Reaction Time

October 12, 2010 at 9:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Training Calls for: 3 miles (check!)

Miles Run So Far: 267.2

Days Left: 5 (deep breaths…deep breaths…)

Confession time:

I had a panic attack yesterday thinking about the marathon.

I’m normally a very low-key, low-stress person (stop smirking, Sam) who does not get ruffled by future things.  I did not have a panic attack about any of these past majorly-life-changing events: graduating from college, moving several states away to take a job where I knew no one, getting married, telling my first boss I quit, starting a new career, going back to school, buying our first car, buying our first house.  Not a single panic attack in any of those segments of life.  But on a random Monday, less than a week away from 26.2 miles, my heart started to pound uncontrollably.

I guess there’s a first time for everything.

I was scoping out the marathon website to email information to my parents when everything started to overwhelm me.

That route on the map looks incredibly long….Wait, how many water stations are there?…Parking is going to be a nightmare….Quick, check the weather….What am I going to wear?

Pretty soon, I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and I actually had to go in my office, close the door and put my head down on my desk.

Breathe.  Deep breaths.  In and out.  In and out.  Stop.  Freaking.  Out.

I may have joked about hyperventilating into a paper bag in the past, but I kind of get how that little piece of grocery garb could be clutch in a situation like this.

When I told my sister about my little “episode”, she asked: “what exactly are you worrying about?”

Good question.  I have no idea.

And then it kind of struck me how silly the whole thing was.  If I don’t know what I’m specifically worrying about, then there’s nothing to worry about.  I have trained for more than four months for this one event and while it makes me nervous, there isn’t anything to worry about.

What if I can’t find my groove and I struggle?  Well, I know how that feels, I dealt with it during our 18 miler and I overcame it.  I showed it who’s boss.

What if I wear the wrong thing and overheat?  I’ve been testing outfits for two weeks and if I make a boo-boo, I’ll ditch the clothes.  They’re donated to the needy anyway.  No biggie.

What if I surprise myself and it feels effortless?  Um, keep running, goofball.  Just like you did when you ran half the 20 mile run without stopping.

It all comes down to reaction time.  Not reaction time as in the ever-inadequate “hey look out!” before a softball smacks you in the face, but reaction time as in you have to wait until the time to react.

I can’t run a marathon ahead of time just so I can feel prepared and less scared and know how I’m going to handle every little curveball or pitfall.  I’m going to have to react when the time comes.  It isn’t here yet, so no sense in getting my running shorts in a bunch over nothing.  My training has shown me that I can not only run the distance, but I have learned to react well to just about anything.

I’m always surprised by how much running mirrors life.  Maybe it’s because over the past year I’ve become a devout discipline of Saint Hal Higdon, maybe because running gives you an incredible amount of peaceful time for self-reflection.  Whatever the reason, you can’t tell me that this whole theory of reaction time isn’t applicable to life in general.

Wait until the time comes to react.  Don’t bother with the what ifs.  Otherwise, you’re wasting energy having a panic attack in your office with the lights off wondering who will explain to your husband that it was the mental preparation for the marathon that killed you, not the actual physical exertion.

Someone sent me an email recently and included in their signature line was the quote, “The miracle isn’t that you finished.  The miracle is that you had the courage to start.”

Amen to that.  The hard part is over.  If I have to crawl across that finish line, it doesn’t matter.  I had the courage to start.  I’ll just take whatever comes my way and rely on some well-prepared reaction time to deal with it.



The Answer is YES!

September 13, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments
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Yes.  I did it.  I ran 18 miles…18 long miles on Saturday.  Ankle/foot be darned.

After a week of progressively better runs, I decided to go all out and run the 18 miles the training schedule called for.  I was back at it.

I could lie and tell you everything just clicked in to place — that is was magical and Disney-like and some woodland creatures scampered alongside and we all laughed and sang, but since this blog is dedicated to the newbie in all of us and this counts as my first injury experience, I’mma be honest wit you ;).

It was awful.

No, really.  The first 9 miles weren’t so bad.  Sam and I followed the same route we ran on Thursday night, with the intention of looping it twice.  After the first loop, back at our house, I made an executive decision.  I cut loose from my man moorings and let Sam go on ahead (I seriously hold him back in terms of speed) while I made up the remaining 9 miles in our neighborhood and the neighborhood next to ours.  Please keep in mind, our neighborhood has a 1 mile loop and the next-door neighborhood has a 1.5 mile loop.

This was going to be a long 9 miles.

All those loops and swoops and figure-8’s gave me a lot of time to think about this injury experience.  It would seem injuries are contagious — or at least fall under the category of “bad things happen in numbers”. Everywhere I turn, I know a runner coping with an unexpected physical shortcoming.

My father-in-law is always wary of his hamstrings.

My sister-in-law is nursing a troublesome ankle.

A friend just emailed me to tell me she’s out of marathon training due to shin pain.

Her running partner has a bum knee and is out of training as well.

Sam’s battling shin splints…and I’ve got an ankle, that until lately,  I would have removed in a heartbeat if I thought I could still run without it.

Like chicken pox sweeping through a preschool, runners all around me are stricken with injury.

My dad made a wise observation recently when he said he didn’t really think anyone got to the starting line of a marathon without suffering some kind of injury. “Think about it: you run so many miles for four and a half months straight.” He’s right — you can’t push like that and expect nothing to happen.  Of the people I listed above, we all have one thing in common: pain. The other thing we have in common, the thing less obvious, is that we all have willpower and desire. We want to keep going and overcome the issue, but it’s out of our control.

If you are forced to drop out of training or change your plans, are you a failure?

I answer with a resounding NO.  Never.

Failure, to me, means you know you could do it, but you opt not to “just because”. No real reason — you just decided to quit because you couldn’t push yourself to stick with it. You didn’t have the heart to keep going.  Knowing when to throw in the towel and pick up the ice pack is different from failure. That’s a judgment call and if you’re wise and you have your body’s best interest at heart (no pun intended), then you make the right call even if it feels terrible.

Of course, this is all well and good and easier said than done. I reached a point Tuesday where I got dressed, laced up my sneakers and headed out for my first run back.

I’ve had just about enough of this injury nonsense, I told myself. We’re going to run.

I finally got what I wanted — I basically got to tell my ankle to shut up. Stop whining at me about how you hurt, suck it up and let me run. Just let me run, for crying out loud.

While injury has forced others to re-think their plans, I’m not there yet. I know if I come to that crossroads, I’m going to follow their lead and make the smart choice.

Because I know it’s not failure.

Because I know it’s best for my body.

Because I know there will be other marathons.

But for right now — I’m still in it.  I’m not going anywhere.

All of these thoughts on injuries and training and changing plans came in a jumble through what was probably the most mentally taxing 18 miles ever.  I came to a point where I was battling a stitch in my side after just a mile, so from mile 12 to mile 18, I was running a mile and walking, then running a mile, then walking.  My legs were bricks, I could actually feel the muscles bunching up and my caboose wanted to derail.

I gave serious thought to stopping at 12 (what I should have run the Saturday I took off) and then again at 16 (wasn’t that close enough?!).  I gave serious thought to crying.  I gave serious thought to cutting through our neighbor’s backyard just so I could shave off a half a mile.

I gave that all serious thought, but I didn’t give it serious permission.

There comes a point in anything worth doing where you realize, indeed, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  That’s when it really counts.  The part where you keep pushing because you know, deep down, nothing is really wrong.  You’re tired, but you have to move forward.  It’s a mental game at this point — train your mind to believe it’s possible.

So 18 was ugly, I’ll admit it, but I am darn proud I finished 18 miles and am back on track to dominate 26.2.  Those 18 miles were as much about training my mind as they were about training my legs.  Should marathon day be an ugly run too, at least I know I can keep moving forward.

There’s no happy picture with fingers displayed to document this, but it doesn’t matter.  I’m not going to forget that run for a long, long time.

Let’s get back on track,  shall we?

Road to Recovery

September 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Training Calls For: Cross Training

Miles Run So Far: 260.2

Days Left: 36

Bonjour, blog-babes!  I know I disappeared this week and I apologize.  When life gets crazy hectic, blogging takes a back seat.  This week, starting school again, working the morning shift, adjusting to a new schedule (Sam started a PhD program — smarty pants) and making sure everyone was fed and cared for all took the front seat, back seat and middle seat.  Blogging was basically in the car top carrier.

But I’m back…in more ways than one ;).  Let’s recap!

Tuesday, I headed out after work for a run.  I had had just about enough of that ankle nonsense.  It was time to put up or shut up after a week of babying my foot and I really wanted to run.  I set out for a 4 miler, but cut it short at 3.  The weather was fairly summer-like and the humidity is really what shut me down, not my foot.  It was still tight and uncomfortable, but there wasn’t any pain which gave me a hope.

Post-run, I iced it and took some Aleve to help with inflammation.  Even later, there was an epsom salt bath to help loosen it up.  I’m no doctor, I’ve never taken an anatomy class, but after poring over Google images of the anatomy of a foot and ankle, I have reason to believe I’m dealing with tendonitis.  The fibrous bands that connect my toes to my ankle are what I feel pulling when I walk and run.  I wondered if I had sprained them and in the week of recovery, they had gotten less stretchy and were resisting movement.


At least that was my theory and I was sticking to it.  I decided this was the week to get back into it and move those tendons.  Stretch stretch stretch, troublesome tendons!

Wednesday: I waited for Sam to get home from work before we hit a 5 mile run.  My foot felt even looser than the day before, I was super hopeful things were going to be a-ok.  The weather was much better (less humidity and heat) and the only thing that deterred from a fabulous run was the fact that I’ve lost some endurance in the week I took off from training.  It’s frustrating, but I know it will come back over time.  I’m not givin’ up.

Thursday:  With a major case of nerves, I ran 9 miles with Sam.  I decided before setting out that this would be the determining factor if I was really back in the game with my training.  It took a while, it wasn’t pretty and I had to walk a couple of times, but I did it.  Nine miles with no pain and minimal discomfort.  EXCELLENT.

I was so incredibly sore Friday, I couldn’t believe it.  Well, that’s a lie.  Yes, yes I could.  I could hardly move in the morning and only limbered up slightly after some serious stretching and foam rolling.  Running is the kind of thing you either use or lose.  I didn’t totally lose it, but it’s going to take time to build back up.  Thankfully, I have a while to do just that before marathon day.

So all this update begs the question: did I run 18 miles on Saturday as mandated by the Hal Higdon training schedule?

Well the answer deserves a post of its own, so stay tuned ;).

A rock and a hard place

September 4, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Training Calls for: 12 miles

Miles Run So Far: 234.2

Days Left: 43

*sigh*  See that 12 miles up there that training calls for?  I didn’t run a single one of them.  In fact, since last we talked, I’ve only run 2 miles.  Those two miles still hurt, foot/ankle-wise, so I extended my time off.  I don’t like doing so, but I also don’t want to run through an injury and end up not being able to run the marathon I’ve been so faithfully training for.

I did a lot of thinking about being stuck between a rock and a hard place while I ate my PB and toast with banana this morning for breakfast.

I don’t know exactly what the phrase was meant to infer, but when I say it, I picture myself squeezing in between a boulder and the edge of a cliff.  Quite literally, I imagine myself momentarily stuck between a rock and a hard place.  It’s that moment when you’re trying to pass through a space not intended for you to journey through and you have that second where you think, “oh, oh, oops, I shouldn’t have done this, I should go back”, but in reality, you know you can only move forward. Forward is where you want to be, forward is where you’re meant to be journeying.

You can be stuck between a rock and hard place as long as you want — but you’re the one who decides whether or not you move forward and how you do so.

Lunch: (Tuna on a sandwich thin with spicy brown mustard, pickle and applesauce on the side)

I never intended on injuring my ankle to the point of not being able to follow the training schedule to a “T”.  I never intended to go from averaging 32 miles a week to 2.  But I hurt myself and now, I’m caught between a rock and hard place deciding how to proceed.

How do I move forward?

I’ve decided the best course of action is to keep resting, test the ankle with a little jog here and there and get back on track next week.  I won’t be pushing myself to follow a plan and run through pain.  Pain > plan.  I’ll trust that once I squeeze through this tough spot, I’ll be back to clear sailing and a happy victory picture when I cross the finish line of 26.2.

Dinner: beef stirfry with wild rice and salad

Sounds a little too philosophical, but I think anyone who has committed themselves to the level of insanity this kind of training requires feels absolutely lost when something throws them off-track.

But isn’t that life? Raise your hand if your life has gone exactly as you imagined or planned.

No one?  Just what I thought.

Sometimes, we’re thrown for a loop and we have to squeeze between a rock and a hard place.  When we get to the other side and the scenery doesn’t look quite as we imagined, that’s when we have to take a deep breath and trust that everything we’ve done leading up to this point will carry us through until things seem okay again. It may take a while, but we’re not in charge of the time table.

So, hopefully, Tuesday, I’ll have good news to report and miles to add to the running tally.  It may not be pretty, it may be slow and I may be frustrated, but I still have 6 weeks before it comes time to lace up those shoes and run to realize a goal.

If there is one thing running (and life) has taught me, it’s that a LOT can change in 6 weeks.

Thanks for your patience and your kind words while I wait for my bum ankle to get its act together.  I’ll let you know when I finally wiggled free from between a rock and a hard place. XOXO


August 31, 2010 at 7:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Training Calls For: 4 miles

Miles Run So Far: 233.2

Days Left: 48

I was all excited this morning to break in my new running shoes and sport my new dry fit shirt I picked up at the outlets over the weekend, but instead, I’m sitting here  with a bag of hashbrowns on my foot.


Ironic, really, that the post I intended to focus on replacing your old shoes will now focus on what can happen if you wait too long to replace said old shoes.  Oh, the irony.  The shredded-potato irony.

Saturday’s 16-miler marked the beginning of retirement for my trusty Brooks Ravennas.  You remember how excited I was to buy them?  A real shoe analysis and fitting by a professional — oh boy! 🙂  Those Ravennas have served me well and by mostly accurate calculations (we all know how I am with “the math”), have pounded nearly 340 miles of pavement.  I’ve laced up those sneakers for a half marathon, a 10K, a 5K and all the training runs in between on the way to the marathon.

It’s time to say farewell.

I knew this day was coming, but I was pretty clueless as to how I would know I needed to replace my shoes.  I asked my dad and my father-in-law (both runners) and both replied, “you’ll just know.  You’ll feel it.”

Ah.  So knowing when to replace your shoes is like knowing you’re in love. You just know it.

For a newbie like me, this vague answer just wasn’t concrete enough, but I didn’t have anything else to go on.  So I waited and waited.  Waited some more until last week:


I felt it.  I felt it with every run.

Soreness in my knees post-run with  tight ankles a few hours after my 8 miler on Wednesday…my legs didn’t feel like they should.  Blame it on the shoes.  I thought I could stretch them through my long run on Saturday and then I’d replace them.

My ankle disagrees.  It actually felt like I had sprained my ankle after that long run, but I slogged through and walked around the mall anyway.  It didn’t feel much better on Sunday and yesterday, there was still some tightness and soreness.

Since I believe in listening to my body and not pushing through an injury (I’m not going for the gold here — I just want to train and finish injury-free), I’m scrapping my 4-miler in favor of rest, ice (hash browns) and some ibuprofen.

Good plan.

Last night, I bought the exact same shoes (yay Brooks!) and the side-by-side comparison is only further proof new shoes were the solution.

Old shoes:

New shoes:

Old shoes (left) vs. New shoes (right)

New shoes (left) vs. Old shoes (right)

Tread anyone?

Sometimes it’s hard to take an unscheduled rest day when you’ve been following a training schedule so closely.  You’re afraid you’ll be sabotaging your hard work.  I gave myself a quarter of a mile this morning to loosen up and when my ankle only felt worse, I made the executive decision.  I’ll take it one day at a time, one step at a time.  Until then, I’ll be admiring my new shoes…from my hash-browned throne of injury.

If you’ll excuse me, I think Sam wants to use my first aid kit for his breakfast.  Gotta go! 🙂

Nothin’ To Do

August 27, 2010 at 7:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I woke up this morning with nothin’ to do.  No homework, no exams, no run.  No nothin’.  Nothin’ to do except talk to you. 🙂  So let’s get down to biznazz.

Training Calls For: Rest

Miles Run So Far: 217.2

Days Left: 52*

See that little asterisk?  *sigh* I may have just dominated a statistics course, but I still apparently can’t count.  I was listing something like 70 days left until the marathon, until I realized over at Destination 26.2, Linzi (who’s running her 1st marathon on the same day) was waaaaaaay ahead of me in the numbers.  How could this be?!  I did a quick count of the days left on my Hal Higdon novice marathon training schedule.  Counted and re-counted.  *Gulp*  Um, I was only off by about 18 days.

Whatev.  I’m still on track with the schedule and I’m running the correct mileage to get me to M-day, I just had the actual number wrong.  So here’s a new equation for you:

(Bethany + Math)/Busybusy life = Blogging error (Disaster!)

But let’s don’t rub it in.

I am finished with my summer classes and feel so free.  For new readers: I’m a returner learner.  I already have a college degree in one field and I’m working towards another in Spanish.  When you hear me talking about class and finals, keep in mind, I’m still a regular ol’ adult with a house, a full-time job and two monsters. 🙂

Finishing up with classes warranted a Dairy Queen reward:

I look a little crazy in this picture — crazy relieved!  By the by, that Blizzard is not healthy, probably not natural, but tasted so good knowing I don’t have to take statistics ever again.

I know I’m really in training because after I ate it, I thought to myself, “I hope I don’t regret this during my mid-week run of 8 miles.”  When you reach a level where you’re churning out mile after mile, you have also reached the level where you can feel how your food and drink choices affect your body and your running.  Eat crap, drink crap, feel like crap.

Fortunately, I had prefaced DQ with a healthy dinner:

Marinated boneless pork ribs, salad with avocado and tomato and cantaloupe.  Foods my body appreciates.

Our 8 mile run yesterday was fantastic.  I slept like a rock the night before (goodbye, stress) and was up at 5:15 ready to tackle the route.  I filled Alice the CamelBak with a combination of Gatorade and water and we set out.

My mind wanders when I run:

🙂 I should really blog about carnival food since I had to run through the empty alley of shuttered carny trucks hocking corndogs and funnel cakes during the Parade of the Hills 5K.

🙂 Oh, look, a person going through the McDonald’s drive thru.  *wave* “Good morning!” Sam to me: “Careful, people might think you’re a morning person.”

🙂 If we knocked the rear wall of our house off and blew the roof off, could we build a two-story house without sacrificing much of our enormous backyard?

🙂 What am I going to eat for breakfast?  That English muffin with PB has totally been torched by now.

The answer to question #4:

I found this little mostly-empty Almond Butter jar hiding on the counter and put him to use.  Oats in a jar! You can run, Almond Butter jar, but you can’t hide.

I was craving a sweet breakfast (I blame the Blizzard), so I threw a few dark chocolate chips in my oatmeal.  Sooooo good.

To balance out my fruit and veg free breakfast, I packed a super healthy lunch…looooooook into my wrap.  You are getting sleepy, very sleepy.

Multigrain wrap with hummus, red pepper, green pepper and carrots.

I added my favorite summer salad on the side:

Spinach + strawberries + feta.  If you haven’t tried it, your hesitation is foolish. 😉  It’s delicious.

There was also cantaloupe, an apple and a banana.  None of them were pretty enough to photograph.

Neither, incidentally, was dinner.  I walked through our door last night to find Sam and my brother-in-law, Steve, trying to squeeze a pull-out couch down our basement stairs.  I slowly backed away from the man-work jungle and chose a bowl of cereal with blueberries as dinner.

I’m off to enjoy the rest of my “nothin’ to do” day and mentally prepare for the 16 miles we’re running tomorrow.  Before I go, two “administrative” things:


After I returned from my vacation-induced hiatus earlier this month, a friend solemnly confessed to me, “I know you were on vacation and you weren’t updating your blog, but I was checking almost every day — just in case.  Then, I started reading some other blogs.”  *gasp!*  You cheated on me with other blogs? 😉  Haha, it’s okay.  Turns out my friend found click-worthiness in Carrots’n’Cake and Kath Eats Real Food…two blogs I also love.  For you, friend (and for everyone really), I updated my blogroll.  So, with my blessing, click away…just come back here every once in a while, too. 😉


Have you heard about Healthy Living Blogs?  Here’s a little info:

Healthy Living Blogs is a new resource for the health blogging community. Created by Lindsey of Sound Eats, HLB is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support. If you’re interested in having your site listed on HLB, simply send the following information to and check the site out for yourself!

  • Email subject line: MEMBERS

  • Your name (please share if you prefer to go by first name, first and last, or however you prefer to be known on the Internet)

  • Blog Name

  • Blog URL (please start with http://, not www.)

  • Your twitter handle, if applicable

  • Your location (if you prefer not to disclose this information for privacy’s sake, that is completely understandable. We’ll simply include your blog listing in the A-Z listing, not by location, too)

  • Any specific labels (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, weight loss, running, etc.)

I know a few of you have actually wandered over from HLB and I think it’s a great resource for the blogging community!  Be sure and check it out.

Have a wonderful Friday.  I’ll see you tomorrow — probably 16 miles tired-er.

What are you doing today?

Alice the Camel(bak)

August 20, 2010 at 7:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Training Calls for: Rest

Miles Run So Far: 183.1

Days Left: 74

Marathon training is really picking up and the mid-week runs are getting way longer.  If you had told me a year ago, I’d be waking up on a Wednesday morning to run 7 miles (per the Hal Higdon Novice Marathon training schedule), I would have done a spit-take with my coffee.  Suuuuure.

Oh, but it happened.

Wednesday morning, I got all suited up, not just to run 7 miles, but to test out a new toy.

Don’t I look like an astronaut with all my gear?  Well, except for the bandana.  That makes me look like a rebel astronaut.  A cowboy astronaut.  Hmm.  Maybe a new bandana should be my next purchase.  Moving on. 😉

After Kelly told me how much she was loving her new CamelBak for her long bike rides, she convinced me to go ahead and buy one.  Well, she convinced me and so did the fact that the one I wanted was the “Hot Deal” on  For less than $35, I became the proud owner of the CamelBak Annadel.  The Annadel is one of the baks designed to fit a woman’s body better.  I am a woman, ergo, I appreciate things that fit my body.  Those sneaky marketers really know how to target their prey.

Since I’m still very much a newbie when it comes to running, running gear, running lingo, etc, I thought I’d give you a little review of my new CamelBak.  Or Alice, as I’ve named her.  Because remember from pre-school: Alice the camel has five humps…Alice the camel has five humps…Alice the camel has five humps, so ride Alice ride…Boom boom boom!

Since I’m prone to dehydration (which, in case you’re wondering feels like you’re drunk and hungover all at the same time — how charming), I am a water freak nowadays.  I drink water all day at work, when I’m home, on runs, in my sleep.  Carrying a little 10 oz. bottle with me while running has worked so far, but it’s annoying to hold a water bottle for 10+ miles and be at the mercy of water breaks and pit stops.  If a water fountain along the route is turned off, it’s like I turn into the Hulk.

The CamelBak is necessary.

Alice is a standard CamelBak backpack design.  She’s dark grey and light grey with fuchsia stitching (again, those marketers hit me right in the estrogen).


There are two parts to the CamelBak: the back pack and the bladder.  I know, I too wish they had chosen a different termonology.  An empty bladder weighs nothing.

A full bladder (50 oz. in my Alice’s case), weighs about four pounds.  Four pounds is heavy in your hand, but practically weightless on your back.  Ahh, the power of the bak.

The bladder fits in the pack and a long straw loops out from the pack, over your shoulder and flops around near your neck.  Attached to the end of the straw is the mouthpiece.

Made of soft plastic, the mouthpiece is designed so you bite down on it, opening the valve:

Then, you simply slurp up the water, feel refreshed and keep on running.

Two reasons I chose the Annadel version: 1) the straps are moisture wicking.  We’ve all seen the amount of sweat I can produce all on my own after a long run, so it’s important that I’m not trapping sweat between my shirt and my straps.  Gross.  The straps, along with the back of the pack, are slightly padded for comfort.

Squishy. 😉

Reason no. 2: Pockets!!!!!

Pockets in pockets!

The farther we run, the more junk I carry.  I was basically on the fast track to running with my purse before I purchased the CamelBak.  Goos, gels, keys, id, etc, etc.  I love pockets.  I wish they were a little more accessible: having them in the back means running with the CamelBak on is like a team sport.  “Sam, can you get my gels?  Sam, can you pull out my key?  Sam, can you check to see if my id is in there?”.  Poor Sam.

Actually running Alice strapped to my back took a little getting used to, but nothing transformative.  Remember that feeling of running with your backpack on as a kid?  The way the books inside made it so with every step you took, your satchel took on a life of its own, bouncing and twisting and bucking off your back?

It’s nothing like that ;).

The Camelbak fits so snugly to your back (with the help of a sternum harness) that you don’t feel it moving.  The extra weight from the water doesn’t weigh you down and the brilliant part is the more you run, the more you drink, the less it weighs.  As you get more tired, you’re hauling less liquid.  Amazing.

Operating the mouthpiece takes a little breath coordination, but again, you get the hang of it.  Kind of like swimming.  Turn your head to the side, deep breath, dive in!

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my purchase and recommend both the CamelBak and the website ( to anyone who is looking into new toys.   I can’t wait to take Alice on our 15 mile run (gulp).  Now if  I could just get used to the sound of the water sloshing in the pack…maybe I can convince myself it sounds like the ocean.


P.S. I wrote this review after buying this purchase with my own money.  CamelBak and did not give me any swag for this review (although if they want to in the future, I’m all ears ;)).

I don’t even know where to start…

August 13, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I know.

I’ve been MIA for two weeks.  That’s basically twelve years in blogland, isn’t it?  I can explain…

July 31st

Before heading out of dodge on the first leg of our vacation, I channelled my inner Ralph Macchio and became the bandana-ed running bandito.

12 miles was a piece of cake, I tell you.  I think it was my awesome choice of headgear.  Seriously, though.  It was all mental.

Sam and I set out for 12 miles with a plan: stop every 4 miles, consume goos/gels, drink water, walk a little bit and then hit it again.  We kept up an awesome pace and at mile 9, I couldn’t help but think, “it doesn’t even feel like I’ve been running for 9 miles!”  A plan + a bandana = 12 miles of sweet success.  We kept a great pace and I felt awesome!

Later that night…

I won an Emmy.  Nope, I’m not kidding.  Not pulling your leg.  Here’s photographic proof:

Really me.  Really an Emmy.  We’ve talked before about how I work as a public radio announcer at a public radio/tv station.  Well, as part of my job, I hosted a series of education webisodes for teachers across my midwestern state to access when teaching difficult science curriculum.  Spaced Out: A Cosmic Scene ended up being an Emmy winning final product and I was nominated (and won) an Emmy for my role as host.  It’s a regional Emmy, so don’t get too excited.  I wasn’t on national tv.  But I am on iTunesU. 😉  Just log on and search “Spaced Out”.  Eight webisodes in all — you can hear what my voice really sounds like AND maybe learn sumthin’.

August 1-10th

Vacation.  Vacation all I ever wanted vacation ready to get away.

Get away indeed.  For 10 days, I put down the camera, unplugged the computer and just enjoyed sights, sounds, surroundings and super awesome family members in Northern Michigan.  More photographic evidence:

Ahh.  Doesn’t that make you want to relax?  Doesn’t it drive all thoughts of technology from your brain?  Me, too.  That’s why I didn’t blog.  Internet was spotty anyway and honestly, I just didn’t feel it.  I never want to force a blog entry just to have something current up.  I’d rather provide you with something of quality.  I was re-charging my “quality” batteries up here.

I was also learning to water ski.  After 26 years, I finally managed to get up and stay up for a couple of laps around the lake.  SUCCESS!  I was almost more excited about this than I was about the Emmy.  Almost.  No one ever tells you how sore your arm pits are after water skiing. What muscle are those, anyway??

I kept up with the Hal Higdon Novice Marathon training schedule while I was in Michigan.  Some runs were better than others, some runs were just to get them over with and get back to relaxing.

One run, however, was all business.  I wish I had photographic evidence of the first ever Eastport, MI Half Marathon, but alas, the event was sloppily organized (by yours truly and Sam) and we were more focused on running and beating my old half marathon time.

We did.  WE DID!  SUCCESS!!!!

Shaving nearly 12 minutes off my old time, I dominated 13.1 miles, up hills and on the sides of unfamiliar roads.  Again, we had a plan, we had dropped off waters along the way, we had marked the road with spray paint to note mile markers (I think this was illegal, so don’t tell) and we did great.  After two strong long runs, my spirits are high for this marathon.  I know I can do it.  I’ve found my happy pace.

August 10-12th

Procrastination.   And golf.

And running through the sprinklers on the golf course.

They really shouldn’t have left those on with me on the links.  By the way, I don’t really play — this was my fourth game.  Ever.

That’s neither here nor there…Coming back, I knew I needed to re-connect with you on the blog, but I just didn’t even know where to start.  Who would believe I won an Emmy, went on vacation, learned to water ski and then blitzed 13.1 miles in a half marathon I organized myself for just two runners?

Seems a little far fetched.  Every time I sat down to type this out, I found something else to do instead.  Homework.  Housework.  I even just finished detailing my car, for crying out loud.  It’s like 99 degrees outside and I chose vacuuming dog hair off the seats over blogging.  Why?

Like so many things I procrastinate over, once I sat down, it felt good and right to be sharing all of this with you and be back where I belong: back to the accountability of the blog for my running and my eating.  One went well over vacation, the other — not so much.  I’ll let you guess which (hint: there are no food pics…).

So, I’m off to go prep for my long run tomorrow (although it’s just 10 miles — did I just say that?!), but for now:

Training Calls for: Rest

Miles Run So Far: 163.1

Days Left: 81

See you tomorrow.  Promise. 😉

“Did I stutter?”

June 15, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Training calls for: 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 3

Days to Go: 125

Whoohoo.  Day 2 of the marathon training (and the first real run day) is behind me.  I’m on my way!  I struggled a little to get my motivation up for today’s run.  In fact, my feelings toward training in general are a little shaky.  It isn’t so much that I don’t want to do this or that I’m unsure, it’s that I’m a little bit scared.  Every time I think about training, in my head I hear myself say it “m-m-m-marathon training”.  Just like that.  Nervous little stutter.  M-m-m-marathon training.  It’s going to be a long 18 weeks if every time I think about training I’m mentally stuttering.

So I gave myself a little pep talk…drawing on one of my favorite scenes from The Office (you guys know I love that show :)).   Michael is pestering Stanley and pushes Stanley to backtalk him, saying, “did I stutter?”

In my version, Michael is my uneasiness at taking this m-m-m-marathon training on.  It’s the part of me that thinks I can do it, but isn’t really sure.  It’s that little voice going “c’mon, doubt yourself, c’mon, worry about it”.  I need to be all Stanley with that voice and say “it’s MARATHON training.  Did I stutter?”

Nope.  I did not.

BTW, I dominated those 3 miles.  Even in the heat and humidity.  BOOM!  The secret weapon?  This run was powered by pigtails.

Obviously, I took this picture pre-run.  Puh-lease, I definitely do not look that perky after a run in 88* heat with 100% humidity.  I’d like to meet the woman who does.

After a weekend of many indulgences (hello, beer, massive snacking and mindless eating) and straying from all natural eating (oh, it’s you, sugary birthday cake!), I’m ready to clean up my eats.  I did a pretty good job for today, if I do say so myself.

Breakfast at home:

Green Monster Smoothie, clearly.

Breakfast at work:

Fruit salad.


Plain all natural yogurt with Trader Joe’s granola.

Lunch was a little random: Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch Cereal.

Not exactly an adult meal, but the nutrition stats aren’t terrible, so I’ll give in to the craving.

However, the cereal doesn’t have much staying power, so a little later, a random piece of string cheese  came into the picture…

…and half a Chocolate Coconut LaraBar.  Surprisingly, not my favorite flavor.  This was the first time I tried it and I should have known the deck was stacked against it because I rarely like anything chocolate flavored that doesn’t actually contain chocolate.  People, please, let’s leave well enough alone in that department ;).

I’m trying to use up all the leftover food from the party (that’s why you’ve seen so much fruit!!!) so I chopped up some of the veg from the veggie tray and sauteed it in a pan with a little EVOO.

I threw those veggies in a multigrain wrap (from Aldi ;)) with a little cheese and scrambled eggs (two eggs, one egg white).  I obviously mis-judged the veg-to-wrap ratio, so I ended up with auxilary vegetables.  What can I say?  It’s a tough formula.

I’m pretty stuffed from dinner, so I’m thinking dessert will just have to wait.  Good thing, too, because there’s leftover birthday cake staring me down and I need to trash it or take it in to work and force my co-workers to deal with the temptation I obviously can’t.

What?  You know you do it, too.

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