And so it begins. I work in academia, but year round. I spend the summer getting ready for the beginning of the school year. And yet. Nothing gets me ready. I am keeping a running list of what I didn’t get done. It’s a long list.

And that’s work. Personally I got things done, but not everything. I should have my query packet ready to rock. Not yet. Cancelled plans for the weekend, and going to try and get that part of my life on track.

And then’s there’s the physical me. Summer time early gym appointments and tri training aren’t easy, but they are doable. Now it is more challenging. No more tris, but a couple of “races” this fall. I am grateful for those goals, and for the long term contract I signed at the gym. Really grateful. Because I would let it slip otherwise.

And I’m considering taking French lessons.

So what this means is that I have to prioritize. I need to create space for my life in my life. Create space for blogging, and writing, and querying, and working. And running. And getting better at swimming. And even French. But there are seven days a week. Twenty four hours a day.

I’ll figure it out. And let you know how it goes.

Cranberry Sprint Tri–Race Report

Well, I did it. Here’s the race report–warts and all.

On Saturday August 28 I did the Cranberry Sprint Triathlon. I started, and I finished. As this was my first tri, that was as far as my goals went, though I did want to try and come in under 2.5 hours. Still not sure of my time. (UPDATE, I finished in 2:16).

Like everything that pushes you past your comfort zone, I learned a great deal about myself during this process, and especially on Saturday. My biggest “a ha”? I feel like a fraud as an athlete. It has only been a little over a year since I decided to seriously try to push myself athletically. This summer I have been stregnth training, and tri training. I haven’t lost a pound, but I have lost inches and gained muscle. I have a ways to go, but I am on a path. All of that said, as I stood waiting to be in the last wave of the swim (!), doubts crept in. I have a lot more work to do on my mental game.

The swim was ½ mile. And it sucked. I swam for a bit, sighted the buoy, saw how far it was and I started to hyperventilate. So I went to my back. Since I was in the last wave, there weren’t a lot of swimmers around. Towards the end, there were just three of us. I won’t lie—I almost quit, but I didn’t. There was a surfboard guy who stuck by me, and literally talked me through it. Made a huge difference. I was the last one out of the water. I was met by a weeping friend, who said “I’m so proud of you.” Can’t even say what that meant.

On my way back to the transition area I decided to just finish the race. even though I was last. I didn’t have to wrestle with anyone else to get out, so I just focused, went through my routine and took the bike off the rack. A BostonFit friend found me, and reminded me to breathe use the bike to relax. Easier said than done, but I tried. I wore my camelback, thankfully (the bottle thing
while riding still isn’t happening). I didn’t refuel in transition, and that was a mistake. The ride wasn’t bad—it was a two loop course, and I didn’t see anyone on my second loop. I got more zen about being last.

I am always a slow runner, and I was tired, but I had come so far. Though when I saw the one mile marker I screamed—probably aloud. Damn that first mile sucks. The next two weren’t much better, but I did them, with two one minute walk breaks.

As I was running the rest of the course alone people were driving by, on their way home. Most of them opened their windows to cheer me on. Every cop, every volunteer, everyone just kept encouraging me. So even though I was the only person running that final bit, I felt good. And I saw my entire BostonFit posse cheering me on. And then my family, and my BFF David were waiting at the finish line.

Will I do it again. Yes. Next season. After I train my body and mind this winter.

The Day After

Though I intended to write last week, the mixed emotions and nuttiness of work precluded that. A quick recap of the week. Monday I went to the doctors who did some moving, poking and prodding of my knees. Long story short, he told me to ice and take ibuprofen, and then reffered me for some PT for my knees. He asked how long my longest run had been, and I told him 12 miles. He said "you can do this". And so I changed from "I can't" to wrapping my brain around doing the race.

Had I to do it over again, I probably would have picked a less formidable half marathon to start. BAA was great (people were great, etc), but they are pretty clear about the course closing after 2.5 hours, and 1/5 of the people who signed up don't go. I wonder if some of them panic. I know I did.

Saturday was between Zen and panic. But I was in. Picked up my bib number. Put the D-ring on my shoe. Laid out my outfit. Reread the "It's all about the Medal" chapter in MARATHONING FOR MORTALS. And got to the place where I realized that, duh, I needed to enjoy this as much I as could. Why was I doing it otherwise?

I am still processing the race, but two thoughts. First, it was harder than I thougJulie Half Marathon 5ht it would be. And I thought It would be pretty hard.

Second, I did it. I freaking ran a half marathon. It took me a little over 3 hours, but I started and finished.

As a friend said last night, I can never again say that I can't do something unless I try. And I will keep trying. The tangible goal of a half marathon helped so much. I am going to keep doing shorter runs this winter, and then set another goal for next season. Maybe a sprint tri?

Now to apply all of these lessons to my manuscript and desired writing life. Thing is, after yesterday I think I can do it.



I am scheduled to run my half marathon on Sunday, October 11. I am a physical and emotional wreck. Apparently, from what I've been told, this is normal. See, before you run a long race you cut down on your runs. It is called a taper. It is a time for rest and recovery in order to allow your body to prepare. And they say that the taper is a time where emotions run high, aches and pains come to the surface, etc. All true. In fact I am going to the doctor this AM to talk through "is this normal knee pain or not?". I suspect it may be IT band tightness–one of the assistant trainers on my half marathon team suggested a foam roller, which I got last night. A $20 torture device for self massage.

Now, a part of me is worried that I won't be able to run on Sunday. Another part of me hopes I can't. Fear is raising its ugly head, and this is the week to get my head in the game. Because so much of this is a mental game.

I write. I am not published, though it is a goal.  Two reasons I have been able to keep training for this half marathon are the support of my BostonFit group, and the calendar goal. I have joined a Goal for Guppies group, hoping for (and getting) the group support. But the calendar goal isn't there. It is up to me. And there is the problem. Though it is a dream, I do not do all the work to make the dream come true.

Maybe this week, and this race (no matter what happens) will help me figure this disconnect out. And fix it.

There are likely to be a flurry of posts this week as I prepare for this run. And try to get my head in the game.

Who is that old broad?

Took a Chi Running class on Saturday. The thought was to
learn a technique that will help alleviate injury possibilities. A good
seminar, but again humbling. Not because of the Chi Running, but because of the

I was one of three students. The other two were guysone of
whom ran a 5K in 18 minutes. I would be thrilled with a time twice that. We
were filmed at the beginning, middle and end of the day for progress reports.

Watching the film at the end of the day, I was struck. I own
that spandex isnt my best fashion option (though crucial for chub rub
prevention). Makeup before a run isnt a great idea, so I go bare faced. I was
prepared for that. What I wasnt prepared for is watching an old lady mince
along. And thats what I saw. Arms out of shape (Michelle Obama has raised the
bar on that front, hasnt she?), hunched over taking small graceless steps. I
am so afraid of getting injured I dont risk getting injured. I play it safe.
Talk about life metaphors.

I keep saying that my goal is to finish this race. But lets
face itI could walk the 13.1 miles. Adding yoga, strength training to my
training. Also adding a time goal of around 3 hours. I need to get my sexy
back. I need to stand up straight, run and find the joy.

Running Lessons

The perfect storm that was this past spring (weight gain
over the winter, lethargy and feeling a little blue) inspired me to try to run
a half marathon. My ex-grad assistant Julie has become a marathonaholic, and
was supportive and encouraging (as is her tendency) and suggested her running
group, BostonFit. I signed up (something about a registration fee that helps
with commitment) and showed up the first week. We ran 2 miles (since I am doing
the half it wasnt a pace run), and I thought I was going to die. Literally, my
lungs burned, shoulders hurt, legs screamed, you name it. But the coach hung
back with me, encouraging and supportive. I wont always run with you, but Ill
always wait for you at the end. And so I went back the next week. And Ive
been keeping up with the runs all summer.

This first blog post was going to be about this effort, and
how humbling but inspiring it has been so far. How Ive been getting better,
but still run at the back of the pack. How hard it is for someone who is
usually good at what she tries to come in second to last in her first race. And
how despite that auspicious finish, the medal I won is one of my proudest talismans.
 And how hitting the 100 mile mark for
training (Nike plus tallies since June) and having Lance come on my iPod and congratulate
me on my longest run so far (9 miles) on the same day was a huge moment. And on
this up note I was going to conclude.

But, with no small amount of irony, running has humbled me
again. I bought some new running shoes and was trying them out this AM, for my
scheduled hour run. The shoes are lighter, fit well and are fabulously pink, and I
was running pretty fast (fast for me is around 12 minute/mile. I am a John
Bingham apostle.) And I tripped. And wiped out. Got a cut on my nose. Both knees
skinned and sore (and swollen by the end of the day). My elbow is trashedskinned
with a huge bloody cut. Nothing is broken (I dont think), but as the day wore
on, everything started to ache.

This is hard. But I will keep moving forward, and run the
half marathon on October 11. And aspire to use the lessons I have learned in
other areas of my life, including my writing. Hopefully the blog will help with
that as well.