Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Was A Good Year


2012 was a busy year. I learned and experienced a lot of neat things. I learned words I had never heard before and I did things I had only ever dreamed of doing.

NEW WORDS I LEARNED IN 2012:
  • Fartleks (speed bursts/intervals in a run)
  • 800’s (an interval of 2 laps around a track)
  •  IT band (that awful hindrance on the outer leg that causes knee pain)
  • Graston (very painful but rewarding physical therapy massage)
  • DOMS (aka Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – pain 2 days after a run)
  • Snot Rocket (how to blow your nose while running without tissue)
  • Periformis Syndrome (a real pain in the ass)
  • Meniscus

THE 12 RACES I RAN IN 2012:

·            01/01/2012: Randy Earhardt Memorial Run (sunrise) – 5K
·         01/08/2012: Resolution Run – 5K
·         03/18/2012: Shamrock Run – 5K
·         05/27/2012: Rum Run – 10K
·         06/10/2012: Run Like A Girl – 5K
·         06/23/2012: Solstice Run – 6 miles
·         07/22/2012: Harvest Days – 8K
·         08/19/2012: Every Girls – 5K
·         09/29/2012: Color Run – 5K
·         10/14/2012: Girlfriends – Half Marathon
       11/17/12: Chicks Psuedo Fat Ass Relay - 4.3K *
·         11/25/2012: Hot Buttered Run – 15K
*      * I was signed up to run a full leg but due to injury, I ran a partial leg and drove a relay van.


RACES I VOLUNTEERED AT IN 2012:
  • Vancouver USA Marathon 
  • Every Girls Half Marathon
  • North County Wine Run
  • Girlfriends Half Marathon (day prior to the race)


2012 NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS THAT I KEPT:

1: Complete the Get Fit Live Fit 20 Week Course. Not only did I finish it, I signed up for and completed the summer course as well!

2:  Weigh 169 by Valentine’s Day. Done!

3:  Run a 5K with a sub 11 pace. Done!

4: Run a 10K race.  Done! 

5:  To run at least 50% of the Girlfriends Half Marathon: Done!  Ran most of it and due to injury had to race-walk just under a quarter mile of it.

6:   Lose enough inches in my hips to fit into a Woman’s Brooks Running Jacket. Done!

7:  Run 500 Miles. Done! I ran 601.35 miles. 

OVERALL:

Running in 2012 kept me sane during some very crazy and challenging times.

But it was sometimes an added stressor in itself.  My ultimate goal for the year was the Half Marathon. I had run a beautiful and fast 12 miler just two weeks prior and then on race day I struggled in pain from mile 5 on just to finish it. That was both a source of pride, and disappointment. I made it, but it wasn't what it could have been if I hadn't had an injury.

The October MRI results showed ‘fissuring’ of the cartilage behind the right knee cap and a ‘slight tearing’ of the lateral right meniscus. 

The Sports Doctor prescribed a fancy knee brace which resulted in tearing the skin off my upper thigh in two places. The scars are still red and angry over a month later.  So, I tape the heck out of my knee and focus really hard on not letting my knee turn inward when I run. No more cutting and dodging through runners at races, and I walk on tight turns now.

Weight was an issue for me. I lost a lot of inches, but I ended the year still overweight and fluffy. Jiggly. The problem with running is that it is too easy to make excuses for that extra helping now. I still need to work on that.

I have learned a lot about myself, my weaknesses, and my strengths this year and I will be posting my 2013 Goals in a few days. HAPPY NEW YEARS, EVERYONE!!

Photos from 2012 races

 Me *after* the Color Run


 Solstice Run 
(made the podium!)

Every Girls Run

 Run Like A Girl


Me and the Captain at the RUM RUN!


Herd Of Turtles relay team
(I am third from the left)


Me and Christine at our first Half Marathon





Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Blahs

Not getting enough miles in this time of year, especially this week.

Eating too much - holiday food, celebration food, stress eating etc.

Rain, rain and more rain.

Motivation is low - but I have a LOT of goals for next year.

I did so well this year in meeting my resolutions (8 of 10 accomplished this year!) that I hope to do just as well next year. And to add a challenge, I made my goals even bigger for 2013. MUCH bigger.

More to come on that. ;)

Hoping I will get out and get some real miles in tomorrow before or after our family plans.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Coming Back!

Today I decided to try my favorite 4 mile route here. It has some challenges to it and I just wanted to see how I would do on it.

The first few steps resulted in pain on the outside of my right knee. More than any other time since the October 14th inflammation/injury. I told myself to just try until it affected my gait and hoped like crazy it was just my IT Band flaring up and not the lateral meniscus!!!

At a quarter mile it was easing up. At half a mile, my knee was a non-issue and I was off! At .62 mile I was warmed up and rolling up my rain jacket's sleeves. And off I went!

I took the pedestrian bridge up over the 205 Freeway just like old days. It is the second most steep incline that I use for hill and it wasn't as bad as I expected. I didn't need to stop at the top to catch my breath. I turned around and headed back.

It never felt like I was going fast. There was not one, but TWO times that I had a runner's high moment. I was there in my day-glow clothing, running in the rain giggling and smiling. At one point I was fist pumping and quickly learned the importance of insuring your fist isn't any where near the earbud cord. OUCH! LOL!

When I got home and downloaded my stats I found that I beat ALL my prior workouts (over several months worth) on that exact 4 mile route. WOW!!! I checked the GPS data to insure it didn't add miles (with elevation spikes or weirdness) and it didn't. That was a clean tracking on the map.

YAAAAAAAAAY!!!!

Those hills didn't slow me down today and hours later, I still feel great.

This appears to be one of those freak runs that make it all so worth while. I'll take it. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It Takes Courage to Lose

I have only been back to running a short time, after that four week post-injury hiatus. My longest distance since the Half Marathon was a little over 5 miles and it wasn't pretty. Tomorrow is a race that I signed up for long before my injuries.

Yesterday, I ran 3 miles and my running brace tore the top layer of skin off in two places of my upper leg and left a ring of bruises on the lower leg.

The distance tomorrow is 7.5 miles.

I seriously considered dropping the 12K for the 5K, but my friend Shelly convinced me last weekend to give the 12K a try and to just do what I can.

It won't be a 'race' for me. I saw the finish times women in my age group did last year. I will be going into this run fully expecting to be last in my age division. If I do, it will be a first for me to be in last place as I usually finish in the upper 33-40%. It is kind of sad. A part of me doesn't want to go. It doesn't want to LOSE!!! After all, online race results are forever to anyone searching your name.

BUT!!!! A runner at Dailymile named Jill said this - "It's not where you've been but where you're headed."

I need to quit lamenting what fitness I don't have this week, and celebrate every mile I am making that brings me closer to where I was before the injuries. Even if coming in last place occurs. Even if I end up walking the last miles across the finish line.

I am going out there tomorrow to get fit. Not to win against others....but to beat the weakness out of my body that set in during my 4 weeks 'off' the road.

Just do it!

Monday, November 12, 2012

1st Run in 29 Days

I was told by the doctor to wait until I was fitted with a knee brace before running. Well, it has been taking a LONG time and today was the appointment. I woke up so excited! But, the woman I had the appointment with cancelled just 2 hours before we were to meet, stating she forgot it was a holiday today and she can't make it.

This made for a lot of frustration. If she reschedules for tomorrow (it is 5pm and she STILL hasn't called back) I wouldn't be able to run tomorrow night - it is my 2 yr wedding anniversary.

It HAD to be TODAY.

So, I put on a cheap blue neoprene knee brace I got at Walgreens.

I put on my Nike running pants, my beloved Saucony's, and my wonderful Brooks dayglow vest with the pockets. I put on my matching dayglow Nike cap, Garmin and grabbed my headphones and iPhone.

I could feel the adrenaline in me even as I stood in my court waiting for my GPS to catch the satellites.

The skies were gray, the ground wet, and a heavy mist (not quite a rain) was coming down.

I turned on the iPhone to my 'faves' playlist and off I went.

The only goal I had was to move until moving hurt, or 2 miles. Whichever came first. So, I went nice and slow on streets slick with fallen leaves and just enjoyed and reveled in the moment. The breeze on my face, my legs stretching themselves, my heart rate settling in at a nice low 160 bpm. Okay, low for ME. ;)

The course I chose was the flattest anywhere near my home. It is mostly just staying on the top of our hill, and going to the little neighborhood park that has a nice loopy asphalt quartermile track. The track has some changes in elevation as it wraps up and down and around the children's play areas. There was a young man throwing tennis balls to his black lab, and another young man shooting hoops in the mist. I did 4 laps at the park.

My cardio fitness has suffered from the 29 days without running.

My legs remembered how to move, but they didn't feel as strong as they used to by the 2 mile mark. In fact, my left quad was trying to convince me the couch was a better place to be. HA! I told my legs to suck it up and get me home so they did....another half mile.

My knee is a little cranky right now but it didn't hurt running. It will get over it.

It felt SO wonderful running again!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Heart broken and STRESSING

I haven't ran since the Half Marathon. I want to run. I need to run. I feel like I am wound tighter than a cat suspended over a raging river. I feel like I am ready to blow at clients, coworkers, pets and family.

I didn't realize just how much running helped me in combating day to day stress.

It isn't just the ability to eat more.

It isn't the escapism.

It is the doing for myself. It is being selfish in a world with a million eyes and hands reaching out for me to fix their lives, their cases, their dinner or their errands. It is filling the tank so there is more of me to give.

And I have run dry.

That pain I felt August 23rd? That made me cry and hobble home? That same pain I felt on occasion after and that tore me up from mile 5 on in the Half Marathon? That pain led me to the REAL sports doctor. I drove far away to see him. He then had me get an MRI.

First, let me tell you MRI's for a knee are NOT an ideal way of spending your early evening. It was 45 minutes long and for someone who likes to spread out, that confined space had me stressed. My mission was to breath deep. Relax. Get lost in the music in the headphones. The music helped. It still wasn't pleasant.

My doctor called me yesterday to say he didn't have the images yet, but he did get the report. He sounded sad. I had never heard him sound sad. That scared me.

He said that his suspicions were confirmed. I had a small tear on my lateral meniscus. He said that would explain the hammer-to-the-knee pain when stepping down, or making left to right motions with my knee. It might be best if I opt for the surgery.

He said there was a few other surprises, too. By then, I was crying. I was at work and at my desk. I was trying hard not to sob uncontrollably and it took a lot of effort not to. I regret I didn't catch, understand or hear all he said. There was something about 'fissuring' and 'small tears' in a cartilage behind the knee cap. Something about my IT band. Something 'dysfunction' and something scary sounding. And a lot of medical sounding words.

Doctor said he would be getting the images soon and will call me when he does to confirm our plan of action. He suggested I might want to find a surgeon.

I came home and cried to my husband. Then I called my physical therapist, Bryce as he had asked me to tell him as soon as I heard anything. I felt like an idiot saying I didn't catch or understand much other than TEAR and FISSURING. I asked if HE could ask the doctor the next time they spoke so we would know what PT steps to take. He was very kind and didn't mock me for not understanding it all. He reassured me we will get through this. I will run again. Then he said, "You're still young!" hahaha

I do know the doctor was going to have a Brace representative call me to go over knee braces. Supposedly these aren't the ones you find at the market. They are very very expensive but my insurance should cover it.

My weight is already increasing and it is SO INCREDIBLY HARD to stop eating the amount of food I had been the last year. It is awful. I failed again today in staying under 1600 calories. It sucks,

I walked two miles and rode the recumbent bike for 3.5 miles. A total of 500 calories. that is NOTHING. And no cardio.

I am depressed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Girlfriends Half Marathon

How do I do this? How do I write a gazillion thoughts and feelings in one succinct blog entry?

All week we had been told there was rain coming. Some predicted over an inch of rain to fall on us Sunday. Some predicted strong winds to be there with that rain. This scared me as I never ran a wet race and had no training for 13 miles in rain.

Sunday morning was overcast, cool and DRY. Do you hear me? DRY!!! Not one speck of water fell on us or our course the entire morning. Talk about beginners luck! I still have yet to run a wet race. I am thinking that will occur on one of my two races next month. That is okay. They are much shorter at only 7.45 miles and less.

So, back to Sunday!

Christine and I were excited and nervous. We decided to try and run together as it was our first time and we made a PACT. If either of us cries injured, the other is to continue on. I was nervous with the taping on my bad knee. It never felt supportive like when I do it myself. Not at all. I almost tore it off that morning and replaced it but figured that since it was done by a physical therapist that maybe he was on to something I wasn't aware of. I left it. As a note, other than for this race, NO one has taped my knee but me, since April.

This race is a woman's race to raise funds for breast cancer research and aid. However, men were allowed to join the thousands of women, ONLY if they raised at least $1000 and....promised to wear pink. Here are some of the amazing men that raised a LOT of money and ran with us that morning.



(as a note - this runner supposedly told the contributors 
THEY got to choose his outfit if he met his goal)

This one reminded me of my friend Josh. 
You can put him in pink but you can't question his toughness.


At the start, there was four corrals (sections of the road at a four way street junction). We were at the back of the second corral to start running. Then the next corral of slightly slower runners was to start after us, followed lastly by the last corral of walkers. Made sense. And it would have been great, if it worked that way.

When we hit the start line, it became obvious that a lot of walkers had snuck in to the corral with us. And no, this was not just start line congestion. These women appeared to have no intention to run. These walkers continued for the first two miles - even when there was wide open room for them to run. Again, this was not start line congestion.



By mile three we were past the walkers and I was able to keep a nice pace of 10's-11's. The picture above is us running with #1980. We saw her A LOT throughout the race.  In fact, she and I finished 26 seconds apart.

Here is a scene shot while running


So, what happens to a knee that had no real tape support, that was cutting and dodging from left to right and making sudden stops through walkers and slower runners for two miles? The knee gives. And it gives hard.


At mile five, I began to feel knee pain that was threatening to alter my gait. So, I stopped. Stretched. Manipulated my knee cap. And went off again. Christine was a saint and stayed with me.


At mile six I saw my husband and pointed to my knee to let him know there was trouble.


The knee continued to cry out though. The only relief I got was stopping, stretching, massaging and yelling at it. But, I had to do that more and more frequently. I didn't really do any walking until the over-pass hill. Then, I race-walked and slogged intermittently.

At mile ten, I saw Elba from GET BOLD events. He recognized me as the photographer that was at his event (North County Wine Run) just weeks before, and he ran in front of me and said it was HIS turn now to photograph ME. I was laughing. It was hilarious. Here is his photo of me.

At mile ten and a half I saw my hubbie again. Christine and I were coming up to the approach of a hill and I had told her to please, go on. She is really strong on hills, and I knew I was going to have to do some race-walking up it. I ran/race-walked/ran my way up it. This is a shot George got of me just before I turned to face that hill.



Notice the slouching? Yeah. My back really hurts from that. 
I have to start doing a lot of sit-ups the next 6 months in preparation for the next Half in June.

As a note, I put on my headphones and music now that I was alone and could. not. stand. it.

Seriously. The music made me want to go FASTER! I had the energy and it was egging me on. But, I couldn't. My knee wouldn't let me. It ended up being sensory overload and I turned the music off.

At mile 11 or so, I saw Elba again. He again, was making me laugh taking photos and telling me to run faster as he ran BACKWARDS away from me. He and Karen are SO fit. I wouldn't mind having them as trainers but the drive to their city is not practical for my schedule.

Shortly after that, I saw #1980 again, and told her to take the lead. She laughed and said, "Oh no! Too much pressure!". So I said, "Okay. Don't take the lead. How about I just follow you for a little while." She alternated her runs with walks. I alternated my runs with all out stops (but no walking other than race-walks on the three inclines). This caused her and I to leap frog all the way in on the flat stretches.

Just before mile 12 we began our ascent up another hill, though less steep than the first. I stopped at the base of it, hanging on the fence railing stretching my right leg and for the first time in my running experience - wanting to throw up. I hurt. I hurt bad. My heart rate was so nice and low. My left leg had TONS of life left in it. But I couldn't do what I had trained all this time to do. It wasn't fair! 
I then made my way up through the diagonal trail cut to Officers Row. Run/Race-walk/Run/Race-walk. It broke my heart. It didn't help that I didn't see a single person running the entire section while I was going up it. Everyone was walking or doing walk/run combo's.  I wanted to run it non-stop!! (Can you tell the pity train was gaining steam?)

At the top, we turned westward onto a very narrow asphalt trail that was lumpy from tree roots and age. Had to take care with the ankles. Here, I tried to listen to music again. Nope. Wasn't helping. Turned it back off. However, now there was people cheering out there. All down that stretch were signs and people. Our bibs had our names and I was shocked how many people pronounced my name correctly. The cheers and signs were so wonderful. I had to smile through the tears at this point.

THANK YOU DEAR STRANGERS!!!!!! 

As I approached the finish line, with only 2 tenths of a mile to go, I wanted to stop. I wanted to walk. The crowds cheering brought me in. Seeing Cheryl clanging that cowbell made me SO happy. The crowd support and sheer determination got me through that section. I only remember PAIN, and quietly muttering "fuck - fuck - fuck" in cadence to the pounding that my right knee was receiving. I doubt anyone heard it over the cheering and the live band. Hopefully there was no lip readers out there. hahaha



I remember seeing George to the left on the other side of the finish line and going towards him.

I remember when my feet hit the first mat and a 'beep' sounded loudly, it startled me.

I remember a woman coming up from behind me, putting her arms around me and asking if I needed the first aid tent. That confused me. I told her I didn't think so, but I could REALLY use some ice for my knee! I remember that is ALL I wanted at that point.  George said I was wobbling like a drunk sailor.

They directed me to get my timer taken off my shoe and in that short time, I was handed a cold pack. That was amazing to me.

I found Christine. Or did she find me? I don't remember. I do remember sitting on a curb icing my knee and getting up and hugging her.



We walked pretty far to go get into dry clothing. This photo is of us after we changed. 



We came back and I tried the curry soup. YUCK. I then grabbed a banana and bagel half with cream cheese. YUMMM. But, stupid me didn't realize I had cut a line to do that? I swear, I saw no line. There was no one there. :(

The line for chocolate was toooooo long. We all agreed to leave and went to an ice cream shop that sold cookies and cakes. I got a slice of Irish Oatmeal Spice cake. George had a cream cheese/chocolate cake. Christine also had a chocolate decadence.

OFFICIAL TIME :
Distance: 13.1 miles (all ran or race-walked).
Time: 2 hours 46 minutes and 26 seconds
Pace: 12:42 minutes per mile

I am NOT going to beat myself up for an official pace of 12:42.

I ran 13.1 miles FASTER, even with all those stops to stretch, and the three inclines that had some race-walking, than my little 3 mile runs just 7 months ago!! That is AMAZING!!


If you want to look at my actual time NOT stopped, and count only the time my body was moving forward, my Garmin watch says I had an average pace of 11:58 minutes per mile. Again, that is including three inclines that had race-walking mixed in.

I am sore today. Much sorer today than on Sunday or Monday. I have my annual appointment with the sports doc in Tigard this Friday. I just want to have x-rays to confirm the knee pain is still just tendon related, and that I am not trashing my knees as my mom has had two knee replacements.








Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taper week one - Overthinking

Tonight I ran just 4 miles. Last Thursday I ran 6. Next Thursday it will be even less. The tapering has begun for the BIG RACE. My first Half Marathon.

It is just 9 days, 12 hours and 20 something minutes away as I type this.

I am wearing brand new shoes this week. My left ankle is wondering what is up with them. I am not sure. Might try the laces differently. Maybe the socks were too thick. SOMETHING is different than my other new pair.

So where is my other new pair?

It is in the spare room....waiting for race day. They were PERFECT last Sunday with just 60'ish miles on them. I am not adding another mile to them until the planned '20 minute run' the day before race day. I already have the pants set aside that I will be wearing, and the socks that fit those shoes best also in the spare room.

I just need to decide what shirt I will be wearing that day.

Why not the same one I wore last Sunday for good luck? I am thinking of it. But also, I am thinking of the weather. It is a long way off but the extended forecast is showing RAIN expected that weekend.

We haven't had RAIN in months. My experience with running in it is ever scarcer. You see, I began running on the treadmill when I started running last August. I told myself I HAD to because of bad knees. Then when the rain came, I had all the more reasons to stay on it. A lot.

All year I stressed each race - "What if it rains?"

Then at each race, I ran dry. I had beginners luck for sure!!!

  • 11/2011 Turkey Trot - Threatened to rain all morning. Not one drop until walking back to the car
  • 1/1/2012 Randy E. Memorial Run - Ran that night, but at 7:00am, the sun was shining for us
  • 3/2012 Shamrock Run - Light drizzle as we stood waiting to run. I wore a plastic rain cover. When it was time to start, it had stopped. By the end of the first turn on the road, I saw blue skies coming through the clouds. I was dry all the way.
  • 5/2012 Rum Run - It was overcast. It was also dry.
  • 6/2012 Vancouver USA Marathon - VOLUNTEER - sunny and dry
  • 6/2012 Run Like A Girl - Partly cloudy. And dry.
  • 6/2012 Solstice Run - Had a few drops of drizzle on my arms the very last quarter mile. But by the end of the finish line, it stopped. We sat, ate and drank in dryness.
  • 7/2012 Harvest Day Run - Overcast, but dry.
  • 8/2012 Every Girl's Run - ran 5K and VOLUNTEER (HM) - Overcast, but dry.
  • 9/2012 North County Wine Run - VOLUNTEER - Partly sunny and dry
  • 9/2012 Color Run - Partly cloudy, and dry.
So you see, at 11 events here in the Pacific Northwest - I have beaten all the odds. Now, here comes THE race. The one I have been training for much of this year. And it is too far out to say for sure, but in the last 24 hours the forecast has gone from 20% chance of rain on race day, to 40% chance of rain, to 40% all that weekend and before, to just now, 20%.

So many questions.....
  • Will my heart rate monitor be okay in the rain? 
  • Will my Garmin watch be okay in the rain? 
  • Will my Foot Pod be okay in the rain?
  • If not, will they be functional in a plastic bag? 
  • Should I wear a form fitting singlet or maybe a compression shirt in case it rains? I own neither....maybe I should be shopping this weekend? Try it on my 5 mile run?

So far away. So close. So excited. So nervous. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My first 12 mile day

I was nervous about today for several reasons. Would my left periformis act up? Would my right IT band and knee hobble me? Would Heather be bored with my slow pace? Would we have to walk?

It was a cold morning there at the park. I had a short sleeve running shirt and Heather wore long sleeves. I had goosebumps. She didn't. I think she is more experienced at this than I am. ;)

We ran the route and found all the bathrooms open. Always a good thing to know when you are out there. There was a group of 5 other women running and I assumed they were from one of the many training groups out here. They explained they weren't a group. Just a few girls who run Hood To Coast together out for a run. We saw them a few more times and at one point (at 7.4 miles) they were pulling out in cars as we came running by. The driver of the one car asked how far we were running today. Heather told her "12" (I felt so proud) and she said they had done 10 miles as a group, but two of them had done a little over two miles before that.

The weather was BEAUTIFUL out. Clear deep blue skies. Cool breeze. We ran along the Columbia River a few times. Lovely.


Heather was right. Running with someone else really DOES help time fly! I remember at 3 miles being happily surprised we had gone that far. It wasn't always easy talking, but she assured me I talked the entire time coherrently. I could have sworn I was just grunting at the end.

Heather is also a saint. She runs fast. She runs very fast. She had me doing fartleks a few times but she always sweetly came back to my turtles pace. The results of my running with her?

My BEST running pace of ANY road distance over 7.50 miles. 


I have never ran a pace on an 8, 9, 10 or 11 mile road run 
as fast as today's 12 mile pace.

Note the sweat on my shirt on this shot taken by Heather at the end of  our 12 miles. 
We worked hard, my body held up and we never walked. YAY!!

THANK YOU HEATHER!!! I am so excited and ready for the race. Too bad it isn't next weekend and that we have to go through the Taper period for 13 days first.

Is it superstitious that I am NOT running in today's shoes or running pants again until the race? Nah. Just ensuring they are in the same wear they are in today. I won't be using my water back pack until the race either, because frankly, I won't be running the distance to warrant it. I am dreading the taper period and bet it messes with my head. Maybe I should warn hubby I am about to become a basket case stressing that my body is going to forget how to go long.





Saturday, September 29, 2012

12 Miles Tomorrow?

My training plan says I am to run 12 miles tomorrow. Today, doing three on a small 69 foot elevation gain I pulled my hamstring or periformis again. It has been throbbing on and off all day.

I would rather hear my Half Marathon was tomorrow, than do 12.

I hope I don't hold Heather back too much, and I hope I remember to stay slow and easy as that is a LOT of mileage. I have never ran more than 11 miles.

Here are photos from today's run at the Portland Color Run.






Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ran the poisons out

I had my colonoscopy yesterday, and went for a 3 mile run this morning in the 89% humidity.

Oddly, when I began sweating, I became uncharacteristically itchy. Very, VERY itchy. My back, my chest, my stomach, my legs and even my face. I was frustrated and scratching as I was running. Weird.  Then I figured out what was happening when I found that the sweat on my upper lip tasted FOUL.

Surely, all that work and sweating was helping me eliminate toxins from the last few days.

Goodbye nasty prep meds and anesthesia!

When I got home, I looked like I had a rash everywhere. I showered really good and the rash disappeared.

The nurse called me at lunch to see how I was doing. I told her that I had gone for a run this morning and I believe that it flushed out some lingering meds from my system.  She was incredulous. "You ran?!" "yeah".  She said that wasn't something she normally hears on her 24 hour check-up calls. She asked how I felt. I said, my stomach was still queasy (almost fluish) and I couldn't shake a bad taste in my mouth but I felt okay otherwise.

It wasn't a fast 3 miles. My pace was 11:32. But, I am glad I did it. I recommend a good sweaty run to anyone the day after this procedure.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Running Diet and the Colonoscopy

I turned 50 earlier this year and like many others do when that happens, I had a colonoscopy test. Mine was this morning. I knew the 'drink' they give you was atrocious. But no one warned me - The diet was AWFUL! 

This was my dietary schedule the last few days:

Friday upon waking:

  • Cut out all fiber rich foods (there went my Dave's Killer bread!). 
  • Cut out all fruits with edible skins and all fresh veggies (are you KIDDING me!?!). 
  • Cut out all nuts and seeds. 
  • Cut out all red and purple foods. No tomatoes. No hot sauce. No salsa. 
I had to go pay money for white bread, cheap pasta and canned veggies. Eating them was even harder than paying for them. At least I could add grilled chicken to my yucky pasta and eat a banana for desert.

Saturday: I ran 8 miles on the food I ate the day before. Then I ate the same diet throughout the entire day to 'feed' my muscles. Luckily there was skinless chicken, and a Gatorade Recovery drink. But I was really missing my fresh fruit and veggies. It is a habit of mine to eat two servings of blueberries every day I do a long run. Not this weekend. At one point earlier in the day, I almost ate a fresh cherry tomato off the plant I have by my front door but it was a skinned fruit, it had seeds and it was red but I caught myself in time. I was miserable.

Sunday: LIQUID DIET. Remembering, my muscles were still recovering from yesterdays 8 miles I was pretty frustrated. I drank my clear chicken broth and my 8 ounces of yellow or green gatorade once an hour. I had sugar free lime jello and white grape juice. My recovering muscles were not amused. I had muscle cramps and headaches by bedtime.

MEDS:  While I won't explicitly describe the liquid hell I had to drink Saturday night, Sunday night and at 5:20am this morning (and the nasty effects it created) I will tell you that I had no sleep Saturday or Sunday nights.  Also, I had the shudders and had to fight throwing it up while drinking it. I had bad chills for hours after each dosage. I literally cranked my electric blanket up to "4" while wearing sweat clothes under the covers.

Procedure was this morning: While the anesthesia girl was prepping me for my IV she saw my resting heart rate of 48 and asked if I was a runner. That made my day! I went to la-la land with a smile on my face.

They found and removed FIVE polyps. They said two had to go to Biopsy. That disappoints me not because of what 'could' be, but because that means I now have to have this procedure once every 3 years now, instead of once every 10.

Once home, it felt so good to grab my Dave's Killer Bread, grill up a Jenny O turkey patty, add fresh red onion, a fresh heirloom tomato from my garden and fresh green lettuce. Best sandwich EVER!!!!!  

I asked the nurse about recovery from the procedure and if she thought Hammer Endurolyte pills would be helpful. She said it was a wonderful idea because yes, a LOT of fluids are lost in the two days prior to the test. I was going to take them any ways and surely, once I did, my leg cramps stopped.

Doctor said no driving or equipment for 24 hours after. I am taking tomorrow off since I was told not to drive until 11:30 am and I deserve a break (AND SLEEP!!!) after the last four days.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Will I Be Ready?

The Half Marathon is 27 days and 20 hours away. And yes, I am counting.

On August 22nd, I was fully optimistic that I was going to run the Half Marathon from start to finish. There wasn't a doubt in my mind. I had a beautiful 11 mile run the day before and was feeling good. Surely I could add 2 more miles on race day feeling THAT strong. Right?

Then came August 23rd. I ran five miles. One mile included some cadence work to work on my form. I ran 4 long hill repeats up a .36 mile long hill (with a light jog back down each time). I then ran another mile cool down. While running the last hill I felt some tightness that was almost a pain on the back of my left leg. Later that day though, I felt pain in the center of my left butt cheek instead. The cheek pain didn't go away.

I went to the Sports Doc and without examining me (I kid you not!) he said it sounded like a hamstring. Rest and ice for a week. NO HILLS!! As a note, that Sports Doc QUIT the practice two days later. Hmmmm.

The next time I ran my right knee pain inexplicably came back at mile 4, and did so with a vengeance.  I had to walk most of the way home. It was the first time I couldn't finish a run.

I began seeing my physical therapist at Proactive Therapy WEEKLY.  He did some poking and prodding and testing. He is fairly certain that my left cheek pain is Piriformis caused. He then explained that to me and gave me some stretches that do help relieve the burn. I found that it fit my symptoms very well: I can run without excessive pain to that area (though I do feel it on hills!) but I definitely feel it when bent at the hips to sit or touch my toes after the run.

Then, I got new shoes. After 12 miles in short runs in them, I tried them out yesterday for my first long run (in weeks) with an 8 miler. My right knee started acting up a little at 6.48 miles but it was NOT gait altering. After the run I was walking it out and noticed my inner left ankle hurt a bit. I checked my shoe and saw it was quite loosely tied. Not sure how I did that. When I got home I iced the ankle a lot. Today, I am still icing it. That was definitely a 'duh!' moment on me. I am a pronator with very weak ankles. How on earth I ran 8 miles with loosely tied shoes is a mystery to me.

Sometimes I can be so STUPID.

So -

  • I have 27 days left to train. There is a 10 mile and a 12 mile 'long run' between now and then.
  • I am fighting piriformis syndrome on my left buttock (daily).
  • I am fighting iliotibial band and knee issues on the right side. 
  • I have an over-strained left ankle that is slightly swollen on the inside of the foot and feeling bruised (ice, ice baby!)

My 50 year old body that didn't start running until last August is telling me that this might be my last Half Marathon and I am looking FORWARD to dropping my long runs from 10's to 6's again.  My goals for 2013 are to do Sprint distance duathlons. I love riding my bike. I love running those distances. There is a 5K/15 mile/5K race in April that I intend to be at. 




Saturday, September 8, 2012

Injuries and Worn Out Shoes

Well, starting about three weeks ago I began developing a whole lot of aches and pains and injuries when running. Aches and pains that alter gait. That keep you awake at night. That sent me to the sports doctor for the first time since February.

Hamstrings, possible pirformis pain, outer legs/hips, sides of calves (all relatively new and all at once) and shockingly, the worst knee pain I have had since February.

It was suggested my Saucony Progrid 5's might be worn out. 


About a month ago I had broke down the insert/cushion inside in my right shoe so much that I HAD to add an insert under the insert because it dropped my foot so much that my ankle bone was banging against the shoe's collar. 


That should have been the first clue the shoes were not holding up well for me any more.

Most sites recommend new shoes for runners that use them, every 300 to 500 miles

I didn't catch the part about heavier runners needing them more often. Nor did I catch that those that run on asphalt or dirt trails (in comparison to treadmills and school tracks) need them sooner as well. Nor did I catch that heavy pronators break their shoes down even faster yet!

I wore my shoes in today to the local running/shoe store and in my analysis the guy I was being helped by said just looking at me standing there in them he could see there was NO support left as my pronation was very evident in them. 

Then he had me take them off and he saw that not only was a lot of the knobbies were worn smooth to the depth of the crevices that had once been between them, and that you couldn't read lines there in newer ones, but there was actual white midsole shoeing visible peeking through beneath the shock layer. He said the right shoe was unwearable and he flexed it while pressing on the rubber sole portion to show me it had nothing left.

So, he said that the shoes I loved for the first 250 miles were not supportive enough for me. My pronation is too hard on them. He then came out with a pair of Asics Foundation Gel 10's. A pair I already had in my car as an 'emergency' pair of shoes. I told him I had worn them for my first nine months of my running (averaging just 8 to 9 miles a week) but they hurt my feet when i increased miles. I had thought they were shrinking (they weren't). They were too tight across the toe box and I got black toenails in them. I was told to take the inserts out altogether then...but it didn't really fix the issues.

He looked in the computer and found my prior size in the Asics was a 9.5 so he had me try on a 10 wide. They felt great so I said, "Okay".

I ran 3 miles tonight. When I got back, the side of my arch felt like it was bruised. I hadn't had that pain in a long time. I had completely forgotten about it. Then I remembered. THAT happened the last time I had this same model! 

See this blog page here: 

http://indulgentmadness.blogspot.com/2012/04/lesson-in-shoes.html


I want another pair of Saucony Progrid 5's. I don't care if I will have to buy a new pair every 225 miles if that is what will be needed to keep from injuries.

I WANT THOSE AGAIN.

I am going back tomorrow.

Weight: 161.4


ASICS GEL FOUNDATION 10's = Going back tomorrow

Saucony Progrid 5 = I WANT!!!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Back on the road

Today is the 8th day since I pulled my hamstring doing hill repeats. I ventured out today with the goal of a long run, and with the understanding that if my hamstring felt iffy in any way that I would stop immediately.

The morning weather was AMAZING. Clear with scattered white clouds, cool breeze on a 60 degree temp. Lovely. It didn't take long for me to realize it was HUMID AS HECK though!! How on heck it was 79% humid without a cloud cover is a mystery to me but I was a sweatier mess than usual and that says a LOT.

The first mile was rough as I think my legs forgot how to move on asphalt. And well, that humid thing wasn't much help. But once I hit the first mile or so it went very well through the 4.2 mile mark which was shortly after my turnaround to head home.

I was running on a main road that had no bike lane, and had heavy traffic. This put me on a sidewalk running against oncoming traffic. As I approached an exit from a store, I saw a big green truck waiting to exit into oncoming traffic. I was wearing a BRILLIANT dayglow orange singlet and had assumed he had seen me. As I crossed infront of him he started gunning it to beat traffic. I screamed the F word at the top of my lungs while making a mid-air twist and cruddy landing then dodge out of his way. Even though his window was up, he HEARD my yell and THEN he saw me. He looked apologetic.

But the damage was done. A quarter of a mile from there my knee felt twisted, bruised and sore as heck. The next 3.75 miles was horrid. My prior quarter mile pace averages of between 9:30 and 10:20 suddenly took a nose dive as I had to slog, and race walk, and on occasion stop and stretch. I was so frustrated I wanted to cry. But first, I wanted to finish my run and just get home to ice it.

My average pace when all was said and done (including stopping and walking) was 12:48 for 8.2 miles.  Looking back at that I am now not feeling TOO bad about the pace as that is still FASTER than my 3 mile Jingle Bell Race pace. Have I really come THAT far? Wow. I am glad I didn't let myself quit. :)


I went to my PT guy a few hours later. He stretched my legs, massaged them and worked his magic. I love that post-PT feeling. Aaaaaah. Happy legs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sports Doctor took me "Off The Road" for a week

Last week I ran 21+ miles. That included a day with some cadence work and hill repeats up a hill that is over .3 miles long. Since the day of hill repeats, I have been having pain in my left lower glute area.

A few days later I ran 5 miles without incident, but it was a flat run on a treadmill because I wanted to stay away from hills a little longer.

Today, five days after it started, it was still hurting no less than it was over the weekend so I called the Sports Doctor and got to take a cancellation appointment.

Sports doctor said it isn't the glute, but the hamstring. That explains why it radiates down the back of the leg at times. He wanted to know why I am running 11 miles on my long run if I am training for a Half Marathon that isn't until October. I explained 11 miles was LAST week. This week I am scheduled to run 12 miles. His jaw dropped.

He said I shouldn't be running more than 10 at this time. He then asked about intervals. I said that is Wednesday's. He asked, "Like run 2 miles and walk one?". No. Run three 800's at 90% with a 45 second break between each. "Are you KIDDING me?" so I showed him my plan. He then saw the two 400's at 95% that I am scheduled to close up the workout with. He said, "No. Absolutely NOT."

Sports Doctor said my plan is "too much" and I am being 'over trained'. He wants me "OFF THE ROAD" for a week with only cycling and swimming allowed. I asked if I could sneak in some light treadmill work. He said he would rather I didn't, but reluctantly said that if flat, easy and I promise to stop with ANY indication of pull or sprain 'one or two' miles. Also, he wants me to NOT follow that plan any longer. Cut it back. In half if need be. He said to look for something else. Something that is designed more for a 50 year old woman who was just running for a year and less than for a 20 something year old runner competing for race purses.

He suggested PT, motrin, rest, ice/warmth, and then he told me that if he was my coach, he would cut me down to standard triathlons with 10K runs at the end. He really recommended I make that my new goal.  He suggested it will reduce my injury issues and strengthen me at the same time.

I am considering it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What A Difference a Year Makes

A year ago today: I ran a whole mile. In fifteen minutes. Indoors, in front of a window AC unit, on a nice bouncy treadmill.  I described it as "pure hell".

Today: I ran 11 miles, outdoors. In 2 hours 10 minutes and 06 seconds. In the humidity.

I had planned on just ten, but had a little boost at 9 miles from some Shot Bloks I ate so when I hit ten miles, I kept going. However, at around 10.5 miles my hamstrings, right knee, and calves began giving me grief. I used the mantra from this poster to keep going, knowing that if the pain ever became enough to alter my gait (not just slow it) I would stop. Luckily, the pain didn't get to that point and I was able to finish the full eleven miles. YAY!!!


At the end of the run, all I wanted to do was rip off the CEP compression calve sleeves and pull the compression short cuffs down below my knee. It felt so good doing that. I loved the support I got during the run, and my IT band didn't hurt during the run, but I do suspect my sleeves are too small. I was on the middle in sizing and my compression socks are a size larger. I will try them instead next time.

Random thoughts while running:


  • I wonder if I will get in trouble if I run down that private industry alley and take a photo of that switching engine sitting on the tracks. 
  • I should have clipped my toenails.
  • Why am I running with a headache? Couldn't this have waited another day?
  • I love iHeart radio CLASSIC ROCK station
  • Do people in these condos hate all us runners passing their windows?
  • YAY! Bathroom!
  • Why is that man sitting in his car parked in front of the women's bathroom?
  • I hate out-and-back repeats - this is my 4th time on this ugly section of trail.
  • I love out-and-back repeats - I get to see the jetty view twice!
  • I need more hills. (YES!!! I actually thought that!!!!)
  • YAY!! Another open bathroom!
  • Did I shave my legs last night?

Here are a few shots from my run today.




Ran along this stretch of sand for quite a while. 
The water was very low today.


The jetty! My favorite part of this trail. 
I stopped here to take the gravel and rocks out of my shoes.


I always liked this part of the trail. 


This is me at the 11th mile back at Marine Park ;)

Total RUNNING Time (less bathroom and shoe rock emptying stops): 2 hours 10 minutes and 06 seconds.
Average RUNNING pace: 11:50 minutes per mile
Average pace including four bathroom stops and one shoe rock/stop: 13:00 minutes per mile
Weather: started at 64 degrees and 83 % humid (SWAMP!!) and ended at 73 degrees and 48% humid
Average HR: 160
Max HR: 170
Average cadence: 160
Max cadence: 170
Weight: 158

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My First 10 Mile Run

I was really stressing my first ten mile run all month. I decided on this trail because there are bathrooms at both ends of the trail (appr 2.6 miles apart from each other) and I figured it would be all up hill going to the bridge and downhill back to the parking area.  All I would need to do is run the full out and back twice to get my miles in and it would be all down hill the last 2.5 miles.

I figured wrong.

This trail is up and down both ways. Total elevation gain over the ten miles was 1048 feet. According to MapMyWalk, there was SIX cat 5 hills by taking the full route twice. I never ran a course with more than 2 cat 5 hills. Talk about hitting your first ten in a big way. YAY ME!!!



I stopped only for the following: Potty breaks and one quick chase after a snake that resulted in me slipping on the loose pebble gravel down a berm. My knee bled for quite a while but I still carried a lot of gravel home until I washed it really good (ouch!). Then I used a tweezer and needle to get the rest of road out of it.

I saw a lot of pretty scenery; tons of butterflies; a odd green caterpillar; creeks and falls and ponds; birds; and a very large and bizzare beetle.




My legs felt good until the 6.8 mile marker. Then I started feeling it in my legs. Also, I was sweating so much that it was dripping off the brim of my hat. Luckily, Heather C. turned me on to hammer electrolite capsules. I had a total of 4: 1 an hour before the run - 1 at mile 2.5 and 2 more at mile 5.25. Also, it helped that I had a Nathan Intensity Vest loaded with ice and water. I ate three shot blocks at mile 5.25. Those things are so yummy!

So flipping proud I made it the entire ten even though there were times I wondered why I was doing this. There was one section before mile 9 where I felt sudden hard aching on my IT band/outer upper right knee. I slowed down and corrected my posture and it stopped enough to finish. Weirdly, that pain never came back and here I am the next day without any residual knee pain. In fact, my knee hasn't felt this good since just after my first 10K in May.

My happiest moment was when I was cooling down and walking back to the parking area and I saw a little creek going under the trail. I took off my shoes and socks, hiked my shorts WAY up and dipped my legs in. AAAAAAHH!!! That was BLISS!!! Ice cold mind numbing BLISS!!!!! First it was just my feet. Then I found a deeper spot and got my legs in up to my upper thighs. I caught a guppy sized fish (that was heading towards my shorts) and released it. Don't know why. I really REALLY loved that creek!!!! Goose bumps and all. It was perfectly placed.



I will be going back and running this trail for my ten miles again.


WEATHER: Sunny and clear
TEMPS: 76 - 78 degrees
HUMIDITY:  28%
LENGTH: 10 miles
MOVING TIME: 2 hours 2 minutes and 57 minutes (potty breaks not included in time)
MOVING PACE: 12:18 minutes per mile
CADENCE:  156 ave and 166 max (shuffling)
HEART RATE: 161 ave and 178 max
WEIGHT: 160

FOOD, DRINK, SUPPS:


  • 2 hours before run - one low fiber piece of bread with light cream cheese, two bites of banana & 1 Hammer Electrolyte capsule
  • During run - 3 Cherry Shotbloks, 2 Hammer Electrolyte capsules, water, Immodium AD 
  • Immediately after run - 8 ounces of chocolate milk and 1 soy joy

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Harvest Days 8K - Blood, Sweat and Cheers

Official pace at the race said 10:41. The website says 10:46. My Garmin says this was not 5 miles and put me at 10:55.

EITHER WAY: I was VERY happy getting under an 11:00 minute pace on this course because it had a mountain. BUT I TOOK THAT MOUNTAIN NON-STOP and am SO PROUD. I passed a LOT of people walking on that hill and I kept telling myself - "You do this all the time. You can do this" and at the water station at the top I took a full cup of water and poured it down my back and it felt GOOD.


Throughout the run I kept telling myself I was ONLY RACING MYSELF. First goal was making that hill non-stop. Second goal was to finish under 55 minutes.

I knew coming into the last mile I was having a good race and going to make both goals. I even kept pulling back to keep my heart rate under 178 as I KNOW what always happens at the finish line. I got it down to 176 as I turned the corner and again reminded myself -It is just me and the road....and Aaron (my friend) the event photographer at the end waiting for me. I kept it simple. I had this.

Then out of nowhere a woman in white passed me. NOOOOOO!!!!

Instant animal mode kicked in. Out went reason. Out went logic. Just racing myself? HA!!! WATCH THIS!!!

I kicked it hard all the way in and it felt amazingly awesome. I felt ALIVE. I felt STRONG. I could have roared. I felt that little girl in me that used to run with reckless abandon through fields. My Garmin said I was running 6:40 pace that stretch! WOOHOO!! And yeah, I took the finish before the contender.

Then, while having my chip removed off my shoes, I looked at my heart rate. YOU DOPE!! WTH?!? It was not pretty. I do not understand how something that felt that good and amazing could demand so much from my heart. Yikes. Per my Garmin, heart rate peaked at 184.

I keep telling myself race after race...NO SPRINTING AT THE FINISH.

Do racers EVER learn to control that careless inner demon that is highly competitive and that raises it's ugly head during the last 100 meters of an otherwise smart race?

Do we really want to? ;)

Me and Christine after the run

WEATHER: Overcast, 58 degrees and 86% humidity. NO breezes.

FOOD: Woke up afraid to eat ANY thing. Ate two bites of a banana and two swigs of Blueberry juice. Took a full immodiam AD pill. At mile 2 as I approached the steep part of the hill's peak (that is over half a mile long) I chewed on a Shot Blok then spit it out. Still having tummy issues. Didn't want food in it after all.

FLUIDS: There was a water table at mile post 2.5 and I only saw a very few others in the 8K group carrying their own fluids. Some handheld large bottles. I, and two others I noticed, wore belts with small bottles. I was embarrassed at first but I got over that quite quickly when sweat began pouring off my brow in the first mile. Did I mention 86% humidity? Or that I sweat a LOT? So I drank almost 20 ounces of diluted Gatorade throughout this run.  When I got back all my clothing was wet with sweat. No regrets or shame carrying my own fluids for such a short run. None at all.

LEGS: My calve that had been hurting all week since my 9.14 mile run ONLY reminded me it was there during the steeper parts of the hill/incline. What a pleasant surprise it didn't hurt throughout this race! Also, my right knee? You would have never known it ever has issues! The only discomfort I felt all race was my left IT band (Whhhyyyyy??) but I used a foam roller there in the gym at the course when I got back and felt better.

BLOODY SHIRT: When I got back it was pointed out to me that the sleeve of my favorite race shirt was 'bloody'. I took it off and saw this was true. It was a very large spot too, of several inches. It appears that the seam of the sleeve was catching on or rubbing against the healing/scabbed cuts on the back of my arm that I got a few days ago doing battle with chicken wire. The constant rubbing just kept the blood flow going. Luckily it rinsed out and the bleeding stopped when the race was over. 

PLACEMENTS:

  • #137 of 216 runners
  • #71 of 144 women
  • #8 of 20 women in my age division



CHEERS:  Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy cowbells at a race? Also, Get Bold puts on fun events. They had family runs, the 8K, the Half Marathon and RACE WALKING today. They even had cheerleaders throughout the course and a great DJ. They rocked it at the Resolution Run in January and they rocked it again today. Also, I LOVE their race shirts and was so happy to see that today's shirt is from the same manufacturer as the one I got in January. It is a shirt I wear ALL the time to run in. Now I have two. :)

NEXT: I am looking forward to Get Bold Events wine run in September

Friday, July 20, 2012

5 Miles

I didn't want to run today. I wanted to sit on the couch. I wanted to put my feet on the coffee table and just gel. 

My training plan said - GO RUN! 

Nike said - JUST DO IT!

Settling, I put on running clothes and drove to a 'flat' course. I figured if I am running today, I could at least avoid all the hill drama of my immediate area.

I get to the track that I chose as my base. It has an empty parking lot, other than one lowered Buick Regal and me. The Buick has two young men. They are cruising the otherwise empty parking lot. I leave my car. Lowered Buick Regal drives slowly past my car. I watch. I worry. They keep slowly cruising the parking lot. In circles. Past my car. I go back to my car. I leave.

I drive to a trail. It isn't as flat as what I hoped for, but it has a bathroom. Bathrooms are good. It is muggy. I put on my water belt, take a deep sigh, turn on my music and start my Garmin watch. 

I go.

Up, down and along the trails. First towards an apartment complex I used to live at. Some parts of the trail are rough and hard on the ankles. I then head east to the prettier portion of the trail and find there that parts of the path are so smooth and level it is like floating over it. 

Past the wild roses that are so thick, the air is filled with their fragrance.

Past several small cotton-tail rabbits that watch as I pass them by. Past the singing birds on tall reeds. Under a soaring red tail hawk.

Cool breeze for a moment. Wish it lasted longer. 

Past a pretty pond and countless ducks resting on it's banks. 

Coming around a secluded corner I see a scruffy man, bending over a small brick divider. He pulls up, a very very large, bright red pipe wrench. He looks to both sides as I approach. He holds it. He looks at me. I recall too many Criminal Mind shows and pick up the pace. I pass him nervously. Looking over shoulder, I race. Fast!

A hill. A long long tall hill. I hate that hill. Do I take it today? Yes. It hurt. I was slow. But, I go. I get half way and turn back. If I had been running any slower I would have been walking.

More trails. More birds. Tiger swallowtail butterflies flitting across the trail between blooming thistle. A gnat splats against my glasses.

The last mile - not easy. Does it ever end? Why am I doing this? Sweat is literally dripping off my visor. I finish the rest of my water and relax knowing I have more fluids in the car. 

I make it. I take my time walking it out. Taking off all my gear at the car, I realized my clothes are soaked. Yet, all those endless miles, now feel as if they were but a 15 minute jaunt.  I feel strong. Really really strong. I take my time stretching. I feel relaxed. I feel refreshed. 

That wasn't so bad.