Friday, December 31, 2010

Ready to Go

So here we are.  A week, no, six days before my first marathon, and I just finished my last 'long' run.  While the run wasn't long by the usual standard, only 13 km, it is the longest I will run until next thursday.  Then - I will run 42.2 km in Tiberia.

Most of us have Garmins, or some similar gps / pacing device, so it's easy to look back and see the progress one makes over the course of time.  However, I would hedge a bet that my own memory is better than my Garmin at measuring the progress I've made - especially over the past 19 weeks of training.  While I can't give exact paces and times for runs from memory, I do remember exactly how I felt at the start of this training.  I remember my first 15 km long run - and can recall with absolute clarity the difficulty both physically and mentally in finishing it.  Telling my husband that I don't think I can do this, I'm simply too old - and past my time, and maybe I will never be able to run a marathon.... 

And then, I remember the weeks that followed, 17 km, then 19 km, then 24 and 29.  Finally 32 km.  And I did that run four times!  Each week I felt a little bit stronger - and with that came the possibility that maybe I wasn't too old, and maybe I could do this after all.  And you know what, I think I can run a marathon.  Yes, my pace got faster and my stamina and endurance built, but more important than that, my confidence grew.  Now I knew I could do it - and that's what the garmin can't measure.

Running Bubby - The name really personifies my two most important identities.  Even while I was still raising my own children, I dreamt of the day that I would also be a Grandmother - a Bubby.  Motherhood has been so satifying to me - and I knew that if I had the drive and energy, Grandmotherhood could be equally, or perhaps, even more rewarding.  I was not wrong.  Five grandchildren later, I'm still prepared to welcome more!

At the same time - I have also dreamt of being a Runner.  I've pounded away many hours and just as many miles on my treadmill, dreaming about running races, and crossing the finishing line - looking for my families faces in the crowd as they cheer me on.   Sure, I've run for 18 years - but I only considered myself a jogger.  An exercise enthusiast.  But now, I feel like a runner.  I am a Runner.

I'm at a very happy place right now.  And I can say with all honesty that even if for some absolutely, bizarre, strange reason I can not run the Tiberius Marathon next week, I'll be satisfied.  I know I can do it. And I will.

Wish me luck,
Running Bubby

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reaching for the Stars

All the literature says that when training for a marathon, injuries are to be expected along the way.  The best injury (if I can say that) would be something minor that you can easily recover from if you catch it quick and treat it right away. 

So it goes that on my Sunday run - I had a tightening feeling in my hip flexor area around 17km, and very wisely decided to end the run there.  Believe me, it was hard to end the run 2km short.  (I'm not the nut out here, am I?)  Monday's run was again cut at 4km because of the same nagging pain in this area.  Sooo, with just 2 weeks before the marathon, I've decided to back off my runs, treat the ache with R.I.C.E. and take some AI drugs.  I'm proud of myself that I'm not pushing this - even though it's really hard (!!!) not to run my scheduled runs to finish my training, and especially with all this surplus adrenilin screaming through my body, demanding the release that only running brings. 

I will treat this little ache with TLC - and be back to finish my taper in a few more days.

What I would like to share is portions of an email sent to my running group by the Leader/Organizer of the group.  I find his words to be especially encouraging and supportive - and after reading and re-reading his mail, extremely proud of myself for all that I have achieved thus far.  Allow me to share:

"As you read this, we are a mere sixteen days from the 35th Tiberias Marathon and it is an appropriate time for a little reflection.  Yes, the marathon is an undeniably incredible experience.  For many, it is nothing short of a life altering event where one redefines the scope of the possible in arenas far beyond the athletic.  I always envy first-timers the incomparable sense of euphoria as they cross the finish line for the first time.  But whether January 6th is your first or your fifteenth marathon, you deserve to revel in what you have already accomplished.

The marathon is not merely a race that will last between three and six hours.  It is an odyssey that has demanded of you nearly superhuman dedication for more than a third of a year.  You have woken up at ungodly hours to run distances more appropriately traveled by freight trucks, gasped through lung searing interval sessions, dragged yourself out on the road in the heat and the cold while the rest of humanity slouched on the couch and accused you of being an obsessive lunatic.

In so doing, you have transformed yourself into a hero and I am not truly waxing hyperbolic when I say this.  Any time someone transcends mediocrity by the sweat of his (or her) brow, that person has done something genuinely heroic.  Most of us are simply programmed to do what our peers are doing.  You, on the other hand, through sheer determination and tenacity, have become a testament to what a human being can accomplish should he choose to do so.  You are now capable of running 42.195 meters, a staggering distance by any measure.  And frankly, it does not matter one whit whether you cross that finish line in Tiberias in 2:57 or 5:57, you will have transcended your physical limitations in a way that an infinitesimal portion of the human race will ever do in their lifetime.  And while personal records and milestones are worthy goals that should be savored, it would be a serious, perhaps even tragic error to assume that they are more significant than what you have already accomplished over the past eighteen weeks. 

On marathon day, naturally, we will all shoot for the stars.  We will obsess about pacing, gels, isotonic drinks, negative splits and a plethora of other details that make the marathon as much of a mental challenge as a physical one.  But if, by some unhappy stroke of bad luck, the weather turns against us, or you come down with a bit of a cold or you simply don't have your best stuff on that particular morning, know this, truly know it and do not merely console yourself with it:  You have already reached the stars."

I hope to maintain this pride until I cross the finish line.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Final Run Long

Today I completed my last long run - 32 km before my marathon next month.  It was difficult - mentally and physically.  My time was exactly the same as the last long run 3:21:13.  Does this mean that this pace of 6:17 is what I could/should run the marathon in?  Although I felt so proud of myself for getting through this run, I did feel a little worried that maybe I should slow my pace a bit more for the marathon.  Having to add another 10 km onto a run like today's will be extremely hard.  I just don't know - I've never done this before.

The hardest part of these long runs is staying strong mentally.  It really is easier when you have someone to help motivate you to keep going, as opposed to having to always be mentally prepared to fight and win every argument with yourself about stopping, or slowing, or whatever.  I must be the world's best motivator, or else just really stubborn - because as much as I wanted to stop, or slow down, or whatever, I just didn't.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to this next three weeks and the gradual taper.  Next week still has me at 67 km - and 45 km for the week after. 

Ouch, and my toe?  Still not better.  I almost feel like it's broken - but that can't be possible.  Just a terrible blister that won't heal, cause I can't move it away from the toe next to it that it keeps touching.  I am taking the next two days off from running, and I'm going to jimmy a splint that hopefully will allow my poor little toe to start healing.  Who would have thought a little toe could cause so much havoc!

Enjoy the weekend running.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

New PR - Bet Shean 1/2 Marathon

On Friday we made the long trip up north to Bet Shean to run the Bet Shean 1/2 Marathon.  We left very early, 6:30 am and arrived 2 hours later to a beautiful, clear, sunny and quite hot day.  The marathon starts from Gan HaShalosha, which is a water park with three beautiful mayonot (springs), and continues through the area under some beautiful low mountains and commercial fish ponds!  The course was pretty flat, until about 14.5 km where there is a steady climb through the local small town.  Interesting note on the course is that the highway was permanently marked with the distance, which makes me think that this is probably a route run often by local runners and/or bikers.  There was over 2,500 participants, and is the premiere 1/2 marathon in Israel. 

One of the three beautiful natural springs in the park

My blister had me very worried, but by race time, the adrenilin in me had me all but forgetting about it.  I planned to run a 6:00 pace and hoped to take a good amount of time off my last HM, considering this was a flat course and I had that much more training under my belt. 

The starter pistol was probably real!

I'm in this crowd somewhere.  I felt absolutely dwarfed by all this big guys!

Blue & White!

I went out a little fast, but don't feel like I over did it at all.  Much of the first 14 km I ran anywhere from 5:32 to 5:55.  I felt like I hit a stride that I was very comfortable with.  However, there was not much shade and the heat of the day started to set in.  I think 9:30 is a bit late to start and by the half way mark, I was feeling the effects of the heat.  At 14.5 km the climb through the local town started, and even though I had a good time through the climb (5:40, 5:55, 5:58) it seemed to sap the life out of me.  By 18 km I was already having to convince myself that I was not going to walk - just keep it going and stay focused.  By this time my last 3 km were (6:04, 6:13, 6:12) but no way was I slowing down.

My official time was 2:04:54 but the clock was only reading the last digits...

But - woohoo!  I set a new PR!  2:04:54 with an average pace of 5:53.  Faster than the 6:00 pace I thought I'd run.  Everyone that finished with me seemed drained by the heat - and when I came through the gate I was so exhausted.  (I think I drank a litre of water within the first 15 minutes!)  I was so looking forward to my frozen Gatorade, but darn it if it wasn't still frozen solid! 

All in all, a great time and a thrill to run amoungst so many!

This coming week I have my last long run (32 km) and then the week after starts my taper.  I am getting so excited about the upcoming Marathon - I think my cup runnith over with adrenilin already!

Have a good one,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Humble Yet Powerful Baby Toe

Yes, that tiny wee digit at the outside edge of your foot, commonly refered to as the baby toe. Baby toe... baby.

Right. Not anymore.

That baby toe has put an end to my running for a few days because of a baby toe blister. One that I arrogantly ignored because, well you know, it's just my baby toe, and a bandaid should work.

Running in the rain did not help - and my baby toe is now a BIG presence in my life.

Nothing is working to take the pain away. Blister bandages, taping all the other toe digits together, padding between the toe. Nope, nothing. And I have a half marathon race on Friday.

I now have a new respect for this little - ahem, important toe and will give it lots of respect and loving care so that it will heal in time for friday.

This is the first training session that I am missing in preparation for my marathon in January, and while I'm sure everything will be fine, it just leaves me a little frustrated. Sounds silly to a non-runner, but I'm sure you all understand.

Just call me Hop-a-Long.


Monday, December 6, 2010


WooHoo! It rained! Yesterday it finally rained!

Living here in the Middle East definately has its pluses. No snow, no snow, and of course, no snow. Now to a born and bred ex-pat Canadian, that adds up. When I left Toronto at the sage old age of 40, I new that I'd lived my fill of cold, slushy, bone chilling cold. (Oh, and don't forget that the sun goes bye bye from November to April!). Israel's promise, amoungst many, is that there will be lots of sun, heat and only the occassional, flukey, rare, brief snow fall that will last minutes. What Israel also promises often, is little rain.

Here winter lasts from December to mid-March. Where I live the average daytime temps drop to about 23c - 24c (75f) and in the evenings 10c (50f). No bad - and believe me it can feel pretty cold after you lived here for a while. However, the thing we miss, and need, and pray for, literally during the winter season, is rain.

Yesterday I had an easy run of 16km and since I wanted to run it easy, I went with two friends who are just getting back into running. One is super competitive the other pretty laid back. One of them I love to run with, ach, the other I could leave behind. You figure it out. We all commented on how the weather looked pretty stormy, but since there was no forcast of rain for at least another week, we were pretty sure it wouldn't rain.

Never say never. Suddenly the skies turned black, the winds picked up and a deluge was dropped. WooHoo! It was so amazing! Three crazy women running on the side of a desert highway in the pouring rain. Oy, is my Garmin waterproof? was my only worried thought. We seemed to be running into the rain clouds which prolonged the rain shower. My competitive friend said, "If it continues to rain I'm stopping and turning around." I said, "If it continues to rain, I'm just going to continue!" Now that's the right attitude, and to run in the rain over here, a blessing!

While I don't hope to run in rain too often, I do hope that the rainy winter season is finally here, and we receive the rain that we need to sustain us for the remaining 9 months of the year.

Anyone else have great rain stories?


Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Hannukah

WooHoo! I did it again!
Today was my third 32km long run, and I rocked it out with by best time yet of 3:21:13. 5 minutes off the last run, and a full 12 minutes of my first 32 km run! I have one more to go in two weeks, but I don't plan to run too much faster than this. It's so obvious that training really works, especially all those mid-long runs where we learn to build mileage.
We are now celebrating Hannukah. Hannukah is probably one of the best know Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews (and assimilated Jews) think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the customs of elaborate gift giving and decoration. It is ironic because Hannukah has it's roots in a revolution against assimilation and the oppression of the Jewish religion, and yet it has become the most assimilated and secular holiday in the Jewish calendar.
In our home, we take a less than fancy stance on custom, and celebrate the holiday on a much simpiler level. We light candles, have one small Hannukah party, and give small gifts to our grandchildren. The joy is in being free to celebrate our religion we way we choose, and of course, to be doing it in Israel.
Happy Hannukah - and watch out for those donuts!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Today I ran a 19km Recovery Run.

What does that mean, recovery? You mean from the 26 km long run on friday? If so, since when is 19 km a recovery from 26 km? Come on, maybe 9 or 10 or even 13 is a recovery from 26 km...? No?

As I was plodding along I wasn't really sure whether I was supposed to run faster or slower than friday's long run. I would assume so, considering I was supposed to be recovering. But I just felt so motivated and able. I still held myself back (6:10 pace) but it was not a lot slower than the 6:17 pace I ran on friday. Maybe someone could enlighten me.

This week promises to be a very heavy week of running (85 km) with the next two weeks pretty much the same. I have a half marathon next week and my final long run 32 km the friday after. Then - we start to taper for the marathon on January 6th.

It is all very exciting.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Speedy Gonzales

Today's run was intervals. 18 km with 4 x 1600 meters and 800 meter recovery jogs. Yikes.

I usually do my speed work inside on my treadmill, but my program has ramped up the milage for the next few weeks, and suddenly a 12 km speed workout has turned into a 18 km speed workout. After trying 16 km last week, I knew I couldn't keep it up on the treadmill... so, outdoors I went.

I was supposed to run the 1600 meter intervals in 9:09 - but of course, since I have been running much faster than the pace suggested to me in the program - combined with being in the beautiful outdoors, I ran much faster.

1st - 8:38
2nd - 8:31
3rd - 8:42
4th - 9:07

I know one should strive for negative splits, but the speed and length of the interval got the better of me. (In addition to those darn headwinds that come through the valley I was running in.)

I was working overtime trying to convince myself to knock off at mile 15, then 16, then 17. Bully for me that I hung on and completed the entire 18km. Amazing what a feeling of achievement one gets after such a run!

Tomorrow is supposed to be an 18km mid long run, but I think I'm going to scale back to 15km. I am running with a friend who is trying to get back into it, and it's going to be a much slooower pace because of that. So, I'll reap a little of that and relax.

I've got to learn how to stick to a more managable pace on the intervals.... any suggestions?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Mind over Matter

Today I ran a 32 km long run - only the second time I have gone this distance. (3:26:02)

The last time I ran this distance it was so difficult, and I remember crying at the end because of that difficulty and the fear, I guess that I wouldn't be able to run a marathon.

Thanks, God. Today's run was so much better. Besides the fact that I improved on pace from 6:39 down to 6:26, I actually felt like I could have gone further - and this time instead of crying when my husband picked me up, I was actually boogeying down to a great tune. Not only did I have a big smile on my face, but so did my husband, who is in this thing for the long haul, and always worries that I'm pushing too hard.

This past week was a bit of a challenge on almost every run. While not challenging physically, the mental game that we runners play was tough to get through. My mind kept telling me to just quit, you've run enough, you don't need to prove anything... and on, and on. I almost had to step out of myself, so to speak, in order to see this other person that was trying to sabatogue my running goals. I talked to myself a lot - out loud - in a effort, a winning effort, to quiet that negative voice that was trying to make me quit, and ultimately, see myself as a quitter. Not going to happen.

This is one of the things that I so love about running. It's a place where I can square off with my negative inner voice, and triumph. I must admit that I tend to be a glass is half empty kind of person. But running, helps me to switch points of view, and be that half full type of person. I guess being successful at running helps me make that switch. As such, running is the time that I like to have all my life's conversations with myself. It's a time and place that I feel strong.

So it was a good running week - mentally and physically.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Al Derech Burma 5K Race

WooHoo! This past Friday I ran my first official 5k Race. It was a trail race, and I placed 2nd in my age division (40+ although I'm 49) with a time of 29:34.

It was a very hot day, 30c and the race was run at high noon - talk about hot! The course was advertised as relatively flat, but believe me, there were more hills in the course than there should have been in such a short race. The first half I ran in 13:13 and really should have had a better finishing time, but the heat and hills just got to me. (I guess I was also a bit tired from the 14 k I ran in the morning as part of my marathon training.)

Because is was a family run, there were many, many children and they were like ants scampering in front of all the runners. They haven't learned the finer rules of racing, and as such, they kept crossing in front of everyone, at odd intervals which made it hard to figure out where to step next.

My husband also ran his first 5k and he placed 17th in the same age division. I am very proud of him, as you know, he's really not that fond of running. My family came to the run to watch Bubby & Zaidy run, and it was great fun having them there to cheer us on.

This is my son & family

Hubby and I post race.

All in all it was a great day and a fun race!

This weeks Marathon training has me scheduled for:

16km (13km tempo)
14 km easy
32 km long
14km recovery

I need to psyche myself up for the long run. It is starting to get a bit challenging mentally.

Best to all,

Friday, October 29, 2010


Today I ran 32 km. This is the longest. I. have. ever. run. period.

I ran for 3:32:52 - and I did it on my own.

My neighbour, who is also a runner, and has many marathons under his belt, told me I was crazy. Over and over, he kept saying I was meshuga, crazy. And while I did want to ask him some questions, as I jokingly refer to him as my "coach", I was first more concerned that I did something wrong.

I know I had more problems on this run than last weeks 29 km. This time, while the day was nice and overcast, it wasn't really all that hot or humid. (Okay - when you start your run at 4:30 am - it's not too sunny or hot either!) But I think I drank too much water. By about 20 km my legs started to feel very, very heavy. My stomach uncomfortably full. I had to loosen my running belt and slip it down onto my hips. I cut back on the water, as I read something once that said you can drink too much, and pushed through. Eventually by 30 km I had to slip into a 4 min run 1 min walk pattern for the balance of the run. That didn't disappoint me at all. I was darn happy to just finish the run.

My pissy negative side started to threaten NOT to run the marathon, (even though I signed up and paid last night online), but I quickly realized that an hour later I would forget all this and be focused on the next run.

So I wondered what my neighbour was talking about. His concern was more that I do these runs by myself. I countered that I can't find a single person willing to change up their own pace to run with me. I do not want to run faster than a 6:00 pace (which makes sense NOT to burn out on a LSR), and am happy to run slower sometimes for others, but I just can't find that magical partner who will slow down / speed up when needed. He told me that having a friend jump in at various points along the run will help keep me focused and mentally allow me to break the runs into sections that are easier to manage.

I again answered that I already do this - as I imagine most dedicated lone runners do. I break the run into various points, and as I pass them, I make a mental tick and move onto the next goal. It's true that it is often times enjoyable to run with a partner, sometimes though, I do like to be alone with my thoughts and struggles and work it out myself.

Another reason he thought I was crazy...? We are having my grandson's brit (circumcision ceremony) in my home tomorrow, and about 180 guests for a kiddush afterwards. Okay, I'll give him that. Maybe.

Anyway, my first major long run done. Only 3 like that over the next 10 weeks. Piece of cake?

Monday, October 25, 2010


Today was speed work, intervals - the type of training that makes me anxious to start and begging for it to end.

3 x 1600 at 5:38
2 x 800 recovery

for a total of 11 km - wew!

In all my years of running, I've never bothered with speed work. It either seemed too difficult to figure out the pacing or after trying it a time or two, seemed just too darn hard. Now, I am a convert!

In training for this marathon, I decided to be very strict in following all my prescribed runs. Whether they be long runs, recovery, easy and yes, speed work. I've decided to bite the bullet and work through my fear of speed!

I do these runs on my treadmill and while I'm really, really bored on the thing, I've got to admit that controlling the speed is a great option. (Although I'm not so sure my husband likes to watch the sweat fly off my body and splatter anything in a 3 foot radius, and the look on his face while I blurt out an encouragement to myself or a song lyric, tells me he's not sure about the entire thing.) The bottom line; my times have really improved, and I feel more energetic on my faster paced runs.

And don't ya just feel great the rest of the day!

On family news, we have a new grandson born this past friday night. He will be getting his name this upcoming Shabbat - and we're all very excited!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Labour of Love

Today I started my day at 4:00 am to get my long run in before the day really heated up. I was out the door at 4:36 am. Let me tell you about the streets of Ramat Bet Shemesh at this hour. Cats, cats, and more cats. It's like a sub-world of creatures that only come out when the human population is at rest. Seriously, so many cats I could count one every 20 steps! Now, I realize Israel has a "cat problem" on par with the "rat problem" in the rest of the world, and yes, we see a lot of cats around the neighbourhood in the daylight hours, but this night time business is weird. Cats and vampires truly rule the night!
I think I have been hitting that mysterious "wall" often talked about in blogs, and articles on marathon running. And fortunate for me, I've been able to push through it and finish my runs. For me the "wall" seems to be happening around 20 km. Today's run was 29 km, (which I rocked out at 3:08:25!) and again at 20 km I had to play the mental game and argue all the reasons I shouldn't stop, and push through to finish. It's amazing that once you win the argument, the rest of the run goes okay. Once I made the decision to finish, the stress of the run seemed to be behind me, and I was able to focus on the end. Kind of like labour.... Once you get past the really difficult part, you sort of forget the rest.
Speaking of labour...
In the middle of my run, my son called to tell me that grandchild number 5 (his third) was on the way. All week I have been requesting that my daughter in law NOT go into labour until my long run was finished, so he called to tell me that I got my wish. This baby's sex will be a surprise as they didn't find out before hand. Either way, very exciting!
What types of arguments do you make when you hit your wall?

Friday, October 15, 2010


Wew! Made it to the end of a very hot week here in Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel, and this was the temperature posted at 7:00 am when I returned from my run.

The funny thing about this week was that despite the heat, I had my fastest times since returning from my stress fracture. This week's training called for 4 x 11 km easy runs. My times were:

Saturday - 1:06:49 - pace 6:04

Monday - 1:11:04 pace 6:27

Wednesday - 1:06:48 - pace 6:04

Friday - 1:04:02 - pace 5:49

As well, I've been running a low-grade fever all week (thanks to the grand kiddies!), which seemed to drive me to run better (?!) Is that possible?

Probably the most significant part of this improvement in speed has to do with the training. I am following a Runner's World program, and this week called for a slight reduction in mileage, which I think has given me a chance to recover and prepare for the next stage - which is big miles again - yikes!

My heart goes out to Beth from SUAR who will not be able to run the Denver Rock n' Roll Marathon due to a stress fracture. Here's a woman that trains hard, but smart - and I guess sometimes no matter how well we prepare - it's just not the right time. I love her blog and despite the poop talk, she's a real inspiration and motivation.
Get well soon Beth!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

X - Training

Today is a rest day or cross training day.

When I ran my first Half Marathon this past March, I didn't do any cross training, just rested on the off days. I had a pretty good race time, 2:15 - but I wonder if I could have been a little stronger.

While working through my injury earlier this year, I alternated swimming with spinning. Neither gave me that runner's high I get from running - but seemed an okay workout. However, now that I see how much my hamstrings and quads need to rest, I'm wondering if I should just swim and omit the spinning.... Aerobically, swimming is much more effective for me - and it would give my legs the rest I need.

Maybe I'll swim tonight and see how that goes.

What's your favorite x-training activity?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Catching Up

Okay, okay. So it's been a while. That doesn't mean that I have not been running. On the contrary... Today I completed week 6 of my 19 week program for the Tiberius Marathon in January 2011.

Scheduled run: 26 km in 2:56:04 an average pace of 6:46.

This is actually the longest run I have ever done- and you know what, it was so amazing! All the elements came together -overcast instead of full sun, lots of gatorade on my water breaks, and my stomache flu has passed!

I was worried on my last long run that I wasn't going to be cut out for this Marathon business. The weather has been horrendous the past two weeks ( 31c - 36c and full sun), which made it pretty impossible to run any time after 7:30 am - which means to get in a good long run you need to start at 5:00 am! Staying hydrated in this type of weather is very difficult, and I think dehydration has been holding me back.

Under these conditions, you play that mental game of "Yes, I can" - "No, I can't" - and while I have been the victor in this mental game, it can still be draining. As well, I was worried that this heavy training is only hard for me - and I felt so disappointed until I scanned all the blogs for newbies and not so newbies and found that everyone struggles with this training. It is hard. It's supposed to be hard - and that's part of the satisfaction we feel when we tuck one more training run, or a long run under our belts.

So next week my program calls for a bit of a drop in milage to 44 km (this week was 58 km) - which translates into 4 easy runs of 11 km each, and no speed work. After that, we go back to 60+ km per week. I can see that I need a bit of a break.

Looking forward to a restful day off!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Slow and Steady

This morning, I had only my second out of doors run, meaning NOT on the treadmill. While it was so emotionally freeing to be in the fresh air (read humidity) it was much harder than running on 1% incline on the treadmill. My pace is very slow right now (7:30) (yikes!) but I'm more focused on working on time actually running, as opposed to my speed. I know that I'll eventually get back to my average 6:00 pace - so I'm not really worried.

Again, I just never realized that this injury would set me this far back in my running ability. The route I ran has a few small hills, really just what we call a rise and fall here in Bet Shemesh, which never used to be hard at all. Now, I've got to slow my pace and almost inch up those little hills. The whole time I'm pacing the hills, I'm continually telling myself to be calm, that eventually it will all come back.

The other problem I had on my run this morning was that I seemed to turn my ankle a little, which caused my peroneous to ache a bit. I'll take some AI meds and see if it goes away. I do not want a return of that tendonitus.

Today I also took my grandchildren swimming at the local pool where we ran into an entire gaggle of old women doing a water aerobics class. My granddaughter calls all older women Safta, which is hebrew for Grandmother, and me, I'm Bubby. It was so nice to see the respect she has, already at the age of 3, for this generation. It makes me proud that my children are doing such a good job raising my grandchildren... lol. My granddaughter is not swimming at all, mostly I bounce around the pool swimming with her around my neck and trying to get her used to the water. She certainly gave me a good water workout!

Tomorrow's a cross training day, and it is swimming! Hooray!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm going to be profiled!

Woo Hoo!

Melissa Hinson Neely is writing a new book on first time marathoners. She had a call out on her website to participate as one of six featured runners that she would follow during their first time marathon training and eventually profile in her book. So while I wasn't one of the selected '6' - she has decided that she would like to profile me on her website and tell my story. I'm so psyched!

This is her first book.
My own marathon training will start in two weeks, and for now I'm working on increasing speed and km. While I did try and stay fit while off with my injury - I didn't realize how much I would lose during the fourteen weeks off. I'm trying very hard NOT to be disappointed, and focus on the fact that at least I'm running, and God willing, will run my first marathon.
Certainly much to be happy about!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Guess Who's Back?

Whoo Hoo!

Happy, very happy to say that I'm back to running. Thanx God!

The Orthopedist finally gave the OK to start up again. He said there would probably be some minor pain - and that I could run through it - as long as I stopped if the pain was too bad. After that, he gave me a referral to an Ankle Specialist in case I wasn't better.

Well - glory be - things are fine. I'm up to 40 min sessions and the walk/run ratio is 1 min walk, 3 min run. By next week I should be able to run the full 40 minutes. It's a bit disappointing that according to the treadmill I am only running at a 8.6 km pace (where my usual speed is around 10 km), but I hope to eventually get it back to where it was prior to the injury.

I have plans to run a half marathon in December, and then my first full marathon in Tiberius on January 6, 2011. Training will start in September and I hope to be at full speed by then.

Obviously because there was no clear reason for my injury, there must also be a not so obvious lesson in all this. Meaning, there is something to learn from this long time off, and I'm going to do a little more introspection to figure it out.

Happy to be back!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

False Start

Running Bubby.... Running Bubby.... This blog is supposed to be about my musings and meandering thoughts while running... Hmmm. Seems the only musing I have been doing is about not running.

I am now ten weeks post injury and it's still not looking good. I had the OK from the PT to slowly start to run this week, well you know, walk/run. My ankle was feeling fabulous and it seemed good to go. The first attempt was a walk 2 min, run 1 min thing. And I was able to do that for 20 mins. Afterwards, I felt a little pinching, but I thought it was going to be okay. The next day, I did a spinning workout, and thought I'd try a 5 min, rev your engine - remember the old days feeling mini jog to get me psyched for my return to running. Again, felt a little pinchy but okay.

Well - it's not okay. The pain in my peroneous came back and here I am on SL anti-inflammatory medicine, with the dream of running quite abruptly shoved off to the side, again.
I have an appointment with a new Orthopedist next Monday, but short of some tear in the tendon (which I don't think it is), he is not going to say anything different than what I have been hearing. Stay off it - rest - take anti-inflammatory meds.

10 weeks. How much longer is this going to go on? I'd really just like to fast forward to the part where I'm looking back on all this and saying, "Oh man, that was so hard and I'm glad I'm past it."

Running is more than just exercise to me. It's my time to focus on what's happening in my life and share a dialogue with my inner voice. It's for sorting out emotions and problem solving. It's a cleansing of all the stresses that keep me so wound up. It's a release - it's freedom.

I keep holding in my minds eye the image of me running - and I can see all my favorite runs. I know that I'll eventually get past this - I just wish it could be soon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hang in there Baby!

So we're not back to square one, but pretty close. Last week's permission to start to ease into running again was NOT successful. After giving it two separate trys, the walk/jog was just too painful and no matter how much I chanted "No pain, no gain," I just couldn't do it. The entire week saw my ankle and tendons aching and me wishing that I had waited longer.

Today I saw the Physio Therapist, and now I'm back in an ankle support with limited use, and a slow release anti-inflammatory for the next 10 days. Given the fact that I've gained almost a pound a week since the injury, I suppose I'll also be adding another couple of pounds before this is all over.

I don't want to sound melodramatic, but I feel like my runner identity is slowly slipping away. It feels as if I am losing the control that I had over my life, my weight and my sense of well being. Running did so much for me and honestly, without it I feel sort of lost.

I'm not by nature an optimistic person, more "the glass is half empty" type of gal. But I've learned over the years how to channel some of my negative energy into a more constructive focus, and to do the work to "reframe" situations to see the positive. However, right now I seem to be struggling with this work and it's a very big challenge to keep myself motivated and hopeful. I don't want this situation, this injury, to defeat me - I'm just running out of the energy it seems to take to keep it up.

I know that some day I'll run again, and I also know that some day is sooner than my worst nightmare. It may not be right around the corner, but if I keep my head up I know I'll see it soon.

I just gotta keep chanting "Hang in there Baby!"

Monday, June 7, 2010

No Pain, No Gain?

Peroneal Tendinopathy. That's what I'm suffering from now.

I am now 5 1/2 weeks post injury and my ankle (and area) is not fully recovered. In fact, sometimes I feel like it is as bad as the first day. (Okay, so that's not true.) Whereas before it appeared that I had a stress fracture, my PT now believes that it's just a very bad case of Peroneal Tendinopathy. All I know is that the pain pretty much moves around my ankle, and sometimes up my leg, and frustrates me beyond all else. Some days it's not that bad at all, and then the next minute, it's as if I re-injured it and I'm back to square one.

Today the PT told me that now I'm at a place in my recovery where she could say to rest the ankle, or to start and work it. All the pain I'm feeling now, is good pain. Can ya believe that?!? So.... she gave the go ahead to start and run, hmm, read jog. 2 minutes walk, 1 minute jog. Well now there is pain, and there is real pain. The walking part was fine. Even at 6 km and a 6% incline - not really a problem. As soon as I added in the 1 min jog (at 8 km) I felt the pain in my tendon so badly... OMG - this is good pain?

I managed 10 sets of 2 min walk, 1 min jog and couldn't wait to get off that darn treadmill. I soaked in a hot tub and slathered on anti-inflammatory cream. Now - it hurts, but much less than when my foot was actually striking during my jog. As much as I love running, I am NOT looking forward to tomorrows session.

When the injury first happened I was so upset and my pain was magnified by the possibility that I wouldn't be able to run for 6 weeks. Now as I've almost reached that 6 week mark, and I see that my recovery is going to be much longer than the initial assessment, I'm feeling quite dejected. It's a big statement to say that "I'm never going to run again," but that's pretty much the way I feel.

So now, I need to turn this around and look for the positives. Every day there is a tiny improvement, and I know that I should be embracing those small victories and using that progress to measure my recovery. I can't seem to do that - yet - but I do know that's the route I'm going to have to take in order to make it out of this place.

Tomorrow, when I get back on that treadmill to do my ten sets, I know it's going to hurt - and maybe my PT is right. It's a good pain that is hopefully going to pave the way to a pain free run.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hold On

Finally, some light at the end of a long tunnel - okay, well a 4 1/2 week tunnel. That's when I quite out of the blue injured myself on my long run. Just running along at km 7 when I felt a little nip in my left ankle bone. You know, the kind of thing you feel like you can just shake off. A few steps more, and I felt a bit of tension just above the bone, again, feeling like I could just wiggle my ankle and brush it off. Three or four more steps and I stopped. Ah, just push through it, that was my first thought. And walked a bit. Nope. And with extreme heaviness I realized that something was really wrong here. I called my husband - come pick me up.

Stress fracture. What the heck? How did that happen?

Disappointment doesn't come close to how I felt. It was something deeper. Maybe it was shock. I don't know. I only knew that this was going to be a problem for me. Not to run. When I only just got it back?

6 weeks. That was the prognosis as I returned to the PT with the x-ray. I thought back then that I would never get through all the weeks. It was not a supporting bone, so while I could technically walk, I couldn't have anything touch the ankle bone or turn my ankle in any way to stretch the ligaments. Ouch. Then came the sympathy pain. It seems that the rest of the ligaments in my ankle and lower leg decided to get in on the action. Not amused.

But here I am now. With the go ahead to exercise the ankle and do some treadmill walking. NOT speed walking, just walking. That and some rehab work. And if truth be told - the rest has really helped to heal my ankle and the walking and exercises are showing me an improvement everyday.

While my PT is not God, she does forecast that I should be able to jump on the trampoline next week, and after that, well maybe some very light jogging.

I almost feel like I did when the HM was approaching and I would get nervous and anxious about the race. I am eager and anxious for the day to come to go back to my passion.

I really love to run. Hold On.

Monday, May 24, 2010

On the Sidelines

Sooo.. it's obvious that it's been a while since I've blogged. While there is much to be praising myself for, I started to feel that blogging was like blowing my own horn, and even after only 4 posts, I started wondering who would want to even read about me! Okay, so I follow about 10 blogs and guess what, I'm interested in reading about their experiences, so it only seems logical that someone would want to read about mine too. Okay - that's out and over with.

The HM I ran in March was the BEST! My official time was 2:15 and I placed 13th in my age group. I only just received the certificate in the mail! (Hubby so proudly wants to frame it.) Running the half was one of my life's dreams and I was beyond proud to have finished. Of course the next dream, the full Marathon is in my sights.

In the meanwhile, I have been sidelined with a stress fracture in my ankle area and have been off running for the past 4 weeks. I am finally at the stage of my recovery where I can walk - yes, read walk, on the treadmill and if that goes well, I can increase the tempo and time from the 1 km (!) that I have been doing. My PT thinks that I may be back out there within a few more weeks.

Most of you can easily understand what it's like when you have to be sidelined. Running is who I am - and without it, I tend to walk around in a bit of a stupor, constantly apologizing for my bad attitude and gruff remarks. "I can't decide this now while I'm not running!" Seems this is my reply for anything that requires more than a few seconds thought.

So I'll just continue to cruise all the running blogs I can find and live and run vicariously through all my favorite bloggers.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Final Thoughts

Tonight was the last run before the Half Marathon on Thursday - and it wasn't such a great run. I switched my running time from the early am, to an evening run so that I could run with a friend. However, I'm really not an evening runner, and to top it off, my running partner tonight was a bit of a drag, and pretty much complained the entire time about how she really hates running... Needless to say, she's not very motivating, and I felt really bothered by her attitude. Not a very good mindset for her going into the HM. Oh well.

Sooo... that's it until Thursday. While I need to take these next two days to rest for the big race, to rest my body for the grueling 21.1 km hilly course, there will be no rest for my over active imagination as I plot and plan and worry about the race. I'm sure it's going to be fine - and that I'll finish well and with a good time - but I keep going over and over it in my head. Is this normal?

I'm sure it is.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Running with Hubby

Hubby is learning to run - and pretty much fighting and hating it the whole way. Tonight I did 6.5 km on my own and then joined up with him to do another 4.5 km. Not fun. I mean it, not fun.

I think I want him to be a runner more than he wants to be a runner - and that's a big problem for both of us. He really needs to run for his health. You know, extra pounds, cholesterol too high, all that kind of middle age stuff... Problem is he wants it to be simple. He does not like hard work at all. For me - I want him to like it - but why should anyone like running when they are over weight and struggling to catch their breath every 20 paces... I guess it's not fun.

Okay so I need to be more patient. And I guess yelling at him all the way up the hill is NOT a good thing to do. But I don't want him to be a loser and he was threatening to quit... No quitters allowed in this family. Nothing worth doing ever comes easy - and we both need time to see that.

So I don't think I'm going to run with hubby for a while - and maybe I need to let him come to the decision on whether or not he will be a runner, on his own as well. You can't make someone love, or even like running for that matter. But it would be nice....

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hold Your Horses

Today was the final 'long' run before the HM next week - and wouldn't you know it I was totally revved and ready to go, and yet had to hold back... Wouldn't you know it - one of my best running days and I had to hold back, hold my horses as they say...

Maybe I felt so good because it was only 16 km this week - or maybe it was the fact that I snacked on some raisins 12 km into the run. Duh! The past couple of longish runs have had me wiped out and I just now figured out it was because I wasn't fueling up mid way through the run. I also never used to eat before running, just a half cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Lately, I've been adding a half a banana with 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter spread on it. This seems to be just enough that I don't have that sloshing around feeling in my stomach when I go out, and I don't seem to get cramps or anything. (Since I get up to run at 5:15 am - I can't eat an hour before going out, etc.) Now, adding the handful of raisins is really giving me that boost of energy when I need it most. (I tried those gel thingys, but raisins taste better and are couple bucks cheaper per serving!)

Anyway, I was revved and ready to go and actually had a very good run. I did some hill work and tried to keep myself to a good pace so I didn't burn out too soon. Today's run is the reason that I started to run... I felt accomplished and proud of myself - yeah, go team!

Two more smaller runs and then Thursday is the big day... I don't have butterflies in my stomach, but a herd of wild horses!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hill Repeats, repeats, repeats

Today's training run was 4 x 1000 metre hill repeats. I think I hate hills, no strike that, I know I hate hills - and I live in Ramat Bet Shemesh - home of the hill. There pretty much is no flat stretch here, just sloping declines, followed by the inevitable incline - and many, rolling hills, and that's just the sidewalks! Seriously, we pretty much do hill work all the time, but today I did the 1,000 metre repeats on a pretty steady climb and while I initially went out too fast - I steadied the pace and worked it out.

I was happy to see that according to my trusty Garmin, (which I absolutely love!), my times on the hill repeats have improved substantially over the past 3 weeks. Where as my first set of repeats, 3 weeks ago I had an average time of 7:06, today I did 6:40. Improvement, yeah! It's hard to see your improvement on a daily, or weekly basis, but this showed me that all the hard work is paying off.

There are but 3 runs left until the HM next week - and it's time to taper off. Maybe a mid-long on friday and two shorter runs following that. It's hard to believe that all this intense training is going to come to an end - and I wonder how that will feel. Running for fun... remember that?

Monday, March 8, 2010


I headed out this morning at 5:45 am for my 16 km med-long run. We've suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a sharav (heatwave) with temp's expected today of 30c. While Israel is generally quite hot, and we do adjust to the average temp's of 29 - 35c that we see much of the year, the first few hot days always come at a bit of a 'surprise' and we need to adjust for them. You must dress appropriately and drink, drink, drink a ton of water. Moreover, a sharav is often times accompanied by strong desert winds that work extra hard to blow into every nook and cranny so that there is no refuge from the heat.

So while my run started out with a gradual decline in elevation with a nice bit of tailwind nipping me from behind - what goes around certainly comes around, and on the return loop, I was faced with a steady climb and headwinds!!

Talk about frustrated! Those darn headwinds were a challenge, and the more I struggled and wrestled with them - the worse it seemed to get. How can I beat these winds? - I certainly couldn't seem to outrun them (and I tried), and no matter how much I screamed to the heavens, they just didn't abate.

It wasn't until I put my head down slightly and ran into the winds that I was finally able to conquer them. Because I was running on the side of the highway, it was important to lift my head every dozen or so steps (lest I become road splatter!) - but then I would lower it again, and work my run. After several kilometers, the winds abated, and my course took a slight turn, so that the winds were no longer fighting me and my forward momentum. Relief...

So I thought about it, that headwind, and how could I apply it to the rest of my life... I think that when we are faced with a monumental problem, and we react to it by running around it, struggling physically with it, and even screaming and blaming everyone else for it, those steps just aren't going to solve it. In order to resolve it - we must deal with it head on. And then, take a break now and again by lifting your sights and getting your bearings... and perservere until the problem will fizzle out on its own, or your life's course changes a degree or two, and that problem won't seem so monumental.

The run was harder than usual because of the winds, but I made it - and the struggle now seems so small in my minds eye.

Only 4 more runs until the Jerusalem HM.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Opening Musings

While I'm not exactly new to running - blogging, well that's a horse of a different colour... I'd like this blog to be a place where the odd ramblings in my head find new life instead of simply bouncing around and around until they wear themselves out...

I've only just gone back to running this past six months after having an eight year break!! I've traded in the treadmill for the great outdoors, and am training for my first HM on March 18th.

It's amazing how 'once a runner, always a runner' worked for me. After such a long break, you would have thought that it would take a long time to get back up to speed. But here I am, finished 7 of 9 weeks of training before the half - and I'm ready. Friday's run was 22 km and I recovered well enough to run 11.25 km recovery Saturday night. Today I feel great.

Only 5 training runs before the big event - and I'll admit to being scared! Yikes!

I keep scanning all the blogs and websites for tips and personal stories of HM runs... I'm the kind of person that likes to know what's coming up - no suprises for me, please! So - I'll keep surfing the web and training and see how it goes...