Monday, March 30, 2009

Seventh Group Run

Saturday marked the first double-digit run for me and Chris.  The weather was nice.  It seems like every time I go running lately, the temperature has been at that point where I'm really cold when I start out, but after 10 or 15 minutes of running, it feels good.

Kristen ran the 10 miles with me and Chris, even though she had just run a marathon the week before, and even though she had a cold!  That girl is a machine!  She sent us some info about getting a post-marathon cold.  Sounds like it's pretty common.  Oh joy! 

Anyway, after the run on Saturday, I felt surprisingly good.  No knee pain, no shin pain, and after a venti caramel macchiato, I even felt like an actual, live human being, instead of a zombie!  Maybe my body is getting used to all of this nonsense.  Or maybe it was just a fluke.  Either way, I'll take it. 

Poor Chris wasn't quite as lucky- his knee was and is still really bothering him.  He bought a knee strap and wore it tonight for a 4-mile run.  It's too early to tell if it's helping him yet, so send him some knee-healing vibes! 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Martha Stewart Would Cringe

Speaking of being busy, there are a few things that might happen when both members of your household are working full-time, training for a marathon, and using most of their spare time organizing fundraisers and begging for donations:

1. Your apartment might become even messier than it usually is. Cleaning will only happen when you know people are going to be coming over, or it’s too offensive to look at any longer. Or something starts to smell.

2. You might not have the energy or the inclination to cook after going for a run at night, so you might start to live off of frozen skillet meals and whatever places nearby that deliver. (I’d like to give a shout-out to Stouffer’s, Bertolli, and of course, Little Duck!)

3. Laundry might pile up, and you’ll only do a load mid-week so that you have enough running clothes to get by.

4. You might tell yourselves you need to buy more running clothes so you won’t have to do laundry mid-week, but then you’ll take forever and a day to get around to going to the store to actually purchase said clothes.

5. You might have a six-pack of beer in the fridge for well over a month and a few bottles of wine hanging around, completely untouched. This is unnatural, I know. But it might happen.

6. You might have to re-arrange your schedule for your whole week just to make plans to go out for a drink with a friend one lousy night after work.

7. You might be a redneck. (What?)

Busy and tired as you may be though, it will be completely, 100% worth it. You will feel so accomplished! Each week, you’ll feel more and more like a runner, and with each dollar you raise, you’ll know you did some good.

And really, who cares if your place is a pig sty most of the time? Messy is the new black.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Too Busy

This is going to be the first week of training where I don’t get in my three weeknight runs! Last night I went to Abe & Louie's for a retirement dinner for my coworker, and tonight I’m going out with my family to Mistral for Restaurant Week. For the past few years, we’ve all gone out during RW to celebrate my brother Eddie’s birthday. This year we’re going out a little over two weeks past his birthday, but hey- why not keep the celebration going? You only turn 27 once!

Anyway, I feel a little guilty about not fitting in all of my scheduled runs, and instead eating copious amounts of food, but not guilty enough to go running in the morning. I need my precious, precious sleep!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sixth Group Run

Kristen wasn't able to make it to our group run this week because she was off running a marathon (Hope it went well, Coach!) So, Kate and Erika, the other team mentor, planned a route for us and off we went. The group was also a little smaller this week because Matt and Ben weren't there. This week Chris and I were to run 9 miles.

It was chilly out, so Ol' Neon (my fleece pullover) made an appearance. I thought I'd eventually get too warm in it, seeing as how it was so sunny, and the day was sure to warm up, and we'd be running for such a long time, and I am really, REALLY willing the winter weather to be gone once and for all.... but it stayed chilly out, and I never got warm enough to run in just a T-shirt. I can't wait until it's warm enough for shorts and a T-shirt at 8:00am every time! Not that I'm complaining - We've been so lucky with all of our long runs so far. It hasn't snowed or rained yet.

(OK, I know I totally just jinxed myself and my teammates.)

Erika had set up three water stops for us, and a fourth for the people who were running more. (I think Kate and Christine ran 12, is that right, girls?) Erika isn't running with us because she's preggers, so she was there at two of the stops and had left a bag full of water, Dixie cups, and so
me PowerBar Gel Blasts on the sidewalk at the other stop. I don't really like those chews, so I had brought myself a Fruitabu and I ate it at the half-way point.

The run felt long. It felt a lot longer than 8 miles did, which may have had something to do with the fact that we didn't stop a lot because we didn't get lost this time. ;-) We made it though, and I am so proud of Chris because he made it the WHOLE WAY without walking even once this time! GO CHRIS!

We didn't meet up with the rest of the group after our run for the first time. Brenda had run 6 miles and seemed to have left, so Chris and I stretched out at the store and waited for a little while to see Kate, Christine and Erika. Buuuut, we got too hungry and bored, so we left. Uhh, sorry girls! We did leave a message with the store clerks to tell them we were at Panera, in case the others wanted to find us. No one came looking for us though...WEIRD!

When Chris and I got home, we watched TV and put our feet up for hours. Our knees were not feeling what you'd call "good". Chris has introduced me to the best product ever though. The Icy Hot Sleeve! This thing rocks. It's snug, so it take care of the icing and compression in RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). The sitting and watching TV took care of the rest. Today, aside from a few sudden sharp pains I got while driving, my knees have felt fine. That assessment doesn't sound great, I know, but it's so much better than having a constant achy pain!

In other news, I need to find a new fun way to do some cross-training, since I had my last ice-skating lesson today! I even got myself a sweeeeet diploma:

I know that doesn't have my name on it, but TRUST ME, I graduated. And got one of the same little certificates that they gave out to all of the five-year-olds! I felt so cool!

Now I guess I should throw myself a graduation party. Oh, wait, I know! I'll just invite everyone to come and celebrate this amazing achievement of mine at one of the many parties coming up to benefit the LLS! That includes the three Margaritas nights on April 9, May 9, and June 7, and the one at the Fours on April 24. Tickets are now on sale for Acoustic for a Cause, and I honestly think it's going to be a blast. Click here to get your ticket:


Friday, March 20, 2009

Running Buddies

I often enjoy running alone, listening to my iPod and going at my own pace, but sometimes it really helps to have a running buddy.

Last night, for example, I really didn't feel like doing anything. I was tired, my throat was sore, and I had run the previous two nights, so I thought my knees and shins could use a break. However, when I told Chris I was thinking of skipping my run he told me, "OK, I'm still going." He wasn't being judgmental or scolding me or anything; he just said it in a very matter-of-fact way, to let me know his plan. Somehow though, it gave me a little kick in the pants. I asked him if he thought I should just rest if I thought I was getting sick, and he reminded me that when he had a cold a couple of weeks ago, it didn't seem to hurt him any. Of course now I couldnt' be a wimp and skip running when I was feeling a tad under the weather, remembering that he hadn't!

So, we both went for that run, and I got to return the favor, in a way. When we were about two thirds of the way done with our route, Chris told me I should take the key to the apartment, which he had in his pocket, and run ahead, because he needed to walk for a while. I told him no way, he had to keep running. And he did!

I think having each other to rely on to give us a little push when we need it is really a huge advantage.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Practice Runs

Our TNT mentor, the marvelous Kate, advised us that it would be a good idea to do run in some big races before we head to Seattle in June,to see what it’s like. I’ve run in a couple of 5k’s, but nothing big. So, Chris and I signed up for Boston’s Run to Remember on May 24. This is a half-marathon through the city of Boston. We chose this one because it happened to coincide with a weekend where we are supposed to run 13 miles anyway, according to our training schedule, and also because it's ultra-convenient!

Then, Kate said she’d signed up for a 10k in Cohasset on April 5, so I signed up for that too. This one’s also close to home and should be gorgeous. Eek, it’s so soon though. The distance should be just fine, but I need to start running faster! Not that I want to win or anything, I just don’t want to come in LAST. I’ve been trying to run fast (well, as fast as I can) during some of my 3-mile weeknight runs, but I have to find a pace I can maintain for 10k.

So, now I have a 10k in April, a half-marathon in May, and a marathon in June!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hello my little leprechauns! I hope you all wore your green today!

In honor of St. Patrick's day, this week's cookie for sale at Chris' office (to raise money for the LLS) is the Shamrock Sugar Cookie!

This is is the first week we've bagged the cookies. I hope the people in Chris' office appreciate the extra effort.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a fun St. Paddy's Day. In the grandest Irish tradition, I plan to go for a run after work and then order Thai food.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fifth Group Run

I was a little bit nervous before our run yesterday because last week we ran 6 miles, and this week we were skipping 7 and going straight to 8.  I don't know what poor number 7 ever did to anyone.  I mean, it's lucky, right?  Why did we have to give it the cold shoulder?   

The thing is, running 8 miles wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  True, we did have to stop a few times.  Our team got a little lost trying out a new route, but we eventually just turned around and kept going.  Kristen wears one of those nifty GPS watches, so she knew exactly how far we'd gone and how far we'd still have to go.  Overall, I felt good on this run, and my knees were much better than the week before.  Yippee!  And we're not skipping a mile again until we jump from 16 to 18, so next Saturday will be a 9-miler.  

After our run yesterday, Chris and I had a meeting with the General Manager at Margaritas in Weymouth.  Now, Margaritas had already established a special place in my heart because it was one of my favorite places to go up in Manchester when I was in college.  But now, I have even more reason to love it!  They're using the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as their designated charity for their next THREE Full Moon Margarita Madness nights!  Basically, every month on the night of the full moon, they donate 5% of the lounge's proceeds to a charity.  Not only that, but they have games give away prizes.  In case you're interested (and you should be, if you like margaritas and/or Mexican food and/or fun), the dates are April 9, May 9, and June 7.  Don't worry, I'll remind you when they're coming up.  ;-)  

I could really go for a marg right about now...  

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Which is better?

Acoustic for a Cure


Unplugged at the Fours

OR something completely different? Help us choose! We need a name for our April 24th fundraiser before we can start selling tickets! The event should be pretty awesome in every conceivable way (no exaggeration). We have some really talented people who will be performing and some great raffle prizes lined up, not to mention that the food there is YUMMY.

Speaking of fundraising, Chris and I each hit our 25% mark for our minimum last night, thanks to the fabulous people who have donated (and who have bought cookies at Chris' office)! We're feeling pretty good about reaching our goal of $4,300 each. In addition to the fundraiser at The Fours, we're going to continue selling home-made cookies, and we have a few other tricks up our sleeves, maybe even another event or two. Of course, we want to raise as much as we can, not just the bare minimum!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fourth Group Run

Saturday was “bring a friend to training” day, so my sister Kathleen came with us to run 6 miles! It was so warm and sunny out that morning! MAN, that was nice! I’d guess it was already in the low 50s at 8:00am….Perfect running weather, if you ask me.

Chris and Leenster both kicked butt, running the first 3 miles straight - at a really fast pace, mind you - and then mostly running the last 3, taking a couple of walking breaks. I ran the whole way, but my knees really didn’t like it. They were begging me to stop, but I told them to shut right up and I kept on running, albeit a LOT slower at the end!

Then during our 9-minute ab workout, my abs were SCREAMING at me. I better have washboard abs when this is over, I tell you what. Kathleen had just had an ab workout the day before with her personal trainer, so she took that time to have her gait analyzed and she bought some new running sneaks.

Yesterday we had perfect running weather again, but I had ice skating lessons, so I didn’t get out there. It felt a little weird to go ice-skating when it was sunny and 63 degrees outside.

That weather was such a tease….Today it’s freaking SNOWING, so it’ll be back to the treadmill once again tonight!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Save the Date!

Chris and I are putting together a fundraiser at The Fours in Quincy for the night of Friday, April 24! It's going to be eff-yoo-enn FUN.

We hope to have a website up shortly where you can buy tickets, and I will, of course, post a link here as soon as it's up and running!

Run for the Hills

Kristen sent the course description of our marathon to me and Chris the other day. Not knowing Seattle at all, and not knowing much about marathons, it’s a little bit Greek to me. But the elevation chart makes it look pretty hilly!

(Click to make larger.)

Is it just me, or are we running uphill for entire miles? Mile 5 to mile 6, and mile 15 to mile 16? Am I reading this right?

Kristen said she sees hill workouts in our future, which means I see sore knees!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

“I've felt the coldness of my winter… I never thought it would ever go.”

March really wanted to live up to its reputation of coming in like a lion this year, so it dumped about a foot of snow on us yesterday. Just when you thought spring was on its way! Oh well. Our Team In Training mentor, Kate, recently advised us, “between a plow and a human, the plow will always win!” So, I took that to heart and last night I headed to the gym and the safety of the treadmill.

Now, I am weird in that I don’t really mind the treadmill. Sure, I’d rather be outside. And yes, I think some treadmills totally LIE about how fast I’m going (I swear I was running WAY faster than 5.1 mph last night!). But overall, it’s not such a terrible experience. As long as I have my iPod, I’m golden. I even look forward to running on the treadmill lately, because in an effort to be safer, I’ve stopped listening to music whenever I run outside in the dark by myself. And when we go on group runs, we talk, plus I don’t think they’re really “allowed” by TNT. So, since the group runs are my only daytime runs these days, I never use my iPod for outdoor runs!

Last night it was Led Zeppelin, “Houses of the Holy,” to be exact. LOVE IT! The 3 miles flew by, even though I SWEAR TO GOD IT FELT LIKE I RAN ABOUT 8 BECAUSE I WAS GOING SO FAST ON THAT @*^&#*! TREADMILL!

Did I say I don’t mind the treadmill? Hmmm….

Anyway, we set the clocks ahead this coming Saturday night! Can you believe it? That means it’ll still be light out when I get home! So, I’ll probably start listening to tunes again while I run outside. Woo hoo!! I mean, I can only take this whole “safety first” thing so far.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Third Group Run

Yesterday morning was one of those times when I really had trouble figuring out how to dress for my run.  It was chilly and overcast, but definitely not as cold as it had been for our first two group runs.  When I left my apartment in Quincy, I felt like I'd be fine in a windbreaker, but I brought my trusty neon-green fleece pull-over, just in case.  When we got to Hingham, it was FREEZING!  So the radioactive fleece went on and then it was time for 5 miles.  

During the run, the fleece came off and went back on a couple of times.  I kept getting too hot but I never really heated up enough to run in just my short-sleeved shirt.  UGH.  So, that was annoying, and it wasn't the best run ever.  But another Saturday run got checked off the list.  I know 5 miles is just a drop in the bucket when you eventually have to do 26.2, but when you haven't run 5 miles at once in over a year, it's something feel good about!  

After the run, we did eight minutes of ab exercises, then the team headed over to Panera to discuss some fundraising ideas.  

Which leads me to to today!   I spent the day baking chocolate chip cookies for Chris to bring into work and sell for donations.  He made a cool flyer that says "Cookies for a Cause" and encourages people to donate at least $1 per cookie.  

I also spent a lot of time making calls to restaurants to see about hosting an event.  It looks like we're well on our way to scheduling a fun night of yummy food, entertainment and prizes for late April!   I hope to get the date and time finalized in the next couple of days, so stay tuned for details!