Monthly Archives: March 2008

Special Delivery, The Second

I got my official runner packet for the 112th Boston Marathon. Yippee zazoo!

It came with a number voucher for the fabulous 23609 (good guess, Sissy) and a super- frightening informative book of Marathon weekend deets.

Did you know there was an offical dance party for all marathoners at the Roxy?

Did you ever hear of exertional hyponatremia? Oh, it’s nothing really. Just another thing to keep me up at night with cold sweats and chattering teeth consider before game day.

On the positive – do you remember my first special delivery? Oh, how quickly the time passes!

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23906

But what does it mean?

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Cheese

Hey, Marathoners, it’s time for your close-up!

Here we are, the proud and the faithful: The Boston contingent of the Miles for Miracles team.

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Note the effectiveness of the reflective material on our tops, hats, sneakers, etc.

I’m 4th from the left in the front row. Is that a boy? No, it’s Kerry and her trusty glowing fuel belt. Coach Annie is the cutie preggo on the right. (Big news: her baby boy was born last night! I wonder if Saucony makes itty bitty baby shoes.)

Below: The Miles for Miracles ladies, chugging along. march_22nd_team_run_004.jpg

Take THAT, Heartbreak Hill!

Consider this the Where’s Waldo of Kerry’s running pics – If you look very closely, you can see my oh-so-slender left hip poking out from behind the runner with the red collar. I’m 4th from the left.

What you don’t see? My absolute glee and indefatigable joy at being only 4 weeks away from game day!

What you don’t hear? The runner on the right, happily trotting down the hill, shouting, “Suckers!”

Photo Credit: Coach Annie

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Victory

I did it! 18 miles! WHEW! Lots of exclamation points!!! Lots of CAPS! Come on, people, put your hands up! Say it with me: “EIGHTEEN MILES!”

Katie, Jen and I (along with Holly and about 15 other Miles for Miracles runners), completed the New Bedford Half Marathon yesterday. But not before running 5 miles – at pace – as a (hold on to your hats) warm up.

All told, it took me about 2:46. I was psyched to run in an official race with time chips, numbers, water stops and (some) spectators. My lower back became very crunchy (yum) about 13 miles in, but after scaling three decent-sized hills (that have nothing on Heartbreak) and braving a pretty intense headwind brought to me by the Atlantic Ocean, I did it.

And I’m ready for the 21-miler on March 29 and 26.2 on April 21.

A treat for you – three sweaty hot runners:

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Proof that my “running partners” are actual people. That’s Katie, Jen and I, at Train Boston, after our 12.5-miler.

I’ll try to take more photos in the coming weeks, but some of this stuff you just have to see to believe.

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Ma’am

That’s right, he called me “ma’am.” And he completely made my run.

Who’s he? He is a young boy – maybe 11 or 12 – who looked just like my brother Stevie when he was little. He was very tall and hopelessly skinny, with legs that stretched ‘til tomorrow and thick, misbehaving hair whose red wisps poked out from below his perfectly fitted and obviously loved Red Sox hat.

I happened upon him the other day, about 3 miles into a not-so-effortless 5-mile run. Or, I happened upon his neon yellow softball.

“Ma’am,” he hollered from across a rush-hour filled Center Street, “Can you please throw me my ball?”

And without a thought, I stopped running, stooped down, grabbed the ball before it rolled to the dreaded sewer, grabbed it and waited for a space in the traffic before I wound up (eat your heart out, Papelbon) and tossed it to him.

“Goooooooooooood throw,” he yelled. And he meant it. I think.

And with that, I smiled, he thanked me, and I headed home – with a spring in my step. It’s the little things, I guess, that keep me going after a long day at work or a stressful, uncomfortable run.

Seeing the boy in the ball cap reminded me of being young, playing catch in the backyard or wildly chasing a ball to prevent its certain demise in the sewer.

Also: I find that if it’s not a fellow runner (and even sometimes when it is), the person you pass on the street in Newton rarely says “hello”, let alone engages in a friendly conversation. Long runs can get lonely and sometimes all you need to pass the time is a little reminder of the good old days and a healthy dose of encouragement.

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Anticipation

So I read this post, forwarded by my fabulous sister, who ran 5.5 miles yesterday. On the treadmill. Without stopping. Can I get an, “Amen”?

It got me thinking (the post, not the sisterly jogging, but really, Colleen – you rock! Out loud. And in full color. Technicolor, even.). The worst part of this marathon for me (because you were REALLY hoping to hear MORE negativity, weren’t you?) is the anticipation.

• What to wear?
• What to eat (before, during and after)?
• How to stretch?
• Will my watch crap out on me?
• (Speaking of crapping out – oh no, I’ve gone there – I’ll stop now – but you get the hint – just another pre-run concern)
• What time to wake up?
• What will the weather be?
• Ball cap or ski cap?
• Gatorade or water?
• Gu or beans?
• Where (oh WHERE) to apply the Body Glide?

And the list goes on.

The good news? Once I get there, to the suburban training center where the Miles for Miracles team meets – just before 8am, every Saturday morning – I’m fine. The anxiety shifts to excitement and with the very first step, the mission has begun. Game ON, marathon!

As the steps become strides and the strides take shape into miles, the conversation with fellow runners flows, the previously awkward sneakers become just an extension of my legs, and snacking mid-run becomes a silly, fun, can-I-squirt-the-Gu-at-just-the-right-angle-so-to-spare-my-shirt game.

And the run becomes one step closer to the finish line – and $5,350 for Children’s Hospital.

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Stumped

For several summers as a child, I went to sleep-away summer camp – Camp Calumet in Ossipee, New Hampshire, to be exact.

At the time, I didn’t realize how kumbaya-y it was; it was where all the other kids in my hometown spent their summers, so it was where I had to be. But, that’s another story. I loved it – especially the rainy days.

Most would think rainy days at an outdoor swimming/boating/archery-ing summer camp would be a total bummer. But not for us, for at Camp Calumet, when the gods gave us puddles, we went stumping.

Have you ever puddle-stumped?

When the rain came down, we merry campers put on our crappiest clothes (even PJs), zippered over our raincoats (of the L.L.Bean variety, of course) and headed out.

The New Hampshire woods provided plenty of natural divots in the earth and since the walking paths were covered in moss, dirt, and – look out – rogue roots, when it the clouds opened, the entire camp became a kind of muddy slip-and-slide of mud pie-making fun.

So, my cabin mates and I (yes, cabin mates – not sure how many of you can picture my flat-iron and Keihls’ eye cream-toting self in a wooden cabin without screens on the windows, but go ahead, imagine away, it happened, ask my mother) would make it our mission to stump (read: stamp, jump around in, punish) every puddle in our path.

That was, until, we hit up Sasquash, the granddaddy of all Calumet puddles. It was gigantic (read: 5’x7‘), deep (um, knee-height on a 10-year-old), and dangerous (filled with unknown contents left up to the young stumper’s imagination – dread). We would dare each other to walk the length shoeless, do the feared dead man’s float, and even drink the mysterious Sasquashian juices. (Gulp.)

And when the sun poked through the skyscraper-esque pines, we would reclaim our flip-flops, peel off our half-hardened mud shells, and spend the next 24 hours plucking pine needles from our ear canals, having relished every moment of the parent-disapproved, squealingly sloppy, blissfully memory-making rainy-day fun.

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The Boston weather has been a bit crappy these last several days and my resolve to not only get my tush out there to run, but to then report back with miles and minutes and songs, has dwindled, but I’m thinking, if this marathon is going to give me puddles, I’m going to stump the heck out of them, and take a more Calumet-y approach to relaying the storms, mud pies, and pools of splendid Sashquashian delight.

I hope you like my new angle.

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