Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Today was the first run after the half marathon. I purposely waited because it not only put me back on my usual routine, but obviously the legs/hips/knees/feet needed a couple of days off. I was really feeling tight last week, and it continued on into the race Sunday. Yesterday, I actually got in the pool and swam about 3/4 of a mile and felt great all day, so obviously that's what I should have done last week too. Its really not like me to miss a week of swimming. Lesson learned.

Today's run was just going to be short--it ended up being only 2.5 miles--to see how the legs felt and worked. It was fairly warm again (54 degrees at 6:30 am), but pretty breezy. I wore tights and was glad I did with the wind, but by the end of the run, I no longer needed the gloves I had on.

I was surprised at how good my legs felt. I only did my short loop and then an extra block, because it just didn't seem long enough to be out, but it was better to leave something behind than trying to struggle through something longer if I wasn't ready.

This weekend, I plan to continue on with my long runs, but cutting back to just 1 1/2 hours, instead of the 2+ I had been doing, at least for a couple of weeks. My next goal is to train to run longer without needing to walk. Not that I expect to be able to run nonstop a whole 10 miles or more any time soon, but I think I can easily get back to at least 6 miles with some work.

On another note, did anyone happen to see Marathon Challenge on PBS last night? It was a NOVA show. I saw it advertised looking at the website. It reminded you of the Biggest Loser show. Team Nova, as they were called, were all sedentary, nonathletic types, randomly selected to train for and run the 2007 Boston Marathon. NOVA would train them for 40 weeks resulting in the running of the marathon. One of the coaches was Uta (Take the Magic Step) Pippig, 3 time winner of Boston. Before starting their training, they first had to undergo testing, including body fat measurement, and a VO2 max test. One of the women actually had 46% body fat! All but one tested either fair to poor in the VO2 max test (including a 21 year old woman); one actually tested superior. He obviously was an untapped talent, because this guy, while he had been a runner in college, had not run in 20(?) years. One woman also had a medical condition that had caused her to become not only sedentary, but gain 70 pounds. They were not going to use her at first because of a possible heart problem, more than likely due to being what they termed "morbidly obese." But she persisted in begging until they finally let her take part.

It was very interesting not only to watch these people go from their first steps to being able to run a full marathon, and watching their progress, injuries, setbacks, etc., but also getting a lesson in how the body adapts to the addition of exercise, and in this case running, into your life. "The first day you exercise [run], you are healthier than the day before." That's how dramatic one day of exercise can affect you, so you can see how continuing on a day-to-day basis is only going to enhance your health. They showed how your ligaments and muscles become more fluid after just a few months of training, and the old saying "use it or lose it" applied here. I can see definitely how that applied for me last week, not doing as much because of thinking I should taper, and yet an increased amount of inactivity actually led to stiffness I hadn't had in a long time.

What was interesting to note, however, is that none of the women lost any weight except the one already 70 pounds overweight. She actually ended up losing about 50 pounds, was the most highly motivated, and, as it turned out, fastest of all the women. The reason for this was also given, but it gets too technical, and I'm not going to go into all that.

All but 2 of the original 12 completed the race, and that was due to either chronic or recurring injuries (shin splints, stress fractures). Of the finishers, the guy who started out with the superior VO2 max came in fastest, with all the women finishing over the 6 hour mark. It was so great to watch how happy, jubiliant, incredulous they were when they finished. It was worth watching just for that. After the race, they again were all retested for their VO2 max levels. All tested excellent to superior!

So keep exercising people, because even one day is better than none!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


That was my theme for the race. The glasses were a bit much, but they did add to the effect. And no, I didn't wear the big bulky fleece for the race! Me after the race. The race director, Don Kern and me.

The start/finish line.

Some of the smiling volunteers (I guess I might be smiling too if I had their job, serving up the post-race beer!)

And what's a race without Elvis showing up?

And then there's the medals!

Little Miss Sunshine (Lecia). TriEric, post marathon. The guy is awesome. He ran a 3:33 after a minimalist training schedule like I usually follow (he says). Works better for some than others!

Some pics at the expo: Sunshine and her husband and daughter. TriEric and me at the Expo.

The guy who "ran" the whole marathon course on stilts. He has mild cerebral palsy and was doing it not only for the record, which he beat, but also for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.

Such was the fun of the race!

Prerace: You know how the night before an important race, you can't sleep? Well that wasn't my problem. I did have a zillion race dreams though, so weird I will share.

My first "dream" was waking throughout the night, semi-conscious, wondering why I hadn't checked the results of the race before I went to bed? I mean, they should be done by now! Oh, wait, we haven't run it yet. And this isn't an Ironman!

The second dream I had was that Karen (Waddler) and I were running together. When we got to the 10k point, we decided to stop and have lunch! LOL! The place we chose? A retirement home! I'm really hoping this isn't a premonition of any sort.

Once we got in line to eat at the retirement home, I lost track of Karen. I have no idea where she went, but I'm guessing she escaped! Me? I'm left in line with these old people, and no way were they giving me cuts!

Later, I was at my old house and decided I had better get this race done, but I couldn't get through because there was a Halloween parade going on!

OMG! I have to say I was glad to wake up.


It was a frosty morning under a Hunter's moon when we were to begin this race. The temperature was about 31 degrees, but there was no wind. Surprisingly, even in the crowd, I had run into Sunshine and her lovely daughter, Sarah, and Tri Eric, as well as many others I knew.

Running a race on local territory is the best! Not only do you know all the ins and outs for parking and getting around, but you know the course and get to see all your old running buddies too!

I tried to line up according to my anticipated pace, but it was so crowded at the beginning, with 2 minutes to the start, I was still crammed into the 3:14 marathon pace group! With 10 seconds to go, I hadn't made much progress backward so went when the starting air horn went off.

We hadn't run even 1/2 mile when I noticed a chip on the ground! Oh well, I'm not picking that up. Whose ever it was was probably WAY faster than me, and would do better to use their number rather than my time if I carried it in.

The sun wasn't supposed to rise until 8:14, and the race started at 8, so it was still a little dark when we started. My plan was to do the same as I had in training: run 8 minutes, walk 2. I didn't dare risk any heroic moves to do longer than that. Truth be known, I hadn't trained farther than 10.5 miles, and I only had 3 "long" runs prior to this race, relying mainly on my triathlon base to get me through. Note: I'm sorry, but doing a 3.5 hour triathlon is not enough base to do a half marathon! Nevertheless, I toed the line like the idiot I am with the minimalist training I seem to always do.

As promised, I wore my entire pink outfit: sunglasses (eventually), vest, headband, gloves. The headband and glasses left a lot to be desired, as the headband did not soak up moisture, and since my head sweats A LOT, my hair was soaked early on and my ears were cold throughout. The glasses? Cool as they might have looked, they were way too big for my face, but the view was good! And I heard many times "Hey Pretty in Pink!"

I was really tempted to keep running even though I had reached my 8 minute walk time, but this time I decided to stick with the plan, considering my minimal training mentioned earlier.

I saw there were a few others also doing a run/walk, so I didn't feel too out of place. There had been a "velocity challenged" group that had done an early start, at 7 am, but I didn't feel like I needed to do that. I knew I wouldn't be terribly fast, but with the marathon going on, I wasn't going to be anywhere near last. And part of the course is in a totally unlit area, meaning it would be pitch black at that hour. Too spooky for me!

I was a little disappointed to see then, using the run/walk, that my first mile was about 11:45 and most other miles were hitting right at 12 min. I really was hoping I'd be a little faster, but part of that I can "blame"on the cold, since I never run as fast in the cold. My hips were pretty tight all week, and no amount of stretching, massaging, or relaxing during the week had loosened them up much. I definitely will have to step up management of that problem before it becomes another injury. And yet, even with the chilly temperatures, there were a LOT of people out there in shorts. Not me. I had on a pair of tights AND shorts over. No way could a little piece of spandex keep my behind warm enough when its less than 35 degrees!

Once the sun came up, we were treated to blue skies and still no wind. That is a rarity! Since I had started so close to the front, it took until almost 3 miles before my friend Jan and her daughter caught up with me, both dressed as black cats, with whiskers painted on, wearing tails, and ears! Cute! Soon after, another woman in my age group, Mary passed, then shortly after Bonnie also in my age group. The odd thing here is that NONE of them showed up in the results! So I'm wondering if their chips didn't register? Jan has her own. Another woman Bonnie ran with showed up in the results, as did Jan's daughter! I know they didn't run bandit so I don't know what's going on with that.

Between miles 3.5 and about 5.5, there are a few hills thrown in to make it interesting. Unfortunately, through this area, I began feeling the need to use the bathroom. I was really happy to see that at each aid station they also had some porta-johns, but the lines were long, and I was thinking I couldn't really afford to lose that much time stopping. So I waited until I was reaching a dangerous zone before I finally was forced to stop. In training, and maybe in other circumstances, I might have ducked into the wooded area that lines this part of the course, but wearing my more than visible bright pink, it would be all to obvious what I was doing!

Once I got that out of the way though, I could concentrate on the race again. To make up for the longer stop than my usual 2 min. walk, I continued on through my next walk break. This was in an area that was slightly downhill anyway, so it seemed easy enough. Its not that I can't run continuously, but not for as long as I would need to be out there. That's something I plan to work on next, running longer periods without stopping. Eventually, it will come together again.

There was a guy running, wearing a Chicago Marathon 2007 jacket on that I had come upon about mile 2, lost him for a while, and then after my stop, he came by me again. I have no idea where he'd been all that time, but I didn't miss him. As he ran, he rattled, sounding like he had several boxes of Tic Tacs in his pocket. I knew that would eventually drive me nuts, so I was glad to be rid of him finally when the marathoners split off from us. There was also another guy running so slowly, yet steadily, that even when I did my walk breaks he would pass me, but then I would get ahead of him on the runs. We went back and forth like this for probably 5 miles. It was obvious he was doing the marathon.

In Millenium Park, the first relay handoff was here. That explained all the busses at the start of the race. The park is huge, so part of the course wound through the park on the nice running trails. There was another aid station here also, and they were giving out gummy bears! Had I not just taken a gu, I might have taken some, but too much sugar for me spells disaster. It was a great idea though! As I said about the park, just before we entered the park we were at mile 6; before we exited the park we were at mile 7, and we barely touched the amount of trails in there. Its a great place! I was surprised though at how foggy it still was, with the vapor rising off the ponds and lakes. It gave it a surreal feeling, only seeing several feet in front of you, with the fog shrouding the distance.

By now, my right hip was starting to tighten up more and hurt, so the walk breaks became a necessity, yet I never got off my routine after the bathroom stop. I figured that added probably 3-4 minutes to my time, but that's just one of those things you have to factor in.

If I haven't mentioned it before, I'll say that the pink brought many comments and compliments! Everyone at the aid stations always cheered me and even called me "Pink Lady." If they only knew! This helped keep me going too, again knowing I was highly visible and didn't want to be seen walking all the time.

At 8 miles, we enter the river path, taking that to the footbridge where the two races split off. I was pretty sure, from others' information, that the half marathon continued on the path, but I was starting to worry we would have to cross the bridge too, and by now my mind was focusing on staying on the path, using my trusted method of visualization to get me through the final miles. I breathed a sigh of relief then when I found that we did continue on and the marathoners turned. That helped me not break my focus.

Once we passed the footbridge, the ranks thinned out enormously. I could see people ahead, but now it became more like a weekend training run, with just a few people in front or behind me. It now became my run, and when bikers or roller bladers coming from the opposite direction headed down the path, I got a little resentful when their presence forced me to move over. So I knew here I was not only reaching the zone of pain I reach around 2 hours, but the irritable zone I get in at that point too. So I had to focus hard here to keep under control. I also knew that the next aid station was at approximately 10 miles, and I wanted to get there by 2 hours, and I came pretty close (2:10). Another aid station here, and the ladies remembered me!

Here again we enter this area that I'm not sure what its for. Its a long paved trail, almost 2 miles long, but it is always gated and locked, so I've never been on it. Its out in a field, no buildings or anything indicating what its used for. Something I've always wondered about, but still have no answer to. But it is beautiful and peaceful here, with the river running along a portion of it.

Just before I reached 11 miles, a biker came up behind me announcing the first runner coming through, meaning the first marathoner! Wow! I never thought of them lapping us! I heard him say, "I'm doing 6:10s. He'll have to do 5:10s to catch me." So he knew he was winning.

As I was exiting the trail, between 11 and 12 miles, the next runner came through, and then shortly after another. I also knew I was getting close to finishing, and my hip was getting so tight I'm sure my running pace slowed some, although after each walk break I felt okay. It was just that starting running from walking that was the hardest. Still, I continued on. I passed a few walkers here, and as usually happens, right after you pass them, they start running. But it was short lived, so I was able to pass them and keep ahead of them as well.

By this time, I realized I would not make my 2:40 goal, so just hung on and hoped for the best.

I think I held my pace pretty evenly, even through the last mile or so, but I wanted to be done in the worst way. My legs were actually hurting, and not in a way I've had before. My feet and knees were getting sore too. But I knew the end was near, just not near enough!

Coming down the last stretch to the finish, a few more marathoners passed me, so I'm still not sure whether the crowd was cheering for me or them. And I passed a couple of walkers, then saw the clock and wanted to make it in under 2:48, which was the clock time, not my chip time. And then it was over and the post-race party began.

I saw TriEric after, a lot of my friends, but just couldn't wait for everyone. I waited until an 80 year old guy we all know finished his 100th marathon and then I had to leave.

So I'm sorry if I didn't meet up with some of you after, but I hope you all had a great time in Grand Rapids and a fantastic race experience! I invite anyone who wants to do a fall marathon or half to consider coming to Grand Rapids next year. You won't be disappointed! Maybe we can even get a "Pink Ladies" team going again!


Short version: 2:46:25.

Long version: later. With pictures!

My "A" goal was 2:40. My "B" goal was 2:45. My "C" goal was 2:50, and my only real goal was under 3 hours. So I guess I achieved a B- goal.

Had I done 2:30, it would have been miraculous. Had I done 2:40, it would have been awesome. 2:45 would have been fantastic. But even so, it was miraculous that I was alive to run; awesome weather that we had; and fantastic that I made it! I am grateful, thankful, and lucky.

And I was able to meet up with some fellow bloggers: Sunshine and TriEric.

Can't wait to give the details!

Friday, October 26, 2007


The big day is almost here. Last night, I went out for my final "tuneup" before the race. I decided to go to Millenium Park, run through the park, out to the road, and onto the river path to the footbridge.

It was windier and cooler than I had expected, but still sunny. The colors are starting to fade, and more and more leaves are scattered on the path now. It also gets dark out sooner, and by 6 pm, the sun was low in the sky.

I didn't see too many people out: a few bikers, a walker, a roller blader, and one other runner. I was surprised that my legs felt tight, since I hadn't really been doing much this week. Probably too much sitting, that's why!

Don had said he was going to the track again, but if it was crowded he would call me. Well he actually did call, several times, but dummy here left my cell phone on my charger at work (real nice since my 5:15 alarm would continue to go off every 15 min. or so until I got to work the next day!), so I didn't get his call that he would meet me at the park.

I turned at the footbridge and was heading back to the park and my car, but the sun was so bright in my eyes I couldn't really see anything much. I did spot someone coming toward me, however. It looked like another runner, but I really wasn't sure. Being out there alone, I always am a little leery about people I don't know, and in this case I couldn't see. It never hurts to be on guard, no matter how safe you think you are. Probably 100 feet away, this runner's silhouette now becomes more visible and I figure out it is Don!

I was surprised to see him, and he said he had called, but I had already remembered I left my phone at work. He said he had been running through the park and up and down the road looking for me, had asked the one runner if he had seen me (he said he didn't remember, but I'm pretty sure he couldn't see me with the sun in his eyes), and finally decided to head to the path. He could see me the whole time, yet I couldn't identify him until just before we practically bumped into each other. So he was ready to head back to the car too. I was glad of that, as I wasn't willing to make my short run into anything else. And did I mention it was cold?? My hands were freezing and were turning bright pink.

"I saw you walk," he said. "Yes, my legs felt pretty tight today, so I decided not to push it, and did take a walk break." "So you're going to be doing the Gallagher method?" I had to laugh here, because I knew he meant Galloway. "Yup, that's about all I can manage right now for my long runs. At least I know I'll finish."

So watch out people, I may be throwing out some watermelons at you!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I couldn't resist this picture when I saw it! It just goes to show you how much of a visibility factor the color pink has.
As I was trying to look ahead to Sunday's weather to figure out what to wear, the color pink popped into my head. I realized I hadn't worn pink since we had our women's running team, so many years ago now it seems.
We called ourselves the Pink Ladies. Surveys were showing at that time that the color pink was more visible to drivers, so all the running info was touting wearing pink for safety. We had other ideas on why to wear pink. We wore white singlets and hot pink shorts, four or five of us, depending on who ran, and we soon learned that those pink shorts made it easy to pace each other and keep track of our teammates in large races. Not only that, we got many comments from others in the race saying how they paced off us "Pink Ladies," thus the name. We were visible. We were noticed.
So I'm thinking of wearing pink again, and realizing that for the first time in a long time, I don't worry about blending into the background. I don't mind if I'm seen on the course. I know I won't be in the front of any pack, but I'm not worried about being in the back either. I just want to be visible to show that I'm having a great time and happy to be out running and enjoying myself!
I also want to be visible to the people I haven't met yet through this blog or e-mail who will be coming to our city for this great race. I'm going to wear pink at the expo too, so you can find me easily, and pink on the course so we can wave at each other as you pass by me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I recently used this phrase in a comment to another blogger friend. It got me thinking again about how it applied to my life.

In my other life, when I was a competitive runner, running scared is what kept me on my game, afraid to loose the edge, not wanting to let someone else in my age group, known or unknown, beat me. Running scared is why I ran in all kinds of weather, regardless. Running scared is why I did that last mile repeat or hill repeat, to keep ahead of the competition.

When injuries forced me to the sideline and later to the back of the pack, I realized I wasn't running scared any more. I didn't really care that much (yeah, I really did, but it was easier to just pretend not to).

Running scared is what helped me escape the deep depression I had fallen into a couple of years ago. Running scared is what helped me get back on track, for my own sake and that of my family, leading me to so many of you in the process.

Running scared is what has kept me on the bike path all year instead of the road in training, for fear something bad will happen again. Running scared is what kept me going after the accident, for fear I would never be able to do what I love so much again.

Running scared is what keeps me praying, keeps me healthy, keeps me motivated.

Running scared is what keeps me tri-ing and trying. Running scared is what keeps me young.

I believe that when you stop running scared, you've given up. Run scared.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Some things you're likely to see if you run the Grand Rapids Marathon. Above, part of the downtown area. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Views from the many river bridges in downtown.

The David Hunting YMCA which is race headquarters. Below that, the start line of the race.

Millenium Park, one of the parts of the race.

A view from the river bridge, another bridge you cross after coming out of Millenium and heading to the opposite side of the river. The foot bridge.

The river boat, near the half way point. The path leading past the river boat to one of the turnarounds.

More Millenium Park.

Another part of the route, near another turnaround. Then back on the footbridge and return to the Y.

Friday, October 19, 2007


because you never know what you're going to get, to paraphrase the wise Forest Gump. Today was one of those days.

And you've heard it said that God never gives us more than we can handle. I also like to believe that when we have challenges to face, the test is also in how we handle them. Same goes for running, or any long training workouts. The purpose is to not only see how fast or far we can go but to see how we are going to handle ourselves while out there. Today was one of those days.

Severe weather had hit our area, and many other parts of the Midwest, overnight, leaving many without power, downed trees, ruined homes. But the weather people said no more rain would be likely until at least noon today. They were wrong.

It was warm when I got up, still in the 60s, but very windy. Still, I thought it might be another shorts day. So I dressed in shorts and a long sleeved technical T, but as soon as I stepped out the door, I realized the temperature must have dropped. A quick check told me the temperature was now in the 50s with a 17-20 mph wind. So, a wardrobe change was in order. Back to tights and short sleeves with my hoodie wick-away. Only the wick-away had a broken zipper. :( Instead, I grabbed a lightweight zip up sweatshirt, figuring I could always take it off if I got too warm. After all, it wasn't going to rain until at least noon. They were wrong.

When the mist started hitting the windshield on my drive to the park, I had a fleeting thought to call the run off, wait to until tomorrow. The sky was dark and gray. It was already 8 am and the street lights were still on. Still, it probably would cleqr up, because after all, it wasn't going to rain until at least noon.

Out of convenience, I had decided to do my last long run before the half on the 28th on Friday instead of Saturday. But an emergency project had come up at work with a new client that was going to require many hands and many hours of work to complete on time. I had already planned to take Friday off work with many attorneys out either at a retreat or in trial, so I didn't want to let the possibility of a little mist change my running plans, because, after all, it wasn't going to raun until at least noon. And now I would be working Saturday, if not Sunday, so there was no turning back. Besides, part of me needed to be out there and part of me wanted to be out there.

When I got to the park, I knew I would be out there alone again today, because everyone else would be working. It also meant the workers would still be working on the bridge over the path, so I was going to have to maneuver through their equipment and the mess they still had to clean up before next week's race. What I didn't expect was the huge flooded area on the path, with one of the workers trying to shovel off the mud that had obviously washed down the hill and onto the path. But the flooded part! Yikes, no way did I want to ruin my shoes in that. Then I noticed someone had conveniently placed stepping stone boards from one end of the huge puddle to the other, so I used that as a bridge, making my way over the water without saturating my shoes. And at this point, it was still just misting some so it felt a little refreshing on my face, since I had also not worn a hat, thinking it would be too windy. Because, after all, it wasn't going to rain until at least noon.

Sometime between my first and second walk breaks, that thought that it "wasn't going to rain until at least noon" started changing. They were wrong. It was raining. Now. Hard. I was still within reach of turning back. But no, it won't last that long, I'm sure. I was wrong.

It rained, lightly, then hard, but steady, and sometimes blowing in the face. It rained the whole time I was on the river path. It rained coming off the path, now harder and blowing more being out in the open. I decided to put my hood up, not wanting to catch cold, although I wasn't cold. I considered a lot of things: do I want to turn around at 9, 9.5, 10 or beyond? Again, I reminded myself that I needed and wanted to be out there. Keep going, at least to the 1 hour mark, and then see where you are.

At one hour, it was still raining, harder now. Cars going by were spraying me with more water, but I hardly felt the difference. My shoes were starting to feel wet though, as the puddles were becoming deeper and more frequent. Running on one side of the road too caused water to run off from the other side, so I was now splashing with every step. I still was in fairly good spirits, nothing was hurting too much, and I was already on the return trip.

I changed my route slightly, hoping to add a little more distance without taking me too far off course, but the slant of the road, the puddles, and the nonstop traffic soon sent me down a dirt road leading back to the park road. At this point, it was just don't think. Keep going until the next break. Keep loose. Don't think.

Coming off the unpaved road onto paved, I had a bad twinge in my hip/groin area and thought for a moment I would walk. Oh no, its raining much too hard to stop now. So I continued on, and on the next walk break loosened up the hip and that seemed to help. I had a short way to go to get back to the river path, so again, I willed myself not to think of anything else. Just the path. I know I was checking my watch more frequently at this point, but I never felt a need to stop, and the rain was a good motivator. Once I got to the river path, the next thing to think of was the bridge, then the bend in the road, then the flooded area, then the road, then the park.

So that's how it went. I didn't allow myself to think of being done, just getting to the next part of the run. From the bridge to the end of the path is probably the hardest part of the run because you know you are almost done but it doesn't seem to come fast enough. In hot weather, most of this is unshaded too, and on a rainy day like today, it would mean getting pelted from the wind and rain.

When I came to the flooded area, I found more of the path was now flooded, so I had to wade through a section before coming to the stepping stone path I had used earlier. But the water here too had risen some, so walking across the pieces of wood was almost like walking on water, as they swayed and slid in the mud. Just past here was my last walk break and I wanted to be done in the worst way. I still had about a half mile to go, but now had another problem. I had to find a bathroom quick! They've added a new playground section at the park with bathrooms there, so I was glad to come across that. But it was muddy and unpaved around the area yet. Still I decided it was necessary to stop. I had a few more minutes to go.

But to quote Forest Gump again, "I don't feel like running anymore. I think I'll just go home." So I did.

Riding home, I was listening to a local talk show on the radio and the topic that day was "Do you have bad neighbors?" Well, you know the answer to that. I just had to call in and give my account of my recent experience with the jerk next door. I wonder if he heard it??

I was completely drenched when I got home, but I'll tell you what, acid rain is SO nice for the hair and skin!

And another tip to remember when you're shoes are wet? Take out the insoles and stuff with newspaper, changing it as it gets wet. It helps your shoes dry faster and hold their shape. And that's all I have to say.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


when you're having fun. At least, that's how it seems lately. Not necessarily in everyday life, but in my running life. Time flies on my runs now. But funny, it drags until the next time I get out there! I guess that's a good thing. It has to mean that running is going better, and it is. I've been holding myself back though, not doing much else but concentrating on the running--no biking, short swims, some weight training, more core. Not only do I want to get at least somewhat faster eventually, but I want to get more fit again.
I'm getting anxious for next week's run. I know a lot of other people will be doing a lot of other things that weekend. Must be one of the last big weekends of the year for races or something. And I know some people will be coming to Grand Rapids who were disappointed in Chicago, so that's something to look forward too.
This morning, it was my one hour run. It was warm enough for shorts again, but its so dark right now at this time of year! The only good thing about snow is it lights up the darkness. I was surprised at how fast each interval came and went. And for the most part, I felt good the whole way. I can always tell from my breathing and how my stomach feels if the run will be good. Running easy and taking the walk breaks seems to keep things under control. The only thing that makes it hard in the darkness is being somewhat restricted in my routes. I want to do a huge loop, rather than several small ones, but it gets the job done either way.

Not only was it warm this morning, but no wind. I could tell the skunks had a party sometime during the night, because almost every block I went down I could smell the odor. And with no wind, it hung in the air like an odious fog. I don't know where those smelly varmints hang out, but they seem to be everywhere in a 5 mile radius. At least I know now when I see something moving in the darkness to quickly cross to the other side of the street or turn around immediately!

I'm also looking ahead to some other running races during the winter. Someplace WARM!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


You can certainly tell that fall is finally here. Our temperatures have cooled quite a bit from last week, and today was one of those cold, rainy days when all you want to do is stay inside. Naturally, that doesn't mean me. I don't know if I'm going through "taperitis" or just have more energy than I know what to do with, but with concentrating on the running only, I suddenly have all this energy and free time I don't remember having in like FOREVER.

Saturday, after my run, I actually set out to clean the house, something I haven't had time to do since spring, it seems. It was a good day to bring in my plants from outside (before the poor babies froze!), vacuum up the hopeful cobwebs, and change out the summer silk flower arrangements with the fall flowers. And oooh, the smell! I finally got around to putting out the fall candles and Bath and Body Works room scents with the pumpkin spice room scent. Umm, the house smells so nice!

Saturday evening, Don and I decided to go out to use my birthday gift card to a downtown "Italian" restaurant, Tres Cuigini. I couldn't help but compare it to the Italian restaurant when we went to New York, the one in North Jersey. Actually, there was no comparison. While the ambience was great--we had a window seat overlooking our "mall" right across from the new Art Museum and the outdoor amphitheater--the menu and food left a lot to be desired. And the bill was outrageous! $78 for 2 meals, an added salad, and 2 glasses of wine. Yikes! And what did we get for that? Salmon with peas and a few roasted potatoes. I can make better at home. Cross that restaurant off my list of places to visit.

We did see an interesting site while waiting for our dinner: a group of young boys carrying a huge Chinook salmon they had caught in the river nearby.

Sunday, I took the kids to the "fish ladder" a sculpture by a local artist, Joseph Kinnebrew. The salmon are running right now, and according to a "fish expert" we have some of the best salmon fishing in the US. Can't confirm that, but it was fun watching the fishermen. Its a pretty popular place to be right now. You can see from the pictures one of my weekday morning running routes. I generally go right past the fishing area and head out to the bridge you can see in the distance, cross over that, go through a waterfront park, turn, and head back to the downtown area, about 3 miles.

After that, we went to the pumpkin patch. And naturally, just as we were heading there, it decided to start raining. We went here last year. I barely remember it, because it was just less than a month after my accident. So it was a milestone for me to be able to maneuver around the whole place without feeling like I needed a walker.

The kids had fun picking out their pumpkins, playing with the kittens, and eating cider and donuts. It doesn't get any better in the fall, does it?