Monday, December 29, 2008

18 weeks to marathon day.

What? Marathon? The Happy Runner? Huh?!?

That's right, folks! I'm running a marathon. No, not now. It's in 18 weeks. Ha!

Readers of this blog may recall that for a while I've said I plan to run another marathon in 2010. For several reasons, I felt that a 2009 marathon was out of the question. But, best laid schemes o' mice an' men and all that and, well, here I am with an open schedule. Perfect for a spring marathon.

My sights are set on the New Jersey Marathon on May 3rd. That's 18 weeks away, which should give me plenty of time to pick up the pace and train wisely and well. And I hope I do because I would like to post a good time. I ran my first -- and only -- marathon in 4 hours and 12 minutes. I would love to break 4 hours for this marathon. I put several of my recent race times into the McMillan Running Calculator and based on the results, I think sub-4 is doable for me (the calculator says I should be able to run 3:47 but -- ha, ha, ha -- I think the calculator has me confused with someone faster and younger!).

So, there you have it. My big plans! I hope to run a few other races this spring, including the Running of the Green (Island) 4-miler on March 7th and the Freihofer's Run for Women on May 30th. Other than that, I'm going to take it as it comes and not try to plan too much. Training for a marathon will be a lot for me. I know I have the drive and dedication to train, I just hope my creaky body and young toddler cooperate!

Anyone else planning to run the NJ Marathon? Let me know!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


A lot on my to-do list today:

  1. Last minute shopping . . . check!
  2. Wrap gifts . . . check!
  3. Consume multiple (bite size) Heath bars while scrambling to meet a deadline as screaming, teething toddler refuses to play independently . . . check!
  4. Consider crying when toddler drops and breaks some fine china but decide that, since you are on the phone with a client, that would be utterly unprofessional . . . check!
  5. Drink twice the normal amount of coffee because being over-sugared just isn't enough . . . check!
  6. Go online and realize that there are many crazy people out there . . . check!
  7. Fear that you are probably one of them . . . check!
  8. Decide that #7 (above) is not necessarily true but simply a result of being off-the-wall due to #5 (above) . . . check!
  9. Shake head and note that the repetitive use of (above) in to-do list more than likely confirms that #7 (above) is indeed true, regardless of feeble attempt in #8 (above) to justify actions . . . check!
  10. Make dinner that toddler, described in #3 (above), refuses to eat . . . check!
  11. Determine that a big dish of Peanut Butter Pandemonium premium (i.e., full-on full-fat) ice cream is the answer to whatever the question was . . . check!
Yup, I checked it all off my list! I'm really getting things done around here.

And, if you were wondering, the PBP was the right answer. As ice cream often is.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy winter!

So here I am in upstate New York on the shortest day of the year. Also the snowiest. Or what I hope will be proven to have been the snowiest because I doubt I can handle any days snowier than today.

That's not really fair; it was really the snowiest weekend. The snow in question actually started on Friday around noon and continued more or less non-stop (maybe it stopped while I was sleeping but how can I know for sure?) until this evening. I felt like I was living in a snow globe that some monster person was continuously shaking to keep the snow from ever settling. Really. This snow was out of hand. Out of hand enough to make me think of monster people, in fact.

Anyway, out of hand snow aside, I have such a great feeling today. It's the shortest day of the year! That means every day from today until that far off day in June will get progressively longer. Sure, we're buried in a foot of snow but the days are getting longer!

It's the simple things around here, the simple things.

Happy winter!

Friday, December 19, 2008

TGIF Photo Friday!

I finally got around to participating in Photo Friday over at Adventure Seeker.

I could have taken a photo of the snow that is falling so quickly all around. But it's just such a gray, blah snowy day. So, instead of snow, I bring you a photo of my little guy.

Enjoy, stay warm and be careful out there on the roads.

I want YOU to have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2008 in 52*.

It was the year of the wiser runner.

I made running a priority: Ran longer, ran consistently, achieved some goals.

I started this blog, connected with super RBFs, learned from other runners.

I struggled with some injuries, but patiently let them heal.

I cross-trained, I stretched.

I ran happy.

Bring on 2009!

*The theme of this week's Take it and Run Thursday is A year in review in 52 words or less. I've summed up my year in exactly 52.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Well, hey!

So, it's been one of those days. But! As I was wallowing in my wallow-worthy whateverness, I remembered that I received an award last week and I haven't yet shared the news.

Yes. Diana, of Diana's Body Journey, gave me this award:

Thank you, Diana! Not sure I'm all that fab but, you know, I did have a thing for Eddy and Pats back in the day.

Now, as part of the award I'm supposed to list five of my fabulous addictions. Luckily, and unlike the aforementioned Eddy and Pats, my addictions aren't all high-end fashion and ciggies and booze. I'm a bit tamer than that. So, here they are, my fab 5 addictions:

1. Running (really?)
2. Jellybeans (not even kidding)
3. Magazines (I wish I could quit them, I do!)
4. The Office (and random HGTV shows that I get sucked into)
5. Hanging out with my two guys, Owen & Conal (yup, I do it all the time)

Tame, I know.

Anyway, remembering the award and writing my addictions totally cheered me up. Thanks for reading! Some days, that really makes all the difference.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Running nowhere.

I hit the treadmill yesterday and today. Just running along in my basement. The scenery is marvelous.

Or not.

It doesn't matter. It just feels good to run. My schedule and situation (and, honestly, wimpiness about the cold) is such that I need the treadmill in order to run during these winter days. Although, huh, today was in the 50s and I still didn't run outside. I did take my toddler for a nice long walk, though!

So, yeah, I'm glad I have the treadmill. I'm feeling pretty good, especially since my toe hasn't hurt much during my last two runs. My self-prescribed regime seems to be working well . . . so far. (If I was a superstitious person, I'd be knocking on wood right now.) I do still have twinges of pain but it is not nearly as bad as last week. I give a lot of credit to Yoga Toes. If you've never stretched your toes, I highly recommend doing so -- it's a real treat.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


It's ice everywhere. That and downed trees causing power outages all around.

It's pretty, though:

And my little guy enjoys playing in the icy, sunny great outdoors:

No pics of him actually outside. But he was on his way, take my word for it. And, yes, that is his mitten falling to the floor. He can't keep them on. I've given up.

I feel extremely lucky that we didn't lose power at all. Many people lost power late Thursday night or early Friday morning and are still out. My parents were told their power won't be back on until Wednesday. No fun.

Since we haven't lost power, I was able to workout with Jillian Michaels and shred it up. Yep, still shredding. I also got in 5 miles last night and my foot felt relatively OK. I followed up with the toe exercises that I prescribed for myself after surfing many bunion and foot related web sites. Today, my toe feels naggingly painful now and then but nothing terrible. In other words, status quo.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Birthday sack races.

I was going through some old pictures when I came across one from my 8th or 9th birthday. I think we had a different definition of fun back then:

Yes, those are actual burlap sacks.

Do people still do this? Do they do things like step into sacks and then race across the driveway?

It was a different time, for sure. But, man, we were into it. I mean, look at those girls in the back, jumping up and down and cheering away. They're not even in sacks! This was fun stuff. Sure, it was an inefficient way to race, but that was the point. You were hampered by the sack. And yet you still tried to win.

Today, I am hampered by my toe. I'm not entirely sure it is a bunion because my toe does not angle in toward the others at all; it lies straight. I don't have a bump on the outside of the joint nor is the pain there; the pain is on the top and my up and down mobility is limited. Bunion or not, it gave me more pain on yesterday's run so I'm completely off today.

Hampered though I may be, I'm going to keep on trying to win (in a manner of speaking. I'm not entered in any races right now and even if I was I know it's unlikely I would come in first. So winning, it seems, means running. Just being able to run. Heavy, no? No? OK, you're probably right.). I'll rest the toe, wear my Birkenstocks and perform the toe exercises that I found online.

I may even bring back the sack races. In the spring, perhaps. Not now. I think this icy weather would make the game a little too dangerous.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Le Ab Rocket est arrivé!

Maybe I'm just in the mood for some Beaujolais Nouveau because, really, the Ab Rocket doesn't seem all that French. But somehow that's all I could think of since Mr. UPS stopped by my house: Le Ab Rocket est arrivé!

It's on repeat in my head and if there was anyone to talk to around here, I'd be saying it -- or maybe even singing it, which would be horrible since I can't hold a tune -- over and over. Le Ab Rocket est arrivé! Le Ab Rocket est arrivé!

Now that it has arrived, I kinda want to check it out. Just sneak in a few sit ups. Do you do sit ups with the thing? Or are they crunches? Or something else -- maybe rocket ups? Ab blasters? Dunno. I think I'll leave it be and allow my mom to use it first since it is her gift, after all.

I plan to ask her for a full review, however, which I will post here. So stay tuned!

On a more serious note -- yes, there is something more serious than the Ab Rocket -- I had a crap run last night. Crap because of my crap bunion. I'm bummed. Things have been going so well since my silly ankle injury and now my bunion is acting up. I feel elderly.

It's my fault and I shouldn't be surprised because I did wear high heels to my party on Monday and they always aggravate my bunion (right foot, big toe). But I didn't expect to be quite so sore during my run yesterday. I found that the pain wasn't as bad when I sped up, so I kept my pace fairly quick and was able to go for a few miles. Once I slowed down, though, I was in serious pain. And walking afterward was really tough. Today, I'm more or less pain-free so I hope to be able to run again this evening. Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Really rocking now!

Thanks for the advice. I went for it and bought the Ab Rocket. The thing is, my mom wants it, she specifically asked for it and that should be good enough. I double-checked with her, to make sure she wasn't kidding at all. And, no. It's what she wants. So, it's done: I ordered it online, picked up some free shipping, and should have it by the end of the week. Mom should have abs of steel by the summer.

Speaking of summer, when does it start? Oh, right. Not for many, many months. Until then, we deal with the flippin' cold. As I write, my thermometer reads 17 degrees. It was 8 -- single digit! -- degrees when I left the house this morning at 7:30. Brrr . . .

Needless to say, I won't be running outside anytime soon. I did, however, get in a moderately paced 4.75 miles on the treadmill yesterday. Today, I'm off. Conal had a check up today and I have a holiday party this evening so no running for me.

No running today, but I am feeling a little envious of all of the marathoners. I keep reading these race reports and I am so tempted to run another one right now! I wish I could fit in a marathon in 2009. But, it's on my list for 2010, so I'll be satisfied with that. Ah . . . well. Congratulations to all of you who ran this weekend. There were some terrific times posted!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rocket mom.

So my mother would like an Ab Rocket Abdominal Trainerfor Christmas. She saw an infomercial for it and looked good to her and that's what she's asked for.

The problem: I don't go for infomercials. Nor do I go for ab trainers and the like. But, it's the one thing that she has explicitly said that she wants.

What do I do?

I checked out the thing on Amazon and it has received decent reviews. Have any of you tried it? Do you know anyone who has? What do you -- or they -- think of it? What do you think of these ab training devices anyway?

I'm in a quandary!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday mishmash.

Is anyone else having problems with the blogs they're following? I access mine through my Google Reader and this morning about a dozen posts showed up as new, but they were all from earlier in the week (mostly Thursday and Friday). Very odd. Maybe it's me? I don't know -- the new layout seemed to make sense but maybe I missed something. Or maybe there was just a technical glitch and I should just accept it and move on.

Probably a good idea: Move on. So. I'm going to try to catch up on my reading today. I should be able to because I finished a big project yesterday (phew!) and I have little on the agenda today other than a run, laundry and then dinner at my parents' house to celebrate my dad's birthday tonight.

Oh! I was motivated last night and I ran quarter mile repeats at 5k pace and then I did a few at 30 seconds faster than 5k pace. My legs feel a little tired today, but not bad at all.

And one last thing. Ever since I linked to Supertramp on Thursday, that song was stuck in my head. I swear -- it was starting to drive me mad and I had no one to blame but myself. I woke up with it in my head again this morning! And then I turned on the radio, listened for a while, and this song took over:

My hope is that posting it will set it free. After all, what song wants to be stuck in my head, of all heads?

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A thought to take you into the weekend.

I picked up the November issue of Runners World from the library the other day (I'm always way behind, it's really just the story of my life.) and Ho! Ho! Ho! what a jam-packed issue. There's the whole green section, some tasty sounding recipes, the Newbie Chronicles (which I'm really enjoying) and one simple sentence about running that practically jumped off the page. I've been thinking about it ever since I read it. Well, since I read it and re-read it and re-read it again.

"If movement is a sign of life and stillness is death, running is an example of life most fully lived. It's beautiful." -- British artist, Martin Creed*.
Right on, Marty!

I think that's true. I think running really is "an example of life most full lived." After all, when you run you are doing something -- you aren't watching life pass by, you are being active. You are living. Your entire body is engaged when you run, including your mind.

I could go on but you've heard me praising running enough lately. What do you think?

Have a great weekend, everyone. I hope you have plenty of opportunity to fully live.

Oh! And to those of you who are running this weekend, I wish you ideal conditions, fresh legs and a strong will.

*Creed's exhibit at the Tate museum in London features sprinters running in a gallery for eight hours a day. Pretty cool, huh?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dreamer, you're nothing but a dreamer.

Yes, now I will have that song in my head all day, too. You're welcome.

Dreamer. I am one. And thanks to the theme at Runners' Lounge Take it and Run Thursday today, I will unveil some of my running dreams. You already know I like to daydream while I run and I have to admit that many of those dreams involve running. Running while daydreaming about running . . . almost as geeky as doing long division.

My running dreams are not lofty: I don't think I'll be competing in London in 2012 or heading to Kona any time soon. But they are my dreams. I sometimes picture myself with all the free time in the world, training for a big marathon that I will finish in a time that gets me in to Boston. With minutes to spare. And then running Boston and finishing in an even better time. (That would be huge for me. I ran my first and only marathon in 4:12.) Or I'll imagine myself completing a triathlon. (Again, huge for me. I neither swim nor bike.) Some days, when I'm feeling particularly dreamy, I'll see a fitter (and, as it would happen, older) me running across the finish line of 5ks, 10ks, marathons setting PR after PR.

OK, I guess those dreams are pretty lofty. But I have a few others that are a bit more realistic, too.

So here they are, my running dreams:

  • Running, injury-free, well into my healthy 80s (or, if I am lucky, 90s).
  • Inspiring my son to enjoy running as much as I do.
  • Emerging as an awesome masters runner (when the time comes).
  • Running a marathon in under 4 hours.
  • Coaching a running group for women who've been released from incarceration and are living in transition.
  • Running a 5K in under 23 minutes.
  • Continuing to fall in love with running, year after year.
Those are my dreams. Some may soon become goals. And then, I hope, reality.

Happy dreaming, everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The recap.

Yes, it is true. I attended my high school reunion over the weekend. I hinted at it in my last post and some of you have asked how it was. Well. Let me rewind and I'll get to that.

First, Thanksgiving. We headed to Long Island at 5pm on Wednesday. Worried about the potential traffic -- there is always traffic in the New York metropolitan area -- Owen checked all routes and determined that we would be best served by taking the Taconic Parkway, since I-87 was already backed up. Lo! He is a smart guy. We didn't have any traffic at all the entire trip. Lucky us!

On Thursday, I ventured out for a 4.5 mile run around the neighborhood in shorts. Sure, it was windy and my legs turned all red and blotchy but I am tough. Ha! So, the run was good and dinner that evening was yummy. I followed up on Friday with a 4 mile run, again in shorts, again ending up with red, blotchy legs.

We had a big family party to go to Friday evening (and I mean big -- Owen has 9 siblings and a few dozen first cousins), where we caught up with some extended family members. Lots of eating and chatting. Conal, however, spent the evening playing in the gym and generally having a great time. If you are interested in pictures, you can check them out here.

We left Long Island late Friday night and sailed home, making it back in less than 3 hours. Lucky us, again!

And that brings me to Saturday. The reunion. It was a significant one and for the longest time, I wasn't sure if I was going to go. I didn't go to the last one because, well, I was so over that whole high school thing. And I felt that way this time, too. Until I didn't. Until I decided I might like to see some of those people who were with me through the teen years. Plus, I had reconnected with a few people on Facebook. I know! Facebook! Sheesh.

So, I went. I had fun. Really! No kidding. I hung around with my former classmates and friends and we looked at old pictures -- Big hair! Big sweaters! Big socks! -- and recounted embarrassing stories. We laughed a lot. And I stayed out late, as in after midnight. You read that right, Internet. I didn't get home until 12:30. Crazy stuff for this happy runner!

All of that meant that, yes, I was in rough shape on Sunday and did little more than nap and go for my run. But it was worth it.

That was the weekend. I had a short run yesterday and I'm not sure what today will bring: I have a meeting with a potential new client so I'm a little nervous and preoccupied with that. Hmm . . . sounds like a run would do me well right about now. We'll see!

Enjoy the day!

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