Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I remember

When this blog used to be something....used to mean something. Where has she gone?

Monday, August 15, 2016

What It’s Like to Finish Second-to-Last in the Olympic Marathon

As a collection of Kenyans, Ethiopians, Americans, and a Belarusian led the women’s Olympic marathon in Rio on Sunday, Saudi runner Sarah Attar ran in last place, juggling being both a spectator and a competitor.

“On the coast where we ran a 10K loop three times, I was able to see the lead pack on the other side,” said Attar, who spoke to Runner's World on Monday by phone from her hotel in Rio. “To have an eye on the women’s Olympic marathon while also being in it was surreal. They are the best in the world. I kind of just wanted to watch, but I was running, so I kept my eye out for the leaders.”

With a personal best of 3:11:27, one of the slowest in the field, Attar, who is a citizen of both Saudi Arabia and the United States, gave no thought to being last. Her goal: no collapsing at the end.

Rio is only the second time Saudi Arabia has sent a female delegation to the Olympics, and Attar wanted not to just finish, but to finish strong. “My participation is bigger than myself,” she said. “Finishing strong would speak to the importance of women’s presence in the Olympics, and the strength anyone can have.”

Her message of participation was highlighted in the London Games in 2012, when Attar finished the 800-meter race in last place to a standing ovation. This year in Rio, Attar expected to be last again. What she hadn’t anticipated, however, was that this year she’d have company at the back. 

Attar started the race with Neo Jie Shi of Singapore. Caught up in the excitement, the pair held pace with the rest of the field for a short distance before falling to the back. Later, when Neo—whose PR is 90 seconds faster than Attar’s—edged ahead, Attar chased.

“Her pace was a little quicker than I’d planned, but it was pretty cool to have someone to keep in the line of sight,” she said.

The two runners played leapfrog, trading last place and second-to-last multiple times. “It kind of felt like we had each other’s back,” said Attar.

With no other competitors around them, Attar, who usually runs ahead of the mid-pack in marathons, experienced what might be the beauty of the back of the pack—space. There was no jostling for position at water stations, no sidestepping runners who stop suddenly. “I compared it to running Boston where there is madness at every water stop,” she said. “In that sense, the Olympics were pretty relaxed for me.” 

Just before 30K, Neo passed her for a final time and Attar settled into her place in the rear, running, she said, what felt like any of her other nine marathons. She focused on pace, getting her fluids, taking in the ocean views—until the presence of the motorcade or the sight of the elites reminded her she was running the Olympic marathon.

Sometime during the final 10K loop Attar spotted a lone runner ahead with a different stride than her de facto teammate Neo. The heat had taken its toll on Nary Ly, a 44-year-old biologist from Cambodia who was coming back to Attar. Attar passed and shouted, “Good job!” as she gave the struggling runner a thumbs-up.

Sandwiched between two runners whose performances were also a symbol of the Olympic spirit of participation—like Attar, Ly and Neo had not met the qualifying standard and were participating with special exemption—Attar felt far from alone on the course. The three had created a race of their own, helping each other to finish.

The inevitable marathon tough spot came for Attar at mile 24. To keep going, she repeated the mantra, “Everything forward,” a phrase used by her coach, Andrew Kastor. She pictured Deena Kastor, the American marathon record holder and her training partner, winning the bronze medal in the Olympic Marathon in 2004. And she thought of Cariman Abu al-Jadail, her Saudi teammate who competed in her first Olympics this year in the 100 meters.

“Cariman came up to me at the Boston Marathon two years ago and said she was running because of what I did [in London 2012],” said Attar. “That right there is what this is all about.”

Fifty-two minutes after Jemima Sumgong became the first Kenyan women to win the Olympic marathon, Attar crossed the finish line in 3:16:11 relieved to be done. She and Neo hugged, and someone passed her a Saudi flag, which she held while turning to watch Ly run toward the finish. 

The Cambodian runner entered the final stretch and officials closed the gates across the road closed behind her, signaling the 133rd and final finisher had passed. Flanked by a police escort, Ly blew kisses to the thinning crowd.

Across the line, the two women hugged and smiled and went their separate ways. Attar answered a few reporters’ questions, but with the novelty of being Saudi’s first female runner having passed, she left the finish area quietly. No reporters stopped her as they had in London. No photographers held cameras high. With the satisfaction of having done what she’d come to do, Attar grabbed her bag, found her family, and caught the bus back to the Olympic village.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I took a week off and...

For the first three days, I iced my knees and right shin twice a day. I took ibuprofen around the clock, and turmeric twice a day. (More on that for another post.) And then I just chilled. And today I ran a short, simple and slow 2 miles run/walk with a longer walk portion than usual, especially for such a short run (6:00/3:15).

And I felt ok! Sluggish at first, but ok! I will survive this slowdown. I will catch back up to my long runs at the end of this week, shin and knees permitting.

Yay for rest!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

What to do when you rest and have ANOTHER bad run...

Pannnnnnnicccccccc! Skipped a 6 mile and 5 mile midweek run (tried to run another time and got thru about .18 miles and ended it.) Today was a step back week of 11, did just under 7.87. Had to walk the last half mile.

Ok. I will have to get ahold of myself. This is no time for all out panic. More rest from running. More ice.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What to do when you have a bad run. .

Forget about it.

Bad runs can happen when you least expect them. A short 4 mile run? That's supposed to be easy!

They say that "tough runs don't last, tough runners do." I will have to repeat that til it sticks. I know all of this. This is what I'd tell anyone else that had a bad run.

Forget about it.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Wrap Up

Total Miles: 92.3
Longest Run: 13 miles
Run/Walk break down: 69.02 running miles

Long run distances/run-walk ratio/paces:
7/2--7 miles; 6/4 ratio;13:06 pace
7/10--10 miles; 7/3:20 ratio, 13:05 pace
7/17--8 miles; 6/3 ratio12:44
7/24--12 miles; 6/3 ratio; 13:07 pace (HOT)
7/31--13 miles; 6/3 ratio; 12:51 pace

Friday, July 29, 2016

Nobody said it would be easy

Was supposed to run an easy 3 miles today, and then 13 this weekend. Had all but decided to forego my 3 miles and just do the 13 tomorrow and get it over with....what's 3 measly miles?

A: the 3 miles you're supposed to do.

Q: Oh you got shortcuts to your training plan now? How have those worked out in the past for you?

A: But next week is super tough! Longer midweek runs, I want to kick those off on Monday, not Tuesday. Wah Wah wah.

A: get your rest days when you need them, but skipping a run for no real good reason shouldn't be an option right now. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Just say no, Part II

Even with freshly chopped basil, delicious red, orange and yellow tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil.

Although I suspect this dish would taste great on a bed of actual spaghetti.

Just say no

Spaghetti squash. No. It is not a substitute for pasta.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Nothing is more distracting...

...than the pressure of someone else calling you during your workout to tell you to hurry up. History repeats itself.

Can a mama get some time to herself?! Sheesh!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

PSA: chocolate substitutes

PSA to all the chocolate lovers out there. If you think you're gonna get some Greek yogurt chocolate flavor and it's going to be this heavenly, mousse-like glorious experience...YOU ARE DEAD @$$ WRONG.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, my sisters in cacao, but our miracle we've been waiting for is not this.

So we shall continue to wait for our chocolate messiah. I'm starting to lose faith.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day


Monday, March 7, 2016


Sometimes I feel like this is me. And then I remember we're all weird.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The formula

Increased cardio + clean(er) eating = lower(ing) my resting heart rate

Super psyched! It's been going down down down and I hit the 50's today. NICE! 

The choice is yours

(Although may I add that everyday results in a series of many, many choices. Choose wisely. Choose your goals. Choose your happiness.  Choose those closest to you.)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Stress, stress everywhere I look

1. National politics has me riled up

2. Can't get a reprieve at home, the state hasn't had a budget since June 2015. This effects work. It effects local politics in Chicago.

3. Can't get a break in my family circle, because CPS is threatening an April 1 teachers strike, and after the mandatory furlough days issued today, the union has all but assured there will be a strike.

4. The first furlough day? March 25. A day that I have a major interview for a new project. Nice.

But strangely, though I have moments of ranting, there is a buzz in the background of "whatever is going to happen is going to happen."

At least they're not so young I have to pay for daycare.

February Wrap-Up

Here were my February goals at the end of January:

●100 miles
●Long run/walk: 10 miles
●Run 2 straight miles 
●12 strength training sessions
●Establish half marathon training schedule for half marathon at end of April

1. Done.
2. Mmm, sort of. I did do 10 miles, but only ran walked the first hour (about 4.6 miles) and then walked the remainder.
3. Nope. (But did it today on my first run for March. However, still a no.)
4. No! According to my strength training log I only made it 8 times. Seemed like more than that. Hmmm.
5. Nope. Might not be running it now, either.

Dang, I guess I didn't do so well on my goals, although I am quite proud of meeting my 100 mile goal for the 2nd month in a row.

March goals:
●100 miles
●12 strength training sessions (3 per week)
●increase running miles to 40% (unless knees object)
●determine race goals for year
●clean eating 5-6 days a week.

I've noticed what I eat makes a huge difference how I feel. Im trying hard to practice a mantra I came up with: I feel how I fuel. That and weight loss make it easier to stick to it....

Until next time!

Since kicking this run/walk thing off on August 10:

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016