Category Archives: running

A prAna Giveaway! #JustBeYou

12 Cat04_03_VictoriaSt-1470As anyone who knows me knows, I love comfortable clothing, the outdoors, companies that value the environment and people, and quality products. So when Stonyfield and prAna teamed up to offer me an item from prAna’s organic cotton clothing line as part of prAna’s #JustBeYou campaign, I said, “Heck yes!”

I mostly know prAna from back when I used to climb. I have some very comfortable cotton pants that were my go-to climbing pants for years, back when I spent all my free time climbing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping (now I mostly just run . . . a lot — and that is how I #JustBeYou — or rather, just be me — these days, especially when I’m out trail running).

The company also makes outdoor, casual, and yoga clothing — for women and men. They follow sustainability practices and make really lovely, quality clothing.

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27 Cat02_14_Anfora-05738I was allowed to select anything from their organic cotton clothing line. It was hard to decide, but I went with the Tyda Dress in black. It is incredibly comfortable and cute, and for colder fall days I can add a cardigan and boots (I’m a big fan of cardigans). Even colder days? Leggings and a hat. This is a year-round dress, for sure, and you will probably see me in it often ofter the next several months. IMG_6706.JPG

 

IMG_6720.JPGWhile my dress pairs well with a sweater and boots, it also pairs well with Stonyfield’s Oh My Yog! Gingered Pear yogurt (what’s more autumnal than gingered pear?). We all know of my abiding adoration of Stonyfield (among other things, the company supports small farms and good farming practices, and they have some darn good organic yogurt). Oh My Yog! is a three-layered of yogurt with enough fat and protein to keep this often-hungry person fueled. (I am training for an ultramarathon right now — I need easy and nutritious snacks all the time!!)

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You too can enjoy some prAna clothing. I have a discount code for you, but I’m also giving away an item (up to $99 value) from their organic cotton clothing line!

Giveaway and Discount Code
First of all, here is a discount code for 15% off at prAna.com!

Enter code: JBYF15INLC for 15% off on prAna.com between Nov 1-Dec 15.
Not valid for prAna Influencers, on Gift Certificates or with any other offers.
Valid November 1 – December 15, 2015.

And now for the giveaway. I can offer one of you any one item of clothing from prAna’s organic cotton clothing line (up to $99 value). Winner’s prize can ONLY be shipped to a U.S. address. 

Enter via Rafflecopter. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

#JustBeYou

#prAna

#Stonyfield

Disclosure: I was sent an item of prAna clothing and coupons for Stonyfield yogurt to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 

Running in the Woods

You know when you want something so much you can almost taste it? That was me today. I woke up craving runny eggs and sautéed spinach and buttery whole wheat toast. Instead, I got dressed in the dark and headed to the woods for a four-hour run.

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My friend Hilary was meeting me for the first loop — the first two hours. I am training for my first ultra (and I’m actually going to run it this time and not talk myself out of it a few weeks before!). This race is 32 miles on some gnarly raw single track, all rocks and roots and hills and climbs. As the race description says, “A nightmarish course of rocks and roots with a bit of elevation thrown in.” That sums it up.IMG_6650-0.jpg

There’s also a 40-mile version, but I’m not ready for that on this course. I chose this race because it’s very local, where I first started trail running, and it’s so notoriously difficult that many people don’t finish it. Plus it’s in December so it could be sleeting or snowing or raining, or just icy-leaf-covered.

So I’m pretty excited about it. We ran the first loop slowly. It’s an 8-mile loop. For some reason I’m really tired today. Around mile 6, Hilary was asking me if there’s coffee at these races. I said it depends on the race and on who’s running the aid station. And then I had the brilliant thought that I should bring my little thermos full of coffee and have it in my drop bag at the race.

BAM!

I was facedown on the trail. My knees, one elbow, and both hands had landed on rocks and roots, neatly missing the softer dirt in between. I rolled onto my back and blinked.

“Do you have ibuprofen?” she asked.

Ibuprofen, I thought. I should put that in my drop bag, too.

We finished the loop and I was so tired and still thinking about eggs. Two eggs, over medium. I wanted to be done.IMG_6647.JPG

“I won’t tell anyone if you don’t do a second loop,” she said, climbing into her car.

“Well,” I said, “I would know.” Here was that voice, though, telling me I should go get some coffee and then come back. Go get some coffee. My to-do list is a mile long. I have a bunch of phone calls to make, jobs to apply for, things to take care of. I am bleeding from a lump on my knee. 

Once alone, I texted another friend, Dana: “I am super tired and completely wiped out hitting rocks with every joint. I don’t feel like going for lap number two.”

A text back: “Ugh! Hang in there! Second wind about to hit!”

What? Did she just basically tell me to get out there and do it? 

Eggs. Eggs and coffee. They could be mine. So fast. So easily. I could listen to that little voice in my head telling me to give up, give up….

No. I started my watch again, pulled out half a PBJ, and headed out again, power-walking while I ate. And then I began to run again.

I knew if I just went out for an hour, I could be done….because then it would take me an hour to get back, so I would have no choice but to do the whole loop.* This time I went clockwise. Rumor has it counterclockwise is easier, and what better time to check the truth of conventional wisdom?

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They’re right. Counterclockwise is much easier. Clockwise has all the steeper uphills. I shamelessly walked every hill. I went on. Two miles. Blinded by all the sunlight coming through the unleafed trees and glaring off the shiny oak leaves carpeting the trail. Visor. I’ll need a visor. Three miles. Oh hey, 5.5 miles, still blinded by the sun and shiny leaves. Six. Almost done! In this direction, the climb to the fire tower was near the end of my run. Fire tower! A mile to go! Half a mile!

Done. I’d ignored that little voice of defeat in my head and I went out and did it. A 16-mile trail run today.

And then I got into my car and drove right to the diner and ordered those over-medium eggs and some coffee and spinach and the buttery whole wheat toast. Honestly, I didn’t even really want all that food at that point, but darn it, I’d been wanting eggs since the alarm went off at 5:30, and I was going to have them, even if I didn’t quite feel like I needed them so much anymore.

Who knows how the race will go? All I know is I trumped that little defeatist voice today. And that was what I needed.

 

*You might be thinking, “Two hours to go eight miles? Really?” Yes, really. I ran one loop last weekend with some really fast guys, and we did it in 1:41. I could probably do maybe two loops at that pace or near it, but then I’d really slow down after that, and I’m not trying to get anywhere fast. I’m trying not to sprain an ankle. This is not a trail you run really fast on — well, I don’t, anyway. And that’s fine.

The 10 Stages of Running a 5K

1. Month before: This local 5K will be a blast — I’ll sign up right now!

2. Day of: Ugh. I haven’t done speedwork in ages. I don’t feel like running this. I’m so slow these days.

3. 10 minutes to race start: Maybe they need an extra timer during the race. I should volunteer instead of running.

4. Half a mile in: OMG that was too fast a start. But it’s only a 5k. I can go all out. Right?

5. 1-mile mark: Jesus, I still have two miles to go?!??!

6. 1.5-mile mark: I forgot how much I hate 5ks. Why did I sign up for this? I hate 5ks. I am never running a 5K again.

7. 2-mile mark: OMG only one mile to go. I will not die. But this is my last 5K ever.

8. Just past the 3-mile mark: This is way more than one-tenth of a mile. I am going to die.

9. Just past the finish line: Oh thank god that’s over I’m just going to keel over right here and hurl.

10. 10 minutes later: Hey, yum, great postrace spread, and my time was not terrible. I forgot how much fun 5Ks are! That was awesome!

Scurrying: The Things That Used to Be Mine

I’ve had so much to say these past few months, and a list of posts to write (and some half-written). But I’m always, it seems, scurrying. Scurrying around in the morning to drink coffee and kiss my sleeping children goodbye and head out to the train by 7 a.m. (Except on the days when I run to work, when I drink coffee and eat a quick bowl of cereal, then put on my packed-the-night-before running backpack and leave at 6:10 or 6:30 and run an hour to get to the office, arriving happy and calm and feeling good.)

Sometimes on the train I have room to crochet the blanket I’m making for my friend’s baby; sometimes I just have room to read a book. Scurrying the half-mile from train to work. Planted solidly at my desk all day (all day, all day — no on one my team has time for actual lunch breaks). [This past week I finally, for the very first time in my three-and-a-half months at this company, took a lunch break, almost an hour, in which I changed, ran 3.2 miles, picked up the fastest closest lunch I know of, scurried back to the office, showered, dressed, and was back at my desk 3 minutes shy of an hour. I felt like such a fucking rebel…and so much better.]

Is this what you all do at work? Is this a normal work life? I could say a ton more about that but I will not.

At exactly 5 p.m I rush from my desk, race-walk to the train, hope I can pick the fastest line down the stairs to the train (Why are you walking in the middle, so slowly, with your big bag? Move right!!), and get on such a packed car that sometimes all I can do is just read my phone, because there isn’t room to hold open a book. Then a half-mile scurry from train to home, arriving home at 6 p.m., quick low-down from the sitter while I’m starting dinner and listening to variously shouting children and changing out of work clothes, then I try to feed them and ask about their days.

They want to stay outside playing, totally normal if you ask it. It’s summer. It’s light out. Kids are still out, and life is fun. Why come in and wash hands and sit and eat and start the bedtime routine?

After the dinner-to-bed mayhem wraps up sometime by 8:30 or 9 p.m., we do laundry, clean the kitchen, etc. If I’m running to work the next day, I pack my clothes and plug in my Garmin and make sure I’m ready to go.

We’re so behind on everything, and so very tired.

I do not like this pace, not at all. Soon my office will move, in less than a month, to a location that gives me the chance to do necessary tasks such as buy shoes or go to CVS over my lunch break (Lo! I will start taking an occasional lunch break!). My commute will also shorten, thank goodness.

We are just emerging from Birthday Madness, in which we celebrate both boys’ birthdays in less than two weeks, which involves a ton of baking and present-procurement and wrapping and inviting and parties. And hosting parties involves a ton of house-cleaning and shopping and planning and set-up. Not used to hosting actual birthday parties, since until this year Max didn’t want to invite more than 2 kids over, we could have done a better job with his party this year (as in, if you invite a bunch of kids who don’t know each other, a sponge bomb battle might be a terrible idea). For Ben’s party yesterday, I was so organized with so many activities that we only got through two of them (seltzer-can bowling and pin the tail on the donkey — total success!), and though this time we were ready for a post-party BBQ (taking notes from Max’s party), everyone announced (when they arrived) that they had to leave before we’d start grilling.

Come over, all of you readers. We have a ton of food.

Today we had nothing scheduled. Well, except my morning long run with a good friend, and Max’s soccer tournament (who’s happy soccer season is finally over? WE ARE). Then we went to the beach, which seemed like such a brilliant idea this morning (right? we need to relax, it’s hot, soccer tournament in the sun) but the beach was freezing and windy and everyone else was in jeans and hoodies and Max was worried the salt water would hurt the scrape on his knee). The water was OK but the wind froze us, then we went out to dinner and there was a disaster with the haddock [do not try to serve me bad haddock, ever] and we were there an extra hour because of it, so it was a late and stressful evening again, the opposite of what we wanted.

Max was mad, two days ago, when he found out that grown-ups don’t get summer vacation. Apparently he thought we’d finally have some time together as a family.

It’s the first I’d really heard him admit to missing having me around.

We are so very tired, and there’s little room for error. Our sitter is away next Friday and Monday, and we can’t well drop the kids into camp for one day here and there, so C will take Friday off. My mom might watch them Monday but if not I will have to take the day off work, which is not ideal for a million reasons.

I read a few pages of my book every night but there’s otherwise so little downtime right now. I don’t think this is good for any of us. I was supposed to run to work tomorrow but I need some extra sleep and that will throw off my running schedule for the rest of the week.

I can’t care about that right now. I am so racheted down to work, feed kids, get kids to bed, work, feed kids…There seems to be little space for creativity or beauty or friends. I miss my friends. I miss my blogging friends. I haven’t seen them in months. I haven’t seen other friends in even longer. I miss the events I used to go to. I miss going out on weeknights. I miss being bored. I miss finishing my New Yorkers. I miss the Sunday paper.

I miss playing with my kids. I miss the other parents at school. I miss having any control over their lives or taking them to their dentist and doctor appointments now (that generally falls to C these days, not a bad thing 7 years in, but still. I miss doing it).

I don’t know what the answer is, but this isn’t it. Not at all. I miss my kids. I miss my life. I know I am glad to be back to work full-time, but the balance is so far off that this is not sustainable at all.

That’s why my blog has been so quiet for so long. I hate to say that I’m barely hanging on, because I’ve said it before and then whoomph, holy shit, did I think I was busy then? Because now I am super-busy!

We’re going to win this. I just don’t know what the path to winning looks like right now. The end result will be more family time, more flex-time, more time for creativity and errands and life and a slower pace. How we get there, I’m not sure yet. If I have to move us all to Pennsylvania or Maine, I will do it. In a heartbeat.

What I do know is that I am sick of the inglorious scurrying. And of the way it kills calm and creativity and community.

I can change that. And I will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running Coach

For a couple of months now I’ve thought about hiring a running coach.  What if I spent the summer working with someone who would create an individualized plan for me so I could train harder and get faster and stronger ? What if a running coach could get this aging old body to a marathon PR this fall without injury? Wouldn’t that be amazing?

And wouldn’t that be an incredible luxury? And where would I find the time for this? I can’t even make it to my running club’s track workouts. Pipe dream, baby.

I’m also not sure how to find a running coach who would be a good fit for me. Who could work around my schedule and who really gets me and who would help me train hard but not get hurt. Someone who would take me seriously.

Today I went for my first trail run in many months. Last summer when I was training hard for the Lehigh Via Marathon, I didn’t go out on the trail too much toward the end, in case of spraining an ankle. And then I didn’t run all fall, anywhere at all, and the winter was shall we say “intense” and I was training for Boston and didn’t even want to attempt the four-foot-deep post-holed frozen snowpack in the woods. And then I’ve been recovering from Boston or had other weekend stuff. But today I finally got to get back out there with my trail running people.

It was fantastic. It’s so beautiful in the woods. Wild violets grow so tall there, and the strawberries at the edge of the meadow were blooming. The woodpeckers were very loud, and chickadees had a nice call and response going.

And the people. I’ve run with some of them before, but not much, and I really didn’t know them. It doesn’t matter on the trail. My trail group is one big friendly helpful family of trail-running goodness. At one point I found myself running behind a guy I think I’ve run with once or twice before but whom I don’t know it all. I was following him up one of the rocky hills and finally decided to say what I needed to say.

“Excuse me,” I said. “I feel weird saying this, but you have really nice foot placement.”

Foot placement matters on the trail, especially if it’s the sort of rocky, rooty singletrack we were on. You have your head down for your own footing and can’t help but watch the footing of the person directly ahead of you. And some people, honestly, I just can’t watch without wincing. Their feet flop. Their ankles roll clumsily with every step. They stub on roots. They stumble. Their feet are all over the place.

This guy? Like a dancer, every footfall so deliberately and securely placed. Such a joy to see. That is such a trailgeek thing to say, but trust me. Nice foot placement is really lovely to watch.

Well. It turns out he’s a running coach, and we talked about my form, and some things I want to fix, like the way I do a serpentine twist with my upper body. It shows up in every race photo of me, and it’s getting worse with every race. He said my legs and feet position look good, but I pointed out that my upper body is a wreck, running-wise. I’m pretty sure it’s just downright inefficient at this point.

We talked about how engaging my core might help keep my upper body from twisting all over the place, and he suggested a basic abs exercise. We talked about what he does, how he does it, where, and how much it costs. He’s not going to make me an Olympian, but he could help me fix a few things about my form that might ultimately help prevent injury, which in my book is a winning situation. He’s a Pose coach, which is like Chi running but by a different name.

I have to decide if it’s the right move for me or if I should just not bother, but the bottom line is, if you see nice foot placement, say something.

Fast Pace, Slow Legs

Happy Mother’s Day! It’s actually supposed to be a day of women uniting for rights, I think, not a day about brunch and flowers. We don’t do the brunch-and-flowers thing here, which is fine with me, though the boys usually make me cute cards. And yesterday we had a great day of biking to breakfast and the library, buying the boys new shoes, checking out a new birthday bike (shhhh!) for Max, napping on the couch, and grilling.

My usual Mother’s Day tradition is to go run a local 5K, and my family meets me afterward. This year I’m going extra-early to volunteer at the race. Though I’ve placed in my age group more than once at this race, these days I am SLOWWWWWW as molasses and will be embarrassed about my time because I will probably be 4-5 minutes slower than usual (for a 5K!! That’s like more than half a mile at my usual 5K pace!! Hey, legs, what is going on??).

I’m actually going extra-extra early to meet a friend for coffee before the race, since we never see each other anymore and only have contact via Gmail chat or sometimes texting.

I’m swamped these days, people. Swamped. I got up at 5:30 today to post for a new sitter, since our sitter situation is quickly unraveling. That’s not what we need. We just have to muddle through for another month and a half, somehow.

What I should have been doing, up at 5:30, is working on a presentation I have due on Tuesday (my first presentation since…. a brief stint in a sustainability graduate program in 1998? Unless you count literary readings in grad school, 2003?). And it will be my very first-ever PowerPoint presentation — to about 80 [teleconferencing] people (who thankfully will only see the screen and hear my voice but not actually see me, though my team will see me present).

But it’s been a long work week and I feel a need for a break this weekend. Those of you wondering why I haven’t been blogging, answering emails, or otherwise “responsive,” it’s because I am swamped. If I’m not commuting, I’m working. If I’m not working, I’m taking care of the kids for 3 intense hours when I get home from work. If I’m not doing that, I’m prepping meals/lunches, doing laundry, or cleaning up the kitchen (yes, so is my husband–we are both getting our asses kicked right now by the general nonstop-ness of it all). And this week I’ve then been working in the evenings, too (OK, this was also his week to pack lunches, and he took care of the evening kitchen clean-up, since I was working).

And then 6 hours later the alarm goes off and it all starts over.

So I haven’t had time to hire a sitter, but yesterday I finally got a crocheting book from the library and have made excellent progress on a baby blanket for a pregnant friend (I apparently have only 3 more weeks to finish it, and it’s not something I can work on during my hour-long commute because the trains are so packed). [Justine, if you’re reading this, do NOT look at the picture–it’s a surprise!]

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So far, so good, right? It’s really easy!! and yes, the “bobbles” got a little out of alignment, but that just gives it character. [Justine! I said not to look at the picture!]

So at least I’m making something, and I do get a lot of reading done on my commute, and I even managed to write a letter once when I went to work extra-early and had room to sit and write on the train!

I have yet to write my Boston Marathon recap (in short: AMAZING) and talk about my current state of running (dreadful).

But now it’s time to get ready to go to the race. Here’s hoping another afternoon nap will happen later!

 

 

Best time? Not likely. Best marathon? Yes.

I know, I know, I know IknowIknowIknowIknow, you’re all amazingly sick of hearing me mention the Boston Marathon, and you’ve already blocked me on Facebook. That’s fine. It’s OK. I know. It’s like that woman who got a hate letter from “friends” because she posted too many pictures of her new baby on Facebook. That’s me, but marathons.

I just want to be clear about some things: This has been my actual least-good training ever, worse than last summer, even. I started at the end of December, after 4 months of no running at all. I could start with 10 minutes of running and increase by 5 minutes (with a step back) every week. I only ran hills exactly twice late in training, did no speedwork at all. I haven’t used gels, have certainly not “dialed in my race day fueling plan,” have any idea what the weather will be like, or know where my non-winter running socks are.

I have to figure out when my bus leaves for Hopkinton, how to get stuff to my running club for the 30K water stop and the post-race hotel room, where and how to meet my cheering family. I don’t even know what I might want at that 30K (18.6 mile) stop. Gels? A ham sandwich? A bunch of Cadbury creme eggs? Some coffee? That is how wacky my training has been. It was a long, cold winter here in Boston, and the weather warmed up so recently I have yet to run in shorts. (Ok, I tried last week but stopped after 2 miles, in pain.)

So for anyone who jokes that I might just PR, or I might surprise myself, or whatever, I say:

This might be my slowest marathon ever. I might be limping and crying by mile 3.

But it will be my best marathon ever. Ever since I first accidentally qualified, I have wanted to run Boston. It’s big. There is so much surrounding it, so much history.

As for my predicted time, which everyone keeps asking me about:

You’re supposed to run a half-marathon in your training, which might give you an idea of your race time. I ran my slowest (and most miserable) half-marathon ever, in 1:48 (yes, I ran a faster half marathon when 7 months pregnant). I stopped and walked several times and cried a lot (side note: WTF is up with me and all the crying in races lately????).

But when I plug that into a race times predictor, it gives me a very optimistic finish time. I don’t think so.

I’m going to start at a comfortable 9:30 pace and hold it for the first half (I hope!). Then I can speed up if I want to. Honestly, after all the running on flat icy paths this winter, the 21-mile course run felt great, stretching my legs on the hills, so there is that to look forward to.

I will try not to let all the excitement get me carried away.

I have never felt less mentally prepared for a marathon and had absolutely less of an idea what to expect, time-wise. I know I can get through it, no problem.

But I also don’t want to wreck myself for the rest of the spring and summer. I have a 21-mile trail race I’m really looking forward to, for one thing. Also walking without crutches, showing up at track, etc. are really nice things.

So, for those of you who are asking when I plan to cross the finish line, I don’t know. Maybe at 3 p.m. Maybe 2:45 p.m.. Maybe 2:35 p.m. if something amazing happens. Maybe 5 p.m. Maybe 6 p.m., dragging my left leg.

I don’t know. Don’t ask me. Track me. You’ll know when I know.

But even if it is my slowest marathon ever, it’s my biggest and my best. It’s going to be a really interesting experience, that’s for sure, the most spectators (and hills) I have ever experienced at a race ever.

What time will I cross the finish line? When I get there.

 

 

 

 

Limping Towards Boston — and So Excited About It

It’s almost 10 p.m. and I’m trying to quell what is best described as a feeling of rising panic. No, it’s not about the marathon. That’s a wash. Not a wash — I will be running the 119th Boston Marathon on Monday, amazingly enough, but slowly and probably in some pain and taking my sweet time about it. I was on the fence about how to approach it at this point. I’m trained, but my taper has been terrible, not enough sleep at all, too much wine, not running more than 13 miles total in the past 2.5 weeks, and now I have a gross head cold. And an achy leg.

I was thinking maybe I’d see what I can do anyway (oh hey there ego, need to get knocked down several pegs yet again?) but my tibia is throbbing after an hour of grocery shopping, so I’m just going to get to the finish line under my own steam, no matter how long it takes, and I am going to have a great time doing it.

My leg was fine for the 21-mile run on the course but, a week later, I went out for a hilly 9-miler (yeah, I don’t know if I ran much in between) and felt a stinging/burning right at the site of last fall’s stress reaction. It’s gotten worse, so it’s a big ache on the bone. I tried to go for a run over the weekend but 2 miles in stopped in tears, limping, and called my husband to pick me up.

I agreed to the MRI my doctor (a runner) suggested and waited breathlessly for the results, which showed no stress fracture or stress reaction. The area could be terribly sensitized to pain, my doctor suggested. It could be shin splints. In any case, she doesn’t see anything that would indicate that running the marathon would cause severe damage (“I mean, you could end up with a stress fracture, anyway, of course, but there’s nothing to give us any reason to expect that”). She said to take a lot of ibuprofen and try a 3-miler this weekend.

I can’t. I will simply go to the starting line instead on Monday. I know it might go badly, but I also know the endorphins will wash over me and carry me through. I have been training for this race since 2012, truth be told, after qualifying and registering for the 2013 Boston Marathon (and then tearing my soleus that January, knocking me out of training). I had to recover, qualify, and train all over again. This has been a long time coming, and I’m doing it, and I can hardly let myself believe it.

I’m also woefully unprepared as far as general marathon prep. I haven’t managed to organize a drop bag for my running club’s post-marathon hotel room. I haven’t thought about what I might have at the 30K elite water stop my running club hosts. I haven’t checked the weather, don’t know what time the bus for my wave leaves Boston Common, etc. Because it’s been so damn cold until last week, I have no idea what to wear. Shorts, right? Where are my running shorts? Which ones do I like  best? 

I keep reminding myself that just 3 weeks ago I blithely ran 21 miles on the course in a sideways wet snowstorm, gnawing on a peanut butter-slathered bagel I carried in my pocket for most of the journey, wearing a fanny pack full of candy. I felt great during and after. I will be fine. I may not be dialed in to a perfect marathon situation, but I will be fine.

I still can’t let myself think about how amazing this will be.

Oh, but the panic. I love my job and am so happy to be working again but we’re operating in a very shaky little house of cards right now with no room for error, and it’s really starting to take its toll on all of us. I’m not sure for how much longer this can continue. I feel like we don’t even have time to hire the full-time childcare that we need.

More on this later, but I really need to make some tea and get to bed.

Thanks for all your joy and support about everything. It was hard not to share with everyone the possibility that I might not run (I didn’t write about it here, but I meant to).

Stonyfield OP Organic Protein Smoothies Fueling Me for Boston #Review

You may have heard I’m training for the Boston Marathon (seriously, I’ve gotten to the “completely annoying” phase of training, I think, and my taper only technically started yesterday!).

So there’s a whole lotta this going on:

Ran to work, took the train home.

Run 7 miles to work, take the train home.

And this:

grocery list: need magnesium

grocery list: need magnesium

And this ridiculousness:

What? I like shoes!

What? I like shoes!

 

And (best of all!) this:

 

YEAH FINALLY!!!!! (That's an official "runner's passport," which gets me my bib, shirt, bag check, and access to the Athlete's Village)

YEAH FINALLY!!!!! (That’s an official “runner’passport,” which gets me my bib, shirt, bag check, and access to the Athlete’s Village)

So when Stonyfield asked me to review their OP Organic Protein Smoothie, you can imagine that my answer was a resounding, “YES!” When I get home from a run, I often don’t feel like making myself a big pile of veggies and eggs, or even bothering to throw some stuff in the blender to make a smoothie. I want something quick, I want something tasty and high-protein, and I want to shower and move on….to stretch, play with my kids, do laundry (well, OK, let’s not bend the truth here).

Oh, hi, lovely stuff!

Oh, hi, lovely stuff!

The Stonyfield OP smoothies come in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. I normally hate strawberry-flavored anything (including, sometimes, actual strawberries — it’s a long story for another blog post), but I like these. A lot. Anyway, I only tried the chocolate and strawberry, but I’d very happily try the vanilla, too. Thankfully, it seems to be increasingly available, meaning I can find it at the Stop & Shop down the road.

Besides being absolutely delicious, the 10-oz. strawberry OP Organic Protein Smoothies have 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of sugar (chocolate flavor has same protein, 19 grams of sugar). The sugar content led to a lively discussion on Facebook. So let’s bear in mind two things:

1) I hate a ton of added sugar.

2) I hate artifical sweeteners, including the “natural” ones like monkfruit and stevia.

3) Milk itself (and thus yogurt) has its own amount of naturally-occurring sugar, in the form of lactose. One 8-oz cup of milk has 11 grams of sugar. These smoothies not painfully sweet. And despite the fact that I cannot stand the taste of stevia, I actually didn’t notice it in these. My husband read the label and pointed it out to me. The smoothies contain some organic cane sugar (yay for real sugar!!!) and a little bit of stevia. The combination works for me. (I’d happily consume them without the stevia, too, because I think yogurt smoothies, like life, should be tangy and not so sweet.)

So I ran 17 miles and came home to gather this:

Cold Stonyfield OP smoothie, bag of ice for my ice bath, hard-working Garmin, and a mug of hot coffee.

Cold Stonyfield OP smoothie, bag of ice for my ice bath, hard-working Garmin, and a mug of hot coffee.

Ice baths suck in winter, by the way, in case that’s not totally obvious.

A week later — two days ago!! — I drove to Newton, got a ride out to Hopkinton, and ran the 21 miles back to my car with my running club, other running clubs, and a ton of charity runners. It was wet-snowing, and it was hilly, and it was fabulous. But at mile 16 or 17, I thought, “Oh, no!! I forgot to bring a smoothie with me!”

So when I got home, there was this:

Happy runner after 21+ miles, refueling.

Happy runner after 21+ miles, refueling. WHO’S EXCITED ABOUT THAT MARATHON IN 3 WEEKS???

And I also ate some pickles, and later enjoyed a beer or two while soaking in an Epsom bath (there’s that magnesium again!), and I am so ready for the big day on April 20. So incredibly ready.

Oh, and did you know Stonyfield is one of the big sponsors of the Boston Marathon? I’m not on the Stonyfield Marathon Team (that would be pretty awesome!), but I look forward to enjoying something Stonyfield after the run! (Yes, run; I’m not racing it, for a million reasons; I am running it.)

[Disclosure: I am a Stonyfield YoGetter, which means I’m an ambassador for Stonyfield. All products were provided to me free for review; all opinions are my own honest ones. All the excitement is mine, too!!]

The 20-Miler on the Marathon Course

It’s like I’ve completely forgotten how to train for a marathon.

The first time I ran a marathon, I did it with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. I had a very specific training plan, a coach and guidelines and weekly phone calls and everything. They offered great support, and I followed the plans to the letter, including all the stretching after the runs. I felt really really good during my race and really happy.

The next time I ran a marathon was after having two babies. I was doing a lot of long runs and decided to run another marathon. I stuck very close to a training plan for that and followed all the “rules” of training, and not only did I qualify for Boston but I PR’ed with a time of 3:36.

Huh.

Last summer I trained kind of badly for a marathon with blood, sweat, tears, and a leg injury that I ignored. I qualified for Boston but paid the price of having to take several months off, which meant I started training for Boston with no base mileage to speak of.

I seem to have backslid and regressed even further. This time around I don’t quite exactly even have a training plan. I ran a half marathon two weeks ago and forgot to eat beforehand. Can you believe it? By sheer luck I had one gel on me but I had to eat it too early in the race and it was a kind I’d never had before and I didn’t have enough water to wash it down. Isn’t a basic rule to fuel up before and during?

Oops!

Last week I went out for 17 miler, again not exactly fueling well and realizing by mile 14 that my shoes (the Ghosts I ran my September marathon in….but haven’t really run in much since then, since I took the fall off and spent the winter running on ice in trail shoes) didn’t have enough support.

Tomorrow I run 20 miles on the Boston Marathon course itself. I can’t wait. My running club is totally supporting it, with four food and water stops. I think there’s a police detail to control traffic. It’s a big day, because it’s generally the last and (for some of us the only) 20-miler for almost everyone before the race itself.

Of course, I haven’t had a chance to go buy new running shoes. So I ordered some from Amazon. I took a test run in one pair (Saucony Mirage 4) this morning and realized they’re not going to work for me. The other pairs arrived tonight. I won’t have a chance to try them before the run tomorrow. So I’m going to pack my old shoes and will wear a pair of the new shoes (Saucony ProGrid 7, a model I don’t think I’ve run in before) and hope for the best. I also have big plans to eat breakfast before I leave and will bring food with me. Brilliant, right? It’s like I’m already on top of this.

I know the long runs are a time to hammer out the kinks, but this is getting ridiculous. I can’t find the running gloves I wore all winter, the gloves I ran with just two days ago. I think I left them at a cafe near work. I don’t know which are my favorite socks, because I’ve been wearing the same pair of high wool running socks all winter. I have no idea which of my ankle socks don’t slip down, because I haven’t worn them in so long. I still need to check the forecast, I’m out of gels and sport beans, and you know what? I don’t care. It’s very freeing, this not-running-for-any-sort-of-time-goal. It gives me so much room to do so much so half-assedly. I mean, this isn’t ideal, but it’s not going to ruin much for me, ultimately. And I ran 17 last week and it was tough but I did it, so I’m pretty sure I can get through 20 tomorrow, especially since there will be so many others out there, and so many water and fuel stops along the way.

Here’s to tomorrow and the confidence it will give me!

And here’s to having the new shoes work out just fine for me!!