And then I exhaled.

FlakeYesterday I received a long awaited phone call. It came in the early, bitter cold morning. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I had been waiting for this phone call for 3 long months. And here it was. I began to shake uncontrollably. My Doctor. My Results. I held my breath. I paused and planted my feet firmly on the earth. Grounded.

Nicole. You’re all clear.

I sobbed. And sobbed. And felt the weight of a thousand worlds lift off of my shoulders. Years of stress. Months of worry. Gone. Just like that. In one split second. Such lightness, I felt. The Relief. My God! It overwhelmed me.  I thanked My Doctor for being My Champion. For not being complacent. For following up. For caring.

I do not have cervical cancer.
And I owe that to him.

I rarely get super personal here. So much so, that you probably didn’t know my real name. (It’s Nicole, by the way.) I run. I ride. I swear like a pirate. I am often silly. I am sometimes serious. All of that, you already know.  I had mentioned that I had had some surprise! surgery, but that was really it. I left it at that. In fact, I wasn’t sure I would ever mention it.  But here I am. Eternally grateful for an outcome I hadn’t counted on, but blissfully accept.

Here is what happened. It was an ellipsis on a very long life sentence. Everything snowballed the day after I ran my 50K. Horrible pap results. A procedure- a colposcopy. Even more horrible pathology results. Have a very surreal discussion about cervical cancer.  Cancer is right there, waiting patiently. Surgery- an aggressive cervical excision and cauterization.  And?  Horrible margins. Avalanche. Heal. Run a Spartan Sprit at Fenway Park. Worry. Run the Philadelphia Half Marathon. Worry more. Begin to accept the fact that I am quite possibly going to have a hysterectomy. I will have never have had children. Cry. Run more. Stress. Decide cancer is screwing with the wrong broad. Get angry. Run harder. And yesterday?  Relief. Utter relief.

My point in sharing all of this with you?

Go for you annual gynecological exam. Insist on a pap smear and HPV test. If it comes back abnormal?

GO FOR A FOLLOW UP.
GO FOR A FOLLOW UP.
GO FOR A FOLLOW UP.

If you are a man reading, insist that the women in your life do so. Cervical cancer is curable…if you catch it.  I am proof.

I slept like a log last night. For the first time in a long, long while. I finally felt like Nicole.

And I exhaled.

001

Spring Training

So…who else is training for a spring marathon?

I know you’re out there. You’re the ones with the frozen hair and eyelashes. Chapped skin. Blue Lips. White fingertips. Permanent chills. Crazy eyes from looking around to make sure no cars are careening toward you. Yup, I’d know you anywhere.

This is my first time training for a spring marathon. (Colby is an old pro.)

It ain’t easy.

And it’s not the cold. I like running in the cold. I sometimes even love running in the cold. And I’ve even made my peace with running in the polar vortex/arctic blast/whatever those fools are calling the crazy bitter freezing cold these days.

It’s the damn snow and ice. IT IS KILLING ME.

And I feel bad complaining, with most of my family and many friends up in Boston, where they have gotten 70+ inches of snow in the past month. No joke. Maybe you have seen the memes below measuring the snow in ”Gronk’ s” and “Big Papi’s.”

After the next snowstorm, Gronk may be buried completely. Or at least too buried to spike a snowball.
After the next snowstorm, Gronk may be buried completely. Or at least too buried to spike a snowball. Sorry for poor image quality – it was the best I could find. You get the gist.
This was taken after the first snowstorm, when we thought there was a lot of snow. So young and naïve! I'm pretty sure Papi would be buried now.
This was taken after the first snowstorm, when we thought there was a lot of snow. So young and naïve! I’m pretty sure Papi would be just about buried now.

At approximately 3 and 3.5 apples tall, respectively, Colby and I would be fully buried. BURIED!

People have started joking that the snow will probably still be there for the Boston Marathon. But no one is laughing.

While the snow here isn’t as bad as Boston, it is here. And we have had 2 separate ice storms in the past few weeks, which is 10 times worse than snow. How the hell do you get a long run in when the days are short, the sidewalks are buried, and the roads are icy and narrow? Ugh. Yaktrax are great for traction, but even they don’t help if there is nowhere to use them.

What’s a runner to do? Improvise and strategize, I guess. I have seen some people taking their runs indoors.

That, my friends, I just can’t do.

Or won’t do.

I hate saying can’t.

BUT, running long on the treadmill might push me over the edge into complete insanity, and I don’t want that. I’m hovering on the edge as it is.

I was supposed to run 18 tomorrow, but the forecasted combo of subzero temps, wind gusts and snow squalls made me revise my game plan. Instead, I got up and made a last-minute decision to run 18 on Wednesday, with the first 10 miles being laps on my dead-end road to avoid having to run in morning traffic. That’s 5 complete loops of my road before the traffic died down and I headed out into the big, wide world. And if I had to do all 10 loops on my road to get my 18 in, I would have. Despite the strange looks I got from neighbors.

One silver lining is that I ran the Philly marathon in November, so I never really fell out of “long run” mode. If I ever run a spring marathon again, I will be sure to sign up for a marathon the fall before so I can build a good running base before winter fully hits.

Already being used to longer distances has kept me from completely freaking out. Emphasis on “completely.” Because, rest assured, I am still kind of freaking out. Oh, yes, I am. And did I mention that more snow is on the way?

Are you training for a spring race? How are you getting your runs in (Floridians need not answer)? How deep is the snow by you (Floridians, don’t you dare answer!)???

Superbowl Musings

So, almost a week has passed since the Superbowl. Parades have been celebrated, Gronk appears to have clocked around 75 seconds of sleep, Memes have been multiplying like rabbits, endless discussion, rehashing, Monday/ Tuesday/ Wednesday/ Thursday/ Friday morning quarterbacking, has ensued.

And oh, yeah, my beloved Pats won. In a spectacularly Disney-like way, with an incredible pick in the endzone by an undrafted free agent and former Popeye’s employee. #truestory

I love football. I come from a big football-watching family. But let’s be honest. Isn’t football just a backdrop for the commercials and halftime show at the Superbowl? Let’s chat about the real important stuff, shall we?

Nationwide: Oh, Nationwide. What made you think that I wanted to watch dead children during the Superbowl? One minute, I’m happily sitting with a Shock Top in my left hand and Tortilla chips in my right. A mere 60 seconds later, I’m on the floor consoling my shell-shocked children and explaining to them all the precautions we have taken in our home to prevent those childhood accidents that could kill them. WTF? If I wanted to watch dead children talk on TV, I would put on “The Sixth Sense,” not the freaking Superbowl. And I’d make my kids leave the room. Way to kill the Superbowl buzz, Nationwide.

NationwideMeme

Although I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed all the parodies that followed. Almost made the therapy my kids now need worth it. Almost.

Budweiser: I don’t care that they manipulate my heartstrings ever year with something that is written for the sole purpose of making me cry or go, “Awwwwww.” I fall for it every time and actually look forward to it. Put those puppies and Clydesdales together in front of a frigging green screen and I’ll just cry at this point. It’s all good.

Shamelessly playing with my emotions. And I loved every second of it.
Shamelessly playing with my emotions. And I loved every second of it.

Toyota Camry: Didn’t really get the connection to the Camry, but loved watching Amy Purdy – World Class Paralympic Athlete – kick ass at, well, life, and I’m always happy to listen to Muhammad Ali do his thing, so I liked it. It would have been a perfect Warren Miller-like mini-movie if they just removed all the parts that had the Camry in it.

Awesome.
Awesome.

Always: Colby and I have always been fans of this commercial. Love that it was shown during the Superbowl. Love all the discussion it has prompted. And love that a Superbowl ad for feminine products was the one that probably received the most positive attention this year. My, have times changed since Superbowl I.

Special shout out to my 11-year old daughter, N, whose Instagram tagline reads “Playing Like a Girl Doesn’t Mean What it Used to.” Sometimes spying on your kids’ social media activity brings pleasant surprises. That’s our girl, Colby!!

Halftime Show: I am not a big Katy Perry fan, but she did put on a Really Big Show. Missy Elliott rocked (of course). But we all know the real star of the halftime show: The Left Shark. I love the Left Shark. I want to be The Left Shark when I grow up: Unafraid to do my thing, even if it is the wrong thing and in front of millions of people. Brave enough to express my own individuality even when trapped in a matching shark costume and with choreographed steps. A lot can be learned from The Left Shark. Left Shark embodies “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching.” Even if they are! Millions and millions of them!

If they ever publish The Tao of The Left Shark – and they should – I will be the first in line to buy it.

Did you watch the Superbowl? What was your favorite ad? What did you think of the halftime show? Do you love The Left Shark as much as I do??

The Big Reveal!

Skratch LabsReady for this?!?! A few months back I applied on a total whim to be a Taste Agent for Skratch Labs. I have been a fan of Skratch Labs for the past several years, having been introduced to it by my cyclist Other Half when it was known as “Secret Drink Mix” and came in cool silver tins. We felt so fly. Like we were in on some big badass super performance secret. {Note: We were.} We trained hard, sweated buckets, chugged what would become Skratch Labs Hydration Mix, and performed our hearts out.  As athlete demand increased, Skratch Labs, created by Dr. Allen Lim, was born in 2012. Voilà. Just like that. The secret was out. And now so is this one….Skratch Labs!

As of today, I’m a Skratch Labs Taste Agent for 2015!! 

{Faints.}

So. Stoked. And after 2015? My guess is that I’ll be a Skratch Labs Lifer. Simply put, their products are excellent. And my endorsement of them, pre-dates Today’s Big News. It’s got all of what you need in a sports drink- real, natural ingredients, electrolytes, sodium- and nothing you don’t.

My personal draw?

  • It’s easy on the gut.
  • It’s super tasty.
  • It does it’s job. And does it well.

{Drops Mic.}

In exchange for mentioning their product here and on social media (which I’ve done before without the cool Taste Agent title), giving them product feedback, attending events and spreading the good word that is Skratch Labs, I will get their products at a discount. Which is great because I’m dangerously low on Hydration Mix. Phew!  I believed in what Skratch was doing before becoming affiliated with them. I feel like this is the continuation of a beautiful friendship, if you will. How could you not love the company with a promo video like this? Totally, my kind of company. :-)

Who Do You Run 4?

Run4

I run for myself, of course. But I also run 4 Belle – an adorable 8 year old with Down’s Syndrome, who likes all things Disney, The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and cheerleading.

Last year, Colby and I both signed up to be matched through “I Run 4″ with someone who is unable to run. Each Runner is matched with a Buddy. We run for them. We dedicate our training runs to them, posting updates to a closed group on Facebook a few times each week, to let them know we are thinking of them and running for them. We run our races for them, marking ourselves with tattoos or marker indicating that we “Run 4″ them. Many races will provide us with extra medals to give to them, and we also send other race swag, since it is their race, too.

I Run 4 was started 2 years ago by Timothy Boyle. Timothy had taken up running and was inspired by the “I Run…” meme above. He shared the meme one day and a friend named Michael with Down’s Syndrome replied with, “You can run for me!”

And thus “I Run 4,” which now has 30,000 members in 28 countries, was born.

Reading through the posts on the page can be heartbreaking some days. There are so many people with real challenges. You are often reminded of the saying “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” But it is uplifting, too. The utter strength of people affected by special challenges is inspiring. The progress that buddies make in their recoveries and in their development is wonderful to watch. And all who read the pages are made aware that people can suffer very difficult conditions and yet have wonderful lives.

When you see someone with special needs from afar, sometimes your first emotion is pity. But when you connect with someone who has special needs, the pity disappears. It is replaced with awe, respect, understanding and acceptance. You feel compassion. Empathy. Not pity. People with special needs might be traveling different paths, but their lives are just as rich, their accomplishments just as joyful, as anyone else’s. If not more so.

The connections between runner and buddy are heartwarming and inspiring. I love the look on the buddies’ faces as they wear their medals. The support that members with similar issues can provide to each other is truly awesome. And the connections that people forge around the world: just incredible.

There is still a lot of good in this world and much of it can be seen on the I Run 4 page.

One recent post will not leave my mind. A runner had promised her buddy that she would run one mile per day for him in January. She posted that one night, she got into bed before realizing that she had not run her mile. Her first though was to just add the mile to her run the following day. But then she thought: No. He has to live with his own challenges every day. No days off. No opportunity to leave it for a day. So she got out of bed, threw on some running clothes and a headlamp and ran her mile.

Colby and I both have nephews with special needs and are familiar with the daily challenges that they and their parents face. We both know that even if they never wear a timing chip, they conquer marathons every day. And that makes them the real champions in our book.

If you are interested in running 4 someone, visit I Run 4 Michael.

Run. Read. Repeat. Who’s Up for a Challenge?!

reading-is-one-form-of-escape-running-for-your-quotesRun. Rest. Repeat.

That’s pretty much the story of my life. And I’m not complaining about it. I love to run. And do so nearly every day. In fact, I love to run so much, I registered for a half-marathon on snow shoes just last week. I suckered invited Tina and a whole slew of friends to join in. Amazingly enough, they did. Nothing like a little Race Peer Pressure to kick off the New Year. Strike while the Resolution Iron is HOT, I always say! This will be time number 3 for me. And it’s going to be a charm. Trust me. If it’s anything like previous years (read 2013 and 2014 here) we’re in for a doozy of a time. Or minimally another very colorful blog post.

PMC StartI also love to ride. And do so for roughly 6 months of the year. No. I don’t ride outdoors in the snow. My Psychotic Other Half does. And that’s his problem. Not mine, Crazy Pants. In fact, I love to ride so much, I registered for my 11th consecutive Pan-Mass Challenge last week as well. Ambitious week, right?!  And yes, I am beaming with pride. The Pan-Mass Challenge is so very special to me. 200 miles in 2 days to benefit cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. It’s fantastic. Read several of of our many PMC posts here and here and here. Tina is also in for number 3. And it’s going to be a charm. Last year we needed snorkles and wetsuits. And it didn’t even matter. I guess it’s really: Run. Ride. Rest. Repeat. Pretty much.

With all of this Running and Riding on tap, I’d say I have my body covered for 2015. I haven’t decided on the rest of My 2015 Running Itinerary yet, but I will. TBD, Baby. TBD. I know it will include a marathon, several more half marathons and maybe, just maybe if the timing is right, another 50K. {Gulp!} But what about my mind? Where are the Mind intervals? Brain fartleks? An Ultra Cranium? I hate Sudoku. And Luminosity freaks me out. How about reading for pleasure? I read enough scientific literature for work. (I know. I’m a dork. And I love it.)  I recently re-discovered how much I love reading whist chilling on a sunny beach in Florida. You can read about The Shit That Occurred to Me While Running in Florida here. In a bizarre serendipitous twist, I came across this Reading Challenge a few days ago. Perfect stinking timing. I swear the Reading Gods smiled! Such a great idea! So I said, GAME ON! I paid my overdue library card fees AND I’M READY FOR IT! I’m stoked!  In fact, I wish I could take credit for it, but alas, Pop Sugar beat me to the punch. We exercise our bodies enough. It’s time to flex the old mind.  Run. Ride. READ. Rest. Repeat. Let’s Do It!

So how about it? Anyone game for the 2015 Reading Challenge with Tina and I? Tina reads like a FIEND. I am hoping to be as fiendish. Check off as many of these babies as you can this year! We’ll post our progress as well. Oh come on. It’ll be fun. Besides, who doesn’t love a challenge? :-)

013

Crazy Train

 BAASymbol

A week ago, I mentioned that I hadn’t settled on a training plan for the Boston Marathon yet. Well, now I have. Drumroll, please:

I’m not using one.

Whoever is with Colby as she reads this better get her smelling salts and a cocktail – STAT – because I’m pretty sure she just fainted.

I am as By The Book as they come. You give me a plan and I will follow it to a T, and no, I never round up. As if you had to ask.

Which is why I’m ditching the idea of a formal training plan altogether.

For my first marathon – the Marine Corps Marathon – I followed Marathon Rookie’s Beginner Marathon Training Plan religiously. My first marathon training came at a brief period in my life when I kinda had too much time on my hands. All 3 kids had started full school days and work was slow. I liked having something (Beginner Marathon Training Plan) to obsess over and provide a schedule for my days and weeks.

By the time training for last year’s Philly Marathon rolled around, I was in a much different place. I had started working more and my kids had become really busy with their own sports. Between my job as a lawyer and my job as head chauffeur (not to mention COO) of The Family, I did not have time to find a new training plan to obsess over. Instead, I dusted off Beginner Marathon Training Plan, added a few miles to each of the long runs because I was already runner longer than the schedule provided, and ran with it {see what I did there!}. I was a little nervous that I wasn’t stepping up my game enough – I still stuck to the plan’s weekday runs, which were pretty short for where I was – but, alas, that was all my schedule permitted.

And in the end, it didn’t matter. I had a massive allergic reaction the afternoon before the race, made a game time decision to race anyway, and finished. It wasn’t pretty, but my issues were not due to lack of training, and I finished at just under 4:02 despite the lingering effects of Benadryl, recovering from a brush with anaphylaxis and 4 separate porta-potty stops during the last half. I dare say my training served me pretty well.

On Saturday night, we went to a birthday party for our dear friend Diva Cindi  and one of Diva Cindi’s friends asked me about training plans. She had read my post about taking 3 unscheduled days off and took note of the fact that I mentioned that I am a schedule freak. She had also met me once before, so probably already knew that. Diva Cindi’s Friend asked what plan I was thinking of for Boston, since she is considering running her first marathon this year. I told her that I would recommend the beginner plan at Marathon Rookie for her, but that I was not yet decided on what I would use for myself. And it got me thinking….

And I realized I don’t want a plan. I’m busy. I have a lot of schedules to manage. I have too many “plans” as it is. I doubt I would be able to stick to a plan religiously and that would make me nuts. I guess I’m too much of a planner to use a plan if I can’t use it perfectly. Does that make sense in a weird & twisted way?

Plus, I’m crazy-excited for Boston. I don’t want to set myself up for stress and feelings of failure as I train for it. So, for probably the first time in 45 years, I’m gonna wing it. (YES,COLBY! YOU READ THAT RIGHT!) I will keep holy The Long Run and I will run and rest as needed during the week. But I want the next few months to be more about my love of distance running and excitement for the race than a slavish adherence to a plan.

We’ll see how it goes. Come April 20, I could finish strong or collapse upon myself like a dying star. Whatever happens in the race itself, though, I’m pretty sure that the months leading up to Boston will be a lot more fun for me now that I have made my plan to ditch the plan.

Note – just remembered the one other time I have “winged it” – I moved to NYC after college with an awesome roommate, a reasonably priced apartment, but no job. One of the best decisions I ever made. ;-) So this is the second time I have winged it. I’m practically a hippie.

Are you “by the book” or “by the seat of your pants?” Love a Plan or hate a plan? Ever trained for a marathon without a formal plan (feel free to tell me you did and came in first)?

Snowbird

Photobombed at the Golden GlobesHey Everybody! I’m over here!

I have finally thawed out enough to operate a goddamn keyboard. Sweet Jesus. My blood thinned. After 8 days in Super Sunny South Florida, I have finally returned to the cold hard reality that is New England Winter. I got off the plane and Jack Frost sucked the tan straight from my pores. Such. Shit. Holy temperature change. It took my breathe away. And not in a “I just scored Newtons for 50% off!” kind of way. 82 degrees one day, 9 degrees the next. That’s one hell of a delta.

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My quick trip was a much needed respite from the past few months. The last few months of 2014 kicked me right in the spleen. Stress. Gah. Stress really does a number on you. Especially when it invades your sleep. That’s just wrong. As a result, come New Year’s Eve, I felt like a broken down, baby-puke-yellow 1972 Chevy El Camino. With bags under her eyes. So. Bad.

I was in dire need of some sunshine. So we headed to South Flaaahrida. And it was glorious. Readin’, runnin’ and relaxin’ with My Other Half. My 3 favorite things. Well, 4 if you count My Other Half. Actually, 5 if you put a cocktail in his hand. It was perfect any way you slice it. I had several Sunny Epiphanies in Florida. Epiphany might be too strong of a word. How about Shit That Occurred To Me While Running in Florida? That might be better. Honestly, I’m surprised I thought of anything. I seriously checked out. #gonefishing

1. I totally get why Old People head to South Florida. ‘Cuz it’s the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, PEOPLE! I can’t tell you how many FIT, fabulous older women were out walking, running and riding every damn day. They looked incredible. Happy, relaxed and fit. I’m talking well into their 80s. I’d fly south too, if I could stay active. I wasn’t sure if they’d always been active, or became active once they hit the Sunshine State, or just had a ton of work done? Who cared. They were moving. And smiling. I saw one Old Broad rocking a pair of “leather” running tights. No joke.

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2. Running in 80 degrees less than 24hrs after running in single digits is BRUTAL. (But I quickly got over it. :-) ) I was dehydrated. Really dehydrated. My legs felt like stuffed sausages. I was overheated. I couldn’t get out of my own way. My El Camino Engine Sputtered. It was a wake up call. Note to self: Just because it’s cold out, doesn’t mean you stop drinking water, Fool. I’ve since upped my non-alcoholic beverage consumption. Even my skin thanks me.

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3. I need a new bed. Or, a new stress free life. I slept like a baby while on vacation which is how I have always slept until recently. Stress is something, isn’t it? It gets right under your eyelids. Insomnia is NOT something I have been enjoying. It sucks. We did spy this interesting Bed Store, but it was closed or we would have taken a Test Snooze. Next level sleep? Sign us up!

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4. I love to read. That’s not really a shock, it’s just that I haven’t read much for pleasure lately. I need to fix that STAT. Scientific journals aren’t exactly page turners, and that’s what I’ve been up to my ears in. If you haven’t read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, go right now and do so. Screw Angelina’s movie. The book will stick with you far longer. It was riveting. How can one human being endure that much mental and physical strain? To endure. Then recover. And really LIVE. Louis Zamperini was something. What an incredible story. I also read this hysterical piece of quality literature from The Oatmeal, The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances. I laughed myself silly.

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5. Sunshine. That’s all. Just sunshine. It brightens much more than the day. You never realize how much you need it until it is obscured by a Polar Vortex. 8 days of sunshine can cure just about anything. It’s the best drug there is. Here’s to a Bright New Year!

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What is your idea of a perfect getaway? Have you ever gotten a case of the winter blahs? What’s your cure for the blahs: run, sun, a stiff cocktail or all 3?!?!

What’s Your Number?

winter running

So many of us are stuck in a deep freeze right now…

…except for Darling Colby, who has been in Sunny Florida for the past week! If I didn’t love her so much, I would hate her…

They’re calling this cold snap the “Arctic Blast.” I guess “Polar Vortex” is sooooo 2014, so someone came up with a new catchphrase. Whatever. “They” are calling it the Arctic Blast and “they” sure are talking about it a lot. Cold temps, wind chill, deep freeze, snow squalls…yeah, yeah, I get it. It’s cold. Once it’s cold, I don’t really want to hear or talk about the minutiae of the different ways in which it is cold, but it is hard to avoid the chatter.

The Arctic Blast got me thinking about my temperature limits for running outside. Figuring out what the magic number is that will force me inside on the ‘mill. Because I really, really, hate the ‘mill.

Before last year’s Peak Snowshoe challenge, I might have said 10. But after having snowshoed up a mountain in weather that was in low single digits at the base and lived to tell, I’m a little more flexible now. Today I ran 4 miles in low teens and was HOT. Sweating, even. It was sunny and despite all the talk about wind chills lately, I barely felt a breeze. I was not bundled up like a character in “A Christmas Story,” either: I wore running tights with thermals under them, wool socks, a turtleneck baselayer, my Bundle Me running jacket and hat and gloves. The only part of me that wasn’t warm was my nose, and it was not painfully cold. Just not warm. I think the sun made all the difference. I also find that any run is more comfortable if I don’t listen to the weather report first. Honestly, all the drama and talk are more annoying than the cold itself.

So, I’m going to go out on a ledge and say that my limit for a short- or –mid length run is zero, assuming no snow or crazy wind. I could definitely add layers to what I was wearing today and make it through some lower temps. And I would definitely prefer that to the treadmill.

It’s the other end of the temperature spectrum that kills me. Heat and humidity. Ugh. I’ll take a day like today over an August dog day anytime, anywhere. I think my heat limit for running is 80-85 degrees and you can be sure that I will bitch the whole way. And feel like crap afterward. In New England, if it is over 70, it is bound to be humid, so the heat & humidity are a package deal and any 80 degree run is going to feel like a jaunt through the rainforest. I’m uncomfortable just thinking about it. I have heard about this magical thing called dry heat, but it rarely visits Connecticut. Sigh. The cold can be uncomfortable, but to me, heat, and especially, humidity are downright intolerable. I see people running in the middle of the day during the summer and am just amazed. How do they do it without passing out?

Are you a hot weather runner or a cold weather runner? Do you have limits for when you will exercise outside? What’s your number?

And the World Didn’t End

A funny thing happened this past weekend. I didn’t run for three days straight. Even though I could have. And the world didn’t end.

I’m in week 2 of training for the Boston Marathon, and while I was not feeling well, I didn’t have a fever, or strep, or bronchitis, or an injury, or anything else serious enough to make running impossible.

I was tired, had a scratchy throat and felt achy. And went with it and hung up my shoes for three days. During marathon training. Even though I definitely could have pushed myself for at least a short run each day.

And the world didn’t end. The sun continued to rise in the east, the world kept spinning and I saw no signs of locusts.

On Friday, I sat on the couch next to my dad for over 3 hours watching bad TV and making fun of it together, and capped it off with an evening of more TV (this time, sports), wine and pizza.

On Saturday, I did a 20 minute yoga video with my youngest, which, had we YouTube’d it, would have gone viral. He is probably the only person in the world who is less flexible than I am. It was quite a sight and no, it did not qualify as a workout. My oldest, who is actually good at yoga, couldn’t even bear to watch. I spent the rest of the day driving through crappy winter weather to get back to CT. Running was so far from my mind, I almost forgot to pack my running shoes before heading home.

On Sunday, I took down Christmas decorations and napped like a newborn. The closest I came to running was when I bought a new pair of running shoes, which I tried on and promptly put back in the box. Even though it was 50 degrees outside and I saw people running outside in shorts, I took a second nap instead of lacing up and heading out.

And the world didn’t end. Heck, it didn’t even slow down.

This morning, I woke up, felt more like myself and went out for a great 12 mile run. I was rested and felt good. I had not forgotten how to run. My muscles still worked. I had not magically fallen out of shape.

It was good to be back.

It was also good to take a break.

Everything written on marathon training makes it pretty clear that much success in training and racing comes from getting out there and running even – maybe especially – when you don’t want to. I completely agree.

But I also think that much success in life comes from listening to yourself when you really just don’t feel up for something. Even –maybe especially – during marathon training.

If I fall apart during the Boston Marathon, I highly doubt it will be because I took 3 days off in January. And if it does, well, then, I guess I can serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of you.  You can thank me then.

Either way, though, I can say one thing with certainty – I took 3 days off from running. And the world didn’t end.