Category Archives: Exercise Mania

Winter has arrived – along with the outdoor gym

20131208_133126The long awaited first snow of the season has finally arrived.  While the calendar still registers December 8 as the FALL season – the white stuff trumps calendar dates.  It is officially winter, in Maryland.

In preparation for the winter season – this means:

  • there is not a lot of daylight
  • the sun – when it appears – is not very warm
  • winds are from the north
  • the “north” – means Canada
  • everything is colder – from Canada
  • freezing rain…snow…ice cause you to fall
  • it’s cold and flu season
  • everyone who has a cold or flu – shows up at indoor gyms

20131208_083714To avoid the germ sharing at indoor gyms, we created an outdoor weather-protected aerobic circuit – that includes everything a fitness enthusiast could want.   Except for heat.   Details, details.

Situated next to a pile of wood (awaiting burn on the indoor wood stove) are 3 exercise stations.  Stations 1 and 2 include an Elliptigo and Recumbent bicycle — on trainers.  Station 3 is the slide-board.

The quickest way to ramp up your cardio – is to use the slide-board.   While the recumbent bike works the high sections of your quads, and the Elliptigo gets your heart rate pumping – within 30 seconds the Slide board takes your workout to a whole new level.

The slide-board strengthens the adductors (inner thigh) and abductors (hips) by sliding with powerful, and graceful movements – from one length of the board to the next.   For speed (inline or ice) skaters, this is an ideal sport specific workout – as the movement simulates the strength needed in the legs, and movement of the arms.  For runners – the slide-board is not only a diversion from everyday pounding of pavement, but it strengthens the hip muscles using side to side motion.

So, as we exercise, in the cold, during the first snowfall of a Maryland winter, we discover:

  • you can get warm if you exercise long enough
  • it’s not snowing in the carport
  • a cup of Joe is waiting when the workout is over
  • being outdoors – despite the weather – is the best place to exercise

Jingle Jingle!

20131207_092359What I enjoy most about late season (December) running events – is that they don’t get started until mid-morning.    From March thru November in the Mid-Atlantic region – running events begin at the wee hours of the AM.  Forget about having breakfast, coffee, stretching, or having a few moments of zen — you need to rush out the door and join with masses of humans – with pixie dust still in your eyes.

The Jingle Bell Run – a 5K charity run/walk event held in Ellicott City in early December – starts at 9:30AM.  It’s practically lunch time for us type A early birds.  We have completed 2 full body sets on the foam roller, and we’re at least 2 inches taller from all of that stretching.   Working on a 3rd cup of coffee, we parked on residential side streets to avoid crowded parking lots – and joined with our team of runners and walkers inside of Centennial Park.  Runners included Team Femme — Emma, Jill, Deb & Jane, and the Walkers included Team Manly-Man – Chuck, Mike, Owen, Paddy — and puppy Lulu.    I also want to mention, that Team Femme – included the oldest runner on the course.   More on that.

With approximately 2000 entrants of runners, joggers, strollers & walkers – it was obvious by the number of baby strollers, small children and dogs on leashes – that there would be mayhem at the start.  Rather than try to run around these course obstacles, Team Femme opted to start at the front of the pack.  While this offered the advantage of not having to navigate around walkers and dogs — we were running much faster than ‘conversation pace’.  By the first mile, I was breathing hard, and Emma was busy chatting with me as if we were not even moving.  Jill was focused on breathing with a damaged lung, and elder Deb was passing those half her age.   More on that.

Just before the 2 mile mark, we reached a hill.  It had to be an 18% grade – and my pace slowed to a crawl.   Whiskey Tango?  Where did this hill come from?   Fortunately, the remaining course was not filled with more of these summit surprises – and despite the distance being “only” a 5K – I was thrilled to reach the finish line.  Out of breath, gasping for oxygen, one by one Team Femme crossed the finish line – only seconds apart.   And this included the oldest women on the course.  Keep reading.

Within 5 minutes – the memory of gasping for breath was long gone.   Team Femme decided to return to the course.   Apparently we needed more running.  The plan was to run in the opposite direction of the event – and catch up with Team Manly-Man — join with our spouse walkers, and walk back to the finish, together.   We met up with our significant others at approximately the 2 mile mark.   Paddy was moving as fast as his legs would allow, Lulu couldn’t run fast enough, Mike skillfully managed Lulu through the maze of walkers, Chuck had overheated with too many layers, and Owen hadn’t broken a sweat.  At this moment, Type A Team Femme discovered that running is overrated – and it was delightful chillin’ with the walkers.

Not more than 20 yards from Team Manly Man’s finish,  we heard our elder Team Femme member – called to the podium.   Deb, as it turns out – WON the 70 and over ladies event – AND was the oldest person on the course at the young age of 99.

Of course, Deb – is not 99.  She is not close to 99, and she looks like a youngsta if you ask me.   But apparently if you fail to list your date of birth on your event application — your age defaults to 99.   Who knew?   As Deb briefly styled for a photo shoot as the oldest person on the course — she promptly returned the 70&Over Medal — to it’s rightful owner.   Someone who actually was 70.   Don’t you worry Deb — someday that 70&Over Medal will be rightfully yours!

Age inspired conversations

Weekly long runs with your running circle of friends, often resemble therapy sessions.   Gasping for air, and mustering no more than 5 words at a time, it is easy to solve life’s pressing issues while exercising.  We run, we share barely audible phrases, and never seem to tire.  

I signed up for the Baltimore Half Marathon with my therapy partners…and one by one, they dropped out.  Life happens.  Apparently I didn’t have a lot of life events. Among my running friends, I was the only one arriving at the starting line.  It was time to meet new comrades and expand those therapy conversations.  With a sea of 25,000 runners, this shouldn’t be hard.

For the first 3 miles of the 13.1 mile route – the congestion of thousands of runners limited most communication to monologues

  • “oops sorry” as someone stepped on your toes
  • or  “excuse me” for accidentally shoving you into the curb
  • a simple “hand wave” that implies “Sorry to run in front of you but I’m really in a hurry so – can we just get along?”….
  • or just no words at all – as you re-gain your footwork from stumbling into a pothole

By mile 4, I noticed in my periphery – a man running along side of me.   Now, there are thousands of us running, and there is “someone” no more than 5 feet away at any given time.  Yet, I had the sensation that this particular man, was running with me.  We both raced past a water station…and neither of us stopped.   I passed a few runners to their right, and he passed to their left.  We continued to run, side by side.   By the time we reached mile 5 – it became obvious that we had become silent running partners within a congested mass of runner humanity.  We had the exact same cadence.  Our feet pounded the pavement together, in sync, and perfect rhythm, like a drum beat.

It was time for introductions.  Sort of.  I opened with “you know – we have the exact same cadence”.   Nothing like stating the obvious.  As a runner who is out of breath, I might as well get to the point.   He responded with “yeah, I noticed your cadence back at mile 3 and thought maybe I should run with you”.    Now, anywhere OUTSIDE of a running event,  this might be considered presumptuous, or at worst – stalking.  Yet during an event with 25,000 people, I took his comment as a compliment.   We exchanged names…meet Steve.  Steve and I continued to run in synchronized cadence while exchanging small talk.  Small talk while running,  is code for – gasping out a few words that barely resemble the English language.

And then he dropped the bomb.   “You are really running fast….for your age.   And, you’re barely breathing.”

What???   For my age?  Barely breathing?  Is that good?

My brain went into instant recall mode.   Did I remember to apply face (wrinkle) cream this morning?   Do I have more grey hairs today?   Has my mirror been less than truthful?  Did something suddenly change and now I appear “old”?   Am I in denial?   It seemed like yesterday, and I felt so young.   Sigh.  Have I finally reached that age, where compliments are followed by “for your age?”

It’s hard to process too many details 7 miles into a half marathon.   Up until this point, I was focused on “just finishing”.    Things have changed.  And apparently I have noticeably aged.  I decided to get one thing straight with Steve, in my mind.   Right then, and right now.  I was going to run faster and faster, until Steve could no longer keep up.  “for my age”  HA!   And my suppressed competitive nature – was out in full bloom!

One of the Golden rules of running – is to race at a speed you have successfully trained.   I read this somewhere, and it makes a lot of sense on paper.  However,  Steve tossed out the “for my age” comment.   A line in the sand has been crossed and now the Golden rules must be broken.

With 6 miles to go, I had to increase my speed gradually and hope that I could maintain the new pace.   Every mile Steve & I passed more runners.   He didn’t appear concerned one bit with the faster pace.   By mile 9 Steve astutely noted “I think we’re running faster“….followed by “you’re going to place really well – in your age group“.  In a moment, when I wondered if my new found speed had reached it’s peak, Steve’s comments re-fueled my energy.  We dueled the runners beat for another mile.

By mile 10, I was tiring.  And on a particularly tough uphill,  I slowed for a 30 second recovery pace and watched Steve run ahead, without me.  I was paying the price for breaking the Golden rules of running.   My eyes never left Steve.   After a brief recovery I reset my pace to chip away at the 100 foot lead that Steve had taken from me.   At mile 11 I passed Steve, giving him the infamous runners “hand wave“, and never looked back.

With help from cheering crowds lining the last mile of the Half Marathon finish – I stayed on my faster than normal pace – and managed to cross the finish line with a Personal Record.   I’m not sure when Steve finished.  I never saw him again.  I do know that he finished somewhere behind me.   As I dragged my aching muscles through the finish chute, I had to wonder.  Why is it that a perfect stranger – who thought I was “old” – managed to inspire me to run faster in my mid-life – than I ever ran back when I was 18?

We all have a tank of reserves – a special place in your soul where you go when you need to dig deep.   Thanks Steve for our running therapy session.   And helping me to discover – that at my age I still have a tank of reserves!

13.1 miles of Brotherly Love

Perfect temps – 52 degrees at the start for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia PA.

downtownphillyRecovering from a bout with dehydration at the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half 2 weeks prior, a cold that insisted on lots of bed-rest and a severe case of “indecision”…let’s just say I had NO performance expectations for this event.   Team TRI Sistahood had split up for the weekend — with Jill becoming a Savage Bitch for the second year in a row on Saturday (woo ha!!)   (more on this in a separate post) – and my waiting waiting waiting for enough energy to attempt some mileage via Brotherly Love on Sunday!

Sunday morning arrived, and I still wasn’t sure if I should attempt 13.1.   But what’s the worst that could happen -eh?  The combined running vibe. mesmerizing landscape and cheers from the crowd – helped make the miles go by! 25,000 runners participated in this very festive event in downtown Philadelphia. The first half of the course weaved through the historic and arts district – past City Hall, along Market Street and roadways named for Ben Franklin. The second half of the route then turned along Fairmont Park which borders the Schuylkill River. For 3 miles, the run is on the east side of the river, and the last 4 miles is on the west side. The park is a gem – with large trees shading much of the course, wide roads, and picturesque views of the river. It was easy to become distracted from running!   The crowds were spectacular – cheering us on and willing our legs to go just a tad faster – to cross the finish line.

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Everybody needs somebody, sometime…

There is nothing quite like a road trip.   A destination of fun.   And an added dose of endorphin’s waiting to be consumed.

Meet Team Virginia Beach – consisting of Team  Support Director – brother Chuck…and exercise obsessed Tri-Sista’s Jill and Jane.   We were prepared for yet another half marathon.  Weekly long runs consisted of 1.5 – 2 hours and yes, we even ran all summer during bouts of intense heat and humidity.   Another half marathon?   Well, this would be a snap.

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Our travels took us on the back roads along Route 17 which was mostly without traffic stress.  Arriving in Virginia Beach – we proceeded to:

  • stimulate the Virginia Beach economy during packet pick up
  • seek food
  • walk the beach and boardwalk
  • realize it is VERY hot here
  • seek A/C at a Sweet Frog chain
  • discover frozen yogurt + toppings has been missing from your diet
  • Google every Sweet Frog chain on the Eastern seaboard

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After walking 40 blocks in the afternoon Virginia Beach heat, we eventually stumbled onto a dinner gem – appropriately named “Eat”.  Simple as that, and anything but.   The food was almost too beautifully prepared to eat, but we did anyway.  And savored every bite!   Life is good on the VA Beachfront!   Back to the hotel for early bedtimes, as we prepare for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon.

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By 5:40AM Sunday morning we were seated on one of the many shuttle buses – to take us from our hotel to the Start line of the 1/2 marathon.   The temperatures didn’t feel too bad at 6AM, tho it was humid.   It would have been great to START the event at 6AM – instead of waiting for the sun to rise by 7AM – but no such luck.   By 6:45AM – we, along with 15,000 other runners were in the corral queue — waiting for the run to get moving.

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Pre-race photo op

Let me just summarize the event before it escalated into high drama:

  • by mile 1 we were drenched with sweat
  • 92% humidity
  • every water station we hydrated and doused with water
  • we body slammed to each hose / water spray along the route
  • discovered it was much cooler running without a running shirt!
  • watched the elite runners (opposite direction) sprint toward the finish
  • make note of the Jamaican band play “Three little birds”  (Everything is gonna be all right)
  • make note of how strong Jill is running
  • do my best to keep up with Jill
  • Fading fast at mile 11
  • couldn’t wait for each water station
  • couldn’t wait for the finish line
  • More Photos!

When the Kenyan runners (winners) admitted the temps were HOT and even THEY were not feeling well in the heat – you have to wonder about your running choices!

Now for the drama.  As I write this blog and reflect on the day, it’s amazing that I didn’t recognize any of the “signs” earlier…I wasn’t drinking nearly enough.  Before or during the event. I was drenched in sweat…and probably lost 5 lbs of water.  I had no juice.   I felt “off”.  When I tried to drink, my stomach immediately cramped.  I just wanted to sit down.

An hour after the finish, preparing to depart from VA Beach, my body had enough.  While waiting in line at the Starbucks with TriSista Jill, having not hydrated since mile 11 (due to stomach cramping)…my world suddenly went into a tailspin.    Everything went blurry and I knew I was about to faint, and lowered myself to the floor in the middle of the Starbucks sending my frantic sista-in-law into a whole new level of panic.

This is where so many angels appeared from nowhere.  A mother and her 3 daughters keeping me comfortable…the paramedic, the physician assistant who just happened to be in the crowd, the Starbucks employees and countless others who tended to me while waiting for the EMS team.   When I went into a bout of chills…someone whipped out their beach blanket to cover me.  The ambulance crew of volunteer paramedics arrived and whisked me off to their truck — while I held tight to Jill and Chuck and begged them not to leave me.    Anything and everything medical terrifies me.   After taking a bunch of ‘vitals’ and deciding that I was going to “live”…the paramedics offered me a choice — they could take me to the Runner’s Medical Tent or the local hospital.   I wanted to be with my runner comrades…so off we went.   Jill rode in the ambulance, while Chuck chased us via car.

Unfortunately, the medical personnel would not allow Jill and Chuck in the medical tent.  I was sent to the Runners Medical Tent – and they were assigned to a nearby waiting room tent.  Inside it was like a MASH operation.  I was amazed at all of the medical personnel – one nurse for each bed/patient…and 3 other nurses who worked the needles.  3-4 Physicians were roaming among all of the patients.  Since I was severely dehydrated, they had trouble finding a vein that would accept a needle for IV.  After three excruciatingly painful attempts — they finally got the needle in the vein.   There is a reason why I don’t like medical!!   But today, there was no other option.   Blood work, EKG, IV with all sorts of magic fluid – I received the most amazing care and treatment at the Runners MASH Tent — and all the while receiving updates on Chuck and Jill.  I was repeatedly informed how concerned they were for me….and at one point just broke into tears.   The nurse told me it was a good sign that I could cry — as I was becoming more hydrated.  Then I laughed…and I knew….that the song “3 Little Birds” we heard earlier on route – were meant for me.   Everything was gonna be alright.    Included in the entry fee for the Rock n Roll Marathon – is the medical service they provide.   And the organization of countless volunteers and medical personnel.   I will never complain about an entry fee again.   Everybody needs somebody….sometime.   You never know when…it will be you.  And I couldn’t be more grateful for the angels whom I’ll never see again, and for my angels who never left my side…Jill and Chuck.

All smiles at the podium!

There is a pattern to this fitness madness.   It goes something like this:

  1. Sign up for an event that you are not ready for
  2. Start training for that event way too late
  3. Taper for the event way too early
  4. Carb load when it is not really necessary
  5. Hope that you won’t be the last person crossing the finish line
  6. Throw your biorhythms completely off by getting up at 4am on event day
  7. Setup your transition area with extra food – as if you may be out for the ‘day plan’
  8. Scope the other athletes, and realize no one has an ounce of body fat
  9. Hide your extra food under a towel – as apparently you are the only person obsessed with nourishment
  10. Miss the mandatory race instructions – identifying route changes – cuz you were in the bathroom
  11. And make one more trip to the bathroom with 3 minutes to spare before the event starts

sendoffThere you have it, the Wadsworth Sista-hood each poised on “race” day for our respective Olympic distance events at Fort Richie – located in Cascade, MD.   Sista Jill – would be taking on the Triathlon – which consisted of a 1.5K swim + 40K bike + 10K run, and I would attempt the Duathlon, consisting of a 5K run + 40K bike + 10K run.   We proceeded to get body marked – where your bib number appears on one leg – and your age on the other.  The rationale for broadcasting your private information (age) to a bunch of athletes you’ve never met — is to identify those in your age category – and turn them into your competitors.  Or something like that.

wetsuitjillIn an unusually cool mid-summer morning with the air temperatures ranging from the 60s to low 70s – the water temperature registered at 73 degrees.   Anything below 78 degrees,  makes the swim leg of the triathlon ‘wet suit legal’.  This immediately put Jill in her ‘happy place’.   Wet suit = extra buoyancy = float higher in the water.   It also means that when you look out on the swim course and wonder why they allowed a motor boat to be on the same course with the swimmers, well, that’s no motorboat!   Meet Jill.   More on that in a moment.

The duathlon event started 25 minutes before the TRI.   This gives Jill more time to spend with her pre-race jitters, and gives me a head start on the ‘day plan’.  I lined up with my peeps.  The start whistle blows and the runners sprinted!   I thought this leg was a 5K – and not a 100 yard dash?!   I fought the temptation to sprint (as if I could!) with them, and opted to stay at my pace – slow n steady.   Within the first mile, I had passed a few older men and even a handful of women, but the bulk of the runners were long gone.   And then there was #51…a women.  Someone in my age category.   Someone I did not know.  I scoped her from behind.   I needed to pass her.  I did.   Now I needed to stay ahead of her.  And, suddenly my event that started as the ‘day plan’ turned into an all out competition with some women I’ve never met.

By the time I finished the first run leg – Jill was beginning her swim.  Without a wet suit, Jill swims like a fish with a motor….but WITH a wet suit – she is practically airborne!  The swim course is actually a funky swim-run on land for a tad-swim course.   Basically, the swim course is designed for the shorter Sprint version – so as the sprint swimmers were exiting the lake, the Olympic distance swimmers had to exit too…and then run across the Fort Richie lakefront to the nearest dock…and dive back in again for their second lap.   From the transition area, I thought I heard waves crashing on the shoreline – only to discover later that swim-motor-Jill was burning up the swim course.   She swam the entire distance in an amazing 34 minutes.   I don’t think she even came up for air.

With the 1st leg of the run now over, I managed to have a fast transition onto the bike – and made sure to pack some food and electrolyte jelly beans in my waist pack.   You never know when you’ll get hungry!   I haven’t seen my nemesis #51 – so I wasted no time climbing the first hill away from Fort Richie.

The bike course goes something like this:

  1. Climb this insane hill the moment you exit the Fort
  2. La de da thru a lovely flat wooded section
  3. Notice a big hill ahead of you…and wish you weren’t already in your granny gear
  4. Get to the main road with wide shoulders and descend for miles
  5. Realize that you have to go BACK the way you came…so better enjoy the descent!
  6. Weave off to a 10 mile country farm ride with rolling hills and bumpy roads
  7. Talk to the cows….

And WHAM….#51 BLOWS by me during the rolling hill descent.   I’m no match for her on the downhill – so opt to just keep the girl in my sight.  I’ve started strategizing on catching her on the uphill.   So much for the day plan.

As I return from the 10 mile farm loop toward the main road – I see Jill just beginning this loop and keeping pace with all of the zero-body fat male athletes with the $10,000 bike wheels.   “You go girl” we yell to each other, and I watch momentarily with awe as she keeps up with the boyz at her 100 rpm Tour-de-France cadence.

With Jill outta sight, it’s time to refocus onto #51, who is now within passing distance.   I wait until we reach another climb, in the hopes that she won’t be able to stay with me…and make my pass.  Now I have to stay ahead of her (not sure why?  but I do!) for the 8 mile ascent and return back to the Fort.

Here is what occurs during that final 8 mile ascent into the Catoctin Mountains on the bike course:

  1. You try to stay 1-2 gears above granny – just in case you need her
  2. Pace slows to 8mph
  3. Male athletes with fancy bike wheels pass you as if you were standing still
  4. You get to see all roadkill up front and personal
  5. The ‘day plan’ returns
  6. You try to eat something…but it won’t go down and stays in your cheeks as mush

Back to the transition area, I rack my bike and begin the final leg of the event — the 10K run.  The legs are a bit mushy at first, but within 100 yards – light feet return.   The first mile + of the run is uphill, so I’m breathing heavier than I would like.  No sign of #51 yet, so I have to sustain this pace.  For the final 10K run, we have to do 2 laps on the same course.   This means, as you NEAR the finish line after your first lap…don’t think about it – and turn the other way.   You have another lap to do.  It’s all mental at this point.   Jill had shared with me 4 jelly bean electrolytes – and I had eaten 3 of them during my first lap.   Was holding on to #4 for lap 2.  Turns out that wasn’t the best strategy – as the jelly bean morphed with sweat in my palm – and turned into a sticky mess.   Live n learn!

Still no sign of #51 (i.e. she hasn’t passed me) – so I amped up the pace of the last mile for added assurance – and was happy beyond belief that I had finished before the day was over!    Moments later – I watched Jill finish her first run lap – and begin lap #2.   I’ve never seen Jill with such giddy-up in her run!   She was even smiling and talking – and if you have ever run with Jill before – that is rare!   The run has been her least favorite event — but it seems like for today — she has made friends and peace!   30 minutes later — Jill sprints across the finish line – beating her prior PB in an Olympic Tri!

podiumjanepodiumjill01All the pre-race anxiety was long gone – and there were smiles everywhere.   I met my nemesis #51 – a lovely lady – and we vowed to look for each other in the next event.  As for an added bonus – Jill and I each earned a spot on the podium for our efforts!!   And earned the right to eat whatever we wanted (within limits!) for the rest of the day.

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Baltimore Womens Classic….always a Classic!

One of my favorite events – is the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K.  I’m not sure if it is a favorite because the distance is short…the course is fast…the vibe is great…or some combination thereof!

Regardless, just under 4000 women of all ages and abilities – join together to walk or run a 5K and support each other.  By 8AM, the temperatures were steamy – and by the time I had reached the first mile – I had already consumed all of my water supply!   Fortunately, this well organized event was equipped with 2 water & Gatorade stops – and I spent time at each of them!   The end of the race weaved along the waterfront promenade near Federal Hill – and it is always a grande moment to cross that finish line.  Some raced, some PR’d, some just enjoyed the moment.  Truly a Baltimore Classic and I’ll be looking forward to coming back next year!

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8 mile run on the Capital Crescent Trail

With Tropical Storm Andrea out of sight and out of mind, it was time for some weekend warrior madness.   The TriSistas (Jill, Tami & Jane) departed retail-centric-downtown Bethesda from the paved trail-head – southbound toward DC.  At 7AM, we couldn’t have asked for better weather — overcast skies, no sign of rain, and temperatures in the mid 60’s.  Tami made the mistake of asking me how many miles we were planning to run today.  I thought about putting 10 out for debate, but figured I’d have a better chance of getting buy-in from the sista’s at 8.  Despite some initial grumbling (which I ignored), we opted for an 8 mile run journey along the CCT, at speeds that would allow us to get back to our cars before the Parking Meter police appear.

We took an entire 4 minutes to warm up.  While some might consider the warm-up to be instrumental in getting the muscles ready for some major action – we consider the warm up as our only chat opportunity for the next 8 miles.  The 4 min warm-up includes getting in all conversation, therapy chat and sista talk before we actually started running.  Once running begins, lack of oxygen takes over – and all conversations can be had in 2-3 word sentences.   Something like this:

Tami:  how’s your week?

Jill:  good.  you?

Tami:  good.  Jane?

Jane:  yeah.

And that summed up the run chatter for the next 8 miles.

Back in Bethesda, filling the parking meters with a few quarters and armed with caffeine and bagels, oxygen has once again returned to our lungs, and we prepared for the official run cool-down.  Post run hang time!   TriSista style.  Nice.

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Historic Half

Notable moments of the Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg VA

  • when the temperatures are hot and humid AND it is raining, it is still hot and humid
  • 10,000 runners + NO wave start is mass chaos at the beginning of the run
  • the run began with a military prayer
  • historic downtown Fredericksburg seemed like a good place to meander
  • I meandered and enjoyed some jazz music along the way
  • one man ran 13.1 miles backwards
  • I barely passed the backwards running man.
  • long slow distance running = fat burn
  • I burned A LOT of fat!
  • canned fruit was served at the finish line
  • I didn’t care and ate it anyway!
  • a very nice marine placed my finisher medal over my head
  • the highlight of the run!

Rock n Roll Half Marathon New Orleans

There’s one problem with knowledge.   You can really mess up your running.

Prior to the Rock n Roll Half Marathon, I decided it was TIME.  Time to wear those minimalist running shoes once and for all.  I’m ready to make the switch.  My knees were hurting, with my “regular” running shoes, and when I wore those minimal shoes – the knees felt great.   There is obviously something to be gained.

Unfortunately, my calves were at odds with my knees – and while I had happy knees with my new minimal shoes – the noise from my calves got the best of me.  I was sidelined.

A sidelined runner is not a happy sight.   I did all of the wrong things – and yes, I knew better.   I tried to run before my calves were ready, and before I knew it, I was sidelined for a long stretch.

Yet, we had vacation plans for New Orleans.   And part of those vacation plans included a half marathon.  There was no way I would miss this event.  Even if I had to drag my grumpy calf along with me.

With low expectations of any fast pace, I joined my running comrades for a beautiful morning in the French Quarter with temperatures in the 50s and sunny skies.  We weaved our way toward the Audubon Zoo, and then circled back to the French Quarter, with a finish at City Park.

I concentrated on keeping the pace steady, nothing fast, refused to look at my Garmin while running and as long as my calf doesn’t complain, everything is good.   Hubby Paddy was following my progress (via text messages) on bicycle, although somehow we missed seeing each other during the run.

At the finish, while my knees were sore, my calves were happy and I was back to wearing traditional running shoes with the high padded heels.   Though I’ll work my way toward minimal shoes….just slowly!