May 30, 2011

Running from the Shin Splints (alias: S.S.)

The S.S.
The Shin Splints, aka S.S. are always trailing me, lurking around corners, trying to grab me, trip me up, slow me down.  I constantly have to stay one step ahead, outmaneuvering them at every turn.  I am always on the run, hiding from the S.S.
If I run outside, they harass me, attack me, assault me.  I shake them off and keep running.  I can tell that sometimes they think I don’t know they’re there, but I can feel them.  When they’re around, I have to tread lightly.  I knew they were going to catch up with me at some point, so I made a plan.
Two weeks before the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, I knew I had to get ready. So I cut back on my mileage and rested, relaxed, put my feet up.  I ran shorter miles. 
And I have a top secret weapon that the S.S. doesn’t know about: the treadmill!!! Uh huh, you heard me right. Treadmills have shocks, bounce, give!!!  It’s what’s been saving me the entire time I’ve been on the run, incognito, in hiding. I owe it a huge debt. It has helped me to escape the S.S. many times.
On the day of The Big Run, I’ll be down the road before the evil S.S. are even awake.  I’ll be across the finish line and half-way through my free beer before the S.S. realizes I’ve made it to safety. Muahahahahaha!!!!!

May 26, 2011

Power of Tension Blogfest

The Power of Tension Blogfest is on! It is hosted by Cally Jackson and Rachel Morgan.

What’s it about?
We all know that in fiction, tension is vital. Tension ramps up the emotional stakes for your characters and keeps readers burning through the pages to find out whether that tension is resolved. Tension comes in many forms – it could be animosity between family members built up over many years, sexual tension between strangers, or jealousy between work colleagues as they vie for a lucrative promotion.

We want to see how tense your fiction can be. Give us an excerpt (up to 300 words) from your manuscript or recently completed work (or just a random scene) that drips with tension and will tie us in knots wanting to know more. It doesn’t matter what the piece is about, as long as it screams tension.

And so here is my entry into the Power of Tension Blogfest. I modified a scene from the YA novel I'm writing (names have been changed to protect the innocent!):

This is only make-believe, I reminded myself, as he leaned in and softly touched his lips to mine. Investigating murder was proving to be dangerous on more than one level. We were only pretend lovers, and at Adam’s signal, we would bolt to escape the two goons who were following us.
“Do you think you can keep up?” I teased huskily. The feel of my body against his made my hands shake slightly.
 “That sounds like a challenge,” he said, kissing me again.
And that was the signal, which I had nearly missed. He grabbed my hand and we dashed across the sodden grass, sprinting toward a slit between buildings and into a rundown historic area.
As we raced through the twisting passageways, the corridors became almost cave-like; dark and damp, as we ran further and further, and ever downward into the maze of passages. I hoped we would be able to find our way out again.
It was impossible to tell how close our pursuers were, between the sound of our own harsh breathing and the mist and fog distorting the sounds that bounced and echoed off the stone walls.
The cobbled stones beneath us were slick from rain, and I struggled to stay on my feet. We had to hide, and quick. I hurtled around a corner and ducked into a dark stairwell, dragging Adam behind me. We tumbled further up the stairs, breathless, into the shadows. I fervently hoped that I hadn’t gotten us trapped. I peered into the alley below watching for the two men.
We waited. The only sound in the dark stairwell was our heavy breathing, when out of the shadows above us, a voice said, “Are you two going to sit in the dark all night, or are you going to come inside?”

May 23, 2011

Dozer the Dog Crashes Half-Marathon

Article first published as Dozer the Dog Crashes Half-Marathon on Technorati.

Dozer the dog crashed the Maryland Half Marathon held in Howard County Maryland, last Sunday,May 15, 2011, unbeknownst to his owners. Seeing the 2000+ participants run past his house around the five mile mark was just too much for him. He broke through the invisible fence and joined the fray.
The Goldendoodle crossed the finish line (See Dozer Crossing the Finish Line) after several stops at water stations, completing the final eight miles of the race in only 2:14:24. Not too bad for a 3-year-old with little experience.
Dozer received a finisher’s medal and hopes to compete in next year’s race, with permission from his parents. Next time he’ll be wearing a bib with a special number just for him - “K9.”

Dozer made his way home on Monday to his worried owners with sore paws and a bit tired. After a precautionary trip to the vet, he was pronounced fit.

The race benefits the University of Maryland’s Greenbaum Cancer Center.  Dozer liked running the half marathon so much, that now he has his own cancer research fundraising page at Dozer's Fundraising Site. So far, he’s raised nearly $1900.00.

May 20, 2011

What Are You Wearing Right Now?

This is me after my run.
If you are a writer and work from home, what are you wearing right now? You know who you are! 

The other day I had to laugh at myself when I realized what I was wearing. I had finished my run and was feeling pretty lazy and wasn't ready to hop into the shower yet.

So I pulled off my sweaty running clothes (without removing my running shoes), pulled on a sleeveless, RED cotton sundress, and since it was cold, I put on a long-sleeved, PURPLE thermal shirt over that.

My hair (unbrushed) was thrown up into a pony tail and kind of wadded up on the last twist of the hair tie so I sort of had a half-loop pony tail sticking out the side of my head.

Let me tell you, I was thankful that we live in the woods and rarely get company.  I wouldn't have wanted anyone to see me like that. 

So I got to thinking: what do other writers or people who work from home wear during the day?  I'm grateful that I don't have to get up and go through the whole nylons-heels-dress routine (for now anyway), which I've done for most of my life. I really need to finish and sell my novel so that I won't ever have to go through that whole dressing-up routine again!

Does this sound familiar to anyone out there!?

May 18, 2011

Running Conversations With Myself

When runners are running, they have nothing to do but think. About all kinds of things! Some people think about work, family, relationships, bills, money.

It’s amazing the things I think about when I’m running. Like, who says 51 is old?! When I see a patch of bright green grass, it still makes me want to do a cartwheel. When I hear good music, I still want to dance. When I accomplish a goal, I still want to celebrate. My heart is TOTALLY in it. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t always cooperate. But I still want to try...

Mile One

Me#1:     How come I’m tired after only ¼ mile?
Me#2:     I think you didn’t warm up enough – you know,  enough to expand your lungs?
Me#1:     Yeah, you’re probably right. I only do a ¼ mile warm up to begin with. I don’t want to warm up too much though, cuz then I’ll be too tired for my run, you know?
Me#2:     Yeah, right.

Mile Two

Me#1:     I’m really sweating, should I be sweating this much?
Me#2:     Yes. You’re running – when you run, you sweat.

Mile Three

Me#1:     I’m really tired - I might need to walk a little bit.
Me#2:     No, keep going. It’s okay to be tired. When you run, you’re meant to get tired.
Me#1:     Bitch.
Me#2:     What?
Me#1:     Nothing.

Mile Four

Me#2:     I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down. Pissing the night away...
Me#1:     I like that song.
Me#2:     Me, too.

Mile Five

Me#1:     Do you think I’m too old to do a cartwheel?
Me#2:     *sigh* Yes.
Me#1:     But I want to. I want to do a cartwheel at the finish line when I do the half marathon. To celebrate.
Me#2:     You haven’t practiced doing cartwheels and if you start practicing two weeks before the run, you’ll probably pull a groin muscle and won’t be able to run at all.
Me#1:     I suppose you think when I get to the finish line I should do one of those old lady cartwheels, with my knees bent and my butt in the air?
Me#2:     *sigh* I don’t think you should do it at all, but if you want to make a fool of yourself, go ahead.
Me#1:     Bitch.
Me#2:     What?
Me#1:     Nothing. What about dancing? Do you think it would be alright if I dance at the finish line?
Me#2:     *sigh* IF the band is still playing by the time you get there.
Me#1:     Bitch.
Me#2:     What?
Me#1:     Nothing.

May 16, 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine Blogfest

Here's a little fun for the day.  I'm taking part in That's Write 's Laughter is the Best Medicine Blogfest.  Be sure to go to her site and check out the jokes (after you've read mine, of course).   

How many science fiction writers does it take to change a light bulb? 

Two, but it's actually the same person doing it. He went back in time and met himself in the doorway and then the first one sat on the other one's shoulder so that they were able to reach it. Then a major time paradox occurred and the entire room, light bulb, changer and all was blown out of existence. They co-existed in a parallel universe, though.

How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb? 
Two.  One to screw it almost all the way in, and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

Okay, I posted two - couldn't resist!

Running the Shakespeare Marathon

Article first published as Running the Shakespeare Marathon on Technorati.

Theme marathons are the ideal running experience for runners just wanting to have fun or raise funds for notable causes. The Shakespeare Marathon is a course favorite for top club runners in Britain. It was first created in 1982 and organized by the Stratford Rotary Club in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and primarily benefits the Stratford Hospice and other charities.

Stratford-Upon-Avon is, of course, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, hence, the Shakespeare Marathon. As we all know, Shakespeare was an English poet (often referred to as the Bard of Avon) and playwright who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language.

What is little known, perhaps, is that William Shakespeare knew a lot about running – and perhaps was even a runner himself!

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start...‘Faith, I ran when I saw others run” (Henry V).
The line-up begins outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with a leisurely start time of 10:00 a.m. To aid in the fun, many of the contestants, participants and bystanders dress up for the occasion, often as The Bard himself.

These high wild hills/and rough uneven ways/draw out our miles/ and make them wearisome (Richard II).
For the most part, the course is flat except for Rumer Hill just outside of Welford. The runners have to negotiate the hill twice as the full-marathon is two laps; the half-marathon is just one. Most injuries reportedly occur on this long and steep descent towards Long Marston.

I would give a thousand pound I could run as fast as thou canst (Henry IV).  
This year’s marathon held on May 9, 2011, was won by Andrew Siggers, a rugby athlete, with a time of 2:37:41. Sandra Williams was the first woman to finish in 3:06:42.

May 13, 2011

My (Oh-So-Interesting) Job Description


·         Owner and sole contributor to the running blog, a lame but fun motivational blog for beginning and overweight runners.
·         Responsible for running three days per week in order to provide myself with more fodder and potential blackmail material to write about my inept running experiences.
·         Motivate and inspire other beginning runners through my own pathetic running experiences.
·         Responsible for recruiting followers and readers through rehearsing and performing pitiful faces and whining, thereby guilting my friends and family into reading my blog.
·         Obsessively Track the amount of traffic to my blog to reassure myself affirm that people are stopping by and reading about my crappy enormous progress.


·         Young Adult (YA) fiction novel currently in progress (no, really!).
·         Single-handedly responsible for the creative inspiration for my YA book series.
·         YA novel includes completion of six chapters of incoherent and confusing mesmerizing and enthralling young adult protagonists who work together to solve a murder mystery through their exceptional investigative abilities and in the case of one, the enviable ability to see and speak with ghosts.
·         Caretaker of impressionable young characters.


·         Author of the Top Ten Excuses Reasons Why I Can’t Write Today, the Top Ten Excuses Reasons Why I Can’t Run Today and Queen of Procrastination, conveniently filed in the receptacle beneath my desk for easy access.  
·         Served as the inspiration to the invention of butt glue as a means of keeping the procrastinating rear end in the chair in order to write more prolifically. (Warning: does not always work, please read instructions carefully and check for side effects.)
·         Instrumental in implementing the hugely successful weekly Starbuck’s meeting with key individuals (Me, Myself and I) in order to inspire further creativity while avoiding continual monotony, a serious side effect that is sometimes created by butt glue – see warning above. Cappuccino is an added benefit.
·         Experienced web surfer researcher.

May 7, 2011

Women (Over 50) Who Run

68 year old Dipsea winner
Melody Anne-Schultz

More than ever before, women’s health issues are a primary concern for aging baby boomers. Our mother’s and grandmother’s didn’t have the same advantage that we do today. They didn’t know about trans fat and saturated fat, or the effects it had on our bodies and health. Nor did they participate in any regular sports activities.

Conversely, women over 50 are more active now than ever before. In the past it was thought that 50 was too old to start a running program, but that is no longer the case. With proper attention given to the basics, women over 50 can actively participate in 5k’s and 10k’s, in addition to half-marathons and even full marathons.

A number of running programs are especially suited toward older adults seeking to be more active. The key is to begin slowly, perhaps with walking, and build up to jogging/running. Certainly older adults starting a running program should be more careful and place an emphasis primarily on their physical fitness with special attention paid to nutrition and hydration. A visit to a physician before starting any kind of exercise regimen is advised.

Keeping any health issues in mind, a running program can be specially tailored to the particular needs of the individual. Since older adult women are prone to loss of bone density and often suffer with joint problems or arthritis, softer surfaces such as a treadmill or specially designed soft running tracks found at many schools and parks can be used.

The reasons that older adult women are taking up running are many and varied. Besides not needing any special skills, pricey gear or athletic ability, running only requires a pair of running shoes, determination and time.

According to researchers at Stanford University, regular runners live longer and stay healthier. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that running is as good for bone-building as strength training, a vital “must” for active older women.

Christine Hinton, a running coach from Crofton, Maryland, says, “Virtually every system in your body benefits from running.” This includes both physical and mental elements. Running burns more calories than almost any other exercise. It tones the body and staves off stress.

A sports psychology consultant and assistant professor of athletic coaching at West Virginia University, Kristen Dieffenbach, Ph.D., says, “Your arms, legs, and breathing fall into a rhythm that eventually lulls your brain into a meditative “no-stress zone.”

Running also improves mental health. The area in the brain that is associated with mood becomes saturated with endorphins after exercise, creating what is called the “runners high.”

Although running has its critics, many of their issues are found to be myths. Some say that the relentless pounding is hard on the joints and even causes wrinkles.  However, the Journal of Anatomy has found that running strengthens muscles and ligaments, which in turn protects hips and knee joints. The reason that runners can be viewed as weathered is because they are generally thinner with less body fat, which can define wrinkles and make them appear more prominent. They also spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun which causes wrinkles. Sunscreen should always be used when spending time outdoors.