30 December, 2009

2010 plans and goals

My running goals/plans for 2010 are shaping up as follows:

1.) get back to "fighting weight." 4-5 months of focused effort should do the trick.
2.) work up to a mileage base of 30 miles/week by April/May timeframe and hold there through June.
3.) Starting in June/July, start working in some doubles in prep for 100-on-100 Relay on August 14th.
4.) Starting in July, training season for NYC Marathon starts.
5.) Blow my marathon PR out of the water.

and I may try for:
6.) a yearly mileage goal of 1200-1400 miles. Just not sure how to come up with a goal number given the peaks and valleys of training cycles.

22 December, 2009

It's been a while since I've posted here. Not a lot to say for myself really. I've been in a bit of a mental slump. We're in the dark cold season here in VT, and especially the last month or so with the short-and-getting-shorter days, it's been very tough to motivate to do anything. All I've wanted to do is go home after work, make soup, and curl up on the couch under a blanket. :-)

But we passed the shortest day of the year yesterday, the tide has turned, and it's time to get my tail in gear.

My main goal this time of year is consistency with number of days that I'm running. I'm shooting for 4 days/week right now, and not focusing on length of run. I just need to get out the door, into the gym, and get moving (oh yeah, I'm a treadmill runner for the winter).

I'll report back in regularly.

13 October, 2009

about 90%

I've been sick for the past 2 weeks with a sore throat then head congestion then cough and laryngitis then general cold. All with a lack of sleep.

However, I'm happy to say that I'm finally feeling pretty good, have slept through the night for 3 nights running, and feel about 90% right now.

I'm going to try running tonight, treadmill at the gym since it's freezing out here. I'll be interested to see how my stamina has been affected - both by being sick, and by lack of running. (insert whistling emoticon here).

Pretty much at this point in the year, I'll be on the treadmill for all my weekday runs. It's getting dark earlier, and I'm a wimp with the dark and the cold. Weekend runs will still be outside until the snow clogs the sidewalk.

14 September, 2009

Decision made...

I officially cancelled my NYC Marathon entry this weekend, deferring until the 2010 race, and I'm confident it was the right thing to do. We're 7 weeks away from race day, and I decided to be realistic, given the continued stomach issues and my lack of quality long runs at this point due to the stomach issues. I'll still be in NYC that weekend, just as head cheerleader on race day.

I'm going to do a half up here on November 8th instead as my second fall race for Neuroblastoma research at MSKCC.

Other random notes... I'm back from my trip to the city - observed 9/11, spent time with friends, and went to the US Open. Rain wreaked havoc with the Open schedule, and my tickets for mens semis on Saturday (first match at 11 a.m. and second immediately after that) became Sunday (matches at noon and 4:30 p.m.). So I saw the Nadal vs. Del Potro match - Del Potro was amazing. But I had to leave the Open to catch my flight at 7 p.m. Not a complete loss, though - it was a gorgeous day at the Open for the first match, and I saw the second match at the airport bar with an ice cold Corona or 2. Oh, I also went to the Met to see the Vermeer exhibit that just opened. Beautiful paintings.

I have 5 miles on tap for tonight after work, looking forward to working up a good sweat and getting the legs moving.

08 September, 2009

what to do, what to do

I'm in a muddle lately.

I've been debating, for weeks now, whether to run the NYC Marathon on November 1st, or to defer my entry until 2010. I haven't been able to finish a long run yet, due to stomach issues that seem to come on sometime around mile 6 or 7.

Two major issues come to mind:
1.) I haven't been able to finish a long run yet, so don't have the training on my legs or under my belt for race day, and
2.) Even if I can start the race, there's a good chance, based on the stomach issues I've had in my last few marathons, the 100-on-100, and my last few long training runs, that I'm going to end up walking the bulk of the marathon. I did that in 2008, walking the last 20, yes, you read that right, the last 20 miles. And it's just not how I envision my marathon.

I'm going to NY on marathon weekend. I have a flight down, and two nights of hotel booked. And I have my race entry, via the lottery. Which gives me the freedom to cancel. I can defer even up until the day before the race. So will keep training, keep trying to run long, and will hope for the best.

Worst case scenario, I found a half-marathon about 10 miles from home, the weekend AFTER New York. If I cancel NY, I can always do the half. That way, even if my stomach kicks in and I have to walk a bit, it won't be for that far.

19 August, 2009

My "100-on-100 Heart of Vermont Relay" race report

I'm not sure where to begin. Firstly, it was one of the most memorable weekends I've ever had. My 11 teammates (we have 2 teams of 6 running) come from all over the country. We're 3 VTers, 2 from IN, 1 from VA, 1 from MD, 1 from MA, 1 from IL, and 2 from NY. Anyways, I'm so fortunate to know them and to have spent quality (albeit smelly and stinky) time with all of them. We were truly a team, and this was really about pulling together and honoring Cody, the son of my teammate Mickey and his wife Diane, who passed away this March at age 6 of Neuroblastoma. It was an honor to run in Cody's name, and Cody was in mind a good portion of the day.

Saturday, we meet in the hotel lobby at 5:30 to head to Trapp Family Lodge. I'm a-skeered. Runner order for team 1 is: Eric, Scott, Elizabeth, Rick, Kerry, then Bill. We run in that order, and repeat 3 times. (Team 2 order is: Leslie, Ros, Karen, Tobes, Judy, and Mickey).

My 1st run:
This is my first run of the day, and it's 7.0 miles. It was still a bit fogged in when I started running. Legs feel good. Plenty of rolling hills, and I'm feeling comfortable. I get about a mile into my run, stop to stretch my calves and quads a bit, and keep going. I think our van passes me around mile 2 or so, cheering me out the window. Around mile 4 or so, though, my stomach starts acting up, very similar to the problem I had at NYC last year - I feel like throwing up when I'm running, so take it down to a power-walk until my stomach calms down. Start running again, feel like throwing up again. This goes on pretty much the rest of this leg. I get passed by about a million people, I reach the transition point and hand off to Rick. I was VERY frustrated at this point. My teammates were wonderful, reassuring me that they didn't care about my pace (or lack thereof).

My 2nd run:
This portion of the run is described as leaving the forest behind and entering pasturelands. They were telling the truth. It's 4.7 miles, mostly flat, but there is not a lick of shade to be found. NONE. ANYWHERE. It's a little over 90f, I'm absolutely roasting, and also still tremendously nauseous when running. I was running with a waist-pack water bottle carrier, and that's making my stomach worse - too much pressure around the stomach I think. When the team passes me at around mile 2, I give them that, and just take a water bottle. That helped, and they checked in on me again around mile 3. I run (a little) and walk (a lot) to finish out the leg and hand off to Rick again. I manage a good number of pretzels and a piece of bread, hoping that'll help.

My 3rd run:
This leg is 4.5 miles and described as: "Kill-ington Descent, sure to leave a lasting memory with those that take on the challenge." I get the hand-off from Scott, and take off. My stomach seems kinda okay, so I keep my stride smooth and low to the ground and keep running. The leg is rolling small and large hills for the first 2 miles or so, then all downhill from there. 1000 feet descent in 2.25 miles. I just keep running downhill, downhill, downhill. It actually felt pretty comfortable for me, although there were a few places where the slope would increase to a point where I was a little worried about taking a wipe-out. Just before the 4 mile marker, Karen from Cody Team II comes flying by me - yelling out something to the effect of "I'm out of control. I can't stop!" with a huge smile on her face. Anyways, I feel good and strong on this leg, and after the disasters of my first two run, am VERY pleased with this one. I hand off to Rick as dusk is setting in and away he goes.

The cameraderie of this race was awesome - we saw Team 2 out on the course, and at transition areas throughout the day. And as Mickey (Cody's dad, on Team 2) and Bill approached the finish, we all joined in and Teams 1 and 2 crossed the finish line together. I'll never forget that moment. Lots of hugs, and lots of thoughts of Cody.

We all had breakfast together Sunday morning, then hit the road, with folks going in different directions - back to MA, IN, VA, MD, IL, and NY.

GREAT GREAT race, and I'm definitely doing this next year.

p.s. That downhill run... Well, let's just say it's a little tough on the quads. :-)

08 July, 2009

Ha, a week into training season, and I've already changed my training plan. I'm swapping from Bob Glover's plan over to Hal Higdon. I like Hal's mid-week middle-distance runs. I'll be mixing it up between his Novice I and Novice II plans. Hey, who ever said this stuff was set in stone? :-)

17 June, 2009

a few steps forward

So, a few new things going on with training...

I finally selected a training plan for the fall, and will go with the classic "Official training program of the NYC Marathon" by Bob Glover (the first time/casual marathoner program). It's the same training program as in his book. I like that it gets up to 20 miles a few times, unlike some of the other beginner plans. And I am indeed counting myself as a beginner this time around, since my running over the winter wasn't what it should have been.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to the program and getting into the thick of training season!

Also, a fun little twist to this... The health and wellness writer at the NY Times is training for her first marathon, and by virtue of the resources of the Times, and her column, a slew of training programs are now accessible as online programs. Same program I have printed out and tacked up on the bulletin board, but I can log my runs online, keep track of weekly mileage, how many weeks until the race, etc. And Bob Glover's beginner program is one of the ones they've included. :-) So, it's a nice little toy to play with.

04 June, 2009

and here we go!

So, for the first time EVER, drum roll please....... I got selected in the NYC Marathon lottery! 1 acceptance in 6 tries. :-) That's not to say I haven't run that race before, because I have - 5 times. But it's my first time in via the lottery. woohoo! I should have played PowerBall yesterday too, while my luck was running good LOL.

Consistency has always been my problem when it comes to running, but I'm slowly getting there. My fitness isn't exactly where it needs to be, considering my official training program starts on June 29th, but slow and steady wins *that* race.

More to follow as base-building continues, and as training season starts!

04 May, 2009

2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest recap

It's time for my 2009 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival recap, so here goes...

Thursday 30 April: We saw/heard Tulane University Jazz Ensemble. Then off to see Little Freddie King Blues Band in the Blues Tent (he played at the first Fest 40 years ago) - awesome. Then the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp band. Then New Birth Brass Band (love those horns and that brass sound!), then Michael Ward (jazz violinist). Next up, George Wein and the Newport All-Stars (also played at the first fest 40 years ago). Then Emmylou Harris.

High points of the day - the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp band, and some of Emmylou Harris' songs - she has the most amazing voice.

Clever t-shirt of the day: WTFWJD

Friday 1 May: tons of music again: Forgotten Souls Brass Band - great; BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet (zydeco/cajun music - great); then Marcia Ball (great blues and funk piano/vocals, all with a Louisiana twist to it); then off to John Boutte (great jazz vocals), followed by Esperanza Spalding (24year old phenom, plays upright bass with incredible vocals - watch for this name going forward). Last but certainly not least, Tony Bennett, who was incredible.

High points of the day - Marcia Ball singing "Louisiana 1927" (that song alone was worth the price of admission for the day), and Tony Bennett singing "The Good Life" and "I Left my Heart in San Francisco" as well as many of his other standards. He also has a sense of humor, dedicating "The Good Life" to Britney Spears - the crowd was howling with laughter at that one...

Clever t-shirt of the day: Please direct all questions to my agent.

Saturday 2 May: started the day with The New Orleans-Helsinki Connection band (made up of musicians from Helsinki Finland, and New Orleans - they met through some joint gigs then the Helsinki folks came over post-Katrina to help, and the rest is history). then on to Sherman Robertson in the Blues Tent; then over to see/hear Treme Brass Band in the Economy Hall tent (the most New Orleans-centric music at Fest is there), then Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Both Treme and Pres Hall had the crowds on their feet the entire time. Economy Hall tent is the only stage at Fest with a dance floor - it was packed as usual; and the second lines were frequent - moving through the entire tent. Finished the day with a little of the Kings of Leon set at the Gentilly Stage. I saw them a few years ago when they opened for U2, and didn't think much of them, but I heard a good number of songs that I really liked.

High points of the day: seeing the usual dancers and second-liners in Economy Hall - after 11 years in a row at Fest, I know these faces and come to count on them as part of my Fest - including the little 80+ year old lady that leads the second lines, and the french couple on the dance floor (she's pregnant this year, but still dances amazingly well); tall-grey-haired guy second-lining, and middle-aged-guy who dances with little-old-lady. I don't know a single name, but they're a big part of Fest to me.

Clever t-shirt of the day: This isn't the most direct route to work, but I hate my job anyway.

Sunday 3 May: started the day in the Blues Tent hearing Kenny Neal - amazing guitar; then over to the Jazz Tent for Jeremy Davenport (great trumpet, great vocals and an amazing band); stayed put to hear Ellis Marsalis next (amazing jazz pianist, and father of Wynton, Branford, Delfeyo and Jason Marsalis - all great jazz musicians in their own right). He also was Harry Connick Jr.'s piano teacher when Harry was a kid. then over to Economy Hall to hear Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band with Teedy Boutte (related to John Boutte, not sure how). Great band and great energy. The heavens opened during this set, sure was glad to be in a tent. Rain let up as it was ending but sky was still ominous, so we left for the day.

High point of the day: Jeremy Davenport's 11-year-old trumpet student playing "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans" during his set; and the Ellis Marsalis set - amazing as always.

Clever t-shirt of the day: Don't let reality ruin your day.

OVERALL: Music, food and spirit are alive and well in New Orleans - go down and spend your tourist dollars, because that's the lifeblood of this city. The post-Katrina rebuild and recovery is coming along, but again, it's a tourism-driven city. They're being hurt by this economic downturn as much if not more than any other region.

Fest dates for 2010 are: 23-25 April and 29 April - 2 May. Mark your calendars!!

13 April, 2009

it's been a while

I haven't posted here in a while. Guess I'm just not a talkative sort! :-)

But I do have some running-related news... I've registered, as part of a 6-person team, to run in the 100-on-100 Heart of Vermont relay on August 15th. This race starts at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT and travels 100 miles southward on scenic Route 100, ending at Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, VT. The course is broken down into 18 legs, and runners 1-6 each run 3 legs over the course of the day. Total mileage per runner is somewhere between 15 and 18 miles. only other thing to note: HILLS GALORE! www.100on100.org

I'm running the race with 5 runners I know from the Runners World Online masters forum - having met 3 of them in person already - and we're running in memory of Cody, my friends Mickey and Diane's little boy, who passed away of Neuroblastoma in March at age 6. We'll also be fundraising for neuroblastoma research. I'll be fundraising for this race in conjunction with my NYC Marathon fundraising, which is also for neuroblastoma research. (see link http://tinyurl.com/dxabjt)

01 April, 2009

I've been feeling a little directionless lately with regards to my running, so spent a little time this morning at the chalkboard (I have an old schoolhouse one on my hallway wall) mapping out my running for the next few months. Just a consistent 4 days per week, slowly increasing the weekly mileage. Need a better base than I have currently! Anyways, it was good to see a plan up on the wall.

I've got 3 months of consistency and base-building before marathon training season starts on 1 July.

13 March, 2009

I've got a head/chest cold at the moment, but got to the gym last night for 3 TM miles. It was REALLY hard work! But I think warming up the body, getting the blood pumping, working up a good sweat, helped my cold a bit, so back at it tonight with another 3-4 miles.

By the way, we're back to winter again. 14F today and bright blue skies.

06 March, 2009


I can't really say much for myself right now. Have been running fairly consistently (3-4 days per week), need to make that 4-5 days per week, and then up the mileage per run. I'll get there. The time change this weekend will help for sure.

Much more importantly, though, I'm heartbroken to have to say that Cody, the 6-year old son of my friends Mickey and Diane, passed away from Neuroblastoma this morning. You can read more about their journey on Mickey's blog: http://deckapes.blogspot.com/.

I am so ANGRY that cancer has taken this beautiful little boy, so ANGRY that his amazing parents have to bear this loss, and so ANGRY that Cody's brother and sister have to move forward without their little brother.

19 February, 2009

Here we go!

Again, first order of business is prayers and positive thoughts for the Johnson family!

I have a 3-4 miler on tap for tonight, however much I can fit in before rushing home to get cleaned up for a night out w/ DBF.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY! Right now, I'm doing runs of 3-4 miles at a go. 4 days a week. Will move up to 4-5 milers as my mainstay runs. stay there a while, then start lengthening one weekday run and the weekend run. By May or so, I need to be doing 20-25 miles per week, consistently. That's my base-building plan.

Because as you might have guessed by now, I have registered to run the NYC Marathon this fall. I know, I can hear the eyes rolling around in your head right now because I swore I would NEVER, EVER, run that race again.

But I'm running in Cody's name again, and will fundraise for Neuroblastoma again. And that makes it worth all the effort.

18 February, 2009

Again, first things first - sending every positive thought that I can to Mickey, Diane, Cody, and family today.

Other than that, just happy that I'm enjoying my running again. It's been a long time since I've been able to say that! It's really hard work again, which isn't surprising given how much time I took off, but I finish a run feeling like I've accomplished something. :-)

Did 4 last night, TM at the gym, and am planning on 4 or 5 tonight. I need to start back up with the crunches and pushups.

16 February, 2009

Monday, Monday...

First off, I'm sending every positive thought and energy I can to Mickey, Diane, Cody and family today. Praying for a miracle that Cody's liver function improves so he can start back with his chemo again... sigh.

I'll be running my fall marathon in honor of Cody again, and will start my fundraising for Neuroblastoma research at MSKCC pretty soon as well.

Other than that, just planning on a 4-5 miler tonight at the gym. I can't believe I'm sore from the 3-miler that I did on Saturday. Just goes to show that other cardio, whether elliptical, bike or arc trainer, are no substitute for running.

13 February, 2009

Winter has returned after taking off a few days (we had 52F temps on Wednesday and 45F temps yesterday). 18F today, but nice blue skies.

I'll be hitting the gym tonight for a few miles. Then going to the movies with sis#1.

I haven't been running much or often - lots of plans but things seem to get in the way. Not necessarily important things, just things in general. But I'm signing up for a marathon next week, and I darn well better get consistent with my running, and long before the training season actually starts.

05 February, 2009

I'll get to the gym for a 4-miler tonight, looking forward to it.

But my main thought today is for Cody, the 6-year old son of my friends Mickey and Diane - waging his 3rd battle against Neuroblastoma. And for Mickey and Diane themselves, waging their battle against stupid insurance companies.

Sending every positive thought I can!

28 January, 2009

I've been in a bit of a mojo-slump, with not much interest in getting to the gym at night. Unfortunately, as someone who hates being cold, this weather makes me want to go home straight from work, and curl up on the couch under a blanket. :-)

However, with winter being really long here, 4-5 months of no exercise is really a bad idea - I'd be a complete blob by spring time. :-)

So, back at it tonight with 4-5 miles, treadmill at the gym.

Caveat being that with 10-16" of snow on the way today/tonight, I'll see how the roads are.

15 January, 2009


What else is there to say... It's freakin' freezing here in VT! It was -10F on my way to work this morning, and was only up to 3F when I went to grab lunch.

Needless to say, there is no WAY I would run outside in this kind of weather, so off to the gym I go for a treadmill run. Hopefully I can actually get a parking spot at the gym (as opposed to last Thursday when I drove around the lot for 22 minutes, seriously, with no luck whatsoever).

I have 4 miles on tap for tonight.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY! I need to keep telling myself that!