Wednesday, May 11, 2005

So I lied.

Distance: 3.9 miles
Speed: 10 minutes/mile
Weight: 119 lbs.
Sounds: Disc 2 of Silberman's Best of 2004 compilation

Yeah, yeah, I know. The race is over, and I said I was going to discontinue this blog when it was. But hear me out, alright?

The Broad Street Run was amazing. I loved (just about) everything about it. Here's a quick recap:

Saturday, 4/31, 2 p.m.: Attended Health & Fitness Expo at Naval Yard; picked up race bib, timing chip, and goodie bag; purchased brown Coolmax® shirt for race

Saturday, 4/31, 6 p.m.: Had dinner with TT at Villa Di Roma; ate my weight in gnocchi

Saturday, 4/31, 10 p.m.: Drank a glass of wine to calm my nerves and promptly fell asleep (note: this NEVER happens. Usually, when I'm excited or nervous about something, I can't sleep at all the night before. Must have been the gnocchi.)

Sunday, 5/1, 5 a.m.: Woke up and had a lightly buttered (thanks, Tom!) whole wheat English muffin and a vitaminwater™

Sunday, 5/1, 6 a.m.: Applied BODYGLIDE® to my boobs and soles of my feet

Sunday, 5/1, 6:30 a.m.: Pinned my bib number onto my shirt; stuck myself with safety pin twice

Sunday, 5/1, 7:05 a.m.: Had our picture taken by a Philly Department of Recreation photographer (or so he said) while waiting for the Broad Street Line

Sunday, 5/1, 7:10 a.m.: Boarded the BSR; Realized EVERYONE (except for one poor guy who was obviously going to work) was wearing a race bib and sneakers

Sunday, 5/1, 7:20 a.m.: A billion runners got on the subway

Sunday, 5/1, 7:25 a.m.: The subway stopped for no apparent reason

Sunday, 5/1, 7:30 a.m.: The subway started again

Sunday, 5/1, 7:32 a.m.: A billion more runners got on the subway

Sunday, 5/1, 7:40 a.m.: More runners got on, and I lost sight of TT

Sunday, 5/1, 8:00 a.m.: After standing on the subway for almost an hour, we finally poured out into the Olney Station; I began to freak out at the number of people

Sunday, 5/1, 8:07 a.m.: Stood in line for one of the 100 Porta-Johns™ in the Central High School Athletic Field.

Sunday, 5/1, 8:13 a.m.: Saw Maggie & Shatt waiting in the next line

Sunday, 5/1, 8:17 a.m.: Walked into a Porta-John™ and saw an enormous turd on the seat; opted to wait for another Porta-John™

Sunday, 5/1, 8:23 a.m.: Headed towards the starting line and continued to freak out at the number of people

Sunday, 5/1, 8:27 a.m.: Tried to do a few quick stretches while waiting for the race to start; disappointed that I couldn't find any of my friends (except for TT)

Sunday, 5/1, 8:30 a.m.: The gun went off, but we didn't hear it, because we were so far back

Sunday, 5/1, 8:37 a.m.: We finally started moving S-L-O-W-L-Y

Sunday, 5/1, 8:40 a.m.: Squeezed TT's hand and told him I'd see him at the finish line

Sunday, 5/1, 9:35 a.m.: Passed my office building at Broad & Sansom where my wonderful, amazing coworkers were waiting to cheer us on; gave Julie a happy birthday shout-out

Sunday, 5/1, 9:36 a.m.: High-fived Rendell in front of the Bellevue; his was a little weak, but whatever

Sunday, 5/1, 10:01 a.m.: Hit mile 8, and realized I felt good; got annoyed that I didn't run faster from the start

Sunday, 5/1, 10:19 a.m.: Entered the Naval Yard and had a quarter mile to go; got SO FRIGGING EXCITED by the crowds and cheering that I ran as fast as I could to the finish line

Sunday, 5/1, 10:22 a.m.: Edged some poor woman out of the way to make sure the photographer could see me (he did)

Sunday, 5/1, 10:23 a.m.: Crossed the finish line and instantly felt like I had climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, cured cancer, and won an Oscar all at once

Sunday, 5/1, 10:27 a.m.: Found TT and hugged him so hard it hurt

There you have it. It was an amazing experience, so amazing actually that TT and I are planning to sign up for the Philly Distance Run in September. So though I won't technically be a broad on Broad, I will still be running. And occasionally, I'll be blogging, too.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Broad Street Run 10 Miler - 2005 Results

Total athletes: 12050 (Females: 5295 / Males: 6754)

Final time is when I actually crossed the finish line; chip time is the amount of time from when I hit the starting line to when I crossed the finish line. Since there are thousands of people running, if you aren't in the very front, it can take you several minutes after the gun goes off to get to the starting line. Hence, the chip time. AG refers to Age-Graded Results. I still don't understand what they are.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Holy crap.

Twelve hours from now, I'll (hopefully) be approaching City Hall.

Fingers crossed, folks.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Cue up the theme from Chariots of Fire

My boss, Tom, is a former marathoner and a great human being.

He's been extremely supportive of the four of us in the office who have been training for the BSR. Here are his final words of wisdom, imparted upon us today:

Okay Runners:
Only two days to go! Theresa and Betsy were talking to me yesterday about what to eat the morning of the race, which made me think of a number of things I used to try to do or remember on race day. Take these for what they're worth. Everyone is different, so just use those that work for you:

1) Breakfast
I would try to eat 3 hours before the race, because it normally takes me a while to digest food, and you don't want anything to repeat on you during the race. And because you'll probably have some butterflies, digestion will be slower this morning. I would eat light food lightly. I've never heard of anyone starving to death before a race. Three pieces of lightly buttered toast and water. I tend to stay away from juice because it can be acidic.

2) Bath
Optional. I have very tight muscles, and it takes a while to warm up. So for a morning race, I would take a bath after breakfast and try and let the heat loosen them up.

3) Ben Gay or Myoflex
Normally thought of as an after exercise tool, many runners spread this on their muscles to help loosen up before a race. Same idea as the bath. Apply an hour before race time. Bear in mind this stuff stinks (unless you can find the odorless kind.) Wash your hands pretty thoroughly after you apply. You don't want to accidentally get this stuff in your eyes or groin area--very painful.

4) Stretch
Same theme as bath and Ben Gay. Do this off and on for the last half hour before the race. Stretch before you run. Slow stretches and hold for 30 seconds. No bouncing.

5) Bathroom Break
Perhaps the most strategic move you will make all day--when to get in the line for the port-a-potties. You'll want to pee within 20 minutes of race time, so you don't have to stop during the race. Figure about 1-2 minutes for each person in line and you'll have a sense of when you'll get to the front.

6) Tea and Aspirin
Two "performance enhancing" drugs that are legal. Caffeine is a stimulant which tends to improve athletic performance. Aspirin thins your blood, which enables your body to cool more efficiently. Particularly useful on hot days, but even useful in moderate weather, because you will be sweating. Both tea and caffeine are definitely optional, and depend on your tolerance of them. Aspirin can cause stomach upsets in some people. If you're one of them--skip it. Tea can make you jittery, so if you're already nervous, may not be helpful. If you decide to use either of these, be sure and wait till 15 minutes before the gun to take them. If you take them too early, you may need to go back to the port-a-potty at an inopportune time.

7) Drink During the Race
Some bonehead at the New England Journal of Medicine recently published an article about someone "overhydrating" during a race. I'm sure it happened, and is theoretically possible for you to do so, but you would have to drink LOTS AND LOTS of water to do it. Far more likely is that you dehydrate. So, drink every two miles or so. If they serve Gatorade, Powerade or ERG (all basically the same), drink that at every other stop, with water at the stops in between. Drink half to whole cup (4-8 oz) depending on how you feel at each stop. Some people try to drink on the run to save seconds. I never learned how to do this. For the few seconds extra it takes to drink while you walk, you will be grateful later not to have swallowed air while trying to drink on the run. Belching and running don't mix well.

8) Start Slow
In the early part of the race, you will be excited, but caught in a lot of runner traffic, and the pace may be agonizingly slow. You will be tempted to zip around all the traffic and start running your pace right away. If you do you'll end up running extra mileage that you'll wish you had back later. Resist the temptation to start fast, and run slow and straight. Every step you save in the beginning you'll be grateful for at the end.

And watch out for other runners. All that congestion has led to people getting tripped up at the start of the race, shoes being stepped on, etc. Just try to keep some space from you and the other runners at the start. Some jostling is unavoidable--just try to minimize it.

9) Finish Strong
If you pace yourself well at the start, you should be able to speed up gradually as the race goes on (miles 3-8). If so, you'll start to pass other runners. Great adrenaline surge from passing people in the latter half of the race. It's really fun to finish strong. Odds are that as you get to the last couple of miles, you will start to tire. This is where your brain needs to take over from your body. Your body will be saying "slow down, slow down", but if you're within 2 miles of the finish, you'll make it. Just concentrate on maintaining your pace and running smooth. You will make it, and you won't pass out. The human body is capable of much more than we think.

10) Drink After the Race
Lots of beer! I have it on good authority that hops, malt and other grains are very good for post-race psychological recovery, although shockingly, this has never appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Good luck to all! Wish I could be there to cheer you on, but will be cheering in spirit, and look forward to the post-race analysis on Monday and Tuesday.

And here’s Jim’s Cliffs Notes version:

1. Buttered Bread
2. Bath
3. Ben Gay
4. Bend
5. Bathroom!!!
6. Bergamot & Bayer
7. Beverage Breaks
8. Bobble
9. Burst
10. Bacchanalia!!!

Seems like sound advice. Especially number 10.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Stroll

Distance: 4 miles
Speed: 10.07 minutes/mile
Weight: 119
Sounds: Beautiful Girls Soundtrack

I've had a weird pain in my right foot since Sunday. It feels sort of like I bruised the ball of my foot. Is that even possible? I was able to finish the four miles today, but it hurt. My game plan is to take it easy until the race and hope the pain goes away. It works with breakups and hangovers, so why not foot pain?

Speaking of the race, it's this SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY. Here's a rundown of people I know (and like) who will be running it with me (or more likely, ahead of me):


Betsy & Geoff:



Jamie from the New Wave:

I couldn't find a picture of Jamie. Sorry. Anyway, if you're at the race Sunday and see any of these fools running, feel free to give them an encouraging slap on the ass.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Yo Em...

Distance: 8 miles
Speed: 11 minutes/mile
Weight: ?
Sounds: inner dialogue

168 hours, 11 minutes, 7 seconds, and counting

In exactly one week, I'll be waiting in line for the Porta-John™ at Central High School wondering how I'm going to run 10 miles without stopping to pee.

Panic is setting in.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bizzle, Whizzle, & T-Dizzle

Distance: 3.4 miles
Speed: 10.88 minutes/mile
Weight: ?
Sounds: Who needs music, when you've got Whizzle & Bizzle?

Two of my friends and coworkers, Whitney and Jim, are also doing the BSR, so we decided to run together today. Jim has run marathons; Whit ran (and cheered!) in highschool. Since we're all at different levels, we decided to go S-L-O-W-L-Y and enjoy the run. I think we all enjoyed it. Whit? Jim?

It's lame, but I get a little thrill every time I come home and Todd asks how my run was, and I say (with complete honesty), "It felt great. It was only three miles, so it was a pretty easy one."

Only. Three. Miles.

It's hard to believe I've reached a point where three miles is an easy run, but I have. So today, I'm not going to worry about the fact that I haven't lost ONE FRIGGING POUND running or that my upper thighs rub together and cause the "c" word on long runs. Today, I'm going to be happy that three miles is an easy run. That I can take the fifteen flights of stairs to my office without feeling like I'm going to pass out. That I'm doing something I had always convinced myself I'd never be able to do.

Tomorrow, I'm sure I'll be back to wishing I were a size 2 and wondering if the lemonade diet really works, but today, I feel good.


I just purchased BODYGLIDE®.

I feel so dirty.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hats off to the Backstreet Boys!

Distance: 6 miles
Speed: 10.72 minutes/mile
Weight: 119 lbs.
The Simpsons and In/Casino/Out by At the Drive-In

I love misheard lyrics, aka
mondegreens. I think few things are funnier than belting out a song at the top of your lungs, only to find out you've been singing it wrong all along. A few favorites:

My friend and former coworker
Callie singing "Beast of Burden" by the Rolling Stones:

Real lyrics:
"I'll never be your beast of burden."

Callie's lyrics:
"I'll never be your big suburban."

My husband
Todd singing "I'm Gonna Get You" by Bizarre Inc.:

Real lyrics:
"Why waste your time, you know you're gonna be mine"

Todd's lyrics:
"Hey Mr. Pop, you know you're gonna be mine"

And finally, my brother
H. and yours truly singing "Transatlantic Foe" by At the Drive-In:

Real lyrics:
"Pet sounds filling pet peeve voids"

Our lyrics:
"Hats off to the Backstreet Boys"

Cracks me up every frigging time.

Anyway, today's run went well, with the exception of the
chafing. SWEET BABY JESUS, the chafing. The tops of my inner thighs are red, raw, and generally look like I took a piece of 120-grit sandpaper to them. So either I'll have to wear pants for the BSR or face my biggest fear and invest in a pair of these.

Save me from myself, people. Please?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Turtle Power?

From this week's Philly Runners email:

A big welcome back to Jen T! Jen leads who she calls the PR "Turtles" at about a 9:30+ pace, and wants more runners at her pace to come to the runs!

Did someone say 9:30+?

It's on.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

And Kimba runs over there

Distance: 5 miles
Speed: 10 minutes/mile
Weight: ?
Sounds: traffic and Kimba

My friend Susan has an arsenal of weird, wonderful stories, and since she sang in a women's a capella group in college, she occasionally bursts into song mid-story. A few of her favorites are "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" and some slow number by Carole King. Susan has given me a bad case of earworm on more than one occasion.

On one of our walks home from work, Susan told me about how she and her friends Ginny and Bill were trying to remember the theme song to Kimba the White Lion. Having no idea what she was talking about, I asked, "What the hell is Kimba the White Lion?" Susan grumbled something about it being before my time and informed me that Kimba was (are you ready for this?) a white lion. A cartoon white lion. Apparently, it was a big hit in the sixties.

Anyway, the point of Susan's story was that since she, Ginny, and Bill were unable to remember the real theme song to Kimba, they decided to come up with their own... to the tune of "Windy" by The Association. So while I ran my five miles on Kelly Drive today, here is what played OVER AND OVER in my head:

Who's running down the streets of the jungle
Growling at everybody he sees
Who's running down the streets of the jungle
Everyone knows it's Kimba

And Kimba has short, white hair
And Kimba runs over there
And Kimba does not use Nair®
On his short white hair (his short white hair)
On his short white hair (his short white hair)

Thanks, Susan.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Don't pretend you haven't noticed.

I was reading back through some of my posts yesterday, and I realized how lame they've become. Don't feel bad for agreeing. It's true.

I think part of it is that the subject matter is a little limiting. Unlike bloggers writing about motherhood, singlehood, or fughood, I've only got so much material to work with, and even I'm getting bored with it.

I'm so glad I created this blog. It helped me stay committed to training for Broad Street, and the encouraging comments from the 6 of you who read it always make my day. But I feel like it's almost run (ha!) its course, so I've decided that effective May 2, this broad on Broad will end her broadband run.

I may start up a new blog after the race; if the 6 of you have any topic suggestions, comment away. Thanks.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

the time the time the time the time

Distance: 3 miles
Speed: 10.10 minutes/mile
Weight: 120 lbs.
Sounds: End Hits by Fugazi

Todd and I are going to see a Philly Film Festival screening of Todd Solondz's Palindromes tonight, so I needed to get my 3 mile run in this morning. Encouraged by Tuesday's run with the Jens, I set the treadmill at a higher speed than usual. The first quarter mile was rough, but it was smooth sailing after that. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this.

This was also my second time running in my new shoes. I returned the shoes I bought last week (too small) and got a new pair. I highly recommend Philadelphia Runner. Even though my new shoes were $30 more than the first pair, he gave them to me for the same price. I'm much happier with the new pair, both in terms of comfort and aesthetics, but what is up with naming sneaker colors after fruit? These are "orange sherbet." Better than "grape mist," I guess.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Push it. Push it good.

Distance: 4.4 miles
Speed: 10 minutes/mile
Weight: ?
Music: Jen & Jen

I arrived on time (thanks to Todd's driving) at the Art Museum for my second run with Philly Runners. M_______ was nowhere in sight, nor were some of the other slower runners I had seen last Tuesday. In spite of his jovial, "Welcome back, Theresa," I could see a mild look of concern cross Seth's face as he tried to figure out where to put me. After waiting a few minutes to see if any other slowpokes would show up, he introduced me to Jen & Jen.

Brunette Jen hoped to run at a 9-minute pace, while Blonde Jen was shooting more for 10 minutes/mile. Blonde said I was the tiebreaker. Yay. Since in the past two months I've only been able to run a 10-minute mile for about a mile at a time, I decided I'd start out with them and then let them outpace me once I got tired.

I got tired pretty quickly, but the Jens were really friendly, and the conversation helped keep me going. Both of them have run marathons, and Brunette is actually in training for the New York Marathon. I felt pretty silly running with two marathoners, but whenever I told them to run ahead, they would encourage me to try to make it to the next bend, lightpost, or mile marker. In the end, Brunette ran ahead for the last quarter mile, but Blonde stayed with me, and we finished together in about 45 minutes. I was exhausted but so elated that I didn't care.

My primary goal throughout my training has been to complete the BSR without walking. In the back of my mind, though, I've been hoping to increase my speed in the process. Looks like Jens are the answer.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Then god is seven

Distance: 7 miles
Speed: 10.71 minutes/mile
Weight: ?
Music: the shouting of crew dads

First, a confession: I didn't run the full 7 miles. I had to walk for a little over 30 seconds (yes, I timed myself) after about 3 miles. "But you've run over 3 miles before, Theresa," you're probably saying. True. I'm not sure what went wrong, but I have a couple of hunches:

1. It might have only been in the 70s, but it felt like it was about 90°. I was sweating profusely, and when I was running facing the sun, I thought my face was going to melt off like the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Could be because I was running in pants. If your legs were as pasty as mine, you'd be loath to wear shorts, too.

2. Egg Beaters®, toast, and coffee may not be enough fuel for running several miles outdoors 5 hours later. And apparently, cramming water works about as well as cramming for a test. I felt dehydrated and hungry less than halfway through my run.

3. Pace. I thought I was running too slowly, but it turns out I was running about a minute/mile faster than my "comfortable" pace. So much for slow and steady.

I'm feeling pretty crappy about not being able to run the full 7 miles, but hopefully, if I focus on clothing, nourishment/hydration, and pace, my next long run will be better.

On a positive note, Todd was waiting at Lloyd Hall as I ran by, and he informed me later that I looked "completely normal" running. Hooray for normalcy!

Friday, April 08, 2005

I used to love unicorns, too.

I bought new running shoes today. My old ones were more like cross trainers, and after a few miles, my right foot would start to get tingly. So I headed to Philadelphia Runner at 16th & Sansom to find a pair of shoes to take me through the next three weeks of training and the BSR.

The scoop with PR is that the salespeople are all runners. The guy who helped me had me take my shoes off and walk around in my socks to determine my foot mechanics (wouldn't that be a podiatrist? Get it? Foot mechanic? Ha!). Apparently, most people pronate, and specific shoes are designed to help stabilize their feet. Turns out that like 10% of the population, I supinate slightly. Which means I need "neutral cushioning" shoes. Whatever.

He had me try on about six different brands, and I found the Asics to be the most comfortable. Unfortunately, I discovered that whoever is designing running shoes decided that women want bright white sneakers with plenty of metallic accents and secondary colors like pink, purple, and aqua. Basically, shoes I would have LOVED when I was ten. I stared longingly at the male versions of the shoes, which came in great color combos like grey and orange or navy and kelly green. Sadly, they don't make men's shoes in a women's size 6, so I'm SOL.

Which brings me to my shoes. I settled on the Asics Gel-Cumulus VI. They are comfortable. They are reasonably priced. And they are ugly as sin. Just the fact that one of the colors is called "grape mist" makes me want to set them on fire. It sounds like a sorbet flavor.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Eighties Fan

Distance: 3 miles
Speed: 10.76 minutes/mile
Weight: 119 lbs.
Music: Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi by Camera Obscura

My first morning run, and it was lovely. Hauling my tired ass out of bad was no fun, but it was worth it.

If I complete the BSR, I hope to set a new goal, but this chick is just plain crazy. It's definitely impressive, but I have to think the human body isn't built to take that kind of abuse. Maybe she's an android.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

For a good time...

Distance: 4.5 miles
Speed: 11 minutes/mile
Weight: ?
Music: M_______'s voice


After the ill-fated-night-of-the-potential-abduction-that-you-never-heard-about because-Blogger-deleted-it, I promised Todd that I wouldn't run on Kelly Drive by myself after dark. Since the days haven't gotten quite long enough yet to ensure ample daylight after work, I decided to check out a local running club. There are several in the area, but Philly Runners appealed to me the most, because a) they are an all-skills group and b) they like to drink. Perfect!

For those of you who don't know, I hate to drive. And I don't mean the way lots of people hate to drive, i.e. hating traffic or hating potholes. I hate, hate, HATE everything about driving. I hate it to the point that it actually gives me a headache and/or sends me into a state of panic at which point I usually pull over and call Todd to come park the damn car. So I just don't do it. I have my license and all, but I probably drive less than 10 times a year.

Anyhoo, to get to Kelly Drive, I had the option of taking 2 buses or driving. After much consideration, I decided that for my first time with Philly Runners, I should probably drive, since I'm not familiar with either of the bus lines, and SEPTA is generally unreliable. I won't bore you with stories about my white-knuckled, sun-glared drive, but I will tell you that I absolutely gave myself ample time and still managed to get to the Lloyd Hall parking lot with less than five minutes to spare. On top of that, I saw Geoff and Betsy in the parking lot and stopped to chat for a minute, so I pretty much had to sprint to where the group was meeting on the East side of the Museum. Way to make a great first impression, Theresa.

I've never been athletic, so I was a little afraid that I would immediately be identified as an imposter. The 30+ PRs couldn't tell, though, or if they could, at least they weren't letting on. I sheepishly asked a tall chick with really nice legs if I was in the right place, and she very sweetly informed me that I was. Then Seth, one of the organizers, came over and had me sign a waiver (turns out if I die running, I can't blame Philly Runners... what a rip!). When he asked me my average mile time, I got all lame and stammery and said, "Ummmmm... really, REALLY slow," to which he responded, "I have the perfect person for you." Enter M_______.

M_______ is cute, athletic-looking, and at least two inches shorter than me. She informed me that she was sort of tired, since she had just coached softball practice. "Awesome," I thought, hoping her weariness might enable me to keep up with for at least a few miles. What happened next was completely outside of my realm of imagination.

M_______ is S-L-O-W. Incredibly slow. If I'm really, REALLY slow, she's whatever is slower than that. In fact, in the 4.5 miles we ran, I hardly broke a sweat. In a lot of ways, it was great. This was the first time I had run with someone and actually chatted during the entire run, which was fun. M_______ is funny and sweet and had entertaining stories. She'd probably be a perfect running partner, if I weren't training.

I am training, though, and I think I may need to be pushing myself a little harder, if I want to reach my 10 mile goal by May 1st. So next week, I'll either try to pick up the pace with M_______ or find a new, slightly faster partner. Or I'll find out that M_______ was actually being held back by me but was too nice to say anything. She's probably writing on her blog right now about T_______, this overly enthusiastic, painfully slow broad that Philly Runners stuck her with. And everyone in Philly Runners probably reads her blog, so when I show up next week, they'll all smile politely at me, but I'll know what they're thinking, and my face will get really hot and red, and I'll feel so embarrassed that I'll decide to just give up running altogether, and I'll lose the non-refundable BSR registration fee, and...

Maybe I need to stick to running solo.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

These are days

Distance: 6 miles
Speed: 12 minutes/mile
Weight: 119 lbs.
Music: MTV Unplugged by 10,000 Maniacs

After a weekend of boozing with my visiting brothers, Louis and Lester, I thought for sure my Sunday run would be compromised. Instead, thanks to Chaser and lots of water, I was able to complete my longest run thus far. Hell yeah.

Since the weather was hella crappy, I ran at the gym. When I saw that my favorite treadmill was taken, I decided to try one of the treadmills on the other side. My gym has two kinds of treadmills: "big" ones and "small" ones. The one I usually use is a small one. The other kind have longer, higher running decks and far more complicated looking control panels. And they're huge. These monsters always intimidated me, but I discovered yesterday that they are about ten billion times better than the small ones. Much smoother with good shock absorption and conveniently placed cubbies for water bottles and CD players. The only downside is that the maximum time they allow you to program is 60 minutes, so if you're slooooow like me, you can't really run more than 5 miles without running through the cool down or resetting the machine. Lame.

The good news is that daylight savings time is here, so I see a lot more outdoor running in my future. Woot.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Bib Number 8556

I am officially registered for the run. That is all.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Girl on the wing

Distance: 3 miles
Speed: 11 minutes/mile
Weight: 120 lbs.
Music: Oh, Inverted World by The Shins

After enjoying the great outdoors on Tuesday, running on the treadmill seemed like a chore. I got bored really quickly, and I felt like it was more difficult to find my natural pace than it was on Kelly Drive. I think treadmills with all of their buttons and measurements can make you more likely to try to force yourself to run at a predetermined speed rather than "listening to your body." I hate how new-agey that sounds, but it's true. Sort of like weight/body image -- it's better to go by how you feel, how your clothes fit, etc., than by the number on the scale.

Which brings me to the number on the scale. I know I've said before that I'm not running to lose weight, and I'm really not. I'm doing it because I want to be physically fit, because I want to take preventive measures against health problems that have plagued my family, and because in some weird way, I'm starting to enjoy it. That said, WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH GAINING A POUND?

I'm more active now than I've been in years, possibly ever. I know genetics are working against me. I'm short, pear-shaped, and come from a long line of Italian and German women whose love of pasta and potatoes have made them more closely resemble Kate Smith than Kate Hudson. And I am the first to admit that while I try to stick to a relatively healthy diet most of the time, I definitely consume my share of fries, cheese, and beer. But I'm also running between 10 and 12 miles a week, I walk to and from work every day, and I live in a house that forces me to run up and down a godforsaken spiral staircase to go from room to room. What gives?

I'm glad I'm doing something to benefit my overall health. But improving my resting heart rate doesn't make my ass fit into my jeans any better.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I hate Blogger.

I wrote a nice, long post about my first run in a week, complete with dramatic stories about potential abductions and flowery descriptions of the Philly skyline at night, but the always craptastic Blogger deleted it when I tried to publish it.

I can't bring myself to retype it. Sorry.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

And it feels like I've got something to prove.

Distance: 5 miles
Speed: 12 minutes/mile
Weight: 119 lbs.
Music: Whip-Smart by Liz Phair

I somehow forced myself to run for an hour straight today. It felt strangely euphoric, but that may just be the lack of oxygen. Whatever it is, it's cheaper than beer, so I'm all for it. Not that I'm giving up beer any time soon. Anyway, I'm halfway to my 10 mile goal. Jinkies!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Gravity rides everything.

Distance: 3 miles
Speed: 10.48 minutes/mile
Weight: 119
Music: The Moon & Antarctica by Modest Mouse

Our wedding vows didn't include the "honor and obey" part, but maybe they should have had something in there saying, "Listen to your husband's advice once in a while. He's sometimes right."

On the Higdon plan, Thursday's run is always 3 miles. Since it's a shorter run (compared to 4 miles, anyway), I thought I'd be able to pick up the pace a bit. Todd warned me not to try to increase my speed too quickly. I didn't listen and decided there was no reason I couldn't bump my speed from 5.5 mph (my average 3 mile speed) to 6.0 mph. No big, right?

Wrong. After barely making it through the first mile at 6.0 mph, I had to decrease my speed to 5.7 and then eventually to 5.5. Turns out Todd isn't just another pretty face.

Happy St. Patrick's day, you drunken fools.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

We are all all we've done.

Distance: 4 miles
Speed: 11.30 minutes/mile
Weight: 119
Music: Analphabetapolothology by Cap'n Jazz

Awwwwwwwwww kitty kitty. Today was my second 4-mile run this week, and I was a little apprehensive about it. To my surprise, it went super smoothly (smoovly?). In fact, it went so smoothly that I had enough energy to do sprint work for the last 3 minutes. That makes me feel a little less freaked out about having to run 5 miles on Sunday. My pal Hal says I can do it, so I guess I can.

Which brings me to my biggest revelation about running thus far: anyone (barring a serious physical ailment) can do it. It's true. I am so not a runner. At just over 5' with short legs and a love of cheese and beer, I'm not even built for running. But all of those hokey inspirational sayings you saw on middle school bulletin board posters are true, at least as far as running is concerned. It really does come down to making your brain make your legs move even when your brain thinks your lungs are going to explode. I mean if Niki and Patrice's bodies are capable of giving birth, mine should at least be able to run a measly 10 miles, right?

Our hot water has returned. I will never ever take a hot shower for granted again.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Just to keep ourselves at least enough to carry on

Distance: 4 miles
Speed: 11.54 minutes/mile
Weight: 118 lbs.
Music: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel

Four miles is the farthest I've ever run in one... run. Since I struggled with one mile when I first started running, I almost can't believe I was able to run four today. For the first time, finishing the BSR seems like it might be feasible.

On a less elated note, I had a nightmare last night in which I was running down Broad Street completely by myself, because everyone else had finished the race hours before. The official word from the BSR website is:

"An agreement with the City of Philadelphia and its Police Department requires that all participants run a sub-15 minute per mile pace to allow the City to reopen Broad Street in a timely manner. All runners not keeping this pace will be directed to the sidewalks to allow traffic to re-open."

So to all of you who've been preaching slow and steady, I'll be expecting you to wait around for me until noon waving giant foam hands as I shuffle my way down the sidewalk to the Naval Yard. Thanks.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Bottle of Smoke

Distance: 3.25 miles
Speed: 10.77 minutes/mile
Weight: 119 lbs.
Music: If I Should Fall From Grace With God by The Pogues

It's been a full week since my last run, so I feared the worst. Surprisingly, it went okay. Not great, but I was able to add a quarter mile and increase my speed without feeling like I was going to die at the end of the run, so hooray for progress, however minimal.


1. While talking about running during dinner at the New Wave, Todd suggested that I shouldn't try to increase my speed just yet. Apparently, I should focus on mileage until I get to 5 miles, and then slowly work on getting faster. Where's the fun in that?

2. I have to acknowledge the possibility that I may not be able to run 10 miles by May 1st. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop training or even consider not participating in the race; it just means I'm going to try to be realistic, so I'm not completely deflated if things don't go the way I hope.

3. If no one is around, and any Rocky movie happens to be on TV, I will watch it.

On my way back from the gym, I saw my neighbor Heather standing in her doorway. She also shares a wall with Van's place (the scene of Sunday's fire), and her house sustained significant smoke damage. Her walls and all of her belongings are covered in soot, and the smell is bad enough that she's staying with her brother while her home is being cleaned. Talking with Heather made me feel very lucky (again) that no one was hurt and that Todd and I didn't have any real damage to our place.

Thanks to all of you who sent emails expressing concern for our well-being. Now go out and buy yourself an emergency escape ladder and batteries for your smoke detector, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fire! Flood! Famine!

Distance: 0 miles
Speed: N/A
Weight: ?
Music: Smoke alarms, jackhammers, grumbly bellies

I'm ashamed to admit that I've now missed two scheduled runs in a row, but I feel I have some pretty good excuses. Here's the scoop:

In the wee hours of Sunday morning (5:30 a.m., to be exact), I woke up with a wicked cough. After trying the usual trick of rolling over onto my other side and hoping it would go away with no success, I decided to grab a glass of water from the bathroom (which is now on the same floor as our room, since we swapped the bedroom and the office -- whee!) and swung my legs out of bed. At that exact moment I heard a loud beeping noise and opened my puffy eyes to find that the room was full of smoke.

After a five-second panicked pause, I jumped up and shook Todd awake. After a few more moments of panic, we determined that A) there was definitely a fire and B) we needed to get the hell out of there. Since we live in a trinity (if you're not from Philly, a trinity is a tiny house consisting of one room on each of three floors joined by a small, winding staircase, although most have a fourth floor -- the dreaded basement kitchen, so I guess it's a bit of a misnomer), we needed to run down the spiral staircase to get out, which was a little scary since the smoke was thick, and we had no idea where the fire was. I peeked up to the top floor, and seeing that it wasn't ablaze, grabbed my coat. Todd checked out the first floor and the kitchen and also saw no flames. Confused, scared, and groggy, we stumbled outside and down the narrow pathway that leads from our house to the street.

Once we got out there we saw firemen, police, and several of our neighbors. We also saw that Van's house, which shares a wall with ours, was on fire. Turns out that if one rowhome is on fire, all the adjoining ones can fill with smoke. Who knew? In any case, the firemen managed to contain the fire relatively quickly, and since it was the front wall of Van's house that was on fire, we didn't sustain any damage. More importantly, Van is a cab driver who doesn't usually get home from his shift until 6:30 a.m. or so and therefore wasn't home. Long story short, no one was injured, and the damage could have been a lot worse.

Aside from fires being scary and potentially deadly and whatnot, it seems my hyper-sensitive sinuses didn't take well to inhaling smoke for however brief a period, so I spent all of Sunday congested, sneezing, and with a killer sinus headache. Our house also smelled like a camp fire and not in a good way, so Jen and Jon were kind enough to let us camp out at their place. Needless to say, my Sunday run didn't happen.

Which brings us to Monday. Since our kitchen is in our basement, a leaky basement is a bigger deal for us than it would be if we only used it for storing random junk. This is especially true, since the water has caused lovely spots of mold to form on our walls. Eew. After contacting several waterproofing companies who upon seeing our tiny house on our tiny street, somehow never managed to call us back, we finally found a company who agreed to do the job for less than a billion dollars. Unfortunately, the job is installing a French drain on two walls, and that entails removing everything on said walls, including our washer, dryer, hot water heater, and refrigerator. Since the work was scheduled to begin Tuesday, we drained the hot water heater (a sloooooooow process) Monday night. So on top of our house smelling like a BBQ pit, we haven't had hot water since Monday evening. Good times.

I worked from home Tuesday so I could be on hand while the B-Dry boyz did the job, and it was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. As is the nature of trinities, I could hear every word they said (along with the drywall sawing, jackhammering, and clomping up and down the stairs), even though I was two stories above them. Not only did they sing along with everything that came on the radio (from classic rock to Celine Dion), but they also bitched at length about our house, the staircase, the snow, and the "weird fireplace smell." Don't get me wrong -- these guys work REALLY hard, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to haul dozens of buckets of dirt and rock up our spiral staircase, but when I offered to shovel the steps outside, they informed me that I'd just be in the way. Fine.

Anyway, the job which was supposed to be finished yesterday turned out to be bigger than they anticipated, so around 3 p.m. they informed me that they'd have to come back to finish today. Fine. So they left, and I went down to survey the damage. The fact of the matter is that our kitchen is completely inaccessible for the time being. All of the appliances, the table, and everything else are pushed to one side and covered with a giant tarp. There's what looks like a muddy moat around the perimeter of the two sides of the kitchen from which all the appliances, the table, and everything else were moved, and there are assorted jackhammers, buckets, and shovels filling what little space is left. Fine.

They came back this morning saying it should only take a few more hours to finish the job. I heaved a huge sigh of relief thinking we'd have our kitchen, laundry, and hot water back tonight. Then the burly gentleman went on to say that the concrete would take about three days to dry and that we couldn't move anything on top of it until then. WHAT??? Three days? Are you frigging kidding me?

He wasn't. So it looks like we'll have to suck it up until Saturday or Sunday. I keep trying to remind myself that in the general scheme of things, this isn't a big deal, that there are people who don't even have hot water or a washer and drier or a kitchen or food. That thought made me feel a little better as I walked to Tamar's house in 25° weather at 7 a.m. this morning to take a shower.

Thursday, it's back to the running schedule. Unless, of course, a swarm of locusts infests our house. In that case, all bets are off.

Friday, March 04, 2005

I give up.

Distance: 3 miles
Speed: 10.95 minutes/mile
Weight: 120 lbs.
Music: MUSH by Leatherface

Just kidding. Today's* run went well, and MUSH has been my favorite running CD so far. The gym was pretty empty, aside from the squeaking, groaning man, who was there squeaking and groaning with great abandon. Looking forward to Sunday's run.

*This was actually supposed to be Thursday's run, but Jen O.'s birthday festivities got a little out of hand Wednesday night. Or maybe I got a little out of hand. In any case, whiskey happened. Enough said.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

5, 4, 3, 2, 1... let's run.

Distance: 2 miles
Speed: 10.94 minutes/mile
Weight: 119 lbs.
Music: Doolittle by The Pixies

Does anyone else remember "Let's Run" from Sesame Street? It was a short bit that showed all of these kids running with that song in the background. Anyone? Bueller?

Back in the saddle today. It felt good. I improved my speed again, in spite of not getting my favorite treadmill. And I saw Julia at the gym. Julia's swell, but I'm jealous of her iPod. Really jealous.

If you're reading this on March 2nd, you should visit Jen's blog and post a happy birthday comment. Happy birthday, Jenny O.!

Monday, February 28, 2005


Distance: 0 miles
Speed: N/A
Weight: ?
Music: WRCT, circular saw, hammer, and sand paper

Yesterday was my first time missing my scheduled run. I made it a whole week. Damn.

We're installing new flooring on the second floor, and what we thought would take a few hours took the better part of the day. I also had the joy of discovering that my 28-year old knees don't adjust to squatting, kneeling, and crawling around on the floor the way they did when I was a little shaver. And while I absolutely refuse to diet while training, I have to admit I feel a little gross about the mass quantities of cheese, taco dip, and stuffed mushrooms I consumed at Susan's Oscar party last night. Erg.

The good news is that my first slip-up hasn't sent me into a downward spiral. In fact, I'm really looking forward to my run on Tuesday. Probably because it isn't Tuesday.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

Distance: 3 miles
Speed: 11.56 minutes/mile
Weight: 120 lbs.
Music: Acrobatic Tenement by At the Drive-in

... but the gym is so delightful. If you've never been to Sweat in Queen Village, there are giant windows in the front of the cardio room that overlook Passyunk Ave., and it was actually a lot of fun to watch the snow while running. Plus I managed to snag my favorite treadmill for the third time straight. The running gods must be on my side.


1. I'm not sure how I managed to improve my speed from my last 3 mile run, but I'll take it. I'd like to be able to run the BSR at somewhere between a 10 and 11 minute mile, but I'll settle for finishing it upright.

2. No side stitches today, due (I think) to my improved breathing technique. Basically, I forced myself to breathe the same way I do when I sing, taking really deep breaths then releasing them as slowly as possible. I guess jocks and choir geeks have more in common than they think.

3. There was a man running on the treadmill in front of me that completely freaked me out. If you're running on a treadmill and you misstep and hit the stationary part, it creates this terrible squeak. This guy misstepped a lot, and every time his treadmill squeaked, I thought it was mine and would get all flustered. In addition to his squeaking, about 15 minutes into his run, he began to emit these low groans. The groaning (and squeaking) got progressively louder, until he finally jumped off the treadmill and sat down on the edge of it. Then he got up, checked himself out in the mirror, and walked away. The treadmill was still running. WTF?

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Tread softly and carry a big bottle of water

Distance: 2 miles
Speed: 11.34 minutes/mile
Weight: 120 lbs.
Music: Disc 1 of Silberman's Best of 2004 compilation

Following Hal Higdon's 10 mile (15K) training program, I ran 2 miles today, which felt like a breeze after Sunday's 3. I was able to increase my speed to a slightly more respectable pace, though I'm not sure I could have kept it up for another mile. I guess that's why it's called training.


1. As I have been warned by many a runner, I was far more sore two days after Sunday's run than I was the day after it. This particularly sucks when you're on a training program that requires you to run every other day. On the bright side, while my aching body was loathe to get started on today's run, my soreness subsided quite a bit by the time I was done. I'm sure I'll feel like crap tomorrow, though.

2. I haven't figured out the water thing yet. I know I need to drink a lot of water while training, but I don't know when to drink it. If I drink a bunch of water before I start, I know I'll have to pee by mile 2. If I drink while running, I get side stitches. If I don't drink at all until after my run, my face get even redder and hotter than usual, and people assume I need medical attention. Any suggestions?

3. Matt Silberman is a compilation genius.

It's back to 3 miles on Thursday. Woot.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

We've only just begun...

Distance: 3 miles
Speed: 12.3 minutes/mile
Weight: 120 lbs.
Music: Disc 2 of Silberman's Best of 2004 compilation

Yikes. At this rate, the BSR will take me slightly over two hours, and the thought of running for two hours straight is more than a little daunting. A few observations after today's inaugural run:

1. Sloppy Quorn (Manwich® and Quorn™ Grounds) + running = serious indigestion.

2. Too many people I know belong to my gym. I saw two professional acquaintances today and kept my head down in hopes that they wouldn't notice my sweaty, red-faced, out-of-shape self. I think it worked.

3. Getting my favorite treadmill really does make a difference. I'm not telling you which one is my favorite.

Todd beat me back to the house, which means there may or may not be enough hot water left for a warm shower. Todd is a real runner, so he went out to Kelly Drive. I am a wuss, so I went to the gym. I read on Hal Higdon's website that some marathon runner trained entirely on a treadmill. If it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me... at least until it gets above 50°.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Tramps like us, baby we were born to run

This post is a little premature, since Sunday is actually the 10-week mark for the Broad Street Run. I thought writing about it in advance might get me psyched to start training. We'll see.

I'm not sure why I chose a 10 mile run as my first organized race, but here are a few possible reasons:

1. The BSR is probably the most historically Philly (yes, I just used "Philly" as an adjective) race. I love Philadelphia – we just bought our first house here last April, and it's the first and only city I've ever called home. If you've never been here, I recommend planning a visit. How about May 1st?

2. Several of my friends and coworkers are doing the BSR, and I like the idea of solidarity, even though most of them are actually runners, and I've spent most of the winter watching Law & Order reruns rather than going to the gym.

3. Whenever I'm trying something for the first time, I like to set my goal so ridiculously high that if I fail, I can just blame it on the goal being unrealistic in the first place.

Todd is doing the run, too. He's one of those people who gets cranky when he can't run. Freak.