Tag Archives: 5K


Five years ago I ran my first 5K in my hometown — the Stow Conservation Trust’s Run for the Woods.  It feels like a whole lifetime ago — so many things have changed for me since then. I had just completed the Couch to 5K program and remember it as a gorgeous warm spring/summer day.  I struggled with the heat, the distraction of running surrounded by other people, and with my pacing in that first race.

I completed this race again today, the first race I’ve done since last October when I limped the Hartford Half with a broken toe.  It was important to me to do because it was my 50th race and I wanted that milestone to be in my hometown and on the anniversary of my first race.

I’ve been training with a mix of running and walking — right now I’m running 15 seconds and walking 45 and have gotten up to 2 miles doing that.  I made the decision to walk this morning because I didn’t feel ready to bump up to 3 miles for the first time in a race setting and didn’t want to risk injury. I wasn’t sure how fast I’d be able to walk. Before today, my fastest walking mile was around 14:50 and my fastest 5K training time was a couple of weeks ago at 46:03.  Today I finished the race in 41:36, dropping my pace to 13:25 and my overall time significantly.  That felt great, as did the fact that I got 3rd place female walker and a trophy to go with it.

Over the next week, I’m looking forward to extending my training to three miles and looking for another 5K to run.  Slowly, slowly getting back to it.

Here’s a photo of my trophy!



Broken Toe Recovery – Week 4

The title of this blog is a bit misleading, since it has actually been 8 weeks since my toe surgery, but it’s my fourth week back to walking/running.

My efforts to run this week using 10 second running/50 second walking intervals have been more successful than last week’s overly ambitious jump into full running minutes.  Tuesday I “ran” 10/50 intervals for a total of 10 minutes, Thursday 15 minutes, and Saturday 20 minutes.  I’m also walking before and after each run so getting in 2-3 miles each session. I’ve iced my toe after each session and am feeling ok, though it is definitely sore for the rest of the day. My physical therapist recommended that I work on extending my total time before I start increasing the running intervals.

Importantly this week I also (finally!) crossed the 15 minute mile barrier that’s been dangling out there for a few weeks, doing my  first sub 15:00 “running” mile at 14:52.  I also walked a 46:03 5K, which is an average of under 15:00 for 3.1 miles, and another significant improvement from last week.  So my running and walking paces are virtually identical at the moment.

Next week my goal is to gradually extend to two miles of “running” using 10/50 intervals.  This is huge exercise in patience!

Broken Toe Recovery – Week 3

This week brought good and bad news on the “return to running” front.

Good news: I logged more miles walking than I have in the previous two weeks. I managed to get out there 6 days out of 7, and did a total of 15 miles, including my longest walk to date of four miles. My fastest mile was 15:07, also an improvement. And my 5K time dropped from 52:55 to 47:23 something since last week. I’m still walking with a slight limp but I feel like it’s becoming less noticeable and I’m hopeful for a 15 minute mile by next week.

Mixed news: Met with the doctor and had another x-ray. Learned that most of the bone has healed well, but that about 1/4 of fracture isn’t like to ever heal unless I have another and more difficult surgery. That part of my toe is still pretty painful. The doctor recommended that I work on resuming “normal” activities and see if I am able to do that. She is hopeful that I will be able to recover without surgery — as am I! So I am continuing physical therapy and am cleared to try to resume running.

Bad news: My first attempt to run since January wasn’t great. I ran 1 minute with 3 minute walking intervals for 20 minutes — so a total of 5 minutes running.  I was hopeful that this would be a precursor to starting Couch to 5K, but the toe was so painful that night that I don’t think I’m ready. So I’m going to try Jeff Galloway’s running recovery program of 10 seconds running, 50 seconds walking this week and see how that feels. This is going more slowly as I had hoped, but I’m determined to keep working at it.

No great insights this week, just a healthy dose of persistence and determination.

10 Ways Non-Runners Drive Runners Crazy

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve collected stories from runners about the things that their non-running friends and relatives (and strangers) say and do that drive them nuts. And so with love and affection for all my non-running friends, I’ve created a list…

  1. Ask them if they think that they will win that race they are about to run (Most runners would be thrilled just to get an age group award)
  2. Ask them how many miles that marathon is that they are planning to run or if they are running “a 5K marathon” (All marathons are 26.2 miles. 5Ks aren’t marathons, they are 3.1 miles. 10Ks aren’t marathons either, they are 6.2 miles)
  3. Ask them if they really got that marathon medal “just for finishing” (Just? OK, come with me next time and see if you don’t feel that you deserve it!)
  4. Pull over and ask them for directions while they are running
 (You’re lost, we’re busy. Apologies if this sounds harsh. You’d understand if this was the fourth time you’d been stopped on one run)
  5. Letting dogs roam the park, yard, sidewalk unleashed. And forgetting to clean up after them… (Of course Killer is friendly and won’t bite…)
  6. Tell them that their knees won’t stand up to the pounding of running much longer. (There is no evidence that running is bad for your knees and may actually be good for them!)
  7. Tell them that running is bad for them… you saw a study somewhere… (Running keeps us fit and stress free)
  8. Walk two or three abreast on the sidewalk and refuse to move over when a runner calls out “on your right”(Can’t we all share the sidewalk?)
  9. Bad driving habits – distracted driving, cell phones, texting, blocking the crosswalk, swerving, or leaving ice on the right side of your windshield in the winter (We’re feeling a little vulnerable here and wondering if we need to dive into the poison ivy on the side of the road right about now)
  10. And while we’re on drivers… splashing us from head to foot by driving through the puddle that you might have avoided – especially in the winter (Icy slush bath – great way to start a run!)

Runners — Which are your pet peeves and what else should be on the list? And non-runners, in the interest of genuine dialogue, what do we runners do that drive YOU crazy?

10 Indispensable Winter Running Things

One of the truly great things about running is that there is so little stuff that you actually NEED to run.  And at the same time, there’s an endless list of things that you could have.  Which is why runners find themselves inexplicably drawn to good running stores and race expos.

I get asked all the time about winter running gear, so here are the ten things that I’ve accumulated over the years that are most indispensable to my running habit — especially in winter.

Techy things:

1. Music player – I use my Ipod or my Android phone with the Doubletwist music player app and Sennheiser sport headphones.  I have a Zen Mosaic music player for the times when I must have music and can’t use headphones.  I’ve tried external running speakers and found them useless — not enough volume to compete with road noise.

2. Garmin 305 GPS – Someday I’ll upgrade, but this one is just fine!

3. Gymboss – For interval runs.  Perhaps the best $20 I ever spent.


4. High visibility shirt  – My flaming yellow Brooks pullover half zip shirt is a great third layer in the winter that provides for maximum visibility on snowy days or on early morning/late afternoon runs.

5. Nike shirt – A dri-fit thin long-sleeve half zip pullover is my second layer of choice anytime I need more than a T-shirt.


6. Reflector/Blinky  – Mine attaches to the front of my half zip shirts.

7. SPI-Belt – Just the basic version hold my phone and/or some Gu for long runs.

8. Glove/Mittens  – EMS brand fingerless fleece gloves with mitten covers are perfect for cold mornings and may be my all time favorite running gloves.  The mitten covers have a piece of velcro to keep them from flapping when you run. http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12323123&cp=3677351.4461670.4471973.12257714

9. Earband – My ears are sensitive, so a medium weight earband is essential anytime it’s below about 45 or windy.

10. Balaclava – A thin fleece neck gaiter can be pulled up over nose and mouth on the coldest mornings.

What’s your essential winter running gear?

A 3,500 Mile Journey

Exactly five years ago on a snowy trip to Portland, Maine, I got honest with myself about the state of my health and fitness and began an amazing life-changing adventure that encompassed weight loss, taking up running, and so much more.

Since then, I’ve logged more than 3500 miles of running. I’ve run morning, noon and night. Through snow and heat. On vacation and during my hardest months at work. I’ve run 6 miles down Oregon’s Mt. Hood in a raging thunderstorm at 4:30 am, and I’ve run on a deserted beach in Costa Rica at dawn. I’ve run in at least 17 states from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.  I’ve had fabulous runs, crappy runs, and lots of just plain average runs. I’ve had to struggle to get out some days, but have never regretted doing so.

Through it all I’ve met friends from all across the country who share this passion for running, traveling and adventure-seeking. I’ve run fifty races including dozens of 5ks and 10ks, 12 half marathons, one marathon, and the Hood to Coast Relay. And I’m working my way toward a goal of running a half marathon in each of the 50 states.

It’s been a grand adventure. As Bart Yasso says “never limit where running can take you” – and for me, that’s been both a physical and a mental thing. Running has taken me to new destinations, but also to a new place mentally.

I’ve gained confidence that I can do anything that I put my mind to doing. I’ve learned that even after a lifetime of couchdom, I can get fit, and stay fit for the long haul. I’ve struggled to get faster and also learned to be satisfied with what I can do. I’ve inspired friends to take up running and celebrated their accomplishments (frequently over post-race pancakes!), become a certified running coach, and started my own coaching business, Run To Your Life.

Almost five years ago I sweated and struggled through my first minutes of the Couch to 5K program. I was miserable and it was hard, but I had decided that I needed to start to exercise regularly  if I was going to lose weight and keep it off. That first mile was – without a doubt – the hardest mile I’ve ever done. And I only wish I had started sooner.

For anyone contemplating taking up running in the New Year, don’t even give it a second thought – and as Bart says:  never limit where running can take you!