Turns out, I like running with people

Thanks to my IRL “coach”, Jennie, who lives all of 1,000 feet from my new job, I’ve been running a lot more regularly. And in doing that I’m gaining confidence in my running again. Which means I’m starting to plan. Plan my runs, plan my meals, plan my races(!!!), plan everything to be a half marathoner in 2013. Possibly twice! And in that planning I’ve started to find higher energy levels again. And also, I get the itch to go for a run again. I can’t tell you how good that feels.

I was always worried to run with other people. Maybe not worried. But apprehensive? I’m slow and I’m still running with walking intervals mixed in. I was afraid I would hold other back. And for some runners that would be true. But Jennie runs/walks the intervals with me. She pushes the pace. And when we get to minute 29 and it’s time to walk for the last minute she convinces me to run that last minute. And though I love her for it, I usually swear at her while I do it. It’s cool. It’s all in good fun. She’s been running more faithfully for longer and so she can usually put on the speed a little or start cheering or singing. And little by little w We’ve started running with Christine too. And I’ve discovered something. I like running way way way more when it’s with other people. It’s someone to chat/grunt with, someone else who sees the same silly dog, someone that also says thank you to the side walk graffiti that says “hello beautiful”. It’s fun. I was starting to think maybe I could find some more friends who want to run with me. But again, I hesitated. Maybe they wouldn’t all be as cool as the Wednesday Night Running Club (girls, we really need a better name. Also, this week was on Tuesday and totally threw off the rest of my week and I keep thinking it’s Friday). I was starting to think about reaching out, especially now that I’m up to 5 minutes running and will be (hopefully) done with walking intervals in the next couple of weeks. My half marathon training group has added some new members lately, and now includes a college Alpha Gam sister and another new Boston based friend, plus all my current running friends. I was thinking about this very thing on my run last night as I was dying and a teeny bit board on the last stretch with no cute crew boys or pretty river scenes to stare at. I finished and pulled over onto some grass for a photo shoot in the pretty sun and trees and then some cool down stretching. Walking over to my car I was caught red-handed by a co-worker. I still had headphones in mellowing out with Alabama Shakes and usually I’d wave and then go hide in mortification at the mascara likely running down my face but she stopped me. And it went down like this
Co-worker who I had assumed could run circles around me: Do you run after work a lot
Me still gasping for some air: Usually twice a week
C-WWIHACRCAM: What do you do for a run
MSGFSA: Well, I’m training for a half marathon and my plan starts at 0 so right now I’m running 5:1 intervals
C-WWIHACRCAM: Cool. I’m out of shape, but I could probably do 5:1s. Would you mind if I joined you sometime
MSGFSA: That would be fantastic. I said this with pretty decent composure but in reality I was thinking. “I’d assumed you’d kick my butt at running and wouldn’t want to run with a slow poke like me. Then I added I recently discovered I like running with friends.
C-WWIHACRCAM: Yeah. I’ve found having a running buddy is much better
MSGFSA: I always avoided it because I’m super slow
C-WWIHACRCAM: Me too
MSGFSA: Sounds like a plan
C-WWIHACRCAM: Yes. Mid week sometime we’ll go.
And just like that I have a new running friend. I hope we can keep it up semi-regularly. And maybe even rope in more co-workers. Maybe we’ll even get a little friendly 5k going or maybe the better part of a relay team? See. I’m getting way ahead of myself. I just can’t stop planning. I just have all the running love right now. And sore legs that were going to go swimming tonight and instead are going to the Sox game. 

Hearts and endorphins!

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Nothing better than a boring Monday.

It’s been just about a week since my last post. And what a week it’s been. I’ll admit. I debated all night Monday on whether or not I would post that last entry. In the end I’m glad I did. I share everything else with the internet. And the response was overwhelmingly positive. I read a lot of other bloggers’ accounts of the day and they were all pretty uniform. A lot of confusion, time spent finding out if friends and family were ok, outrage, sadness, and resilience. The world wide outpouring of love for the city that I hold so near and dear to my heart has been so awesome, too.

Best of all it’s Monday and when I woke up this morning the only thought I had was “which of my new clothes am I going to wear today”. This thought was followed pretty quickly by “I hope more patients are released today and others are downgraded from critical condition”. After this was realizing I was running late and would have to bust my butt to try to get to work remotely on time. And that’s normal. Normal. What a nice feeling. Thanks to all those who worked tirelessly to shut down the threat last week. Flags are still at half staff. And people are still fighting for their lives or learning to adapt to a new way of life. Last night driving home the signs on the highway said “We are one Boston. Thank you to all”. The MBTA buses I drove by flashing their route numbers. And then flashing “Boston Strong”. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to say this is “over”. But the threat is gone. And Boston is bigger, brighter, and better.

Even with the mess that was last week I got in a couple of runs and some cross training. Tuesday I wore BAA blue and yellow, but on a Red Sox cap, blasted my Boston songs, and ran along the Charles. Wednesday was the “Wednesday Night Run Club” (It’s so hard to come up with creative names!). I’ve started running with a couple friends (we’re trying to make it once a week) so this was us going out. Thursday was an hour of hard swimming. Hard because I wanted to push myself a little. Last week, a 9 year old girl was repeatedly beating me across the pool. Not cool. Friday was “rest”. Saturday was should have been a run but I had a better window on Sunday so I switched to cross training. And if drinking beer and singing “Sweet Caroline” at the top of my lungs at Fenway counts I totally go it done…

Yesterday was my birthday. I had a bridal shower in the middle of the day and dinner with my family. But there was this nice window in between that was perfect for a run. In the past I might have said “It’s my birthday, I’m taking an extra day off.” and gone to buy coffee and a donut. Instead I changed in a fast food restaurant bathroom (didn’t buy anything. I’m a bad person. Whatever. That food is just so bad) and I hit up the Haverhill Stadium. In reality I ran Riverside Park, but the whole of the city refers to that entire area as the Stadium. My parents and grandparents took my brother and I there approximately 1000 times in my childhood, I sat at a couple hundred of my brother’s little league games there, we used to ride our bikes, or Grammy and Grampy would bring a picnic lunch and watch the boats go up and down the river. Not surprisingly, the place was pretty much the same. It looked a little smaller. And they have a new jungle gym. But there were still tiny baseball players and kids with training wheels. After the chaos of last week worrying about friends and being barred from coming to work it was nice to be out among families in the shining sun. The run was less than stellar thanks to birthday pancakes and bridal shower cake. But it got done. Then there was homemade spaghetti and meatballs (a team effort between my mom and my aunt and uncle).

And cake. Birthdays always have cake.

Here’s hoping the dot of spaghetti sauce I just got on my new sweater will be the toughest crisis this week.

Hearts and normalcy!

There are so many words. And yet, there are no words.

Patriot’s Day is the number one best day to be from Massachusetts. And wasn’t it just the bees knees that one of my very good friends decided to run it. And in the process introduce me to a whole bunch more runners. When I’d heard she’d be running, I knew I’d be out on the course, cowbell and signs in hand to cheer her on. If you’ve spent any time on this blog, my facebook page, or twitter you’ll know I post a lot. And I usually post pretty ridiculously silly things. Today started just like that. I was orange head to toe in support of the Liver Foundation, the charity my friends are running for, and I went about capturing the day just like I’d capture any other. That’s something a lot of people don’t know. To run Boston you can qualify by running another designated race in less than 3:05 (3:35 for women). Or you can join a charity team and raise money. The amount needed to be raised is usually between $3,000 and $6,000. People work the whole year to raise this money to run in the name of these great causes.
All winter we think “Why don’t we live someplace warmer” Driving into the city all I could thing was “this is why I live in Boston. Marathon Day is the best.” Who knew that I’d be proud to be from Boston for a whole different reason by the end of the day. I hate that this happened. But the response from runner’s finishing the race and running to donate blood, first responders running towards the danger seconds after the explosion, people setting up a google document to offer their couches and spare rooms, restaurants feeding stranded runners, all the way down to my friends giving me refuge when the closed T stranded me on the opposite side of the city from my car.
This is just so wrong. On my phone sit a handful of odd photos, a small glimpse into what was supposed to be an epic day. In my head are the jokes and puns I wrote, driving into the city, riding the T over to my spectating spot at mile 22, or relentlessly checking the BAA app for updates on my friends. I don’t know what to do with them now.
I was in place by 11 and watched the wheelchair division race by. Soon enough the elite women flew by, followed shortly by the elite men. And then the rest. If you’ve never experienced the Boston Marathon it’s really quite something. Runners just keep coming and coming and coming for hours. We were more than 4 hours into cow-belling and catcalls of “Yeah marathoners” and “Go Liver”.
Around 3 I received a strange text message. “Are you ok?” from a friend. I replied “???” thinking she had sent it to the wrong person. And then she filled me in. Quickly after that, texts and emails started pouring in asking the same question “are you ok?” My phone was dying, we didn’t know anything, and my friends were still running. So we kept cheering and I answered any texts that came in. Along with sending a text to my mom “I’m ok.” It was then that the first of my friends since the explosion was running by. We cheered for her and then I told her there were explosions. We still didn’t know it was a bomb. To be honest, I didn’t know if I should tell her or not. But I couldn’t bear the thought of her running into chaos, after running 23+ miles and not knowing anything. Shortly after that our next friend came by. We started to say hi and tell her what happened. She said she already knew, told us her mom was at the finish and then ran off yelling over her shoulder “I have to find my mom” clearly worried and focused on that singular task. Find her loved ones. It was then that it was really sinking in. Maybe it was time to stop cow-belling. And maybe put the signs away. The last of my friends came through shortly after. She was pretty sure her family was safe but wanted to go find the other friends that had just gone by. I gave her a huge hug and sent her on her way. And then the other two spectators that I was with and I didn’t know what to do. What do you do in that situation? Your beloved city is under attack. Close friends are frantically searching for family members. This glorious event has been marred. And we’re 3 miles from the finish watching police and ambulances go flying by. The race was stopping and they were holding runners so we thought we’d go catch up to our friends and see if we could help. But word finally came through that runners were being held all the way at Boston Common and we didn’t think it would be smart to add 3 more people to an already chaotic spot. By then we had more news from twitter and news websites and realized the T was probably closing, a fact I confirmed with the next police officer we passed. My fellow spectators offered to give me a ride to my car, but the marathon route was still closed and we couldn’t cross the city. I have friends that could take me in and eventually one of them was able to have dinner and drive me across the Marathon route to my car. All the while they’re making announcements not to congregate in large groups. As I was driving out of the city it was hard not to be a little nervous. And I just don’t understand how this can be real life. How this is the society that we live in.

20,000+ people have been working for months or years to train to be here. More than 20,000 volunteers were on the course at the very crack of dawn. Millions of dollars have been raised for truly noble causes. Fundraiser upon fundraiser has been organized, executed, and attended. I personally bid on a date to the Aquarium with a good looking guy (I don’t like the Aquarium, but he was cute. And it was in the name of liver research. Unfortunately he ended up getting a little too out of my price range, when the bidding dust settled). And now marathon hopes and dreams have been shattered, lives and limbs destroyed. And all in the name of what?

People are already asking why. And truthfully, I don’t think any reason could ever be given that would be enough to make me feel better about it. I don’t know who did this. And when he, she, or they are caught, I don’t ever care to know names. I don’t care to know faces. I just want them to face justice and see the full letter of the law brought down on them, feel the full weight of a city that may forgive, but will never forget.

I just want to hug the whole city. And punch something. And sit and cry. And I was 3 miles away. Though watching terrified runners go by will be something that sticks with me for a while. I can’t imagine what it was like at the finish line. You just can’t believe it’s real. I still don’t. It’s like it’s ripped from TV. Someone bombed the Marathon finish line? No. That’s not a real thing. But it is. And it’s more tragic than I think will ever fully be understood. My thoughts and prayers will be with the victims and victims’ families. Boston and the Marathon will rebuild. I hope those whose lives were forever altered will find some peace. I still don’t know what I’ll do with the pictures on my phone. But I will share one. This day ended so tragically. And so differently than it should have. And though it did, Boston still stands. As I was driving home, I looked over and saw this. I’m sorry it’s blurry, I was driving. Here it is. A city that stands stronger and brighter despite this horrible event.

Crying doesn’t count if it’s under water, right?

Pro tip. When swimming sing songs that sometimes elicit an emotional response. It’s super fun to tear up under water.

Some swims I count laps. Some swim I just swim for a set time. Last night I was going to just swim for 60 minutes. I love music. I listen to it all day. It helps block out random noise at work to help me concentrate. In the car it passes the time. At home it’s noise so my apartment isn’t so creepy. (side note: living in an apartment by yourself in the winter is the worst. It’s dark all the time and the cold air makes sounds so much louder and creepier. Reason #1427 why I’m glad spring is here…mostly. @#$% 37 degrees this morning). When I’m running I sometimes go out without headphones. I still end up singing to myself. In the pool obviously I have no music. But for whatever reason I have a ridiculous amount of trouble trying to remember how my favorite songs start. I’ve listened to “I’m going to miss her” by Brad Paisley at least 1000 times in my life. Get myself going in a workout and I can’t remember the first line for anything. To combat this I listened to all my favorites on the drive home from work. I got in the pool and still had trouble. Finally I got going on “The Good Stuff” by Kenny Chesney. I listened to it at least 3 times yesterday with no response. I start singing it to myself in the pool and WHAM. Teared up. WTH brain?!?! I’m just trying to get my swim on and enjoy singing one of my favorite songs to pass the time. We’re just trying to have a mind clearing workout. Not cool, brain, not cool. ::side eye hormones::

I really like swimming for cross training. The low impact things is nice and I feel like my muscles get to sort of stretch out. And I’m finally swimming enough that my core isn’t screaming in pain for two days after. Now we just have to get my shoulders on board with that too!

Rest day tonight. Which is code for I’m doing laundry, dishes, and sitting on my couch watching a How I Met Your Mother marathon. By choice, Mom 😉 Gotta get caught up before we find out who the mother is!

EDIT
Hearts and emotional responses to songs

@#$% copy paste fail

Running friends are the bestest

I was supposed to run my “long run” on Saturday. That did not happen. It was supposed to be nicer on Sunday and I had other stuff to do. Like stay up until 2 am on Friday watching videos of Ellen and Parks and Recreation on YouTube. I know. So adult. Sunday did turn out to be nicer. For a while. It was Easter but I only had plans until mid afternoon and then would have some sunny hours to kill. Except that’s only what I thought, not what was true. This meant that by the time I pulled in the driveway at 6 I was exhausted. Playing with a 2, 4, 6, and 9 year old is a lot of work. Cute work, but man they never stop. And who can say no when they giggle and ask “more?”. I told myself I could just go to bed if I got up to run in the morning. I’ve successfully made this bargain with myself before so I knew it was legit. Sure enough I woke up Monday and wanted to snooze button it. But I had promised myself so I crawled out, stumbled into running clothes, and flung myself out the door. 0.5 miles into the run I knew I was done. I spent a few minutes next to some bushes wondering if I was going to toss my cookies. I managed to calm my stomach and started walking home. I tried running one more time and almost immediately regretted it and returned to walking. Greeeeaaaat way to start a Monday.

On that walk home I thought about what I had eaten in the previous 24 hours. A big breakfast with bacon, eggs, cinnamon rolls (not a fancy breakfast without cinnamon rolls), and egg nog (no, it’s not Thanksgiving but my Mom saw it and decided it was appropriate because bunnies lay eggs and this is nog from eggs, what could make more sense. I love egg nog and liked where her head was at) . Then I had a teeny nap. Then birthday cake and a couple of cookies. Oh and some ice cream. Then some Easter candy and pop corn. I drank 1 diet coke and approximately 12 oz. of water all day. Then I took a nap from 6:30 to 8 and then proceeded to stay up until midnight. Clearly I am the model for perfect fueling for runners and my body was definitely ready to go running when I woke up. Not. I trudged off to work a little mad at myself. And a little worried about what my runs the rest of the week would entail. Yesterday I couldn’t get over the bad run. I was picking a friend up from the airport at 7. I told myself I would work, change into gym clothes, pick her up, drop her off, and hit the Y. I did all of those. Except the Y. I was tired from being out until midnight the night before. Instead I cleaned my apartment a little. That’s cross training, right?

Today I packed my gym bag again. It’s cold…again. And I wasn’t really sure what the day would bring. All I knew was that I had to hit the gym. Maybe I’d run. Maybe I’d cross train. I’d decide in the moment what kind of mental game I was bringing. Instead a friend that lives behind my office emailed saying she needed a running buddy for the night (in a house on the next block, not in a cardboard box by the dumpsters or something). She’s training for the Boston Marathon. In 12 days. I know what you’re thinking. Perfect running buddy for an out of shape slow poke like me. But she’s the best and runs slow with me and does it in a way that 92% of the time I don’t feel guilty for my slow speed. I picked the workout that I should have done on Saturday and resigned myself to simply repeat last week in my training schedule. And then we were out running and I thought :you know what. Screw it. Running with a friend who is better and faster is the perfect time to push yourself.” I yelled out the new intervals, for week 8’s schedule and she cheered my ambition. 10 minutes later I wholeheartedly wanted to take it back. We were running up hill (a gradual hill but it was hella long) and straight into the wind. 20 mph steady wind. Fun. We were only half way through the workout and my legs were spewing a whole lot of swear words at me. A whole lot. Really vile and mean words. I told my friend my legs weren’t holding up. They didn’t hurt. I was just reaching the end of my comfort level. Her response? “That’s fine. Just run through the pain” Best running buddy? Jennie.

We finished strong and she even convinced me to tag on an extra 30 seconds at the end. I told her I hated her. But I did it. And secretly she was my favorite. You can’t get anywhere until you push

Also. CAN IT PLEASE STOP BEING COLD NOW??? Thanks.

Hearts and bestest running friends to you all.