Thursday, May 5, 2011


Okay, so I didn't get a good night's sleep, but I managed a few hours, and just reminded myself of the article Pam read that said hardly anyone gets a good night sleep the night before a marathon -- many are travelling, too excited or too nervous to sleep. I had a good night the night before, and that had to pull me through the day.

We popped out of bed ready to get ready!!! We immediately went to our large picture window and saw not one rain drop on the ground! We had dodged a bullet. The weather forecasters were w-r-o-n-g. We were going to have a rain-free day; we just knew it!

We toasted bagels and lightly spread peanut butter on them (the healthy kind for Julie - the yummy kind for me). Got out the Glide, got dressed, and visited the bathroom... Julie got her pre-texts ready to send at different mile markers, and we had fun editing what she would report.

Just as we were getting worried about Pam & Elizabeth showing up, there was a knock on our door. There were there and ready to roll!!! (well E was ready...Pam, still not so much!)

Still no rain coming from the skies -- so cocky were Pam & Elizabeth that they left the plastic ponchos in Tom's car. Julie and I left ours in the room, and we all headed downstairs to walk to the Start! EXCITED!!!

Stepping off the elevator, we notice people fussing with plastic ponchos -- putting them on, as if there is RAIN outside...and a short walk toward the front doors confirmed it for us. We walked outside, and the rain was coming down fairly steadily. We had about a half mile walk to the start of the race. Julie and I ran back upstairs to grab our ponchos, and Elizabeth & Pam got plastic garbage bags from the hotel staff. Off we walked, all covered up, following the throngs of runners to the start (hoping that whoever was in the front knew where they were going). :)

As we made our way slowly to the start, we tried to figure out how to get to our corral (or pig pen as they called them that day). Before we could get to the right place the race started, so we just walked in where there was an opening and headed toward the start.

Elizabeth was NOT going to let me and Pam hold back a second or two so as to finish with a better time. She insisted we all lock arms and go thru the start together. Off we went! It seemed a slow start because there were just so many people. I felt like we couldn't run our pace as we threaded our way around walkers and runners that were slower than we were. But still, off we went, filled with excitement (or dread, in Pam's case).

Over the bridge in to Kentucky while the rain steadily fell on us. After running with the ponchos for about a half mile, we all, one by one, got rid of them -- easier to run without them, and we were going to get wet so might as well just embrace the rain.

There were some brave souls cheering us on in the rain, and a few bands that played in the shelter of awnings and between buildings. They were great fun to listen to!

The rain slowed down eventually, but I'm not exactly sure when. I don't remember it bothering me, so it must have been pretty early on.

We approached mile 5 looking for Jeff & John as well as Julie's kids Liam & Caitrin. We noticed Jeff & John on the left side of the road. What a welcome sight! We gave them high 5's and big smiles and went on our way.

At about the 5.05 mark, who do we see again, but Jeff! He tore down the street to greet us a second time. He is a nut.

The Mile 5 fluid station appeared and Julie found her kids. Liam gave her a big hug and twirl while Caitrin reminded her that she doesn't like Gatorade! What a fun stop for her, and seeing everyone definitely pump us all up as we headed up toward the major hill of the race. It's never as bad as we think it's going to be, and gets easier each time. Pam was feeling good, Elizabeth was going strong, and Julie and I were running up the hill excited to reach the overlook. We got there and once again enjoyed the beautiful view of the river, bridges and Kentucky. It's prettier on a dry, sunny day, but it was still nice...and nice to have the major hill out of the way.

The next few miles were fun -- lots of twists and turns, and I knew we had friends to find around mile 8 so that gave us something to look forward to.

Judy from IHN was right where she said she would be -- outside St. Ursula church in her bright pink outfit. I screamed her name and she excitedly cheered us on while we waved to her. Her smiling face was such a welcome sight.

Next we were on the lookout for Mary Reckman. Mary told us she'd be the one screaming and jumping up and down, and she did not disappoint. When I saw her and called out her name, that is exactly what she did. We ran over for hugs and thanked her for being so supportive.

Off we went, knowing the next time we'd see friends or family wouldn't be until around mile 16 in Mariemont. So we had to find something else to keep us going.

Miles 9-16

Pam started to feel tired and a little sick around the 9-mile mark, so we walked for a bit. Back to running, and around mile 10 we get a great surprise --Jeff & John make a surprise appearance! Needed it, needed it, needed it! We had been walking on and off, but were happy to be running when we saw them!

The next miles were tough. Poor Pam felt worse. We tried doing the 10/1 method, but it didn't help. She finally found a bathroom to use (thank you to those lovely people in Mariemont who let her use their home!) Hoping that would be all she needed, we started running again, but she still felt bad. We changed to the 5/1 method, but she couldn't keep up with that either. I can't imagine trying to run while feeling so sick to my stomach.

We spent the next few miles running and walking. We were greeted by the Parish clan at mile 15 -- always a welcome, smiling sight! Then we saw Jeff & John at mile 16 -- where they handed us Chocolate Buttercreams -- not really what we were looking forward to, but why not! They went well with the beer we were given around mile 11! (maybe THAT's why Pam got sick...???)

Despite Pam feeling so bad, miles 9-16 were so much fun. The crowds in O'Byronville, Hyde Park and Mariemont are the best! High Five's, screams of encouragement, fun and creative signs, bands playing, fluid stations competing to be the best (voted on by the runners). It was all just amazing. Just like my first marathon, I was smiling almost the entire time!

Things got worse for Pam, and after much deliberation and encouragement from Pam, Julie & I left her and Elizabeth -- feeling guilty and also somewhat relieved. We told them what we were going to do, and Pam was happy to see us go and actually thanked us. We took off and ran...using all the pent up energy we had from the last several miles. We ran 10-minute miles for the next several miles. It felt great. Lots of room to run and lots of energy to use up. The next thing we knew we were on the short stretch of Columbia, sharing the road with cars! Leaving Columbia, around mile 20, I think we had used up all of our 10-minute mile energy! But we still felt good and continued to run at a good pace. We even forgot to "hit the wall" at mile 20. :)

Eastern Avenue we knew the stretch ahead of us was going to be long.

Between miles 20 and 21.5, we were excited to be close to finished, but felt our bodies start to complain a little. Stories were hard to tell or even to listen to. We started to hear lots of noise up ahead -- it was the 21.7 party zone. I was pretty sure we'd find Jeff & John there cheering us on, and sure enough, we did! Always, always, a happy sight! So nice to see them and to know that the next time we saw them we'd be near the Finish Line!

The next few miles hurt (although in retrospect, I can't recall the pain...I just know that I wanted it to be over with!). We walked through some water stations -- extending the walking time with each one. Adding leg stretches to the end of our walks. Every mile marker we hit we talked about what that run was like for us during the week -- okay, just our regular 6-miler, okay just to Loveland, okay, just as far as we ran to our car after Elizabeth got hurt -- oh no! That seemed FAR!! Once we hit 24 we didn't stop we saw the light at the end of the tunnel and didn't stop again. We were too tired to talk or even listen to each other, but we kept up a good pace (confirmed by the spectator who shouted, "Great Pace, Ladies!"

After we passed Mile 25, it seemed like it would go so quickly...then, what seemed like a while later, we passed 25.2...still another mile! But unbeknownst to us, we must have picked up the pace, because we ran that final mile in 10 min 21 seconds! After going about a half mile Julie said, Oh Patrice, we still have far to go. I lied and told her that I thought it was only another 2 or 3 tenths -- In reality, I had NO IDEA! Somewhere along this last mile, the course went UP HILL. Really? Was that necessary??? :) We looked down and forged ahead. Soon the "Finish Swine" was in sight, and we also saw Jeff and John cheering us on from the sidelines! Welcome sights, both! The crowds at this point were AMAZING. Screaming and cheering us on. It was awesome!

Julie decided to sprint the last little bit -- didn't even give me a warning -- just took off like a bat out of hell, bound and determined to beat me...which she did, by a second! Her first marathon was a success! And so was my second marathon. All along I hoped to beat my time of 4:54:57, but after all the stopping we did in the middle of the race, I didn't think that was possible. I thought we might come in under 5 hours, but just barely. As it turned out, I ran it in 4:54:17, and Julie right in front of me at 4:54:16. Happy, Happy, Happy!!!!

The best part was how great I felt afterwards. I didn't have near the soreness of my first marathon. I could sit for a while and then stand up with no pain at all. My only problem was blisters on the bottoms of my feet, which hurt while we ran, but healed up quickly.

I am ready to do another!

Pam & Elizabeth ended up finishing strong as well. Pam finally got over her stomach problems, and they ran strong the last miles of the race -- meeting up with a cute young runner who asked if he could pace with them. They helped him finish and they all looked great!

Pre-Marathon Fun

Wow. So much to tell.

We had a short, last training run on Friday, and then we headed down to the Expo. Always a fun and exciting part of the marathon. We loved the ceramic pigs and piggy balloons. Our team photographer made sure we had pictures to mark the occasion, even if the pigs weren't in them!

We picked up our bibs and timing chips and then spent some time shopping and looking at fun running gear. Julie & Elizabeth bought sporty new hats -- Julie's had FINISHER embroidered on it -- We were sure it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy! We also stocked up on GU, other nutritional snacks, cute piggy ponchos (in anticipation of rain on race day) and then bought Pam's 26.2 magnet -- again, sure she would need it in a few days.

We picked up our official T-shirts, backpacks and posters and spent time admiring all of our goodies.

On Saturday, Julie and I, along with Jeff and John had a great pasta dinner at Bravo's. It was a beautiful day (a beautiful day to run a marathon too!), so we requested outdoor dining. It was so lovely to be outside and enjoy the company of good friends, while enjoying good food. A glass of wine would have made it perfect, but that wouldn't have been smart the day before the big run. (Oh, but it would have tasted so good!)

Before we left, Julie wanted me to go through her backpack to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything :) Shorts-check, Running Bra-check, T-shirt-check, Running Shoes-check, Running Socks-check. She was all set! I grabbed my backpack and toaster (!) and headed toward downtown.

We meandered our way from the Hyatt parking garage to the registration desk...taking longer than we felt necessary, but finally checked in and got the keys to our room - No. 833. Up the escalator, down the hall, and finally to our room. We opened the door, and the first thing we both see is a commercial wet-vac sitting in the entry of our room - we walk in and got accosted by the strong smell of bleach. Upon further inspection of the room, we find wet carpeting and the toilet running. Julie called the front desk, who offered to send up a janitor. No thanks...we want a new room. One that doesn't smell like bleach. We are, after all, running in a marathon the next day.

They finally agreed to move us, and sent up a bellboy with the key to room 1810. We filed back on to the elevator and went up ten floors to our room. Upon walking in, we both said. This is a smoking room. The smell of smoke permeated the room -- this would not due -- we are marathoners after all, and we don't want to inhale smoke all night. :)

I called downstairs...well, by now they were getting to know us -- and explained how room number two was unacceptable as well. After several minutes on hold we were told they were moving us to a King Deluxe room, and off we went to meet the bell boy again for our new keys. This time we took the elevator down to room 1608 and found a room with no offending smell and a beautiful view of the Ohio River. Success! About 40 minutes after we checked in!

Next up, preparing for Sunday. We unpacked our things. Put the toaster in place. Placed food on the desk and tried to remember to sip water in between.

We pinned the bibs on our shirts -- tried them on -- saw they were both pinned up too high and had to lower and re-pin. Next the timing chips had to be attached to our shoes. Finally we were ready. A few calls to John, Jeff, Pam & Elizabeth, and as night fell, we got more and more excited. Placed a wake up call with the front desk and set our cell phones...just to be sure.

Lights out, but then another hour of gabbing before we finally said good night. Let's hope for a good night's sleep...

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Unless the weather gods decide to spare us, it looks like we'll be running in thunderstorms for at least some portion of the day. There is now a 70% chance of thunderstorms in the morning. So I've wrapped my head around that fun fact that and am just searching for the f-u-n in all of that!

I am excited about the people who will be there to cheer us on. Julie's kids, Liam and Caitrin will be manning the 5-mile water stop. I can't wait to see them. They are always smiling and cheerful, so I know they will be a welcome sight.

Judy from IHN will be near St. Ursula church on McMillan -- around mile 8 -- after we've gotten to the top of the hill. Her sweet face will cheer me up, for sure!

A little further down the road, Mary Reckman will be at the Marathon/half marathon turn point, and has promised she will be the one jumping up and down and cheering us on the loudest. And I believe it. Mary is incredibly supportive -- This morning she stopped by my house and taped a good luck poster to my front window. Love that girl!

The crowds in Hyde Park and Mariemont are always great, and hopefully we'll also see various husbands and boyfriends along the way. We'll see, as the rain might scare them away too (wouldn't blame them!)

Tomorrow's our last trainig run (a little 3-miler) and then we're heading to the Expo to pick up our packets. Hope my next entry will be all about our wonderful experience!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The countdown begins

Six days until the PIG! We are ready!!! Well, sort of. E still recovering from her nasty, freak fall, and Pam still wishes she was back on her cruise. Julie and I are way too excited...I'm sure our excitement will dim around mile 18 or so! And for sure during the first few miles...Hate those!

We've had a ton of rain -- forecast for Sunday had been 60% chance of rain, but just changed today to sunny with a high of 79. Wish it would be cooler, but guess it won't be too bad when we start out early in the a.m.

Still figuring out the hotel situation and who will be down there to cheer us on.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I guess it wouldn't be a marathon training season without getting lost downtown at least once! Julie & I started our 18-miler at Sawyer Point. Pam couldn't join us because the poor thing was on a cruise, and Elizabeth had to work. We ran the same basic route as our 15-miler downtown several weeks ago, but we added 3 miles near Hyde Park so we could get 18 miles in.

Well that was our plan anyway.

I'll start at the beginning. We started out f-a-s-t! Julie wanted to get going to warm up and that we did. The first few miles felt hard, but eventually we made it to 7th avenue where I felt like I was finally in a running groove. The hill came next, and it's always a pleasant surprise that it's not as hard as I think it's going to be. We were rewarded at the top of the hill with a beautiful view of the city. We stopped for our usual photo shoot! (I'm sure Julie will insert a photo here!)

On we went through Eden Park and O'Bryonville with a quick stop at Bob Ronker's for water. Imagine our surprise when it was closed! I looked at my watch and saw we had run from Sawyer Point to there in 69 minutes -- 7.5 miles! I knew we were running fast, but that was a great surprise. Luckily for us the owner of the store heard as at the door and let us in for a quick drink of water. (He let us in, but not happily... They are so much nicer at the Running Spot in Loveland)

Then we were on our way, with Julie totally captivating me with a story as we ran through Hyde Park, and up Madison to Erie. Here's where I added some extra miles -- and also where we took a wrong turn (totally my fault!). We were supposed to turn right to get to Delta, but we turned left...and ran...and ran...and ran...until I started to get an uneasy feeling that we should have come to Delta already. But we kept on running, thinking it's going to be the next block. We were in an area that had very few cars driving by and no one outside. Finally we saw a car coming and waved for the driver to stop. They reluctantly opened their window and told us they had no idea where Delta was. Not a good sign. So then we stopped someone else, and she also wasn't sure, but pointed out a mailman down the road and suggested we ask him. Off we ran to the mail truck to find a nice, young man who confirmed to us that we were running in the wrong direction, and that we were off by 3-4 miles. DARN!

Hard to swallow that little piece of information, but we turned around and headed in the opposite direction. We saw another mail truck and stopped to ask him...Just to be SURE. He confirmed what the first guy told us, but said Delta was more like 5-6 miles away. WHAT??? So we were going to end up adding 10 miles to our 18 mile run...Why that's more than a marathon!!! What to do!!!!???? Well, desparate times call for desparate measures, and I told Julie I was going to stop someone and ask them to drive us back. Yep, the runner's equivalent to hitchhiking -- begging someone for mercy. I saw a Lexus SUV coming out way and took a chance -- A kind, elderly lady was so surprised that we trusted her! She was sweet and mentioined that she had just "run" the mini heart marathon, "but she just did the 5K walk...but could have gone further." Cute. She got us back to the point where we took a wrong turn and we were on our way to Delta again...which came up in under 10 minutes.

Far from feeling defeated, we were on our way again and happy to see Delta so soon! It seemed the the next several miles flew by until we got to the dreaded Eastern Avenue. For some reason, it seemed easier for me this time around. For Julie it was more difficult, but we made it back to our car, thankful we had parked on the east end of the parking lot.

We both felt good -- I seriously haven't felt that good after a long run ever. No soreness whatsoever. I am happily looking forward to the marathon. We're going to have a blast!

Elizabeth returns...

Our March 30 run saw the return of Elizabeth to the running trail! We are happy to have her back! Our plan was to do another 18-miler using our 5/1 method to ease Elizabeth back in to running and to see if Julie's legs would cramp up again (they didn't! Yeah!).

Jeff drove us up to the Y (tight squeeze in our Honda, as I forgot we didn't have Elizabeth with us the week before!). Amy joined us for the first 8.5 so she could run off some of those fancy drinks she had on her cruise.

My take on running this method is that I love it toward the end of the run, but I find myself thinking about that 5 minute beep too much - as opposed to just running without thinking that I will have the opportunity to stop in another minute or two. A part of me feels like we are cheating, but if our time is about the same (or even quicker) why do I care? (And yet I do!)

The Y to Loveland and back run is so easy and convenient, but it's so boring, especially during the week when there aren't too many other runners out there.

I can't really remember much about this run! I should have written sooner. At the end of it, Pam (yes, Pam!) suggested we go another mile out and back so we can have our 20-miler done. Julie felt up for it, and I went along for the ride (not too thrilled to do so I might add). Elizabeth took a pass on it, but she did great for not having run in 4 weeks. It was a difficult two miles for me, but I made it. Julie & Pam felt great and had little or no leg pain the rest of the day. I wish I could say the same!

I'm sure there are other things to talk about, but I just can't remember much about that run. will try to add more later. Ladies, feel free to add your comments!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Run 5, Walk 1, Run 5, Walk 1...

Elizabeth is still out and couldn't join us for our long run. Here's hoping her lung/rib is feeling better very soon! We tried something different this time around. Instead of running the entire 18 miles, we did a run/walk method that supposedly helps you keep your pace steady during your entire run. For the entire time we were out there we would run for 5 minutes and then walk for 1 minute. It was an interesting experiment. We finished in 3 hours and 10 minutes -- a pace of 10:33 per mile. That is a good pace for us for that long. There's something about all that walking that makes me feel like we are cheating, but still, we covered the same amount of miles - possibly in less time than if we had run the entire 18 miles. When I ran the pig in 2007 I was at a pace of 10:54 when I hit the 19 milemark, so this was a bit faster. My legs were sore, but not unbearably so, and I felt happy that we were averageing in the tens the entire time. I know Pam enjoyed being able to breathe better, and I'm not going to lie - I started really looking forward to our watch beeping every 5 minutes! (thank you Amy!) And poor Julie - her legs started cramping up toward the end. We are chalking it up to dehydration. Speaking of Amy, she joined us for the first 8-1/2 miles, and it was grand for us to have the company. Of course, we did have to hear all about the cruise she was leaving on the next day. But we're so happy for her to be enjoying the sunshine while we enjoy beautiful March Cincinnati weather (cold, gray, SNOW!!!) I can't remember if anything else exciting happened on our run. We ran from the Countryside Y past Loveland by a mile and then back to the Monkey Bar. Same scenery most of the time - trees, bushes, the Little Miami River, a bridge here and there, and finally some greenery :).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Long But Happy 17

Wow! Shorts-running weather today after the snow covered run attempt yesterday.

The bike trail was filled with runners and bikers, couples out walking, families enjoying our, I mean the, beautiful bike trail. It was nice to have other people around, since it was just me and Pam running. Any diversion helped (except for the two women that passed us going sooooo much faster than we were). Rude!

Once again, hydration was an issue. We ran 4 miles toward Loveland and planned on getting water at the Running Spot. Unfortunately they don't open until 10am, and we got there around 9:45. So we ran another two miles -- actually 2-1/4 because we didn't see the right mark to turn -- and then headed back to the Running Spot that was now open. That means we didn't drink anything for the first 6-1/4 miles. We then had to go another 4 miles to where we had water and gatorade near our cars. Poor Pam started getting really light-headed so we kept the gatorade with us, and tried a new running technique - run for 3-5 min and then walk a minute. It seemed to help Pam out a lot, and it sure made me feel stronger during our running as well. We also had more water hidden, 2-1/2 miles down the road, so that helped too.

The last 2-1/2 miles were so much easier than miles 6-15. Not sure why -- the water, the run/walk method or what. But felt great, and we ended up running 17-1/4 miles. I felt great afterwards. Not stiff or sore at all.

The Long Run That Wasn't

It started out as as a 16-miler, and ended up with Elizabeth doing 6-1/2, Pam going 2-1/2 and Julie and I going 5. ...Huh? Elizabeth was in a time crunch so did her first 4 without us on her treadmill. We then met at the Loveland Bike Trail and headed out. After 2-1/2 miles we came upon this: (Julie, insert photo here!)

Elizabeth suggested we just turn around and run in the other direction -- a perfectly acceptable thing to do, but the rest of us thought we could easily get around this mess. Patrice -- not known for being particularly graceful -- somehow made it through pretty easily -- without a scratch, in fact. Then poor Elizabeth slipped on a snow covered branch and fell in to a very sharp, very large tree trunk. It had broken off and come to a point, and that is where Elizabeth's side hit. She was immediately out of breath and in a good deal of pain. Luckily it was another gray, cold day here in Cincinnati, so she had several layers of clothing on -- so no puncture and no blood, however, we were very concerned about a cracked rib or punctured lung since she was in so much pain.

Pam offered to call 911, but E didn't want us to do that. So Pam & Elizabeth started walking back toward our cars, while Julie and I sprinted (yes, I did say SPRINTED) the 2-1/2 miles back so we could drive back to pick them up. And do you know what we figured out -- even sprinting, it takes longer than 10-15 minutes for us to run 2-1/2 miles. It seemed to take forever!

Finally made it to my car, and now the fun begins -- driving down the bike trail, which is not really meant for vehicles of the 4-wheel variety. After squeezing across the bridge, we were off, with both of us wondering how I was going to turn the car around once we got to them, as there was a sharp, drop off to the right (all the way down to the Little Miami River) and soggy, soft ground and a ton of bushes and trees to the left.

Pam directed me on the turn around and after driving forward and backward and turning and creeping forward (way too close to the drop off for my liking), I was finally facing the right direction. Here we are, ready to get going! Even in tragedy and injury, we manage to see the fun in what we are doing!

Off to Urgent Care we went to get Elizabeth looked at. Of course she had no identification or insurance card with her! After calling Tom a dozen times so he could fax the info in, he finally answered his phone -- not too happy that we were interrupting his meeting, until he heard the reason why.

At this point Elizabeth was still in a lot of pain and was shaking while waiting for the doctor. You can only imagine how thrilled the doctor was to walk in and find our sweaty little group waiting for him. X-rays showed no cracked ribs (yay!), but a black area that could possibly be a ********** which is fancy talk for a punctured lung. Although it may fix itself on its own, the doctor strongly advised that she needed to get a CT Scan to see it more clearly and determine what should happen next. So, off to Arrow Springs hospital to get that taken care of. We were a motley looking group, and we hoped our appearance might get us in and out of there quickly, but that was not the case. We helped Elizabeth fill out her paperwork, and she willingly signed anything we put in front of her. Finally they called her in, injected her with the dye, and took the CT Scan. Then more waiting for the results.

Tom finally showed up at this point, so Pam, Julie & I left them to wait for the results, which were, happily negative. The puncture had most likely fixed itself with her normal breathing, but she left the hospital armed with muscle relaxers and pain killers.

Julie and I ended our adventure with lunch at Tabby's, while Nurse Pam went back to work. Elizabeth and Tom, who were supposed to leave for Chicago at 11:00 missed that deadline by several hours, but luckily they found a ride for Nicole with another family. I hear they caught up with her later that evening. :)

Four busy schedules make it impossible for us to run a long run together in the next few days, so Pam and I are running Saturday and Julie by herself on Sunday. Hopefully Elizabeth will be able to run very soon.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The entry in which I complain

I am tired of ankles so sore that when I wake up in the morning, the only way I can get down the steps is the go sideways, step-by-step.

I am tired of watching what I eat. I love food. I love the Unos pizza Montana and I had over the weekend.

I am tired of putting on layers of clothes to run.

I am tired of gray days.

I am just plain tired!

Did I mention my ankles? I am worried about what I am doing to them. And hoping that they don't give up on me before the marathon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sweet 16!

Patrice: Our 16-miler was relatively easy (really...did I just say that?) Our lovely chauffer, Amy, drove us to the Countryside Y in Lebanon. We couldn't convince her to run with us, and so she headed off to show off her swimming prowess at the pool.

We ran from Lebanon to Loveland (12 miles) and then back to Maineville to get in our 16. Most of the run was completely f-l-a-t. LOVED IT! Pam had strategically placed water and gatorade in several places so we stayed hydrated and full of energy. We also used Gu at a couple of places. (The consensus was that we liked the Tri Berry flavor the best.) It was a pretty uneventful run with the exception of a flock of wild turkeys that ran in front of us around mile 9. We stopped at the Running Spot at mile 12 where they let us have water and use their restroom, then it was a 4-mile run back to our cars, parked near the Monkey Bar. We all agreed that the last 4 of the bike trail were a lot easier than the last 4 miles last week along Eastern Avenue. Not sure why, except maybe it was because we did quite a bit of hill running last week.

Even though the view didn't change too much, it's still a pretty run - lots of trees, the Little Miami River, grass starting to turn green, and good friends all around.

We finished our 16 miles in 2 hours and 45 minutes -- a pace of 1o minutes, 18 seconds per mile. There's something to be said for flat trails and speed!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Update

Patrice: The day after our 15-mile run was warm! Shorts-running weather warm, and I just couldn't resist running in shorts and a lightweight jacket. My legs still felt a bit sore, and I probably should have listened to my body more, but the training schedules we have all show runs the day after our long runs, so run I did, with Elizabeth & Amy. We did the "Landen Lake 6" in just over an hour. It was a nice pace, but my legs felt tired most of the time.

We filled Amy in on our 15-miler and told her we were running to the Lebanon Y for our 16-miler. She BRILLIANTLY suggested we start at the Y and run toward Loveland, thereby running DOWN those nasty hills that would have been toward the end of our long run. And she even offered to drive us to the Y and drop us off. What a great friend! (Though, it may be added that she did not offer to run with us - darn her!)

Pam & I ran 6+ on Friday, and I took Saturday off. So glad to have a day off of running. My legs needed it.

Ran by myself Sunday. An afternoon run, which is always a nice treat! (6 in 55 - was shooting for 54, but my body just couldn't do it!) Now looking forward to a few off days to get my legs ready for Wednesday! PATRICE THAT IS AN AWESOME TIME!!! (Julie)

Julie -- tell us all about your 9-mile run!

Okay! Not a lot to tell. On Saturday morning, I couldn't run until 10:00. I arrived at Mojo as the fast runners had returned from their morning 11. I picked up the 9 mile map and noticed that it was a straight shot from Mojo, up the Beckett trail (past Mulhauser Barn and Beckett Ridge). Ran across 747 at the Kroger's and McDonald's and then continued on Smith all the way to Tylersville. Turned around and ran the same thing back to my car.

I wore sweats and a long sleeved shirt, but no jacket, no gloves, no hat, no neck warmer. Feels so good to be lighter! I was amazed at how not a big deal 9 felt. Funny how long that run used to be! I ran it in 95 minutes which for me is very fast for that length. I attribute my speed to downhills on the way home, my iPod and sunshine.

Didn't run in the rain today and had to take yesterday off. So, I will be running tomorrow, despite the long run on Wednesday ahead. Hoping to do a short 5 tomorrow to keep in shape.

Can't wait to run the Lebanon Trail again! Miss you all!

Patrice: Don't go crazy on your run tomorrow, girlfriend! You are going to need those legs on Wednesday!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

4 x 15 (ish)

Julie:This is the map of our run. To drive it would take awhile, what with the various crossings, lights, neighborhoods, and eventual final stretch on Eastern. To run it—two hours and fifty minutes.

We started grumbling about rain, too much to do at home, and the inevitability of having to keep moving for 170 minutes. It's daunting. But at least the weather cooperated. We had forty extra degrees to work with compared with last week's 14 miles in 10º weather. This time, we started in upper forties and ended in the low fifties. Ideal. The sun waited to warm us until our cool down, which we appreciated.

It didn't take me long to get in the right mental space. For some reason, starting at Sawyer Point and then running along the river front past US Bank Arena, Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium put me in this incredible mood. We rounded the first big turn watching a train above us sit stationary on the trestles and I thought of the state inspector, like I always do when I see trains.

We entered a shady area where the sidewalks had cracks and Elizabeth had to wave us off of broken concrete, scattered rocks and elevated manhole covers. We trudged by a prison, inmates indoors. When we made the turn to 7th, we discovered that we had to make an adjustment in our map to avoid being crushed by cars ramping to the freeway. Once safely across 7th, we jogged through downtown and a couple of homeless people cheered us on after asking for spare change. One woman yelled, "You're doin' great, ladies!"

Time flew by (for me). When we got to Reading Rd, I realized I hadn't even thought once about running. We waved to the castle HQ for WCPO and then began the first ascent of the long run. Patrice had warned us about it and we were prepared for it to be a doozy. It wasn't. In fact, the ascent to Eden park, past Mirror Lake and Krohn's Conservatory, felt like a comfortable steady incline with enough relief here and there that none of us were breathing hard at the top.

We stopped in Eden Park for a quick triumphant photo:

I snapped the following as we got back under way (I take my role as team photographer seriously!). Patrice is running, I promise. In fact, her sly low-kick style enables her to out pace the rest of us every single time! A common comment throughout our runs is, "Patrice, slow down!" We take turns attempting to rein her in.

After we left Eden Park, with Elizabeth suggesting we return some day for a picnic, we headed to our mid-point destination. We did so by running to Madison where that gorgeous church is on the corner. To get there, we had to decide whether or not to obey traffic lights (an ongoing question throughout the run—to jay-run or catch our breath during a stop light!) and how to dodge construction workers, wet cement and varieties of yellow tape and orange cones. Pam, the ever-law-abiding, and I used all legal crossings. Patrice, the renegade speedster, and Elizabeth did not.

With all this distraction, I continued not to even remember that I was running. Exhilaration!

We turned down Madison and made our way to The Running Spot where the workers let us drink water and use their bathrooms. One worker told us we were ahead of schedule—that the Running Spot runners were running 13 this weekend. In the way of marathoners, we were gratified to be ahead! Might be our only claim to competitive edge for the duration.

Once watered, we all took a squeeze of lemon chiffon Gu (not the nicest flavor). On we ran, through Obryonville and into Hyde Park. We remarked on changed stores and old shopping habits. Words were starting to come out wrong. I made some comment about texting everyone on my camera and it took a moment to even figure out why that sounded wrong.

Suddenly, we were confronted with an enormous hill! Steep! Straight up! Accusations of "Liar" flew as we berated Patrice for not knowing every inch of the run she mapped. (It's a habit of lazy runners to blame the kind-hearted diligent soul who prepares the run and frankly in this case, Patrice could simply outrun us and leave us destitute to our mapless condition, if we were too bull headed. Instead, we huffed and puffed up the hill, silenced by the steepness and need for oxygen.)

At the top of the hill, we were then treated to (I use that term loosely) a steep, impossible-for-the-knees, descent. Elizabeth told us she would google us some message and we realized she wanted to email us. But we couldn't remember the word and the whole mess of language that included random uses of phone, camera, texting, email and google made us laugh so hard, I did pee a little. You really do lose your words when running.

The last stretch past "The Precinct" restaurant and up to Eastern Ave. continued our return to Ohio River level. Unfortunately there was nothing to look at for the next 3.8 miles. Did I say nothing? Well there were broken bottles, random chunks of cement, rocks, asphalt and the uneven surfaces of sidewalks. Eyes glued to the ground, in any case. Pam got short of breath and we took a couple of brief breaks with 10-20 yards of walking here and there to regroup. We agreed that water and snacks of some kind are imperative next time. A little rain sprinkle revived us. We noticed that purple is a popular house color along the river. Garish purple. That helped.

Finally, we re-entered Sawyer Point (the park) and were heartened to see runners in SHORTS! Men pointed out how little farther we had to return to get to our cars. By the time we got to the Boathouse, we ran just a little longer and then collapsed into these poses:

We did get lost looking for our cars and wondered if our legs would take us any farther, when just like that, we saw the lot. We had overshot it, but were so grateful to see wheels. Turns out with the extra walking, we did pass our 15 mile mark and we are proud!

The Wednesday run was the most glorious run of my life! The sights, the friends, the weather, the sense of well-being that rushes in at the end...!

I love Cincinnati. It's such a cool city to see at ground level. I wish more people knew how wonderful it is. I heard on TV the other night that Cincinnati is looking to brand itself as a Mecca of the Arts for mid size cities. One thing that struck me on our run is just how beautiful the old architecture is, and how nice it is to have Mt. Adams to house the art museum and playhouse, botanical gardens and Eden Park. There's a lot here. I love that the Flying Pig can show it off!

So, 15 down! On to 16 next week.

Patrice: Thanks, Julie, for summing it up so well. I had a great time, and really enjoyed this run. The first 8 miles just flew by. The last 8...well, maybe not so much. Really, just the last 4 were hard. Eastern Avenue is not my friend and never will be. It seemed to take forever, and I felt sure I had read the map wrong and that it was more than 4 miles. Alas, it was only 3.8.

We got 15 in, and probably went about a tenth more because of a detour we had to take at 7th street. The extra tenth might have done us all in. Poor Pam was lightheaded and seeing stars because we did not take things like hydrating very seriously. I blame the coach! We only had one water stop -- at mile 8 -- and that wasn't near enough. Already have plans for more water, gatorade & gu spread out throughout our next run...16 miles on my mom's birthday! (Happy Birthday Mom - Love you! ♥)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Running with Deer

Is that a Kevin Costner film?

Guess not... it's a film in which running women scare deer into the woods with their swift feet and wind-like velocity. Observe!

Deer spots the women.

High-lifted feet cause alarm, as deer (nor human) has ever seen such 
striding among this marathoning crew.

Path cleared of threatening wild life, photographer emerges to capture the rest of the run.

Friday, February 11, 13º on the bike trail

Weekend News

Patrice: How'd everyone do this weekend? I ran six on Saturday, and I tried our old route around the trails of Landen Lake, Strawberry Hill & Woodfield...hoping that the snow and ice would be melted. Unfortunately there were still places that were quite icy, especially the hills of Strawberry Hill, but about 80% of the run was good. My time was 56 minutes, which I was happy with considering I had to walk through most of the icy areas.

Elizabeth and I ran for an hour on Sunday. Bike Trail STILL a mess in many places. Not sure how far we went because we couldn't see the trail markers (and we're not good at noticing them anyway without Pam or Amy with us). It was so nice to dress in just one layer and not have to deal with gloves, ear muffs, neck scarves and the freezing temps! Can't wait for an even warmer run this week! Next up: 15 miles downtown on Wednesday :)

Julie here: I ran the 6 on Friday with you all, 3 on Saturday (no time, so I just hoofed it to get something in before my day got away from me), and then 6 with hills at Sharon Woods on Sunday. It felt good to be in the sun. I'm moping today because I don't want to run in the windy cold any more! My body is rebelling!

The lake was filled with people to the point of occasional traffic jams between dogs, children, bicycles, clusters of friends debriefing about Valentine's day, marathoners, short distance runners, and every variety of walker. My least favorite part of THAT run was when a woman clearly older than me sped by me at a pace I couldn't catch, try as I might. She didn't appear to be going faster, but clearly she was! Drove me bananas! Additionally, this woman sported a blonde pony tail of high swingy, ends-all-matching quality while my brunette locks dripped with sweat and hung in disarray. Are ALL blonde runners faster than me? It's a theory I'm working on. Eventually, blondie turned onto a trail and vanished from sight. I thanked the invisible running deities for that small favor.

The path was very well cleared of ice and snow, except for the longest hill of the lake (if you go in the direction of the mile markers). I came up to it on my second pass and there was a veritable cascade of humanity descending it, including a runner with a baby in a three-wheeled running stroller. The narrow asphalt pathway was on my left and so since I was running UP the hill to most people's left (as they made their way down it), they expected ME to chug up the ice, slush and snow on my right. I had to dig the tips of my toes into the slushy ice to keep from slipping backwards. It was hard work and by the top I was completely breathless (and nearly vomiting). But I persevered. As I rounded the corner out of the lake area, to the path along the street, for some hair-brained reason I thought running up ANOTHER hill would be a splendid idea and so I diverted off the flat lake path to the nearly vertical hill with alacrity.

By the top of that one, I felt quite dizzy and quite proud, imagining Patrice's nodding approval. I live for that nod!

Galumphed down it back to the lake path and completed 6. Not record time or anything (66 minutes). Sad about that, but glad to do it anyway.

Today: jury is out whether or not I will run... I want to, sort of. And with that, I'll leave you in suspense.

Patrice here: Alacrity! I love it when you make me look up words! Happy to hear about your hill runs. Good job...nodding approval as I'm typing! :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I think we're amazing!

Despite frigid temperatures that barely made it in to double digits (less than that with the windchill), the four of us bravely met at Pam's yesterday morning to set off on our longest training run to date -- 14 miles. Wrapped in layers of clothing plus scarves, ear muffs, hats, etc., we ran to our water drop off point and then hit the roads of Foster's Point and the hills known as the Sibcy Loop. Despite blind curves, we managed to avoid all traffic (or should I say the traffic managed to avoid us). We made a quick stop for water after 7 or so miles, only to find that the water in our water bottles had frozen. Yes, that's right.

You know it's cold when after 10 miles we're still bundled up in all of our clothing. Normally after a mile or two gloves come off, ear muffs get removed and we run in comfort. It's definitely harder to warm up when it's 11 degrees, which made for a challenging run. We ran for 2-1/2 hours, and we were all ready for that run to end. (We're almost always ready for our runs to end!)

I don't know about the rest of my group, but I was pretty tired the remainder of the day. All I wanted to do was take a nap...but couldn't rest my weary bones and tired out muscles until well after 11:00 pm. But it's amazing how good we all feel by the next day. :)

Despite how hard a run it was, how cold we were, and how sore we were immediately afterward, I am already looking forward to our long run next week when we get to tackle part of the Pig route, including THE HILL! I can't wait!!! What about you guys?

Julie here: So glad you summarized the run! I've got pictures and will post them tonight. It was a tough run, but I'm so glad we made it. Today, legs feel pretty good, though I have a right glute that is still whining a little. I had a hard time eating yesterday, but made up for it today with Cheezits. :^) I'll get those photos up as my contribution later! Thanks Patrice!

Pam takes calls, even on long runs. ;^)

Patrice and Elizabeth set the pace.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


There seems to be an abundance of dread about tomorrow's run. We're meeting at 8:30, when the windchill is supposed to be something with a minus sign in front of it. And if that misery wants company, our trails are still not great for running so we'll have to hoof it through Foster's Point (b-o-r-i-n-g) and the Sibcy Loop (Dangerous!). I guess we could look at it as Flat (Foster's) and Exciting!! (Sibcy). We shall see. Happy that everyone is planning on keeping to our schedule and running, despite the weather. I'm even happier that there are 40 degree days in the 5-day forecast. Happier still that I get to run with amazing friends. ♥

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Worst run of the week

Due to the public (Facebook) inducements of Coach Mosby, I dragged myself out for an afternoon run in the pelting snowfall after Pam and I colluded to sleep in and skip the early morning run-in-the-rain. That meant I ran in wind and snowfall at 2:37 p.m., which meant running up and down hills in my neighborhood, leaping over chunks of snow-covered ice. Cars that drove by featured drivers who were clearly astonished or laughing uncontrollably at my absurd gear (ear muffs, neck scarf, and ski goggles).  Sometimes I felt like I was running in slow motion. I probably was.

I found the running to be quite difficult today - thigh muscles in the back finally complaining after nearly 35 miles logged this week already. But I did squeeze in my 5.0 (and possibly an additional 5/100ths in an attempt to ensure the true 5.0). I limped up the snowy ice-encrusted lawn and lunged through the front door. You'd think it was my longest run to date! (It most certainly was not.) But I did it and I'm glad.

Wondering if Pam got out there or not.

Skinny Trails

Thankful today (which has now turned to yesterday...) for the truck that drove down the Loveland Bike trail creating two parallel trails for us to run on. Single file we went using arm signals to point out the dreaded black ice, and jumping from one trail to another when necessary to avoid ice, built up snow and large sticks and branches. Whoever said training for a marathon was easy? (Well, I don't think anyone did.) We ended up only running 4 miles because our nice trails got covered over with too much snow. After two miles, we had to turn around and head back. Amy joined us today, and she always helps to keep us at a good pace, because she is a giver... ~Patrice

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Coolest cool down

Rocky sure approves.

Snowy Half.1 on Red Mill

Our long run happened to be on the windiest day of the year (yes, we're in February, so I mean, that's like a whole month of days to compare to). We had snow flakes blowing around our heads that we tried to catch on our tongues but mostly got trapped in our lashes and up our noses. I'm the un-stylishly clad runner in the red down vest. 

Our distance today was 13.2 miles and we made good time.


There are a lot of very amazing things that I could say about our 13.2 mile run today, but I am only going to comment that I am pretty sure I overheard Julie and Pam say something behind my back about zapping me with a pet-zapper! RUDE!! ~Patrice

Of course she dares to say that while I am uploading pictures of her backside. Ah the power of editorial control! ~Julie

So it's true! ~P

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Follow the leader

We have a follower! Welcome, Joules. You have put more pressure on us to contribute fun, witty and inspiring posts. Yikes. (We are counting on Julie to be the force behind all that.)

Ice day today in Cincy. Schools closed, runners still considering whether or not to give it a try. Black ice is the worst to run in, and we have a long run scheduled for tomorrow, so if I run, it will be a short one. Staying in my jammies for a while and watching movies with Montana would be so much more fun! What are the rest of you going to do?

Julie here: I got my cross training in by ice-picking and shoveling my driveway. It's a skating rink! No running for me today to save up for you all tomorrow. But one good thing: I didn't take a three hour nap after my long run yesterday. :^D I must be getting better at this running stuff.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Welcome to our training blog!

Meet the two intrepid marathoners who have already completed one Flying Pig and are urging the other two of us on. Coach Mosby is in green and her sidekick (who must always be on the left) is in white.

This blog will be the record of our running through sunshine, sleet, ice and snow. Hope you enjoy it!