Strung Out?

A little bit of link love...

My friend Keith over at Crossfit Virtuosity recently posted a great article about Hamstrings, and how to stretch them properly. If you're anything like me, (no, not lazy!) tight and short hamstrings are a constant issue. I can bend and stretch the rest of me, but those hammies are stubborn!

So check out this article, and take a few minutes after your next run or WOD to stretch!!

*In the interest of full disclosure, I ran 6.6 miles this morning and immediately sat down at my desk.*

ABCs of Running

The following is courtesy of Fleet Feet Baltimore

  • Always be prepared for any kind of weather.
  • Before doing a workout, make sure you do a solid warm-up and stretch.
  • Careful when crossing the streets!
  • Don't be surprised if someone beeps at you while on the roads.
  • Eat something for some energy before heading off on a run.
  • Fartleks always make for a stellar workout.
  • Go to the bathroom before you run! Hydrate yourself before and after a run or workout.
  • Include anyone who wants to join in on your running adventures!
  • Just relax and remember why you are out there running.
  • Keep in mind the next race you have coming up, and train that much harder for it.
  • Let the roads just take you where they please, the best runs are not mapped out.
  • Make mental notes of new trails you discovered.
  • Never be discouraged if you had to cut a run short - at least you got out there!
  • Outdoors was made for runners; we don't need confined rectangle fields!
  • Perseverance and determination lead to successful training and races.
  • Quiet? Never! Cheer on all other runners you see running around our streets!
  • Rest is just as important as workouts.
  • Spit when you need to; just make sure you don't hit anyone.
  • Tell anyone not involved in other activities to give running/walking a shot - the more the merrier!
  • Underestimate your opponent? Never. Always give them the benefit of the doubt, and prove to yourself that you can beat them.
  • Victory waits for you at that finish line or the end of a training run, greet it with a smile.
  • Wear a watch, you'll feel naked without it!
  • Xtreme weather is always hitting our area, so wear the proper gear!
  • You never know what you are capable of until you go out and do it.
  • Zig-zag through the trails and roads, they are always open.

Go Seek

A friend recently sent this graphic to me via email.....

I'm still trying to decide how I interpret it...

Is it a proclamation? A shout out to the world?

Or is it a promise to myself? A mantra of sorts?

Race Report - Reach the Beach 2008

According to their website, the Reach the Beach Relay is the longest distance relay race in the United States. It took place this past weekend, starting at the Cannon Mountain in Franconia, NH. From Cannon Mountain, 355 relay teams ran 200 miles "through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, past fields, lakes, mountain top vistas, and the occasional covered bridge" which, incidentally, was a gift shop; "ultimately finishing along the Atlantic coastline at Hampton Beach State Park, NH".

That, my friends, is the race literature. What follows, in exhausting and smelly detail, is my experience. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I came to be part of RTB through a combination of both luck and stupidity. Good luck for me in that RunninginNYC's sister is nursing an injury and dropped out (bad luck for her, of course), and sheer stupidity that convinced me that taking two days off from work during a busy month was a good idea. But what's done is done, and I am fully convinced that I came out ahead when all was said and done.

After much procrastination, I finally finished up my laundry and packing on Thursday morning (see previous blog posts for further information). With time to spare (surprisingly enough), I set out to pick up
RunninginNYC and Teetime at the Tarrytown Train Station, packed them into the car, and off we went! It was an uneventful 4 hour trip up to Danvers, MA (no tickets! YAY!), and once there we met Notey, Oache and Dr. Oache at the van rental location.

Armed with 4 massive white 15 passenger vans, we made our way to Notey's house. Once there, we picked up the remainder of the crew traveling with us to Hampton Beach. Let the games begin!

Thursday night was a blur of new names and faces, met over dinner and beer (lobster flavored butter and an enormous Newcastle, to be precise). Bellies full, we all made our way back to the hotel, and bunked down for the evening.
RunninginNYC and I were extra-special - our bed came complete with it's own mini-beach! Gotta love the feel of sand between your toes as you drift off into sleep.....

Bright and early Friday morning we crammed our stuff into the vans, grabbed some substandard Dunkin' Donuts, and drove to the start at Cannon Mountain. Gorgeous mountains gave way to a sea of....vans. White vans. Lots of them. As far as the eye could see. Vans dressed up as ambulances, barns, you name it - it was there. That was the first time I realized just how HUGE this relay race was. We took some time to decorate the vans, and then it was time to head over to the Start!

After going through the regulatory inspections and sitting through orientation we wandered around a bit, and before long it was time for Teetime to launch us into the RTB Relay with Leg #1. Once she passed beneath the start banner, we were officially on our way to Hampton Beach. Only 199.99 miles to go!

The next two days were a blur of activity (when we weren't sitting on our tushes in the van, of course!). As each runner set off on their leg, we would go ahead out on the course, check up on them and then meet them at their finish, with the next runner ready to go and waiting for the hand off. Usually it went off without a hitch. I, of course, managed to be in the porta-potty when Teetime came in for the first hand off. Yes, I am that good. Only made that mistake once, though.....

When we weren't running, we were driving. Run, drive, stretch. Rinse, repeat as desired. Ate entirely too many pretzels, swedish fish, PB/nutella/banana/fluff sandwiches. Drank a never ending supply of Coke Zero, Gatorade and the too-occasional water. Always ate too soon before a run, and never soon enough afterwards.

Here's a description of my legs, followed by my translation:

Leg 2: 8.9 miles: hard
[map] 12:51 pm. 1:26:31, 9:35mm avg
  • Leg 2 is one of the longest legs of the race and is rated “hard” due to its length. You will continue down Rt. 3 into the town of Twin Mountain, NH. Once there, you will head east onto Rt. 302 and transition at Bretton Woods Ski resort which was been part of RTB for 9 out of the past 10 years.
Rain. Cold, wet, dreary rain. Gotta love getting nailed by tractor-trailer-rain-spray while running along a highway. I think there were some pretty trees. But mostly highway.

Leg 12: 3.9 miles: easy [map] 9:43 pm, 34:47, 9:04 mm avg
  • The runners for Leg 12 will leave White Lake State Park from the back entrance (vehicles will double back to Rt. 16) and turn right onto Depot Road. Continue along Route 16 for seven tenths of a mile before taking a right turn onto Depot Road. The course continues on Depot Road until the intersection with Tamworth Road where it turns left. Follow Tamworth Road for eight tenths of a mile before reaching the Kenneth Brett School and transition #12. This is VTA #2.
Dark. Mud. Dark. Puddles. More main roads. Did I mention it was wet? Not as wet as my first leg, and not as wet as both of Teetimes, but it was wet.

Leg 22: 5.4 miles: easy-moderate QUIET ZONE! [map] 7:15 am, 49:41, 9:00 mm avg
  • Leg 22 leaves the Barnstead Elementary School and makes a right onto South Barnstead Road/Rt. 126. The runners will follow this road back to Route 28 and turn left. They will stay on this route until they reach Leavitt Rd where they will turn left. They’ll make a quick right turn into an office park (vans will continue going straight for another 100 yards) and then run into TA22 Globe Manufacturing facility parking lot.
Gloriously Dry. Smooshed frog burial grounds along - you guessed it - the highway!

Leg 31: 2.5 miles: easy [map] 3:22 pm, 21:40, 8:42 mm avg
  • Leg 31 leaves VTA#5 and continues down Rt. 111 and eventually turning left onto Main St. You will run past Kingston State Park (our old VTA#5) and rejoin Rt. 111 before transitioning at Sanborn Regional HS#2 on the left..
Oh look, the sun. Great. Oops - in my rush to finish my last leg I started out at a 7mm pace. Neighborhood run, short, quick, painful. Done. Done. Done! My contribution to RTB 2008 was at an end.

Once the rest of my team completed their legs, we made short work of the beer stash, and headed back to our lovely hotel. After dinner, I searched for the elusive Chipwich to no avail. Dejected, I retired to bed only to discover that RunninginNYC and I struck gold TWICE and once again had our own private beach tucked into our sheets.

Sunday dawned rainy and cool, and the weary runners once again piled into vans - but this time to return home.

I think I'm still tired :)

Short version - great weekend, fabulous people, varied course and what has to have been the most well-organized race I have ever participated in. Many thanks to Notey for putting it all together, RunninginNYC for dragging me into it, and Oache & Heater for being the best drivers ever!

Who's in for 2009?

That's What She Said

After 200 miles, 31 hours, 8 miles and 1 second (it was an important second), the 10th annual running of Reach The Beach came to an end. Many thanks to Maria for reintroducing me to my mojo. She is both a fierce runner and entirely too much fun in a van.

A full report on the weekend will follow, but for now I have a date with a Nestle Ice Cream Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich.

Until then, here's a photo of Meredith taking us into our evening runs.

Off to Reach The Beach!

Everything is packed, save my in the van clothes. I'm about to stuff those in :) I even managed to empty the litter boxes, and do Mr. Diva's laundry, so packing for his trip this evening will be much simpler (I'm so good). All that remains to be done is pack the car, fill it with gas, and head on out.

Have a great weekend!

Prepping for the Reach The Beach Relay, Part 2.

  • Work until almost 9 pm Tuesday night.
  • Get home, wait for Mr. Diva to get home with your dinner.
  • Watch bad sci-fi TV while waiting, so as to save Mr. Diva the pain of watching with you.
  • Eat dinner at 10 pm when he arrives home.
  • Do the remainder of your burpees (still 390 behind!).
  • Make another pass around the house searching for Garmins and chargers.
  • Find charger.
  • Look through running drawer for clean outfits.
  • Find none.
  • Look at filled laundry basket with clothing to be put away, so that you can clean running clothing.
  • Debate purchasing all new clothes for the weekend.
  • Make another pass around the house searching for Garmins and chargers.
  • Find charger.
  • Celebrate with dessert.
  • Go to sleep.
  • Wake up with god-awful rash from the atrocious chafing you got during Sunday's run.
  • Take two Benadryl and hope for the best.
  • Catch the bus to NYC, and put an ice pack on the chafing to ease the inflammation.
  • Work out.
  • Attempt to run, give up after .5 mile.
  • Go to Duane Reade, in search of Benadryl cream and/or spray.
  • Purchase Hydrocortisone cream, as there is no Benadryl in stock.
  • Go to work, apply cream.
  • Debate going for an afternoon TM run (Ghostbusters is on TV!).
  • Get kindly reminder from a friend that you're silly, and that you must treat chafing and rash as an injury.
  • Pout.
  • Head to other Duane Reades in search of Benadryl cream and/or spray.
  • Nearly crawl out of your skin while you walk, the itch is so bad.
  • Discover that ALL Duane Reades are OUT OF STOCK.
  • Pout some more.
  • Hit GNC in search of MoJo bars. They don't carry them.
  • Pout (but just a little, and only on the inside).
  • Head to Modell's.
  • Purchase cheap compression shorts to wear under real short during this weekend's relay.
  • Convince yourself that it's OK to break a cardinal rule of racing "Thou shalt not wear/do anything new in a race that thou didst not do in training". First of all, you sure as hell haven't been training, so that's a moot point! Besides, you'll wear the compression shorts you already own for the long leg, and save the new ones for the shorter ones. And this way you won't smell and skeev out your van-mates.
  • Go back to work.
  • Write moderately witty blog post.
Still on the To Do List:
  • Work until 9 pm.
  • Get home at 10.
  • Eat dinner.
  • Finish that bottle of wine while shoving the laundry from the basket into a corner or a drawer (or add it to the ever growing pile in the closet), thus freeing it up for the laundry that is currently in the dryer, making room for the laundry you still have yet to do that needs to be packed tonight, because if you pack tomorrow then you're really in big trouble.
Wish me luck!

Prepping for the Reach The Beach Relay, Part 1.

  • Look at calendar and think "already?".
  • Look again to make sure you're not mental.
  • Take mental stock of clean running clothing.
  • Make mental note to do laundry, since nothing is clean.
  • Attempt to find blinking lights, headlamp and reflective vests.
  • Attempt to find charger for Garmin 205, which is dead.
  • Attempt to find charger for Garmin 305.
  • Attempt to find already charged 305.
  • Give up on Garmins, who needs to know their pace and distance anyway?
  • Go shopping for blinky lights, since yours are obviously hiding with the Garmin supplies.

Ode to Lisa Frank

I miss my Trapper Keeper.

It's the Tuesday after Labor Day, the start of the new school year. If I were still a kid, by now I'd have acquired binders, oodles of lined looseleaf papers, and a brand new wardrobe. Every year I'd dream that I'd become instantly beautiful and popular like Samantha on "Who's the Boss", the year she went from elementary to junior high (and didn't want to eat Tony's packed lunches). Every year I'd still be the same old me.

I don't think we ever grow out of the desire to start fresh and new, and somehow be better than we were before. Just look at the overwhelming popularity of New Year's Resolutions - the desire to make a change, to commit to improving an aspect of our lives that somehow seems to be lacking. Few people, if any, stick to those resolutions. My personal favorite was the year Mr. Diva and I resolved to have one good steak dinner per month - sadly, we didn't even manage to accomplish that for a full year.

Even now, as an adult (cough, cough) for whom the school year holds no real significance anymore, I still feel as though this year will be different. This year will somehow be better. I'll be stronger, I'll be fitter. I'll run further or faster. I'll lift heavier, be able to do a pull up. I'll be a better housekeeper, a better partner. A better me. I may have grown out of my Trapper Keeper, but I may never grow out of that school calendar!

With all that being said, today is something of a new year for me. After 10 days of virtually no physical activity what so ever, I am back. Back to marathon training (virtually unprepared for NYC, but live and learn) and back to my early morning WODs with my CrossFit AM Monsters-In-Training. And this school year, I plan to be thankful for my what my body allows me to do, and to revel in its power and strength - however much it may have to offer me on that particular day.

Today, my body granted me the strength to do a 90 lb Push Jerk. It would have graced me with a 95lb Push Jerk, but my silly mind got in the way.

It's not perfect, but it's a start. As the weight got heavier I tended to lift my heels more and more. But where would the fun be if I only posted the purdy videos, right?

I hope you all have a great school year - see you 'round the hallways!