Category Archives: Runner

The Ottawa Marathon Preamble

A decision to run another marathon might include mulling the details of fitness, nutrition, volume running, long runs, speed-work, hill work, the course layout — is it flat? hilly? urban?  oh-natural? —  all of which require dedicated planning and training for 16 weeks prior to showing up.  Or, the decision might evolve from a chance meet at a running Expo, where two lovely Canadians sitting at a booth in Corning, New York, describe the views along the course, surrounded by the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal,  the friendly spectators that line the course; while speaking with that pleasing French-Fargo  twang.  The ladies behind the Ottawa Marathon booth multi-tasked, handing out brochures, patiently explaining geography to Americans who were unclear if Ottawa was a city or a province, greeting other runners with more Bon Jour, and then describing croissants at the finish line.  I found myself mesmerized by their friendly Canadian vibe, losing all need to weigh the pros and cons of marathon training, and saying ‘why not? sign me up’.

Continue reading The Ottawa Marathon Preamble


Mill Mountain Star
Mill Mountain Star

Every once in awhile, you challenge yourself beyond what you think you are capable. You push the limits, and there is still a reserve to push harder.  You consider the “Q” word, but somehow manage to talk yourself out of quitting.  You think the worst is over, only to find you need to push yourself even more.  You wonder what provoked the need for such a challenge?   Or, maybe you just don’t realize what you have signed up for.

We had signed up for the Blue Ridge Half Marathon in the dead of winter.  The days when the temperatures were in single digits, the outdoor runs were slim to none and signing up for something that was advertised as the “worlds hardest half marathon’ seemed like a way out of the winter doldrums.  We live at sea level in Maryland.  Our altitude of 300′ with hills that might reach 1/4 mile at most is plenty challenging.  Yet, we were drawn to an event that claimed to reach the stars.  Words that touted 2 mountain climbs with nearly 4000′ of elevation change drew blank stares.  Fixated by the claim of the worlds hardest half marathon – well, I had to see it to believe it.  In that blissfully unaware cold winter day, sitting at my computer with a hot cup of Joe – I clicked on the “Register” button.   Now, all I had to do was to convince my running partner to do the same.  Fortunately she didn’t read the fine print. Continue reading Elevated

Flying palm trees

Krabbed IT on Kent Island!
Krabbed IT on Kent Island!

Many people consider the Chesapeake Bay as the waterway that divides the Maryland mainland and the Maryland Eastern Shore.  However, hidden in the geography details, is a small island.  Kent Island. An island where the “Q” sisters rule.  Sisters Quaint and Quiet.

It is also a splat of land where the terrain is sculpted perfectly for runners.  Perfect in my world translates to flat terrain, off road running trails, unbelievably scenic views of the Bay and roadways mostly devoid of traffic.  Welcome to the karma of Kent Island.

Continue reading Flying palm trees

Taking in Charleston via the Charleston Half Marathon and 5K

16299021661_bf26caba9f_zToday, I will run the Charleston Half Marathon – which is a charity running event that supports the Arts in Charleston SC.  We left our campground in Mount Pleasant by 6AM – for a 30 minute drive into downtown Charleston.  At 36 degrees, I was expecting to be cold, bone cold while waiting outdoors 1.5 hours for the 8AM start.  I was thrilled to find that the Burke Middle School was open to the runners, and all 4300 of us piled inside to stay warm.

This is where I met Rosanne – a lovely lady in her early 50’s who is a cancer survivor and has run over 30 marathons and a few Iron-Man triathlons.  She was quite inspiring and engaging and I nearly forgot that I was preparing to run a half marathon.  With 10 minutes before the race starts, I said goodbye to my new friend – and stepped outdoors. Brrr.  I was wearing too many clothes for running – but I really need to stay warm at the start.  Aaah, the runner’s dilemma boils down to how much clothing to wear. Continue reading Taking in Charleston via the Charleston Half Marathon and 5K

Inspired by a touch of summer…

With temperatures rising to 32 degrees and a rain-sleet storm heading in our direction – I had a mid-day window to get in my 10 mile run.   I’m wearing my usual wintertime running outfit — long sleeve moisture wicking shirt, thin insulated jacket, lined sweat pants, wool socks, mittens and a bright orange cap.  Born-n-raised in upstate NY, I should be able to handle 32 degree weather.

After the first 3 miles of hilly terrain – I had worked up some steam.   Apparently not enough steam.  I was passed by an older man wearing t-shirt and shorts.  That’s right – wearing summertime clothing.  The last I checked, it was still winter in Maryland.  And he zoomed past me.  Continue reading Inspired by a touch of summer…

Day 12 of the Holiday Challenge: A new twist on an old route

16117978692_eb97116ab9_z(1)My day had the makings of ‘busy’.  The novelty of laying low for the holidays was quickly wearing off – and an impromptu family gathering at my home later in the afternoon had me scrambling.  The house would need some tidying, quick stops to the grocery store, cooking and entertaining.   And all of that simply means — the workout must begin somewhere around OH dark hundred.

The necessities of a busy day translated into the need for a good kick-start, efficient, cardio blaster workout.  I was ready to proceed with “same-o”.  That same-o route, that I knew would get the job done.  At 0700 – my creative mind has not kicked in.  Thought ruts are deeply entrenched.   Thankfully – my Workout-Partner-In-Crime (WPIC) Jill had this angle covered for me — and suggested that we mix some new route with the old route.  And maybe a twist on the format could evolve? Continue reading Day 12 of the Holiday Challenge: A new twist on an old route

Day 10-11 of the Holiday Challenge: Lopsided legs

Day 10 of my thought rut challenge fell on Christmas Day.  Initially I had planned to run a half marathon – a virtual run for charity.  This would be a new adventure – running 13.1 miles on Christmas Day.  Never have I done that.  However, the gift and food coma thing took over earlier that I anticipated – so I allowed myself to take off an entire day from exercise.  Mostly.  Squeaked in a little 2 mile walk.  And followed that by way too much food consumption.  It is what it is.

Day 11 of my thought challenge had me curious about a recent injury to my left hamstring.  It occurred at the end of a tempo run.  I was lucky.  It wasn’t a debilitating injury – but more of a wake up call.  A wake up that I needed to be spending more time strengthening and stretching before and after I run.  A wake up call that I took seriously.   I do not want to be sidelined from running.  Period. Continue reading Day 10-11 of the Holiday Challenge: Lopsided legs

Day 8 of the Holiday Challenge: Balance

balanceIt’s day #8 of challenging my thought ruts – and I wasn’t quite sure what would appear.  With a day of slow steady rains – the notion of visiting the indoor public pool suddenly sounded appealing.  Somewhere in the midst of 5 months of marathon training – I lost all sense of exercise balance.  The kind of balance that changes up your routine.  The kind of balance that has you wearing out one part of your body – while the rest goes on vacation.  The kind of balance where you wonder if you have forgotten how to return – to homeostasis.  The kind of balance where the preferred exercise of choice is running above all else.

Today I opted to rediscover balance.  Just a little.  To see how it felt.  To try it on, wear it around and see if I liked the fit.  To see if balance is all that necessary.  And, to see if I even remembered how to swim. Continue reading Day 8 of the Holiday Challenge: Balance

Day 7 of the Holiday Challenge: Bagging the warmup

I enjoy running so much, that it is easy to skimp on the formalities.   You know, the stretching.  The strength exercises.  The core work.  Those annoying formalities that get in the way of just running out the door.

Despite my zest to just ‘up-n-run’, the hardest part of the daily workout is often motivating myself to do the warmup.   More than just 1 or 2 thirty second stretches.  Or, not getting all twisted up in my TRX ropes and calling that my warmup.  Continue reading Day 7 of the Holiday Challenge: Bagging the warmup