Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 7 on Taper Island: Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy - a loose definition - the art of occupying yourself so you don't think about what you'd rather be doing, like running, buying running clothes, looking at mcmillan, looking at, looking at mcmillan after looking at, making mock ups of pace bands, and did I mention, running?

On Halloween Eve my H & I went to a Halloween Party for (gasp) adults only.  Oh yes, and I admit to being a little bit naughty with the costume.  So that kept me entertained for a few hours.

Then this morning I got up to run 6 miles with TMB & Ocean, which is always a good time.  I think, no, I KNOW, if we didn't have so much fun running together, the appeal of the Marathon would be reduced by Half.

SO how does one occupy themselves on Halloween?

Eating candy?  Nah.
Spending time with kids?  Nah.
Stalking their friends who are running the MCM???????  YUP!  Have a great race to all who are racing!  I'm thinking of you!!!

AND SpeeDee:  Runner First, Logical Thinker Second.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Crunching Numbers

BIB # 3503

This is an awesome number!  I mean, it's got 2 3's, and this is my 2nd marathon, and ever since I was a little girl and saw the Black Stallion, who's lucky number was 3, I have been obsessed with the number THREE.

And, 35... is... a number too.  And it has a 3 in it, and I'd love to PR by 35 minutes (gosh, wouldn't that be SWEET?).  Don't you love how I can spend so much time looking at the "goodness" of a marathon bib#?

Things here on Taper Island suddenly seem kind of quiet... why is that?  Well...

Congratulations to Jen at Setting You Free!  YOU HAVE BEEN VOTED OFF TAPER ISLAND!!!




Have successful races this weekend ladies!  I look forward to catching up with all of you!  And, MCM runners, I'm a little bit jealous of you all.  I kind-of wish my marathon was o.ver.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 5 on Taper Island - 5 Things Friday

1.  Taper Island, it's not just a state of mind.  Every time I see a runner go by my house, my car, my walking self, I think, "WHY AREN'T YOU TAPERING???"  I am an island.  In a sea.  Of runners.  Today, is unfortunately, a rest day.  At least I get to run Saturday & Sunday.

2.  November 13th and the Richmond Marathon... are right around the corner!!!  Are you running RICHMOND?  Are you running another Marathon?  Let me know so I'll know when to VOTE YOU OFF Taper Island!

3.  Unrelated to marathoning, coaches & tapering,  or CPR certifications, or really, anything else I've blogged about in the last few days, my friend Christa at Run Mommy Run 4 came up with the cutest little plan for a virtual milage club for the kiddos!  All three of my Klingons will be participating, and there's already some fierce competition in the house.  Check it out, and join the fun!

4.  BIG NEWS on the HOME FRONT!  My husband is a blood hound, or something, and found my iPod.  In the car, which has been searched.  The iPod was in the first aid kit.  Don't ask.  Don't tell.  The iPod certainly isn't going to tell, right?  Thank You H!!!

5.  My 3 year old is sick.  Bummer.  She's cranky, sleepless with Croup.  We had to go see the Pediatrician.  And while we were waiting, I downloaded Angry Birds onto my Droid, and taught her to play it.  Insert happily entertained child here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A letter to the "Support Team"

So a while back, with the encouragement of SpeeDee & TMB, I defected from my running group and joined the MTT training program.  Smartest.  Decision.  Ever.  I've met new fanatics people who share an obsession love of running with the same neurotic drive passion as myself.

After my PINK/SNOT switch-up, I was fortunate to fall in with a coach who embodies all the characteristics that I would look for in an ideal running coach. and I'm not just saying that because he might read this...  

He is knowledgable.  He 'plugs' the Witch Dr almost as often as I do.   He makes me suck it up and push myself, whether he means to or not.  And on top of all that, each week, Coach Q sends out F'ing hilarious emails.  I'd love to say they're "sappy and super inspirational" and all that rot, but, I'm on both team's e-mail lists, and truly the PINK Nation coach has the corner on that market.  Q's runner humor is epic, or, at the very least, blog worthy... and with only a little begging on my part, he was gracious enough to allow me to repost one of these e-mails.

Instructions for the Tapering Marathoner:  Print this letter, make a few copies of it and keep them with you at all times.  Hand one to your spouse, your partner, your neighbor, the other mom at the bus stop, the guy who sits next to you in Biology Class, the person who makes your coffee at Starbucks,... anyone, really, who is unfortunate enough to come into contact with you over the next few weeks.  

In Q's words, To The Support Team:

As the support team for a Marathoner you are entering a very tricky period.  Your Marathoner has been training hard through the summer and into the fall in preparation for the big day.  The hard work is done and TAPER MADNESS is ahead.
Marathon training is a stair-step type process where muscles are broken down for several weeks and then an easier week is thrown in for recovery.  Finally three weeks before the Marathon, one last long run is completed and it’s time for recovery.  The last three weeks are a period of descending running mileage.  This period allows the body to fully recover from the training and rest in preparation for the Big Day, this period is called the Taper.
This all sounds well and good, however, the Taper is a period of great anxiety for many Marathoners (first-timers and veterans alike).  Over the course of training for a Marathon, an athlete becomes accustomed to running many miles each week and constantly feeling the rush of endorphin driven highs and the persistent fatigue and soreness of effort.  The athlete becomes addicted to these emotions and craves both the highs and lows.
The Tapering Marathoner will be irritable, anxious, nervous, overly emotional, short-tempered, restless, tired, cranky, and depressed (even more than normal).  Sounds like a great three weeks doesn’t it?  It is not unlike the heroin addict going cold turkey.  This is a span of time where most Marathoners go a bit crazy.  For most it passes after Marathon day.  Of course there are the post-marathon blues, but that’s the subject for another day.
The first week is not too bad.  It’s really like most “easy weeks” following a twenty mile run.  Recovery is critical and the mileage is not dropping by a large amount.  They are so tired from the 50 mile week that the rest and recovery is welcomed.  Do yourself a favor, block  HYPERLINK "" and  HYPERLINK "" from your internet service, unless you enjoy continuous updates of the weather forecast for 18 days in the future.  Nerves may begin to fray but the best is yet to come – trust me!
During the first part of Taper Madness you will hear about every small ache and pain and how it may be a broken leg or torn ligament or some other traumatic injury.  Every twinge becomes a reason to think about postponing the marathon effort.  Every sneeze, sniffle, cough or pimple becomes a life-threatening virus or infection.  Tight hammies, inflamed ITB, tweaked Achilles, plantar fascitis, black toenails, bloody nipples, chafing, and this is just during breakfast.  
The second week starts the deep depression.  The tapering Marathoner starts to really miss running.  There are no more double-digit runs before the marathon.  The longest run for the next two weeks will be 8 miles.  Just 8 miles, how many used “just” and “8 miles” in the same sentence prior to training for the marathon.    The body is really starting to recover and therefore has more energy than needed.  Therefore, the Marathoner becomes restless.  No “extra” running is allowed.  The tapering Marathoner can feel the fitness draining out of their body.  Ask them, they will tell you, they are getting slower every day!  This is not happening but the feelings are real.  Physiologically, there is nothing but positives from a 3 week taper prior to running a marathon, however, it feels quite the opposite.  This restlessness often becomes frustration and a very short-tempered athlete.  Understand that this frustration will be projected at anyone and everyone within reach.  It’s nothing personal; it’s the lack of mileage talking.
So it’s now six or seven days before the Marathon.  The last 8 mile run is done and all that’s left is 3 easy short runs and the BIG EVENT.  For the first time Marathoner and some experienced folk, this week is nothing but self-doubt and worry.  “I’ll never make it.  My foot hurts.  My nose is running.  I’m not ready.  My last 20 miler sucked, I’ll die out there.  I’m getting fat and slow.  My shoes are dead, my shoes are too small, my shoes are too big, My legs are different lengths, my head hurts, I have a splinter, I have a hang nail, I hate running.” These are some of the things going through the mind of a Marathoner in their last few days before the Marathon.  Not to mention the nervous energy that is overflowing.  Not to mention that there may be a couple of extra pounds after cutting back on the running for 3 weeks.  Not to mention that the trips to the bathroom are increasing geometrically as the hydration dance starts in earnest.  Many find concentrating on anything other than the upcoming race difficult.  By the way, Marathoners in the final days before a race often make poor babysitters.
Two nights before the marathon are critical to the marathoner.  This night is probably the last chance for a good nights sleep.  The night before is typically restless and worrisome (what if the alarm doesn’t go off).  A sleepless night preceding a marathon will not have a dramatic impact on chances for success.  Adrenaline will offset missing that night’s sleep and get the Marathoner through the race.  The morning of the marathon is all about getting some food, using the bathroom and getting to the race.  My suggestion, don’t get in the way.
I am sure your marathoner appreciates all the support they have received during the training program.  The last few weeks are critical to a successful marathon effort.  Please understand that the emotional wreck will disappear after the marathon.  The Taper can be especially difficult and frustrating for everyone.  The good news, it ends with the race.
I hope this sheds some light on TAPER MADNESS.  Sometimes insight makes things a bit easier to understand.  Of course, your experience may differ greatly but I’ll bet it doesn’t.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 3 on Taper Island: Art Therapy

What do a jug, a roll of tape, and a random pyramid have in common?

Nothing.  Except that for 2 hours all I thought about was a jug, a roll of tape, and a random pyramid.

Day 3 on Taper Island: CPR

If you were ever in the position where someone was collapsing to the ground, and you were alone, just you and that one other person... would you know what to do?  Think on it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 2 on Taper Island - M.T.I.I.

Last night I dreamed some crazy dreams, which lead nicely into a re-visit with my Best Frenemy, INSOMNIA!

What did I learn?

Don't read about the marathon, talk about the marathon, post a blog post about a training run, and then read e-mails regarding the marathon again right before bed.

Because you know what?  You'll re-live the entire training run (all 21 miles of it) and all the conversations (including the part where you may be thinking, "if I have to do CPR, am I strong enough right now to do it?") and don't worry, your subconscious will make a few changes for you in the meantime, and no, they won't be those "awesome" kind of changes that result in Hugh Jackman joining the SNOT MTT training team.

I woke up this morning, completely WIDE awake... only... what's that?  The clock reads:  12:23a.m.  Oh.  No.  One of those nights.  Pretty much, up. all. night.

Hello MTII, it's been 11 months, and I missed you so.

Marathon Taper Induced Insomnia.

Monday, October 25, 2010

a cautionary tale

I ran 21.70 miles on Sunday as my long run.  That was the longest training run I've ever run.  It was GOOD, it was a little DISCONNECTED, and then it was a little SCARY.

First let's start out with the GOOD part of Sunday's run:  Because no matter what you take from this long and random POST, that was a GOOD RUN.  I tried out my marathon strategy, and honestly, if my race went as well as that training run, I would be SO HAPPY regardless of what finish time I achieved.  It was the perfect day training run.

Then, let's look at the DISCONNECTED.  Weeeell, if everything had gone according to plan, it would have been too easy.  Right?  TMB & Smiley were joining me for the first 10 miles...  and 3L was connecting with DeNiece for the LAST 12 miles.  SO.  In theory.  It should have worked.

But.  It didn't execute.  The short?  Keys.  Safely locked.  In the car.  But, I didn't know that.  So, I left TMB on the side of a road, secure in the knowledge that she & 3L had already confirmed a plan...

Somehow, in all the disconnect, I managed to reconnect at the mile 10.something SAG with DeNiece.  Which meant that I would get to run a few miles with 3L & DeNiece.  Yeah!

A mile maybe? down the road we ran into SpeeDee, and it was fun to run with her for a short time.  She came in after I had started the "pick it up for a few miles" part of my strategy, so I Stop'd and Go'd at the SAG... and... I didn't see her again until the end!

Around mile 16ish, DeNiece really fell off my pace.  This is significant because my pace is usually a bit slower than her pace.  I slowed down for a bit until she caught up, and she said, "Hey, if you feel good, you go ahead".  So I hung with her for about a mile, and at the next SAG we picked up CoachE, and I thought we'd run it in together.  Within a few minutes though, CoachE and DeNiece were far behind me & 3L.  I knew DeNiece was in good hands, and so I just enjoyed my run.  At less than two miles to go, my stomach completely ROLLED and I walked for a few steps, and I heard a voice behind me say, "Hey, we're not walking!  C'mon!"  It was another runner from the SNOT team.  A tall, good looking, very male runner, and I'll admit to some vanity so I picked it up.  3L took herself home, and I ended up running with this guy.

The SCARY...  We were talking a lot of theory.  Like, how many miles and at what pace should I be training, versus him.  He argued, quite logically, that he should be doing 22 milers, but I should only be doing 20 milers.  Huh.  I argued it was mental, and he argued that I should just get over that.  We then started on a heart rate training convo, and suddenly, we were 3/4 mile from the end.  How did that happen?  I didn't even notice we were running.  And then, this amazing athlete, who runs a 3:15ish marathon, threw his arms out and looked to me like he was going to hit the dirt... he lost his balance and almost fell out.  I reached out to catch him, but I'm thinking to myself - he's too big.  Thank god he grabbed a wall (we were in an underpass) and caught himself.  I stopped and was relieved when he put his hands on his knees and he said in a very clear headed voice, "Go ahead."

Oh hell no.  Sorry.  No.  I don't care how CLEAR headed you sound, I'm not leaving you here alone.  What I actually said, was...  "I'll wait....  I'm staying."

So I waited with him, he re-equalized... and then he picks up running and we finished the run like nothing had happened.  Afterwards I checked in on him, and he said something like, "I ate a bunch just now, and I'm still hungry, but I feel much better."  What's the point of this?

No matter WHO you are, no matter how much experience you have, or how fast you are, or what kind of athlete you are, you can't escape BIOLOGY.  If you run out of Glucose, you will crash and burn.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's very Questionable

I appreciated all the questions.  And I really appreciated everyone's little tidbits of information about themselves.  I mean yes, many of us blog, but not that often in my blog do I admit my obsession with Gummi Bears, and I'm happy to see I'm NOT alone!  

SO, here are The RACE Questions:

It would probably have been logical to answer other questions first, but with my race looming on the horizon, it's on my mind a LOT these days!

Shelly asked:  Do you see yourself staying at this level of running/racing? Will you increase your habit or decrease over the years? Why do you think that?
I do see myself continuing to do this at this level for a while.  I enjoy the long slower distances.  I get as much satisfaction off that as I do off faster short distance.  Short & Fast hurts though, where Long doesn’t.  Because of that, I would like to move myself into Ultra Running at some point.  Sometime down the road.  Like in 2011.  Seriously, I do plan to do my first 50K next year.  I worry that when I go back to work I will struggle to maintain my milage base, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Jaime - How far out do you plan races and what are your upcoming ones?
I usually start thinking about that in September or October of the previous year.  It cuts down on race fees if you register early, and some years I race a lot.  Plus, if you’re doing a Full Marathon, there is some advantage to scheduling these things early so you have time to obsess, er, train.  Next year I am planning on running:

Frostbite 15K - Richmond, VA - Jan
National Marathon - March (already registered- anyone out there want to join the madness?)
Dismal Swamp Stomp Half- Chesapeake, VA - April
Autism 5K - Innsbrook, Glen Allen, VA- May 
Crossroads 17.75K - Prince something County, VA June
San Francisco Half - July
Capitol 10M - Richmond, VA - October
50K? - Virginia Beach? - December?.

MCM Mama - What's your favorite VA race?  
That’s a tough one.  Part of me wants to be all about the Richmond Marathon, “America’s Friendliest Marathon” and all, but the truth is, I think it’s the Monument Ave 10K.  It’s a HUGE race, with 30K participants, and the energy of the city leading up to race day is amazing.  For weeks it’s in the air, “Are you running?  Are you running?  What’s your goal?  What wave are you seeded in?”  I love that it’s a huge race, and yet, being a 10K, it’s accessible to a lot of people.

Jenn asked:  What is the best advice you can give someone who is about to run in their first half marathon?
OK I would say, "the PLAN is more important than the RACE".  Executing a good race strategy your first time out will completely set you up for a great race.  My next advice would be to relax, add 1 minute to your IDEAL GOAL FINISH time and plan to run the first 1 mile WAY slower than you want (like, say, 1 minute per mile slower).  It will calm your heart rate to run an easy first mile, and because of the way adrenaline works, you can easily burn up more than 10% of your energy if you go out on the first mile too fast.  I am sure you can do math and see that 1 mile is not 10% of the race... which means if you go out too fast, you might just crash and burn at mile 11.  OR, if you’re like me, you could make it to mile 12 and start hallucinating, which is ALWAYS a good time, I can assure you.  

Other advice I wish I'd heard or followed?  Don’t get caught talking on your cell phone by a race photographer at mile 8, even if it’s to call your husband, as you’ve agreed, to tell him you’re at mile 8, because on film it will look like you’re an idiot.  BY THE WAY - JENN, my best race EVER, where I followed my plan and felt good every step of the race - VB SHAMROCK HALF MARATHON!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Three Things Thursday & WINNERS!

1.  Whole days go by when I don't think about my "pending" application to nursing school  And then, when I do remember, it's all I think about for hours and hours.  "What if I'd spent 5 more minutes on my essay?"  "What if my essay wasn't as good as I thought?"  "What if my essay didn't say what I wanted it to?"  "What if, even though I scored very well on my entrance test, it wasn't good enough?"  "What if I'm making a huge mistake and I don't really want to do this but don't know it yet?"  The last one is the one that scares me the most.  Well, last night I dreamed that I broke into the nursing school to read the letters before they went out.  So, obviously I'm thinking about it, even when I'm not thinking about it.

2.  I am in the last week of BIG MILES for marathon training.  As of Monday, in just a few days, I will be in TAPER MODE.  I'm not the best during taper madness.  I tend to eat too much and gain 4 -5 pounds, and then I'm freaked out because I have to carry 4 - 5 extra pounds around for 26.2 miles, and I'm not fun to be around because I don't have enough miles in my schedule to get the endorphins...  I'm thinking of pitching an idea to CBS:

Take 6 obsessed marathoners who are accustomed to running 50 miles per week.  Put them on an island with 6 new runners who find 15 miles a week to be frustratingly hard.  Tell the Marathoners they can only run 15 miles a week.  Tell the Newbies they MUST run 30 miles a week.  Give the newbies unlimited access to McMillan or Coolrunning's Pace calculator.  Give the marathoners access to Self Magazine online.  Watch the DRAMA unfold on TAPER ISLAND!

3.  I wanted to thank everyone here who reads this blog for commenting, questioning, etc.  I'll answer the questions in the next series of posts, starting soon.  Now for the important bit -
The WINNERS for my giveaway are:

#22 - Shelly @ It's Just One Foot in Front of the Other


#53- Jenn

Please e-mail me your snail mail information at ginnyflynn at gmail dot com and I'll get your packages in the mail ASAP!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bullet Points

  • Today's the last day to enter the ONE THOUSAND MILE giveaway!  I've enjoyed reading your comments and questions, and look forward to addressing them at some future date!

  • I kind of wish I hadn't reached that 1000 miles in a seriously busy week, but, I did, so sorry I've been a little absent this week.  Between classes, running and kid wrangling I've been a little blog- neglectful.  I'll get right on that.

  • I absolutely ate WAY TOO MUCH yesterday.  Like, I fear going back and counting calories, because I ate the entire day, and it wasn't all about the fruits and veggies.  Sometimes I find the eating during Marathon Training more challenging than the running.

  • I realized today as I was planning my week that I forgot to Cross Train at all the last two weeks.  I guess, technically, I do take a walk 4 - 5 days a week, and usually those walks are on my "rest days"... so, I HOPE they've been enough to count as cross training.  I just don't seem to remember I have a bike these days.  *see above note about 1000 miles, seriously busy, mid-term exams, etc and so forth.

  • I'm starting to get to the point in the marathon training when I'm looking at the schedule and realizing that I can see the end of the schedule.  Fortunately, this means a month of "recovery running, swimming and biking" before marathon training for National Starts *see above note about biking and cross training in general.

  • Because I don't have anything going on in my life these days, my husband thought it was a good time to adopt the stray kittah that is wandering around our neighborhood.  Like a twisted popularity contest, the cat is desired by pretty much all the cat loving households in the 'hood.  And the cat has narrowed it down to two houses.  Ours and One other.  How do we KNOW we're in the two favored houses?  Well, he's a good little hunter kitty, and he brings us "offerings".  My husband is completely in love with the idea that the small rodents that have been tearing up his grass are being annihilated by a sweet and fluffy half grown light orange kitten.  BUT we've discovered that it actually has an "owner" a block away.  The owner finds caring for the cat too troublesome.  OK?  Like, seriously?  Yes, apparently it's troublesome to let the cat in at night.  Or to feed the cat.  Because I know you're all wondering, the cat's name in OUR house is Will Feral.  The cat's name in the competing house is Butterscotch.  (and another neighbor calls him Stitch).  Don't tell my family, but to be perfectly honest, I am rooting for the "Butterscotch" house to win.  I'm a little allergic to Will Feral.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Missive

Yesterday it was Sunday.  And I didn't run.  I had managed to fit in all my miles between Tuesday - Saturday last week by skipping my day off on Friday.  Uhg.  I know people all over the blogisphere run 5 days in a row all the time, but it's not my total favorite.  I can do it, but it's not my favorite.

So I don't have anything clever today, except that I thought I would share a play dough recipe that I LOVE to make for my kiddos.  It's cheap, easy, and frankly, it smells better than store bought play dough.  And, if they mix the colors, who cares?  It's easy to make a new batch.  I make about 1-2 batches per month, depending on the number of play dates we have over and how the color holds up.

Play Dough - my version is cheerfully stolen from my Preschool Handbook - worth the 10 minutes or so it takes to make it...
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 packet of un sweetened Kool-aid, any flavor.  Orange, Grape and Cherry work the best.
  • Saucepan
  • 1 cup flour
  1. Boil water in a microwavable bowl, add Kool-aid and oil.
  2. Place Flour, Salt, Cream of Tarter in a dutch oven or other large pan
  3. Add water mixture.  Stir on low heat until consistency is good (about 1-3 minutes).  Remove from heat, and I like to knead it again when it's cool enough.
  4. Store in a Ziploc freezer bag.

Speaking of Kool-aid, don't forget to enter my 1000 Mile Neurotic Giveaway, here!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Dear iPod,
I thought our relationship was going well.  I thought you liked living together.  I thought that you enjoyed my new found love of music, and for that matter, all my new music.  Obviously, I thought wrong.  
Perhaps you don’t R.E.S.P.E.C.T. the Changes I’ve made in the past year?  You don’t like Eminem?  You don’t enjoy D12?  Perhaps it’s the addition of Andrew York, the classical guitarist that has turned you against me?  Say It Ain’t So!  Do you have 99 Problems that I don’t know about?  

Why, iPod, why have you left me?
I remember the day so clearly.  We went for a drive, and I left you in the car while I ran.  The sun was shining, the miles were long, and ... and... ~gasp~... when I got back the car, you... were... gone.  Just Gone Daddy Gone, and while I Will Survive, the marathon is not going to be a piece of Cake without you.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t have left you behind, and I’m sorry.  More than you could possibly know.  Please, come home.
I Miss You.


Thursday, October 14, 2010


On yesterday's run I reached...

One... Thousand... Miles!!!
(said in the Mike Myers Austin Power's Voice)

WHOO HOOO!  Let's do a quick recap of the year, so you can understand why I'm so over the moon.  Thankfully, Daily Mile has cheerfully stored my mile entries without complaint (which is a rare thing as far as I'm concerned and should be positively reinforced).

RUNNING Total for JANUARY 2010:  5 miles

Yea, that's a 5, and NO, there are no other words or numbers there that might make that number better.  I finished 2009 with a devastating injury that left me with several months of rehab and a medical bills that totaled into the thousands.  (somewhere I read once that running is really economical).

RUNNING Total for the rest of the year really show my steady, and not so steady, climb back into my favorite sport...
Feb   27 miles
Mar   54 miles
Apr  100 miles
May 117 miles
June 129 miles
July  148 miles
Aug 157 miles
Sept 186 miles
Oct so far isn't that exciting, but I'll include the number anyway:  87 miles

And here I am, with 1000 miles under my shoes.  Wow.

I always thought I would be really poetic, and artful, and... to be honest, I'm so drained from Marathon Training PLUS 11 Credit Hours of school PLUS feeling the weight of that application over my head PLUS being a mom of 3 kids that I really don't have anything else to say except...

I thought to celebrate my accomplishment I would do a NEUROTIC Give Away!

What's in the pot you ask???

I thought I would include a few prizes that include things that I love that take some of my Neuroses Down at Notch...

Tall Socks - which keep me warm on cold days whether I wear them with a short skirt or long jeans.
Nathan's Reflector - which keeps me safe on my early morning excursions, and can also keep a child quiet in the DMV line.  (either the light or bracelets)
Gummy Bears - which can be used as an emergency "kid" bribe or even as fuel if you're out of GU.
KOOL-Aid - because let's face it, if you're reading the blog here, you're probably already drinking the Kool-aid...  even if you don't drink Kool-aid, you can always use it to dye your hair like a college student or color play-dough for your preschoolers.

There will be two prizes, randomly chosen.

How do you ENTER?  Well now, isn't that just the question...

1.  Be a Follower.  Leave a comment.
2.  Tell me one thing about yourself.
3.  Ask me one thing about myself.
4.  Tell me about a race you're planning to run in 2011 in your state/country/hometown/favorite vacation spot/etc.
5.  Like NofSahm on Facebook!  Come back and leave a comment here.  (and please, by all means, write something on that very lame looking Facebook Page, it's very very empty!)
6.  Share this giveaway on your blog.  Leave a comment.

Contest Ends on October 20th at midnight (EST)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This is a Test.

My Entrance Test scores came in... and let's just say, well, they didn't suck...

wait a minute, before you all go on about how I always panic and the scores are always fine, let's review a key detail.

I had a good reason for panic.  

You see, when I took the test on Saturday, I used the start slow finish fast race technique. Good method for Marathon Racing.  NOT a good method for taking a proctored exam that is timed.

Here's what I know.  I ran out of time on the Math.  I bubbled in a random answer for the final question as she called time.   LUCKILY I bubbled in the correct answer for the final answer in the section.  So.

Yeah me!  Now.  For the neurotic wait until mid November when the "letters" go out.  Don't worry about that, I don't have anything else in November that might add to my stress load, like a BIO ethics paper due on Nov 19, a Religion Site Visit & Paper due mid November, or just a little thing we runners like to call a Marathon on November 13.

Want to know something else LUCKY about today?  I'm headed out for a run... yesterday's run left me at 999.55 miles for the year... so today, about .45 miles into my run, I'm going to hit 1000 miles!!!  Yea BABY!  Sounds like a NEUROTIC GIVEAWAY is in our future...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


OK, I failed at the Runner's Bug NOT a race.  How bad do I suck that I can't even follow his directions?  Here were the instructions:  The objective is to run for the sake of running.  Run without timing yourself.  Get out there with nothing more than yourself, your shoes, and some relaxing music if you wish.  Find an interesting route. which you wouldn’t normally run, or that you’ve always wanted to run.  Where ever it is, just get out there and enjoy the run.

First let's see how I succeeded at the race:  I ran a nice course, one I don't normally run, and that I enjoy running.  I did not bring my iPod so I could enjoy the Fall morning and hear the road under my feet.

And now for the FAIL:  I did wear my watch, so, there was some watch looking at mile 2(2), 3 (2)...15 (2), 16 (2).. pretty much yea, that will make sense in a minute.

Well, I chose the 10 Mile Distance.  Twice.  I figured since I was doing 20 "easy" miles that worked for me.

My FIRST 10 mile nonrace was good.  I ran with friends- both old and new, and didn't look at my watch, and in general enjoyed myself for the sake of running.  Of course, you know what's BAD about not looking at your watch on the first 10 miles of a 20 mile run?  I ran waaaaaaay too fast.  Still, it was fun, and the course took us down and around the city, all the way to the river.  At one point, while chatting with the ladies around me, the women started reliving a Will Farrell skit from SNL.  I was laughing so hard I got a stitch in my side and had to drop back off the pace for a few steps.  It was a GOOD reason to have to slow the pace, I promise.

We ran over the river, looking at a view that reached for miles.  The course wound down through a steep pass to the river, and just like that, our ceiling was a canopy of leaves making their start from green to gold.   Around mile 8 of the "Race" we came upon Pants Guy at a SAG offering fuel and H2O, and I was in good spirits.  Pants Guy is so funny.  He was cracking jokes and making us all laugh.  I finished that 10 mile race feeling really good.

Because THAT was SO MUCH FUN, I did it again.

The SECOND 10 miler started pretty much where the first left off, and the, uh, "race" photographer snapped a photo of me right along the river.

With the smile on my face fading, I turned and saw a monster hill.  It was steep, I was running on my toes, pumping my arms, and I could see the sun light shining on the top of the hill so I focused on it.  I struggled up, up, up, breathing like a train.  In, In, OUT.  My back muscles were tiring, and uh oh, this is only mile 1?  Oh dear.

The view from the top was spectacular, the James River was a hundred feet or more below me, lazing over the rocks.  But the admiration was short lived, since the next five miles were spent running down to the banks and back up out of the flood zone.  The Team Coach, Queue was running with a faster group, and every now and then he would stop and wait for me.  It was nice, and sad at the same time.  I finally just looked at him and said, "No really, I'm OK."  And he nodded and took off to catch them.  again.  Not too much later, I saw him waiting for me.  again.

Around mile 5ish I was SOooo happy to see TMB!  I was feeling miserable for myself, and she immediately started making me smile by cracking jokes and sharing her Marathon sized race strategy.

We saw Pants Guy around mile 7(teen), again, attempting to make us laugh, but also in his eyes I saw something like.. sympathy?  I smiled wanly and said, "I feel like I've run 17 miles".  Yea, seriously, my legs were tired but the muscles that hurt were the ones that drive the O2 in and out.  Go figure.  I was ready to quit, but T just cracked a joke about, "Hey, you have to finish so you can take me back to my car."  And, she was absolutely right.  I latched on to the idea that the sooner I finished, the sooner I would be done.  Trust me, after 18 miles of running, this sounds like BRILLIANT reasoning.  Kind of like drunk math.

Anyway, gasping for air, I turned the corner, and saw the nonrace finish and... the photographer.  So I sucked it up for the photo.  Which I posted yesterday, but I will post again today for the benefit of my nonrace report.

T, "What did you just say?"  G, "I said, slow down so we can get a good photo."  T, "Oh sure, because..." G, "'s important to know what's important after a 20 mile run."

I hope everyone had a great weekend running, and that everyone who participated in the nonRace was able to enjoy their run and embrace their LOVE of running.  We can't all win races, but we can all run for the joy of it, with passion and dedication.  Happy Running!

Monday, October 11, 2010

20 Miler Recap

The 20 went pretty well.  I don't think I was feeling that way IN the moment, but looking back at it I learned some things and had a decent run and FINISHED the run, so over all this is good.  My splits were a little like this ... miles 1-8 9's.  Some of those 9's were like, 9:05.  miles 10-14 10's.  miles 15-20... well, there was a 10... and an 11... and a ~gasp~ 12.  But, cest la vie, it's run and done.  Next time I am going to try to run even splits instead of POSITIVE splits.  The course photographer was out in force so....
Here I am with Braid Girl running along side of the James River.  Isn't it lovely?  (yes I know her name, but she had the prettiest french braid ever.  Blog worthy.  And, AM I really that short?  Really?)

T & I discussing the benefit of slowing down so we're not RIGHT behind the people ahead of us and we can get ONE more photo together before her Marathon next week!
And... T & I got that photo!  

This outfit was the BACKUP plan outfit, incase of "something"... like, skirt tear or sock-tastrophe.  Next 20 I will wear my "OFFICIAL" Marathon outfit for your viewing and approval.  I got my "team shirt" today, and it's too perfect for words as far as the color is concerned.  The length?  Well, it has me concerned a bit.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the circle of trash

I find it SO odd that my kids have probably a combined total of $20K worth of toys in this house/yard/garage, and yet today they are sitting on the sunporch floor with a pile of recyclables building an RV and "Cityscape" out of a Chobani box, dixie cups, yogurt cups, a wine case and clear tape.  


Yea, pretty seriously.

and, as far as the entrance exam/TEST went, I'm not going to talk about it.  It's just stressing me out. I'll have results on Tuesday at the latest, and then I'll give you the "race recap" of how it went.

Friday, October 8, 2010

O is not _ptional

Today I attempted to run while fighting with my lungs.  I do N_T recommend this as a hobby.  It's irresponsible.  Knowing this did not stop me from lacing on my shoes and going for a spin.  I'm too stressed with the pending entrance exams (tomorrow) and I am not a fan of missing miles for my marathon training plan (can you say alliteration?).  I'm a little _CD about my running.  It's _K because it allows me to not be _CD about other things.

I needed 10 miles to make my marathon plan.  10 was going to be too long in my condition, so I thought, "I'll do 8".

At mile 2 I knew that 8 was going to be impossible, so I turned off my course and looped through my surrounding neighborhoods, right down TMB's FAVORITE street in all of the Greater Richmond Area.  (seriously, she hates this one road so passionately that it made me smile to run on it today).

The thing with running while O2 deprived is that your body fights very hard to use what it gets.  It pumps your heart rate faster than it normally would, and your muscles (specifically the diaphragm muscle and the intercostal muscles) work very hard to pull in as much air as possible, and push out whatever is left over.  It's tiring and painful.

By mile 3 I was starting to warm up a bit and knew I could at least manage 5.  So that's what I did.  I managed 4.9 and ran home from that point to finish with 5.32 in 52minutes/change.  Tomorrow is a rest day, and I'm going to medicate and protect my lungs in anticipation for my 20 miler on Sunday.  I will probably be the stupid runner sucking on my inhaler while running... won't that be awesome?

On other notes, a SHOUT OUT to one of my coaches, Ellie, who is running STEAMTOWN marathon this weekend!  And another SHOUT OUT to SPEEDEE, because she is running her 20 on Saturday and then Tri-ing on Sunday!

I'll see you all on Monday, when I can hopefully tell you about how awesome I did on my entrance exams on Saturday, and how fabulous my 20 miler went on Sunday.  Or.  We'll be talking about taking the entrance exam again on Wednesday, and/or the fact that I get to do another 20 miler later this month.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

3 Things Marathon MADNESS

1.  Second 20 miler of the training cycle is on Sunday.  I'm 5087% more nervous about this 20 than the last one.  Yea, I don't know.  Maybe it's because the last one went pretty well.

2.  I signed up for NATIONAL MARATHON!  Yeah!  I'm stoked.  So SpeeDee, T & I are running it, and we're all married to Red Sox fanatics.  We're creating a (VERY UNOFFICIAL) Team Redsox Nation for the run - if you're running National and wish to Sox with us - here's a link to the "team shirt" & another link to the "team socks".  A White skirt can be purchased anywhere.

3.  I'm starting to have MARATHON sized nightmares about the marathon.  In one dream I can't reach the finish -which is not on the road, instead its 13 loops around a hill to reach a gray stone tower, and the finish is 100 steps up the tower, and I can't even get to the base of the tower!!!  I'm crawling up the grass at one point in the dream, on my hands and knees, and my watch says 44minute/mi pace, and I freaking out because I'd been on track to PR but now... I'm NOT!   So.  That's the first dream.  Hopefully the last one too.  Hmm.  I need to drink less coffee.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Touring VA

Service Unavailable?  Sure, I get that when I go to use my cell phone, but when I'm logging into my blog?  Hmm.  So this post is a few days old because I'm struggling to squeak in here between unavailable-ness.  

This weekend my H and I went on a 12 hour date.  Yup, you read it right.  We rented a van with some other couples and rode up to Virginia Wine Country... er, that is to say, Charlottesville VA.  We toured some beautiful places and sampled some wine and cheese that made my heart sing.  It was a lovely day.  I would bore you all with the details, but I'll resist.  The theme of the day was that H & I lamented about 20 times that we wished we lived out "that way".

When we bought our home 7 years ago it was in a neighborhood surrounded by farmland and a lonely WallyWorld with a Golden Moo.  Literally -- farms with cows.  Now, it's surrounded on all sides with a Mall, two car dealerships, a Whole Foods, a Trader Joe's, a Chez Target, a plethora of fast food opportunities, 3 grocery stores, 3 wine boutiques, 2 cupcake shops, and did I mention the high rise apartment building?  Needless to say, we didn't imagine that the area, which had been stable for about 10 years, would EXPLODE.  We dream of a slightly simpler life.

Of course.  A simpler life is more expensive than the one we have, so we're instead working on the "being happy while living within our means" lifestyle that doesn't include moving to Charlottesville VA.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Name Game

B - "I made a new friend at Dance!"

Me - "That's great!  What's her name?"

B - "Potatum."

Me - "Well, I'm pretty sure her name is Tatum."

B - "Mrs Barb called her that, but well, I'm pretty sure her name is POtatum."

OK, sure B, why not.  There's no point arguing with an almost 4 year old about a name that clearly just doesn't make sense to her.

I am so looking forward to the day B calls that child Potatum in front of Potatum's mother.....

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's NOT a race

James over at The Runner's Bug is hosting a virtual run.  It's not a race.  It's a run, and we're supposed to celebrate the JOY OF RUNNING.  Well HELLO, I AM A FAN of that!  So here's the link!  Now go over and check it out!