Posts Tagged With: running injury

On The Road Again

Just can’t wait to get on the road again…. You’re singing it, aren’t you?

Patience has paid off, and I still have a reservoir of patience left I will probably use up in another month, but I’m back to running. And it feels glorious.

Before last April, I’d never been sidelined from running, EVER, so to be sidelined twice in less than 12 months was just cruel, especially to my husband, who doesn’t love running the way I do and just doesn’t always understand the lack-of-running crank I become when I can’t run. Poor guy.

I started with a run/walk as I did last summer, but lucky for me, it progressed a lot faster than last year. So far. I just have to remember NOT to sabotage my progress and to be careful. My hamstring is still not pain-free, but it’s more than tolerable and is lessening, even with the increase in mileage and speed. This morning’s 6 mile run contained my fastest mile since January at 8:17, and it truly felt amazing. It didn’t hurt the temps were in the upper 30’s, which generally makes me feel like I can run forever, and Pearl Jam’s Even Flow came on. Staying positive through this whole deal has been essential to recovery and moving forward. I think having the right mindset through something difficult, keeping positive while staying realistic can mean the difference between happiness and depression, at least for me.

Unfortunately, I’ve been sad today, even though it started with the perfect run. Monday was two weeks until the Boston Marathon that I’m not doing, and I’m seeing a lot of activity on Facebook and getting lots of emails from the Boston Athletic Association regarding the marathon and all the prep that goes into it. It makes me sad. So I changed my Facebook profile picture to the race two years ago when I saw my kids and husband on the course, running towards them, arms flailing and jumping up, even though I was on mile 25. It was one of the best races I’ve ever had, EVER, partially because I ran the perfect race and partially because I saw my family, who have supported me whole heartedly in all the crazy things I’ve set out to do. I know that if I never get back to Boston, I’ll always have that race, and I’m ok with that. And I allowed myself one day to be sad. It’s ok to be sad, just don’t unpack there.

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One of my favorite days of all time. 

While I was running this morning, I thought about this year’s crazy plans, and I wondered if the past things I’ve done have been foolish or crazy or just plain stupid. I realized that you can go about things in a thousand different ways, but no, it wasn’t foolish or stupid, just maybe a tad crazy. My third triathlon was a full Ironman race, which is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a marathon, 26.2 miles of running. You learn a lot about yourself during the training for endurance events, and I learned that I needed to surround myself with experienced people, listen to what they have to say about their event, and just keep moving forward. Endurance teaches you a lot about a lot of things.  One of the most important things it teaches me is that I’m capable of doing things I never imagined possible.

Funny side note: When a friend of mine told me he was going to do an Ironman, probably back in 2012, I didn’t know what it was, so looked it up. When I saw what an Ironman was, I literally said out loud, “That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of.” I chuckle at that now.

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Another one of my favorite days of all time, ever.

I’ve hesitated to talk about my plans for the fall. First, I wanted to be sure I had a person who was willing to coach me through this and knew my goals going in. Check. Coach picked and my challenge has been accepted. Second, I didn’t want people to think I was insane. Check. I care, but I don’t really care.

So here it is.

October 19th – IMNC 70.3 – half iron triathlon (half the distances of the above described IM)

November 2nd – New York City Marathon – 26.2 miles of fun

November 23rd – JFK 50 Mile Run

So how did this all happen? First, the triathlon was unintended, but it is endurance and includes cross training, which is good. Last year’s race was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence, so all participants were offered a deferral. The only race that worked for me was the same one, so I signed up. Why not?

NYC Marathon….now this was NEVER on my list until the Houston Marathon in January of 2018. There was a lot of talk about the NYC Marathon on Facebook, and since I was trapped in a hotel for three days because of the ice storm that prevented me from flying home and had a lot of spare time combined with post-race insanity, I looked up what it took to qualify. Boom. The qualifying time for my age group is 3:38, and I made it with my time of 3:33. I was accepted in for the 2019 race this winter, and my husband decided to enter the lottery for the race. Only about 15% get in who try to get in that way, and he got in! He said he wanted to do a big marathon, so running with 55,000 other people should probably fit that bill. The goal is to run together and experience all of NYC.

The 50 Miler. A few years ago, I was looking for something interesting “to do”, and the JFK 50 came up. I put it off until this year, when I learned that a group from where I live planned to run it as well. I decided that I needed to go for it, bonus would be having others to train with. It’s so big, so hard to even imagine, but I’m ready for the challenge.

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This is the tattoo I have on my foot to remind me to take chances and not be afraid of what challenges they may bring.

The Endurance Trifecta. 3 major endurance events, 5 weeks, no goal but to finish in the allotted time. Crazy? Maybe. Stupid? Absolutely not. Painful? Probably. Expensive? Yup. What isn’t? But I haven’t looked forward to something this big since I signed up for my full Ironman in 2015. I’m excited for the experiences, yes, but I’m more excited about the journey along the way. It makes not running Boston sting a little less.

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, no fear, running, running buddies, running with friends, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Every time something that I really, really want can’t or doesn’t happen, I hear the Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on the radio. In my car. It’s happened about five times in the last six years. I never hear that song otherwise. I always hear it when I’m cranked up about something or trying to make a big decision or wondering why I didn’t get the job I wanted or didn’t get to race a race I wanted to race. It’s like a message from God. He is telling me that I’m not supposed to do whatever it is that I really wanted. And that everything will be ok.

I recently went on a trip to Las Vegas with my husband for our 20th anniversary, and I took a picture of myself. I thought it was pretty cool, but I didn’t like the age that I saw – the wrinkles and lines in places I hadn’t really noticed before. I thought about NOT posting it on Facebook because of the lines and I didn’t want anyone to think I was ugly or looked older than I am (45) or that I think I’m all that when I am not. Then I thought about it and realized that I really stopped caring what everyone thought about me a while ago. I mean, of course, I CARE what people think, to an extent, but it’s my face and there’s really nothing I can do to change that. And I like it. During this process, I realized that I don’t like what aging does to my face, but I sincerely appreciate what it does for my soul. I’ve had some profound changes in my 40’s and feel like I’m the most “ME” that I’ve ever been. I heard it’s a fairly common thing. I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes, and I’m proud of the person I am today.

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At the Bellagio in Las Vegas

My last post was the positive side of having an injury. To recap, during a track workout that I did WAY TOO FAST (my fault that I did not follow the coach’s pacing), I strained my upper hamstring. I bagged my next long run after 8 miles because of the pain, but I proceeded to run 15 miles on it the following weekend. I was determined. And I didn’t care what happened. And honestly, I don’t regret that decision.

After a few weeks, it became pretty clear to me that recovering from the injury was not going to be a quick process. The weeks until the Boston Marathon, which I qualified for by over 20 minutes, were quickly flipping by like an old clock with the number flaps. I biked, I elliptical’d, I avoided swimming, I did strength, and I stayed positive. I kept hope that it would be ok. I did not allow anger to creep in.

The day after an optimistic physical therapy session, I was to run two miles. And my leg hurt within a quarter of a mile, if even that. I ran/walked the two miles, and I burst into tears when I entered my house.

I. Can’t. Do. This.

I can’t run a marathon in eight weeks when it hurts to run a quarter mile. It’s not worth the consequences. I cried loud. All my pets were all up in my face trying to comfort me. Then I texted my husband that I will not be running in the Boston Marathon because I can’t even run a mile without pain. I cannot do it. I WILL NOT do it.

The weight was lifted. But I was extremely sad. Not angry. Just deflated, and very, very sad. All the hope, all the money on races, all the training that I carefully crafted. All of it for nothing. To be back to square zero. Ugh. Tears. I felt guilty. I felt sad. After I stopped crying, I decided I would do some retail therapy and run errands. I was a little on edge, and normally, I listen to my playlist in my car. But that day, I just kept flipping through the radio stations. Flip, song, flip, song….. it would be ok. Stay positive.

I went to a spa to get some makeup for Vegas, Kohls for some shorts and anything with sparkles, Costco for food, and Harris Teeter for more food that I couldn’t get at Costco. When I got in the car to go home, I flipped the station yet again, and guess what song had just started.

I burst into tears on College Avenue, and I knew I made the right decision. More importantly, I knew everything was going to be ok.

Our family had a decision to make. Because Boston is an exceptionally expensive place to go, we decided to forego the entire trip to Boston. Instead of participating in the greatest marathon in the world on April 15th, I will watch it on TV, and track those friends I know running it. The next day, we are packing our truck, heading to a Charleston KOA cabin on a lake, visit as much as we can in the area, and spend a third of what we would have spent on just a hotel alone in Boston. I’m relieved. I’m still sad. But I’m relieved. I know it will be ok, and running Boston was not what I needed, for whatever reason.

The aging process isn’t always fun, until you delve into what the process teaches you.

“You can’t always get what you want.

But if you try sometimes, you might find

You get what you need”

Categories: being epic, Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, las vegas, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Being a Patient Patient

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First of all, you are now reading the ramblings of a USATF Level I Certified Coach. I took the 200 question test on Monday, and 7 hours later, I pushed the “submit” button and received a 98% passing grade. I didn’t realize it was going to take so long and I wasn’t planning to take it until Tuesday, but I decided to just start on Monday. I figured I’d put a few hours in and go back to it the next day. Hour turned into hours, and honestly, I was afraid all my answers would have been erased had I logged out and that my computer would decide to reset itself and delete everything that night, so I just finished the darned thing. My head almost exploded all over the table.

I want to pole vault now.

I want to pole vault.

I learned A LOT, got A LOT of ideas, and am now crafting a plan to approach the USATF decision makers to see if what I want to do in my son’s middle school will be considered enough to be able to take Level II. You see, the requirements state that you have to have three years/seasons coaching experience for track and field and/or cross country. What my plan is, is to turn the current Stride program into a pre-high school track/cross country program since there is no middle school running program AT ALL. Eye roll and fists balled up.  I’m not sure if this fits their criteria, but I’m chomping at the bit to take Level II. I mean, I’ll seriously do whatever I need to do to get that experience so I can take Level II concentrating in Endurance.

Anyway, how was y’alls Thanksgiving? Besides being cold for three days in a row (me, not the outside temperatures) and having an….. uncomfortable “bed” to sleep on (if that’s what you want to call it, but raking up some leaves and sleeping on them would have been comparable), it was nice to catch up on my sleep, hang out with the family, watch the kids play with their cousins, and eat.

No running that morning.

No running that morning.

When we got up and until we left town on Wednesday, it was raining, so when we got to Charlotte, both my husband and I wanted to go run. Run? “Gee, Kelli, I thought you were not running right now because of your leg issues…” Well, I didn’t have any other option, and I can’t just NOT do anything, so I ran. And that run was perfect. If I could have canned that run and sold it, I would make millions. It was perfect. I felt like Flo Jo. I would have run a marathon that night and I probably would have qualified for the Olympic Trials. Ok, maybe not so much, but it was one of “those” runs.  Then the next day happened. Flip. Oh, it hurt. My leg hurt on impact. I got three miles in, and I had to call it quits. The best way I can describe my thoughts is WTF. And *($%#@. I wasn’t expecting to just be magically healed all of a sudden, but I wasn’t expecting THAT. So I was worried. And took the next day off.

Back at it on Saturday to burn off the mashed potatoes and mint oreos. Pain wasn’t too bad. Form felt better. Strides seemed more even than they had for several weeks before. Could my PT be working? Six miles Saturday, six miles Sunday. I could tell on Sunday that I had run Saturday, so I knew I had to just knock it off. We were heading home where I have alternative exercise options, so I decided to take TWO weeks off running. It’s literally like torture. All of a sudden, my house is on the Wilmington Road Runners Raceway. EVERYONE is running. Except me. And I hate all of them. Not really, I’m just jealous.

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So what is a runner to do when she can’t run? She bikes. She bikes hard. I have several good workouts from tri training that I pulled out, one a 90 minute heart rate workout and one a 60 minute cadence workout. My legs feel good, strong, and really, they feel like I did my running workouts, which is exactly what I wanted.  Today, I’m off to the pool to reacquaint myself with the water. Once I do that, I’ll start working on drills and improvement, probably next week. I really do hate swimming. I mean I love the concept of it, but I hate actually doing it. I hate swallowing water when I try to breathe from the left side. I hate looking like a fish out of water. But I’m determined to work on it to meet my 2015 goals and to allow my leg to fully heal. I’m REALLY trying to be patient. REALLY. And it’s hard.

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I was supposed to be building up miles to the Houston Marathon. Instead, I cancelled my flight and deferred entry. I was supposed to be going for a sub-21 minute 5k next weekend, a PR I’ve been wanting since last winter. Instead, I’m going to have to sit by the sidelines with my camera so I don’t blow all the progress I hope I’ll make by then.

I’m going to be patient. It’s hard, I’m frustrated, very frustrated, but I’m going to be patient.  Meeting my goal will be worth it. I’ll look back and be glad that I had the patience to do the right thing at the right time. Maybe me saying the word “patient” over and over will allow it to absorb into my body and mind? Hey, whatever works, so patient patient patience.

In any case, assuming things get healed up, my goal marathon is the Wrightsville Beach Marathon in March. No travel and I’m already signed up, so this will be my last chance to BQ for the 2016 race. I’ll be busy doing other things next summer and fall to marathon train. More on that in my 2014 wrap-up in a few weeks.

I know I’ve written a lot about PATIENCE and the “woe is me” from having to give up this marathon AGAIN this year, but honestly, I am truly thankful. I’ve never lost sight on what I’ve been able to do, the fact that I’m healthy, strong, and loved. And as annoying as it is to NOT be able to do what I want to do, I know that I WILL some day. I’m good with that.

Categories: coaching, half iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Turning A Bad Situation Into An Adventure, Plus Clarity

The last time I wrote, I was in the Atlanta airport trying to waste time until my flight to Charlotte, oblivious to the adventure I was about to have. I decided to head to the gate and hang out, thankfully finding the bathroom and gift shop right next to the gate. Bonus. I wouldn’t have to leave until I was on the plane. Those little things, you know.

I was so tired from not sleeping much, and as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t doze. I’ve never been able to do that, but I sure wanted to. I read some from my magazines, made a few lists, and mostly played games on my phone. I listened to a family several gates down have THE BEST time playing charades or gestures as loud as they possibly could (I had a gesture for them that I kept to myself). Time quickly passed (mostly after The Charade Family got on their flight), and soon, it was time to board. But the plane wasn’t there yet. I only had an hour in Charlotte until my next flight and since it was the last flight into Wilmington, I REALLY needed to get to Charlotte. Finally, the plane got in and started unloading. A hundred years later, it was time for all of us to board. The pilot said it would only take us 40 minutes to get to Charlotte, so it looked like I would have time to make my connection, barring any other issues.

Then the other issues started. As we were going down the tarmac, it sounded like someone was taking a hacksaw to the plane’s legs. I figured if this was an issue, the flight attendants would say something, right? No one said anything, and all I imagined was us landing in Charlotte only to have the legs collapse and we would all die a fiery death. Remember, I did say I was afraid to fly. And when I face fear, I normally exaggerate things. Especially when tired. The plane was just fine.

Then it stopped stopped and the dingy dongy thing came on and the pilot said, “Well, folks….”, which is never a good sign. Ever. Turns out, those storms I was watching were now over Charlotte, and the airport was shut down. We would have to wait 45 minutes for the next update.

Bad weather pretty much everywhere I needed to be.

Bad weather pretty much everywhere I needed to be.

I figured that if my plane was delayed, my connector plane would be delayed, plus, what the hell am I gonna do from there, so I just relaxed and closed my eyes. I was too tired to read and was bored of my games. About 30 minutes after that, Mr. Pilot came back on and said we were still delayed and would have to wait an additional 20 minutes for the update. They started serving drinks (water and juice only) and people went about their business. I imagined us being stuck there for hours and hours like those horror stories, toilets overflowing, screaming children, people going insane…..

Soon, Pilot Guy came back, said we were to leave, and we were on our way. I texted hubby the good news, and was just hoping to make my connection. We were soon in Charlotte. Thank GOD, because it was one of the most annoying flights I’ve been on. One guy smelled like moth balls, one guy had his game so loud, all I could hear was what I figured was Call of Duty (who wants to hear war-like action when flying??? I sure do NOT.), one lady was on her laptop and it looked like all she was doing was highlighting things over and over and then not actually doing anything with them, the people behind me kept grabbing the top of my seat so it was shaking me. I was annoyed the guy next to me never said one word to me. It felt like we went into a holding pattern above Charlotte, so I figured we would get in late. Finally, after I about drove myself insane, I put my earphones in and listened to some good old Dave Matthews Band to calm the heck down. Breathe.

We finally made it to the gate in Charlotte after what felt like the pilot, upon landing, was doing what Nascar drivers do before the race, you know, taking the wheel back and forth to “warm up” the tires. THAT’S what it felt like once we hit the ground. Breathe.

I found the gate for my departing flight and saw it was delayed enough to where I could run the hundred billion miles there to make the connection. At least I got in some cardio, right? I made it to the gate, had time to pee, and then it was time to board. Whew!

THE BAD SITUATION PART

We all boarded and headed out. “Ding Dong”. “Uh, folks, Wilmington is under severe storms…blah blah…can’t handle the weather AND planes… flight is cancelled.” Um, what?

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We are all in the plane, and you cancel the flight? Can’t you just wait 15 minutes for it to blow over and we can be on our way? Holy hell, what am I going to do now? DELTA got their flights in that were coming in at the same time, why can’t YOU, stupid USAirways????? *&$^%&*

THE ADVENTURE PART

We all de-boarded, which is a first for me, and walked towards the customer service line, which was long when I ran past it on the way to my now-cancelled flight. The line was looooonnnng, even after they added more agents.

Stupid long ass line.

Stupid long ass line.

We were all given vouchers for a discounted rate for a hotel, and sent on our merry way. This cancelling a flight thing was new to me, and I honestly didn’t realize that when they cancel a flight, there is no “make-up” flight. You just have to absorb into the other flights that were overbooked. As the people around me muttered to each other, we were realizing that the few seats available in the morning were quickly being taken by the people in front of us and on the phone. In just a few minutes since the flight was cancelled, the earliest available flight out of Charlotte was mid/late afternoon. REALLY? (Within an hour, it was 6:30 pm)  It was close to 11:45 pm at this point. We were all tired. One guy looked like his head was going to explode. I don’t remember exactly how this came about, but the lady standing next to me in line, Barbara, and I decided to rent a car and drive to Charlotte. It was a 4 hour drive, and we didn’t want to wait another day to see if we could get home. Barbara had talked to another girl, Sachi, and we three took off to the rental car area.

We ended up getting a one-way car rental (can you say RIPOFF?!) and decided to go ahead and drive home without spending the money on a hotel.  $320 later, we found ourselves in the Avis lot getting into a nice Ford Mustang.

Niiice car.

Niiice car.

We made one stop to get some sugar energy and of course, had to get a picture. What a crew.

 

Barbara, Sachi, and Me

Barbara, Sachi, and Me

I drove for a while, even after being so exhausted, and when the speed limit turned to 70 about 90 minutes later, I didn’t feel like I could actually drive at 70 without putting us at risk. I pulled off at an exit, peed in the grass, and Barbara took over until we got to Wilmington.

What do you do when you’re driving with strangers and need to keep each other awake? You talk. You get to know one another. So that’s what we did. Sachi is from California visiting her parents who just moved from the Midwest. Barbara lives basically across the road from me and was on her way home from a conference. She has a very interesting career so we talked a lot about that. Check out her website here, especially if you like diving. Or history. Or fish. Or travel vacations. Very cool. We talked and gabbed and I found it very interesting how you can turn from strangers to almost friends. We are all so different and came together with one goal: getting to Wilmington. We all have very different lives, but I found the two ladies very interesting, have cool jobs, very friendly, and I felt lucky in chance to be standing in line by them. Those small chances made the night different than had I been standing in line next to grumpy mad guy or anyone else.

Drop offs were linear, thank goodness, and since the car was rented in my name, I pulled it into my driveway close to 4:45 am. The same time I’d be getting up for my track workout. I hugged my husband, went in to kiss and hug my kids, and I fell into a fast sleep until my son scared the SHIT out of me giving me a hug before he went to school. I woke up around 9:30, went about my business, returned the car (which is when I realized that I had ZERO patience and needed to just not do anything for the rest of the day), and sat on the couch until my kids got home from school. My mind was mush, for the most part. I texted Barbara and we decided to get together some Sunday for NFL. You just never know where a friendship can begin, can you? Sachi has a busy weekend with family but I figured I’d touch base with her next week.

I LOVED driving this car.

I LOVED driving this car.

THE CLARITY PART

During all of this, I’ve had a LOT of time to think. I have been pushing myself to make it to the Houston Marathon. My goal is to re-qualify for Boston so I can have my re-do. My leg hasn’t healed and from the little bit of walking I did between classes and the run I had Friday, it wasn’t healing well enough for me to do speed work and REALLY make the efforts to crush the race, which is something I know I can do. I’ve been getting physical therapy and we haven’t 100% nailed down why my leg keeps getting hurt. Why is it always the left side? Every time it feels better, I attack training without truly considering the repercussions or if it’s actually healed or just rested.

This is me every time my leg starts to feel better.

This is me every time my leg starts to feel better.

I remember sitting on the plane, thinking about making myself run 14 miles the next day, and I said, “Why am I doing this?” Why am I being so stupid? It IS pretty stupid.  Why would I short-change my physical health to half-ass train for a marathon? Because I have a ticket? Because I want to see my friends? Because I’ve signed up twice and not done the race? Because I want to prove it to myself that I CAN but I really CAN’T train right so just do it anyway? Because I WANT it so badly? Yes, I think that’s what it is. I want this so badly, I need it for myself, and I love doing it. But at what expense?

Suddenly, as I sat on one of those planes, I realized that I needed to stop. I realized that I wasn’t doing the right thing, that my leg wasn’t getting better, and I needed to fix it before I could move on and train the RIGHT way. And as hard as this is for me, I know that it’s what I should do. I know that I tried, it didn’t work, so I need to re-group, fix it, and then go. I have HUGE goals for 2015. HUGE. And I must go into the year healthy, happy, and ready to train. Not 2 for 3, but all 3 for 3. So that’s what I’m going to do. And by the way, this doesn’t mean I don’t have other goals in mind. Oh, we are all like that, right? Can’t do one goal, so what’s the next? Yup, it’s there, but I need to get through this injury thing before I can go full force ahead.

Clarity. It’s a good thing to have.

 

 

Categories: coaching, marathon, running, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

With a Little Help From My… Um, Friends?

I must note that this is a story that mingles animals and running.  What do animals have to do with running?  Amazingly so, they’re an essential ingredient in the formula that will take me to Boston.

I am an animal lover, plain and true. I grew up on 30 acres in the middle of Adams County, Iowa, with a variety of cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, pigs, and horses.  My sister and I would frequently run around the farm to explore the creeks, pond, woods, and fields. One time we even found an old water pump in the middle of the pasture that spewed out a field mouse when pumped, so we put an old mason jar under the pump and caught the mouse. Little did we know he was too smart for us and figured out how to get out of a hamster cage by twisting off the closure caps.

When my oldest son was a few years old, I started fostering kittens for a rescue near Mooresville, NC.  When we lived back in Iowa, I got involved with a no-kill cat rescue. I  started a fundraising campaign called “Running for a Paws”  for this rescue that netted about $3,000.  I ran races to collect donations and pledges, and had initially planned to run the local 1/2 marathon as the final race for this fundraiser, the Lewis & Clark Siouxland Marathon. Because I had collected pledges based on the number of race miles I did, I figured I could jack up the fundraising pot a few hundred bucks by doing the FULL marathon, which was my fourth full marathon. I figured it would be my last marathon. (My husband rolls his eyes at this as he knew better.)  I didn’t follow a training plan, didn’t do speed work, tempo runs, and I pretty much ran when I wanted to.  Yes, I got my miles in, but it was more for the accomplishment than anything else. I call that “old school” style.  Race day was nice and COLD, and I flew to the finish in 4:12.  And that was just the beginning.

After the race, with my rescue partner, Beth, and my mini support crew.

After the race, with my rescue partner, Beth, and my mini support crew.

I remember sitting in my mom and dad’s back yard with a Miller Lite after the race, and out of the blue, I wondered what time I was need to qualify for the elusive Boston Marathon, the race I’d heard of but really didn’t know anything else about.  I googled what it was at that time, before it was lowered by five minutes. This was the race that I thought was just for elites and extremely fast people, not for regulars like me.   “Hmmmm, if I can finish a marathon that I didn’t really train for in 4:12, I bet I can finish in 3:45 if I really give it a try.”  And often times, when I get something in my head, I will try and try until I succeed or get distracted and move on to something else.  Three marathons later, here I am, a 2014 Boston Marathon Registrant.  And all because of that one marathon that I ran to raise money for the animals.

Isn’t it funny how one decision can lead to so many other things? My desire to help this rescue led to my return to long distance running. It also led me to have some furry “helpers”, but I love them and know that if it wasn’t for me, three of the four probably would not even be alive today.  Because I currently do not have a job outside the house and we recently moved here from Texas, I don’t exactly have a bunch of friends beating my door down for coffee talks and fun excursions that were frequent before the move. I haven’t been able to run with my group for the last several weeks because of my injury either.  I’m a social person, so I do find myself fairly lonely.  But with a little help from my furry friends, I am never alone. I think that, at this particular point, they’re as grateful for me as I am for them.

I am never alone. Ever.

Even when I’m alone I’m not really alone.

At first, I was upset that I had to pull out of the Houston Marathon in January.  Then I think about the opportunities that may follow because of that decision.  What will I do after running the Boston Marathon? Where will my next marathon be? Will I be ready for the 1/2 iron distance triathlon next October?  It’s exciting to think of all the possibilities ahead.  For now, I’m just going to get through the 1/2 marathon on October 26th the absolute fastest I can, then in November, concentrate on strength building so I can heal whatever it is that’s hurting me. But I’m still excited.  Along the way, I know I have people here to train with, to cross train with, and to just be there for me.  And my furry little friends will never…EVER…let me be truly alone.

Squiffy watching me do crunches.

Squiffy watching me do crunches.

Tuna helping me roll out my shins.

Daytona helping me roll out my shins.

Goldie is making sure I ice my shin splints long enough.

Goldie is making sure I ice my shin splints long enough.

Because there’s ALWAY fur to clean up, always litter to clean, always food dishes to be filled, and always fresh water from the tap to be run so they can drink out of the faucet because “why would a sophisticated cat drink out of a bowl”, I like to take goofy pictures of my cats and share them in order to prove who really is boss. Yes, I know they really are the boss, no matter how much I think that I am.

Mother Purrresa

Mother Purrresa

IIII cccaaannnn'tttt reeeeaaach it!

IIII cccaaannnn’tttt reeeeaaach it!

daytona2

Say AHHHHHH!

Don’t let his cuteness fool you. He’s pulling you into his vortex so he can then bite you.

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shin Splints are A-Holes

In the last few posts, I’ve made reference to my “achy leg”, or my “leg that hurts”, or my “stupid shin splints” (that’s the technical term, you know).  Because hindsight is always 20/20, or at least 20/30 in my case, I really should have taken time off when I started to get THAT feeling.  I’ve had them before, but never this early in training and never this, well, for a lack of better words, painful.  I know that at the time,  I was so worried and paranoid about being able to get into Boston, it didn’t matter and I was going to work through any pain so I could run my best race in January in Houston so I could re-qualify for Boston at an even faster pace so then I wouldn’t have to worry about actually getting in to run Boston.  It’s a very bad spiral of crazy, my friends.

Besides putting all that pressure on myself about Houston and re-qualifying and all this other crap, I also committed to running the third leg of the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance Relay Race with my sister and a friend.  Oh, I wasn’t just going to run it, I was going to PR, which puts me at a sub-8 minute mile. For me, that’s booking it.  On top of that, in August, we moved (with our two kids and FOUR cats) 1200 miles from our last home in Texas to North Carolina. Nothing like a bunch of changes and upheaval to start off training, right?

So last week, after my 15k race, I decided to take 10 days off running and concentrate on cross-training so I could let my leg heal. I have been getting physical therapy, which seemed to work….. until yesterday.

Let me describe shin splints: they’re like a crazy ex-girlfriend. One descriptive word I stole from Wayne’s World back in the day and still use now is “psycho hose beast”.  They make you insane. They start off as a tight muscle. Maybe a cramp.  Then when you start running, you’re like “What the hell??! Why does that hurt?”.  Then while you’re running, they want to show you they still love you so they stop hurting.  Then as soon as you’re done, BAM, like a bat on your shin, it hurts like hell. Then you stretch, foam roll, maybe ice it and don’t think about it as the pain (or as I now call it because I’m actually tired of hearing myself say it, discomfort) has gone away. Maybe you have a few more days of good running, and then you’re back at the pain discomfort again. It comes and goes, but then the times when it dissipates dissipates, and then you’re just left with that terrible feeling that nags and nags at you. Should I run, should I not, what should I do?  The physical therapist squeezes your bone and muscle with a vice-grip (that’s what it feels like – I really don’t know what they actually do as I’m sweating and gritting my teeth and trying not to cry at the time).

I felt very optimistic about recovering quickly. The discomfort was going away, I was doing my cross-training pain-free, and then.  It. Happened. The crampy feeling came back Monday, and I hadn’t had a run in over a week.  Was it the yard work? It remained Tuesday.  Tuesday was the day I was to return to running.  Should I? Should I not? I have a 1/2 marathon in just over two weeks.  Will this ruin it? Does it matter? Do I have time to still train for Houston? Is it too late?  The run was good, wonderful, long strong strides, fast, everything I needed it to be. But it hurt. And it hurt for the rest of the day.

I finally did something yesterday that I never wanted to do nor imagined that I would have to do. I realized that I need to quit training for my marathon. No, I didn’t quit training, as there’s always muscles to be strengthened, skills to be learned, miles to be swam, a bike to be ridden. I realized that I need to see the big picture. I DID get in to Boston. I WILL run in Boston in just a few months. I cannot and will not ruin that because I have a fantasy about beating my marathon PR in Houston in January. It’s simply not worth it. But why is it bothering me so much? Why did take so long for me to just STOP and realize that I’m doing no good to my body by pushing it through pain that simply isn’t going away?  (It’s funny to think about this particular question because, duh, we’re marathon runners and we just don’t give up easily, plain and simple!!)  Why am I torturing myself with making this decision?  Why is this so hard???  Then I realized the truth.

In all the chaos and drama of life, running is the constant in my life.

It’s the thing I rely on to calm my soul, to make me feel free, to bring me a sense of joy that nothing else can bring.

This is not to diminish what my husband means to me either. He is my one PERSON, the other constant in my life.  But there’s a big difference for what he can do for me and what running does for me.  So what do you do with a relationship that is hurting, an injury?  You nurture it.  You don’t keep beating it down until it becomes nothing but what the past was and what the future could be.  So I’m going to take time off running for now, which pains me to say, but I’m still doing the 1/2 marathon on October 26th.  After that, I’m just stopping. I cannot make this worse. I have to be smart about it and do the right thing. Will it work? Will I recover? Honestly, I don’t know for sure. But I’ll do whatever I need to do to make that happen.

It makes me sad to think of not running. But I know I have to let it go. I’ve had to do a lot of things these past few years that I did not want to do, so it’s just plain annoying to face yet another one. But that’s life, right? Just deal with it and move on. It doesn’t do anyone any good to whine and mope about it.

I’m lucky to have a support system in my husband, my sister, my coach Kristen.  She has been doing my training plan since August and has had to make so many adjustments, starting with my first “achy leg” comment several weeks ago. Kristen has been very supportive and has let me make my own decisions about what running I should do or not do, while giving me her honest opinion about those decisions.  My sister is teaching me how to swim well. I thank all of you for being there for me. I don’t know if you really understand why this is so difficult for me, but chances are, you do.

So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I feel very lucky. I get to run in Boston in April 2014. I can still train. Running will be there for me, but we’re just going to take a break from each other. Hopefully, we’ll come back even stronger. No fear.

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Sweat in Under One Millisecond

I’ve been reluctantly dealing with a sore leg the past two weeks. It came on suddenly after a great tempo workout and the next day, I was in pain. Luckily, I’m surrounded by tons of runner people and have a great coach, so when I mentioned hurting during a run, I heard what I needed to hear. “Listen to your body.” “Take care of it now before it turns into something worse.” “Don’t run.” This wasn’t what I WANTED to hear, mind you, because the mind has a really good way of burying the reality of a bad situation and puts shiny glittery things in front of the facts you should really acknowledge.

I took a hill workout off, a long run off, and another in between, and my calf/shin was still in pain and getting worse. Because I’m very early into training for what I consider to be an extremely important race (even more now that I see how many people have registered for Boston so far), I decided it was best to bite the bullet and go see a physical therapist.  I crawled out of the Denial Closet and made the call.  I’ve done this before for Achilles tendonitis and another condition that affected my knee, so I was familiar with myofascial release, which is what many physical therapists use to help heal athletes.  When I went in for my appointment, I told the entire story of my one leg that has had a laundry list of problems over the years, did some calf raises and other strength work so the doc could see my leg in movement, and then he got to work.  Because the pain was in the center of my calf and shin, I thought he would work on that area. Oh, no, the source of the problem is often not where it hurts now, but in another place that is not working right and victimizes a different muscle.  So the perp in this instance was the nerve/muscle just below my knee on the inside. As soon as he felt that the area was tight, he took out a vice grip and razor blade and cut my leg off. Oh wait, that’s just how it felt. Now I’ve had few therapy sessions that made me hold my breath and grit my teeth, but this was a new level that I wasn’t familiar with. My second visit was even more surprising.  I have NEVER started to sweat faster when that searing pain started, except for maybe when I got the tattoo on my foot. I couldn’t even think swear words either.  Sweat was rolling down my back, sweat was on my arms, legs, feet, neck.  Wow. My poor leg was telling my brain to get the hell out of there and to not let that monster touch it again. My brain kept telling my leg to shut up and deal because it’s either this or pain with every step while running and there’s about a trillion steps to go. My brain won this time.

I will probably have to go a few times a week for the next two weeks, which isn’t pleasant for my leg nor my pocketbook, but I’m committed to doing what I need to heal the injury and learn how to prevent it from coming back.  In the meantime, I’ll be doing my stretches, which is way more than my normal stretching, which is way more than I ever did for the first 38 years of my life. I guess that’s what it takes to make a dream come true.

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, open water swimming, training for marathon, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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