Those Old Grey Mares Just Ain’t What They Used to Be

I think Road Runner ran in the June 28 race in my town. In the women's 40-50 Division.

I think Road Runner ran in the June 28 race in my town. In the women’s 40-50 Division.

 

I think they’re better.

I ran a small, local race on June 28 before heading into the Big Apple with Colby. (No, I was not hungover for this one – that was during our epic jaunt through Central Park on June 29.) I was a little tuckered for this one, from finally getting in a training ride early that morning for the Pan Mass Challenge. Got back from my ride, friend texted me to see if I would run the race and I was off, with echoes of my mother, circa 1986, saying “And if she asked you to jump off a bridge, would you do that too?” swirling around in my head.

Possibly, Mom, possibly. Especially if there was a finish line at the end.

The race was 2.2 miles and one of a summer series hosted in my town where the races get longer each week, ending with a 10 miler on Labor Day. Very low key. $5 per race. No name – this was the June 28 2.2 mile race. No bibs or chips. When you finish, you get a popsicle stick with your place on it and head over to a table where they write down – with a pencil and paper – your place and all your information. Someone calls out the times as people pass the finish clock and they match your place number with the time called. About as Old School, Low Key as a race can get in 2014.

Apparently, in my town, Low Key Does Not Equal Not Competitive.

Sweet Jesus.

I ran reasonably fast (7.27 pace) and came in 82nd. Yes, I bolted across the finish line and was handed a popsicle stick with the number “82” on it. Placed 82nd out of 216 runners.

Holy Shit, these people are fast. (By way of comparison, if I ran that pace for the Diva Long Island 5K last year, I would have placed 6th out of 1200).

And you know which ones are superfly fast?

Women in the 40-50 age group. Most competitive group of the bunch (women’s division).

I placed 6th in the women 40-50. Had I been in my 30’s, I would have placed 3rd. Had I been in my 20’s, I would have placed 3rd (and I definitely would have been hungover). If I were in my 50’s, I would have placed 4th.

See the trend? We still got it, Ladies!

I have noticed it at a lot of the races I run – women 40-50 is a big and fast age group. I love it. We are not stopping. We are not checking out. We are not slowing down. We are running more and getting faster.

It’s awesome. And inspiring.

Look out, Harriette Thompson. We’re coming for ya!

Glass cases of emotion brimming with potato salad.

10101Friday. How in the name of Ron Burgundy did that happen?!? A lovely four day weekend segued into a yucky four day work week peppered with trail runs, road runs and {music swells} The Dreaded Hill Repeats. It was a whole bucket full of same old, same old with a dash of sadness and pinch of disgust thrown in for good measure. As a result, my blogging promptly fell straight into the shitter.

The Week in Numbers:
Miles run: 40
Miles biked: 45
Number of vegetables in this week’s CSA: Bushels upon bushels
Glasses of wine consumed:  Copious amounts
Amount of money raised by some dude on Kickstarter in Ohio to make potato salad: Upwards of $40,000
Amount of money raised by Colby to ride across Massachusetts in the Pan Massachusetts Challenge, a 2 day, 200 mile cancer fighting odyssey to benefit life-saving cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: $2,842.25

See where the pinches of sadness and disgust came from? Has the whole world gone mad!?!?! Or is the Potato Salad Dude on to something? Are people funding potato salad because it’s quirky and silly and it’s just the lightness they need to balance the BATSHIT CRAIZINESS that has saturated the rest of the goddam place? Perhaps.

This guy wants to make potato salad.
I want to help fund a cure a for cancer by riding my bike 200 miles across the state of Massachusetts.

Who are you funding?

I know, right?!  Tough Call!

I’m being facetious. Perhaps the guy will do something noble and feed the homeless with 1,000,000 pounds of potato salad. Or donate it to potato farmers across the country who can certainly use the influx of cash. Or better yet, start an education campaign alerting parents to the dangers of leaving helpless children alone in sweltering locked cars while they run in and grocery shop for potato salad ingredients.

Just a thought.

Welp. Ohio Dude raised it. Fair and square. At the very least I hope he uses his potato salad for good, not evil.  He with the best shtick wins. Here’s a thought: What if I made potato salad WHILE riding my bike? Or better yet, juggle, peel, yodel and make potato salad while riding A UNICYCLE in support of cancer research!  I think I’m on to something.

Kickstart THIS, Baby!

Tina and Colby, Pan Massachusetts Challenge 2013!

Tina and Colby, Pan Massachusetts Challenge 2013!

Have a dollar to spare? Hate cancer more than potato salad? Then donate to our ride! Any amount will do! We’ll ride, you donate. Together we’ll kick cancer’s ass!  :-)  Many heartfelt thanks in advance!

To donate to Colby’s Ride: http://www2.pmc.org/profile/NB0049

To donate to Tina’s Ride:  http://www2.pmc.org/profile/TC0204

Don’t let me catch you.

I’m smack dab in the middle of Week 4 of training for Colby’s Ultra Big Adventure, also known as She’s Lost Her Mind and Signed Up for a 50K. And so far? All is good. I’m pushing myself harder than I have in a long, long while. And I’m digging it. I am also sticking to the Training Plan I cobbled together off of The Internets. It seems insane reasonable, so I’m going with it. In the midst of all of this running madness, I am also riding my Cancer Fighting Bike, Henrietta Pussycat.

Henrietta Pussycat.

Henrietta Pussycat.

She’s totally badass. My 10th Pan Massachusetts Challenge is in exactly one month. 200 miles in 2 days in support of cancer research. I can’t say it snuck up on me. I’ve been riding it for a goddamn decade. But somehow, it did. The two weekly “Rest” days in my 50K Plan have been spent on the bike. And I’ve gotta admit. I love that damn bike.

Sunday’s Hungover Central Park 6 Miler with Tina (we should make t-shirts and have pudding shot stations) was followed by Monday’s After Work 25 miler on Henrietta. It was just she and I, spinning wildly. I say this every damn time I finish a good ride. I love cycling. Love it. And I love riding with my Other Half. But Monday, I rode alone. Even without my Missing Piece, I kept the pace up. In the big ring. Like a big girl. Just me and Henrietta. That was until I came upon Some Guy on a mountain bike. Whom I passed. Politely. I’m going to say this. He was not THRILLED by my zippiness. Nope. Not one stinking bit. I think the pony tail got him. How do I know this? Because he pedaled his ass off to catch my wheel and bark at me.

Mountain Man {Yelling}: DON’T LET ME CATCH YOU!
Me: {Snippy} What?
Mountain Man: I SAID. DON’T LET ME CATCH YOU.
Me: {Calmly} I wasn’t planning on it.
Mountain Man: {Annoyed, panting, semi-crazed} You know, the ONLY reason you passed me is because you have thinner tires. You have THINNER TIRES.
Me: {Slows} The reason I passed you, is because I am faster than you.

And then I turned the screws.
Launched.
And didn’t look back.

Really? And what were you going to do if you caught me? Knock me off my bike? Shame me? Throw thumb tacks? Who yells that at someone? Was he really that put out by a girl passing him? Or was he himself having a bad day? I didn’t imagine it. It really happened. Quite frankly, I didn’t care for his shitty angry tone. After a fantastic weekend, a mid-grade hangover, a touch of lingering alcohol induced gastritis, a long ass day at work, and now a Hurry Up and Race the Sun bike ride, I was in zero mood to deal with The Defeated Mountain Man and His Bruised Ego. Back off Dude. I’m just going about a really good workout. I’m not a fan of anyone getting all up on me when I’m alone on a bike. Or when I’m alone anywhere; running or riding. So I got all sassy. Let’s be honest. I got obnoxious. What I said to him might not necessarily be true 100% of the time, but it was at that very moment. On the heels of the Like a Girl post earlier this week, I was feeling empowered. So I flexed my self-confidence a lil’ bit.

And dropped him, just Like A Girl can.

Riding STIRLING STRONG in honor of Stirling, my PMC Bunkmate, who lost her battle with cancer.

Riding STIRLING STRONG in honor of Stirling, my PMC Bunkmate, who lost her battle with cancer.

 

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Aside

veryinspiringbloggerThe other day I learned that The Force Majeure over at  A Voluptuous Mind nominated our blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thank you!!! Thank you!!! She is one cool, bright, witty chick who hula hoops and has a lovely way with words. She’s also a runner. But she just doesn’t know it yet. :-)  I can’t tell you how happy I was to hear the news. For reals. Inspiring is such a powerful, evocative word. That it is associated with Our Little Blog makes me proud. Damn proud. So. Without further ado, here are the rules of the award:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you (Check!)
  • List the rules and display the award (Check-a-roni!)
  • Share seven facts about yourself (Seven Facts About Tina and Seven Facts About Colby.)
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated
  • Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you

You like Us! You really, really like Us!

amyandtinadancing

7 Things About Tina!
  1. I love music. I have zero talent, but if I did, I would be the annoying person who brought their guitar everywhere and asked to sing with the band at weddings. As it is, I have to settle for hosting friends and serving them enough alcohol that they will play Rock Band or one of my singing board games with me.
  2. I love crossword puzzles. And logic problems. I may be the only person who ever enjoyed taking the LSAT because so much of it is similar to puzzle solving. But I hate cryptograms.
  3. I have an anaphylactic soy allergy. I hate being allergic to soy because I now can’t use my favorite flank steak marinade, but I love that I have an excuse to turn down all offers of tofu -no questions asked. I know it’s healthy. I still wouldn’t want to eat it.
  4. I moved to NYC without a job during the recession of the early 90′s and it remains the best decision I ever made. It set the stage for my career, meeting my husband…basically all of the things I now love in my life.
  5. I am sure that I would be a happier, more balanced person if I practiced meditation and yoga, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that I just don’t like them that much. And I think I definitely will be a happier, more balanced person when I stop beating myself up for not liking meditation and yoga. Working on that.
  6. I hate to swim and almost never go in the water. I don’t even like to lounge in a pool chaise. I cannot STAND the feeling of a wet bathing suit and just typing this out is giving me the willies.
  7. I can say the alphabet backwards. Really fast – almost as fast as I can say it forwards. I wish that my special talent was in the music arena (see 1 above), but alas, no dice. I have never found a use for this amazing talent. Maybe if I’m ever pulled over for a suspected DUI I can bust it out to prove I’m sober.
7 Things About Colby!
  1. I am well versed in just about every damn breed of dog that exists according to the American Kennel Club since the age of 5. I used to climb up the book shelf and pull out “D-4″, The Dog Book as I would refer to it, of the Encyclopedia Britannica and obsess about every single breed.  Mom:  Hey look Colby! There’s a Beagle! How cute! Look! Snoopy!  Young Colby: Uh. No Mother. That’s not a beagle. That’s a Harrier. For the love of god, get it straight. Please. How I am not at Madison Square Garden judging Best in Show is beyond me. I fear I have missed my calling.
  2. I had an imaginary friend growing up. His name was George. He and I would play for hours in the front yard, waxing poetic about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and what places we would visit. Good times. Good times. Sadly. George died suddenly one day. I’m not sure how. I just remember he was dead. End of story.  Rest Peacefully old chum.
  3.  I am a vegetarian. Little known fact, right?!?!?  Who knew!!  I was also a vegetarian in college. But it was the “I don’t eat meat so instead I’ll eat pounds of pasta and Cap’n Crunch instead. And,what the fuck is a vegetable?” kind. Now I’m happy to report I am far more balanced where protein and carbohydrates are concerned. I’m a distance runner. I have to be. Or I’d be a sad, shallow little puddle.
  4. My grandmothers were affectionately known as Big Gram and Little Gram. I think you can guess why. I take after Little Gram who was just about 3 apples tall. Big Gram had the most beautiful, soulful eyes ever. They are the same eyes as my Mother.  Little Gram had a big smile and a big mouth and more teeth than the average human being. They are the same as mine. I could probably bite the ass off of a horse. But I’m a vegetarian. And besides, that’s beyond gross. And wildly inappropriate.
  5. I love tomatoes. Love them. The smell of tomato plants and basil reminds me of my Grandfather. He had a massive garden and I would spend many weekends with him on his tractor. I used to sit in the fields and eat warm tomatoes off of the vine, wiping them off on my shirt and letting the juice drip down my chin. Close my eyes and I can still smell, taste and feel the sun. I wish I had paid more attention to everything he said about growing crops, and planting tomatoes. I miss him terribly.
  6. I found distance running at the worst time in my life. And in turn found myself. It was my control in a time of chaos. It was my therapy. Each mile brought me out of the fog. The strength I gained propelled me forward. Each finish line a new beginning. In many ways, it brought me back to life. For this reason, running will always be a part of me.
  7. I was an actress. I was in an improvisational interactive comedy show called Joey and Maria’s Comedy Italian Wedding out of Boston. We toured all over. I was Maria.  I figure I’ve been married 100s and 100s of times.  It was a complete blast.  I worked with some funny, funny, talented people. When I auditioned for it I didn’t tell anyone. I just went, without head shots, without a clue as to what to do. I walked in and they asked me how my day was. So I told them. Colorfully.  :-)
And now for our Inspiring Blogger Nominations! And honestly, these are just a handful of our favorite blogs in no particular order. So here you go:

On Running Like a Girl

Since when did “Run like a girl” become an insult?  Or “Throw like a girl”? Or “Fight like a girl”?  Or ANYTHING Like a Girl?  If you haven’t seen this ad, please watch it. Watch all of it. Then watch it again. Then share it. With everyone. When I first saw this ad, I had such a lump in my throat. I really did. What the hell happened?  It made my heart break.  At what point do little girls lose their confidence? According to this new ad from Always feminine products, it happens at some point during puberty.  Apparently, the girls they surveyed claimed their drop in self-confidence coincided with puberty and their first period; which is why the response of a 9 year old versus an 18 year old when asked the question is so drastically different. Sure. It’s a marketing campaign, a poignant one at that, whose intention is to sell Always products. But. It is sparking a broader conversation around female confidence. And I think that’s fanfuckingtastic.

Tina and I had a discussion about Running Like Girls as we were Running 6 Hungover Miles Like Boozebags Girls in a steamy Central Park on Sunday.  We came to the same conclusion.  We both never thought that Running Like a Girl meant we were to bust out with the stereotypical limp arms, flailing feet and ridiculous pouty out-of-breath expression.  Ever.  Tina grew up in a large family with brothers.  If she wanted to play at all, she had to Throw Like a Boy. Or Run Fast Like a Boy.  For Tina it became the opposite; “Pick Tina. She can Kick Like a Boy.”  She didn’t hear the reverse.

For me, it was; “Pick Colby. She’s Strong”- not necessarily “Strong Like a Boy” but “Strong for A Girl”; a different variation of the same damn theme.  Now that I write it, it was a slam. Sure, I got picked first but there was a subtle undertone. I only got picked first because I wasn’t really like the other girls, I was more like a boy. The message meant to be sent was: Girls were inferior. And you just got lucky, Honey. However, it didn’t waver my self-confidence or change my perception of who I was.  I didn’t internalize it. Or believe it. I Was Strong. I Was Strong For Anyone. Not just for a girl. It was that simple.  If you asked me those same questions throughout my life, I would have the same response. I know I would have and I had an EXTREMELY early voyage into Womanhood.  Why would my answers have remained constant? Because I had (and continue to have) a strong, dynamo of a Mother who empowered me and told me I could be anything I ever wanted to be throughout my entire life. And I believed her.

You can do anything.

You can do anything.

You can do anything.  

The message was steady and persistent, constant and loving. As a result, it never crossed my mind that I was inferior to ANYONE. Work hard and you can do anything. That was the message. I never for one minute second guessed that because of my amazing Mother. And I still don’t because of her. Girls need strong women present in their lives in order to debunk the social myth that being “Like A Girl” is a negative thing.  They need them. Like fish need water. It’s imperative. Confident girls remain self- confident when they have strong role models ever-present in their lives. It is then that they grow to be empowered, strong, confident women.

As a result, they will believe in themselves. Always.

 

Wanted: Hill Seeker

Hills. We love ‘em. We hate ‘em. We never want to admit that we really need them. Oh but Grasshopper, We Do. We need them especially if we’re training for our very first Ultra Marathon. {Insert dry heaves here.} Enter The Hill Repeat. I’m just going to head straight to the punchline. I’ve never felt more weak in my life.

I did Hill Repeats yesterday. Or some lame ass version of them. I usually incorporate hills into my runs and rarely set out to run strict hill repeats. I’m learning that if I want to complete this 50K with both legs still firmly on, I need to do a legitimate Hill Workout at least once a week. So. With this realization in mind, I decided to carve out time for the ever elusive Run at Lunch. I wedged it right in the middle of an eternally long experiment. 004(Fact: I’m a scientist in real life. One that is currently wearing purple skinny jeans, a Madonna concert tee and a leopard print band aid on my thumb, but nevertheless a Lab Nerd. So there you go- a little about Colby.) The good thing about a long experiment is that at some point you may be lucky enough to have a window of opportunity to embark on a Run at Lunch.  Although about as rare as spotting a unicorn with a rainbow mane bearing a roll of parchment with The Cure written on it, I did manage to find myself with a window of time. So I seized it.

Hill Repeats suck. Run hard uphill. Recover downhill. Build strength and power. That’s really about it, right? That was my goal. I was initially pumped. EYE OF THE TIGER, BABY!  What happened was that after “warming” up by running a very unpleasant, hot, humid 4.5 miles in a steaming concrete jungle, I found a nasty long hill to run up. It was then, during that very first one, that I realized how weak I am. I powered up that hill with all I had.  Efficient Colby. Short stride. Chest up. Elbows driving back. Eyes looking toward the crest of the hill.  My heart rate is rocketing. I am huffing. And puffing. Sweat is stinging my eyes.  I am momentarily blinded.  Surely I’m making progress!  I squint at my watch.

20 goddamn seconds.

 That’s all.

Oh Poodles. I have a long way to go.

I am pleased to say that despite exhaustion and heat stroke, I endured. How? I’m not sure. But Hooray!!

yeay

I ran uphill as hard as I possibly could for 60 seconds (which in a bizarre twist, ended right at the top. Nice hill choice!) Then I ran jogged rolled back down, catching my breathe and repeated the sadistic ritual for 10 minutes. I figured less was more.  Besides, I was red lining. It was hard.

But between you and I, I loved it.  Pain, suffering and all. It showed me my weakness which isn’t a bad thing at all. Revealing a weakness is creating an opportunity for growth. Hills are an opportunity for me to prove to myself that I am stronger than I think.  Weaknesses turn into strengths with drive, grit and determination. They don’t call hills Mounds of Opportunity for nothin’. :-)

hills

 

Fairfield Half Recap

 

Last year’s Fairfield Half recaps were all about running on the surface of the sun. Well, the headline for this year’s Fairfield half is “We Didn’t Melt!” As Colby reported, it was the coolest weather this race has had. EVAH! Yippee! The race was good – amazing crowds, great course, incredibly well organized by JB Sports. I had a good, though not mind-blowing, time, and felt strong throughout. It was a fun and drama-free race, so I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow recap. But I will share a few thoughts…

  • You can run the same race every year and yet run a different race every year. This is the only race I have run 3 times, and it has never felt like the same race. At all. The first year, I had just gotten over Fifth’s Disease (given to me by one of my resident vectors) and thought I was going to need medical attention. I probably should have stopped and sought medical attention. But it was only my second half marathon, so I just figured that it was not uncommon to feel like you were dying while running a half. I now know that I was wrong and probably on the verge of heatstroke. Oh, well. Live and learn. Last year, I was healthy, but it was so freaking hot out, I kept thinking I had slipped onto the Badwater course by accident. This year, the temps were great (for June), the humidity low (for June), and I was free of childhood viruses. The race wasn’t a cakewalk -it was still 13.1 miles – but it was fun. Same race, yet a totally different race each time.
  • There is a fine line between running on air and running lightheaded. Around mile 9, I truly felt like I was running on air. It felt great. I’m in the clouds! I could run forever! Then I realized I was running on air but not in a good way -  in a dizzy, time-warping kind of way. Turns out my happy buzz was the product of dehydration and a desperate need for an energy boost. Grabbed 2 Gatorades at the next water stop and came back down to earth. Kind of reluctantly, but I knew it was for my own good.
  • I have to start races closer to the front, because no one else seems to line up based on pace. I thought that the unwritten rule of racing is that that people are supposed to line up generally by their pace, even when there aren’t markers. Maybe the rule needs to be written and repeated, because I started in the front third, and had to work my way around some walkers within the first half mile. I am not kidding. Walkers. At the front. And yes, they were walking three across. Yes, they were. I don’t even care about my time as much as not ending up in some kind of 5-runner collision. And yeah, I do care about my time a little, too. Yes, I do.
  • Almost a year into our relationship, my Garmin and I are still frenemies. I think my Garmin is embarrassed of me because I don’t know how to use it. I’m the worst Garmin user ever. I forgot to hit start when I crossed the starting line, and turned it on a few blocks later. Then I realized that was stupid, since I had no idea where I turned it on so couldn’t keep track of distance anyway, so I turned it off and then turned it on again at mile 2. For the remainder of the race, I had to do math every time I looked at my Garmin. I hate math. And yes, after running 8 miles in the sun, even counting by 2’s can be hard. Next time I think I’m leaving it at home. This is the 3rd race where I have forgotten to turn it on at the right time and I don’t think I have ever remembered to hit stop when I crossed the finish. And I swear I’m not usually a dingbat.
  • Running on hot pavement for 13 miles is killer on the feet. Dogs were seriously barking by the end.
  • Whether it’s your first race or fiftieth, a great race or a difficult one, long, short, hot, cold, there is nothing like the thrill and relief of crossing a finish line. Nothing!

Shout out to Spartan Shawna, who ran the Fairfield Half for her first half-marathon! In kids’ Nike Frees with no socks! And not much training!. Amazingly, Spartan Shawna finished with a good time and no injuries. Though she be but little, she is fierce!

(We will, of course, get her set up a little better before she tackles the Hartford Marathon in October A little training, here, grown up sneakers and socks, there – it’s all good. Fear not, Spartan Shawna, we’ll hook you up!)

And of course I have to give a shout out to the songs that motivated me most during the race:

1. Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.” Yes it is overplayed. Seriously overplayed. And yes, we are all kind of over it and its bazillion memes. But it came on and of course, I thought about how happy I was. Happy that it was not too hot and humid. Happy that I am healthy and can run a half-marathon. Even happier that I was running a race on a gorgeous course with friends – old and new – and that we were all gathering afterward to hang out, share war stories, and bask in the thrill of the done. A wonderful way to spend a summer Sunday.

2. Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop.” At mile 9, it was time to get the Led out, and this is one of my favorite Led Zep songs. Given its psychedelic lyrics, it fit in nicely with my lightheadedness- I certainly was enjoying my own groovy trip along with the crowds of people in the song sitting there with flowers in their hair…. at least until I realized I needed a Gatorade and a Gu. Cue the end of the happy half marathon trip. So sad to see it go.

3. Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Because I will never get sick of hearing it. Ever. And Dave Grohl’s drumbeat is awesome and perfect for a run.

Tomorrow, “Where in the World is Colby?” heads to NYC and I’ll get to take Colby running in one of my favorite running spots in the world….Central Park!!!! Stay tuned…

Running, Racing, Riding and Kohlrabi. Or, Where in the World is Colby?

Sweet Sweating Baby Jesus.

I’ve been on a Running-Working-Life-Crazy ROLLERCOASTER the past week.

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And here you thought I’d gone and flown the coop.  Nah. Just busy. And although I am waging a campaign to Stop the Glorification of Busy, I really was this time. For reals. I hate the “Busy” excuse. If you want to make the time, you’ll find the time to make. More often than not, it’s a sham. I usually can figure out how to squirrel something in. But this time, I couldn’t find shit. So. Let’s see. Here’s what’s been keeping me “Busy.”

Over the past 10 Days I…

Ran the Branford Road Race on Sunday, June 15th!  Fantastic, fantastic race if you’re ever visiting your Pops on the beautiful Connecticut Shoreline on Father’s Day, have your kicks with you and feel like running a pretty 5 mile road race with several thousand friends. Always a great time. JB Sports puts this race on and they’re truly a class act.  Ample water stops. Great post-race festival.  Pretty scenery. And I DIDN’T ALMOST UTA PIPPIG MY PANTS THIS YEAR!  (You can read last year’s Almost Debacle, here.) In fact, I had a pretty decent race considering all I’ve been doing is running on tired legs. I’ll take 9th in my age group! And no. There weren’t 10 broads either, Smarty Pants.
20140625-212205-76925472.jpg
(Photo credit: Melanie Stengel, New Haven Register.)

Rode Henrietta Pussycat, My Cancer Fighting Bike, in the Critérium du Dauphiné 2014 .  I’m kidding. I’m not a professional cyclist. I’ve just been riding with My Zippy Cycling Boyfriend which is exactly like riding in the goddamn peloton.  He’s fast.  Not just fast for Colby. I mean fast for anybody- Superheroes included. I ride with him on his “Rest” days. {Insert guffaws here.}

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I am training for my 10th Pan Massachusetts Challenge and I SERIOUSLY NEED TO GET ON MY FLIPPIN’ BIKE.  She’s not going to ride herself 200 miles in two days across the great state of Massachusetts now, is she?  So I’ve been squeezing in long rides on rest days. So far, so good.

Rest? What’s rest?

Spent 36hrs in Denver. Flew in. Worked. Sprinted thru the Denver Art Museum, combining both culture and a nice quick workout. Drank great craft beer. Slept. Ran intervals on the hotel treadmill. Huffed and puffed. Worked. Flew home. At 1:30am. The end. In short:  The 3 seconds of Denver I saw, I really liked. Until next time Denver! We shall run again! On real trails. Up mountains. Over Red Rocks. Instead of on a goddamn hotel treadmill. There’s got to be a law against that in Colorado. Fo shizzle.

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A Clean Sweep. Outside of the Denver Art Museum.

Ran hard, hilly trails. And loved every doggone minute of it! Getting a little more agile on the trails these days. While I’m not quite Mountain Goat, I’m improving. The day after I flew in from Denver I headed out for a 1.5h tough-hilly-dehydrated-exhausted trail run. The masochist in me loved it.  Despite the whirlwind week, I managed to get a bunch of quality runs (and rides!) in. Score 1 for Colby!

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Picked up my CSA Crop Share! And realized that kohlrabi is an actual vegetable, and not one of those screaming Mandrake Roots from Harry Potter. HELLO VEGGIES!!!  We are LOVING being a part of Bishop’s Orchard’s Community Supported Agriculture Crop Share!  Basil plants, spinach, romaine, bok choy, strawberries, Cato Corner Cheese, kohlrabi, sugar snap peas, asparagus….the list goes on.  And it’s fresh, local and fantastic. Support local agriculture. Or at the very least, hit up your local farmer’s market.  Bossy? Very. But completely true. I love that we’re a part of it. More to come on Adventures in Weird Vegetables! Promise. In other news, my own tomato plants ARE KICKING ASS! Let’s hope the trend continues.

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Ran the Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon with Tina, Diva Cindi and some of our fantastic friends on Sunday June 22nd.  AND GUESS WHAT HAPPENED???  We didn’t combust and burst into a flaming ball of running fury from the extreme heat!  It was—dare I say—GORGEOUS OUT! I have now run this race 6 times and this was the coolest one. In fact, they announced that since the race’s inception it was the coolest Fairfield Half to date. And they’ve been running this shit since 1981. Remind me to send Mother Nature an Edible Arrangement. Or something made with Kohlrabi once I figure out what the hell to do with it.

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In case you haven’t been following Tina and I for long, you can read last year’s Hellish Race Recap here and here. They are totally worth the read. We each swore this race off completely. This year was a WHOLE DIFFERENT HALF MARATHON. Minimal humidity. Temps in the 70s. Breezy. Challenging, rolling course. Extremely well supported. Another stellar JB Sports event. Lots of people along the course cheering, hosing you down and offering you orange slices. This race always gets high marks from The Running World.  That being said, it attracts some hard core runners. Ethiopians and Kenyans were tops. Seeing as how I didn’t feel as if I was running on the surface of this sun this year, I actually LOVED IT.  And that was reflected in my time. I was pretty pumped to have run it under 2hrs the day after a 33 mile hard bike ride which was the day after the 1.5h hard trail run after 36hrs in Denver. With my first 50K on the horizon, it was just what I needed- A Super Confidence Boost. I am really starting to believe I can do it.  Tired legs and all.  And that is what feels so fanfuckingtastic.

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Yeah. I just patted myself on the back. :-) Now onto that ugly kohlrabi…

How many times have you run a favorite race? Are you a fan of weird vegetables? If you could be a vegetable, what would you be?

MacGyver Would Have Made a Great Distance Runner

Courtesy of Celebremix

Courtesy of Celebremix

 

For all you young’uns out there, MacGyver was a 1980’s action-adventure TV character who was known for his ability to craft anything out of anything to solve his problems. As Wikipedia says, “Resourceful and possessed of an encyclopedic knowledge of the physical sciences, he solves complex problems with everyday materials he finds at hand, along with his ever-present duct tape and Swiss Army knife.” The Urban Dictionary defines a macgyver as “someone who can jump start a truck with a cactus.”

You get the picture.

I love tapping into my inner MacGyver and remember one vacation where we realized that our 8 month old needed his mobile (left at home, of course) to fall asleep, so I Macgyver’ed one out of a ceiling fan, a belt, a coat hanger and some stuffed animals.

Of course, that was my first kid. If it were my 3rd, I would have tossed “Go the F*ck to Sleep” at him and left the room. But I digress.

Distance runners channel their inner MacGyvers a lot. In fact, the first sports bra was actually 2 jock straps sewn together by Lisa Lindahl, Polly Smith, and Hinda Schreiber in 1977. Thus was born the “JogBra.” True Fact. Store it away in case you’re ever on Jeopardy.

If you look around any race, you’ll see all sorts of creative ways runners try to keep hair back, keep injuries at bay, avoid chafing, prevent blisters, stay hydrated…you name a runner’s ailment and someone, somewhere has figured out a creative way to address it.

When I complained about my painful callouses on my toes, my triathlete friend Laurie showed me this super-special way she laces her sneaks so that her feet stay firmly in place but her toes have plenty of room to move around. She competed in the Ironman World Championships, so she knows blisters and callouses. And when she hands out advice, I take copious notes. And pictures.

Laced up sneaks - Laurie Style

Laced up sneaks – Laurie Style

I haven’t tried it yet and my change in running shoes is doing the trick so far, but I have a feeling I’ll be lacing up “Laurie Style” by the time the real heat of the summer sets in.

My big find last week were the Band Aid Blister bandages. No, not for blisters. MacGyver wouldn’t use them for blisters. Too obvious. Last week I discovered that they work beautifully for those adorable love bites that sports bras leave in hot & sticky weather.

After the Heartbreak Hill half, the band on my sports bra attacked the skin on my back to the point where it was bleeding. Thanks to the heat & humidity, I think the Glide I applied melted off before we even started the race. So I finished a killer half and my quads, hamstrings, calves and even feet felt fine. Great, even. But I needed to take recovery days because there was no way I could get a sports bra on without popping a Vicodin first. Ridiculous.

By Wednesday, I was itchy to run again, so covered the wound with a non-stick steri pad with a bandaid over it. No good. It was rainy and the water soaked through the bandaid and steri pad, leaving me YELPING by the end of my run.

Thursday I was a little gun shy about running again, but then noticed my box of Bandaid Blister pads left over from a battle I lost with a pair of borrowed boots in our March Snowshoe Race. Threw one over the wound and headed out for another rainy run. Worked like a charm! The sticky part of those bandaids forms a seal, so no moisture gets in to the wound. Plus, they are padded and filled with a gel that protects against pressure discomfort. Finally, you can leave them on for days, to let the wound heal underneath while you keep it dry and protected. Love them and am buying more boxes. Can’t wait to see what else they are good for.

What are your MacGyver running tips?

And for the love of God, does anyone have a sports bra that doesn’t bite in humid weather?

Trail Running For Dummies.

Fact: Trail running ain’t easy.
It is NOT for the weak.
Or the squeamish.
Or the insectophobic.
Or the whatever the word for “fear of turtles” is. (Note: It’s chelonaphobia. And yes. I am a dork.)

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Seeing as how my next big adventure is a 50k in Vermont, a state NOT known for being Flat as a Pancake, I decided that I needed to really put some time in the woods, trail running. 31 miles on trails is an awful lot different than 26.2 miles on the road. And I’m nervous about it.

By the way, if you are training for a Fall Marathon or Ultra and are looking for bloggers doing the same, my buddy Salt @ Run Salt Run has put together this awesome list of bloggers who are training for their Next Big Thing. Check out The Fall Training Run Blogger Directory here. Maybe someone out there is running the same thing as you or has developed a fear of turtles or is also figuring out how to conceal a black toenail (Opi’s Lincoln Park After Dark. Trust me.) Check It out. And Salt. She Rocks!

So back to Saturday. I ran. For 2 hours. Solo. In the woods. It was the morning after a day of TORRENTIAL downpours. And it was warm. Like Steamy. Super steamy. And super green. Like neon. I should also add and it was insanely peaceful. And I loved it. The good thing about all that rain was that the trail really stood out. I didn’t get lost once. That in and of itself is EPIC. I was considering leaving a trail of shot blocks behind me, but quickly realized they would be eaten by wildlife the moment I tossed ‘em. The bad thing about all that rain is that it brought out a plethora of woodland critters, crawly critters, sting-y critters, turtles, snakes, butterflies…you name it. The trails were ALIVE up in here. It was a party! And I loved being a guest.

I will say that there is a definite learning curve trail running. Here are a few of the lessons I learned this weekend:

1. Tie your goddamn laces LIKE YOU MEAN IT. Loose laces mean loose shoes which mean loose ankles will roll whilst navigating technical terrain. I learned that one 0.5 miles in. I’m quick like that.

2. Snapping Turtles are ANGRY. Do NOT tangle with a snapping turtle. Ever. Especially one laying her eggs. She will cut you. And hiss.

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3. You will fall. Get used to it. Roots, rocks, sticks. They’re all out to get you. I’m the Queen of Falling. And have the facial scars to prove it. Get Rrrrready to Tumbbbbble!!!

4. Deer WILL scare the shit out of you. You will mistake them for a Mass Murderer and let out a scream. The scream will startle them and they will dash off leaving a heap of Deer Ticks in their wake. Schedule a Lyme Disease titer. STAT.

5. Do not stop for a selfie. You will wind up with Malaria, Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus or some other as yet to be named, mosquito born illness. Besides, you need every red blood cell in your body. Or an oxygen tank. This shit is tough.

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6. Double check that all pockets containing iPhones, Sports Beans and car keys are ZIPPED UP. Shit can AND WILL bounce right on out. Then you’ll wind up freaking out in the woods, back tracking and running into a dangling inch worm who will peek over the rim of your cap, a millimeter from you eye, and wave all 50 of its hands at you.

I also learned that you can throw your road running pace out the goddamn window. You run a lot slower on trails. I guess I’d better get used to those Angry Turtles. We’re gonna be spending an awful lot of time together.

Road running or Trail running? What’s more annoying: gnats, mosquitoes or snapping turtles?

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