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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 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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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!)



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:


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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Pity Parrrrtay!

You are cordially invited Kashi’s Pity Party 2012. This one is shaping up to be a real monster, the likes of which have not been seen since 2007 (don’t ask).

You know when something is on your mind you suddenly notice it everywhere? That has been my experience as of late – I feel like everything I  see or hear running related mentions injuries (oh, and side rant here – to anyone who is thinking “yup, see, this is why people should not run, they always get injured and it’s just not good for you!” let me just reply to you in my calmest tone through gritted teeth – this is exactly the 2nd time I have been injured in my 21 YEARS of running and even this would have been avoided  had I not run the race. At last check, my resting heart rate was 55, my blood pressure in the neighborhood of 108/68, my cholesterol 161, my bone density good and iron levels on par with a man’s. The only time I have been hospitalized was with appendicitis. So yeah, sometimes when you use the machine called your body, it gets jacked up and requires rest but I don’t see how any of this translates into how running is bad for me. Thank you and good night! :: end rant :: ).  I don’t believe in long-dead relatives sending me messages (partly because I don’t believe in an afterlife, but more so because if there happens to be one I hope it is comprised of better things to do than dealing with dopey mortals and their lame problems), but if I did, I would be certain someone was trying to tell me something:

1. Secrets to a Lifetime of Running – article in the November issue of Runners World that discusses some of the keys to longevity. From the section under injuries:

“There is only one method almost guaranteed to work: Stop running. This has been the hardest lesson I’ve had to absorb in 50 years, and the one I wish I had learned better many decades ago. When your feet, ankles, calf muscles, shins, knees, quads, hamstrings, or hips hurt, stop running. Now. Not the day after tomorrow, next week, or next month. Get real. Take time off immediately. Here’s why: The vast majority of of injured runners have soft-tissue problems–that is, sore muscles, strained tendons, joint inflammation, and the like. These are not broken bones or ACL tears. You don’t need a splint or a surgeon. You just need to give your body time to repair itself.”

2. Episode 152 of Marathon Talk where they chat with Andrew Lemoncello who recently had a disastrous race that ended with a DNF and he manages to have an “ahh, well, nothing I can do but be positive and work towards healing, even though I am a professional runner and have a baby on the way and no real medical insurance to cover any of these costs” attitude which I found slightly jarring as it is so far from my own current state of mind and I have a lot less at stake.

3. A recent NY Times magazine article in which they profile a teenage girl who can’t sense pain – pressure yes, but pain, no. This has led to no end of trouble for the poor lass as she’s quite susceptible to burning herself and all other manner of unintended self-harm because she can’t receive the pain messages that protect most of us from hurting ourselves. “Pain is a gift” the article boldly states – literally, in bold print in large font size in the middle of the page, as if shouting out to me to be grateful for the fact that I can tell that something is wrong and can prevent further damage.

But here’s the problem (and why this pity party is going to be epic) – I know that resting is the answer, but the tears I am shedding on a daily basis are not making that particular pill any easier to swallow.  I don’t care that I should be positive and look on the bright side (“hey, it’s just soft tissue, it will heal!You can still swim and be active in the meantime! And, oh, hey, no one’s dead and your bills are paid and you have a roof over your head and you did not get your arm stuck under a boulder and have to cut it off with a dull blade so this is not even an actual problem!”). I don’t care that pain is a gift and furthermore, if this is someone’s idea of a gift, please take me off that Secret Santa list. I don’t care that there are, oh, 8 bajillion problems that people deal with that are way worse and harder than this one. None of that “put it in perspective” stuff is working with me right now. The only thing I am currently capable of is wallowing.

One day soon, I hope to be able to see this for what it is – a small bump in the road. But right now it feels like Mt. Everest. It’s insane to me how hard not running is – I literally feel like I’m coming apart at the seams. The worst part is that the best way I know how to deal with stress is to run and just when I need it the most, it is not an option.

They say attitude is everything and mine sucks. So where do I go from here?

PS While looking for a graphic for a “pity party” I came across a guy’s blog who has terminal cancer. And now I feel like even more of a douche.


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Spectating Report: W.A.R.T.S. (We All Run Together For Sandy) 5k!

It all started, as  these things often do, with a group of friends and a fridge full of beer. We were converged at Lisa and Carrie’s for a girls night dinner and were up to our eyeballs in all things XX (as in the chromosome, not some watered down version of XXX, lol). The conversation rolled around to Lil Sis’ 12 Running Goals of 2012 (click here and here for previous adventures), where she told us that November was “run with someone new” – they could be new or old to running and new or old to her, but they had to be someone she had never shared miles with. She was told us how she planned to do this on the morning of November 24th with a few friends from work.  Moe (of my very-favorite-and-should-be-yours -too The Sneaker Shop) had recently received an email from a  woman named Cindy Bradley, who was wondering if someone could organize a charity run for Hurricane Sandy victims. Moe did the “people who want to help Sandy survivors” and “people who have running goals to complete” math and VIOLA! WARTS was born! (hmm, are warts born? or is it more like they are contracted? poor WARTS already suffers abuse from its fellow acronyms – ohh, SCUBA and LASER, you think you are so chichi! – and “WARTS was contracted!” is only likely to garner further teasing, so let’s stick with “WARTS was born!”, mmmkay?)

We had a good laugh, one of many that night, when Patty came up with the WARTS acronym, but when you stop to think about it, it’s kinda perfect. It concisely states our intention: “We All Run Together for Sandy!”. And although warts are not really anyone’s favorite thing in life to deal with, so too are they a fact of it. They share this distinction with hurricanes – no one wants to live with or through hurricanes, but they are simply a part of living in a coastal system. Like warts, some will be worse than others and Sandy certainly was a doozy. We hope to never see the likes of her kind again in our lifetime, but if we do (and as a scientist I am sorry to say that  at the very least it is likely we will deal with more flooding than we have in the past simply because of sea level rise – not gonna get all climate-y on you because no one really knows what the impacts of climate change will be, but now is probably a good time to pull our heads out of the sand and make some plans on how to adapt to our ever changing environment) we know that the runners among us will come together on a bright, beautiful morning and do what we do best:

I think the saying goes “never doubt that a small group of runners decked out in brightly colored technical clothes can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Or something like that 🙂

Lisa gives the pre-“race” directions – run down to the music pier and back and try not to get blown away by the wind!

Some of the kids tore out of the fitness center, intent on making good time to the boardwalk. And who can blame them when this view awaited…

A breathtaking day on the boardwalk – and breathtaking not only for its beauty, but also for that cold wind! Apparently Sandy-like winds also thought they were invited. “The more the merrier”, the runners said, gritting their teeth, grateful at least for the ample sunshine and uncrowded conditions.

Here comes our fearless leader, Moe!

And check out this cluster of WARTS! Nothing can wipe the smiles from their faces, warts and hurricanes be damned!

Here comes Running Momma and two new buds! Love how easy it is to make friends when you are pounding the pavement… er, boards.

Bel and Laura looking strong! This was Laura’s first 5k, CONGRATS LAURA!! She liked it so much she is going to do another with Bel next weekend *heart flutters in happiness*

Observant eyes will recognize OC fixtures Sue and Terry from the boardwalk where they log many, many, many miles. With their speed and dedication, they are both inspirations to me.

The brain trust behind WARTS! L to R: Carrie, Janet, Moe, Patty and Lil Sis. I have known these women for going on a decade (well, a hair longer for Lil Sis!) and they have been instrumental in my growth as a runner and a person. These are some of the faces I miss the most when I set out on solo runs in Cape May. Love you ladies!

Two sets of Sissies!! But the reason is really important because of the sissy in the pink zip up – that is Heather, Carrie’s sister. She spearheads a chapter of Girls On The Run in Pennsylvania and her “girls” donated a SUVload of food to the effort!

Heather’s daughter and nephew, Emma and T.J., hold up a poster the New Garden Girls on the Run sent along with their food. If the idea of 8-13 year old girls gaining self-confidence through running and then being big-hearted enough to donate food to people they have never met from another state does not sell you on the benefits of running, I am not sure anything will. THANK YOU HEATHER AND NEW GARDEN GOTR!!!

And here are what some of those Girls On The Run might look like in 10-50 years. Talk about advertising for how healthy, happy and generous running will help make you (cute socks optional)!

One windy but beautiful run and piles and piles of food/cleaning supplies and $800 (!!) later, our WARTS 5k came to a close. Ocean City again showed it’s unwavering ability to seek out the good in the face of disaster and my heart hummed with pride for my old home and the friends who make it such a special place to live. Congrats to everyone who spent a little bit of time and a little bit of money to show Sandy what Jersey Strong looks like! And extra thanks to Moe, Patty, Janet, Bridget, Lisa and Carrie who showed us all just how fun WARTS can be!

PS I did not run since I am still nursing my groin injury –  I expect to be running this week, yay – but I did enjoy my time as staff photographer, which distracted me (almost) from how sad it was not to run!

PPS Thanks to Lil Sis for making her 2012 Running Goals, they have all been a blast! What will you do for 2013??

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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 don’t mind a few days or even a week off after a race but it is very unsettling when you are resting because you are afraid that you have a groin injury that might not take the hint that it is a very unwelcome guest. Only time will tell, but for now all I can do is rest, ice and repeat.

Boo to resting! And with such nice weather out there, it’s a crime!

In unrelated news, today marks the 4th year anniversary of my first date with GD! He knocked on my door that night with a pineapple and chocolates (his version of flowers – it totally worked, I go weak in the knees for quirkiness)  and changed my life forever. We ro-sham-bo-ed for the first of many times  that night to help us decide between Vietnamese and Mexican (Mexico won. Please go eat there right now if you have never before – it will totally ruin your ability to stuff yourself tomorrow but it’s worth it!) and had a first date that lasted until 6 am. I don’t have any pictures from that night but here is one from about a month later:

This was New Year’s Eve 2008 at Dave and Meg’s in Atlanta. Best NYE I’d had in a long, long time.

We’ve been inseparable ever since and even tonight when we are just chilling on the couch due to GD’s cold and our lack of funds (marathon weekend was very fun, tho!) and my bum groin there is literally nowhere else I’d rather be. Ok, maybe a deserted island with a warm breeze and lot of birds and places to run and an unlimited supply of Kashi food (me) and amazing bar-be-que (GD), mayyyybe there. But barring that? I’ll take our cozy cottage by the sea any day of the week.

What did you see on your run today?

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Philadelphia Marthon Preview

Full race report to come (at this point all I can manage is shuffling around, nevermind putting together actual sentences!) but wanted to post a few details of an incredible day.  Here’s the ClifNotes version:

Goals met? Almost! Got myself a shiny new PR – 3:54:05 (ugh, those dang 5 seconds are taunting me!) chip time, 3:51:xx Garmy time (remember, people always run a course long – so I hit 26.2 on Garmy at 3:51:xx but by the time I got to the official finish line, distance was 26.51). My super secret, just out of reach goal was 3:49:xx, so not bad! Gives me something to keep working towards 🙂

A few pics of the day:

GD KICKED ASSPHALT!!! More on this later, but could not have been more impressed with him! Just when I thought I knew all his tricks, he pulls another rabbit out of his hat.

My mom makes the best signs (click to enlarge). HUGE thanks to her and Dad for being there for us today!

We lost Diane and Samsters to injury and sickness (next time, guys!) but everyone who toed line line made it through to the other side!!! So super proud of GD, Scott and Tiff! Way to go!!!

Love running with the LaBrees. Who knew when we were running around a pool deck that we would one day be running in endurance events?! Great weekend with these two!

Lauren and Kat continued their super supportive spectating mixed with sexy photoshoot – this time with a fountain instead of a tractor (as in the ultra). 10 more races and we’ll have enough for a calendar!

Come back later this week for the full recap!




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Eve of the Eve

‘Twas the night before marathon weekend and all through the house,

Carbs were being loaded, compliments of my insanely adorable cooking spouse.

I admit that I don’t get the same thrill from Christmas as I did as a child, but I still experience those same sensations of December 25ths of days gone by on marathon weekend. This one is especially exciting since I am sharing the experience with a fantastic group of friends and my husband. Tonight we came together under the benevolent eye of the lighthouse and spent a few hours in the way that only runners before a big race can – by stuffing our bellies with stupid good food, sharing stories of races gone by and fears for the one to come.

We feasted on this beautiful pre-race meal – roasted acorn squash stuffed with black beans and veggies, topped with a poblano sauce and chipolte adobo pulled chicken. And yes, it was as amazing as it sounds! Ice cream, ginger cookies and chickpea blondies for dessert, accompanied by some bubbly, beer and Gatorade 🙂

We popped the race map up on our tv and geeked out to all things course, gear and clothing related.

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” Oh, Girl Scouts, how right you were! A runnerific night bringing together some of my favorites.

We spent the night celebrating the runners we are (and have become!!) and when we said good-bye to our friends, I felt just as I had many times as a child on Christmas Eve… wrapped in a warm cocoon of happiness and love, contentment in this moment mixed with unbridled excitement for what is to come. Now, if I could only figure out the marathon equivalent of laying on my back and staring up into a starlit tree.

What are some of your pre-race meals?

Do you still feel the same about Christmas/Hanukkah/holidays as you used to?


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Marathon Training Recap – Weeks 13-16

Instead of recapping my marathon training on a daily or weekly basis, I am going for the corporate-style quarterly update. I am hoping to provide some business style charts, a la:

Since there are 16 weeks of training there will be 4 updates. Each one will be comprised of the quarterly report (like in business, but with less corruption and pantyhose. oh, and no bogus bonuses) and a topic germane to marathon training. So check out how I have been making out and then let us all know how your training is going (marathon or any other distance/race)!

Update 1 – Weeks 1-4

Update 2 – Weeks 5-8

Update 3 – Weeks 9-12

Update 4 – Weeks 13-16

Quarterly Report

Summary: The last quarter of a 16 week training cycle is a study in contrasts – the first week is your peak week of training and the last week features the big day, whilst the middle portion is a period of relative calm and reduced mileage. And by relative calm, I mean the kind that involved less running and more worrying (Will it rain? Can I hang onto my pace? Wait, I feel a tug in my hamstring – omg, please, please don’t let my muscle tear!? Umm, thank you for my change cashier lady, but you clearly coughed about 3 customers ago and now I need to figure out a way to stop letting those dollars act as a vector between me and your West Nile virus – you know what? You keep it! Yeah, I’d like to donate that money to the octopus juvenile diabetes research society that you are collecting money for! What’s that?  Oh, no, no need for my name on a star to hang up around the store, I don’t need the recognition, I am just doing this because I really believe in the power of the people to come together for what’s right!). Come to think of it, there is a lot of problem solving in Q4! lol

Peak week was fantastic. I kept expecting to feel beat up and ready for taper, but I just felt very strong. I am not sure what to make of this – either training for an ultra really DOES make that big of a difference (in terms of volume and mental preparation) OR I did not train hard enough this cycle. Guess which Anxious Annie over here is worried about??

Tapering going swimmingly – the first week of taper was 80-90% of peak mileage, so did not feel like too much of a break. Last week was definitely a noticeable decline and this week is just my body being all “waaaaait, a minute. What is going on here?? Where is all the running??”.

Tweaks and Twinges: Everything still feeling good! Last week a weird sensation popped up in my left upper hammie, but I am about 99.9999% sure it is just me freaking out due to the fact that the only time it hurts is when I am thinking about the run, lol. I often get ghost pains during taper, so this is right on schedule!

Mental Runitude: Mixed. I feel very good about the training I did. I did not have to skip any runs (though I did bag two sessions of speedwork and just put the miles in those days). I am happy with the times I was posting and am trying to recall those confident feelings of a few weeks ago. But I would be lying if I said that I was not also worrying about if it was enough, or if I should have picked a harder plan. I won’t actually know that until this time next week, so for the next few days I have to ignore the doubts the best I can, and try to claw my way back to invincible me.

Topic du Quarter: RACE GOALS

Almost everyone who runs a race of any distance has a goal for it – even those of you who don’t get giddy checking things off a list (who are you people?! do you realize what you are missing??) are still toeing the line with at least one – to finish. But for many of us, especially when you start running the same distance multiple times, setting goals is part of the motivation to get your booty out the door on each and every one of your training runs. And as someone who is highly goal-oriented, figuring out what I want from a race is one of the most satisfying parts of the process.

With experience, I have come to realize that if you set a time goal, it is important to set multiple ones for contingencies.  This is partly because these goals are so capricious. When many of us pick a time goal, we do so envisioning perfect weather, a course that is easy to navigate, that our bodies will perform perfectly and a million other variables that are impossible to predict and even harder to get to align on race day. So for time goals, I often pick a few. For Philly they are:

1. Finish (best to start small)

2. Break 4 hours

3. Break my PR

4. Run a 3:xx:xx (yes, I am keeping my actual time goal to myself for now, but I will let you know if I make it in the recap!)

I also believe that if you restrict your goals to those of the hourglass variety,  you are robbing yourself of other lessons that can be learned. For example, a good goal can also be to nail nutrition, especially if this is something that has tripped you up in the past. It could also be to run the course efficiently and get your Garmy time as close to your chip time as possible  (Explanation: when a marathon course is created, the shortest possible route is measured. Almost everyone who runs it will run longer than this distance because it is very hard to run it that well- but you can definitely do things that will help you keep your numbers down, like running the tangents and keeping weaving in and out of people to a minimum. It might not seem like much, but over 26 miles, this adds up! Lots of times after a race you will hear newbies complain that the course was long, that their Garmins had them at 26.4 or 26.5 miles – but it’s not that the course is long, it is that they ran it long).

For me, my overarching Philly goal is to run a well-executed race. I feel like I am building enough experience with the distance that I can start dialing in particular components. For me, this will be nutrition and distance, as mentioned above, but also pacing (I’d like to run by feel and that feel be my goal pace without having to look at Garmy’s beautiful face every two steps!). Finally, I want to get better at making adjustments to my plan on the fly – this is something I am not good at in a race OR in life! If things go wrong, and they will, I don’t want to panic and send all my hard work out the door with negative thoughts of not meeting my goals. Instead, I want to be able to regroup, assess the situation and move on despite whatever obstacle is thrown in my way. I don’t struggle with quitting, so that’s not an impulse I have to fight, but I do have a tendency to lose my shit when things go off plan. This is what I will be working on for this race (and in life, lol).

So that’s it! Come back next week to find out where all this hand wringing led me!

What are your race goals?

How do you react when the wheels fall off?


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Taperworm Diaries – Entry #1

Some people have the deep misfortune to be struck with tapeworms in the brain. But there are those of us that are a lot luckier and only have to deal with taperworms. No one really knows how they get infected, but it is almost a guarantee that symptoms will begin 2-3 weeks before race day. The worm starts small – maybe you feel some butterflies when you think of the start line or casually wonder what you will wear for the run. As the days tick by, symptoms often get worse. The following is a diary entry from a patient with full-blown taperworm madness. Note that during the later stages, the victim will start bonding with her captor, Stockholm syndrome style.

Dear Diary,

My brain is not my own. I have found myself doing the following over the last week:

1. Checking the AccuWeather extended forecast daily and letting the temperatures dictate my mood-  the upper 40s and warmer with sun= elated Kashi while cloudy with upper 30s to low 40s = nail-biting Kashi.

2. Looking forward to 11/9 when I could FINALLY see the 10-day forecast on no less than three weather websites.

3. Staring idly at this hypnotic wind map and wondering what Aeolus has in store for us. To be fair, staring idly at this map is something I do even when not infected with taperworms, but the difference is that I don’t usually look for hidden messages about how the race will go in its mesmerizing rivers of air.

4. Crying at anything even remotely emotional, including but not limited to, thinking about the NYC marathoners who will get the chance to run in Philly, scenes from Cloud Atlas, Sandy destruction, love I have for my sister, frustration during commutes and thinking that I was getting a cold (I was not -buuuut I probably just jinxed myself. Damn!).

5. Eating everything in sight, despite the fact I am running less. The taperworms need nutrition and I am happy to oblige but I am not sure my pants are on-board with this plan. However, the pants don’t wear the pants around here, so I continue to munch.

A starting line horn is the only known antidote so I just have to hold on for 9 more days. There is no escaping the taperworms, and truth be told I kinda like them. They remind me that despite the fact that this race means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, it means an awful lot in my little scheme of things. So the taperworms and I will be strange bedfellowing it for the next week –  we’ll have movie night (paging Spirit of the Marathon!) while we chow like queens on carbs and worry endlessly about weather and imaginary injuries.


How are your taperworms treating you?

What do you do in the days leading up to a race?


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Work it, girls!!

I just don’t see the point in rehashing the “should they or shouldn’t they have” debate re: the NYC marathon cancellation so I am choosing not to 🙂 Instead I want to rant about another topic – kids doing endurance events. There was a great article in the NY Times yesterday that profiled two young girls, sisters aged 10 and 12, and their adventures in running. They are both talented, running distances and times that many adult women would kill for (the 1:28:39 older sister Katylynn recently ran? Yeah, pass the rat poison and give me a name!). The story bounces between talking about the girls accomplishments (impressive), their dad’s coaching (borderline overboard? or just a dad pushing his girls to their potential? undecided over here) and whether running is dangerous to them.

It’s the last one that gets my rant on – I just don’t understand why distance running is automatically assumed to be hurtful to people. Despite the fact that the girls are well-trained, that we let children the same age participate in  myriad of contact sports and don’t bat an eye or that our bodies have evolved to RUN, you just can’t get away from the popular cultural conviction that running is bad news bears. The sisters have been continuously monitored by doctors (and given the go-ahead by them), are likely much healthier than some of their sedentary counterparts and are participating in a sport the way millions of other kids do with more mainstream activities and yet they are under a microscope for just putting one foot in front of the other.
The comment section really got my hackles up:

“These girls are too young to have such a grueling schedule that does not include kid activities”. Since when is running not a kid activity??!!

“These girls are clearly not emotionally mature enough for these events…Endurance events of this caliber can ravage the heart of a competitor. The extreme highs and lows that often come with these race are tough to manage for adults and clearly the parents are not helping them develop in this area” *lifts megaphone* “Step off your soapbox!” Yes, running can be transcedent, but since when are emotions only for the adults? Can’t you remember being 12?? Complex stuff happening in the grey matter by then, guys. And I don’t think we can determine how the kids are parented from one dude’s article.

“Why do they run in tiny sports bras? Those tops seems very inappropriate for little girls.I don’t know why they aren’t wearing a full shirt.” Obviously not a runner.

To be clear, I am not saying I think that the Dad is the kind of coach they need – maybe he pushes them too hard, but maybe that is what young competitive hearts need. Do we really have to live in a world where the only achievements are participation awards? But that is neither here nor there, I can’t really comment on him and his parenting from a few sound bites from one article. My bigger gripe is the idea that kids can’t run distance.

Happily, there were some positive comments following the online article but my favorite part of the story was when the girls were running and working hard on a trail run and their fellow (adult) racers were giving them support:

“Carlyn Peterson, a 29-year-old ultrarunner, caught up to the exhausted girl. Her attitude about endurance was: the pain never goes away, so you just have to make room for it. She slapped Kaytlynn on the bottom and said, “You’re fine, keep going.”” Swoon! Women encouraging the next generation! Yes!

After the race,  “’You killed it, kid!’ one man said as he approached. ‘Give me a high-five!’”

Will the girls stick with running? Is their dad off his rocker? Who knows!? But I hope that kids running endurance events (with proper training and nutrition, of course) will one day be accepted and embraced. Maybe we’ll even look back at this the same way as we think back to when women were not encouraged/allowed to run long distance (for the record,  there has been nary a jiggle in this uterus, nevermind it falling out, lol!)

Run on, kiddos of the world!

Weigh in!


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