MMMbop. It’s Training Time!

ermahgerd hernserns mahtherd

How fitting that Marathon Training Kick Off week coincides with National Running Day! Or should I say MAHRERTHERN TRERNIN! EMG is right. I just got nauseous. That kinda snuck up on me. It’s time to get my Run Face on, lace up my Newton’s and get real. This time I mean business. This is the year I will give it all I’ve got. Yeah, I’m looking at you Boston. I’ve got my eye on qualifying.  And I’m mixing this shit up a lil’ bit. I’ve decided to use Hansons Marathon Method. Unorthodox, I know. Crazy? Maybe.

The Hansons Method eliminates the Uber-Long Run and the Uber High-Mileage weekend, two age old staples in marathon training. Training for a marathon without an 18, 20 or even 22 miler kinda makes me itch. It would really make me burst out in hives if this were my first marathon, but it’s not. It’s my 8th. And quite frankly, if I am focused on my goal of a running a Boston qualifying time, I need to re-focus my training plans. If I hadn’t seen how well my Other Half’s marathon training had gone using this method, I probably wouldn’t have considered it. He was super ballsy doing this plan for his first marathon. I was worried he would lack the pre-requisite mental confidence that is gained with a 20 mile run. (Uh, no. He didn’t.) Hold on to your butts, Poodles! Here are the cliff notes to the Hansons’ radical marathon training method!Jaw Drop Wreck It Ralph

  • No Weekly Long Run. You max out at 16 miles. Pick your jaw up off of the floor. It’s true.
  • No Back to Back Super Long Runs. That doesn’t mean you won’t be running your face off, your just not following your 20-miler with another doozy the next morning. ‘Cuz there’s no 20 miler. *Gasp!*
  • You will run 6 days a week. Consistency is key.  It’s about the quality of miles run and not necessarily the quantity of miles run. But believe me, you are RUNNING.
  • You will run speed, strength and tempo workouts that are focused on your goal pace. Goal pace is key with this plan. And if I want to run a particular qualifying time? Duh. It’s time to focus on my pace. No slacking, Colby. Strap on your Garmin. See this oval thing? It’s a track. You’re gonna remember how much you loved each other.
  • Other than prescribed workouts, your runs will be grouped into Easy Runs (1-2 minutes slower than goal pace) and Something Of Substance Runs (SOS). Keep your eyes glued towards the heavens. You will see me sending up SOS flares from time to time. I am sure of it. Gah.
  • Fresh Legs? Forget ‘em. You’re not going to have them. And that’s for a reason. This method’s focus is on the last 16 miles of the race. Bonking? What bonking? This plan emphasizes Active Recovery, hence your Easy Runs.

What does all this mean for you, Dear Reader? Fasten your 5-point harness, because you’re going to be getting Colby’s Hansons Training Updates with frequency! Aren’t you lucky!  I apologize in advance. But it’s true. At least they might make you giggle. I think I need to put ’em out there to keep me honest. I am locked and loaded. I’ve been running for years. Enough. It’s BQ Time.I run

I would be remiss if I didn’t say: Happy National Running Day! Remember to hug another runner! Why do you run? I run to overcome! I run because slapping people is frowned upon! I run because it keeps me whole! I run to experience The Thrill of the Done. Giving it all you have. During that run. On that day. In that moment. There is simply nothing better. Happy Running Friends! 🙂

God, I love running.

God, I love running.

 What marathon training method do you use? Would you be comfortable training for your next marathon WITHOUT The Long Run? Am I nuts?

The Hills are Alive…

With the sound of grown women crying.

Note to Self: when you sign up for a race that has “Hills” prominently displayed in the title, and markets itself as the 2nd toughest race in Connecticut, it’s not going to be a cakewalk.

Not that we thought that it was going to be easy. If you recall, we didn’t think anything at all because we forgot we were running the damn thing. But truth be told, had we given it thought, we wouldn’t have worried too much. We have suffered through the sufferfest that was the old Fairfield Half course, with hills you could ski down – but had to run up. (Even the new Fairfield course is hilly and it’s always 80 freaking degrees.) A little more than a month ago, I ran a hill named “Heartbreak Hill” and lived to tell. Colby runs trail races that end at the moon. So if we had prepared for the race, we would have thought, Hills. OK. So it won’t be a PR course, but we’ll be OK.

And those hills that knew we were ignoring them and not paying our proper respects? You know what they did? They kicked our disrespectful asses.

SAT AM: We start texting around 5:30 AM. Salt tablets? Address for race? Do we have the right date? Copious amounts of water? We’re ready. Kind of. I still don’t know where I am going, but fortunately, my GPS does. Call Colby from the car for pre-race giggles and nervous musings on the 66 degree, 97% humidity weather we are having (at 6 AM), and our call gets dropped twice. Even though we are less than 25 miles apart on the same damn road. Look for a post on cell phone rants coming soon.

We both arrive without incident. Colby is able to park within feet of the start line. God Bless the Small Race.

The joy before the misery.

The joy before the misery.

We are laughing because her number is 12. I’m 48. No, this is not because we are part of the elite team. It is because they assign numbers alphabetically. Still, it is cool to see her with “12” on her bib and I’m kinda wishing I married someone with an A last name so I could be in single digits.

We look around and can’t help but notice that some people look like they are heading to a Rocky Horror Picture Show or maybe the prom? We know this race was not marketed as a costume race and yet feel underdressed in our running shorts and singlets. For the Love of God. Please do not tell me that I am now expected to gussy up for a half. I can barely remember my Garmin and my Glide. Is there a memo I have missed? Stay tuned for a post on this topic.

Bib pickup starts at 7, race starts at 8. There are a few hundred people signed up for the race and there are 3 – count ’em – 3, porta potties. You do the math. The line takes up most of the 5K course. The race is delayed almost 20 minutes while we wait for the porta potty line to clear. We feel the temperature go up minute by minute and panic, quietly. The last visitor is cheered as he exits the stall.

And we’re off.

The first 2 miles are on a flat rail trail through the woods. Not too bad. To exit the rail trail to the rest of the course, though, we have to run up a wooden walkway that is narrow, steep and full of switchbacks and elderly people out for their morning constitutionals. The person in front of me almost took a gentleman out. This is weird.

Just after mile 2, our friend Patty and her daughter Grace were waiting to cheer us on. Grace even made a sign! Such a great surprise and made my morning.

I think it was around mile 3-ish where several miles of hills really started. Holy Crap. HOLY CRAP! For the next several miles, there was a total of 610 feet of vertical climb. That’s not hilly. That’s mountain-y. It’s also painful and at this point, I start thinking that I not only don’t like racing, I’m pretty sure I don’t even like running. I generally have at least one of these moments in any race where the mercury is above 70. Which it most certainly is at this point.

And it wasn’t just the big hills. The course is rolling almost the entire way after you get off the rail trail. Quads! Hammies! Calves! They all hate me at this point, as well as, I am assuming, Colby.

See, Colby was all ready to run a fun half in Branford that ended at a brewery on Sunday, but since I couldn’t make that one, she switched to this one. As all BRF’s do. 

But that doesn’t mean that she won’t beat me to a pulp at the end. And it would be well-deserved. This course is hard.

I spend miles 7-9 running a little faster, thinking of how Colby is going to kill me when she sees me at the finish. Should I just keep running after the finish line until I get to my car and high tail it home? I think she has a busy weekend – probably doesn’t have time to drive to my house and kill me. Will buy me at least another week.

The sun comes out and I think of the delayed start, and all that beautiful overcast sky that was wasted waiting for people to clear the porta-potties. I go from hot and uncomfortable to a hot mess. In seconds.

It’s an out and back course, so the rollers that were there from miles 3-7 on the way out are sadly still there on the way back. Fortunately, many of the bigger hills were uphills on the way out, so we get some – not enough – never enough – but some – nice downhills on the way back. Except at mile 10, where there is an endless uphill that makes me want to puke. Or cry. Or both.

When I see our personal booster club (Patty and Grace), I know that just that weird wooden walkway and the rail trail are all that separate me from a massive bottle of water and a lick of shade.

Once on the rail trail, I’m kind of alone. I can see two guys about ¼ mile ahead of me and there is someone around ¼ mile behind me, but no one right near me. I realize that I have never run a race this small before. Felt weird, but kind of cool. More weird than cool, though. City Girl likes crowds. I also like someone to chase for the last mile to keep me going. Here, it’s just me and a bunch of trees that all look alike.

The finish is nice – plenty of people hanging around to cheer, and the medal is cool. Lots of water.

My face and legs are covered in salt. So are Colby’s. We are officially disgusting, sweaty messes. We don’t love our times, but it turns out that it was more because of the tough course than us having tough races, because we both finish well in our divisions. I actually came in 2nd for our division and got a sweet pint glass with the name of the race and my place engraved on the back it. Hamden Glass We spent the next hour bitching about the race and agreeing that we are DEFINITELY doing it next year.

Did you ever doubt?

Sweaty, Miserable, Smiling Fools.

Sweaty, Miserable, Smiling Fools.

Whirlwind Wednesday. And a Series of Fortunate Events.

First of all. I thought today was Monday. Which is what happens when you spend a GLORIOUS 7 days away from work, drinking Heady Toppers, eating delicious FRESH food and watching your Other Half run his first marathon AND KICK IT IN THE CHOMPERS!

Oh, Hi. Boston Called. YOU JUST QUALIFIED!!

YAAAAASSSS!

YAAAAASSSS!

To say I am proud of him is a goddamn understatement. There are no words. Just love, love, love. I love him to pieces.  In fact, if I didn’t love him, I might hate him. He’s one of those Naturals. You know. The Athlete. The Dude who can do anything and loves the work that goes along with it? Yeah. That Guy. He’s My Lobster.  I am so proud of him. My heart is overflowing. Good stuff I tell ya. Actually, there have been a few Pretty Damn Good things that have happened in the past 10 Days. Here’s a Colby Good Stuff Sampler!

Running along Lake Champlain

    1. I went to a ‘Ladies Only Wine and WOD’ sponsored by Lululemon! Can you even stand it? One of my dear friends is into CrossFit and her box (I know. That sounds filthy.) was sponsoring a ladies only CrossFit night with wine, paleo grub and Lululemon. And she brought me! I’ve dabbled in CrossFit several times and if it wasn’t so damn expensive where I live, I’d be sipping the organic cool-aid. But alas. I also love shoes. And wine. And delicious IPAs as you’ll read about shortly. So there’s that. CrossFit Bethany hosted it and it did not disappoint. Such a great community of people. Very welcoming. Very friendly. There are some jacked broads there (Exhibit A. Below). Bethany Cross Fit!It was awesome. Vikki and I partnered up and had a blast.  Running, box jumps, rope work, abs, all sorts of stuff. Oh? And Wine. And Shopping. (Hello Vinyasa Scarf!) And my girl Vikki. I see why she loves it so much there. All of the Ladies I met were fantastic and so was the wine. Great. Time. Thanks Vik!

      Victorious!

    2. I was finally matched with a buddy! Tina posted about I Run 4 a little while back (here) and if you aren’t familiar with them, I strongly encourage you to check them out. Salt @ Run Salt Run and I were both matched the same week! I know she’s equally as excited. It’s such an amazing group. Here is the link to their website: Who I Run 4 . They pair a special needs “Buddy” with a “Runner.”
      My First Official 5 mile run. #IRun4Wyatt

      My First Official 5 mile run. #IRun4Wyatt

      Your job as the runner is to dedicate your runs to your Buddy and interact with them via IR4’s closed Facebook Group. It’s an incredible community. I can tell you that I have been paired with an amazing little boy named Wyatt. I am already forging a wonderful relationship with his family. And I’ve gotta say, there hasn’t been a single mile I’ve run since “meeting” him where I haven’t thought about his smiling face. My miles have meaning. It is so fulfilling. Sign up. It’s worth the wait.

      Mile 3. Grafton, Vermont is gorgeous.

      Mile 3. Grafton, Vermont is gorgeous.


    3. Leon James and Evil Beagle might be getting a BROTHER!  So this happened as I was running the trails in my neighborhood. Yup. He happened. Chocolate Boy We ran right into one another. I encountered a big, handsome, chocolate lab swimming with a stick in his mouth on the trails. Of course I stopped and chatted with his Human and got the scoop. Long serendipitous story short: I need a running buddy, he needs a home.  It was love at first sight. Note: It’s not that Leon James and Evil Beagle, Pearl Anne, don’t want to run with me, they totally would. Only if I walked. And they ate gobs of treats. L. James is recovering from 2 -yes TWO- knee reconstruction $urgerie$ and Pearl Anne is….well?  Let’s just say this: Girlfriend don’t like to work out. They’re also both 11 years old and the thought of losing one? STOP. I know we’re crazy. But deal with it. I’d rather be an Old Crazy Dog Lady than an Old Crazy Cat Lady any day of the week. Cross your paws that it goes through! Squeeeeeee!
    4. We scored a case of Heady Topper. boooyaYup. In another, The Stars Are In Alignment Moment, we happened upon a delivery of Heady Topper as we were leaving Burlington, Vermont. After asking what all the hub-bub was about (then turning to each other and fist-pumping when we heard why) we immediately hopped in line and waited for our Liquid Gold. You can’t get the stuff outside of Vermont. And then not all of Vermont. It wins all sorts of ‘Best Beer’ Awards. The result: TWO FREAKING CASES OF HEADY TOPPER! For those of you who aren’t beer fans, this is the equivalent of finding a unicorn blowing bubbles while riding a T-Rex. IT NEVER HAPPENS. Fear not, we filled a cooler, loaded it with ice, and gingerly transported our cases of beauties across state lines. TO DRINK. ALL. SUMMER. We also drank them in Burlington… 

      Heady Topper and Focal Banger. CHEERS!

      And even ate them in DELICOUS PRETZEL FORM at the Burlington Farmer’s Market… 

      Heady Topper Jalapeno Pretzel Bliss.

      In short, ALL THE HEADY TOPPER. Happiness. 

    5. We ate great food in Burlington, Vermont

      Asparagus Porn.

      It wasn’t all kick ass beers and tacos. Although I would perfectly content if that were the case. A few notable eating establishments in Burlington:  Hankering for tacos? Run to El Cortijo. Kitchsy. Cool. Not too hipster. And MY FAVORITE joint for good beer and tacos. I love that little spot. It’s hard not to binge on tacos and ‘chos there. Trust me.  

      Revolution Kitchen.

      Next fave: Revolution Kitchen which, in addition to having another of our favorite beers on tap, Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, has DELICIOUS vegetarian grub. Like really good and not completely typical. The staff couldn’t have been more charming.  And guacamole filled wonton “nachos.”  For real. *drools* We dig it.   

      Jazzy!

      Last? Hen of the Wood. INNOVATIVE and delicious. Even the ice cubes were cool. Everything here is done with intention. It’s fantastic- organic, sustainable and locally sourced. We had these insane Apple cider fritters with some sort of delectable goodness on them and we swooned. Shit was GOOD. And? I took zero food pictures. Which in hindsight, was a Rookie Blogger move. What the hell do I know?  My other half would have thrown a fork at me if he heard: “But Babe, It’s for the BLLLLLLLOG!” one more time. He loves me. 

So that’s what’s been going down. Take time to recharge. The past week and a half has been such a reboot for me. I’d highly recommend it if possible. Drinking, eating and running for and with people I love. Now that’s Good Stuff. 🙂

How was your long weekend? Have you ever been a spectator at a marathon? Or does it make you antsy? Name you favorite beer: GO! 

Who doesn’t love a Street Performer?

Trail 2 Trail Series: Kettletown State Park Race Recap and a Zombie Pinky

T2T SeriesI’m just FINALLY recovering from my weekend which consisted of a “Wine and WOD” Ladies Only Crossfit Night (Stay Tuned!), a 10K Trail Race (EPIC!) and a kick ass training ride that turned into a time trial after I played cat and mouse with a disgruntled dude on a bike (Winner!). The weekend was fantastic. And left me totally glycogen depleted. Oh. And with a broken pinky finger but I’ll get to that in a few. Nothing an ice pack, a massage and copious amounts of beer couldn’t cure. That’s for sure.

The Start Pre-Monsoon. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

The Start Pre-Monsoon. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

I (happily) discovered the Trail 2 Trail Series, a competitive racing and endurance trail running series, a few weeks ago. Ever since I fell in love with trail running, I have been on the lookout for local races. The transition from road to trial for this broad has not been, shall we say…Graceful?  Yeah. No. Girlfriend needs practice. And confidence. Enter Kettletown. These races are fortunately right in my backyard. Well, not exactly. The T2T Series is in Connecticut. Which is practically my backyard as nothing is really more than an hour or so away. Their slogan is “We Won’t Do Easy.” And?  They’re not lying. Easy, it wasn’t. Fast, winding trails, very decent climbs, lots of rocks, single track and simply BEAUTIFUL. I suspect it would have been ABSOLUTELY beautiful if Saturday’s race wasn’t in the midst of a monsoon, but there you go. Trail Running is the Original Obstacle Mud Run. Hands down. Thank god I love mud because Saturday’s T2T Series Race in Kettletown State Park, was a greasy, challenging mud fest.  And I loved every slippery second of it. How could you not? Look how pretty it is.

Photo: www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

I would have snapped my own photos, but I feared my iPhone’s life in that rain. Photo Courtesy of T2T’s Facebook Page. http://www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

I decided after eyeballing the forecast, that I would run the 10K. They had other options available: 5K/10K/20K/50K all of which consisted of partial or multiple full loops of the 10k route. I was happy with my choice. Kettletown-SP-10kEspecially seeing as how I bit it crossing the one river on a patch of ice rock. After a string of profanities and a potentially broken pinky, I brushed myself off and continued on my merry way. Let’s be honest. It’s not trail racing unless you fall and have some sort of flesh wound. (Trail, 1. Colby, 0.) There were several pretty steep climbs coupled with leaf and rock strewn descents which the rain and humidity had made pretty slick. After my earlier fall, my Pinky and I turned into total Chicken Shits and were a bit more cautious. It is the 1 Year Anniversary of that long run where I fell and wrecked my face, so you can imagine, I was in full yellow-flashing-light mode. Feel free to relieve the horror here.

Along the route there was also really scenic, pretty views of Lake Zoar. The place where as a kid I learned to water ski. Ah. Nostalgia. The best part? I didn’t get lost. The course marking was excellent. Red flags on your left and you were golden. The only time they were on your right was if you were taking a sharp right turn, then then they went back to left. Very simple to follow. The race was sponsored by Energybits and Hammer Nutrtirion, two of my old favorites. I love Hammer Nutrition’s Enduralytes. They have saved my dehydrated ass on many occasions. There was plenty of grub afterwards and a swag bag with a few odds and ends. I think if you pre-reg’d far enough in advance, you could have gotten a race t-shirt. But as a Last Minute Nelly, I was shirtless. (Not topless, shirtless. Silly Fools.)

Such a great course.

Such a great course.

The thing I love most at trail races- even trail races in far less than optimal conditions like this one- is the general vibe. Trail runners are chill. Competitive, but friendly and relaxed. It’s been my experience that there is zero to very little pre-race hysteria more commonly found at road races. You know what I mean, right? The high knees. The sprints. The obsession over Garmins. The occasional attitude. I’ve never experienced that at trail races. And this race was no exception. Everyone here from the race directors to the runners themselves was just plain nice. Gotta love that. In fact, I registered for their next race as I was tending to my wounds from the first. I’m hooked. (And next time I’m getting a t-shirt!) This race very much seemed like it was for trail runners, by trail runners. It was well done and well run. Well, it would have been run well by me if it was drier and I was gutsier, but that didn’t even matter. I loved it. Busted zombie paw and all. See you next time guys!

Have you ever run a trail race? Do you have a local trail racing community? What’s the worst fall you’ve ever taken while running? I think we know mine! 🙂

Zombie Pinky conveniently obscured by awesome Janji singlet.

Zombie Pinky conveniently obscured by awesome Janji singlet.

The Boston Marathon: A Recap in Pictures.

I have never thought of myself as particularly vain, and I’m going to prove it now by recapping the Boston Marathon through some pretty ugly race pictures. I don’t really “run pretty” to begin with, and the rainy, windy weather didn’t help. Who cares? Anyone reading this blog has seen ugly race pictures before. I assume I won’t scare anyone off.

For those who don’t know, the weather for the 2015 Boston Marathon was less than optimal. Temps in the 40’s (fine by me), BUT bands of steady rain and a 10-20 mph headwind, with gusts up to 30 mph. In the days leading up to the race, I kept hoping the depressing forecast would improve.

Instead it got worse.

When I asked Colby for an update as I was heading out the door, her reply was, “Oh, Poodle. You don’t want to know. Just run.”

So I did. And it was cold, and wet, and windy. But it was Boston, and I loved every step. Well, almost every step.

Here’s a pictorial tour:

Athlete’s Village. Look how happy I am! I am at Athlete’s Freaking Village in Hopkinton! Who cares if I’m functioning on 4 hours of sleep and it started raining while we were on the bus? The rain stopped when we got there! That has to be a good sign-right? RIGHT? RIGHT???

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My Corral has just been called to line up at the start. Holy Crap. Sh*t’s getting real.

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Early miles. Oh, I guess the very definite forecast was right after all and the rain won’t hold off. I don’t even think this picture shows how torrential it really was. Pouring. Soaked to the bone. And then the rain got worse. My race pictures from the Natick and Wellesley sections of the race barely came out because it was so dark and the lenses of the cameras were covered in raindrops.

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Heartbreak Hill. I did it! At a solid pace! Feeling strong! I’m thrilled! And cold and wet! But mostly thrilled!

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Just past Heartbreak Hill. Still thrilled! But also confused: where is my freaking family? I’m wasting precious energy searching the crowd for my loved ones. (They were there – just a little farther up than I expected).

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Beacon Street. Probably Mile 24. But it could have been mile 23, 24 or 25, because the conditions were equally miserable for all. The wind is outrageous and I am looking for ruby slippers to take me home. I look like I am “digging deep” in the picture, and I probably am, but mostly I am trying to block the wind from my eyes. My fists are clenched because my hands have been numb since mile 10. Soaking wet tech gloves can only do so much. I am wondering whether I even like to run.

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I have already turned right on Hereford and have just turned left on Boylston! The home stretch! It is a very loooooong home stretch, but I’m here!  I can see the finish line! The crowds are amazing!!! Yahoo!! I suddenly remember that I love to run.

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The finish line. HELLO GORGEOUS!! So very happy to meet you!

FinishLinecropped

I have my medal! And, possibly, a slight case of hypothermia! But I don’t care. I just finished Boston! I JUST FINISHED BOSTON!

MedalPicedited

WINNER! WINNER! Spartan Race DINNER! 

twerkkidBig Spartany CONGRATULATIONS to DANIELLE who won herself a free entry to any Spartan Race in the continental US!! I emailed her this morning and am pleased to report she is STOKED. Well wasn’t that exciting?!!! It was for us. Awww. Our first real giveaway. Gotta admit. I’m kinda choked up. I feel like This Little Blog has graduated. We might be in kindergarten now. Or straight up 1st grade. *wipes tear*

What’s next for us? Here’s a few bits of randomness. 

Tonight’s Good Fortune!



  1. Uhhhhh. Somebody is tapering for Boston…and it ain’t me! I am so, so excited to cheer on my BFF and Blogging Partner in crime, Tina as Little Miss Boston heads home to run The Marathon in mere days. I’ll be the fool screaming and crying her head off when she trots by. Seriously. We are talking full on scene up in here. THAT’S MY GIRL!  My strong, amazing friend.  I am proud of her already. *wipes tear* 

    Boston Strong.

    
  2. I am busy aging this week. I’ve gotta birthday limping on up this weekend. After receiving my InsideTracker Inner Age Results last week, I fear my AARP card will be arriving via FedEx on Friday. WHAT. THE. EFF. I’m still trying to pick my jaw up off of the floor after that one. I am working on the post with all of my InsideTracker Results. Never fear. The Big Reveal is coming. And it ain’t pretty. *wipes tear*

    Happy Birthday Colby! Courtesy of Tina.

    
  3. File this bit of randomness under: AWESOME. I was milling around on our stats page and started reading the How People Find You section. And? Someone found our Little Blog by searching “Beagle Ass.”  Yes. Beagle. Ass. I’ve gotta tell Evil Beagle she has arrived! That is THE funniest goddamn thing that has happened all week. And it’s only Wednesday. I can’t stop laughing.  *wipes tear*
    Four Paws.

    Beagle Ass.

    

Anyone heading to Boston for The Big Show? We’ll be there! 

3 Deadly Running Sins

dead-last If a Running Fairy came down off her podium in glittery running shoes, and told you that you MUST choose between Not Starting, Not Finishing or Coming in Dead Effen Last in your next race, what would you chose? What is the lesser of the 3 Deadly Running Sins? Welp. I was granted a wish that I didn’t even ask for, and am still recovering from. That damn Running Fairy granted me a Did Not Start. And a touch of what I can only believe was ameobic dystnetery. Or food poisioning. Or cholera for that matter. Whhhhhyyyyyy?!nancy kerrigan

It sucked.

For the first time in my running history, I Did Not Start. Not because I didn’t register. Not because I wasn’t trained and ready. Not because I was sucked into a House of Cards Netflix Binge and couldn’t get my can off of the couch, I didn’t start because I woke up with an epic stomach bug the morning of the race. A half marathon on snow shoes was NOT happening. Chills. Watery mouth. Sweats. Pains. And two other issues not fit for print.

Awful.  

Even though I willed myself to get over it, strap on my snowshoes and run the half marathon I had trained for, I just couldn’t. Hard. Stop.  Maybe if I hooked up an IV and dragged a porta potty behind me? Screw it. It just wasn’t happening. And my body knew it. What a disappointment. I actually dragged my green self to the race to cheer on my friends, hoping that by the time we got there, I would have rallied. {Uh. No.}  Instead, I froze to death sipping water by a bonfire, while they snow shoed their hearts out. AND IT KILLED ME. I had a one way ticket to Bummerville. {Sad Colby.}

All scenarios are pretty dismal. Although I am trying to discern which is the worst:

  •  Dead Effen Last laments: Oh, Honey. At least you tried. Here’s a medal, an ice bath and a hug.
  • Did Not Finish barks: There better be bloodshed, or a major catastrophic physical event, YOU WEAKLING! SYSTEM FAILURE! SYSTEM FAILURE! ABORT! ABORT! {With flashing lights, a stretcher and a hot ER doctor.}
  • Did Not Start gently whispers : Shit, Girl. It just wasn’t your day. Here’s a pint of Chubby Hubby for when you can keep it down. Now go take those snow shoes off, sit your dehydrated self on the couch, and quietly weep.

They’re all bad. They’re all a runner’s nightmare. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. No matter how prepared. No matter how excited. No matter how ready. Pull your Achilles during an ultra (here), and DAMMIT, YOU WILL FINISH.  Even if you have to crawl. Have an allergic reaction the night before your marathon (here), wake up looking like a pufferfish and DAMMIT, YOU ARE RUNNING.  Wake up with a VIOLENT stomach bug before running a half marathon up a mountain on snow shoes and DAMMIT, GAME OVER. One bad stomach bug can ruin your day. And piss you the hell off.

Next time I’m packing a white flag to wave, just in case.

DNF, DNS or DFL? What’s the worst Race Day story you’ve got?

Decisions, Decisions.

On Tuesday, Colby and I officially found out that we did not get into the NYC marathon through the lottery.
Waaah.

This is my fourth time losing out in the lottery. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone at NYRR knows about all my Red Sox gear. I’m taking it personally.

So, we have spent the past few days (along with our BRF, Diva Cindi) trying to figure out where we are running this fall. Decisions, decisions. Here’s what we have considered. Open to suggestions, comments, recommendations. Our criteria: we would prefer not to have to fly. We don’t like the heat. Doesn’t have to be a major marathon, but we don’t want to go too small. Would like something well run and either local or a place we’d have fun visiting.

1. Chicago Marathon. October 11, 2015. Lottery opens March 10 and closes April 21. Entries announced April 28. I would love to run this race. I want to run this race someday – I just don’t know if this is the year. I have a busy fall ahead and don’t think it is the year for me to fly to a race. Colby feels the same way. I’m wavering on whether to throw my name into the lottery. Fortunately, I have time.

2. Marine Corps Marathon. October 25, 2015. Lottery opens March 13 and closes March 23. I think entries are announced shortly after the lottery closes. Both Colby and I have run this race. We LOVE this race. I cannot recommend it highly enough. We could drive to this one and tear up DC. Lots of positives. The main negative is that we have already run it. I don’t think I’m going to be someone who runs 50 marathons. Do I want to repeat one? Not sure.

3. Baystate Marathon. October 18, 2015. No lottery – you can just register. Registration opened March 1. This one is looking like a strong contender. It is fast and flat. Timing is good. It is in MA, so logistics of getting there are easy. We can head into Beantown for cocktails afterward and I can see my family. Negatives? I guess the main negative is location of the course and the size. We have only run bigger marathons in big cities. Will the support be good? Energy be what we want? I have heard really good things about this race, though, so I suspect the answer to both questions is yes. If anyone has run this, please chime in.

4. Newport Marathon. October 11, 2015. Registration is open – no lottery. Timing and location are good. Should be puuuurty. I have heard glowing reviews of the half marathon, but mixed reviews for the full. It seems like the half might be the bigger race than the full here, and race support could wane as the day goes on. Not sure I want to spend the last 5 miles arm-wrestling for the last cup of water at the stations. Hmmmm. Again – anyone run this? Please give us your thoughts.

Decisions, decisions. But it has been a good distraction from the fact that the Boston Marathon is in 46 days and I am not running enough. Yes, it is snowing and icing. Again. Yes, my kids are home from school. Again. Yes, I will be taking my workout indoors today. Again. Aaargh!  

What has been your favorite fall marathon? Thoughts on the above? Any suggestions for races we may not have thought of? Where the hell should we run this fall????

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.