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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!

Today I am running- away from home that is!! Not sure what the internet connection will be like when we arrive, so posting early in this day ( although I have already been up 7 hrs, so there’s that). I am sitting with Tom in the lovely warmth that is the Ft Lauderdale airport. I’m in short sleeves and it is glorious!! Here is what I’ve seen so far today:
Pre-dawn drive in the cold and rain made it easy to say “later, Jersey!” Thanks GD for the ride!

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I’m like a toddler on a plane- give me some “O”‘s (as Zoe would say) and I’m a happy lady! Also already obsessed with Chrissie Wellington’s book. Sherry you must read this if you haven’t already!

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THE SUN!!

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Look who was on our flight!! Sure, Lil Sis and Kat can have their fun in MX but now it’s our turn to soak up some rays!!

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Tom Reed of “Tom Reads with Tom Reed” reads silently to himself for the duel purpose of practicing for his show and being ready to rumble with Bahamian bird ID.

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What did you see on your run today?

This is my first time blogging with the WP app, so apologies if anything funky, format-wise 🙂

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Your 2013 Running Goals!

Some people thrive off of goals, others shudder at the mere thought. Me, I’m a goal-oriented nutter who loves the beginning of a new year as an excuse to make a fresh list of checkable activities. But this year feels a lil different. I am still not even running yet and the juju side of me is afraid to jinx my leg recovery with a lofty list of my own. What is a goal-a-philic gal to do?? Ask her running buds, natch! Duel benefit is that I live vicariously through you guys and you’ll feel even more motivated now that your goal is here for others to see. I asked a bunch of you what your #1 running goal is for 2013 . Here is what you had to say (plus my comments bc God knows I can’t keep my trap shut):

GD:  Marathon! (still ecstatic over this development!!!)

Lil Sis: Run a trail race of half marathon distance or longer and find a new mud run I have not done before (I will cheer you at that mud run, too dirrrty for me. But nothing is too dirty for Lil Sis, lol!)

Running Momma:  Finish my first marathon in Philly! (hells yeah!)

Scott: 2 half Ironmans, a marathon and of course a 40-miler! (someone is ready to ruuuuun!)

Carrie: 19:30 5k and maintain an average 7:28 min/mi pace on the run portion of my two planned half Ironmans (you are seriously a machine! and an inspiring machine at that!)

Virginia Melissa: Run a half-marathon faster than Running Momma’s time so I never have to do another one! (lol)

Oregon Melissa: Follow my 2013 training plans ( I think some of your plan should include running with me. Mark me down for April!)

Bel: Increase my speed. Specifically, I want to complete a 5K in under 28 minutes. And I want to run a 7 minute mile. Just one 7 minute mile. (Sorry, fast miles are like potato chips, no one can stop at one! You are going to mail it and not be able to stop wanting more!)

Kat: To run a marathon in under 4 hours (You are going to kill your next one! Which will it be, by the way?)

Sean: Complete at least 1 and possibly 2 half-marathons (Remember when you used to say how Lil Sis and I were always doing -athons? Now you are too and I could not be happier to welcome you to the -athon family!)

Moe: To  keep running and be healthy and happy! Oh, and some 10-milers, my favorite distance, and a half-marathon if I have to! And to see you and Lil Sis more! (here, here! Running date for the boards, check!)

Kim: I want to run. I want to run better, stronger and healthier!
I want to run and finish a half marathon!
Mostly though, I wanna run! Anywhere. Everywhere. Some place old. Some place new.
Mostly though, I wanna run.
With myself. With my shadow. With my friends, both old and new.
Mostly though, I wanna run.
With my husband by my side. With my son by my side.
Mostly though, I wanna run!
When it’s cold. When it’s hot. In the rain and in the snow!
Mostly though, I wanna run.
With the sun guiding my way. With a headlamp guiding my way. With the moon guiding my way.
Mostly though, I wanna run! (Love that Kim – Good luck tomorrow in Disney! I will be thinking cool thoughts all morning for you, Sher, Scott and everyone else down there battling the sun-soaked miles!)

Thanks for playing along – the variety of goals and distances represented is so awesome and gets me even more excited to get back out there!!Dang, reading them made me want to make some. But I am going to stick to just one (for now):

Kashi: To run again. Pain-free (best to be specific here!)

I can’t wait to support and cheer you all on as you take these plans knocking around in your head and turn them into reality on the trails and roads! Let’s do this!!

What is your #1 2013 running goal?

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A Runner Is Born

Picture this: a little girl is born in a poor home to a family rich with love. A few years later she is joined by a little sister, whom she detests at first (sharing mom’s attention? hrrrmph!) but that little bean of a baby soon wins her over and they become tightly bonded. Which comes in quite handy, it turns out, because you know those curveballs mentioned in the last post? Well, the universe decided to start tossing them her way pretty early on. Her mom had her first stroke when the little girl was just 12. The mom survived it, but her ability to talk was taken from her, just when the little girl was entering her teenage years and needed the calming words of a mother the most. The family was still poor and very little in the way of therapy was available or practical for them to get to. If that woman had that stroke today and had health insurance, chances are she would have fully recovered.  But she didn’t… and neither did the father. Torn up by his wife’s condition, a woman he loved very much, he turned to alcohol to help him cope. Was this a wise move for a man who was responsible for two little girls? No. But is it understandable given the level of stress he was under from  the combination of being poor and “losing” his wife? Perhaps. Philosophical questions like this were neither here nor there for the little girl, though.  She had big shoes to fill and over the course of the next decade, her feet grew into them beautifully. She did the shopping and made sure the family stayed afloat.  She prevented her bean of a sister (now lovingly known as “Bean”) from dropping out of high school. She fought with her father, especially over issues of race and ambition, and stayed true to her mother’s loving spirit. She cared for that mother for many years as her health deteriorated. She cared for that father, too, when his took a turn for the worse.

She met a man. Well, maybe he was still a boy at the time, just 18. He was quiet and shy but with an imagination like no one she had met before. At first they were interested in each others friends, but it did not take them long to realize that gravity was actually pulling them towards each other. They danced their cares away at Dancette and when it was time for the boy to be deployed to the Navy, there was never a question she would wait for him. In fact, there was never a question for either of them, ever. They both knew they belonged with the other – the love, the friendship, all the i’s were dotted, the t’s crossed. And most of all it felt natural, the most natural feeling in the world.

They married.

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The very beginning of 41 years of marriage.

They settled into their lives, but not without strain or sadness. By the time the little girl was 31, she had 2 daughters of her own, but had also already lost both her parents. She tucked them deep in her heart, thought of them often, spoke to them daily, dreamt of them occasionally and went about the business of raising her own girls. She was there for all the things her mom could not be – she was president of the PTA, head Band Booster, and came to every event her girls were involved with (cross-country races, swim meets, plays, band performances, on and on). She earned her associate’s degree, went to work and stayed fit aerobicizing the years away. Her bond with the man stayed strong and true.

The girls grew and moved away (but not too far, as they never wanted to wander from the comforting beam of love the mom and dad emitted). The little girl continued to work, continued to aerobicize… until one day a terrible, terrible pain took up residence in her jaw. Was it a dry socket? Her teeth had always been problematic, thanks to poor dental care growing up. All right, pull the tooth! Hmmm, more pain… of a horrific level, debilitating even. The woman has withstood a lot of pain in her life, mental and physical, but this was unlike anything she had ever experienced. The doctors were unable to find an answer and without that, unable to provide a cure. They suggested she go on powerful painkillers. The woman, haunted by the ghost of her father’s alcoholism and fearing she too would be pulled under a wave of substance abuse, demurred. She looked for other paths and found that the combination of yoga and acupuncture were her silver bullet. She would still have flare-ups, but was able to resume normal life.

But what was normal life? The little girl was now 61. She had spent years cheering on the sidelines for her two daughters and saw the looks of elation, glee and accomplishment on their faces as they crossed numerous finish lines together. She could not stop wondering what it would feel like, to run. She decided there was only one way to find out.

She got many “Are you crazy? At your age??” and “But you will ruin your knees!” comments from people when she first told them what she was up to – but none from her inner circle. The man and the two daughters were immensely pleased with this turn of events and encouraged her. She started out walking and when her legs were ready to see what it was like to become airborne, she obliged. She found it exhilarating!! Even better than she dreamed! Her body felt alive and she was joyful,  joyful with discovering this new side of herself. She fully embraced her, this inner runner. She started reading Runner’s World, had daily conversations with her daughters about what her runs were like, stocked her backseat with ShotBloks, water and toilet paper (oh, yes, she learned ALL the lessons of being a runner!). She shed pesky pounds that had been stubbornly holding on and her face was bright with the glow that running brings. She was, after many, many years of not being one,  a runner. It was time to race!

She started easy at first, like most do. 5ks, a 4-miler. She loved them! And so did her daughters, who simply delighted at being able to share this part of themselves with that part of her. The man, ever supportive, came to those races, just as he had for many years for his daughters.

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The family that runs and cheers together, stays together!

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The little girl decided it was time to step up her game – a half-marathon was on tap!! She trained long and hard and let it pay off on a glorious day in November, her youngest daughter by her side. The man and older daughter and a freshly minted son-in-law and a bean of a sister and the bean’s daughter and her best friend and other friends spent the day cheering for her on the sidelines.

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Philly Half-marathon 2011 success!!!

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The little girl and the bean came a long, long way from where they started – and they did it because they never lost sight of each other.

Today, that little girl turns 64. She is older than either of her parents were when they died. She has come up against many obstacles – bunion surgeries, face pain and even a late in life diagnosis of scoliosis (“oh, so that is why one shoulder always sat lower than the other!” she exclaimed).  But she still has that man, she still has those daughters and she still has that inner runner, dormant for many years, whispering in her ear that there is a lot of life yet to be lived, a lot of miles to cover. She ignores the naysayers, focusing her attention instead on a goal that has always been there, since day 1 – to run a marathon. She knows it will be hard, that maybe her body won’t cooperate, but that won’t stop her from trying. Nothing has ever stopped her from trying and that sure as hell isn’t going to change now!

When you wake up, achy and tired and don’t want to get out of bed and run, think of this little girl. When you are battling injuries that require patience and persistence to heal, think of this little girl. When you are wallowing in all your problems, think of this little girl who overcame so much and kept moving forward, eager to embrace life’s joys and let go of its disappointments. She wants you to run – but this time, she won’t be cheering for you from the sidelines, she’ll be cheering by your side.

Wherever would we be without our Bo Peep?

Wherever would we be without our Bo Peep?

Happy birthday, Running Momma!

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At the Coping, Coping Cabana

The idea that I am writing a post about coping is kinda bizarro. It’s like a zebra penning a memoir titled “My Life with Spots.” I can be good at many things but handling the curveballs life throws (on an annoyingly consistent basis) has never been what anyone would call a forte of mine. Need to be cheered up? I’m your lady. Need advice on how to handle change/difficulties/general chaos in your life? I’m not likely to show up on your speedial. But that is why I thought it would be a good idea to write this one. Considering there might be others out there like me (God help you), maybe this can act as a Coping for Dummies, if you will.

In the past 6 weeks, I have done a lot of things – cry, stomp my feet, be inconsolable and wander around miserably like a total stressball. The lesson I learned from that is while it was what I was capable in the moment, it did not make me feel any better. Once I got a grip (which meant I was not crying on a daily basis and honestly, that was about 3.5 weeks in), I started working on ways that I could make progress back to a sane person – or at least the sane version of me, which is admittedly not that sane for most people. It was time to stop incessantly worrying about when my leg would heal and get back to incessantly worrying about all my normal cares!

As I know that some of you are also battling injuries, I thought I would share some things that actually helped me get back to a good place. Will these all work for you? Maybe yes, maybe no. I know there is not one technique that is guaranteed to help everyone in the same way – the list is quite individual to me and I hope the take home message is that to feel better you have to tailor make a list that suits your needs. But perhaps this can be a starting point to get you off to the races (but not a real race of course, as we must be patient and rest, ugh!).

My biggest hurdle was that running was my only coping mechanism. Sure, I have a few other things that work for me, but running is my go-to stress buster. I have run so long with so few breaks that it just was not previously necessary to have others. But putting all my eggs in one running basket totally bit me in the arse. Hence, my new list:

1. Deep breathing and self-massage – Whoa, whoa, not that kind of self-massage! This particular list is G-rated, thank you very much! I have never been one for sitting still for very long and honestly I have a long way to go in that respect. But I have found that while showering, it really helps me to make it extra steamy, take deep breaths and massage the back of my head (not where some of you thought this was going, I’d wager, lol). I put my hands on the back of my skull and use my thumbs to massage the base of my neck while saying “it’s ok, it is going to be ok”. I really like to do this after swimming, when my mind is already filled with all sorts of happy chemicals released from the workout.

2. Baking – Taking a mishmash of ingredients, mixing them up just so and winding up with something delicious that can be shared with others is super appealing to me.  In the last few weeks, I have made 12 dozen cookies (chocolate chip, ricotta, peanut butter), a vanilla bean bundt cake with a caramel sea salt glaze, cake pops, and brownies. This weekend I am making 2 pies and next week I have a secret project that is going to result in a mountain of baked goods.  Every time I measure some baking soda or mix butter and sugar together or watch GD sneak cookie dough or catch those first sweet scents from the oven, I feel a little bit of stress melt away. Worked for Tita in Like Water for Chocolate, works for me! Oh, except the part where my emotions are also transferred into the food. Oh, and Lil Sis did not marry GD, die later and then he and I get together, only to be tragically burned in fire created by our own passions. But other than that, it’s the same!

3. Taking action – We joke that if people walked around with a tagline, mine would be “Plan your work, Work your plan!”. Very little gives me as much comfort as a plan that I can follow. I have taken an active approach to my recovery – ART therapy, chiro appointments, ortho apointments, x-rays, MRIs, rolling, icing, heating, stretching have all be a part of this strategy. Have they all helped? *shrugs* But taking action and doing something, anything, has made me feel better than crying on the couch (and believe you me, I can say this with authority given how much of each I have done).

4. Visualizations and Mantras – Hold on to your hemp hats, here is where we get hippy-dippy! I am a funny brand of human – I don’t believe in a higher power or that everything happens for a reason but I also happen to believe in the power of the human brain and I am agnostic (literally “without knowlegdge”, thanks GRE prep books, circa 2003!) enough to recognize that all the things I don’t believe in might be real anyway.When you read theories about the Central Governor or consider the mental gymnastics monks put themselves through, it is hard for me not to be in awe of our grey matter. So I have taken to picturing myself running, pain-free, all over the place. During aqua-jogging, I relive favorite runs. Before I go to sleep, I place my hand on my right leg and think about the muscles zipping back up together, all neat and pretty. I say to myself up-teen times a day, “the body achieves what the mind believes”.

5. Live vicariously through others –  It feels really good to concentrate on what other runners are accomplishing and how they are progressing while I sit on the sidelines. It reminds me how much I love the social, sharing aspect of running. So please, keep your running stories coming! I’m feeling quite warm and happy basking in your running glow.

6. Keeping it all in perspective – This one sometimes helps me, sometimes not. I have to be in the right mindset for it to work, but if I am,  it is a keeper. It does help to think how much worse it could be and to remind myself how fortunate I am for all that I do have. Other days, I feel “meh” about that attitude and just want to wallow. So mixed reviews on this one!

7. Finding an outlet for my energy elsewhere – Swimming has been a godsend on this one. Thank baby Jesus I can still get out of breath and feel my body MOVE under my own power and escape from that feeling that I am just a drone behind a desk. Bonus is that it has reminded me how much I actually like swimming and it is def staying in rotation this winter, even after I start running again.

8. Thinking about how small I am and that nothing really matters – This one is a little on the dark side for some, but when something that is as important to me as running is taken away, I like the long view. This definitely fits under the category of “this is an individual list and may not work for everyone!” but I get comfort from looking at pictures of the universe, thinking about my place in it, and realizing that none of it really matters on any appreciable scale. Thanks Nihilism! It calms me down and helps erase that “it’s the end of the world” sensation that can choke me some days. Instead, I can look at a picture of a black hole and think “nope, that is actually the end of the world. This is just 2 (or maybe more) months off from running.” Plus, the amazing pictures are seriously dazzling and a good distraction in their own right so do yourself a favor and click on the link, whether you are injured or not!

So that is what I have for you in my “baby steps” coping journey so far. Now, share with me yours!

What are your coping mechanisms? What does not work for you?

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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’m back, baby! Ok, not “back” in the running sense, but today was the first day since the marathon that I had a workout that left me feeling elated and invincible and that maybe one day I will actually feel like myself again. Yes!!!! Today’s workout was brought to us by Scott’s coach, who put together what he classified as sadistic (esp considering he still had an hour run after). I heard that and said “I’m in!” Hehe, yup, this girl is ready to get back in action! Due to our chatfest (whoopsie), we ran out of time to get in the whole workout and had to nix the 5x50s (see the workout below) but other than that we rocked it! Looking forward to more swims like this in 2013 and some aqua-dashes this summer! Yehaw!!

The leg is still getting there – I have not run so can’t say for sure, but I have been doing a ton of positive thinking, visualizations of me running, and mantra-ing myself to death with “the body achieves what the mind believes” and am hoping that = progress. Today was one of those rare days as of late that I am feeling really, really good about where I am headed. Hint: it is a place that starts with “running” and ends with “ville” 🙂 🙂 🙂

Here is what we saw at the pool today:

I have swam in many pools over my 21 years of swimming - and despite a version of this sign being posted at every one, I have yet to see a single soul follow its plea.

I have swam in many pools over my 21 years of swimming – and despite a version of this sign being posted at every single one, I have yet to see a single soul follow its plea.

I have noticed this suit hanging on the wall for a few sessions and it takes all my discipline not to nab it. So cute!

I have noticed this suit hanging on the wall for a few sessions and it takes all my discipline not to nab it. So cute!

Ohhh, new goggles (that don't fog up after 4 laps like my old ones!) and a super comfy, cute cap from Santa Sissy! Yay!

Ohhh, new goggles (that don’t fog up after 4 laps like my old ones!) and a super comfy, cute cap from Santa Sissy! Yay!

Scott contemplates the beast of a workout and wishes he believed in God so he could pray to him.

Scott contemplates the beast of a workout and wishes he believed in God so he could pray to him.

Here it is! Many sets of 50s - the reps would go down, but so would the  rest period. Bring it!!

Here it is! Many sets of 50s – the reps would go down, but so would the rest period. Bring it!!

Aww, my Garmy does not come swimming with me, but I felt more confident knowing Scott's was with us, ready to time us the whole time and cheer us on! Thanks Scott's Garmin (hmm, come to think of it, I don't think his has a name. That needs to be remedied immediately!)

Aww, my Garmy does not come swimming with me, but I felt more confident knowing Scott’s was with us, ready to time us the whole time and cheer us on! Thanks Scott’s Garmin (hmm, come to think of it, I don’t think his has a name. That needs to be remedied immediately!)

Whew, we made it! Well deserved drink while I hover weirdly next to him, lol.

Whew, we made it! Well deserved water from Scott while I hover weirdly next to him, lol.

What did you see on your run/swim/bike/walk/joggling/curling/chair aerobic session today?

 

 

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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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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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