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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Birthday run

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

This year I tried something new – a birthday run.  Since I was not able to go to Massachusetts this year to run the Tornado Alley 57 Miler again, the new plan was to run 40 miles on my 40th birthday.  I had trained for it and all went well up until a couple of weeks ago when I developed pretty severe blisters.  I really cannot recall having blister issues in all my years of running since college anyway.  I did get a doozie of a blister in college, but hey, we also wore cotton socks back then!

Normally I do not run super long during the summer in Florida.  I save my marathon training runs for the fall.  I think between the longer runs and the Southwest Florida heat and humidity, it created the perfect storm.  I wear really good socks, have custom orthotics, wear good fitting shoes, and use BodyGlide.  Florida weather must be no match for even the best laid plans.

I did no running at all for five days leading up to my birthday run in hopes that the blisters would heal and dry up enough to make it through 40 miles.  I felt great when I started out this morning but around 13-15 miles, my feet were soaked and it was time to change socks and shoes.  By the time I actually made it back to my car, I had finished 17 miles and knew the blisters were back.  So the blisters were very painful for the rest of the day; each step hurt and made me question whether I could finish the full 40 miles.  I changed socks several times, used Blistershield powder twice, and on the final sock change I used Aquaphor healing ointment.

Blisters aside, I could not have predicted the outcome of the day.  I was so blessed to have so many of my Suncoast Striders friends and Manatee High cross country runners out there with me.  Sarah, Meagan, and Katie were there bright and early for the 7:00 a.m. start and with birthday cards and gifts too!  Then Amber, Kristen, Canaan, and Ellen took over running duty on the 8:30 a.m. shift while Tiffany captured some great photos.  By 10:00 I had logged about 17 miles when Janet joined me for a few miles and even created a custom cadence for me!  Ellen ran out to buy me some watermelon and delivered it so I had a cold, refreshing treat at 25 miles.  At just before noon Jessica and JP joined me for my toughest miles of the day.  I had already taken one minute walk breaks after every mile completed from about mile 22 to 25 so once we reached 27, I broke the news about the walk breaks which they were happy to do.

We were heading to my favorite part of the trail just after the 27 mile mark.  It’s a nice shaded, single track trail along the water.  Shortly after running (slowly) onto this trail, I started to feel a little light headed and running became so difficult.  We walked almost the whole trail out and back and I had to make a tough decision.  I had to listen to the signs my body was giving me and tell JP and Jessica that I had to call it a day.  We were still a couple miles out from the parking lot so they graciously walked back the entire way with me.  I am so glad they did!  I think I was in worse shape than I thought.  I felt light headed and really felt I had to focus my vision on the path ahead.  And I was told later that I was slurring my words a little on the walk back.  Yikes!

When we reached the parking lot, we hit 30 miles total and saw Chris who was there to run the last leg with me.  I had to apologize to him that I was finished and could not run anymore.  He’s such an awesome guy; he ran my last 10 miles for me in the hottest part of the day at a preserve with little to no shade.  I guess I looked fairly bad because Janet and JP then proceeded to stay with me until I refueled a bit and cooled off.  I don’t remember how long it took for me to seem like my normal self again, but they hung out with me just chatting away and Janet had me sit in the back of her SUV which was cranking out the AC.  Then Theresa and Dawn and her cute crew of minions stopped by to deliver birthday cards, flowers, and balloons.

When I was finally feeling recovered enough to drive I left Robinson Preserve and took a detour on the way home for a dip in the pool and some quality time with my sister.  So refreshing.  All I could think about during the last 2-3 miles walking in the hot sun was how wonderful it would feel to be immersed in water!  I didn’t weigh myself before or after the run today, but probably should have so I’d have a better idea of the state I was in.

Deciding to stop my adventure today at 30 miles was extremely difficult.  I did not want to let anyone down by not reaching my goal.  But the most important thing I learned today is that I must listen to my body.  We all must listen to our bodies!

At first I was disappointed with 30 miles but after Chris texted me telling me that he did the last 10 for me and I had time to reflect on the day, all the people I was able to spend time with, and read all my birthday cards, texts, and messages on facebook, I knew that today’s birthday run was a huge success.  I am truly blessed to have so many amazing friends in my life and we have found each other through running.  This is certainly a birthday I will never forget.  And several people have told me that 40 is the new 30…

A mile or two

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Holding the fence as I squeezed under

Brushing the dirt off each other

Sneakers wet from the morning dew

Stretching, as I listened to you

Explain the morning’s adventure.

A light warm up, a mile or two

Then peel the sweats.

Off I went around the track

At blazing speeds, or so I thought.

Half way ‘round, “speed up!” you’d yell

And sometimes “slow down!”

At workout’s end, you gave results

And always encouraging words

Ending with “a mile or two”

As you walked across the field.

Minutes later we squeezed back under,

Leaving our place until next time

Never thinking that our adventures would end.

If I only knew…


1990 WMASS Track One Mile Champion

1990 WMASS Track One Mile Champion


My dad was my high school cross country and track coach.  I wrote this in college when I was away from home for the first time in my life, missing my family, and being coached by someone new for the first time.   While my dad does not coach me anymore or run anymore, I feel that the lessons I learned from him as a runner and coach have helped me become a better runner, coach, and person.  I decided to post this poem as a blog entry for Father’s Day weekend as a way of thanking him and remembering those special moments.  I would also like to thank my mom for being the most amazing, patient, and supportive mom, team mom, and volunteer assistant coach ever.  She was there at every meet no matter how far away or how bad the weather.  She would help injured runners out of the woods, take pictures, and be there at the finish never knowing what to expect.  One of the two most memorable races with my mom was a home cross country meet when I was trying out a new insert in my shoe.  The insert bunched up so badly and caused me so much pain that I literally crossed the finish line, pulled off my shoe, and threw it.  Let’s just say I was a little frustrated and uncomfortable!  I did not throw it at my mom, but she jokes that I did…it may have been in her direction since she was waiting for me past the finish line.  The other was my junior year when I ran the mile in track and my mom took me to the WMASS championship when my dad was out of town.  I ran as an individual since my school did not have a track team.  We arrived at the meet and I was headed to the infield to pick up my packet and competition number when the coach from a neighboring school told me I would be disqualified if I went on the infield.  I was so nervous since I had never been to such a big track meet before.  My mom was not about to let another coach intimidate me so she took charge, went to the infield, picked up my packet, and I ended up winning and qualifying for state.

Once I figured out that I wanted to be a running coach, all I have tried to do is be like my parents and do all the amazing things that they did for me.  They kept it fun, always pushed me to be my best, and were supportive, caring, encouraging, strong, and understanding no matter the outcome of each race.







The Darlings of the team

The Darlings of the team








Boston a Bust

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I cannot remember being more excited for a race than I was during the many weeks preceding the Boston Marathon.  I trained for it, thought about it, talked about it, read about it, and was genuinely excited for it!

I don’t know if all that pre-race excitement resulted in me feeling burnt out on race day or if it was the emotional, stressful trip that surrounded the race or maybe I’m just really done with marathons.  Or maybe it was some unfortunate combination…

It was a mistake to surround my Boston Marathon trip with helping my grandmother pack up her house before and after the race.  My grandparents lived in that house for about 50 years…well longer than I have been alive.  So you can imagine the memories, mementos, and heirlooms that accumulated during those 50 amazing years.  My grandfather passed away a couple of years ago so grandma decided she needed a change of scenery.  Can’t blame her there…so many memories in that house!

But being immersed in that emotionally charged house for a week before heading to Boston did take its toll.  Once we arrived in Boston I no longer felt the excitement.  My head was definitely not in race mode.  If you can believe it, I didn’t even look around the expo – picked up my number, bag, and shirt then headed out.

On race morning, I was lucky to get the last seat in our hotel’s free shuttle to the marathon buses at Boston Common.  It took at least five rotations of buses before I was on my way to Hopkinton.  Once I arrived at athlete’s village, I spent my time in the port-o-potty line then did a quick warm up, dropped my bag at the baggage bus, then started the walk to the starting line.  I initially thought I would jog but the crowd did not allow for that.  Once I arrived at the start and was able to get in my assigned corral, it was just minutes until the starting gun.

The race started on time and all I could think about was how crowded it was.  After a couple miles of weaving in and out of people, I was hoping it would thin out a little so I could settle into a pace.  But that didn’t happen.  I kept checking my Garmin as I weaved around people and felt pretty good, pretty confident about my pace.  I felt comfortable right around my goal pace.

When I reached about halfway, still very close to goal pace, still feeling quite good, I did step back (not literally) and kind of look around to take it all in.  I thought about my friend and fellow coach at MHS Dave who told me to have fun.  So I made sure to smile for at least one of the photographers.  The problem was, I felt bad because I know Boston is an amazing experience – just to be there, especially based on how difficult it is to get there now with registration filling up in 8 hours.  I knew others around me were having the time of their lives.  Why wasn’t I?

Regardless, I stayed on pace right until we reached Newton where I decided to attack the hills since I felt so good!  Combine that little error with running the first half maybe a little too fast considering it was a lot of downhill.  Once I reached mile 22 I was hurting.  Those last four miles were painful and all I could think about was stopping.  I was struggling to move my legs and my pace really slowed.  I just wanted it to be over!  But, I have to admit that once I made that left turn onto Boylston Street I did feel the excitement and was able to pick up the pace slightly all the way to the finish.

My goal, based on recent half marathons and other races, was 3:20 to 3:30.  I finished in 3:31.

After the finish line I made my way through the water, Gatorade, food, Mylar blankets, finisher medals, then found my baggage bus, and finally found Phil at the family meeting area, all I could say was “I don’t ever want to do this again.”  I spent the rest of the day in bed.  I honestly cannot remember my legs hurting as much as they did that entire afternoon and evening.  I have completed 14 marathons and some were painful, but none like this.  Maybe I have spent too many years away from the New England hills of my youth.  My best option for hill training in Florida was the Ringling Bridge.  It’s not like when you live in a hilly area and your quads get used to the ups and downs on a regular basis.

After two days in Boston it was back to grandma’s house for more packing then we headed home.  On the plane, I told Phil that I wanted to find a flat, fast marathon in Florida to see what I can really do.  How quickly we runners forget the pain of that last marathon and look to the next one.  ;)

So many people congratulated me and asked me how Boston was.  I felt bad and a little guilty that I did not share the excitement of the other 2011 Boston Marathoners I knew.  Now I know to never again combine an emotionally charged family event with a race!

While Boston 2011 did feel like a bust for me, I would like to try it again in a couple of years when I have a few more recent marathons under my belt and I can make the marathon trip all about the marathon and just stay in Boston.

All I want for Christmas is a new PR!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Car accident on 10/8 really threw things way off course.  Car totaled, waited for insurance company to do their thing, finally received check and thanks to my wonderful husband, getting the new car was a very easy process.  He’s really awesome with the online research so we were totally prepared when we left the house to go “test drive” and came home with the new car…the actual car he thought we would get after checking the car fax, etc.

Anyway, injuries were not too bad and the air bag burns healed within two weeks.  The seatbelt injury to my chest/pec area and the back and neck soreness/pain have taken longer to heal, but I am thankful for my chiropractor and massage therapist!  I went to my general practitioner first and after an X-ray showed nothing broken or cracked, he suggested going to a chiropractor.  Good advice.

So two weeks of no running and trying to heal.  Let’s just say I was not happy.  I had numerous races already lined up that I had already paid for and had hotel reservations for so I wasn’t going to lose out on that investment.  Losing two weeks of running would normally not be a huge deal, but the timing was the absolute worst with races every weekend in November including two half marathons and a 20K.  I could not cross train so it was two weeks of nothing.  Definitely more of a taper than I needed!

So I attempted the first race, the Creaky Bones 5K on 10/23 which was painful and my time was nowhere near where I would have liked, but it was a fun event with friends anyway.  The second was on Halloween, the Daytona Beach Half Marathon.  I knew I would not be able to race it and be happy with my time so I decided to run with two good friends who were also running it.  That turned out to be a very fun experience.  The next race is this coming Sunday, the XTERRA Wildhorse Trail Half Marathon.  It is put on by TampaRaces.com – who put on amazing events.  Since I am already registered and it is the first race in the XTERRA series, I have convinced myself that I must do it.  I know I am not in the shape I had hoped to be in by this time of the year but I will do my best.  The following weekend is the Naples 20K.  This was my chance to PR at 20K since that is not a very popular distance.  I was confident about setting that new PR before the accident, but now I’m not so sure.

Most of you know that I am President of RunnerGirl Inc. and so tonight while I was updating our online gift shop, I added our holiday section for those who are already thinking about those festive times and who like to shop early.  My favorite items in that section of the online store are those with this clever saying:  All I want for Christmas is a new PR!

All I want for Christmas is a new PR!

This made me think about Christmas and all the special people in my life.  It made me smile about those who make their health and well-being their top priority but it also made me quite sad because some of the people in my life do not make their health and fitness a priority.  I know that I cannot motivate others to take better care of themselves, but I do hope that maybe I can inspire them through my actions.  And basically that is all we can do to help our loved ones.  We can support, encourage, and educate them.  But we cannot make them do it.  We cannot do it for them, as much as we would like to.

I know that for myself I do wish for a new PR and continued good health.  But really, for Christmas, since that is the biggest gift giving holiday in my family, I truly only want one thing:  for my loved ones to make their health a priority.  I would like them to start and stick to a fitness program, eat healthier, and just take better care of themselves.  There’s nothing anyone could buy me that would mean more than spending time with my loved ones who are healthy and happy for years and years to come.

I think being in a car accident or going through any type of trauma like that makes you re-evaluate life a bit and definitely helps you to prioritize.  Be well my friends.     :)


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