Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

50K Training Plan


Beth, who has just a few runs left! And horrible penmanship!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

RI Foot Pursuit 5K - Recap

After a bit of peer pressure from Crutch and then Mike B I finally caved late Friday afternoon and signed up for the Rhode Island State Police 5K.    I have no regrets in doing this and a huge thank you guys, exactly what I needed.

But first...

Saturday - 9.  10 was on the schedule, it rained cats and dogs all night and didn't seem like it was going to let up.  Dave was off to Big River for a clean up day.  I lazed around till about 10 and finally decided better get these miles in.   Especially with Dave off doing trail work.  I didn't exactly have a plan, I can either start out running up hill or down hill.  I decided up hill then I could run a mile or so of slow declines and see what I felt like.  Felt pretty good for the run.  Ventured across to Connecticut and back to RI.  Wow the river is full again. Lots of meandering thoughts with no rhyme or reason.  Nice to see spring really springing!  All of a sudden it dawned on me I was passing by somewhere I got lost and decided to back track, figured this might make me short a bit, but I really wanted to figure out where I got all turned around.  Well I got turned around when a road changed names and then again at a traffic circle where 5 roads meet up and the street signs, if they exist, are hidden.  This New England tradition of changing road names combine with my lousy sense of direction make for some fun runs.  I now think I know how the roads connect.  Famous last words!

Decided to pick up my bib in the afternoon, and see if I could get my name added to the WTAC - Ladies roster for the race.  I forgot to do it when I signed up.  Not a problem, Kathy of Tri Mom was able to help me and remembered who I was.  With my unusual last name kinda hard to forget, right?

Sunday - 8  

The race is billed as fast and flat.  I figured 30 minutes, it has been a long time since I've run a 5K or done anything resembling speed work.  I landed at 28:35 per the space watch (29:08 gun or maybe my watch is messed up), full results here.  I'm familiar with the course as I spent pretty much every Thursday running parts of it with a bunch of gals from Narragansett, including Running While Mommy.  I think it is easier to run on roads I'm familiar with. Could be mental?

Saw most of the WTAC folks before the race. Did a mile warm up.  I glanced at my space watch and saw 1/2 mile I thought, oh wait I better go back this is a warm up, but how long is a warm up supposed to be?  I've never actually warmed up with any seriousness before.  I did know that going out on cold legs would be a disaster so I figured 1 would be fine, I was feeling warm.  And as I turned around, the wind, crap.  The last mile will be into the wind...  Very strange to feel one buzz on the space watch and not run any more. 

We all lined up, I tried to figure where I fit in, I didn't want to be too far in the back.  Actually placed myself pretty well.  The gun went off scaring most of the runners, me included.   The race was chip timed, it took about 30 seconds to get over the start mat, 797 runners.

Mile 1 felt good, definitely flat and smooth. The crowd sorted itself out pretty quickly.  Walkers 1/10 of a mile in stayed out of the way pretty much.  Some guy with his pace being said out loud ever 1/10 of a mile, oh hell no I'm not listening to that, eventually lost him.  I think he was bound and determined to not be behind a girl in a skirt?  9:20, not too bad, not going to hit anything close to 27 at this rate, whatever.

Mile 2 felt good, wind at my back, started thinking about the last mile.  Coach, some random man who wanted to help, started coaching me about 2.5 miles in.  "Put your hands below your heart."  I heard a few times till finally it dawned on me I was being addressed, realizing this I did as I was told, dropped my arms.  Coach said that will make it easier.  Ok, thanks I said and he backed off.  I have started to ball up my fists and run with  my hands at chest level, like I'm some sort of demented  Tyrannosaurus Rex.  That and loosing my neck in my shoulders. 

All of this made me think of a note one of my girlfriends sent thanking all of her supporters for Boston.  This was the specific part, she was at mile 19, just starting up the first of the hills that make up Heartbreak Hill.

"I ran up that first hill, which felt like it would never end, and I started questioning whether I should even run Heartbreak. My head was telling me “You don’t have to do that. You can walk it. Save your energy for the last 5 miles of the marathon.” My heart was saying “Don’t quit.” Someone offered water at the halfway point of the hills and I took it, pulling over to stretch my tightening up quads. A woman yelled “Keep moving! You’ve got to keep moving or you’ll cramp up!” I was in “hangry” runner mode and said “Thanks, but this is my 10th marathon. I think I know what I’m doing.” Nice, huh?"

It all made me chuckle, at least THIS guy was running the race not standing on the sidelines!!  9:09, oh nice!

Mile 3 felt good, I was glad for the long sleeves into the wind.  Coach was right there, "Ok hands below your heart and stick your thumbs up, you are in the home stretch."  I said thanks and sped off.  8:56, huh, and into the wind...

3.1 / finish chute, Crutch was there at the end, cheering.  Always appreciated!!  Ran with me for a few steps.  Hey if you are going to twist someone's arm shouldn't you at least be there to greet them?  *smirk*  He assured me I was well sub 30.  It all felt good and at this point I was so glad I ran this race.  7:12

Grabbing some water we walked to the beach, he gave me the stats:  Garvin 2nd, 5K 3rd, Mike B, Seth, Shara it all sort of ran together, I knew they'd be in the top 10 or 20.

Team WTAC (Westerly Track and Athletic Club)
I was entranced by Chris's son's gorgeous blue eyes...  photo by Katie Garvin

I grabbed my jacket and went off for a cool down run.  I could have just kept going, but turned around pretty quickly after I started, didn't want to miss the awards, although I had plenty of time by the time I got back.

Once I got home I took Gus for a dog jog.  His first 5K done brilliantly.  We used to run together a few years ago, when I used to get up at 5 a.m. to run.  He trotted along nicely, I wish he was a little more predictable as I'd take him to the woods with me.  I never know exactly how he is going to react to another dog.  He does fine on the leash, well, I have more control, but I wonder how he would do off leash. 

On another note, taper madness has started setting in.  Thursday night I was certain I was getting a sinus infection.  Friday I was sure the tooth with the crack in it was going to break when I bit into a nut.  Saturday morning I was sure there is something wrong with the bottom of my left foot as it feels like it is going to rip a part when I step, this is because your calves are tight, stretch dummy.  And finally, the cherry on the top, today the inside of my knee is achy and tender, a sure sign of a MCL tear.  Good grief, enough already.

Beth, hoping she mentally makes it through the next two weeks!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Week of 4/21 - 4/27

Monday 2.8 and TRX

Dave went fishing, it is Tautog (Blackfish) time, well a little early, neither he nor Jim got a nibble, the fish must still be hibernating?  Feh, not exactly my favorite fish to eat.   This gave me the opportunity to work from home, super sweet because we were home late from Easter Dinner at his parents and I could watch the Boston Marathon.

After lunch, I really needed to move and decided to take Jax on a run.  I've been debating a dog jog for a while and since it seems to be the thing to do (based on my Strava feed) what the heck.  He spent most of the day running around the house trying to get Gus to play.  Gus wasn't having any of it.  I was gobsmacked when Jack managed to stay completely still while I put on the harness, then had to do a few laps, then stay completely still while I put the leash on the harness, then had to do a few laps.  Usually it is a disaster and I'm millimeters from getting a black eye from him flailing all around.  We went out.  It was a rough first 1/2 mile, smelling, peeing, and finally he pooped, oh damn now I have to carry the poop.  Ick...  All in all we made 2.8 miles at a 16 min/mile pace.  He generally walks about a 19 min/mile, 16% increase in his speed.  (Who checked my math?  Did I get it right?) When we got home he was thirsty and exhausted.  After drinking a bowl of water and spraying it all over the place he flopped down on the kitchen floor. OK so maybe the first time you try a dog jog with a black dog, the middle of the day isn't exactly the best time.  He was calm and exhausted the rest of the night, sweet!  No incessant tug o'war and/or throwing a ball across the house.    Walking generally winds him up so he doesn't go on many walks.  The beach is riddled with fencing for those birds, oh what are they, crap I can't remember...  so not many places for one boxer boy to go berserkers and scrub off energy.

TRX was good, nice to get back into a schedule again.

Tuesday - Spin / Weights / 3.6

I had to get all dolled up for a breakfast in the a.m.  I nominated an administrative professional for an award.  Oh crap, I really have to go to the breakfast?  Um yeah...  so I did.  Karen isn't even my admin, she is so helpful when I have a problem or need to figure out how to get something done.  I swear getting things done is black magic at times.  It is administrative professional week and I had to figure out how to set up a breakfast for my division admins that sit at the site I sit at.  Holy cow, this is not intuitive and there isn't a number to call.  What is the RI state motto, "I know a guy."  Well, I do but I can't ask an admin to help me set up and admin breakfast, can I?  I'm sure Karen would have been more than happy to help me, she always is.  I'm sad she didn't win.  However for next years nomination I know what I need to do to get her closer to the top of the stack.

Spin class, weights, pushups, crunches, and then a run at Bluff Point.  I didn't realize the segment ended at the parking lot.  Shoot...  I thought it ended at the bottom of the hill.  All in all a good run.  Legs were tired, for sure.

Wednesday - NJ - 4 @ 1% elevation (flat and my knees hurt)

My day was all bungled up, driving to New Jersey, watching a shareholders meeting, continued arguing over what constitutes a substantive change to a corporate finance policy...   Argh...  Nothing seemed to be falling in to its proper place.  It happens, whaddyagonnadoaboudit?  Run?

The Ramones said it best "I Wanna Be Sedated"  After a brief discussion with the concierge at the hotel, the only place to run is walking the mall or the residential area behind the mall.  The Short Hills, as in New Jersey Short Hills Mall,... um, no...  I said I saw Canoe Brook pond behind the hotel, aren't there trails there? They were clueless I had a small window of time, 90 minutes. Not a lot of time for farting around...   And while for you speed demons that isn't limited, for me, it is, off to the treadmill.  It was all fancy schmancy with a TV.  I couldn't figure out where to plug in my headphones to listen to Bones... at least I could make the thing rotate the belt!!  Despite the mindnumbingness of a treadmill I think it helped me remain sane.   Especially having to be in a dress for a 2nd day this week...  and have to carry on appropriate cocktail conversation...  Blargh... 

Thursday - 8

The meeting went well, and even better this ongoing saga of what constitutes a substative change to a financial policy came to a great big head.  Expect it will be exploding on Monday, muwahaaa...   

Found an amazing beer store on the way home from NJ and picked up some beer for a friend and some beer for Dave.  I made it home just before he left for his evening ride and I was able to mellow for a few before going out to vote on a referendum for the town to purchase conservation land and then a run in Burlingame.

The run was good.  I really need to start challenging myself.  

Friday - 3 mile walk with the usual suspects & Pole dancing class

It was nice to be back in my usual office environs.

11:01 AM Mike B
back in Groton today ?

11:01 AM Beth
I am... nice to be home!

11:01 AM Mike B
and no dresses
are you running today

11:02 AM Beth
No dresses.  I'm walking at lunch.  Run tomorrow and Sunday!
You running?

11:03 AM Mike B
ok - i wanted to go light today - thought i would ask for company

11:03 AM Beth

11:03 AM Mike B
you running foot pursuit 5k on sunday
great race
you should
speed work for you

11:04 AM Beth
I dunno.  I should decide today though.  I haven't been running fast at all, and yep, exactly, speed work would be good for me.

11:04 AM Mike B
great race - i bet you know half the field

11:05 AM Beth
Hmmm...  supposed to be nice on Sunday too.  Probably.

11:05 AM Mike B
see you then

11:06 AM Beth
Probably.  I really could use the speed work. 
Enjoy your easy run, I may see you out there.  I'm walking with Ro.

11:09 AMB Mike B

Of course Ro, Don, and I saw Mike B as he was heading to the gym and it was hard not to give him a hard time about the ‘light’ comment.  Poor guy.  Sorry!!  You take it so well and seem to enjoy getting your chops busted!  Seriously we all know I have a slower pace and if you are willing to slow up a lot I’m willing to speed up a bit!  Happy to partake in a ‘light run’ and always flattered to be asked.  

Oh Mike B you knew eventually I’d remember to save one of these conversations!

I did sign up for the RI Foot Pursuit, I’m sure those 3.1 miles will kick me in the ass and I really do need to push my pace.  Besides it will be fun, right? I haven't run a 5K since August. Sub 30?  Can I even near 27?  Who knows.  Flat and fast... let's hope the wind is with all of us!

Oh and Pole Dancing. Get your mind out of the gutter. Ro went to Aerial Arts a month ago and loved it.  She put together a group to go. Timing worked out perfect as a night I could goof around with only having light miles to run over the weekend.  This is definitely a work out.  You are using your own body weight for strength training, essentially a hyper core strengthening workout.  My whole me will be sore and slightly bruised, no doubt.

We were a group of 11, all of us athletic, runners and bikers, the instructor put us through our paces!  Absolutely a must do if you have the opportunity (yes, even the guys) Jewett City, CT is a long drive for me; definitely something I will try again.  Fun and challenging!

Saturday - 10 (roads in the rain most likely)

Sunday - 8  (3.1  RI Foot Pursuit + 5)

Beth - who will update Sat/Sun in another post!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

And Taper Begins...

Saturday was 26 on the schedule and I ran 3 laps of a 8 mile trail loop for 24 and am calling it 26.  Muddy Math.  I was on my feet for 5 hours and 33 minutes.  My heart rate stayed very consistently in my endurance zone. With a few stops to talk to Dave and the other folks doing trail maintenance, to pick up a lost iPhone and to step aside for the mountain bikers, my heart rate dropped quickly and came back up quickly.  All in all I'm pleased with this run, I've been pleased with most of my runs lately.  It is time to raise the bar. 

When Dave and I discussed weekend plans, Dave said he and Lennon would be out with a group doing trail maintenance at Burlingame on Saturday, I had planned on running there.  Hmm... do I keep with my plan or modify it.  I kept with my plan.  His work session started around 8:30 and I was up and out and on the trail around 8:15.  I knew where he was working, getting rid of a tree that had fallen across the trail and was in a its hard to go over or under it sort of position.

Plus most of the walkways (what are those wooden things over the swampy areas?  do they have a proper name?) were all tipsy turvey from the last few rainstorms allowing them to float around a bit.  

Lap 1

2ish miles in I hear a familiar voice "You're not running fast enough."  Dave and Lennon hauling in a chainsaw and a wheel barrow of stuff.  I stopped and walked with them up to the job site.  I wasn't sure when I'd see them, I figured I would at some point.  Lennon made a crack about "Meeting your lover in the woods." and Dave quick said "Shhh don't tell Beth."  ha ha ha

Dave & Lennon

Did a nice job trying to twist my right ankle in a way it isn't supposed to bend.  I sat for a moment or two with that one, wondering how bad is this really.  After a minute?  All seemed fine, a little tender and back on I went.

Otherwise lap one was as I expected, I walked hills and avoided some of the mud, I'd have two more chances to motor through the mud, why do it so early?  Saw a couple people and a couple of bikers.  There was a father and son biking, both looked a little not so sure about all of this.

Lap 2

This is when the voices of doubt start, but I had this prize waiting for me about 2 miles into lap 2, seeing Dave.  I had no idea this would mean so much to me, but it did.  I post on FB what my plans are and put it in my blog to help hold myself accountable and not come up with a reason to not achieve what I set out to achieve.  But somehow this live person there made it a little more meaningful to keep going on.  That helped. 

There were about 3 mountain bikers, Sandals was among them, curiously not wearing sandals though.   My thought at the time was "Was that Sandals?" and put it out of my head until I saw some pictures Lennon posted on FB and yep, that was him.

The crew were very busy sawing and moving and that tree across the path was gone, no more pondering do I go over or do I go under.   Got a little kiss from Dave, awww... I'm NOT big into that mushy stuff and neither is he, so this overwhelming PDA set me on my back foot!

L - R  Lennon, Dave, Bert

Others were busy putting the walkways back in order.  I stopped and let them do what they needed to do and thanked them for their hard work and time.  

Remember those voices, well they started up and wanted to convince me to just quit and run 10 on the roads later.  No! NO! NO!  You can't.  Maybe Dave is still working on the trail and wouldn't that be cool to see how much progress they've made?  Oh they are probably already done, it takes you forever to get around this loop...

I stopped at the car, hoped I had a candy bar or a diet coke in my purse, nope, damn.  In the immortal words of one of my besties  "I could REALLY use an icy coke right now."  This would now play on an endless loop in my head, replacing the doubting thoughts.  Poured some more water into my hydro-pack, burped it, took off my second shirt, and was off again.

Lap 3

Wow there are nearly white caps on Watchaug pond, that breeze really does feel nice.  It is such a pretty blue color.

Then the weird noises started, the trees talking to me?  I thought someone was behind me, nope.  I stopped.  Weird.  Guess I'm getting a little delirious?

Then I started hearing the chainsaw again.  They were still there!  Good grief when did I become such a teenage girl?  The area was all cleared and they were putting in a ramp up and over a downed tree, the one were there were sticks, if you know the trail.  And I figured out what they were re-purposing the downed tree with, it could be a bench but it really is a little ramp over a muddy area.  I wondered why there were saw tooth cuts in it when I ran by on lap 2.  It now makes sense, to cut off a section.  No one had an icy coke for me, but we all agreed that or rather a cold beer would hit the spot!

Then Bert asked "How many miles have you run?"  Lennon said "You've been running this whole time?"  I think they were a little stunned?  It was kind of funny when the 19 miles registered to them and they shook their heads.  (Dave kinda beamed, huh...)

Yeah, another kiss in public and I was off...  A bit delirious and didn't think to take a picture of what they had created.

The walkway thingys were all set up, and one was being leveled.  One of the workers made a wise crack about me making it un-level when I ran past.  HA!  Of course I thanked all of them and wished them a nice day.

And back to the trail and challenging myself to figure out what is coming next and not avoiding the water and the mud, because this was the last lap.  I pushed a bit up hills walked some.  Noted that my hips were a little achy, but not too bad but damn that spot in my back where Amy elbowed out a big knot was SCREAMING.  Huh...  And I couldn't feel anything in my ankle, so that must be all right.  My left knee has been grouchy and still was but more of a sarcastic I'm going to poke you kind of grouchy not a mean ornery pinch a sensitive spot sort of grouchy.  This was the LAST lap, so just keep moving forward. 

Saw the father and son again, looking a bit tired and WAY more confident.  Go guys!

A SLEW of mountain bikers.  Ah a great time to take a little break.  They were waiting for the whole group to gather back together so I waited with them and chatted a bit. We wished each other well.

And on I went and on they went.  Through one of the massive rock gardens there was a couple walking bikes.  They were just getting out of one of the huge masses of rocks in that area and commented that it was a nice day but the trail was way rockier than they thought it would be.  I said, it opens up in a bit, stick with it.  They had pretty much ended the worst of it.

Oh the last water crossing!  2 miles to go.  OH what is that, an iPhone, do I leave it or pick it up.  I picked it up shoved it in my pack and figured I'd fiddle with it when I got back to the car and see if I could find its owner. 

I ran out of water before I got back to the car so my only focus was Water and an Icy Diet Coke.   And of course to post my accomplishment on FB.  What is it with that?  A need for self-promotion?  To prove I did what I said I was going to do?  A little bit of both and it put a finality on the run.  Done and dusted.

After I got out of the shower (no chafing, yeah) and went to clean out my pack I remembered about the phone and tinkered with it.  No lock on it.  I looked at the last number dialed and dialed it.  Someone answered.  I explained that I had found the phone and the person on the other end was so thrilled.  They thought it was gone forever, they had retraced their route and nothing.   They lost it pretty close to the start of the trail and hadn't back tracked that far.  They told me what they were driving and where they were parked and they'd meet me.  Ok I said, 20 minutes. I found their vehicle and they weren't there.  I waited 5 minutes and the phone rang.  I answered it and they weren't going to be there so we agreed I'd leave the phone on top of the driver's side tire.  Plenty of thank you's and I'll pay it forwards.  Hey, no worries, glad I could help.

I wonder if this was the couple walking their bikes?  I'll never know, I put the phone in the spot we agreed on and went home.  I did copy down the phone number of the iPhone I could text her?  

Saturday I ran a little over 7 miles on the streets.  Meandering around with no particular place to go, figured I'd run along the Pawcatuck River as some sort of plan.  2 miles from home and this biker slows near me.  It takes me a second or two to get it all figured out.  Mike B!  He rode, I ran, and we chatted for about a mile.  Nice break.   The run felt good, got the last little kinks the ice and stretching didn't work out yesterday, and maybe I had a little Jack just to help me sleep, I rarely sleep well the night of a long run.

Beth, thinking she may want to put some sort of contact information on the lock screen on her phone in the event she loses it and someone finds it and wants to return it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekly Log - Week 17 of 50K Training – Last Long Run

Even though Johnny assures me I could cut back this run and be ok.  I’m still going out Saturday with my eyes on 26 miles, probably will take me damn close to 6 hours in Burlingame, or maybe I’ll try Big River?  If you happen to be there running or riding, please don’t startle me.  Well you could I may shriek like I did at the gardener snake on Shennecosett on Wednesday.  I think I gave the poor little guy a coronary.  Sorry.


Usually a rest day for me but I didn’t run on Sunday so run I did.  Nice 6 miles at a pace I’m quite pleased with.  While Strava gave me an Epic Suffer score, parts felt tough but mostly it felt good and pretty even, and I, me, yes me, even passed someone.  I kept in mind Steve’s counsel on watching his feet to close the gap and slowly the gap closed, I hemmed and hawed, could I pass and keep up the pace?  I did, and said HI,  then it was up the little hill on the back side of UCONN Avery Point which gave me a little burst of energy (going up and into the wind weird, I know) and the space between us grew.  I checked back a couple times and satisfied I could maintain I went on my merry way.   The wind was at my back for the last 2 miles and that was nice.  

TRX was good I may need more work on my obliques.  The plank oblique crunches kicked my hips, huh…  more my right than left, then again my right has been sore for a little while.  I’ve been using the foam roller more religiously and that seems to be helping too.  So maybe it’s a combination of things.  It is a little early in the training process to be obsessing over a twinge, isn’t it?  Hmm, maybe not, 3 weeks till the race/run.  Step away from the panic button, step away from the panic button. 


It rained like a MoFo.   Work went bazonkers.  I got to spin class with minutes to spare, Ro took one look at me and said "You need this."  No shit.  Finally something I was in control of.  Yippiee!!   I figured I’d run Bluff Point after Spin class…  I got to the parking lot and sat for a few minutes it was relentlessly raining kind of in waves.  Do I really want to do this, do I really want to get that wet?  Wimp… I went home and Dave and I took turns chasing Jax around the house, the dogs were a little stir crazy with the rain.  Apparently there was just enough of a break to scoop poops in the back yard, thankfully.  


Seems like this is the windiest day of the week, and it was a little chilly.  Gloves would have been nice but I was able to pull the arms of my second long sleeved shirt over my hands and that helped, and also hid my watch.  Knowing I’d be half into the wind and half with the wind at my back it was good to not obsess over my pace. I could feel the vibration and hear the beep.  WHEN did that damn thing start beeping?  James noticed it during Big River and I kept saying but I turned that off, it wasn’t till I connected the vibrating of the watch and the beeping I thought I was randomly hearing that I thought, oh I must have turned it back on?  But then as I sit here and type this and think about the last couple runs where Pete would ask what mile we were at he did mention he could hear my watch beep.  Huh…  apparently I have tuned this out much like Dave can tune out me when I tell him dinner is ready and 15 minutes later he meanders through the kitchen wondering if we were planning on eating dinner. 

I decided to run out and back on Shenecosett, it is ‘in-land’ meaning not right on the water.  Mike B usually runs this route when it is windy.  I headed back to campus at an intersection after my watch vibrated (and beeped) 2 x, to get in 4 miles.  If I’m going to run why bother with anything less than 3 or 4 miles, right?  The wind at my back was great, and I knew to enjoy it because 17 MPH coming straight at me the opposite way was going to suck, but not as much as if I was running by the water (NNW wind).  A group of guys were running into the wind with that same look I must have had on my face last week when they were the ones running with smiles with the wind at their back and I was the one running with the wind in my face.  I’m sure I had that dopey, oh this feels nice smile on my face too…  wind at my back and a slight downhill, what could be better?  

Maybe it is the dread of the running into the wind that was worse than actually running into the wind?  It wasn’t too horrific and I kicked myself a little for not running all the way down to Jupiter Point to get in a full 5 miles.  

For Connie so she knows what I'm talking about with my route!!

This was also my last Swimming Lesson.  800 yards, with breaks.  I have come a long way and have a long way to go.  I'm pleased with my progress and will aim to get in a solo swim time once a week for a while and maybe sign up for another class when I feel more confident.  I have plenty of drills to work on and know where I need improvement.  Thing is with running I did that on my own and in the dark and off hours with no witnesses, so only I know where I was to where I am now, and what it took to get here.  Swimming isn't exactly a solo thing, there are always going to be people around and I just have to get in the water and practice, with people.  Will I try a Sprint Tri?  I might, I did put one on my race list... we shall see where I get with my confidence level.  As my Uncle Charlie said "Beth if you do a tri and you aren't going to win, get in the water last, it sucks getting kicked in the head."  My family is priceless.  


So glad this is school vacation week for so many people and Passover and Easter so the number of people actually at work dwindled all week, I was finally getting my arms around a new project and slowly emerging from a battle over what constitutes the appropriate level of approval for a major change to a finance policy.  

Spin class followed by a nice 3.6 mile loop around Bluff Point (nearly forgot that L again).  My speed on the last down hill on the fire road was enough to grant me a QOM (Queen of the Mountain - for those not into the Strava lingo).  Whoop!   It is fun to wizz down that hill and also a little scary, if the gravel is loose or I kick a rock I've skidded to a stop face first, and well that kinda sucks.  So I try and keep it in control. Anything goes after the Ice Age 50 so maybe I'll see how fast I really can go?


Nada, nice easy day at work, not too many people in a couple things to cue up for next week and then lunch with the girls and a massage from Amy of the pointy elbows.  The pain in my right hip is pretty much gone, there was some stuff pretty bound up in my hip.  She did say she could tell that I'd been using the foam roller and stretching but what the heck was up with my calves, they had never been that knotty before.  Hmmmm  maybe that is why I've been getting charlie horses when I'm swimming?  

Beth ready for tomorrow's last long run...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Flying Spaghetti Monster

It has been a rough week in the cancer world.  Thankfully not my mom, however friends of my mom, friends of both my mom and my dad, friends of mine have said good bye to loved ones with cancer and we've had to welcome new members into the cancer club.  

I had to welcome in a new member of the Daughter’s with Mother’s with Cancer club, and the sub-group Lung Cancer.  It has brought back a flood of memories and feelings.

I never put this nasty disease out of my mind, sometimes it just simmers on the back burner, and that’s when it starts to give off this horrible rotten stench of bad news.  It is exhausting to have it always in the forefront of my mind and I welcome the time when it goes and hides in a back closet, although it always seems to come out with a vengeance as it has been being ignored.

Reminds me of a cat we had in Wisconsin.  Foghorn was his name. He was a long haired orange tabby cat that adopted us, just meandered into the mudroom one day demonstrated he knew how to let us know he wanted to go outside and how to use the litter box and not be a pest to the other cats.  Sure, welcome home cat.  We named him Foghorn because he made a noise like a foghorn (we weren’t always the most creative cat namers – Black Tail and Red Tail were prime examples of this) he made this noise instead of purring or meowing.  One day he disappeared just like he showed up.  It was about a week and we looked for him all over the house and the farm and my mother figured he just moved on down the road to a new family.  

In the bathroom across from my brother’s room was an ‘idiot’s closet’.  A very strange storage space, half way up the wall and it had a door.  We’d all been warned to NOT hide in there for hide and seek because there was no way to get out from the inside.  So of course this was the favorite hiding spots for hide and seek.  Usually it was us and the Gorman kids.   They lived in the house before us and it was fun to play with them in the old rambling sometimes spooky house and barns.  One of the 6 of us would get locked in at some point in time, usually on purpose by the seeker ‘accidentally’ closing the door because we all knew it was supposed to remain shut.  My Mom and their Mom stopped getting mad at some point and when it came time to ‘count noses’ they just went up to the bathroom and let out whichever one of us was locked in. 

We even checked the ‘idiot’s closet’ no Foghorn.  But shhhh there was this strange noise in the hallway closet.  

Whoever opened that door was greeted by the angriest orneriest hungriest cat they had ever met. 

See how that worked, angry cat angry cancer?

Helps take my mind to a different place as I relive the emotions of my mother being diagnosed through my friend’s mother’s recent diagnosis.   

I've never had a child, so I don’t know about repressing the pain of child birth enough to have another; some women say it is similar to the pain of finishing a marathon and then running another one.  I’ve no point of reference here.  Other than after I finished my first marathon I signed up for and ran my second one in less than 3 months, whatever pain I was supposed to feel from the experience I didn’t until the third one, and we don’t talk about it, and I don’t know if I’ll ever run another one, yes, it was that awful for me.  Oh, don’t go bringing up a 50K is longer than a marathon it is a COMPLETELY different thing, trails, the bestest runners in the whole wide world total apples and oranges comparing a blissful 31 mile trail run with 150 people to a 26.2 mile slog on the road with a bazillion runners elbowing each other.

Absolutely I’m trying to get back into full on suppression mode of the emotions of a parent being sick.  I can’t even imagine the emotions around losing a parent.  

My friends mother’s appointment with the oncologist was yesterday, I checked in.  I know I wasn’t so eager to share my pain but if someone asked I would unload.  And unload she did.  Ending with this:

“I will be honest, I am not well.  Everyone around me is stressing me with mom's condition one way or another and I feel sick.  I don’t even want to keep helping people anymore. I don’t have the strength in me for that and want to save it for mom. I don’t want to talk to people any more.  I look strong in front of my family but I am broken inside. It hurts so much. “

And I broke down... All those emotions came flooding back…

I replied back starting with this:

“I know exactly where your head is.  That over whelming desire to crawl up inside you and tell everyone to go to hell while you try and sort it all out.”

My advice to her was to put aside what could be put aside, say for a month, and revisit it then, when a new normal was starting to take shape.    If someone offers to help, unload what used to be a joy and now is a burden, say for a month, and revisit it then, when a new normal starts to take shape.   I honestly couldn’t tell you what I put on the back burner and what I didn’t; I went through the motions for many months maybe a year?  When my mother’s chemo seemed to be working and first the tumor shrunk, then it stabilized, and then she said she had enough of treatment and the tumor stayed exactly the same after a year of CT every 3 months, then a year of every 6 months and now two years of once a year, slowly through each round of good news a new normal began to emerge for everyone.

So a big fat smack on the face is what happened, was it because I've been leaving cancer locked in the closet like Foghorn?  Probably not.  This is how life works, you have a run of peace and a run of non-peace, if it was all easy and smelling of roses 24x365 it would be boring, right?

Thanks for listening.  As I told my friend, sometimes you just have to say it out loud and see how it sounds.  Kind of like how a past boyfriend explained to me to tell when spaghetti was done, throw it at the wall and if it sticks it’s done.


Beth, who is now craving pasta and wants to hug her mom

Sunday, April 13, 2014

WTF - Westerly Town Forest

Truth -  I didn't run today, I got wrapped up in projects early in the morning and just kept going with it.  Do I feel guilty? Not one little bit.  Wait, I do, guilt for telling Mike B I'd be at the Clamdigger and not showing up.  I'm sure I'll hear about it.  

You know that nagging list of to do things, the one that gets longer and longer and weighs heavy on your shoulders?  Yeah that one.  I checked off several.  What is it with spring and cleaning and organizing and purging?  Either that or my maternal grandmother was inhabiting me today, she was the purger, my paternal grandmother was the saver.  They often fight inside of me.  Keep it.  Toss it.  Keep it.  Toss it.  It can get pretty ugly, nothing you want to see, keep walking.

Oh yeah, and taxes, after 16 years of me reminding/nagging Dave about them, he was the one to remind/nag me on Friday morning.  "Um Hon, did you realize taxes are due on Tuesday, I have my Schedule C done."  You could have knocked me over with a feather, this was a first.  Must be the full moon due on tax day?

Saturday I did run from my house to the Westerly Town Forest and around the forest, getting wet, muddy, lost, and scraped up.  Gazelle it may be 'game on' for who gets scraped up more! I studied the map from the route the guys ran Thursday night and made a mental note and looked at the maps as I came across them in the forest, most of the ones in the back were gone.  I got a little turned around and actually ran in a circle a couple times till I figured out I had already run on that section before.  HA!!  Maybe lost isn't quite correct, but for a minute here and there I did think:  "I may never get out of the forest.".

When I left I hemmed and hawed about water.  Oh it's only 10 miles, no biggie, you'll be fine.  Well this is the first I've run when it was over 50F.  Um yeah, it was a biggie.  So the last 5 miles sucked despite the wind being at my back.  Lesson learned.  I told Dave to bring extra water as he was just heading out when I got home.  He rolled his eyes, yet he completely filled his hydro-pack.  When he got home he did mention that he went through the whole thing.  Always good to listen to the spouse, eh?

Beth, who should have just stopped at what ever house had a hose she could see from the road, that would have been ok, wouldn't it?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Week of April 7th

Me: “The chili was a bad idea for lunch.”
#1 Smart Guy: “It usually is.”

Monday  R: 0 / W: 0 / O:  TRX

I was feeling beat up from the weekend of runs.   Monday as a rest day was so welcome.  I don’t even think I got in all the steps on my FitBit either, and it was raining when I got home from TRX so no dog walk.  I plopped myself down and groaned and was immediately covered in three dogs with Dave in the background muttering something about, me never paying attention to him.  "Well you aren't climbing all over me."  was all I could think to say.  Yeah went over like a fart in a space suit.  

Tuesday R: 4 / W: 6  / O: Spin

The rain all night Monday into Tuesday morning sounded so nice (even the torrential stuff) on the copper porch roof.  I slept like the dead.  What a strange saying that is.  Eventually the rain subsided and the sun came out.  Meetings prevented any pre spin running, perfect time to go out to Bluff Point and take a cruise around the fire road. Before I left spin class Ro made sure I got in my 30 push-ups for the 30 push-ups a day Spartan challenge.  Groan. Bluff Point was a little muddy in spots and a lot muddy in others, I tiptoed around some of them and after a mile or so just motored through the rest.  Trail maintenance continues.   I was sad to not see the tree just before the cut off to go down to Mumford Cove, I always looked forward to that as I was nearly to the top of the fire road.  

Wednesday R: 8 /W: 0  /O: Swim

Blocked off time for a late morning run and off I went for 8.  I've slacked on my hill running, so I ran the bitch and one set of hills in the apartment complex across from campus continuing on the same old same old.  It was windy and running into the wind for the last 3 miles was tiring.  Saw a couple runners coming towards me, looking all free and light, yeah the wind is pushing you along, wait till you get to Shennecosett or coming back up Jupiter Point I thought.  The wind was brutal and I was tired.   Not even a lot of kick for the last ¼ mile of downhill.  

Swimming was good.  Adam pushed us a bit, which I need, I always need pushing, I don’t like it, I do appreciate it, after the fact.   We did drills with the kick-board without it with fins without them with fins and kick-board without fins and kick-board and the last 50 were no fins no kick-board no break.  After both my calves charlie horsed (is that a term) I gave up a little.  Damn that hurts and being in water makes it scary to me.  I think I’m mostly over my fear of water and finally get the order things need to go in, like not breathing out ALL the oxygen as soon as I put my face in the water.  DOH!!  750 yards.  I felt it Thursday.  

Thursday R: 5 / W: 2 / O: Spin

About 2 miles into my run I forced myself to stop thinking about the chili and ponder other subjects.

Spin was good.  Jeff nearly fell off his bike in excitement telling us about Dohertys Alehouse taps all along the wall and turn around and another wall full of taps. He is a pretty even keeled kind of guy this was the first time I’d seen him animated.   Beer does that to people!

This was also the day for my running club, Westerly Track and Athletic Club victory celebration, the winning team for the South County 4th Season race series.  I passed on the pre pub crawl victory run through the Westerly Town Forest and joined up for the tour of Grey Sail Brewing Company.  Very fun evening, for sure!  Thanks Mike for setting it up!!  Thanks guys for being awesome winning runners!!

Friday R: 0 / W: 3 / O: 0

Fiber Fest! Beers and knitting with the gals!  Beer goes with everything, very versatile beverage.  Lots of discussion about the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl happening this weekend.  I did the inaugural crawl three years ago, I'm still working through that yarn.  It is shameful to say I have enough yarn, I do, hopefully this doesn't get me expelled from the club.  I may zip up to one of the stores just to squeeze some yarn.

Saturday  10 on the schedule for the morning, thinking Westerly Town Forest.  Yard clean up for the afternoon.  The crocus have emerged from under a thick layer of leaves, it will be interesting to see what else survived the winter and being buried in feet of snow.   Quite certain this winter did in the amaryllis I forgot to dig up in the fall.  

Sunday  8 on the schedule, I'll get 5 with the Clamdigger race and bike to and from the beach and call it good.

Beth, who still has to do taxes...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Burlingame - Clockstupid

Sunday:  R: 10 / W: 3 / O: 0
Dave was off to Arcadia.  I planned on running Burlingame clockstupid (you know the opposite of clockwise -- opposite of how I usually run it) and continue on my quest to not get side tracked off Sammy C's trail. 
Off I went, hard top first, very strange, the little bit of a rise felt tough, my legs felt goodish, way better than when I poured myself into bed on Saturday night. My toes weren’t sore,  always a good thing.  On to the single track and finally on Sammy C's trail.  It was marked with orange tape.  Was this from the King of Burlingame the race the weekend before?  The orange markings were nice because I seem to lose the trail mostly on the ledges/domes.  But shouldn't they have been removed? Right foot left foot repeat. 
Enjoyable, not to muddy, teeny technical, I took my time, enjoyed the scenery and the sun. Right foot left foot repeat. 
Got to the dome, the intersection of Sammy C's / Secret Trail / Out and Back.  I chose the path I hadn't traveled.  Out and Back. Yeah the whole Sammy C's plan went out the window, the joy of running alone.  Oh my.  Dave rides this on his bike?  “How is that possible?” I though as I scaled up the sides of ledge.  Hmmmm.... I may want to up his life insurance or at least his accidental death and dismemberment.  Here I figured it was going to be me dying first, running more than 2.5 hours a week, let alone at a time...   Right foot left foot repeat. 
Running this direction on the Vin Gormley was weird; different and familiar all at the same time.  Wow, it was pretty torn up from the rain and the bikers.  Then I noticed the blue streamer markers on the trail.  Really?   Right foot left foot repeat. 
The deer hide was still all over the place, no carcass though. The only people I saw on the trail were two women walking their dogs.  Cute pups.  Got to the massive section of bridges, holy cow the bridges are all over the place.  Last few rock gardens and ahhh, the nice flat even section as I neared the end of the trail into the camp ground and spied an orange marker from the Brrr-lingame course leading the runners into the campground and the sand pit area...  I pulled it and ran with it.  Figured the orange caution "slow moving vehicle" flag in my hydro-pack would be kinda funny.  Right foot left foot repeat.

Beth, glad to make a change from the usual, left foot right foot repeat...


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Big River - Recap

I'm never sure what I have the most angst about the long run or the shower after.

Definitely, I was nervous about tackling 26 miles today.  I limited myself to one drink and went to bed before 10.  When both Jackass and Dave said to me so you’re running a marathon tomorrow I got all freaked out.  

Ended up getting a later start than I wanted, got a little lost in the section passing by the Pinto heading to the parking lot.  I had no idea that was a Pinto, then again I've never studied it.  Just find it so odd to find junked out cars in the middle of the woods and wonder if perhaps Jimmy Hoffa's body is in them.  So I ran by the Pinto three times.  Feh, whatever, in for a penny in for a pound.

Pinto (I took this last year)
I figured out where I got lost last year and that part was WELL marked, kudos to Johnny and Galoob.

There were a few water crossings.  At this one, I thought, Galoob you are an evil man.

Then I got to the 10K return I had about an hour left and about 6 miles.  I can't run 6 road miles in an hour (without Mike B or Crutch egging me on) so off I went on the 10K return, met up with Crutch who was back tracking from the finish so he could torture me, um meet up with me and see how it was going. 

I had accumulated a few scratches at that point.  Avoiding some of the muddier areas.  

Caught up with the WTAC crew, most commenting on my bloodied legs.  This one seemed to be the favorite.  

Caught up with Crutch, Tony, Monica, James, and met Louis.  This would be James’s first ½ marathon distance and Louis’s first trail race.  James committed to running with me, he can definitely out run me, but wanted to run with me.  OK, sure, I let him know that if he needed to motor along at a faster pace, I’m fine with that.  He stuck with me the full 13.1 miles.  Tony, Louis and Monica ran the 10K, Louis was working on overcoming his fear of rocks.  Perfect trail for that, lots of rock gardens.  He came through unscathed.

After a brief course recap by RD Extraordinaire and a comment to take his cell phone number in the event you got lost … good lucks to the WTAC guys … we were off…

Johnny did ask "Was the course was marked to your liking?".  I mentioned one part wasn't and it wasn't until he got to that part (the Pinto part) he realized what I was talking about.  Someone removed the course markers.  Bastards.

Miles 1 - 3

James and I hung back, I told him this wasn't going to be a fast pace, are you sure.  He was good with letting me lead and following my pace.  We passed a few groups of people trying to find the right pace.  I was already in for about 2 hours on my feet for the day.   We chatted a bit, there were a group of guys behind us carrying on quite the conversation.  Once I took my only tumble they passed us. Pshew.  I don’t do so well with people behind me, I’m used to being alone.  I caught the edge of a rock under my shoe and there was no amount of speeding up or hopping to prevent the inevitable WHOMP to the ground.  James said after the race he thought I was a goner at that point, and we were only a mile in.  HA!  I’m a tough old broad. 

Once we were on our own we chatted a bit more, school, work, where you grew up, the typical stuff.  I was dying to know how old he was.  I could have checked the last sets of race results but never did.  Finally I just asked, he’s 21 and I’m 46 so that was out of the way.  That was good.  Then he launched into how much he respects and admires the stamina of us old folks!  HA!  LOVE IT!!!  I remember 21, my mother would have be 43 and my dad 44, they seemed kinda old. What I remember most was my paternal grandfather (my only living grandparent at the time) came in from Cleveland to celebrate the eldest grandchild turning 21 and open the bottle of Pinch Scotch he won in a bet about the sex of his first born child.  When his first born first born turned legal drinking age, he could open the bottle.  Nice family tradition. (This is the side where a shot and a beer for Santa came from) Dave and I are hoping Gizmo makes it to 21 so we can open my bottle…   Oh, if you were wondering on what he bet, he bet it would be a boy or a girl.   And made the same bet with the same group of guys for each of his children and grandchildren.  April 2nd would have been his 96th birthday.  I have a bottle of Cutty Sark I toast to him in his honor.  I missed this year.  I will pay penance and toast twice. 

Awww.... me and Grandpa Lazor, 1967
 Anyhoodles, that went off in to never never land of memories (I know, it is great when old people reminisce isn't it?)

We tromped along at a reasonable pace, I got off track, yeah talking and running don’t always mix.  We got back on course quickly.  Thanks James!

We talked about my upcoming ultra and what the course was like.

We passed a guy.  

Mile 4 - 6

Eventually caught up to two gals in front of us, and they had gotten a little concerned at one point where there weren't a lot of flags and backtracked.  I assured them they were going the right way.  They took off, and we didn't stay close to them, just in sight.  

NB:  Always best to backtrack if you think you are lost, you quite possibly could be.

Then we got to the part where the flags stopped, and caught up with the gals again, and I spied Erica looking lost. I had mentioned to her there was a tough place and go left at the log.  Nice directions to give someone in the woods.  DOH!!!   Erica was back and forth from that point three times and just couldn't find a flag.  We all got pointed in the right direction and up to the parking lot.  I knew the point where the second time I thought “Galoob you are an evil evil man” was coming up.

I had mentioned to Erica to go way right at this point.  She did remember that.  Even though she was convinced she was going to be last, she is a very strong runner and I was pretty sure she’d be ahead of me (and James, who had decided he was my pacer at this point, I like that, it really did help to have him with me to keep me moving forward). 

We all went right and got over the board bridges.  James though it might be fun to splash through.  Um, there will be PLENTY of other opportunities, trust me.

After this crossing was where I got lost last year.  It was BRILLIANTLY marked, so I took back all my evil evil man comments.  

We all trotted along until we met up at another tricky stream crossing.  This one we all slipped into the water!  The rocks were dry on my first run through and easy to navigate.  Wet, um, slippery now with everyone passing this place before us…  Erica had a tough time with this crossing and James helped her across.  Plus James got his feet wet, he was double happy, knight in shining armor and wet feet!  

Took Erica a while to catch up.  I figured she would eventually.  That crossing had her a little freaked, totally normal.

We got to the 10K return and now this was all new to me. 

Miles 7 - 13

Eventually Erica caught up and the 5 us were running along, Erica passed James and I and then the two gals in front of us.  

I spied a sock off the trail and said, "Don't pick up socks on the trail."  James wasn't clued into what that meant as it was mentioned in the "How to be an ultra runner" video.  Big moment for me to explain that when you crap in the woods and don't carry toilet paper. Ah ha!

So the four of us ran along quite contentedly for a few miles until they needed to stop, calf cramps, and it was back to James and I.  Nothing looked familiar from my first venture out in the woods, but once I heard the peepers in the pond I knew we were soon to see the finish.  The glorious finish!

We were just under 3 hours at 2:54  this put me at 5 hours running for the day.   Results here.   (I placed 3rd in my age group.  My first time placing in my age group, whoop!!!)  

There was one point of, I can’t possibly ever run 30 miles and that subsided into, I could do this all day.  James wasn't sure what to do with my, “I’ll never be able to run 30 miles.” comment.  Sorry!!!  I was thinking out loud!!!

Nice to see everyone at the finish!  Monica and Louis and Tony met with success and were a little concerned we had gotten lost.  Rightly so!

Everyone looked happy and content with their race and a few comments that they were glad I had finally showed up.  Ha ha!!

So 5 hours on my feet, 24 miles.  I think I’m about ready for a 50K I should be on my feet for about 7 hours.  The first 13 miles off the course will be quite similar to Big River, just steeper climbs.  The last 18 miles will be through old and new growth pine forest sans roots and rocks just relentless hills.  Thank you Seth and Johnny for your comments about time on your feet and back to back runs being a big component of training.  I’m not getting in the miles on my schedule and that has me a little wiggy, I am getting in hours and running on tired legs.  

By the end my legs were pretty bloody and John commented that the transfusion tent was over yonder.  HA!  I have no idea how I manage to get so banged up, I just do.  Blood, water, mud, roots, and rocks that is what it is all about right?

Seth had a couple of his home brews for me!!  Crutch gave me a couple of his beer winnings!!

I went home a happy, muddy, bloody runner.  This beer was as glad to see me as I was to see it!  I'll wait on the special beers for when the purpose isn't to get a little numb.

All in all a great day!!

Beth, with only one small chafe so the shower didn't suck!