Running, Half-Marathoning and Galloping with Drunk Otis

Inside Out Disney PixarAnother week of Hansons Marathon Method Training in the books! BOOM! POW! HOORAY!  I ran a lot. A real, whole heck of a lot of miles. What I really “ran” was the gamut of emotions that comes with getting way the hell out of your comfort zone. Doubt. Anxiety. Angst. Discomfort. Fear. The whole kit and emotional caboodle. I am pleased to report that although last week’s training left me stressed, I neither cried nor threw in the goddamn towel. Instead I used to it wipe the sweat from my GIANT SATISFIED SMILING FACE

I am noticing that with each passing week, my confidence creeps up ever so slightly. This whole Colby’s Marathon Training Weekly Recap thing is good. It’s keeping me honest and holding me accountable. Bear with me, Poodles! Here’s how the EPIC week went:

Monday: 6 miles. Easy pace. Except it was 91 degrees. Not so easy, now. Is it? Ick. 

Tuesday: 7 miles. Intervals. Sweaty, god-forsaken intervals on the treadmill. 8 x 600m (7:57 pace), with warm up and cool down. I almost threw up. Instead I forgot where I was and belted out Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ at the TOP OF MY LUNGS during my last one. As you can see by the text exchange between my Beloved and I, I was foul-mouthed and salty from the start. See actual text below. This love note was sent with one interval to go. 

LOML
Now that’s love. That text was followed by this exchange in the ladies Locker Room.  #truestory.  For the record, I did not direct my Salty Pirate Speak at Little Miss No Antiperspirant.  I laughed. Right in her absurdly dry face.

Wednesday: {Cue trumpets.} REST DAY. Ahhhhhh. And what did I do? Absolute zero. Well, zero running. I weeded, mulched, edged beds, gardened, walked Our Zoo, then planted my ass on the couch and binge watched Botched on Bravo. Don’t judge. It was my rest day. I can zone out on over-filler-inflated lips and deflated breast implants if I want to.

Thursday: Tempo Run, 8 miles total. The Dreaded Tempo Run executed at Zero Dark Bullshit. My first early morning tempo run before work. This is what caused me the anxiety. And? I did it. I can’t believe it. I lived to tell. Relive the glory HERE. I still need to work out eating super early in the morning, before running, so I can avoid feeling like a busted can of biscuits after EATING ALL THINGS upon finishing. Because I am starving.  Baby steps, Colby. Baby steps. 

Even Drunk Otis was smiling.
Even Drunk Otis was smiling.
Friday: 6 miles. Easy. Legs were tired. But basically a non event. Wasn’t that nice?

Saturday: 6 miles WITH DRUNK OTIS! Drunk Otis and I hit the road this time, instead of his beloved trails. I am pleased to report that he is GREAT running on leash. It was unseasonably cool out, which is why I even brought the Brown One to begin with. So many businesses around town leave dog bowls outside, it’s awesome. There’s water at every corner. It would be awesome-er if Drunk Otis actually drank from a public dog bowl. He’s a germ-o-phobe. Perhaps even a snob. He’ll splash in it. Dump it over himself. Or even take a sip from a putrid puddle teaming with giardia. But drink from a fancy ceramic bowl with paw prints hand painted on it? NOPE. Not gonna do it. He will instead pick up a dead squirrel along the route, and carry it in his mouth for a few strides. You know, just cuz. He’s a mess. But I love him.

Courtesy of Suze @ Suzlyfe
Drunk Otis. Courtesy of Suze @ Suzlyfe
Sunday: 13.1 miles. It was supposed to be 10 miles, at an “easy” pace. Instead it was 13.1 hilly miles as fast as my tired legs would allow. It was the (Formerly) Dreaded Fairfield Half Marathon. I say Formerly because for the first time in 7 years it was not a half marathon run on the surface of the sun. It was actually cool out. The torrential rain cleared, and cool temps and humidity rolled in. I’d take that weather any day. I did not miss the sun. As a result, I had a kick ass race. My fastest in 7 years of running it. And I’m 7 years older. And ran it on dead tired legs. I actually teared up as I finished. Got a little mushy even. All week long this training program intimidated me- especially knowing I had this race on Sunday. My legs hated me yesterday. But they didn’t quit. To have run well made ME well up. A qualifying time for Boston seems a million miles away. Or maybe just a couple of hundred thousand this week. :-)Fairfield Half

Do you run a particular race every year and regret it every time? Do you pre-register for races, giving ZERO care to the weather? Do you ever run with your pup?

Run Where I Live: Connecticut!

hello kitty tour bus

Photo: http://connecticutexplorer.blogspot.com
Split Rock. Photo: http://connecticutexplorer.blogspot.com

We’re busting out the Hello Kitty Tour Bus and hopping on board the Run Where I Live Blogging World Tour hosted by the lovely Danielle at Live, Run, Grow!  Grazie mille, Daniella! Though Tina and I both live in Connecticut, we live on opposite ends of the Connecticut Shoreline.  And though Tina and I both are runners, she does NOT enjoy running trails. She’s a city gal. She prefers pavement to dirt. And she’ll tellyou herself- bugs, snakes, and prickers ain’t her bag. Like at all. That being said, I’m going to cover one of my favorite running spots in Connecticut- Westwoods Trails.

I am lucky to live within running distance to the Westwoods trail system which is chock full of trails- 39 trails on 1,200 acres! All for the running! Or hiking. Or even mountain biking. It’s the largest recreational area for hiking in Guilford, Connecticut. And it’s gorgeous. I have blogged a few times about running in Westwoods up in here.  So when asked to join the Run Where I Live World Tour, it was a no brainer. Westwoods would be my place of choice.  It’s a total gem.

IMG_0637
Bimbler’s Bash Trail Race in Westwoods. That’s me!

The ownership of the land is a combination of Connecticut State Forest, Guilford Land Conservation Trust (GLCT),  the Town of Guilford, and private ownership. All trails are maintained by the Westwoods Trails Committee of GLCT. And maintained they are. The first trails in Westwoods were blazed in 1966 and have grown ever since.  What I love about Westwoods is that it is absolutely beautiful-  caves, water falls, carved rock sculptures and rock formations pepper many of the trails. There are also salt and fresh water marshes and even a lake.  It’s so pretty.

Don’t let all that beauty fool you or lull you into a false sense of security. The trails ain’t easy. Many are quite technical, but really well marked and maintained. They are perfect for running. And racing. Back in April, I ran a trail race here, The Bimbler’s Bash. Relive the glory, HERE. If you recall, it was the day after my birthday. {Read: I ran it hungover.} When I run here, I do not feel like I’m in Guilford, CT. In fact, forget Guilford, I don’t feel like I’m even in Connecticut. Even though I can pick up a trail head a stone’s throw from the center of town, I feel like I’m running in some beautiful far away place. If you do find yourself with your trail shoes on the Connecticut Shoreline this summer, check out Westwoods. It does not disappoint. See what I mean? :-)

Lost Lake. I found it! Westwoods, Guilford, CT.
Lost Lake. I found it! Westwoods, Guilford, CT.

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From Westwoods in Guilford, Connecticut and on to New York City! Head over to Kellie at Will Run For Ears and see where to run in The Big Apple! 

Want to join the Run Where I Live world tour, or visit the cities we’re “running in”? Check out Danielle’s complete link-up list HERE

Running is Evil. And I’m Starving. 

running is evil

Today was a MAJOR day for me. I learned three things:

  1. I despise getting out of bed at Half-Past-Ass-O’Clock in the morning to do a tempo run before a long day at work. Gah. Double Gah. 
  2. I need to wake up even EARLIER than Half-Past-Ass to actually EAT something before undergoing such a heroic effort. Maybe I should just eat right before I go to “bed.” I might as well have been running in the middle of the goddamn night anyways. 
  3. The bunny population in my neighborhood has experienced exponential growth. It was a long winter. Even for bunnies.  
    Throw some Hokas on her and call her Colby.
     

Yup. 3 Truths. I learned ’em this “morning” whilst sticking to my Hanson’s Marathon Training Plan. To be honest, one I knew. One was sort of a surprise. And the third was MIND BLOWING. 

Transitioning from Night Owl to Early Bird is going to take some getting used to. This is how the next 16 Thursday’s will be for me. So SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP.  Have goal, will wake up early. It’s not waking up at an ungodly hour, it’s waking up and RUNNING HARD. I felt like a baby giraffe. Limbs akimbo. Thankfully {insert sarcasm here}, my Hansons Method Training plan calls for a 1 to 3 mile warm up and cool down. On top of a 6 mile hard effort. At Zero Dark Bullshit. Before a long day at my lab bench. Brutal. BUT. In the spirit of Lemons Make Lemonade With A Shit Load of Sugar, once I was three or so miles in, I LOVED IT. Really loved it. I felt ALIVE! When everyone else was WASTING THE DAY.  I’m being dramatic. It was 5:55am. 
 

Here’s the surprise.  I was flat out starving towards the end of this insanity. Rungry, rungry runner. I could barely string a few strides together, let alone chew something beforehand. That needs to change. I can get away with waking up, running an easy 5 with just a bottle of Skratch Labs, but over 8 with a big effort for 6? Yeah. Not happening for me. Not with all of this “cumulative fatigue” business. Cumulative HUNGER is more like it. Oh, I ran it all. (With negative splits I might add. WHO AM I?!?!) But my recovery miles were a blur. A Hypoglycemic Zombie Blur.  

 

And the mind blowing part?!?! HOLY BUNNIES. I saw at least a dozen bunnies. A DOZEN. A few of those floozies looked like they were doing the hop of shame. Tramps. They were everywhere. Or so it seemed. Maybe it was just one really fast Bunny who was up far to early banging out her tempo run. :-)

What kind of runner are you: Early Bird or Night Owl? What’s your early morning pre-run ritual? Whatcha eatin’? 

Running, Riding, Racing. And a Cookie.

anchormanhoorayAnother week in the books! Before I launch into Colby’s Week In Review, I’d like to take a quick second to say Happy Father’s Day to all of the Daddio’s out there! Dads are special folks. Especially My Other Half. Who is a kind man, a hard worker and a wonderful, loving father.  Muaaahhhh! Love fest complete.

On to Colby’s 3rd Week of Marathon Training! Note: I’m trying to be all peppy and shit about this, so as to keep my proverbial ‘marathon-ball’ rolling. These posts are purely self-serving. They are keeping my ass on track. They are holding me accountable. And they are keeping my honest. Please humor me and read them. Cheer or heckle, if you’d like. I’ve just gotta put them out there.  I’ve got a goal, dammit. And if I don’t achieve it, at least I can’t say I DIDN’T FREAKING TRY. It’s that damn Hanson Method. It’s got me all really running. Who am I?

Monday: 5.5 miles at the prescribed pace in the pouring rain. It was supposed to be 6 miles. But it started thundering and I screamed and ran straight home. I hate running in thunder and lightning. Snow? Sleet? Hail? Pouring rain? All fine. But Thunder and it’s nasty sister, Lightning? Game. Over.

Tuesday: 7 miles. INTERVALS. They’re not getting easier, but I am- dare I say- starting to enjoy them?? 12 x 400, 400 recovery. For what seemed like an eternity. But I did them. YES. And I have the sweaty mean mug to prove it. 

Game face.

Wednesday: Rest. Sweet Baby Jesus. Rest. And rest I did. I firmly planted my tired ass on the couch and binged on documentaries on Netflix. One of which was The Queen of Versailles. Totally engaging. I started watching it thinking it was merely going to be an extension of the Real Housewives Franchise,  but it quickly took a turn going from ‘Reality Series’ to ‘Shit Just Got Real.’ I couldn’t look away. Watch it if you haven’t. Sadly, one of the daughters in the documentary was recently found deceased which is what prompted me to watch it in the first place. The whole story is totally tragic yet, totally worth your time. 

Thursday: 6 pleasant miles. At the prescribed pace. I could have run all night. It was actually cool out. The storms broke that awful humidity, and my legs were feeling moderately “fresh.” Go figure.

Friday: 6 trail miles with My Other Half AND DRUNK OTIS!  This was our first foray together into the woods, as a little trail running family. And? Drunk Otis ain’t so drunk on the trails. He’s Sober Otis, Cover Dog for Field and Stream magazine. I couldn’t believe it. He’s a natural. He’s also quite big on the No Man Left Behind concept. He waited patiently for his sweaty human, showing her which way to go with the biggest, slobberiest smile. Such a good dog. He was made for this.  And when we busted around the corner, startling a deer? He stood like a statue and POINTED. He didn’t chase. He didn’t go off of the trail. He didn’t leave our sides. He freaking POINTED. We couldn’t believe it. Of course he swam in every puddle, stream and thimble full of water he could find, but that was AOK with us. So proud of our New Boy. Great kick off to the weekend. 

Drunk Otis, Cover Dog.

Saturday: I was supposed to run 6, but instead rode 47 miles with my girl, Carly! Such a great day. One that ended at a delicious new cookie shop in town, Red Rooster Gourmet Cookies. Fresh and Delicious.   

Cookie Monsters.
 I may or may not have yelled: COME ON! GET OUT OF THE SADDLE, CARLY. WE’RE GETTING COOOOOOOKIES!!!!!!! During our last climb. On the top of my lungs. Like a Crazy Person. Christ, we could almost smell the cookies from there. Talk about incentive. Those cookies tasted like heaven. If heaven was made out of buttery goodness. After the cookie stop, we headed back, picked up The Boys, who had been out shreddin’ the gnar, and refueled properly. That is, with beer and lobstah rolls. Such a perfect day with friends. 

Stony Creek Brewery. Cheers!
Sunday: I was supposed to run 8 miles, but instead raced 5. In the rain. On very tired legs. I woke up. Listened to the thunder, then promptly fell back asleep. I’m so not racing in this weather. (See Monday.)  Woke up again. Texted Tina. She agreed. Bullshit. Listened to rain drops. Drank coffee. Reassessed my legs. Meh. They’re moving. Gun goes off in 35 minutes. COME ON! YOU’RE DROPPING ME OFF.   

Super Janji!
I throw on brand new Janji singlet, grab a banana and a bottle of Skratch Labs and jump in Other Half’s car. Make it to the start area with 4 minutes to spare. Hear announcer. Run wildly. Score an open porta-potty. 3 minutes. Dash to the start. Wind up next to my friend whom I was supposed to meet an hour ago. What are the odds? We hug. I’m off. It sounds frenzied, but honestly, it was the calmest start EVER. I should always be running late. I didn’t even THINK about running. Or having to pee. Or not drinking enough. I JUST RAN. And considering that I felt like a broken down barnacle barge? I had a decent race. YAHOO! 

Miles Run: Just shy of 30.

Miles Ridden: 47.

Cookies Consumed: 1.5

Have you ever dashed to a starting line, and made it in the nick of time?Do you draw the line at thunder and lightning? If you were granted one day of Netfix Binge, what would you watch? 

Because I’m Happy! The Friday Five!

happyWhat makes me happy? My Other Half. Negative splits. That Perfect Run. An ice cold beer at the end of a long bike ride. And so much more. There are so very many things that make me happy, it’s hard to pin it down to just FIVE.  But alas, it’s the Friday Five. Not the Friday Five Thousand.  So for the sake of our fabulous hosts, Courtney @ Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar On the Run, and Cynthia @ You Signed Up for What?!? I’ll keep it on track.

  1. The 3 Amigos. Leon James. Evil Beagle. And Drunk Otis. I couldn’t possibly write a ‘What makes me Happy’ List and leave these silly fool off. No matter what the theme. Look up “Happy” in the dictionary and I bet you’ll find their slobbery mugs. They are so special. They bring My Other Half and I such joy.
    Leon James.
    Leon James.

    Evil Beagle.
    Evil Beagle.

    Drunk Otis.
    Drunk Otis.
  2. My Bike.  Henrietta Pussycat. Why? Because that’s who she is. And because all bikes should have names. I love my whip. She fits me to a T.  And fights cancer. Pretty badass for a bike right?
    Henrietta Pussycat.
    Henrietta Pussycat.
  3. The Pan Mass Challenge.  This will be my 11th year riding in the PMC– and Tina’s 3rd! There is nothing that makes me happier than riding with several thousand of my closest friends in our untied fight against cancer. I can’t put it into words. Other than to say that the riding in the PMC, a 2 day, ~200 mile cycling odyssey across the state of Massachusetts, in the name of fighting cancer, has become part of the fabric of my life. It will always be. Nothing makes me happier than doing something I am so passionate about. Nothin’.
    The Finish!
    The Finish!

    Why I ride...
    Why I ride…
  4. Beer. Especially the first beer after riding in the PMC. That’s the one beer I look forward to most. It’s after riding 110 miles. And it is shared with friends. There is nothing I look forward to more, than toasting with my friends, on that Saturday afternoon in Bourne, Massachusetts. To the PMC. To Life. To Health. To Friendship. To Those For Whom We Ride. Cheers.
    Cheers!
    Cheers!
  5. Wellfleet. Each year after finishing the PMC, My Other Half and I spend some time in Wellfleet. Reflecting on the weekend. Unwinding. Decompressing. Relaxing. Drinking. Eating. And simply enjoying one another. It is by far, our favorite time of the year. We have fallen in love with Wellfeet. It’s so special to us. It’s such a beautiful little, artsy town on the Cape. No summer is complete without a stay.
    Wellfleet.
    Wellfleet.

    Sunset in Wellfleet.
    Sunset in Wellfleet.

    Happiness in Wellfleet.
    Happiness in Wellfleet.

 What makes you happy? Do you have dogs as RIDICULOUS as ours?

The Joy of Almonds. Five Fun Facts!

Almonds

Well stuff my cheek pouches and call me Nutty! I am on a super almond kick lately. Like. Super. Now that I’m Little Miss Hansons Method and am ramping up marathon training, I find that they are the perfect snack to stash away in my purse, gym bag, car, desk, mailbox- wherever- for whenever a Serious Snack Attack strikes. Which for me lately, is practically every hour. I don’t have to tell you about Tina and nuts. Ever since that time she turned into Sherman Klump before running the Philadelphia Marathon, I’ve sort of forbid her to eat any nuts near me. Which means ALL THE NUTS for Colby. Now that’s a friend. :-)  The happy folks over at nuts.com inspired us to write a piece on almonds. I couldn’t wait to chomp right down on it..

I guess they figured we were health nuts.
*pause*
{She’ll be here all night! Tip your server!}

I slay me.

Here are 5 Fun Facts About My Favorite Powerful Little Nut, The Almond!

  1. Peaches and almonds are cousins.  Shocker, right?!?!? Who knew! The nut that we eat (in my case, by the fist full) is the hard-shelled fruit of the almond tree. Think of it like a stone fruit. Cherry, plum, peach….ALMOND. Mind. Blown.
    Behold! Young almonds. Photo: Wikipedia
    Behold! Young almonds. Photo: Wikipedia

     Mature Almond. Photo: Wikipedia
    Behold! Mature Almond. Photo: Wikipedia
  2. Almonds are some of the lowest-calorie nuts around. YAHOO!  Almonds pack 160 calories, 9 grams of mono-unsaturated, heart-healthy fats, 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber per 1 ounce serving. And, they’re LOADED with the antioxidant vitamin E.  That’s E for EXCELLENT. Go Almonds! They’re about neck and neck with pistachios and cashews in the calorie department. Eat ’em in moderation folks. They’re easy to binge on. RHOBH Brandy
  3. Almonds were used as a Fertility Charm.  In ancient Rome, newlyweds were showered with ‘em. LIGHTBULB. So THAT’S why at every single Italian baby shower or bridal shower I’ve ever gone to, there are little tulle pouches of almonds- Jordan Almonds specifically!!
    5 Jazzy Almonds. Photo: Pinterest.
    5 Jazzy Almonds. Photo: Pinterest.

    Total ah-ha! moment here! Traditionally, five Jordan Almonds are wrapped in tulle and tied with a ribbon.  And usually, at least in my Italian circles, there are usually 5 in a bag.  According to my very shallow internet reseach, the 5 almonds represent happiness, health, wealth, fertility and long life. They’re given in an odd number to represent the indivisibility of the marriage bond. Why fertility? Because those little guys are egg shaped. Awww. I once chipped my tooth biting into a Jordan Almond at a bridal shower. But. I still love them.

  4. Almonds are considered BRAINFOOD. Smarty pants! I’m guessing they’re considered healthy brain food because they are rich in healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids), vitamin B6 and in the anti-oxidant, vitamin E. The 3 of which are thought to improve brain health.  Raw almonds are loaded with omega-3s. Eat up. And before you know it, you’ll be doing the New York Times crossword with a pen. (One of us does already. Hint: It’s Tina, not me.)

    Photo: Nuts.com
    Photo: Nuts.com
  5. Almonds are delicious. Duh. Especially in granola. And super especially if you make your own. Which is a snap. Just ask the Barefoot Contessa. I really dig this recipe- Cherry, Almond, Coconut, Oats, Honey…..DELISH. Use tart cherries and you’ll be rocking the whole Super Food Thing. Don’t like apricots?  Ditch ‘em. It’s your Almond Granola. You do you. That’s the beauty of homemade. Yum.
Photo: Food Network
Photo: Food Network

Homemade Granola. Courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup good honey
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots
  • 1 cup small diced dried figs
  • 1 cup dried (tart) cherries
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

 Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.
  •  Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.
  •  (Inspired by Sarah Chase’s Open House Cookbook.)

What’s your favorite nut? How often do you snack while marathon training? Do you do the crossword puzzle with a pen?

Running, Racing and Sweating My Face Off

Big Ang Summer

It’s summer. And I know. This past winter was OFF THE CHAIN cold. I remember being in the throes of it, wishing for a sip of sunshine. That’s just it. I wanted the sunshine in sips. Small doses. I didn’t want to shotgun the sunshine. Or funnel it circa 1994 Spring Weekend Party at Brick House. I wanted to sip it. Casually. In moderation. You know, ease into summer. Like all runners should. Wouldn’t that have been nice?

What happened instead was a sufferfest that lasted all damn week, turned my runs into slop, and made me nauseous. Damn. Just when I felt I was really rolling. A Running Meltdown.  I know. I’ll suck it up. I’ve got no choice. But man, that initial heat wave was BRUTAL.  It just sucks every damn ounce of life out of me. I am horrible at running in temperatures over 80 degrees. At least initially. I totally suck at it. Camel, I am not. I am hoping and praying that with a little acclimation, I turn into Helios, and laugh right in the sun’s bright, hot, fat face. Until then, I’m running alongside the Stuggle Bus. Here’s how the week went:

Monday: 5+ mile run at lunch.The elusive run at lunch, or “runch” as all the cool kids say.  Not incredibly hot, just incredibly wet. I got caught in a down pour. And in a stupid stealth move, this happened:

Yup. I found a discarded plastic “baggie” in a super seedy section of town by my work, turned that bitch inside out, ignored suspicious residue and saved my phone. And I’d totally do it again.

Tuesday: 7 miles +. Intervals. Treadmill.  12 X 400m, 400m recovery. Plus warm up. Plus cool down. Plus exhaustion. But, I did them. Then almost blew it by eating gelato for breakfast.

Gelato. Oh how I love thee...
Gelato. Oh how I love thee…
Wednesday: REST. I took my rest day seriously. Drunk Otis and I went for a walk. It was OPPRESSIVE.

Where's Drunk Otis?
Where’s Drunk Otis?
Thursday: 5 miles. Was supposed to be 6 miles. Bad Colby. Got nauseous and light headed. Cursed the heavens. Did manage to run at my prescribed pace, but nearly melted in the process. Ended run in a damn heap.

Note: I should have known I was going to spontaneously combust on Thursday. Especially since I started the day all fired up with the #TimHunt “girl-scientists-are-blubbering-temptresses-and-should-work-in-segregated-labs” bullshit.  

Stop. Just stop.

Friday: 5 miles. Was supposed to be 6 miles. Bad Colby. Again. Packed black t-shirt, black shorts, black hat. Died 1,000 deaths. Did not get nauseous. Progress. Did however consume shaker of salt the moment I staggered in the door. Checked weather app before run and this is what I got. (P.S. The actual temp was 86. Liar.)Hot

Saturday: 6.2 mile trail race. This was the second race in that Trail 2 Trail Series I ran a month ago. Such a great race series. If you’re in the Northeast- check ’em out. I ran. I sweated. I got lost. I had a goddamn blast. I love trail races! Although I am quite certain I left with malaria. And a tick borne disease. In a very happy twist, I managed to come in 2nd in my age group and consumed a small watermelon at the finish. YES!

In a heap.
In a heap.
Sunday: 20 mile bike ride at break neck speed. I rode with My Other Half. Which means, I rode a Stage of the Tour. You pretty much know you are screwed when you look at your bike computer and think to yourself: Huh. Check me out! I’m riding well! 25mph. Lookit me go!  Then you glance back up and realize you got dropped LIKE YOU WERE STANDING STILL by your Beloved. He turned the screws on my tired ass. And dropped me like a hot, sweaty potato.  Agony.

But beautiful.
But beautiful.
Total miles run:  Just shy of 30.

Total miles biked: 20. They were a blur.

Gallons of sweat lost: 6.

How long does it take you to get accustomed to running in the heat? Hot weather runner or cold weather runner? How do you hydrate during long runs: hydration vest, hand held or plant water bottles?

Tempo Shmempo

Or…how NOT to do a tempo run.

I was inspired by a kick-ass speedwork session that Colby had yesterday morning. So inspired that I decided on the train home last night that I would try doing a “tempo” run this morning. My first. Plan was a 1 mile warm-up, 4 mile tempo, 1 mile cooldown (yes, Colby, I googled how to do a tempo run while on the train-are you impressed?).

Alas, I am the yang to Colby’s yin, and my tempo run did not go off quite as well as her speedwork. Here are some tips on how NOT to do a tempo run and general musings on my less-than-stellar experience…

Day before –

1. Make sure you have a busy day with lots of meetings and little time to hydrate. Well, plenty of time to hydrate, but feel self conscious about taking too many bathroom breaks for fear that colleagues think you have some weird condition, so drink water sparingly. Attend business lunch where you’re allergic to pretty much everything. Make do by eating only different kinds of salads, ancient grains and fruits. Studiously avoid anything that might be easy on the stomach.

2. Make sure you don’t get home until around 8:45. Make the mistake of mentioning “Dunkin Donuts” in front of your kids so that you are forced to watch, memorize and rap along with Big Papi and Gronk in the Dunkie’s commercial for 45 minutes (Cup Solo!) when all you want to do is floss, brush and collapse. BUT: Gronk! Big Papi!

Morning of-

1. Wake up around 4:20 thanks to a woodpecker. Give him the finger (he doesn’t care) and realize that you will never go back to sleep. Watch part of an episode of Real Housewives of Somewhere and then follow it with a bit of Burt Wolf’s “Travels and Traditions” on PBS so you feel better about yourself and your TV viewing habits.

2. Decide at 5 that you will get up and do your run early, before getting kids ready for school. Get out of bed and make the mistake of checking work e-mail. Spend next 40 minutes revising something for a client in London (those Brits have 5 hours on us!! Not fair!) that came in over night.

3. Drink a Vitamin Water Energy like it is your job. And it is, because you have to leave for your run by 6 and it’s the only fuel you are getting. The window for eating solid food passed around an hour earlier and you do not want to puke on your first tempo run. Or any run, for that matter.

4. See note on counter that today is Field Day at school and Stooge #1 has to bring a nut-free, fully disposable snack and lunch (preferably in recyclable packaging). Dammit! Now run has to be followed immediately by trip to deli to pick up food that meets the guidelines. All this house has to offer is PB&J. So much for post-run stretching. Realize you now have extra incentive to hit your tempo pace because you have not yet left the house and already are short on time.

Run-

1. Start off with an easy 1-mile warm up. Feel like you’re already working hard. Not good. Probably just hungry, dehydrated, sleep-deprived or stressed. Possibly all of the above.

2. Kick off the 4 mile tempo run. Mile 1: OK but working hard. Feels a little too hard for mile 1. Nervous.

3. Mile 2: not feeling strong and realize you have chosen a route with some hills. You’re a fool. A tired, dehydrated fool. Nervous and miserable. Wonder if you have undiagnosed asthma and that is why you are sucking wind. Know deep down that this is not the case.

4. Mile 3: – realize that you did the freaking math wrong and if you do 4 miles at tempo, the run will end at your house and you will not have any cool down before you jump in the car and head to local deli. Even you know that this is a Very Very Bad Idea. Decide on the fly that this will be a 3 mile tempo run so you can have a 1 mile cool down. Feel secretly happy that you only have to do 3 miles at this pace, because you are sucking wind and still 2 seconds above what Google told you should be your tempo pace (5K pace + 30 seconds). Miserable and bad at math. A winning combo.

5. Realize Google suggested you wear a heart monitor and you forgot. Figure it is for the best, because it probably would be sounding an alarm for a defibrillator right about now. This is not pleasant. Or as Google put it, “comfortably hard.”

6. Finish Mile 3 of tempo run. Actually end up making your goal pace, but know that it is because you raced the last half mile and that does not seem to be the right thing to do for a tempo run (Note: Check Google on this). Your first tempo run and you cheated. Who cares, you’re done and can run like a normal person now.

7. Enjoy cool down portion of the run – the grass seems greener, the sky seems bluer. Smile. Enjoy returning to regular breathing. Pass a house that smells like pancakes. Wonder who the hell is making pancakes at 6:45 AM on a Wednesday. Wonder if they wonder who the hell is running like a lunatic at 6:45 AM on a Wednesday. Wonder if your kids would rather have a mom who was home making pancakes instead of out running. Remember that you watched the damn Dunkie’s commercial 8000 times last night and even promised to buy them the big Gronk sunglasses and realize you don’t care if they wish you were home making pancakes. They can have pancakes on the weekend. After you run.

8. Get to the bottom of your street and realize that you actually could have done 4 miles at tempo and still gotten in a ½ mile cool down. You misjudged the route. Oh, well. {Thank God you are bad at both math and route planning. THANK GOD. Mile 4 may have killed you.}

9. Feel proud of yourself for trying something new and at the same time, wonder whether it would be best to go back to Tina Marathon Training 1.0, which generally involves the following: Run. Kinda a lot. Do some long runs. Make sure to rest sometimes. Repeat.

10. Start your day.

I think I will try a tempo run again. They are miserable enough that they must be good for you. Just not anytime soon. I need to forget this one first.

Who else does tempo runs? Any tips for how to do them? I think I have covered how not to do them pretty well, if I do say so.

Running, Reuniting and Drunk Otis. 

Last week I eaaaaaased back into Marathon Training Mode. And by eased, I mean cannonballed. Straight in. With a big ass splash. I’m using the Hansons Marathon Method and, like I posted last week, am a little freaked out. I’m also bad at counting. And started this whole 18 week thing early. Which really isn’t a big deal, I’m just planning on repeating Week 2 of training because RUNNING. 

I figured out what’s got me spooked. It’s not the lack of a traditional long run in the training program. Nope. That’s not it. 

It’s the speed workouts. Intervals. Strength workouts. Tempo workouts. It’s the -being-tethered-to-my-Garmin-obsessing-about-pace workouts. It’s all stuff that pretty much every runner on the planet does except me.   Why? Because I’m intimidated by it. It makes me sweat. That’s why I don’t do it religiously. I’m more of a run by feel kinda gal. And usually forget my goddamn Garmin because 9 out of 10 times it’s dead. This time, I have a goal. And if I want to achieve it, I need to- in the words of the incomparable Taylor Swift- SHAKE IT OFF. AND GET REAL. So. Here’s what the Fearless, New and Improved Colby ran last week.  

Monday: Easy 6 miles. Well, wait. That’s what it was supposed to be. After our hot, humid, hilly, half-marathon we forgot about last weekend and my 30+ mile zippy ride the next day, I was toast on Monday. So I ran 4 instead. There. I said it. And “Easy” runs in this program aren’t considered fluff. Not every run needs to be a knock down, drag out sufferfest. The volume is beneficial to your body. It’s not junk miles. Besides, suffering is what Tuesday is for. 

Tuesday: 12 x 400, 400 recovery. GAH. 1.5 mile warm up and cool down. GAH. it was the longest time I have spent on a treadmill in all my years on the planet. GAH.  But I did it. YES. And I may have loved it. In that sadistic sweaty way. 

Wednesday: OFF. Sweet Baby Jesus. OFF. 

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: Easy 6 miles. Ran it all and faster than I should have. *slightly puffs up chest*  WINNER!   

Class of 1990
 Sidebar: I also attended my 25 Year High School reunion on Saturday.What in the name of all that is ancient was that about?!?!? 25 YEARS. Damn. I’m getting old. I also realized I had forgotten how much my high school actually means to me. There is something about attending an all-girls high school. There is this sisterhood. It’s really something. Such strong bonds. Such dear life-long friends. Made me choke up a little. Just like it’s doing now. 

Sunday: Easy 8 miles and BOOM nailed my prescribed pace. Legs are tuckered, but I feel a tad- a pinch– more confident. Minimally, I’m learning how to use my Garmin. Oh. And this. This happened Sunday. 

Drunk Otis
 Introducing Otis Brown.! WE GOT HIM! He is just starting to settle in. Drunk Otis, as he will be known, is 11 months old and pretty much goes from being an obedient, athletic, strapping chocolate lab, to a Fraternity Brother on Spring Weekend with a bucket of Jaeger Bombs in the blink of a bloodshot eye. We love him. He’s alllll chocolate lab. Through and through. So far, Leon James hasn’t eaten him. I am convinced they will be BFFs. Evil Beagle, however is wondering when the hell someone is coming to cart his drunk brown ass away. Girlfriend is BENT. 

Total Miles Run: Roughly 39. 

Total Number of Memories Relived and Laughs Had at Reunion: 10,000.

Total Number of Dogs: 3.

I’d say I’m off to a solid start. :-)

Are you a Pace Head or a Run By Feel kinda runner? Have you attended any momentous occasions lately? Am I going to die a Crazy Dog Lady?  

Walking on Sunshine? Try Running on Clouds!

A few months ago, my amazing local running store – The Authentic Athlete in Fairfield, CT (seriously, stop by if you are ever in the neighborhood- these guys know their stuff) – introduced me to the On Cloudsurfer and told me I’d love it.

They were (as usual) right.

DISCLAIMER: Like every other running apparel company in the world, On has no idea who I am.

MORE DISCLAIMER: Authentic Athlete knows I’m the spaz who comes in and buys running shoes a lot and tripped up their stairs a few months ago, but that’s the extent of our relationship.

I just like to pass it on when I find something I love.

The unique thing about On shoes is their “CloudTec” technology. The sole of the shoe is covered in 13 firm rubber “clouds” that are intended to help you land softly (by absorbing both vertical and horizontal impact) yet take off powerfully (like a barefoot runner).

My funky kicks.
My funky kicks.

I don’t understand all of the science behind those magic clouds on the bottoms of the shoes, but I know two very important things that make me love my Cloudsurfers:

1. When I wear them on long runs, my feet don’t hurt.
2. When I wear them on long runs, my legs don’t hurt.

You know how sometimes you finish a super-long run and once you stop, you basically have to shuffle into your house? Not with these babies. I finished several 20+ milers in them and was able to walk into my house fully upright and moving like a semi-normal person. And this was at the end of my training for the Boston Marathon, when you would think my legs would be a mess. My earlier long runs were in different shoes and I basically hobbled my way into the house after each long run. Being able to walk in my front door like a fully functioning human being was a nice switch and spared me the usual weird looks from my tweens.

I’m not saying my legs weren’t tired- the shoes are not magic- but I was not sore. I’ll take it.

Some people claim that the On shoes make them run faster. I don’t know about that. I think I’ll run faster when I have the time to devote to speedwork and strength training, and I’m not planning on a shoe to help in that area, but the comfort alone is enough for me.

In case you are wondering about some of the same things I did when I considered buying them:

1. Yes, the clouds are very strong and won’t wear down quickly. I read one review by a guy who had run 250 miles in them and the cloud symbol hadn’t even worn off yet. I haven’t noticed any deterioration in the 2 months I have had them.

2. Yes, they feel weird to walk in. But they don’t feel weird to run in. If there was any adjustment period (I can’t really remember), it was probably only the first mile or two the first time I wore them. Seriously. And I think half of that was because I was expecting them to feel weird. By mile 3 of my first run in them, I was a convert.

3. No, stuff does not get stuck in between the clouds. I have run on post-winter roads full of gravel, sand and general gunk with no problems. Not sure if it is different for trail runners, but we road runners {beep! beep!} should be fine.

4. They probably are slightly more slippery than regular types of running shoes because of less points of contact with the road. When I ran through the torrent that was the Boston Marathon, I realized I was fine as long as I stayed off painted lines, trolley tracks and other slick surfaces. Running on the wet road was no problem – maybe I took turns a little more carefully, but that was probably the product of overthinking – but the addition of anything shiny and slick and I felt a little unstable. Despite that, I would wear them again in a rainy race without question.

5. They are almost completely mesh, which is a dream come true in warm weather and may require warmer socks in cold weather. I ran through snow and cold temps in them in regular wool running socks and felt fine. When I wore them in Boston with regular dri-fit type socks, I got a little chilly due to the fact that my feet were soaked by mile 3 and temps were in the low-40’s. That said, I emerged from that race with 10 intact toenails and not one blister. Hear that? Not one blister!! A Christmas miracle brought to me by my good friends at On.

They are not cheap and they are new enough that they aren’t in a lot of discount outlets yet (and I think the ones that are in discount outlets are the earlier versions of what I wear, so Buyer Beware – they may be different). Still, I would highly recommend giving them a whirl.

And if you do, let me know what you think!