Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Seal's Been Broken

When you get an envelope in the mail and the back of it says the above, wouldn't you rip it open immediately and then go for a run to test out a heel that's been complaining, loudly, for the past 11 months?

Um... yeah you KNOW you would!

I've run 3 times for a grand total of 27.68 miles since I was given the OK to run by the doctor (coincidentally, the same time I opened the envelope - is that fate or what?!) - and how did the heel hold up, you ask??

Monday: 10.5 miles on the treadmill (at a whopping speedy pace 5 seconds faster than last week's crawl) and .... drum roll....NO excruciating heel pain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (perfect time to use multiple exclamation points!)  I had hoped to do about 12 but the heel started to whisper and it had enough so I listed and popped off immediately!

Tuesday: Woke up and I could WALK.  I mean, I could walk without stumbling the first 20 steps in pain and stiffness.  More than the run on Monday, I found this feat crazy blissful!

Wednesday: 10.18 miles on the trails at the state park near my house....and again, NO HEEL PAIN!!!  (but I wore some  new trail shoes and ended up with some pretty nasty blisters on my bum heel foot - owwwwie - more on this later).
A gorgeous late afternoon on the trails!

Ran into this guy a few miles into the run

The Creek was flowing fast - and cold!

Thursday: 7 miles, 4 of them 400 intervals on my treadmill.  I had a little ordeal with the excessive athletic tape the trainer at school put on my foot (if there is a sudden shortage of athletic tape on the shelves near you, I apologize - it's currently on my foot!), along with the previous day's blisters so after dinking around with tape and scissors and Bandaids and popping blisters and antibiotic ointment and jelly pads the trainer gave me - I eventually had a very successful run.  YAY!!!
And what was in the envelope?  That'd be one MattyRunRun sticker, of course
Thanks, Matty, for the sticker and the hocus pocus magical spell you put on the envelope that will make all my runs from here on out awesome!!  And thanks to ALL ya all for encouraging comments from my visit with the doctor post a few days ago - you guys are incredible spirit pick-er-up-ers!  Your words and encouragement have been truly the reason I've never given up - thank you!  So far, the heel's been happy....but a long run over the weekend will be the big test.  But how I can fail, it's all awesomeness from here on out; the proof's in the envelope, the seal's been broken.

And to those lucky souls getting the Fitness Edge Sports Drink:
Thanks guys - can't wait to hear how you like the stuff.  I'm going to see if I can't get samples out to lots more of you here soon, too.

A HUGE shout-out to Jessica, an amazing runner I've had the honor of helping train for the past many months - she'll be running her first marathon this weekend in Houston and I am just so incredibly excited for her!  I will not wish her luck as luck is for the ill-trained and she has been training so hard and knocking out every one of the crazy 23 weeks we've worked together.  Go get 'em Jessica!   And best of everything happy for Jamoosh and Emz running their marathons this weekend, too! And can't forget Matty's Houston half.  Run strong!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Date with the Doc

I know it's difficult for some to understand my procrastination seeking the advice of a foot specialist for my continuous nagging heel concerns....but I had my reasons, logical or not, and did what I had to do.

But last Friday, I did it - I sought the expertise of a podiatrist.  And not any ole podiatrist I randomly picked out of the yellow pages (done that before), no I saw one who is a mega ultra runner (is that an oxymoron?  Aren't all ultra runners "mega" runners?  The sentence made me laugh.); he is a friend of the XC coach I work/run with, who has done many ultra races, including the infamous Leadville 100 miler - a race I consider personally to be the epitome of all 100-mile endurance challenge races. 

So I figured this guy would understand how important this running job of mine meant to me; he'd understand my pleas to get me bandaged up and back out on the roads again - feeling well.  Like yesterday :).

I've seen doctors who don't fully understand this.  My favorite line of all from one of these highly educated white-coat people was, "You need to stop running or you will die" - after I landed in the hospital due to a severe case of dehydration.  Plain and simple - I WOULD DIE if I continued to run.  No negotiations like: be certain I drank more water, make sure I got in some electrolytes.... nope, it was die or nothing.  I kept running, drank more water, I still have a pulse.

Anyway, a couple x-rays later, a lot of conversations (about running, of course): no stress fracture and no heel spur (well, I do have a small one which he said has been there 20-25 years and was in no way affecting this current issues at hand).  What I have, and which I had basically came to the same WebMD conclusion a few weeks ago, is I have a very severe case of Plantar Faciitis (this dumb heel thing has changed symptoms at least 20 times since it's mission to take me down.  Certainly had me on my toes trying to self-diagnosis - literally.  Bahahaah).

Though those two words - Plantar Faciitis - are not exactly ideal in terms of treating this bugger; but I can't stress how just the mere fact I received an answer - an official diagnosis from someone with more than on online degree - eased my mind.  At least from here when I Google symptoms of my heel, I can Google the correct problem.  That's got to save me at least 13-hours/day in wasted cyber-browsing (and now can turn that attention towards more boot shopping). 

There is no easy magical wand-waving solution here, as there never is, and I get that.  One of my co-workers told me as I headed out of work early for my appointment and told her how nervous I was, that she was afraid I was going in with high expectations and was surely going to be disappointed when I walked out without a magical fix.  No, I had no expectations - I merely wanted an answer as to what it was ... and ok, secretly hoped I would be told I could keep running, even if was painful. 

I got my diagnosis.  I was told I could run.  Mission accomplished. 

Will the pain every go away?  There's a high probability not.  I walked out with a cortisone shot, the bottom of my foot wrapped in so much tape it can barely move, told not to run for 3 days, keep my foot dry so the tape won't come off (I'll take any excuse for a long, leisurely bubble bath - see pic above) and come back in two weeks to discuss any progress, where we'll then discuss where to go from there. 

But I have an answer.  And I can run.  The two things I was seeking.  Will I be able to run at the level I once did?  Will I be able to train at the capacity to run the once love-of-my life road marathons again?  I honestly don't know, and I am slowly becoming at peace with that.  I can't help but wonder if I’ve come to a crossroads, replacing old habits of marathon finish lines for things of new running adventures.  Is something else out there my new way of victory?  I almost find my heart leaning in this direction.

It can be overwhelming in the face of all that needs to be done, to consider what we really want to do.  I’ve gotten so wrapped up in race times and placements and PR’ing that I haven’t taken the time to explore other things I love equally well. That's why instead of thinking about what I have to do, I am going to try to shift my perspective and consider what I want to explore more of.  It’s going to make me a stronger, better runner, I think.  If we aren't paying attention, the way we fill our time defines who we are by default.  Awkkkk!
I'm not going to give up the fight - I was told I could run so I will train around whatever the heel deals me.  I'm excited to test a new adventure, starting with a race I signed up for on Monday: Skyline to Sea Trail Marathon on April 10th in Northern Cali.  A trail marathon – something I’ve never done before.  I have no pressure to PR.  There is no illustrious finish line time dangling out there for me to obsess over.  Heck, I may have to walk most of it, it's not like I'm in pristine running shape right now and I know there is no humanly way I will be by race day, but it's a starting point for which to get some answers: how well will my heel hold up for training - and during the race, will my mind really be at ease with this slower-than-ever pace I've been forced to employ, will I enjoy the trails and the small crowds, will I miss the hype of big-time marathons I once so loved, and a hundred more question..... yes, I want to train well no matter what I run or race, but there's something which seems inviting to me right now, at least until I can test out the heel for awhile, and that's to take my running to places I've never gone before - and I can't wait to find out  what that may be. 
So come and join me and Kovas, Chris K., Patrick, and Kate, if you can, as we seek new adventures in our lives.  Heck, even my podiatrist is even going to be there running, believe it or not (how cool is that??)....I'm hoping he has his magic wand handy just in case the heel decides to rear its ugly head – the one he forgot to use on me Friday.  It’d be so fun if you can join us but if you can't, don’t forget about the adventure that lies in all our running and racing hearts and set out to find your own.  After all, isn’t that what started this journey for you in the first place – Adventure?

I have my answer, I have some things to see if it helps the heel pain (or not) – but I’m not going to give up and will try to not let it take me down.  I have a little race to get ready for, let's get this game rolling - move over Plantar Faciitis I'm ready!!

Week 3:
Weekly running miles:  16 (very low due to the fact I was forced to take the past 3 days off)
Total 2011 miles: 89.1

Monday: Swam 1550 yds, lower body and core wt training
Tuesday:  5.5 miles SICs
Wednesday: 6.5 miles run total.  2 miles wu + upper body wt training4.5 miles at MP later in the evening.
Thursday: 4 miles progression run
Friday: Off (podiatrist induced rest day)
Saturday: 34 miles on le bike.  Yes, that's right, I rode the stationary bike for 2 hours 4 minutes.  My butt will never be the same - but I got some good reading done!
Sunday: 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer; full body wt training

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fitness Edge Sports Drink + Giveaway / Week 2

Soooo, what happens when you venture to the Manitou Incline over winter break with the track team, almost have a heart attack climbing 2200' in a little less than a mile, (click here if you missed that glute-killing, lung-exploding post), run as fast as you can down the back side of the Incline, decide you're dying of thirst and hunger, stop at 7-11 on the way home for snacks, crave protein, read a billion beverage labels to find something different that looked appealing, grab a bottle of something you've never tried (Fitness Edge Sports Drink) drink it in a microsecond (and lick as much as you can get out of the bottle), love it so much that you get on the company website to find out more about the product???

Well...eventually, a couple weeks later, you become an "Ambassador" for the company!!!

I know, sweet huh?  I grabbed a bottle of the key lime flavored Fitness Edge Sport Drink and it was like key lime pie in a bottle.  But with 20g of protein, vs 200g of sugar from the pie!  The beverage had a real fruity flavor and was not chalky or gritty at all like many high protein drinks out there.  There's actually real fruit juice in it, too, which I'm certain contributes to the sweet, fruit flavor.  Here's a little tid-bit of info from the company man himself:

Fitness Edge won the gold medal at the 2010 World Dairy Expo for the best tasting protein drink.  It uses our proprietary dairy beverage processing to allow us to add a small amount of skim milk to a juice based beverage.  The same process is used in both FUZE and SoBe products.  

I really was interested in where I could find the beverage, etc, so I wrote the company, they sent me some samples to try ... and within a few emails back and forth, they asked me if I'd be interested in writing a weekly little column on their website, sharing  fitness tips, exercise examples, nutrition news - stuff like that.  The column will run every Tuesday which appears on their website (click HERE if you want to check it out, my little section is in the box on the far right.... scroll down a little and you'll see some stuff I already contributed this week and last week) and also on their Facebook page (click HERE to "like" them on Facebook).  Ambassador is just a fancy title, since I'm so snazzy and all, but it is kinda cool in a way and I am pretty excited.

But I do love this stuff!  With 20g of protein, low in calories and sugars, it really fits my needs after a great workout (great???  Not sure I had one of those in about a year), in fact one of my kids snapped a pic as I was downing some after today's sweaty run..

That's a beauty of a pic, huh??!!  Nice and sweaty gross.  Hey, Chris, will this picture win me first place for your most beautiful blogger contest??

It's a great electrolyte, too!

Right now, the product is only available in Colorado and Wisconsin but will be available other places soon...and you can also order it and have it shipped directly to you.  The below message from the company man:

We will also be in many local health clubs soon.  Other than CO, it is currently only found in our back yard in Wisconsin stores.  There is a link on our web site to order cases from ThirstMonger.  At 3 cases, the freight is free and FE is still lower in cost than similar products.  I also believe that Whey Protein is a much better protein source than Milk Protein (80% casein) and other protein sources

Cool, huh???

So, as ambassador of Sports Edge Fitness, the company gave me the OK to share some of this awesome stuff with others.  That's right, I'm having a GIVEAWAY!!!!   And Chris - this isn't even gender specific, unlike some giveaways.  Men can drink this stuff, fact, I heard all the cool guys drink it.  Anyway, there'll be a few winners, not sure how many yet, but a few.  Here's what you do, and one comment is just fine:

1) Tell me which of the Tangerine Orange, Key Lime, or Wild Berry Flavors you would prefer (but I think you'll get one of each....I'm mostly just curious what your taste buds say).

2) "Like" them on FB (I mean, you want to read my weekly tribute, right????)

3) Remind Chris K. that yes, I am the Goddess of Running.

That's it!  Pretty simple. 

I'll run the giveaway through Thursday, January 27th at noon (a week should give me ample time to get another post out, right Kovas?).  I think you guys are going to LOVE this stuff!

Ok, since it's almost the end of week 3, let me post week 2's numbers:
Running miles: 35.1
Total 2011 miles: 73.1

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 6 miles, SICs
Wednesday: 2 easy to shake the stiff legs,  weight lifting class
Thursday: 14.5 miles - at a pace that was a hair above a crawl.
Friday: 2.1 miles run, Upper body weights
Saturday: Chily Cheeks Duathon:
4 miles run
11.5 miles cycle
Sunday: 7 hilly glute-working miles

My goal for the weekend is to organize my training calendar better so it's more readable - man, what a what a complete eyesore.  Sorry.

And no, my heel hasn't miraculously decided to perform happily - I'm just working around it as best I can.  Crazy thing this week, it seems to ache all day but after I start running about a mile, it seems to release all the tension from the day and my running has felt good.  Aside from the long run, which did hurt some.  But don't worry, next week it will feel's never very consistent.  But I promise if the heel is ever fixed permanently, I'm calling CNN and broadcasting the news... y'all will definitely know.

Run Strong, friends!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Me and the Chilly Cheeks DU #2

Chilly Cheeks #2 will be a fun and unique race. After completing a 1.5 mile run on paths and roadways in the park, you will mount your bikes for a single lap around the 3.6-mile paved loop. Next, you will do a 2.5 mile run, then mount your bikes for 2 laps of the 3.6 mile loop. Finally, you will rack your bike and run 50 meters to the finish line.

The above course synopsis was copied directly from the website.  This little gem of a race was pretty convoluted and certainly "unique" with four transitions in a two sport race.

This race today would have been pretty nice....had it not snowed about 10" on Monday, leaving the bike portion not the obstacle I feared it would be, but rather the 2nd running leg purely treacherous, which caught me off-guard and my running feet unprepared.
But I guess that's to be expected with a race series such as this in the middle of winter in Denver; you can pretty much count on the weather being fickle so you just make the best of a situation as you can.

And I did.

As I told my friend, Jim, at the end of the race today:  At least we got out there and pushed ourselves to do something we wouldn't have done had we gone out for a simple run on our own.  And THAT makes it fun.  He definitely agreed.

So here's a few special highlights along with some little facts I learned in DU #2:
  • Super-fit tri geeks not only have 20K tri bikes, they additionally have 20K fat tire bikes.
  • 20K tri bikes will spin out when going around an icy curve.
  • I may, or may not, have secretly thought it was kind of funny when I saw a cocky tri-dude wipe-out.
  • I definitely wished no one was seriously injured, especially when I saw not one, but two ambulances.
  • My 4000 lb mountain bike ROCKED on the snow and ice.  Not even one tiny slip.
  • Wearing a bike helmet while running, even if it is for 1.5 miles, looks ridiculous (how many microseconds does it take to put on a helmet?).
  • Wearing a male Speedo-type swimsuit bottom with cow prints on it will get you mocked at.  Even if you are uber-fast and come in 3rd place overall.
  • Wearing a solid colored Pepto-Bismol-pink one-piece tri suit with green and white stripped compression socks is totally stupid, male or female, but especially male.  And btw, dude, you are NOT fast, you shouldn't be drawing attention to yourself so badly.
  • Honey, just cuz you wear your 2008 Boston jacket, you are no faster than me (and therefore most, for that matter) in a duathlon.  In fact, I beat your ass in the run AND the bike.
  • Running a 7:30 min/mile pace is great on a non-icy road.
  • Running a 10:00 min/mile pace on hard, footprint-crusted, ankle-turning ice is freaking incredible!
  • My Brooks Launch running shoes make excellent ice skates.
  • Never.  Thought.  I'd.  Be.  So.  Relieved.  To.  Be.  Done.  Running.  And.  Riding.  My.  Bike.
  • Made Jim swear next race we check out the trail conditions prior and wear treaded trail shoes, if similar conditions warrant it.
  • My girl-bits were not screaming so loudly on the bike this round, despite not wearing any padding.  I couldn't believe it.  Definitely a highlight of the race.
  • I think all my glute work in the gym, and that crazy Manitou Incline running over winter break, is starting to pay off slightly - I felt great on the uphill cycling sections.
  • Getting off a bike and forming some semblance of a run is comical.  Who put the 100 lb. weights on my quads????
  • Putting in a small amount of effort on the bike can actually reap some rewards (who knew??) - I passed 9 other cyclists this race.  Yes, your eyes read correctly: NINE.  N.I.N.E!!!  Let's recap last race: I passed zero.  Zer.  O. 
  • I still bike suck big time, especially riding on a mountain bike in a race filled with tri-dudes on bikes more expensive than my house.  So passing 9 people makes you feel like a ROCK STAR!!
  • Knocking 4 minutes off last month's time when running on some of the most miserable rocky, chunky ice, and having 3 additional transition zones to contend with, feels AWESOME!  (I know that's an overused word, I don't really care right now - it's exactly how I felt).  Let's repeat: that's 4 minutes FASTER than last month! 
  • Hot chocolate and hot Cup-O-Noodles was the best post-race handouts ever!
  • Anyone ever get fuzzy sweatpants instead of yet another tech T at a race?  I know one person who has!
3rd, and final, race in the series is February 26th.  That one will be a 10-mile bike ride followed by a 4 mile run.  I'm not overly excited about this, considering my legs took a long time to get moving after hopping off the bike this race.  But it is what it is and I will persevere.  Just like today!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week 1 2011 / Total useless thoughts

Totally random thoughts of great stuff post!
  • Yes, I am still going to write some coaching stuff (ahem Jenn :) ) - I just gotta organize my life.  Any topics of interest are greatly appreciated.
  • I didn't do a long run Sunday.  Made it to 6.25 miles and my heel hurt the entire time.  But it wasn't paralyzing hurt, it was just annoying hurt.  That's huge progress on the hurt scale.  Nevertheless, my legs were just dead, and I just didn't have the run in me.  I need to get outside and run and off my stupid treadmill (Awk!  Did I just say that???  Sorry treadmill, I still love you)!
  • I applied for new insurance mid-December.  For all who were not fortunate enough to be with me in early fall, I have an insurance fiasco which would make your head spin, therefore my heel has been unprofessionally diagnosed (unless you count my WebMD degree).  I have self-diagnosed it with at least 5 different things; currently I think it's neurological.  I could go into much detail why, but I'll spare you.  Email me if you want the full-blown explanation.  Anyway, insurance on "hold" because the new insurance company wants my medical records.  Here we go again; I'm totally prepared for the final "Denied" - and if that is the case, I am going to use the pre-paid money insurance money, which I will get reimbursed, and go seek advice for my heel from a real, live podiatrist.  I know, I can hardly believe it either - I may actually be able to see a breathing human with a degree in foot medicine before the turn of the century!
  • Beginning of the year began season 2 of The Biggest Loser where I work.  Somehow, I got roped into doing it with the computer graphic teacher at work, which basically means I'll be manning the entire project by myself.  I spent 2 hours today organizing everyone into brightly colored folders, according to their personalities (plain manila sufficed just fine for some :)).  Everyone chipped in $10.  I have 45 contestants.  Student council matched our contribution so I have approximately $900 to play with.  It was heavily voiced to me that we do separate male and female winners, which is fine, but last year the top winner made out with $600.  This year we have less contestants and therefore less money and divide that in half, we're talking maybe $200 for the overall male and female winner.  Oh, we have to have weekly winners, too.  If one person complains to me, I quit; I'm very stressed about it already.  Any advice how to divvy up the cash?   Maybe a plane ticket to Cabo for Jill?
  • Oh, and btw, I signed my sorry out-of-shape, over-weight, body up, too.  I figure I may have an advantage over several of the females - ya know, since I run and all.  I guess that would require me to actually RUN???
  • I'm going to go back to logging my weekly running on this blog, something I actually used to do way back in the day when I used to RUN a lot; that way I will be less slacking.  Heel permitting.
  • No, for those who have asked if I have any races on my plate.  The goal is to get the miles racked up with as little heel problems as possible, lose the excess weight, strength train galore, and feel good.  If I can get to that place, then yes, I have a few races I'd like to tackle, the first a trail marathon in April and of course, that 50miler which I SO WANT TO DO THIS YEAR (please heel, please let me do it!).  I have my sights on which 50, but not going to jinx it by yelling it out.  It's in October.  Or September.  I can't remember, but either way, I have my work cut out for me.
  • I think I'm Boston'd out; the high of that race has fizzled for me.  Maybe I'll get it again, in time, but as I sit here and look at my two Boston Marathon medals sitting on my dresser mirror, the race no longer tugs at.  I'm proud I pushed my body well beyond it's comfort zone to earn those two, but now I'm ready to push my body to something else.
  • This summer will be my 30th class reunion in Iowa. Crazy, since I'm only 31.
  • DU #2 this weekend.  I've been on my bike exactly once since the last DU.  It snowed about 10" yesterday - I am therefore going to wipe out and kill myself.  Which will alleviate the girl parts pain problem I had last time.
  • I have $7 and some change on my CSN gift card I won way back whenever.  Anyone want it?  Gotta be used by the 17th.  Looking forward to not getting anymore email reminders to use it come Jan 18th.  First to holler they want it it's theirs!
  • I am off work on this Thursday and Friday and the following Monday and Tuesday for finals.  Why yes, I was just off for 2 weeks over the holidays.  No hating now!  I will use the time wisely (ha)  and get my coaching website up and running.  HELP!
  • I so need to stop using so many exclamation points when I write!!!
  • And the most exciting news of this entirely boring post, I was just asked to be an "ambassador" for Fitness Edge Sports.  Not as impressive as Beth's Athena gig, but I get to do some writing about running for them on FB and their website so I'm very excited about that.  And I love their product.  I'll write more on that later this week as I have a giveaway and product review to do for them.  Yay me.

Week 1 of 2011 

Can't say the week went according to plan, but it's done so no boo-hoo'n it.  Here's how it shook out:
- Monday: 1000M swim.  20 minutes of lower body weights (hardly worth the time, but oh well, it was all I had time for with the swim).
- Tuesday: Ran 3 miles at some pathetic slow pace.
- Wednesday: 6 miles. 1 mi wu + 4 miles of Short Interval Cardio (*SIC for short) + 1 mi cd.
- Thursday:  3.5 miles at an ok pace.  Weight lifting class.
- Friday:  4 miles at MP (8:24 MP??  hahahah.  Ok, sure.  Maybe in 2009, definitely not in 2010.  Doubtful in 2011.  We'll see.).
- Saturday:  Weight lifting class.  Adam's Virtual 5K race (4.5 miles total with all prep work).
- Sunday: Dead tired.  Imagine.  Long run (bahahahahahha) of 6.25 miles at some incredible bad pace.  With much heel pain.

Total 2011 run miles (with 11.5 miles from 1/1//11):  38

*SIC: Short Interval Cardio.  I do these right now about once a week (sometimes twice a week).  Great for reducing weight and body fat.  Warm up for a mile. Then 1 minute at an insanely fast pace @ 0% incline, followed by 1 minute walk.  Repeat 10 times but up the incline 1% every two intervals until you reach 5%.  Do NOT change the pace.  See how much fun it is!  But oh so good for your lungs.  And reducing your weight.  And body fat.  And they make you speedier!  There's your coaching tip for the week :).

That's all I got for today!  Run strong, Friends!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K

Ever so anxious to get my first race of the new year in the books, without hesitation I signed on the dotted line for Adam's "Freeze our Thorns Off 5K" virtual race - and today was THE day!

I put it off.  All day. 

But I had reasons.

Like a devoted, loyal friend I am, I told Tara I'd meet her at the gym at oh eight hundred this morning for weight lifting class.  First, I had to take Ryan to meet the track team as they headed up yet another insanely steep mountain, so I got to get up at crack-of-dawn o'clock to get him there and then the PLAN was to run the 5K after drop-off.  Didn't happen.  Spent too long in the parking lot waiting for his group to show up so not enough time to squish the run in, though the thought did occur to me that maybe I'd run faster if I had less time to run it, but my flannel sheets for another 20 minutes were more inviting. 

Get to weight lifting class, smack on the 8 o'clock dot for an hour (bailed on the stretching section, why the heck would I want to stretch my overly-tight hamstrings and glutes for anyway??), got home in time to take Brendan up to school (this makes 2 trips to the school all before 10a.m. on a Saturday), the band was going out to beg solicit businesses for donations to an upcoming band silent auction.  By the time I got home from that, all I had time to do was shower before I HAD to go meet a friend for lunch. 

But it wasn't just any old friend, this was my buddy, Tommy O ("tosuperstar" for you few RW souls out there who read my blog) who I have had the pleasure of training for many months (aka: Bubble Boy (because I put him in a bubble before Chicago Marathon so he wouldn't get sick, and Super Glue Boy because he had all sorts of leg problems prior to his recent 1/2 in New Orleans and I was trying to hold him together in one piece for the race).  He lives in Nebraska; his daughter had an audition here in Denver to a performing arts college out east, so they made a very quick, less than 24-hour, trip to my neck of the woods and since I've never met him before, I couldn't run the 5K after wt class, I had to meet Tom before they headed back home.  Tommy, his beautiful daughter, and I all met at a really cute little sandwich shop called Pajama Baking Co and we chatted for well over an hour, and had so much fun (I think I could sit there and talk to Tom for days; he's been running even longer than I have, we both lived in Alabama, and just have a lot in common to chat about).

Thanks, Tom!
I tried to eat a light lunch so as not to upset my stomach for the pending 5K, but I was famished from driving my kids all over creation and that kick-my-ass weight class, so I devoured half my chicken sandwich and to top that off, Tom gave me some chocolate covered strawberries, which I inhaled half of before I even walked in my front door.

Soooooooo, I got home from my awesome lunch and the daughter was home and I hadn't seen her in a few days so had to catch up with her, and major sidetrackness happened and before I knew it, I had a splitting headache and I had to take a nap.  Now it's 5:30 and my diet's all out of whack to run (I have no problems running in the evenings, I do it all the time, but I need to be pretty meticulous what I eat, and when, before) so I ate some noodles, let them digest and FINALLY, it's time to race.

Start time: 7:33p.m.

Location: Why, same locale as the ever-so-popular "runwithjill Turkey Trot 5K" - my basement treadmill (No eyerolling.  Me and my treadmill are pretty intimate - and I got to watch a good half hour of Pretty Woman to distract me, who cares if I've seen it 58 thousand times in my life, I still love it :) ).

Strategy: Don't suck. But second thought, maybe suck just a little because 1) the piriformis decided it has been neglected for a few weeks so wanted to let me know it has joined heel pain's party and 2) I have a long run for Sunday and my top priority right now is to see if the heel will let me build some long run miles.  I'm not exactly in top running shape right now so running a 5K before a long run could potentially kill the long run. 

Footwear: My brand spanking new Brooks Launch (thanks, Meg - love 'em!)

Find the right upbeat music on the iPod, turn it up 10 octaves louder than considered safe, and I'm off.  I just set the pace to whatever feels good at the time, trying not to kill myself the first mile, which I notoriously famous for.

I don't know what each mile pace was, it's really not conducive to wear my Garmin while on my treadmill (ok ok, yes, I HAVE done it before.  Hush!) but I did pick up the pace every few laps and finished the last 800 around 7:30.  The race photographer managed to capture that last speedy lap:
Would you look at that SPEED!?!?!  Wow!   Best race pic of me EVER!

Finish Line Time:  24:03 (7:46 pace)

Not my fastest, but I didn't overly push it AND I had no heel issues AND no glute pain.  Double yay.  Now, let's see if I can run tomorrow!

Thanks, Adam, I had a blast.  Do I get a prize for latest of the day run?  More importantly, I WANT one of those finisher medals, those things ROCK!! 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goodbye to 2010 - YES!

Well, here it is, 2011. 

What to say about 2010. 

I could write in great details how 2010 started off pretty craptastic and progressively got worse...let's review, shall we - maybe it'll bring some closure on the year if I spew it all out.  So here we go.....

Jan: Came back to running after PR'ing Tucson Marathon the month before (3:46:00 in gale-force headwinds, thank you very much) with my running brain in a total funk.  Fired my trainer, felt lost, tired, and unmotivated to train for Boston.  Super tired from the almost 1900 miles and 17 races I ran in 2009.

Feb: Finally got a Boston plan together just in time to get worst ever lung infection which left me home from work for 2 weeks coughing my guts out (but what an awesome core workout) and little running.

March: Ran two races.  1st was the St. Patty's 7K in freezing sleet where I miraculously run a 7:44 overall pace and came within 10 seconds of the previous year's PR.  I never once looked at my watch the entire race and I thought I was somewhere in the low 8's.  Something to be said about that, I think.  2nd I ran the Atlanta ING 1/2 marathon, a race I've done the prior 2  years (have good friends in Alabama to visit and have used this race for spring marathon training - LOVE this race, LOVE IT!).  Felt really nauseous the few days before the race so was pretty pleased with my 1:46 time, 2 minutes slower than last year's PR - but realized I had lost some conditioning for a race at this distance.

April:  Boston Marathon.  Never got my training together after Atlanta, just felt really lost and alone, and entered April probably 10 lbs over racing weight and the most under-trained I've ever been for a marathon.  4:30 and some change - but time didn't bother me, I got to run Boston on my birthday with Katie A. at my side and numerous friends on the course with me...but it was the start of severe heel problems which still dog me to this day.

May:  The month of mix-ups.  After two weeks off to "cure" the heel, I ran a 5K with my family.  Worse 5K time ever of 24:31 yet I somehow managed to get 1st in my age group but received a 3rd place medal for it.  2nd race was the Colfax 1/2 Marathon which I did, just to see if the heel would cooperate enough for me to train for San Francisco Marathon in July.  Picked up my race packet and they had my name as Yvette on the bib so I became "runwithyvette" and we had some fun on blog land with that for awhile.  Ran 1:52, worse 1/2 marathon time in a very long time (noticing a worst-ever pattern here?  Yeah, me too) but I really didn't push the pace so much as used it as a test run for the heel, which cooperated with no pain.

June: Ran the Famous Garden of the Gods 10-miler, one of the hilliest road races in Colorado, in prep for the SF Marathon hills next month.  It almost killed me.  Not one level place on the entire course and I struggled bad.  Heel hated the downhills.  A sad realization that my conditioning had reached "happy to not have to walk" levels and my disposition was pretty much crap.

July:  2 races. 1st, Stampede 12K.  Ran this also for SF hill training as this is about 1500' up, turn around and 1500' down.  Felt strong, but very slow.  Mostly a trail race and learned I need more trail races in my life (aka: first sign I realized my road racing pace was pretty much history).  2nd, San Francisco Marathon.  Had maybe one long run of 20 miles and that was split into two runs so knew this wasn't going to go well and planned to exit the race at the half way mark if the heel decided to rear its ugly head.  Had friends waiting for me at the half way mark just in case but I actually felt really well  as I turned the paceometer to a crawl and managed to somehow keep the heel pain at bay and ran the entire thing in 4:18.  First thoughts of doing an ultra in 2011 entered my head as I just felt I could tackle this slow pace for longer, if I had to.

August:  Took the month off from running (6 miles total) to get the heel fixed.  Told my Colorado Relay team I was out (and had a lot of guilt over that) and became the bitter queen of cross training.

Sept:  Ran the 2 Mile Band on the Run race to benefit my son's marching band.  2 1-mile loops.  First mile was a 7:15, 2nd was 8:10 and I was gagging on a lung.  This race really played havoc on my demeanor ... but I won my age group and received a super cool Mizuno jacket.  Nothing like competing against out of shape band moms.

Oct:  Heel a total pain, literally.  Tried to get miles built up around the heel ... and get my head in a better place.  Failed miserably at both.

Nov:  Repeat of October, but let's add an additional 3 lbs on the body to help put the head funk in a deeper hole.  Ran the first ever "runwithjill 5K Treadmill Turkey Trot" at 23:51.  Not my fastest 5K ever but consider all that occurred in the 11 months prior, I was pretty happy with it and I think it was the start of my feeble mind at least wanting to turn things around.

Dec:  Ahhh, the famous Chilly Cheeks Duathlon where Jill learned her running pace pretty much couldn't get any slower unless she walked and that a mountain bike is not good for anything speed-related.  And that bike shorts are much-needed, even if it's only a 10-mile ride.  But this little race sort of ignited the want-it-again fire, and I felt 32% more alive than I had all year (more on that in a future post, perhaps).

So yeah, the year of running for Jill could pretty much be summed up as one entire year-long suck festival.  My emotions have been much been in the toilet - I've had more tears flow this year than I have my entire life and I've wondered at least 4 billion times if it weren't time to retire the racing shoes, but ... truthfully, there were some good things: 

- Somehow I still managed to log 1533.4 miles for the year.  Don't ask me how.  Still pretty short of the 1892 I logged last year....but considering all, I can't believe I reached over 1500. 

- I am regularly (ok, semi-regularly) back in the pool and swimming laps once a week.  I may complain heavily how freaking cold that pool is and it may take me 10 minutes to actually get my face in the water, but I've logged more time there this year than last year and I know this is excellent recovery for stretching my tired running muscles (well, not so overly tired right now, but hopefully soon)

- I found out I may be the world's worst cyclist in a race, but once my butt got over the shock of every crack in the road, I found it was actually kind of fun.  In a sadistic sort of way.  I look forward to the next two DU's and know I could easily do a triathlon this summer, if my path leads me there.  I may not be fast, but I know I won't be dead last.  And 2nd to last isn't necessarily a bad thing.

- I learned a lot more about myself and how tough I really am.  I am truly impressed I never slit my wrists in the midst of all this, really!  I will never take my running for granted again.  Ever!   I have been running competitively for 34ish years and never have I had a non self-imposed set-back as long, or devastating, as I have this year.  Yes, the heel is still being cranky but I'm learning to manage my running around it better and I think, though it is never going to be completely fixed, ever, I can train for some things I would like to do around it (more on that in another post later, too?).

- And finally, because you haven't been sitting here reading long enough already, I have to add how blessed I am to have this blog and made so many personal connections with so many of you.  I know I would be wallowing in self-pity right now if it weren't for the encouragement and belief from those I share the road with.  And when I went back and looked at all those I have personally met from this blog this year alone, I couldn't believe it was 24 of you!!  TWENTY FOUR!!!   I started making a video of my suck-fest year but realized we didn't need another recap so instead, I pulled my boys and together they helped me make a little video of all the blog-land people I have been truly honored to meet this year, and become real friends with so many.  I have to tell you that I have never made a video, have no idea how to, and Incorporated child labor into this production - so I apologize in advance if there are typos, or grammar errors or it sounds really sappy - but it is a fun reflection  and dedication to the bloggers I have met this year.  Oh, and I tried unsuccessfully for probably 10+ hours to incorporate music into the video but to no avail.  At least I know a lot more about WAV files now (is that a good thing to put on a resume?) So grab some popcorn and Gatorade, sit back for the next 8 minutes and 37 seconds and enjoy.

Happy 2011 to each and all of you!  I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for you (and for me) and hope to see many of you.  Run strong, friends!