Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Six Spontaneous Saturday

1.  Just wrapped up my 2011 running mileage:  1093 miles covered in 2011!!!!

2.  5 miles is still feeling a little hard….BUT
a)    At least I’m running again!
b)    At least I’m not even remotely aware of my incision or any hernia related issues (I know how to handle tight hamstrings, etc.  Potential surgery complications? Notsomuch).
c)    It’s all according to my pre-training plan J

3.  Runner’s World came through this year and sent me my new running log (we are their #1 subscribers after all).  Another symbolic wiping of the slate and opportunity for a fresh start.  What will 2012 bring for mileage, races, PRs???

4.  What’s the best thing one can do after a rainy, cold run?  Why, grab some beach pizza of course!  (If you’re not from the Northeast, my sympathies…..beach pizza equates to Tripoli’s pizza at Salisbury beach – yum!)

Great seating alongside the Atlantic Ocean - no reservation required!

5.  Got to do some of this grocery cart/carriage freestyling today – best way I can think of to play 8 again

6.  Final day of venturing out dressed in bubble wrap.    Until 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, we will make sure we’re protected by bubble wrap, since the company I left is one of the very few I know that doesn't cover benefits through the last day of the month in which one terminates.  But I’m not that bitter.

Lady Gaga might be onto something here

Monday, December 26, 2011

Time is on my side…..yes, it is

I had to credit the Stones with
my blog post title

It’s very cool when timing seems to be on your side and you can quickly see that you’re doing exactly what you should be, at the right time, in the right way.

Although the weather was perfectly conducive to local travel on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it finally got cold and slick today.  With a few of us traveling locally over the holiday weekend, it was comforting that no one had to risk a slippery drive while visiting friends and family.  This morning, however, produced a black ice wonderland.  As I headed out to run, I realized I was going to have to watch my footing.  Some sections of the roads had almost no traction.  The good timing about this is that I still have no business going fast or far, since it’s only my second run post-surgery.  So the conditions did their part to ensure I kept a slow, steady, stay-on-my-feet pace.  And had the road conditions considered providing any wiggle room, my running watch sealed the deal…..

My watch has seen better days

Yep it's true, I did grab my watch this morning to see where my pace is right now.  And it immediately snapped into 3 pieces.  I just wanted to assess a baseline.  No really….  OK, fine - don’t believe me.  The "time" part of the watch still works (i.e. chrono), so of course I could have carried my watch in my pocket.  Instead, I decided to take it as a sign.  I left for my run, sans watch and sans any time concerns. 

4 miles at a pace that worked for me versus against me - YEAH!   Now, where did I leave that duct tape…..

Saturday, December 24, 2011

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

My running shoes and I have reunited,

Bella and I are back on the board, and…..

I felt awesome J

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Challenge to Myself

Although I’m not big into listing out New Year’s resolutions, my reflection mode typically sends me in the direction of challenging myself to do one thing better in my life.  This challenge didn’t come to me in a dream or through something I read or heard, but more from some changes that will be happening…..soon.  My challenge to myself is simple:

Stay in the moment.  See it, hear it, feel it, enjoy it, embrace it, value it.  Good or bad, wherever I am at that moment is where I am and supposed to be. 

So, onto the “changes” I referred to at the beginning of this post…. I got a new job!!  Yay me!  In a world where people have been unemployed and are trying to scratch their way back, I’m eternally grateful to have found a position in a company that’s a better fit for me.  I’m hungry for challenge and love to see project successes come to fruition.  I haven’t had that feeling in some time, but knew I had to be patient and make sure I found the right position/company for me.  It’s also been a much more challenging interview process in this economy, with so many talented people trying to escape the unemployment line or trying to get ahead.  I will start my new job at the beginning of the new year and can’t think of a better way to kick 2012 off.

With this new job will come new challenges, including lots of “proving myself” and some travel.  Here’s where “staying in the moment” is going to be very important.  I need to get completely engaged in my new role and with my new peeps.  I need to learn or strengthen my knowledge in some areas I haven’t had to tap into in some time.  And I need to keep running, taking care of myself, and enjoying my family. 

It’s so easy to let important people/things slide when starting a new job.  As happy as I am with what I’ll be doing and where I’m headed, I’m also keenly aware that my personal world will change as well.  Like anything, I will get into a routine before I can spell “routi…”  But for a little while, it’s going to feel hard.  I expect to fall behind with blogging – though I won’t ignore it.  I love writing and I love reading about all of you!  But I realize that the many blogs I follow may not get their normal level of attention from me in the immediate future.

And then there’s my running.  Oh, do I miss you!  Today is 2 weeks since my surgery and I really feel ready to run again.  As I’d hoped, I’m now 100% sure I’ll be getting in a little run this weekend.  Merry Christmas to me J  The times I need running the most are those times where I’m under pressure, stressed, anxious…, I cannot let the healthy activity that consistently provides me sanity, confidence, pleasure, and the ability to snack slide.  It’s just not an option.  But it will take a little more discipline and commitment to ensure I don’t let it slide.

This challenge to myself is not always going to be easy.  If it were easy, I probably wouldn’t grow from it.  So, I say “Bring it on!”. 

Who’s with me?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top 3 Christmas Songs

1.  My all time favorite Christmas song is “Little Toy Trains” by Glen Campbell.

2.  Second is a more recent version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Bare Naked Ladies/Sara McLachlan.

3.  Third is anything performed by Jim Brickman – no vocals needed.

What are your favorite Christmas songs? 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Baby steps

Had a date with my surgeon today to follow up from my hernia surgery last Friday.  I’ve been feeling better each day, so felt like this would be a fairly benign visit.  And I was right!  When I asked him if “this is normal”, he responded with, “Oh yes, and in fact, that’s one of the best healing I’ve seen”.  God I love being an over achiever in the healing department.

He then asked, “I suppose you’d like to know when you can start running again and resume your normal life”.  My response might surprise some of you.  I answered, “I’m interested of course, but I feel like I know my body well enough to know when it’s time to run again”.  I don’t say that in a cocky, look-at-me-being-a-doctor sort of way; I say it in a truthful, look-at-me-being-patient-with-my-healing sort of way.  I also told him (pointing to my incision area), “I only want to do this once”.  He concurred.

Since I’ve already been walking Bella as much as possible to get myself moving again, I’ll continue to do so for the rest of this week.  I will work on speed (hee, that sounds funny) and on stretching my stride, but I will hold back on any jogging for this week.  Depending on how I’m feeling on Christmas Day, I may just surprise myself with a little Christmas gift in the form of a jog and see where that takes me.

I want no setbacks and I want no further doctor visits.  I’ve always erred on the side of caution and that strategy has always worked for me.  I’ve let go of the winter races I had hoped to do this year and will soon focus on putting together a two-part training plan for Boston:  1)  training to get strong again (now thru mid-Jan), and 2) training to get myself to the starting line of Boston 2012 (mid-Jan thru April 16).

Not sure how this will all play out, and not sure if I’ve got another 3:57 in me come April.  I am sure that I will take some baby steps now in order to ensure that I can take some grown up steps later with a goal of celebrating another strong Boston finish.  Who knows, maybe this forced rest period will result in a stronger me:  mentally and physically.  Sounds good, so I’m going to run  walk with it!  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Six Spontaneous Saturday

1.  Had some great Caitlyn time this morning;  watching iCarly, making chocolate chip pancakes, and watching her do cartwheels in our kitchen.  She immediately honed in on all the presents under our Christmas tree.  I explained they were not Santa's presents (duh) and that there was one special one under there for her. Big.Smile.  Nothing like a 6 year old to infuse a special Christmas spirit that only a child can.  

2.  At 9:30 a.m., I was already plotting a nap for later.  “Later” arrived at 12:30.  Duration of nap:  solid 2 hours.  Wow.

3.  Dollar Stores are the best invention ever.  3 gift bags for $1.29 – priceless

4.  Took Bella to get her usual pedicure (hey, for $5, it’s worth the trip!) and decided to let her stay for the afternoon and play with her canine pals.  When I picked her up at 4:30, she slept the whole drive home and then put herself to bed when we arrived home.  Yes, lots of napping in this household today!

5.  Our DVD “It’s a Wonderful Life” is playing for at least the 5th time this season.  What better accompaniment while wrapping our last few gifts.

6.  Biggest success of today (other than my power nap) was finding the Ribbon Candy I buy every year for my mom.  It’s just not Christmas without it!

Hope everyone’s wrapping and napping accordingly.  It’s a great combo, trust me!

Friday, December 16, 2011


As I continue to practice the No Complaining Rule I wrote about in a previous post, this past week has been a bit challenging in that department.  Recovering from surgery has been manageable, however I’m feeling anxious to get back to normal.  OK, impatient is more like it.  

A few thoughts from the past week, where I got to practice my "...BUT":
  • I haven’t managed to write anything of any meaning or interest in my blog lately….BUT at least I haven’t lost any followers.
  • I’ve gotten frustrated this past week each time I discover I can’t (or sometimes just shouldn’t) do something….BUT I am so fortunate that the reason for my surgery was to correct something; not to save my life.
  • I feel like I’ve gained 10 pounds from my sudden period of inactivity…BUT this isn’t forever and I’ll be even hungrier (no pun intended) to get running again once I can.
  • I haven’t been able to keep up with the daily/weekly housework….BUT I’m fortunate to have a husband who takes over whenever needed.
  • I haven’t been able to get out to finish our Christmas shopping….BUT again, I'm fortunate to have a husband who finished it for us.  (No, you cannot have him!)
  • I haven’t been able to play very hard with Bella….BUT fortunately I have a husband who…(yes, he’s perfect…ok, I’ll stop) and also a neighbor who is happy to send her dog over to help Bella blow off some steam.
  • I feel like I make the same boring meals for my poor husband…..BUT at least we have food on the table and never go without.
  • I feel a little sad at Christmas for family and friends who have passed and are no longer physically with us….BUT I’m blessed with having had them for as long as I did and grateful for those who are still with me today.

I’m really not that big into New Year resolutions.  I most enjoy pausing and reflecting on the past year (or in today’s post, the past week) and giving some good, positive thought to the coming year.   In fact, the New Year is my favorite time of the year.  I think of it as a therapeutic wiping of a big chalkboard (oops, showing my age) white board clean and starting fresh. 

Even with this past week being a bit of a struggle, I have a good feeling that 2012 is going to rock.  Seriously rock.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Its probably safe to say that most of us are practicing patience in our lives at one point today.  Many of you are practicing patience with your children or spouses, while others are practicing patience with yourselves.  I am in the latter group today. 

On Friday, I awoke with anticipation of going in for surgery.  I had waited three weeks from diagnosis of hernia to “fix the hernia” and I was ready.  Per usual, I had hoped to get right onto the surgical calendar, get this thing taken care of, and already be slowly jogging by now.  But three weeks passed quickly, and here I am in the early days of shuffling around and praying I don’t have to cough.  Abdominal surgery of any degree is bigger that one might think.  I think I went into this a little cocky since I had had a major abdominal surgery several years ago.  I thought, “This is nothing!”.  Apparently, it’s very similar.  Who-da-thunk.

After two days on my couch, uncomfortably asking for help or asking for stuff, I’ve started moving around a bit.  I’m sure I look like a little old lady right now, but to me, shuffling around my house feels like a long run today.  I’m not too proud to take the pain medication they gave me, but am hoping to be on straight Tylenol very soon.  Can you say “pain medication hangover”??  I’m also a little more independent and able to get my stuff a little easier today.  It’s an unfamiliar feeling to need so much help when I’m normally so independent.  But then again, that’s probably what got me in this situation in the first place (Scott’s voice ringing in my ears, “Please don’t pick up those bags of pellets”).

On the flipside, my family has been very patient with me.  My husband is seriously a saint.  He brought home all of my favorite goodies (probably to incent me to get running as quickly as possible!) for my recovery and has doted on me non-stop.  He does much of the cooking anyway, but made sure I was eating and drinking and generally taking care of myself.  He also catered to all things Bella.  An almost 4 year old Labrador Retriever does not take kindly to quiet time.  So, Scott’s been walking/running her and making sure she’s as nudge-free as possible for me.

I had a moment of frustration on Saturday morning, when I realized just how weak I was.  Scott had taken Bella for a nice early morning walk and was returning home.  Just as they got to our driveway, Scott heard our neighbor screaming and made a dash for her house.  From my window, I could see Murphy (Bella’s German short haired pointer boyfriend) was attacking our neighbor's dog!  Scott was working hard at pulling Murphy off of the old dog and helping our elderly neighbor up from having been thrown to the ground during the scuffle.  There was nothing I could do!  It's unknown why Murphy attacked, but he just wouldn’t let go.  Scott knew getting between dogs in this type of situation was risky, but the old dog didn’t stand a chance without some help.  Plus, our neighbor was likely to get bitten or hurt in some other way.  Fortunately, Scott was successful in getting Murphy detached from his grip, helping our neighbor to her feet, and returning Murphy to his owner a few houses down.  By now, I had finally reached the neighbor to make sure she was OK.  Our neighbor and I were both grateful for Scott’s timing. 

The soreness and weakness will dissipate, but until it does, I will do my best at practicing patience.  The thing about patience is, there’s always another opportunity to practice around the corner.  For example, as I stand here typing this entry, I’m keeping an eye on my running shoes kicked over in the corner.  Ah, absence makes the heart running grow fonder.  I’ll be back soon Ms. Asics.  I won’t profess to be fast when I return to you, but I do profess to practice patience while I try.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


A number of times, my friend Meaghan has had to decipher text phrases for me, since I’d never texted.  She or others would use some of these text phrases like “idk” or “kwim” and I would be found scratching my head.  I’ve come a long way since those early days and now can decipher most text phrases without assistance.  Good thing too, since…..

I just got an iPhone.   With texting.  Unlimited.  Whoa.

And I gotta say, it’s kinda fun!  No longer do I need to wait for the slower email to reach its destination.  No longer do I have to be a wall flower in the texting dance.  And this Face Time capability?  How cool is that!  The personal assistant Siri takes a little getting used to, but having an e-personal assistant has a nice ring to it (pun intended).

So it looks like this non-texting chic is easily embracing texting after all these years.  I always felt like I didn’t need another avenue for people to contact me and was afraid if I did start texting, I wouldn’t have control over that.  But guess what?  I can turn my iPhone off just as easily as my previous cell phone.  Fascinating.

What will not change, however, is my grammar.  I cannot promise that, in a rush, I won’t occasionally use a “U” instead of “you”, but I prefer not to.  I’m proud of my firm grasp of all things grammar and punctuation.  And now is not the time where I want to let my brain get lazy and stop trying to remember anything on my own.  Now is the time to challenge my brain to keep it sharp and continue to practice good grammar.  And whether it’s an email or a Facebook post, I want my words and phrases to reflect a brain that is still intact and remembers spelling, vocabulary, sentence structure, and meaning.

So idk I thk I lik ths txting thng, kwim?  jk…….  J

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The No Complaining Rule

Wow, what a book!  

I was browsing through my Kindle last week, stumbled upon this title, and it grabbed me.  As I read through this fictitious story heavily laden with lesson upon lesson, I felt like the story was written just for me!  Hi, my name is Lisa, and I realized I had become a C.C. - Chronic Complainer.  (Hi Lisa….)

I used to be a much more positive person.  Somewhere along the line, I started to complain.  And then I’d complain some more.  And so on.  I would wager that most conversations with friends/family likely included a heavy dose of complaining.  So what was I complaining about?  Probably complaining about complaining! 

This book clearly defines the differences between mindless complaining and justified complaining.  Complaining is not a sin, nor is it likely to go away forever.  Complaining can be a positive thing, when it leads to a solution to a problem.  That’s justified complaining.  It’s the mindless complaining that’s the problem.  Mindless complaining is never positive, since it’s usually shared amongst people who cannot (and usually do not want to) solve whatever problem is being complained about.  The mindless nature fuels more complaining, where those involved may become even more dissatisfied or unhappy than when they first started their complaining.

Talk about an epiphany!  Ever since I read the book, I’ve found myself self-monitoring my own complaining and noticing just how much others complain as well.  It’s awful!  The thing is, I don’t think we realize just how negative many of us can be.  As an example, I asked a coworker how her Thanksgiving was, and after a long tirade of negative comments, there was not one good thing to report.  How could that be?

Now, I’m not judging.  At all.  As previously stated, I’m a self-professed, and now recovering C.C.  The author provided a great tool to assist with turning complaints into positives.  He suggested that when you do find yourself complaining mindlessly, add the word “but” after the complaint.  For example, “I didn’t really enjoy the food at Thanksgiving” can be turned into “I didn’t really enjoy the food at Thanksgiving….BUT at least I had my family to share the day with”.  That was easy, right?

As I share this book and its fantastic lessons with some of my friends and coworkers, I’m receiving a very positive response.  In fact, one coworker instant messaged me the next day, asking me, “Lisa, I need a BUT”.  She was frustrated with something, prepared to complain about it, and was trying to find a BUT to turn it into something positive.  I replied with a BUT, we had a good chuckle, and you know what, she seemed to be less frustrated by the end of this exchange.  Interesting…..

The book also encourages attempting one day of no complaining.  If that works, try one week.  Asking ourselves what we’re trying to accomplish with our complaints is a good way to determine if the complaint is justified or mindless.  Once you start thinking this way, you really do become more self aware of your own complaining frequency.  Isn’t it more fun to write in a blog, post fun stuff on Facebook, or talk about happy things anyway?  It’s too hard to smile and complain at the same time.  That’s right up there with walking and chewing gum!  

(This is my own opinion of The No Complaining Rule)

Friday, December 2, 2011

I've been tagged :)

What perfect timing for me to be tagged by Average Girl Doing Average Things to list out 7 things about me that you may or may not know yet!  I’m not sure if there are any real rules to this, but even if there were, I’d probably rebel anyway J  Here we go:

1.  I’m a twin who is 6 minutes older than my twin brother.  In addition, my high school graduation class was comprised of just under 100 kids, yet had 5 sets of twins in it.  Yes, that’s greater than 10%!  Cool,  huh?

2.  I’m dying to explore Greece.  My step-father (who essentially raised us w/ mom) was born in Sparta, so it’s always seemed like such a romantic, faraway place.  I know just enough of the Greek language to be dangerous…..Some of my mastered words are:  How are you, Thank you, I love you, and Sh*t.  Yes, all the critical phrases.

3.  I’ve eluded to this in a previous post, but I’m really intrigued with the idea of running an ultra.  I have one in mind (in Maine), so just need to commit and create a plan of action. 

4.  Recently found out that we women can get hernias.  Who knew?  Apparently, it’s more rare than occurrences in men, but it does happen.  Going to go get it “repaired” soon, since they don’t actually cure it or remove it.  It’s going to put a little dent in my running for a week or two, and then I need to slowly ease back into it.  In a way, it’s perfect timing to discover this, since I’m not quite in Boston training mode yet.  Side story:  When the surgeon realized I’m more than a casual runner (I think he may've called me Kara Goucher), he revised his recovery program for me.  I chuckled though when he referred to me as a “serious hobbyist”.  His son is running a marathon soon, so I forgave him for that “hobbyist” label J

5.  When I paint (as in walls, ceilings, moldings), I do not need to use tape.  That’s right.  Steadiest hand in the East!  It saves me a lot of time, since I can just dive in and paint.  Don’t be too jealous….

6.  I’m a Young & The Restless addict.  And Soap City feeds that addiction by playing the days’ episodes in the evenings.  Guilty pleasure J

7.  I don’t text.  At all.  Drives my friends crazy, but seriously, I don’t need it.  Unless work requires it, I have no desire to be reached by one more technological avenue.  Cell, email, instant messaging, Facebook, my blog….oh, and there’s always the land line I still have!

OK, so let’s see who’s up next:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Having some blog design fun!

You likey?  Here’s a little context to go with the new pictures at the top of the page:

The picture on the left is of Scott and me at the top of Mt. Lafayette up in the White Mountains of NH.  It’s a decent day’s hike that traverses 3 peaks with some fantastic viewpoints.  That remains our favorite hike and we try to get up there as often as we can. 
I put aside my fear of heights for this awesome hike with my favorite guy!

The picture in the middle is also in NH, but this is at the top of Mt. Washington.  I shot this photo as I waited for Scott to run the Mt. Washington Road Race – you know, a mere 7 mile run UP the mountain (or 6288 feet high).  That day was a perfect weather day and I even got sunburned!  Some race days of past were cancelled or cut short because the weather was too dangerous.  I love how the clouds seem like a marshmallow sea.  I probably should’ve included the youtube of “Stairway to Heaven”, huh?
What's the big's only ONE hill!

Lastly, the picture on the right is of Scott and me at my first appearance at the Boston Marathon – as a runner!  ‘Nuff said J
Bustin' with excitement!

I hope you like the new design!  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Real or Fake?

Christmas tree assembled – check.
Windows open for unseasonal warmish weather – check.
Checking off To-Do’s while listening to hundreds of songs shuffling thru my iPod – priceless.

Scott headed off to a cross country race this morning with Martyn at a local country club, while Bella and I stayed behind to spend some quality time together.  Translation?  Bella laying at the front door watching the world go by and me doing a bunch of random things.  Match made in heaven.

I like to take advantage of the long weekend to assemble the Christmas tree and get organized for the Christmas holiday season.  A few years ago, we made the big switch to the fake tree.  It’s working for us.  And we still lose a handful of “pine needles” during assembly, so it almost seems like a real tree!  Now, where did I put that “Evergreen” Yankee candle from last year……

No run today.  Still having some shin splint issues, so I’m opting for an every-other-day schedule for the time being.  I changed my mind at least six times this morning, but it felt right to stick with my plan.  Besides, I’ve gotten lots of cross-training in over this long weekend in the form of leaf raking and painting.  I feel OK about it.

Almost done renovating our new spare bedroom!  Today also finds me priming the closet door.  It’s a perfect day for it, since I have doors and windows wide open for ventilation.  It’s warmer than usual and there are no bugs =

Bella should be careful;  she doesn’t realize she’s involved in one of the things on my to-do list:  Give Bella a bath.  I won’t get many more opportunities to literally hose her down in the backyard without it being 10 degrees out!  Now, where did Bella’s shampoo go?  Maybe it’s with that Evergreen scented Yankee candle I still haven’t found…
I wish this was Bella in our bathroom!  She hates anything with the word "bath" in it
Now wasn’t that fun getting a little sneak-peek into my exciting Sunday To-Do list?  Back to my list before Scott returns home and I check off my final To-Do for today:  Become a couch potato while watching the Patriots game!

Real or fake?
(and c’mon, you know I’m referring to Christmas trees!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Six Spontaneous Saturday

1. Running in shorts and NO mittens in late November….priceless.

2. My rosebush is confused.  Late November….one lone bloom.

3. Found a great book via Kindle, called “The No Complaining Rule”.  More to come on that!

4. Did you know that females can get hernias?  Also more to come on that!

5. Went iTunes shopping last night.  Did you know that there’s a HUGE difference between Pearl Jam’s songs “Just Breathe” and “Breath”?  Yeah, that’s $0.99 I can’t get back.

6. I’m now a strawberry blonde (tapping into my inner funky). Weeeeeeee!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Small But Mighty

Here we are, Thanksgiving.  I have loads of things to be thankful for:  my health, my husband, my family, my friends.  I’m so grateful for all my new blogger friends and have a special place in my heart for the small group of friends who I feel I could share anything with and know they would support me (or give me a good shot of tough love) – whatever’s needed!  At a time when we’re all feeling thankful, I thought it would be a great time to highlight one of my friends.

I’d like to introduce you to my friend Sue.  We’ve shared over a decade of long runs, marathons, bottles of wine, and afternoons on the beach.  Our shared running has provided free therapy for both of us as we weave our way through our daily lives.  She has a great husband and two terrific teens, has a special position at a school where she works with students who have a variety of special needs.  Like all of us, she has her ups and downs, her successes, her challenges; but there’s something about Sue that inspires me in a different way.

First, a picture I shot of Sue as she finished her first marathon at Jacksonville – and BQ’d at that!  Don’t you think NIKE might want this in their next Ad campaign??

She had one remaining lap around this track to finish when I took the picture.  Funny side story:  We were in the stands, completely focused on the finish line clock that was counting dangerously close to 4:00.  We went crazy, cheering her on and willing her to finish in time for her (then) qualifying time.  Suddenly, one of us remembered that her chip time should be faster than the gun time (so she had more time than we thought) – but it was still such a rush thinking she was qualifying within one second of her BQ time!!

But it’s not the completion of that marathon or the BQ that inspires me, it’s what happened approximately two months after this day…

A brain bleed.

Technically, that is a stroke.  However, to this day, I find it hard to use the word ‘stroke’ because for me, it conjures up all sorts of images of weak and dragging and disabled.  And that is NOT Sue.  On that Valentine’s Day, Sue went out for a run with my husband – using part of the Boston Marathon course as their training run that day.  They were both excited to run Boston (it would be Sue’s first Boston!) and what better course than to run THE course.  By the next day though, everything had changed.

Sue, her family, and we friends all dealt with the shock of acknowledging what had happened.  Fortunately, she was seen fairly promptly, diagnosed, and then left to digest what this all meant.  She initially experienced the weakness I mentioned above.  And sometimes still has a slight dragging in one leg after a 20 mile training run.  I won’t be presumptuous and say “she was lucky” because who considers themselves lucky to have had a….brain bleed.  It’s just that one of my classmates in my Bachelor’s program also suffered a stroke in his 40’s and fared much worse in the impact to his cognitive strength and abilities. 

But there would be no Boston for Sue that year.  Like anyone injured in any way, it’s devestating to watch YOUR race come and go and not be a part of it.  A few of us went into the Boston Expo that year (Scott was still running, so had to pick his bib, etc up) and Sue joined in.  Afterall, she was able to defer her number for the next year.  She was a trooper and, if there were tears, I never saw them.  She had every right to feel sorry for herself, but she turned that energy towards healing and getting stronger.

Going on six years later, Sue is….well, Sue!  For those of us around her, she seems no different than life pre-stroke.  She continues to manage her busy household, do an amazing job with some challenging students in her classroom, has run many more marathons, and when she does experience that dragging leg after 20 miles, she usually refers to it as her “silly leg” and just moves on.   I hope that, if something like that ever happened to me, I would handle myself in the same way Sue has.  She has been and still is an inspiration.  I’m so thankful she’s healthy and so glad we’re friends.
There's always time for a goofy pose!
(Derry 16 Miler, Jan'10)

And just for the record, don’t we all start dragging after 20 miles anyway?  Just sayin’…..

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Think Pink (a race report)

Yesterday, I ran through the woods of Framingham.  A very low key trail race caught Scott’s attention and he coaxed, “Come on, we’ll run it together and you know you won’t get lost!”  So, we signed up.  As I talked about previously in my PMS post, I’d love to put an ultra on my running resume.  Yesterday’s trail race was another step in that direction.  And man, was it fun!

By the time we got to race day, I had picked up two of my friends who were also interested in running.  Actually, one was really interested, while the other was not so excited but took the leap anyway.  I hadn’t seen or run with these friends in awhile, so it was great to dive into this unknown trail world together.  I ran a trail race last year with Scott, but it was only 4 miles.  This was 10 miles and had some pretty decent hills –

The weather was beautiful, climbing into the 60’s early on.  This found most runners in shorts in mid-November – sweet!  I have been feeling a little lazy post-Cape Cod and this race, as low key as it was, really recharged me.  The hills were tough and there were plenty of rocks and roots to jump up and trip us, but the course was terrific.  It was so clearly marked with pink ribbons, that even I wouldn’t have gotten lost.  Now that’s saying something.

The volunteers were happy and silly and helpful at any point along the course where a runner might get confused.  There were spectators who ventured through the woods to cheer us on, including their dogs who at times tried to run alongside.  There was a girl riding her horse along the same trails as the race, so that presented a little challenge as we approached from behind.  We passed the horse, but not before checking with its rider to make sure we weren’t going to scare the horse.  All clear, and we continued on.  Not more than 10 minutes later, we heard the horse suddenly crashing through the woods behind us and jumping – yes, jumping.  We all dashed over to the side of the trail as the rider calmed her excited horse.  If our heart rates weren’t already max’d out, they were at that point.

One of my friends took a tough fall, but she was a trooper.  She assessed the damage (knees looked like they wouldn’t be happy later and some blood – tough chic!) and kept going.  A few minutes later, Scott got distracted as he was talking to another runner, and BAM, he went down.  Fortunately, no real damage done, no evacuation from the trail, no hoof prints from the horse, and lots of smiles during and after the race.  I’d say the day was a success!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Six Spontaneous Saturday

1. Nothing better than a Saturday where the only to-do’s I have are whatever I put on my own list.  To-do #1:  Be.

2. The 100’s of times I throw Bella’s Kong (and she retrieves) is a great way to keep my arm firm.  Now I just need to remember to use my left arm occasionally.

3. Anyone else notice that some men get more handsome as they get older?  I watched an interview from when Tom Brady first started with the Patriots.  Yeah, he’s definitely improving with age. 

4. The leaves we haven’t raked yet are serving to cover up the muddy skid marks the pups make when chasing after the Kong and each other.

5. It took just shy 3 weeks for my Cape Cod Marathon ear ache to finally go away.

6. You know the song “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”?  Well, the whole “don’t spit into the wind” concept….makes total sense.  On my run this morning, this novice spitter thought there was appropriate clearance and solid wind assessment.  Just as I spit however, the wind shifted and blew it back up into my EYE!  Are.You.Kidding.Me.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud J

Happy Spontaneous Saturday All!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wish I was a battery

Ever notice how easy it is to feed off of negative?  Why don’t we feed that quickly off of positive?  I wish sometimes I could be a battery, where I could just flip myself around – moving the negative to the positive position – and voila, energy would return.

Seasonally speaking, it’s hard to stay positive when it’s dark, well, all the time it seems!  I haven’t wanted to run and I quite honestly just want to sleep.  I know this will pass; it does so every time we turn the clocks back.  I’m annoyed at having to gear up with all things bright:  a reflective vest, a blinking light and/or my headlamp, and a dose of courage to actually get out there amongst the crazy, high-beamed cars and the boogie man.

The holidays are creeping up fast, and although I enjoy them enough, I find them fraught with too much stress and frenzy.  Not for me directly, but for those around me - it’s catchy nonetheless.  I honestly don’t get too stressed about Christmas shopping or cooking for holidays.  I know my limits and I’m no chef.  So I do what I’m comfortable with and buy the rest.  I do enjoy shopping for family and friends, especially when I have special ideas.  When I find myself resorting to Plan B (the gift card), I get discouraged.  Don’t get me wrong, gift cards are great and I love receiving them.  It’s just when I have absolutely no idea for a gift for someone and have to go that route that bums me out.

I’ve got some other things brewing that are not feeling all that positive right now, but I actually don’t want this post to turn negative.  I just wanted to address the negative.  Make sense?  So, because I’m physically incapable of recharging myself literally as a battery, I would like to take steps to recharge myself figuratively.  First step, focus on the positive.  Second step, repeat First step.

And maybe, just maybe, I can turn some negative into positive and pay it forward J