Muscle Up Buttercup

I knew before I even left the house, that this run was extremely likely to go downhill. And not in the “whee, this is a fun hill to cruise down” kind of way. 

I mean like spectacularly awful crash and burn. 

Yet, with only 6 weeks until the Adirondack Marathon, it had to happen. 

The schedule called for 18 miles. And I planned out a route that had some really good training hills and a loop through a local park with a menagerie of animals (not quite a zoo) we’ve always called Goat World. 

Nothing. And I meant NOTHING went according to plan. Lol

It was 70 and 95% humidity when I headed out. By mile 2.5 I was already starting to drink my water. I had my buddy h2o, which only holds 10 ounces.  But that’s okay, because I knew there were a couple fountains along the route where I could refill. Or so I thought.  

At mile 6, I noticed a whole bunch of orange cones and one of these signs…

Hmmm this could be a problem. I’m fairly sure that race starts at Goat World. I may need to change my route. 

Of course, since I’ve taken to carrying my iPod instead of phone, I had to wait a 1/2 mile until I got to a wi-fi hotspot to confirm. And sure enough…I was on the course. A 1/2 hour before it started. 

I was also out of water by now. And the first  water fountain I knew of? Was turned off. Damn. 

Enticed by the idea of going by and seeing all the 5k runners, trying to figure out where I could get / buy water, and knowing that if I turned around where I was thinking to, I could end up SO in the way of the race, I headed towards Goat World. 

And…like a gift from the running gods, encountered a water stop. Those awesome race volunteers took pity on me and left me fill my water bottle, and wished me luck. 

A 1/4 mile later, I encountered the most aggressive dog I’ve ever met on a run. A large German shepherd, barking like he wanted to eat me and coming across the street at me. So, I stopped. And faced him. And he backed down and went home. I said out loud to him “what the hell was that?” And continued on and up. 

I was in the hilly section now, and the sun was shining. And I was starting to get nauseous. I had to stop for a minute to calm myself down. And then headed past where the runners were gathering for the race. 

Man I love being surrounded by runners. The energy is just contagious. I smiled at a few, wished a couple luck, and then encountered the mother of all downhills. 

The kind of downhill that makes you seriously question if you can make it down without falling headfirst. But, this was important for Adirondack. Because I know there’s a couple of those in the first half of the race. 

I reached the bottom at mile 10. Stood in the shade to open a gel, and seriously questioned myself.  I kinda wanted to call for a ride home. I was trying to figure out if I could call it at 12 and save the 18 for next weekend. 

I was miserable. Really miserable. But I was not going down without a fight. Time to muscle up, buttercup.  Because we don’t train just to make the race easier. We also train to learn how to embrace the suck. 

I did, however, decide that this was now going to be for time versus distance. And that I could likely pull off 16 miles in the time 18 should have taken. 3 hours. 

I stopped to buy a bottle of water. Where I of course forgot to stop my watch. This led to a horribly skewed time for that mile, so I don’t really know what my average was. Lol but that’s okay. It was slow. 

Because again, I was starting to feel ill. And stopping constantly to drink water. And I was SO gritty that it hurt to wipe my face and neck. 

And then I got my second gift from the running gods at mile 11. Sprinklers!! A low long line of sprinklers. And I probably stood there for 3 full minutes with a smile on my face. 

Slightly rejuvenated I continued on, and opted to run/walk the rest. Hopefully more running than walking, but I didn’t even care. 

I stopped for a second if I needed to. I walked when I had to. And I just kept moving. 

And found this cool fungus!

And at mile 14, when I finally found a recycling bin to toss the empty water bottle I’d been carrying for a mile (cuz I just can’t litter), I noticed the address I was standing at. 

Same as the area code for the Adirondack marathon. #runningsigns 

And I thought back to 2015, the last time I ran Adirondack. And I remembered how hard those last few miles were. And that I never gave up.  

So I continued on. Suffering but moving. Hoping that by powering through now, it will teach me to better handle it if it happens again next month.  

By mile 15.6 I was making deals with myself. I was near my house and walking/sprinting the tiniest intervals.  Unbeknownst to me, the hubs had seen me, and told me later he’s never seen me look like i was fighting so hard for every step.  I usually look like I’m having fun. Lol

But I finished. And saw him out in the yard with Gus. I waved, and slowly hobbled up. 

How’s it going babe, he asked. Not good, I replied. Then I laughed. Because 16 miles had never hurt that bad. And it suddenly became hilarious. 

I grabbed the lightpost next to me, hugged it for dear life, and then handed him my iPod. I needed a picture. One where I can look back and remember that even when it’s bad, it’s all good. 

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How far I’ll go…

See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me. 

It always has….but it wasn’t until this week when I finally watched Moana, that the lyrics sunk in. 

I mean, you’d think a fiery Aries would be all desert and sun. But this one? Loves the water. Well, looking at it anyway. Sitting on the sand, staring at the line on the horizon. Wondering what lies beyond. And who might be doing the same from a shore on the other side. 

And of course now that I’ve seen Moana and fallen in love with the animation and the music and this wild-haired, strong-willed, “not a princess”, I think I’ve found my Disney marathon costume. 

Because, we’re in the time between dining reservations and fast pass reservations, where we Disney runners run all the miles and plan all the costumes. 

I had 3 of the 4 I’ll need picked out (subject to change of course), but couldn’t finalize the 4th. The marathon costume. 

Last year I was my other favorite curly-haired, strong princess. Merida. And she will always be one of my favorite running costumes. 

I had already picked Ariel for my half outfit. Because she and I were teenagers at the same time. And I totally identified with her longing for something more and her love of the sea.  πŸ  And while I have run as her before, 

I have a better skirt now (lol) and need to be her again. 

For my “marathon princess” I was leaning toward Snow White, because well, I’m running Dopey, I am currently brunette and I love animals. πŸ‡ But I wasn’t sold on it. 

And now I know why. Because Moana was waiting for me to discover her.

She’s just badass. And, as a friend pointed out, Moana and Ariel are “sisters of the sea”. 🌊

So, it’s perfect. 😁

Because how far I’ll go…will be 48.6 miles. 

Hello August…

The worst part of fall marathon training is that most of it occurs in the summer.

I don’t like the heat. I mean, you probably wouldn’t know because i’ve been doing my share of mid-day runs along the river…outside…in the heat and sun. But it usually involves stopping at ALL the water fountains during the second half.

And sure, I did do three races in July…but none of them were quite as good as earlier in the year when the weather cooler.

My poor garmin is getting dusty because I refuse to have digital proof of how awful my paces have been. I mean i’ve actually been eying this training shirt. LOL

But i’m 54 days out from the Adirondack Marathon, which means its time to really get serious. To decide if I have a PR goal, or merely a course-PR goal.

You see, that sucker is HILLY.

And while the first half is crazier hills than the second, the last time I ran this my goal was to beast the hills. And I did, and then the wheels came off by mile 17 and the ‘rolling hills’ in the later miles felt harder than the spikes.

So I plan to spend August ramping up both the strength training (adding a 3rd day a week), the hill training (wherever I can) and, as usual, distance (August’s schedule includes a 16, an 18 and a 20 miler). Dusting off the garmin so I actually know how fast (slow?) I’m going. And hoping that August is mild (yeah, I know….likely not happening).

I’m also going to up my hydration game (my running buddy h2o is about to get in some more miles) and maybe go back on the music (my single-ear sports bud isn’t getting its exercise either). Might be a good month to run to Zac Brown and Jimmy Buffet. oooh – virgin pina coladas in the h20 pouch? LOL

So, if you need me this month…i’ll be out running hills, feeling tropical and thinking fall.

Confessions of a Running Metalhead

So this weekend, while sitting outside relaxing with the hubs and noticing that someone had read one of my blogs (yes, I check daily, and yes I LOVE my readers!), he said to me…

“You’re a really good writer, but you need to branch out on your topics. All you write about is running.”

So after I went all ‘Rudolph after Clarice tells him he’s cute’ (lol), I told him, okay, I will write about music this week. But as they say to write what you know… I am going to give you my top six favorite running songs. And why I love them.

People might be surprised that they are ALL metal. But its because a) I LOVE metal and b) you can’t run fast to a slow song. Its about trying to keep your feet to the beat. So make it a good one.

These songs make it onto ALL of my speed playlists – be it a 5k, half-marathon or just Thursday Sprintervals. They were there when I set my 5k PR (Turkey Vision Quest playlist) and kicked asphalt at the Blackstone Valley Half (2:01 or bust playlist). They are those songs that when I hear them when i’m not running, they make me wish I was running.

They are:

6. Ready to Rock – Airborne
Why? The lyrics start with “Went down to the crossroads, made a deal with the devil. Sold my soul for a guitar. Became a rock & roll rebel” Plus those O’Keefe brothers are mad talented. Love the whole Black Dog Barking album.  But this song? As it surges, so do I. I’ve put it on repeat before and run the whole time to it. Its fast and hard and my sub-8 mile pace song. Are you READY????

5. Electric Eye – Judas Priest
Why? Its fast. Its fun. I’m listening as I write this and can’t stop moving my foot. It moves.

4. Stand Up and Shout – Dio
Why? Cuz its Dio. And like the others on this list, starts out with a bang. And never slows down. Plus I love the lyrics. “You’ve got desire so let it out. You’ve got the power.” YES… So what if I lip-sync on the treadmill.

3. Riding on the Wind – Judas Priest
Why? Cuz its awesome. From drums to guitar to them together…. i’m just trying to keep up. And Rob’s vocals are spot on.

2. Death Alley Driver – Rainbow
Why? Ritchie freaking Blackmore. Because the song starts out setting a great uptempo beat. And the guitar solo mid-song just makes me smile. And push the pace even more. And the lyrics are SO running.. “You’ll never win the race, but you won’t give up the chase” resonate with this mid-packer.

1. Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
Why? That opening. This is my leadoff song for most races. It kicks in fast and hard early and just sets the groove. Guitar, to Drums (tommy sets a killer beat) to Vince’s scream..it just moves. And so do I.

So…. how many of you are itching to run right now? Or tapping your foot? LOL Who else is secretly a running metalhead? Are any of these on YOUR must list?

Rock on my friends…🀘🏻🀘🏻

Cinderella seeks glass slipper

My glass slipper shattered…

Well, it shattered my 5k PR in November. Lol But now….it has reached its maximum miles. And is about to go into retirement. 

It’s my fourth pair of this particular shoe. The Brooks Launch 2. My favorite pair of running shoes EVER. And…it no longer exists. 

Believe me, I’ve looked. Everywhere. It’s just a couple years old and I can’t find it in my size on discount sites or running sites or the back dusty corner of a running store. 

So here I am…a running Cinderella seeking that new perfect fit. 

I have the Launch 4, the newest iteration. I even ran the Maine Coast marathon in them. But I don’t get that same sense of magical happiness that the 2’s gave me.  

They are stiffer. And I think are aggravating my Achilles. Which is kind of a problem. 

I recently bought a pair of the new Ghost 10 to try. And they are squishy marshmallows of goodness. But they are a little heavier than the Launch. So while I know they are going to be awesome for marathoning…I still need speed shoes. 

There are SO many new ones on the Brooks website that I don’t even know what to try. So I actually sent them an email to see what they might suggest.  Do I pureflow? Am I a Revel? Or is this a job for the Neuro…  help!!! 

I’ll keep you all posted – because I am fairly sure I’m not the only one mourning the 2’s. 

I did give them one last hurrah. I took them to Potsdam NY this weekend to run the 5k at my husband’s college reunion. And they went out on top. 

We ran a 26:14…good enough for 7th overall and 2nd female. πŸ™‚ woohoo!

Now…they become my weekend errand pair.  Because even old glass slippers deserve respect. And I just can’t quit them…

Full Moon Running…a quartet of crazy

I’ve always believed that the full moon brings weirdos out of the woodwork. But this week truly reached a new level.

I should have caught on Sunday that it was a full moon when I encountered the snowman on my long run. LOL

But it wasn’t until after finishing my ‘runch’ yesterday that it sunk in.

Because during the first mile I encountered three rather unusual individuals…

First there was the rather heavy woman, sitting on the curb of the island of a large intersection. Who was only wearing a shirt. Fortunately her stomach was large enough to cover her ladybits, but it was still way more than I needed to see. (side note – she was gone on my way back, so either she left, or was encouraged along).

Then came the human squirrel. He had to be part squirrel, because most human beings don’t suddenly dart in front of another person for no good reason. And yet, this gentleman coming up the other side of the sidewalk just randomly came over right in front of me. Not texting, not avoiding an obstacle, just apparently decided to see if I was paying attention. Okay…

And, a block later, number three. The woman in the motorized wheelchair who, at the exact second I swung down to the right around her, turned without looking and headed for the road. I swung wider and apparently ticked her off, as I heard her yell “Next time you do that i’m gonna run you over”. I wanted to yell back “you’d have to catch me first” but instead settled for “watch where you’re going”. Because someone that has no chance of catching you is fairly safe to yell back at. LOL

Fortunately soon after I made it to the river and the next two miles were uneventful. Even coming back up that final mile hill was no more than the usual people who don’t pay attention and cell-phone starers who are gonna end up with serious chiropractic issues.

I figured the crazy was over. Until I got back to the locker room to change. And encountered the fourth member of my Quartet of Crazy.

Because you know those fancy dyson hand-dryers where you slide your hands down in and pull them back out? Well, I watched a woman use it to dry her dirty sports bra. Genius, but disgusting. I mean lady – people use that to dry off clean hands, and now your sweat stank is all over it. Not. Hygenic.

Oh well, at least the full moon is only once a month. I’ll just have to be more aware next month and not run downtown Boston that day. Unless I need another good blog topic!

Stars & Stripes – the recap

Some people celebrate Independence Day with sparklers and hot dogs…and some of us prefer to dress up in sparkles and run races.  

I decided to run two this year and make my own 19.3 Challenge – the Stars & Stripes. Sure there was no bonus medal like at Disney, but it was still a totally awesome experience. 

It consisted of the Independence Half in Bristol, RI and the Finish at the 50 10k in Foxboro, MA. 

I’d never run Bristol before, but I totally would again. Despite it being insanely humid it was an absolute blast. 

The course is rolling hills and mostly water views and Bristol really goes all out for the 4th (events and a parade) so the town is draped in flags and bunting. Plus a lot of the route is within Colt State Park, one of my favorites places by the water and where I spent 12 hours last summer at the Anchor Down ultra. πŸ˜€

A lot of runners were all dressed up in red, white and blue and some really fun outfits. I was saving my really good one for the 10k, but still got into the spirit. 

Some highlights of my race:

  • Meeting a Facebook friend in person finally (hi Sarah!) and another member of my team runDisney fb group
  • Making it all the way up the longest hill to mile 8. It wasn’t steep but it took forever 
  • Finding the “Road Rage” sign
  • Taking a selfie with Potato Head Uncle Sam
  • Knowing that water on the back of your neck does more good than in your mouth. Lol 
  • Having the courage to walk at mile 10. (It was too humid. I couldn’t make myself slow down. So I knew I had to start the walk breaks)
  • Finding out later that despite taking those walk-breaks I was still sub 10:30 pace for those miles. 
  • Finding my fierce at the end – to rally and  run solid the last 1/3 of a mile. With one heck of a finishing kick!

Overall? I finished in just over 2:07. Not my best, not my worst. And I worked hard for that.  It’s been a long time since a half-marathon felt that hard. Sometimes, the reward is in the struggle. 

And I got a cool medal. πŸ˜€

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The Finish at the 50? That one I’ve run a few times before. 

It’s always hot. And I always wonder why I insist on running it. And then I remember…it’s all about the finish. I will never get tired of the chance to run through the inflatable helmet and out onto the field at Gillette Stadium. 

The whole day is like a giant party. They have a kids race, 5k and 10k. There’s a dj and people hang out before. Plus there are fireworks after the races, so you get a lot of spectators the last mile of the race. 

I headed over a couple hours early to meet up with some more members of my runDisney group.  Such a fun buncha people.  A couple of them were running the 5k so I got to watch them start and cheer on all the 5k runners (Trust me, no one is as enthusiastic as a spectator as another runner. Lol) before getting ready for the 10k.  

And there were a lot of 5k runners! Love seeing everyone dressed up and patriotic. 

Me? I went with Wonder Woman. Which was a huge hit with the spectators. 

Hanging out with my group before the race the question came up of goal times.  And as I had hoped to do okay but not great  (it was 80 – and heat is not my friend) I laughed that the goal was to finish. And hopefully under 1:10. 

Another responded “you know how the Disney training plans say – use this one if you want to finish in the upright position?” That’s my goal. To finish in the upright position. Yes!! 😁

We lined up, and after the national anthem (yeah, watching a flag wave in the breeze on independence eve will get ya right there…) headed off. 

I started purposely easy. And spent the next 3 miles trying to hold myself back. 

I chatted with a few other runners here and there. 

I ran through a LOT of sprinklers (you foxboro residents are so awesome!). 

And I never looked at my watch. 

Just watched the mile signs pass by. And passed the people who dropped to walk. And suddenly knew that was my goal. 

That unlike Bristol where I couldn’t go slow enough to not walk, I was going to run easy enough to not need to. Wonder Woman doesn’t walk. 

Suddenly mile 4 clicked by and I was having fun. And then we turned to see the stadium in front of us. Knowing we hadn’t hit mile 5 yet it felt like a joke…so close and yet so far. 

And at mile 5, there was an ugly hill. And I think I passed 7 people on it.  And I grinned at the cheers. Because Wonder Woman never gives up. 

 As we looped through the parking lot of tailgaters I high fived SO many kids I lost count. I couldn’t stop smiling.  

Finally, we headed to the stadium. And down the ramps to the lowest level.  Just before we entered, I spotted the first of the photographers. And picked up the pace. 

(Note:The next photos to follow – credit to Capstone. I will be buying them, but snagged these watermarked versions for the blog…)


And entering the stadium, let out a cheer 

I reached the middle, turned toward the finish line and watched for myself on the big screen (this is the first year I’ve actually seen it!!!!)

I heard my name announced as I approached the line (woohoo!) and sprinted across. 

Where I finally looked at my watch. 

A 1:01:34 finish. Sweet!!!! A fairly typical 10k time for me. Especially for this race.  And way better than I expected. 

So feeling like a total rockstar I got in the line for a photo with Pat… who high fived me. 😁 it’s always good to impress a mascot. Lol 

That. Was. So. Much. Fun!!

Overall? I definitely enjoyed myself more at the 10k than the half. But I would run both again in a heartbeat. And even both the same weekend again. πŸ˜€β€πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Hope everyone had a great 4th!!