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.