Sunday, October 28, 2007

Even more marathon training

First off - I just saw the results for the Mayors Cup X-C race -- WOW~!!!
The team ran so well. Kudos especially to McCabe, Chick, and Jen Lee for running amazingly well on that tough course. What a great day.

Most of you know that I did not finish the Chicago Marathon. You've heard the stories of the heat and humidity, so I will spare you another rendition. The weekend was still fun, despite the unsuccessful race. I got to see my family and my very pregnant sister in Chicago, and Diona Fulton (fellow Boston-area marathon runner) stayed with me for the weekend. I knew it was going to be a tough day for racing when I got off the plane at 10pm and it was in the low 80s. Because of the weather, a lot of the elite/top athletes did not even start. The top 100 corral was so empty compared to last year. Women hoping for a qualifying time likely opted to run another race instead.

I started hoping to just finish under 3 hours. My original goal had been to run a 2:53 or so. The first few miles were okay, but I started to actually get thirsty at mile 2 or 2.5. Those of you know have run with me know that I usually drink very little, if any, water on runs, so the fact that I voluntarily felt thirsty was a bad sign! I slowed down considerably from my first few miles at 6:30-6:35 and it was downhill from there. I struggled through the half and spent the next five miles tyring to decide whether to drop out. After much heat-induced, half-delirious mental debating, I finally decided to bag it at mile 18 and pulled out of the race right before the 30K mark. I jog-walked back to the start with some other ladies who had also dropped out. At the finish, I learned that 3 other Impalas had also dropped, and 1 decided not to start at all. I got my bags and some really melty power bars, called Laura (thank you for calling!), tried to console Diona, and we eventually made our way back home.

Later that day I found out that a man had died on the course and that many runners had no water or Gatorade. I felt guilty for days because there was still plenty of fluids on the course while I was running, and I felt bad that I had poured several glasses on my head.

Part of me still doesn't understand why Chicago was such a mess. The Boston Marathon in 2004 was in the mid-80s as well, and that race started at noon! But the top finishers' times were not nearly as off-pace as they were during Chicago.

Anyway, I've decided to run the California International Marathon instead on December 2. It's part of the PA USATF road circuit, so it should be a competitive and fun race. I am kind of mentally and physically exhausted from marathon training, especially with school, so I am scaling back my mileage A LOT and just trying to focus on getting a few good quality runs during the week. Last Sunday I ran the most amazing half-marathon. It was in the Redwoods State Park in Humboldt, about 225 miles north of San Francisco. The race is an out-an-back along the Avenue of Giants, a spectacular road flanked by giant Redwood trees. It was incredibly beautiful. The Impalas race really well there, with almost everyone posting PRs! I ran a 1:23:30, which was also a PR for me.

Since we raced hard on Thursday, our coach recommended that we just do a steady-state run on Tuesday instead of a work out and try to get in a tempo-type of workout on Thursday. So, I drove into San Fran on Wednesday night, slept at a teammate's apartment, and woke up at 4:50 to start a tempo workout with a bunch of ladies at 5 am. We warmed up by running to Golden Gate Park and then did a workout of 4 miles, 3 miles, 2 miles at lactate threshold pace. Well, it was supposed to be LT pace... I was doing more like marathon pace. It was pitch black the entire run, so we wore lights around our waists. By 7:10 am, I was back in my car having run 15+ miles. It was awesome. Some people may call it strange, but that's what we runners do, right? (Although I must admit that it has been really hard for me to get up that early to run most days!)

Anyway, I just wanted to update you all on my running. I miss you!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The humid city

I just wanted to give a shout-out to everyone who got on the line at Chicago. Honestly, it was probably more than I would have done. You had the guts to give it a try and see if maybe the day would pan out. To Katie Waz and Megha: I'm glad you're saving your legs for a better day. Seriously. You've put in too much work to attempt a marathon on a day where an 8 miler would be brutal. Keep us updated as to when you try again!!!


Monday, October 8, 2007

What a weekend!

GBTC has had quite a weekend of racing. Yesterday, in the record heat, we had some old teammates and good friends compete in the Chicago Marathon - some finished the race, some stopped early, some didn't even start. A very big hug goes out to all the women who trained for months and months to post a wicked fast time at Chicago but whose plans were thwarted by mother nature, that bitch. I've talked to you all individually since the race, but I thought it should be publicly recognized that you all are in our thoughts over here.

Then, the XC race yesterday - I don't really know how everyone did but I do know how my husband ran - AWESOME!

We had some peeps run in the BAA half-marathon yesterday. Lynn ran great!!!!!!

Today, we had the Tufts 10K race for women in Boston. I wasn't planning to race it until early last week when an email from Coach T changed my mind. As some of you know, I've been struggling for a few months with some boo boos and ouchies and I just can't seem to get my body under control. I've had heel problems since the Boston Marathon in April and ignoring them hasn't caused them to disappear! Go figure! So, I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and he said I have likely broken a couple of bones and he sent me off to the x-ray peeps. X-rays came back normal, but the doctor said that I shouldn't rule out broken bones because sometimes they don't show up on x-rays given where they likely are in my foot. So, I have another appointment next week to look into this further. In the meantime, I'm still training. I figure, I'm likely broken enough as it is that I might as well continue to race until I'm told that I have to stop. While this is fun, it isn't helping my racing all that much. I'm having some trouble putting pressure on my right heel to the point that, when I race, I have to alter my stride significantly to relieve the pain. The bitch of it is that I'm actually feeling pretty aerobically fit right now. I've been working out on my own since I can't make it to team practices, and I've been doing lots of workouts on grass or soft ground. So, you can imagine my frustration when I'm aerobically ready to rock n' roll but I have to run like an idiot to avoid excruciating pain. I mean, today I was running easy enough that I high fived a kid (I don't even like kids, except for Emily's Bruce), gave Coach T the thumbs-up, smiled at Mike and Morgan who were kindly volunteering, and had a conversation with a couple of racers next to me. I'm going nuts!

I'm not posting this to put out an excuse for my 1.5-minutes-slower-than-PR 10K performance. I'm just frustrated...I've never been injured least, not injured enough that I've had to acknowledge it, and I'm going a little crazy here...

On a high note, wow to my teammates! People ran awesome! A special congrats to Allison M. and Liz who both PRed. Incredible.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Weather woes and marathon moes

It's supposed to be 85 degrees and humid on Sunday in Chicago for the marathon!

Isn't October the time of year for cool, crisp air and colorful autumn leaves and apple butter and fleeces?

I am getting a bit freaked out now considering:
1. My legs feel like crap.
2. I have been getting no sleep since I have midterms and a thousand projects due this week.
3. I ran a really, really slow 10K race last week.
4. The weather forecast for the marathon is more reminiscent of Miami than Chicago.
5. I just ate 2.5 (vegan) cupcakes. Not exactly ideal marathon food!

Ahh well. All I can do at this point is hope for the best!

Well I unfortunately have a ton more work to do before I can even think of going to sleep. Grad school is HARD!

I miss you all a ton and have been following your racing on the GBTC blog and Cool Running. GOOD LUCK for the Tufts 10K this Monday!


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Nice work!

so to piggy-back off of liz' entry...nice work today at ollie everyone!!! i can't believe how freaking deep our team is right now. we had alison and emily up front and then 7 women within like a minute of each other. we must have had 11 or 12 strong women out there today. that's so kick-ass!

it was a yucky, hot day...but in terms of place, i think we should all be proud. we won the women's division and i think so much of it has to do with the depth of our group and working with (and against) each other. i have a feeling that, as a team and as individuals, we're just going to keep getting better and better.

so well done ladies!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Ollie Excitement!!!


We have a very impressive group:

Emily Raymond
Allison McCabe
Sloan Siegrist
Kate Famous
Laura Hayden
Gretchen Chick
Elizabeth Eisman
Marian Bihrle
Liz Kelly

I am so excited! I've been hydrating all day (something that usually proves difficult as there is no food/drink allowed in the lab) and I can't wait to go home and do my little shake out "jog" (the barely justifiable time to use that word haha). Then some serious stretching, some healthy eating and a good nights sleep. I have to say I love racing in a field that is so deep. I was very blessed in high school to join a deep team. We rocked our conference. For example, often our coach sent out the JV team to win the race against a less competative team when we had several dual meets in one week. Additionally, once a season we would pair up with faster runners and race together such that the faster runner would mentor the younger, less experienced runner. I remember the first XC race at our home course and watching all of the fast upperclasswomen pack up in front simultaneously challenging each other as individuals and working together as a team. I was also reminded of this race in a mini-discussion with Laura and Elizabeth yesterday during a jog after our 200s. We were talking about being competitive and how on a team it becomes a balance between wanting to make goals for yourself (for example, I hope I can beat certain people by the end of this year) and hoping everyone else (as in the people I want to beat) has really good races so that everyone races better. This brings me to yet another thought. In high school and at Smith, my coaches always talked about how important the 6th and 7th runners were in XC even though they did not contribute point-wise to the team. With hard training, the 6th and 7th runners could challenge the 5th runner who would challenge the 4th runner and so on. I have watched this scenario happen over many seasons and its true...everyone benefits.

Anyway, while my thoughts may not necessarily be organized, I hope they provide a moment of reflection as we head into Ollie with an amazing group of talented and motivated women. I can't wait to see our pack leap off the line tomorrow!

Liz :-)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Awesome marathon workout

I have been running marathons since 2001. Over the years, I have read in countless books and magazines and online marathon training programs that you should integrate some miles at goal marathon pace into your runs. Some programs advocate fast-finish long runs, and others have you do the middle chunk of the run at a faster clip. Pretty intuitive, right? If you want to run a certain time for the marathon, it makes sense that you should practice that pace, especially during a long run.

Despite all I've read about advanced marathon training, I have never worked on marathon pace during my long runs. My goal during a long run is generally just to finish -- pace is an afterthought! But today I did the best marathon workout ever.

I met with a bunch of the Impalas and our coach at 7:30am at the Sawyer Camp Trail in San Mateo, about 40 minutes south of San Francisco. It's a 6-mile paved path that's pretty shaded with some rolling hills and a decent climb for the last two miles. Each half-mile and mile is marked, so it's easy to keep track of pace and effort. At least a couple dozen women on the team are training for fall marathons, so the workout was well-attended.

The workout was as follows:

Miles 0-9: normal long run pace
Miles 9-14: goal marathon pace
Mile 15: lactate threshold pace (a teeny bit slower than 10K pace)
Miles 16-17: normal long run pace
Miles 18-21: goal marathon pace
Mile 22: normal long run pace

So there you have it. A 22-mile marathon workout with 10 miles at marathon pace or faster. It went surprisingly well for me, and I think I needed the extra little boost of confidence since my training for the Chicago Marathon has been sub-par. For all your fall marathoners, I highly recommend that you try this workout or even an abbreviated version of it. Good luck!


Monday, August 27, 2007


So, I did it typical XC Laura style, I rolled my ankle during a race. There should be an annual holiday for this given how consistent it is... each year, I enjoy a good ankle sprain, typically around the time I'm getting into good shape. The sprains are just bad enough to cause me excruciating pain, but not bad enough to stop me from running. I can handle that.

Lets backpeddle a bit. Lynn Woods Relay, last Wednesday, went well. GBTC was in full force, dotting the trails with red and white as far as the eye could see. Our women's teams ran for 1st and 2nd place and everyone had a decent day. Since I'm just getting back into shape, I didn't wear a watch, nor did I care to know my split. I felt competitive, a little speedy, and happy at the end of my leg. Just what I was looking for.

On Saturday, I ran the XC Grand Prix 5K which actually ended up being somewhere around 3.5 miles long. The course was AWESOME...truly a XC course. It was probably the best XC course on which I've ever competed. It would be perfect if it could be redone to exclude the current 100 yard stretch of concrete. Humidity swelled the air while heat glistened off the cornfields, but so much of the race was run in the woods that I really didn't notice the 90 degree weather all that much. Basically, without all the details, I rolled my ankle a couple of time, fell a couple of times, hopped up and down the hills, and dragged my body, one-legged, to the finish line. Not a great race for Laura!

On the other hand, Emily had a great day. This was her first race since last May and she managed a 3rd place finish behind two very quality women. Liz C., a newcomer to the group, ran 2nd for the club with a solid performance. Elizabeth E., best known for her smiley, bubbly demeanor and constant upbeat attitude, ran 4th for the club. Cynthia H. rounded out the top 5 with her usual, consistent performance. Paula Donovan, new mom and long time member of GBTC, ran for 6th place while Wendy posted the 7th position for the women. It was a morning full of sunshine, smiles, and miles. Reminds me of a poem an old teammate had embroidered on her sweatshirt:

I love to run,
it makes me smile.
I think I'll go
another mile.

Monday, August 20, 2007


So I'll take the bite and post a little something-something.

Falmouth was hot and slow. Laura and I did a fast training run yesterday that rivaled the 7 mile times we finished in. Ouch. So hmmm...what does that say? On a cool day, it doesn't feel too bad to run fairly quickly. On the downside, I apparently have little motivation for hot 7 milers. I just tried to follow Laura for as long as I could and try to place in the top 50. Sloan, Brad and Bruce looked awesome though!!!

Mileage is on the upward-trend, which is good. I'll do as many XC races as I can fit in, but I'd mainly like to get a consistent mileage base for indoor track. Anything else would just be gravy.


P.S. JJ: You're taking Step 1 this upcoming year, right? Me too. Yaaaaaaaay.

P.P.S. Em: love the hair!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

i miss my GBTC gals

Greetings, Boston friends!
How I miss you all so so so much. I have arrived in California and now am really missing you all. I miss dawdling on the track on Tuesday evenings after the warm up but before starting the work out. I miss meeting at the Starbucks in Central Sq. on Saturday mornings for long runs in JP or Fresh Pond or the Newton hills. I miss playing soccer in Amory park. I miss hitching a ride with my teammates to New England summer races that are bound to be hilly, hot, windy, and humid and more than likely a combination of those feature. I miss meeting Ted and Emily and Audrey and Jeremy at 5:20am for an 11 or 12 or 13 mile run through Medford and Winchester and the smelly streets of East Somerville, where it always seems to be garbage day. I miss running in Boston, and I miss GBTC.

But alas, I have finally made it to Berkeley and the Bay Area. I left Boston less than 24 hours after racing the Newburyport 10 miler on July 31. As predicted, it was a hot, hot, hot race. Somehow my legs did not feel good until the 7th mile of that race. I did the first mile at 6:15 or so and then the next 6 miles were quite slow and painful -- something like 6:40s or 6:50s. And then all of a sudden I felt good at mile seven and started running 6:15s and 6:20s again. Weird.

But after the Newburyport 10 miler, something really yucky happened to my legs. The IT band in my left leg totally tightened up. At first I thought it was just post-race fatigue, but the pain lingered. I flew home to my parents house in Illinois the next day, and my angelic mother (who is a physical therapist) did massage and ultrasound on my IT band and legs regularly. I was icing and rolling on tennis balls and stretching and everything. My first full-blown running injury! Luckily my IT band is feeling about 75% better. Yay!

Running in Illinois was brutal. It was so hot and humid. Everyday I was home the humidity hovered between 75-90%, and the temps were in the high 80s and low 90s. I usually ran in the forest preserve by my house (which I just discovered this year) and would come back looking like the windshield of a truck - bugs and dirt stuck all over me from the humidity and moistness. I didn't even mind the bugs and humidity as much as I minded running alone. How boring! For the past three weeks I have run all by myself for the most part, and it's such a change from running with Emily and Audrey most mornings and running with the team on Tuesday nights and weekends.

Unfortunately my running has not been going that well this summer. A race I ran in Chicago confirmed this. I raced the Chicago Distance Classic half marathon on August 12. I was excited about the race and wanted to run at least as fast as I did last year. I started out at the right pace and ran 6:28s or 6:29s for the first 7 miles. But then around mile 8 the heat started to get to me and I lost the mental edge and my legs cramped up and everything fell apart. I could barely run 6:50 pace at this point. All I wanted to do was have someone airlift me to the finish. But I somehow made it to the finish line after weaving all along the Chicago lakefront and its many twists and turns and finished in an unremarkable 1:27:50 something. Grrr. So much for running a 1:25.

A few days later, I took off for California. I arrived on Wednesday night and so far have run along the San Francisco Embarcardero, up the 20% grade hills in Berkeley's Tilden Park, and all through Golden Gate Park. This morning I attended my first practice with the Impala Racing Team. Runners must attend at least four practices before they can be extended an offer to join the team. There were about 15 women at today's workout, and they all seem very nice and quite fit. I had the pleasure of running with so many talented people: a Stanford student who's already qualified for the Olympic Trials 5K with a time of 15:50 something; a 43-year-old woman who just got her fourth Olympic trials marathon time (she ran a 2:43 something in 2006); and a bunch of women for whom running sub-6 minute pace for a 10K or 12K is pretty easy. Although I was not the slowest at today's hilly trail fartlek workout, the coach told me that the team already has 4 women who've qualified for the Olympic Trials in the marathon, and there are several more racing fall marathons this year who have a shot at 2:47. I'm clearly not looking for a Trials-qualifier, so I'm not sure where I'll end up with the Impalas or if I will be offered a spot on the team. But I'll just cross my fingers and hope for the best and wear my GBTC racing gear in the meantime.

So other than that, my life has been boring, and my mileage has not been as high as it should be. I am still trying to find some decent running routes around me that don't have such huge hills that I must slow to a 10-minute pace. But it's been tough. I'll just have to learn how to run those hills! But for all of you who know how much I avoid the trails, you'll be proud to know that today I did about 75% of my 19 mile run on trails and grass. My knees are thanking me.

So this post is very long. Sorry. I haven't spoken to many people since I've been in California so I suppose this my way of "talking." I miss you all and hope to hear about your running adventures on the blog.


and by the way, congrats to all the Falmouth finishers. Where are your racing stories? and Emily, i LOVE the hair cut!

Monday, August 13, 2007

its go time!

Time for cross country season. Time for cool, crispy morning races. Time to revive the blog.

I love to race. It is all I want to do as a runner. When I can't race for whatever reason, I get a little moody (really, ask some of my teammates). Since the Boston Marathon, for the past 3.5 months I've had one pain after another that has led to months of very very very inadequate training. My usual 70-90 mile weeks dwindled to 40-50 mile weeks, my double sessions shrunk to barely one session, and my desire to be around races and runners almost completely evaporated.

I managed to shove my gloomy, moody, "I hate running" attitude aside to watch track club nationals last month, thinking that I would be happy to support my teammates and my desire to race would be curtained enough that I'd make it through the meet without feeling sorry for myself. It actually almost happened - I was so happy for and proud of my teammates that I dropped my "woe is me" boo-hoo attitude for the weekend we were in New York. After that weekend, however, I sunk into an even deeper state of frustration because, while my motivation was piqued, my broken body was still torn to shreds. I decided it was time to get back to basics. I pulled out my old running logs (I've kept a running journal since 5th grade, no lie) and perused the lot. I consulted my trusty Maffetone and Lydiard texts. I slowly started to run steady mileage, working my way back up to about 70 miles each week with one workout and no races. I was bored. Running without racing is B-O-R-I-N-G.

So, over the past 3 weeks, I've run 2 races. Both were very sub-par performances but, nonetheless, what I expected. I spent this past weekend racing in Falmouth with some of my all-time favorite people. The race was painful but the rest of the weekend was so uplifting and motivating that I can't help but become excited again about being around my teammates in racing settings. Our cross country team threatens to be the strongest one we've had since I've joined the club and I can't wait to watch my teammates execute some killer races. Look out for Sloan Siegrist as she ends her year long racing hiatus, Brad Kozel (the hottest runner alive) as he is in his best shape ever, and Rod Hemingway as he climbs back to stellar shape.

Now that I'm back to somewhat painless training shape, I'll be a much more vocal blogger, I promise. I think this is a great tool for us to share our training and racing wisdom. My pearl of wisdom for the day: Don't eat 5 s'mores and drink 2 glasses of wine (when you're tipsy after 1 glass) the night before a race. It yields unfortunate consequences.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hills of Gloucester

This morning I ran the Gloucester Seacoast Seven. What originally caught my eye about the race was the prize money -- $500 for first and $100 for second. Previous years' results were not that fast, so I thought I'd have a chance at second place maybe. But then I learned that the race didn't offer prize money in previous years, so this year was sure to draw a crowd of fast, money-hungry runners. No worries, though, as I was still excited to drive (yes, drive!) to gorgeous Gloucester and run my penultimate race in Massachusetts.

All the women were checkin' each other out at the start, wondering how fast the race would go out and who'd be in the lead and who'd try to steal it from her. I hung out with Diona and Jess Blake at the start and we decided to just have fun with it.

Before the race, I asked some of the volunteers what the course was like. I figured it'd be hilly, because Gloucester is chock-full of hills. The volunteers laughed a bit and said, "Oh yeah, it's hilly. Uphill, there and back.

That description of the course was spot on. This was probably the hilliest race I've ever done. It seriously felt uphill just about the whole time! I treated the few downhills as a pseudo recovery and opportunity to increase my legspeed, but before I could take full advantage of the descent, we'd start climbing again. Adding to the difficulty of the race was the steady head wind or cross wind and constant turns along the windy Gloucester roads. The absolute worst was the last half mile -- we rounded the corner into a parking lot near the finish and had to somehow surge up a giant incline to get to the chute. It was hell. I was literally wheezing. Pretty embarrassing.

My time was awful, but I'm not going to pay much attention to it for now considering the difficulty of the course. Winds and hills are not my strong point, but it was excellent training nonetheless. And I guess I better get used to those hills if I want to keep racing in Berkeley and San Francisco!

Next race is the Newburyport 10 miler on July 31. Let's hope for better weather than last year. 90 degree heat and 86% humidity was brutal!


Thursday, July 5, 2007

LL Bean 10k

Hey guys! Thanks for the support!

I've run the LL Bean 10k for 9 years now, something I do every year with my dad (his 24th year) and sister. It's a fun race which usually brings out some notable names and LL Bean gives great prizes, like gift certificate for the top 3. I looked at past results to see where I could potentially place. The winner usually runs in the low 37's and second place isn't far behind, but third place varies from 37-something to 40. Gauging my current shape, I thought 3rd place was an attainable goal and, plus it'd be cool to win "prize money."

So, the race went off. The first mile is fast, downhill. The clock said 5:45. Yikes--fast! I chilled out for a mile and re-grouped. Mile 2 was about 12 min and I was feeling pretty strong, in about 8th place. I picked it up a little and started moving up. Right around mile 3, I saw a familiar figure with silver hair just ahead of me. With my focus on her back, I started working hard....I couldn't believe I was actually getting closer to Joan Benoit Sameulson--she's my idol! Right at the 4th mile, I passed Joan! My freaking idol! I was passing by freaking idol...I managed to calmly spurt out, "that's it Joan. " We were at the base of a huge hill, and I said to myself, you are going to look like a real jerk if Joanie passes you on this I kept moving. I was in 4th place at that point and at mile 5 I could see the 3rd place ponytail in the distance. I looked down at my watch, 30:24 (pr for 5 miles!). I decided I still wanted the money! I started passing a bunch of men. At some point, I was pretty sure I didnt want "the money" anymore and was just fine with 4th, but the other voice in my head screamed, "what the heck, you better get third..she's right in front of you!" At mile 6 mark one of the fans yelled "oh it's going to be a race for 3rd"...just as I was about to pass. All I could think was I hope she doesn't kick! I finished...4 seconds ahead, 3rd place! 37:25! Very psyched! Last year, I ran 44:01.

I jogged around and cheered for my dad to come in...finished in 1:00.36! Looking forward to my award, I waited in the sun with sister and stretched. They called the first placed woman, Emily Levan and announced she had broken the course record, so in addition to her 1st place prize of $100 to LL Bean, she was getting another $100. 2nd place was called and she was handed a envelope with a gift card as well. I was beaming, couldn't wait for my name to be called...3rd place...Gretchen Chick, congratulations. Yes!! I shook hands and then looked down at my award...a FLASHLIGHT...I got a freaking flashlight?! There must be some mistake! I've run this race for 9 years and the top 3 always get money! But no, not this year.

Well, I'm sure it'll come in handy one of these days. But it was a fun a race. Next Tuesday will be my one year anniversary with the club. I'm in great shape, and with all sincerity I wouldn't be without you guys! You all are motivating, inspring, and you make for a pretty awesome support group, too. Basically, you rock! I look forward to many more workouts and swweeeeeeet races (with better prizes)!


Minuteman Classic 5 miler

My parents were in town for 16 hours or so during the July 4th holiday. They flew in to New Jersey for a conference a few days early so decided to rent a car and come visit (and take a few suitcases full of my stuff back to Chicago to help me move). Anyway, since they had a car, I decided to take full advantage and make them drive me to a race.

We drove up to Concord, MA for the Minuteman Classic 5 Miler. The race was no where to be found on Cool Running's race calendar. Emily told me about it on Tuesday, so I used my best google searching skills to track it down.

We got a little lost getting there and arrived a bit late, so I didn't get to warm up much. I saw Katie Fobert at the start line -- which was great! Always nice to see a friendly face. The race started with the firing of a musket -- I guess it's tradition for this 4th of July race. And we were off. I went out at a steady pace and did not expect to be the lead woman --- but I was. There were tons of men ahead of me though. The first mile must have been short because my watch read 5:47 and I think we ran closer to 6:05 or 6:06. Anyway, I ran with a group of middle aged men and we kept trading spots and racing around the turns for a few miles. I passed a bunch of people who went out too hard and died half-way through. My three mile split was 18:14, so I felt good. The next two miles were tough -- at this point I was racing more or less by myself and there were some small rolling inclines and declines and I was getting tired and hot.

Rounding the last few turns toward the finish, I was struggling to maintain pace, much less surge and push hard to finish. I really have no kick! Anyway, I won the race and PRed for the distance but didn't run quite as well as I would have liked to. No worries. It was still a fun way to spend the morning of the 4th of July, and I was thrilled that my parents were around to drive me to and from the race. Katie Fobert also did well (but I don't know her place yet) and we cool down together through the gorgeous tree-lined roads of Concord.

When I got home, I checked my email and read about Gretchen's great 10K race and was floored! At that point I basically forgot that I had raced and was just so happy and excited for Gretchen. She is the star of the 4th of July!


Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Long time no post. Long time no see. As many of you know, my Dad was diagnosed with Stage III melanoma not too long ago. The past few weeks have been busy with appointments and procedures all leading to his major surgery in 2 weeks. Needless to say my schedule has been hectic and therefore making it to practice has been difficult. Well last night I was heading in to run and just my luck, traffic was awful. I should have known, but I was hoping it would be moving at least. No such luck. I ended up bailing and heading to Blue Hills to run as I knew I would never make it to South Boston in time. My run was ok, but I think I am going through workout withdrawal. I miss you all!! I miss the warmups full of chatter and the feeling of running fast with a pack. I miss the weekly updates of what is new in everyone's life. I even miss Tom's crazy workouts. Amazing how that happens. My running has been less of a priority the past month which is the right thing, but it is hard for me. Running has always been the constant in my life. It still is, but I am not able to put in as much time as I would like. I know that once my Dad gets through his surgeries that will change. So right now I will just be patient.
That being week I am determined to make it in to Southie even if I have to leave 2 hours early. Who knows what I can do for a workout, but seeing everyone will get me through whatever Tom thinks up.
Miss you all and see you soon.


Gretchen rocks my world!

I really wish I could have been in Maine to watch Miss Gretchen the Great run her amazing, inspiring 10K race. I haven't talked to Gretchen yet, so I haven't heard any race stories... but from her 3rd place finish in a time of 37:25 (6:02 pace), I'm guessing it was a fabulous fabulous race.

Awesome job, Gretchen! I am so psyched for you. Congrats!!! Celebrate!!!


Monday, June 11, 2007


So I would just like to give Gretchen a shout-out for a really amazing race. I wasn't there to see it in person, but to run a 20 second PR in the 3K is so hard-core :-) Congrats on a tremendous performance!!!


Thursday, June 7, 2007

The wisdom of doing nothing

My legs have been feeling like junk lately, so I asked Tom for some advice about what to do. Even though it's hard for me to rest and just take it easy, his advice is just too well-spoken and wise for me to ignore. I'm pasting his words below. Genius.

"Don't run until you warm up for the 1500. Don't cycle. Walk excessively. Just rest. It is easy. It is part of the discipline. Doing nothing is still doing. Or do nothing until it is done. So there, Yoda has spoken."


Thursday, May 31, 2007

gretchen and famous rock the mile!

Yesterday on a very hot and quite windy day at the MIT track, Gretchen and Katie Famous rocked the mile. Gretchen started comfortably, hesistant to take the lead at first. First 800 was a 2:40, she says. Next 800 was a major negative split in 2:31. And all that after a killer hard workout on Tuesday night.

Famous also had a strong race -- PRing by 0.1 or 0.01 seconds from her PR from last week.

And all in all, it was great to see so many GBTC folks at the mini-meet. We raced in the midst of little kids and old folks, and just about every age in between. And I must say that some of those teenage girls are speedy little things.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I love the mile

It is probably true that I am at heart a 3K/5K runner. However, this season has been fun because I've been branching out in either direction, with a few 10Ks sprinkled in...and now a couple miles. I think I'm much better at the mile than the 10K, which is kind of funny.

I raced the mile for the first time in maybe 2 years on Wednesday. It felt really smooth...too smooth? So I'm looking forward to going out a little harder next time. See what I can hold on to. If anyone wants to join me in the mile next Wednesday, I'd love some company!!!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Emily's Bedford 12k Race Report

Thought I'd revive the blog with a little racing story.

The start of the Bedford 12k was very tight. Sure, it was a 2-lane road. But those 2 lanes were for skinny Mini Cooper cars or something. The road was slim and there were a lot of runners. I couldn't even elbow my way to the very front; I settled for a spot where I could at least see the line through about three people's legs in front of me.

The gun went off and I nearly tripped a guy in the first hundred meters. I went out fast. I didn't have my watch on; I figured between marathon recovery, this week's not-nicely-paced workout, and lack of recent races that I didn't want to look at a watch. I knew I wouldn't pace well. I just stuck with the top three women for the first mile. We went through the mile at 5:32 (luckily Bruce Davie called out the right time; the clock said 4:51!).

I pulled ahead a little and ran with some guys for a few miles. The race went up and down rolling hills and over a dirt road. I didn't get anymore splits but I saw the mile markers roll by. By mile 6, I was tired but not dead. My legs still functioned but they felt flat - in a rhythm, a rhythm that was slowing down.

Just before mile 7, Molly Taber flashed by in her powder blue MVS jersey. My legs didn't feel great but I figured I'd throw in a surprise. I think most people pass and expect an instant win - so when you fight back and throw in a surge, it throws them off. So I surged. Then she surged. Then I surged. Then she surged. Finally after this battling there were 100 meters left.

I thought about all the reasons why I should win. It was Bruce's birthday and I was away from him for a half-day and figured I better make it worthwhile. I wanted to get the mental disappointment of the marathon out of my head with a win. I wanted GBTC to win over MVS. I wanted to celebrate the second anniversary of having my abs chopped and guts rearranged (very much related to Bruce's birthday). Anyway, I had my reasons. And I was convinced that my reasons were better than hers.

So I mustered a sprint - the full arm-pumping, leg-driving, quick-turnover sprint that is very unfamiliar to me. I can't remember the last time I whipped out a sprint like that. It's been a long time. Not even the Northeastern 10k had a sprint like this.

The sprint worked. I crossed the finish in 43:41, which I found out later was three seconds off the course record. Dangit. We exchanged "good race" comments and she threw in "you've got some speed," which is a comment I don't hear often.

GBTC ended up in second place, although we definitely fielded a deeper team. We finished four girls in front of their third and all seven before their sixth. Maybe next time...


Sunday, May 6, 2007

Westford 5K day of fun

Two or three dozen GBTCers raced today's Grand Prix 5K in Westford, MA. Laura, Brad, Gretchen, and I left Boston at 11:30am since we thought it would take over an hour to get to the race. Well, we got there at about 12:20, two hours before the race would start. To kill time, we drove around town looking for a running store so Brad could buy a pair of men's size 9.5 racing flats. FYI runners -- there is no running store in Westford. We perused the wares at the flea-market-like Puma tent sale, and Brad optimistically stopped at Olympia Sports but came back empty handed. He was more willing to wear his trusty road trainers that a pair of bright orange plastic Puma spikes or heavy basketball mid-tops with velcro. Lucky for him, though, because he proved that you don't need any high-tech lightweight shoes to have a good race.

We basked in the sun for some time before rounding up the team for a warm-up. Several of us (I won't name names!) felt iffy and sore after our Saturday afternoon session of soccer in the park. Oops. I guess runners really don't use those kicking muscles very much because my quads and shins were kind of tight today. I'll have to work on my soccer skills this summer.

The start of the race was comical. Hordes of runners swarmed behind the fluorescent yellow start line painted across a narrow driveway only about 20 feet wide. It was a madhouse. A bunch of the GBTC women who wanted a good starting position but couldn't quite find space on the road huddled on the grass to the left of the start. When the horn sounded, we trampled over big cones and around fast old men before actually crossing the start. So I'm thinking that the conditions of the start tacked on a few extra seconds to each of our times.

The race was fun! The first two miles were flat or downhill, and the course was gorgeous. It was a fast start. I was hoping to go out in 6:10 for the first mile since my legs still feel pretty dead. I thought I was right on that pace -- maybe even slower -- because I didn't feel like I was really exerting myself for the first mile, and I was getting passed left and right. First mile split was about 6:01. I'll take that. Second mile was still pretty flat, and I kept the pace even. I started catching people who blew by me in the first mile. Second mile split was 12:03. Not bad. I kept the pace pretty spot-on until we hit the 2.5 mile mark or so. That's where the course started to climb, and my legs just died. I have no power on hills. I didn't get passed by any one, but I knew my pace had slowed significantly. I really need to work on those hills. Summit Ave. repeats, anyone?

All in all, I think GBTC had a great showing at the race. The women tied for 2nd place, and Allison McCabe outkicked a New Balance gal for 3rd place. Sweet. Laura - who is still in marathon recovery mode and totally dominated our soccer expedition yesterday - ran a solid race, just 10 seconds behind her 5K Grand Prix time from 2006. Gretchen, Fobert, Christy, Audrey, Heather, and Mithu ran solid as well, although I know that their times today are not even remotely indicative of how fast they can run this distance. And props to Audrey for totally coming out and running to support GBTC today. Way to run for the team!!! I ran okay - not great - but okay. I was 20 seconds off my PR, but I'll take that on this hilly course with heavy legs.

More importantly, I had a blast today. Sure, I left my house at 10:30am and travelled for 2 hours (one-way) to get to a 5K race, but I was in the company of my favorite people ever. And Grand Prix races are always so exciting because so many fast and talented people show up. It's not every day that you get passed by men (and women) almost twice your age. Amazing.

Next race is the Grand Prix 12K in two weeks. That race is bound to be uber-competitive since all the folks that ran the marathon will likely show up for that race. After that, I might run the half-marathon in Boston on Memorial Day Weekend. Anyone want to run it with me?


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Running Out West

Scott, Bruce, and I are taking a break out in Montana right now. Scott has a break between classes and a summer of long hours in a clinic. And I needed a break from the daily grind of writing about cameras, feeding and nurturing a toddler, and running running running.

I'd been feeling a little burned out post-marathon, but I'm feeling better and better here. I don't have to run wicked early in the morning, which is nice. The scenery is gorgeous. There are lots of trails. Ahhh.

The past two days my legs felt like junk and my chest felt like someone was sitting on it. I think I'm finally adjusting to the 5,200 ft elevation. Today's run was much better. I ran some gravel roads and some big hills past a few ranches and some enormous houses. I could see across a big valley for most of my run and could see an entire storm system moving through ten miles away. It was pretty cool. I like it here but I think I'll be ready for some city running in about a week. I'm probably more nervous about the bears and wolves here than the creepy dude around my place.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Slow-going recovery

Congrats to the GBTC teams that raced the Groton 10K on Sunday! Especially the men -- 2nd place finish overall is outstanding for a Grand Prix race. Wish I could have been there. The women's team also held its own with strong performances from Laura(who ran the Boston Marathon just 13 days prior), Liz, Famous, Fobert, and Christy.

My legs still feel like lead. Grrr! It is taking me a lot longer than I thought it would to recover. Recovery can really play mind games with you. I can barely manage to run for an hour at a very leisurely pace right now. Everyday I think - how did I just race a marathon? I am getting antsy and frustrated and want my legs to feel good again! Hopefully, I will feel better for the Grand Prix 5K this weekend. It will be an "interesting" race for me to say the least, since I am hardly in 5K shape, haven't done a speed workout in months, and generally feel that my ideal racing distance is about 15 miles longer than a 5K.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Creeped Out.

Yesterday I had a dental appointment at 8 a.m. so I didn't go running with everyone else. I ran an uneventful loop around Spot Pond and then headed down a busier road to my house. In the last quarter-mile I zig-zagged through some neighborhood streets and finally stopped at my front steps. I bent over and untied my laces to get my key off my shoe and heard the sound of a car engine idling behind me. I looked back and about 20 ft away was a tan four-door sedan sitting there with the window down and a white male staring. When I looked he started moving slowly. I grabbed my key and started walking to the back of my house - as if he wouldn't think I lived there now. Totally stupid. I don't know what I was thinking.

He moved slowly for a few seconds, then sped up real fast and did a quick U-turn at the end of my street. I was still watching him from my backyard. He sped back and stopped at the side yard of my house and we made eye contact just as I poked my head out to see if he was there. At that point, I sprinted to the back door, unlocked it, bolted it once in, ran upstairs, tore through the back door of my apartment and he was gone by the time I got to the front window. Dang.

I went to the police station and told them what happened. I didn't have much info for them. No make and model: I can hardly tell the difference between a Toyota and BMW. No license number: I didn't see it. They said they'd patrol my street more often and gave me a whistle. Gee thanks.

Now I'm thoroughly creeped out and glancing out my window every five minutes. He knows where I live! He knows that I run. And unfortunately I ran and came home at the same time that I do almost every morning. I'm telling all my neighbors who to look for and next week I'll be in Montana so that makes me feel a little better. But yuck! Don't people have better things to do at 6:50 a.m. on a Saturday morning?


Monday, April 23, 2007

How NOT to pace a race

So Jess invited me to run a 5 miler out in Winchester yesterday. It seemed like a chill road race. Plus, it claimed to be flat, which I'm always looking for in a road race. The more it's like a track, the better. So Jess, Jamie and I drive up to the local Ford dealership, where the race was supposed to begin. When who do we see but Mr. Tom Derderian himself. Looks like we were all trying to disappear into a small little road race. But to no avail :-)

So we all warmed up together, which was nice, and from the warm-up it did appear that the course was pretty flat. A little sloping, but no big deal. Andrea Gillespie was there, so I thought, "'re in pretty good shape. It's a flat course (your strength). Just go out with her and see how far you can stay with her." So mile 1 flies by and I'm right behind her...I see the mile marker...hit my watch. 5:44. Shit. Well, it was a little downhill... Mile 2 and I'm still pretty close. 6 minutes. Okay...well, it's going to hurt. And then the rolling hills began. And then my ass was officially grass. The group I was hanging onto kept skipping along and then I was on a bike path trying to dodge kids out enjoying the beautiful day. I was very quickly losing speed and concentration. I tried to keep it together as best I could, but I did indeed run a 7 minute mile at the end. Of a 5 mile race. Ouch. Well...2 lessons learned. 1) All meet directors claim that their course is flat. A track is flat. Road races are rarely...
2) Reign it in the first mile. Hopefully, I will run a much smarter race on Sunday. There will certainly be more people there to both keep me sane in the first mile and motivated at the end.

On the bright side, I won 50 bucks, which will pay for my Red Sox ticket tomorrow. A friend got some last minute tickets, so I'll be there tomorrow night. I'll miss y'all at practice, especially as I'm doing a solo workout in the afternoon.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Megha's theory of relativity

I suppose it's my turn to post a marathon story. I started writing this yesterday but couldn't quite finish. Just couldn't pull my thoughts together. Well here goes.

There is one thing about running that I embrace almost as much as I detest. Running is such a measurable, quantifiable sport. Very little is relative; times and distances are absolute. If you beat someone in a race, the reason is pretty simple: you ran faster than she did. It's not like football or basketball where there might be a handful of reasons why you won -- better defense, more rebounds, cleaner assists, bigger tackles, etc. With running, it just boils down to the time on the clock.

It's easy and satisfying to think about running in terms of time. One reason I think runners love the sport and love quantifying their performances is because net time does not leave much room for excuses. You can't blame your performance on your teammate's failure to pass you the ball or your coach's failure to call the right play or the referee's bad calls. Running performances are captured by the times. Setting goals is easier when you have a time to beat. Running for a time is predictable and safe. You can train for a time, but it's a lot harder to train to run against competition because you don't know how fast they'll run. I guess this is what makes running interesting. But I still understand running in terms of time.

It was with this attitude that I had trained for the Boston Marathon. I hinged my ability and my training more-or-less on two numbers: how many miles I trained and how fast I ran. It was as simple as that. I often tried to justify sub-par performances on high mileage, tired legs, hills, artic temps, high winds, etc. And sure, I gave myself breaks - both mental and physical - now and then when I was wicked tired or feeling sorry for myself. But when you train with really talented people day in and day out and see them race faster than you and run more miles than you and complete harder workouts in more grueling circumstances, you gain a lot of perspective on the sport. You take responsibility for your training and your performances and give yourself fewer breaks.

The irony of all this is that the more I compare myself to other runners and depend on their performances to gauge my own ability, the more peripheral they become to evaluating my performances. At some point, you stop comparing yourself to others and just decide on how many miles you want to run and how fast you want to race. Regardless of what everyone else does, you just run those miles and run that pace. At some point you stop doing it for everyone else and just do it for you. Maybe it's just me that does this. Who knows. Sometimes running is a very selfish sport because you can make it so individual and so measurable.

I had no idea what to expect for Monday's marathon. In my head, I wanted to run a 2:52 or 2:53. I ran a 20 miler a few weeks before at a 6:31 pace at the tail end of a 94 mile week, so I figured that with tapering and rest I should be able to maintain a 6:35 pace for the marathon. I know it was ambitious, but once I had the idea in my head, the goal pace just stuck. After hearing the weather forecast, I scaled back my goal time slightly to a 2:53:30 and picked up a corresponding pace bracelet at the expo. But I think in my head, I still wanted to run a 2:52 and hoped that the meteorologists were lying about the weather.

The weather forecast really bummed me out the days leading up to the marathon. I really struggle in wind, so hearing about the 20-25+ mph head winds was tough. A lot of runners are tough and can fight through the wind. I am not one of those runners. I get tossed around in the wind and get angry and discouraged. I mentally checked out of the Marathon days before the race. I wasn't excited about it and expected to be disappointed with my performance. I didn't even bring my 2:53:30 pace bracelet with me to the start line. I had given up on running a set time. Not really a good way to start a race, I know.

The night before the marathon, I got to bed around 11 pm and woke up around midnight to what sounded like nails being thrown at my bedroom window. The winds blowing from the ocean and the pelting rain shook my building and pounded against my window, and I really thought my window was going to break. It was loud enough to keep me awake pretty much all night.

Luckily, the conditions at the start of the marathon weren't quite that bad. We got so lucky. It was actually relatively warm - in the high 40s I think - and the rain had tapered from a heavy downpour to moderate showers. The winds in Hopkinton were still blustery, and my umbrella kept flipping upside down. (Who brings an umbrella to a race, anyway?) It was swampy and muddy, and there were plastic bags and ponchos everywhere - testament to the runners' efforts to stay dry.

I finally got excited for the race around 20 minutes before we started. At 9:40 am, Laura reminded me and Emily's brother Dave that Emily had just started the race with the elite women -- and I got instantly pumped! I ate half my jelly beans and a bunch more sugar and the high continued. Laura and I sauntered to the 2nd corral and basked in the super cool feeling of starting so close to the elite men and visualized Emily on the course. We stood on our tip toes to find Lynn (no luck) and studied the handful of other women who were starting in our corral.

The first mile was jam-packed - I weaved in and out to get my pace and find an open spot to run. First split was 6:38 -- which I thought was slow considering that the first mile is steeply downhill. I didn't freak out too much and just kept running comfortably. The next mile was a bit faster, and from then on, I just tried to add 6:35 to the aggregate time on my watch at every mile and run that time or faster for the next mile. By the time I got to mile 7 or so, I realized that I might have gone out too fast. But I felt so good, and I didn't want to slow down. And I was having fun.

I still don't know how to drink and run at the same time. To hydrate, I did my standard routine of taking 10 or 15 quick steps to every other Gatorade stop, coming to a full stop, guzzling the fluid, and then joining the race again. Other than that I didn't stop.

I went through the half in 1:24:35 (6:28/mile pace) -- the second fastest half marathon I've ever run. By the 30K mark, I had slowed a little but was still on a 6:33/mile pace. It was around that point that the hills started and the winds picked up. I swear I must have run 8-minute pace up some of those hills. By 35K, I had slowed to a 6:38 pace. I ran that 5K at a 7:06/mile pace. Oops. Next 5K was at a 6:56/pace. I was not doing so hot at this point. Luckily I saw all the GBTC folks around mile 23, and that totally lifted my spirits. I started screaming like a crazy woman. I swear there were at least 30 GBTC folks out there! I love the team.

So the race ended a few miles later and the only thing I was thinking about when I crossed the finish was how Emily, Lynn, and Laura had done. Sure, I was happy with my time, but I didn't think I ran a very smart race. Maybe it's because I hadn't been very excited about the race for the week prior. Maybe I had been too ambitious with my goal time. Part of me was disappointed and embarrassed that I had gone out so fast. But who knows if going out slower would have made a difference.

Looking back, I think that all four of us - Lynn, Emily, Laura, and me - are capable of running faster - a lot faster. I am so sure of it. I think we all have a lot more to give to the sport of marathoning. All four of us trained hard this season in some of the coldest temps, during the darkest mornings, and on the iciest sidewalks and roads. I know we can run more, and we can run faster. I'm glad we did well on Monday as a team. What I was most excited about after seeing the results was realizing that we have more passion and heart and talent and training to give to running and to the humbling marathon distance.

Apologies if this is a somber blog. I don't mean to sound ungrateful or greedy. I am quite pleased with Monday's race, but I think it might take all of us sometime to really understand our performances not just as absolute times or quantifiable results but as complex achievements to evaluate in the context of the conditions and in comparison with other women's times. Thinking about running like this make it seem so relative, though.

Well I am already thinking about my next race and my next marathon and hoping to run faster, maybe even get to that 2:52 mark soon. Down with relativity!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Way too much information...

Four times - I have run this event. Four time - I have promised myself the next will be better. Four times - the event has beaten me.

The day started with a 1 hour rainy wait in line for the buses with Megha and Emily's brother. Megha's umbrella kept on flipping upside down. People's shoes were getting drenched despite the plastic bags covering them. Runners were either pissed or giddy over the weather. I was excited. I couldn't wait for the race to start. I was digging the rain and wind and really pumped about racing in such challenging conditions. I had tossed aside the idea of hitting a particular time and adopted a mindset of "do or die" - similar to Emily's self-proclaimed approach.

We were herded like cattle onto the buses, sat in rain-soaked clothes for the 45 minute bus ride, peed, changed our shoes, and toed the line. The rain subsided for the start of the race. Megha and I started together but quickly separated as she began weaving through groups of people - I lost her after the first few miles.

My original plan was to try to run a 2:52-2:55. Due to the weather, I changed that idea to simply running as hard as I could for as long as I could until I died. I do that sometimes. I rarely have good races on those occasions but the trade off is that I can put myself in a position to run really well if I'm having the race of my life. I race enough that I can play around with racing tactics without mentally stressing out. So, that is what I did on Monday. Unfortunately, that race wasn't the race of my life - it was simply yet another example of what happens when Laura goes out too fast. Here are my rough splits:

6:54 (half marathon: 1:26ish)
8:15 (bathroom break)
8:08 (Heartbreak)
916 (1.2 miles)
3:05:06 (on my watch)

So, very easy to see how stupidly I ran the race. At mile 9, I almost stopped. I started feeling an incredible pain in my left leg (still there) and began to hobble a bit. I pulled myself together when I passed a few people I knew. Then, a few miles later, I began to feel sorry for myself again. This time, I had a stomachache. Thankfully, Chris Smith saved me by coming up alongside me and running next to me for a bit - taking my mind off my tummy. After that, running up Heartbreak, I was VERY tempted to veer off and stop at my good buddy's house (Andre). The only thing that stopped me from doing so was the solid line of drunk BCers barricading his street. Well, that and the solid hand on my back at one point. I turned to look and saw Lynn powering past me. Despite her heavy breathing and exhausted legs, she managed to encourage and empower me. She pulled me through the next few miles until I saw the comforting GBTC bright red banner and swarm of teammates at mile 24. I depended on their cheers to carry me to the finish line. I crossed the line next to a very energetic, acrobatic runner who spent the last mile or two performing gymnastics tricks to the crowd. I was so grateful for his entertainment - it kept my mind off the incredible amount of pain I was experiencing.

It is so funny to retell the experience. As I'm typing, I'm thinking to myself 'this sounds awful. It sounds like I had the worst experience ever.' But, that isn't the case at all. Even though it was the hardest race I've ever run, even though I didn't feel very well from the beginning, even though I think I'd be in less pain right now if I had my legs amputated, even though I ran 10 minutes slower that I thought I could run, I still LOVED racing the distance. There is really nothing like the feeling of pushing one's body to such an extreme for so long. I'm a miler at heart - through and through - and I really think that no pain can compare to the last 400 meters of a mile race, but the pain only lasts for a minute or so. In the marathon, runners have to endure this feeling for hours. It is beautiful. It is a fantastic feeling. Not only that, the amount of self-control and confidence that it takes to run a solid marathon is astounding. Obviously, I haven't figured that out yet - but I will.

After the race, I spent a few minutes trying to answer a journalist's questions through blue lips and chattering teeth before Brad picked me up. Once I got home, I was welcomed by some GBTCers who had spent the whole day cheering on their teammates and hanging around our place to meet us runners after the race. I showered, chatted a bit, and enjoyed some fish n' chips with a nice beer and the company of some of my closest friends in the world - my teammates.

The take-home messages today: 1) Laura needs to learn how to pace. 2) running is fun. 3) my friends are the best people in the world. 4) Boston is hard.

I'll beat it on the fifth try.


I put up most of my race story on my family blog...
But here's the summarized version of it. The weather wasn't cooperative, but I decided that I still wanted to hammer away and go for the 2:47 anyway. I had a do or die race strategy - and unfortunately I ended up with the latter. Totally died. Ran like a marathon virgin. Biff. Ouch.

But I can still say that I gave it my all in that race. Sure, it was not a reflection of the months of training I put in. But what can you do on a day like that?

I think as a team we were pretty incredible and I'm proud of our third place finish. Megha ran amazing amazing amazing. Lynn, you did run solid! Laura, I haven't heard your full story yet but you ran a respectable time on a wicked ugly day. I think we can all do better; just imagine if Megha had nice weather and didn't have freezing hands! Deena was 15 minutes slower, so Megha could have run 2:39, right?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Marathon Monday

I have never liked the Boston Marathon as far as marathons go. It seems that each time I run never goes as planned. Well after this year I can say I still am not a huge fan. I have run 6 other marathons besides Boston.....I wonder why.
The day started with waking up to pouring rain and wind at my house in NA. My biggest concern was how was I going to stay dry and warm before the race. I packed enough layers and ponchos/tarps for 10 people and headed to Hopkinton. To my surprise after taking the shuttle from the parking lot we were let into the school. I followed the mass of people into the school and we were directed to the cafeteria....the place was mostly empty and I set myself up in a corner against the wall and started the waiting game for the next hour and 2o mins. I was very happy to be dry and warm. The line to the porto-potty for our area was not that bad either. Unfortunately, I was not able to meet up with Laura and Megha due to the chaos with the sheer number of people and the weather.
Soon it was time to get organized and head to the baggage bus and then the line. I headed off with my "throw-away" jacket, pants, and poncho. I waited under a porch of a CPA office near my corral until they stared the National Anthem, anything to stay dry. I kept the poncho on until the very end and discarded it just before the gun went off. I tried to find Laura and Megha, but being 5'2 it was hopeless. I pushed my way as far forward as I could and waited for the gun. The first mile was very congested. It seemed to take forever for the pack to thin out. Needless to say my first mile was slow. I knew it would be silly to try and weave through the crowd to find the others so I decided to just stay put.
I ended up joining up with a guy from home I train with occasionally and we ran together for some time. I should have used him more to block the wind rather than running by his side, but too late now.
It was wet and windy, but the temperature was not too bad. I would much rather be cold than hot. I kept my long sleeve shirt and gloves on until about the 12 mile mark. As the race unfolded I knew it would be a tough day for a PR and just wanted to run solid. Considering the day I am satisfied with my race. It was not a PR, but it could have been much worse.
It was great to run by the mass of GBTC members in Coolidge Corner.....I was struggling at that point. The last 2-3 miles were very tough for me and the familiar faces/voices meant a lot. It is great to be part of such a supportive team.
Once I finished I waited for Laura and we walked to get our gear off the buses, both cold and shivering. Me with blue lips of course. I think I scared some medical people when I said I turn blue all the time!!
To my teammates I want to say "Job Well Done."
Emily- You went for it and ran with the big guns. Sometimes you just have to go and see what happens. Next time the outcome could be different. I was so proud to say I have a training partner starting with the elites.
Laura- It was not the outcome you trained so hard for, but it was a solid effort. Sucks when it just doesn't click on the day, but it is there.
Megha- You are soooo tough. What a great day! As I said before you have so much potential still and it has been great to watch you improve. Proud does not even describe how you made the rest of GBTC feel.
To the men-- you guys rocked!!
To Tom- Thanks for the workouts, the long runs, the waffles, and the weather reports.

I will spend the rest of the week relaxing with my puppy, taking him on walks to stretch my legs.
See you all in a few weeks.


P.S. Megha is a star

I would also like to give a HUUUUUGE shout-out to Megha. Running a PR (2:54!!!) on a day like yesterday is truly a great athletic achievement. You really kicked ass, Ms. First Woman in the 10am start and 35th overall, and I wanted a special post to give you the credit that you deserve. That was a tough-as-nails performance, and I'm proud of you :-)


Rainy Day

Hi gals,
I just wanted to say congratulations on yesterday's race. I know that for many of you it was a disappointing day. All of that training...all of those great races...only to lead up to a 20 mph headwind and soggy shoes. But you all toughed it out and ran the best you could given the day. Which is really all you can do. I have to say that you all looked super-tough out there and it was definitely one of the many days that I was proud to be a GBTCer. You all are tremendous athletes and this training and racing will only serve you that much better in the upcoming year.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Long time, no blog!

Its been a while since I last blogged. I've been without internet access at home so I've had to internalize all my pre-Boston jitters as opposed to publish them all over the net.

Well, in exactly 12 hours, I will fearlessly begin the daunting task of battling 26 mph headwinds as rain pelts against my skin. As if racing 26.2 miles isn't hard enough, Mo Nature has decided to spice up the game a bit. I have to say...I'm quite pleased with this weather forecast. Often, people fall into a bad habit of racing the clock, turning the sport of running into a game of calculations rather than a game of guts. I say...lets see who can handle tomorrow's weather...lets see who is brave enough to toe the line knowing that months and months of training hasn't prepared one for the gusts of wet winds...lets see who can duel with a 26.2 mile course and win...

GBTC runners are well prepared. We are fit. We are smart. We are certainly competitive. But, more importantly, we are undoubtedly strapped with the mental armor to rock this marathon, Mo Nature, Heartbreak, and any other obstacles thrown our way tomorrow morning...

Just try to stop us...


Saturday, April 14, 2007

My mom's emails

My mom worries a lot and wonders why people, especially me, like to run. She doesn't actively discourage me from running, but her "advice" hardly qualifies as support.

I've pasted below the last email she sent me. My mom is not super skilled with email and computers and whatnot, so the all-caps and no punctuation and mis-spelled words are just more of the charm. I thought it was amusing.

"Megha hering about weather I DONOT THINK YOU SHOULD RUN ITS NOT BIG DEAL OUR LIFE AND HEALTH ARE MUCH IMPORTANT ALSO YOUR HAND CAN GET DAMAGED uou can always run again i donot think you should worry about what other people say please think all the pros and conslove mom"

I still plan on running, of course, and the wind and rain and cold temps don't scare me at all!

For all of you who want to track the GBTC runners during the marathon, here are our bib numbers. Just go to on Monday, April 16 to get splits during the race.


Men's Open Team
1 Bedoya, David (1084)
2 Borling, Jeremy (1068)
3 Uchiki, Tomoaki (1484)
4 Wells, Kit (1141)
5 Woodward, Lucas J. (1134)

Women's Open Team
1 Doshi, Megha (2042)
2 Edwards, Bethany J. (23171)
3 Hayden, Laura A. (2808)
4 Johnson, Lynn (3797)
5 Raymond, Emily S. (F81)

Men's Masters Team
1 Bond, Bruce E. (3116)
2 Hare, Brian (2689)
3 Jessup, Hubert D. (23257)
4 Whitney, Thomas (11416)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Freaking Out

My nose is stuffy! (despite the Zicam, zinc losenges, and orange juice)

The forecast includes a 20 mph headwind!

Heavy rains maybe? Yikes!

Anyone else freaking out?


Monday, April 9, 2007

Tapering and cupcakes

This week is the long-awaited week of tapering. Last week, most of us marathoners took the mileage down a couple of notches, but the mileage takes a real nose dive this week. Today Emily and I started our run 25 minutes later than we usually do (at 5:45 instead of 5:20) and ran for less than an hour. It was almost daylight when we started, and we still finished before 6:40 am. That never happens! Emily, Audrey, and I usually do a longer loop on Mondays, so it felt especially awkward to run so little today. I threw in some long strides in the last mile to mix it up a bit.

Tapering is always a mental challenge for me. The drastic drop in mileage leaves you with so much self doubt. One day, I feel slow. The next day, my legs will feel heavy and tired. Sitting at a desk all day at work leaves me creaky and tight. Everyday I wonder how I will manage to run all those miles on Marathon Monday. I go through this mental routine every time I run a marathon. It never gets easier!

Perhaps one of the reasons I feel slow at the beginning of this tapering period is because I ate about 73 cupcakes on Friday. Good thing the race volunteers opt to hand out gatorade and gu instead of carefully-portioned vegan cupcakes.

Here is one of my favorite recipes. It's from the best cupcake cookbook ever, Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Hazlenut Cupcakes with Mocha Hazelnut Mousse Filling
makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcake ingredients
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup hazlenut meal or almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup soy milk or rice milk
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp hazlenut extract

Mousse ingredients
6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (half a package of the aseptic kind) (yes, tofu!)
2 tbsp soy milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp hazlenut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 ounces semisweet chocolate or 2/3 cup chocolate chips

First, make the mousse filling. In a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, soy milk, maple syrup, and extracts. Blend until smooth. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or just put it in small saucepan over another pot with boiling water). Stir till it melts. Once the melted chocolate has cooled, pour it into the tofu mixture and blend again till smooth. Transfer to an airtight containter and refrigerate at least an hour until firm.

Now, make the cupcakes. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the milk and ground flaxseeds in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, almond or hazlenut meal, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Add all the other ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until just mixed. Pour into cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 of the way. Bake 22-24 minutes.

Once the cupcakes are cool, poke a narrow, deep hole in the center of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse and pipe it into the holes you made in the cupcakes.

To make the ganache, melt some more chocolate with a teeny bit of soymilk. Once it's cool and smooth, spread over the tops of the cupcakes. Chill slightly to set. Eat. Yum.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Cupcake Recipe

There were a few requests for the pumpkin cupcake recipe, so here it is.
1 x 15 oz can pumpkin
1 box of spice cake mix
8-10 oz dark chocolate chips
Mix those up (dry cake mix; don't add any eggs or whatever else) and put them in muffin tins. 350 for 25 minutes. Makes about a dozen.
I'm putting in a request for the recipes for Megha's super vegan cupcakes.

A little more than a week to go. I ran some marathon-paced miles today, called my brother and chatted about our training (he's running the marathon too), and lined up some air mattresses for next weekend so I can fit seven extra bodies in my apartment.


Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Marathon Weather

I've been stalking the 15-day forecast for way too long and the marathon is finally on the radar.

54 degrees. Sun and clouds.

Sound like heaven? This is going to be good. Unfortunately that's not the forecast for tonight. See you all at practice.


Saturday, March 31, 2007

Upton 15k

I ran the Upton 15k on this lovely sunny day. My plan was to run 6:21 pace for the first 10k, then pick it up and make a race out of the last 5k. I didn't want to be sore all next week and I raced hard last weekend and wasn't in the mood for it this weekend. I'd convinced myself before the race that I wasn't going to be competitive. I was just going to do my own thing and run my own pace.

Then in the first half-mile, I saw a lady in the corner of my eye. My inner cocky self didn't want to be beat, so I decided to scrap my previous plan and be competitive anyway. The first mile was at 5:59. She was still there. Mile two came by at 12:02 - still there. Around the 5k, she dropped back enough that I couldn't hear her breathing but I thought she was still too close. I don't like looking back, so I didn't check. I don't like leaving things to the sprint either, so I thought I'd keep hauling buns to put some distance between us.

I guess it worked. I found a few guys who were moving at 6-minute pace. They'd run quite evenly paced up and down the hills, while I'd trudge up and lose them on the uphill then blow past them on the downhill. We ran together-ish until mile 8, where I picked up the pace a little. The finish is mostly downhill, so I led our little pack in at 56:28.

Tom had told me to warm down by running him to the finish, but Tom was done by the time I put my shoes and long-sleeve shirt on to go warm down. He was fast today - 7:0something pace. I didn't realize he'd finished so I went to do my warmdown and figured he'd finished once I started seeing 90-year-old guys trudging in and strollers and whatnot. Tom's not that slow.

So there's the race. I don't feel nearly as awful as after last week's 10k, so hopefully I won't be so flat on the track on Tuesday.

Only two more weeks until the marathon!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

3 states, 5 countries, 20 miles, and 1 super coach

Today was a race of numbers. Let me explain.

20: The number of miles we raced.
3: The number of states we ran through.
5: The number of nationalities represented by the GBTC team.
Kibrom: Ethiopia
Tomoaki: Japan
Me: India (kinda)
Lucas: America
Tom: Armenia
1: The number of super coaches that drove us and coached us (and ran the half marathon too)!

The race was great, but I was bummed that Laura and David were sick and couldn't make it. If they had been there, we would have had representation from 7 countries (David is from Spain, and Laura is from England)! But really, it would have been fun to have David and Laura at the race, and I know they would have run really well.

Tom picked up me, Lucas, and Kibrom from our doorsteps first thing this morning. What service. We drove an hour or so to the casino near Salisbury, Mass. and boarded the buses to Kittery, Maine, where the race starts. I ran into Aimee Shen, a former GBTC-er who's moving to Palo Alto soon. T'was great to catch up with her.

The boys and I did a short warm-up and jogged to the start. It's a very informal race start -- there is no gun, no megaphone, not even a line painted on the road to indicate the "actual" start. The race director just says, "ready, go!" to cue the hordes of runners to begin their march.

I started the race hoping to run consistent 6:40 pace, which is 2:13:30 for the 20 mile distance. My goal pace for the Chicago marathon was 6:40, although I wasn't able to quite maintain that pace during Chicago. I started today's race easy with a comfortable 6:46 first mile. The next mile was a bit faster, and I have no idea what my splits were after that because the mile markers were not very accurate.

It was a perfect day today for running. The temperature was in the mid-40s, the sun was out, and the views of the water were unparalleled as we ran along the New Hampshire coast. We had a slight head-wind for most of the race, and there are just a few little climbs and bumps, but the course is pretty flat and perfect.

I felt good and ended up running negative splits. Like Emily, I spent most of the race just adding 6:40 to my last mile split and trying to run that pace or faster for the next mile. I ended up finishing in 2:10:27, three minutes faster than I had hoped to run. And I was the first female finisher! My first win ever! 6:31/mile pace. ( reports a 6:32 pace, but if you do the math, it's 6:31.4/mile pace. So I'm going to round down.)

I was happy. Tom met us at the finish, and I think he was quite pleased. He ran well in the half-marathon, and the GBTC guys placed 2nd, 4th, and 7th overall. Kibrom ran an especially amazing race, averaging 5:48/mile after winning the 10K in 31:34 yesterday and then working the night shift at his job.

After the race, I cooled down with Lucas very slowly and headed back to the Ashworth Hotel for my favorite post-race snack of pretzels, M&Ms, and diet coke. Yum. Hit the spot. I ate about 100 M&Ms. My legs are pretty tired. I am ready for the marathon. Not much more to say.


Being Slow at Math Makes Me Faster

25 laps is a long time. I knew I needed to run on pace to get under 35 minutes, so I didn't want to try a conservative start slow-finish fast strategy. I think the first lap was a bit fast, but the next 4 miles were right on pace: 84 seconds a lap. I guess I still haven't figured out how to make my watch show only the split time, so it was showing the total the whole race. It was good by the end because I could actually see where I was at and see that I was cutting it close. But most of those 25 laps I spent adding 84 seconds to the previous lap time; I think it took my dysfunctional brain about 200 meters to figure out my next 400 time. It made the race go by faster I guess. Anyway, I think I had an 85 or 86 in mile 5, but made up for it on mile 6: woohoo! I still haven't seen the official results, so I don't know my exact time. But it's definitely under 35! Finally I have a PR that isn't :0something as in 5:04, 10:01, 17:02. Yea!

I didn't make it all the way home from Dedham. I made it to the green line on Huntington Ave then saw a green line train by Longwood and was way too tempted. I took it to the orange line and ran home from there. It came out to a total of 18 miles including the race yesterday, but the long cooldown was at a very leisurely pace.

Good luck to the 20-milers today!


Saturday, March 24, 2007


So you would think that after the many, many, many races I have run I would learn. Well I think I may have finally started at least. Last week I ran the New Bedford Half in the wind and cold and I tried to stick to the my race plan. Go out easy and have something left at the end. I did fairly well with this actually. Maybe the first mile could have been a little more under control, but then next 3 were as planned. I think running into the wind helped me take it slower. Then the middle of the race felt great and I did actually have something left in order to complete the last three miles into the wind and up the hill. After the race last week, I told myself that I need to race like that more often. You see in the past, I tend to go out hard and just hold on. It makes races less enjoyable at times and the recovery is tougher, but my mind does not seem to win over my body/heart in races. I ran the 10K and I will say it was one of my smarter races over the years. I had a plan and for the most part stuck to it. I went out slow with a 6:10 first mile. I let Sloan & Laure go and shut my head off and just told myself to run with patience for once. Each mile got a little quicker and I continued to feel strong. Emily zoomed by after 2 miles and I was psyched for her. She looked awesome and I knew she was running fast!! I continued to plug along slowly clossing the gap on the pack of runners ahead of me. With around 2 miles to go I caught them and still felt strong. Amazing how good you can feel when you run smart.
I finished the race strong running my fastest mile for the last mile. Something I rarely can do.
Now I just need to remember these races on Maraton Day!! Only about 3 weeks left. Our team is going to be awesome.
Good luck to Megha and Laura tomorrow. Run with patience. 20 miles is a long way.
Emily....I hope you made it home safe!!
Great job today to Allison, Sloan, Katie, Gretchen and of course Emily!!


I would like to congratulate Emily on a really tremendous race. I was happy to have Emily triple-lap me at the (her) finish, so that I could see her final time. :-) Sub-35! That is so impressive...and she did it all by herself. So that was definitely the highlight of the race, but really everyone ran well. I haven't seen Lynn race lately, and she looked the fittest I've seen her since I joined the team. I'm so excited for all of you running Boston. You gals are going to have such a strong team! I'm definitely looking forward to cheering!!!

Good luck to Laura and Megha tomorrow in the 20 miler. Laura: drink lots of fluids :-)


Friday, March 23, 2007

Shameless Soliciting

My older bro, Dave, is running the Boston Marathon. He is an English as a Second Language teacher in Columbus, Ohio and teaches a lot of Somali refugees. He is also the assistant cross country coach at the high school. I'm going to publish parts of a letter he sent to me:

"Friends and Family,
Many of you are aware that I've been training my butt off trying to get ready for the Boston Marathon....I've been logging more miles than I ever have before (80 miles per week)....I'm hoping to run a 2:45 at Boston, but I also hope to do much more than just run a fast time.

As passionate as I am about my running, I am also passionate about the work I do with ESL students. Most of my students are Somali refugees. In the early 90s the government of Somalia was overthrown and a long and bloody civil war began. Many thousand Somalis fled to Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and other neighboring countries which set up refugee camps. In the camps resources are scarce and education is unheard of....[My students] are incredibly eager to learn!

...I would love to coach some of my 'Somali Babies.' Several of them want to run cross country, but cannot afford the $100 pay to play fee. For that reason I am asking friends and family to support my Boston effort by sponsoring my effort to help Somali runners."

He goes on to say even five bucks would be appreciated, that donations are tax deductible, and that he and the school will send thank you cards and tax info to each contributor. Anyway, I'm glad my bro is excited about Boston and about his cause. If any of you would like to contribute, checks can be made out to Westerville North Athletic Boosters Cross Country (WNAB Cross Country) and sent to Dave Mars at 4170 Valley Quail Blvd S, Westerville, OH 43081.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

the windy whaling city half marathon

This past Sunday, March 18, Lynn, Laura, Audrey, Katie Fobert, and I ran the New Bedford half marathon. (A couple dozen men from the team ran too, but I'll focus on the ladies right now. The men can create their own blog!)

New Bedford is on the southern coast of Massachusetts. A good chunk of the course follows the shore, and the rest of it is pretty darn close to the water. What that means for runners is an inevitably windy race!

And windy it was. reports that the winds were blowing from the west at about 24 mph. The whole race felt as though we were running into the wind. But it was a blast, nonetheless.

I rode up to New Bedford with Junyong, who I will nickname the Race Bus Driver. I offered a dozen times to meet him somewhere so he wouldn't have to pick me up from my house, but he insisted that it wasn't a problem to come get me. I was the first stop on Junyong's route; then we drove through most of Medford, Somerville, Cambridge, East Cambridge, and Boston picking up a bunch of guys. We finally got onto the highway about 30 minutes behind schedule. Junyong was a bit frantic and nervous that we'd all get to the race late because of him. But it was fine. We got to New Bedford at about 10:20, parked, jogged to the school, and had just enough time to register, stand in the crazy long lines for the restrooms, and get to the start by 10:50. No time for a much of a warm-up, but no worries.

It was chilly at the start. I ran a couple of strides into the wind and just got more worked up about the wind. I think most of us were thinking the same thing -- we just needed to start, run for 13.1 miles, and finish and forget about our times which were bound to be slow considering the wind. Everyone went out fast. I was getting passed left and right, but I told myself I needed to stay controlled. Mile 1 was in 6:20 -- exactly as I had planned. It felt more like a 6:05 mile, though, because of the wind. Even windier mile 2 was 6:40. Mile 3 had a giant hill into the wind -- that was really slow, about 7 minutes flat. Mile 4 was a bit faster, but I was tired from the wind and the uphill -- about 6:50. I think my 4 mile split was 26:56. Much much slower than I had wanted to go.

But then the course turned, and we running more-or-less perpendicular to the wind instead of straight into it. The road started to slope downhill just a little bit, and it felt great. My leg speed picked up. I don't know what the splits were after that, but no matter. I felt good and passed a bunch of people who might have gone out fast and smoked me on the early hills.

Miles 7.5 through mile 10.5 or 11 were really windy but flat. We ran around a peninsula completely exposed to the wind. My legs felt good, though. I kept picking people off to pass and was catching people who had whizzed by me at mile 2. It felt awesome. I ran by a street called Lucas St. and pretended I was running with Lucas W. and thought about his crazy inspiring mileage load and felt inspired. I picked it up a bit. I wish I could have seen Lynn and Laura ahead of me, but they were too fast! I saw Audrey though and caught up to the poor girl who had pretty much puked a few miles earlier and still had the guts and toughness to keep running.

There was a big, big hill towards the end of the race. I was really hurting at this point. I was exhausted from the cold wind. My skin felt dry and wind-burned, and my lungs felt like someone had poured dry ice in them. But somehow I stuck it out over that last hill. Someone yelled out from the sidelines, "only half mile to go!" So I got excited. I saw a faint glimmer of a brown ponytail and long-sleeved white shirt ahead of me and recognized the speedy runner as Lynn. It was my goal to catch up to her, and I did! I think I finally caught up to Lynn about 2 seconds before we crossed the finish. It was awesome. I've never been able to finish with a teammate like that before. I'm sure the wicked downhill for the last 70 meters or so had a lot to do with it. I think I ran the last 9.1 miiles at a 6:20 pace average. Overall pace was 6:28/mile. I like this negative split tactic.

At the finish, I un-velcroed my chip-band and discovered that it had eaten into the skin on my ankle. I got some bandaids and had the blood cleaned up by the First Aid people. Lynn and I were freezing and jogged back to the school to get warm and trade stories about the race. We saw Tom on the way back and he told us Laura had done awesome. Lynn and I were pysched. Laura ran a 1:21:50 -- 6:15 pace. Amazing!! Lynn and I both ran about 1:24:43. Not the fastest we'd ever run, but considering the wind, we'd take that time with pleasure. The three of us finished faster than the first GBTC female finisher at this race in 2006. Katie Fobert ran a solid race too, tying her mark from the Hyannis half-marathon a few weeks back. We placed third over all as a team. The GBTC men placed second and totally dominated. Not a bad start to the 2007 USATF Grand Prix series.

By the time Lynn and I made it back to the school where the post-race festivities were scheduled, the whole place smelled like greasy fried fish. Apparently, it is tradition to serve clam chowder and fried fish sandwiches after the New Bedford half marathon. The smell was really kind of off-putting. I nibbled on a banana and some crackers and thought about the happy vegetarian meal I'd make when I got home. Yum.

Junyong played bus driver again on the way home and insisted that he drive me home. Well, I would have none of that. On the way to drop off Max, we drove by the Roxbury Crossing T stop and waited at a light. I jumped out of the car in the middle of the road, yelled "thanks, and here's some gas money" to Junyong, and ran (okay, waddled) to the T. Hopefully that saved him some time. Junyong thought I was nuts!

It has taken me longer than I expected to recover from this race. It's Wednesday today, and my legs still felt kind of creaky during my runs today. The next big thing I'm looking forward to is watching more than a dozen of my teammates race the 50-athlete strong 10 km race at the Solomon Track in Dedham this Saturday. Almost 25 laps around the track! Tons of PRs will be recorded on Saturday. This race will go down in history. The next day is the Eastern States 20 miler. Stay tuned for stories.

Only 26 days till the marathon!!!

(sorry this post is so long)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Another Reason to Run

I ran with Audrey for two hours this morning. She asked about Bruce and how hard it was to come back after having a baby. Hmm, this brought back all kinds of memories - some that I don't care to revisit and others that I'm fond of.

For those who don't know or remember what happened, here's a recap. A few weeks before Bruce was born I went to my doctor for a routine visit and had ridiculously high blood pressure. They thought maybe it was a fluke; maybe I was stressing from watching a birthing video the day before? They put me on bedrest and told me to come back in a few days. I sat on my duff for a weekend, then went back in. Sure enough, wicked high blood pressure again. So they did an ultrasound and figured out Bruce wasn't really growing much.

They put me in the hopsital and I layed on my duff for a week. Every day I got poked a few times and got all these tests and ultrasounds to monitor Bruce's slow growth. Turns out something was wrong with the placenta and it wasn't feeding Bruce properly, and my body tried to compensate for the poor placental blood flow by shooting my blood pressure up. And up. And up.

After a week in the hospital, Bruce's growth had nearly stopped, his heart rate was dropping, my kidneys started shutting down (tired of that darn high blood pressure or something), and I got this wicked bad headache and started seeing about six Scotts (I rarely get headaches, so this was odd). All that happened within about two hours, so I was induced and when labor was slow-going and Bruce was getting more unhappy by the minute the doctor shot me in the back with some awesome drugs and slit my belly open.

Scott got to witness the whole thing, although they made him sit down. "Too many guys pass out," they told him. Although the camera was in his hands, he took about 2 pictures of Bruce. He was totally in awe. He said it was pretty crazy to see my intestines, spleen, stomach, bladder, and whatever else pulled out and sitting on my ribs. My response: "And you didn't get a picture of this?!"

Bruce was 3 lb 3 oz and 16.5 inches long: he was 6 weeks early but a month behind in growth. Bruce is almost 2 now and is doing just fine. He talks ("I want my blocks!" was this morning's phrase), runs (in circles, I think he has a career in track), and has even grown a bit.

Laura and Sloan came to visit me in the hopsital a few days after Bruce was born. My stomach really hurt (that's an understatement but I don't quite know how to put it), but I was "trying to be a hero" (nurse's words) so I walked them down to the NICU to see my little man. They must have thought I was nuts. "I'm going to run the Boston Marathon next year," I told them and all the nurses. They must have thought it was the morphine pain meds getting to me.

I spent six weeks on my tush, then a few months walking a few miles with 2-minute jogs mixed in. I remembered why normal people don't like to run. Because it's hard to start. The spandex you're wearing looks really awful and feels even worse. Two sports bras in the summer is too hot. Short shorts feel good, but reveal too much of the flab. The hunched over running form can't look good at all.

I survived past the ugly stage and got back into running. I lost the 40 lbs I'd gained during pregnancy - another good reason to run. So how is it coming back post-baby? Hard. Slow. But definitely worth it; it's very rewarding to be a mom and still sneak out the door in the mornings for a few miles.

* One photo shows me in all my hospital gown glory with incredibly swollen legs.
* The other photo is of little Bruce. That's a wet wipe by his head in that square package, and the diaper is a tiny newborn size but looks absolutely enormous on him.