Thursday, October 30, 2014

Running Scared

I woke up startled even though the alarm never went off.  It was still dark outside.  Was it morning or night?  I went to the bathroom and then crawled back into the warm bed.  I checked my phone for the time, 6:45am.  Great, Sanibel won't be late for school.  I got dressed and went downstairs to make the kids their lunches.  I remembered today is mini-waffle day at the elementary school so I only had to make a lunch for Sanibel.  This is considered a small victory in my book.  Sad, I know.  I checked the clock.  It was now 7:20 and I still hadn't heard any footsteps or doors slamming from upstairs.  I called my daughter's name.  No answer.  I went up to her room.  The bed was slept in so she didn't fall asleep watching TV in the basement.  Who am I kidding?  She hasn't made the bed in weeks.  I went to wake up Pete, but he wasn't in bed either.  I guess he took her to school early.  I just hope he made her lunch.

I still had forty minutes before I had to wake the little ones.  Perfect time for a catnap.  I had the king size bed to myself which was a rare luxury in a family of six.  Usually by morning I have one child laying on my head, another one across my neck, and a third entangled in my legs.   By the time I actually dozed off, I really only slept for about ten minutes.  I did, however, have some creepy dreams.  I can't remember the specifics but I know I was being chased by some creature (or creatures) down a dark alley lined with overloaded dumpsters.  Sometimes rats would dart out causing me to almost fall over.  Yuck.

I got out of bed again and went to wake the three little ones.  They were not in their rooms.  Now this was getting strange.    I stood still and only realized then how silent everything was.  Not just the house.  It was silent outside, too.  Was the clock on my phone wrong?  No, it couldn't be because now the sun was up.  It was definitely morning.  Did I confuse the days?  Was it the weekend and Pete took the kids to church or something?  I haven't been going to mass lately.  Maybe he finally gave up asking me (Thank God!  ...uh oh, now I'm really going to hell).

I went back downstairs to check the computer.  I couldn't get online.  Ugh.  So annoying.  The radio was staticky too.  Well, I'll check the date on the newspaper.  Jeez, am I that far gone where I'm forgetting what day it is already?  Early Alzheimer's?   There was no paper on the front walk.  Of course not, Pete always takes the papers.  I decided to go for a run.   I'm due for a longish (over 8 miles) one so by the time I return, Pete and or the kids should be home.  Nothing clears the mind like a good long run.

I put on my sneakers and grabbed my sunglasses and watch from the hutch in the dining room.  There was a note under my watch that read, "Went to DC."  What the fartlek?!  That's so bizarre on so many levels, the least of which was the handwriting barely looked like Pete's.  The letters were more like Sanibel's chicken scrawl or like they had been written in haste.  I should call his cell phone which would be easy if I could find a house phone.  This is not unusual.  We have five cordless house phones, none of which can ever be found when necessary.  And I don't get cell service in the house.  Of course.

Fartlek it.  I'll just go for my run and worry about this weird shit when I get back.  I headed out.  It was a perfect fall morning.  The sun was out and the sky was blue.  The temperature was about 55F.  As I headed down Village Avenue I realized I hadn't seen one car on the road.  Oh well, better for me.  I don't have to worry about getting hit by an inattentive douche texting.  I checked my watch when I hit my first mile marker, 7:54.  Cool.  For almost seven months, I had been running this first mile between 8:05 and 8:20.  I decided to do some 100 meter strides to get some speed work in.  At the 3.5 mile mark I decided to go ahead on my longer route rather than make a turn to cut it short to an even eight.  I turned right on Grand Avenue.  This is a very busy commercial street filled with shopping centers, restaurants, offices, etc.  And still no cars driving up and down, just the ones parked and empty on the side of the road.  They almost looked abandoned.  There weren't even people walking.  I checked the time on my phone.  It was 11:40am.  What is going on?  As soon as I get home I need to check the radio or CNN.   This is getting ridiculous.  I circled back toward the house.  I made a turn onto North Forest so I could run past the baby's pre-school just to see whether or not there were classes going on.  The baby might even be there on the playground.  Maybe that DC note wasn't even for me.  Maybe...

I saw  some sort of commotion ahead of me.  A group of people.  Some moaning (ew).  Is this where everyone is?  As I got closer, I realized it was more than a commotion.  And I'm not even sure it's a group of people.  It's more like a herd of... something behind a gate being stabbed by what looks like a police officer, a little boy, and another guy.

I introduced myself in between stabs.  The father's name
is Rick and his son is Carl.  

Their friend is Daryl.  He has very stylish hair.

Not so home alone.

Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore...

To make a long story short (Walking Dead writers take note), I decided to join Rick, Carl, and Daryl and head to DC (Coincidentally, they're headed there as well from Atlanta... via New York which is totally out of the way, but... it's The Walking Dead after all) to look for the kids.  Rick is a hot former sheriff and his wife was eaten by some fat, bald zombie shuffler (or whatever it is they call them) so it works out for me since dummy Pete took off with the kids during a zombie saunterer apocalypse and "forgot" to wake me up.  Carl looks like a dweeb with his shaggy hairdo and his dad's sheriff hat, but he's a good shot and that I guess is more important.  And speaking of hair, Daryl's One Direction cut is pretty avant-garde for a hillbilly bad boy.  He seems pretty good with the cross-bow and has some interesting squirrel recipes (who knew squirrel tasted like chicken, except gamier...and nuttier).  And what do I bring to this motley crew?  Well, apparently I can run fast.  I did 8.42 miles in 1:07:11, a 7:59 pace.  I hadn't run that kind of pace in a training run longer than 4 miles since pre-Boston.  Running from zombies (because that's what they are dammit!)  apparently is a good speed workout.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Two Weeks Notice

Week of October 5
     Sunday - 8 miles, 1:05:51, an 8:14 pace on my regular loop
     Wednesday - 8.77 miles, 1:12:07, an 8:13 pace.  I extended my 8 mile loop along Grand Avenue and Sunrise Highway.    A lot of sidewalk running because both roads are pretty busy, but it was a much needed change of scenery.  Also, plenty of bathrooms along the way, if when necessary.
     Thursday - 7.1 miles, not timed with jogger stroller.    This was the day I didn't lose my house key.
     Saturday - 6.87 miles, 55:41, an 8:07 pace.  Must not have been that exciting because I can't remember it.

     Total Miles - 30.7

Week of October 12

     Sunday - 6.6 miles at Bethpage State Park with my buddies, The Emerging Runner, The Petite Pacer, and our new member, D'Artagnan, aka Joe.  Our new friend is a triathlete and a pretty damned good one, at that.  It was a gorgeous morning and I couldn't ask for better company.  It had been a long time since we all ran together.  
     Wednesday - 6.94 miles, 56:57, an 8:13 pace at 5:15pm.  It began to rain at the end.  It felt great and the timing couldn't have been better.
     Thursday - 5.79 miles, 51:20, an 8:52 pace.  I never time myself with my stopwatch when I run with the jogger because I already know I'm much slower and who wants to be reminded of that anyway?  I did glance at the start and finish time (not exact) and my pace was around 8:50ish.

     Total Miles - 19.3  A low mileage week.  I will make it up this coming week.

This Week

     Today (Sunday) - 3.67 miles, 29:23, an 8:00 pace.  My plan was to run 7 or 8 miles with strides.  At the 3 mile mark, I had to go to the bathroom and that was the end of that...
     Stay Tuned...

Here we are with D'Artagnan.

Friday, October 10, 2014


I ran 7 miles with the baby in the jogger stroller yesterday at 12:30pm.  The stroller is a black Baby Trend Expedition LX which is kind of funny because the car I drive is a black Expedition.  I got it (the stroller) in 2001 when my oldest was born.  It is awkward to push (I think most strollers are) and it veers to the right so I constantly have to adjust.  However, I should point out that we have acquired other jogger stroller brands, both double and single, since then, and the Expedition still outperforms all the others.

One of these is my car
and the other is
the jogger...

Each of my children has been pushed and bounced around in this stroller, whether they liked it or not.  Usually, they like it.  First, they will see me getting ready to leave for my run and beg to come along.  They like it for the first two miles, at some point they get bored and want to go home, then they eventually fall asleep.  It ends up being a win/win situation for everyone.

Yesterday was sunny and windy at 60 degrees.  I wore shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt and I wrapped the baby in a blanket (The baby is 3 years old, by the way.  I will always refer to her as the baby, even in 30 years.  That's just how it is).  I brought along the purple coiled key chain.  The coil was too stretched out to fit on my wrist so I placed it in the tray at the top of the stroller.  I chose a route where I could run safely in the streets for most of the run.  There was about a mile of sidewalk running.  The baby complained of the bumps at the beginning, but by mile 4 she was well on her way to Dreamland.

I got home and opened the front storm door only to discover that my key was no longer in the tray.  FUUUCK!  I checked to see if it slipped  behind the baby, but it was nowhere to be found.  Two of my neighbors have copies of the house keys for emergencies (This would be an emergency in my book).  One neighbor was at work so we walked down to the other's house.  Her car was in the driveway!  Yay!  No answer at the door.  Boo.  I started retracing my steps while trying to remember the last time I glanced and saw the key in the tray.  As I was heading down Hempstead Avenue, I rationalized that retracing 7 miles again was not only unrealistic but also the last thing I wanted to do at that moment.  I'll just run the same route tomorrow and hopefully find the key along the way.  No one's going to take a random key they find in the middle of the street, right?  I wondered if I could now break into the house?  Of course, I locked the first floor windows the night before because Pete's away (And of course, Pete's away so he won't be any help).  Did I skip a window?  Could I climb up to a window easily?  Will someone call the police when they see me breaking into my house?  Are there going to be spiderwebs in the bushes?  Ugh!  As I walked back onto my block, I saw a new car in my neighbor's driveway that wasn't there before I left!  Hooray!  She was home and gave me the key.  I made it back into the house!  I dragged the stroller inside and let the baby continued to sleep for another half hour.

The baby woke up and we went about our business for the rest of the day.  In the evening, as I was picking up toys in the living room, what did I happen to find?  Yep, you guessed it.  The key was on the floor.  It must have been in the stroller and fallen out when I took the baby out.  Welcome to my world.

At least I didn't break any windows, right?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Help Wanted

Dear Technology Geek Wizard,

I am writing you for some advice for my "friend" friend who is too embarrassed to write herself himself.  I have (oops) He has been running for decades, starting as a child on the CYO track team to multiple marathons and shorter distance races as an adult.  As experienced as he is in running, he is completely inexperienced with most of the gadgets and accessories out there.  He is what you would call cheap a purist.  He does not have any kind of GPS device to track his routes, mileage, and paces.  This is kind of odd for someone who is always tracking his routes, mileage, and paces.  Instead of a Garmin, he times his runs with his Casio wristwatch, then maps them out on the computer when he gets home.  Although this method may have a couple of advantages (ex., ability to estimate miles just from the clock; pause timing easily for bathroom breaks -- this advantage should never be underestimated; not being mentally influenced by the constant reminder of the GPS), it also has its disadvantages (the extra time on the computer after each run; some routes are not possible to track online; my his psychic odometer is not foolproof; and maybe he just wants a cool, new gadget dammit!).

So...this person is now ready to catch up with the rest of the 21st century runners and invest in a Garmin or a Garmin-like device.  What do you suggest for a technologically inept, deficient, simple unadulterated newbie?  Nothing too complicated.  Just the basics to help with mileage, pace, and heart rate.

Thank you for any kind of input.

Yours truly,

"A Concerned Friend"
Mata Hari

"purist runner".

(courtesy of

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekly Recap 9/29/14 - 10/5/14

Monday:  6 miles at 5:30pm just before the rain storm.

Wednesday:  8 glorious miles on my regular loop in 1:07:10, an 8:24 pace.

Friday: 6.6 miles, two loops around the reservoir at Hempstead Lake Park in 55:10, an 8:22 pace

Sunday: 8 mile loop in 1:05:51, an 8:14 pace

TOTAL:  28.6 miles

It's marathon season and I love reading everybody's race reports.  Great motivation and inspiration!  I can't wait to start planning my next one!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

2015: A Race Odyssey

Wow, I had a great run today!  It feels like forever since I felt this good throughout an entire run.  The weather was a cool, overcast 65 degrees a little after noon.  I ran my local 8 mile loop which I hadn't done since...April (Wow!  Cray cray!)?!  There were no dead animals on the road (Yes, this is what I worry about during some of my runs, especially in spring and autumn when the squirrels seem to be fatter and slower), there was no pressure for me to return home immediately, and I even ran into a racing buddy (Hi Liz!).  It also helped that I had some of Pete's famous linguini alle vongole for dinner last night.  Perfect pre-run meal.  I wasn't particularly fast, but I enjoyed every step.  This was exactly the type of workout I needed to get my arse back in gear.

Speaking of getting back in gear...  I'm thinking ahead to my marathon for 2015.  When I checked the calendar, I discovered that the New York City Marathon falls on my birthday, November 1st, All Saints Day (A shout out to all my fellow saints out there!  What's up, holy people?) .  What a perfect day to finally run this race!  Of course, I would enter through the lottery again and my chances are still pretty slim, but you got to be in it to win it, right?

So I thought my mind was made up about this until I just happened to come across Short, Round, & Fast's recent blog post about running the St. George Marathon  this weekend in Utah on almost no training.  I think he'll do great because he has already run it a few times in the past and he's fast.  The fact that he didn't really train?  Well, it might hurt towards the end.  Maybe a lot.  I remember hearing about this race on the Runner's World message boards a while back.  It made an impression because one, the poster said this was one of the faster races in the country.  It is basically down hill.  Like a lot.  Like 2,500 feet.  And two, it is in Utah.  Right after college, a girlfriend and I drove across country via Route 80 (A shout out to all the corn fields out there!  What's up, kernel Sanders?!  I know you can hear me 'cause you're all ears...  okay, I'll stop).  Every state we drove through was beautiful and unique (yes, even Iowa), but Colorado and Utah were my favorites.  Fresh air, clean cities, friendly people, and some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.  Having an opportunity to run a marathon in one of these places would be a dream.  I checked out the web site and there also is a lottery which doesn't open until the spring.   The best part about possibly doing St. George is my friend, The Petite Pacer, would like to do it with me as her first ever marathon!   I know, awesome!

What about New York City, Aimée?  Is the A.D.D. that bad?  Yes, I was getting to that.  So if finances and logistics work out, I will apply to St. George as my A goal.  If finances are better than expected, I will also apply to NYC (This race ain't cheap, you know).  I hope I get into at least one of them.  The marathon gods can't hate me that much.  And if I get into both?  October is going to be an interesting month.  Bring it!

From the St. George Marathon home page.
Voted:  Most organized race.
I guess that's important.

NYC Marathon,
probably less organized.

8 miles in 1:07:10, an 8:24 pace.