Monthly Archives: January 2010

aw nuts.

remember full house? remember how when anything mildly bad (like spilling a scoop of ice cream, or owce cream, as she would say) would happen, little michelle would always shake her fist and say, “aw nuts?” and when something really bad (or really good, for that matter, like aunt becky walking down the stairs in a tight red dress) would happen, uncle jesse would stop the presses and scream out, “haaaaave meeeerrrrccccyyyyyyy”?

if you lived under a rock in the early 1990s and somehow missed TGIF on abc, i have unearthed these clips to provide more context:

and

i’ve been thinking about this a lot for the past week, because i have been dealing with my real first injury of marathon training. and when it happened, i really wasn’t sure if it would be a minor “aw nuts” sort of a thing, or a more major “haaaaave meeeerrrrccccyyyyyyy” situation.

it all started with a deal that the baby panda just couldn’t turn down. early this fall, we were at the mall. i wanted to go to ann taylor to search for boring work clothes, and so the panda went into self-preservation mode, and scampered off to the olympia sports store a few doors down. after trying on three shapeless boring dresses, and then at least two pairs of equally boring trousers, i realized that the panda had been gone for a long time. normally, he comes right back after making an escape to sulk in the ann taylor man chair. mildly concerned, but mostly intrigued, i decided to track him down.

and there he was at olympia sports, with a pile of shoeboxes in front of him. when he saw me, he cried (a la tobias funke), “THEY’RE HAVING A FIRE SALE! AND THEY SELL YOUR RUNNING SHOES!” in fact, he had found an amazing deal. two pairs of my shoes only cost $90 clams, which is usually what one pair costs me at my normal running store.

so we bought all of the pairs of saucony progrid omnis that they had, and then we mail ordered two additional pairs. it may have been the highlight of the panda’s fall season, especially after the buffalo bills blew what looked like a certain win against the patriots in spectacular fashion on monday night football. (if the bills HAD won that game, i am pretty sure that the great sneaker caper would have only ranked as the number two most exciting fall 2009 moment.)

since that day, i have been living in sneaker heaven, which has been wonderful. until two weeks ago, when i pulled out another new pair of sneakers from my stash and wore them for my five-mile run home from work.

normally, when i get new sneakers, they are a little achy the first time i wear them, possibly because their cushioning is a little harder and needs to be broken in. and these shoes were achy. but they were also achy the second time i wore them, which is not quite as normal. still, this didn’t really set off a red flag with me, and so i wore them on my doomsday run that i had been dreading– because of a lovely weekend getaway that i had planned with some friends and some unused comp time that i had at work, i took a friday off to run 13 miles by myself. as snookie would say, WAAAAAAH!

i was so nervous about this run. the furthest that i have ever run is 13.1 miles, and that’s only been during my three half marathons. i have never run it alone in a non-race situation. but before the run, i did all the right things: i ate a bagel with peanut butter and jelly on it, wore my best freakazoid spandex suit, stocked my fanny pack with gus and shot blocks, and, most importantly, called my sister, the smartest and most beautiful girl in the world, for a pep talk. then i hung up the phone and visualized myself on my arduous journey, and started to talk to myself, which i do all the time.

“okay, lonnie (my sister’s nickname for me), let’s rock this b*tch,” i quietly whispered. just kidding. i totally didn’t say that. i am still quoting mean girls. what i actually said was more like, “okay, lonnie… this is going to take like one million hours. so please, go slow.”

off i scooted. slow slow slow. around the fresh pond reservoir, up a big hill, down to the river, down to boston university, up the river to harvard square, through north cambridge, up a hill to teel square and into arlington. and then i took my last turn onto marathon street (which i totally planned. i know! nerd!), and it was official! 13.069 miles in the books! all by myself… with minimal pain, except for some more achiness and cramping in my right foot. i fleetingly wondered if it was from my new shoes, but then i decided that i didn’t care. instead, i took a much-needed shower and went to meet two of my favorite friends for a weekend in vermont.

that night, i hit the hay at about 11:30 p.m. then at 3:00 a.m., i was awoken by a dull pain of horror in my right heel. so painful, in fact, that i could not get back to sleep. i couldn’t do anything but lay there in vermont and obsess over the amount of pain in my foot. i took six (yes, six) motrin between 3:00 and 7:00 a.m., but it did absolutely nothing to ameliorate the situation. it was miserable.

luckily, because of the nature of our getaway, not much physical activity occurred over the weekend (aside from pushing a volkswagen up an icy slope, but that’s a minor detail), and i was able to completely rest my sore and aching foot. my dear pal fred (nee abigail) offered me some tylenol with codeine, but i decided to stick with red wine, which was a good decision, because i slept like a drugged infant on saturday night. but unfortunately, when i woke up the next morning, my foot still hurt like a mofo. i started to get worried– what if this was a really bad injury? what if i had to give up my marathoning cause? what if they had to amputate?

as soon as i got home, i decided to email coach rick. i was seriously freaking out, and perilously close to letting loose with a tortured “haaaaave meeeerrrrccccyyyyyyy!”

within an hour, i received the following response:

Hello Laura,

Thank you for letting me know about your heel pain. I have no doubt that it’s related to your new shoes. Even though the same model has the same name, don’t assume it’s actually identical. Shoe companies are notorious for changing things, especially the durometer of the midsole. This can affect the cushioning and feel of the shoe considerably. I would recommend that you place the insoles of your old shoes inside the new shoes and see if that helps. I wouldn’t run for two days. Continue to ice and cross-train on the elliptical trainer. You may also massage that area of your foot with a can of frozen juice.

Please keep me posted on how you’re doing!

Your coach, Rick

even though i had no idea what “durometer of the midsole” meant, and even though coach rick thought that a can of frozen juice would be more effective than my bottle of red wine treatment idea, i was thrilled! maybe my foot situation was more of an “aw nuts!”

this past week, i have taken things very easy. i didn’t run on monday or tuesday. instead, i spent some quality time on the elliptical trainer (which i secretly call the laura instant butt-grower– i swear, the hours that i have spent on those things over the years have only done one thing: added bulk to my posterior. SO ANNOYING.), and reclaimed my title as the official sweatiest girl at arlington health and fitness. then on wednesday, my pal nandi and i went to heat yoga, which was even sweatier than the gym. and then on thursday, i put on my old sneaks (damn you, midsole durometer) for my first run in almost a week. snowstorms had been predicted, but we thought we might have avoided them, because it had stopped snowing by the time nandi and i met in central square (aka the worst place in the world) at 5:30 p.m.

on the run, I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO FOOT PAIN! it was so wonderful! well, until we took a wrong turn on school street in somerville into a snowglobe. i seriously don’t know what happened– one minute the weather was fine, and then the next, our bodies were encased in blinding snow. luckily, the squall only lasted for about seven minutes, but afterward, we looked a lot like this guy, except for the weird blue claw hand, since we were wearing gloves:

so i was feeling pretty good, but not 100% in the clear just yet, because i had a 14-mile run with my team yesterday. as soon as i arrived at our meeting spot at the ungodly hour of 7:45 a.m. in the equally ungodly chilly temperature of 4 degrees, coach rick asked about my foot. and i blurted, “durometer of the midsole!” then, so he wouldn’t think i was weird, i followed that up with a much more normal statement of, “i took it easy this week, and it feels much better! but we’ll see!”

so, after an enlightening talk from a sports psychologist, we were off. 14 miles! in just about the coldest weather i have ever run in! and it was great. kelly, jess, and i were running fiends! and guess who else was there! my friend the blue shirt guy! (i only knew this because he was wearing his blue shirt again.) it was probably one of the best running experiences of my short career– we kept a great pace, and honestly, the run didn’t really feel like it was any more than 6 miles, although i guess it was more than double that. after we crossed the mass ave bridge, we stopped at a waterstop (staffed by the most amazing people ever who froze their booties off for hours, just to provide our team with water on our run. oh, and by the way, it was so cold that the water actually froze in the cups), and the blue shirt guy said, “hey, you girls are keeping up a FAST pace!”

it was awesome. and, today, my foot still doesn’t hurt!

so what’s the moral of this long-winded story? i guess that there are several:

  • beware new shoesies and midsole durometers– they can be dangerous.
  • red wine and frozen orange juice work miracles.
  • if you’re training for a marathon, and think you might be hurt, it’s really important to take it easy, even if your head is telling you that you can’t afford the rest.
  • oh, and most importantly, mary kate and ashely olsen definitely were better actresses when they were two.

book recommendation:

when you reach me, by rebecca stead

wow. i didn’t know if this book could possibly live up to all of its post-newbery award hype, but it knocked my socks off. honestly, it’s hard for me to even communicate how good this book is, so i will quote elizabeth bird in her review for school library journal, when she gushes, “have you not heard of when you reach me by rebecca stead? well now you have. go read it. have you already read when you reach me by rebecca stead? excellent… now go read it again…. because it is one of the best children’s books i have ever read and books of this sort do not drop out of the sky every day. they don’t even drop out of the sky every year.”

whatever, i’m getting cheese fries.

there are some extreme gaps in my pop culture knowledge. i’ve never seen austin powers, for example. or star wars. and i’ve never ever watched seinfeld. but then again, my pal nq didn’t know who mr. belvedere was until i brought bob uecker up in conversation one day, and she is as sitcom-saavy as they come. so i guess we all have our achilles heels.

but there is one thing that i do know, and that’s the movie mean girls. it is a piece of cinematic perfection, and one of the few that i can quote with ease. written by tina fey, and starring lindsay lohan back when she was so young, innocent, and not too drug-riddled, as well as the adorable rachel mcadams as the dastardly regina george, it is pure happiness in dvd form.

and, strangely enough, this gem of a movie also teaches us a number of important lessons about running.

lesson number one: learn when to embrace the cheese fries

Regina George: 120 calories and 48 calories from fat. What percent is that?
Gretchen: Uh, 48 into 120?
Regina George: I’m only eating foods with less than 30 percent calories from fat.
Cady: It’s 40 percent. Well 48 over 120 equals X over 100 and then you cross multiply and get the value of X.
Regina George: Whatever, I’m getting cheese fries.

cheese fries are very enticing, especially for those of us who spend time exercising. when i get home from a long run like this weekend’s (WE RAN 12 MILES! AND I AM NOT SORE! WOOOOOOOO!), i want to eat EVERYTHING EVERYTHING EVERYTHING IN OUR HOUSE, from bread to jam to luncheon meats to m-effin’ cheese fries. i want it all, because i deserve it! hours and hours trudging through all sorts of weather and obstacles has to have some kind of payoff, right? sadly, not always… after my half marathons, i have easily replaced the 1300 calories that i have burned by way of gigantic ice cream cones, cheeseburgers, and baked goods. and, yes, even bacon.

this is dangerous for a runner like me, who does not have the metabolism of a hummingbird. i have previously mentioned that i am neither tall nor slender– i am short, with an athletic build that seems to put on muscle like crazy. (if only i could join those jersey shore boys for some gym tannin’ laundry, i could show them what is up.) (also, one time one of my weird nurses scared me by telling me that i no longer have any metabolism AT ALL because of my diabetes– she claimed that my insulin intake (insulin makes you put on weight, fyi) has rendered my metabolism useless… does anyone know if this is true?!) sometimes, after a long run, or really any run, which should in theory be good for me, my food binges can put me at risk of putting on weight, which is REALLY dang annoying.

but paying attention to nutrition all the time is not a reasonable goal, either. if we do, we may run the risk of turning into regina george, a (and i am quoting the movie here, mom! i would never talk about someone like this on my own accord!) selfish, back-stabbing slut faced ho-bag. and therefore, sometimes, we may need to get the cheese fries, for our own sanity, and the sanity of those around us. and here is a picture of miss piggy moi, modeling this good behavior on a recent trip to chicago:

and look how reasonable i am being here… in addition to the 900 hot dogs, giant platter of cheese fries, and other heartburn-inducing foodstuffs, i am drinking a sugar-free can of fresca! see, it’s all about moderation!

lesson two: beware the nutrition bar

Shane Oman: Why are you eating a Kalteen bar?
Regina: I’m starving.
Shane Oman: Man, I hate those things. Coach Carr makes us eat those when we want to move up a weight class.
Regina: What?
Shane Oman: They make you gain weight like crazy.
Regina: Motherf –
[she spits out the bite of the bar that she was chewing, and then she lets out a high-pitched scream]
Regina: Aaaaaaaah!

as a diabetic and as a runner, i have taken a very active interest in exercise nutrition, especially in what foods are best to eat before and after an athletic endeavor. and i have a love/hate relationship with energy bars, drinks, goos, beans, and cubes. they do have their benefits: energy bars, like luna bars, have a great carbohydrate : protein ratio that seems to give my body the appropriate amount of energy to make it through a run between 3 and 6 miles. but what i hate about them, in addition to their cloyingly sweet taste, is the fact that i am ingesting a buttload of calories right before i am supposed to be going out to do something that’s good for me.

unfortunately, as a diabetic, i am left with little choice on this matter. even before a short run, i must eat something that is going to hold my blood sugar steady, and it must fulfill that tricky carbohydrate : protein ratio. i have tried lots of things, with little success: yogurt, yogurt with cereal, yogurt with granola, whole wheat bread, whole wheat bread with peanut butter, cereal, cereal with milk, cereal with yogurt, chocolate milk… the list could go on, but i won’t bore you. despite their downfalls, those darned luna bars work best for me. but if you have a normal pancreas and are not in love with the taste of a luna bar or other nutrition in bar form, i urge you to find your nutrition elsewhere, perhaps in the form of a whole food like a banana or an orange. in fact, my running partner nandi had a ton of success with eating a banana on our 12-mile run this week, and writes all about it in her most recent blog post, which you can find here. also, it’s really amusing to think of all the hijinx and slapstick comedy that could ensue from throwing a banana peel on a running path!

lesson three: our stomach-related business is just that– OUR business

Karen: Gretchen, I’m sorry I laughed at you that time you got diarrhea at Barnes & Nobles.
Karen: And I’m sorry for telling everyone about it.
Karen: And I’m sorry for repeating it now.

one of the most important pieces of the runners’ code is a shared understanding of what i will call “stomach issues.” they can be a really big problem for a lot of folks who hit the pavement. and it makes sense– spending multiple hours running, which bounces your body and tummy up and down, well, that can affect some things. and i do think it happens to most of us. right? tell me, please, that it’s not just me.

*awkward pause.*

anyhoo, i have been out on many runs with pals (i.e. my main running buddy nandi) when this has happened to me. when my stomach starts with its tiny gurglegurglegurgle, i snap to attention. if this gurglegurglegurgle escalates to a thudthudthud, i am on red alert, brainstorming all of the possible free restrooms in the area. and if, god forbid, the noise then becomes a full-on THUDTHUDRUMBLETHUD, i raise the alert level to a DEFCON 1 and inform my running partners of the impending doom.

and this is where the code comes in. as runners, we do not chide each other about this potential disaster. instead, we work together to find the nearest bathroom, and do everything in our power to gain access to it. and afterward, there may be some awkward apologies, but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do we make fun of each other, laugh at each other, or tell anyone else about it. of course, i am now telling everyone about it on this blog, but because i am talking about myself, i don’t think that i am breaking the time-honored code.

lesson four: this movie is friggin’ hilarious

Ms. Norbury: [after implying that an elderly biker is her boyfriend] I’m kidding. Sometimes older people make jokes too.
Damian: My nanna takes her wig off when she is drunk.
Ms. Norbury: Your nanna and I have that in common.

this lesson does not have anything to do with running. it’s just an important truth.

today’s book recommendation, in honor of the ny jets’ big win yesterday, and my good friend pete, the biggest fan i have ever seen:

a fan’s notes, by frederick exley

freddie exley is the pride of watertown, ny, and his memoir is a gem. it’s a true story of fandom and its trappings, as well as upstate new york, a man named mr. blue, and sweatshirt-enrobed dog. a necessary, engrossing, and unforgettable read.

robot girl, that’s me.

so about three months ago, the baby panda made a really good point. (he has made good points since then, i’m sure… i just can’t recall them quite so clearly.) three months ago, he suggested that i look into getting a continuous blood glucose monitor. after all, he said, with practicality oozing from his pores, i AM planning to run over 26 miles pretty soon. and it would probably be really helpful to know what my blood sugar was telling me during that death march (and all the training death marches leading up to it).

as i tend to do when (a) the bp makes a really good point and (b) when anyone tries to advise me (however soundly) on my diabetes, i furrowed my brow and tried to think of reasons why i should NOT do such a practical thing. i know! i know! that sounds so stupid in retrospect. but diabetes has made me a real creature of habit. if something is working, i do not want to rock the boat. this might explain why i have been eating a half turkey sandwich, carrot sticks, and an apple for lunch for the past four years.

“that would be IMPOSSIBLE!” i exclaimed dramatically, “it’s so much work! and so much moolah! i just CAN’T!”

but as i thought about this more, i realized that i was being an idiot. not only has insurance started to cover continuous glucose monitoring, but my blood sugar levels have always been a heckuva challenge to manage over my long runs, and anything that could provide me with help in that arena would be amazing.

fast forward three months. here i am:

yes, that’s right! i have turned into a gigantic barbie doll, complete with plastic hands, feet, and a tiny bottle of suntan oil! or is that rum? JUST KIDDING! really, i have not turned into a giant barbie. if you look really closely, though, you will see that barbie is my soul sister in diabetes. she is sporting my current set-up: she has an insulin pump, as well as a continuous blood glucose monitor! TWINS!

here is a closer picture of the situation (yes, that WAS on purpose, all you jersey shore fans!):

parts A and B make up my insulin pump, which i have had for a while. for those of you who don’t know, part A is a tiny machine that holds a little vial of insulin. it pumps insulin into my body via a tube powered by a tiny motor, which then oozes into my body at point B. don’t worry, it’s not gross at all. basically, i just insert a tiny tube with a needle (and remove said needle), and then the insulin pump works! and instead of giving myself several shots per day, i just have to change that puppy every three days. it’s been one of the greatest inventions that i have ever used in my daily life. (besides stairs and playing cards, which i truly believe are the other two most awesome inventions of all time. think about it– what could be more creative than playing cards? or more useful than stairs?)

parts C and D make up my continuous glucose monitor. part C is the sensor. the VEEEERY expensive sensor– boxes of these are soul-crushingly pricey. so basically, i insert this sensor with a needle, much like i insert my insulin pump. i remove the needle with surprisingly little pain and a lot of nervousness, and what’s left in my abdomen is the sensor, which rests in the subcutaneous layer of my skin and measures the glucose levels of my interstitial fluid. THEN the sensor talks to little thing that looks like a shell, or part D, which is the transmitter. the transmitter takes the information that the sensor tells it and sends this information wirelessly to the screen on part A (my pump). magic!

so the great thing is that the continuous glucose monitor can provide me with blood glucose readings EVERY FIVE MINUTES. this is a crazy amount of information for someone like me, who at the most, checks her blood sugar 11 times per day. but it’s no magic bullet. i still have to check my blood sugar several times per day to calibrate the continuous glucose monitor in order to make sure it’s working properly. also, there is a really big discrepancy between the readings that my sensor receives and my real blood sugar levels. the reason is that my sensor measures interstitial fluid, which is different than actually measuring the sugar levels of my blood. in fact, the sugar levels of my interstitial fluid usually lag about 20 minutes behind the sugar levels of my actual blood. therefore, the readings that come up on my sensor tell me what my blood sugar readings were 20 minutes ago, not what they are now. this can be fine sometimes, but frustrating other times when my sugar is rapidly rising or falling.

“how confusing and LAME!” you must be saying, if you haven’t already fallen asleep. “why would you use a machine that provides you with incorrect information?”

well, i say in response–this is the best possible technology that exists right now. no continuous blood glucose monitor will measure my real blood sugar levels, so i’m going with this. it’s not ideal, but it does provide me with some good trends and ideas of my blood sugar patterns.

it’s also provided me with the amazing sensation of what it’s like to be a robot. imagine! i have not one, but two clunky probes attached to me! and they have PIECES! and they require constant MAINTENANCE! and now that i have the continuous glucose monitor, it can set off alarms on my pump when my blood sugar is too high or too low. sometimes, if i don’t answer an alarm quickly enough, the pump actually starts to vibrate. it’s pretty ridiculous, especially because i wear my pump in my shirt and all of the sudden, my torso can just start shaking.

but whenever i get annoyed when an alarm wakes me up in the middle of the night, i remember to be a little bit thankful, too. one of my biggest fears is getting a low blood sugar while i am sleeping and passing out, which would force the baby panda (if he somehow woke up and knew that something was wrong) to do something bizarre like squeeze cake frosting into my mouf to get me the sugar that my body needs (i’m not even kidding). now, my pump’s alarm will wake me up if it senses that my blood sugar is dropping below 70 mg/dl. (in the past, i’ve been plagued with blood sugars as low as 32 mg/dl overnight… ew. fyi, a non-diabetic’s blood sugar usually is anywhere between 80 and 100 mg/dl. so 32 is pretty flippin low.)

this also has some great applications for my long runs, just as the baby panda predicted. now, when my blood sugar is crashing after a few miles, i can see that on my pump and prevent the low by eating some delicious clif shot blocks instead of having to stop and check my blood sugar after i already feel horrible.

so, i admit it– the baby panda is a practical and intelligent bear. and i am really glad that i followed his advice, even if people on the bus have started looking at me strangely when they hear beeping noises from inside my shirt. thanks, panda!

book recommendation:

youth in revolt: the journals of nick twisp, by cd payne

i can’t believe that this book has finally been made into a movie! starring my comedic idol, michael cera! this story is a hilarious homage to a confederacy of dunces. it works ridiculously well, but it would work even better if it were a few hundred pages shorter. the doughnut descriptions are to die for, though.

craziness runs in the family.

this is my sister-in-law, sarah!

she is one of my running idols, and her story is one of my favorite ones to tell.

 

early in the summer of 2008, sarah, like so many of us, decided that she wanted to get fit. and then, like so many of us, she decided to do something about it. so she went to the local sneaker store for a pair of sweet exercise kicks. while she was there, she saw a sign for a learn to run class. then, like not so many of us, she bravely decided to sign up that very second.

sarah had never run before, but gamely showed up to every session of the class. and she LOVED it. the goal of the class was to complete a 5-k, and after completing that race in short order, sarah decided she was a runner. and when she made this decision, what else did she do? something that very few people would ever do. (well, not me, anyways. it took me YEARS to work up to this point.)

sarah signed up for a half marathon.

i remember the day that she called me to tell me the big news. strangely, i was just about to head off on a run myself. i remember thinking that she was insane! at that point in my life, i had run one half marathon, and had vowed to myself that i would never do it again. half marathons were hard! they required intense training! and not only did sarah commit to running a half, but she also committed to raising a buttload of money for the leukemia and lymphoma society as a member of their team in training!

go big or go home, she said. hmmmmmmm, i said.

as the fall progressed, so did sarah’s runs. every week was a new and longer distance. and when i saw her in early november on the weekend of the grandest bachelorette party ever (thanks, fred!), she looked amazing… and so so happy! i was inspired. so when she told me that she had to get up early saturday morning to run eight miles, i said that i’d come with her and run for as long as i could keep up with her.

early on that rainy and frigid saturday morning, we set off. sarah had planned an absolutely insane, yet beautiful, route. i had been running consistently since my last half marathon more than a year before, but i hadn’t run more than six miles in almost thirteen months. but i stuck with her, even when we started climbing a steep hill of death. (strangely remniscent of my ten-mile run last week!) up up up we climbed. it was painful. it was exhausting. but we didn’t stop until we made it to the top. together, we gulped some of the trusty gummi lifesavers that i keep with me for quick sugar. when i looked over, i saw that sarah had, in addition to a gigantic smile, one of these lifesavers stuck to her face. it was glorious.

that day, i decided to sign up for another half marathon. i guess her craziness was contagious.

sarah completed her first half marathon in walt disney world in january 2009. after the race, she called me, crying tears of joy, disbelief, and accomplishment. in the months that have followed, she has run many more races and inspired me (and i am sure countless others) many many times. not only does sarah never give up, but she greets the challenges that running and life bring with a smile (and luckily not a lifesaver) on her face.

this sunday, sarah will be running her first full marathon, once again in walt disney world. i could not be more proud of her. good luck, sister-in-law and running idol! you are amazing!

book recommendation in honor of my girl sarah l.

the book thief, by markus zusak

if this book doesn’t make you cry, then your heart might be made out of stone.  a memorable and unique account of world war two told from the viewpoint of death, it’s a story that stays with you forever, and might even convince you to name your son rudy.

omg. i am running the boston marathon.

yesterday, i ran ten miles. it was a process that actually started on friday. not the running, luckily. but the prepping! it took forrreeeevvvveeerrr. after a magical new years day that consisted solely of lying on the couch, i realized that i had no clean freakazoid spandex for my big run. so i started some laundry. then i had to put some serious thought into the most appropriate socks and shirts and then i had to locate a clean suit of elastic-waisted clothes for after the run. then i needed to find snacks!

i wish that my snacks were more exciting, but they merely consisted of yogurt and punkin granola (51 carbs) for a breakfast directly prior to the run (the whole diabetes thing is realllllly freaking annoying with pre-run eating… it is kind of crazy long pain in the booty to explain. suffice to say, the delicate blood sugar balance doesn’t allow me to eat breakfast more than 30-40 minutes before i go out for a run), clif shot blocks for during the run, and then chocolate soy milk (10 ounces, 30 carbs) for after the run. i wanted to be all set to quickly head out the door on saturday morning because i was meeting my main running pal nandi on the corner of our street at 6:25 a.m. and since i am just plain evil in the morning, i needed everything to be ready.

as i have mentioned before, ten miles has always been my turning-point distance. it takes mental and physical toughness for me to make it that far, and i usually start thinking about these longer (i can’t believe that in a few months, ten miles is going to feel like cake!) runs at least 24 hours before they are actually scheduled to happen. i do enjoy getting these puppies out of the way first thing in the morning if i can, because i become a total bear if i fret about a run for too long. and not a nice bear like the baby panda. more like a mean @$$ grizzly bear whose honeycomb was stolen by that lame-o debbie downer, winnie the pooh.

so yesterday, i was up long before the sun was. i was out the door by 6:18 a.m., armed with my pre-packed snackies, dry clothes, hat, headband, hair clips, gloves, freakazoid spandex, smartwool socks, and spectacles so that i’d be able to recognize nandi and my other teammates (don’t worry, i don’t run with specs). however, i neglected one very important thing– i forgot to look outside and realize that it resembled a flipping snowglobe. so i didn’t bring an extra pair of shoesies! therefore, i got crazy wet on my way to meet erin, and then even wetter as we trekked to davis square to meet our teammates and carpool to grafton, ma, together.

we arrived in grafton at 8:00 a.m., and i already felt exhausted. and nervous! i wasn’t sure if my mindset was right for 10 miles of running through the snow. it wasn’t a blizzard, for sure, but the it was coming down enough to make me think that i should be running with some kind of goggle situation so that i’d be able to see. plus, my socks were wet. but after an inspirational talk on how to conquer steep hills (which were of course going to be featured on our slog) from our peerless coach rick, we set off.

THUDTHUDTHUDTHUD, said my stomach as we began. i am notorious for my tender tummy, and have had more problems out on runs than i can begin to discuss. and yesterday’s problem was one of the least tolerable: i felt like i had a bowling ball in my gut. (not a full-sized one, but one of those candlepin ones that these massachusetts weirdos love. btw, i am really freaking good at candlepin bowling! not really– i have only been twice, but one time, i was REALLY good. the other time, not so much.)

immediately, the pack of speedsters shot to the front and the eight-minute-milers glided in behind them. for a few minutes, i honestly tried to keep up with these guys, but then i remembered that i had like 10 miles of hell to get through, and that i am a ten-minute miler. so i eased up to something more like a ten-minute pace behind a man in a royal blue shirt. together we ran, up rolling hills and down rolling hills, my stomach THUDTHUDTHUDDING the whole way. the first three miles were horrible! the snow was stuck in my eyelashes, and there were no sidewalks. plus, i couldn’t really see the snowplows that were stalking us as if we were their tasty prey.

eventually, though, blue shirt guy and i made it to the first waterstop. by this point, although we’d exchanged exactly zero words, i felt like we were buddies. and even though there was another pack of runners directly behind us, i felt like we were the only two out on the snowy death course. of course, i was too shy to say anything like this, and so i just took my sip of water and moved on.

as blue shirt man and i wove through the winding roads of the lovely town, i actually started to calm down, feel comfortable, and gather my thoughts. (i haven’t run with an ipod or any music in years, not out of a conscious decision, but actually because my ipod short-circuited in the baby panda’s extremely warm paw on a run on the hottest day of the summer of ought-seven. at first, i was too lazy to get any music up and running on my new ipod, but then i got used to the quietude of my rasping and wheezing breath and THUDTHUDTHUDDING tum.) the running was almost relaxing. until.

A CAR SPED BY ME, SPRAYING UP AN OOZE OF SLUSH AND DIRT. that was no surprise– that had been happening to me since the beginning of the run. but this time, the car also kicked up a rock that hit me square in the temple. well, it was actually a small pebble, but it flippin’ hurt. at this point, i started talking to myself, but hopefully not so loudly that the blue shirt man could hear me. i cursed the driver of the pebble car, and then i cursed myself for being out on a run in the first place. then i cursed the running route itself. and then i cursed the buffalo bills for their 198th consecutive stinky season. it was pathetic.

but the silver lining was that i still, in spite of my pebble-striken head, managed to keep up with the blue shirt guy. and then we saw it the hill that peerless coach rick had warned us about– it was a beast looming at the beginning of mile nine. as coach rick had recommended, i allowed myself to look up it just once, and then i started chugging. up up up i went, panting, wheezing, sniffling up snow. it was probably about 1/2 mile uphill, and at the final upward slope, i let out a little yell like AYYYYYYYYYYYY! i felt like tyler hamilton (without the performance enhancing drogas) on the slopes of the pyrenees! (the baby panda had a bicycling phase a few years ago, and so i have retained some trivial knowledge from our tour de france viewings.)

and this was the point when i realized it. i am running the boston marathon! until now, my training hasn’t been remarkable. i haven’t really had to do anything that i haven’t already done while training for my half marathons, and i haven’t had to push myself beyond mental or physical limits. but yesterday, man o man. i did! as i finished that last mile, i think my heart swelled just like the grinch’s! i am really doing this! i am running the 2010 boston marathon, folks! (even with the cushion of 24 hours and fleece pants, i still nervously smile as i type these words.)

as we ran into the church parking lot where we began our run, i called out to my blue shirted pal, “thank you! i would haven’t have made it without you there!” and he said, “same here! i can’t wait for april!”

i don’t know if he was talking about better weather or our big day, but after yesterday, neither can i.

harrowing book recommendation to echo my harrowing run:

the hunger games, by suzanne collins

i could not put this book down, and almost got into a fight with the guy at the bookstore who was boasting about reading the advance copy of the sequel. this book is definitely worth a fist fight. reminded me of scott westerfield’s pretties series, but oh so much better– stronger female lead character (some might call her brutal), much eerier powers that be, and much more well written.