Friday, October 21, 2016



As you probably know, my October marathon didn't happen.  Stupid door.  Sorry, I'm still getting over it.  I'll probably be blogging about it in some way for a few more weeks.  Hopefully it makes for good subject matter.  Like many runners, I'm stubborn, particularly when it comes to training, and I refuse to throw away four solid months of work if I don't have to.  After a long conversation with my coach, I'm now looking at a mid-November marathon which gives me about six weeks to fully recover and get back in the groove.  Despite the fact that I was in the shape of my life prior to the incident, between my taper week and a week with zero activity, I lost quite a bit.  So, I'm having to re-build my base and re-sharpen my speed and I'm having to do both pretty quickly.  On top of that, my ankle is still tender and probably not quite ready to be moving at the level I'm pushing it.  Not that this is stopping me from doing it.  Again, stubborn.  Last Monday, I ran four slow miles.  Every step hurt.  I wasn't sure whether a rebound marathon was even in the cards after that.  Since then, excluding yesterday's run, I've gotten 66 miles under my belt.  Most of them were slow.  A lot of them were painful; some more than others.  And none of them gave me the confidence I'd hoped for in regards to taking on another marathon.  Physically, it's been a struggle.  Mentally, it's been an all at war.....against myself.  I went to bed Wednesday night doubting that I could pull off my workout the next day (er...'kick the tires', as my coach put it), the first since my injury.  And yet, at the same time, I was ridiculously fired up to get out there and give it my best shot.

On Thursday morning, as I prepped to head out, my desire to succeed outweighed my fear of failure.  This was good.  Around 9:00am, I met my friend and fellow coach, Chas, who would be pacing me for my tempo run.  While we warmed up, I had the following Q + A session with myself multiple times:

Can you do this?  Yes. You can
Do you want it?  Yes. I do.
Are you strong enough?  Yes. I am.
Do you believe?  Hell yeah.
Are you ready?  Game on.

Fortunately, for me, Chas is a very driven and positive person.  He's also very calm and easygoing.  I was anxious and over-eager, so having him there was incredibly stabilizing.  We would be doing a 2 mile warmup, 6 miles @ 6:50-6:55 pace, and a 2 mile cool down.  Comfortably hard for me when I'm healthy.  Significantly harder for me when I'm not as healthy.  Easy for Chas.  Here's how it played out:

Mile 1:6:51 - This mile felt really good.  I was fresh out of the gate and excited to finally be picking up the pace again.  We cruised through on pace, no problem.
Mile 2:6:48 - This mile felt insanely long.  I could still hold the pace, but I felt like mile 3 was never going to come.  When Chas finally gave me the split I was a little disheartened.  Maybe the next one will feel shorter  he said.  Yeah.  Okay. 
Mile 3:6:49 This mile was so-so.  Not great, not bad.  A very slight rise on the bike path made it harder than the first two from an effort perspective.  Leaves were falling all around us.  Chas was catching them left and right.  I was not.  If you catch a leaf we can turn around in half a mile he said.  Translation, we're at 2.5 and we'll be turning around in half a mile.  But what's the fun in that?  This made me smile.  And it made the mile go much faster.

Mile 4:6:45 We got a little zippy during this mile.  Think it was the combination of knowing I was over the hump, a cheer from a woman walking by us on the other side of the path (bless her), and the fact that I was now attempting to catch leaves.  Sort of.  Really, I was just putting my hands out and hoping for the best.  But, the distraction was solid and got us to mile 5 on pace.
Mile 5:6:47 My legs were getting tired by now but I knew I would be able hold on to finish the workout.  I was working hard, but I was also pretty amped up.  It was a good combo and drove me into my final push.
Mile 6:6:40 Right before this mile began I finally caught my leaf.  Ha!  I smiled and tucked in my sports bra.  Let's finish this, Rebecca.  My legs were pulsing, but, regardless, I'm pretty sure I was smiling through the whole mile.

So, yeah.  The tires have been officially kicked.  The fires lit.  Or, re-lit, in this case.  My gears shifted yesterday.  The the on.  Zoom zoom.

Listen to this:
Jacked Up - Weezer

Friday, October 14, 2016


"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like.  Design is how it works."
~ Steve Jobs

When the ladies over at Oiselle asked me to review one of the products from their Fall 2016 line I was more than thrilled for multiple reasons.  First, I tend to love all things Oiselle.  Second, I'm slowly making my way back from a gnarly injury and have more time than usual to focus on things beyond my training. Third, it's getting cold here in the Boston area and I'm wearing long sleeves on a daily basis, so the timing is perfect.  And, finally, did I mention I'm a huge fan of Oiselle?  So, here's the low down on this gem.  Let's start with the product specs:

Tripoli Seamless Long Sleeve
- 67% nylon / 30% poly / 3% elastane
- wicking + odor resistant
- seamless construction
- thumbholes
- tripoli print at chest and shoulder
- 21" body length (size small)

I'm not gonna lie, they kind of had me at thumbholes.  I'm a huge fan of anything with this brilliant feature.  What's also cool about this piece is that is has just a bit of compression which is a really nice element, particularly in the colder months.  I find that the closer an item is to my body, the more comfortable I feel, the quicker I get warmed up and, ultimately, the better I run.  You can't really beat that.
Today I took it out for a test drive, if you will.  It was a brisk 40 degrees outside, chilly but no winter bite yet.  I started my run with my hands in the thumbholes.  By mile two, I had pulled them up and over my wrists as it got warm pretty quickly.  That said, despite the fact the sun was beating down, I never overheated.  The nylon/poly combo keeps you both warm and cool and, more importantly, totally dry.  There are not many shirts out there than offer this type of dual functionality and I consider this one of the Tripoli's biggest perks.  I also like the fact that the top of the shirt is a little higher than usual so that my neck and chest aren't exposed to the elements.  While the overall look and feel the Tripoli Long Sleeve is somewhat sporty, the unique, triangular pattern sets it apart giving it a sleek and chic twist.  Today's temps were perfect for the shirt on it's own.  As the days get cooler, I'll wear it as a base layer underneath a jacket or vest.  Of course, in the spring time, I can see myself sporting it with a pair of shorts, the ideal combo for those first few weeks of April.  So, basically, it's a three season shirt, snug, comfy, soft and multi-functional.  You can't get much better than that.  Last, but not least, I'll just come right out and say that I wear Oiselle clothing all the time, not just for running.  This morning I layered my Tripoli with my Girls In the hoodie (another key winter essential) and a pair of black leggings to drop my girls off at school.  It's the perfect outfit in my book.  This piece of #flystyle has been tested and approved.  As far as I'm concerned, the Tripoli gets two thumbs way up.

Listen to this:
Yeah Yeah Yeah - Jax Jones

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I've been running for over thirty years.  From an injury standpoint, not only have I had my fair share, but I've dealt with everything from a stress fracture to an ingrown toenail and lots of crazy stuff in between.  There is no question that some injuries are very clearly worse than others, but in the grand scheme of things, they all suck.  And the more you love/want/need to run the more they suck.  I now realize, as I work my way through my most recent affliction, that the process of healing, regardless of the injury or how bad it was, is pretty similar every time.  From an emotional standpoint, excitement and fear are always the big players.  And the head and the heart are often battling it out with the body, which, in the end, is the one who is calling the shots.  On Monday, I laced up for the first time in over a week after my tragic run-in with a metal door (post here).  I was stupidly excited to run again.  I was also scared shitless.  All the 'what-ifs' instantly flooded my brain.
~ what if the wound opens up again?
~ what if I fall again?
~ what if it hurts too much to keep going?
~ what if something else happens?
But, I had been given the green light to go, so regardless of the 'what-ifs', I went.  
One step, two steps.  Pause.  
One step, two steps, three steps.  Okay.  This is okay.  
I think it is.  I'm pretty sure it is.  No, it is.  
Let's keep going.  
And this is how it went.  As a driven, sometimes gritty, maybe even a little crazy, runner, I was anything but, as I made my way gingerly through four, slow miles.  When it was over, I was happy I'd gotten through it, annoyed that it still hurt, angry about the whole situation and eager to try again the next day.  It was a pretty powerful punch of emotions and it was tricky for me to navigate.  Much like the process itself will be as I work my way back to where I was before this injury took me down.  Do I believe that things happen for a reason?  I'm still chewing on this one.  Ultimately, I would never wish an injury on anyone.  But the process of healing, as difficult as it may be, undoubtedly leads to good things.  Acceptance, change, growth; I'm wading through all of them and I know I'll likely end up in a new place both as a runner and as a person.  I have to believe this is who I want to be moving forward as I start the next chapter.  What happens after that?  I'll have to wait and see.  But, I'm pretty excited about it.

Listen to this:
Breaking Free - Night Riots

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”
~ Zig Ziglar

This past Saturday morning, my friend and running partner, Kirsten, and I hopped on a plane to Rochester for the Wineglass Marathon which would be taking place in Corning, NY (about 2 hours West of Rochester) on Sunday morning.  This would be my 15th rodeo and her 8th.  Unfortunately, both of us had been fighting a cold for a few days and were struggling with low energy and the general inability to breath through our noses.  But, you don't train for a marathon for four months and let a cold keep you from lining up on race day.  Determined to stay upbeat and positive, we purchased a few trashy magazines and settled into our seats with a box of tissues.

It was a quick and painless flight and after landing we grabbed a rental car and began the trek to Corning.  It had been raining in the area on and off for a few days and, unfortunately, it was looking like it might be crappy on race day, too.  As we drove, the sky got dark and ominous and within thirty minutes or so it began to pour.  Perhaps I should have taken this as a sign right then and there.  

Despite the rain, we got to Corning with no issues, parked and made our way into the expo to grab our bibs.  The city of Corning is home to the Corning Museum of Glass which was founded by Corning Inc, the well known manufacturers of glass and ceramics....hence the Wineglass Marathon.  Not surprisingly, the expo was in the museum and we wove our way through the gift shop before arriving at the race tables.  Yes, we easily fell into the trap and bought glass trinkets for our kids.  Not a shocker.  We grabbed some lunch, got back in the car and drove down to Elmira (about 25 miles away) which is where we'd be staying for the night because Corning is small and all the hotels were full when we chose this marathon.  After checking in, we decided we could use a nap as our health had taken a turn for the worse.  We loaded up on all the cold-fighting products that we'd brought and tucked ourselves in.

Fortunately, we both conked out and slept for a solid hour or so.  Around 4:00 we got up, showered (I'm not religious, but I might have prayed a little at this point), and headed over to Horseheads (yes, that's the name of the town) where we were meeting up with Beth and Mary Beth, two of our Oiselle teammates, for dinner.  Beth had picked Louie's, a quaint little Italian restaurant that was perfect for our pre-race carb loading needs.  Kirsten and I put on our game faces in an attempt to forget about how we were feeling and had a really nice time meeting and chatting with Mary Beth and Beth as well as Beth's friend and daughter who also joined us.  It was a good dinner and as we got up to leave I was feeling cautiously optimistic about the next day.

We grabbed a quick photo on our way out and then bundled up to brave the rain which was still coming down heavily.  And then, in so many words, the shit hit the fan.  In our mad rush to get out, one of us threw the door open and all of us ran like hell to get to our cars.  Somehow, as I took a step down and out, my heel got caught on the underside of the door frame, which was metal, and as it got pulled back, it took a piece of my foot with it.  It happened so fast and the scene was so crazy (dark, rainy, lots of people) that despite the fact that I screamed, no one even knew something had gone wrong.  I stopped and grabbed my foot, and yelled to Kirsten that I needed to go back inside.  Confused, she turned around with me while trying to figure out what the deal was.  And then she saw it.  I asked the wait staff if they had a medical kit.  I looked down and blood was starting to gush out of the wound.  It was bad.  The owner came out and asked me what happened.  I was in a state of shock and attempted to explain as he handed me a towel to apply pressure.  The scene was kind of in slow motion as it unfolded.  Kirsten and I didn't really know the severity of the situation, the wait staff didn't really understand what was going on, and the owner couldn't believe that his door had done this to my foot.  Then Kirsten, bless her, snapped into deal mode as I could no longer make any decisions and the tears started to flow.  She said something to the effect of, "Ok.  We're going to get into the car and take a better look.  Then we'll head over to Rite-Aid and grab some steri-strips and bandaids and try to patch it back together.  Does that sound good?"  Yes, I nodded.  Just tell me what to do.  Back out we went, the restaurant staff still in disbelief and likely relieved to get us out of there.  We sat down and turned the lights on in the car.  It was so much worse than we thought.  Kirsten, now completely in control, thank the Lord, made the decision to call our friend from home who is a doctor and who's husband is a surgeon to get their opinion before we started Micky Mousing the wound back together ourselves.  Britt, who was at her kids' swim meet at the time, got on the phone with us and made her way outside so she could hear us.  We gave her the story and then showed her the cut (what did we do before FaceTime???).  She and her husband, who'd come out to join her, took a look at the wound and told us we needed to get to the ER pronto, that it was too deep to deal with ourselves and would likely need stitches.  This is the first moment where I realized that I was probably not going to be racing the next day.  To our good fortune our hotel was right next door to a hospital, the Arnot Medical Center, which oddly enough, was the main sponsor of our marathon.  A bit ironic, no?  So, much to my dismay, we spent the rest of our evening at the Emergency Room with a wide and very interesting cast of characters.  I won't give you the play by play but I'll share some of the conversations I had with various people we met throughout the night.  

With the reception nurse:
Her: So, what happened?
Me: I scraped a piece of my heel off on a metal door.  I'm supposed to be doing the Wineglass Marathon tomorrow, but....
Her: Oooh. That's rough.  Are you gonna run?
---> I perked back up at this point
Me: You think I can?
Her: I don't know. You seem pretty tough.
Me: Think it's okay to do with stitches?
Her: Where there's a will there's a way.  Okay, now the doctor who's on call is about 190 years old, but he's really good.  Don't panic when you see him.  Despite how he looks, he does know what he's doing.  Have a seat and we'll call you when he's ready.

Ummmm....what???!!!  I was not feeling good about the situation at this point.  I sat back down and Kirsten looked at me dead on and said, "Rebecca, you know you're not doing this marathon, right?"  I nodded.  Yes, I knew.  And then I called my husband to tell him what happened.  I let him know that I wouldn't be racing.  And that was it.  After about an hour, we headed back to see the doctor.  I laid down on the bed and waited.  A few minutes later we heard a shuffling sound.  First we saw his shoes, which were brown leather sandals that he was wearing with wool socks.  As the nurse informed us, he was, indeed, very old.  He was also quiet, slow and severely arthritic.  I wasn't judging any of this, mind you.  But, I was wondering how the hell this guy was going to sew my foot up.  Then we chatted.

With the doctor:
Dr: So, what happened here:
Me: I was leaving a restaurant and I scraped a piece of my heel off on a metal door when it got pulled open.
Dr: Mmmm. Was the door old?
--->I'm confused.  So, Kirsten chimes in.  
K: The restaurant was recently renovated so it was probably new.
Dr: Mmmm. Okay, we'll have to clean it out. But you should probably get a tetanus shot just in case.
Me: Awesome.  
Dr: Okay, let's take a look.  Now, where did the nurses put the gloves.  They seemed to have rearranged the room on me.  I'll be right back.
Me: (to K) Oh my.
Dr: (after shuffling back in) So, you are here to run a marathon?
Me: Yes.  Is there any chance I can still run? (Fine, I'll admit I was still holding on to a very thin slice of hope)
Dr: Well, I don't think that's such a hot idea.  
Me: So, that's a no?
Dr: The wound isn't going to heal correctly if it's sliding around and under stress for a few hours.  I don't see you running again for about 12-14 days.  No activity, really.  You need to let it grow back together.  Now turn around and let's get started.

Two hours, eleven stitches and a tetanus shot later, we finally left the hospital.  I had accepted my fate.  There would be no marathon for me.  Instead, I would be cheering for Kirsten from the sidelines.  When we get back to the hotel room, Kirsten gave me a big hug and told me how sorry she was.  I let her know how grateful I was that she was with me.  That I would have been 100% screwed if I had been on my own.  And that I was truly excited to watch her race the next day, which I was.  We are a team.  We train together.  We race together.  And we support each other in everything we do, even if that means one of us is racing and the other is not.  It's why we are as close as we are and one of the main reasons I continue to do marathons each year.

The next morning we got up at 5:30am.  We grabbed coffee and bagels at Dunkin' Donuts and made our way back to Corning so Kirsten could catch the bus out to the start.  I was super pumped for her.  And I was really sad at the same time.  Both of us were totally exhausted from the night we'd had and from our colds, which were still hanging on.  The fact that she was even doing this was kind of mind-blowing.  I wished her good luck and sent her off with a hug.  Then I headed back to the hotel as I was in desperate need of a nap before I had to meet her at the finish.  Around 10:30, I grabbed myself a second cup of coffee and drove to Corning (again) to wait for Kirsten.

It turned out to be a really nice day.  A little warm, but, thankfully, cloudy and dry.  Great race conditions.  And great spectating weather.  I stood by the finish and watched all the runners come in.  I'm not going to lie, it was hard for me.  But, I did my best to embrace the situation and cheered for all the runners who I knew had worked equally as hard as I had to get to this point; some smiling, some grimacing, some sprinting, some hunched over in pain, many waving, some crying.  I got it.  I'd been in all of those situations before.  I was genuinely happy for them.  And I knew I'd be there again relatively soon.  And that carried me through the day.  That and watching Kirsten float by me on her way to finishing her 8th marathon, which she did with flying colors.

It was, hands down, one of the most bizarre, stressful, disappointing, even humorous weekends I've ever lived through.  I won't speak for Kirsten, but I do think she would agree with me.  And yet, somehow, we managed to get through it.  Me in one piece.  Her with another marathon under her belt.  Both of us ridiculously happy to have it behind us and ready to move on.  On our flight home, I found myself breaking it down into the good and the bad.

The downside:
~ I trained like a beast for four months for a marathon that I didn't get to run.
~ I spent $400 for my flight and hotel only to end up in the ER in upstate NY.  Who knows what my hospital bill will end up being after insurance.
~ I can't do anything physical for 12 days.

The upside:
~ I didn't tear the tendon which would have been a thousand times worse.
~ I didn't need plastic surgery which, no disrespect to my elderly doctor, I'm not sure I would have trusted him to do.
~ I got to support my friend and teammate as she ran and successfully completed her 8th marathon.
~ I am beyond fired up for my next race, whatever that might be.

Today, Tuesday, I'm on the road to recovery and already looking ahead.  My friends, my family and my teammates from near and far have been unbelieveably supportive and I can't thank them enough for being there for me.  From a mental standpoint, I have never needed a run more than I do right now.  But that's not happening.  And it's okay.  Worse things have happened.  I will get through this.  And I know I will come out stronger.  And the next time I line up on race day?  Look out.  There will be flames.  I guarantee you that.


Listen to this:
Future Looks Good - One Republic