Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Sprain in my Train - Vanessa

Guys, I got injured. NOOOO!!!!! The good news is it’s just a sprain. I took the last 10 days off to ice and rest and was able to run four miles pain-free yesterday. The bad news is I’m now about 35 miles behind, wearing an ugly Velcro brace on my foot and have to endure the embarrassment of telling people that I sprained my ankle running to catch the T. Word to the wise: If you are a T-commuter and you see the train is already at the station as you approach, don’t run. There will be more trains. If you do run, at least change into your tennies before you leave the office. Don’t be the girl running for the T schlepping a massive purse and wearing a pair of size-too-small-but-too-cute-not-to-buy ballet flats. Not a great combo.

Unfortunately I don’t have any great running stories to share from the last week but I will admit that I have become hyperaware of the dangers of pedestrianism. Since I’ve been babying my poor ankle the wide avenues of Boston have transformed into narrow, icy obstacle courses with booby traps at every turn. At this point I’m surprised I don’t sprain an ankle on a weekly basis trekking over uneven pavement while hoards of rabid dogs and their oblivious owners try to entangle me in a web of leashes. It’s a dangerous world out there, friends. Walk with caution!

What's Happening Around Us - Laura

This weekend I run the Colchester CT half marathon with 650+ others. It is one of the most beautiful runs I have ever done – past dairy farms and pastures, along dirt roads and past old farmhouses. At one point I stop to see what two men in a pickup truck are doing with a cute furry animal in a cage by the side of the road. The animal looks so adorable and cuddly. Upon closer examination, they are releasing a skunk from a humane trap into the woods! Most runners pass by without noticing this is happening.

I finish in two hours and 12 minutes, #401. I have energy left, but my body could not have gone any further. I will definitely need to add some long distance mileage over the course of the next few weeks!

As soon as I finish I drive right back to the Boston area. My son’s basketball team has just won the playoff game that morning and is in the championship game at 3:00 pm. I get to see the last half of the game. I didn’t get to “see” the entire game, but I feel like I was there the whole time.

The message I receive is: Like the video project “The Invisible Gorilla” http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/videos.html (check it out I never saw the gorilla! Do you?) we only see a small part of what is happening around us whether it is a skunk, a gorilla or a basketball game!

Runner’s High – Kellie

I love to get high when I run. I don't get high every time I run. I have no control over it, it's always random, although I've found scenic trails, beaches and ocean views have a strong potency for helping me reach that state of euphoria. For those who've never gotten high on a run, I can only compare it to driving. Driving is often filled with drudgery. It's what you have to do to get from point A to point B and keep your job. But sometimes going for a drive can be fantastic. If everything aligns just right, with just the right song, maybe the sun setting, something scenic, a good friend to enjoy the ride with or a nice drive alone to think and dream. Sometimes when I'm lucky I get that feeling when running.

I got high twice this past week. One night after work I was planning to hit the dreadmill at the Shipley. It was dark and raining but I just had to get outside. When I started running it was only drizzling. If felt good. Then it started pouring and it felt great. The more drenched I got the happier I felt. The only explanation for enjoying the slush, the rain, and jumping over snow banks while dodging traffic in the dark is I must have been as high as a kite. I have no idea why I felt a runner's high that night.

Then the weekend came. My plan was to go away for the weekend to Ogunquit with some friends and on my way back I would meet some other friends in Hampton, NH for a half marathon. The snow forecast cancelled Sunday's race and our last night stay in Ogunquit. The Half-at-the-Hampton's organizers offered all the race festivities, without the race, on Saturday from 12 to 4. I was away with athletic shoppers (shopping wears me out more than running) so I dropped them off in Kittery and headed to Hampton. A win-win situation for all of us.

I picked up my running friends' goody bags and headed out for a run alone along Ocean Blvd. I didn't have a specific route in mind but just wanted to run about 10 miles. The festivities were inside the Ashworth hotel so I headed out from there toward the Hampton bridge into Seabrook. I stopped at the bridge and headed back past the Ashworth until I ran out of sidewalk then ran into the Ashworth. That was approximately four miles. I grabbed a drink and decided to run the same route and make the Ashworth hotel my aid station every four miles. It worked out great and I decided to run on the sand for my last lap. I have an obsession with Dave Grohl and set my phone to the Foo Fighters station on Pandora. Just as I hit the sand, “Learn to Fly” came on, an ocean breeze hit me, strangers were cheering me on and I was high as a kite again.

Before my friends and I left Ogunquit that day, we sat in the hotel's outdoor Jacuzzi in the snow. We enjoyed a post runner's/shopper's high before heading back home.

The weekend didn't go according to plan but that's life. Sometimes unexpected detours can be blessings in disguise. It could be drudgery but you'll never get high if you don't get out there and keep trying.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness – Laura

I run 15 miles on the falling snow. It is peaceful and beautiful in the snow. I run with the running shirt my co-worker and friend, Michelle Cullen, has given to me for training. It is perfect for this weather!

The next day I go with my two daughters for a pedicure. I tell the manicurist that I am so happy she is open because I am training for the marathon and my feet will feel so good after a massaging pedicure. Another woman in the salon overhears me. She tells me she has run the Boston Marathon as a charity runner before too. She has lots of wisdom to share, and it turns out, her daughter goes to the same school as my youngest, and she lives close by. Her name is Deidre. When she leaves, she gives me her email address, and a check for a donation.

The message I receive is: The universe is full of gifts called random acts of kindness; I will try to do my part in replenishing the universe’s supply.

Snowy Conditions – Ivan

What a week of running. Two storms to make Sunday’s long run almost impossible. I was able to get miles in, but it’s hard to do when two feet of snow are on the ground. It gets dangerous out there. With that being said, I had to run 13 miles on the treadmill this week. No not in a week, this was my long run! I really don’t recommend this! If you know of a trick to make it joyful, I am all ears. I look forward to this week; it looks like it won’t be as cold.

Friday, February 15, 2013

That Nervous Feeling - Kellie

This past week wasn't much to blog about. I was lucky to have a long weekend off from work, Friday through Monday. Other than shoveling on Saturday, I was pathetically lazy. I had no energy. I blame my woman hormones and mother nature.

I was back to work Tuesday and back to the Shipley after work. I find it much easier to workout after work than to workout on my days off. I'm starting to follow the Spartan Race workouts of the day. Since I have been initiated into the Spartan word, I receive Spartan WODs on a daily basis and I've just started to read them instead of delete them. The workouts are similar to cross fit style workouts and seem to keep me from wandering around aimlessly in the gym attempting to figure out how to torture myself.

Wednesday night the Spartan WOD was suicide sprints, burpees, suicide sprints, burpees...etc until I nearly puked. That was punishment for my lack of weekend motivation. Thursday's WOD was to get a sledgehammer or ax and either bang on a tire with the sledgehammer or chop wood with the ax. I couldn't find those objects at the Shipley so instead I warmed up on the elliptical, tossed up a medicine ball, swung around a kettle bell, worked my abs then ran one mile as fast as I could on the dreadmill. I decided on a whim to add that last mile. I may try that after all my "non-run" workouts. It felt good to go the extra mile.

Luckily the snow seems to be melting so I should be back to the roads soon. Hopefully I can fit in a 10+mile road run this weekend. The weekend after I have a half-marathon and the weekend after that a 20 mile race. I can't believe how fast the time is going by. I'm starting to get that nervous feeling in my gut.

Tired of the Snow - Laura

My kids and I are tired of the cold and snow, so we head to an indoor water park for the weekend!The trouble is…I still need to train for the marathon. Friday night I run six miles on the treadmill until my kids get kicked out of the pool for being ‘unattended.’ Yes – they all know how to swim and the water is four feet at the highest point. They are not allowed in the fitness room either.
The next day, I plan to run 14 miles! This means another six miles on the treadmill, more time in the pool, then the drive home. The remaining eight miles consist of my son running three miles with me, my daughters (ages 11 and 8) running the next mile, and finishing the last four miles on my own before collapsing on the couch.
On my last mile, I am passed my friend Martina, in her car. Martina is a locally renowned clairvoyant who offers sessions on how to understand one’s past lives and remove the negative from the current one. It was not a coincidence that she passes me now and says “hello!”
The message I receive is: Everything happens for a reason….often reasons we do not understand.

Training Brain - Vanessa

Well, it’s official: I’ve become obsessed with the marathon. You know those people who are totally normal, well-rounded conversationalists until they go and have a child or buy a cat and suddenly the only things they can talk about are diapers and catnip? I am that girl. But I don’t talk endlessly about something as beautiful and momentous as bringing another human being into this world. No, I just want to talk about putting one foot in front of the other over and over again for miles and miles and miles.
Case in point: Last weekend, we had a bit of snow. My roommate and I were… less than prepared. On Friday night around 6:00 pm we started to accept the fact that this was a legitimate blizzard. We began to panic:
Roommate: It’s illegal to drive?!
Me: Do you think they will plow the path along the Charles by tomorrow?
Roommate: What if the power goes out??
Me: Will the gym be open??
Roommate: That was our last bottle of wine!!
Me: How many laps around the living room do you think 16 miles is?

I’m a monster.

But, the truth is, I don’t care. I don’t have children and I’m not a fan of cats. Everyone has their thing and running is mine. So go ahead and show me 85,000 pictures of your cat playing with a toy mouse. Just be prepared to listen to a detailed account of each precious mile of my most recent run. Unless we are facing a natural disaster in which case I’ll try really hard to reel it in and focus on survival.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Number of Hours in a Day – Laura

I watch the weather carefully. The weather will be warm on Saturday and cooler on Sunday. I run 12 miles on Saturday – eight miles in Holliston horse country while my daughter is riding, and then four more miles when I get home. We all go to my son’s basketball game right after I finish running, then home for dinner and a drop off to a birthday party sleepover for one of my daughters. On Sunday after Sunday school, my 11 year old daughter runs a mile with me; my 12 year old son runs three miles with me. I run the final four miles alone. We watch the Patriots lose the Playoffs; my father comes over for his birthday dinner. It goes so fast. When co-workers ask about the weekend, I don’t even remember scheduling running time. It was just part of my day.

The message I receive is: We all have the same number of hours in a day. With careful planning, I can still do the most important things to me – have quality time with my kids, continue training over longer distances, and enjoy the weekend.

Now it is cold. It is close to zero degrees today. I bring my son, Jacob, to sax lessons before school at 6:45 am. Then I drive home and run three miles on the treadmill in my basement early in the morning before work. I finish 100 sit-ups and 20 pushups. This is my workout ritual all winter long. It is not really marathon training. I say “goodbye” to my daughter Lindsay who walks to school. I put my daughter Leigh on the bus, and then drive to work. I don’t feel like I am marathon training. It was just a typical morning.

The message I receive is: Maybe the completion of small tasks methodically and persistently over time add up to something greater at the end.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Long Runs Are…Long – Vanessa

I’ve reached the point in training where a six-mile run feels like slacking. Once you get used to running over 10 miles at a time, shorter runs during the week feel like cheating. The problem is that this logic does not apply to long runs – they still just feel long. In addition to the physical challenge of piling on miles, I’ve come to realize that the hardest part is mental. Sure, I can be a cheerleader for myself mentally waving pompoms as I cross mile markers along my route, but the fact of the matter is I just get bored. Luckily, I have found a few ways to combat the boredom:

1) Music
I hate to brag, but my iTunes library is remarkable. As a former Spin instructor, I have pop tunes for every taste and from every era. From Bee Gees to Beiber, if it has a good beat, I’ve got it. The problem is that at some point the strong, monotonous beat of pop music begins to wear on me. I run to the beat, breathe to the beat and even begin to think to the beat. I need something more.

2) Podcasts
Running’s best kept secret. The idea of running with a buddy and chatting for 15 miles is great but in reality you are out of talking points and out of energy to coordinate your mouth, brain AND feet all at the same time by mile five. Instead, I download podcasts- specifically This American Life. This provides me with a built-in running buddy. He makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me think but NEVER makes me talk. If only Ira Glass new how many miles we’ve logged together!

3) Puppies
Everybody loves them. Lucky for us, the city of Boston is literally packed with puppies. Running along any body of water or through any public park usually guarantees a high rate of puppy sightings. I realize this may not be enough of a distraction for some runners, but when the monotony of 15 miles-worth of pop music has turned your brain to mush a thought as simple as “OOOH! PUPPY!” can go a very long way.

This weekend presents a new challenge: 16 miles without losing my mind. With the impending blizzard, I may be forced to log my miles on the dreaded treadmill, which takes my puppy distraction out of the equation. I’m hoping for a good trashy reality TV marathon playing at the gym. Any other ideas for entertainment during a long run?

Summing Up My Week – Kellie

This past week was a bit of a recovery week coming off the 16 miler. I did hit the gym two days after but went right to the elliptical. No injuries here but I had to listen to my body and my body wanted to hold back on running just a bit. My legs told me that if I didn't take it easy on them for a few days they would go on strike. They let me take them for a four-mile run after work Thursday night. It was a treat! Or maybe a nice retreat from the dreadmill. I am getting use to nighttime running. It's peaceful and with my headphones on I don't even hear that scary serial killer background music. I do have an irrational fear of being murdered by a serial killer but if I want the Boston Marathon I'm just going to have to risk it. I think I actually frighten other people out at night with my heavy breathing.

Over the weekend I was on-call with work and went on a 6-8 mile run around the Hospital. I couldn't go much further since if I had gotten called in, I would have needed a taxi to get back. My legs were still on “take it easy mode” and they didn't want to go any further but they did promise me they would go further next weekend.

This week I've added stair climbing to my lunch break. I only need to sacrifice about 10 minutes of my lunch to get that good muscle burn. On occasion I've been successful in recruiting coworkers to join me in the stairwell.

To sum up this past week, I'm listening to my body, overcoming my fear of serial killers and finding a balance between running and strength training to avoid injury.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Hard Week – Ivan

It has been a very hard week for me to be able to train. Life continues and has tons of challenges, one of them is not enough time! As a father of two, husband and a restaurant manager I have long and late hours and not enough time. The demands of a new opening are huge. So I had to decide whether to run or rest, I decided to rest. I think this was the right decision as I feel fresh, but the upcoming weeks are going to be hard, as I will not to be able to miss many workouts. I need to put in the miles at this point. My longest run has been 12 miles so far and all in the Newton Hills. I felt pretty good so I look forward to this week training sessions. Stay tuned to see how I managed to train this week, should be fun!