It started as the desire to complete just one 10K to say I did it. A few weeks into my training, a relationship came to an end and I lost my job. Those training runs quickly became my best friends as I sorted through the losses and uncertainty. Now, more than 4 years, training for 5 half marathons, and one knee surgery later, the challenges I have taken on in running have helped me understand that I can take on, and conquer, whatever lies in my path ahead.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Roadblocks and Disappointments

Wed., Dec. 12

My half marathon was last Sat. On that day, I was finishing up day 6 on crutches in a knee brace. It happened when a mile into an easy TM run, my knee wouldn't stop being twingy and the back of my knee was cramping up. I stopped, I stretched a bit, I took a step and POP! I crumpled and could barely get my self to the front of the gym to ask for ice and cry like a baby.

Still waiting on an MRI and follow up with dr. - it initially looked like an MCL tear with possible miniscus damage. Pretty good news considering - MCL heals without surgery, miniscus requires a scope at most.

Today, the physical therapist did an evaluation and seemed convinced that the ACL is the real problem. Not such good news. So now I wait, frustrated at all of my life being on hold, wondering how long the road back to running is going to be.

It sucks. It's depressing to only be able to sleep on my back with my leg propped up or to wake up in the morning and realize I've got to swing out gingerly, figure out what I can wear that I can strap on my big old brace with, test what my knee will do for the day.

Thankfully, while I wait, I at least was cleared today to do some stretch and strength exercises for my legs, stationery bike (10 min, 0 resistance), and whatever upper body work I can do with my knee being stable.

This doesn't fit in the plan and it makes me mad. I can't even discuss if a May marathon is a possibility til I get MRI results.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

One of those runs

Supposedly a 5 mile pace run, on the dreaded TM. But it was a struggle every step. I kept walking and slowing down my pace and eventually quit at 3.5. And left the gym in tears.

I need to take a look at nutrition (lack of) and hydration for sure. But I'm hoping it was just one of those runs.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm baaa-ack!

Not sure anyone will even check here anymore.

After logging a grand total of 5.5 miles for the whole month of October, I'm ramping up for a Dec. 8 half marathon. Yikes. Such is the price to be paid for buying a fixer upper and having a moving deadline. The real test was Sunday's 8 mile run. I figure if I can get to that long run in 2 weeks, I've got a shot at making it to 13 in the time I have.

Went out quite unprepared - no water, a new trail that turned out not to be marked well with mileage, no hat, no gum.... But it was an exquisite fall day and the scenery kept my mind off the lack of preparation, while the mile markers that were there let me do a pretty good job of estimating my pace and the distance.

Finished in 1:18:57. Little twinging in my left knee which I chalk up to increasing mileage so quickly.

This week, I should hit 20 miles. We shall see.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Getting Passed

Wasn't there an entry about the guy who didn't seem to want me to pass him? Did 8 this morning at avg. 10:53 (I think I tad faster, cause I went a little further than the mapmyrun route) But everybody passed me - going uphill, going downhill. I think one guy passed me twice after he did a little loop off the route. I hope not. I hope it was another old runner guy in shorts way too short.

So, with the shoe on the other foot, I'm happy to report that indeed I was alternately laughing and reminding myself that this was my run, these were my miles, this pace was a part of my traning. All in all very at peace with it.

Happily I pulled of a speed interval workout on Friday too. I really hate those - do them on the TM because I don't push myself hard enough on a track and need the threat of falling on my face if I don't keep up.

Still not sure I'lll pull off running the 10K on the 29th as life will soon change with the purchase and renovation of a house, but I'm training like I'm going to.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Faster or Older

This morning was a charity 5K that benefits my agency. A "voluntary" work day, as such. So I signed up to run, fully expecting to show up and complete it and that is all - given my uber slack attitude toward running.

Then yesterday, I made the mistake of opening the results from last year to realize I placed 4th in my age group. And they give medals to places 1-3. Why oh why did I look at that? Cause of course I had to try for that #3 spot.

Mile 1 was 8:05. Then mile 2, with a long hill, my low mileage and low hydration and general lack of "give a damn" showed up and I struggled. Even walked for 1:11. (this is important). Got myself together before Mile 3 began - blessedly downhill Mile 3. Paced myself well, kicked my speed up enough but not too much so there was something left at the end.

Finished at 26:24, almost 2 min. under my time last year. Filled out the little card and went to drop it in the box for my age group at the same time another woman did. But there were already 3 cards in there. #4 again. Should I kick myself for walking at all? Should I be glad to do well even unprepared? I would have had the medal in the next age group -- so I'd better get faster or older for next year.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I really suck

or the motivation has just been sucked out of me.

No runs for a week.

No real motivation to run.

Apparently trying to buy a house and staying on a running schedule don't mesh well for me. - yeah, yeah, it really is just excuses.

Like Scarlett, I'll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Days that Count

Sunday, August 19

Today was a long run scheduled. I decided to do a route that would let me do 7, but be easy to cut to 6 if needed.

It was muggy but 75 instead of 80 at 7:30. A little aside here - I wouldn't wish a hurricane on anyone, but it's gonna take a tropical system blowing through to break the drought and heat around here. Can't remember the last time a drop of rain fell on my house.

Anyway, this was one of those runs that was a struggle from the first steps, and never let up. You just knew that the only thing that was going to be easy about is was stopping at the end. By the 2nd mile, I couldn't wait for it to be over and planned to cut it to 6. In the middle of mile 3 I decided that since there was very little hope of this being an enjoyable run, I might as well give myself the satisfaction of getting 7 in. So I hung a left to add the extra mile. See I think it's the runs you do when nothing in your head or your body wants to do it that count the most. Or the mile that you want to lay off on, but you push yourself instead.

And a nod to my own hypocrisy. During the last 2 miles, I came out of a park, just as a guy cut across to my side of the street ahead of me. He was struggling (like I wasn't), and was handling his run by going faster than he should have, and having to stop often to walk. These miles included 2 hills of close to a half mile each. Even at my plodding 10:30 pace, I was going to over take him. Except that whenever I'd get 5-6 yards behind him, he would take off running again and get 20-30 yards ahead, then stop to walk. The last time it happened I laughed out loud at his pride in not wanting to get passed by some old chick huffing and puffing along. Finally, I caught him and he must have had nothing left cause he let me by. I got ahead a bit and I heard him start running again behind me. Now I've made fun of him on other boards, but the truth is, deep inside my own pride rose up and I really didn't want him to pass me back. While he was trying to stay ahead, I was thinking about how I wasn't doing anything but running my miles. How it wasn't important if I was behind or ahead.

Thankfully, he really was dying cause I stayed ahead without having to be a total hypocrite and speed up to do it. And in the end it gave me something else to focus on at the end of difficult run. Who knows? I may have helped his training while I was at it.

Hopefully this was a day that counts.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Speeding Up

Thursday, August 16

Today I completed the speedwork on my training schedule. This is huge, 'cause I never finish it the way the schedule says I'm supposed to. I usually keep paring down the distances. Just run 1 lap and jog 1/2 cause I can't keep going for 2 laps. You know the drill.

But today, in the lovely air conditioning of the gym, on a treadmill set a low incline, I did it! 1 mile warmup at 10:54, then 4x800 at 4:20 with 400 jogs in between, then a mile to cool down back at 10:54.

Drove home smelling like the football locker rooms of my coach's daughter childhood. Only to discover that my house was 93 degrees and the a/c was not cooling. Suspect that even after my shower, I'll have a locker room odor.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Accidental Mileage

Saturday, August 11

Just before 7 a.m. I strapped bandaids over the 4 blisters on my heels and toes resulting from a work shoes meets running from the subway incident, pulled on my shiny new Gel Kayano 13's (Asics) and headed out for 6 easy miles. The plan was to meet a friend doing 18. She started with her first 8 at 6 a.m., and I was to meet her for the middle miles.

The sun was just up, already nearly 80 degrees already (Day 4 of triple digits, day 3 of record breaking temps). There were people like my friend already drenched from an hour's running.

My friend is a machine, so even though she was going to do an easy pace for her, I knew that would push me a little. I arrived in time to do a mile warm up before meeting her. The plan was to head down a flat neighborhood road with bike lanes that ends in a flat park trail by the river. From the parking lot to the far end of the park trail and back is 8 miles. (don't think I quite realized this).

So, Mile 1 an easy out and back warm up mile at 10 min. My friend shows up, and we take off. Our pace ranged between 9:15-9:35 for most of the time we ran together. Miles 2-4.5 were down the bike lanes, with me doing some chatting and occasionally attempting to help her back off to my easy pace closer to 10. But she'd drift back to a faster pace and I would follow along without thinking. Mile 4.5 we reach the riverside trail - much softer. By this time of the morning, there's not only a constant flow of runners and bikers but a literal line of cars loaded with bikes, running gear, kayaks, and dogs trying to get to the park. Mile 4.5- 6.5 were through the park (with thankfully a couple of water fountains). Remember I only prepared for 6 total miles, but have now committed to the 8 mile out and back with my warm up mile thrown in. No water with me, no sport beans.

Passed my super runner boss at mile 6 - he saw me and said a pleasant hello. Brilliant career move, I tell you. Back to the paved road and my friend decided to do 1 more mile looping back on the riverside trail, so we part ways. And my pace immediately dropped back to my own long run pace. In fact I was soooo hot that I wasn't sure I'd make it. I ran 1.5, then walked for 2 minutes so I could run the final stretch of the run. As I started back up, a man caught up to me and startd chatting. He asks how I'm doing and I say "great." He says "I'm dying". So I fess up that I'm dying too on mile 9 of my 6 mile run. It's mile 20 for him. So he says he'll just run with me for this last part. He's training for Toronto. It's his 2nd running career. He did Chicago last year. He qualified for Boston. Me, I was just trying to breathe because he was back at that faster pace. I politely offered that I didn't want to hold him back, but no he'd hang back and finish with me.

I'm sore and tired. But it was really good to be pushed on my pace. The extra miles won't hurt (I hope).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Weather Report

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007

oppressive (adj) Definition: hot

Synonyms: airless, close, heavy, humid, muggy, overpowering, steam bath, steamy, sticky, stifling, stuffy, suffocating, sultry, sweat box, torrid

Yep that about sums it up. Call me a baby if you must, but this week of stifling (or suffocating or overpowering or torrid) heat combined with air quality that's worse than bad has been more than I could handle. Just walking home from the dog park this evening had me struggling to catch my breath.

Last night I asked a fellow dog park frequenter how he was doing. He replied, "I'm doing my best to think of anything else to talk about besides how bad the weather is." Several long seconds of silence, shuffling feet, racking our brains followed. Then he said, "So how are you running in this?"

Singing the praises of the treadmill, that's how. Sure my super-running boss is going out on a shady trail tonight, but I got my tempo run done inside, catching up on #756 on ESPN and the SC primary plans on CNN. I started out with the best of intentions: early start to work, early exit to get on the trail before the worst of the heat, then work from home the balance of the day. Instead, a record was set for the highest low temperature, I had a flat tire (nixing the early start, and the heat index was over 100 by 11 a.m. Now I'm looking forward to Sat. a.m. when, even if it's 85 at 6 a.m., I'll be out pounding some pavement.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Trudging Along

Heat, extreme ozone levels, extreme smog levels, too many things going both weekend mornings to do a longish run - of course I stayed firmly planted inside. In spite of the lethargy, I did manage to do 3 miles outside on Sat. at a faster pace. Then I logged 3 more easy miles on the treadmill Sunday.

Looking forward to being back on the race training schedule.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Shake Up

Wednesday, August 1

First, I'm being a lazy bum right now.

And I've turned my running plans all around. Decided to drop training for a half in Sept. that I can't really afford to travel to anyway. (Sorry Teresa!)

Instead, I'm going to do the Kiawah Island Half on Dec. 8 with some hometown friends.

And I'm going to try to do one qualifying 10K this fall to try to get subseeded (and chip timed) at the Peachtree next summer. (must run a 54 min race).

And I think I'm going to train for my first full in at the Country Music Marathon in Nashville in April 08.

Throw in the ING Georgia Half Marathon for hometown spirit and training, and some shorter races for fun and I feel much better about the running year ahead.

Why? I'll have people to train and run with for the Kiawah (and split travel expenses). If I don't get the time I want in the Sept. 10K, I've got plenty of time to try again. Lots of folks here train for the Nashville race, so I have a hope meeting some training partners. Trying not to be so solitary with the running, though I'll need to keep my share of solo runs for my own sanity.

So now, I need to re-orient my workouts/running schedule.

And that ends the most boring post ever!!

Monday, July 30, 2007


Monday, July 30

A day of rest might be a dangerous thing. Time to think about something besides running or, worse yet, start making analogies between running and the rest of my life.

So what I'm thinking about is honesty. With yourself. With others. When I started running, I quickly realized that I was going to give up and quit again this time unless I was willing to be honest with myself, about myself. Honest about the fact that I couldn't run very fast. In fact I was probably barely jogging. Honest about how lazy I was. Honest about how much fear I felt about taking on a longer distance or trying for a faster time. That's dangerous ground for me; it was more so in those days. Days when I felt unwanted by someone I loved. Days when I was told I was a failure at work; when I knew I was being punished for standing up for what was right. Not a great time to take a good hard look inside!

Still I decided to be honest with myself about this one lousy race. I ran slow, but I ran; I kicked my own lazy ass out the door, but I went; I knew there was no way I could keep running X minutes, but I started anyway - and eventually I ran faster, built some discipline and (horrors!) really wanted to run, increased my distance. Did my very first, 11-min-mile 10K with 55,000 other people and got my t-shirt.

Why do we lie about anything? To get to the end we want without having to actually walk the path? To pretend we are something we really aren't?

Not sure what I'm rambling about - and if this is some analogy, it's a bad one. I live with a screwed-up, messy self, hopefully with a little honesty in there somewhere.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Night Running

Sunday night

After half an hour glued to the online radar map, I finally ventured out for my 8 miles. I most definitely didn't want to do it.

Since I rarely run with music, I decided tunes where what I needed to get me going. The first 5 miles were an easy pace and felt good. My mileage has been way off and I've missed 2 long runs, so this was a nice surprise. Mile 6 was fully dark and I was struggling with my footing a bit, but it kept my mind off the first of 3 long hills on the route home.

Miles 7-8 were hard and wonderful. Hard because my glutes started feeling tight, my bothersome hip bothered, and it became more hard work. Wonderful because I turned off the mp3 and soaked in the sounds of tree frogs and cicadas (and cars and trains - it is the city). Strange that once I started listening, I could also smell the sweet blossoms. Nothing like a steamy Georgia night after a summer thunderstorm.

Running this late means I won't feel like eating anything much, until about 3 a.m., and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna ache like hell in the morning. Everything on me, including my hair, could have sweat wrung out of it. But I wouldn't trade it for anything but homemade peach ice cream or maybe a cold beer.

The next step of the journey

Sunday, July 29, 2007

There's a great group of women online that I post with about our running. And there are "real life" friends who literally plod alongside me. And now, from the inspiration I receive from both, I've decided to start my own blog - the next step in the role running has had in my life for the last 2 years. It's the time when I clear my head. Clear it of the junk that comes in endlessly, whether you want to hear it or not. And clear it of the junk I store and nurture so carefully there myself.

And just to keep me humble, I didn't drag myself out of bed this morning for an 8 mile run. That leaves me facing it this early evening, in what is sure to be high humidity and heat. Of course I don't feel like I have 8 miles in me - we shall see what I find.