No to Philly, but yes to the Hustle…

Today was the Philadelphia Marathon. And I didn’t run it.

Wait!”, you say, “you didn’t run? WHY NOT?!”

Well, I would have told you earlier, but then you would have had to live in my angsty state of indecision and second-guessing in the last 6 weeks. I spared you all of yes-no-yes-no-maybe-no and just waited to write on the marathon weekend.

So you can get caught up, here is the Reader’s Digest version of all that happened since the Maine Marathon:

  • 3 days after marathon – ran 2 miles to shake out – felt good
  • 4 days after marathon – ran 4 miles because it’s easy to just not want to run anymore at all after completing a marathon – 4 miles seemed like enough of a commitment that I was still in the game, but still allowing for recovery.
  • 5 days after marathon – was walking my dog, Stella, and my right foot tightened up into hot pain. THAT was, most unfortunately, the familiar pain of plantar fasciitis. 😦
  • 10 days after marathon – can’t run more than 2 miles without foot pain. Janet is ready to buy her plane ticket to Philadelphia and sends me the suggested itinerary
  • 11 days after marathon –  hiding from Janet. I don’t think I can continue the mileage to run the full Philly since I am stuck at 2 miles before foot pain. Can’t decide whether to go, anyway, to cheer for Margaret and Janet in the half-marathon.
  • 12 days after marathon – I confess to Janet and Margaret that I can’t run the distance and won’t go to Philly – will cheer from Maine. Felt TERRIBLE.

So, I lived in a place of disappointment and acceptance for a while. I even found relief in just not having to pack in long runs on my own anymore, so much time back in my life to do other things, proud of myself for running the Maine Marathon and convincing myself to let it go.

I earnestly applied the physical therapy techniques from last year and my foot started to feel better. I started to run a little more – with a surprise 7  miler several weeks ago.

Then, a college friend, Wendy, the friend who ran the Maine Marathon so fast that she qualified for Boston, asked me if I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon in South Portland on Nov 23.  Since I didn’t have a plane ticket to Philly for that date, and I was feeling better, I told her if I could run 10 miles without pain, I’d do it.  So… I set out last Saturday for the 10, accidentally underestimated my route, and landed back in my driveway with 12.25 miles done.  We decided to sign up. So I did. Then Wendy did. All set.

Then, I told Janet that I managed 12 miles and she said, “Come to Philly and run the 1/2 with us!”  FREEZE. What was I doing? If I could get through 13.1 miles, why wasn’t I going to Philly to run? Because I was signed up for the full marathon, not the half, and I didn’t buy a plane ticket and then I signed up for *another* race on Nov 23 in South Portland.  PLUS, Philly was way out of my head. I really had let it go.

Wendy lives north of me, and I live north of South Portland, so she spent the night at my house so we could easily get off in the morning. It was so fun – we made dinner, chatted, caught up. We’re friends from our first year in college 29 years ago, but haven’t had a chance to connect for real in a long, long time. It was great.

Just about the time Janet and Margaret launched onto their course in Philly, Wendy and I pulled on our Santa outfits and crossed the starting line in South Portland.

Wait“, you say again, “SANTA OUTFITS?” Yep, we had signed up for the ‘Santa Hustle‘ half marathon – complete with a costume for every runner.  That was 2500 Santas running around South Portland, Maine this morning – we probably freaked out every kindergartner who was looking out the window.

Here we are at the start:



Wendy is really fast and fit. Really. So I assumed we’d start together and find each other at the finish. But NO. Wendy was planning to run together, which meant she paced to me… which was really nice. And, since running at my pace was, for her, essentially resting, she chatted with me for the entire distance. We talked about all kinds of things and she just kept coming up with great stuff to talk about to bring me along.

Also, since we were doing this for fun, we had no problem taking time for photos. For instance, when you are in a race that has elves passing out M&Ms and COOKIES, you really need to stop and document it.

We were pretty happy to see this cheery guy passing out goodies. Yep.



Chocolate chip cookies at mile 7. Awesome.



Janet and Margaret crossed their finish line in Philly, looking good and with good runs completed!



And then, Wendy and I cruised on into the finish line of the Santa Hustle for a real mind-bender – an ENORMOUS Rudolph reindeer *and* a REAL reindeer. 🙂


So, November 23rd wasn’t at all what any of us had thought it would be 5 months ago. None of us ran a marathon today. BUT, today was a celebration of friendship, of “going for it” in spite of circumstances, and generally just having a good time.

I’m not sure what comes next, but I’m sure it will be good.






Philadelphia Marathon #2 – T minus 14 weeks

Janet applied the pressure with this email message to Margaret and me last week:

All right women,  enough of this fumbling and fussing and thinking about incidental things …[and]… other such nonsense…

I logged into smartcoach on runner’s world this afternoon and found a schedule to prepare me for the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov 23.

Fine. She threw out a training plan, but I was the first one to sign up for a the marathon. Yes, I did.  Here is my confirmation (it’s itty bitty, but  you can see my name on the right under “participant”, aka “crazy person who spent money to run 26.2 miles“):

Philly confirmation


So, I’m the one signed up, but Janet has the training schedule, so she planned a 10 mile run this morning. Fortunately for us, Margaret is in Maine for vacation, so she joined us. We had a nice view of Back Cove in Portland for the beginning and end of our 1o miler. The highlight is really Macworth Island which is beautiful trails with water all around – the middle part of our run – but I didn’t have my phone with me during the run, so I couldn’t take a photo.

I did however, score this photo just before we took off:



As usual, we started together, and then Janet and Margaret moved ahead and I trailed behind.  We got to Macworth, took a water break, and then looped around to return home.  Miles 6 and 7 were tough. Janet ran the Beach to Beacon 10k yesterday, plus some mileage in the days before that, and she was tired before we even started this morning. And Margaret spent most of yesterday in the car, driving from PA to ME, so she had to shake it out a bit during  the run. I’ve been busy at work during the day, and spackling, sanding, taping, painting in the evenings, so I’m beat.  In the latter half of the run, we spread out.  The good news is that we all met or exceeded the pace assigned by Janet’s training plan that she downloaded from Runners World magazine, so we were feeling a pretty victorious.

And, we were happy to be a three-some, so we just hung out and rested by the water after we were finished before we had to go our separate ways:




And, as I said, I’m the only one actually signed up for this marathon, so the other two need to sign up ASAP. (Janet and Margaret – that means YOU TWO!)

This marathon has all the same challenges as last year. Still 26.2 miles to cover. Still training during a nutty travel season in which I’ll have to do a lot of mileage on my own in unfamiliar locations. Still aiming to finish it with my two buds, Janet and Margaret (if they get signed up! HINT)


Winter Wonderland? Winter CRAZYLand

Hello Everyone.

I know that the premise of my blog was marathon prep, and since the marathon is complete, you’re probably not interested in more posts.  But, I do have some post-marathon updates that I feel compelled to share.

First, let’s discuss endorphins and the legendary “runners’ high.”  I don’t think in all the 400+ miles of training that I ever felt that “high” or rush of a good feeling after a run. I was proud of myself. I was tired. I was hungry. But not “high.”    I’m not sure what I expected that “high” to be like, but this is how I know it happened:

  • Last 6 miles of the race:  “I will NEVER do this again.”  (Reality)
  • One hour after the race:   ” I don’t think I’ll EVER do that again.”  (Reality in motion)
  • Six hours later: “Maybe if I did another marathon, I could have a better finish.”  (Climbing away from reality…)
  • Next day: “Let’s do another marathon!” Janet and I search online for any marathon within driving distance in the next 2 months.  (Unhinged from reality, aka the mind-altering “HIGH”)
  • Two days later:  “Let’s not do a winter marathon”  Janet, “Let’s not.”  (Coming down from the “high”)
  • Four days later: “No more marathons.”   (Back to reality)

Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever do another marathon. But, I do know that getting ready for the marathon got me in pretty good shape and I don’t want all that to go to waste, so I am trying to keep legit running in my schedule. Janet feels the same way.  So, we signed up for a 10 mile race in southern Maine (The Mid-Winter Classic in Cape Elizabeth)  so that we would have a reason to go out in the cold and stay in shape but not feel compelled to run for hours and hours and hours all in the same day as if we were training for a marathon. 

But, 10 miles is a big enough distance that I can’t blow it off and therefore have to keep regular running in my routine. This is a particularly busy time at work *and* I have some other commitments that are taking a huge amount of time, so I have to fit the running in when I can. I’m telling you this to justify why I was running outside this morning in single digit temperatures. 

We got some beautiful snow and then a deep freeze.  This is how pretty things look at my house:



But, when I got up this morning, it was 1.2 degrees.  ONE POINT TWO.  So, I did barn chores first, hoping it would warm up a bit before I had to go run.  It did warm up.  It warmed up to 2. 7 degrees.  I bundled up and started off.  The first .5 mile was really, really cold.  Then my body warmed up and I actually started to sweat, unzipped my jacket just a little.  Mile 2.5, the front of my hands, front of my thighs, and my chin were really cold. It was cold enough that my eyes were watering for most of the run, and by mile 3, I had ice on my upper and lower eyelashes. So much ice, in fact, that I could hear my ice-ball-lashes “clicking” when I would blink. The ice was too stuck to just wipe off  my lashes as I was running. When I got home, I had to cup my bare hands over my eyes to warm up enough to help the ice balls slide off. 

THAT is Winter Crazyland, my friends.  That is what it looks like.  

When I got back home, I checked the temperature, and sure enough, it was still pretty cold.  A mere 3.2 degrees outside and only 59.5 inside. 



Janet and I have brainwashed 3 other women to run with us on Saturday morning, distances between 5-8 miles depending on who wants to turn off where, in very cold temps. Can’t wait to welcome them into CrazyLand.