Sunday, May 31, 2009

You'd Better THINK....

The best part about running, in my opinion, is the time I get to think about things I wouldn't normally have the chance to think about. So, here's a peek into my brain as I ran my 6 miles today.

1) "Damn, this wind makes me feel like I'm either running 12 miles an hour, or 1 mile an hour...Atalanta, what the heck did I do to you for you to ignore me at my time of need"

2) "Mary Karen needed more people surrounding her at mile 17. With only 1,000 people running that marathon last week, by the time she got to that WALL, there weren't enough people running around her to help her moving. Thank god we had 37,000 people in Paris. We were never alone out there. Even though I think the crowd was sparce in the last 3 miles, the runners (or walkers, at that point) were still thick as theives - btw, Kari and I were RUNNING, thank you very much."

3) "Where the heck is Al? I've gotten used to running with my neighbor and I am kinda bored without someone to push me." Al was a really good friend of my brother's in high school, and I never in a million years thought that he and I would become neighbors and running partners. "I wonder if I can convince him to run a few races with me? He pulls me through the first 3 miles and I drag his ass through the last three - good stuff."

4) "It was really cool to see my high school track coach at yesterday's sectional track meet. I should get him to run the Boilermaker with me. "

5) "I should get all the runners I know to run the Boilermaker with me - it is supposed to be one hell of a party. Everyone who has run it basically says it's a 15k race to a beer tent-what's not to like?"

6) "I hope it's not as hot on September 13th as it was last year for the Rochester marathon...I don't like the heat"

7) "What the hell smells? There must be a dead animal in the hedge-row over faster!"

8) "I wonder when the last time was that I saw my in-laws? It was before Paris! Gosh, we are all too busy. " Bonster, if you are still reading our blog,

9) "Does anyone realize how friggin cool it is that our blogging friend, Michael, has not only finished his 7th marathon in 7 months (on his way to 12 in 12) but - he's going to run Rochester with ME in September, and Trieste with Kari in 2010!! When you think about it, that is really, really cool. Too bad we didn't push for him to join us in Paris, that would have been amazing."

10) "What the heck is so great about the movie Twilight?" I watched it two nights ago, mostly because I'm reading in in french and needed a bit of the cliffnotes version to get me inspired. I'm not getting the hype...whatever.

11) "I need to get Russ to write his guest contributor piece, we need some fresh marathoning blood on this site"

12) "I wonder if Kari's going to be up for a SKYPE in the morning. I am going through PKD (post Kari Depression."

There it is, folks. I'm sure there's more that I thought about, oh yeah...

13) "I'm going to have to pass these teenage boys, I wonder what they are saying about the 35ish year-old passing them ...pick up the pace, boys, marathoner coming through"

14) "Thank god it's a step-back week for my training, because I don't feel like I've really STARTED training, and I'm already at week 3 - geesh - time to get on the schedule, here. I have to go 3/6/3/11 this week - I can do it!'

ALRIGHT - off to put the kids to bed and get into that book I spoke about earlier.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Hello hello hello again, my friends. I'm sorry about the silence. This week I was in Budapest on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for my new free-lance gig. Did I tell you my work contract expires this month and it didn't get renewed and so I'm opening up my own little business doing communications and marketing and translations and PR, etc.? That's what we call "Turning lemons into lemonade." Atalanta has been smiling on me since I made that decision. For one thing, she put me in touch with a really cool woman named Klementina (woman business owner in Italy, not something you see every day, LOVE IT!) who needed some help with a couple of international clients. So we went to Budapest together (may there be many many more trips like this in my professional future!!). But the BEST PART (and thank you again, Atalanta) is that she is a runner! So we got along great (she also likes food and wine) and we ran in Budapest and as we learned in Paris, running is the BEST WAY TO DISCOVER A CITY.

I already love my new life.

I've got a four day weekend coming up. (Oh stop, you had Memorial day, what, last week?!) I can't wait. I'm going to sleep and then I'm going to run and catch up with my blogging buddies.

Shout out to Michael B who is running the Marathon in San Diego this weekend. Good luck, friend!

Also, CONGRATULATIONS, MARATHONER, to Mary Karen, who kicked the Buffalo Marathon's butt last week! Excellent job.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Weekend of Champions!

I don't consider myself to by sporty, athletic, or a follower of any particular team, or season, or sport, or athlete. I rarely care about PRs or statistics, rosters or ubber athletes (except Lance, of course.) I can't talk the talk to the level of some of my other 'sportier' friends, but I can enjoy a good game of baseball, football, soccer, or basketball with the best of them. All that aside, I had a heck of a sporty weekend. Now, granted, it was a four-day weekend so I had a bit of time to fill up, but this was NUTS.

SATURDAY was spent at a track meet - coaching our boys and girls to some fantastic performances. Our boys 4x100 relay is unbeatable - truly amazing to watch. There is talk of them going all the way to states, which is remarkable! Three of the four relay team members ran their 100m and came in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd - fantastic, really. We have an athlete who is undefeated in the 100, 200, 4x100 relay and long jump. Sectionals should be something to witness!

SUNDAY MORNING - I dragged the whole family out of bed on Sunday morning so we could drive the 50 minutes to Buffalo to cheer on the 1,000 people running the Buffalo Marathon. Luckily for my kids, the route ran directly past the zoo - bonus!! They went and watched the Baboons mate as I posted myself at mile 18 and clapped, cheered, sang, yelled, hooted and hollered for those folks who passed by. My main purpose was to cheer on my friend, Mary Karen, who began training for her first marathon after we spent an hour or so at Christmas time talking about Kari and My desires to run in Paris. I didn't know it at the time, but she was inspired by our decision and decided to set her sights on Buffalo Marathon. Her mother and I sychronized our watches, planned our stations, armed ourselves with Jelly-beans and Blue G2 (special request by MK.) I recieved word that Mary Karen had passed mile 16 and was on the way. As she approached, I knew immediately that mile 17 had her way with my dear friend, Mary Karen. There were, I dare say, tears of pain and clear signs of some serious wall-hitting. I kicked into hyper-you-got-this overdrive. If I could have picked her up and carried her, I would have- trust me, I would have. The ankles were sore, the hands were swollen, the spring in the step was gone gone gone. NOW, had I remembered, had I thought, had I gone through my own personal checklist, I would have pulled out the MARS BAR!!! But, I failed her, I failed her, I failed her. Instead, I said - "YOU GOT THIS. I'll be at mile 21 and I'll talk you through this." And away she hobbled. I knew she would finish, I just wasn't sure if it would be at a run, walk or crawl. So, as I approached mile 21, I decided that I would walk back toward mile 20 and split the distance with her. I would run with her if I needed to. Over the hill, I could see her and I was soooooo elated to see Mary Karen's spring had returned to her step and she had kicked that damn mile 17's BAD ATTITUDE in the ass. I felt much better as I sent MK on her way toward her mother and husband who were waiting for her at mile 23....much better. She'd make it, she'd make it (and she did in just over 5hours and 30 minutes!) Welcome to the marathoner club.

NEXT - SUNDAY NIGHT: Belgian Championship Soccer Match between rivals Liege Standard and Anderlecht. I couldn't find a website that would allow me to watch the match, so I was reduced to reading the minute-by-minute details on a website (it felt a bit like deciphering morse code during a war, but it worked for all of us!) Les Rouches ont célébré leur 10e titre de champion de Belgique dimanche soir à Liège, le deuxième d'affilée acquis face au rival anderlechtois. In other words, they won the championship and now have bragging rights in all of Belgium (however small it may seem, it is a big deal.) When I was visiting Liege last month, I had the opportunity to go to one of their matches (which is also a big deal, because I understand that it is very very very difficult to get tickets to their matches. I don't know how we ended up with these coveted tickets, I didn't ask, I can just assure you that it was something that I will not soon forget.) So, anyway, Liege is currently celebrating their second title is two years - way to go Liege Standard! I wish I were there celebrating with them... don't belive me? Check out the videos of what le Carre and Place St. Lambert is like - I'd be there in a heartbeat!

AGAIN, SUNDAY NIGHT -I graduated from the College of Wooster, a small liberal arts college in the middle of rural Ohio. The four years that I spent there were collectively four of the best years of my life. While I was there, I worked as an athletic trainer for all of the teams. Consequently, it is really super to see that the baseball team from this very small college (still being coached by the same Coach P as when I was there) is ONE GAME AWAY from winning the NCAA small college national championship. Again, this is a very big deal! Tuesday is a very big day for them - GO SCOTS!

FINALLY - I ran today! Felt great - do I need to say more about that? I feel like a champion.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Does this Happen in America?

Sorry for the absense, but as I told you, I was busy being lazy and eating too much... until Sunday, when I decided to go for a small run with the dog. A 1.5 mile run to be exact. Which is better than nothing (and I had been doing mostly that since the marathon). I bumped up this mileage, however every day since then because of what happened on Sunday.

Me: Hey, ____, so nice to see you!! Hug kiss kiss.

Friend's wife: Karoline! Wow! Have you ever gained weight!! What happened?! Before the marathon you were so thin! YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL!..

Me: (Nervous giggle)...Um, gained weight... Well probably... I mean I took a little break after the marathon to recooperate... (nervous giggle)... I did run this morning... (which was true-- all 13 minutes of that run were real!)...(self-consciusly tugging shirt to cover up excess poundage). Now I'm running again, so those kilos should come right off...

FW: I sure hope so!

Um... Ok. I'm going to tell you the truth: 1) I hadn't noticed I had gained weight (denial?) 2) This person went from being kind of a cool lady my mom's age to an old goat over the course of the above conversation. 3) I tugged at my shirt and self-consciously checked my profile in the mirror about 800 times that day, which is a bad thing. I started to see double and triple chins, too. Now, the thing that gets me is that this exchange did not come when I was actually being lazy and eating too much. No! It came the week to the day that I stopped drinking any alcohol and the same day I started to run.

What's up with that?

Then I weighed myself: 3 kilos more than before the marathon. That's 6.6 pounds. You know what I say to that?! BIG DEAL! What's all the fuss.

Monday I ran 5 miles, Tuesday 6, today 1.5 again. I feel great! Weight? Same. But who cares? The important thing is to get out there and run...

Monday, May 18, 2009


I woke up this morning in quite the hum-drum mood. Things at work have been, well, hum-drum. When I say hum-drum, I don't necessarily mean it in the "oh my god I'm going to fall asleep" way that one associates with the phrase - rather - the "this isn't exactly why I went into teaching" hum-drum. (now, for anyone who is from my workplace, please don't take this the wrong way, because you all know that the end of the year can be a bit difficult to maneuver for even the most experienced of teachers....making everyone question what part of May and June can a teacher be prepared for?)
SO - hum-drum. UNTIL THIS came across my e-mail..... A quick note from Kari saying CHECK THIS OUT. (this is where you check this out) Then she simply sent another link.

SO, now that you've checked out these awesome links - DID YOU CHECK WHERE THEY ARE???? That's right, British Columbia!!! Our friends to the way way way North and way way way WEST are reading about us. (pat on your back Kari, I feel the pat on my back, too.)

After I read these two identical articles (and assumed that they came from Rotary International) I decided that my favorite part is the absolute last line: "Their blog site was top of the list of what RI is clicking on this month."

Of all the things that the folks at Rotary International do with their time and efforts, they were reading our blog as we were running in Paris!!! It kind of hit me as I read it that the Rotary International organization has brought Kari and I full circle - and has brought so many of us together through service for others. Our fundraising efforts may only be a drop in the bucket (as far as money goes) but the message that we have helped send will prove to be more valuable than all the money that we raised.

So, as I continued with my ONCE hum-drum day, I kept reminding myself that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves as we maneuver through our complex days. There are things out there to be done, and if it is through running another marathon with friends that I have met through this blog - then so be it!!!

AND - if there is anyone reading this from British Columbia - THANKS FOR THINKING OUR STORY IS GOOD ENOUGH TO POST ON YOUR WEBSITE!!! (feel like coming to Rochester???)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Everyone's Doing It!

Now I'm psyched! I'm truly psyched.

Back up!!! The week of the Paris Marathon, I finally met fellow blogger and marathoner Minken, on his "home" turf, a quaint park in Paris. It was a great park, and we had some nice conversation. One think that strikes me as interesting now was when he asked about my future of marathoning. I was quick to say that I didn't envision myself becoming a marathoner (like himself) but that I really enjoyed the half-marathon distance. I think that he was on to me, because when he said that I'd never be able to settle for the half-marathoner medal around my neck when I saw others frolicking around the after-party scene with their FULL-MARATHON medals around their necks - I knew that he was right.

So, when I posted a few weeks ago that I had decided to train for the Rochester marathon, I shouldn't have been shocked. No one should have been shocked. It just isn't shocking that I am going to run this thing.... back up again.... another thing that Minken said is that the reason he was running the Paris Marathon was because he believed that people should run their hometown marathon. (there isn't a LeRoy marathon, so Rochester is it!) So, I feel compelled to run the Rochester marathon because it is my hometown marathon.

Now, I just got off the phone with a friend who I met during my Rotary Club tour as I was publicizing the PolioPlus efforts during the training for Paris. Russ had just begun getting into running when I visited the Lima Rotary Club. He was full of questions and eager to find out all the details of training that most people weren't interested in. I am so proud to report that Russ completed the Lilac Festival 10k this morning in just over an hour. Even more impressive is that Russ had decided to run his first marathon in his hometown, Rochester!!! YES, our entourage is growing - Russ, Michael, Me (Ms Fool???) EVERYONE IS DOING IT!!!!

Bring on summer training!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Where Have We BEEN???

Okay okay okay.... I think the bottom line is this: (and I think I'm speaking for the both of us, here) - We are finally realizing all the things that got conveniently pushed to the side as we were training for Paris. Now that the marathon is over, and the trip is done, and we are home, and back to work.... HOLY MOTHER MARY OF GOD ARE WE BUSY!!!! My day still starts at 5:00am and ends somewhere around 9pm (but more like 11pm) but the difference now is that every spare moment of time is occupied by things that were not a priority during those long months, but are now in urgent need of finishing..... oh boy.

HOWEVER - here is what I am working on tonight: an article for Rotary International explaining the journey from here to there and back. In preparation for this article, I sat down with our district governor and handed over about $2500 worth of donations (add that to the $2100 already given him directly and the additional $1500 that went directly to him...) YOU GET THE NICE PICTURE. Here's the great news - due to our combined efforts, and the message that we have helped spread, Rotary District 7120 has reached their goal of $100,000 towards PolioPlus. BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO. I know that there is money still trickling in - and keep it coming, but it feels good to see what our efforts have achieved.

So, off I go to write up the details.... I hope to be placing a link here very soon so all of you can read about our combined efforts in their annual report (this is a BIG deal, folks)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ummmmm - check this out - I can't contain myself!!!

Check out what is happening on September 13th - get the whole story!!!

All kinds of Good News!

Gosh, the sun is out here, there's a gentle breeze, and my brother and his wife are in town. It's their first time visiting me, and their first time to Italy, so we've been doing all kinds of cool stuff that we don't do that much unless people are visiting (sleeping is not one of those things). We've been keeping in touch on Twitter while I'm at work and they're wandering the streets of Trieste. I just love having visitors! I can't wait to take them running this weekend. My brother is a treadmill addict and doesn't ever run outside (likes to control settings and speed, actually he hates running, and, frankly, if he only does it on a treadmill I can see why. He's missing out!), but I'm going to help him see the light. I promised him we would do 20 minutes max (wink wink). I think he's going to faint when he sees the awesome view of the Gulf of Trieste from the Bike path. It is really amazing. I'll bring my camera so you can see it, too.

I am also happy because the Rotary PolioPlus foundation emailed us (shout out to Laura at to say that they read our blog and kept up with our training and running of the Paris marathon and that they want to do a story on us (maybe) for their annual report. This was incredibly flattering because we love Rotary (after all, they brought us together to study in Belgium by sponsoring us as high school exchange students), and the attention, well we like that, too. Anybody who was with us in Paris, if you have any good pictures that are NOT compressed, send them to us, maybe they can use them!

More happy news is that I am so excited that Michael B, our running idol and one of our very special BBFs (Best Blogger Friends) has signed on to run the Rochester full marathon with Laura. I think that totally rocks!! I wish I could run it with them, really I do... But even if I can't, I'm just glad they're doing it together.

HIGH FIVES to you guys, and...

to Ms. Fool, another BBF, (and the other pea in our tri-pod), may you high-5 Jesus during the North Face Endurance challenge tomorrow! Atalanta be with you!

I think we're doing Venice on Sunday (LOVE VENICE), but if we don't, there's always the Giro d'Italia bike race which is looping through Trieste that morning. I'll let you know.

One more piece of good news. Did I tell you I became a Rotarian? Well, I did! And next week I will become an active member. I can't wait! My club is amazing. They were majorly supportive of our marathon project and it is a group of incredibly nice people that I am happy to know.

That's it for now. Have a great weekend.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Marathon in my future?

I got a text message this afternoon from a friend who lives down the street, asking me if I was going to run tonight. YES, I said, and waited for the reply. He wanted to join in on the fun, and I started thinking "where were you for the past 18 weeks when I was training by myself?" BUT - nonetheless, off we went, for what was a very very very pleasant run. It was nice to have someone to talk to. He and I went stride for stride, and I felt a bit of pride as I noticed he was starting to huff and puff as I was hitting my 2.5 mile warm-up. I took him on some trails that I have found in the past few weeks, and he was shocked at how much of LeRoy he didn't know. He was also amazed at all the people that waved to me along our run. I guess I have met a few people along the way, they have seen me run past their homes for 6 months, I hope they will wave and say hello!! So, running with Al made me think how much I enjoyed running with 37000 people in Paris, which made me think about how much I enjoyed running in Paris, which made me think about how much I enjoyed crossing the finish line in Paris, which made me think about........

Anyhow - I came to the realization that I think I am going to up the ante and register for the Rochester Full Marathon in September. I just looked at the calendar and have 20 weeks to get into better marathon shape (this time, following the intermediate/advanced training schedule.) It will be interesting to see how different training in the summer will be as opposed to winter training. I am psyched to make this decision, and feel a little less pressure considering it is comparatively in my back-yard (rather than across the ocean.)

Ms Fool - I know you are going to be in Montreal, but if you change your mind, Rochester is closer, (and I'll be here!!!)

Kari - same goes for you!!!

Minken - it's not Nigeria or Poland or Berlin or Prague or Paris (or wherever you want to run), but it is my hometown marathon, and I know how you feel about the hometown marathon, and I'll invite you, too!!!

Michael B - you know you'd love to, and it is now a goal of mine to run with you, what do you say??

Russ - you're doing the half, what do you say about running the full with me???? If I can do it, anyone can.

Anyone else....near or far, .... there is a half-marathon, too. (also a 4, 3, or 2 person relay - kinda fun!)