Category Archives: Becoming Badass

Hump Day is Hill day – Wachusett Dam 4/3/19

Last time I ran here, I made it up ~75% of the way and totally gassed out.  My buddy was showing off hopping every two steps up and came down to walk up with me.  I was out this time to make it to the top and made it 7x!

Total elevation gain ~755′.  Note that the death march in the spartan ultra is around 1.25 miles with 1700′ elevation (~26% incline) so is 2.5x what I just did just less incline and longer.

The entire course I think is around 6500k elevation gain so 10x what I just did (that seems more daunting!).

A little progress with a lot more to go.  A few more pics from yesterday:


Twisted in Two Planes, AAR 3/31/19 end wk 15, 167 days Left

Dear Coach,
I did everything this week!
A few HUGE changes/learnings:
  1. I realized that I have gotten a ton better running the hills in my neighborhood this week with the new workouts – when I ran them last Nov, they were soul sucking but really not so bad now!!!
  2. You can’t “think” your way to a faster running cadence.  I used the metronome and successfully ran at 165-170 during the 10 miles today when last week during long run I tried to but still only ran 153 spm.  Need to slow down pace though and get back to Z2 under 118 BPM/was at 123 BPM today.
  3. Started trying to use my new Garmin F935 watch and found it matches my heart strap well on long runs but having issues with displays, etc – have to learn how to use it
  4. Finally found a PT, Mike Roberts, that I think is going to fix what is evidently a twist I have in two different planes.  See in the photo below how I am leaning and twisted to the left.    Switched to all unilaterial exercises Wed 3/27 onwards until it is fixed. Note that I am taking Aleve a few times a day now and often can’t put my socks on in the morning.  Feeling a little better already since eliminating dual foot weight exercises – he says I’ll end up stronger than before after we fix it.  I am not worried about getting strong and will continue to work strength enthusiastically with unilateral exercises until then – perhaps the best way to do them anyway 🙂


Changes I am making
  • With the longer runs and workouts last few weeks, I changed food to moderate for T, R, F, Sa, Su and this is making me gain weight since I got back from Bonaire, where I had been at 135 (am now at 143).  I am going back to the previous macros (my RP base/Light day at 151c, 56f, 134p = 1644 total calories) and adding in only 100g for Gu on runs/bike Sat and Sun- else all LIGHT days.
  • A little cleanup – I am not wasting all this exercise by screwing up my nutrition.  I want a six pack!!
    • Switching from butter to nut butter with toast in morning
    • Realized whole wheat flour is different than wheat flour so only using whole wheat
    • Being purist on best sources of prot/carb/fat
    • Back to measuring half and half 🙂
  • Can’t follow std RP templates while working out in am and pm so am doing the following:
    • Eating fuel/fire in morning before workout
    • Having higher carb meals after morning and evening workouts, spreading out the rest during the day
    • Switching from butter to nut butter with toast in morning
  • Having some gear issues with new Garmin (still working on setting it up and comparing its HR wrist sensor to my chest strap and other running app) and lights.  This will pass – working on that today
  • Hair control:  Started using better headbands (way wider in front and wider in back) to keep hair away from me
 Train on!

The elusive rope climb…touched ceiling after 8 years

Coach helped me with technique and to get up to the ceiling for the first time March 21, 2019 after 8 years of trying.  Being 45# lighter helps.  Having pullups back helps.  Repeated climb at the box on Saturday.  Note that I was pretty scared both days – not sure why but pretty happy that I did it.



Keep at it my friends –


Longest Run in 36 Years…New Bedford Half Marathon AAR

March 17, 2019 marks the first day I am starting to prove I am better than at 17 or 30. I ran the New Bedford half marathon today and felt great.  I ran slightly too fast (11:18 mile pace) but still pretty slow so no wind blocking behind the crowds during the middle of the race windy stretch!  Last time I ran a half, in high school, I think I ran a 10k the next day and somehow wiped myself out for the rest of the running season.  I think it might have been the absolute absence of knowledge on nutrition, or just mental – who knows.  But I’ve been afraid of this happening again and also what used to be the total unpredictability of how I felt running races.  My vote is nutrition and I am way better at that now.

Except for the Friday night before this Sunday race where we had a scuba reunion and I had chips/queso and 2 glasses of wine.  Somehow I’m now up 10 lbs over where I was pre-Bonaire – crazy and I hope water.



Pre-race nutrition strategy:

  • Race at 11am.  6:30 breakfast of oatmeal, maple syrup, eggs, milk (normal) and one cup coffee.
  • 10am fuel for fire (typically eat this before running)
  • During race starting around first hour per hour, 1 endurolyte, 1 hammer gel
  • Post race:  Hammer recoverite

Followed except post race I had orange, banana, and chowder/fish sandwich provided by the race instead of recoverite.

Back/stretching Status:  Back was a little crickety going in.  Had done a few ROMWODS Saturday and stretched before the race.  Post race I give it a 6/10 – feeling way better than I have in the past after my last 11 mi run months ago (where I was so crippled I couldn’t move the rest of the day).  Working yoga today (Monday).

I carpooled down with a few of the local runners from the Nashua Gate City Striders running club and as I introduced myself and talked with them before the race had the following comments:

  • “You’re wearing that?”  My typical mid weight fleece vs this singlet thing everyone has to advertise their club
  • “We all have garmin watches”  with a tone when I asked about gear and mentioned I am using my iphone
  • “Did you look at the course?”  That would be a no!  But I learned a lesson and about the huge hill evidently around mile 9 and had good advice about fueling up in advance of that and not just at it.  Now this hill turned out to be a bump – had no effect on me.

Lessons Learned:

  • I cannot take this hair in my face all the time, it is going up with however many bobby pins it takes next time
  • Love chocolate hammer gel, hated grape.  Still couldn’t tell any noticeable change after eating them.
  • Look at the course in advance to plan nutrition around hills and to set expectations for hills – don’t get caught off guard
  • Trust clothing/layers you wore before in similar conditions.  It seemed a little cold so I brought gloves when I might not have.  Am not sorry but mostly they were in my pocket.



I did also go into my cookie jar for mental support for pre-race jitters – thank you David Goggins for this advice.  Also read the book “Nowhere Near First” by Cory Reese (an ultra runner) and in one race he passed someone who had told their running mate “the race doesn’t start until mile 70”, which he later realized was true.  So I thought of this as I finally passed for good the women in the sparkly (awesome) skirts who kept racing past me and then walking.  This was no ultra, but good practice for staying to my plan, which was 11:45 avg miles.

Train on my friends!  I am looking forward to a glut of strength training this month.  I am also busy buying sandbags and finding hills to run up.  Next race is my first Spartan May 11!


After Activity Report Week 12, 187 days to train

Dear Coach,

End of training week 12:  This was a good but hard week – I am tired and sore today.  Not sure how but I had a very sore left calf all week so worked that daily.  Long run in snow went well (9 miles @ 11:45 pace) as prep for next Sunday. Moved aerobic workouts to morning which is huge – fitting all this stuff in has been a learning process. I was psyched to realize by moving to morning I could run in daylight and then we turned clocks ahead this weekend!!!!

Note that I compared my 9 miles today with previous runs and it was a little discouraging – I know we are slowing things down so I can go further at a slower pace, but hard to quantify progress when my times are worse -maybe progress is having slower and predictable splits with better form as I have learned HR training and how to control what I am doing 🙂

  • Oct 14, 2018 ran 8.1 miles, 9:57 avg pace
  • Nov 4, 2018 ran 9 miles, 10:42 avg pace
  • March 10, 2019 ran 9 miles, 11:45 avg pace (exactly the target!), Cadence 155, HR 127 avg

This is my life:

  • Sunday:  always meal prep for the week (this is not new), long run, extra mobility, study/read
  • M-F:  Wake up before 5am, workout 1-2 hrs, do a ROMWOD, drive hour to work, work 8-10 hrs, drive hour to crossfit gym, try to get there with time before last workout at 7:30 so I can do strength (this has been a fail), get home around 8:45pm, eat and go to bed.  I don’t want to abandon my husband so need to leave work earlier and have a little more time at night.
  • Note:  I watch zero TV


  • Moved aerobic workouts to before work.  This took me too long to do as 2+ hours of workouts could not be crammed in after work, after my hour drive home and with dinner which resulted in some very late nights!
  • Discovered the irrigation box – a small thing made a big difference in squat confidence and my back feeling better got me to 125lb backsquats this week
  • Good mobility work – rejoined ROMWOD as I like the sustained holds and do at least 1-2 a day.  I did a 9 mile run today and was NOT crippled for the rest of the day in my lower back – this is huge although crossfit on Thursday with KB swings and KB lunges did make my lower back pretty sore.
  • Started experiment on supplemental nutrition during races.
    • Tried some at 1:18 today with 30 min left – didn’t notice much difference. Don’t like anything too sugary, the sport beans are out! Need blander flavors also …a barrage of stuff is coming this week to try over the next weeks
  • Lesson learned:  for more complicated workouts with intervals over a long time, need to write out time changes so I don’t get lost during workouts – I think I may be losing it as although I have a Masters in engineering from MIT, I unsuccessfully wrote this out in the middle of “bike3″ as somehow 67″ +10″ equalled  107”!  I still find myself also forgetting to do things sometimes – like keep up the cadence or I’ll forget I’m in the middle of a Z3/Z4 interval…losing it 🙂


  • I feel great about enlisting my two young proteges (14 and 17 yrs old) to do a spartan sprint this summer and helping them do it
  • My equipment failed me in the very cold (7deg F weather) so I will likely buy some Garmin watch in the next weeks – thinking either Forerunner 935 or Felix 5.
  • Water intake way better as I leave glasses all over my house now
  • Shoulder made another step better with just slight twinge now when hanging – did at least 50 strict pullups during a wod last week.

Need to do better:

  • Am struggling getting the lifting routines in – not because I don’t like them/these are my favorites (except squats!) but sometimes when I get to crossfit early, the bars are taken, or I don’t get there early and it is pretty late after.  Am thinking I may want to join some typical gym like Fitlab just to have more flexibility for weight training. It is not easier with them spread out over days and would rather plan for 2 days with 2/day then 4 with one day on weekends.  I am working/workout out continuously – not slacking off
  • Need to get on crawling and grip strength – am wondering if I should get something to use while at my desk/in meetings at work.  How can I work this stuff in while at work….maybe take a trip thru the shops carrying something during the day….we are buying a pullup bar for work
  • Having trouble getting run cadence up to 170, no issues with bike

thank you for all your advice!



Cold/Hot Weather Running Clothing Standards and Battery Life

Have had a few cold days up here in New Hampshire and wanted to keep track of how my clothing and battery life is going.  One day this week while I was running in 7F temps, my iphone was doing GPS for fitbit and Runfit app – died in just one mile…

Iphone6 in airplane mode only lasted 4 hours while using screen with Alltrails app on a ~64F day.

57F  roasted in long sleeve light rashguard – wear skort and short sleeve shirt with high viz vest

  • Iphone started 84% ended 20% after 2 hours using runfit and metronome apps only

43-54F  No need for fleece, just wore long sleeve light rashguard and high viz vest

Lesson learned from ultra:  Started in low 50s but rain and wind.  Wore sleeveless shirt and compression pants which were find 98% of first loop even after swim.  Brought light jacket in ziploc bag in case it is needed.  Wet is OK as you need the barrier.  I only used it at the top of the mountain and really needed it after the swim the 2nd loop but did not have it.  Carry the few extra ounces!

Ran in 43F 1/26/20 in short sleeve shirt and arms froze.  Use long sleeved shirt.  Totally fine without fleece and just had t shirt and high vis vest.

BICYCLING:  high 40s with some wind – wore heavier smartwool shirt, maroon wind jacket and high vis jacket, bicycling shorts with lightweight wind snow pants over it and was fine.  No gloves.  1st outdoor ride of year 4/11/20!

Above 32 deg F:

  • Stonecat 50k:  32F to start race with no wind, midweight fleece was too hot along with hydration vest.  Need something lighter if no wind perhaps heavier smartwool shirt.
  • Lightweight smartwool longsleeve shirt and mid weight fleece, no gloves required (unless perhaps windy), standard midweight leggings (not the super thin yoga kind but the athletic compression leggings of athleta).   No hat but can use band around ears.
  • Iphone batteries run down within 90 min if using for GPS fitbit/runfit apps and using music or audible (not streaming)

High 20s:

  • When no wind, midweight smartwool shirt is too hot and fleece leggings good
  • Add gloves to above and if cold wind, windproof shell.
  • Using basic leggings, my legs were hard to feel after 8 miles so I want to add lightweight leg liner next time

12 deg F – no wind

  • Heavier weight smartwool long sleeve, midweight fleece.  reflective jacket.
  • std leggings plus goretex shell pants – just right, not cold or hot
  • need better gloves – cold at first
  • winter buff over head and face
  • iphone on airplane mode lasted an hour

7 deg F

  • Heavier weight smartwool long sleeve shirt, midweight fleece.  Should have added another lightweight layer as I did for Turkey trot which was a few degrees warmer…
  • Hat is a definite although you might end up with sweat ice chunks after the run!  Got a little hot – might try a heavier duty ear covering
  • gloves and a pair of lightweight glove liners – this was not enough as my hands froze!  Looking for solution here – tricky as you don’t want to be hot either but this was too cold
  • I also had on a pair of leggings with fleece but this was also not enough – need to add another thin liner.
  • Also could use something for face – was totally frozen.
  • Iphone used for fitbit/runfit with GPS, died within 1 mile – this has me looking into Garmin devices now – either Forerunner 935 or Felix 5

A week of Enlisting my Two Little Proteges to Run a Spartan With me

I’ve been trying to make running a more social sport – haven’t figured it out yet as I am trying to follow my own routine, at my own pace and am not networked well.  In addition to just wanting company, I also feel strongly about helping out young women with their careers.  Back in 1989, there were ~4% women in my engineering class and less than that working in engineering at my current company – not much progress there unfortunately.  There are two wonderful young ladies (and a third much younger) that I try to pay some special attention to in my life.  I decided to enlist them in a Spartan Sprint 5K this summer.  They are both little badasses in their own right now – much older than the pics I have here. They are some awesome karate kicking, soccer playing, horn section playing, hard-working little ladies.

This week, I made it a REQUIREMENT for my niece Katie, who I’m flying out here to visit with me, and a REQUEST to my close friend Robbie’s daughter Sonia, who lives nearby.  Here they are – although both much bigger now – Katie will be 18 and Sonia 15 this summer.

Katie – my niece:









Sonia – my BLF (best little friend)…these are quite old!:








And a few times, they have been together:


So, in addition to calling them and promising them help, etc, I sent them the video below – which, granted might be intimidating as it has “Will you die?” in the title….





Then, I thought they need something a little more motivational so I sent them this:



then this….


I am very excited about them doing the August 10 Spartan Sprint Race and hoping we can pull this off!

Heading out into a blizzard now for a 105″ run 🙂