Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Greetings from New Mexico

Hola!  I am currently sitting in a little internet cafe here in the Land of Enchantment, reading a few blogs and answering 20 questions from Andrew.  Here are a few of his ridiculous'll know why I needed to take a little break after you read these questions I ponder from him:

- how to work on a consistent routine to get psyched up for running
- picking music to run with (when is it good / when is it bad)
- how much do levels of testosterone and estrogen matter if you are a runner
- how much does stride, strike rate, and foot plant matter to speed, endurance, and energy conservation
- how much does a coach help in improving your running?
- how can you judge what is achievable?
- are there test runs you can do to tell you what level of fitness you are at and how much work you need to do to get where you want to go
- what can we expect are the fitness losses as we age

Yeah....I know....
The Rio Grand River

Anyway, I've been down here a few days and am so ready to go back home.  Tomorrow.  Yay!  I actually managed to get out for a little run along the Rio Grande River the past two days.  Yesterday's 5 were brutal -  turns out this little exercise program (click HERE to find out what I'm doing) that one Mr. Kova suggested I try the other day, left me unbelievably sore for THREE DAYS, and all I could crank out with my sorer than sore glutes were 5 slow miles.  Actually, I felt better as I progressed, but decided that I'd be better off trying to get a few more out today (today as 6 miles...which left me so frustrated).  I'll talk more about that workout next week, but just know, in case you are foolish enough to try it and not in very good condition anymore, it'll KICK YOUR BUTT!!!   Well, maybe just mine.
(ok, sorry for the crazy highlighting, I'm about ready to scream at blogger!!!)

After a little jaunt along the Rio, the boys and I made our way the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History (aka: museum for total science nerds - right up my alley!!).  Actually, the museum wasn't too bad - for about the first 20 minutes, and I kinda got into the Marie Curie (10 bonus points for the first one who can tell me why she's famous!!  THINK back to elementary school science class....I know this was a long time for many *ahem* aside from me), but after that I about fell asleep during the exhibit.  Until .... I spotted this puppy....

....back in the 40's, this machine was in shoe stores and you put your feetsies in this box and then pressed this button and instantly, you were given an x-ray picture of the bones in your foot.  Apparently, the shoe store dude knew what type of shoes to get you....but whatever....HELLO!!!!!   I was practically in tears - this little device could give me the diagnosis to my HEEL issuse!!  I begged the nice 90-year old question-and-answers man, who was just a simple volunteer at the museum, if he'd fix it so it'd actually work again.  I'm not asking a lot am I??  Here I am, with the machine that can actually give me a clue to my mystery heel pain and I'm not sure why, but he thought I was a little strange and continued on to some more sane people with sane questions about nuclear bombs.  So I tried to look excited about the Fat Boy and Little Boy bombs (yawn), as I had to leave my little machine behind.  Rest assured, I'm scouring ebay when I get home for said little machine - I don't really care how harmful this piece of equipment was due to extreme radiation exposure ... very small minor detail.
B52 - it's humongous.  Those are my boys standing there

Today we made our way for a little hike and exploring the Cinder Cone volcanic remnants, east of the city of Albuquerque.  We've always had a great time over here (remember, science geek girl here) and despite being blown all over the place due to high winds,we still had fun.
Inside a little cave located in one of the volcanoes
So my kiddos are sitting here glaring at me so it's time to close and get them fed and get our stuff packed up so we can get back to Colorado tomorrow.  Sorry in advance for the typos, I don't have time to proof-read.  I, for one, am very anxious to get back home and get back to some sort of exercise routine - I have eaten way too much food and spent way too much time sitting (it's a long car ride...) - I love to travel, but there's no place like home....

...but stay tuned for a post later this week, a little treat you could WIN!!!  Win??  From me???  Yep, that's right!!  And it's a doozie, unlike anything ever seen in blog world, something from the Land of Enchantment

Until then....  Happy Miles!!  Can't wait to catch up with all when I get back.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Boston Speed Limits

There's been a lot of buzz going around about the fact Boston sold out faster than Ryan Hall could run it.  Well, not quite... but almost. 

Many believe the rapid sell-out was because the standards for woman's times are "too easy" comparatively to the male counterpart, and the below chart (thanks, Beth!) shows that indeed, females have steadily increased the percentage ratio of those running to practically a dead heat of 50/50.  Whooa, that's pretty impressive. 

Personally, I don't know if females times are a little more comfy than the men and honestly, I don't really care.  The BAA has researched in great depth using muscle mass ratios between men and women and changes in body composition as each of us age, and these are the standard times they came up with.

Their race, their rules. 

We don't have to like it, but it is what it is (didn't you just hate that when you were a kid and your parents said that after you screamed, "that's not fair" when your brother got to stay out later than you did?).  If we want to play the game, we have to abide by the rules.  Would I like to see time changes made?  If, and ONLY if, there is a legitimate reason to other than "it sold out too early last year."

This is my personal take on a few Boston thingies:
1) I think there's a bajillion more marathons now in 2010 than there were when I started marathoning in 1997.  And specifically, more certified BQ races.  People are racing more marathons because, well, there's just a lot more out there to choose from and we don't have to drive all over the U.S. to get to them.

2) I think more women are running marathons in 2010 than when I started running them.  And definitely from when Kathrine Switzer tried to somewhat disguised herself as a man in 1967 to run in Boston.  More women running marathons = more women qualifying.

3) I think both men and women equally set certain benchmarks to reach their goals and if that benchmark is to BQ, I feel women are much more emotionally attached to actually RUN Boston.  This is just my hypothesis - I know so many guys who have qualified and have no desire to actually take out a 4th mortgage to fund their way to Boston, they just want the check mark checked.  Women - no way, we want the proof, we want that damn jacket!  Men may want that jacket, but us chicks are willing to eat Ramen noodles to wear it. 

4) And as for the 8hr 3 min PR registration, I think that people freaked out with it closing earlier and earlier each year so they bombarded cyberspace at the microsecond they could, to avoid being shut out. Actually from a scientific point of view it's fascinating. It's as though a certain type of social threshold was reached and type of "mass hysteria" set in. There could be useful research in this phenomenon, I bet.

5) The problem is that Boston is just too unique, which is great for Boston. What is maybe needed are more races that have these types of qualifying times. New York does, and they're even a little stiffer than Boston's, but no one seems to notice because they also have a lottery - I can't even tell you how many people I've spoken to who did not know NYC had qualifications.  If you want a tougher challenge than Boston, try for New York!  But there could be, maybe should be, more races throughout the country with these kinds of qualifying times. To get people excited about other goals, than perhaps Boston.

My thoughts are just mine, I'm sure you all have your own and yours are wrong that's great.  But it got me thinking, after reading several comments on someones blog recently, about our training .....

Can EVERYONE get to Boston, if they work their ass off and train hard enough???

My answer to this is, from what I've learned as a coach, and as a 14-year marathoner, is probably not.  Contrary to what one may think that all it takes is a lot of sacrifice and more blood, sweat and tears than you've ever done before (and yes, it DOES take that), I hate to say it but that may just not be enough.  There's that little thing called genetics that can sometimes make us reach certain speeds and that's it - go ahead, curse your parents.

I'm not saying everyone can't get faster.  You absolutely can.  I am proof of that - for eternity I couldn't get my marathon time to stop hovering a few minutes, give or take, around that 4-hour mark.  And it wasn't until I started doing things differently in my training that I was able to get to that 3:45 time - but approximately 30-40% of our speediness is hereditary and we can only do 60-70% work to get faster.

And this tidbit of info got me to thinking, after a little shove from a certain fellow blogger when I was whining about trying to think about my own little blog and what to do with it now that I wasn't actually training for anything until this sucky heel starts to behave - maybe I should write a little now and then about some coaching stuff. 

Hum.  Maybe!?! 

I've never wanted to come across as a know-it-all - because I don't, I never will, and I'll never pretend I do.  But maybe, I could sometimes use my blog not only as a place to carry fellow manic runners along with me in my running journey but maybe to also discuss a few things I've learned along the way - as a running coach, personal trainer and from my own personal experiences.

I could write more about those darn genetics our parents gave us, what I did differently when I BQ'd, weight training, supplements, recovery, diet, my beloved protein spinach smoothie ...   Not every post, but maybe once a week...or month.

Thoughts??  Interests?

The mailbag's open for suggestions.

Until then....I'll be hanging around the Air Force Academy this weekend as Brendan goes to state marching band finals (someone came by while I was at the grocery store tonight and chalked up our driveway big time :) ) and then I'm off to New Mexico for a few days next week where I'll be sure to do a lot of running, much exploring, eating tons of muy bueno Mexican food and gathering thoughts to share.  Huge shout-out to KC ( who is doing her very first Ironman in steamy Florida this weekend and Jamie ( who's trying to get to Boston; Anne doing Niagara Falls ( to all others out there racing. 

Happy Running!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Denver Marathon and Stuff

 Ok, don't go thinking I got all crazy and went and registered for the Denver Marathon - that puppy sold out about 3 weeks ago, otherwise I may have given it some serious thought HAD MY HEEL BEEN COOPERATING and I could have gotten in at least a quarter of the proper training.  Are y'all sick of hearing about my heel?  I know I am.  Let's just cut this sucker off and get me a new one, ok?

Nope, this weekend wasn't about running 26.2 miles but rather being there for those who were. 

Saturday was a blog-fest lunchie downtown at the Rock Bottom Brewery.  The famous rainbow unicorn bloggerman, Adam, was in town with his muy preggo (and very, very nice) wife so us Denverites had to show him that we chicks are REAL people and just as fun in person as on computerland - and get some quick carbs in Adam (and Beth's husband who was running the half).   Bless Adam's wife who had to sit there and listen to relentless running talk for almost 2 hours. 
Pre-race carb-loading.  Why yes, those not running still
need to carb-load, it's a requirement when you lunch
with anyone who is racing the next day
(Adam, yours truly, Tara, Ken (Beth's sidekick), Beth)
Thankfully, none of our injuries were osmotically transfered over to Adam.  Let's review the current 'Injured Reserve List' sitting at the table:  Me = heel pain.  Tara = pain in the ass (piriformis, joint hip thingie).  Beth = femoral neck stress fracture (She's lucky enough to don crutches so she actually LOOKS like she has an injury unlike us unfortunate others who just get to only talk excessively about our injuries).  Only because I'm such a competitive freak and have to PR at everything, let me just add that my heel injury has outrun any of you others sidelined, so yeah, I STILL got it!!  Yay that Adam did not get any of our fluke injuries but more YAY-y that he was able to hold an incredible pace and PR in this oxygen deprived state of ours.

It was really fun to meet Adam, and I was fortunate enough to find him along the course the next day and got a little speedwork in when I ran a few steps with him of his neck-breaking PR pace.

After lunch, Tara and I popped over to the expo, ya know, just cuz we're runners (or once runners - whaaa) and that's what nerdy runners do, check out all latest running gear.  We heard the tail end of a seminar with Alan Culpepper and Frank Shorter and Tara managed to show her innocent (??) youth by not knowing who Frank Shorter was.  Youngsters, sheesh!!   Though I couldn't tell you one thing I actually learned (other than Frank Shorter is not a believer in the Barefoot movement, even gave some evidence of it not - but I DON'T want to get into that heated debate!) it was still cool to be in their presence and listen to their incredible stories.  After the seminar, I managed to talk Tara into keeping Colorado's economy afloat by persuading her to buy all the things I wished *I* could buy.  Gotta love that girl!

Sunday came dark and early when my neighbor, Jim, and his family arrived at 5:15am to pick me up.  Jim was running the marathon; it was his 2nd marathon and he had redemption on his agenda after becoming dehydrated last year in the same race and um, not ending that race very pretty.  What can I say, I'm a softie and when he asked if I would help reel him in at various points along the course, of course I agreed. 
Thank Gawd  Jim's wife bought some Brook shoes so
Jim could use the Brooks elite bathrooms.  Who
doesn't want to pee like a Rock Star?!
It was a gorgeous day out and I really enjoyed being along the course and being a part of it all.  Jim did great and achieved his goals (though I'm sure he wishes he could have done better - aren't we all like that at times, hard on ourselves?).  Anyway, due to a technical malfunction of losing the course map somewhere along the way and not able to meet up with him at  23-24 as hoped, you know, when things get mentally tough, so that has been weighing heavy with me since.  I did get an email from Jim today which said, "I think overall, I ran the race I planned to run, so I feel good about that.  The whole end of the race thing was probably way harder for you guys so I feel bad about that.  I was able to go through the mental battle of continuing when everything else says stop and I think that is important.  Still I have to say a huge thank you for your help and support, it means a lot to me."  I know the few times I've had someone there for me along the course when it gets tough is so mentally lifting and am so grateful, I'm glad I could be there.  I am equally glad I was able to keep up with Jim's pace, despite my latest snail pace (I hate my heel!!) and never thought I was going to choke.

Of course I always think you learn something in every race, even those you don't run.  Here's what I learned about Denver:
  • Study course map beforehand when offering to pace someone.  If nothing else, at least LOOK at the map beforehand, especially when the course was changed this year.
  • Never ever ever ever ever ever ever lose the bottom half of the one and only copy of the course map you do have, showing where miles 22-finish are, at mile 21.
  • Never suggest to a XC child who has been home sick for two days vomiting that it would be a "good idea" to come along and help pace.
  • Never suggest McDonalds as an alternative to not eating breakfast.
  • Even if runner looks like total crap at mile 26, you tell them they look awesome and stress how proud you are of their efforts!
 Other News:
- Chris ROCKED the Des Moines Marathon, despite having a bum knee which totally gave out at mile 22 and landed him with a face plant.  He's so freaking awesome.  Check out his race report here and give him some love - his knee is being super annoying so he's benched for a few days to figure this out:

- Andrew, despite me NOT hiring any short skirts to run in front of him, cranked out a fabulous10K, his very first 10K and second race ever.  Way to go, Andrew, very happy for you:

- Sooo, registration for Boston was yesterday, as you are all well aware.  Was I one of the crazed 25,000 souls on the internet repeatedly trying to register?  I'm sure you are all in suspense.  Some may know from my FB post, but for those that don't, I decided NO.  I didn't even pull up the registration page.  I can't train the way I want, or need, with my heel the way it is so it's not worth it to me to go back right now.  I have some thoughts on this whole BQ thing yesterday...but will share that for next post, I think.

- So, with Boston out, does that mean I'm heading for the 50?  Well, again, the heel.  Just when I thought thing were going well with it, it reared it's ugly head last week and just paralyzed me; I ended up walking, on my barefoot tippy toes, 3 miles to my house.  NOT a fun ordeal.  It's doing fine now...but who knows when it will decide to return.  For now, I'm just going to run what I can, get back into a wt training routine, and get stronger.  Hopefully 2012 will find me back on the race circuit.

- Next week is fall break.  HELLO, a whole week off work!!!  Don't be hating now!!  So what will I be doing, aside from cleaning closets (FUN!).  A trip down to New Mexico, perhaps?  Climbing another 14er?  Visiting Mesa Verde, where I haven't been in ages?  Or maybe Rocky Mountain National Park?  Who knows...a venture is indeed on the list.  Stay tuned.

- Chris K sent me an email: I made his blog roll. 

- Today's my half birthday.  No need for a party, but cash and gift cards gladly accepted.

Happy Running!!

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Friday Random Bullets

      Just me and my shadow, out for our long run
    • I've been somewhat sick *cough cough* this week; I actually had to take a couple days of legit illness sick days.  I like to save those for guys for um, personal long run days, dangit.
    • Ryan ran his last XC meet last night, beating out several strong JV runners and placing 10th overall on the team and 1st, by far, of all freshmen.  He dropped 4 minutes on his 5K time since the start of the season and has come a long way in perfecting his running form, which used to mimic something of a flailing crazed person running from a fire. Will be interesting to see how he progresses over the year.  The men's team, as a whole, are now ranked #3 in the state.  Incredible!
    • Insurance update:  Denied.  Final Word.  I won't go into the whole illogical and irrational explanation they provided me, I don't want this blog to be a tyrant about what's wrong with health care in this fabulous country of ours, but I am done!  A good lawyer friend of mine in Chicago told me to fight it, they are legally in the wrong, but I can't.  To fight it will take many, many months and I have wasted 7 precious ones already impatiently waiting because I believed in the system.  I no longer do and I don't want to lie awake at night anymore wondering.  I have some things brewing that will bring me some insurance - not the insurance I want, and it may involve a job shift at school, which I do not want, but at least it's insurance.  Stressful to say the least, but I now have my answer and I know to move forward, however painful it is. 
    • While I'm on a roll of all things wrong with the world, here's another gem.  Everything was squared with my daughter's college tuition: scholarship, grant, financial aid and my checkbook had us all paid up to date for the year.  So I thought.  A couple weeks ago I started getting love letters from the Bursar's office stating we still owed $9900.  I got to spend 2 of my quality sick days this week on the phone figuring out that someone, somewhere, somehow forgot a 0 (that's a "zero") when entering her scholarship funds so instead of $11,000 she was awarded, the school only certified $1100.  "Ms Runwithjill, if you would please deposit $9900 in your daughter's account, we will investigate this further and see if we can figure out how to obtain that money that is apparently no longer available and refund you if said funds become available again."  Hahahahahahahahahhahahahaahaaaaaa.  That's so funny!
    • Ever have one of those long runs where you knew ahead of time it was going to be in the toilet?   Or am I the only blessed one?  As mentioned, not feeling very well this week, barely ran since that lung gagging 2-mile race last weekend, not sleeping much left me totally lethargic on today's 15.  And for that precious cherry on top, mile 12 had my heel, the one that's been behaving for awhile now, totally paralyzing me.  LOVELY! 
    • 'Twas a gorgeous autumn day in Denver, though, with spectacular views of fresh snow on the front range, which I got to look at while I contemplated cutting my foot off with nothing but my fingernail.  I never tire looking at these babies.

    A little off center, but this is the trail I run on frequently; probably a huge source of my sinus issues!
    • A HUGE "GOOD LUCK" to my friend, and business partner (better, Andrew?), Chris, who is running the Des Moines Marathon on Sunday.  This is his first marathon and only his 3rd race in the incredible one year he's been running.  I am so excited and won't even care about my desolate run today when he crosses that finish line in one marvelous time!  Click here and wish him well - and it's his birthday - woohooo.
    • Another honorable shout-out to Andrew, my newest addition in the business world, GO ANDREW and ROCK that 10K!!!!!  10K's in Canada are the same here in America - in case you all were wondering?! I'm really excited for him, he's just started running this summer and I love all his questions.  Questions means knowledge and as a girl who drove my old trainer up the wall with her incessant inquisitions, I get it! 
    • Sunday is the Denver Marathon (sorry Beth :( ).  I will be attempting to reel in, and keep on pace, my neighbor and dear friend, Jim, as he attacks the race that left him miserably dehydrated last year.  I'm a wee-bit worried I'm going to fail - I am FAR from his pace anymore.  JIM, please don't make me run uphill at a pace starting with an 8!!  The COOL thing, though - tomorrow is a blog meet-up lunch with Adam (I am boring), Beth (Shut up and Run) and Tara (Colorado Runner).  Looking forward to meeting Adam, and praying for him that the lack of O2 molecules don't mess up his kick-ass pace!! 
    • Sorry for the double dot and blogger are not good friends.
    Happy Miles this weekend to all.  And luck and hugs to those racing: Katie A and Rad Runner Girl going for the full in Long Beach; L.B, Glenn and Slomo in the Long Beach half; Anna Marie and Bethany and Ryan doing the Baystate full; Marlene doing the Toronto Marathon; Marcia doing the Grand Rapids Half; Adam, Tina, Aimee, Jim, and my friend Craig in the Denver full; Shana and her hubby in the Denver half; and of course, Chris in Des Moines!  Go get 'em, guys!!  (sorry, I am way too lazy to link their blogs!  Feel free to wish them well here and I'll pass along the message :) ).  Woosh, that's a lotta racing this weekend!

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    *10-10* Virtual Race Report

    I was a last minute sign-up for Barefoot Neil Z's birthday yesterday on the big 10-10-10.  Not one to miss out on all the blog world hoopla, I couldn't pass up such an exciting opportunity to prove how much speedwork I have lost since the winter and how sucky slow I now run.  

    Here's the rules:
    • Between now and including Oct 10th, 2010 (10.10.10.), run any of the following distance
      • 10 km
      • 10 miles
      • 1.0 km
      • 1.0 miles
      • 100 km
      • 100 miles
    • This run can be part of a race, or a training run, or a combination of a few runs, as long as the distance equals the distance you sign up for.
    • You cannot change your distance unless you want to. And changes can only be made up to 12 times, and only up to Oct 10th. 
    Seems simple enough, just run something that somewhat resembled a 1 or a 0.  What the heck, there was a 2-mile race in my neighborhood put on by one of the cross country coaches as a band fundraiser.  Looks like that will fit perfectly into the 1 or 0 rule book.  I'll just run two 1-milers.  So there.

    I love to be a rule bender.

    So this race is pretty small.  I mean, really small.  Last year it snowed on race day and they maybe had a grand total of 60 entrants.  This year it was the classic definition of a crisp, sunny autumn day: 55 degrees, vibrant blue skies, leaves turning their bright yellow colors.  You'd think it'd have pulled in the masses.  Surprisingly, not so much - about the same number of entrants this year.   I hadn't committed to running this race before I actually got there; let's face it, I am in pathetic speed shape right now and I can't even tell you the last time I raced nor ran any sort of pace under 8:30's.  Plus, I had no idea who was going to be there, and to be completely honest, I didn't want to look like a total out of shape blob to people I know.  Yeah, I'm pathetic like that. 

    So I get there and size up the competition.  Looks like a lot of cross country kids and band moms.  Ok, I bite, I'll do it.  Pay my $18 and stand on the start line, along with my old running partner, Dennis, who runs wickedly fast. 

    Dennis to me: How fast do you think you'll run?

    Me to Dennis:  Sadly, I'd be happy if I can squeak two 8's out right now. 

    Seconds later, and we're off.  Two laps around the neighborhood, relatively minor hills, I can DO THIS!!  I refuse to wear my watch, me and the watch are not good friends during a race - especially one I'm ill-prepared

    Hit mile 1: 7:17.  Really?  I'm pretty stoked, but I know I don't have a lot left in the tank, which sadly reconfirms my out-of-shapeness.

    Wrap back around the neighborhood again and I am definitely feeling it.  Total blah feeling.  Gagging on a lung.  No air.  Dead legs.  Slow pace.  Cross country team passes me - did I mention they were only doing a tempo run and tacked on an extra 1/4 mile at the half way point?  My dear child, Ryan, passes me.  My breathing is really labored and this is really frustrating me and all I want to do is be done.

    Finish, relieved to be alive, official time: 15:18 (that'd give me a 8:01 for the 2nd mile, 7:45 overall pace - which was slower than my 10K pace a year ago.  Grrr).

    Yeah, I've lost a bunch of speed.  I accept it.  I'm happy my race was under my hopeful 8's, but good lord that hurt worst than I thought it would.  Lots of soul searching in those two measly miles.

    The cool thing was....all those non-running band mom's all finished behind me and I placed first in my AG and won a sweet little Mizumo black jacket - whoohooo!  Not bad for a slacker, eh?

    Now, I think that effort's deserving of the iPad prize from Neil!! 

    Ryan wearing the red hat he won in the raffle, me sporting my new black Mizuno jacket and Brendan displaying the size XXL Pre shirt he won in the raffle.  Total wins all-around!

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Keep on Running, Rick!

    Me, Rick and Meg - meet-up in Boston
    This morning I heard the tragic news of the loss of Rick Held, a fellow blogger buddy I had the honor of meeting while in Boston this year.  I am deeply sadden of his loss.  He was a wonderful man - so full of life, loved his wife and family more than anything, an incredible teacher, a passionate runner, and someone I called my friend.  I never knew Rick before the world of the running blogs, but he touched my heart with his running struggles this summer and I was thrilled he was given the green light to go back out there and hit the roads running again.  Just through the world of words did I find a connection with him.  Though there are few bloggers out here on this vast land of virtual world runners and athletes that we actually get the privilege to meet personally, I truly do feel a connection to many - and Rick was one.  In the hour or so we were together, I told Rick a few times how, even though it was 3 in the afternoon, I had not showered yet due to a busy morning, and I apologized for my lack of appealing appearance and that I may smell some from an earlier shake-out run.  How ridiculous I was concerned about my appearance and hygiene, but I didn't want to make a bad impression on him or his dear wife, Kathy.  He didn't care one bit, he was just so excited to meet up with Meg and I and drove 3 hours out of his way just to do so.  He knew of the struggles and torment I endured during the winter and he just gave me a big hug and told me, "In the big picture of life, Jill, none of this matters.  You're here, you've been given the gift to run Boston, your hard work is done, now it's time to enjoy. There are no guarantees in life, just be happy.  Have a Happy Birthday, celebrate life and just enjoy the run."  I thought about his words often when things got dark trudging up the Newtwon Hills and I wanted to bail on that race so badly.  His words held me in there and I made sure I let him know that the next day with a thank-you text.

    There are no guarantees.

    As I watched the live broadcast of the Chicago Marathon today and my friends' time slowly tank well past the marks they wanted to hit, I was reminded again: there are no guarantees in life.  Just enjoy the ride.

    Keep on Running, Rick.  I have no doubt you'll be running hundreds of pain-free miles in heaven!  Your words, wisdom and insatiable appetite to enjoy life will be truly miss here on Earth.

    You're eternal running friend,


    Friday, October 8, 2010

    The Versatile Blogger

      Wow, two posts in one week from Jillie.  I know you guys were shocked to see me in the ole google reader today after posting a few days ago.  Even more shocking is that in another life, I used to blog daily.  Oh the days.  So what am I doing here on a Friday morning?  Well, that dang Kovas tagged me for this beautiful "The Versatile Blogger" award and since this is about the 8th time I've been tagged and the previous 7 times I've avoided it, I figured it's time to play the game.  
      First, I have some random thought bullets to spew off, just cuz it's Friday and just cuz it's my blog and I can:
    • I'm feeling pretty crapotastico the past couple days.  A combination of Code Red allergies, stomach "issues" (trust me, you don't want the details - Beth from SUAR would be very proud, though), and total insomnia.  Yesterday's scheduled run of "anything over 6" was a measly 3 before my stomach made me bail.  Of course...cuz you know, things were just going TOO well - heaven forbid I'd have 3 solid weeks of base building. 
    • No news on the insurance.  Go figure.
    • I'm drinking a RockStar, zero carb, green tea, Yerba mate energy drink.  I know - shameful, but that's how tired I am (I don't do coffee).
    • Good luck to, Tom, a guy I've been working with, who is running The Chicago Marathon this weekend.  Please give him some LUUUUVin!!  He's going go do awesome...he's been running great and I know if the weather cooperates (which I hear it's suppose to be pretty warm, grrr), he will run very well.
    • I loved hearing everyone's thoughts on my last post: Boston vs. 50-miler.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading every single comment and smiled at such a diversity of opinions.  I laughed knowing what many of you would say as soon as I saw your name - sure enough, you did not disappoint :).  Thank you so much for your thoughts, truly they are all very helpful and exactly what I needed to hear.  I am leaning towards one direction....time will tell if it pans out.  For now, I'm just trying to get the miles built up without my heel protesting.
    Ok, back to "the award" dangit -  here's the rules:
    1. Thanks and link back to the person who gave you the award.
    2. Share 7 things about yourself.
    3. Pass the award to other bloggers.
    1) Um, Thanks Kovas!!??!!??

    If you recall some time ago, I had one of these awards and totally eluded my own list by having you guys write 7 things about me instead.  Oh how fun that was to read about all my faults.  Don't worry, I eventually graduated from therapy after all your comments and am now a much better person, so my therapist said ... so time for me to put on the big girl panties and jump on the bandwagon.  You're going to be so riveted with wowness after reading this list, I'm not sure how you'll be able to go back to work afterwards.  Thankfully it's Friday, and you'll have the weekend to recover.

    Here we go....
    2) The 7 THINGS:

    1.  Because it's one of those mornings, I have to start off this list by stating I absolutely hate my hair right now.  I'm not sure what happened; I was growing it for Locks for Love and was pretty dang close to possessing the required 10" and still be able to pull it in a ponytail (mandatory for when I run) when I had a major melt-down before Tucson Marathon last December and decided I needed to chop 7" off for a "new me."  Something has been off since and my sweet hairdresser and I can't seem to get it right (sorry Becky, it's not you, it's my stupid hair!).  Pic was the good old hair days.  Hum, maybe the hair wasn't actually that good...maybe it was that margarita I'm holding that made it only appear good?!?  Who knows.  Today, I gave up and hair is in ponytail - you now it's a bad hair day when the ponytail is donned at work.
    Abbey and I having some sunglasses fun, night before the Tucson Marathon, Dec '09
    2.  I love my boys to death, I honestly do, but I'm so glad God gave me a daughter.  I can't say it's been "easy" with her all the time but I never had any sisters I so desperately wanted so I love the girly time Abbey and I have together.  Those times are few and far between now with her off to college :(.

    3.  My first car was a AMC Gremlin.  Purple.  With an orange wheel.  I paid $285 for it. Don't go judging now.

    4.  I've spent more than half my life mom-less.  I'd do almost anything to spend just one day with her right now. 

    5.  I swam competitively in high school and landed some cashola to swim in college at the big ole University of Northern Iowa.  Ironically, I'm deathly afraid of drowning.  I had a severe anxiety attack going over the Coronado Bridge in San Diego one year and seriously considered swimming back over to San Diego instead of going back over that bridge.  I did, however, run over the Golden Gate Bridge just fine this summer in the marathon.  In fact, I never even thought about my anxiety crossing it...probably cuz I was more worried about dying due to being so out of shape.

    6.  I hate to cook.  One of two shows I'm addicted to is "Chopped" on The Food Network. 

    7.  I grew up in the big city of Davenport, Iowa but some of my happiest childhood memories were at my grandmother's in Lansing, Iowa in the NE corner of the state on the Mississippi River.  It's beautiful there!  She actually lived outside of Lansing, in a tiny town called Churchtown, population 14, maybe.  I think I could easily move there.  If they removed the humidity in the summer.

    3)  Tag, you're it!
       1.  Chris:
       2.  Andrew:
       3.  Christi:
       4.  Derek:

    Happy Weekend!  I'll be trying to run 16 on Sunday, cross your fingers!
    Good luck to my good friend Marcia, my buddy, Tom, and all others running Chicago this weekend - so envious (my very first DNS race I signed up for :( )!!  And Sarah and Juanita running Portland (FUN memories there last year with you guys!).

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    To Boston I Go...Or Not

    My 2009 and 2010 Boston Medals, each one loaded with different, yet equally fond memories.  I proudly display them on my dresser mirror, where I can see them daily and am reminded of those very special days.
    As I sit and gaze at my October calendar, my eyes constantly drift to the 18th. 

    Many of you know what this date signifies, but for those who don't: it's Boston 2011 registration day.  I am torn on what to do.  Do I register and run it again and get that miserable 2010 finish line 4:30 monkey off my back?  Or do I let Boston go, grateful for the 2 experiences I had there - afterall, 2009 was a supurb race (3:51) and I ran my heart out and left nothing on that course (even part of my stomach at mile 22 with the most severe stomach cramps I've ever endured). 

    I AM grateful for both my runs there; Boston shouldn't really be about a time or a pace - it should be about the experience, and I certainly experienced both ends of the spectrum.  2009 was all about fitness and racing and seeing what I was made of.  2010 was about my birthday and celebrations and forging real-life blog friendships.  Both races hold a very special place in my heart.  I'm filled with gratitude from head to toe to have been one of the fortunate enough to have run there.  Twice.

    It should be enough.  I should gladly close the door on Boston and seek out my next grand adventure - my 50-miler.

    I should.  But I can't help but look at that October 18th day and NOT want to hit the registration button.  Something is drawing me in, and I can't even tell you exactly why.  I have nothing to prove there or to earn. It's not a course I even like. It's expensive as hell.  I have anxiety getting around in that city (I'm sure poor Katie A.'s husband was read to strangle me!).  I didn't stand at the start line of Boston this year with the butterflies and thoughts of how special it was to be standing there, unlike the previous year, so I'm certain I wouldn't feel that again next year.

    So why would I even think about going back? 

    I guess it's a series of many thing, all totally ridiculous when you peel them apart and examine them individually.
    - I guess that 4:30 time isn't sitting too well and I'd love to get back into prime marathon racing shape and run it hard one more time.  Just to see if I can.
    - The fact that I'm probably in the worst marathon racing shape ever - having Boston as a focus would make me have no excuses to train at that level again.
    - A ton of friends are going this year - I'd love to meet up with them.  I love friends.  Some blog friends I've never met, whom I'd love to, especially Petra, who lives across the big blue pond in England.  I may never have the opportunity to meet her again.  She is a great friend and we email frequently about our training woes; I feel a very special connection with her.
    - And well, hell, it's Boston.  I earned a spot to be there, I feel I should take advantage.
    - I've had two amazing experiences there and Boston is never to disappoint as far as building happy memories.

    Do you hear the BUT coming???

    But, I'm kinda Boston burned-out.  To qualify for Boston was a dream of mine for many, many years.  I never worked as hard nor sacrificed as much to earn my BQ at St. George in 2008 and it meant the world to me.  It now no longer does and it's no longer a dream.  There's no magical spark and it's nothing I crave to earn my place there.  I've hit the "been there done that" phase with Boston.  I feel it's time to let it go and move on to other dreams, ya my 50.

    Why not do both, you ask?

    Ah, good question.  Really, I could do both.  And I haven't ruled that out as an option.  But I don't think I want to.

    I'm not like the rest of you young uns.  I'm 47 and training for these races to perform at the best of my ability takes a lot more recovery time.  There was a day when I could do a 50-miler and a marathon in the same month, that's no longer the case.  Well, it's no longer the case if I want to race them well....and let's face it, that's just how I tick. 

    I'm done lolly-gagging through marathons half-trained.  I understand that there are no guarantees come race day.  Race day is always a mystery unfolding. That's what's so humbling and so beautiful about it; that's what keeps us all coming back - because you just never know.  But when I now race a marathon, I want to be in top shape so I stand on the start line having left no stone unturned.  Oh, I may use a marathon to train for the marathon, as I've done in the past, but I don't want to step on the start line of an end-picture marathon not having given it the respect it deserves by training to the best of my ability. At least not now. I think one day I will reach a point when the intense insanity of marathon training will leave my heart and I'll enter them just for fun, to enjoy with friends, or just to visit a new city.  But not right now.

    Many of you asked in my last blog which 50-miler I was thinking about.  After emailing Kovas back and forth with many options I thought about doing the JKF50 or similar in the fall.  Which could leave me doing Boston in the spring - doing both next year.  And I'm not ruling that option out.

    Here comes that damn BUT again....

    1) I don't relish the thought of running back to back to back 30+ miles in the heat of the summer.  I have heat-related issues which I can quickly assassinate myself if I'm not careful.  That's why the treadmill and I are pretty well bonded.  2) I fear if I sit and think about this 50 for too toooo toooooo long, I'll chicken out.  I've been in this 50 mind-frame before and I have yet to do one.  Enough said.  3) I'm ready for a new challenge.  I want to continue on my marathon quest, but I want to check off this 50 soon, before I get cold feet, before I get older and it gets harder and then go back to marathon racing.  Who knows, maybe I'll actually enjoy the 50 and want to continue on?  Doubtful...but I'd never say never.

    So the 50 is what's tugging at my spring-time race heart right now. 

    So there's my delimma, my thoughts.  All races in the future, of course, stem on the heel and how it behaves and if I'll ever become a real person in society with insurance who can go have this thing looked at by a real podiatrist (latest word: all paperwork finally in to the insurance mediator, who is pondering over all the biopsy results.  Should know a decision "soon" (his words) and if accepted, it's about a 2-3 week process for the insurance coverage to start.  There's always a possibility the mediator may yet again deny me due to too much time lapsing between negative biopsy and now.  Cross you fingers that's not the case!!).

    I had a solid 33 miles of running last week. That's 18.43 % increase over the following week, for all you statistician math freaks out there.  Extra 50 bonus points for the heel being about 88.9 % cooperative.  That's HUGE!  I take each day one day at a time, grateful for the every single mile logged; I can't help but get a little excited that maybe there actually IS hope for me to race this spring.

    Is it Boston?

    Or is it time for the 50?

    Time, and my heel, will tell.  I'm not too worried about it, the answer will come.  But for now, my treadmill is's MP mile repeats day - I LOVE those puppies!

    Week 38:Running: 33 miles
    Total 2010 miles: 1279.21
    Total 14er's climbed: 0
    Elliptical Trainer: 5.5 miles
    Wt Training: 1
    HCC: 1
    I am finding as I slowly crank up the miles, I'm cutting out my wt training - I must be more diligent about getting that back in!!