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.






I ran the Maine Marathon today. (Yep, that’s what I said…)

I signed up for the Maine marathon last spring, mainly to have a focus over the spring, summer, and into the fall. This was before Janet and Margaret wanted to head back to Philly.  So, when we signed up for the Philadelphia marathon, I planned to switch my registration to the Maine Half Marathon instead.  Janet had signed up for the 1/2 marathon to use it as a training run (she did that last year, too.)  But I never switched.  For the Maine Marathon, you can switch events right up until the race, so I figured I’d just fix the registration when I picked up my race number the day before.

But then a bunch of things happened.

First, unlike the Maine Marathon, the Philadelphia Marathon requires an event switch way in advance – for the November 23rd race, the last day to switch from full to half or the other way around was on September 30.  Due to the reality and demands of life, Janet was feeling a wee bit behind in training mileage, but had made peace with that and was planning to do some catch up last week. And then she got sick – really sick – with pneumonia.  No way she could do any running at all.  Janet had to decide last Tuesday whether or not she could go the distance in Philly, and she made the wise decision to switch to the half marathon instead.  And then, Margaret needed to do the same.  So, for really good reasons, both of my Philly Marathon teammates needed to take the 1/2 distance registration instead.  I’ve got a lot of miles in the bank, so I decided to stay on for the full Philly.

So, since Janet has pneumonia, there was no way she was going to run the Maine Half Marathon today. NO way. My marathon training plan called for 20 miles today.  I was dreading those 20 miles – it’s a long way to go alone.  So, when I went to pick up my race bib yesterday, I kept my full marathon registration. I figured I’d just go for it. No pressure, no plan. Walk if necessary. Take advantage of the other runners’ company and the fanfare and just clock in the mileage.

This morning, I got up early and got to the race an hour early.  To give you some perspective on the difference between congestion at a 3,000 runner race (Maine) versus a 30,000 person race (Philadelphia), the port-a-potties are actually a helpful gauge:

Here was the potty line 1 hr before race start this morning:


By contrast, here is the potty line at Philadelphia last year, 1 hr before the start:



*Anyway*, I was looking for some friends at the starting line. My friend John, was running the 1/2 today and he’s pretty tall, so I was hoping I’d find him milling about the start. Nope. I was also looking for my college friend, Wendy, who was running the full and I knew what she was wearing, so was really looking for her, too. Nope.

I got in line, the canon went off, and I set off to just cover the distance. No pressure. It was gorgeous weather, gorgeous views (go MAINE!), and I just did my thing. One of the nice things about this race is that that it is an out-and-back (like Philly), so if you watch carefully, you can see those ahead of you pass you going the opposite direction on their return.  I was SO focused on the returning runners, but I never saw either of them – too fast!!

Because I was just running for mileage, I took the time to take a potty-stop at about mile 8.  I walked through most water stops. I stopped and stretched my calves along the curb (multiple times.)

And then, I had a very awesome experience. There was only ONE wheelchair competitor in this race. Her name was Carla.  I ran up behind Carla who was pushing herself up a particularly awful hill. Runners going by her on both sides.  She was nearly at a stop, just trying to keep her chair from going backward. She was amazingly determined – and STRONG.  I asked her if she wanted company to reach the top and she said, “YES – and you can yell at me if you want!”  So, I walked next to her and talked to her (not yelling!), encouraging her.  We were slow. So slow that my watch went onto “auto-pause” because it thought I had stopped.  But, it was totally worth it. Carla made it to the top of the hill and went cruising down the other side full speed. I picked up my gait again – amazingly inspired. Truly amazing.  It was enough to get me through the next 15 miles.

THEN, just after that, I saw JANET waiting for me on side! Janet – the one sick with pneumonia – made her way out to the course to cheer for me.  That’s an example of terrific friendship, and I was so happy to see her! She was on the side for me TWO times, which was a huge pick-me-up in my step and determination.

Here is the photo Janet took of me as I ran past her:



Shortly after that, I ran past Janet’s husband, Michael. He wasn’t running the race – but he had been part of the volunteer race crew before the start. I’m not sure what he was doing – we were pretty far out and he was running by me the opposite direction – I think just getting his own long run in for the day. (He’s also running the full Philly.)  He saw me and yelled happy, encouraging things, still yelling to me long after we’d passed one another. I loved that.

So, just like last year, I made it to mile 20, the infamous “wall”, and still felt pretty good. This year,  I assumed it was because I had given myself those little breaks along the way and might be able to cruise on through to 26.2.  Not so.  Just like last year, mile 23 was my wall. And it was BIG.  But I kept pushing, grateful to have my body working for me, even if working a little less efficiently.

But – I made it. And, just as I crossed the finish line, the announcer had time to see my number and call out my name on the loudspeaker. I felt like a champion. 🙂

I finished 1 minute off of my Philadelphia time last year. This is pretty astonishing considering I had more training mileage completed before Philly last year, and I took all those (brief) stops today. But, I think I am stronger this year. I am definitely faster in my training runs. So, I think I overall ran well even though the time might not show it. And I felt really proud of crossing the line at the end.

A very nice stranger at the finish line took this picture of me:





(P.S. – my friend, Wendy, qualified for Boston with her time today! That’s very cool, and very fast. Go Wendy!)


I’m in the middle of a travel stretch – no blogging last Sunday because I was hardly at home, so I have two weeks of details.

Since the last post, I’ve been to Indianapolis and had the opportunity to clock a fairly fast 4 miler with a friend of mine along the canal, early in the morning, before the sun came up. We had packed schedules, so 4 miles was all that would fit, but it was nice to get it in with so much sitting in meetings, airports, and airplanes.

I got back late on Saturday, had a work commitment that evening, and was hoping to pull through a 16-20 miler on Sunday morning. No go. It was pouring torrents and I could only get through 7 miles. But, I needed the mileage, so I crammed in a long run, 14.5 miles, right before I had to get back to the airport for the next trip.

This time, I’m in Minneapolis. Except, to get to Minneapolis, I had to spend an extraordinarily long time in the Philadelphia airport. So, I lapped the terminal a couple of times, browsed the bookstore, ate some chips, played with my ipad, got a coffee, and then… found this:


Yep – the airport had stationary bikes located throughout the terminal – for folks to just hop on and ride! No surprise, it wasn’t hard to find an “open” bike. The chairs were more popular. But, I hopped on and set the dial to a pretty insignificant tension level, and just happily moved my legs for about 20 minutes. Not really a workout because there was no need to get sweaty before cramming into a plane with a bunch of people, but it was nice not to be idle.

I arrived in Minneapolis, late, and just went to bed. Still, I got up early enough to spend 30 mins on the treadmill (HATE the treadmill) before getting out the door for a full day of work.

NOTE – at the end of my long day, I got to meet up with Lucy at Carleton College – great to see her, meet her roommate, and spend some time with them. Very happy!


I ended up up having to switch hotels, and pretty much assumed I’d be back on the treadmill because this hotel is near the airport – all busy traffic all around. BUT, I saw a guy come in the lobby from a run as I was checking in and I asked him where he’d gone, and it turns out that there is a National Wildlife Refuge about 1.5 miles from the hotel! With miles and miles of beautiful trails! So, this morning, I ran out there, and into the refuge for the most beautiful scenery. (And, there were other runners, dog walkers, photographers, and hikers, so it wasn’t too scary to be in the trails…) I managed 10 miles and it felt great – beautiful, cool in the shade of the trees, and just nice to get fresh air and move.

Here are some scenes:



So, the hassle of delayed flights in Philly and switching hotels in Minneapolis actually had an upside.

Now, my flights from Minneapolis to Chicago is canceled thanks to the flight tower problems they’ve got going on and I’m sad to say that I don’t think that the diversion of my re-routed trip is going to have much of a silver lining. I’ve got a tight layover in and if I actually make it onto my connecting flight, have a 50-50 chance of making it to my evening work event on time…

Here’s to hoping that this diversion has an upside like the rest so far…

Next weekend is the Maine Marathon or the Maine Half Marathon. I have to decide which I’ll do. I signed up for the marathon before Janet, Margaret, and I decided on Philly. It’s a little early for me to grind through the full 26.2… but I have gotten some heavy mileage runs behind me already, so I might be able to do it. Or… I could save myself the trouble/stress/strain and just switch to the half and enjoy it. We’ll see.


Running through…

Marathon training is hard. It’s physically grueling, time consuming, and not even a necessary part of life. Everyone who does it has their own reasons and I have mine. But, whatever the reasons, the mileage stays the same and everyone training for a marathon has to figure out how to press on – or not.

I took 2 days off after my long run last weekend.  I did lunges, squats, kettlebell, and the BodyBlade. And longish walks with my dog, Stella. But nothing that was really very difficult. I was resting. When I went out for some mileage on Wednesday morning, I was struck by how bad I felt, and realized that’s almost always how I feel when I step off the driveway for a run. I noticed tightness in my calves, a strain in my foot, a knot in my right shoulder blade, and just overall fatigue.  In the first mile, I thought, “I need to listen to my body – it says it’s tired, this is too much, I should back off.”   But, I also remembered that I usually feel better somewhere between 2-3 miles.  The first mile isn’t a good gauge.  The first mile is just a succession of whiny fake out excuses.

I kept going and told my mind to think about other things besides aches and pains and before I knew it, I was cruising through the 4th mile, warmed up, breathing easily, with a steady cadence, … and comfortable.

I realized that it’s much like other things in life – when faced with discomfort, don’t give up. Check it out. Check in with that discomfort. Try it on for a while. See if you can move through it and get comfortable.  Because if you can move through it, you might be able to keep moving and cover a lot of ground. But, then again, sometimes you can’t. Like, last weekend when my IT band got into a fight with my knee and there was no “running through it.” There was only stopping.

But I had a goal this week – I wanted to get past that 18 mile mark that has been eluding me.  So, I used that goal as my focus – and I made time to use the roller twice a day, to roll out my feet, to stretch my hamstrings and my hips. And went to a massage therapist (HEAVEN) to really try to loosen up all that tightness. I wanted that 18 miles.

In the meantime, my Super Friend Julie came to visit me for a couple of days.  I’m a country girl. She’s a city girl. As in, she hasn’t had any yard work responsibilities in 20 years.  So, how especially sweet and exciting was it that she mowed my lawn so that I could fit in time for a training run before it rained? THIS sweet:

julie mowing


Because Julie freed me up to run for an hour, I had a chance to test out my bod after all that therapy work and I was feeling good – feeling like maybe I could get to the 18 this weekend.

As I mentioned in my post last week, friendship is an amazing thing. In Julie’s company,  I started to feel better physically, I laughed a lot.  We also quietly hung out on the coast near my house and I appreciated the peace of watching the water and giggling at the clams that were spitting at us on the shoreline.


As an aside, one example of how Julie is the greatest kind of friend is how much she loves my dog, Stella. I mean, really, who takes selfies of themselves with someone else’s dog? And lets that dog lick her face??


Julie had to leave me and head back to NYC, but she left me lifted up, leaving me energized, and feeling ready to go after that damn 18 miles.  Janet couldn’t run with me this weekend because she was busy going to pick up her new dog!  But, Kat was good for 8 miles and was happy to put her 8 into my challenge. So, I ran 5 on my own, picked up Kat in my driveway for the next 8.  We kept a steady pace, slow enough that we could talk and catch up.  It was really slow for Kat, but she kindly matched my steps instead of leading me into a faster pace that I wouldn’t be able to sustain.  After we finished the 8 mile loop, I had 13 miles behind me and continued on to get the next 5.

Usually I need music for long mileage because it helps me keep pace when I get really tired. But, since I had been with Kat, I didn’t have music with me, so I had to soldier into that last stretch without any assistance.  I had moments of thinking, “I should stop now before my knee hurts” but it wasn’t hurting, so I kept trotting along. I realized that I might be able to get to 20 miles.

I had two good reasons for stopping at mile 19:

1. I wanted to stop, for real, before my knee hurt. It was so stunning to me that I had made it that far without the knee acting up that I really didn’t want to make it happen.

2. Mile 19 was at my house. For me to get to 20 miles, I would have had to run PAST my house, which was just really hard to do when I had already gone 19.  So, the 19 seemed good. I stopped.

I was happy.   For dinner, I made this tasty plate of sauteed turkey sausage and kale, melon, corn, and roasted sweet potatoes.



And, just in case you think I’m all righteous with my healthy eating, I finished off the meal with a bowl of ice cream the size of a melon. The size of a watermelon, specifically. Dee-lish.

I have much travel coming up in the next couple of weeks, so I need to figure out how to get the mileage in.



“You Are Fast!”

Funny Story:

Part 1:  Last Sunday, I ran 16 miles.  During the week, I was supposed to run a 2mi day, then a 6 mile day embedded with 4 miles of “speedwork.”    The day that I set out for 2 miles, I got lost and had 5 miles on the books by the time I made it home (and late for work.)  So, the next run, I thought I’d just do 3 miles and do “speedwork” – which, according to the training plan, is back to back miles at a rate faster than  I’ve run before.  I hadn’t gotten close to that pace yet, and I hadn’t even really tried. On “speed” days, I was just running faster than I normally do.

Part 2: One of the guys who joined the College last year as a Senior VP is a very fit guy. He’s run a couple marathons and I think has established some pretty nice finishes at triathalons.  Now that I’ve moved, I live within a couple miles of his house.  I’ve seen him and his wife (also a very fit individual) go by on their bikes from time to time and they are not just “cruising.” They are racing.   I met him a social event last year before the marathon and he graciously gave me some good tips and lots of encouragement.  Now that we work at the same place, we bump into each other occasionally and he’s always inquired about my running plans and goals, which is very nice.

Collision Parts 1 & 2:  So, since I covered 5 miles earlier in the week, I started out on Thursday morning to try a short speed distance.  My goal – 3 miles as fast as I could go. I was determined and focused and was trying to run as efficiently and fast as possible to see how fast I could really be. (I have never tried this before – EVER.)  So, I had one mile left and I was really moving – I was actually running at the training plan goal pace. I was thinking to myself, “Wow – too bad I’m alone when this is happening!”  Next thing I know, a guy goes by on his bike and yells out “Hey Whit!” but he’s past me before I get a good look.


Later that morning, I get this email headline in my inbox – no message included – just a subject:


You Are Fast


HILARIOUS.  I have never been that fast before in my whole life and then when this elite athlete and colleague happens to see me, HE THINKS I’M A FAST RUNNER!  I’m still laughing.  (And I hope he never, ever, sees me running again.)

Today, I was aiming for 18 miles.  Janet and I had a plan to break the mileage into loops and a friend from work, Kat, planned to join in for final 8 mile loop. Janet and I had a really nice 10 miles at a nice pace where we could actually chat with each other for the first 7 miles, and tried a new road on the route that was really, really pretty! Kat kicked in at mile 1o to pace me for the next 8 miles, which was great. I was already tired, but she was just getting started, so she had good energy and stayed with me, also chatting, making the mileage easier to take.

My daughter, Lucy, drove by in the car at mile 14 to check on us, see if anyone needed a ride home, and offer ice water. I assured her I could make it home, gulped the water, and waved her off.  At mile 14.5, my left knee got mad and stopped doing its part. It was complaining non-stop, causing a left-listing shuffle that then caused a side-stitch on the right.  Lucy was long gone. I had 3.5 miles left.  Kat switched up the route to get us onto a dirt road instead of pavement, but I was still hurting.  All in all, I made it to 16.93 miles.  Not 18. Not quite the 17, but close enough that I’m putting “17” in my training log. And I don’t think I could have gotten that far on my own. This is why friends are so great! When things get tough, friends can make it feel less tough, and even figure out a way to lessen the challenge. Friends are awesome.

Here we are in my driveway (Kat -left, me -right.) Phew.

Kat and Whit in driveway



Also, here is an update on Margaret’s training in Lancaster, PA.  I don’t know what she does *every* day for training, but it’s probably better that I don’t know because I would feel weak and lazy in comparison. Especially because last I heard from her, she said, “Yeah, I didn’t run much but I did stadium steps.”  STADIUM STEPS. Do you know that that means? That means she is running UP the stairs of a football stadium, and back down. And back up. And back down.  Yesterday, she ran in a half-marathon. For the past two years, she has tried to get Janet and me to sign up and we are both squarely in the “No Way” category. Hot, humid, central PA, in Amish territory (aka HILLS). But the highlight of the race is running alongside the Amish and that the finisher medal is a hand forged horse shoe. She really wanted that horse shoe.  Here was her text yesterday,

Margaret's text2

Yep. She probably won her age-group, too.



Tough and tougher.

Last year at this time, I was coming up on 15-16 mile runs and was just plain scared. Scared about the training distances,scared about the running schedule during heavy work travel,  scared about cramps, tendonitis, fatigue, and just basically scared that I wouldn’t be able to finish the actual marathon.  This year, with one marathon in the bank, Janet and I both know we can get to the finish line. This year, it’s more about “finesse.”  Or, maybe not finesse, actually. Maybe more like an “organized” finish. And, by that, I mean my body being more organized in receiving motion signals from my brain, getting my feet in front of each other without flailing around and shuffling through the finish. We’re aiming for “strong” finishes. I’m not sure we’ve defined exactly what that means – we’re allowing the training to help sort that out.  “Strong” might mean faster, or less dilly dallying at the water stops, or a pacing plan by intervals, or whatever. I’m not sure yet.

But, this week was a real test for us both. Janet in is the midst of the THE busiest two weeks of her year – long work days, every day, managing a million things at once. That she can even think about scheduling a long run with me is a testament to her strength. I did a round trip – late night drive – from ME to PA and back to pick up Ellie from the Poconos, to get her back in time to have 48 hrs to say hi, do laundry, repack, and leave to drive back to PA for her 3rd year of college. Plus, I had work when I wasn’t driving to and from PA.  And I was fighting a cold at the end of the week. I was feeling a bit pressed, to say the least.  I had to toughen up to get it all done.

As a side note, knowing that I had a challenging week and heavy workload in Maine, I did manage to crank out a run in PA. My hotel was in the middle of a very busy area, no safe opportunity to run on a road and the treadmills were all being used. So, I went outside and took advantage of the hotel being part of a huge office park and I just looped up/down/around all the parking lots until I got some miles done.  I had some time in between my run and when Ellie was free to get picked up, so I hit the diner across the street – this place:

500 499

Just the right breakfast for a full week and long drive ahead.

Back home, I had packed work days and then had to swing by the hardware store to buy a maul.  I had been borrowing Janet’s but I had to return it and I still needed one at my place. (Who knew so many outdoor projects would require a maul? But many do.)

I asked the sales guy at the True Value to show me where the mauls were located. This is how the conversation went:

Him:  “You want a maul?”

Me:  “Yes”

Him: “Not an axe?”

Me:  “An axe would be OK, but I really need a maul.”

We go to where they are located… and he looks at me…

Him: “Are you the one swinging it?”

Me:  “Yes.”

Him:  “Well, we have several sizes…” as he rests his hand on the small one.

I pulled out the one I wanted.  What I really wanted to say as a follow up was this:

ME:  “Dude.  I obliterated the pounding block  pounding a 4 ft mailbox stake into the ground with a MAUL like THIS.  This is the damage I can do when I swing a MAUL this THIS SIZE. Dude.”

(Evidence of my toughness below:)


Today, Janet and I planned to run long.  I hadn’t been sleeping well and I don’t think Janet has been sleeping at all…  Still trying to get rid of the cold, I had to load up with cold medicine before heading out.  We stayed together for about 6 miles and then broke up to follow different routes/distances.  Each of us in our heads. Each of us trying to catch up in training. Each of us trying to shake off a crazy week and figure out how to manage the day ahead, whatever planned and unplanned challenges might arise.  At mile 13, I was hoping someone would drive by and offer me a ride.  (No luck.)   By mile 14, I was determined to get to mile 16.  It was tough, but I finished.  (Actually, I finished at 15.9, but I’m giving myself the .1 in mileage on account of the cold medicine. 🙂  )

I plopped in the ice bath, got out, and got on with my day.

What I have learned in marathon prep, but also as it applies to life, is that however tough I think I need to be, I might need to be tougher than that. And I can be that tough.




Marathon training meets ALS ice bucket (BATH) challenge…

Pretty nutty week for Janet, Margaret and me…  Margaret moved, and then entered a triathalon and came in 2nd for her group. Last week, I called her a “machine.”  Obviously, that is still the case.  Janet had a busy week at work and then had a long weekend out of town, several states away, for some serious family business.  I had very full days in the office myself because I’m trying to be on vacation this week, which means a lot of work got crammed into last week. According to Janet’s training plan, we were supposed to run 6 miles in the middle of the week at a blistering speed, with a shorter run squashed in there somewhere. I did manage to get the 6 miles in, with a couple other shorter runs in around that. I didn’t make the goal speed, but all my mileage was faster than my normal, so I think I’m still OK.

The training plan called for 14 miles today.  Margaret – definitely exempt – she moved and did a triathalon.  Janet – also exempt – left town and I think managed to get some runs in even though there probably really wasn’t any time for that given the circumstances.  I didn’t have any excuses, so I got up this morning and set out for the 14 miles.  It was nice, actually.  I ran down to the end of Mere Point – a solid 6 miles from my driveway to the end of the point. A quick jog around the boat launch and then back to home. That would only get me 12, but I knew I could turn around and run back a mile and then turn for home again to catch the 14.  I left in the sun, ran into the rain, ran into the sun, ran into the rain, sun, rain, and so forth. (Of course, when I got home, it was sunny for the rest of the day. ) At mile 11, my left knee started acting up. Not the “I’m tired, please stop moving me” kind of ruckus, but the IT band pain that first sent me into physical therapy 1.5 yrs ago.  So, I shuffled to mile 13 and let the 14th mile be a walking one. Even with all that, I managed race pace today, so I was happy.

When I got home, I had to deal with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Zak Harris, a colleague in my office, nominated me as he was pouring ice water over his head in a FB video. Since he called me out on Facebook, the whole world knows he nominated me.  A bold move to challenge your boss to dump ice water over her head, I must say. Bold move.  So I met his challenge and raised it – to an ice bath challenge.  You can see craziness here:


Now, if you’re not on Facebook and have you haven’t been watching the news, then you may not know about the ice bucket challenge.  You can find out about it here,, but it’s essentially a viral “awareness” and fundraising phenomenon that has hit social media. And I got wrapped into it thanks to Zak.  I have no problem supporting awareness or fundraising for ALS, so I was happy to take the challenge.

Ok, back to the marathon training blog….

Last week, I was still the only one of the three of us who had actually committed to Philly by registering for the marathon. Well, right in the midst of her move, Margaret signed up and sent me an email copy of her registration to prove that she was in. (Thank you!)  And then, Janet upped us both somehow catching a number, along with her husband, as part of the Nathan Hydration Team. Yes, that means she’s running with a team. (Nathan is one of the most popular companies making sports hydration gear – Janet and I both carry hand-held strap-on water bottles from Nathan ( Naturally, I immediately asked, “Good God, does this mean we have to train to be faster?”  She said she’s NOT SURE.  Holy Moly.

Anyway, Margaret, Janet, Michael (Janet’s husband) and I are all bound for Philly on November 23.

Since Janet couldn’t get to the 14 this weekend, I’m thinking she’s going to want to go for it next weekend. If my knee has stopped complaining, I’ll go with her…





Philadelphia Marathon – on the schedule – at least on mine

Today was Margaret’s last day of vacation in Maine and she chose to run 12 miles with Janet and me this morning before she packed the car to drive back to PA. If you couldn’t already tell, from all the previous blogs, Margaret is a machine. I don’t know anyone else who could run 12 miles, then pack up a family, and then drive all day. But Margaret can (and did.)

Today was tough on the three of us, though. We met in Portland and did almost the same route as last week  – including a full trip around Macworth Island and a detour through Payson Park on the return, trying to stretch the distance to 12 miles.

Margaret was running with wings on her feet – she was super fast and led way in front- her head just a dot for me to follow ahead in the distance. Janet was full of determination and stayed with Margaret for a long time before switching to a different pacing strategy.  I was the caboose. And, even though I felt good on this route last weekend, bopping along at a good pace, I was just NOT feeling it today. I sort of had heartburn for the first 8.5 miles and generally felt in a bad mood.

As we looped back to the starting point, it was obvious that the route was only going to be 11 miles, not the 12 we had planned. Now, the three of us are all the “get it done” type – no backing off the plan for us. But, today, none of us felt like finding that last mile. Nope.  At 11, we quit and sprawled out on the grass by the cove, complaining with relief that the run was done!

Margaret was heading back to PA to manage a move. She’s essentially been in housing limbo all summer. Her family is waiting to move into a new house next week, but had to move out of the former house in June, so the last couple of months have been a bit nutty. She was just anxious to get back to PA to get that move going and get herself and her family settled into the new house before school starts, so I think that’s how she ran so fast.

Since my move is over, I’m just tired. 🙂  And I didn’t feel like running fast at all.

Also, I lost the hard drive on my computer last week. Since I lost absolutely everything on the computer, that means I also lost my running log and my training plan. This means I’m following Janet’s crazy customized training plan she got from Runners World.

The most important point of this week’s blog is that we ran 11 miles together as if we’re all training for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23, but…. I’m still the ONLY one who has signed up!  Ok, Margaret’s moving and Janet is busy, but COME ON. If I’m on my own on race day because they didn’t sign up in time, I’m going to be really sad (and slow.)

I didn’t have my phone with me, so I don’t have any photos of today’s 11 miler. But, I’m including a photo of my dog, Stella, because she looks like I feel on long run days like today:




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)


On the road again…

Last time I posted, in *January*, Maine was in a deep freeze and I was complaining about plantar fasciitis.  Let’s just say, in all respects, it was a LONG winter, weather-wise and exercise-wise.

I just couldn’t get myself to deal with the gym and do the therapeutic workouts on the rowing machine or elliptical.  I’m not a gym girl. So, I made up my own workout – not the same cardio as running, but a regular routine that worked on strength.  It helped me keep focus and I stayed generally fit.

Ever heard of a Bodyblade?  Neither had I.  And then I tried one out and … it is one serious piece of equipment. It’s a long piece of fiberglass with weights on the end and a handle in the middle. You grip the middle, and cause a rhythmic motion and that works *everything*.

Here is the Bodyblade:

bodyblade photo


So, anyway, I had a routine of the Bodyblade, 40 lunges, and a 7 lb kettlebell, 6 days a week.   To deal with the foot issue, I rolled out my foot on a special (not so nice) nobby ball that was supposed to help loosen up the tight fascia in my foot. Then, along with those exercises, I slowly started running again.  Just 2 miles at a time, a couple times per week. Then 3 miles. Then 2 or 3, etc.  And now, I’m getting some real mileage back.

However, I am not completely recovered from the plantar fasciitis, so I have to do the following:

1. run with tight tape (and yes, the angle of this photo does make my ankle look really, really strange. It doesn’t really look like that.)


2. A post-run ice bath for my poor foot.


3. Then, a therapeutic compression sock especially for plantar fasciitis (and I have to sleep with the sock on, too!)


The good news is that I’m actually getting somewhere.  I logged over 20 miles last week, with an 8 miler last Sunday. (Though, I stopped at mile 7 for a quick hello to a neighbor who was outside in his driveway, and then it was actually a 15 min chat, so I got a bit of a rest before getting that last mile in.)

And, if you’ve read this blog before, or if you actually know me in person, then you know that there is a probably a goal embedded in this mileage effort.  Indeed, multiple goals exist.

For instance, I no longer have horses. This leaves a huge hole in my life for a lot of reasons, including regular exercise and a daily time commitment to caring for them.  Running takes time and effort and planning, so it helps to fill that tremendous void of an effort that I loved so much.  In this way, my goal is to use running to distract myself from the loss, finding an alternative outlet.

Also, running connects me to other people, though I mostly run alone. But, I know that Janet and Margaret are there, working on their own goals, logging their miles in achievement, with focus.  And, sometimes we’ll run together.  Margaret will be in Maine for the 4th of July. I am running the LLBean 10k on that day with a couple of friends from work, and Margaret will join us. 🙂  Janet is coaching a Couch to 5K group, so she’ll be with them on the 4th.

And, running is helping me keep my head together as there are days when the intense push-pull of my life could get me so mixed up that I would want to just stand still. But running keeps me moving forward – literally and figuratively.

So, I’m on the road again. I am aiming for October 5 – either the Maine Half Marathon or the Maine Marathon, depending on what I’m ready for.  Janet really wants to do the Philly marathon again, but it’s so late in November this year that it puts the heavy distance training during my busiest travel time which is pretty complicated. But, as Janet pointed out, Philly is relatively flat and has fans cheering for the whole 26.2 miles.  Maine is hilly, 1/10 of the runners, and not so many fans. It’s lonely and hard.  I’m not sure I need lonely and hard. So maybe Janet and I will just do the half marathon on Oct 5th and then decide about Philly.  Too soon to say.

However, I just went out and planted a water stop for tomorrow morning’s run – I am going to head out before it’s too hot and just see how far I can go….