Monday, July 31, 2006

Admitting Defeat

A week ago Thursday I ran 3 miles. When I was done, my left ankle started bothering me.

I got up Friday morning and the ankle felt a little stiff, but no big deal. I walked around a little and it loosened up and felt fine. So off on my 9 mile run I went.

By Friday night my ankle was killing me and by Saturday morning I literally couldn't walk on it.

I had an x-ray done and the doctor said it was bursitis. He seemed to think it would resolve quickly and told me no running for a week.

So, yesterday I tried to run 3 miles again.

It didn't go so well, to say the least.

I knew by .5 mile that things weren't quite right. By 1.5 miles, my ankle was hurting again. By 2 miles, I just had to grit my teeth and get myself home because I knew it was going to be ugly once I stopped.

And it was.

I stopped running and pain seized my ankle and it immediately started throbbing.

I came inside, stretched and took a shower. Half way through the shower, I couldn't put any weight on it.

I got out of the shower, sat down, and sobbed my heart out.

I have worked so hard for this. I want this so much and have for so long. And my stupid ankle isn't going to let me have it.

I'm not a strong enough runner to miss 3 or 4 weeks of training and still do this marathon. It's just not possible.

So, I'm giving it to the end of the week, and if I can't run on it by the weekend I'm kissing Chicago goodbye.

Then I'm going to get this @*&$# ankle healed, and I'm going to pick a new race and start over at mile 1 again.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Oh Yeah?

To get accepted to optometry school, you have to go through an interview process.

You sit in a room, across from a panel of school faculty, and for an hour they drill you with questions to determine if you are worthy of being let into their school.

During the most horrific of my many interviews, the follow conversation occurred:

Interviewer, "What are you doing here?"

Me, "Excuse me?"

Interviewer, "Have you ever looked at your transcript?"

Me, "Um? Of course."

Interviewer, "Then you are aware of the fact that you have gotten an A in every class you have ever taken that is not a science class?"

Me, "Uh. Yeah. Ok?"

Interviewer, "And you are also aware of the fact that you have gotten a B or a C in almost every science class you have ever taken?"

Me, "Yeah?"

Interviewer, "And you do realize that you are applying to enter a school where the curriculum is entirely science based?"

Me, "Yes. Of course."

Interviewer, "Well it is extremely apparent that science isn't one of your strengths. So why exactly are you here?"

Me, "Oh. Well. Um. Just because English, and math, and psychology come easy to me doesn't mean I enjoy them. I may have to work harder at the sciences and they may not be as easy for me, but it is where my heart lies. It is what I want to spend my life doing. Therefore, I am willing to do the extra work, put forth a little more effort, because a life as an optometrist is what I ultimately want."

I walked out of the interview and literally broke down in tears, sobbing for half an hour. I'd deemed it a failure, the trip a waste. I was devastated.

I was shocked to get an acceptance letter a few short weeks later. My interview was on the first day of a 4 or 5 month interviewing process, where hundreds of applicants would be questioned. The school accepted 40 students into their program, 6 of those from out of state. They offered me one of those coveted 6 spots before they even spoke with a vast majority of the other applicants.

I have always wondered why.

I have always guessed that it must have been my answer to that one question. That my passion for my chosen career path and my blind determination must have come through in my answer and the panel knew that I'd never give up until I was successful.

That's great, runnergirl, but why are you telling us this?!

I'm getting to that.

Below is an excerpt from a previous post :

"... I run because I hate it. Huh? Say What? You heard me... I run because I hate it. It is my enemy, and I am going to beat it. The things with the most value are the things that I have to work the hardest for. I value my running because it doesn't come easy, because some days I do want to quit, because after some runs I swear I'll never lace up my shoes again. But it keeps calling me back, taunting me, begging me to defeat it, to prove that I'm not a quitter, that I can and will succeed... "

The running is like the science. I may not be good at it, but that is why I like it. I need the challenge. I need to defeat it. I need to prove to myself that I can do it. If it were easy for me, I wouldn't be interested in it. I wouldn't value it. I have a need to set my sights on a goal that seems just out of reach, and then work with everything I have to reach out and grab it at the last minute.

All of these struggles that I've been facing is just the running taunting me. Teasing me. Challenging me.

The miles are talkin' a little smack.

And you know what I have to say to that...

"Oh yeah?"

"We'll just see about that!"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Theme Song

I have a new theme song. It came to me while I was reading the comments to one of my previous posts, and someone mentioned a quote on Anne's Blog. The lyrics are listed below and click to the right if you want to listen to it.

Warning, Warning: It is a country song for all you non-country lovers out there.

And, I'm going to do just what the songs says. I'm going to keep on going. I'm going to get on the other side of all these injuries and keep rearranging things until I'm no longer in running hell.

Lyrics for Song: If You're Going Through Hell
By Artist/Band: Rodney Atkins

Well you know those times
When you feel like there's a sign there on your back
Says I don't mind if ya kick me
Seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You'd think they can't get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don't know where you are
Use the needle of your compass
To sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie
In a bottle of Jim Beam
And she lies to You
That's when you learn the truth

If you're going through hell
Keep on going, Don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Well I been deep down in that darkness
I been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons
Breathing fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled
I'd fall right into the trap that they were laying, Yeah

But the good news
Is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back upon your feet
The one's that you been dragging for so long
You're on your knees
You might as well be free
Guess what I'm saying

If you're going through hell
Keep on going, Don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Yeah, If you're going through hell
Keep on moving, Face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

If you're going through hell
Keep on going, Don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Yeah, If you're going through hell
Keep on moving, Face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there
Yeah you might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Saturday, July 22, 2006


So, I have 2 days left of PT for my knee.

2 days!

Tuesday & Thursday.

Then I'm done. Dismissed.

Adios, happy running.

And the knee feels good. Finally getting back to normal pain free running.

But, then today...

I decided that my left ankle pain wasn't going away like it should be. As a matter of fact it is down right painful, and I can't walk on it.


I had it x-rayed this afternoon.

I have bursitis of my ankle.

3 weeks of anti-inflammatories.

1 week of no running, then re-evaluation. Steroid shot at that time if not resolved along with a referral to an orthopedic specialist.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Full of Frustrations

A brief history for those of you who haven't been following along since day one:

I've been running off and on for the past 9 years. Never very far or never very consistently. Usually a 3 mile loop around my neighborhood to get some exercise and try not to grow out of my wardrobe.

Prior to January 2006, the farthest I had ever run was 4 miles, twice. The first time was amazing, with the pride and accomplishment I felt. The second time, made me want to kill myself to stop the pain.

I have always wanted to run a marathon, and thought that a good first step would be to run a half marathon, and see how it went. So, I did that and ran the Indy Mini in May 2006. It was an amazing experience and left me wanting more, so I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon and here I am.

Keeping all of that in mind, on to today's post:

Today's run was a slow 9 miles, and when I say slow I am so not kidding!


Mile 1 13:34
Mile 2 12:49
Mile 3 13:39
Mile 4 12:37
Mile 5 12:51
Mile 6 13:15
Mile 7 12:12
Mile 8 11:55
Mile 9 12:18

I set my alarm for 5:00 AM, and was up by 5:02 and out the door at 5:30, so I must have learned a thing or two last week to get out the door so quickly. I had planned out a new route to try, but I didn't realize how dark it was outside at that hour, so I changed my mind as I didn't want to be running along major roads in the dark. Instead I did the run up and down the streets of my neighborhood.

I was hoping to go 10 miles, but my goal was really just to make it farther than the 8 from last week. The first 4 1/2 miles were uneventful and pretty comfortable. The last 4 1/2 were pretty tough and it was all I could do to keep myself moving forward.

I stopped around mile 5 for some GU and water, and started back up again. I had literally taken 2 steps and my mp3 player battery died. I choose to just keep going, thinking I'd stop to replace it the next time I stopped for some water.

So, I decided to spend the next 1.5 miles of silence having a little chat with myself.

I'm not in a good place right now. And I'm slowly starting to hate all this and am wondering what I am doing.

I've really been struggling the past few weeks with my training. With the motivation, with finding the time to run, with the heat, with how hard it still feels, with how frustrated I'm getting.

By now I can comfortably run 4 miles without feeling too exhausted, and that is assuming that I am running at a slow pace. On a really good day, 5 - 6 miles doesn't feel too bad. Anything more than that is a struggle for me. So, on my long runs I spend at least the second half doing everything I can to keep myself moving forward.

On the long runs, I'm finding myself quitting before the intended mileage is complete because I feel like I just can't go another step. My body feels tired and my mind seems to be unwilling or unable to keep it moving.

So, instead of the intense sense of pride and accomplishment I felt while training for Indy - the excitement over completing a new distance for the first time - the amazement over what I was accomplishing - I am feeling frustration and self doubt constantly. I'm wondering what the hell I am doing this for.

I'm thinking about quitting.

Just unlacing the shoes and walking away. Because I don't have to be doing this!

But then I feel like a quitter, and I'm so not a quitter.

And I will be giving up on the biggest dream I have ever had, and it will haunt me for the rest of my life.

So, in all reality, for my peace of mind, I really do need to do this.

I just don't know where I am going to find the strength to get through this training. I keep trying to figure out what I am doing differently from last time to make it feel so much harder. Is it because I changed the days I run, and now do a short run on the day before long run day, where before I wasn't running that day? Is it because of PT the day before long run day, where Sean has me doing a lot of strengthening exercises that leave my legs quite sore? Is it the heat? Is it the fact that I'm not used to running in the early AM?

Or have I just lost something? Like my ignorance, perhaps? And now that the difficulty of the task I have set for myself has shown itself, I'm just not up for the challenge?

I sit here with my right knee aching, my left ankle down right hurting (ever since last night's orthotic trial), and my legs feeling like dead weights, wondering if I can actually make it through 3 more months of this.

Someone please, oh please, tell me that it is going to get better. Or if that's not true, then remind me how amazing it will feel to cross the finish line and help me realize why I am putting myself through this torture.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Summer Heat: 1 Runnergirl: 0

I'm fighting a losing battle.

This heat is killing me, and I've just about had enough.

I'm having a really hard time getting my runs in with this heat. I'm bored with the treadmill, and as the mileage is increasing I'm feeling less and less inclined to run on it.

But I have PT two of the three weekday mornings that I usually run. My PT appointments are either at 7:00 AM or 8:00 AM, with the long drive I have to get up at 5:45 or 6:45 just to make it on time. There is no way I could drag myself out of bed early enough to get my run in, shower, and then go to my appointment.

Which is leaving me to try to run at night, but lately even at 9:00 or 10:00 PM it is still awful out. Tonight, I went out for a brief 3 mile run just to get a few miles in. I thought the temperature felt good when I left. But, I was pretty hot by the time I got home.


Mile 1 11:19
Mile 2 11:08
Mile 3 11:02

When I run in the middle of the night, I will run in just a sports bra. But, I never, never, never do this when it is light out. My stomach is the most unflattering part of my anatomy, as it is in desperate need of millions of crunches. So, I refrain from subjecting people to it.

This evening I finally just said screw it and went out for my run in my running skirt and sports bra. I'm sure I made quite the sight, but I was beyond caring. I think that was the first time my stomach had seen the sun since the late '90's. I'm sure it's whiteness was blinding the passing motorists, but maybe it was a good distraction from the flab.

The main purpose of my run was to, once again, try out my orthotics. Things are getting better, but they will not be accompanying me on my long run in the morning.

My physical therapist has been adjusting them in at attempt to make them more comfortable and to alleviate the blisters that they have been causing. We are definitely moving in the right direction, but I think it is going to take me a very long time to get used to them. They just feel so stiff, like there is no cushioning at all. It feels like my ankles, knees, and hips are being jarred, and now that I am done running my ankles and knees are aching again. But my knee doesn't hurt like it has been, so that is progress. I just don't know what to think.

It feels like it did when I bought a pair of shoes that had a lot of motion control stability to them. It was years ago when I was just running a few miles a few times a week. I tried running in the shoes for about 3 weeks, and got tired of my joints aching. So I turned them into kick around shoes, and went out and bought a new pair to run in.

I am in desperate need of new shoes again, and think I should probably try something to help with my pronation, but I don't know if I can take this feeling in my joints for very long. So, I'm seeking advise from all of you over pronators out there who are used to the motion control shoes.........will I get used to this stiff feeling? Did it feel like that to you when you first started wearing them?

On a happy note, I was talking to a friend who just had a baby 2 months ago. She is trying to start running again after a long hiatus. She was complaining about hating the feeling of her butt bouncing and jiggling as she runs. I told her that I knew exactly what she was talking about.

Because I hated that feeling so much when I first started running. But my butt no longer jiggles when I run, and it hasn't in months. I don't know if one day it just stopped or if it was a slow decline in the amount of jiggle over time until it was gone. But it is gone.

It reminded me that I am making progress, even if there are a lot of days lately where it doesn't feel that way.

Now, if only my stomach would stop jiggling.........

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Best Laid Plans...

Always seem to backfire in my face!

So, I'm in the process of working on my landscaping - adding a few bushes, removing a few others, re-edging it, adding some stones, mulch etc.

With this heat wave, there are about 3 hours of tolerable working time - from 6:00 AM - 8:00 AM and from 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM. It starts getting a little too dark to work on the landscaping in the evening, so I've been trying to work on it in 2 hour increments first thing in the morning.

Meaning that I've been trying to run in the evening. Today's schedule called for 3 miles.

Ok, great. No problem, right?

The plan was to run them at 9:00 PM, ouside if it was tolerable, or on the treadmill if it was still thick as soup out there.

At 8:38 PM my electricty went out. For no apparent reason. Me and 5 of my neighbors lost power, and that's it. Aren't we the lucky ones?

Obviously, there went the running on the treadmill.

I briefly thought about running outside, but quickly dropped that idea. No electricity means no water. No water means no shower. I wasn't really up for a 3 mile run in 85 degree weather that was going to leave me dripping in sweat with no way to take a shower, and no idea if the electricty was going to be back on before work in the morning.

Luckily, my boyfriend took pity on my and let me come stay at his house. So, now I am at least guaranteed a morning shower before work.

But, now I have to run tomorrow.

The day that I work 10 1/2 hours.

The day where I usually come home too tired to bother with dinner.

The day where my only goal for the evening is to stay awake until 8:30 because then I know I will sleep until morning. If I try going to sleep any earlier, I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep.

Why? Oh why? do these things always happen to me?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Opinions, Please

This morning I was discussing my blog with someone I know, who just so happens to follow along with my posts, but isn't really a runner.

During the course of the discussion, this individual implied that my blog may at times be ....



That wasn't specifically said, nor was that the word used, but the implication was there.

Said individual suggested that I should post more about the rest of my life in addition to my tales about my running. This individual stated that it was enjoyable reading the post about my mom, and that I should include personal posts more often. It was stated that there was "nothing wrong with letting your readers get to know you more."

If you have been following along since the beginning, I'm sure you have picked up lots of little tidbits about me along the way. But I have never posted about my miserable days at work, or my vacation pics, or whatever because I figured the mundane details of my daily life would bore the most patient of individuals to tears.

But maybe I am wrong, maybe everyone would like to hear more than just running stuff all the time.

So, my question to everyone is this:

What is your opinion on this matter? Do you post a lot of "life outside of running" stuff on your own blogs? Why or why not?

Thanks for the input!

Making Excuses or Learning My Limits?

Today's schedule called for a 10 mile long run. So, that's what I set out to do.

It didn't go quite according to plan, but I feel like I learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.

I set my alarm for 5:15 AM, only hit snooze twice (incredible for me!), and was out of bed by 5:32! I hit the floor next to the bed and my immediate thought was, OUCH!

Yesterday morning I had PT, and Sean worked me very hard doing strengthening exercises for my knee. I could barely walk by the time I left his office, and I know that the only reason I made it though yesterday was the ibuprofen I took as soon as I got in my car!

So, I woke up this morning to unbelievably sore calves, hamstrings, and glutes. It actually had me pretty concerned about how the run would go, but what could I do? I just stretched out the best I could and waited to see how it would turn out.

I stumbled around getting ready, eating breakfast, etc, and was out of the house at 6:15. No matter what I do, I can't seem to get out of the house in under 45 minutes. So, I started thinking about what I was spending that time doing and realized that a lot of it could be done the night before.

I started think to myself, "You could fill your fuel belt bottles, and pack your GU, extra gum (because we know I need it!), extra battery, etc, in the fuel belt pocket. You could lay out your Garmin and mp3 player, instead of searching about trying to remember where you left them last. Only to realize that the mp3 player is in the garage, of all places, because you were last listening to it while pulling weeds over the weekend. And the Garmin is probably upstairs next to the computer from the last time you entered your splits on your blog."

So, that was the first valuable lesson I learned before I ever got out the door. The second lesson learned was that the fuel belt bottles WILL leak if you fill them to the very top. Next time, I will remember this, as I would rather drink my gatorade than wear it.

I have set routes if I am running 3 or 4 miles. I can vary them up slightly to make up 5 or 6 miles, but the longer distances are new enough to me that I don't have any set routes, and I've been trying to figure out where I want to run them. So, I tried something different this morning.

I've not really done much running along the road side. I see other runners doing it all the time, but have just never really tried much of it myself, so I decided on a route that was mostly along the main roads, with a gas station at the midway point - thinking this would be good for bathroom stops or water purchases in the future if I liked the route.

I set off expecting it to feel awful with how sore I was, but the first 3 miles felt slow but great. It was along the stretch of road that I have run on occasion, with very wide shoulders, AND a turn lane most of the way. So I have an entire lane plus the wide shoulder between me and the cars, unless someone needs to turn into one of the neighborhoods.

I hit a point where I had to turn down a different road, and that's where things started doing down hill! The road was much busier than I expected and the shoulder was just too narrow. I kept ending up running in the weeds on the side of the road, which was pretty difficult because they hadn't been cut in a while. It felt like my footing was unstable and I was worried about twisting an ankle or falling. I was on that road for about 1.5 miles, and was so relieved when I finally could turn off of it.

But relief was short lived because even though the next road wasn't that busy, it literally had no shoulder and it is a very curvy road. I was worried that the cars were going to whip around the turns too fast to see me, so once again I was spending a lot of time jumping off the road into the weeds, and back again. All of the back and forth made me feel like I just couldn't get into a rhythm. But at the same time, dodging the cars gave me something to concentrate on and the time was going pretty quickly. I knew the route was curvy and was concerned about the shoulder, but it was actually hillier than I realized too. It's amazing how something that barely registers in a car feels like a mountain when you are running up it.

So, the next lesson learned was that I didn't want to repeat this route again, so I will be in search of something different before next week's long run.

I got to the end of mile 6 and the blisters from Wednesday's orthotic trial were SCREAMING at me, and my glutes were getting extremely tight and painful. I conned myself into making it another .5 mile back to the entrance of the neighborhood that connects to mine. At that point I took a walk break and drank some water. I convinced myself to keep going and managed to run another 1.5 miles around my subdivision, but by then I was completely exhausted, my legs felt completely spent, it was getting hot, and my knee was starting to hurt just a little bit.

So, I decided to stop after 8 miles.


Mile 1 12:49
Mile 2 12:39
Mile 3 12:16
Mile 4 12:35
Mile 5 11:44
Mile 6 11:48
Mile 7 12:28
Mile 8 11:06 (fastest - as usual)

I know that 8 miles isn't 10, and I'm not going to fool myself into thinking that it is. But I feel like I did the best I could with the sore legs and the new route and my knee kicking in with some pain.

The next lesson learned is one that came from my last training season, but I am just now learning it! My knee was giving me little signals along the way that there was impending doom lurking, but I didn't recognize the signals because I have always had problems with my knees. So, I was attributing the pain to some mild arthritis issues that I have always dealt with, instead of recognizing it for what it was. So, now I am paying more attention to my knee and I'd rather run 8 miles instead of 10 because my knee is hinting at me that it's not happy, than run 10 miles and they be the last 10 I ever run.

The final lesson learned was that I really need to try to get out the door by 5:30 AM on long run days or it just gets too hot at the end of the run. Just the thought of getting up early enough to do that makes me want to cry, but I believe it is necessary. Maybe I should just stay up! It would actually be easier for me to say up until 4:00 AM, than to get up at 4:45!

I hope that it was the smart thing to do to cut my run short, under the cirumstance, but maybe I'm just making excuses.

On a side note: My physical therapist decided on 2 more weeks of therapy to have more time to evaluate how the orthotics are going to work and to do more strengthening stuff now that my knee is feeling better and is more able to handle it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

100th Post

For my 100th post, I thought I should write something profound. Something heart felt. Something of substance.

Something worth reading, perhaps?

So, I went back and reread my first post, and skimmed through the archives to remind myself where I've been, and where I'm going.

I pondered over my original intent when I started my blog, which was....

As a means to stay connected with my friends and family on my quest to complete my first half marathon, and raise money to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team in Training.

I intended to track my training, give thanks for my donations, maybe do a little educating, run my race, and bring my blog to an end.

And I did all of those things.

Until it came to the bringing the blog to an end. Some how that just never happened.

So, here I sit 6 months later, still writing away.


One afternoon, I was looking at my site meter and it showed that someone had found my blog by searching for "Team in Training" on Blogger. Hmm...

So, I did the same thing. And amazingly I stumbled upon a blog of other TNT members. I visited the site and read a few entries, and then started looking at some of the member's personal blogs.

Very quickly I was hooked, and decided to join the RBF.

And after all that pondering and looking back, this is what I have come up with to write about for my 100th post, and considering it is the 100th post, I feel this is rather fitting.

I am an optometrist, meaning I went through optometry school.

Well, duh.

I was not your typical up tight student pursuing their doctoral degree.

I went to class, and tried my best to stay awake. I often succeed.

Sometimes I didn't.

I studied. Most of the time.

Sometimes I didn't.

I took my tests.

I passed. Usually.

Sometimes I didn't.

And I was an official card carrying member of "The Century Club".

We had 122 students in my class. The Century Club was the students who's class position was 100 or below.

We were proud of our status.

Because in our eyes, it meant that we were realistic. We knew the classes were important, and we needed to learn our stuff. But we also knew that there was more to life than the next test, and we tried not to be quite so obsessive or competitive. We didn't really care that our neighbor got a 98% to our 82% on the test.

I mean who really cares?

We always had a joke that the top 1/3 of the class made the best researchers, the middle 1/3 made the most money, and the bottom 1/3 made the best doctors.

And I am a good doctor.

I truly care about my patients. And I take the time to listen to their concerns, and explain things in a way that they can understand. And I get thanked for being "so different" on a regular basis. Which is sad, actually, as it says a lot about the state of our heath care, and what insurance companies are doing to it, but that's a grumble for another post. Or probably an entire other blog.

Blah, blah, blah.

Getting to my point....

As, I wrote a while back, I've been trying to figure out just what roll running was going to play in my life.

I've spent some time pondering over what other runner's do, and the roll running plays in their lives.

And I've decided that I am going to join "The Century Club" of running.

I'm going to stay at the back of the pack, where running a 10:00 minute mile makes me feel like I'm flying. I'm not gonna worry about fancy runs, and lactate thresholds, and all that stuff. I'm just gonna keep putting one foot in front of the other until those miles are in.

And, I'm not gonna give up my life, or time with my family or friends, or my boyfriend any more than I have to. I'll follow the schedule the best I can, but if I miss a run or two to attend a family wedding or a gathering of friends, or a night on the town with my boyfriend I'm not gonna sweat it. I'll just try to make it up the best I can, and let life go on.

And I'm going to try to eat better, but I'm not going to give up my pizza and ice cream. Because well,

I just might die if I do.

But, I am going to make running a permanent part of my life. I am always going to run.

Because I like it.

And maybe the bottom 1/3 of runners, don't make the best runners, but in this runnergirl's case it'll make the happiest runner. Because it will allow me to fit running into my life the best way possible, but still allow me the time for all the other things that matter to me.

So, here's to joining "The Century Club" of running.

Anyone want to join me?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Things That Make You Go Hmm...

I managed to reclaim 4 of my neglected miles from earlier in the week, which leaves only 1 more to go and I'll be back on track.

Go me!

Tonight's run was 4 boring miles on the treadmill, where I tried out the orthotics again. At least for the first 2 miles. Then I had to stop and change shoes. My knee felt great while I was wearing them, and immediately starting bothering me when I wasn't. BUT... my feet hurt with them and I could tell I was getting blisters, and it was instant relief once I took them off. The good new is my feet didn't want to cramp up and my legs don't feel achey like last night. So, I'm considering that progress.

I was amazed by how quickly the run went.

Not because I am speedy or anything.

The run actually took an hour.

Yeah, an hour to go 4 miles.

Go me.

or not!

The run went by quickly because I was watching the movie "Forrest Gump" while I was running, and I think watching Forrest do all that running must have had me in the running mind set.

On a separate note:

I've come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with my treadmill.

I've been paying more attention to my splits lately, and I usually run 10:30 to 11:30 minute miles as an average when I'm outside with my Garmin. Probably a little slower if it's a long run, more like 11:15 to 12:30.

When I run on the treadmill at the gym, I usually can average about a 10:00 to 11:00 minute mile as long as I'm not going more than 3 or 4 miles.


When I run on my treadmill at home I usually average 15 minute miles. And my exertion level honestly feels harder than when I am at the gym or out on the road.


Does this seem wrong to anyone else?

I've decided that something is off with the calibration. So a few weeks ago I dug out the instructions and opened it up and tried to fix it, but apparently I wasn't successful. Which actually doesn't surprise me because I couldn't make the parts inside line up like the picture showed. It just wasn't physically possible.

It may be because the treadmill is old, like maybe 9 years old.

And it may be because it has been moved five times, including two cross country trips, and a trip up and then back down a set of stairs.

But the thought of spending that much money to buy a new one makes me want to cry.

So for now, I'll continue my slow plodding runs on my inaccurate treadmill and hope that the mileage is at least kinda close.

I'll just look at it as the same was as I do when my Garmin looses it's signal and I just have to estimate the distance.

Oh well. Life will go on.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Better Than Nothin'

As I stated this morning , I really didn't feel like running today.

I think I'm in a funk.

Not a running funk, but a life funk, and it's making me lethargic. I just don't feel like my normal self. I've been feeling kinda lazy lately, like I just don't feel like doing anything. If I knew why I was feeling this way, I'd fix it.

But that's the problem. I don't know what my deal is because I can't come up with anything specific that is wrong.

Anyway, the lazy funk is starting to catch up with my running, and I really must stop it.

So, after spending the whole day reading all of the comments from the wonderful RBF telling me to get my butt out the door, I finally did.

At 11:30 PM.

I may have mentioned once or twice,

or maybe it was three times,

how much I love to run at night.

I get up early in the AM, and a run sounds like pure torture. I start wondering if I can find someone to shoot me so I can avoid it.

But, it gets past 10:00 PM, and a run sounds like the best idea in the world. If only I didn't have to be to work at 9:00 AM, my world would be a happy place.

So, I finally laced up my shoes and headed out for my run. It felt a little humid, but over all was good. I could see lightening way off in the distance and actually kept hoping that it would let loose with a down pour, as running in the rain sounded pleasant.

And now that I am back inside, it's raining.


There is one house I run by that has a fountain in the front yard. I love the sound of that bubbling water. It is so calming and relaxing! Overall, a great run, albeit a short one.

The schedule called for 4 miles.

I made it 2.

Mile 1 10:40
Mile 2 10:25

Oh well.

It was my first run with my orthotics, and I am reserving my opinion for now. The good news is I think it actually did help with my knee since it felt fine for the entire run and still does. The bad news is that I felt like I was running with a large rock under each arch and it felt like my feet kept wanting to cramp up.

And now that I am done my ankles and calves feel achey. Like when I spend hours walking on concrete, like when I spend an entire day walking in shoes with no support, like when I've been on my feet at an amusement park standing in line all day. That kinda achey. I'm hoping that it'll go away as I get used to them.

But after 2 miles I'd just plain had enough.

I'll get a run in tomorrow after work, and add a mile or two on to Thursdays run and try to reclaim the miles.

The important thing is that I got back out there. And that's the first step.

I'd also like to add this little disclaimer:

I know in the back of everyone's mind is the safety issue of running at night.

But, let me assure you that I am as safe as can be on my runs. If I'm running more than 3 or 4 miles, I do them inside on the treadmill. I never listen to my music at night, EVER. And I run a .5 mile loop around my house. I live a mile and a half off of a main road in a neighborhood. If someone actually makes it back this far, they live here or are unbelievably lost. Quite honestly, I rarely see a car. The biggest threat are the dogs barking at me...

from inside their homes!

I'm a Slacker!

It is 7:30 AM.

I have been up for 45 minutes.

I should be out running.


I feel stiff and sore from sleeping for 11 hours.

Yes, I slept for 11 hours last night!

Plus, I'm starving, because I went to bed without dinner.

I want to go eat everything in the kitchen.

Well, almost everything.

I'm not quite hungry enough to try the cat food.

But, I've already skipped Sunday's run.

I really must not skip another.

But yoga really sounds so much more appealing.

Yes, yoga, I think.

I can run tonight. Right?

Tell me to stop slacking.

Remind me that those 26.2 miles, won't run themselves.

Make me get my butt back in gear and GET BACK OUT THERE!

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. I won't disclose which birthday, as I want her to remain talking to me, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

I have the best mom in the world! She has spent her life giving me everything I have ever needed, and asking very little from me in return.

When I was a very small child she took care of me, as all parents do. She wiped my tears, and bandaged my boo-boos, and chased away the boogie man.

As I grew up, she taught me the difference between right and wrong, dished out punishment when I deserved it (as I often did!), and instilled in me a confidence that I was always loved no matter what.

As an unruly teenager, she fought battle after battle with me, as I tested the boundaries and tried to break free of the parental constraints. She allowed me to be sassy, when I probably deserved a slap across the face, and let me question and challenge every rule.

You see, my house was never ruled with an iron fist. I was given sound reasons behind the rules, and allowed to protest and negotiate when I found them unfair. And I have always respected her, and my dad, for that.

When some boy broke my heart, it was my mother who I would turn to at 2 AM, sobbing uncontrollably. It was her who reminded me that I was a good person, and if the boy couldn't see it, then he wasn't worth my time.

And when I was off at college, freaking out at the start of every semester, it was my mother who reminded me that I was strong. That I could, and would make it through those classes, just like I had made it through every class before that.

As an adult, my mother has become my best friend. She is my sounding board for thoughts and ideas. She offers advise when asked, but allows me to live my own life. And make my own mistakes.

My mother gave me the 2 ultimate gifts that any mother can give her child: roots and wings.

She allowed me to fly.

She instilled in me a confidence that allowed me to believe that I could accomplish anything. And left me with little fear of change or the unknown. And I have lead a life of satisfaction because of it.

When I bolted out the door, at age 17, just a few short hours after my high school graduation, to start college a semester before everyone else, she let me go. I'm sure she didn't want to, but she did. And I never saw a tear.

When I moved across the country, at age 21, with barely a backward glance, she once again let me go without comment. And cried her tears some place that I wouldn't see them.

And when I decided that living so far away wasn't for me, she showed me that I had roots to come home to, and welcomed me back with open arms.

With all of life's ups and downs, my mom has always been my rock. The never changing, unending source of love and support that I could turn to no matter what.

Thanks for everything, Mom! Happy Birthday to the best mother in the world!

Update on the Knee

If you've been following along then you know that I have been having problems with my right knee for quite a while, and am undergoing physical therapy for it.

When I started, the physical therapist, Sean, said that he thought it would take about a month of treatment.

I just finished my third week, so at my last appointment I asked him where he thought we stood.

His response was, "Let's wait until next week. Then we'll see."

I don't think I like the sounds of that!

He gave me some orthotics to try while running, and I think he wants to see how I do with them before he makes a final determination. I didn't want to try them for the first time in the race yesterday, so I am planning on checking them out this evening on my 3 mile run.

I'm not expecting to like them, as I've had orthotics in the past. But, if it helps the knee I'm willing to give it a try.

My knee really is feeling better than it was before I started the PT. It still hurts some, but not like it did. If I do all my stretches and ice it when I'm done, then I am pain free for the rest of the day. Prior to starting the PT, it usually hurt for the rest of the day, and maybe part of the next.

I had been wearing a knee brace when it was really bothering me because it felt like it needed the extra support. My knee almost felt like it wanted to buckle under me at times, and it was more comfortable with the brace. I wasn't running with it, but was wearing it the rest of the time. I no longer feel like I need the brace and haven't had it on in a month or so.

So, I am seeing progress.

But, it still hurts when I run and I don't think Sean is happy with that. So, I am expecting him to talk to my doc and request more PT visits. Which I don't necessarily mind, it's just so time consuming and such a long drive. But Sean is awesome, so it's worth it.

He lives right around the corner from me. I keep trying to convince him to do home visits for me.

So far he's not buying it.

I think it is because then he couldn't torture me with the bike.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Runners on Parade 5K Race Report

This morning I ran the Runners on Parade 5K, and am very happy to report that it was MUCH better than my last race.

Here's another unflattering post race picture.

My goal was to finish the race in under 33:00 minutes, because I was thinking that I wanted to try to keep constant at 11 minute miles.

Yeah, great plan, but...

I forgot about the .1.

How could I commit such an offense???

I know about the .1!

I get a little grumpy when people short change my half marathon by saying I ran 13 miles.

NO! I ran 13.1.

Give me credit for my .1! It was the hardest part.

And today, I forgot the .1!


So, I remembered the .1 about half way through the first mile. I was cruising along and all of a sudden it hit me.

"Crap! I forgot the .1! I'm going to have to pick up my pace to make my goal time."

And that's just what I did.

My left shin was not cooperating right from the start, but I just ignored it and kept plugging along. I was trying to watch my Garmin and pace myself. I felt like I was doing pretty good.

My biggest issue was that I was feeling pretty dehydrated almost instantly. I'm sure I didn't drink enough water last night or this morning, and the race started at 8:00, so it was already getting pretty warm.

I kept hoping for a water stop, but no such luck at this point. So, I just kept running, dreaming of when I would see those cups tossed all over the street off in the distance.

I came upon a posted time clock and it read 9:58. I looked down at my Garmin and it said .75 miles.


Now that's weird. Why would they do that? Put the clock at .75 miles instead of at the mile marker.

Well, who knows? We are down town, and the streets are narrow and full of parked cars along the sides. Maybe they couldn't fit it at the mile marker.

So, I start thinking, "9:58, with a quarter mile to go. I better pick it up."

So, I ran my heart out for a while, and keep looking down at my Garmin. At one point it was giving me that dreaded WEAK GPS SIGNAL sign. At another it read that I was running a 16:15 mile.

UM. I don't think so!

At that point I realize that my Garmin isn't working quite right with all the trees and tall buildings and decided to ignore it.

I finally hit the ONLY water stop at the half way point and chugged my little heart out.

And instantly started choking.

I really must work on this little problem of mine, as it seems to be my routine for the first water stop at all races.

I hit the next posted time clock and it read 19:45. I pull out my ear phone and scream to the guys standing there........"What's the distance?"

"2 Miles", they shout back.

I give a wave of thanks and shove the ear phone back in.

2 Miles? 19:45? Me?

No freakin' way I'm running under 10 minute miles with my shin feeling like this, and feeling so dehydrated.

Ok then.

Obviously I was wrong and that first clock was at the mile marker, and my Garmin had just lost it's signal prior to that point and I'd missed it.

I was doing ok, but getting pretty tired. I rely way too much on my Garmin to pace myself. Without it, I ran the second mile way too fast, and I crashed and burned in the last mile.

We changed direction and came out of the neighborhoods and back into the main downtown area with all the buildings.

No more trees meant no more shade and it kept getting hotter and hotter. My mouth was getting drier and drier, and all I could think of was getting across the finish line to the water.

I felt myself getting slower and slower, and try as I might I just couldn't seem to speed up. I pretty much lost it at the end, but I came across the finish line strong.

My official time was 33:16.

Splits (to the best of my recollection!)

Mile 1 9:58
Mile 2 9:47
Mile 3.1 13:31

I missed my goal time by a few seconds, but the race was also chip timed. The chips were activated when the gun went off, instead of when you crossed the mat and I certainly didn't cross the start line immediately. So, I really was pretty close.

Plus, I set my goal time and forgot the .1.

If I had remembered, I would have chosen a slower goal time anyway.

All, in all, a huge success.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

There Are Worse Things

People have all sorts of habits that keep them up too late at night. They stay up to watch TV, read, use the computer, go to the bar, talk on the phone.

But, oh no, not me.

What is it that always keeps me up way beyond my bed time?

It is the evil runner voice in my head.

You know that classic picture of an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other. Yeah, that devil would be my evil runner voice. It talks me into doing irrational things.

It'll get to be 10:00 or so, and I'll start getting this itch to run. I try to talk myself out of it.

I tell myself that today is an off day. I don't have to run.

I tell myself that I have to be to work early. I will be tired if I don't get to bed.

I tell myself that I need to do other things. There are bills that need paid or laundry that needs folded.

But that nagging little runner's voice in my head wins out the majority of the time.

You see, it is 1:00 AM, and I just finished running 5 miles.

And today was supposed to be an off day.

I was sitting at my computer, listening to music while making my RBF CD, and the music was making me want to run.

Then I started thinking about how dreadfully busy I am going to be for the next two days.

And that lead to me wondering when I was going to fit in my 5 mile long run this week.

The evil runner voice kept telling me to go do it now. But the rational voice kept saying, "But it's midnight! We can't start a run at midnight!"

Evil runner voice, "Sure we can! How about if we just run a mile or two?"

Rational voice, "Well.... that might not be so bad."

Evil runner thinking......"Ah Ha, Gotcha!"

Yeah, so I get on the treadmill and start running.

I hit the 3 mile mark, and rational voice says, "Well, we should stop now."

Evil runner voice says, "If we went 3, we may as well go 5 and get the long run over with."

Rational voice, "But it's sooo late."

Evil runner voice, "What's 25 more minutes going to matter?"

Rational voice, "Fine! You win."


There are worse habits, I suppose.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Firecracker 4 Mile Race Report

I can't believe that I am posting such an unflattering picture of myself for all to see, but there you have it. Me ~ post 4th of July Firecracker 4 Mile Race.

This morning my boyfriend and I got up at the crack of dawn, to drive across town to run the most horrible treacherous course ever invented.

The first and last .25 mile are flat stretches of pavement, along with a short stretch in the middle. The rest of the race is on grass or very rocky trails, with constant inclines and declines of the entirely too steep variety!

The last time I did this race was in 2001, in the pouring rain, where I watched more than one person twist an ankle on the steepest hill and have to get carried off the course.

Somehow, I had conveniently forgotten just how hard the course was and just how steep the hills were. So, I decided to do it again this year!

I had 4 miles on the schedule for today, and also had a rare day off of work to actually be able to do the run. So, I thought to myself, "Hey, why not run the race? It'll be fun."

I was wrong.

So, very very wrong.

There was nothing fun about it.

We started off and I knew from the first instant that I was taking off too fast, but somehow couldn't seem to make myself slow down. I was feeling out of breath pretty quickly into the race, and knew I was in trouble.

About .3 mile into the race we hit the grass and my calves instantly started tightening up and my shins started hurting, and I started wondering just why I had gotten up at 5:45 on a holiday to torture myself.

I managed to make it through the first mile, barely. And then we came to this huge hill. It completely stopped me in my tracks.

I didn't even make an attempt to run up it. Did I mention how huge that hill is? And the worst part is that it is very tall weeds that you are running through. They had mowed it recently, but all the cut weeds were just a tangled mess, and I really didn't want to trip and fall.

Once I got to the top of the hill, I started running again, and went barreling down the back side of the hill.

But I didn't keep running for very long. I was quickly out of breath again and my calves were killing me, so I ended up walking again.

The race kicked my butt, to say the least. To be quite honest, I walked the majority of the middle two miles.

At the tail end of mile 2, I had given up. I was just slowly walking along, cursing myself out for being so out of shape. Pissed at myself for not training harder. Pissed at the hills for being so hard. Pissed at the world. Pissed at the faster runners who didn't seem to be struggling.

"Screw it!," I thought to myself, "I quit."

"I am walking the rest of this !*&%# race, and going home and running my 4 miles on today's schedule on the nice flat pavement."

A little old man, probably in his 70's, ran by me, and said, "Come on! Get those legs moving. You can do it."

"Screw you," I thought, "I can't do it. I'm not running another *^%! step."

I passed a water stop near the middle of mile 3, and grabbed a cup. I was literally walking along at a leisurely pace sipping the water.

I was done.

The course was an out and back, and I came back to that huge hill, and was facing the other side of it.

I was looking at it and felt so defeated.

I wanted to cry.

But, then I realized that wasn't going to do any good. So, I started getting pissed at myself for being such a quitter. Such a whiner.

I tossed down the cup. Furious with myself for giving up.

I am not a quitter!

I stomped up the hill.

I stomped down the hill.

And I took off running.

I knew I had just one more mile to go. I ran with every once of energy I could come up with, and flew for the next half a mile. My shins and calves were still killing me, and I took a short walk break.

I took off again, and gave it everything I had left.

I think my official time was something like 48:13, I'm not quite sure. I was in a daze as I crossed the line. I did hear them call out that I was finisher #200.

Garmin time: 47:28

Mile 1 11:11
Mile 2 13:30
Mile 3 12:40
Mile 4 10:05

I finished the race and tried to shake off the bad mood.

Because I was in a bad mood.

I was down right pissed.

But, it was my boyfriend's first race, EVER. And I didn't want to rain too hard on his parade of completing his first race. So, I tried to just let it go, and congratulate him on his huge accomplishment. I am very proud of him!

His time was 43:07.

Yeah, and he doesn't really run much.

I'm such a loser.

Oh well.

I'll redeem myself on Saturday. 5K. Nice happy, flat, paved course.

NO possible way it could be worse!

Sunday, July 2, 2006

A Get 'R Done Run

You know what I mean.

One of those runs, that you aren't really into.

Where you just want to cover the miles and get it over with as soon as possible. And get on with your day.

Yeah, today was one of those.

I thought today's run was supposed to be 4 miles, but was thrilled when I realized it was only 3!

But, I knew I was in for a long run when I looked at the thermometer at 6:45 am, and it read 76 degrees. Yuck.

I dressed in the bare minimum, and laced up my shoes and headed out before I could change my mind.

I felt pretty slow and sluggish for most of the run, and really didn't loosen up until the end. It was pretty hot out, but there was quite a breeze blowing so that helped a little.

I ran an out and back course and felt like I was running into the wind both directions. Someone please explain to me how that is possible!

Here are the splits:

Mile 1 11:27
Mile 2 11:31
Mile 3 10:15

Is anyone else starting to sense a pattern here? My last mile seems to always be my fastest.

At the end of every run when I start to get tired, I tell myself to imagine that I am about to cross the finish line of my next big race. So, I need to keep it up and give it my all because that's what I'd do at a race. It must be working!

I finished my run and came into stretch. I wasn't inside for 5 minutes and it started to down pour, complete with thunder and lightning. It came out of no where. It was cloudy out during the run, but nothing suggesting that it was about to let loose like that.

Guess it is a good thing I got the run in when I did, but I'm not quite sure what this means for our day at the lake.

Maybe it'll stop.

Or maybe I'm just delusional.