Vacation running.

I had the week off from work and while I would have loved to just get away somewhere, I had a bunch of obligations at home, so I could only get away for just one night. But, one night in Bar Harbor, ME, was a great getaway.  This was the view from downtown, near where I was staying:


The problem with vacation is that it suggests *relaxing*… and when I started to do that, it was hard to imagine running. I realized I was just so tired! I napped, ate, napped, ate, and finished up my time there with this delicious view at lunchtime before I had to head back home. Pretty nice.  Relaxation? CHECK.  Mileage? NO check. Oh well. I got back to it when I got home.


So, curiously, Janet’s aggressive training plan (that she downloaded from Runners World) only listed 3 runs for the week – each of them 6 miles. Nothing long.  Sounded pretty good to me! But, next weekend calls for a 16 miler and I just can’t imagine going from 13 last Sunday to only 18 for this whole week, with such a long run only a week away.

I think Janet couldn’t believe it, either, because she ran 13 miles yesterday and then ran a 5k today (today was the Couch to 5k finale for the group she’s been coaching!)

I am eating my words because it was not long ago when Janet thought the training plan didn’t have enough mileage during one of the weeks and I told her that I thought Runners World probably knew what there were doing with marathon prep plans and we should trust their custom plan. But, as I said, I thought the mileage seemed light this week, even accounting for recovery time in between long runs.  And since Janet already banked the 13 miler yesterday, I felt the pressure to keep up. (I am so weak under her spell…)

So, today, I managed 11.5 – just enough to feel pushed but stopping just short of anything hurting too much.   I tried some new routes today, including this scene by a golf course:


And then I ventured into the legendary “trails” near my house.  Everybody who knows Brunswick and knows where my house is, says “you’ve got to try the trails!”  Well, those trails, as far as I have been able to tell are a myth.  Everyone talks about them and everyone talks about a different entry point, and each entry point sounds so obvious. But, do you think I can find them? NO.  It’s like Narnia.  There’s a magic “wardrobe” out there that leads to the trails and only the believers can see it. So, being crafty and practical, I decided to try and enter the trail system from the opposite side.  With 7 miles behind me, I entered the Town Commons via a parking lot.  The most direct route on the map should have gotten me home in about 2 miles:

commons map

Pretty creepy in there. The trails themselves are beautiful, but most are unmarked and they just loop around. Since I don’t have any sense of direction, I had a chance to “inspect’ many of the trails,  and therefore pulled off several extra miles.  And, by the way, I did exit the trail into a neighborhood, but not *my* neighborhood – some other neighborhood that was an absolute maze of its own.

I think I’m going to stick to roads with signs for the rest of my runs and God bless the “believers” who love the trail system.



Mileage. House and road .

Ok, so last week I told you that I moved and all the loading, hauling, unloading, and unpacking offered a special kind of workout, in addition to some limited mileage.

This week, sort of the same thing, but I gained a lot of ground – on the roads and in my house.

First, my heroic mom arrived the day after I moved and vowed not to leave until every box was unpacked and the contents put away. Her goal? Do whatever it takes to make it feel like a “home”. She must have drawn energy from her toes, comforting my jumbled mind by sorting, organizing, and “settling” me into my new place.   She was amazing, doing amazing “mom” things. While she was here, I only got out to run a couple of times but it made me feel like myself, which was good.

Then, this week, my mom was gone and I had the chance to take care of other “moving” things, like trying to hook up cable tv and internet.  That was a mere 6 calls to Comcast followed by a service call to the house. Those were nothing compared to the more than 1.5 hrs Lucy spent on the phone with “support” trying to hook up the Roku streaming device to our tv.  Here is Lucy, exhibiting tremendous determination and patience. (After all that, Roku never worked and we returned it…)


I didn’t bother with the kettle bell or the Body Blade for upper body work because my dad and Marcia arrived on Friday and we got to work.

Marcia took her green thumb straight to the garden. It turns out that wild violets just masquerade as pretty little flowers but are actually opportunistic weeds that put a choke hold on things that were planted on purpose. Marcia leveled a lethal effort against the violets, revealing some lovely ground cover around the shrubs.


Also, I had some serious wallpaper that needed to come down . We had three rooms to tackle and we started with the bathroom – the room where it seems the paper was put on the wall with superglue. Yep. Epic wallpaper removal adventure, but all three rooms are now paper free because my dad knows a thing or two about taking down wallpaper.


I’ve only mentioned a wee bit of all the things my family did to help me get started in my new home and I am grateful to have so many great people looking out for me. But we all worked hard and are tired!

With so much going on, I didn’t get to run every day, but when I did go, I made the most of it. First of all, I made a commitment to take a different route everyday. This worked well – not only did it mix my distances, it gave me the opportunity to learn the places around my house.  I didn’t run with my phone this week, so no good photos of the scenery, but there *was* good scenery, including coastal and farm scenes. Sweet.  I managed 3, 6, 8, 5, and then another 8 miles today. I didn’t take the time for icing and rolling out and all that stuff that I normally do, so I’m surprised that I didn’t feel too wrecked from this week’s mileage, on top of the house labor.

My vacation is over and I am back to work tomorrow. Hoping to keep mileage in the 4-6 mile range during the weekday runs with a longer one on the weekend.


AGE: perception and reality… and running through it

Today an amazing thing happened. But, before I tell you what it was, let me give you the back story.

When I turned 45, I was feeling a bit unhinged – mainly because I felt so much younger than the perception of what 45 would be. (Mind you, this perception is leftover from when I was a kid and 45 seemed “old”.) It’s odd, because in my real life, my peers don’t seem old. My parents don’t seem old. We’re all just “scaling up”, more or less. But, in my head, it just didn’t add up and I felt like, at any second, I’d all of a sudden become the “old” that I had been imagining as a kid.

In a vain and desperate attempt to preserve things, I went to the mall, cruised the cosmetic section, and landed at the Lancome counter. I am *exactly* who cosmetic companies count on for selling overpriced, over promised products.

Me: “I need wrinkle cream, toner – basically, hit me with your age-defying products.”
Saleswoman: “Ok. Let’s get a good look.”

She got close, moved my hair away, squinted, turned my head right, then left. It was a full-on flaw and wrinkle inspection. She hustled around in drawers and cabinets and unloaded products on the counter in front of me. One for removing make up, one for exfoliating, for hydrating, for wrinkle filling, for skin rejuvenation, and a bunch of other things that seemed redundant but were apparently necessary for the whole system to do it’s magic.

The creams smelled nice and she oohed and ahhed as she smoothed them onto my face. I looked in the mirror. Hmpf. Looked the same to me.

Me: “So how long do I have to use all of this for it to work?”
Saleswoman: “Well, of course, it’s different results for different women.”

I pondered the possibility of basically handing over a mortgage payment to arrest the aging process playing out on my face. She could tell I was undecided.

Me: “I just don’t know. Maybe I’ll think about it.”
She leaned in close so nobody would hear her, and said “Honey, I can sell you all this stuff, but really, the only thing that’s gonna stop all this is… DEATH.”

There you have it. Straight up truth. The brutal kind, but the kind that allowed me to leave without spending a dime.

FAST FORWARD to this evening. I went to pick up some beer for my husband and some snacks for me. I hopped into the express line with beer, chips, and ice cream. The saleswoman seemed a bit exasperated, looked at my items, glanced up at me, and sighed, “ID, please.”

I was so stunned, I just pulled out my license and handed it over. She punched my birthdate into the register and waited for it to calculate my age. Then, she peered up at me, raised her eyebrows, and said, “Ok, I was not expecting that. Looking good!”

I was *this* close to giving her a hug.

Why is any of this in my running blog? Because the only thing that is different between the Lancome death speech and the Shaw’s carding episode is that I’ve signed up for a marathon in the meantime.

I’ve adjusted my diet and (except for some slips like tonight’s purchases) I’ve been making sure it’s full of healthy volume and balance, including tons more water than I would normally think to drink. I’ve run hundreds of miles in between these two events, and I think I’ve toned up some. I’ve worked hard at positive self talk while pushing through grueling miles. I’ve made time in my crazy schedule to complete distances, alone with my thoughts, and in the company of friendship.

The marathon commitment, in spite of my complaining, is really a force of good self care that is necessary to endure the training. Do I really look young enough to get carded? Of course not. Even I know that. But, I have to think that this effort is having a positive effect. And, that is the best kind of motivator.

I have a mantra for when the hills are hard and the cramps are chomping at me. I repeat in my head, “I am strong, I am ready; I am strong, I am ready” over and over again.

Now, I think might add, “I got carded, yes I did; I got carded, yes I did.” 🙂

Planning for 14-15 miles on Saturday run. I’ll let you know if the new mantra works.