Friday, February 26, 2010

Post #50, wow.

Last night had to be one of the most epic runs I've ever been on. I checked the hour by hour forecast all day and emailed my running buddy Susan and told her if she was up for it I was in. So, the forecast was basically light rain and wind except for the hour or so that we'd be running from Woodland back to Crossroads. For that one special hour we would be challenged with heavy downpours and wind gusts of up to 60mph.

We drove into Boston and the rain actually seemed to be letting up a little - oh Mother Nature, you're such a tease. We got to Crossroads and there weren't that many people there. I was surprised, I figured people were more hardcore than that, but I was wrong. As we stood around waiting to see if more people would show, everyone debated run the hills or just do an out and back shorter run. For me it wasn't even a debate, I drove all the way down from Lowell, I was running the hills. Trouble was I don't know the city that well and I needed someone to follow so I had to convince a few other people to do it too.

I got a small crowd of willing participants and we exited the bar confident that we were the most badass people there. Boarded the T to Woodland and got halfway there and the T driver (is that what they're called?) announced that the train was going express to the last stop and skipping Woodland. SUPER! So, we hopped off the T at the last stop and hopped on another T to go back one stop to Woodland. FINALLY, we got to Woodland and started running. Within the first half mile we were all thoroughly soaked.

The rain only seemed to come down harder and harder as we ran. We were running into a headwind the entire time. There were rivers of water flowing through the streets and overflowing drains in the streets that looked more like decorative fountains than drains. We splished and splashed through it all. Avoiding the puddles was futile, the rain was coming down so hard my feet were waterlogged and it made no difference if I ran around the puddles or through them.

Amazingly, despite the insane weather conditions, I felt unstoppable. I got into a comfortable (relatively speaking) rhythm and just floated over the hills and down through Brookline into Boston. Perhaps my feet were actually floating. Who knows, but I felt great.

Finished the run at a decent pace and got dry clothes quickly out of the car and headed into the bar to change. I stripped off all of my wet clothes and put on my camo moose and deer fleece pants from Disney (originally bought them on clearance at a Target in Orlando to use as throw away pants, but loved them too much to part with them) and my favorite hooded sweatshirt from after my first marathon in D.C. (it was 75 and sunny, but I was shivering so I bought it off a street vendor for $20, it was the only one he had). I think the plastic bag with my wet clothes in it weighed 20lbs. and I probably could have wrung out a gallon of water from my soaking wet stuff. It may take a week for my shoes to dry out, but it was totally worth it.

Anyone else that decided to do the whole run instead of wussing out and doing a shorter out and back, wear your badge of badassness proudly today! :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

L street 13 miler and brakes

Sunday I got up early, turns out I got up too early. I swear my body is ready for day light savings time already. I have been going to sleep an hour early and waking up an hour early for like 2 weeks. It's annoying, but when March 14th gets here I'll be ready. Anyway, Sunday, I got up too early so I just chilled had an extra cup of tea and read "Born to Run" and before I knew it, my friend Antonio was outside waiting for me to go to L Street Running Club in Boston for their weekly long run. We picked up another friend Jenna and headed to Southie.

What a gorgeous day for a run, mid-40s and sunny. A little windy, but the wind was at our backs for the second half of the run. We ran through Boston, around the common, over the bridge to the Charles, along the river, across to the Cambridge side, along the river some more and back across to Boston and back through the city to the club. It was fun, but I have to admit I felt a little out of my element. I decided I much more of a country girl than a city girl. As much as I'd like to have Sarah Jessica Parker's clothes and swanky lifestyle writing a column for a magazine, when it comes to running I prefer long back country roads with trees and animals and no cars to the hustle and bustle of downtown Boston and traffic lights and taxi cabs.

We did roughly 13 miles. The people at L Street were extremely friendly and welcoming. If you're a city girl (or guy) I definitely recommend joining the club. They were great. Water stops with volunteers at a few different spots along the way and food and drinks at the finish. Overall a great day and a great run.

Monday I was really bummed because I wanted to go to the gym and lift (I never actually WANT to lift) and do a little much needed strength work, but I had to drive to the Subaru Dealership to buy new brake pads instead. I was expecting traffic so I left directly from work and went to the dealership, skipping the gym completely. There was no traffic and I got there and home within an hour. I totally could have gone to the gym, but oh well. I got home early and made a delicious dinner of a fresh salad and some shrimp scampi. Then I finished "Born to Run". Great book. Funny story about long distance running and runners. Enjoyable and enlightening.

Yesterday I scrambled out of work to the gym so ready to run my legs were practically twitching. I did 6 miles. Felt a little weird like I couldn't breath, or my heart rate monitor strap was too tight. I'm not sure if I was running harder than I thought or if my body hasn't totally recovered from my cold last week. Either way, I finished the run, felt good and totally forgot to stretch and do some lifting before I left the gym. I was too focused on eating the leftovers from my yummy dinner the night before.

Today I will have to skip the gym again. I have a dentist appointment this afternoon and then I have to get home and eat before I head into Boston for the Runners meeting. I really hope that Storrow Drive isn't flooded with all the rain we're getting today. That would suck. I'm really looking forward to the meeting though. Nancy Clark is the guest speaker. I have two of her books and follow them religiously. I hope I can get her to sign them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Back on track

After a week of rest and blowing more snot than I thought was even possible out of my nose, I'm feeling better finally. Not running for 6 whole days was agony. Proof that I may indeed be addicted to running. I was too sick to notice if I suffered from withdrawals, but maybe that's what the sickness was in the first place. Doubt it. The more likely explanation is that my body was screaming for some rest and I was starting to over train so it stopped me dead in my tracks with a nasty cold virus and forced me to rest for a week.

Rest did me good. I woke up this morning with a resting heart rate of 52 beats per minute. If I took it again, it probably could have even been 50bpm, the last beat I counted was just as my watch ticked past 30 seconds. So, just barely a count of 26 beats in 30 seconds = super rested. After a few cups of tea and some breakfast, I decided to give my lungs a test drive and see how I felt. I brought one of the "In Honor" cards we recently got in the mail (wrapped in a ziplock so it wouldn't get sweaty) and I headed off to deliver it to my friend's house approximately three and a half miles away. First mile was a little slow, getting comfy and loosening up. Then I found my happy pace and just ran. Made it to my friend's house and back at a very decent pace and managed negative splits. Finished strong and felt great.

Tomorrow I'm going to try a group run with a friend and his running club, L Street Running club in South Boston. They're doing 13 miles so it'll be a good distance to ease back into my training. Lucky for me I got sick during a "recovery" week so that was the mileage I was planning to run anyways. Stupid cold thought it could derail my training, guess again virus. My immune system wins every time!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Being sick sucks

I went into Boston Thursday night with my new running buddy Susan, excited for another great Crossroads run. Little did I know there was trouble brewing in my gut. I had been feeling a little run down all week, but I thought I was past the worst of it and feeling better. We ran the hills hard and fast and started the decent into Boston. Then I heard a rumble in my tummy. Not like a "mmmm, pizza is close" rumble. It was a "bad things are gonna happen" rumble. 7 miles into the almost 9 mile run, I had to stop. Thank GOD for Anna's Taqueria! They let me use the rest room. I haven't been that sick probably since my 21st birthday. We tried to start running again, but I couldn't. I still felt really sick. So, we walked the rest of the way back to Crossroads. I quickly changed into dry clothes and we drove back to my house. As soon as I was home, I was sick again and doubled over in pain for about two hours. I finally fell asleep and my power went out. I sleep with a fan on and as soon as it stops I wake up. The power came right back on, but I had trouble falling asleep. Just as I dozed off again, the power went out AGAIN! Then there was only about an hour until I had to be up for work. I managed to fall asleep without the sound of the fan and then the power came back on and woke me up AGAIN! I just got up and got ready for work. I weighed myself and I had lost 4lbs. overnight from dehydration. I went to work still feeling sick, but making an attempt to gut it out. That didn't work out well, I made it 2 hours and felt like I was going to vomit so I went home. I got sick again but finally I was able to get to sleep and I SLEPT A LOT, all day in fact. Then I woke up and actually felt better and hungry. I instantly started rehydrating and getting some electrolytes in my system. I emailed DFMC and let them know I might not make it to the group run. Went to bed early hoping to feel better in the morning.

Today I woke up and still felt less than great, but I figured I would try to do the group run and I could always cut the mileage short if I wasn't feeling good. I headed to Lexington and boy am I glad I did. I got my "High Five Gloves" from DFMC for raising over $5000. I still can't believe it. I was worried about hitting the minimum fundraising amount and I'm already past my fundraising goal. Then, I started the run. What a gorgeous day! In the mid-20s to start, warming up to mid-30s by the end of the run. Sunny and no wind. The bike path was a little icy, but not bad. I ended up running the entire 16 miles, many thanks to fellow DFMC runner Kim who kept me going and helped me push my pace a little faster than I normally would have run. I struggled a little in the last 2 miles, but still finished strong and felt good. Not bad for being really sick only 24hrs before the run.

After the run, I stopped at Trader Joes and they had my favorite snack back in stock - dried, unsulfured, unsweetened pineapple!!! It's so good. I picked up a few things and headed home for an ice bath. 20 minutes in a tub full of ice and cold water- Works miracles. Hot shower and some food and I was ready to go out shopping. On the list for the day: 1/4" yellow ribbon, tiny royal blue buttons, a fabric marker, and sew on letters. I created my mile dedications map. A laminated copy of the course map with ribbons hand stitched on with the blue buttons holding them in place, names of loved ones lost to cancer or currently battling it from donors that gave $100 or more. It looks really cool. Then I stitched the sew on letters to the front of my singlet spelling out my name so friends and family can spot me on the course. It looks awesome!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Running makes everything better

After the weekend of volunteering and a long run in the bitter cold, I was starting to feel like I was getting a cold. I was exhausted on Monday and I didn't even have the excuse of staying up late to watch the Superbowl. I actually went to bed at 7:30 Sunday night! I went to bed thinking it was later, then rolled over and saw the clock but was too tired to get out of bed at that point so I just fell asleep, at 7:30! Work was not great, but not good either and by the time I was done I just dind't have any motivation to go to the gym. I mean I could have gone and done 30-45 minutes of something, but it would not have been a purposeful workout. It would have been just going through the motions, so I took a rest day (I was due for one anyway after my 14 miler). Went to bed early and got up super early.

This morning I woke up refreshed and feeling better, I had some tea and breakfast and got dressed to go for a run. 6:00am, dark, cold, and windy. I had my headlamp, blinky lights, and reflective vest. The first mile felt a little sluggish, but then I found my rhythm and got into a groove. Before I even made it to the top of my favorite hill the sun had started to come up! A sign that the days are definitely getting longer. It was actually pretty bright as I made the turn at the top of the hill to head back home. Only thing that kind of sucked, when I turned, I turned into the WIND. It was tough, but I managed to gut it out and push hard through the last 3 miles of my 6 mile run and recorded negative splits (running into the wind!) I did learn a very valueable lesson though, spitting into the wind never ends well. The trick is to turn your head and spit behind you to avoid getting it in the face.

6 more miles done and feeling good. What a great way to start the day. I ended the day well too, I went to the bank and got a check for the final cheesecake drawing and the spare change jar I had. The grand total.......$400! Cha Ching! Now I hope my party next week will bring in some more donations and the online donations will continue to trickle in. In the first 10 days of the month I've managed to raise ~$1000! I hope it's enough to get me into the top 26 fundraisers for the month so I can win one of the cheer shirts from Dana Farber. I told my mom if I win it I'm mailing it to her so she can wear it on Marathon Monday. We don't have a great relationship, but I feel like Dana Farber is bringing us closer together and mending some old wounds that have kept us apart for years.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Firemen and a 14 miler

Yesterday I volunteered at the Race Up Boston Place. It's a stair climb event to benefit American Lung Association and lots of local fire depts. compete with their full gear on. It's pretty impressive. 789 stairs, the guy that won it (non-firefighter) did it in just over 4 minutes!!! I think the fastest fireman did it in 6 something. I don't think I could do that without 60 lbs. of gear nevermind with it. So, that's badass. It was a ton of fun and all for a great cause.

This morning, well closer to afternoon, I got dressed and went out for my long run. 14 miles. It was cold and windy. I wasn't feelin it, I kind of woke up with a sore throat from screaming when we cheered for the climbers at the end of the day and it was friggin freezing out and really windy which made it feel even more cold. But once I got going the miles went by pretty fast. I started out with the first 3 miles of every run I do, down 133 away from Lowell and up my favorite hill into Tewksbury and then Andover. Then through the back roads of Andover and down Haggetts Pond road, a long downhill section that always hurts a little. Across 133 and back into Tewksbury over some rolling hills and then the never ending hill I like to think of as Tewksbury's heartbreak hill, North St. It's huge and LONG. Then it's back to where I started, the first 3 miles back to my house in reverse, down the big hill and back up 133 to my house. Very nice except for the stupid wind.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Just over the 5K mark!!!!!

This week has been crazy, but it ended on a very positive note. Wednesday, I got an email from my brother telling me that one of my cousins on my dad's side of the family had breast cancer. He only just met her recently and I don't know her. That side of my family is huge and we don't talk to them much. But it was still upsetting and sad that yet another person in my family is battling this disease. Last year one of my dad's sisters lost her battle with breast cancer. So, not feeling great anyway and overwhelmed with the news, instead of the gym I went to Trader Joes, for the second time in just a few days. They have chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels!!!! Why am I only discovering this now??? OMG, they're dangerously delicious. They made me feel a little better.

Moving on, Thursday (World Cancer Day) was a more than normal unpleasant day at work. I'm usually really good at leaving work at work when I leave, but it was such a bad day it hung with me and really upset me. But if was just fuel for my first run at Crossroads. I drove down to Boston with a friend and got there just in time to throw on some extra layers and walk to the T station with everyone. Rookie mistake #1: Paid for my pass with a $20 bill and got 18 dollar coins back for change. A little extra weight to carry for the run and a lot of jingle jangling noise to annoy me and everyone else for the 8+ miles back to Boston. The run felt great, I hung back and took it easy for the first few miles to get comfortable and then at the third hill I took off. I took all the things that pissed me off all day long and redirected that energy to my legs and flew up the hill like a Kenyan. Then I continued to pick up speed on the other side downhill into Boston. I let gravity help me out and just kept building and building and then in the last 3 miles or so, I really pushed and picked up my pace. I finished strong, stopped at my car and grabbed dry clothes and walked over to Crossroads to cool down and stretch. Rookie mistake #2: Not eating something before the run. Finishing around 8:00pm, it was really late for dinner for me and all the pub food looked great (and smelled incredible), but I was so hungry I didn't want to order and have to wait for it and have my stomach eat itself in the meantime. So, we took off and I got home around 9:00 and ate a little snack and went to bed. Overall great run, made up for the crap day.

Today, work went by sort of fast, the crap from the previous day still lingering and annoying me all day, but I made it through and survived another 40 hours and made it to the weekend. I went to the gym for a quick sweat session and some stretching. Nothing crazy, just 30 minutes on the eliptical. On my way home, my crackberry was going off every 3 minutes "ding-da-ding, ding-dong" email notifications, Dana Farber Donations, lots of them, enough to put me over $5000!!!!! Just yesterday I revised my goal from $5000 to $7500, I'm already past my original goal and I have over 2 months left to reach my new goal and maybe even surpass it too. So, not a great week, but it ended great!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


OK, so before I talk about my hunger, let me just summarize what I've been up to for the past 2 days. A light day at the gym yesterday, mostly chatting, 30 minutes easy on the eliptical, then more chatting and then a quick abs and legs strength session, nothing major. Today, more donations trickling in and a few more tickets sold for the upcoming cheesecake drawing. Then after work, 6 miles at a very fast pace over a bunch of hills and still managed negative splits. For the non-runners reading this that means I got progressively faster as I went, even though I was climbing some pretty decent inclines. Felt awesome!

Now, onto the hungry. OMG, I got home last night and even though I did almost nothing at the gym, I was famished. So, I cut into a ripe organic mango that I bought at Trader Joe's on my way home from the group run this weekend. Let me just say (and I'm not even exaggerating) it was the best friggin mango I have ever eaten in my entire life!!! It was sweet, and smooth, not stringy, and just the perfect ripeness. I have to go back and get some more. Today, I feel like I nibbled on food all day long, first a pre-breakfast snack of two small oranges. Then my favorite breakfast in the world, english muffin with Trader Joe's peanut butter, banana, and honey (if you have never tried this combo - I dare you to try it and say you don't LOVE it). Then lunch, a giant bowl of homemade soup with chicken, veggies, and garbonzo beans - YUM! Late afternoon snack, some grapes. Later afternoon snack, the rest of the grapes. Post work out snack a couple of carrots (I'm not talkin' those stinkin tiny cut up baby carrots, the real deal giant whole carrots). Then for dinner an entire Newman's Own pepperoni pizza. Oh and then a little after dinner sweetness, some dried berries from, yup, you guessed it Trader Joe's. They sell this amazing mix of cranberries, blueberries, cherries, and golden raisins. It's like friggin candy but way better.

Not entirely sure why I've been so hungry. It's good that I have a ton of yummerific healthy snacks to eat. I should get a second job at Trader Joe's to see if they get a discount on food, even if they don't at least I could get a heads up on the amazing deals like the 99 cent mangos that are out of this world amazing!