Monday, February 28, 2011

ante up

I've always done things sort of "all or nothing".  Poker ~ all in.  BMX ~ all in.  Running ~....  it never matters whether I'm a natural at the things I do.  It matters that I bring it, and do it to the best of my abilities, so that I can enjoy it to the fullest extent possible.

Take riding horses.

I was really good at it.  I was a natural.  I mean, I hate to be like that, but at one point as a teenager/young adult I was riding with/grooming for one of the top trainers in the country.  I was poor though, and in order to "make it" in horses, you need money.  lots and lots of money.

So I can ride a horse.  And if it's the right horse, on the right day, I can feel, think and breathe with the horse.  I look right, think right, and the horse moves right, and no one knows how or why the horse moved, and sometimes that includes me.

And there is something indescribable about taking a 1000 lbs animal that has it's own will, and convincing it that not only does it want to do what you're thinking, it wants to do it perfectly because YOU asked, and oh by the way, let's just go jump over that huge obstacle that looks like an explosion of flowers.

Never mind that the horse's natural instinct is to avoid the flower explosion.  We're going to ride over and jump it, and look good doing it too.

A thousand pounds of muscle, bone and free will in my power.  And all I have to do is ask.

Sometimes there is a moment when you're jumping, for me this is usually over an oxer, which is a wide jump so there's a lot of hang time, when the world actually pauses, and you have clarity.  Hopefully you use that clarity for something good.  Usually the clarity 'memo' is something like, "where's the next jump on the course", but sometimes there's other things to be heard.

The last oxer I ever jumped was on a young thoroughbred named New.  Big, dappled gray, and stupid.  Stupid hotblooded nice moving horses are my favorite kind, really.  So Newman (said in the Seinfeld hiss) and I were jumping, and we had the perfect jump, total greatness, and the earth paused, and I heard a small internal voice speak up, "Hey, this is kinda dangerous."

Truly, I never jumped again.  I don't know if it was psychic or psychotic or stupid or what.  I just know that the universe sent me a message and I listened with my whole heart.

So here I am.  Broken, or at the very least Booted, waiting for tests that may or may not determine the fate of my spring running.  Regardless of what the tests say though, I'm going to be "benched".  I've been injured now for over a month.  We're nearly in March.  I got hurt in mid January.  I've spent this last month and a half whining and complaining, bemoaning my lost run, pining for something which I cannot have because it is not for me right now.

And I am considering the idea that I've been "doing it wrong".  I tried to just get by with this injury.  Instead I am beginning to recognize the need to go into this "recovery" with the same passion and drive with which I do everything.

I need to listen to the universe with my whole heart.

That requires that I stop talking, and listen.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The 5 Stages

The 5 Stages of Grief The Injured Runner

Denial ~ there is no injury.  I mean, I have swelling, pain and cannot run without limping, but that does not mean this is an injury.  When I’m lying in bed at night my shin throbs, but it’s really only throbbing because I’m dreaming about running.  The pain that occurs during the first mile of the run is because I’m not warmed up.  The pain that occurs during the last mile of the run is because I’ve run too fast… too slow… needed to warm up longer….  Listen people, this is simply a one-day event that seems to be repeating on a daily basis for 3…12…29 days in a row.  Oh, and “this isn’t an overuse injury.  I TOOK A BAD STEP!”

Anger ~ Sometimes known as the “WHY ME?” stage, the injured runner now looks around at all the other runners in their lives, who are proudly flaunting their RUN on Daily Mile, at the shoe store, or, the most grievous offence, running down the injured runner’s street.  (Actually, why do you all have to run down my street?  Seriously, there are other ways to bi-pass Lauderdale Drive, why is my street the one you MUST use?).

Bargaining ~ I will cut my mileage back to 4 miles at a time if it means I can just keep running a little.  Just a little.  “…not enough to get me high, just enough to keep me straight”.

Depression ~ It’s Sunday.  Everyone in the entire world is running today, except me.  I’m so sad, why bother with anything?  Just give me some girl-scout cookies, a spoon, a jar of peanut butter, and leave me (the blank) alone.

Acceptance ~ It’s going to be OK.  It doesn’t matter that I took a bad step.  It just is something that happens sometimes.  I can use Tony’s P90X Ab Ripper X to strengthen my core so I can run FAST when I come back.  I can do bicep curls and modified pushups till the cows come home so I have a Gun Show worth showing.  I can (hopefully) ride Orange Crush a few times a week.  I can surely swim to maintain my cardiovascular fitness, and yes, it will be OK.  Even if I have to stop doing everything all together and am allowed only to sit on my couch watching ESPN or LIFETIME MOVIE NETWORK, I will get through this.  That’s not “looking on the bright side”; it’s just a fact.

I have to admit.  I might be able to verbalize the stage of acceptance; I’m not actually there.  I am still in the earlier stages, hopping between anger, bargaining and depression.  There are moments where I feel a glimmer of acceptance, but it’s usually right around then that one of those smug 10K runners jogs down my street.

The Kubler – Ross model known as the 5 stages of grief was first published in 1969.  K – R acknowledges fully that every patient does not experience all stages, nor are they always experienced in order as described in the original publication.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Art Therapy Returns

I was feeling sad, so I started thinking about how happy I was when I was drawing.  And then I started thinking about someone who makes me happy by just being herself.  And that's pretty much when I spent an hour putting this together.  When the hour was up, I put everything away and "called it" done. The purpose was not perfection, it was release.

Yes, I see 1000 mistakes, and wish I could spend 1000 hours fixing them, but as far as a 60 minute 4X6inch study on smiling to myself, this did the trick.


some wisdom on mental training...

...from a slightly nontraditional source...

"Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tired already.

first, a quick thanks for those who spoke up yesterday.  Not long after this went to press I was on hold with my Md's office where I left a message, requesting a script for that bone scan.  After all, Hot Doc and I had a deal.  Our deal was that I would call him if it got worse.  Well, just because neither of us expected that to happen doesn't mean we hadn't discussed it.  

I think this is going to have to be the last post on this topic for at least a few days.  It's too depressing...  and I'm sick of my own drama... you all must be sick of it too.  It seemed like everything was going to be FINE, and things were on the MEND, and I was practically celebrating the idea that I could add 1/2 mile to Saturday's run if... IF... WTF! happened here!

Hot Doc and I had discussed 3 things that "if this... then..." they were:

  • "If the pain increases at an earlier point in the run".  In other words, two weeks ago I could run 10 miles pain free. That fell off to 6 miles, which is why I visited Hot Doc.  He suggested 4 miles, and that was all fine, but yesterday the pain came on pretty strong at mile 2...  So.... that progress is definitely notable.  Just, sadly, in the wrong direction.  Not that I didn't enjoy my run with DeNiece listening to a discussion about eating habits, safe pre-run foods, run groups, who's running what pace at 10K training team and she was nice an hung back with me...  ~yea~.  We had a nice chat.  Just, my "fankle" blew up, or did it Explode?  Melt Down?  Was it a twitter Bomb?  Hard to put words on the event really... on the one downhill of the route, so that took a little away from the, ah, joy.

  • "If the pain interferes with your day to day activities" ...  yea, um.  I don't want to talk about the fact that I scooch'd down my stairs today before I was booted because I just couldn't face walking down them again.  Up?  No problem.  Down?  I don't need to come downstairs right now....  No really...  I'll stay up here... 

  • "If the pain occurs during sleep".  We've discussed Sting, Neurotic 4 am wake-up for nothing, Screaming Tibia, and the Voice of the Hot Doc haunting my Insomnia.  I think we will not revisit this.

Because of all those things, I'm just going to be super cautious for a few days (I actually made a 3 week commitment to myself.  21 days.  It's not quite a detox, which is typically 28 days long).  One down... yesterday counts right?  I'm counting it, because I wore the boot.

I will say, I put the boot on and it immediately felt better.  I'm still going to hit the pool and bond with OC.  I mean, seriously, what is missing 8 miles of running this week really?  (did I just type that?  holy carp.  i just... blacked out for a minute there...)  In the grand scheme of things?  Nothing.  Nothing, right?  I mean, I can get that back in a week or two....

K.  I need to go freak out now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Unsolicited Advice for the First Time Marathoner (3)

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal, nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude" ~ Thomas Jefferson.
Seems to me like if he were alive today, he'd be one GBA marathoner...

We'll call todays post:

Mental Stamina and How it Relates to Fashion.

What ~ WHAT?

...I know what you're all thinking, how does fashion relate to mental stamina, and where does Thomas J come into the equation?  Seriously, did you see Jefferson's socks?  He's a man after my own heart.

Aside from picking your race and coach/training plan and, if applicable, your SportsBackers MTT color, is there anything more important than choosing your outfit?

 Well,  no.  Not really.

Because you need an outfit that doesn't chafe, or tire you, and it helps if it's one that encourages you, or inspires others to encourage you, and finally, one that makes you feel good on the course.

And one that doesn't chafe,  yea, I said it twice because it's that important.

I like to know these things way out.  Partly so I can test for chafing in all weather conditions.

And more importantly because I like to use a lot of visualization when I'm preparing for a marathon, it works for me to know what I'm going to be wearing well in advance.

In my case, my typical running garb includes outfits like this...
(T & Me)

and this...

(Kc & me)
and this...

(T & Me)

notice anything?  (other than my need for volume and that I apparently always stand on the Left) Yea, I like to run in a skirt.

There are a lot of reasons.  One is that I feel feminine and sexy in a skirt.  And powerful, because, let's just face it, my quads are, ah, muscular... yea, we'll go with that.  

These are all tools in my toolbox of mental strength.

I also like tall socks.  They don't really do anything except help me start conversations.  Also a tool in my box.

If you're building a house, you don't try to do it without the proper tools, right?  In fact, you wouldn't start any big project without the tools you need.  You would go get them before you started, and make sure you had enough supplies to get through the project.

So, along that line of thought - Marathons are long.

That's so dumb right?  Of course we know they're long.  But that longness doesn't just translate into physical tiredness.  It also goes with mental exhaustion.  My first marathon I had NO IDEA that the mental exhaustion would be such a big deal.  I went in mentally undertrained. er, mentally untrained.

Prepare your head the way you prepare your body, train it, and as a result, be strong on the course.  The methods of mental training are probably as varied as marathon training strategies.  Giving credit where credit is due, I adapted my mental prep strategy based on exchanges with a few marathoners I know - Mel's strategy was my foundation, with elements from Q and T added in for good measure.  Oh yea, and all these people are running COACHES.  Just saying.

My method, the one that works for me, is as follows.  As I get about 6 to 8 weeks out from a marathon (or half), I like to picture myself on the course.  I like to envision the road melting under my light swift feet, I like to imagine my strong legs pulling me along, and in my imaginings I'm always feeling good running with good form, no matter where I am on the route.  The closer I get to the race, the more concrete these images become.  What does all that do for me?
You know, sometimes I'm not sure it does anything except take up some of my spare time during the taper...  

I'm pretty sure that the positive visualization helps me capture the moment when I am on the course.  At Richmond '10 I was "galactically bada**"... it's just a fact, right?  One of the reasons I was galactically bada** is because I embraced the idea that I would be, days out from the actual race.  I saw it clearly in my mind, and when I felt a trickle of self doubt on race day, I banished it with GBA** thoughts like, "why are you doubting yourself?  You're totally going to be a galactic bada** at mile 22... mile 23... mile 25".  And I was because I believed.

In my case, part of my mental training strategy was because I knew I wanted to be strong when I got to T, and darn it, that's what I was... right up until I started dry heaving, but I suppose that's an unsolicited advice topic for another day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Run Love

Have you ever met someone and felt that instant ZING!  Like where you have an almost visible connection that feels like an electrical current between you & the other someone?

and god forbid your arms should brush, YOWZA!  You feel a rush all the way down to your toes...

I sometimes wonder why I felt that for running.

I was talking to 20something year old neighbor the other day about how sad I was about missing my milage, and she said,  "It was so neat to watch you from the beginning.  I remember when you went out and came home after running 2 whole miles".

Huh.  ~  I barely remember that myself, why does she remember it?

"Because you practically glowed!"

Oh.  OK sure.  Glowing after the first 2 miler, I guess I can appreciate that, though I don't remember feeling "glow".  I definitely remember feeling sweaty.

So, for those who have never heard the story, I'm like a lovesick teenager and I love to tell it, I took up running on Tuesday, April 22, 2008.  See, on Monday I asked a runner I knew and respected (you all know her now as my running wife, T), "how do I do this?"  By Tuesday I had a plan in hand and I went out to run two whole miles... well, I practically sprinted down the street, huffing and heaving, arms flailing like I was trying flag down the passing cars...  until I could go no further, and I walked for a good solid minute about 5 minutes into my run.  It was hard.  There were many points along that 2 miles where I wasn't sure I could make it.

I remember I got home feeing not great.  Nauseated and sweaty.

So the next Thursday I mapped a 2.5 mile run and I almost ran that whole way too.  2.5 miles.  BUT, I was not high.  Just hot, sweaty and nauseated.  again.

So what is the logical next step for the typical newbie?  Run another nice easy 2+ mile run on the weekend, right?  That is what the plan detailed for me.

Except that logic has never really been my SOP when it comes to running.  I was scheduled to "walk a 5K with a moms group" on Saturday.  Well HELLO, I was a runner now.  I had been running for 2 whole days.  No reason not to just run as much of the 5K as possible and walk the finish.

Yea, have we met?  What do you think the odds were of me actually executing that?  Well, you're right.  I didn't execute AT. ALL.  

I had my stroller, so I lined up at the back of the running pack next to another runner with a stroller (who is part of my core Posse now, years later), and I had my first experience with "starting a race too fast".  A half mile into our adventure the runner beside me said, "Well, I'm pregnant, so I'm going to walk the rest.  Have fun!!!"  And I kept running.

The race was a 5K out and back. Early in my race the finishers were cruising past me on the way back.  But I wasn't stopping.  No way.  I was puffing along.  I had my 20 (thousand) pound stroller making me look cool.  I was running along, pumping one arm for balance, and an amazing thing happened.

I realized that I was one of the runners at the 5K.

I was passing walkers left and right.  I saw people I knew, and they were waving and cheering for ME.  Imagine that?  Up the hill, around the corner I could see the purple balloons that arched the finish line.  My lungs were burning.  I could not believe I was doing this.  But there was NO WAY I was stopping now.

B'nut, barely more than a baby, was sitting forward in her stroller, gripping the handles on either side of her seat with her eyes wide and smiling, the little blond tuft of fuzz on the top of her head blowing in the wind.  We. Were. RUNNERS.

I flew around the corner, pushing as hard as I could across the finish line, and the clock read 35:43, and I laughed out loud.  I could barely breathe, I thought I could drop out if I stopped moving, my legs were burning and weak, and there I was ~ LAUGHING!

I was so a PR that day.  I had NO idea what I had just done, the magnitude of that first "high", or the silliness of running a 5K without any training to speak of...  I only knew that I had RUN a 5K, and it. was. love.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


TODAY was the SECOND twenty miler of my National Marathon oh, yea.  I have a fankle injury and I'm not running more than 4 miles at a time.  THATs OK, because that is not going to stop me from joining the GBA** posse for a 20 miler!


Holy Hot ORANGE or WHITE Road bikes Batman!

Kc & I threw our bikes in our cars and headed out to join T as her bike "escorts"!  We looked a bit like really giggly secret service agents, dressed in all black on our Road Bikes...  for the most part we rode on the street pacing T on the sidewalk for the first 4 miles where we picked up Lisa.

It was cold, and riding a bike at the speed of a runner doesn't get the biker warm, even if the runner's as GBA** as T.

But it was WORTH IT.  I took a bunch of pics, handed the camera off a few times to ensure variety (well, and I was reading the route, so someone else could play photographer while I stared at 38 lines of route direction).

We picked up Iron J at mile 10!  More giggling.  Kc and I stretched out and rode ahead a few times for the sake of... well, stretching out and riding hard really.  It was SUPER fun.  The hills were super fun.  The company was super fun.  Is riding a bike just SUPER FUN?  I. had. no. idea.

I did get my buzz today. The photos are terrible, I'm FFFFfreezing!  I look fat.  I'm wearing 20 layers (one for every mile).

But you know what?  It was worth every cold second.  For the bits of the "run" where Kc and I had to book-it through traffic and up hills, I felt AMAZING.

I would like do that again.

Tomorrow.  In fact...


Saturday, February 19, 2011


Let me explain something.

I am an addict.

I know I am an addict.

There is no denial here.

I want my drug, even though I know it will hurt me.  I want it bad.  I crave it.  I woke up at 4am this morning and laid in bed counting the minutes until it was time to get up so I could get high.

Until you are an addict you cannot really fully appreciate what it is like to be an addict without your drug.

My drug of choice is running.  But like a heroin addict who cannot get high off it because it's killing them, I'm now "using" a substitute drug called swimming.


I had a great 4 mile run today, but it wasn't quite enough to "trip" my endorphins.

So I followed my run with a swim.  A terrible 45 minute swim.  I didn't get high off of my swim (2500ish) today either.  I just had a bad swim.  I know, it happens.

Chocolate therapy is looking really appealing right now.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wisdom of the 20something year old neighbor

The other day I was having a rough day.  I'm not entirely ready to talk about it.

Anyway, I was volleying with a friend on e-mail, and that friend suggested that I had lots of people who would gladly take some of my stress.  Since that friend was at work, and I've already burst into tears on a phone convo recently with said friend anyway, I deemed it a good idea to call in someone who I KNOW can cheer me up who was available in person, and always makes me smile.

20 something year old neighbor.

Reflecting on that today, I came to some conclusions about how a young 20something year old operates...  and found it hilarious as she cheerfully applied these lessons to my 34 year old married with three kids PTA Nursing School life.  99% of her thoughts didn't really exactly translate... but close enough!

  • There is no problem that cannot be solved with Tequila and a game of Dirty Scrabble.  If you find one that cannot be solved with Tequila and Scrabble, call another friend and see if they have any High End Tequila so you can do shots.
  • If a guy says he has a girlfriend, that means it's OK to be his "just a friend".  The goal is to be his Friend who hangs out with him alone, in his bedroom, playing music together... just sayin'.
  • If your friend's boyfriend wrongs them, they are an a**H.  And that is that.  No questions asked.  No need to worry about two sides of the story.  They did wrong = a**H.
  • All is fair in Love and War.
  • Keep your friends close, your frenemies closer, and make your enemy your new BFF.  Particularly if said enemy has a hot brother, neighbor, or boyfriend.  See above note.
  • If you run out of conversation topic with a 20something, the topic will turn to sex.  Actually you don't have to run out of conversation, this is going to happen anyway.  This was particularly interesting/entertaining because suddenly I was WAY smarter than she was on a topic.  Age, hey, it has some benefits.
  • Trying to discuss an ethics class with a 20something is like trying to discuss an ethics class with a 4 year old.  No one is going to get much out of it, but the conversation will probably make you laugh.
  • The old adage, "back burner guy" still applies.. only when I was 20something, there were only 4 burners to begin with, now people have 6 burner stoves with a griddle...

There is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING like a good belly laugh and good conversation to take your troubles away for a few minutes, and no, that was NOTHING like a (ahem) good conversation!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fankle, the Hot Doc, and my love life

I went to Q and Coach Kara's Ortho recommendation today ~ Hot Doc.

Hot Doc is nice looking, don't get me wrong, but I was either so distracted by everything going on around me, or his way of speaking to me that made me feel like a 9 year old, eliminated my urge to swoon or drool.  Again, don't get me wrong, definitely worthy of the name Hot Doc, just... yea, I'm not going to write a poem in honor of his hotness just yet.

After the usual junk of waiting 45 minutes past my appointment time, to go get Xrays (yes, more, because they're free right?  Oh, no?  yea...), and then more waiting to see him, the Hot Doc arrived.  We visited, got some history about my addiction running, asked how many kids I have, he had me jump on one foot, he gripped me firmly by the hips and squeezed (NO idea what for, but... hey, I can appreciate that the view was at least nice from where I was standing, and I'm glad I've lost those 5 pounds because my hip bones are at least FINDABLE these days)...  where was I?  Oh, yea, more hopping... and then sit here... so he's asking where is the pain?

Is it here?

No, not there.  It's here.

He nods, runs his hand up my ankle, and pressed on my Tibia about 2 inches NORTH of the point where I associated the ankle/foot pain... and I said, "Firetruck" on a gasp.

no, no I didn't.  almost though.  there are letters in there that line up with what I did utter aloud.

But that's ok, because Hot Doc wasn't fazed at all.  He rolled his chair back, still holding my foot, looks me in the eye, shakes his head and says, "Yea.... sh*t." ~sigh~ "So this isn't an ankle sprain my friend.  This is what I call a stress reaction.  I don't argue that you rolled your ankle, but you didn't tear the ligament, you've damaged the bone.  You're so close to a stress fracture... but it's OK, we've caught it.  I mean, I could to do a bone scan to be sure but why don't we just treat it as though that's what it is instead of doing a very expensive test."

OK.  Sounds great.... no, no it doesn't.

He carefully looked me in the eye, with all the patience of an adult speaking to a very slow child, and outlined my new fitness routine.  And how I could do what he said, or I could not heal.  So.

I'm still allowed to run, he "doesn't think it would be a good idea to take a Heroin addict off her Heroin cold turkey", but there are RULES, OK?  And "just because it doesn't hurt today, doesn't mean you get to jump from 4 to 6 to 16 miles in three weeks".  (both, actual quotes)

My new plan includes running a few days a week.  No more than 4 miles at a time.  If there's no pain I can add milage in 2 -3 weeks.  A half a mile at a time.

There is good news though...  I can ride OC (Orange Crush) to my hearts content and swim in the pool for 29 hours a week if I can stand it.  So there you go.  OH, but no "walking" right now.  So my dogs have just been put on a diet.

I've decided, in the 8 hours I've had to mull it over, that this is probably the best thing that could have come out of this, and I should be SO HAPPY it's not worse.  As I imagine my lean swimmer's body ~ all toned from my Ab Gauntlet challenge ~ out on a long board ~ surfing off the OBX ~ in a hot new swimsuit ~ I'm thinking this could be Oh-KAY.

It's ALL GOOD, right?

Cardio, here I come.  Non-Impact doubles allowed.  (Can I get a Hell Yea?).

Swimming is my new BFF
OC is my new LOVER
Running is my OLD FLAME
and Ab Ripper X Tony?  Well, hello!  Tony is my FRIEND with BENEFITS!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Had one of those "Aha" moments today... if an icebath got rid of that achilles pain last October...


(I actually added a little water after I took this one so it came up a bit higher, but that picture didn't come out)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Unsolicited Advice for the First Time Marathoner (2)

I was thinking the other day about things I wish someone had told me before my first marathon.

Things that made me SO nervous, things I obsessed about that turned out to be nothing, things I didn't think twice about that turned out to be something worth obsessing about, and I think I finally concluded that the one thing that bothered me the most was "What if I cannot over come THE WALL".

I obsessed over this one point for months on end.

Only, I discovered something on race day...

There is no such thing as the wall.

No, I'm being dead serious.

You have trained your body with a solid marathon training plan in the months leading up to race day so that it can go this distance.  So on race day if you are fueling properly, drinking as needed, pacing yourself according to your own goals and not your neighbors or the elites running out front... there is no need to fear the wall.  I've heard runners say it happens at mile 18.  I've heard them claim it at 22.  Frankly, I've been to both those places twice on race day and haven't seen hide nor hair of it.

Did I feel despair?  Sure.

Was I freaking tired?  Absolutely.

But here is a photo from me at Richmond Marathon mile 22 of 2009.

and here is one from me at Richmond Marathon mile 22 of 2010.

If that's what the Wall looks like, well... bring it ON! I'm just sayin'.

Besides, we've already established that in 2009 I made a bunch of rookie mistakes.  If there was a wall to be found, surely I would have discovered it.

I am not saying that you cannot find a huge mental block constructed of hopelessness at the marathon distance.  If you go looking for it, you can find almost anything at a marathon, including a grown man in a tutu and tiara, or a viking hat, or a pink running skirt.  What I'm saying is that the physical end to the ATP in your system caused by a chemical failure of the mitochondrial electron transport chain resulting in a complete shut down of your muscles... aka, The Wall, isn't really even a possibility.

You have to believe all this, or you would never have signed up for your first marathon.

Mental block is not the dreaded wall.  A friend of mine says it best, "Mental issues are not training issues".  I believe that is true, they are a lack of preparation of a different kind.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I'm cheating on Pink, my bike.  I knew we needed counseling, only, to be honest, my heart wasn't in it.

Yea, it's like that....

...or more specifically, like this:

Exactly this color, this flavor and this style... only, of course, mine's in the garage, and this one's in the computer.

She's a used bike, looking for her forever home.  I'm fostering her & I have 30 days to return her, only, I don't think that's going to happen.

You know how much I hate Pink?

That is SO not how I feel about the Trek.

Trek needs a name, she's ROAD CONE ORANGE, and totally GBA**.  So, anyway, name suggestions welcome.  I've to to call her something.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Volunteering, Weirdness & Fankle Update

To be clear, Volunteering & Weirdness are TOTALLY unrelated.

Want to have a good time, but are injured or untrained or recovering or not interested in running a hilly 8k?

1) Go to your local race website.
2) Click a race you do not have any interest in running.
3) Click the button that says, "Volunteer".
4) Show up and have fun.

It's just THAT EASY.

So obviously my morning was not a bust.  There is something great about runners, milling around in a room, picking up their packets & race numbers.  Smiles and cheerfulness, with some nerves, some dread, and some encouragement.  Yes, truly, it's good stuff.  It was like a family reunion in some regards, you see your pals long enough to say Hi, How's it Going? and then they move on, and you move on to your next Pal.  Pants Guy, Iron J, 3L, Coach El, Kara... and I made new friends with the really amazing runner seated to my Right (Mandy, can you say AWESOME?).  Yea, it was fun.  Go volunteer, and see what I'm talking about.

Then we had our weird 12+ miles.  We met at a weird time, because of my volunteering duties.  The Illusive Dave joined us, as did Lisa, T, and 3L drove over from the race as well.  We set out, looped the loop, and I made a wrong turn.  Weird for me. We corrected, but now my milage is off... and I was in charge of the route, only I didn't have one because I had adjusted at the last minute for 3L's joining.  I'm such a planner usually.  Thank goodness though, T wasn't feeling well, she's had a stomach bug thingy and we were able to drop her back at the cars w/ 3L.

As we were about to get back to drop T & 3L at their cars, some guy with a Bull Horn type intercom in his Red Neck SUV announces, "Your outfits are weird".

Your outfits are weird?  Really?  That's the best sentence your 8th grade education could produce?  Sure, why not.  Our outfits were hot.  Need proof?

After these photos Dave, Lisa and I took off again... and looped the loop.  And down another road, back up, drop Dave and then... Lisa and I looped the loop again.  Yea, by the end of it I never wanted to see THAT road again.

I had picked the start location based on running up to Twickory and Wyndham for a 10 mile route, but since we had to produce a 6, 4, 2 to get 12... well, a solid 10 mile loop was a bust.  Still it was a good run, we had a nice time, made nice time and the fankle only hurt for the last 3 miles.

Yea, it's like that.  SO, here's the New and Improved CFWP (Complete Fankle Wellness Plan).  I'm going to rest it a little more this week.  Yea.  Forget "Skippable runs, you can only run one".  This week I will run ZERO skippable runs.  I hate that, but it just needs to happen.  Be proud, I came to this on my own.

So T/Th/Su run, with 2 solid Swims and 2 solid Bike adventures, with the possibility if I use selective timing, I can pool some doubles... 7 days of cardio/week with several doubles for the last 17 days is actually starting to produce some results around my midsection, the muffin top breakup has been very successful.  Oh, but don't worry, the body fat % measurement on the scale still says I'm bordering on OBESE, so I still have plenty to be neurotic about over here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

CIA Interrogation tactics 101

i.e. - how to get to the bottom of a mystery, when the suspect is a 4 year old.

As I was lowering the shades in the living room the other night I made a discovery.  Someone cut the end of the string off... you know, the string that lowers and raises the shade?   Huh.

B'nut did you cut the string to the blinds?

(screws up her face, almost about to cry) "no, someone else did it."

Uh huh.  So.... what color scissors did you use?

"The purple ones..."

Yeah.  That's what I thought.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Q

So, over the past few months many of you have enjoyed the wit and wisdom of my coach, and friend, Q.

For those of you who have been reading the blog a while, Q is the author of Taper Madness:  A letter to the Support Team.  His genius at handling the tapering marathoner is pretty much undeniable at this point, but he does more than just handle taper tantrums.  He apparently also handles the manic injured runner with grace, and knows exactly what words will most effectively calm those pre-race jitters (those words, if you wonder, are "TRY NOT TO SUCK").

Oh and, in between answering e-mails, volunteering his time and expertise, and building training plans complete with skippable runs, he enjoys running.

A lot.

Well, Q is about to undergo surgery to repair (insert a lot of sad words here with details I can't bring myself to type) in his foot.  So his training of late, has been for a different kind of marathon.  A marathon of mental stamina called "recovery".

And, lucky us, he was inspired to start a BLOG with his "down" time.

Go.  Stalk.  Follow.  Support.  and finally, Soak In the wisdom of Q, and know that he is the originator of the phrase "Galactically Bad A**".

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WORDLESS Wednesday or... not

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away...

Yes, it is wordless wednesday, and I'm supposed to put up some kind of photo or video (OMG, you will all DIE when you see the next in the series of ASL videos my kids are obsessed with.  I'm even mildly obsessed at this point).  But before I get to that, I would like to bring your attention to something that has happened in my life.

I ran.  without.  pain.

Seriously!  Not only that, because there was no pain, T & I were sort of running along chatting, and we let the group get away from us... and then... we had to hunt them down.  SWEETNESS AND GLORY!  It was one of those GBA** days where I was reminded WHY I freakin' do this.

so, yea, it's also probably because I'm totally freakin' addicted to the endorphins.  

So, on to WORDLESS WEDNESDAY...  as I said, my kids are obsessed with learning ASL, so, sure, why not?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Unsolicited Advice for the First Time Marathoner

I've been stalking reading a lot of blogs lately about women out there conquering their first marathons.  I'm proud of you all.  You're all going to be amazing.

Uh, on that note-

Dudes, you all need to RELAX!

The marathon will come to you, you cannot rush it.  So all this worry about "how do I know how to pace myself" nonsense going around, is just that... nonsense.  Listen to your body and you will know the answer to your pace.

I recommend running your first marathon at what I like to call your "happy pace".  If you are going out of finish, then you should look back through your training log/run journal (you are keeping one right?  along with a food journal/diary?) and look at your average for your 16, 18, 20 milers.

For me, on my first marathon, this would have been around a 10:30/11 minute pace.  And yet somehow I thought that I was going to head out on race day and run a blistering 9:50 pace.  The reason?  Well one of those online calculators said I could, based on my Half Marathon PR.

Never mind that when I ran that Half Marathon I was trained to perfection, had peaked at the right moment, the weather was more than perfect, and was doing the hilliest routes I could find to prepare for a pancake flat course.  I somehow thought that because that calculator said it, it would happen.

Consequently, I went out a bit too fast.

(snicker snicker... that's probably the understatement of the century right there)

So for those of you looking to FINISH your first race in a way that makes you proud, accomplished, have you smiling at the end, and, probably the most important thing of all, shouting from the rooftops that you are a MARATHONER, might I suggest just taking for what it is?

A 26.2 mile learning experience.

Because nothing you ever do before hand will prepare you for the things that will happen on race day.  Some of you will go out and have a PERFECT DAY.  Some of you will not.  There is no telling which of you will fall into one category or the other.  But at the end of the day, if you run your happy pace for the first 20 miles or so, you will finish the race, and you will be a MARATHONER.

AND no one, and I mean this, even an elite level athlete, is going to EVER say, "oh, you only ran your first marathon in XYZ amount of time?"  No I assure you, what people will say when you mention that you ran a marathon is:

"Holy CARP, seriously?  YOU are AMAZING!  Did you know that only less than 1% of the population will ever do that?"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Some Sweetness

I was looking at some photos today, looking for one in particular and I came across these two gems...

me and my best friend...


B and her best friend, who happens to be my best friend's daughter...

...and it just made me think that I should appreciate life as it is right now.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Changing Lanes

How'd I get from there to here?

A month ago, I was primed and ready to race a GBA** marathon at National.  I was training in my zones.  Had a sweet plan in hand with huge base miles built up.  I just KNEW everything was going to fall into place.

And then.  January happened.  And I sprained my ankle...  It definitely was a fankle sprain of the "bad" kind.  I took a week off with a plan to jump back into my plan where I left off.  Came back for a day.  AND took another week off.  Came back for a day... another week off... now, at this point, it's becoming obvious to the experienced coaches in my life that I'm not going be jumping back into anything, but Denial, it's not just a river, it's also a State you can map, colonize, be elected Gov'inator....


As we have established, I asked Q if he could send me a plan that would get me to National in race condition.  He was very blunt, because that's just how he is, about my request.  He didn't say yes and he didn't say no.  He said, Here's what I can give you.

And then during a long string of conversations I realized what he was actually saying/asking is, "You won't be in race condition, but you will succeed at completing a marathon.  Is that what you want?  Is just running a marathon going to make you happy?"

Huh, would seem that Q knows me better than I would have guessed.

No.  Running a marathon isn't going to make me happy.

I have made a choice to readjust my goals.  My body is worthy of more respect than I have given it in the past.  There is no need to run in a less than ideal condition, have a long recovery, or even risk re injury of the fankle as I spend a bunch of time loading miles on it trying to get "half way trained"...

I can simply make new goals.

National is now a day for me to support my friends.  I will go to DC with them.  I will pace them out for the first 3 miles, and pick them up at the end for the last miles.  I will run them in, and it will be MY turn to say, "Remember that time...".

As for my Galactically BadA** goals?  Well, I am setting my sights on a GBA** Half Marathon in April.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Things Thursday: the Ad nauseum Edition

More correctly The + NAUSEOUS edition.

1)  If you ever sprain your ankle, and your friend sees it happen, don't let her tell you what she saw 3 weeks later.  'nuff said.

2) Speaking of things that make me nauseous.  I'm experiencing a full response of my autonomic/sympathetic nervous systems... aka, FIGHT OR FLIGHT.  Only... I can't flight, which is making the adrenaline hang out.  My fankle won't let me, and even if it did, the training plan is very specific.  Screaming cuss words doesn't seem to help, and I can only send so many pithy notes into cyberspace in the hopes that the adrenaline can actually be successfully e-mailed away.  actually, I don't really do pithy.  I do rambling and aimless.  The response trigger was Sunday, when I took C to the ER.  Not the ER, or C, but all the (*) that went with it.  (*insert lots of not blog friendly details here, drama drama, does anyone remember the pencil lead in the hand incident?  Yea, so, I'm a little over the H drama at this point and it's just keeps going and going and...)  Anyway, the short of it is that I ended up missing lunch completely, and then not eating much on Sunday at dinner.  Add not feeling hungry on Monday.  or Tuesday.  or Wednesday.  So, yesterday I went to the grocery store.  I figured a trip through the bakery... that would get me into food again.  No.  Fail.  And DOUBLE FAIL was that I actually dry heaved while waiting at the deli counter.  But the TRIFECTA of FAIL was when I bent over to pick up an item off a lower shelf, and stood up... only, my jeans didn't exactly come with me. 

Yea, speechless right?  S'OK, because so was the poor Kroger employee who works on the bread aisle. 

3)  Adding insult to fankle injury - it was freaking 70 Degrees here in RVA yesterday.  70, sunny, and beautiful = perfect running weather.  Well, on my gba-plan the box for 2/2 said "swim/bike". 
not 4 miles easy. 
not 5 miles MRP +15. 
no, it said "swim/bike". 
So forgive me if you live in RVA and I drove past you yesterday in my 'effing beige minivan...  yea, that was me, and I was glaring at you as I drove by.  Well, I wouldn't have been glaring if you all hadn't looked so smug.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I have this song stuck in my head... because my kids watch this video three times a day to try to learn the signs...  Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1

There's no reason to feel weary, all month long it's FEBRUARY!

You know what's great about February 1st?  The best thing about it (other than it's Iron J's birthday)?

IT fell on a TUESDAY.  And do you know what I do on Tuesdays at o'dark hour?  I RUN.  So that's what I did.  My Fankle & I joined the Posse for a run.

It was great to be out on the run.

It could have been a little less painful, sure, but listen, I'm not going to criticize the run.  It's just coming back to me, and God knows, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings so it feels it has to leave again.