Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I kept all of my marathon training log on paper and then promptly left said log at my parents' house over Thanksgiving. My mom returned it when they came up for Christmas and I have spent the evening backlogging my miles from Sept-November into my account at logthatrun

Wouldn't you know I am 8 miles shy of my 1000 mile goal for 2010? (Damn achilles injury) I already had 4 miles planned for Thursday with Friday up in the air...is there any doubt about what I will be doing now? :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

26.2 Recap: The Marathon!


Race Day

I easily popped awake with my alarm(s) and started getting ready. When I peeked outside, I could see a few runners already headed to the start and it made me nervous, thinking I was “running behind” but really I am not the type of person that wants to be 2 hours early and I knew I had plenty of time.

Nervous pre-marathon smile

I finished packing my gym bag for Matt to take to the finish line so I could shower at Autozone Park (site of the finish and what a nice post-race amenity!) and left him with instructions on how to get there and where to be so that we could see each other at mile 4. With seemingly nothing else to do at that point, I grabbed my gear and joined the crowds of people walking to the start (might have taken 10 minutes?). Right as I was leaving my aunt Paula called to wish me good luck and I ended up talking to her for 30 minutes. It was so nice to take my mind off of my emotions and to have her “there” with me.

At the start line, there were tons of portapotties and almost NO LINES (how nice!) and I jumped in line a just a few minutes before the gun went off.

I had talked to the 5:15 pacer at the expo and he told me that he would be running dead even 12 minute splits, so I positioned myself just a little in front of that group, still hoping that maybe I could pull off a 5 hour marathon at that point. Half marathoners and marathoners all started together (Half—green bibs, Full—blue bibs) and I noticed there were A LOT of green bibs around me. There were about 8,000 signed up for the half and 3,500 for the full so this was to be expected, but a little unnerving. I found myself looking for blue bibs during the race almost as a sanity-check, if that makes any sense? Anyway, made a little small talk with some women who were thinking about coming down to Birmingham for the Mercedes Half and then it was time to GO!

(I would like to break this into miles here, but some of the details are so blurry, so I will do the best I can) Also, surprisingly enough I haven’t even ONCE gone back and looked at the Garmin stats. (Still haven’t and I started writing this post DAYS ago) I kept it on current pace screen almost the entire time and ran very much by feel, only looking at pace a few times towards the beginning and checking total time after the halfway point. I also did NOT carry my camera; with a phone, iPod and handheld, I didn't want anything else to worry about. (Side note: I saw the course photogs and posed many times during the later miles, but none of these showed up on the ASI site. Haven't had time to peruse "lost and found" yet but now that the computer is back, hope to find time this weekend)

Mile 1-2: Feeling really great and setting into a mid- 11-something pace. Skipped the congested aid station at 1.5 and kept going. When we came down by the Mississippi River, the view was just awesome and peaceful. There were beautiful houses to our right and a fun cheering squad of people high on a hill blowing on vuvuzelas! Such a contrast in the environment but fun.

One REALLY nice thing about this race was the on-course support. There were clocks, water, powerade and portapotties at EVERY MILE. (Except for the 1st 2 b/c of runner feedback…they moved it to 1.5 and started every mile from 3-25) It provided a HUGE mental boost knowing that you would be seeing people and essentially having a cheering squad every.single.mile. And this is no out and back course (it’s a double loop but only a short stretch is the same on the 2nd loop), so these were unique aid stations and they were all extremely well staffed and stocked. (There were also 2 or 3 gu stations but since I don’t use gu, I didn’t commit this to memory. There might have also been oranges at one point after the split b/c I saw the evidence—peels—but the people/goods were not there when I got there!)

Mile 3: I saw the 5:15 guy come up beside me and based on what I had been running so far, and the fact that he started in the corral behind me, I thought it was weird that I was seeing him so soon. But, I decided to try and stay with him for as long as possible, so I tucked in just to his right and settled in. I checked my watch and saw that we were running 11:30s and got concerned but hung around.

Mile 4: Still right with the pacer and desperately searching for Matt around the area (and a little before). I never did see him. He later told me he saw the “5 minute guy” and the “5:15 guy” (ummm, that is hours…haha!) and that he stayed in that area for more than an hour. Explains the text I got about 90 minutes in asking where I was. The pacer was still running fast and even kept saying it out loud!! “We are running about 30-40 seconds fast” Ummm…OK…if you are saying this mile after mile after mile then MAYBE AS THE PACER YOU SHOULD MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT. He had a co-pacer with him that was hanging back SIGNIFICANTLY and I later asked him if he was running a 5:15 and he said yes and gave me a look that let me know that he knew the other guy was way off pace. *I don't mean to sound angry or bitter about this if I do; I ran my own race and had a great time. But if you're there to do a job and say you're going to employ a strategy then please do so*

Mile 5: Running through the St Jude campus was exhilarating…so many signs, people and energy. It was hard not to get caught up in it all but I tried to remain on an even keel b/c it was so early and I knew I would want that energy later.

Mile 6-7: I lost the original 5:15 guy somewhere in here. He was still running 11:30s and I knew that I could not hold this group for 26 miles, so I slowly let them go. The co-pacer had dropped WAY back at this point too and actually did not pass me again until mile 11, which made me feel better J The elite men passed by around mile 7-8 for us (22-23? For them) It was neat to see and cheer for them

Mile 8-10: I really enjoyed running in Overton park…the shaded paths were nice and relatively flat. Although coming up one hill there was a van of people blaring “YMCA” with dancers dressed up as the Village People and additional back up dancers/cheerleaders. Lots of fun J

Mile 11-13: I made my 1st phone call around the 11 mile mark and skipped the aid station. I had promised myself that I would be allowed one short (1-2min) phone call (on speaker phone while still running)every hour starting with the 2 hour mark for sanity since I was running alone and I knew that if anything, it was going to be tough to be “alone” for such a long time. I called Lauren and she got energized by hearing the crowd noise/bands, told me I sounded great and wished me luck. It really put an extra spring in my step and I WAS feeling great and I needed to channel that energy b/c I was surrounded by half marathoners who were currently hitting their own wall (and loudly complaining about it) and I could not allow myself to get sucked in to negative/exhausting energy.

I hope that doesn’t sound pompous or snide b/c I understand and remember feeling like I had hit a wall THE ENTIRE TIME I was running the Country Music Half but knowing I had such a long way to go, it was tough to listen to it. There was also a kid in a hot dog costume jumping into the crowd around this point who was OBNOXIOUS (where were his parents?) and blocking runners and saying “only 2 miles!” (I’m thinking, more like 15 and actually a marathoner somewhere around me yelled out “not for all of us!” haha!) My yoga instructor and her husband zoomed past me at mile marker 12 and I kept them in my sights for a LONG time but I never did catch up to them.

Mile 14-16: Also known as the point where I hit my wall. (And where the race course photog got a pic of me that makes me look like an oompa loompa--the only on course photo tagged to me) I was mentally prepared for the thinning of the crowd (both runners and spectators) and actually looking forward to getting to work. I got a buzz of energy as we split from the half and managed to fake a smile for the photog as I headed up Beale Street (again). However, by this point, the sun was out in full force and the course was kind of ugly and the rolling hills were beginning to take their toll. There was really no one running at my pace (no one passing me but it took me a while to catch up with people too) and the people I could see ahead of me were also beginning to struggle. Up until that point I had only been walking through the aid stations (if at all) but at this point I was struggling to make it from point to point and began bargaining with myself. I called Paula (quite possibly my biggest supporter) at mile 16 for a status update and let her know I was tired and looking forward to seeing mile 20. Somehow I knew that if I could get there I would be OK. I noticed I wasn’t sweating as much and started to feel a little nauseous and tried to take care of myself as best I could.

Mile 17-19: I was physically starting to feel better but starting to feel a little “delirious”. It was hard for me to do math at this point (paces, miles left, etc) and I found myself getting annoyed by the littlest (and not so littlest) things. Around 17 or so, I heard this “zooming” on the pavement behind me only to then nearly get decked by a skateboarder! Grrrrrrr ….I guess he figured that he was going to take advantage of the closed roads and skate the course which was SO WRONG. He was skating recklessly and at one point almost knocked down some runners ahead of me after he almost wiped out. He was on the course for at LEAST 2 miles and took fluid from one of the aid stations (where I passed him again)!! I was so angry and desperately wanted to find a course marshall to get him kicked off the course but I suspect he was at some point b/c I never saw him again. I reminded myself not to give him my precious energy but seeing him almost knock people down and not apologize really fired up my Italian temper! Around 18 I finally ditched the long sleeve tee that had been wrapped around my waist since mile 2.5. I thought it might make it home with me, but again, the littlest things were annoying me and I felt like I lost 10 pounds when I tossed it aside at the aid station. I started to notice that there were a lot of people laid out/stretching at aid stations. Not anyone getting medical help, thankfully, but people were hurting. Also around this stretch I encountered a woman who looked to be my mom’s age and a woman in a wheelchair who reminded me of my sweet grandmother…they were alone on a corner cheering for everyone and it brought tears to my eyes. They must have been cheering someone near me or behind me b/c I saw them 3 MORE times by the end. Brought so many emotions thinking about my grandmother and how proud of me she would be if she could see me. (Tearing up now…I miss her SO MUCH)

Mile 19-21: I actually started passing a lot of people during this stretch and caught up to a crowd, quite possibly because I was still running (shuffling?) for a good portion of each mile. The walking breaks were liberal, I’m not going to lie, but there was still some structure to what I was doing. I called Matt after the 20 mile mark and he said I sounded good (I was starting to feel human again) though he said…”only 10 miles left” and I was like “NO! Only 6.2” Definitely unnecessarily annoyed but I was starting to feel hungry and hot and the thought of 10 miles left was unreal! There was one girl this stretch who was running with her sister or friend and she was MUCH stronger than her counterpart. She kept trying to motivate the other girl (not effectively) who was REALLY struggling and the girl who was struggling kept trying to get the strong girl to go ahead. Strong would say “no, I’m not going to leave you” but would then “sprint” ahead and impatiently stop ahead and “stretch” or look back and yell “come on” and sigh. Strong girl was stressing ME out and I could only imagine how her friend felt. I leapfrogged with strong girl through mile 24 (never again saw her friend) and which point I passed her and didn’t see her again. If you are going to stick with someone then do so but don’t get several hundred yards ahead, stop and act impatient. I also saw a woman with a baby on board sign on her back around this time!!! WOW. She was with her (Ironman) husband and he was taking such great care of her. (We also leapfrogged for the next few miles) She didn’t have a visible bump and I wanted to ask her when she was due/acknowledge her strength but she and her husband seemed very focused on each other and I didn’t want to butt in on what felt like a very “private” time for them.

Mile 21-26.2: Around mile 21 is when I met up with Diana and Amy—my mental lifesavers! Some guy in green (half marathon) numbers came sprinting up a hill in the opposite direction asking if anyone wanted his extra gu just as I was passing Diana and Amy. They were floored by his energy and I pointed out his green numbers and we had a laugh. I struck up conversation with them and we found that we were employing pretty similar race strategies (They had just met and decided to run together at mile 20) and asked if I wanted to stick with them. Absolutely!! This is what I had been wanting for the past 10+ miles! (Side: It was Amy’s first marathon as well and Diana’s second) Neither of them had a Garmin so we agreed to walk the aid stations and run until my Garmin was at .75 of the mile, walk until the .0 and then run to the next aid station. (Sounds more complicated then it was. I was only .15 off from the mile markers which I am pretty proud of in terms of running the tangents. There were a LOT of turns on this course and .15 extra is almost NOTHING after 26.2 miles) We agreed to stick together and although at times, I think I could have done with less walking, the 5(?) minutes I might have saved doing my own thing was NOTHING compared to the mental support and positive energy these girls provided. They were such positive and like minded people (thanking volunteers and spectators, encouraging other runners) and they made the end enjoyable and fun. Approaching mile 25 Diana didn’t think she would be able to run anymore, but Amy and I encouraged her to do it and she did! I called Paula one last time at 25.5 and she cheered the 3 of us on. Amy called her parents from my phone as well, but unfortunately they didn’t answer. Amy and I almost started crying as we realized we were going to FINISH!! HUGE SMILES, a love-fest of thank yous and emotions and FINALLY the 26 mile marker on a downhill into the stadium! We hit the warning track and Diana and I found a sprint, I saw Matt—camera in hand, I turned around wanting Amy to finish by our side…she was giving everything she had and crossed a few seconds later. Sweaty hugs, tears…WE DID IT! I AM A MARATHONER!!!

Diana and I about to cross...Amy was a few steps behind. You can see a HUGE smile on my face!

I love that both feet are still off the ground here!


My medal is turned around backwards, but I didn't even care!

Next up: The aftermath

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Still alive

I've had my marathon recap written for a few days now but having computer issues at home (where the photos are loaded) so I promise, the novel will eventually be posted :)

In the meantime, recovery is going well. I took full advantage of "Zero Week" to fit in some social gatherings and volunteer work and catch up on some (apparently) much needed sleep. Got in my 1st run last Friday with only some weird pain behind my left knee which is now gone. Have run once this week and did yoga last night. Hoping the weather will hold out tonight so I can run outdoors and check out some of the neighborhood Christmas lights. (It has gone from 15 degrees on Tuesday to 60 degrees today, so I need to take advantage while I can!)

I don't know what I thought recovery would be like, but I didn't expect the soreness to subside so quickly! (I took the stairs at work last Monday and was wearing heels by last Tuesday!) Right now it's harder to mentally get "up" for a run than it is physicially. I am definitely looking forward to running another marathon (soon?) if I can mentally gear myself up for the extreme long runs. For now, focusing on getting back out there and hopefully scoring a half marathon PR on Valentines weekend!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

26.2 Recap: Part 1

So I am going to "apologize" in advance...this is going to end up being a series of posts. I really want to try and capture the little things so I can have this to look back on :) And heck, my first marathon is worth a few posts, right? ;)

St Jude/Memphis Marathon 12/4/10: Race Report

Before the Race

After being in denial pretty much all week, I finally buckled down Thursday night (the night before we left) and did a final, easy run, went and got a light/relaxing massage and spent about a million $$ on iTunes/making modifications to my play list(s).

I was originally supposed to be “off” Friday but with the workload we are under, along with expectations of my boss and knowing that we had a huge meeting/presentation at 7am on Monday, I thought it best to work half a day before heading out of town. Matt had to work in the morning anyway, so it was no big deal. I ended up having a “networking breakfast” at a local coffee shop with one of my dear friends from grad school who was visiting from out of town (we had made these plans weeks earlier when she had emailed letting me know she was going to be in town for work and I thought I was going to be off) and it really helped keep me calm and keep my mind off of the things I still needed to do before we left.

I left work around lunch, stopping at a local cycle shop to pick up a couple packages of Sports Beans on the way home since I was almost out and didn’t want to rely on hoping these would be available at the expo. (Side note for any local peeps: Cahaba Cycles has THE best selection of beans, gu, nunn, etc…blows the track stores and the big chains out of the water! Plus they are a local business and I do my best to support local enterprises when possible)

I got home to find Matt’s car gone (he works from home, so this was weird) only to find out that he was trying to get a new tire put on his car b/c it turns out one of his had a nail in it!! I finished packing and had everything 100% ready to go by the time he got home, so we finally headed out around 2:00, making a slight detour to the vet to drop the babies off for the weekend. Memphis is a +/- 4 hour drive from Birmingham and packet pick up was open until 9:00 so I wasn’t getting too stressed (yet) but Matt seemed to be taking his time as we stopped to fill up with gas and he went into the convenience store to get a drink for the road (I already had my “mobile hydration and fuel station” LOL) and I was starting to get anxious. Birmingham traffic had been abnormally thick on Friday (all roads/all directions) and I just wanted to get out of town b/c I knew once we did, it would be low traffic/smooth sailing. (Internal dialogue: We have ½ tank of gas…can’t we wait until we are on the road and stop in some small, redneck town to refuel???)

Beautiful sunset on the drive to Memphis

We finally rolled into Memphis around 7:00 and since we were staying at the hotel attached to the convention center (where the expo was taking place), I went in to pick up my packet while Matt parked the car. Packet pick up was a BREEZE and I easily got my bib, t-shirt and goodie bag before checking out the expo (or what was left of it by that point). The freebies were essentially gone as I expected and the $9.99 guy that Laura from Running in the Delta raved about was picked over. I wanted to find some event merchandise but I never did see a booth with anything. Maybe I missed it? (I saw some people wearing apparel the next day) Matt had found me by that point, so I picked up a 26.2 magnet for my car and a 26.2 ornament and we were off to get checked into the hotel and to find dinner.

We ate at Neely’s BBQ since we enjoy watching their show on the Food Network (Gina is a bit annoying at times, but their food usually looks tasty) and was conveniently less than 1 mile from the hotel. I ordered the BBQ spaghetti (supplemented by 2 rolls and tons of water) while Matt proceeded to polish off pork, fries and all of my coleslaw. I really enjoyed it and barely dented my plate (it felt like the spaghetti was multiplying before my eyes) but Matt said that he didn’t care for the sauce (and therefore, the meal) (Side: never would have guessed by the amount of food he finished!)

We headed back to the hotel and I began laying everything out for the morning. I had decided to go with a throwaway long sleeve and run in the short sleeves since it was predicted to be in the low 40s at the start, warming up to the mid 50s. I piddled around, looked through the goodie bag (not much to note there…it was actually pretty sad) and clipped my toenails (HAHA) before finally settling in around 10:00. The race had an 8:00am wave start (I was placing myself in wave 12, so I knew I would cross sometime between 8:15 and 8:30) and it was only a few block walk to the start (and I was not checking anything) so my goal was to be out of bed by 6 and out the door by 7.

I am surprised but I actually slept really well (despite getting up 3x during the night to pee). At this point I was more emotional than nervous and just wanted to focus on getting to work. (I didn’t mention earlier but when my coworkers Lauren and Jan gave me a card and hugged me goodbye and told me how proud they were of me, I started bawling right then and there in the office. Thank God for being able to close the door to compose myself before walking out to my car!)

Next Up: Race Day

Thursday, December 2, 2010

And in other news...

I am not feeling quite as CRAZY today!

Hotel booked: 4:45pm

Massage Appt: 5:30pm :)

The hotel was a tad more than I wanted to spend BUT it's downtown, attached to the convention center/expo, has free trolley service to the start and the course passes at mile 4, so if nothing else I will get to see Matt at least once before the finish! The peace of mind I have MORE than makes up for the $50 I went over "budget". (Not to mention we have a comped room in Tunica Saturday night so that should count for something!)

This is getting real!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In Denial

So, I have a confession to make.

I think I am seriously in denial that I am going to be running a marathon in...at this point...less than 72 hours.

Seriously. WTF?

I have not really been nervous until this point. But it's hit me like a ton of bricks this week. Last night was a scheduled rest day and what I do with my extra time? JACK SQUAT. You think I could have used the time to begin gathering my things, work on my mile by mile dedication list, work on my play list, or hell, BOOK A HOTEL ROOM (since, no, I have not done that yet), but no, I sat on my rear watching bad TV and finishing my Christmas cards instead. Priorities, people!

This is really unlike me as avoidance is not one of my standard coping mechanisms. But here I sit at work, almost 12 hours after I arrived this morning, finally wrapping up (extremely busy day)and actually printing some information about the race and stressing about what to wear, where to eat the night before, etc. Maybe if I write the specific things I'm stressed about, it can serve as a release? (Can you tell I worked in the mental health field before moving over to the big bad world of administration?)

#1. My achilles and I guess, my body in general. I haven't talked much about it though it has been feeling better. BUT running no doubt aggravates it, even on shorter distances and therapy has not been totally pleasant. Also, to say my 20 miler was not a confidence builder would be an understatement (I also got VERY dehyrdated/moderately disoriented) and I worry about something happening to my tendon/leg and worry about bonking out. I am planning on continuing with my prescribed stretches, using the last of my anti-inflamm patches over the next couple of days and listening to my body...and possibly getting a massage tomorrow evening. I am also making it my goal to get in 100 ounces of water every day this week (will begin adding electrolytes tomorrow)...so far haven't made it...72--Monday, 60 yesterday, at 80 so far today...but I am moving in the right direction.

#2. What (NOT) to wear. I am actually surprised to be stressed about this because I generally feel like I have had this figured out pretty well for my long runs this training cycle. However, I have had the luxury of looping back by my house and being able to trade long sleeves for short when needed. (This was always planned as I knew I would be warming up after 7 miles or so). Temps are predicted 40 for the low, high in the upper 50s. Race starts at 8 and I will be running for 5 hours. So I need to plan for the warm and I don't want to double layer b/c I SWEAT. Logic would say arm sleeves but I don't own these and "nothing new on race day" I may just wear a cheapy l/s tee at the start and ditch it within the first couple of miles (or immediately). The rest of the outfit is figured out: capri length tights, IronMan socks, Mizuno Wave Nirvanas, Nike sports bra, bondi band. Carrying the handheld, wearing a shadow pack and rocking the iPod. That being said, I know myself: I will pack multiple options!

#3: Where to eat? Luckily I have a pretty strong stomach and am not worried about "what" so much as "where" What if the food sucks or is sketchy?

#4: Race day morning eats. I know part of feeling like crap on the 20 was not being fueled properly beforehand. I barely choked down a Cliff mojo trail mix bar b/c A. I am sick of them (but they work, usually) B. I have a hard time eating super early. It's not a super early start (for better or worse) but makes me wonder if I should try taking in a little something extra beforehand that will "stick" a bit better. On the 20, I felt really hungry by mile 10 and that is just not a good sign. (For the record, I also fuel during with sports beans and gatorade/water alternating or mixed...gu makes me gag)

#5: Getting to the start on time. I guess I should be more worried about finding a place to stay! But seriously, I am not at all familiar with Memphis and Matt is SO NOT a good navigator. I do not want to be stressed about that on race morning and I am already anticipating the bickering (road closures, parking issues, etc) I am hoping he agrees to take his car. It has GPS built in which would make life MUCH easier, but no guarantees. But since we burned up the roads over Thanksgiving in his vehicle, I don't know whose car is up for the road trip. I know he'll be driving but the rest is unknown.

OK, I actually feel somewhat better now, so it's time to head home and eat dinner before running tonight. Any advice on the stressors is always welcome, though!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

By the numbers

1: Ice Bath
2: Hours napped this afternoon :)
3: Phone calls made to family members when I was not feeling so hot around mile 16
4: Hours of running
5: Miles in each of the 4 loops I did to complete the mileage
6: Times I crossed paths with the guy in black who I often see during my early morning runs (we stopped and talked during one of the loops around the lake)
7: Laps around Star Lake
8: Workouts left on my training plan
9: How many degrees above normal was today's high. Running in the 70s at the end of the run was TOO HOT!
10: The hour in which I actually finished my run (got started about an hour later than intended)
11: People that waved or spoke while I was out and about
12: Sports Beans consumed (3 each at miles 4, 8, 12, and 16)
13: Days until the marathon!
14: Ounces in the chocolate shake I nursed this afternoon (anyone else not a fan of solid food after a long run?)
15: Mile marker at which I realized I was no longer sweating
16: Mile marker at which I considered quitting, but after taking a break to talk to family and knowing that I could walk if (WHEN) needed, decided to keep going
17: "All I do is win" by DJ Khaled...the 17th song on my "running" playlist (Also listened to today: both Glee soundtracks and the original Sex and the City soundtrack)
18: Mile marker where I got my second (third? fourth?) wind
19: Geese that I had to run through at one point in order to navigate away from the lake (approximate...humor me here)
20: Miles ran

Bring on the taper :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Report from the Doctor

Thank you all very much for your comments and feedback. With those thoughts in mind, I did end up skipping the 20 miler on Friday morning and opted for a therapeutic massage instead. There was actually some chaos surrounding the massage, as I showed up to the Massage Envy closest to my house at 8am thinking I had an appt with someone who actually specialized in sports massage. Turns out they had booked me for 8 PM. Ummm...no. So they fit me in at the Mtn Brook location, and while the massage was good, I asked for focus on my legs and got focus on my back instead. (Yes, my back needed it, but my legs needed it more!)

I was in Auburn for the weekend and I know this may sound dramatic but I was truly lost without having a long run on the weekend! My aunt and I did go to the gym each morning for about an hour of cross training (and I got a few miles of walking on Saturday since we walked to the game and around campus) but it was NOT the same. I tried to take it easy on my ankle while still working up a sweat but truly, nothing beats running for that feeling of really having worked hard. And selfishly, it's been nice to not worry about what I eat on the weekend since I've been burning 1500+ calories to start the day. (Not that I pig out following the run...quite the opposite, I don't really feel hungry...but I also don't worry about having something if I want it)

I had my appt with a local sports medicine doc this morning, following a recommendation from the Track Shak. As I mentioned in my comments on the last post, I felt very comforted knowing that the doc was both female and a marathoner b/c I knew she could relate to training and both the physical and mental side of what I have been working toward.

She was great and took a lot of time with me which I appreciated. The physical exam didn't reveal any thickening or tears in the tendon and the x-rays came out clear (no calcification or stress fractures as a result of any overcompensating I may be doing to make up for the pain in the Achilles.) She did some bilateral strength tests (don't know if that's the technical term for it) after feeling my calves and legs and recognizing that the right calf/leg is significantly tighter than the left and boy is there a difference in my right and left side. My left upper body/shoulder also has weakness which is a result of the tightness/weakness on the right lower body. So interesting! She threw around the term "mild pelvic obliquity" but didn't really go into it, so upon some Googling it looks like my pelvis may be tilted which is causing everything to go out of whack. I don't have scoliosis or anything (seems to come up a lot when talking about pelvic obliquity) and wish she had used more technical medical terms instead of talking through process. I like the process explanations but I like to have a term I can investigate later and am fairly comfortable with "technical" medical explanations but I digress.

The important news is that I am cleared to run!!! She told me to put a small heel insert in my right shoe for the next week or so, gave me some topical anti-inflammatory patches to use for the next few days and has referred me to physical therapy for some deep tissue release which she said is really the key to getting me to Memphis healthy. I know this deep tissue is going to hurt like hell (also confirmed by her) but it will be so worth it. She told me it would be ideal if I can go 3-4 times before Memphis (less than 3 weeks!), so I am going to call tomorrow to get some appointments lined up.

I had 5 on the schedule tonight but ran just under 4 on the treadmill due to time constraints (it was 9:15 and I still needed to go to the grocery store) with a slight twinge of pain at the end but otherwise felt good. I made sure to stretch well and have just changed over my patch (they are to be worn for 12 hours and then switched). I am SO relieved. I just need to be smart and not over do it with "pushing the pace" (all relative) and I need to avoid hills like the plague.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Concerned and Confused

I am a little more than 3 weeks out from THE marathon and have taken a half day off from work tomorrow to get in my 20 mile run. Following Higdon's Novice plan my subsequent long runs are to be 12, 8 and then the big 26.2.

I don't know if I've been in denial the past couple of weeks or so but I am worried about my achilles and don't know what to do about my 20-miler tomorrow. (Looking for advice) No doubt, my right achilles is sore and it's trying to tell me something. I don't have pain when I run and it's not too obvious when I walk. But rest assured my achilles does NOT like going down stairs. AT. ALL. I hobble down them and I even had to ask my boss if we could take the elevator DOWN yesterday (he knows I'm training and has dealt with his own knee injury recently due to a karate mishap...and we all got the daily updates on injury/rehab/etc...so he was certainly understanding) which was humbling.

I'm 99% sure I know the cause and it's a combination of things:
1. I work in a conservative and professional environment and am a dedicated high heel wearer. 3 or 4 inch heels are no big thing in my book and I often do a lot of walking at work (multiple miles per day). I have some cute flats but they often don't see too much action during the work week, but they do on occasion.

2. I then hop into my running shoes and run hilly routes by default. Believe me, I LIKE flat courses and often go out of my way to choose the flattest route possible. But, as a local running coach likes to remind: We live in the foothills of the Appalachains...there are going to be hills. And hills there are. Rollers and monsters. The Vulcan Run that I ran last weekend is known for a particular "hill" that lasts for a couple of miles in the middle of the course. I was mentally prepared b/c I've heard so much about it but I had ZERO trouble with it (and this was after having knocked out the 1st half of my long run prior to the race). Suffice to say, I am very used to runnng in hilly conditions which only serves to screw with my achilles even further

All this to say: what do I do about this 20 miler? Do I run it tomorrow? Take this weekend off for total rest? Do the bike at the gym on no resistance for cardio purposes (the thought of being sedentary makes me want to yak this close to the end/when I am supposed to be at peak training) Try my 20 miler next weekend? It would leave me with 2 weeks of taper which is still OK. I am not "racing" anything but I don't want to bonk out there on the course. I have felt so good and confident in my long runs this training cycle. Were all of them AWESOME? Of course not. Long runs are HARD. But I generally ended most of them feeling tired but still strong and accomplished, mentally preparing myself for marathon day strategy.

I want to be smart about this. Any words or advice is appreciated.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vulcan 10K here I come

So...after some debating I stopped by the Track Shak after work today and registered for Vulcan Run. Are we really surprised?

Pretty nice swag for a 10K (gender specific tech shirt...though they were out of women's sizing but I am not upset since I registered about 12 hours before the race!...coupon for free yogurt from Yogurt Mountain, all natural PB, a Snicker's Marathon protein bar and a few coupons all inside a reusable tote bag) Post race party includes beer, quesadillas (at 9am this may be a little much!) and free massages. Weather is supposed to be 35 degrees at the start (chilly but perfect!) Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Please be careful out there

Especially as more and more of us are running in the dark due to shortened daylight hours this time of year, please, please be careful when sharing the road (either behind the wheel or pounding the pavement)

This morning the Dean of the College of Math and Sciences at Auburn University was killed while running on a road well-traveled by both runners and cars. (I crossed this very intersection the time I was home and ran with AORTA.) Please keep her running buddy in your thoughts as she was also struck and airlifted to a regional hospital. Edit: I just realized her running buddy, "Frankie", referenced in the article is my parent's next door neighbor. I knew the name sounded familiar but I never knew her last name. I just know she and her husband as "Frankie and Felix". I am friendly with them when I visit my parents but am not super close as F&F moved in after I graduated college. I talked to my dad and as of now there is no additional news.

April at Mommy's Fit for the King also had a close call this week and another member of the AORTA group (that I met/ran with) was hit by a car a few weeks ago and broke her shoulder.

I'm sure this happens more often than we would like to think but it makes me extremely sad every time I hear of an accident with a vehicle and runner/biker/etc. Very.very.sad.

Items with reflective tape. A flash light. A clip on blinking light. A headlamp. Whatever it takes. Please take care of yourself.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The League

Any fans of The League out there? This show is definitely un-PC but hilarious! Matt and I have just started watching this season (only saw a couple episodes of season 1) and find that it's a great way to spend a mindless 30 minutes on Thursday night having a good laugh. There was actually one episode this season called "The Marathon" where the dorky doctor character (Andre) trains for the Chicago marathon and annoys the hell out of everyone with his training regimen, nutrition and hydration, etc. I cracked up the entire time. Tonight Andre and another character end up in a foot race to settle a "dispute" and Andre in his full glory and tight running tights (for a 400M race) reminds everyone that he "trained for a marathon". Freaking LOVE.IT. (For a ton more reasons than the running references but those have made it even funnier)

Monday, November 1, 2010

To run or not to run?

After an 18 (turned 19) miler yesterday, this weekend is a step back weekend...14 miles. I just realized that the Vulcan Run (10K) is this Saturday. Do we think it's a good idea to run 8 around my usual stomping ground, then drive downtown for an 8am 10K? (And running in downtown Birmingham beforehand is NOT in the cards due to safety reasons)

*If I'm being realistic it would probably take 20 minutes to get downtown and then another 10 to park/walk/jog to the start

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So far behind...

I am so far behind on blogging and I feel like I haven't truly caught up on anything since I returned from Disney last week. A glimpse at some of what I have been up to over the past week (besides work, work, work and the usual training runs...which have had a bit of variety...that for another post)

This year's race drew over 16,000 people! I lost my grandmother to breast cancer (she died before I was born) and have several other friends and family members who have been touched by the disease, so this is an extremely important cause for me.

My "second mom" Lisa sent me this shirt. One of her close friends (a survivor) did the 3-day in Philadelphia, so I wore the shirt in her honor.

Amy and I ran the 5K together. I had gotten up early to do my long run and counted these as the last 3.1 miles. I paced Amy and amazingly ran negative splits and came very close to an unofficial race PR (but the race gave up chip timing this year)...very pleased!

I am a HUGE college football fan. I listen to sports talk radio many days out of the year (and almost always on my commute to work), subscribe to sports blogs and love ESPN. However, I get VERY stressed watching "my" two teams, Auburn and Florida State and if I'm not in person watching, I am glued to the TV and often get so worked up that I have to watch it by myself (Matt can't take the screaming and my stress levels). I think a lot of people might be shocked if they were a fly on the wall watching me watch football games that I really care about. Just FYI, I am an FSU alum and grew up in Auburn, Matt is an Auburn alum as is most of my immediate family...so AU is the team I grew up loving and still do!

Daniel Tosh was in town Sunday night and Matt and I went and saw his stand-up act with Matt's friend Troy and his wife, Julie. I have never seen his show on Comedy Central (Tosh.0) but this show was f-ing hilarious. Highly inappropriate at times but really funny. He actually kind of looks like a cross between Troy and Jeff Lewis (from Bravo's Flipping Out) Great end to the weekend!

Decorating for fall...

...in preparation for hosting these lovely ladies for BUNCO on Wednesday night (This was from our Christmas BUNCO last year). Homemade baked ziti, salad, brownies and pumpkin squares. Good times and the lowest stress BUNCO I've ever hosted. Being in a routine with my house cleaning took 90% of the stress off. Ziti is one of my "automatic" recipes so even though I was making a double batch, I was very much on autopilot and actually had everything ready before my guests arrived for dinner. (Go me!)

And last but not least, this morning Roxy and Bali had a little sibling rivalry which threw a loop into the day. Roxy is OK and not missing an ear(!) but it's pinned back and bandaged as a precaution against any further bleeding. Bali nicked her ear in 3 places and apparently dog's ears bleed very badly when injured and have a hard time healing. R&B (as we affectionately call them) are usually BFF so this baffles and concerns me. (The incident happened while I was in the shower and Matt broke it up) We need to do a little "alpha reinforcement" (R is the alpha and B seems to be challenging that position) but hopefully everything will get back to normal soon!

Tonight we have an out of town friend staying with us and had delicious Flip Burger for dinner. I'm looking forward to a quiet night in tomorrow before my 16-miler on Saturday morning. New PDR for me and I'm nervous about the route!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm back!

The race ROCKED and we had a blast! No PR but I have never felt better after a long run and as you will see in a future post, even had the energy to cheese for the cameras :) Full race and trip report as soon as I can gather my thoughts and sanity!

Thursday, September 30, 2010


My unspoken goal was to go 4-6 miles this morning. Opting for 20 more minutes of sleep in lieu of extra mileage, I knocked out 4.4 miles in a few ticks over 50 minutes, including several significant hills. Tiny morale killer when one guy went FLYING past me on one of my least favorite uphills, but at least I did it! Feeling a ton more confident, b/c I know if I can run 50 minutes, I can run for over 2 hours.

Time for a shower, work, an after-work event for arts and complimentary therapies for our Palliative Care Unit (don't worry, no alcohol for me!) and packing. Busy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Down for the count...but on the mend

So, like I mentioned earlier, the training cycle has been going pretty much as well as (if not better than) expected and I've been managing to keep work and social obligations balanced. Had an AWESOME 12 miler in Auburn (ran 10 of that with the running club that I was originally too intimidated to run with), improving time (slow but steady) on my weekday runs and toughed out a solo 13 miler last Saturday morning and enjoyed a wonderful massage afterwards (and promptly fell asleep during it).

Then Sunday: woke up with a scratchy throat and tired (slept until 10:30) but it was raining (the reason I wasn't already on the trails with Amy) and cool outside so I talked it up to general fatigue and change of seasons.

We can quickly guess that it was NOT change of seasons, no?


I am not one to over-medicate at the first little sign and symptom of not feeling well. I tend to think that after two or so days of going to bed a little earlier, backing off the workouts, upping the vitamin C and maybe some mild OTC meds at night so I CAN sleep (in absence of being able to breathe) tends yield the same result of those that rush for a Z-pack (or whatever it's called).

Two days of this strategy and I was getting WORSE. Woke up with a sinus headache and congestion this morning so severe that I couldn't even hold my eyes open. (Nice image, huh?) So I did something I have not done in over 6 years...I called in sick to work. Knowing I had five meetings and a ton to do, but I could not afford another day of struggling and luckily my boss was COMPLETELY AWESOME and accommodating. Some of his first words: "You have to get better so you can run your race!" I mean, WOW.

So after going back to sleep, I headed to my neighborhood urgent care. I told the doc straight up that I had been feeling like crap since Sunday, what my usual philosophy was to care (above) BUT that I had a half marathon Saturday night and I had every intention to toe that line feeling the best I could...so whatever we needed to do, I was game. Turns out I don't have a "cold" or virus...but a NASTY sinus infection that she informed me would NOT have gotten better on its own. 45 minutes later, 2 shots in my ass (Abx...and a corticosteriod--how could I NOT feel better after that?) where I may or may not have cursed out loud and 2 prescriptions later, I am feeling HUMAN again.

Matt and I took the dogs out for a 3 mile walk/jog tonight (after I spent the afternoon both working and napping) so we could get in a little "family bonding" before our trip and also so I could see how my breathing and stride were reacting. I didn't feel too bad, which was promising and I intend to get up early and try to crank out a few miles if I feel in the LEAST BIT up to it.

I haven't gotten sick in probably TWO YEARS!!! and now??? SERIOUSLY??? My running has been going SO well and I was not talking about it but seriously hoping for a PR at Disney given the nighttime (read: cooler) running conditions and flat course (flat? say what?). At this point, I'm just trying to finish strong and healthy and will take it back to the "training run mentality" so that I don't get myself too hyped up with anxiety. I will NOT be a DNF but I might not shave 10 minutes off my Mercedes time...or maybe I will? We'll see on Saturday!

Any tips for staying well and preparing for the next 3 days would be much appreciated. I have never had a race while "under the weather" before.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's been a BUSY week but with generally great energy surrounding it, so I am not complaining! Have had lots on my mind so hopefully I don't sound too frantic. While I've been feeling more "human" at work this week, the hours have still been funky and long resulting in no time to post!

I had a great run tonight after work on my usual trail with friend and co-worker, Lauren (who ran her first 5K with me earlier this year). It wasn't planned...sometime mid-afternoon she came in my office and said "you have to motivate me to go to the gym after work"...knowing I had a 3 miler (give or take) planned for this evening (her usual distance when she runs), I asked if she would like to come along and luckily she said yes! I am not a social runner, so I was a bit apprehensive, but I feel like I'm getting stronger and this is a new way to stretch myself. It was HOT (90+ degrees) after work and technical part of the trail is kind of tough, IMO, but she (we) did great! I'm not a coach, but would love to have the training/knowledge one day when I get a bit more time. I made sure NOT to ask "are you OK?", but instead would say things like "we are rocking this" or start random conversation when I could tell energy was waning. I let her know when we had less than .5 to go and even asked if she was willing to sprint when the end of the trail was in sight. It was SUCH a great time running with someone else...I hope she had just as much fun! (She said that I kicked her ass but in a good way!) How do you like to be motivated when you run? What do you dislike?

I had my first "medium long run" before work the other morning...set off in the pitch black at 5:15am for a 6 miler (not the norm for me, but you do what you have to do) and I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. (I look at it as good training for Disney!) I was SHOCKED at how many people I saw out and about though (more than what I see on the weekend!) and even how many were on my "scary" 6 lane hwy! It was SO peaceful though and amazing to be looping around the lake, watching the sun come up and the geese flock in. I love Star Lake (which is in my neighborhood)...it's so picturesque at all times of day and year...and feel fortunate to have many options for running close by.

And I know this may sound strange, but I am unbelievably excited for my 12 miler this weekend (and have been since I put the training schedule together)! I am headed down to "the loveliest village on the plains" tomorrow after work for game weekend. I am staying with my favorite aunt and hope to be out by 5:15 (5:30 at the latest) for a route *kind of* similar to this week's AORTA Saturday plan. I want to go a bit more through campus and loop by Matt's friend's house (approx halfway) so that I have a place to rehydrate (and go to the bathroom if needed). ESPN's Gameday is being held at Auburn this weekend, so I am a little wary of potential hecklers around campus but I hope by getting out early enough I can avoid most of the madness. My aunt and I actually have ideas for a sign and plan to go up to campus for the broadcast once I am showered and caffeinated :) Then joining up with Matt for tailgating, visiting with my parents and "second parents" and HOPEFULLY getting into the game that evening. It's going to be a busy and quick weekend but I LOVE football and fall (even though it's not very fall-like around here yet) and always look forward to visiting my hometown during this time of year. Let's hope I can manage to get out of work a little early tomorrow and get the weekend started a little early :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Day in the Life...

Challenged by Beth from Shut Up and Run, here is a snapshot into life as I know it. No day is ever the same, of course!

5:00a.m. Alarm goes off WAY too early. It's an early meeting day. Hit snooze a couple of times. In my grogginess realize I must have passed out without drying my hair, now to deal with semi-matted curls/waves. Thank God for my Chi straightener.

6:00a.m. Out the door. On the way to CVS to pick up a prescription. Thank God we have a 24-hour one close to our house. Listening to my favorite sports radio show. Getting fired up. Remind myself that this is why I often give up sports talk during football season!

6:05a.m. Ring the buzzer in the pharmacy drive-thru. Waiting. Waiting. This is a 24 hour drive thru, yes? Not a creature is stirring. Dammit, now I've got to actually go inside.

6:15a.m. Success! Back in the car and if traffic lights are working my way I should be able to stop at Starbucks. I'm exhausted and need some caffeine.

6:22a.m. Grande, non-fat, no whip Pumpkin Spice Latte acquired and I'm on my way.

6:35a.m. Parking lot at work. I love hospitals "after hours". Seriously.

7-9:15a.m. Meeting

9:30a.m. Opening my office door for the first time today. My office is not actually in the hospital...it's several blocks away and I don't usually go there first on early morning days because it's out of my way. But I wonder if people think I'm just "strolling in" at 9:30. I know my immediate co-workers don't think this, but what about others? Why do I care? I don't pay attention to others, why do I think they're paying attention to me? Egocentric much?

10:00a.m. Another meeting.

11:15a.m. Need to get some WORK done. At some point get an email from coworker wanting to know if I can go to lunch. I was planning on eating soup and yogurt and working at my desk but I think I may be able to swing it today if I can stay hyper focused for the next 45 minutes. Find out boss is going out for lunch too, now I'm definitely getting OUT of the office.

12:15p.m. Walk to lunch. 1/2 soup and 1/2 salad from Newk's YUM Glad to get out of office.

1:00p.m. Back. Trying to multitask. Worried about some meetings that I have next week and am afraid I may need to work over the weekend to get prepared. Is it bad to hope some of these get rescheduled?

1:40p.m. Review stuff with boss, more multitasking before my 2:00 starts, including a call to Books-a-Million to find out the details about the Bobby Bowden book signing on Sunday. I am STOKED to meet him and will definitely be there.

2:10p.m. Meeting with my boss and one of my favorite doctors. Doc complimented my sunglasses(?) I obviously wasn't wearing them indoors and must have looked puzzled..."oh I was driving and saw you walking down the sidewalk earlier this week, I really liked your glasses" OK...(And no, I didn't pay that much...I won them at an event last year. I got to pick them out during a Yurman trunk show and LOVE them. I love David Yurman stuff in general)

4:30p.m. JUST getting out of that 2:10 meeting...the meeting was supposed to end at 3. It was a productive session mostly but exhausting too. More takeaways. We need to think about hiring someone. It's hard to give attention to the big picture and be forward thinking when you are scrambling in the weeds getting tasks done. I know it's all part of it and I don't mind long hours or hard work but it's hard to sustain. The meeting schedule has also been getting out of control lately. Sadly, today was a "light" day. Text Matt and let him know I should be home around 6:30. He's grilling burgers and we're watching the Auburn game tonight. It's Matt's alma mater and my hometown and where a lot of my family went to school, so I am also a HUGE fan.

5:15p.m. Wrapped up and ready for my 7am tomorrow. Check with the boss to make sure he doesn't need anything else. I can't believe I am getting out of here relatively "on time" tonight!

5:20p.m. Back at Newk's to change into my running clothes. No way was I changing in my building, it's still too early and I'm not interested in parading around in my shorty shorts with the possibility of being seen.

5:45p.m. Hitting my shaded and FLAT trail. Just going to run the paved part today. Realize I left my iPod in my car. Too lazy to go back, I will deal. Running without music is something new for me but it was good. Amazing how different my avg paces were today: 10:10, 10:23, 9:53 (with "best" times in the low 8's) even with having to cross this and stop/wait for others to cross as well:

6:35p.m. Pull into my driveway. Pretty good estimate of time! The burgers are REALLY good. Matt is an awesome "grill master" and cook as well. Dinner just in time for kick off :)

8:15p.m. Shower at halftime. I've been stinking up the living room long enough. Get laundry going as the 2nd half kicks off.

9:00p.m. Call from friend filling me in about Bunco group. I blew it off tonight in favor of watching the game and taking some time to relax. It was really nice to have this time tonight.

10:00p.m. Begin blog and facebook stalking. It's been a long but good day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I am halfway through week 6 of my 18 week training cycle and I truly could not have asked for a better 6 weeks of running to date. For me, this training cycle is about feeling strong and healthy at the end of each run, whatever the distance may be. I want to get through 26.2 feeling tired but healthy and I know that I have A LOT of demands outside of my running life this fall and I want to be realistic with what I can expect from my body. I definitely push myself in each run...no doubt!...but I am also trying to really listen to my body and what it needs and not get hung up on "xyz pace" or expectations or whatever. We've established I am no speed demon, though I do think there is some inner "speed" waiting to be unleashed as I finally think my legs and lungs are beginning to catch up with each other, but that's another post and another goal for another time. I tend towards perfectionism in most areas of my life, so "dialing back" my goals is a departure from my norm and can be a bit uncomfortable at times. What is your training philosophy?

I had a GREAT 10 miler last weekend that gave me a boost of confidence. The route was even tougher than the previous week and I ended the run feeling stronger, which is always a great feeling. I felt like I could have finished another 3 or 5 miles and still would have felt OK. Unfortunately, I have come to the realization that I probably need to eliminate Patton Chapel Rd from my route, which somewhat limits my ability to reach other neighborhoods, but the terrain was really rough coming back and (thank God for Garmin) I ended up having to reroute myself off the road b/c not only did I not feel safe, but the road was BAD (I was hopping on and off the road, running with one foot in a drainage ditch and also at times having to run in people's yards!), thus affecting my gait and I really feared injuring myself if I had to stay on it much longer. I did really enjoy running in the Preserve though and may look into driving the 5 minutes over there and using that as my starting point this weekend.

As Matt and I finished up 3 last night (on my rest day but whatever), I was thinking that it was amazing that I had not had a bad day of running in 6 weeks. Of course, folks, tonight was the night. Honestly I think I was overtired, under-fueled and possibly under-hydrated. I was at work just after 6am (after being up until midnight working from home) and got home just after 6pm...no lunch break (grabbed half of a sandwich on the go) and had 3 meetings in the hospital today which adds up to a little over a mile each trip...in my 4 inch heels. I was HUNGRY when I got home but just wanted to get the 5 DONE, so I grabbed 4 sports beans (woo hoo) and headed out with a water bottle. My stomach got angry at mile 2, at 2.5 my stomach was growling audibly and at 3 I felt my blood sugar TANK. I almost called Matt to come pick me up I felt so bad, but I figured at that point I was "just" 2 miles away from home and could walk the rest of the way if necessary. Not to mention, I completely underestimated the hills on this route and my legs felt SHREDDED (from both the route and I think all of the walking at work today in those damn shoes) and I could NOT dial back my pace (I was seeing 8s, 9s and low 10s which is fast for me anyway and *really* fast for me given the hills) Not to fear, I would slow down when I was forced to walk every so often since I was feeling like poo. I finally got home feeling 10x worse than my 10 miler and then, being a glutton for punishment (and since I had promised, obviously not knowing how bad my run was going to be) I went back out for another 2 miles (walk) with Matt and the dogs (after grabbing gatorade and an apple). It sucks to have a bad run but at least I could identify what made it this way...I KNOW better and am usually very conscious about being fueled, etc...and I can be mindful of making it better the next time (tomorrow!). I think I'm heading to a FLAT and shaded trail tomorrow after work which should offer some nice respite for my legs. Do you run hilly routes even when you are not "hill training"?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I did it...and enjoyed it!

Up at 6:30 and out of the house by 6:50 which was a tad later than I wanted but still fairly impressive for me given my 1am bedtime! When I stepped outside it was already humid and the sun was fighting the clouds for dominance...I was worried I might be overdressed: knee length running tights (b/c too much chafing with shorts over this distance!) and my Under Armour Heat gear "I heart 2 a days" shirt (seen here but I own it in white with teal writing and wear it more form fitted than the model) but I filled up my water bottle, set a bottle of gatorade at the bottom of the driveway and headed off!

One of the things that I finally got around to doing last night was uploading one of my Marching Chiefs CDs from my time at FSU. (I found all of the cases but only one CD...the one from 1998...I have put out a plea to my girlfriends for copies of 1997--my rookie year, and 1999-2000) I suspected it would be good running music b/c seriously what keeps a pace more in check than drum cadences? OMG...it totally rocked and mentally transported me to another time. With 72 minutes of music, it's also great for passing some considerable time. I would be happy to make a copy for anyone who is looking for an unconventional way to spice up their running music!

So back to the run...apparently I REALLY don't pay attention to how hilly roads are when I drive b/c it was rolling hill central throughout my run. I tried not to pay attention to it and tried to remember that this is going to make me stronger (and enjoyed the downhills). So while I managed to avoid the "monsters" of 120+ gain in less than .2 this route was my NO means flat. This is my route/elevation map (I tried to just insert the image but it kept randomly picking 1.5 mi chunks and I'm tired of dealing with it)

I was really nervous about crossing over a 6 lane hwy (and running down it at 2 different stretches) but that part was really fun, actually! There were more cars on the road than I expected this morning but I think the idea that people might be watching me really helped me keep good form during that part and DEFINITELY squelched the desire to walk! I passed a couple of runners on this hwy at different times...one guy had on full headphones and was running with (instead of against) traffic which made me REALLY nervous for him! I had one earbud in and was VERY aware of my surroundings...I think the 1 earbud is actually all I need for runs like this.

Overall, I really enjoyed the route and would use it again though there were a few areas where there was NO shade and it was hilly and it was just draining. It reminded me of a couple of sections of the Nashville 1/2 marathon course, actually. THANKFULLY it remained quasi-overcast for a little more than half the run...by the end, when the sun was fully out, it was broiling out there but the mature trees in the neighborhood helped keep it bearable.

Other things to note:
--Getting up early wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and being DONE before 8:45 was really liberating! Even now, I have my errands and laundry done for the day and w/o Matt here I'm kind of at a loss!
--Chocolate chip Cliff Bars taste like ass. I choked one down this morning on the way out and by mile 3 it was feeling like a brick. It wasn't messing with my stomach necessarily, but who wants to burp fake chocolate protein bar? GAG
--I need a handheld, ASAP and after feeling the weight of the bottle, I know I would not want that around my waist
--After the weirdo and steep hills on the "Municipal Drive" portion of the run (and crossing back over the Hwy) I felt not good and was worried about the remaining distance. (This was around the time of the Cliff Bar burping) Took 3 sports beans and felt better almost immediately
--The old men in Sneaky Pete's were laughing at me (and pointing through the window) this morning (between mile 6 and 7) it made me want to kick serious ass
--There was definitely some walking going on today. I would be in the groove for 20-25 minutes and then zapped. Would walk 60 or so seconds and barely be able to keep it together for 5 minutes. Usually one more walk break solved it. I finished in approx 1:46 (including a 2 min stop to fill my bottle with gatorade and 2 different 1 minute stops to stretch and readjust my pony tail) Considering copious walking at times, I'm happy. I embrace my "speed" (or lack thereof)
--Glee's version of "Don't Stop Believin'" is awesome for running!! as is Neon Trees' "Animal" (In full disclosure, I'm not a fan of Glee...I've never seen a single episode)

Sweaty and accomplished and ready for a shower :)

I should be in bed right now...

Given that I want to be up at at 'em before traffic descends on the roads around my house tomorrow. I attempting my first OUTDOOR 9 miler (not counting having run the distances in half marathons) since I did my earlier training almost exclusively on the treadmill (yikes!) due to either extremes in temperature (cold and/or my favorite southern HEAT and HUMIDITY) and my fear of hills. My neighborhood has some monsters and they scare me, but I *think* the route I have mapped out for tomorrow minimizes these. The route takes me on roads I am familiar with in terms of driving but not largely ones that make up the routes I take with Matt and the dogs. I do loop back by my house at mile 4.5 so I feel better that I am never too far away from home. I probably should not admit this on a public forum but Matt is out of town this weekend and he would probably kick my ass if he knew my plans to run down Hwy 31 for brief intervals...good thing he doesn't read this! I will have my phone and ID though, which makes me feel better.

FINALLY reinstalled my iTunes (it wasn't AS bad as I had imagined but still a little bit of a pain to recreate playlists) and downloaded a few new songs. Still haven't gotten around to purchasing a hand held water bottle but I'm thinking the 24 oz camelback bottle will do for tomorrow. My Garmin also has not arrived yet, but I will manage. Knowing general mile markers around the route will hopefully keep me in check. I am kind of excited to see who else will be on the road early tomorrow. I am notoriously an evening runner during the week, so I'm entering new territory! And with that, I really should go to bed...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Just got an email that I was accepted off of the wait list for the Wine and Dine Half! Let the vacation planning begin :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Saturday streak is still alive

Despite my best intentions to run on Saturday it still didn’t happen, though I am trying no to feel too badly about it. Friday afternoon (which was supposed to be a rest day), Matt texted and suggested we take the “babies” (read: dogs) for a run/walk before going out to dinner. It was HOT and HUMID on Friday and I had psyched myself up for a rest but I figured since we didn’t have a set schedule we could take one of our longer/tougher (read: HILLS OF DEATH) routes and maybe I could make that count for my scheduled 5-miler…or I could push the 5 miler to Sunday since Amy was out of town this weekend.

We clocked a little less than 4.5 miles in a little over an hour (see, longer than I would have spent running 5 miles!) and were completely drenched afterwards. (I’ll spare you a photo, but imagine my shirt completely soaked…not even my boobs were dry). When I woke up Saturday around 7:00 to find it BROILING outside, I knew I was not going running that morning. The rest of Saturday was busy running errands and then driving to Montgomery. My cousin’s game was supposed to start at 7:30 but did not start until after 8:30! We had a great time, but it was STILL HOT and HUMID and really sucked the energy out of us. Not to mention sitting still on metal bleachers for hours, our feet totally swelled up. We had bona fide cankles and took pictures to prove it (again, I’ll spare you!). I pulled out of the parking lot to drive home at 11:30, pulling into my driveway just shy of 1 a.m. on Sunday (and you know I didn't go straight to bed...I had to unwind!). When I got up Sunday morning to let the dogs out, I felt (and looked) like death warmed over…tired, sore, still swollen. I laid on the couch, willing myself to get out and hit a shaded trail but I could barely hold my head up. I ended up falling asleep on the couch, dozing in and out of consciousness until after 1 in the afternoon. That is really very much unlike me and I think Matt was a bit worried b/c he didn’t even encourage me to get up.

I am not one to make excuses; even as busy as I get, I am going to find a way to sacrifice and get it done. However, I think after I had come so close to hitting 5 miles on Friday, that mentally I gave myself a pass long before I even knew it. I also know that Sunday it was not mind over matter; my body was simply NOT going to handle anything else. I actually felt really rested and refreshed today and had an awesome 3 miler after work and another almost 2 with Matt and the dogs.

AND...I just ordered the Garmin! FINALLY! Got a really great deal (I think) on Amazon, so now I can finally stop stressing about it and just wait for it to arrive in the mail!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Feeling a little more centered

Definitely feeling a bit more sane in the week since my last (frantic) post. Don't get me wrong, things are still busy and crazy as hell but I'm feeling a lot more centered...and I've even managed to get in all of my scheduled work outs this week instead of having to cram in extra mileage or walks to "get the time on my feet".

Week #3 is a step-down week in the program I'm following (my rest days are different but this is the mileage plan) so I should be done fairly "quickly" on Saturday before going to get a pedicure. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I do feel bad for the poor girls at Aveda Institute that have to deal with these feet but at least I know they won't talk about me to my face! This is actually my first Saturday run in a while...the past 2 weeks I've been running long on Friday night after work b/c of other commitments and let's face it, I did not do much structured Saturday running during the summer. I've really debated cramming it in tomorrow night but it might be nice to actually eat a relaxed, warm meal with Matt (instead of a warmed up meal that Matt cooked earlier and has waiting for me when I get home).

I'm headed to Montgomery Saturday afternoon to meet up w/my mom and aunt to watch my cousin (who I think of as my nephew more than anything) march in his first high school football game! As a musician and someone who marched in both high school and college (and majored in music as an undergrad) I am so excited and proud of him and hope that he enjoys it as much as I did.

In other news, Disney has opened up a wait list for the Wine and Dine half marathon (which would serve as a training run for me on a day when I need to log 15 miles), so I hope to hear something soon. Southwest was running a fairly kick ass special fare from BHM to Orlando ($89 ea way...flights to FL almost never go on sale) that ended today, but I couldn't make myself pull the trigger without knowing for sure that I have an entry. I'm not sure if I could have just applied to $$ to another flight in case I needed to 'cancel' but no here, no there. Keeping fingers crossed that I will get in!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pleasing Everyone and Noone

I am under so much stress at work and I am about to explode. I am routinely going in early (like 6:30 am early), eating through lunch and staying late (regularly til 5:30 or 6, sometimes much later). Despite this, I still feel like I can't get it all done, the work keeps piling in and I feel stressed trying to keep everyone happy. I've recently been privileged to have more responsibility and I feel flat out exhausted trying to manage the expectations of all of several different personalities, all while hoping that I am also meeting the expectations of my actual boss. I feel really good and confident about my decisions, yet I second guess myself in the same breath b/c I worry about how boss or committee chair or whoever is going to react and be unhappy. PHEW!

All of that being said, it should come as no shock that I am feeling exhausted and we're only halfway through week #2 of training! My running has been surprisingly fine but I am struggling to balance WORK, the running side of my life and the "personal" side of my life. Running has become a large part of my life and Matt is completely supportive but I feel bad rolling in after 7pm every night (some nights a bit later). I end up scarfing down some dinner (luckily we meal plan and since Matt works from home, he is great about cooking most nights) and then Matt wants to head out for a long walk (usually 45 min-1 hour) with the dogs. I love the time with Matt and "the girls" but I feel like the day is so FULL...and truly, this work schedule is on par to continue through mid-December, given the expectations and structure of the committees and everything else that's going on. It's not going to get any easier, mileage is going to build, daylight is going to wane...

Luckily I am no stranger to the distances of training right now (and it should be that way until early October) b/c if I had the anxiety of "unknown distance" on top of everything else, I might just be drowning myself in a jar of Nutella (best stuff EVER, btw). I also know that I am going to have to be flexible in my training schedule, if I have to miss one of the shorter runs b/c of obligations, SO BE IT. Respect the long run and make sure to get in all the other runs that I can and listen to my body.

Thanks to anyone who has made it this far. I just feel overwhelmed and needed to get this out.
(Retail therapy at Dick's tonight...after working til nearly 7pm...gear update to come!)

**edited to remove some of the extraneous work stuff**

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hunting and Gathering

Well, with week 1 of marathon training stumbling along, I am officially in "hunting and gathering" mode...for running gear, of course.

These beauties arrived from Zappos Monday afternoon, just in time for breaking in on a nearly 3 mile walk (after a 3 mile run at the gym). (Although I must admit I only paid $110...and I really did want the pink ones but they weren't on sale AT ALL and I can't justify a $30 price difference when I am buying for function, not form. Oh how I *heart* my Mizuno Wave Nirvanas...this is my 4th pair!)

I put about 500 miles on my "Mercedes Shoes" and knew I needed a new pair, but didn't realize how beat they were until I had something to compare to:

Guess which one is new? LOL

Poor stretched out shoes!

I'd say the soles are pretty worn down, though not as bad as some previous pairs!

On the list for this weekend (or the near future):
--The Garmin Forerunner (I don't know why I am having such a problem dropping the cash when A. I have it set aside and B. I know it's a HELPFUL tool that I will USE)

--Handheld water bottle (Thought about a hydration belt but I don't know how I feel about that given that I already feel thick around the middle)

--A couple more sports bras. Still not totally sold on the Nike compression fit (is it really supporting all it can?) but don't want to drop $50+ on a sports bra when I know I need to purchase multiples!

--1 or 2 more pairs of running shorts. I have 4 pairs but I have to time laundry just right and I have enough stress at work w/o having to worry about that I ran the load of darks on just the right evening that week.

--A small stock of Mojo Bars (I really like the Mountain Mix and I tried the Peanut Butter Pretzel for the first time today. I love that they are a low glycemic food and that they have natural and healthy ingredients.) My Publix has them fairly reliably at $1/bar and I was hoping to find a deal online to buy bulk, but it's looking so far like Publix actually has the best price!

--Gatorade/G2 (Which Publix actually has on sale this week) I used G2 when in "half" training but I am wondering does it offer the same benefit as regular, full calorie Gatorade when I am actually trying to replace carbs/calories and sustain myself for HOURS on the long run. (I may be ~1min/mile faster on my long run pace now but I'm still not fast so the time I know I will be spending on the long run is of very real concern/anxiety for me!)

--New music! I have some songs in mind but I have to re-install my iTunes library before I can get started and though I'm sure it won't be horrible, I have it built up in my head to be a major, stressful ordeal and I keep putting it off.

Any other "marathon must haves"?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Marathon Nightmares

I must have marathon on the brain (given that official training starts Monday!) b/c I just had a nightmare that I MISSED my marathon. I am training for St Jude in Memphis but in the dream I was running NYC and my mom was going to help get me there on time. Well, I wake up to find the marathon on TV and we are still out in the 'burbs (Westchester County, where both my mom and dad grew up and I spent many a summer). She tells me she didn't wake me up b/c I looked tired and that I can always "do another one soon". At my frantic request, she drives me into the city but of course the start line is closed. 18 weeks down the tubes. Aughhh!! At this point, I'm AWAKE. That dream was SO VIVID. Geez...anxiety much? I have to say that in real life my mom is the most awesome, dependable person on the planet and would NEVER do that!

I ran last night after work (5 miles) so I could sleep in and relax today since this is the last Saturday before they get dominated by my long runsng.. Hopefully I can RELAX and forget this craziness before the day gets started in full swing!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On a Mission

I'm on a mission to find a bib (entry) into the Disney World Inaugural Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon for the 1st weekend in October!! My best friend from FSU's husband (who is also a friend) is running and I have been looking for a good excuse to make the trip to central FL in 2010 (I visited 3x in 2009 for various weddings, baby showers, etc). The race starts at 10:00pm(!) on a new (read: more interesting) course and Epcot stays open until some insane time in the middle of the night for a private version of the food and wine festival for the runners and their friends/families. It also fits almost PERFECTLY into my marathon training plan (more on that to come) and I really want to run it!

The problem? It's sold out! If anyone has an inside hook up into getting a bib, please let me know!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I can't tell you how many posts that I have started or completed that are sitting on my work computer. Blogger is blocked there, so I will start a word document and then email it to myself. Or in my case, FORGET to email it to myself.

I've been keeping to my 15-20 mile/week goal and also trying to make sure I actually get cross training in (lots of walking the dogs...like 3-4miles a night after running, maybe 3-4 days a week and yoga about once a week). I really need to do some lifting or strength but I get SO BORED with it. I know what I'm doing, but I hate it!

I've also been spending quite a bit of time on trails. I have my weekly "date" with Amy but I've been going on my own some too. Last week, Matt and I also took the dogs hiking at Ruffner Mountain's first "Dog Days of Summer Event". There was a "dog hike", lots of booths and vendors, games, caricatures, etc. It was a ton of fun and our dogs even made the event's FB page. HAHA!

Me and Roxy. I had no idea this picture was being taken but apparently Roxy was hamming it up for the camera!

Bali excited to sniff the camera that was on the ground

Bali at the summit of this hike, about to jump into the rock quarry (our camera)

A copy of the caricature we had done of them. The guy was awesome and totally nailed their personalities in the 5 minutes that they posed for this. Bali as the happy go-lucky and Roxy as the "worry wart". She doesn't take after her mom or anything ;) (our camera)