Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Redneck Roller

It’s been a humbling week for my legs.  Very few miles, lots of stretching and Advil, and lots of stern lectures to my calves.  Well, maybe that’s not entirely accurate.  Maybe my calves were giving the stern lecture to my head!  In retrospect, I see exactly how my calves got so cranky, so now I just have to ease back in.

Got a 4 miler in this morning and felt pretty good.  I did plan a couple of stretch stops, which definitely didn’t hurt (hoping it helped).  I also bumped into a neighbor who, after excitedly telling me about his upcoming Spartan race in a few weeks, encouraged me to use a roller on my calves.  I don’t own an official roller, so he offered up the idea of using a rolling pin – which I’ve dubbed my Redneck Roller.  Wow, it felt really good!  I’ll do it again in a little while, but first am going to get my butt out on my patio and ice.  I figure I can’t whine if I don’t at least try to do the right things, right? 

Hoping to still be able to get a longer run in tomorrow, but will try to find the least hilly route possible.  No need to piss off the calves any further.  And I will use my Redneck Roller for sure.  Redneck Roller…..man, I should market that.  I’m a genius.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Pout

And I’d been on such a good roll lately with my training….[cue the ace bandage]

OK, not to panic.  I still have 92 days until my marathon.  I’ve pissed off strained my Achilles/calf before, so know the leg will rally with a little bit of TLC.   The bummer is that I’m watching my mileage, my energy, and my eating habits go right out the window…..[cue the donut]


Whenever I’m not running well (whether because of attitude or injury), I tend to throw nutrition to the wind.  I love junk food anyway, as can be proven by past posts, but running/training tempers my constant craving for sugary junk food.  I also think twice when planning meals prior to a long run.  For example, hotdogs are not a good pre-long-run food and several glasses of wine…..well, ‘nuff said.

So, I will continue to keep the leg wrapped, stretch, take my Advil, bribe Scott for calf massages, and test the running waters again this weekend.  Wdkls bhe lushk!  (Uhm, that was “Wish me luck!” with my mouth full of donut).  Don’t judge.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Running – a world where there’s room for everyone!

The norm for one of my friend's running attire includes mis-matched socks.  It’s just a given.  In fact, I would check her for feverish delirium if she arrived ready to run with matching socks.  I am more of the matching sock kinda girl, which makes my running attire a little interesting today.  I have 2 odd socks and I’m going to have to go with it.  Regardless of my sock choice, I’m just another runner amidst my running world.


Running is a sport where one can be free thinking and creative.  I observe runners with mis-matched socks and with perfectly matched outfits (including socks).  I observe runners whose workouts include creative repeat sessions on a highway overpass – looks a bit odd, but I recognize that they’ve got some routine that helps them in their workout.  I observe super fast runners and the slower, sometimes newbie, runners.  Running embraces all kinds of people, all kinds of outfits, all kinds of speeds, all kinds of forms/gaits, and all kinds of attitudes.

I love the running world.  For all of the individual and unique differences that make up the whole, the running world accepts everyone.  Size, speed, ethnicity, race, and religion - these differences are all welcome and blend nicely in a complementary array of colorful running-wear, including mis-matched socks.  

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the greater world accepted such differences in each other as easily as the running world?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

Bella and Bauer are sisters – true sisters, as in litter mates.  Bauer lives directly across the street.  The 2 dogs love each other and pine away for each other from their respective all-glass front doors.  They play a lot.  They also fight.  But not in a bad way.  They fight over the Kong.  In this picture, Bella (my dog in the pool) has a firm lock-jaw grip on the Kong, while Bauer fights for ultimate Kong control….



What’s better than puppy play in a pool on a beautiful summer day?  Winning the Kong of course.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Averting Muscle Meltdown

Whhhhooooaaaaaa….time to stretch!  I’ve had some really good runs lately, but this weekend, I felt some steady calf/Achilles discomfort.  That’s a reminder for me to SIMMER DOWN!  Last week, my 18 mile run with Scott saw an increase in mileage, hills, and speed – all.at.once.  Oops.  Although I felt great, I realize I need to address stretching (or lack thereof) before my muscles and tendons rebel.

This weekend, my plan to decrease my long run to 14 miles and follow that with a 6 miler on Sunday was well timed.  Both runs felt decent enough, but I was very aware of that pulling sensation in my calves.  Lo and behold, I discovered a small bruise on each calf, approximately 6 inches from the bottom of my foot.  I’m no exercise physiologist (though I did change my major 27 times and land in a Sports Medicine program for a semester – that makes me a professional, right?), but me thinks this is not a good sign.

So, before things get crazy and I find myself injured, I’m taking this week to reign it in a bit and stretch.  Because seriously, no one wants to hear me wine.  Oops, I meant whine.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Top 10 things NEVER to do on a run

10. Never wear only a white running bra in the heat – unless you WANT the attention
9.   Never take a handful of Motrin or Excedrin
8.   Never perform snot rockets into the wind


7.   Never try to out run the cyclists – they’ll win every time
6.   Never swear at your support person – you might need them further up the road
5.   Never talk with a mouthful of GU
4.   Never use a non-authorized water stop in a marathon (garden hose water = yuck!)
3.   Never stash a bottle of water overnight in the winter – instant popsicle
2.   Never believe a spectator when they cheer, “You’re almost there!”


And the #1 thing never to do on a run…..(drum roll please).......


1.  Never use ANY type of leaves as toilet paper in a pinch.  2 words:  POISON.IVY.


Friday, July 22, 2011

New Running Partner

5:40 a.m. was still not early enough to run in this heat wave.  And for me, getting up that early to run is right up there with an Act of God or Congress.  I know most of the country is suffering along with me, so I won’t rant and rave too much about the heat.  It’s gross, it’s hard to breathe, and honestly, I’m tired of the air conditioning.  I did have some unexpected company this morning in the form of a new running partner that distracted me a little bit from the heat.

Shortly into my run, New Running Partner (NRP) quietly joined me.  It annoyed me that NRP didn’t seem to be sweating or laboring as badly as I was.  In fact, NRP was doing circles around me.  No matter how hard I tried to run to create some space between us, NRP was always right there…taunting me.  Who is NRP?  Here, let me introduce you –



The dreaded horse fly.  Yes, NRP was an annoying, taunting, and biting horse fly.  I couldn’t shake him!  He (or one of his posse) stuck with me throughout my 5 miles.  If it wasn’t bad enough that the temperature was already in the 80’s with humidity at 73%, now I had to expend more energy in swatting at and cursing this flying beast.

I swear he was laughing at me too.  It was tough holding onto a 9 minute mile pace this morning, which is slow enough for horse flies to land briefly enough to BITE.  OUCHHHHH!

I think the only thing that saved me from the big red welts horse flies are famous for leaving behind was that my skin was so drenched from sweat, he probably slid right off of me!

SCOREBOARD
Lisa
Horse Fly
1
0

Thursday, July 21, 2011

All Cape…all the time!

I’ve committed to 3 races for this Summer/Fall season and all have the word “Cape” in them.  That doesn’t dazzle you in any way?  No?  Well, I think it’s cool. 

Cape Ann YuKanRun ½ Marathon
Cape Ann Race Around the Cape 25K
Cape Cod Marathon

My big race is the Cape Cod Marathon of course.  And it’s only 100 days from today!!  Interestingly, while training for Boston this past Winter, I wasn’t sure I would be registering for a Fall marathon.  I was feeling tired and a little burnt out from training.  Yet, just a couple of months post Boston 2011, I have never felt stronger.

The thing about marathon training is, it’s hard.  It’s long and sometimes difficult to hold the pace throughout the weeks needed to get there.  So far this Spring/Summer has found me re-energized.  I don’t really know why, but I am not questioning it.  I’ve had 2 really strong marathons recently that have helped me see that I can push a little harder and not die.  In fact, I did more than not die; I did OK.  So, with that in my recent running memory banks, I feel like I’m channeling the Kara Goucher in me.  Although I am far from being an Olympic athlete, I too face the challenge of how to improve without breaking.  I don’t need to win these races (good thing, cuz that ain’t happening anytime soon), but my goal is to be able to keep doing this as long as I can. 

I’ve heard good things about the Cape Cod Marathon, but also that it’s a very hilly course.  Good.  I’m ready for hard and hilly.  I’m hungry for a challenging course.  I’ve got hills already in the bank with more to come!  So, when I’m ready to make that withdrawal from my “hill account” in October, I plan to have plenty there to draw from.

I’m also looking forward to seaside views….




And the blur (hopefully I’m running that fast) of the cranberry bogs… 





Mostly, I’m eagerly anticipating the approach to beautiful Nobska Lighthouse….


My other 2 “Cape” races are in a different area of the state, but still beautiful.  Both are run along coastal routes with ample rolling hills to keep me honest.  Each will serve as a great training opportunity to help with speed and endurance, but also help keep me engaged in my marathon training.  There’s nothing like a race to keep things exciting.   

Hello Cape Cod Marathon medal....come to mama!!





Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The 18 miler happy dance is ovah

5.25 miles…check.  Hard.  So very hard.

                                     Bella:  Is she dead?
                                     Scott:  No Bellz, she'll be fine.
                                     Bella:  Oh good.  Can I have a cookie now?


Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.
Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.
Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.
Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.
Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.
Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.  Hard.

Monday, July 18, 2011

King of the Mountains

OK, so I’m obviously not racing in the Tour de France, but feel like my long run yesterday equates to winning the coveted “King of the Mountains” polka dotted shirt.  The hills did feel like the Alps after all.

Every once in awhile, Scott and I run a long run together.  Yesterday was one of those days.  Scott headed out earlier for a cool 6.4 miles, then picked me up for a warmer 13 mile loop.  Per usual, I ran a faster pace than I usually do, just from the fact that I was running with a faster runner.  That didn’t last too long though, since this 13 miler consisted of a series of hills I’ve only dreamt of.  Er uhm, nightmares might be more accurate.

I generally like hills.  They break up the course, make me stronger, and provide a real sense of accomplishment when I reach the “summit” (yes, more references to mountains).  It brings me back to my cross country season in high school when my coach ran behind us as if to push us up the big hills.  His words of wisdom that I’ve never forgotten, “Never stop mid-way up a hill.  Allow yourself to stop just a little after reaching the top….by then, you won’t stop”.  He was so right!  By the time the pain of the ascent is over (past the top), I shake it off and celebrate on the descent.  As you can see, I had lots of opportunities for ups and downs. 

The run was challenging, between the distance, hills, and the heat and humidity, but we maintained a solid pace.  We call this particular route “Turtle Alley”, but it’s not because the stretch of this long ascent makes you feel like you’re running slower than a turtle.  There are actually turtles crossing….

The scenery provided a beautiful distraction; quintessential New England farms and rolling landscape as far as the eye could see.  I did mention hills, right? 


I finished the last 5 miles on my own.  After a quick change of clothes (yes, I was that drenched from the heat) and some refueling, I was off.  I slowed from an 8:30 mins. pace with Scott to a 9:00 mins. pace solo.  But I’m OK with that.  I was hot, tired, and needed to be done.  I pretty much told myself that – out loud – with 2.5 miles to go.

Recovery began with Ruffles sour cream & onion potato chips and a strawberry Powerade Zero.  Dinner was Chicken Tuscan Stew, a great recipe that has everything you could want to replenish a depleted body.  Scott does a great job making recipes his own, so instead of staying with the stew, he served it over jasmine rice.  A really nice blend of spices and a hearty meal for a decent recovery.


Total mileage for me yesterday was 18 with an average pace of 8:38.  I enjoy running with my friends, I enjoy running solo, but I LOVE running with my Scott.  He pushes me in a good way, is very encouraging, and makes me laugh.  Plus, he says I look good in polka dots. 





Saturday, July 16, 2011

Race Recap – Kids Triathlon!

This morning I left my house early, armed with camera and cowbells, to cheer on the kids participating in a kids triathlon in a neighboring town.  The website describes the event/program in this way:


The Tri Racing for Our Kids (TriROK) Foundation is dedicated to defeating childhood obesity one family at a time through the three sports of triathlon - swimming, biking, and running. We believe that every child has the right to learn how to swim, ride a bike, and the tools to be fit for life - and we know that children learn best from their parents. That's why our programs embrace a whole-family approach to fitness and focus on creating permanent, sustainable lifestyle changes for our participants.


I was really there to cheer on Caitlyn, my favorite almost-6-year-old in her first triathlon.  She was bursting with excitement!  And frankly, so was I.

Endless fun activities for all ages were sprinkled throughout the grounds, from face painting to bouncythingamajigs to a dunk tank.  And there seemed to be tons of volunteers, a sign of a well run event.  One of the most entertaining things I witnessed was watching kids get “inked”.  Those kids were ecstatic at the prospect of having their bib # and their age officially marked on their arms and legs.  The younger 5-6 years olds were especially adorable; their eyes wide opened as if to say, “I can really get written on and not get yelled at?” Yes, young athlete, it really is OK (and rather cool) to be inked.

I scouted out a good viewing spot at the pool, but the chain linked fence was a challenge to my amateur photography attempts.  I watched Caitlyn fidget a bit as she waited to start her swim and guessed she had more than a few butterflies in her stomach.  When she saw me in the audience, she smiled and waved to me.    Melt.My.Heart.  

Caitlyn was in the first heat and had no problem in the pool.  She is a little fish and is lucky to have frequent access to a pool.  She’s also already very competitive and it showed in her game face – she was ON!  I had a stupid grin on my face as I watched Caitlyn and mom Meaghan exit the pool and proceed to the transition area for the run leg.  For the 5-6 year old group, there was no bicycle leg.  Afterall, too many 5-6 year olds are still attached to their training wheels.  That would’ve been super cute, but likely a logistical nightmare.

Transition was, well, like most transition areas I’ve witnessed;  crazy, chaotic, and awkward.  There was one very big difference though – Caitlyn’s transition area was totally bedazzled like only an almost-6-year-old would have.  Meaghan helped Caitlyn with her shoes and somehow got her running outfit on her constantly moving body.  Off they went for their run!  The one thing the volunteers weren’t able to tell me however, was where the little cherubs would be finishing.  So, I missed the finish completely.  Curses.  On a good note, I clearly heard the booming voice over the loud speaker announce Caitlyn’s finish.  Hooray!  Medal, water, snack, red face, big smile……job well done! 


During a time when the obesity rates continue to rise and some are proposing obese kids be taken from their parents, what a breath of fresh air to witness this type of positive event.  Fortunately, Caitlyn’s already a healthy, fit, and active child, but even for those who aren’t, this type of event can’t help but motivate and inspire children to get moving.  It warms my heart that foundations are being created like Tri Racing for Our Kids (TriROK) Foundation and it comforts me that our children will get the right message and stay healthy; thus, growing old enough to become President one day!






Congratulations Caitlyn!!




Friday, July 15, 2011

Things that made me smile today

  • My Scott 
  • It’s Friday
  • It’s sunny and NOT humid
  • I saw a puppy being walked – and he had a stick in his mouth that was twice the size of him
  • A freebie Gingerbread Construction Co. muffin for breakfast
  • I’m able to eat aforementioned Gingerbread Construction Co. muffin guilt-free because my metabolism says so
  • My favorite Thai food for lunch - Chicken Ginger
  • Thinking about going to cheer on my favorite almost-6-year-old when she participates in her first kids triathlon tomorrow!  How cool is that!

P.S.  It wasn’t all sunshine today, but I’ll leave the details of Bella’s untimely bowel explosion while we were at work off the list of “things that made me smile today”.  The poor thing was so sick……  Now I’m trying to clean up without her seeing me (she just seems like she feels bad).  But I can add that what makes me smile from this mess is that she ate her delicacy of hamburg and rice, so that’s a good sign J
Bella, sleeping it off under the kitchen bar


This Cinderalla must get back to cleaning the floors….

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Inspiration to start...

I’m one of those people who have a hard time just “being”.  If something is grade-able or measureable in some way, I’m challenged by it and want to obtain the best grade or result possible.  That’s why returning to school in my 30’s to complete my bachelor’s and then master’s degree was “easy”.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no genius and I don’t say that to be cocky.  I say it because it falls right in line with what drives me.  I worked hard and lived for that grade report.  I also love gardening – again, it’s something I enjoy doing and am able to enjoy the result.  However, I love music and am dying to learn how to play the guitar Scott gave me as a graduation gift 2 years ago – but guess what?  It’s hard.  And, there’s no grade, no medal, no immediate gratification of being able to strum my way through a relaxing John Denver tune by the campfire.  So, I’ve yet to start.


But, boy do I love medals…..


Scott and I have collected a colorful and diverse family of medals to reflect our running adventures.  There are the revered medals from the Boston Marathon, there are medals that came in a 3-part series (run a 3 miler, 4 miler, and a 5 miler and each medal connected to the bigger medal – sweet!), there are medals that brag age category placement, and there are medals that reflect a magical Disney Goofy Challenge.  Scott still claims he had to run the Goofy Challenge because I wanted all three medals.  OK, he might be partially right.

 
T-shirts can be pretty cool too.  One in particular, the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon t-shirt, stands as my favorite right now.  It’s a light wick away shirt with a simple design.  Part of the reason I chose my Fall ’10 race in Albany, NY was for the date:  10.10.10.  I mean, it’s just cool right?  With two of us runners in the household, the t-shirts do tend to multiply quickly.  But they’re another form of proof that a race was run, a finish line reached, a goal achieved.

 
Running….yep, pretty much got that down pat.  Can I get better?  I think (hope) so.  For now, I have my medals to remind me of how much I have accomplished through the years.  My guitar continues to glare at me from the corner, challenging me to test strum it out, and I continue to have my own struggle with allowing myself to do things without the burden of proof that I must display any kind of awesomeness as part of it.

I wonder if they award a medal for just “being”…..(I’m kidding, I’m kidding!!)  Sort of.

What inspires you to start something new?



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weekend Running Recap - Trumpets and Darth Vader

Had a great running week last week!  For me, 36 miles is something to celebrate.  Add the heat and humidity, and I dub myself a running rock star. 

Ran a 15 miler on Saturday in the heat and thick humidity.  It was the longest run I’ve done since Boston in April and it was one of the hilliest routes I run.  Meaghan and I ventured out early (not early enough for the heat sadly) and tackled the hills.  Our pace was very consistent mile by mile, and overall, it was pretty uneventful.

On Sunday, I amazed myself yet again (still touting rock star status) by going out for a 5 miler.  I call it amazing because I rarely run the day after a long run.  My first mile was slow and included lots of inner voices coaxing my legs to work again.  I felt like I worked so hard for that first mile that I thought for sure I had done a low 8.  Notsomuch.  8:52 for all that hard work?  Had to dial it back.  Actually, I heard Scott yelling over my inner voices at me to “Let the run come to you!”  Interestingly enough, my second mile improved immensely to an 8:30-ish with half of the huffing and puffing of the first mile.  Mile 3 found me on my least favorite street, yet on Sunday, it became the most entertaining part of my run.

I rounded the corner and started up the wimpy incline that feels like a mountain and heard a trumpet playing the following ….. 


Cracked.Me.Up.  Not that it was bad playing or anything, but it was just so random and so unexpected.  And it made me smile, which is always a good thing on a run.

I couldn’t help but think what great timing it was to hear “The Imperial March” as I’m attacking my least favorite part of my run.  It was almost as good as the Taiko drummers that helped me scale the big hill at Vermont City Marathon, but in a Darth Vader kind of way.  

Pressure’s on for a new running week, but not so much pressure that I can't find reason to smile for some part of my run.  Wonder if the trumpeter takes requests.....

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Age

Age is a funny thing.  For us runners, it can be the difference between qualifying for Boston or not.  For us women, it can be a very loud tick-tock sound of our biological clocks reminding us we’re running out of time for plans of baby making.  For anyone who feels hostage to age, it can be a lonely place.

Recently, I turned 45.  And for a few months prior to the big day, I found myself dreading it.  I can’t really put a finger on it, other than just the mere sound of 45 freaked me out a bit.  45????  Seriously??  My timing of turning 45 and running my 3:56 at Mohawk Hudson River Marathon and my 3:57 at Boston Marathon, enabled me to qualify for Boston 2012 under the old time criteria.  WAHOO!  Up until that point, I was fortunate to run Boston twice as an unqualified runner, but spent an exorbitant amount of money to do so.  It was totally worth the money by the way, but I digress.

Recently, I’ve found myself questioning which “group” of people I belong with.  I have a close friend who is just shy 32 and another who just turned 50.  Scott runs with a close friend who is 63.  At a July 4th cookout, I hung out all afternoon with Melissa, a 20-something, talking about running, labs, and general healthy/fun living.  On our Grand Canyon trip, Scott and I met a family traveling from a neighboring town.  What are the odds!  Lou and Denise had taken their son Nick and his girlfriend Ashley on this wonderful rafting trip.  We connected with them pretty quickly; the fact that they were wearing our home team Patriot’s game shirts didn’t hurt either.  I thought it interesting that, as much as I chatted away with Lou and Denise, I felt equally comfortable doing the same with Nick and Ashley.  Lou and Denise are a few years older than we are, while Nick and Ashley are in their mid-20’s.  Where did I belong?

Do we need to belong to just one age group or demographic?  I don’t believe so, but it does beg the question of what connects us and to whom.  Obviously, our running friends have the running part in common.  And this family we met in the Grand Canyon was similar to us in that they were active and clearly gravitated to the same adventurous trip as we had.  And coming from New England, there was a definite Boston accent echoing in the Canyon….

I’m glad that I can mingle with different age groups.  I feel like it enriches me.  Of course, I don’t ever want to be the 45 year old who tries to look or act 20-something, but it’s refreshing to engage in conversation with younger and older people to gain different perspectives.  I also don’t ever want to focus so much on age that I land in that lonely place.  We all “go” sometime, but you won’t find me watching the clock for my turn. 

I will watch the clock for my next race PR though……and will proudly represent the 45-49 age group!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Food glorious food!

Working where I do is a constant threat to my weight.  As you saw in Gingerbread Construction Company Friday, food has permanent employment here.  Today is all about cupcakes - Frosting Friday!  Afterall, we had to be good consumers and celebrate the grand opening of the new local Stop’n Shop.  It’s only right.

This cupcake was amazing….



And now there’s one left and I found it on my desk.  My coworkers are enablers – all of them!  Fortunately, I have a 15 miler planned for tomorrow.  That should work off at least the frosting…

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Blog-iversary!

It’s been one month since I started writing in this blog.  I wasn’t sure if anyone would be all that interested in what I had to say, and honestly, wasn’t sure if I’d have enough to say.  Silly me.

This month has seen –

  • My running mileage increase in preparation for a Fall marathon
  • My running mileage decrease due to vacation and then sickness
  • My running mileage increase again once I felt human again
  • A twice-in-a-lifetime Grand Canyon adventure (we are SO going back)
  • A relaxing and fun July 4th weekend, filled with friends and food.  Did I mention food??
  • My discovery of a wonderful new outlet in the form of this blog, allowing me to reflect, share, and learn


Looking forward to many more blog-iversaries to come!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hey everyone, meet The Gecko!

Today my mom mounted this awesome mosaic tiled gecko she created on the perfect rock in my rock garden.  She does such beautiful work that I couldn’t resist showing it off –


It was extremely hot today, so I was a good daughter and provided shade. 



Now that my rock garden is all jazzed up with the gecko, I need more!  A couple lady bugs, dragon fly, and humming bird would be perfect company for the gecko.  Don’t you think?

So many rocks, so little time....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wise Grasshopper

In 2001, Scott ran his first Boston Marathon – but this would probably be the most memorable race in a bad way.  At just about mile 26 in a time of roughly 3:09, his muscles cramped up.  Maybe “locked up” is a better description, but either way, he went down and his trashed legs gave up.  Did I mention he was at mile 26?  Did I also mention he could see the finish line?  The runners around him tried to scoop him up and help him, but the medical personnel reached him first and yanked him to the medical tent.  2 bags of saline and approximately 45 minutes later, Scott was finally released to complete the .2 miles to the finish.  Scott’s come a long way since that race and he – and I – have learned a lot from what happened that day.

Running, like most things in life, takes practice.  We start out slow and often get slower before we get faster.  We experiment with nutrition, shoes, body glide, and GU.  We celebrate shaving minutes off of our time.  We jump for joy if we place in our age group (as long as we don’t pull a hamstring).  Most importantly, we learn from our own and others’ mistakes.  In my opinion, Scott didn’t necessarily make a mistake at Boston that year.  I believe it was attributed more to his inexperience in taming the adrenaline of turning that corner and seeing the finish line (yikes, I get goosebumps writing that!).  When I finally ran my first Boston in 2010, I rounded that final corner, caught sight of “Scott’s” medical tent, took a deep breath, and remembered to keep my adrenaline in check.  Because of Scott.

Scott’s been a great role model – in more areas than just running!  Sometimes it’s time to push; sometimes it’s time to back off and save it for another day.  Scott’s first Boston taught us both how adrenaline and inexperience (it wasn’t his first marathon, but it was early on in his marathon repertoire) can be a bad combination.  Several Boston Marathons later, Scott has had near perfect days where he BQ’d there, and he’s had days where the temperatures were just too high to go all out.  He’s learned to adjust his race day expectations that day – regardless of how well prepared he is.  The lesson here is listening to the body when it gives warning – and learning to adjust when the weather or the body has other plans. 

Wise Grasshopper can be your husband, a coach, or the latest copy of Runner’s World.  I learn from my Wise Grasshopper everyday and for me, so far so good.  No IV’s hanging above …only finisher medals for this chick!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Camaraderie

Once upon a time, there was a runner-girl who frequently ran by my house.  I watched her run by and marveled at how she made running look so easy … so effortless.  Driving through town, I would see runner-girl on many different roads, putting in lots of miles in that effortless manner.  And she looked so damn good while doing it, dressed in her coordinated, “fast” running clothes.  I wanted to be her.  And because that’s impossible, I named her instead.  Yep, I named runner-girl:  Stacey

My close running friends know this story and they totally get it.  Why?  Because we each have our own Stacey in our lives – you know, someone who we’d like to be or at least be like.  After naming Stacey, I felt like I had this new “comrade” who could teach me how to run with ease.  Ultimately, she would end up teaching me without lecture or any formal training plan; she would teach me through demonstration.  She showed me that all it takes is to get out there and run;  I was a good student and started to run.

Back in 2005, Scott was out running one day and, after seeing a couple of guys running down our street on a regular basis, joined them on their run.  That moment molded a new friendship with Martyn and Andy that continues today.  Recently, Ron joined the group.  Just as Scott had done, Ron also noticed the regular routine of the guys’ running schedule and routes.  One Sunday, Ron was parked outside of Martyn’s house – waiting for them.  Now there were 4.

While running a local 10 mile race in 2003 with friends, I heard a voice behind us yell, “Hey, what pace are you girls running at?”.  I answered, and that’s when Meaghan entered the picture.  She and I paired up, chatting as we ran, and quickly discovered we were both using this race as a springboard for the same marathon:  Vermont City.  What followed was a shared training schedule, where we ran almost all of our long runs together.  Even better, a friendship blossomed and 7 years later, we’re still going strong.

Camaraderie is defined as:  comradeship; good-fellowship.   Running offers a camaraderie I never knew could exist and am so grateful to have discovered.  Running has brought me so many new friends and so many great experiences that I cannot imagine life without it.  And over this past month, I entered the blogging world and found a whole new camaraderie with you that I can’t wait to foster!  

It’s been over a decade of stalking observing Stacey.   I’ve never spoken to her, aside from the standard runner’s wave as we pass each other running on the road.  And I’m no longer the student, but a fellow runner – comrade.  Camaraderie can exist even between people who have never met.  No words or explanation needed.  A simple runner’s wave says it all.