Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

I have been excited to do a long run on the race course for weeks. Initially, Wendy said she wanted this run, an 18-miler, to have hills...but when I asked her if I could do it on the course instead (which for the most part lacks hills, other than a few rollers), for nostalgia, excitement and anticipatory reasons, she said that was absolutely fine.

I woke up to a beautiful day - bright and sunny and about 55 degrees. Perfect. The best I've seen since I've been home. I had some oatmeal, packed my camelback, and my mom and I hopped in the car to head up the shore. I LOVE being able to do this run as a point to point (like the race is) and not out and back. So our plan was for my mom to drive me 18 miles up the shore and to pick me up at 26th when I was done.

The drive up, much like the bus trip up on race day, always seems so far. Surrealy so. But it was a beautiful day and I think we both really enjoyed the drive. When we were about 16.5 miles up we started seeing signs that the road ahead was closed. Uh oh. We were able to drive through as there were no actual workers there - but the highway is completely GONE for about a third of a mile! I took a picture of that spot with my phone once I started running.

No road. Just dirt and rocks. I am curious to see the state of things come race day.

I started running and I immediately Bad. Not right. I sometimes have low blood sugar problems - but I have never been able to pinpoint when or why or if it's something else like low iron. I had eaten a nice big dinner last night at one of my favorite old Duluth spots - the Pickwick. I had my all-time fave tenderloin tidbits, a baked potato, salad, and more. In short, my body should have been well fueled. I even ate a bowl of oatmeal this morning which I don't usually do before training runs. I usually just start and have my first Gu about 5 miles in. Anyway, I felt awful. It sucked. I was not pleased. The day was beautiful and I felt just wrong.

I stopped about 2.5 miles in and had my first Gu (Chomps), even though it was earlier than usual. That usually helps. It didn't. I stopped about a mile later and had 2 glucose tablets, which I carry "just in case." After that, things started looking up. Slightly. But then...well, I totally had to pee. Fortunately I found a nice spot in the wilderness that didn't seem to be on anybody's property and was able to TCB. By now, my mind was off. I was only about 4 miles into this thing...had already stopped about 4 times, and just didn't feel great. The sugar started to work...but just as it really started to kick in between miles 5-6, my legs started to hurt. Tight and heavy. Already? It was WAY too early. Then I remembered yesterday's "kick" at the end of my run and my note that I would hate myself today for it. I didn't hate myself - but I knew it was going to be a LONG run back to town.

I continued on and just plugged away. Wendy's only instruction was again to enjoy myself at a comfortable pace. Despite the beautiful day, I was not enjoying myself and the pace felt like a death march. I wasn't miserable, I just wasn't able to be comfortable - at all. I did take some comfort in knowing that my mind was dealing with the pain and discomfort better than it would have before - and that is about 75% due to Wendy being in my life both as an example (through her own training) and a "coach." She's tough. She would plug through this and like it. So would I. The other 25% is likely due to the fact that I have just been falling in love with running - and being a runner - more and more over the past months and that reality trumps a LOT of discomfort. It even, at times, made the discomfort feel empowering, giving me a real sense of pride that I am, at that moment, accomplishing something. Working to be better at something I really enjoy doing.

I took a couple more Chomps at mile 8 and snapped a couple pics of this beautiful course.

These don't exactly showcase the best the course has to offer - but alas, it's where I needed some fuel.

One thing I love about running on the course this time of year is all of the other runners out there. We are all out there for the same reason and we know it. It's a neat sense of camaraderie. I even ran into my old high school friend and very competitive local runner, Eric Hartmark. It's just not the same in NYC or DC, where I have lived and trained for most of my life as a distance runner.

I continued to plow through this run the best I could. I had no idea what my pace was, but I knew it was slow. I felt like I was just plugging along and getting it done. I even spent the last 3 miles crafting the email I would send to Wendy telling here that perhaps I was wrong and that we should do a 3-week taper instead of the two I requested. (We are currently 3 weeks out.)

I finally arrived at the end, relieved, and called my mom to come pick me up. While waiting for her, I went in the gas station, chugged a bottle of chocolate milk and bought a bag of ice for my ice bath. I then decided to look at my watch and see my pace - I was hardly curious to see the reality of how it had gone...I was not happy about how hard I was having to work to move at what felt like such a slow pace

Um, oops.

My running has been changing so much lately that, as I think I have referenced before, and I have little idea what pace I am moving and I don't look. I just run comfortably, or hard, or relaxed, or whatever Wendy says.

Let's just say I know why it felt so tough out there...I was moving FAST. OK, not fast, but waaaaaaay faster than I should have been for an 18-miler. I was shocked! I was partly relieved...that there was a reason it felt so tough. And partly freaked out, that I had run this LSD way too fast.

Ah well. We'll see what coach has to say.

I got home and immediately got into my ice bath.

And yes, I wear my socks. One bad experience where my toes got very close to frostbite has led to the addition of socks to my routine.

Three weeks from yesterday is Grandma's Marathon. Can't wait!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


On the schedule today was 7 miles. In my top-secret, pre-run email that arrives in my inbox in the evening but I am not allowed to open until just before the run, Coach W said to:

Run these miles so that I enjoy them. Whatever pace feels good, and if I want to floor it (within reason) at the end, go for it.

I may have again ignored the "within reason" part...more on that later.

Wendy's instructions came, in part, from a book I am reading and I suggested she read as well. It's called "RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel" by Matt Fitzgerald.

I bought this book on a whim prior to exams when I was trying to read everything but my casebooks. I knew nothing about the book, or Fitzgerald, but it's always neat when you start a book and your friend is quoted inside the cover. It actually has tidbits from lots of current elites and I have learning a lot from Fitzgerald's suggestions and data.

Anyway, I thought Wendy would like the book too because it goes along with a lot of the things she has been trying to tell me - about listening to myself, trusting myself, and using my head as much as my body to improve my running. It also has a lot of numbers, data, and scientific jargon and I thought PhD nurse W would like that part as well.

So I set off today for a 40 degree run in the rain. I parked at 26th and was the only one there when I left - which made me feel hard core. Hey, I'll give myself positive reinforcement and self-esteem bumps where I can get them!

Enjoy it. That's all I had to do today. Easy enough, right? Wrong. By a mile in I was SO thirsty. Like...incredibly so. I am a bit of a water addict and am constantly drinking when I go for a run this short, I never carry water. I hate carrying, so unless I absolutely feel I have to, I don't. But I was seriously thirsty. Like, to my core. I reminded myself it was only 7 miles and knew I would be fine...but I was definitely not enjoying it. Damn. My only instruction.

I tried to take my mind off of it but was just plain parched and it made me feel tired all over. Finally, just under 3 miles in, I stopped at a gas station right on the side of the trail. Shout out to the nice worker at Super American at 58th who told me to help myself to a glass and water out of the soda machine. Ah, that's better.

And it was. So much better. From that point on the run was great - I was a bit too warm because I had worn a jacket, but other than that I felt really solid out there. It was all flat except for a portion of Seven Bridges Road that I ran ran up before turning around to head home.

I was coming upon the 6 mile mark and decided that, yes, I wanted to floor it. I was feeling great. I clicked the track on my ipod from the book I was listening to to some music and took off. I knew I was going fast - and a voice inside me told me I would hate myself during tomorrow's long run for doing this - but I couldn't help myself. It was cool, refreshing, and I was pretty much alone out there cutting through the thick fog. Bliss.

I am not sure what Coach will have to say about my splits. I share those with her, but not here, because that really isn't what this is about - at least not yet. She hasn't scolded me yet...but, of course, we are just getting started.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gloves and Green Day

On the menu today was just an easy 7 miles w/some hills. Simple enough. But it's still fricking cold here! And I was NOT yet awake at 8am when I set out for this one...and in Duluth, at least from where I live, if you want hills (on an out and back route) it basically means up on the way out and down on the way back. As someone who takes a little bit of time to warm up and get into the groove of a run, I would prefer the opposite. Alas.

This run was never particularly inspiring, but it also wasn't bad. Really, there was nothing negative about it. There was a STRONG wind that I swear changed directions whenever I did...and I was kinda thirsty and hungry the whole time (still have not mastered pre-morning run eating)...but it was still a solid effort and, well, I got in the miles.

I am a true believer that you can find some good - something positive - in everything...even if it isn't necessarily exciting or inspiring on its face. (On it's face? Did I just write that? I am reading way too many legal Opinions.)

So here are my random positives for the day:

Today, finally, I remembered to wear gloves. Oh, what joy I derived from having warm - or maybe just not having numb - hands. So much better. Good call, Baldwin.

This was also a good one because it began and ended with appropriate Green Day tunes. I loves me some Billie Joe. I do. The (former) pop music scholar in me analyzes my particular appreciation as relating to the fact that the songs are basically show tunes in disguise. (I-vi-ii-V-I never hurt any song as far as I am concerned.) They are. Same harmonic sequences, same repetitiveness, etc. Now, this could be said of a lot of pop music, of course. But there is something inarticulable about it (the fact that I can't articulate such things is perhaps why I did not continue on as a pop scholar) and I swear I felt this way before American Idiot, Green Day's "rock opera"/Broadway show.

Anyway, this run started with "Jesus of Suburbia" which just might be my current favorite song for starting out a run. Now, I didn't plan this. My ipod shuffle has about 130 songs on it - and it does not circulate through all of them before going back to others. Sometimes it is weeks or months before I hear a song. Just lucky I guess.

The run ended with "Basket Case" which was just a little too perfect since I was running down 4th street. "Basket Case", or rather, Dookie, was in the tape player of my 1976 Ford Maverick (named Gunner) the day I got my license and the first time I drove by myself. I vividly remember driving on 19th Ave E to 4th street and almost causing an accident because I forgot that the cars going in the opposite direction didn't have a stop sign.

Good memories. Good times. And, in the end, a good run.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rise and Shine!

I am really going to try not to talk much about school or work in this blog - it's about running. But, of course, running has to be worked around those two things.

I am currently working on a law school project: the write-on competition to try to make law review. We have 11 days to complete it and it is, in a word, annoying. We are all so burnt out from our first year of school that having to read 300 pages and then write in a legal style we have not before learned is, well, tiring.

I am trying to make the best of it by studying in inspiring locations. Yesterday I spent the day in the law library at my mom's office in the St. Louis County Courthouse. It worked. I was inspired. I got a lot done.

My plan today was to do the same thing. By the end of the day yesterday I was really tired, so I knew that today's run (yesterday was an "off" day for my running) would need to come before going to "work." (I don't have a car.) Mom leaves for work at about a quarter to 8, I had 8 miles to such, I was up and out the door right around 5:30am.

This is NOT typical of me. There have been a few times in my life when I have worked out in the morning...but they are rare and it is always a struggle. That said, every time I have been able to get myself up to do it I have LOVED it. I love exercising that early. It feels great and it makes the whole day that follows feel great.

I checked the temperature and it said 43. Stupidly, I assumed that it actually meant that it was 43 degrees where I would be running. Since Duluth is on Lake Superior, and we live close to the lake, it is often MUCH cooler (like, as much as 20 degrees!) where we live compared to where is measuring. I put on shorts and a long sleeve and headed on out.

I knew about a quarter of a mile in that I was going to freeze, but I was already pressed for time to I just kept at it. By the end of this run, my hands were completely numb. SO COLD! I could barely put my key in the lock to get back into my house!

Today was 8 miles. Coach W. said to start off nice and easy and to pick it up a wee bit every two miles. Not necessarily to pick up the pace, just to pick up the effort. She said nothing about needing any hills, so I decided to do the bulk of this one on the track. I had such a great time there the other day I wanted to go back.

I took a route that gave me about a mile and half to get there...and then I just plugged along. About part way through, the football team came out for practice (National Champs!) so I had a little bit of company, but other than that it was just me out there. The run was GREAT...this whole thing where I don't look at my pace and just run by feel is really interesting and relaxing. What I thought was a slight change in effort ended up being pretty significant and my final mile was almost 3 minutes faster than my first. Yet the pace of the final miles didn't feel crazy fast. It just felt steady and strong. Nice.

OK, off to play pretend lawyer at the court house!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I couldn't possibly need to send my running gloves home for the summer... I thought when I was packing stuff to ship to MN. I would have liked them was chilly out there! Foggy and a cool drizzle coming down on me until the very end of this one. At least I was smart enough to wear pants and a long sleeve this time.

All weather-related whining aside, it was another good run. 9 miles, slow and easy.

Since I pushed it yesterday, Coach said to take this one slow and warned me that it might feel sluggish after the upbeat pace I took yesterday. Boy was she right. The first couple of of miles were fine...but then my legs really started to feel heavy and tight.

I ran on the "new" (at least to me) extension of the Lakewalk that goes East from 26th. It was great! What a swell idea! This took me to around 61st, I think, and then I jumped on the Grandma's course...down London road a couple of blocks and then onto old Hwy 61. It was pretty deserted out there - just me and a few other runners (and very few cars) which was nice. I ran by the 18 and 5 mile marks (for the full and half, respectively) which got me thinking about marathons past.

This was an out and back and by mile 6 I was really dragging. I felt fine, I was just aware that my legs didn't have a lot of umph.

Coach did say that I could pick it up for the last mile if I felt like it. She also said not to pick it up too much and I fear I may have disobeyed this instruction. The second my watch beeped at the 8 mile mark I took off. Within 10 seconds, my legs felt better, lighter, and fresher than they had during this whole run. It was brilliant! I kept up an aggressive pace and pretended it was the last mile of a marathon - per Coach's suggestion. (Oh, to feel that good at the end of a marathon!) I ended up running this last mile about two and a half minutes faster than mile 8. Alas. Coach may have to be a bit more strict and specific when she gives me options to "pick it up" and "finish strong."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"If it feels right, add some pep to your step" said Coach Wendy in the overnight email I read this morning.

I hadn't run in 2 days (which is not normal, but my schedule is still a bit messed up from exams, travel, etc.) So Wendy knew I was itching to get out there today.

She also knows how much I like to run FAST. So she gave me the permission to pick this one up a bit if it felt good. I didn't have to do so, but I could if I wanted. Since this one was only 6 miles, I was excited to be able to do more than just run comfortably and slow.

In all of my runs right now, I don't look at my pace at all. I have no idea. I am completely running by feel. On the face of my garmin gps watch, I only see my distance.

It is COLD in Duluth today. But at my house it was still around 45 so I wore shorts. I was fine...but it was definitely a pants day down by Lake Superior. I ran on the Lakewalk and it was relatively deserted due to the cold temps: perfect. Just me and a few other runners.

Here is an internet photo I found for those of you who aren't from around these parts:

I knew I wanted to take Wendy up on her offer to pick up the pace on this one...and when "Without Love" from Hairpsray and Kanye West's "Golddigger" came on my shuffle mix during miles 2-3, I knew it was a sign. There was no way I could hold back. Thinking of my days working with all of those skinny and buff dancers on Hairspray made it hard not to get my butt moving...and Kanye stirring up my deep and visceral loathing of Taylor Swift always causes my heartbeat to speed up and my intensity to rise out of pure irritation and furor.

It was on.

It was gray and gloomy and the lake was choppy and in my head that made it all feel more invigorating. I truly did not want this one to end.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Memory Lane

I really enjoyed my 7-miler today but it was tough at the start. My legs were feeling it from Monday's 20...and Wendy wanted me to work in some hills. Well, that's easy enough when you live in Duluth.

I ran up by my old middle and elementary schools and into Chester Bowl...then out on Skyline for a bit for another great view of the Gitchie Gummi. I then ran back out toward UMD (University of MN-Duluth) and decided to take a couple of laps around the track...boy do I love a track. I LOVE them. The feel, the smell, the painted triangles marking the relay zones. And this particular one holds lots of memories for me - some not so great.

It was on this track when, in 8th grade, my 4 x 1 relay (which was a shoe-in to win and make it to State) got interrupted when another team dropped their baton and ran into our lane, stopping our second runner...she did her best to make up by the time...and we still almost won. But when you are stopped dead in your tracks in the 4 x 1 you just can't get enough momentum back. Heart breaker.

It is also the track where Kara Wheeler (Goucher) false started in the mile. Yup, the mile. I remember that day very vividly. I was chilling under the bleachers when it happened. One false start and you are out in high school track - but most people aren't expecting it to happen in the mile. Kara was obviously expected to win the state meet that year, so not getting to compete there was devastating.

It was also on this track, during the Lake Superior Conference Meet in 10th grade (my best season by far), where I tore/strained my hamstring in the middle of the 100m dash final. It felt like I had been shot in the back of the leg and the next thing I knew I was on the ground. I spent the next couple of weeks doing intense pool workouts and physical therapy (stim and ultrasound) - and a couple of days before Sections the trainer (good old Gail) rigged up a wrap, using therabands and ace bandages, to create a support for my hamstring that made it much tougher for me to pull my leg down, but allowed it to pop up on it's own. It wasn't the prettiest stride (or wrap!), but I was able to run fast enough to qualify for the State meet again (along with my two H.S. sprinting nemeses, Livia Monticelli and Shyla MacKibbon).

I have an great picture of the three of us at the finish line of this race - me with the crazy wrap on my leg - but it is unfortunately living in storage in Maryland at the moment. I'll have to share that one this fall when I get my life out of storage.

Oh, the memories.

By the end of this run, I didn't want to stop. I am getting to the point where I don't even really feel warmed up until 4-5 miles in but once I get going, I don't want the run to end.

I am very happy to be home. And I am very happy to be running.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


So perhaps the biggest hesitation I had - as Wendy and I were discussing this idea and she was developing a plan - was when she told me she wanted me to run (only) four days per week. Four? Huh? I prefer six. For the most part, I don't like cross training - with the exception of spinning class, which I adore. I LOATHE the elliptical and think it is pointless (I have no intention of being an ellipticaler, I am trying to be a runner) even if it is just a few miles, I like to run every day.

That said, I have gotten to a point where running 3 or 4 miles feels pretty pointless. Like, should I really get my running clothes dirty for that? And so when Wendy explained her idea further, I started to buy her explanation. Of course, it didn't matter whether I bought it or not. I told her it was ALL up to her - that I would do whatever she said. That's the whole point of this plan.

So, while I only run 4 days/week, all days are a decent amount of mileage. The point is, she says, to work on my underlying problem which is lack of endurance. If I do less runs, but all of them are longer...well, my body will start to adjust in the way that it needs will become better at running longer.

I will have her explain her 4 days/week theory at a later time - she has author privileges and will contribute to this blog from time to time.

So what was on the schedule today? Nothing or cross-training. Yup. Nothing was an option. After my 20 trashed my legs yesterday, Wendy suggested that perhaps I just walk - she said that was a valid form of cross training to just get my legs moving and to burn some calories. So that is what I did.

I walked. I walked all over my old neighborhood here in Duluth and it was a total blast. I grew up in an exceptionally beautiful place! So much charm, character, and natural beauty.

Cross training will be a challenge here in Duluth because I don't have a bike. I can go to my old gym, where a day pass is only $6, but that is tough when it is so nice outside. Still brainstorming how I will fill those three days/week when I am NOT supposed to be running.

On tap tomorrow? 7 with some hills.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wendy Says...

No, I don't intend to post every day or every workout...but in these beginning stages, there is a lot to report!

So this is how this works. Wendy emails me my training plans one week at a time. It keeps it a bit of a mystery and it also helps me to not get too far ahead of myself. Today, day one, was a bit of a catch up day. I finished my last first year law school exam on Friday at 5pm. That was followed by a champagne toast(s)...more celebrating and, well...this should give you a good idea:

Saturday was a mad dash to pack everything I had been using all year and get it to my storage space - 45 minutes away from school at Georgetown Law. It was exhausting to say the least. Sunday morning I was on an 8am flight home to Duluth, MN. I will be here for a few weeks before starting my summer job in the Twin Cities.

Anyway, I hadn't done a long run this weekend...and the past 2 weeks have been just short little maintenance runs (I did get in 11 last weekend) just to make it through exams.

So our big experiment started with a 20-miler. I have actually been really excited about this run because I knew I would get to do it in my hometown. Duluth, MN is a beautiful place with zillons of great places to put together a scenic, and challenging, long run.

For those of you who know Duluth: I left my house at 22nd and 4th - ran up Wallace to Woodland and turned right on Snively - went out about 4 miles or so on Jean Duluth and then looped back - took a left on Glenwood and then left up to Hawk Ridge - ran that all the way down Seven Bridges Road - returned home via London Road. Here is a nice cell phone pic I took from up at Hawk Ridge:

The beginning was VERY tough. I felt exhausted, my stomach hurt, my legs felt heavy. Also, in DC I have been running almost completely flat courses - so starting off with some hills was a bit of a shock to my system. After about 3 miles, though, I started to settle in and I was just so dang happy to be out there.

Overall it went well but I was complete toast at the end. During my last mile I had to run up Lemon Drop Hill...the only real hill on the Grandma's Marathon course. I finished around 23rd and then had to walk straight up 21st to get home. I was NOT pleased at that point. My legs were trashed, numb, tired, screaming.

All that said, it was a great accomplishment for my first real day with "Coach Wendy." :)

Wendy was nice enough to send me an email last night (that I was not allowed to open until right before my run) telling me exactly how she wanted me to execute this run - what the run was supposed to accomplish. You may think it sounds like Wendy has nothing better to do with her time...which couldn't be further from the truth. She is a mother of two (an 8 year old and an 8 month old...or something like that) and is a nurse completing her PhD. She also takes her own training quite seriously and runs insane amounts with her own running crew where she lives in IN, including her incredibly accomplished and talented husband, father, and brother. She's a rock star. Lucky me.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"I am super slow...I am a sprinter"

Those of you who know that I am five weeks out from my next, and 5th, marathon may think this is an odd place for a new beginning. And it is. But it’s a new beginning of sorts for me – I finished my first year of law school two days ago – and, well, when I got the idea for this…experiment…I couldn’t wait to start.

Experiment? Well, sort-of. I admit it’s hard for me to convince anyone that training for my 6th marathon is anything groundbreaking or new. But I assure you it is, because this time…wait for it…I’ve engaged the help of a coach. That’s right, a running coach. And by coach I mean super cool friend/amazing distance runner who I have somehow convinced to spend time developing a plan for me to follow and forcing me to follow it. More on that later.

Because here is the thing: Yes, I have run 4 marathons already…and yes, I am running my 5th in five weeks. But I have never really trained (i.e. followed a complete plan) for one. I have a deep feeling, part guilt, part ambition, telling me that I still have no idea what I might be capable of. I’ve never really gone outside my comfort zone because, well, I hate being uncomfortable. Hate it. Yes, I have worked hard at times…pulled out a few 20-milers and run a LOT of races of varying distance…but I have never pushed myself enough to know what this body of mine might be able to do.

This body of mine. I guess this is time for me to explain the title of this blog. I have a few other distance runner friends who use the fast-twitch caveat…but none with as much gusto as me. This is usually how the conversation goes:

You run marathons?

Me: Yes, (quickly adding) but I am super slow…I am a sprinter. I just find marathons fun but I am NOT a distance runner.

Oh, well that’s still really impressive.

Me: No, I am telling you…I run them really, really slow. Anyone can do it, but I am a sprinter, NOT a distance runner.

Now, I am not solely making excuses…this is, for the most part, true. I am a sprinter. Or at least I was. And I have no doubt that my body is filled with fast-twitch muscles through and through – that is, they are meant to provide lots of power and quickness but not much in the endurance department. So I am a sprinter…yup, I am a sprinter…and the last time I sprinted was…1999. See sophomore year of college. Gulp! Holy crap, really? That fact makes my “excuse” seem pretty lame. 1999. In 1999 most of my law school classmates were 11 or 12 years old, I could go through airport screening without taking off my shoes, I was still engaging thoughts about being pre-med, and I thought that Broadway actors were god-like. A different time indeed. It seems I either need a new/better excuse, or I need to get to work doing something I can truly be proud of.

Over the past few years I have gotten very interested in the sport of distance running as a whole – not just participating, but everything from reading every book I can find on running to watching marathons on TV. Lots of them. Even old ones where the results are known and the competitors have long since retired. I have far surpassed the running geeks I used to make fun of on the high school track team.

I love running and I love runners. And I want to actually feel like I am one of them. Because I don’t yet. Perhaps it is my own sense of self that is the issue…but I think the underlying problem is that I know, deep down, that I haven’t reached my potential or really even tried. So what am I looking for? I am not looking to run some particular time, or pace, or to qualify for Boston. Nothing like that. I am just looking to (a) complete a training cycle and (b) know that I did everything possible – that I followed the plan, that I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, and that on race day, I gave it my all. I haven’t done any of those things yet and I would like to try.

So here I am. I am blogging because, well, I want to be held accountable. I also see this as a bit of a journey and, yes, as sort of an experiment. I see myself as a blank slate. A naturally gifted athlete with a body so meant for sprinting that my performances in the 50 meter dash far exceeded those in the 100 meter dash – and the 200 meter dash was just way too far for me to be successful.

And I won’t be the only one participating in this blog. As I mentioned earlier, I have engaged someone to help me with this journey.

Meet Wendy Miller. Wendy is probably the toughest person I have ever known in terms of what she is willing to push through in order to achieve her goals. She is also an exceptionally gifted writer and it was her own blogging about her running that inspired this entire idea. You can check out her blog by clicking “Girl, Interrupted” or on the left side of this page. (Wendy has many other wonderful qualities/talents…more on those in the posts to come.)

I told Wendy I had this brainstorm – for her to develop a training plan and see what she was able to do with me. My only responsibility is to do exactly what she tells me to do. It’s all up to her to develop a plan…every aspect of it. I am hers to mold into someone I can finally feel comfortable calling a distance runner. Luckily for me, she took the bait.

So here we go! More details on this idea, our plan, my history as a runner, etc. as we go. I hope to also share some fun tidbits, photos, etc. about many people who have been part of my past as a runner.

Our goal race is the NYC Marathon in early November. Our baseline race will be Grandma’s Marathon, my 5th marathon overall, on June 18th.

And as for my fast-twitch muscles? It’s time for them to learn a new trade. No more excuses. No more clinging to my (distant) past as a sprinter. I hope to do a bit of research on the science of it all as well…but mostly I just want to see what my twitchy little buggers can do.

The new journey starts tomorrow. And my goal with this blog isn’t to gain followers...only to track my own progress and document some fun history as well. Oh, and I also like to write about show tunes…a lot. I feel I should admit that up front.