Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cape Cod Marathon – Part I (a pre-race report)

I love when people say, “I hope you win” when they hear I’m running a marathon.  I never win in the sense that I break the tape, but I do win every time I get to the Start line and then again to the Finish line.  I’m happy to report that I got to the Start and finished my 9th marathon at Cape Cod in 3:57:30.  And left nothing on the course.  Nada.

My biggest pain resulting from the Cape Cod Marathon?  An ear ache.  Yes, folks, an ear ache. Why?  Well, glad you asked……But I’ll get to that.  First and foremost, THANK YOU all for your encouragement and well wishes as I trained for my marathon.  It’s been great to share my first, of hopefully many more, marathons with my blogging friends. 

So back to the ear ache……

New England was hit this weekend with a freakishly early Nor’easter, sending 1-2 feet of snow in some places, and hurricane force winds in others (yes, that would be Falmouth, where I was).  This constant weather threat pummeled my pre-marathon psyche like none other.   
And it delivered.  Which meant, for the first time ever, I wore tights, 2 shirts, a wind breaker, and mittens for the ENTIRE marathon.  And I was not overdressed, nor was I the only one layered up like that.

Mother Nature did cut us a break and put a cork in the downpours that flooded many of the streets throughout Saturday night.   However, she did leave us some serious wind and temperatures in the 30’s at the start Sunday morning.  And as you can see, there was some snow that fell sometime during the night as well.  And did I mention wind?  This was some angry surf at Nobska point on Saturday.
So I think you get the idea.  We New Englanders are pretty accustomed to storms coming off of the Atlantic ocean, but running a marathon in what felt like one huge wind tunnel?  Less than ideal.  And definitely the source of the stabbing pain in my ear today.

Walking downstairs?  Not so bad.  Ear?  That’s another story.  Go figure.

More to come on the actual race ……
Exhausted and Exhilarated

Friday, October 28, 2011

TGIF (or, what’s made me smile today)

  1. A sunshiney day
  2. A day off from work
  3. A slower pace (because of #2)
  4. Scott’s home early!
  5. Got a grateful wave and smile from an elderly woman, in response to my patiently waiting for her to cross the street
  6. Saw the sweetest sight of a dad and his little son walking out of the library.  Actually, the son was skipping – awwww.
  7. My taper related twinges are just that; taper related, and not anything to worry about
  8. Read the most perfect guest post from misszippy’s awesome blog.  Perfect way to get my race head calm and focused.
  9. Great mid-day hike (and swim for Bella) with my little family (thanks to #4)

10.  Secured perfect post-race goodies for Sunday  (yes, the wine is called Cupcake and the cookies are Cinnamon Roll with frosting.  Speechless.)

This is definitely motivation to finish 26.2!!!!!!

And don’t worry, I’ve tasted the cookies, to make sure they’re it’s not poisonous.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011


With my marathon 2 days away, have I decided now to get hypnotized?  Nah…..I’m the ultimate skeptic.  But Bella, she’s another story….

I’m pretty sure Bella has wonder powers, as she is trying desperately to hypnotize me into getting her some tasty puppy treats.  And I'm feeling guilty.  But let’s back up a day... 

Yesterday was a disaster.  It was one of those chaotic and frenzied days, where nothing seemed to go right.  It’s those days that I try really hard not to succumb to the “OK, what’s going to go wrong now” theme.   I was doing OK, but then I jammed my heel as I closed the door (owwwiee!) and whacked my knee while moving a chair (are you kidding me!).  Yep, 2 days pre-marathon…..right on schedule.  My friends have threatened to wrap me in protective bubble wrap, but I think I’ll be OK naked (sans-bubble wrap, that is).  And so, with all of that said, I was a cranky, raving lunatic yesterday.  And Bella was in the way.  Big time.

I adore my dog.  But yesterday, she was a complete NUDGE.  No matter how much I played with her or took her for walks (even a run), she was pacified for about 2.3 minutes.  Then the whining would begin again in earnest.  I think she was annoyed that I went into work yesterday, instead of my normal work-from-home day I’ve been blessed with.  She had me for the 2nd half of the day, as I returned home after the meeting I went into the office for in the first place.  But apparently, I disrupted her routine.  And she let me know it.

Today was a better day.  Although I was at work all day and she of course slept a good part of it, I took her for a nice walk in the cold, raw rain (paying my penance) immediately upon returning home.  Then her sister came over, so Bella and Bauer got to play like only littermates can play.  Now?  Now I give you the picture I posted above.  What you can’t hear is the whining that is her way of saying, “Treats, mama....I need treats!”, followed by "Come on, let's go out and play!"  Because of course, she doesn’t care that it’s cold, rainy, and now, dark outside. 

Maybe it’s time for me to re-read my own post and remember to be 10 again…. After all, I kinda owe Bella.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Now THAT’s a medal

Boy, Scott knows how to pick’em!  A last minute entry into the inaugural Green Strides Half Marathon scored Scott one of these awesome YO-YO medals –

And a decent Life Is Good T-Shirt -

Never mind the beer and Flatbread pizza – YUM

Like I said, Scott sure knows how to pick’em!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Excuses, excuses….

Or not.  The latest Tufts commercial is definitely about excuses and makes me laugh every time I see it:

But when I think seriously about reasons things go wrong or don’t go as exactly planned, I rarely use the word ‘excuse’.  Here are some of my thoughts about things that don’t always go according to plan….

Weather – You sign up for a race (especially a race such as a half or full marathon) 12 – 17 weeks out.  You have no idea what the weather will bring.  If you’re my husband, you get Rockfest in rain and wind.  If you’re Meaghan, you get Chicago in 80 degree heat.  If you’re Sue, you get rain no matter what race you run.  Not sure what the weather will bring for my race this weekend, but whatever I get is whatever I get.  I’ll dress for all types of weather and if it’s a head wind I get, it’s a head wind I fight.  I won’t celebrate a head wind, but I realistically know it would likely affect my pace.  Excuse?  Nope.

The Body – Oh, the body works in mysterious ways!  You practice the right combination of nutrition throughout your training period and then, BAM, you get a cold or WHAM, you get a sour stomach on race morning.  Especially during the Fall season, colds and flu run rampant.  Whether you’re a parent with children in germ hell  school or have the unluckiness of having to board a germ fest  airplane, you run the risk of getting sick.  The immune system is tired and maybe even pissed at all you’ve put it through.  I do what I can beforehand with regards to eating and drinking properly and sufficiently enough.  And I’ve embraced Emergen-C as some added insurance.  It’s gross, but it’s one more thing I can (sort of) control.  Excuse?  Nope.

Goals – Going into anything in life, whether it’s running a marathon, starting a new job, or going back to school, you gotta have goals.  Heading into my nineth marathon, I stand by my first and foremost goal of “Finishing with a smile”.  Finishing a marathon is not a given.  Plenty of athletes do not finish races because of a myriad of reasons (notice, I didn’t use ‘excuses’), so why would I be any different?  Too much can happen to sabotage a runner’s goals of finishing a race.  Of course I have my stretch goals of PR’ing and of requalifying for Boston ’13, because without those stretch goals, I might just get complacent.  I work hard at targeting goals that are realistic.  With a current PR of 3:56:36, requalifying for Boston (my time for ’13 is a 3:55 qual time) is indeed a realistic goal.  If I stretch too far, say a goal of 3:40, then I’m likely setting myself up for some major disappointment.  Not because I don’t believe in myself, but because it’s not what I trained for.  With goals set and training winding down, I may reach my stretch goals or I may have to be OK with celebrating my “Finish with a smile” standard goal.  Either way, it means my training gets me to the finish line.  If I (shudder) wasn’t able to finish, it means I have some work to do in understanding what went wrong.  Excuse?  Nope.

I think for me, excuses lie in a core desire to not do something.  For those of us who are doing something – and this isn’t just about running – things are not always going to go according to plan.  It’s this scenario that leads me to my anti-excuses crusade.  We have no one to apologize to if we don’t meet a goal or if an experience isn’t exactly as we hoped.  We have only new opportunities to better ourselves and fine tune whatever trainings we’ve got going on in our lives. 

I head into marathon week as a very excited runner who is anxious to see what Cape Cod, my body, the weather, and my goals have to offer.  And regardless of my stretch goals, you can be sure “Finish with a smile” will be my mantra somewhere between miles 26 and 26.2.  

Just in time for my Finish photo J

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Girls Weekend!

Mom and I took North Conway, NH by storm!   Our goal was more about getting our Christmas shopping mojo sparked, but we got the additional bonus of a great leaf peeping weekend as well.

Arrived in the mountains region on Saturday by 2:00 and were starving.  My earlier 12 mile run proved a good reason to get myself some solid food long before 2, so I needed something – and stat.  But since we had a wonderful dinner planned, I didn’t want to have too big of a late lunch.  This did the trick….with some chili on the side J
Then it was off to the stores….a little bit of L.L. Bean with some Eastern Mountain Sports sprinkled in, provided a great introduction to our shopping weekend.  From there, we headed toward the “old” North Conway shops.  Those shops are where one finds the most unique items.  And then some.  The Penguin Store is my all time favorite –
We also hit Zeb’s, the most interesting country store that houses everything you’ve ever wanted from your growing years.  Whether you’re 45 or 25, Zeb’s has the toys or the gadgets you grew up with.  Very cool stroll back in time.
After lots of browsing and some buying, it was finally time to head to our favorite North Conway restaurant:  Bellini’s.  Only, we found out the hard way that they changed their name to Vito Marcello’s.  Same fantastic Italian fare, different name.  OK, now that we’ve got that settled….

Bring on the lobster ravioli, a glass of pinot grigio...
…and wonderful company in the form of Mom!

They even had a decent vegetarian selection of eggplant parmesan for Mom.

Day #2 lead us back to “old” North Conway, where we visited the slam dunk of the best shop ever; a 3 floor shop that ran the gambit in crafty and artsy creations called the North Country Cottage.
We scored some great buys, both as Christmas gifts for others, as well as for ourselves.

To round out our shopping weekend, we stopped at The Met and had a nice hot chocolate accompanied by scone and apple turnover.  Sitting in the front window, just watching people go buy….Aaaaaahhh.
No trip to North Conway is complete without a little side trip to my brother’s house!  [Special shout-out to my Garmin, for providing clear directions so I wouldn’t have to go the longest route possible]

Got to see 5 nieces out of 6 of the 6-pack and of course my twin brother and his wife.  Even Meagan, the oldest, was home for a weekend from college – bonus!  We didn’t stay too long, but long enough to do a quick catch-up, and watch a fantasticly funny video my mother took of three of the girls previously performing a home-made fashion show.  I also got to see just how my brother loves his hot peppers.  He grew them in his garden and was now drying them on this platter as well as hanging from his kitchen window.  Tim, you can have’em!
What a great weekend!  For such a short period of time, it really did feel like we were there for so much longer.  We both got our Christmas shopping started, we ate very well, I stayed happily distracted during my weekend before my marathon, and best of all, we had some great time together, just Mom and me.  Can’t beat that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rainy days and Wednesdays

Even Bella has no use for this weather….

I’m just glad I got a dry run in this morning!

Monday, October 17, 2011

When it’s not all about me

I’ve run in many races, but the Mike Donohoe 5K that Scott and I help “run” has got to be one of my more satisfying efforts.

Five years ago, a friend Scott runs with told us about a new race that was taking form.  He asked us if we’d like to join the committee – afterall, every race committee needs a few runners, right?  The timing could not have been better.  We were closing a particularly painful chapter in our lives and this new race served as a perfect way for us to focus on something greater than ourselves.

The Mike Donohoe 5K race was conceived because of a sad ending to a man’s life.  Mike Donohoe fought and lost his battle with Melanoma, and to keep his memory alive, his closest friends and family decided a road race would best emulate the life that Mike brought to those around him.  Scott and I never knew Mike, but we were quickly and naturally invited into the fold of his family and friends.  We were all there for the same goal.

Yesterday, the 5th Mike Donohoe 5K was run on a gorgeous Fall day, with the sun shining and the leaves turning.  We had over 800 participants who ran and walked the flat 5K course.  As Scott and I manned the post-registration table, we were struck by how many people wrote checks out for much more than the actual race entry fee.  Many registrants complimented us on our “green approach” to registration, which included 3 laptops to record runners’ names, ages, towns, etc.  The timing people, armed with a simple thumb drive, easily downloaded the information and uploaded to their system.  Voila, that was easy.

Other participants commented on how community friendly our event is.  We have a kids race that goes off a half hour before the main event, and we have medals for the top finishers!  The other kids get ribbons for finishing, that include a coupon for a free ice cream at the local ice cream place.  In addition, we also have “Team” and “Club” categories, so if the Cross Country Team or Chorus club from any area school competes as a team and obtains the best time, they receive a trophy bowl that sits at their school for the year.  Many parents loved this idea and thought it a great way to get/keep kids out there engaging in healthy activities.

And for the masses, we had food.  Boy, did we have food!  I indulged in a delicious Kayem hotdog (donated in volume by Kayem!), once my post-registration duties were done.  There was a popcorn machine and lots of baked goods provided by some of the committee members and other volunteers.  Add a DJ, some decent raffle prizes, and cash awards for the top 3 finishers, and you've got yourself a PARTY!

Over the past 5 years, this event has raised a significant amount of money that has gone towards the Melanoma foundation and to our local high school in the form of a scholarship.  The genesis of this race may be gone, and sadly, his family and friends are left with only memories.  But new memories continue to grow with every year this event takes place.  A number of students have benefited from the scholarship fund and who knows how many people might survive Melanoma or prevent it from occurring in the first place because of this event.


I’m proud to be part of something that sends such a great message, that has become a great community event, and most importantly, that’s not all about me.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Day in Pictures

Started my day running 16 miles at just about marathon pace - yeah!
Lunch time!  I know many can’t stomach sardines, but they are a great source of calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and protein.  Been eating these forever, but now I’m coming out of the sardine closet!
As I busily checked off my to-do’s, I inhaled one of my new favorite bars.  Fiber One, you had me at….Oat & Caramel.  YUMMY!!!
Quick trip to the paint store, so I could freshen up the trim below front and back doors.  Check another thing off the list!
All the while, I’ve got my most calming, peaceful, and pretty music going in the background.  Occasionally, a Christmas tune finds its way into the mix!
Local farm stand puts out the last of its seasonal flowers for $1.00 each.  I was able to grab 8 before the well went dry.  8 for $8.00…..SCORE!!!  Off to plant them, now that the rain shower has passed. J
There are other things going on that aren’t worthy of pictures (i.e. cooking, laundry, some housework) – yawn.  But the day has been one of those “perfectly aligned in the universe” days.  I don’t get days like this all the time, so am enjoying every minute of it.  

Here’s hoping you’re having one of those days with me!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Not just for breakfast anymore….

Don’t you just love having breakfast at lunch time?  I do!

Although the fruit is a smart, healthy choice, I have to admit I was a little disappointed at the absence of greasy homefries as a side.

Celebrating a coworker’s birthday more than makes up for the lack of homefries though ….

Bon app├ętit!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“Life’s a learn as you go” ~ John Michael Montgomery

Hi, I’m Lisa……a woman, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, an auntie, a friend, a runner, an employee, a writer, a singer, a mama to Bella.  The parts that make up the whole of our identities are so important – not so individually - but more as a whole.  When any one part overwhelms the others, an imbalance can occur and that can be trouble.  At least for me.

In my 20’s, I was a total workaholic.  I felt so engaged and so invested in my role, that I didn’t think I could be out even for a day.  When Scott and I got married, one week away for our honeymoon seemed excessive.  Crazy, right?  But that’s what happens when you’re trying to climb the ladder and you’re a perfectionist.  The passing of my mother-in-law served as a huge life lesson for me.  I knew she didn’t have much time, but I was trying to “wrap up one more thing” at work and then “I’d get right home”.  Too late.  I still tear up to this day, 15 years later, when I think about not getting home in time.

Going back to school in my late 30’s to finish my Bachelor’s was another life lesson.  I was suddenly juggling a new challenge:  writing papers, reading to truly comprehend, participating in a classroom setting, and public speaking.  I thrived with this new challenge and really enjoyed learning again.  I also made wonderful friends and learned as much from them as I did from the instructors.  But as a true perfectionist, I wanted A’s.  Yes, I’m that student.

Running also began in my 30’s and, to this day, is one of the best things I’ve ever started.  Again, I made room in my daily life to add a new activity.  Full time job, school at nights with homework during weekends, and running.  This introduced a whole new lifestyle, as I had to place an importance on my running as much as I did on my job or my latest research paper.  With running, there was no grade.  No pay increase.  More importantly, my reward was less stress, fewer pounds, leaner muscles, and a newly discovered confidence.

For the first time, I felt truly balanced.  No longer were all my conversations with friends and family focused on work.  I was now energized by conversations focused on my latest class, a paper I was knee deep in, a road race I’d just completed, or a new friend I’d met on a race course.  I think it made me a better person. 

When I find myself out of balance, I tend to revert back to the old days and focus on that one thing that doesn’t feel right.  By doing that, I risk missing all of the goodness that the good stuff still has to offer because I’m so focused on whatever feels broken.  I don’t think I’m all that special in that I would venture to guess lots of people react this way.  We want to fix what’s broken, right?  We want to be perfect, right?   Fortunately, nothing’s really all that broken and (gasp) none of us will ever be perfect.  But the 40’s are showing me that I shouldn’t waste time obsessing over my identity, but rather spend that precious time nurturing it through my own dance.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Memory Lane – Mohawk 10/10/10

Wow, one year ago was my marathon PR at Mohawk Hudson River Marathon.  Since it’s the anniversary and also since my new friend Terzah asked me, I figured I would jog down memory lane and relive that great day….
LOVE this medal :)
As I’m sure many runners did last year, I chose a marathon that would play out on 10/10/10.  Kinda cool, right?  Mohawk was close enough for a good old fashioned road trip, yet far enough to feel like a weekend getaway.  The weather was beautiful as we set out.  There were four of us running full or half marathon.  We got to Albany safely and without drama, checked into our hotel, took care of our bib pickup, and went to grab lunch.  At this point, Sue’s hubby and younger son met us!  Kind of a surprise, but not really – you have to know Sue’s husband.   From there, we did some walking around the city and more eating and drinking to prepare for the next day.  We wandered into the Finish area and got chills (as I am writing this!).  The Finish was on the Hudson River and it was very pretty.  And it was the Finish….best part of the race!  
Scott, Sue, and Reed with some new "friends"
Very cool architecture in Albany
On the bridge that lead to the Finish - seemed appropriate for the day before
Finish area!
Race morning came and it felt c-c-c-cold!  I don’t recall the actual temperature, but it was perfect for running.  The buses took us to Schenectady and left us in a park.  Most of us gravitated to this wonderful outdoor fire pit and got as close as possible to warm up.  I definitely remember my toes feeling numb at the start.  One dramatic moment with the buses occurred when we heard one of the marathon buses took its runners to the half marathon start.  Oops, that could’ve been disastrous!  Fortunately, they worked it out and the runners got to their correct starting point.

Then the gun went off…..and a girl fell!  Right next to us.  Sue and I looked over at the falling girl to see the runners next to her scoop her up as if on cue.  Poor thing..what a way to start a marathon.  That drama and the normal chaos of a race start got Sue and me separated from just about the beginning.  We had different goals, so I didn’t expect we’d stay together the whole race, but guess I thought we’d run together long enough to at least say “good luck”!  I looked around a few times, couldn’t see her, so just had to quietly say “good luck” and continue on.

The course was prettiest in the early miles and then covered primarily a bike path route.  I felt like I was on fire (in a good way).  Maybe 5-ish miles in, I saw Sue’s husband and son – they were in full race support mode.  From that point on, it seemed like I saw them every few miles and it was such a lift!  I didn’t expect it at all, so having it was such a gift.  I remember feeling a little anxious about the mile 17 train tracks – you know, the ones that allow the train to cross the race route?  Yep, that one.  I approached the area, saw a bunch of volunteers hanging around, but no train!!!  YEAH!  I’m guessing I got to about the 17.5 mile mark when I heard the dreaded train whistle…..  Phew, I had made it without having to stop and wait.  And later I found out Scott and Sue had also been uninterrupted.   Others weren’t so lucky.  Apparently, there were far more runners affected that year than expected.  I heard 2011 was going to see some improvements to that situation.

The usual tired and sloppy miles came as they always do when you reach mile 22-ish.  I stayed focused, walked a little to calm my dizzying head, and then shuffled my way to Buffalo – oops, I meant Albany J   I knew I had pushed in a way I never had before, so when I saw Scott cheering me on from the sidelines and then the clock that read 3:56:36…..I just about lost it.  I didn’t go out to set a PR or qualify for Boston, but I did set out to push myself – whatever that meant – and see what I had.  Turns out I had much more than I thought.  Wonder what Cape Cod will bring…

(And no, there aren’t any cool marathons scheduled for 11/11/11…I checked months ago L)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mind in Motion

Over the course of 22.25 miles, one sees, thinks, and experiences many things….

  • Got to run a couple miles with Scott, as he was heading to meet his Sunday running buddies
  • Got a puppy greeting from Piper, a small black lab mix, who escaped his front door and thought I needed a kiss
  • Got to say ‘hey’ to a friend I went to high school with who also still lives in town
  • Got to say ‘hey’ to another friend (the one who got me the invitational apps for Boston previously)
  • Got to see a flock of wild turkeys (from a distance – phew)
  • Got through my run with no creepy people
  • Got a nice “are you OK” from a passing motorist (not creepy, and I was a hot mess afterall)
  • Got to throw a ball to yet another dog who had been retrieving it in the marsh
  • Got a nice breeze during the sunnier and latter part of my run
  • Got to feel the strength in my legs again
  • Got to channel my inner Chicago for Meaghan
  • Got to revive my fading tan in this last minute Summer weather
  • Got to reap the rewards of my patience, my icing, and my prayers to the running gods
  • Got to have all of these thoughts to distract me from a warm, long training run!

I still have some work to do, but today’s long run was a huge boost to my recently mended mojo.  Felt good, felt strong, and am just about there in feeling ready for race day.  That’s what taper is for, to ignite the fire within, while my body heals and rests for the big day!

OK, back to….doing absolutely nothing.  Love these kinds of Sunday afternoons.  Hope everyone had great runs, races, or whatever made up your Sunday J

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Long Run Eve

I headed out this evening at sunset to plant a couple of Gatorades for tomorrow’s final long run.  Final.  Long.  Run.  Wow, time flies and yet I’m ready for this training season to come to a close.  I’m ready to race.

I jumped in my car, turned on my heated seats (so what if we’re experiencing an Indian summer) and my mellow tunes.  As I drove parts of my course to strategically plant my fluids for a warm day tomorrow, I felt so calm and so ready for this run.  I’ve been nervous and out-of-sorts lately, with the calf/Achilles/shin issues lingering, but worst of all, I misplaced my mojo this past week.  Each tentative foot strike conjured up visions of a strained this or a pulled that.  I think I was being too careful.  This morning’s 5 mile run finally cured me.  I felt strong and I willed myself to stop focusing on my muscles or tendons.  I simply went into auto-pilot mode, found my natural stride again, and really enjoyed my run.  Tomorrow’s 22 miler is a far cry from today’s 5 miler, however my head and my mojo have found each other again.  They’re a force to be reckoned with (when they get along).

Driving the pretty country roads, I took in the beauty of the sunset, the marsh area, the calm water, and the pretty homes.  Most of all, I enjoyed the feeling of anticipation of my run.  Not anticipation in a stressful or pressured way, but anticipation that comes from the pure joy of being healthy and able enough to plan and execute a 22 mile long run.
Phone cameras just don't do it justice!

22 miles….even when I say it, I’m still in awe of that kind of distance.  And I’ve done it many times.  I can only imagine what my non-running family, friends, and coworkers think when they hear me say it!  And I’m glad I’m still in awe.  It keeps me honest and it keeps me humble.  I hope to run for a long, long time.  I’ve got lots of running plans yet to unleash and lots of new roads to cover and sunsets to plant Gatorades by.  For now, I celebrate the closing of my 9th marathon training season and look forward to more celebrations at the Finish Line of Cape Cod Marathon.

Ready or not, here I come….

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Being “10” again (aka; A wet weather race report)

It’s a downer and it’s messy.  Whether you’re walking, running, or hiding out indoors, wet weather is difficult to tough out.  Years ago, Scott and I drove to the White Mountains for a day of hiking.  The more North we headed, the worse the weather got.  We were not prepared.  Instead of throwing in the towel and returning home, we stopped in Lincoln, bought ourselves some wet weather gear, and headed to the mountain trail head.  Our motto we created that day stays with us still today, “It’s time to be 10 again!”.  You know, when you were 10 years old and your parents had to drag you indoors from the puddles of a rainy day?  Yes, that 10.

The Start of Rockfest Marathon 2011!
Sunday tested that motto when Scott ran his 19th marathon in the pouring rain.  Lots of other runners ran their marathons and half-marathons in the rain as well.  Let’s face it, we runners crave the perfect weather day when we run a race.  The longer the race, the more important the weather.  All week leading up to Scott’s race, the forecast looked perfect;  cloudy, cooler than it had been, no rain.  At some point during the week, the forecast changed (go figure, here…in New England?) to now include ‘possible showers’.  Sunday morning, the resonating sound of raindrops – heavy, steady ones – served as our alarm clock.

Scott’s a professional adjuster.  He decided he’d drive his truck to the race, while I would follow just a bit later.  This way, he’d have protection from the elements right up until the race start.  Did I mention there were no indoor facilities to hang out in?  He used his special recipe that prevents bleeding nipples:  corn pads with mole skin as ‘glue’.  He also dove into his magic hat of running tricks and retrieved his trusty Hydropel.  Good.Stuff.  He was ready to splash run through 26.2 miles.
And I was ready to splash through 26.2 miles of professional spectatorship!  I was lucky to have my friend Sue accompany me.  She was a great copilot, especially when roads we never thought would be closed off were!  We had fun ringing our cowbells for Scott and for all the runners around him.  There’s something very cool to witness a cow bell pull a smile from the battered body of a runner at mile 20…..

Scott leading a pack!
Scott looked very strong for most of the race.  He was smiling at mile 8 and again at mile 16.  At mile 20, he took on more of the true grit marathoner, digging deep for a pace he wasn’t sure he could maintain.  The thing about Scott is, he knows what it’s like to go out too fast, to not manage the race well, and to get caught up in someone else’s pace.  He learns from these mistakes and uses what he learns in his next marathon.  Because of this, Scott was able to manage his race and help mentor a first time marathoner on the course that day.  At mile 16, Scott threw her one of his extra GU’s and water from my stash and introduced us to Nicole, exclaiming “She’s the female leader and it’s her first marathon!”  Although Scott gave her advice on-the-go, it wasn’t to be for her on that day, during that race.  I saw the female winner break the tape, and it wasn’t Nicole.  But she rocked and I think she might’ve learned a couple things from Scott.

The lesson here is to go in with the right attitude, no matter what the weather conditions.  Because Scott didn’t let the wind-driven rain deflate his sails, he was able to run a strong 3:18:11, qualify for Boston 2013 (including meeting the 5 mins registration wave), talk to other runners, mentor Nicole, and smile at most of the points I was able to see him.  

I’m so proud of my Scott.  He embraced his inner 10 year old and rocked the Rockfest Marathon of 2011!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Time-Out is Ovah!

After 2 weeks of barely running, of missing a 20 mile training run, of more icing than I’ve done in my lifetime, of a steady diet of Advil, and of daily pleas for calf massages from Scott…..I ran today.  And damn, it felt good.

Originally, I had 18 miles on the schedule, but given the fragility of my lower legs lately, I was OK with adjusting as needed.  I set a course that would take me 8 miles one way, pass by my house (built in water stop), and then 8.4 the other way.  I sought out a course like this for 2 reasons:  1)  closer to home if the worst happened, and 2) hill avoidance.  I know, two months ago I was seeking out the hills!!  But my calves screamed and I listened.  So I steered clear of the hills for the most part.

I kept my pace considerably slower than I have throughout this training period and it seemed to work.  My first mile felt a little “iffy”, but I figured I had to give my legs more than one mile to shake out.  Afterall, it’s been a funky two weeks for them.  They’re human too.

At times, the pace felt punishingly slow, but I reminded myself mile after mile that today’s run was more about confidence building than speed building.  Speed is part of what got me into trouble in the first place.  I was extremely tentative heading out this morning, but within a few miles, I found my mojo.

No more time-out!!!!!
My calves put me in a serious 2 week time-out, and though I tried not to whine too much and take my punishment like a big girl, it’s been a tough time-out to get through.  Funny when you suddenly can’t do something; you find you want it so much more….