Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making progress - check!

As of this morning I've been to the physical therapist 3 times and really none of the visits was all that painful + I've ditched the pain behind my knee. Sure there was some pain but it's not a constant and to address Cindi's earlier question, it feels like getting a knot worked out during a massage. Unpleasant but unlasting. Thus, we are making progress! And while I won't be back to see Vinita for another week, I do have a couple exercises I'll be working on to help with my hyper extended low back. And, of course, I can continue running. Wheee!!! In fact, I see that there are two races in Forest Park while I'm in STL. Although I have no intention to race in either and likely not even run in them, perhaps my sibs and I can coordinate a run in the park at the same time. Spectating while trotting through the cold temps will surely make for a more pleasant experience :)

And so for my own records & as a reminder as to how this all went down, I've decided to note the time line here.

After a distinct "something" happening in my left leg (specifically left knee pit) approx. 2+ weeks prior to Chicago, my already weak and crabby left leg grows increasingly more painful. I cut running down to once per week after the marathon while bulking up on all other activities.

12/9 - 4 mile run is interrupted within the first 1+ mile by sharp stabbing pain behind my knee, stretching helps a bit but the pain continues throughout the run

12/16 - Having not run for a week now, I meet Vinita (aka Supa PT Girl) for the first time. She assesses the state of my body after hearing my 3+ yr running & injury history and starts some active release and other massaging, stretching & acupressure techniques. Focus is on my spine, left glute, psoas, left knee & right IT band. Her initial assessment includes noting:
  • My left hip sits higher (millimeters) than my right
    • Still unknown is whether my left leg is structurally or functionally longer than my right. If structural, a heel lift of some sort could really help out but if functional we need to do more work
  • Because of the aforementioned my left hip flexor rotates in causing my left big toe to never plant correctly and thus taxing my gluteus [minimus & medius] and left hamstring
  • Also causing my spine to slightly twist
  • Most recently resulting in a pissed off sciatic nerve behind the left knee (aka my knee pit pain)
  • Not helping matters, my quads [on both legs] dominate and create a heavy but powerful front leg while my back legs remain weak[er].
  • Also of note is my hyper extending low back
  • And weak lower core (weak? dangit!)
  • Throw in the possibility that my left hamstring and IT band are stuck together ...yes! stuck together, who besides the science types know this is possible?
And that's just from our first week together.

12/19 - Back to Vinita and more active release, acupressure, trigger point release, massage and stretching. Focus is back to the spine & psoas, left quad (ouch!!!), lower back, left hamstring and left glute. My appt. is capped off with a quick 5 minute run on the TM - all looks great re: foot plant and foot strike, I feel solid, my knee pain is gone. Vinita observes that although my left side is still sitting higher, the inward rotation is markedly improved

12/20 - Out in CP for a 4.4 mile run. NO KNEE PAIN and only a dull ache in the left butt & hamstring.

12/22 - A return to Vinita. After some more active release and stretching, we start on some exercises that I can work on from home. They're quite basic at first, addressing my low back arching and tendency to not use my core as much as I could in running and relying instead on my upper legs and butt to do all the work. Other areas of focus are psoas (for anyone not familiar with where this is... the psoas major attaches to the spine and comes frontward over the hip (making up part of the hip flexor) and b/c of the placement, Vinita has to access this through the front of me (more ouch!!!)), left glute, left calf and ankle, left quad and IT band and low back.

So lots of good stuff going on there including tons of interesting anatomy information and encouraging results thus far.

Back to the upcoming holidays! Also done this weekend, preparing tasty snowmen treats for brunch on Sunday...

Spending time with the fake Swiss Miss...

And her adorable little Swiss Miss Santa brother...

Missing here but also present were the 2 older brothers of Fake Swiss Miss. Last seen pelting each other with Nerf Buzzsaw Blasters provided by Uncle JJ and myself. hee hee...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

With All Your Heart

say out loud, i want to live a happy life
listen to what you just said . take notice of things
surround yourself with people you love . listen to the wind
imagine . let everything change all the time . let go of
the why . welcome miracles . thank God constantly . breathe
tell the truth about how you feel . make choices . want what
you want . let the animals reach you . have children
teach you . take good care of your body . love passionately
share your dreams . spread your gifts . check it out
forgive the past . dive in . eat it up . take chances . be real

Even before I started talking with Vinita, my new physical therapist, I knew it was going to be a positive thing. This piece of framed artwork was hanging in the assessment room and I couldn't help but take notice, embrace the message and of course take a picture so that I might have it with me forever. (thanks handy iPhone)

It was indeed a wonderfully positive session. I felt at complete ease with Vinita and she understood fully what I was telling her. One of the first things she told me was that we were going to treat the cause(s) of my somewhat chronic pain and not focus so much on the actual resulting pain. A girl after my own heart! She also shared that she was a runner and while marathoning wasn't her thing, she plans to run one so as to better understand her patients. Helllloooo, how freakin' cool! So we chatted some more and she assessed and she showed me some cool anatomical stuff and then there was some pain but not a whole lot. I don't doubt that this was probably the least painful session I'll encounter but I don't care. I can tell she understands how much running means to me and how much a strong physical & mental sense of self I have. I'm truly excited for our progress and and the pain that the future surely holds.

List of lists

I'm getting some to-do items crossed off but not enough to make me feel confident that I'm actually making any progress at all. I need to remind myself that if I don't do everything the world won't stop revolving. Chill. Chill. Deep breaths.

With that said, I did finally find an ART practitioner close to the office [and thus crossed that item off] and will be heading there later today for my first session. I know it's going to be painful but I'm wondering to what extent... massage painful? or worse? I also know that I'll forget the pain within a half hour but with an afternoon appt, I have much of the day to make it worse in my mind. Argh. It's become overwhelming evident that I need to do something else with this bum left leg. While I've continued with plenty of swimming, spinning, strength classes and other cardio, a short 4 miler left me literally stopped in my tracks. The weird knee pit pain was piercing and nothing like the dull aches and pains I've been expecting on my runs. Time to call in the professionals. Will report back later tonight.

Anywho, onto things not related to ART... I finally finished our Christmas Card list, synced my contacts from the phone to my Mac and purchased stamps on the way home from the pool this morning. I also believe I just might have a list of baking items ready to roll... or at least a first round of goodies. Here's what I'm planning on for tonight:

- Inside-Out Carrot Cake Cookies
- Apricot Orange Shortbread Bars
- Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
- Snowmen Cupcakes
- Sweet & Savory Pecans

I still need to page through the December issue of Cooking Light to see if other recipes are up for contention in the baking line-up. Anyone have a favorite recipe they'd like to pass along?

A little something from our tree

Monday, December 8, 2008

Feeling more like my old self

It is amazing what a week of consistent workouts will do to boost your mood. Last week I got to the pool twice, attended a yoga class & a spin class and got out for a much-needed energizing night time winter run. And despite having loads going on at work & traveling out of town for the weekend, I'm not stressed, I'm not crabby and I'm ready to do more. So a repeat for this week will be happening + a few more runs + a couple strength classes.

With my improved mood I feel like I'm more more in the holiday spirit as well and so I'll get some tree decorating on the docket for tonight and a bit of this...

Holiday Meme

Thanks to Kris for the good idea. If you want to play along, copy the questions onto your blog, post the answers, and leave a comment here so I know to go read yours.

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Being a bit of a junkie with this kind of stuff, I prefer a blend of both when preparing several gifts. I like wrapping paper with cool non-traditional ribbons and gift bags filled with shredded paper and donned with pretty tags.
  2. Real tree or Artificial? With the exception of one year, I've always had an artificial tree. I like real trees, love the smell but could do without the constant needle clean-up. Besides, I'm pretty sure Dillon would attempt to eat the entire tree.
  3. When do you put up the tree? I'm usually all over it on the Sunday after Thanksgiving but this year I've been lazy and still haven't put it up.
  4. When do you take the tree down? I generally don't keep it up longer than the first week or two of January.
  5. Do you like eggnog? Not really. It does improve in taste with some booze in it though. :-) Doesn't it also have like a million calories per serving?
  6. Favorite gift received as a child? Mattel shopping cart filled with fake food.
  7. Hardest person to buy for? Jason
  8. Easiest person to buy for? Brendan, Ellie, Jack, Hunter, Lyla and Keaton (aka the kiddos)
  9. Do you have a nativity scene? I think I used to have one but I haven't seen it for years.
  10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I love sending out cards and it's one of the few times I use snail mail.
  11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I tend to not remember this kind of stuff.
  12. Favorite Christmas Movie? National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
  13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November or early December
  14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No
  15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies, cookies, cookies!!! I'm a cookie monster.
  16. Lights on the tree? Yes, all white.
  17. Favorite Christmas song? Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas
  18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I always travel to St. Louis to be with my family, that's home.
  19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Nope, I always get them mixed up with a heeeelarious card that outlines Santa's Second String (ex. Spitzen)
  20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Rustic star
  21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Growing up we always did Christmas Eve but now we'll do whatever works best for everyone's schedules.
  22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Greedy people & retailers, crowds and less than festive attitudes.
  23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I'm a fan of little-bit-of-everything
  24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Mom's hash brown casserole deal ...sooooo cheesy good!
  25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Snow during our kick ball game.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm an addict and quite possibly a stalker

I know it, Jason knows it, my co-workers know it and my family now knows it. In fact my problem is quite contagious!

For the last several weeks I've been obsessing over, monitoring and talking about my addiction non-stop. I squeal in delight when the objects of my obsession are on screen & even more so as they tumble and wrassle around with one another. I know when they're most active, when they eat, when they nap, what their mom looks like, that they have a cat uncle/aunt and that soon they'll be leaving for new homes.

I know they have a cool doggie door now and they've been spending more time on new surfaces and socializing with others outside their family.

I know their momma used to come in more regularly to feed them but now they share a big bowl.

I know they all are very interested when their human mom or dad comes into the room, especially when there's movement around the camera.

I know they love their cat uncle/aunt very much and just wanna give it a kiss or a lick.

I know that the more time that crate spends in their area the closer they are to leaving for new homes.

Quick! Before it's too late, check out the famous Shiba Inu siblings...

It won't be long (read just a few more days) before Autumn or Ayumi or Amaya or Aki or Akoni or Ando takes off for greener pastures. Until then let the squealing continue!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Mine means the world to me. This Thanksgiving, despite having lost my uncle the weekend prior to a stroke, we were lucky enough to have most of them (we missed you Mike, Martha, Bren & Ellie!) out in NYC. It was wonderful, delightful, meaningful, & fun out the wahzoo!! We caught the balloons around the Natural History Museum on Thanksgiving Eve, we watched the Macy's parade from 55th St. while sipping on bloody marys and mimosas, we busted out our regular regime of board games, we shared a delicious Thanksgiving meal together, we visited with Matt & Kelly and the kiddos, we played a bit of kick ball and SPUD together, we sucked down some cupcakes from Magnolia, we shopped a bit and we laughed A LOT.

The saddest thing about being together like that is the very second everyone leaves, departing for their homes and knowing a big event has just passed. Sigh. Luckily it'll only be another few weeks until we're all reunited again for the Christmas holidays. Someone remind me, why do I live almost 1000 miles away from these fabulous people (and 3000 mi from Jen)?? Sigh.

Here's the gang kicking it up with a rambunctious game of SPUD in Central Park.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What a workplace!

Just last week my co-worker, Sharon, made incredibly tasty cupcakes for another co-worker's birthday. My oh my were they ever delicious too! And then today, I come in to find that co-worker Dave has prepared some delicious pre-holiday treats for us all. And better yet, they were just a bit more than a biteful ...otherwise known as guilt-free. Coupled with an unexpected free lunch today and it's just about the best work week ever!

Check it out... tiny gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese based pumpkin icing

So the week has been a study in gradual improvement. I'm staying busy with many large projects at the office, I returned to spin class on Monday night and Iris could not have provided a tougher but still welcoming workout and it feels as though I'm improving in my workouts at the pool. Tomorrow morning I'll be heading to the sports med doc and although I wasn't able to book with my regular doc, I'm hopeful that I'll still get some good information and a bit more direction about how to treat my leg. And last but not least, I have tons of great new soup recipes to try out. I may get one going tomorrow before the weekend hits and my family starts to show up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bottoming Out

I had no idea that bottoming out was a term used in breast augmentation... interesting b/c I'm a loyal Dr. 90210 viewer and I've never heard it there either. ??? For those intrigued here's what it means...

When implants "bottom out", this means that the implants have descended too low on the chest, thus making the nipple too high on the breast mount. If bottoming out is apparent shortly after surgery, it is most likely due to over-dissection of the pocket. If it occurs later on, it is usually due to the weight of the implant.

At any rate, it's not like I've been on some huge downward spiral but when I feel down and out of sorts I feel that a bottoming out day/week/month is the last step I need to experience before renewing my lifestyle, my health on all fronts and most importantly, my attitude. I've only half-heartedly been dedicated to figuring out what's up with my leg, to finding alternative ways to work out & invigorate myself and to planning good & nutritious meals. After a lunch involving way-too-much-cheese yesterday and the 2nd of two weekends in a row where I felt way too inactive, I decided that today would be the clean slate day. Thus yesterday was my bottoming out, no implants involved.

Items of particular focus:
- a solid training plan (not for anything in particular) that is not running-centered but will hold me accountable
- an appt with Dr. Metzl (sports med doc extraordinarie)
- new recipes including everything I need to make some big batches of tasty soups
- bringing my lunch to work everyday or nearly everyday
- starting off each day with some simple yoga, stretching and meditation

It feels good to make some plans to get moving ...on life! It also feels good knowing that within a week's time I'll have the first of my family members arriving into town for Thanksgiving. Yay!!!! Lastly, it feels good to hang with this little guy

Jason and I watched his nephews and niece last night and although 3 of the 4 kiddos were pooped beyond staying awake but an hour after we arrived, Keaton was as cute, chill and cool as ever. Snuggly, smiley, sweet baby time is an instant jump start to a clean slate kind of day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time for a sammich

...of the cupcake variety.

Courtesy of my co-worker, Sharon. Guilt-free courtesy of 1500+ yds. of a.m. swimming. I love math. :-)

Oh and yes, I have a new book recommendation for those that enjoy running, it's called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Monday, November 10, 2008

Breast stroke, side stroke, fancy diving too

Anyone else remember this camp song? You keep singing it over and over again, each time omitting lyrics and replacing them with actions until you've got just a humming, choreographed rendition of the song.

Swimming, swimming (swimming strokes)
In the swimming pool (draw square in front of you)
When days are hot (wipe hand across forehead)
When days are cold (wrap arms around self and shiver)
In the swimming pool (draw square)
Breast stroke (imitate breast-stroke)
Side-stroke (imitate side-stroke)
Fancy diving, too (imitate diving)
Oh don’t you wish you never had (shake finger)
Anything else to do but...

So that's what kept me occupied this morning while swimming laps. That and the feeling that my crappy left leg isn't just my hamstring this time. If it is just my hamstring, I don't want to waste both my and my doctor's time by visiting him again. But if it's not... ugh.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall is back

Extra extra, read all about it - fall came back to NYC and I got out for a run to celebrate!  

Not sure what the contributing jet stream factors were but for some reason the entire last week was filled with weather that resembled the end of summer more than nearly mid-November.  It was warm, humid and unnatural feeling.   It seems to have blown out yesterday in a day o' fog & rain.   And today is back to fall ...crisp temps, lots of sunshine and just the right amount of wind.  It all begged for a run and so I complied.  

Suited up with the thigh compression sleeve, me and my "pillow of butt" headed for the bridle path.  It was slow, it was not easy going and it was not without pain but it was a run.  And for that I'm grateful.  I'll continue to keep my runs this way for the foreseeable future, eh not that I really have a choice.   It is humbling but I know rebuilding myself and rehabbing this crabby leg is the right thing to do.   Back to the pool tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Regardless of your vote yesterday

History was made. We should all be proud as responsible, voting individuals and a united country despite our party & belief differences.

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

-Mary Anne Radmacher

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My lack of running

It's not fun. I feel I'm lacking direction, a bit depressed and without a goal. Especially after watching and cheering along the NYC marathon course on Sunday. Ugh. I don't want to come home from work every day, sad and eating way too much smoked cheddar popcorn. I need a plan! Something to keep me motivated and running [a little] while I resolve my left leg issues, something I can look to on a daily basis and feel I'm making progress. I still have plenty of running fitness but will need to work a program up to bring my other systems back to where they were in early summer. This will include time back with weights, more stretching, more swimming, spin classes and better nutrition. Seems that just having decided this feels like a good step in the right direction.

It's also a step in the direction opposite spending money and trying to fill the happiness bucket with material things, like my Rojo cabinet (which arrived today!!!!) Thanks to Jason for sending me pictures of the new arrival and thanks to Dillon for inspecting the cabinet and assuring it was safe for our home.

I can't wait to get home and fill it up with my books, board games and other trinkets. Yay!!!

And after waking early for the opening of our voting location this morning, perhaps ...just perhaps I can make the switch to early morning running and workouts. I haven't died yet from the 5:50 a.m. alarm. ;)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sweeter than candy

Check out the cutest Mummy nephew evah!

And his adorable Fairy sister

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Marathon Sunday

It's nearly here and the city is buzzing!!!! Seems everywhere I turn there's someone talking about the marathon, making plans to meet up and watch the marathon, or anxiously awaiting the start of their own marathon run. This morning is when I felt that buzz the most when just before my Q train departed the 57th St. station, a flock of Italian runners came rushing down the stairs. How did I know they were runners? The gear. It always gives them away. Plus they were all tremendously fit and way too excited for 8:30 a.m. on a weekday in a subway station.

I'm most looking forward to tracking the runners I know racing and cheering for them with all I can muster. It won't be easy, at last count I have at least 8 people on that list... Nettie, Dave, Laura, Kyra, Staci, Alissa, Walter & John. With the new wave starts & various corrals plus all the regular craziness of the race, spectating and actually finding these friends will not be a small task. But it will be a fun one!

Also eager to see one of these finisher medals in person. With a likeness of the great Grete Waitz on the front and the inscription "Grete Waitz: the Greatest New York City Marathon Champion" on the back, who wouldn't want to travel 26.2 miles to earn one?

Monday, October 27, 2008


I did it.  I...

...talked myself down and decided to just chill on immediate running plans those 3 bags of shoes & clothing donated to Goodwill
...made some real progress at the pool
...tossed the 3 legged table
...rejoined the world where eating a bag of chips with lunch everyday probably isn't the best idea, grab size or not.
...(to be honest, Jason) upgraded the iMac to iTunes 8 and thus launched me into the fantabulous world of Genius playlists
...purchased some Missy Higgins and some Jeremy Messersmith (thanks Brandy!)
...gained more much needed inspiration from friends
...made me some killer new playlists
...decided that it would be a good idea to attend the 6:30 a.m. spin class tomorrow
...purchased the Rojo Cabinet  :-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rojo Cabinet: I wish I knew how to quit you

I remember when I first saw you in the pages of the C&B catalog. Looking all versatile, organized and sporting your fresh pop of color. I believe we first met in person many, many months ago. But it wasn't until we saw each other again yesterday that I was reminded how much I really care for you. How much I'd really like you in my life. Sigh.

Friday, October 17, 2008

He Really Loves Me


The week has really flown by. Traveling back from Chicago Monday afternoon, loads of huge projects at the office and a 24 hour business trip to Austin = finding myself on Friday and not knowing how I got here.

The upside - I'm feeling good, really good. My emotions worked themselves around/out and I'm back on track. I hit the pool earlier this week for some laps and a visit to the steam room and will do the same this evening after work. I'm also planning to get out for a run this weekend. The weather looks fall-tastic!!! I'll also be tracking some more running friends tackling various race distances this weekend - woot!

The downside - Something is still awry with my left leg. And while I'm not sure if it's just the hamstring irritated and encouraging his leg counterparts to gang up on me, it doesn't seem to be getting worse. I'll wear a thigh compression sleeve and continue massaging the area to see if that doesn't help any. I could also use several more hours a day to get through a particularly hairy work project. I'll be so glad once this year is over; right now everything is about getting squeezed into a yr. end delivery. Ugh.

Any who, arrived home from JFK late last night to some Magnolia deliciousness Jason picked up for me. No doubt he knows the way to my heart!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A boost

I love you and am so proud of you, Beth!!!!


A feeling of thoughtful sadness. That's how I've felt since Sunday's finish line especially since departing Chicago and returning to the real world of life and work and other crap I don't feel like participating in or dealing with.

It's just one of the large number of emotions that currently occupy my mind & body. I'm soooo happy to have crossed the finish line this year in Chicago and hand-in-hand with my sister!!! I'm exhilarated to have my finisher's medal, to have seen Tim and heard about him rocking his first with a sub-4:00 and to have had the chance to enjoy a post-race meal and tasty beverages with good friends & family. It was a memorable day for sure.

And yet I'm sad and feeling empty.

The race I'd trained for, perfected and remained positive about didn't come to pass. Things happen, we can't control everything and there is plenty of uncertainty in this world. None of this provides me any comfort.

I'm also confused and wondering what to do next.

So there it is, I'll ride this wave of stuff and hope to feel more energetic and more together later this week...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I may have been a centaur in my past life

So after a day o' freaking out yesterday, I think it's out of my system. I also think I'll never start the day again by checking out weather conditions for my race city. No amount of coffee makes a less-than-ideal forecast any easier to deal with. I pouted, I felt despair, I made my day longer than need be and I made my run rougher than it needed to be. I cried, I iced, I refueled, I tiger-balmed and then I re-watched a couple episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
I'm better now.

And because that show cracks me up, here's some of The Gang's best stuff...

Charlie: Why don't I strap on my job helmet and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into Jobland where jobs grow on little jobbies.
Mac: I'm so hard that people are scared of me and they should be. 'Cause I'll explode all over them.

Dee: [to Charlie and Frank]:
What are you guys looking at?
Frank: Garbage Pail Kids. Heathen Steven, Classic!

Dee: Are those the stupid cards where babies are doing disgusting things?

: No, Dee. These are those amazing cards where babies are doing hysterical things...
Mac: It's not a jacket, it's a duster. It's like a jacket, only it's longer, thicker, and far more bad ass. I look like Lorenzo Lamas and women find it irresistible.

Dee: Mac, I'm gonna stop you right here. First of all, your
breath smells like an old lady fart passing through an onion.

[Frank and Charlie are tripping on acid. Charlie is wearing a green s
uit that covers his head and body]
: ...wait wait! When the hell did I put Green Man on?!

: [referring to Charlie] That lizard talks!
: Where, where?! I don't like lizards!

: [to Charlie] Lizard, am I standing in poop?
Charlie: Because I cut the brakes! Wildcard Bitches!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cruisin' with the top off

Winston Churchill said, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty"

And thus after receiving this from the Chicago Race Directors:

According to the advance local weather forecast, the weather on race day is projected to be partly cloudy, with low temperatures in the low 60's (degrees F) and high temperatures in the mid 70's (degrees F).

Based on this forecast, the Event Alert Level is Yellow/Moderate, which suggests less-than-ideal conditions for marathon running. Please be aware that conditions may change prior to race day.

I'm ready to bust out my convertible

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The hit maker

I've mentioned before how much I love that balance between planned things and just taking it easy, rolling with whatever happens. The weekend ended up being just that which = perfie in my book.

On Friday Jason and I babysat the kiddos. Activities of the evening included playing picture cards, a bit of Star Wars on the Wii, snacking on popcorn & ice cream (shush!!!) and watching some SuperFriends. When mom and dad came home we were entertained by the latest hit from Hunter [and the Blue Devils], I Love Candy
*that's big bro, Jack, on back up vocals and dad handling the accompanying instruments

Saturday was spent getting my last double digit run in pre-Chicago (12 miles in 55* temps, a bit of rain and 1 hr 46 minutes of my time), meeting up with another [internet but not just internet anymore] running friend, Sarah great to finally meet you!!!, and later in sharing some birthday beers with Heather.

Sunday was all about relaxing and doing whatever I could to try and shake the wonkiness in my left leg. I got to the pool for about 35 mins. of laps and then got a massage from Alissa. By the time I got home most of my TCM buddies had already finished or were crossing the finish line
and Alexis made quick work of her 15K. Congratulations to you all!!! Remainder of the day was spent in couch city, population 1 (plus the resident kitty)

This morning started off great! Legs are feeling much better, the cool weather continues, I was able to chat with both Beth & Tim and got even more excited about the race as this will be their first full marathon and I get to run today. The week's schedule is M - 6 sleazy miles, T - 7 miles w/2 @MP, W - rest/x-t, Th - 5 mi w/strides, F - rest, Sa - some sort of run, maybe 3-4 miles.

And before I forget, a couple new pictures of baby Keaton Scout ...isn't he adorable?!?!? He's such a mixture of the other kiddos too and what a happy little guy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Land of the Gods

Searching around for a little extra race inspiration? Take a peek here. As the week continues I'm doing everything in my power to stay free of sickness, any more aches & pains and all negative attitudes. I've been doing a daily ...shit, hourly inventory of all current bodily complaints and something isn't quite right with my left leg. I'm thinking it may be the shoes I'm breaking in for the Chicago; they're the same model as I've been wearing but a different color from a different store. Will be picking up a different pair on the way home tonight. Other than that, a pretty low-key week.

Sunday was 12+ miles in 100% humidity. Should have gone a bit longer but I got all crazy dizzy and decided twelve was enough. Not worth it to push it.

Monday was 7 miles with 8 x 100 strides. I really would have preferred an easier feeling run but my legs were probably still a little zapped from Sunday + this mild cold is slowing me down.

Tuesday was supposed to be 8 miles w/1600m repeats however after testing out my speed with some 200m repeats, I wasn't feeling it. And, at this point, will do anything in my power to keep myself injury-free and running without pain. Settled with 8.16 (stupid non-round number) miles close to MP.

I've been taking in lots of extra vitamins, eating well, took yesterday off work to simply rest and got in a real nice eucalyptus steam over my bathroom sink last night. Not only did my chest and cough feel better but my skin was absolutely radiant. ha! Will definitely repeat that tonight.
...but not till after we see & hear some of this guy down at Terminal 5

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just 13 sleeps to go...

...till the big day. I'm feeling strong, staying positive and ready to work hard for 26.2 miles. I've double checked the hotel reservations, confirmed dinner for the night before, reviewed our flight itineraries, settled on a fueling strategy, tested out my race outfit and started breaking in a new pair of shoes. I'm trying to get extra sleep when I can and staying as healthy as possible.

People who know me well understand a few things about my personality: I'm very detail oriented, I love planning and keeping things in order. Running is no different. I'm true to a training plan, I try to stick my paces and specific workouts and I get ample cross training in when possible. However, it wasn't until recently this year that I got more serious about coming up with a race plan and sticking with it. A detailed race plan, one that has me sticking with even splits +/- 10 secs. off goal pace and not allowing myself off the hook if things aren't looking perfectly. Chicago will be the first time I execute a race in this manner. Sure, I still have an A plan and a B plan but the difference between the two is not nearly as large as I would have previously planned.

Another aspect well understood by peeps close to me is my love for the color green. It's my power color, it makes me happy and fills me with energy. I think it's the association with the earth, nature and life that draws all of that energy for me. It should then be of no surprise that my marathon outfit looks as such...


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Color makes the world go 'round

Was out and about earlier today, doing all of those things normal people do on Saturday mornings know, those things you might do if you're not running 20 miles.  :-)  Among my errands I zipped into the LRS to exchange a possible marathon-worthy top but not before seeing that the newly renovated 2 Columbus Circle, new home to the Museum of Art of Design, had re-opened and was showcasing some eye-opening brightness in the midst of a rather dark and dreary day.

The original look of 2 Columbus Circle

And with a facelift

Friday, September 26, 2008

How to Conquer the Marathon in 26 words (or less) - thanks Jill!

Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Be patient, one mile at a time; honor the burn. Who are you to run 26.2 miles? Who are you not to!

From The Runner's Lounge, Take it and Run Thursday...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What's that?, Back off! and other mind induced absurdities

It's that time again. It starts off as a mild ache here or there coupled with a cough and some chest tightness. Then all of a sudden I notice co-workers are wheezing, hacking up all sorts of nastiness and calling in sick. I'm surrounded and I'm starting to feel it too! Argggghhhhh... the dreaded taper fever. When all of my systems seem to rebel against having some extra hours in the week for relaxing and resting pre-race and when everyone around me appears to be carrying lethal dosages of the sickies.

I need a bubble like my buddy Stewie!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back to the 600s

Ran my last of 600 repeats for this round of training last night. For some reason this workout doesn't fall at inconvenient times like some of the other longer interval workouts have... one I had to miss b/c of it's proximity to the New Haven race and one was missed b/c I wasn't feeling fully recovered from RTB. Nevertheless it's still a good workout so I got it in. 8.1 miles total with 5 x 600 repeats and 90 secs. jogging in between each. Goal pace was 2:37 (7:04 mi). Here's how it all shook out...

3.8 miles warm-up in 32:28 (8:32/mi)

600m: 2:29 (6:39 pace)
600m: 2:24 (6:26 pace)
600m: 2:20 (6:15 pace)
600m: 2:22 (6:20 pace)
600m: 2:21 (6:18 pace)

1.8 miles cool down in 15:09 (8:25/mi)

What I liked most about the run was that I still felt a bit tired from the weekend and my last LR; legs weren't sore but I was still a little zapped. And despite that feeling, I ran this without incident, without feeling fatigued or beat up. Those warm up and cool down miles are within my range of acceptable paces for the marathon too! They felt easy and like my own -- me likey.

Just one more interval workout next week before this all gets wrapped up and it's a biggie. Mile repeats @5KP within a 8 miler.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh yes, that last post title

...the chipwich! Now I'm not that big of an ice cream fan ...never have been. As a child I preferred icey stuff (popsicles, fla-vor-ice, sherbets) or the occasional root beer float. And since then I've always been more of a salty snack/dessert fan. But the chipwich is something different. Something bigger than any of us. And something that should not be chased lest you find yourself never enjoying one. I know, I've been there. I've run around to a good number of grocery stores, bodegas and Mr. Softie trucks desperately in search of the perfect chipwich. Envisioning that lovely goodness produced on Main St. in Walt Disney World or better yet, in my own kitchen.

What's your favorite?

The mass produced but more easily found?

Homemade deliciousness?

Something with a little extra flair?

Me, I'm a fan of the homemade variety. Just two chocolate chip cookies and plain vanilla ice cream. But if I'm in chase mode, the Toll House is a good fill in for the real thing.

Don't Chase the Chipwich

Quite the assortment of happenings since I last posted. My mind was still processing all of my RTB experience while my body recovered and my daytime hours blew by with several large work projects. The week ended rather uneventfully with a mixed bag 10 miler on Thursday (some tempo miles, some MP miles and a couple warm ups/cool downs) followed by a delightful 5 miler on Friday. This cooler weather really wakes up all of my senses and makes running even more enjoyable! Saturday was my last 20 miler before Chicago; I was really looking forward to it and planning to make sure it was a success and something that would launch me confidently into my taper.

That it was!

57* starting out Saturday a.m. and besides the annoying bouncing of my SPI belt (note to self: figure out another way to carry your fuel), the run was off without a hitch. My route took me south along the Hudson, rounding Battery Park and heading north up the East River. Once back to 59th St. I entered the park and headed up to the reservoir. I'm not sure how but my timing worked out perfectly to get a lap around the reservoir in and finish in time to meet a RTB teammate, Meredith, and a friend of hers for my last 4 miles. Before meeting up with the girls I'd taken in a gel at around mile 5, some shot blocks around mile 10 and another gel right after mile 16. I was feeling good & strong and my mental game was sharp! After seeing the girls along East Drive I joined them for the northern hills of Central Park and back down along West Drive. We'd picked up the pace from those miles I logged mid-run and it could not have felt better. Plenty left in the tank. Finished up with 20.3 miles in 3:05:43 (9:08/mi).

After cleaning up and resting a bit, Jason & I headed out to Greenpoint to meet up with some friends for a bar crawl as part of NYC's Craft Beer Week. I highly suggest this as a way to recover from a LR! The suds were tasty, the environment fresh & new, the company enjoyable and the earlier ending evening a perfect way to log some quality zzzzs that night. We hit probably 5-6 bars with my favorite being The Mark Bar. Great bartender, friendly atmosphere, regular game nights, incredible beer selection and free pizza!

Sooo, like I started this post, my mind was all over the map last week. Several other tidbits about RTB have randomly popped into my noggin', this being the BEST of them. Ways to guarantee a high quality run: your teammates drive by blaring this song

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good Grief

Any fan of Arrested Development (or Charlie Brown) will recognize this and understand my mood since RTB. It's the same way when any other big event passes ...something that you've planned for, looked forward to and enjoyed immensely. I don't like to sit around with soggy diapers for long so I took Sunday evening for just that and got back to the program Monday.

My quads took the brunt of all the hurtin' which is great news for the perpetual complaining my butt and hamstring are constantly dishing. It's not so great news for when I need to sit down or head down stairs leaving my building, at work, into the subway, on the toilet! Geesh. Met up with Staci for a very slow 6 miler on Monday. Was probably the slowest I've run since my last marathon maybe longer but it was EXACTLY what I needed.

Last night I headed out for 10.3 miles, all along the bridle path and around the reservoir. It was heavenly! The pace was easy, the humidity low, the temps at that perfect crisp state and the city provided a gloriously lit scape along Central Park South.

This morning I looked like a normal person heading down into the subway. Back to getting ready for Chicago!

Where are the words?

Meredith running her 2nd leg, photo courtesy of Chris

I'm finding it very difficult to summarize my thoughts and feelings about Reach the Beach. It was an amazing & challenging experience and such fun that I'm afraid I won't do it justice by describing it here. Perhaps a massive brain dump is what's really needed we go, hold on tight, this shit isn't organized whatsoever!

Cab ride to Grand Central, Metro North train to Tarrytown, NY, car ride to Danvers, MA, rental van pick-up, van ride up to Hampton Beach, NH, greetings, hugs, growlers, scallops, beers, sleeping in a sandy bed. Rise and shine with the sun, van ride to Franconia, NH.

Lots of cheering, waiting and riding around in the van. Our running order: Meredith, Staci, Maureen, myself, Bill, Tom, Walter, Kate, Brandi, Julia. Repeat.

24.4 miles run over 4 legs, in 3 hrs, 20 mins, 23 secs. (8:12/mi avg pace)

leg 1: started this at 3:04 p.m. on Friday. The entire leg was basically a screaming downhill section through a beautiful state park. It was freezing at the start awaiting Maureen's arrival with our team's bracelet. I knew once I got moving I'd be fine. I didn't even mind the strong headwinds but man oh man, my quads got the beat down but good.

2.9 miles in 19:47 (6:49/mi avg pace)

Lots of cheering, waiting and riding around in the van. Meredith, Staci, Maureen, myself, Bill, Tom, Walter, Kate, Brandi, Julia. Repeat.

leg 2: started this at 11:05 p.m. on Friday. It was very dark out and although the rain had stopped the air was still very moist and quite foggy. Reflective vest, two blinky lights and headlamp in place. I had a blast with the rolling hills throughout with the first section along a two lane highway and the next along a super dark section of country roads. Nothing makes you feel like you might possibly bust ass more than barreling down a big downhill and blowing by a couple other runners. Luckily I experienced no such spillage.

7.8 miles in 1:04:26 (8:15/mi avg pace)

Lots of cheering, waiting and riding around in the van. Meredith, Staci, Maureen, myself, Bill, Tom, Walter, Kate, Brandi, Julia. Repeat.

leg 3: started this at 9:21 a.m. on Saturday. After a solid (ha ha) 2.5 hrs. sleep in the van we're back at it. The sun is out and it warmed up quickly. This leg was again split between a two lane highway and a country road of sorts dipping into another park with more rolling hills and an inordinate amount of frog roadkill. I enjoyed an ice cold soak in a local lake after handing off to Bill.

6.9 miles in 58:51 (8:31/mi avg pace)

Lots of cheering, waiting and riding around in the van. Meredith, Staci, Maureen, myself, Bill, Tom, Walter, Kate, Brandi, Julia. Repeat.

leg 4: started this at 3:44 p.m. on Saturday. My favorite leg!! I had the chance to run through a running buddy's neighborhood. He not only briefed me on the topography of this leg ahead of time but left several encouraging signs posted along the road and some very tasty vittles + a bottle of champagne. Thanks again Dan - you rock! This section featured one big ass hill at 2.5 miles and then nice mini rollers to the finish. The volunteers before this transition area were yelling out the number of steps I had until the finish, that helped!

6.8 miles in 57:10 (8:24/mi avg pace)

Lots of cheering, waiting and riding around in the van. This time around: Staci, myself, Bill, Walter, Kate, Brandi - FINISH!

209.5 miles total. 31 hrs, 8 mins, 1 sec (8:55/mi avg pace)

Again, words cannot describe how much of an impact this experience has left on me. Many of us were strangers but all of us are runners, that is what bridges the gap - always & forever. Just one more thing that is so cool about running. I felt challenged, tired but energized, sick of PB&J but still reaching for another Uncrustable, beat down but ready to give more, extremely happy, proud beyond measure and ready do it again.


Special shout outs to Chris & Glenn ...our van drivers, photographers, support crew and DJs. You both have a special place in my heart - thank you!!!!

And now for a visual sampling of the experience...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Almost Here!

My very first Reach the Beach!!!! Am I physically ready? - you bet! Am I totally stoked? - without a doubt! Am I all packed up and ready to go? - not even close. While I continue to add to the Duane Reade list, take a look at these pics.

Starting Point on Cannon Mountain

My first leg at Willey House State Park
*corrected, my first leg ends here at Willey House... starts here at Highland Lodge. Momma has herself a big ass drop in that first leg. Wheeee!

An overview of the course - thanks Google Earth!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

When it's right, it's soooo right

Hot damn! My run last night totally freed me. There were no expectations. There was no set distance. Time was of no consequence. Once again, just me and Coldplay on the bridle path and around the reservoir. 8.4 miles in 1:05 even (7:44/mi) ...I love when numbers end up all nice and clean like that. :-)

Just what I needed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Big Bro!!!!

A protective brother
A hardworking son
A devoted husband
A big time Cardinals fan
A loving father
A dedicated firefighter
And a newly appointed Deputy Medical Officer

I hope your day is fantastico!!

Hanna's Humidity

Me no likey.

Saturday was a painful run. I got out early, fully expecting to be tossed around with winds coming from Hanna's landfall and fully expecting to get soaked from the accompanying rainfall. In fact, I was looking forward to it! Imagine my surprise when I did end up soaked but there was zero wind and zero rain involved. Boooooo.

What Hanna dished out for me was a massive wall of humidity... actually not a wall, that would imply there might be a way to run through it and bust out on the other side. This was more like a concentrated room of humidity fitting the exact dimensions of my running route. My schedule called for 17 miles total with 14 @MP. I started out a bit slow while wrapping my mind around the conditions. By mile 1.5 I was on my way to being soaked, sweat clinging on to every inch of me.

To put it simply, I was zapped. No upper body strength. No legs to speak of. My mind tried to rectify the situation as best possible and gut out whatever I could. After an out-and-back along the Hudson I'd planned to hop into the park for a couple laps of the reservoir but I'd have to pass home on the way into the park. I never made it to the park. Managed 12.5 miles with 6 @MP.

As disappointed as I was, I let myself sulk a bit, I ate, I napped and I decided that had it been race day, I would have continued. I could have continued.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This, that and the other thing...

With the exception of some work deadlines, the week has been fairly uneventful. I got out for 6 recovery miles on Tuesday night, spent some time Wednesday morning at the pool and ran 6 again last night. It should have been double that but time got away from me and I had to improvise. I'm feeling mostly recovered from the race on Monday and ready to shake out my legs a bit today with another slower run of 5 miles or so and toss in some strides for good measure. Tomorrow's run should be interesting, the east coast will be welcoming some heavy tropical rains and wind. I have 17 scheduled w/14 @MP. Wheeee!!!

I did manage some creative cross training on Wednesday night in the form of a crab boil at Back Forty. I love me some crab and had forgotten how much work it is to get such little return. However, BF does a real nice job of packaging it all up... for $35 you start out with some tasty fresh veggies with bleu cheese & green goddess dips, all the crabs you can eat (4 rounds worth), the most amazing corn and boiled potatoes in Old Bay and a delicious peach & blueberry cobbler to round it all out. The pitchers of Captain Lawrence Pale Ale weren't too shabby either.