I tried to run August, but August ran me!

August was a tough month. Like most, we suffered from unrelenting heat and humidity that made every day living, not to mention running and exercise, pretty much unbearable.  I tried to keep up with my training but some days it was just hard to breathe, the air was so hot and humid!

There were a few bright moments, starting with the Drake Well Half Marathon in Titusville Pennsylvania.  This would be state number 9 for me in my quest for a half marathon in each of the 50 states, plus D.C. The Drake Well Half is a small race at a beautiful park at the Drake Well Museum. It was a very hot day but luckily the latter part of the race was on a paved, shaded path which was heaven! For much of the path it seemed like I was running by myself but for the chipmunks and deer that ran across my path, and whatever other critters were lurking nearby.  Since my headphones were not working, I was very aware of the many sounds coming from the woods!  I ended up 2nd in my age group (thank you small races), and I was glad I chose this for my Pennsylvania race.

one lane bridge leading to the Drake Well Museum

one lane bridge leading to the Drake Well Museum

20150801_171757
20150802_062828

seen on my run

seen on my run

20150802_103327

The following Friday evening after work I ran a 7.7k along the Buffalo waterfront called the Soaker to raise awareness of the importance of hydration.  We were squirted by hoses and fire trucks all along the route, and it felt good!  My husband, still recovering from surgery, was a real trouper and came along to be my cheering section.

I'm a little soaked from the Soaker!

I’m a little soaked from the Soaker!

The best of course was traveling to New York City to visit my daughter and see Jorge Posada Day at Yankee Stadium.  My favorite Yankee! Unfortunately it was so hot that we just could not stay for the entire game. My daughter was sunburned after the 2nd inning!

Hip Hip Jorge!

Hip Hip Jorge!

20150822_122027

20150822_123950

20150822_124020

Also that weekend I got in 2 fabulous runs in lower Manhattan.  If I could only train in New York!

20150823_090343(0)

Run with a view

Run with a view

the inspiring Statue of Liberty

the inspiring Statue of Liberty

I love NYC

I love NYC

In my run around the South Street Seaport, I came across this yoga party!

20150823_174356
My first virtual run of the month was a 5k to benefit an organization I learned of in one of my Facebook running groups. I really enjoy virtual runs, it’s like training with a purpose.

20150905_135741

The month closed out with two more races; one road and one virtual.  The road race was a 10k to benefit the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.  I was on a team with some of my in-laws, as my late father-in-law had been a patient at Roswell. I also ran in memory of my own sister.  The event was good except for the race itself; two loops on newly paved (i.e. smelly) roads with no scenery whatsoever.  It is fun to run as part of a team, though.

20150829_085643

The virtual race was organized by Gone For a Run, the 7 mile Sole Sisters race.  I ran this the day after the 10k, and decided to use it for speed training.  I ran 1 minute slow, 1 minute fast intervals, and the miles went by very quickly.  My sisters from Virginia and Oklahoma also ran this virtual, so we kind of ran it together.

20150830_222844

So that’s my month in review.  I’m very glad the weather is changing.  I have a ton of fall races and now know that I really need a more structured schedule to stay healthy and run well.  Stay tuned for a more disciplined me!

Advertisements

A few of my favorite [running] things.

I have tried lots of different gear, accessories and gadgets during my training and at the various races I have run. I know some people can just lace up their running shoes and head out the door, but it takes me longer to get ready for a race than it does to go to work. These are some of my favorite things, from head to toe, inside and out:

I have to wear some kind of headband, not really because of my hair but to keep the sweat from dripping down my face. For me, it’s a true sweatband! I have an unusually large head, so the headband has to be on the bigger side, and stretchy. One of my favorites is the one I got from the 50 States Half Marathon Club. It fits me just right, and I love representing the club by wearing the logo.

I also love the fit and feel of the headbands from One More Mile. The sayings and colors are just fun!

IMG_20150720_211518

Fifty State and One More Mile headbands

When it’s raining, there is nothing like a hat with a brim to keep the rain out of your eyes. Unfortunately, again due to the size of my head, I can’t wear a lot of hats. As luck would have it, the hat I received at the ZOOMA Cape Cod half marathon fits, and I love it!

A newer accessory for me is my Fellow Flower. I have one, and I gave one to each of my sisters. Each flower has its own story. The clip is extremely strong; it has never slipped on any of my runs. It’s just a fun accessory with an important meaning.

IMG_20150720_211910

ZOOMA hat, Fellow Flower, and Runningluv

I don’t have one favorite brand of race shirt. It of course has to be the right material, but the most important to me is the cut. FILA makes a nice race shirt, and it’s long which is something I need.

I mainly wear running skirts, and I still am experimenting to find the best one for me. I like the shorts underneath to be a bit longer, but the skirt not as long. (I’m not too picky, right?)

My feet – the bane of my running! Easily injured so I really try to pamper them when I’m running. Out of the blue this spring I started getting blisters between my toes and was overjoyed to find Injinji toe socks. I buy the thickest socks they sell and have not had a blister since!

IMG_20150720_213453

Injinji toe socks

For running shoes, I like a lot of cushion (these feet!). I was enjoying the Hoka Cliftons until my podiatrist said I really need some support. Both he and my sports medicine doctor recommend Brooks, so I purchased some Brooks Glycerin. I love them! They are very cushioned and have enough support for me. Hopefully they won’t be changed in future models (I hate when that happens!). The only problem is that I wear wide width, and there are no fun colors in wide width.

IMG_20150720_212935

Brooks Glycerin 12 and 13, with my Beecause charms

After a long run I like to slip into some nice Pro Compression socks. Keeps the post-run aches and pains under control!

IMG_20150720_221417

Accessories – I couldn’t run without my Amazon app music or Scribd app books. A few weeks ago I got my first pair of bluetooth headphones – heaven! Not having that cord run down my shirt and not accidentally ripping the buds out of my ears makes for a much more comfy run. These were very inexpensive. They may not be the best sound quality, but I can’t tell good quality sound from bad quality sound.

IMG_20150720_210632

Rev Jams wireless Bluetooth headphones

I use Runkeeper for my run tracking app. The best feature I have found is that I can set intervals “until my activity is completed.” That way, no matter the distance of the race, the intervals keep going. I haven’t seen that on too many other apps.

Screenshot_2015-07-20-21-12-07

Runkeeper with continuous repetitions

I have just started using a Tom Tom running watch.  I love the large numbers and it seems to be tracking distance similar to Runkeeper.  It’s a good backup in case Runkeeper shuts down.

IMG_20150720_211102

Tom Tom and Trust Your Journey bracelet

I think I already mentioned I really sweat, and I also have some outdoor allergies that cause my nose to run almost immediately when I step out the door. I used to carry a small towel but it was so inconvenient and made my hand sweat. I was thrilled to find Runningluv! I wrap it around my wrist and it’s like having a wristband and towel in one. True luv!

Where has Buddy Pouch been all my life? Carrying my phone in a pouch attached by magnets is so convenient. I hated when my belt would ride up, and I don’t like arm bands or to put such bulky things in pockets. This is the perfect solution. The pouch doesn’t move, it doesn’t pull down my skirt (I’m sure my fellow runners appreciate that), and after a few seconds I forget it is there. It is also easy to take my large phone out, something I struggled with using other belts. It also has an expanding pocket for other stuff.  Buddy Pouch also has a water pouch. I don’t drink too much on my run, so it is a perfect size for me.

IMG_20150720_213217

Buddy Pouches and MyID bracelet

Speaking of hydration, I just started using Nuun before and/or after my runs. Too soon to tell if it makes any difference, but it tastes pretty good and I do feel like I might be a little more energetic.

One thing I do like after my run is EAS Advantage. I know it’s not the best protein drink, but it tastes good and doesn’t have a ton of calories.

IMG_20150720_210831

I’m always running with my Trust Your Journey bracelet. I have one, and I gave one to each of my sisters and daughters. It is very meaningful to me, and when I am struggling during a run I look at my bracelet and tell myself to trust my journey.

My sister gave me and my other sister these Beecause charms, and I think they add some nice bling to my running shoes They have special meaning and remind me of my sisters when I am running.

IMG_20150720_221153

So there you have it, a few of my favorite [running] things. Give one, or all, of them a try, and let me know what you think!

My unscheduled seven day running hiatus.

hiatus

I haven’t gone seven days without running (when not injured) .. ever!  But … my poor husband had total hip replacement last Monday and other than sneaking out for a run Tuesday morning, I have been pretty much confined to going to work and going to visit him.  I should say, take care of him, as the care he received, in my opinion, was pretty mediocre.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of respect of good nurses, and I know I don’t have what it takes to be a good nurse, but it seems like a lot of the nurses we encountered didn’t want to be good nurses either.  I won’t go into gory details, but I was doing things I’ve never been trained for!  Other than administering pain medications (which we had to wait for, for what seemed like an eternity), we were pretty much on our own.  When he was transferred to rehab, things pretty much stayed the same, except the food was inedible.  I had to bring him all his food, it was that bad.  I feel so sorry for the people who are there long-term; I would pass them sitting in the lounge, just staring at their food.  More than one would ask me to please take them home — I so wish I could have!

You might think we were difficult.  Really all we wanted were the things that would help my husband be comfortable and get better — ice for his hip; water to drink; pain meds; help with hygiene, etc.  So began my crash course, because obtaining those things was not that easy!  Yes as a wife I expect and want to take care of my husband, but doing some of these things, I was so worried that I was going to hurt him, my nerves were frazzled.  He insisted on coming home today,so now I am really worried but happy not to have to go to the rehab center anymore.

These seven days I was out of my house at 7:15 a.m. and didn’t get home until 9:30 p.m.  Being so physically and mentally exhausted, I was afraid if I went running I might end up with an injury from “sloppiness.”  I decided to be smart, and now my seven days of “nursing” are over.  I am relegated back to wife and maybe a little “home health aide”, and hopefully will be back to being a runner tomorrow!

The Waiting Game

Have-patience.-All-things-are__quotes-by-Saadi-86

This quote is so true, yet so annoying at the same time.  Who wants to wait?  In my “real” life, I can tolerate waiting in traffic, waiting in line for my morning coffee, waiting on hold to speak to a real person … these are all things I have done so many times that I am immune to being aggravated.  Recently my husband had surgery, and we waited for three hours before he was taken to surgery; I waited for three hours before I heard how the surgery went; we waited, and waited, and waited, when we called the nurse’s desk and asked for assistance.  This kind of waiting really tests my patience, probably due to stress and fatigue and worry.

In my “running” life, I just can’t get used to the wait in corrals for the race to start.  I have learned that pre-gun, I am supposed to do “dynamic”, not “static” stretches.  Usually in the corral I’m shoulder-to-shoulder with the next person, so there is no room to be jumping around “dynamically”.  If I warm up before being herded into the corral, by the time the race starts I’m ice cold.

1

A perfect example (but not the only example) of this is runDisney (insert any runDisney race name here).  Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney, have run two events, and hope to do many more.  It’s not Disney’s fault that a gazillion people sign up for their races.

74488-3956-002f

Let me put it this way – I basically couldn’t see the start line from my WDW Marathon corral.  And there were plenty of people behind me too.  We were up at 3 a.m. to catch the shuttle to the race start, where we sat around, shivered, and waited to line up in the corrals, where we waited for a half gazillion people to start before us.  For the Wine and Dine, a night race, I sat on the ground for hours before moving to the corrals (when it started pouring rain), where I waited again for the speedier Mouseketeers to start before me. Disney staggers the corral start times to avoid congestion, but that just means more waiting! And don’t even ask me about the lines of people waiting to take pictures with the characters during the races 🙂 !

Honestly, I know this is a good system and it’s what I signed up (and paid mightily) for.  But that doesn’t mean I have to like it!  I also know that to avoid this, I should run in smaller races, and I do try to look for smaller races.  But let’s face it, the fanfare and bling can really sway a girl!

enjoy-the-journey

Moral of the story – Get over it, be patient, enjoy the journey because you never know if you will be lucky enough to experience it again.

I took my hero on my racecation to Fairfield, Connecticut

Maybe I’m an old soul, but I love riding the Amtrak by myself. It’s a chance to daydream, read, nap — really anything I don’t get to do at home because I’m distracted by all my responsibilities. It just seemed a perfect way to travel to my racecation in Fairfield, Connecticut.

perfect way to pass the time

This is my hero. I read her entire book cover to cover. What an incredible life Katherine Switzer led and continues to lead. One of my favorite excerpts reads:

… it was an exciting world, where I could be both feminine and strong, determined and dreaming, methodical and daring, and at the same time live up to my family’s expectation of my improving a situation for the next generation.

She was truly all that, and more. She had her hand in so many of the advances of women’s running, and I admire her determination and thank her for not giving up. She is so much more than “the first woman to register and run the Boston Marathon”. But she is that too!

Back in Fairfield, I met my sister at the Fairfield station and we were off to our hotel, the Fairfield Inn at the Circle.  You can find my review of the Inn on Tripadvisor.

 

too bad it was unseasonably cool!


My sister ran the Faxon Law Group 5k on Saturday, and my daughter came in from New York City to run the half marathon with me on Sunday.   You can find my race review at http://www.bibrave.com/races/faxon-law-group-fairfield-half-marathon-5k#.VZG7HXD3arU

 

setting up the post race party on Jennings Beach

  

start line for the 5k

  

after the half marathon

  

finisher medal


I can’t say enough how spectacular the people of Fairfield were. Here we were tying up their streets and tossing cups in front of their beautiful homes, yet they were out there in not so great weather with drinks, snacks and signs, cheering us through. 

 

this guy was real and we scared each other!

  

most of the fire hydrants are painted like this

  

a little confusing when both are lit, so we ran

 
We also got to see some of the center of town when we went to the station, and if the weather had been better I would have been exploring. 

I hope I can go back to Fairfield someday. The only negative was the taxi drivers although I think they were from Bridgeport. They were nasty!  They made it seem like we were really putting them out!

So half marathon 10/100, state 8/50 is in the books. Thank you Fairfield!  And now the return ride home.

see the country

There IS crying in running.

crying-running-ecard

No, I’m not talking about the crying that comes with the pain (or elation) from training/racing.

Does anyone else ever experience this — there you are, running along, listening and singing along to your running playlist (well, I actually sign along in my head because I can’t run, sing and breathe at the same time), and all of a sudden one of THOSE songs come on.  You know what I mean, the song that, even though it has a great beat to run to, makes you start thinking.  Thinking beyond the run, to people and places that stir up emotions from deep within.  And then, you cry.  While you are running.  Tears streaming down your face, nose a sloppy mess.  (Thank goodness for my Runningluv.)

I guess I have come to find that no matter if I am running solo or in a race with thousands of people, I am a solitary runner.  I let the music from my playlist guide my feet, my head, and my heart.  The rest of my life is full – of family, work, friends, pets and all the usual day to day stuff that always has me thinking, what do I have to do next?  When I head out the door with just myself and my music, I’m away from all that.  I can block it out.  No texts, no calls.  Just music.  And I can actually listen to each word.  And when I listen to each word, I infer a meaning.  Even if the song was not written as a “sad” song, it can remind me of people, of  things, of defining events in my life that maybe are pushed out of the day-to-day craziness, but are always in the back of my mind because of their importance to me.

Right now I have three songs on my playlist that make me cry, because they remind me of people who were taken from me way too soon, and no matter how much time passes, the pain will always linger: my mom, who died unexpectedly when I was 24; my dad, who died unexpectedly when I was 29; and my sister/best friend Ann, who died after battling breast cancer when she was 35 and I was 33.

Why do I keep these songs on my playlist, if they cause me to cry?  Because these are good tears.  Sad tears, but strong tears, because every step I take I am doing in memory of these three people, trying to make them proud.  These tears propel me forward.  These are cleansing tears.  My soul aches but my heart opens with these tears. At the end of my run, when the tears are all gone, I feel empty and full at the same time.  I guess that is balance; balance is what I need.  Along with my running shoes, my playlist, and my tears.

These are my three songs, I hope you enjoy them.

Feet, don’t fail me now!

I guess you could say I’m “all in” when it comes to trying to run 50 half marathons in 50 states.  My original goal was to run 50 races (any length) in 50 states, but then I found the 50 States Half Marathon Club and the Half Fanatics, and I changed my goal!  Unfortunately, that means I am going to have to re-run a couple states but hey, that just means more vacations!

I admit I am an impatient person.  When I start something, I want to get it done.  Running 50 half marathons in 50 states is not easy to do quickly but, starting at my late age, I worry about finishing the task.  I’m trying to convince myself that finishing will be so much sweeter if I have taken the time to enjoy the journey.  A lot of goal runners enter races in different states on consecutive days, even up to 7!  I give them a lot of credit and I guess that would be a good way to cross off 7 states, but I don’t think I would feel the whole half marathon spirit and would almost feel like I was cheating myself because I surely would not be doing any running in some of those races.

So now I think I have the right mindset, but what about the rest of me?  Can my 50+ body that just started running three years ago withstand all this running?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I certainly hope so, but I’ve already had some injuries and my podiatrist calls my feet “deformed from the trauma of running.”  Yikes!  At least he said to keep going until I can’t.  But I wonder when that will be…