Sunday, March 8, 2015

Snowmagddon 2015 and other ramblings

It is March 8rd and New England is still largely buried in snow. Boston has gotten over 100 inches and we got closer to 112. The last few weeks there has been some melting and snow bank clearing. Finally we have a small shoulder on the roads. It is safer to drive, walk and run. In the last week we've actually had temps over 32 degrees. I recall hearing that we did not go above freezing for three weeks. It is the craziest winter in recent memory in MA. Commutes have been hell and people have a little bit lost their minds.

Many of my runs have been inside and most outdoor runs have been in frigid conditions and quite frankly have risked my life running on the roads. I have been extra careful running; avoiding dark runs, wearing super bright clothes, always running on the opposite side of the street, and trying to avoid main roads. I live in the boonies now and folks are just not as nice to runners and bikers. Bostonians thou not always nice are tolerant and mostly considerate. If you include honking as considerate. A few weeks ago someone posted on Nextdoor about her irritation with runners, bikers and walkers on the streets. The posts that followed mad me sad and a little angry. It was a lot of the "roads are made for cars. and how dare anyone be out on the roads other than cars". How dare anyone risk their lives or the lives of drivers for the sake of cardio. Someone actually said that. I understood the anti -runner/biker/walker sentiment to an extent. The roads have been terrible for a greater part of 6 weeks. They have barely been passable to cars let alone pedestrians and cyclist. BUT if done safely roads can be shared.

I resisted the urge to respond to the post as many others had responded the way in which I would. Instead I have been extra cautious and courteous to drivers while running and walking. I have waved to all drivers even if they're jerky to me. I am hoping if I wave I make myself human and perhaps less likely to be hit? I keep wondering how we can change the attitude that cars own the road. Clearly this is not just an issue in the winter, but can be more dangerous this time of the year. I wonder if a mass mailing to all drivers re the rules of the road might help. Or a segment and push in the media about the rights of pedestrians and cyclist. I believe that many drivers truly do not know that cyclist have the right to be on the road. Would education help to improve behavior? For now I am focusing on positive re-enforcement and good behavior on my part.

The good thing about treadmill runs is that it forced me to work on technique and speed. Slowly I gained speed in the last two months. I have been diligent with my strength training, stretching, swimming, biking, and running. I am now able to run a 5k avg 9-9:15/ mile, up from about 9:45. On my longer runs I avg closer to a 9:30 but sometimes faster. The best part is that I finally feel that I have a little extra to give during all my workouts. My persistence, determination, and diligence has finally paid off. I am feeling good at this point in the season. I can pretty comfortably run 7.5 miles without any foot pain!! o! I have discovered and fallen in love with Rock My Run. It is an online streaming and download site with playlists for running or working out. They have a paid and free service. Currently I use the free service which gives me one download per month. Check them out:

I joined a Masters swim program in Groton last Monday. For now I can only swim once per week with them. But I think this will be a good way to ramp up my training and meet some swimmer people. I have been riding inside on my trainer mostly using Paincave. I think it is helping me with my cadence and equal leg power. I am itching to get out on the road. We have a warm week coming up so I am hopeful that this may happen in the next two weeks. My body is responding to my training in a way that it has not in over a year. Perhaps I really did need a full year of low key low intensity training to heal and recover from previous intense training and racing.

The trial of accused Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev started a week ago Monday. I have been trying to avoid watching any footage. Simply hearing the words (paraphrased) "that bombs disrupted a normal joyful and celebratory day two years ago" sent me into tears. I don't want to hear play by play accounts of the day. I certainly don't want to hear what Tsarnaev has to say. I understand that for some this maybe cathartic but it is too painful and still to raw for me. The Boston Marathon was the first Marathon that I did and was done Bandit style. I did not know what I was doing but still managed to cross that line in one piece. The Marathon will always hold a special place in my heart and life. When I moved to the city and went to the marathon for the first time as a spectator I really discovered what the day meant to all of the city and state. Whether you're a runner or not for that one day you become a fan. For many it is an excuse to party . But that comes with cheering on runners! Where else do we get thousands of spectators along the whole route cheering on runners?!!? As a runner you feel like a rock star for most of the course. As a spectator you're proud of the runners and of the city. It is a day that is difficult to articulate and needs to be experienced at least once. Runners, college students, business professionals, families, non-runners, Red Sox fans, and people from all over the world come together.

Someone tried to destroy that day, but they messed with the wrong city and the wrong crowd. Boston and runners are two of the most resilient groups I know. I won't let them destroy what it means to me and I will be there every year. I think this is why I can't watch the trials. I don't want the terror and sadness to move to the forefront of my brain. I want to remember those who died and lost limbs, but not the terror. I want to remember how the city and world came together after. How we took back the Marathon in 2014. How so many folks who lost limbs came back and plan to run. How so many people came together and helped strangers in a time of crisis. We cannot be broken. This week I have been taking a moment to be thankful for all that I have each time I do a workout and feel the warm sun on my face or feel the cold air in my lungs. I am lucky to have everything I do. Lucky to able to swim, bike, and run.

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