Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ummm, did that guy have a gun?!?

I am noticing that this year's Thanksgiving holiday has put a sudden, screetching halt to all running blog, twitter, dailymile, etc.... activity.  It is as if the running community, as a whole, knows that they have run their asses off for the past 50 weeks of the year and are entitled to a smidge of glutony...RIGHT???? Let's see, I just polished off the last of the stuffing, turkey is gone, too. As I take inventory the fridge, I see a small bag of sweet potatoes and perhaps a small serving of peas.....ick! The oven has a ham slowly cooking - I really have gotten used to leftovers and think that what my life desperately needs next is a few days of scalloped potatoes and ham. 

My husband has all but pushed me out the door the past few days, telling me that it is just about time that I start running off some of that chocolate-pecan pie. The very last thing I respond to is forceful attempts to get me back in the running routine. "Don't tell ME what to do" - right? (love you, hon :)  )

So, after realizing that I am committed to running a half-marathon on the 1st of the year in Albany, New York, (gulp) I decided that it was just about time to get out there and see if my legs had more that 3.2 miles in them.  (I am so glad that there are people out there who have expressed an interest in running this race with me, because if I were doing it solo, I don't know that I would find the motivation to get out there and train for the darn thing.) I loaded up the ipod and headed out into the GLORIOUS day that western New York has been blessed with today! I finally felt like a runner, again. No stress, no pain, no burning desire to walk, .... ahhhhhhhh.  I love the way running makes me feel. So, I ended up running about 7.5 miles. The only event worthy of note was the somewhat uncomfortable feeling I felt as I turned the corner of a rural road and came nearly face-to-face with a man walking down the street with a rifle slung over his shoulder. WHAT?????? I'm not in Nigeria (reference to Minken, here) - what is up with that? I just kept running, right past his gun-slinging ass. Creepy, RIGHT?  Well, it is deer season here, so I will just chalk it up to that.  I shall live to see another running day, phew. (he did look creepy, though).

As I hit the hard last two miles (seems like the last two mile are always hard) my ipod, set on shuffle, came to this song - I wouldn't classify it as a power song, but it brought a fantastic smile to my face, as it holds such great memories for me. I ran light and happy for the last two miles, and lost myself in many memories of 20 years ago.

Today, I am in love with running and the feeling I have when I am done. I love the idea of being a runner. I love that people look at me while I am running and think "what the hell is she thinking?"  I love it -----at least for today.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For This We Give Thanks

We would like to take a moment to thank everyone who contributed to the ROAD TO PARIS MARATHON PROJECT benefitting the ROTARY FOUNDATION POLIOPLUS FOUNDATION. With the help of lots of people, we were able to raise over $5,000 (an accurate count is impossible, unfortuneately, as not all funds came directly through us, but went instead directly to Rotary District 7120 in our name).  These funds, however, were matched in order to help district 7120 reach their goal of raising $100,000 to go towards the $100 million challenge grant by the Gates foundation. So the little sum we worked so hard to raise, when all is said and done, will become $20,000 to help eradicate polio. Awesome.

Ed, Keb, Beck, Bep, Kris, Calsma, Jenn, Minken, Bad Hippie, Jennifer S., Mag, Nenetta, Archaobrain, Baby's Mama, Kim, Gapanz, Aloha Rob, Lucky Begonia, QueenB, rUntoNaAste, Rachel, Beemoosie, KIC,  A Girl Running, Justin, Fabia, Derec, Tom C., Roberto S., Em, Bowerm, Cami C.,  Judester, TP, Tamara, LimaRuss, Bonster, the folks at Rotary International in Evanston, and the others who read but don't comment  - we know you are out there- and you are all over the world. Thank you.

You helped us invent long routes, came with us on bikes or ran with us, took pictures, gave us food, kept us going with your support. Thank you.

Trieste: Marko, Marzio, Trieste Fiamma running team, Luna, Cristian, Bavisela Saturday morning gang.
LeRoy: Heather and Dan (oranges and water), Steven, Jill, Julie, Lauren, Anika, Byron-Bergen-Elba Track team.

Atalanta - you provided us the motivation day-in-and-day-out to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We slayed 'em thanks to you.
You kept the famous "wall" away from us. Thank you!
Christine "Pooky" "Queen B" Turnberg Volinsky
Jelly-Belly Sports Beans

Thank you for your advice and support throughout training, the marathon, and beyond. You are our virtual running club. How would we have made it without you?
Michael B.
Ms. Fool
A girl running
Bad Hippie

Thank you everyone!
Rotary Club Monfalcone-Grado, special thanks to Roberto, Lima Rotary Club, LeRoy Rotary Club - special thanks Loren Wetzel, Rochester Rotary Club, Caledonia Rotary Club, District 7120 and Foundation - Governor Michael Leone, Busy Beaver Buttons, Elba Central School Charity Dodgeball Tournament, Cookie-Lee Jewelry, Elks Club of Webster, Lady Elks of Webster, Rotary Exchange Students in Belgium 1990-91.

CONTRIBUTORS: (in no order - and we are sorry if we have left anyone off - truly!!!)
Glen and Mary Adams, Nancy and Bruce Baker, Lynne Belluscio, Larry and Sherye Boylan, Ken and Linda Capwell, David and Marny Cleere, Frand and Martha Davis, Brian and Kris DeWaters, Carol and David Frost, Chris and Tammy Gamble, Bill and Sandi Haggett, Bob and Katrina Hatch, Keb and Steve Mayer, Bill and Sue Remley, John and Cathy Skivington, Janet and Loren Wetzel, Vicki Shrontz, Brian and Kris DeWaters, Don and Bonnie Williams, Mike Cintorino, Heather and Dan Cote, Paul and Betty Lou Tilly, Joe and Sylvia Schepisi, Malchoff family, Preston Pierce, Harry Blaeser, Hant and Nancy Ralston, Tom and MaryLou Coene, Jim and Jane Holden, Mahandra Shah, Mr. and Mrs. William Pethick, Val and Greg Connor, Amy Connor Stivers, Dan and Susan Roczyka, Lisa and Steve Reese, The Teorema gang, esp. Apo, the Sistemisti and the Developers, Catia, Flavia, Grazia, Fabia, Daria, Vico etc  .... and numerous people who donated by purchasing a shirt or by donating anonymously.

Travel and Lodging: Don and Bonnie, Valérie
Logistics: Joshua, Nikolai, Valérie
Pacers: Christine, Giorgia, Marco (and the Beaujolais Wine Cart)
Escorts to start line: Justin and Cristian
Fans: bands along the way, cute Parisian police/firemen
Morale/advice: Minken & Jewelz
Eiffel Tower pique-nique: Meghan, Renee, and Renate
After party: Joshua, Christine

We are grateful to all of you for your love and support. We are thankful for our reunion after 18 years, for the opportunity to give back, for running, and blogging.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank you!

It's Thanksgiving week, and since Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday (besides my and my brother's birthday, which has not been officially proclaimed a holiday yet), I have already started thinking about what I am thankful for.

This morning I ran downtown to the Italian American Association (where I am helping plan Thanksgiving Dinner) in my VFFs. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to get there (compared to a 20-minute bus ride plus up to 10 minutes of waiting for the bus).

Sure, I was thankful for my feet, and my knees, and my vffs, and the cars that let me cross the street, and green stoplights and the running tights I found that I forgot I had, and for the time I have to run, and for the money I save by not taking the bus, etc.

But instead of making that list, I just thanked along with my breathing (two counts out, one count in when I'm going at an easy, steady pace). Thank you, suck in, Thank you, suck in, Thank you, suck in. I did that for most of the way home.

I realized that a lot of people are going through tough times right now (me included), but it felt good to just THANK for everything else.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wafels and Dinges - (dinde!)

Well, folks. I am just having a crappy week. I am under water at work, and I just hate the feeling. There were two highlights of my weekend, though, AND I JUST HAVE TO SHARE....

1)  ran the 5k turkey trot in my home town yesterday.  I wish I could say that I won, but I didn't. Here's the scoop:  I was eyeing my competition and felt fairly confident in being the 1st female finisher until HER MAJESTY the skinny-beautiful-under 17-running tights wearing-perkey girl showed up. (Damn, kiss my turkey prize goodbye!)  I really can't blame her, though. She ran well. She finished in just over 23 minutes (putting my second place 26 minutes to shame.)  In the end, though, I felt great and I was happy to finish in such a great time, considering the hilly nature of the course. (you are going to have to take my word on this one)

2) spent the entire afternoon and most of this morning working on lesson plans for the Russian Revolution (can you say slow, painful death - not unlike Mr. Rasputin who was poisoned, shot, clubbed, and shot again before he actually ended up drowning) But I digress.....finally just took a moment to search the web for anything mindless and enjoyable. I stumbled upon this blog that made me think of my year in Liege (with my BFF Kari.) Reading it brought a smile to my face and a smell to my nostrils that is undeniable.  Those of you in the NYC area MUST MUST MUST search this cart out and have a few for me....... mmmmmm.

Now, if only they would drive up here and park outside my house, my week would be much better.

Gotta run- and that's the truth!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What do you think about when you run?

Today, I thought about how right my husband was when I got home from work. I wanted to go for a run, then I didn't want to go for a run.... I didn't want to, I really didn't.  Here is what he said (with a real motivational smile and tone) -

"if you don't get out there and run, the 15 pounds that you want to lose are going to turn into 20 pounds.... and while you may be okay with that NOW, when it does become 20 pounds, you aren't going to be okay with it. I will pick up the kids, I'll even get them diner....get out there and GET IT!"

I hate it when he is right - and he knows it!!!! So that's what I thought about while I was out there stomping through my 3.25 miles. That, and ... it always helps to think about how good you will look when you DO lose those 15 pounds.

Some other things that I thought about .....
  • band practice (what new songs would we learn tonight?)
  • work (can't help it, I have a lot to think about)
  • my son's antibiotics (gotta remember to give him his medicine when I get back)
  • what am I going to decide to do on Saturday (too many choices, someone is not going to be happy)
  • what Turkey Trot will I end up running?
  • how fast am I going? (why didn't I bring my Garmin?)
What do you think about? I'd like to hear.

Channeling my inner Ultra Marathon Diva

I'm not quite done with Born to Run yet, but, like I said earlier, it's helping me overcome some psychological limits. More than that, it's making me feel like a downright ultramarathoner (I'm not... unless you count 3-mile runs as ultra training). So, feeling all long-distancy, today I went back to   reading my favorite ultra girl 's blog to see what she's up to (running for long periods of time and very far). One of her inspirational quotes caught my eye (she puts one in there every day)-- something about how life is a novel and every day you get the chance to write a new page. Well. I'm not an inspirational quotes kind of girl. But this one made me get my running shoes on, grab a plastic poop bag, the leash, and the hound. I didn't expect to run today since I ran twice yesterday, but I was feeling good and thought that maybe Luna would appreciate a little run. And, after all, today IS another day.

That's part of my new approach to running. Get out there if you feel like it. BTW it's paying off. I'm only 2 kilos away from Paris Marathon weight. ROCK ON!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Getting over those limits

Yesterday I finally saw Marco and Giorgia after their trip to the States. You may remember that they were with us in Paris when we ran the marathon. The neat thing is that they made friends with Christine, who came over from New Jersey to cheer us on. They stayed at her house for a few days during their trip. (SHOUT OUT TO CHRISTINE. THANK YOU FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER AND THE VANILLA!!!) They also stayed with my brother and sister-in-law (SHOUT OUT TO ED AND HEATHER, THANKS FOR PUTTING THEM UP!!).  I love it when my friends make friends with each other.

Marco and Giorgia brought me the book BORN TO RUN which Michael B. has been recommending for a long time now. I haven't finished it yet, but what I can say is that since I started it (last night, and I'm about half done), I have been itching to take off and run as far as I can for as long as possible.

Why? Because the book makes you think about how many things you can do if you don't have anyone telling you that you can't.

For example, when did there get to be so many RULES for running? You have to have such and such equipment, such and such pants and shirts, run too much and you'll blow out your knees, You have to have 400 dollar orthotics if you want to run past 40, "The human body just isn't made for going the marathon distance," follow the running table, run as few days as possible, avoid asphalt, blah blah blah..

WHY? WHY? WHY? I mean, if I want to run 5 miles in a pair of long johns, who's stopping me (in the past, at least, no one, especially when I had one pair of running tights and they were dirty). In the end the only person stopping me from doing anything, is me. I can think of a million excuses NOT to run at any given second. But then I remember that I like running, especially long distances, when you get just past where normal people start to think that you're not.

So I just have to do that. Run run run because it's fun and because I feel like it. I have also decided that I'm going to do my training for May's marathon the same way: I am not going to follow any tables. I am going to just run as much as I can, and increase my longs every week. I think the ultimate would be to arrive on race day and have it almost feel easy because you just decide that it doesn't have to be a grueling ass kicker. Is it possible? I don't know.

I like Kara Goucher's running advice, it went something like this: training? Run as hard as you can for as long as you can. Period.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let's hear it for 1000 miles this year!

Well, you'll notice that there has been a long silence since my last euphoric entry of LOVING running. That's because I didn't love it so much after that. Today I couldn't stand it, to tell you the truth. But, at the same time, running is part of me now, like it or lump it. 

I'm just psyched that I broke 1000 miles (sounds better in Km, though: 1600!). I have never counted miles in this way before, so thanks Dailymile! 

I'm reading a book by Stefano Baldini, the Italian guy who won the marathon in Greece in 2004 and trying to get my running groove back on to start training for Trieste in May. I'm thinking I'll get into training for reals around mid December. I think Laura needs to find a good May marathon, too. Anybody know of anything in the New York State area scheduled for May?

For now, I just plug away at small distances and every once in a while try to do something a little bit longer.

By the way, a shout out to my cousin Kate, who just qualified for Boston AGAIN! Way to go, Kate!! What an inspiration...

Laura, give us a sign! 
xoxo my fellow runners!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Finally Love Running Again

It's about dang time, too! I decided to bite the bullet and go for a long run tonight since I knew this week was going to be a hectic one and Sweetie was out playing tennis with our friend Valentina (did I ever tell you about her? She looks exactly like me, I'm not kidding. She's Sweetie's tennis BFF and she has a killer serve. Sometimes people in the neighborhood come up to me and compliment me for it!! I just say thank you, on her behalf, of course).

I decided to run my hardest route just because I got all inspired by our super marathoning friends like Ms. Fool and Michael B and started thinking about Trieste, and then about how it would be fun to do Venice next year, and that was it--the shoes were on and I was out the door. I didn't even have time to talk myself out of it, although I did have time to talk myself into running in the easy direction, which means the first 25 minutes are uphill rather than the first 45. That worked. Once I got through the tough part I was flying flying flying downhill. And I realized that sometime over the last year I figured out how to RUN downhill without being scared of tripping or falling on my face. Maybe my newfound confidence came from the fact that I brought my cell phone with me on this route for the first time ever.

Then, climbing up the last little hill before making the turn down to my house, I realized that I didn't remember running most of that street, I was just moving, LIKE A GD GAZELLE, I TELL YOU! That is bliss. I hit RUNNING NIRVANA, man, for the first time in a long time, and BOY DID THAT FEEL GOOD.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Running Shoes

I woke up this morning with a motivator message from Kari - GET OUT THERE AND DO 10 MINUTES!!!! Doh (I think someone noticed that I haven't been running.) 

Truth of the matter is this - I HAVE BEEN RUNNING!!!!! I've been running around like a chicken with her head cut off in a life that is way too busy for my taste. The crazy thing???? I'm not really that busy. I mean, it's not like I'm training for a marathon, or anything. I am teaching three new courses this year and the prep time for those three classes is encroaching on my once-valueable and coveted work-out time.

BUT, not to worry. I have been enjoying my new pair of running shoes.  They aren't some fancy-pants VFF's (although I secretly crave a pair just to be like MichaelB and Kari) but I think you will agree that they have me running through my hectic life in style - check em out!!!

So, I put on my Saucony's and ran today (sans electronic timing devices) and thought only of Ms. Fool today. A HUGE SHOUT OUT TO HER AS SHE RUNS THE NYC MARATHON TODAY - WOOT WOOT!!!!! (what a great day for a run!)