Where has all the time Gone?

Boston StrongI do not know about yours, but right here I wonder, where has all the time gone? Days seem to run pretty fast here. The other day, it was Monday, now it is Saturday, going on to Sunday!

Dear Calendar, Please allow me to catch my breath!

This is the second weekend of May 2015, and the second week, since I did the Boston Marathon. I am in “recovery mode”; I think I am doing pretty good. Doing nothing crazy, with my body. A couple of runs here and there, not going for mileage, yet. Just happy to go out, when I can.

My legs are doing quite great, back to pounding the tarmac. No 40+ miles per week runs at present, just enough to keep me excited that I went out and did it. A week ago, I ran only 10 miles, this week I have already done 13.9 miles. And it is it not even the end of the week. I still wake up on a couple of weekends, and just do it.

Don’t get it twisted; I am not down and out just yet. You’re probably wondering how I can fall that far from grace! I know, it can be a little haunting and taunting not to do 40+ miles per week. Though, I am not freaking out at all. I know I need a little break.

Good news, my fundraising efforts seem to be styling up; I have two new donors to my CrowdRise account, with $100.00 each, thanks to my stellar performance in the marathon. I am still hoping for more! If you would like to support, please click here to support.

Judging by the number of likes my marathon picture got, I trust the same support will come through. I have no doubt the folks who liked the picture, will also like giving $5.00, $10, $50 or $20 to my cause. supporting Tufts Medical.

For now, I am looking forward to my next big challenge, perhaps Steamtown Marathon this October, if all goes as planned. I will train smart and strategic. I want to do the downhills and uphills, per run course. I should have a PR, right? That’s if I get a mastery of “Downhill-Uphill Running

Running never stops. I strongly believe that, if I can conquer running, then I can conquer back my weight, pre-Bartonsville. That battles seems more uphill than “Heartbreak Hill” along Boston Marathon course.

Nothing is unattainable. We just have to dust ourselves and try again!

Running also opens up other great joys, achievements and awards. I am still thankful for those who stake their time and efforts to watch me grown and achieve big, and participate in my actualizing and celebrating my happiness. Family and friends helping out in many ways – chauffer-ing, sharing a pie of their possession with my Child, Super grateful!

Hoping that my zeal to run and accomplishments, will translate into other areas I sick success, family finances, ownership, career and adventure.

More Birthday Celebrations – There is Only One Boston…..Marathon

On the eve of celebrating yet 21st Birthday….For-ever 21, get’t….To Boston 2015

I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude, for all the support I received toward accomplishing my dream of running the Boston Marathon!

Indeed, There is Only One Boston — Marathon!

From the start of mooting the idea of running Boston, I received love and support from friends, colleagues and family, till I finally accomplished my goal on Monday, April 20! What a feat! Do you worry, if you’re yet to declare your support for me; you can still donate to my fundraiser for Tufts Medical Center, my charity of choice for the marathon. I still have until end of May 2015 to accept your donation. Here is the link: https://www.crowdrise.com/TuftsBoston2015/fundraiser/doreenlwanga

Thank you so much, for the many people who expressed their love and support for me, verbally, monetarily, emotionally, physically and communally! Lost for words! You are truly unprecedented!

What a marathon! As I said, this is the first marathon that I went in fatter, financially challenged and socially isolated. Just look at pictures from all previous marathons I ran sleek, slender and swift.

This time, I had no income to afford a running watTufts Teamch, after the strap on my Garmin watch broke. I could not afford to pay a couple of gym hours for strength training, or pay my registration fees for Boston 2015, or a hotel in Boston during marathon weekend. I had no pace-mate/pacemaker/pacesetter/running mate, and had to train alone in the Mt. Poconos. My fundraiser did not yield much, either, in terms of financial contributions, as much as I sent out an email every week.

Yet, the volume of support, directly and indirectly, solicited and unsolicited, declared and undeclared enabled me accomplish Boston Marathon with no glitch and plenty of satisfaction. While I trained alone in my Poconos neighborhood, I had plenty of ‘unseen’ and undeclared support from the watchful eyes of motorists, pedestrians and onlookers, who saw me pounding the area main streets, back roads and sports fields. No doubt, they were cheering me on, in sleet, snow, rain and below freezing temperatures, even though they did not know my mission was Boston.Coach Megerle

It all started with Coach Don Megerle giving me a spot on the Tufts Marathon Team. Thereon, I knew I had to get to Boston and run, and run damn good! How that would happen? I would worry later. Once the registration process with BAA opened, I innocently broke the news to Coach that I was frantically trying to mobilize the US$300+ registration fees. Surprise! He asked me to give him a call, and instantaneously find it! Fully registered and paid up, I did my happy dance, as news, updates and reminders started flowing in from BAA.org. With registration finally confirmed, I upped my training and preparation for Boston 2015.

Plus, Coach Megerle sent near daily running updates, schedule, motivational articles, advice on staying physically fit and focused, eating well and staying connected with the TMT and other freebies to the team. Just connecting with us, and making me feel a part of a team, from far away was super-good!

GoMebTo keep track of my mileage and stats, my phone came in handy on my runs, with three running apps, plus two other apps for tracking daily strides and activity. Two of the running apps had pre-scheduled marathon training plans, perhaps more than necessary, but each served a purpose.

My running shoes were really wanting of immediate replacement, both pairs were not eligible to run Boston. Along came my brother with magical ideas on how to obtain new shoes. Viola! I got myself two new pairs – my first choice of Newtons Distance to run the marathon, and an additional Brooks for training. Add to that, a sweat scarf, which served as a mouth mask, face mask, and head scarf, and two good running tights. I was all set.

Still, I had to find a place to stay during marathon weekend, and a ticket to Boston. I planned to take my son with me, so he could watch me run and cheer me on. Sadly, friends, who had hosted me the last time I was in Boston were having guests over during Marathon Weekend. So, I posted a message on FB, seeking for alternatives. Problem solved, in an instant of posting a message, and a couch readily available at the Mwosa Girls and Boys. They happily welcomed my extra-baggage aka child, giving me joyous relief!We can do this

We traveled to Boston two days before the marathon, taking two buses -The Poconos to NYC, then, from NYC to Boston. Got to Boston safe, picked up our Bibs and run package, took a couple of pictures, toured the expo, did a little bit of freebie hunting, made posters, and enjoy a coffee at Boston South Station, and shared an ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery until our host returned into town.

The entire Mwosa house was ready for us. The young boys, eagerly awaited this child of mine, and indeed enjoyed each other. For the entire four-day weekend in Boston, I do not think I saw him for a full hour. He did not care that he was sharing a room with ’new friends’, away from his mother! Nor did I have to worry about feeding him breakfast, lunch or dinner because the Mwosa parents had all that covered! They pampered me V.I.P. -style the entire visit, allowing me to rest before and after the marathon. They chauffeured me back and forth to the “T” aka “Boston Train”, when I could not find a cab, and they accepted my invitation to the Tufts pre-marathon dinner.

I gat thisOn the eve of the Sunday, Marathon, April 19, I did only 15:42 minutes of running, rested most of the day, until I went to dinner with my hosts. Typically, I don’t like eating the night before the run, for fear of shocking my stomach during the run. Since Tufts, was hosting us – the Tufts Marathon Team (TMT) and family to a pre-marathon dinner, I went with child and our hosts. I felt compelled to eat something in keeping with “carb loading” advice, even though I don’t do “carb loading”; quite frankly, I don’t know what it entails. Dinner was good in taste, time of day and duration.

Marathon Day, April 20! Of course, in my typical style, I barely slept the entire night. Once again, my body clock woke me up close to two the morning, before my alarm clock went off. Plus, the jitters I have every night before  any big event did not allow me to sleep soundly throughout the night. I was wide awake way before scheduled time to leave the house for the “T”.

After two cups of tea and warm water, I set off to catch the T downtown. The T gate would not take my ticket! Another train rider gave me a ‘nod’ to go through without paying. Heard, there was some kind of “Boston Marathoners ride Free T Ride Day”. A woman on the T asked to take my picture – my short celebrity moment. She said, she too wanted to run the Boston Marathon, and wished me good luck! I got a few more “Good Luck Today” cheers, but most of the commuters were absorbed in themselves. Surprising, since the Boston Marathon is a Big Deal on Patriots Monday. Perhaps, they have had enough with their city being swarmed by ’26.2 miles Zombies’ from the world over! Don’t blame you Boston, I still love you!

On oN to Marathon Bus Loading Zone, with no problem. First, into the “porta-potties” line. While standing in line for the bus to Athletes Village, I saw a friend from Kampala Hash House Harriers. Yeah! What a joy! We boarded the bus together, and stayed together until our marathon wave started, then planned to hook up again post-marathon.Medals with friends

Everyone was allowed to board the buses to Hopkinton, MA, regardless of the Wave number. The ride was too long; felt like going to another country! Got there, and made another dash for the porta-potties! Yes! A woman gotta empty her bowels before hitting the marathon route. I don’t believe in stopping for the porta-potties along the course, even though I drink at each water refueling station. I say, nobody will know if you pee on yourself while running. Particularly on rainy Marathon Monday; who would even care? Except for that guy with a sign, “Smile if you peed on yourself”. So naughty!

I must say, the love and support along the route was phenomenon! No way I would have finished the marathon, the crowd support. Please believe me, because I am not a quitter, never thought of being one. Yet, the hills and hills and more undulating hills along the BM course gave me lots of temptations in my head, to quit. See, I run in the Mt. Poconos, with plenty of hills and steep climbs. I run below freezing, in temperatures before what we had on BM, I run in rain, wind and everything. Yet the hills burned me so damn good! Unfathomable!

I guess even more reason to celebrate my 3:49:02 finish. I know I was aiming for more, but that was much better than any pace during my training. Remember, I am fatter in size than all other previous marathons. I was amazed by the runners, outdoing themselves, like each was a professional! Folks were running, no jokes! Sweating it nice and each staying calm. I guess that’s the true meaning of being among the crème de la crème. The best there at this game of marathons.

The crowds gave us all the love, not just water and gatorade, but also oranges, water mellow, more water…And I heard, but sadly missed, the “Beer Stop” of the Boston Hash House Harriers. That beer would have given me wings! On consolation, there was plenty of Jumbo-Love especially at Mile 9, at the water points, and different points along the route, with plenty of “Kisses from the Wesley Girls, music and more cheers all the way to the finish line.

How gratifying to catch sight of the finish line! I always say, I have very high respect for anyone who can run a marathon in five Family celebrationshours! Don’t mean to sound obnoxious or condescending, but by three hours and a half, my legs are ready to give in! But that excruciating agony, is positively boosted by the exhilaration seeing the finish line. Every minute thereon counts, you push yourself to achieve better. Especially when crowds cheer on your like a champ!

My son’s grandparents drove all the way into Boston, bless their kindest souls, to watch and support me run.The grandparents deserve a big shout-out! All those times you were in the battle alone, training in the snow, freezing rain, while all others are tucked cozily undercover, it is so gratifying witnessing the love of anyone taking off their time to support you!  They traveling at night to Boston, came out in the rain and chilly weather, stood at Mile 9, waiving the poster they made with my name up high, waiting to see me run by. Then, unexpectedly, to finish line to welcome me with flowers, though I missed them, as I dashed off. Even grandpa who stayed in the hotel room, because the weather was conducive for his health, was glued to the TV the entire time, hoping to catch a glimpse of me run amidst the crowd. Then they stayed, until I was all done with the post-marathon reception on Tuesday, to drive us back to PA! Priceless!

I am so grateful for all who contributed to my run – as financial donors, cheerleaders, hosts, and admirers. MWith grandma Anitay friends and family in Boston, who I was not able to meet in person due to a tight schedule, but gave me a call or sent me messages. My son, who does not understand why I did not win, perhaps a manifestation of his ‘grandiose’ respect and confidence of me. I love my son, very much! I love to see his glow, whenever he sees me. I love everything he says. I am so glad he’s very flexible in different circumstances and different places. I run for him.

Running the Boston Marathon is not just about being part of phenomenon history. As I ran those streets, I thought of my best friend Phina, who would have lived the streets of Boston outskirts, along the marathon route, cheered me on, and waited for me at the finish with her contagiously perfect smile. I dedicate this run to Phina. We met in Boston and last saw each other in Boston. She like me was a beneficiary of the care at Tufts Medical Center.

Please join Phina (RIP) and I in celebrating Tufts Nutrition, Fitness and Health Programs by donating to my Charity the Tufts Medical Center. It would be a great honor to me, as I celebrate another 21st Birthday, tomorrow April 28, 2015. https://www.crowdrise.com/TuftsBoston2015/fundraiser/doreenlwanga

Thank you for all your love! Thank you!IMG_7416

April is All the Kool Kids Month! Let’s….!

It is here….and….It is Official! Sun over the First Spring Lake

April is All the Kool Kids Month! Go Figure!

Sorry y’all who don’t fit the profile! I know the, “Damn! Why was I born on March 31? I don’t blame you, I would too…If I happened to fall off the “Kool Kids Train”…oops 🙂

I love April! Nor more ‘smell’ of Spring; it is upon us…in all the realness! The rain, the sun, the pollen, the cooler temperatures, and the flower blossoms! I love April, because I share this coolness with my other most important person in this world…the one who gave me a life —Sweet dear Mother (April 6)! My very beautiful niece too, is also a Kool Kid (April 6).

I love April because it is National Families and Reading Month. Who does not love reading? Thankfully, I gave birth to a reader; we know how to turn the pages, one after another. Often sharing our “pages” with the “paws”,who surely enjoy the magic of our reading! This April, we are both reading to Child’s class: child is reading on April 22, and I will be Guest Reading on April 28 – which also happens to be my Birthday!

What else will I do for my birthday? Not sure yet, but traditionally since childhood, I celebrate and make merry! At the very least, we celebrated with popcorn and tea, which were very big features of birthday celebrations in my family household. Last year, Child treated me to a special birthday, when he won the Student of April Month, with a coupon for a free meal at Friendly’s. So, we decided to dine out on my Birthday! I am sure we’ll be doing something funky and blinged this year as well, including receiving lots of love with y’all! Right?Spring Tree Climber

What I am sure about this April, I will be running my maiden Big City Marathon, the oldest and most prestigious City Marathon born in 1897. It is The Big City Marathon, the rest are races, so they say. I have butterflies, self-doubts, thrills that a bride gets the morning of her wedding night. I am thinking, since I have never been one. Yet, I am super determined to do it. It is not my first time, but this is a Big Deal, Big City Deal! Lets…

Glad to be sharing April with some of the Koolest Kids on planet earth, especially since I am getting cooler myself! Now I know about Star Wars, Super Sonic, Beyblade and Wonder Woman. Now I know all about the solar system, and learning lots of astronomy, thanks to the Child. Plus, my birthday also happens to be International Astronomy Day.

Yeah! There are a couple of more Kool days you too would know about, if you were an April Kool Kid! I plan to enjoy a fair share of those, starting with Fooling Around (April 1); Read a Book with Children (April 2); Skip Work (April 3)Hug A Newman (April 4); Say no to Housework (April 7); Go Patriot [on the Boston Marathon trail] (April 20); pay homage to Earth Planet (April 22); Take a Chance (April 23); and Hug an Australian (April 26) who would become My Mate to Kiss (April 28), very appropriately on my Birthday! How Kool is That!

Oh! Before I go, CrowdRise asked me to tell you that I should ‘give up my birthday to raise money for my favorite cause. I think this is awesome! Wait, how did CrowdRise know that I was already raising $$$ for my favorite charity of the year? Y’all know that I am running Boston Marathon 2015 with the Tufts Marathon Team (TMT); yeah, that’s what’s up!

All proceeds from my fundraising are going directly toward the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition toward support for research on nutrition, obesity, hunger and famine, and to sustain programs that promote health and wellness across the university and within our host communities of Medford, Somerville and Boston’s Chinatown.  Here is the link to my fundraiser; your gift is big to me, and will mean a lot to me and everyone who benefits from Tufts University Medical Services! Please support, and make me the Koolest Kid, ever!

Happy Koolest Kids Month! Bring on April!

Geese on the LakeOnly one Big City Marathon

Tapering For Real! Road to Boston Marathon 2015

Telling a runner that you cannot run after 21K, is like saying you cannot walk after a full marathon.

Who does that? Who listens to that? Not a runaholic. And I happen to be perfectly one of the brand.

On second thought, perhaps there is a time when enough is enough! When even a runaholic better go into “Tapper Zone”. For real, I might have said “Tapper Zone” two weeks ago, but never committed to it. Shh! Please don’t tell my Team Coach that I did not listen to his advice. Don’t even blame me for disobeying my coach, it is complicated!

See, I am training away from my fellow teammates, Tufts Marathon Team (TMT) for the Boston Marathon 2015. I am not sure when they started on a training plan, nor each individual projected finish time. My marathon training plan, from one of the run apps I use has me going on longer than my Team Coach’s recommended tapering period/date. So, I decided to follow my run app.

But I am done! Believe me, I did my last long run 20.66 miles this Friday, March 27, which I think is a safe moment to end the long runs, in preparation for marathon on April 20. I am aiming for a better finish time than my last marathon. The marathon plan I am training with has a lower finish time than my target finish time. I am not sure that is advisable? Is it? Hopefully I won’t burn out to d-day.

Talking about burning out, most marathon coaches and pre-scheduled training plans advice to take off the day after a long run. Trouble for me, I have to readjust my schedule to fit my life. A typical marathon training schedule plan goes like this:

Sunday – Long run (combination of fast and steady) Boston Marathon 2015

Monday – Off 

Tuesday – Fast (marathon pace (10miles<)

Wednesday – Slow (under 10)

Thursday – Fast (under 10)

Friday – Off      

Saturday – Slow and short

Looks like a great schedule, right? Except that I have a lil’ ‘handicap’. I cannot do long runs over the weekend because I am the sole CEO of my child, who is home from school over the weekend. When I have occasional help, I go out and do up to 13 miles, but that is not guaranteed. Which means I readjust my schedule to do most of my running during the week, when child is at school.

Monday – Off

Tuesday – Fast (marathon pace 5-8 mi) Sometimes Off

Wednesday – Slow (4-6 mil)

Thursday – Steady/Fast (6-11 mil)

Friday – Long Run Steady and Fast (8-20)

Saturday – Steady (4-8 mil)

Sunday – Off or Steady (8-13mil)

My schedule is a little intense, but it has kind of worked for me. If I have a chance to run on Sunday, then I take off Tuesday. Sometimes I run six days in a row, sometimes take off Wednesday, if I know I can run Sunday. There is no guarantee for Sunday, so I try not to risk a week day, when I am sure I can run.

Generally, I have done well with my schedule, although I have missed a couple of runs due to inclement weather or work schedules that did not allow me time off to run. Sometimes I have made up by running longer distance on the following days, otherwise, I put in a short run. Overall, I have put in quite an impressive mileage per week.

This week, I put in 56.7 miles, my most mileage in a week! I cannot believe that  translates to 91.2 Km. I feel strong at the end of the week. I also did all the scheduled runs for the week, and more. Plus, I did back to back running from Wednesday to Sunday. My long run was on Friday with 20.66 miles, mostly steady with eight miles fast. Ideally, I would have to rest on Saturday, but I decided to go out for a slow run instead, to stretch my legs and relax the sore muscles. Then Sunday, I went on a Steady/Fast eight mile run, and sealed off the week feeling strong again.

I am finally agreeing to go into “Tapper Zone”. I have put in enough long runs, I am not doing any more long runs until Marathon Day, April 20. Now on, I am going for speed and shorter runs. The longest run I have left is 13 miles next week, thereafter will all be under 10 miles.

I do not feel ready, though. I do not feel like I have done enough preparation. I still do not feel plenty of strength. Too much information coming in, is also making me a nervous wreck. I repeat, Ignorance is Bliss, sometimes! All the tips about running, preparing, tapering, nutrition, rest, and more are so much for me! I want to switch off, but then I do not wanna miss anything important.

Today, I received my “Runners Passport”, and all the info I need for Boston Marathon. Totally freaked out. Off to work on more strength, and off to keep the fundraising.

Now, this is the part where I ask you again, to please please support my pledge and responsibility to Tufts Marathon Team to fundraise for Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition, health, fitness and wellness. I would appreciate any donation you can add to support me at https://www.crowdrise.com/doreenlwanga for such a worthy cause. It would boost my running even more!

Anxieties in “Taper Period”, six weeks to Marathon!

Here we go running

Here we go running

I am feeling rather anxious, as I get into the “Taper Period” before D-Day, Monday, April 20. I am talking about running the Boston Marathon 2015. This is my first “Big City Marathon”, since I entered the world of marathon running. I feel inadequately prepared, mentally, physically and financially.

Last time I trained for a marathon, my mind, pockets and body were all in the right places. I was a smaller size than I am now, went out there and did it, and had the finances to afford all the costs of marathon training and preparations. I was also in winter-free zone, sans the pains and agonies of training under snowfall, icy roads, whirlwinds and below freezing temperatures. I had control over my work and family schedule, which afforded me much needed time for marathon preparation.

My work schedule allowed me to train during daytime, before picking up my child from school. I had the money to afford weekly gym time, where I dedicated at least half a day to strength training, massage and swimming. I had a supportive family that afforded me the luxury of weekend running, with free and reliable childcare when child was off school. I had a running team to motivate me, train with, and pound Saturday morning long runs on hills and dirt roads. Plus, another smaller group for occasional Sunday runs, when I felt like going extra miles. I had really have limits – I just ran without a structured training plan. It paid off, very well!

Now, I am in a different geographical zone, with different weather challenges that affect my training mood and achievements. Still, I have gone out as much as my schedule allows me, and avoid missing a scheduled run because ‘I do not feel like’. Yes! I am now running on a pre-planned training schedule on one of those running apps. No! I do not have, one, but three running apps monitoring my pace, mileage and time, plus two other fitness apps tracking my daily steps, plus a charity app to which I donate all my run miles.

I have different schedule challenges, though. I am without reliable family support to afford me training time when child is off school. I now do my long runs on Friday, when child is at school instead of weekends when I do not have guaranteed childcare. Implicitly, I have to take Friday off work to put in the mileage and more running hours when child is at school. I am not as financially comfortable as last time around. I started earning a bit of an income very recently, but it cannot afford me the “essential-luxury” of gym time for strength training and massage. But there is advantage to a non-permanent/non-fixed job; I can afford to schedule work on my off-training days, and put in half-day work weeks, to allow more training time.

I guess because I am on a pre-scheduled training plan, I feel more pressure to meet my goals unlike when I had own-scheduled training plan. I also feel bigger in size and slower. I am running solo, without a social running group to motivate me. All that combines to make me a nervous wreck sometimes. I am hoping that I will afford to take my child with me to see me run in Boston. I am yet to find out if any of my Boston-based friends would want to watch him.

It is six weeks to go, and that feels like tomorrow. I do not feel physically ready to hit 26.1 miles. While I have woke up before and run 24+ miles on my solo run, I am yet to run 20+ miles since I started training for the Boston Marathon 2015. Today will be the first day I am going out to do 20 miles. Hopefully, slightly more mileage and great speed. I am yet to consistently do in-house strength training, since I cannot really afford gym hours. I tried my hands on fundraising from friends to afford me a few gym hours, but that did not work the magic.

Still, my spirit is not down and out. I know I will do it! On race day, I have an entire team to learn to pace with on race day. I hope I do not go too fast or too slow. I hope I can achieve my goal; won’t say here..Hoping to put in more strength training, and to take my child with me…to Boston…

If you still wish to support my training preparations, I will be more than happy to receive your donation. Should you wish to contribute to my obligation to fundraise for my running team at Tufts University, kindly click on this link https://www.crowdrise.com/doreenlwanga. Let’s support, health, wellness and fitness!

Good Luck Charms for Runners

To quote Ulysses S. Grant,

“Everyone has his superstitions. One of mine has always been when I started to go anywhere, or to do anything, never to turn back or to stop until the thing intended was accomplished.”

I have my own superstitions, which I have also dubbed Good Luck Charms for Runners. Here is one, “If you run the first day of the month, you get good luck throughout the entire month. You will run literally all the 28 or 29 or 30 or 31 days of the month! Ok, maybe I made that up. At least I live by it, and it works for me! Try it; you may like it!

I consciously try to go for a run every first day, and last day of the month. So, I am ‘haunted’ throughout the month to stay on course. Plus, Monday is a Running Day for me, since I joined my first “Hash” with the Kampala Hash House Harriers (KH3) in Uganda back in 2011. Though now I physically run solo where I live [except once when I did the New Years Eve Run], I feel and stay part of a running community.

I virtually run with KH3 on Monday, even though their weekly six O’clock run happens before or after mine. I am subscribed to a couple of running Apps –Runkeeper, MapMyRun and MiCoach, through which I follow my running-mates around the world. Following my friends on mobile Apps helps boost my morale and commitment to keep running, always aiming to top the “Leadership Table” every week and at end of the month. I enjoy observing their running and other fitness activities, which boost my running morale.

Thankfully, I have started off March running the 1st day, and the 1st Monday. The last week of February 2015, I put in 47 miles in four days. My target of 50+ and five days did not happen due to a combination of necessary rest and conflict of schedule: Monday was a resting day, because I had ran 12 miles the day before in sleet and freeze; Wednesday became tres occupé for me, when I should have put in a run; I rested on Saturday because I ran 18+ miles on Friday, then went out on Sunday. This Monday, I did it again, because the schedule permitted!

I am glad for what I was able to do. Keeps getting better by the week. I am pounding the road, the tarmac and trying to put in all the mileage. It is cold, it is snowed out, it is icy, all the conditions that could discourage one from going out running. Especially, solo running is more dreadful! Thankfully, I sucked it up and did my mileage. I was not able to run the last day of the month, per my plan, but I ran the first day of the following month.

I always say that running the first day of the month helps fuel my running for the entire month. I didn’t do that bad at all this month. In fact, February is my best month, thus far. I broke many records: 1) Farthest Distance in a Month; 2) Longest Duration in a Month; and 3) Most Calories Burned in a Month. 🙌🙌🙌

Hopefully, March will march along so good for me. I need to put in those mileages, as the marathon draws nigh! And these Muzinos need a final rest.

Rest in Peace, Muzino

Rest in Peace, Muzino

So, if you still wanna support me on my journey in six weeks, please click on this link to make a donation that could afford me a new pair of shoes. Most importantly, please help me raise money for the Tufts Medical Center, on behalf of the Tufts Marathon Team I am running with. I would be most grateful!

Even a Runner needs a Partner, sometimes

my shoesI describe myself as a self-driven person. Those who know me will approve this message. I do not need much cajoling to get moving. I find strength inside of myself to get moving; that includes my running! I go out on self-initiative, with nobody telling me to move. Nor do I wait around for a running partner! This has been the nature of my running from the start, motivated by the need to “take care of myself”.

Yet, even I do wish for running company sometime. I wish I had a partner to motivate me to run more or faster. Sometime I just need that force to, let’s go, when I feel so much doubt about making that first step. To push me up the hills faster, and keep with me through scary neighborhoods., especially when I am training for a marathon.

Last time I trained to run a marathon, I had company in spirit and flesh. Not everyday, but for all the long weekend runs, and some of the short runs on Monday and Sunday. For the rest of the week, I ran solo, but with mental accountability to my running group. I love to outlast everyone else. So, I aim to put in more weekly mileage than everyone else in my running group. I monitor their performance via shared running/fitness Apps. I also commit to weekly mileage recommended for marathon experts.

While training for my last marathon, my running-mate, an experienced marathon runner recommended 72 kilometers (44 miles) as the standard weekly mileage. I probably did more most weeks with my routine of:  2.5mil (3km) to 3.7mil (6km) on Monday run with “The Hash”; one day of rest on Tuesday; 8.7 mil (14k) run on Wednesday and Thursday; three hours of gym strength training and body toning on Friday; 17 mil (28km) to 18.6mil (30km) long run on Saturday; and 6 mil (10K) run on Sunday. So, on marathon day, I was fit as a fiddle, while my running mates suffered along the trail due to insufficient training and preparation for the marathon.

Now as I train for Boston 2015, I am back at it again, trying to keep the discipline going. I have missed a couple of runs, either because I had nobody to watch the child over the weekend when I needed to go out for a run [which is often the case], due to inclement weather or procrastination. As a single mother, my running profile is most active during the week [Monday to Friday], when child is at school. I am also currently unemployed outside the house, a blessing in disguise that allows me more disposable hours to dedicate toward running. So, I try to maximize my mileage during the school week, and do my long run on Friday instead of Sunday.

There are some demotivating challenges. I live in a neighborhood where most back roads have no sidewalks, forcing me to compete with traffic. Yet, typically I love to go out right after dropping my child off at the school bus, when the morning traffic is also heading out to work. The terrain and weather in my neighborhood can be quite a challenge, with plenty of steep climbs, sharp turns and terrible winter snowstorms. While I love the steep climbs, it is quite a challenge running on the backroad, navigating the twists and runs on small roads with barely any sidewalks. In the Winter, the sidewalks are snowed-in, and visibility is terrible, with massive fog in Spring . So, I take to run along the main streets, with better sidewalks/runs and busy human movement. Except, the concrete is too hard on my legs, a great risk to pounding on those long weekly runs!

But I love the main streets! They help me run better, feel safer on larger sidewalks and inspired by motorists potentially watching me run. The motorists are my inspiration to keep running and improve my speed, especially when feeling under-motivated. Still, I wish I had an extra person, sometimes, with the same running schedule as mine, to go out with now and then and pound those concrete streets and steep climbs.

Runner’s Guilt

I am a runner, who tends to stick to a schedule, mental or written. Guilt engulfs me each time I do not run as scheduled [again mental or written schedule]. In fact, most of my schedule is mental.
I love running, because it is part of me. No! I do not run to lose weight [as I have been asked by several]; I run because I like it, to freshen up, to think, dream and plan, and I run to reclaim my happiness. I feel terrible when I do not go out to run. I feel like plenty of my time is wasted away, and robbed of me! I am not a happy camper when I do not run. Especially when my excuse is awfully ‘unthere’!
Like this past Sunday! That I continued to lay in bed, wide awake, at the time I usually go out to run! Excuse? I made myself busy working, when I should have put in at least an hour of a run.
I want to cry myself to sleep, for missing my morning run. Weekends are kind of tricky because i am a full-time mother till bedtime. From time to time, I have morning ‘baby watch-over’, like this Sunday. Moreover, the weather was beautiful! That would have been a beautiful run, but I did not make it happen.
I thought I would go out later in the day, when child was off to “play-date”. That did not happen, either. Child was so slow with his chores, mummy school and school homework, that we did not even have a chance to go out for a walk. I am still seated here supervising his mom-school assignment. Literally three hours later! How can this be? Talking, procrastinating, nagging and tantrums all add up to accumulate more minutes.
Trouble is, each time I miss a run, I spend more time procrastinating and beating myself up, than doing great work. Now let’s see what it’s gonna be like tomorrow. Whether I will be able to go out in the freezing rain to put in a run. Probably not, again! Sadly! School might be closed!  Expecting Freezing rain and sleet; not conducive for buses driving on our mountainous roads

So much for Adidas Marathon TR 10

Needless to say, I returned them to the shop…..! BAD IDEA…they were painful to my knees and ankles! Really hard on the feet…NOT comfy AT ALL! Especially running on concrete….!

And, after just one day exercise – 23.6 miles run and 3.89 miles walk, they got ripped on the top!! see the pic herein below.Image

They are the greens on the top row…

And, I got them, a day before this CHEAPER option….Climacool Aerate 2 -…which are serving me MUCH better! More comfortable, perfect fitting (yet 2 sizes below the others), and more aerated! 

Lesson Learned: Never seek in-store recommendation for a marathon shoe [similar to asking for directions while on a blind run…just continue your blind running, and you will get there!]. Mistake I made, was to ask the sales associate if he has a good in-store marathon shoe. I think he wanted to make a sale, so he took me to the expensive ones.

I don’t mind paying an extra buck for a proper running shoe -especially when I am preparing for a marathon; I take these very seriously. Last year, I ordered a Saucony Kinvara 3, the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon….and I should say it is the most value-for-money shoe I have ever owned…I am serious! Ok, I have had Brooks that have impressed me before, until I lost one foot…somewhere. But my Saucony K-3 smoothly bounced off the concrete. I was super-protected. I did not feel no pressure on my foot or heels or knees.

But then I was in Uganda, and Runner’s World was my rescue. Now that I am back in the US, I decided to go into the store. and took advantage of Columbus Day Weekend Sale. They were priced at $69.99, quite more expensive in comparison to plenty of the shoes in-store that weekend, but still less than Amazon.com listing.  I bought them in Green color [but cannot find one with an online review]. Absolutely surprised how light and comfortable they felt stepping in them, and trying them around the store.

Then, I put them…one day…and that’s it. Fortunately, Adidas store accepted them back…and gave me my full refund. Thankfully! Now I can look for that Merrell shoe I tried on at Ready-Set-Run. I thought I had got deep in my head the model of the shoe. 

FYI, I was listening to  Drs TV show, and they were talking about Athletics shoes v. High Heels…which one wears out your knees and ankles faster. Verdict: Athletes shoes. Apparently, the extra padding makes you tip down on heel and knee as you run. placing plenty on pressure on heal, a lot of which is absorbed on ankle, knee joint. Overtime, this causes trouble around cartilage and pain and damage of cartilage.

Unlike barefoot walking or you land bare with high heel-shoes. I am very sure I will try out barefoot shoes. They are  natural; they mimic barefoot running. Drs said, in fact it is better to run barefoot on the ground or grass. I have actually tried barefoot running….in our tennis court. But that was not that easy on the concrete. But when we run around in the grass with my son, we go barefoot.

Anyway, off to find my next magic marathon shoe. For now, Adidas it is –the Climacool


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