Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Books about running

Reading recommendations from people in the Women's Running Network on Facebook:

* Jennifer Pharr Davis about her Appalachial Trail thru hikes. The first one Becoming Odyssa is about her first thru hike and Called Again is about her record setting attempt. 
* Running for my Life by Lopez Lomong. He is a lost boy from Sudan and it is about his journey of fleeing rebels, living in a refugee camp, coming to America and becoming an Olympic runner.
* "Boston Bound" by Elizabeth Clor
* "My Year of Running Dangerously" by Tom Foreman
* "Running Long" by Runners World,
* Matt Fitzgerald "How Bad Do You Want It?"
* Work in progress by kristen Armstrong
* A life without Limits by Chrissie Wellington
* The long run by Matt long with Charles Butler
* Confessions of an unlikely runner
* Age is just a number by Dara Torres

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Monday, August 29, 2016

New tank top

Answer is...NO, I am not this huge.....it's a camera thing seems like. I tried taking it from various other angles and the same enormous results. So, I just went with the one with the MOST enormous results. 
Funny huh? 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Week 7 done!

             This was a great run! I got up at 4:10am and got ready. Luckily I went to bed on time and getting up required no effort. I got dressed, lubed up, filled my water, and out the door I went. The air was so humid....88% humidity at 4:50am. How is that for hot? Of course I began to sweat immediately. 

To make the runs go faster, well not GO faster....to make the runs FEEL like they are going faster I always listen to podcasts on the first half of any run. It forces me to slow down and also keeps me occupied on thoughts and not my body. I listened to a total of three posts from Spartan Up podcast

                      This is one of my earliest runs for a long time and I realized that initially I was a bit spooked running on my own, but soon regained the confidence I have always had in the dark mornings. Soon I eased into my run and relaxed and most importantly, stopped turning to look behind me as if someone would jump out any minute. 

Again, my friend, the shadow. I should do an art work with these shadow shapes. There is a comfort that seeing them give me. I don't need to turn around to check for anyone, for shadows don't lie, omit or change facts....I will surely see anyone sneaking up behind me thanks to shadows. 

            This is right before sunrise...maybe another 40 minutes to go before the sun fully shows itself. 

              And here comes another day. There is something so sacred about ushering in the sun and being there to witness it. Perhaps it's because it brings to mind the idea of hope, possibilities, promise, so much can happen in a day.....bad OR good. I know this is super morbid, but this may very well be my last day and I am privileged enough to see THE moment the sun broke through the horizon and aware enough to really appreciate it to the bottom of my heart. Again, so much can happen in ONE day, for example, yesterday was Victoria Marten's last day. Victoria was a 10-year-old that was drugged, raped, strangled to death and dismembered by her mother and her boyfriend just hours before her birthday party. Today, during my whole run I kept going back to this poor girl's last day, last hour, last breath and cried and prayed as I ran and sent her little soul amazing love and dedicated all my painful miles to her short life and her innocent soul. Moments like these I know that running will be with me until I die, I will be that old lady who shuffles out daily for her morning run. Running has helped me process my life in an emotionally healthy and productive way. We might not be able to change what's going on out there but we can work on ourselves, and make our little circle of connections the best, most loving community we can create. Unfortunately, and no matter what we do though there will be many more Victorias just as there are millions of innocent animals in slaughterhouses living miserable lives just to feed us all or how there are thousands upon thousands of dogs pressed in cages by the dozens in North Korea ready to be cooked alive...but if we can conquer this hill before us through pain and/or tears, we might also be able to conquer jealousy or greed, discontent and boredom.....life is so much richer through running. 
            Sunshine against the gate.....gorgeous picture. 

You know it's super early when your shadow is super LONG!

And I'm back home!!

Tried out my new bra today.....no, I did not chafe in the old spots where my old bras would hurt me.....now I have a new spot where I chafe.....how funny is that? Even trying to escape chafing mirrors life. You think all your troubles will go away with something new and shiny only to find a host of new problems.....I had to laugh.....and when I got into the shower I had to cry.....

Friday, August 26, 2016

How I started running.....

           Growing up my mom worked as a housekeeper for a successful entertainment lawyer. Every summer my younger sister, mom and I, we'd go stay in their large home in East Hampton, NY and her bosses, a wonderful warm and caring couple with 3 children, would often invite me to go running with them, so much so that it became a routine we maintained for several summers to come. I became a runner running the streets of East Hampton NY with both of them on my side, and afterwards just me continuing the habit; often hopping by the beach to look at and hear the ocean waves before carrying on my route. It was my special thing that I did, it was my savior, my love, even then. Although I won't share deep intimate details here about my childhood, in my home life at that time things were not going so well (and that is putting it very mildly), but running took me away from all that, an hour at a time. The streets of East Hampton, NY were quiet, peaceful and very wide and the extravagant million dollar houses sat on large, perfectly cared-for lawns. The air always smelled like fresh cut grass combined with honey suckle and the ocean was audible, specially at night as we drifted to sleep under the expansive star-filled skies. 
              But running did not end with the summers, I grew older and as a teen would run laps around the Reservoir in Central Park, which sat about a quarter mile from my high school, Marymount School of NY in Manhattan. This was around the time of the infamous and horrific Central Park rape and I remember even then taking some needed precautions, of course, but thinking to myself that there is NO WAY I will stop running. I was fearless. Running gave me a feeling of invincibility and I was hooked. 

          Then, when I was in college at Smith, in Western Massachusetts, I ran there too....I would wake early and either run around campus or run around the track indoors with my anorexic roommate that never did anything but complain about being fat, while all along being 1/2 my weight. Each one of these periods in time I would have such a strong emotional need and connection to running that I knew it was a life-sustaining kind necessity, just like water or food are to us, no doubt in my mind this was ab.so.lute.ly something I could not live without. 

              Even today, I can safely say I would not be alive if it were not for running. Although I have never been officially identified as having clinical depression, I know I have struggled with deep dark feelings and seen rock bottom so many times.  Only the continued practice of running can truly fight and fend back these dark places of depression that creep up the minute I let off the gas. Luckily, I feel a very strong need from my body if I even go two days without running. Two things begin to happen in strong unrelenting force  One, I start to notice every damn runner I see and secretly wish I were them. Two, I begin to envision my own legs running no matter what song comes on the radio. God forbid a highly compatible running song comes on, then the feeling to go out and run will totally take over and infect every thought until I fulfill the desire. 
                     Tomorrow I need to run 12 miles as part of my marathon training for marathon #7. As always, I don't know how I will even begin to wrap my mind AND body around the distance, but deep inside I know I will finish it. Not one doubt in my mind. I look forward to the adventure of greeting in the sunlight and watching the sky turn from dark, to brightness and observe the world very slowly wake to a new day. 


Saturday, August 20, 2016

6th week done!! 10 weeks to go!

      Yes! 6th week of marathon training done!! I chose to do my long run outdoors today and took a route I very much enjoyed. It had lots of long, endless hills of which I ended up walking and I was not very happy with my time at all considering the Marine Corps Marathon that I'm training for has a requirement of 14 minute miles; but for now let's focus on  the fact that I got 11 miles done. 

           I found my road ID this week. With three killings in 9 days of women runners, and in pure daylight, I needed to take precautions. The road ID was a gift from my sister a few years back when I first started running. Still has my old address on it, but all phone numbers on it are still relevant. I ended up taking off the reflective bracelet, the sun was coming up as I was leaving...

My newest addition to my 'safety arsenal' is this cute little knife I got from Dicks Sporting Goods for $20. It easily clips to your clothes or a pocket. I actually carry it everywhere now, even when I am not running. The man who sold it to me old me because it's a short blade, it's legal; as if I was fretting about the legality of carrying a 2 and a half inch blade!Nevertheless, he must have thought it was a piece of shit because he says, "don't be afraid to use it now, stick it in and twist."He explains this right in front of my 9 year-old and we both stood there soaking in the visual he so clearly described. 

I have run indoors so much I just realized how much I missed two very important things,  both my running shadow and spitting!!! yes, you read right...spitting. Oh it was glorious. I think of my shadow as my running partner. So many nights while living and running in DC I knew that the shadows would surely help me if a perpetrator were to chase me, I knew I'd surely catch that change on my shadow. 

         When I first moved to this area South Run park just seemed so far from home. It always took more time to go there than a closer rec center by our house, so we always chose the closer one instead. Today I ran there! The one glitch to this route is that it required me to run 1/4 mile on a fast road that neither had a trail nor a road and it was a bit scary running as far to the left as possible towards facing oncoming traffic, especially on the way way back when it was later and more cars were on that road. 

           Ran into a very sweet and super friendly female runner who belongs to the MRTT (Mothers Run This Town) group. She asked if I was a member. I explained that yes I was am a member but that I prefer to run alone. It was really nice chatting with her for the short stretch in which we overlapped and for a short minute made me wish I could run with others. But at my pace, most women want to either do intervals or walk and intervals is just too disruptive for me to achieve my running calm and walking the whole time is just not fast enough for a busy mom. 

Sitting in my screened-in porch wearing only my running bra and basking in the glow! Next week, 12 miles....

Needless to say I was a bit stiff all day and a bit tired. I finally left the house at 5pm to go buy some veggies to make my juice. Below are two drinks I made. I am trying to have less sugar and so I tried my juice with less sweet veggies and more greens. The drink for my hubby has 4 carrots, 2 small beets, 4 celery stalks and 4 bundles of bok choy. My juice (the one in the big pitcher) has all of the above plus 2 zucchinis, 2 green peppers. The color on mine is not very pretty but it was quite tasty. 

     I save all my lettuce and celery bases and place them in water for a week or until green leaves sprout out of them. I then plant them in my garden. In my garden now I have one successful celery plant growing fast, as well as a pineapple plant....I know it's not much but for a woman who was born and raised in the city, in apartments, this is HUGE!!! The part of my garden where the celery is growing so well is somewhat shady. Unfortunately, the tomato plants and the zucchini plants are NOT doing so well. Looked up some info on them online only to find out that celery grows well in the shade, hence it's success there. I need to move my tomato plants someplace sunny before they die. 

            One of the realities of most runners is chafing. From past experience I know exactly where to apply huge amounts of vaseline before an long run. I place liberal amounts of vaseline on the space where my legs meet my private area, over my c-section scar, and under the strap of my bra on both the front and the back. If wearing a tank top I will also place a ton of vaseline under my arms, about 2 inches down from my armpit. Below is the chafing I got from my bra, in fact, which I ALWAYS get from my bra. I gave the same marking in the back as well. Normally, the sensitive skin heals pretty fast after a few days. Not much care needed, just time. I hope the new bra I ordered from Brooks for a whopping $50 does not do this. It could be caused by the fact that my bra is now tighter due to muscles. I HAVE been at the gym doing weights for about 3 months now. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016


I'm I have been shopping for more awesome workout clothes this month....here is the new pair of compression shorts I got myself. I did not initially notice the horizontal stripes on the shorts when I ordered but man, my ass looks very ROUND in them.....but heck, it is what it is....round it is. 

The back of my workout top is mesh, which helps keep me cool....also looks great with my workout bra peeking from underneath. Above, is me after 4 fast miles on the treadmill where I sprinted at the end, using my no-injury method run of sprinting the last 10% of the runs. Overall, I'm very happy with my run today....super easy. Some days it's pure head run and some days my body can handle the run, without much coaxing. 

Had to get clogs to support my feet at work....once work starts I am on my feet for at least 7 hours a day and not JUST on my feet, walking! Look, these even have a heavy duty rubber support on the bottoms. Considering that last and only ever injury was caused by a fall in my classroom, this rubber addition is essential. 

Seeing as I am working out with weights for the past 3 months now I needed to be refitted for a better fitting bra.....I am a DD now!! yikes!.....hope this is more muscle than fat...LOL. Nevertheless here is the bra I got myself. Moving Comfort brand, of course. But the red and black combo just look pretty nice. I have permanent chafing on my bra line both in front and in my back now, and hoping these will not do the same markings on my body. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My 9 year old wants to win the Tour de France

So my 9-year old mamacita wants to be in the Tour De France! we often listen to audiobooks in the car when we travel and this time on our way to and from NY we were listening to Matt Fitzgerald's How Bad Do You Want It book on the radio. A week later she asks me to take her on a bike ride. Thought nothing of it. Then she asks for a new helmet. I began asking questions and she announces, "I want to win the Tour de France". Nothing wrong with big dreams....nothing at all. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week 5 done-

This was my first real long run outdoors for a long time. I picked a very bad day to do this. It was so incredibly humid that I had to take almost 4 salt pills to replenish all the salt I was loosing through sweating. I was due to run 10 miles, yet it was more like a 6 mile run and a 3 mile run/walk. Nevertheless, I was so happy to make it home and vowed to complete the missed mile the next day....oh, and at the gym.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Best Running Gifts..... for that special female runner in your life

                    It was just my birthday and I thought I'd write a post about THE BEST running gifts....in my opinion of course, who else's? 

So here we go....

* Mace/Pepper Spray of come kind of self-defense gift. This is a gift I would get anyone, not just a runner. Image result for pepper spray
* Socks.... Balegas or SwiftWick: These two are the BEST socks out there on the market. Be prepared, they are not cheap. I prefer the thin ones myself. God forbid one ever gets lost in the laundry...all hell freezes over then!!

Image result for balega socksImage result for swiftwick socks
* Running Books: Born to Run is my personal favorite followed by any book by Karnazes. 
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* Running Log: This is something all runners always see but talks themselves out of it.....I have...but I would love a copy for myself. There are many on the market....take your pick. 
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* Magazine Subscription: While I hardly ever read these when they get to my house, I do make running crafts with them, such as inspirational frames for running friends. I also love to read them on days when I am sitting relaxing....which never quite happens....
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Image result for phone bands exercise Image result for trailrunnerImage result for ultrarunner
* Sweaty Bands:  I wear Sweaty bands daily. It's a bit tough these days because I cut my hair short (shoulder length) and I have to figure out a way to get the hair out of my face. But they are so beautiful! 

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* Magnet Bumper sticker: First, make sure you get a magnetic bumper sticker, not a real sticker.  If unsure of the milage choose a simple sticker such as RUN, or a funny one. Best time to get this though is after your runner has first completed a specific distance, otherwise the likelihood of them already having this sticker is higher. 
Oval Running Triathlon Decal 13.1, 26.2, 5k, 8k, 10k, 15k, 20k, RUN, iTRI, 70.3
* Shirt from a race they'd completed: Now this is a tricky gift, but if you can pull it off it would make a great gift. If you don't know your runner's size, go for maybe a visor from the race, or a mug. Warning, make sure you get the RIGHT year your runner ran the race....this is very important, for obvious reasons. Not all races have gear available after the race has ended, especially smaller races. 
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Image result for new york city 2015 marathon gear
* Visor:All runners have to always worry about being too hot or too cold. I find visors are a great solution on hot days when you don't want a hat to cover your whole head for fear of overheating.  I have lost visors before and it's been painful for they are not cheap, I mean relative to how much fabric you are getting for the amount you dish out. 

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* Basket of Treats for long runs...food, vaseline, sunscreen, salt tablets. This is a super awesome gift! The best way to get JUST the right stuff for it would be going to your local running store and having an attendant help you put together your 'basket'. I would highly recommend also sharing with this person your budget....for as small as these items look, they add up fast!
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* Safety lights: For the early morning or night runner...These are great!! don't forget to also get a few extra batteries so that your runner can continue to use them in the long run. 

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* Gift certificate to a local running store: By no means is this copping out of a 'cooler' gift, in fact, the BEST gift I have ever gotten was a gift certificate for $100....I used it to buy myself that super expensive GPS watch I could not afford. The watch was way beyond the $100, but it was nice to get a $100 break. 
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* Handmade goodies: Go to Etsy.com and type in 'runner gifts' in the search engine and you will find some very cool personalized, unique and handmade items for your runner. YOU yourself can also make some cool gifts. I will post those in a separate post. 

13.1 frame 26.2 frame Half Marathon Runner Gifts Gift for a Runner Gift for a Marathon Marathon Frame IB5FS

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Personalized keychain, she believed she could so she did, name keychain, gift for her, marathon runner gift, motivational keyring
* Medal Rack: You can either make one OR buy one. There are tons out there on the market....from Amazon to Etsy. 

* arm bands: Seeing as we've gone from huge cell phones, to small ones, to huge ones and so on....you can never fail with these. Just make sure you get the right size for your runner's phone.