Liam had his surgery last Thursday. Eight-plus hours on the table, including an inter-operative radiation treatment, a procedure developed and perfected at MSKCC. Went into the ICU recovery, woke up, and immediately pulled out his respirator tube. A day and a half later, returned to MSKCC (his surgery was at MSKCC, his ICU recovery was across the street at Cornell.) Two and a half days after that -- home. Can you believe the will of this kid? Is it any wonder why so many people love him? And why I'm such a fan? You can become a fan of Liam's on Facebook. Look for "Prince Liam the Brave." Or read his mom's blog, also called "Prince Liam the Brave."
Speaking of which, the latest members of the Liam Witt fan club, also known as the FRED'S TEAM HONOR ROLL:
bringing the total going to the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Liam's honor to an amazing
Who's going to bring me to $3,000? A prize to the person who does!! A prize, I say!! Who doesn't like a prize? Simply click here to be taken to my Fred's Team donation page, or click the link to the side and bottom of the page. As you can see by the smile on Liam's face, the money is put to very good use.
Speaking of prizes, there will be a CONTEST again for this post! It's an easy one, and anyone can enter. It's at the bottom of the post.
Lots of stuff going on, or gone on, over the past week.
First off, in the non-running news, I advanced a production of "Smokey Joe's Cafe" for the Cape Playhouse. Basically, I rehearse the show for two weeks, bring it up to the theater, train the crew, help the stage manager, and leave. Don't get to actually call the show, which for you non-theater people means calling all the cues for the lights and sound and set shifts and anything technical that happens during the course of a show. Calling a musical is a lot of fun. Ah, well. Anyway, the show was a breeze to rehearse -- the actors couldn't have been nicer, or more talented, and the director, Mark Martino, was even nicer and more talented. Plus which -- I only had 5 suitcases and a boa for props. Heavenly!! The tech was not without its moments, but I am continually amazed at the Cape Playhouse crew, who manage to drive through every tech with a positive attitude, and achieve miracles in 48 hours.
Anyway, it was strange to be back in the stage management saddle, and have a 9 to 5 schedule again (actually, 8 to 6). It was kind of refreshing. Plus, I was able to get in my favorite run while at the Cape (which is in Dennis, on Cape Cod) -- a run to Chapin Beach, and also up Setucket Road. I needed to get 16 miles in. There's a little backstory to that, which I'll get to in a minute. Anyways, I have waxed poetic over Chapin Beach in past posts, so I will refrain here. I started my run from the Briarcliffe to Chapin Beach, to say goodbye to the beach (sigh.) Then I headed off down 6A to Rte 134, and then to Setucket Road. I like Setucket Road for three reasons -- one, it's kind of hilly, so it's a good mimic for the Park. Two, there's lots of good house porn. I love looking at those gorgeous houses and fantasizing about owning one. Third, it's the ONLY SIDEWALK IN ALL OF CAPE COD, at least as far as I can tell. No wonder people are getting so fat, there's no place for them to walk safely.
It was also the weekend for the Pan-Mass Challenge, a bike ride across Massachusetts to raise money for the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Center. A cause after my own heart. The riders go down Setucket Road, so I wanted to see the riders and cheer them on. Let me tell you, it is not easy to clap as you run, but I had a lot of fun on that section of the route. Most of them ride in teams, and each team puts something different on their helmet. One team had stuffed Kermit dolls.
Here's something I notice about running in Dennis -- I'm the only one with water and Gatorade. Hmm....
Backstory -- Reader's Digest version. I had a long talk with Coach Jeff about my crappy long runs. He gave me a lot of good advice. The first is to get more sleep. That's true, I am not sleeping enough. Second, he told me to relax, and not be so hard on myself. With a career change, things are on a different level, and I have to recognize that. He recommended for my long run, don't worry about miles or anything, just run for about as long as I thought 16 miles should be. Don't worry about the clock. Just run and enjoy it. I did have a time limit, because I needed to shower and get to the theater by 9:15am, but other than that, I made sure to run my favorite route, and really took Jeff's advice. I didn't worry about the pace, I just tried to find the fun in the run. And I did.
We started Tuesday and Thursday workouts, and we've had a hill workout, a couple of track workouts, and steps! The hill workout last Tuesday was a typical Tuesday during marathon training season, as Cat Hill was super-crowded. Plus which, those damn pedicabs were loitering right at the bottom of the hill, getting in everyone's way. The workout -- three sets of two repeats. First set easy, second set medium, third set hard. Bonus -- Dr. Mark was there, my running buddy. I always have a good run when he's around. he ran with me, as I had a watch. First two, we ran a 2:20 up average. Second set, 2:10, and the third -- 2:00 even, both repeats. After each of the hard repeats, I had to take a breather at the top of the hill, because I thought I was going to hurl. It was pretty humid out. Those were better times than I was expecting. Thanks, Dr. Mark! He cracked me up after the first hard repeat by telling me that in med school he was known for being the best person at handling vomit. You know, some people brag about making really good chocolate chip cookies. Doctors -- I don't get it.
Last Thursday was Coach's Choice. We were at the Riverside steps. Ann led the workout, which meant we were in for it. Ann looks so sweet and innocent, and her workouts are cruel. An iron fist in a velvet glove. She puts a lot of running into the step workouts, and most of that running is uphill. I had run a couple of miles beforehand to warm up. Between the heat and the constant uphill, my legs were wobbly. Also, my knee was paining again.
Went to the PT on Friday. Diagnosis -- I'm a mess. Seriously, folks, it's the right hip. It sits funny, and it makes my knee not track properly. So Ed Mancini. PT extraordinaire (it was he who introduced me to Miri Ingwer, PT goddess) really worked out my hip and knee and gave me some exercises to do.
Sunday was the aforementioned long run at the Cape.
Tuesday was a track workout, again led by Ann. One mile warm-up, then 8 repeats of one fast lap, one slow lap. Two lap cool-down. 5 1/2 total miles. I brought the little doodad Ann gave me last year to help correct my form, and got down to business.
The track was supercrowded. Zogsports was there, all of their teams playing soccer, plus the usual batch of children, other soccer players, and various other folks walking and running the track. In fact, I got hit not once, but twice, by soccer balls during one lap. A record!
Warm-up lap was 10:45. Then here are my fast laps -- 2:16, 2:11. 2:07, 2:10, 2:05, 2:08, 2:01, 2:04. That's not bad at all for me. Bonus, I think I finally "got" the arm placement. Let's see if it sticks.
PS: NO IPOD.
Thursday was a step workout at our old stomping grounds, the steps at the Bethesda Fountain. Again, super-crowded. Jeff led this workout, which consisted of sets of 3 and 6 repeats of variations of going up the stairs one at a time, two at a time (easier than one step at a time) and three at a time (not for the short of limb) and the infamous "in the bucket" where you squat, jump up two steps, land and squat, etc. etc. Turns your quads to jelly. I don't do the hopping up the stairs, it's too hard on my hips. The whole idea of a step workout is to train your hip flexors for the pounding, but I discovered after my first Fred's Team year that hopping up the stairs knocks both my hips out of alignment right quick. With the other exercises, my hips have a fighting chance.
So I signed up for swimming lessons starting in September, which means I need a bathing suit. Yup, don't own one. Yuck. I hate the way I look in a bathing suit. My giant pasty white thighs will shock you. But they don't let you swim in jeans, so I went to Modell's and tried on a few. Now, pasty white thighs aside, I am not a hefty woman. However, the way this suit was cut, with a really low back and sides (it goes down all the way to the butt) made all the flub from the top half of my body pop out the back of the suit, giving me love handles all the way around my back. Exceedingly unattractive, and emotionally devastating.
Quick tangent -- I worked a show once where one of the stars had, over the course of the first part of the run, had lost a great deal of weight. Once the show started to tank, she started to put the weight back on. However, she kept asking the costumers to bring IN her costumes, to corset her up. I had stopped working on the show, but came back one night as a sub. It was her number, and she was out there in an outfit where the top half had a low back. Well, all the flub was pushed out the back of the shirt, making it look like she had a second set of boobs attached to her back. Horrifying.
Anyways, that's what I flashed on when I saw the horror that was my back. On the one hand, nobody's going to be looking at my legs if I wear that thing. On the other hand, er, no. See, that's why I don't swim!!!!!
Tomorrow, we're going to participate in the Summer Streets program, where they close down Park Avenue from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. We're going to run the whole shebang and back, for 13 miles. Then I head out to Camptown, PA for a summer camp reunion, which I will tell you all about next week.
And thus comes...
It's an easy one:
How many official water stops will there be on Park Avenue during the Summer Streets program?
E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 13.
One person, picked at random, will win something.
Have a good weekend!