Thursday, March 31, 2011

Existing patients, please press 1.

Let's see.....about three years ago I tried to pick up the "hobby" of running.

It didn't go so well.

I ended up shredding 3 different calf muscles, and hobbled around like an old woman for months.

Eventually they healed, the pain went away, and I made a point to never try running again.

Rabid dogs in pursuit? Let 'em get me!! Can't be as painful as those torn calf muscles, right?? :-)

About a year later, I decided to try it again.

(I'm a sucker for punishment.)

It hurt, but it was a new hurt. If anything, you can never call me boring.

This time it was along the inside of my lower leg, not the big calf muscles along the back.

So, I got to a doctor.....they prescribe physical therapy. The therapist did MAT (muscle activation therapy) among other things. The pain persisted. They had me run on a treadmill to see if my issues were from my gait.

"Your form looks great."

They continue to tell me that my ankles are strong, my knees are good, I'm not a heel striker, my arches are really high (but they didn't seem to think that was an issue), my calves are strong, my posture is good.........etc, etc, etc.

"Your issue must be thigh growth."

Yep, an overweight person's worst nightmare......being told the pain you are experiencing is caused by the reason you're running in the first lose weight.

Thigh growth?


I never went back. I stopped running. I gained back some of my weight.

I hid.

Then I volunteered at the HyVee triathlon in Des Moines.

I was in my kayak on the water safety crew. After the swimming portion was done, the boat ramp was blocked, so we had to sit and wait for the whole event to finish.

By far the best thing to ever happen to me, ever!!!!!

I sat on that curb and watched the bikes fly by. And then, I watched the runners.

There were TONS of runners, many bigger than I was. More out of shape than I was. And they were handling it just fine. "Thigh growth" didn't seem to be affecting them.

So, I went home the next morning, and sat on the couch with my laptop. I researched running more than I ever had before. I researched beginning running schedules. I researched leg muscles and injury.

I started a couch to 5K program on the treadmill. As long as I kept it under 5.5 miles per hour, and under 30 minutes at a time, the pain was very slight and manageable.

I called the physical therapist I used for after my shoulder surgery. He had me do different exercises, analyzed my gait, took videos of me running, and had me try different shoes.

He nearly fell over in disgust when I told him I was afraid my problem was "thigh growth."

After I'd done that a while, I tried running outside. Very slowly, but after 20 seconds, my legs were SCREAMING!!

So, I went back to the treadmill and called a specialist. He did xrays, MRI's, scans (etc) and found nothing out of the another prescription for PT came around.

This time, to a therapist that specializes in running issues. To someone that has run in Olympic marathon qualifiers twice before, and was training for the third.

She had me do exercises I'd done before...exercises I hadn't done before. But, most importantly, she got those pointy little fingers of hers out, and started deep tissue massages. Twice a week. The insides of my lower legs were bruised from knee to ankle.

This picture was later in the afternoon of my first appointment.

The next morning those bruises had all grown together into one big purplish green blob.....literally from ankle to knee. I had to wear pants for weeks so people wouldn't think I was abused. :-)

(Now, just imagine having to go BACK two days later. It hurt to look at those bruises, let alone let someone poke their pointy fingers INTO them!!)

After a month or two of this (twice a week), my muscle "fibers" were "straightened out" and I was able to run outside.

Without pain.

From May 2010, to February 2011.

And now it's back.

I've been avoiding the doctor and avoiding the physical therapist. You've been seeing my posts about leg pain one day, and 9 miles without leg pain the next. I've been getting deep tissue massages once a week for the past month, and obviously it's not doing me any good. After my run on Tuesday night, I was seriously questioning my sanity. Was I "running through the pain" or was I "making it worse."

Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.
Friedrich Nietzsche

* I've called my insurance company (to check my physical therapy coverage for any changes).
* I've called the specialist. Since it'd been a year, they wanted me to come in before giving out another PT prescription....I go in tomorrow am.
* I've called my physical therapist to schedule an appointment for early next week.

Here we go again. Bring on those pointy fingers! Slacks and long skirts, here I come! :-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

03/29/11: Teaching an old dog new tricks.....

My legs are the old dog.....and running without pain seems to be a new trick I'd love very much for them to learn.

I ran 9 miles this weekend with no pain.....after work today, I ran 4.5 wondering the entire time what the heck I was doing. :-)

I slept in...which was my first mistake.

Well, sleeping in makes it sound like it was an accident. I actually turned off my alarm and made a conscious decision to run after work.

My morning conscious mind isn't the brightest some days. (giggle)

I really wish I had gotten up though....this happened while we were sleeping and running in it would have been beautiful!!!

The snowflakes were at least an inch or two across....they were huge!! It was so pretty to see it falling, especially knowing that it wasn't going to last long. We've had some nice days and the ground is warm enough to keep it from lingering and accumulating.

By the time I got off work, it was pretty much all gone.

I changed into my running gear at work, and went to one of the city trails a mile away or so. The wind had a little chill to it, and the sun was it seemed cooler than it really was. But I'd packed clothes for nearly every weather possible (and there are allot of possible conditions in this part of the country this time of year - hehehehehe).

I locked my car and started to walk down the trail.....realized I'd forgotten to put a bondiband (more to keep my ears warm then to keep the sweat out of my eyes) on my head, so went back to the car to get it. Once I reached the car I remembered that I'd put it in my running jacket pocket. :-)

I turned around to start walking down the trail, and this time realized I'd forgotten my iPod in my car. I KNEW it was sitting on my passenger seat. Not only did I want to go back for it so I'd have something to listen to, I also didn't want to leave it lying in the open. Last thing I needed was to come back to a broken car window, or a missing car.

Finally, I was ready to start running.

About 2 full minutes into the run I realized that it was going to be painful. Really, really painful. I could feel that one tight muscle, in each of my legs....I could feel it screaming at me for even thinking about running, let alone doing it.

About 20 seconds later I saw this.......

There were two young deer walking along the trail (they were actually ON the trail when I first noticed them). I watched them walk towards me, only moving off the trail once they were within 20 feet of me. I had slowed to a walk when I saw them....but when they got that close I stopped altogether.

I kept thinking they'd eventually stop.....or run the other way.


I talked to them, and it only made them come closer.

I made sudden moves, and one of them could have cared less....the other took notice, but only slowed it's walking a little.

I had my arm outstretched, and the lead deer sniffed my hand.

I bit back every urge I had to pet it......but it was difficult. The last thing I wanted to be was a victim of a deer kick...but I really really wanted to pet it. :-)

If sniffed my hand a little....then went walking on it's merry way...the other following close behind. I watched them cross the trail, and walk down the bank to the creek, then I started back down the trail myself.

A minute or so later I could hear something behind me. I may run with my iPod when I'm on the trail, but it's turned down plenty low enough to hear all sounds around me.

When the sounds didn't stop, I turned my head to casually look behind via my peripheral vision.

What the......?

I turned my head back to where I was going......then looked behind me again.

I couldn't believe what I'd seen, and wanted to see if it was still there.

It was.

Well, THEY were, to be more specific.

Those two deer were running along behind me. Following me like stray dogs. They followed along behind me for nearly a mile....before the trail went over a bridge and continued on the other side of the creek. When I got to the bridge, they stopped......their eyes almost pleading for me to come back and run with them on their side of the creek.

I'd like to say that the encounter made the rest of my run fun and feel easy....but it didn't. I was having to stop nearly every 1/4 of a mile to stretch my lower legs. I was nearly in tears a couple of time....mostly from frustration, but maybe a little from the pain.

I finished the 4.5 miles on my schedule. I fought for those 4.5 miles. I knew I'd pay for it the next day though.

I paused my Garmin while dealing with the deer.....and I'd pause it during a leg stretch every once and a while, so my time isn't actually an accurate measure of how long it took me to complete those 4.5 miles. I'd say it was definitely over an hour, if I had to guess.

The last mile and a half was completed through sheer will and brutal stubbornness alone. I ran (if you could call it running) the whole thing without stopping to stretch. I knew if I stopped, I'd probably never get going again.

Per my Garmin, I completed it in 53 minutes....11:46 overall average pace.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

03/27/11: Nueve, neuf, naoi, naw, negen, yhdeksän.....NINE!!!

I didn't run today until nearly 2 o'clock.

I'm usually a "get it over with before work, or early on the weekends" why did I wait so long?

Honestly, I might have been a little nervous about the run. My legs have been hurting pretty good.....and (as I said last week after my 8 mile run), this would be the longest I'd run since my half in October.

I put it off as long as I could....but I knew that I was going to end up talking myself out of it if I didn't go I changed and headed out the door before I could.

There was a 26 degree windchill (-3 C), a fairly stiff breeze (that kept changing directions), and every once and a while I could see the blue skies peeking through the cloud cover.

The first three miles were pretty painful. I stopped multiple times along the way to stretch my tight lower legs. But after those first three were done, the final six felt really good. My pace did nothing but did my attitude and my smile.

I'm sure most of the people I met along the route thought I was nuts...running along with a big ol' cheesy grin.

Oh well. :-)

9.01 miles, 11:01 overall average pace

03/26/11: Playoffs!

Our local college hockey team got themselves into the NCAA Div I playoffs in St. Mot (hubby) and some friends (Danny and Steve, aka "the boys") decided to get tickets and head the last minute.

By last minute, I mean we arrived to the game about 4 minutes in....and our team was already up 1 to 0.

The game ended badly (but I'll spare you all the gory details)....but it was still an awesome trip, and a fun game to watch (well, up until those last 10 ridiculous "play is under review" minutes). :-)

The next morning, instead of staying for the Saturday game, we decided to take our time on the drive home. (it's normally about a 7 - 7 1/2 hour drive from home to St. Louis)

Taking our time, included sleeping in.

So there I was, laying in bed (wide awake) at 7 am......knowing it'd be a while before we got on the road, I put on my running gear and headed down to the hotel fitness room.

4 miles were on the schedule. I plugged in my headphones, turned on the Today show, and off I went.

The treadmill didn't give distance ran......or pace.....but it would tell me what lap I was on.

That is, it would flash the lap number on the screen, for about 5 seconds.....and only at the beginning of the lap. So if I wasn't paying attention, I'd miss it.

No matter, I knew about how long I needed to run to get close to my 4 miles.

I happened to look down and see it flash lap 12.

A while later, I looked down again, and it flashed lap 12.


It flashed lap 12 at least one more who knows how far I actually ran that morning! (giggle)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

03/23/11: To Spring, or not to Spring....

My schedule called for a 4.5 mile run....I made it 4.1.


I nearly went home after a mile.....then, at 2 miles I did decide to call it. Although, it really didn't do much good at that point. No matter which route I took home, it was still going to be 2 more miles to get there. :-)

My cardiovascular health is good.....but my tight lower leg muscles are going to drive me slowly insane.

On my way back it started to mist or rain on me......or at least that's what I thought. I hit a dark stretch of road and needed to turn on my headlamp.

There, in the beam of my lamp, was snow! It got heavier as I ran...but by the time I got home it had stopped.

Yesterday, 70 degrees (F) and tornado warnings....this morning I get snowed on while I run.

Spring is kinda just never know what mother nature is going to throw at you. :-)

I'm trying to stay positive and not let disappointment creep in.

* Yes, the run today was horrible. I was sluggish, my legs hurts....blah, blah, blah.
* But, I did 8 miles this weekend without any issues, and could have kept going past the 8 miles if I needed to.

* Yes, my first half marathon of the year is 4 weeks (ish) away.
* But, I'm not out to PR. Heck, I could walk the whole thing if need be.

* Yes, I'm still having a hard time getting motivated to stick with a training schedule.
* But, it's only March....once things warm up (and stay warm)...and it gets lighter in the am....everything will be fine.

I only started doing this to get healthy and lose weight....and I've accomplished both of those things. Yes, I need to keep it up....and yes, I still have a ways to go....but I need to remember those things. Not that my pace today was 12 min/mile. Ugh! :-) :-) :-) :-)

4.1 miles, 11:57 overall average pace

Sunday, March 20, 2011

03/20/11: Shake Your Shamrock Part 2

And now for part 2 - the 13K edition. You can read about my 7K leg here. :-)

I woke up this morning to chirping birds, and just laid there for a while to listen. I've always appreciate the arrival of spring weather....but nothing like this year! (48 degrees F) I knew I'd be able to get my long run in this week....with 17 less pounds of gear on my body. No gloves, hat, two-three shirts, running tights, long underwear, jacket, etc, etc, etc.....

Here I am in my required green for the shamrock (part 2) run.

I've now officially exhausted the extent of my green clothing. And I only rec'd this shirt last week at the St. Louis St Patty's Parade Run. :-)

You also get to see what I'm fondly calling my Go Go Gadget belt. Hydration bottles on back...pocket up front for gels, beans, phone, and other misc crap I think I might need to carry. I also have pepper spray attached to it somewhere.

It's not as cool as Batman's utility belt...but give me time! I'll have a stun gun, repelling equipment and parachute soon. :-)

So anyway, I ran the 7K (plus) on Friday, and today was my day to take a stab at the 13K.

After looking up online to see exactly how far 13K is (8.08 miles - hehehehe), I realized I just so happened to have an 8 mile run on my schedule for the day.....perfect!!!!!!

I drove to one of the city's trails and headed off.

I could have labeled this post "The Birds and the Bee's" after all the wildlife I was seeing along the way.

Well.....maybe just "The Birds."

a turkey walking along the path, near the beginning of the trail

a couple of Canadian geese honked at me as I passed......honked, and honked, and honked

a male Mallard duck and his girlfriend

I also saw a blue jay, a cardinal, and far too many crows to count.

As I was driving to the trail, small droplets of rain were falling on the windshield...but by the time I'd started running, the skies let up.

At the halfway point (4.04 miles) I turned around to head back to the car. I also decided that today was the day I'd try out some gels I'd won from a virtual race in January. Adam @ I Am Boring hosted Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K Virtual Race and I won a case of these babies!

(Sorry it's taken me so long to get around to mentioning them Adam,...but I didn't want to until I was able to try them out!)

I'm new to the "gel" thing....and thought today was finally a long enough run to give them a shot.

They didn't taste nearly as disgusting as I was afraid they would. I hear horror stories about people only using them because they work, but the taste is awful. While you won't find me dining on them on a regular non-running basis, I have to say, they weren't bad at all!!!

And, about a mile later I think I could actually feel them starting to kick in. In fact, take a look at my splits for the second half of the run.....

Mile 5: 11:36
Mile 6: 11:14
Mile 7: 10:55
Mile 8: 10:16
Mile 8+: 8:54

I ended the 8.08 miles with an 11:00 min/mile average. I'll take it. :-)

So again.....thank you to Linzi @ Beyond Destination 26.2 and Aneta @ My Running Bucket to hosting the Shake your Shamrock racing series!!!! If you haven't checked out their really should!!!! :-)

Friday, March 18, 2011

03/18/11: Shake Your Shamrock Virtual 7K

Linzi @ Beyond Destination 26.2 and Aneta @ My Running Bucket are hosting a Shake Your Shamrock Virtual Run and you know me, I signed up the minute I heard about it.

The rules were to run either a 7K or a 13K.
Wear green.
And complete it between 03/17 and 03/20.
(There's still time if you want to sign up and run!!!)

I was planning on getting up yesterday morning...but failed miserably. My comfy bed won the battle. :-)

This morning was another story. I was awake a few minutes before the alarm went off. I had my gear all laid out. And the weather is still as gorgeous as ever.

Since running 7K is an unusual distance for me, I sat down at the computer earlier this week to map out my 4.34 mile route. Today technically only called for a 3 mile run on my schedule....but adding a little extra seemed perfectly fine. :-)

A few blocks from home I scared three large deer from a neighbors garden. The three of them went thundering down the road, heading east...upset I'd rustled them from their breakfast.

After I'd been running about 10 minutes or so, I looked down at my Garmin and noticed it was telling me I had run 1.92 miles.

In 10 minutes??

Crap! I'd taken the dogs for a walk a couple nights before, and hadn't reset it. Whoops. :-)

As I'm looking at my Garmin, I'm not watching where I'm going. Suddenly those SAME three deer go flying across the road in front of me. They probably thought I was following them.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful. Tomorrow is the full moon, so I only needed to turn on my headlamp in a few places. Most of my run was protected from the wind...but in the few spots I wasn't protected, I was running directly into it. (my luck)

When I plugged the ol' Garmin in after I'd returned home, I found I did a little more than the 4.34 needed. I'd gone 4.7 (7.56 K). Close enough. :-)

Me and my green before jumping into the shower and heading to work.

Post race recovery drink of choice. Chocolate milk!!!!!!

Average overall pace, 11:12 pace. (elevation gain 432, elevation loss 472 - I live on a big hill...surrounded by other big hills...there are no flat routes)

Linzi, Aneta...thanks!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!!!!

Well....I didn't get up to run this morning. Usually, my run days are Tues/Wed/Thur....Monday and Friday are non running (strength training) days....and Wednesday is sometimes a double header...with weights in the am, and running at night.

Anyway....I hit the snooze over 2 million times this morning.

I was super comfy.

I know the hot summer weather will fix this bad habit of sleeping in. If I don't run in the am, I'll melt after work....and that's all their is to it.

Until then, I get to hit the snooze, annoy the hubby, and sit here at work all day regretting not running that am. :-)

Because I don't have a run to write about....or anything of any real importance on my mind.....I'm going to participate in this little meme thing that was going around pretty heavily about a month ago.

A~Age: 35, physically

B~ Bed Size: Full. We have a pretty sweet bedroom set that's been in the family for quite some time. The only's only a full size. A king would be nice...but a queen would be plenty. One of these days, we'll eventually break down and get a new set.

C~Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom. I hate that as I'm wiping down the sink, toilet, etc.....the cloth that I'm using always leaves behind these little bits of dust, dog hair, etc. No matter what type of cloth I choose, I always have to wipe the same area down 17 million times before it's all gone. Our house is older, so our bathroom is small. Tiny. Minuscule , actually. So it's very humid after both of us get through taking a shower. So all it takes it the lab to run in and out of the bathroom once, and dog hair is stuck to everything. (I love my dog, I love my dog, I love my dog.) :-)

D~Dogs: Two right now. We used to breed Scottish Terriers, but stopped years ago. We have one male, Isaac left. And we added a black lab puppy, Sam, last year.

E~Essential Start your Day Item: Snooze. If I have to get up without being able to hit it at least once, I'm ruined.

F~Favorite Color: I'm pretty equal opportunity when it comes to color. Red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ocher and peach and ruby and olive and violet and fawn....

G~Gold or Silver: Silver, hands down. Although, I'd never turn down gold. Nope, never!

H~Height: 5'8" (ish)

I~Instruments you play: Clarinet was my principle instrument. The Eb Soprano clarinet to be specific. In high school, all the band directors would call me Epher (eeefer). I wanted to put that on the license plate of my car...but the Iowa DMV said it sounded too much like reefer, and wouldn't let me.

J~Job Title: My business card has said Project Coordinator for the past 8 years. I've also been a jeweler, a grocery store manager, a dance instructor, a car detailer, a pharmacist assistant, a meat cutter...add in a degree in accounting, and I'm a job mutt. One of these days I'll decide what I want to be when I grow up. :-) Right now it's a toss up between photographer and psychologist/psychiatrist.

K~Kids: We're too busy being kids to have some of our own. :-)

L~Live: Right now, Omaha. Until 4 years ago I lived in Iowa.

M~Mom’s Name: Sharon

N~Nicknames: Nej. Oh, and in high school a classmate, Matt Cunard, used to call me Jennifredifer.

O~Overnight Hospital Stays: Nope, none for me. (knocking on wood)

P~Pet Peeve: Folding bath towels in half the short way (first) instead of the long way. (giggle)

Q~Quote from a Movie: "If you go into the jungle, make a statement. If you're going to fight...clash!"

R~Right or Left Handed: Right. But I shoot my shotgun and rifle left handed. Oh, and every time I would dislocate my shoulder (until I finally had surgery - 18 years later) I would become a leftie for a month or so at a time. :-)

S~Siblings: Cindy is my younger sister. I call her "Inny." When she was young, and not feeling fell, I would read her a Berenstain Bear book, and put a cold washcloth on her head. (We were prone to migraines.) Anyway, she would call to me from her room "Enny!!!!" (apparently migraines affected her ability to use the letter J - giggle) So, from that day on, I call her "Inny."

T~Time you wake up: 4:45 (ish) if I'm running or going to the gym....6:18 if I'm skipping both and have to go to work. :-)

U~Underwear: Boring. No butt floss. No string bikinis. No lace. Comfort is the key word here.

V~Vegetable you Dislike: Pretty much all of them. Canned green beans and cooked carrots are OK.

W~What Makes You Late: "I have nothing to wear" situations. Oh yeah, you heard me. I can be one h*ll of a tomboy most of the time....but there are days nothing in my closet looks even remotely comfortable or stylish.

X~X-rays You’ve had Done: Oh gosh. Let's see. Shoulder (numerous times)....both lower legs.....knee.....right foot.....right wrist. I think that's it though.

Y~Yummy Food you Make: Yummy food that I make? (giggle) I married someone that can cook because I don't enjoy doing it. But, I can make a rockin' Thanksgiving dinner, and a divine key lime cheesecake.

Z~Zoo Animal Favorite: That's a tough one. I worked at the Omaha zoo for 4 years....and all of the peacocks would roost outside of my office I'm kinda partial to them. But, the penguins are awesome. They're like a dog, they want petted...when they stand near you, then lean INTO you....they follow you around.

So there you have it. An overload of Nej information at your disposal.

(All stalkers planning to use this information against me must fill out form 3517S, in triplicate, and submit two weeks before said stalking is approved. Please don't forget to sign in blue ink, and leave 3 letters of reference. )

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

03/16/11: Weights and the Classics

My alarm went off this morning, 4:42 as usual.

Why 4:42?

That's easy! My snooze lasts 9 minutes. On the days that I'm going to run, I can hit it once and get up with time to change and get started by 5:00. But on the days that I'm going to go to the gym to lift weights, I can hit it twice.....and get up at exactly 5:00.

It's the OCD in me I guess. :-)

I hit it twice today....after the second time, I ended up just shutting it off completely and turning on my second "never mind, I'm sleeping in" alarm. One of the benefits of each of us having a dual alarm clock. We each have two alarm times at our disposal. :-)

After I switched it to my second alarm....I laid there....wide awake. Staring at the ceiling.....staring at the wall.....staring at my dog sleeping on his bed on the floor.


I got up, put on my gym clothes, and headed out the door. It took every ounce of willpower I possess to get up and go.

My sister and I have been getting together to lift weights (twice a week) for about 6 months...but with her schedule, it hasn't been happening lately. Having someone waiting for you to arrive is a great motivator.....and I haven't had that for a couple of weeks.

I haven't been to the gym to lift for a week and a half. (hehehehe)

So.....there I was, at the gym...lifting weights.....bored to death. I could start bringing my iPod for music...but there's already music playing at the gym. Music just isn't effective workout entertainment for me. Never has been.

Then I got to thinking (always a scary thing).....I love listening to audio books on my long runs. I refuse to listen to anything while running in the mornings...because no one is around and I want to hear the boogieman sneaking up on me. But my longer runs are usually on a city trail...without car traffic, and with other people it's daylight, and the boogieman is afraid of daylight...right? :-)

I also got to high school didn't ask us to read the classics. No Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, Catcher in the Rye, Great Gatsby, etc. Oh wait, we had to read To Kill a I can cross that one off the list.

So, what better way to multitask, than to get fit and get caught up on the classics at the same time???

Now I've come to the part where I need your help. I need suggestions of which ones I should read first. What are your favorites????????

03/16/11: 45 minutes, full body strength workout

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

03/15/11: Ease on down, ease on down the road...

The daylight savings time switch is a magical time of year. Yes, it's still dark when I run in the morning.....but very soon the sun will be coming up as I near home.

Unfortunately, even that knowledge isn't making it easier to get up in the morning.

Last year I did it because I needed to get healthy, I needed to lose weight, I needed something that would wake me up and keep me from wanting to take a nap at 3:00 in the afternoon. I found the solution to all of those things, with one activity.


As I was tying my shoes this morning, fighting back yawn after yawn.....I couldn't help but wonder what the heck I was doing.

I've lost "most" of the weight I wanted to lose.....I'm much healthier than I've been in years......and I'm not fighting to keep my eyes open in the afternoon.

All of these things are great. So why aren't they enough to keep me motivated this year?

I suppose this isn't anything new. I'm sure I'm not the only one to think along these same lines. I suppose it's the reason we come up with new goals each year. New motivations to go along with the old ones we've got under control.

I signed up to do a half marathon last a way to measure the progress I'd made over the year. As a kind of "period" at the end of my 2010 running "sentence."

I decided to kick things up a notch in 2011. I signed up for a full marathon. There won't be a period at the end of this sentence. Nope, I've added an exclamation point!

The problem is that I'm addicted. Not to running, so to speak, but to accomplishing what I set out to do. There's nothing better than working hard for something, and then achieving it.

I find I'm signing up for as many races as I can schedule. I want to fill a rack with medals....I want to fill a book with bibs.....I'd like to make a quilt out of all the race tshirts I get along the way. Not as proof of what I've done to show others...but for myself to see.

I think of all these things while I'm running this morning. The temperatures are MUCH warmer than they've been...but it's still in the upper 20's (F). As I run, it seems as though I'm the only one awake. Birds aren't chirping yet, deer are still sleeping, windows in the houses I pass are still dark, I have the roads to myself.

My legs are sore from this weekend's run, so I'm taking it easy. The only information on my Garmin that interests me is the distance traveled. 4 miles is on the schedule. I have a rough idea of the route I'm going to take. It's normally about 3 to 3.5 I run down a few extra streets here and there to add on some distance.

I think it's funny how much more I noticed the condition of sidewalks as I drive around town. I'm constantly thinking about new routes to run. As I was driving to the grocery store last weekend, I was scouting routes that would enable me to run there instead.

Although, if I get too much stuff, I'll be walking home. Running with a gallon of milk could be entertaining.

And shopping while sweaty and stinky might not be the most polite thing to do.

Hmmmmm.....might have to rethink my plan a little. :-)

4.01 miles, 11:18 overall average pace

Saturday, March 12, 2011

03/12/11: St Louis St. Pat's Day Parade Run 5 mile

Mot and I headed down to St. Louis to see my aunt, uncle and cousin for the weekend. Last year, we happened to be in town during the annual St. Pat's day parade. Before the parade, the city hosts a 5 mile run. So this year, we all decided to participate in the run.

On our way downtown.

Linda, Mot and Kent.

Linda, me, Mot.

I'm not sure how many registered, or how many started the race and didn't finish....but there were 8951 finishers. A sea of green.

The "Running Man" statue in the middle of Kiener Plaza was dressed up in a race tshirt and bib.

The band playing at the end of the race.

The four of us at the end.

I ran behind one of these folks for the last 1/2 mile. The back of their sweatshirts had me giggling. "You'll survive."

A post race Guinness.

So now for the good news! The night before the race, I went to my favorite St Louis store, Fleet Feet. At the store, Mot insisted that I buy some new compression sleeves. I've been running for a year with no issues...but two weeks ago I barely made it one mile through shin splint pain.

Apparently, the pain was back because my compression sleeves had lost their compression quality. With my new sleeves, I was able to run the entire five miles without a HINT of pain.




I was nearly in tears when the run was over. Tears of joy that is. Thank goodness!!!!!!!!!!!

My official finishing time was 52:15...a 10:27 overall avg pace. 447 out of 740 in my age group. 4846 or out 8951 finishers.

Not too bad for not being able to run for the last two all.

I'll take it! :-)

Now, Detroit Runner hosted a virtual 5K last weekend. I wasn't able to run, so I'm using this as a kind of substitution. It was a couple miles over the required 5K though. Next time I'll be able to run ON the day of the virtual run. Jeff, I promise! :-)

Monday, March 7, 2011

5 whole days!!!!

That's how long it's been since I've run.

The reason, quite honestly, is fear. My legs feel fine.....but if I run tomorrow and I find those shin splints are still hiding out, I may have to throw a hissy fit.

Two year old style.

One the ground.....kicking and punching.....whining and crying. The works! :-)

I was going to try a run on Sunday. It wouldn't be the 7 miles on the schedule, but it would have been something.

Then the voice in the back of my head said "Nej - relax. You have a half on the first of May. That's plenty of time. Give it a few more days. Don't make it worse."

Starting today everything is back on track. Yoga this morning....and my first run of the week on Tuesday.

I've been sitting around trying to figure out what brought me back to where I was a year ago.

What the heck???

I've got it narrowed down to two things.....

1) I actually stuck with all of my runs on the schedule the week before. I hadn't been able to do that for months. So....technically, my mileage probably increased faster than it should have.

2) that nasty speed workout on the mushy track. Sure, the distance was fine, the speed was fine....but running in that mess really put allot of pressure on some of my calf muscles. And then I did a long run a few days later, on calves that were still sore. So I was overcompensating.

For those of you who are new to my problem.....the pain isn't on the front of my legs, or the outside of my legs, or even the back of my legs....all the normal places people feel shin splints (from what I've been told). Nope, it runs along the inside of my legs....from my ankles to my knees. Both sides. When I'm not running, I hardly know it's there.....but when I'm running.....well....when I'm running I know it's there, let's just put it that way.

I've had MRI's, xrays, two docs, one specialist and three physical therapists. Allot of exercises, ice packs, People magazine reading in waiting rooms, video analysis, shoe style changes, compression sleeves, etc, etc, etc.

The final consensus.....1) my pelvis was slightly out of alignment 2) my leg muscles are horribly imbalanced, and thus pulling away from tendons and bones (???? this sounds really grotesque and 18th century when I think about it) 3) my arches are insanely high.

Deep tissue massage (torture), wearing compression sleeves while running, and mild arch supports seemed to be the right combination. got me through training and running a half marathon without pain.

So.....I've gone 5 days now without running. I was so antsy last night, I nearly was out the door and running at 8:00 pm (I rarely if EVER run at night). But...I stuck to my guns.

Wait it out....give it some time.

Well.....time's up!!! I'm running tomorrow. I'm running Wednesday. I'm running Thursday...and I"m running in the 5mile St. Louis St Patty's Parade run on Saturday.

I have a deep tissue massage (shoot me now) scheduled for tomorrow after work.

I'm done playing games. :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hot Mess

I stood in the bathroom this morning, kinda freaking out a little.

There may or may not have been tears....but I'll never tell. :-)

I think the cold, and the dark, and the gloomy winter has finally completely taken control over my body. I normally LOVE the winter. The cold, the snow, the crisp air....but this year I just want it to gone.

In the 30 some years of my life, that's the first time I've ever said those words.

I'm sick of wearing 17 layers just to run 3 miles. By the time I gear up, I feel like I should be going into battle, not just for a leisurely run.

I miss starting off in the dark, and being able to watch the sun rise as I finish my run. I miss being able to drink from my water bottle without it being slushy and nearly frozen. Frozen eyelashes were fun and a novelty the first dozen times....but now the cold water dripping in my eyes as they melt is getting old.

A year ago, I was still only able to run on the dreadmill. ANY distance running outside was horribly painful. In May, my docs and therapists finally fixed me up.

So, when I had to cut my run short last night at only 1.5 miles....I had a flashback.

Same pain in my legs....same frustration.....same urge to go home, curl up in bed and hide.

I went home defeated. I did a little deep tissue massage on my legs....but I'm not a masochist, so it probably didn't do much good. I iced them dutifully.

I had trouble walking down the stairs it didn't do much good.

I have a half marathon in 8 weeks....and I can't run a mile. According to my math, I'm about 12.1 short.

I got online the minute I arrived at work, and searched for sports massage therapists in the area. I'm anxiously awaiting their reply. Those massage sessions hurt like nothing in the world...but it's time to bite the bullet and get it done. And if I like them, I'm going to set up a standing appointment.

So, anyway, there I was standing in the bathroom this morning....kinda mentally freaking out a little.

Normally, on a bad day I'll go for a run to get some of the stress out. What do I do when I'm stressed about not being able to run?

Contract killing could be fun. (giggle)

45 min weight in the am
1.5 mile run in the pm (10:56 overall average pace)