Still, I Run; Or, No Matter Where You Go, There You Are.

I’ve always been irritated by the use of qualifiers when describing a run. I suppose for elites or people who get paid to run, saying things like “that was a good run…..for her,” or “I just did a really slow run,” makes sense. But when you’re describing a run of the mill runner, like me, I think it only serves to pass sideways judgement, against someone else, or against yourself. The world of casual running has no place for qualifying language! If you run, you are a runner. Similarly, just because you haven’t been on a run in awhile doesn’t negate your runner identity. Get up. Get out. Start again.

So that’s that, and lately, I’ve been doing a lot of running away, from things, people. I don’t recommend that. There’ve been some changes in my work life over the past year – as in, I was “reorganized” out of a job. No worries. It had become a job that I dreaded going to every day. In hindsight, it was probably one of the better things that could’ve happened to me at the time. Being escorted to the door like a common criminal did not make for a good day, and I don’t recommend it to those of you who are in a position to “reorganize.” Do it nicer than that, and the person you’re reorganizing out might not think you’re such an ass. Months later, that is what sticks in my craw the most. Speaking of identity, what a way to have it sucked from your soul: pack up your stuff, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, and by the way, nothing you’ve done here for the past 8 years matters to us. Yep, it happened. But I digress, and I’ve got to let that shit go. Get up. Get out. Start again.

So running has taken a back seat. And I’ve been thinking about moving. Not just my body by way of running – which I have not been doing lately, but I’ll get to that later. No, really moving. Away. A move to Boston. Can you imagine?! Right now it is still a dream. If you know me well, you know that it is a long-time dream of mine; to live in that glorious city for awhile,  work there, be there. Well, it makes me happy just thinking about it. That will be a follow up blog post, hopefully sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.

Boston in Winter

Boston (North Square) in Winter, photo courtesy of Bret Clancy via Instagram

Meantime, running, as in life…. I read something recently, hence part of the title of this post, on a Buddhist website that said something like the grass may always seem greener on the other side, others always seem to have it better than you, etc., etc., but that one always must be mindful of the fact that no matter where you go, you have to take yourself with you. That resonated with me. I think my general status/mood/state of mind for the past few months has been, to put it delicately, fucked. I was generally fucked before, during, and after the 2016 NYC Marathon, which I rallied and pushed through to the finish line. That was a terrific day, but it probably wasn’t obvious to anyone who isn’t close to me that I was struggling. I was happy to have trained, and so happy to have finished that race. But it will be my last marathon. I stopped enjoying the REALLY long runs, and honestly the fact that I had promised myself that I never had to do that again is part of what got me through it. I was struggling with running, and with life in general.


At the NYC Marathon Finish Line

Me with Bling


To that end, I basically stopped running after crossing the NYC Marathon finish line. That was last November. Oh, I’ve been out here and there, but nothing resembling a schedule, or a goal. Having been stuck in the recesses of my brain for so long, I had forgotten that the day after last year’s Boston’s Run to Remember, I signed up for THIS year’s Boston’s Run to Remember half marathon. I only today realized that it is a mere 10 WEEKS away. Oh, what?



2016 Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon

Once again, I feel like running is going to quietly save me. I’m not running regularly again, yet. But I have a plan, which starts today. So, still, I run. Still, I plan for what’s next. Still, I make way for the twists and turns that life throws my way. My heart is opening up again.

Wherever you go, there you are. Not profound, but so true. I’ve got one shot, so far as I know.

Get up. Get out. Start again. See you out there.

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Running in Missouri in July is Like Standing in a Boiling Pot of Soup.

Someone from one of the local weather stations said that this past week — it’s been so hot here in Mid-MO during the month of July that it’s “like standing in a boiling pot of soup.”


And accurate, I think, though I’ve never actually stood in a boiling pot of soup. But I like the description. If you haven’t experienced 94 or 95 *actual* degrees, with a dew point of 75 and a “feels like” temperature of 109, well, I just can’t even…. there is no way for you to understand. “Boiling pot of soup” maybe gets close.

It’s been a very, very fine line for me between working enough at the gym and on the trails, and working too much. My tendency is to work too hard for my current abilities, and then set myself back by a day, two days, or a week.


At the end of a run: Forum Nature Area at the MKT

But I’m working, y’all. I’m working. And I feel like I’m on a good path. It’s just over three months away from the NYC Marathon.

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Nothing is Impossible… the Road to the 2016 NYC Marathon


I finished Boston’s Run to Remember on May 29th in just under three hours. It wasn’t my best run. I suffered from a pulled/strained left calf muscle the entire run. So… that hurt. But there are a lot of great things that happened too. I was in Boston. I finished the race. It was a lovely 65ish degrees and overcast, compared to record heat in the lower 90s just one day before. I saw friends I really like being around. And I already registered to run it again in 2017. Here are a couple of race photos. Such a great course!

Upon my return, I began thinking in earnest about my overall health. I did the metabolic assessment before the half in Boston, in mid-May. I got tested, measured, weighed — all that delightful stuff — I mean, if you’ve never had a “skin fold” test, you are missing out! Now I have a good understanding of where I am, and where I need to be for the NYC Marathon in November. I have a long way to go. But I will get there. Nothing is impossible.

I started a weights program on 6/15 at a wonderful local gym, and promptly pulled/strained *another* left leg muscle. Sometimes I do dumb things, like over-do the first real gym workout I’d done in, well…. a long time. In the meantime, I skipped a couple of runs out of necessity, but I’m back on track starting yesterday. I think the marathon training plan needs to be modified some — it’s too much, particularly when I know I need to squeeze in the gym 2-3 times/week. The issue I will face in the coming months is the heat and humidity. I hate, and I mean hate, both.

We’re still not at our official marathon training kick-off date (July 4), but I’ve needed this in between time to get my head, and my heart, in the race, if you will. I’m sure you understand.

In the meantime, I am still asking for donations to fund my run and my commitment to Team for Kids. If you’re so inclined to help me out, head on over to my fundraising page and give what you can. Thanks for reading.

Until next time……

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Starting Again, Again…. Boston and NYC Coming Up!

I’ve been loosely training for Boston’s Run to Remember half marathon since February. It’s been fine, but I’m not as strong as I’d like to be. My routine is far from solid. But I’ll run the race and I’ll feel good about it. And it’s in Boston, after all, one of my favorite places to be. Seventeen Days, and counting.


Loose tracking of progress toward Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon

Between now and then, I’m going to go through a New Leaf Metabolic Assessment with a clinical exercise physiologist here in Columbia. This test will determine my VO2 max, my maximum heart rate, and the level at which I *can* and *should* be training, among other things training-related. I’m starting to finally get my head around the fact that I’m running the NYC Marathon again this year – on November 6, and I really want to be ready. And I know I can be. I just have to work, work, work. My running partner and I have a *very* ambitious training plan for that race, which you can see here: NYC Marathon Training Plan 2016 . Our kick off date for that will be July 4 – 18 weeks out. But we’re already hitting the pavement pretty often, and for some decent distances. The 2014 NYC Marathon tested us, both physically and mentally. You can read about that experience here.

If you’re interested – I mean, c’mon, you’ve read this much – hop on over to my NYC Marathon Team for Kids fundraising page and make a tax-deductible donation. I’m half way to my fundraising goal of $2,620!

Thanks for your friendship and all means of support. It is much appreciated!


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And Speaking of Goals, Abandoned and New…

One of the things about running is that when you slack off, and get out of shape, like I have, you have all kinds of new goals when you DO get your ass back in gear! It’s all about perspective. For example, I ran the Charleston Challenge Mid-Winter Classic 5k this past weekend at 37:40. Not my best. I am running another 5k – the Shamrox Ultramax one – on March 13, and my new goal is to beat that time. I’m back in a race with myself, which is where anyone should really ever be.

I updated my race history, thanks to my step mom, and realized neither of us had my time for last year’s Boston’s Run to Remember, so I looked it up. 2:33:52. That’s another new goal – to beat that time this year, in 110 days, when I do that half marathon again.

The TriZou Triathlon is a goal that I’ve abandoned, at least for this year. I can swim, at least to save myself, and I can run. But I am more interested in getting my strong back than in learning how to ride a bike on a busy street. Just not my thing. I will stick to the trails.

Here’s me at the finish line at the 2015 Boston’s Run to Remember. What a course! Can’t wait to see it again.


Yup. Clarity. And focus. I am *so* down with this picture. And I love the HellzYeah! goin on right behind me… Runners have fun. And we are damned determined. BOOM.


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New Year, Abandoned Goals, New Goals, Whatever…

My physical therapist calls me the “hot mess express.” That is a long way from NYC Marathon finisher more than a year ago. Long story short, I slacked off on the running, stopped going to yoga, and greatly increased my chances of feeling well, shitty. I’ve also been through what I’ll just call a helluva transition in my work life, and didn’t realize the toll it’s taken. Shit happens. I’m getting my groove back.

Physical therapy has helped in the upper back pain (i.e. agony) I’ve been experiencing for months. I’m capitalizing on that by going to a kickboxing circuit twice per week. And I have a plan in place to get me into shape to finish the Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon on May 29.

I’ve been jump-started by four things:

  1. I am tired of the back pain. And it’s occurred to me, more than once, that it’s probably been screaming at me because I haven’t been maintaining my strength. So, enough. Kickboxing to the rescue of my core muscles.
  2. I have a half marathon to do in exactly 122 days.
  3. My running partner said he’s hoping for me to get us back into a regular running schedule. So, I’m going to do that.
  4. I recently visited my step-mom and was reminded that she keeps track of all my races, and she needs to add some more to the list. Yes!

I joined a gym that’s very close to my work at the beginning of January, and didn’t go a single time! Not once. Really?! So – that goal died a quick death. Ah well, I’ve got others. No need to dwell.

Deana's List

Happy 2016. Onward.

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New Goal: TriZou Triathlon 2016

Been awhile. My last post was about my half-assed attempt at running a mile-a-day. In January. Eight months ago. LOL. Not sure where I was going with that.

I’d like to say a lot has happened since then, but that isn’t really the case. I’ve completely slacked off the running, so much so that I’ve been eating terribly, sleeping terribly, gaining wait, etc., etc., etc. It happens. I assume. Fuck, I dunno. It happened to me.

And so here I am, back, with a new goal. It’s a big goal, even for me. I’ve done five marathons, and lots of half-marathons, 10ks, and 5ks. When I crossed the NYC Marathon finish line in November 2014, I said I was done. No way was I going to do another marathon. And I stand by that still. It just flat fucking did me in. But then I just sort of hung it up, which I didn’t really want to do. I was just so tired from it all. The training, the run itself. God, it was so much work.

That said, I need a goal. A big. fucking. goal. I’m stagnant at work. That is a long story which I don’t want to go into here. I’m stagnant with my running/fitness. So I’m going for something new. A next level. A triathlon.

Each Spring, the University of Missouri-Columbia hosts a triathlon called the TriZou. It’s a 400 meter swim, a 14 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run. I *suppose* you could say I started “training” last weekend. I’m going to go with that, but it’s a stretch. I did the same thing two Saturdays in a row – 10 miles on the bike followed by a two mile run. The second Saturday was better than the first, but both days were surprisingly difficult! Especially the TRANSITION. On what I would’ve said was “any other day” I could run two miles in my sleep. But I’m OFF my running game for sure, and transitioning from the bike to a run is going to be part of the training fun. The second Saturday was better than the first, so I’m taking that as progress.

I have a lot of work to do. I have to get back into a weekly fitness routine. I have to consume better/less calories. And I haven’t even mentioned the SWIM part of the triathlon. I’m ready for the challenge. I think.

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Cold Obsession

I managed to catch the sunset before I turned around.

I managed to catch the sunset before I turned around.

It’s day six of the #writeandrun31 challenge. I’d planned to meet Carl after work, so I didn’t do my mile this morning. I was fine with that plan because this dark-thirty running in the freezing-ass cold is, um, challenging. So I reverted to my usual routine of taking all my stuff to work, changing in my office at the end of the work day, and heading north. Carl’s plans changed mid-day, so I ran 3.25 solo miles from the Scott entrance of the MKT trail. It got dark on me before I got back. (Note to self: that’s dumb. You have a headlamp. Use it.) It was 24 degrees and felt like 17. Truly, it isn’t as bad as it sounds after about the first quarter mile. I’m not sure why I’m obsessed with the weather these days — it’s January, it’s cold. Not earth-shattering. I suppose it’s because it’s *so* cold and I’ve decided to do this challenge *now*. Gah. I assume I’d be equally obsessed with the heat and humidity if I’d started this thing in mid-July. But I also assume, as I sit here in my pajamas on my couch, that while I will get up in the morning at dark-thirty, I will hit the treadmill instead of the road because the temps are going to plummet overnight to include dangerous wind chills and gusts in the 30 m.p.h. range in the a.m.

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Compliments and Feel Good Moments

The good folks at #writeandrun31 offer daily writing prompts. I haven’t used any yet, not because I’m opposed to them, but because what I’ve been writing about so far is simply my attempts at getting outside and doing my miles. But yesterday’s prompt was intriguing. The question was what is the best compliment you’ve heard on a race course? Oh my, there are so many! And I’m going to conflate “compliments” with “feel good” moments here. It’s hard to narrow down a very long list of inspirational moments during runs and races. But here are five, in no particular order.

I Almost Always See a Cardinal.

This is important because I consider it some sort of weird other-worldly signal from my dad, who died in 2008. I started running shortly thereafter. World’s biggest Cardinal (baseball) fan that he was, I almost always see a cardinal when I’m out on a long run – or even a shorter one. I must say that I don’t see them when running in the dark or near dark, but the moment I begin to struggle, a red bird flies across my path. Almost guaranteed. In fact, there are times now when I think, OK, I’m starting to feel like crap, where’s my cardinal? 🙂 Granted, there are LOTS of cardinals around here, but I do like to think some of them are sending me little signals of a still present connection.

Run if You Can, Walk if You Must, But Finish for Boston.

This was a sign at about mile 19 in the 2013 Illinois Marathon, about two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings. It was still raw, we were apprehensive, and I don’t think you can be a runner and not be impacted by the events of that day. So this sign gave me pause, and the strength to get through the last 7 miles of that race and get a PR too! This sign is tied for first place in the Best Race Signs game with a sign I saw in the NYC Marathon that said “Whiskey has missed you, too.” Ha. People are just great.

Let’s Go Boston!

Another Boston reference? Yep. This was the same race – the 2013 Illinois Marathon. I wore a Boston Red Sox baseball hat (my dad, I assume, was doing the proverbial “rolling over in his grave” at that little stunt… :-)) in honor of the city I love and as a small tribute to the marathoners and fans who were impacted by the bombings days before. This Illinois race is one that has a lot of crowd/fan support, so at one point, instead of yelling my name (“let’s go, Krista!”) in support and for encouragement, I heard a “let’s go, Boston!” Someone in the crowd was referencing my hat. I thought that was so damned cool, and I picked up my step.

You Are One Tough Sonofabitch

This may not seem very nice! But it was necessary. And it is correct. I am one tough sonofabitch, especially when it comes to pushing through during a particularly difficult point in a race. Sometimes I just need some prompting, and this time it came, as it often does, from Carl, my running partner, with about 8 miles to go in the 2014 New York City Marathon. Those were 8 damned hard miles. But with his help, and to what may seem to some as harsh words, I toughed it out, sonofabitch style, and I have that glorious finisher’s medal to prove it.

There’s a Party at the End of this Race, and We Got to Get There!

I’m pretty confident that this happened during one of the Memphis (St. Jude’s) half marathons. It was toward the end, maybe mile 10 or 11. I was around a bunch of people who just seemed to be struggling a bit. One woman was openly weeping, obviously struggling a bit more than others at that moment. But there was this guy. This guy was having the best time, letting his bigger-than-life personality carry him to the finish line. He shared that personality with us when we needed it most, saying loudly, so everyone around us could hear: “C’mon now! There’s a PARTY at the end of this race… and we got to GET there!” We laughed, and agreed, and carried on.

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An Ice Cold Test

16 degrees with wind chill temp at 1 degree. Winds at 15 mph.

16 degrees with wind chill temp at 1 degree. Winds at 15 mph.

This is day four of my #writeandrun31 challenge. I really have no doubt that I can do the mile every day. Physically I can do that, and more I assume. The challenge for me is getting off my ass and doing it. That’s a mind game. It’s pretty easy, though, to be able to tell myself that for god’s sake it’s only 10 damn minutes. Get up. Do it. So far so good, but I’ve only had one day in the four where I was working. The other days were New Year’s Day, Saturday and Sunday. So, two underlying challenges lie ahead: running each day before work (because I know myself, and I will not do it once I’m home), and running in the FREEZING cold. There are always the days that I meet Carl for a run after work – those are not the issue. I’m used to taking my stuff, changing at work, meeting him and getting our weekly runs in BEFORE I get home. This other challenge is for the days that he and I aren’t planning to run together.

Anyway, back to today. Sunday. No problem. Except that it’s cold. Really fucking cold. I know what I’m really doing. I’m proving to myself and others that I can maintain my running habit in the cold winters of New England. But that’s for another post. 😉

Home after my 16 degree mile.

Home after my 16 degree mile.

It took me more time to get dressed to run my mile than it did to run my mile. Plus I hemmed and hawed about for at least an hour. So silly! I made better choices today in terms of clothing (it’s not like I don’t have proper running gear for all kinds of weather – trust me, I have more running clothes than work clothes). I wore two layers on the bottom, and three on top, including a lightweight North Face jacket, a scarf, a hat, headband (for my ears – hats don’t cut it for me), and two pairs of gloves (tight-fitting ones under mittens). The clothes that touched my skin were wicking, as they should always be. Truth be told, I was a little warm when I got back. But I think those items, or slight variations of them, will work for me in this kind of weather. I do need to make one major adjustment. I hate the scarf. I need something to keep my face warm, but I can’t stand breathing into a scarf that gets wet and cold and makes me feel like I can’t breathe. Plus my glasses get so fogged up when I’m breathing into the thing I can’t see anything! The picture to the right is when I came in after the run, so my glasses fogged up with the warm air, but this is what happened on the run when breathing into the scarf. No good. I guess I’m in the market for a face mask?

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