Friday, December 19, 2008

The Hat Girls

Celebrating my birthday with Jan.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bye Bye Puppies

My daughter's dog had ELEVEN puppies. We were able to give away 5. Today the rest go to a shelter.

So just for a bit, I was a Great-Grandma!!

Thanks for the cuddles Puppies--have a good life!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Strict Training Tips

With my main race the Rocky Raccoon 50-miler in February, I'm tightening up my training to make sure I complete my goal to finish! I'm not so concerned about my time, I just want to be out there with these wonderful ultra runners (they were so helpful last year), and feel that incredible feeling of the finish line! Here's my current training to get me to my next Marathon--West Palm Beach--but it will just be a training run.

So here's the plan for now:
No walking in my training, my walking is down pat--it's all about running now.
Run 5 days a week.
One day of speed training.
One day of tempo training.
Pilates Class followed by a recovery run.
Long run---half of it done at Marathon pace.
Two gels per hour of training--one water bottle per 45 minutes.
Recovery run followed by strength training.
Low-fat chocolate milk within 20-30 minutes of workouts lasting over 1 1/2 hrs.
Tighten up my eating--strict vegetarian diet (I can't believe how much this helps!!).
Good form while running--good posture throughout the day.
Respect the warm up and cool down.
Increase water throughout the day (know where all the toilets are in my neighborhood!!).

I must say that I am shocked how my body responds to this. I guess I still can't fully believe I can change my body at my age, but I can! So all you youngsters out there that are dragging your feet with your training...if I can do it, so can you!!!!

Have a yummy Thanksgiving, with lots of loved ones surrounding you all!
I am grateful for my health, loving friends, good kids and any day the sun comes out in Chicago during the Winter! 
Life is good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Runners eat well!!

We love this place to eat! But, damn, the temp is too cold for October! Looks like a cold winter coming. Thank goodness I'm training for a warm weather marathon get-away!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chicago Marathon2008

What a great experience I had! This was the first time I paced a Marathon, and it was such an amazing day for me.

I have had some disappointments at races over the past year, which considering the losses I had in my life, it could have filtered over into that. I'm not sure what it was or even if it's over, but this is quite the journey of life I'm on, and I take each race as a process along the journey, with lessons to be learned from each. 

I was asked to pace at 5:45 for this Marathon. I was quite honored to be asked, and was a bit nervous as I've been dropping out of races lately, so I really didn't know if my drive was strong enough to get me, never mind others counting on me, to the Finish. But I decided this just may be what will shake me out of my funk. And it certainly turned out to be!

First, I got my pacing outfit mailed to me a couple of weeks ago: sleeveless technical top, long-sleeve technical top, shorts, awesome jacket and a very cool watch. All from Nike. I practiced in the clothing and had no chafing issues, so I was off to a good start. 

Paul Miller, our wonderful leader, gave us all times to volunteer at the Expo and I was expected to be there on Saturday morning from 9-12, fully outfitted. There were lines at the entrance before 9!! I was shocked to see that. I made my way over to the Nike Pace Team booth (quite the big booth!), and was given instructions from Paul's sweet wife, Lindsey. I set myself on a chair, got water to keep hydrated and waited for the runners. In no time there was a line waiting to sign up with us! Lots of questions from the runners, which I had plenty probably due to my pace being a real beginner time. So many excited runners, of course, and it was a fun morning. I had a good time with the other pacers that were there, about 15 of us in all that morning. Each pace had between 3-7 pacers, with 3:50 thru 4:30 looking like the busiest of all. A bunch of them were going to the pace leader dinner that night, which I was signed up for also. 

The dinner was a fun time and I brought along my friend, Anu, who had been in my Half-Marathon training program I led last year and was now signed up for her first marathon. She was so excited, but very hesitant that she'd finish the race (which was absurd...her training went perfect!) and I knew this would be an inspiring night for her, so I had to share. We listened to many stories from these experienced pacers, had lots of laughs and enjoyed a good pasta meal. I was certainly emotionally ready for my race now, finally believing I could do it.

Had a rough night sleeping, which is normal for me, and finally gave up by 3 am. Putzed around on the internet for a bit, then started getting ready. I left my condo by 5:30 am, picked up Anu, and headed down to the race. I love Chicago in the wee hours of the morning, especially on Marathon day. This was to be my 4th Chicago Marathon, and my 6th Marathon total. The air was fresh and I knew there was lots of activity going on out there, with 45,000 runners getting ready for their big day. My adrenaline was flowing!

I parted from Anu by the Chicago Hilton, which is pumping with Marathon fever--many runners meeting up in the lobby. I headed over to the pacer tent and met the two other ladies at my pace. It was great to have a chair to sit on, tables to place my bag and time to get ready and relax. Paul ordered water and food, but it hadn't arrived just yet, which got me a bit nervous as the bottle I carried had my drink powder in it, but was in need of that water!! I had a banana with me, had a scoop of peanut butter before I left my condo, so that was good.

I knew four of the pacers from my running group,, to it was great to get hugs and encouragement from them. One of the guys, Willie, is planning on doing Rocky Raccoon with me, and he was a great support (and I suspect the one responsible for me getting this pacer job).  

Our tent had a wire fence around it with an open area to the street so we were able to see the beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan, always inspiring. It also allowed the runners on the street a bit of access to us, and some were coming over and asking last minute questions. It was great to feel like a bit of a help to ease their last-minute jitters. 

Paul made an inspiring speech, thanking all of us for helping out, with some last minute tips on what the weather may bring. As most of you know, last year's Marathon was cancelled during the run and the weather report for this day was looking like it was going to hit 80 (I believe the high last year was 87).  The course was more prepared--more water stops, sprinklers, misters and ice was expected out on the course.  I still worried a bit, since back-of-the-packers are at the mercy of the upfront runners not using up all the supplies. I have often seen banana peels, licorice and ice on streets of a course that ran out when I got there. One of our pacers was a Preacher, so we were treated to a blessing before we started, and I noticed some of the runners on the street clinging close to the fence to get a bit of that blessing. As a Jew, I never have a problem with being blessed from other religious leaders, I've always respected their positions and enjoy the good feelings they pass on to me.

We headed out of the tent for a few pictures and then headed out to the course. As the "sweeper" pacer, we were the last on the line-up, up against the entrance to the back of the course. The course closed in 6 1/2 hours, very generous for a Marathon, so I knew we would have people behind us struggling to complete the race. The three of us pacers were bombarded with lots of questions, everyone very excited for this race. The main question was how were we going to run the race. Each of us pacers had a different tactic--Amy was running straight through, though walking through the water stops, Betty was doing a 2:1 run:walk pace and I planned on a 4:1 pace.  Though, of course, we would mostly be close to each other, the running parts would separate us a bit. I was wearing two watches, my Garmin with the GPS feature and the Nike watch we were given out which was ready with the timing feature just in case the Garmin died on me. I trained with a 12:45 pace and a quick walk which gave me the overall 13:10 pace, though the walks through the very long water stops were going to mess that up, so I had to be very alert and be able to do catch-ups.

I had about 20-25 people around me that wanted to stick close by. Two of these runners ran right next to me and loved calling out "run" and "walk" during the first part of the race. A few of the runners wanted to carry the pace stick, which I was happy to share, though nobody wanted it after we hit the half marathon point. 

We had a good solid run the first half. The heat was starting to hit us, so I yelled out to everyone to throw water on their heads at every water stop. So far so good, most of the runners seemed to be listening to me and we were a fun, chatty group. One of the guys running with us showed us an engagement ring--he was planning to propose to his girlfriend at the finish line!! I lost him along the way, so I don't know what happened, but it was very cool to know that was going on.

At the Half point, there was a loud-speaker announcer stating that the warning level for the race had changed to RED and we were advised to take it easier and to stop if we experienced dizziness or nausea. I had about 15 runners close by me and reiterated what the announcer said, adding that we were going to find every bit of water available to throw on our heads or soak us down and that I'd get them to the finish if they listened to me, as long as they didn't have any of those symptoms. Now I felt a huge drive of commitment. One of the ladies next to me said she was not going to be gypped out of a finish, like she was last year and I promised her I'd get her through. Unfortunately, at around mile 22 a blister got to her and I lost her. 

I told the runners that now was the time to ignore the crowds, as wonderful as they were, and to focus on their forms. At every walk I had them roll their shoulders and deep breathe. Whenever I saw a sprinkler (many Chicagoans open up their hoses to spray us down--what a great town this is!!), I yelled out "sprinkler on the right", and we all headed over to it for a good soaking. Ice started to appear around mile 16, and I learned later from my faster friends that they never saw Ice. I was impressed to think the race director held out handing ice out just for the back-of-the-packers, a great strategy, as were we in great need of that to keep us out there for so long. I forgive him now for last year's let down. I yelled for the ladies to put the ice down their bras and, at first, they didnt believe me, but then they yelled out, "My "ladies" are happy!" so I knew they were listening. 

My wonderful girlfriend, Hannah, met me around mile 18 and carried my sign and brought SNICKERS!! YAY!  I had a couple (Halloween size) and she shared with the runners near us. I noticed now that the course was changed from the previous years, which had me a bit disillusioned as to where I was, but the scenery was SO much better that I wasn't disappointed. I got my runners to get excited about the dragon in Chinatown and that kept them focused and a bit chatty. We weren't disappointed--at mile 21 the dragon appeared and everyone got a renewed sense of excitement. I was surprised that I still felt good and finally realized my hard training was paying off and it would get me to the finish. 

My group started trickling off, but new runners kept joining us....having abandoned their faster pacers and desperate to finish. I have never seen so many walkers at this pace. We had to zig-zag through them during our running pace. That was shocking to me. Lots of ambulances could be heard in the distance and two even had to cut us off while we were running. I gave my group an encouraging speech after seeing those ambulances and a few runners down on the course, telling them that as long as they weren't dizzy or nauseous, I was going to get them through.  Helicopters were hovering above us, firefighters were out on the course opening their hoses as they had last year, and I was very impressed with how the RD really was prepared this year. 

At round Mile 24, I started to feel crummy. Wow! I was thrilled it took that long! I realized we were two minutes off our time, so I made the runners around me dig in a bit to catch up to the time. Of course, we lost some of them, but we made up 30 seconds and I gave them a good walk and encouraging speech when we hit our walk. I didn't see the other 5:45 pacers and was told they were behind me. I was shocked but also afraid we might be behind them and I really didn't want to be last, but knowing I couldnt push any harder, and really wanted to get these runners near me to the Finish. I was left with about 6 women surrounding me, not knowing how many were keeping me within eyesight. I used the stoplights now to run/walk. These ladies needed a visual, and it worked. I kept instructing them to deep breathe and relax their shoulders during the last two miles. As we rounded onto the last .2 of the course, I had only three women next to me and told them we made it and they took off a bit quicker.  I ran in the middle of the road, with a big smile on my face, waving my pacer sign, the crowd cheering wildly. It was awesome!

I got hugs after the finish from the three ladies that stuck by me the whole way and it was an overwhelmingly satisfying feeling!  I headed to the pacer tent, where I found only one of my pacers--she was right on target. The other pacer showed up 15 minutes later, having struggled the last few miles. I learned a faster pacer wound up in the hospital, getting IVs, but, luckily, going home by late afternoon. 

I went out for food and drinks with Willie, Anu and Alex, another of my runners I trained for the Half Marathon, and just finishing his first Marathon. We shared great stories and Willie and Alex convinced Anu and I to join them and Paul at the West Palm Beach Marathon on Dec 6th! 

I'm busy icing my legs and hips, but all in all, I feel real good. I am thrilled and proud of myself, and am going to bask in that for quite awhile. I deserve it!! Thanks for sticking by and reading! 

Happy Columbus Day!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mums the Word

Just saw these this morning at the local grocery store in my neighborhood. This means Fall is on its way, which also means that "other" season is creeping in.
I'm not happy about this and I'd like to know who I can call to complain!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sundays Run

I survived my second Sunday of doing 7 hrs on hills!! What a surprise to find my girlfriend, Hannah, waiting for me at the hill!! Her wonderful hubby, Rob, and their pup, brought her over and she stayed with me for 6 hrs!! I'm thinking she should put an ultra on her list of things to do...I'll work on that.

We covered our ears as the Air Show over Chicago continued and the unbelievable Blue Angels circled overhead!! Luckily, I got there early so I didnt have to deal with the traffic that was driving around just a few hours later, desperately looking for a parking spot. Every time we went to my trunk (our little aid station) we were asked by quite a few cars if we were leaving.

Saturday night was the Runners Group Pot Luck at my place. The last pic is of Anastasia (don't you just love her name!) with some yummy dessert she concocted!! And, yay, for leftovers!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Pace Group

Are they a good looking group of ladies, or what??!! They are always happy and smiling, even when I cut their water stops short! I'm lucky they are with me, as I will get to bring them through the Chicago Half Marathon Race as their pacer. They think I'm doing them a favor, they don't realize how much they give to me while I'm out there training alone and I think of how much this race means to them and how hard they're working on getting towards their goal.

We were challenged today with the Air and Water Show going on at the lakefront. Lots of walkers with big thermos', chairs, strollers in the way. And the cooking smells--how unfair is it that we smell people grilling and they don't offer us a thing!! Harumph!!

But we had great treat--one of the runners brought frosted cupcakes for us all, which we shared halfway, at the 6-mile point. I told them all that this is how we eat at Ultras. I'm thinking some may be heading into the dark side of running shortly!!! So make room for these purty ladies on the trails!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekend Runs

Saturday I ran 1 1/2 hrs before hooking up with the half marathon training program. I was one of the very few out there on the lakefront, so I got to see the sunrise over Montrose Harbour privately!! Also took a pic of a few of my girls stretching at one of the many water fountains on our lakefront. These ladies are so good!!

On Sunday I had orders to run 7 hrs with hillwork. I packed up my car with new foods: rice krispie treats, chocolate peanut butter cups, pumpkin seeds, pretzels, jelly beans, mountain dew, orange soda and water. I was pretty tired of bloks and salt tabs and Heed drinks, so I thought I'd push it a bit and see what happened. Well, it all worked out ok!!

And lots of scenery on the lakefront - I chose to run around the "hill" on Montrose Ave, which has the trail next to it along with bathrooms and water fountains nearby. I lucked out because the 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer was coming through, and that was very inspiring. A group of men had a picture of a young lady on their backs, walkers carried posters of pics of their Moms, Aunts, Dads and friends. It was pretty emotional. I made sure to get a pic of the pink fairies on their bikes too!! A wonderful old car parked in front of me (I love old cars!!) so I had to take a pic of it (any guesses on what it is??)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Freds Mountain & Tunes

My orders today were to get on the treadmill and up the grade til it hurts. "Think Fred's", said Coach Lisa. Fred is a really steep part of the Tetons that freaked me out when I was at the training camp. Lisa had to run in front of me to get me adjusted to it before I took it alone.

That's dear ol' Fred in the distance.

I decided my music of choice would be the tunes I downloaded into my ipod titled, "Wyoming". While I was at Lisa and Jay's home, I enjoyed Jay's choice of music so much that I scanned through his selections with him, and jotted down the recently played CD's.

Here they are:

French Cafe

Laid Back - Happy Dreamer

Costes - La Suite

Yael Naim & David Donatien.

It must have worked because I hit Grade 11!! Oh out, Fred!! I'm taking you down boy!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mt Parking Garage

I had to do 5 hours of hill running today. Because my nephew is in town and I wanted to spend more time with him, I took the easy way out and just ran up and down my parking garage. Of course, the pounding on the pavement and the scenery leaves a lot to be desired, but it was a good run. My new shoes, in a bigger size, proved to work out well, so thank goodness for that.

I used my car trunk as my home base, just to make sure some of my stuff wasnt confiscated again!! That worked out well....I walked the uphills, stopped at my car, and then ran back down. 12 Levels!! I drank only Heed, ate cliff bloks every hour and after I got tired of them, had a Cliff bar. Was dreaming of potatoes with salt on them and M&M's--so maybe I'll prepare that for next time.

I had my ipod on the whole time, which I dont always use, but it was a big help today. There were lots of songs with meaning to them, of course, and I spent a good part of the run mourning my Mom and Dad. Lots of tears, but laughter too. My Mom always made sure we all laughed, and as my siblings and I are picking out what to write on her tombstone, a funny joke is so tempting. My nephew said, "How about, "Knock, Knock!" or "There was a preacher and a Rabbi." Guess Mom's sense of humor has passed down.

I've come to see how strong I am on the downhills, and it has me pretty surprised. Who woulda thunk it!! So I'm getting a bit more confident about the race in the Tetons, still in shock over shooting for a 50 so soon (I thought I'd do it in Feb at Rocky Raccoon), but Coach gave her orders and I'm a good student.

My daughter, who joined me at Rocky Raccoon last year along with my Mom, stated she wanted to go back with me since it was also her last time of seeing my Mom. I told her it will be a very powerful trip and she's ok with that. So I'm hoping she'll follow through--it will be very special to have her there again. Though I'm not sure I'll let her run with me in the dark again!!
The pic is my daughter, my nephew and my son's girlfriend.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shoes, Sunrise, Skyline

I've been wearing running shoes 1/2 size bigger than my regular shoe size. I decided to try a full size bigger, especially since my feet have been aching after longer runs. So today was the first day with my new Pearl Izumis. It was only an hour run, but at least I didnt trip over my feet. This weekend will be two long runs, so we'll see how they work!
Some pics from my morning run--sunrise at the rocks of Northwestern University and the skyline of Chicago in the distance.
I've also FINALLY figured out how to use the new Garmin that I got about 2 months ago and have been frustrated with. Not so sure I like this one so much, but it's what I got for now.
And--the situps and pushups are getting easier. Coach will probably increase them now that I opened my mouth!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Waterfall Glen 10-Mile Extreme

My orders from Coach, at the beginning of this season, was to do three races. This was number 2. I had heard about it from my Ironman friend, Fred, who knew the race director and said the course was a little tough.
Well, he was right. There were plenty of little hills to wear you down, along with the beating of the hot sun, with not much relief (as in shade). They only served water on the coarse, so I was well-packed.
My plan, per Coach, was to do a run:walk at 4:1 for the first 7 miles at a talking pace, and then take off, no walking and pushing it hard. I did just that. It was tough!! I was sweating like crazy and popping salt tablets and enduralytes every hour.
The hardest part was the last 1/2 mile, which was run right by the finish line and they had already started giving out awards by the time I hit that spot!! It was such a small course that we had to go out in waves and I was the last wave, 15 minutes later than the elite. The awards started 2 hrs after their start. So trudging hard through GRASS was no fun while listening to their applauds. But----I did it!! I pushed through!!!
I walked most of the hills in order to save myself for the last 3 mile push, and that seemed to help. I really didnt want to run straight through those last 3, but orders are orders, so I reverted to my ever-helpful nursery rhyme technique, "Hickory Dickory Dock the mouse ran up the clock." I am ever so tired when I resort to this rhyme that the clock only strikes 1, over and over. Keeps the mind from being used up!!

So....another race down the hatch. I was hoping for a 2 hr time. But I was 6 minutes off. Not bad, given the sun and the hills. So I'm pretty darn proud!!!
Now for the big news.....I was planning on doing the Marathon at the Grand Tetons over Labor Day, but nooooooo, Coach wouldnt hear of it!
Sooooo....this should be my time to shine at a 50-Miler! Lord have mercy on me!!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Runners Pot Luck Dinner

I still meet once a month with some of my runners from last years Half Marathon program. Most of them have moved up to the Marathon level this year. I am like a proud Mama with them!!

Willie, one of my Ultra friends, is serenading us with his banjo. He will be joining me at the Grand Teton Races!!!!

Chicago Half Marathoners-In-Training

I am in charge of the Chicago Half Marathon training program here on the lakefront. Here's a group shot of the runners, those that showed this past very-rainy Saturday. They're trying to hide from the rain, under the Waveland Clock Tower. But there was no hiding out on the course! Not all showed up for the group run...I'm hoping they all trained on their own!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008


My Water Bottles!!
I was out doing my run.....up and down my parking garage for 1 1/2 hrs and I placed my extra water bottles on the top floor.
Well.....I came up the second time around and they were gone!! A City of Evanston truck pulled up and asked me if they were mine--I said, "Yes, what's the problem??" They said it was dangerous leaving them out in the open, don't I know what's going on at the airports!! I told them this wasn't the Middle East and this is really taking things a bit too far.
The guy agreed and kindly gave me back my water bottles. But he told me I MUST place them in an inconspicuous spot so that no crazy teenager will come and throw them over into the street for fun!!
Have we totally lost our common sense in this world?????
Driggs, Idaho is looking more and more appealing to me!!!!!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lisa Smith-Batchens Training Camp in the Tetons!!

Listening to Jay tell us about the next day's activities.

Leo, in from England, ready for his CrazyMan competition (what is it called-anyone?) and returning to MdS in March!

Judy - an amazing runner who will figure out what to run next!!

Chandler, sitting, thinking: how can I get another meal, I'm starving!?

Matt - Daily 6:15 Yoga Nazi!!

OK--yes, I felt better after doing it.

Jay, offcamera, instructing us on our next day's morning run.

Lisa listening attentively.

Bob - going for his second attempt at Badwater in two weeks, calculating out how much time in the sun he will get.

David - worrying that, yet again, Jay will make him powerwalk.

Julie - wondering if she can truly do Hardrock (oh yes, Julie, YES!)

The start of our runs....Grand Targhee Resort patio.

Jay making sure we have all the equipment to hit the trails.

Dusty - with her newfound treasure from the road....a porn DVD!! And she asks ME what they're doing in the pictures!

Lisa and Jay - sharing all their knowledge with us!

M calling Jay to confess we got lost and now we are stuck at an electrified fence!!

(open the damn gate M!)

Note to future Camp Runners--NEVER let two city girls go out alone!!

My Girl, Dusty--keeper of secrets!

My adopted son, Chandler, who we expect amazing things from!! Watch for him!!

Matt taking a quick rest in Lisa's home.

Dusty and Steve, who hasn't done anything crazy like this since he's 50.

So Steve is training for the Grand Tetons Marathon - way to let go of your fears, Stevie! ;) I'll be right behind you!

M on the trails!

Ready to Run!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin

To me, he was the "Hippy, Dippy, Weather Man" from the Flip Wilson Show. I loved his sense of humor, and followed him all these years.
Thanks for all the laughs, George. I hope you're telling jokes to my parents now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

She's Got Sole 8K

Well, I made it!!

It was iffy, though. It was pouring and thundering just before we started and the air was pretty thick. But the RD said we'd still start at 8 am, and, sure enough we did.

Coach Lisa had my plan set out for me: Warm up for 15 minutes, Run the first 2 miles at a talking pace, then 4:1 run:walk until the 5K mark. Then hit it!!

The humidity really hit me--my asthma kicked in,and then under one of the underpasses, someone was expressing his right to smoke, so that really set me back.

But, I followed the program and pushed through.

55:25--25 seconds longer than my PR. I'm happy!!!!

Wednesday I'm off to the Grand Tetons to train with Coach Lisa and 9 other folks. She said we won't have much free time, so I'm expecting that she'll be kicking my butt.

I can't wait!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008



I picked up my puppy's ashes yesterday. Bayley was almost 9 years old when he died from cancer. It's been a rough year of losses, but I'm determined to put all that grief into my running...especially while training others.

This will all culminate at Marathon des Sables 09....back to the desert wandering as my people did so many years ago. I hope it will cleanse me of all this pain.

Rest in peace my precious puppy....I miss you mucho!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Member of Family

Say hi to "Johnson", my son's new pup!
So just guess who gets a new running partner next year??!! :)