Monday, June 22, 2009


You guys, I PROMISE I still love you all (how could I not?)!!! It's just that it is now race week (yikes!), and shizz is CRAZY, what with last minute planning and trying to squeeze all of my little errands and chores in before I leave (VERY early) on Thursday morning (note to self: next time you do a marathon vacation like this, a) plan ahead a little better and b) take an extra day off BEFORE you leave to take care of all of this stuff so that you aren't so darned stressed out!).

Anywho . . . tonight, I'll be getting my first ever deep tissue massage, and I am basically terrified. I am such a wimp; I'm not sure how this is going to go. But oh well. I'm sure it will be worth it in the long run, considering my left shoulder and neck are so f'd up I feel like my head is on crooked (not to mention there are knots in my calves the size of my head)! Oy vey.

I'm not going to lie, I'm probably not going to have much time to catch up on your wonderful blogs until I return home from Seattle (I'm sorry!) . . . but let me just say that I look very much forward to doing so. I love you guys! Okay, back to work for this girl!

Eek, 5 days!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just Call Me Piggy!

Okay, here's another post I promised about a century ago. Fair Weather Runner has been waiting a long time for this one, I know . . . It's my Snapple Big Apple Barbecue Block Party report! I think there was also supposed to be a long run report that went along with it, so I'll do a speedy recap of that, and then get to the good stuff. I apologize ahead of time to any vegetarians out there (you might want to skip the BBQ report)!

So the abbreviated version of the long run report goes like this: Had 12 on the schedule, ran with Wilson, left 30 minutes later than planned, felt like my legs were dead by mile-2, stopped to stretch, considered cutting the run short, but kept on going, there were 80 bazillion races going on in the park (bike and running), it was kind of annoying, stopped to take a vanilla gel around mile-5 (yes, the same flavor I'd puked up the previous week), gagged the second I opened it, but then managed to suck it down without losing it, resumed running, moved to the dirt path instead of the main asphalt road in an attempt to stay out of the race participants' ways, tweaked my ankle a little bit on some stupid roots sticking out of the ground, kept running, finally cut the run short at 11.09 miles (my ankle was feeling pretty wobbly and Wilson was struggling too). Then we grabbed HUGE Dunkin' Donuts iced coffees to celebrate. The end.

THEN? It was time for BBQ!!

Now first, let me explain what this event is. As I mentioned, it's called the Snapple Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, and it's basically the best thing ever. It is held in Madison Square Park, and it attracts the nation's top pitmasters. As the event webpage explains:

"At the 2009 Snapple Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, 15 of the nation’s top pitmasters showcased their unique, award-winning regional barbecue styles, including new additions from Alabama, Tennessee and Missouri."

The pitmasters represented (shown along with the restaurants they represent and the menu selections they would be serving for $8 a plate) were as follows:

Ken Callaghan
Blue Smoke - New York, NY
Kansas City Ribs & Pickled Okra

Pete Daversa
Hill Country - New York, NY
Beef Brisket & Cool as a Cucumber Salad

Joe Duncan
Baker’s Ribs - Dallas, TX
St. Louis-Style Ribs & Jalapeno Coleslaw

Jimmy Hagood
BlackJack BBQ - Charleston, SC
Pulled Pork Shoulder & Coleslaw

Chris Lilly
Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q - Decatur, AL
Pulled Pork Shoulder & Crisp Spicy Southern Mustard Coleslaw

Patrick Martin
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint - Nashville, TN
Western Tennessee-Style Whole Hog with Sweet Pickles

Mike Mills
17th Street Bar & Grill - Murphysboro, IL
Baby Back Ribs & Beans

Ed Mitchell
The Pit - Raleigh, NC
Whole Hog & Coleslaw

Garry Roark
Ubon’s “Champion’s Choice” - Yazoo, MS
Pulled Pork Shoulder & Coleslaw

Drew Robinson
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q - Birmingham, AL
Homemade Smoked Sausage with Pimento Cheese & Saltines

Michael Rodriguez
The Salt Lick BBQ - Driftwood, TX
Beef Brisket, Sausage & Coleslaw

John Stage
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que - New York, NY
Pulled Pork Shoulder & Beans

Skip Steele
Pappy’s Smokehouse - St. Louis, MO
St. Louis-Style Ribs & Beans

John Wheeler
Rack & Soul - New York, NY
Baby Back Ribs & Beans

Ed Wilson
Wilson’s Barbeque - Fairfield, CT
Texas Style Brisket & Coleslaw

Okay, so now for some photographic evidence of the feast we had. We started with three plates of BBQ a piece (our friend Tri had already eaten one of his while standing on line--it just smelled TOO good not to!)--If I recall correctly, these were from The Salt Lick (the brisket, sausage and coleslaw plates), 17th Street Bar & Grill (the ribs and beans plates) and Hill Country (the beef brisket with cucumber salad plates):

Here I am enjoying one of my favorite things on earth . . . the to-die-for sausage of The Salt Lick (Driftwood, TX).

After finishing the first three plates, we were still aching for more barbecue . . . so we grabbed another round. I think this one was from The Pit.

I am pretty sure this next plate was from BlackJack . . . although, I'm not 100% sure.
I was so stuffed by the time we got to BlackJack (plate number 5!), that I just couldn't do it. Turns out it wasn't that awesome anyway (whew!) As you will see below, I forced Tri to eat my last plate. I don't think he minded :)

Finally, here I am with "the carnage" as we called it. As you can see, we kind of ate a lot. Tri won first place with 6 plates, Wilson ate 5 plates and I ate a measly 4 plates. I think I'm going to have to train for this even next year so that I don't come in last place again! Speaking of carnage, please don't mind my protruding dislocated left collar bone; it's the result of my infamous tumble down the stairs back in October. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it's kind of gross. But I live with it . . . so the least you can do is look at a picture where it's sticking out all over the place! Ha, I kid, I kid. But it is kind of disgusting . . .

As we were leaving, we stumbled upon one of the "whole hog" tents.

If you thought that last picture was gross, wait until you see this one, where the pitmaster men are actually digging crap out of the hog. Also, we saw the one dude drop his sunglasses into the hog. That was almost enough to force my stuffed gut to lose its contents.

Oh ribs, you are so beautiful to me!

A shot of the crowd. I usually steer clear of mass chaos like this . . . but not when there's meat involved! This was literally the best day ever!

In other news, I think I erroneously led some of you to believe that my marathon is THIS weekend. No, it's just that I'm so psychotic that I start looking at the weather reports on accuweather as soon as they are available (15 days beforehand!). The race isn't actually until a week from Saturday. Thank goodness, because I think I'll need some extra time to burn all of that pig and cow off! Whew!

Hope you all have an amazing weekend! :)

Who Wants Some Banana Bread?

Seeing as how I'm trying to prevent myself from checking accuweather for the 5 billionth time today (high of 77 on race day?! Yikes!), I figured I should make good on my promise to Heather at Trials of Training . . . and post my infamous "healthy" banana bread recipe!

Now in the interest of full disclosure, it does taste a teensy bit "healthy". If you're used to buttery, sugary banana bread, it's not going to taste THAT good to you. But still, it tastes REALLY freaking good . . . especially for something that's not all that bad for you! I personally think that it tastes delicious enough that I never need to make "real" banana bread ever again! And the great thing is that it is very moist, which is the biggest complaint I've heard about "healthy" breads like this. If you happen to have any over-ripe bananas laying around, don't throw them out! Make this bread! :)


1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 mashed bananas
1/2 cup flaxseed
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2. In a large bowl, beat applesauce and honey together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas, vanilla and flax seed.

3. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon). When well-mixed, fold dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredients.

4. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts if using.

5. Spread batter into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes (but check as soon as 40 minutes--baking times can vary). Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thank You, Google!

Ah, the wonders of the interwebs. Thanks to their magnificent randomness, I found the coolest thing today . . . and I just have to share. I was bored out of my mind, googling everything I could think of to google, and after reading Absolut(ly) Fit's post about how she's signed up to run the Running with the Devil Marathon (pretty bad ass, huh?!), I decided I wanted to read more RWTD race reports (I do this a lot--google race reports for random races. It's sad, I know). So out came the google, and wouldn't you know, one of the first reports I found was from The Story of A Redshirt blog.

Now, I like to think of myself as a relatively green and earth-friendly person, and I have frequently wondered about the bins of running clothes I own and pondered how environmentally friendly/harmful they are. Well, unlike me, Jeremy actually took the time to research and find this info out. It turns out, many of the "technical" running clothes many of us treasure are not only environmentally harmful, but they also contain carcinogens (um, you know--like the stuff that causes cancer?!). And also? When we're good and done with the clothing, it inevitably ends up in landfills (at least 85% of it does), where it can sit for thousands of years leaking EVEN MORE chemical badness into the Earth. Gross, right? As Jeremy put it, "Instead of running, why don’t I just sit on my couch, eat a Big Mac, smoke a pack of cigarettes, and throw some more toxic waste in the Potomac River?" Touche.

Thus, Atayne was born. "So what's so cool about their performance tops?" you may be wondering. Well, how about the fact that they are made from trash? Yup, you heard me! Taken from this page on their website:

"Traditional performance apparel is made from virgin, non-renewable materials, contain questionable chemical treatments, and usually find their ultimate home in a landfill. Our competitors call that a treasure. We call it trash.

At Atayne, we use recycled polyester (from plastic bottles) and Cocona (activated carbon from coconut shells) to create our performance apparel. Our competitors might call that trash. We call it a treasure.

Why do we do it?It’s better for people, better for the planet, and better for performance.Plus, it is fun to tell people your clothing is made from trash.That’s our point of view."

Cool, huh? Now I haven't tried any of their tops out yet . . . but I'm definitely going to. I mean, if they can withstand the harsh conditions of Running With the Devil, then they've got to be doing something right (yes, Jeremy's cohort, Mike, actually ran one of the RWTD events to test their stuff out and make sure it was the real deal)! So hey, if you are so inclined, check out their fabulous website (it has lots more info and cool stuff than I could possibly pack into one post) and The Story of a Redshirt blog. It's very interesting stuff.

Alright, I promise I will catch you all up soon on what I've been up to . . . just wanted to share this with you before I forgot!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Waiting Game . . .

Hey y'all! I thought this post would be appropriate since I am in the middle of tapering and anxiously waiting for marathon day to get here (as I'm sure you're all WELL aware of by now). What you may not know, though, is that I am waiting for some other HUGE things in life right now. NO, I'm NOT preggers. So sorry, but there won't be any Irish Jr.'s running around quite yet. Instead, what I'm waiting for is my "grown-up life," as I like to think of it.

I've been at my current job for (shudder!!) almost three years now. Never in a million years did I expect to be here so long. You see, I took the job with the (simply horrible) idea that I wanted to go to law school. Luckily, I'm not a complete moron, and I ultimately came to realize that while I'd make a great lawyer, I'd probably end up seriously miserable and completely unfulfilled were I to head in that direction. It just wasn't worth it. Rather, it was time for Plan B (again with the pregnancy references--geez!). Except, uh, there kind of wasn't actually a Plan B.

In an ideal world, that would be fine. I'd have plenty of time on nights and weekends (if not during the workdays) to explore other options. Sadly, though, my job (even more-so than other NYC paralegal gigs) demands really long, stressful hours. I work at a firm that has been extremely lucky to be staffed with really smart and hard-working litigation paralegals (like moi, obvs) who somehow manage to do the work of ten people, despite the fact that there are just three of us in the department. And because we've somehow made it work and gotten everything that's asked of us done (by basically killing ourselves--almost literally, in some cases), they refuse to hire anyone to help us out. Thus, the attorney to paralegal ratio remains WAY out of whack compared to most NYC firms, and we are pretty much destined to work long, horrible, high-stress hours as long as we're here. We don't exactly have the luxury of free time.
Still, I knew I needed to find a new direction, so I forced myself to make time to explore other options (who needs sleep, right?). It just . . . uh, took a while (**plucks grey hair from head**) .

First I entertained the thought of pursuing an interior design career. It made sense, considering I LOVED watching all things HGTV and spent countless hours rearranging the furniture and decor in the apartment. I went so far as to sign up for continuing ed drawing classes and an online intro to interior design class. But in the end, I had so little free time, I dropped out of both. But you know what's funny? Despite being so busy I had to quit classes I'd paid hundreds of dollars to take, I still managed to find time to run and blog (a little foreshadowing, perhaps?). This taught me something--that while I do enjoy interior design, maybe I wasn't quite as passionate about it as I'd originally thought. I figured it was probably yet another one of the trillions of things I was interested in that would work far better as a hobby than a career. On to the next idea . . .

Educational Policy. It was something I'd always been really passionate about (perhaps TOO passionate about). And it would be SO rewarding to be able to work towards improving our nation's schools. But somewhere along the way, I dropped this idea, realizing it might end up stressing me out FAR too much. I'm just one of those people who gets completely consumed by her work, and I knew I wouldn't be able to turn this one off when I left at the end of the day (that is, IF I ever left at the end of the day!). It would devour me in very much the same way my Summer Internship at the Central Ward Boys and Girls Club in Newark, NJ did (I put so much pressure on myself with regards to improving my students' test scores, I ended up giving myself an ulcer--oopsies!). I clearly didn't want that.

With my next direction, I decided to look into Sports Management programs. After all, I DO love sports . . . how cool would it be to work for a professional sports team or a college or something along those lines? I was getting a little closer with this one--but still not quite close enough. I gave up the idea of B-School after the economy started tanking.

FINALLY, it came to me one day as I was reading "Brain Training For Runners" by Matt Fitzgerald on the subway purely for pleasure (nerdy, right?). I was reading a chapter that was quite heavy with the physiology talk--one in which Fitzgerald himself admitted that the reader should, "feel free to skim or skip"--when suddenly it hit me. "Why didn't I think of this before?! I want to go back to school to study kinesiology and sports nutrition!!" For the first time, family members and friends actually shook their heads in agreement rather than scoffing and rolling their eyes. After all, it was the "hobby" I had stuck with the longest. And I was CERTAINLY passionate about it; although not to the point where I might lose sleep at night worrying about the subject. It sounded . . . well, too good to be true!

That brings us to now. I'm doing a little independent study about the subject while looking into masters programs--specifically programs that are willing to combine both kinesiology/exercise science and nutrition. I think my ultimate goal is to go into sports nutrition, but I want to keep other options open.

So basically, I write all of this just to put it out there. To let people know that this is my intention--so that it all becomes that much more "real". The plan is to study for and take the GRE and look into schools over the next several months. The difficult thing, of course, is that where I go to school will basically depend on where Wilson ends up taking a job. He's in an animation program right now, which should finish up about a year from now. Depending on where he takes a job (Austin, San Fran, LA, NYC, Toronto, possibly other locations), I'll have to find a program that's close by. But I'm seriously excited about both of us FINALLY being so close to our chosen career paths. We're like almost real adults!

AND? Depending on where we move (we'll almost definitely be moving SOMEWHERE in August of 2010, as we're both kind of sick of NYC), we might even get to buy a house and/or a puppy dog (or two)!!! EEEK! So exciting :) It's like my mother always said, "I hated my twenties. I had no clue what I was doing. It wasn't until my thirties that I finally felt like I had a handle on life." I, of course, was convinced that I was the exception to this rule for a VERY long time--and that I would just never figure it all out. But you guys, I finally sort of kind of feel like I'm moving in the right direction! WOOOO! Go Irish, be an adult! Anyway, enough rambling for now. Suffice it to say that I finally feel like life is working itself out. And? Only one more year of this awful job before I can Q-U-I-T!! Yippy! :)

Coming soon will be my weekend report where I disgust you with the sheer amount of pig and cow I consumed in over the course of an afternoon. Be afraid, my friends. Be VERY afraid!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cheaters Never Win . . . Except for When They Do

Let me recap the week a bit for you before I start throwing accusations around . . .

Monday: Rest Day.

Tuesday: 10 min. warm-up + 6 x 800m (1:30 RI) + 10-min. cool-down -- My legs still felt a little tired from Sunday's 20-miler going into the workout; and during the warm-up period, I contemplated allowing myself to continue running easy for six miles instead of tackling the repeats. But I ultimately decided to give it a shot, with the hopes that I'd be able to complete at least four of those suckers. Well, wouldn't you know, the repeats somehow seemed to get easier as I went along. It was like my legs were slowly rising from the dead. I ran the first five at a 7:53/pace, and picked it up to 7:41/pace for the last one. I was SUPER happy with the way this went--my legs were basically DEAD for a week and a half following my 20-miler during training for L.A. So yay.

Wednesday: I gave myself another rest day to recover from the repeats and rest up for the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge on Thursday.

Thursday: JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge - AKA the most annoying race on the planet.

Here we go. First of all, let me remind you of what happened at last year's Corporate Challenge race. To sum it up for you, I swore off racing with co-workers. That year, I had accompanied a new runner and helped her make it to the finish . . . and when we went to turn in our times, I was met with a chorus of "I beat the marathoner! I beat the marathoner!" Never again, I decided. Well, apparently I forgot about that . . . because I signed up for this sh*tshow again this year. Will I never learn?

Anyway, I left a bunch of work sitting on my desk yesterday afternoon in order to get to our team tent nice and early (last year we got to the tent way too close to the start of the race and had to line up behind 10,000+ walkers--annoying). I got there an hour before the race was set to start and was good and ready to head to the start line to get a good starting spot; but there was a slight problem: our team captain--the person who's supposed to stay in the tent and watch our bags--was nowhere to be found. In fact, not a single person from my workplace had shown up yet. I hung out in the tent for 30 minutes before our team captain finally showed up. Shortly after she arrived, the rest of our team started showing up. I was all set to run off to the start, but was basically told I needed to stay at the tent until more people arrived so we could take a photo together. GRRRR.

Annoyed, I waited for everyone to arrive. One of the men I work a lot with showed up and greeted me with, "Wow, Bailey. You run? I wouldn't have guessed that" . . . and I almost lost it. I get it, I get it. You think I'm pretty large to be a runner--not like those Kenyans, right? Ugh. Annoying. I prayed with everything I had in me that I would smoke him. Finally, we took our stupid group photo--long after a bunch of people (including Mr. Insult) had apparently snuck off to the start. With 15 minutes to spare, a friend and I headed towards the start. It was a disaster area. I had to push and shove my way up just to get to the 9 min./mile pace marker. Once I got to that point, it was clear that I wouldn't be making it any farther up. I took some time to look at and listen to those around me. There was khaki shorts dude. There was 300-pound dude. There was "wow, they're even playing the national anthem? This is a lot of pomp and circumstance" girl. There was stretchy-pants/Keds girl. I remembered right then and there why I had promised myself I would never run this race ever again.

Oh well, too late now . . . I was already standing smooshed up against 15,000 of my best friends--there was literally no way I could escape. The gun went off and five minutes later, I passed the start line. I kept waiting for the folks in front of me to start running . . . but, um . . . a lot of them kept walking. The ones who DID start running seemed to be in slow motion--which is fine and dandy--but not when you're lined up at the 9:00 min./mile marker. I spend the first mile just trying to find a way--any way--around the bazillions of slow people swarming around me. At three separate times, I was stuck so badly that I actually had to stop completely to avoid crashing into the people in front of me. It was a nightmare. I finally hit the 1-mile mark at 8:58--almost a full minute slower than I was aiming for. Well, at least I didn't go out too fast!

Mile-2 was still ridiculously crowded. It was--how do you say?--oh right, annoying as f*ck. It had thinned out a little bit, but there were a whole ton of people who were just getting to the point where they HAD to stop and walk. And of course, these people didn't motion at all or try to move off to the side . . . they would just stop suddenly in the middle of the course. Not at all dangerous. Still, despite these obstacles, I manged to pick up the pace and do a decent job of dodging. I completed Mile-2 in 7:56.

During Mile-3, I was really starting to fatigue mentally. My legs still felt good and strong, but I was just so sick of weaving around people. I wanted nothing more than to just run in a straight line. Thus, I would get stuck behind someone slower, and would just kind of hang out there behind them until there was a clear and easy path around them, rather than weaving back and forth across the course like a crazy person, as I'd done in the first two miles. I have to say, I was really shocked by the large number of people I saw walking during this mile! At any rate, my Mile-3 split ended up being 8:10.

After I hit that 3-mile mark, I knew I had just a half-mile to go. I was tired (mentally more than physically), but I picked it up BIG TIME, and I'm sure the fact that it was mostly downhill helped out as well. I finished that last half-mile at a 7:41/mile pace. I crossed the finish line, stopped Gertie, and looked down to see a 29:27 time looking back at me. Eh, not bad, I guess . . . although I had a sneaking suspicion I had held back a little bit much for that last half-mile. Oh well. 3.5 miles is a stupid distance anyway--it's not like I ever race that distance except for in the Corporate Challenge. Whatever.

I followed the long, steamy sea of finishers back to the team tents, expecting to be the first chick back . . . but hot damn, there was already a female co-worker sitting in the tent. I sat there for a minute, trying to figure out if she had run the race or not. I finally concluded that she must not have run the race, seeing as how she's not really an athletic type of person. I gave my finishing time to our team captain (you have to keep track of your own time. There aren't chips or anything) and hung out for a while before heading to the bar with some co-workers.

Fast-forward to this morning. We receive an email about the race from our team captain who proudly reports the male and female "best finishers". You guessed it, that girl from the tent was listed as the top female finisher for my place of employment. Okay, fine. So she beat me . . . I can accept that. Let's see . . . what was her time? WTF?! 25:03?! A 7:09 min/mile pace?! No f*cking way! Okay, now I'm way too competitive, I know . . . but I decided to pull up Athlinks (nothing but love, Athlinks!) to see if she'd ever run any other road races. Lo and behold, there she is. She ran a recent 4-miler in 54:00. WAIT. She ran a 4-miler in WHAT?! Wow. That extra half-mile was a killer wasn't it? So now I'm just annoyed beyond belief because I'm pretty sure this girl TOTALLY cheated . . . and who does that?

Blah, whatever. I'm not going to lie, I'll probably torture myself with this race again next year . . . because it's a free race. But seriously, this is the most annoying race on the face of the planet. And can they please, for the love of god, just use chips so shizz like this doesn't happen? The whole thing is a g-damn free-for-all because there are some people using Garmin/watch times, some people using clock times, some people subtracting random numbers of minutes from their clock times, some people just making random times up, etc. It's just a mess. Oh well, let's try to be positive for a second:

-I ran the race at an 8:15 min./mile pace (Gertie showed a total distance of 3.57 miles) despite a super crowded 9:00 first mile. Considering my 5K PR is a 7:59/pace, that's actually not so bad
-I felt SERIOUSLY strong on the hills
-A lot of times--when I actually had a clear path to run on--I'd glance down at Gertie and see a 7:20s or 7:30s pace looking back up at me . . . which makes me think that I could have run the race A LOT faster if it wasn't for all of the dodging and weaving
-I finished 7th out of 31 runners at my firm (well, 6th if you take out little miss cheater pants), and was the 2nd place female finisher (again, possibly 1st)

I'll take it :)

Up next, I have a 12-miler scheduled tomorrow . . . followed by a HUGE BBQ block party in Manhattan! Should be a blast!

Happy weekend, everyone! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

THE 20-miler

If you'll remember, I had originally planned on running two 20-milers before Seattle. BUT, thanks to my little setback (stupid chest cold!), I was forced to adjust the sched' and only had time to squeeze in one 20. Holy pressure!! This HAD to go well.

I woke up around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, with every intention of heading out by 6:30 a.m. at the ABSOLUTE latest. Ha, nice try, Irish. I dilly-dallied, I watched some telly, I read some blogs, I made (and ate) some oatmeal, I drank some coffee, I changed tops five times, I read some more blogs. Finally, I checked out and was reminded of the fact that it was going to be HOT and sunny. I needed to get moving! I finally scurried my butt on out the door around 6:45 a.m. Here we go!

Except . . . we didn't exactly go. I swear I was all ready, but then I realized I didn't have any gum left. I stopped at a bodega and waited on line to buy my gum. Some dude took FOREVER picking out his scratch game lotto tickets. I FINALLY purchased my oh-so-important watermelon Trident, crossed the street and started my run. But wouldn't you know, Gertie was acting all kinds of funny (I think because I'd been stuck inside the bodega for so long). I stopped, turned her off and on, waited for her to find a signal AGAIN. Finally, just after 7:00, I was on my way.

During the run to the park, I focused on keeping my pace SUPER slow. This was a long one, and I didn't want to waste a drop of energy early on. My legs felt a little tired, so I took it nice and SLOOOOOW.

Mile-1: 10:18 (I told you I wasn't messing around with my tortoise-ness)

Mile-2: 9:57

I made it to the park and stopped near the entrance to stretch out my super TIGHT and freaky sore legs. Ah yes, much better! I grabbed a drink of water and on I trekked, still trying to keep my pace down as close to 10:00/mile as possible. Of course--per usual--once I was warmed up, running that slow proved to be a difficult feat.

Mile-3: 9:39

Mile-4: 9:41

I stopped at mile-4 to take my first gel. I had decided to try gel-ing up every 4-miles in an effort to avoid running out of steam like I seem to do in a lot of my long runs. On I went, happy as a clam, and feeling pretty darn good, if I do say so myself! Still, I wanted to avoid bonking later on and told myself I had to keep my pace down slower. I did a great job with the next couple miles, but per usual, it didn't last long!

Mile-5: 10:01

Mile-6: 10:13 (Zoo Hill helpd slow me down)

Of course, my A.D.D. set in somewhere around here, and it showed in the next couple of splits. I CLEARLY was not focusing on keeping the pace down.

Mile-7: 9:20

Mile-8: 9:28

I stopped again at Mile-8 for a gel and some water, elated that I was nearly halfway done and still feeling "awesome". For the record? Don't ever celebrate feeling great 8 miles into a 20-mile run. Your gloating a$$ will probably soon lead to your being stomped on by the running gods! And was I ever. I started back up, and soon thereafter realized I felt nauseous. Like REALLY nauseous. Like "pretty sure that vanilla Accel gel is about to come back up and fertilize the grass" nauseous. Ugh. I tried to push on, but I made it about halfway up Zoo Hill and allowed myself to slow to a walk, convinced I was going to yak. I walked the rest of the way up the hill, and then cursed at myself for b*tching out and forced myself to resume running. Holy illness, Batman. I felt like poop. "Better make up for lost time", I thought . . . because I'm dumb. And this made sense at the time. If you think this is stupid, just wait until you hear what I did a bit later on . . .

Mile-9: 10:35 (wah, I'm gonna puke. I have to walk up this hill like a little b*tch)

Mile-10: 9:10 (yeah, see. Dumb)

Mile-11: 9:30 (little bit better, but still kind of dumb)

The nausea was gripping me by this time. I remembered back to in my training for L.A. when this happened A LOT during and after my long runs . . . and I immediately smacked myself up the side of the head when I remembered that Gatorade/sports drink seemed to be the missing piece that had solved that puzzle. Unfortunately, I had no Gatorade on me. Nor did I have enough money to purchase any. I knew right then and there it was going to be a LONG day (only, I didn't ACTUALLY have the slightest clue--ha, I promise you're going to die when you read about the idiotic move I made a few miles from now).

I got to Zoo Hill . . . again. And I walked the whole damn thing. I just felt SO defeated. And sick. So VERY, VERY sick. As I'm officially the most predictable nincompoop on the planet, I again tried to make up for the walking with a faster than necessary mile-13.

Mile-12: 11:26

Mile-13: 9:20

It was time for another gel break. Given a choice, I'd have chosen sawing both of my ears off with a rusty butter knife over consuming another gel. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), only one of these was actually an option, and I knew it was a very necessary evil. I pretended it was a shot, and squeezed the entire thing into my mouth, swallowing the whole glob in one quick motion. I immediately gagged and came damn close to losing it. Somehow, though, with lots of water, I managed to keep it down. I dilly-dallied for FAR too long at this stop. This is a problem with me during a lot of my long runs. I swear, I will stand there for like five minutes before I convince myself to get moving. Finally, I talked myself into it and continued on, trying to focus on the positives . . . my legs felt fine, endurance-wise I felt seriously strong, nothing was hurting (besides my gut). But you guys, I have never felt more ill in my life. I told myself to Just. Keep. Moving. "The sooner you finish, the sooner you can lay down, Irish."

Mile-14: 10:02

After mile-14, things REALLY went downhill. It was hot as crap out, the sun was glaring down on me, and--surprise, surprise--I was feeling even more ill than I ever thought possible. This is when I really started to suffer mentally. Something about feeling insanely nauseous for 6 miles was causing my brain to malfunction. I started to consider sticking my finger down my throat. I was thinking maybe--just maybe--if I actually vomited, I would feel better. But then, of course, I was worried I'd lose all of the fluids and fuel I was working so hard to keep down. And remember how it was seriously hot out? 'Cuz yeah, it was.

I opted not to do it, and kept on going . . . and suddenly a seriously STUPID thought crept into my head. "Maybe I should just do an extra 2-mile loop and finish the run in the park." Please remember that I live 2.4 miles from Prospect Park. How on earth was I going to get home?! Ha, "I'll walk home--it will be a nice cool-down," I thought. I don't know why, you guys, but this sh*t actually made sense to me at the time. I'm pretty sure I was originally looking at the run in three segments--run to the park, run in the park and run home from the park--and cutting one of the segments out seemed easier to me, despite the fact that it was the same damn mileage! Told you my brain was dead!

At any rate, as soon as I made up my mind and stopped thinking about my new plan, I realized my right hip was SERIOUSLY hurting me. Uh oh. I slowed to a walk and stopped to grab a drink of water. Um, OUCH? Now what?! I let myself limp-walk for a while, then decided it was probably just an IT band issue and started running again. I realized it actually felt better to run than it did to walk, for some reason. But of course, the second I started running, my stomach threatened to empty its contents. WOO! We're having some fun now!

Mile-15: 11:49

Mile-16: 10:16

Right after the mile-16 point, I was practically trampled by an apparent race going on. I was aware that there was, in fact, a race in the park that day--but had totally forgotten about it, considering I was planning on being out of the park and gone by the time it started (10:00 a.m.). Between my super late start and my nausea-induced dilly-dallying, I was still running long after I had originally thought I would be. As the lead pack passed, I was as close to the curb as I could manage without tripping over it, but I still was elbowed and almost knocked down by multiple racers. I felt really badly, and tried to get out of the way, but there were runners trying to run by on the left side of me--as in up on the curb--so I couldn't even get over. Finally, I managed to hop off of the road and resumed running up on the dirt path that has been worn into the grass just inside the road. I stopped around mile-16.5 for my final gel break, and decided to wait it out a bit until the race thinned out.

I figured it wouldn't take too long, considering most of the non-NYRR (New York Road Runners) races in Prospect Park are relatively small, but I waited a good 5-10 minutes before it cleared up enough to carry on. Even as I started back up, I was still dodging a fair number of slower runners and walkers, as well as a lot of children who weren't exactly very savvy with the "rules of the road," as I like to call them. Ugh. I will definitely let my kids participate in road races if and when I have them, but I will be sure to a) keep an eye on them, and b) teach them about polite racing techniques. But I digress. Run, run, run. Dodge, dodge, dodge. On I went, running (and occasionally walking when I felt like I was about to yak).

Mile-17: 10:02

Mile-18: 10:49

Now, around the 18.75-mile point, I started on my way up Zoo Hill for the fourth and final time that day. I was feeling SERIOUSLY ill, but I knew I was SO close to being done. I told myself I was going to finish the run without stopping to walk, but wouldn't you know, I made it about 20 yards and felt the most convincing "I have to puke" sensation of the entire day. I slowed to a walk, hoping it would pass, but suddenly I KNEW I wasn't going to make it. Luckily, I was right near some trees, so I jumped off the road into the tree cover and spilled my guts. The funny thing is that right as I was jumping into the trees, Gertie beeped at me to announce I had reached the 19-mile mark. I would have laughed . . . but I seriously didn't think ANYTHING was funny at that point in time.

Mile-19: 12:10 (puke break--no time to stop Gertie--awesome!)

I popped a piece of gum in my mouth (was I EVER glad I stopped to buy that gum!), and took some time to collect myself/think about what I should do. Should I cut the run short a mile? Should I keep going? Should I just walk the remaining mile? For one thing, I was sure as hell not going to run up the rest of that hill (sorry, guys--I'm just not that hardcore). I ultimately decided on walking the remaining mile. But then? I made it to the top of the hill, and felt kind of like a loser. I had walked up at least part of that sucker 3 out of 4 times that day. WEAK! I forced myself to get running again and finish the run out strong. After all, I only had about 3/4 of a mile to go--that was nothing! On I ran, trying to think positive thoughts. "You're still out here, Irish. That takes guts. Maybe today hasn't gone the way you'd hoped, but you know what? You haven't quit yet. And you're not going to quit. You got this!" FINALLY, I reached 20 miles.

Mile-20: 11:19

I slowed to a walk and checked my time. 3:23:31 overall for a 10:10/mile pace. I was actually kind of pleasantly surprised considering I'd thrown so much walking into the mix. Just to check my progress since my last training period, I pulled up my last 20-mile run completed on February 9, 2008 (yes, it's still in there--Note to self: I should really clean Gertie out before Seattle. Wouldn't it suck to have her fill up in the middle of the race?): 3:37:33, or a 10:52/mile pace . . . and I had thought that run went "really well"! Not bad. Not bad at all.

I grabbed a nice, long drink of water, relaxed for a while, and then exited the park when I was ready. Suddenly, I realized how stupid I had been. Walking 2.4 miles home was not going to be "a nice cool-down". It was going to be a full-on death march! It was already approaching 11:00 a.m., and the sun was beating down on me as I left the park. Here's a play-by-play of my walk home.

11:00 a.m.: I think, "Have I seriously only made it ONE BLOCK so far?!"

11:02 a.m.: And . . . I'm already thirsty again. If only I had something to drink . . . but alas I only have 50 cents on me. "Stupid gum! I'd still have 2 dollars if it wasn't for you!"

11:05 a.m.: I wonder why the youth of Park Slope aren't more entrepreneurial. Lemonade would be PERFECT!

11:10 a.m.: "Seriously? THREE BLOCKS??! That's it?!"

11:15 a.m.: I am very nearly run over by an out-of-control Park Slope stroller mom. Thanks, lady.

11:20 a.m.: A small child who has clearly just learned to walk passes me and then mocks me by begging her father to pick her up. He does. I spontaneously burst into tears, lamenting the fact that there is no one around to pick me up.

11:25 a.m.: I pass the South Brooklyn Coffin Factory, and wonder if maybe I should just stop there and save everyone some trouble.

11:30 a.m.: I contemplate hopping on a bus and just begging the people on the bus for the remaining $1.50 I'd need for fare. "Hmm, I've seen that work before." But alas, I have no clue where any of the buses in the area would go . . .

11:35 a.m.: I wonder if a police officer would drive me home if I begged . . . but I don't have a chance to find out, seeing as how there are no police officers in sight.

11:40 a.m.: The Killers tell me, "If you can't hold on/If you can't hold on/Hold on." Easier said than done, a$$holes!

11:41 a.m.: You're not going to believe this, but I pass a LEMONADE STAND! "Way to go youngsters of Cobble Heights," I think as I approach the stand. THEN, I see the sign . . . $0.75. You have GOT to be kidding me!

11:42 a.m.: I think about bartering with the kid and asking for 2/3 of a cup of lemonade, but there's someone else busy buying a cup. "Forget it," I think. I'm just eight blocks from home, where a big, huge, ice-cold bottle of Gatorade is waiting for me.

11:50 a.m.: I pass by the LIU Hospital and think about checking myself in.

11:55 a.m.: FINALLY, I arrive home (over FIVE HOURS after I left, mind you). I immediately chug an entire bottle of Gatorade. YUM.

I spent probably 45 minutes attempting to take the photos in the last post with my blackberry camera (the REAL camera was downstairs, and I sure as hell was not about to walk down any stairs after the morning I'd had!). Speaking of which, look how disgusting I look in this failed photo. GOOD LORD! Apparently blackberry cameras have the ability to make you look 50 pounds thinner! YUCK!

Finally, I got it right. I hopped in an icebath, followed it with a nice hot shower, then decided I needed chow ASAP! Although I knew we didn't have much food in the apartment, I was determined to come up with something good without leaving the premises. Finally, a lightbulb went off in my head. I turned on the oven and prepared myself some black bean nachos (just stone ground tortilla chips covered with black beans and weight-watchers shredded mexican cheese mix). DELICOUS! I followed this delightful meal with a couple hours of laying around in my recovery socks and watching some television.

By the time Wilson got home from work (did I mention he had to work, and couldn't baby me after my run? Cuz' yeah, that made me sad! At least he brought me a HUGE iced coffee and a couple donuts when he came home :) ), I was still in some pretty bad pain from the hip issue, but I managed to get up and "help" him do the laundry. And by "help", I mean hobble to the laundromat, sit in a chair while he did the laundry and hobble home. But I DID fold my own clothes, which was a HUGE accomplishment.

In true Irish Cream form, I finished the night off with Wilson at our favorite Ale House. We ordered the "Pig Out Special for 2" (sweet potato fries, cole slaw, beef brisket, ribs, pulled pork and barbecued chicken--YUM!). The feast was complimented ever so nicely by the two pints of Ithaca Apricot Wheat I drank. PERFECTO.

So there you have it folks . . . my never-ending 20-mile long run report. While it didn't exactly go as planned, I'm in high spirits and still feeling pretty confident. The nausea/vomit issue and the hip issue obviously sucked, but the good news is that endurance-wise, I felt pretty strong even as I was finishing the last mile. Not to mention, my legs felt really good aside from the hip thing (which was feeling 100% better by Tuesday night). So . . . I feel like if I am vigilant about stretching the IT band and I make sure to consume sports drink during the race, I should be good to go. WOOO! Getting close now . . . just a little over two weeks to go! :)

Watch out, Seattle, I'm coming for you!

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's Taper Time!

Well, since I'm positive y'all must be losing sleep over not knowing how Sunday's 20-miler went (riiiiight) . . . I'll get right down to it. It went a little something like this:

But, I got 'er done nonetheless. It wasn't pretty; in fact, at some points (especially one right around mile-19), it was downright ugly. But I finished the 20-miles, and I am officially in taper. How do I feel about that fact? Well, see for yourself:

Full report coming soon, I promise! You won't want to miss this one (or maybe you will if you don't like reading about vomit--yup, how's that for a teaser?)!

Also coming soon . . . a whole lot of crazy! WOOO! TAPER MADNESS!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Confidence? Yes, Please!

So . . . remember when I announced to the bloggy world that I would be running Thursday's "marathon pace" 8-miler at a 9:30/mile pace? Um, that didn't so much happen, folks. Here's what actually happened.

I left the office around 6:30 p.m. after dealing with something that was really obnoxious and supremely boring. I'll spare you the details. I hopped on the subway, turned on some fast-paced tunes to pump myself up . . . and immediately passed the f*ck out. I was TIRED. I woke up at the stop before mine and told myself I just had to stay awake for one more stop (I'm always afraid I'll miss my stop as a result of my habit of sleeping on the train). I didn't make it. Luckily, I did wake up in time to grab my stuff and fling myself off of the train before the doors closed--whew! I tried my hardest to wake up during the 10-minute walk back to my apartment, but I couldn't shake the feeling that a nap on the couch was in order.

The second I stepped into my apartment, my couch was calling my name, "Iriiiiish, Iriiiiish." I considered taking my couch up on the offer and pushing the 8-miler to Friday morning. It was SO tempting. But then I reminded myself that it was peak week and I just had to get through 28 more miles and a soccer game before it would be taper time, and I'd probably kill and/or give my left kidney for a long-ish mid-week run. I threw on some running clothes, grabbed my iPod and my Garmin (who I have nicknamed Gertie--yes, some of you may recall that my running skirt was also called Gertie; but she wasn't living up to my expectations, so I've stripped her of her name and reassigned it to my Garmin, who had remained nameless for FAR too long) and stepped outside just after 7:30 p.m. The temp was super mild--in the low sixties, and the skies were threatening rain. I turned Gertie on and waited for a signal. And I waited. And I waited.

Finally, I got sick of waiting and I just took off. I tried to start out slow, but could tell that I was probably moving at a faster pace than planned. Since there was no proof of it, though, I just kept moving. Finally, after nearly a half-mile, Gertie found a signal and I started her. I WAS running too fast. Thus, I forced myself to focus on keeping the pace near 9:30.

Mile-1: 9:30 (Ow ow!)
Mile-2: 9:32 (virtually all uphill, but still pretty darn close to a 9:30 pace. Woo!)

I arrived at Prospect Park just as Gertie hit the 2-mile mark, which told me I had covered 0.4-mile before she found a signal (2.4 - 2.0= 0.4 . . . yeah, yeah--I was on the math team in high school; what's up!). I grabbed a quick drink of water on my way into the park and made a mental note that 7.6-miles would be my stopping point. Now, I don't know what it is about entering Prospect Park--perhaps it's the seemingly impossible 0.75-mile uphill slog that immediately precedes my arrival at the park; or maybe it's just that I'm finally warmed up having covered 2.4 miles on my way to the park--but I always feel SO STRONG once I get into Prospect Park.

Even though I knew I should keep my pace down, I just couldn't help myself! My legs wanted to fly! Now, I tend to have a problem at times where my legs want to fly and I oblige, only to have to stop and walk at some point in the run. I told myself that if I wanted to push the pace, that was fine, but that I'd have to be ready for the pain and suffering of having to hold on for the remainder of the 8-miles. There would be NO WALKING.

Around mile-3.5, I came upon a dude who was running a pace pretty similar to mine, but just SLIGHTLY slower. You know those times when the person you approach is running fast enough that you're not sure you can pass them, but slowly enough that you don't want to have slow down to avoid running side-by-side with them? Yeah, it was one of those. I ultimately decided to push ahead of the dude, and wouldn't you know, little man seemed to take great offense at being "chicked"! He tried to keep up with me once I started to pass him, and we were running side-by-side for what seemed like forever (probably only like 30-45 seconds, though) before he finally gave up and dropped back. VICTORY! I was just praying our mini-race wouldn't come back to bite me in the ass!

Mile-3: 9:11
Mile-4: 9:00

I kept trucking, and as expected, came to a point somewhere around mile-4 where I was CONVINCED the only way I'd live was if I stopped to walk. But wouldn't you know, I ignored that voice in the back of my head insisting I needed to walk. I told myself that if I needed to slow the pace a bit, that was one thing . . . but there would be NO walking. And wouldn't you know, my pace didn't actually slow that much at all, despite the fact that this mile contained the beginning portion of Zoo Hill, the infamous half-mile uphill stretch in Prospect Park!

Mile-5: 9:07

I continued fighting up the rest of the hill, telling myself that I could take a quick water stop on my way out of the park. I wanted to walk SO badly, you guys, but I just kept fighting and pushing. I embraced the burning I was feeling in my legs and lungs. I made it to the top, exited the park, grabbing a drink on the way out and prepared myself to pick the pace up for the last 2-ish miles of the run. Now, the best part of the 0.75-mile uphill slope to Prospect Park along Union Street is that on your way home, it's downhill! My legs were feeling crazy tired by this time, but I just told myself to use the downward slope to my advantage and coast my way down.

Mile-6: 9:07

As an added incentive to run fast, it was now dark. I was also STARVING and really anxious to get home and eat! I forced myself to push it as hard as I could handle on the remaining 1.6 miles, despite some slight uphills on the trek across Union Street that can be killer during the last mile or two of a run. I am almost always tempted to stop and walk when I hit them, but I knew at this point that I had less than 15 minutes left in the run and I just had to hold on. FINALLY, Gertie showed 7.6 miles just as I turned onto my street.

Mile-7: 8:57
Mile-7.6: 5:23 (8:46/pace)

I slowed to a walk for the last couple of blocks to my apartment in order to cool down a bit and check out my splits. I had basically been ignoring my time the entire time and running by feel. Imagine my shock when Gertie spit back a time of 1:09:46 for 7.61 miles (9:10/pace)! I was virtually in shock. I skipped back to the apartment happy as a lark and SO excited to tell Wilson what I had accomplished! He congratulated me and gave me a high-five, despite the fact that I was once again in super-annoying giddy runner mode. I celebrated with some Gatorade, an ice bath and a hot shower, then chowed down the delicious catfish and kale Wilson had cooked up (again, is he not the best?).

Looking back, I feel like this was a HUGE run for me. I had been lacking confidence in my training lately, and this was finally a run that I felt like I TOTALLY dominated. It was one of those runs that just proves that you are in awesome shape and can handle far more than you might think possible. Isn't it funny how sometimes the runs you dread the most turn into your strongest performances ever? At any rate, I NEEDED that! Hopefully I can reserve the boost in self-confidence and make use of it going into tomorrow morning's 20-miler!

Oh, and for those interested, I trekked out in the pouring rain last night to get to my soccer game (after another annoying day at work), only to discover that the other team had forfeited. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we beat them 29-0 the last time we played them? I know, I know--that's horrible! But we honestly TRIED to stop scoring . . . they were just THAT bad! Anyway, a bunch of guys from one of the previous games stuck around and we had a super fun friendly-scrimmage.

Now I'm just sitting here in my hot pink compression socks, resting up for tomorrow! Wish me luck! Next time you hear from me I'll be tapering!

Have a happy weekend, y'all! :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Hey all! Hope this week is treating you well! As for me? It's RNR Seattle Marathon Training Peak Week! WOOOO! So far, so good! I took a rest day on Monday, but was right back at it with a speed workout Tuesday at lunch. I LOVE leaving the office mid-day to run or workout--it's such a nice way to break up the workday, and I always have so much energy when I finish! Sadly, I'm almost always too busy to squeeze it in, but when it happens, it is DEFINITELY a treat! At any rate, I took a late lunch on Tuesday and headed over to my gym around 3:00 p.m. I hopped on the 'mill and completed a 10 minute warm-up before tackling one of the easier speed interval sessions of my training: 5 x (2 mins. fast + 2 mins. easy). I took the "fast" repeats at a 7:42/pace, and the "easy" intervals at a 10:00/pace. Before I knew it, I had completed all 5 repeats and it was time to cool down for 10 minutes! I'm happy to say that the workout felt pretty darn easy, and at this point in training, that's always a good thing!

Next up, I had a cross-training day scheduled yesterday . . . but wouldn't you know, it was NATIONAL RUNNING DAY! Um, is it just me or does it seem criminal not to run on National Running Day? Thus, I opted for a 4-mile easy run (10:00/pace) followed by 15 minutes of core work (with my BFF, the 12-lb. medicine ball) and 15 minutes of biceps/triceps work. Not bad at all! I arrived home around 9:45 p.m.--STARVING--to find turkey tacos and homemade guacamole ready to eat! Have I mentioned that Wilson is the bestest boyfriend ever? I begged him to let us watch a running movie while we ate (specifically, Spirit of the Marathon) in honor of National Running Day, but apparently he's not as big of a running nerd as I am and he wasn't in the mood for my kick-ass workout endorphin induced super-heightened running nerd-ness. Ha, oops! He did promise me that at some point closer to RNR Seattle (eek, just over three weeks!!!!!), we will watch Spirit of the Marathon.

Up for today, I have an 8-mile marathon pace run. Um, I still haven't quite figured out what my marathon pace is going to be . . . I know, I know. I should probably get on that, eh? I'm thinking at this point, I'll probably start out with the 4:20 pacers. I want to start REALLY conservatively--even if I risk starting TOO conservatively--as I think that will give me the best chance of hanging in there until the end. But as for tonight, I'm guessing I'll probably tackle the run at about a 9:30/pace.

As I like to keep things interesting, I will be playing in an indoor soccer match at 9 p.m. tomorrow night. I had originally told my team that I was unavailable (um, hi! Some of us have 20 miles to run this weekend) . . . but my team consists of a bunch of losers who SAID they wanted to play but now refuse to show up to the games (probably a third of the people who originally signed up haven't even made it to ONE GAME yet--and we've already played 7 games!). As it was looking like we'd have to forfeit, I reluctantly agreed to show up on Friday night. GRRR. But just so we're clear, I plan on doing little more than standing around on the field and kicking at the ball if it happens to come near me. I'll be damned if I'm going to get injured at this point in training!

Saturday, I'll probably do some light cross-training and rest a whole lot. Then Sunday is the day--my 20-miler! After that, it's TAPER TIME, baby! I fully expect to go REALLY crazy this time around, especially considering I feel kind of undertrained. But, as we all know, the taper is a necessary evil . . . and there's nothing I can do in the last three weeks that will increase my fitness enough to matter anyway . . . yada, yada, yada! Just have to keep that stuff in mind . . .

Hope you all had a very happy National Running Day! I'll be catching up with you all by this weekend, I promise! I just can't figure out where the time keeps going . . .

We're almost to Friday, folks. Hang in there!