Friday, January 30, 2009


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
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


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!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Goodbye Weekend ... Hello Double Digits!

Well, I did manage to steal away for an hour Friday afternoon. Roadkill and unleashed dogs aside, it was extremely nice to enjoy a quiet 4-mile run in the warm sunshine. But that wasn't even close to my run Saturday morning.

Drum roll please ...

I made it 10 miles! Whoooo, hellllooo double digits!! It's about time, right? And it was glorious ... sore and slow, but glorious. The first six miles felt good, seven and eight I walked / ran, and ended up semi-briskly walking the last two. At 2 hours and 23ish minutes, I was the last one in, but my Coach was super excited for me.

I think the key for me this time was regular refueling. And perhaps the Powerbar I had for breakfast helped too. I just didn't let my feet stop, didn't let my legs give up. Though they wanted to around mile eight. My right knee kept popping, and I kept hitting my ankles with my shoes.

But I made it. And lived to tell about it. And now there's no turning back. :-)

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year, New Runs

Hope everyone had a wonderful New Years! Hard to believe it's already 2009. Even harder to believe that I only have three months left to train until Big D. Yowzers! At this point, my longest run has been five miles. I can see that jumping considerably this month. Thanks for the advice from several of you about the Garmin -- I read that Target carries a couple of the models, so maybe I can put my Christmas gift card to good use (thanks Mom & Dad!).

I was in for a real treat (slight sarcasm implied) at our Team run on Tuesday night. We jogged a mile and a half to the unlighted track and did 100-yard sprints around the football field, recovering around the end zones. After 6 laps, my legs were jello. I'm embarrassed to post my 100-yard time, but will so I am forced to improve: 29 seconds. I won't hold my breath waiting for a phone call from the Olympic committee, but at least the speed work will hopefully pay off down the road. Jello turned to mush as we jogged the mile and a half back, where we rewarded our efforts with some liquid carb-loading at Delaney's.

I got in my first run of the New Year yesterday. The weather was beautiful as I meandered down another farm road near my house. The sun was on it's way down, creating a halo of pink and gold on everything beneath it. All was quiet, the only sound the soft crunch of gravel beneath my shoes and the occasional call from a nearby cow. I didn't want to get caught on the one-lane road in the dark, so I turned back earlier than I had wanted. I think I put in about three miles, a mile shy of what I had hoped to do.

Perhaps I can steal away from work this afternoon and head back out there ...
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