Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Do You Run? - Quite The Loaded Question!

I run with the Lung Cancer Alliances’s Team Lung Love. We have a page on Facebook where the question “Why do you run?” was posed. A few fellow runners posted their stories and one said, “Beth, tell your story.” So I did. Unbeknownst to me my FB friends could actually see this post and one commented she couldn’t like my post but wanted me to know she appreciated my authenticity and admired the power I had chosen to have in my life.

That got me to thinking. Generally I’m a pretty introverted person, I know how weird for someone like that to have a blog and a FB page. Sometimes I have something I need to say out loud and these are perfect vehicles. I still feel like I am under a bit on anonymity because no one is seeing me say what I want to say. I know, I know it is sort of weird. Then again I like to write so maybe that is a characteristic of a writer or a story teller?

I will share with you my post:

Why do you run? This is why I run.

In August of 2007 my mother called, it was a Thursday. She never calls, unless it is bad news. She announced she had Cancer, Lung Cancer. I honestly cannot say the news of Cancer surprised me. This is what happens to the women in my family. They get Cancer, then they die.

My mom's mom passed away from Breast Cancer in July 1976, she was 57 years old. She was 4 years diagnosis to death. (all but one of her 7 sisters has passed from Cancer)

My dad's mom passed away from Ovarian Cancer in November 1987, she was 69. She was 3 years from diagnosis to death. Her mother died from Ovarian Cancer April 1935, she was 46.

Cancer has been in my life since I was 6 when my mom's mom was first diagnosed. It has been an unfortunate fact of life.

It was that “die from Cancer” that got me. My mom was going to die.

I started running in January of 2010, I was 42, fat, out of shape, and had been informed 3 months earlier I was on a lay off wave. The positive was my mother was still alive, and had progressed wonderfully through chemo therapy and radiation, in fact the tumor had stopped any activity. So then, why was I slowly killing myself?

I didn't take immediately to running, Couch to 5K in 2010, led to 1 5k and 1 3.6 mile trail race. My time was abysmal in both. In the spring of 2011, my father forwarded me an eMail. Lung Cancer Alliance Team Lung Love, an endurance team running ½ and full marathons to raise funds and awareness for Lung Cancer. Well, I could get behind this. How long was a half marathon 13.1 miles? I could run three why on earth couldn't I run / walk 13.1. I signed up, for the Cox Providence Rhode Race to be run May of 2011.  I haphazardly trained and crossed the finish line, in pain, hungry, and exhausted, 3 hours and 17 minutes after I started.

I vowed to actually run that damn thing next year (2012). I wasn't going to be conquered by a half marathon, my mom wasn't conquered by Lung Cancer, damn it.

So why do I run? I run for my mom, for Lung Cancer, and for those who can’t. I run because I can, because half way through training for the 2nd ½ marathon I fell in love with running and signed up to run with Team Lung Love in the Marine Corps Marathon in October of 2012, and will be running MCM again in 2013.

And as I am typing and editing this my mother (now over 5 year Lung Cancer survivor) called to let me know my cousin gave birth to her son and nearly died during childbirth. The nurse reported that she has seen cases of hemorrhaging much less severe take the mother's life.

And from this my take away is, my mother's generation and my generation are going to beat all the odds. I'll run and my cousin will be the best damn mother on the planet (well besides my own).

And that dear reader, is why I run.

Why do you run?

Beth, running since 2010!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Saturday's "Tough A Nails" Colchester 1/2 Marathon was, in a word, brutal.  From the weather to the course to the beating my body took. On the upside, I freaking did it and the course was, besides freaking hilly, gorgeous.  The race director was out in various spots running down the hills to run up the hills with us.  I have no idea where this man gets his energy from.  Amazing.

I had the privilege to run with him twice.  The first time we chatted and I mentioned I loved his race description however I had not seen any cows yet.  He assured me that the second half there would be cows.   The second time I saw him there was 0.3 left in the race and I said, "I"m coming I'm coming as I hobbled/ran."  He laughed and said, "Just another 0.3, oh yeah and it is all up hill."  I smiled and he said "You're smiling through the pain, that is a good thing."

Let me get some order to this before it becomes a disorganized brain dump.

The race started at 10, in a town about 45 minutes away from where I live, so I hit the road by 8:30 giving me enough time to be sufficiently awake and biologically balanced.  The start was at a school called "Bacon Academy"  Unfortunately it was not an academy dedicated to the study of bacon, instead it is a school started by a donation from Pierpont Bacon in the early 1800's.  I'll spare you the Cliff Clavin monologue.

Checking the weather it was expected to be cloudy, mid 30's, slightly windy, and 30% chance of rain.  It misted pretty much the entire drive over and the bigger mist, what I'd refer to as spitting held off until after I was off the course.  Talking with a running buddy after the race he did confirm that it felt like it got progressively colder during the race.  I thought it had.  The weather history isn't confirming anything other than the wind speed increasing, and being sweaty and tired that would make it feel colder!

Handy dandy weather thing from the Garmin!

I was really not feeling this run, my 3 miler mid day on Friday was pleasant, I felt good and was looking forward to Saturday's challenge albeit a little apprehensive about the distance, hills are hills, you just get over them (famous last words).  As I ran I figured a good yoga session would help relax and went to Friday night Yoga, new instructor, different sort of class, complete violation of the nothing new rule.

Cutting to the chase:  out of 501 finishers I came in 489 and 157 out of 164 for my age group.  Chip time of 2:40 12:15 pace.  Yes you read that right.  The hills did a number on my back, specifically my SI Joint and I ran walked the last three miles.

Pace / Elevation at about mile 10 after that long down hill it started falling apart...  

Some fun facts about the Cochester 1/2  Marathon besides 2013 being the 21st running!

2013 Colchester Half Marathon Fun Facts:
  • 10:00 a.m. sharp start time – Saturday February 23, 2013 (always the last Saturday in February)
  • USATF Certified course (CT112001JHP) certified 13.10938 hilly miles
  • Volunteers on every corner
  • No t-shirts
  • Lots of hills
  • No Awards
  • Pre-race & post race massages
  • Bacon Academy cafeteria post race hearty carbo re-load party, open to runners, volunteers, and their guests
  • Mile marks painted on the road
  • Some dirt roads
  • Bacon Academy High School for a warm & sheltered area to register, pick up your race bib, stretch, and to shower after the race
  • Cows & donkeys too
  • Professional timing and results
  • Rural scenery
  • Three Gatorade & water stations out on the course
  • More hills
  • Camaraderie, tales of woe, and a great bunch of runners
  • An Awesome bunch of volunteers
  • A loud and encouraging race director
  • Sweep car - just in case someone needs a ride back, (f you do hitch a ride you’ll be the last one back!
  • The run has a total ascent of 351.05 ft and has a maximum elevation of 620.08 ft. 
Will I do it again?  Hell yes!  Just need to work on strengthening my back although I wonder what hand the  vigorous yoga played in my demise....  It was brutal, it was also fun.  Next time hubb and I go out to Colchester I will drive him around the course, I'm kind of glad I didn't drive the course or study the elevation profile prior to the race.

Some of my favorite things about this race:

The volunteers at the bottom of a big hill, as I was coming down one hill just after mile 10 the volunteers at the bottom were directing me to turn right and the woman yelled:  "You are making this look like too much fun, stop smiling."  That made me laugh.  I do love to run and that helped remind me of this bizarre passion I have. 

Another set of volunteers had a big blow up monkey and was blowing a vuvuzela from a distance it looked rather strange and I welcomed the comic relief.

The cows.  They just stood there looking at me, like, I was crazy, I giggled and greeted them good day.  What else could I do?

Fellow runners, nearing the end I was getting passed, about 6 people passed me, one noted I had cute socks.  They had cupcakes on them.  I wonder if this is why I was craving a donut through most of the race?  Never fear there was a Dunkin' Donuts on the way home.  This is New England you can't swing a dead mouse without finding a DD.  (I had a brownie batter filled donut, it was yummy)

The volunteer that said, it is just a nice walk in the country.

Yep it is beautiful!
Beth, who's back is not happy, but overall she is glad she didn't wave down the sweep van.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

The best way to wrap up the headphones!

No more tangled mess in my gym bag.  HOWEVER can't stand this particular style if I'm not wearing a beanie or stocking cap, they just don't stay in my ears!

Beth, ran 3.5 miles in the glorious sunshine and 30F weather!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I have a pretty flexible work schedule.  For this I am thankful.  Hubb and I signed the papers to refinance the homestead this a.m.  My hand is tired from signing my current name AND my FKA (Formerly Known As)  name and printing both.  It is done and unless someone pays us to refinance we will probably not be refinancing and I can forgo filing a Quit Claim Deed to get my current name on the Deed of the house.  When I put Hubb on the house (after he became Hubb) how I managed to not get my new name is beyond me...    Anyhow, because work is what I do not where I go and my boss trusts me I can take and hour to deal with this paperwork and get to work and just do what needs to be done.  

Some days what needs to be done is a run during work hours.  I never wanted to join the gym at work and exercise or shower with people I worked with.  Who wants to see that?  UGH...  I joined for a while and basically donated a years worth of dues to the cause.  

When I started running seriously, I'd get up at 5 a.m. and run or run after work.  I usually fit in a run either before or after work.

Last fall a co-worker convinced me to join the gym at work so I could run on the treadmill in the cold weather, instead of getting up at 5, freezing, or risk my life running in the dark. I could run outside in daylight when it was warmer in the colder months. It would help my speed he promised.. I acquiesced, joined the gym, and ran on the treadmill exactly twice, it sucked.  I joined a class, not my thing.  

Well I did like running outside, in the daylight, and when it was warmer than it was at 5 a.m..  I found my best time to run is 10:30 - 12 (Noon).  I was sufficiently awake, caught up on work, and really ready for a break.  I can fit in any where between a 3 and 6 mile run in the 90 minutes I've allocated myself 4 days a week and bring my lunch to my desk and eat and see what happened in the 90 minutes I was improving my mood.

My co-workers and clients are mostly Manhattan based, they seem to arrive at work around 10 a.m. and work a bit later.  I can catch up on what happened the night before, take a little break and spend the afternoon in meetings.  

I like running during work really helps me.  My day is broken into chunks and I manage my work better when I know I have a certain amount of time to accomplish something.  Read: I am a procrastinator!  Also my co-workers can tell a difference pre-run versus post-run.  If I’m having a bad day one of my desk mates will whisper “run run run run” this prompt me to smirk, grab my gym bag and head out. 

Truly, I know how lucky I am to have a gym and shower facilities and a place to run during work.  Many people remark, well if you didn’t run during work would you run at all, it take so much time and I just don’t have time?  Hell yes, I’d be out there at 5 a.m. like I used to be.  Running is a priority in my life and I am extremely grateful I can balance it all out and run in the day light in the colder months! 

Do you or can you RUNch?

Beth, RUNching on a regular basis

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Raceday Runday

It was so much easier to blog after every run while training for Marine Corps Marathon because every run was a new experience, a new distance, or a new route. Kind of like running itself sort of lost its oomph after MCM.  A girlfriend warned me that it would never be the same, it would never be as grand and that is why some people stop running after that first marathon.  I can totally identify with that.  So if you dear reader are one of those people I get it, I really do.

When I first started running seriously I read anything about training I could get my hands on.  It wasn't until I stumbled across  "Chasing the Runner's High" by  Ray Chaebonneau that I found out about books about running written by runners.  This book took me to a new place.  Now, I totally get that chase for the runner's high.  I had highs through out my training, each time I conquered a new distance or a new PR in a race, they were amazing.  I had such a strong buzz from MCM I was high for months afterwards, feeling rather invincible; and to be truthful a little full of myself.  One of my ex-boyfriends and I keep in touch and he asked what it was like and I said "Honestly, better than the best sex I've ever had."  he snickered and said, "Probably not something you should share with your husband."  Pretty muchly...

So here I sit, in this nice sunny room after running probably 1.5 miles on a trail in 2' of snow.  (I'll check the Garmin later)  Feeling good, every run since Wednesdays has given me more and more of that runner's high, and that passion for the run. Feeling like I actually want to blog about running.

The race:

Those first few steps into the woods on the trail were breathtaking.  There was a collective gasp as about 40 runners entered the woods.

Today was race #4 of 5 for the Off Rhode Racing 4th Season Race Series.  The race was billed as Brrrrlingame 5 or 10 mile trail race.  With the snow (thank you Nemo, who names a blizzard Nemo?) the original course was not going to be reachable so the race director plotted out a total course of just under 5 miles.  There would be three options:  1) short 2) long 3) insane.  One of the gals I met at the last race was at this race and we lined up at the back of the pack of no more than 40 runners and decided, short course for sure, if it doesn't seem as bad as the RD is making it out to be then the long course.  Definitely no go on the insane option, the RD said he only ran that twice and it was really more appropriation for snow shoes...

There were 5 of us on the short course, I came in 2nd (I think).  After the race the last four gals off the course, me and three others, were talking to the RD he recommended we at least check out the first part of the long course it is really beautiful, up on a ridge.

After hiking part of the long trail I hiked back to the main camp road and took a run on the snow covered, yet plowed asphalt.  Love the YakTrax, definitely noticed a difference and felt much more sure on my feet in the slippery snow.  Did another 5K on that and as I neared the group I could feel the nice burn in my thighs and pop pop pop of the endorphin's in my head and blood.

I did start this blog post as I meant to go on.  Tying this up with a nice little bow, it is nice to have something to blog about and pictures to share and to be reunited with my friend the runner's high.

Beth hoping someone is still tuning in!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday -

Seeing as I missed Monday and Tuesday wordless Wednesday would be a bit of a, what is the word, weaselly way out of a post, yes?

Monday was TRX (no run), I do love that program and spending an hour with the girls.  Plank rolls are still tough for me, interestingly the planks balancing on my left are easier than on my right, I'm right handed so that seems off to me.  Thoughts?

Tuesday was a mid morning run.  It was lightly snowing, it felt like I was running in a snow globe, sans the water.  Actually really refreshing and I finally started feeling like I was running smoothly.  Sunday's trail run was a choppy mess, I just wasn't feeling the run, I was enjoying being outside and in the woods and it was only 7.5 miles, so suck it up butter cup and keep moving forward!! Anyhoodles I started feeling the love this run about 2 miles in.  The difference may have been I turned LEFT, yes LEFT out of the gate. Arriving back at the gate 4.5 miles and 47 minutes later I wanted to run more, I didn't, there wasn't time.

Today was an after lunch run.  Of course I couldn't pass up the egg salad and chips for lunch.  I am soooo fortunate to have an iron gut.  I got out of the gate and remembered LEFT and went LEFT and thankful I did the wind was NW and right off the water and so nice to have that at my back up the hill and then around the lower loop by the water and the upper loop through UConn's Avery Point Campus.  The last mile of my 5.1 52 minute run was all down hill and I felt like a million buck.  From the beginning I was feeling the love this run. At about mile 3 I was starting to feel the runner's high and it was wonderful.  I haven't felt anything but a glimmer of it since Marine Corps Marathon in October.  This happen to anyone else?

My pace still isn't where I want it, but I think getting that feeling back is more important and more conducive to getting faster.  Plus it is cold and my butt and thighs never seem to warm up.  Any suggestions?  Other than running inside?

Reviewing my Garmin downloads I just noticed the weather is included.  Either I've missed this for a while or it is new.  Huh...


Tue (2/5) Weather - It was snowing!!!

Tue (2/5) Summary

Wed (2/6) Weather - but I remember it as sunny, huh...

Wed (2/6) Summary

Beth who is feeling the love from the run, finally!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

You Look Like and Oompa Loompa

I got ready for my trail run this morning bummed that we didn't get the 1" of snow we were scheduled for over night.  I really want to try out the YakTrax...  I checked the weather, no wind, 23F (feels like 23F), and snow starting around 1, awesomeness, I can deal with that.  I'd love a little sun but if we have sun we won't have snow.

I got myself all put together, three layers the middle one being this hooded tech shirt I bought on sale last summer.  Hey it will get cold again as I looked at the pink hooded shirt (with a pony tail opening) at 75% off.  The outer one being my Run4Life hunters orange shirt, hey I'm going to be in the woods and there is hunting allowed.  Someone might mistake my curly red ponytail for a squirrel tail at a distance.  Oh never mind that squirrels don't wear pink, let alone clothes...

As I walked into the front room hubb said "You look like an Oompa Loompa."  Not quite sure how to take this because last night I offended him by telling him his new boots resembled Frankenstein boots.  They were big black and bulky.

Minus the fuzzy balls on the shoes and all white.  Yes, yes I did look like and Oompa Loompa

See, kinda Frankensteinish?

So anyhow, let's get past the fashion show and tell and on to this so called run.  It was a slog.

Really Beth? Really?

There was some walking; there wasn't any belittling myself, just saying, there is no such thing as junk miles enjoy the scenery.  Hey look some green moss and wow, the ferns are starting early.  Wait, who is that? My favorite running partner, my shadow!  She kept me going either having me chase her or pushing me along.  I enjoy running with her.  There were several other people I took along on my journey:

Sage.  I know she would have been stopping to investigate any place that looked muddy, she wasn't one to shy away from wallowing in the mud!

Tonya. Three more months and we will be running the Ice Age Trail 1/2 Marathon in Wisconsin.  Wahowieee!  So glad she introduced me to this race & I was able to obtain the LAST spot.  I was picturing just how beautiful that trail will be in May.  Nature is just so beautiful and centering and relaxing. Thank you!

Melissa.  I just can't get over her "Red Thread" blog post from yesterday.  The 'red thread' is how we are all connected.  Truly what kept me going was knowing she finished her first 5 mile run, so proud of her and so inspired.  Thank you for inspiring me!

Isabella.  Always there cheering everyone on, so important.  I hope I can at least inspire her when running hills, or give her someone to curse!!

Rod. Running a 1/2 Marathon this morning in sunny FLA. He had a great time and looked pretty pleased with himself (and he should be).  I just hope he doesn't have to stand on bags of ice tonight!  Good Job!!

Hubb. He bikes the trail I ran this a.m. I am thankful he told me a way to circumvent having to climb rocks to get over a giant, like 20 feet tall, piece of ledge.  I really have to remember to get a picture of this scene. The go around required two left turns.  I managed one of them and with my inability to turn left a second time I missed the longer less steep way up.  Hey, I managed ONE left to find the go around, now I have to remember two sequential lefts.  Argh.  At least I got a nice steep hill climb in...

Sheila. Remembering her standing there at the bottom of the hill for "Run Around The Block" 15K on Block Island, RI.  Damn it is nice to have someone watch you run a race and cheer you on.  Seriously awesome!   Oreo Truffle awesome!!

MAC and the Marathon Girls - I could feel your prayers and heart warming words, thank you gals!

Other folks intermittently crossed my mind, spurred on by songs on my play list.

The sun was nice, and we didn't get any snow this afternoon.  Oh well...

Beth the Oompa Loompa who's thighs are nearly defrosted....

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Zoolander learned to turn left, why can't I?I

Sage's remains made it home yesterday. It is nice to have her home, not in the form we would like; however you have to take what you get, right?  Hubb snuck her upstairs and I noticed on my second pass by the bookshelf.  Something looked off.  Pictures in our little family shelf were moved.  I haven't opened the box, it took me a while to open the can holding Diesel's ashes.

All seem to be adjusting.  Hubb seems more like himself and our eldest boxer boy and I went out to the beach this morning for a nice outing.  That perked him up.  I can't imagine what goes on in his mind, he is the eldest and has buried two of his furry family members.

Yes, yes, this is a running blog not a dog blog, not a knitting blog, so let us get to the running portion of the program.

Friday I was able to sneak out for a late morning run.  As I walked out to the guard shack to leave my badge a walker was returning from her walk.  She said "It is really windy and really cold and windy by the water."  I considered adding one more layer.  I packed my Marine Corps Marathon wind breaker and walked back to the building then turned around then back to the building then thought, no you'll be fine.  Just as I finished that thought I remembered how frozen my hands are the sans gloves day a few weeks ago, and it was warmer that day.

The wind didn't disappoint.  Because I just can't manage go left off campus I ran up hill into the wind.  The WNW wind at 16 mph and 32F (feels like 21F) not so much favorites of mine, however it was sunny and that makes up for a lot.  Until the route starts to get close to the water.  Brrrrrrrrr.....

Image from:  http://runningwithsquirrels.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/zoolander2main_300x300.jpg?w=538

I stayed away from the water, the houses blocked a bit of the wind...  still I was pretty cold when I got back inside.

Jackass and Number One Smart Guy went out to lunch.  When they got back they remarked how positively bitterly cold it was out there just walking from the building to the car and the car to the restaurant and repeating the process in reverse.  They asked where I was, they would have enjoyed my company.  I went for a run I said.  They said it is freezing out there, you are crazy...  All I could say was "your point is?" My thighs warmed up about an hour after I got to my desk...

My splits were pretty even, in fact slow to start, the first mile is mostly up hill, the second more down hill and the third up then down. 

This was curious, at each mile my pace went way up.  Think this is a function of the watch or is it me?  I'm stymied on that.  Thoughts?

Today I took the eldest pup to the beach for a wander about.  It was sunny and cold.  Nice for us to get out and he seems better.  Hubb went out for a mountain bike ride.  He came home seeming more chipper.

Tonight it is supposed to snow and tomorrow a.m. I am running the Vin Gormley trail, try out the YakTrax!! We are supposed to get an inch or so over night and then another inch or so through the day tomorrow. Wonderful the snow is so pretty and makes everything look so clean and neat.

Beth, back in stride.