11.12.2012

...any time now.

Still zero hope of running. Since my treadmill fail I haven't been cleared to try it again. I'm feeling particularly annoyed after a weekend full of races in the area, races I planned to win finish in the middle of the pack. I was never one to look forward to winter running, but if I don't hit the road soon I might actually lose my mind. I've been doing a lot of spinning and pilates to take my mind off of it... it's not working but I'm hopeful that all the spinning will help me fly up hills eventually.

When my bones decide to stop betraying me, I must remember how many times  since August 13th I thought the following:
- I wish I never skipped a run because I was too tired, hungover, cold, "forgot" to set the alarm,  didn't have a buddy, wanted to watch Bravo, wanted to go to brunch, etc.
- Always get out of bed and on the road because you never know when you won't be able to anymore. 
- I will cross train. I promise.
- Stop focusing on arbitrary number goals, focus on improvements over time.
- Shut up and follow your plan. 
- Don't complain.
- Stop whining.

for real.

10.31.2012

gooooodbyeeeee treadmill.

in the PT waiting room, ready to roll.
Well. I ran. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't fun. It hurt.

After excitedly lacing up my trusty Mizunos and stepping onto the treadmill my hopes and dreams of being completely recovered were shattered by .25 miles when I realized I could feel the bone in my leg every step I took (not that I was going to say that out loud...). My physical therapist was watching my feet, analyzing my gait and looking at me grind my teeth together with every step - she thought it best I stop and pulled me off the 'mill at .41 miles.


Not only was I mad that I'm not healed, but who stops a run at .41?? That's not even CLOSE to being a reasonable, even number. I'm sure the .09 needed to get to  an even half mile wouldn't have killed me. No one wants to put that weird number on their excel spreadsheet of workout activity.

zombie tees on the dog's zip line.
totally normal.
Just because I had a huge runfail on Friday didn't mean I wasn't going to dress up like a zombie and chase 5k runners on Sunday. I was out of the house by 6:30a on a Sunday and dressed in running tights and a homemade zombie tee - the last time I was pulling those hours with that outfit was pre-fracture. I met my sister at the make-up tent where we were transformed from sleepy 20-somethings into sleepy zombies.

a close up.
The event was sort of a disaster from an organization standpoint, but we had fun nonetheless. When runners went to the start line, they were wearing flag football belts with three flags. Zombies were stationed all over the course on a mission to steal the flags of the runners, rendering them unhealthy and eventually turning them into zombies when they lost all three of their flags.

I got a little taste of the injury free life as I was running through a field chasing runners and stealing their flags. I think it was the adrenaline that blocked the pain signals to my brain. Running INTO a mass of runners starting their race isn't something I ever thought I'd try. While getting trampled was a very real possibility slight risk, it was fun...and we got to wear zombie make up and make shirts. Win.

10.25.2012

helllooooooo, treadmill.

get ready, it's your time.
Who's running on Friday?? THIS GIRL! I have never been so happy to lace up for a jaunt on the treadmill. I've been behaving, going to pilates, doing my PT homework, taking spin classes and not running; so as a reward for my stellar efforts, my physical therapist has suggested a little jog on the treadmill in my running shoes (more specifically, the shoes I was sporting when my little snafu occurred...) at Friday's session.

In my mind, this is how it will go:
I step on the treadmill and pump the speed up to 4.5.

Impressed by my skill and flawless ability, the therapist recommends stepping it up to a 5 and working in some hills.

Once I master that for a mile, she instructs me to do a nice tempo run at a 6 to ease myself back into the running game and leaves me alone with some Britney tunes my iPod for the next four miles.

I hop off the treadmill and she says "You're cured! Please pay your co-pay on the way out".
 

I'm going to be pretty bummed if reality differs greatly from my completely logical expectation of Friday's visit because I'm hoping and praying planning to be released to traverse the land with my Mizunos on my feet and Garmin on my wrist.


10.16.2012

i'm sweating...

...and it feels so good. Last night was my first jump back into any semblance of physical fitness. After my first PT appointment on Friday, they cleared me for spin classes. Not wasting any time, I signed up for a Monday session and was quickly reacquainted with cardio, glorious cardio. It was pretty fantastic to get home from work and change into spandex instead of sitting on the couch eating vacuuming the living room while baking cookies every night. Thank you, spin studio, I remember what working out feels like.

it might look easy,
but that is a tricky little devil
once assembled and your standing on it
[source]
Back to PT... I thought I'd be an A+ student and breeze through all of the exercises, but it turns out I lost more range of motion and muscle than I thought. After trying to master the crazy balance board, it was pretty clear my left side is still roughed up.

The good news: my muscle should come back really quickly thanks to that crazy phenomenon they call "muscle memory".  The bad news: I'm still relegated to the elliptical and stationary bikes for the time being. I'm hoping I don't have to start marathon training round two on a elliptical. I guess the other good news is that PT is sort of like personal training rather than "therapy". The woman I'm working with is great and willing to answer all of my ridiculous poignant questions; plus if  I have to run around to appointments every week, at least this one involves wearing gym clothes, working out and not waiting in a room for 30 minutes until someone arrives to take your blood pressure.

10.12.2012

mason jar obsessed.

All the time off my feet lead to ridiculous amounts of crafting. Thanks to Pinterest, aimlessly searching online and just how darn cute those little jars are, I now have a whole lot in my house. I'm not only using them for crafting, I'm storing homemade sauce in them too. Win!
the tiny ones are darling

I recently redid a dresser I had when I was young and transformed it from a piece for the bedroom, into a kitchen catch-all. I had a ton of paint left, so I used it to paint the inside of mason jars to use as canisters in the kitchen.

it took forever, but it's my favorite part of the kitchen.

Craft 2: Painted Mason Jars
Supplies: paint (I used interior home paint, you can probably use anything); brush; sponge brush


There are two different ways to go about this. You can use the brushes to paint the inside of the jar, or, you can simply pour paint inside of the jar and get crazy.

Option one (with brushes)
this was an outside project
Steps:

1. Clean the mason jar and wipe any dust out of the inside
2. Starting at the bottom and creeping up the sides, paint the inside of the jar evenly (the regular brush can
    give you a streaky look, the sponge brush will make sure everything is smooth - the streaky look is neat
    though)
3. Let paint dry overnight, repeat the process until the paint is as heavy as desired





Option two (no brushes)

Steps:

I spray painted the lids black... they're still drying
1. Clean the mason jar and wipe any dust out of the inside
2. Pour paint directly into the jar; swirl around to ensure the inside of the jar is coated in paint

3. Let paint dry overnight with the jar laying on one side; move the jar to the next side about every two hours
   the paint can begin to side and create an uneven surface)

I used both methods. I painted the jars with brushes first, but I wanted the color to really saturate, so I ended it up pouring paint directly into the jars.

10.10.2012

pt for me.

Following all the extreme jealousy fun of marathon weekend, I limped into my orthopeadist bright and early on Tuesday morning waiting to hear "you're cured!! get your sneakers out of the closet and hit the road, friend!".

xoxo, miss you.
That didn't happen.

Apparently when there is some kind of trauma that destroys your bone, it takes quite some time to completely repair. Although I'm cleared for weight-bearing activities, I'm certainly not in any shape to run, jump, hop or skip to the start line of my next race. I've been banished to spin classes and the elliptical which could be a little setback in marathon training round two that I anticipated starting on October 31st.

Current status: Healing.
Next step: PT for six weeks. Six weeks puts me in mid-November. I'm not too broken up about having to go work out for an hour twice a week with someone who will be teaching me proper form and giving me pointers along the way. I'm also really hoping the physical therapist has superpowers that will enable instantaneous healing and restore all of the muscle I've lost in my left leg. Seems reasonable.
 

10.07.2012

marathon weekend

Cue sad face. I wish I was sweating it out for 26.2 then propping my feet up on the ottoman dawning my compression socks, but alas. I was volunteering and wearing my ankle brace.

not quite compression socks [source]
Although I planned to be attending the event as a struggling runner, not a volunteer, it was still a fabulous and fun.

My co-volunteer and I made top hats and signs. The top hats were a big hit. We received numerous compliments from runners and there were a lot of smiling faces - you can't be anything but gleeful when you see someone wearing a top hat adorned with glitter paint.

I booked our hotel for my next attempt. Now I'm crossing my fingers and anxiously awaiting medical clearance.

10.02.2012

you're going to get hurt.

Well, that's accurate. A few days after I hurt myself I attended a (previously scheduled) seminar offered by my marathon training group as a supplement to the program. They frequently have education sessions with great guest speakers who can provide a lot of practical insight. This session was hosted by an orthopedist who worked mostly with patients who ran themselves into injury (...totally weird, who would ever do that?).

...just kidding. (well, not about the Giants game. GO G-MEN!)
He was focused mostly on common running injuries, treatment options and prevention, but, he was also a multiple marathoner and Ironman, so his perspective was a bit more realistic than advice coming from people who don't willingly drag themselves out of bed at 6am on a Sunday morning to log double digit miles before the rest of the house stirs.

He led and ended with "you're going to get hurt". Not because you're not trying to avoid it, but because it's truly inevitable. His suggestion was to take your injury as an opportunity to learn what being hurt feels like, as opposed to being uncomfortable or wanting to quit. It's also a good time to let your body reset itself and reevaluate your training techniques.

Hey fractured fibula, thanks for the not-so-cryptic message. I get it. I'll be lengthening my training plan to a 30 week program and not skimping on the cross training - promise!!

10.01.2012

six days til m-day.

I thought my week out post would be a gleeful overview of all the pasta I planned to enjoy within the next six days. However, consuming massive amounts of pasta and not running doesn't quite have the effect I intended. So I'll only be eating pasta once this week, I won't be tapering, but I am lucky enough to experience the "no running" induced mania many of my running friends are sure to find this week.


Wheeliechair ride around Target, thanks Q!
I'm missing running so much I re-signed up for the marathon. Not to run, clearly, but as a volunteer and to cheer like a banshie for all those runners who cross my path (especially my fantastic cousin who is looking to BQ). I also recruited one of my favorite wheeliechair pushers to volunteer with me! In turn, she recruited me to participate in my first race since my bones began to crumble beneath me the incident. It's a trail 5k run in late October - seems ambitious, yes, only we're not running the 5k. We will be dressed up as zombies trying to capture flags from runners as the pass. I signed up to be a hunter - running for short distances at a time. Best part: when you arrive you get a zombie makeover. Win. This might even be more fun than running in the race.  


This week is the week I can hit the gym again. I'll be sporting my ankle brace with my running shorts and I'm only allowed to use the bikes or elliptical, but it's something.

9.26.2012

she's crafty.

Just to recap, I was basically told to sit out of everything fun or even remotely athletic. This includes the half marathon on the horizon, a bunch of 5k races, regular summer/fall fun events (think swimming, biking, shopping)...oh... and yes, the marathon I've been training for since January.
"hang out with the dog" is included in all of these approved activities - Marley loves injured owners.

With a whole lot of sitting on the couch in my future, I did what anyone would do - logged onto my Pinterest account and decided to pull out my box of craft supplies. While I was housebound not only did I catch up on reality television shows that have been taking space on my DVR since the Olympics, but I also discovered Boy Meets World and Saved by the Bell are on daily (thanks, MTV2!).

Weekends were pretty much empty - enter: crafting. I have dappled in scrap-booking before, I've struggled through taken a knitting class and I'm no stranger to making holiday ornaments. Thanks to Pinterest, my crafty side has been re-inspired. I even bought this gem:

try making a crappy craft with a zebra print glue gun - impossible.

Craft 1: Fun wreath for the bathroom for under $10
Supplies: wreath ($3); rosettes ($4); bronze glitter blast spray paint ($4) - you'll only use a bit of spray paint, but save it because you'll find things around the house you'll want to glitter blast.
you'll also need your trusty zebra glue gun and
scissors to get the rosettes out of the damn package

Steps:
  1. Glitter blast the wreath until it's bronzed and glittery and fabulous
  2. Once the paint dries, take the wreath inside and fire up your zebra glue gun
  3. Fight with the packaging to free the silk rosettes
  4. Arrange rosette and place a dab of glue on the back of each rosette, press into place 
The whole thing can be done sitting down (for those with mobility issues) and it takes about 15 minutes.

Viola!


    More crafting to come. Stay tuned.

    9.20.2012

    no more marathon.

    [okay okay okay - I know I said I was trying to work on being a consistent poster... still working on it.]

    Post DNF failure, I took a little run break for a few days to assess the situation. The assessment turned out to be something felt really strange, I was walking pretty ridiculously and I decided to make an appointment with an othopeadist (because I'm 97).

    I had my appointment thinking I'd leave with a tendonitis diagnosis, sit out for a week and be on the road again in no time. Following the exam and a series of x-rays, the doctor ordered an MRI of my leg for the next day and told me to put no weight on it as he thought it could be tendonitis, but x-rays indicated a "stress overuse injury".

    Me: "When you say no weight, what do you mean?"
    Doc: "You can't use your leg."
    Me: "I have a spinning class otnight, can I go to that?"
    Doc: "No, I think you use both your legs in spinning."
    Me: "I'm registered or a 5k this weekend, can I do that?"
    Doc: "No, that would mean using your leg."
    Me: "If I do a training walk instead of run, can I get mileage in this week?"
    Doc: "Nope. You just can't use your leg. You can only use your right leg and keep your left leg elevated while you use crutches. You can not put any pressure on your left leg. No exercise, no walking, no standing, no stretching it, no pressure."
    Me: concentrating to figure out how serious he was... "Okay."
    Doc: "If you use your leg and do more damage, you'll be sitting out for longer. You can aquajog if you want to exercise."

    Fine.I went home mad and dug up the family crutches that have supported many family members through injury and sat on the couch.

    crutch pool with the pup.
    Sidenote: Crutches suck. They hurt and you can't carry anything when you're using them. You also can't use a purse, you have to trade your Michael Kors tote for a Northface day pack in order to go to work with all of your supplies. Don't get hurt badly enough to require crutches ever. 

    MRI day was here and I crutched myself into the exam room. Sat for 30 minutes while this crazy jackhammer tube took all the pictures the doctor needed and planned to leave immediately. Well, the radiologist stopped me on my way out the door and asked what I planned to do with my leg, starring at it unwrapped sporting a flip-flop. I must have looked confused because he elequently stated, "you're going to have to do something with it - that's fractured across. Have you been running a lot?" Stunned, I explained that I've been training for an October marathon, so yes. He laughed outloud (literally lol'ed) and exclaimed "Well there goes that marathon!!" gleefully.

    I cried the entire way back to my office and talked myself out of what he said because clearly he had to be an alarmist. Two hours later my doctor called to schedule a cast fitting for the next day.

    But if anything was going to lift my spirits,  it is certainly this little gem that I picked up at the orthopedist the next day.

    Meet my newest accessory - Black Beauty.
    So along with that lovely new shoe came the news that I would be on crutches for at least three more weeks. After intently examining my MRI results, I came to the conclusion that my ankle looked like a kid drew their rendition of an earthquake straight across the bone. Now that I had evidence, I actually believed what they were telling me so I composed myself enough to ask how long it would take to heel. Eight weeks. I should be ready to walk normally on October 8th - the day after the race I've been training for since January.

    9.05.2012

    the dnf that wasn't.


    In the middle of a busy week of summer and in the middle of my training, I needed to kick it up a notch and make sure I was actually sticking to "the plan". Following my 15+miler the previous week I was supposed to scale back a few miles with a goal of 13. I thought there was no better way to assure that I'd actually get my butt on the road (and not revisit the epic brunch of the previous weekend) than to sign up for a half marathon. A quick 13.1 around a lake in the morning would get my long run checked off my list early Saturday, leaving the rest of the weekend to play. I ran a 10K on the same course last year, so in addition to logging a long run and working on my half marathon time, I knew I'd be getting a good hill workout too - bonus.

    The race started and it was muggy and drizzling, not exactly ideal, but the rain let up and it was no longer humid, just super hot. Luckily the route was well equipped with water stations and I had my fantastic fanny pack fuel belt for sips in between stations.

    I was cruising to take about 20 minutes off my PR from my previous half. Around mile 7, I stopped for a water break, took a sip and then started to run again. Well... tried to start running again. Instantly I felt electricity from my leg shooting up towards my torso. I took it as a sign, slowed to a walk and stretched a bit as I kept moving forward.

    I was losing my (solidly in the middle) "spot" and other runners were beginning to pass me, so I ended my walk break and started to run. It wasn't so much of a run as a hop with one leg and drag the other. Not wanting to risk the marathon to injury, I knew it was time to quit and was okay with having "DNF" listed next to my name in the results. Luckily I was coming up on a water station, so I could stop and ask for a medic.

    check this out for next year, Race Director
    [source]


    ...Nope. The water station was there, but when I asked a volunteer for a medic or a car to take me to the finish I found out that there wasn't one. A medic or a car. [Sidebar: who the hell hosts a HALF MARATHON with no medic?? You shouldn't even have a 5K with no medic, but a half??]. After I asked to quit and realized I couldn't (short of taking a ride from a stranger on a quiet mountainous road around a lake), I wanted the race to be done as quickly as possible. So I got really good at the hop and drag method of moving my body forward with short interludes for walk breaks and pausing completely to unclench my jaw and wipe tears from my eyes.

    As I was running/walking/wincing I was trying to diagnose myself. My ankle hurt and clearly wasn't working. I couldn't point my toes and extend my foot forward, nor could I flex my foot comfortably. Everything under the tendons on the outside of my ankle hurt. Every step felt like I was hitting bone on bone. I thought a sprain, but there wasn't any swelling and periodically the electric shock of pain would radiate from my ankle, something that didn't happen when I had previously sprained my ankle (doing yoga).

    Before I knew it I had propelled myself to the water stop that marked mile 11. I stopped, began practicing what has to be equivalent to Lamaze breathing techniques and looked behind me. With 2 miles to go, if I kept up the 13-ish minute per mile pace I wouldn't finish last. So that was my last walk break and the final 2 miles were a countdown to the finish line with "it's going to be pretty embarrassing to see your name last on the results page - so move it" playing on repeat in my head.

    Upon seeing my (smarter) runBFF at the finish line (she opted for the 10K), she instantly knew something was up based on my time alone. I told her the deal and she instantly ran to get a medic (I already told her there wasn't one on the course, but we thought they MUST have one at the finish) and some ice. Coming back alone and empty handed it was clear there was no medic and no ice. [Another sidebar: okay... no medic, ridiculous alone, but no medic and no ICE at the finish line???].  After a 15 minute wild goose chase for ice, I finally put some on my ankle and took my shoe off to wait for the swelling to begin. But it never did. It hurt, it was hot to the touch and I couldn't bear weight on it.

    my finisher medal, because I wasn't allowed a DNF
    Meandering back to the car to pop some ibprofin, people asked what happened (because who the hell would walk like that if they weren't hurt). I reported I had probably just rolled my ankle on gravel or something (not that I remember doing it) but wasn't sure as no one (qualified) was available to assess my injury. My fellow runners were also surprised to learn of the lack of medical care (take note for next year, fellow runners!) or even a first aid kit.

    Oh! And the best part - I did not finish last (6th to last, but not last) and was only 3 minutes over my previous half marathon time. Win!

    9.02.2012

    mezamashii run project

    I'll be finding my brilliant run in these puppies.
    The fabulous folks at Mizuno are sponsoring the Mezamashii Run Project  on a quest for "the brilliant run" (mezamashii is  a Japanese word for "brilliant"), something I can totally get behind. To help thousands of runners achieve their goals, Mizuno is sending free sneaks to those selected. As a bonus, you get a code to give to a worthy runner. My selected worthy runner better be planning to start finding the brilliant run with me really soon...in our matching sneakers.

    my very first pair post 5k
    As a new lover of Mizuno, you can imagine my excitement when I found a little code in my inbox entitling me to a free pair of sneakers (any pair of my choosing).  Upon receiving the code I already knew what I want. A while ago I ran in the Wave Inspire 8's at the Mizuno trail fun run. Once I checked out the color selection these obnoxious lovely "opal and lime punch" numbers were calling my name.

    Prior to being selected to join the Mezamashii Run Project, I snagged a fabulous deal on runningwarehouse.com and got the 2010 model of the Wave Alchemy for about $60. Not too shabby.

    I went from zero to three (pairs) in less than six months. I think I've found the brand.

    9.01.2012

    i'm an awful blogger.

    Since late July, a  lot has been going on. I realize I'm not a good blogger, mostly because I've been lacking in the "posting fun and original new content" department. I'll work on that.

    After a bit of a blah period in my marathon training, I dragged myself to a group speed session and put on my happy face. I clocked a sub 8:45 minute mile as my warm up and negative splits followed during the sprint portions of the 6 mile run. I'm glad I went because it put me back in a positive mindset and I couldn't wait to lace up my kicks and hit the road for my next run.

    15.15 miles at a 10:06min/mile pace
    High on my speed work success, on August 4th, 2012 I ran my longest run ever. Clocking in at 15.15 miles was fantastic. Logging that mileage and ending feeling good was a highlight of the summer. Long run Sunday got switched to long run Saturday that week so I could partake in an important summer ritual on Sunday - brunch! I knew there was no way I'd be dragging my tired butt out of bed at 5am on Sunday to run long before I hit a gourmet brunch buffet at 11am with my family. I did what any savvy runner would do - ran long on Saturday and didn't feel guilty about drinking mimosas and visiting the buffet upwards of five times the following morning. It worked; I didn't feel a twinge of guilt as I ate 3+ desserts.

    Some more fun news from that week - I got selected to be a part of the Mezamashii Run Project! More on this later...

    Following my brunch carb binge I was preparing myself for an impromptu half marathon I'd finally decided to commit to 1 week before race day. My training plan called for a drop in mileage following the 15 miler of the previous Saturday, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to get a solid long run in, find a half marathon baseline and work on fueling during a race. Sounds like a solid plan, right? ...and then, my epic training fail of 2012.






    7.25.2012

    timesuck.


    first double digit run of the training plan!
    Long runs keep getting longer. I was excited at first. I hit nine miles, then ten miles, then eleven… Just as the long runs keep getting longer, the short ones do too. At the beginning of “the plan”, I was tasked with 3 mile short runs and 6 mile long runs – cake! Long runs were finished in about an hour and short runs accomplished in the time it took to watch an episode of Friends.

    Gone are the good ‘ol days. I'm beginning to understand what fellow runners say when they reference training for a marathon is a selfish act. Last Sunday marked my longest run since my first half marathon in September 2011. Dreadfully Merrily I ran along for 12 miles, noshing on Sport Beans and taking exaggerated water breaks along the way. Halfway into my mileage, I looked down at my watch and thought “oh my god – I have another hour to go”. More time on the road translates into less time anywhere else, it’s logical, I suppose. The luxury of a quick run before dinner or work has morphed into an event requiring carrying a water bottle, planning a low traffic route and creating some new playlists.

    My 8.5x11” Dictator calls for a long run of 15 miles this week. I’m guessing it will take around 3 hours. Does it make me a little nervous that there are still 11.2 miles to make it a marathon and I’ll only be 3 hours into it at 15 miles? Yep.

    7.19.2012

    trail fail.


    Wave Inspire 8 [source]
    My favorite running store was hosting a trail run sponsored by Mizuno last week. So I did what anyone would do, enlisted runBFF to skip our team speed workout and go on a trail run and check out new Mizuno kicks. I wasn’t quite sure what was in store, but as I approached the group and noticed a shiny display table with 2 size runs of men's and women's  Wave Inspires, I realized you’d trade your shoes for a pair of sparkly new Mizunos to test-run. Not many things make me happier than new shoes, so I was instantly ecstatic.

    All sporting new sneaks, the group made their way to the trail and took off (I guess it was more of a “start running” than a takeoff - speed is not my forte). The majority of the 2 mile loop I was focused on not tripping over limbs, rocks, roots, rouge squirrels or plunging down a rocky hill into the river; but when we had time to chat, runBFF and I were gushing over how great trail runs are. Mostly we focused on the lack of cars, cooler temps, change of scenery and how running specific loops near our homes make us want to jump off the rocky cliff into the river casually wondering “if we hurt ourselves do we get to keep the shoes?!” Something about running around in the trees and dirt is super fun, but all good things come to an end and we had to return the shoes.

    So about the shoes. Loved them and will be buying a pair. I even got some good blister advice from the friendly Mizuno rep.

    After we got our gross old sneakers back, it was clear 2 miles wasn’t worth the drive, so we ran the loop again. Chatting and frolicking, this girl got a little too relaxed around mile 3.5 and stopped looking down at the aforementioned limbs, rocks, roots, rogue squirrels and cliffs. Out of nowhere, this root lurched up, grabbed the front of my foot and took me down hard. I met the floor of the forest with a thud and was pretty sure I was rolling down a cliff to my demise. Realizing there were not any cliffs in sight, I looked up at runBFF who was standing (now that’s a girl with balance) waiting for the okay to laugh until she cried (I give her credit for waiting so long).

    gross old shoes
    Sitting up I was thanking my lucky stars that the group portion of the run was over, so I could sit in the dirt as long as I wanted testing my elbows, wrists and knees to make sure I wasn’t in need of any urgent medical attention. I don’t think I’ve fallen and scraped my knees (and hands, and wrists, and arms…) since I was probably 7 years old. Unfortunately I had given the shoes back already, because I totally could have bled on them for a pity pair. The battle wounds have been with me for a week and counting. The bruises on my legs are a new accessory that nicely compliments navy blue and purple components of my wardrobe.

    I recently finished reading the trail running issue of Runner’s World. Some knowledgeable woman noted that if you’re going to run trails, you’re going to eat some dirt. Truth.

    Trail: 1
    Me: 0

    7.18.2012

    race recap: boiling.


    Runners weren’t the only ones who turned out for Boilermaker’12. Mr. Sun was there as well, gleaming in all his glory. Race time was 8am and it was 70 degrees with 87% humidity and no breeze. Awesome. Moving on to 10am, closer to the finish it made its way up to (77 still without a breeze). The numbers aren’t staggering and I’ve certainly experienced worse, but it was hot and disgusting. Thankfully there were nearly a million water stops, so one cup was for drinking, the other for wearing. By the end of the race it looked like I attempted to swim through a body of water in an ill fated short cut route.

    just a few people at the start line [source]
    Holy start line. It was just like any other start line…with 11,000+ people. Thankfully there was a great deal of porta-potties, but I still endured a 20 minute line (bonus: the “bathrooms” were clean! Win!). Once that nonsense was out of the way, runBFF and I moseyed to the start. We were assigned births by bib color and didn’t qualify to toe the line with the elite runners, so we navigated the crowd of gold bibs (the last color to start…) and made our way to a solid middle starting point. Having never experienced the race before, I thought the crowd seemed really nervous. In addition to the typical warm up runners (by the way, you have 9.3 miles to go… use mile 1 as your warm up you overachievers), there was actually a guy in the grass near the pack of people doing pushups and burpees (clearly he’s out of my league). Once the gun went off we stood still and waited. And waited some more. At one point the announcer said “just over 4 minutes in and they’ve completed mile one” – if hearing that doesn’t set you up for success, I don’t know what will.

    Ten minutes after the gun went off and we finally crossed the line, I hit start on my Garmin and tried to focus less on staring at my feet and more on my surroundings. At the mile marker for .1 a lovely crowd of people assured us that the next 9.2 miles would lead to free beer; thanks. Right after mile 1 runBFF spotted a lone porta-potty dropped from the heavens and stepped aside. I vowed to stay to the right and I walked through most water/ice stops but we never caught back up with each other. I instantly regretted not bringing my iPod, but the crowd collectively said “don’t worry, we’ve got you covered” and threw a barrage of wildly entertainment my way. Some favorites:
    • Middle aged belly dancers (yep)
    • A donkey (I guess there were other zoo animals around too, but I only saw the donkey)
    • The International Mile
    • Bagpipes (I LOVE bagpipes)
    • Cheerleaders
    • The Zebra Ice Pack (ladies dressed in sassy zebra print while handing out ice)
    • The guys that sang the bowling ball song (it goes like this “clean your balls, we’re going bowling")

    Miles 1-5 ticked away a little too easily. It felt like a training run (but really hot) with a ton of water stops and families handing out freeze pops (my excitement couldn’t even be contained). And then a quarter through mile 6 I started complaining, took a walk break, took another walk break and was acting like a baby. I sucked it up and started mile seven as if I was actually in a race and not just out for a Sunday stroll. All said and done, I PR’ed my previous 15k time by more than 9 minutes (but less than 10…remember when I was walking in mile six? Yep. Me too.), so I was happy.

    pint glasses always fit. race t-shirts? not so much.
    Once I stopped having a panic attack about how I was going to find R in a sea of 20,000 people, I walked around the finish for a bit and eventually we bumped into each other. Luckily he was at the finish cheering for me (not that I saw him because I was intently focused on watching my feet at that point… the “look up” approach I started with in the beginning faded. After I traded my sneakers for flip flops to relieve a massive blister, we followed the crowd to the brewery where seemingly all of Utica was standing. We got water, beer, freeze pops and of course, the coveted goody bag containing super sweet pint glasses. After about half an hour, we were tired and hot, plus sweaty runners kept grazing R and I got beer spilled on my foot, so we called it quits on the post race party and walked to the car.

    The early morning was worth it. The race was fantastic. The course was wonderfully challenging and anything involving freeze pops is a success in my book. I’ll be back next year and I’m vowing to sprint mile 6.

    More awesome things at Boilermaker:
    fly over view of one crowded post race party [source]

    7.06.2012

    destination: race.


    Sunday I will be waking up a bit (two and a half hours) earlier than long run Sunday calls for to road trip it to Utica to participate in the 15K road race with 13,999 other people. Of those 13,999 others, many are elite runners from all over the globe (I’m pretty confident with all this speed work I’ll be right up there with the pack, so look for me in the finish line photos). Finishing a portion of the same route before I do will be 4,000 5K participants. This race has been on my list for a while, so I’m glad I was paying attention and signed up before the race quickly sold out (there was still snow on the ground when registration closed).

    With 18,000 runners invading the city, throw in spectators, fans, friends and family – I personally apologize to the local residents for my part in turning their city upside down for the weekend. I’m thinking minus the detours, road blocks, ridiculous parking situations and people trampling their lawns, they enjoy it. I’ve been  told residents literally line every street of the 9.3mile course to cheer on the weary and tired (and with a forecasted temp of 84ᵒ there will be many) and pass out freeze pops (!!!) to those who want to pause for a treat (this had BETTER be true or I will be one unhappy camper) before heading to the massive post race party (who doesn’t love a post race party?) at The Matt Brewing Company (who doesn’t love a post race party at a brewery?). Oh. And instead of race t-shirts they give out pint glasses so you can enjoy all the brewery has to offer. Also promised is music, family fun events, recovery tents, an F-16 jet flyover, vendors and a lot of goodies. Although I’m pretty sure no one is heading to the Boilermaker specifically for their amazing recovery tents…

    And now, a few key Boilermaker med tips:
    • “No alcohol the night before the race.” - read: save yourself for the post race party.
    • “Heat and humidity are your enemies. The higher they get, the slower you should run.” – Not true. Not if you’re Kenyan. For specific examples, please see the 2012 Boston Marathon results.

    7.03.2012

    it happened.


    For years I have been silently mocking those who bound around local trails sporting the ridiculous accessory known as the “hydration” or “fuel” belt. I understand the practicality. Yes, you should be drinking when you’re on the trail logging some serious miles…but come on. A fanny pack style belt containing 5-7 “pods” of your beverage of choice is a bit much. The obvious (and cooler) solution is to carry a water bottle and circle back to your car/house/office when you need a refill.

    I never wanted this day to come, but at 8pm on Saturday night I found myself at the store elbow deep in hydration options to fulfill the needs of any runner (big Saturday night for this girl!). Faced with the prospect of another 88+ degree day, I knew I couldn’t hack it for 10 miles carrying only a small bottle of sport drink. And there I was pawing through options, sighing dramatically and announcing my displeasure in choices to my shopping partner. I carried the handheld options around the store for a bit and complained ad nauseam about how itchy they felt and what a catastrophe it would be when (not if) I threw it while running and tripped over it myself or caused harm to a fellow runner. Two stores later and with a little coaxing from R, I took my pink (yep – you better believe if I’m wearing a reverse fanny pack it will be obnoxiously colored) Nathan Performance Gear Triangle to the checkout line.
    yikes.

    I guess deep down I knew I would eventually need to buy one, I just didn’t expect it to be so soon. In its defense, it was super comfortable for 10 miles, comes with a pocket (big enough to fit fuel, keys and a phone) and has a built in ID tag you can fill out in case of an emergency.

    Do I feel dumb wearing it? You bet. Did I end my run dehydrated and delirious? No. I'm not looking to make my new accessory an every run item. This little gem has been relegated to temps above 85 degrees or runs in the double digits. I still contend that had I been training in the fall/winter, this would not have been necessary. Thanks summer training plan.

    6.29.2012

    ...not so fast.


    As defined in my previous post, speed work is, in fact, “not so speedy, but I try really hard with longer rest breaks in between bouts of “speed” ”. Wednesday was my first official mandated day of speed work. The excel spread sheet that governs my life dictated three miles in total. Mile one was a warm up followed by a stretch and then the fun begins. The next quarter mile is a build to race pace, then the following quarter mile is at or below race pace, finally the last half mile is one minute above race pace – then repeat. Because the mile markers were so specific, I hit the track to give my knees a break and so I would have clearly marked start and stop points. I decided that the best possible time to do this would be at 2pm on an 89 degree day in June. I breezed through the warm up. It was a real confidence booster until the speed work actually began and I hated my life. I was tricked into thinking this would be an easy workout by the total mileage being three, with a full mile warm up. Between water breaks, stretching, starts and stops, my total time spent on the track was an hour for a whopping total of 3.25 miles. I ran a 5K in 28mins and 16seconds earlier this month. I’m struggling to see where the speed comes in to play. The only comfort I have is knowing that these workouts may prevent me from finishing after race have deconstructed the finish line the marathon with a less than ideal time. Yikes.

    6.22.2012

    rest day training partner


    I’ve always wanted a dog. When I was little I begged for a golden retriever or a lab (all the cool kids had one). When I realized my dream I found myself with a spunky cocker spaniel crying when we put him in his crate and peeing on the kitchen floor two inches shy of his puppy pad. He's cleaned up his act a bit now and thankfully pees outside and only cries if someone comes within a millimeter of stepping on his paw. When he was a bitty baby, his crazy parents decided it would be a great idea to take him on a walk! Fantastic. Being idiot newbie puppy owners, we thought quick 1.5 mile loop through the park was a great idea. No, we didn’t care at all that it was February and freezing with snow on the ground. Marley cared. He loudly voiced his displeasure (again with the crying) and decided to park it on the pavement. The walk consisted mostly of me carrying a small, whining puppy in my arms on a path through the park… in February.

    Bitty Baby
    I guess I should have known then that Marley was not going to be a running partner, but I held out hope. Some other clues should have been his short legs, hatred of a leash, inability to walk in a straight line and frequent stops to smell another dog's pee the roses, but alas, I was young and naive. As time passed and pup spent more of it snoozin’ on the couch, the prospects of having a running buddy in my beloved canine were quickly fading.
    Not loving the leash. Not loving the snow.

    That didn't stop me from trying. Twice I took the poor pup on a "run" (ahem...well crafted jog/walk that involved a lot of tripping over paws, pup, leash and my own feet). Each time was a sloppy disaster and had to be discontinued before we hit 1/4 a mile. Embarrassing.I still feel pangs of jealousy when I see a runner and (wo)man's best friend running side by side on a nice fall day, but I've moved on.

    Marley plays an integral role in the training plan and has exceeded my expectations as my rest day training buddy. He truly excels at rest days (just like his mom!). Lounging is his forte, he loves to snuggle and there is never enough time for napping. Recently he has taken the liberty to appoint himself resident pre-long run breakfast companion. Toughing it out and waking up at 6:30a on Sundays with me, Marley knows the pre-run ritual well. He fancies peanut butter on toast and never misses the opportunity to snag a stray crumb or beg to lick the peanut butter off the knife (for the record - this is gross and he's never succeeded in swaying me).
    Marley Sockhands. On the couch, duh.

    6.20.2012

    peer pressure

    After training for my first only half marathon on my own, my time showed that my lackluster training plan (and by plan I mean the unscientific method in which I coaxed myself into running every other day for a few weeks before the race) had failed me. Shocking, I know. So when I got the bright idea that running 26.2 miles in succession with a bib pinned to my shirt and a timing chip on my shoe I thought it best to revamp my aforementioned training plan.

    You can imagine my delight when I found that the organizers of my premiere marathon also host a training group. Guess who stayed up late on the night registration opened to ensure I got a coveted spot. This girl. Obviously I enrolled without a problem (because who else stays up until midnight on a Tuesday just to register for torment) and anxiously awaited the first email from our “coach” (side note: that email came 5 months later – I wasn’t joking when I said I was super eager to sign up). I figured peer pressure would be a good motivator. Oh. I also convinced a friend that this would be a good thing to do, so I have a runBFF in this crazy quest. Poor girl…

    If you’re like me and had no idea what to expect from a running training group, it goes something like this.

    1. You have your first meeting. This was nerve racking as very little detail was given about the goings on of said meeting. Turns out we all got t-shirts (that say “marathoner in training” on the back, I thought it was cute), a race training plan and had a meet and greet with the coaches and mentors. Not exactly a crisis situation.

    2. You meet weekly for long runs (Sunday, specifically) and our coaches and mentors impart wisdom as you run. This is both fun and annoying. Fun because you have this group of friendly new faces to talk about your weird obsession beloved hobby, you pick up great advice from the coaches and mentors and there is strength in numbers, so you never feel like you’re alone on the trail. Annoying in that when you first arrive and people are reviewing their goal distances, mine is always a few miles shy of the overachievers. Whatever, it’s supposed to be fun.

    3. It’s been promised that as we move closer to m-day (that's shorthand for marathon day, runners love shorthand) we will be meeting on a weekday to work on hills and speed. Super. Two of my favorite things. I’m foreseeing those training sessions ending in tears…or puke…or both...

    6.18.2012

    r & r


    I knew that the 20+ week training plan would be foiled at some point and last week was that week. Life interfered with my training plan and I had a bit of a break. I just assumed I’d be sidelined for a while because I sprained my ankle while stretching or something (it happened before… yoga circa 2002). And so there I was with a nine day hiatus from pounding pavement.

    As luxurious as my mini-break sounds, I was bummed because my scheduled long run was in the double digits, the first time this training plan. When I finally mustered up the energy to lace up my kicks it was for a local 5K with 549 participants and the route lined with spectators. No pressure.  Much to my surprise, my legs felt great and I was able to keep up reasonably well. The first mile was annoying, but once I stopped whining about it in my head worked my way around the crowd and was able to settle into a comfortable pace it was great. I ended up finishing 21 seconds over my 5K PR.

    And now the best part:  a peanut butter and jelly (or as my Gram would call it, "peanut butter and jel") sandwich station. Yep. After the finish a table of snacks greeted you. You could find the usual suspects; water, bananas, oranges, granola bars (gross)…but beyond the monotony of typical post race snacks was the best idea ever. A table with a few kinds of bread (sliced in half), various peanut butters, an impressive array of jellies and jams in multiple flavors and a whole lot of plastic knifes – genius! Why doesn’t every race offer this?? Regardless of time, it’s clear we were all winners at the snack stand.
    source

    6.07.2012

    a definition of terms


    Since I’ve forayed into this mystical world where I drag myself out of bed at 6:30am on Sunday mornings so I have enough time to walk the dog, brush my teeth and have my preferred pre-run breakfast of toast with peanut butter, I’ve noticed myself throwing around an awful lot of terms no one else cares about understands as they relate to my particular lack of athletic ability.

    running: something that looks like running (sort of…) at a leisurely pace, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 8:45 – 10:30 minutes per mile. Not breaking any world records here…

    fueling: this is basically an excuse to eat pasta (example: dinner on Monday – tortellini; dinner on Tuesday – spaghetti; dinner on Wednesday – mac ‘n’ cheese; dinner on Thursday – pad thai; dinner on Friday – pasta salad).  This is also a great excuse to eat a ridiculous amount of pistachios in preparation for a post work run; all in the name of protein.
    source

    carb loading: not only can I have all of the pasta I want (because that is fueling), but I will add French fries as well.

    marathon training plan: ah yes. The fantastic 8.5” by 11” page that details the next 18 weeks of my life, you know… the one that judges you harshly should you not obey it’s wishes completely? Yep.

    training run: can refer to any time I hit the pavement. Example: I ran from my car to the mailbox – training run. I ran after the dog when I realized he wasn’t tied to the patio – training run. I ran to my car after work when it was hailing – training run.

    long run: here is where the waking up at 6:30am on Sunday mornings comes into play. I’ll be up and at ‘em with my favorite gear on and eager to go. I’ll start off too fast and by mile 4 I can feel all the tiny bones in my feet and am complaining in my head about what a stupid idea this was.

    recovery run: I will be outside. I will be running. But, I will be taking my sweet time because I feel like the miles logged on a long run were enough to carry me through the week.

    rest day: this is where I excel. The glorious days when there is zero physical effort scheduled on the ‘ol training plan. Please find me by the pool and bring me some sangria.

    speed work: not so speedy, but I try really hard with longer rest breaks in between bouts of “speed”.

    PR (personal record): for me this typically involves being close enough to see the clock at the finish line and trying to coax my legs to turn over faster in an effort to shave precious seconds off my race time. Usually once I cross the finish line (saving maybe 5 seconds) I feel violently ill and instantly regret that "quick walk break" I had at water station number 2.

    MP – marathon pace: ...maybe… possibly… I’ll be under 10 minutes per mile for the majority of 26.2 miles.

    junk miles: these don’t exist. If I ran a mile, it counts.

    6.06.2012

    ...and so it began


    source
    As a child I have vivid memories of the dreaded physical fitness test in gym class (yes, they still have this). Each year was the same, the pushups and sit ups went fine, I excelled at the v-sit, the shuttle run was my favorite and I could even dangle on the pull up bar for a while. As the class gleefully made it through one circuit after another, our excitement was short lived as we all knew what was coming: the timed mile. As soon as the words escaped the gym teacher’s mouth I was plotting, scamming and scheming in my mind trying to figure out any way to be absent next class. I would have rather been anywhere than that track engaging in my “pre race” ritual of lacing up my sneaker and slouching my neon socks perfectly over my stirrup pants. 

    Clearly I survived the torment of the gym as a child and today, I am training for my first marathon. I got over the dreaded timed mile somewhere in college when I would catch myself setting out for a jog around finals week or before a beach vacation. I would even get a few trail runs in during August where you could find relief from the heat under the dense pine trees of the park.

    2010 Team Teagan volunteers
    When my friend and co-worker began training for a half marathon with Team in Training, I noticed. I guess it never occurred to me that you could be running for a purpose or for fun. Listening to her talk about group runs, getting in hill and speed work and finding a new hobby was inspiring. Because she's awesome and is an overachiever, she took up the extremely ambitious task of appointing herself race director in an effort to help a local family with an ailing child. Team Teagan’s Annual 5K Benefit Run was born. 

    On June 30th, 2007 I completed my first 5K in support of Teagan, her family and the noble efforts of my fabulous friend. From that point on, I was hooked. Watching more experienced runners toe the line in their race day duds and snazzy sneakers would have been reason enough for me to jump on the bandwagon, but the support of the community and fabulous volunteers rallying around one family was amazing– I figured those crazy running people must have been a bunch of good eggs. I've continued to run in and volunteer at the race each year and they've proven me right.