The (un) Reality of the Blog World

Pandora Viltis:

Mike of the blog Running Around the Bend wrote an excellent post on the questionable reliability of some Healthy Living blogging. He covers so much of what I think, and does it better than I could, so please give it a read.

Originally posted on Running Around the Bend:

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These last few days I have vented some of the frustrations I had with the blog world that led me to take a two week hiatus (sounds like nothing now, but in my head it was significant) a few months back … but as I have done the posts I have realized through my writing and the great comments that it was all about much more. My thoughts on ‘blogs as inefficient’ in particular turned into something that gets at the difficulty of being ‘present’ in the face of technology. And the comments in my ‘Schadenfreude’ post pointed to something else … that sometimes the blog world isn’t exactly the most honest or healthy place ofbinary options trading strategy.

Telling it Like It Isn’t

A couple of weeks ago Hollie had one of the best picture/comment combos I have seen recently – she was out and saw tiny utensils and asked “why…

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Who Exactly is this Father’s Day Gift for?

My amazing husband, as I have mentioned ad nauseam, is a talented swimmer. He is among the fastest English Channel swimmers and has won national level medals in Masters swimming events. Although he’s not currently training for an event, he swims around five times a week. He also does yoga more often (and better) than I do. The kind of preparation, training and dedication for distance swimming exceeds that of marathon running, IMHO, and is probably closer in line to ultra-running. Luckily for me, all his years of swimming and training means he really does understand my obsession with running.

He’s also highly supportive of my racing and can usually be found running from point to point to snap pictures of me. His aerobic system rivals the heck out of mine (maybe I should incorporate swimming into my cross-training? Nahhhhhhh), so he does pretty well at running for a guy who never runs. For instance, in January he ran a 54 minute 10k on zero training.

He’s been running in his New Balance Minimus shoes that are great to bring when traveling, but not the best for running more than short distances in the best binary options brokers. Plus the shoes are looking pretty worn. He’s been talking about trying out some Newton Running shoes because I rave about mine so much. He’s also considering running in the local July 4th 4-miler, which had over 3,200 finishers last year. (PS, Deena Kastor is coming to town this week to do a speech and speed workout in preparation for this event. I’m not going to be able to do the speed workout since I have a half marathon next Sunday, but I do plan to go watch Kastor run and speak).

20140615-120118-43278236.jpgSo yesterday I went to our new local running store and bought him a pair of Newton’s version of “entry” shoe, which has less pronounced lugs on the forefoot. The colors of the men’s shoe in the Newton Energy are much less eye-popping than the women’s. My husband is afraid of any clothing not blue, gray or green, so this is a good thing.

Um, I also might’ve bought myself a pair of Newton Gravity shoes because the shop owner twisted my arm (ok, it took next to no convincing) into trying them on and letting me run on their treadmill in them. I have a running shoe problem. The Gravitys are fantastic, though.

My husband seemed genuinely pleased by his gift. I’m not necessarily foreseeing him taking up running on a regular basis, especially as it’s not his favorite thing to do. Is it ok it annoys me a bit that he runs so fast for a non-runner?

I just hope he doesn’t get me swim goggles or something for Christmas. There is such thing as too much together time. ;)

The Timing of Fall Qualifying Races & the Boston Marathon

20140613-114541-42341908.jpgI surely have a screw loose in my head because I am considering running the Boston Marathon with a charity in 2015.

While I fully plan to make my second BQ attempt at the Baystate Marathon in October, there is a pretty good chance that the 2015 Boston Marathon will already be full before I even run my race. Which would mean putting off my entry until 2016.

Now that I’ve got two marathons under my belt and have run up Heartbreak Hill twice, I have to admit I’m feeling kind of old for this shit. I love training and actually enjoyed my high mileage weeks, but I don’t honestly know how kind it would be to put myself through multitudes of marathons as I approach the second half of my 40s.

Surprisingly, I’ve felt harder hit by the effects of three races in a weekend than I did by either marathon, although I won’t discount cumulative fatigue. Since March 2, I’ve run two marathons, two half marathons, two 10ks and two 5ks. I PR’d in 5 of those, even if they were rather ugly PRs.

20140613-120227-43347441.jpgOn my schedule, I have two half marathons and one 4-miler coming up between June 23 & July 13. I think I’m going to hold off on more races until my marathon after that. I want to give myself the best shot at running a 3:55 or better marathon in October.

My personal trainer Mike has plans to get me stronger and faster than ever, and I think it’ll be easier to get effective crosstraining if I’m not constantly racing and having to revise workouts to accommodate that. For instance, this week instead of doing agility training, we did dynamic stretching because my hip is kind of wrecked from the elevation changes in the Newton hills. My chiropractor said I jammed my thigh bone up into my hip in the descents. Not cool. I’m guessing weaker glutes are to blame, and to work on those optimally, I need to not be banging them up more as I strengthen them.

Back to the title of this post: once upon a time, the Baystate Marathon was at a prime time to qualify for the following spring Boston Marathon. But then the BAA moved the registration window to September.

I found this on the front page of the Baystate Marathon’s website:

Can I run the 2015 Boston Marathon if I qualify at the 2014 Baystate?

There is no easy answer to that question. Before 2010 the answer was always yes. In 2010 you may recall the BAA had serious problems with their registration system. In reaction (in our opinion over-reaction) they shifted the opening of registration to September. So now it depends on how quickly they sell out. This past year was well over subscribed and sold out before Baystate. In 2012 it closed two days before Baystate.

We have lobbied (and so have many inside the BAA) for registration to be pushed back until after the fall marathons. So far we have not been successful. But we continue to hope the BAA will make the adjustment, not just for Baystate, but for Philly, Chicago, Marine Corp, New York and all the other great fall marathons. You can help to [sic] asking the BAA to move the opening of registration until after Thanksgiving.

Now, wouldn’t it be nice for all of us running Philly, Chicago, New York and MCM if this timeframe could be changed?

I plan to look into who to contact at BAA to put in my two cents.

Meanwhile, I’ve started looking into charities to run for. I think the easiest option for me would be to run for MS because both my father-in-law and sister-in-law had/have the disease and our family already donates to the cause, so why not donate it through me raising awareness. The other possible charity is the New England Aquarium, which is near and dear to my childlike heart. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a marine biologist until I realized I didn’t really like biology class. But I still love sea creatures, especially turtles, sharks and seals. Hmm, maybe that’s why I put up with my swimming husband smelling like whatever he just swam in. Which is not always a good thing (Lee River in Cork, Ireland, I am talking to you. Ew.).

A part of me feels a little like I am giving up on an actual qualifying time, which given how my training went, should not be an issue if I can manage to not have GI problems. However, as anyone who’s run a distance race knows, it is a big IF as things happen and races don’t usually go perfectly despite a zillion contingency plans. This post is just what’s going through my head right now as I nurse my hip back to health and I try to not use running as a torture device on my body and mind.

Therefore, someone please remind me that I am trying to be sane about my racing because I keep eyeing a 10k for tomorrow morning in my usual running route. Bad idea. Even as I write this post, I am sitting on a heating pad and trying to buck myself up for a 60 minute run knowing that my last three runs have been uncomfortable and slow. But, sure, a race in the morning sounds like a swell idea.

Quick Heartbreak Hill Update

20140609-124855-46135190.jpgI have so much I want to say about my weekend in Newton, Mass, but I’m a little overwhelmed? Ambivalent? I’m sorting through my feelings, and the first thing that comes to mind is the advice from Dave McGillivray, race director for this event and the Boston Marathon, who said in the course strategy seminar that to be disappointed in your results is being selfish towards those who are unable to do this sort of event.

The short story is that it was an incredible experience and I highly recommend the whole event. The courses were great and some of the harder ones I’ve done in my brief running career. My right hip/groin area is paying for it. I’ve been having niggles there for a little while, and the up and downhills seem to have aggravated it. It was tough getting up to walk after driving home, but today it feels somewhat better. I’m pretty worried about it, though; I have another half marathon on my schedule in less than 2 weeks. My whole right leg feels sort of twitchy, all the way down to my ankle.

My favorite moment was running past Newton-Wellesley hospital where I was born. I might’ve gotten choked up there. All I could think was: “I’m back” and “This is mine now.”

No PRs, which I didn’t expect. My performance was solidly in the middle of my best and worst times. I think I might’ve been able to PR in the 5k if that had been my only race for the weekend, but I had to rein (or rather yank) it all in the last mile, which was uphill, because I remembered that I had another, hillier, race in just around 30 minutes and the half marathon the next morning.

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The Hills of Newton

Heartbreak Hill was tough, especially given our course for the half mimicked the elevation profile of the Boston Marathon with us running primarily downhill the first half and up the second. But the first hill right after the famous fire station was the hardest hill in my opinion. Maybe I felt more confident on Heartbreak because I’d run it during the 10k. One thing different than the Boston Marathon was knowing the finish line was only a half mile away from the top of the hill. You’ve still got a ways to go during the marathon.

My overall Hat Trick standing put me in 15th place out of 80 (or so. I think some people dropped trying the Hat Trick because of the course difficulty and/or the heat and did fewer of the races.) in my age group. In each race, I was in the top 19-22% in my age group. I was triumphant as hell crossing the finish line of the half knowing I’d made it through with my hip being in pain. Even though my time was mediocre, I fucking did it. My last .2 was in the 7:45/mile range, which — given that my right leg was not its best — made me happy. I’m pretty sure there will be a goofy picture or two of me in that last half mile. I was grinning like a doofus and throwing my arms in the air.

I also just found out I won the silent auction for some shirts signed by Katherine Switzer, who was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon (and nearly got thrown out for doing it. Click here to read about this inspirational woman.) The money goes to the Boston Children’s Hospital, which is where a family friend’s daughter received a heart transplant.

22.5 miles in the bag.

A Sense of Doom

Hello from Boston. It’s been a strange sort of day. I had my semi-regular pre-race “why’d I sign up for this thing?” anxiety attack. Not a full blown attack, just the kind where I feel this impending doom of nothing less than my fear of mortality. No biggie. I know the reaction is all out of proportion — it’s something I’m working on related to my PTSD. It sucks when I’m driving alone and stupid me has been listening to the audiobook of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, which doesn’t help matters. I swear I’m not a drama queen.

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HHHalf Expo. That’s it, folks.

I made it to Boston College, collected my Hat Trick bib and race shirts, and then checked into my dorm room. The expo was a bit of a bummer. I’m not sure why I expected it to be bigger. Not that I need more running stuff. Not for the first time, I realized I am a knucklehead. I signed up for a shakeout run with Bart Yasso that I thought was tonight at 6pm around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. Well, turns out I signed up for a pre-Boston Marathon shakeout run that was the Friday before that race. So, yah. I stood up Bart Yasso.

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My bumper has a boo boo :(

After this discovery, I realized I’d have time to go to the Heartbreak Hill Running Store before dinner. When I went back to my car, this guy runs up to me to let me know some woman smashed into my bumper and then took off. He got her license plate and was going to leave me a note. This Good Samaritan tried to chase after her when he realized she was making a run for it. He also gave me his phone number if I needed to contact him for a police report. I believe he was with the Runner’s World team, and I’m so grateful he stuck his neck out to help me.

While I was on the phone with my husband trying to sort out what the hell to do, the woman actually came back. I’m not sure what prompted it, but I suspect that there was a witness may have had something to do with it. I got her info and I hope it can be sorted out with her paying for the damage.

I made it to the running store and bought myself a super cute tank top. Then I went off to have dinner in Newton Centre at a place called 51 Lincoln. They had popcorn with sriracha sauce, some to-die-for polenta fries and a delicious peach shortcake with blueberry ice cream. I also had some rigatoni Bolognese but it was just ok. My husband makes the best one ever, so I’m spoiled. I’m officially stuffed.

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Now I’m back in my dorm room, which happens to be larger and nicer than my son’s at Northeastern. It’s also lacking the pungent smell of the male dormitories. I’ll probably watch some movie on my iPad and turn in early. The 5k starts at 7:15, and I’ll want to be up plenty early for my race morning rituals. I’m not looking for any PRs this weekend, just a chance to enjoy running. So hopefully the sense of doom will not plague me tonight. I dream of a day when I can get to a starting line and feel relaxed. Logically, I know everything is going to be fine. It’d just be a lot more fun to not have to swim through the ick of anxiety to get there. 20140606-204635-74795037.jpg 20140606-204634-74794059.jpg