What goes up…

must come down and come down hard.

Today our family dealt with what every runner dreads – the fall.  Gravity always wins.  Everytime. The question is not if you will fall when running but when and how hard.

Steve took off for a run this am while I was still only semi-conscious. So I still wasn’t quite alert when I was digging out running clothes and heard him calling me a short while later.

When I rushed to the front door, he was at the door but holding it cracked open. He said, “I need you to know I had an accident before you open the door.” Being the calm rational person (ha), I grabbed the door, saw blood everywhere and screamed. And I had five thoughts in rapid succession.

My first thought was “God that’s a lot of blood.”

My second thought was “Dear Lord why didn’t he bring home his entire face??”

My third thought was, “Oh my god that’s a lot of blood.”

My fourth thought was “Get the kids out of the hallway and into their rooms.”

And then, I must confess my fifth thought came from that stupid runner’s part of my brain. And it was, “Crap I won’t get my run in this morning cause I’ll be in the ER with Steve.”

Now, lest you think I’m cold and heartless – I love my husband dearly.  He is my best friend and the man of my dreams.  And he understood when I confessed this thought hours later. Cause he also has a runner’s part of his brain.  The runner’s part of his brain was the one that remembered to hit stop on his Garmin when he got up (can’t mess up the split times!) and which also thought, “I hope I’m okay to run on Wednesday this week.”

After the scream, I managed to:  call the neighbor to watch the kids, dress myself and the kids, pack breakfast (it was 8 am!) and books and Nintendo DSes for the kids, dress myself, get a clean shirt for Steve (he had taken off his shirt and was holding it on his bleeding face), got water and snacks for him, and load everyone into the car  – all within about 10 mins.

On the way to the hospital, Steve explained that he had no idea what happened.  He was going along at a good clip (7:40 ish pace) and went down. He had no time to throw up his hands so he landed on his left eye socket. Yeah – major ouch.  Later, we drove by the spot and figured he slipped on a cobblestone section of someone’s driveway. I hope they don’t notice all the blood spatter on their patch of sidewalk…it looks like CSI should sweep the place.

Thankfully the ER was rather slow as the Labor Day festivities had not really started by 8 am.  We got through triage quickly and to an ER “room” (read: bed with equipment offset from other beds by two curtains on either side). Beyond the blood, Steve was shivering as he had been sweating from the run and hadn’t changed his clothes. They swaddled him in warm blankets which helped.

The amazing news – no broken bones on his face. Nose is probably not broken either. He didn’t damage his eye – but ripped off the skin under it. And banged up the nose badly. Clearly his guardian angel was completely flattened by now but had prevented REALLY bad things from happening. 8 stitches under the eye and 3 across the bridge of his nose. His eye is blackened and swollen – and his nose is swollen too. I suspect he’ll have two black eyes by the morning.  Poor poor thing.  The kids are still a little upset to look at him and our son keeps asking when he’ll get back to his “normal” face.  Poor poor poor thing.

But, he was thrilled his “running parts” are all good. Not a scrape on his legs, no foot pain, etc.  He tweaked his back a bit, but nothing more than needing a few days of rest and targeted stretching.  The fact that this was a running injury was not lost on the medical staff.  We heard it all including:

“That’s why I walk instead of run.”  Okay I’ll keep that in mind.

“See running is dangerous.  That’s why I quit.”  The nurse laughed at the doc at that one and said, “Really?  That’s the reason?”  

“Man, it doesn’t pay to try to be healthy.”  Um, maybe but this was a rarity. He’s run 100s of miles without incident.

And my favorite: “See you should stick to a treadmill – much safer.”  Yeah, cause banging your head on that instrument panel would be so much better. And when the belt keeps going when you’re not – that’s just plain awesome.

Okay I wasn’t that snarky in real life. I am very grateful for the incredible doctors and other medical staff. But really?

Life is dangerous. Yeah I’m old enough that I remember being a kid and not using seat belts and bike helmets.  I played on playgrounds that didn’t have mulch and pillows under the structure.  I’m not advocating returning to all those ways. Not at all. But we have to realize that unless you pad yourself and sit in a corner away from the world, life has stuff in it. And to avoid it all is sort of silly. Cause you can’t.

But you can be wise.  And you should be.

  • Don’t go running without telling anyone about how long you’ll be gone. Check in with someone before and after. And be sure they are conscious when you tell them! (I had no idea how long he had been gone when this happened.)
  • Wear an ID!!  A long while ago, Steve bought us both Road IDs that we wear on our shoes. And another great option is GO Sport ID.  Had he lost consciousness (thankfully he didn’t), someone could have found our phone number on his foot along with his name.
  • Bring a phone. Of course this will probably not change with Steve. But I do run with my iPhone strapped to my arm – for tunes, Nike+, and safety.  Only have had to use it once when I tweaked my calf and couldn’t walk home.
  • Run with others when you can – or at least in well populated areas so someone could find you if needed.  Steve was running through a neighborhood where lots of runners come through and lots of houses with people.  I know I know – many runners want the freedom of trail running or being out away from people. But in that case – definitely bring a phone.

Later, after we were home and the kids were home and settled down, I went for a run myself. I had to prove to myself that falling is a rarity – even for a klutz like me. I managed to almost make it a 5K (the mid day heat was oppressive).  The worse part was my second scream of the day when I nearly stepped on a headless mouse on the sidewalk. (He did not have id on him.) It reminded me just how lucky Steve was in his fall. Yes, I realize he wouldn’t have lost his head but it could have been way worse. 

And so I headed home to my poor banged up hubby.  Full of thanks that he will heal. And that he will run again.

 

Traveling Red Running Shorts

I need some traveling red running shorts.

The Bloggess (who is the most irreverent, wickedly funny collector of taxidermied animals EVER) started the awesomeness that is the Traveling Red Dress sometime ago. Her idea is that we don’t often celebrate silly indulgent things that can help remind us of how awesome we really are on the inside. And her afternoon of wearing a red dress and being photographed as the gorgeous soul that she is….well it taught her to embrace her worth and enjoy herself.

The traveling red dress has taken on a whole new life of its own since her first post nearly two years ago. She has prompted many others to find a dress (or something of equal awesomeness) to, in her words, “to remind them how amazing they were”.

And thus – I am prompted to find some amazing red running shorts.  The kind that doesn’t ride up my butt crack, that doesn’t cling to my cottage cheese thighs, and that makes me look like the (thin and swift) runner that I am in my head…..I’m sure they are on sale at Target as we speak….

Cause I need to remember the awesomeness that is the fact that I am a runner….a former non-runner. I do run. And that is amazing.

I ran the Disney 1/2 Marathon on Jan 7th of this year.  My first 1/2. And at the end of the day – I felt like it would also be my last race.

Mile 10 – I stepped funny. And it hurt.  On my foot.  A lot.

I hobbled and ached to the end. But after it was over and we were back home….I did not run.

And I drove the kids to school rather than walk. And I wore running shoes everywhere (even with work clothes and church dresses) cause they were more supportive. And I did not run.

And I went to the doctor and got x-rays. And I poo-pooed friends who argued that I needed a whole team of docs to poke and prod me. And I opted to not get crutches. And I did not run.

And I did not blog. And I ignored the emails from the group about Saturday runs. And I tried to cheer my husband on when he went for his morning runs.  And I tried not to cry while he was out.  Cause the foot hurt. And the pain of not running hurt me more than I thought it would. And so I avoided running.

And I still haven’t finished reading the latest issue of Runner’s World.  I stopped reading my Twitter feed from all the running people I follow. And I stopped believing that I could do anything I set my mind to.

The only good thing I did for myself – I tried to follow Weight Watchers….no, I didn’t join – I downloaded an app. 🙂  I figured I’d try to keep down the calories while not running.  And even that has fallen apart in the last week or so.

I finally did a .75 mile lap of our neighborhood nearly a month after Disney. I was slow, plodding and tired. And the foot was just okay.

Since then I’ve run an additional 11 miles over 6 other runs. Including a 4 mile run “with” the running group on Saturday – as in – they were running and I was walk/running behind them…well behind them.  And including nearly 2 miles today.

The issue really hasn’t been my foot across those miles….it’s my endurance.  It’s gone….shot….over…..kaput.   I feel like my body has completely forgotten what it’s like to break into a sweat and stay on a consistent and steady course….

And yet this Saturday – Steve and I are running the Gasparilla 5K with our kids. Three point one miles of huffing and puffing and trying to find my pace.

Now this makes me break into hives for two reasons….a) I’m not sure I can really come anywhere close to my usual pace….I’m figuring a time of 45 mins or so….not great but actually reasonable given my out of shape status….and 2) I’m slightly panicked at keeping track of a 6 yr old and an 8 yr old amongst the thousands of runners.  Hubby is not – but then again – he tends to not worry about things despite my pointed objections to his laid-back attitude.  “You realize that we have put a lot of effort into these kids – I’m not going to lose them now.  Not when they are on the verge of understanding multiplication!”

Of course Steve did not make me feel any better today.  I mentioned that I had purchased neon colored running shirts for the kids so we can spot ’em easily.  He claimed we really shouldn’t worry and that he was planning on us all finishing in 36 minutes. I’m thinking I might opt for losing him somewhere along the race course….despite his rock-steadiness that strengthens me…

But the crux of it is that I’m looking for some awesomeness for myself.  Some reminder that I can do it – I’ve done this for a year….I certainly can come back from the challenge of being laid up and out of shape.  And wouldn’t it be awesome to break out a pair of RED running shorts to do just that….?  Cause running in a red ball gown is certainly an idea….that might not be ideal….

And in the spirit of the traveling red dress – I could share those awesome red running shorts with my friends who have suffered setbacks as well this year.  Vicki – who’s running has been put aside by a torn meniscus….ouch.  And Lis… whose doctor examined her injury and suggested that she might find a new hobby instead of running….. Awesome women who might need a pick me up that reminds them of that fact.   And then we can pass them along to those who are just starting a journey of fitness….and so on and so forth…..

I need to find some traveling red running shorts……what do you need to help you remember how awesome you are?

 

Peaking and Tapering

Ah….Disney 1/2 in 10 days!!! OH MY!

When I started this blog, Disney was on my mind – my training leading up to it. But it was one of those things that seemed so far off that I couldn’t possibly conceive of actually doing it. Now it’s a scant 10 days away and I’m alternately psyched about it and scared out of my mind.

So this is my tapering period…..I peaked with an 11 mile run last Monday…..the training plan I was following (loosely) had me getting up to 14 miles before the race. However, the nagging issues of my plantar fascititis had me scale back on a few weeks. Nonetheless, my 11 felt great that day…finished it in 2 hours, 20 mins. Which meant that I was on pace for the finish I had predicted of 2 hours, 50 minutes. So it seemed do-able.

My whole long run I kept picturing running with my sister (and praying she’s not going to push me to a 10 min mile – yikes!) and crossing the finish line. But then I’d get weepy and start yelling at myself, “There’s no crying in running.” But I finished well and was excited about it.

Now I’ve been in tapering mode. Managed a some good short runs – including a 4 mile run on the morning of Christmas Eve when it was 86 degrees out. Who manages a small case of sunburn on Christmas Eve? This week I’ve done two runs already. The first on Monday was with my husband….we managed to get me to do 12 min miles for a 5K. And then today I did another 5K on my own and pushed to an 11:45 pace for the first mile. I think the freezing cold has something to do with it……We’re in Illinois and no chance of a sunburn here! In fact today I had to avoid some last remnants of snow here and there on the roads. (The snow on Tuesday was cool but thankfully brief and quite melt-y.) But maybe, just maybe, my body’s ready for this Disney dance. I plan to do another 5 or 6 on Friday and then two short runs next week. I pray they all go as well as these last handful.

In other news – my foot pain is subsiding – or at least it’s manageable. I’ve been wearing a splint for a few hours at night (as long as I can stand it). And doing the ice bottles, rolling on golf balls, taping, etc. I even got a home visit by my friend’s dad who is a retired podiatrist. He basically pointed out some features of my feet and ankles that contribute to this…but that are just the way I was born. He wasn’t concerned and suggested some good work arounds to help cope and get my foot to a better place.

But the thing that really seems to be helping my foot is my Christmas present. My husband bought me a pair of Merrell’s pace glove. LOVE THEM! They have the Vibram soles but not the individual toes….so a mitten rather than a glove for your feet (which is actually as I think it should be….the five fingers look odd on some feet). I’m not about to start minimalist running with 10 days before a big race. But I am wearing them as everyday shoes.

Given the pain – I’ve been wearing my running shoes non-stop for weeks (yes even with church clothes!). But this is a nice light-weight solution to that…and man are they comfy. My feet really like them a lot. I’m thinking I need to add to my collection of them with some of the Mary Jane style ones to look a bit more “dressy”.

Steve has been wearing his trail gloves daily for awhile now. And he even got some of the leather dressy ones for work. He has incredibly narrow feet so they work really well for him. And he believes that the wear (no running in them) has strengthened his feet. (I believe he’ll do more “barefoot” runs after the Disney marathon.) Perhaps he’s right. All I know is that for the past 4 days of owning them – I love them. We’ll see about running – but for now, my feet are happy and my pain is much less. YES!

And with that – I look eagerly forward to updating you on my last few runs and then DISNEY!!!!!! Donald medal here I come!

21 days and counting

21 days from now, Disney will be all over…..and I pray that I’ll be in a puddle somewhere clutching fast to my Donald finisher’s medal. I will finish, darn it all.

21 days....and 13.1 miles till Donald is mine!

I can’t quite believe that Disney’s Marathon weekend is in 3 short weeks. It seems like forever ago that I signed up. Just the other day, we got the emails to print out our waiver forms. The form included your bib number…..mine is 41558. At first that number was off-putting.  What?  How many thousands?  But then as I thought about it….I’m starting to feel really good that given that there are at least 41557 other 1/2 crazy people out there that morning – I’m not likely to be the last one to cross the finish line.  At least I hope I’m not….as that is my nightmare.  They’ll be closing down the parks and there will be me…..plodding along….
As for training – I should be tapering these next weeks…..however I still need to get one good long run in. The plantar issue has put me off schedule and while I’ve had some good long mileages days – never got past 9.5.  Now some people have said – oh we did a 1/2 and our longest run was 5.  Okay – but I’m not sure that’s going to work for me. So I am planning 11 miles on Monday.  Today I just did 4 and the foot held up well. And Steve had to do his peak of 20 for the marathon – so I needed to get home earlier for his go.  The downside of running on Monday is that I’ll have to go it alone entirely. (Steve did offer to run the first 5 with me – until we remembered the kids are out of school for the holidays…..oops!)  But I’m sure my iPod and a bunch of energy gels will get me through….
This morning was my last group run till Disney – given the holidays and everyone’s traveling. I wasn’t particularly speedy – but I felt a lot better than last Saturday when my foot just gave out at mile 2 and I had to trudge (and curse and yell) the last 2 miles back by myself – in pain.  This was a much better run. Might be that I’ve been more diligent about ice packs, rolling golf balls on my foot (even in the middle of giving a final exam!), and wearing a night brace (for as long as I can stand it). So that’s good to know. Patience is a horrid thing to have to learn….and it seems that patience is a key part of healing a plantar pain.
As it gets closer we are talking less training and more logistics (where will we all meet, will I finish in time to see the kids’ races, etc.) Which makes it seem real. And so far not real scary……but I’ll let you know after my 11 miles on Monday!

How I lost to Zola Budd…

Happy Kid finishersme and my speedy husbandpost race and pre beer and turkey

The question we asked each other on the eve of Thanksgiving 2011 was not what time we needed to start heating the pre-cooked turkey (we know better about our culinary skills). The real question anyone should ask themselves is what time do we all need to get up to get 13 people out the door to get to the Turkey Trot on time?  In case you ever need to know – the answer is 5 am.

Of the 13 of us – 10 in our merry band were running.  Four kids signed up for the mile fun run, 2 adults in the 5K, and 4 adults in the 8K. The only ones opting out were a) the senior citizen who has had a heart by-pass and a few stents, b) the senior citizen with two knee replacements, and c) the 18 month old.  We can certainly forgive Grandpa, Grandma, and the baby for being our cheering section rather than participants.

My folks have retired near the beach in North Carolina about an hour north of Myrtle Beach. When we had decided to all gather at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving this year, the question was immediately raised about running a Turkey Trot. Unfortunately my parents’ town is a little small to hold a race…so we scoured the internet for nearby races. Apparently there are two main competing Turkey Trots in the Myrtle Beach area. Not being from the area – we opted to not worry about the local politics about which race was better or “the real one”.  We opted for the one with the t-shirt with the surfin’ turkey on it. Cause every runner needs a surfin’ turkey shirt. And this Trot had the offering of a 5K and an 8K along with a mile race for the kids. Perfect for our family.

Sometime between when we decided to register and the race itself, I happened upon an interview from a few years ago with Zola Budd – now Zola Budd-Pieterse.  I learned that she currently lives in Myrtle Beach and specializes in 8Ks.  So my best guess was – hey – Zola might run this race…..How cool – to run in the same race as an Olympian!  I shared this knowledge with everyone the night before the race. And in looking up the 2010 results, we realize Zola had indeed run the previous year – and rocked it. I was pretty excited to potentially see such a famous runner in person – given the size of the race, I figured that was a stronger possibility than in most venues.

So dawn had not even broken when alarm clocks starting ringing all over the house. Somehow we managed to get five kids dressed, pack a cooler of Gatorade, and get everyone in the cars by 6 am for the hour plus drive to the race venue. Thankfully Grandma often shops at the stores across from the start line so she knew exactly how to get there. I spent the whole ride icing my darn right foot (plantar pain) in hopes it would hold up okay. Of course – it was only 41 degrees outside so I’m not sure I really needed the ice. BRRRRR…..(Oh I am such a Floridian nowadays!)

We managed to find the packet pick-up and take a pee break before finding awesome parking spots. We wound up being super early but it paid off just for those spots. As we got out and hopped around in the cold, my brother-in-law mentioned spying a Starbucks as we came in the shopping area. So we trudged off to discover a Starbucks inside a Piggly Wiggly.  (Yes we are in the South!)  Hot cocoa – along with some donuts – made the kids a bit happier and we killed some time.

Around this time the first part of our running drama started.  Our 6 year old daughter finally came to grips with the fact that we had signed her up to actually run a whole mile. So she started balking, I haven’t practiced, I don’t want to.  She managed to keep this whining up for quite awhile. Given that the mile race didn’t have timers, we were told we could run with the kids – make sure they went all the way around the lake and not into it. So we stood at the start – our son and two nephews raring to go and our daughter crying (yes real tears) that she didn’t want to do it.

The madness of the start  – well madness was exactly the right word. At the gun, gravity took over and somehow our son fell down (Grandma claims he was pushed) and our youngest nephew went down too.  Somehow Steve jumped over them, grabbed our daughter and ran with her. Our son got up and took off – but our poor nephew had a bloody knee and an instant bad attitude about it.  I tried to help him but left my brother to help him out and I took off to catch up with my daughter.  She was easy to spot for at that point – she chose to sit down on the grass.  I immediately grabbed her hand and kept up a steady pace of encouragement.  She kept up a steady stream of tears and cries of  I don’t want to do this.  We managed to get to the 1/2 way point and Steve took over again.  I peeled off and went to the finish to find the rest of the brood.  Our oldest nephew finished in 9 mins – and I managed to catch our son’s finish at 11:13.  He was so happy about that medal. And Steve and the ball of tears came in at a respectable 13:30. She had apparently stopped crying for the last half…but hadn’t cheered up until hours later.  Sigh.

Next up – the 5K and 8K start. So we had to go about 1/4 mile away to the start and stomp around till the gun. Our little nephew had gotten a band-aid and decided to run alongside his dad for the 5K. He’s a tough little cookie. The gun went off and as usual it’s a mess of people until we all got sorted out after about .3 of a mile or so. Steve started way up at the front (and subsequently finished 3rd in his age group for the 8K – WOO HOO!) and my sister of the middle school pants and her husband lost me early on. But I managed to run along with my brother and nephew for awhile. I felt pretty good – the pain in my foot still nags me but the worse was my endurance as I’ve backed off of training due to the pain. My nephew was cracking me up cause every time I passed him – he’d run faster to get ahead of me and his dad! Thankfully he didn’t keep up with me for the the turn for the 8K.

As I did the turn off – I realized pretty quickly that this was a small race – and a fast one.  I apparently missed seeing the guy who ultimately won as he doubled back from the 8K turnaround.  But not more than .2 miles down the stretch, I saw a woman racing back toward the finish. I think it was more instinct than visual skills that I knew it was Zola. Running like I imagine I look like in my dreams (which is a pretty clearly just a dream). But there was an ease in her movement that made me feel like time stopped – as if I were watching her in slow motion for just a brief instant. And I had a feeling like I could do anything just watching her. I resisted any urges to wave like a crazed fan – but I couldn’t help but marvel at running as a pretty good equalizer. Here I was running on the same race as an Olympian. Sure I was miles behind her – but I ultimately got the same medal as she did….and I ran the same distance she did. And for a moment or two, I felt a kick from that idea.

As I wound down the 8K spur – I waved at my husband, and then at my sis and her husband….and I was happy.  Until I made the turn around point and realized that there were only a handful of people behind me. So I had to work hard on that mental game of “I’m not doing this to win – but to do my best.”  It’s apparent that this is not just a small race – but a FAST one….the slower runners clearly do the 5K so there were far fewer of us at the tail end of the 8K.  And the one woman who just WOULD NOT let me get ahead of her annoyed me….but when I realized that I was beating my expected time….I realized I was doing a better job than I expected. As I had about .2 mile left, my two nephews and my sister came out to run me in – and I kicked it a bit.

post race and pre beer and turkey

My kick got me in at 58:55 with a pace of 11:52.  Not too shabby – esp since my Nike+ apparently lied to me about my timing.  I was only 28 minutes behind Zola who finished 1st for the females and 2nd overall. And although she beat me (of course!) – watching her run certainly inspired me to know that what I’m doing is okay….even if my pace is a lot slower than hers.

And yes I was the last one of my family to cross the finish – but I did it. My first 8K. And the first race I’ve been in with Steve. And the first time I’ve run past an Olympian. The medal and the surfin’ turkey t-shirt are great relics – but the race overall made me realize I can do Disney. At least I think I’m back on pace for it.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all – may you have as much to be thankful for as I do…..on the race course and off.

me and my speedy husband

 

 

Dusting off the cobwebs….

So the first sign you’ve neglected your blog is that there are 101 spam comments to tag and delete.

The second sign is that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach.  It’s as if there’s a pile of laundry on the floor in the corner that you set there on Sunday.  You think, “I’ll put that in later today.”  Then you walk by it again and again.  As you head for bed that night, you think, “Gee – too much to do today – laundry tomorrow for sure.”  And this repeats itself for a few days before you’re reduced to no longer even glancing in that corner for fear you’ll have to look at and confront the pile of unwashed laundry. You’ve reduced yourself to wearing clothes that hang in the closet as “just in case” sort of items because you’ve just not had the time/energy/ability to get the freakin’ laundry done.  Then finally a few weeks later you just have to sit down and sort out the piles and deal with it.

This is me – dealing with it.  🙂

I have 6 weeks or so until the Disney 1/2.  I have 5 days till the Turkey Trot in Myrtle Beach. And I have an arch support on my foot, a frozen water bottle under the foot, and a borrowed plantar night brace by my bedside. Yup – it’s been a bit hairy around here.

Two weeks ago I ran 8 miles on a Saturday am.  Ran 5 with two friends and the last 3 miles were just 2 of us.  Felt okay – not a great run. But then spent the next 9 hours or so on my feet with the family. By the time we got home, I had to crawl from room to room the pain in my foot was so bad.  Plantar pain can be incredible.

I’ve taken it easy, hobbled around, and done very little running beyond a mile here or there. So I’ve just avoided all thoughts of Disney lest I cry and cry. But today I managed to get myself out for 4 miles. Ran with two others – including newly crowned Ironman Maria.  I swear – I need to tape her comments and have them playing in my iPod when I run Disney (for I will run Disney and I will finish – cause Maria told me so in no uncertain terms.) Hearing her Ironman story is amazing enough – but she is also now ready to rock the motivational speaker world. And she really won’t let anyone tell her that they can’t do it. So I did it.

4 miles that is.  Not great, but not horrid. The worse was feeling more out of shape than feeling like my foot wouldn’t hold up. So that’s good. And it’s been rather not bad all day since.  Which is encouraging.  Cause I intend to mostly run the 8K Turkey Trot. It’s a mental thing.  And by the end of it, Maria tried to get me to commit to running the Disney Goofy in 2013.  HA HA….that’s running the 1/2 on Saturday and then getting up to run the Full Marathon on Sunday.  I’m thinking all that “You are an Ironman, Maria” has seriously scrambled her brains….

Anyway I’m starting to get back in the saddle again – just to mix my physical activity metaphors. My other reason to avoid blogging about running (and my recent “lack thereof”) has been health issues.  Largely – my ever increasing cholesterol. Damn damn damn. All this running and all the chia seeds I’ve eaten over the past 6 months and still the numbers go up. So I’m fighting genetics here and losing – and now I’m at the point where I had to buy a weekly pill case for the blood pressure meds and cholesterol meds.  Lovely.  The doctor has suggested trying to investigate a few other things but we’ll see if those pan out at all.

Meanwhile – my run this morning was really what I needed….a kick in the pants to look forward to Disney and not be a negative Nellie…..but look forward to finishing  – even if I’m crawling my way across the finish line!

And blogging my way forward as well…..

 

Stupidest injury ever

Well let’s focus on the good things first.  I had a great run this morning. Which felt like it was a long time coming.

Monday morning I woke up at 3am and realized that I had eaten something bad the night before. Hard to get an easy 3 in when you’re in the bathroom all morning.

Wednesday I had a doctor’s appointment and an appointment for my car. Most of morning eaten up by those plus travel time.

Friday – my running time kept getting delayed. First by what was to be a short 20 minutes of school volunteering that grew to over an hour. Then I was helping my husband make our reservations at Pop Century for the Disney Marathon Weekend (YEA!!!). When I finally got outside – it was after 10 am with a humidity of about 2000% but not raining.  Those 2 miles I pounded out – well let’s just say I walked – a lot – like most of it….it was horrid.

So today I was concerned with the group run….the group was doing 4 – but according to my 1/2 training schedule I should do 5.  (Then again I should have run 2 other times this week but let’s ignore that for now.)  I decided to lay it on the line and commit myself to 5. For the first 2.5 miles I ran with the girls on the loop.  Then I turned around and headed back to the start while they finished the remaining 1.5 miles ahead.

Overall I was pretty strong – I didn’t take a walk break for at least the first 3 miles. And I think I only took 3 small walk breaks total. Got harder to run and drink for some reason. And I was really proud that I kept up with the group without slowing them down too badly. (But who knows – maybe they all sprinted in glee when I turned around cause I wasn’t holding them back anymore!  Ha ha!)

I managed to make it back to the parking lot as they were driving out.  So not bad….1 hour 5 minutes.  And they all cheered me on and claimed we’ll all do 5 next week.  I felt good about it all.

But what’s the injury you ask? Well…when I got back home I was sitting to take off my shoes and check my email and I had a small pain at the top of my stomach – high up. Great I thought – maybe the new brand of energy gel didn’t agree with me. I wasn’t excited about that given my stomach troubles on Monday. The pain seemed to come and go for a bit and I just kept thinking about stomach issues. Then I went to get dressed and discovered the source of my pain – a nasty large red line all the way across my stomach. And it dawned on me – my fuel belt.

I had opted for 2 bottles in my fuel belt given my distance today. But also as I had had a conversation with my doctor about my running and my high blood pressure. She’s a runner too – so she supports me running. But my high bp meds make me a little dizzy sometimes – so I need to keep really well hydrated or I will feel faint during workouts. I didn’t take the meds before my run but I wanted to be sure to keep up the liquids just in case.

Yet – I wound up pulling up the tail of my shirt to wipe my face….which meant the belt rode up against my skin. Yup – apparently I am prone to breaking out in a nasty rash when wearing the belt against my sweaty skin.  Good to know. Painful lesson to learn.

But the more important lesson – I did 5 for the first time in awhile. And while I will probably be sore tomorrow – I’m back on track for Disney. Giddyup!

 

“Go barefoot”

That was my husband’s comment in response to my story of a friend also having trouble with plantar fasciitis.

Ummm… I’m starting to wonder about the wisdom of checking out “Born to Run” from the library. My husband has started to run over to the “dark side”.  LOL.

Actually I tease. Yes, he’s putting his toes (unshod) into the waters of barefoot running. But is doing it according to a careful plan. Which seems the right way to go about it.

A few months back he had tried on a Merrell Trail Glove and found it rather comfortable. He later tried on the Vibram Five Fingers and they just simply looked funny on him and didn’t fit well.  He is tall and skinny with feet to match: long and very narrow. The Vibrams just didn’t seem ideal for his feet.

Just last week he finally ordered himself a pair of the Merrells. (I knew he’d been musing about the idea for awhile.) This past Saturday he tried them out. As per a training book he found, he ran 1/4 mile barefoot first. (His comment – “Not bad but things stick to the bottom of your foot and then they don’t come loose right away.”) Then he did 1/2 mile with the Merrells on. His time for that  – 3:30….that is – a 7 min mile (which is the fastest he’s ever done in recent history). Then he came back and put on his usual New Balance shoes and with the comment, “I’m back to being a shod runner,” he headed out for 7 miles.

I’m excited for his new shoes…I think the idea of zero-drop shoes is cool.  But as I’ve mentioned before the idea of truly running barefoot makes me cringe. But the minimalist shoes seem intriguing – although I’m not likely to try to mess with my stride or my training right now before my first 1/2. Steve’s been running much longer – and is a stronger runner than I. He’s also very thoughtful about how he approaches new tasks and challenges – that is – being very knowledgable from the outset. So I know he’ll tackle this change wisely. Not sure that he’ll be doing the Disney Marathon in the Merrells but I suspect some trail race is in their future.

On a funny side note, our son and daughter are very exposed to running – they have gotten bored in running stores, they have to endure Saturday morning cartoons while Mommy and Daddy take turns running, and they have started a small collection of their own race medals. But we didn’t realize that they are actually paying attention to the details of running. When Steve showed his new shoes to the kids, our son immediately said, “Hey, those are just like the ones with the toes.” Apparently minimalist footwear is easily identifiable in this household!

As for my friends and their aches and pains – I’m not sure that barefoot (or minimalist) is for everyone. So I’ll offer my tips and tricks and save my husband’s advice for the more adventurous runners.

 

“Today is a rest day”

Yes it is….that is – it’s Sunday. We’ve already enjoyed our morning at church and are just puttering around, enjoying our day of rest.

Actually I’ve been getting emails everyday for several weeks from Active.com telling me that “Today is a rest day.”  I signed up for a free training program through them – but I set it to start this week.  So I have laughed everyday when I open the “rest day” email….this week has not had much rest in it. The kids started back to school, I had doctors and dentist appointments scheduled for me, my husband has had long meetings all week, and I’ve been working on my syllabus as the university where we teach starts the semester tomorrow. As blessed as we are to live on an academic schedule (my husband is an associate professor and I’m an adjunct instructor) – the schedule does have its moments of frenzied activity – like prepping for the new classes or grading midterms/finals. So rest is not likely this week…

The kids are settled into the new year – and both love their teachers (alleluia!). Our son is continuing his karate and we signed up our daughter for ballet/tap. (This will likely be a whole other blog post as I never danced and am totally at a loss as to the ways of dance studios.)

I often wish that after school activities for elementary kids could include running clubs. (When our son was an active toddler – I used to say I’d like to sign him up for soccer just so he could have a chance to run for an hour or two.) And actually – my husband will be starting one of sorts for a few weeks.  Our church’s Wednesday night programs for kids have short Bible lessons and then we break into mini classes for kids that are fun activities – like drama, puppetry, bells, sign language, karate, etc. He’s going to teach a “running class” for upper elementary kids. I think it’s going to be fun – and involve a lot of Gatorade! I hope it catches on and that many kids come to find running to be a passion for them.

I did manage three runs this week myself. Monday and Thursday were brief 2.5 miles and then 4 miles on Saturday. New shoes are great – although my foot is hurting again – thank you plantar fasciitis. (On a side note, a friend who’s father is a retired podiatrist taught me a new way to tape my foot that seems to be helping.) Part of this pain is probably the mini break when I didn’t have shoes. And part of it is that all my running on vacation were short runs (under 4 miles). The 4 miles yesterday were ugly….but it was SUPER humid. I started out strong and didn’t quite pace myself as I should have. But I did it and I wasn’t as slow as I thought I was.

So I’ll need to start building up my milage again and getting the body back to the way things “should be.” Particularly as this week is my “official” start of training for Disney. I’m excited and scared and nervous….and hopefully all that energy will be directed toward getting my feet going! And I’ll get out of this rhythm of “rest days”!

 

Happy feet!

I haven’t run since Monday…when I got to run with my sister. No – she didn’t wear me out that badly. I fell the victim of the blister that ate my foot.  The worn out running shoes were replaced with the slightly worn out cross trainers.  End result – hours after the run there was the most disgusting blister on the heel of my foot. Wanna see?  Here you go:

My blister has blisters

I know – gross, right?

So there was much doctoring to the foot and a lot of bandages for a few days. Running took a back seat to fun at the beach and pool with the family. And my foot thanked me for the chance to heal properly…

Today we finally made it out to the mall where Fit2Run is. Yea!  New running shoes.

Now I’m not much up on the latest and greatest shoes….I did a little searching on Runner’s World online and such. But truth be told – I’m not that knowledgeable to know what all the differences are between the minutiae that goes into running shoes. I just want to put my feet in them and go by “feel” so to speak. All the reviews just kinda confused me. My plan was to get some good guidance and then just let my feet be the judge.

I brought my worn out pair in hopes that would help them figure out what is wrong with my stride. Actually the guy told me that the wear pattern was rather typical and nothing really out of the ordinary. I guess that’s good…but it did tell him about my foot and my stride.

Next, I had to take off my sandals and stand barefoot to see how my feet fall. Note to myself for next time – do take the time to remove all the old nail polish before getting new shoes. The smudge of purple on my big toe that I was too lazy to remove led to an embarrassing exchange.

“So beyond the blisters, any other problems?”

“Nope – just an on and off case of plantar fasciitis.”

“What about your toenails?  Isn’t that one about to fall off?”

*blush* “Umm…no…I’m just overdue for a pedicure….”

“Oh…looks like you were going to lose that toenail….”

Oops….

Anyway – I had previously worn a pair of Sauconys which I liked but wasn’t wedded to. I just wanted the best pair for me. I tried on a pair of Brooks, Saucony, and Asics. While we were away, I tried on a couple of pairs at a local sporting good store and found the Asics were really comfy. So no real surprise that I really liked the comfort level in this higher-end pair of them. The Brooks were just okay and the Sauconys felt good – but I really liked the “cloud” like feel of the Asics. So – here are my new Asics – the Gel Kayno 17.

Ready to run

My husband’s uncle had told both of us that we should only wear Asics – hopefully Uncle Bob is proud of my choice then. And my sister had told me to buy two pairs – but the funds weren’t there for that to happen just now – although the salesman tried very hard to get me to buy both the Sauconys and the Asics.

Given the soft, comfy nature of this new pair….I couldn’t help but start thinking about how some runners would see me as doing it “all wrong”….

While we visited family, I had a lot of time to catch up on my reading. In the string of books I finished were two books on running – one by Pam Reed, the ultra runner, and Born to Run – a fascinating look at a hidden running culture (the Tarahumara Indians who live in Mexico’s Copper Canyons). I don’t honestly remember Pam Reed‘s take on shoes (if she had one)….and I’m still not sure about the sanity of the ultra runners….but it was an interesting read.

Christopher McDougall’s book fascinated me and at the same time confused me. Part of the book is the heart of the debate about barefoot (and minimalist) running. Humans are made to run….and McDougall points out studies and scientists who make points against the modern running shoe. Apparently the modern running shoe is the bane of our current running existence. Now I don’t doubt the scientists he talks about – but he’s not a science writer per se – he clearly chose people with one point of view. So I’d be interested to hear what others on the other side of the debate say. But it’s clear that many of the barefoot/minimalist advocates would spit at my choice of a cozy, comfy, gonna-make-me-injured-cause-I-should-be-barefoot type of shoe.

Frankly – I like to walk around barefoot. And running in the grass barefoot with the kids is fun. But a) I’m a klutz – I’d certainly injure myself on a rock or stick long before my feet got toughened up, b) I did actually step on a piece of metal as a kid running barefoot….that trip to the ER flashes through my head whenever barefoot running is mentioned, and c) I run in the suburbs….do you know what sorts of things live on the sidewalks and streets in the suburbs? I’m not actually willing to take sides in the barefoot debate….after all, I’m intrigued by the Tarahumara.  But I’m not likely to lace up my huaraches soon. I’m sticking to my new Asics…

Hopefully will get a run in tomorrow to put them to the test….