I Ran Today

1530“I ran today.”  It seems like such a little thing to say, so simple, and seemingly so insignificant until you can’t do it.

I’ve been running my whole life.  It’s been a long standing joke that I’ve been running once I exited the birth canal 40 something years ago and haven’t stopped since.  Mind you, I am FAR from elite status, but regardless, I consider myself a runner.  I have always loved it – the feeling of freedom that it gives me, the feeling of strength and power that my body feels, the feeling of sheer determination when I want so much to just be done with the run, especially when its a difficult run.

I won’t lie … I took my ability to run for granted.  All my life, I just ran. I’ve had a few minor injuries here and there, but for the most part they were easy to recover from and then I went about my business and started up again once I was healed.  But seven months ago, I blew out my knee in a freak accident during the CrossFit Open WOD 13.4.  5 months ago, I had surgery to repair my injured knee.  When I was finally cleared to start exercising again, I thought for sure I’d just be able to just jump back into where I left off … WRONG!!!  Oh so WRONG!!!  I tweaked my knee more than once thinking that I could just pick up where I left off.   It has been a difficult recovery, more mentally than physically.  I have had to check my ego more than once, and I’ve learned to accept the fact that my knee would not heal completely if I didn’t just SLOW down and take the time to let it heal.

For the last 2 months I have been working once again with my trainer, Gabe Subry at CrossFit 209 Sport, and my Physical Therapist, Todd.  These two have been relentless in my training.  They both understand my need to get back in the box and into running.  They have both been patient with me and have been working with me to get me back to the level of functioning that I once was at.  At CrossFit, Gabe has me doing MECHANICS ONLY, meaning that I am only to practice and perform the movements with light to no weight at all, adding weight on slowly.  During my Physical Therapy sessions with Todd, he has been working on resetting me neurologically. I have had some really BAD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since my injury.  I have been afraid to jump, run, and do a lot of movements out of fear that my knee will buckle. A lot of the exercises that Todd has me doing have been helping to reset my thinking and get me back into  training mode. He has a lot of tricks up his sleeve that have been helping me overcome my fears.  I am thankful for these two – more than I can ever express in words.

I’ve been itching to run for soooooo long.  I had pre-registered for several races prior to my injury, but  I was most disappointed that I had to cancel and bow out of my beloved race at the Half Moon Bay International Marathon in September.  I’ve run that race since its inauguration! It’s my favorite run of all time, so you can imagine my disappointment to have to drop out!   I was not even disappointed when I did not get chosen to run the Nike Women’s Marathon this year and I love that race because I’ve always run it for my dad.  So when the opportunity arose to sign up for another half-marathon, I was slightly hesitant, but I felt compelled to do so.  Enter the St.  Joesph’s Stockton Half Marathon – I could run that, I thought. So I signed up.

My running partner, Anitra, & I.
My running partner, Anitra, & I.
With my friend, Matt, who has been a long time supporter of mine!
With my friend, Matt, who has been a long time supporter of mine!

The venue this year started and finished at the University of the Pacific (UOP).  The course differed slightly in that rather than running down March Lane, it was more on the levee all the way down to Ladd’s Marina and into the residential area of Brookside, back up to the levee and into UOP.  I loved it – it was scenic for the most part – lots of pretty houses and boats – perfect for dream building. I am truly thankful to have run with my friend, Anitra, she was an amazing source of strength for me during the run!  I love the free photographs that comes with the race! I love the after party – beer (not that I drink) and burritos!!! Starbucks had a barrista bar providing coffee to the runners and spectators.  The medal was amazing!  It’s just a fun little race that packed a lot of punch. Bonus, it was a BEAUTIFUL day for a run and it was less than 10 minutes away from my house!

So, yes, for me to say, “I ran today,” is a HUGE accomplishment. For me to have run my first half-marathon 5 months post-surgery without (yes, WITHOUT) any sort of training is … INSANE! But … I did it!!! To think that there was a time when I literally felt cut off at the knees, to have finished a half-marathon … well, yeah, I have sooooo much to be thankful for.  I am so very thankful and feel so very blessed to have the ability to run once again and to be back out on the road – running!!!

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I. Ran. Today!

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It’s Septemberrrrrr …

Believe in yourself and start … Put one foot in front of the other and gooooo!

It’s September and you know what that means for me … I’m supposed to start running again. And I don’t mean just running … I mean RUNNING! I’ve got a really rigid and FULL racing schedule that starts in a week!  A WEEK!!! EEK!

Love this little bit of motivation.

Wow … That being said … Let me tell you that I’m NOT ready.  I’m not 100% healed.  My poor right foot still aches at times and I feel bad that it’s not completely healed up.  I have seriously rested it as much as possible, and have been faithfully going to see my Accupuncturist, and my Chiropractor.  I’ve been using my H-Wave, pain patches, and what not.  Let me say this … If I get my insert in my shoe just right, then I have NO issues and absoulutely NO pain. I just have to figure out how to do it so that my insert doesn’t slide around in my shoe and stays put while I’m running. I have a lot of work to do still to get my foot to 100%, but I’m okay. I can do this!

Other than that … Life is good.  I had a great August off from racing. I have been focused on CrossFit and training with my stellar trainer, spinning here and there, and like I said, just working on healing up my foot.  But September is here and this is what I have coming up in the next few weeks …

This says it all … Just Run!

Yeah … I know … Reading it makes me tired! But I love it. I love the atmosphere of racing – even though I’m not a “racer,” just a runner enjoying the venue and atmosphere. I love the race signs, the crowd support, the cheering and motivation. It’s just fun to be there.  I used to say that I loved the bling, but honestly, I’m not completely in it anymore for the bling as they just hang there on my wall … =)

I have NO room for negativity in my life.

In other news … I got my first “hate” comment on my blog.  For obvious reasons, I chose not to approve the comment and let it remain in limbo.  Someone “Anonymous” was quite unhappy with me that I took credit for my friend winning the NWM entry, and then went to say that I should not have won or even entered in the first place.  Because I did enter, this individual basically stated that I was full of myself, not a good friend for entering a contest that my friend who really wanted to win was in, and that I didn’t deserve a the entry I had won into the NWM. Ah, I’m not going to dwell on it.  Whoever it was, thank you for your opinion although it was not warranted.

Moving forward … I’m looking forward to the next upcoming weeks. I am truly thankful to be able to run and participate in some awesome events and running with friends.  My youngest son has been convinced by his friend to join the H.S. Cross Country team.  I’m secretly happy for this choice. I was on my H.S. Cross Country team.  My boys have been so busy with their activities – baseball, basketball, school, etc.  My daughter has found a love in CrossFit209 Kids. I’m happy for that! And … my husband has made a conscious choice to amp up his training and has also added CrossFit into his regime! You don’t even know how extremely happy I am about this!  I love working out beside him! He’s the best!  I have and lead a great life and I am thankful for everything that I have been blessed with.

Okay … I better get going and planning out and packing up for the next few weeks.  You ready? Who’s with me? Let’s goooooo!

Ho Hum … Twiddling My Thumbs

Hi di ho, Friends.  Um … Yep … I’m here twiddling my thumbs.  I know. I know. Go find something to do already, right? It’s the middle of August and I have not run one organized run this month at all.  How is that even possible when I have been averaging two halfs every month so far?!? Let me tell you … It’s kinda hard to sit still, but I have to.  I don’t want to, I have to.  In order to help heal my plantar fascitis, I need to stop with the long distances for awhile otherwise, I risk doing more damage than I care to have ever in my whole life.

H-Wave!
MORE H-Wave!

If you have ever had plantar fascitis (PF), you know it’s NO joke. That sh!t feels like an ice pick being stabbed in the heel of your foot with EVERY step that you take.  It hurts like you would not believe.  Now, I’ve had it for years … since 2007 before I ran my first marathon and probably even before that but just didn’t know because it wasn’t as painful or severe. Once I upped my mileage, it decided to make it’s presence known in my la vida loca. Yeah.  I trained for my first marathon with about 4 months of spinning because of it. I couldn’t put in any pounding miles in what so ever without wanting to shoot myself in the foot literally. Thank God for the Good Feet Store because they really saved my feet. They have some awesome inserts that I was fitted into and I was able to finish off my training run my first mary because of them.  Since then, I rarely wear any shoe or flip flop for that matter without my inserts …

Accupuncture.
Splinting.

So what else am I doing to heal up my feetsies besides resting them? Well, I’ve been going to almost weekly accupuncture sessions at the Persimmon Community Accupuncture Center. I’ve been using my H-wave pretty dilligently. Ice, heat, RockTape, Salonpas patches, massage, epsom salt heat soaks, elevation, compression … I’m willing to try almost anything to help my foot heal. It’s really my inserts that have helped me the most though.  And not to worry, it’s getting better every day. =)

Remain calm …
Flip flops, ace wraps, splint … =(
Freezzzzing Ccccooold!

Not running really isn’t killing me as much s I make it sound. It’s just kinda boring to not have anywhere to go. I have been putting in some really great training sessions over at CrossFit 209 Sport.  I’ve been training hard and having fun. I’ve also put in time with the bike via Spin Classes at InShape. And I’m still going to kickboxing/MMA at American Martial Arts/Central Valley Krav Maga. So … I really shouldn’t be bored. I’m doing a lot, just not pounding the pavement. It’s all good in the hood. In all honestly, I’m getting stronger and a little faster as I *almost* ran a sub-7minute mile today. That hasn’t happened since I was in high school way back when I was getting chased by T-Rex!

LOL!
Rrrruuuunnnn!

They say not to mess with the injured runner. A lot of injured runners get upset watching other runners run or listening to them talk about their training.  I am NOT one of those runners.  I’m happy for my friends who can run and who do run. It’s exciting to hear about their training, their races, their mileage. I have no issues with them because I  know that I will be amongst them soon enough. I know that there are those out there who are truly injured and can’t do any form of exercise, I am thankful to not be one of them.  I am thankful that I am still able to perform and workout as hard as I can despite the pain that I experience in my foot.  I know that this is why I’m not a hater. I also believe that the more you hate, the harder it is and the longer it will take for your injury to heal. That’s just my opinion. For those that are injured but can still move, there are other activities out there that you can perform, you just have to find them. And always remember that there are others that would gladly kill to be in your place knowing that once your injury heals you’ll be able to run again, whereas they will not be able to due to severe injuries or illnesses that they have sustained. Be patient with your body.

It’s middle of August … Just a couple more weeks to go then September hits with a vengence! Ragnar Napa Valley Relay, then The Giants Race, Half Moon Bay … It all works out in the end.

Until then … I am embracing the pain because I know that my pain is temporary.  Pain is my friend.  Pain is weakness leaving my body!  Happy running to those who are putting in the miles. Happy alternative training to those of us who have had to give up running for awhile. Whatever you’re doing … Train HARD. Train SMART. Eat WELL. And be HAPPY! See you on the roads and/or the trails in a couple weeks!

Running For Redemption

Redemption!

It seems like forever and a day since I ran in San Francisco and had what was such a crappy race in my head that I had hung up my shoes.  I remember my frustration and sadness so clearly … I remember the feeling that I performed so poorly that I never wanted to run in San Fran again.  In retrospect, I believe that I was having a really bad month all around, and that I had just been over training to the point where I broke!  I literally had a running mental breakdown and never wanted to run again. (Read about my 2011 SF Marathon experience here.)

I had to find some way to pick myself up.  I got a tattoo. I found a new passion. I tried different activities. Talked to different runners and friends. Slowly, but surely, I found my way back to loving running.  I ran, but I had to find a way to run without so much emotional and mental attachment.  I had to find a way to run happy. No one could help me, this was something that I had to do alone, by myself, and it had to be unforced because I could not force myself to run.  A funny thing happened though … Once I let go, once I said that I didn’t care and that I was hanging up my shoes … it was easy. Yep, it was easy to run because there were no expectations, I could just get out there and put the miles in and be satisfied.

This past weekend, I came full circle with my fiasco of a run.  The opportunity arose to run the second half of the San Francisco marathon with the enticement of a second medal as part of the “Half It All” challenge. I knew that I needed to run this, one, to put closure and come to peace with the crazy experience that I had in 2011, and two, to get the bling!

With Tony a.k.a. Endorphin Dude at the Expo!

Chris, Grace, and I hit packet pick-up on Friday. It was a nice day in SF, however, as we are not “City People,” we don’t do city traffic well, and it somewhat stresses Chris out to drive. After rounding the area several times, we decided it would be easier for us to stop and just walk a few blocks to the venue. Packet pick-up went fairly smoothly despite the amount of people. We were thankful that we were able to retrieve our bibs and shirts without incident, then we hit the expo which had some great vendors. The highlight of our expo visit was running into Endorphin Dude, Tony!

Cheezin’ on the very LAST shuttle bus!
Chris!
Quick pic at the start!

Sunday came quickly! We started out a little late, leaving our house at about 0530 – 30 min later than we planned on leaving. We got to the city at about 0700 which was fine, however, we didn’t factor in the fact that parking would be ATROCIOUS. The runners of the first half of the marathon were able to snag up all of the parking spots in all of the parking garages! It seriously took us about 45 minutes to find parking. We were fortunate enough to find an open spot, park and make our way down to where the shuttles were taking runners to the Second Half start. We hit the porta-potties, and sauntered our way down to where I saw the shuttles. Guess what?! We were on the very LAST bus –  literally the very, very last bus and we were cutting it close as it was already past 0800, and the last start was at 0830! Oi vey! And we did get there with about 5 minutes to spare! No time to use the porta potty again, barely enough time to take a pre race pic, and just enough time to line up and goooooo!

I was really worried about this race because of the fact that it’s in SF, for one, and because my foot has not been 100% since April. I had no ankle support on, just one ankle compression that I had removed while on the shuttle bus.  Before long I had to stop, readjust my insoles, and I put the compression sock on the left side because it felt somewhat iffy.  The start was fine in that it was downhill, soon afterwards though, we hit the gnarly hills of Golden Gate Park, and again I had to stop and adjust my insoles and shoes.  I stopped once more before exiting the park to fix my shoe and use the porta potty at mile 3 or 4 ish! I was good to go after using the porta potty and hit the road running!

I had a really awesome playlist which helped a lot. I had downloaded a few new songs from iTunes and a really cool mix from the website RockMyRun.com called Lose Yourself.  It was the perfect mix for my run – great tempo (180 bpm), and it really had some great songs that came on at the right time for me.

Chris and I … DONE!

Once we got out of the park , we hit Height Street. I love San Francisco. I love the city! It allowed me time to reminisce about spending summers there with my Gramma. Height Street was a nice loooooong downhill. It was a nice change of pace for me as I sent my body flying down the hill like a kid!  I got a little flustered as I felt as if I were being misdirected by the police at times. Some people were running down one way, then they would rope off the street and direct us another way. We would eventually meet up again, however, it was just confusing and I felt lost for a minute at times.  I loved Height Street … My favorite sign seen was, “Remember those Cliff Bars you ate? They were really Special Brownies! Welcome to Height and Ashbury!” I never laughed sooooo hard during a race. Seeing that made my day!

@susanruns my friend from Twitter who lives in NY!
With Yasmin!!! Double bling for us!

By the time I knew it, I was at mile 10 still chuggin’ away, just running, taking in the city. We hit China Basin for the last 2 miles where there were people and bands. This whole time, although I was running without incident, my feet and my ankles still were bothering me. I was able to ignore it for most of the run, but, damn, that sh!t still hurt – my left ankle, and my right foot! I’m thankful that I am able to run and push thru the pain, but I have to admit that it still hurt. It sucks that my legs are sooooo STRONG, but my feet and ankles hurt so bad. I love when I hit AT&T Park, home of the SF Giants, because of the fact that I knew that I was close to the finish. I loved running and seeing the Bay Bridge. You can’t know how happy I was to see the finish chute!!!  It was fun to meet up with my friend Yasmin and then to meet my Twitter friend, Susan from NY at the finish! They’re really awesome people and it was nice to connect!

My time was irrelevant. My goal was to run strong, run hard, run happy, and to finish strong. I achieved my goals. I truly enjoyed this run! It was much needed for me in order for me to redeem myself and come full circle!  Mission accompli! Redemption … PERFECT for my hundreth (100th) post! How’s that for ya?!?

In other news, I have registered for my 2012 Full Marathon. I’m not exactly sure what posessed me, but my finger did hit the “send” button somehow. I’m guessing that deep down inside, I really do want to run another.  I have paired up with my buddy Judy and we’re gonna run together.

August will be a true rest month for my feet.  I’ve been running every month – two, sometimes three races a month since January.  In April I really messed up my ankles running on uneven pavement.  Since then it’s really been rough going, but I’ve been trying.  My feet and ankles do hurt though.  Despite weekly accupuncture visits and monthly Chiropractor visits, and the good advice of my Physical Therapist – I feel great after the visits and treatments, but since I’m not doing any REAL resting, my feet and ankles won’t heal. So … Although it’s killing me to not see anything on my race schedule, I do need to STOP, take a look at the big picture, and put my feet up to rest them completely.  This does not mean that I’m going to stop working out.  Are you kidding me? I’m spinning, CrossFitting, doing martial arts and boxing. Just no impact on my feet. Zip. Zero. Zilch. I’ve been experimenting with ways on wrapping my feet and ankles for stability and support. I’m still going to weekly accupuncture, and monthly chiropractics.  I ice, heat, wrap, massage, use my H-wave, use Salonpas, and keep my feet up. So my feet are pretty pampered feet. =) They’re happy to be resting. They know that come September we’re hitting the pavement hard – we have tons of races to run starting in September!  They’re going to be ready.

That’s the gist of my racing and training for now. I’m having fun doing what I do. I’ve been enjoying my summer with my family, but alas school starts again soon.  Once school starts up for them I’ll be attempting 2 a day workouts when I can.

Until the next post … Train HARD! Train SMART! Eat WELL! And have FUN!  Always have fun. You know that when you’re doing what you love, when you’re truly enjoying what you’re doing, then it doesn’t feel like work.

Custom Bib for the SF 2nd Half Marathon!

Running On Empty

I’m not exactly sure why I signed up for the Davis Moo-nlight Half Marathon. I swore last year that I would never run in Davis, California ever again. Yet maybe it was because of the fact that last year they screwed up and offered us close to 75% off to come back and run again that I signed up to run it again. Most likely it was the fact that my husband signed up to run that I went ahead and signed up right along with him. I’m not sure, but I should’ve listened to my gut and just bagged the entire race because it sucked.

Tori, Me, & Becky in LB!
209! Supporting our trainer, Gabe Subry!

The weekend was actually a great weekend. I took off on Thursday afternoon with my boy, Nathan, and my friend, Becky, to Southern California to experience the CrossFit Games in Carson, California, and to support our trainer from CrossFit 209 Sport, Gabe Subry, who ended up placing 18th overall! I had worked on Wednesday and thought I’d be able to sleep in the car on the way up, but really, I got about 2 hours total. We arrived in Long Beach at my friend, Torie’s house, at about 8:00pm and headed off to dinner. I was able to fall asleep quickly after arriving back to the house and slept solidly until the morning but it was early when we started off to the games.

Becky & I at the 2012 Games!
With my Nathan at the Games!

The games were amazing! AMAZING! It was an experience like no other. To be in a venue where almost the ENTIRE audience was completely fit was awesome! Most who attended, probably roughly 98%, were all CrossFitters, we do the same workouts and exercises that the contenders performed. We were able to watch almost all of the events and hit up most of the vendors.  Like I said, it was amazing to be surrounded by these incredible, fit, and happy people.  I really had a great time.  I met some really great people.  I left the games motivated and inspired and ready to work harder than I ever have before.

The drive home was pretty uneventful.  Nathan drove for the first couple hours, then I took over the wheel for the last 4 hours.  I had a great time conversing with my friend Becky who really gave me a lot of insight and inspiration.  It was fun to talk to her and get to know her better.  We finally got home around 0200 or so, and after a little winding down, I settled in for some much needed sleep.

Saturday was a normal standard day. Woke up late to take Nathan camping with the Mother-In-Law.  I was so tired I could barely function, so I was thankful that Chris could take him to where he needed to be. I got up, made an attempt to fix a decent carb loading lunch, and rest a little longer. Again, my gut said … “Don’t do it. You’re not prepared.” But … I was gonna try.

Chris & I with Tony, Endorphin Dude!
With MaryAnn! =)

We got to Davis fairly late – 6:15 or so. We parked by the grocery store, walked a little ways to the venue, then hit up packet pick up.  We found some of our friends, looked for others, but really found none.  Mac said she was sick … So I was hoofin’ it alone. I did luck out though for a minute at the start when I saw a girl who was taking pictures of the start line as I was, who looked vaguely familiar. I wasn’t going to say anything, but my curiosity got the best of me and I did go up to her to ask her if she was Mary Ann, my friend on Twitter. To my surprise, she was. We shared a hug, took a photo, then wished each other well.

Chris & I!
Melting!

It was HOT and humid when we started. If I had to guess, I’d say it was 84 degrees. Yeah … No bueno! It sucked, and I knew that it would be a slow run. Not only that but shortly after we started, I could really feel my right foot … it was crying, whimpering. I decided to ignore it for a bit. At mile 4 I switched out my ankle supporter to the left side. At mile 6 I could feel my fatigue set in. I could feel the lack of sleep finally catch up with me and I wanted to just lay down and sleep.  At mile 7 I adjusted my ankle support again.  By mile 9, I had had it with that thing so I just took it off and ran with it in hand. By this time, I could feel my lack of hydration hit me and I wanted to kick myself for not hydrating better, I took my salt tabs and Gu along with water faithfully to help combat my hydration and lack of energy issues. Also by this time, my foot was not only crying, but it was screaming LOUDLY. Poor thing was screaming at the top of it’s lungs to stop. Every step that I took was nothing except pure torture! T O R T U R E … I felt as if there was an ice pick jabbed up the bottom of my foot and every step that I took drove it in deeper.  It hurt soooo BAD! At one point I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. There were a few times that I ran along side Tony, aka Endorphin Dude, and he encouraged me. Basically for the last 4 miles I toddled along – alternating walking and running, but mostly walking, running on fumes! This race was more mental for me than anything, but somehow, by the grace of God … I made it! I finished that damn race and I swore again that I would not run it again … and this time, I won’t.

What don’t I like about the Davis Moo-nlight half marathon? For one, it’s HOT and humid which makes for a very crappy run for me. Another reason is the fact that I don’t care for running in circles – up, down, over this over pass one way, back over it the other, then back over it again.  I’m not a fan of seeing people ahead of me.  Ugh. It just wasn’t fun for me at all! Next year I’ll just plan on finding another race or just chill out a home instead of wasting my Saturday in Davis!

Regardless of the Davis Half, I can still honestly say that I had a great weekend. I went to the CrossFit Games, and I met one of my virtual friends, and I was even to run with Tony the Endorphin Dude.

So happy to be done!!!

I shouldn’t complain about the Davis Moo-nlight Half.  It was, after all, only $10 for me to run, and it was an opportunity to get some form of exercise in.  It wasn’t the race’s fault that I did not sleep, fuel, or hydrate properly – that was my own fault.  And, yes, the course was full of circles and ovepasses and tunnels, but it is what it is.  I’ll just know better to not run it again.  On the plus side, I did meet up with some really cool people, I got to run with my husband, and the medal was cool.

I know better, and when I know better I’ll do better.  I have learned a lot about myself and my running over the last few years.  I know what I need to do and I just have to do it and quit whining and moaning about what happened.  So … I apologize to Davis, CA.

Until next time … Train Hard.  Train Smart.  Eat Well. And have FUN!  It’s not worth it if it’s not fun!

The Things That Run Thru My Head While My Feet Are Running

I run … A lot.  I’ve run a lot of races and at every race, I see something crazy, or notice something, and every time I think to myself, “I’d love to run with my helmet cam and a mic so I can document all this crazy sh*t!”  I know that I’m not perfect … I’m far from it, but some of this stuff is off the wall and so obvious that I wonder what the other runners think. So … I’m going to just document things that I’ve seen or thought about while at a race.  Mind you, these are MY thoughts alone and I’m just getting them out of my head for the sake of MY own entertainment.  Remember, my humor is somewhat sick and twisted so forgive me.  And also remember this is me talking to ME in my own head – although I’m sure some of it has, at one time or another, slipped out somehow loud and completely by accident, not meaning to hurt anyone.  Remember … this is ME talking to ME …

Damn it’s freakin’ early.  I mean it’s too early to be awake!  What the heck? I should be sleeping still!

I can’t wait for this to be over so I can take a nap.

Geez, it’s cold/hot (mostly cold) out here?

I hope I didn’t forget anything. (Pats self down). iFitness belt – check. iPod with earbuds – check. Gu/Nutrition – check. Water bottles – check. Garmin – check.  Okay, okay, okay, already.  Stop OCD’ing.  You have everything.

I hope my feet hold up. I hope I wore the “right” shoes. Gawd, I should’ve put my inserts in. I think I wrapped my ace wrap too tight.

Damn it!  I forgot my lip balm! Ugh.

Sunglasses? Where are they? On top of my head … duh!

Where did all these people come from? I wonder how fast they all are? Let me predict what place I’ll come in.

Why? Why am I doing this again?  Why do I do this to myself?

“Excuse me, can you take my picture, please?”

Is my Garmin on? Why can’t I get a signal?

Gotta set up my music. Earbuds on as I like them. What’s on this playlist again?

Gun time! Oh my Gawd!  I’m not ready!

Where’s Chris?

My feet feel heavy.

Control your breathing. Slow down a tiny bit, Row.

Ow, my ankle/foot hurts. I hope it holds up for 13.1 miles.

Really, she’s wearing “that?”

What? It’s only mile one?

Compression gear means to COMPRESS.

Hello? Excuse me … Um … yeah, did you check yourself in the mirror miss, ’cause your shorts are a little bit too short.  “Cheeks” should not be showing, especially when they are not very nice cheeks to look at!

Some people should not wear compression gear.

Some people really need to wear compression gear.

Her gait’s different. Her left leg circles out. That’s gotta hurt.

I wish Nathan and Noah liked running.

Aaaaarrghhh … my shorts keep creeping up … LOL! (tugs shorts down)

He’s a heel striker.

She’s a pronator.

Wow … it looks like she could use new shoes.

Oh boy, your music is too loud – especially when I can hear it thru my ear buds.

My feet hurt. I wonder if I should stop and stretch?

I’m not going to stop until mile 6.5. Com’mon, Row., suck it up.

I’m tired.

I’m hungry.

Really? Cotton?  Cotton is ROTTEN!

I’m glad I don’t wear heels, I’d really jack my feet up.  I don’t know how women do it though.

Ooops … there’s cheek girl again.

What mile am I on?

Oooofff! Whoa … Have you not ever heard of deodorant? Must run away …

Oooh … I like this song (sings out loud).

I don’t understand why my trainer says that I need to quit running?

Is it time for a Gu? Is it time for a salt cap?

Oooh … I like that sign … ‘Where’s everyone going?”

“I’m really glad you’re out here …” Said to almost every volunteer and officer on the course.

Gawd, that water is awful (spits it out).

Her compression gear is not tight enough … Yikes. Supposed to minimize jiggle.

What mile am I on? How much longer?

Oooooh … Camera crew … Smile and throw up a “shaka.”

I can’t wait to take a nap after this.

Ohhhh … Mile 11. Com’mon, Row., you got this.

To every person I pass, “Com’mon, run with me. You got this.”

“Finish strong. Come with me. Let’s go.”

Oh my gawd, where is mile 12? (Checks Roxanne the Garmin.)

When’s my next race? Do I really want to do this AGAIN?

My head needs to shut up.

I’m hungry … I hope they have good post race food.

Uhhhhh uhhhhh … Mile 12, com’mon, you got this.

Yea … Fat Boy Slim … Rockafellar Skank. Take me home. (Sings)  “Right about now, the funk soul brother … Check it out now …”

Pick it up, Row. You can do this. One more mile. You can do it for one more mile. Less than 10 minutes. Less than 10 minutes …

Look! There’s the finish line … It’s right there.  Right there … Dig deep, Row.  Dig DEEP!

You can push a little harder.  You can go a little faster …

Cramp. Oh, geez, cramp.

Push, Row. PUSH.

She is NOT beating me …

Mile 13 … The finish is right there. Go!

Oh. My. God. I’m DONE. Thank you God, I am done.

Give me that medal!

Yea, I did it … Where’s the food?

I am so done! Yea!

What’s my next race? Really? I’m thinking about the next race already?

I wish that the dialogue was more exciting. I don’t really cuss so there’s not really much cussing at all during my run. I really am this boring. Most time what goes thru my mind are mini prayers. Something will remind me of someone, and I’ll ask God to bless them and let them know that I’m thinking about them. For example, at my race in Fresno, at the half mile point was the Amtrak Station and it reminded me of my friend, Linda, so I asked God to bless her, etc. A certain song may come on and remind me of my daughter, or another friend, and I’ll smile and again tell God that I am thankful for their presence in my life. Or … when a certain part of the course is getting hard and I’m tired and want to stop, I’ll hear the voice of my old trainer, Scott, tell me to suck it up and keep going. Most of my runs are pretty mindless and I usually run alone, so I just use that time to think and pray. I am known to laugh out loud, sing out loud, or even shed a tear or two. So … yes, my mind wanders while I run. While my feet are on the ground, moving in the direction of the finish line, my mind is ALL over the place thinking, praying, laughing at people, talking to myself, wanting to scream out insanely at the top of my lungs …

I’m not one of those people who let’s what’s in my head come out of my mouth. I’m an internalizer, and what “needs” to come out, comes out on paper.  I don’t do much talking so running and thinking works for me. Running is awesome.  It’s a great place to do your best thinking. Well, I guess, it’s the best place to do MY best thinking and meditating … and, yes, I would suggest that you try it too if you already don’t. And it would be interesting to hear what your thoughts are as well …

Train HARD!  Train SMART!  Eat WELL!  Run HAPPY!  And, most importantly, have FUN in the process.

My Drug Of Choice While Running

Drugs, gimme drugs, gimme drugs (My Chemical Romance) … Hahahaha! If you really think I’m going to write about which performance enhancing drug I use while running, you won’t find me writing about any type of pill.  I’m not big on drugs or medications, so you’re out of luck.  I don’t drink – ever, nor do I smoke.  Let me tell you what my drug of choice is while running … It’s music. Gotcha.  I’m BORING, remember.  So straight and narrow, boring, predictable, plain Jane.  Honestly, if truth were to be told, the only performance enhancing drug that I use pre-run is a Tall, Triple, Non-Fat, No whip Mocha from Starbucks.  No magic tricks to gettin’ it done.  I’m fairly good at motivating myself and gettin’ what I need to do, done.

They say that listening to music while running or during any exercise, can increase your performance by about 15%.  It lessens your perception of your exertion and causes a distraction from just how hard you’re working.

Row. Row.'s Running Machine!

I remember getting my first walkman many, many years ago.  My dad had bought it for me as a gift, along with several popular tapes such as Madonna, Journey, and REO Speedwagon.  It was one of the BEST gifts that I have ever received.  My little Walkman was small enough to tote around with me as I ran way back then in high school.  Throughout the years, it had been replaced with other Walkman’s, and then Discman’s, then recently several iPods.  In the last 7 years I’ve gone thru one original iPod, two shuffles, two nanos, and two iPhones … Yep.  I’m pretty passionate about my music.  I’m happy to say that I have passed this passion down to ALL of my children who have also gone thru several Apple products!  It’s pretty amazing how technology has progressed!  I love my music!

For every race that I have run, I make sure that it’s okay to wear head/earphones and to use devices such as an iPod.  The majority of races do allow them, and I am thankful for this because I am not sure that I could run without my tunes.

I know.  I know.  I could run without my music. Really, I could.  Would I want to? Would I choose to? If given a choice, no, I would not choose to run without it.  Running with my music helps me blunt the pain of running.  It helps distract me from the miles that I have yet to run.  It blocks out the mindless, irritating chatter of the other runners that at times drives me incessantly crazy, and helps me to refrain from saying things that I know I should not!  Running or working out with music truly helps me run/workout harder, longer, faster.  I can push just a little further, and I am able to do *that* much more, and gett’er done!

My music, is MY music.  Playlists chosen and made of my own accord.  I pick music that has a good beat, mostly top 40, Pop, hip/hop, alternative, some crazy rap.  I like music that has good lyrics because at times I’ll start belting out in song mid-run!  If you’re near me, I may serenade you, so be forewarned.

My last playlist had artists such as The Wanted, Linkin Park, P!nk, Madonna, Calvin Harris, Maroon 5, Trapt … I had a DJ, DJ D Ferreira, mix on there.  When “Glad You Came” came on, I thought of my friend, Sharon, who just started running.  It brought a smile to my face to think of Sharon because she’s focused and determined, and excited to run her first 5K.  I love that she comes to me for advice.  When Maroon 5’s “Payphone” came on, I thought of my gal-pal, Linda, who was running SLO.  I thought of her, and in my mind ran beside her, wishing her well, and hoping that she was okay.  When “Headstrong” came on by Trapt, I thought of my daughter, Grace, singing the lyrics which are so badass and crazy.  To envision her singing it, with her head bob, and serious face … always brings a huge smile on my face.  D Ferreira’s mixes are always lively and upbeat!  He’s been mixing music and sharing them for several years now, and I have so many of them, and am so thankful that he shares!

So … music, while not for everone, is for me.  There IS a correlation between better running performance while listening to music.  However, when making out your playlist, you have to be sure that you’re picking out music that suits you and your run.  If you pick out music that is too slow or dreary, it can slow you down and dampen your performance.  If you pick out music that is too fast, you can ultimately tire yourself out way before you’re to finish.  Pick out music that you like, that makes you happy and puts a smile on your face.  If you’re out for a strength run, or a tempo run, then make sure that you have that heart pumping music to push you thru.  The slower music may be good for times when you just want to get out there and move, no time goals, just out enjoying the outdoors. Music helps me power thru the miles when they seem long and painful.  It works like a drug for me, truth be told.  And while music may be my drug of choice while running, just plain old running and working out does it for me – Exercise Endorphins are the BEST!

Right now, I listen to all of my music via my iPhone. I have thousands – and I do mean THOUSANDS of songs stored on my iTunes account, so I have much to choose from.  My power songs are Fat Boy Slim’s “Rockafeller Skank” and “Headstrong” by Trapt.  The earbuds that I use are called V-Moda’s that I got from Costco.  My playlists vary from race to race to prevent boredom.  Honestly, I don’t run with both earbuds in my ears, usually only the left one in, the right one out, and my volume is usually set to below medium (I like to hear … sometimes).  There are those times though when both earbuds are firmly planted in both ears – and that’s when I’m surrounded by too many people and I need to block out the chatter.

I know that a lot of us run with music.  What’s your favorite? What’s your power song? What’s on your playlist? Most importantly, what’s your drug of choice while running.

Hard Headed

It’s been over a month now that I’ve been fighting a really nasty cold that turned into some serious bronchitis.  No joke.  A month.

It started off as mild allergies – sniffling here and there and maybe some sneezing, then turned into a full blown cold, then the flu, back to a cold, then dwindled down to allergies, then recently, back to some serious a$$ kicking in the form of a fever/chills, severe congestion, couging, which travelled down to right under my neck right around my collarbones complete with some serious bronchospasms.  A month of this, and yes, I have rested.

Okay … I’m a liar.  I have rested for the most part, however, it’s been rough sitting still.  For two weeks, I did nothing except run two times (a half one week, and a 5k the next) – nothing in between.  Both times I ran sick, and both times I did well.  The next race, I ran really sick, however, at that race, too, I did fairly well.  I ran, Elk Grove’s Running of the Elks, I was not sick, and did really well, however, two days later, I ended up severely ill! What the heck? Can’t a girl catch a break? I mean, geez Louise already!

Before we get any farther, I am an adult, and I have been a nurse for MORE than half of my life.  Although I am a nurse, I’m NOT a fan of conventional, modern medicine.  I don’t take medications except for the occasional tylenol or ibuprofen, and even that is few and far between. I haven’t taken an antibiotic for years … I mean YEARS, and I still refuse to do so. I am a big fan of preventative health care, and can be seen shaking my head at “reactional medicine.” I guess I’m just tired of taking people who don’t take care of themselves at all, and who make tons of excuses for their health (i.e., I don’t have enough time, I have kids, I’m too tired, it costs too much, etc.). So many people want a pill to take care of their illnesses or for weight loss, but can’t seem to realize that if they had just taken care of themselves they would not have been in the position that they were in to begin with. There are NO magic pills for anything!!!

So … yes, I’ve been sick, and, yes, I have been working out and running thru some of my illness when I can. I am a big girl, and I know my own limits.  I don’t need people telling me that I’m not going to get any better because I never take the time to rest.  What? (Mind you, this is a nurse colleague of mine who does ZERO exercise or exertion telling me what to do.)  I am the BEST expert on my own body, and I really don’t need an opinion from someone who knows absolutely nothing about me.  Contrary to popular belief,  I HAVE been resting, trust me. It may not seem like it, but I have been. I know my body and I know when it’s time to stop. And last week, I did break down and asked for a prescription for a Z-pack which I did take. No one forced it down my throat, I took it because I knew that I needed it.  Last week, I even covered my shift because I knew that I was too sick to go to work when I could have just called in sick and left my shift open and my co-workers short.   (Who does that?)

We forget that the rib cage goes ALL the way around. Source for pic.

On a bright note, I got some news about my injured shoulder.  I was able to FINALLY get a referral and got in to see my favorite Physical Thearapist, Todd!  As you can remember, I’ve had this injured, bum right shoulder since December.  Despite resting it as much as I can, it hasn’t really healed. I’ve resorted to alternative medicine in the form of accupuncture which has made a remarkable difference (that’s another blog post for another day)! But going in to see Todd made all the difference as he was able to fit all the pieces together and come up with a real diagnosis!  What I thought was my shoulder all this time has actually NOT been my shoulder, but rather my rib joints! What the heck? Who would have thought? Seriously, Todd was able to pin point all my areas of pain and make a concrete diagnosis.  “First thru third rib joint irritation secondary to muscle strain (tight pecs and lats).” He showed me that when he pushed the muscle out of the way of the ribs that were affected, that my pain was alleviated. That’s true because the huge knot that’s in my back, when I have it pushed down, there is no pain what so ever, and my ROM is much improved!  Who would have thought?  That’s why I think Todd is the greatest PT ever!  He’s helped me thru a lot of my issues regarding my musculoskletal system.  So I now have exercises to help stretch the muscles that are injured, and he has assured me that I will heal, but that I need to be patient … something that I am not good at!

So … my lessons … be patient and take care of myself… I will heal.  I have NO doubt that I will.  Those that don’t know me can just shut up.  I have no time for naysayers.  Leave me alone.  I know that I’m hard headed – I’ve been called that my entire life, so it isn’t anything new. I’m tenacious. I’m good, and I know what I’m doing.  I’m busy getting well, and besides … I’m going to do whatever I want to do anyway. =)

Gutting It Out At The Oakland Half Marathon

Over the last two weeks, I have really done a whole lot of nothing.  Seriously, in all honestly, I have been sick … really sick.  What started out as allergies, turned into a full blown head cold, that eventually turned into bronchitis complete with bronchospasms, with a touch of a 24 hour flu thrown in for good measure in between that head cold and bout of bronchitis.  I haven’t fully recovered, and I really have no business doing any kind of strenuous exercise until I’m close to 100%, right?  But being Row., I really don’t heed my own advice quite that well, and I like to test things out and push if I can get away with it.

This is how it all started … I had the makings of a head cold, complete with severe congestion and sore throat when I ran Sacramento’s Shamrock’n Half Marathon.  I had to call in sick to work for two days after this half because I felt pretty bad.  After running, I got worse and what was just a head cold progressed to this awful coughing because I was so dang congested.  I was starting to feel better by day 5, and I even went back to work on Friday, worked a full 12 hours shift, and proceeded to rock a 5K immediately afterwards.  Um … yeah, not the best idea, but I did it and did well.  But … there’s always a but … I ended up getting worse.  My coughing was so bad that I couldn’t sleep so I broke down and asked one of my Doc’s to write me a prescription for some Super Duper Cough Medicine which I took.  I slept so well, but that night I felt as if I had a hangover from the med. Then I felt as if I were dying – so debilitated that I could barely get out of bed, and I vomited.  Only once, but I vomited and I never vomit.  I believe that the last time I even came close to vomiting was 11 years ago when pregnant with my daughter. Ugh. Gross. The achiness went away, but the head cold was now in my chest – a nice appearance of bronchitis which had me coughing all the time because my bronchioles were always in such a fit of spasms.  I felt as if I were trying to cough up my right lung! Mind you this is now 3 weeks into this.  And I besides the two runs, I haven’t worked out at all.  It’s been like a forced rest for my poor shoulder.

Well … You’d think I’d learned my lesson from all of this right? Except I signed up to run the Oakland Running Festival this weekend.  Yeah … crazy.  Any other sane individual would’ve bagged the race and DNS’d it.  But no … Not Row.

Saturday night, I fell asleep without incident.  I was pretty whipped, and knew that I had to get some good rest in. About an hour into my sleep, my daughter, who likes to sleep with music, turned on her radio to go to sleep except it was at FULL blast, and not only that it was house mixes – bass thumping, heart pumping music. There went my sleep – I could not fall asleep afterwards for nothin’.  I did finally fall asleep at about 3 o’clock only for the alarm to ring right at 5!!! It wasn’t even a fitful nap due to all my coughing, and add on the fact that I’m for some reason nauseated and I know that I’m in for a delightful run!

I cough and hack and gag all the way to Oakland.  I try to eat my breakfast sandwich, only to feel as if I’m force feeding myself and start choking. I’m whining to my husband.  I can’t decide what to wear for outerwear. I feel out of sorts. I know that he feels bad for me, but there’s not much that he can do. He even offered to let me stay in the car and sleep while he took my bib so I’d get a time, etc., but I wasn’t going to let that happen.  I’d decided to just shut up, suck it up, and run.

What it looked like the day of packet pickup. Oh and that truck in front of us said, "Marathon" at the top. Another sign!
It turned out to be a beautiful day for a run!
Ready to go!
Chris - Race Ready!

The weather turned out to be surprisingly beautiful where it had been forecasted to be a torrential downpour. (Well, I don’t know if it was supposed to be a downpour, but it sounded good.) We had a lot of time before the start so we did the customary prerace cheezing, porta potty pit stops, and what not. The half marathon had a late start time of 0915 so we had lots of time to kill.

My view of the START ...
And Chris' view of the START! LOL!

The race started promptly at 0915.  Chris was behind me, however, I lost him before we even hit mile one.  I felt kind of bad because I always feel as if I should run with him, but he never wants me to wait for him.  He wants me to run my race.  I was doing well, surprisingly, but I figured that with my lack of sleep, my coughing and nausea, I’d just run to run.  However, I felt good.  But I felt it at by mile 2.  Not the sickness, but the ankle ache on my left side.  I figured I’d just let it go, that it was tolerable. I continued to run the streets of Oakland – thanking the volunteers, high fiving the police and firemen, and taking in the sights.  Like I said, the weather was perfect, and aside from my little ankle ache, I was okay.  That is until about mile 9 when the tiny ache became a real ache and I could feel myself running crooked to compensate.  This lead to my balance being thrown off, so now not only did my ankle ache, but my left knee was starting to whimper a little.  But I talked to myself, my body and I told it that we could do it for 40 more minutes, that we could tolerate this pain for a little longer, that we were strong, and that we were okay, that we would be okay.  Essentially, I told my body that it had NO choice.  I said, nicely, that we would just have suck it up and just gut it out the rest of the way.  Just like that.  You know, like when you talk to your kids … you don’t give them choices, you tell them what they’re going to do and they don’t argue back, and if they do, you whack ’em!

At mile 10, I thought of my friend, Audrey, when I saw someone who held up a sign that read, “Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.” I smiled, and told my body that what we were experiencing was just that … Temporary. I reminded my body that we would be okay, despite the now crying left knee.  Just a little ache. We were gonna be okay.  Every time we went up hill, I smiled and said that this was my sled pull for the day, my mini WOD, and thought of my friends at CrossFit 209.

DONE!!!

We got to Lake Merritt … People kept saying that it was “just a jaunt around the lake and you’re done.” Yeah right.  Lake Merritt is HUGE!!!  These people surely had a skewed sense of measuring! I know that they only meant to motivate, but it was really deceitful! Mile 11, more crying from the knee, just a little louder, and not only that, but my shoulder was also starting in and my right arm went numb. Mile 12 … still whimpering, but Rockafeller Skank comes through on the iPod and I tell myself and my poor knee that it’s just about over. We got this.  We take off just a tad faster. We push hard. We have no clue where we are time wise because I decided stop looking at my Garmin at mile 3. I just know that I have to dig a little deeper and rise up … so I do. I push hard and just go.  It takes a few before I can spot the finish line and it’s just slightly up an incline.  And before I know it, I cross that finish line and I couldn’t be happier.  I immediately thank my body for pushing through, for sucking it up, and gutting it out when the going to rough.  I’m really proud of myself.  Despite all the odds that were stacked against me – the lack of sleep, the crazy sickness, the shoulder, ankle and knee issues – I finished! I’m really proud of myself for getting the work done!!!

Best of all, I’m proudest of my body for not listening to my head.

Highlights of my race: Best sign I read was, “Where’s everyone going?”  Running thru the Wall of Fire! Seeing the Raiders in all their make up! And cheezin’ for every camera I saw – and I saw a LOT!

The Draw of 26.2

26.2 miles that dead ends into a wall ...

I have no desire to run a marathon … I keep saying that.  I’ve said it over and over since the very first marathon I ever ran.  Yet, for some reason, the draw, is there … The pull is there and it’s not just a gentle, little tug … it’s a hard yank!

What I found when I started up my Mini last week ... 26.2 miles and a FULL tank.

They say that what you resist, will persist.  The signs for 26.2 have been popping up everywhere for me.  In conversations with my friends, as mileage in my car, on street signs, as race events that woo and tempt, etc.

Why the resistance?  Well … 26.2 miles is a LONG way to run, and it’s hard to train for a marathon.  The time and dedication that it requires, is VERY demanding and it takes A LOT of time and effort, something that I’m just not ready and willing to do right now.  The thing is is that I know that I CAN do it.  I’ve done it before and I’m not afraid to do it again.  I know I’m capable, and I’m stronger, smarter, wiser.  The distance no longer scares me.  26.2 miles of running is no longer daunting, nor does the training does not scare me.

I know that people love the distance.  I’ve watched my old running buddies, Mac and Mel, finish their first marathons together and go on to sign up for more, leaving me in the dust.  I quietly watch so many of my other friends train to tackle the distance. My good friends, Linda and Ali, are training.  Lisa Marie, my workout partner, is training.  My friend Marci in Texas is training.  I just don’t have the desire, but yet I wonder why the pull is there?  I wonder why it calls me?  “Row. … come out and play … come out and run with us …” it says.

I believe that the desire is there despite me continually resisting.  I believe that it’s there because I desire to improve.  I believe that it’s there because I continually push myself and my body to do more and more and more.  I believe that it’s there because deep down inside I know that I want to do it regardless of what my head says.  I love the feeling of accomplishment – it stays with me everyday of my life.  I can look back and say that I am part of the 1% of the World’s population that has run and completed a marathon … FOUR times!

There are a lot of beautiful courses out there, so I may just suck it up and find a marathon to run.  And, yeah, I have a few in mind, but for now I’ll stick with my halves and see where this pull directs me.  Keep trying to convince me.  Stay tuned …