all the pretty races

For the last few years, I’ve packed my schedule with races.  Whether it was spring (one or two in the winter) or fall, I attempted to fill it with as many as I could afford.  All with the thought/plan to “REALLY train this time around” and make those PR’s happen.

this is how I feel about a PR…

This wasn’t the case.  And with each race there were a few more aches and pains because all too many times I didn’t quite prepare as much as I should have.

I decided to be slightly more realistic this year.  I did sign up for a mid-winter race and realized this was dumb and didn’t end up doing it.  Aside from that delusional moment, I did fairly well.  I signed up for the 5k/10k back to back in June with a 1/2 marathon the following weekend.

I trashed my knee (my poor patella) with some serious slanted sidewalk during that 5k/10k.  This race is HARD.  There is a reason the quote is “The Thrill, The Will, The Hill”.  The hill is a freakin’ beast.  I climbed it once during the 10k, a 2nd time to get to the 5k start and then a 3rd time because I decided parking near the start was a better idea than near the finish line.  Must learn for next time!

this race kicks my trash - every time.
this race kicks my trash – every time.

The 1/2 was a great time as I was able to escape “up North” –  Michandger speak anytime you head to the Northern part of Michigan.  It was in stunningly beautiful Charlevoix (go there – it’s listed as one of the most beautiful places to visit).  The race is really fun, has some sweet swag, an awesome medal and the course is nice.  I was worried about my knee but it wasn’t terribly bothersome.  Because of my lack of training, my goal was to hit under the 3 hr mark.  I did just this – yay!  Not to mention, I got to go with a great friend for a mini-break.

the front has the MI symbol on it and then on the back in the lower corner is Charlevoix piece. I did it.
the front has the MI symbol on it and then on the back in the lower corner is Charlevoix piece. I did it.
this medal is awesome! the bridge pieces go up and down!
this medal is awesome! the bridge pieces go up and down!

After this, it was onto France and then immediately back to work.  This is also when I dabbled/half decided to sign up for the marathon.  At this point, I had plans to sign up for two 1/2 marathons to help with marathon training along with my favorite 5k/10k Peacock Strut combo.

Despite signing up for the Peacock Strut and picking up my shirt, I woke up the next day with no desire to run.  I skipped it.  I still don’t regret it.  I also didn’t end up signing up for the 1/2 marathons and instead went to NY to visit my brother where I ran the Bronx 5k – a much better and more fun decision!

me and my little bro running the Bronx 5k!
me and my little bro running the Bronx 5k!

Suddenly October rolled around (I have no concept of time right now) and I ran three races – whoa!  The first was an impromptu 5 miler in Indiana with one of my great gal pals.  It was a very small, local race, which I always enjoy.  My knee was painful and stiff.  I couldn’t run the whole time (I added in some walk breaks).  It definitely made me nervous as the marathon was looming.  M and I stuck together and without her I would’ve walked a lot more.  Once again, I need to up my mental game.

Next up, the Detroit Marathon – have I mentioned this?!

Lastly, the weekend following the marathon was the Campus Classic here on campus.  I wasn’t sure I was going to do it, since you know, I could barely walk.  The Campus Classic is the first race I ever did.  I’ve told the story a couple of times here and I’ve never missed a race since.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to run it, which was a bummer but against my better judgement, I walked it.  The first mile was in the 17 min mile range.  I was being careful of my knee.  After I heard the time, I decided to screw my knee and the aftermath, I wanted to be done – faster.  I started focusing on catching people.  The second mile was in the 16 min pace and the last was a 15 min pace.  I was quite pleased with the negative splits, although the not so nice voice in my head provided some disparaging remarks regarding my overall time.  My friend used her real life voice to knock some sense into me.  Another race in the books!

probably my final campus classic -
probably my final campus classic

I don’t see the local Turkey Trot in my future.  I’m not sure if I’ve missed one since I started running though… if it does happen it will be another walking race.  I need to keep reminding myself that recovery is front and center.  Remind me of this if I start any crazy talk pretty please!

One last thing!  My medal for the 2,015 miles in 2015 came in the mail the other day – a lovely piece of hardware!

2,015 in 2015
the lighting sucks in my apt – there are some cute mountains in there, too!

stomachs have feelings too

Happy Halloweenie!  Did I do anything fancy pants last night?  Ummm… no.  Why?  Because my stomach is a horrible organ conspiring against me.

I’ve called my stomach a number of unpleasant names – on this forum, to my friends and family and simply while talking to myself in my apartment.  Things like, jerk face, brat, the “mean girl” of my organs and then some other names I won’t recount here.  Right now, I am cursing my stomach like a sailor.  I feel like I’m back to where I was a year ago and it is not only exhausting but highly frustrating.

The thing is, I know I haven’t given my stomach a fighting chance and it is rebelling.  I’ve hurt its feelings.  I think of this as a “flare-ups” and this is the worst case in duration and pain-wise in months.  It is absolutely stress related and I am basically a cortisol dumping ground.  You know how I keep mentioning work craziness?  Currently, one of my supervisees got a new job so I’ve been doing most of his job for the last month and half.  Then one of my other supervisees was out for two and 1/2 weeks on medical leave so I’ve been doing chunks of her job as well.  This is all in addition to still fulfilling the expectations of my position.  Oh and coordinating three large programs.

My stomach/health are on the ol’ chopping block at this point.  I eat Pepto chewables a couple of times per day in addition to my prescription stomach meds to help ease the nausea/bloating.  I come home mentally beat and anxiety-ridden so sleep is hard to come by.  I’m back to sleeping with the tv on or I won’t sleep at all.  I haven’t done laundry in ages and I am short-tempered and irritable.  This was by far the worst week since I had to step up my game on one aspect of a large project and it was the day of reckoning for one of the larger events.  Everyday is a new day of trying not to vomit.  Last week I had a migraine and then during the weekend and into Monday I had the stomach flu.  Yesterday, my stomach seemed to give up on me again and I was down for the count.

this is absolutely how I depict my stomach

To make matters worse, I don’t feel I am doing quality work with any of these jobs.  I am really struggling with this aspect as I’ve worked diligently at conquering some of my administrative inadequacies.  Not to mention, I often feel like I’m neglecting my other three supervisees who need me.  As the name of my blog implies, all of the above is a recipe for disaster for yours truly.

In other health news, I’ve had this strange obsession with sucking on ice.  As in, I “eat” (I don’t chew ice – this makes my teeth cringe) but I down large cupfuls a few times per day.  It’s been going on for at least 3 weeks now and progressively getting more intense.  It’s SO WEIRD!  I even bought my own mini-ice machine!  Then there is the problem of me almost passing out in the mornings.  It was happening once or twice a week and then this past week it was four times.  Naturally I used my best computer/ER watching skills and scoured the internets.  Obsession with ice and the passing out piece are symptoms of iron deficiency!  Odd, right?  I also started eating a banana within the first 10 minutes of waking up to make sure my blood sugar isn’t too low.

As I overheard this little 4(ish) year old say in the grocery store the other day, “I’m a hot mess”.  I think I’ve done a decent job up until this last week of keeping it together in public.  Some of the frazzle came to the surface this week.  It’s important to say, my supervisors have worked to find a replacement for the vacancy and this person officially starts Monday.  So while I still need to do the training, I think in two weeks I should be less inclined to carry emergency Pepto chewables for my poor nervous tummy.  My medical leave supervisee is also returning on Tuesday so this will help as well.

silver lining?

I also turn to sugar in times of distress.  I’m working on this one since I know it’s detrimental.  I haven’t worked out officially in almost two weeks due to my knee, so to the treadmill for some walking is in order.  I know these will help calm my stomach issues but it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I kind of thought I was done with the really bad flare-ups.  I do understand it could be worse.  Nevertheless, constantly feeling like you want to puke your guts out and not sure if you should eat or not eat (I never know which one will make me feel better.  Again.) and having your stomach blow up like a balloon about to pop makes me dog-tired.

I’m not sure if I am done whining/sharing about this.  My tummy hasn’t been great since August but beginning Sept 25th all hell broke loose.  So, it’s one day at a time over here in Michigan and reminding myself if I can get through 14-15 miles on a knee not working properly I can get through this.  And I’ve  done it before.  Now time to shove some iron down my throat, practice my calming exercises and try to get back to a routine.  I can do it.

a good reminder
a good reminder 

my detroit 26.2 recap… I cried triumphant tears.

Settle in… Are you ready for this?  I crossed the finish line.  I completed my 4th marathon.

Detroit marathon

Let’s get down to business.  I took Friday off from work to mentally prep for the weekend ahead and to rest my legs.  Saturday morning I woke up with a wicked headache.  I mean, the start of a migraine and it freaked me out since I had a drive ahead of me.  Then I also started to get really nauseated.  I’m certain it was all stress related so I tried to nip the headache away along with the tummy troubles and I managed to only be behind by about an hour or so.  The drive to Detroit was also weighing on my mind as drivers there and along the way take no mercy.  The speed limit is 70, I drive 75, maybe 78 and I get passed like I’m going 50.  Scary.

I arrived safely and found the expo easily enough (thank you GPS!).  Parking was a whopping $10 in the garage but finding parking on the street would be silly.  My trepidation grew as I climbed the stairs to the expo and then it greeted me with open arms!  Bib pick up was first and I immediately considered mine a good omen.  It was blue, my favorite color and my age was part of my bib number.  I then purchased the following sweatshirt:

the magic sweatshirt
the magic sweatshirt

This is important as it plays a role in my finishing this race.

The expo was larger and it dawned on me how big this race was.  Also, I realized this was my first non-specialty race – I’ve only done the Nike Women’s marathon, the Disney full and then the Dopey.  I don’t know why, but this felt different.  A bunch of places were selling these throw away gloves because it was going to be 35* at the start.  I caved.

runner girl detroit gloves

My right knee has been hurting me since June (well, off and on for some time before this actually) when I ran the duo 5k/10k on the slanted sidewalk.  There was a sports PT person there and I had him tape up my knee – my pesky patella. It felt better (driving over had aggravated it) and stabilized.

pretty tape always saves the day
pretty tape always saves the day

My hotel room sucked.  I learned the shower head didn’t work, so a bit of sponge bath was needed in the morning.  It wasn’t all the way clean and there was shenanigans the whole night through from other guests.  It was only a mile away from the race start though so I pushed those concerns aside.  Since I gave up gluten I can’t figure out a good pre-race meal and I chose this:

umm... yes, this is a cheese covered omelette...
umm… yes, this is a cheese covered omelette…

Bad idea.  Why didn’t I just put a lead ball in my gut and call it good?!

Race morning.  I woke up on time, got dressed in my splendid new compression tights, thanked my good sense to purchase the gloves and finally got out the door.  I packed up my car and started along.  I was slightly nervous about walking through downtown Detroit in the dark but I quickly found a fellow runner to walk with.  We got to wait inside the conference center until it was time to hit the starting line.  First of all, it started snowing a bit, which just made me laugh.  I looked around me and I didn’t see any other blue bibs – just the orange international 1/2 marathon ones.  Was I in the wrong line?!  I was in one of the last wave of runners so maybe this was part of it?  I still asked three different people and remained confused for a good chunk of the race. My anxiety was a bit high anyway since the cut-off was 6 and 1/2 hours and my lack of training gave me reason to believe I was in danger of not making this.

I tried to memorize these cut off times. I also sent my friend a
I tried to memorize these cut off times. I also sent my friend a “WTF am I doing text”.

Go time.  I started out at my manageable pace.  When we hit the bridge to Canada, the Ambassador Bridge, the sun was peaking through the clouds and I couldn’t believe I was really doing this!  The bridge is long and up hill for the first part.  I walked it.  Then ran down the other side – yay! I love downhills!  We ran through Canada for a few miles and then we crossed back onto U.S. soil through the underwater tunnel.  Everyone talks about how bad this part was but I didn’t mind it – I was warm (I was cold the entire race).  When we came out of the tunnel we ran through customs and then they had a sign welcoming us back to the U.S.  They were announcing some names as they crossed and I was one of them!  “Welcome back Amy German”!  It was neat.  It was a beautiful, albeit chilly fall day and the hilly course was great.  I love the international aspect!

By this time, my knee was seriously bothering me.  I think it started around mile 6 or 8 – I can’t remember now.  My strategy for the race was to run/walk it and this was working well for me.  I even had a couple of negative splits.  The marathoners split from the 1/2 folks as the 1/2-ers were crossing their finish line (slightly cruel to us who were only half way finished) and I considered crossing this finish line because my knee was hurting.  A smarter runner probably would’ve quit but I knew I would ALWAYS wonder if I could’ve made it to the end.  So I kept running.  The miles ticked on and my knee got worse.  I would run for as long as I could and then when it started to give out, I would walk for a bit.  The first steps back into running were beastly but they eased as I kept going and the cycle repeated itself.

An awesome member of the crowd built a pretend brick wall to run through around mile 18.  I loved it.  Another 1/2 marathon (the U.S. only route, the other 1/2 was international) started soon after I got through the 1/2 way point, so they would go screaming past me at certain points.  Umm – rude, haha.  They had 18 water stops as we weren’t supposed to carry liquids across the border.  I did a great job of hydrating the days before the race and during.  I fueled decently – my 1/2 of a ham sandwich in the morning was brilliant idea!

The last 5k I was basically throwing my bad leg/knee ahead of me as I ran and even walking painful.  Right at this moment, someone along side of the course said, “Amy!  You’re DOING IT!”.  I teared up at this point.  It’s really hard to run and cry so I pulled myself together.  When the finish line came into view, I started crying again and of course as I crossed.  My official time was 6:02.  My Nike app said I completed all 26.2 at 5:58, which I like better!

detroit marathon finish

My heart didn’t swell with pride after my first marathon.  It didn’t after my second either – that one kind of crushed my soul.  Dopey did because of the major undertaking.  The Detroit 26.2?  It gave me the same overwhelming sense of accomplishment as Dopey.  I really wasn’t sure I could finish.  Everyday for three weeks I considered dropping out of the race.  I shouldn’t have finished – my last long run was back in the beginning of Sept and it was 11 miles.  The fact that I could barely walk after didn’t matter.  This race made me feel strong and reminded me of my fierce fighting spirit.  Grit and determination (support/cheers from family and friends, compression tights, extra strength tylenol and that newly purchased sweatshirt I wanted to wear with pride) got me through this race.  So many freakin’ emotions were going through my mind, I’m not even sure I can adequately express them.  I made it.

I think the medal weighs almost a pound
I think the medal weighs almost a pound

And I didn’t get swept by the people zamboni – WIN!

the wagon wheels came off

Whenever I use this phrase, I always feel sorry for Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I don’t particularly remember her family’s wagon wheels coming off, although I’m sure they did.  Life was rough for those pioneer folks.

I’m pretty sure this was EXACTLY how things were

Anyway, my wagon wheels coming off isn’t nearly as dire.  I’m speaking of marathon training.  I know, this probably isn’t a giant surprise to any of you who’ve been reading for a little while but STILL, I thought this training cycle would be different.  I WANTED this cycle to be different

After I got back from France, I was geeked about running.  I ran a fair amount while there – much more often than I’ve ever run while on some kind of vacation and I felt good about it.  I also ran with some very cool people so this helped motivate me even more.  Nevertheless, I know myself and didn’t want to come back and jump right into 26.2 registration.  I had my sights set on Detroit, since it was the race that got away last year during my sickness.  Not to mention, it allowed for a little longer of a  training cycle and considering I would be starting late, this was a blessing.  This 26.2 registration ended on Aug. 16th if you wanted to be able to cross the bridge into Canada, which, of course, I did.

So, I decided to be semi self aware of my lack of training abilities and use the 4 weeks to see if I could stick to the plan, most importantly hit my long runs.  I did it!  I didn’t miss any of my long runs by the time it came to sign up, which I did when I realized I was DOING IT!  Training like a good runner should!

Then the wagon wheels came off of my training cycle…  Here’s the deal:  I got back from France on Wed, July 15th.  I worked the next day (which I was barely conscious for so I don’t remember much about that day) and then took Friday off from work so I could actually read a computer screen come Monday morning.  Why?  Because training for our new employees started and one of my supervises is new this year.  Training only ramps up from here and reaches heights of intense exhaustion – I knew this.  There was also the added stress/work of opening a new building, which I oversee.  No, I didn’t manage the actual construction of the building (seriously, I would NEVER want that job!) but it’s under my supervision.  But I couldn’t completely foresee the future.

The last two weeks of August and the first week of September my brain and health were fried.  At this point, I’d been on call for 3 weeks in a row.  The work days were long and the late night calls were beyond frequent.  There were no long runs happening.  I knew I needed to do them and part of me really wanted to.  The other part of me laid on the couch and tried to convince Simon he was able to cook so I didn’t have to get up.  I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted and I paid for it with some health issues.  Migraines – ewww and a fire in my belly that wasn’t ambition… just pure stomach acid eating the lining for breakfast, lunch, dinner and couple of snacks.

Fast forward to today and Detroit is this Sunday.  When I signed up, I paid $10 extra dollars in order to be able to cancel my registration and still get a refund.  I wasn’t completely delusional with regards to what lay ahead of me in my work world.  This past weekend I ran a 5 miler and no, I didn’t blow that puppy out of the water.  I told my good friend who was running with me about the bailout contingency plan and she said, “yeah, but if you think like that then you won’t do it”.  Very true.

I already have my accommodations.  I want to do this race since last year, 4 days before it I was huddled up on the couch in so much pain I thought there was a gremlin inside my stomach trying to get out – and not cute and furry Gizmo but the one where it was fed after midnight and water was poured on it.  Yeah – the scary ones.

There won’t be a PR (I thought I might be able to pull one off originally) but I will finish.  Two weeks ago, I climbed on the treadmill and started freaking out at my lack of preparedness.  I’m certainly not a Doomsday Prepper in this scenario.  I suddenly remembered this is supposed to be FUN.  It took a massive boulder off of my shoulders, one of which continued to tell me how much I sucked at every footfall.  My inner lack of confidence and the rude voice in my mind are still providing a monologue consisting of a “you are probably going to lay on the side of the road and be picked up by the marathon version of the zamboni” but I’m getting better at quieting this sabotaging butthead.

And I am now the proud owner of some wicked compression tights too, so at least this will give me a boost.

There it is.  Another race I’m not ready for.  I talked to my brother about it while in NY.  He said maybe I’m not quite ready to really commit to training.  After my mom died, and the depression/anxiety took over, running was tough.  I said I “wanted to be ready for trainings since running is part of my identity”.  Kev said, “it isn’t WHO you are though”.  It has stuck with me.  Time to release the pressure valve, stop worrying about my slow pace and enjoy the moment.  And get excited!

26.2 minutes

You know, it’s incredible how life can poke you in the eye when you don’t expect it.  To be fair, I kind of expected it but was living on prayer that I could avoid the whole “change of plans” kind of thing.

I can’t run the marathon this weekend.

It seems real now that I’ve posted it on here and facebook (when did virtual become reality?!).  I went to the doctor yesterday because Monday night turned ugly quite quickly.  My stomach went all apocalypse on me and if I wasn’t so lazy, I would have rushed my hurting self to the ER.  Did you know, stomachs aren’t supposed to feel like Hulk Hogan is twisting your insides all up?

After not falling asleep until 4:30 am and then waking every time I moved (or took a breath) I didn’t make it into work.  I called my doc and secured an appt for yesterday.  I went in and essentially I told my story and was then referred to a GI specialist.  I need to get the scope-down-the-throat-test to take all the pretty pictures of my insides.  I wonder if they will let me keep one… wouldn’t this just look lovely hanging on my walls?  Conversation piece for sure.

it’s quite possible at this point

I asked the doc, “so, I have this marathon on Sunday – can I still run it?”  I hadn’t even finished my sentence before she was shaking her head no and giving me a grim smile.  Her response, “I think you already know the answer to this”.  I did but was hoping beyond hope there was a magical pill that would keep me in the upright position for the duration of the run.

All of this took place in 26.2 minutes.  Or close to it – I’m not even joking.  I might be a couple of minutes off but that doesn’t have the same dramatic effect so please bear with me.

A fellow marathon friend asked me if I was going to listen to them or if I was going to run it anyway.  Trust me, I did and have considered it.  What about the half?  Why should my stomach get to make all of my decisions for me?  Don’t we live in a democracy?  But I’m not going to.  I don’t want to end up being the poster child who was carried off in an ambulance that non-runners can tout as the reason people shouldn’t run long distances.  Plus, it would be embarrassing and everyone would mumble, “why was she so stupid?”  Because that’s exactly what it would be – stupid.  I’ve spent many a day putting my health on the back burner in hopes the troubles would just go away and now here I am.  A bit of poetic justice?  Not to mention, my ankle is still bothering me and a stress fracture I do not want.

Ultimately, I have extremely mixed feelings about this.  I’m relieved because during the 1/2 a couple of weeks ago, my stomach HURT SO BADLY.  I barely made it through the 13.1 and doubling that distance would have been challenging.  The other part of me is completely disheartened.  I am so tired of feeling sickly and I’m distraught that it’s now taking away something I enjoy.  I’m trying to start to look at it as an opprotunity to get healthy so I can be a comeback kid.  I’m going to wallow this weekend though.  And sign up for a 5k – she didn’t say anything about short distances!

The doc also suggested I give up or at least cut down on coffee.  Ummm – dashing my marathon plans and cutting coffee in one appt?  Why doesn’t she just rip out my soul?  I have a pinterest board titled, “coffee is a lifestyle”!

Needless to say, I won’t be cutting it out but I have started using tummy-friendly roasts.  And I’m making sure to stick with the one a day (20 oz).

So there you go.  No more Detroit.  I’m not signing up for any longer races for a while.  Health has to come first at some point, I guess.

marathon week has begun

*All cartoons are from Hyperbole and a Half.  I adore this blog.  And have cried from laughing so hard.

Yesterday.  Not the best of days…

I woke up late.  Actually, the first time I woke up, I was sittin’ pretty to run out to get my favorite coffee drink.  Then I hit snooze about 1/2 a dozen times & not only did coffee go out the window but so did being on time.

Not my favorite way to start marathon week.  Furthermore, I felt really crummy, my shower won’t drain, my anxiety was barking & I felt all kinds of out of sorts.  Really, I recognize these are all non-critical happenings and I wish I could throw up my hands with an “oh well” but my emotional investment is high *surprise*.

Part of the anxiety is marathon related.  Sunday is rapidly approaching & while I’m excited, I also have a real understanding of the pain I will be inflicting on my body.  That I PAID to inflict (hmm… unsightly visions of S&M popped in my head).  I’m also under no illusions that suddenly the running gods will bestow some great power to my legs.  Nope.  The strange runner in me is excited though.  I’m looking forward to the expo, the camaraderie of the other runners & other whole, “I’m never going to finish-I hate running-am I insane?” feeling that immediately evaporates with a medal around my neck.  So many emotions!

I will say, I had a dandy run on Saturday.  Considering the curious case of my non-compliant ankle, I’ve taken to running every other day to give it a bit of a rest.  I also went down & traded a pair of shoes in for a pair of Brooks PureFlow. Moment of digression: I bought a pair of PureFlows back when they first came out.  Loved them.  I bought them too small however, so they retired a bit early.  Fast forward through a gazillion different pairs of shoes later & I went back to them.  Saturday night PureFlows, the treadmill & I had a date & it went swimmingly.  6 miles.  I was certain I had only gone 4 then looked & magically I had already hit 5.  Then SIX!So this run helped.  I have a few more planned for this week-nothing over 5 miles.  I’m hesitant to refer to this as “tapering” since my overall training has sucked.  I’ll just call it my last ditch effort to avoid crumbling into a pile of mushy goo at mile 16.  I’m keeping my expectations low and working toward a more upbeat attitude (isn’t this obvious??).  This is a big marathon-I get to cross into Canada over an amazing bridge & run through a bunch of different parts of Detroit.  I feel a certain pride for (With? In?) Detroit despite being a relatively new Michigander.  It does have a number of issues BUT I’m pleased to be part of an event that celebrates the city rather than tearing it down.

Maybe there’s a bit of sunshine in me yet.

Ok, I have more on my mind but that’s it for now.  Lots of marathon talk this week-so please prepare yourself!  Oh, I did use my lunch hour to secure some delicious coffee.  I could sort of keep my eyes open for a few more hours.

this is how I felt all day

park to park 1/2 – this race is cursed.

Last year this race brought this happen stance:

the place of "the incident"
the place of “the incident”

My car key was the only thing that survived.  My handheld, fuel – all went down the toilet – literally.  As I mentioned last year, my scream sent dogs running.  I wanted to have some good memories of this race so I headed back to Holland, MI for another go-around.

I should have stayed in bed.

On Friday, I was telling office mate about my race.  He asked when it was and I confidently announced, “Sunday”.  He asked the time and I figured it was 7 or 8 am (standard start times) and proceeded to look it up.  Strike 1.  The race was on Saturday.  I started laughing, it was a bit maniacal, I admit.  How could this be?  Thank goodness I checked.

I set everything out on Friday night; typically I just wing it in the morning so I was proud of myself.  I woke up on time, 5:15 am and before falling asleep I decided I wanted to KT tape my arch, which has been nagging me.  I did so, although I couldn’t seem to get the tape just such.  Nevermind, I got into the car and hit the road.

I got there with a little over 45 minutes to spare.  I would have been there earlier but construction had me a bit turned around.  On my way to packet pick up, I spotted a real live bathroom that I missed last year!  I was overjoyed!  I utilized the flushable facilities and went to figure out my bib number.  It wasn’t there.  Strike 2.  Turns out I wasn’t registered or they didn’t have my name.  I didn’t have a confirmation with me (seriously, I am not that organized) so I rushed to fork over $60 and high tailed it back to my car for my running gear.

In the car, I decided the KT tape was bugging me too much.  I didn’t take it all off, just one of the stability pieces.  Foreshadowing everyone.  I got to the start line, and off we went.  I hadn’t even run .3 of a mile before my stomach was making whale sounds.  Truth is, it had been jumpy prior to the start line but I figured it was nerves.  Strike 3.

I’m not kidding – I even tried talking all sweet like to my poor tummy.

I should have stayed in bed.

I’m conflicted on the outcome of this race.  Some parts went fairly well while other parts are staying with me – and not in a good way.  Here we are:

Good: I nailed my fueling.  Honey Stinger chews are fantastic.

Bad:  My stomach jumped around the whole race.  I wanted to curl up on the road side for a few hours.  Bad stomach cramps, nausea, heartburn – there was no lovin’ in my tummy.  No pit stops but I used a lot of grit to stay on the course.

Good:  My pace isn’t really fast.  But it was steady.  I picked up some SportLegs and tried it for the first time on Saturday.  This stuff is legit – it definitely helped with leg fatigue.

Bad:  My ankle started barking somewhere in those miles.  I don’t remember which one.  Maybe from the ill-fated KT tape job?

Good: I woke up on time, made it to register, used a REAL toilet and managed to keep my panic out of the red zone despite the race hiccups.

Good: I finished!  Considering I’ve done nothing but falter this entire training season, this was my # 1 goal (remember when # meant a number?  the good ol’ days).  I really wanted to enjoy the run and let go of any unrealistic expectations that my body wasn’t able to fulfill.  Done and done.  And I survived this cursed race.

Good:  It was a decent confidence boost for the Detroit marathon.  True, I’ll have to do 13.1 mile MORE and this won’t be pleasant but I’ll cross the finish line.

I’m glad I did it.  Now, a couple of weeks out, I’m still happy about my decision, although my ankle is still filing grievances.  This will be a work in progress and I’m sure I’ll be limping across Detroit.  But I can do anything for 5 or 6 hours.  THEN a doctor can fix me!

park to park 14

I know, I’m a terrible patient.

brain dump

1.  I wrote yesterday’s post completely on my phone.  I’m not sure I will make it a regular thing but for the lazy girl inside it was nice not to have to break out my computer.  I did have to give it quite the edit once I opened it on my laptop though.

2.  Speaking of which, my friends teach college students.  They have students who typed an entire paper from their phone in the body of the email  (who does this?!).  I’m not even sure how they did it.  Don’t worry – they had to rewrite it.

3.  Surprisingly, I came home yesterday and wasn’t utterly exhausted.  This is a major change from how I usually feel.  I even woke up every two hours the night before!  I used whatever reservoir I had tapped into and went for a run.  Well, after I sat on the couch for a bit.

4.  I can’t stop eating blueberry bagels.  And peanut butter.  It’s one of the few things that actually sounds good right now.  Oh and yogurt but that’s essentially a given.

I know… my apologies

5.  With fall hitting and winter right around the corner, Simon is extra cuddly.  I love it.  He insists on sitting on my lap all the time.

cuddly simon
yes, he lays like this – strange bird, he is

6.  In the next two weeks I will have access to free PT injury assessments.  One is the 15th, which just happens to be before my marathon.  The next one is the 30th, just after.  Perfect timing!  Thankfully they are at different clinics so the 2nd one won’t know how dumb I was to run 26.2 on an injured ankle.  My dad isn’t quite sure about my thought process regarding marathoning injured.  I’m determined to run/finish it.  The money is a factor, so is the medal and then there is something else driving me that I can’t quite identify.

7.  I found an interesting mini diet plan on pinterest.  Please feel free to roll your eyes, especially after yesterday’s post.  I know it’s silly and I want to not want to do it.  But I’m going to.  Right after the marathon.  Trust me, there is actual food on this plan albeit a low calorie count.  I am finished with training after the 19th though, which completely justifies my absurdity.

unfortunately, bacon is not included.

8.  I saw this buzzfeed about anxiety this morning.  If you were ever wondering what it feels like, then take a gander.

9.  Speaking of which, I started having a panic attack on Tuesday.  I decided to try to ride it out.  About an hour later I was doing a bit better.  I am going to keep trying to push through them if possible before jumping to my “extra strength in the moment” anxiety meds.

10.  More t-rex humor… I’m obsessed

trex humorI guess my brain hasn’t been very active as of late.  To be honest, I’m getting focused/antsy about the impending marathon.  I can’t believe it’s here.  I’m both freaked out and happy it will be done soon.  Hey – good luck to anyone racing this weekend and to all of you Chicago runners!!  Wahoo!

friday brain dump

I have no idea if this will be a regular thing but the following are all things swimming around my brain but don’t necessarily warrant their own posts.  Plus it feels nice to let it flow.
1.  For the last several days I have not been able to figure out what day it is.  Sunday morning, I woke up and started to get out of bed for work.  Then “YAY!” it’s Sunday and I went back to sleep.  Monday, I couldn’t figure out why I was waking up since clearly it was a weekend and the same thing happened to me yesterday.  Somewhere my brain is all confused.

2.  I got the absolute last hotel room in Detroit for the Freepress marathon.  Alright, this *might* not be true but it’s pretty close.  In my infinite wisdom, I decided to wait until the last minute to book a place to stay.  I couldn’t find a hotel room for less than the black-market price for my kidney so I resorted to Airbnb.  I found one that didn’t look creepy and was right in the middle of the action – score!  It wasn’t cheap, $150 (I mean, it isn’t expensive but I would be sleeping on a futon, so the price is up there) but it was going to be easy.  I did think it was funny that I was paying some guy to stay in his basement… something sounded vaguely horror-film about this.  Apparently I got denied.  Office mate suggested I check out a site called “Couchsurfing.com”.  This was a bit too rustic-I-might-be-staying-with-a-serial-killer for me.  OH!  One guy on the Airbnb site is renting out his mini van as a “futuristic sleeping pod”.  Decided against this one too.

it’s like I’m asking to be kidnapped

3.  I had mashed potatoes and gravy for lunch the other day.  It was splendid.


4.  I feel better than I did last week.  I hooked myself up with some Nexeum and it seems to be helping.  Now, there is much less of the bloat and nausea.  Also, last week I was throwing pills down my throat like a hungry-hungry hippo goes for marbles.  My uterus throws a tantrum every month due to the lack of a fetus and Motrin 800s and other pain killers stay by my side.  I’m guessing the pills weren’t doing my fragile little tummy any favors.  I can feel the Nexeum wearing off in the evening but it gets me through the day.

this cracks me up
this cracks me up

5.  I went running the other night and didn’t wake up 5lbs lighter.  WTH?  Last week I was telling office mate about how people swallow tape worms to lose weight.  He was skeptical and asked me where individuals would get some a thing.  Ummm… the internets, friend.  He called my bluff and .2 seconds later, I was staring at a site selling live tape worm eggs.  I promise, I didn’t order them but I could not stop laughing at the guy who is/was selling them.  We googled him.  I am not sure he counts a reputable seller – come to think of it, someone selling parasites with the intended purpose of weight loss (or to “play a joke on your friends!”… horrible friends) probably doesn’t care about reputable.

office mate *may* have asked me this same questions

6.  My work calendar proved yesterday was going to be a beast.  It didn’t lie.

7.  More running last night.  Actually lots more running in my future.  See number one.  See the count down calendar to your right.  See my fear.

yeah… these 26.2 are going to hurt

8.  Yesterday morning I started choking – I think on some coffee grounds.  Some coughing at first.  Then some more.  Pretty soon, office mate was pushing cough drops at me and asking me what I needed.  One of my supervisees ran and got me some water.  Tears were streaming down my face and others in the office came in to see if I was ok.  I wasn’t.  I could not stop coughing.  After 15 mins it finally subsided a bit but man, it was rough!

9.  I have achieved some “beach waves” with my hair.  I am more excited about this than I should be.

10.  1/2 marathon this weekend!  More on this soon.

Happy weekend eve!

I’m impressive (seriously – I have evidence)

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation on personal wellness/work-life balance to some college students.  I co-presented and they did such a great job that I was more of a presenter garnish than anything else.  It was pretty nice (being a garnish), especially considering we gave the presentation 4 times.

I did submit a couple of pictures for the slide show and thought they would simply be in a rotation.  Turns out I was to speak about one of them – this one in particular:

this picture… again

So I did.  I told them what the Dopey Challenge was.  Get this… each group clapped for me.  How crazy is that?  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I WAS NOT expecting this!  They ooo-ed and awww-ed and started clapping!  I must say, it was a real moment for me.  Like most people, I tend to underestimate my accomplishments.

Part of this is because in blog-land, people run double digits on a regular basis.  Many of the blogs I read/follow people are training for a marathon, have run ultramarathons or are cruising in on lots ‘o miles all the time.  Don’t me wrong, I love reading about these experiences but because this has become so normalized in my brain, I downplay my own.

I love this

A week before the aforementioned presentation, a co-worker and I were talking about a work issue.  It’s a giant project in which zapped my energy and most likely killed off a few brain cells per cortisol.  Stress and anxiety, you da bomb.  But I stuck with it and was determined to see it through.  He challenged me a couple of times and while it frustrated me, I stood my ground and stuck up for myself.  Toward the end of the discussion, he started complimenting me.  He said, “you’ve stuck with this project – many people wouldn’t have.  You run marathons – there is something different inside you than others.”

I wasn’t sure what to say because I was truly touched.  I forget the grit and determination it takes to get through those damn 26.2 miles, or 13.1 or whatever number I am running during training (it feels like every mile actually).  Doubt has crept in since training is hitting a snag due to August being so work-heavy.  It was a good reminder to be proud of myself no matter what the clock says or my weekly mileage is at the current moment.

natalie dee… wonderful