Since I am currently en route to scenic Newark NJ for work, I figured I’d get my cardio vicariously by reliving last Tuesday’s track workout. (Oh, you didn’t think I’d skip practice on Valentine’s Day, did you? There is no truer love than that which I have for tacos and TEAM).
1 mile warm-up (complete with pavement slide, as I tripped over a sidewalk crack in my rush to catch up with everyone)
3 x 1.8 mile loops of the hills around Tufts
So, how’d that feel?
Surprisingly good, actually. The hill loops include enough recovery to give you a fighting chance at holding a conversation, and in the company of Caitlyn Bintz, 6 miles flew by. (“In the Company of Caitlins” is, by the way, the working title of my memoir).
Post-Run Stretch HOT TOPIC
Is eating at Anna’s every Tuesday night a part of a fiscally responsible budgeting strategy? I’m no financial advisor, but considering that ordering LITERALLY THE ENTIRE MENU costs only $250 I’m going to say yes.
…was actually a taco plate. I put myself in a steak and chicken verde taco love triangle, and chicken verde won out (in romcom terms, it was my Colin Firth).
1. Discovering that the Dunkin Donuts by Boston College does not keep their bathroom under lock and key (although now that I plan on making it my mid-run pit stop, they might).
2. The gentleman who glided by me somewhere around mile 15 wearing frilly, heart-covered underwear over his spandex leggings. Chafe-prevention has never looked so romahhhhntic.
This week, Sarad advised us to keep track of our workouts in a running journal. Ever the obedient participant, I went right out to snag myself Lisa Frank’s finest. Unfortunately, it seems that Madame Frank has moved on to bigger and better things (the Louvre, no doubt), and so I had to make do with a run-of-the-mill Mead.
For serious though (not that fluorescent dolphins aren’t of the utmost gravity). The journal bit came up because Sarad shared with us a quote that he wrote in his running log back in 2000. Confucious (the original dispenser of Pro Tips) said: Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
This hits close to home for the obvious reasons (see left), but also because it’s one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from marathon training. I can’t count the number of times during the first season I was ready to throw in the towel half-way through a run. Luckily (question mark?) there’s not much you can do at mile 9 of an 18 mile out-and-back except turn around and make the best of it. And eventually, I realized that Sarad (and Confucious) were right. The runs where I push through my hatred for the hills for being so STEEP WHY ARE THEY SO STEEP and WHILE WE ARE AT IT I HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH THE WIND FOR EXISTING and ALSO I hate sunshine and LAUGHTER – those runs are the ones I am most proud of. (Aside from the sunshine and laughter-hating. That’s a little embarrassing).
Saturday’s dedication came from Jen, who signed up for Boston after running a half with Team in Training a few years ago. Like many of us, her initial motivation didn’t come from a personal connection with blood cancer – actually, it was to impress a dude (way more badass than my “challenge to a dance-off and disorient with wild-arm flailing” strategy).
Although the dude turned out to be nowhere near half-marathon worthy, Jen found true love in TEAM. Her mentors, coaches, and teammates became her personal connection – and as she fundraised, she heard from more people in her life who had been affected by blood cancer. So now, Jen runs for them. And for her sister, who was diagnosed with breast cancer just last week.
Team in Training doesn’t just help people whose lives are directly affected by blood cancer. Those of us who run benefit from a network of friendship, support and snacks that can get you through anything from a misanthropy-inducing blood sugar low to a devastating diagnosis. That kind of love is hard to find.
TAKEAWAY: Happy Valentine’s Day! Sign up for a marathon! Or, if you can’t bring yourself to trade in the Ghirardelli for Gu, spread the love with a donation and some warm thoughts for Jen and her sister.
On Tuesdays, TNT holds a track workout at Tufts. Despite the fact that the whole reason I started running marathons is to avoid speedwork (it’s 26 miles! who cares how fast you go??), track workouts have actually become one of my favorite parts of training. This is probably because of the burritos.
1 mile warmup
3×1200 (that’s 3 laps around for those keeping track at home)
1 mile cooldown
4:55, 5:00, 4:54
So, how’d that feel?
Like jogging up 10 flights of stairs in the middle of an asthma attack after a trip to the Chinese food buffet.
Post-Run Stretch HOT TOPIC:
Just how fat IS Brendan’s sister’s boyfriend’s cat?
Directly after practice we head to Anna’s Taqueria, land of wonder and guacamole, to eat a Nancy Clark-approved burrito. Much to the dismay of new guy behind the counter, I went off-menu on Tuesday (or maybe more accurately, all-menu). After a few futile attempts to wrestle my chicken-verde-veggie-guacamole into place, a senior burrito wrangler was called in for the assist. Lesson learned – ALWAYS supersize.
a) The noise I made while foam-rolling my IT band yesterday;
b) An acronym for All Up in Your Facebook Feed February, my awkwardly-named campaign to raise $2,000 by the end of February for Team in Training;
The answer is c, obviously (the answer is ALWAYS c). Listen, you guys. I know you’ve heard how much I love Team in Training a million different ways over the years. But there’s only so much I can make fit into my monthly metaphors. Every practice, I find myself thinking how I wish I could bring you all with me and show you how incredibly awesome it is – awesome enough to make ANYONE want to get up and run 14 miles just for the privilege of doing it with this group.
So, to liven things up during this marvelous month of AUYFF, I’ll be doing recaps of our track Tuesdays and long-run Saturdays. Now you too can experience all the fun of being on TEAM, but with none of the chafing!
Saturday, February 4th
Distance: 16 miles
Time: I forgot my watch, so I’m going to ballpark it at FORFREAKINGEVER OMG WHY WON’T THIS HILL END (ready to sign up tomorrow, aren’t you?)
Highlight: The Mile 7 water stop team was so determined to secure adequate space for our customary snack buffet that they scrounged a table right up off the side of the road. No runner will be deprived of Swedish Fish on Laurie Staveski’s watch (aaaand you’re back).
Training for a marathon is a pretty intimidating endeavor. You may find yourself questioning your ability to perform basic activities you thought, as a grown adult, you’d mastered around age 3. HOW DO I DRESS MYSELF? WHAT DO I EAT? WHERE, WHEN, AND HOW DO I GO TO THE BATHROOM?
Luckily we have our wise and TMI-tolerant coaches Sarad and Kelly, along with a battery of running experts, to guide us. This week, they brought in my favorite guest star, nutritionist Nancy Clark. Top 3 Nancy tips, applicable to runners and non-runners alike:
“Eating is not evil. Eat for enjoyment and energy.” (You know how I feel about alliteration)
“To compare is to despair. Imagine you’re on a fantasy island where your body is perfect just the way it is.” (You also know how I feel about rhyming. Although I’m not sure Nance meant to imply that on reality island, you could really stand to lose a few.)
“Any kind of peanut butter is better than no peanut butter. I eat a jar a week.”
This is the part I really wish I could bring you along for. Every Saturday morning, one of our teammates tells us about who they’re running for, and asks us to keep that person in mind. This week, we heard from Chris. She’s running in memory of her mom and best friend from high school and college, Nancy. Nancy was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer shortly after the birth of her second son, and the death of her husband on 9/11. She was given two months to live, but thanks to advances in treatment she survived long enough to see her youngest take his first steps. Chris told us how much Nancy, eternal party girl, would have loved watching the marathon and how the thought of her there in pom-pom-waving spirit helps her finish.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society funds blood cancer research, but the progress they’ve made over the past few decades has helped people battling all KINDS of cancers. So please consider honoring Nancy, or anyone you may have lost, with a donation: http://pages.teamintraining.org/ma/boston12/cdeschenes.