Monday, June 27, 2011

Fitness & Health Blogger Conference

Par for the course, I am the last of the Sweathogs to post my tale from the Health and Fitness Blogger Conference I attended this past weekend in Boulder.  Let's just pretend we're saving the best for last....truth be told, I pulled a intercostal rib muscle sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and I am pretty much flat on my back with a ice pack strapped on (more on that later).  Totally sucks and the worthless muscle relaxer isn't doing it's job other than to make me nauseous. Writing coherent sentences has been the last thing on my mind the past couple days.  Not that coherent writing has ever been my forte...

The conference was an overwhelming wealth of knowledge.  We heard from presenters on branding yourself, sponsorships, becoming a brand ambassador, working with PR firms, using publishers versus self-publishing if you want to write a book, stats and why they're important (if you want them to be), blog A-listers, social media, dietary myths, the Presidential Challenge, search engine optimization and a billion other things.

I walked away on the first day with one single thought:  My Blog SUCKS!

Truly!  I left feeling like I have been blogging in the stoneages and every time a new presenter got up to give us more info to clog my brain, I'd turn to Jason with a puzzled look and hear him say, "I already do that." 

Yeah, whatever Mr. Social Media Networking man - at least I live in Colorado!!!  We're too busy in Colorado enjoying being the fittest state in the nation to worry about how many points we have on Klout!
Teasing aside, I definitely do need to make some changes to the blog, but I'm not sure where to even start, so I'll let this stuff absorb some and then start flooding Jason's inbox with countless questions...since, you know, he's the already done it guy.  When I started my blog 2 1/2 years ago, it was solely for the purpose of my then-trainer and I to dissect my thoughts and peel back the layers to my fitness.  Later, when the trainer was long gone, people started finding my blog and it became a place where I just wanted to share my running journey with everyone...and make some great friendships and laugh along the way.  I still want that, but now I think I need to implement some changes.  Hopefully for the better.  Fingers crossed I don't go manic.

But aside from all the info at the conference, I was able to meet up with some awesome bloggers, who I now consider all friends. ...or as Jason calls us, the Sweathogs - I'll try to sum up the best part of the weekend in bullets, and pictures:
  • Friday morning, I picked up Jason at his hotel and having a couple hours to kill before we met the rest of the group, we headed up Boulder Canyon and walked a bit to Boulder Falls

  • We then met up with the infamous SUAR; my misery-loves-company injury buddy, MissZippy; and a new blogger I had never met, Clair, who was simply awesome.  We all met in downtown Boulder for a little Cajun lunch. 

  • Friday afternoon was filled with blogging topics Jill knew nothing about!
  • All that learning, a well-deserved a trip to the hotel bar was in order....
  • Saturday was more blogging topics Jill knows nothing about. 
  • The best part of the day was lunch, of course.
    Sweathogs doing what we do best: eating and laughing
    Clair loves her Med pizza
    And Beth loves her wine
    And a quick good-bye pic of Amanda (misszippy) and I
    Y'all knew it was gray and white day, didn't you?
    All in all, it was an excellent weekend (well, aside from my intercostal muscle tear - which, if you've ever had one you know how much agony I'm currently in...the heel has nothing on this sucker)!  I learned a lot and formed some amazing friendships with lasting memories. 
Now, time to think about the blog some ....and fix my back so I can get back to running....

In the meantime,

Why do YOU blog?  Or are you in need of some changes, any changes?  Do you care about your stat numbers and traffic?  I'd love to hear what your blog means to you.

Until strong, friends!  Me, I'll be icing my back for the next few days so run a few miles for me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Revisiting The Incline Summer Edition

Last December, y'all who were with me back then may recall that I went with the track team down to Colorado Springs and we ran up the Manitou Incline - the 1-mile, 2200' vertical climb up the side of a mountain. (ran?, hiked is a better word).

Last December, I had barely run in 5 months due to that stupid little pain in my foot. I was grossly out of shape, evident at how bad I sucked going up. 

Fast forward 6 months: I got the brilliant idea I needed to go back down and run hike that beast again.  I mean.... if I was in horrible shape in December, let's add an additional 3-months of zero running followed by a couple handfuls of runs since May, mostly on my 0% inclined treadmill - December had nothing on me compared to how poor my fitness had gotten by May (I admit it, I've been a treadmill hog in my return to running....I'm just a little too fearful of the foot copping an attitude when I'm 4 miles from home; trust me when I say I've been there, done that, and hobbling many miles on a screaming heel isn't exactly the most fun I've ever had). 
The group at the start.  Anyone notice one of the Happy Trails duo?
But my foot's been feeling better.  Not perfect, but better.  My son, Brendan, needed some vertical training for his upcoming Mt. Whitney ascent in July.  A client/friend I've been working with is in the same boat as Brendan. And my other son, Ryan, loves the Incline and is always eager for any run.

Seemed like the perfect time to do a little Incline!  I emailed Kathleen and Steve from Happy Trails and thankfully they were free and anxious to go up too, along with about half the state of Colorado and 300,000+ tourists.  Gotta love the tourist who has no clue what they're getting into ;).
I tried to find out exactly how many RR ties there are to the top and best I can find is 2744
That's a LOT of steps.
The Manitou Incline was built as a cable car to carry materials to build pipelines on Pikes Peak. After the pipelines were finished it was turned into a tourist attraction. After a rock slide damaged a section of track in 1990, the Manitou Incline was closed down and the rails removed. Some locals started using it for a tough workout and it has become the most popular hike in the Colorado Springs area since.
I think I literally saw my PT's blood pressure rise a couple hundred points when I told him today I went up that thing.  :)
That's my son, Brendan, hauling up 40 extra lbs with his backpack

View from the top.  Stunning!
My friend/client and I at the summit.  She's going to ROCK Mt. Whitney next month!
The group at the top, sans Ryan, who had some asthma problems and bailed half way up.
That's what he gets for being super fast.
I really had no idea how I'd fare on this thing; I only knew my foot was feeling better, my tanked cardiovascular fitness was sloooooowly climbing out of the pit it's been suffocating in for a year, and it was time to test the waters.  Slow and steady was my approach and that's what I did.  I don't know my overall time this round, I stopped a bit more than I did in December because I was worried Brendan was going to fall backwards with that heavy pack on so I'd hike up a bit and then wait a minute or two for him to catch up (in December, he drug my sorry ass up that thing....but he didn't have half a small human on his back then either).

Amazingly, I felt great.  Really great!!  Yes, I was slow but I wasn't gagging on a lung.  I wasn't gasping for air.  I wasn't sitting on the side of a step in tears, screaming I couldn't make it (thankfully no one in my party was that victim, but I did witness this); I really wish I would have had the foresight to wear my HR monitor because I am certain it wasn't skyrocketing off the charts like it had in December. 

Yet, the real test for my heel was getting down this thing (thus my PT's gasp).  One could go back down this little incline, and a few do, but most op to go down the back side of the Incline and take the Barr Trail down to the bottom, a very nice single track dirt trail, which is the trail that will take you to the top of Pikes Peak (used for the Pikes Peak Marathon race in August).
Barr Trail and 14,011' Pikes Peak in the background (thanks HT for the pic I stole :))
Running downhill forces you on your heel more, and this was concerning (duh).  Add to that, the trail is chalked full of extruding rocks and tree roots - very easy to whack your heel.  It probably wasn't wise to run down, but I told Kathleen I was going to try and the heart-of-gold soul she is got in front of me and I just tried to follow her footsteps, concentrating on mid-foot landing - and trying to not do a face-plant! 

That girl only hits the trails and runs like a gazelle, graceful and floating over the bigger rocks like they didn't even exist.  Me, I mimic more the grace of an elephant and my arms are flailing every which way.

But I made it.  The entire 4 miles down.  Only stopping once to talk to a guy with a "Quad Cities Marathon" t-shirt on (one must talk to anyone from your hometown, right??).

And my heel?  Happy, happy, HAPPY!

Ok, well maybe not 100% pain-free, but the pain I had was minimal and manageable and I ran a heck of a lot faster than I ever thought I could.

When I reached the bottom, my spirit was elated.  SOARING!!

This was exactly the confidence building day I needed!

Kathleen and I chatted for awhile after our run as we waited for the others to make their way down - it was the best conversation I've had with anyone in months.  K, who's been dealing with her own personal health and fitness demons the past few months, felt amazing up the Incline and fully understood how incredible this day felt to me.  She understood how this past year and a half has been nothing but hell for me. ...about reaching the brink of defeat .....

....and driving through on sheer grit and determination.

Like every worthwhile pursuit in life, you just gotta begin by putting one foot in front of the other - and move those feet in the right direction.  Reconnecting with my passion to run, the thing I have loved since I was young, is more than remembering the runner I once was. It is the culmination of who I once was was, who I am now, and who I am becoming.

Reminding me that .....everything is possible.  Thanks, Manitou Incline - I had an amazing day!

Run Strong, Friends!  Happy Summer!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

That'd be ONE HUNDRED!!

It seems a little surreal as I sit here and type this out - I cannot believe I actually biked 100 miles today.

And to boot, no broken derailleur or any other bike malfunctions; not even a fall, and best I can tell, all body parts are intact.  If that doesn't scream success from the girl who has not rode one time without some sort of catastrophic mishap occurring, I don't know what does.

Of course, there were some difficult miles - especially around miles 50-99 when my feet periodically had this excruciating burning sensation; around 58 when we started climbing Mt. Everest - for the 400th time; when we were riding in massive concrete suburbia USA and the sun was baking my skin a luscious red tone; when my water in my water bottle reached 1 degrees below boiling point; miles 40-90 when my back wasn't happy; or when I got to aid station at mile 76 and this complete sense of "yuck" momentarily took over my body.  I especially loved it when I told Julie that if I had to climb one more hill that day, I was personally going to shoot her for getting me into this mess.

When you're pretty miserable and have only completed half of your day, your mind starts to mess with ya.

But somewhere around mile 78, my 1/4 PB sandwich, grapes, fresh water, trail mix, Oreo cookie, potty break, Cytomax and 600mg Ibuprofen cocktail kicked in and I felt...... fantastic!!!

I couldn't believe it!!  I kept waiting for the death wish to happen - I read so many comments on my last blog post from all these uber cyclists how the last 20 are just a complete, utter mental and physical disaster, yet it never happened.

The suck-roar hills were behind us, the sun decided to shy away behind some gray clouds, I was now riding on my "home turf" - an area I ride frequently so I felt really comfortable knowing what was ahead. All of this, and the awesome concoction above just happen to occur simultaneously and Julie and I pedaled like we had fresh legs as we finished as strong at mile 100 as we did mile 1.

When this ride threw us some difficult miles, we sucked it up and prevailed.  Me, RUNwithjill, just finished 100 cycling miles up one pretty intense 2000' mountain climb and many monster hills later.  Man, I get chills just thinking about it.

If I had to pick between speed and endurance right now, it would be endurance.  Maybe it's because I'm older and have a richer perspective about time.  Maybe it's because as I re-enter the world of running, my pace is so far removed from where it was pre-injury 18-months ago .... I'm not sure why exactly but either way,  I am learning to tame the beast of doubt and discouragement and pushing myself through the thin membrane of I can't do this to the wide, open space of well, maybe I can.

I'm pretty thrilled!  If you couldn't tell.  A few months ago I was in total agony riding 11 miles in my I rode 100 ...

"You're tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can."
- Motta of the famous Leadville 100
(not that I'm ever doing it :))

I can't close without saying a very special thank-you to Julie for twisting my arm to do this ride.  For the most part, we stuck together and without her witty humor and never-give-up attitude, this ride would have been totally miserable.  Thank you, Julie - you ROCK!!! 

Enjoy a few pictures from my ride today:
Around mile 13.5: Julie and I at the first aid station just before we started the
big 2000' climb up Lookout Mountain.
About mile 20, near Red Rocks State Park


Mile24: 2nd aid station.  Girl bits a bit sore but some
Chamois Butter did the trick! 

Cycling friends:  Sarah, Paul, Kathleen, Julie, and myself

About mile 30: Julie and the gorgeous countryside

About mile33: Pretty!!
About Mile 37
Close to mile 40.  Not sure why I'm smiling!

About mile 46

About mile 60, when we crested Mt. Everest for the 300th time

At mile 76 aid station.  If a picture paints a thousand words....

Mile 88: Last aid station and feeling mighty fine!

Done!!  Post race burgers and beer, don't mind if I do!

About mile 21: So pretty along this stretch near Morrison
(sorry, blogger is being difficult with this one picture so it is not in order.  Grrr)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bike Ride Take 2/Zensah Sports/Sugar Slip with the Green Girl

You lucky readers today, my space bar key is stickier than double sided tape and I have to slam the damn space bar key to get a space between words for your viewing pleasure, and it's annoying.  And ridiculous.  So I'm going to keep this post super somewhat short.  OrmaybeI'lljusttypethisentirepostallasoneword,that'dbesocool.

I checked 3 times to make sure I wasn't running a fever before I registered for THIS.  Yes, this weekend will be take 2 of the bike ride from hell - please pray all bike parts remain intact during my ride for me (when I took my bike in yesterday to have it checked out and the poor bike guy from Sunday was totally cringing when he saw me back again the guy said, "Well, you do have a slight bubble in your tire...." I was like, WTH, get ride of it for crying out loud!!!! Turns out, bike tires are super pricey (imagine!  Like everything I've bought for this biking adventure is expensive) and he assured me I'd be okay.  I'm sure he went to bed last night praying he was right rather than see my face in there again on Sunday with an exploded tire....oh the wrath of Jill failing another bike ride is something he fears.  This ride isn't my first choice in organized biker rides, but somewhere God forgot a couple mental screws in my brain and I feel the urge to get this bike ride done NOW and the monkey off my back.  And as my PT said, "I choose the city ride where hospitals are in abundance." fun-E!  So,will I do the 62 or the 100 miler?  I'm not sure, I will assess the girl bits, back, feet (why are my feet tingling/burning all you cyclist out there??), butt, hip flexors at the critical decision point where the 100-milers turn to add on the extra miles- and make the decision I'm sure I'll regret.  You all know my psyche well enough by now to know which distance I'll try to do, but let me know what you think cuz I love reading your thoughts!  Okay, let's get this damn bike ride done once and for all!!!!

Thanks, Jenn and Max!   Max, maybe we should change that to
"Don't break a derailleur" ?
The generous people at sent me this really awesome running bra to try out. Maybe they felt sorry for my heel saga and knew I was starting from scratch from the running - normally I don't indulge in the product reviews, and let's face it, talking about my size As isn't the most exciting thing, but I heard such great things about their products and thought sure, I'd be happy to try it out.  I actually rarely wear a regular sport bra, I much prefer the piece with the bra built into the tank top when I run - less pieces of clothing to worry about; but cycling brought a whole new ballgame to the attire and these long bike rides seemed like the perfect opportunity to try the Zensha bra out.  All I can really say is I LOVED IT.  No irritating seams, very stretchy to contour to the shape of my body (ever changing! bleh!) and super comfy; I will certainly be sporting this black beauty for my 100? 62? mile bike ride on Sunday.  I encourage all you chicas to check them out, they are awesome (and they have compression everything for your running needs). Thanks, Zensah - I'm off to buy a pink one today!

The Running Green Girl is in town for a work pow-wow.... you know what that means: too much Mexican food and a lot of girl and running blogworld gossip chit-chat.  After we stuffed our guts to the nauseous point, I got the brilliant idea we needed to hop on the 16th street mall shuttle and grab some frozen yogurt.
LOVE this girl - we have so much fun together!
It was D-LISH!  Problem was, I sorta took on Amanda's 10-day sugar-free challenge and yesterday was day 9 (day 8 for normal people but for people who can't read their calendars correctly and start a day early, it's day 9). Whoops. Totally worth the slip, but no fears, I plan to keep up the sugar-free challenge- last week brought some much-needed weight loss and I feel noticeably better.  I've also been reading a lot on the topic of sugar bringing on inflammation and hello heel pain - this better be doing wonders for your inflammation!!  So I'm back on track sans sugar....though I can't help but think if I actually succeed this stupid bike ride Sunday, a sugary toast will be mandatory!

I have so much more to write but this keyboard is making me manic - I have lots to share on my running and am hoping PT man will be able to video my new mid-foot striking, God knows you are sitting on the edge of your seats in anticipation to see that. 

So signing off for now....hoping you'll all hear from me again.....

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to turn 62 miles into 8.18

You break your bike's derailleur, that's how.


I should have known it was going to be a rough day from the sec I woke up.  First, I overslept.  I don't even sleep so I'm not sure how I overslept, yet I did.  So I got a late start and I text Christi, my biking buddy, that I was running about 15 minutes late.  15 minutes late turned into 40 when a massive sea of cars loaded with every bike you could imagine all wanted to exit at the same place.  That was special.  What a mess.

I illegally park in the grocery store parking lot...shhhh, don't tell...and quickly get my stuff all ready and within a few minutes, Christi and I are on the road rolling. 

This was it, the day I've been eagerly nervously waiting for and I couldn't be more excited.

To say these bike events are pretty casual is an understatement.  I thought maybe we'd have to go and at least sign in - in case we got lost or kidnapped or a deer ate us for breakfast.  Nope, you just go.  No one "official" really cares who you are and there's no chip timing piece to worry about.  A very new world to me.

Start off to a gorgeous morning; the countryside here along this course reminds me a lot of when I was a kid growing up in Iowa with the rolling hills with a little morning dew lingering over the fields.  I absolutely love it here....I used to live in this neck of the woods - in another life. 
Early on
As mile 5 approaches, so does the first of many hills of the day.  Christi and I have rode this hill many times in our training for this ride and it's by far the steepest hill on the course that I had done.  The first time I did it, I thought I was going to hurl my breakfast all over the road - I was gasping for air and reality sunk in just how out of shape I had truly become over the past many months *sigh*.

But today - I totally KILLED that hill and I was thrilled I was picking off riders and wasn't gaging on a lung doing so!!!!!!

Oh, if only things could last.

We went down a hill, back up a hill, down a hill, up a hill (now at the site of the infamous bloody knee fall from a few weeks ago.  Oh memories..) and I was going back down a hill (see a pattern here?  This course is hilly)....

That'd be Christi in the yellow jacket, in front as usual :)
When I tried to shift my gears so I could get more momentum going.  But nothing was shifting.  I looked down and notice my chain is off and I tell Christi we need to pull over for a quick fix.

But something worse was wrong.  Here is where my bike ignorance is going to shine brightly....the chain is not on one of the wheel thingies on the derailleur (the fact I know what a derailleur is, in itself, an amazing feat!) - how's that for technical terminology?!  Christi tried in vain to get it back on, greasing up her gorgeous red nails and pretty pink bike gloves.  Since I have no clue other than it looks "wrong" I just stand there trying to stay out of the way.

Soooooo, a few guys riding the course stopped by and tried to offer their expertise .....
That's my white, sick, bike :(
But after about 45 minutes of making no progress, one of the guys working on my bike flagged down a police car making his rounds and asked him to get the sag wagon for us.  I begged Christi many times to keep going but that girl is loyal to the core (thank you, Christi - I don't deserve your friendship!  I owe you big for this one!!!) and stuck by me, in the sag wagon, back to the start.

We made it to mile 8.18.


Once we got back to the start.  Christi took off so she could try to get in a ride with her friends back home and I walked my bike back to my car, threw it in the backseat, and high tailed it to the bike shop where I explained the entire situation to the bike mechanic.  No, I did not fall (remarkable, I know!) and no, I did not take the chain off (how the heck do you do that?). 

I will admit that I am not a huge fan of this bike shop, which will remain nameless for various reason, but this mechanic guy was so apologetic and full of empathy that by the 6th time he told me he was sorry, tears were starting to swell and I had to remove myself from the situation for awhile.  He was genuinely sincere and everything I had just worked so hard for suddenly hit me that it was over and gone.

He worked on the bike for awhile and said he has no idea how it happened but he thought the chain was threaded through the derailleur incorrectly and it somehow managed to snapped a piece in the derailleur off.  Amazing that I've put about 600 miles on that bike in the few weeks I've owned it and this little situation hadn't happened yet....but he put a new chain and derailleur on, free of charge, and tested it out for awhile to make sure it was shifting properly, apologized for the 7th time and told me if there were any further problems to contact him directly and gave me his card.

If there was happy part of this whole crappy day, it was the service, and compassion, by this maintenance guy.  Those guys who stoppd to help me along the side of the road couldn't be any more genereous, and nice, too.

So my bike's in a little "time out" right how in the back of my car....I don't really care how hot it is in there, he's going to sit and think about what happened for awhile and when we can be friends again, I will pull him out and go for a ride.  I lowered the widow a bit for him to get a little fresh garage air....I'm not THAT cruel.

Am I Bummed?

Sadly, yes.  That's not easy to admit, it's just a bike ride.  But I invested so much time, and a ridiculous amount of money getting ready for this thing, entering a world so far removed from my comfort zone; I trained my girl bits to death for heaven's sake - I was hoping to do well.  And I love this course.  This ride was something I could actually train for, while my heel was misbehaving - something to look forward to- something I missed in my world.  Yes, I am sad I couldn't do it, even though I don't really enjoy cycling nearly as much as I do running (I'm hearing lots of *gasps* in blogland right now).  Remarkably, I did not come home and eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's though.  Huge pat on the back for that one....I am slowly climbing my sucky heel saga disposition out of the hole it's resided in all winter.  Yay.

But that's life.  I've been down this path a time or 30 in the past ...but this better be the last time, ever!!  :).  Somehow, I lived through all those disappointments and I suspect I will this one too.  Besides, this chick sent me a really fun joke today - totally made me smile.

So, what to do next? 

I have three choices and maybe you can help me.  Okay, four choices....
1) There is a ride this coming weekend, The Denver Century.  I could do the 62 miler, as was the scheduled mileage for broken derailleur day (how many times is one allowed to use the word "derailleur" in one post?).  Or I could join up with Julie and do the full century in this race.  This course has the 2000' Lookout Mountain hill climb Julie and I did a few weeks ago so it will be challenging, but really after that monster hill, it's just a few little blips here and there.  Personally, I'm not overly excited about this course - it encases the Denver metro area and well, I'd rather look at nature than skyscrapers.

2) The following weekend is another ride, The Boulder Century, which features a century (duh) and a 75-miler.  This would be more topographically appealing to me but it also scales up the entire side of one mountain and thus has about a 5000' climb in about 25 miles.  One, solid, 25 mile climb.  Doesn't that sound like a blast?  I think I can do it, it just may take me 24 hours.

3) Forget about cramming in another so soon, let the dust settle, and attempt another later this summer.  There's a couple on my radar and maybe Christi can join me again after her big half IM.

4) Come to the realization that I was not meant to do anything physical right now (heel, bike....) and therefore take up knitting like I've threatened to do in the past...and eat chocolate cake all day.

Hum....decisions, decisions.  Thoughts are greatly appreciated.

On a positive note though, I ran 6.25 miles on Saturday at a whopping 10:14 overall pace.  I KNOW!!!  And not only that, the first half was at a 9:47 pace (opps) so even though this was a very gradual downhill, I was thrilled to say the least.  The forefoot landing is improving daily and though it still doesn't feel "natural" to me, I am finding myself not forcing it so much either.  This is just going to take a very long time, but I'm determined to land correctly and do what it takes to make sure this nightmare never returns, even it's it's all so very slow right now.  I still have some heel pain, but for the most part it is manageable.  And I am running.  Thank God I don't have to put my heel in time out in the car tonight also!

One last thing to share....there's these awful fires going on in Arizona and New Mexico right now and the winds are blowing the particles smack into Colorado, which is irritating the hell out of my eyeballs, but man the evening skies here a gorgeous, vibrant orange:
View down my street
Happy running, and cycling, friends!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hello next 10 weeks

I am officially done with school for the next 10 weeks as of 2p.m. Tuesday!  It's okay, you can hate me....but only for a few minutes.

Okay, now that your over that little temper tantrum and back to loving my ol' lovable self, I'm certain you want to know my summer plans, yes?  Let's do it bullet-style; that seems to be the popular thing to do these days amongst blogsphere and who am I to not fit-in with the rest of the crowd.  Here's a few of the highlights:
  • First, I've been operating the past few weeks in over-extended mode so today in between my two visits to the gym, I watched The Price is Right.  Yes, the Price is Right...and I was calling the dude on the show who overbid a trip to Boston an "idiot" for bidding 20k.  Not sure last time I actually sat and saw that show, but I'm pretty sure the good old Bob was hosting the thing.  Loved.  Doing.  Nothing.  For.  An.  Hour!!  Heaven!
  • The end of June, I'll be attending the Fitness and Health Blogger Conference in Boulder for 3 days.  I can't wait to learn everything I do wrong with my fitness, and my blog (maybe I'll have to post more than once/week?  Yikes!) and excited to meet Amanda, Jason, and re-connect with SUAR.  How cool is that!?!
  • I may go back here for my class reunion in early July:
  • I'm gonna try to reclaim even a tiny portion of my pre-sucky-heel fitness.  I have grand plans to continue having a sore butt with lots of bike miles, get back into some sort of regular scheduled weight training and go to Pilates .... at least twice (let's be realistic).
  • I'm taking my son, Brendan, to California so he can climb to the top of the lower 48 states, Mt. Whitney (I, however, have been banned from being at the top with him by meany PT-man.*whaaa*).
  • But I will get to enjoy a couple days of this while in California at our friend's place in San Clemente:
  • I'm tearing down my deck, at least part of it, and turning it into more of a patio.  Thank goodness child labor laws do not exist in my house.
  • Hopefully helping the daughter move into an apartment (please!!!)!!!!
  • Spending some fantastic action-packed days up in our beloved Rockie Mountains.
  • Those are my boys in that first raft
  • Gets tons of sleep
  • I may clean my house. Nah, probably not.
  • Eating lots of my favorite summer food:
  • And of course, I'm going to be doing tons of this, hopefully some in the mountains: running!!!!
I'm sure I'll be hauling my boys everywhere, doing lots of PT exercises, working on the job search, reading some much neglected books collecting dust, have fun with friends (hopefully some blog friends???)  and whatever else pops up ... maybe even try some new things to offer a fresh perspective.  Summer is a season of rest, growth, playfulness, reading, freedom, fun, and adventure.  Bring it on!!

A quick note on the running front:  It is going awesome.  AWESOME!!  I have worked my way up to 4.62 fantastic feeling miles (still slow...whatever, that will come back in time.  Hopefully) and the pain on the side of my ankle during my initial mile warm-up has pretty much vanished.  YAY!  The minimalist shoes, the strengthening of my feet muscles, the re-training of my foot to strike mid-foot, the hip and glut strength training, the PT, the better awareness to the diet - it's all coming together very nicely and though I still have heel pain, the intensity has subsided vastly and I couldn't be happier, and excited, with my progress.  My difficulty now is that the increased time on my forefoot is causing my weak calves to scream constantly and the fact my cardiovascular running fitness plain and simply sucks....but these will both get stronger, and I can't wait to get out there everyday and make sure it does.  I have a very long way to go, but I am running and I am getting stronger....things are looking very promising.

I have my big, bad-a*s bike ride this weekend - 62 very hilly (and most likely windy) miles.  Say your prayers I don't die out there, or get attached by another killer moth like last week, or fall and get bloody knees (me???)...I'm so out of my comfort zone, but I've been killing my butt, and girl bits (literally!) for the past 3 months... I think I'm ready.

Run strong, Friends....and write down some ideas of your own for the summer; I can't wait to read where summer takes you.