Monday, March 31, 2008


because of all the new readers (hi new readers!), i have pulled to the front a post that in part was written as part of my first marathon. it is the story of why i run.

i am running marathons in memory of my friend steve bouvier. we called him bouv. i met bouv in 7th grade, in science class. he was the nicest guy we all knew. he was always smiling. growing up, it was always steve and the girls - he was the only guy that was allowed to hang out with all the girls. bouv was the guy that you were always keeping an eye-out for a good girl to set him up with (until he snagged jeanne). we were friends through high school and college, through break-ups and living in different states. bouv always had your back. he had the thickest massachusetts accent of all our friends - there was nothing like going for "beahs" with bouvier. he loved skiing, and vermont, and his family, and chemistry, and jeanne, and also us brimfield girls.

when bouv was diagnosed with hodgkin's he was optimistic. he showed no fear. he told us all that it was "the kinda cancer you want to get if you get cancer". the survival rates were high. his calm way of talking about it put the rest of us at ease. we all knew he was going to beat it.

through the years, bouv's disease seemed be on a roller coaster. he'd get better and then he'd get sick again. throughout, he never seemed down about it. over thanksgiving and christmas breaks, he'd play designated driver and we'd hit the local bar as we always had. he had a few bone marrow transplants, and they seemed to help, but he never got completely better. i had moved to new york, and so at those periods that he'd have to go in the hospital for treatments, i never saw him. i only ever saw the healthy bouv.

bouv met a girl named jeanne. and she was fantastic, and we were all happy that he had found such a wonderful girl. they fell in love. and before one of his more experimental treatments, they got married in vermont, in a little ceremony with just their families. we got the pictures and he looked so happy. the hodgkin's could not wipe the signature bouv-grin off his face.

last year, in early october, a few days before i was taking off for a three-day charity bike ride, we got an e-mail from jeanne. steve was really sick again, and his body could not handle any more chemo. he and jeanne and his family decided that bouv would go into hospice. i confess, i didn't know what hospice was. when i asked a friend at work, they said that hospice is not about getting better, it's about managing pain.

i was bewildered and shocked. how could...but he wasn't that sick...but not bouv. in two days i had to on the bike ride, and was so scared that i was not going to make it to massachusetts to see him, before...i couldn't even say it. i got a friend to scan a picture of bouv and the brimfield girls - it was his favorite - a photo that he would take with him to the hospital when he got treatment, and throughout that ride, i kept that photo close, making that ride for him, drawing on the strength he had to keep going.

the following weekend, i decided to go up to massachusetts on sunday to see bouv. when i went into the living room, i'm not sure that my face hid what i felt. he simply looked so much older than the last time i saw him. too old for his years. i sat in his living room with jeanne and his family, and we talked, catching up. he was on a lot of pain meds, patches and such, that jeanne lovingly handled with a quiet strength that i'm not sure that i possess.

before i knew it, it was time for me to catch a train. i went over and hugged bouv and said goodbye, and said "i'll see you next week, okay?" and his reply was a firm "definitely." i didn't cry until i got in the car.

a few days later steve died. after feeling the sorrow, for steve, for jeanne, for his family...the next worst thing was the guilt. i should have been there more often. visited. why didn't i realize? i wasn't a good friend, how did i not know this was going to happen and spent more time with bouv.

and so, almost a year later, when i decided it was time to do some new charity activity, i wanted to do something for the leukemia & lymphoma society. i came to a tnt info meeting looking for a bike ride. and as i sat there, sad and inspired and wanting to do *something*, looking at the bike rides and thinking...they're too short (they were "only" day rides of 100 miles)...a flicker of insanity sparked. a marathon? no way. there's no way i can. but then i couldn't let it go, because i knew if i had it in me to do this, if i did, i could probably only do it for a damn good reason. and in bouv;s memory seemed like a damn good reason.

that's how i began running marathons. last year i successfully completed the phoenix arizona and san diego marathons, and the paris marathon will be my 3rd.

i'm trying to raise $20,000 in just one week through $10 donations as part of my fundraising efforts for the leukemia and lymphoma society in memory of bouv. if you are at all inspired, please consider a donation no donations are too small!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

girl you better write

sorry kids. i've been busy and lazy and un-writey lately.

the short version is...

i ran my 20 mile run saturday pretty much with tummy cramps the whole run.
i was less than pleased but at least it wasn't raining.

sunday i felt very beat up and behaved accordingly.

tuesday i went to the gym and hit up the elliptical for 4+ miles. wooh.

longer versions of these soon, i promise.

the marathon is two weeks from sunday...crazy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

a soggy 18 miles

sorry it took so long to get this post up. after my run i had to work for the rest of the day...and a bunch of sunday too and so the last place i felt like being was in front of the computer.

i'll take you back to friday night, when i nearly had a temper tantrum. that's all i really wanted to do, actually...i wanted to throw a massive crying fit until i was too tired to do anything but sleep. work was rough last week - high-pressure, quick-turn-around-deadlines, and by 6pm on friday i was done. exhausted. whiny. cranky.

the swede called to discuss the plan for the evening and a simple question about what i wanted to do for dinner elicited this sort of response...

"i don't know cause i'm not even hungry and all i wanna do is sit my butt down on the couch and drink a bottle of red wine but i can't cause i have to run tomorrow and i'm mad cause its gonna rain tomorrow and i don't *wanna* run 18 miles tomorrow in the rain cause i'm exhausted and i just want to sleep all day but i can't cause of this damn running." (pouty face) i eventually calmed down and relaxed a bit. the swede is a smart man and he bought me my favorite cupcakes which definitely helped with the cranky pants.

as expected, Saturday at 8:30 was dreary if not (yet) raining, but at least it was warm - in the high 40's. since we had such a hilly run the previous week, this week would be pretty much flat (well, except for the last bit which is a hill. sigh.) we were heading to coney island., which is a 13-mile round trip. we needed to run a round trip of the boardwalk (2 x 2.5 in case you were wondering how long the boardwalk is, there you have it) to add another 5 for a total distance of 18. we tried to head out quickly, as the downpours were really starting around 1pm. if it started lightening, then we could stop.

while the coney island run is easier from a hill perspective, i've decided that i really don't like long, flat straightaways. libby and i took off with one of our coaches, who was keeping us a more challenging pace than we might have started with - around an 11m mile. i pretty much threw pacing out the window once i got hurt twice this season and decided i would be happy with a race where i felt good at the end.

about 3 miles or so into the run, the rain started - not too heavy but there. we got to the boardwalk and took off to the left - in retrospect we should have gone the other way first since it was longer. oh well. we were now running through misty rain, trying to avoid the many nails and rotten planks sticking up out of the boardwalk. i tripped easily 8 times and snarled under my breath at the though of twisting my ankle on one of the many hazards we ran around.

the boardwalk stretched on forever and ever...or so it seemed. we finally saw the end and when we got there, goo'd it up and had a quick stretch. more mist. we headed back, stopping for a bathroom break, and a few blocks back up ocean parkway at a bodega so i could get some gatorade. and a few more blocks after that...the sky's opened up.

it was raining from every. single. direction. and within a few short minutes we were soaked through to the skin. we shrieked and laughed, and people were staring, giving us looks as if to say "are you guys mad?" we saw a flash and loud rumble of thunder soon followed but how to get back? that was the only flash, and really from where we were on ocean parkway it was quite a walk to the f train, and no busses in sight. we decided we would press on - unless we got too cold and the wind started to blow. rain - fine. wind- n'uh.

for the last 6 or so miles it rained - scratch that - poured on and off. the off parts were worse then the on parts because then you could feel the soggy wetness right down to your bones. it was gross. we got to the park in time for one last soaking (awesome) and found our coaches and the poor bag-watcher had taken refuge in the women's bathroom.

when all was said and done, that was definitely the longest i've run in the rain. i felt a bit like a bad ass. a creeky, stiff, sore, cold bad ass - but a bad ass none-the-less.

saturday's mileage:: 18.0
season mileage to date: 206.5

Saturday, March 08, 2008

yeah i did.

yes i did so run 18 miles this morning, a good portion of them in rain of various forms.

all i gotta say is:

rain + running = chafing.

the long version tomorrow.

today's mileage: 18.0
season mileage to date: 206.5

Sunday, March 02, 2008

a tri-bridge run

despite rumors of snow storms, saturday morning was actually quite warm. as i left the house, ny1 kindly informed me it was 40 degrees and it seemed any chance of rain had passed and that it would be a nice day for a run.

lisa told us we would be leaving the park but we didn't know what was in store for us. we waited a few minutes for people to make there way to the park because the f train construction plan for the weekend was pretty much dreadful. then it was time to get our assignment - depending on what our miles were we had a choice of a *two-bridge run* or a *three-bridge run*. there was a slight grumble from the crowd.

i was aiming for 18ish, so the best option was to run a loop of the park (3.4 miles) then add the three-bridge run (14ish) miles for a total of 17.4 miles. i was happy to see libby there - we run at about the same pace and i had left my ipod at work - the thought of running those miles solo would have stressed me out.

our three bridge route (you can see the map at the end of the post) would take us:

-out the park down ninth street, n/e on third avenue to downtown brooklyn
-over the manhattan bridge into chinatown
-up through chinatown, to delancey street on the lower east side, and over the williamsburg bridge
-back across the williamsburg bridge, back through chinatown, to downtown manhattan
-over the brooklyn bridge, back through downtown, back towards park slope on 3rd avenue
-up 9th street, 6 long blocks to the park

it was not going to be an easy run, with all the uphills on the bridges, but i have to say - i was glad to be getting out of the park. had i been practicing in manhattan, likely our assignment would be "3 loops", which has in the path felt like death by boredom.

we took our loop of the park nice and easy - stopping to stretch down on the flat part. libby is having some plantar fasciitis issues. plantar fasciitius is "painful inflammatory condition caused by excessive wear to the plantar fascia of the foot" - basically the tissue on the underside of the foot starts pulling away from it. a lot of runners get it, and it seems to be, frankly, quite the pain in the ass. between her injury and my quad, we decided we weren't going to break any records and would stop for some good stretches a long the way.

it really was lovely out - and the first part of a run that early is always nice in the city because there's not as many people out. we gabbed our way along and before long we were at the manhattan bridge (mile 6) - we took the south side, which i had never been on. i've biked that bridge a bunch, but always on the other side, and i must say, the view from the south of the brooklyn bridge is amazing. we had a few moments of runners high - the view was great, the sun was shining, we were feeling good.

we got off the bridge into the hustle and bustle that is chinatown. running through there is like playing a video game - the neighborhood is always a mass of people going about their business, running errands, selling wares on the sidewalks. we laughed as we darted around children and shopping carts and the slow walkers, agreeing that chinatown is indeed one of the best neighborhoods in the city.

i was less than excited about the williamsburg bridge. while short, it is a killer on your calves, especially when headed from manhattan to the 'burg side. about 1/2 way up the first side of the bridge, (mile 10) i saw two women walking towards us strolling along holding, sipping coffee and chatting. i sighed heavily to myself wishing i was one of them, and then laughed as one jumped in our path - it was my friend elin who promptly started chanting "go roxie, go roxie!". that got me up the rest of the hill and then we settled in for a nice downhill.

on the other side we stretched out, had water and our 2nd goo-snack. mmm. you know you are running long when you get ravenously hungry in the middle of your runs. the run back over the bridge was tame compared to on the way over, and we headed back across delancy, stopping at starbucks for a pee-break.

then we wound our way back through chinatown, this time a little trickier than the first with all the people, down the the brooklyn bridge. at the bridge there was a cart that i was very happy to find was stocked with gatorade. i chugged some and refilled the bottles on my ever-so-sexy fuel belt, and then we had to tackle our last bridge (mile 13).

this leg was, by far the most annoying. from the foot of the bridge, the right side - the pedestrian's side - was simply packed with people strolling over the bridge. ~grumble~ we headed out, thinking that at least it would keep us from running too fast up the bridge, which would leave us dead for our last few miles. once we made our way through tourist-hell, we knew we had only a few miles left, but that is when tired set in.

as we turned back onto 3rd avenue (mile 15), the wind turned against us. i growled at the sky "are you kidding!" and lamented at the wind resistance. we also knew that the last 6 long blocks were going to be rough since it was all uphill, but there was also that sense of we-are-so-damn-close-we-just-have-to-get-up-this-damn-hill-and-then-we-get-to-eat-brunch!

we caught most of the lights on the way up, which was good because the stopping and starting towards the end of the long run always makes me sad - kind of like starting a motor that simply does not want to be started. as i passed the y, i saw another friend, iling, either coming or going from yoga. i called out and waved, only a little surprised that i had the energy to do so. as we climbed the last block, arriving to the park, there was lisa cheering for us at the top of the hill (mile 17.5)and we were done. yessssssssss.

we stretched out and then libby and i had an well-deserved brunch. banana-strawberry buttermilk flapjacks and bacon. i feel like i haven't been having great "recovery meals" - what you eat right after you run so long really affects your recovery so i think i need to be having more than a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee. the rest of my day consisted of a shower, a nap, a long chat on the phone and then i went to meet charlotte (you know, from season 1 ;) for dinner. i got a crazy craving for *meat* and so we dined on filet mignon, mashed, and red wine, then i went home for snuggle with my man.

and you know what? i am feeling quite great this morning, barely sore at all! i guess brunch it is, from now on :).

only two more runs left to go before taper, people. the marathon is fast approaching.

yesterday's mileage:17.5
season mileage to date:185.5

ps - sorry for bad layout on map - i'm editing with "paint" - remember that program?