Mother of two, maker of deliciousness in her kitchen, and blogger at I’m a Sleeper Baker, Molly Baker is taking on her second shot at 26.2 next Sunday in the New York City Marathon. She’s figured out her outfit—compression shorts, her NFEndurance Tank representing the charity she’s running for, and her calf sleeves—and now just needs to get through the taper without eating too much candy corn. Here’s a slice of her running life:
Best recent run: a 12 miler that I ran last Saturday. The weather here in Central NY is turning cooler, which made for a nice last long training run before the marathon. I took my dog Frank with me, and he kept up for almost seven miles. I then dropped him off at home, turned on my iPod, and headed back outside. I was singing aloud, when I realized I was going much faster than my usual pace. My injured knee felt good, which gave me a huge mental boost, so I was in a happy running zone. When I got home I felt like I could run another 12, plus 2, so I knew I am ready for marathon day.
Pez says: Eight weeks out from the marathon, I pulled the pes anserinus muscle, which I call Pez for short. This muscle stretches along the inside of the knee; the tendons connect to the lower hamstring. Pain and swelling occurs at the knee. I’ve had physical therapy every week since the pain started, they modified my training plan, and with just a few days left before the marathon, Pez feels good to go.
Keeping perspective: Although it appears from entries on my blog that I embrace recovery and crosstraining, I was forced to do so. In my 20’s, I would run 6 miles a day, four or five days in a row, and that would be it. I wasn’t a fan of weight training or stretching. That’s when I first had problems with plantar fasciitis. Then three years ago, I pulled my left hamstring while doing speed work. I did such a good job of it, that I wasn’t able to run for over six months. A year later, I pulled it again, two weeks before the Rochester Marathon. Now I stretch before and after every run, ride my bike, and do floor exercises for strength. I still ended up with Pez problems, and as I approach 40, I’m starting to wonder if my age is becoming a factor.
Empire State of Mind: My primary goal for NYC is to soak it all in and enjoy the experience; it’s the race of a lifetime. I was born in Queens, raised on Long Island, and lived in Astoria Queens until my son was a year old. I can’t wait to run through those familiar streets, and see family and friends along the course. My second goal is to finish in 4:30, which would be a huge PR from my first 26.2, the Rochester Marathon, which I ran with a hamstring injury.
I’ve raised money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, which focuses on Neurofibromatosis, a disease that causes tumors to grow along nerves, which
affects the development of bones and skin. This can lead to learning disabilities, blindness, deafness, broken bones and cancer. NF affects 1 in every 3000 births. There is currently no treatment and no cure.
I first learned about NF through a friend from high school. Her young daughter Julia lives with NF, and she does so much to raise funds for research. After she ran the NYC Half Marathon, I asked her if they had any fundraising teams for a full marathon. So far, our team has raised over $97,000.
Don’t call it a dreadmill: I enjoy running outside, and will do so year round, even when there is snow on the ground. But I really like my treadmill too, especially during a downpour or a 95-degree day. I always run on a slight incline to mimic the outdoors. I mix it up: I’ll run for five minutes at a certain speed, then speed up or slow down for five more. To keep it interesting, I like to do inclines too: either a long, gradual hill, or a sharp climb. I do need television, though. I’ll run to music videos or catch up on Bravo. For an extra-long run, like my last 18 miler, I am sure to have a movie or two to watch, which significantly helps the time pass.
She’s a Sleeper Baker: It’s my name! My maiden name is Molly Sleeper; you can imagine the nicknames I had growing up. My married name is Baker. For our first Christmas as a husband and wife, my husband gave me a rolling pin, to symbolize becoming an official Baker.
But she’s really a baker: I’m a big fan of hearty casseroles, healthier helper, a soup I make that’s a healthier version of Hamburger Helper, or a spicy Mexican Veggie soup made with brown rice. To me, the best way to eat vegetables is to roast them. You can’t beat butternut squash with shallots and rosemary, or roasted cauliflower. I’ve gone so far as to reach into the hot oven to snag a floret while it’s cooking. (I am dying to try her carmelized onion, walnut and goat cheese pizza)