Friday, December 16, 2011


I had a 35 minute run on the schedule.....and did some drills while running.

2 sets of skipping for height
2 sets of skipping for distance
4 sets of butt kickers
2 sets of high knees

The route, because it was near home, was much less flat than my other two runs this week.

My left arch didn't hurt...but about half way through I could "fee"l it adjusting to running again. It wasn't uncomfortable, or painful, but I could definitely tell it was working.

The insides of my legs felt the same....not painful, but adjusting to running again.

Adding the drills (and hills) into my run affected my pace....but it still felt like a good run.

I was chilly by the time I got home. I checked the weather and found out why. I dressed for low 30's....but it was actually low 20's. Big difference. :-)

1:1 intervals with mixed drills, 36:05, 2.73 miles, 13:12 overall average pace, 168 average HR, 191 max HR, 295 calories, 21 degrees F

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Met up with a local running group for my Wednesday run. There were two other people coming off of injuries, so a group of about 6 or 7 of us ran intervals.

I usually do 2:1, or 1:1...but the group was doing 3:3, so I changed it up and went with them.

Running with a group is so much different than running alone. And, for some reason, when shyness level goes down a notch or two. Not only will I participate in conversations with complete strangers......but I was actually asking the questions, and initiating. Go figure!

Legs and knee felt great.

30 minute run (made it 2.47 miles), 12:33 overall overage pace doing 3 min run/3 min walk intervals, Avg HR 174, Max HR 194, 276 calories, 45 degrees

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12/13/11: Who's Your Runner

Well.....I ran today. (woohoo!)

I ran outside today (snoopy dance).

It was only three miles, and it was at a 12:25 min/mile average. But it was running and outside, none the less!

Did it hurt? Yes. And no. :-)

My knee felt fine. (woohoo!)

My lower legs felt fine. (another happy dance)

My lungs, on the other hand, were wondering what the heck I was doing to them.

Two days in a row I've made them work. An hour spin class yesterday (yep, I'm back at 'em), and a 38 minute run today.

Ever since I was benched for stress fractures in my knee, my hunger levels have been off the chart. I'm constantly chowing on a little of this, and a little of that. Sometimes more than a little.

The worst time to eat more (and unhealthier) is when you can't be active....yet it's the time when I crave it the most. Yesterday I could see the dispenser of peanut M&M's in the kitchenette at work without needing to help myself. They didn't even look good. (OK, that's a lie, they looked good....but I didn't really want any) I actually smiled at them and walked by.

(I'm smiling at snack food. The men in white coats are knocking on my door. Can you hear them?)

As I was making my post-run glass of chocolate milk, I was saying over and over again (in my head)..."I ran outside today, do dah, do dah....I ran outside today, oh do dah day."

(OK, OK....I was more singing it in my head, then saying it. I admit.)

Most of the time I've extremely happy people can't hear what's going on in my head. Now you know why. :-)

(third happy dance, just for the hell of it)

3.09 miles, 38:21 elapsed time, 12:25 overall average pace, 33 degrees

Monday, December 5, 2011

Check out my new wheels....

....two of them to be exact. :-)

The weather in St. Louis this weekend was amazing. 60 degrees, sunny.....perfect!!!!

I was super excited to get home and take it out for it's first official ride.

This is what was waiting for us when we got home.

(the view from my office window today at work)

6+ inches of snow in our driveway.'re such an @&%!!!


12/05/11: Saddle Sore

I got up at 4:30 this morning to get to the 5:15 spin class. I haven't been to a spin class since sometime in September, if not before.

It's soooooo easy to get out of the habit of getting up early. But it's sooooooo hard to get back into it.

Actually, it didn't feel as bad as I expected, but I'm sure that has something to do with sleeping in the past 4 days while in St. Louis. What a difference many extra hours of much needed sleep will make.

Today, though, it was back to reality.

I tried to get hubby to come along. He wants to start riding with me, and he says he wants to start going to spin classes as well......."but not at 5 in the morning."

(insert sarcastic tone here) I just don't understand how someone who works 24 hour shifts, and is then home for 24 hours, doesn't want to get up at 5 in the morning to work out.


The class today was torture. My poor body hasn't done any cardio work since September, and it shows. My legs were tired, but I could work through it. The problem was my lungs. Holy crap am I out of shape again. :-(

At one point the instructor got off of her bike and walked around the room. She doesn't normally do this, so it caught my attention. At first I thought it was just because it was Monday am, and she thought we all needed some added motivation. The kind of motivation that an instructor walking around the room usually creates.

But then she stopped at the empty bike in front of me, and just kinda hung out.

I'm guessing I looked like I was going to either stroke or drop of a heart attack, and she wanted to be closer to respond when the need arose.



My new goal - make it through a class without causing concern within the gym staff.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Well....maybe not sweet. I mean, I love running, but I hate treadmills.

In light of the stress fractures in my left knee this September, I've come to grips with needing to use this torture device more than I normally would for my May full marathon training.

As you come down the stairs from our kitchen to the basement... you can either go straight into the "gym" area.....or through a doorway to the right into the laundry/walk in closets area.

If you go straight, this is what you see.

Pretty typical. Weight bench, bowflex, treadmill, bike trainer, yoga mats, the fan (that we lovingly call the "prop plane") and other misc fitness flotsam and jetsam.

Don't mind the dust on the mill. She's been out of commission for quite some time. The internal fuse kept blowing....but we've since gotten a replacement. The poor thing is well over 10 years old, so if replacing a fuse here and there is all I need to do, I'll take it without complaining.

(Although, the fuse would blow almost exactly 21 minutes into my run....when I'd find myself hurling into the control panel at full speed. So yeah, I might have complained a little when it started happening.)


Here's my view while running. Ancient upright freezer (with misc poem magnets permanently stuck to it.....collapsible golf cart....bookshelves with hand weights, disc golf equipment, workout videos.....a case of old TV (with stereo, vcr, dvd player, etc hooked up to it), and on the bottom right side of the picture, a large stack of wainscot (for an upcoming dining room remodeling project) and on top of that are floor tiles (that we didn't end up using on the last kitchen remodel).

Pretty typical basement fodder.

I reinstated our netflix account and I'm going to see about having our cable service run to the basement. I'll be needing all of the entertainment help I can get.

And Mot is going to need to start sleeping with earplugs. Between the "prop plane" fan, the 10 year old treadmill, and the stereo I have to turn up loud enough to hear OVER the prop plane fan and the 10 year old might get a little crazy.

My first run, since the end of September was last night. My legs felt great....and my lungs were joyous!!! I was dripping sweat, and smiling like a fool. I took it really easy, right around a 12 min/mile pace, to see how the legs would feel.

The nagging lower leg pain I'd been dealing with all year wasn't there at all.....but I did end up calling it quits after a couple of miles. My knee didn't hurt.....but it felt strange. I don't want to push it. Slow and steady as I ramp my mileage back up.
5 min walk warm-up, 5 min walk cool-down......5 minute running intervals with 2 min walk breaks in between

Felt marvelous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11/22/11: Fear

It's amazing how distracting and intimidating fear can be. My husband seems to be afraid of nothing.....and I seem to be afraid of everything.

Most of what I'm afraid of doesn't affect me, I won't let it. Don't get me wrong, the butterflies and racing heart are still there...but I push them off, ignore them as best I can.

Allot of them are normal fears. Spiders, snakes, eels, seagulls (don't laugh, they're mean), looking into the bathroom mirror without turning the light on. Stupid stuff like that.

Then there are those that are a little bigger in scale.

Roller coasters. I watched someone get their foot cut off at the arch. Right in front of me. Granted, it was someone working at the park, and they were standing on the track when the cars came by...but still. (the ride was delayed until the workers could climb under the coaster to find the missing half of her foot)

I'm terrified of water, yet we own a pair of kayaks and spend quite a bit of time in them. (As long as I'm wearing a PFD, and remain acutely aware of my surroundings, I'm OK.)

I went white water rafting through the Royal Gorge with a smile on my face. (although I was holding onto the boat with my legs so hard, walking at the end of the day long trip was nearly impossible.)

I'm horribly claustrophobic, but had a BLAST going spelunking when in South Dakota. (We went on a wild cave tour and I made sure I'd positioned myself behind the largest guy in the group anytime a "squeeze" was coming up.)

I'm horribly's ridiculous actually. But I've held many jobs that all my FORCE me to overcome it. I've gone on weekend and week long trips with people I don't know. Sure, there are parts of each of those trips that are miserable. I want so badly to walk up to a group of interesting people and strike up a conversation......but I never do.

And then there are the fears that I still have yet to overcome.

1) Being upside down.

Sounds strange doesn't it?

You know, now that I think about it, this is probably why roller coasters bother me. :-)

The yoga classes I take will sometimes involve inversions. Head stands, etc. I'm paralyzed with fear the second I get close to going upside down. My form is great, I'm right there....then I freak out.

But I'm going to keep trying. I'm going to work on it at home, and have hubby help. He's pretty good at the tough love stuff. The "for crying out loud Nej, just do it and quit being a baby about it" stuff. It usually does the trick - but don't tell him that.

2) Marathons

Yep, you heard me right. It's a silly fear, isn't it? I mean, I run halves now.....and I really don't think much about them any more. I ran the last one with my sister (it was her first)....just so that I would have something to think about and do while running. They kick my butt, don't get me wrong....but they are also boring when by myself.

I've been told that if you can run a half, you can run a full. Sure, it's much more training, more endurance, and the chances of needing a port-a-potty along the way are higher (giggle).....but it can be done. Keep hydrated, pace yourself, pay much more attention to how your fuel before and during the event......

I think, at this point in my running life, the fear is actually a fear of injury. Of not being able to participate, or getting hurt along the way.

The Omaha half marathon was in September.....and last night I ran for the FIRST TIME since the event.


Nearly two full months later.

I have a full marathon coming up in May. Can I start running after not running for two friggin' months, and be ready in time? Can I do it safely?

I guess last night I decided that fear was my problem. I'm going to start training...and if I get hurt, I get hurt. I'm not going to live being afraid of it.

Now....if I could just do a headstand........

Friday, October 21, 2011

Permission to be lazy isn't all it's cracked up to be......

I realized today that I haven't posted an update for quite some time.

I've been down in the dumps, to say the least.

The sports doc thought I'd torn my meniscus and they scheduled an MRI.

The knee specialist looked at the results and said my meniscus looks just fine.

I do, however, have a bone contusion on the end of my femur....and what could possibly be the beginning of a stress fracture "situation."

2-3 weeks of running, walking, cycling, swimming, yoga......

There was a time in my life where I could have taken the doctor's advice and had a field day. My couch, days on end, no activity - bring it on!!!

But now, I find myself almost angry when I see someone out running. I get up in the morning, and stand on the back deck. It's dark out, the sky is clear, very little breeze....PERFECT running weather!

I've talked to family members who cycle and I've talked to the people at our favorite bike shop about getting my current bike ready for commuting to work. I've done the homework before....but never with the enthusiasm I seem to have now.

It's between 15-16 miles one way to work. Not a short distance, but nothing that's impossible by any means. Most of the route is on city multi-use trails, and the remainder is mostly neighborhood streets. I've also thought about the downside of having to show up to work a hot and sweaty mess in the took some time to check out the city bus schedules.

All city buses are equipped with bike racks, and the cost to ride isn't much at all. The bus would pick me up within 1/4 mile of my house...and drop me off about about as close to work. Same bus line, no transfers. The journey would take about an hour....but that's a great time to read, people watch, nap, etc.

Then, I could cycle home. Getting my daily exercise in....saving money....and doing a little to save the earth from a few auto exhaust fumes.

The bike I have already will work great...I just need to be able to use my darn knee.!!!! :-)

The doc said I needed to stay on crutches for 2-3 weeks, but I could start walking (only walking) again once I could do it pain free.

On Sunday night I gave it a shot, and there wasn't any pain. None! I walked normally (yet very very slowly and carefully) Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, out of the blue on Wednesday night, the pain was back.

Not like it was in the beginning, but there none the less. I'm back to limping around and using crutches.

The light at the end of the tunnel had begun to appear. It was quite a ways away, and still dim, but it was there. Now I'm back to stumbling around in the dark unlit tunnel, on crutches.

Which, by the way, brings up an interesting topic.

Crutches + dark house at midnight = recipe for disaster....or a good scene for a primetime sitcom.

Some joker at work left this tiny little crutch in my area one afternoon. :-)

I'm trying to keep my spirits up. I can't run right now, but so what? It's not the end of the world.

Mot has already said he'd start cycling with me if that's what I have to do. He's been told that running anything more than a 5 or 10K is just plain silly due to the condition of his back.

So maybe we just run short runs, bike long rides, and smile the whole time knowing that we are ABLE to run short distance and bike long rides. There are those out there who can't do that much...and really want to.

Whining about it, fretting and worrying about it, getting mad and depressed about it.....none of that is going to do anyone any good.

I just plain don't like being told I can't do something.

Knee specialist follow up appt. The nurse led me back to the examination room.....and I sat there in my paper shorts for 53 minutes before the doc came in to talk to me.

53 minutes!!!!!

In paper shorts! Size S/M. They were huge, I'd hate to see what size L/XL looked like.

Anyway, he finally comes in. And do you know what answer I get to my "what activities can I start doing" question??

"If it hurts, don't do it."

Really? That's his med school education answer?

"I've got a wonderful doctor. I says 'Doctor, it hurts when I do this. He says 'Don't do that.' "
Henry Youngman

So, the plan is to start doing yoga next week (as long as it doesn't hurt).
Maybe even some spin classes (as long as they don't hurt).
He also said I could try some cardio machines at the gym (as long as they don't hurt).

He did say I'm 100% not supposed to do laundry, dishes, sweeping, dusting, or scrubbing. Those activities will most definitely hurt. maybe he didn't say that.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

09/25/11: 36th Annual Omaha Half Marathon (race report)

More than 4200 runners turned up for this years event....and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. The temps hovered in the mid to lower 40's and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Although, while preparing for the 7:00 am race start, you couldn't see anything in the sky except stars and the slightest fingernail moon.

Doug signed up to run the 10K and Inny and I were running the half together. It was her first, and she was pretty excited!

I'm not sure how long it took this guy to get out of the race staging area. But there were nothing but people shoulder to shoulder blocking his way.

Because of the severe flooding the region has experienced this year, the start was moved to the new TD Ameritrade ballpark (only a few blocks away from the original start).

As the sun came up, shivering runners waited for the starting gun.

Let's get this party started!!!

This woman ran with the garbage bag around her waste for AT LEAST the first 5-6 miles. Neither Inny or I could take the "swish swish swish" any longer and passed her by.

The support from cheering residents along the way was fun!

At around mile 8 there's a hill. A big hill. And it lasted for well over a mile. Inny was cheering because we'd hit the top.

We hadn't yet, as we would soon find out. :-)

Our time was pretty good considering it was her first (yeah!!!) and I wasn't wanting to push myself hard. The pain in my lower legs is finally 99% gone, and I didn't want it to come back.

Maybe I should have? My knee (of all things) ended up sending me to the doc and an MRI appointment the next day anyway. :-(

After I was done running, I jumped in my car and drove to mile 22 of the full marathon route? Why 22? That's where Mot was volunteering for the day as a human cone. (that's literally what his shirt says!!)

The put the "human cones" along the route to direct running (and non running) traffic. He was having a pretty good time. I stayed over there with him for an hour or two, then headed home for a shower.

The medals, for the second year in a row, are made from recycled glass. There is a glass studio in Downtown Omaha that does them for the event. At the end of the race, there was a line of Marines in full dress putting them around the necks of the runners.

13.1 miles, just over 2 hours 39 minutes, overall avg pace 11:58, 455 ft elevation gain, 1487 calories, 185 Max HR, 172 Avg HR

Monday, September 26, 2011

09/26/11: Do these crutches make my a** look fat?

I ran with my sister in her first ever half marathon this weekend (race report to come soon). She rocked it, and we both had a blast!

About 8-9 miles into the run, my knee started to catch. With each step, I could feel it pop. Nothing huge, nothing audible....but just a catching feeling on each step. It didn't hurt, but it was annoying.

Mainly it hurt because I knew that chances were it was GOING to start hurting.

It DID start hurting at about mile 11. We were running our 1:1 intervals, and the first 5 to 10 steps of each running interval hurt...then the pain would go away and I'd finish the minute without another thought about it. I babied it on for the last couple of miles, and by the time we hit the finish line, I'd stopped noticing it at all.

As we were standing around after the finish, I could feel my knee getting tight. Again, I really didn't think too much about it. I run put it through 13.1 miles....and, sure, there was a slight "hitch in my giddy-up" ***** for the last 4 or so of them, but it wasn't bad enough to make me think I should stop.

My tune changed later that evening. Being able to bend it at all was a thing of the past.

There was one point in the evening where Mot was grabbing his keys and wallet for a trip to the ER.

I decided against it....took some pain meds from from the medicine cabinet....and tried to go to bed.

Tried being the key word. Every little move hurt my knee. Pulled on my knee. Pushed on my knee.

And I want you all to take a second out of your day today, and try to sit on a toilet, then stand back up...while not bending your left knee at all.

At all!!!!

Thank goodness I've been taking quite a few yoga classes lately.....

Mot called the doctor first thing this morning. Doc had me lay down on the table and started manipulating my leg and knee a little....when "POP"!

I could hear it, I could feel like, the doc knew it immediately. He put my leg down and said "it's time for an might have a torn meniscus".

Well hell.

I bit the inside of my cheek and tried to not cry. My silence must have spoke volumes. Mot asked if I was OK. I said "yes, but St Louis is in 4 weeks."

"Oh" says doc "you won't be running."

Double hell.

They scheduled an MRI appointment for me later that afternoon, recommended crutches and we went home.

The MRI appointment was intense. Not only was it loud (louder than any other MRI I've ever had)....but about half way through, I had a total anxiety/vertigo attack. I actually had my thumb ON the call button at one time....but then my absolute stubbornness kicked in.

My nerves were frazzled. I've been dealing with this mysterious pain in both of my legs for months. I finally get rid of it...and BAM! I'm confident enough that I sign up for my first full marathon (for the second time)...and WHAM!

I took many deep breaths. I opened my eyes and looked around the room as much as I could without moving my body.

I was NOT going to puke, I was NOT going to pass out, I was NOT going to call someone in for help. I toughed the rest of it out....and then we went home again.

The doctor office called home a few hours later.

No rips, no tears (no surgery!!!)....but a definite bone contusion.

I didn't fall, I didn't hit it, and I didn't get hit.....but I have a mega bad deep knee contusion (bruise).

I have an appointment with the knee specialist tomorrow, and we'll see what happens next.

But I'm going to go everything I can to show my "you won't be running" doc that it's not that easy to keep me down! :-)

***** That reference was for you Liz!!! :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

09/22/11: What goes up, must come down....(and a request for advice)

I'm nearly done writing about my injured legs. I know reading about them probably gets old for all of you....but this blog is a way for me to talk about what I'm going through and experiencing. It's the way I can put what I'm thinking out there, without driving my hubby or friends nuts from hearing about it constantly. It's a way for me to track my progress, a place for me to go when I need a little mental boost. I can read about all the things I'm doing now, that I never thought I'd do. Ever!

I'm a runner. I'm not going to break any land speed records....I'm not going to win any awards (unless "sticking with it no matter what" is an competition). I'm much slower now than I was a year ago. Hills used to be my friend...and now they are a foe. Getting up early in the morning used to be easy, but now I struggle. I hope that as my confidence comes back, and the pain keeps going away, I'll find some of these things coming back to me.

But until then, I'm still a runner....just a much slower one. And, compared to what I've been going through this past year, I can deal with slow. Slow will work just fine for me.

I ran near my house this morning. There was no getting in my car and driving 15 minutes to a flat trail. Nope. I just threw my gear on, and walked out my front door.


And, even though my time wasn't anything to cheer about, the fact I was running up and down hills without excruciating pain was!!

Were my calves burning? Were my lungs screaming? Hell yeah! But they're supposed to do that...and I welcomed it with open arms.

Hmmm...OK, maybe not open arms. I mean, burning calves and screaming lungs aren't the same as staying in my comfy bed and getting an extra hour of sleep. Let's be honest. :-)

I was also reminded of how many streetlights the neighborhoods around my house DON'T have. I was running with my super dooper awesome headlamp.....but I was still finding myself not fully striding out. Potholes are like ninjas. They hide in the shadows and take you without notice. :-)

I've done 10K's, I've run hills, and I've done long runs over 8 miles....all without the pain of my injury in my legs. I'm not going to jinx anything by saying you wont' hear me mention it again.....but I will say that I feel I'm nearly to the end of this journey.

Thank goodness!!!!

So now, to finish up this post, I want to ask all of you a question.

I'm going to start training for my first full marathon once the half this weekend and the one in October are finished. The marathon is 30 weeks from my half in October....and the training plan I'd found to use was.....get this...exactly 30 weeks. Kizmet??

But, on to the question.....what are everyone's thoughts on the run less, run faster theory? My doc and PT's have me running, right now, three days a week. Two shorter runs during the week, and one long run on the weekend. No running two days in a row.....period.

The training plan I'd found says the exact same thing....but somehow the idea of training for a full marathon on only 3 days a week seems.....lacking? Don't get me wrong, only three days a week of pounding on my body sounds great. I'll fill in the other days with cross training and rest.

But can I actually complete a full marathon on only three days a week of training? Hal Higdon wants me to run at least 4....the leader of the running group I belong to wants me to do 5.......

Am I just asking for injury the more I run. Will using the shorter runs for "speed" and hills and long runs for stamina do what I need them to do?

I'm going into the full marathon with the same thoughts as my first half. No time limit. I'm doing it to finish....period. Normally, I'd say I'd be happy with a full finish in under 5 1/2 hours....but now I'm not sure what to expect. I guess I'll find out. :-)

3.01 "hilly-ish" miles, 37:33, 12:29 overall snail speed pace, 343 calories, 182 Max HR, 162 Avg HR

Sunday, September 18, 2011

09/18/11: Omaha Corporate Cup 10K

I went back and forth on whether I was going to run it again this year. I didn't get around to organizing a team at work (I've been swamped there with new duties), and I didn't want to register as an individual like last year. It's much more fun if you run on a team.

Oh, heck. It's cooler because you get a team t-shirt. Let's all be honest. :-)


Anyway, both Mot and I signed up to run/walk on the Omaha Fire Department team. Because he's still battling with his back and knee injuries, he opted to be good, and just watch from the sidelines, and I ended up running the 10K.

I was a little nervous, to be honest. I haven't run two days in a row since this spring when my doctor and PT's told me not to. But, it went fabulous!!!! I had to stop and stretch along the way during mile 2. The lower legs weren't screaming at me...but I could tell they were about ready to start. After a couple stops....they didn't give me any issues the rest of the event!!!!!

It wasn't a 10K PR by any stretch of the imagination (9:56 average pace last year)....but, I completed it, without pain, and a 11:06 min/mile average. To say I'm not upset by that is an understatement! I actually felt like I was able to stride out and run. It was great!!!!!!!


6.25 miles, 1:09:28, 11:07 overall average pace, 727 calories, 192 Max HR, 177 Avg HR

Saturday, September 17, 2011

09/17/11: Air Force Weather Agency Corn Man 10K

I happened upon the listing for the Corn Man 10K a month ago. I was already planning on running a 10K on Sunday of that weekend...but the premise of the Corn Man was too much to pass up.

When you register, you put in your expected finish time. They group everyone running into timed groups based on your entry. Then, the day of the event, each group gets a Corn Man....someone literally dressed up in an ear of corn costume. The idea is to beat the Corn Man from your group.


I told my sister and about it, and she entered as well. We thought it would be a hoot!!!

It was rainy and low 50's when we arrived at Lake Zorinsky. Perfect running weather!!!

This is the picture of one little finger of the lake.

Poor Inny had some issues with her legs while running. They were cramping up on her (I know exactly how she felt, and tried to be as encouraging as I could). We took it easy, stopped when needed so she could stretch. By the time we hit the end, they had loosened back up for her.

I probably drove her nuts along the route. She does like I do....she gets quiet and almost angry when things like this happen. Not "I'm going to rip your head off"'s that focused "I will make it through this if it's the last thing I do" angry.

As we ran, I sang songs. Yep...I was singing.

What? I was trying to cheer her up, get her mind off of it, bring the fun back into the event. :-)

All in all, it WAS fun! I'm sure we'll both be back next year for the 2nd annual race. The organizers did a great job.

Inny and I at the end, with our ear of corn! :-)

P.S. I'm happy to report that the full compression socks may actually be doing what I'd hoped. I ran the entire 10K without pain in my lower legs. It was magical, to say the least!!!!

6.2 miles, 1:22:00, 13:13 overall average pace, 712 calories, 181 Max HR, 162 Avg HR

Thursday, September 15, 2011

09/15/11: The Ides of September

Today was another two-fer day.

It started with my alarm going off at 4:34 am.

Why 4:34? Who knows. I was turning it back to 4:30, and that's where I stopped. I purposefully do things to make my OCD go nuts. It's a hobby. :-)

So anyway, it went off....I turned it off and got up. No snooze.

Yep, for those of you that know me.....I'll give you a second to let that process.

No. Snooze.

For real.

I had a 4.5 mile run on the schedule.....and I was bound and determined to get it in and done. Because I'm still trying to avoid hills as much as I can before these two half marathons coming up...I have to drive somewhere in the city that is flat.

For those of you who've never been to Omaha, Nebraska....and you've heard it's flat. You've been misinformed. I can't, anywhere near my house, run without going up and down them constantly. Very few flat stretches at all. The city trail that runs through town, runs along a it's where I've been heading lately.

I put on my spaghetti strap tank full compression socks (not just sleeves)....and off I went.

It wasn't until I got TO the trail that I noticed how chilly it was.

Compared to what it has been was downright cold actually. Mid 40's (about 7 or 8 C).

It's been a while that I've run when it's that temperature....and was reminded of a few things.
1) The area between the tops of my compression socks, and the bottom of my shorts (mainly my knees and some lower thigh) get cold. So cold that when I take a hot shower upon my return, the water bouncing off of my legs is freezing...even though it's hot coming out of the faucet.
2) I have a hard time seeing when I run. Not because it's dark...I have my headlamp. No, it's because I can see my breath. You know how it's hard to see when driving in the fog....and the higher beams actually make it worse? It's the same way with my breath in the light of my headlamp. I find myself breathing out of the side of my mouth. It must be completely attractive. :-)

So, the 4.5 miles went OK. The full socks actually helped some of the pain. But not as much as I was hoping. I've only used them once, so I'm still hopeful they'll make a difference in the long run. (no pun intended)

I made it to about 2 miles when I looked at my watch for the time. Between getting dressed and then driving to the place I was running.....I found I'd really be pushing it in time to get the full 4.5 miles in, get home,. showered and then back to work in time.

My pace from last year is nearly 2 minutes/mile slower. Frustrating does not even begin to describe my feelings on it. I was running slowly, and still running 10:30 I'm having to really push it to get faster then 12:30. A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G. But.....I'm I can't complain toooooooo much. :-)

I'm happy to report I came in contact with zero skunks (THREE of them in one single 3 mile run last time I ran the same stretch).....and the only other people I saw were on bikes. One of them was extremely friendly...we passed each other twice. Both times we had a small chat while speeding past each other.

"good morning!!"
"good morning to you!"
"enjoy your run!!"
"have a great ride"


"hello again!"
(giggle) "hi!!!"
"how far are you going?"
"until I decide to go home"
"I'm jealous!!!"
"don't be...retirement is boring....HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!!"

(by then we're yelling because we've passed each other and are on our way done the trail in opposite directions)

After work I came home for a couple hours, then headed to yoga for an hour.

Yep, I'm addicted. 100% It's a workout and it's so relaxing all at the same time. :-)

Well....I'd better head to bed. Tomorrow is's about time!!!!!! (hehehehehe)

4.50, 56:05, 12:27 overall average pace, 513 calories, 180 Max HR, 158 Avg HR

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

09/13/11: A two-fer

I signed up for a monthly pass at the yoga studio where I took the 5 week Yoga for Runners workshop. I love the instructor, I love the atmosphere, and I really enjoy yoga. I can already see improvement in my flexibility and hope that some upper body strength isn't far behind.

For right now, I'm going two nights a week. Tuesday and Thursday. Last Thursday was my first official night as a student of the studio. There were only three of us in class then, but there were 9 or so of us tonight.

Mandy, the instructor, really takes time to think about what she's going to focus on in each class. She knew my name the first day I walked into the Y4R workshop, and calls me by name every time I see her. It's the simple things that really catch my attention.

Anyway, after an hour of yoga, I went to my car, put on my running shoes, etc....and took to the city trail near the studio for my 3 mile Tuesday run.

Neither Mot, nor I slept well last I ended up shutting off my alarm this morning. I slept until the absolute last possible minute then rushed around to get to work on time. Because I'm running in at least one 10K this weekend, if not two, I didn't want to push my two weekly runs to Wed and Fri. It would have me running three days in a row this weekend.

While I ran three days in a row every week last year (Tues/Wed/Thurs) PT's have told me to not do the same until we get the problems with my legs fixed.

So, speaking of my leg I was running today, I had an idea. A possible solution, or at least something that could help. I'm not going to say anything about it until I see if it works......but as I was running I tried to think about what was different between today and Sunday.

Sunday I ran 10 miles with no pain....and now 2 days later, ouch!!!!!

I also tried to compare my running this year, to my running last year. How I could train from May to October with no issues one season......but find it impossible to get through simple 3 mile runs the next??

I thought of something while I was out running...and tried to test my theory on the return trip to my car. It was something simple I hadn't thought of before. So "test" though only a small sample of my new master plan, gave me some relief in my legs, almost instantly.

Don't get me wrong, it still hurt.....but it hurt less.....and enough that I could tell a difference instantly.

If this is all it takes, I'm going to cry.

First in happiness....then in frustration. Nearly a full year of dealing with this.....different doc's and PT's....and something this simple................

I'll keep you posted.
3.01 miles, 35:17, 11:44 overall average pace, 348 calories, 184 Max HR, 167 Avg HR

Sunday, September 11, 2011

09/11/11: Wabash Trace

Sis and I got together this morning to participate in our own momentous run.

For her, it was her first double digit run since she's taken up running as a sport/hobby/obsession.

For me, it was my first double digit run since the Lincoln Half in May.

We were going to meet up at 9:00 am at the Wabash Trace trail head just outside Council Bluffs. I arrived a little early, as traffic wasn't as bad as I was expecting.

Although, it was a Sunday morning, I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting. I think I just wanted to give myself plenty of time to get there, as I wasn't exactly sure where the trail head was.

Because I had 30 minutes to waste before she got there, I decided to do a little pre-run stretching.

Yes, yes....I've had SOOO many people tell me that stretching before a run doesn't do much but create a situation where you can actually harm yourself, rather than helping things out. But, after my run on Wednesday (which I DID NOT post about - I had resigned myself to quit running forever after I hobbled back to my car - if that tells you anything)....I was feeling desperate.

I did as many of the usual runner's stretches that I could think of....trying to make them as non "static" as I could. Also, because I had plenty of time, I resorted to doing a little pre-run yoga in the parking lot.

Oh yeah, I'm sure there were people wondering what the h*ll I was doing....but, as I said before (and I'm sure I'll say again), I'm desperate to find something that will allow me to run again.

She got there right at 9:00, we strapped on our hydration belts, and took off down the trail.

Well...we walked down the trail for a little first. About 3/4 of a mile to be exact. :-)

But, we eventually got under way.

The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is a 62 mile railroad turned multi-use trail that goes from Council Bluffs, IA...through quite a few small towns along the way...ending just to the north of Blanchard, IA (population 61).

The run was great!!!! Yes, it kicked my butt. But in a good way. In a "holy cow, it's been a million years since I've run this far....and with no pain in my legs to boot!"

Yep, you heard me. The Nej "Leg Pain Saga" continues.

I don't know if it was the pre-run yoga, or just the craziness that IS my leg injury.....but I went the 10 miles without the infuriating pain.

Oh, don't get me wrong, the run hurt. But it hurt in my legs, my leg calves, my quads, my abs, my lungs.....all the places it's supposed to "hurt."

A good run.

Here is my milk chocolate truffle from The Chocolate Garden. A little post run celebration, so to speak.

If you are ever near Coloma, MI....or heck, even if you aren't (they'll ship them to you).....stop in. They are amazing!!!!!!!!!

So, there you have it. A good run, a good dessert. And now I'm going to be a lazy bum and lay on the couch all afternoon. soon as I can take back control of the tv from Mot, that is. :-)

Oh, and happy birthday Dad and Karen (MIL). Love you both!!!!!!


10.01 miles, 2:06.42, (first half uphill, second half back down), 12:39 overall average pace, running Inny's 1:1 intervals, 181 max HR, 162 avg HR, 1106 calories burned

Monday, September 5, 2011

09/04/11: Kal-Haven Trail Michigan

Mot, the Boys (Danny and Steve) and I all jumped in the car this weekend and headed to Michigan.  Steve's sister has cabin on a lake, and it was the perfect escape for a nice long weekend.

With a half marathon coming up in two weeks (and because I needed to make up for the double scoop of Saugatuk Mud ice cream on a visit to the Lake Michigan shore the day before - worth it?  yes!), I made sure to pack all my running gear and use it at least once.

The day before we left town, I got online and mapped a run that would take me my scheduled 8 miles within the area of the cabin.  But, on the drive there, I noticed our road kept crossing the Kal-Haven Trail.    I didn't know what it was...but I was intrigued.

That night, while sweating a couple of pounds away in our muggy tent (it was over 100 degree heat index that day - yuck!), I got the Nook out and searched online (via some stolen wifi signal from a neighbor a couple of houses down).

Apparently the trail is over 33 miles long on an abandoned railroad stretch from Kalamazoo to South Haven.  We were staying at a cabin a couple of miles from the halfway point.  Sweet!!!!!!!

So, Sunday morning, I got up before the group (a number of Steve's family were there as well) and headed for the trail.

After applying 17 gallons of bug spray (on a scale of 1 to 10 on the "effectiveness" scale - 17 gallons of bug spray would turn out to a rate a -3), putting on my Garmin, strapping on my go-go gadget hydration belt (Amphipod rocks!!!)....I left the safety of my Jeep for trails unknown.


The nearest trail head was in town a few miles away.  Bloomingdale, MI

The one and only remaining train depot building now serves as a museum for the trail and the area...and also an information center for the trail itself. 

Here's the view looking back at the depot from the trail as it crosses the highway.

I ran from mile 16 to 20...then back again.  From Bloomingdale to Gobles, then back. 

The trail was great....but the humidity and mosquitoes were ridiculous.  The trail was 100% enclosed by trees....making it a hot, humid, tunnel of zero air movement and a mosquito paradise.  I was the main course Sunday morning. 

My legs, as usual, were horrible.  The first half of the run I averaged a 13:30 min/mile pace.  The pain was outrageous...but, as usual, I pushed through it knowing that it would go away after 3 or 4 miles. 

And, as usual, it did.  I ended the run with a 12:30 (ish) I really made up some time that second half. 

I'd love to get on my bike and ride the trail from beginning to end.  There are a number of railroad bridges and blueberry fields (I didn't see any, even though the locals assure me I ran by at least one) along the way.  But running it in the summer is miserable.  I wouldn't recommend it. 

Unless you want to be a buffet for tiny flying vampires. 

It was, at least the second half, a great run though!!!  

(Later in the weekend, I fell down the second half a small flight of stairs off of the back deck of their cabin.  Besides some bruises, and a really, really, really sore calf muscle, I came away unscathed and lucky.) 

8 miles, 1:29:34, 12:25 overall average pace (first half did run/walk 1:1 intervals...second half did my usual 2:1), Max HR 187, Avg HR 161, 900 calories, 3 pints of blood donated


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Take 2!!

Yep, I did it.  I'm doing a "take 2" on the full marathon journey. 

This morning I signed myself up for a full in 2012. 

As my aunt said this morning on FB "Some people register for distance running events in Hawaii...or along the gorgeous coast of California. So far I've done Little Rock, Des Moines and in 2012....Fargo!!!!!"

Substitute Lincoln, NE in place of Little Rock......and it could have been me speaking instead!!!

As I'm still trying to figure out the pains in my legs....signing up for another full is a bit daunting, to say the least.  I'm going to have to train over the winter...but my long runs won't hit until next spring.  (the idea of running 16, 18, 20 miles on frozen ice and snow DOES kinda sound ridiculously absurd fun, in a straight-jacket frozen eyelashes and water bottles sort of way)


(PS...has anyone else noticed that Blogger spell check thinks Des Moines is spelled incorrectly?)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

08/30/11: Cut short.....

I got up this morning to run. The back deck was wet, so I could tell it either had rain, or was sprinkling....but I love running in the rain.

I was going to run on the Keystone Trail, parking at Peak Performance....but was running a little late, so decided to start on Fort street instead.

My legs were good...and bad. The usual pain (the one I've been seeing the PT about) wasn't there....but that strange (and horrible) pain I get just on the top of my foot, where my foot and leg make an "L" was bad. I can't lift my toes, I can barely lift my feet. My running is loud and sloppy (which isn't good on wet sidewalks) - I end up soaked to my knees from the splashing.

I stop to stretch it out a little, and am unable to stand on my heels alone.

Oh goes away after three it's no wonder I can't get motivated for these shorter mid-week runs. They are all 3-4 miles in length.

About 3/4 of a mile into my run...the lightning starts. Oh boy does it!

Out loud I say to the sky "fine, fine!!! I'm going home!"

This is the part of my run where I'm glad I run in the morning with no one around. (hehehe)

I turn around immediately and head back to the car.

The lightning gets worse. The thunder gets louder. The rain get heavier. It would have been perfect, had it not been for that darn lightning.

I've got to work late tonight, so 1.5 miles is all I'm going to get today. It's better than nothing I suppose. :-)

1.65 miles, 20:09, 12:02 overall average pace (argh!!!), 176 Max HR, 160 Avg HR, 186 calories

Sunday, August 28, 2011

08/28/11: I would walk five hundred miles....

OK....we didn't go 500 miles today....but I love that song....and my 7 mile run today felt like 500.

No, it's not that it was horrible...or never ending. It's just that I haven't been able to run 7 miles at a time since this spring.

It's amazing!!!

The love I had for running is returning.

No, it's not pain free. But, that's never going to happen.

It's that I could actually finish 7 miles, and not want to cut my legs off below the knees.


This injury, for the time being, is's wonderful!!!!!

Sis and I met at Lake Zorinsky. (They've been draining it for the last couple of kill off zebra mussels, or some such thing.....and the drained lake stinks. We call it Lake Stinky.)

Anyway, this summer, they've started letting it fill back the smell isn't there much at all....and we can stand to run around it again. Yay!

We met on the boat ramp side of the lake....only to find about 100 or so other people in the parking lot.

Last week we ran downtown, and the Omaha Corporate Cycling Challenge was going on......this weekend we pick a lake hosting a Huntington's Disease Medical Research fun run/walk fundraiser.

If you'd like to run in the busiest part of Omaha....go where Nej and Inny go...apparently! :-)

The first three miles were brutal. My legs were doing that thing were I can't pick up my feet. It's the strangest feeling, I swear! But, after 3 miles, it went away, and the second half of the run was great!!

It's so much fun running with Inny. We both know that we can stop when we need...go faster when we need...go slower when we need. We both know that any time a cat is on the path, we have to stop and pet it. We both smile and wave at the other people on the trail.

We're sisters, we "get" each other.

The clouds rolled in the last mile or so....and by the time we left, it was sprinkling. We were both hoping it would start while we were running....but no such luck.



7.01 miles, 1:27:41, 12:30 overall average pace (doing her 1:1 intervals), Max HR 185, Avg HR 169, 777 calories, 8:00 start - 67 degrees (19C)

Friday, August 26, 2011

08/26/11: It's finally Friday....

....I'm free again.
I got my motor running for a wild weekend.
It's finally Friday, I'm outta control
Forget the working blues and let the good times roll.
George Jones

I'm not a country music fan. I mean, I don't want to gouge my eardrums out when I hear it, but you definitely won't find me listening to it in my car....or at home....or at the gym.....or going to a concert. (hehehehehe) But when I googled "Friday quotes or lyrics", this one seemed appropriate. :-)

I donned my running gear, grabbed my water bottle, head lamp, pepper spray, car keys, and out the door I went.

Because of my, not failed. Unpleasant - yes, that's the word. Because of my unpleasant hillier run on Tuesday, today was back to the flat flat flat city trails.

(Better than a treadmill any day!!!)

Darkness is creepy. It's just the way it is. Things that seem completely harmless during the day, take on an eery quality when it's dark out.

Like, for instance, this bench......

It's actually pretty cool in the daylight. I think the Omaha Cycling Club (or some such group) had it put along the city trail. Each of the riders has a "name" that shows the camaraderie and dynamic of the group. "Friend" "Athlete" "Role Model" "Jokester"

But when it's pitch black, and the only light is a street lamp behind it.....the bench is outright unnerving. The light from the lamp across the street makes their eyes GLOW! I came around the corner, knowing the bench was there. But it still had me nearly skidding to a stop.

I had to use the flash on my phone so you could see the bench at all....but if I could have gotten a picture of what it looked like with the street light coming through those'd have nightmares for weeks. I promise! maybe I was a little on edge because running on a city trail with no one else around at 5:00 in the morning is spooky. And the raccoons, cats and bats that cross in front of me might get my heart beating a little faster than usual.

And that guy on his bike.....without lights.

And the runner with ninja quiet footsteps....that you don't see until your headlamp hits the reflective vest he's wearing.

Yeah, my heart gets an extra cardiovascular workout when I run on the trail in the morning!


It was a good run. I stuck to my 2:1 intervals, and ran at a decent pace. I'm not anywhere NEAR the pace I was running last year....but that's to be expected. I'll get back to it eventually, I hope.

If not, then I don't. I'm not out to win anything, except health and happiness! :-)

The good news, though, is that my legs didn't hurt on the flat trail. It's just those darn hills that make them scream in pain and send me hobbling home.

3.51 miles, 39:49, 11:20 overall average, Max HR 188, Avg HR 170

Thursday, August 25, 2011

08/25/11: Yoga for Runners - Week 5

The 5th and final week of the yoga for runners workshop is over. It was a great class, as always. We did some of the normal stuff....and we did a crap load of new things as well.

One of the main new poses introduced was the Crow Pose.

** image from above link

I was close....oh so close.

You bet I'll be working on that one on my own. :-)

Because it was the final class, the talking and explanation portion normally at the beginning of each session was pretty much non-existent last night. It was mostly a "let's put it all together, and throw in some new stuff to shake things up" kind of class.

Fun!! Although I'm sure my arms, legs and abs will be feeling it all in the morning.

Next step, getting onto her website and checking out her regular classes. Pretty sure I'll be joining in on at least one of them a week.

I can already see a difference in my flexibility. Imagine what it would be if I was as dedicated to doing it 2-3 times a week, like I'm supposed to. (giggle)

If you're a runner in Omaha, I highly recommend this workshop!!!!! Mandy is awesome!!!

(This is an unsolicited recommendation. I was not reimbursed in any way.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

08/23/11: Not my finest......

I'd love to say that my Tuesday run went as well as my Sunday run.

But I'd be lying.

The temperature was nice. It was another humid morning, but there was at least a nice cool breeze.

It was still dark, staying darker later and later now. Fall is coming!

Within the first mile, I stepped on a grey rock on the road (it was a piece of the road itself, and blended in, I couldn't see it even with my headlamp), and turned my ankle.

For some, that would mean a stop to the running right then and there. But, because my ankles are so ridiculously flexible (the reason I'm having trouble with my legs actually), there was no pain. I actually felt my outside ankle bone hit the concrete...but it did nothing more than make me wobble for one step.

I walked for a couple more, to make sure there wasn't anything seriously injured.....then was back on my merry way.


I wanted to change things up a bit, so took one of my regular routes and ran it the opposite direction I normally do.

I now know why should continue running it the original direction. The highway I have to run along for a 1 mile stretch is a little perilous when going north instead of south. There are trees almost right up to the edge of the road, and quite a few blind corners.

To say I was hyper alert to my surroundings would be an understatement.


Eventually, I was able to turn west into a neighborhood with streetlights and onto some sidewalks.

(I actually prefer running in the's usually smoother, and there are less trees and mailboxes to duck and run around - but running on the "safety" of sidewalks for a little while was nice.)

A block or two into the neighborhood I see a very large black object running to the street, from behind one of the houses.

I knew right away it was a dog. But the size of the dog was amazing. Not intimidating mind you, I love big dogs!!!

The biggest female solid-black Great Dane came running straight at me.....and then INTO me!!

(I grew up with a St. Bernard, so knew how to brace for the impact.)

After petting her a little, I took a look at her tags and found her name to be Lila.

What an awesome animal!!!!!!

After getting petted, she decided she was going to be my running companion.

I eventually told her that if she came with me one more block, we were going to have to stop so I could get the phone number of her parents. There wasn't an address on her tags, so I don't know if she belonged in that neighborhood or not.

It was almost as though she understood me, because just then she decided to part ways.

Beautiful AND smart.


I ended my run with some really sore legs, the scent of strange dog (my black lab was less than pleased) on my hands, and a scraped up left ankle bone.

Not one of my finest running moments.

3 miles, 39:12, 13:03 overall average pace (including my encounter with the dog, and stops along the highway to get off the road), 331 calories, Max HR 177, Avg HR 158

Monday, August 22, 2011

08/21/11: Hot town. Summer in the city.....

....back of my neck getting dirt and gritty.

Because I'm finally back to running....and my sister is training for the same event...we decided to get together Sunday morning to do our "long" run.

We met in downtown Omaha, along the river. The plan was to run across the new pedestrian bridge, and along the trails on the Iowa side of the river.

A view, from the parking lot we met in, of the sun coming up over the river.

I think the bottom of the bridge looks like a roll of film. :-)

Our warm up consisted of us walking the .25 miles from our car to the bridge.

And maybe a little photographic break here and there along the way. :-)

Because of the flooding Missouri River, the water table is extremely high. And, because of this, storm sewer systems in downtown Omaha have....well...they've not been functioning the best they could.

Anyway, this is the city's only way to cope. They put a series of pipes above ground, that run to a new spillway, and then directly to the river.

And, because of the location of these new pipes, they had to pour new sidewalks so the trail could go up and over them.

Take a close look. Those statues just to the right of the building with the red roof. Yeah, those usually aren't in the water at all. Not even close.

A little bike rack art along the way.

I think this looks like a smiling pumpkin. My sister thinks I'm nuts! :-)

So, we finally made it to the bridge, and started off on our 6 mile run.

The Missouri River serves at the border between Nebraska and Iowa.

Just as we got to the beginning of the bridge, we see a sign that says the trail on the Iowa side is closed.

Well duh! I knew that....but we'd forgotten. This flood has been going on for so long, we're all getting kinda used to it.

(You should see the pictures of the interstate, as the flood waters are receding! They won't be functioning for at least a year, if not more. The power of the river is amazing!!!)

This is usually dry ground.

If you click on this picture to make it will see the top of a stack of concrete tubes. (the are in the reflection of the buildings in the water)

They are not usually under water.

The scale of this flood is grand.

So....because the trail was closed on the other side.....we ran across the bridge to the end, then back into Nebraska.

From there, we just ran through the streets of downtown Omaha.

There are bronze statues all over down we had to stop here and there for pics.

"You're such a good doggy. How about a scratch behind the ears??"

Then, we finished our run by going across the bridge and back one final time.

She really wasn't as exhausted as she looks in this pic.

I said "look tired". She then said something that got me laughing...but I forget what.

The run was great!!! My legs didn't hurt at all. Not one little bit. It was really nice! Plus, running through the streets of Omaha, early on a Sunday morning, was fun. Less traffic, fewer people. The temperature was great.

We'll be doing 7 miles this coming weekend. Can't wait to see where we end up this time!!! :-)

6 miles, 1:16:05, 12:40 overall average pace (running her 1:1 intervals), 687 calories, Max HR 184, Avg HR 164