Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

DIY birthday (cuz that’s how I roll)

Today is Scott’s birthday!!!  And I did not bake or buy him a cake.  His sister visited him today and brought her own, and knowing their other brother wouldn’t be far behind, she brought a big enough cake for all. Thanks Deb!!  

I would feel a little guilty except for the following –

1)  Scott’s not a big cake eater, so when it’s just the two of us, we’ve tossed many a cake after many a birthday. 

2)  She left our house with some wonderful coffee, courtesy of my new job.
It’s a win/win!

Happy Birthday to my best friend – forever.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I salute you, Mr. Slowsky

Awhile back, I wrote about Stacey, a runner in my neighborhood who inspired me.  I wrote about how I didn’t know her name, but to make it easier to refer to her, we named her Stacey.  Of course, there are other runners in our neighborhood who we don’t know but have grown accustomed to seeing day after day.  Another one of those runners we dubbed Mr. Slowsky. 

Mr. (and sometimes Mrs.) Slowsky ran by our house on almost a daily basis.  The word “ran” might be a questionable verb here, since their pace was that of almost a walk.  But I use the word “ran” because they were moving in a forward direction, moving their arms, breathing hard, and well, running.  Day after day.  I’m not judging, nor am I ridiculing; but the Comcast commercials depicting the Slowsky turtles is what came to mind and the nickname stuck.

One day while on a run, I approached Mr. Slowsky from behind and, although I tried not to startle him, of course I did just that.  He apologized for his slow pace and even referred to himself as a “turtle”.  I responded, “Hey, we’re both moving in the same direction, so it’s all good!”  He smiled and gave me a wave and a “Have a good day” and I passed him to continue my run.

I just found out that he died suddenly this past week. 

I now know his name and, based on his demeanor on the road as well as his obituary picture, he seemed like a good guy.  He wasn’t a whole lot older than Scott and me, and word is he was exercising just before passing.  It’s sad to hear of anyone passing and it’s unnerving when their absence suddenly hits – even a stranger.  I will miss seeing him run by our house and I will miss his friendly wave – you know, the runner’s wave that says “we’re all in this together”.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Someone got seriously grounded today….

My little angel was mid-play with Scott this morning, happily retrieving her beloved Kong.  That Kong trumps all other things, except……for a passing dog walker.  And it’s that dog.  You know, the one who growls each time she sees Bella.  Super.

I get it that dogs need to work their “stuff” out, and that they probably do a lot better job than humans (I just can’t envision dogs holding grudges).  However, Bella made a bee line across the street to get to that dog.  There was no fight that I could see, though it all happened so fast, and Scott was out there in an instant to grab Bella.  My dog is definitely a lover, not a fighter, but she still had no business lurching at them.  And most definitely had no business in the street. 

We were lucky in that no cars were zooming by and grateful that Bella isn’t, by nature, an aggressive dog.  We’ve had other run-ins with that dog, though we’ve each learned to cross the street when we do approach, so we’re aware that there’s no love loss there.  I still felt terrible.  I know that when I’m running on a street, for example, the sight of a charging dog is not too comforting. 

Scott’s a good disciplinarian with Bella and, at 4 years old, she’s a very well behaved young lady.  Today was a good reminder to us that we can never trust our dogs, no matter how good they are all the rest of the time.  And it was a good reminder to Bella that being grounded stinks.  I think she’ll stick to her Kong for awhile.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My own private Derry/Boston Prep

My husband and most of my friends have been planning to run Derry this year.  Derry, as it is referred to by most of us, is actually called Boston Prep.  It’s a moderately challenging course with 16 major hills.  16 major hills over 16 miles…in late January.  By the time Derry came about (today), every one of them decided against running.  Unfortunately, there was ample injury and illness that triumphed over the solid training needed for this no-nonsense kind of race.  With Scott and our friends no longer running the race, Scott and I ventured out for our own Derry. 

Lisa’s own Derry Boston Prep –

The official Derry Boston Prep –
I’m not sure why the elevation charts aren’t populating fully, but you get the idea.   

Today’s run was really hard.  Not just because the course had some decent hill-age, and not just because it was only 11 degrees when we headed out and I had multiple layers on.  It was hard because I felt tired and not mentally equipped to do this dance.  Enter Scott.  He seemed to know just what I needed and selected this course because he knew I needed a confidence boost.

We didn’t cover 16 miles, but we came close, finishing at 14.5 miles in 2:06.  I wasn’t sure I had this distance in me after my surgery (which is why I didn’t sign up for the official Derry), so successfully completing today’s challenging 14.5 was a huge feather in my cap.  And Scott, who is still monitoring a funky foot issue, is benefiting from running a slower pace with me.  It was a win/win!

I’ve got a nothing-kind-of-day lined up that includes a nap, leisure blog reading/posting, mindless Facebook stalking, and soon, some good ole cheering for our New England Patriots!  Aah, life is good.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Remember your first?

I was catching up on some blog reading today and came upon a video of Michael’s first marathon - Disney '12.  Her husband ran it with her and took video along the way  Disney was my first marathon.  My husband ran it with me.  OK, I’ll admit it, the video made me cry.  Happy tears though, definitely happy tears.

Do you remember your first?  (well, not THAT).  Disney for me was this big mysterious race that I wasn’t sure how to complete.  I knew deep down that I would complete it (there’s the naiveté of 10 years ago speaking) but I had no strategy whatsoever.  What I did have was a Scott.  Scott was already well into his marathon career and knew what it felt like to hit and then surpass the 20 mile mark.  He knew what to do (and not do) when his body gave him certain signals or when the weather decided to zig even though he had trained for zag.

Watching Michael's video, I was so happy for her and for all runners who take the plunge into an unknown distance.  Her excitement, her nervousness, and the encouraging voice of her husband brought me back to my own 26.2 magical miles at Disney.  My husband talked me through the tough miles, reminded me to slow down when the excitement of a particular stretch (i.e. Main St, Magic Kingdom) got me charging, and encouraged me relentlessly through the whole experience – including the training. 

I had other support as well.  My mom had a Vermont teddy bear shipped to our hotel in Florida.  Not just any teddy bear.  This bear was dressed in running gear!  She was so excited for my marathon debut that she shipped herself down to watch in person.  Out of the thousands of runners and spectators there that day, Scott and I spotted my mom and Kenny in the crowd.  Biggest.Smile.Ever.  Our friends back home called us to wish me luck, their excitement for me coming through the phone line loud and clear.  How lucky to have had so many family and friends cheering me on.

As I train for my 10th marathon, Boston, I reflect on my first and for all those that have and will come after.  They’ve been such awesome accomplishments – whether I met a time goal or not – just knowing I can make the commitment, train my body and my mind, and execute on race day. 

When Scott arrived home from work today, I replayed Michael’s video for him and yes, I cried again.  That’s when he decided he wants to run Boston with me in April!  This will be my third Boston, but my first Boston that I get to run – and finish – side by side with my best friend in the world.   
First Marathon After-Glow

Friday, January 20, 2012

Playing nice in the sandbox

It’s so interesting how one training cycle can differ so greatly from another.  Take last Summer:  I was ON.FIRE!  For a good chunk of my training for Cape Cod Marathon, I felt like I had found a new gear.  Each run felt better than the last and I felt a new confidence. I did experience my humbling moment (or maybe it was more like a few weeks) of shin splints that reminded me of my continued human status, but for the most part, it was a fantastic Fall training.

Boston is what...12 long runs away?  Ruh Roh.

I do have 2 legitimate reasons for feeling a little behind on my training – if not physically, definitely mentally. 

1)   The hernia surgery.  I was fortunate in that my surgery was text book and my recovery drama-free.  But I still had to put in the “time” of recovery.  This resulted in almost 3 weeks of no running. 
2)   The new job.   No complaints whatsoever.  Love my new job.  It is however very all-encompassing – as most things are when you’re new.  There have been many work dinners and many long days.  Some days I’m beaten down by the intensity of the day, and other days find me beating down the treadmill at the hotel.  I’m getting it done on the run, but not as often as I’d like.

So, my training season hasn’t been bad, but it’s just felt a little……lackluster.  I’m still excited to run Boston and I’m still working hard to light a fire under my training, but the calendar is starting to taunt me.  “So, Lisa, when are you going to get a 20 miler in….hmmmmm?” 

It’s not the winter plan I wrote about back in early November after Cape Cod.  In fact, I’ve had no races since Cape Cod and have none planned until Boston.  I haven’t given up the idea of running an ultra, and with all this hotel activity lately, I do have a pool at my disposal should I decide it’s time to train for a triathlon.  So the desire is definitely still there.  I just need to encourage my body, my mind, and my new routine to all play nice in the sandbox!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Touched by a stranger

Like many of my fellow bloggers, my heart fell when I read the terrible news that Sherry Arnold is no longer with her family and friends who love her.  Instead, her family and friends are grieving and thinking about planning a funeral.  And those of us in her community (and extended community) are left wondering why such a senseless loss has occurred.

I’m angry.

As you may’ve read in one of my previous posts, I felt like I was being followed on a run one morning and it was very scary.  I posted that post to remind all of us that we can never be too careful.  I don’t know the details of what happened to Sherry and I’m not insinuating that she wasn’t being safe.  But I do hope that, if one positive thing can come of this tragic event, it’s that even ONE of us runners becomes a bit more paranoid, a bit more armed, a bit more suspicious.

It’s awful to go through life looking for bad people.  But my belief is that, if you want to reduce your risk of becoming a victim (of anything), you must be on the lookout.  Sometimes bad things, really bad things, happen to good people.  That’s what I’m angry about.  I’m angry that we as females have to feel so vulnerable.  I’m angry that someone like Sherry who was such a great person in her family and her community was taken so early and so unacceptably.  I’m angry that today’s news made me wonder about my own running routes, how much I share on blogs/FB/etc, and my own vulnerability.

I’m glad Sherry’s family has such a strong support system.  That was evident in the news coverage showing how many people came out to search for her.  I can only hope that her family, her friends, and her kids (both her own as well as her students) can remember Sherry for all the good that she obviously was and did, and replace today’s terrible memory with her goodness.

I’ve been touched by a stranger.  There’s always a reason…..

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Random adventures of the new kid

My brain is saturated with new information, new faces, and a new culture.  My body’s stiff from long drives to my temporary location which takes me through 3 states, including mine.  My running is alive, but a little discombobulated from the travel, the brain saturation, the dinners out…..

Yeah, I know.  Poor me.  NOT!!!

It is hard being new anywhere.  Everything you do feels like a chore;  finding the bathrooms (in my case, that’s multiple locations), finding the right people to help you, avoiding the political land mines, and working hard to make sure that first impression is a good one.  I’m a little tired, I’ll admit.  I’m in Day #6 and am already anxious for some routine and familiarity.  I’ve made some good strides though.
  • I haven’t gotten lost (driving or maneuvering through the hallways – much)
  • I’ve met a lot of great people who seem genuinely happy and enthusiastic about my arrival
  • From the people I’ve met so far, most of them are runners – be still my heart
Highlight of my day today?  Setting off the smoke alarm in my hotel room this morning.  Who knew  the shower was that hot.  Fortunately, I was able to wave the steam away and stop the beeping before a group of fire fighters knocked down my door.    In lieu of a run, it sure got my heart rate soaring!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Whirlwind of a Week

I started my new job this week and…..I.HEART.MY.JOB.  Well, technically, I haven’t really done anything yet.  But I had 3 full days’ worth of orientation and a strong appreciation for this great new company.  I left today feeling so lucky to have been plucked from the candidate pool and dubbed an employee.

I’ve spent my first week in the cold northern kingdom of Vermont.  What better way to meet many of my coworkers and others I need to partner with?  I’m grateful my company sees the value and is encouraging me to see and be seen.  Although I miss Scott and Bella more than I can express, I’ve had a great first week absorbing Vermont, the company, the culture, and – the hotel’s treadmill!!

I’ve always had trouble getting my mid-week runs in.  It’s a schedule thing.  I’m not a morning person, so I often leave my run for the evening.  Then, I’m tired, Bella needs attention, I have laundry beckoning.  The list is endless.  The biggest plus about having to be away from home is that I have really nothing to prevent me from getting the runs in.  Although I feel guilty for leaving it all behind, Scott’s a true champ and is holding down the fort while I’m away.  So, I may as well stay fit while I have to be away, right?

And speaking of fit, it’s hard not to indulge in all the foods I normally wouldn’t dream of ordering.  Although a $3.50 glass of wine is hard to pass up, I just can’t get into bad habits.  Like anything new, I just need to find my new routine and let it work for me.  I also remember when I thought dining by oneself had to be the worst experience ever.  I’ve done this many times now and it’s not so bad.  One night, I bumped into a fellow newbie in the hotel restaurant, so I invited her to dine with me.  We had a great chat, some laughs, and it beat going solo all week.    

So forgive me for not reading or posting or commenting – like, at all this week!  I’ve missed you, but truly had no time (and no laptop until tonight) to do anything.  I’m surprised I’m still awake enough to type this, but needed to feed my blogging craving!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Long Run – sort of

Things are going well with my running and I’m happy to say I feel better each time I head out.  I’ve been fortunate to have decent weather and a handful of days off (due to holiday and ending old job/starting new job) which has helped with the whole “fitting it all in” challenge we all have.  I’ve been running every other day, to ensure I don’t overdo, and today was the second day of back-to-back weekend runs. 
I set out for 6 miles – 3 out; 3 back – my longest run in over 3 weeks.  About ½ mile into it, I heard some footsteps behind me.  It was Martyn and Andy!   We wished each other Happy New Year, they asked about Scott (my poor husband is nursing a foot injury), we ran together for maybe ¾ mile, and then split off to run our respective routes.  I was thrilled to be able to keep up with them (or maybe they let me keep up – either way, win!) and even more thrilled to finish my run feeling strong while rocking an 8:43 average pace.  It’s funny how humble you become when you’re able to run after injury or other break in training.
Double digit long runs - coming soon to a theater near you...