Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review..

Its the very last day of 2011 - it was a year of many ups and downs for sure. Running-wise, I'm happy to let the door close hard on this year.

January 1, 2011 marked a 10 minute "test run", as I was recovering from a torn quad that happened in the fall of 2010. All of those hours of rehabbing on the trainer paid off, as I felt both strong, and pain-free. Of course, instead of coming back and being smart, I ran the Derry 16-miler only 2 weeks after those first steps, which has the below course profile. Yeah, wicked smart.

I obviously had a terrible showing, crashed and burned, and put myself in a terrible mental space. I passed on running a spring half marathon, as I was in serious training for Big Sur Marathon.

On May 1, 2011, I flew across the country and ran the second slowest marathon of my life (anyone sensing a trend to this year yet??). Since part of Highway 1 fell into the Pacific Ocean early in the spring, they changed the course to make it an out and back. On what remained of Highway 1. The course was crazy hard, it was warm, and had lost the race mentally before I even toed the line. However, I checked the race off my bucket list, and still had a crazy fun weekend in Monterey!

I had 5 months to put together some decent training for Chicago, with this little Half Ironman thrown in the middle. In my mind, that meant volume. If I could run a million miles a week, bike a little and throw in some open water swims, I could do it all! Yep, that'll do it!

I beat the snot out of myself over the next couple of months, culminating with my worst "race" of the year in the form of a 25K in early September. It came exactly ONE weekend before my 70.3 and about a month before Chicago. I threw the white flag and realized I needed some serious triage to even START Chicago, nevermind finish. It was too little, too late, but I needed to get smart. Stat.

But first, The Pumpkinman 70.3. By far the best day (athletically) of the year. It was unquestionably the best race of the year - I loved every minute of those 6 hours. It made me want Ironman more than ever.

One month later, I toed the line for the Chicago Marathon. I had put my broken body together enough to attempt a sub-4 and stop the marathon slowing slide. It just wasn't to be - it was hot, and my body didn't have it on that day. I crossed that finish line disappointed, but hungry for 2012.

I closed on 2011 with a 5K that went better than expected. It was the product of some new training, and made me REALLY excited for what 2012 holds in store.

2011 taught me a lot about myself, all of which I can carry over into 2012. I've already made a lot of progress, and I'm looking forward to turning over the calendar tomorrow.

Happy New Year Friends!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Embracing the New...

The last couple of weeks have been insane (as proven by my lack of posting in over a week!). Christmas prep, closing out work for the year, and then the holidays themselves. Christmas was an insanely fun day, but exhausting just the same.

Christmas Madness! 
Rockin' my Skirt Sport dress on Christmas! 

Trying to fit in workouts is never a small task, especially when it's school vacation, and you've completely over scheduled yourself on "vacation" (I am the WORST when it comes to that!).

I'm on a running program that is very different than anything I've tried before. I have made the commitment to stick to the plan (and therefore each prescribed workout) 100% - I'm never going to know whether or not this new way of training works for me if I'm sneaking in extra "illegal" runs here and there just to see my weekly mileage numbers look prettier. I'm not going to lie, it's not easy. Breaking the mold of something you've known for your entire running career, and putting all of your faith in something new, is damn hard. Running so easy that you feel like an elderly speed-walker could mow you down? Hard. Running a;prescribed pace thats close to marathon pace, but you know you could do the run faster if you were allowed? Hard. Reigning your HR in when you feel like a rockstar, just so you don't get punished by being confined to the treadmill? Hard.

I asked to take one more shot at my 5K PR in January, and then also asked if I could race a silly hard 16 miler as well. I got shot down for both, each for a different reason. I wanted to be angry, but the rationale coach put behind it made too much sense for me to get upset. If I want to execute successful goal races, I can't be toeing the line for every race that sounds "fun". Is it hard to not be able to "play with my friends" at these races? Yup, sure is. Is it easy to be able to say "no" when asked if I want to do XYZ race, when usually I'm the first one to tag along? Nope.

My goal has been to embrace the new - I need to be 100% in or out if I want this to work. And not be 100% in grudgingly, but actually wanting to execute every run as outlined in my training plan. Some days I look at my calendar while scratching my head, wondering why a certain workout is what it is. But my job is not to over-analyze, it is to go out and execute each days work, and let my coach do all that coaching voo doo stuff behind the scenes (seriously, sometimes I envision her as the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz). I have to believe in the plan, and trust that I'm going to come out the other end stronger, more confident, and faster.

As I head into 2012, I am embracing my new training style-  I have a few key races lined up that I am VERY excited about, and every day's workout is with those races in mind. I'm happily leaving behind a year of not so great racing behind, wiping the slate clean, and looking forward to some fast, confident running in 2012.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Day The Wind Ate My Track Workout..

That's not true. I'd love to blame the wind on the sucktastic-ness of my track workout today, but that wouldn't be entirely fair. Sure the 10-15mph winds didn't HELP, but it's a track. Where there's a headwind, there's also a tailwind. Suck it up, buttercup.

My track workout today called for mile repeats, which in some sick and twisted way, I love. I got plenty of sleep last night, ate a decent dinner, but woke up feeling sore and lead-like in the legs. Sometimes though, the second I start running, this feeling disappears.Today, that was not the case at all.

I spent the drive over to the track psyching myself up - I thought about the successful 5K I ran very recently, which then bled over into a great week of workouts; last week I surpassed my prescribed paces in each of my quality sessions. I've had a good stretch, for which I am very thankful.

My warm-up was "eh". I tried to shake out the cobwebs, and put my game face on. No emotion, just a job to be done. It'll hurt, but will be over quickly. I figured out VERY quickly which way the wind was blowing as I jogged down the back stretch of the track. Yeeps. I mumbled a few expletives, did some strides, and it was onto the workout.

I won't bore you with the dirty details of the repeats, just know they sucked. My lungs burned, my legs burned, and I felt like I was getting stood up by the wind every time I came around that back corner. It was like I was pushing as hard as I could, and running in place. That progressively took more and more of a mental toll with each interval. I tried all the mind games - looking at my 400 splits to force accountability, not looking at my watch at all til the end of the 1600, and trying to just not think. No thoughts, just focus on the interval.  I even obeyed the prescribed rest interval (I'll admit, sometimes I milk these), so that I didn't have too much downtime to "think" and start down the spiral of doom.

When I crossed the line of the last interval, I glanced at my watch, and well, it wasn't pretty. I covered my eyes and cried for a little bit, while walking/jogging/moping around the track to try and stay moving. I was disappointed in my body. I felt like I was in a place where my performance during these workouts should be so much better. And if coach told me I should run a X:XX for each mile, I should be able to. And I couldn't. I failed. And that friends, is not a great feeling.

I turned the radio off for the ride home. I needed to go all zen on myself for a little bit. It helped bring me back to a less self-loathing place.

What I have realized as the day has progressed is as much as I would love to have everyone workout be awesome, it's not realistic.I mean, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that even my good buddies Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall have less-than-stellar workout days. Looking at my HR file, I certainly wasn't half-assing the intervals. I gave what I had today, and it wasn't my day. This will be a great workout to look back upon the next time I DO those mile repeats and have a better result.

Now that I have logged the work out, I'm moving on. Not over-analyzing right now, or doing the should/would/could - at this moment, it's not helpful. I shall emerge myself back in all things Christmas - wrapping, baking, and red wine. What- is red wine not a staple in your Christmas preparation? My condolences.

How do YOU handle having a bad workout?

Happy Training!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That..

So I have 4 blog posts drafted, but haven't had the time to finish any of them. Tis the season, right? With that said, we'll go with a little compilation of what's been going on 'round these parts.

(1) I need to file for an extension on Christmas - it's coming too fast, I have a LOT of wrapping to do, and I *might* have a little bit of shopping to do. Hanging my head in shame. In a twisted way though, I love it. Having Caitlyn around allows me to fully appreciate the little things about the Christmas season that I would simply overlook if it were just me. For example, she was in a Christmas concert for school - I dreaded going, as it was "taking up" my precious time. She was so damn excited though - look at the look on her face the morning of her show:

How could you not get excited for her to sing her heart out?

(2) I'm still managing to get in all my miles, which I'm VERY proud of myself for. I'm building base miles, but working in more and more quality. I had a great track workout Wednesday, followed by a solid 7+ miler on Friday, and then laid down 8 miles at marathon pace Saturday morning. With the holidays happening, it can get tricky logistically. But when you have great friends who are willing to make chocolate chip pancakes with your kid while you pound pavement, there's no excuses.

(3) Caitlyn and I went shopping yesterday, after my run. We spent almost 2 hours in the mall (THE WEEKEND BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!) with her picking out her own gifts for everyone in my family. She is VERY thorough, which is good, but exhausting. Fueled by smoothies and slushies, we made it through. When we came home, she put on Big Time Rush Christmas songs while she personally wrapped every gift. While probably harder than any marathon I've ever run, her excitement was just awesome.

(4) I have 4 more workdays left, and then I'm off for more than a week. I am VERY fortunate that I LOVE my job, but it'll be nice to slice the 100 mile round trip commute out for a week. While I know myself enough to know I won't be able to stay completely offline work-wise, it'll be nice to hang out w/ Caitlyn, catch up with friends, etc. So looking forward to the downtime.

(5) The Christmas "Treat Tray" will be making an appearance again this year - Caitlyn and I are going to bake on Wednesday night. This alone motivates me to run. A lot.

Hope everyone is having an awesome holiday season thus far!

Happy Training!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Have YOU Ever Used Poison Ivy As Toilet Paper??

I have, and you can read about it here.

I did an interview over at "Who Has The Runs", and it just got published today.

Check it out!!!

Happy Training!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter Classic 5K - A Race Report

It's December - Pumpkinman and Chicago have long passed. My goal half marathon isn't until March, and Eugene at end of April. Yet I needed something - I needed to let me newly healed lungs, and spicy legs loose. Insert the Winter Classic 5K - Stephanie, Robin, and Danielle had decided to run this race awhile ago, but yet I didn't pull the trigger until this week. I figured it was a great opportunity to "check in" with my body after reduced volume and speed due to aforementioned broken lungs. Sometime early this week, I hit register, and the rest is history.

Before I left the house this morning, I checked in with my splits of my last 5K, which I did the weekend after Chicago. I used that as my baseline to gauge where I wanted my performance to fall today. I also checked in with April, and asked what my plan for this race should be. While I won't share the entirety of the message, it ended with "puking at the finish is optional, although greatly appreciated". Wonderful.

I met up with the girls, snapped some photo evidence of today's race, and we headed off on a warm-up jaunt. The body was a little sore from a class I did yesterday, and I could feel the effects of Friday nights red wine fest Christmas party, but worked most of the kinks out in that warm-up. Tossed back a Roctane (the new chocolate raspberry flavor kicks ass!!), and good to go.

The gun went off, and Robin started the bob and weave around about 100 people. I followed suit for about 20 yards, and then let her go. She was flying, and with my clumsiness, I didn't want to risk face-planting in the middle of Cambridge. However, Steph was sitting right on my shoulder. Perfect. The legs felt good, and I tried to find a place that felt uncomfortable, but manageable for the next 20 minutes. Mile 1= 7:09. I would have liked to have snuck under 7, and made it the goal for Mile 2. Steph got a few yards in front of me, and I focused on the back of her sparkly skirt. I told myself to not let her get away, and that I had a mile to catch back up with her. I found a good rhythm, and stayed focused. Mile 2: 6:59. Nailed it. I caught Steph at about mile 2.5, and noticed she was not happy. I called her out and told her that I wasn't finishing this alone, so she might as well hop on-board. We worked together for the last stretch of the race. Mile 3: 7:17. Less than awesome. I had another gear that I didn't engage, and I knew it as soon as I crossed the finish line. I went 1:21 for the last bit, to total 3.19 miles at 7:08 pace.

The last time I ran a faster time at this distance was in 2003 (right before I started transitioning to marathons - convenient), so while not a PR by over a minute (my 5K PR is currently 21:16), it's been over 8 years since that time. I'll take it. 

It was a good day - I felt in control the entire time. I know I had more in the tank, and it's only a (short) matter of time before I get that 5K average to sub 7-minute miles. I'm excited to be trending in the right direction. I'm excited to be getting stronger and faster. I can feel the PR's getting closer to the surface, and today was a great confidence builder. Hey 2012 - I'm coming for you. 

Post Race - A Good Day!

Great job to everyone today - it was an awesome day! 

Happy Training!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Random Friday Facts

1. I wear flip flops year-round, while living in New England. I swear my feet are claustrophobic.

2. My hair is insanely curly, and I have to straighten it every day. When I'm training for triathlon, I base my swim days around the days that I have to wash my hair. Sexy, no?

3. I'm the oldest of 3 girls. My middle sister is a speedster, and has run a 3:09 marathon. Still trying to figure out how to siphon the fast gene out of her. Someday.

4. I don't listen to music when I run. I had a short stint w/ the iPod Shuffle, but I found myself singing WAY too loudly, and throwing dance moves in the middle of runs. Twas bad.

5. I'll take running in the cold any day over running in the heat. The heat/humidity and I do NOT get along; I fall apart. I've been referred to as "Melty Meaghan" by running friends. Safe to say Badwater is out of the question for me.

6. They say dogs are reflective of their owner - I have a pug. Hmmmm.

7. How I Met Your Mother is probably my most favorite show on TV right now. Until the Bachelor starts again. I know, I know.. It's awful, yet I'm completely addicted.

8. Just booked a vacation that leaves on Marathon Monday. Pretty sure somewhere in my sub-conscious, it was done on purpose. I will qualify for that damn race someday. And then maybe not run it, just to give it the proverbial middle finger.

9. I have the biggest sweet tooth on the planet. To me, dinner is solely a vehicle to get to dessert. I could live on dark chocolate, oatmeal (with lots of brown sugar!) and coffee alone. With that said, I can't have it in my house, bc I have zero self control.

10. Although I run almost everyday, I hate spending money on running clothes. My running wardrobe is embarrassingly tiny.

Other RFFs:
-Katie @ Run This Amazing Day

Let me know if you did an RFF and I'll put your link here!

Happy Friday, and happy training!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Season...

There's not a whole lot of super exciting stuff to report on the running front (which can sometimes be a good thing!). A whole lot of base training to get me ready to roll this spring.

However, Christmas is alive and well around here! I shall now spam you with pictures from this past weekend, when we picked out (and cut down!!) our 2011 Christmas tree. Enjoy!

Caitlyn showing me some love!!! 
Caitlyn dragging her tree! 
This is hard work!! 
Happy holidays and happy training!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

One Last Run...

When my trusty Forerunner 305 and I hit the roads today, I knew it was likely going to be our last run together. ..

Look, I'm even running 3:22min/mile!!
When the 405 went on spastic sale over at Amazon this week, I couldn't resist upgrading my archaic technology to a slightly less archaic technology for $139 (with the new 610 and other dead sexy watches out there, I can't exactly call the 405 "late-breaking"). 

I requested the extra fast one, full of PR's... 

I'm conflicted over the forced death of my 305; we've been through a lot together over the years. We've had PR's together, and we've also broken-up a few times, after he told me that I was a bit heavy and slow. He may have also muttered something about my butt looking fat in a pair of jeans too. However, I've come to rely on him to get me through workouts, long runs, and especially races. He's replaced my fuzzy marathon math, and allowed me to have many successful running days. So today was the most perfect run for us. 

I had a progression run on tap today, as I have FINALLY turned the corner with this dreadful pneumonia/bronchitis/broken lung syndrome from hell. My legs have felt spicy the last week from the reduced mileage, but my breathing has caused me to stay at a pedestrian pace. But today, the legs were allowed to come out and play. 

As we progressed through the miles together, he kept giving me faster and faster splits. The legs were turning over well, and the smile on my face grew. The HR was behaving (well, mostly), and my lungs kept all nasty mucus to itself. I finished my run today and actually fist pumped. Outside, in front of my driveway. With people watching. Judge away.  Thank you 305. 

I'm looking forward to my new Garmin - he's sleeker, sexier, and my God I hope faster - than 305. Right now he holds so much hope and speed. We're going to start off slow though, as any relationship should. Tomorrow we'll ease in with a nice easy run, and see how it goes. We'll get to know each other, and I'm sure I'll have a few choice words as I figure out the damn bezel on that thing. And once we get comfortable with each other, we'll hit the track next week together. And there will be it's first test of speed. From there will go to long runs and eventually races together. I'm looking forward to long, yet speedy, relationship with 405. 

305, thanks for the memories. You will be sorely missed, and forever remembered. Just like pegged pants, feathered bangs, slouch socks and acid washed jeans. 

Maybe I'll just wear them both. Fastest time wins! 

Happy Training! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finally, a PR!!!

In our household!! Man, it's been AWHILE since anyone residing in my 4 walls has seen a PR. Years even.

I am VERY proud to announce that this girl scored herself a 3 minute PR at a local Thanksgiving Day turkey trot. C'mon now, you wouldn't mess with this either.. Look at that game face!

We ran together, and she's really enjoying these 5K's. It was her third one to date, yet her first where she didn't declare that her legs were going to "fall off" at mile 2. That race was the perfect start to a quiet Thanksgiving, which led into an awesome weekend.

A big congrats to Caitlyn on her PR!

Happy Training..

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh, and check this out..

I JUST noticed this... Check out the guy running next to me in this picture from Chicago. I mean his T-SHIRT you pervs. I swear, just saw this when I was re-reading my Chicago RR. Fore-shadowing perhaps?

**cue creepy music**

Happy Training!

Pssssssstt... I have a secret...

Dear Hayward Field, 

You have seen many, many Olympians, and have seen so many incredible performances. There are countless esteemed athletes that call you the home of their PR. And when I see you on April 29, 2012, there will be yet another athlete who will be able to call that track her home to a brand spankin, new, shiny marathon PR. ME

See you in exactly 160 days.... 



Happy Training!!! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday..

(1) I started on some antibiotics last night for the cough-from-hell. I am waiting (im)patiently for this cough to now exit stage left. And for the record, I think the term "walking pneumonia" is stupid. I'm looking forward to the Garmin files that don't have those marked dips in pace, showing where I had to pull off to the side of the road and cough my brains out. And the ones that don't have my HR through the roof on an easy run, because my lungs are broken; turns out that oxygen is kinda key to running. Who knew?

(2) Because I'm self-consumed with my cough, I forgot to mention my sister's wedding shower was last weekend. I cannot believe that in 7.5 weeks, my baby sister will be someone's wife. Yikes! A couple pictures:

Caitlyn's getting WAY too big!!! 
Delish cake! 
(3) Thanksgiving is in ONE week, and I'm lucky enough to not have to travel. My mom and sisters are making the trek to my house. The one hitch in this delightful plan is that I.Do.Not.Cook. So what does one do in this scenario? Whole Foods baby! I basically re-mortgaged my house, and will be picking up Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night. Mom will swoop into the homeland Thursday morning and do the rest. I might put out chips and dip too - because I'm wicked high class. 

Happy Training! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Letter To My Lungs..

Dear mucous-y lungs,

When you decided to inhale some nasty germ over 7 days ago, and began to make my chest rattle with every inhale, I was patient. I was even able to maintain a decent pace/mile on a hilly loop in the form of a relay race. And then I blessed you with an entire day off from running, while I watched trashy reality TV from my trainer the next day. 

Over the next several days, instead of locking it up and ridding yourselves of this nasty germ, you have decided to become one with it. I am thankful for your friends Ms Sinus, Throat, and Head for not following in your mucousy lead. Your rattling, cough producing selves are the only symptom I have experienced. 

I will beat you into submission - I will not allow you to stop me from running. I have perfected the art of a solid stride while coughing - admit it, even you're impressed. That workout I had on Wednesday - yep, nailed it, despite your best efforts to bring me down. You may have forced my easy runs to be a little bit easier, but you will not stop me. 

We're on day 8 of this game, and now you're just downright annoying. My co-workers do not appreciate my hacking, and my new raspy voice. I have had several people ask if I picked up a new habit over the past week, involving Marlboro Lites. And if you don't heal up soon, I just might start, for the sole purpose of pissing you off. If you want to have to work REALLY hard, just wait until I start forcing you to run after spreading nicotine all up on you. 

We make a better team than enemies, so all I ask is that you get whatever you have festering in you OUT, and do it stat. I don't have time to be wheezy and coughing - I have PR's to chase. 



Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I suck at being patient. Plain and simple. I am a Type A/OCD'er that like to make a plan and then execute to perfection. That could be the reason I make a pretty decent Project Manager when I'm not pounding pavement. Waiting around for something to get done, or having to wait for a decision to be made for me makes my skin crawl.

So imagine how I'm doing right now knowing that I WILL run a half marathon this winter and a spring marathon in 2012, but not knowing which races those are? Its.Freaking.Killing.Me. Coach says that we want to see certain numbers in training and heart rate, on easy runs and in workouts, before pulling the race trigger. I've been told that my awesome workout numbers lately have been due largely in part to my patience, and that all this waiting will be rewarded. It damn well better be, because I'm losing years off my life marathon searching, and no longer have any fingernails.

I spazzed out on coach last night and again this morning, because for every marathon I throw at her, she has a reason why it might not necessarily be the right one. I told her I was incredibly frustrated, and hated this waiting game. When she asked why, I told her I hate training for something obscure, and not being able to have a date/time/location for my next marathon. I told her I love plastering my office walls with course maps, and getting really excited about a specific race. Her response? "It's time to learn to love the process as much as the goal. Love the running itself one moment at a time". How do you argue with someone who goes all Buddha on your ass? Right.

This morning I did a workout -  the same one I've done for the past 3 Wednesdays. And each one has gotten progressively faster, and my HR has gotten lower with those faster efforts. Booyah. When I emailed to tell her the good news, she acknowledged my awesomeness. She didn't go so far as to tell me that I should start training with Kara Goucher, but I'm sure that's coming soon. In the email, she acknowledged my "irky-ness" at not having nailed down a race, but also reiterated that she wants my training and readiness to dictate the race I run, not vice versa. I get it. I still hate it, but I get it.

This is why people like myself have coaches; they're so damn smart. If left to my own devices, I would have signed up for a marathon in February, March, and probably April too just because I can. The likely result would be a complete hemorrhage of my bank account, and a few more 4 hour marathons to add to my resume. Handing yourself over to someone else involves sacrifice and change (ahem, patience), but I have to believe will also reap the greatest rewards. I feel very lucky to have someone who's not afraid to tell me no, in order to get me the results I'm looking for.

I hope to be able to put names to these elusive races some time in the next few weeks. I'm thinking of it as an early Christmas present from Coach. In the meantime, I will get by trying to embrace both the process, as well as running in that moment. Oh, and by drinking wine.

Happy training!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Marathon Relay, and other Ramblings..

I seem to run my best when other people are relying on me - it's been that way ever since I was 10 years old as the anchor of a 4x100 free relay team (swimming). Letting others down is something that I avoid at any given chance, and yesterday I was able to put that theory to the test in the form of the Manchester Marathon Relay.

I was asked to be part of this relay as a "reunion" of sorts from the Race to the Cape 24-hour relay we did back in May. I agreed, because running with friends is always better than running alone! I was "blessed" with 7.1 miles of an insanely hilly course, on a beautiful morning in Manchester, NH. I asked Lisa to come along and be race sherpa/race time sitter for Caitlyn, which worked out perfectly.

There was cheering:
And running:

Don't be fooled, I think this was the ONLY downhill of the entire 7 miles! 
There's nothing better that having this waiting for you at the end of a hard run:

I was happy with my run - I've had a very hill-fest kinda running week as I start to ramp my miles back up. I was happy to find that extra gear in my legs, and it was a great, sweat-filled morning.

In other news, I'm still in negotiations regarding my Spring 2012 Marathon. I know for sure that I'll be doing one, after I lay down a huge PR in a Half Marathon later this winter.

Currently, my top 2 contenders for 26.2 in the Spring are:

The Colorado Marathon
Napa Valley Marathon

There are others being kicked around, but those are the races I'm swooning over at the moment. If you know of any FAST early-ish spring marathons where I won't melt, I'm all ears. I want to sign up for my spring race STAT!

Congrats to everyone that races IMFL this weekend, as well as everyone that destroyed the NYC Marathon. So many awesome races this past weekend!

Happy Training!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cape Cod Marathon from a run-pectator perspective..

On Sunday, Lisa ran the Cape Cod Marathon, and I had offered to support her the last part of the race. Mother Nature had other ideas - we had a wicked October snowstorm barrel across New England on Saturday night, making things logistically tricky. I woke up at my mom's house to this:

Trees down everywhere

Luckily, Sara's mom was also running the race and had to venture down to Falmouth on Sunday as well. Sara has a 4 wheel drive vehicle, was able to maneuver through the slick roads, AND we would both have good company on the drive down to the Cape and back. Everyone's a winner!

We worked out logistics such that we would be able to see Lisa, Sara's mom, AND her step-dad several times. It took some color coded spreadsheets to make it happen, but we were confident to be the best supporters on the course!

The start of the Cape Cod Marathon
While there was no snow down the Cape, holy CRAP was it windy! A steady 30ish mph wind, with gusts of over 50mph! That'll take a toll over 26.2 miles - yikes!

We saw all three of our runners (looking AWESOME) at mile 2-ish, 4.5ish, and then again around mile 9.5, where Sara jumped in with her mom. After I was done cheering there, I hopped in the Jeep and called Scott (Lisa's husband). We agreed on a sweet cheering spot at mile 19.4, where I would jump in and help Lisa finish out her kick ass race.

I arrived to 19.4 early, and screamed my brains off for all the runners. There were ALL rockstars for even MAKING it that far on such a challenging course, along with the crazy winds. There were a lot of tired marathoners out there, so I did everything I could to support them.

I saw my favorite runner crest the hill, and off we went. I assessed the situation - Lisa looked great, but I could tell she was tired. My job was simply to get her through the next 7 miles as quickly as possible, while allowing her to finish with a smile on her face. I told stories, tried to shield her from the wind when those gusts whipped up, and distract her with my silly antics.

We passed the mile 20 mile marker, and there was a digital clock. I took a silent mental note, glanced at my Garmin, and did some fuzzy math. I knew Lisa's PR was 3:56; we'd have to haul up and over the hills, and hope to God the winds died down to beat her PR. To me, it was worth a shot.

I would pick people out to try to catch and pass, remind her to stay in the moment, and occasionally say something stupid just to make her laugh. There was twice I remember looking at my Garmin, picking up the case ever so slightly, and she would hang with me stride for stride. I smiled - I was so proud of her strength out there.

We hit Mile 25 and it was game time. I told her that I wanted her to leave everything on that course. I told her I wanted her to be so hurting when she crossed that finish line that she might just throw up on her shoes. I told her to imagine her feet going "tap, tap tap" on the ground - light and quick. And of course, I told her to stop swearing at me internally as I was giving her some "tough love".

She crossed that finish line in 3:57, and she looked A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Seriously, I was teary bc I was so damn proud. Look at this finish people:

What a finish!!
What a great day - I am so thankful that Lisa allowed me to have a part in her special day. I loved spectating, and then being able to get her to that finish line upright and smiling. Maybe I'll ditch the marathons and take up spectating/supporting as a sport..  ;)

Stretching and getting warm, post race. 
Congratulations Lisa!! 

Happy Training!

Happy Halloween!!

Another crazy week at work, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween from me and Caitlyn! 

In other news, I ran the last 7 miles of the Cape Cod Marathon with Lisa this past weekend, so I have a run/spectator report coming up. And finally, I've been blessed with a race schedule for 2012 - I can't WAIT to share it with all of you! 

Happy Training! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Skunks, Dreams, and Stonehenge...

Ever have that run where you're flying along effortlessly, smile on your face because you KNOW you're going a little too fast, but damn, it feels so good. And then out of nowhere, pops this guy:

Who makes you come to a screeching halt, as you have a stare down, silently negotiating with the stinky creature, and  you both plot your next move?

That's been my life this week. Mostly floating along, blissfully naive, and then everything came to a screeching halt, where I've been left spending way too much time negotiating with myself, and plotting my next moves.

I also had a marathon dream last night, and I don't even have a damn race on the calendar. I remember that the course had terrible mileage signage, and I was screeching at all the volunteers that it was the crappiest marathon I had ever run. I may have even thrown a paper cup full of Gatorade at someone. Yikes, I really need to lock it up.

This week feels like mile 22 of a marathon, where you run directly into the proverbial "wall". Although if you're like me, a stupid wall isn't going to hold you back. You mock the wall, as if to say "really, that's all you've got?". My "wall" this week is more like Stonehenge

See all those little openings? That's where I weasel my way out of a crappy time, and give the "swear finger" (copyright Caitlyn) to the wall in my rear-view mirror. With a a pair of Brooks Adrenaline's in one hand, and a bottle of Patron in the other.

I have the worlds best friends, so I am latching onto all of them this weekend, to ensure a full- filled  weekend with lots of good times. I'm looking forward to lots of laughs at dinners with both my sister tonight, and then some friends tomorrow night. I shall then bring home Lisa to the finish line at the Cape Cod Marathon Sunday (I'll be running the last 10K with her), and finally capping off the weekend with a solid Tequila Sunday night. Booyah.

So that's life in a nutshell right now. Oh, and it snowed last night - in frickin October. Caitlyn was thrilled, I'm not quite ready for ski season. And it ruins my lemonade stand idea, to raise money for this marathon I'm currently obsessing over:

Maybe I'll do a frozen lemonade stand at the end of my driveway instead? Hmmmmmmm....

Happy Training!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are you a closet "Phoebe Runner"??

Just having a day. A day where being a grown-up is hard. You all know what I'm talking about.

I went for my run earlier this morning, and the day kinda went south from there. I made a comment on Twitter  that on days like this, I wish I were doing a double because running just has that therapeutic way about it. My friend Dan responds with "sometimes you just gotta take a Phoebe run". I found the video, and laughed my ass off because if I DID go out to run right now, this is EXACTLY how I'd do it. Just because I can.

Unfortunately a run isn't in the cards for me this afternoon, but at least I was able to get a solid laugh in.

Don't worry friends, the splish-bling-stalking-indecisive-race-calendar-Meaghan will be back tomorrow. Promise.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I interrupt your day to bring you this...

Its no secret I love to swim.

Swimming and I are like Lindsey Lohan and the law - super tight. I ventured away from the sport for awhile, but started to dabble my toes back in the swimming waters (pun very much intended) again a couple years ago.

The "athletic" swimsuits I currently own are faaaaaaarrrr past their prime - they are from the old racing days, and one can really only stack so many nasty, see thru swimsuits on top of each other before you just start looking cheap, and really dumb. Especially since the pool I swim in has a lot of young fast athletes that I like to pretend I can compete with. Despite my recent announcement that I won't be doing Ironman next year (should I have done an official press conference for that one?), you bet your ass you'll still find me in the cool kid lane of my local high school at the butt crack of dawn once a week.

A friend mentioned that the best swimsuits ever can be found here.

Ummmm, I'm in love. Although now I have TOO many choices! I mean seriously - when you're faced with either beating down 17 year olds in this suit:

Or either of these:

how does one choose?

While I debate which of these fantabulous suits I will purchase, I shall daydream about all the wee ones staring at elephant footprints on my ass as I pass them in the pool.

* I now return you to your regularly scheduled day*

Happy Training!

Monday, October 24, 2011

So many races, yet only 12 months in a year...

(no, I haven't made the pumpkin bread yet - the weekend got too busy, so it's on the agenda this week. However, if you DID make it over the weekend, let me know how it came out!!)

I have ZERO races on the calendar right now. Nothing I'm committed to. Zippy, zilch, nada. And it's freaking me out something fierce.

As I've started to re-aquaint myself with running post-Chicago, I've realized just how hard it is for me to truly engage in a run that involves more than a "picking flowers" pace without having a true race goal. I know there are a lot of people out there that can run for the pure love of it, and never feel like they need to "get" something out of it. That person is clearly not me.

Over the weekend I really started thinking about my race plan for 2012.  The one thing I do know for sure is that I will continue with my run focus, meaning there is no Ironman in the cards for me at this point. I waffled on this for awhile, especially after racing Pumpkinman back in September. I was sure at that point that I wanted to switch my training to a multi-sport arena. And while that race was so much fun, and I know that triathlon does hold a place in my future, it's not now. I still have a lot of unfinished business left with running, and I'm not willing to move on just yet. I have a LOT of goals, especially with the half marathon and marathon, that I want to conquer before I start throwing a significant amount of swimming and biking in the mix.

Which leads me to figuring out how to structure 2012:

(1) a late winter/early spring marathon, followed by a late fall marathon. This would avoid any potential "hot weather" races, which would be ideal.

(2) a focus on the half marathon distance through the spring, get my PR down under 1:40, and then take that speed and apply it to a late fall marathon

(3) my traditional schedule, which involves a half in the winter, leading up to a April/May marathon, then repeating the cycle again, culminating at an October marathon.

So what does a Type A person such as myself do with this information? Put it all is a spreadsheet of course!

I am the proud owner of a 3-tabbed Excel spreadsheet, each tab with the above-referenced scenarios. On each sheet, I have listed out several races, location, cost, and average temperature. Yes, average temperature. Go ahead and judge me. I have small races, large races, local races, and ones that are not even in this country.

Have I made any decisions yet? Nope. However I least I feel like I'm more in control, and have the tools to make a race calendar that will help make 2012 MY year to excel at running.

I want to hear about everyone's favorite races - throw them all at me! Reading reviews on Marathon Guide is only getting me so far! Although beware, if I pick a race that's near your house, you may have company marathon weekend! 

Happy Training!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread..

I am THE worst cook. Honestly. Case in point, the smoke alarm went off while I was "cooking" dinner for Caitlyn and I, and she says "don't worry momma, I'm used to it. It doesn't scare me anymore". Wonderful, I can only imagine what she's going to say in school on "Fire Safety Day".

However, in the fall and winter, I love to bake. Or make the batter, lick the bowl, and burn the product I was attempting to bake. Details.

Caitlyn asked if we could make pumpkin bread this upcoming weekend, and I stumbled across this recipe. I thought I might share, post their pictures, and then do a follow-up post with what MY bread looked like.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Yield: 3 loaves bread
Cook Time: 60 minutes


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9x5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, canola oil, water, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
4. Slowly blend in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Evenly divide batter between the three loaf pans.
5. Bake for 60 minutes, or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove loaves from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. With a knife, go around the bread and loosen the loaves. Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.

Up next - getting back into running, and putting some more races on the calendar - WOOP!!! 

Happy Training!