Thursday, January 31, 2008


Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the inspire4life youth summit at the World Trade Center here in Boston. The event was sponsored by the United Way, and I was AMAZED to see so many people from all walks of life (state reps, corporate leaders, program directors, etc.) committed to serving some of the most vulnerable youth in our community. The inspire4life is a call to action for EVERYONE to get involved and listen, learn and lead. For some of us it might mean writing a check, and for others it means taking the time to share our talents and passion (art, music, athletics, etc) with this new generation and help them grow into healthy, happy and socially responsible adults.

The focus was primarily on "after and out of school time". My goal in attending the conference was to learn more about the programs, specifically physical fitness programs, that best serve the children in the community. While Fit Girls has been a big hit here in Medfield (there are almost 60 girls signed up for the spring session!), I have a great deal to learn about city schools and programs in order to adjust and adapt Fit Girls for this population.

It was incredibly helpful to meet the more experienced girl serving program directors including Anne from CityKicks (soccer), Regan from G-ROW (crew) and Deborah, the founder of LEAP, a powerful self-defense program for girls ages 8-18. Great women with great programs for girls! And great role models for me to learn and grow in the wonderful world of nonprofit youth fitness.

I get excited at these types of events! And my mind swirls with all sorts of ideas and dreams about how to share my passion for running (along with all those physical, emotional and social benefits) with our youth. I also would like to try and tie in the history of the Boston Marathon, at least for those programs in the city. After all, we are the host city to the world's oldest marathon. And DFMC runners can serve as wonderful examples of everyday athletes putting one foot in front of the other to reach their personal goal of participating in one of the world's most prestigious road race events. Not everyone can be an Olympic athlete, but with hard work and commitment, almost anyone can run a marathon.

Another interesting fact: the finish line of the Boston Marathon is at the base of the Boston Public Library - which brings together the running and reading.

Could I possibly coordinate some sort of field trip for the teams of girls (of course NOT on Marathon Monday!)?? Something to think about when "doing the Thursday" 9 mile run tonight.....

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Scarlett Letter "P"


While I've had dreams about seeing my name in print on the Publisher's Weekly homepage, I never imagined it would be in the form of a post revealing my shameful habit of "book peeking"!! The blogger to blame is Alison, children's manager at the Wellesley Booksmith.

Okay, people. This is PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!!! Tne International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling that's been around for 136 years! Alison knows EVERYONE in the bookselling/publishing and writing world and now I will go down in history as the librarian/ bookseller who peeks!!

As you might imagine, some authors have posted comments that they would NEVER do this and how insulting it is to their art. I was even accused of peeking at Christmas presents. I think I've hit rock bottom and perhaps this is the literary intervention I've needed to rid myself of the dreadful habit.

Time to go run a fast five miles and sweat out the shame.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lazy morning and Donor of the Week

Weekend mornings are wonderful now that the children are older. Everyone loves to sleep! The quiet, cozy home (and bed!) was too hard to leave at 7:30 for the group run in Wayland. Looks like I'll be running the 16 mile Medfield to Dover out and back loop later today. I'll miss the company, the conversation, the sports beans and water stops, but it's mighty nice right now sipping my coffee watching the snow come down.

Donations are coming in on a regular basis, and I really appreciate all the kinds words of encouragement. And the top donor of the week is.........MY MOTHER!
Here is a picture of mom on one of her recent exotic adventures. Mom and her dear friend, Mac have become quite the world travellers which is WELL DESERVED after this wonderful woman raised 5 girls (I'm the baby).

Mom has also requested that I run in memory of Jane Banks, Mac's wife who passed away from breast cancer.
This will be an honor and pleasure. Jane was also an avid reader and very committed to giving back to others.
It's a real treat to have access to her collection of books at the Banks home library at Sagamore Beach.

Alrighty, I've had my last sip of coffee. Time to hit the road. My reward at the end of the day will be watching Mansfield Park in week 3 of Masterpiece Theater's celebration of Jane Austen.

"I cannot think well of a man who sports with any woman's feelings; and there may often be a great deal more suffered than a stander-by can judge of. " - Mansfield Park

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sally experiences Marathon Panic

I am sure all the Medfield taxpayers would be
thrilled to hear how much TIME I spent at work today (as a part-time Middle School Librarian) trying to post this (adapted)Peanuts strip.

As you can see I didn't have a whole lot of success. You should be able to read what Sally says, but I'll add in Charlie Brown's words.

"Well, Sally, in 11 weeks you'll be running in the Boston Marathon.

"Sure... You signed up months ago to run 26 miles.

"Of course! Haven't you been training?"

"I see trouble for her up Heartbreak Hill"

Thursday, January 24, 2008

DFMC Runner Profile

Name: Judith Forman
Age: 31
Hometown: Canton
School: Northwestern University; BS in Journalism, 1998

Years with DFMC: 2006- present

Judith started running, or rather walking, in 1995 as a means of getting rid of the dreaded "freshman 15. Eventually her walking laps turned into jogging and then finally running. She ran her first 5k in the fall of 1996 and from that point moving forward she had the race bug!!

She ran her first marathon in 2002 (with the leukemia/lymphoma society) and joined the DFMC team in 2006.

Her passion for running and fitness has been a life-changing experience for her as she is now developing a career to help others get inspired and get fit. Her business card should read: personal training service - no slackers allowed! She has high expectations for herself and is willing to work hard to meet her goals, and I have no doubt that she expects the same from her clients as she works with them in the early morning hours.

And based on how her training is going thus far, I can definitely see a marathon PR for her this April!

I love Judith's energy and enthusiasm! And I am very grateful to her for volunteering her time and talent to coach one of the pilot Fit Girls Grant programs. Fit Girls is a 6 week running/reading program for girls in 4th and 5th grade. While I've developed the program and continue to coach a team here in Medfield, one of my dreams was to bring the program to children in underserved communities. This dream finally came true this fall thanks to the support from the DMSE Children's Fitness Foundation. The Foundation provided the funds for each girl in the grant program to receive a t-shirt, water bottle, paid 5k entry fee, and one new book. While the Foundation covered the costs for the "stuff", which they girls looooooooove, the real key to the success of the program is recruiting a volunteer coach who is caring, committed and enthusiastic. And in steps Judith!!!

For 8 weeks Judith commuted to the Haley School in Roslindale to work with 12 girls who signed up for the team. She not only had them running laps, but also doing push-ups, squats, and other strength training exercises. Judith also passed along personal copies of her favorite childhood series, the Babysitter's Club.

And here's what some of the girls had to say about the program:
"I LOVE Fit Girls because it gets you in shape. It energizes my body. When I am having a bad day, Fit Girls cheers me up and I forget about what happened earlier. To me Fit Girls is about sisterhood and being healthy.”

"Running and walking makes me feel like Wonder Woman!"

THANK YOU, Judith, for being such a fabulous Fit Girls coach, role model and mentor!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Book Peekers Anonymous

Hi. My name is Sarah. And I am a book peeker.

So what the heck is a "book peeker"??? A book peeker is an individual who flips(and proceeds to read) the last paragraph or page of a new book he or she has recently started. I can just hear the gasps of horror from some of my more literary running friends as they read this confession. Yet sadly, it is true.

My friends and co-workers at the Wellesely Booksmith were equally shocked at this confession. However, I must let you all know that this does not mean that I pull some sort of literary Rosie Ruiz and skip over entire chapters in a book. I always read the entire's just, for some odd reason, important to me to know where it all is going to end.

Does this mean I am a control freak? Am I afraid of risky, unknown terrorities? Do I lack patience and self-control that I can't enjoy the suspense of a good story?

My oldest daughter, Kallie, also suffers from this disorder. I discovered this inherited ugliness when she asked me to pick up a copy of Jodi Piccoult's, Her Sister's Keeper. After 20 minutes in her room, she came down to the kitchen, slammed down the copy of the book with a statement that she could not possibly read something that was SO sad. Hmmmm....signs of "peekage" .

Now this concerned me. Did I somehow model this behavior? Our mother/daughter days of lap reading did not begin by reading the final page of some of our beloved picture books. We certainly did not begin Where the Wild Things Are with the words "..and it was still hot."

Clearly Kallie and I must need some sort of literary intervention. And now that I've come out of the book peeking closet, I realize that there are many others, after having honest conversations with some readers and runners, who tend to "peek".

Well, I certainly can't get away with that sort of cheating on the marathon course. Can you imagine running to Ashland, hopping on the train to Kenmore just to run the last mile and experience the end of the race, and then GO BACK to mile 2 on the course to finish the rest of the race???? Nope. But on my couch, in the middle of a very sad and painful passage in the wee hours of the night, I can rest assured that (in most cases) the "redemptive power of love" conquers all at the very end!

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. "- Reinhold Neibuhr

Monday, January 21, 2008

Time Stops for No Mouse

After years of rave reviews from both Alison (children's manager at the Wellesely Booksmith and Publisher Weekly blogger) and Lorna regarding the Hermux Tantamoq Adventures series by Michael Hoeye, I finally set aside some time to pick up Time Stops for No Mouse, the first in the series. Someone once described the series as “ Wind in the Willows meets Murder She Wrote” which is very fitting. I found this book utterly charming – a perfect family read-aloud! Fans of E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and my personal favorite, Trumpet and the Swan) and Brian Jaques (Redwall series) are sure to enjoy the adventures of Hermux and the rest of his rodent friends. How could you NOT love a humble, watchmaker mouse protagonist who has a pet ladybug and writes thank-you notes to the universe at the end of the day:

“Thank you for friendship most of all. Thank you for cuff links. Thank you for dark theaters. For mousetraps even..for cotton sheets, soft pillows and apple juice. And cheese.”

This is a great, curl up by the fire, comfort read!

And as for my training, our guru and DFMC coach, Jack Fultz, advised us to cut back a bit in distance this weekend. On Saturday morning I ran a challenging 10 plus miles from our home in Medfield to Kallie’s track meet at Holliston highschool. I enjoy destination runs as opposed to out and back loops. The first half of those “out and back” loops can be depressing as you are getting farther and farther away from your final location. It is the exact opposite with “destination runs”. The minute you step out the door you are closing in on your final goal for the day. And speaking of training…time to drag myself out on the roads and sweat out some of those adult beverages from last night’s Pats game.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

26 miles of Love


If you are single and looking for a soulmate, my advice is to sign up to run the Boston Marathon with a charity group.

Let's consider what it takes to train for a marathon:

  • patience
  • commitment
  • long-term vision and goal
  • hard work
  • enduring occassional discomfort and pain for a greater good

And what about those individuals who choose to raise money for charity? Doesn't that demonstrate:

  • compassion
  • understanding
  • love of others
  • giving of oneself

These qualities are equally important and valuable in building healthy, strong and mature relationships. So I will make the claim that marathon runners who run for charity are likely to be great friends, partners, and spouses

Off hand I can think of at least a half a dozen couples who discovered love on the Boston Marathon course. Sarah and Mike Drumm, Heather and Matt Bergin, Christine and Jeff McCormick, Karen and Tim Driscoll, Bill and Maureen Allen and our most recent pair of love birds that tied the knot this fall, Tom and Kathleen.

Here is a FABULOUS picture of Tom (2 Bostons; 8 overall) and Kathleen (7 Bostons; 11 overall PLUS an Ironman!) on their wedding day.

"How do I love thee...let me count the miles"

Friday, January 18, 2008

Goofy Tyler

Second year DFMC runner, Tyler, is a gifted runner. There is no doubt in my mind that in the near future he will not only run a qualifying time for Boston, but he will dip way below the three hour mark. However, my advice to Tyler was and will be DO NOT RUN 13 MILES the day before racing a marathon!!

Tyler ignored my voice of experience as he traveled down to Florida last weekend to participate in the Goofy Challenge. Goofy Challenge runners are expected to run a half-marathon on Saturday, and then a full on Sunday. This is most definitely “goofy”!

Running 26 miles in and of itself is a challenge. So why do many of us throw in extra obstacles and intensity to make it even harder for us?! There are numerous runners who, after a handful of marathons, feel they must add on a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride to enhance their marathon experience. I’m guilty of some nutty running adventures (i.e. running two marathons a week apart – Paris/Boston in 2001; London/Boston 2003). And then there is 16 year DFMC veteran, Matt, who deserves an entire post for all of his crazy running feats. Matt has completed a marathon on every continent, competed in a handful of triathlons, hiked up a course in the Himalayas (I believe there was lots of vomiting involved with this event), and raced across the tip of S. Africa.

Tyler, I admire your spirit and congratulations on your Goofy Challenge. But let’s try and taper 3 weeks before Boston this year!! I expect you to blow by me on the hills this April.

Anyone else care to share a crazy running story?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Saying Thank You

Yea! I received my first handful of donations in the mail today. At the end of the marathon/fundraising season I will send out a letter with a post-marathon wrap-up and general thank-you to all my donors. However, I also want to send some sort of note right after receiving donations in recognition of their generousity. This can get expensive considering the initial mailing cost of two stamps per letter (I include an enclosed stamp envelope in each letter to make it easy for my donors).

Going along with my Peanuts theme, there are a bunch of e-cards on the website which may be a fun, unique, quick (and affordable!) means to thank my donors. My main concern is that I'm not so sure many of the donors will actually open an email from the webmaster at (would you??). It is helpful that in the note they send with a link to the e-card they mention who the card comes from - sarah nixon. Will my donors actually open the initial email to even get to that step? It might be too tempting to delete any message from, particularly if there are 100 or so important work-related emails. Click here to view the animated "Just a note to say hi....(and THANK YOU for your very generous donation. Happiness is a cure for cancer.")

On the training front, after a 8 mile run this morning I added on another two hours of cross-country skiing at the Weston Ski Track (a.k.a Leo J. Martin Golf Course) where they groom both classic and ski-skate trails. Despite spending the last four February vacations in Lake Placid with my family and the Scandanavian blood that runs through my veins, the wonderful world of nordic skiing is a real challenge for me. Endurance is not an issue, it's my under developed sense of balance coupled with my lack of experience at winter sports as a child (let's just blame it on my parents!!). I much prefer trudging up a hill herring-bone style over the panic and sheer terror I experience on any type of decline. However, I am in heaven on a long, flat stretch when I can get a good glide and rhythm going.
And being outside on a beautiful winter day is the best!

I highly recommend getting out to the Weston Ski Track after we get a good dumping of fresh snow, particularly during the week when most adults are working and kids are in school. And for expert advice on cross-country skiing, go to DFMC veteran runners, Tom and Fran ,who both participated in the Birkebeiner (40k ski event) in Norway. Skol!!

Lisa Lunge wrote a wonderful picture book about the fascinating history of the Birkebeiner race. This should be a "must have " for all families of Norwegian descent.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And the winner is....

Congratulations to Laura Amy Schlitz (school librarian!) and Candlewick Press (my favorite children’s publishing company ) for winning the 2008 Newbery medal! In Good Masters! SweetLadies: Voices from a Medieval Village, Ms Schlitz presents us with a realistic and gritty world of 1255 England through the voices of 23 young villagers. Their world is filled with fleas, dung, and lice (now THAT will grab the attention of many of our Middle School readers here in Medfield) with flashes of goodness, warmth and humor. This will be a wonderful resource for teachers and librarians studying the Middle Ages with their students.

The choice was unexpected by many booksellers who are now madly trying to get copies of the new award winner on their shelves. Candlewick went back to press on Monday (the day of the announcement) for 60,000 new copies. Another 80,000 copies, which had already been ordered, are being air-freighted from China. How fortunate that I have connections at the Wellesely Booksmith (mile 13 on the Boston Marathon course). Alison has reserved us a copy from the 15 she has coming her way.

“I itch in the cathedral
When I pray upon my knee
God, You saved us from damnation;
Now save us from the fleas!”

Another fabulous and award-winning novel about the Middle Ages is Karen Cushman's Midwife's Apprentice. Lots of fleas, dung and lice in this tale, too. I guess you just couldn't escape it in the 13th century!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

DFMC Runner Recommendations

The group was fairly small this morning for our 13-15 mile run out the of the Boston Sports Club in Waltham. I am guessing that many of our runners were up late last night enjoying the Patriots victory over the Jaquars (Go Pats!).

This particular loop predominantly runs through the scenic, quiet (and hilly!) roads in Lincoln ending with a MONSTER climb back up to the club. The weather gods have been very good to us as the conditions were again just perfect - sunny, low 40s. The calm before the storm that they are predicting for tomorrow.

I had the pleasure of running with Suzana, Joanna and Chris today. Joanna is a Nicky Hornsby fan and recently finished Slam. Teenage pregnancy seems to be the hot topic in film, literature and tabloid magazines these days.

Chris received the The Inheritance of Loss (winner of the 2006 Man Booker Award) by Kiran Desai as a Christmas gift and gives it 2 thumbs up.

And Suzana is reading a book of poems by Brazilian poet, Cora Coralina. As a family they read one poem after dinner each night. Love that family tradition!

Today also marks the beginning of a two-month long celebration of Jane Austen's novels on Masterpiece Theater. Tonight at 9:00 they will broadcast the BBC version of Persuasion. I'm a sucker for almost anything related to Jane Austen. It's amazing how many modern versions there are of her original stories, and I probably own most of them, despite the fact that some of them are pretty stupid. I can think of two retellings of Persuasion that were moderately entertaining including Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death and the SATS (Paula Marantz Cohen) and Family Fortune (Laurie Horowitz).

The BBC adaptations of her novels are fabulous, and I'm also a big fan of the "second-chance at love" theme. A happy ending lends itself to a good night sleep!

"The one claim I shall make for my own sex is that we love longest, when all hope is gone." - Anne Elliot in Persuasion (please read this outloud using your best English accent).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's a Family Affair

I forgot how time-consuming and involved a fundraising letter campaign can be. In order to get my letters out asap, I put everyone to work last night. My youngest daughter, Hannah, slapped on stamps while she watched Hannah Montana as my friend, Wendy, stuffed return envelopes into large mailing envelopes. Support and understanding from friends and family is so important in both fundraising and training for a marathon. Now that my older two children are in highschool, it's not a big deal for me to head out for two or three hours to run 16 or more miles (plus the time communting to and from the group run location). In most cases, Kallie and Beau aren't out of bed when I return from these workouts. It was a completely different story when they were young. I am very grateful to Brian for all the years he was willing to manage the group allowing me the time to train. Quite honestly, running 16 plus miles is much more relaxing than racing after two toddlers!

Kallie has provided support by keeping me company on some of my shorter runs. She recently developed a passion for running and needless to say Mom is thrilled with this development. She insists that we do not run through the center of town in order to avoid being seen running with "her mother". I let her set the pace and I am impressed that she can comfortably keep up a sub 8 minute pace for over 5 miles. And her training is paying off as she ran a PR in the 1,000 meter distance at her indoor meet this morning. Mother was very proud! A future DFMC gal!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fundraising Letter: 2008

"Jogging is very beneficial. It's good for your legs and your feet. It's also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed." - Charles Schulz

I discovered these words of wisdom when doing a google search for running quotes. My goal was to find some sort of inspiration for a unique and creative theme for my 2008 fundraising letter. After all, I've been running for DFMC for 13 years and each year I'm basically telling the same (but very important) story. For the sake of my donors I try to add a new twist each year.

So I decided to go with the Peanuts theme for 2 reasons :

  1. I like the Peanuts! I always have. In fact, I was a bit obsessed with them in Middle School as I collected volume after volume of his strips. Some of the girls from Laurel School (going WAY back!) might remember those days. I remember writing a paper on Robert Short's interpretation of the cartoons in his book, The Gospel According to the Peanuts. I really doubt that there was much depth to my theological thinking in 8th grade, but it was a good way to combine my Peanuts obsession with required school work. I actually reread the Gospel According to the Peanuts on the train down to New York City this past November (New York Marathon 2007 - Marathon Finish Time- 3:12). Very humorous and thought-provoking. Remember Snoopy rising out of the Pumpkin Patch.....

    My renewed interest in the Peanuts/Charles Schulz was based on a new biography that has been getting decent reviews. Evidently there was a darker, sadder side to Charles that was never known by the general public. In other words, HE"S HUMAN!

    2. I love the quote! I very often feel as if I have a personal, almost spiritual connection to the gound when I run. The ground is always there, always a great listener, and never makes demands of me. I need the ground and the ground needs me - what a perfect relationship!

    And here is my conclusion to this year's fundaising letter:

"Good Grief...How can we lose when we're so sincere?!"

Together we can move forward towards our ultimate goal: A world without cancer!


Happy Birthday at Crossroads

I am very disappointed to miss tonight's "Doing the Thursday" 9 mile run from the Woodlawn T stop, up the hills and finally ending at Crossroads Tavern. Yes, there is plenty of fun to be had during and after this workout, but it can be tough! In my opinion, this particular workout, run on a weekly basis at tempo pace, is THE BEST WAY to train for the Boston Marathon.

Tonight will be a special night as the gang will be celebrating Barry's Birthday. Barry (a.k.a. "Barry the Liver Guy") is a retired marathon runner and was a top fundraiser for the Liver Foundation. Yoga is now his passion so perhaps we should be calling him "Barry the Yoga Guy"!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

2008 Campaign

Check out Kristina's (another DFMC runner) great blog for a commentary on how it would look if the presidential candidates were to run the Boston Marathon. Very funny and very clever!

My political views:

Run and Lunch with the Emersons, Alcotts and Thoreaus

In order to throw in a bit of adventure and freshness into my marathon training, I have decided to designate Wednesday as my "travel running workout". Each week I will venture out to one of the many charming New England towns, map out a running loop, and explore the area. There is so much natural beauty, culture and literary history right here in our own backyards and I am going to take advantage of it.

Concord was the designated travel spot today. The big challenge in "travel running" is mapping out a safe and scenic loop in advance. My sense of direction is fairly pathetic so I really need to research my loops and have maps in my pockets at all times. I tried running out on the trails at the national park, but it was just too slushy and muddy, a real mess , considering the unusually warm temps the past few days. My running shoes are disgusting right now. Note to self: save the trails in Concord for late spring. After a frustrating mile or so on the trails, I changed my plan and headed out on the roads for another 7 miles, ending at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. What a neat place! It was quite a hill workout getting up to Authors Ridge. I called my husband, Brian, while eating my packed ham sandwich explaining to him that I was having lunch with Ralph Waldo and his family. He loves me but, like many others, thinks I'm a bit nuts!

Concord also has a FABULOUS independent bookstore in the center of town and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to check out what their staff is recommending. At the end of my visit I walked out with a copy of Roland Merullo's novel, Breakfast with Buddha.

I would be most appreciative of those runners who can share information about scenic loops in their communities. Next week....Sudbury and the Wayside Inn.

Monday, January 7, 2008

DFMC Fundraising To Do List

  1. compose 2008 fundraising letter about why I run with DFMC
  2. gather together addresses of friends, family members, and anyone I've ever met.
  3. purchase breast cancer stamps
  4. print out labels for enclosed self-addressed and stamped envelopes
  6. Enjoy the donations and responses of my generous donors
Exciting Children's Literary News of the Day:

Tim Ering, one of my most favorite illustrators and authors has just released a new picture book titled Necks Out for Adventure!. It is a charming story about Edwin the clam who saves the day when he rescues his mother and other "wiggleworms" from the dreadful fate of being steamed. I've had the pleasure and honor to meet Tim a handful of times and he radiates positive and creative energy. He has never run a marathon, but he's participated in at least one Falmouth Road Race. When I first heard the subject of his new book I questioned his ability to portray a clam, even harder- a belly and neck of a clam, as an endearing picture book character. Well, check this out -

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to eat steamers again!!!

Winter Trail Running

Despite staying up a bit too late watching Part 2 of the BBC production of Jane Eyre last night on television (fabulous version!!), I had a wonderful 5 mile run through the trails in Caryl Park (Dover) this morning with three of my Suburban Strider running buddies. Chris leads the pack with her black lab on Mondays and invites the rest of us, and our dogs, to run with them. I opt to leave Lilly, our mini-daschund, home on the coach where she spends 90% of her time. Lilly is a very good sprinter at short distances, but definitely lacks endurance.

There was quite a bit of snow and ice, and Chris was kind enough to provide me with a set of YakTrak. Our pace was somewhat slow as we navigated through all the winter messiness, but it was an excellent workout, very similiar to running on sand. And it's always nice to break up the regular road running routine.
I will try and pop over to Marathon Sports today and pick up my own YakTrak based on the fact that even the plowed roads can be very icey. I am not a big fan of indoor/treadmill ("dreadmill") workouts, so I would rather take on the ice and snow and whatever else the winter weather gods throw my way.
Our post run activity was lunch at our favorite eating place in Wellesley, Cafe Mangal. Their Mediterranean Salad is to die for!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

definition of bluestocking

A woman with strong scholarly or literary interests.
[After the Blue Stocking Society, a nickname for a predominantly female literary club of 18th-century London)

"The English term “bluestocking” meaning a literary woman evolved in the mid-to-late 1700s. Women of society were beginning to express their boredom with being sent off to do their embroidery, rather than being invited to engage in conversation with the men.

In about 1750, Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu (later called “the Queen of the Blues”) and her friends founded the first official bluestocking society in England. They invited learned men to gather informally with them to talk about books, literature, art and architecture, as well as places and events that interested them.

The story goes that this literary salon “enjoyed society in undress” — that is, in their more practical country clothing, most notably their blue worsted stockings. Hence, the term “bluestocking.”

Always ladies, never pedants, they regarded life with intelligence and common sense, formed their own opinions, followed their own tastes; and accomplished something towards the ideal of a gay and frank comradeship with brilliant and learned men.”

We owe a lot to these women!

13 miles/ mile 13

The weather conditions were just perfect (sunny, high 30's) for our 13 plus mile run out of the Mt. Auburn Club this morning. The club is approximately 2 miles from mile 22 on the Boston Marathon course. At that point we run down the hills to the Fire Station on the corner of Comm. Ave and Rt. 16 only to turn around and run back up those three lovely hills. My approach to running the hills is to pick up the pace and just get it over! And that last hill always seems so long. Runs of 13 -15 miles is a nice distance. It doesn't take too long (of course that is a relative term) and afterwards I'm not that sore. Runs longer than 16 tend to hurt, particularly in the lower back, and quite frankly I begin to get bored. Thank goodness for the DFMC camaraderie and lively conversations during those last dull miles.

Further down the course, at mile 13, is a wonderful independent bookstore, the Wellesley Booksmith, where I worked as a children's bookseller for close to 6 years. It's great to have my personal cheering section at the half-way point each year. I work a shift now and then, usually during the busy holiday retail season, so I continue to honor myself with the title of "children's bookseller". And there are some wonderful "intermediate" (that means ages 8 to 12 ) fiction with running themes. I am always on the look out for good fiction featuring strong girls to include in my list of books for the running and reading program I have developed for pre-adolescent girls called Fit Girls. I actually used the DFMC model when developing Fit Girls as it also combines personal fitness with community outreach. Running, fundraising and community outreach is a GREAT (and fun!) way to build confidence and self-esteem in both adults and children.

My most favorite kiddie running book is Heartbeat by the fabulous award-winning author, Sharon Creech. Running is the one constant in twelve year-old Annie's world as she deals with a variety of changes, including the birth of a sibling , the distance of a friend, and her grandfather's illness. Runners and readers of all ages will appreciate this small gem of a novel.

Friday, January 4, 2008

After completing my first marathon and bandit Boston Marathon run in 1995 (finish time: 3:45) I realized that I had caught the running bug as I crossed the finish line and couldn't WAIT to do it again next year. I also was impressed and inspired by all the runners who combined the goal and challenge of tackling the marathon distance with fundraising for important charities. My first "official" marathon was the 1996 Boston Marathon with the wonderful Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. The 2008 Boston Marathon marks my 13th year running with this amazing group of runners raising funds for an amazing institute and hospital. And over the years I have discovered that the individuals who choose to run a marathon with a charity are typically fun, interesting, intelligent, kind and socially responsible individuals. In other words, Good People!! In fact, I would say that I consider the DFMC team, which includes all the patients, their families, survivors, doctors and loved ones we have lost, to be my extended family - a group of people with whom I am honored to be associated.

It was great fun to see my Boston marathon times drop significantly those first couple years. My 1996 finish time was 3:21 and in 1997 I was THRILLED to break 3 hours with a finish time of 2:57. Alas, those big PR jumps came to pretty much of a halt, but I was able to maintain a sub 3 hour pace for some time -with my PR marathon time of 2:53 in 2003. Now that I am 43 and in the Masters Division I would be very happy with finishing at ANY pace! But enough about times and pace - what I MOST LOVE about running the Boston Marathon with DFMC is making a difference in the lives of those who have been touched with cancer along with the thrill of watching our "freshman" runners finish their first marathon. Tomorrow we have our first group run out of the Mt. Auburn Club in Cambridge. Here was go again....
This April I will be running my 26th marathon. In 1995 I lined up at the "back of the pack" of the Boston Marathon as a bandit runner not knowing what to expect. That experience changed my life as it has taken me down a long, winding and exciting road of running, reading and fundraising for a variety of great causes! I am new to the world of blogging, yet this too will be a new and interesting adventure. More to come....