Tips for Having Your Best Race Ever

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I ran the NYC Marathon last week with 51,000+ of my nearest and dearest running friends and methinks I had the most fun I have EVER had in a marathon. Thought I’d share my secrets. If you’re looking to PR, these tips are not – I repeat, NOT – for you.  If you are Mr. Hanson, Higdon, Pfitzinger? Please look away.

Can’t exactly market the below as keys to “success,” but if you are looking to have The Best Time Ever During a Race, give them a try.

1. Choose a race that is a 26.2 mile party. NYC, Chicago, Marine Corps, Boston all have awesome crowds and crazy-good energy. I imagine the marathon through wine country in France would qualify. I’m sure there are many, many more. Avoid anything that is only for “serious runners” or has a boring course.

2. Put your name in the lottery sign-up, then promptly forget that you signed up. Make bold statements that you are NEVER running a fall marathon again even though you just threw your name into the lottery for one. Your name never comes up anyway.

3. Genuinely be surprised when you find out in March that you got a bib. Temper your excitement with the realization that you will now need to train through another hot summer and insanely busy September. Tuck that way back in the recesses of your mind and carry on with a fun spring. It all seems pretty far away, anyway.

4. Don’t train too hard. Not because you don’t want to (well, there is a part of you that doesn’t want to), but because you simply do not have the time. When did life get so busy?

5. Get your long runs in, even if some weeks that is – gulp –your only run of the week (it pains me to admit this, even now). They are key because they remind you that long runs are generally your favorite runs, and what is a marathon but a really long run? You can do this. Slowly, perhaps, but you can do it.

6. Do not – I repeat – do NOT keep a log of your “training.” It will only make you sad. And nervous. Maybe even a little horrified.

7. Step away from the internet. You don’t have time for that anyway (see #4). Do not keep up to date on the newest training plans and how fellow runners are doing with them. It will only scare you. Wish them the best, cheer them from afar and retreat into your bubble. (Do keep up with your Bestie’s training, because that is different and you love her. She is your bubble.)

8. Make sure your Bestie comes in with you for the marathon weekend. This is key. Maybe Tip #1.

9. Make fun plans after the race. It will give you something to focus on other than the race itself. A party hosted by one of your favorite people with an awesome group of friends, old and new, is ideal. All that separates you from it is a long run!

10. Order up great weather. 50’s and mostly sunny works.

11. Mill around athlete’s village and take it all in. It’s the biggest race on planet and a veritable melting pot. It’s awesome. Take mental notes and pictures. you don’t want to forget any of it.

12. Look around the start at your fellow runners, look over the bridge, look at the amazing skyline ahead and immediately decide to take off your Garmin. Put her in your pocket – you don’t need her today. Today is not going to be about PRs, fast miles or negative splits, whether you wear the Garmin or not. So let her go and just focus on the experience.

13. Enjoy every second. Thank every volunteer you can. Slap kids’ hands, laugh at the signs. Tear up at the many “Team Achilles” runners you see. Take in the different neighborhoods you pass through on your 5-borough run. Reminisce and feel a little emotional as you run through your old stomping grounds on First Avenue. Wow, you were young.

14. Catch sight of your Bestie – your biggest cheerleader – a moment before she yells “T-BONE” as you pass her less than ½ a mile from the finish. Her smile and energy makes you feel like you are running on air.

15. Feel exhilarated when you cross the finish. You did it. Not the way you usually do it, but that’s ok.

It’s more than okYou stepped waaaaay out of your comfort zone on this one.

And you are beaming.

What was your Best Race Ever? Was it a PR Race? Or just a great experience? Maybe you have one of each?

Everybody Just Keeps on Talking…

 

But Nobody seems to be listening.

I’ve been sitting with Colby on the “Stop the Madness and Step Away from Social Media” train.

Ducking and hiding for months. Kinda still am.

It seems the world is going mad and I for one am not hopping on the ride.

None of the noise is helping. Anything. I’ve been a lawyer for 25 years. I have 3 strong willed children. I live negotiation, argument and dispute resolution. I could work for the freaking UN.

And no one – no one succeeds at making a point when they are screaming, enraged and irrational. Like everyone seems to be these days.

So I have checked out. I know my thoughts on subjects. I’m interested in hearing views when they are expressed thoughtfully and respectfully. But “thoughtfully and respectfully” seldom show up these days. It got too hard to weed through the crazy, so I took a big leap back from all things social media.

But like Colby, I’ve missed our little blog.  I’ve missed interacting with all the great people here. So I hope I am in a place where I can start posting more. ‘Cause it really is our happy place.

Language and the ability to communicate are such gifts. Being able to voice our opinions freely is a privilege that not everyone in the world  enjoys. And frankly, the collective “we” have been pretty obnoxious about it lately. Just because you have the right and the ability to say something doesn’t mean you should yell it. Constantly.

My 5 year old nephew, W, is deaf. Fortunately, he is a rock star when it comes to sign language and is able to communicate (Every thought and emotion. Just ask my sister). But obviously, it is way more difficult for him to communicate than a hearing person. And I think of him when I see people spouting nonsense. Abusing their gift.

Last week my cousin posted 2 different videos for my sister on deaf experiences. Showing what a gift the ability to communicate really is. How lost we would be without it. They are great little videos and worth a watch. My favorite part?

They really make you think. Not talk.

 

 

 

New Beginnings

This is how I feel in spring. Just put a massive box of Kleenex in her hands.

This is how I feel in spring. Just put a massive box of Kleenex in her hands.

I love spring. Even a cold-ish, allergy filled, rainy spring like this one. Days are longer, sun is higher in the sky and every day something new pops up out of the ground. Had a CRAP week last week, but every morning I woke to daylight, birds chirping and things blooming all around. Even on tough day, it’s really hard not to feel hopeful when life is literally popping up all around you (and kicking the sh*t out of your sinuses while it does, BTW).

Like New Year’s, Spring (at least in the Northeast) is such a sign of new beginnings. It’s like a “new year” without anyone suggesting that you take stock of what you did during the last year and make resolutions for the coming one. Thank God. Even more reason to love it. A new beginning where your main focus is getting out and enjoying the world instead of reflecting on it. Yes, please!

Spring is a crazy busy time for us. Confirmations, graduations, sports schedules that require math exam type planning (If A needs to be at X field at 5 and B needs to be at Y field by 5:15, how likely is it that an SUV travelling at (somewhere in the vicinity of) the speed limit will make both drop offs, assuming no red lights?), end of schoolyear concerts, field days and assemblies. It’s a good thing that we have a winter of hibernation to gear up for the constant movement that is spring. What do people who live in warm weather climates do? Seriously – you warm weather people – WHAT THE HELL DO YOU DO? Do you just run ragged all year long??? I’m tired just thinking about it. I love Spring, but I can only take one per year. And only bookended by a cozy winter and a lazy summer, thank you.

In the vein of new beginnings, I tried a new class the other night, called the MELT method. It is NOT an exercise class. It is a “self-care” class that teaches you techniques to help relieve –and prevent- pain by manipulating fascia much like you would get in a massage session. You use squishy balls (for hands and feet) and a soft foam roller (for the rest of your body). I loved it. I have had a lot of back and shoulder pain lately and cannot seem to get rid of it even with rest days, stretching, etc. and an easy running schedule.

When I began the 1-hour class, I couldn’t lay on my back in the “assessment position” without discomfort in my lower back. By the time I left, I was completely free of aches and twinges. Amazing. I really felt like I do after a massage, possibly even better. Plus, the instructor was knowledgeable and funny- my favorite combo. The goal of the class is to teach you the method so you can use it at home. They say that 10 minutes a day is all you need to stay pain-free once you get the hang of it. I’ll take that!

Discovering MELT was perfect timing, as I want to re-align myself before starting to train for my next marathon. Oh the irony – after all my bitching and moaning about training for a fall marathon last summer, I finally got into the NYC marathon on my 4th? 5th? try. I threw my name in the lottery when it opened in December (perhaps still delusional and glowing from Colby’s and my Best Day Ever at the Baystate Marathon and conveniently forgetting that I hate summer training) and promptly forgot about it until I got the confirmation in my in-box that I was IN. After the shock wore off and the dread of intervals in August subsided,  I realized that I am really excited to get a chance to run NYC. And my husband is almost as excited about getting to experience another summer with me bitching about the heat and humidity and falling asleep at dinner, though he is hiding it nicely.

After NYC, I probably have a month or so before I will start training for Boston 2017, so it really, REALLY is time to rest, assess and get my body comfortable before absolutely beating the crap out it during back to back marathon training. Thank you, MELT Method. I think you will do just that.

If you want to learn more about MELT, here is the main website. https://www.meltmethod.com/

If are in the Fairfield County, CT area, my MELT instructor, Amanda Cizek, is fabulous and is also a trained masseuse. Her website is http://www.consistentfitness.com/ and a there is link to her very cool  “Be Awesome” blog right on the homepage. She wrote a great post last week about perceptions (misperceptions?) of what self-care means to us Type A fitness types. Check it out. Food for thought for all of us. I love her “Campaign of Awesome.” Shouldn’t we all strive to Be Awesome in our Bodies?

Have you ever tried MELT? Do you have a go-to activity like yoga, pilates or massage for balancing your running? Have you ever, like me, felt so tight and out of whack that you thought you might actually snap in half? Anyone running the NYC Marathon this year?

Climbing into your Comfort Zone

Everyone talks about moving out of your comfort zone. After all, that is where the magic happens. Right? RIGHT?

No one seems to cover those times when you need to crawl back into your comfort zone and chill for a while. Maybe even a long while. When you are way too tired to be looking for magic.

Well, I’m gonna.

Sometimes life hands you challenges…your adrenaline is flying, you’re on edge, you are existing on fumes, caffeine and raw nerves…and you haven’t seen anything resembling a “comfort zone” in months. So if you happen to catch sight of it? The LAST thing you need is to climb out of the darn thing.

Haven’t posted in a while. My husband had a pretty serious surgery in December to remove a tumor in his salivary gland, which took multiple ultrasounds, pre-surgical biopsies, bloodwork, the surgery and even multiple post-surgical biopsies to determine was benign.

Benign. Possibly the most beautiful word in the English language.

The whole ordeal, which took several months from start to final diagnosis, plus additional time for him to recover from surgery, was, ahem, draining. I was TAPPED OUT.

I read a lot of women’s magazines, etc. while sitting in waiting rooms, and noticed that everything was telling me to get me out of my comfort zone. Screw that. My comfort zone is a distant memory. I realized I needed to rediscover my comfort zone. And that is exactly what I did.

Books upon books upon books? Sure thing. Snowshoe races? Not this year. Put off everything on my to-do list while I do the Sunday NY Times crossword? You bet. Sign up for new kinds of race challenges? No f-ing way. Not now.  Make a fire as many nights as possible and plunk my butt down in front of it? Absolutely. Try “Intensity,” “TRX” and “HIIT Triple Threat” classes at my new gym? Ummm…No, No and No. I have mostly stuck to tried-and-true spinning when I can’t run. Binge watch The Office starting at Season 1 with my two oldest? Absolutely.

It’s one thing when you are bored, complacent and in a rut. THEN, you should do something to move out of your comfort zone. But when life throws you so far out of your comfort zone that you can barely find it? Love yourself enough to put the challenges and goals aside, and find a way to crawl back in. Stay as long as you need. Eventually, it, too, will pass.

Anyone else feel the need to “cocoon” lately? What do you do when you need to climb into your comfort zone?

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 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.

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!  

Crowdsourcing My Next Workout Plan

So, once I wrap up my months of training through this #@$*&! rut with the Baystate Marathon on October 18, running and I are taking a little break.

Kinda.

I still plan to run – probably just enough to maintain fitness and clear my head, though. No garmin, no pacing, no training for a few months, at least. Probably more. I want to give myself a chance to miss it and return to looking forward to my runs. I also want to return to enjoying Friday and Saturday nights and hanging in my PJ’s on weekend mornings. It’s time.

It is also time to do something else for a bit – I’m way out of whack when it comes to fitness. I’m good on cardio. No issues with endurance. My legs are strong. My core is so pathetic, I’m surprised that I can even sit unassisted, let alone run a marathon. It has to be on sheer willpower. My arms resemble those of Olive Oyl. I could lift all day and never have pipes, but I think I could stand to have a little more arm and back strength. I’m a hernia waiting to happen. And I am completely inflexible.

I hate cross-training and am a complete neanderthal when it comes to different kinds of workouts. So I thought I would throw it out to my blogger friends – what should I do during my run break?

There are only 3 things that I will not consider:

  1. Cross Fit. Just no. I’m the most antisocial exerciser in the world. That would be torture for me. Plus, I look at those set ups and just know I’d end up hurting myself.
  2. Pure Barre (or other bar method). Tried it, hated it. Great workout but could not stop looking at the clock. Life’s too short. And I jacked up my calf doing it and none of the instructors could help me figure out how it happened or how to avoid aggravating it.
  3. Swimming. I don’t swim. Ever.

Other than that, I’m open to suggestions. Pilates? Kettlebells? Free weights? Classes? Gym personal trainer? Home personal trainer (we have a Universal set up in our basement. No, I’ve never used it. if you saw me in person, you would know without me even telling you.)? Something fancy and new I have never even heard of? I’m sure there’s plenty.

The last time I maintained a regular schedule of cross training, it was when Nautilus was the most advanced thing out there and the first George Bush was president. I’m not kidding. Help me out.

What say you, Blogosphere Peeps? What should I do next????

Running on Clouds – Part II

Cloudracers

Cloudracers

A few months ago, I started running in On Cloudsurfers. You can read about my love for them here.

I recently picked up a pair of  On Cloudracers– the racing version of my beloved Cloudsurfers.

I’m still feeling the love for my Cloudsurfers, but as part of working through my $@&#^%*! Rut, I wanted to try something new.

Because, you know, my running burnout has nothing to do with the fact that I am training for my 3rd marathon in 11 months while trying to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time to keep home and work running and everything to do with my lack of new sneakers.

Ummm…yeah.

Anyhoo, regardless of my questionable reasons for buying them, I’m glad I did.

Took them for a 5 mile jaunt this morning and me likey. They are light – holy moly, light. Yet springy. I felt zippy. And they are almost entirely mesh on the top. It got a little warm by the end of my run but my feet still got a nice cross breeze and were able to breath. Even the tongue is some funky, light, aerated material.

I thought the Cloudsurfers were meshy and airy, but they ain’t got nothin’ on the Cloudracers.

See the pink , white and gray through the mesh? Those are my socks! These babies are LIGHT.

See the pink , white and gray through the mesh? Those are my socks! These babies are AIRY.

I have never worn racing flats. To someone who wears racing flats, these are probably kind of heavy because they have the cloud pods on the bottom. But they are the lightest shoes I have ever run in and I love them. I felt like I had nothing on my feet, yet the pods definitely provided cushioning.

Light.

Zippy.

Springy.

I haven’t felt that way on a run in a while. I’ll take ‘em.

What is your go-to running shoe? Do you use a different pair for training and for racing? Do you shop to get out of a rut????

Dear Fall Marathon: It’s Not You. It’s Me.

Based on some of the responses I got from my Rut post last week, it seems I’m not the only runner-in-training who’s in a bit of a funk right now.

Which got me thinking about the downsides of training for a fall marathon.

Sure, spring marathons have their own winter training challenges: ice, snow, polar vortexes, to name a few.

But training in the summer brings its own special sort of hell.

1. Heat. I know there are people who dream of running Badwater. I’m not one of them. I can barely stand to sit by a pool in the heat, let alone do something to raise my VO2 max threshold.

2. Humidity. Even worse than the heat. Truly. Lately, I may as well have been running on a treadmill in a steam room. While smoking.

3. Schedule. It’s been many moons since I last sat in a classroom, but there is still a part of me that sees “Summer” and wants to take a vacation from everything “Schedule.” Even if your training schedule is as half-assed as mine, it is still a schedule. Screw schedules. I want to be a Grasshopper in the summer, not an Ant.

4. Exhaustion. Summer training kills my sleep. If I want to get a solid run in on a weekday, I’m out the door as the raccoons are heading off to bed. I like to get up early, but there is a difference between getting up early and having coffee in bed vs. getting up early and doing intervals. No rest for the weary during summer marathon training.

5. Social Life. Because I have to be careful of what I eat and drink so I don’t puke on my hot, humid run at dawn, marathon training sure does put a damper in those Summer Nights. No midnight margaritas on the deck the night before a tempo run. If you have my stomach, there is also no: beer, wine, Mexican food, pizza, dairy, salad, anything spicy, or anything that ever touched a vegetable or fruit. I can stomach pancakes or scrambled eggs the night before a long or intense run. With water. Not exactly standard fare at summer soirees.

6. Chafing. When it is cool, I have an idea of where you will chafe, and can glide up properly before you head out. All bets are off when it is hot and humid. I can glide the hell out of every area that touches a waistband, bra strap, pocket – you name it – only to find (when I hop in the shower – Youch!)  that there was a random seam on my singlet that got soaked with sweat and chafed my shoulder blade. I developed a chafing rash on my sockline a few weeks ago. WTF? Short of gliding my entire damn body and slip-sliding all 19 miles, summer long runs are hard lessons in the odd places one can chafe.

7. Sandals. I’m not vain, but I also don’t like scaring people. Which is why I hate baring my marathon training feet to the world. Honest truth: every time I go to my local nail salon, they send a guy over. Apparently, my feet are a man’s job. (???) Nothing worse than putting on a cute pair of sandals and realizing that beneath the dainty straps, all you can see are callouses, healing blisters and missing toenails. At least in winter, no one knows what lurks beneath my Uggs.

8. Dehydration. I am either dehydrated, or recovering from being dehydrated, or worried about being dehydrated. All. The. Damn. Time. I am sick of carrying a water bottle everywhere I go. I am tired of Gatorade. I don’t want to add chia seeds to everything. I don’t want to check the color of my pee. I am still a little confused by salt pills. I want a beer. I want more beer.

9. Outdoor time. In the winter, running gives me a good reason to head outdoors. What other excuse do I have for getting some fresh air and Vitamin D when it is 8 degrees? In the summer I have lots of reasons to be outdoors, many of which involve shade, a cool drink and a book. I don’t need the lure of a 3 hour run through the rainforest to motivate me to leave my house.

10. Performance Depression. No matter how hard I run, how much water I drink, how well I fuel, if I look at my pace on my Garmin, I know I will not be impressed. I know, I know – training is more about effort than pace. Even Hanson says so. BUT, there’s something a little thankless about running your heart out only to find that you actually are moving at a snail’s pace.Almost backwards at times. Say what you will about cold temps, but they at least make you zippy.

Two of my bucket list marathons – New York and Chicago – are in the Fall, so I’m probably not done with the fall marathon yet. And the truth is, the fall is a GREAT time to race.

I just wish the summer was a good time to train.

How do you feel about training in the summer? The winter? Ever? Which races are on your bucket list?