Thursday, July 29, 2010


So I've been a longtime fan of Dick and Rick Hoyt - also known as Team Hoyt. For those unfamiliar, Dick and Rick are a father and son team who run marathons and triathlons together. Rick suffers from cerebral palsy and together Team Hoyt has touched thousands across the country, inspiring both the disabled and non-disabled to do anything they set their mind to

I mean this video and try not to shed a tear:

I picked up Dick Hoyt's book, Devoted, because I wanted to learn more about these amazing people and what it takes to not only push yourself but to push another human being 26.2 miles, or through a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run.

The book starts off with Dick's surprise that Team Hoyt had become such an Internet sensation. It's not every day you see people like Team Hoyt at a race. It did a really great job of telling the story of when Rick was born - he somehow got his mother's umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, cutting off oxygen and causing brain damage. Devoted goes through Dick's emotions when he and his then-wife learn their perfect baby was born with cerebral palsy. Doctors told the couple to put Rick away in an institution; that he would never be anything more than a vegetable. A lot of times I think about what that must be like, to have a disabled child. Really think about it. What goes through your mind...and what would you do?

Dick accepts his son's condition with grace and realizes that you can't change a tough situation but you can make the best of it. After Rick and Dick did their first road race ever - a 5-miler - Team Hoyt knew that was it, that is what they were meant to do. After running more than 1,000 road races, not to mention 25 Boston Marathons - I just can't even describe the love this father must have for his son.

I don't want to give the whole book away, but I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good memoir.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My new best friend: compression socks!

So as I've talked about before on here, I've had numerous ankle sprains on my left ankle throughout the past ten years. I've spent numerous hours at the ER, on crutches, and in air casts. It really sucks and I never did any kind of physical therapy for it, so naturally when I run, my left ankle gets incredibly cranky.

I run in these Asics which provide incredible ankle support. Still, I get this horrible pain when I run that starts in my ankle and goes up my leg, stopping below the knee. It feels like really, really bad cramping. It usually only lasts the first few miles and then eases up after that. Still, those are a painful few miles!

So in my search of a pain remedy, I decided to try these Craft compression socks . I was skeptical at first, of course. They were only about $34 at Runner's Alley in Nashua, N.H., my favorite local running store. They had way more expensive ones but since I was so skeptical about them helping, I went for the cheaper versions.

I couldn't wait to try them out yesterday so I put them on and headed to the Chelmsford High School track to run.

Let me tell you - they looked fly.

I know, I have fat calves. The fattest's pretty devastating that I can't wear boots that go past my ankles.

Here's a close up:

So as you can probably guess, these socks are SUPER tight around my calves. Again I was pretty skeptical but I headed out for a run. As I was running, I noticed I felt like my ankle/leg WAS getting sore and it was going to start hurting, but it never actually did. I loved the support the socks provided, because they were so tight. It felt like they really eased the pain of the pounding on my legs by controlling the muscle.

I quit after about 2 miles because I didn't want to overdo it - I'd still like to get a few miles in tonight - but I have to say, I was really impressed with these socks! They are actually meant to be really helpful during and after long runs because the heat increases blood circulation and warmth, aiding in healing after the run. The package said to keep the socks on about 45 minutes after running to aid in healing. Even though I didn't run too far, I did keep the socks on, and let me tell you - I felt a HUGE difference when I took the socks off! My legs felt like jell-o! I noticed my calves felt jiggly so the socks definitely do what they're intended to do.

The only thing I didn't like - which is not the sock's fault, obviously - was that running in the heat is brutal with them on. They're not itchy or anything, just hot. However, in the winter, I'm sure I will be so excited to wear these socks.

I also want to try athletic tape to see if I can curb the pain even more. Whatever works, right?

Running 3 miles tonight and taking tomorrow off due to thunderstorms. It's been in the 90s all week but Friday is supposed to cool off. I can't wait!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Upcoming races

I thought I'd post a schedule of what I'm racing and when, for those who are interested... :) a * next to the date denotes that I have run the race before.

August 8: Salem Heritage 5k in Salem, Mass.

October 11: Tufts 10K for women in Boston, Mass.

October 17: Bay State (half) Marathon in Lowell, Mass.

October 24*: Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton's 5k for Paws and Claws in Hopkinton, Mass.

January 1, 2011*: Lowell 1st Run in Lowell, Mass.

That's a pretty solid schedule to me! I'm so excited to run a half marathon where I live, because I'm going to be training on the streets of the actual race. I'm also so excited to run the Baypath 5k again because I just love running with puppies, even though I don't have one of my own. The Baypath race was my very very very first one and I got a horrible time but it really made me love racing and want to do better! So this year I know I'll get a better time.

I'm also so excited to run the Lowell 1st run again, last year that race was a BLAST! I loved starting the year off right with a run and the after party was fabulous!

So there you have it folks. Who's running with me!?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Race volunteering

So last night I volunteered at a water stop to help out Team in Training. The race was the Marathon Sports 5-miler in Weston, Mass. It looked like at least a few hundred people had signed up to run the race. I'd never been to a race on a weekday at all let alone at night so that was definitely a different race experience. But the weather was cooler and not at all humid so it worked out well!

So I got to the Team tent a little early and hung around until we got directions as to what to do. There are about 20 of us volunteering for the Team and we all got in vans and they shuttled us out to the course. I got off at the first - and the craziest - water stop. They warned us it would be nuts, and they were right!

We were stationed just past the mile 1 mark and on the other side of the street was the mile 3 3/4 mark. So we poured and poured cups of water, literally it looked like hundreds! We moved a few tables to the other side of the street so there would be enough for the runners at the 3 3/4 mile mark as well as the 1 mile mark.

They had shuttled us out about an hour early, so after that was done, there was LOTS of waiting around for the race to start and lots of anticipation. We also had to deal with traffic going by, including one poor guy who had to sit in his driveway for like 20 minutes because they had closed the road both ways for the runners. Sucks to be him!

Then the runners started coming by really quick. The fast runners - those who run about 5-minute miles - most didn't want water but those who did SUCKED at grabbing cups! We were warned we'd probably get wet but I really got a lot wet. The fast runners would go by, try to grab a cup from me, spill it on me, and do the same thing with the other 3 water holders standing behind me! Come on people, grab the cup at the top, squeeze and drink! Not hard!

I love people watching and I love watching runners so that part was fun for me. I cheered for all of them as they ran by. A pretty thick wave of runners after the fast runners kept me busy, then it started to thin out.

Then, who do I see, but one of my buds running the race! I didn't know she would be there so I was stoked to see a familiar face. By the time she looped back around she didn't look so hot - the course was pretty hilly - so I ran with her for a little while. Then we came to Caroline, another Team in Training familiar face on the side of the road, all by herself, directing runners to go straight. What a boring job! She'd been standing there for hours! So I let my friend go and stood with Caroline so she wouldn't be alone. After we were sure everyone went by, we cut across the field and headed back to the tent. I caught up with my bud again at the end of the race and she was so happy to be done! Yay her!

All in all it was a great experience and it really made me see how much work goes into a race. All the pouring, picking up the cups after the runners just throw them on the ground, cheering and getting was nuts! But it was all very rewarding and I'm sure I'll be doing it again sometime soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

figuring out life post-training

So it's been a week and a half since my half marathon. I've come home, but I haven't exactly de-stressed. There's a lot going on with me lately, mostly because I am starting a new job on Monday! But the little things that are popping up like preparations for said job, adopting another cat, getting my Direct TV fixed (ugh) or having to get my car fixed (double UGHHH) are definitely stressing me out.

And in between all these ups and downs, I need to find time to center myself and run again. I know life happens, but I have a 10K on July 4 I would like to be prepared for! I think if I had a bigger motivation - another half marathon - I would be able to make the time to run again and be diligent about it instead of "well I'm stressed out and have a lot to do so I'm not going to run". The more I don't run the more I feel like I am really slacking and I hate that feeling. It's just another thing added to my list that I have to do.

So tomorrow, after my new toys (read: new laptop, camera, etc) arrive for my new job, and hopefully before I have to bring my car in for service, I'd like to get a 5 mile run in.

The last time I ran was almost week ago and it was SUCH a great run. I loved the feeling of just running for me. No stress, nobody telling me to speed up or slow down or when to do anything or what to think. It was just me and the road. It reminded me why I run. But what about when life gets in the way?

I know it has only been a week and a half and I just ran a half marathon so I could be taking it easy right now. So why do I feel so uneasy without a set schedule, something to train for? Do I need structure in my life THIS badly?

I am just hoping it passes as all the things in my life start to calm down and I can get back into the regular groove of things, whatever that will be. I just hope it will include running a happy 10-15 miles a week.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Half marathon race report

I've never been regular when it comes to blogging, so forgive me for the extreme lapse in time from the last time I updated. Like I've said before, I write for a living, which makes it hard to write just for me.

But when I'm moved, I'll write, and the half marathon I ran two days ago really moved me.

Let's start at the beginning. I signed up for this race with one dream: get to the finish line. It seemed so unattainable. How can anyone run 13.1 miles? That's crazy talk. But it was a challenge I wanted to overcome, and I did. It took a LOT of work and it certainly wasn't easy but it was so worth it.

Not to mention the almost $3,000 I raised to help cure Leukemia and Lymphoma. My aunt died two years ago of leukemia so the cause is very near and dear to my heart.

Anyway, let me take you to what happened on race day:

I woke up at 3 a.m. bright and early in my San Diego hotel room after just having a dream that my wake up call was way too late. Not the best way to wake up, but nonetheless I hopped in the shower, threw on my singlet and my sneakers and headed downstairs. I hooked up with the rest of my team and I was nervous just because I didn't know what to expect. We started boarding shuttles at 4:30 a.m. and made it to Balboa Park in San Diego around 5.

We got into the extremely long line for the porto-potties. Normally when you're racing, they tell you to go to the bathroom, then get right back in line and go again. However the line was so long by the time we were done we decided to just get in our corrals. The gun went off at 6:15 but unfortunately I was in the third to last corral, so I didn't even cross the starting line until 7:08 a.m. So painful to just stand there for almost an hour! Ugh!

Anyway we get going and all of a sudden I'm like...OMG. I need a porto potty! Not even at mile 1 people! I pulled over and waited in line for the porto potty and finally went. Between that and some leg pain I've had regularly that kicks in between miles 1 and 3 and eases off, I ran a pretty crappy 5k time.

But after mile 3, I started to feel really good. I kicked it up a notch and went a little faster, and I felt like I had a good 10k time. Then at mile 7, the sun came out, and I was so done after that. I was very unprepared for the heat of San Diego...but in retrospect, there was really nothing I could have done to prepare for that. So I backed off in a big big way.

At that point we were running on the highway, on 163, and I was NOT a fan of that for many reasons. First, the road is SLANTED! So many people hurt themselves or their painful joints started acting up at that point. It is really hard to run on a slanted road! Second, the marathoners and the half marathoners merged at this point and ran together. It was really crappy to see all these people suddenly running past you and I'm sure it was annoying to them to have to weave in and out of slower half marathoners.

By then the heat was kicking my ass big time and at mile 9, a Team coach stopped me and was like "uhh...are you drinking water?" haha, yes I am sir, I trained for this race in the snow and was not prepared for running in 80 degree heat! But it worked out- at mile 10, people in grass skirts had hoses and were spraying water everywhere and it felt soooo good.

I really perked up after that and trudged through mile 11, and at mile 12 I met up with this girl, Kelsey, who was feeling really sore. Soreness had set in big time for me too but we decided to run together for a little while and talking to each other really took our minds off the pain.

Then all of a sudden a girl ran up behind us and was like "Less than half a mile to the finish! Let's do this!" and we were so ready to finish so we just let go of all the pain and pushed through to the finish. It was a great race even if I had to let go of my "happy time" time goal because of the heat.

As far as running another goes, I think I definitely will. I just don't know when. Knowing me, July will come around and I'll get the urge to train for a race in October. But I'm just going to let that happen and see if that really is the way I feel.

I feel really good about running my 10k on July 4. I feel like that is a great, managable distance right now :)

Thank you so much to everyone who pushed me throughout this experience and donated their time, effort, and money into helping me get to the finish line. Also thanks to the people who listened to me cry and moan after all my long runs. I really couldn't have done it without so many people who helped me get here!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Things I need to get better at, part 2

1. Stretching before a run
2. Stretching after a run
3. Pacing myself throughout my run
4. Watching where I step (aka make sure it's not in a pot hole)

These four things describe my run today, which was good, other than these three things. I really need to get on the ball! gaahhh