Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Week One in the North

It’s warm-up week here in Euclid, and I’m digging in and holding out for the weekend to really get settled. So, I’m just free-running this week and trying to return to some semblance of my former healthy diet.

It’s hard to believe now, 1.5 weeks later, that I made it three months without dessert. You wouldn’t know it from the sugar in my body. In fact, I may have developed an extra sugar bag near my intestines. Where else could it all be processed and held?

But I merely sacrificed an apple and some dried mango for my sweet tooth today—shortly after my first new-house run. I wound for 30 minutes through what E-Speed calls “the comb” and then ran to the Cleveland border and back for a full hour and a little more than 6 miles.

It was a cool day and a pleasant evening for a run, and now I’m totally convinced that getting acclimated to summer weather is going to be one of those tough, one-day smacks in the face that happens one morning when I’m forced to race, race, race!

Don’t get me wrong: weather this year has been tops for running. In my book, at least. A few hot days here and there, a rainy half mary… I’d rather take the gloom and chills over heat and dehydration.

I’ll take whatever comes my way these days, however. While I’m still at a loss for my stuff (after the move), I’m still glowing from the commute improvement.

Even after missing my turn—you get used to a route home, and when you’re going the opposite direction, it takes some practice!—and plugging through some slow-moving MLK traffic, I still made it home in 30 minutes. Beeee-autiful!

I pulled into my driveway energized and ready to run. So, I did.

Monday, May 26, 2008

We're He-re!

After one awesome move, a lot of stairs, plenty of boxes and bruises, tons of dessert and a weekend with family, we're in! Neil and I—eleven strong with friends and family—moved to Euclid. And I'm ready to run!

Short of two runs, I took off training for the past week and abandoned pretty much all nutritional sense. The dessert emancipation has been pretty badly abused, but not too far from deserved.

But I think it’s time to get back to marathon training in my new land.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Road to Recovery Runs Through Stow

Have I mentioned that I've let myself be victim to stress lately? Well, on Tuesday, I let it get the best of me... and I kind of binged on desserts I had saved up in my freezer from the past several months of fasting. It was pretty intense.

While the binge highlighted my need to establish an incentive-based dessert plan, it also pumped me up with so much sugar energy that I continued packing my apartment and finally made it out for a recovery run kind of late on Tuesday evening.

Just 3 miles around 10:00 pace. And what do you know? My legs totally loosened and I feel just peachy today. I (heart) running. How did I ever diss you?

The best part was that I headed outside close to 9 p.m. It's been so long since post-7 p.m. running has been a possibility that I'm uber-raring to move to a sidewalk community where dark doesn't mean done for the night.

Post-7 p.m. running was supposed to continue on Wednesday night at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where I had hoped to join Monica for a fun race. My lack of Akron sense, however, turned me around on OH-59 and I couldn't make it to the starting line on time. Doh!

On the plus side, I had stopped pre-race to visit Melissa in the hospital and to see Melissa and Ryan's new sunshine, Emma Isabel. I spent a quality hour with the girls and enjoyed spending time with an incredible new mother and one sweet little bebe!

My training trailed off this week, however, in preparation for Sunday's move. I ran Tuesday's recovery and then about four slow miles on Friday. Thankfully, much of the week also involved stair reps, moving boxes to and from the car... and that should have offset at least some of the indescribable dessert damage from the week of stress, love and rocky road.

What's next? Movin' on up to the east side...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Cleveland Half Wheezies

My calves and I are itching for a recovery run!

So, then, why have I let two days pass? Well, I have the Cleveland Half Marathon wheezies.

Part way through Sunday’s race, I started feeling a little chest-wheezy, and I teetered on the brink of something all day Monday. Am I getting sick?

I’ve heard that a few other people had similar symptoms, so I thought I’d share the gross details as a kind of PSA.

It was almost impossible to breathe deeply on Sunday and Monday, and I felt just plain beat, a little achy (more sick achy than post-race achy) and just almost, almost, almost stuffy. This must be some kind of running pneumonia, eh?

I came home after work on Monday, made some chicken and brown rice soup, slurped it down and napped away until How I Met Your Mother. Then I just slouched on the couch, sending notes to friends on Facebook until it was time for bed.

We’re still in Stow until we move this weekend, so I had to do the way-early morning thing again, and I had one heck of a time peeling myself out of bed. I’ve been slogging down hot tea all morning and think I’m seeing this thing break. Away with the wheezies!

Moral of the story: I think I’ll take a slight jog tonight and start looking for recovery hereafter. I mean, I do have to train for a marathon here….

Monday, May 19, 2008

Five Things I Learned at the Cleveland Half Marathon

1. Running in the rain isn’t half bad.
Weeks before any event, I track the weather day-by-day to see how my race day will fair. Even 2-3 weeks out, May 18 wasn’t looking good. And as a non-rain runner, I was making too much of the weather. I always do.

Cleveland Marathon takes off on a damp morning last year... this year, the rain was a little more active at take-off!I woke up on Sunday morning, pained to hear lots of drops slapping the windowsill. To my surprise, though, I just got up, put on a baseball cap and rainy-running jacket, and piled into the car with my mom, who dropped me off at the starting line (thanks, mom!).

One of the biggest benefits of training in the blogosphere: getting to know plenty of non-wimps. Afraid of a little rain? Try Salty’s Nor’easter battle at Boston or a couple of E-Speed’s and Monica’s blustery races this winter. Plus, after running in the rain and traily mud with JenC & co. a few weeks ago, I actually thought this might be fun.

And it was.

I made it to the starting corral about 15 minutes before the start and waded through the crowd on an unsuccessful attempt at finding Landon (he ran a stellar full marathon) near the 4:00:00 pacer. By the time I made it to the front of the corral, the pacers had just put up their signs, and people really closed in behind me. So, I stayed put.

Because I ended up next to the 3:10:00 pacer for the start, I blew across the start after the gun and got out of the way. I had anticipated a blast of runners blowing by me, but the whole route seemed wide enough to accommodate the crowd and I didn’t feel slowed or cramped (or that I was slowing or cramping anyone else) the whole 13.1. Nice job, Cleveland!

The coolest part was that I could see the front of the pack for most of the first mile. Granted, it was a straightaway. For a middle-of-the-pack runner, however, that’s pretty cool.

And by the time I crossed the mile-1 marker at 8:17, I was pretty soaked and pretty OK with it.

2. It is possible to run into people you know mid-race.
After my last couple races, my friend Melissa (who’s about to have a baby in 1.5 hours!) reminded me not to over-think my runs and not to psych myself out mid-race whether I’m running too fast or too slow. So, I didn’t.

In fact, after I crossed the mile-2 marker at 16:56 (8:39 split) I stopped focusing on my pace and just ran. I’d check my time at each marker to make sure I was keeping my general desired pace, but I didn’t calculate my times or focus on how long each mile took.

I just ran, ran and absorbed the scenery of Cleveland’s inner East side, lakefront houses on the near West and about 30 guy runners lined up and peeing into the trees of OH-2 between miles 4-5. Ahh, where nature meets the city.

Often on the route, however, I’d get these jolts of energy. And it wasn’t the breaks in the rain, the GU or the prospect of first desserts (OK, maybe a little of the dessert); it was the awesome people roadside cheering us on.

I felt like a bleeping rock star under the West 3rd bridge (which is where, JenC indicates, E-Speed was leading the race’s best cheers!), down Lake Avenue and throughout downtown. Wow-ee. Plus, it was totally rad running into people like Greg on the OH-2 bridge and Kathy on Lake Avenue. What are the chances?

I wish I could have seen the scores of other people, including TriGuyJT, Charlie and JenC running the half, Monica volunteering at Mile 17, Salty and her mom rooting us on (and anyone else I'm forgetting), but I'm glad everyone braved the rain and joined the party!

Boston has Wellesley. Cleveland has John Carroll.3. Wearing a local college T-shirt, however, is also a good way to get cheers.
Not much thought went into throwing on my John Carroll T-shirt on Sunday morning. One T-shirt that doesn’t chafe is just as good as the next, right? Well, the crowds went wild.

At least 10-12 times between Lakewood (when I took off my jacket) and the finish, I had individuals or entire crowds cheering for John Carroll. I’d hear “Yeah, JCU!” and “Go John Carroll!” and “JCU! Woo hoo!”

The best cheer, however, came from a St. Ignatius crowd (the high school and college are closely associated) that yelled out “Hey! JCU!” and cheered loudly while performing an impromptu wave. I have to say my feeling-special-o-meter was off the charts there. It may not have been the Wellesley girls, but I’ll take this Cleveland version!

4. GU is easier to open than Hammer Gel.
I wasn’t too keen on the Hammer Gel version of gooey energy gunk. At least not the container. I hereby declare myself a GU girl.

Hammer gel has a cute design that wasn't so cute around mile 9.Around mile 5, I walked through a water stop (actually, I walked through all water stops—some faster than others) to take down a chocolate GU and power through the next couple miles. Smooth as can be! But when I hit the Hammer Gel station closer to mile 9, it wasn’t so pretty.

Don’t get me wrong: the gel was plentiful, the volunteers rocked and I had my water ready to go. I just couldn’t get the stupid package open! My first try tore the gel right above the tear line and subsequent attempts got me closer, but got me no gel! I went for the second pouch and did the same thing. Grrr!

So, I just stopped running, walked and focused on the Hammer Gel. By the time I finally got the thing open, took it down and started running again, I had probably wasted—beginning to end—at least two minutes. At least I know, for next time, that I can shave off a couple minute by not letting the extra hammer-detailed tab on Hammer Gel defeat me!

5. An easy half marathon makes a nice distraction.
Except for the weather-worrying and a few moments of “have I trained enough?” despair, I didn’t spend much time thinking about the race. Between big work projects and the move, I didn’t have much brain left to focus on the race. And it actually turned out to be a good thing.

My race summaryNot only did I avoid wasting energy being nervous about the race, I ran a totally laid-back half marathon, managed a PR at 1:53:27 (I hit the 10K at 53:55) and earned myself some major dessert-love in the process (still waiting on photos from my mom)!

Neil, my mom and Philip met me at the finish, equipped with smiles, a Boston Cream pie and spoon. Now that's love if I've ever seen it.

I walked away from the finish line still feeling pretty energetic, plenty proud and honestly thinking, “that’s it?” Who would have thought I’d come such a long way? I still remember when I finished my first full mile. Last year.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Full marathon.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I came. I ran. I finished.

Congrats to all who ran (big high fives to Landon and Greg for awesome full marathon runs) and thanks to everyone who cheered, volunteered and watered us.

More later. Especially about the dessert (there are photos).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

You’re Not Welcomed Here…

…is what I said to the momentary cold, flu, allergies, whatever that wiped me out for most of Tuesday.

I woke up really whipped and wrote it off as carried-over exhaustion from the weekend’s running. But by 10 a.m. it felt like much more than that. My throat hurt. I felt on the verge of being stuffy. My head went fuzzy from time to time. It was all I could not to nap at my desk. I still don’t know how I kept my eyes open.

My race-week schedule had me running some short distance (5-6 miles) on Tuesday, and I promised myself I would do it. After a short nap.

I fell asleep around 5 p.m. and was CERTAIN I would wake up with the flu. This thing just didn’t seem shakable. And when I woke up an hour later, I still felt like poop. So I ate.

What do you do when you’re under the weather? I know there’s the old feed this/starve that, but if my stomach is even close to A-OK, it’s getting fed. Perhaps it’s the spike in blood sugar or sheer hunger-related satisfaction that makes me feel better (if only for a moment). Whatever it is, it works.

Two soy butter and fruit spread (a.k.a. peanut butter and jelly) on toasted multigrain English muffins later, my stomach was happy! I picked up my computer and plugged away at work to the tune of the Indians game. And two hours later, I felt almost fine.

Which leads me to ask (pardon the language): WTF?

It’s like my body just wanted to give me a race-week scare. “So, you think you’re ready for 13.1 miles? Ha! Try it sick as a hippo!”

Most people who know my "I'm not sick and I don't need to rest.... ever" attitude will be surprised to learn that I didn't run. You read that right. I stayed in. I rested. What do you know? I feel better. I think.

This morning wasn’t as bad as Tuesday; I hope the progress continues. The rain, however, seems to be in on the joke, and it will likely dampen tonight’s miles.

Oh well. I only have tonight and Thursday night runs before I rest. And then, I don’t know, maybe I’ll take a 13.1-mile stroll around Cleveland on Sunday. Just for kicks and pride.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Hudson

Just to recap: I was running through Hudson last week when an approaching car, which was about to blow through a stop sign, almost hit me when I was in the middle of the street, in the middle of the crosswalk. It was almost the second time a car struck me, but that Jag had some good brakes.

The other incidents I described (the meanies in Stow, the nicies in Euclid) weren't car related at all, but just me, losing my sidewalk grip with two left feet.

Strangely enough, I can dance!

Most of the past week’s training, however, took a backseat to my continued battle against stress. It was all self-induced, really, and, therefore, my fault. But would it win?

The hardest part was shaking off the stress-battle fatigue and getting my butt outside. And I knew with the Cleveland Half speeding up on May 18, I should really consider getting in some miles before race day. What a bright idea!

So, I woke up early on Saturday and took a Stow-to-Hudson 16-miler (we move in two weeks, so it was my last one here) on what turned out to be a near-perfect morning. It started out super chilly—higher winds, bigger clouds and temps in the upper 40s—but warmed up to the lower 60s about 30 minutes down the road.

It was yet another good exercise in running with a jacket, without a jacket, with a jacket and getting stuck halfway out of it too. One of these days I need to invent some type of force field that can cover and uncover me when I hit x degrees. Put it on the to-do list!

But a funny thing happened when I was crossing Oviatt and Aurora: I saw a police officer ticketing a driver for running the stop sign and hitting, you guessed it, a runner. No, it wasn’t me! It was, though, the same intersection where I was almost bumped on Thursday.

I didn’t really stop to talk (it pulled a crowd), but as I slowly trotted by, I heard everyone saying that drivers have to start acknowledging runners and that pedestrians have to learn to stand their ground, follow traffic rules and take their right of way—lest drivers forget they must yield. Within reason for pedestrians, obviously.

That last part came from the police officer. And I think that as communities like downtown Hudson try to attract a pedestrian crowd, getting drivers not to run over those pedestrians will be key!

Instead of eavesdropping at that scene, I stopped for Vitamin Water at Heinen’s and practiced drinking on the run. I’ve toyed with walking through race water stops the past couple races and have gone pretty much stitchless on race day since the middle of last year. Knock on wood.

And on Saturday, I managed to drink (I’d walk, sip and then run) sans stitch for most of the run and then belly-breathe my way out of an almost stitch right around mile 10.

The only real problem, which is a regular on my long runs, was my foot aches around miles 12-13. Every time I run 11+ miles, I get achy feet. Even in new shoes. When I first started feeling the pain last year, I thought it would subside with time and conditioning, but it seems to have an 11-mile trigger.

Granted, it’s not a painful experience and, therefore, not a real concern. It’s just more of an annoyance. Perhaps at mile 10 I’ll change shoes. We’ll see.

I finished the 16-miler around 2.5 hours (9:30/mile), ran upstairs, showered, dressed, moved boxes into my car and sped to Cleveland for my brother’s graduation. (Congrats to Nino on his big college graduation! Here’s to his bright future and imminent world-changing!) Let me tell you that carrying boxes down three flights of stairs after a 16-miler doesn’t feel remotely as peachy on the knees as you might have guessed. At least it wasn't up three flights of stairs.

Yet my legs didn’t feel remotely as stiff when I woke on Sunday as I might have thought.

I woke up around 6:15 a.m. on Sunday to run a few miles with Landon (6.25 miles to be exact) for our last outing before the Cleveland races. Landon’s going the full 26.2; I’ll quit halfway. It was incredible to see how desolate a cloudy 6 a.m. Sunday can be. We saw maybe 2-3 people and twice as many cars.

We started the run pretty fast (after I warmed up to our meeting spot), but had to slow down once my legs woke up and stiffened up around mile three. I managed to keep rolling at the speed of stiff, but mostly enjoyed the trip with Landon out to the park and back before taking a walk break to his house and then making the stiff, stiff, stiff run back to my house before it started to rain.

So, my outlook for the Cleveland Half is good. While I don’t feel as prepared as the Akron Half, I’m confident in my ability to finish 13.1. But I don’t know that I’ll have a time goal. Maybe just to beat my last time (1:54:10) or just have fun doing it.

Marathon Training Week 5: 33 miles

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Beware the Wily Road Warrior

So, it almost happened again: I was almost hit by a car. But first, the early week.

Stress and stuff was still irking me on Monday and Tuesday, but I hit the road on Monday for five miles. I decided to ditch the marathon training assignments until after the half because my stress-waddiness and lack of energy haven’t blended at all with the concept of running 30+ miles a week or coming home to run over ten miles after work.

LBJ needed a break on Tuesday tooGo with what works, right?

Despite every intention to run again on Tuesday, I fell for the Cleveland sports spell and lay on my living room floor mesmerized by playoffs and Yankee spankings. Lucky for me, my resistance bands, yoga mat and weights lay also on the living room floor near the television.

Cross-training Tuesday it was! I returned to some serious stretching, ab work and lower-back exercises, which will have to become part of my everyday once our relocation is complete.

Wednesday morning seemed really promising. I walked into work around 7 a.m. and almost took a detour into my gym bag. There hasn’t been a more perfect morning this year, and somehow I didn’t run through it.

If you live in NEOhio or love the Weather Channel, you’ll know it was all downhill from there. Clouds, wind, storms, rain. You name it.

The walk to workWhen I left work, however, it seemed to brighten up (no, not because of me) outside, and I decided to drive to Hudson, park at the grocery store, run a few and then pick up dinner.

It’s about an hour drive, so you can imagine the weather, my energy and my bladder were completely different versions of themselves by the time I pulled into Heinen’s. Unfortunately, the only bathroom in downtown Hudson I know of is the one at Main Street Cupcakes, and I just can’t visit until after the Half.

Yet on I ran.

I followed a 6-mile triangular double loop that traveled from Main Street down Aurora to North Hayden and up Streetsboro, if you’re familiar with the area.

It had some climbs and I took a few semi-detours up some hills, but encountered the biggest challenges from the wind, rain and automobiles.

On my second trip around the triangle, I was crossing a side street just as a Jaguar was headed for a stop sign. Or so I thought.

There I was, wearing fire-engine red shorts, a sunny yellow T-shirt and a blindly orange baseball cap, crossing the street. I couldn’t have been more noticeable if I had been wearing enflamed, bottomless chaps with a neon arrow sign that said “Look at me.” But alas, the driver missed both the stop sign and the runner.

Downtown HudsonIt didn’t take me long to know I should watch all cars—stationary or rolling—in front of which I am crossing. And it still blows my mind when you’re staring at a car and its driver, and they both keep moving.

The driver finally noticed the glowing beacon of don’t-hit-me crossing in front of her car and stopped. Meanwhile, I was turned halfway toward the car (ready to brace myself and crash into the windshield instead of going under) with a WTF look on my face. Then WHAM!

The ground hit me.

When I turned away from the car, I momentarily lost my orientation, stumbled and totally wiped out. Thankfully, I didn’t fall on my knees again this time (I’m tired of looking like a nine-year-old girl with scraped knees), but crashed onto my left hip and both palms. I’m a little scraped and bumped; I’m OK for now.

My neck whipped when I hit the ground, so I was wholly disorientated when I finally crawled onto my feet. Not to mention the whip of embarrassment.

Unlike the last car incident, this driver didn’t get out and scream at me. She followed me down the street, pulled into a driveway and offered me a ride. Another driver also pulled up to offer a ride along the way. I must have been a pathetic sight. So, two points for Hudson.

Once I collected myself and stopped my whimpering and limpering, I started back into my three-mile loop just as the ran really started to pour. I was just about the start feeling all Eeyore again, but I’m kind of bored with feeling sorry for myself. And off I ran.

My right felt a little tweaky; my head and neck felt a little off; and my left hammy just wasn’t right. Nevertheless, I finished the trek around Hudson and walked into my favorite grocery store, semi-sweaty, rained-on, dirty, a little bloody and really scraped. I can only imagine the meticulous produce boys weren’t digging my digging for good apples today.

All this falling and car-dodging got me thinking, though: how do communities rate for runner courtesy? Obviously singular circumstances with individuals don’t speak to the whole community, but I wonder what a thorough investigation might find.

I think I want this whole thing to myself on May 18The two times I had incidents in Stow, for example, I was yelled at when I was hit by a car, ignored when I wiped out near an intersection and beeped at when I slowly crossed the street all bloody and limping.

I wiped out on Babbitt Road in Euclid last summer, and the passers-by couldn’t have been more helpful. All traffic stopped (I was on the sidewalk), two people offered me a ride, another offered to call an ambulance, one person came out of his house to help and another woman parked her car and came to me with a First Aid kit. Impressive.

I’ll give Hudson the benefit of the doubt this time. Besides, they do have some pretty good cupcakes. Have I ever mentioned that? While they don’t seem to have the same stop-at-stop-signs tradition we follow in other parts of the country, I did get two offers of help. And that’s not so bad.

If nothing else, today was perfect training for incidents, injuries and inclement weather. I had a mean stitch miles 1-3 and kind of started praying for a bathroom when I was 2.5 miles out. Diving face-first into the cement, however, totally made me lose the stitch and forget about my bladder. So, next time you’re in a bad running situation… you know what to do ;-)

Monday, May 5, 2008

How does stress affect your training?

It took me a while, but a couple years ago, I realized something about myself: I’m surrounded by stress-wads. No, no, I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense (many of these stress-wads are people I love and admire); it’s who they are. And so long as they don’t sink from stress-wad to stress-monger, they’re A-OK with me.

Some stress is OKOn a typical day, I am a stress-free zone. About ten years ago I verified for myself that stressing didn’t positively affect any situation (its negative effects were plenty), so I just quit. Cold turkey. It’s been a glorious decade.

Swatting down the mongers makes me smile now, and I (heart) converting my favorite stress-wads into chilled-out versions of their old selves. Talk about satisfying work!

I don’t let much of anything get to me, and when it does, I let off a five-minute soapboxing rant about what’s eating at me and then I just breathe easy. Sigh.

But sometimes you just can’t escape it. And the stress will eat you alive.

That’s what has happened to me the past 2-3 weeks. When my stress reaches fever pitch, I internalize most of my feelings and get worn down by it. I lose my energy, my ability to think, my will to blog. Yet I press on with my mantra, stress does no good; soon this will all go away. Excuse me while I go sit in full lotus and repeat that to myself…

Poor Neil, however, knows how well my chilled approach treats the stress-has-finally-breached-the-secure-zone alarm. Zero patience. Zero sympathy. Zero energy. And you can probably see how each of those mount on each other to make one unpleasant G.

If you look like this at the end of the day, you're probably doing something wrongLast week it finally started taking its toll on me. I was tired, cranky and wildly uncreative in my work. Then there was the training.

On Tuesday I headed for the towpath to do my brief “speed” work. After a 10-minute warm-up, I headed into 4x1600 at 10K pace with 3:00 recovery jogs. We all know, however, I don’t have a clue about pace.

I ran the first mile at 7:35 and recovered pretty quickly before setting out on mile two. Because the first was too fast for me, I just tried to run comfortably hard—pushing myself but not sprinting or overexerting—for the second. And, of course, ran it in 7:25. Grrr.

What should bug me most is that I can’t control my speed or even get a sense for how fast I’m going. In fact, during mile one I was certain I was below 9:00/mile. But I’m more irked that I can hardly break 8:30/mile in a race yet I’ve almost always been able to sustain (outside brief speed work) faster paces when I’m training.

Silly girl: train slower, race faster! How did I fracture my leg last year?

Strange as it sounds, fortunately my stomach started acting up on me as I headed into mile three. Lucky me, right? At least I know that if my legs aren’t going to stop me from running too fast, my innards will. I ran the miles back to the car at a sustained pace around 9:00/mile for a total of 4-5 miles.

Ahh, deadlines...My thigh pain nagged all day Wednesday, so I laid off the running and stuck to weight and core cross-training. It made me nervous to feel that twinge because it was two weeks out from the Akron Half (the Cleveland Half is two weeks from this past Sunday) that I really started feeling the stress fracture. But this pain wasn’t nearly as bad. No crying on the road involved.

And it wasn’t that bad by Thursday when I ventured out with Landon to do an hour of hill repeats on some disconnected stretch of Cleveland’s touch of the Towpath near Newburgh Heights. We ended up finding some mile-long portion of the Towpath that hadn’t found its way (yet) the rest of the trail and ran its hills for a while.

There was no super speed on this training day! It wasn’t sweltering (may a few pinches below 80), but it was hotter outside than any other day I’ve run this year. My legs just weren’t moving that day and the week’s stress weighed me down. But the stitch was more active than ever!

As we headed down one hill, I felt the thing coming on strong, so I tried to follow the condescending advice of one Runner’s World expert: “run through it—stitches only hurt a little bit and last only a few miles.” The minutes and the miles passed; the stitch did not. In fact, it got so bad that I could barely breathe or keep moving. We took a walk break to work the thing out, but it never really went away. Thank you, Mr. Runner’s World Expert!

(Note: we found the actual Towpath on our way home and should hit the Cleveland portion of the trail any day now!)

And that, my friend, was the extent of my quality miles for last week. Barely ten total.

My thigh ached on Friday and then we spent the weekend at our house in Euclid, dogsitting. I only ran Lucy and Harley about a half-mile each (we walked for many, many more) during the two-hour break in Saturday’s rain. My thigh started nagging again, so I rode the elliptical for 30+ minutes and hoped for better feelings on Sunday. It didn’t happen. So, I called it a week.

On the bright side, I gave myself a week of relative rest for a thigh that was obviously not doing well. Do I really need to run 30+ miles when my thigh aches in the morning? Probably not.

It’s a new week. The stress that I felt last week, which kept me from thinking, smiling, running, blogging, has lifted. And I’m not letting it pin me down again. In just a few weeks, the huge work projects, the move, the life changes will have hit their peaks and begun to roll down.

By the then the Cleveland Half will be done, I’ll be able to settle into my new house and I'll relax with a smile and a cupcake.

A girl can dream...