Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blessing for a New Year

"May you have warm words on a cold evening,
a full moon on a dark night,
a smooth road all the way to your door
and an injury free year!" - adapted Irish blessing

Happy New Year!!

(illustration by Mary Azarian)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Injury Update

Last Friday I had a follow-up appointment with my podiatrist who, after a brief examination and an xray, told me my heel pain is due to problems with the mechanics of my foot and there wasn't much we could do about it, so running days were probably over. I proceeded to burst out in tears. What could this guy be talking about?! Did the mechanics of my foot and stride suddenly change after 26 marathons?! If I overpronate LETS DO SOMETHING ABOUT order orthodics!! And what about the on and off shooting pains in the foot?? That certainly isn't normal and can we please try and find a way for this to heal itself?? The physical therapist with whom I would like to begin working made me promise to insist on further tests to get a more indepth look into the injury. Reluctantly the podiatrist made arrangements for an MRI. Those results came back today and there does seem to be some "stress" related issues. As strange as it may sound, I am actually hoping for some sort of stress fracture diagnosis. Most runners with stress fractures in the heel are put in some sort of boot for 2-4 weeks. It also appears that they are not allowed any weight bearing cross-training activities, which includes the eliptical and standing up on the stationary bike. If I do indeed have a stress fracture in the heel, my daily routine of walking around and cross-training at the gym MAY be interfering with the healing process...which is why I'm haven't seen much improvment for the past 2 months. So the day after Christmas, he (podiatrist) has ordered two new tests, one of which is a bone scan.
I'm not really clear on how all these tests work, or what NEW information the bone scan will reveal...I just want to RUN AGAIN SOON!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jane!

Jane Austen was born on December 16th, 1775, in Hampshire, England, and began to write for recreation at the beginning of her teens. Her best known works are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), and Emma (1816). For her time, she was extraordinarily talented at pointing out the ironies of middle class life in turn of the century­late 18th and early 19th century­England. To this day, her observations are often still relevant, and for this reason Jane Austen continues to delight many. Her wry and charming insights have inspired several contemporary films of her novels as well as several very active communities of fans throughout the world.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gotta Run


This heel injury started to bother me in mid-October when training for the NYC marathon, and it just doesn't seem to be getting any better! Okay, I must admit that I'd lose patience with the injury every 7-10 days and go out for an easy 3-4 mile run just to "feel it out". That plan didn't work so well. So now I am committed to absolutely NO running for the month of December. My concern is that simply walking around and my daily routine also irritates the foot. Do I need some sort of boot for proper healing?? This will all be discussed when I meet with the podiatrist on Tuesday. In the mean time, taping the foot provides a certain amount of relief and stability.

"When the foot is taped properly, the fascia's movement becomes limited. Often times, athletes may tape their feet during certain times to help prevent strain during exercise. By limiting the fascia's movement, it becomes a way to keep the ligament from moving abnormally or stretching excessively and thus preventing tears from developing in the tissue. "

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recommendation of the Week

My new favorite novel and holiday gift recommendation is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows. I realize that the title is quite a mouthful, and I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I first mention this title to friends, but this is a literary gem of a novel! Part Jane Austen, part history lesson, it is a novel in letters and telegrams exchanged over the course of nine months shortly after the end of World War II. The novel celebrates community (you will fall in love with this eccentric, charming set of characters!) and is a tribute to the magic and healing power of great literature. Everyone I've recommended this to LOVES it!

I did a bit of research, and it appears that there is also a strong running community on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel! The Guernsey Island Amateur Athletic Club coordinates track workouts every Tuesday and Thursday, and during the winter there are races every weekend ranging in distance for 1-23 miles. Non members and visiting athletes are welcome to compete in their races or join them for training. Boy oh boy, I would love to squeeze in a workout with the GIAAC this winter!!

I'm particularly intruiged by their All Terrain Challenge, a series of 7 races over 7 days, including a 5 mile cliff path race. All the races start at 6:30 at night, and results are posted at a local bar (the English Channel equivalent of Crossroads!). This would be an absolute blast!! I'll have to look into their overseas membership.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Nurture your community this holiday season!

Did you ever see the movie You've Got Mail? Remember that great little bookshop that Meg Ryan owned? Did it break your heart to see her go out of business?? This holiday season let's help those real life small, independent bookstores. Working at the Wellesley Booksmith for 5 years made me a HUGE fan and loyal supporter of the independent bookstore business. I’ve had additional experience working at Eight Cousins in Falmouth, and I spend many hours in the summer at Titcombs Bookshop in Sandwich MA located a few miles from our family summer home on the Cape. Unfortunately it is VERY HARD for these charming little guys to stay in business and compete with those corporate BIG (BAD) BOYS. In May of 2008, the American Booksellers Association launched the IndieBound campaign (replacing BookSense) in order to generate some new enthusiasm and support for the local business world. And now we need YOU, as the consumer during the holiday season, to do your literary patriotic duty and support the Indies!

And it gets better...not only do you have the opportunity to support local bookstores, you can also support the Boston Fit Girl Project for girls from low-income communities when you shop with the Bluestocking Runner. Here's how it works:

I've signed up to be a part of the Indie Affiliate program where I can create links from my blog and website to IndieBound and earn COMMISSIONS when you order books from the family of independent bookstore registered with IndieBound. Wow – what a cool way to raise funds for the Boston Fit Girls Project! It is important that you begin your literary on-line shopping after linking from the bluestockingrunner blog site, otherwise they can't track the purchases and it won't count towards any potential commissions.

You will be directed to the Indiebound site anytime you click on the Indiebound logo. You will be asked to enter your zip code and they will present you with a variety of independent bookstores that offer on-line sales. The Indiebound site has lists of great recommendations from booksellers around the country. There are MANY wonderful indies to support. Do you have a favorite independent bookstore that you'd like to support? Tell us about it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Runners Meeting #2 and Tennyson

Last night I attended the second DFMC runners meeting for the 2008-09 season. One of the things I enjoy most about these meetings and our group runs is that it brings together individuals from all walks of life who are working towards 2 common goals: running 26 miles and finding a cure for cancer. We are no longer teachers, CEOs, massage therapists, doctors, firemen, lawyers, musicians or students. We are runners and fundraisers. I love the energy, the excitement, the camaraderie, the passion for the challenges...

“That which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”

I can’t wait to get out there and pound the pavement with the new team, however I’m still plagued by this mysterious heel injury. I’ve seen a sports orthopedic doctor, a podiatrist, even a reflexologist. (Not sure the holistic energy healing approach works for me, but I liked the foot rubbing aspect of the treatment!) It’s not a stress fracture, and doesn’t seem to show the classic signs of plantar fasciitis, yet there is tightness and pain in the heel/achilles tendon area that just won’t go away. My next step is to work with a local physical therapist for some deep tissue massage and cross-training tips. I am hoping for some holiday miracles to be performed by the team of angels at the Sports and Physical Therapy Associates in Wellesley. Patience, patience….

Monday, November 24, 2008

An early reader for senior marathon runners! exciting! I just adore Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter and Tabby series. And today I realized that her latest title in this marvelous collection of early readers is Mr. Putter and Tabby Run the Race. Here is a little preview:

It was April.
Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby,
were full of April energy.

They always got extra energy in April.
Flowers were blooming,
birds were singing,
showers were showering. April!
Mr. Putter and Tabby felt it.

Mrs. Teaberry next door must have felt it, too.
She called Mr. Putter one April morning
"There's a race," - she said.

"A race?" asked Mr. Putter.

"A marathon!" said Mrs. Teaberry.

Uh- oh, thought Mr. Putter
He was sure Mrs. Teaberry was going to ask him
to run the race with her...

"Aren't we too old to run a race?"
asked Mr. Putter.

"It's a senior marathon," said Mrs. Teaberry.
"Nothing but old people!"...

"I have not run anywhere in thirty years,"
said Mr. Putter.
"I don't think I remember how to run."

And so continues the dialogue between enthusiastic Mrs. Teaberry and reluctant Mr. Putter.

I think this would be a sweet book for any (older) or retired marathon runner who might have beginning readers (children or grandchildren) in their homes.

And PLEASE consider supporting your local independent bookstore!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Boston Fit Girls

This weekend the O'Hearn School team (Dorchester) participated in the Milton Best Buddies 5k race event which wraps up the season for the Boston Fit Girl teams. Race conditions were hardly ideal; very cold and windy. And while most adult runners are accustomed to discomfort and running through horrible weather conditions, I was very concerned that these 9 and 10 year-olds might be miserable out on the course. Fortunately the girls were troopers. They bundled up with hats, mittens and scarves and persevered through the 3.1 miles. There were also plenty of teachers and parents along the course cheering for and encouraging the girls to keep up the good work. Because of this darn heel injury, the 3 mile distance is about all I can run before the pain starts to really creep upon me. At least I was able to be out there on the course with the girls and see the smiles on their faces as they crossed the finish line. Congratulations O'Hearn Fit Girls and THANK YOU to Kim, Leah and Erin who were GREAT coaches!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I must have met Keats on a long run

"I have met with women whom I really think would like to be married to a poem and to be given away by a novel" - John Keats

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What is this blog all about?

Initially when I started the bluestockingrunner blog, my goal was to share tips and stories about my training and fundraising for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. There were many other (young) runners who already had blogs, and I was entertained by their posts and thoughts. I must admit that I felt silly starting my own blog as it seemed a bit narcissistic..I mean, who really cares about my weekly long run or what I ate for breakfast that fueled me for the day? Nevertheless, I found that I enjoyed the process of creating a post as it became a sort of writing exercise. While I consider myself a good reader and critic of good writing, I am not at all confident in my writing skills. And the only way to get better, whatever the activity, is practice, practice, practice!

Very early on in my blogging life I discovered that I couldn't resist posting about books (mostly children's literature) as I'm a former children's bookseller and currently work part-time as a Middle school librarian. I spend LOTS of time reading kiddie/young adult lit and just LOVE it.
So of course I want to share (or at least express for myself) thoughts about current favorites.

For all of you who are passionate about running and marathons, there are an equal amount of individuals who love to share their thoughts about great books for kids. I'm not sure how often these two passions overlap, but I can identify at least a handful of writers who are avid runners including Printz Award Winner, Laurie Halse Anderson (Chains, Fever, Speak), Wendelin Van Draanen (Sammy Keyes mystery series), Coleen Murtagh Paratore (Wedding Planner's Daughter), and recently I discovered Alison McGhee (author of one of my new favorite titles, Julia Gillian and the Art of Knowing) is also a runner, although she has not YET run a marathon. Gee, I wonder how many more of my favorite writers are also runners?

In addition, I can identify a few Dana-Farber runners who work in publishing and are lovers of literature, including Kristina (aka: the marathon mama) and Abby (see abby run). Although their passion may not be the children's literature genre, Kristina may have an interest in the picture book recommendations for her little reader, Henry. And who knows....there may even be a couple librarians, booksellers and/or writers on our 2009 DFMC team.

There are also occasional posts about my Fit Girls running/reading program and stories about the joys and frustrations of raising my 3 children (Kallie 16, Beau 15 and Hannah, 10).

Basically my blog is a mish mash of thoughts, comments and recommendations that represents the wide range and variety of my interests, hobbies and responsibilities, all of which are important and special to me in their own unique way. And I sheeplishly admit that I find blogging somewhat therapeutic (and fun!). So I think I'll try to get back to both blogging and blog reading on a fairly consistent basis. Trying to write a review of a new book title , sharing a passage from a beautiful poem, moaning about an injury, or best of all, reading an account of a friend's recent PR half-marathon ( Congrats, Abby!) is A LOT more interesting than folding laundry - and now the basement is now calling me for one more load! Ugh!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A River of Words: A Story of William Carlos Williams

so much depends
a unique picture
glazed with exquisite
beside my night
This fabulous new picture book biograpahy of William Carlos Williams is a treat for poetry fans of all ages! Oh, I do miss my days as a chidlren's bookseller when I was actually paid to read, shelve and sell so many wonderful literary gems that celebrate both language and art. Thank goodnes I am a faithful reader of children's literature blogs to stay on top of what's new and remarkable in the wonderful world of picture books. A River of Words will be featured in this Sunday's NYTimes as one of the best illustrated books of the year. Thank you, author Jen Bryant and illustrator Melissa Sweet for sharing your gifts and talents with the rest of us!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cortisone Shot

While the cortisone shot was painful, I was not at all prepared for the AGONY I experienced a couple hours after leaving the doctor's office. Yikes! I couldn't even walk on it and was almost in tears due to the pain. When the motrin finally kicked in I began to feel better, but I still can't put any weight on the foot. After some internet research I believe I am experiencing a "cortisone flare":

There is approximately a 20% chance of an increase in pain the day after the injection. This is known as a "cortisone flare" and is almost always a good sign. This is poorly understood phenomenon which lasts only for 24 hours and has no significant meaning. It usually resolves spontaneously although rest, ice, Tylenol or aspirin will help you to "grin and bear it". It is my subjective opinion that people who have this pain flare-up almost always will get an excellent long term result.

I'm going to try and look at the bright side and stick with the hope that I will have "an excellent long term result".

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Little Town Blues

Today I SHOULD be down in New York running what would have been my 6th New York City Marathon. But unfortunately this plan came to a halt when I came down with a mysterious heel injury a few weeks ago. The injury didn't come as a huge surprise as I really didn't do any long runs over the summer, and then beginning in September started to add in long and hard runs. Too much, too soon...and now I'm paying for it.

I've been to the sports orthopedic doctor who ruled out a stress fracture, and I'm not experiencing the classic signs of plantar fasciitis. It just HURTS when I run/walk more than 3 miles. So I"m off to the podiatrist this week...what a pain! And this is my absolute favorite time of year to run! The gym is a horrible place to be on a beautiful fall day.

I've been trying to track fellow DFMC runner and Austen reader, Young Jeff, as he is running his second marathon down in the Big Apple today. He had a pretty amazing debut marathon in Boston last April finishing in 2:52. Race conditions looked perfect and I have no doubt that this will be a PR day for YJ.

Despite not being able to run in NYC, I did have the pleasure of "wogging" the Watertown Boys and Girls Club 5k race with a Fit Girls team from S. Boston. These gals did an AWESOME job at today's race ,and I just loved to see them cheering for one another on the course chanting "Let's go, Fit Girls, let's go!" My teenage daughter and cross-country runner, Kallie, was also out there as a "race buddy" supporting and encouraging girls as she ran/walked the course with the girls. I am really excited to develop and grow the "race buddy" aspect of the Fit Girl program that pairs up young girls with local runners and high school athletes. The little girls just LOVE the company and support of the older gals. DFMC team ates Brenda and Abby were also TERRIFIC as they volunteered at the Chelsea Boys and Girls 5k last week.

Anyone interested in volunteering as a "race buddy" at the Milton Best Buddy 5k on Saturday, Nov. 22?

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm going to a ball!

Okay, so it's not really a ball, but there will be Austen-themed country dancing at the“Afternoon in the Assembly Rooms: A Program of Austenian Enlightenment and Entertainment.” The event is hosted by the Jane Austen Society of North America (aka JASNA) Massachusetts Region which I will be a member of in the very near future!

The gala event will be held Sunday, September 14, from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Henderson House Conference Center in Weston, Massachusetts. It begins with a lecture from Peter Graham on “Jane Austen’s Tangled Bank: A Darwinian Look at the Development of Sibling Personalities in Austen’s Novels.” This will be followed by dancing ("Do you like to dance, Mr. Darcy?")in Regency costume, and these performers will be encouraing us to learn the dances as well. (oh boy!) The event concludes with an elegant, formal tea.

All the Victorian excitement and adventure can be yours too at a price of $60 per person. I'm not sure if I could even pay my husband $600 to attend an event like this! But I think this will be great fun. I'm not exactly sure what to wear as I don't have a great deal of Regency style frocks in my closet, and it will be most interesting to see who else actually shows up at this event. Will there be anyone else with a bumper sticker on their car that reads "Jane Austen for President'? How old will the average JASNA member be?? And will the event actually last for 5 hours???? More to follow...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In Love Again

It's been months since I've last posted. I've had the most wonderful (and relaxing) summer with my family at our beach house here in Sagamore Beach. This community is filled with families who return year after year. My mother spent every summer of her life coming to Saggy Beach, I've spent 44 years of my life here, and now I've had the pleasure of bringing my three children to this unique and beautiful seaside place where anchorage, community and family remains a priority. Oh yes, and my daily run along the Cape Cod canal is another bonus!

And today I had the pleasure of finishing one of the most charming, warm novels I've read in a long time. Atticus Finch, Colonel Brandon, Mr. Knightly, and Mr. Rodchester - move over. I'm in love with a new fictional male...Dawsey Adams!! (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer) How could any reader resist a character with this description...

"While we were laughing about that, Dawsey was seeing to my bags and making sure that Kit didn't fall off the pier and generally making himself useful. I began to see that this is what he does - and that everyone depends upon him to do it."

In addition, Dawsey loves poetry (Charles Lamb in particular), flowers and honest, hardworking people.

I have lots of room for fictional men in my life...for let's face it - could only one man really meet all my literary needs? I adore and value all of them!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

The Trek Adventure ended on Sunday as a majority of the relay runners crossed the Boston Marathon finish line. Three of the runners ran all 10 days, but 5 was MORE than enough for my tired legs. Running 15 miles a day for 5 days was a REAL CHALLENGE! However, the overall experience was wonderful as it gave me the opportunity to meet a great group of people, support an important cause, and run through beautiful towns in New England.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Tomorrow after work and Fit Girls I will be commuting up to New London with two other Trek runners as we prepare to run the last 5 days of the Trek Relay to benefit the DMSE Children's Fitness Foundation. I've been scrambling around all day to get myself packed and ready as well as do my best to organize the homefront. I'll be more relaxed running the daily 15-20 miles!!

Here is the 5 day schedule:

Day 1: New London NH to Northampton MA (135 miles)

Day 2: Northampton to Charlestown RI (151 miles)

Day 3: Charalestown to Hyannis (137 miles)

Day 4: Hyannis to Ptown and back to Sagamore Beach (136 miles) followed by a night in the Nixon/Fagerburg family summer home (aka "Saggy Hotel")

Day 5: Sagamore Beach to Boston (84 miles) with the final 26 miles on the Boston Marathon course.

Fun, fun, fun!!! This should be excellent for my post marathon recovery.

Evening Reading Material: Mr. Emerson's Wife by Amy Belding Brown

It is the story of Lidian, the fascinating woman who was loved insufficiently by Emerson and perhaps too much by Thoreau. The line between historical and fictional is said to be murky in this nineteenth-century tale of love among the Transcendentalists, but I've heard it's a page turner!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Walk around Walden Pond

Today we (Medfield Middle School Library Staff) finally got around to rewarding all the students who read all 35 books (okay - it is a ridiculous high number; we are redesigning the incentive program for 2008) from the 2007 Summer Reading List. This entailed a beautiful hike around Walden Pond (our attempt to keep the field trip somewhat literary based) plus I loved tossing in the fitness aspect!

Our hike was followed up with lunch at the Colonial Inn and finally a trip to the fabulous independent Concord Bookshop where each student was allowed to purchase one paperback.

Overall, a great day for both students and faculty. Below is a picture of some of the 32 kids from the group.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

TREK USA goodies

Check out all the great stuff that Saucony donated to all of us who will be running the TREK USA:Destination New England beginning on May 9 and ending on May 18.
I'll be running the last 5 days of the event (15 miles each day). I'm particularly excited to run along the CT and RI coast followed by a run to PTown and back to Boston.
My very loyal and patient husband will be managing all home, school and sports schedules while I am away. Here he is with our youngest "fit girl" and TREK fan sporting some of the latest fashions provided by Saucony and the DMSE Foundation.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So What's Next?

(cue Frank Sinatra: "I want to be a part of it - New York, New York!!)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Marathon Photos

I recently checked out the 2008 Boston marathon shots from Gee - no wonder I rarely ever order any of these prints! I'm clearly feeling okay at this section on the course...but then the head starts to tilt...
and I'm clearly fighting hard to put the whole race behind me~

FINALLY - the finish line!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Recovery, Relaxation, and Reading, of course

The day after the marathon I drove down to one of my most favorite spots in the world - our family summer home in Sagamore Beach - with my youngest daughter, Hannah, and her best buddy, Holly. Brian and Beau will join us on Friday, as they had to stay in Medfield for Beau's baseball season, and Kallie (the spoiled brat!) is on a beach in St. John's with a friend for the week.

The weather has been amazing, and I've been able to catch up on new literature we are considering for the Middle School summer reading list. My most favorite read of the week was Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass. A great coming-of age novel with wonderful, warm and witty characters. This has great potential as our upcoming all-school read this summer. Here is a review from Publisher's Weekly:

"What is the meaning of life? Mass (A Mango-Shaped Space) introduces a winning narrator who attempts to answer this question and ends up accomplishing much more....Much of the novel's charm derives from Jeremy and Lizzy's unique friendship.…Jeremy and Lizzy find what they are looking for and more, but not where or in the way they expected. This exquisitely executed plot twist, combined with an ending that requires a few tissues, makes this soulful novel one not to miss." —Publishers Weekly *starred review

At the end of the novel, Jeremy begins his own collection of life lessons that he will most likely share with his future children with this wonderful gem: "From the day I realized that love is stronger than death and that people you barely know can amaze you - age 13".
This particular lesson hit home as this reminds me of why I run with DFMC and the wonderful people I've met over the years.

I strongly believe that the world would be a much better place if people spent more time reading quality children's literature and Austen!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Austen for Arbeit

It is a truth universally acknowledged...that Young Jeff will indeed be reading Emma and Persuasion as I WON our bet by crossing the finish line before the speedy novice marathon runner!

Okay, so I was given a 30 minute lead as I started in wave 1, but believe me, I was working hard yesterday!

Arbeit - 2:52

Nixon - 3:05

Plus, the bet was reported on the Publisher's Weekly website!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bippity Boppity Boo Update #2

Hooray!! Fairygod Friends, Sue and Bob Parente, made a donation that pushed me over the $10,000 fundraising level!!! THANKS TO ALL MY DONORS for all your generous support of my Boston Marathon Run with DFMC.

Now I just have to run the darn race and try and cross the finish line before Young Jeff in order to win my literary/running bet!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bippity Boppity Boo Update

Fairy Blake Student and Dana-Farber Middle School Challenge runner, Rose, brings the grand total to $9,614
with her donation of $330. Way to go, Rose!!

Bippety, Boppety, Boo

My Fundraising Goal:$10,000.00

Your current amount:$8,515.00

This is what you will see on my current DFMC fundraising page. And this morning I sent in another $769 which brings the grand total to $9,284.

I am wondering if there are any fairy godmothers (and fathers) who will help me reach the $10,000 goal by race day????

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shoe Distribution

It was great having Shonda Schilling join me in a pre-season visit to the Condon School Fit Girls team in South Boston yesterday. This was a particularly special day in that Shonda was able to donate Reebok shoes to all the girls (in addition to the shirts and water bottles we provide for them).

It really is wonderful for the girls to meet "every day" local runners who are able to participate in one of the world's most prestigious marathons simply by putting in the time and hardwork. We want these girls to realize that THEY CAN DO IT too as we are here to support them on and off the track.

However, the REAL highlight of the day was when Shonda brought out the World Series rings - WOW!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dedicated to all the non-running spouses

I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to meet and hear Alexander McCall Smith (author of No. 1 Ladies Detectives and Isabel Dalhousie series) in Cambridge last night. The time I spent waiting in line to get my book signed was equivalent to the time it will take me to get to mile 6 on Monday.

I adore his Isabel Dalhousie protagonist who is a "moral philosopher" living in modern-day Scotland. Isabel inspired me to travel to Scotland and run the Edinburgh Marathon (June 2006). I wore my Edinburgh marathon t-shirt hoping that might encourage further conversation with the author after the signing, but this may have back-fired as he appears to know other marathon runners and their focus....

"Ben had become an enthusiastic jogger and spent most of his spare time running. He had finished fifty-second place in the Edinburgh Marathon and was now talking about competing in the next New York Marathon.

He has met Ben for a meal at Henderson's Salad Table, and the conversation had largely been about calories, energy levels and the benefit of Arnica cream for soft-tissue injuries.

"I've got a really interesting story to tell you..I was running about two weeks ago - or was it three? Hang on, it was three because it was the week before I was due to do the Peebles Half-Marathon with Ted and the others. Anyways, I was doing a circular route up Colinton Road, past Redford Barracks, and then down into Colinton Village...."

Matthew had looked at his pasta and at the ceiling, and tried to remember what it was he saw in Ben all those years ago. He had liked him. They had been friends, and now this thing - this running -had come between them."

(Love Over Scotland - A 44 Scotland Street Novel)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Marathon Jump Roping

Today I volunteered at the Jump Into Spring event supporting the fabulous Strong Women, Strong Girls program that Harvard graduate Lindsey Hyde started when she was a freshman. Lindsey is a dynamite young woman, and I love her program.

This first-time event was coordinated in the DownTown Crossing area right outside Macys where over 200 strong girls and their college mentors gathered for an afternoon of fun, fitness and fundraising. It was quite fitting that they assigned me to the Marathon Jump Roping Contest to see which girls could jump for the longest period of time. It's been a long time since I've skipped rope, so I'll log this as a cross-training day.

And I was particularly excited to run into two of my Condon School (S. Boston) Fit Girls at the event who also participate in the SWSG program.

Great event, great program, great women, and great girls!

Friday, April 11, 2008

PR for Kallie

Yesterday was a PR day for Kallie...

She ran the mile in 5:52 (coming in third in the meet against Westwood).

PLUS, the top Medfield Male Mile Guy ( who clocks a sub 5 minute mile) was at the finish with flowers and a poster asking her to go to the PRom.

Kallie said "yes" after catching her breath.

So cute!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Erin Brockovich in Medfield

It has been very exciting to see Fit Girls featured in the Real Runners section in the latest Runners World. I pulled my youngest daughter and five of her friends (who are all on the Medfield Fit Girls team) for a photo shoot which was great fun for them, although the session ran a bit long for them. The library setting (representing the literacy aspect of the program) works great.

The official Medfield Fit Girls training season kicks off the week after spring vacation, and there are 55 girls on the spring roster. In the past we have been running our laps around the pond (which is exactly a quarter mile) at the local cemetary which is a safe and pretty location where I can keep an eye on all the girls at all times. However, "someone" complained last fall. Evidently this "someone" didn't feel it was appropriate and respectful. Now, I certainly wouldn't have my girls run laps during a burial, and I do understand the need for quiet, reflective time, but there are lots of people who walk dogs, run, fish, and even go sledding in the winter. Yes, I have a large group but we limit our workouts to the space around the pond that is somewhat removed from the actual plots. And over the course of the year we are only there for 15 hours or so.

I tried to discuss the matter with both the principal and superintendent and was basically brushed off and told it was "non-negotiable". No discussion. They wouldn't even give me the opportunity to present my case or ask any questions. The lack of dialogue is actually what offended me the most as I work very hard to make the program a positive and up-lifting experience for all the girls. I don't think the superintendent has a clue what I do with the girls PLUS as an intramural it brings in a heck of a lot of money for the school system! At this point the Erin Brockovich started to come out which makes me wonder who has the legal right to make this decision? Isn't it town property? I'm a tax payer and so are all the parents of the fit girls? And who complained? Can we work out a compromise after discussing the matter from BOTH points of view? Some of the parents of the girls suggested I create a petition for them to sign, but it seems a bit silly and over the top to go down that path. This may require legal advice and representation from our DFMC law students!

Off to town hall for some research...

Monday, April 7, 2008

"I think very highly of him -that I greatly esteem him."

Who is your favorite Austen leading man? Click here to meet the Men of Jane Austen.

I’m swept away by Colonel Brandon, and was very satisfied with the BBC’s latest portrayal of him. Some see him as old, serious and not very glamorous. But I share Marianne’s opinion of him when she finally grows up and recognizes the wonderful guy he really is…

“Colonel Brandon is an exceptional man. He kept faithful to his first love, even after she had been torn away from him…even after she was dead. He is the true romantic, I think. It is not what we say or feel that makes us what we are…just what we do…or fail to do.”

( maybe it's just a bit creepy that Brandon is 35 and Marianne, the object of his affection, is 17. Nevertheless, he is quite the gentleman - loyal, patient, honest and humble)

Mr Darcy? I like him, but definitely don’t love him. After all, he really is pretty much of an arrogant, uptight twit for most of the novel, even if he is rich and handsome.

Edward was looking pretty darn good in the wet t-shirt too!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Speedy DFMC Men

Congratulations to our fastest DFMC male runners as Jeff, Tyler and Matt placed in the top ten at RJ Crowleys 3 mile race yesterday!! Your teammates are proud of you!

Jeffrey Arbeit 16:15.4
Tyler Hart 17:39.2
Matthew Whitcomb 18:29.7

And congratulations to race director, Shifter, on another FABULOUS fundraiser for DFMC.

It all comes together...

I ran the last 13 miles of the course with a handful of other DFMC ladies on Saturday morning. These gals did a great job of kicking it in for the final mile at a 7:30 pace. (I hope Jack doesn’t yell at you!) There is most definitely qualifying talent in this group.

I also love the fact that the finish line of the Boston Marathon is right in front of the Boston Public library….a physical spot where two of my greatest passions come together!

I highly recommend a visit inside the BPL. It is a BEAUTIFUL building with fabulous murals by John Singer Sargent. Great courtyard too – a place for quiet reflection (and a cool down!) in the middle of a busy city.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” ~Cicero

Friday, April 4, 2008

Final 2 weeks

DFMC coach and guru, Jack Fultz, was a real peach in taking the time to visit with the Dana-Farber Middle School Challenge Team yesterday. There are about 20 students who signed up for the first-time event as they help me train for the Boston Marathon (on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons they jog a 2 mile loop with me) and fundraise for cancer research.

I was also able to arrange for a photo shoot (I'll post some pics later today) and interview with our local press when Jack was visiting with the kids. It was very exciting for them to meet a REAL LIVE BOSTON MARATHON WINNER!
Later in the day I ran the Thursday 9 mile hill run with Tall Sarah, who is running her second marathon and shooting for a 3:15. The lady is on FIRE and all of us at Crossroads were strongly encouraging her to hold back (NO 20 mile run this weekend!) and save it for race day.

There is only one more “doing the Thursday” hill workout on the 2008 Boston Marathon Training schedule, which is always a sad thought as I just adore the DFMC family filled with runners young and old (Steve – thanks for the reminder last night that we are, in fact, old!).

I do hope to squeeze in an occasional run around the river in the late spring to stay in touch with all these wonderful runners, readers and philanthropists!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Bet with Mrs. Robinson

We've got a real speedster on our DFMC team this year - young Jeff - who recently ran a 5k in 17:03 and cranked out a 1:18:07 at the New Bedford Half-Marathon. He's also smart (recently graduated from Brown) and well-read (loves the classics). And at this point I will remind myself I am a happily married mother of 3 and old enough to be his mother!

This will be Jeff's first marathon, which means he will start with the rest of the charity runners back in the 22nd coral (Wave 2). My qualifying time from NYC places me in the 6th coral this year (Wave 1). This means I will get a 30 minute start on young Jeff PLUS the time he'll spend trying to manuever his way around thousands of 12 minute mile runners in his attempt to start his sub 7 minute race pace. I am guessing that he will finish (chip time) around 2:45...and my goal is around 3:15. And now we have a bet.

We are racing gun time, not chip time. That is, whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner. If I finish first, then he must read Jane Austen's last novel, Persuasion. (the Austen novel of my choice - I'm guessing that at some point in highschool he had to read Pride and Prejudice ). And if he finishes first, I will read Gravity's Rainbow (his favorite novel) byThomas Pynchon.

Now, let's compare the two synoposis:

His book (mature readers only): Tyrone Slothrop, a GI in London in 1944, has a big problem. Whenever he gets an erection, a Blitz bomb hits. Slothrop gets excited, and then (as Thomas Pynchon puts it in his sinister, insinuatingly sibilant opening sentence), "a screaming comes across the sky," heralding an angel of death, a V-2 rocket. The novel's title, Gravity's Rainbow, refers to the rocket's vapor arc, a cruel dark parody of what God sent Noah to symbolize his promise never to destroy humanity again.

Hmmmm....not typically something I would pick off a shelf.

My book (general audience): Persuasion follows the romance of Anne Elliot and naval officer Frederick Wentworth. They were happily engaged until Anne’s friend, Lady Russell, persuaded her that Frederick was “unworthy.” Now, eight years later, Frederick returns, a wealthy captain in the navy, while Anne’s family teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. They still love each other, but their past mistakes threaten to keep them apart.

Now, doesn't that sound romantic!?

Runners and readers...on your mark, get set, GO!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Comfort Books

I'm a big fan of the Scottish writer, Alexander McCall Smith, who pens both the No. 1 Ladies Detective and Isabel Dalhousie series. It's not exactly high art or great literature, but it typically fills the reader up with "warm and fuzzy" good feelings - a type of "comfort read for the soul". The Miracle at Speedy Motors, the latest in the No. 1 Ladies Detective series, will be released on April 15. However, my dear friend Mary, who lives in the London and Glasgow, presented me with the U.K. version of the latest title when a group of us had lunch at the Isabel Stewart Gardner museum (which could be referred to as a "comfort museum for the soul").

Here is the book jacket of the UK edition:
I actually prefer the Random House book jacket designs they will use for the U.S. edition:

Mr. Smith will also be speaking at the Harvard Bookstore on Wednesday, April 16. And I am hoping to FINALLY have the opportunity to hear him speak. (I am very drawn to the Scottish culture/history plus I like men in kilts!). Of course it would be a thrill to meet the man (who inspired me to travel to Scotland and run the Edinburgh marathon) but I can only imagine that there will be hundreds of people at the event.

I love his description of the "Old Botswana ways...where people looked for and valued those invisible links that connected people, that made for belonging. We were all cousins, even if remote ones, of somebody'; we were all friends of friends , joined together by bonds that you might never se, but were there, sometimes every bit as strong as hoops of steel".

"Mr. Smith reveals with all his brilliant storytelling skill that there are very few troubles that cannot be solved with kindness, and very few dry seasons that do not end with welcome rain.

Okay, Jeff, it's not exactly Moby Dick, but it is VERY sweet! And sweet, simple and real works for me.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


At the Boston Marathon Start (Hopkinton) with Suburban Strider, Michelle, and DFMCers Mary and Lynn.

Celebrating our 21.4 mile FINAL LONG RUN at Dunkin Donuts. Mary was fortunate enough to be offered a lay at the Children's Hospital Cheering Section.

Followed by another type of run: A run to the dump (at least I was able to take a quick shower before the "reminder" to attend to this chore )

Good Luck to the rest of the DFMC Team on their long run tomorrow! I hope you are able to avoid heavy trash lifting after your workout.
"Have a Holly, Jolly Taper...It's the best time of the year"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Yep...looks as if the event is really happening and I'm signed up to do it:

  1. The official 2008 marathon banners are posted around town

  2. My official bib number and packet arrived in the mail today.

My 2008 bib number is 6066 - take out the "0" and I'm a running devil!

Monday, March 24, 2008

TREK New England

I'll try and give myself a break from running (4-5 days) right after the Boston Marathon. The timing is great as it allows me to spend quality time limping my way through family adventures during April vacation. However, after the short break I'll be bumping up the milage again as I have yet another fundraising/running adventure in May: 2008 TREK New England

The 2008 TREK USA Charity Relay for Kids is a 10-day running adventure through the six New England states from May 9 to May 18th, starting and ending in Boston, MA. The purpose of the annual TREK event is to raise money for The DMSE Children’s Fitness Foundation (DCFF), which supports non profit programs that use running as a primary vehicle to promote physical fitness in children.

There are four team levels (Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze) for TREK 2008 ranging from 3 days to 10 days. As in years past, each runner will be hand-picked and committed to running an average of 15 miles a day. In addition to the mileage commitment, each runner is required to raise a respective dollar amount depending on his or her team member status. All TREK team members will receive an online account through to assist in fundraising efforts.

We are not expected to run 15 miles all at once, but rather 3 small runs of approx. 5 miles each day. So it's kind of like 10 days of Reach the Beach (or in my case 5 days of Reach The Beach as I'm only doing half of the event). DFMC runner, Judith Forman, is a veteran treker who ran down the East Coast (Boston to Palm Beach) in 2007.

The REALLY exciting part is that Fit Girls has been selected to receive matching funds through the TREK USA Matching Funds Program. All this fundraising gets a bit tricky, but in this case I will be looking for local business and corporate support and not friends and family who have been so generous to my DFMC run (grand total is now over $7,000!)

It should be an interesting adventure!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

And Life Goes On

I've been running and training for too many marathons over the years to expect any sort of special treatment from the family after my long runs. After 13 years of weekly long runs, the minute I step in to the house it's back to business of living in a busy home with three kids. I didn't do the group run with the rest of the DFMC gang in Waltham which would have required at least one hour of commuting time. That is precious time as I've got a grocery store trip and Easter Bunny duties on my list of chores today. So I ended up running two loops of 8 miles around my home in Medfield, allowing me to swing back home for a couple water breaks. Upon my return there were no high fives on yet another solid run, but instead a request to take the garbage to the dump. Great - can I at least take a few minutes to stretch and grab a gatorade! (Of course I'm VERY careful to keep those little gripes to myself!)

This reminded me of last November when I collected my running bag after finishing the New York City Marathon. I was soaking in the accomplishment with some of the other finishers wrapped in mylar blankets when my cell phone rang. When I picked it up the first order of business was, "Do you know where the top of the crock pot is?"

I finished New York in 3:12. And my children had beef stew for dinner.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Do Unto Otters

Ah...the first day of spring. A time to let go of old baggage and negative patterns and start fresh.

And as our family prepares to celebrate Easter, I've been thinking about changes I can make to improve my personal health and well-being - physically, emotionally and socially - with the well-being of my family, friends and community.
I think it all comes down to at least trying to live by the GOLDEN RULE. Quirky author and illustrator, Laurie Keller, wrote a hilarious book featuring the Golden Rule with the title, Do Unto Otters (ha!)

In her story Mr. Rabbit is concerned about his new neighbors, the Otter Family, who recently moved into town and he just doesn't know ANYTHING about these strange animals. Mr. Owl advises him to just "Do unto otters as you would have otters do unto you". This includes the saying please and thank you, sharing, being honest and "co-otter-ating". This book would be a great addition to child's Easter basket. (And there are a fair share of adults who need a reminder about the golden rule too!).

And here is Keller's list of "office otter-quette":