Prague and the dreaded treadmill

Hello World!

Prague must be one of the most beautiful places on the globe.  I took this photo about 10 o'clock in the evening on my last day...  Did we have rain!  But it didn't damper the awesome time and days filled with lacrosse and sight seeing.  The place is amazing with a bridge dating back to the 1300's (Charles), the largest castle in the world (by land mass) and the largest equestrian statue.  A little bit of Prague trivia...  Prague means 'door,'  as in door between east and west.

The reason for my trip was to be a somewhat responsible adult accompanying my two older daughters' lacrosse team to the the Lacrosse World Cup.  What a great time we had!  They and their team played well and came in 2nd in their division.  Saturday, we saw the U.S.  women defeat the Aussies in a nail-biter that could have gone either way.  Hard to say when I've been so pumped up and into a game; actually lost my voice!  Other highlights include a bike tour, walking through the winding cobblestone side streets, the history and the architecture and the small mom and pop shops...  Didn't buy much but was tempted by the glassware...

So, I ran on the treadmill for 4 days straight because I was in Prague and it was raining -- did I mention the rain? -- and I didn't want to get lost.  That's the real reason, fear of lostage.  It's a beautiful city but is definitely not conducive to running; I actually didn't see anyone running on the streets.  In fact, no one was running on the other treadmill in the hotel gym, except for one day.  Do you ever wonder who's running on the treadmill besides you -- and sometimes more importantly -- what they ate last night?  And what about the overly cologne-scented?  So anyway, this was a guy that I had seen on the elevator the previous day with Michael Pollan's relatively new book, In Defense of Food, tucked in his carry-on's side pocket.  I usually talk with like minded foodies, but I couldn't do it this time.  The garlic seeping of his pores was almost enough to make you fall off the treadmill!  Luckily, I outran him :)

I complain about the hotel gym and the treadmill but it really wasn't too bad.  A treadmill is like a security blanket, always there when you need it.  I got a couple of good sweats in...  I ran a 14k, 12k, 12k and a 10k.  I even got fancy and used the elevation mode!  I ran my tempo on feel as the pace conversion between miles and kilometers was making my head hurt.  Does anyone out there know what pace a 4:17k is?  Friends thought that I was off to run another race;  not my turn, this time, though next time I travel, I'll see if anything is going on.

So, today was the official kick-off for fall marathon training which means hard efforts and ice baths.  We ran a good one on the Washington and Lee Track this morning.  The group did a 8X800 which means we ran around the track twice, 8 times.  I wish I could say I was the fastest or the fittest but I'm proud of the times today, especially when I compare them to where I was a year ago.  So here's the stats:  3:09, 3:01, 2:59, 2:56, 2:58, 2:57, 2:57 and 2:59.  But who's counting?   :)

Cheers and what a beautiful day for a run.  Oh, and a happy belated birthday to running coach George who turned 31 again!  How many times has that been again, George?


Type 'A' determined to be a Type 'B,' for June anyway...

Hello World-

So, it has been about a week since the 28 hour return trip from Easter Island and I am now used to and thankful for the sun being up and out all day! In Chile, it's the beginning of winter, so the sun wasn't rising until 8 am, and it was setting about 5:30. I'd forgotten about that little seasonal detail! At first, it was getting used to the darkness -- i.e. waiting and waiting and waiting to run until relative light -- and then, when I got home, it was getting used to the sunniness.  Okay, so that part wasn't so hard :)

First, a BIG, BIG thank you to all of my supporters. I feel like someone who just won a Grammy or an Emmy and is on stage with an endless thank you list.  You know, one where you roll your eyes and check out what's on HG TV. But really, those thank yous are not all blather and it actually does take a lot of people to pull you along to greatness.  Ha, okay, maybe not greatness but to your personal best!  So here's my list and I'll try to keep it shortish:

  • My family for enduring my crazy (early) hours, my prolonged absences to run -- often taking up valuable weekend time -- adjusting their schedules to accommodate mine and not thinking I'm crazy to want to go to every continent and every state to run a marathon!
  • My running coach George whose consistent commitment and support has quietly pushed me towards my best.  It's a beautiful day for a run!
  • My first coach Chris who for four years plus drew up a monthly running schedule and developed  an oh,  SO green novice non-runner into a marathoner.  It's all about a positive mental attitude...
  • Cathleen, for helping me set up this blog and Web-Goddess Cheryl, for setting up my web page -- can't begin to think of how many hours this took -- and Kim for the design help
  • My friends who put up with my now-shoddy tennis game and for understanding and putting up with my inflexibility that 'I can only swim on Thursdays'...
  • And finally, a BIG hug to all of my friends and family who have donated to my fund and made a commitment to support me and needy Alexandrians.
And finally, I've committed to be a non type-A, a non obsessive-compulsive person for the month of June.  I have committed to running only 5 days a week, with plenty of cross training.  I have committed to running only 50 miles per week.  I have committed to listening to Coach George when he tells me to 'shut it down' when needed during our track workouts and being okay with it.  I have committed to giving my body rest.  Can I do it?  I think so, especially since it's already mid-June and our Fall marathon training begins soon  :)

Cheers and it's a beautiful day for a run!


The Easter Island Report!


Hello Word!

I've been home for a few days now, dazed and a little overwhelmed, exhilarated as I reflect on this amazing trip!  On the way to Easter Island, we, my daughter Kate and I, and the fun and eclectic running crowd from Marathon Tours led by fearless leader Cliff Jennings, had three days in Santiago.  First, it was strange to go from summer to winter and second, the water spins the other way when you flush!

Santiago is a bustling and sprawling city of 6 million nestled in the hills and mountains of the Andes Range.  Unbelievable sites with snow-covered mountains --their ski season was about to begin -- museums, wine tours, great food and picos sours -- the official cocktail of Chile. Salute!

Easter Island was a 5 1/2 hour plane flight west into the Pacific Ocean.  What a disconcerting feeling it was to be landing and seeing nothing but black!  I felt like high-fiving the pilot for finding it.  Actually, it's a common run for LAN airlines.  Twice a week, it leaves Santiago to go to Easter Island and then continues to Tahiti where then it makes the same trip in reverse. Easter's airport has only a  huge landing strip -- thankfully -- thanks to the US as this strip serves as the Southern Hemisphere's emergency landing for the space shuttle and a pavilion as a terminal.  These are the only flights in and out so hearing a plane was eventful.

Imagine an island roughly triangular in shape, 6 miles across at it's narrowest with inactive valcanoes roughly at each point.  No trees taller than me -- with a few exceptions where there has been reforestation --   no native birds -- I think I saw 2 small chickadee looking things -- hills covered with knee high grasses that looked like heather, wild and tame horses everywhere that roamed the island with the native dog population, again everywhere and no flying bugs.  I think I saw one cricket and one crawling bug of undetermined variety.  Did I mention the WIND?  AND STATUES (MOAI)?  There is so much to write about that this is not doing Chile and the Chileans --  Mainland's natives are Napuches  and Easter's Polynesian natives are the Rapa Nui -- justice.  Sorry!  But now to the personal highlights:

  • Winning the marathon and the feeling of breaking the tape.  Major motivation for the track workouts!
  • Being interviewed by Chilean TV having spectators cheering for me.
  • Spending 10 days one-on-one with one of my kids and seeing her success in the 10k.  2nd place!
  • The stampede of horses coming up on me during the race.  This made me run a little faster, for sure!
  • The rainbows because of the simultaneous sun and rain.  The stark beauty of the island... the cliffs, the clear water, the grasses blowing in the persistent wind, the statues towering over all else.....
Cheers my friends and what a beautiful day for a run -- though I'm still taking a few days off  :)