Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Great Running Skirt Debate

I am adding my 2 cents worth to the big question: Running skirt: To wear or not to wear?

I was reading someone's blog a while ago and she had posted that Walmart carried running skirts. I apologize to this blogger, as I can no longer remember where I read it to give proper credit. But, I was thrilled at the news that I could go buy a very cheap skirt and also be able to actually try it on for fit and comfort before purchasing. So, last week I made a trip to the local Walmart and purchased this cute little number for less than $10. Gotta love that.

I apologize that I won't be posting any action shots in the skirt, but since I couldn't possibly look better in the skirt than the running blogfather did, I felt the effort would be in vain. (Not to mention that I didn't have anyone to take my picture and I am still trying out the new shoes on the treadmill. And I figure that pics of treadmill running would bore everyone to tears.)

So, the review.... Once I got over the fact that I was actually running in a skirt, I really liked the feel of it. It was very comfortable around the waist. It stayed in place for the whole 3 mile run, without once riding up or needing readjusted. It felt light and comfortable, but at the same time I never felt exposed. I believe that it would offer a much needed solution to my issue of hating to run in shorts as long as it was a short run. But, I think that I would end up with a lot of chafing of my inner thighs if I tried a long run in it. Overall, I was very pleased with the performance of the skirt, and may consider adding a few more to my running wardrobe.

Are You Running The Chicago Marathon?

Every where I go I am reading about another RBFer who is running the Chicago Marathon. Are you one of them? If so leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Let the Training Begin

Here's a pic of the new shoes. Aren't they pretty? I think this is the first time I have ever owned a pair of running shoes that I actually like the appearance of! Who comes up with the colors for them anyway? My current pair is Lime green, I mean come on now! Lime Green? Who in their right mind would actually choose to wear lime green foot wear? The running shoe companies should screen their employees for color blindness before allowing them to join the color design team.

I took the shoes for a 2.25 mile spin on the treadmill yesterday and they seemed ok, but I'm withholding my final opinion until I get a few more miles on them. The right shoe feels great. The left arch feels a little funny, but it wasn't rubbing or causing any problems, so it may just be a matter of getting used to the feel of a different shoe. I plan on trying them out on the treadmill for the rest of the week, so we'll see.

Yesterday was my first day back to running and it felt great. It was pretty hard to take it easy and stop after a few miles. I wanted to keep going, but didn't want to over do it! I had decided to take an extended break after the Indy Mini, in hopes that my right knee would be back to its happy, pain free, self with a little rest. But unfortunately, yesterday's run proved that not to be the case. So it looks like I am off to the doctor to have it checked out. The pain is very mild and certainly tolerable, and it really doesn't feel like anything is broken, out of place, torn etc. It simply feels like some inflammation issues, but better safe than sorry. I don't want to keep running on it only to find out that I'm doing major damage that is irreparable. So, I will be calling tomorrow to set up an appointment with my doc.

If something is wrong, I am going to blame the physical therapist who helped me out with my shoulder issues a few years back. I was in his office so often for therapy sessions on my shoulder that we became friends and still keep in touch. The week before my half marathon, he was joking with me that his office would be open the Monday after the race to help out with my injuries. I think he jinxed me! But, even so, if I do need therapy I will be going to him. He's a great therapist. No matter how many times I told him that I hated him, he just gave an evil laugh and increased the intensity on my exercises. You'd think I would have learned, but every session during the awful dreaded arm bike, I told him how mean he was. You think running is hard work? Try the arm bike for 20 minutes! At least if there is a problem with my knee, I don't see how he could make me use that torture devise to help it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I'm Ba-ack

I made it home safe and sound! My life is back under control and I enjoyed my much needed vacation, which was a cruise to Key West and Mexico. Now I'm ready to get back to training. The only running I have done since Indy was a short sprint from my car into Kohl's when it was down pouring and 3/4 of a mile around the deck on the cruise ship. And I miss it. I crave it. I can't wait to get back out there. I'm starting back tomorrow. Complete with new shoes that I bought last night. I've always ran in Nikes, but I'm trying something different this time. The new shoes feel like slippers they are so comfy. Let's hope the running store guy knows what he's talking about and they feel just as good when I run in them!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'm So Excited!!

So, I've been looking for a race to run before Chicago, and haven't been thrilled with the prospects. Tonight I stumbled upon the fact that there is a race in my old home town, and I'm gonna run it. It is going to be such a blast to run through my old stomping round. I'm so excited. I can't wait!!

Sorry, that's all you get. I'll be back next week!

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

A Much Needed Break

I have decided that the time has come for a much needed break for this runnergirl. So, I will be taking a short vacation from running to let my knee recoup from Saturday's race. And to allow myself some time to get my life back in order before I hit the ground running again in preparation for the Chicago Marathon.

So, without the running I will have nothing to blog about. Therefore this will be my last post for a short while, but never fear..... I will be back before you know it to share more antics and grumbling from my running adventures.

In the mean time, I am going to give my blog a face lift, as I am tired of the current appearance. So check back soon to see the changes!

I will also do some wandering around the blogospere and read other runner's blogs.

I am going to get started with my mentoring for the TNT Fall Season.

I am going to FINALLY get my hair cut.

I am going to clean my house and mow my lawn.

I am going to finish my landscaping that I started weeks ago.

I am even going to get on a big boat and float around the ocean and wander around Mexico for a few days.

While I'm gone you can peruse the archives and read any past posts you may have missed, or maybe leave a comment or two.

I'll be back soon........

Monday, May 8, 2006

Saturday, May 6, 2006

And We're Off

Bang! And the gun goes off. Or so they tell me. My corral was so far back that I didn't actually hear it.

We all start moving forward, then we stop. Then we start up again. Then we stop. Walking. Walking. Walking.

Come on already, when do we get to run! I'm freezing. I'm numb. I think my hands are going to fall off if I don't start moving soon.

Ah, the starting line is in sight. But, we are still walking. Come on people move it!

Finally the starting line. Woo Hoo. And only 24 minutes after the gun went off. Yipee.

And my first official thought of the race is, "Man do I have to pee! Bad! Where are those bathrooms?"

I start running. Slowly. I am not going to make that beginner's mistake of allowing the adrenaline to con me into going out too fast.

The beginning is a nightmare of people. People everywhere. Mostly walkers. I picked such a slow finish time that most of the people around me are walking. So, I dodge my way around them but try not to pick up too much speed or do too much cross running back and forth.

By .5 miles I'm warming up, and I work my way over to the side of the road to toss off my sweatshirt on to the shoulder. Good bye Mr. Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt that I have owned for a million years. You are my sacrifice to the running gods this morning.

I finish out the beginning of the first mile, still moving slow. My legs are feeling pretty tight, and my knee hasn't loosened up yet.

Yes, Bathrooms!! Detour to the left. Standing in line. Forever! Peeing. Ahh. Open Door. And Running...

Ah, first water stop. Grabbing water. Running. Drinking. Choking. Oops. Really must consider a new strategy next time.

I hit the early part of mile 2, and my right thigh starts tightening up. Don't worry about it I tell myself. Just run through it. It will relax.

So, I'm cruising along and come up to mile 3, and bam. The knee loosens up. The thigh relaxes. I'm in a good rhythm. It feels great. I feel great. No, not great. INCREDIBLE! And at that point, I know I am going to own this race. It is as good as over.

I'm cruising through mile 3 and come upon the first gatorade stop. I grab some and STOP to drink it. Now that was stupid! Why didn't I at least walk? Lessons being learned here.

Ok, toss the cup and I'm off again. But wait. What's this? My shoes are actually sticking to the road from all the spilt gatorade. Just what I need - more resistance. How long is this going to last?

Luckily it lasts no more than a minute. Yeah!

I hit mile 4 and my shoulder starts in. Wonderful! It is too early for the shoulder. What is the deal? I figure it is probably from the hunching up to keep warm at the starting line. I spend the entire mile reminding myself to drop my shoulders and relax. It is blissfully gone by the end of the mile. Never to return.

I'm cruising through mile 5 feeling good. Just plugging away. Doing great.

I come upon a guy holding this huge sign. It said, "You have a choice. Are you going to just stand there or are you going to RUN?" And for some reason it almost reduces me to tears. I start thinking about what I am doing. And about my accomplishment of getting to the race. And about the fact that I am actually there running. And it is cake. Total absolute cake. I am not struggling in the slightest. I start thinking about Matthew and his fight against his leukemia, and about his chemo yesterday. And I almost lose it. Almost. But, at the last second I realize what I am doing and shake it off. Now is not the time. Not. the. time.

I actually miss the marker for mile 6, but know we are close since we are entering the speedway. Oh, the dreaded speedway. I know about the speedway. Or at least I think I do. I know that there is a huge down hill and a huge up hill going into it. But, I don't actually KNOW.

Hill? Hill? Holy Hill, Batman. Try Mountain you crazy people. I am barreling down the hill at an almost out of control pace trying to slow down without actually coming to a walk. Then I hit the up hill and it feels like someone is standing behind me trying to pull me back down. But, I persevere and make it to the top.

I start circling the track, and I know this is the hardest part of the race. But I don't actually KNOW.

I'm running and it's getting hotter and hotter with all the asphalt. The track is banked, and my knee immediately starts in. It's not hurting but it's uncomfortable.

I'm struggling to keep my pace. I'm slowing. And slowing. Why am I slowing down? Quick assessment. Breathing ok? Check. Legs muscles ok? Check. Shoulder ok? Check. Knee? Uncomfortable, but not painful. Ok, then why am I slowing down. "You have got to keep going," I tell myself.

I see two girls in front of me. They are moving through the crowd. Keeping a steady pace. I latch on behind them. And let them pull me the whole way around the track.

I exit the track, and I have never been so thankful to see flat ground in my life. I pick the middle of the road, no possible banking and make it my new home.

I hit the end of mile 9 and I'm cruising again. Feeling good. And my right foot goes into a pot hole. My ankle rolls. Not good. I'm not worried about the ankle. But I'm worried about the knee. Big time. A fleeting very sharp pain goes through it. I keep running and wait for another. It doesn't come. SWEET!

Ok, time to face the facts. The uncomfortable knee is here to stay. You can fight it or make it your friend. Just ride it out. Let it keep you company. It's steady and constant. Just there, not going any place. Make it your friend.

I round out the beginning of mile 10, and I'm in the groove. I'm in the blind numb rhythm where my body is moving with no effort. I'm in the zone. I'm golden. I can ride this the whole way in.

Mile 11 comes and goes. Doing great. Feeling great.

Half way into mile 12 we hit the bridge. And we start going up. Ugh. I make it. And hit the down hill. And take off. Like someone lit a fire under me. I look at my garmin. I'm running just over a 9 minute/mile pace. What am I doing? Slow down you fool.

Finish mile 12 feeling good. Cruise on through. Hit mile 13. Doing awesome.

Then THE MISTAKE.

I some how end up on the side of the road again. It's about half way through mile 13 and I'm passing a water station. I reach out and grab the cup almost without thinking. I slow to a walk to drink it. I toss the cup. I start back up. My knee laughs at me. It screams. It rebels. It tightens. It hurts.

And I know I'm done.

I hobble the last half mile plus.

I see the finish line. I take off. I give it every thing I have left.

And I cross the line....

Official Time: 2:42:32

Garmin Time: 2:36:47

Splits:

Mile 1 12:48
Mile 2 12:29
Mile 3 11:53
Mile 4 11:38
Mile 5 11:26
Mile 6 10:46
Mile 7 11:48 (Speedway)
Mile 8 12:00 (Speedway)
Mile 9 12:14 (Speedway)
Mile 10 11:35
Mile 11 11:39
Mile 12 11:29
Mile 13 11:32
Mile .1 3:25 ( It was actually .31 miles - from the bathroom detour and the cross running to pass people)

Over all I'm very pleased. I feel like I ran a smart race. I learned a lot for next time. I can't wait for Chicago!!!

Pre Race

A recap of the pre race events:

My parents and I drove to Indy. We were staying at different hotels. So, we both got checked in and made the short walk to the expo center to pick up my race packet. We came back and got ready and headed to the TNT Pasta dinner.

At the dinner we got to eat lots of yummy foods. The desserts were the best. Only I didn't have much. I didn't want too much sugar upsetting my stomach before the race.

At the dinner we were told that our team earned over $515,000.00 for the LLS. WOW! Amazing. Thanks again to everyone who helped make that possible.

Then someone got up to speak about his son that lost his battle against Leukemia, and the room was reduced to tears. It was very moving listening to the speech.

Dinner finished up, and I got 2 tee shirts from TNT for completing my fundraising.

We went back up stairs and my parents said goodbye and left to go back to their hotel.

And I was left alone. Not just alone, But ALONE.

I was scared. I wanted to cry. I wanted someone to tell me it was going to be ok. To remind me that I could do this. But there was no one there to do it.

So, I turned on the TV to keep me company (which I NEVER do!), and proceeded to get my race day items organized.

I decided what I was going to wear. I pinned on my race number. I attached my chip to my shoe.

And it was only 9:00. I knew if I went to bed that early I'd never fall asleep. Or I'd fall asleep, only to be wide awake up in a few hours.

So, I reread some of the race material. Then I got out all of the cards and letters of encouragement that people had sent to me over the past 4 months, and re-read all of them.

Finally 10:00 rolled around and I decided to get ready for bed. While I was getting ready, my cell phone must have rang because there was a missed call and a message.

It was my boyfriend and his sister calling to wish me luck. That made me feel a little bit better. It helped hearing my boyfriend's voice. Knowing he was thinking about me.

I set my alarm on my cell phone to go off at 4:30, and again at 4:40. Then I set my watch to go off at 4:45. But I wasn't paranoid or anything.

I slept unbelievably well. Never waking up until the alarm went off.

I drug myself to the shower, and proceeded to get ready.

I was walking by the door of my room and happened to glance down and see something had been slid under my door.

So, I grabbed it and sat down on the bed to open it. Inside it was full of letters of encouragement from all of my friends and family. I didn't have enough time to read all of them so I skimmed them. And quickly decided I better save them for later or I was going to be reduced to a blubbering pile of tears in no time.

I finished a few last minute details of getting ready and headed off to breakfast. Then meet my teammates in the lobby to head over to the starting line.

We left the hotel and it was FREEZING. And we still had an hour until the race started. I started debating if I was going to die of hypothermia before the race started.

I turned my Garmin on as we started walking. Hoping it would find a signal. I thought I was going to cry when 30 minutes later it still hadn't gotten one. I needed to be able to watch my pace, and know the distance. I was counting on it. It was my security blanket. I was going to die without it.

Finally, it acquired it's signal. Oh, thank you!

We all got into our respective corrals, to wait for the start. People started filling in the corrals and it was amazing to see that many people.

In a moment of clarity, I realized that I actually forgot to put on deodorant this morning.

In a second moment of clarity, I realized it didn't matter. I was going to be dripping sweat and reeking by the end of mile 3 any way.

So, from then on out we stood around, and we waited. And we waited. And waited.......

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Off To Run I Go

Well, the training mile are done, the bags are packed, and I'm off to kick some butt, and take some names at the Indy Half-Marathon.

Ok. Maybe that's an exaggeration. I'm probably off to crawl across the finish line. But, whatever. I'm just so excited to be doing this. I never thought it was possible, and now here I am. It still amazes me.

My bib number is xxxxx. I am assuming they will be posting results on the website if you want to check on my progress.

If you still want to take a guess at my finishing time before Saturday morning, feel free to do so.

Stay tuned to hear about my racing experience.

Wish me luck!

Reflections



This is Matthew. Isn't he handsome? (Sorry, Matthew! But you are! Your mom will agree with me!)

Matthew has been our team honored hero this season, and he is going to be my personal honored hero for Chicago next season.

He is an incredibly strong, brave young man who is battling Leukemia. For the second time. Visit his site and read about him and his family. Please sign his guestbook and tell him that you stopped by. He loves to read the messages.

His strength to fight his battle against cancer, and his drive to live life, stuns and amazes me. He is my driving force, my inspiration, my reminder of what is really important in life. I am honored to cross the finish line in Indy on his behalf. He truly is a hero.

His mother, Nancy, is also a hero in my eyes. She is one of the nicest people I have ever met. After spending a few hours with her you feel like you have known her your whole life. Her strength just radiates from her, and you leave her presence feeling like you can accomplish anything. I have no idea how she handles everything that life has handed her. She is a very special person and I am honored to know her.

When I first attended the TNT informational meeting back in January, it was with one goal, and one goal only, in mind. I wanted to run a marathon, but figured I'd need some help with the motivation. So, I thought running a half marathon with TNT was a good place to start. Then, with that under my belt, I figured I'd be able to keep going on to a full marathon.

I'm ashamed to report that my motives were selfish. It was simply the means to an end for me. But, that attitude didn't last very long.

The TNT staff went over the details of TNT and the endurance events. Then they invited the honored heros up to the front of the room. So, up walked Nancy and Matthew.

She stood up there and began talking about Matthew. She described his diagnoses with A.L.L., his battles with chemo, his remission, and sadly, his relapse. Then on to describe the heart wrenching decision of what treatment option to undertake the second time. She stood up there and described her son, and how he was a runner, and how strong he is, and how his motto is to never give up.

By the time she was done speaking, there was not a dry eye in the house. And it was in that moment, that my focus changed. It was no longer about me. It was about doing everything I could to help ease the pain and suffering of Matthew, of his family, of children like him everywhere.

It was about crossing that finish line in honor of Matthew's life. It was about raising as much money as I could to help with research to find a cure for blood cancers.

It was about the struggle that I was about to take on, to train to run 13.1 miles, as a symbol of the struggle that these children face on a daily basis. They have no choice. They have to go through unimaginable things, and they have no choice. For if they don't, they will die.

My training felt like a roller coaster. Good Runs, and bad. Victory, and defeat. Laughter, and tears. I've had so many ups and downs throughout the past 4 months. Some days I wanted to quit. Some days I never wanted to stop. But overall, it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I can't even begin to capture it in words.

This experience has taught me so many thing. I have learned that I am much stronger than I thought I was. That I am capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. And I will carry the confidence that I have gained into the rest of my life. For the first time in my life, I truly feel as if I am capable of doing anything that I set my mind to. My new words to live by are: Never underestimate your abilities. Don't sell yourself short. And NEVER GIVE UP!! (Adopted from Matthew!)

I am woman, hear me roar!

And that marks the conclusion of my TNT training. I will finish my last 2 mile training run this afternoon, and attend the last team social this evening. The team is getting together at a local ice cream place for some yummy treats and to hang out with Matthew.

I can't believe it's over.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Play List

Today's "run" was 2.5 miles on the treadmill. I say run in quotations because calling what I did running would require a large stretch of the imagination. I ran an average 18:00 min/mile pace. I am babying my knee. It actually felt fine after getting loosed up for the first 1.5 miles, and I really didn't want to stop. But I wasn't going to push my luck!

It does have me a little worried about Saturday, but I never intended to try for a fast time. My goal is simply to finish the race. I want to cross the finish line unassisted. And I don't care if I do it on all fours.

I ended up having an unexpected day off from work today and I spent the afternoon finalizing my play list for the race. I think I have it all set, but I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any fast, up beat songs they like.

Here it is:

(And I am already well aware of the fact that I have tripped out taste in music!)

Old Time Rock n Roll by Bob Seger
Nothing But the Tail Lights By Clint Black
Bitch by Meredith Brooks
Fight For Your Right by the Beastie Boys
TNT by ACDC
Move This by Technotronic
Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani
I Hate Myself for Loving You by Joan Jett
Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer
Pump Up the Jam by Technotronic
We Will Rock You by Queen
Highway to Hell by ACDC
Rump Shaker by Wreckx-N-Effect
Whip It by Devo
Humpty Dance by Digital Underground
It's Tricky by Run DMC
I Love Rock n Roll by Joan Jett
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by ACDC
Unbelievable by EMF
Tubthumping by Chumbawamba
Push It by Salt n Peppa
Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top
Get This Party Started by Pink
Bust A Move by Young MC
Walk This Way by Run DMC
Shoot to Thrill by ACDC
Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

I tried it out while I was running today, and it is a good thing that it isn't warm enough to have the windows open yet. With running so slow, it took very little effort. So, I was singing along at the top of my lungs. But I had my ear phones on, so all anyone would have been able to hear was my screeching renditions minus accompanying music. A singer I am not!!

Just one more training run to go......

Monday, May 1, 2006

Am I Crazy?

I'm starting to get a little concerned about the fact that my right leg has been bothering me for the past week.

It started last Monday with my hamstring feeling a little tight and sore. I couldn't really explain it, but figured maybe it was lingering from Friday's long run (even though it felt fine all weekend). I tried stretching some and icing it, and I figured it would be gone the next day.

It wasn't.

Then the outside of my right knee started in along with my lower back on the right side. Ok, now that's weird, but I'm still sure it'll be fine in a day or two.

Friday's run came along and I was slightly worried, but figured I'd just see what happened. My hamstring had two little twinges of a weird feeling. Not even tight or painful. Just different. But at no point did anything hurt. Ok great.

Fast forward to Friday night. Not so great. My hamstring was no longer hurting, but my outer knee was killing me. It almost felt like it was going to buckle under me if I put too much weight on it.

By the time I woke up on Saturday morning, it was feeling pretty much ok again. I wanted to see how it would feel, so I ran a nice slow and easy 2 miles on my treadmill, and the outer knee started in again.

I took yesterday off and in general it didn't feel too bad. Not normal, but not too bad.

Now today, my INNER knee, and right quad are hurting. Say what?

I've decided that I'm crazy. I have a wandering pain induced by my nervousness over the upcoming race. That is my diagnosis.

Or else my leg is going to fall off by Saturday.