Monthly Archives: October 2012

364 Days, 9 Hours

364 days, 9 hours

That’s about how long it’s been – give or take a few minutes and a time zone – since I crossed the finish of my 100th marathon.  It’s also how long since my last real run.  (We’re not counting those little 200-yard teasers as part of the Cross-Fit experience.  Especially since by round 3 of the “WOD” or “Workout of the Day” I knew it would be easier to run a few more miles than to do more burpees or push-ups.)

So – have I learned anything?  I’d like to say my body has changed, but in truth I never got very scientific about it so I’m not sure.   The same pants all still fit so that’s a good thing.  I DID move a couch all by myself last week (and this journey included a couple of steps as our house has many levels), so I’d like to think that those P90X videos helped with something.  Speaking of those, yes, I still do them.  I HAVE learned to change my lazy ways in strength training and I’ve finally embraced the idea of cutting down the cardio to pick up some weights & work in those damn squats & lunges.  I hope that this continues once I’m free on the roads again.

I have learned (or rather reinforced what I already knew) that my husband is a very patient & understanding man.  When I realized I still needed an endurance workout each week and turned to the pool, he had very little complaint about me spending 2-3 hours underwater each Saturday.  It’s one thing to deal with the long runs, but at least those weren’t limited to the 1-5pm lap times.  I have grown to enjoy those long swims, and am truly considering keeping them in there a few times a month, even as I increase my running mileage once again.

I have learned that in addition to my husband I have friends & family that support my weird little exercise quirks.  They were extremely helpful in getting me into Y’s, health clubs, and country clubs for access to pools or Zumba classes, and my brother even trolled alongside while I swam the lake in Canada so I wouldn’t be run over by a bass boat or jet skier.  (Though in my mind this was actually secondary to having a quick escape should I happen upon a snake in the water.)

I have learned that that number – THAT DAMN NUMBER ON THE SCALE is a real pain in the ass and really should be ignored most of the time.   Did you just have a great workout?  Yes.  Do your pants fit?  Yes.  Do you feel good?  Yes.  Then STEP AWAY FROM THE EVIL LITTLE THING.  Just walk away and enjoy your day.

I have learned that I have no shortage of ego when it comes the assessment of my own endurance.  While my husband and son are signed up for this weekend’s Hot Chocolate 5K here in Chicago, I’m entered into the 15K.   What is wrong with me?  I only hope there is still chocolate fondue left by the time I finish.

I have also learned that Baker Boys (melt-in-your-mouth cupcakes) in Highland Park is approximately 7 ½ miles from my house.  Can you say “destination run”?

I have learned that I’m lousy at sitting down to write.  Or perhaps there wasn’t all that much to be writing.  At least if someone wanted to read through every post at once it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment.  There will still be plenty of time for a good run.

Keep moving.



1 Comment

Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


If You Can’t Run It, Work It!

Last weekend I was given an opportunity to WORK at the Chicago Marathon. When I knew I wouldn’t be running this year I had reached out to a friend who works full-time with the race to see if there was any way I could help. I had envisioned filling some water or Gatorade cups, perhaps hanging medals around finishers necks as they celebrate their own personal win. While I knew it may be tough to just be standing there watching others enjoy one of my favorite moments I also knew I wanted to give it a shot being on the other side of the “magic”. But instead of a simple volunteer chore my buddy scored me a position in the Forward Command tent as a liaison to the Charity Villages throughout the day of the race, along with helping the charities load in & out of their tents. Work hours started about 6AM Saturday, then 2AM start on Sunday. I don’t drink coffee, so can you say “5 Hour Energy Shots”?

For those who aren’t familiar – many races have “charity runners” who are raising funds for various causes. If a charity is a partner with a race such as the Chicago Marathon, they will have a special tent offering their fundraisers extra amenities like snacks, changing areas & gear check. One even went as far as to provide a “Taste of Chicago” spread complete with a hot dog cart and deep dish pizza.

My job basically meant I’d be listening to a walkie-talkie channel of the charity group during race day & if there were any emergencies to handle I could relay information back & forth. I was warned that if everything went well (i.e. no tornadoes requiring an evacuation, etc) then the day might be kind of boring. I had my fingers crossed for a “boring” day, and while it was a bit, I still found it fascinating to be watching how a show like that runs. If you ever get a chance to watch how a 37,000 participant race is produced, go for it. There is constant communication coming in from the course regarding racers pace, course & weather conditions, and crowd & traffic control. At no point throughout the day did the fact that there were tens of thousands of people swarming around the city and throughout Grant Park in the name of their event seem to faze anyone, and they all seemed prepared for whatever the day threw down. It’s a remarkable organization.

The only thing that drove my nuts throughout the day was my voracious appetite. It’s amazing how sitting on your ass for much of the day can make you so hungry (I guess lack of sleep was a factor). Let me tell you, when a COLD bacon, egg & cheese on a cinnamon raisin bagel tastes GOOD, you know you’re hungry.

As my day was blessedly lacking of any major excitement to handle, I found myself watching the live web cam showing the finish line. Watching runners faces fill with looks of joy, relief & sometimes tears did make me want to be out there, not necessarily running but at least to high-five and congratulate them. On this race day, I was merely a little cog in the wheel of production. On this race day, it was about THEM.

Keep moving…..

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


Almost There!


Almost there!

How many times have I heard those words?  It’s a classic cheer for marathon spectators, along with “Woo-hoo” and “You look great!”  (That last one always makes me worry for some folks’ eyesight.)  Now – the “almost there” can either be good or bad to hear.  Before I’m back out on the running courses again, I’d like to offer some advice to marathon spectators:  unless you are standing within YARDS (say about ½ mile or less) of the finish line, we are not almost there.  Yes, it’s common sense to think that compared to a full-on 26.2 miles, a measly 3 or 4 may seem like almost there, but out of 100 marathons, I don’t believe I’ve ever hit mile 22 and felt like I was almost there.  Please, save those two precious words for a spot on the course that’s shorter than a diaper dash and keep to the “woo-hoos” anywhere else.

Now – while coming into the final month of my running abstinence may appear to be “almost there”, the problem is it’s the month of October.  Leaves are changing, the air feels crisp and the sunny days in the low 60s are what make fall one of my favorite times to be outside running.  As I watch all of the lovely happy running folk soaking it in around me I can feel my toes tingle.  It is MARATHON SEASON and I’m missing it!

Then again, I’m not really missing it.  In an effort to give back a little, I will be working at the Chicago Marathon this weekend.  While I’m certainly excited and honored to help out with such an event, I’m pretty sure it will be a tough experience to be jealous of about 38,000 people at once!  While I’ve always hoped for good weather on race days, this time it’s on a whole new level.  I know it’s harder to watch these races than participate, but if the weather isn’t good it’s downright miserable.   So – fingers crossed for decent weather, safe & healthy runners, and enough willpower to keep from ditching my post and going bandit in the race.

Keep moving!


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Uncategorized