Wednesday, March 28, 2012


It's hard to believe that you went home 7 years ago today.  If only I knew how strong you really were, how deeply you really loved, and how driven you were to stay with us.  If only I had known to ask you all of those questions that have come up since then.  If only.

You are the reason I am who I am today.  You are my example of strength and passion.  You loved life so much and you have passed that joy and commitment to live each day I am given as if it were my last.

I miss you so much and I look forward to the day we can be together again.  Until that time, I will be honoring your memory by making you proud of who I have become in spite of my earlier efforts to mess things up in a big way.  I will raise your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to remember you as a woman of dignity and honor.  And I will run.  For you.

September 29, 1942 - March 28, 2005

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Seems I am feeling a bit better this week, and I am so thankful!  A DM friend mentioned a condition that she had Costochondritis and I believe that ultimately, this is what I am dealing with here.  Dislocation just doesn't seem quite right and the x ray showed no discernable fractures.

Yesterday I was pain-free almost the entire day.  Today, I had a slight increase, but not nearly as painful as I was last week.  Feeling good and having to take things easy is difficult for me, but I am trying as hard as I can to listen to my body and let it guide me towards a complete healing.

39 days til my first tri. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Not sure what is more frustrating, having an injury directly related to running that prevents me from running or having an injury that has nothing to do with running that won't allow me to do much of anything.   Pretty sure it is the latter.  And to add insult to injury, the best weather of the entire year is currently upon us and I am sitting on the sidelines.  Kind of.

My times of injury or illness allow for me to catch up on other things around the house, such as cleaning, re-organizing, decluttering, gardening, etc.  All those things that go by the wayside when I'm heavy into training.  I'll admit it, I even forgo grocery shopping some weeks because I have too much to fit in on any given day.

This week has been a real challenge to me with not being able to do much in the way of training.  I find it very strange that although I am really missing running, even more, I miss swimming!  I can't even wrap my head around that.  Swimming is not something I do to "train", rather, it is something I do to "relax" or "stretch out" from the miles and miles of running I put on my body.  A year ago, I was fearful of swimming and did everything I could to avoid the activity.  Now, I long for it.

So, no running, no swimming, no push ups, no pull ups, no dips, no upper body strengthening, no yoga.  I am determined to find something I can do.  I try spinning in the gym and it goes OK.  30 mins twice this week and I didn't die.  I didn't find much excitement in it, but it was something and in a week with no running, I have 24 miles on the books.  I like that.

I have been doing lunges and squats without weights.  I meant to try the stair climber, but I just can't bring myself to do it.  Maybe later today.

I have also been attacking several of the closets and cupboards in the home.  One such cupboard is my "Tupperware" cupboard.  I honestly have about 3 pieces of Tupperware, so why I call it this, I have no idea.  I suppose it sounds better than "my Gladware cupboard."   Tupperware.  What a strange word.  Say it a few times.  Go ahead.  Weird.  Isn't it.  Did someone named Tupper create the stuff?

Before.  The bane of my existence, second only to my garage.
This cupboard is my horrible little secret.  I don't show just anyone this stuff.  People might judge me.  But I trust all of you.  That much.  Boo and I got to work on this mess one night after dinner.  He helped  to get rid of anything that didn't have a matching lid or was unnecessary.  We even recycled the items we culled from the pile.
After.  Taking bets on how long this lasts.
I have decided that there are a few things in my life that reflect my current mental state.  This cupboard is one of those things. My purse is the other, as is the piles of laundry awaiting folding and hanging.  If any of these areas are a mess, I can guarantee I am too busy.  I am going to attempt to use my newly organized cabinet as a barometer of my state in life.  Is that enough to commit me?

Several other areas in the house have been attacked with force, I just did not, (fortunately for you, my dear readers), think to take pictures before and after. 

I've been feeling pretty happy with my household accomplishments and then had a nice reality check this morning....

The dogs even gave up after about 15 minutes of straight feast time.  The drawer on the left was pulled open by Fish mid-way through clean up and broken, but not enough to clean out the Lentils that are under said drawer.  24 hours later, I am still avoiding the complete dismantling of my refrigerator to clean it all up and instead I am vying for a new refrigerator.  I mean seriously, who can live with a broken vegetable drawer?!

I hope these ribs heal soon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On the Mend...Again

The last few weeks since the marathon have been filled with lots of fun things, most notably, having my daughter and her wonderful boyfriend home for spring break and serving on a retreat team for the women in my parish.
I awoke last Thursday to some pretty significant pain in my chest, more exacting, my ribs.  Just below the clavicle.  At first, I thought it was a pulled muscle of some kind.  Then after taking a brief run and realizing I couldn't breathe, I started thinking perhaps the rib was broken or cracked.
This seemed quite unusual as I have no idea how this "injury" occurred, so a trip to the doctor to rule out things bigger than I care to imagine, (since my cancer scare 18 months ago, I suppose I have been a bit paranoid about these things) appeared to be in order.
I was able to get in to see the doctor on Monday and had several xrays taken.  In the end, a fracture could not be seen, but also, could not be ruled out because of it's possible location.  The 2nd and 3rd ribs are very point tender.
Doc seems to think that I have somehow managed to dislocate or possibly even tear the costal cartilage joint on the 2nd and 3rd rib.  The good news is that there was no other disease processes noted.
The injury is on the 2nd and 3rd rib, where the blue (cartilage) meets the white (bone). 

This Doc isn't my usual doctor and so I thought of every question I would have to run through with him to see what I could get away with training-wise.
He had my number.  I think my usual Doc must have my chart marked up with all kinds of commentary...
He told me... NO PUSHUPS!  Then proceeded to tell me that I can do anything else I wanted as long as it didn't cause pain or affect my breathing
Smarty-pants.  He knew that anything I do causes pain and affects my breathing.  He actually even made me jump up and down in the office so he could show me what he meant.  Creep.  :)
Good guy, really.  He wants me to rest for a week and see how it feels.  If it isn't remarkably better then he will follow up accordingly.
I went home, determined to rest.  I'm in an off-season of sorts, no problem.  Lies.  I can't rest.  I'm a freak.  I'm an idiot.  I even belong to the Idiot's Running Club.  There is no way possible for me to truly follow doctor's orders.  So I began organizing every cabinet in the kitchen.  Then I had might sights on the garage.  I started moving things around in there and realized, there is no way I could do it with the use of the left side of my upper body.  And I couldn't convince the kids to help me. Dang it.
I did weed out all of our vegetable beds and re-plant the remaining plants from last season.  You can do pretty well with a one-armed raking and shoveling technique!
Monday night, I could not settle down to sleep.  I was up till 3 am culling through our homeschooling curriculum and re-writing everything or the last 7 weeks of the school year.
Tuesday morning came, quite early I might add, and I decided to see if there was ANYTHING I could do.  We headed to PE and I hopped into the pool for an "easy" swim.
After 200 yards, I knew I had to quit as the turning of my head to the right side caused a lot of popping in the chest.  I finished up 400 yards and headed into the gym to try the spin bike.
10 miles in 21 minutes, but I am not able to assume the correct position on the bike because the breathing and angle of the chest causes quite a bit of pain.
After the bike, I jumped on the treadmill for a .25 run to shake out the legs and see if that felt any better.  Nope.  Done.
I came home and felt ok that I had done something, but was quite disappointed that I really can't do any of my workouts without jeopardizing the healing.
I tried some lunges and realized that I can do those as long as I don't incorporate weights.  I also plan to try to walk on the tm on an incline and maybe even try the stair climber.  We will see if any of these things can be accomplished without pain.
One thing I have realized, I don't think I will ever really embrace a true off-season.  Maybe my mileage will drop off a bit, but to stop all training after my racing season ends just isn't in the cards for me.  I like this because I understand that I don't do any of what I do for the race experience.  I do it for the level of enjoyment I derive from it.  I do it to clear my mind.
There are many more worse things that I could be dealing with, and many others ARE dealing with, so I refuse to feel sorry for myself.  I am trying to direct my energies to positive things that I CAN do while waiting for this thing to work itself out.  (talk to me in a week...I may change my mind by then and be ready for a good whining session...)
Get out and do what you can today!  Whatever it is.  And do it with Joy in your heart!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Woodlands Marathon 2012

After a 19 year hiatus, The Woodlands Marathon was reborn yesterday in a big way!   I have no doubt that as wonderful as the the former Woodlands Marathon was, it could not have out done the new, revitalized version that was unveiled yesterday.

The race directors should be very proud of how the event came off.  I was so impressed at the organization that I witnessed in every aspect of the race as it affected me as a participant.

Receiving an email just a few days before the event stating that the marathon was in need of 500 volunteers, I was a tad concerned over the success of the race, however, if there was a shortage of help, it was not on the course.  Again, the volunteers came through in a big way, the way that they always do to make a runner's day as enjoyable and as successful as they possibly can.

The cheer stations were a great concept so that the community could be totally invested as they watched.  There was not much of the course that didn't have someone on it to support the runners with high fives, cow bells, signs, water, gatorade, music, gels, etc.  It was definitely one of the best road race experiences I have ever had, yes, even better than Houston.  There I said it.

Most of you know that I am don't typically run road races.  I'm just a trail nerd at heart.  In fact, this was to be my second marathon, my first being Houston in 2008.  I ran a 4:36 that day after 6 months of marathon specific training and quite frankly swore I would never do another one.  I didn't enjoy the venue at all and I didn't "get" the whole Houston experience.

A few months later, I ran Hog's Hunt 50K and fell in love with the trails.  So, the trails have been where I've stayed, save a few shorter distance community races.  If there is one thing I enjoy just as much as the trails, it is running with friends from the community and sharing the experience with them.

When I heard The Woodlands was bringing back the marathon, I had to register.  It's a hometown event, put on by great people at the best time of the year to run in Houston.   What's not to love?

At the kick off, I had the great pleasure of meeting Ryan and Sara Hall.  They are such a sweet and warm-hearted couple, another good reason to want to be a part of this event. 

On to the night before the race.  Up until now, I wasn't really sure what my race goal should be.  I originally considered making it a race to BQ, however, I knew with my ultra trail training, I would not be able to put in the speed work or MP runs specific to marathon training.  Sure my mileage would be high enough, but running trails requires a different mind set, for me at least, and since I utilize an 8/2 pattern of run/walk for any run over about 12 miles, I knew that I would not be physically able to gut out 26.2 without walking.  So a BQ was not a realistic goal.
I also considered that I would be coming off of Rocky 50 and not knowing how I would be feeling after that race, I didn't set any hard and fast goals.  If I could run it I would, no matter what the speed.

After Rocky, I have felt pretty good.  Ran a 14 day streak beginning before Rocky which only ended due to some family situations that required my attention.  My legs felt great, I felt strong, and I thought perhaps I would shoot for a PR.

Friday night, I decided I could really give the BQ a go.  I knew it would be close, but I figured it was worth the try.  I told Richard about my goal and being as crazy, I mean as supportive as he is, he offered to run with me for as long as he could.  I told him I was holding nothing back and he promised to drop off if he needed to.  (Richard is currently training for his 2nd IM Texas)  Plan was set. 

Saturday morning showed up with cool temps in the 50's and a steady north wind.  It was a bit chilly for me, but not for long.  I met up with Richard and after the pre-race walking around and finding a bathroom, we headed into the corral just in the nick of time.  The marathon started right on time.  In fact, the announcer mentioned that they would be starting the other races (half, 5K) about 5 minutes early!  How's that for being organized?!

They shouted go, and we were off.  We were to run two 13.1 mile loops along the beautiful back drop of The Woodlands.  Coming out of East Shore, it was very nice to see an entire lane and shoulder blocked off for the runners.  Allowed for plenty of room for the numbers of people who were on the course.

The first loop felt great, seeing the friends working aid stations, friends who were running, family and friends who were out to support us.  This is what community is.  I pray that those who were "stuck in race traffic" weren't too upset and could appreciate the hometown spirit that was present.

I saw Mark and Emma twice on the first loop as Richard and I were right on pace (9:00) for the entire loop.  Richard was strong and I felt great.  We ran through the 13.1 mark at 1:58.  Not too shabby for the first half of a 4:00 marathon.

As soon as we passed the half way point, a cold, light rain began to fall, with little mention by Richard or I.  We had just run and very rainy and muddy Rocky together, so this was not to be an issue for us this day.  My only concern was that I felt cold.  We seemed to be hydrating well, but chose to carefully plan our port-a-potty break.  I sensed we were slowing a bit, and looking at our splits post race, my sense was correct.  We had slowed to a 9:40 pace mile 15 and 16.  I chose to conserve at this point thinking that I could make up time after mile 23 when I would drop the 8/2s and run in the last 5K.  At mile 17, we were afforded the perfect chance to use the cans and we lost our pace there.  (10:17)  For some reason, this is where I started to struggle some.  My legs, especially my hamstrings were beginning to tighten and I had to slow a bit in an effort to avoid an injury.  I think the cold I was feeling was probably the culprit.

Miles 18 and 19 we picked it up a bit, (9:33), but still were not on pace.  We were pushing hard, but couldn't manage more than this.  We knew we still had a long way to go.  Miles 20-23 were the toughest for me, though we did provide negative splits for those three miles, I was feeling very low.  Having Richard there to pull me along was very helpful.

Mile 23 did not see fit for me to drop the 8/2s.  My hamstrings were beginning to cramp and I had to change my gait to ward off more severe cramps in the entire left leg.  Mile 24 and 25 saw 10:11 and 10:19 splits.  And then something kicked in for me.  I felt the heaviness lift, the cramps subsided and we ran it in for a 9:19 finishing mile.  I don't know what changed, but I did see a lady with my verse scrawled on it in very primitive handwriting..."I can do all things in Christ"...  The woman was a tiny little lady, whose eyes barely peeked over the sign.  I thanked her for the motivation and then charged off.  Of course, Florence and the Machine "Dog Days" was a huge boost as well!

I pulled ahead of Richard to cross the finish line in 4:06:and something.  I saw my family on the right and it wonderful!  As I turned to see how far Richard was behind me, he almost ran me over!!!  He hadn't dropped off at all!

Post-race festivities were very nice.  My Fit Foods provided the food.  I wasn't a huge fan as it seemed very spicy to my liking, but my taste buds were probably not in prime working order after the race.
I was able to visit with several friends and shares moments about their races as well.
Having the kids at the race meant so much to me.  I know it isn't nearly as exciting for them as it is for me, but hopefully, these experiences plant memories of when I am old and in adult diapers...

I didn't grab a BQ this time.  But I did manage a nice 31 minute PR with a very good friend who took a HUGE 90 minute PR from his marathon time in January!!!

I make no excuses for coming up 6 minutes short on this BQ attempt.  I am happy with my effort, as I do not feel I could have pushed any harder than what I did.  I ran a 4:06 marathon PR while using a run/walk method of running, no speed work, no marathon specific training.  I will take it as a great day!

Gear:  I ran with my Brook Pure Flows and had no issues whatsoever.  These shoes are amazing!  Injini socks left me with no blisters, and Lululemon cool racer back coupled with their speed short provided a nice comfortable experience.

Nutrition:  S caps every 48 mins, did double up a few times, especially when I could "feel" the hamstrings.  Responded well to this.  Honey Stingers every 58 mins.  Could have used some caffeine the last few miles I think.  Drank only water.