Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Crazy busy here right now, and some family drama about which I won't elaborate, but it was pretty bad.  I should get back to regular posting if I survive this week!  Ran 3.5 miles yesterday without pain, so that's something.  Half marathon this Sunday - still not sure if I'm going to race it and try to PR or just run it for fun and finish.  I think I'm going to see how I feel that morning, and take it from there.

Have a great night, everyone, and I promise I'll make the rounds of your blogs and get caught up this weekend!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Week Sans Weekend

This weekend I'm attending an anesthesia review course with our junior students. So, it's the week without a weekend - the course covers 10-11 hours on Firday and Saturday and 7 hours on Sunday. In fact, I'm posting this on a quick break. I envy all of you who are running or racing this weekend.  On the other hand, if I had to pick the perfect weekend to rest my back, this is probably it.  I'm wearing one of those ThermoCare wraps and taking it easy today. And, yes, I feel horrible about not running - but it's only three days.  Three days doesn't make or break your fitness, right? Right?  Please tell me I'm right - I have a half marathon next weekend!!!  Oh, well - I'll finish it, that much is certain. Here's hoping your weekend is better than mine!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bringing Stupid Back!

Yep, I'm bringing stupid back.  I know, I know - it never left, right?  Well, this morning I was working out at the gym, and I was using fairly heavy weights, because I do not believe that nonsense about women and light weights and toning.  Utter BS. However, let me add the caveat that if you are a woman in her mid-40's who has allowed her fitness to lapse and then tried to regain it, perhaps you should not be squatting with 120% of your body weight just a few weeks into resuming weight training. There's heavy and then there's stupid.

You already know this isn't going to end well, and sure enough, it didn't. I completed a repetition, thought, "Hmm. I'm feeling that rather more in my back than in my legs..." and then completed another rep. Why?  Because I had two more reps to go, and heaven forbid I don't finish the prescribed number of repetitions. The sky might fall in, and chaos would ensue, or something.  And on the last repetition, my lower back seized up.  So, I stood up as best I could, and cussed and whined a bit.

And then, of course I went immediately to the showers floor exercise area, where I proceeded to do walking lunges and box jumps.  Yes, my friends, I am afraid I did that.  Because I was just certain that it was just a severe twinge and it would go away if I kept moving.  Then I tried to go get on Jacob's Ladder and my back protested so loudly that I finally got the message and went to the showers.

Now I'm sitting at my desk with a heat wrap on my back, lamenting my own stupidity.  I was just getting to the point where I could do half-mile repeats at an 8:30 pace!! I have a half marathon in two weeks that I was hoping to PR.  Instead, I will have to slow down and go back through the rehab sequence again. Yay. Anybody know any good lower-back strengthening exercises?  Looks like I'm going to need 'em!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Running

This has been a wonderful running weekend! On Saturday, I joined my training partner (Melissa) and my friend Kim for a long run.  Kim, her husband and I planned a 12-miler and Melissa wanted to run 5.  So, Melissa ran with us to the 2.5 mile point and then she turned back.  The rest of us continued on.  We were running the local Greenways and by the time we got to mile 3 we were in a part of town that I had never seen before.  I told Kim that she'd better not leave me because I didn't think I could find my way back to the car!

Kim was having a rough day - she didn't want to quit, but she definitely wasn't feeling very good. She kept going, though - she was determined to log those long run miles.  I was proud of her - if every run were easy, everybody would be a runner.  It's the tough ones that define us and make us stronger.  So, 12 miles on the book for Saturday.

Today, Melissa and I drove out to the local nature preserve for a trail race.  It was my first trail race, and I didn't really know what to expect.  I did expect to be a minute or so per mile slower than my normal pace - ha! Try 3-4 minutes per mile slower! Now, Melissa was having a rough time with the hills (and some of them, seriously, were almost completely vertical), so she walked many of them.  I would run them and then slow down and wait for her on the downhill. She kept telling me to leave her, but I was afraid to - the trails were really rough and if either of us had fallen and broken a leg or something it would have taken hours to get us out of there - if anybody realized we were hurt. So, I could (maybe) have knocked a minute or two off the per-mile pace, but to what end? I still wouldn't have had a competitive time, and why risk a broken ankle over a ten-dollar trail run?

Look at that view!  Yeah, we climbed for it!
Now, that makes it sound bad, but the truth is that we had a blast. We worked really hard, even at the slow pace, but it was just fun to be running up and down hills and over logs and rocks and creeks - I felt like I was somebody on The Discovery Channel, or something - the scenery was that rugged. All in all, we covered 6.5 miles of gnarly woods for a simple white tee shirt and bragging rights.  This will definitely not be our last trail run!

This run also finished up the Cupcake Marathon for me, and almost knocked it out for Melissa.  To that end, we needed some photos:

Melissa - love the skirt!

Me in my Moving Comfort Alexis tank - LOVE that tank!
Yes, the angle makes us look short and stocky.  Oh, who am I kidding - I am short and stocky!  But take a close look at our previously-white shoes and you'll get an idea of the kind of fun we had just before these shots were taken!  See Ms. Garmin on my wrist?  She goes with me on every outdoor run these days - how did I ever live without her?  

I ran 18.5 miles this weekend, and I feel great! How was your weekend?

P.S. If you haven't entered my Easter giveaway, scroll down! :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Runner's Easter "Basket" Giveaway

I've been toying with the idea of a giveaway, partially inspired by Leah and partially inspired by my love of all things Easter.  I love Easter so much that my youngest child is 20 and I still insist on coloring eggs every year.  I buy everyone in the house an Easter basket, and frankly, they're kind of tired of it.  So it's your turn - well, one of you, anyway! Maybe two if I'm having fun with the thing.

So, here's the deal - leave me a comment on why you love (or hate) Easter.  If you don't celebrate Easter, you can substitute the spring holiday of your choice.  One of you (maybe two) will win an assortment of runner's Easter basket (or spring basket, if you don't celebrate Easter) goodies.  I probably won't send an actual basket on the assumption that you'd rather see me spend that money on goodies. However, Easter shopping has been known to make me a little crazy, so there is no telling what you'll get!

For extra entries, follow my blog (leave a comment telling me you're a follower) and post this on your blog, or FB, or Twitter. I'll draw a winner on April 3rd.  Good luck, everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Interview

Well, we drove to Memphis, spent a very pleasant evening downtown, took a carriage ride back to the hotel and I went to bed early for my interview.  I was sooo nervous - I woke up at 3, and then 4, and then 5 and finally at 5:30 I got dressed and went to the hotel gym to run on the treadmill.  The gym was nice enough, but it was so hot in there that I had to take three water breaks during a five mile run.  Finally, toward the end of the run, I found the thermostat - figures, doesn't it?  Somebody had it set on 75  - too warm for an indoor gym! And I like warm!

Then back to the room for a shower, and into the monkey suit for the interview.  We left early for campus because neither of us knows much about Memphis.  Fortunately, the place was easy to find.  I made it to the interview site about half an hour early.  

I got called back, we spoke for about twenty minutes and then it was over.  I fumbled some things I wanted to say, and couldn't think of other things I'd meant to ask or emphasize.  But the interviewers were very kind and engaging, and I just have to hope that it was enough. Then the six-hour drive home and I'm back at work tomorrow.  Thanks, everyone, for the kind words and positive thoughts.  Since a doctoral degree is required for me to keep my job, I hope they let me know soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Lazy Evening

On the couch, with snuggling chihuahuas, is the perfect cure for what ails me.  Well, that and a glass of wine! I have my doctoral interview across the state this week, and so I leave tomorrow for a road trip with the hubs.  Wish it were for something fun, instead of something nerve-wracking!  Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BlisterZilla's Revenge

Well, BlisterZilla has had the last laugh.  I decided to run today because my weekly mileage was low and because I love running at this time of year - I have the day off and can run outside, and no way I was going to waste an outdoor spring run when everything is blooming and the air feels (and smells) sooo good.  Also, I had arranged to meet some friends for breakfast at IHOP and there's no way I can eat pancakes on a non-running day!!!

So I ran an easy 5-miler, and it was fantastic.  At one point I was running on a long downhill and I could see the sun rising over the Smokey Mountains in the distance and everything was right with the world.  If I could bottle that feeling and sell it I'd be a millionaire.  And then BlisterZilla broke.  She had a giant moleskin pad over her, so there was some protection, but I could feel her break and the last two miles back to my house were NOT fun.  

On a positive note, my average pace for this run was 10:09 - and it was an easy run.  Not laid back, have a picnic easy, but conversational, pleasant easy.  There was a time (not so long ago!) when holding a 10:30 pace was a maximal effort.  So from that standpoint, I'm getting stronger.  

But now I have neosporin and a bandage over the remains of Blisterzilla, and I'm wearing padded socks and Crocs.  Such a great look!  Have a great Sunday, everyone - I'll be staying off of my feet!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I had a lovely 11-mile run planned today, with my friend Kim (who just ran 11 miles for the first time EVER today - stop by and congratulate her if you get a minute!), and it was a beautiful sunny morning, and I was rested and hydrated and even fed!  And the run felt great - we were keeping a brisk but manageable pace through the first couple of miles, and then I needed a bathroom.  The only potty I knew of was back at the start, so I decided to run back to the start (for a total of just over 5 miles) and then run back out and catch Kim and her hubby on the way back.  

So, I ran back by myself to the potty, and it's a darn good thing I did (the less said about THAT, the better!), and then ran back again to the point where I'd left Kim and her hubs, and things were still fine, and then about mile 6 I started feeling a hot spot on the instep of my right foot.

Now, blisters are nothing new to me - I've fought them for years.  I've used BodyGlide, and deodorant, and duct tape, and special socks and moleskin.  I've tried walking barefoot outside to toughen my feet.  Nothing really prevents them.

Moleskin is really the bomb, as far as I'm concerned - it really works once I get the inevitable hot spots.  So, for years I have carried it with me for long runs.  But about three months ago, I stopped having blister issues and I thought the problem was gone forever.  Boy, am I an idiot.  

Because by mile 9, the hot spot was seriously interfering with my run.  I had to apologize to Kim and cut my run short.  I finished ten miles and then went straight to the car to peel off my shoe and sock, and this is what I found: (Warning: Do NOT scroll down if gnarly runner feet repulse you!!!)

I have named her BlisterZilla.  She is evil.  I am going to smother her in moleskin tomorrow and run anyway, but darn it, darn it, darn it! I know better. I know I need to carry moleskin with me for every long run - heaven knows, I buy industrial-sized rolls of the stuff! Why, why, why didn't I put a few squares in my CamelBak pocket? This is what happens when you let your guard down - stinkin' blisters!

I am so angry with myself over this that I could scream - sheer carelessness caused this blister, and now it will take at least a week to heal.  Stupid blister! Stupid foot!  Do you struggle with blisters?  If so, how do you handle them?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1: I am tired.

2. I am tired.

3. I am tired.

Hey, I didn't say three different things, did I? I'm so tired that I originally typed "Three Thongs Thursday" as the title of this post.  Think on THAT one awhile!

But, the weekend is coming - one more day and I can sleep in a little.  I have an 11-miler planned for Saturday (with a friend), but I think we'll run mid-morning, so I can sleep until 7.  That's like half the day!  Have a happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The 8:31 Mile

Thank you, Google!
So, last week I broke the 9 minute mile barrier.  I honestly didn't think I had it in me - in fact, the 9-10 minute per mile pace feels like a pretty hard effort to me.  But, it was 60 degrees out and the sun was getting ready to set and I've been doing most of my runs on the treadmill, so it felt great just to be outside.  And I was pushing the four-mile loop around my house and I just felt really strong on mile 2, so I decided to push that mile just about as hard as I could.  And I ran it in 8:31, according to Ms. Garmin. I haven't done that since I left the Army, at least 7 years ago.

And, if I can do one mile at 8:31, I can build up to do more miles at a little slower than that pace, right?  Surely I could do more miles at the 9:00 pace. I could run a 10K at that pace. I could conceivably (someday) run a half-marathon at that pace, couldn't I?  Now, I'm not going to do it next week, or even next month... but I wonder if it's doable within the year? Am I out of my freakin' mind?  What say you, running guru buddies?  What's your best speed-building tip?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Home Base Raffle

Stephanie at Running to Health is hosting a fabulous raffle to raise money for wounded veterans.  You may have figured out by now that I have a soft spot for our military, and so this was a cause I knew I had to support.  Leave it to Stephanie to find the way to sweeten the pot in such a way as to be irresistible to runners - you really have to check out the prizes! Compression gear, hydration belts, Bondi-bands... the list is amazing!  Stop by, check it out, and support a fellow runner for a great cause!

A Lazy Weekend

I'm having a lazy weekend, and I think it's okay.  I've worked for two weeks straight before this weekend, and worked out almost every day (I think I took one day off of the gym in that two-week period).  I had a run planned for Saturday, but issues with my son and car trouble left me unable to complete it, and today it is cold and wet (we even had snow for about an hour!) and I am completely pooped, so I'm giving myself the weekend off.

Tomorrow I'll exercise in the morning and I'm seriously thinking (because I am certifiably nuts!) of starting P90X alternating with short, fast runs in the evenings. A rest weekend before I start that insanity is probably a good idea.  And even if it isn't, I'm taking it.  So there! :)

How is your weekend going?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marine Corps Marathon!

Some of you may know that my son recently completed an overseas tour of duty in Afghanistan.  And, like most Army moms, I was very anxious for most of the deployment.  The only respite from that anxiety came during an R&R tour when my son came home for two weeks. The USO arranged for us to surprise him at the airport and bring him home with us.  This is just one of many little things they do to support our troops overseas.

I know this is a cheesy beer commercial, but this is what the USO organized for my son's return, and in Atlanta the volunteers tell me they do this for every soldier, any time of the day or night.  They have food and drinks available for soldiers on long layovers, and that's just what they do for our men and women returning from deployment.  Overseas, they provide phone time so soldiers can talk to family members, and they support wounded troops, and provide entertainment programs (which really help with the stress of a tough deployment, and I think that one could make the argument that any deployment to the middle east is a tough deployment), and supply care packages, and generally look out for the well-being of our soldiers.

When Joshua got home safely, I felt this overwhelming gratitude that he had made it safely home.  And then my thoughts turned immediately to his buddies, and the thousands like them, who are still serving overseas.  I've become friends with the family members of some of these young men and women, and I know they pray every day for the safe return of their loved ones. And I had to do something for those who are still over there, serving patiently so that I have the freedom to think and speak and write and worship as I choose.

So, when I saw that I could run the Marine Corps Marathon to support Team USO, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give something back to the men and women who are waiting for their turn to come home. And, because I have to drag my training partner along with me in everything I do (or maybe she drags me along - or a little of both?), I conned Melissa into signing up, too!  Ok, that's a lie - I didn't have to do any conning - Melissa is a retired Marine, and she jumped at the chance to support the troops and run the People's Marathon.

Of course, now we have to do some fundraising, because if we run but don't raise anything we haven't supported the troops at all.  So, I'll keep you all updated on our fundraising efforts as we go along.  If you have any great ideas, I am happy to hear them! And if any of you are interested in joining us, you can do so here: Team USO. There is a fundraising committment, but we have nearly nine months to make it happen, so I think we can manage!

Oh, and I think we have to push Greece back a year - Melissa has her heart set on running it for her 50th birthday, and what's another year?  So, there will be another year of adventures before I have to change the name of this blog!