Sunday, April 29, 2007


There are folks who would scoff if I said I'm not in good shape, but they are thinking in absolutes and I am thinking in relatives. Relative to the shape most people are in, I'm in good shape. Relative to the shape I want to be in and feel I need to be in to be able to do the things I want to do, I'm not really in very good shape. I'm slow and heavy and overweight and injured.

Last weekend, visiting our family in Ohio, I ran about 13 miles on Saturday, running 20 minutes and walking 5, feeling fairly good. I ate a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich en route to get used to eating while running for the ultra. This sat with me OK and I guess gave me some energy, since I felt pretty good after finishing.

However, since we've been "home" in Maryland, I've been feeling sluggish, swelled-up (legs, ankles), and sore. Just the same, I've been running the 10.5-mile "Lake Loop" every 2-3 days. Today was the third time.

Tuesday: 10.5 miles in 2:01, 11:35 pace, ran 30 minutes, walked 5. I dragged and ached and could hardly walk after I finished, not from fatigue or soreness but from my injuries acting up. I rested two days before tackling it again.

Friday: 10.5 miles in 1:51, 10:38 pace, ran 10 minutes, walked 2. I only dragged and ached the last 2 or 3 miles, but still could hardly walk after I finished due to my injuries (Achilles and piriformis area, both on the left side.) However, I felt ready to go again after only one rest day.

Today, Sunday: 10.5 miles, 1:48, 10:22 pace, ran the whole time except for only infrequent short walk breaks, felt only mildly lame after finishing, feel fresh as a daisy now an hour later, except for my heel/ankle and butt. I have a massage treatment scheduled for tomorrow.

So I'm going to aim for every other day this week, same 10.5-mile loop, and then do my final pre-marathon 20-miler on Saturday -- maybe 2 laps of the Lake Loop, or 5 X 4-mile out-and-backs to get used to that, since that's what my 50-mile ultra is, yeah, 50 miles of 4-mile out-and-backs. We runners out there will get to know each other really well!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Can I do it all?


A couple years ago, I commented somewhere (that was before I came here) that there were (are) so many long-range things I want to do, I need to take a year for each of them. The Year of the Ironman (did that, 2 of 'em.) The Year of the Ultramarathon (in progress.) The Year of the Boston Marathon (hopefully in progress.) The Year of the Transcontinental Bike Ride (still out there.) The Year of the Appalachian Trail.


It appears that that last item is closer than I thought. It's moved up several notches on the list. I met a friend, Sally, in Winchester, who wants to do it. A few years ago she bought all kinds of gear but somehow got waylaid. She's been reading for years and she's got me hooked on it.


Sally's a runner. I met her on the road mid-run. She was running with a pit bull and a baseball bat. No one gonna bother this babe. Turns out the bat was to defend her pit bull from other dogs, since the pit wouldn't defend herself. Just goes to show, you can't judge a book by its cover. Same goes for Sally, since, if you met her in the grocery store, you'd be meeting this very alert, sweet 60-year-old lady, but unless she told you, you wouldn't realize she regularly runs 7 miles and wants to hike the Appalachian Trail.


Well, Sally and I wanna go, and therein lie the choices.


If (if) I qualify for Boston this fall, well, the Boston Marathon is in April. But your qualifying time is good for 2 years, so I could still do the Trail in 2008 and run Boston in 2009. But a group of my dearest friends are planning to do Big Sur together in 2008. Do I do Boston, or the Trail, or Big Sur?


If I don't qualify for Boston this year, one choice is out of the running, so to speak. I wouldn't have to choose between Boston and Big Sur. In fact, I could do Big Sur the end of April and then fly to Maine and hike the Trail southbound. Starting it the first of May, northbound wouldn't work as well; it would be too cold getting to New England in November. If we started that late, we'd have to start in Maine and go south. Which is a viable, although less common, option.


So I could do both Big Sur and the Trail in 2008, and then try for a BQ in 2009 and hopefully run it in 2010. That seems so far off! Would I be in a new age group by then? Hmmm, if I wait another year, I could qualify as a 60-year-old, which might be good, too.... the qualifying times get more reachable as the age groups climb.
And I'll be in such good shape by then :-)


Don't ask where I'm getting the money for all this. I got no answer to that.


This Trail idea is adding to my computer time. In addition to Blogland, I now have the Trail Journals. I'm following people who have become my favorites. They refer to each other in their journals. Someone will mention Snow Plow (they all have Trail Names, like Hash Names) and I'll recognize him from someone else's journal, just like blogging.


I have a massage treatment scheduled for Monday for my ailing left leg: From heel to butt, it's tight as a fiddle string, making my runs very achey affairs.


4 more weeks till the Vermont City Marathon. I was going to run 20 miles this weekend and 22 in 2 weeks, but I'm going to wait till sometime next week for 20 and let that be it. I'm too tight and sore to fit them both in. And I'm talking "Ultra" for 2 months after the marathon? And "Speed Training" after that hoping to run a BQ after 2 more months????


~Sigh~ Right now my projected marathon pace is about 4:40, and I need a 4:15 some time this year. Or next. Or not.


If I am picking berries at these vines, I can't be picking berries at those. Does it matter, if my basket is full?

Friday, April 27, 2007


Well, not the computer itself, but the time I spend sitting in front ot it? That time is considerable.

Sitting for so long:
  • Puts pressure on my sit-bones and sacrum and the muscles and nerves around them. When I run, these areas ache and are so tight that over the course of a longer run I'm feeling like I can hardly keep moving my legs.
  • Slows my venous return... my lower legs retain fluid, which is slow to dissipate.
  • Burns hardly any calories; my weight is slowly climbing, which puts a heavier, slower load on my legs.
  • Uses time I could be using for training. Really: Do I do the training, or do I read about it? Do I train, or do I write about it?

And I suspect the computer itself, or rather my absorption with its monitor screen, causes me to space out in some way -- alters my brain waves or something. I get to feeling sleepy and mentally sluggish. And then I don't even want to train.

I have such exciting hopes and goals: qualify for Boston, run an ultra (or more than one); thru-hike the Appalachian trail, a newly-forming plan (based on a lifelong fantasy) that I haven't mentioned here yet, until now.

But I'm not going to get to any of it if I don't get out from in front of the computer.

But the computer is where I get all my information, and my inspiration in the form of my friends and their stories, which are remarkably similar to mine.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


What a riot! Check my right sidebar for today's "Urban Dictionary" word of the day. Then go back to my post from yesterday and look at the bedroom "before" picture. LOL!!

In case you're checking this after the Apr.25 word of the day is replaced, "Floordrobe" means:
"A form of storage for clothing which requires no hangers, drawers, doors or effort. Simply drop the clothes on the floor and you have a floordrobe."

Gotta love it!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


We started the move up to Deep Creek Lake, MD from Winchester, VA, on Tuesday, supposed to be about a 2-hour trip, but had mechanical trouble and spent a night in a ratty roadside motel waiting for a part to arrive so we could finish moving practically next door. Wednesday we finished the trip, set up enough to live through Thursday, left on Friday for Columbus, OH, for a BIG family weekend, which I will post about after I get our mess cleaned up, and during which I did a 13-14-mile run, jumped on the trampoline with the grandkids, and did pushups with our teenage step-grandson; drove home yesterday (Monday), sat our butts down and went, "Whew!" I slept in the truck on the way home, and took a 2-hour nap later in the afternoon/evening, and still slept 9 hours overnight.

Really, I am going to post about our great weekend, complete with pictures (which, According To Ellie, have to be edited and perfected before resizing and publishing...)


But first I have got to clean up this mess.


Total Mess
And after:

Table Mess + My Computer Mess


Sink and Sofa Mess

Bedroom Mess


Each one only took about 20 minutes. Not bad. Now I'm going for a run. 10.5-mile loop.

Monday, April 16, 2007


OK, Bloggers, don't miss Julie's amazing report of her amazing McNaughton 100. Holy smoke. Prepare to be thunderstruck. What an awesome run. What a gripping read.

Way to go, Julie!


Boston is not as severe as expected. Temperature is expected now to reach 50* (although probably not during the race), and the wind is not as strong as feared. It's not pretty.... cool, rainy, breezy. Deena Kastor is pleased -- says it's just what she's accustomed to. So runners of the 111th Boston Marathon may not be up against quite as much meteorological opposition as it appeared they might.

As for Winchester, VA and points immediately north and west.... it doesn't look like a good day at all for hauling a large vehicle. Wind here is averaging 37mph gusting to 47. As one travels west into higher elevation, it's 45 constant, with higher gusts. I checked for forecast for where we're headed -- 51mph base speed expected this afternoon. Our son called, said it's howling, with blowing snow.

I don't think we'll be going today. Don't want to end up like this. Tomorrow should be better.

Tomorrow is my mother's 86th birthday, and I'm looking forward to seeing her, spending the evening with her watching American Idol together in person instead of over the phone. My mother takes notes of each contestant's performance -- what they sang, her impression, the judges' impressions, what the person wore and how they looked, so she can refer back to it on results night.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


After the longest time we have spent in one place since going on the road in June 2004, we are finally moving out tomorrow. The plan is to return to the Deep Creek Lake, MD, area to visit family, then leave the camper there and go out to Columbus, OH, to visit more family; return to Deep Creek, retrieve the camper, and mosey on up to New Hampshire and our summer work-camping gig.

That is, we will be moving out tomorrow if the weather is civil. There's a high wind warning, our camper is rocking now, and it's supposed to be worse tomorrow, from here all the way north and west where the red line is on the map above. Sustained at 35mph, gusting to 60, locally higher, especially in higher elevations (we'll see an elevation gain of about 2000 feet between here and there.) So we may be here another day.

I will miss Winchester. I have found wonderful country roads for running and biking. I have made some friends. I found, just a couple miles along my regular route, a gal about my age who runs with a dog. We ended up not being able to run together because she suffered a detached retina and was sidelined all winter. She's healing now and we actually got out on the road together one day last week. I will miss Sally.

I liked the Shenandoah Valley Running Club and its Winter Series races. That was a lot of fun, and I made my mark after the series was over, setting that age-group course record at the Rotary Club 5K. Blew into town for the winter, then blew out in the spring, who was that mittened woman???

Candy Hill Campground has been fun. Karl and Selena have been great to work with. Back in the fall, during my late Ironman training, Selena asked for a copy of my training schedule, and designed my whole work schedule, and therefore everyone else's as well, around my workouts. I didn't ask her. She asked me. Now, where in the world do you find that kind of concern for what's important to your workers outside of work?

And of course, there's their baby, Thomas, who's 9+ months old now and cute as a bug. Many of my work hours the last couple months have been spent caring for Thomas rather than working at the campground office and store -- couldn't get much more down my alley. I'm still a gal who functions quite naturally with one arm, the other one holding a baby on my hip. It's kind of like riding a bike, you never forget how.

I found a wonderful bike shop, Element Sports, where the mechanic disovered why my bike had never run as fast and smooth as I'd hoped, replaced the rusty (from the factory? apparently...) rear hub assembly, and zoom, my bike glided like I'd always thought it should. All the staff at the bike shop watched my IMFL progress all day on, then printed out my final results and hung it on the store bulletin board for months. Also at the bike shop was a winter course on bike repair and maintenance, 3 sessions for $5 per session, that's FIVE DOLLARS a class. I learned a whole, whole lot.

I'm going to miss all these folks.

But I'm anxious to move on. We retired to travel. We need to do some part-time work to supplement our retirement income, and work-camping is the perfect solution. We work for a campground in exchange for a free campsite plus wages, and the work schedule is usually quite flexible.

I'm itchy to see a new place. I'm looking foward to New Hampshire. We can't wait to hike and backpack in the White Mountains, and kayak on the many local lakes. And I'm expecting to pick off 3 more states in my 50-state marathon quest. One of those "marathons" will be hidden within my first ultra.

I'm excited.


This little widget will change to show temps and wind speed all day. Check in on it! (And go to to follow all the action!)
The WeatherPixie

From NOAA:
Today: Areas of blowing dust after 11am. Partly cloudy, with a high near 78. Breezy, with a southeast wind 15 to 22 mph becoming west southwest. Winds could gust as high as 33 mph.

Looks like our Tri-Bogger athletes could have some challenges out there. May the force go with you!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


The WeatherPixie

Peoria, IL

Julie Berg is running it! See what she's up against as she heads into the long night, daybreak, and day 2. Except she's probably not dressed exactly like this, and I'll bet her hair's a little messed up.....

Keep at it, Julie!

Friday, April 13, 2007


Yay, got it done yesterday.

I figured out why I was anticipating it with anxiety and a bit of dread, worried about my food, and all. It was because the 16-miler I did 2 weeks ago sucked so bad. I wanted to avoid that.

Well, I avoided it, by one unidentified precaution or another, or maybe just by luck of the draw. It wasn't awful. It wasn't great. It was just sort of routine, with a little stiffness and mild pain the last few miles in the various tendons and such that have bothered me all winter. I wasn't even getting all that tired -- just a little stiff and sore. And I thought, when I finished, that of course I was glad not to have another 8.2, but if I'd had them ahead of me, I could have run them.

I also thought -- GACKKK!!!! -- suppose it were another 32 miles ahead? Nope, wouldn't have made that. Not this week. Or next. But I've got till the end of July. That's 15 weeks.

Yeah, I really think I am agoing to head out on this voyage -- the 50-mile option at the Great Cranberry Ultramarathons on July 29. What the hell, why not? I want to see what an ultra is like, and maybe go that route more than once, in my life, and I'm not getting any younger.

Today, I'm tired; my ankle is achey, although I have not had an ankle injury. It's the same foot as my bothersome Achilles, probably related to that, I changed my foot position or something. And I have a sore knee, although I have not had a knee injury. Just something not quite right on the medial side, can't quite put my finger on it but it hurts a little. I am not getting any younger.

But I had great socks, finally.
Balega Enduro's. Soft, smooth, no toe seams, just enough cushioning. They have that fluffy stuff inside, kind of like soft terry cloth, that nearly all socks have and that puts blisters in my arches, for which reason, along with toe seams, I always wear my socks inside out. Well, as I said, these are seamless (hand-locked toe joining) and I threw caution to the wind and wore them with the fluffy side inside and -- no blisters, not even a hot spot. Whether they stay non-blister-inducing after multiple wearings and washings remains to be seen, but my feet, despite their aches, had happy skin!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Carb-and-protein snack before bed the night before an 18-miler: homemade plain yogurt, strawberries and graham crackers. With sugar in the yogurt.

I'm nervous about tomorrow's run. Why would I be nervous about an 18-mile training run? It's not race day. But I'm wishing I'd had spaghetti instead of a hamburger for supper. Small hamburger on a whole-wheat small bagel, a cup of canned corn (carb vegetable), and half a banana mashed and spread on graham crackers for dessert. And now the above-described bedtime snack.

I should be OK. I haven't eaten anything special before training runs or even marathons for ages, or, for that matter, even the Ironman. Just whatever's on hand or whatever is set before me. It always works out.

Hey, this is just a training run...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


.... the day I was so angry and yelling at everyone and cut my run short. And I want to thank everyone for being so supportive and nice to me.

I have to be so careful of overtraining. It seems I never learn. I'll get to feeling good and think I can run every day or do two consecutive days of longer runs because I'm such a tough chick and -- WHAMMO! I'm down.

Over the course of 22 years of running marathons, the last 2 years of that including Ironman training, I still don't seem to learn it. I read some new training program that sounds good and off I go.

Well, after that crappy day I rested 3 days and took naps and went to bed early. My mood got better on a day or so of that. When I ran again (day before yesterday) I figured on 6 easy, without a stopwatch. I felt great and floated over the ground for 8 miles.

Yesterday was a rest day; today I'm meeting a friend for about a 4-miler, easy. Rest tomorrow, then 18 on Thursday, then REST the day after, no "I'm training for an ultra, I better do 10 miles on top of my 18." My ultra is 50 miles.... it's not going to require two consecutive days of running. I'm keeping my long runs to one day.

And if I try to run on consecutive days, someone kick me.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Ever have a day when you just feel angry all day long? And everything that happens just hits you wrong and sets you off? And the whole world seems to be conspiring to add to it, so that by the time you get off work and start your run you're not just angry at the world but through-and-through riddled with rage? And you can't even put your finger on what's wrong, just everything seems to be working against you?


I was going to run 10 miles and it may sound like that's just what I needed, but as soon as I started out I realized it wasn't going to happen. I felt too crappy inside and out. After the first mile of running I switched to 3/2 run/walk intervals, and instead of going to the 5-mile point, turned around at the 2.5-mile mark, and walked home. Running, I kept screaming at passing cars, "Leave me alone! F*** you! Get off the GD road! Go to h***!" Walking, I felt more tolerant and didn't mind cars sharing the same pavement.


In the evening, my computer keyboard quit. Just quit. No keys work. I rebooted, then shut down and restarted, thinking maybe I'd hit something stupid like the "disable keyboard" key no doubt custom-built into my computer as part of the conspiracy. Or that every computer has that, as part of the conpiracy, no one told me about. Now my husband and I will have to manage sharing one computer. How will we survive?


I realized I was feeling sick all over, with a stomachache and pains in my arms and legs. I took some naproxen and some Xanax and went to bed. Slept 10 hours and felt a whole lot better this morning.




I wonder what that was all about???

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

SCORE ! ! !

Gosh, I ran 10 miles, got blisters, and went to the running store to buy better socks. I got great socks. Then I looked around, looked at their book corner, and.... they were giving away FREE back issues of Marathon and Beyond! FREE!

It's an omen.

Today I did my first ultra-training run, and to find these mags for free when I went to buy better sox -- well, it seems too fortuitous to be real.

It was an "ultra-training" run because for the whole 10 miles I used the 8:2 run:walk cycle I think I'll try; because whenever the grass or gravel on the side of the road looked remotely hospitable, I ran on that instead of the pavement to start getting used to dirt; and because tomorrow I plan to follow it with another 10 miles, this one a marathon-training run as well, since I plan to run a little peppier and walk a little less, but also an ultra-training run as I'll be running already a little tired from the day before. I have never attempted such a thing before, two 10-mile runs on consecutive days, so it'll be interesting to see how it goes.

I've been thinking of subscribing to M & B and wishing I could lay my hands on one somewhere to see how I like it.

Sheesh, I can't believe all those magazines were free. I paged through them all and took the ones with articles I'm interested in -- 9 issues in all. WHOO!!!

Stats: 10-mile run/walk 8/2, plus stops for Journey to drink and swim (it was 84*F), time 1:51:46. So we'll see how tomorrow goes...