Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston Strong!

Customized my running hat

Not sure where to begin.  Last week was....impossible to put into words, but just to list a few: awful, tough, emotional, horrific, sad, disturbing, scary, terrifying, painful, heavy, hard, overwhelming, intense, etc.  I felt stuck in the worst moment of time I have ever experienced.  I couldn't do anything. 

I went to my amazing acupuncturist Tuesday and she helped lift a weight off me of incredible stress and guilt. I still couldn't sleep.  Remembering the faces of all the runners I couldn't help and tortured with thoughts of people that were even closer to the explosions than I was.  My heart literally ached for everyone injured or killed.  My mind wandered and couldn't help but worry about the people I spoke with and tried to help.  Did they find their families?  Were they ok?  The little boy that went over the barricade to run with his dad to the finish minutes before the bombs, did he slow his father down enough to avoid harm?  All my friends were safe and accounted for, but the 'what ifs' started to roll around in my head.  It was a never-ending loop of worry and I was stuck in it.

Wednesday, my friend Moe and the Merrimack Valley Striders organized a group run/walk.  I made a sign for a photo to be shared with the greater running community in a show of support.  Someone asked me at work why I was going and I thought about it for a while and then responded.  Some people will go to church this week, some will go to candle light vigils, some people will spend more time with their family - runners RUN.  It is our therapy.  It is our memorial.  It is our coping mechanism.  I went with the intention of running, but I still didn't really feel like running.  I had no energy and I hadn't slept in two days.  So, I walked with a few people. 
Afterwards we all went to a nearby pub and traded stories over dinner and drinks and started the healing process.  I brought ribbon and safety pins and decided to make ribbons for people to wear.  In the BAA blue and yellow, while we ate and talked I cut and pinned.  As fast as I could make them people came over to the table and asked for a few more, and then a few more, and a few more.  I ran out of ribbon.  Those first few were special I used safety pins from races I've run to make them.  I bought more ribbon and pins to make more, but the first batch for the runners and volunteers have a small piece of my personal running history with them.  And they helped me personally start to heal.  I felt so helpless on Monday, this was my way of helping.  It's all I could think of to do and it seemed to work.

Thursday at work I tried to get some things done, but still struggled to focus.  They had a therapist on site for people to talk to.  She was there on Wednesday too, but every time I walked by the room was empty.  I finally found her and spent some time chatting with her.  She gave me a hand out about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (same one I could have printed from the website).  Mostly I just sat there and cried.  It had kept it together up til then and tried to be strong and tell people I was ok.  But I wasn't.  I wasn't even sure I'd ever be ok.  I was still in shock and unable to process what I had heard and knowing now what the noise was and the horror associated with it.  I couldn't function.  After talking with her I felt a little better, but really it was more helpful to talk with my running friends that actually understood why this attack was so personal to all of us.

After work I finally laced up my shoes and ran.  At first I felt like my legs were made of lead, but eventually I started thinking about all the runners that were stopped just short of finishing the marathon and I ran for them.  I thought about the people injured that may never walk or run again and I ran for them.  I thought about the angels now in heaven because of this awful event and I ran for them.  I did a little over 5 miles and and gave a nod to every other runner out there.  We can not be stopped.  We will keep running.  I had a ribbon on my hat and as I passed the construction on Memorial Drive and the State Trooper directing traffic, I took it off and handed it to him saying simply, "thank you!".

Friday morning I woke up and started getting ready for work, then I heard a text from my phone.  It was 4:15am, no one else wakes up as early as me.  It was a co-worker and she told me to turn on the news and stay home.  Everyone knows by now in more detail than we probably want or need what happened in and around Boston that day.  A massive manhunt that resulted in one suspect dead and one captured.  I sat on my couch shaking and crying for most of the day.  I made more ribbons until my finger tips were raw from being poked by the safety pins.  I had to get out and get away from the over stimulation of the media and constant images of the faces of pure evil. 

Since I live a little ways outside of Boston, my town was not on lockdown.  I went out for late lunch/early dinner with my Massachusetts Mom, Ann.  It was SO good to see her and just to get a much needed hug after the rough week it had been.  We walked around downtown Lowell and ate then went to this little wine and cheese shop nearby and just talked about life, not the bombings.  It was just the break I needed.

After dinner I went home and started following the news again.  I was listening to the state police scanner online and texting a few friends frantically.  All of us just hoping for it to end and for no one else to get hurt or killed.  FINALLY, I heard the greatest words ever "Supsect is in custody".  I think the entire state of Massachusetts and especially the town of Watertown collectively sighed and then cheered for law enforcement.  As soon as I knew everything was ok and the manhunt was over, I went to bed.  I slept so hard and didn't wake up until almost 8:00am the next morning.  I am usually up by 5 or 6am on weekends.  I needed it though.  It felt good to get some rest.

I spent the morning making more ribbons, drinking tea and mentally preparing for my fianl long run before my marathon next weekend.  I was planning to do 12-14 miles.  I went out and ran a solid 11 instead.  I felt really good the entire time and decided to be a little conservative and save it for the race.  Again I thought about my friends that couldn't finish the race, the people I saw in Kenmore Square, the people I helped, the people I couldn't help, the people still in the hospital, and the people no longer with us.  I ran for all of them and I am even more determined and motivated now to run strong for them all at Big Sur.

Sunday, I ran the Lowell Fire Fighters 5K with my friend and former co-worker/boss Jen.  I talked her into doing the race and she did a couch to 5K program to train for it.  It was her first 5K in 2 years and the last one was a walk.  I ran the whole thing by her rside trying to cheer her on without annoying the crap out of her.  I wanted her to finish strong but not so strong that she punched me afterwards.  hahaha  It was a great race and a great day for everyone to get together and run.  Again, runners doing what we do best.  Jen did great!  She kept a nice even pace for the whole race and she got herself a new personal record (PR).  I am so proud of her!!!!!  We celebrated after with the free beer.  :)

This week will go by fast.  I can finally focus and get ready for my race and think about the future instead of feeling stuck in the moment.  I saw a great person/healer/amazing human being, Jessica Locke, yesterday for some body work treatment to release some of the stress and trauma and get my body ready to perform. THANK YOU JESSICA!!!!! Today I go to acupuncture and tomorrow I go out for drinks with some new running friends, my Reach the Beach-MA team.  Oh and I got this in the mail yesterday from my friend Patty in New York and I will wear it Sunday when I run Big Sur:
I will run for Boston and I will show the world I AM BOSTON STRONG!!!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Heartbreak takes on new meaning

I am not sure where to begin and struggle to put my emotions into words. I am intentionally leaving white space above to symbolically show that there are no words. 
What began as an extremely exciting day filled with electric energy for a great event was ruined by horrific attacks and overwhelming emotions.

I woke up Monday morning like a little kid on Christmas, my heart was racing, pounding 70 beats per minute, well above the norm for me.  I packed a bag full of my running gear and another bag with signs I made for friends and of course, a cowbell or two (in case one broke).  I drove to work and along the way when I got into Cambridge I saw a runner walking towards Boston with the familiar BAA plastic bag slung over his shoulder.  I slowed and rolled my window down to yell to him "Good Luck today!" and smiled as I continued on to work.  Slightly jealous that I wasn't joining the crowds heading to Hopkinton, but looking forward to tracking my friends throughout the day and then going to cheer for them as they neared the finish line.

Admittedly, I did not get a lot of work done.  I was productive for the first few hours, but as soon as the live coverage started streaming online I was watching and cheering from my desk.  Just watching the images of runners gathered in Hopkinton and the start of each wave filled me with joy.  Boring to some, who have obviously never attempted the 26.2 mile journey, but thrilling to me because I know what it takes and I know that course beats you up and spits you out at the end unlike any other challenge. 

Watching the elite women and the two american contenders Shalane and Kara hang with the lead pack for most of the race only seconds separating them made me want to stand up in my cubicle and clap in front of my monitor.  It was incredible and I felt like I rode the roller coaster ride from Hopkinton to Boston with them.  Then I switched to tracking my friends from the back of the pack.  Text alerts chimed on my phone everytime they reached certain milestones on the course.  They were all doing great and maintaining the paces that they had trained for.

As soon as the last person I was tracking passed the 30K mark on the course, I changed into my running gear and left work.  It was a little before 2:00pm.  I put my things in my car and ran across the Mass Ave. bridge through crowds of people walking by with medals already around their necks.  I got to the intersection of Mass Ave and Comm Ave and texted my friend Jenine who was coming in with her two daughters to cheer.  They were parking near Copley and then planning to maybe meet up.  I walked around a bit looking for the best place to try and spot my friends.  I could go closer to the turn onto Hereford and the finish area, but it may be too crowded and I wouldn't be able to get a spot on the street so friends could see me.  So I decided to go in the opposite direction down the course towards mile 25 and ended up standing half a mile from the finish right before the course dips down under Mass Ave.

I checked my phone to see what times people had passed 30K and did the math trying to figure out when I might see everyone.  Pulled a sign out of my bag and began ringing my cowbell for all of the runners.  Texted my friend Jenine to try and meet up.  She was at the intersection of Berkley and St James and headed towards the finish area.  I expected to see my fastest friend any minute and then I got a text alert that he had finished.  I missed him.  Damn it.  Stopped looking at my phone and scanned the runners looking for my next fastest friend.  Chatted with a few of the other spectators.  One girl 5 or 10 feet away from my kept yelling "you're almost there" and I wanted to tell her to stop, but I bit my tongue and stayed silent.  My phone vibrated and another person I was tracking had finished in 3:57.  Crap, I need to pay attention.

Over all of the cheering and cowbells and mom's talking to their kids saying "Dad should be coming soon" and a nice guy volunteering to lift the small child over the barrier to run in with his father.......there was a loud BOOM.  It sounded like a cannon went off and people looked at each other with strange looks of "what was that?" I thought it was strange, they usually start a race with cannons, they don't shoot them off during the race, but it's also Patriots Day in Boston so maybe it was unrelated...........then another one BOOM!  We all looked at each other and knew instantly that something was wrong.  That wasn't normal and that wasn't part of the celebratory sounds.

The cop standing nearby suddenly walked into the middle of the course and stopped the runners in their tracks.  Confusion and frustration spread through the crowd.  Runners started packing the area and asking why they couldn't continue.  The only answer we had for them was that we heard two very loud explosions.  I tried to call Jenine but the call wouldn't connect.  I tried to call one of my friends on the course and the call was dropped.  I texted feverishly to them and nothing, no response.  I posted to Facebook "does anyone know what just happened?" hoping someone, somewhere knew something.  Unable to reach anyone I offered my phone to nearby runners in case they could get through to their friends and family members.  A few texts went through, but all calls were dropped.  I quickly snapped this photo of the scene:

After 25.7 miles, they were so close to glory and suddenly robbed of the experience and simultaneously overcome with worry and fear for their loved ones waiting for them at the finish area.  And most of them were only wearing shorts and tank tops, sweaty and exhausted and unable to get water or dry clothes or even a mylar blanket.  I gave one girl using my phone to try and text her husband my jacket because she was shaking and sobbing.  Cops and ambulances flooded the area, bike cops came from further down the course and we opened the barricades for them to get through.  Helicopters hovered above.  Something was definitely very very bad. 

Once the barricade was opened, some runners tried to bypass the cop blocking the course.  We, myself and the other spectators in the area, tried to discourage them because something bad had happened and they closed the course for a reason.  It was clearly not safe to go that way.  I explained the emergency responders need to deal with the situation and more people flooding the area would only complicate things.  If they were worried about family it was still safer to stay put because everyone knows that are on the course somewhere and they could come this way to find them.  Some of the runners just needed to sit down.  Some started crying, some just sighed and accepted the situation.  One girl completely lost it, she must have been running her first Boston Marathon and she got within half a mile of finishing and was told to stop.

Having run the race twice before and watched several times I felt the pain and frustration for all of them getting so close to realizing a dream and not being able to finish.  At the same time I was overwhelmed with helplessness.  There were hundreds of runners and spectators and then drunk people coming out of the baseball game at Fenway.  Some mindlessly going towards the finish despite being told it wasn't safe.  Runners were freezing.  No one could get their cell phones to work.  Someone mentioned that emails were going through and I sent a quick message to my coworkers to let them know I was ok and to ask for information if they had any.

I got a few emails back explaining two bombs had gone off at the finish area.  People were starting to come from that area and describing the scene.  One guy said 35 people were dead another said hundreds injured, but no one dead.  And there was NOTHING we could do.  It was such a horrible feeling.  I wished I had the bags of discarded clothing that were collected at the start line or bottles of water to give out.  All I could do was hug the girl using my phone and try to reassure her that the fact that we couldn't reach her husband didn't mean he was harmed, it just meant that the cell phone towers were overwhelmed and no one could get through.

After a while I felt the need to walk the course and try to find my friends.  I needed to feel like I was doing SOMETHING.  I felt horrible taking my jacket back from the girl I gave it to, but we parted ways and she headed towards the finish to try and find her family.  I PRAY with all my heart that they were reunited.  I walked down Comm. Ave towards Kenmore Square and past more runners and hoards of baseball fans yelling explitives and drunken slurs not understanding the gravity of the situation, Fenway and the surrounding buildings were evacuated BECAUSE of the explosions in the direction they were walking, but they refused to listen to anyone and kept staggering towards the unknown.

I made it to the middle of Kenmore Square and quickly realized I was alone and would not be able to find anyone.  The street was completely empty and cops were taping off the course and guarding the T station.  There were a few people speaking in foriegn languages trying to figure out which way to go.  I tried to ask them where they needed to get to and gave them directions.  I started to walk back to Cambridge.  As I walked I passed another man trying to find his way and unable to clearly communicate.  He was tryng to get to Central Square so I told him I was headed that way and he could follow me.  Another woman was trying to get to the common and I had to think about it for a little bit and get my bearings, but eventually was able to guide her as well. 

Walking over the Mass Ave bridge towards Cambridge I imagined it must be what it was like in New York on 9/11, hoards of people with no place to go trying to get out of the city.  My mom called me, my phone was working but just barely.  The call dropped twice before I was able to tell her I was ok.  I chatted with the man I was leading ot Central Square, he was from Nepal.  He immigrated here a few months ago and was working at a Dunkin Donuts and an indian restaurant in hopes of becoming a citizen.  I asked him how long it took to travel from Nepal to Boston and he said 2 days.  A familiy behind us was discussing trying to get on the T or taking a cab and I directed them to a cab stand outside of my work.  I made it back to my car and dropped off my things and went into work to check in with everyone and re-charge my phone.  I sat down for the first time in hours and my whole body was still shaking.

I eventually made it home that night, still in shock and not sure I will ever completely recover from the events of the day, but incredibly thankful that all of my friends and family members are accounted for and safe.  My heart goes out to all of the runners and spectators impacted by Monday's explosions and I cannot express enough how impressed I am with the quick and professional response from all emergency personnel.  I am incredibly proud to call Boston my home. 
Artwork credit - Dan Blakeslee

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I used to hate it, but I'm learning to love it.

I survived my 20 miler last weekend and made it to the taper.  It wasn't the best 20 miler I've ever run, but I felt pretty good.  I was in good spirits, my pace was decent, not fast, but comfortable.  The weather was even cooperating.  It was in the 40s and sunny.  I checked the weather one last time before I headed out and I'm glad I did because although it was in the 40s the 'feels like' temperature was 18 degrees because of wind.  I threw on an extra layer and grabbed my gloves and headband.  Boy am I glad I did.  It was COLD out.

I took it nice and easy in the first 3 miles, just eased into the run.  Based on my heart rate the previous week I wanted to sort of test the waters and see how my body was reacting.  My heart rate was a lot closer to normal averaging in the 140s only going up slightly when I got to the hills.  After the first 4 miles which are pretty solid climbing the whole way, I settled into a nice pace for the rolling hills in the middle of the run.  Slowed a bit at the hill from mile 6-7 then settled back for a few more miles.  Past the Andover Fire station towards the Andover Country Club, I love my run because I go past million dollar mansions and farms and golf courses and wooded areas.  It's never boring.

After the Andover Country Club I work my way back to route 133 and start the journey back to my house through Tweksbury and over the hills I love to hate.  I stopped at a Mobil station to refill my water bottles.  Feeling really good at this point, about 8 more miles to go and I was averaging 10:40s (not where I'd like to be, but I don't care, I felt good).  Once I make the turn onto the back roads through Tewksbury the climbing starts.  Of the 7 miles in the end of the run 6 of them are uphill.
I still felt really good and in comparison to the previous weeks I was really happy about it.  By the time I had hit these hills during my 18 milers I was not a happy camper so it felt really good to be running them and still have a lot of energy and a positive mindset.  I was a little cold and the wind was whipping me, but I was ok.  I got to the last 3 miles and the voice of Kim popped into my head saying "Anyone can run a 5K", but my body begged to differ.  I was spent.  My hips and glutes started screaming from all the hills and on the one downhill I got the pain became too much to take.  Every stride was agony.  I tried walking down the hill or even walking backwards, but my hip flexors and glutes and quads wanted nothing to do with it.  The action of resisting gravity and supporting my body weight pounding down the hill just HURT.  Here's what the elevation looks like, it's a lot of up and down:

I got to the bottom of the hill and tried to start jogging again, but by then my body was done.  Only 2 miles left til I could begin the taper and let my body recover and prepare for doing this all over again plus another 6.2 miles.  I gutted it out and even sort of picked up the pace in the last mile, but I was really walking at that point so it was still a slow shuffle.  I reached my goal and finished the 20 miles and overall I did really well.  I averaged 10:45s for the first 17 miles, mostly 10:30s except for the hills.  The last 3 miles were a slow shuffle around 14 minute miles.  I'll take it though.  I finished!  I skipped the ice bath, I know I should have just done it, but I was really cold and had already cooled down basically walking the last 3 miles so the idea of driving to the store getting ice and waiting for the tub to fill wasn't appealing.  I took a hot shower and presto I was back to 'normal'. 

Made plans with Denise, from this year's Disney trip, to do some shopping and get dinner.  We walked around the mall in search of a semi-formal dress for her to wear and found some horrible dresses in the process that were good for a laugh.  They were in the 'Prom' section of one of the department stores.  There was a whole rack of dresses made from running type material and they were on sale for $30. They were flourescent colors and some patterned with very 70s disco type prints. We were tempted to buy those and wear them in a race at some point, but couldn't think of a race that would be appropriate.  Some of them were really scandalous, seriously? Teenage girls wear this stuff?  And their parents let them? 
After the shopping adventure, we went back to Lowell for dinner and tried this place I've been dying to try out.  Fuse Bistro, it's in an old Fire Station building in downtown and the menu is all local organic stuff and sort of fancy, but not ridiculous.  It's intriguing and I've been eying it for a while.  Denise agreed to try it out with me.  It was AMAZING.  We got a three cheese fondue appetizer that came with apple slices, sweet potato fries, and toasted focaccia bread.  I wanted to order a vat of the cheese and just eat it with a spoon.  It was so good.  We asked what 3 cheese were in it, fontina, gruyere, and smoked cheddar.  YUM!!!  Then I got a grassfed steak with wilted spinach, it was cooked perfectly and melted in my mouth.  We split two desserts and got a molten chocolate cake and apple crisp.  Both were pretty awesome.  We will definitely be going back there again.

Sunday I rested.  Made a trip to Trader Joes and a few craft stores for some scrapbook stuff and spent the afternoon working on my 2012 scrapbook of running stuff and watching a marathon of NCIS on A&E or TNT or one of those stations.  Monday I went for a run along the Charles after work.  Spring is here finally.  It was sunny and warm with a slight breeze.  I did 6 miles.  Averaged a 10:18 pace, but my heart rate was through the roof again and I felt sluggish and uncomfortable the whole time. 

Yesterday I had a few meetings throughout the day, but the most important one (in my opinion) was one I scheduled with myself to register for Disney at noon.  I got on the website before noon, ready to hit the button as soon as the clock ticked 12:00, then the site crashed.  I hit refresh.  I tried going directly to Active.com.  I tried googling 'rundisney' and going that way.  I tried going back to my favorite and clicking that way.  NOTHING!  The website would not load.  I was freaking out.  It took half an hour before I could get the page to work and I was terrified that it would crash again and I would not get in because so many other races have sold out in record times lately.  I feverishly started filling in the form and entered my credit card info and hit process.............watched the little hour glass on the screen and waited.............. and I'm IN!!!!

I registered for the NEW Dopey Challenge.  4 races, 4 days, 48.6 miles - 6 MEDALS.  It's a 5K, 10K, half Marathon, and full Marathon.  So, it's Goofy plus two more races.  So excited!!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I love my luck

It can be quirky and often things work out in mysterious ways and I'm not sure if it's luck or God or guardian angels, but I'll take it.  So, last Thursday after work I went for a lovely 5 mile run along the Charles and then decided to pick up a few things on my way home.  I stopped at Whole Foods and got some food for dinner.  The old rule of thumb 'do not shop on an empty stomach' should be kicked up a notch if it's dinner time and you've just completed a run and then sat in your car sweaty and starving, stomach rumbling for an hour.  Needless to say I bought a lot of stuff I didn't need and a few things I actually went there for. 

One more stop and I could go home and inhale my food.  I had a wine tasting to go to over the weekend so I stopped at Andover Liquors to see if they had a cool unique wine I could bring.  I found a sparkling shiraz, not the one I was originally looking for, but I figured it would be fun to try a new one.  Purchased the wine and went out to my car to head home, turned the key in the ignition and nothing happened.  No click, no start, no engine trying to turn over, NOTHING!  Dead.  I took a deap breathe removed the key, checked that I didn't leave a light on or the door open or the car in the wrong gear and I tried again......NOTHING! 

Thankfully, my Massachusetts parents Ann and Jack talked me into getting a AAA membership last year so I called and they sent a guy.  They said it may take 30-45 minites for him to get there.  So I sat in my car sweaty, starving, and starting to get cold AND I now had to pee wicked bad too.  I had food and booze, but none that could actually be enjoyed immediately.  So, I waited and waited and waited.  Texted a few friends to pass the time and prayed that it was just the battery or something that could be fixed quickly and inexpensively.  Checked my Facebook and posted my prediciment and related frustration.  Finally, the AAA truck showed up.  I explained to the guy, my car won't start, it's not turning over, it's not doing anything, not even clicking like it's trying to start.  Go ahead give it a try and see.  He got in and turned the key and like magic IT STARTED!!!!!  Just like that I was on my way and my car was fine.

Friday work was really quiet, the day went by sort of fast.  I had to pick up some things at the grocery store during lunch to make a cheesecake for the wine tasting, then I headed home after work to start baking.  I made a Bailey's Irish Cream Cheesecake.  I was a little disappointed because it cracked on the top, but it still smelled really good and I crossed my fingers that it would taste really good too.
Saturday morning I got up and made some tea.  It was looking like a perfect day for a long run.  I was a little nervous based on my run the previous week, but I was trying to think positive and hoping it would be a better run this time.  My plan was to do the same 18 mile loop.  If I can do a solid 18 before Big Sur I will feel really confident about the race.  My training has been rough and kind of non-existant since I was sick for two straight weeks so I'm hoping for the best.  Still sort of recovering from the cold and not feeling 100%.  My body knows what to do, I just need to get out there and do it. 

I got dressed and started out.  It was a perfect day.  Sunny and in the mid-50s.  Probably a little colder when I started.  It felt really nice.  I got comfortable right away and settled into a nice pace right around my marathon pace.  I just hoped that I could maintain it and still feel good towards the end of the run.  It is a pretty hilly loop so I had realistic expectations that I might slow down towards the end.  It was a little warmer than I expected too.  I was drinking my water and taking salt and gels right on target.  Then with about 6 miles left to go I could feel myself slowing down and I figured it was just the hills.  I was almost out of water.

I found a police officer and a work crew at mile 13 and asked them if they had any water, nope, no such luck.  I kept going because there is a fire station at mile 14.5.  I was able to stop and refill my bottles, but the damage was done, I could tell I was dehydrated and struggling a little, but I still felt a lot better than the week before.  I was still moving and I felt ok.  I got home and weighed myself, calculating in the amount of fluids I had consumed, I lost about 5-7lbs in sweat.  Checked my Garmin and I had averaged a 10:45 pace.  Not horrible, not great, but the first 12 miles were closer to a 10:18 pace so there is still hope for a good race.  The more troublesome data from my Garmin was my heart rate.  It's been high lately especially on hills and if I try to really push myself and go faster than my body is ready to go.  So, over the 18 mile run I averaged 175BPM and maxed out at 234BPM!!!!!  Here's what the run looked like, interesting to note that my heart rate pretty much mirrors the elevation profile (pictured below).

I started to rehydrate immediately and ate some lunch because I was STARVING.  Overall though I felt really good.  My legs were fine, not sore, not tired.  My foot was fine, no pain.  All in all, I'll take it.  I'm calling that one a solid 18 and I think I'm getting closer to ready for Big Sur.

Later in the day I left my house a little early to go to the wine tasting because my favorite running store (Whirlaway Sports Center in Methuen) was on the way and I figured I should get some new shoes before my 20 miler and before the marathon.  Plus, after the marathon I have a lot going on so I'm going to need new shoes.  I was lucky, not only did they have my favorite shoe in my size, they had TWO pairs.  I bought them both!  Now I'm ready for the marathon and the summer.

The wine tasting was really fun.  It had been a while since I'd seen some of my wine tasting friends.  Really good to catch up and of course to try some yummy wines.  We started with the whites and moved on to the reds all the way through to my sparkling Shiraz and then finished with a dessert wine.  Nine bottles all together.  Then some people, not me because I had to drive and it was already way past my bedtime, moved onto tasting rums too.  Oh and the CHEESECAKE!!!!  Oh my GOD it was really good.  It did not disappoint. 

Sunday was Easter, but I didn't have any plans.  I slept in then did laundry and dishes and grocery shopping and watched a movie while working on my running scrapbook for 2012.  Pretty chill day.  I was a little bummed teh Easter Bunny skipped my house, but I made up for it during the week.  Wait for it........

Monday it was near 60 degrees and sunny out so I went for a short easy run after work.  About a mile into the run it started to sprinkle rain a little but since it was so warm out it felt kind of nice, then all of the sudden out of no where the sky opened up and it was a monsoon.  The wind was whipping and the rain was coming down in buckets.  Thankfully, I had chosen to go a shorter loop than I normally go and I only ran 4 miles and of course as MY luck would have it the rain stopped just about the same time I stopped running.  I did see a spectacular rainbow over the Charles as I ran across the Mass Ave Bridge though.

Tuesday I decided to play Easter Bunny and go shopping for my idea of the perfect Easter Basket.  I had my REI dividends and a coupon in hand and a pretty brilliant idea.  I got there and totally stocked up on everything running related.  I got gels, salt tabs, body glide, sport sunblock, and a few other little things.  Happy Easter to ME!!!!

Monday was the last of the spring-like weather in New England, it has turned ridiculously cold again.  Winter is fighting to get a few more days as if we didn't get enough already.  It's been in the 30s and 40s since then.  Suppose to get a little warmer in time for the weekend.  Then practically a heat wave next week.  As long as it's nice for my 20 miler I don't really care what Mother Nature dumps on us (ok, unless it's more snow, I've really had enough of that and don't want to see anymore until next winter).