Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Boston Marathon training week in review: Week 7

It has happened. I am finally more than sick of my treadmill. I hate it now. Amazing isn't it? I've spent all these years not really minding my runs on it - I guess it was because if I wanted to run it was just what needed to happen. But I am sitting here anticipating be able to run outside now that my hours will soon change at work (only one more week to go!). The thought of my treadmill is driving me so crazy that I changed my usual off day (Sunday) to Thursday so I could run an extra day outside. I sure got what I asked for! Group run and long run reviews below:

NERC weekly group run:

I woke up in a panic Saturday, as it was 15F/-8C and I could not find my inhaler. It's not a good thing for someone with asthma to go out without using/taking an inhaler in these kind of temps. I couldn't find it, shrugged it off and made sure to take my balaclava with me (the one item I cannot stand). There was a good turnout for the run despite the cold. All the regulars were there. I heard Geoff Weber say he was only running 8 today (Melbourne marathon next week) so I opted for 8 as well, as I was doing 16 the next day.

We started off and I wasn't sure what was worse - wearing that stupid Balaclava or not wearing it. I could still feel the cold coming through that stupid thing. I still started out at a pretty good pace, running with Charlie Bolek (aka Speedy Gonzalez) for awhile. He then sped ahead of me, looking happy and fast - leaving me to think he really likes this stuff! After awhile Geoff W. and a couple of others caught up with me, and Geoff and I turned around at mile 4. I was still having a hard time trying to right my lungs - but we carried a conversation for at least a mile. Then it hit. I told Geoff I was stopping for a minute and he trotted on. I started wheezing and was SO ticked at myself! I was ONLY at MILE 5 or 6! ACKK! "This is insane!" I thought. Words cannot express how P.O.'ed and disappointed I was at myself. Never mind the fact that I was wheezing and couldn't breathe - but stopping after so few miles? That's gacho! I started up again after my lungs righted themselves just enough. With about 2 1/2 miles left I saw retired school teacher Ernie Richman, who has been having some leg muscle issues. (Geoff and I noticed we had not seen him for awhile as we were running back.) I asked him if he was OK - and he said yes, his muscle was just hurting a bit. Geoff wound up picking him up when he got back to the plaza.

After the run we had coffee at the plaza (as usual) and it helped my sour mood. Runners stumbled in one by one, frozen, wet, snowy, tired, and with ice hanging off of every piece and part. One runner took his hat off only to send ice flying everywhere! That brought a good laugh, and luckily he had one of the seats next to the fireplace. :)

16 mile long run:
Today's run started out with an unusual and beautiful sight - the sun! The sun was rising and treating Northeast Ohio to some beautiful colors. I don't think there's anything more beautiful than snow on the ground and a big blue sky. (Well, maybe palm trees and a beach!) The beauty was deceiving as tears streamed down my face for the first two miles. I had no control over this - and it got a little annoying. I really didn't feel too cold however, and was enjoying my first solo run outdoors in a pretty long time.

I took a different route today and had two goals. #1 - 16 miles, and #2 at some point in the run make it to Lake Erie. I really didn't have a route planned out (which is pretty rare for me) and it was exhilarating! I always have some sort of plan, but not today. I just ran where I felt - and it was great! Along the way I came across one unsightly scene - Lake County's eyesore called the Perry Nuclear Power plant. I stopped short of taking a picture though. I didn't feel like being chased down by security. I had visions of a happy me trekking down the road, minding my own biz and a helicopter swooping down in front of me. (While this is a dramatic vision, it got me laughing!) I ran on - and finally made it to the lake! I was the only one there, and it was beautiful. The only sound I heard was the amazing sound of the ice on the lake cracking. It's a sound I will never forget. I've been to the lake before during winter, but I've never heard that. I stood amazed - taking a couple pics and munching on my Gu Chomps (yum). All this took only 3, maybe 5 minutes but it was just enough time to bring enough pain and misery that would eventually bring REAL tears streaming down my face. My hands hurt. They hurt BAD. I quickly put everything away and started running again. I got about 1/2 mile down the road and they were even WORSE. There was only one time before today when my hands hurt this bad, and that was during a ski outing at Seven Springs in sub zero temps. That day all my fingers turned the funkiest shade of yellow I'd ever seen. I was imagining what my fingers looked like now, but I didn't dare take off my gloves. Instead I took my phone out to call home. This would have been my first time punking out on a run. I didn't care much though. I hurt! Attempting to call home, my cell kept locking up - due to the cold. Cue the tears. Finally after numerous attempts, and a few trys at shutting my phone off and turning it back on, I was able to call home. No one was home! I left a classic "I'm going to die, and call me when you get home" message. Disappointed I sucked it up and started to run again. This time I was running with my hands tucked under my armpits trying to get them warm. (Imagine seeing that as you're driving down the street!) Things started to get better though. Like a miracle, my music player (which is set to random) started playing all warm-weather genre songs. Salsa, Reggae - songs from Bob Marley, Marc Anthony, and Pit Bull to name a few. They just kept coming, and I felt warmer. It was the greatest! My hands felt toasty warm now, and I was glad I wasn't able to reach my husband. I was happy and had a spring in my step. Finally! I got home feeling relieved and glad I didn't have the opportunity to punk out. And so looking forward to a hot bath. :)

Beautiful Lake Erie:
Ray, Jordan, and Stan are on the other side!

Weekly summary:

Monday 15 miles, weights, sit ups
Tuesday 14 miles, weights, sit ups
Wednesday 14 miles, weights, sit ups
Thursday off
Friday 8 miles
Saturday 8 miles with the NERC
Sunday 16 miles

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ray Zahab, my new coach! NERC Banquet, and Boston Marathon Training Week in Review: Week 6

Excitement this week as I now have a running coach for the Mohican 50 miler! I can't believe my good fortune as Ray has agreed to take me on for training, as he only has time to train a few runners each year now. I'm so fortunate for this opportunity, and this will only make me work that much harder! I'm pumped to get ready for training! Coaching will be done via phone/net. This is my first running coach I will ever have, and can't believe I am so lucky! (translation - I know nothing about running.) All this works out perfectly since I'll be ditching the treadmill in a couple weeks. I still can't believe it! I'm still in shock! Now I have to REALLY bring it to Mohican! Ray is wideley known for his run across the the Sahara desert: 111 40 – 50 mile days of running in extreme desert conditions through six countries. The run was documented in the film Running the Sahara - directed by James Moll and produced and narrated by Matt Damon.

He is also the founder of Impossible2Possible

From the i2P Site:
The mission of impossible2Possible(i2P) is to encourage youth to reach beyond their perceived limits, and to use adventure as a medium to educate, inspire and empower our global community to make positive change in the world. i2P aims to equip today's youth with the understanding and belief that they have the power to change the world. We envision a world of achievers that believe in their hearts that nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

The vision of impossible2Possible (i2P) is to use adventure to cultivate a generation of leaders, whose direct experiences and education will prepare them to lead social and environmental action all across the world. To achieve this, i2P utilizes a combination of world-class expeditions, youth expeditions, leadership training and fully interactive web based educational resource material. adventure-learning trips that expose young leaders directly to issues impacting human and environmental sustainability worldwide. Our leadership training program equips young adventurers to become ambassadors of sustainability through public speaking, peer-to-peer education, and leadership of service projects. In addition, i2P will host high-profile education based i2P adventures in environmentally and socially sensitive regions.-->As with founder, Ray Zahab’s, run across the Sahara Desert, all i2P expeditions will make use of television, film, and the internet to broadcast these messages about human and environmental sustainability and to raise awareness and funds for our youth programs.

Ray will be headed out soon for the Siberian Express for Water

Siberia Express website:

They just got their sleds, so things are moving right along! You can follow the team's journey on the Siberian Express website - and schools can make it part of their curriculum.
Pic from the Siberian Express site:

This is one of the sleds Ray and Kevin Vallely will use on their journey.

So all this being said, Please donate to i2P at

They have shirts available for purchase using this link as well.

I can't say enough how fortunate I am. Training is going to be HARD and FUN! I can't wait to get started!

Week in Review:
Monday - 15 miles, weights
Tuesday - 8 miles, weights
Wednesday - 8 miles
Thursday - 15 miles, weights
Friday - 16 miles
Saturday - 10.76 with the NERC. Feeling slow, tired as I haven't taken a rest day in about 2 weeks.
Sunday - We were supposed to be headed off to a Familiarization Run for the Run with Your Heart Trail race, however my hubby's knee is hurting. Today has turned into a rest day for us )which it should be anyway-so it's cool. Jammies and movies today.

Northeast Running Club Banquet:

The NERC annual banquet was held last night and was, what else? Awesome! The food was great and the people were better. I forgot to bring my camera, in my mad dash to try to get things done yesterday. However - I do have some incriminating photos taken with my cell:





Jean! Ok, seriously though Jean is my idol. She is at every race in the area year after year. I admire her strength and love for running. At many times she is the only one in her age group (70+) She's a machine! I clap the loudest for her when she gets her awards, I love it!

One last note to everyone - please let me know if you're planning on running in the Cleveland marathon/Half marathon. I'd like to set up a meeting place before the race and do something afterwards as well. I know there are many people going - I don't want to leave anyone out. Thanks!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Boston Marathon Training Week In Review: Week 5

There was a lot going on this week! I went to my first NERC meeting (and board meeting). I wish I had gone sooner! Andy Webb spoke about the benefits of track workouts. He has me convinced that I need them, and when the NERC starts them back up in April (after the snow is gone) I will definetly be there! They will be a big help since I never did track/cross country or any kind of sport in school, so I will now be able to learn all the "technical" terms of running. Also discussed in the board meeting: The NERC is collecting used running shoes to be collected at this Saturday's banquet. The shoes will be donated to the Ed Keating Center of Cleveland, a center for adults addicted to drugs and alcohol. If you have any shoes you want to get rid of get in touch with me and I will pick them up. We already have over 20 pair just by spreading the word via facebook! Thanks to everyone who has donated so far! I appreciate it!

This week in running:

My miles totalled to 75 this week - so even though I didn't take a rest day I think I am doing well in cutting back. Soon when I can stomach it I will be doing only 8 miles each day (Monday through Friday) with my long runs on Saturday in addition to more cross training. I didn't get as much cross training in as I would like this past week, but hope I can get my lazy butt in gear for the current week. Mileage reduction was kind of easy for me this week, as I ran 12 miles on Tuesday and felt horrible! I was planning on 16 - but stopped at 12 and laid down on my floor in a fetal position and did NOT want to get back up. And I didn't. I don't know what went wrong, I just felt like I could sleep all day! (Maybe getting 4 - 4 1/2 hrs of sleep does that to you?) Wednesday I ran my long run in the evening (something I hate to do) because I woke up in the morning and felt like I was getting sick. I took some Dayquil and went back to sleep until it was time to go to work. I thought for sure I would be taking the whole day off running, but I suppose the Dayquil did its thing. Luckily nothing was going on in the evening and I got my miles in while my son did his homework. Afterwards we went sledding, and I got some fun hill work in! Honestly though, a lot of time was spent laying in the snow enjoying the crisp, fresh air and starry sky. It was a beautiful night!

Gary the traveling blister:

I have a blister. No big deal right? But this one is sticking around. Being real bothersome. I've even named him. (Notice he's a HE right? HA!) His name is Gary. He's been around since Sunday. Each time I try to kill Gary, he comes back, and is slowly traveling down my big toe. JERK.

Treadmill no more?

So I am please to say I think a good majority of my running will be done outside now! Yes that's right! OUTSIDE!!!! Soon I will be in a new position where I work. This position will allow me to come in as early as 5 a.m. if I want! So of course I'll do that! I will still get up at 2 and do things like laundry, cook dinner for the evening, etc. and go to work. I'll get off at 1:30 and straight to the parks I will go! I'll still be home before my son, so this just completely makes my day. I can't wait! My hours will change sometime next month. This will also be helpful when I start my Mohican 50 mile training.

NERC Saturday run:

One word: OWWWWWWW! Our weekly NERC Saturday run took place as usual, but the route changed slightly to include a good hill that wiped nearly everyone out. Everyone except John Mack that is, who sped ahead with what seemed like an effortless attempt to reach the top. This gave him a heart rate of 220 at the time, so I guess it wasn't so effortless! (It sure looked like it though!) Afterwards meant coffee at Bellasano's where we met a couple who recently moved here from New York. They were a nice couple, and the wife was a swimmer who belong to a local swimming club. We all sat and talked swimming and running for a while - and it was nice to hear about her sport. (At sport which I completely suck at, by the way.) The couple left, and soon all of us NERC members followed. All you could hear when everyone got up was a bunch a groaning - everyone had their butt kicked today!

Sunday long run:

My long run for the week was held on my typical off day (for whatever reason I decided to do this!) I logged some miles on the treadmill until I got in enough miles to then leave with my husband and finish while running the distance he was planning on running. We both started out pretty tired (as we went out the night before since my son slept over his friends house). Eventually we came to some train tracks that led us fairly close to our house when following them. My husband had talked about running alongside them before, but we never did. Until Sunday. This was another kick in the butt. I cannot believe how rough it was! I loved it! It also got me thinking that running alongside those tracks would be great trail run practice! The big huge pieces of gravel made for some very difficult running. I'll be keeping this in mind once Mohican starts. The only downside is that there really aren't any hills. I actually think I would die if there would be hills anyway. So I guess that's a good thing.

Weekly breakdown:

Monday: 15 miles, treadmill, a.m.

Tuesday: 12 miles, treadmill, a.m.

Wednesday: 8 miles, treadmill, a.m.

Thursday: 8 miles, treadmill, a.m.

Friday: 8 miles treadmill, a.m.

Saturday: 10 + miles with the NERC. A toughie! To quote Charlie Bolek "These guys are gonna make me fast!" I agree!

Sunday 14 mile long run - partially on treadmill, partially outdoors with hubby

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Boston marathon training week in review: Week 4

So I have begun weaning myself from my long runs. I still ran an awful lot this week, but did start to make cuts. Back to weight lifting as well. Next week will get even lower mileage and more cross training. I have to wonder if I'm doing the right thing though. Less miles just doesn't feel right.

Today proved to be an adventurous day. I ran 13 fast miles on the treadmill (nearly falling off of it due to uncontrollable laughter while watching the George Lopez show). My family and I then headed out for the NERC's West Woods trail fun run. This was an amazing fun run put on by Guy Gadonski. This event was free, and well planned. I would have actually PAID to do this one. My family and I got there late since my husband was just getting off third shift and didn't get home until 7:15. (The run started in Newbury at 8:00!) No matter though, as we weren't planning on running the whole distance since our son was going. The plan was to run just 2 or 3 miles - depending on how my son was feeling. (This is the reason for my longer run before heading out to the fun run) Our run did not turn out to be 2 or 3 miles. As we were running, we passed the main group of runners and thought they were headed back "home" to the pavilion. We turned around to follow - and then...trouble! I think the group split up at some point - some continued running for longer, and some meant to head back. However those of us that meant to head back did get a bit off course. Made a wrong turn somewhere. I'm not even sure where. My son insists he knew they way back - telling me only after we got home! I believe that he actually did, as he is not as directionally challenged as I am. I told him for next time, please PLEASE speak up! Voice your opinion man! Just because we are older, does not necessarily mean we are smarter!

Back to the run: We got tired fast, as the snow was very deep. Guy and his group did a good job packing the snow with snowshoes and making a good path, but it was still hard going. I'm not sure how far we wound up going (didn't turn on the Garmin - another mistake!) but we were whipped when we were finished. We wound up running for an hour. Despite all this, we did take the time to soak in the unimaginable beauty of the snow covered trails. I brought my camera, as I expected the run to be slow going and knew there would be opportunities for pics. I'm so glad I did, however pictures don't do it justice at all. There are no words for the beauty of the snow sitting on the tree branches, or the sound of the snow crunching underneath your feet. There were a few errors during this run on our part, but in the end it was all worth it. We were so lucky to experience the beauty of this park (West Woods, Geauga County). My son was particularly fond of the food at the end. As soon as he saw the shelter a huge grin appeared on his face, for he knew there was food there. And lots of it! Guy and his team brought many goodies to eat! They brought/made omelets, cookies, hot chocolate and coffee, potatoes, and other various items that runners brought. Our contribution: Bagels, cream cheese, and peanut butter.
This was such a fantastically organized event. Kudos to Guy for a great run! It had to have been an awful lot of work. For us the rest of the day was spent recovering in sweats, curled up
with some hot cocoa and blankets, watching movies on the couch. Tomorrow: Sledding!

Week in review and Recipes that work below:

Week in review:
Monday: 10 miles, treadmill
Tuesday: 15 miles, treadmill
Wednesday: 16 miles, treadmill
Thursday: 16 miles, treadmill
Friday: 8 miles, treadmill
Saturday: 13 miles, treadmill and ?? miles NERC Trail fun run

Recipes that work:
It's been a couple weeks, but back to the recipes! Our fave for the week is Greek God Pasta.
Greek God Pasta
1 160z package of whole wheat rotini
1 16 0z can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons of chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 cups tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup lowfat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
Hot banana peppers to taste
Garlic to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Cook pasta according to directions
3. Pour pasta into casserole dish
4. Mix remaining ingredients except cheeses. Pour on noodles, mix
5. Sprinkle cheeses over top
6. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Boston Marathon Training Week in Review: Week 3

96.99 miles total for the week! I have yet to hit a 100 mile week. Week 3 was not supposed to be a high mileage week, of course - but this is how I did it. Hopefully I have gotten it all out of my system and can start to work on speed, but I'm not so sure. Most of the running wound up being treadmill miles, but I did get 2 really nice, fun outdoor runs in. On New Year's Day my husband and I went out for a very snowy trail run. It felt great to to be on the trails. It was so quiet, and the snow was beautiful. It was tough maneuvering through the deep snow but it was lots of fun! When we were done we had lots of ice build up on our eyebrows and eyelashes. We could have been children of the Snow Miser himself. I wish I had brought my cell for a couple of pictures!

On Saturday I went out for the NERC's weekly group run. When I woke up that morning, my house was so warm and cozy - like a giant blanket wrapped around me. I procrastinated, but eventually sucked it up - got ready and left. Temps were in the teens, and wind chills were around 0-5 degrees. Weather reports had gusts possible up to 30 mph. I'm not sure how high they got while we were running, but it was freakin' windy. Despite the wind we pushed it. Every step was an effort, but we pressed on. The NERC is tough! Despite the weather we still had a nice group out there, and after the run we warmed up as we do every week - at Bellasano's drinking some nice warm coffee.

Our Saturday run stats:

When I got home after the run I got a bit of a surprise:

I don't know why I didn't feel it running. I guess my sock slipped down under my shoe just enough for me to not feel it, but just enough to do a bit of damage. I sure feel it now! OUCH!

This coming week I hope to cut my mileage down, work on speed, and incorporate some cross training into my routine. We'll see.

Training week in review:

Sunday: 16 treadmill miles - early a.m.
Monday: 16 treadmill miles - early a.m.
Tuesday: 16 treadmill miles - early a.m.
Wednesday: 16 treadmill miles - early a.m.
Thursday: 16 treadmill miles - early a.m.
Friday: 6.88 Trail miles with husband (my son bailed on us today!)
Saturday: 10.11 miles with the NERC

Total miles: 96.99