Thursday, June 12, 2014

This is different

I have no idea why I expected Blogger not to change anything during the almost 2 years it's been since I last posted. Bear with me while I figure out the new platform.

Many races have come and gone since I was here. In total I've run more than 50 full marathons in 32 states, more than 80 half marathons, 1 ultra marathon. I've gone from being slow to being really really really slow. I walk more during races than I used to which accounts for part of the slowing, but I'm running slower too. I figure just being out there counts for something and don't mind that I'm not quite last at most of my races. The nicest thing is I've graduated to such an advanced age group that in small races I place in my age group (second or third usually) (of 2 or 3 total in the group).

There were several months when I put down the knitting and failed to pick it back up. Just this week I started knitting again and remembered why I enjoyed it so much. I might actually finish one of the several projects that have been left on my counter. Lets not hold our breaths though.

I'm hoping to talk about some of the races I've run, and hoping to be more active here. We'll see!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Checking in

Runnergirlknits who? Yeah, I'm still around. Still running, still cross training, still knitting, still whining. Quite a bit of each, actually.

I've slowly built my running mileage back up to close to where it should be. I'd like to say I've closely followed the running schedule produced by my Team in Training coach but ... it would be a lie. I've mostly been following my own schedule to suit my own needs and desires. My normal, perfect-training week would look something like this:

Monday before work: Train with Super-Trainer Katie; mostly core and upper body with some legs thrown in to torture me.

Monday after work: Hike the Rim Trail at Lafayette Reservoir, 5 miles. Try not to fall too often.

Tuesday before work: Train with S-TK. Run a few miles on the treadmill, throwing in some speed work.

Wednesday after work: Hike the Rim Trail at Lafayette Reservoir, 5 miles. Again try not to fall.

Thursday before work: Train with S-TK.
Thursday after work: Buddy run with Team in Training, usually about 45 minutes.

Friday: nothing at all.

Saturday: Run with the Team, slowly building mileage. May include trails and/or hills.

Sunday: Run easy at somewhere like the Lafayette-Moraga Trail.

Looks good, doesn't it? But that's a perfect week which has only been realized a few times this summer. We need to take into consideration high heat conditions and gross smog conditions which cause afternoon runs/hikes to become shorter. We need to think about breathing issues. We need to think about socializing outside of workouts. We need to consider family and exhaustion. But the ambitious scheduling has made me much stronger.

I'm slowly learning to love dirt, although single track still scares the crap out of me. I'm just too uncoordinated for that, either walking or running. But I think running and walking on fire trails has helped that. It's also helped me fall down more often than I'd like. After 11 years of running on local asphalt trails, it's been fun discovering the entirely different East Bay dirt trails. The beauty and changing seasonal scenery will keep me returning to dirt.

My previous ailments are sorta kinda almost better. At the risk of highly jinxing myself, I'll state that I haven't had much problem with my knees or feet recently. Yeah, things hurt after long runs but nothing more than expected. My lungs are very slowly rebuilding after spring's pneumonia, but they're still not where I'd like them. I'm able to run a few consecutive miles at my old pace, before having to slow back down.

I'm excited about my very ambitious race schedule for the fall/winter. I'm hoping to run 3-4 full marathons with a couple of half marathons thrown in for good measure. I honestly have no idea how my body will react to a marathon a month (let alone 2 in 2 days) but it should be fun running in 3 new states.

How is your running summer going? Are you making big plans? Has the latest version of Bejeweled (available for PC, iPhone and iPad, dammit) taken over your life and spare time as it has mine?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Changes and celebrations

To celebrate my birthday last year, I ran a marathon. I didn't do as much this year but I was still active enough to not regret the cake I ate for breakfast. My day started way too early with a screaming 5:00 am alarm. I dragged my sleepy self to the gym and had a great workout with my trainer. Yes, she made it very special. Ow.

I had to work today (... like most days) but the day went quickly. After work Jeanette and I went for a walk around the Lafayette Reservoir. That sounds so -- so -- gentle, doesn't it? That just means you don't know the LR. There is an asphalt trail that surrounds the reservoir, 2.7 miles of uphills and downhills. It's very pretty. But we didn't just walk the asphalt, oh heck no. We took a little detour up a big freakin' hill, then up another hill, along a trail, and then down a hill. These were probably fire trails, muddy and cracked and lumpy and rutted. Our detour had our lungs puffing and our hearts pounding (thanks, pneumonia reminders!) and it felt like we had gone at least a few miles.

Nuh uh. It was a big old 1.3 mile trail detour, a whole .9 miles more than we would have gone if we had stayed on the asphalt. But what a detour! This is definitely the time of year to struggle up there. Glorious spring all around us. 360 degree views of rolling hills with a little suburbia peeking through. Amazing that this is less than 10 minutes from our office. We saw a hawk circling in the sky, a deer hiding in the brush, a turkey waddling through the grasses.

Our goal is to walk the entire Rim Trail, about 4-5 miles of trail up near the sky. With the days getting longer we'll still be able to do that after work before it gets dark and they have to send the tracking dogs after us. I'd tell you how slowly we were going but I don't want you all laughing so hard that you fall over.

Now THAT'S the way to celebrate a birthday!

As to the changes: good bye Utah Valley Marathon, hello Coeur d'Alene Marathon! After a very tough 15 mile run on Saturday I realized there was no way I'd be able to run a marathon, at altitude, with a 6 hour cut-off. That would give me no lee-way if my lungs gave out, or if I had a bad day. CdA is a much flatter marathon, at only 2500 elevation. Still higher than our sea level, but breathable. They offer an early start for walkers so I'll start then. While I hope to break 6 hours, I won't be frantic if I can't do it.

The biggest difference is I'll miss one of my scheduled/planned 20 mile runs, only getting in one 18 miler and one 20 miler. I don't really need that extra one, it's just something that I'd done for piece of mind, a mental thing. It also means I'll miss the first team training, but I've done that before too. There's an immense sense of relief with this change so I know it's a good decision. And hey, there's always the rest of the summer if I need to run another marathon!

How do you celebrate birthdays? Cake and champagne? An endurance run? Three weeks of party/run/party/run? Call in sick and cover your head with a blanket? Ignore the whole thing and beat up anyone who mentions it?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fuck Cancer!

I haven't been a member of Team in Training since 2009 when I rode the Solvang Century with the cycling team. The year before I raced The Triathlon at Pacific Grove with the tri team. The last marathon team I was part of was in 2007 (the first was in 2001). Since that time I've run numerous full and half marathons on my own, and even became a Marathon Maniac and Half Fanatic. So why did I rejoin the Team now?

We haven't cured cancer. We haven't prevented cancer. Although there are wonderful new treatment tools and many more people live long lives after diagnosis, cancer remains an evil disease that strikes anyone and anywhere, at any time. Rejoining the Team and raising money for research into causes and treatments is my little way of saying "Fuck Cancer!"

On October 14, 2012 I will run the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco with thousands of other women who are raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training. I have pledged to raise at least $2,000 in memory of my dad and all those who didn't live long enough for us to find a cure. I hope you'll help me in this quest and donate generously!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Long run Sunday

We're just going to pretend I didn't disappear from this blog for 3 months, 'k?

I haven't been running too much lately. A combination of leftover trauma to my lungs from February's pneumonia, lack of a running buddy and good old sloth had me going 2 weeks, after the Oakland Half Marathon, without running a step. So of course to make up for it I jumped right in with both feet (because otherwise I'd have fallen over on my face) and decided to run 11 miles this morning.

That was made a little more challenging by my somewhat excessive consumption of alcohol and food yesterday. Not only was it the monthly knitting Saturday at Walnut Creek Yacht Club (including some truly excellent blush wine of which I did not drink an entire bottle, despite having been accused of such), but afterward I met my family for another very merry unbirthday party. A fabulous meal and a couple of dangerous The Fourth Regiment cocktails later and I was feeling just fine.

I didn't sleep well last night, thanks to the celebration, but I knew I was getting up to run. It was a beautiful morning; crisp and clear. I met Anita for the anticipated 11 mile trek to Moraga Commons and back and something happened. I felt, dare I say it, great. I was running very slowly but steadily, breathing well, feeling loose. Everything around us was spring; the trees were blooming or leafing out, the grasses and weeds were that delightful shade of green, poppies were waving their bright orange heads in the sun.

So I decided that I wanted to run to the top of the hill, just to see the area while it was still the gorgeous green. Of course, that meant adding a few miles. We decided we'd walk up the biggest hills and run the rest and we headed onward.

The waterfall was still pouring down and we paused to admire the water-bred rainbow. We ran to the Commons and continued past. As we started going up the big hill we saw it: the Easter Bunny! Well, maybe he wasn't the official EB, he was very small and fluffy looking, and didn't seem to have a basket filled with eggs. But he was our first bunny sighting of spring. Right afterward we saw our first butterfly of spring too.

The view from the top of the hill was as spectacular as we thought it would be. Everywhere were shades of spring green, one of the loveliest spectrum of colors around. Since we were there already, we ran to the end of the trail. At that point we knew we had 7 miles left to go.

We ran along, yelling at the cows grazing on the hills, pointing out the red tail hawks circling in the sky (be careful, little bunny!) guessing names of the flowers and trees. Yeah, we got tired. But we kept running, keeping mostly to our original 9:1 run:walk. Maybe by mile 12 it was getting to more like 8:2. But we kept running. And continued running past our cars because I like round numbers. Sure, we could have rounded up from 14.68 miles. But we'd feel much better to have that true 15 miles under our belts.

Oddly enough, nothing hurt afterward except for some chafing from my capri seams (and as for that, owie owie). Lungs ok, legs ok, feet ok, back ok, sinuses ok. I was hot and tired, sweaty and stinky, but I felt good. Amazingly good.

So it looks like I have to keep running, and running long runs, whether or not Anita is available. I need to run by myself during the week, whether or not I have company. It just feels too good not to.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Almost next year

I just realized my poor blog is in serious need of updating, but that's not happening right now. This is just catching up. I realized I never posted since I had my foot sliced.

When I went to have the stitches removed the doc told me it turns out that I didn't have a ganglion cyst; I didn't have a cyst at all. I had what the lab called "fibromatosis." Which led to my delight in saying I had fibromatosis on my toesis. It's the little things in life. Anyway, a fibroma is a little benign tumor. Although they are common on feet, they're common on the bottom of the foot, not the top. Usually they're in/on the plantar fascia, not the big toe tendon. My doc told me the chances for it reoccurring are low. Ish.

Since the incision wasn't totally healed he told me I could run when there was no stinging when I swiped the wound with an alcohol wipe. And no cheating or toughing it out, stinging is stinging. As of today, 4 days later than expected, there was no stinging. So I'm good to start running again, yay!

My toeitis on the other foot isn't gone, but it never hurt horribly until I was at about 8 miles so I won't know for a while how healed it is.

I'll have 2 whole weeks to run and then will need to take another short interruption. I had a couple of moles sliced off the same day as the foot surgery (along with freezing a shitload of other moles and freckle-type-things, ouchy). One mole had benign atypical cells, so more has to be removed. It's located high on my thigh, right over the hip flexor. That's going to be a tough one to work around because it's one of the hardest workers in my body.

But when that's healed, I'm back to running. No matter what. I can feel my mood souring from lack of endurance endorphins and lack of sun. Since I can't control the weather I need to get back on the trails, or at least the treadmill.

Have you been running? Can you control the weather? Do you have any good toe jokes?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the (Off) Season: Holey Monday

I did TOO spell that correctly. No religiousness or faith involved here, just a scalpel and 5 stitches.

Back in the fall I developed, almost overnight, a big cyst on the top of my right foot. The doc thought it was probably a ganglion cyst and since he's the doc, I figured that was a good enough diagnosis for me. We tried draining it twice and that didn't make any difference. Since excision would involve a few weeks of no running I decided to wait until December to do anything about it. I haven't another paid race on the schedule until the end of January so technically this is my off season.

By this morning the cyst was greatly reduced in size but hadn't disappeared. After considering all the options (one of which was totally ignoring it for the rest of my life) the doc and I decided to go ahead and remove it. The worst part was him sticking a big ass needle in the top of my foot to give me the local anesthesia; he kept saying I was used to more pain than that from running marathons. He had a point (heh heh), but it still hurt oodles.

I'm a big medical weenie. I can have medical things done to me with no problem at all, I just can't watch any of it. From my allergy shots (which I've been getting on and off for 40 years) to major surgery, I'm fine as long as I don't see it. But today I decided what the hell, I'd watch until I felt like puking or fainting. And just to amuse myself, I'd take pictures.

The picture taking amused my doc too. And no, I'm not posting a single one here. Ew. Yuckyuckyucky. I was able to watch most of it although several times I averted my eyes. But I saw him cut open my foot and snippety snip the cyst, saw him squeeze out anything else, saw him sew it up. And it was completely gross, lemme tell ya. And I have pictures to prove it.

So now my foot is all wrapped up in bandages and it's supposed to stay that way for 2 weeks. Yeah, no washing or changing the bandages or anything. I asked him what happens when my feet sweat and get gross and he said they've done this lots of times and don't worry about it. Most importantly, no running or weight bearing exercises for at least 2 weeks. The doc said I could get some good upper body workouts in, even ride an exercycle if it feels ok, but no walking or running. It will even impact some of my TRX workouts because of foot positioning. I have the cutest little orthopedic shoe to wear for 2 weeks.

I asked the doc if I could run a half marathon at the new year and he said no, the skin would be too new and could possibly split. I didn't even bother asking if I could run back-to-back half marathons on 12/31 and 1/1. Sigh. Sounded like a fun way to ring out the old, ring in the new.

The best thing about this is it'll give my toeitis on the left foot another 2 weeks to heal. It's improved but not gone, and I don't particularly want to schedule marathons without knowing how much pain will be involved (the best amount, of course, is "none"). I feel odd not having a marathon to plan for, to train for, to obsess over. I know which ones I'd like to run in 2012 but I'm holding myself back right now.

After work today I'm having some moles removed. Although my skin doc thinks they're all fine and dandy and benign, they look iffy to me and so I asked her to cut them off today. Hell, I can't run anyway so I may as well get everything done, right? It's been 2 years since my diagnosis and treatment and these will be the biggest batch of moles being removed since then.

Something tells me this will be an advil and alcohol evening.

Have you had anything removed from your feet? Do you have any suggestions for marathons in 2012? Is this your off season or are you in deep training?