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…

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

48-54F  No need for fleece, just wore long sleeve light rashguard and high viz vest

Above 32 deg F:

  • 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:

  • 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

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 🙂


Magic Beans – Fuel

There is a great book called “The Year of Running Dangerously” (which is reviewed separately in these blogs) where the main character helps his daughter during a marathon by giving her magic beans to help with cramping. Fact is, you need to manage your fluid and carbohydrate intake during long runs.  I called an old friend last week, who is 82, an ironman and going strong mountain biking in Arizona – his main advice was to manage this stuff and not bonk during a race.

year running dangerously

I’m running a half marathon next weekend which, at my snails’ pace of 11:45/mi, will take me ~2.5 hrs to complete.  After 90 min, you should consider taking come kind of supplement every hour or so.  I have never done this.  This is the beginning of weeks of experimentation to find out which product works best for me.  Coach says to find two gels, two chewables and two powders that I like.

Current items I’m checking out after 90 min to note if it tastes good and if it improves how I feel:

  • Salt Stick – 215 mg sodium vs. Hammer nutrition – Endurolytes
    • “pills” like endurolytes or pill form of salt sticks get stuck in your throat and hurt.  I’m going with the chewable salt sticks.
  • Tailwind powder mix
    • Love this 1 scoop mixed with 22 oz water each hour.  Have tried orange and lemon.
  • Gummies
    • Skratch labs
    • Sport Beans – 100 cal/package, 80 mg sodium, 40 mg potassium, 25g carb (17g sugars).  made of cane sugar, tapioca syrup, apple juice, etc.  These are made by jelly belly
      • Tried this at 1:18 with another 30 min to go.  Too sugary and pain to keep popping the little ones/whole pack of 100 cal.  Did not have noticeable affect – was cold.  No cramping.
  • Gels…. All sweet.  Better chocolate/coffee flavors as less sweet
    • Cliff:  LIKE because little tab at top connected to pack so won’t litter/get lost
    • Vfuel Gels
    • Gu gel – 100 cal packet, 25 g carb made from maltodextrin, water, fructose, leucine, sea salt, 125 mg sodium
    • Hydragel sports fuel gel 100 made from total crap, glucose, fructose, 25g sugars
  • Hammer nutrition – chocolate recoverite and for during training
    • This can be too sweet at end of run

I was happy that I also found some sport beans today a the Heartbreak Hill Running Store in Boston!

I’ll be updating this post with results.

Chew on,



I am in love with an irrigation box

I’ve been living in fear of squats for two reasons:  My achey lower back and the fact I’ve always felt a little unstable because of my flexibility and tendency to have issues with an upright upper body while in a squat (remember I cannot do an overhead squat – yet).  My coach recommended that I use a box at a height that I’m comfortable squatting to.

After running my head into the end of the 45 lb bar in the rack while reaching for my training routine papers on the ground (rookie mistake), I set it up on a few 10 lb plates so that the top was set if I was in a full squat parallel to ground.

LOVE IT – I don’t know if it just makes me feel safer and not lost in space as I’m awkwardly going down but it is like a magic confidence builder.  I went up to 125 lb squat for a pretty easy 3 reps!

Squat on my friends!


Again, a Life Lesson – How Many Times Do I Need to Be Told?

Sometimes when you expend less energy and slow down you accomplish more.  After a week in Bonaire, on the last dive I realized that if I totally exhale, I sink like a rock and totally managed my buoyancy on my own floating and going up and down at will easily.  This also applies to initially getting in the water as you descend – instead of flailing around, just relax and lean forward.  It reminds of a day many years ago at GE when I was in some type of battle with the Italians and Vincenzo Di Leva told me that I didn’t realize I had already won….

Pausing and being in the moment is also something I am working on.  Doesn’t mean I don’t work hard but it means that you need to make the work count by being focused.

I did run six miles roundtrip to Crossfit Flamingo and do the 19.1 workout – heat kicked my a&& and my calves were cramping during wallballs.  I did this while the rest of the group was out diving and before I had my initial, assisted dive en route to certification the next day.  I was told you weren’t supposed to exercise too much before diving – this was a test 🙂  Here’s a pic of me and the awesome guys who judged/supported me:

So on this note, let me get back into it and meditate daily.  OHm, one more thing, 5 pounds up – I am hoping it is airplane weight and we’ll see in a day or so.  I am also determined to get back to the weights – my 7.7 miles yesterday crippled me with the lower back again so I need to continue to work through that and fix it as well.

A few more pics from the trip:

An awesome time and in my new swimsuit!!

Honest reporting and en route to being better,



A Journey in Professional and Personal Continuous Improvement

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