It has been a month since I heard the news. It’s been a month of doing absolutely nothing. By choice. But, But. but! Isn’t that what they say? The choice to do nothing is still doing something? I chose to ignore.
In truth I ran in purple this weekend with you in mind. Doesn’t that contradict everything I said I feel? Nothing I said I would do? A prince’s power to make me think of you. A Purple Reign. The night before I got the word. You are still a heartbeat; alive and kicking they say. You just don’t have as much to say. Duly noted. I won’t say it either.
But, let me back up and just say “But, I ran.” I know I will sound like someone else when I offer up excuses, but they are all true. I wasn’t feeling well before the Purple Run. I was tempted to turn a ten into a five and call it good. No. I could only tell myself came here to run. Not make my excuses. The temptation was fleeting and gone before I could really chew on it. Instead I threw up.
This was a good run, all things considered. A solid sub ten minute mile the entire way. Through crowds of meandering families strolling with their strollers and dogs I managed to break an hour. Boston in my ear, telling me he’s going to buy me a beer…right after a run to the Dunk. It’s only an app but it had me giggling. I like my Boston.
I have moved on from this. I’m setting my sights on a half. My first since September. I have moved on.
Categories: Charity, Confessional, life, running
Tags: 10k, Confessional, friendship, illness, insane meoments, love, pace, purple run, race, run, running
I consistently misspell January. Judging by the mistake I know I’ll be misspelling February for the next 28 days, too. It’s a question of typing too fast. My fingers can’t keep up with what my brain has finished saying.
It’s been three weeks and a few days since my last confessional. I think I left you on a treadmill in Rockland, Maine. What to tell you now? Where am I now? January just left the building. I ran a total of 24.85 miles for the entire month. Yes, that point eighty five does matter. I’ll tell you why. Because, with a week off from the run, I have been able to return to my steady pace of 10:24 -> 10:03. That’s huge. By the end of 2016 I was warming up (read: limping along) at a 12 minute mile pace and barely getting above that for the duration of the rest of the run. True, by the end of December I was running more miles in one week than I had in the entire month of January, but speed was pretty pathetic at the end. I like where I’m at now. Seriously
In other news, I have returned to a pretty consistent yoga routine and get this…I promised four people (six if you include myself and moi) I would join a real, honest to goodness (gulp) gym if I got a raise. And. I got a raise. So there’s that. To be fair, I haven’t joined yet. I’m waiting for a few mini turbulences to pass. More on that another time.
Lastly, Question – what do you get when you cross a librarian with a runner with less mileage on her schedule and more time on her hands? Answer – a woman with more books finished. I was able to cross ten titles off the challenge list.
I’m short on time so I can’t tell you the latest with New Guinea or about the jet stream I’m about to enter…Until next time.
The Worcester FD6K gave out medals this year. This bemuses me to no end. I always thought you had to run something a little longer – say, 13 or 26 miles – in order to earn hardware. No matter. I’m not about to turn down the shiny bling because it was “just” a 6K.
Remember how I said the Noodle was my first race actually running with someone? I take it all back. Now that I think of it, that wasn’t a real race. When the bumble bee had to walk I sort of jogged to wait for her. Never came to a complete stop and, and. And! I even let her come across the finish line before me. I look back on that race as Whatever.
The WFD6K was something else. I was supposed to run with Stealth last year. I’m not sure what happened but he ran his race and I ran mine. I finished a few seconds before him and ever since then I’ve known he’s my match.
First things first. I need to set the stage: weather was sunny, a bit blowy as my Australian friend would say (gusts up to 40mph – sound familiar?), a little on the cool side. Perfect…except for the wind. Before the start Stealth and I agreed – if one of us felt stronger than the current pace we should let the other go. For some reason I was counting on him to ditch me by mile three. What I wasn’t counting on was the congestion. It’s a walk AND run so you get all kinds of people. We spent more energy dodging strollers, lovebirds and those who insisted on stopping dead in their tracks for whatever reason. At one point we were running in the grass just to get away from the herd.
Here’s the thing. Remember how I said I expected Stealth to take off? Every time I thought I lost him he was right with me. I learned to look to my left to locate him. Just a glance at my feet and I would find his, just two steps behind. The only time I truly detached from him was at the very end. As I surged up the final hill I had a sense he wasn’t there. I couldn’t find his feet. Turns out, he was four seconds behind. Our times: 33:06 & 33:10 🙂 He said I pushed him but I thought he pushed me. Now, that’s a running partner.
Someone just informed me that George W. Bush ran seven minute miles during his Presidency. I have two comments. One: Random! and two, good for him. I mean that with all sincerity. I will never be about the seven minute mile. I will never be about even the nine minute mile. I am happy to be in the land of lumbering because, and this is very important, I can lumber far if I’m not fast. Far is far more important that fast.
Yes, it is true I have been talking about sub ten minute miles when it comes to 5ks but that’s only because I am running for charities and it’s not about me. Those runs don’t help me at all. Not in the least. I don’t get time to think. I barely have time to work up an appetite for a beer or a burger. I want the hunger after a good run.
So, having said all that – I have one more charity run this month – the Worcester Six; a 6k in memory of the six firefighters who lost their lives in that awful warehouse fire. After that, I have a week off and then, then! I begin training for a fall 13.1 (Saturday, September 10th). I am trying a completely different training plan. One that incorporates a better diet into the mix. Do I need to worry about what I eat? Being 112lbs on a bad day, no not really. I guess I’m playing mad scientist and seeing if it all really matters.
Last but not least, a burning question. My adopted home town is hosting a half mara six weeks after my Maple half in Manchester, Vermont. Should I do it? I don’t know why I’m on the fence. What’s not to love about an October 13.1? Should I?
Categories: Charity, Confessional, life, running
Tags: 13.1, 5k, Confessional, florence, half marathon, insane moments, pace, run, running, training, vermont
St. Pat’s is pissing me off. I admit it. I keep thinking about the numbers. Obsessing over them, actually. How is it possible that I ran that thing a whole seven minutes slower than last year? According to RaceWire, my worst time yet. What the what?
In an effort to get over Patrick I ran Florence. Easter Sunday. Cold-ish (a cool 40 degrees) and cloudy-ish. Threats of rain. No chance of sun. I didn’t have a game plan for my old haunt. Just my go-to route to start: up to Look Park (1 mile), around the park (1.3 miles), and then? After that I really wasn’t sure. I wanted a 90 minute run. Here’s what ended up happening:
In the park it was quiet. It was if I had shown up late for the big hullabaloo. I felt like I was witnessing the death of the party. A dog walker in the distance. No noise. All around me utter and complete silence. In the grass I found the remnants of someone’s Easter basket; one half of a pink plastic egg, the prize already confiscated, and wispy shimmering streamers made to mimic grass. Their iridescent colors caught my eye convincing me to scoop them up. I ended up carrying the crinkling plastic for a few miles; stealing away the party for my own. After circling Look once I was ready to head out until I found a trail and ran along the river for another 7/10ths of a mile. The woods were creepy dark. Even the crows didn’t caw. That eerie detour gave me a full three miles before finally leaving the park. When I found myself on Bridge Street – the one without a bridge to speak of – I decided to run until I ran out of road. Past the new condos and the old cemetery. Past the homes smelling of baking ham and wood smoke; the occasional joint. Bridge took me to King and an even six miles. If you know King then you know it is a metropolis of traffic exhaust and wandering homeless. I turned up a bike path as soon as I was able. From there it was a straight shot home. The bike path was peaceful.
In the end I banged out 8.41 miles in 80 minutes. But. But! But, here’s the thing about this run. I didn’t work for it. I ran with an easy confidence without thinking about time. I didn’t push my lungs or my legs at all. After the first mile I found an easy rhythm, a pocket of pace to sit in. And it was like that for the entire run. My only disappointment? I was shooting for 90 minutes and came home 10 minutes early.
Confessional: there was one other disappointment. Knee pain akin to TEN years ago is back. Mile four through six were spent listening to my left knee talk to me. After mile six it fell silent for the rest of the run and never spoke up again, but I heard it the first time. Loud and clear. Back to PT! Bang! Bang!
I don’t race that often. Me, myself and moi have our favorite Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day 10k, which you have heard all about ad nauseam – you know the one. The one with the hills moi always bitches about every year? The one myself is determined to PR every year? That’s the one. Aside from that there are the smattering of opportunistic races that crop up from time to time. The Toronto half and Worcester 6 are two such examples of opportunity. But because I am not a consistent racer. I don’t know my true average pace. Mindful of the asthma and heart issue I always run comfortably (read slowly). I don’t push it and yet I always end up surprising myself. Last night’s New Guinea excursion was 2.95 miles in 30 minutes. Legs are okay. Head is not. Hell, I am just now getting out of the I-Just-Want-To-Finish mindset. Listen to that: I. Just. Want.To. Finish has been my mantra for years; forever actually. For the longest time it was the honest truth. I wasn’t racing anything except my heart. But, let’s be honest here. Nowadays this mantra has gone beyond being humble. To say that I just want to finish is ridiculous. Of course I will finish. It’s high time for moi to put away the doubt and climb into the skin of confidence. Here’s a thought: Why don’t I claim a place in a corral? State a pace and own it? Isn’t it time I put my best pace forward and wear it proudly? Why can’t I?
What brought this on? Kisa found a race in Chicago! Terrapin Station 5k. Start time is a few hours after we land and (this is the best part) it takes place within walking distance of our hotel. How perfect is that? After asking are you sure? Are you really sure? I registered right away (of course I did). But. But! But, here’s the thing – they wanted proof of my pace in order to determine my place. I can’t give them Toronto because of my porta-potty predicament. Dare I push the Worcester 6 and state that time for Terrapin? Dare I say yes? I say it’s time I’m okay with claiming a corral.
Categories: Confessional, running
Tags: 5k, Chicago, Confessional, courage, insane moments, kisa, pace, race, racing, run, running, train, training
I wish I could say I know me and myself better. If I had a better understand of what makes us tick I think I’d be a happier moi. Right? Just saying. It’s the morning of the Toronto half and my hotel bathroom has seen me at least three times. Nerves and that last water I shouldn’t have downed at 9pm. In the parking lot of the race everyone is gathering and gossiping. We all stop to gawk at the elites blazing by and then resume our chatter. I don’t think I need to but I tell Kisa I want to find a restroom. Preferably one indoors and not resembling an upright plastic coffin. I find a four-staller and wait nearly a half an hour. By then the inkling was a reality and I’m glad I waited. During that time, I’ll be honest, I devised a finishing time. In 2006 I finished in 2 hours and 37 minutes. Back then my motto was, I Just Want To Finish. This time, despite it being nine years later I wanted to shave seven minutes off my time. An even 2:30 and I that’s what I announced to Kisa. I was done with saying, “I just want to finish.” I wanted a PR and 2:30 would do it. I told Kisa to start looking for me at 11am.
Fast forward 120 minutes later and the subtle idea I need to pee (again) creeps into my head. At first it’s just a vague idea, but then the suggestion of hydration makes me think maybe pee? Guys zipping off into bushes make me really question pee?! Finally, fountains gurgling make me know definitely pee! I’m not desperate but I know I’ll take the next opportunity, no matter where it is. Up ahead. Mile ten. I spot a row of four pit stops with four people waiting. I’d be 5th. Quickly calculating one runner per potty, I should be stalled waiting for & using a stall for no more than 3-4 minutes tops. Just to sure, I start my stopwatch because I’m curious. Two minutes. Four minutes. Five minutes. All of a sudden I notice two of the porta-potties haven’t opened. No one has come or gone. The doors remain firmly locked. Humanity takes the place of the runner in me and I wonder aloud if the people inside are okay. I’m picturing them passed out (or worse) in compromised positions, a la Elvis style. Not good. I’m ready to call for backup when luckily, I’m brought back to reality when a girl emerges from one of the middle stalls and snorts loudly in disgust, “YOU do NOT want to GO in THERE. Someone literally lost their sh!t…from both ends. It’s Dis-Gus-Ting.” While she wipes her feet on the grass the rest of us look away groaning and grousing and suddenly I’m back in the race. To hell with the dead runners. Four bathrooms has just shrunk to one but I’m too timid to jump the line and suck it up in the sh!thouse. Now seven minutes have gone by. I’m second in line. Luckily, the guy in front of me announces with gusto, “I’m not proud!” and into the muck of whatever he disappears. A minute later I’m in my (much cleaner) plastic coffin and peeing with gusto. I emerge feeling 10lbs lighter. Yet, I’ve lost ten whole minutes. Pisser.
I’ve been told to ignore the siren call of nature. It’s all in my head. And yet. Yet, if I hadn’t stopped for ten minutes I wouldn’t have gotten angry enough to push myself up to an eight-minute-mile pace for the last three miles. I was only three miles away from the finish line and I
wanted needed to catch the 2:30 pace rabbit…at the very least. I promised Kisa but more importantly I promised myself. Here’s the thing: Thanks to my pee break I flew like the wind, passed the race rabbit and finished six minutes ahead of the pronouncement I made to Kisa. 2:24.
I can’t help but wonder – what would have happened if I never stopped for the bathroom? Would I have come in at 2:30 believing keeping up with the race rabbit was the fastest I could go? Maybe I wouldn’t have tested myself. Maybe I would have played it so safe it was downright stupid? I don’t know. Maybe the next time nature calls I just won’t answer.
Categories: Confessional, running
Tags: bathrooms, competition, Confessional, half marathon, insane moments, kisa, pace, promises, race, run, running, Toronto
This is the tale of the two sixes. I’m combining two different six mile runs in this post because they were so wildly different. I have a wonky and a wow. I’m still baffled by my “wonky six” so, even though it hasn’t happened since, I still need to talk about it. If anything, just to get it out. I should note that I’ve run four times since and everything is F-I-N-E.
Then there’s this past Sunday’s Wow…but I’ll get to that. First, the Wonk:
It was a Tuesday night. The first mile of ANY run is always trouble for me. I don’t care where I am – it takes me that long to really get into the run. It doesn’t matter if I’m outside running a beloved route or inside on New Guinea. I always feel discombobulated for the first mile. Tuesday’s prep for the run was pretty routine. In fact, it was almost boring in its sameness. I always pick out socks, tights, bra and shirt (in that order) almost unseeing. Only the shoes rotate. Even the music was same old, same old. [I am so in love with Imagine Dragons it’s ree-dik-yu-luss] So, this run disconcerting in the fact that I never settled down. Mile after mile I kept waiting for the smooth, fluid run. Even after six miles I was without rhythm. Pace was determined by the motor below my feet but stride never felt tick-tock. I cannot tell you how much this perplexed me. Typically, once I find my groove I can run with my eyes closed. My cadence becomes so melodic I almost will myself into a trance. Like driving to work on autopilot and only “waking” upon arrival I usually have something akin to an auto-run on the treadmill. I get off with eyes glazed and a How-Did-I-Get-Here? attitude. Not so on this particular Tuesday evening. Everything felt totally off from the very start. My balance felt over-corrected, my stride was stuttering and when the 6.35 was finally over and I was draped over my knees in pigeon pose I had to ponder the unusual run. Fact: it was the first run after 13.1. Did that have something to do with it? Fact: I felt no pain anywhere whatsoever. Fact: the 6.35 didn’t suck energy-wise. Fact: It wasn’t a struggle to stick to my foundation pace (10:28). Fact: I wasn’t worn out or exhausted by the end of 6.35. In the end I couldn’t figure it out. It was just, for lack of a better word, wonky.
Then, there’s Sunday…as in yesterday. New Guinea and I have been talking about breaking up. We go through this every spring. The weather starts to get nicer and I start wishing for a little variety in my running relationship. Yesterday I turned to Kisa for help and he took me to see Ashley. Oh Ashley! I wish I took pictures on my runs. This place is pretty and pretty cool. There are paths around a reservoir. Some cut through so there is water on either side of you. Some paths are wooded. Some are gravel. Your loops in and around can be as ever-changing or as same as you want them to be. There are inclines and declines and straightaways that stretch on forever. You can dodge goose poop and pedestrians, dog walkers and baby strollers but never feel constrained. It’s not Florence, but it’ll do. So, Ashley. Somehow my planned five miler turned into six. What made this run so Wow was my pace. I came to a complete stop five times (once because the path was flooded and I seriously considered running through the 8″ water. I can’t tell you how long I stood there contemplating how bad/good it would be to just plow right through it.) and my average pace was still right on target for a foundation run. And. And! And, no chafe! (more on that later.)
Two different six mile runs. Two different experiences. On one run I felt like an alien and on another I was flying. Such is the tale of the two sixes.
Sometimes I work two jobs. Sometimes, three…if for some reason I consider my marriage “work.” Last night it was only two but still, I was left with very little time for a run. I knew I wanted to do something before going to the second job. Something is better than nothing, so they say.
Despite the fact it was beautiful out (temps higher than 40, no precipitation, a little sunshine) I decided to stay Gerbil and run inside. Due to the little heart murmur thing I need to warm up slowly. My plan was turtle out of the gate, cheetah by the finish line. I wanted to run 2 in 20. Two miles, twenty minutes. That seemed near impossible due to my slow-as-molasses start. Every run starts with an 11 minute-mile pace. No matter what. No faster no slower. It’s up to my body to tell me when I can release the floodgates and run faster. Sometimes that time is never. Sometimes it’s four minutes in. This time it was seven. After seven minutes I allowed myself to push me faster until I was running a seven minute mile. Before I knew it the gerbil wheel was telling me I was finished. But. But! But, I did it. 2 in 20.
Best song of the day: Shake Hands with Beef ~ Primus
I think I am slowing down. This is the time when I kick myself for not being a runner in high school or even earlier that that. Why didn’t the bug bite me when I was in fourth grade? Second grade? Back when I was being bit by little boys. I could have escaped. In more ways than one. I think of the mental anguish I went through in high school (the same angst we all go through at that awkward age) and marvel at how saner I would have been had I just embraced the run. Back then it was torture to take a lap. It was easier to fake it than flaunt the need for speed. I had friends who convinced me it wasn’t cool to sweat; wasn’t cool to enjoy sports, especially the ones we weren’t good at (which was all of them, for me). It was worse to exert any energy on something called Exercise. Everyone around me convinced me it was better to scoff than to score. No. I take that back. I did have one friend who kicked azz on the field. We weren’t as close as we are now, but imgine where I would be if I had followed her lead back then!
Last night I visited the tread again. My strategy has been from the start to start out of the gate at little faster each run. The theory is the end product will be a longer run. Somewhat. It barely worked this time. 2.91 miles in 30 minutes. 0.02 faster than the last time I saw the Gerbil Cage. Nothing to write home about. I think I have met my match with this pace. I think I need to hold steady at 10.3. Does it make me sad? A little. I think it’s time to move onto 35 minutes. Maybe my calling is to be a really slow runner who is out there just to enjoy herself.