Saturday, September 5, 2015

Getting down to the nitty gritty!!!

As you can see , I have posted a countdown now to the NYC marathon!  Getting down to the nitty gritty now.  Am I getting nervous?   You bet I am.  I think my biggest fear right now, is something unforeseen happening, like an illness or an injury that would sideline me.  I am thinking positive, but I can't seem to stop these thoughts from entering my little brain..most people experience this I would think.

Three weeks ago I traveled to Detroit to do my scheduled 20-miler on the trail with my bestest running friend, Lisa.  For this venture I purchased a Nathan hydration vest/backpack.  The jury is still out on how I liked it.  Took quite a bit of adjusting, as the backpack seemed to lay to far down my back and pulled on my shoulders.  Lisa did some tucks with safety pins and it felt better, but still not real comfortable.  However it was nice to have a drink whenever I needed without having to carry a handheld or something around my waist, both of which I have used in the past and not with very much success.  Anyway, we set out around 8:30 in the morning, looking like we were going out on an expedition according to one observer.  The gentleman was a biker and Lisa said " Well we are going for a 20-mile run"  I think he was suitably chagrined to have mentioned anything!  I usually use Jeff Galloway's run/walk method, but not really necessary here as the trail kept me stopping anyway.  I have run one trail before and I really loved it.  It was full of roots and hills, but not that many other obstacles other then having to move off the trail for the bikers, but for whatever reason, I did not do as well this time.  To get in the 20 miles we had to do the trail twice.  I fell near the end of the first loop around, just a couple bruised knees and scraped elbow...nothing broken, like the wrist last August thank goodness.  When we finished the first 10 and were taking a rest at the car Lisa asked if I wanted to continue with the trail or go on a more tame 10-miler, but I opted for doing the trail again. Really pooped out the second time around.  At times I did not think I would finish, but once you are out there whatcha gonna do???  Not much choice but to keep going.  A LOT of walking this time.  but we finished.  I could not wait to get the backpack off!  I think it took like 7 hours, which is awful time, but Lisa kept reminding me it was a trail and it was hot an humid.  We rested a little, I had a Diet Coke, some fruit and some nuts...( we also each had a beer)  don't tell we were in a public park!  On the way home in the car this feeling washed over me and I said to Lisa, you are going to have to pull over I think I am going to be sick.  I did not get sick, but had to get out of the car and just had to lie down on the can imagine what cars thought that were driving by!!!  Probably thought Lisa had hit me with the car!  I knew I would be alright, this happens to me sometimes when I run a long distance and I recover and I did , in about 15 minutes.  I don't know why this happens, I stayed hydrated, we rested , ate and drank afterwards and I was fine up until that ride home.

Now tomorrow I am scheduled for a 23- miler.  I am doing this here in my town, not wearing backpack, will be able to stop off at home for refreshment or run into a local store if not near home.  Supposed to be really hot and humid though, so planning on leaving early.  I will do what I can and if it isn't 23 miles I still have about 7 weeks until the marathon.  My head is going to be the problem tomorrow......I kind of get those negative thoughts when I start tiring.  You all know those thoughts...".You can't do this, your back hurts, you can't do anything right"  Yeah well...yes I can , so there!!!!!!

I will try to be better about writing my progress up to the marathon.

Above is a portion of the trail and below that evening, which was much more fun!!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My road to NYC!

Okay, I just hit a button  on my computer and my whole post disappeared , I had just written that I woke up in a funk  and that little incident did not help my , already not so great, mood!  How does one wake up in a bad mood?  Could be because I overslept , by just enough, to not be able to get my run in.  That always irritates me, I never use an alarm, just wake up when I should, usually!  My kind of weather too, love the heat, even the humidity.  I know, I know, I am one of those weird personalities that thrive in this kind of weather.  When others are running for the air conditioning I am sitting in the sun, or on the front porch , reading a book.  If I run early in the morning, I love the feeling when I get home with sweat streaming down my back....I feel energized.  Definitely live in the wrong part of the country, where 6 of our months are winter, but maybe if I had this weather all the time I would not enjoy it as much.

I am now training for the NYC marathon on November 1.  Never thought I would contemplate running another marathon, but NYC is one that I have always wanted to do, so I went for it.  Did not get picked for the lottery, so I am running with team in training for leukemia, lymphoma, blood disease.  Make' this marathon even more  important to me.  I have a coworker who is a survivor and expecting his 3rd child in a month or two and my best friend's sister passed away from a form of leukemia a year or so ago.  For the first time , I am training with the Jeff Galloway walk/run method.  With the longer distances this is the only way I will make it to the end.  When I first started this method I felt like I was cheating with the walk breaks, but hey I will cover those 26.2 miles exactly like the winner of the marathon will....just a "tad" slower!! Like they say, "a mile is a mile, is a mile" My training has been going pretty well.  Had a 17 miler this past Sunday.  Did great until around mile 13, then I started to wear down.  It was hot, but that usually doesn't bother me.  My back was really hurting, I had to keep stopping to try and stretch it out or something, but nothing worked, so walked a lot the last 4 miles, but I did get it done.  The good news was that I had no cramping.  I have been having trouble with my calves cramping around mile 9, but I avoided that particular pleasure this time anyway.  I really think it is the walk breaks that are helping me with the cramping problem.  One of the aspects of Jeff Galloway marathon training is that it is a long program, that being said, I have 2 weeks now of low mileage , my next long run will be 20 miles, but the recovery weeks really help and he only has you run twice a week for at least 30 minutes.  This sounds like it would not be enough, but it really works!  I do some cross training, like weights and I go to the gym and do the bike for 1/2 an hour, but I am not as consistent at that as I should be.  I cannot do the 5-7 day a week running as I could in my younger years, just can't do it, so this is working great for me.

Ran the Cedar Point Run and Ride half marathon again in June, did okay, enough to place 2nd in age group (don't ask how many in age group, LOL)  hey, it's an accomplishment to be running at 65, right???  right????  Planning on running another half in September, not sure which one yet and the Columbus Oh. Half in October.

I am going to try and keep up with my blog for now on.  We'll see how that works out.  I try!!!

I will be posting a lot more about my NYC venture, but here is a link to my fundraising page!  We want to cure this disease in our lifetime.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Perseverance Pays Off!

Traveled to Columbus, Ohio this weekend to run the Columbus Marathon/Half Marathon.  I have been having problems with my calves cramping during the last miles, so the last few weeks have been spent trying to figure out a cure for this problem.  Of course, if you look it up on Google , runner's world etc. you get all kinds of reasons that this may be happening.  I decided to do 2 things, roll my calves several times a day with my "stick" and up my potassium consumption.  I had no idea that the  daily amount of potassium was 4700mg!  Yikes!  I was no where close to that!  Thought it was worth a I have been eating sweet potatoes , white potatoes all baked and making sure to eat the skins.  Upped my yogurt consumption, bananas, apples.  I still wasn't getting the whole amount, but certainly was better than before.  The stick is no treat either, man thats hurts!  I found a couple of places on my calves that were really knotted and worked on these, again, figured it couldn't hurt.  I've been drinking my water, cutting down on the Diet Coke...And, bought a pair of compression sleeves , I read they might help also, something has got to help, right? Unfortunately, I haven't been running as much as I should have been though, a couple of short runs during the week and maximum 8 mile long runs on weekends, since my last half almost a month ago, some weeks I only ran once during the week and the long run.  Was not feeling real confident.  The race started at 7:30 in downtown Columbus.  We were staying with friends, about a half hour drive away from downtown, left about 5:30 and they dropped my husband and I off around 6.  It was chilly, about 48 at 6.  Not too many people there yet,  I love early starts for races, but in these bigger ones, where you have to get there so early to find parking etc, kind of a pain killing all that time, especially when it is kinda cold.  However, no lines at the porta-pottys!!   We walked around and around and around.....sat on the curb for awhile, I checked out the corrals, had our pictures taken a few times.  Finally I decided I might as well get to my corral.  They would not let anyone, besides runners in the corrals so my husband and I parted ways.  There were 4 corrals, I was in the last one of course.  All I kept saying in my head was, Please don't let me get cramps, please don't let me get cramps.  I had been standing for so long that my hips started aching and then it seemed like everything was aching!  Squatting seemed to relieve the aching, so I kept doing squats periodically.  Still dark out and cold, but wait, I think they are starting the National Anthem, thank goodness!  They also had was cool!!!!!   However, that was for the first wave of corrals A and B...darn!   About 20 minutes later they sang the anthem again and more fireworks and we were on our way.  I felt really stiff and the backs of my legs were aching, but that happens frequently when I start off, unfortunately this would be my state for the whole race!  Bright spot...... , I would say between miles one and two I kept thinking I heard my name being called.  I thought I was hallucinating because I didn't know anyone in Columbus.  Looked to my right and there was one of my best friends in the world holding a sign and yelling my name!  Her daughter was also running the half.  I knew her daughter was running, but we don't live close anymore and I had no idea that she was going to the race to watch her daughter.  Almost made me cry.  I have never had a sign held for me!   I have to admit that I did not notice too much of the scenery.  I was really feeling rotten, my back hurt, my legs ached, I had the wooden feet feeling and I was maybe at mile 5, a long way to go! All I kept thinking is that I cannot walk this whole darn thing, it will take me forever!  I tried to look around and take in the surroundings, but my mind was really playing games with me today, things like just sit down and call your friends to come get you, you are such a loser, your legs are gonna cramp up any second now! the next aid station I took a salted caramel GU, which are wonderful by the way, and decided to suck it up!  Started running more, walking less, I could not seem to increase my speed though.  Did start to notice where I was running, ran past Capital University, some really beautiful neighborhoods, parks.  I have to say the crowd support was phenomenal.  I have run In Cleveland and Detroit and although I enjoy both of those, Columbus had the best crowd support!  It was constant throughout the whole 13.1.  A couple of signs that caught my eye were "  You are running better than our government"   " My mother made me sit out here with this stupid sign and where are you going anyway?"  " You feeling lousy?  you PAID to do this!" I was still struggling, but all of sudden is was mile 8 and I started to think I was going to finish after all.  I had been trying to stick with the 3 hour pace people, but by this time they were way ahead of me.  That is how slow I was going.  Right foot started cramping and I am thinking oh no, here we go.  I just kept on doing what I was doing, run a minute, walk a minute and then Mile 9, 10, 11, 12 and finally approaching the end.  There was a mile marker for 13, but I have never run such a long .1 before!  I thought the finish line was never  be in sight, but suddenly there it was and I had done it and did not get calf cramps!  I don't know if it was because I was going slower than usual or my pre race routine the weeks before, all I know is that I did not get the terrible cramps.  Finished in 3:13 something, which considering how bad I felt, I was kind of happy with that.  I really thought it was going to be worse than that.  Actually out of the 4 Halfs I have done since June, this was my best time.  Has not been a great year for time this year.  Came in 61 out of 96 in my age group.    I hope this doesn't sound like boasting, but I learned a lot about myself, I can do more than I think I can and I am not a quitter!!!!!!  The statement on the shirt and medal was quite appropos for me this year!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Running over 60 and with a broken wing!

I have not blogged again in a few months.   I think about it a lot and then I just don't blog.  If I were better at expressing myself, it would be much easier.

I have run two half marathons since my last posting and I also broke my wrist!  Out running early one morning in August, it was really dark, I tripped over absolutely nothing!  In fact, I fell twice that morning.  The first time I just brushed myself off and started running again, the second time I wasn't quite that fortunate.  As I was going down , I am thinking to myself  "okay this is my second fall this morning, I am going to call it quits"  Trying to stop myself, I, Of course, put my hands out, landed on my hands, scraped up a knee, nothing really unusual for a runner, right?  As I was walking home, I kind of figured I may have done something a little more serious this time.  Arrived home, my husband was still sleeping, woke him up and told him that I was going to walk over to the ER as I thought I may have done something to my wrist ( we live a few blocks from the hospital).  As luck would have it 6:00 a.m. must be a good time to go the ER as no one was ahead of me..  x-rays taken, and sure enough I had broken the wrist.  They just wrapped it well and told me to call an orthopedic doctor when I got home.  This was a Thursday, so I called and they wanted to see me right away, husband drove me, Dr. looked at x-ray and wrist and suggested surgery!  I was quite surprised by this, figured they would put on a cast and I would be on my way.  Had surgery the next day, put in a plate to hold everything together.  A week later I go back and they remove wrapping and just give me a brace, no cast at all.  First question I ask is if I can still run....the Dr. kind of shrugs and says " I guess, as long as you aren't doing a marathon or something"....I didn't say "No, not a marathon, just a half"  So, I started walking at first, at a very brisk pace and when that didn't seem to bother me I started running again, albeit very cautiously!  I am still timid about running in the dark.  My training certainly did take a hit, but I had already registered for 2 half marathons in September and I wanted to give it a try.

Run Woodstock Half marathon in Hell, Mi.  Sept. 5

My friend lives in Detroit and has been after me to try a trail.  I have never run on trails and having just broken my wrist I was a little apprehensive, but she assured me that we would go really slow and I would be fine.  I am so glad that I did it!  What an experience, I absolutely loved it!  It stormed like crazy the night before and we were afraid that the trail may be really slippery with mud, but for some unknown reason the course seemed to not have as much rain as we had thought.  The first few miles were rail trail, so it wasn't paved really, but it wasn't trail either.  I didn't feel too good at first, had trouble breathing right and getting a rhythm, but started to get into it.  After a few miles we veered off into the woods and this is where the fun began!   It was quiet and peaceful.  My friend ran ahead and warned me of roots and rocks that I may trip over.  Running the trail is so different.  I just didn't care how fast I was going or how many miles I had run.  There were trees to be jumped or climbed over, hills to ascend, mud that wanted to suck my shoes off and so serene and quiet and breathtaking at times.  At one point we were in this forest of pines, it felt like I were in a cathedral, pine needles muffling are steps, sun filtering through, it was breathtaking!  At one point I question my friend on whether we would be going back out on the trail, when she said No, I was so happy, I could have stayed in there for a long time.  We were starting to hear music and voices, so knew it was coming to an end.  I think this is the first time that I was not begging for the finish line.  It was amazing.  It did take a long time, 4 hours, but that was what my friend had predicted, because of my wrist, and never having had run trails before, there was a lot of walking going on.  You know, even with the 4 hours time I was not last in my age group!  I would say , it was almost a life-altering experience and I am sold on trails!  Now all I have to do is find trails!

This is this pic!

Mighty Niagara Half  Marathon , Lewiston, N.Y.  Sept. 20

A few weeks later I am on the half marathon trail again, only this time it isn't a trail, darn!  I ran this half last year also and it poured rain the entire time.  This time it was a beautiful day.  I really didn't go into this half with any expectations because I just have not been training as I should.  Partly because of my fear of running in the dark still and I am definitely a morning runner and part laziness.  This is a really nice race, very flat and beautiful scenery again.  The half follows the Niagara River below the Falls.  Beautiful , huge homes, the leaves were just beginning to turn.  Ran through a couple small , quaint towns and I was feeling okay, not great, but okay.  Ran very slowly and used a walk/run.... I felt pretty good though, up until mile 10 and my foot started to cramp and then the calves again!  Just like my Cedar Point Half!  As soon as I would start to run I could feel the calves starting to cramp up, so I just walked the last 3 miles.  I came as close as I ever have to DNF, but I talked myself out of it and just kept going, but I was disappointed.  I don't know what to do about these calves.  Now, the trail race did not bother me at all, probably because we walked so much, not sure.  It was still fun, but feeling a bit discouraged.

Okay, I am doing another Half this coming weekend in Columbus Oh.  Yes, I am a glutton for punishment!  Just hoping the calf problem doesn't rear it's ugly head this time.  Just not sure what I am doing or not doing that I am being plagued by this, so it makes it hard to predict.

Wish me luck!

Okay, I feel like an idiot!  Just realized that I had already posted a RR about my trail run.  The memory is the first to go, right?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Running to Hell and back! Michigan that is! Running Woodstock

I had the most awesome experience this weekend!  Ran my first ever trail and it was a Half Marathon.

Been quite lax in blogging.  I fell, which running, almost a month ago now and broke my left wrist.  Not fun, but it is healing nicely.  Surgery to put in a plate to hold everything together, so I have no cast, which is great, all I wear is a brace that I can remove when I want.  The last Dr's appointment I had, I asked the Dr. if I could run and he said " I guess so, as long as you aren't running a marathon or something!"  He didn't say Half Marathon!  Broken wrist has slowed me down even more and threw me off my training schedule, but about a week after the incident I started running/walking, more walking than running, but I am improving again.  Still a little fearful of falling again, hopefully I will get over that.
Anyway, I was registered for this trail race before and I really wanted to do it, as I have never run a trail before.  My running friend in Detroit loves trails and she has been after me to run a race with her.  So I packed my bags and traveled to Detroit on Friday.  We drove to near Hell, Mi to pick up our packets.  The race is Run Woodstock and including a 100K, 100 miler, 50 miler, marathon, half marathon and a 5k ( I think I got that right).  It really was a big field, people camp for the entire weekend if they want.  Families are there for their 100k, 100 and 50 mile runners ( I can't even imagine).  60's music being played by live bands, it was great.  Headed back to Detroit and kept hearing dire messages of really bad weather rolling in.  It started raining some before were arrived back to the house.  It did storm, but not too badly where we were, but power was out in a lot of Detroit that night.  Went to bed early, but kept waking up and hearing rain, ugh!  Got up for good about 4:30 a.m. and it was still raining,although not too badly.  Left for the race at 5:30, race start was 7:30.  Arrived and it had stopped raining and it didn't seem like they had been hit too badly by the storm, temps were probably in the upper 50's and overcast..  As usual, I was getting apprehensive as I always do before a race, thinkng this is going to be the race that I DNF.  I don't have trail shoes and I was a little afraid of falling.  The atmosphere was much different that that of a big city race, everyone seemed so laid back and friendly.  Not that runners aren't friendly at all races, this was just different.  I began to relax, feeling absolutely no pressure to run for a PR , just to have a good time and experience the trail.  We started
right on time and Lisa predicted our time to be 4 hours ( I told you we were going to go slow)  The first 5 1/2 miles were on like crushed stone and like a road, but no traffic and out in the country, not woods yet, but definitely not city, no mile markers, I didn't wear my garmin to check time or anything.  Did a lot of walking in the early stages, I wasn't "feelin it"  just felt draggy and had trouble getting my breathing right, no idea why.  So glad that I was running with a friend, nice to have someone to talk with and she is a seasoned trail runner.  Lisa was convinced that I have not been fueling or hydrating correctly, so she was going to remind me when to take a drink and when to have a snack!  GU every hour, other snack on the half hour and sips of gatorade whenever.  I admit that I am not consistent during my long runs with the fueling. It really didn't seem to be too long before we came to the turn around.

On the trail they just trust that you will obey the rules, to to the turn around and turn around!  There is not one there to surpervise.  Not too long after we turned around we were directed to the right, not by a human, but by a blue flag, and into the woods.  At first, it was just so different for me, single file, dirt path, so quiet, there really was no one around us running, just Lisa and me.  Out there all you can really hear is your breathing and the sound of your feet hitting the path.  I was a little leery, trying not to think about falling again, but Lisa was running ahead of me and warning me of rocks or roots that might trip me up.  I think we really started running more on the path then we were out on the "road", You could hear if a runner was coming up behind you so you could move and let them pass....every single person who passed yelled out " good job" or something similar, even though they had probably been out running for hours before we were.  Eventually we came to my first fallen tree across the path, one of many to follow.
 Not difficult to get over, just something else I was not used to doing.  Hills followed, walked all the hills and sometimes going down was more difficult than going up!  It felt like I was going to topple over on the way down some of the hills, besides being a little slippery.  The hills did not tire me as much as I thought that they would though. Then came the mud:
Now this was a  little more difficult to maneuver!  So afraid of slipping and falling.  Pretty much we tried to skirt the edges.  One time I had to grab onto a tree trunk and kind of swing myself over.  At time it felt like the mud was going to suck the shoes right off your feet!  We made it though.  All the while though you just had to take in how beautiful and quiet it was out there..  I noticed a runner ahead of us on the path and though it looked so neat, that I had Lisa take this picture of me
.  A lot more trees to get over.  At one point, I guess I was getting tired, we came to another tree to climb over and I just stopped and started laughing, like I just can't go over another tree!  I wasn't discouraged or anything, it just struck me funny.  I have to add here that Lisa has been making me take my GU and snacks on schedule and , I have to admit, I believe it helped.  You know what else was great for me?  Having no idea how fast I was going or how many miles I had run!

We did come to a small clearing and it was a shock to see the sunshine and realize how really bright it was out after being in the woods for so long.  I asked Lisa if we would ever get back on the road during the race and she said No.  I was so glad, loved being in there!  We were getting closer to the end at this point and entered an area of tall pines!  It was breathtaking!  These huge, pines all together.  Lisa kept mentioning the pines and I didn't understand her fascination until that point.  Now I know.  It was like being in Church, but better, much better.  The floor of the woods was just covered in pine needles and it was so soft.  We ran there for quite a while and kind of circled around to come back through.  We could hear music now so we were getting near the end and, I have to say, until that point I wasn't really anxious for it to come to an end.  Once I heard the music it was like my body said, ok you are getting tired.  We came out of the pine woods and there was a volunteer there and said we had less than a mile to go!  Finally we came out of the woods and approached the finish line.
Started running a little fast, so fast that our friend waiting at the finish took this picture
Lisa said we were going so fast the picture is blurred!  Yeah, right!  But notice I have a smile on my face.  We finished in 4:01!  Almost exactly what Lisa predicted!  I have to say that I have never felt so good throughout a full race and at the end.  Of course it is because I did a lot of walking, but I still felt like I had accomplished another feat....a trail!    In fact, now I feel pretty badass, or as a friend of mine posted on facebook, you are a tough old bird!  I think that it is a compliment!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In praise of my running friends!

Feel the need to give tribute to my wonderful running sisters, half of whom I have not ever met face to face!  First and foremost, I have to mention Kelly.  Kelly was the person who introduced me to this madness called running.  It was back in the 70's, she was a runner, I was not.   I was an aerobic dancer at the time, taking classes at a Health Spa, said Spa went bankrupt.  Kelly had been trying to get me into running, so I thought "what the heck".  I had no running shoes, no nothing, so I pulled on my reeboks and tried this running thing.  It was awful!  I couldn't even make it around the darn block.  Kelly kept me going, telling me that's ok, that is how everyone starts.  I only worked until noon those days, I had 2 small children, so every day , after work, I would lace up those reeboks and try to run.  Sure enough, little by little I was able to go further and further.  The first time that I thought I went about a mile without stopping I called Kelly at work, I was so excited.  Mind you, I had no watch or anything, just was guesstimating how far I had gone.  So...that was it, I was hooked.  Kelly talked me into the St. Patricks Day 10K run in Kansas City a few months later, she kept telling me "if you can run 3 miles, you can run 6!"  Yeah, right!  But you know what?  I did!  Ran that 10K in 1 hour flat...10 minute miles.  I owe all this to Kelly!  We have since lost touch, but I did track her down , 30 years later, after I ran my one and only marathon (so far).  I had to let her know what she had done to me!  Kelly isn't running anymore, due to knee issues, which is too bad.

Jumping ahead, quite a few years, another Friend of mine, Cathy, has a daughter who runs.  Cathy invited me to go to Florida to run with her daughter in a 15K race at Disney.  The furthest I had ever run is that 10K, I mean that wasn't the last time I ran 6 miles, but 6 or 7 miles was my limit, I never pushed myself to go any further.  But who passes up a trip to Disney?  Not me!  So............posted on a blog at the Runners World website, women runners over 40.  Posting the question," Can I run a 15K in a few weeks, if the furthest I have ever run is 7 miles?"  The resounding response was " of course you can!"  And , of course, I did!  In the years since, these ladies from this forum, have encouraged me to push myself even more...first the half marathon and then the marathon.  We have been together through, death of parents, spouses, and numerous more joyous occasions and the thread that binds us and keeps us sane is this crazy thing called running.  We are there  for one another.  Some of these wonderful ladies I have not even met, but it doesn't matter, we have formed a bond now that , I don't believe, will be know who you are ladies, let's keep on running!  My non-running friends also, encourage me make me accountable!  When I say I have registered for a Half Marathon, you better believe I am going to run it, barring any disaster .  I have even inspired a couple of them to become runners themselves, which is all the better.   I don't know where I would be without all those wonderful people!  Thank you!