Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tendonitis

I want this to be one of those posts that I look back on in a couple weeks and think, "I was so worried about nothing!" 

I don't think this will be that kind of post. 

The other day my daughter and I were talking about the running hobby I've developed over the last two years. She said, "I know you love running but-" and I cut her off. "I don't love running." 

I explained it like this: "remember when we redecorated your room? And it took lots of work to paint and clean and organize and put everything back together- but when we were done and you felt accomplished and like everything was better?" You know, that feeling of "ahh, this feels nice. The work was worth it." She did. 

That's what running is like. The actual running sucks. It's hard and tiring, and you mostly want to be done, just like painting and cleaning. But you're in it for the "after."

So I mostly hate running. But I like the after. The feeling of accomplishing something that's hard and that I never thought I could do. 

If you've read this blog you might know I'm training for my second half marathon. It's a big one, one with a time goal, and it's in Chicago which requires a trip and lodging and stuff. It's kind of a big deal to me. My second half, in a cool place, with a big accomplishment in terms of time. And I got injured. 

I have tendonitis. I've tried resting it, icing it, physical therapy exercises, ibuprofen. And a week and a half after the symptoms came on, it's still bad. Really bad. I've bought an ankle brace and kinesiology tape.

Nothing makes it better. 

I have a running partner that will either have to bail on the race or try to do it alone which is lame because it's OUR goal together and we've trained together. And I can barely walk, let alone walk/jog a 12 min mile. 

I currently plan to walk it if I can't jog by a week from now. Which is lame because the race closing time requires you run. The course closes in three hours. And at my hobbling walk pace with a bad ankle I'm looking at 4.5-5 hours. And since I've had no relief over the last 1.5 weeks I don't expect more. And I'm sad. Really sad. 

I don't want to stand on the sidelines and watch others run the race I trained for. I don't want to walk the route long after the race is over and the medals and water stations are gone and it's back to being a regular street. And I'm tired of staying home on nights I usually went to the gym since mt ankle pain doesn't even allow me to do a yoga class because it still requires me to bear weight on my foot. 

I had planned for this to be my last distance race because my body was already revolting but it appears I won't even get that. My first half training had me down for two weeks with a different foot injury. There's clearly a theme. 

Ever set a goal and work toward it only to be stopped from accomplishing it in the eleventh hour? Tell me about it. Misery loves company you guys. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The time running almost killed us.

When it comes to running, Jessica and I break all the rules. In a bad way. 

For example, we sign up for a race and read the details (13 min max pace) later. 

Or, we go out for a 7 mile run, get ambitious, and decide to run to a park without knowing the actual distance to said park. 

Important note: anyone who has run long distances knows you slowly ramp up mileage. Our longest training run so far: 5 miles. We ended the night at 9.84. Mistake. It gets worse. 

When we started tonight, I told her I didn't think 7 miles was going to happen because I had a bad work day and was really stressed. But apparently running (which is really hard for me) was working out frustration. So we kept going.

Jessica bought a water belt, which came in really handy because it was soo humid! We ran out but luckily were running right past our friend Edie's house and stopped for a refill!

We were at mile 4, and turning back there meant 8 miles total... But we'd set the goal of making it to the reservoir at the park and were pretty close so we decided to go for it. 

By the time we made it to the park, we were almost out of water again, but feeling pretty good (but sweaty.) As we turned back, we realized it was starting to get dark-- we started our run at 7:15 p.m.  And we started at Potters Bridge Park, which is very wooded and NOT lit at all. And we would have to end our run there. In the dark. Really poor planning. 

Armed with iPhones with flashlights, we figured we'd power through... But as we approached the woods, the overcast sky hid all moonlight, and we were worried about rape, murder, and woodland creatures. I mean, there are endless bugs, birds, coyotes... 

And as we shined our lights into the dark, wooded path, and debated our choice- A BAT FLEW INTO THE STREAM OF LIGHT and right towards our faces!!

As is our style, we ran straight into each other, screamed, and turned to run. It was decided- we were NOT GOING IN THERE. 

So we headed back toward the road and took a slightly longer route that kept us closer to civilization. But the road leading to the park, for the last mile, turned out to also not be well-lit, and had no sidewalk. We walk/jogged along the road, iPhones in hand, dodging the occasional car. It's after ten at this point. 

Some of those cars slowed, making me fear kidnapping, and some came dangerously close to the edge of the road, leading Jessica to believe we'd be on the news for being hit by a texting driver. 

As we crossed a bridge with barely a shoulder, in the pitch black, we wondered why it was SO loud out there! There must be a thousand species of bugs, birds, frogs, and rodents all competing to produce the loudest, creepiest song. 

Just when I thought to myself, "yep, this is where we die" we suddenly saw the light at the entrance of the park. 

We lived. Barely, in my opinion. And my legs have turned to stone and my back feels like I've been hit by a baseball bat. But hey, almost ten miles! With an average pace of 15 min/mile so we are definitely getting picked up by the struggle bus on race day. But at least we will live. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Soaring. A love story.

I've talked about flying on this blog before.

I have an update for you. A great one.

To summarize- my first flight as an adult had the young child seated a row ahead turned around to see what was wrong with the crying lady behind her. The next flight (which was for a work trip) led to the lovely experience of me crying in front of coworkers I barely knew. Next after that- anxiety meds.

I did a bunch of research online and found http://www.fearofflying.com/.  The free resources helped, but things really changed when I bought the book, found on Amazon HERE.

Long story short, I read the book, and have flown to Utah for work twice since. And it was amazing.

I truly thought I'd never fly without being a psycho on the plane, but this book changed all that. For example, on previous flights I'd have to drink at least two drinks to make it through take-off without crying. Now, no crying at all. I'm slightly nervous because I am anxious about take-off the most, but drinks are not necessary.

Another example- before I could never look out the window without meds and cocktails. I'd keep my eyes closed and pray my seatmate by the window would close the shade so they could sleep so I wouldn't notice the sunlight shifting across the cabin as the plane turned. My last set of two connecting flights, flying by myself, I didn't need drinks, and I looked out the window and took pictures.

Now, I still like to have wine on the flight, because, wine is available and I feel like I should enjoy myself. :) But it's not required to maintain sanity and avoid panic attacks.

One other thing that helped is the SOAR app.  I have it on my iPhone, and it has a G-Force meter. Basically, it will keep track of the G-Force you are experiencing (even in airplane mode) and confirm that even in turbulence, the plane is well within normal forces that it can safely withstand.  After learning about turbulence in the book, it doesn't really bother me anymore. Compared to my first flight, during which I gripped the armrests with white knuckles (like those would save me), I now calmly check my app, view my water (or wine) not splashing out of my cup, and realize that we are hitting some sky potholes and go about my magazine reading.

I learned at my last work trip that they plan to fly us managers out once per quarter. Previously, this would incite anticipatory anxiety about trips that were months away. Now, I'm excited about the airline miles I can rack up.

I don't really have a bucket list- except for that trip to Europe (namely France) that I've wanted to take my whole life. For the past several years, I've worried I'd never get there because I'd be too afraid of the flight. Now, that dream can become a reality, because I've overcome the fear of flying. I still don't love it, and I'd rather be on the ground, but I understand what is happening and recognize the safety. And really look forward to making that dream come true.

Thank you, Soar book. You've changed my life.




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I love running....when I'm done.

My friend Jessica and I are training for our second half marathon. For our first half back in April, we mistakenly planned to train during winter months, during what became one of the worst winters ever. Tons of snow and sub-zero temps led to a real lack of training, but we finished with our walk-jog strategy just under 3 hours. Not great, but we finished. Determined to do better the next time, and fired up after our first big race, we signed up for a second. The Chicago half in September.

With our first half, based on distance and finish time, we had about a 13:21 per mile pace. Turns out, the race we signed up for has a 13 min mile minimum.... which we didn't know till we paid the entry fee and booked a place in Chicago to stay.

We have to significantly beat our time from first race to avoid being picked up by the "support busses."

I now have a fancy Garmin running watch.  It is more accurate than iPhone apps and gives us lots of info about our pace and distance and even lets me check out fancy graphs and such after a run.

And so far, our pace SUCKS. We started training late, since apparently that's our thing, and over our last three runs (the only ones we've really done to train) we have averaged between a 15-16 min pace per mile.

If you are bad at math, that means we are 2-3 minutes per mile TOO SLOW. And we have to go 13 miles!

The prospect of paying all this money to stay in Chicago, enter this race, plus having loved ones watch us run, only to not finish and get picked up by a support bus is terrifying.

While we are running recently, we find ourselves saying, "I hate running." or "what were we thinking?"

But once we are done, we feel pretty good about the distance we covered.

We have a plan to work on speed.... but we only have 5 weeks! Our only goal- finish fast enough that we don't get picked up by the bus. And when we do, that victory will feel sooo sweet.

Wanna help? We need ideas for custom shirts we plan to have made to wear during our run. Help us think of ideas! The image above is a strong contender in my opinion. Comment with some good sayings for our race shirts!

Thanks in advance...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My first half marathon.





I posted before about my decision to try running Here. After many months of casually running short distances using my couch to 5k app, I was finally able to run an entire 5k with my friend Jessica. It felt awesome. We were so proud of ourselves and inspired that we signed up for a half marathon! 

The half was on April 12. We signed up in November. We found a training plan online we intended to follow all winter. 

Then, snowpocalyspe.

Needless to say, we deviated from the plan. We just weren't dedicated enough to run in snow, ice, or -50 windchill. Nor were we able to do more than a few miles at a time on the treadmill. 
As the race approached, we squeezed in a couple longer runs- a couple 4-5 miles and one 8 mile. We are using Jeff Galloway's run/walk method, and we felt great after 8 miles, jogging two minutes and walking 1-2 minutes, alternating the whole time. 

Anyone who runs long distances knows that we didn't prepare enough. But we were determined to complete the 13.1 miles. 

On race day, we were joined by several friends. Two of them marathoners that walk/jogged with us the whole time, and two that had not even trained and planned to walk the whole thing. Which is crazy, but they are an awesome couple that basically can do anything they set their minds to, so I knew they'd be fine. 

The group, pre-race. 
The weather was perfect- a gorgeous spring day, sunny and a little cool but perfect for running. We set off, doing our intervals of 2 minute jog and 1 minute walk. 

The miles truly flew by. It was a great experience, made great by the wonderful weather and good conversation of friends. I really think it would have been a lot tougher without the group we had. 

There were a few times I needed to walk a little more, especially because the course was a little hilly and I hadn't trained on hills. But overall I was happy with our time and the amount we actually ran. 

We ran hard down the last stretch near the finish line, and once we stopped, I could feel the ache in my legs and some pain in my chest from breathing hard, but I felt proud that we finished! 

We collected our medals and post-race fuel and went back to the finish line to watch our untrained walking friends- who amazingly ended up running part of it and finishing just 15 minutes or so behind us! 


Post-race, my legs were sore. Really sore. I didn't walk as much as I should have and didn't massage my legs with the foam roller like all the websites and magazines recommend. I will do that next time for sure! It was tough to walk or stand from a sitting position for a while! 
Two weeks out, I'm having pain in my calves when I jog now, so my jogs have been short and uncomfortable but I'm hoping time will help. I should google that. 
Post-Race
If you are considering starting to run, check our Jeff Galloway's website for tips. I really believe anyone can do a half marathon after my experience- especially since I barely run and am fairly bad at it- and I still finished!

How about you? Planning to try running? Training for a race? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Nana

When I was first getting to know my husband, I was surprised by the amount of time he spent with his family. They are fairly small- his immediate family consisting of his mom, aunt, sister, and Nana. His dad and their family are around, but his connection with them is much different than with his mom's side. And as I got to know them, I understood. 

I can't say enough great things about his mother- she is wonderful and I give her full credit for how amazing Matt is as a husband. But his Nana had a special place for him. It would be impossible to count the number of stories I heard about their fun times together at her house on the river in Madison or the number of times he referred to her as a "great lady." 

Nana passed away last week in her 70's, too early. 

She'd been in the hospital for a week or so when his mom's reports on her health became concerning. Nana had spent a day or two in the hospital here and there but always recovered and went home. She came to visit for thanksgiving and we went three hours north to celebrate Christmas together, and it was fun and wonderful. 

But this time in the hospital, she wasn't getting better. Matt made the drive several times, and I went up a couple of those. In my mind, this would end up like those other times and she'd go home with diet restrictions she'd hopefully follow and life would be normal again. 

We took a Friday off work to go visit two weeks ago and she was noticeably much worse. The following weekend, it was clear we needed to be there. 

That Sunday, we arrived at the hospital with Matt's mom and aunt there, and Nana was not aware. She was clearly struggling to just breathe and it was truly the most heart-wrenching moments of my life. I closed my eyes and prayed for God to give her peace and relief. It came, and she slept. We told stories and watched her rest. Matt and I went to the pharmacy and bought a nail color she would have liked, and his mom and I painted her long, pretty nails. 

Later that evening, Matt's aunt went home and Matt and I had dinner and went to a hotel. We stayed up too late watching tv and after about two hours of sleep, got a call from his mom that we needed to be at this hospital. I took a quick shower to wake up, we dressed and rushed over. By the time we made it to the room, Nana was gone. 

In my life I'll never forget seeing Matt's mom come around the corner with utter devastation on her face. Nana, whom the whole family adored, was gone. The mom to Marta and Laurie, Nana to Matt and Bri. The lady that served me wine and shared photos of her life with me just after we'd met. The woman that endured a difficult childhood after abuse, chlildrens homes, foster parents, divorce, loss- she's no longer able to tell her stories or be a mom and Nana. 

I barely knew her in comparison to the children and grandchildren she had, but I feel her loss so deeply. 

That early morning, at 3 a.m., we sat writing the first draft of her obituary using a form  the hospital provided. Under the "achievements" section, Matt wrote "nana of the year for 29 years." And it was the most beautiful line I've ever seen in an obituary. 

We went to her house to find clothes for her to wear the next day. To see her home just as she'd left it, expecting to return, was sad on a level I can't explain. As we looked through her papers to find important documents, we looked at photos of her life, and read letters from the foster mother who loved and raised her, and I felt deep regret about the questions I never asked and stories I'd never hear. 

Matt's family amazes me in their strength. His sister flew home from college, and pinned photos to a cork board to celebrate her life for the service. Matt prepared a playlist of music she'd loved, and his mom and aunt gathered artwork she had created and displayed it at the funeral home. They remembered her in the most positive, beautiful way. 

After a little time has passed, I'm left with a few thoughts. 
1. I want to live the sort of life that inspires someone to write mom/wife/friend/nana of the year 29 years running 
2. I want to have a plan for my arrangements, clothes, music so my grieving family doesn't have to worry about it
3. I want to spend time with my friends and family to hear their stories and know them better before it's too late. 

I've not lost anyone close to me since my own Nannie died when I was young, and I haven't experienced this sort of loss as an adult. And it has been profound. 

Thank you, Nana, for helping create the wonderful man I married, for giving him a fabulous mother, and and for the bittersweet reminder that life is a precious, brief gift. 

To Joyce.  



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The longest winter.

This winter has been the longest of my life. Never before have I longed for 30+ temperatures quite the same as I have this year. I can now see a small patch of grass visible through the snow on the side of my house where the last two days of sun has shined/shown down the most, the part where winds have prevented a larger pile of snow that limits the melting effects. And this patch of grass makes me infinitely hopeful. 

This winter has been so long I've begun to feel like summer is a fable, a tall tale, that I've heard about in books and Disney movies but doesn't exist in real life. 

Each time the future is referenced I frame it in the context of whether or not flip flops can be worn then. 

I've seriously considered the consequences of abandoning my house and mortgage and packing the car, driving to the southernmost point of the US. 

Yesterday it was 35 degrees in the evening when the kids and I left the house, and none of us wore coats, in appreciation of the warm temperatures. 

My first winter as a runner, and my first training for a half marathon, has been met with record low temps and record snowfall, rendering outdoor running impossible. 

I'm certain that I'm suffering from seasonal affective disorder, but I've been too cold and had too much snow in my driveway to allow me to visit a doctor for diagnosis. 

This is day 90ish of my captivity. I'm beginning to break. If spring doesn't arrive soon, I'm fearful for the safety of my family. 

Praying for rescue. Please, snow, melt. And soon.