Monthly Archives: December 2012

Philadelphia Marathon Race Report – Scott’s Story

Scott sent me his race report a few weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you all. This was his first marathon and even more impressive than the fact he finished was that he did it barefoot! Scott tried running years back, but often found himself sidelined with injuries. When he took up the sport of triathlon a few years ago, he decided to forgo shoes in hopes that he would have better luck staying healthy – it has worked! The only injury to date was some tweaks in his knee and it turned out they were, ironically, due to his clip-in bike shoes being misaligned. He runs year round with no shoes, only occasionally donning minimal ones for especially nasty weather or courses (like prickly gravel). Here is how his first bout with 26.2 went…
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The night before I had to do a job (ed note: worry not, he is not a Mafioso hit man,  just a professional photographer!), so I got into my hotel at about 11pm (which was earlier than I expected), and got about 6 hours of sleep. I was happy to get that much!  Next morning I got going and stopped at a Wawa around 5:30a  where I got a muffin, banana and tea, plus water.   I didn’t have much of an appetite but I forced the food down then drove into the city (about a 25min drive). I got to the parking lot at 6am and it was full so I had to find another, and by the time I parked and got walking to the start it was about 6:30. Temps were in the mid-30s, low 40s, so it was cold! I had to meet GD to get my race bib (he and Kashi picked it up the day before for me) and also had to use the bathroom. I got on the bathroom line and realized there might be a problem – it took 30 min to get to the front of the line and it was now 7am – start time!  GD and I got our signals crossed as to where to meet and by this point he had checked his bag with his phone in it.  I went looking for the info tent to see if I could do something about the bib…needless to say I was starting to get pretty stressed.  The info guy said they couldn’t help me, and I had a race bag which I couldn’t drop without my bib so I started to panic – I just tried to put aside my anger at missing GD  and keep the race as my focus.  I went to the bag trucks and luckily they had a spare tag someone had left behind so I used that to drop my bag and just figured I’d run without a bib and time myself…I was pretty pissed!  I got into a corral and finally saw GD waiting by the start line with arms raised and my bib in his hands, hoping I would spot him. That was a big relief – I went from hate to love in like one second.  So overall not a great way to start, but a start nonetheless.
I carried 5 gus, 4 chomps, plus had my shoes tied around my waist (ed note:  Scott had never run this course, so he brought the shoes in case the road got rough).  The first couple of miles were slow because of the volume of people, and it was a good basic warmup.  By the 3rd or 4th mile I found a comfortable pace, and it became apparent that it  would be around 10 min/mile, not 9:30.  I was okay with that as long as I could finish barefoot, so I just settled in and made sure to keep eating regularly and keep things smooth.  The road surfaces were pretty good, so I wasn’t having any  trouble, and there were only a couple of patches in the race that were a little rough on my feet (around mile 11-12, and for a couple of miles in the back half around 17).  There were a few hills around 8-10, and they went well. I think that work on the bike may have helped and I found I could climb while maintaining my pace. I just watched my HR, which never really got to be a problem as  it was pretty steady throughout the race.   The downhills were a little harder on my feet, I think just because of the angle of extension, but nothing to worry about.
Mile 13 and the half- marathoners split off so things opened up.  I still wasn’t using headphones/music because I wanted to save them for the hard part!  I stopped briefly to wrap some tape on my big toe – my push-off callous was a little sore from a rock I hit at mile 2, so just wanted to make sure it didn’t get any worse. The tape seemed to help for the rest of the run.  I also made a quick pit stop in the bushes, which I think meant I was hydrating well.  At about 2:45 I was starting to feel the burn a little, but still had a lot left in me – held off on music to about 3 or 3:15, and then went to my playlist…it was a big advantage to have music!  It definitely gave me an extra mental boost, and kept my mind off the suffering of the last miles.  I had a little cup of beer at mile 18 (can’t pass that up!) but other than that I was hitting water at every stop (ed. note: the awesome people of Manayunk give out beer, this wasn’t at an official water stop, lol).
A little suffering kicked in around 19 and then in the early 20s…nothing like those last 8 miles of the 1/2 Ironman tri last year, but definitely some general tiredness/pain and impulses to stop, which of course I ignored.  Mentally getting to the last hour felt good and I was pretty sure I was going to come in at around 4:20.  At that point I just kept thinking I can do anything for 1 hour, and then as I got closer that I could always finish a 5K, then 2 miles, etc.  Feet were a bit sore but nothing really worrying.  I got to the last mile and picked it up, and then really pushed the last 1/2 mile at a fast pace (much of that was uphill). I came sprinting in to the finish – that fast pace actually felt a lot better on my legs than keeping up the steady pace of the last 25 miles.
My average pace was exactly 10:00 min/ mile, and I think I did a good job of keeping my it consistent through the race.  Afterwards I walked the chute and then sat down (not easy!) for a bit. I had my jacket and hat but my teeth were chattering – I will definitely take a space blanket next time.  Being out there in high 40/low 50 for 5 hours chilled me, especially since my clothes were a little damp from sweating. I’ve found Smartwool to be generally good for wicking and drying, but this was the first time it sort of failed on me. It stayed a little damp after the race and wasn’t warming me enough.  Maybe try a synthetic next time?  Or just have warm dry clothes to change into!
I was definitely waddling after the race – my feet were sore, legs hurt, it was hard to walk.  We went and got sandwiches and then drove back to Cape May (about 2 hrs).  Over the next two days I went from waddling, to crippled, to limping. By the third day I was sore but walking, and did a swim which always seems to help.  I did a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, which also was good (although I felt pretty slow!  I didn’t time it but probably 9:30 min miles).
Overall I think it went well despite the trouble at the start, and I was proud of myself to do the whole thing barefoot.  Got a lot of “Oh My Gods!!!” and “Where are your shoes?!?” from people. I only saw two other barefooters the whole race – that was kind of surprising considering it seems to be getting more popular.  In any case it worked, and I was happy with my time even though it wasn’t a 9:30 pace…next year I’ll go for a sub-4!  Got to get down to mid 3s if I’m ever going to get to Kona : )
Not too bad for running 26.2! I've seen worse after a day walking around in the summer!

Not too bad for running 26.2! I’ve seen worse on people after a day walking around in the summer!

Well done, Scott!! His dedication to triathlons and his long-term goal of making it to the World Championships of Ironman at Kona make training with Scott a real pleasure. We have spent many dinners plotting strategy and talking race goals and it was very satisfying to see him check off another item of his endurance sport to-do list! He hopes to one day do an ultramarathon as well, and I hope to be right there with him! Not to mention the trip to Hawaii that I look forward to when I cheer him on at that IM 🙂
Any questions for Scott?

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Runner’s World Review – Does Social Media Mean Better Running?

I’m an avid Runner’s World reader and have been for many years. Each month  I will pick one article from the magazine (suggestions welcome!) to discuss and we can kick around thoughts, opinions and reflections. We’ll stay one issue behind the most current so that non-subscriber’s can read along on the RW website.  It’ll be like a book club, except less Jane Austen and more sweat.  So grab a cup of Joe or tea (see, it is just like a book club!) and jump into the fray!

December

December 2012 – Does Social Media Mean Better Running?

My, my, what a germane topic for a blog! I finally got a chance to read the December issue on holiday break and was immediately drawn to this article. Before even reading a single word, I was already thinking “yes!” and by the end I was still sticking with my answer.

As the article points out, there can be drawbacks – perhaps a person is spending so much time attending to their social media sheep that there is less time to actually run.  Many runners also use their time out on the roads or trails to disconnect and by updating various sources – like dailymile, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and forums – they lose that precious downtime. But you know what I say to that? Hogwash! Or at least I would if this were the early 1900s!

For me, running brings such intense pleasure that I cannot imagine that Facebooking/blogging about running would ever deter me from actually getting out there (and so far, that has not been a problem!). For that matter, there is very little that deters me from running – injury is probably the only thing and even that I accept very reluctantly. Furthermore, I feel more connected because of these outlets – I don’t take my iPhone with me when I run and spend plenty of time communing with nature/talking to real people/getting lost in the madness that is my mind while clicking off the miles. But before and after? Big fan of chatting it up online about plans of what is to come and lowdowns of what came.

I am one of the masses that feels that social media brings another dimension to the experience that is running – it’s  sea salt on a caramel chocolate (mmmm, can you tell I am still thinking about Christmas goodies?). For a sport that by its very nature can be a meditation on solitude, social media allows us to connect to one another in ways that would otherwise not be possible, especially among far-flung friends.  As much as I enjoy sharing my running adventures with you all on the blog, what I heart even more is hearing about yours. It’s why I started Cape Island Runners in the first place.

I love the dichotomous nature of running and its shape-shifting ability to be both a group activity and an individual one, sometimes at the same time.  It is not a coincidence that every single Cape Island Spotlight interviewee has answered the question of whether they prefer running alone or in a group with the response “both”. The running alone part is easy – lace up, hit start on the Garmin and away you go. But the social aspect? That can be a tougher nut to crack. You have to find people to run with, figure out where, when and what pace you will go and fight anxiety that you will hold your new running bud back. It’s not as if you can just see someone running on the opposite side of the street and sidle up to them with a clever pick-up line – although maybe I will muster up the courage to try that one day! Because it might be worth the risk – running buddies add color to my world that I would not trade for anything.

This is where social media comes in handy. Just looking at my Facebook feed, I see a number of examples – the Lady Runners of Parvins, the Zoomers Running Club, the Jersey Shore Running Club – of groups that post on a regular basis about events where they encourage people to join. I have rekindled friendships with people on-line because of our joint love of the sport (Hi Sherry!) and formed completely new relationships that have translated to real-life meetings (Hey Bel!).

The timing of this article was also a neat coincidence because I recently have had conversations with a few friends who are in the process of building their own little houses of running. They have expressed some concerns that their posts on FB and elsewhere might come off as bragging or fishing for compliments. Based on the number of positive responses they get to their posts, I think they need not worry! But just to drive the point home, let me please be clear that I LOVE reading your posts about workouts, races, what went right and what went wrong. I love hearing how your bodies and minds are changing and responding  and how you felt at the end of a run – be it elated, relieved, exhausted, invincible or anything in between. I especially love how you all say you are not “real runners” despite logging miles week in and week out. New flash – you are as real as it gets!

As anyone who has run a big race knows, encouragement from spectators (friends or strangers) can fuel us to our best running  selves. I think the same is true of social media – your real-life and virtual friends are here to encourage, cheer you on and help move you forward to the person you are striving to be.  We are social creatures, dependent on one another for love, support and feedback. I applaud you for even taking the initiative to get out there, because I remember how hard those early days were, and am here for you every step of the way of your journey. It truly warms my heart to see people try running on for size, see it fits and decide to take it home.

So, yes, I do think social media means better running in that it makes it more enjoyable, which is the whole point to begin with! We can more easily exchange information (about gear, nutrition, races), be part of a super fun community and feel inspired by others successes to overcome our own challenges. Plus, how else can we share, uh, interesting photos of our hard-earned blisters (*cough*, Lil Sis,* cough*)?!?!

What do you think? Does social media make us better runners?

Have you had any negative experiences or see any drawbacks to social media that outweigh the benefits?

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What I Saw When I Ran Wednesdays

For those of you who read food blogs, you will often see a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Same idea here, except it will be what I saw when I ran on Wednesdays.  So take a peek at what my orbs observed and then add your own experience!

I actually pretty happy I am on rest detail right now, given the incredibly nasty day it is out there! I did see one guy running this AM with his dog and a big ‘ol smile on his face. I theorized that he either just recovered from an injury and was happy to be running no matter the conditions OR Santa hooked him up with some awesome water repellant running gear that he was psyched to try. No way, no how he was just out for a regular run with that kind of smile on this kind of day!

I spent my morning at the docs, looking at my MRI results. More good news is that there is nothing on there or the X-ray to suggest that something major is wrong. For soft tissue, he generally suggests 6 weeks off and since it has been 3 weeks since my last run, he thought I should give it another 3 and try then.  If you  consult a calendar, you will see that 3 weeks from now is January 16th, which just happens to be the day I land in the Bahamas to look for wintering Piping Plovers which just happens to be a country I need for my run list!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am taking this as a sign that the plovies will be my magic elixir back to running health! Here’s hoping!

Hello doctor's office! Nice to see you on this yucky, nasty morning when I am nursing a cookie hangover.

Hello doctor’s office! Nice to see you on this yucky, nasty morning when I am nursing a cookie hangover.

Ohh, my MRI results! I feel like this is the board game Clue and the answer to whodunit are inside! It was a dumb runner at the marathon with the quadriceps! I knew it!

Ohh, my MRI results! I feel like this is the board game Clue and the answer to whodunit is inside! It was a dumb runner at the marathon with the inability to make a smart decision to DNS! I knew it!

I kept myself busy waiting for the doc learning about arthritis of the knee. Hey doctors of the world, slightly more interesting wall materials would not be a bad thing. I'm picturing something like "20 things you never knew about the human body" and it could include things like ~8% of human DNA is from a virus and not our ancestors, a fact I recently learned while reading the excellent Violinist's Thumb.

I kept myself busy waiting for the doc learning about arthritis of the knee. Hey doctors of the world, slightly more interesting wall materials would not be a bad thing. I’m picturing something like “20 things you never knew about the human body” and it could include things like ~8% of human DNA is from a virus and not our ancestors, a fact I recently learned while reading the excellent Violinist’s Thumb.

This is what one slice of my right hip looks like! Wowies! Not a stress fracture or too much unwanted fluid in sight - super cool! Guys, I love science.

This is what one slice of my right hip looks like! Wowies! Not a stress fracture or too much unwanted fluid in sight – super cool! Guys, I love science.

What did you see on your run today?

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Merry Christmas!

Nothing running related, just wanted to wish you and yours the very best of the holiday season!

GD and I were engaged two years ago today, so we did a quick trip to Philly to celebrate and I could not resist a photo at the LOVE statue. He changed my life that day, easing the load some ugly baggage that I was hauling around and I'll be forever grateful for that kind act of bending on one knee and making me whole again.

GD and I were engaged two years ago today, so we did a quick trip to Philly to celebrate and I could not resist a photo at the LOVE statue. He changed my life that day, easing the load of some ugly baggage that I was hauling around and I’ll be forever grateful for that kind act of bending on one knee and making me whole again.

What are your favorite Christmas indulgences to run off?

For me, it is hands down cookies(specifically oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodles, choco chip and anything else that comes within a 2′ radius of my mouth!). Though the vanilla bean toffee bundt cake with a sea salt caramel glaze that I baked today is going to give them a run for their money!

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End of the World “Big Year”!

Last year, GD came up with a genius idea. Since 2012 was going to be the first full year we lived in Cape May Point, he wanted to do a Big Year south of Sunset Boulevard. To the non-birders out there, a Big Year is when you pick a geographic location and try and see as many birds as possible in its perimeters over the course of 365 days. You may have seen the shitty movie of the same name with Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson, which tells the story of a North American Big Year competition. Yeah, it got the basics right, but completely missed the quirky and charming side of birding that makes it so endearing. Anywho, GD decided that since the end of the world was imminent, it simply would not do to start his Big Year on 1/1/2012, since if we all go up on smoke (or whatever the believers think is going to happen to us), he would be robbed of 10 days of birding. That’s not a big year, that’s 97.19% of a big year! So on 12/21/11 at 11:11pm he started his big year. He has been wildly successful, seeing a total of 290 birds (as of 9am that is – he is out there now and still has 14 hours to work with) in this little corner of the world (yeah, there’s a reason Cape May is considered one of the world’s birding meccas) including finding a Townsend’s Warbler just last week in our yard!! This is a bird that has only been three times in Cape May County, the last being in 1987. So yeah, if the world ends today, he’ll disintegrate as one happy man!

I have never kept close tabs on a whole year of running – I am great about logging runs when training for something, but not in those weeks/months in between when just running for fun. So I too embarked on a Big Year. Mine did not end on quite the same bang as GD’s, but I sure did have some great runs along the way, the highlights of which I will share below. But first, let’s do the numbers (said in  my best Kai Ryssdal voice):

Total Miles Run: 1,781.59  (those of you who know me know I must be taking resting seriously because I would never willingly leave a dangling decimal like that! That .59 is going to irk me for all eternity)

Total Time: 288 hours, 43 minutes, 8 seconds

Pairs of Shoes: 3

GUs consumed: 44 

Highlights: Even though the year ended on a whimper, the 11 months that preceded the one I could not run were just spectacular! I ran in new states, countries, did my first ultra, PRed in the marathon and had lots of great runs with friends. Here are some that I will always look back fondly on:

2/25/12 –  City Running Tours Washington DC with Lil Sis

Can you tell which sisters like to get into the role playing spirit? lol

Can you tell which runners like to get into the role playing spirit? Hint: it’s not the blonde chick in black. Yo, sister, it’s a bread line in the Great Depression. No way are you looking that perky! Unless Peeta has been sneaking you bread? hmmm….

3/4/12B & A Marathon. Road trip with Melissa – oddly no photos! It’s a special race to me, for a bunch of personal reasons, and was an excellent reminder of why going somewhere new with friends and running is the best thing since… well, since going somewhere new and running with friends!

4/6/12 – New England trip with Laur and Kat – I like running with friends so much I decided to do it again a month later! We hit 4 states in 3 days, alternating between running and visiting chocolate shops (Oh, LA Burdick, I still dream of you and you picturesque little shop with your sweet little mice!). We also visited our friends Derek and Jeanette and did a race with Jeanette.

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5/19/12Kashi Classic!!! Gets the medal for my favorite day of running for the year, and also a medal for one of my favorite friend days of the year – you guys (pictured and not) are superstars!

Group finish line

6/27/12Wednesdays night group runs! Can’t wait to start these back up in the spring 🙂 All are welcome!

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7/4/124th of July run…in Brazil!! Thanks again for the trip, Claud!

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7/26/12Mug Run – Another Round! Awesome CIR run, more of these in the future (and by more, I mean runs and beers!)

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7/28/12 – Rhode Island Rhodetrip with sissy!!! Nothing better than a road trip with my sis. Lil sis, how about 13 road trips for 2013???

sissy RI

8/17/12 – Running the race that wasn’t with GD. One of my biggest joys this year was running with my husband. Watching his endurance grow week to week, his body mold into that of a runner’s and feeling him by my side as we pitter-patted across the country on runs near and far from home will always make 2012 an amazing year of running for me.

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These are our normal expressions when running together. Me: “Ohmygod, ohmygod, isn’t it just the greatest thing ever that we are running together?? I love you so much, I love running so much, life is amazing and the best thing ever, ohmygod!!” GD: “Umm, that’s nice honey. How about we just enjoy the silence of the outdoors, huh?” lol

10/13/12Schalick Alumni Run 5k. Awesome, awesome day. It won’t be the last time this run makes an end of the year list, I dare say. Save the date for 10 August 2013 for the next one!! Bigger and better, but with the same retro outfits!

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11/18/12Philadelphia Marathon. And this is where the list ends for my Big Year – I have barely run since. BUT on that day, I PRed, GD, Tiff and Scott all had great races, I got to spend time with the LaBrees, and my family was there to share in my happiness and support us (as they can always be counted on to do). I console myself with the pep talk that I gave myself at Mile 21: “Yes, this hurts. But you better enjoy it cause you might not be running for awhile after this!” So I did and had a great, great day.

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So my Big Year ends (on a weird decimal, but hey, it’s not big deal. It’s definitely not bothering me. At all.). Looking back, I am filled with a pang (ok, it’s more a cacophony of pangs) that I am not out there, doing some crazy run on this last day of my big year. But the feeling of gratitude, that I live a life where these running adventures are possible, is outshining the pangs. My leg is on the mend, my family and friends are happy and healthy, I have a husband that I love more than anything and a mind filled with treasured moments in time that I can revisit again and again (which I do, especially while aquajogging!).

For everyone I ran with from 12/21/11 – 12/21/12, thank you for all those miles.  For anyone I did not, I hope we meet out there, two adventurers sharing the road and trails, in 2013! Run on, friends!

What were your 2012 running highlights?

PS Meg, if you are reading this HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Can’t wait to give you a big ‘ol birthday hug, either next week or somewhere in the Great Beyond!!

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What I Saw When I Ran Wednesdays – Holiday Lights Edition!

For those of you who read food blogs, you will often see a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Same idea here, except it will be what I saw when I ran on Wednesdays.  So take a peek at what my orbs observed and then add your own experience!

Blah, blah, I went to the sports doctor today, blah, blah, it’s not a stress fracture (praise Jesus!), need an MRI to rule out anything major but probably just need more rest and some PT, blah,blah, chiropractor tomorrow. Ok, with that business out of the way, let’s get to the Christmas lights! I did not run past any of these, but I did drive past them on my way home from the pool 🙂

I've driven past this house for a few weeks now and appreciate how dedicated they are to covering every inch of their property with festiveness. I did not realize until tonight, though, that it was a multi-sensory experience. Pulling down the window, I noticed that one of the decorations doubles as a music box. I'm not sure who it is for, but I enjoyed it!

I’ve driven past this house for a few weeks now and appreciate how dedicated they are to covering every inch of their property with festiveness. I did not realize until tonight, though, that it was a multi-sensory experience. Pulling down the window, I noticed that one of the decorations doubles as a music box. I’m not sure who it is for, but I enjoyed it!

Victorian Cape May suteness!

Victorian Cape May cuteness!

My mom went through a phase (maybe still? can't remember!) where she covered the tress in red bows. Whenever I see them, I think of holidays from my teen years, opening perfect gifts that she had picked out - clothes from the Gap and Express, Tori Amos CDs, Calvin and Hobbes books and all sorts of other goodies. Thanks for all those years, mom.

Awhile ago, my Mom started decorating her tree with red bows. Whenever I see them, I think of holidays at my parents house, opening perfect gifts that she and my dad picked out – beloved stuffed animals, board games, movies,  my first CD player, big girl jewelry, a TV for my room, clothes from the Gap and Express, Tori Amos and They Might Be Giants music, books, books, books and a stocking filled with goodies (that changed year to year, but always, always included a toothbrush, Avon chapstick, lifesavers and an orange at the bottom). I know all Mom wanted was to give us the Christmases she never had and she succeed beyond all measure. Thanks you for all those years, Mom and Dad. I cherished all those gifts, but what lives on in me still is a special brand of coziness that only this particular combination of Kisiels can create.

One of my favorite houses on Sunset Blvd.

One of my favorite houses on Sunset Blvd.

My very favorite thing to do at Christmas is to lay under a lit tree and look up. I was a lazy bum and did not put up a tree this year, but thanks to the folks who decorated trees at the circle, I still managed to get this tradition in this year.

My very favorite thing to do at Christmas is to lay under a lit tree and look up. I was a lazy bum and did not put up a tree this year, but thanks to the folks who decorated trees at the Circle, I still managed to get this tradition in this year.

What did you see on your run today?

What are your favorite Christmas lights? Did you put up a tree this year?

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Who Is This Person In The Mirror?

It’s been almost a month (!!) since the marathon and in that time, I have run exactly 2.84 miles. I am a runner in my heart, but certainly not in practice right now.  This has afforded me a rare opportunity – a glimpse in the life of non-runners. Or at least, what life is like for a non-running me. Your experience may be different, but here is how the landscape of my life has changed:

1. I need less sleep. I am notorious among my family and friends for being one of the first ones to retire in the evening (considering it is usually so early, the word “retire” is appropriate to convey the act!). When we go on family vacations, I am referred to as “Princess Christina” due to my crankiness about loud noises after 10 pm. On an average night, I am in bed by 930, where I read until 10 or 1030 and then am out for my minimum 8 hours, 9 hours when in peak training. In the last month, though, I have noticed that my light is not getting switched off until 11 or 1130 and I don’t feel groggy with less  zzzzz’s. Some nights I have stayed up late enough to only get 4-5 hours – if this happens in my running life, I have to go to bed early the next night or I will be a mess for days. Now, I can get away with one or two nights like that with no ill effects. Last week I slept at Lil Sis’. It was 1130 and I was still fooling around on Google Earth plotting her runs. All the sudden, she was yawning and was like “wait a minute, why are you still awake?!?”.

2. My appetite is nil. One of my favorite things about running, and especially endurance running, is the satiation of the deep hunger that follows long runs. Oh, that giant bowl of cereal tastes so good! And though I am swimming, it is not nearly long or difficult enough to create the same effect (I am sure Michael Phelps would have something to say on the matter, but for the workouts I am doing this is true). So I move through my days with just little pangs of hunger here and there. One of the hardest things has been to reduce my caloric intake – eating as  I normally do is leaving me feeling bloated and gross, yet I am so habituated to eating that amount it is hard to reduce it. This is leaving me with extra pounds and even more grouchiness. Last week I worked on figuring out how much I need to eat as a non-runner, which has been helpful to my belly, but I really miss being hungry.

3. I don’t care about the weather. When I am running, I am addicted to weather.com. In the 10 days leading up to the marathon, I was on 4 weather websites multiple times a day. In normal training, I can tell you the next few days highs and lows, the chance of precipitation (and whether it will happen early/late or all day) and the speed and direction of the wind. All of these things are crucial to planning runs, especially when you don’t have access to/any interest whatsoever in a treadmill. But now? Now I have no idea. I find out the weather when I walk outside to feed the buns in the morning (don’t worry, they are kings of the castle on a screened-in porch, not fending for themselves in the yard!). Ask me what the weather is today, tomorrow or on Wednesday and I’ll look at you with a confused expression and reply “Why ask me? What am I , the weather lady?”

4. My face breaks out. I literally never have pimples. Never did as a teen, don’t have that 30-something acne people complain about now. But these last few weeks I have had more zits than the last 10 years combined!

So this is the new (and hopefully temporary) Kashi. Not sure how I feel about any of it – I mean, some of these changes are making me more relaxed and less of a rigid robot. On the other hand, there is a gaping hole where running used to be and I just don’t feel like “me”.  Plus, I miss all the beeping. As I am writing this, the song “Carry On” by fun. randomly came up on my playlist. Thanks, indie rock dudes, good reminder. I am guessing they did not write this song with the idea that it would help a runner rest her way back to her identity but it is working just the same. Sample lyrics:

We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
So we’ll come
We will find our way home

If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

What changes have you noticed in yourself when not running?

Run on, Carry On, friends!

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Cape Island Spotlight – Melissa Tucker

Cape Island Spotlight” will be an occasional series about runners I know and love and think you will too! Runners are an interesting breed – a little quirky mixed with a little masochist mixed with hard work and hard play makes for some of the most fun people I know!

Here, I’ll show you…

Melissa Tucker

MT and bart yasso

Melissa and our running boyfriend, Bart Yasso. Sure, he does not know he is our shared boyfriend and sure, our husbands probably won’t be too psyched to hear we are sister wiving it up with Bart, but the man is a legend so we are assuming we get a pass on this one!

Melissa and I met a few years ago when she started working for us at the Endangered and Nongame Species Program. We chummied up pretty fast, given our mutual love of all things Piping Plover and running. We’ve spent many a run working through the various challenges we’ve each faced, finding comfort in logging those miles together. Melissa is an accomplished runner and has racked up quite a few impressive PR’s in everything from 5ks to marathons.  Last summer, she and her husband Will did something that many people dream of, but never quite pluck up the courage up to do – they packed themselves, their dog Scout, their cat Ruby and moved out west! They are both natives of the South Jersey area so this represented a huge change for them – they left everything and everyone they knew and made a leap of faith all the way over the Continental Divide to Oregon. I am so proud of them for following their own path, it is really inspiring. You can read more about their adventures on Melissa’s blog, Beyond The Yellow Brick Road.  I miss running with Melissa so much, she was (and is!) one of my favorite running buds and I can’t wait for her visit east in April and the eventual trip I will make west to see those ever adorable Tuckers! Until then, let’s hear (read??) what she had to say about the following:

Who saw the runner in you, ie how did you get into running?

Well,  no actual person saw the runner in me. I started running to get into shape because I drank too much in college. I didn’t start  running 5ks until… I guess it was 2008 that I started running 5ks. My first one was a super, giant one in Philly – the Susan G Komen. Everyone we did it with walked but me and Will, we were racing each other. I did not have a fast time (it was so many people), but it is what made me train to do another one and try to go fast. The next one was Zack’s Run in Ocean City and I won my age group!
How long have you been pounding the pavement/trails?

I was 22 when I started running on and off. It was always short runs and it was not frequent–  I’d just run 1.5-2 miles two times a week. That was 2006 and I ran pretty casually for the next two years.

I never really thought I could run long distance…actually, I never even thought of myself as an athlete – running a marathon was seemed very far away from who I was. But then I did a 10 miler and was successful with that. It was the Ocean Drive race  (ed note: this race is famous for it’s less than stellar weather – March at the shore – need I say more??)  and that year the wind was at our backs and there really wasn’t any rain. For OD, it was  pretty good. After that race, I thought “ok now I have to do a half, it’s only 3 more miles!”  It was after my first half-marathon that I thought I might be able to do marathon. I put my name into the NYC lottery and decided that if I got in I would run a marathon and if I didn’t I would not. I got in!
A moment where you said to yourself “oh my god, I love running!”

The first time I ran the entire Ocean City boardwalk, a total of 5 miles. It was an amazing feeling of “wow, I ran the whole thing!”. Plus, it was a beautiful day, just  gorgeous out. Little did I know then how much I would run that boardwalk later for marathon training. I ran it for many, many training runs.  The most I ever did on it was 18 miles. There was just something very appealing to me about breaking down my long runs into these smaller, manageable pieces. It was easier mentally than to think “ok, I’m just going to run the whole island today!”.

A moment when you said to yourself “Whose idea was this again? Why in the world am I doing this!?”

Probably the NYC marathon. It was my first marathon… and maybe this is not true for everyone, but for me that first one hurt so bad. I got to about mile 18 and everything just…my back hurt, my legs hurt, my shoulders hurt. The one good thing was that the crowds were insane and were cheering for me to keep going – so I did.

I asked her if it had been a smaller race with fewer crowds whether she would have stopped or quit Umm, no , I don’t think so, but I would have walked a lot I bet. I was already going pretty slow but the crowds kept me from walking, for sure.

Running adage that is not true for you (i.e. they say to avoid running on a full stomach, but lil sis can house a hoagie and be fine to run immediately)?

Hmm, I have also found that I can pretty much eat whatever I want before I go running even though that was not always true. Anyway, the one that is true for me is that I don’t need high mileage to race a marathon. I can do a couple of long runs and go do a marathon no problem. *laughs* I mean, it’s hard to run a marathon no matter what but I can do it “comfortably” averaging just 35 miles/week. I would like to adapt to higher mileage weeks in the future because I like running, but I definitely don’t need high mileage to complete a race.

Prefer to run alone or with partner/group?

I guess I like having “me” time and running by myself but I do like to mix it up and that is what I am missing in Oregon. I like having a running buddy, other than my dog Scout. *laughs* But I also like running in a group. My problem is that there aren’t even any running stores nearby, not even in Coos Bay. Hal Koerner’s running group in Ashland is probably the closest and that is three hours away! I did meet a few women runners on the trails and am hoping to hook up with them when they start their spring training. My town is small, so there aren’t a lot of people here to begin with (~2000) and then 70% of them are 65+, so it is hard to find people to run with!

Favorite running gear?                       

Ohhh, I have a couple. Probably my most favorite is a handheld water bottle by Nathan that can hold my phone so I can run without needing a belt (I really don’t like running with belts).  I also got new trail running shoes that I love from a company called Altra. They are a zero drop shoe and the toe box is a lot rounder than other shoes which is great because it stops me from getting blisters. Those are my two faves right now.

Bucket list race?

This is very,very far away and I don’t know if I will ever ever get to run it, but Western States (ed note: I am similarly mesmerized by this race, and posted about it here) . It is killing me I am in within driving distance of the course and I have not been there yet. I would love to go and watch the race, maybe even volunteer. The movie Unbreakable had a real impact – more people are so into it and I think that has made more sign up. The movie is so good – even though I know what happens I still get worked up for the end every time I watch it! By the way, both times I have been to Hal Koerner’s store it’s been on repeat.

Would you (or have you) ever do a bare it all (ie naked) run?

*laughs* um, absolutely not. I don’t even like to be in a bikini, so I don’t ’t think so! But I loved Bart Yasso’s story about his naked run! (ed note: it was at this point that Melis and I took a break from the interview to talk about how much we love Bart Yasso – I’m not including the dialogue here, but picture a lot of gushing).

What is your favorite race distance?

Umm, I guess out of the distances I have done so far, I am most captivated by the marathon because I want to master it. As far as a comfortable distance, the half-marathon. I think they are super fun – you don’t have to do a ton of training to and I can kind of do one on a whim. I hope to one day feel that way with the marathon (ed note: and if she does an ultra, that will happen!)

Do you run on vacation or take a break?

Since I started racing, I really plan vacations around races. They are usually the center of the trip.  I haven’t been on vacation that I haven’t run on since my honeymoon! My favorite running trip was probably my first half marathon, the Silver Strand Half Marathon in San Diego. We were in SD for 5 days and I got to run a half and see the Eagles play football in a stadium there on the same day. It was pretty great.

What is a running ritual you have that makes other raise their eyebrows?

The only thing I can think of is that the night before races I like to drink beer, which some people might think is weird but I think a lot of runners do it! I like a good beer, so usually an IPA from a micro brewery. One that I like right now is  Jubeale from Deschute’s.

Advice to fellow runners?

Don’t be afraid to push yourself. Don’t doubt you can do something.  Growing up, I  never thought I could run a marathon– but I found out I can and you can too.

What is your favorite post-race indulgence?

I would love to say martinis because that is what I always tell myself I can have after a race but I usually don’t feel like drinking after. The  last few races I have had a cheeseburgers and fries – it’s very Shalane Flanagan of me! *laughs*

Weird, random fact about yourself?

I am pretty much obsessed with popcorn. I eat popcorn almost every night and now that I live in Oregon we don’t have a microwave so I have been air popping and figuring out different ways to perfect it. I need to get away from butter and salt and find something healthier, but it is soo good! (ed. note: suggestions anyone?)

Thanks Melis!! Miss you bunches!

Anyone have questions for Melissa?

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What I Saw When I Ran Wednesdays

For those of you who read food blogs, you will often see a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Same idea here, except it will be what I saw when I ran on Wednesdays.  So take a peek at what my orbs observed and then add your own experience!

And stillllll resting! I have an appointment with a sports doc next Wednesday, so be sure to look for a post showcasing the inside of a doctor’s office. Thrilling!

I have no physical  pain when doing normal activities and have not tried running again since last week’s failed attempt (and the emotional fallout that followed – let’s just say clips from the weekend will not be featured on a highlight reel entitled “World’s Least Stressed, Most Relaxed and Definitely Very Reasonable Wife”) because while I am slowly warmly to the abstract idea of not running, the reality of starting a run that can’t be finished is just more than I can handle right now . Plausible deniability is the name of this game!

But who wants to see what I saw when I ran when you could be enjoying fantastic images of me resting, walking, and swimming anyway?! (Answer: me)  In any case, I present you with What I Saw When I Ran, uhh, Swam Wednesday:

Please don't notice my inability to get my hair under a cap but please do notice the super cute Xmas fish under the mistletoe. Cheers me up instantly!

Please don’t notice my inability to get my hair under a cap but please do notice the super cute Christmas fish under the mistletoe. Cheers me up instantly!

Aquajogging was on the agenda, but too many lap swimers made it impossible. No matter, there is always next time (and the time after that, and after that and oh yeah, that time after that!)

The tools of the trade…aqua jogging was on the agenda, but too many lap swimmers made it impossible. No matter, there is always next time (and the time after that, and after that and oh yeah, that time after that!)

Kicks!!

Kicks!!

The tats were more than happy to get in the water. Even runner girl on my left foot likes to mix it up every so often!

The tats were more than happy to get in the water. Even runner girl on my left foot likes to mix it up every so often!

This is what I see as my head turns to take a breath. Amazing? No. But what I see most of the time when swimming? Yes. It's ain't no run through the forest, but I;ll take it just the same!

This is what I see as my head turns to take a breath. It’s ain’t no run through the forest or by the sea, but I’ll take it just the same!

Hey, a smile! That has been more infrequent than normal these parts, so I was quite relieved to have a genuine one show up :)

Hey, a smile! That has been more infrequent than normal these parts as of late, so I was quite relieved to have one show up 🙂

The rest of my evening stress busting session included baking – I love to bake and in the last 24 hours have made chocolate chip, Italian ricotta and peanut butter cookies. Here’s a peek at that:

P1020164

It's a good thing these are going to their new home tomorrow b/c GD is a regular cookie monster!

It’s a good thing these are going to their new home tomorrow b/c GD is a regular cookie monster!

So was there running? No. Was there swimming and cookies and the start of Season 3 of Eastbound and Down on DVD? Yes. And that is pretty good too. Even Kenny Powers would have to agree with that.

What did you see on your run today?

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Runner’s World Review – Perfecting Your Pre-Race Food Strategy

I’m an avid Runner’s World reader and have been for many years. Each month  I will pick one article from the magazine (suggestions welcome!) to discuss and we can kick around thoughts, opinions and reflections. We’ll stay one issue behind the most current so that non-subscriber’s can read along on the RW website.  It’ll be like a book club, except less Jane Austen and more sweat.  So grab a cup of Joe or tea (see, it is just like a book club!) and jump into the fray!

rw nov 2012

November 2012 – Perfecting Your Pre-Race Strategy

This may seem an odd pick, since I have no races (oh, hell, even running!) on the horizon, but I think it is a great topic for a number of reasons.

The first is that the rest/recover season (which many of us are in, and I would be regardless of the leg) is an ideal time to look back at our race season and figure out what worked (multiple 20 milers DID make me feel more confident going into the marathon) and what didn’t (running a race made what could have been a blip of an injury into a more persistent son of a gun. whoops).Nutrition is often at the top of these lists, an area that we are all always tweaking and working to improve.

Second, I love hearing about what people eat before/during/after runs, so I encourage you all to comment on what works for you (and also what doesn’t! my list includes a fiber hearty day that was topped off with a marathon training session after work – so I start this 26.2 mile run at 430 pm in March – not the balmiest time of year!- with not enough warm clothes and by mile 8 my stomach was already rumbling. 4 bathroom trips and countless tears later, I finished that run completely petrified that I would not be able to handle an ultra. bad times).

Finally,  I wanted to highlight this article to get your take on it. This one (and a few others I have read of late) recommend way more food than I know my body can handle before a race. After carb loading in the day(s) before (which does not mean an insane amount of food, just a higher percentage of carbs – but all those carbs make me feel very full!), they then suggest this race-morning for a 150-lb person (before a full or half-marathon, so don’t get any ideas 5-kers, lol!):

3 to 4 hours prerace
1 cup cooked oatmeal with 2 tablespoons honey 62 g of carbs
6 ounces yogurt 17 g
1 large banana 31 g
2 tablespoons raisins 16 g
4 ounces juice 14 g
12 to 20 ounces water 0 g
Total Carbs = 140 g

90 minutes to 2 hours prerace
1 slice bread with 1 tablespoon jam 28 g
24 ounces sports drink 47 g
Total Carbs = 75 g

30 to 60 minutes prerace
1 energy gel or serving of energy chews 25 g
8 to 12 ounces water 0 g
Total Carbs = 25 g

I’m sorry, but those 2 tblsp of raisins will put me right over the edge! I am lucky if I can choke down a bagel, nevermind juice and sports drink and a banana and all the rest! Of course, the way they make the carb calculation is individual, with the magic number being 1.5-1.8/pound body weight. The above tally is for a 150 lb runner and 240 carbs. I would need about 190, so you can scratch the sports drink – and that still seems like too much (volume and variety) for my belly. The dairy-heavy yogurt alone is a recipe for disaster!

I have learned that eating a few hours before I run is very helpful for digestion – but that presents its own challenges when races start as early as 7am. If there are a lot of participants, it means you need to be at the start 45-60 mins before. Nothing like a nice cup of oatmeal at 3 am!

So what about you? What works when you race? Do you count carbs/calories or just go by feel? Do you eat at a certain time? Please share because when I read your comments I can pretend like I am researching for a race I am about to do instead of dutifully donning my goggles for yet another swim session (which to be fair, is quite lovely in its own right but decidedly not the same!).

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