Thursday, November 27, 2008

To Turkey Trot, or Not

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the Turkey Trot. For non-Americans, this is the tradition of participating in a low-pressure family fun run on the morning of Thanksgiving. In Falmouth, Mass, the race is called “Chase the Turkey” and one lucky Falmouth Academy senior gets to dress up like a turkey and start the cool! This whole concept got lost somewhere in my subconscious until the other day when I remembered and decided to institute the First Annual Trieste Turkey Trot here on Saturday when we celebrate Thanksgiving. So far there are three participants: Me, Cristian, and Luna. It’s going to be great. We’re going to eat like pigs in the afternoon.

Which brings me to next year. No more turkeys, only pigs. Turkeys are too big for my little European oven. Yes, for this year I have ordered my turkey from Remo the butcher and also bought a roasting pan, all for the benefit of friends who would like to have a real Thanksgiving “like on TV,” but this is it. I already know what Remo is going to say when I get there on Saturday morning to pick up the turkey and it is huge. “You want me to cut that up for you?” Last year he let me buy half of it. This year I have enough people to eat a whole one but it won’t be the same if he cuts it up. A real thanksgiving Turkey “like on TV” is served whole and carved at the table with an electric knife (Rocky Horror Picture show anyone?). Anything else is just a giant TV dinner.

Like I said, next year is going to be different. Forget ordering a turkey. I’m going to concentrate on Trieste’s strengths. But that would mean Jota and assorted boiled meats, and, certainly there is a time and place for both, but perhaps not at my table in an effort to substitute THE BEST FOOD IN THE WORLD. Plan B. Ham baked in bread dough- now there’s a good one, you don’t have to even bake it yourself. There’s a baker in town who does it for you in his BIG OVEN. I’m going to do that next year. And then I’m going to have a Pig Trot in the morning, and since we have a year to plan, we have time to find just the right person to dress like a pig and get the race going.
(photo caption: I thought it only fitting to scan a photo from our year in Belgium. This photo is from a Thanksgiving Dinner that friends of mine invited me and some of my friends to. The family who hosted this dinner had an American mother and a Belgian dad. They had quite a time getting the turkey, but they imported their entire American kitchen, so it fit nicely in their oven AND the leftovers felt right at home in their side by side fridge. - Laura)
P.s. The turkey was big-- 7 kilos. It fit in my small oven, and it was DELICIOUS! So was the homemade pumpkin pie (made from a real pumpkin)... YUM!!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What is your POWER SONG?

A few days ago, I posted a question on my facebook page: What song makes you go faster when your legs say "NO WAY?" Let me tell you, I counted 50 songs that people suggested. I am in the process of making a playlist on my ipod of all the songs. I know that it will be motivating to listen to those songs when my legs say 'no way.' You see, my new ipod has a feature that allows me to push one button and hear that one POWER SONG. The difficulty is certainly identifying what song should be my song. Right now, I have my power song selected as Pink's Leave Me Alone. It has a great tempo and edgy message. However, upon my request, my husband created a different playlist to get me through my 6 mile run last saturday. I hadn't really run since I hurt my foot. Naturaly, I was nervous about my body holding up. My husband kicked butt, his playlist was fantastic. I think that any song by Third Eye Blind may get my legs moving faster. There were several suggestions by my friends to make a 3EB song my powersong. Maybe next week.

As Kari mentioned, our training officially starts next week. We begin our 18-week training acording to 'Hot Hal' Higdon. I know that Kari is ahead of me as far as total miles go but, I am so excited to cross off the days, weeks, miles, long runs, as we approach April 5th. I know I've said it before, but this blog keeps the both of us going. We both wake up in the morning wondering if there is a new 'follower' or if someone has posted something. It feels great to know that through your encouragement and comments, we are not doing this alone. We are so very excited about running the marathon together. We are so very excited about being encouraged by all of you. Please keep posting. Please keep making us laugh. Please keep making suggestions of how to heal those aching arches, butts, and toes. Please keep sending us POWER SONGS. Hey, every little bit helps us meet our goal.
My friend Davide gave me a power cd the other day... It's an album by Korn (on this keyboard you can't really type the R backwards...). It starts with a cover of WORD UP! I'm not kidding. Total power song. I recommend it. -Karoline

Need Something for those Achy Muscles?

I’m not sure what program you’re using, Laura, but my program with Hal officially starts next week with 18 weeks to go. My job up until now was to try to get my mileage up to about halfway (21k more or less, which I did two weeks ago) so that I could feel strong for the first long run of 9 miles next week. This weekend I did a hilly 8-mile route on Saturday night in the dark, which I thought would be lonely but it turned out to be okay. At some point I got that runner’s euphoria that made me feel really lucky that my body is letting me do this and without too much pain.

Not to say that there is no pain.

I’ve become good friends with a green cream they use on racehorses (among other amazing attractions in Trieste, there is also a horse track) that keeps them anti-doping but helps their muscles feel better. It’s like Ben Gay to the hundredth (but, I repeat, not considered doping!) Last week I pulled a muscle in my butt (how does that happen? I mean how do muscles decide which ones are going to pull and when?), and all it took was a gauge of that cream plus a little afternoon nap and POW, all better! A super athlete friend of mine gave me the cream which he buys in bulk (of course it comes in a big jar, it’s for horses, after all). So I’m lucky that my body let’s me do what I’m asking it to do, and for the rest there is horse-strength Ben Gay.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buy Jewelry and 30% Goes to PolioPlus!!!!!

I am on a fundraising roll this week ($1,351.00). We have a lot of work to do in order to meet our $20,000 goal, but the ribbon is cut and we are off and running (of course, I could have said ROLLING, but that wouldn't fit quite as well, now would it?) So, there are a few things that I have in progress in the United States, that may appeal to some of your GENEROUS sides.

For starters, a fellow ex-exchangee, Kristi Klinke Spies, has offered to host a Cookie Lee Jewelry party and donate all proceeds to PolioPlus. We have decided to begin that fundraiser as soon as possible so that orders can be placed in time for Christmas. Kristi is sending catalogs off to me as we speak and I will be visiting my friends here in the Greater Rochester area to place orders by December 5th. Kristi is also updating her website so that people living in other areas of the country can purchase some jewelry for the benefit of PolioPlus. I would like to ask anyone with friends in the United States to contact them and ask them to place an order with Kristi to benefit this charity. If orders are in Kari's hands by December 10th, either through me or Kristi directly, your jewelry will be in your hands for Christmas.

In addition, I have another friend who is a StampinUp representative who is willing to host a party to benefit the charity as well. StampinUp appeals to the crafty/scrap booking/card making friends. It is a lot of fun...I will even admit that. In any case, I look forward to that fundraiser after Christmas so that people can get Valentines' Day cards made.


I AM WRITING THS SMALLER, BECAUSE IT ISN'T AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT I ALREADY POSTED, BUT I CAN'T ALWAYS KEEP MY POSTS SHORT, SO.....On a HEALTH note, I had another appointment with my physical trainer today and everything seems to be healing up well. The achilles is feeling great with the introduction of GEL HEEL CUPS (thank you Sue!)

I want to tell you all about my new gadget (nike sensor + ipod touch) BUT I still need to fiddle with it a bit before I go on and on about how cool it is. KEEP YOUR EYES POSTED FOR THAT NEXT BLOG.

And , YES, I am making my shopping list for Kraut and Bean JOTA! (that deserves to be bigger than everything) Pictures to keep reading, we'll keep running and raising money.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jota Recipe

Since you're dying to know how to make Jota (say it with me: "Yoh-tah").. I did some digging around. The best recipe I found (that didn't have 12 hours as the estimated cooking time) was good 'ole Emeril! Who knew?

Click here for Yummy JOTA!
Hey All - Above is a picture of my JOTA inspired Bean soup. It is MINUS the Kraut, but it has high quality bacon and ham, lentils (my bean of choice) and potatoes. I promise, the JOTA is next. - Laura

I suggest you make a big pot of jota next weekend for after your long run! It freezes well, too, and I bet you can make it in the crock-pot! Enjoy!!!

P.s. Let's not take out a second mortgage to make soup. I offer the following advice:
Forget the polenta croutons (I mean, come on! Polenta croutons?) and subsitute with saltines or oyster crackers (you can take the American out of America but you can't take the America out of the American...). Forget the San Daniele Prosciutto (I mean if you can find it and afford it, just eat it!), and pancetta, well, let's just call it bacon and get on with it...

The Tunnel Run was Fun!

I ran the tunnel yesterday with my husband, Cristian, and it was fun. We were speed demons, smoke coming from our heels and everything! But they didn’t have a clock and we didn’t look at our watches, so who knows how long it took us. There were lots of people and it was a strange thing to run in a tunnel that in two days will be opened with the help of the Prime Minister. The line for hot tea and cookies was short. The JOTA line, on the other hand, was full of people who didn’t run the race but came because the magic words “FREE JOTA” were published in the newspaper. We didn’t get any but it was a really fun, no pressure, short race and I loved running it with Cristian.

I did a tough run the day before in 1:42:02, which was a personal record for my favorite run in Trieste (5 minutes faster than the last time I ran it on September 8) which goes along the bike path and down into the Rosandra Valley and back home again. The fast, short run plus a cold shower (on the legs only) on Sunday did wonders for my achy legs. Today I feel great!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'd Run 26.2 Miles to Prove It's Worth Every Penny

I am back from yet another marathon day of marathon. I was invited to the District Rotary Foundation brunch. This is essentially a yearly reminder from Rotarians to Rotarians that the hard work over the past year has been worth while and the hard work for the next year will be worth while, also. I looked around the room of 150 people and just kept thanking life for such generous people in this world. In a time when everyone seems to be fixated on the downward spiral that the economy is taking, the people in the room today were aware of the bigger picture. They knew that there are still people in this world, mostly children, who are in danger of contracting the crippling virus that is known as Polio. They know that the expense of eradicating Polio does not lie with the cost of the two drops of vaccine that is needed (a grand total of 30cents per person) but rather the very costly price of refrigeration for those vaccinations - particularly in 4 countries in the world where the average temperature falls above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. All the more reason to keep our goal of $20,000!!

A lovely woman from Lockport, New York spoke at this luncheon. She and her twin brother contracted Polio in the 50s. They both spent some time in an iron lung. She survived, her twin did not. After 61 hours of being admited to a hospital in Syracuse, New York, her brother died of Polio. This lady went on to speak about the physical therapy that she underwent to reverse the paralytic effects that polio had on her body. Looking at her today, one would never know that she overcame such odds to live the life that she has. She provided everyone with statistics that would frighten anyone into understanding the extreme importance of eradicating Polio worldwide. It made many of us rethink the complex debate that is still ongoing about the pros and cons of vaccinating children these days. I can honestly say that I would never wish this crippling disease on anyone. Eradication of Polio needs to be accomplished!

I recieved many promises of donations at today's luncheon. I handed out 150 donation envelopes, I hope they all come back with at least $5.00 each. However, I did recieve $325 in donations and pledges to count toward our goal. We are getting closer to that marathon and closer to our goal of raising $20,000 for the eradication of Polio.

I hope anyone who is readin this blog considers donating to our cause - it is worth it! I'd run 26.2 miles to prove it!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dodgeball worked for us, too

I will write more on this later, but here's the cliffnotes version.

Our school holds a dodgeball tournament every year. The teams pay to participate and they choose a charity of their choice to donate the proceeds to, should their team win. This year, I was on the faculty team - our feeble attempts to win the whole tournament were thwarted by refs, who clearly didn't want us to win - umph. (it wouldn't have looked right if we HAD won, it's all good.)

Here's the great news: In the past two years, this tournament has raised over $2400.00 for charities. This year, the winning team played for Polio Plus!!! I don't think the winning team was nearly as excited as me when they won. MY FIRST DONATION! I don't know how much they won, but it is certainly good news. Particularly when the Rotary District here in New York will match it, and then it will be matched by the Gates Foundations. It kind of triples the donation, if you understand me correctly.

I will post photos of the tournament and the winning team. I am elated!

Off to a fundraiser at Belhurst Castle for the Rotary Foundation in District 7120 (I have high hopes for this weekend.)

The Day that Marathons are Made Of

ANYWAY, yesterday was full-on marathon stuff. The only thing I didn't get to was my passport, but that will wait for a few more days.

1 - bloodwork went fine. I'm sure everything is ok

2 - stress test was actually fun. The did an EKG, then put me on a treadmill for about 15 minutes at a 12% incline (just shy of running) The technician was funny. She said it usually takes about 5 - 7 minutes for people to get to their target heartrate. I was still on there for 15 minutes and about 10 beats per minute shy of my target. I THINK THE TICKER IS JUST FINE. Of course, the doctor wants me to come in AGAIN to get an ultrasound done (can you say - - COPAY????) I don't think I'm gonna rush to get one done. If my EKG came back with problems, I might be more concerned, but I am not so worried about it. I mean, it will be good to get a baseline of my heart, particularly with heart disease running in my family, but I'm not going to run out and get an ultrasound done.

3 - trainer - this was the cool part of my day. We talked about the physiology of the body, the heel bone connected to the knee bone, the knee bone connected to the thight bone, etc... In brief, I have flat feet (not a surprise, I've known it my whole life.) He thinks that a nice pair of orthodics would be a good thing. We are going to look more into that next week, but for this week, he gave me a electric/cortisone treatment that will work on the inflammation over the next few days. I have done absolutely NOTHING on it as far as running since Saturday and it is feeling quite good. SO, I will probably get on the elliptical on Saturday (keep the cardio going w/ low impact workouts for a week or two). We are going to keep icing, ibuprofen, stretching, and he is going to teach me some taping techniques that I can use to help take the pressure off the tendon, and put more emphasis on the arch itself. (there's a run-on sentence for ya.)

4 - I had business cards printed up to give out to everyone I know. I used the picture of me running with ms liberty as the background. They look cool. I will be handing them out to everyone I know - they have all the donation information on them. Hopefully I will drum up some donations. I also printed off some envelopes to use at all of my fundraising engagements that allow people to either donate now, or pledge a donation at the completion of the marathon. I hope they do the trick.

So much to say, I think it may be a three-post weekend. Up next: dodgeball for charity.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Only in Trieste

Since I moved here in 2003 they’ve been building a tunnel to alleviate some of the congestion at this one really dangerous H-shaped intersection that I’ve been complaining about since I got my Italian driver’s license.

“In America,” I’ve said hundreds of times, “if people get killed at dangerous intersections like this, they do something about it! They put a stop-light there!” Followed by a self righteous “Hmmph!”

Little did I know that they were doing something about it, AND HOW! A stop light (Listen and repeat: semaforo...semaforo)... Are you kidding?? NO WAY, fratello! They were digging two tunnels down there (one to and the other fro) to help people get from the area called Cattinara (also the name of the hospital close by) through the mountain and to Padriciano on the other side without getting in the way of the giant semis coming through Trieste on their way over the border to Slovenia. It makes perfect sense!

Did I mention that this solution (which has been fascinating to witness over the years, by the way) has been in the works for five years?? Well, dear readers, the wait is over. They’re finally opening the tunnels and it is time to celebrate! The inauguration is this weekend. Here’s the plan which was on the city website: Saturday, a tunnel block party (here they call them “Sagra”s) with free Jota (sauerkraut and bean soup) and Vin brulĂ© (mulled wine). Then, Sunday there is a race from one end to the other and back (I hope we get to run in both tunnels!!) for a grand total of 5.7 kilometers. I'm going to do it. There is also a bike race of 15k.

I am so excited for this weekend! I’ll take pictures. Do you want to come to the tunnel party too?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Doctor, Doctor, and more Doctor

I am a bit overwhelmed by the day that I am facing tomorrow. Last week, I began the process of obtaining permission from my doctor to run the marathon. Due to my family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol, the doctor is asking that I take a stress test. I also need to have some blood work done in order to measure my lipids, good cholesterols, etc.... So, all of this will take place tomorrow. I have begun my fasting-hope I can keep away from the food until 7:30am. Blood work first - then it's off to my stress test with the cardiologist. I am actually excited about the whole process (of course, I'm assuming that if my heart held up for last week's 10k, I should survive a treadmill-induced rapid heart rate.) I have visions of Lance Armstrong in the wind tunnel, trying out various versions of spandex wind-suits, with every imaginable wire attached to nearly every part of his body - on his road to the Tour de France Victory. Again, I am assuming that I will get the go-ahead. I'll have to keep you posted. Finally, I will be heading to the physical therapist to have them take a peek at my heel. Being so close to the start of my 'countdown' training, I want to make sure that the achilles is on the road to recovery. I have been itching to get back to running, but on the other hand, my legs are thanking me for this small rest from training. I haven't worked out since Saturday. Hopefully I will get back to in on Saturday. I am going to be playing in the yearly dodgeball tournament on Friday - CROSSTRAINING??? I think so.

Only $19,680 to go

Thanks to sixteen friends, we are now at 320 euros. Only 19,680 to go! I know the idea of coming up with $20,000 for the Rotary PolioPlus Foundation a few bucks at a time seems a little crazy, but that's exactly what we're doing with our marathon training, too. Each day we do a few miles, then on the weekend we try to push it up a notch to get the long one in.

Every dollar/euro/mile/kilometer brings us closer to our goal.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Now we are getting somewhere

After that first pledge I found the courage to convince three of my co-workers to pledge as well. I said “Keep your pledge low! Then I will take the next five months to convince you to double the amount you actually give...” So far we have 80 euros’ worth of pledges for the Rotary PolioPlus foundation! Isn’t that great??

With the 21k run I did yesterday (a hilly course but I felt pretty good and finished in 2:13:27--We never promised to WIN the marathon, after all, just finish it!) I am now at the half-way point for marathon training, which was a bit of a psychological hurdle. Now I feel like I can eventually do this thing. The fact that we’re also starting to get pledges gives me that extra boost to keep tacking on the k’s.

Thank you everyone for your support. Also, Laura, excellent job this weekend!

Our First European Pledge! Only 19,980 to go!

We are now 20 euros closer to our 20,000 dollar goal for the Rotary PolioPlus Foundation! I feel so happy about this unexpected early pledge that now I understand why George Jefferson framed his first earned dollar bill from the dry-cleaning business.* I would have framed that 20 euros, too, except 1) I have to run a marathon before I get my hands on it, and 2) If it’s in a frame, it can’t kill Polio.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for getting the ball rolling!

*This is a 1970's American television reference. :)

I like this poster

I found this picture as I was browsing the web. Click on it to read some of the wordly advice on running a marathon. I am curious how one is to obtain animal fat for the rub-down on the streets of Paris. Perhaps there will be a kiosk. Note to self, extra money for the lard rub-down. (if only it'll be that simple....hmmm)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hills, hills, and more hills

I am sitting in front of the fireplace, feet propped on a pillow (frozen corn conveniently placed under my left achilles tendon), computer in my lap, sick kid asleep on the couch, ..... reflecting on my recent achievement. I am back from my Mendon Ponds 10k trail run. The organizers said that today would not be a day for personal records. They said the course was long and hard; hilly and muddy. What they should have said was the course was BRUTAL. What they didn't account for as they threw down the challenge (no personal records) was that I WAS RUNNING MY FIRST 10k today. So, guess what? Personal record - HELLO! After last week's uphill 5k battle to a 27 minutes finish, I figured that an hour and change would be great for today. At the onset of the race, everyone was recalculating their paces to accomodate for the massive hills. Now, I don't run with a watch, I don't even own one. I just listen to the beat of my heart and the cadence of my, that's nice. So, I started when the gun fired, and was in AWE at the size of the hill after hill after hill after hill............... Now, I began walking the hills when I realized that I could save energy and that I could probably walk faster up these hills than run. Much of the time, I was out there on the trails by myself. I even passed a large Buck in the meadow next to me. "Hello, Buck" The 5k ers turned off and I kept going. When it seemed like there couldn't possibly be more trails and hills, there were. I kept thinking that I must be soon coming to the finish line. At one point, I began a conversation in my mind about how I needn't be discouraged when my time ends up being more along the lines of 1hr 30 minutes rather than the 1 hour that I originally plotted.

At last, the trail emerged from the woods, I heard the crowd cheering and I saw it - - - the finish line, right there in front of me. The HUGE clock that was ticking away was a pleasant sight for my eyes, although I wouldn't have cared what it said - I was nearly done with this dreadful course. (did I mention that I saw two full-grown men fall during my race? That's how brutal it was.)

1hour 5 minutes YEAH BABY. Sure, it may sound slow, sluggish, snail-like, etc... but you should have seen the hills. (Did I mention that I walked them?) Even better, I was 7th overall for the ladies and - -- wait for it - - - 1st in my age bracket (at least, preliminarily. I know there were some issues with the timing.) I'm happy. How's that for a personal record?

So, as I sit here with my frozen corn, I am thankful that I have the inner drive to challenge myself because it feels so damn good to be done with that very BRUTAL race and know that I could do it again, if I had to. Heck, I'll probably do it again. Every small challenge is one step closer to that 26.2 mile one hanging over my head. Kari and Maegon, how are you doing? Are we going to kick some serious butt in Paris, or what?

While I'm thinking of it: so many of these people who run these races with me have done marathons. They think it is cool as heck that we are doing this. It pushes me on, ya know?

And I Ran, I Ran so Far Away....

I am awake at 6:00am, more out of habit than anything else. Justin is heading of to class this morning, the kids are quietly tucked into beds at Grandma's house, and I am blogging. I am supposed to be getting MY mojo going. I am on the near-side of running weekend. Last week was my first competitive 5k, today is my first competitive 10k. I am anxious but excited. I am starting to feel some soreness in my achilles every morning, which naturally worries me. I have learned some new stretching techniques, I hope to see some improvement. I can't help but question what impact the new terrain and the drizzle this morning will have on my psyche.

After the race, I am jumping in the car to meet with my in-laws to finalize travel arrangements for Europe in April. This week has been a bombardment of e-mails from host families from Belgium. It seems that they may be fighting over where I will be staying when I return for the week following the marathon - it's good to be loved, right? I am very excited at the prospect of spending Easter with them. It will be wonderful to see everyone. In acutality, the mere thought of Easter in Belgium may be the carrot that dangles in front of my face every day as I drag my sometimes sorry arse out of bed, strap on the running shoes, and run run run.

So, I will keep you updated on how the weekend turns out. Until them I will continue to run run run - you be sure to read read read. KARI - how's the tunnel? Did you run through it? HAS ANYONE SEEN MAEGON BLOGGING YET??????

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Still Running, Baby!

Just because I'm not always blogging doesn't mean I'm not running. Because I am. I ran this morning with Luna and Cristian (supportive husband. We did the short cemetary route). I ran yesterday morning (long cemetary route), Monday afternoon (long cemetary route). And the big news is that on Saturday I re-ran that long run I did a couple of weeks ago and improved my time by about 25 minutes, which made my heart happy!

I feel great and have gotten my running mo-jo back! I have also developed a healthy addiction to tracking my routes on the runners world website, changing them from kilometers to miles, and using the pace calculator on the same site to see how fast I'm going. Isn't technology great?!

Another piece of great news is that Maegon, who was in Belgium with us, has also signed up to run the marathon with us. She did the Chicago Marathon a few weeks ago, so she's our idol at this point. Hopefully this means we can raise some serious money for PolioPlus (as an extra bonus).

I can't wait until she starts blogging words of wisdom to help us get through the next few months.

Next week the new tunnel opens in Trieste. They've been working on it since I moved here five years ago, and wouldn't you know it, the inauguration is a race! I'm going to run it. It's only 5.7 kilometers and I think it will be fun. I'll bring my camera.

Even when there's nothing to read, we're still running. Promise.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

We are in trouble, my dear!

I am just back from my first post-high school running competition. I knew I was in trouble when the name of the park was Cobb's Hill. I am familiar with the venue but didn't give much thought to the fact that it is very hilly. No big deal, I can run 5k with my eyes closed, right? So, as the announcer starts prepping the crowd and runners for the event, he commented on the UPHILL course for 2.5 miles. The groans from the runners began (and my eyes opened a bit wider than usual.) BUT, I said to myself, NO PROBLEM, you're a RUNNER. You can do this! Not to worry, the announcer said, the finish line is downhill (cool, I LIKE GRAVITY). So, I positioned myself toward the back of the pack - I wasn't going to run like hell, I just wanted a nice workout and by the sounds of things, the course would take care of that challenge for me.

So, the starting whistle blew and my COMPETITIVE adrenaline kicked in. To heck with a leisurely jog - I was going to kick this hill's hind end. Even so, I was afraid to start too quickly (heed the words of Hot Hal.) My first mile was a slow, but comfortable 10 minutes even. Then, I heard the inner Laura voice saying "That's not fast enough, start passing, start running faster, become one with the hill, ...." I DID. From that moment on, I passed and passed and passed and passed. Most of the people just kept to themselves as I passed on the hills, passed on the curves, passed .... Some of them didn't have the energy to say a word. Some of the runners were so encouraging "looking strong, go get em." So, GO GET EM I did. I hit the 2 mile mark feeling fantastic. I came around the top of the reservoir at the top of Cobb's Hill and started the winding downward hill home (lengthening the stride, relaxing the arms, catching my breath.) The closer to the finish line, the better I felt. Could I actually be wishing that the race was longer? Sure, I could have done it, but I was happy to hear my name as I crossed the finish line. I was psyched to see my kids and husband run to hug me after the race was done. What a great time I had showing that hill who is boss. I posted a time of 27 minutes and change - not bad for a first-timer (and an uphill battle, at that.) I ended up 6th in my age bracket (out of 20.) I'm happy with my finish.

So, why are we in trouble? Kari - I didn't think that I would be competitive at this age. I thought that streak in me was long gone. BUT, you know that I am going to find another 5k race next week (or maybe even a 10k) and I better be faster than I was today. I am in so much trouble. It was a blast - even if it was hard, it was a blast. I just hope I don't hit the streets of Paris and feel like I have to show the marathon who is boss. It is one thing to push for 3.2 miles, it's another thing entirely to push for 26.2 miles - should be fun, though.