done did

when i decided to run 100 miles in 30 days back in july, i had no idea that it would conclude in northern california.

at first i thought it would be difficult to complete the challenge while on vacation, but i managed to run every day (to keep the miles from piling up toward the end).  i adopted a regular route–a flat four mile loop around the neighborhood where i was staying in berkeley. i was also able to run around lake merrit, and alongside the berkeley marina with todd.

while i was primarily concerned with keeping up on the miles, i was also worried that i might injure myself somehow before i could finish the challenge.  while i generally held it together since day one, the final two days had me wobbling around like a errant marble in the mornings.  fortunately, by the time the afternoons rolled around, i was feeling fresh and ready to run. i even broke my PR for the mile at 7:34 on one of those days.

friday was the 30th and last day of the challenge.  i made tentative plans to hit 100 miles on the golden gate bridge, but changed my mind after seeing photographs of the armstrong redwoods reserve.  that afternoon, we packed up the car and headed north to sonoma county.   on our way to the reserve, we picked up our friend, eduardo, in santa rosa.  when we arrived, the parking lot was nearly empty. score!

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after a quick pee-stop at the ranger’s station, we poked quizzically at the map where i would run, and then wandered into the woods.

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1,300 year old trees.  no big deal.

the running path, it turned out, involved a bridge, several hairpin curves hugging a steep ledge, a quarter mile of paved road, and a spongy, pine needle-y pathway flanked by gigantic redwoods.  i had to run four loops of the path in order to complete the last four miles of the challenge.

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holy moly.

for the first two miles, i did some starry eyed sightseeing. i’ve run across the brooklyn bridge at sunset, down the lakefront trail in sunny chicago, and over the golden gate bridge on a clear day, but this was probably the most beautiful place i’ve ever run through.  i kept an eye on the trail, but craned my neck at times to gaze past the trees ahead of me. beyond those trees were vertically sliced views of more trees, going on and on into the distance.  essentially, i was running through the forest moon of endor.

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here i am at mile three, super stoked to see todd, nolan, and eduardo cheering me on.


YES.  SO STOKED!!!1!1!!

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but seriously, guys.  i did it!

after hitting the 100th mile, i found myself standing alone on the path, out of breath, and dwarfed by the redwoods.  i had earlier learned that some of these fuckers have been around since the magna carta was signed in 1215.  that’s about 800 years ago. what did 38 year old tamara do?  run 100 miles in 30 days?  that’s nothing compared to living through centuries of plagues, wars, and famine.  but you know…what i did wasn’t nothing:

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humbled, sweaty, and at ease, i turned around and ran back to the start where everyone was waiting for me.  for the first time in 30 days, i didn’t have to keep track of my running distance.

now that i’m finished with the 100 miles challenge, i’m ready to take on something new.  i’ll still run, hovering around 60-70 miles a month, of course.  once i figure out what that will be, i’ll let you know.

in the meantime, i’m going to finish up my vacation with mexican food, movies and sleepy-times.

california screaming

84.4 miles down.  4 days to go.

friday of last week was flyday.  i also took that day as a rest day to recover from the week’s mileage (18.66).  i didn’t get to sit still, though–there were trains, trams and planes to catch.  the flight itself was uneventful.  nolan and i watched crappy in-flight movies and took lousy half-assed naps. we got in to SFO pretty late, but since this was nolan’s first trip to california, he was wide awake and super stoked. todd was there to greet us after we landed, and we were reunited as a family for the first time since late june!

on saturday morning, we had brunch at cancun, and took nolan on a tour of uc berkeley (todd’s alma mater).

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handsome boys.

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the weather in northern california takes some getting used to.  the sun is warm, not hot.  the air is cool and dry, not swampy.  i totally underdressed for the day’s activities, having come from nyc where it’s generally hot and swampy.   i made sure to stand in the sun whenever i got the chance.  i’m such a temperature wuss.

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not complaining, though.  it’s lovely here.

now that i’m almost through with the 100 miles in 30 days challenge (friday’s the last day), here are a few things i’ve been experiencing:

  • skinniness. i’ve lost weight.  family and friends are telling me i look thin.  i’ve been eating constantly, but it hasn’t been enough to keep up with the sudden increase in mileage.  problem solved, though–i’m in the bay area this week.  more sourdough bread and mexican food for me!
  • soreness.  i’m trying to keep injury at bay, so i’ve been holding back on fartleks and speed work. it’s hard because i really love sprinting
  • smelliness. my running clothes reek.
  • annoyance.  i hate my running playlist.  i’ve been too busy to swap out some of the songs i keep skipping over.  time to troll spotify and find new music.
  • longing.  i miss spin classes and other forms of exercise.

when i’m finished with the challenge, i’m going to scale it back and run every other day which should be about 60 miles a month.  what with nolan entering high school, and new routines for the fall, i think it’s a realistic goal.

we’re in california until sunday. i’ve got burritos to eat, 15 ish miles to run, and picturesque places to visit.  hopefully i’ll be somewhere pretty when i hit 100 miles.

i’m closing this entry with one of my (and everyone else’s) favorite dead milkmen songs that quotes other songs:

can we talk?

let’s talk about rain.

i hate it when it rains in nyc.  everything that is already difficult to do in the city is made even more difficult when it rains.  getting around sucks (both by foot and by train), and everything smells funkier than they already smell.

using an umbrella while walking the sidewalks of nyc is almost always a guaranteed failure of negotiation.  you WILL accidentally hit another person’s umbrella with yours and get splattered with rain water.  your umbrella WILL turn inside-out when the wind suddenly changes direction, and you WILL think you look like an idiot when it happens (and be right about it).

also, if you styled your hair in any way before leaving the apartment, it WILL end up hanging down the sides of your head by the time you get to work.  it WILL appear as though you did absolutely nothing to it.

run-stumbling down the soggy streets of manhattan seemed like a crazy pursuit, so i headed to the gym after work last night instead. the union square equinox has several woodway treadmills that have always jibed well with my fussy legs–which was perfect since my legs needed a break from the pounding they’ve been doing on the pavement.  once there, i hopped on one of the treadmills, and put four miles behind me. after finishing, i felt so good that i switched it back on and did hill repeats for a little under a mile.  not bad.

after staggering off the machine, i realized that my hair was all over the place and matted with sweat.  turns out that i let the rainy weather place me in such abject surrender to a “bad hair day” that i didn’t even care to remember put it up (like i always do) before i started my run.

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 ironically, my hair looks way better here than it did during the day.

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the commute heading back home was less hellish than that morning’s commute to work.  i was psyched to give zero fucks about getting soaked since i was coming home from working out.  plus, i felt pretty awesome in general.  those four miles were pain-free!

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 the drizzle let up just as i started walking home from my train stop. the sun also managed to make a quick cameo appearance between two storm clouds, dazzling myself and two other passersby into snapping photos of it.  with my umbrella tucked firmly under my arm, i walked the rest of the way home, smiling.

awesome & terrifying

58.08 miles down.  11 days to go.

on friday afternoon, i packed it up and hopped on a bus heading to maine. everything they say about greyhound is true.  it is truly the worst bus line to take.  the a/c busted on the first leg to boston and the driver was rude to everyone . the second leg of the trip ran over an hour late, and involved bellowing barefoot babies in diapers scampering up and down the aisle.  i also had the displeasure of sitting next to an insufferable woman.  she kept invading my personal space with her elbows of valyrian steel.  i was poked in the ribs five times!   it got to the point where i had to mash myself up against the window.

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oh so uncomfortable.

i took pictures to pass the time i spent pressed against the glass.

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as a kid, i used to pass this place on my family’s many trips down through boston from new hampshire where i grew up.  i always knew that we were “almost there” when we’d pass the iconic sand & gravel co.

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i was relieved to jump off of the bus in portsmouth, nh. sweet freedom!  farewell, lil’ miss pokey-poke and the diaper twins!  goodbye, smelly bus!  my dad picked me up at the station, and together we made the rest of the trip up to wells, maine.

once we arrived, i jumped out of the car and reunited with nolan. he looked like he grew over five inches since he left in july for grandma and grandpa’s. when i went in for a hug, his shoulder collided with my forehead.  surreal.

after settling in and unpacking, i wrangled my feet into my running shoes. desperate to shake the afternoon’s travel off of me, i took off down the lane, little dust clouds blooming behind my heels.

i took a hard left onto mile road. i’ve driven down mile road from my parents summer house to the seawall countless times, but i’ve never experienced the road as a runner. i could smell the familiar metallic scent of the saltwater marsh, delivered on the wind that skimmed across the tall grass. inspired by the scenery, i uncorked my earbuds and ran to the droning sound of chirping crickets.  i also chose to ignore the mild pain jabbing my calves while i made my way to the seawall.

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somehow, the coast of maine always manages to pull its shit together just in time for me to take a picture of it.

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i tried pulling my own shit together here as well, but i wasn’t as successful.  todd took a photo of himself while running earlier that day in berkeley, california, so i thought it would be cute to make an east coast/west coast photo collage. it didn’t come out so cute. i laugh-cried over it for a few minutes, as did todd.

the run itself was a fast one, and i was happy with my splits, but i was hurting.  it felt like my calf muscles were tearing away from my bones with each step i took.  i forced myself to take a rest day on thursday, but leading up to that point, i had run 9 days in a row.  rookie mistake.  of COURSE i hurt.  i didn’t give myself enough time to recover.

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after eating dinner, nolan, my sister and i walked over to the scoop deck ice cream shop.  it’s a yearly tradition of mine to reward/punish my gut with three large scoops of delicious black raspberry ice cream.  no regrets this time around.  a pound of ice cream in the belly is good for recovery, right?

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post ice cream shenanigans.

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i spent saturday hanging out with the family, barbecuing and playing with my baby niece.  in the late afternoon, i headed out for a run on the beach at low tide.  a slow run. from the very start, i was feeling sore in the calves.  while i happy to be running on the beach with the ocean wind at my back, i was kind of bummed out.

on sunday morning, we all headed to drakes island.  instead of sitting on the beach, nolan and i chased each other down the jetty. the gaps grew increasingly wider between the rocks on our way to the end, so i slowed down quite a bit halfway through.  nolan, however shuffled across them barefoot like it was no big deal–it’s both terrifying and awesome to watch as a parent.

sunday’s miles had me skittering over a groaning, old treadmill in my parents bedroom. boo!  but yay–it felt better on my calves!  but still, boo!  i have over 40 miles to run before the end of the 30 days challenge on august 22nd.


i’m worried, sore, and annoyed, but i think i’ve got this.  i am going to have to run the rest of those 40+ miles like i handled those rocks on the jetty–very carefully.


44.55 miles down.  17 days to go.

woah!  i’m almost half way through the 100 miles in 30 days challenge.  prior to starting the challenge, my monthly averages hovered around 50 miles, so pushing it up to 100 miles is a major increase.  while i’ve been generally gung-ho about it, my body feels like it’s about to stage an epic mutiny.  because of this, my last two runs had me feeling a little disconnected from my body. we all know that the first mile is a lie, right?  my legs are now taking up to two miles to realize what they’re supposed to be doing.

with my metabolism newly fired up, my eating habits are out of whack.  i’m hungry at all times, under any circumstances.  i’m hungry for the wrong things, and those wrong things taste so good.  at like, midnight.  much tummy troubles.  very ouch.  i haven’t felt this physically challenged since i was pregnant with my son!

can i have a little whine with my cheese?  if there’s cheese, then the answer is probably yes.

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last night’s run was the long run of the week at 6 miles. knowing how my legs have been misbehaving, i paced myself so that i could make it through without rage-quitting in the middle of my planned route.  the splits were all over the place because i plodded down the west side highway taking my sweet-ass time, enjoying the view.  after coming off of the brooklyn bridge, i was nearly flattened by a frozen yogurt food truck that ran a red light. shaken, i managed to continue on to run the fastest split of my commute home.  there’s nothing like a sudden existential threat to get you moving along a little quicker!  also, yelling “WHAT THE FUCK?!?” will do it, too.

Continue reading “mutiny”

gots to boogie

36.53 miles down.  19 days to go.

we had a house guest over the weekend!  maxx, the dog made his way from the country down to brooklyn on friday for a few fun-filled nights.  we took him out on the town, let him smell all the smells, pee on fire hydrants, and bark at strangers. what a tourist!  i’ve been joking to todd about how maxx is going to go back upstate and dog-blog about his adventures in the big city. hopefully he’ll link to my blog. photo 1 (7) in addition to hanging out with these two clowns, todd and i ran together a few times, racking up the mileage for my 100 miles challenge.  on friday night, we planned on pacing ourselves for an easy run, but…nah.  when we reached the brooklyn bridge promenade, we looked and felt a little beat up.  that’s ok though.  it was really nice to see todd running that fast, and at a clip. he remained just two paces ahead of me for the most part, looking strong throughout.  you’d never guess that he started running three months ago! Continue reading “gots to boogie”

on motivation

29.57 miles down.  21 days to go.

i spent the last few days chipping away at my goal of running 20 miles this week, and i’m happy to say that i surpassed it by half a mile as of today.  the week isn’t over yet, so we’ll see if I can throw a few more on top of the pile before the end of today.

while the 100 miles challenge has generally been a great motivator, i have to admit that i acted like a total baby about it this past thursday.  i wandered aimlessly around the apartment that evening, firmly committed to keeping my people clothes on for as long as possible.  my calves were buzzing with soreness from wednesday’s spin class and 4+ mile run, and i was feeling moody. my lack of motivation spiraled into dangerous territory, turning me into a world-class rationalizer.  i did some simple math and realized that i would have to double up on some miles over the weekend if i were to skip out on thursday’s run. no big deal, i thought.  i can totally do that..right?  but do i want to do that?  man, i don’t want to do that. ugh.  

Continue reading “on motivation”