Lessons in Running: I am invincible! Until I’m not.

You know that thing, where you’re totally 100% motivated, crushing your workouts and ticking off the days until your next marathon with your Coach because GOALS when all of the sudden out of nowhere – POW! – you’re sidelined by your cardiologist for 5-7 days??? Benched. Grounded. Stop. Drop. And roll over and scream because WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO YOU?!?!? And not for nothing, why do I even have a cardiologist? cry babyAbout a month ago when I started blogging again, I posted about what I had been up to and alluded to a health issue that I had experienced. I was planning on posting about it because it was a terrifying experience that I wanted to share as a cautionary tale for athletes everywhere. The moral to the story I never told was: Don’t dismiss chest pain. Or chalk it up to a million other things. If chest pain wakes you up in the middle of the night – Go get checked out immediately. Don’t screw around.  Note: I would like to state for the record that I am NOT a doctor nor am I a health care professional. But this much I know: if chest pain wakes you up out of a sound sleep, GO GET CHECKED OUT BY ONE. 

Some months ago that’s exactly what happened to me. I woke up with a horrible chest pain in the middle of the night. I froze for a minute, pondered the thought of a heart attack and calmly took my pulse. I breathed through it and came up with exactly 42 reasons why my chest could be hurting me. I ran 10 miles yesterday. I raked a yard full of leaves. I did push ups. The list went on and on until I had convinced myself that I was fine. Until it happened again. Then I got nervous. I woke up my other half in a panic. The chest pain resolved. I hemmed and hawed about going to the hospital. I stayed in bed.

This is ridiculous. I can’t go to the hospital?!?! I’m fine. It’s gone. They’re not gonna believe me. What am I gonna do? Be the vegetarian, non-smoking, marathon runner who has a few minutes of chest pain and stroll on in?

Well guess what? That’s exactly who I was – a seemingly “healthy” athlete with a cardiovascular problem. The next day I called my doctor and made an appointment to be seen. I told them I had had chest pain. Oddly, an appointment materialized out of no where. Because that’s what happens when you have chest pain – they take you seriously, Colby. Myth busted.

What followed was a series of very scary events. I saw my doctor and was immediately sent to the emergency room. I was in a hypertensive crisis. Crazy high blood pressure and a very unhappy heart. After a host of tests in the Emergency Department, they determined that I was hypertensive and possibly had pericarditis- an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac surrounding your heart. I was referred to a cardiologist.  I followed up immediately and within days had a monitor on, a stress test scheduled,  a follow up appointment and a plethora of tests down the pike.

As for my stress test? I was unable to do it because of hypertensive crisis number two in one week. Mission aborted. Me, the runner, could not do it. I was beside myself and straight up scared. I’m gonna have a heart attack. I was immediately put on blood pressure medication. Why? Why is this happening to me? Shit. If I knew that I was going to wind up on anti-hypertensives I would have sat my ass on the couch, ate bloomin’ onions all day and smoked Camels. Either way, I’m here. Sometimes you swim in a crummy gene pool and sometimes you don’t. And if you’re wading in the deep end of that pool,  all the kale in the world isn’t going to help you. Neither are the marathons. 

What a scary, stressful mess. I was confirmed to have viral pericarditis. And I had high blood pressure- which was probably waiting in the wings to make it’s formal debut. It chose right then. I had to stop running entirely for weeks and take copious amounts of NSAIDs. And right now, as in TODAY? I have it again – recurrent viral pericarditis. My blood pressure is perfect. Thanks, meds! Why this decided to reemerge I am not exactly sure. But fortunately I am incredibly blessed to have excellent doctors and access to great healthcare which is something that I will never take for granted. I have no doubt they will figure it all out. For now, I have to stop running for a little bit to get this under control. Then we get to the bottom of it. *cracks knuckles*

My real reason for writing all of this was not to scoff in the face of HIPPA laws or to host a pity party,  it was to tell you: If a health issue pops up, don’t ignore it. There’s such an emphasis on PRs, PBs, BQs – that sometimes its easy to forget that running – any kind of running at all – is a gift. The same goes for your health. Just because you’re a healthy endurance athlete, doesn’t mean you’re immune to cardiovascular issues, or health issues in general. While running and exercise has be proven to be beneficial to your health, it’s also not a “Get Out of the Hospital Free” card. Shit happens. And sometimes it can happen to YOU. Don’t ever take chest pain lightly. Or, try and talk yourself out of seeking care immediately because you’re a marathoner – they won’t doubt you because you look “too healthy to be here”.  Issues can pop up out of no where. Listen to your body. Don’t doubt it. Respond quickly. It’s counting on you.




Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright

Dearly Beloved,
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called…


.prince gif.gif

What. Too soon?

Oh, Prince. Such very sad news. Heart breaking. The guy was a genius. And Purple Rain was the first R-rated movie I ever saw. I thought I was soooooo cool afterwards. I even tried to make Apollonia my middle name but my Mom wasn’t having it.  I have been listening to and singing Prince all week. It’s on repeat in my head and on shuffle on my iPhone. “Let’s Go Crazy” has been officially added to my “Run Fast Colby!” playlist. Unfortunately, Colby Running Fast has not been on repeat. It’s been on skip.

I actually contemplated hanging up my Hoka’s this week. I’m not even fooling. Hang ’em up and put on my new cycling kicks and ride off into the sunset. Screw it. I’m gonna ride bikes instead. I’m done. I had- hands down– THE worst series of runs I have ever had. EVER. Worse than when I started running which was pretty much the day after I saw Purple Rain which was about 100 years ago. My agony started last Sunday.

Don’t let the smile fool you. I was happy to have made it to my driveway. Dumbest run ever. 10 miles. Hilliest route on earth. Dehydrated. Mildly hung over. And one bitchy hamstring did not make for an epic run. It made for a sufferfest. I decided on this route as a sort of litmus test. A Where Am I Starting?  The answer is right at the goddamn bottom. I couldn’t get out of my own way. I shuffled my pathetic ass up a series of 4 hills, one longer and more annoying than the next. When did this route get so hard? Am I this out of shape? I didn’t think I was. But now? Gah. I’m a hot mess.

So like any runner, I ran the next day. And the next. Both of which were no better than Sunday’s Suck Fest. The next I rode my bike. And had a big old talk with myself. It went like this:




I wish I was paraphrasing. I need to clean up the edges. I need to get serious. I need to see where I’m really starting because I feel like a broken down Yugo. My InsideTracker profile needs a definite update. Hello, Retest! I need to focus on something other than my former job. Like my new one! That tired old stress needs to leave the building, specifically my legs so I can move them with purpose again. My former situation was crippling in more ways than one. Onward and upward! A bike ride always puts things into perspective for me. Sometimes in a way that running doesn’t. Besides, all Running told me was to stop. Who wants to hear that shit when you’re trying to chug a big old pint of Motivation?

So I ignored what Running was telling me. And continued on the rest of the week. After a few moderately better #runventures (and one ill advised mountain bike ride with My Other Half, Drunk Otis, a bloody Achilles and a goddamn massive contusion on my hip), I began to fall into a rhythm. There you are Running! My Old Familiar Rhythm. And here I thought I’d lost you. I decided Saturday night, after icing my hip and cleaning my wounds, that I would re-run The Dreaded 4 Hilled Route. I woke up like it was race day. Hydrated. Well rested. Nary a hang over in sight. And this time?

wonder woman running.gif

Me, Sunday.

Are we gonna let the elevator

Bring us down

Oh, no let’s go!

All I needed was an invisible jet and a goddamn lasso. 🙂

Have you ever seriously contemplated hanging up your running kicks? What’s the longest stretch of horrible runs you’ve ever had? What was the first R-rated movie you ever saw?

My InsideTracker Ultimate ReTest. Progress!

Inside Tracker Logo

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


Source: Giphy


Let’s review.

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

Blood Don’t Lie, Poodles.

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

My first set of results prompted three key health goals:

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

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

    The Ultimate ReTest.

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

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

      Goals vs. Reality:  The Verdict.

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

      Cortisol Over Time

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


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

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

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


      The Marathon of a Lifetime.

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



      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.

      ‘Twas the Night Before Race Day

      20141126-222452-80692928.jpg‘Twas the night before race day, when all through the town
      No sleep would be had by the runners around;
      Their race clothes were laid by the door with care,
      In hopes that a PR soon would be there.

      The rest of the world – they were snug in their beds,
      While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
      But for runners like me, sleep would not come,
      We tossed and we turned until up came the sun,

      Only then did our bodies succumb to a nap,
      But then – BOOM! Our alarms went off like a slap.
      We frantically pulled our clocks to our faces,
      To make sure we hadn’t slept through our races.

      Next: Check the weather. Sunny or Snow?
      Running through heat or twenty below?
      Even though we’d stalked the forecast forever,
      We needed that last minute check on the weather.

      Time to get dressed, get stressed over layers,
      Yes, it’s cold now, but what about later?
      Sure we can shed some clothes as we go,
      But where goes the damn race bib? We know it must show.

      Once our wardrobe is finally complete,
      It’s time for the Glide and to deal with our feet!
      Glide is easy: everywhere it goes
      More difficult is dealing with feet and with toes.

      Long or short socks? Compression or not?
      Too risky to try the new ones we’ve bought?
      And no matter how much we adjust our right sock,
      There’s a bump in it that feels like it’s hiding a rock.

      Next come the sneakers, a whole different stress
      One wrong lace and BINGO! Your feet are a mess.
      First they’re too loose. Then they’re too tight.
      On race day they never ever ever feel right.

      Next up: some food, though it’s barely daylight
      And who wants to eat when it’s still kind of night?
      So we choke down bagels, maybe oatmeal instead,
      And toss back some coffee to wake up our heads.

      Breakfast is over, so now we must pack
      Some fuel to eat for a mid-race snack.
      Chompers or gel? Sport beans or Gu?
      Too many choices, so we just grab a few.

      We’re dressed! We’re packed! We finished our meal!
      Time to head out – shit’s getting real!
      But of course we cannot just head out the door,
      Without visiting the loo, at least one time more.

      Off to the race site, time to check in,
      Stare at the elites – those guys might win!
      Then straight to the porta potties – get in a line,
      We know that is where we will spend most of our time.

      After spending quality time at the John
      We realize the moment has come to move on
      And make our way over to the starting line;
      Adjust our Garmin and pacebands one final time.

      Do a few stretches, hand to your heart,
      As the national anthem signals the start.
      Excitement builds, you’re ready to burst,
      Whether it’s your fiftieth race or your first.

      The countdown begins and off goes the gun,
      It’s finally here – the race has begun!.
      So we look up and wish on the new morning star,

      Gear, Glorious Gear!


      It’s Christmas up in here!

      There are few things greater than receiving all of the items you’ve recently purchased online on the SAME day. What are the odds, right? Ok. Maybe getting all the items you’ve ordered for free would be better, but alas, I am still like a 6 year-old on Christmas Morning who dances with glee on the fireplace hearth when she sees the UPS guy walk up the driveway. With the VT50 slowly creeping up on me (like an itchy, irritating rash), I needed some new gear. More specifically new socks, new visor, new hydration vest, and new legs a new pair of trail running shoes. The new kicks weren’t a part of the recent order. I got them weeks ago and LOVE running in them.

      IMG_1184.JPG The Product: Injinji Performance 2.0 RUN Light Weight toe sock. After the Great Toenail Revolt of 2014 at the VermontCity Marathon, I decided to look into Injinji toe socks. I had heard wondrous things about them. The fit. The comfort. The lack of issues associated with wearing them. People seem to love them. Seeing as how I only had 7 toenails left, I figured I had not much left to lose. I decided to give them a go.

      The Verdict: I really dig them! I am going to be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to love them at first. I put them on and they felt weird. And I looked like a Hobbit. Or Jack Johnson. After several runs, I am really liking them! You lose the- there’s something between my toes- feeling pretty quickly. They are super comfortable and had zero issues with rubbing or blisters. They feel snug and supportive without being tight and restrictive. I bought the lowest profile sock. And they didn’t budge or bunch up during any of the 5 trail runs I went on. Thumbs Toes up!

      The Product: Nathan Zeal Women’s (2L) Hydration Vest Pack. If there is one thing I am paranoid about during long runs it’s running out of water. Camel, I am not. I usually wear a hydration belt, drop water bottles along my route or use a hand held bottle. While all of them are perfectly reasonable, I figure tackling a 50K with longer stretches between aid stations might require something more substantial. And more comfortable. Enter the Hydration Vest.

      The Verdict: I love it. Really love it. It fits. It doesn’t bounce or chafe AT ALL and I used it all oppressively humid week. I was impressed. There are plenty of straps to fine tune adjustments and also plenty of zipper pouches to stash Gu, keys, your iPhone, real food, whatevs. It has a 2L bladder which I found plenty huge. It’s also really easy to clean and invert. I’m not all that big (a GIANT 5″2) and the Women’s Zeal fit just right. The other nice thing is the strap across your Lady Bits adjusts (it slides up and down) so you don’t wind up feeling like you’re wearing a push-up bra and running in the Lady Marmalade video. Again. I was impressed. Add another 18oz SpeedGrab bottle in the front for your performance drink and you’re golden. The bottle also does not hinder your movement. I had no issues whatsoever. Oh. And another thing. She’s got a whistle attached. Of course I blew it wildly.

      IMG_1186.PNG The Product: Betty Designs Signature Visor. I’ve never been a visor girl- always a full on hat. But sometimes full on hats can get hot, so I figured I would try a visor and let my head breathe and my ponytail flip freely.

      20140904-215031-78631932.jpgThe Verdict: In the interest of full disclosure I will admit I bought this visor because IT’S FREAKING BADASS. I love Betty Designs, their logo, their whole philosophy. They make fantastic cycling kits which I have, love and recommend. See? That’s me being a Badass Betty in my rad kit which fits like a glove. They’ve got great designs—not super girly girl. Just super badass. The visor is made by Headsweats and embroidered with the Betty Designs logo. It has this awesome elastic band which is super comfortable and FITS without cutting off the circulation to your brain. There is also a terry band near the brim that keeps the sweat out of you eyes. I may have purchased this initially because it was beyond cute, but I found it’s super functional. LOVES IT.

      IMG_1189.JPGThe Product: Pearl Izumi Women’s EM Trail M2. I wasn’t happy with the trail shoe I had been running in and I expressed my disgust with my Blogger Friend Carly @ The Next Finish Line who suggested I take a gander at the Pearl Izumi’s. Happy Feet! Happy Feet!


      If I had to sum up how I feel about this trail shoe I would have to say: Smooth, smooth like a buttermilk biscuit. They also feel extremely secure. Like I’m not going to roll an ankle or slip and fall on my ass, secure. They grip without feeling like your stuck in a glue trap. I know- I am SUPER technical. They have a wide toe box, allowing you to freely wiggle your toes which I desperately need to do at all times. I also think there is a pretty good chance my feet will be swollen like sausages during this 50k, so I figured the more room I have, the better chance of retaining my 7 remaining toenails. Let’s hope I’m right. They are really well cushioned, not quite pillowy, but definitely cushioned.

      20140904-214001-78001399.jpgStep on a rock and it doesn’t feel like it’s slicing your paw open. They also have a toe guard to ward off stubbing. I am flat-footed and the stability they provide is more than adequate for me. Shock of all shocks, they’re light. They also have these super cool shoe laces which stay tied. I feel much more sure footed in these babies. And they’re purple. I swear they make me run faster. Leon James loved them too. Thus the Happy Dog Photobomb.

      What is one piece of running gear you can’t possibly live without? How much cash are you willing to drop on running sneakers? And while I’m on the topic, how often do you replace them?

      All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I purchased the items with my own cash. If I didn’t like them, believe me, you would know. 🙂

      Trail Running For Dummies.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


      Coping with PMWS- Post Marathon Withdrawal Syndrome. You are not alone.

      It’s real y’all.

      And I’ve got it.

      If you’ve run a marathon, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

      It’s the…


      Now what.

      There is a period of grieving after you finish a marathon. Honestly? It’s like a goddamn death. The idea was conceived, you nurtured your training and then you ran your marathon. You should be elated! Which you were. But now? It’s over. And you should feel free to grieve accordingly. You just spent months training for the Main Event. And then, in a few million blinks of an eye- DONE. Your medal sits quietly, on the coffee table, gathering dust after a mere 4 days. It’s ribbon neatly folded beneath. That medal longs for the moment the volunteer slapped her on your sweaty salty neck, and she became the Light of your Life. You waxed poetic about her all week, wearing her days after, talking about her to anyone who would listen. The barista at Starbucks.The check out chick at TJMaxx. The UPS Guy who just wanted to deliver your goddamn package. {Sigh.}

      I feel your pain.

      Just as in any grieving process, there are 5 Stages you will be going through. I suggest you sit tight, buckle up, grab a snuggie and a tumbler of wine and ride the waves. Just let it out, People. Let. It. Out.

      1. Denial.  No way I just ran that marathon. Are you kidding me? After all that time?  All of those lost weekends?  All of the glasses of wine I declined because I “had a long run in the morning?” All those miles logged in conditions that would make a billy goat puke? AND IT’S OVER?  It’s Donezo?! NO. It can’t be over.


      2. Anger. So. It’s really over now, isn’t it. So that was it, huh?! After all that bullshit running capped off with a trip to the ER and permanent facial scars AND I DIDN’T EVEN PR??? I ran a WHAT?? WHY ME!!! Screw you Boston Qualifier! SCREW YOU! YOU PROSTITUTION WHORE!


      3. Bargaining. Shit. If only I had done more speed workouts, I would have PR’d. I promise next time I won’t blow off my hill repeats to get a pedicure, if I can just PR. Just this once. Please? I’ll run fartleks. I’ll do repeats. Tempo Runs. Strides. Pretty please???  WHATEVER IT TAKES!  I SWEAR. Can you HEAR me??? Is this thing on?? Who the hell am I talking to?


      4. Depression. I can’t even move. And it’s not because my Baby Toes are necrotic. I am hopeless. Hollow. Despondent. Am I breathing? Mother? Somebody? Hold me.Image

      5. Acceptance. Welp. I can sit here waiting for my toe nails to fall off, and wallow in a kiddie pool of regret and self-loathing, or I can wrap those piggies, throw on some sneaks and hop right back in the saddle.  Who said “over”? Nothing is over until I decide it is! That’s it. I’ve got the cure for what ails me. I’m pulling the trigger. I’m REGISTERING FOR MY NEXT MARATHON! And it’s gonna be fanfuckingtastic!Image

      See? All better. Carry on.  🙂

      A Midspring Evening’s Hope


      Race Week. Finally. The Grand Finale just a mere 26.2 miles away. You’ve done the miles. (And still have the goddamn black eye to prove it. )This week, the runs are short. The body is ready. The mind? Well. The mind is what needs a little work. A little wrangling. A little Tough Love. Thank god for Tina. 🙂

      I’ve had to do a little more Mind Wrangling than usual this time around. Ever since The Fall Heard Round The Blog-O-Verse, I’ve been doubting myself. And I don’t usually do Doubt. Or Pity. I decide to do something. I work as hard as I possibly can. And I do it. Period. I will do it. There is no question. The End. This time? It was like a giant pin came out of a stormy sky and popped my whole goddamn plan. All that air, all that confidence went right out. {Cue Pity.} Instantly. And left a mark.

      Then I went for a massage.

      I am lucky to have a Massage Therapist who is truly gifted. Screw All the King’s Horses and All the Kings Men. She can fix just about anyone. No doubt. She is truly a genuine person, whom I also call a friend. She is a runner. And just about 100lbs. Yet she can make you sweat and whimper with one touch of her little finger. Regardless, you will feel 10 times better after seeing her. You will feel more open. Less stuck. She brings awareness. Not just to the body, but to the mind as well.

      We got to chatting. As we always do. She has run the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon handfuls of times. It’s her favorite. Lately she sees things in a different way. A profound loss will do that to a person. And she has suffered a heart breaking one. But yesterday, she was Herself. For the first time in a long time. And it gave me hope. Her fog was lifting. She lit up talking about her marathons. About her love of running. About the joy and appreciation that comes from being out doors, pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits, and just letting go! Ahhh that feeling! Appreciate your body and what it can do!

      Because not everyone can “do.”
      She knows that firsthand.
      And I needed to be reminded of it.

      Most people run one marathon. And cross it off their list. You haven’t just run one marathon. You have run seven. SEVEN!

      It was the way she said it. And in that moment, it hit me. My god. I have, haven’t I. I am healthy enough to have run 7 Marathons. And I’ll run an eighth. So all this wallowing in a sea of self-pity? Come ON Colby. Get over yourself.

      Just Zip It.
      Be Thankful.
      And Run.

      Get thee to a farrier.


      I am seriously considering becoming a foot model.
      Said no runner. EVER.

      Myself included.

      Gah. My hooves. My poor, banged up, calloused feet. Thank god they’re far away from my STILL hideous, scarred, healing face. (No worries. My feet will never be near my face. I can’t do scorpion pose if my life depended on it.) I’m a godamn LOOKER these days. These poor paws have run quite a few miles the past few years. Quite a few. And lemme tell ya, they ARE worse for wear. I need to put these poor bitches UP. And then run a belt sander over them. Sweet Jesus.

      Now that I’m tapering and obsessively checking weather.com for next Sunday’s forecast, I’ve been over analyzing every little twinge, cramp, tightness, ache, pain, callous and breath. This includes intense scrutiny of my piggies. The positive? Zero black toenails. I should stop right now.


      Clearly, I have won! Although I do still have a black eye. So I guess I’m back to negative? Damn. So close!

      I know I don’t have any black toenails because I have been sans pedicure FOR MONTHS. That’s right. No polish. Why? Because distance runners need to see their ugly toes. At least this distance runner does. The one time I left Opi’s “Lincoln Park After Dark” on them, I didn’t realize my nail was longer than I’d like, and it banged against my sneak for an entire half marathon with 3 miles STRAIGHT DOWN HILL. RIP ring finger toe nail. RIP. Ever since then, I’ve been proactive about foot health. And in order to be proactive, you need to keep a close eye on those puppies. Wrong sneaker fit? Ill fitting socks? Blisters? Jacked up foot strike? Whatever the problem, you’re better off discovering it sooner than later.

      On this, One-Week-Till-Marathon-Eve, my nails are all firmly on. I have decided on my socks and race day running duds. With weather options. Must have options. My left knee feels weird. And if my lower back was any tighter, you could totally play the opening chords to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit on it. Massage on Tuesday. 🙂 I am fighting off Taper Madness by beating the shit out of it with a foam roller. The callouses however are staying for now. They’re like little badges of honor. They’ve got one week. Then it’s time to apologize profusely to the Pedicurist and Pick My Color. Christ. I may even send her an Edible Arrangement afterward.

      How many toenails have YOU lost running? Do you look like you bought your toes at a Used Toe Sale? How do you handle The Taper?