Showing posts from 2010

25 miler = FAIL

On my planned 25 miler today I was listening to the Extra Mile Experiment. Chris Russell (I think) was talking about his half marathon simulation, and concluded that it was a failure. So was my 25 miler.

It actually was pretty warm compared to the past few weeks, about 25 when I started and 35 by the time I finished. However the wind was still whipping. And nearly 2 feet of snow does not dissapear over night. The roads were still totally covered, especially the side streets. So my option was to slip and slide on the side streets, or brave the traffic on the main road where there was less snow, but I had to run out in the traffic lane because the snow banks take up the entire shoulder. I did a combination of both. I'd run on the snowy side streets until the little muscles in my legs were screaming from trying to stabilize me. Then I'd run on the main road until I couldn't take being sprayed with slush, honked at, and nearly run over every 10 seconds.

Because of the snow, an…

Blizzard of 2010

I am supposed to run a 26 miler this week. And we got nearly 2 feet of snow over the past day and half along with gale force winds. The snow has stopped, but the wind has not. I shoveled for about 20 minutes (for once the town plow didn't deposit the entire street's worth of snow in front of our house), but other than that I have been lying inside reading and eating my way through everyone's Christmas candy for two days. I really want to get this run in tomorrow, so that I can get up to New Hampshire and ski with my sister for a day and still be back in Boston for New Year's Eve. I KNOW that I am training for Antarctica, and a little snow shouldn't scare me. I'm not scared of the snow itself. I am scared of the fact that the snow covers the sidewalks, thus forcing me to run in the road, where the Massholes make a sport out of trying to run you down.

Hopefully, I'll suck it up and get out there tomorrow, because I can't stand another day of sitting inside…

GU dilemma

I just got an e-mail from the Antactica tour company. Due to international treaty agreements nothing in a disposible wrapper is allowed, including GU. I've been experimenting with different fuels, including Hammer solid perpetum, and enduralyte, but I'm finding that good old GU or Hammer gel works best. The perpetum is too chalky and the liquid fuels slosh too much in my stomach. So now I need a way to put GU into another type of permanent container. IDEAS???

I have my 26 miler to do next week and I'm already dreading it. It just kills a whole day and my legs feel like lead for days afterward. This is my problem with marathon training, I HATE taking days off. Maybe if I could stop eating, I'd feel better about it, but that hasn't happened.

who is that masked man

I was just starting to feel okay running again. I didn't get to California until 2 am so I let myself sleep in a little Monday so I was actually running in daylight. Given that it was light out, I decided to run on the trail by the river here because I'm already bored to death with the loops through the neighborhood by my hotel. I was just getting into a groove (it took me awhile because my legs are still pretty tired because of my 23 miler this weekend) when I saw someone approaching me. My heart still leaps whenever I see someone else, but this time my heart about stopped. It was man wearing a black face mask. Exactly like my attacker.

It was 60 degrees out. I know Californians are wimps, but really. My heart was racing and my mind was whirling. In order to get to the rest of the path I'd have to pass him again. I got off the path and ran around the streets, but I had to get back on the path in order to get back. And then I saw him again. So much for a good run. I spent t…

Skiing, biking, and new shoes

I've been pretty running centric lately. Mostly because I'm in maraton training, but also because of my new schedule. Running is easiest when you are short on time and traveling. But last weekend I stayed in CA for the weekend and went skiing on Saturday and Sunday. I always forget exactly how much I love to ski. I like running, but it is not easy enough for me, nor am I fast enough, or painfree enough to think "God I love this," while I'm doing it. But that is exactly what I think when I'm skiing. I love the rush, the feeling of weighlessness.

Then Sunday, even though we rode in the cold rain against a nasty headwind I had a great time. On a bike you can go fast enough and far enough that you can really go somewhere. My Mom's friend Jaye had planned this awesome ride through the redwoods and along the coast on 101. Seeing from a bike was way better than being in a car. After we had a great dinner with the whole group that rode. There is nothing like slog…

You should know better

I was talking to a woman at the gym the other day and tolf her about my attack, because she lives nearby and is a runner I wanted to warn her. She said, "well you should know better than to run alone as a woman." The more I think about this, the angrier it makes me. First, it makes it seem like getting attacked was MY fault, which I don't think it in any way is.

I'm also really struggling with the whole gender issue here. Yes, I am a woman, but I have never seen this as limiting the things I can do. Yes, I like pink and pedicures, but I also lift weights and change my own oil. I can't reconcile myself to the idea that an unchangable part of myself would control what I can and can't do.

And not run alone? I travel 90% of the time and live on an island in Maine the rest of the time. It is practically impossible for me to find a running buddy.

Finally, I hate the idea I should be expecting people to hurt me or take advantage of me. I ran this morning at 5am and …

what you took

You wanted a silly toy
and you did not get it
You took something much more precious
the weightlessness of running through the darkness
the beauty of the sun rise
the solitude of the trail
the deep cleansing of a run in the rain
the childish joy of a run in the snow
the fun of running through a pile of leaves
the exhilaration of racing all out
the cool squish of the wet grass beneath my bare feet
the rush from blasting my favorite song
the peace of losing myself in thought
because now I do not notice these things
I can not do these things
I am too busy listening
I am too busy looking
for you.


This morning when I was running on my favorite trail right by my house I was attacked. I had passed a young guy when I was heading into the trail, and he stepped aside to let me go by. Then about 20 minutes later I heard heavy footsteps running up behind me, then hands around my neck, and I was tackled to the ground. I started struggling and managed to turn myself around to face my attacker, and saw the guy I passed earlier on the trail. He was wearing a face mask so all I could see was his dark eyes. He grabbed at my i-pod and I started kicking and screaming. He lept to his feet, scaled the steep hill to our right, and then was gone. The whole thing lasted less than a minute.
I didn't want to follow the trail back the way my attacker had run so I went the other way and figured I'd cut up through a yard to the road. Luckily, I cane upon another runner who I recognized from other runs a few hundred feet up the trail. I explained what happened and he offered to escort me out of t…

On the road

So this is my last week at my current job. I didn't manage to finagle much time off between jobs, but I did get Friday off, so I'll do my 17 miler then so I'm fresh for my 6 am flight on Monday. The question will be the on-going training once I'm traveling. I know I won't get up at 2 am in order to get in a long run before a 6 am flight. I know I'll be fried after taking a red eye home and not want to run then either. Any road warriors out there? Any advice?


I read an interesting article the other day about how it is largely genetics that determines whether or not you find exercise enjoyable. It's an interesting concept and one that I've been thinking a lot about lately, particularly over the weekend.

I met my sister in New Hampshire to climb Mt. Washington for her 16th birthday. She's my half-sister actually, and 10 years younger than I am. When she was younger we adored each other and spent a lot of time together, but in recent years we've grown apart. Part of that is my fault- I've been busy establishing a post collegiate life. I don't go to my Dad's house regularly. That's partially because I'm busy, and partially because I just don't enjoy being there anymore. My step-mom seems to reign over the house, and no matter what my Dad and I do, it isn't right. My sister is picking up that same attitude, and honestly just isn't that pleasant to be around. Most of the time she doesn't speak t…

Ellie's Inspiration

Over the weekend I went to a funeral for my grandmother's best friend, Ellie. From the moment she was born, at just 1.5 lbs, Ellie faced major obstacles. She spent her early days in the wood-stove to stay warm and drank sour milk. She grew into a thriving toddler, that befriended the little girl next door, my grandmother. That friendship endured until the day my grandmother died, despite time and distance. They saw each other when they could, and wrote long letters many times a week. This is a lesson to me, I have no friendships this close despite having so many ways to connect.

As the oldest of 6 children, Ellie went to work in a factory in order to support the family, so her brothers and sisters could go to college and peruse their dreams. Ellie went on to work as a farmer, a housekeeper, a nanny, a grocery store clerk, and finally at the age of 79 she decided to take on a new job caring for the "elderly." None of the jobs was easy or glamorous, but Ellie did all with s…

Thanks to the rain gods.

Well it was about 100% humidity during my run this morning, but the downpours held off until 20 minutes after I finished. Thank you to the rain gods.

The run was decent. It was my first try with the run walk method- I did 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking. I averaged under 10 minute miles, so I'm happy. I think the biggest benefit for me was metal, in that I only thought ahead to the next walk break, which is a lot easier than looking ahead to the end of run.

holding pattern

I am antsy today. It's a day where I know big decisions and big changes are ahead, but I can't do anything yet. Tonight is my final job interview, which means that after 2 months of interviewing and thinking about it, I'll finally have to make a decision. In all actuality I think I've already made the decision, but once I make the commitment, there is no turning back. And I'll actually have to go through the unpleasant task of leaving my current job.

Also, my formal training for Antarctica starts Friday with a 13 miler. Where I was already doing 9-10 mile long runs this summer, I'm skipping the first few weeks on the plan.  Now that long run is looming out there on the horizon, and I'm anxious to get it done. I want to test my fitness and see if I'm really where I think I am. After listening to the Extra Mile Podcast Experiment and reading Jeff Galloway's book cover to cover I want to try the walk breaks and see if it makes a difference.

But for toda…

I'm back

Obviously I took a break from blogging for awhile and I don't really have great reason why. After the marathon my running didn't have any direction. I kept running, because I do have that compulsive need to run daily. But I didn't have any motivation, any fire. Outside of running, I've been pretty busy as well. Work is intense, as my manager and 2 other supervisors have left, and I'm left to pick up the slack. I'm currently debating leaving as well, I have 2 very good offers with consulting companies, but I just can't make up my mind. It's my natural aversion to major change, but also the hesitation about the consulting life-style. Do I really want to travel every week? It's pretty impossible to have a life. Not that I have a lot holding me back right now- no boyfriend (I won't bore you with that story), no geographic restrictions. I come home from work, do a second workout, and sit on the couch. I can do that anywhere. I vacillate hourly.

But on…

Hello wall, my name is Kiersten

The first 15 miles of the marathon I felt great. I had to be there extra early because the half marathon my roommate was running started an hour earlier. So I sat in Starbucks, reading the NY Times, and munching my mini-wheats. I started with the 4:15 pace group, but it felt too slow. There were a couple other women who felt the same way, so we took off together. We ran a 9:15-9:30 pace and it felt easy. We ran through the military base and through a gauntlet of soliders. They were all hoo-raying and slapping us five. They we looped back through the center of Virgina Beach and ran down the board-walk. It was lined with people cheering. I felt like a rock-star. Then came mile 16. We headed back out of the downtown on a long straight run. It was now 10 am, and the sun was blistering. There was no shade, and we were away from the seabreeze. My poor body, acclimated to the cold after a winter of long runs in the slow and below zero temperatures started dying. At mile 18 I threw up, and th…

It's time!

Today was my last run before the race. A short, east 45 minute run. And at the end I was tired. Which leaves me asking, how am I going to run 21 more miles on Sunday?

Freak Out Week

I am now less than a week away from the marathon. This is probably my least favorite week ever. It's too late to get any more training in, so all I can do is question whether or not I did enough training. And I can't even go for a nice long run to calm myself down. Also, the left side of my body is not happy. My foot is still bruised and swollen from where I tripped over a giant metal spike in the dark last week. All because I had to race my boyfriend to the car so he couldn't open the door for me. (Don't ask me why??). Next my left calf is as hard and tight as a rock, despite copious amounts of stretching and foam rolling. And then my left hip doesn't seem to want to stay located when I put any amount of pressure on it. This happens sometimes. But why is it happening now?

snot rockets

Let me preface this by saying that I am not against snot rockets while running outside. In fact, I have allergies and a chronically drippy nose, so I frequently resort to the method for clearing my head. But only when outside, and only after checking to make sure I'm not going to hit anyone.

This morning at the gym, the guy next to me on the elliptical was blowing snot rockets into his hands, wiping it on his sweatshirt, and then placing his snotty hands back on the elliptical. NOT OK AT ALL.

International Women's Month

I missed International Women's Day on Monday without even noticing, which is a statement about the level of attention the day gets in this country. When I lived in Italy. March 8th was a real holiday: women stopped each other on the street, women were given flowers, women met in large groups for dinner, where they were given free drinks. At first this made me feel a little strange because I don't think that just because of my sex I should be treated specially. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Women should celebrate themselves and the women around them. I am grateful to all the women who came before and broke the path. Without women like Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton I would not be able to vote. Without women like Katherine Switzer I wouldn't be able to run in official marathons. Without women like my Mom I wouldn't know that women can do it all (raise a family, have a career, fix a flat tire, grill a steak, drive a boat). So this is m…


Ever year we I go up to Sugarloaf with my Mom and her "band." They play guitar and fiddle. It's a whole weekend of nothing but skiing, eating, and music. I wasn't feeling well (probably the result of a warm turkey sandwich I ate out of desperation on the plane home Thursday), but I didn't want to miss the weekend. Saturday, I went downhill skiing. They had gotten 36 inches of snow the weekend before and conditions were as good as they ever get. It was an intense day of skiing. I was skiing with family friends, who are avid back country skiers, and we met up with a group of their friends, one of whom was a fellow Olympian. We were skiing all the double diamonds, and we were doing them fast. By the time I hiked to my car at 4 pm I was exhausted. But the good, I've pushed myself to the absolute limit exhausted.

Sunday morning, we got up early and went cross country skiing. Normally, cross country skiing is a consolation prize for me, when I don't have the tim…

pain in the butt

Marathon training is progressing. I've gotten in two 20 milers, and so I guess it's time to start tapering (and by tapering I mean skiing every weekend instead of long runs!). I feel pretty good. Last year, I was incredibly sore for about 4 days after 20 milers. Now, I've got my recovery down to the point where I can work-out the next day. I usually aim for a class at the gym or the elliptical to give my running specific aches and pains a day off. The only thing I'm worried about is this persistent pain. I've had IT band and hip issues before, but this is different. It's not on the side of my hip, it's right smack in the middle of the right side of my butt. I was walking around the house last night holding on to it- which I admit looked pretty strange- and I got some good teasing from the roomies. I've been stretching and foam rolling like a fiend, but nothing seems to reach this particular ache. Not a huge deal, just a pain in the butt!


I'm in Dubai for work this, and while I love how exotic the city feels, I am not loving the running here. The "gym" at the hotel, is a crappy treadmill and a crappier elliptical. The worst part is that there is no AC, and I, being acclimated to running outside all winter, am instantly a giant sweaty mess. After 4 days, my body and mind were rebelling at the thought of another run inside.

So I decided to venture outside. The city is amazingly safe- so I wasn't worried about running outside by myself in the very early morning. However, I was worried about the traffic (it's terrible) and about the cultural appropriateness of running in shorts and a tank-top in a Muslim country. The traffic wasn't so bad- there are sidewalks everywhere. I did spend a fair amount of time waiting at stop lights, but I didn't have any close calls. The clothing was another matter. Maybe it was all in my head. The whole time I was running I felt so aware of my body. This isn't …

Split Personality

Last week I got to indulge both sides of my personality. I spent the Monday-Thursday in Las Vegas for work. I was staying at a nice hotel, eating FANTASTIC meals, drinking fancy Starbucks lattes, and running strict interval workouts on the strip. I wore suits and makeup and sipped martinis.

Then Friday-Sunday I drove up to Utah to go skiing. I stayed in a tiny one room cabin, wore the same clothes for 3 days, ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly and Honey Bunches of Oats, and had no TV or internet. I was a ski hermit. I was the first one on lift every morning and the last one off. The skiing was glorious- fresh powder and bright sunshine. Something about the mountain in Utah even made me ski differently. Instead of bombing down the hill as fast as possible, I slowed down, I was playful. I skied in and out of the woods, dove into deep piles of powder.

It still seems strange to me that I could be so happy in two places so different.

New Year

I rang in the New Year in a low key, but very me, way. I went up to NH and spent the day Nordic skiing with my Dad, step-mom, and little sister. It's rare that all of us are together for an entire day. We got up early and we skiing by 10. It was a great day. About 25 degrees and snowing lightly. It was my first time out on my xc skis this season. I forget that I love that feeling of gliding. I did about 4.5 hours and at least 10 miles, and unlike after a long run I didn't feel pounded to death. We all went out to a nice dinner. Then, my sister and I spent the next 2 days downhill skiing. It snowed for 3 straight days. Eat, sleep, ski in the fresh snow. Life doesn't get any better.

Now I'm having a hard time adjusting to the real world. Early mornings, work, and long marathon training runs. Which makes me ask myself, why did I decide to do another marathon if I dread the training this much?