do my last long runs or taper early. I decided to taper early. I've never done back to back races like this and I figure the training is taking a lot out of me and I should rest and recover and allow my muscles extra time to repair from the training. But, making that decision was AGONY for me. I know I will be happy about it on race day when I run strong and cross the finish line but right now I feel lazy.

Anyway, the wine tasting was a success. I finished decorating the sugar cookies just as my first guest arrived. I cleaned up and brought out the cheeses and snacks and made some tea. We chatted and munched on the food as people arrived and soon we had a small crowd. The conversations were great covering every topic from traveling in foreign countries and encountering poisonous snakes and spiders to snuggies and whiskey snifters that remind the taster of bacon and every type of pork product at once. I handed out the thank you gifts(custom made magnets that say I'm supporting DFMC runner Alicia Leeman and mixed CDs of a few of my favorite running tunes) and raised a total of $120.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sugar cookies count as carbs right?

OMG, my cookies came out so good. I made them with stone ground whole wheat unbleached flour and frosted them with all natural food coloring in the frosting and all natural sprinkles too. They're delicious AND free of chemicals and preservatives. :)

So, I got up this morning and turned on the news. "Coldest day of the week", "bundle up these temperatures actually suck the heat out of your body", "wind chills in the negative numbers", sounds like a great day for a run. It took some extra layering and extra guts, but I did it. 6 miles done, complete with Rocky theme song finish up the last hill with upper cuts left and right gutting it out up the stairs to my house! A hot shower has never felt so good.

I got a donation in the mail yesterday from an old family friend, Julie Minervino. Her husband Butch passed away a few years ago from cancer and was treated at Dana Farber. His name will be on my singlet for sure and I will definitely have him in my heart and mind as I run. Thank you Julie!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

6 miles done, now it's time to make cookies

Took a couple of rest days after the weekend. I figured 28 miles in two days (and a resting heart rate of 70bpm) meant I earned some rest. My resting heart rate was still a little high this morning, but not 70bpm. So, I eased into the morning with some tea and my favorite breakfast and then some more tea and just one more cup of tea before going out into the bitter cold for a quick 6 miler. And it was very quick. My legs were ready to run even if my brain wasn't quite there yet. After the first mile I warmed up and climbed my favorite hill and turned around and came home.

Now, I'm really excited because I found all natural plant food colorings and sprinkles to make sugar cookies with. So, I'm going to make the dough this morning, run to the grocery store for a few things while it chills in the fridge and then roll, cut, and bake like crazy this afternoon so that I can decorate (and eat) them tonight.

Tomorrow I'm having lunch with an old friend that I actually reconnected with thru my fundraising efforts. I haven't seen her in years and I'm so excited to catch up with her and maybe do some shopping together. Then I'll be baking again. Time to make the chocolate cheesecake for the winner of the drawing. I'll deliver it Friday morning, along with some cookies as an added bonus. :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

18 miler - DONE!

What a great day for a run. A little cold, but sunny and gorgeous out. First few miles were rough getting warmed up, but the middle 12-14 were good. The last 8 miles were into a strong head wind and uphill. They're my area's version of the newton hills. 4 hills one right after the other and the last one is a real bitch. I sruggled a little on the last hill and walked a little towards the top, partially because I was spent and partially because there's a nasty blind corner at the top and I didn't want to get hit by a car.

So, last week I sent a thank you note to the Tewksbury Police Department because they have been really great about pulling over speeders on one of the roads that I run on and making it safer and they must have got the message and appreciated it because this morning I saw 6 of them! Then about a mile and a half from my house I think I saw the entire Lowell Police Department. Not sure what happened, but there was a VERY bad accident. They had the road closed and the car was peeled open like a banana, the driver already gone hopefully ok. I ran past and said good morning to them. The unmarked car that was pulling up as I ran past all gawked at me as I ran by. Not sure if they were checking me out or if I wasn't suppose to run thru the area. Anyway, I made it home and the last 2 miles were my fastest. I was thinking hot shower and hot tea and then some pizza. Uphill into a headwind was nothin for me with that on my mind.

One more weekend of back to back long runs and then it's taper time for the goofy. I felt pretty good today so I hope next weekend goes well. If it does I'm it perfect shape for the race and should destroy it. Looking forward to kickin back during the holidays and tapering and just enjoying some time with friends. I need to send out my cards with my DFMC info in them tomorrow. Maybe I'll get donations from the friends that haven't already donated. That's all I want for Xmas. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunrise, snot-cicles, and some spinning

In case you can't tell, I love alliteration. Anyway, I'll start with fundraising because yesterday was a pretty exciting day. I closed out the triple chocolate cheesecake drawing and made a grand total of $485!!! This just proves it, people like chocolate better than pumpkin. :) It was extremely successful and I'm thinking of doing one more drawing and making it winner's choice. Anytime, any flavor, any cheesecake the winner wants, I'll bake it and deliver it. We'll see if there is enough interest for a third drawing.

On the training front, yesterday was a rest day because I've got a big weekend planned. Good thing is I'm already halfway done with it. I ran 10.5 miles early this morning. Left my house at 6am and off I went. It was COLD! said in the teens, but "feels like" single digits. And let me tell you from first hand experience, it definitely felt like single digits. I had two pairs of pants on, multiple layers on top, gloves AND mittens and my bum still froze. I filled up my water bottles with hot water and they were cold before the halfway point of my run. Imagine if I didn't fill them with hot water, they might have froze solid. Still my body must be made for running because I kept moving and finished averaging a pretty good pace even stopping twice to walk while I opened my gels to make sure I didn't drop them or get them all over my gloves. Got home, yanked off my sweaty clothes and changed into dry clothes and went to spin class. Didn't actually do the strength class they were teaching, just maintained about 80-90rpm and worked at probably 70% to losen up my legs and make sure they're ready for my run tomorrow. I stretched extra long after class and then made a big mistake - went to the grocery store STARVING. I just needed bananas and english muffins and I ended up spending $50 on all kinds of food.

Tomorrow is an 18miler. I'm hoping it's a little warmer, but not raining or snowing. PLEASE Mother Nature, give me a break this time. I'll still run in whatever she throws at me, and I will consider it "a good training experience", but I'd prefer good conditions and a relatively easy long run over something epic that sucks bigtime and makes me question my own sanity for even running in it in the first place.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Goofy getting closer

I got my bib#s for the Disney half and full, less than a month to go. Two more weekends of back to back long runs and then taper. I'm feeling pretty good. I did an hour of intervals on the eliptical yesterday just to switch it up a little then a quick easy 4 miles after work today. It was cold and windy, but nice. I need to get new shoes tomorrow. My feet and knees are starting to feel it and I want to break the shoes in on my long runs so I have at least 50 miles on them before Goofy.

My pace has still been really great. About a minute per mile faster than my training paces this summer. Maybe that's just prrof that I'm a cold weather runner. Me and heat do not mix. I really hope it's not hot in Florida the weekend of Goofy. I will do my best no matter what but it would be awesome if it was 50 and overcast and I totally rocked it.

On the fundraising front, I'm doing really awesome. I hit just over $1800 today and the second cheesecake drawing is tomorrow and I'm already over $400 for that. So, with that deposit and a few matching gifts I'll be half way to my goal of $5000. I can't say thank you enough for all the support and donations I'm getting. After tomorrow I have to prepare for my wine tasting. Clean my house, put together gift bags for attendees, finalize the guestlist, get some cheese and small apps and bake a cheesecake, then select the wines. I hope I get at least 5-6 people, otherwise we'll only really be able to taste a few wines. I can't really open 10 bottles for 4 people.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just me and my shadow

Got up early this morning and put on several layers, my headlamp, blinky light, reflective vest, and mittens and went for a nice easy 6 mile run. Out the door at 5:45am. It was dark and cold. The condensation created by my breath made it harder to see than the fact that the sun wasn't up yet. Glad I put on an extra pair of pants, my thin tights would not have been warm enough. I think it was in the low 20s. It was just barely freezing when I got back.

It is so funny and I laugh at myself every time this happens, but whenever I'm biking or running early in the morning, it's quiet, dark, and kind of eery and at some point I pass under a light post or the light on someone's front porch or even the headlights of a passing car then my shadow races past me and scares the crap out of me like some silent runner/cyclist sneaking up on me and wizzing by. Usually it's about halfway into my run and I'm just getting relaxed and in the zone and then it passes me. I jump and then bust out laughing at myself.

Anyway, I dropped another deposit envelope in the mail this morning and will have another one on Friday from the second cheesecake raffle which is looking like it will be just as successful as the first one. These two deposits as soon as they get added to my page should put me over $2000. Making great progress and I hope I can keep it up. At this pace I will hit my goal of $5000 by April no problem.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snowy Sunday 16 miler

Ok, really Mother Nature, was that necessary? It looks pretty and all, but running 16 miles in it with stuff falling off trees and down the collar of my shirt and people driving by and splashing me with a nasty slushy mess and then if that wasn't enough a nice strong head wind for the last 6 miles. Thanks! It was a tough run, but I finished it, feet soaking wet, lips a little blue and missing another toenail. Now I'm cold, hungry and tired. Got the hot shower done, now I just need some food and a nap to make my day complete.

I was thinking most of the way through my run, this is tough but probably not as tough as fighting cancer. Not as tough as hearing a doctor tell you you have cancer, or your loved one has cancer. Not as tough as chemo or bone marrow transplants. Not as tough as being poked by needles non-stop and spending days and weeks and even months in the hospital instead of being outside or home or out with friends. Not even close to as tough as watching your child die before you and long before they even have a chance at life. Not even my toughest run can compare to any of the battles people face when it comes to fighting cancer.

I only wish I could do more to help this cause. I hope that I can spread the word and raise a lot of money and I hope that one day this war will end and no one will ever have to fight cancer again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Early 8 miler and some spinning

I took a rest day yesterday. This morning I was still a little sore from my strength session, but I got up early and went for an 8 mile run anyway. I went at 6am with my head lamp and blinkie lights and my reflective vest. It was chilly but nice. I was definitely tight and a little uncomfortable in the first mile. My arms and chest are so sore. I didn't think it would bother me running, but it was awkward and took me a little longer than normal to get into a good rhythm. I finally got into a groove and felt good and the miles flew by. Before I knew it I was home and done.

I bumped into one of my neighbors and was able to thank them in person for the donaton they made. He asked me how my training was going and told me about some old friends that he knew that ran the marathon many years ago. It was great to hear his story. It's so great to talk to people and hear everyone's story about the marathon or family members impacted by cancer. It's made this whole experience so meaningful. I feel like I'm not just running for me, I'm running for everyone I've talked to and everyone that they have loved and lost to cancer.

After my run, I quickly changed into dry clothes and headed to spin class for some active recovery to stretch and sort of massage my muscles and prepare for my long run tomorrow. It was a really good class. I was dripping in sweat, even my socks were wet at the end. I wore my new Dana Farber Marathon Challenge shirt in class and handed out my cards at the end of class. I talked to two women afterwards that thanked me for running for such a great cause. I am honored to run and it seems a little backwards when people thank me for running. I am thankful to Dana Farber for picking me and allowing me to run for them. I am thaknful for all of the support and generous donations I get. I am thankful for my health and being physically able to run a marathon.

So, it was a great start to the weekend. Very inspiring and now I just hope that the snow doesn't stick tonight and my long run tomorrow is snow free. I really don't want to do 16 miles in the snow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nothin like a good @$$ whoopin workout

Today flew by at work, I was able to post a message on my company's informal message board today and spread the word and within an hour or so of posting it I already had a donation, thank you Pfizer colleagues! Now I just hope that my post stays on top of the discussions above "the vending machines are broken" and "why are we making banana flavored cat drugs". I'm not even joking, it's hilarious stuff to read so I really hope my post can compete.

After work, I headed to the gym for some intervals on the eliptical and then a 30 minute personal training session thanks to someone in my office area that didn't want a freebie they won from an incentive program. Their loss was my gain. I was put through a great 30 minute strength session with Tim, the trainer (thanks TIM!!!). On my way home, I could barely lift the weight of my own arms to steer my car. Such a good feeling. I can't wait to see how I feel tomorrow.

Oh yeah and I almost forgot, I contacted the media woman from the runners meeting about the press releases they plan to do to our hometown newspapers and told her the paper in Portland, ME might be particularly interested in my story because my mom is a pretty well known and loved politician in the city and about a year ago they did an article on her and the battle she fought against breast cancer. So, here's hoping they do a follow up article about me running the marathon. I really want to promote the healthy lifestyle I now lead and the great things Dana Farber can do for cancer research with a little help from generous donations. Cross your fingers for me!

Great day and a DFMC runners meeting

Yesterday my fundraising broke $1000!!! I'm now at almost $1500. The second cheesecake raffle is going great and should be just as successful as the first if not more successful. The wine tasting is struggling, I guess it's tough to plan a get together the week before christmas. Everyone is busy or traveling. Oh well. I'll just have to have another one.

I managed to get in a 6 mile run after work yesterday and at a pretty fast pace too. I didn't feel like I was movin' that fast, but the garmin said I was fast so I'll take it. Did some strength training and stretching and then headed into Boston for a Runner's meeting at Dana Farber.

The runner's meeting was fun. Got to meet a few more runners and learn a little more about some fundraising ideas and some random stuff. Group runs start soon, but I may not be able to go at first because of my goofy training. We'll see. It soulds like a lot of fun, I'd love to go to at least one of them. I didn't get home until 9:45pm last night and now I'm exhausted. So, today will eithre be a rest day or a very easy day. I need to stretch some more and do a little more strength, but we'll see how I feel after work.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Headlamp and blinkie lights!

This morning I got up early had some tea and my breakfast, then used my headlamp and blinkie lights for a run in the dark. So much fun! The headlamp is a little snug on my head and started to bother me towards the end of my 6 mile run, but that could also be because I have a huge head. Anyway, I did 6 miles and watched the sun come up just as I was finishing my run. It was cold out, but didn't feel as cold as the thermometer said it was. I love running in the cold. Who am I kidding, I love running in any weather except extreme heat. This morning was really nice though. I kept a quick pace and blew through the miles like it was nothin. Finished up and got a cup a tea and second breakfast.

No updates on the fundraising, I mailed in more matching gifts forms and I'm waiting to see if I get any donations in the mail or online since my letters should be reaching their desinations this week. It will be exciting to see the cheesecake raffle money go officially up on my webpage. That will be a huge bump up. I should be able to seel more tickets tomorrow and over the next week. Hopefully this raffle will be even more successful than the first one. I gotta go it's dinner time and my tummy needs FOOD. More info soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rest day

I was going to lift at the gym today, but the rain was sort of demotivating and I decided to go grocery shopping instead. I LOVE FOOD. I could still bang out some push ups and squats and maybe do some planks in front of the TV and a little ab work out with the medicine ball, but it's unlikely. So, I call it a rest day.

Here's an update on my fundraising, the picture isn't great, but it's the Boston course elevation colored in with my fundraising progress to date. I'm at $901.20, which puts me right before the 5 mile marker on my way to my goal of $5000. Off to a great start and at this pace I'll be at the finish well before race day!

This is not including the checks and company matches that haven't been posted to my website and all the money raised in the first cheesecake raffle. So far the second cheesecake raffle is off to a good start. Over $150 already and I've only been selling tickets for 2 days. The holiday wine tasting may not work out as well as I had hoped because everyone is so busy already with holiday plans, but I'll raise a little money and it will be fun to have a few friends over for a bottle or two and some good food. Stay tuned for another potential event in February, maybe Mardi Gras themed......

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I love long runs on Sunday mornings

There's just something really peaceful and relaxing about a long run on a quiet Sunday morning. I just finished up a 10 miler (technically 10.7) and it was beautiful. Cool, crisp air in my lungs and bright, warm sunshine on my face. I couldn't ask for anything better. I run past three churches on my Sunday morning runs and think about worshiping God, but what better way is there to worship a God than to take in and enjoy his or her greatest creation, the earth, by treading softly on it and giving it a little transferred energy, in return getting a little bounce in your step and admiring all the beautiful things in the world as you run. I may not be the most religious person, but I feel very spiritual on my long Sunday runs.

This morning was great. I got into a comfortable rhythm almost immediately and cruised through the first 4 miles in what felt like no time at all. Took my first gel, had to gag it down because it was not my favorite flavor, but I need to use them up at some point. Continued on, saw several other runners out enjoying the gorgeous morning. At mile 7 I stopped by a friends house to say hi, she wasn't home, I said hi to the dog and the horse and continued my run. Mile 8ish, I took my last gel and hit the home stretch strong and finished fast. Felt great and could have run longer, but I need to feel like that at the end of my runs or else I know I'm overtrained. Finishing strong and feelin good is better than struggling and feeling like crap afterwards.

Time for a hot shower and some food to refuel and recover. I can relax for the rest of the day and then maybe run some errands and get ready for the week ahead. Trying to brainstorm some more fundraising ideas and hopefully I'll get some donations in the mail from all the letters I mailed out last week. We'll see. It'll be fun to watch the donations come in.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday 6 and Spin

This morning I woke up and ran a nice easy 6 miler first thing in the morning. I was nice out, overcast, in the 40s and a little windy. Gusts of wind at some points. Tail wind on the way out and a strong headwind on the way back. I kinda wish it was the other way around, but a nice headwind always makes me push myself a little harder. In the last mile I started to feel a little sluggish and my legs felt heavy, but I finished it up. My legs felt a little tight afterwards so I signed up for a spin class and off I went for some active recovery.

Spin class at Fit Lifestyle Studios in Melrose (if you live near there and need a place to go it's pretty awesome!). Pleasant surprise with a different instructor than the usual Saturday morning instructor. Instead of alternative rock (which is my favorite) we got club hits with DJ Devine (not my favorite, but it was a really good class). It's funny how each instructor is a little different and has their own style. I think that's what makes spin class so fun. This morning was definitely entertaining and a good workout to boot. My legs feel much better and now I can spend the rest of the day doing nothing. :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Black Friday pretty much describes the weather outside. I got up early this morning, not super early, but a little early and did attempt to fight the crowds at the stores. I needed to get a few things, CDs to burn my favorite running songs onto for my wine tasting guests in a few weeks and a steam mop to clean my floors so my house is presentable for the wine tasting. The CDs were pretty easy, staples wasn't nearly as packed as Target. The line to checkout in target was something like a 2hr wait. Staples only took ~15-20 minutes. I had to go to 3 different Targets to find the steam mop that was on sale. I finally got it and went home and tried it out. It's AWESOME!!!

Anyway, enough about shopping, I wanted to do a short run today, but after a long morning of searching the stores I was kinda tired and the urge to take a nap won over the plan to go for a run. I fell asleep on my couch and slept for 2hrs. Got up refreshed and ready for a run. Went out in the nasty cold, windy, drizzle and did a quick 4 miler. 4.15 to be exact. Nice and easy, out and back, a few hills, but nothing too tough. Got home took a hot shower and now I'm ready to burn some CDs.

I got one of my letters back in the mail today. I guess the old address I had for one of my friends is no longer good. But lucky for me, the post office put her new address on the envelope they sent back to me. So, hopefully I can reconnect with an old friend and help Dana Farber in the process.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Feaster 5

I took a rest day yesterday after a LONG day at work. I kept telling myself on my way home, "you'll feel better if you go for a run" but when I got home I just wanted to veg out and relax. So, I relaxed and saved my legs for the feaster 5 this morning. I got up early and had some tea and my usual breakfast and got a text from my friend Anne who was running the race with me. She was on her way to pick me up.

I put on my running gear and headed out the front door to meet her. It was really foggy and eery out. We got to Andover pretty early and no one was there, well, people were there, but not nearly as many people as I'm use to seeing there. Maybe I just couldn't see because of the fog.

We hung out and waited for the race to start and bumped into a few familiar faces. Then the announcer started and the national anthem was sung. It really bothers me when people don't take their hats off for the national anthem. I'm not from a military family or even very patriotic, but its just disrespectful. I'm not sure why, but it bothers me a lot.

Anyway, the race got started and as I tried to get into a comfortable groove, I had to dodge and weave around all the WALKERS! OMG, they even had a separate corral for walkers and strollers and dogs and there were people up in the 7 minute mile corral WALKING in jeans with their entire families across the damn road. I was tempted to yell obscenities at them, but there were small children around and I like to think I'm more mature than that. It was very tempting though. I might just write a letter to the race organizers to have a separate start time for walkers next year. It was really frustrating. I still managed to finish in 27 minutes. 9:30 for the first mile, 8:30 for the second mile and the 8:07 for the last mile and the finish was up a giant hill for the last tenth of a mile. That was tough, but I did it.

I guess even with the frustration, it was still a pretty good run, but I wonder how much faster that first mile could have been if I didn't have to go around all the damn walkers! Afterwards, everyone headed home for big feasts and I headed home for a hot shower and a nap. Newmans Own frozen cheese pizza was my feast. No where to go this year, not really a fan of the holidays anyway.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feelin good

Weekend runs went well, I was going to do some strength training on Monday, but opted for a rest day instead. Yesterday, I went for a nice 4 mile run afterwork and threw in some fartleks to make it interesting. For the non-runners and newbies out there, fartleks are like intervals on the treadmill, but done outside. For example, I sprint every other telephone pole and recover inbetween. The distance between the poles varies so the sprints vary too. It's a fun way to get in some speed work and spice up your normal run.

Another fun variation on the regular run that I like is hill repeats. Find a short (less than a mile) loop with a decent hill in it and sprint up the hill, recover coming down the other side and repeat. I usually like to do this at least 3-4 times on the hill loop I found. It's fun, but I'm crazy and I love hills so it's not for everyone. :)

Anyway, after the run last night I went home and baked the cheesecake that I raffled off. Pumpkin with a gingersnap pecan crust and a caramel swirl. It's awesome. I'm sure that the winner of the raffle and his family will enjoy it for Thanksgiving. I might have to make another one for where ever I end up this year. It smelled so good in my kitchen. It's the gingersnap crust that makes it so good. If you think a graham cracker crust is good, you haven't lived yet until you try the gingersnap crust. It takes it to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting GOOFY

Got up this morning to frosty windows and a bright sun shining through them. Boiled some water for tea and toasted an english muffin for my pre-run breakfast, English muffing with peanut butter, banana, and honey. It's YUMMY!!! Two cups of tea and some bad Sunday morning TV and I was ready to run. Got dressed, filled up my fuel belt, threw some gels in the pocket of the fuel belt, set my Garmin for a new run and I was off.

What a gorgeous morning! Only in the high 30s or maybe low 40s, but I warmed up within the first mile. A little annoyed because for some reason the bottles in the back of my fuel belt kept falling out. So, maybe it was the screaming obscenities and doubling back to pick up the bottles that helped me warm up. Either way, I got comfortable after about 3 miles and took my first gel at around mile 4. Cruised past a house making pancakes and bacon around mile 6, yup I could smell it from the street and it smelled GOOD!!!

Made it to the halfway point and then the hills began. 4 major hills and one tiny one back to my house. Great training for the Newton hills. I haven't run Newton yet, but based on the elevation profile of the Boston course in comparison to my long run routes that always finish with these 4 hills, my hills are worse. But I LOVE them. Call me crazy, but there's just something about a long never-ending hill that motivates me to dig deeper and push a little harder and run a little stronger. That's just how I roll. I picked up the pace and ran the last 3 miles progressively quicker and sprinted up the tiny hill at the end of my run. 14.3 miles done!

Drove to Rite Aid, got my 30lbs. of ice and prepared my ice bath. This week I decided to re-read parts of one of my favorite running books while I sat suffering in the tub or torture I've grown to love and even look forward to on long runs, "I run therefore I am...NUTS". It's really a great book. So, true. Ice baths in the winter, a little more painful than in the summer. This week for the first time ever, all the ice didn't melt after 20 minutes in the tub. I think I may be able to use less ice in the winter. I'll have to try only 20lbs. or 25lbs. of ice next week.

So, this was the second weekend of my goofy training since Marine Corps Marathon, back to back long runs and so far I'm feeling pretty good. Next week is a recovery week and then I ramp up before tapering to race day. Only 45 days to go until the Goofy Challenge. I hope the weather stays as nice as it has been. That would be great. Then when we get to Disney, I hope it's cold and cloudy (I know, crazy, again). Not ideal Florida vacation weather, but ideal running weather. I'm praying for it. Here's hoping Mother Nature helps me out this year.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Success and a Saturday morning run

The cheesecake raffle was a huge success. I raised $365!!! I have to go out today and get the supplies to make it. The pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap pecan crust and caramel swirl is always a hit this time of year. I think I'll kick it up a notch for the holiday cheesecake raffle and make the double chocolate cheesecake. It's more decadent and everyone loves chocolate. I should be able to raise even more money on that one.

The weather was perfect this morning for a run. In the mid-40s a little overcast and sun just starting to burn through the clouds. I did just over 8 miles. Started slow, a little tight in the hamstrings, but soon fell into a nice rhythm and got comfy. Could have run further, but I have a 14 miler planned for tomorrow so, best to stay on track with just the 8 this morning. Bumped into a friend at mile 5ish and chatted briefly, then continued on my way, picked up the pace a little. Last 3 miles felt great, on top of the world. Sun shinning, smile on my face, and smooth stride carrying me home. With a little over a mile to go, "highway to the dangerzone" came on the my iPod and I felt the need, the need for speed. :) Picked up the pace again and finished strong. Got home and cooled down with a little light yard work. I cleaned the leaves out of my garden. I've been putting it off for weeks and it felt good to finally get it done. Now my flowers can come back healthy in the spring.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Boo boo belly and tummy troubles

I was going to title this "bad runs", but then thought of the bad play on words. Yesterday I experienced what every runner has experienced at one time or another, boo boo belly. I went out for a 6 mile trail run with a friend and about 2 miles in my tummy started rumbling. Had to cut the run short and turn around. Lucky for me, my friend's parents house was on the way back and I was able to make a pit stop.

It brings to mind something my friend once told me, "the only run you regret is the one you don't do". Some days are good, some days are bad, but every day you run is better than not running at all (unless you're overtraining and need a rest day). Although I got a little upset stomach, the run was still pretty good. I ended up doing about 5 miles and the first 3 were solid and at a pretty fast pace.

It's so important during training to watch what you eat and pay attention to how your body reacts. I now know that eating a lot of fresh fruit at lunchtime is a bad idea if I want to go for a run after work. I've also learned that yogurt and granola for breakfast doesn't work any more, Running induced lactose intollerance.

Anyway, enough about tummy troubles. The cheesecake raffle drawing is today. I've raised just over $300!! I can't wait to go to the bank after work and get the check to send in to Dana Farber. This will definitely put me over $1000 for November. Off to a great start. I hope I do just as good in the coming months. I plan to do another cheesecake raffle for the holidays and send out my letters at the beginning of December. I might even do a holiday wine tasting and charge people a $20 donation. I'll supply the wine and food, they supply a donation. If I get 5 people to come that's $100!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Back at it

Ok, so I took two rest days and my resting heart rate was still a little high yesterday, but I went for a run afterwork anyways. It felt GREAT! I was kinda stiff in the first 2 miles, but that was probably more from the 4" heels I wore to work than the 2 days off. Once my legs loosened up a bit and I got to the first good hill I was cruisin. I ended up doing just over 5 miles and finished just before the sun went down.

This morning my resting heart rate was back to 60bpm, as if my body is saying thanks for the good run. So, today I plan to do another easy 4-6 mile run afterwork. It's suppose to be perfect running weather, mid-50s and sunny with a little bit of bite in the air as it cools down. I LOVE the fall in New England!

I just hope that December is as nice as November has been and I don't have to do my 20 miler for Disney in the snow. That will not be fun. I'll do it, but it will not be fun. I'll just have to think about the warm Florida sun and running through Cinderella's castle not once, but TWICE this year because I'm going GOOFY! Half on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday. I have a feeling I'll be buying one of those shirts at the expo that says, "this seemed like a good idea a few months ago".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Ok, so it's almost 5:00am and I'm trying to decide if I should go for a short run right now, but when I woke up my resting heart rate was still high. I took a rest day yesterday and that usually brings the RHR right back down after the weekend of long runs, but it's still high today. :(

I HATE to take back to back rest days, but I think I may have to. I don't want to start down the path of over reaching and end up over trained. I was just going to do 3-4 miles at a nice easy pace. Even have a new head lamp and blinky lights for running in the dark. Guess I'll have to use them another time.

But now this means I could have slept in another hour!

Well, since I'm resting today I guess I can give a little update on my fundraising efforts. I've sent out emails from work and from my home email address. I'm making my list for letters to go out probably the first week of December. I'm raffling off one of my famous pumpkin cheesecakes for thanksgiving and I've raised ~$250 so far for that. People really want to win my cheesecake. :) I also ordered "business cards" with my link and a little blurb about what I'm doing on them so I can hand them out to people I talk to in passing. I'm hoping to break $1000 before the end of November to start off my fundraising with a bang! I'm pretty close, so we'll see how the rest of the month goes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a great weekend

Even though the weather was not as nice as I would have liked it was overall a very good running weekend.

Saturday morning I got up early, made my favorite pre-run breakfast - English muffin with peanut butter, banana, and honey. I had a small cup of coffee and got dressed, put on my reflective vest and headed out the door. It was misting a little but not bad and WARM. A lot warmer than I expected it to be. I did a nice easy 6 miles (6.15 to be exact). Felt great.

After my run, it was off to Boston for the first timers meeting at Dana Farber. I was really glad I got my run in early because the rain was coming down in sheets by the time I was driving into Boston. There were 2 accidents and Storrow Drive was flooded. I got a little lost too because the google maps directions were not very good, but I figured it out. The meeting was great. I got to meet some of the other team members and mingle with the staff and board members. They presented some great information on training and fundraising. Then I headed home. When I got home my invitational entry form was in the mail! What an awesome surprise to come home to. Way better than bills and junk mail.

Sunday morning I slept in a little and eventually rolled out of bed for my longer run (12 miles). My resting heart rate was a little high, but I attributed it to the excitement of the previous day. Made my breakfast and a cup of coffee and suited up for another wet, warm run. It was just misting again and it looked like the sun was trying to burn through the clouds. The first few miles were a little fast so I slowed down and just enjoyed the peaceful morning run. By mile 7 or so I realized my 12 mile loop was going to be closer to 13 or 14. Oh well. I felt great and had plenty of water and gels. The last 2 miles were a bit of a struggle, but I still managed to finish at a decent pace and feelin good.

As soon as I got home I continued my Sunday morning ritual with a trip to the Rite Aid down the street for 30lbs. of ice and I got some milk for a recovery smoothie too. Chatted with the kid at the counter about running and races, he's a high school track runner that I see almost every weekend while I'm training. His season is just finishing up and mine is just starting. Got home, turned the heat up, filled the tub with cold water, made my smoothie, added the ice to the tub, put on my hooded sweatshirt and a hat and clipped my ipod to the hood, set the timer for 20 minutes and hopped in the tub. After a few minutes of pain, I settled in and picked up my latest issue of runners world to pass the time. Speaking of time, I forgot to start the timer! So I got a few extra minutes of ice bathing. :)

A nice hot shower and hot bowl of homemade minestrone soup put me in a good food coma to finish up the weekend.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The beginning

Wow, where to begin. 3 yrs ago I started a personal transformation. I lost 100lbs. and then a year later I ran my first marathon. It wasn't easy. I didn't take a magic pill or follow a fad diet or get drastic surgery. I made a lot of little changes in my lifestyle over time and began a journey down a path to a healthier life.

I have since maintained my weight for over 2yrs and run 3 marathons, several half marathons and more 5ks than I can count. You could say I'm addicted to running. Not a bad addiction to have I guess.

This past week I got some great news, I was selected to be a member of the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge Team. On April 19, 2010 I will be running the Boston Marathon to raise money for cancer research (and to support my running addiction). I'm extremely excited to be a part of something so important and to have the opportunity to make a difference and support the fight to find a cure for cancer.

I mailed in my invitational entry form yesterday and have already started brainstorming ideas for fundraising. The running will be the easy part for me, the fundraising will be the challenge, but I'm up for it and I hope I can far exceed my goal of raising $5000.