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!

Happy Marathoniversary

Yep, this weekend marked 5 years since my first marathon.  April 16, 2012.

And considering how that one went – Boston, 88 degrees, and beastly – I could have have given them up entirely.  Instead, stubborn warrior girl that I am, I wanted a rematch. With both the marathon and that course.   Boston ended up my 1st, 3rd and 5th.

Number 12 is approaching… in 3 1/2 weeks.   And they still haven’t gotten any easier.  But i’ve gotten better at training and embracing the suck.  🙂

So Sunday, in honor of Boston the following day, as part of training for the Maine Coast Marathon and as a celebration of my marathoniversay – I had a 20-miler planned for Sunday.

And…much like that day in Boston, the weather has drastically different ideas.

I headed out the door fairly early, but it was already 60 degrees.  By mile 9 it was sunny mid-60’s and climbing and I desperately needed water, a lighter shirt and my hair up. So, route altered and home for a ‘water stop / wardrobe change’.

By mile 10 the bargains started…  make it to ten and walk 1/4 mile.  And I did a couple of ‘mile repeats’ with a 1/4 mile walk break.  And desperately looked for shade. At the half-mile marker (2:20) I realized that 20 miles was so not going to happen.  And myself I would keep moving until I hit 3 1/2 hours (the time 20 usually takes me) and I would run at least a few steps of every mile.  (which got progressively harder).

I know I sound like a wimp…but after a cold winter and usually running in 40-50 degrees, high 70’s – 80’s was way more than my body was ready for.   I was dehydrated and overheated and had no interest in collapsing on the side of the road. And it did hit me that OMG, I had this same problem 5 years ago today.

At mile 14, about a mile from my house and more cold water I kind of worried I wasn’t going to make it without water. But no problem – I had my ‘water fund’ in my pocket and a golf course up ahead.

Because golf courses have vending machines right?  Wrong.  Not this one.  Of course, its easter and hot sweaty red-faced me walked into a clubhouse full of people in nice dresses and an easter bunny looking for a drink.   No sign of machines, so I wander into the pro shop where I was informed they don’t sell drinks (maybe I could try the grille room).

And it hit me… I was having a “pretty woman” moment.  Disheveled looking street person wandering into a nice place trying to buy something and not getting help “I have money and no one will help me!”

I did at least find a ladies room with paper towels and cold water from the sink and made do.  Runners are resourceful.    And a mile later at home I chugged water, and endurolytes and ice (one cube in the sports bra, one tucked in the back of my sparkle visor) and filled my running buddy h20 and headed out for the death march of the final two miles.

My friends think i’m a happy runner.  And I totally am. But I have never been so miserable on a run as I was at mile 17.5 walking ever slower up the street, practically crying, and muttering “I want to stop.  I am miserable.  I do not want to move another step.” followed by “Suck it up buttercup.  We don’t quit when it hurts.  We quit when we’re done”  And there has never been a sweeter sound than the beep of my garmin at mile 18.  (which was still .1 from my front door. ugh.  lol)

I was a hot mess.  Quite literally.  And I am sending a request to the weather gods to PLEASE not let Maine Coast be this hot!

But at least on the course there will be water stops, and I won’t be something the nice townsfolk will share stories about for days

Omg…did you see that girl? Was she crazy?

No…she’s just a runner.

 

The Greeter

Can I just say how April’s weather is so far a vast improvement over March? Yay!!

And just in time with all the miles that sit on my calendar between now and the Maine Coast Marathon. Because 20 miles is WAY more fun at 50 degrees than in 30.  

The other advantage to this weather is that I’m back logging regular lunchtime runs along the lovely Charles River path. Me and TONS of other runners. 

My tribe…has returned. And yes, there are lots of characters among them.  

It’s amazing to think how many random strangers I know by their sneakers, or their hat or their lack of shirt. Lol

But there is one fella I know by his wave. (And his beard. He has a cool one.)

I’ve seen him probably 3 or 4 times recently, and I absolutely love this guy.  

Why? Because he goes out of his way to wave at every single runner (or walker or dog) he passes.  And it really makes me happy to wave back and say hi. 

He’s become one of the highlights of my “runches”. 

This week, I passed him from behind early into my run and was actually disappointed that I wouldn’t get to say hi. But due to some kind of path and pace magic, after I hit the turn around point, there he was coming at me (yes!!). So I was able to wave and smile after all. 

It’s the little things. Because sure, we all have different goals and paces and reasons for why we lace ’em up and head to the river. But when we are out there…we are all runners.  So why not be friendly. 😀 👋

As far as training? It’s going awesome. Sunday was “just” 12 miles so I used it as sort of a time-trial for the Blackstone Valley Half (in 2 weeks).

I think there’s hope for me yet! 

And pictured are my must have long run accessories –  buddy pouch, Brooks launches & garmin. Plus look ma – no sleeves! Gotta love t-shirt weather. Woohoo!!

Hope you all have a great week, beautiful spring weather and happy runs. 😃

The end of an era

For so many years now that I’m not even sure how long, my husband had been working out of the Cambridge office. 

Which has meant I get chauffeured to the gym every Wednesday (and some Friday) mornings. And that means I get to do a nice scenic mid-distance run along the Charles river. 

But this week, my hunny got transferred to another town. 

River Run Wednesday are over. 😦 for now. 

I’m okay with this. It’s a shorter and easier commute for him. And he’ll be home earlier for Gus. 

And once he falls into a rhythm at work we’ll see what the train schedules are like and if I can get chauffeured part way and still get in oh, 6 miles on the river. 

And sure, I can take an early train in and maybe fit in 5 miles on a Wednesday morning. 

But it won’t be the same…

Wednesday 8-milers are now a thing of the past. 

I’ve really enjoyed them. You truly feel like part of a community when you’re out there with familiar faces (both human and canine) every week in almost any conditions. Sporting race shirts and neon and keeping each other company while dodging bikes and those darn Canadian geese. (Ack I hate those things. They are mean!)

And of course this also affects my weekly mileage totals. Lol  

Do I find a day to double down? Do I add a run day? Or do I just accept that it’s okay to log 30 instead of 33 (my average…). 

For now, I’m fine as is. It’s 25 days to Goofy and next week is peak week so the weeks are gonna be bit a bit mixed up anyways. 

I think it will truly hit me mid-January when I’m on a “new normal” schedule. 

But I’m a runner. And I’m flexible. And I adapt well. I’ll be fine. 

But River Run Wednesday? I’ll miss you. 

So let me leave you all with last Wednesday’s scenic and festive view. 

  
Happy Tuesday my friends. And happy running!

lonely road of faith

Sunday was my final 20 mile training run for Boston.

20 miles is no walk in the park. It’s a battle of wills between you and the road. A battle you need both body and brain to win. It’s honestly almost as hard as a marathon. Almost.

A friend and novice runner recently asked why most marathon training plans only go to 20 miles. I think it’s because running 20 gives you the experience you need of being able to find that mental strength to push through without quite the same physical punishment as 26.2 so it’s easier to recover from.

I chose to run this 20 in New Hampshire at the Eastern States 20 Mile race. Some friends and Rett teammates were also running, it was a chance to run outside my neighborhood (always a plus), and it came with a medal and snacks at the end.

The course is gorgeous. It follows the coast line for most of the race so it’s very scenic. However, the weather was not the best.

Forecast was for heavy rain and wind. The rain fortunately stopped just as the race started. The wind (bout 20mph) fortunately was behind us for most of the race.

The best part of racing with friends is having people to hang out with before hand and after. I don’t race with them though. And not just because they are all faster than me. But because for me – running is a solo event.

I love the camaraderie of a race. Chatting with other runners at the start or randomly on the course as we pass each other. I met a woman doing her first 20 ever as she trains for her first marathon ever. As she took walk breaks while running (but was running a faster pace) we passed each other a few times. And I was happy to welcome her to the marathon club and answer training questions for her.

But my favorite part of races is just being alone in the crowd and sometimes alone literally on the course. As this was a smaller race there were a few times I had the road to myself. A little scary when you don’t know the course (lol) but quiet and calm is good when you’re distance running.

As the course was not closed to traffic I opted to run without music for safety reasons. And as I heard waves crash against the seal wall and seagulls call to each other I was glad I hadn’t.

I have my favorite running songs all bit memorized and can call them up as needed. But I also just let my mind wander a lot. It went over logistics for Boston, things I needed to remember for later and just zen over the sights of the huge waves and surfers.

For me – the race went extremely well. What that means is that I ran the entire 20 miles, at a decent pace and never struggled physically. Only mentally a little.

As I titled this post…running this far is a lonely road of faith. An internal struggle to believe that it is possible to go that far.

Around mile 15 I started to question that faith. Part of me wanted to walk. I wasn’t breathing hard, I wasn’t pushing and there was no reason to have to walk. I think my brain was just bored and wanted to do something different.

I wouldn’t let it. I tried to give it things to do – count blue shirted runners, look to see what houses still had Christmas wreaths up (too many), count steps between mailboxes.

But the one trick that really worked? Creating a mantra. One that I chanted a few times during those last five miles. Whenever I needed to.

When I needed the strength to pass a few people at mile 18.5, when I saw that finish line a half mile ahead. When I needed to remind myself this is my journey and the only person who can travel it is me. And I know, probably around the same distance in Boston I will start chanting it again.

It goes…quite simply…

My name is Kelly. I am a warrior. I will keep running. Until the end.

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Quality vs Quantity

This year my marathon training seems to be proving the theory of quality miles versus quantity of miles.

I realized this morning that I am feeling really ready for Boston. Even more so than past years. And I don’t think it’s just because it’s my third time around. I think it’s because my training contains a lot less miles.

Last year I was running 5 days a week and logging 35-50 miles a week. I was tired, ate more cupcakes than I should have (but I was running 8 miles on a Wednesday so that meant cupcakes were allowed, right?) and 2 weeks after Boston I broke my hip.

This year (because of said hip) I’m only allowed to run 3 days a week. And my peak weeks are only 35 miles. And I’m feeling really good.

I think, because I only get three runs a week, that I’ve learned to make them count.

Sunday is my long run. It’s my build endurance / marathon test run run. And my last 20 miler was fantastic. I practiced my race day nutrition plan, I ran easy and aced the late run hills.

Wednesday is my 10k / speedwork day. Most of my runs are “progressive” – teaching me to run negative splits and push it at the end.

Friday varies – depending on the week. It has been hills, it has been tempo, it has been 400 repeats and it has been easy/fun. It’s my “play day”. And it’s awesome.

I spend my non-run days either resting or crosstraining (weights, walk, bike).

And as a result – no doldrums, no crankies, no “is this training over yet”. And a lot less cupcakes.

It’s just been good.

So…is it April 21st yet? 🙂

I want a cupcake.