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.