My Holiday Gift Guide for Runners and Wackos Like Me

Is is too early to post a gift guide?  I hope not, because I can’t really post anything running-related.  My peroneal tendon has been throbbing like a mother all weekend (like looking at a smoke detector light, only instead of waiting for the blink every few seconds, it’s been like waiting for the throb/shot of pain to shoot from just inside my ankle bone.)

I have an appointment with my podiatrist on Thursday.  I really can’t take much more time off from running.  I am dying inside, and meanwhile, I am growing outside, putting on my winter layer of chub.  Boo.

So, today I bring you my first annual Holiday Gift Guide, with plenty of items for runners and a few odds and ends for the non-runners in your life!  Be warned:  like Sir Mix-a-Lot, this list is long, strong, and down to get the gift buying on!

(That was so lame.)

I sort of had a holiday gift post last year where I discussed my Xmas list items, including Tifosi sunglasses (love them!), Zensah compression  leg sleeves (love them too!) and the Handana (a fail for me…just couldn’t get used to it and felt like Michael Jackson wearing it…He-he!)  I’m ramping it up this year, though, and giving it the official “Gift Guide” title, so it feels like a first, and as the wise and much-loved-by-me Sade says…

it’s never as good as the first time.

Gifts for (Mostly Lady) Runners

Here are some fun items that you can buy for your favorite runner or put the word out for if you pound the pavement…

Lululemon Light as Air Hipster:  I have raved about these before.

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If you are going to be out there in the elements, don’t you deserve a brush of silk against your delicate regions?  Your totally tight ass and rock-hard glutes will thank you once they feel the caress of this fabric and realize that you actually spent (or got someone else to spend) $18 on a pair of underwear that doesn’t show panty lines.  True fact:  I wear these sometimes when I am couchathoning, and I think I’m worth it.  Also true fact: they are extremely fragile, so wash them in cold with other Lulu or polyester fabrics and air dry.  Some reviewers have said on the Lulu web pages that theirs didn’t last, but mine have and I believe Lulu would make it right if they fell apart (but maybe keep your receipt?).

Tested tip:  Buy a size up?  Some reviewers said they didn’t cover their butts enough.  I wear a M.  Also comes in a thong, Sisqo style.

Oiselle Lux Armwarmers:  I want a pair of these bad boys.

lux-arm-warmers-fp-f_1They look so cozy and, well, lux.  Any fabric described as “buttery soft” has me at hello.   The heather flame pink color is speaking to me, and I think it wants to replace my old Nike arm sleeves in boring black.  My pink arms will totally look like ladylike flames as I whir down the streets at a solid 9:30.

Oiselle Cable Knit Armwamers:  Yes, I realize I’m repeating, but these look hella comfortable too.  Plus, I like the way she is staring at her own hand like a pubescent teenage boy who just left his first long shower (omg, did I just type that?  Sorry not sorry!)

 

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Maybe it’s because it’s frigid outside with a wind chill of 7 right now, but I think I could wear these all winter.  They would be great for a Netflix binge in a chilly basement if I can’t get back to running soon.  They could keep my arms nice and toasty while I reach for more popcorn.

Athleta Fast Track Half Zip:  I love Athleta, but I never wear their pants.  They always ride down searching for a place of less resistance somewhere below my saddlebags.  Their casual clothing is the bomb, though (just scored my some of their Metro leggings in gray with their Merino wool Soma sweater and it will be totally worth the high price since I plan on wearing the outfit every damn day ’til it drives the kids to school on its own.)

I also dig their jackets and tops, and I am coveting this half zip.  The website describes it as a great base layer, but I don’t normally like half-zips as base layers.  I don’t like to feel a zipper pushed against my skin, so if I’m layering I will usually put something compression or just zipperless as my base with a half-zip over it.

I like the ruching on this jacket…makes me think it would hold down in place and keep drafts out.  Several reviewers just wore it for the NYC marathon (let me pause to dry my tears) and said it was great with the wind.

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Speaking of Athleta, they are offering this cute little Strobe Light for $10 online and in stores.  It’s made by Nathan, so you could probably find it in your local running store too (or something similar.)

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Wish I could buy a hundred and spell “Watch the f*%k out!” on my chest.

Brooks Nightlife Essential Running Jacket III: I have no idea if this is a good jacket or not.  I include it simply because the picture is irresistible…

220783_305_mf_ZM She loves the nightlife

She’s got to boogie on the disco round

Yeah

Please don’t talk about love tonight.

iTunes Gift a Song: Did you know that you can give someone an actual song from iTunes?  This applies to my high school sensibilities…I used to love making mix tapes, and I blab all the time about my running playlists!

When you are on iTunes, just click to the right of a song under the purchase price (the down arrow,) and it offers the option to gift the song.  You can send it to the person’s email on the day of purchase or a day of your choice, and you can even customize the appearance of the “card.”

I just sent myself a song to test it and make sure it works.  It’s perfect!  You could send someone a great Christmas song or some kickass running songs as gifts.  Want to know what I just bought myself?

Dim All the Lights by Donna Summer…yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oiselle Big O Yeti: This is my favorite.  Did I ever tell you about the time last year that my sister and I were goofing around in Forever 21 and found some full-body cow snuggies?  We went into the fitting room to try them on (and yes, we bought them) and were howling with laughter.  Hello comfort, goodbye self-esteem!  What made the whole scene funnier was that a few months later my hair stylist asked me if I had been in Forever 21 once laughing in the dressing room…she had been in there and heard me laughing and thought it sounded like me.  How embarrassing…and now I’ve shared it with the internet.

Anyhoo, this full-size Yeti French fleece snuggie is just what you or your loved one need after a long run in frigid temperatures!

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Yes, it’s a little pricey at $98, but did you just come in from your run looking like this?

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You need a Yeti in your life.  Or maybe a hairy Yeti man to cuddle with.  Whatever’s cheaper.

Vintage Stamped Spoon: This is a perfect stocking stuffer.

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It’s just $16 from the Etsy site hyperlinked above.  She offers a few variations too…check her out.

Unusual Gifts for the Crazy People in Your Life (i.e, those who don’t run)

Here are a few items that you aren’t going to find at your local department store…

Celebrity Prayer Candles from Illumidol: I saw this Etsy site in a Buzzfeed article and just had to check it out.  My order of Christmas gifts for my son, nephew and sister came today, and I am pleased with the quality.  My 14-year old nephew and major baller is getting a Kevin Durant candle, and I’m not telling which one I got for my sister because she reads this blog.

Here is my son’s candle (don’t hate me, Catholics!)–Notorious B.I.G.–

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I love it when you pray to me, Big Poppa

(I hope I’m not going to hell for that, but then again if I am it’s probably for other things that are way up on the list of sins before that statement!)

In fact, I would probably be headed to hell for buying this little number–

Atheist Stocking from Archie McPhee: I bought this to give at our family’s 2nd Annual Christmas Eve White Elephant gift exchange this year, but I told my sister about it last week and she mumbled something about it not being cool and not wanting her kids to see it.  I thought it was a funny joke, but she says it won’t be a hit gift, which of course is totally unacceptable.  Never fear, though, as I have an atheist friend with a Christmas birthday who shall be excited to unwrap this beauty!

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Personalized Dog Stocking: If I wasn’t wasting my money on celebrity prayer candles and atheist stockings, I would be wasting it on these adorable dog stockings.  This Etsy shop offers a ton of different bow colors…I include this pic because I would like to have a dog named Manchego (such a delightful cheese!)

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Bottle Koozy:  I really like everything on this gal’s Etsy site.  I have one of her coffee mug cozies that says “Wrong week to quit drinking.”  She offers a ton of mugs, mug cozies and bottle koozys…some clean, some nasty (she’s my kind of gal.)

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EOS Lip Balm Ball from Target:  I think I am late to this party, but I just bought one of these (in Summer Fruit) and am a total fangirl.  Big ball balm?  This couldn’t be more fun to apply!  I bought my boys each one in different colors so we all have our own balm ball (that’s just fun to say, but I won’t take it any further.)

Jane Austen action figure:  This last one is a personal fave; in fact, I’ve already bought it for myself, and I know one of my favorite bloggers would want one for her personal collection!

JaneAustenDo I take her out of the box or do I keep her in pristine condition like my mom does her Native American Barbies (I’m serious, my mom really does that and I tease her endlessly.)

I think I have to take her out…complete with her special P&P book.  I can speak Jane all day, mostly as Elizabeth Bennet…

He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal

Till this moment I never knew myself

My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me

and (I wish)…

Go to hell, Lydia, and grow a pair, Jane!

What’s on your Christmas list?  Any good gift ideas you’d like to share?  What song would you gift?

 

 

 

It Ain’t Easy Being Green…

Two of the three following statements are true…can you spot the fake?

  1. I’ve had Turkish coffee with Bedouins in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan.
  2. I told my eldest son this week that when I die he is allowed to put me in a drive-thru window for the funeral service as long as “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” is looping the entire time on a loudspeaker.
  3. I’m doing really well with this whole not-running thing.

It’s been 15 days since I last laced up my Smurf shoes, and I feel like I’ve been through a bad breakup.  I’m over the initial shock of the loss of the NY Marathon, to be sure, but the fact that I can’t run at all has turned me into a raging bitch inside (it’s a short trip.)  It’s maudlin, really.  I keep humming “One Less Bell to Answer” in my head (I’m serious, and yes, knowing this song ages me!)…

I encourage you to check out the video of that song, not only because Marilyn McCoo has an amazing voice but because the second guy from the right has on a can’t-miss outfit!

One less egg to fry, people.

Checking the weather first thing in the morning to plan out my run and clothes for the day…Turning around my favorite running gear in the laundry so I can have my Athleta Presto shorts ready for the next run…Charging my Garmin and Outdoor Tech Adapt…

All out the window.  I wander around the house a bit aimlessly and sing Faith No More to myself…

You want it all but you can’t have it

It’s in your face but you can’t grab it

It’s a pity party, fo ‘sho, not because of the race but just because I can’t get out for any type of run.  It’s like not realizing how hot you thought your boyfriend was until you dump him…and then suddenly he’s the sexiest guy you’ve ever known and you’ve just got to have him back!

The fact that fall is my favorite time of the year to run is that extra kick in the ass…like the ex-boyfriend dropped twenty pounds after our breakup and reclaimed his mojo.

The fact that all I do now is drive by runners is like the ex-boyfriend just hit the scene with a gorgeous new girlfriend…it’s more than I can bear!  Runners in race t-shirts, runners with fuel belts, casual joggers, speed demons…they torment me everywhere I look.  I am very jealous…

I’ve already missed the Plaza 10k, which I LOVED racing in last year, and I will be missing the Kansas City Half Marathon as well next month.  I probably would have skipped the half with the NY training anyway, but missing the 10k hurt a bit, because it’s such a fun flat course.  Waaaaahhhh!

It’s not easy being green…

DISNEY MUPPETS

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Meanwhile, I am learning to make friends again with the Cybex Arc Trainer and will probably dump my butt onto a low bike this afternoon.  I love to row, and my gym recently added a Concept 2 rower, but I am afraid it might put too much pressure on the heel.

The pain has diminished substantially, though I do still limp sometimes, especially after golf.  I have set October 15th in my head as the first possible run day, no matter how good my foot feels, so I will try to stick to that date.  I need to use my off time wisely and make it productive…an opportunity to build some strength and work on different types of cardio.

I still wonder if the treadmill is the culprit behind my problems.  The mileage should not have been an issue, I didn’t add speed work or excessive hills to this training cycle, etc.–nothing was different except that I subbed the treadmill for about 30% of my long run miles due to the summer temperatures.  I also played a lot of golf this summer, which I did not do during my training for my first marathon, but I just can’t imagine that causing such problems.

Maybe it just wasn’t my time…no sense in looking back too long on it, right?  I will just remember that, as always, I HATE the treadmill and will not use it in the future!

Here are a few articles on stress fractures that might prove helpful to runners:

http://www.drpribut.com/sports/stress_fracture.html

http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/runners-guide-to-stress-fractures/

I will have to rebound and then put a new race on the calendar so I can have something to look forward to!  My last race was the Ward Parkway Four on the Fourth 4-mile race, which was great because I placed in my age group with a 32:41 (average 8:10 pace.)

While I waited for my age group award (ooh, a sticker and a water bottle…score!), I took some artsy fartsy pictures for you…

See?  Artsy…

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Fartsy!

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Happy running, readers, and enjoy every mile!

What I’m Running To:  Nothing (want me to complain again?), but I plan on knocking out an amazing low-impact workout later to “What’s the Difference?” by Dr. Dre this afternoon!

A Lark Became a Dream…

And the dream of running the 2014 NYC marathon died when my bone scan lit up like a Christmas tree.

It looked like I’d gone through an airport body scanner with round bags of drugs shoved into the heel of my shoe and the front of my tibia.  Such was the “uptake” of activity in those bones.

I knew the odds were not ever in my favor when the tech took the initial blood flow pictures (before the injection) and remarked, “Wow!  Look at that.  That’s a very intense area of blood flow going into your heel and tibia.”  She cautioned me that things were not looking promising, then sent me on my radioactive way for a few hours.

The bone pictures didn’t look any better.  Two big bright circles in my heel and at the base of my tibia.  She said it was up to the radiologist and my podiatrist to interpret, but I understood.  Me smart!

I still ran 8 miles that night (last Thursday), keeping to my training plan until I heard from my doctor’s nurse.

Then she called, and she said that the doctor didn’t get a full copy to look at, only the radiologist’s report, but that he/she reported “stress reaction changes” in both areas.  My doctor wanted to see me ASAP.

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Of course I asked what that meant and if I should keep to my plan of running 4 miles that afternoon, 8 on Sunday and 17 on Monday.  She said that it was my call, given that my doctor hadn’t seen the actual images herself, but that if I attempted it I would have to stop when I felt any pain.

Well, that meant not running at all.  So I shut things down, and met with my doctor yesterday with a disc copy of the scan.

And the fat lady is singing.

If not fractured, both the heel (calcaneus) and lower tibia are stressed to the point of fracture.  Since I came in relatively early with the pain, the bone scan is only showing early stages.  Later scans or x-rays would show the line of the break better as it heals.  Of course, that made me feel like maybe I would be a quitter to stop…like a better person/runner would keep going.

But I know that’s not true.  I am making a choice to stop, but that choice doesn’t categorize me as weak or uncommitted.  I know I could continue, and I could live with the pain.  I just don’t want to make that mistake.  The peak of my training is still ahead–it’s not like I’m even into the taper phase yet.

I don’t define myself by one race, and I will not run myself into the ground/a boot/a cast/no exercise for 3-4 months.  I risk fracturing both bones clear through by continuing, and if I do that, I will be sidelined from running far longer than if I rest now and let my body heal.

So I am done and out for this year’s NYC marathon, and I am resting my foot and leg for at least 4 weeks.  I guess there isn’t much more to say.  I will add another post in the next few days with some great links I’ve found and want to share along with more of a description of how this injury feels compared to plantar fasciitis–in other words, how I knew this injury was different.  Maybe the info could be helpful to other runners…

But for now, I’m sulking a bit.  This isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of my life, and I am keeping it in perspective, but I am allowing myself a day or two to be pissy, because this SHOULD NOT have happened.

I have been a runner for over a decade.  I log regular weeks of 20+miles, and I build mileage properly.  I can’t help but wonder what caused this injury, because it shouldn’t have happened, and though I know random injuries do arise, I have my blaming eyes squarely set on the one thing I’ve done differently during this training cycle compared to previous race training (one marathon, and too many half marathons and other races to count)…

THE FUCKING DREADMILL.

Looks like I picked the…

wrongweek

Happy running, peeps!  Enjoy your ability to get out there today…now that I can’t run, all I do is see runners (isn’t that the way?)!  I will be here at home, gorging myself on Game of Thrones books and cross stitching (almost done with my niece’s birthday present…a Paris scene)!

LaurenParis

 

 

Spitting the Bit: The Summer of My Discontent

It’s been so long…I’ve neglected to post and basically abandoned the blogosphere for months, including following the blogs of so many readers. I apologize and hope all has been well and that everyone is smashing PRs. I just needed a break.

Though writing is easy for me in general (if not quality assured), writing about running can at times be a bit tedious. There are only so many ways to describe a Wednesday morning run, right? Plus, by the time I write about my run and then read the blogs of thirty other people describing their morning run, then go out for another run myself, the world can end up looking pretty small.

What’s more, writing burnout has coincided with running burnout.  No surprise, huh?  I have been mentally and physically fried.

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I talk about how running is a gift, and though I’m snarky as hell, I hope that my overall message is a positive one.  I love to run.  I appreciate the gift of good health and am grateful for each day that I am able to lace up my bright Smurf shoes with the custom orthotics and head out the door to kick some ass.

Still, the summer running has done a number on my attitude and my running times, and so I haven’t wanted to write much because it would have been 90% bitching, and who wants to read that?  I’ll try to condense my whining in this post yet keep it real as I describe what I’ve been up to this summer (assuming anyone will still take the time to read…and if you do, bless you!)

I’ll start with the running and then move on to some personal summer bits and bobs in the next post for those of you who love all of this very special flower and not just my running petals.

NYC Marathon Training

(Quick summary:  FML.)

If you’ll recall, I got into the NYC Marathon on the lottery drawing.  I did not expect to make it, but when I did, I (like many others) freaked out with excitement.  If I can make it there, well, you know…I can make it anywhere!

Here’s the problem.  I am a complete lazy bitch princess when it comes to summer running.  I fucking hate it.  What’s more, it doesn’t like me one bit either.

I typically run spring races for longer distances and take most of the summer off to rest my body and just do maintenance running.  It gives me a mental and physical reset.  I have run one marathon (Spring 2013), and I chose it specifically for those winter training months (Viva la Winter Running!)

Unfortunately, the NYC Marathon doesn’t set its calendar based on my training whims, and so I’m stuck with summer training for the first time ever (I will run fall half marathons, but those are much easier to train for.)

Now, I’m all full of admiration for those of you who knock out the lengthy summer runs with nary a complaint, especially you Texas folk, as I lived in Houston for 12 years and still remember the weather.  Some of you get up at 4 or 5 am to power through long miles and then go to church, work, etc.–

but as for me on a Sunday morning?  I love my king-size bed and the chance to sleep in.  So does HH (Handsome Hubby for new readers), and I hate to wake him up.

I’ve been getting up far too late (no one to blame but myself) and heading out the door too late in the morning to escape the heat.  In fact, the one morning I did get up at 6am and get out the door, I came in dying around Mile 9 only to have HH ask me if I’d checked the forecast and noticed that cooler weather was going to blow in around noon that day.

Such has been my luck, and boy have I paid the price.

I now know my sweat patterns and can time their appearance down to the half mile (do you know yours?).  The first running river of sweat always trails off the inside of my right elbow starting at the end of Mile 1, followed by the river trailing down the front of my tank followed by buckets of sweat dripping into my eyes and burning my corneas from Mile 2.5 on.  I have tried bringing a towel (tucked into the band of my SpiBelt) to wipe or at least hopefully redirect the flow, but by Mile 6-7 the towel smells so bad I can’t bear to bring it to my face.

I read once that more experienced runners might in fact sweat more (source), and I think that’s true.  I didn’t used to be a heavy sweater, but in the decade-plus that I’ve been a runner, I have turned into a SWEAT MONSTER.  I don’t just glow with sweat, I open a faucet somewhere in my pores and MAKE IT RAIN!

Just don’t come near me.  It’s gross, and what’s more, I’m flicking beads of it off my ponytail.  Be warned if you are running behind me.

All this sweat distracts me and makes it hard to relax and just get into the zone–not that I could anyway because my heart rate is elevated and I feel like I’m running through a sweat-flavored milkshake.  Humidity and I are not friends, and it makes 10 miles seem like an ultra.  Suck it up, right?  I know…but I’m just being honest.

To complicate matters, my plantar fasciitis in my left foot is as bad as it’s ever been, to the point where I am hobbled after runs and can barely limp for most of the day after a run.  Given that I run 5 days a week, this means that I am walking around like an invalid the majority of the time, which means that if I am not running, I am gimped out.  Fun stuff!

I think this is mostly due to to the plan I am using this time around.  I am a Hal Higdon devotee, and for my first marathon I used his Novice 1 plan.  This time I decided to step it up to the Intermediate 2 plan.

That lasted a few weeks until I recognized that I was cutting too many corners for other obligations/laziness/time issues/injury and leaving off too many miles.  So I dropped down to Intermediate 1, which has the same basic problem as Intermediate 2–a required medium-length run the day before the long run.  Hal says the medium length run the day before will ensure that you are tired so that you run the long run at an appropriate pace.  I say that Hal, you are the damn devil, and why not just trust me?  To quote Tommy Boy,

“I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it!”

For example, on Sunday I ran 7 miles at goal pace, which ended up around 9:30/mile, followed by 14 yesterday (I’ve adjusted the schedule so that my long runs are on Monday, and I will adjust back a few weeks before the Sunday marathon.)  It was just too much for my foot (the total for the week was 36, which isn’t so bad.)  Usually my PF only hurts in the morning and after runs, never during, since running loosens up the fascia.  Right now, though, it’s intense pain through the whole run, plus I’ve got pain shooting up both sides of my ankle, which I think is tendon pain from not landing on the foot right and from limping around when not running trying not to put weight on it.  I am icing tons and applying my special compound cream, but the pain and inflammation is winning.  I made an appointment with my podiatrist for next week.  She loves seeing injured runners limp in and insist that backing off miles is not an option.

If it were any other marathon, I would bail right now, but I can’t.  It’s New York!

So I hang by a thread, bitch and moan a lot, rub my cream, ask my kids to fetch me stuff, and run with a bad attitude, because I am running with pain, mentally am not in my happy place and further have nothing to prove, which was a huge motivation for my when training for my first marathon.  I wanted to show myself that I could do it, I was raising money for my sister’s disease, and in a strange way I think I felt like I was running those miles as an apology..a penance for being healthy while she suffered.  I had mental motivation and strength out the wazoo.

This time I feel like I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else but plenty of things I ‘d rather be doing other than spending quite so many painful hours on the hot asphalt, and I am struggling to find the desire to run the training miles, which is is the REAL marathon as most of us would agree–not the race itself with the support of family, friends and strangers and the medal and perhaps the Facebook/Instagram/Twitter bragfest, but the lonely miles, 20-40-60+ each week, known only to you and spent in your own way, one minute, one mile and one sweat drop/river at a time.

I am not giving up, just searching for some healing in my foot and some mental motivation.  It’s been a fantastic summer, just not where running is concerned.

What I’m running to: I’m Not the Only One by Sam Smith, Pusher Love Girl by Justin Timberlake

Coming in my next post…what I’ve been up to this summer and a description of Penis Thumb!

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Old Injuries, New Shoes and a Quest for Fun

The first half marathon of the Heartland 39.3 Challenge is four days away, and I am wondering why I thought it would be fun to run three half marathons in five weeks.  I fee like I might be whistling Zip-a-Dee-do-Dah out of my you-know-what by the time I’m done with this quest.

Thanks to all who gave suggestions for my long run last weekend.  I appreciate it!  I ended up running a very comfortable 10 miles at around a 9:20, then shut it down with plenty of gas left in the tank, as I was running a bit late to take the boys to see War Horse (overall “meh” rating, but amazing puppetry!)  So it all worked out well…

The race is just four days away, so I drove the course yesterday.  I know most of it, but hadn’t been down by the start in quite awhile.  I sort of wish I hadn’t made the drive, because now I am nervous.  The overall course is fantastic and relatively flat, but the first three miles are all uphill…a steady, unyielding ascent up pain mountain.

Yuck.  I hate uphill starts.  I really was hoping to start slow and easy, but it looks like the first three miles will be a fight to contain my speed and desire to hurry up the hill and get it the hell over with.  I don’t want to pay for a mistake later on.  Hell hath no fury like lactic acid (or technically hydrogen ion) buildup.

HH is sick of running and just ready to get this over with.  Neither of us can remember what we listed as our projected finish time, so I am hoping we will be put in different corrals.  I just don’t want to see him during the race, because I have a feeling it would be highly DEmotivating for me.

And now for a lesson on shoes…lesson being that you should not go to your favorite running store and ask about new shoes on a busy weekend.  My plantar fasciitis has been kicking up big time in recent weeks, including my right foot, which is a new and frankly alarming development, as being hobbled on both feet is infinitely more difficult than limping around on one good foot.

My first thought was that my shoes needed replacement, as I knew they were close to the mark.  I went to Garry Gribbles (a major chain of stores here in KC) a few weekends ago and got a young kid in a full store.  He examined the soles and told me I was fine for quite awhile yet.  Well, three weeks later, and the little plantar fasciitis elf is still stabbing me in both heels with his tiny sharp sword.  I went back a few days ago, got an older dude, and was promptly told that the shoes should have been replaced quite some time ago and that the midsole had totally broken down.

Perhaps I should make a voodoo doll of the young worthless lad out of the frozen water bottle that I am constantly icing my feet with these past few weeks.  Ahole.  Wishing you an abundance of hydrogen ions on your next race, young man!

My new shoes are my same model (Asics GT-2000), but in a horrendous new bright aqua and orange orgasm of color.  I feel like a circus clown in these things.

Shine bright like a diamond!

asicsteal

My feet are feeling foolish but much happier, which is great considering that they have to take me through this weekend’s half marathon and two more before May 11th.

My race prediction? I am going to go lasso a 1:38:03 like Early to Rise Runner…no, I jest, but please go check out her AWESOME recap where she “chicked” some guys (my new favorite term) at the finish and spurred herself to a PR by five minutes.

I think she’s one of “those” people I’ve complained about in my post Ten Types of People Who Annoy Me During Races…you know, the real fit bitch.

I say that with love, Alyssa! 🙂

As for me, I could end up anywhere from a 1:52-1:56, I am guessing.  I will be happy with anything under 1:55, and I will drown myself in wine with anything over that number (who am I kidding?  It will be a wine fest either way!)

If I don’t do well, I will blame my running coach…

Oscarharness

He’s always interrupting our training runs so he can defecate in a yard…

 

 

Allow Myself to Introduce…Myself

Any Austin Powers fans out there?

I’ve been gone for so long…and I’m sorry.  Not that anyone’s been unable to go on without reading my special blend of running encouragement mixed with a healthy dose of swearing and negativity, but still…I apologize.

I’ve missed writing.  I’ve missed reading about my fellow runners/bloggers and their lives.  I’ve missed it all.  I just can’t quit you!

I mulled over several possible post titles in my head this morning, all of which happened to be song titles and have me singing–

Please forgive me cues Bryan Adams…

I know not what I do

Please forgive me

I can’t stop loving you (yuck!)

Baby I’m Back cues Akon…

Now I’m back in the flesh

Feeling so blessed

Back in your corner, suga suga don’t stress

Forget about the rest

Let’s go inside

I’m back in your zone, baby

Back in your vibe

Alive and Kicking cues Simple Minds…

You turn me on

You lift me up

Like the sweetest cup I’d share with you

You lift me up, don’t you ever stop, I’m here with you

And basically this kind of shit is the reason I can’t get anything done lately.

I’m all over the place.  I might have seasonal ADD, if there is such a thing.

December came and went in a flash.  We had the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny Fucking Kaye…complete as always with a family viewing of White Christmas.

My family White Elephant gift exchange was a big hit.  Gifts included a horse mask, cold hard cash, a picture of an astronaut sloth, a singing toilet snowman, a handpainted coffee mug, and my husband entering the room in a parody of Dick in a Box (no one wanted his gift but me!)  My gift was a cross stitch…I am horrifically UNcrafty, so my gift was truly a labor of love.  It read, “Your Awesome.”  HH battled it out with my sister and came up the proud winner.

I also spent many hours stitching a (still unfinished) gift for my sister…Jocking the Bitches and Slapping the Hos (any Boyz-N-The-Hood fans?)

I had another birthday…41!  It’s not the years, it’s the mileage, right?  Right.

We had a frozen water line…damn you Polar Vortex!

Our fridge went out and we spent over a month heading out to the one in the FREEZING garage while a very strange repair guy kept coming out trying to fix the old one (and engaging me in strange conversations about his dancing Border Collie and other random thoughts.)  After six weeks, we gave up and bought a balls-to-the-wall kickass new one, but not before said repair guy dropped one final gem.  He told me that he had discovered a pill that makes bugs explode but comes in a food grade that kills parasites in dogs.  He and his wife occasionally take it for more energy, and they recently gave it to their 4-year old daughter and later found clumps of worms in her diaper.

Yep, I’ve been busy living the dream, folks!

As for running?  Well, I pushed it aside for the holidays and only managed 1-2 runs/week, so any posts during that time would have been titled, “Run, Says the Sloth!”  I tried to run just enough to not lose my fitness.  After a few weeks of few running endorphins, but lots of peanut butter balls, cookies, and holiday vino, I headed out with my running coach Oscar (my dog) and had an exhilarating, mind-clearing, sanity-restoring 4-miler on my birthday…so fun that I posted on facebook my goal for a 1:50 half marathon sometime in 2014….

then I woke up the next morning with bursitis in my hip.

At first I thought it might be my IT band, just really high.  The pain was on my side, lower hip, not my glute but not far enough around to be my quad.  I applied my tried-and-true adaptation of the R.I.C.E.(W!) regimen…sitting on the couch with my ass and saddlebag hanging out on a pack of ice while nursing a medicinal glass of wine postdinner.   I tried to run again with Oscar two days later.  Same problem, and pain with every step throughout the day, especially on stairs.

So I rolled it.  Big mistake.  I made it angry.  Finally, I consulted Dr. Internet and realized that it was the start of bursitis, and instead of rolling out sore muscle tissue, I applied a significant (ahem!) amount of body weight on the bursa sac in my hip.

Oops!  My bad!

trochanteric hip bursitis

source

Disclaimer:  My ass is not this ridiculously tight

hip bursitis

source

Bursitis scares me.  It makes me think OLD, for some reason, maybe because it makes me think of bunions, which I know are totally unrelated.  Still, it just seems like an old person injury.

“Boys!  Bring me an icepack…my bursitis is killing me!”  See?

It also scares me because I know it’s one of those injuries that can quickly become chronic, and between you, me and the entire internet, I’ve got enough chronic pain with my plantar fasciitis (“Boys!  Bring me my frozen water bottle…my plantar fasciitis is killing me!”)

So I took a few more days off and tried to figure out what went wrong.  I knew that I’d pushed it with my lack of running, but please—after ten years of running, I know my running base and my injury inclinations, and my hips don’t get injured (they don’t lie either…wink!).

FINALLY I figured it out.  The problem was the waist leash I wear with Oscar!  I was wearing it too low across my hips…like an airplane seatbelt or this year’s Christmas cookies.  It was a trauma injury from where the belt smacked my side.

Adjustment made…now I wear it at belly level, where this year’s Christmas cookies also reside, but where there are no fluid-filled sacs.  Problem solved.  I also spent some extra time at the gym working on isolated hip strengthening exercises.

If you have bursitis or are trying to figure out hip issues and pain, here are a few great articles that I found helpful, including some exercises…and I found the single knee bend exercise to be very helpful and informative.

http://www.active.com/running/articles/5-common-hip-injuries-you-can-fix

http://www.rehab4runners.co.uk/running-injuries/hip-groin-pain/trochanteric-hip-bursitis/

http://getrunning.net/when-hip-bursitis-isnt-really-hip-bursitis

http://getrunning.net/this-simple-test-can-improve-your-running

http://fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/1662/recovering-from-trochanteric-hip-bursitis

Now I’m 100% and one week into my training for my next racing goal–the Heartland 39.3 Challenge.  It’s three half marathons in five weeks.  The first race is Rock the Parkway on April 12th.

I’m on the fence between Hal Higdon’s Intermediate and Advanced Half Marathon programs.  I want to run the most that I can in order to feel prepared, but the Advanced program calls for 6 days/week of running, and the first long run was 90 minutes with the last 1/4 at goal race pace, and my buddy Hal said you should finish feeling refreshed, not fatigued.  Um, right.  I decided to run 6 miles slow and 2 at close to goal pace, which ended up being around 9:25 for the slow part and 8:45 for the last two miles (my legs were getting tired and I was running into hurricane-force winds.)  I ended up stopping at 1:16 and figure that’s good enough for Week One.  I also took the next day off because my legs felt like they needed it.  I’ll try to do the full 6-day program next week.

If you’ve stuck with this long post, thanks for reading and not giving up on this post or on me!  I am so glad to be back writing, and I’ve missed you!

What I’m running to:  Psylla by Glass Animals, Shake Your Body Down to the Ground by the Jacksons

Pain, Embarrassment and Toxic Exposure in 1.67 Miles

I am now signed up for the Waddell and Reed half marathon on October 19th, and my  12-week training starts next week.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided to go with Hal Higdon’s Intermediate program.  He got me through my first marathon, and so I think he must be a god.

I’m debating training paces and goal times in my head, and I’m basically all over the place, which is kind of how I roll these days in general.  Anything over 2:00 for the race will probably result in heavy drinking and self-flagellation.  No question.  

A 1:55 is the most reasonable target, I think.  It would not be a PR, but it seems closer to my best possible time at this stage, since I have not been running too fast and since I no longer do CrossFit, which I think helped me run faster back in the day (the bursts of the WODs and their high intensity were much like interval training.)

I decided to head out yesterday to do some speedwork–5 x 400m repeats.  I’m scheduled to start running them next week, and I wanted to see if 1:55 was a manageable pace for them.  I mapped out a straight 400m section in our neighborhood and jogged a leisurely warmup to my designated spot.

I should mention at this point that I woke up Monday morning (an off day for exercise) feeling like I was developing a urinary tract infection (UTI).  Men, imagine the end of your penis constantly burning and a sensation of needing to pee every two minutes.  You want to go to the bathroom constantly because you have this strong need to go to try and get rid of the burning feeling and sensation of fullness, but it hurts when you do (and when you don’t).

Genius that I am, I didn’t think it would affect my running.  Dork that I am, even if I had thought it would affect my running, I would have given it a try anyway.

Imagine my dismay when I approached my starting point and saw a posse of construction workers about halfway down my 400m stretch, standing around doing nothing.  Apparently the city is repaving one of the side streets in the neighborhood, and this group of guys must have been in between duties (I am not going to be rude and make snarky comments about how many men have to stand around doing nothing on the taxpayers’ dime.  Surely they were just waiting for something to dry/cure/arrive.)

And me in my hot pink tank.  Oh dear.  If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s folk music Honey Boo Boo social conservatives attention.  Could there be anything more embarrassing than me flailing by these men at what I consider breakneck speed, wheezing for air with my boat-sized feet flapping out to the sides while not even running the equivalent of an 8:00 mile?  I think not.

Further, the smell of tar was everywhere.  It was noxious, and it permeated the air, hanging there about head high just waiting to bury itself into my cilia the moment I took a big honking death gasp.

And I’m going to run by these guys five times (and jog back by them five more) for my first speedwork session in close to 10 months?  While giving cancer a personal invitation into my body?

I decided that I was not about that scene and fled, choosing instead to just turn my run into a 4-miler.  Easy and productive, right?

UTI = UT OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

Ladies, I have advice for you.  If you have a UTI, don’t run.  Don’t even try.  That feeling of pain and burning is magnified by 1,000 when you run.  Every time my feet hit the asphalt, I felt like I was going to pee spicy salsa or straight-up acid.  

I tried to stick it out–I did.  But after 1.67 miles, I realized that I wasn’t doing my body or my running any favors, and nobody was around to hand out medals for toughness.  I walked home and drank approximately 50 gallons of water to try and make enough urine to flush the demons or at least cut down the level of pain.

I am headed to the doctor today, conveniently enough, for other issues, but my first act shall be to grab him by his coat and shake some Cipro right out of him.  Then I will mention the bald spot on my left temple and the fact that I am gaining weight at an unprecedented pace.  Then I shall shake a thyroid test out of him lickety split–perhaps a tough task given that he tested my thyroid back in October and it came back as a top performer.

Sorry for the TMI…this balding weight-gaining hurting chick has no filter today.  Hopefully I will be back to running pain- and construction worker- free soon!  And BTW, a big thank you to those who left comments and good wishes on my anniversary post.  I appreciated them very much!

Happy running!