Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm not going to run the marathon on Sunday

And I was kind of bummed out about it, even though I think it's the right decision. So I just couldn't blog it earlier. Sorry to keep you waiting!! Here's why I'm not going to run it:

1. It just feels TOO LONELY to run it without Laura or anybody else for that matter. I know. Is that wimpy??

2. ...

Even though I totally think of myself as an independent runner, I just don't feel like doing this one alone. Maybe Venice would be different because there would be so many people running it and cheering us on, but not Trieste. Not this year. If Sweetie were doing the half, it would have been a different story, but he is bouncing back after a knee injury and also wasn't overjoyed at the idea of my running another marathon on a day when we could go hiking or do something else together. I guess I don't blame him after all the Paris training, he was on his own a lot...In general, though, I feel like I need a change of pace. I want to run for other reasons, like for the love of running, to be outside in the middle of nowhere, to go further. We've both (Laura and I) been talking about trail runs lately, and I think that's what I really need right now. If I can't run with Laura, then let it be just me and the trees...Or me and the trees and somebody going really slow on a bicycle.

Which brings me to the UPBEAT part of the post.

I am SOOOOO excited because my friend Noel is coming to visit me. He took a year off to ride his bike from Portugal to Vietnam. He is amazing and I am so honored that he's making a stop at my house. You HAVE to check out his site. So cool!!

So here's my little dream. When he's on his way out of town, maybe he'll let me do a bit with him, say a good 15 miler and then I can run the other 15 miles home. NOW THAT SOUNDS LIKE FUN! I hope he wouldn't mind. But, then again, Sweetie said he would like to run with him, too. If he does, that's great, I want him to get back into running (see reason 1 for not doing the marathon on Sunday), but I don't want him to overdo it, so we'll go a shorter distance. To me this sounds about 100 times more cool than doing the marathon. But it doesn't take away the feeling of being a loser for not running a marathon that I KNOW I am prepared for.

But life is full of choices, right?

By the way, a special thank you to fellow blogger and amazing 12 in 12 marathoner Michael B. for offering to come to Trieste to run it with me so I wouldn't have to do it alone! I say we make a plan for next year! Everybody is invited! Bad Hippie is in, I'm sure I can talk Psychobabble into it, and Laura has a year to convince her school district to change their vacation schedule to accomodate her marathon habit. If not, there is always Lubliana or Venice. Both close. Let's keep our options open. Otherwise, the trails are always open here, and they're awesome.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Am I a Runner?

Our friend, Ms. Running Fool, posted an amazing blog entry the other day questioning her followers if a person who runs a marathon just to finish, is actually a 'runner' and actually a 'racer.' It was an interesting post for many reasons. It certainly made me question whether or not I felt like our marathon was, in our minds, a race. Did the fact that we ran the entire thing make us RUNNERS? More importantly, though, is that it made me think for an hour (my run today) about whether or not I consider myself a 'runner.'

It is true that my focus has been lost, since returning from Europe. The lack of a goal has made it difficult for me to recognize the importance of getting out a running. Kari is right when she says that until now, we have had Hot Hal telling us what to run, when to run, how to run, and when to stop. Now that there is no marathon to train for, it is difficult to determine for myself what would suffice for a daily run. I have noticed that I am no longer needing the nike+ device to tell me my pace - I am happy with my music playing and my body dictating my pace. I have noticed that I am no longer looking to Hal for my distance, I am listening to my body for that decision. I have noticed that I am no longer looking toward the roads for my workouts, my body is craving something more - TRAIL RUNS. So, I went out for the past two days in search of some trails to run, rather than same-ol-kicking asphalt!!! It is a different kind of running. A kind of running that I am glad I have only NOW found because I fear that had I started running trails while training for that marathon, I would have certainly sprained an ankle or something. It is mentally and physically challenging (you have to concentrate on keeping your balance and constantly pay attention to your footing....but I love it.)

Today, I went out for a trail run. Most of the run was along some woody trails, the last part was along a cinder path. When I finally reached the road to get me home, I noticed that my legs suddenly felt supercharged. It made me immediately see how much harder I had to work to run the trails. The road made me feel like I was sprinting home.

I have but one wish, as I continue my trail running passion - a biker (or fellow runner) to accompany me along my trails. I am beginning to grow tired of running my myself. After having over 35000 people stomp with me all through Paris, I don't know that I love running by myself any more..... ANYONE??? Let these photos convince you to tag along - come on!!!

So, on that note: I am a runner!!! I am out there running!!! I love taking pictures of the places that few people get to see - along the trail. Isn't there anyone who would like to splash through the puddles with me? Anyone else want to get their feet dirty? Join me!! (and let's find a trail race to train for.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

There's more than one way to be a runner!

Main Entry:
14th century
1 a: one that runs : racer b: base runner c: ballcarrier2 a: messenger b: one that smuggles or distributes illicit or contraband goods (as drugs, liquor, or guns)3: any of several large vigorous carangid fishes4 a: either of the longitudinal pieces on which a sled or sleigh slides b: the part of a skate that slides on the ice : blade c: the support of a drawer or a sliding door5 a: an elongated horizontal stem arising from the base of a plant ; especially : stolon 1a b: a plant (as a strawberry) that forms or spreads by means of runners c: a twining vine (as a scarlet runner bean)6 a: a long narrow carpet for a hall or staircase b: a narrow decorative cloth cover for a table or dresser top7: an adjustable backstay running from mast to rail on a sail boat or ship8: a running shot in basketball

The big decision is coming

On Monday I will decide whether or not to run the Trieste marathon next Sunday. But that's next week, which seems SO FAR AWAY!
Let's live in the now.
What are YOU doing this weekend?

Ahhh. Great! That's cool! Have fun! Wish I were going!! Have one for me!
Uh... huh? Me?
Nervous giggle.
I have no freaking idea! I'm not used to this.

I USED to have Hot Hal tell me what to do (run this route, go this far, take a rest, go long, don't push it, do hill work, eat a gel...)

By the way, I don't think this is PMD (post marathon depression). I am totally over that. This is something else.

Does it have a name? Laura, Ms. Fool, Do YOU know what I'm talking about here?

I followed a program for six months. Then I ran the marathon, then I recovered from the marathon.

Now it's kind of like I'm smelling fresh air again, and it SCARES ME! It's my first day out of prison and I don't know what to do with myself...Do I look for a purse to steal to get myself thrown back in there (Oh let's just call it the Berlin marathon from now on, or some other European capital's 26.2), or do I just start sniffing the flowers (= do 5-10 mile runs for running's sake)?

These are big questions people... and I don't have all the answers. I'm going to have to think about it. I'll start with Trieste. That's the short-term answer...

You'll be the first to know.
Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Short Runs

It took me 41 minutes to warm up yesterday. The three minutes AFTER THAT were GREAT, though!

Note to self: there is a reason long runs are more satisfying. The ratio of pain to pleasure favors pleasure more than pain. I will have to keep that in mind.

Note to others wanting to bump up their mileage. DO.

She's Famous!

Check out Kari's guest appearance on Ms. Running Fool's blog. Read what Kari learned by running her first marathon! (you can bet there was a lot to learn!)

AND, while you're at it, check out our other appearance on another friend's blog. Bad Hippie has been a loyal follower and frequent commenter on our blog. I think the story she posted explains itself - run, run, run!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Two-Hour Trail Run Part 1

This is the first part of the run (I posted them backwards. Better to start here). I ran from my house up to the bike path and through this tunnel to meet my friend Davide on his bike.

This is the view from the Bike path down on Trieste.

This is Val Rosandra. Photos don't do it justice...

This is Davide and his bike. They kept me company for the next hour and a half.

Val Rosandra Sunday Part Two

Isn't Val Rosandra gorgeous? Great place to run.

It's full of trails of all difficulties.
We went from one side of the valley, down into it,

and up the other side.

The Good Stuff Part Three

Looking down into the valley

I like this little hand rail...
This is what I see during the middle of the run.

There were a couple of people but it wasn't great weather, so there weren't many hikers.

Davide had to walk his bike in a few places where there were steps or treachery!

End of Sunday's Run

Now we're at the lowest point of the valley.

And on our way out of it.

This is the little town you find just outside the valley and this is my dream house.

Kind of cute, no? From here it was less picturesque, so I put the camera away and we banged out the last few miles without stopping.
Thanks, Davide, for showing me how to get home from Val Rosandra without having to go on the big streets!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pictures for you all!!

This is obviously Kari and I as we are about to begin the marathon. You can just make out the start in the very far distance - it took us 15 minutes to get there.

A fellow blogger who is doing 12 marathons in 12 months suggested a Mars Bar at mile 17. (check)

The secondary goal - don't let this cart beat us!!!

Could You Please Pass me a Kleenex???

I know, I know, I know - WHERE THE HELL HAVE I BEEN???? Well, the obvious answer is that I have been in Europe until late Wednesday night. But, I assure you, that is no excuse - and for that, our faithful followers, I am very sorry.

The truth of the matter is that I haven't felt like doing much of anything. I have barely moved from the couch - I just don't feel like it. I can say that it is jet-lag, that I deserve to be lazy, etc.... but the downright truth of the matter is that I am suffering from horrible post-marathon depression (complicated by post-amazing-visit-to-Belgium depression, too!) Now, for those of you who are not marathoners, let me tell you this: this is not a figment of my imagination. It is a real illness, that I have self-diagnosed, of course. Fellow blogger, Ms. Fool, has gone on an on-line shopping spree to help rid herself of her blues. Kari has decided to set a new marathon goal for a few weeks (I think she is already at her taper). And ME???? Well, I am nearly talked into running the Buffalo Marathon at the end of May.

Now, another marathon so quick? I can only compare this feeling to one thing that I have experience in - childbirth. Other mothers tell you that the pain felt during childbirth is quickly forgotten, leaving new mothers ready for more children. Well, my followers, I remember telling people how hard the last 5 kilometers were in Paris, but as I sit here writing, I am telling you that I have forgotten the pain. I only remember the euphoria of crossing the finish line and the elation that we felt as we found all of our friends and loved ones along the marathon route and at the finish line.

So, I am left with one question: Is it possible that the best cure for my post-marathon blues is to set a new challenge (in the form of a marathon?) I just don't know. Another blogger, Minken, told me that once the marathon cherry is popped, it will be impossible to be satisfied with the half marathons. He said, and he's probably right, that ending at the half marathon and watching much of the field continue to finish the full marathon (and gaining bragging rights and marathon bling) will make me only say to myself "I could have done the whole marathon - I want that medal, too!" I think I may have posted this comment before, but I will say it again, he has rarely been wrong in his advice to Kari and I - I am nearly certain that he will be right on this one, too.

So, as I just finished my first 6 mile run since Paris (average pace of 8:30 - speedy) I am already feeling the depression fade away as I point my running shoes toward my next, but undetermined, challenge.

On another note: I think that Kari and I are going to decide to train for and run destination marathons every-other year. I am going to bet that both of us will continue to run marathons (or begin some adventure racing/trail racing) but there is no way that we will wait more than 2 years to run our next marathon together - (certainly not another 18 years!!!)

So, on that note, help us set the goal for our next destination marathon in 2011!!! BRING IT ON!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009


I finally did a long run yesterday after almost two weeks off (well, I did go for a nice 1.5-miler in there somewhere just to say I did something...). It was my 7.1 mile hell run (which I love). It has a huge hill that goes on and on in the middle of it (I've complained about this and solicited sympathy from you countless times over the last few months, you know which one I'm talking about. The one that goes straight up at Via dei Pelegrini/Pilgrim Street...). My body felt great, but my lungs were whistling the entire time. I pushed myself, though, even through my wheezing, thinking "Heck, this run only takes me like 70 minutes. NO BIG DEAL" so every time I felt like slowing down, I would look at my watch and say, only 40 minutes left, only 30 left, etc. Because, really, after the marathon distance, 30 minutes really does seem short. It's all about perspective...

The good news is that the Paris Marathon helped me shave FOUR MINUTES off my 7.1 mile time. That's pretty significant since I had been the same for so many months. Wow! I guess long distance DOES make you faster for the short distances.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Are you on Facebook? Are you a member of Run.Eat.Sleep.BLOG.Repeat ?? We are! Good going, Ms. Fool!

Laura is on her way home

Boo Hoo. I already miss her! Even if I haven't seen her since we left Paris, it's been nice having her on this side of the pond. We texted each other and skyped and were awake at the same time...


Monday, April 13, 2009

The Scalloped Potato Recipe

Mamy Charneux's Gratin Dauphinois:

Butter, peeled potatoes cut in thin round slices, one diced onion, grated gruyère (swiss cheese), salt, pepper, milk.

Butter the bottom of a casserole dish with a good spoonful of butter, put down a layer of potatoes, cover that with a layer of diced onion, cover with a layer of grated cheese. Salt and pepper the entire layer and repeat (layer of potatoes, onion, cheese, salt and pepper). Stop at two complete layers. Cover this with milk (not completely) and put in the oven for 30-45 minutes (I put it in for a little longer) until the milk evaporates and cooks the potatoes. I did this at about 200 degrees celcius/375 degrees celcius.

Damn, it was good, too!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

You All Need To Be Patient!

I promise you that I will blog more when I get home on Thursday, I am journaling everything, so I won't forget. I was a true Hooligan last night at the soccer game - but you will all have to wait for details.... too much fun to have and not enough time to sit here on the couch and blog.

Happy Easter!

I'm home doing the things that I didn't do while I was training for the marathon and while we were in Paris. Staying home feels kind of good. Especially since I have these nummy creme eggs to keep me company (I did give ONE to sweety who liked it enough to be disappointed when he found the other box I had hidden to eat all by myself later...). They're so disgustingly delicious, and how could I celebrate Easter without them? Impossible.

And since good cooking is all about NOSTALGIA, I have some Gratin Dauphinois (scalloped potatoes, sort of, but a lot more delicious) in the oven, a recipe that I got from Valérie's grandmother's recipe book. It smells like Belgium in my kitchen right now. Yum! I'll let you know how they turn out. The roast is already out on the counter.

What are you doing today?
By the way, my bones and muscles feel great one week after the marathon. I'm dying to get out there and start running again. I took the week off and now I am raring to go!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

We had fun fun fun

This is a photo that our friend Christine took - not 5 minutes after leaving church early to go watch the marathon; not thinking for a minute that she'd actually see us. Due to this chance meeting, they followed us the rest of the way to the finish line - FANTASTIC!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The After-party!

Lots of sitting down, lots of CHAMPAGNE (Thanks to Christine who brought 6 bottles!!!), yummy pasta (thanks Giorgia and Marco), great friends!

This was actually later, but I had to include a picture with everyone and their Rotary shirts.

Our Fanclub!

(not pictured but equally fundamental: Cristian, Christine, Valérie, Véronique, Nikolai, Dima, Maegon and her sweet friend, the other Marco)

Race Day!

I am wearing my Jell-O shirt from LeRoy, New York!

Not us, but that's okay. Our numbers had our first names on the front of them so that people who didn't even know us could cheer us on! Allez, Les Filles! Allez Karoline, Allez Laura! It was awesome!

They gave us these neat ponchos to keep us warm after the race. Then we had to walk back to the hotel, which was not fun, especially going up and down curbs! OUCH!!! Ice baths followed and a Loooooong Nap followed by much partying (sitting down).
This was the best day ever!
**Laura, here. I might add that while you don't usually equate Paris with ponchos, these little beauties worked wonders and kept us toasty warm for our very painful walk back to the schwanky hotel Hilton - I saved my poncho and is currently lost somewhere between Paris and Rochester**

Meeting at the Eiffel Tower

We had people at our picknick from: Italy, France, America, and Holland!

Giorgia and Marco (Trieste), Vero, Nikolai (Strasbourg)

Saturday Pique-nique under the Eiffel Tower

Christine, Kari, Laura, Maegon, Nikolai. All exchange students in Belgium in 1990-91.

It was the best picknick in the world!

Friday Night Purple Bar

Ms. Fool, our blogging goddess, Laura, and Kari feeling the aura of Atalanta!

Nikolai's Dima, Rotary Exchange Student 2022???

Christine "Pooky" Turnberg Volinsky (exchange student with us in Belgium), Laura.

Kari, Laura, Ms. Fool, Christine.

All that, and we still had time for a little Stars on Ice!