Running All Over the Place: Training Recap Weeks 4 & 5

It’s Thursday night, the kids are asleep, and the pupper and I are watching “This Old House” on PBS. It’s as good a time as any to update the ol’ blog.

The old “This Old House.”

Sidenote on “This Old House”: Bob Vila was a fixture of my childhood. Do you think he knows he won over a generation of toddlers with that winsome smile and “young Santa” swagger?

Back to running. You know you have been busy when you have to pull up the Garmin Connect to remember last week’s runs. I wasn’t slacking off, either. Important stuff was competing for real estate in the ol’ memory bank. For instance:

  • The 21st anniversary of my dad’s death from mesothelioma. He was 63. Last night I dreamt about him wearing a pair of ill-fitting sunglasses. Fuck if I know what that means, but hey, “Thanks for visiting, Dad!”
  • Gathering up and donating bags of winter clothing for the refugees that have relocated to Lowell, MA. I don’t want to get political here, but these are families. It’s unreal what they’ve been through.
  • Searching for, and finding, the perfect anniversary gift for my husband… Last minute. Sorry, hun! I think you liked it, though. Right?
  • Playing outdoors at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary with my oldest best friend and all of our kids on Friday. It felt like a spa-day for my soul. So good!

I can feel your impatience with me mounting, internet. Get to the running already!

All three of my mid-week runs last week were with dogs. Two sunrise runs with Bails, and one afternoon cut-out-of-work-early run with Stan.

Friday. I brought both Bails and Stanley to Breakheart because Stanley is a breeze off-leash on trails. Turns out Bailey is too, so I wouldn’t have any hesitation taking them both on hikes and trail runs in the future. They are far from an effective security detail, however. We abruptly encountered one lone male runner in a fairly remote section of the reservation and what did the dogs do? Bound right over, tails wagging. The guy seemed unphased and pleasant enough. I was totally unnerved.

Running with the pups was fun, but I was really looking forward to the weekend so I could log some quality miles in my favorite running locale, Cape Cod.


View of the Bass River from West Dennis, MA.

Saturday. I did my favorite 5 mile loop through West Dennis with an average pace slightly under 9 min/mile. This qualifies as a tempo run for me. I felt stronger and happier than I did the last time I did the loop in August. This is another reason why I love this particular route. I know it like the back of my hand, but I do it infrequently enough that it’s almost like a personal fitness “check in.”



West Dennis, MA.

Sunday. A total wash out, literally. Driving rain and wind up and down the coast. We hunkered down with books and puzzles at my mom’s.


Monday. I drove up to Chatham (Cape talk for east) where Tri Friend and her kids were spending the weekend. Together we did 7 miles around this spectacular town. The wind from all of the storms that wracked the seaboard had yet to fully subside, and the hilly landscape was unrelenting. We bundled up, braced ourselves, and muscled through it. A long slow run was a great excuse to catch up.

Chatham, MA on Monday.

We are both at the stage of life where staying connected to friends is super challenging, but it’s also when we need our friends the most. None of us know what we are doing on a day-to-day basis. Our cup runneth over with issues: jobs, marriages, parenting, money, aging. We are in it, folks. Up to our (wrinkling) necks. All of us. And it still feels new, so to speak. It’s a little like whiplash, to have so many life changes pile on in a few short years.


Tuesday. Rest day.

Wednesday. Intervals! That’s right, this slow poke got her ass to the track. It went really well. I did 1 mile warm up, 6 X 400 meters, with a 400 in between each interval. No stopping. No walking. In total, it amounted to 4.15 miles. My interval speed appears to be approximately 7 min/mile (?). I don’t know for sure, because I haven’t figured out how to use my Garmin for intervals. My bad. img_5568

I did learn something on Wednesday night, though: that intervals on the track are much, much faster than on the treadmill. Setting a target pace and forgetting it is good when you need that assist, but not if you inadvertently set a pace that’s below your threshold! I really think it’s possible I’ve been under-estimating my potential in using the treadmill for speedwork. I dunno. It’s just as likely my Wednesday night track workout was a complete fluke. Only time will tell.

Here are my upcoming races:

Spooky Sprint 5K: October 31, 2016

Friends of the Fells 5K Trail Run: November 6, 2016

Feaster 5 Five Miler: November 24, 2016

Gloucester Half MerryThon: December 4, 2016

Check out all those holiday runs. Who knew I had it in me to be so festive, such a joiner??

I took this! Ell Pond, Melrose, MA.

Are you running any holiday races to wrap up ’16? 

What are your thoughts on late-in-the-season half/full marathons? Dicey, or no?

What’s the best way to instill a love of the outdoors in your kids?







6 thoughts on “Running All Over the Place: Training Recap Weeks 4 & 5

  1. Great post…loved the recap and the pictures, looks like a beautiful area – reminds me a bit of the Pacific NW. Hey, I grew up in’s a medium sized town in a rural part of England, but you don’t hear that name too often over here! Just under 9 minute pace is about tempo for me as well right now so can totally relate. I’m all for fall marathons…the ones I find harder are the early spring – march/april because it means training through the dead of winter. And, they are usually in warm weather locations, like Hawaii…yeah, rough eh?!! Have a super weekend! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. James, you gotta check out Ipswich MA someday! The town is gorgeous, and really steeped in New England history, too. For a short time in the ’60s my dad was mayor of our little city of melrose, and he wrote to Melrose Scotland, our namesake. As the story goes, the next thing you know my parents boarded a plane and flew to Scotland to be treated like visiting dignitaries by the people of Melrose Scotland. I think they brought back some stone that was used to build one of the churches here? I don’t know, I’ll have to ask my mom. But cool story nonetheless. It’s. It called “New” England for nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is way cool…and when we make our MA racecation trip, we might just have to look up Ipswich! And, you guys of course 🙂 Great history on Melrose story, love it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your running locations look amazing! Cold to the CA girl but very pretty 🙂 I’ve never run a Christmas themed race- Turkey Trots on Thanksgiving yes. There is one Christmas race in the area in December but I am usually too lazy to get up that early in the cold. 🙂 I am considering a mid December 25k though- it just depends on what state I will be in at the time.


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