Sunday, August 30, 2009

Call in the Rescue Squad....THIS is NOT Good

THIS is NOT the post I planned I writing today. Not in the least.

For the first 10 miles of my long run this morning I tossed around ideas about the thrill of early morning running in the dark, perfect running weather, mile pace just exactly precisely where it was supposed to be, and then of course there was the post I was going to entitle George Castanza's Crim picture (this one's probably still coming fyi...just not today).

But no, instead I am writing to you all about what happened AFTER mile 10 where the blog post titles changed to things like: how I made it through and running it out, but finally ened up being something a little more along the lines of @#$% (insert your four letter expletive of choice here, I personally opted for the big dog. Fortunately, my dad who was riding along side of me on his bike clocking my miles had gotten ahead and did not in fact hear his daughter cussing like a sailor. Wouldn't want to wreck my good girl image now would I? :-)

I may (and I stress may dangit because I am not willing to admit ANYTHING just yet) have an injury. It started around mile 10. Something just didn't feel quite right in the back of my left calf. Not painful. Just not right. I took an E-Gel thinking I was on the verge of a calf cramp or something and maybe that would wipe it out as it has done for me in the past. Then, I kept running. But it wasn't going away and soon that something funny I was feeling was turning into a dull pain. "Just keep running I thought to myself." As any distance runners know, aches and pains will come and go in the course of a run and I thought maybe I'd just run it out. So for another 2 miles I did just that (in a hobbling sort of way). And for a brief moment or two I thought I was succeeding. Then it hit...

Someone might as well have stabbed me in the leg. Sharp pains in the calf caused me to stop. (Might I also add here that my run had been SWEET up to that point. 10ish minute miles on a hilly course and every other part of my body was feeling just fine. And furthermore, I was not winded by any stretch of the imagination....Errrr....so very very frustrating.) I tried to stretch it out and walk a little to see if it would go away. But like that co-worker who stands just a little too close, asks inappropriate questions, and doesn't quite understand the fine art of eye contact (DUDE! You got to look away from time to time), it just wouldn't go away. I walked a little more, stretched a little more, attempted to run a few times, but no more than four steps sent the daggers back my way.

Now here is the point where we turn this into a teaching moment (I'm a mom, so most moments are such). The good news is I had my phone on me. See, we were still 8 miles from the car and no matter how experienced a runner you may be, when you're running a long way from home (or in my case the parking lot) you're a LONG way from home. You never know when something might happen. In my case, when something did happen, instead of having to hobble the 8 miles back to the car or send my dad the distance to go retrieve it, we were able to call for help. Thankfully, my sister (aka the Rescue Squad) was able to come pick us up. Never ever run long without a phone or at the very least, let somebody know your gone so if you don't come back within a reasonable amount of time, your own Rescue Squad can start the search. Nobody's above injury or accident.

So now I sit at home wondering what's next. The calf got much worse for a time, but it's been on ice all day and calmed down to a dull roar. My hope is it was just a very severe calf cramp with some residual pain leftover (happens to me when I'm pregnant, pain lasts about a day or two...not that I'm pregnant, I'm just saying it happens) and nothing more severe than that. And although my husband is insisting I quit thinking about my running schedule, I can't help but wonder...what the heck am I going to run next weekend? With only a 10 miler last weekend (for the CRIM, it was a planned rest week...18 the week before), and now a 20 miler turned 12, is there anyway I'm going to be able to go the long haul next weekend?

And while I'm busy wallowing in the uncertainty of incomplete marathon training, I need to ask a favor of you all, my dear dear blog friends. I need a pick me up, a little "look, the glass is actually half full" if you will. Here's my proposal:

Following the Chicago marathon, I'll be running the Detroit Free Press Marathon Relay for charity, the Michigan Make-A-Wish Foundation, at the request of my kind-hearted, giving sister-in-law. (I planned to formally announce this to you all in a post but in light of the situation this will do.) We are running for some pretty amazing little children like Amanda. And since I currently am not able to RUN for my charity, I thought maybe today I could at least raise a little moola for them. So if you are feeling kind of generous, or sympathetic for my frustrating day, or if I've just made you grin a little from time to time when you read my silly little mommy adventures, maybe you could just wander yourself over to this page. That's my active giving page for Make-A-Wish. I don't care how much...twenty, five, a dollar, even a penny. Just a little something so I can feel like this run today was not a complete and utter waste. You can even donate anonymously (like if you don't want anyone to know you read this mess of a blog...I know there's literally hundreds of thousands of you out there reading this secretly in the privacy of your own home or cubicle not wanting anyone to know your dirty little secret...that you enjoy the ramblings of a slightly insane stay at home mom.)

Perhaps this is a shameless exploitation of an injury. I'm not sure. But if someone's little girl who's had to endure sickness, pain, hospital stays, fear, and worry smiles as she steps into Cinderalla's Castle because of it, then it's worth it. Besides I have no shame. You all know that by now :-)

May you stay injury free!

'Til next time...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So...I Just Ran in the USATF Women's 10 Mile Championships

I kid not. That's what I was doing this weekend.


Apparently they heard of my from out of nowhere age group award at the prestigious Level Pebble. And thus I ran with the likes of Joan Benoit Samuelson (along with a record 9, 303 other people who paid their $30 entry fee) this past weekend.

Well kind of. More like I ran, walked, and meandered the 10 miles of the world famous CRIM (ok well famous at least for MI runners. That ain't hardly a one of us who doesn't know what the Bradley Hills are) that was this year named the USATF Women's 10 Mile Championship.

After a 20 minute late start due to some unexpected delays (parking difficulties, surprise change in location of the packet pickup and a hunt for a lineless or at least short lined port-a-potty that would fast turn into a desperate search for an at least semi-private bush in the middle of over 15,000 runners AND their spectators) my injured mom and I set off from the start accompanied by little more than the orange timing chips on our shoes (well that and two dudes running with POW-MIA flags. Not really sure why they got such a late start, but I can tell you that miltaryish dudes don't seem to be hampered a bit by carrying giant flagpoles. They were out of our sight in no time).

Now despite the fact that my mom practically limped her way through the entire course, we did make up some ground, catching up to the strolling walkers first, then the might as well be running walkers (I mean seriously, you're moving your arms fast enough and working up quite a sweat, just pick those dang feet up a little bit already would you?), and finally ending up somewhere in the middle of the runners who also sometimes walk which is pretty much what we were doing anyway.

And we finished the race with good news and bad news (hmmm...which first?) The bad news is my mom is going to be out for awhile. It's one of those take a break now before this ends up being something serious kind of breaks. So she's opting for the bike for a few weeks, before she gets back to training for her half this fall.

The good news...my mom ran the Crim almost 4 minutes faster this year than last year when she was injury free. That's right. My mom kicks serious you know what now. (btw I should also mention that she was the bronze medalist in Wayne County's MI Senior Olympics earlier in the week even though some really old dude tried to use the sneaky strategy of talking to her to slow her down. She chatted for a while, but was not susceptible to his devious charms and eventually told him she needed to stretch her legs. Oh yeah baby...stretch her legs right up on to that podium...well ok there wasn't a podium or anything, but I think you get the picture.)

And just to save y'all the trouble (that would my inner southerner coming out right there). We ran 2:05. I know your all a bunch of peeping toms and gonna go look it up anyway. So there you have it, get back to the rest of your internet carousing (which I do believe is a made up word...wait...let me spell check it...no, apparently it is not. Wonder what it means? Have I used it properly? But just fyi-militaryish...definitely NOT a word.)

'Til next time...

PS. My raceport is here on racevine.com. If you're interested...or maybe just bored....looking to do some more carousing...whatever ;-)

PPS. I do have one picture from the race to show you, but I can't exactly figure out how to get it off my phone. If I figure it out, I'll post it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I May Have Some Personality Issues

Any family reading this right now are thinking "may?" As was my husband when I finished my run today and told him this:

"If you could hear what's going on in my head while I run, you would probably think I was crazy."

"You are assuming I don't already think you are crazy," was his reply.

"True." I said. "But if you heard what was going on in my head, you would KNOW I was insane."

I seem to have multiple personalities (or maybe there's another name for this if you only have two. Obviously, I'm no expert here). They surface only when I run.

There's Good Kelly who knows what she is supposed to do and wants to do it even when the going gets tough. Then there is her arch enemy, Bad Kelly, who would much prefer to allow the covers to suck her right back into bed, is not opposed to quitting at the first sign of weakness and has cruelly killed a vast number of workouts in her day with not even the slightest bit of remorse.

Now they don't both always show up together on every run. Some days one shows up first, then the other. Some days only one comes out for the run. Then there are days like today, when they both show up from the very minute my foot hits the floor at the side of my bed. Today they were both there and at war.

Good Kelly went to put on her running clothes. Bad Kelly was mad she was not still sleeping. Good Kelly had a little something to eat. Bad Kelly didn't think she could stomache the oatmeal because of the weird texture and complained that 18 miles on a treadmill was not only way too far but was also stupid and boring. Good Kelly somehow managed to get us down to the basement to the treadmill.

And we all started together. Mostly Bad Kelly was monopolizing the conversation with things like "You're too tired to be running on a treadmill. You are totally going to fall off; Just quit. This blows. Your legs will never get loose; Woopty do. You just ran one freaking mile, only SEVENTEEN MORE to go; See I told you you shouldn't eat that oatmeal. Now your stomache's upset a bit. You're probably going to puke; You know you're going to have to stop and go to the bathroom...all those stairs...you'll never be able to restart." And of course for about the first four miles, "WOULD YOU JUST GO BACK TO BED."

Now for awhile there, Good Kelly seemed to be leaving me hanging. I knew she was there, but she wasn't saying much. Until finally, at one point admist all the whiny complaining she said this, "Listen, if you want to have this fight then go right ahead. But we're only doing it if you keep your legs moving while we do." To which Bad Kelly muttered, "well...alright."

So she started to fire back a bit at Bad Kelly with things like "You're not even tired anymore, so give it up already about going back to bed." And "so what if you have to stop and go to the bathroom, you'd have to stop if it was a race too wouldn't you?" And "huh...seems like your legs ARE getting lose." Good Kelly also had some other tricks up her sleeve (or hidden somewhere in her sports bra, since she did not in fact have sleeves). Things like praying for distraction (and to get help from God Almighty I'm sure) and rewards like "When you get to 5 you get an E-Gel and at 6 you're turning on the fans!" and cheerleading, "Would you look at that you are already 1/2 way done! And guess who does not have to feed the girls this morning and change Madelyn's super full and stinky diaper after she eats? That's right YOU!"

Somewhere at around 12 or 13 miles Bad Kelly either shutup or left. I'm not sure which, but Good Kelly had FAR too much invested to NOT finish and the focus was all on the quickly dwindling miles, time left to run and dots to watch on that teeny little track. And lo and behold, I finished...the whole 18.

Personally, I think it's that sneaky little trick Good Kelly had around mile 4, "we can have the fight, but just keep those legs moving." Running isn't always fun. Running doesn't always feel good. But if you can just keep those legs moving you just might outrun your own head.

So am I crazy? I'm a runner. Absolutely.

'Til next time...


PS. E-Gel update. Do NOT like Cherry Bomb or Mountain Rush. Waaaaaaaay too strong a flavor for me. However, Tropical and Strawberry Vanilla Slam are awesome. I'm using them every 5 miles. Not sure how much of a pick me up I get at mile 5, but definitely feel a little sumptim sumptim at 10 & 15.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Strange Twist of Fate: Hills ARE My Friend (That and the Many Uses of Garland)

BLASPHEMER! I know. How dare I befriend the very foe who so often is the culprit responsible for sucking the very life out of a runner's legs mid-run!

But yes, it is true. I can no longer call hills my enemy or complain about the lack of flatness on an advertised as such course.

You see it seems that every since I went home with that fancy schmancy age group award, I've had a touch of knee trouble (no one panic, just a touch). Now there's a story behind this but for the sake of brevity, we'll save it for some other time. Let's just say it's been on and off for a couple of weeks now, but usually on from about the 2.5 -3 mile mark of my treadmill runs.

Today, however, I was out on my favorite trail for a 16 miler (in the pouring rain I might add. I think I get bonus points for that. Seriously, pouring and pretty much the entire time. Almost as if God was issuing some sort of challenge to the very hi tech running fabric I was sporting. "Oh yeah, runfastmommy t. See if you can wick this!" God won. Big time.). True to form the knee trouble kicked in just before the first time I passed my car. I stopped. Tossed my outer layer and picked up a water bottle. Restarting...now that was a problem. Sharp pains cut me like a knife in the right knee. So I jogged a little...walked a little...jogged a little...walked a little....stopped and tried to push my knee cap into some place a little more comfortable than the painful location it was currently residing in...and jogged some more.

Then I hit a nice hill. One which I was NOT looking forward to. But shocker of all shockers, while I dug into that hill I noticed that the knee pain was virtually gone. Hmmm...interesting. Now the downhill on the other hand...not so good. But let's not talk about that. For the rest of the run, I was actually looking forward to each of the next hills. By about 10ish the numbness that seems to accompany me on most of my long runs had kicked in, and I swear to you I ran those last 6 faster than the first 6 with no knee trouble. Although I will admit, I ran the first 6 pretty slow...which leads me to the

QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Does rain slow your time down on runs?
(please say yes, please say yes, please say yes)

Because I was mighty slow the first half of my run. And by rain I mean showers, but no lightning, thunder or ...ahem...wind. Just the heavy wetness of the rain on your clothes, that's enough to add at least a minute a mile. Right? (looking only for an affirmative type answer here please).

'Til next time...

PS. Oops almost forgot!! The many uses of garland. If you read my last post about using garland on my runs, you may be patiently waiting to see what exactly I do with it. Sorry for the delay, I was having fun reading the guesses and then got a little distracted by the end of my 3 year old's swimming lessons and a little town hall meeting in my area.



But without further ado the answer is (drumroll please)...I use gold sparkly Christmas tree garland to make a no fly (or no play, or no ride your little princess car, or no approach mommy with questions) zone around my treadmill for my 3 year old. She used to be afraid of it, but as of late she's been getting a little bit braver. So mid-run recently when I was finally wore out of jumping off to back her up, I grabbed the only thing I could find long enough in the basement to rope it off....garland.



Does it work you might be wondering? Well I've had her down there about 3 times since I first created the no-go zone and the last time we went down there, I said "Chloe, what's the rule?" and she answered back "I MAY NOT cross the garland." And she didn't. So props to all the people who guessed and had some other interesting suggestions for using garland while running. You can check them out here. But I'm afraid, I'll have to come up with some other reason to give away some E-Gel to some deserving soul since nobody quite figured it out. Hmmm....