The Final Countdown

March 28, 2017

Cherry Blossom 5k, 2015


My last week of training is here–actually, it’s a little late for that. I’m not training this week. I have a four-mile run and a three-mile run, followed by three days of nothing, and then FINALLY the race.

I’m feeling okay about it. I haven’t had the chance to run outside as much as I would like the past two months, so I’m weirdly looking forward to spending a spring morning running around the monuments. Hopefully the weather behaves. Last year it was freezing and so windy one of the tents blew away. That sucked.

The cherry blossoms have hit their peak, but there is only about half as many blooms as usual, thanks to the blizzard that hit the northeast. So at least my allergies won’t kill me, unlike two years ago, when I barely managed to drag myself across the finish line during a fit of sneezing. That was fun.

I’ve been focused just on finishing the race, so I haven’t really set a time goal. That being said, my super tall, much fitter friend is also running. He just finished a half marathon in less than two hours (many hills, in the rain). We’re meeting at the finish line, and I don’t want to keep him waiting more than 30 minutes. So, that’s basically how I’m setting this goal: Finish, and don’t take too long about it.

See you on the flip side.




Why I Don’t Weigh Myself

March 21, 2017

Not my actual weight.

I do not weigh myself. I have a very good scale that dates back to when I first brought my second daughter home from the hospital. She was born 7 weeks early and spent three weeks in the NICU. Weight was a serious issue for her, so a few times a day I would weigh myself and then weigh myself holding her. It was probably the only time in my life where I didn’t give a damn what I weighed, because I had more important things on my mind.

Now the scale gathers dust under the bed, except when my daughters find it. They think it’s fun to weigh themselves. No matter what number they tell me, I say “That’s awesome!” And back under the bed it goes.

Weight is supposedly a critical piece of the overall health of a body. But it doesn’t feel that way, does it? Running four miles makes me feel healthy. Bypassing the ten pound weights for something heavier makes me feel strong. Climbing that goddamn mountain makes me feel like a badass. Stepping on a scale, seeing that number? It doesn’t make me feel healthy, or strong, or badass. It makes me feel wrong, and the worst part is, I’m not entirely sure what number it would have to be to make me feel right. I don’t think that number exists.

Logically, I know weight doesn’t change anything. I’m still the same person I was before I stepped on the scale, health-wise and otherwise. But there’s nothing logical about the way women feel about their weight.

What the scale can tell you: You weight, at that moment

What the scale cannot tell you: Whether you are healthy, what you would look like with a ten pound loss, what you would look like with a ten pound gain, whether you should ask out that cute single dad, do people even like you.

For me, weight is one question I don’t need answered.





Let’s Talk About Balance

March 14, 2017

Before I started training for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, my typical week looked like this: Monday-Wednesday-Friday was a three mile run. Tuesday-Thursday was strength training. And generally, two or three days climbing, either after work or on weekends or both. Often I would do a hike on the weekends, the duration of which would depend on whether I had my kids with me or not.

Now? Four days a week, I run. The runs vary in length, but the shortest is four miles. I climb once or twice a week, because I can’t not climb. I don’t hike. I don’t strength train. It’s not just a matter of time. My legs are tired. I am arguably less active now than I was before I started race training. (Yet somehow eating more? It’s a mystery.)

It turns out you can’t have it all. I don’t know why I thought I could sneak in extra runs and longer runs without sacrificing something else. I’m super frustrated with how tired I was getting during climbing. Instead of six or seven climbs, I do three or four–but they’re harder, so there’s that, too. I’m seeing less muscle definition in my arms, and I’m not happy about that.

There are so many people out there who run much further than I do. People doing halfs and full marathons. People doing ultras. What’s the secret? Do you just let everything else go and focus solely on running? Are you happy with that?

The thing is, I like how much my running stamina has improved. I’m actually relieved when I see a day with “just” five miles on the schedule, and I never thought I’d say that. I don’t want to give that up, either. Why can’t I have both without quitting my day job?

For now, I remind myself that training isn’t forever. The race is over April 2. On April 8, you can find me outside, climbing.


How To Psych Yourself Up For A 7 Mile Run

March 7, 2017



1.   Try to talk yourself out of it. Ask yourself: Self, why the hell do you want to do this? It’s not for weight loss, because now that your shortest run is four miles, you eat all the food. It’s not for health, either, because quite frankly, three miles three times a week is plenty to keep your heart in shape.

2.  Procrastinate. Maybe fold some socks or something.

3.  Realize your current playlist is not long enough to get you through this run. Panic.

4.  Add new songs to playlist. “I’m On It” from Nashville; “Instant Crush” by Daft Punk; “Something Just Like This” by Chainsmokers; “Scotty Doesn’t Know” from EuroTrip (aka the BEST MOVIE EVER, other than Paint Your Wagon, because let’s face it, nothing tops Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin singing duets).

5. Consider that instead of running seven miles, maybe your time would be better spent internet stalking Julian Casablancas.

6. Check fares to England. Sigh.

7. Clean the bathroom.

8. You are out of procrastination time, because you’re meeting a friend at the climbing gym tonight. Damn it.

9. Run.

10. Maybe it sucks. Undoubtedly part of it did. But there are also moments when you realize, hey, this actually feels pretty good. Your legs feel tired but strong, and you like that. You like the sweat dripping in your eyes, even though it stings a little. You finally have an answer to your question, and it only took seven miles to find it: You run because you like to do hard things. Sometimes it really is that simple.



There Will Be Weeks Like This

February 28, 2017


I’m up to seven miles on my long run now. It’s not pretty. There’s an embarrassing shuffle involved, and sometimes I even slow to a walk.

I’m in a weird place with running right now. According to my running plan, I should be improving. I’m certainly adding mileage every week. But, honestly, I could already do 10 miles–at a walk, anyway. I’m not sure I’m running any farther than I did the prior week; I’m just adding some walking time. Once I hit five miles, things stagnated.

I don’t know how to fix that, which is frustrating as hell. I’m afraid the answer might be time, and I simply don’t have enough of it. Maybe I should have given myself twelve weeks to train instead of ten, or better yet, sixteen or twenty. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

This is not to say I’m dropping out of the race, or even thinking about it. I can do 10 miles in the time allotted even if I walk half of it. I just really, really, REALLY want to run the whole 10 miles and it’s hard to come to terms with the realization that maybe I can’t, yet. Then again, I still have four more weeks of training. Who’s to say where I’ll be in those four weeks?

Plus I got new shoes, and they’re pretty. So there’s that.