Saturday, June 29, 2019


Back in January, I signed up to run the Rose City Mile, an event hosted by the Rose City Track Club (RCTC).  RCTC is a running club based out in Portland that I'm connected with through my friend Liz Anjos and since I didn't have the funds or the time to get out to Portland in June, I signed up for the virtual race with the plan being to run it in MA on my own.  In January it was cold and dreary and racing a mile outside on the track in the hot summer sun sounded AWESOME.  Months went by and life got busy and I forgot about my virtual commitment until I got an email from Liz a couple weeks ago reminding me that I'd signed up and I needed to hit the track and race my virtual mile before June 29th.  Oooooohhhh right.  I promptly emailed my coach and asked if we could slide a one mile time trial into my training plan for the week while also questioning whether it made sense to do it during this marathon training cycle and secretly hoping he'd tell me it was not, in fact, a good idea.  His response?  I think you can let it rip and it should not have any lingering impact on (your training).  As long as you are properly warmed up when you go into it, I think you can go full tilt.  Let's plan on next Wednesday.  Awesome.  Can't wait.  Go team.  I haven't run a mile on the track since high school, and I'm 44, so that's a long damn time ago.  I've been training for and running marathons since 2007 and the shortest thing I've done in that time frame is the 5K, which I loathe for obvious reasons.  So now it's June, it's hot and humid, I'm averaging 75 miles a week and I have to slide a quick mile in "for fun".  Why, why, WHY do I do this to myself?  According to my schedule, the plan for "race day" would be 11 miles total which included a 2-3 mile warmup, the time trial itself, and then a nice, long 7-8 mile cool down/recovery run.  No rest for the marathoner.  I was 100% sure that I would not A) know how to pace myself or B) willingly run as fast as I was capable of running without someone there either yelling my splits or running along with me.  Thankfully, I know a guy.  I know he's wicked fast.  And I knew he had to come to Martha's Vineyard at some point during the week when I had to do this time trial to give his dad a ride back to Lexington.  So, I texted said guy, aka my good bud Steve, let him know the deal and asked if he'd consider coming out a little earlier than planned to pace me.  It was a lot to ask.  I know.  But, I was kind of desperate and figured it was worth a shot.  He took his time getting back to me and then finally sent me a text at the end of the day asking what time I wanted to get this thing done.  PRAISE BE!  I guiltily wrote back that earlier was better because of how hot it had been getting, knowing full well that his trip over involved a two hour drive and a ferry ride, a process that tends to take about three hours total.  And also knowing that he had no reason to get up early, or in this case, stupidly early, other than for this.  But, he's a good friend and he stepped up to the plate.  He told me he'd be on an 8:30 boat, that I could pick him up at 9:00 and that we could realistically be warming up at the track by 9:15.  The guy's is a Saint.  

Thursday morning I was up around 6:00am, as usual.  Which gave me ample time to stress and overthink things as I drank coffee.  What if it's mad, crazy hot?  What if I can't run hard for four laps straight?  What if I'm a lot slower than I think?  What if I made McKenna come all this way and I can't even do it?  What have I done???  Classic Rebecca.  At 8:00, I made my way over to Oak Bluffs to pick Steve up from the boat.  It was in the 70s and the sun wasn't out yet; not terribly hot but the humidity was pretty thick.  So, not great but not bad.  Steve let me know that he wasn't quite awake yet and we drove over to the track in silence, just listening to music and zoning out.  I figured less was more from my end.  When we get to the track I let him know that I had to string together 11 miles total so I was going to head out for a 3 mile warmup before we started.  He told me he would not be doing that and would see me when I got back.  He also told me that he'd brought his spikes, which he admittedly hadn't worn in a very long time, so I knew he was taking this whole thing pretty seriously.  Gulp.

During my warmup, the sun began to peek through the clouds and by the time I got back to the track I was dripping in sweat, which I tried really hard not to think about.  Steve was pretty much ready to go, so I grabbed some water, did some dynamics and a couple strides and then we went over to the one mile start line.  Truth?  You know that scene from 'National Lampoon's Vacation' when Chevy Chase is about to jump in the pool and is repeating This is crazy, This is crazy over and over again?  That pretty much sums up where my head was at at this point in the game.  I can do this I said out loud, to myself.  You can do this  Steve responded.  It's just one measly mile I said.  Just one, he repeated.  Can you believe how scary one mile can seem to a 44 year old marathoner?  I know, it's ridiculous.  You ready? he asked.  Yea.  Let's go.  

The goal was to run somewhere between 5:30 and 5:40; 5:30 being pretty lofty but 5:40 safely within reach.  Steve let me know he was going to take us out in 82 for the first lap and that we should aim to hold on from there.  Wait. I think that's too fast, I said, I need more time to build up.  You don't build up in a mile, Trax.  The whole thing is fast and it hurts like hell.  You just go.  Fair point.  So, we took off.  After our first 200 I panicked as I was breathing like a wild animal.  Steve had started out a little too hot and, thankfully, pulled back in the second 200 to get us back on goal pace.  One lap done.  My doubt seeped in immediately and I didn't think I could hang.  I tried to just focus on Steve's back and let him do the work.  2 laps done.  I was now dying.  Like, it was ugly.  The gap between us was getting a little bigger.  My breathing was getting louder.  3 laps done.  COME ON, TRAX, Steve yelled.  I'M TRYING, I thought.  But I didn't actually say anything because I wasn't capable of speaking by then.  I worked to close the gap in the last 100 meters and finished with everything I had, just a couple steps behind Steve.  I coughed and gasped and took a moment to myself.  Wow, I said.  That was beyond brutal. I didn't run what I'd wanted, did I?  Steve explained that my pacing was pretty erratic and that I should have let him do more of the work and just sat behind him instead of trying to figure things out in the beginning.  He also explained that you typically turn it up for the last full lap, not wait until the last 100 meters, which is what I did.  Turns out, I really don't know how to race a mile.  And they hurt way more than I ever excepted.  I'll stick to marathons, thank you very much, I said.  Steve laughed as I took off for my remaining 7 miles, which he was obviously not joining me for.  As I shuffled out, I gave the whole thing some thought.  I broke it down into things that were working for me and things that were working against me for the day:  

I had a rabbit to help me with pacing.
I was in pretty good shape.
This was new and different and kind of fun, for a change.  Kind of.

My age
The humidity
My lack of experience
The fact that, if I'm being honest, I really didn't want to be doing this. Like, at all.

For real, though, while I felt like I probably had a little more in me, I was pretty pleased with my time, which was 5:48.  I don't remember what I ran a mile in back in high school but it wasn't that much faster than this, and that is pretty cool when I think about it.  I'm a big believer in the concept of stepping outside of your comfort zone every once in a while.  I'm feeling like I'm set with that for the next few months or so.  And who knows?  Maybe my next 5K won't feel quite as bad compared to this.  Maybe.

Listen to this:
Never Gonna Quit - Royal Teeth

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


You're in my veins
You're in my blood
You stop the feeling of giving up
This hell feels better with you
Michl, 'Better With You'

In the past, my husband has been a pretty fair weather runner; usually hitting the road for somewhere between three and five miles when he goes.  Recently, however, he's started running more often and for longer distances.  He even doubled last week, claiming his first run was done so early in the morning that he felt like he wanted to go out again in the afternoon.  Which makes us both a little crazy, right?  Unlike me, Jeff does not listen to music when he runs.  Last week we were out to dinner and I asked him what typically went through his mind when he was out there for over an hour.  He told me most of his runs broke down into three different modes.  First, he goes deep into thought.  About whatever pops into his head; work issues, life issues and so on.  Second, he takes in the scenery; really soaking things up and observing what's around him.  And last, he just zones out completely.  Usually, he goes through all three in no particular order.  I nodded in agreement.  Because, in truth, I do all of the same.  I'm guessing a lot of us do.  For me, the only difference is that I have music playing in the background.

My long run playlist is compiled of 878 songs which is almost 52 hours of music.  When I pick songs for this one, I just listen to various stations on Spotify and if I hear a tune that I like, particularly the beat and the melody, and I think it's got that extra something to keep me moving, then I add it to the list.  The lyrics, and on a higher level, the song's overarching message, are not really that important in the selection process.  And, until today, I never really thought they made much of an impact on me as I ran.  Not so, my friends.  This morning I was out for 19 miles, and in addition to thinking, not thinking and observing, I also found myself paying attention to the lyrics of the songs as they played.  Like, really digesting them.  I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the songs on my long run playlist are cheesy, pop tunes.  And as I listened today, I realized said tunes are frequently about love - falling in love, falling out of love, fighting about love, falling back into love, looking for love, etc.  What I also discovered, however, is that in most of them, I can put something more related to my own life, like... oh, I don't know, running perhaps... into the meaning of the song and it instantly sounds less like a sappy love song and more like a motivational running song.  Let me show you what I mean.

Committed by Ivory Layne

In the beginning of this ditty, the singer is explaining to whoever she's singing to that she's not asking for diamonds or gold.  That she doesn't want to box the person in.  But that she's gotten to a point where she's looking for more.  Seems fair.

Don't let me call you up if your heart's not in it
Your heart's not in it, if you're not committed
Oh no, don't let me go, oh no, don't let me down

Now let's relate it to running.  I mean, I'm not expecting to get diamonds or gold from running either.  And I should definitely not be calling on it if my heart isn't in it.  Because you know, when your heart's not in it, you're not committed.  Then, I'm going to let running down, running is going to let me down, it's just not going to end well.  We just really both have to be committed.  See what I mean?

Another example for you.

Control by Feder

In this one, the singer is straight up telling the person he's singing to that he or she is everything that he wants and he's just trying to put a melody to it.  Pretty straight forward, really.

Do you hear the rhythm of my heart
Through the beatin' of my soul?
When I'm with you, I lose control

Now the running twist.  I couldn't help but feel like this was me speaking about running because in running I, too, often lose control.  Good and/or bad.  Doesn't matter.  Either way, when I'm all in, particularly in a race situation, I can easily get out of control; physically, mentally or both.  Not that I want that.  It just is the way it is.  And if I could, I would definitely ask (hypothetical) running, do you hear the rhythm of my heart and the beating of my soul?  Because you should.  Both are in full force when we're together.  See??

Okay, last one.

Count On You by Paperwhite

In the beginning of this gem, the singer is throwing rocks at her lover's window, wondering if he or she will come around.  Basically, she wants to know if she can count on them through thick and thin. Again, fair question, no?

Can I count on you
To pull me up
When it's too much
Can I count on you
Cause without us
I don't know what I would do
You're running through my head
You're running through my head all night
Can I count on you

So, let's say the 'us' in this song was me and running.  How many times have I depended on running to get me through?  Lots.  Let's be honest I need running.  Without it, I'm...well...I really don't know what I'd do.  So, it's fair to say that if I could, I'd probably ask running if I could count on it the way I assume it can count on me.  And running would hopefully answer, Yes, Rebecca, yes you can. You can always count on me.  I know, it's a stretch.  But, I was getting really tired at this point, so it made perfect sense at the time.

The point is this, music serves a lot of purposes for me when I'm running.  It's a distraction, it drowns out my breathing, it pumps me up, it helps me find a rhythm, it keeps me going.  And, what I now understand, is that it kind of speaks to me.  In weird ways, yes.  But I find that I'm nodding my head in agreement or smiling because I can relate to the message.  Not necessarily the 'love' message, or whatever message the artist might be singing about, but the message as it relates to me and running.  And that's pretty cool.  Perhaps it's not what the artist intended when they wrote the song.  But, I have to believe that they would be fired up to know that their lyrics have reached me in their own unique way.  Try it.  Take whatever it is your passionate about; running, ballet, cooking, race car driving, anything really, and work it into the meaning of a song when you're listening.  If nothing else, it's kind of fun.  But maybe it will provide a little extra motivation or stir up some deeper thought next time you get ready to do what you love.  And who doesn't want that?

Listen to this:
Be Someone - Jake Bugg

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


"Being brave, for me, means not giving up on the things that make me feel alive."
~ Gabe Grunewald

Earlier this week I told my girls about Gabriele Grunewald.  I told them that she is a professional runner and that she is battling a rare form of cancer.  I told them that over the past ten years, whenever her body allowed it, she has continued to train and race despite her cancer.  I told them that she was often sidelined when she was sick but that she never stopped fighting or believing she would beat it.  Not for a second.  I told them that she has worked incredibly hard to raise awareness and funds for both her type of cancer and other forms of rare cancer.  I told them that she is a wife, a coach, an advocate, a role model and, her words, a "lover of life".  I told them that I didn't know her personally, but that I know she has made and will continue to make a huge impact on many people's lives, myself included.  I told them that the world is a better place because she has been in it.  Last night, this unbelievably brave woman lost her battle with cancer.  This morning, I told my girls that we should all try to be #BraveLikeGabe in everything that we do.  Rest in Peace, Gabe Grunewald.  Thank you for the light you shined on all of us.

Listen to this:
No Pain - DJDS

Monday, June 3, 2019


🎶 Tell me do you feel it
Do you feel it?
Crazy is calling you
Do you feel it?🎶
~ Goldroom, 'Do You Feel It Now'

Oof. Track workout today. 12 x 400.  Man, I've been dragging this week.  This could be interesting.  Okay, you done, Rebecca?  Let's go. 

Workout done.  Success.  Damn, that was hard.  And yet, it turned out better than I'd expected.  Funny how that happens.  Now coffee.

Off to walk dogs, shower, grab lunch, eat in car, head to grocery store.  Living the dream.

SHIIIIIT!!! I'm supposed to double today.  I totally forgot.  And I already showered.  Plus, I'm SO tired.  I can't do it.  I just can't.

I'm doing it. 6 miles. Here we go.

Friday, 3:30-9:30PM
Pick girls up from school.  Drop Rosie at the gym.  Bring Grace to soccer practice.  Pick Rosie up from gym.  Pick Grace up from soccer.  Drop Rosie off at school.  Eat food.  Head over to school for Rosie's performance of 'Legally Blonde'.  Eat more food.  Go to bed.  WINNING.

Holy shit I'm tired.  Still gotta go.  6 mile shakeout.  Giddy up.

SATURDAY, 10:00-2:00PM
Drive to Grace's soccer game in Watertown.  Drive from Grace's game to Rosie's game in Bedford.  Running out of fuel.  Must. Eat. Sandwich. 

Legs up with a book on the front porch.  Sweet Pete.  Thank goodness tomorrow is my day off.  I so need the rest.

Dinner & Bruins playoffs.

Bruins are winning 4-0 in the second.  I'm out.  

Off to Grace's soccer game.  Bagel and coffee on the road.  Still really tired.

Hmm. So, maybe I'll just go do my long run today.  I've got the cable guy coming tomorrow and I won't be able to wait around for that and get 18 miles in afterwards.  Plus, I have the time today to get it done.  That said, my legs are toast.  I'd love to just go home and nap.  Yea.  Okay.  Maybe I'll just switch my long run to Tuesday and do an easy 8 tomorrow morning before the cable guy comes.  That's the call.

And now I'm going.  That was funny.  Back in a few hours.

SUNDAY, 2:00-5:00PM
Long run DONE.  Now dress shopping with Rosie, massage for myself (hallelujah), soccer with Grace, and quick trip to the grocery store.  CRUSHING IT.

In bed.

Out like light.  Yep. Still winning.

Listen to this:
Do You Feel It Now - Goldroom