Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hilton Head Island

I got up early this morning and ran 3.4 miles to the Cross Island Parkway Bridge and back to the hotel, a total of 6.84 miles.  Surprisingly, there weren't a lot of runners out on the bike/pedestrian path.  The path is alongside the road, but parts are hidden by palm trees and bushes so you don't feel like you're on top of the traffic.  It's very pretty.  I wish there were these paths everywhere.

I used the Map My Run app again.  I made a "pit stop" and wasn't sure how to pause the activity.  I wound up recording two separate runs.  Annoying.  It's also a pain to stop and resume the app when taking pictures.  I decided it's good for assessing the mileage on new routes, but I won't be using it on my regular runs.  I want to just run without worrying about technology.
Interesting sign about the area

Reeeally interesting sign about the area

When I returned, the family rented bikes.  Pete had a trailer attached to his for the two little girls, Sana had her own bike, and Santos and I rode tandem.  We decided to get something to eat in the Sea Pines area at the end of the island.  We biked 10.66 miles total.  It was worth it.  The Salty Dog restaurant had fantastic fresh fish and the outdoor seating on the water was perfect with all the kids.  We also saw three alligators.  I was surprisingly calm.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Atlanta or Atlantic?

6.14 miles at a 9:05 pace on a somewhat full stomach (Not recommended).  The first two miles were within the in-laws' gated community.  There are some really cute beachy cottages.   After pretending that I might actually live in one of them in the future, I ran two miles down A1A to the Jungle Trail entrance, turned around and came back to the house.

I used the Map My Run iPhone app for the first time.  I liked it.  At each mile a pleasant female voice (who sounded suspiciously like Siri) told me my running time, the mile marker, and my pace.  Cool.

I have recovered from my Marine Corps Marathon debacle.  I am now considering either the Atlanta Marathon or the Atlantic City Marathon, both in October.  I read reviews for both on  Both marathons got mostly favorable reviews.  According to everyone, the Atlanta Marathon is hilly.  I checked out two elevation charts.  The data on them differed from each other.  Hmmm.  On the first chart the hills did not seem too steep, not the case on the second chart.  The one thing possibly dissuading me from the Atlantic City Marathon is the headwind, a seemingly unavoidable issue on the ocean.  I have some time to decide since neither of them are considered "Big City Marathons" so there are no registration constraints, other than the ones I create all by myself.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Just Another Wednesday

Pete's stepmother, Nancy told us that someone in their gated community saw a black panther walking on the property recently.  I knew there were Florida panthers roaming the state, but they are rare.  Per my research two nights ago (because I research stuff like this), there has never been a known attack on humans by a Florida panther.  But a black panther?  Well, I've seen that face eating scene from "Apocalypto".  Not pleasant.  However, I'm not sure about the reliability and validity of Nancy's "source".  I took my chances and ran the Jungle Trail (Did Black Panther look at a map and see the name Jungle Trail?  "Hey, this might be a good spot!") solo today.

Part of the run is along busy A1A.  No real danger of being jumped by a face eating cat.  The Jungle Trail, the majority of the run, is a quiet dirt road along the Indian River.  I used to worry about alligators, but now Black Panther lingered in the back of my mind.  I was happy to see a lot of people out and about on the trail   Mostly families bike riding with a few walkers here and there.  They all looked happy and were in one piece.  A good sign.  The 6.75 run in 66 degrees turned out to be very pleasant.  Not a care in the world, or so I thought...

I brought along my own water bottle, Fido.

Indian River, or as I like to call it Yet Another Body of Water for Alligators to Hide In River

Jungle Trail

I returned to the cottage pool where the family was hanging out and passed the imaginary baton to Pete who attempted the same route, but cut it short through the Captain Forster Preserve..."watch out for big black cats!", I warned.  For some reason, he wasn't too concerned.  I cooled off and checked my email.  The Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) folks sent me an email saying they expected the marathon to sell out shortly and encouraged me to keep trying to register.  WHAT THE CRAP?!?!  I totally spaced on this race (Again!)!  My wonderful children scrambled out of the pool and we booked back to the house where wifi was available.  It was 1:30pm.  Registration opened at noon.  I attempted to access the site.  They had the difficult task of overseeing thousands upon thousands of entries and wannabe entries.  I kept getting a message about the overwhelming demand and to wait while the page reloads in 3 11 8 seconds, etc.  Finally, a little after 2pm I accessed the page only to discover the race was closed.  If I doubted whether I was meant to run this race in the past, I am now certain.  This is not my year for the MCM.  Last month I missed registering for the Quantico 17.75k race which would have given me guaranteed entry.  That sold out in a couple of hours, as well.  Now I missed the big one.  

Okay.  Since MCM technically was my Plan B, on to Plan C...(sigh)  First, I need to have my brain reprogrammed to "Marathon Mode", or better yet "Register Mode".  It's amazing that I ever successfully registered for a race before in my life.  Amazing.

Head Like A Hole

I LOVE these videos!  I know you can relate!!

I have been getting ocular migraine headaches on and off since I was seven years old.  My first one occurred during the Memorial Day parade in my hometown.  I was supposed to march with my Brownie troop.  Instead, when we passed my street, I found my mother and went straight home where I hid under my pillow for the next twenty-four hours.  My migraines are brought on by many different triggers including bright sunlight, dehydration, stress, and/or caffeine.  The first symptom is blurred vision, similar to what your television screen looks like when your digital cable goes wonky.  After that, it's all downhill.  I have extreme nausea from the blurred vision causing a Puke-a-palooza, if you will.  Lying under the covers is the only thing I can tolerate.  The headache usually lasts throughout the night and then the next day I have a "hangover headache",  a dull, lingering throbbing but my vision is restored.  They are truly debilitating and something only fellow migraine sufferers and their loved ones can relate to.  Luckily, I don't get them too often, maybe 3 times a year.

Today we had lunch at my in-law's beach club.  I had a delicious garden salad and a cup of "decaf".  When the waitress came by to refill my cup, I asked if it was decaf to double check, as is my routine when eating out.  "Oh, no it's not.  I didn't know," she answered.  Great.  I felt okay, so I didn't make a big deal about the mistake.  I finished my lunch without thinking twice about what happened.  Until...

...I went out for my run about an hour later.  I was planning on running a 6.75 mile trail along the Indian River.  After  the first mile, I noticed my vision start to blur.  Oh crap.  I decided to push on hoping it would pass.  At 2.2 miles, I decided it would be better to turn around rather than get stuck on the remote trail.  Once I arrived back at my in-law's I chugged two and a half bottles of water and gulped down an orange.  This only made me feel nauseated.  The blurry vision had subsided though.  I got lucky and was able to stave off a potential disastrous dinner with the family.

Lesson:  It is better to remind your waitress about your caffeine woes ad nauseum than to sit through a meal with your in-laws and children ad nauseum.  Figurative barf beats literal barf.  Always.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Under Pressure

Another run on the dreadmill.  4.25 miles in 35:39, an 8:23 pace.  We were at a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina (which is not next door to Southern Pines, North Carolina, by the way) this time.  The dreadmill in their exercise room was very basic.  No frills.  No TV attached.  There was a mirrored wall in front of me.  So that's what I look like when I'm hanging on by a thread having fun!  I was going to run 5 miles, but we had to check out and I knew Pete was most likely annoyed because he was annoyed the day before.  Not fun running under pressure.  Now I'm annoyed just thinking about him being annoyed because I'm running and he's with the kids who are also likely annoying him, thus mounting a great deal of undue pressure upon me.  (sigh)

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Even though we are in North Carolina, it is still only 39 degrees at 9am.  I only brought warm weather running clothes so off to the hotel dreadmill I went.  I'm not a big fan of the dreadmill, as you may have guessed by its nickname.  Usually,  gym dreadmills are facing blank walls or the televisions don't work.  It is essential to have a distraction because running in place for an extended period of time (which is more than five minutes) is about as exciting as watching paint dry.  That is kind of a lie.  Truth be told, the dreadmill earned its name because it is a hell of a lot harder to run on than running in the great outdoors.  Today's run at an 8:15 pace seemed to require twice as much effort than an 8:15 pace in my neighborhood.  Maybe the monotony plays a part, but I give people credit for being regular "dreaders".  I have heard of people doing their long twenty milers on them!  God bless.

The LifeCycle at this gym had a television attached to it that actually worked!  Nice surprise.  The family didn't really know what to do with themselves when I was at the gym, especially since the hotel pool was out of commission (sigh).  The kids took turns stalking visiting me, but a gym is not exactly an ideal playroom for toddlers.  Too many hazards.  After repeatedly correcting them and giving them the best evil eye I could muster while simultaneously trying to tempo run without being flung into the wall behind me, they finally got the hint and left me alone (for the last quarter mile).

5 miles in 41:19, an 8:15 pace.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sitting In A Car For Thirteen Hours With Four Kids Is...

...everything you imagine it to be and so much more!

Pete had to work all day yesterday so I didn't run. I figured I'd get it in today. Nope. We were up at 4:45am to start out first leg of our vacation. Four and a half hours to the Baltimore Aquarium.   Great place for kids. My son was in heaven.  Shark tanks are super cool.  We left Baltimore at 1pm and arrived in Southern Pines, North Carolina at 10pm.  No run, again. The good news is nobody abandoned ship at the first rest stop in sight (Not like that was even an option. Too many witnesses, obviously...).

I will now sleep for twenty-two hours, or until check out in the we can get back in the car to drive to Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston better be the next town over. Just sayin'.

I have to sneak a run in tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Music-less Providence Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon Bandit

5 long, slow miles on a sunny 43 degree morning that felt windier than it probably was.  Still no music.  I went through Junk Drawer #1 and could not find the Krazy Glue to repair my iPhone armband.  I actually sifted through the drawer and made a little pile to throw out (Thanks, Emerging Runner's Wife).  Pete, if you're reading this...just kidding...

Junk pile includes a random birthday candle, price tags, stickers, torn plastic wrappers, and lots and lots of caps that look suspiciously like Krazy Glue caps.  No actual Krazy Glue tubes.

Even after a little purge, the drawer still looks like this.

Okay, enough about my junk drawers.  I'll save that for my Pete Is A Hoarder blog.

I used to be a music dependent runner.  If my iPod battery was dead or back in the Dark Ages when I had some mechanical problem with my walkman, I would forego the run altogether (Yep).  Until last August when I ran the Providence Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon totally unprepared.  By totally unprepared, I mean I even forgot to register for the damn race!  I signed up for a bunch of races in early May and I must have lost track.  Fast forward to August.  We were vacationing in Martha's Vineyard without ferry tickets to get off the island (Oops #1).   I went on the race website to see if I could pick up the packet on race morning.  There was an option to check your race number or status.  When I entered my name...>poof<  Nothing (Oops #2).  Huh?!  This is like the day before the race, which at that point was sold out!  Seriously?!  Now what?  Well, I'll just run the race anyway, I guess.  I was in the middle of my Baltimore marathon training and the race was part of our vacation plans.  We had a hotel reservation in Providence, but that's about it.  

I had never heard about "running bandit" before.  Running bandit is basically running a race without paying the registration fee.  Our Massachusetts friends whom we were with talked about it like it wasn't a big deal.  Lots of people ran the Boston Marathon as bandits.  Our friend, Dana, did it more than once.  The organizers, in fact, expect it.  Okay, I'll run Providence bandit.

We managed to get off the Island of Martha and arrived at the Providence Marriott pretty late at night.  I just passed out from travel and "bandit" anxiety and exhaustion.  Pete stayed at his brother's in Newport.  The next morning he had to drop our dog off at a kennel very early and then come to the hotel room to watch our kids while I ran.  He was late.  

I was up early.  After I got dressed, I discovered my iPod battery was dead (Oops #3).  Great.  I went back to bed thinking I was going to miss the race altogether.  Not so lucky.  Pete knocked at the door at 7:15am.   The race started at 7:00.   I flew out of bed and out the hotel lobby.  Luckily, the starting line was across the street from the hotel, or so I thought.  It was actually diagonally across the street, down the road, and around the corner.  I mistakenly followed a guy who I thought was late too.  He was going someplace completely different.  I asked some security, found the start, and started my watch.  I caught up with the back of the pack runners after another ten minutes or so.  

The course ran through the city, up some hills (I don't remember reading about any hills...), past Brown University, mansions, more hills (More?!), a lake, hills (C'mon...?), etc.  At one point, when we running past some upscale row houses, a runner asked a spectator couple if he could use their bathroom.  They agreed.  Never saw that before.  

This was my first Rock 'N Roll race.  Apparently, the Rock 'N Roll franchise has a bad rep in the running community for being very commercial.  I just chose this race because of the location and it fit into my training schedule.  There were a handful of bands,   not as many as I expected.  They were okay.  Mostly cover songs.  I thought I was going to be miserable without my own music, but I actually enjoyed the run.  I liked being aware of the race atmosphere and was preoccupied with sightseeing.  I like running races in new cities.  I can't think of a better way to see it all.  The last couple of hundred yards were uphill (Surprise!).  I crossed the finish line and my watch read 1:51:xx.  I was happy with the time considering it was unexpectedly hilly and my very late start.  No, I didn't take a medal (That would be really crappy).  I did drink a couple of cups of Gatorade during the race, but it was August for heaven's sake!!  The post-race party was packed and not very Kid Friendly (It's all about Kid Friendly these days).  I found my family back at the hotel and we went out for brunch with my brother-in-law's family at the The Cheeecake Factory next door.  I had the best omelet (Spinach, onion, tomatoe, and Swiss cheese) EVER.

Since this experience, I have found that I truly enjoy my quiet runs.  I like having a clear head, listening to my footfalls, and being completely cognizant of my surroundings.  I like my music, too.  It depends on my mood.  

Oh,  I also try to make more of an effort to actually register for the races I want to run.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Best Little Hoar(d) House in Texas (aka, New York)

The velcro that holds my Yur Buds iPhone arm band together fell off as I was heading out the door today.  Annoying.  I have to krazy glue it once I find the krazy glue in Junk Drawer #1 (We have 3.  Please tell me we're not the only ones with more than one.).  The drawers seem to be backless pits filled with screws, brackets, nails, and everything else Pete thinks he may need one day and can't afford to buy at Home Depot.  Or maybe he's planning on donating them.  Those are the usual hoarding answers I get from him.  He is one box of scratched vinyl Bread records away from me calling the A&E or TLC producers for a hoarding intervention.  I digress.  I couldn't find the krazy glue.  Maybe my lovely neighbor has some we can borrow.  Hint.  Hint.

Pete relaxing in the office.  Just kidding.  I have no idea who this man is.  Our house doesn't look like this (yet), but our attic, garage, and parts of the basement are filled with crap I've never seen my husband use in the almost 14 years (yikes) we've been married.

The library emailed me last night that my  Advanced Marathoning book arrived.  I read one page and already I love it.  I photocopied the 18 week 55 mile peak plan and already taped it to the refrigerator (3 rolls of tape in Junk Drawer #1).    According to them,  it is best to have a base of minimum 25 miles per week (preferable 30+) before attempting the program.  I'm glad I've been running 30 mpw for the past few months.  Bring it on!

5 miles on a gray, damp morning in 36 degrees.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Shimmering Light

I looked into hotels in and around the Fairfield race.  The Fairfield Inn, where I stayed twelve years ago for a wedding, is right down the road from Jennings Beach where the race begins and ends.  It is already sold out the night before the race.  The other reasonably priced option is the Marriott Courtyard in the town of Shelton.  The hotel is twenty minutes to the Fairfield train station where they will have shuttle buses taking the runners to the start.  Perfect.  They had an "advanced booking deal" for $99 per night.  Sounds good.  Oh, there's a catch.  You have to pay in full up front and you can't cancel.  Well, you can cancel, but you lose all of  your money.  Well, that's a shitty "deal", n'est-ce pas?  Of course, in typical Me fashion, I realize this after booking the room.  Luckily, when I immediately called the reservation people, they allowed me to change it.  I am now paying $10 more, but we have the option to cancel with no penalty up to 24 hours before check-in - the normal way.

Alicia and I are already getting giddy.  Mostly giddy about the race, but also a teensy giddy about just hanging out together.  Since our early twenties (Like, two years ago...cough...cough), this will be the first time we are flying solo, no husbands and no children in or out utero.   PARTY!!!   We will miss them dearly, but try to make do.

No run today.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fairfield, Here I Come!

Yesterday I did my 7.46 mile route in 36ish degrees.

Today I went up to the north shore and ran 6.85 miles.  It was 38 degrees.  I tried to get in as many hills as I could.  The steepest being about a 325 foot gain, 100 feet more than the steepest hill on the Fairfield course (Note:  The aforementioned data may be a crock of shite.  I really don't know how to interpret the Map My Run Elevation Chart.  At the bottom of the chart it read a 325 foot gain.  What that means exactly, I just don't know.  If you know, feel free to educate me.  Danke).  I went up the hill at a snail's pace, but I make it point to always keep moving.  Don't stop.

On the way home, I saw a friend from high school who lives in Connecticut posted an article about the Stratton Faxon Half on Facebook.  Turns out they changed the course for the first time in ten years.  They basically eliminated the tough hills.  Most of the race will be run in the next town of Westport.  Because of the faster course, they expect the race to sell out quickly.  I was happy to hear this, of course.  As soon as I got home I registered.

I'm excited about this year's races!  I ordered the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning book from the library (I do realize I said earlier that I was going to pforget Pfitzinger because of the high mileage.  I changed my mind.  He has numerous programs.  I am going to try the one that peaks at 55 mile per week.  I know Higdon has worked for me in the past, but he is great for beginners and beginning intermediates.  I think I am ready to kick it up a notch.  Many people have had success in reaching their goals with the Pfitzinger plans.)  Once I get it, I will figure out my training schedule for the full and where my half fits in.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New York?

3.95 miles at 7:15am in 30 degrees.  Nice and quiet at that hour.

I checked the NYC Marathon website today.  It looks like they will be having a lottery this year (yay).  The number will be smaller than years past because of the 2012 cancellation.  People registered for 2012 will have guaranteed entry in 2013 if they choose.  Also, the number of guaranteed qualifiers is down to 2,000 (boo).

This is what I'm thinking.  I will attempt to register for the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) at noon on March 27.  I'm expecting this to sell out quickly.  I hope to make it.  I will also submit my application for the NYC Marathon lottery (again).  I don't expect to be chosen, of course.  If lightning strikes pigs, giving them the ability to fly, and simultaneously, my name is  picked in the lottery, I will run New York this year and defer MCM to 2014.  I know there are some people out there who think running two marathons in one week is a cake walk.  I am not one of them.  I think two marathons in one year is a big deal.  I know my limits.  I know I cannot run the MCM on October 27 and then enjoy NYC (enjoy being the key word) the following weekend.  If you noticed "NYC Marathon" in my blog title, you'll understand that when I run NYC, I want it to "count".  I don't want to limp or curse or die during the experience (Dying would be on the bottom of the list.  In fact, I wouldn't even put it on the list).

What will happen?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Uh Oh

Distance                 5k             10k             Half Marathon              Marathon
Time                      22:44        47:13             1:45:16                           3:41:32
Pace                         7:19          7:36                 8:02                                8:27

According to McMillan's Running Calculator, my shorter race distance times should reflect what is shown in the chart above to sync with my current marathon time.  I need to be one minute faster in my 5k, two minutes faster in my 10k, and four minutes in my half.  I guess this proves my endurance versus speed theory (My theory:  I am slow).   To qualify for New York City with a 3:25 marathon, my shorter distance times need to be lightning speed, apparently.  I have my work cut out for me in the next year.    Good thing I took the day off today to think about all the training that I could be doing instead of typing and eating chocolate chip cookies.  In my defense, I didn't really enjoy the cookies.  I had to buy the Pepperidge Farm Soft Baked Montauks because the local commissary doesn't sell my usual yummy Nature's Promise cookies.  I will accept your pity if it's genuine.


Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

I ran 6.76 miles this morning.  The first 2.76 miles were run in the local park with Pete, Baby Girl, and Dog, and then I did my regular 4 mile road run solo.  Running in the park feels good on my bones, but this particular park has some "downsides".  Pete constantly asks me why I don't take the dog and baby running in the park while he's at work.

Reasons for not going to the park while he's at work:

1.  There are bat "houses" in the trees.  This means that bats live in those houses.

2.  The wingless, but just as horrifying, cousins of the bats.  Over the years I have seen mice and chipmunks running alongside the path with me.  Pictures of mice are unnecessary.  

3.  A few years back during a local drought, the park's reservoir dried up.  Numerous guns were found on the reservoir bed, many with their serial numbers shaved off.  

4.  I have heard about at least one dead body found in the woods of this park.  

I'd rather take my chances on the streets.  Also, what does it say about my husband who insists I run in these conditions?  It is now officially documented.  Just in case...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New England Half Marathon

I have been looking for a half marathon I can do in between Alicia, my friend who lives in Massachusetts, and Long Island, preferably near our college buddy in New Haven.  There is the Hamden Hills Half Marathon which is right outside New Haven, but it is on Memorial Day weekend.  Memorial Day weekend is off limits for our family for, at least the next 18 years due to travel soccer tournaments (sigh...wipe away tears).

I think I will do the Stratton Faxon Half Marathon in Fairfield, Connecticut.  It takes place on Sunday, June 23.  I have heard of this one before at race expos.  The reviews are favorable.  There only seem to be two issues:  the late start at 8:30am on a June morning and the hills (!).  I think the average time to complete 13.1 miles is probably about 2 hours (total guess).  Figure 10:30am at the end of June, it could very well be 70/75 degrees.  Not fun when you're running long distance.  If it seems races all across the country are getting hotter each year, they are.  Global warming.  Enough said here.  I'll save that for my When Are We Going To Stop Fucking Up Our Planet And Everything That Lives On It blog.

Hills.  I love hills in my training runs.  Hills during races?  Love might be too strong a word.  Despise might be more appropriate.  I looked at the elevation chart and they don't look too steep, however there are many of them.  Many meaning A LOT.  I'll  have to get to the north shore once a week to find anything taller than a speed bump.

We'll see how it works out.  So far Alicia is in.  I still need to check with New Haven College Buddy who has no idea we're even planning such an event.

No run today.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Marathon Man

8.23 miles around 3pm, temperature in the low 50s.  It was mostly overcast.  I ran solo this time and it felt good and easy.

A man in Beaumont, Texas with brain cancer not only ran a marathon, but won it in 3:07.  Mr. Iram Leon also pushed his six year old daughter in a jogger stroller the whole 26.2 miles.   I love his quote to the Beaumont Enterprise, "This [cancer]  is supposed to eat away at my memory in the end, but I hope this memory is one of the last things to go and one [my daughter] never loses."  Pretty amazing.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

They're Called Sidewalks, Not Sideruns

6.64 miles at 2pm, a cooler afternoon than I expected.  I took Baby Girl in the jogger stroller.  I was hoping to do about 8, but even on a Sunday afternoon there are a lot of cars on the roads.  When I take her I am somewhat limited with my routes.  There are some streets with no bike or parking lanes whatsoever, too dangerous to run with a big stroller.  Even when I am running in the bike lanes against traffic like I'm supposed to, I still get glaring, annoyed, disapproving looks from some drivers.  Maybe if they got off the phone, stopped texting, or paid attention, I wouldn't have to give it right back to them.  The best is when some drivers turn their heads to look at you, at the same time turning their steering wheel, and then almost run you down.  Really?  Your hands don't move independently from your neck?  I avoid running on the cement sidewalks except when absolutely necessary.  The cement is terrible for your bones, but also the sidewalks are so uneven you risk tripping or waking a sleeping baby.  Yes, Baby Girl fell asleep within the first mile and didn't wake up until we arrived home.  Whoo hoo!

Dead rat on Raymond Street.  Note to self:  Never ever go on Raymond Street.  Ever.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

South Shore 5K Run Review

Yesterday turned out to be a running day, after all.  Pete got home at 4.  It was no longer snowing so I went out for a quick 4 miler.  It was 36 degrees.

After my run, I went to Oceanside to pick up my packet.  Modell's moved and I mysteriously wound up at T.J. Maxx.  I'm not a regular, but I should be (I say this to myself every time I go).  They really have good deals.  I got a pair of black Kenneth Cole Reaction sunglasses ($12.99) for Florida, a cute tangerine sports bra ($12.99), and a cuddly, gray sweatshirt ($19.99).

When I got to Modell's,  there was only one other runner getting his packet.  The sport sack was filled with goodies:  Chapstick (nice), pens (nice), Fekkai hair stuff (nice), shampoo (nice), more shampoo (uh huh), Salt & Sweet M&Ms (eh), a Mary Kay Cosmetics coupon (eh), neon orange crackers (ew), and a nice looking long sleeve, cotton race shirt (nice).  Now that I'm typing this, I realize I should have taken a picture of the swag.  Too late because as soon as I got home I ransacked the bag like a hungry bear raiding a campsite.

I broke a windshield wiper on my truck as we headed off this morning.  An omen?  Perhaps.  We got to Oceanside Park a little before 9am.  It was pretty chilly and windy.  The park is right on the Great South Bay.  The kids ran around the playground, but it really was too cold be standing around outside.  They hung out in the tent that was set up for registration, packet pickup, and post-race snacks until the start.  There was a nice setup with a stage, but I think they were hoping to have more than the 195 runners that showed.  The snow yesterday probably scared off a lot of people.  By the time the air horn went off at 9:30, Pete's "I can't believe you broke the windshield wiper when I specifically told you not to" mood finally passed.

The route went through the residential neighborhood.  I hit the first mile at 7:25, Mile 2 at 15, and mile 3.1 at 23:42:04.  A half second PR!  A PR is a PR, right?  Yeah, lame.  I finished 20th overall out of 195, 5th out of the ladies, and 3rd in my age group.  The family was anxious to leave so I only caught the beginning of the post-race ceremony.  A Little League team from upstate raised $12,000 and presented the check to the south shore Long Island Little League teams affected by Hurricane Sandy!  We left before the awards to get some "international" pancakes.

See, if I had brushed the snow off the windshield before turning the wipers on, I surely would have finished under 22 minutes.  Lesson learned.

Race shirt



Finish line

Friday, March 8, 2013

It's Snow Joke!

This is what it looked like outside this  morning.

This is how I pictured my run.

...Day Off #3 this week.  

Naysayers Can Suck It

"Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose." - Walt Whitman

I saw that quote on the Athlinks Facebook page.  It's perfect!  

I received my GLIRC magazine in the mail today.  My Brrrrooklyn Hot Chocolate race result was in there!  Pretty cool.  I love how they track every member's race results and print them. There are some fun articles written by members and a lot of information about upcoming races.   I have to decide on an April race soon.

Some chatter in the Runner's World forum about Hal Higdon's marathon training plans.  The original poster wrote, "I have never used his beginners plans, but seeing so many posts about them, I was curious so I checked them out.  I just dont see why he is considered the beginners guru.  Take the novice 1 for example.  Peaks at 35mi, 4 runs a week.  Would it really matter how you arranged 35miles in a week as long as one was kind of long and were all done at a moderate pace?  Sorry if I affend anybody with this. "   (Okay, the spelling error can be addressed at another time.  A big pet peeve of mine.)  There were over 50 responses, most of them defending Higdon.  I happen to be a big Higdon fan.  I followed his plans for my half and both full marathons.  A lot of his defenders on the thread, however, are the same people who dismissed him on other threads because of the low mileage.  I think many people on these message boards just like to be contrary.  I posted on there before my Baltimore Marathon asking for pacing advice to qualify for Boston (sub 3:45).  Everyone said it wasn't going to happen.  Not even a maybe, just flat out NOs.  My half and 10k times were too slow and if I'm following Higdon, pfft - forget it.  I should just shoot for a sub 4, if I'm lucky.  These responses came as a surprise.  One, I thought most of them were obnoxious, with one or two exceptions.  And two, they were all super confident in their predictions.  Well, I ran my race with three and a half minutes to spare and a negative split.  I felt great at the end so I knew it wasn't a fluke.  I had the fitness and the numbers to prove it.  Suck it, naysayers (If there were emoticon options here, this would be where the Middle Finger icon would be inserted).  

My advice to you new or new-ish marathoners looking for advice. Just be realistic about your goal.  Don't overestimate your fitness.  Run by feel, not by your clock.  And if you can stick it to all the people who said you couldn't, I'll help you with the largest stick I can find (Middle Finger icon, followed by Laughing Face)!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tall, Dark Stranger Lurking

My usual 6.4 route on a windy, overcast 35 degree morning.  My dumb phone (translation:  I am dumb because I have no idea how to work it) repeated the same songs as the past couple of days, so I'm skipping the Last Song Post.  We are in for some more nasty weather...

I've been seeing the same "spectator" periodically on this particular route for the past couple of months.  I usually cross the street before approaching him in the same spot.  A couple of times, I've had to run right in front of him.  I try not to make eye contact.  I'm sure a lot of other female runners get the usual honk from the desperate, delusional men (typically gardeners for some reason).  Yes, Gardener Stranger.  I hear you honking.  If I weren't in the middle of my run, I surely would wave you and your co-workers down so we can chat, exchange phone numbers, and set up a date.  I mean, that's how it works when normal people meet, right?  Boy sees girl.  Boy honks at girl.  Girl swoons.  Boy and Girl marry.  We women love it when you honk, make bizarre animal noises, or shout random obscenities.  It shows us that you really respect women (not to mention, you must be extremely intelligent).  Keep doing what you're doing.  It obviously works for you. Oh and by the way, you're a disgusting douche.  Anyway, this "spectator" doesn't make any obscene gestures (although I'm pretty sure he is not wearing any pants), but that doesn't make his presence any less ominous.  He's definitely older because his hair is completely gray.  He's also very tall, so tall that after I pass him I can feel his large presence towering over my shoulder sometimes.  It sends shivers up my spine.  Some friends have said they've actually seen him in their neighborhoods too. I have only caught glimpses of him from the corner of my eye so today I decided to snap a quick picture of him, for insurance.  If anything ever happened, I want to be able to make an identification.  I tried to be discreet, but I'm pretty sure he noticed.  What do you think?

I was going to yell, "Say 'Cheese'!", but I didn't want to incite him.

Take your time to regain composure.

Happy thoughts:

Wrong!!  Try again:

Much better.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Giulia's Kitchen

5 miles this morning in 35 degrees.  It was slow going.  One of those lead leg days.  Roadkill free, however.  There's always a bright side.

Yesterday, ING Nation on Facebook asked who everyone's favorite running blogger was.  Yes, I shamelessly plugged.  I also discovered the T-Rex Runner.   She's a 26 year old Marathon Maniac from the south (Carolina?).  I love her sense of humor and she is so painfully honest I came close to bawling while reading some of her posts.  I added her to my daily reading.  

Speaking of shameless plugs...we had dinner tonight at my cousin's new restaurant in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.  He is an amazing chef.  You should know he was born and raised in Italy.  This automatically makes him better at food (that's what I call "good prejudice/racism", although not exactly racism in that instance.  A better example of "good racism" is "all Asians are smart".  I never understood why Asians took offense to this.  I am Asian and I not only welcome this stereotype, but I house it, feed it, nurture it,  and watch it grow up to be a big, successful racist stereotype).    Uh, back to my cousin's restaurant - he was cooking haute cuisine (don't really know what it means, but it sounds fancy and his food tasted fancy, so there it is) for his daughter's birthday parties and Thanksgiving.  It was inevitable that he would one day open his own place.  Tonight was Friends and Family night (a term I only associated with retail.  How awesome that he applied it to the restaurant?).  We had fried calamari, rice balls, mussels, baked spaghetti, vegetable stew with risotto, and the most delicious homemade cinnamon ice cream to finish.  If you're ever in the area, definitely check out Giulia's Kitchen.  It will be worth your while.

Vegetable stew with grilled risotto


To answer your question:  Yes, I have A.D.D.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Zombies Are the New Black

I went out and did a 3.4 mile loop, then I picked up Baby Girl and pushed her in the jogger stroller for an additional 5 miles.  I thought she would fall asleep, but the ride was a tad bumpy.  Oh, and the last thing she wants to do these days is nap.  She's 18 months going on 18 years.  I try to explain to her that napping will help her grow and make her less cranky by the end of the day.  She pretends like she doesn't understand and laughs at me.  I wound up doing 8.3 total which was a happy surprise because I thought I only ran 7.4ish.

The Walking Dead was on tonight.  It's a gory, poorly written, poorly acted zombie apocalypse series that I can't bring myself to miss.    Even though I either despise or am indifferent toward most of the characters (I'm talking about the living characters, the dead ones are much more likeable), I have been watching since the premiere and must find out what happens next each week.  I'm not the only one intrigued by these ghouls, as Pete constantly insists.  Zombies are the new black.  There are zombie movies with big movie stars coming out every other week, zombie books and comics, zombie t-shirts and bumper stickers, zombie dolls, etc.  There are even zombie races all across the country!  You can run a 5k while cannibal corpses chase you.  I would imagine there is a lot of PRing going on in these races.  First of all, I hate being chased.  It reminds me of when we were little and my brother would chase me up the stairs while trying to grab my legs - ahhhh.  In a zombie 5k, it's not your sibling (someone who has known you since babyhood) at your heels, but a complete stranger covered in "fake" blood and stinking of "rotten meat".  Of course, it's just an amateur actor or a race volunteer...or is it?  I'll pass on the theme race, thank you.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

How Am I Doing?

I ran 7.5 miles this morning.  I think it was in the low 40s.  I had my contact lenses in, finally!  I can see!  I can see!  Wait - is that... a!?  Things were going so well up until that point.

A fellow blogger (The Emerging Runner) gave me the nicest compliment on my last post.  I have the few friends who are regulars, but only because they are friends.  Then according to Blogger and Google Analytics, there are some international followers (apparently I'm "big" in Germany and Kazakhstan).  As a newbie in the blog world, it really means a lot to get nice feedback from a "colleague".

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Rose Is A Rose...

There was some talk on the Runner's World Forum about when is one considered a "marathoner"?  After one marathon?  Two?  Multiple?  A survey was taken, and most said after one with plans to do another. I know in my own warped mind I didn't feel right about purchasing and flaunting the much envied 26.2 car magnet (much envied only by me) until Marathon Two.  Someone wrote that only the elite professionals are marathoners, the rest of us are just runners who happen to run marathons.  Yes, we are all runners.  If you want to call yourself a marathoner, by all means.  Really, who cares?

Once the weather warms up, I am going to return to the track for some speed workouts.  Last year I was PRing all over the place.  This winter, not so much.  Judging from last year's races, I may be an endurance runner, rather than a speedster.  This is unusual, it's typically easier to improve one's speed over endurance.  Annoying.  I want it all!

I took the day off today.  I didn't sleep well last night.  I have been running an average of 30 miles per week (mpw).  Now that the weather is improving, I may step it up to 36.  I started reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami last year.  When not racing, he runs 36 mpw.  When I first read that, I thought, "Ugh."  only because I found it hard to work around my husband and children's schedules.  Now,  I think I've got the juggling down pat.  I also have to stop feeling guilty about not being with the kids 24/7.  I mean, that's ridiculous.  It can be done.

Postscript:  Who's the sick sadist who invented "Mega Stuf Oreos"?  I just bought a package "for my son".  He's dairy allergic and very limited to what kinds of snacks he can eat.  I usually don't buy the artificial Fat-In-A-Bag snacks, but I will occasionally for him since he's probably the healthiest eater in the family, otherwise.  I had to "test" the cookies, kind of like what the kings' servants would do for them to make sure the food wasn't poisoned.  I know the food is poison, but I still felt I should test it out for him for principle's sake.   So I had three.  Actually, two and a half because part of the chocolate lid was missing on one.  It was good, artificially speaking.  I happened to notice that the word "stuff" on the packaging was spelled "stuf" - just one F.  It's bad enough that they're calling it stuff (accurately describing it would be  too upsetting to the consumer, I'm sure), but it isn't even stuff!  It's stuf!  Worse than stuff.  Excuse me while I stuf my face with another throw them away.