Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Racking Up the Miles

My mom and I have walked 65 miles this month, and biked about 10. Wow!

My mom will be out of town for the next few weeks, so my goal is to try to get a few runs in and test out the various aches and pains. We'll see how it goes.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Big Thanks!

I just wanted to say thanks to Liz, Lisa, and anyone else that sent a letter for helping me out with this .

Matthew ended up getting over 60 pieces of mail - I didn't get an exact count from him mom.

Unfortunately his doctors said his counts were too low to risk going in the lake, so he didn't get tossed in. Instead it sounds like he got to pick someone else to take his dunkings for him, so I'm sure some of the staff at the camp weren't too happy that Matthew is so popular!

So, thanks again for helping me!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Something Had To Give

Those readers that have been around for a while know that I love Jayhawk. I might even have a crush on her because she's just so darn cute with her new hair.

Some of her writing hits me so hard it about knocks me off my feet. Sometimes I think we are long lost running soul mates separated at birth. Today's post is inspired by her most recent one.

I could have written it myself.

In fact, I pretty much did.

Then a few months went by and things got a little more under control, and I was feeling better but not great about the state of things, and I was considering giving up my blogging.

Luckily, I decided that I enjoyed it too much and decided to stick around.

So, here I am blogging, but I'm not running.

Instead I'm just boring everyone with my ramblings.

Something just had to give or I was going to require a straight jacket and a padded room.

So, the running gave. And right now, I'm honestly ok with that. I miss it. I watch the other runners that I drive by every morning and feel a little pang of jealousy and regret.

But the relief I feel to not be training in this heat, and to not be in constant pain far out weighs any negatives. And I still haven't made any final decisions about the future. I'm just taking it one day at a time.

And until I decide to wrap my mind around my running future, I've been walking like a mad woman. I think my mom and I have logged about 50 miles walking and 10 miles biking since June 1st. So, even though I'm not running I haven't turned in to a couch potato.


In addition to the running, there was something else that had to give. Something that I used to do a lot of, and no longer have been doing.

Some of you may have noticed that I have been MIA in the comment sections of your blogs.

In order to make time for my own blogging, I decided that I needed to cut back on some of the things I was doing that were taking up my time. And going to each individual blog, reading each post and leaving a comment for the 40 odd blogs I follow was just too much.

So, now I read them all in bloglines and rarely leave comments. It is a source of guilt for me, and I would like to eventually get back to leaving more comments. But I can only do what I can do. And when I dropped all those balls back in January, there were a few of them that I never picked back up. But I know they're still there waiting on me. And one day I'll get back to them.

In the mean time, I just wanted all of you wonderful and inspiring bloggers out there to know that I'm still reading!

I've just turned into a lurker.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Crunch Time

A while ago I was talking about needing to make a decision about my gym membership. The time is quickly approaching for me to finalize that decision and I'm still in limbo! I have until the end of the month to renew my membership if I am going to do so.

The gym has a deal to keep you paying every year by offering a discounted yearly membership after your first two years. I can basically renew my memberships for just under $100. That's a darn good deal, and hard to turn down. But at the same time, I don't think I've set foot in the place in the last 6 months!

I joined the gym two years ago because it was where my boyfriend goes, and I though maybe I'd go with him. It just really didn't happen though. We live and work on opposite sides of town, and we have different schedules. I wanted to go in the morning since I don't go in to work until 9:00, but he starts work at 7:30. He got off at 4:00 and wanted to go after work, but I didn't get off until 7:30 or 5:30 depending on the day. So, it was very inconvenient for one or both of us to try to go together, and it just didn't seem worth the 40 minute round trip drive to go by myself.

I feel guilty to give up the membership. Which is extremely stupid! I'm not going anyway, and at least by not renewing I'll be saving some money. But I still feel guilty. I guess I know I should be going and if I still have a membership I can fool myself into thinking that I will go. Without the membership I can't hold onto that little falsity that I keep telling myself.

What I'd like to do is join one of the two gyms near my house and start going in the mornings with my mom. But I'd have to get my mom to agree to join with me, and I'd be spending a fortune as the last time I checked the membership fees were $35 or $40 a month. Yikes.

Mostly I miss having an indoor track to walk and run on, having the weight machines readily available, and being able to attend the classes. Of course, if I join the Y that is right across the street, yoga isn't one of the classes included in the general membership fees - you have to pay extra.

Maybe I should just continue taking my community sponsored yoga class and buy one of those all in one weight machines for my house! Every time I think I have made a decision, I change my mind.


Monday, June 18, 2007

A Simple Reminder

On my way to work I have to drive by the walking/running path that I was talking about here. A portion of the track runs along the road and you can see the people on it while you drive by.

This morning on my way into work there was a little boy running on the path. He couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 and he was just running along, pumping his little arms. He was really moving. Probably could have given me a run for my money. It was the cutest thing.

I did find it alarming that there was no adult in sight and I'm seriously hoping that his parent was not too far behind him where the path veers off away from the road.

But, the sight of him running along made me smile. It reminded me of the pure joy that I find in my night running. Which I am itching to get back to now that summer is here. I've just been too darn busy lately!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Here We Go Again

Well, it is once again that time of year, when my favorite kid goes to camp!

If you have been following my blog since the beginning, you know that I ran with Team in Training in 2006. Matthew was my honored hero for my first event and a more awesome kid you will never find!!!

He was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 8 years old. And he just celebrated his 15th birthday a few months ago. That's one heck of a long time to be undergoing chemo! But he deals with it like a champ and lives up to his motto, "NEVER GIVE UP!" every day of his life.

He is even dearer to my heart because he is a runner, too. And I often think about him running in track meets the day after chemo when I am out there wanting to quit on a long run. It helps to keep things in perspective for me.

Not a day goes by that this amazing kid doesn't stop me in my tracks. Sometimes it's just to look around and be thankful for the things I have. Sometimes it's to make me think what else I could be doing to help other people. Sometimes it's to wonder how I can contribute to making the world a better place. Sometimes it's to see if there's something I can do to ease the burden of a family with a teen fighting cancer.

But mostly, it's to make me realize that no matter what is thrown my way, life is to be lived to the fullest. And in the words of one of the wisest people I know I am reminded to, "NEVER GIVE UP!"

Matthew has been given the opportunity to once again attend a week long camp with other kids battling cancer. This camp has a tradition that any camper who receives five pieces of mail in a single day gets thrown in the lake. The past few years Matthew has received enough mail to get thrown in the lake every day that he was there.

Last year, in the 7 days that he was at camp, Matthew received 65 pieces of mail. He currently holds the record for the most pieces of mail ever received by any camper there.

I currently hold the record for the single individual that has gotten the most mail sent to Matthew. *Hee Hee*

And boy was he mad at me last year! But, I'm willing to undergo his wrath again to make sure that both of us hold on to our titles again this year.

So, if you can find it in your heart to drop him a quick hello, please do so.

He will be at the camp from June 17 - June 22.

The address is below:

**address removed**

Thanks for once again helping us out with our evil, get Matthew thrown in the lake, plot!!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A New Place to Run?

No running for this little runnergirl since my race, but I have been walking my butt off (Quite literally, I hope!)

I have been getting up at the crack of dawn, which I just love oh so much, to walk with my mom. We've been averaging between 3 and 4 1/2 miles a day, depending on what time I have to be at work. I just can't bring myself to actually set my alarm in the 5 o'clock hour, so some mornings we only have time for the 3 miles. The rest of the days we go 4 - 4 1/2 miles, depending on if we are walking at my house or hers. I've actually been a little sore, and can tell that I am using a few different muscles for walking compared to running.

My various aches and injures have been keeping quiet during my walks, but my knee does shout out an occasional protest. I'm just ignoring it like I usually do.

I do intend to continue with my running, though. The plan is to just take it easy this summer and decrease the miles and to not be in training for anything for a while.

I've been meaning to check out some different parks and/or tracks around town, and just haven't gotten around to it. I'd love to find a place that actually had a drinking fountain or two along the way, but so far no luck! So, I'm thinking that I'll make the time to do that this summer.

So, as a start to my search, last night I went for a walk around the new walking/running track that they put in near my house. I felt a little silly driving 2 miles to walk around in a 1.8 mile circle, but so be it. I was curious to check it out and see if it would be a good place to run. And I'd already walked 4 miles that morning and didn't want to add the extra 4 miles on that it would have taken to walk to the track and back.

I decided that I did like the setting. A small portion of it runs parallel along the roadside, but for the most part it wanders through farm land. There are quite a few areas where it is lined with trees, which might provide some shade depending on the time of day. It did also have quite a few gently rolling hills, which would be excellent for me, since we all know how much I suck at hills! I'm sure they would feel like mountains to me while I was running, but it would be good training for me.

There isn't the greatest place to park near the track, but it wouldn't be too bad if I had to stop by my car in between laps for some water. Much better than trying to keep swinging by my house when I run at home.

The only thing I didn't like about it is less than a quarter of the track is actually paved. The rest is gravel and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I suppose it might be easier on the joints than running on asphalt, but it makes me feel less sure of my footing. I'm not sure if they intend on paving the rest or not. I originally thought that they just hadn't finish it, but then last night while walking I noticed that they have the dirt at the sides all smoothed out and the grass replanted. It seems strange that they would have done that before finishing the paving, so now I'm thinking maybe they intent on keeping it as is. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Last night, I decided that I am unable to actually take a walk alone. If I'm with someone else, then I'm fine. But if I'm by myself the urge to break out in a run is too strong and I can't resist it. I went to the track with the intent of taking a leisurely walk. I didn't even have on my running shoes or a sports bra! But there were a few times when I just couldn't stop myself and I broke out into a run. Partly I wanted to test out running in the gravel, but mostly I just couldn't stop myself. I really wasn't there for more exercise or to get a work out. I was just kinda checking it out to gauge if I wanted to come back and run there in the future. It's almost scary how ingrained in me running is!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Great 10k Adventure Part 3

The Race Report
Read Part 1
Read Part 2

I'm standing the in road surrounded by others runners. There is an older lady standing next to me, with a child that looks to be at least 3 strapped on her back. I think to myself that I hope she is walking. Another runner jokes with her about her extra load. She laughs and says she is in fact walking and that she'd have to be crazy to attempt running while carrying her grand daughter.

There is what I assume to be a local radio station DJ off to the side and he begins counting down to the race start. He is far enough away that I can barely hear him, but apparently the race starts because everyone begins to moving forward. It is a chip timed race, so I'm not really all that concerned about it. I cross the start line in less than a minute and hit start on my Garmin.

When I cross the line I am still walking. The crowd is too thick and moving too slow to start running. I finally start picking up the pace and realize that I lined up too far forward and watch all the other faster runners blow by me. I feel bad, I hate doing that. The cold had consumed all other rational thoughts.

I start running and I feel stiff. It hurts. I go about a quarter of a mile and both shins start hurting. I decide that it is going to be a long race. I wonder what I am doing and why. I think that I can just quit now. If I turn around it's only 1/4 mile back, plus another 1/4 mile to the car.

I plod along for the first mile. My right shin stops hurting, but my left is still bothering me. I always let shin splints get the better of me and quit when they start up. I will run through just about any other pain, but shin splints make me want to sit on the curb and bawl like a 2 year old. I wonder how I am going to make it through 5 more miles of this.

I make it 1 1/2 miles and I start feeling like I am loosening up. My shin stops hurting. My hands are still freezing and they feel numb. I'm wishing I had thought to bring my gloves.

We are running along a residential area and someone has set up a water stop in their driveway. It's on the other side of the road, but I cross over and grab some water. I slow to a walk while I drink it and then speed back up. I'm still freezing.

I am running an out and back course. I haven't quite made it to the 2 mile mark and I can see the contenders for first place coming towards me running the opposite direction in the other lane. It's an amazing sight. I rarely have an opportunity to see the front of the pack runners, and the fact that they are running a pace that is at least twice as fast as mine is blatantly obvious. I am in awe. I see the first female runner pass me and I silently give a little cheer for her.

Watching the faster runners pass me gives me something to concentrate on, and before I know it I've gone about 2 1/2 miles. I'm actually feeling good. I can tell I'm picking up speed. I think that I should be seeing my boyfriend soon going in the other direction and begin looking for him.

Some where near here is the official water stop and I once again stop for some water.

The song switches on my mp3 player to Eminem's Shake That, which I love and it gets me moving a little faster. Then Ice Cube's You Can Do It comes on next. I run to that song a lot, as it is in the movie Save the Last Dance and I run while watching that movie at least once a month. I always speed up during the song, and this is no exception.

My feet are hitting the pavement in time with the music. I feel perfectly in sync. I feel like I'm flying. I'm in heaven. I feel like I was born to be in this moment. The song ends. It switches to the next one. I feel myself fading with the music change.

I look down and notice my shoe is untied. I run over to the curb and bend down to tie it. I decide to ditch my sweatshirt. I'm starting to warm up a little bit, and figure I may as well take it off while I'm stopped. I fumble with it, and knock both of my headphones out of my ears. I toss the sweatshirt to the side and take off running again, struggling to get the headphones back on. I finally do and I can tell that I am nearing the turn around point.

I have a tank top on under the sweatshirt and I can feel the cool air on my arms. It is refreshing and feels like it gives me an extra burst of energy. I pass my boyfriend going the opposite direction. I wave but he doesn't see me.

I make the turn around and feel amazing. I can't believe how well the last 2 miles have gone. I decide that I want to go back to the You Can Do It song, and back up my mp3 player until I find it. I actually listen to this song for the entire last 3 miles of the race over and over again. It just feels right.

I'm actually weaving in and out passing people like crazy for the next mile or so. I feel like I'm on fire and nothing can stop me now. I come back to the official water stop and grab a glass. I'm feeling really thirsty by now and slow long enough to drink the entire glass, wishing that I had another.

I start back up and feel myself fading slightly, but I'm still doing well and still passing people. I round the corner with 1.2 miles to go, and I know that I'm going to struggle with the end. It's getting hotter, and I'm warming up and getting uncomfortable. I feel like I need more water, and I'm giving it everything I have and it's taking it's toll. I'm coming out of the residential area and there is less shade

About 3/4 of a mile from the finish, I have to go up a hill. It about does me in. I struggle big time, but finally make it to the top. And I want to sit down and cry about the fact that I'm not done yet.

I keep going. I feel myself slowing down. I can see the end in sight. The end of the race is a loop around the high school track. It feels like torture. It's hot. I'm tired. I feel vaguely like I'm going to throw up or pass out. Maybe both. I'm regretting the decision not to stop at the porta-potty I passed 3 miles ago. I have 1/4 mile left and I'm seriously considering stopping to walk the rest of the way. I'm arguing with myself to stop being a wimp.

I round the final curve in the track and just have the straight away left. I kick it into high gear and finally cross the finish.

I bend over to take off my chip and don't think I'm going to be able to stand up right again. I grab a water and start to chug it down, I eat a banana and some yogurt, and proceed towards the car where my boyfriend is supposed to be waiting.

While walking, I'm watching other runners cross the finish. I can tell the struggling 10k-ers from the early half marathon finishers. I stop to watch some of the faster runners go by. One poor kid gives it everything he has, barely crosses the line and starts loosing his breakfast off to the side of the track. I'm thankful I hadn't done the same, knowing I was pretty close.

Official Time: 1:10:55.80

Garmin Time: 1:11:06.30 (for 6.30 miles - I forgot to hit stop until after I'd removed my chip. Oops!)


Mile 1 11:33
Mile 2 11:41
Mile 3 10:56
Mile 4 12:08 (This was where I stopped to tie my shoe and fumble with my sweatshirt and earphones)
Mile 5 10:54
Mile 6 10:37
Mile .3 3:13

These are amazing split times for me. I never run under 11 minute miles. And even the first two miles were pretty good considering I hadn't bothered to warm up or even stretch. I was just too darn cold, and I really wasn't taking the race seriously anyway. At that point I was still telling myself that I could quit and go back to bed.

Over all, the race could not have been better. It was awesome. I'm pretty sure that I could have completed the half and regret bailing on it. But, it was what I felt I needed to do at the time.

The entire run my knee, ankle, hip, and back were completely fine. It made me wonder why I was quitting. Then I stopped running, my hip locked up, my back started hurting and I was limping like a 90 year old, and I quickly remembered.

I don't know how to feel about the race. It was amazing. It was the best race I've ever ran. And I did it with no preparation, and my head not even remotely in the game. It's given me the urge to keep running. To keep racing. Makes me wonder what I could do if I was better prepared. But the nagging pains are telling me that I really need a break. I haven't made any decisions. I'm still really thinking about running the 8 miles around Mackinac Island in September. Guess I'll have to just see how the next few weeks go.

I apologize for the three part report. It really wasn't from a twisted desire to keep everyone is suspense for days! I've been super busy since getting home and have been blogging in between patients at work. It can take a while to write a blog post in 5 or 10 minute increments!