Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Five: New Year's Eve Edition

So it's the end of the year 2010.  What a year it's been, in my running life and more significantly, in my real life. It's been a whirlwind around here for the last few days, with Christmas and our Minnesota hockey trip, and I haven't really made the time for a deep dive into 2010. But I know there are are least five highlights, so here we go:
  1. I ran 1469 miles this year, surpassing my 1200/year goal. Highest mileage was September and the lowest mileage months were November, March, April & May. Pretty decent considering the injuries I fought off at the end of the year and that little surgery blip in November/December. 
  2. I finished four marathons this year, posting my fastest time of the year at New York City. That was fairly awesome. I also ran at least one race of varying distances in every month except for June (that's going to bug me...).  I had fun at every single one. Mostly because...   
  3. I ran with a whole lot of people. Lots of people. One of my favorite running quotes is from Kristin Armstrong:  "Do not underestimate the intimacy of running and the people with whom you share your miles." This is a statement that I found to be true in so many, many ways this year.  The relationships that I forged this year on the streets, trails and paths of North Texas are without a doubt the highlight of 2010, and something that I hope to continue into 2011 and the future.  I would name names, but I'm afraid I would leave someone out, and those people I'm talking about know who they are. 
  4. I helped several friends to some personal firsts with their running, and hopefully ignited the spark to not only keep them on the running bandwagon for years to come, but also to realize their potential and to keep reaching and stretching, to be more than what they think they can be.  Again, the people I'm talking about know who they are... 
  5. As usual, my husband and my family continued to be my greatest support team, enabling me with their love and understanding to do what I love to do, even if they don't understand it all the time. 

 I'll have more on my report card on how I did with my 2010 goals, and of course, the obligatory 2011 goals blog post coming up in the next few days. Many, many thanks for stopping by to read my blatherings this year, and Happy New Year to you and yours!! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

& the hits just keep on coming...

Knee is still tweaked, as I discovered at mile 10.5 of the half-marathon I spontaneously decided to run on Saturday morning (race report here). Gall bladder is almost entirely healed. But now, now, I think my right foot is developing a slight and intermittently painful case of plantar fasciitis.

Oh, and Bandera and my first ultra, on the gnarliest, rockiest trails in Texas? Now less than 3 weeks out. SERIOUSLY?


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not strong enough

Do you ever have those days where you feel you are not strong enough to do something?  Today is one of those days for me. For no particular reason, I feel like I have a lot of stuff in front of me, some of it running related, some of it work related, some of it family responsibilities. And I don't want to deal with any of it. None of it. I want to climb under my blanket and hide, or at least sleep, or maybe just snuggle with my cats, or my boys, or my husband, whichever of them will sit with me for long enough (my bet is on Fat Momma Kitty, btw). The best part of my day for the past few months has been the first ten minutes, where I wake up in my husband's arms and for just a little bit it's just me and him, and things are simple and things are easy. And then the day starts and I get through it all well enough, but at the same time I sometimes  feel like I'm just going through the motions.

None of this makes any sense, I know. Maybe I'm just tired and need a vacation, a real vacation in which I do not have my body cut open and extraneous parts removed. Maybe my legs and my mind and my soul are all just exhausted. On balance, I have a good life, that I know. It's actually fairly spectacular most days, if not somewhat mundane & decidedly middle America. Recent events with several friends have emphasized that to me in a lot of different ways. My husband and I find each other much more appreciative of what's in front of us than we did six months ago because of it all. So I don't know what's going on to make me feel this way. Maybe I just need a nap & a big chunk of cheesecake. Maybe I'll regret posting this later. Who knows.

On a somewhat unrelated (but probably not) note: I think I killed my Tyler finisher rose plant. Boo.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Five

Crap.  I missed Thursday Thirteen again. I guess it's a good thing because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to come up with 13 things to talk about. It's kind of been a blah week - lots of work going on and trying to get back into the groove of training for this ultra-marathon dealie I've signed up for (eeeek! and YAY!) while still being on "restricted" exercise somewhat and recovering from being all cut open.  So, let's just do the Friday Five and call it good, OK?

  1. Bandera 50K is less than a month away. I am not allowed to run on trails until the end of next week. Then there is a hockey trip to Minnesota between Christmas & New Year's which may either reduce me to hotel treadmills if I am lucky or frigid temps & icy conditions for training runs that week. I am so screwed. 
  2. Wilderness Running Company sent me an awesome tech shirt in the mail yesterday, just for leaving a comment on their FB page. 'Cause they're cool like that. I have now made my Christmas list from their site. Please, Santa, I've been good. Mostly... 
  3. I have not met a lot of my 2010 goals. That's disappointing. I totally planned to do the pushups challenge after NYCM but that didn't happen. So I'm still very squishy. That is more disappointing than not meeting my other goals. 
  4. I was thrilled to realize that since I did complete the Santa Scurry 5K last Friday night, I have raced at least once in every month in 2010, except for June. No races in June. Not sure why I let that one slip by. Phoo. But still. I had a very fun year racing-wise. 
  5. I need to update my header pics again. There are a ton of more pics I want to add of even more awesome runners that I have met & Ran It Out with this year. At this rate, the header pic would take up half my blog. And that would be totally fine. 
Happy Friday!! 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Support, Balance & Not-So-Tough Decisions

So, two weeks ago I was still couch-ridden, recovering from this little surgical episode, but now I feel almost completely back to normal. Seems like this laparoscopy thing is a pretty cool advance in medicine and really did allow for a quick bounce-back. Almost too quick, really, given my personality.  I feel like I am at 100 percent, although I guess the internal healing isn't quite done yet. That's why my surgeon was cautious about me heading back to trail running right away, and why he discouraged me from even thinking about running the White Rock marathon last weekend. But... nobody said anything about me running the Fiesta Marathon NEXT weekend...

See where I'm going here? After the tutu came off and the rush of seeing so many of my friends and other runners out on the course Sunday wore off, the sadness and frustration of not getting Maniacs in 2010 started to hit me again. I thought I had come to grips with it, that the "hands of fate" or whatever had interceded and given me not one, but two, signs in my knee and gallbladder that I needed to Calm the F Down and take a break. My health and the ability to do this running thing as long as I can is more important than becoming Maniacs right now, right? Right? I know that. But still, in the quiet of the night on Sunday I started to think that maybe it wasn't out of reach. Maybe it was possible if I could find another December race to just finish and still get Maniacs in 2010. So on Monday, I pulled up and searched for December marathons. There is one in McAllen, Texas, down in the Rio Grande Valley, where I grew up. Where it's flat (no incline, but more importantly for Miss Cranky Left Meniscus, no descents). It has a seven-hour time limit. That's a 16:00/mile (yes, I ran the numbers). The thoughts started.

I checked my airline miles balance and have enough for a $5 ticket round-trip down and back. There are seats available on flights where I could have breakfast with the boys on Saturday and dinner with them on Sunday. I have barely enough of my road warrior hotel points left that I could get a room at a hotel across the street from the expo/start/finish line. The hotel has an airport shuttle. All this trip would cost me is food (I'm gonna eat whether I'm here or there so it doesn't really count, right?) and the entry fee. All this trip would cost me is 5+ hours on my feet. I wouldn't be in any position to race this for a time goal, I knew that. But if I could just finish, I would have Maniacs. I wouldn't have to wait until March. I could have it NOW!!

All these thoughts were jumbled in my head all morning long. I asked my Twitterverse if I should do it.  Note to self - don't ask a bunch of crazy runners if you should do some crazy running. They will only encourage you and most likely join you. I did have one amazing friend txt me offline and ask what the hell was I thinking?  and what was I trying to prove? and telling me to be careful if I did it because she'd kick my a$$ if I got hurt. But she knew that if it was in my heart to do it that I was going to do it. And she would be supportive of me for it. The Twitter consensus was to go for it. And that's what I really wanted to do.

But I hadn't consulted my husband or my family yet. I hadn't told them of my plans, mostly already formulated in my head if not formally through confirmed online reservations. Let me be clear about something: I do not have to "ask permission" from my husband to race. I think it is just common courtesy and a thoughtful thing to do to make final decisions about my races with him, so that I can be sure that I'm not getting so carried away with my race plans that I overlook some important family obligation, or put us into debt with plane tickets or race fees or hotel costs. Racing can be very expensive, and when you are as slow as I am, it takes time away from the family.  I am gone for hours at a time when I am out running, even if I just step outside my door, something that I am less and less likely to do these days now that I prefer trails or when I would rather run with my friends in different parts of FW-D.  I missed most of the day on Sunday when I was out cheering the marathoners - I left my house at 6:00 AM and didn't get home until nearly 3:00 PM. It is only right that I make sure my plans don't interfere with the family activities and that they don't take up so much time that I neglect the most important people in my life.

And this is where the support that we as runners get from our families is so very important. I have said here before and I will say it again many times before I die - I could not do what I do without the support and love and backing from my family, especially my husband. He does not understand the passion I feel for running. He has never felt the "runner's high" when he slogs out 6 miles on the treadmill at the gym. He's done some 5Ks but doesn't have the bug to race and run like I do. And that's OK. Because he doesn't have to understand it to know that it is something that is critically important to me. It is a part of my very soul. So to have his support and backing is critical. And how I maintain that support and backing is actually pretty simple: I don't let my running take over our lives. My family is not, at this time anyway, centered around my running. We have hockey games and gymnastics practice, and band concerts and parades that we need to do. And I have to fit my passion in and around all the things that everyone else in my house has going on, all the things that are important to them. Because we all matter. We are all important members of this family.

So, when I sent him an email yesterday outlining the situation, that I needed one more race to get Maniacs and here is the plan, I didn't think he would say no. And he didn't. He said, in a nutshell, "if you think you really need to do it, go ahead." And then he also gave me some things to think about, being pragmatic and practical in that non-runner kind of way. He asked me if I felt my knee was really fully healed (I think so, but probably not - I need at least two-three more treatments before Dr. Kemp is sure it is OK), and if I thought my body was really ready so soon after the surgery to handle 26 miles. He asked about my training, and reminded me that I only really started running again last week and had three full weeks completely off after New York. But he never said "No, don't do it."  Instead, he led me to make the decision that I knew was the right one all along. I know this was a crazy-hare idea. I know this doesn't make sense and that it's too soon. But that immature, want-it-NOW part of me thought it might be OK. So I was glad that my husband knows me well enough to encourage me to do something if I felt I really needed to, but also to guide me to do the right thing. And he did it all in a way that didn't take away my control or make me feel that he didn't want me to do it. I knew he was concerned for my health and well-being, though, and I know that he was most concerned that I not injure myself further.

Ultimately, I decided not to do the Fiesta Marathon. I might have added it to my list, though, since they give you a sombrero at the finish along with your medal. A sombrero!! How cool would that be?!  But really, although the realization that not running this race meant that my 2010 season was over was somewhat depressing, I know it is for the best and I know that this is the most logical decision I could have made for my family and really, for myself.  So, no more racing until 2011, which I start off with a bang at the New Year's Day Half-Marathon. It will be a great day for a race and a wonderful way to start 2011.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

It's Thursday again!! Yeah! Wow, that week went by quickly!!  Here we go!

  1. Where did November go?  Oh, yeah, I had this big deal marathon that took up the first week, then I hurt my knee and couldn't run for another week, then my insides exploded on me and then I got cut up before Thanksgiving. And, how about that, it's December now. Wheee!  
  2. Because of the whole "insides exploding on me" deal, i am not running White Rock, but I will be there to cheer. We have secret ninja cheering moves that we are working on so that we can see as many of our friends as possible on both the half and full course. It will be crazy and there will be Starbucks involved for that yummy delicious salted caramel hot chocolate to keep us fueled for such a grueling adventure. But I hope to take TONS of photos. So looks for me on the course. I'll be wearing an orange tutu - kind of hard to miss!! 
  3. My return to racing will be tomorrow night in Keller at the Santa Scurry. Hubby is out of town so Dreadpirate DinoBoy & I will be doing a 5k, at his pace, using 3/1 intervals. He's really doing it for the shirt and the Santa schtuff and Christmas fun they'll have afterward. I have been provided with special socks for the occasion. It will be a fun night - it's been a while since my bubba has run with me, so I hope he feels good about it at the end. 
  4. I really was sad to miss the Turkey Trot this year. I heard they had tech shirts this time. and they redesigned the course. Wahhhh! 
  5. I spent time over the long Thanksgiving holiday walking. A lot. On the trails up at River Legacy Park. I may be in love with River Legacy Park, especially now that I no longer get lost and go out of the actual park grounds anymore!! It's a nice smooth trail with some roots and rocks but nothing too challenging. There are some fun up & downs on the south side that I had fun on, and there are two or three loops that I have yet to explore so, YAY! 
  6. We have finalized our hotel reservations and road trip plans for Bandera. It's going to be EPIC!! Seriously. Julie is doing the 25K - I met her in Tyler and can't wait to spend more time with her!! My super bad-ass Grand Teton / 3X Ironman finisher girl I want to be when I grow up Sarah is doing the 50K with me (YAY, Sarah, I LOVE YOU, thank you for taking care of me on those big ugly rocks!!), and Super Bad-Ass Jeremy is doing the 100K.  Because that's how he rolls. It's going to be a party, I tell you. Plus Fawn & a lot of other super-cool-oh-my-gawd-I-don't-fit-in-here-when-will-they-wise-up-&-ask-me-to-leave people are going to be there. I CAN'T WAIT!! 
  7. Of course, I have been restricted to not running on trails for another two weeks. I can run on flats or walk on trails, but I cannot run on trails, lest I fall and the internal guts 'splode again. That's what the doctor said today. So I will have to spend some time on the treadmill meanwhile doing incline walking and double it up with running on flats to get these legs ready for Bandera and the hills there. 
  8. The knee is way better after the miracle doc at Active Spine & Sport did his magic. I will need to get a few more treatments before Bandera to make sure the meniscus is all jammed in the right way, but if I'm walking on trails or running on flats for the next two weeks, it shouldn't give me any trouble. So I'm really, really, really happy about that. 
  9. No, I'm really, really, really happy about the knee. Like, WHEEE! happy! 
  10. You know what happens when you spend the month of November running around and then get hurt and then have surgery and then spend a week "recovering?"  Your house kind of becomes a pit. And the members of your family (who are apparently incapable of folding clothes or taking them out of the dryer) start to get dressed in the laundry room. And you choose to buy a new package of socks for the teenager instead of digging through the piles to find matching pairs. At least that's what happens around here. Your mileage may vary. You might give a crap about things like laundry and sweeping, too, though... 
  11. Thank goodness the cleaning people are coming next week. I pay them to give a crap about laundry and sweeping and vacuuming and all that schtuff so I don't have to. It's the best money I spend every three weeks! 
  12. I hope after they come that I get motivated to decorate for Christmas. Hasn't been the same since my mother-in-law passed away last summer - she used to decorate the house to an inch of its life and then send all kinds of stuff home with the boys for my house. I have a great collection of ornaments we collect when we travel and give tot the boys each year and a cool Advent quilt (which I am apparently late to put out again.. phoo) but not much beyond that. Oh, yeah, we have a Longhorn Santa in an orange suit. Tell me you're surprised.  Really? 
  13. Is this the best EPIC face you've ever seen?  The EPIC face is something that my 10 year old introduced me to, and as hilarious as this little thing is, seeing him do the EPIC face is brilliant. but he won't let me take a pic because he knows it will end up on the internet!! Smart boy, that one!!