Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Track W/O Pre-Snowstorm & Christmas Recap

Ech. I just got a call that the person I was going to go to for acupuncture on my left hammy, buttocks, knee, foot and shoulder just cancelled! Unfortunately, he is ill. Well, I hope he is feeling better soon. Coach recommended him because he has experience working with runners and he is a runner. too (I think a marathoner). I am looking forward to the first session - I hope I can get some relief.

Today, I was off - foot pain - I don't know, I tweaked it going up one of those hills in the TCS Annapolis Half Marathon. It hasn't gotten any better, but it's not swollen. I've been icing it - I hope it just goes away. It hurts the most when I start running. So, I ran my 1.5mile warm-up on the turf field to ease into the run and lessen the pain. It's really messing with my strides, too. I am at least 5seconds slower than my normal stride pace. The pain keeps me from forcefully propelling myself forward.

Coach has been taking it easy on me. Today, I ran 2&1/2 laps at an easy 7:20minute pace, jogged a half a lap and repeated it four times. I was having trouble with the last set. I had shooting pains going up the back of my hammy. I finished with some drills and a mile cool down.

I came home, iced, stretched, rolled, used the bio-freeze. Not exactly my idea of a good-time, but (no pun there, really) at least I got to run before the snow came!
And my Christmas memories with my family this year are beautiful!
We got off to a rough start - we were a bit late in putting up the tree. 
But look, not bad for a late buy!
And, it was 1/2 price!
Everyone liked their presents - which I think is a first!
...even Girlfriend!
And even Jiggy had fun with her presents!
But absolutely, no one was happier than my sister-in-law, who was in her glory feeding my son, and our nieces, lobster on Christmas Eve. Although, I believe my nieces were taking advantage of their Auntie's Italian thought process - the one that goes like this: "I just gotta feed my babies or they will starve".
Yeah, girls, you know who you are, and I got your number!
Hey Balerie, way to get down and dirty with the lobster!
Love the hands, and the sweater!
Train Smart Today!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


My training has suffered these last couple of weeks. I was studying a lot, writing papers and PowerPoints for presentations. I wasn't going to the gym in the morning, and even though I kept up with my running, I stopped my stretch routine. After a run, I would hurry to shower, then work or drive up to the assisted living facility, whenever I had a free moment, to see my Mom-in-law. This has taken a toll on my tummy, as well as my left hammy/piriformis.
Then, it happened. 
December 8th, my Mom-in-law passed away - it was and still is, very sad. I haven't even had the courage to put that in writing until now. I still can't quite wrap my mind around her passing, or her suffering, throughout her last weeks with us. I tried to help - maybe give a tiny morsel of comfort to my late husband's mom and family, but nothing - there was nothing I could do to help take away her pain, or the pain of all who suffered, while they watched her pass. There was one night, Mom's last night - a Hospice nurse came into Mom's room - he started talking to her. He said that she was beautiful, and she created a beautiful family - he said that he could tell that we all loved her because the room felt full of love - and it was because of who she was. His words were true - Mom loved unselfishly. She gave her whole heart and soul to her family, and she didn't stop there - she made every person she met, feel special. She didn't teach us how to love, she taught us how to love, deeply. She was an amazing woman - and we will all miss her ...tons.
It's not good-bye, 
It's just so long for now.
I love you, tons<3
Mom, holding her son, at our wedding, 10/20/90
Train Smart Today!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Most grueling splits, ever!

It's been a long week! 
My training in the gym has been suffering a bit, lately. I can't wait until I finish this last exam on Monday and presentation on Tuesday - I think (hope) I will get back to a better gym routine.
Still, just out-a sorts pushing for the end of the semester.
It's not that the running hasn't been going fine. Well, I missed my long run this week, but maybe it's for the best since my left leg (hammie/but) has been really sore, again, but other than that, I have been running consistently. I even went to the track and trained with Coach on Wednesday. My "fans" left me alone this week! At the track, I ran my 1.5mile warm up and four strides and then ....
The most incredibly difficult splits, I've ever done. 
(I think that's what did my left hammy & but in)
I ran, fast, like a stride, for 200meters. Then, I jogged for 100meters. I repeated this three more times for a total of two times around the track. Next, I rested for two minutes - which was the most glorious two minutes. Then, I had to repeat this torture five more times!
By the time I ran my 1.5mile cool down, my legs were numb, and I was exhausted! This had to be one of the toughest track workouts, ever!
I do not look forward to a four hour drive to Boston tonight with girlfriend.
Girlfriend has an audition at Berklee College of Music, tomorrow at 10AM! Very exciting stuff!
Girlfriend singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the NY Mets game 9/11/2012
Train Smart Today!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rough Crowd in Jersey ...At the Track!

So, as usual, yesterday, Wednesday, I trained with Coach at the track.
I ran 1.5miles to warm-up, 
did four 100-meter strides, 
stretched, drank a little coconut water, 
and was ready to go.
Coach had me run splits, around the track, total length: 3miles. The splits were not by assigned by distance, but by time. I had to run a 7-minute pace (he went easy on me 'cause I raced on Saturday) for two-and-a-half minutes, jog thirty seconds, and then run two minutes and twenty seconds, with a 30 seconds jog, all the way down to 10 seconds.
It's been pretty cold, here in Jersey, and with the wind whipping around on the track, Coach drives his car up the ramp by the track, sits in his car, and keeps time. In order to let me know when to stop and start, he beeps his horn.
I'm like Pavlov's Dog. 
Now, every time I hear a car horn, I'm afraid I'll just want to take off and run.
Highway, small town roads, there, I'll be:
'Look at that, there goes Half-Crazed'
Must have been a car horn!
Beep, beep!
In his infinite wisdom, and concern for the injury (still healing, but never quite being healed) on my left side - left knee, hamstring, IT band, adductors - let's just say, my whole left side - Coach told me that I should run in the opposite direction.
He's so smart.
It was a great idea, my left side was definitely tighter, since my race this past Saturday.
So, I changed direction.
The first time around the track, I met with Group #1 Boot-Camp. They were doing their usual two laps around the track to warm-up. This group is there Monday-Friday and have been training on the football field for like 10 years, or more. They smiled, some yell out, "Hate running, don't know how you do it."
A couple of "Excuse me. Pardon Me. I'm sorry," were exchanged. 
End of story.
There is also another Boot-Camp Group - let's call them Group #2. They started coming to train, on the opposite end of the football field, I'd say, maybe a year ago. They have a track warm-up, too - they jog 1X around the track. I meet with them, face to face and say, "Excuse me. Pardon Me. I'm sorry." I was met with an angry and demanding,
"You're going the wrong way!" "Turn around!"
When I met up with them, again, on the opposite side of the track, one female participant, refused to move! 
I yelled out, "Training in the first lane."
Did she move?
I yelled out, again.
"Training in the first lane."
Did she move?
What do you think?
As she jogged toward me, slowly, she yelled out,
"You're going the wrong way!" "Turn around!"
I yelled back, "Training in the first lane!" 
Then, I passed my lovely seniors, and shouted,
"Wow. It's a rough crowd!" 
They smiled back, to me as if to say, "Sorry, you have to deal with this." I passed Coach in his car, and yelled out, "Do you believe this?"He called them some kinda' expletive, and said, "Just keep running."
Rounding the track, I approached Group #2, and yelled out, "Coach has me running this way because of an injury." Obviously, they could care less (PS Merry Christmas & Happy Chanukah), they started yelling,
"Get off the track."
"You should be banned from this track."
"Get off"
They don't even train on the track! All they do is run one 400meter warm-up. And very slowly, like at a  snails pace, might I add!
Okay, I thought:
I'm here to train. 
They don't pay my bills, 
and they don't wipe my nose when I'm sick, 
They got issues. It's not my problem.
By this time, Ms Fast-ee Pants started her training. Next time around the track, Coach yells out, "Ms Fast-ee Pants is going to join you - and run the opposite way."
I love it!
Thanks, Fast-ee!
So, what do you think happens, next? Yup, we both get heckled, but not by the same group of people. Let's say very round, woman, walking on the track, decides that she does not have to move from Lane#1 because we are going in the wrong direction! I literally have to go onto the football field because Lane#1 is just not big enough for both of us! I threw up my hands to Coach - and he called her a name that I just cannot blog about!
I don't know what compelled her to do so, but Ms Fast-ee stops her training and converses with this woman:
Fast-ee: Why does it bother you that I am going the opposite way?
Round: You shouldn't be going the opposite way. 
Fast-ee: Coach wants us to train this way.
Round: I'm a track coach, I would never ask my students to run the wrong way. (By the way, Coach has never, ever seen her, and he's been coaching for over 30 years!)
Fast-ee: I can see that, if you are coming here, after school, when the track is busier, but there are just a few people on the track.
Round: It's protocol!
Meanwhile, Coach is screaming, "Stop. Fast-ee. Stop. You're wasting your time!"
It's a rough crowd, here in Jersey - 
even at the track!
I'd like to know, although, I'm assuming this just does not happen in other parts of the country, or the world:
Have you ever been heckled, or yelled at, when you run?
I spoke to Coach. He called these people some more @*&#$&@ expletives, and said, "Don't worry about them. They are not following the rules of the track."
Me: "What? There are rules. Written rules?"
Coach: "Yes. Posted, on the sign, right behind you!"
Love These Rules!
Note, Second Rule: 
Lane 1 & 2 are to be used for fast runners only!
And, for the record, there are no rules stating that you must go in a specific direction!
Train Smart Today!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

TCS Annapolis Half Marathon: State#13!

Maryland, my 13th state!
Running in Annapolis was great!
And I'm proud to say, a new PR has been reached:
Not bad for a middle-aged chick, huh?
I wish I could say getting to Annapolis was just as easy. Sidekick was trying to talk me out of going. Girlfriend had a performance Friday night and had a whole bunch of college application stuff to hand in  for Saturday.
Girlfriend's in the middle!
You go girl!
Staying to watch Girlfriend perform would mean we wouldn't get down to Annapolis until 2AM. I said that I'd go by myself - no one else had to come. Being Half-Crazed doesn't mean I hafta make everyone  around me crazy, too. Still, I was really determined to get in one more half, this year, and that was driving everyone around me crazy! My goal is to do at least five per year. With my knee injury in May, I already cancelled two halves. I didn't want to have to cancel another. Besides, I'm was still on a HIGH from doing better than planned in the local Thanksgiving Day race, The Ashenfelter Classic, where I ran 7seconds faster/mile than I planned!

Even so, I understood where Sidekick was coming from: My Mother-in-law's health has been quickly deteriorating, I have had four hours of sleep every night this week because I have had tests, papers and presentations due - another night of no sleep, and a long drive,  does not make for a good pre-race situation. On top of that, Saturday night, my son would be going to his very first formal dance, "The Candy Cane".
Mini-man went red tie and vest!
Add to that, the young lady's corsage had to be picked up somewhere between 2-3PM.
Reasoning in my Half-Crazed Mind: 
We leave after the performance @10PM. Get down to Annapolis at 2AM. Wake at 6AM. Eat a bagel and drink some coffee, on the way to the race. Get to race by 6:30AM. Warm-up, do four strides. Race at 7AM. Hang out at race until 10AM. Shower at hotel and get on the road by 11:30AM. Home by 2:30PM, just in time to pick-up the corsage!
It's great when a plan comes together!
"Please be supportive of my goals, everyone. I can do this!"
I am blessed. My family saw how much this goal means to me, and they all pitched in. Girlfriend took care of her college applications stuff Saturday morning, and Mini-man arranged a ride for early Saturday morning wrestling practice. Side-kick, went over and above - he drove down to Annapolis and back, shaking his head, and telling me the whole way that he loves me, and that I am not Half-Crazed, but absolutely CRAZY!
There I was, 6:59AM, December 1:
Following a very aggressive, super A-type male runner while he frantically pushed his way through hundreds of people to get to the 7:30min/mi pace section of the start. It's good to be small and tag onto this kinda person - people think you're couple, they smile at you, kinda' like, "Aww, they're running together."And as a female, you don't seem obnoxious, or have other females looking at you with that look that says,
Just who do you think you are?"
Star Spangled Banner was sung. GO NAVY written on the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to the right side of me, and then, some guy (most likely from Army) yelled out, "Sink Navy".
We were off!
Race Elevation
This race was challenging. Lots of hills. So many ups and downs. I knew there was a bridge (the Naval Academy Bridge) spanning the Severn River at the mouth of the Chesapeake River, and I planned for this challenge at mile 6, but I didn't plan for the slow and torturous hill spanning the 7-7.5mile point. And then there was the turn around, so we could repeated it all again!
I had to stop at the top of the hill, at that 7.5mile point.
I was gasping for air!
There was a water/Gatorade station. When I stopped, I noted a women in a fuchsia top, grabbed the Gatorade, sucked 1/2 of it down between gasps of air, heard someone yell,
"Quick, toss your cup this way. 
She must have seen my confusion - there were runners on my right, making it up that horrible hill, and runners passing me, on my left. It was pretty cold, so I didn't want to soak anyone with sticky Gatorade. Her strong, "NOW," snapped me back into focus. I tossed the cup and sprinted down the hill, after the woman in fuchsia, hearing my friends voice in my head:
"The easiest thing in the world you can do is give up!"
I caught up to the woman in fuchsia, doing sub 6:50min/mile pace, only to face a few more hills and the Naval Academy Bridge, again. Luckily, I counted to 10 and repeated some ABC's going up the bridge the 1st time, so I knew how long it would take me to conquer the bridge on my return trip. I paced it pretty good, and when I got to the top, I screamed:
I'm done with that bridge!"
Some guys started laughing and we got to talking. I was delirious, at that point, telling them about my four hours of sleep and my goal to complete a half in every state. They wanted to know which state would be my last. I told them, "Nevada" and explained that my son will be 21, and he wants to go to Vegas, run the half with me, have a drink with me and play some Craps! God-willing, one day, I will be able to say, again:
"It's great when a plan comes together!"
The race went back through the downtown area of Annapolis, which looked super quaint. I have to admit, with all the turns, ups and downs, I really didn't focus on the scenery. I really concentrated on keeping pace uphill, and stabilizing my core on the down hill. At one point, some guy next to me just lost it and yelled out, "I can't take going downhill anymore! Where are the straightaways?"
Then, about mile 11, I thought, "God no, I'm becoming my own statistic."
I always say, about mile 10 or so, people just fall off the chart. I'm guessing they just don't train passed 10miles. Usually, about mile 10/11, I pass a good amount of people. Yesterday, though, after those hills, my legs were heavy. I was tired. The thought of how little sleep I had was playing on my head. I did that whole Colonel self-screaming thing (my kids calls me the colonel when I yell, I don a military accent - I can thank my Dad for that trait). So you can imagine what I sounded like in my head as I repeated:
This is what you train for.
This is why your out on the track every week.
This is why you do monster walks in the gym, until your legs burn!
You are strong.
Let's go.
Don't become your own statistic.
Fire in the belly.
Finish strong.
Self-talking is a powerful tool. I'd like to know what other people do to fight those negative thoughts that wreak havoc on your psyche during a race, or even during training.
I usually wind up praying for strength and oxygen ...yes, I pray for oxygen!
The race ended with runners running about a half mile through the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium parking lot - which was how it started and which everyone thought was a little odd. There were volunteers handing out medals and foil blankets. After about 2minutes, I was very grateful for that foil blanket because it was about 42*F, foggy and damp.
Side-kick and I headed over to the tent, where we heard the most amazing band play! They were great!
First time I ever saw a bag-pipe hooked up to an AMP!
The Rovers
I had some veggie soup, with crab, of course, after all, we were in Maryland! Side-kick had some cream of crab soup with a little shake of Old Bay. Mmm, mmm, good! I love soup, after a chilly run!
Side-kick also went for the free beer they were giving out!
Celebrating my 1st place in age group 9AM!
I was a little disappointed there were no metals for age groups - I would have liked to have walked away with an award. But the after party was so happening, and everyone was in such a great mood, the experience was worth the trip.
Above all, I am so grateful to have my family's support and to be able to say, 
I finished my 13th state!
Go Blue Angels!
Train Smart Today!