Category Archives: On the Road

Day 22 of Holiday Run Streak – On the Road Again

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Hello Panda, with new sports printing!

The holiday season is in full swing and I’m still eking out my mile per day.  Earlier this week I went on a couple of icy runs in the city, during which I carefully jogged and then even more carefully walked every time I came to an icy patch on the sidewalk.  I looked like that character from that movie who runs down the school hallway and then casually walks past the classroom windows (the names of both the character and the movie escape me, and Googling yields no answers).  Luckily, I never fell during these sidewalk jaunts, but they were the lamest runs ever.  I didn’t think I could make running only one mile even more ridiculous, but trying to run over intermittent patches of black ice and slush while trying to neither fall down nor injure my knee definitely added another layer of absurdity to my winter “running.”

 

I’m now on the west coast to celebrate Christmas with my family and am squeezing in my (still only) one mile to keep up my streak.  My dad has been doing a “walk streak” since the beginning of December, except he actually walks farther than I run. Let’s not dwell on the fact that he’s in his mid-70s and he’s doing higher mileage than me.

 

Since I’m in the part of the West Coast that is cold and rainy instead of full of sunshine and oranges, I’m back on the treadmill for my daily mile.  The good news is that my parents have a treadmill.  The bad news is that my mother is an excellent cook, and I’ve been stuffing myself as if December 20th is some sort of all-you-can-eat holiday wherein the baby Jesus cries if you don’t finish your plate.  My family also takes great joy in visiting supermarkets that sell foods like chocolate-filled pandas, which is basically food that is specifically manufactured for me.  I’d like to think running one mile per day negates the effects of my fun food times, but my jeans think differently.

 

Tomorrow we head up to Seattle and then Canada, so I expect even more tasty food and hotel treadmills in my future.  It also means I might not be posting from the road, so in case I don’t have the interwebs while up north, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas or other assorted holiday time you might be having, and if you’re participating in the Run Streak, I hope you have excellent running weather and understanding family members who don’t mind you disappearing for stretches of time during your get-togethers, and instead buy you nice things.

 

Are you in holiday-mode yet?  Do you know the name of the movie to which I referred to above?  How’s your RWRunStreak going?  Share in the comments!

Day 3 of Holiday Run Streak – And the Knee Pain Continues

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Ridiculously staged photo, but then I actually sat like this while I wrote this whole post.

I’ve made it through Day 3 of the Holiday Run Streak, doing one mile each day (although today I covered 1.2 miles, or my “long run” as my sister said). I’m already so used to running only 1 mile that even tacking on that extra .2 felt a bit of a burden. I hope it’s because I’ve been doing my miles on a treadmill, which I rarely use and mostly hate, but I fear it’s also because the knee pain is back with increasing strength. Not crippling, but instead of taking a post-run stroll on the beach with my sis, I opted to ice my knee on the couch.

The other bad habit I’ve fallen into is skipping any dynamic warm-up or cool down stretch. That’s been because the first two days I was quite rushed for time, but today I have no excuse. I’ve also forgotten to put anti-chafe on my poor feet, but they’ve held up well when only about 11 minutes of running are required.

 

I’m trying not to turn this into a “one mile” run streak, but until I get back home and figure my knee out, it might just be that. The runner’s gluttony continues, however, as I try to get my money’s worth from the all-inclusive buffet. Did they really expect I would not eat the free, self-replenishing, king-sized peanut M&Ms in the mini fridge, in addition to the breakfast ice cream, lunchtime pudding, tea time cake, plated dinner dessert, and turn-down chocolates? You know me better than that, readers. You know me better than that.

 

Do you know of any resorts that stock free Pop Tarts in the minibar? How is your RWRunStreak going? Share in the comments!

Day 1 of Holiday Run Streak – Feliz Thanksgiving!

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Proof.

Today I am thankful that I did not break the first day of the holiday run streak challenge. It was also the first day I exercised my “one mile” option, and it certainly won’t be the last.

 

Because of travel and a family dinner, I had only a 35 minute window in which to unpack, change, find the hotel gym, run, relay a message to my sister, find my room, shower, change for dinner, and find dinner. It was an exceedingly frantic 35 minutes in which I probably moved the slowest when I was running the actual mile, but I made it in time for a big turkey dinner, sopping wet hair and all.

 

We got to the hotel a little later than expected, and were told that the only turkey dinner was served at 6 pm and no later (this turned out to be false). So I only had an hour to fit in my run before dinner. No problem, right? But I had to wait for my luggage to be delivered (first world problems) since I had no running clothes otherwise. I had finally decided to run after dinner (yuck full stomach, but ok) and just go find my sister (who had arrived earlier) and have a relaxing drink with her – when my luggage showed up. Dilemma! Must decide immediately! Ok, 35 minutes, go go go!

 

I tore through my ineptly packed luggage to gather my running things, scraped my hair into a braid, and hustled down to the gym. I jumped on a treadmill and started running, when immediately my knee hurt and I realized I was stone cold and all summer long had been doing dynamic stretching before running. Oh well, no time for that now! Increase the incline and power through this!

 

Knee warmed up after a bit and I listened to music for the first time in ages, and I started to really enjoy it. This is what I should be doing all the time! Usually when I get to a hotel or get home after a long day of travel I park myself in front of the TV and snack on something. But knowing I only had to do one mile was incredibly freeing, and yet that one mile was also horribly compulsory, which turns out to be the perfect combination to get me off my butt.

 

I would have run longer (ok, maybe only like a half mile longer) but I was short on time so I jumped off, pounded a bottle of water, and went to find my sister to tell her what the dinner plan was. I quickly found her and she already knew about dinner, plus she shamed me into taking a shower (since I was only moderately sweaty from one mile, I was considering just mopping off and changing). But when the crazy hotel toilet splashed me upon flushing, I was ready to boil myself in disinfectant before dinner.

 

I even had time to do my makeup (such as it is) and put on jewelry for our Thanksgiving feast. I ate 5 mini desserts – since I ran today.

 

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving to remember, and that none of you got splashed with any toilet water. But if you did, share in the comments!

MDI marathon finish with medal

MDI Marathon Finished! – quick on the road post

Finished MDI Marathon 2013

I found the finish at the MDI Marathon!

Just a quick post to let you know I finished the MDI marathon and am enjoying my run-free time in Bar Harbor, being exceedingly lazy and eating Pop Tarts (almost) guilt free.

I’ll post a full recap later, but in a nutshell the race was less hilly and less scenic than it was built up to be. I still enjoyed the race, but I think I’ll have more fond memories of the town of Bar Harbor than the marathon itself. I ran faster than expected, finishing in around 5:10, and am sore today but not incapacitated like I was after Vermont in May. The weather turned out to be almost perfect, with the rain stopping just as the race started. The biggest downside to the race were all the open roads, which was great for drivers but not so great for runners. The last 6 miles of the course was basically on the shoulder of a highway open to traffic in both directions, so was neither scenic nor pleasant, and since it was the final 6 miles it sticks in my mind more than the first 20. Again, not a bad race, but not what I was expecting.

But Bar Harbor is even more charming than I expected, and I’m loving every minute here. Tomorrow I’m going to get up early to walk the sand bar to Bar Island during low tide, and hopefully see some whales on a boat tour that was cancelled today because of rough seas. If it’s cancelled again I’ll console myself with 99 cent scoops of amazing homemade ice cream. Or a bike ride on the carriage paths. Or both. But I won’t be running again. For a little while at least…

MDI Marathon Eve – On the Road

Harbor of Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor’s Harbor

Twas the night before the MDI marathon, when all through Bar Harbor,
Not a thing was stirring, not even an orange-red arbor.
The compression tights were hung by the shoes with great care,
In hopes that a new medal would soon be there.

 

The runners were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of PRs danced in their heads.
And volunteers in their t-shirts, and I with my bun,
Had hours to go before the MDI run.

 

When 6:30 comes my alarm will clatter,
I’ll spring out of bed to eat and get fatter.
Carbo-loading I’ll walk to the start in a flash,
But I won’t keep it up – this is no 100-yard dash!

 

The forecast calls for 50/50 rain,
But I’d expect nothing less in this great State of Maine.
But not to worry, nothing to fear,
Since at the finish awaits my free beer!

 

So tomorrow I’ll run all 26.2,
The hills will fly by as I admire the view.
And you’ll hear me exclaim, ‘ere I run out of sight,
“Happy MDI marathon to all, and to all a good night!”

Finished Ragnar ADK – Update on the Finish from the Road

Where's the finish of Ragnar ADK

Found the finish of Ragnar ADK

Team Breaking Ragnar just finished our first Ragnar relay, and boy are our arms tired. Some brief thoughts before I pass out (more from a peanut M&M coma than fatigue right now).

 

  • It wasn’t as exhausting as I thought it would be. Granted, I never had to drive or do any heavy navigating (forever bless my teammates hearts for doing those jobs), but right now, after running 18 miles over 31 hours, I’m fairly amped up, and even when I had to wake up at 3 am to get ready to run again (after closing my eyes after midnight), I wasn’t groggy or feeling too terribly bad. It might all hit me tomorrow after I do get some sleep tonight, but for now I feel surprisingly great.
  • I never wanted to take a shower. I thought my skin would be literally itching for one, but I never was dying for a shower. I always changed immediately after my runs (using the magical “Chawel” changing towel – more on that in future posts), and I used a lot of baby wipes, but once I was in dry clothes I felt refreshed and had no desire to subject myself to school gym showers between running legs. Since van 1 has finished, however, I have already taken two showers and noticed some pretty bad chafing/skin irritation on my neck and arms, so I’m not sure if that’s only from my ill-fitting reflective vest (which rubbed my neck) and heat rash from the Breaking Bad-themed yellow hazmat suit I wore at the finish (very, very, very warm and 100% not breathable) or if it was a lack-of-shower thing, but the next time I do a Ragnar without those two things I’ll find out!
  • I already want to do another Ragnar. I had such a good time this weekend running, cheering for my team and other teams, eating junk food, seeing beautiful scenery, and chatting the ear off my van-mates, plus learning so much about how to more comfortably do a Ragnar (including the fact that 70% of the “must pack” items were totally unnecessary – I’ll tell you which ones in a future post), that I’m ready to sign up for my next one today. We’ll see what the real damage was to my body tomorrow, so it might just be a temporary insanity sleep-deprived desire right now, but I really loved (almost) every minute of it. Now if I can just convince the rest of my team…
  • The race was extremely well-organized and all the volunteers and staff deserve a standing ovation while we can still give them one. It has yet again raised the bar on my race expectations and standards, so good luck to future marathons – I’ll be judging how you organize a measly 26.2 miles (compared to almost 200) with an even more critical eye now.
  • I’m so glad we had a fun theme for our team – it totally made my weekend to see people taking pictures of our van (and our underwear-clad Walter White) and smile and laugh (and very occasionally squeal with delight) as we passed out bags of “blue meth.” Not everyone got it, of course, but making even a few people happier and even more excited for Sunday’s finale was great. And if there were an individual prize for costume at RagnarADK, it would have to go to our Walt. Three legs (including the toughest “Ragnar” hill leg) in the same button-down and underwear and he didn’t even smell bad. Magic, I tell ya.
  • I don’t think I had any cell service for about 80% or more of the course. The best for RagnarADK seemed to be Verizon, followed by T-Mobile, then AT&T, and then very distantly in a “my phone only works as a camera” type way, was my carrier, Sprint. All too often, none of our phones worked. Obviously it’ll depend on where you do your Ragnar, but I’d make sure your team has people with multiple carriers (including one of each kind in each van), or invest in some incredibly high-powered walkie-talkies that work over miles instead of line-of-sight. I had no way to communicate with my team for basically the entire race, but luckily other people were able to coordinate between vans, otherwise exchanges would have been chaos (our estimated times were way off). And luckily I never had an accident or needed to call in anything during my runs, because again my phone only worked as a camera (which I did use, stopping to take pictures during my legs, much to the chagrin of my van-mates).

 

Ok, this was supposed to be brief but as you can see I’m clearly still on a sugar high, but I’ll close things off for now. I’ll do a full race recap later, plus an update to the essential packing list and other tips and advice for those running a Ragnar. Till then, I’ll just say I’ve had more fun this weekend than I expected or hoped, and I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow with locked knees, covered in a rash. Because that would cut into my Ragnar-running time.

 

For all my Ragnar ADK coverage, find my on the road posts here and finishing post here, recaps of Leg 1Leg 2, and Leg 3,  my original Ragnar packing list, and my updated Ragnar Packing List.   If you just want a one-page, unannotated Ragnar Packing list in PDF, you can find it here.

 

Want to run the next Ragnar with me? Share in the comments!

Ragnar ADK – Update from the Road

Ragnar ADK Starting line

Ragnar ADK Starting Line

Van 1 of team Breaking Ragnar just finished our first leg(s) and have successfully handed off to Van 2. Some quick thoughts about my first leg and the experience so far –

  • Time is flying – I thought there would be downtime between runners but basically we just race to support the runner and then the next exchange.
  • Everyone is running their legs faster than anticipated because we’re all so excited
  • It’s beautiful up here this time of year
  • Road kill smells really really bad up close
  • Other teams are very friendly and overall it’s been a lot of fun so far
  • It’s a constant battle to keep the van clean/organized
  • Radio stations in upstate NY tend to be all country
  • I thought I’d want a shower by now but baby wipes and changing into clean clothes has made shower dreams distant. But ask me after my second leg.
  • It’s about 50/50 on people who know the show (or rather details about the show) – but those who do seem to love our theme and especially our very brave runner who is running all his legs as Walt White/Heisenberg in tighty-whities, green button down, and glasses

More to come later!

 

For all my Ragnar ADK coverage, find my on the road posts here and finishing post here, recaps of Leg 1Leg 2, and Leg 3,  my original Ragnar packing list, and my updated Ragnar Packing List.   If you just want a one-page, unannotated Ragnar Packing list in PDF, you can find it here.