My InsideTracker Ultimate ReTest. Progress!

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Remember that time I took InsideTracker’s Ultimate (Re)Test and never told you how I had progressed? Or, regressed as it were. Benjamin Button style. I never filled you in. That wasn’t nice of me. Oh. But I had a plan. So what do you think? Based on my initial experience, was I able to make diet and lifestyle changes based on InsideTracker’s personalized recommendations, turn back the greedy hands of time and perform my best?!?!

Source: Giphy

Let’s review.

When last we chatted, I had taken InsideTracker’s Ultimate Test which examined my blood for biochemical and physiological markers of health. They analyzed the data extensively, and established my very own optimal ranges for each biomarker. So fancy! When markers weren’t “Optimal,” they provided me with science-driven nutritional and lifestyle interventions all geared towards improving performance, vitality and overall health.

Blood Don’t Lie, Poodles.

My Original Test was less than optimal. Girlfriend needed work. Which wasn’t shocking, considering that’s what prompted me to stage my own personal Health Intervention in the first place. Stress. Insomnia. Sluggishness. Horrible post-run recovery. And over all “Meh-ness.” I had also dealt with a very real cancer scare which thankfully had a positive outcome. I became laser focused on taking care of myself as a result. My InnerAge measurement, which examines chronological age versus specific key biomarkers was 60.3 years old. P.S. I’m 43. I was stunned.

My first set of results prompted three key health goals:

  1. Optimize key biomarkers 
  2. Reduce my InnerAge
  3. Improve my performance and run a Boston Marathon qualifying time

    Oh. And win the lottery while I’m at it. Lofty goals.

    The Ultimate ReTest.

    Since receiving my original results, I implemented almost all of the nutritional and lifestyle recommendations into my daily life. I also took sleep seriously. As in, it became my job. Many of my high biomarkers were influenced by stress and lack of sleep. Based on my first set of results, there were 2 main areas that needed serious work. I decided to focus on these two. Baby steps, Poodles. Baby steps.

    • Cortisol. When you hear “cortisol,” think stress. Your body releases this hormone in response to stress- both physical and emotional. My body was releasing it quite a bit. 
    • InnerAge. Oh, InnerAge. Why have you forsaken me?  I’m practically AARP card worthy. InnerAge is determined by 5 particular biomarkers integral to the aging process. Mine were awful. 

      Goals vs. Reality:  The Verdict.

      Cortisol. I achieved almost a 25% reduction in cortisol levels! I’m still no where near optimal, but my levels definitely improved. I’m just north of normal.  I have made sleep a priority. I have implemented a No Screen policy before bed. I have incorporated meditation and yoga into my life. I am exercising. I have let the small things go. Why sweat them in the first place?  I am managing my stress. And I do believe it’s working.

      Cortisol Over Time

      InnerAge. Well smack my ass and call me Sally O’Malley! I’m in my 50s! While I know I have a ways to go, I am gaining control. Progress! Remember, I am 43. I was 60.3. I’m at 53.1. I can’t wait to see where I am currently.  I’m coming for you Optimal! With a decrease in cortisol levels, a subsequent decrease in fasting glucose levels and an increase in Vitamin D levels, I’m not surprised I’ve gotten “younger.” Isn’t 50 the new 30? #wishfulthinking


      Running Performance. After I received these results, I began an intensive marathon training program, Hansons Marathon Method. It was grueling. I was concerned about recovering and adapting to the high mileage for the 18 weeks of training. See why I’m tardy?  I have never run more intensely in my life. I am also acutely aware that ramping up training without adequate nutrition is goal suicide. This was training on a whole other level for me. I really took InsideTracker’s nutrition recommendations to heart. I ate cleaner and smarter. I drank more water. I slept soundly. I have never felt stronger in my life. As a result?

      • I am down 10lbs
      • I successfully completed training injury free
      • I recovered from weekly mileage in the 50s-60s brilliantly
      • I ran the fastest marathon of my life
      • And I qualified for Boston!

      Knowledge is power. And minor improvements can yield great rewards. Marginal gains. That’s how I am looking at InsideTracker’s results. Small incremental improvements add up to significant improvement when you add them all together. I plan on continuing to add small improvements with InsideTracker as a guide. I am overdue for my next test. I can’t wait to see where I am heading.  Sadly, I did not win the lottery. Although I do feel like I’ve won the Health Lottery. And that’s priceless.

      The Marathon of a Lifetime.
      Interested in InsideTracker?  Feel free to use code:  BFRRUNCOLBYRUN to receive InsideTracker’s deepest discount of the year!  This will be valid until Tuesday December 1. Happy Black Friday, Poodles!
      Note: I purchased an Ultimate Test  at a discount and InsideTracker provided me with an InnerAge measurement at no additional cost. As always, all opinions and views expressed are my own. My. Own. But you knew that already. :-)



      Refreshed, Recharged and Reinvigorated. I’m back! 

      I’ve been padding around for the past month in a giddy haze, wondering if running the fastest marathon of my life had all been a dream. Did I really qualify for Boston?  Or had it been a wonderful, fantastical dream?  Nope. I DID IT, POODLES!  Relive the splendor HERE.

      And now I’m back! 


      Refreshed, recharged and reinvigorated.  I’m also loaded with delicious craft beer and have a belly full of lobster rolls. I warned you that would happen. I’ve been running. But not Crazy-Hansons-Method-style. Dare I say I miss my old training plan? I do. 

      ermahgerd hernserns mahtherd
      Good Old Hansons Method
      For as much as I bitched about it, it worked. I shaved roughly 26 minutes off of my recent average marathon time. WE’RE TALKING ALMOST A MINUTE PER MILE FOR 26.2 FREAKING MILES. I still can’t believe it. I also bettered my 6 year old PR by over 3 minutes. I’m 43. I ran that shit in my 30s, during the darkest period of my life. The finish for me, was actually my new beginning. To PR NOW? I have no words. None. Other than to say: Age ain’t nothin’ but a number. And numbers are dirty liars. Training with the Hansons Marathon Method made me a stronger, faster, more confident runner. Expect a review of what I liked.  Do rest days count? And what I disliked. I’m looking at you Tempo Run.

      I miss our weekly recaps. *Sigh*  Although, I must admit I am loving running “naked” which is less #freethenipple and more #ditchthegarmin. I’ve been running when I want, where I want, and for how long I want. It’s been glorious. And if I don’t feel like running? I don’t. It’s ok to NOT run. The Run Police won’t find you, take your “Official Runner” card and make you run Fartleks until you hurl.  Trust me. They won’t. It is ok to do yoga, spin, walk, hike, lift, plank and/or sit your ass on the couch and watch Bravo. Especially after a marathon. I’ve been doing it all. And then some. In the spirit of My Weekly Hansons Recap, here’s my One Month Post-Hansons Recap! Sit tight, Poodles. Colby is back!  

      Random floating poodle at Foxwoods Casino. I died.
      • Immune system FAILURE! Right after the marathon my body pretty much said: Aren’t you cute? NOW SIT YOUR ASS DOWN. And to make sure that happened, it gave me a respiratory infection, a hideous cold sore I fondly named, Doug, and double eye infections. AGAIN. I was a hot mess. I took a few days off from running, did lots of yoga then promptly hit the trails when Doug skipped town.  
        Running wild!
      • Drunk Otis ditched his cone! Then promptly danced on the coffee table. No one was happier about getting rid of that cone than Leon James and Evil Beagle, his brother and sister. Yes. I have 3 dogs. Yes, I also own stock in Dyson. He used that thing like a bulldozer and flipped Evil Beagle over at least three times. She was not amused. I swear she gave him the sock that nearly killed him. He’s back to his Drunk Otis self. Hanging out at cyclocross races, acting like a drunken frat boy and retrieving dismembered deer legs instead of his stick. He’s a mess. But we love him.  
        Flipped ear, don’t care.
        Table dancing, coneless.
      • Delicious IPAs! There are too many to note. But I will definitely keep running just so I can drink scrumptious craft beer. I also discovered a very cool pint “glass” at a cyclocross race of all places. It keeps beer (or non-alcoholic beverages, but, honestly, why even bother?) ice cold. For a long damn time. Hydro Flask. Check it out. Don’t tell them I sent you because they have no idea I exist. I just loved the product and want to share it with my Friends.   
        Drunk Otis couldnt handle the Hydro Flask.
        A lil’ punkin for the cook!
        A beautiful something is right. Delicious.
      • I had surgery.  Plastic surgery! Simmer down, Poodles. It was scar revision surgery to correct a nasty facial scar that I got while training for marathon number 7. Feel free to relive that horror HERE. No, I don’t suddenly have butt implants and a trout mouth.  I know, you’re totally disappointed. Everything is healing up nicely. I am thrilled with the results. Vain? You bet. But that goddamn scar had to go.  
        Scar? What scar? Just happiness up in here!
      • Date Nights o’ Plenty! Ain’t love grand? Funny how that happens when you’re no longer exhausted and running your face off.  My Other Half and I saw Kevin Bacon in Hitchock’s Rear Window. It was awesome! Not quite the movie- which we LOVE- but an interesting take on the story. (We also saw Criss Angel perform at Foxwoods Casino and now I want to be a street performer.  Or at least get sawed in half in a sequined red dress. #truestory) Gotta say though. He looks good that Kevin Bacon. And just think: You’re now officially one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon.  So there’s that. :-)  
        Starring Kevin Bacon.
         How long do you take off from running, post-marathon? Have you ever experienced immune system failure after a marathon? Or worse, had a “Doug” of your own? Have you ever met a celebrity? 

      Baystate Marathon. The Recap. Part II.

      Thank God Colby updated the world on our epic day at the Baystate Marathon in a timely manner. Had you waited for me, you might think we were still running it 2 1/2 weeks later.

      It was a GREAT DAY. This is actually somewhat of an understatement. We were together this past weekend and talked about how it was such a wonderful day – from (oh, so early) start to finish.

      First, the Baystate Marathon itself is terrific. I had never run a small marathon before. The race organizers and Expo volunteers could not have been nicer or more helpful. It definitely set the tone for the whole event. (PS – Baystate has continued to impress even after the event finished – we got an e-mail a few days after the race stating that because the race organizers were unhappy with the finish on our medals chipping, they are mailing every finisher a new medal sometime next month. Talk about customer service).

      We got up bright and early on Sunday morning and were out the door by 5:30 AM. Had our first massive laugh of the day when we pulled into a Dunkin Donuts in a sketchy neighborhood on our way to the race. Colby and I first raised an eyebrow when we saw that there were “No Loitering” signs at each table that limited even paying customers to 20 minutes. Then, when she asked to use the bathroom, she needed to be buzzed in. Needless to say, once she was released from the custody of the bathroom, we decided to take our orders to go.

      We parked – on the street – about 2 blocks from the start. I can’t even do that for local 5K’s. Or my local J Crew, for that matter. Awesome. Plenty of time to mill around and use one of the 8 zillion clean porta potties sprinkled around the area. Bag check took approximately 4 seconds, and there was a warm place to wait inside for the start.

      Oh, did I mention it was cold? It was cold. Perfect running weather. Not perfect hanging around waiting to run weather. We were grateful for the warm place to wait.

      We headed to the start around 20 minutes before start time but decided not to enter the almost empty corral because there would not be enough body heat there to keep us warm. I kid you not. Had Colby and I taken our places in the corral at that point, we probably could have toed the start line. Instead, we stood next to a building to break the wind and thought warm thoughts. I in particular had a really hard time staying warm, and Bestie that she is, Colby blew hot air into my back as I shivered waiting for the start. Friends don’t let friends freeze to death.

      After a beautifully sung national anthem and a chaos free start, we were off. You may recall that I was nervous about this race because I didn’t have time to train properly. Another understatement. Most of my weeks had mileage in the 30-35 mile range. I had only one week where I topped 40. And some lower than 30. Yikes. By the time I got to “taper,” I didn’t know what to do because if I cut my mileage as per the normal guidelines, I would be below zero.

      Well, next time I sign up for a marathon, I’m going to train by sitting on my couch and eating donuts, because I felt great in this race from start to finish.

      The larger lesson, of course, is that you just never know how you will feel on race day. You can train perfectly and come down with a bug or an ache. The weather may be horrible, or you might get stuck in a bottleneck at the start that rattles you. You might even have a severe allergic reaction to something the night before the race that throws you off your game (Naaah. That never happens.)

      I apparently trained “enough,” I guess, given that I had a solid base of training behind me from the two other marathons I ran in the past year, and the race conditions were perfect. Cold, only a little windy, and not too crowded. And the course, as advertised, is flat and fast.

      The course was well marked, well supplied with water stations and had some really pretty sections along the Merrimack River. Spectators were strong in a few areas and spotty in most others, but that didn’t bother me at all. Nor did the fact that part of the course was a loop that you run twice. It was a huge loop and only partially overlapped. I definitely did not feel like I was running in circles.

      There was not one part of this race where my stomach bothered me or I felt like I was going to hit a wall. I enjoyed myself every moment of this 26.2 mile run. What a gift.

      I happily trucked along for the whole damn race.
      I happily trucked along for the whole race. I look a little like I may have been speedwalking here – I swear, I wasn’t.
      Somewhere around mile 20, I realized that I would likely PR this race. And once I hit mile 24, I let myself really think about it. By the time I saw the finish line, I was already celebrating in my head. And PR, I did!!! 3:42:11, beating my prior PR by over 5 minutes.

      That look you get when you finish with a PR! You seriously would have thought we won the damn thing.
      That look you get when you finish with a PR! You seriously would have thought we won the damn thing.
      After being wrapped in mylar and medaled, I walked back to the finish because I knew Colby would be coming in any minute and I wanted to be there for The Moment. Because I knew in my bones that she would also PR. And BQ. And it would be A Moment.

      A Colby approached the finish, the announcer called out, “And coming toward the finish, with a well-deserved smile on her face…” and I knew it had to be her. As you already know, she BQ’d. I thought, “Announcer Dude – you don’t even know. You don’t even know.”

      It took me a few minutes to get to her because she was hugging her new Bestie – some random chick she met at the finish line (WTF?) – but when I finally peeled her away from her new buddy, we both started bawling. Loud enough that a race volunteer came over to check on us. And when she heard why we were crying, she started bawling too. We were messes, all of us. Colby, me, her new Bestie and our favorite race volunteer. A freaking spectacle.

      Not sure what else can be said – this was the first marathon we ever ran together, we each had the race of our lives, and we got to spend the rest of the day basking in the glow – together.

      Well earned.
      Well earned.
      It doesn’t get any better. It just doesn’t.

      Baystate Marathon. The Recap. 

      For Runners-By Runners!
      If “Run a PR” is high on your running bucket list, do your list a favor and run the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, Massachusetts. In fact, if “Run a BQ” is on there, then register for that bitch RIGHT NOW! I ran Baystate on Sunday and achieved BOTH of those magical running goals. Squeee!  I am still giddy. And probably will be for quite some time. Oh, you’ll still have to do the work. It’s not like you’ll line up and suddenly sprout silver wings on your feet. Although, I bet you might come pretty damn close to doing so. 

      This course is fast. And about as flat as they come. Baystate is small by marathon standards (<1500) but it has an enormous heart. It is billed as a marathon “For Runners- By Runners” and it truly is. The quaint expo, the friendly volunteers, stellar porta-potty placement and a wonderful post-race results area, with your results popping up as you walked by, all helped make this race incredibly runner friendly and simple to navigate. The marathon course is two loops- which I didn’t think I would be thrilled about.  However, I didn’t mind it one bit.  

       The trees and foliage were absolutely beautiful. It’s a New England Fall Marathon along a river. Doesn’t get prettier than that. Is it the most scenic course? No. But let’s be honest, I wasn’t there to Leaf Peep. I had 18 weeks of Hansons Marathon Method Training under my belt. To say I had my game face on would be an understatement. I had my game face, heart, head and legs on. 

      The Start. 

      The start of the Baystate Marathon will go down in my running history as the most un-stressful, low-key beginning to any race I have ever run. Which is strange considering I was putting all of my eggs in the BQ basket.

      Caffeine and Carbs.
       In light of the EPIC stress of days prior, I thought I would be a wreck. I wasn’t. I woke up. We drove. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for coffee and bagels. We parked then hung out in a nice and toasty Tsongas Center with our other new runner friends. We laughed. We shivered. We lined up, hugged and I momentarily got completely choked up. In that one second I realized: This. Was. It.  All that work. All that effort. I gave my training everything I had. I exhaled those 18 weeks. And inhaled desire. I wanted this. Badly. I was prepared. 

      This is My Day. 

      And just like that. I was off. 

      The First Half

      I started running and immediately noticed the 3:45 pace group right up ahead. Huh. This might work. I fell into step with a group of roughly 12 runners. I vowed to not obsess about my Garmin. My Awesome Pacer was handling that. I just relaxed and ran as if on autopilot. It was brilliant. My breathe was even, my legs were light. I had trained my legs to run just shy of this pace. They knew what to do. And they were doing it. Effortlessly. I was stunned. I was mindful of the pace, vowing that if I began to fade, I would keep this group in my sight. I had figured that I would stay with them to the half, assess, then take it from there. The first loop was complete. 

      This is My Day. 

      I started smiling. 

      The Second Half. 

      Around mile 14, a New Pacer took over. My Awesome Pacer peeled off, but not before yelling such encouraging words. You are all so strong. I am so proud of all of you!  It was just what I needed to hear. There I was, more than half way through, and I was still hanging with The Cool Kids. ME. I was. I couldn’t believe it. And I felt fantastic. I hadn’t felt fantastic EVER during this training. That was the point of it. Cumulative fatigue. Train your legs to run tired. They were chronically fatigued all throughout training. But not today. Today they were snappy. I decide around mile 17 that I would ease off of the gas a bit. I was concerned about falling apart. This feeling has got to be too good to be true. What if I blow up, lose my shit, and throw it all away because I got greedy? Peer pressure kills PRs.  I didn’t work this hard to toss it away! Screw The Cool Kids! Whoa, Colby. Ease up. I kept them in my sight and ran my own race. I fell into a comfortable rhythm for the next 6 miles. It was cold. And I missed the warmth of The Cool Kids. I carried on, steady, waiting for the other Hoka to drop. It didn’t. 

      This is My Day. 

      My jaw is set. 

      The Last Three Miles. 

      I run across the Rourke Bridge. I have lost sight of The Cool Kids. This does not upset me. I am running my own race. Dammit. I glance at my Garmin:  I have three miles left. Only 3. How is that possible? For the first time all day, my legs feel fatigued. I quickly envision worst case scenarios as a mild panic creeps in. If slow by one minute per mile, will I still squeak through? What f I fall? What if I cramp? What if I crash and burn?!?! WHAT IF?!?! 

      Stop. Just. Stop. 

      What if I just keep running and finish what I started?

      This is My Fucking Day. 

      I grit my teeth. 

      I run those last three miles as hard as I can. This is everything. Everything I have! I make several turns. I hear the finish. My heart overflows. I start smiling. And sobbing. And laughing all at once. I round the bend. I have never felt so strong, so ALIVE in my life. I cross the line. 3:51:23! Three minutes faster than a 6 year old PR. And 25 minutes faster than my average past 3 marathons. I can’t believe it. I sob and yell and fist pump like a Crazy Pants! Tina is there and we hug. Tears. I break down. So does the volunteer who hangs the medal on my neck. 

      Christ. You would have thought I won. 

      Because I did. :-)

      I did it!
      This is My Day.

      The Grand Finale.

      ermahgerd hernserns mahtherdIn the spirit of Finishing What I Started, I will wrap up this series, Hansons Marthon Method Training with Your Pal Colby, with one final weekly recap. It just wouldn’t be complete. I couldn’t skip Week 18, lovingly referred to as My Shit Micro-Taper Week which ended, of course with The Baystate Marathon. In case you nodded off, Week 18 also included a double eye infection, Drunk Otis’ million dollar emergency sock extraction surgery (and subsequent satellite dish of a cone) and the usual phantom taper aches and pains. Between Tina and I, we had plantar fasciitis, piriformis syndrome and a broken hip. Total Insanity. I blame Hansons.

      So without further ado, here’s how Week 18 went down.  Hold on to your butts, Poodles. IT’S COMING!werk it

      Monday: Easy 6 Miles. I had an early morning panic attack wondering if my legs would actually recover this week and feel fresh come Sunday. I had beaten them into submission for 18 Weeks and almost thought they would revolt and hitchhike right outta Dodge. Instead, they were compliant. And giddy.

      Tuesday: Easy 5 miles. For the first time in months, I did NOT run intervals at Half Past Ass O’clock. Instead I slept in and drank coffee in bed in the morning. Is that what normal people do? My legs sent me a cookie bouquet in gratitude.

      Wednesday:  RESTFUCKINGDAY!  I obsessed about what I was wearing on Sunday since the weather had turned from chilly to frost warning. However, my wardrobe issues quickly dissipated when Drunk Otis and his sock-blocked intestines wound up at the vet having emergency surgery. Because that’s the kind of crisis you need during your taper. Or any day. Dumb Brown Dog.

      Thursday: Tempo Run? What Tempo Run? NONE! And Thank You Sweet, Tired Baby Jesus. Because between my still sore eyes and The Sock Guy, 6 easy miles was about all could handle. In light of all this nonsense, I wondered if the taper would even work.

      Friday: 6 easy miles. Dare I say I started to feel rested?!?!? And felt like I had oodles of extra time! I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I went and got a brow wax. #priorities Then went to the eye doctor. Then picked up Drunk Otis and His Massive Cone. I also poured myself a drink and remembered Tina was picking me up in the morning. You know, to finally run the marathon I had been living, eating and breathing for 18 stinking weeks? Honestly, it didn’t even seem real. Primarily because I felt as if I couldn’t run to the mailbox if I tried. Even a micro-taper screws with your body-mind connection.

      Saturday: 3 miles. THREE MILES. I hadn’t run “just” 3 miles in an eternity. HOLY TOLEDO. IT’S FINALLY HERE. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Instead of being nervous, I got excited. Really. Freaking. Excited.

      Sunday: 26.2 miles. The Grand Finale. All that work. All that doubt. All those miles. And?

      I did it!
      I did it!
      I DID IT!


      I can’t even. I’m sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. I am totally overwhelmed. I did it!  I really did it. BQ and PR. I had the run of my life. OF MY LIFE! Expect a real recap once I compose myself. Today I was alternating between spontaneously fist pumping to bursting into tears every 25 minutes or so. GET IT TOGETHER, COLBY. After all, you’re runnin’ Boston. ;-)

      Total number of miles: 52

      Total number of times I said: I JUST FUCKING QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON!  1,648

      Number of hours spent smiling the biggest, toothiest, happiest smile of my life since yesterday: 24


      Two More Sleeps, Two Bad Eyes and One Stuck Sock

      I will be brief. 

      This week has sucked. 

      For the past 17.5 weeks I have been following the Hansons Marathon Method. If you’ve been a follower of this blog, you have been suffering along with me and enduring my weekly recaps. You’ve read Tina’s Pre-Cap. Her week has been off the rails too. Thank god we have each other. You also know that this week was FINALLY my taper. Let’s call it a micro taper, shall we? 7 Days does not a taper make. You also know that I wound up with a viral eye infection in both eyes and my contact lenses went promptly in the trash. That has been delightful. Truly. A freaking D-Lite. 

      What you don’t know is that work has been a total BEAST. And, as luck would have it, Drunk Otis decided to inhale a sock which promptly got lodged in his intestines, creating an emergent situation. No bueno. Thousands of dollars later, I have an 80lb giant chocolate lab wandering around with a goddamn enormous satellite dish of a cone on, and a plastic baggie containing a balled up rancid sock. It’s currently on my counter top. He just got home. He is an absolute sad sack. I am beyond relieved he is here with us. Thankfully, we brought him immediately to our vet when he started vomitting and became lethargic. Bad day for Drunk Otis.  

      Someone is not happpy to be at the vet.
      How do you prevent you dog from eating socks? 

      1. Take all the socks in your home and throw them straight in the garbage. 
      2. Do not replace. 

      Learn to embrace barefoot running. And if you get cold feet? Take a look at your bank statement. You’ll remember why you threw ’em out. Then grab your chocolate lab and make that silly fool lay on your frozen piggies.  

      It’s all fun and games until somebody winds up in a cone.
       Oh yeah. And I’m going to run a marathon in two days, blind, on zero sleep. I actually think it will be more relaxing than my week.  I sure hope that Hansons Magic prevails. 

      Baystate Marathon Pre-Cap

      T-3 to Baystate and Colby and I are each in a our own state of chaos. Not about the race – just really crazy stuff going on for both of us. We are planning on buying some white flags and waving them. Wildly.

      Thought I’d write one last post before this blog turns into “It’s a Bender AND a Nap (and a massage and a happy hour and a pedicure and whatever other forms of relaxation we find…”

      Because we are TUCKERED.

      Just gotta have enough gas in the tank to get through 26.2 and it’s officially rest time.

      I don’t have a theme for this post, just some more ramblings before I start making a packing list…

      I feel guilty because I have been so crabby about this race. I actually do care about races’ feelings, apparently. Such a loser.

      So today on my run, I thought about how lucky I am to be running Baystate. I am healthy enough to run a marathon. It’s something I take for granted far too much. At the same time that Colby and I are running Baystate, there is a Breast Cancer walk in my town and I know several survivors and current patients who will be walking to raise funds and awareness. I am pretty damn lucky to be running a marathon for the heck of it on Sunday and I cannot let myself forget this. So my training was lame. Waaah, waah. I have a weekend away with my Bestie and get to see her kick butt in a race and see my family and enjoy the endorphin high of a marathon AND watch the Patriots while in Patriot Nation. I have NO complaints. None.

      I like the vibe of the race already. As many of you know, Colby and I are matched with buddies through I Run 4 Michael.   I usually send the race director an e-mail ahead of time asking if I can have an extra medal or shirt for my buddy. I have always had a nice response to my requests, but I have never before received a reply from the actual director 20 minutes after my request telling me that it would be no problem and to come see him personally at the Expo. This is the smallest marathon I have run and I’m really liking the friendly and personal feel of it.

      My 3 week old pair of shoes – On Cloudracers – got a hole in them last week (?!) so Road Runner Sports, with its amazing customer service, replaced them – overnight – but this means that I will be running in shoes on Sunday that have only been worn for around 26 miles so far. Not exactly broken in, but what can I do. It’s par for the course for this one, I tell you. I’m like a broken down barnacle barge. FYI, if anyone is looking into these shoes, Road Runner Sports said that this has not happened to other customers, and probably was a freak thing and not a problem with the make or model.

      I’m sure everyone has been dying to know which new songs I ended up adding to my playlist after my request for suggestions. Sorry to leave you all in pained suspense. I added “Living Loving Maid” and “Land of 1000 Dances” because I have watched my 14 year old son play these in gigs recently (“killing” them, if I do say so). I added “Riptide” and “Want to Want Me” because my 12 year old daughter lays on her bed and listens to them just like I would have done if they came out in 1981. And I added “Sugar” by Maroon 5 because it’s my 10 year old’s current favorite karaoke song and I therefore have heard it so much it is already playing in my head all the time anyway. I figure that even if none of them puts a spring in my step, they will at least put a smile on my face since they remind me of my 3 stooges. I also plan to steal add some of the songs from Jessica @ Fit Talker’s spotify list – thank you, thank you, thank you!  What a great list!

      You all undoubtedly have also been on the edge of your seats waiting to hear how I will fuel for this bad boy.  Winner Winner Chicken Dinner goes to Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie Energy Gel. Tried before a run the other day when I already had a rough stomach and it felt great. Phew.

      It’s definitely time for taper to end because I have been cleaning like a fiend and throwing so many things out that I’m afraid I might toss one of my kids by accident.

      Weather forecast looks good for Sunday. Cold – low of 26, high of 48, and partly cloudy. We are thrilled. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t change!

      I think that is all I got. Well, I got plenty more, but I’ve got miles to go before I sleep (figuratively) and have to make my list!

      Does everyone get monkey mind like this in the days leading up to race day?  I feel like my brain is an LP playing at 78 rpm…

      …and if you are too young to get this reference, please do not tell me.

      Running Through a Ball Pit and Surviving Hansons Marathon Method!

      In the words of the almighty, incomparable Gloria Gaynor:

      Do you think I’d crumble?

      Did you think I’d lay down and die?

      No, not I…


      *not a direct quote

      high fiving a million angels

      17 weeks of Hansons Marathon Method. BOOM! Done. I’ve never been more excited to finish something in my life. IN MY LIFE, POODLES. I lived it. You lived it. We all lived it. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. I’ve bitched. You’ve groaned. I ate enough lobster rolls to make a fisherman puke. I have consumed enough delicious IPAs to send me to detox. And through it all you have stuck with me and my ridiculous training and endured these recaps. Millions of kisses! Your encouragement has meant the world to me. It has buoyed me when I felt like I was drowning in a kiddie pool of sweat and strength intervals. It has built confidence on my darkest, uberest-exhausted days. It has made me believe that I am capable.


      All kidding aside: You Rock.

      Here’s how the last official week of training went! Week 17, I’d never thought I’d see ya, Baby!

      Monday: Easy 8 miles. No muss. No fuss. And by the way, IT’S FALL! For reals! Colored leaves, cool temps and utter HAPPINESS!

      Tuesday: Strength Intervals. 6 X 1 mile with 400 recovery. Warm up/recovery. Yadda. Yadda. 13 miles. Ready for this? They felt easy. SHUT UP! #truestory

      Wednesday: RESTFUCKINGDAY. {Cue Hallelujah Chorus} I relaxed. Put my paws up. And even went to yoga. I know, right?!?!? Gentle yoga. I needed a lil’ deep breathing. I needed to feel grounded. Rooted. Centered. I’ve been so obsessed with the body, that I’ve neglected the mind. I needed some quiet, focus and clarity; three things I had been overlooking as of late. So off to yoga I went. I don’t know why I don’t go more often. I emerged centered. And maybe even a half-inch taller.paws and reflect

      Thursday: The Dreaded Tempo Run. The very last one. This workout has been the litmus test for my progress. I hate you, Tempo Run. But I love you. It’s a complicated, terrifying relationship, Tempo Run and I. It stresses me out every damn week. This week was obviously no exception. I cracked my knuckles. Took a deep breath. And ran. 13 miles total. The pace? Spot on. Spot on with far less effort than it has been the entire time. Holy Toledo. I was ELATED. And in true Colby fashion, wound up singning U2s, “It’s a Beautful Day” ON THE TOP OF MY LUNGS during the last quarter mile, then burst into tears in my crowded, filthy (you’ll see why) gym. Did I mention I had to run this on a treadmill because I didn’t get out of work until after 6pm??? Yeah. There’s that additional layer of hell and emotional angst.

      Friday: Wake up to discover that my eyes, which had been blood shot for two days, are now swollen, blood shot and light sensitive. What the f*ck. Did I sleep in a McDonald’s Ball Pit? Am I a Mogwai? Did Drunk Otis give me rabies? Or meningitis? The petri dish I call a gym! I throw on my glasses and manage to squeak in 5 miles outside. Air will do me good. It was supposed to be 7, but my eyes were killing me. I immediately call my doctor. I get an appointment, get antibiotic drops and also get a “If there is no response over the weekend, you are heading to a specialist on Monday.” ren and stimpy

      Spoiler Alert: Fast Forward. Guess where I was yesterday? Yup. Eye specialist. Summary: I have some jacked up virus in my eyes and am on steroid drops. So yes, I will be doping for Baystate. Tina may also be running as my guide if I can’t wear my contact lenses. But guess what? I’m wearing the goddamn lenses. Period. The. End. Cross your paws that this treatment works. Or you’ll be reading a seriously expletive laced review of the Baystate Marathon.

      Saturday: Drunk Otis, My Sad Eyes, and I could only handle 5 miles. My Guide Dog was on point! Thanks, Oats! Besides, we had cheering to do at My Other Half’s Cyclocross Race.

      Drunk Otis, Guide.
      Drunk Otis, Guide.

      Sunday: 8 miles. Legs felt great. Eyes felt like they were being massaged with fine sand paper. Let’s hope this week brings clearer eyes. Poor things. Now on to my Micro-Taper. Squeee! :-)

      Total number of miles: 52

      Number of different types of eye drops I used to prevent myself from looking like a stoned blood hound: 4

      Number of times I tripped over Drunk Otis whilst running because I couldn’t see: 5

      Have you ever gotten a version of pink eye as an adult? Ever jump in a ball pit? Do you run with your pup?

      Taper Thoughts

      Well, it is officially Taper Time in Marathon and Sprint Land, and here are a few thoughts that have been buzzing around my head:

      1. This is the weirdest freaking taper for both of us. For Colby, there is no taper. She doesn’t have time to get the taper crazies because she is too busy running “Hanson style.” All day, every day. On a treadmill, for Pete’s sake. For me, it doesn’t feel any different from earlier weeks. Other than a handful of long runs, the past 16 weeks weren’t sufficiently different from a taper for me to feel like I earned this. I think we both feel a bit robbed. (and I’m feeling a bit scared.)

      2. Overnight, the forecast for Baystate (yes, I’m checking) went from cool temps and rain to a high of 59 and sunny. Thank God the rain went bye-bye. It better stay that way. After my hypothermic experiences at the 2014 PMC and 2015 Boston Marathon, I have started to feel like a bit of a jinx. Let me repeat, Mother Nature: Cold = Good! Rain = Bad! Sun= Meh! Clouds please! But more importantly, can we please keep the weather for this race to something that won’t leave me with blue lips? Philly weather was perfect (40’s and cloudy), but I’d like to skip the serious allergic reaction part, as well. So I’m ordering up cloudy, 40’s, hold the nuts. Am I asking too much? Let me know.

      3. I may not be prepared for the race itself, but I’ve got plenty of plans for afterward. We are going to have a full-on Masshole celebration! Wahlburgers! Laughing in a Boston accent! Lil & Mike! Watching the Patriots Game! I’ll bring some Patriots gear for you to wear, too, Colby. Yes, we need to suit up even if only watching on TV.

      4. Anyone have any tune suggestions? This is a double loop in a not-so-scenic area with varying crowd support. I’m thinking a few new songs might not be a bad idea.

      5. Has anyone run a good marathon on crappy training? Please feel free to share your success story. Oh, and by “good” I don’t mean “win.” More like finish with dignity intact and not in a medical tent.

      6. Even a lame taper motivates me to clean. What is it about the taper that brings out my inner OCD? And good god, my house is a mess. I am overwhelmed.

      7. I still need to figure out what kind of fuel I think I can stomach (literally) during the race. Ugh. I need to get on it. Honey Stinger chews are the front runner but they are so bulky to carry. Any suggestions?

      8. This will be my third marathon in an 11-month period and I am just plain tuckered. I know there are plenty of people who run multiple marathons every year but I don’t think I was intended to be one of them. I think I could actually run 3 marathons each year, no problem, as long as I didn’t have to train. It’s the lead up that kills me. Either I train hard and am exhausted, or train poorly and am mentally exhausted from beating myself up about not training well. Either way, it’s exhausting.

      9. I know I’m officially sick of training for races, because it has been a sheer joy to go out for a run this past week and not worry about how fast or long it was when I am finished.

      10. Colby is going to kick ass at this race and I am so glad I will be there to see it!!

      Who else is tapering? What’s buzzing around in your mind? And GOOD LUCK to everyone racing Chicago and anywhere else this weekend!  

      Running and Marathoning in Ten Days!

      excitedHomestretch, Poodles. HOME. STRETCH. And to think. I thought it would never end. I might release doves, and twirl on a balcony in a cute flowy dress out of pure glee. Or minimally, crack open a nice cold IPA and do the Running Man in my ratty old sweats in my kitchen. Either way, I am thrilled. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s glorious.


      As you all gathered by my last post, Girlfriend here was starting to come UNDONE.  

      And not in that cute messy bun kind of scatterbrained way. In a very real, I am an emotional mess and I am so tired I’ll be over in the corner, rocking, kind of way. Totally beaten down. Like into submission. But that’s all behind me now. I can see the horizon and my marathon is sitting right smack dab in the middle of it. The worst of it is over. I am as trained as I ever will be. I feel ready. And that’s the truth. I trust the training. You hear that Hansons!?!?! I trust your insane program. There. I said it. I drank the SkratchLabs. I’m all in. I put it all on black. I am letting it ride. The chips are about to fall. All I need is the payout…

      And in 10 days, Bitch better have my money. That’s all I’m sayin’. #thuglife

      Here’s how it went down last week. To Week 16!!

      Monday: 6 miles. Easy. Ain’t no thing, but a chicken wing. Other than the fact that I did not want to run, it was fine. {Cue exhaustion.}

      Tuesday: 11 miles total. Strength intervals. 4 x 1.5 mile, 800 recovery, warm up/cool down. Rocked the pace. Was BEYOND STARVING at the finish. Did I mention it was on the damn treadmill? Yeah. And I worked late. By the time I got home, I was eyeing Drunk Otis’ kibble.

      Wednesday: RESTFUCKINGDAY! And? A deep tissue massage. Ahhhh. I’ve got The Best Massage therapist on earth. She’s amazing. I’ve been going to her for almost a decade. I needed to be wrung out. Then? Bring on the laziness! Bring on shit TV! Bring on a raw cookie dough treat! I love you, Rest Day. 

      Lazy Drunk Otis, Velociraptor.
      Thursday: 13 miles total. Tempo run. 10 miles at prescribed pace (BOOM!) plus warm up/cool down. Only today? This wasn’t along my favorite beach. And I wasn’t rewarded with a gorgeous sunset. No Sir. It was ON THE DAMN TREADMILL. I can’t. You’ve gotta do, what you’ve gotta do. And when you’re tied up at work, and it’s pitch black outside as you’re dashing to your car in a monsoon after a very long day, you make nice with the treadmill. You apologize for calling her a horrible rude string of expletives, and you run.

      Friday: 6 miles. Easy. Legs were sufficiently fried. Fried frog’s legs dunked in remoulade. That’s what they felt like. Gross.

      Saturday: 8 miles. Cold, wet and yucky. Is it over yet? Oh. And I skimped. It was supposed to be 10. That’s all the time I had. And if you thought I was going to even LOOK at a treadmill, you’re nuts. Besides, I had a cyclocross race to attend. And it was pawesome!

      Sunday: 10 miles. Crisp and fall-like. Legs actually felt better. Then off to Day 2 at my Other Half’s Cyclocross Race. So much fun. I love being an athletic supporter. ;-)


      Total number of miles: 54.

      Total number of times work interfered with my running: 1,000.

      Number of times I shook a cowbell and screamed my head off at an awesome cyclocross festival: 104.

      Does work chronically get in the way of your running? Are you able to run during your lunch hour? What did you want to be when you grew up? And did it pan out?