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.