First Group Run of the 2018-19 Season

Six months ago yesterday, I got the MRI that confirmed a grade 1 tibial stress fracture. Later that day, I met the orthopedic doctor who put me in a walking boot to go along with the crutches I had received the previous day. It had already been over a month since I had run any significant distance (significant being a relative term at the time) – 8 miles way back on May 5.

fb_img_1544286461591So yesterday, when I ran 6 miles of hills with my Dana-Farber teammates at our first group run of the training season, I finally felt like I was back. Don’t get me wrong, those 6 miles were hard. The first mile I struggled to breathe. I thought I had forgotten a nasal strip. Turns out there was one in my pocket, but I had sunscreen on my face so it fell off not long after I applied it during Mile 2. The first 2 miles were mostly downhill, but then came the first of the famed Newton Hills. And then the second. But after that second one, we were at Mile 3 and it was time to turn around and run back to where we started. Mile 4 was mostly flat with some downhill, but then there was that massive hill during the final mile. I would say from Mile 4 on, I finally felt loose and warmed up (though I was freezing cold), I really struggled with my breathing. I’m sure it’s a combination of my collapsing nasal valve as well as my cardiorespiratory fitness having a long way to go to get back to where I was pre-injury, but man it was a struggle. Every step. Continue reading

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#GivingTuesday

I am adamantly against the consumerism that has infiltrated the holidays, especially Thanksgiving Day itself. For the last 10 or so years, my brother hasn’t been able to celebrate Thanksgiving except for the two years I cooked in our tiny little Boston apartment (in my tiny little stove).  Even when he transferred from Connecticut to a Massachusetts Target – where retail stores are not allowed to be open on Thanksgiving – he slept all day in order to be able to go to work at midnight when the store opened. It’s not right. I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday and the deals have gotten so worthless. Even Cyber Monday isn’t worth it. All I bought this past weekend was a pair of Under Armour cold weather running tights (since my legs are STILL chapped from my cold AF turkey trot – more to come on that).

So when #GivingTuesday became a thing about 5 or so years ago, this was finally a pre-Christmas “holiday” I could get behind.

Whether or not you went shopping on Black Friday (or – hopefully not – Thanksgiving Day) or shopped online on Cyber Monday, I hope you will consider supporting me today. I’ve raised $1,350 ($1,850 when a corporate match comes through later this week) toward my $10,925 goal.

Click here to donate.

Post-Injury Firsts

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The aftermath of a cold, wet run.

I have some exciting “firsts” to report! First, on Sunday I ran my first 3-miler since my injury. It took me…a lot longer than it used to but that’s OK. I am still doing 3/1 intervals (3 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking) and my endurance still has a long way to go, so I’m not at all worried about pace. I did notice that the two times I stopped (and paused my watch) during the walk breaks – once to fix my nasal strip which eventually fell off anyway and once to take a rock out of my shoe – the following run interval felt 1000x better and easier. I don’t feel like I rushed myself through the 1/1 or 2/1 interval weeks at all, but it definitely feels better to walk for longer than a minute after running for 3, or just pausing altogether. But nothing hurts, and being tired and out of breath is something I need to overcome!

My other first was yesterday running on pavement for the first time since my injury. I wanted to get up early and run before work, because my evenings have been completely consumed by work (to the point I started keeping a log so I can see how it affects my training) and I didn’t want to run into the issue I ran into last week where I didn’t stop working until late into the night and then was way too exhausted to run. But it’s a vicious cycle. Working all this overtime in stressful situations has my heart racing non-stop lately, and I struggled to sleep Sunday and Monday nights (and last night if you’re keeping score at home) which meant feeling groggy and terrible when my alarm went off both days. Monday I still made it to my training session with Sadlo – which was good because I had to bail on Friday morning after working past 11pm the night before – but a morning run just wasn’t going to happen yesterday. Instead, I ran right at 4pm and ran to the reservoir instead of driving there. It’s exactly a half-mile each way and I did the full 1.5-mile loop around and then a little more around my neighborhood for a total of about 1.25 miles on pavement (mostly sidewalk) and 1.5 miles on the gravel path. And I felt fine! Continue reading

Here We Go Again: Heart Murmur 2.0

20181114_141550My worst nightmare has come true. Chip’s vet detected a heart murmur on Wednesday while doing his pre-surgery tests. When my phone rang an hour after I dropped him off for what was supposed to be 8-9 hours at the vet, I knew there was bad news.

For those of you who don’t know, Rags had a heart murmur due to mitral valve diseased and dilated cardiomyopathy. Eventually, he went into congestive heart failure and a month later, he was gone.

Two months later, I rescued Chip from the shelter. He was fit as a fiddle, they assured me. And they were right. He’s had four checkups since then, and never has the doctor had any concerns except for two fractured teeth (from his days as a stray eating out of trash cans). She was going to put him under anesthesia this week to give his teeth a good cleaning, just like we did last fall. The labs were fine but she heard a heart murmur and graded it a 2-3 on a scale of 6 (Rags’ was a 6 by his final few months the end). No vet has ever heard this before, so it’s a newly developed murmur that could be either due to old age or heart disease. I’m hoping with all my might that it’s just old age, because I can’t go through this again. Continue reading

Right Where I Want to Be

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Friday night’s run in the dark

My plan since I got the OK to start running in September was to be ready for our first DFMC group run on December 8, doing run/walk intervals, even if only for a few miles. So far, so good because I ran 3/1 intervals yesterday – my longest running intervals since my injury diagnosis in May! It was hard as hell. My leg felt fine (aside from tightness in both calves, a constant issue for me), but my stamina has a LONG way to go. I was checking my watch pretty much 1:45 into each run segment, which meant I still had another 1:15 to go but was gassing out. I kept my pace slow, but was struggling to keep it steady. Overall, I’m so happy and relieved to know that as long as all goes well for the next month, I’m going to be exactly where I need to be on December 8 – doing 3/1 intervals with Lori for 6 miles (3 out and 3 back, Miles 15-17 of the Boston Marathon). The plan is to do the same workout Tuesdays and Thursdays as the previous weekend, then up my total running time on my weekend runs but stick with 3/1 intervals until January or even mid-December, seeing how I do running on my own next month. And until January, I’m not focusing on pace or even sharing what my pace is.

It was nice to have a legitimately cold run after such a hot summer and weirdly warm (and rainy!) fall. I finally invested in a new pair of running gloves. My dad got me awesome Under Armour gloves a few Christmases ago but they are too warm for most runs, or at least once I get warmed up. So I picked up a pair of Nike gloves at Marshall’s this weekend using a birthday gift card, and they were good at blocking wind without making my hands hot & sweaty. I’ll still need the warmer ones for those sub-zero wind chill long runs, but I’m starting to finally figure out how to dress for MY BODY in cold weather. It’s all about light layers. I was a tad warm yesterday in a short-sleeved tech shirt underneath my half-zip middle layer (another birthday gift card treat), but I was running right at sundown so I quickly cooled once the sun was gone – not an ideal time to run because of the temperature fluctuation. Continue reading

Kicking Off DFMC Season #2

45626285_1955222191179669_3462294671995174912_oThis past Wednesday was our first DFMC Team Meeting, held at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. If I wasn’t already excited to start officially training for my second marathon, I certainly am now! We’ve got more than 470 team members already (of about 550 spots), 50% of whom are first-timers. I noticed some very young faces and have seen several posts from college students in our private Facebook group. Can you imagine being a casual runner in college and deciding to take on your first marathon AND fundraising thousands of dollars? That was definitely not something I would have been able to do as a college student, so kudos to them. One of them is only 17 and will turn 18 before the marathon (a BAA requirement)!

shirts-finalI sold several shirts and have now sold 20% of my inventory which already feels like a huge relief. I am so worried I’ll be stuck with unsold shirts but having sold 20% this early into the season makes me feel hopeful. If you are interested in purchasing one, let me know!

I’m glad I made it to the meeting because Wednesday morning was a bit dicey. Continue reading

Hiking and Rest

After I had pain during my run on October 18, I took a full two weeks off from running. I didn’t intend to take two weeks off, but it just happened that way. I did go hiking on Soapstone Mountain in Shenipsit State Forest with my dad for his birthday two weekends ago. It was a very easy hike on a well-worn path that even cars can drive on. Pretty soon into the hike, I realized the pain was definitely soft tissue because while I could feel the discomfort all the time, it was on inclines and declines that it really flared.

We ended up covering 3.3 miles with only a 468-foot elevation gain (1,069 feet at the summit) in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. I could have gone twice as far/long, but I wanted to make sure I did OK the next day, too…which I did!

Continue reading