Friday, August 9, 2013

Recommitment Day

Today is recommitment day for Team in Training - the day where participants decide if they are going to turn over their credit card number and agree to personally contribute the remainder of their fundraising dollars or if they are going to bow out and not complete their planned event. It's a tough decision. No one likes to be a quitter. Yet, agreeing to fork over a couple of grand if you can't meet your fundraising minimum is sort of a big deal.

I was fortunate enough to not have to make this tough decision when I participated with TNT in the past.  Since I was doing a local event, my fundraising minimum was much lower and I was able to reach my fundraising goal before recommitment day with no problem.

This time things are a little different.  After asking everyone I know to support my fundraising efforts for TNT and LLS I have raised $820 of the $3200 I am required to raise, leaving $2380.  In order to come up with the rest I'm going to have to hold about a zillion bake sales or pay the balance myself. Honestly, my intent was just to pay the rest myself, but that was back when I was thinking that I was going to be able to raise about the same amount as I did the first time (which was $2450).  Stupidly, I never really stopped to think about where a lot of those past donations came from (an incredibly generous ex-boyfriend and his incredibly generous friends and family) and to realize that a majority of those individuals are no longer in my life.

With hubby still in school and us saving every spare penny to purchase a house when he's done, the amount I'd have to make up is a bit out of our budget and I just don't have the time or energy to hold a ton of bake sales and car washes.  If I had connected with the team, or even someone else participating in TNT, maybe I would feel differently, but the whole experience has been a huge disappointment from the very start for me. So, I've decided not to recommit and I won't be running the Nike Women's Marathon come October.  I do feel awful about quitting, but the money I've raised will help The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society whether I run a race or not.  And I have raised a grand total of $3270 over the years, which is a great accomplishment.

Even though I am opting not to recommit to TNT and run an event with them, I do plan on continuing to run!  As soon as I regroup a little, I am going to start searching for a spring race to sign up for and begin training.  So stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Running Duds

Over the past month I've slowly been compiling a new running clothes wardrobe.

Go me!

I still need to find a few more tank tops that don't come down to my knees, but here's my new duds so far...

Notice the tank tops even match one of my new pairs of shoes?   I'm gonna be stylin'.

Fundraising: $100 donated ~ Thanks Dawn!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Disappointed & Discouraged

I rejoined TNT for a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones was that I was hoping to meet some new people and make some new friends.  I met so many wonderful people during my prior involvement that I assumed the same would occur this time around.  Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case.

I have been extremely disappointed that we aren't running in honor of a single individual like when I participated in the past.  I found it very motivating to connect to an honored hero and to train in honor and support of that person and their fight.  During both of my prior seasons, my honored heroes were young boys.  In each instance I got to know them and their families, and I still keep in touch with both of the boys' mothers from time to time.  Not having a new honored hero for this season has really changed the experience for me.

It seems like most of the team events have taken place while I am at work, and I haven't been able to meet any of the other individuals on the team.  Admittedly, I could attend the weekly training runs on Saturday mornings, but they start at 5:00 AM, often at a place that is almost an hour drive for me, and to say that I am not a morning person is a bit of an understatement.  I just can't quite bring myself to get up at 3:30 AM every week to attend.  I know if I tried, I'd end up miserable and quit - not because of the training but because of the early mornings.

I suppose I should have known that the training runs would be early to beat the heat, but I guess I just didn't think about how early they were going to be scheduled.  I didn't think it would matter, though, because when I was a member of TNT previously I didn't train with the team. The training runs conflicted with my work schedule and I wasn't able to make any of them. Yet, I still managed to participate and feel like a part of the team in the past because I was able to attend all of the other team events.  It was at those events that I got to know some of my teammates and eventually met a great training partner.

I have to admit that I am feel pretty disappointed and discouraged by the whole experience so far.  It definitely isn't turing out anything like my last experience with TNT, and certainly not like what I was hoping for this time around, either.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Kicks!

I'm so lazy when it comes to shopping, but I finally managed to drag myself out to buy some new running shoes. It took me about 5 hours and just as many stores to find two new pair of shoes that seem comfortable. I'm not quite sure what is happening to me, though!  For my whole running life I have been a tried and true Nike Girl!  But my current running shoes are Asics, and my two new pair obviously aren't Nikes either.  It's just odd.  Odd I tell you.

Now to take these babies out for a little spin...

BTW, why do running shoes have to be so damn ugly? Who designs these things anyway? Toddlers with a box of crayolas?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Time Based Training Trial Run

I have never followed a time based training schedule, so I wasn't quite sure what to make of the time based schedule that the TNT coaches recommended we follow to train for our races.  I was concerned that their schedule wouldn't be the best fit for me and ultimately I decided not to follow it.

Just for kicks I decided to give a time based run a try during a recent long run.  My regular schedule called for me to run 8 miles and the time schedule called for me to run for 75 minutes.  I ended up running 5.93 miles in just over 75 minutes.  Not quite the 8 that I was supposed to run, now was it?

The run reinforced my main concern about the time schedule: I am much too slow of a runner to follow one.

On this particular run, I ended up about 2 miles short. What happens when I've followed this schedule while training all season and by the end I'm falling 8 or 10 miles short on my long runs? I know I haven't yet made it to run a full marathon yet, but something tells me 26.2 miles is going to hurt if the longest I've ever made it prior to the race is 16 or 18 miles.

I also felt totally unmotivated during the run.  All I was doing was watching the clock tick along knowing that I had to keep running until it hit 75 minutes.  There was zero motivation to try to run faster since it wouldn't help me finish any quicker.  In fact, I found myself giving in to my exhaustion and allowing myself to slow down a lot more than I would have if I was running toward a mileage goal.

All in all, the trial run reinforced what I was pretty sure I already knew - time based training is just not for me.

Friday, July 5, 2013

What It Takes

"Whether you think you can or you think you can't - you're right." ~ Henry Ford

I've spent a lot of years hearing people tell me that I am nuts because I run. I'd forgotten just how often I used to hear it until recently, when the "you're crazy" comments are once again filtering back into my life. Non-runners seem to think that people who run come from another planet. They look at us like we're not quite playing with a full deck and they have no idea how we run as far as we do as often as we do.

But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: it isn't hard to be a runner. As a matter of fact, you really only need one thing (ok. ok. two things, since we need to add a body that is willing and able to let you run).

All you need to be a runner is the blind determination NOT TO QUIT.

Yep, that's it.

Not exactly rocket science, now is it?

I was thinking about it during a recent long run where I set out to run for 75 minutes (more on that coming up), and after 20 minutes I was bored, my hip hurt, and I just really wanted to quit.

I just wasn't feeling it.

But when I set out on the run I knew come hell or high water, I had. to. finish.

So finish I did. By doing nothing more than refusing to quit.

Blind determination, folks. You'd be amazed at where it can take you.

Fundraising: $100 donated ~ Thanks Annelise, Rich & Mary, and Danelle!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Matthew's Story

Please allow me to introduce you to Matthew Fackler, pictured below with his girlfriend:

Today, Matthew is a happy, healthy 21 year old who attends college, works, and spends time with his girlfriend, but things haven't always been so easy for him.

Matthew was first diagnosed with Leukemia in November 2000 at the age of 8. He underwent three years of chemotherapy and was in remission from January 2004 until December 2004, at which time his cancer returned. He underwent two and a half more years of chemotherapy and was in remission from July 2007 to October 2007, when he relapsed again. In January 2008, Matthew received a life saving bone marrow transplant, and he has been cancer free for 5 years. Without the hard work of LLS to find treatments and cures for blood cancers and the fundraising efforts of the members of TNT to fund that research, Matthew’s story might have had a different ending.

It was Matthew's story that inspired me to sign up for my first Team in Training event years ago and it is Matthew who has has once again inspired me to return to TNT for another season of running and fundraising.  No one should have to go through the things that Matthew has endured, especially a child.   It would be so incredible if someday a cure was found so no one would ever have to suffer from a blood cancer again.  With your help, we can make that happen!

If you want to read more about Matthew's story, you can do so here.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week 7: Run Recaps

Well, this is another easy recap post to write because I once again didn't do any of my runs.


I'll spare you the boring, whiny details but my job has been frustrating and stressful for the past 6 months or so, and the past two weeks it has been kicked into overdrive. I am so bad about letting stress get to me and affect my life outside of work.  Last week I managed to keep myself together and stay on track but this week I let it get the better of me.  So, instead of running on Tuesday I made a date with a book and some junk food.

By the time my work week was over and Thursday rolled around I was ready to face my runs, but then my hip starting giving me problems and I was worried about running and making it worse.  My right hip has given me issues for years when I go from sitting to standing.  It's hard to describe but it is like it catches and won't release my leg into a straight position, but it never hurts.  This past week it has gotten a lot worse where I'm noticeably limping not only when I first get up but often when I try to walk, and it is quite painful.  It seems to be getting worse instead of better, so I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

I seriously feel like I am falling apart and have felt that way for years!  I read about runners who are 60, 70, 80 and have been running all of their lives.  I haven't even hit 40 yet and I feel like I just need put out to pasture.


Oh well, tomorrow is a new day and a new week.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Week 6: Run Recaps

This was my first run at the Y, and I ran 3 miles on the treadmill.  I'm hesitant to go back to my current shoes so I was sporting an old pair.  When I was done my ankles were sore but they didn't actually hurt.  My knee, on the other hand, was talking to me - but what can I expect running in shoes that are more than 10 years old?  (Before their recent resurrection, they had been relegated to my "emergency shoes" that I always carry in the back in my car just in case I have to walk a long distance unexpectedly.)

Today's run was a 4 miler at the Y. I decided to give another old pair of shoes a try, and I'm happy to report that my ankles were completely pain free. My knee wasn't thrilled by the end of the run, but it definitely didn't hurt as much as it did on Tuesday, either. Of course, the shoes I wore don't have quite as many miles on them, either.

Today was another 4 miler at the Y, only I decided to give my current running shoes another go.  I tried to pay attention to them while I was running, and I've come to the conclusion that running with them feels like they are forcing my feet to roll out so I'm running more on the outer portion of my feet.  My ankles were hurting a little during and after the run, and I think if I keep running in them I'll end up right back where I was a few weeks ago.  So, it looks like its time to buy some new shoes.  Of course, with these shoes my knee felt a-okay.  If it's not one thing it's another.

I logged 3 miles on the treadmill in an old pair of shoes, and once again my knee was killing me when I was done but my ankles were fine.  My plan is to alternate my shoes to spread out the aches and pains that each of them seem to cause until I can make it out next week to buy some new ones.

Today was a little cross training by way of another hike with hubby. Due to time constrains, we once again hiked the Wind Cave Trail since it is the closest one to where we live. I'm not going to lie and say it was easy, but it definitely felt a lot better than it did 5 weeks ago. I guess I'm slowly starting to get in better shape.

I didn't take as many photos this time, but here is one of me at the start of the hike...

And one of me and hubby at the top...

Fundraising: $25 donated - thanks Tabitha!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Did You Know

Did You Know...

Every 4 minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer.

Approximately 140,310 people in the US will be diagnosed with a blood cancer this year

Blood cancers will account for 9% of the new cancer diagnoses this year.

More than 1 million Americans are currently fighting a blood cancer.

Every 10 minutes someone dies from a blood cancer.

Approximate 53,000 Americans will die from a blood cancer this year.

Blood cancers will account for 9.3% of cancer deaths this year.

Did You Know...

The overall 5 year survival rate for patients with myeloma was 12% just 50 years ago.  Today it is 41.1%!

The overall 5 year survival rate for patients with leukemia was 14% just 50 years ago.  Today it is 56.5%!

The overall 5 year survival rate for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma was 40% just 50 years ago.  Today is is 86.3%!

The 5 year survival rate for children under 15 years old with acute lymphocytic leukemia was 3% just 50 years ago.  Today is is 90.5%!

The 5 year survival rate for children under 15 years old with Hodgkin lymphoma is currently 95.6%!

The 5 year survival rate for individuals under 20 years old with non-Hodgkin lymphoma is currently 84.7%!

Did you Know...

You can make a difference by donating to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to help fund research for even better treatments, and maybe even a cure. Wouldn't it be amazing if someday all of these blood cancers had a 100% survival rate? Together we can work to make that happen.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Week 5: Run Recaps

This is going to be a short one, folks.

Week 5 - I didn't run.  I didn't walk.  I didn't bike.  I didn't swim.

I didn't do a damn thing.

Instead, I limped around for 3 days, babied my ankles for 3 days, and let them rest for 2 days, just to be safe.

I'm hoping that the ankles didn't like the shoes I was running in and with a long rest and different ones they will stop hurting so much.  I'm also hoping that more treadmill miles and less pavement miles will be kinder and gentler on my body.  Time will tell, I suppose.  I may need to re-evaluate the training schedule and see if I can get away with less runs and more cross training.  At least the new Y membership will give me that option.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

OMG, I Could Kiss You

When I started out on this training journey, I had it in the back of my mind that I was going to purchase a treadmill in the near future.  However, my ankles have become a growing concern and the need for a variety of crossing training options has overruled the convenience of having a treadmill at home.

I did a little research and learned that there is a YMCA 2.5 miles from our rental house.  So, I went in today to sign up.  Hubby went with me to check out the facility and decide if he wanted to sign up with me or not.

There were multiple membership options available for families, couples, students, seniors, individuals, etc.  There were two different single adult options listed, depending on age: "young adult" from 18 - 27 and "adult" from 28 - ?? (I can't remember the upper limit before the senior option kicked in).  I wanted to make sure that I was understanding the options correctly, so I pointed to the adult option and said, "this is the rate that would apply if I sign up with just me, right?"  The worker said, "well, probably the young adult" and pointed to that one on the list, and then said something like, "at least I think that's where you would be."  I laughed and said that I was out of that one by more than 10 years, to which the employee responded with shock and disbelief.

OMG, dear YMCA employee, I COULD KISS YOU!

After that, how could I not sign up for a membership?

A little flattery will get you everywhere.

In other exciting news, I spent my morning at a Team in Training Fundraising Bootcamp, where I got psyched up to embark on my fundraising campaign!  So, be watching your mailboxes and inboxes for more details coming soon.  If you are so excited to join me on this incredible journey that you just can't wait that long, you can click on that link over there to donate now.  ------>

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Inspiration From Unlikely Places

A week ago a fellow photographer posted a link to this video.  I watched it that night and have watched it several times since.  I would encourage you to do the same, just make sure you have some tissues handy.

As sad as it is, I find the video very inspiring.  It has been my experience that we can learn the most about how to live life from those who are forced to fight to keep living theirs.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Week 4: Run Recaps

My run recaps have felt a bit all over the place so I'm aiming for some sort of consistency with these posts.

I dug out an old pair of running shoes and gave them a whirl.  My ankles definitely felt better during the run. Unfortunately they have been pretty sore most of the week, so I'm not positive if it was an actual improvement.  I've been trying out some new tunes while running, but the jury is still out.  It gets boring listening to the same play list over and over, but after logging so many miles I've created a pretty awesome one with just the right pick me up songs right where I need them.

Mile 1 11:28
Mile 2 11:35
Mile 3 11:49

Hubby joined me for today's run, mostly because I didn't get started until after 10:00 PM, and I was concerned about running alone.  I don't think he was thrilled, but he didn't complain.  I keep half expecting to come home to a new treadmill sitting in the living room so that he no longer has to keep me company on the late runs.  I was still testing out the old shoes and the new tunes on this one, but still no decisions.  This run did feel really good though.  I finally feel like I'm back in the 3 mile grove, where the distance is comfortable and I'm not wishing for death when I'm done.

Mile 1 12:17
Mile 2 12:05
Mile 3 11:58

It isn't very often that I don't complete a run, but I didn't complete this one.  It wasn't because I couldn't, it was because I didn't want to.

Let me explain...  Do you ever get a bad feeling about something, just out of no where?  One that makes absolutely no sense, but you can't shake it no matter how hard you try?  That happened to me as I was preparing to go out for this run.

I've mentioned it before, but I started running regularly back when I was living in Mississippi in the late 90's.  It was hot, humid, and just plain miserable.  So, to get around it I ran after it got dark.  After doing it for so long I developed a love of night running that has stuck with me. Running at night has always felt like a peaceful escape for me, but it doesn't feel like that here.  I don't live in a bad area, but it isn't necessarily a good area either.  Running after dark here makes me nervous and I feel like every sense is on overdrive, constantly on the lookout for any sense of danger.  But with the insanely hot Phoenix temperatures running after the sun sets is pretty much a necessity.

As I was getting ready to run, I had this overwhelming sense of dread about going out alone.  I don't know if my fear was exaggerated because hubby was out with a friend instead of home like he usually is, but I just didn't feel right about leaving the house.  I thought about taking one of the dogs, but the one who will run just had surgery a few days ago and I didn't want to risk taking her, and the other one hates running and I didn't want to torture her.  So, I set out on my usual route, but I just couldn't shake the bad feeling and turned back toward the comfort and safety of home early.  I made it 1.65 miles of my planned 3 miles.

Mile 1     11:25
Mile .65  7:05

As soon as I stopped running both of my ankles started instantly hurting again, even though they felt fine before and during the run.  My right one is hurting so much that I've been limping and taken to wearing my brace from my old ankle injury (which was my left ankle so this isn't a reactivation of that).    So, I decided to skip Sunday's 3 miles and give the ankles an extra rest day.  We'll see what Tuesday brings.  Fingers crossed that this ankle thing is short lived or I just might have to cry!

Fundraising: $20 donated - Thanks Laura & Ray!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Racking Up the Runs

My schedule was still wonky from being out of town, plus I woke up with a headache and just felt like crap all day.  By the time I headed out to run I decided to just do the 2 miles I missed on Sunday instead of the 3 on the schedule.  During the run I decided to try out the new water bottle/cell phone holder I mentioned buying.  It definitely worked well, except I hadn't washed out the water bottle yet so I just stuck a regular one in it. That wasn't a problem until I drank some of the water and the bottle got all squishy under my hand and made my grip awkward.  Oh well, it's better to figure these things out at 2 miles instead of 20, right?

Mile 1 12:02
Mile 2 12:24

Today's run was squeezed in between an all day photography workshop I attended and a party that hubby and I hosted.  When I left the workshop at 5:00 PM the thermometer in my car said that it was 112 degrees.  I knew this run was going to hurt and it did.  Bad.  I only planned on going 2 miles, but I didn't even make that.  However, after this run I have come to the conclusion that any miles ran in 100+ degrees should count double!

Mile 1 10:58
Mile .5 6:13

For the second week in a row, I ended up doing my long run on Monday night after work.  Right now my mileage isn't high so it's no big deal but this really has got to stop soon.  I think I may need to reevaluate my training schedule since so far I haven't completed a single long run on the day I scheduled them.

My sweet hubby joined me for the first 2.5 miles of today's run.  I don't know how thrilled he is to be tagging along, but I love that he is joining me. He's turning out to be the perfect running partner - he lets me set the pace, he doesn't try to talk to me, he doesn't crowd me, and he lets me run on the outside.

The run felt pretty decent until the last mile.  I spent mile 3.25 - 3.80 reminding myself that it wouldn't be worth the guilt if I didn't finish and I spent mile 3.80 - 4.00 chanting, "I am not a quitter. I am not a quitter. I am not a quitter." over and over and over until I was done.  To makes matters even worse, I didn't plan my route out very well and had to walk .25 miles back home once I was done.

Then I returned home and took my first ice bath of this training season.  I'm in for a world of hurt if I'm there already.  Surprisingly, my ankles are doing more protesting of the pounding than my knees are.  I may need to consider different shoes.  I'm going to do my next run in an old pair just to see.  The ones I'm running in currently are new and comfortable, but my ankles just don't seem too happy with them.

Mile 1 12:34
Mile 2 12:31
Mile 3 12:31
Mile 4 12:19

I'm slowly starting to get donations trickling in! I am so happy and thankful for the kind support of my friends and family.  Fundraising: $475 donated - Thanks Mom & Dad, Uncle Doug & Aunt Noreen, Kevin, and Sherry!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The One Where I Ask For Your Support

In a few short days, weeks, or months (depending on how ambitious I am) a letter from me is probably going to show up in your mailbox or inbox. The letter is probably going to be filled with a lot of facts and statistics about blood cancers, and the people they affect. It's probably going to contain the story of someone who has had to fight for his life against one of these cancers. And it is definitely going to ask you to consider donating money to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in support of my participation in the Nike Women's Marathon with Team in Training. When you receive it, I sincerely hope that you will take the time to read it, and consider donating to this extremely worthwhile cause.

However, today I want to talk about something else. I want to ask you to consider making a donation in support of this organization for a very different, and extremely personal, reason. And again, I hope you will take the time to read what I am about to write, and consider supporting me.

Growing up I was a dork. I was tall and skinny and awkward, without an ounce of coordination.  Gym class was my worst nightmare.  I never participated in team sports, never played little league.  I considered it a good day if I made it down a flight of stairs without tripping.  My body, in all its awkwardness, was something that I saw as separate from myself.  It let me down.  It embarrassed me.  It and I - we weren't friends.  I hated it, and thought it hated me.

Until the day I found running.

All of a sudden, my too long, too skinny, too awkward legs were actually good at something.  Imagine that.

Even though I had finally found something athletic that my uncoordinated body could do, and do well, I still shied away from actively doing it. Every year I thought about trying out for the track team. Every year I chickened out. By then I had already built up too many fears of failing at physical activities and had too many preconceived ideas about my capabilities and my limitations that I wasn't able to overcome.

So I sat on the sidelines and watch one of my best friends race, while I longingly looked on.

It wasn't until the day in January 2006, when I was sitting in the Team in Training information meeting, that I FINALLY found the guts to attempt to overcome my fears and put my capabilities to the test.  I signed up to fundraise for LLS through TNT and to run the Indianapolis Half Marathon, and my life has never been the same since.

Let me repeat that... my life has never been the same since.

During the months that I trained for my half marathon, my body and I forged a truce. I forgave it for past grievances and it showed me that it didn't really hate me. No matter how hard I pushed it while training, it never let me down. It never embarrassed me. And all of a sudden I started to see it, and myself, in a whole new light. Instead of looking at something physical and instantly thinking, "I could never do that!" I started to wonder if I could.  I started to think that if I had been wrong about my athletic abilities, then maybe I was wrong about some of my other self-imposed limitations, too.

Crossing the finish line of the Indianapolis Half Marathon was literally the proudest moment of my life. Training for that race was the hardest thing I have ever done, and finishing it is my greatest accomplishment.  That race medal is one of my most prized possessions.  The entire experience taught me not to sell myself short, not to decide I can't do something before I try it, and that I am capable of more than I ever imagined possible. It gave me the self-confidence and self-worth to walk off that race track and meet life head on.  Somewhere along the path to finishing that race, I lost the paralyzing fear of failure that had dictated so much of my life before it.

So here I am, asking you to support me by supporting something that matters a great deal to me.  I am asking you to consider making a donation to an organization that not only gives a ton to the patients it is designed to help, but also to the people who volunteer to participate in it.   I owe the most rewarding and life altering experience of my life to The Lymphoma and Leukemia Society and Team in Training, for without them I would still be the same awkward, gangly kid afraid of trying new things, taking on new challenges, and testing my limits.  And, quite frankly, that is something that is impossible to repay, but with your help perhaps I can try.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Hair is Always the First to Go

Running used to always dictate my hairstyle.  A trip to the hair stylist usually went something like this...

Stylist: What are we doing with your hair today?
Me: I don't care as long as it still fits into a ponytail.

Luckily, my hair is already ponytail length.  However, a couple of months ago I paid a ridiculous amount of money to have a brazilian blowout and an even more ridiculous amount of money on shampoo and conditioner to help maintain said brazilian blow out, with strict instructions to only wash my hair as often as absolutely necessary - preferable every 3-4 days.  Yeah. Right. 36 hours is about my max and even that's pushing it, but I've been trying for the sake of maintaining my straighter and less frizzy hair. Since I started training, there are many days where I'm taking two showers, and there is NO WAY that I can not wash my hair after it's been dripping sweat. So, I'm in a daily state of depression as I watch that expensive shampoo and conditioner run down the drain. I think my brazilian blowout days are numbered. The hair is always the first to go, I tell you.

Oh, what's that you say? You came here to read about my training runs and NOT my hair woes?

OK, then. Let me get right to that:

Today's run was one of my last 2 milers, so I strong armed hubby into going with me tonight after I got home from work. He wasn't thrilled, but being the good husband that he is, he indulged my whim and came along. Other than being a bit sore from last night's run and feeling stiff and creaky starting out, the run was fine. I'm honestly stunned at how easily I've slipped back into the running groove. At one point, I realized that my mind had been aimlessly drifting for a while and when I came back to reality I wasn't 100% sure if I'd missed my turn or not. That's sort of a big deal since I've lived in this neighborhood less than a year and I'm only familiar with a handful of main streets plus the few adjacent to the one I live on. Getting lost in the dark would kinda suck.

Mile 1 12:28
Mile 2 12:10

I'd also like to state for the record that I'm a freaking genius. Remember when I said that I needed to find a local running store? For someone reason I had it stuck in my head that I needed to find a non-chain local running store. I guess because that is where I shopped before we moved. So, yesterday I was sitting outside on my lunch hour and I happened to look up and what did I spy? The HUGE Dick's Sporting Goods across the parking lot from the office that I've worked at for almost a year.  DUH!  So, I ran over and bought myself a few new running goodies! I'm once again in possession of some body glide, and I also decided to buy a new handheld water bottle/cell phone holder. It's getting close to the point where I'm going to have to start taking water on my runs and I've pretty much hated my fuel belt since I first bought it. Eventually I'm going to have no choice but to use the damn thing, but at least for now I can get away with carrying just a single bottle of water. And I really need to face the fact that for safely reasons, I need to be carrying my cell phone when I run at night or on long runs that take me farther from home. So, hopefully this new holder thing will work out and solve both issues at once.

And last, but certainly not least, I've been invited to run the Flagstaff Half Marathon with one of hubby's school friends. She's already signed up and is looking for someone to run it with her. Training-wise, it would actually fit in really well for me, it is a trail race - which I've never done before and always wanted to try, and the cost isn't too insane.  However, it falls the day before my birthday so I'm not positive if that's how I want to bring in the last year of my 30's.  Plus the website for the race describes it as, "the most scenic and difficult marathon in the Southwest" and quite frankly I find that just a wee little bit intimidating.  I'm leaning towards signing up, but I'm going to let it settle for a few days before I commit.

Phew, that was a long one.  If you made it all the way to the end with me, thanks for sticking it out!

Monday, May 27, 2013

First Three Miler... Check and Mark!

And man does it feel good!

I don't know what it is about 3 miles that makes it feel like such a milestone, but it definitely does.  When I stop and think about it, it makes absolutely no sense.  I mean really.  3 miles?  It's nothing.  Baby steps on the way to 26.2.  But right now I feel like I just climbed the Mt. Everest of running.  I am queen of the mountain.  Hear me roar.

A-hem. Anyway. Moving on.

I was supposed to run my 3 mile "long run" on Saturday and then run 2 miles on Sunday, but sadly I didn't do either. An unexpected 4 days off in a row that just so happened to coincide with hubby's break between semesters had us on a last minute long weekend getaway. And even though I had the best of intentions, those runs just didn't happen.  As any runner will tell you, you can't skip the long runs no. matter. what. so even though it was only 3 miles, I had to get my butt out there and get them in ASAP!

If I'm going for full disclosure, I have to admit that I was dreading the run.  Three days of not running combined with tired legs from walking so much combined with LOTS of bad food and drink choices on our trip on top of having to run after working all day and then attending a little Memorial Day dinner with some friends had me expecting the worst.  So, I was pleasantly surprised when the run actually felt great, especially when I got to the end of the 3 miles and realized I could have eeked out another mile or so.  I'm not gonna lie.  I was so ready to be done.  But I could have kept going if I'd had to.

My knees, on the other hand, don't feel quite as good about the experience as I do and both are currently screaming at me.  But, it's a pounding the pavement kind of screaming and not an old injury rearing its ugly head kind of screaming.  I'm not sure I can really explain the difference, but trust me, I can definitely feel the difference. Just one more reason to start shopping for a new treadmill.  The less miles on the pavement, the better.

Mile 1 11:36
Mile 2 11:39
Mile 3 12:03

Now, to just squeeze in those other 2 miles this week and I'll be back on track.  In the past, I could have gotten away with just letting them go but with where I'm starting I really can't afford to skip any of my training runs.  I have a feeling this week is going to kick my butt by the time time it's all said and done.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Running Week in Review

I'm once again playing catch up on this week's runs. It's nice having them recorded so I can look back and be reminded of my progress.  At the same time it seems rather silly to write individual blog posts for such short runs, so this seems to work best for now.

This was my last 1 miler.  By the time I worked all day and shot an evening photo session, I was just plain exhausted.  I knew once I stopped moving I was going to crash, so as soon as I got home got my butt out the door.  The silver lining of having to run on busy days is that I'm motivated to run faster just to get it done.

Mile 1 10:48

Tuesdays start a new training week (well technically Mondays do, but they are rest days), which means increased miles.  It is also the only day where my runs falls on a full work day.  In my world this is a bad combo because I'm usually lacking in motivation after work, and today was no exception.  It took me until 9:30 PM to convince myself to lace up my shoes and hit the road, but I finally managed to crank out the 2 miles on the schedule.  Surprisingly, once I got going the run felt pretty good, and I felt like I could have kept going.

Mile 1 11:29
Mile 2 11:40

Today's run just. plain. sucked.  I had to get up and run first thing to fit it in before hubby and I head out of town later today.  I still have to pack and get the house picked up so it's not a mess for our friend who will be staying with our dogs.  With so much still left to do, I knew if I put the run off I wouldn't get to it.

Saying I'm not a morning person is a bit of an understatement and my body wanted nothing to do with running so early.  I felt like my legs were made of cement during the first mile, and by the second I was tired of the heat and the sun.  I really wanted to quit halfway in, but didn't.  By now I know I have two choices: suffer through the run, and spend the rest of the day guilt free OR quit the run and suffer through the guilt the rest of the day, and possibly longer.  Suffering through the run is almost always the less painful of the two options.  So, after reminding myself of that little lesson learned the hard way many times over, I just gritted my teeth and got through it.

Mile 1 12:26 (no. that's not a typo.)
Mile 2 11:43

In other super exciting news, I desperately need to find a nearby running store.  It's getting close to the point where I need to reacquaint myself with my old friend, body glide, and I am in some serious need of new running clothes!  This mornings run also bumped up "buy a new treadmill" several places on my to do list.  I've seriously lost my mind deciding to start training just as we enter the insanely hot Phoenix summer, and I need to have an alternative to running outside mid-day.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I'm finding myself in an odd place as I walk back through a door that I thought I'd firmly closed behind me forever.  I'm reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances from my running days, and stirring up lots of good memories.  In many ways it feels like those days just happened, and I have to keep reminding myself that it has been 6 or 7 years since I've spoken to some of them.  In other ways it feels like several lifetimes have passed, and I can't believe that so many things are still the same.

Last night while I was out running, I was wishing that I knew someone to train with on Tuesdays.  Finding the motivation to run after work has always been difficult for me, and knowing that someone else is counting on me to show up is a huge help.  I found myself reminiscing about the midweek runs with my old training partner who I met when I ran with TNT the first time.  I decided to look him up on Facebook today, only to find out that he ran the Chicago Marathon last year and is thinking about doing another charity run again soon, too.  I was so excited to hear that he had resumed running again and had completed a marathon.

I'm anxious to meet the members of the Team in Training group for this season. Unfortunately all of the events seem to be falling on days when I'm at work or otherwise already committed, so I haven't had the opportunity to join in as of yet.  Fingers crossed that once I do, I will connect with a few fellow trainees and I can begin making some new memories with the people I meet along this journey.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Testing... Testing... Is This Thing On?

Can anybody hear me?

I've been wandering about the running blog world, checking in on all of my old favorite RBFers and I am so sad to see that almost all of them have either abandoned their blogs or simply deleted them all together.  The few that are still hanging on seem to be doing so by a thin thread, with posts every few months if even then.

Well, what did you expect?  It's been six years!

I know. I know. I guess I just wanted to live in a dream world where I was going to return to running and all of my old online running friends were going to be there waiting to welcome me back in with open arms.

Yes. Ridiculous. I know.

People change. Things change. Times change. It's the way of the world.

That doesn't mean I have to like it.

I was so used to belonging to part of an supportive online running community that since returning I sort of feel like I've been talking to myself. Not like that's new or anything.  And the realization is settling in that I'm going to have to dig in and do the work to connect with some new online runners and establish a new network and support system of other runners who also suffer from this same form of insanity that I do.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wind Cave Trail Hike

Hubby and I hiked The Usery Mountain Wind Cave Trail on Saturday. It's a 3.2 mile hike, with a 800 ft elevation gain. And it just about killed me.

Hubby loves hiking. Me, not so much. It's not that I don't think I could get into hiking, per se. I'm just so darn out of shape right now that the climbing just about does me in. By the time I get to the top of the trail I'm gasping for breath and my heart feels like it's going to explode out of my chest. Says the girl who just signed up to run a marathon in the hilliest place on the planet.

I do think the hiking is great cross training, and I'd like to continue to hike regularly with hubby, I just wish we could find some hikes close to home that are more of a beginner level so I didn't feel like I'm about to die every time we go. To amuse myself along the way, to take my mind off the exhaustion, and to give myself a good excuse for some breaks, I like to take photos during the hike. Here is a little collage of the photos from Saturday:

In other news, I received my first donation yesterday! YIPPEE! Fundraising: $100 donated - Thanks, Lisa!! :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Playing Catch Up

I just thought I'd play at a little catch up and update the old blog with this week's runs.

This was my first official training run, and my super beginner scheduled called for 1 mile.  I decided to be an overachiever and went 1.25, but don't get used to that or anything.

Mile 1 11:45
Mile .25 2:55

My plan was to get up early and get Thursday's 1 mile run out of the way first thing in the morning, but for some insane reason I randomly woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep the night before.  So, by the time I did crash out again and wake back up that morning run idea was nothing but a distant memory.  No biggie - I'll just do it in the evening.  Until I remembered that hubby and I had planned a date night to go out to dinner and see The Great Gatsby as soon as I finished shooting the photo session I had on my schedule.  Whoops. Which meant I had to crank out the run in the mid-afternoon 100 degree heat.  I was dreading it, but it honesty wasn't as bad as I was expecting.  That being said, I stuck to my 1 mile and got it done as fast as I could. Lack of time is an excellent motivator.

Mile 1 10:37

Today was supposed to be a rest day, but hubby wants to sneak in a Saturday morning hike tomorrow, so I did this weeks "long" run today instead of tomorrow to go with him.  In a few short weeks I am going to be longingly looking back at this week's mileage!

Mile 1  11:46
Mile 2  11:39

As I look at the splits from past runs, and splits from the past week of training, it is insane how I've picked right back up at the. exact. same. place.  I am nothing if not consistent.

Tomorrow will be a little cross training via hiking with hubby and Sunday will be my last 1 miler before this shit gets real.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Answering the Why

It's time to answer the big question that I know everyone is probably wondering.  And that question, you ask?

Why?  The question is Why?

Why am I going to do this again?  Why am I going to put myself through the mental and physical challenges of training to run a marathon?  Why am I going to risk the devastation of defeat if old injuries rear their ugly heads and get in the way of completing my goal?  Why am I going to commit to begging everyone I know to help me raise $3200 between now and October?  And why am I doing it all for a cause that has never directly impacted my life?

When I answered this question back in 2006, my answer was fairly simple.  This time it's not quite so easy.  But I'm going to give it my best shot to answer it anyway.

Here we go...

When I made the decision to quit running, a part of my soul died. And the irony isn't lost on me that I just so happen to be writing this post 6 years TO THE DAY after my announcement. I've spent 6 years waiting and hoping that it would come back to life, but it never did.  By the time I decided to quit, running wasn't just something I did; it was who I was.  I don't think I can really put into words how completely and utterly lost I have felt since then.

I've always been a determined and driven person.  One who isn't happy unless I am striving to achieve the next big goal that is just beyond my reach. Running was such a perfect fit for me because there's always that next race distance to reach for or that new PR (personal record) to beat. I've tried channeling that drive into other areas of my life but with little success.  I even went back to college and earned another degree, just to give myself a goal to work toward.  It helped, but once I graduated, I was right back to where I started.  I've settled into the boring routine of adulthood, and I feel like the mundane monotony of my life is about to kill me.  I need to be constantly challenging myself to feel like I am alive, and nothing I have attempted in the years since I quit running has provided me with that challenge.

When hubby and I relocated to Phoenix almost 2 years ago, I was full of excitement over the new life we were going to create here.  Only I forgot just how difficult it is starting over in a new city where I don't know anyone. And instead of the exciting new life I was anxiously anticipating, my days are consumed with mind numbing boredom with a little bit of isolation and loneliness thrown in for good measure, while my hubby is consumed with kicking ass and taking names as he powers his way through law school and all that it entails.

When I participated with Team in Training back in 2006, I was impressed with the organization and the training program.  I believe that if anything is going to be able to get me back into running and help me regain what has been missing from my life all these years, TNT is it.  Starting over is hard. Harder than I even could have imagined.  I finish running a mile or two, panting and out of breath with every muscle screaming at me, and I want to sit down on the side of the road and cry.  Not at the pain and the exhaustion, but over the fact that I'm back at the beginning - where a mile or two can make me feel so weak.  Allowing myself to become overwhelmed by where I am and by how far I have to go is a distinct possibility, but committing to train with Team in Training will give me an extra source of much needed support and motivation to ensure that doesn't happen.

I met so many wonderful and amazing people during my time with Team in Training, and I am hoping to have a similar experience with returning to the team.  Training for an endurance event with other individuals forges bonds between you that others can't quite understand. No one else understand the thrill of completing a long run, or the crushing blow of not completing one, quite like those who are going through the exact same experience.  It takes a special kind of person to make the sacrifices it takes to train and fundraise for Team in Training (and other similar organizations), and I want to get to know some of those people in this new city that I now call home.  But even if I don't manage to make any new friends along this journey, the training will keep me busy enough that the boredom will be a distance memory and I won't have time to remember the loneliness.

So I guess all that's left is the question of why I am doing all of this for a cause that has never directly impacted my life.  I honestly don't have an answer.  Just because it hasn't yet affected my life, doesn't mean it couldn't.  Tomorrow is promised to no one.  Tragedy can strike anyone at anytime in a multitude of ways.  Maybe I'm just tossing a little bit of good juju out into the universe and hoping that it helps keep me and my loved ones safe and healthy.  Maybe it's something about the fact that so many of the individuals who battle blood cancers do so for years and years and years.  When I felt like my body couldn't take any more training and I was tired of the pain, I quit.  That's really not an option for the people who are battling for their lives against these devastating cancers.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that so many of the people who are drug through the battlefield against these diseases are children who shouldn't have to experience such things at such a young age.  Maybe I'll never really know the answer.  And I'm ok with that.  It's enough for me to feel like something compels me to do it. I don't have to know why.

So there you go, my dear readers.  An attempt to answer the nagging questions that I'm sure a lot of you have been wondering.  I'm honored that you are here reading this, and I hope that you will continue to join me on my journey.  Thank you.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Getting Started Goals

As soon as I decide to train for a marathon, I set 3 goals for myself:

1. Blow the dust off my training blog

Perhaps it sounds silly, but I know from past experience that keeping this blog is a vital step in keeping me on track with my training.  There is going to come a day in the not too distant future that the only reason I drag myself out to complete a run is because someone out there is expecting me to write about it.  Composing blog posts in my head about how my run is going also gives me something to concentrate on and helps pass the time, especially during the long and/or especially excruciating runs.
2. Create a training schedule
Most marathon training schedules start off assuming that you can already run at least 3 miles.  And...  well... you see... the thing is... that's just a wee little bit of a problem, because that 2 miles I ran a few days ago?  Let's just say I'm still sore.  So there's that.  Plus, by now I know myself well enough to know my habits, both good and bad.  If I don't optimize my training schedule so that most of my runs take place on non-work days things are gonna get ugly.  All of that adds up to the need for a custom designed training schedule, designed by none other than yours truly.
3. Order myself a new ID from
I hate running with a bunch of extra stuff weighing me down, but it makes me nervous to run without ID or emergency contact information.  I used to always run with a shoe pouch and ID plate, but the info on my old one didn't even have my current name, never mind current contact information.  Let's just say that I highly doubt my ex-boyfriend would rush to offer assistance.  I was super stoked to find out that not only is the company still in business, but they still carry the same awesome products!  So, I was able to order myself a new updated ID plate.  Score!
I suppose I could have included start running as a fourth goal, but that seems a little silly now, doesn't it?

This week's 3 goals are:

1. Working on breaking that nasty pop habit I mentioned
2. Get. Enough. Sleep.
3. Personalize my Team in Training Donation Page (which can be found via the link I added in the side bar over there -->)

Training official starts today. Woo Hoo!

(Of course, Monday is a rest day on my schedule so it's a bit anti-climatic.)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

They Say Admitting It is the First Step

I am stating for the record that I am addicted to pop/soda/cola/whateveryouwanttocallit, and it HAS. GOT. TO. STOP.

In the past I was never a total health nut, but I at least had the common sense to feel guilty when I ate like crap.  These days I more or less treat my body as a living, breathing garbage disposal without giving a second thought to what I put into it.  That attitude has got to go if I am going to have a hope of coming out the other side of this marathon training in one piece.

My list of bad habits that are going to need addressed along this training journey is quite long, but I figured I'd kick things off by battling the worst one first.  I figure that way I can lie to myself and say it's all downhill from there.

I wish I could say I was going to quit cold turkey (where does that phrase come from, anyway?), but if I said that, dear readers, I would be lying to you.  And while I may try to get away with lying to myself from time to time, I won't lie to you.  So for starters, I'm going to be clinging for dear life to carbonated flavored water and the occasional non-cola pop (which I like but don't have the same love affair with).

Starting tomorrow, you have permission to slap it out of my hand if you see me with a coke or pepsi.  I will probably have a death grip on it, and you will have to pry it out of my fingers.  I'll hate you at the time, but I promise I'll thank you for it later.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Live and Learn

My intent for my runs this week has been nothing more than merely "testing the waters".  I'm lacing up my shoes, putting one foot in front of the other, and taking it as it comes.  Six years is a long time, and in some ways it feels like it. (Like the way my lungs and every muscle in my legs are screaming at me every minute of every day.)  In so many others, it feels like my last run was just a month ago.  I can already feel the sense of well being returning to my psyche.  It truly feels like I am finally returning home after an extended stay some place where I didn't really want to be.

When I left the house tonight I had a vague notion that I'd try to run 2 miles.  I didn't make it.

Yeah.  I thought I'd just go ahead and get that over with.  I know I'm going to be typing those words a lot over the next 5 months, so I might as well start now.

I made the HUGE rookie mistake of starting out too fast, and then I crashed.  Hard.

But it's not my fault.

No really..... it's not!

I swear!

I started running and glanced down at my garmin and it showed that I was running a 16:30 pace.  Seriously?  Get your butt in gear, girl.  Next time I looked at it I was running a 10:15 pace, but I KNOW I didn't speed up that much.  The garmin just hadn't quite fully kicked in when I checked it the first time, and the damage was done by the time I checked again.  Live and learn, my friends.  Live and learn.

Mile 1 10:46
Mile .5 5:52

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Friday Quickie

I managed to eek out a quick (or not so quick as the case may be) mile this morning with one of my little goobers in tow.  She's a total spaz to run with, constantly stopping to sniff everything in her path, barking at other dogs, crossing in front of my path, and generally just being a pain in the butt.  But she loves it so much, and I knew I wasn't going to make it very far anyway.  My other goober is so lazy that she flat out refuses to run, and if I try to make her she will just lay down and refuse to move.

Some days I wish I could get away with that myself.

So she only gets to go along on days where a very short walk is all that is on the agenda.

Mile 1 12:16

In other thrilling news:

I'm in the middle of a love/hate relationship with the nickel size blister I've got going on in the middle of my right arch.  I will be so thrilled when my beloved calluses return to me!

I discovered this morning that my running shorts are all too big.  Not that I'm complaining.  And I spent the entire run this morning pulling them up every 5 seconds.  Looks like a shopping trip is in order very very soon.

Now aren't you glad you stopped by for that?

Happy Friday, Friends!  May you all have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I've Only Just Begun

Tonight I managed to crank out my first run on this insane adventure that I have decided to embark on.  I only made it 2 miles, but considering that I haven't ran more than 25 times in the past 6 years that's really not too shabby.

Mile 1 11:25
Mile 2 11:45

I made it about .25 of a mile before I realized that I forgot to put on my knee brace.  Oy.  But, hey!  At least I remembered the gum.

Honestly, the run felt good.  I know I'm about to jinx myself for even thinking this, but it was much easier than I expected.  After the first half mile, I was in a smooth rhythm and it felt like my body knew just what to do, leaving my mind free to wander where it would.

It felt like I was right back where I belonged.

Unfortunately, I am very well aware of the fact that the saying "the hardest part is getting started" does not apply to marathon training.  I think "I've only just begun" sums it up a little better.

2 miles down.  24.2 to go.  Let's do this!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Return of Runnergirl

When I said Goodbye 6 years ago, I never would have dreamt that I'd be back.  I certainly never intended to return.  But 6 years is a long time and things change.

Never. Say. Never.  Right?!

So here I am, blowing the dust off of the ol' running blog and gearing up for another attempt at training.

But let's back up a bit...

If you've been here before, welcome back and thanks for once again joining me for the ride.

If you're new, let me give you the major condensed version:  Six years ago I quit running.  It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make.  It hurt and I've never really gotten over it.  If you want to know any of the history you can find it in the archives.  Every. painful. detail.

I feel like my life can be describe as a house of cards, and running (or more specifically the way running made me feel) was that bottom corner card that supported the rest of my life.  When that card got yanked out from under me, the rest of the cards tumbled.  I've been trying to rebuild my house of cards ever since, but without the card that used to support the rest I really just don't know how to make them all stand up.

I've spent the past 6 years looking for alternatives to use as that bottom support card, but so far nothing else has worked.  Every time I think I've found a substitute and start stacking more cards on top, the new card buckles under the weight of the rest and the house collapses again.  So here I am, 6 years later, still surrounded by my pile of cards, wondering what the hell happened to my life.

I've reached the point where I feel like I have no choice but to give running another try.

And to be 100% honest, I'm scared shitless.

Because let's face facts... I'm 6 years older.  My body is 6 years older.  If it was protesting so much that I was forced to quit back then, what makes me think it is all of a sudden going to get on board now?  The bottom line is that I have no idea if it will or it won't.  But since the last time I felt completely, totally, deep down in my gut happy was in 2006, it's time to put it to the test.

So, yeah.  I'm back.

And this time I'm not messing around.

I just signed up to run the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco on October 20, 2013 with Team in Training.

Go Big or Go Home: It's the only way to live.