Monday, December 14, 2009

My Running Buddy



I've been itching to lace up my sneaks for awhile now.  So, I took my husky running with me this afternoon for the first time ever.  Sure, we've been on countless walks and car rides, and she's always a sweet and well-mannered dog.  But I was a little skeptical of how she would do running.  I learned a few things:
  1. Huskies pull.  HARD. 
  2. Always bring a baggie for ... um ... accidents.
  3. Even when running, they'll still want to mark everything.
  4. Doesn't matter which direction you're going, they want to go the opposite.
  5. If they smell a rabbit, prepare to trip over every curb and shrub to get to it.
  6. They. Never. Get. Tired.
After a mile, I was able to reign her in and get her home.  Perhaps we'll try the harness next time.  At least we got to enjoy a break in the cold weather -- sunny and 70 this time of year?  I'll take it!  Of course, tomorrow's supposed to be back in the low 40s.  I'm guessing the cooler weather will only make my husky more frisky ...

Ohwell.  I can already tell she's going to be a great motivator ... and I need every ounce of it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snuggies & Four-Legged Friends

Well, I'm curled up with my warm Snuggie watching The Biggest Loser finale.  I'm rooting for Amanda to win the title and Abby to win the at-home prize.  Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens ...


In light of the finale, I dusted off my Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred video over the weekend.  While it's only 20 minutes, my arms are still sore.  And, because it's short, there's no excuses why I can't fit it into my schedule.


I also re-discovered the Fit TV channel last night -- a plethora of exercise shows to keep my workouts interesting and anything but boring, especially on these rainy winter days.  I even attempted Shimmy last night, based off belly dancing.  Yeah, so my hips don't exactly move like Shakira, but it was a great ab workout without feeling like one.


I'm guessing after this finale I'll have to trade in my Snuggie for my sweats and attempt a quick workout before bed.  If this rain will ever stop, I'm thinking of turning my husky into my new running buddy.  She's been about as lazy as I have over the past few months, and I know it'll be good for the both of us.  


But I am a little nervous -- should I use a collar or harness?  Does she need a warm up?  I'm pretty sure she's in better shape than I am, but still want to start her right.  Any other tips to running with dogs??

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hello World!

Well, folks, it's been awhile!  Over the past few months, I've had several people ask me or e-mail me about this blog, wondering where I've been and if I'm ever coming back.  It's a wonderful feeling knowing that maybe -- just maybe -- I've been able to motivate and inspire others.  


But I've come to realize that this blog is what was motivating me.  My posts held me accountable, your blogs kept me inspired, and your comments kept me going.  I really never meant to stop blogging -- one lazy day just led to another, which led to another ... which ends today.  Right now.  In this moment.


I would be lying if I said I didn't miss running.  And I would be lying if I said that I've laced up my sneaks more than twice in the last few months.  I'm not going to set any crazy goals (yet) or go all Jillian Michaels on the world.  Nope.  Just going to make the simple promise of being more active.  Of finding a balance and routine.  Of enjoying my white chocolate mochas with extra whipped cream and enjoying how it feels to break a sweat.


Ahhhh, it feels good to be back! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Goodbye to a Legend -- Hope for the Future

By now I'm sure everyone has heard about the passing of Patrick Swayze.  I can't even begin to imagine the struggles he went through, the pain he and his family endured.  At least -- maybe now -- the family can begin to find peace.


I don't hear about pancreatic cancer very often.  I knew that Swayze had it, and it was mentioned on an episode of House last night.  But I had no idea how horrific it is -- the statistics for those with pancreatic cancer are mind-numbing.  Only 13% live for a year after diagnosis, and only 3% survive for five years.  Wow. 


But it sounds like there's hope.  I ran across an article this morning about a new advance form of radiotherapy that can actually target the tumor, meaning higher doses of radiation can be used without damaging surrounding tissue.  You can read more about it here -- it's actually quite an interesting article. 

And a little hope can be a big thing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Things That Go Bump

Hope every one had a great Labor Day weekend!  Just a quick note that I've *moved* my crafty blog!  You can now find it at http://bellacreativekatie.blogspot.com.

In other non-news, I stayed busy this past week with pilates, the 30-Day Shred and playing catch with J ... which led to nursing a knot after catching a pop fly with my head.  Ouch would be a complete understatement!  


Surprisingly, though, no rush to the ER was necessary.  You would think I would have passed out or bled or had a really cool bruise to talk about.  But nope, just went down like a sack of concrete in the middle of the field, tears splashing down my cheeks ... yet I couldn't stop laughing.  Poor J, I think I scared a few years out of him.


One of these days I'll get him back for all of the softballs I've caught with my body and not my glove ... 

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Catching Up

Man, this past week was a doozy! Work is picking up quite a bit, and my brain is finally succumbing to the madness. Not exactly the best time to scale back on caffeine, but I'm trying pathetically hard to nix the diet sodas. Something about water being better for the body ...

I did manage to squeeze in a couple of decent workouts, though. I did pilates Monday and Wednesday -- a rude awakening first thing in the morning, as it felt like stretching a cold rubber band. But I love pilates because I can begin to feel the toning effects immediately, at least in the flab ... er, I mean ab ... area.

I ran a mile on Tuesday -- I swear the humidity took it's toll a minute into it. But my legs held up well, and I was glad to get that feeling back of wanting to go further. Besides, it just felt good to sweat a little.

We also had our first softball game Friday night. Now that was a good workout! J and I had played catch just about every night the last two weeks, so I felt fairly comfortable tucked in right field. I managed to get on base every time I batted ... despite hitting myself in the head with the bat the first go-round. Yeah, I know, how is that even possible? Not sure, but it got a good chuckle from the crowd, and solidified my point that our team name should have been "Benchwarmers". But, we ended up kicking tail, winning 12-6 despite being a player short.

And let me tell you, I was more sore yesterday than I was after my half marathon. Guess it was all the sprinting -- my legs are still shot. Which is why I think I need a little help in the toning and strength department. I picked up a copy of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred today at the bookstore -- has anyone tried it? I'm a little skeptical and a little nervous about it ... that lady scares me.

But, maybe it'll be just the boost I need. That, catch, and more running should have me in pretty decent shape here shortly. And, it should be a little more entertaining than the ol' workbench that's collecting dust upstairs.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tax-free at Run On

Hey Texas runners! If you're heading out to take advantage of tax-free weekend and want new running gear, check out the deals at places like Run On. Their discounts include:

  • Buy one pair of shoes, get 15% off all additional pairs (discount applied to highest priced shoe).
  • Buy $50 worth of apparel, get 15% off all additional apparel.

Not to mention no tax on all items under $100, including shoes, socks, caps and apparel. Not too shabby!


*And thanks, Dano, for suggesting to add Sister Hazel (playing now) to my iPod. I forgot how much I enjoy them! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Attn Creative Junkies

Hey all! Just a note to let you know my crafty blog *bella creative* is up and running ... for anyone who's interested :).

Back to running posts this weekend (and new tunes) -- until then, I'm catching up on reading your wonderful blogs as I'm sooo behind. But I suppose that's not unusual for me.

It's Hump Day, then bump day, then FRIDAY!*



*I know, that makes no sense. But I like it, so I'm leaving it ...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Monday Monday

I am super ancy today -- maybe because it's Monday, maybe because I drank too much sugar-infused lemonade at lunch. Regardless, I have a mountain of work to do and an anthill of motivation to accomplish it. Perhaps I'll save it all for after dinner ...

I'm liking the idea of completing the Nike Woman's Marathon with Team In Training, so I think I'll try to make it my goal for either 2010 or 2011. I'll figure it all out as we get closer! Until then, I'm slowly getting back into the running deal and hopefully will get myself signed up for a 5k or two this fall.

J and I are playing in a co-ed softball league starting next Friday, and just practicing for that has been quite the workout! Especially since I've never played a day in my life up until a few weeks ago. You'd think I'd learn to catch the ball after getting hit in just about every place imaginable while playing catch with J. Guess it's a learned skill ... but the games should be fun.

In other ventures, I'm starting a new blog (bella creative) to tap into my creative side ... or at least something to keep me busy while J's working in the garage. So if you're into the whole crafty-handmade-some people call it art-stuff, then you'll have to check it out. I'll let you know once it's up and running!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Here I Go Again

I didn't exactly leap out of bed when the alarm went off this morning. By the time I did get up, the sun was beaming through the windows and my stomach was growling for some breakfast. After downing a granola bar, checking e-mail and working on a few slides for my presentation at work, it was already 10:30. No excuses, I told myself.

I changed into running clothes and dug through the sock drawer in vain trying to find two that matched. No excuses. Wearing one pink sock and one blue sock, I rummaged around looking for my watch. I couldn't leave without my watch. I had only 30 minutes to spare in my hectic schedule. No excuses.

I gave up and strapped on my iPod. Only it was dead. How can I run without my tunes? I ran up the stairs and tried to find my old one, only it was dead too. Seriously, no music? No excuses.

With no music, no watch and mismatched socks, I finally headed out the door. It was super hot already, but it felt good to feel the sweat beading up on my skin. And to feel my legs fall back into an old habit. I put in just over a mile ... slow, but still a mile. With no excuses.


*Thanks to Running Around Acres for suggesting the awesome Whitesnake song playing now -- will be adding it to my iPod tonight!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wanted: New Running Playlist

I'm chewing on your wonderful race suggestions and will figure it out eventually. As many of you have said, I just need to get back out there. So out there I will go. My goal next week is to put in a short run Monday, Wednesday and Friday -- I'm thinking a mile or so. Baby steps, people!

So over the weekend, I need to wash my running clothes, dust off the sneaks and update my iPod running playlist. I desperately need some new tunes to help spice things up -- and I'd like your help building my playlist!

What do you listen to when running? What tunes pump you up? What song will be the key to all of my running successes ... er, or at least get me out of bed in the morning? :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

So ... What's Next?

You guys hit the nail on the head with the question, "What's next?" I've been trying to figure that out, but to no avail. Maybe that's why I was a little sluggish in posting my race report, because I didn't know where to go or what to do after.

And, five months later, I'm still not sure. But I definitely know I want to do another race. Many of you have hinted at another 1/2 or *gulp* a full. That would be cool. Or maybe another event with TNT -- Mohan suggested the Nike Women's, which does truly intrigue me. Maybe in 2010 ...

But what to do in the meantime? I suppose the first step would be lacing up my sneaks again. I think I've run twice since Big D. Horrid, I know! I had every intention of taking a short break to let the ankle heal completely. And well ... a short break turned into a bad habit. Oops.

So, I'm going to work on getting back into the habit this week. But, as for a new goal / adventure, what do you guys think? Any race suggestions or cool goals that I can work towards (like 50/50, but without the 50 ... haha)??

Sunday, August 2, 2009

FINALLY, a Post-Race Report

Heeelllllooooooo! I know, I know -- where the hell have I been, right?

It's been nearly five months since I finished the Big D 1/2 Marathon with TNT ... wonder if any of you guys have stuck around? Truly did not mean to leave you hanging -- in my defense, I left for Puerto Rico the week after, have had several computer issues ... and am just downright lazy sometimes.

So, since this is a little anti-climatic as many of you have already blogged about the Big D race, I'll just share a few things. Like the fact that is was sooooo freakin' cold and windy that morning! Definitely made the days of training in frigid winds worth it. Just glad I was wearing pants and not shorts ...



J won the award for Best Supporting Husband, riding around on his mountain bike snapping photos, dodging swift winds and sketchy neighborhoods as best he could ...



I love this starting photo, reminds me of "Where's Waldo?" ...



I was bound and determined to run all 13.1 miles without stopping ... and by God I did it, with even a smile to boot ...


Remember when I was trying to set a realistic finishing time? I thought it would be around 2:55:00. And many of you said I could do better ... and I did. I finished in 2:43:41. Still plenty of room for improvement, but I was so super proud of it. You can also see our TNT group photo on the Big D Race Results page ... pretty cool!



I carried all of my donors with me during the race ... well, their names at least. Thanks to you guys, I raised over $1,800 for Team In Training to help find a cure for Leukemia!


All-in-all, it was such a wonderful experience. I encourage everyone to train for a race with TNT at least once, whether you've run a hundred marathons or you're a couch potato just getting started. It'll definitely change your life -- as well as those around you!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

T-minus 4 Days ...

Saturday was our last TEAM run before the big event on Sunday (just 4 days to go!), and Mother Nature made sure it was unforgettable. Here lately I've been spoiled with sunny spring weather in the 70s -- I've even dusted off my flipflops and stashed the sweats in the back of the closet.

Weatherman warned that a cold front was moving in Friday afternoon, but I didn't pay attention. I left for work in short sleeves ... and nearly froze my butt off walking to my car that afternoon. The temps had dropped 30 degrees in a matter of hours, with me waking Saturday morning to a windy 34. Dang it. I went digging through the laundry pile trying to find my fleece pullovers. (Don't judge me ... sure, they were dirty. But, a little smell was worth the sacrifice so I wouldn't freeze to death.)

Layered, gloved and grumpy, I huddled with the rest of my TEAM while we waited to get started. After quick announcements, we were off ... straight into 20mph winds. Grrrr, I kept thinking to myself, keeping my head down and hoping that the four miles would go quick.

About a mile in I started to notice stuff hitting my face. It was dark so I couldn't make out what it was. At first I thought dirt, but it was too soft. Then I thought gnats ... which made me paranoid and resulted in constant spitting. But seriously, there can't be that many gnats. I could catch a glimpse of something in the glow of the street lamps. Rain maybe? But my clothes didn't feel damp.

The sky began to grow lighter about two miles in, with grey clouds hovering up above. Something was blowing in all around me, so I stuck out my black sleeve to catch whatever it was. No, it couldn't be ... it looks like ... Small little crystals of ice. But it wasn't ice. It was snow. It was freaking snowing! The little ice flakes slowly turned into big, beautiful white flakes that swirled all around me as I ran. I just couldn't believe it!

I instantly forgot about how cold it was, or how the wind was making it hard to breathe, or the blister forming on my right foot, or the ten million things on my to-do list that day. There was something soo calming about it all and I wanted to keep going, as if the snow would stop if I did.

It swirled on for another hour or so after I got home (and of course I woke the hubby up to see it). It was kind of neat knowing that I got to experience it, while many others were still tucked in their warm beds. Kind of like a little secret between Mother Nature and those of us out there running ... and an amazing way to wrap up this training season!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday Catch Up

Okay, I guess I really lost track of time over the last week! Things at work are picking up and, after spending all day working on the computer, I've been keeping the laptop closed at night. I'm sure many of you can relate!

The weather at our TEAM run last Saturday started out really crummy. It was cold, rainy and windy when I awoke at 5:30. But, by the time I arrived at our practice and we got started with announcements, the rain stopped and the wind calmed down. Sidestepping the rain puddles in the dark was the only challenge, and a fun one at that. I think I had more water in my shoes than the lakes around here. But once dawn broke, the weather turned beautiful.

We're tapering at the moment, so I only had six miles to hammer out. I thought it might be a struggle -- especially since my iPod wasn't charged -- but it felt soo good. It was the longest I've run since my 14 miler over a month ago. I just took it nice and slow, and didn't have to stop once to walk. I never felt any pain in my ankle during -- just a little stiffness after -- and it seems my lungs are finally catching up. Coach was truly happy to see me back out there -- I just wish I hadn't missed as much as I did. I found part of me wishing I could still do the full ... maybe next time ...

A good portion of my TEAM left Friday for the Rome Marathon -- I haven't heard how everyone did, but I'm sure they all rocked the house! I couldn't imagine a cooler race than that. But I'm sure Big D will hold it's share of thrills ... or at least I'll be able to read the street signs ...

Anyhoo, I've been thinking a lot lately about my goal finishing time. And I'm not really sure where to start in predicting it. It took me over 3:20:00 to do my 14 miles, but I stopped and hobbled quite a bit. It took me 1:21:00 to complete my sixer, which is probably a pace I can keep up for awhile. I definitely want to finish in under 3 hours. So maybe 2:55:00 for the half? Seems kind of slow on paper, but is probably realistic.

Speaking of times and half marathons, I must say I was pretty darn impressed with The Biggest Loser contestants doing half marathons last week. I couldn't believe some of the finishing times!! Not to take away from anyone's amazing accomplishment, but I think the inside track runners had a slight advantage over those running outside in the elements and non-flat terrain. But still, kudos to them all. Tara's 2:24:00 finish will surely beat mine!

Tomorrow I get to finalize all of my paperwork / donations and pick up my race-day jersey ... exciting!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

No Dodging -- It's Friday!

Well, I won't harp on the obvious fact that it's FRIDAY, but I'm sooo glad it's here! 50/50 is officially on it's way down the road to dowtown Dallas. With this weather, I probably should have strapped on a life preserver! Hopefully the rain will simmer down enough to get in a dry TEAM run tomorrow morning.

I'm thinking of running up to the gym to drip a little sweat before work, but I have the end-of-the-week-don't-really-want-tos weighing me down. I'm a little jittery just sitting here though. Maybe putting on my sneaks will be enough to catch my lazy mind up with my ancy body. I watched Dodgeball the other night, and just love the scene with Lance Armstrong. So I had to share. Who couldn't use a dose of motivation (and chuckles) today?


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On the Way Back Up

While yesterday was a cloudy 77 degrees, today is a rainy 37. The bipolar weather definitely has my lawn confused, and I went around the house this morning turning off fans and turning up the heat. Guess I'll be working out inside today!

I made it to our TEAM practice on Saturday, for the first time in what feels like forever. Coach was down south with several of our mentors and other runners at the Texas Independence Relay -- a 203 mile, 30+ hour relay from Austin to Houston. Talk about crazy!

Those of us who showed up practiced with the summer team. I was surprised how many runners and walkers there were. I guess our team started our fairly large in the beginning, but now it seems relatively small. All of the summer team participants had on matching TNT t-shirts and name tags, and the mentors had made breakfast snacks for everyone to munch on after they finished.

Envious? A bit. But I guess I have the luxury of training with seasoned runners, which is always nice. Anyhoo, after the raffle winner was drawn, I ran about 1.5 miles and walked another 1.5. My ankle felt great -- it was my lungs that had trouble keeping up! Ohwell. I really just wanted to test my ankle with a short distance. It felt great being back out there.

I worked out at the gym at work for a bit yesterday. I put in two miles on the treadmill, selecting the "variety" workout which switches the incline every few minutes. My ankle felt great and my lungs kept up. Hopefully I can just keep building (quickly) from here. I will say that, after training outside for soo long, I felt clumsy on the treadmill. I just wasn't sure what to do with my arms, or what to look at besides the person's behind in front of me. Definitely different than being outside, but it was nice to mix it up a bit.

Just 24 days to go! :-)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

50/50 Winner!

Well, it's 81 degrees outside and I'm trying to talk myself into a short run. I'm sooo enjoying this break in the cold, and hope it sticks around for awhile.

Looks like the 50/50 book will be staying in Texas for a little longer -- congrats to the fabulous That Pink Girl!! While I'm not quite ready for a challenge like Dean's (the book is inspirational, not magic), it does get me thinking towards my next adventure after Big D. Not sure what that is yet, but I guess it'll hit me when it's ready.

Happy (almost) Friday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

50/50 -- Will YOU be next?


It's finally time to pass along the highly motivating 50/50 book!! I know some of you are wondering why the book was stuck in Texas soo long. Partially because I didn't have time to read as much each night as I wanted, and partially because it refused to be sent back to freezing temps where it came from.

The book has seen some cool places so far, including the beautiful provinces of Canada (thanks Sonia!). And now it's time to pass it along! This awesome idea was piloted by Ted and, as all wonderful things in life, has a few simple rules:
  1. Respond to my post in order to be the next in line to read the book. (First to respond wins!)
  2. I will mail the book to you.
  3. Read the book.
  4. After reading the book, create a post in your blog and find out who wants to be next in line to read the book.
  5. Ship the book to the next blogger.
  6. You must take a picture of yourself with the book.
  7. Write a small comment of what you think of the book in it.
  8. Ship the book to the next blogger.
  9. Lastly, you must use any form of human power (i.e, walk, run, skateboarding, bike) in order to take the book to the post office. Exception: If you live very far to the Post Office, use car. HAVE FUN !!!!
I enjoyed soo many things about Dean Karnazes' book: his stories, his humor, his running tips, his personal growth, how he touched those around him, how he was touched by those around him. Dean's message is a good one -- it goes beyond the typical "how" and explores the "why". Why run? Besides for your own health benefit, it sets a good example for those around you. It gets kids off the couch and out the door. It connects the outer you to the inner you.
In Dean's words, "Adventure happens the moment you step out the front door ... Step outside. Be active. Get back to nature. Explore wild places." Good luck!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Updates & Big Thanks

Wow, it's crazy how time gets away from me -- didn't mean to stay away for a week! I've been reading the wonderful and encouraging comments you guys left on my last post. Thanks SO much -- I'm actually getting super excited about the half and can't wait to celebrate with everyone at our TEAM dinner the night before. And I have a ton of blog reading to catch up on -- I promise I'll squeeze it in between Biggest Loser and The Bachelor ...

I've been working out at the gym at work most days, sticking to the bike and light weights. I did test my ankle twice last week, going a mile on the treadmill each time. My ankle felt great *knock on wood* but didn't want to push it too hard too fast. I'll be re-joining my TEAM runs starting Saturday, with low mileage of course. I heard they kicked some major butt at Cowtown last weekend -- wish I could have been there!

I'm about to go out and take advantage of 65 degrees and sunshine, but wanted to once again say a big "THANK YOU" to all of my donors. Can you believe I only have $290 to go to reach my $1,800 goal? And I couldn't have done it without you! And a HUGE thanks to all of my moral supporters as well -- you guys keep my head glued on. So thank you all!

P.S. Any 50/50 fans out there? Be on the lookout tomorrow ... ;-)

P.S.S. For every $5 donated between now and this Saturday (March 7), you'll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win over $650 worth of giftcards, including Nordstrom, Target, Best Buy, iTunes, Anthropologie, Outback Steakhouse, massages and more!! One person will win it all -- cha ching! My TEAM Coach will draw the winner on Saturday. Good luck! :-)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Down, But Not Out

Since my event is only a month away, I went and talked to my Coach yesterday morning about my options. He got a good laugh at the ridiculously bulky ankle brace I've been wearing. He thought maybe adding Nike swooshes to the sides would up it's cool factor -- I think it would have been neat to at least have a few color options. I just wish it fit into my shoes like the box said it would!

Anyway, we sat and talked for awhile about where to go from here. Coach is extremely doubtful that it'll be strong enough for the full marathon. I was afraid of that, but hearing those words was like a punch to the gut. I've worked soo hard over the last four months, but all I kept thinking was that if I had just worked a little bit harder or cross-trained like I was supposed to I wouldn't be in this situation at all. While everyone's gearing up for a practice run at Cowtown next weekend, I'll be sitting at home once again wishing that my cankles were up to the challenge.

But Coach is right -- assuming my ankle continues to heal, I'll be able to run the 1/2 stronger, with less risk of re-injuring or even making it worse. There's just not enough time to pick up with training for the full. Unless I switch to the summer TEAM, which is another option.

And it's an option I go back and forth about. Sure, I could switch TEAMs so I can race the full. But then I don't get to cross the finish line and celebrate with the TEAM I've been sweating with for the last four months. The TEAM that I've grown with, and have turned into a runner with.

Before I started training, I was a couch potato with the occasional urge to do something aerobic. I wasn't overweight or completely out of shape, but I had no real desire to get up early or to do anything too competitive or athletic. Especially if it was freezing cold outside. To my first run I think I wore sweat pants, an old worn pair of Nikes, two cotton t-shirts and a hoodie. No breathable fabrics, no gloves, no watch, no breakfast, no water. Running just one mile made my heart want to leap from my chest and my legs turn to butter.

But now? I enjoy going for runs. I have cool new sneaks and running gear. I would never wear straight cotton, especially on long runs, or leave the house on chilly mornings without my gloves. I eat better, drink tons of water, and just feel better after going for a jog. I get ancy just thinking about it. For me, it's still not about how fast I'm going -- I enjoy soaking up nature and listening to some tunes.

But I know I've gotten a lot faster. And Coach has noticed the improvements too -- how I've learned to push myself just a little more each time, how I now run with my shoulders back and my eyes looking ahead (rather than hunched over and staring at my feet like before).

Yesterday, it was hard for me to think about making the switch to the half -- I'm an "all or nothing" type of person. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it's the best way to go and still finish with my TEAM. It's not about my run or how far I went, it's about the amazing experience I've had with TNT, and the thousands of dollars we've been able to raise to benefit cancer patients and their families.

I still feel a bit like I'm disappointing my donors. But, regardless of whether I cross the finish line after 13.1 miles or 26.2, I will cross it -- and the money will go to help find a cure. And, at the end of the day, isn't that what this is all about?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Injured Runner

I'm about to settle into two hours of The Biggest Loser, but thought I would pass along a site I read about in 50/50. I know many of you are also battling injuries, so check out The Injured Runner for recovery tips and more helpful information. It's a cool site!

I didn't make it to the gym today to test my ankle, but will try the bike tomorrow. Not sure whether it's the brace or the enormous amounts of Advil, but it's starting to feel better. I did hear back from the doc yesterday and my X-rays are clear -- perhaps I'll be back to running soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Doctor's Orders ...

Thanks everyone for sending good vibes my direction! I took your advice and saw my doctor today. While not a foot specialist, he's a smart guy and fellow runner, so I value his opinion greatly.

It didn't take long for him to rule out PF. [Note to self: Get a pedicure before having your feet examined.] Since my left foot seems to be feeling better, he concentrated on my right ankle -- the main cause of my throbbing pain. He determined it's either an "over use" injury or a stress fracture, and only time will tell. He ordered X-rays, though said even stress fractures probably wouldn't show up.

Doc wants me to wear a stirrup ankle brace with aircells at all times to help provide support, and to take three Advil three times a day. And, of course, stay off my ankle as much as possible. If it's not better in two weeks, he's sticking me in a boot. Doc said even the stationary bike might be too much pressure on it at this point, so I'll give it a good rest this weekend and re-evaluate on Monday. Surely the bike will be fine?

I definitely don't want to just sit on my arse for two weeks but, if that's what it takes to heal by April, then hand me a remote and a bag of Doritos! Oh, and I'm close to finishing 50/50, so be on the lookout in the coming week for a chance to be the next lucky reader ...


*************
Side note: To the awesome reader wondering last week where I got the TNT button linking to my fundraising page -- For the life of me I can't find where that comment is and I know I published it! So, if you're reading this, I saved the button off the Team In Training site, then linked it to my page when I uploaded it on my blog. Sorry for getting back to you so late --happy running! :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

(Un)Happy Feet

Hey everyone!! Sorry for being MIA. I did try to write a post last week while at Starbucks, but my computer shut down and I lost everything. Needless to say, I've been lazy since then so this post may be a bit long ...

I bet some of you are wondering how my 14-miler went two Saturdays ago. I actually went to bed that Friday night excited about it and eager to just get out there. The weather started off in the low 40s and, with no wind, it was the perfect temp to start the day.

After TEAM announcements, I set my watch, stuffed the directions up my sleeve and headed out into the darkness to Van Halen's "Right Now". I wondered how my knee would hold up, though it was feeling strong. I spent a few minutes chasing a small rabbit out of the middle of the road before settling into a slow pace. I wasn't in any hurry.

As the sun rose splashing the streets with gold, I began to feel a little exposed to the passing cars. I kept tugging on the bottom of my TNT hoodie, trying to hide my Spandex-covered bum. I gave up after a few miles -- modesty and running don't always go hand-in-hand.

Boredom crept in around mile 5. I was thinking too much and I was quickly running out of things to think about. But, it was nothing a little Lady Gaga couldn't fix. By mile 7 I was feeling a little lost trying to follow the directions, clutching the small paper in my hand and squinting to read street signs. It turned out to be a good distraction, and I was super relieved and happy that my knees were feeling great, my lungs were working and I was sauntering along at a good pace.

Famous last words. My feet began to feel a little achy at mile 8 and turned to shooting pain at mile 9. I finally stopped to walk around the middle of 9, and by walk I mean hobble. What the hell? I stopped to stretch my feet out a bit, then alternated between jogging and walking until I couldn't take it anymore. I even tried jogging in soft grass but to no avail. Halfway through 11 I began wondering if there was a short cut back. Surely you can make it the last 3 miles? I wasn't quite ready to give up, which probably wasn't a smart move.

I loosened up my laces a bit, but I was moving s-l-o-w. An old lady collecting pecans was moving faster than I was. I couldn't quite figure out the problem -- it just seemed pain was shooting from every surface in both feet. I tried everything from walking on my tippy toes to just my heels, but the pain was still there, and I wasn't making any forward progress. Each step made me want to cut off my own feet, and I'm sure anyone within earshot thought I had turrets.

With less than a mile to go, I took off my shoes. Finally, a little relief. I walked the last bit gingerly in my white socks and, as I approached our meeting spot, was greeted with a few surprised looks and a shout of "Your shoes work better when they're on your feet." Thanks Coach. I sat on the curb and he examined my feet and shoes, which were surprisingly pretty worn on the bottom. Coach thought it might be plantar faciitas because, at the time, it seemed the extent of my pain was radiating from my heels. So, he ordered tons of rest and no running for the week. He also suggested looking into getting a new pair of shoes. Once I got home and the initial shock wore off and the pain began to set in, it seemed to be radiating from the middles of my feet and not my heels.

Fast forward over a week later ... My left foot is feeling better but still some pain and tightness, though my right foot is still giving me several problems. My right ankle began swelling the other night out of nowhere and is still a little puffy today. I haven't run since my 14-miler attempt, but I did join the gym at work last week. I figured if my feet are weak, my legs probably are too and all can benefit from some cross training. I've been taking it easy on the stationary bike, catching up on celebrity gossip from the gym magazines. I did try to test my feet a bit and do some walking on the treadmill, but after a few minutes the pain set in again, and more in my right foot / ankle than anything.

After spending way too much time during lunch today Googling symptoms, I'm starting to get a little worried as to what it might be. Has anyone ever experienced something similar? Suggestions on what to do?? My marathon is only eight weeks away -- I'm open to anything at this point!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fit-ness

I went to my doc and had a physical today, just to make sure everything's ticking the way it's supposed to before Big D. And, sure enough, it is. Just a reminder to everyone to make sure you're up-to-date on your Tetanus shots -- you never know what you'll step on or run into while training!

I'm gearing up for a long run in the morning, hopefully around 14 miles. It's supposed to be in the 70s tomorrow afternoon, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the morning will be wind-free and beautiful. And -- just maybe -- I'll be able to leave the fleece at home for a change.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tag, You're It!

We're supposed to get the worst ice in years today, so I'm happily anticipating that maybe -- just maybe -- we'll get a smidge of snow as well. Needless to say, these are definitely the days I wish I had access to a treadmill.

I'm STARVING and, since we're out of milk and bread and other staple items, I'm baking chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. Don't judge me. While they're in the oven, I thought I would finally get to the tag from the fabulous Sonia. So, here goes ...

4 favorite memories from 2008
1. Moving into the new house
2. Fly fishing in Colorado
3. Joining
Team-In-Training
4. Taking salsa dance lessons

4 favorite movies watched in 2008
1. The Departed ... again ... and again ...
2. 10,000 B.C.
3. I Am Legend

4. 27 Dresses

4 of my favorite foods in 2008
1. Queso always tops the list
2. Mom's homemade fudge
3. Taco Diner
4. Rudy's brisket & egg breakfast tacos

4 places I loved in 2008
1. Our old house
2. Our new house
3. Estes Park, Colorado
4. Hanging out on the lake

4 events I loved in 2008
1. Fort Worth Kidney Walk
2. Dallas Katy Trail 5k
3. Kenny Chesney concert
4. The last Cowboys game at Texas Stadium

4 things I liked in 2008
1. Happy hours with old friends
2. Running
3. My job
4. Fishing

4 things I'm looking forward to in 2009
1. Big D Marathon, baby!
2. Karen's wedding in Puerto Rico
3. 10-year highschool reunion
4. Starting a family? :-)

4 people I tag
1. Elsbeth
2. Art
3. Dano
4. Marshall

Enjoy the day!

Friday, January 23, 2009

"50/50" Is Here!

Man, the weather here is just gorgeous! It's about 77 degrees, sunny, slight breeze -- just beautiful. And I was soo excited to check the mail today. Nestled amongst bills and ad pages, there it was -- a big white package post-marked Canada. I knew instantly it was the book from Sonia at Solo Running Chick, 50/50 by Dean Karnazes.

Since the book is about Dean's journey to complete 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 different locations, Ted at Ted's Running Journal started the brilliant idea of passing his copy of the book around to different bloggers around the country. I heard it's been stuck up north for awhile, so I'm thrilled that it's now able to spend a little time down south. Once I finish the book, I'll post the rules and get it passed to the next lucky person. I am SO excited to start this book -- I heard it's awesome! And, it'll be a nice break from the chic lit I've been reading here lately. So, thanks Ted for starting the trend, and thanks Sonia for passing it along to me!

On a side note, I did take advantage of the bi-polar weather yesterday and put in a nice four-miler on the farm road near my house. I was shooting for six, but since it was 80 degrees and I wasn't carrying any water, I decided to cut it a bit short. The smell of cow crap and the chirping of birds provided a great distraction, and I was glad that I had left my iPod at home. My knee held up quite well, though my ankles ("cankles" as I like to call them) were a bit sore this morning, probably from running on the uneven gravel.

Don't be too jealous of the weather though -- tomorrow is supposed to be back down into the low 40s, just in time for a long TEAM run. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Hopping Good Time

You observant folks may have noticed that the mileage on my mileage calculator has been stuck at zero for a week. Yep, it's the truth. After my not-so-great run last Saturday, I took it easy last week in hopes of calming my aching knee. I also inadvertently missed our TEAM run on Saturday due to a dear friend's mid-morning baby shower.

I traded my run this past Monday for an hour of Pilates. The deep stretch felt wonderful, and three days later my abs are still sore. Tuesday night I finally laced up my running shoes for our optional TEAM run. We met in our usual spot and did about a mile warm up to the base of a nearby hill. Our Coach placed a glove on the sidewalk about 40 feet out. Our mission? Bound or hop to the glove, jog back, then run up the hill and back, then repeat ... and repeat ... and repeat ... and repeat ...

It didn't take long before my legs began to feel like mashed potatoes. Bounds turned to bunny hops as my right knee creaked and popped. Under the soft glow of the street lamps, I silently cursed my legs for not being stronger, my lungs for not filling faster. I was at the back of the pack when a fellow TEAM member shouted a sympathetic "Good job!" as she ran past me smiling, ponytail bobbing with each graceful step.

I tasted the tears before I felt them on my cheeks. Oh my God, seriously? I didn't feel like I was crying, yet there they were. I guess it was my body's way of pushing through the frustration. Luckily, it was dark outside. Come on, in twenty minutes you can drink away your pain ... just go! And I made it. Somehow, my knee held up long enough to make it to Delaney's. Sadly, I was in no mood for anything except water, though I did try to consume an order of cheese fries the size of my face.


I made it home before the pain in my knee really kicked in, along with a side cramp that had me curled up on the couch. I stopped whining, though, after watching The Biggest Loser. It's not that I'm not having a great time or that I feel like I completely suck. In fact, I'm putting in better runs and more miles than I have ever done. I just wish I was better. Wish I was faster. Wish I could keep up with the seasoned runners. I think I'm the only "rookie" on our team doing the full marathon, and I'm definitely the only tortoise. What's that saying? Slow and steady ... is the last to finish? Something like that.

I did do a quick sprint around the neighborhood yesterday when I got home from work, and was glad to not feel any pain in my knee. Perhaps it's finally coming around to this whole running thing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why I Run

Since I've started my training and fundraising with TNT, I've had many people ask why. Why I get up at 5:30 every Saturday morning, why I bombard friends and family with donation letters, why I set my sights at $1,800 and 26.2 miles.

There are many personal reasons why I initially joined. And now I have many other reasons that keep me going. Kids like Austin Moreno is one of them -- I mentioned his mom and one of our TEAM mentors, Kim, in my last post. Austin is now more than half-way through his three-year treatment for Leukemia and just celebrated his fifth birthday in December.

I had the pleasure of meeting this amazing kid last month while at Run On. He reminded me of my nephew -- running around with his buddy playing tag, shooting imaginary guns, toting around his Thomas the Train backpack. I noticed he was wearing colorful beaded necklaces and just figured he had made them himself for fun. I wasn't even close to being right. My coach, Mark, told our TEAM later that Austin participates in a program called Beads of Courage.

Beads of Courage is a unique program designed to honor the challenging journey kids take while experiencing cancer and related treatments. Through the program, the collection of beads symbolizes courage and serves to honor milestones achieved along each unique treatment path. Each individual bead Austin wears has special significance about his treatment:
  • Beige - A Bone Marrow Biopsy/Aspiration
  • White - A course of Chemotherapy
  • Orange - Central Line/port insertion or removal
  • Blue - Clinic Visit
  • Magenta - Emergency/Ambulance/Unusual Occurrence
  • Brown - Hair loss/thinning
  • Lime - Isolation/fever/neutropenia
  • Tortoise- Lumbar Puncture
  • Purple - Morphine/Dopamine/PCA Infusion
  • Silver/Black - Pokes (IV starts, Blood Draws, IM Injections, Port Access)
  • Glow in the Dark - Radiation treatment
  • Light Green - Test/Scans (EKG, ECG, MRI, CT, Bone Scan)
  • Red - Transfusions
  • Aqua - tube Insertion (Catheter, Chest)
  • Yellow - Overnight at Hospital/ Inpatient Admission
  • Dark Green - Stem Cell Harvest/Dialysis/TPN
  • Silver - Surgery & Dressing Change
  • Square Heart - Transfer to PICU
This picture speaks louder than anything I could say:

So when people ask me why, all I can think is -- Why Not?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Deflated

Saturday was our long TEAM run, and I am soo disappointed at how it turned out. The weather Friday had been beautiful, so when I awoke to freezing temperatures Saturday morning I was a little disgruntled. I had three layers on top –- but once I stepped outside into the howling wind, I quickly discovered it was the wrong three layers.

It was hard to tell which direction the wind was blowing, as it seemed to be forcefully blowing in whichever direction I was running. I couldn’t get warm. Two miles into the ten I was supposed to run, my right knee began to ache and pop again. It did the same thing when I ran around my neighborhood on Thursday, but it seemed to be feeling worse.

I tried to focus, tried to distract myself with my iPod, even tried talking to myself between breaths. But I kept shivering, and my knee was getting worse. As I neared the end of the first five miles, I took a left for the parking lot instead of a right to continue.

I felt a bit like a quitter. Kim, a TNT mentor and mom of our honored hero Austin, provided water and encouragement. She said to take it easy on the knee this week and try to incorporate more cross-training into my schedule to help strengthen it.

I was feeling better but still a little bummed when I got home. My thighs were wind-burned through my pants and my knee was starting to stiffen, but at least I went. Half of our team didn't even show up. I never thought I would be disappointed about only running five miles -– up until last week, that was the most I’d run in eight years.

Justin took me to Rudy’s for breakfast for some brisket and egg tacos. The cashier commented on the cold wind, and Justin told the guy that I was out running five miles in it at 6:30 in the morning. The look of horror and awe on the guy’s face was enough to make me feel that at least I had accomplished something.

I took it easy tonight with a simple weights workout. Tomorrow is our Tuesday night TEAM run ... hopefully it'll go smoother than Saturday!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

There's Hills in Texas?

Tuesday night brought another successful TEAM training session. And by successful, I mean leg-squashingly intense. It didn't help that the temperatures had dropped and the wind was howling. We did about a mile warm-up before coming upon a small but long hill. It didn't look too daunting at the time, but after sprinting up it and jogging down it several times, I was beginning to think I was in the Rocky Mountains. According to a teammates handy Garmin, we did close to four miles overall, including the jog back to our meeting spot at Marketstreet.

And, in keeping with tradition, a handful of us followed training with some liquid carb-loading at the pub next door. I think I sucked down more water than ... ugh ... carbs ... but it was nice to actually see my teammates' faces rather than the back of their heads as they pass me on the trail.

In other ramblings, I'm thinking of adding the Fort Worth Cowtown Half Marathon to my schedule. Several of my teammates are doing it, so it might be fun. And definitely good practice!
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