Sunday, December 29, 2013

Use It or Lose It.

Things I am learning in my Phoenix-like comeback:

This is EXACTLY how I look when I rise from the ashes of a broken foot.

1.  No cardio for five months is a killer.  It doesn't matter how many sit-ups or pushups I can do (and I can do a lot!); I have not increased my heartbeat or struggled through a breathing challenge, and that makes a huge difference.  A few days ago I did four miles on a hilly path, and it kicked my butt.  My pace was over two minutes more per mile than I'm used to.  When I tried it again yesterday, I looked for any excuse to walk some of the hills.  I kept thinking, "Wow, when I used to run at this pace, I barely even broke a sweat!  What is happening to me?"  It took a little bit of reflection and diving into my selective memory to figure out that I used to struggle on those hills just going two miles.  In fact, I once bonked hard on that path, and it scared me so badly that I thought I'd never be able to run again.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I bonk.

2.  ANY cardio is good cardio.  When I wasn't a runner, I was doing kickboxing, walking, biking, and dancing as exercise.  I need to get back to doing other forms of cardio to balance out my running.  I tried some simple exercises on the Wii Fit yesterday, and it kicked my butt.  Like everything else, apparently.

3.  No yoga for five months is REALLY a killer.  I couldn't do yoga because I couldn't put any weight on my broken foot.  What I've learned is that although yoga makes me feel awesome during and after the session, it really is necessary to maintain muscle tone and flexibility.  I have been waking up every day in extreme pain on my left side glute and hamstring.  It hurts so bad I sweat.  I feel better after stretching out, but it is a long process, and that never used to happen to me.  I need to better incorporate yoga and stretching into my daily routine to regain what I've lost.

Maybe if I stopped doing yoga on a surfboard, I wouldn't be so sore.

4.  For the first time ever, I may have to consider taking ibuprofen after running, and oddly enough, it has nothing to do with the fact that I am RUNNING ON A BROKEN FOOT!!!  Tell me it isn't age.  It's not, right?

Do you take pain meds?  How is the stretching going?  How do you rise like the Phoenix?

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Caroling on the Run

Thursday I ran with The Ohio Runner's Network for the annual Christmas Lights Run.  This was a four mile run with planned stops at beautifully decorated houses.  We got all gussied up with elf costumes and Christmas lights and bells.  Since people often consider me a Bah-Humbug type of person, I was able to do the minimum lights and still exceed expectations.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm Christmas Caroling!

We stopped at about five houses where we sang lots of carols.  The best part was strolling through the decorated grounds of Stan Hywet Hall, and we even got a photo-op with Santa Claus.

After the caroling, we descended en masse upon the bars and restaurants of Highland Square.  I got a buffalo chicken sub from Mr. Zubs, and then I settled in with my peeps and a Christmas Ale at the Highland Tavern.  It felt so great to be back running again, although five months without cardio has really taken its toll on my body.  It was nice to feel those endorphins (I love you, Man!), and it was nice to know that I can slowly come back to where I was before.

I'm a very driven person; I continually set goals for myself, and I continually evaluate my progress toward those goals.  Sometimes it's nice to run without a time goal or a distance goal.  Sometimes it's nice to be with friends and celebrate running and camaraderie. . .in theory.  In reality, I set new goals as I drank my beer and ate my sub.  When I come back fully, and I now am confident that I will, I will run three half marathons, two in the spring and one in the fall.  I will run the spring races just for endurance, and then I will speed train for the 2014 Akron Half Marathon.  My peeps and I are forming the "Under 2 Club," and our goal is. . . you guessed it, the Akron Half in under two hours.  It's a lofty goal, considering my best time so far is 2:12:21.  I'll get by with a little help from my friends.

My peeps are elves.  Really.  This was their night off from the tyranny of Santa.

Do you participate in a Christmas Lights Run in your neck of the woods?  Does anyone do Pub-Running?

Do you want to get in on this kind of fun?  Join The Ohio Runner's Network and let the games begin!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dancing/Running in the Moonlight

Last night my heart was all a-flutter as I set up for a possible morning run--my first one since August 4 (Click here to find out what happened). I hung up my winter running clothes, plugged in the Garmin and the phone, set out my shoes and socks, and dug in my gear bag for my hat, headlamp, gloves, and Run ID.  Whew!  Whoever said running was simple?  I nervously checked the weather app a gazillion times and my last thought before sleep was, "Please, God, no icy rain!"

Why was I so excited?  I have been injured for months, and this would be my first run since getting the green light from my orthopedist (Look here to find out why my orthopedist isn't a sadist who intends to chop off my foot).

This morning I checked my phone, and my friend Teresa was there with the go-ahead.  I geared up, my mind racing.  What if my foot hurt?  What if I snapped it off?  What if a zombie came out of the woods and tried to eat our brains on the trail?

Brains!  Runners' brains!!!

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating.  Of COURSE my foot won't snap off.

The moon was full.   The air was cold and crisp.  The morning was quiet (except for my hawking and blowing my nose).  The woods were beautiful.

This is how it looked, but with a full moon in the sky.

I did 2.86 miles on the trail, and I loved every minute of it.  Best of all, my foot didn't hurt a bit, and it hasn't hurt today at all.  I am so happy.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Weird News on Friday the 13th

I think I'm back!

For those who have not followed my whining and moaning for the past FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS, here is the post about my stupid stepping on a nut injury.  Go catch up; we'll wait.

When I saw that I had scheduled an appointment to review my CT scan on Friday the 13th, I was a wee bit apprehensive.  After all, what if the consultation went like this?

Dr. Tucker doesn't carry around pointy objects. . . at least not during office visits.

I thought that no good could come of this appointment:  either I need surgery (and I would be off the foot for a minimum of 6 weeks, plus the complications that might follow) or I should just let it heal (which would be MORE time without running or cardio).  I was dreading the results.

I was wrong.

"Well, you are definitely not healing anymore," Dr. Tucker said.  "Are you in any pain?" she asked while poking at my foot.  "How about here?  Here?  What about here?"

I shook my head.  "No, my pain is less than a level-1.  Sometimes the foot aches if it's cold outside."  I cringed and waited for the death-blow. . .and waited. . . and waited.  I opened my eyes.

"I'm not going to operate."


"Seriously, I'm not going to operate.  Why should I?  The foot doesn't bother you.  I don't treat x-rays; I treat people.  I think you should just do what you want to do."


"But. . .but. . .I can't run then," I stammered.

"Why not?" she asked.  "What's the worst thing that could happen?"

"I break the foot even more. . ."


"I need surgery."

"Right.  So you would be no better off than you are now.  Besides, I think you won't break it.  I think that your foot has built up enough strength with fibers and tendons, and you probably won't notice the break.   So, take it slowly, build it back up, but definitely go back to doing what you love. If you have problems, call me, and we will rethink the whole thing."

Apparently, I have an "asymptomatic nonunion."  This means that the bones won't rejoin, but I can't feel any symptoms of the fracture; about five percent of fractures turn out this way.  Doc says that people walk around all the time oblivious to the fact that they have broken bones.  If it doesn't hurt, why operate?

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am overjoyed!

Of course, I will go slowly.  I'm going to keep up with the Leslie Sansone walking DVDs, but now I'm going to throw in the running parts when she does.  Christmas Break is in two weeks, so I think I will try two miles to see how I feel.   I MIGHT even be able to walk/run the Christmas Lights Run next week!

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Community Running Stores: The Best Small Businesses

Today was the Tryptophan Run, sponsored by Vertical Runner in Hudson, Ohio.  It is a free social running event in which runners have two hours to run a two-mile loop as many times as they wish.  For each loop, the runner drops a number in a hat, and at the end of the two hours there is a drawing with lots of free prizes.

I wanted to walk a few loops this year, but I was afraid of damaging my broken foot.  Last year I ran five loops, and then I took a break for coffee in one of the local coffee shops.  After the running, we all gathered in the store for the drawing, and while I didn't win anything, many of my friends did.  It was a great time.

Runners are a close-knit community.  Many of us know each other from running groups, races, or just passes on the road or trail.  There are many runners I recognize on Facebook whom I would never recognize face to face (well, maybe with running gear on).  We know about each others' injuries, race victories, and digestive problems.

Runners are weird, right?

A good running store is a part of the local running community.  Vertical Runner is a chain, but the owners are all local runners who encourage the community.  Vince Rucci, owner of Vertical Runner Hudson, has no idea who I am, but he makes sure to invite me to every Vertical Runner event.  I have seen Vince on the Pine Run trail, I have seen him among groups of runners, and I have seen his back-end as he blew by me numerous times on the Tryptophan Run last year.  He has provided water, Gu, and Gatorade on practice race runs, and he gives out awesome prizes in the Tryptophan drawing.

When you see this truck, you know something fun is going on.

Sure, I can go online and order Saucony Guide 6s (not anymore) for a small discount, but the question is, why would I?  Vertical Runner gives a ten percent discount to my running club (The Ohio Runners Network), and I can get great service there.

American Express started a tradition of supporting small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving, called Small Business Saturday.  While I don't own an American Express card, and I rarely step out of my house for at least two days after Thanksgiving, I would suggest that we can support small businesses at any time of the year.  Running stores like Vertical Runner (and Second Sole) invest in the community, so I would like to return the favor.

Thank you, community businesses.  Thank you, Vertical Runner!  I'll be running with you at the Tryptophan Run in 2014!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It Sucks to be Old. . .so I've Heard.

Yesterday I had yet another visit with my orthopedist.  She has a vacation home in the Keys, so I'm sure I have many more visits ahead of me.

The foot is still broken.  Curse you, Fifth Metatarsal!  Curse you, Spring Nut!  I have had this broken bone since August 4th, and I am moving from impatience to fear to hopelessness.

As God is my witness, I will never step on a nut again!

"Is it possible that I won't be able to run anymore?" I tearfully asked the doctor.

She winced.  "You should never ask a doctor if anything is possible.  Of course it's possible.  Do I think that will happen?  Probably not."  Last time I talked with her she had said she didn't think I'd need surgery either. . .look what came of that.

I have a CT scan in two weeks and a followup to interpret the results the week after that.  The doctor says the fact that I have very little pain is favorable, and she would like to allow the foot to heal on its own, even as slowly as it's going.  If the scan shows that the foot is not going to heal, and I don't know how someone can get that information from a scan, then I will have no choice--surgery it will be.

This is EXACTLY how my foot will look after surgery.
Looks like the Cleveland Half and the Medina Half may be out.  I wonder if Akron will let me defer another year?

I wonder if I can get police protection for my loved ones?  How will they survive this?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Walking but not Running

I've been walking.  My orthopedist has said that I'm allowed.

Before I became a runner, I used to walk almost every day.  My friend (who at the time was my neighbor) and I used to get up early on days off work and go walking on a trail by my house.  It was so peaceful and beautiful.  The hills on the path really worked my glutes and my legs, and at the end of four, five, or six miles, I felt exhilarated.

There have been days when I would run that same path and think, "Wow, I wish I were walking again.  That was really nice."

I am here to say that I was wrong. Walking when you wish you could run is pure torture.  Trying to get a cardio workout in by walking like a damned duck sucks out loud.  While I have never been self-conscious about how I look when running (even though I will never run like a gazelle), I am absolutely certain that everyone who looks at me while I'm walking is laughing his/her head off.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run.  Except I'm not a dude.

Surely, I am exaggerating.  Surely, I don't look that bad when I walk.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I walk.  I seem so happy.

I know; don't call me Shirley.  (Any Airplane fans here?)

So, anyway, the weather on Saturday was beautiful, and I took advantage of it by walking a four-mile loop.  It felt great to blow out the dust that had settled in my soul, and it was nice to get out of the house and listen to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me without my daughter interrupting Mo Rocca's punchline to tell me about what the cousin of the neighbor of some kid on the bus did when she was in second grade.

I proudly added those four miles to my dailymile total.  I try not to think of the fact that I could have run those miles in much less time.  I try to be grateful that I can walk at all.  In a week I will have my next x-ray, and I worry that I'll have to get surgery, so I should really try to appreciate walking right now.

It is close to Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for walking.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

This Is for the Ladies

How many sports bras do you own?  Underwire or no underwire?

I used to own six bras:  two without underwire, which I used for yoga, and four with underwire, which I used for running and other aerobic exercise.  One day I noticed that my favorite running bra, the purple and black one, was missing.  I searched everywhere: behind the washer and dryer, all the drawers in the house, all the suitcases.  Nada.  Then I noticed my OTHER favorite black bra (non sports bra) was missing.  Huh.

I had recently presented at a conference, and I had brought both of those bras with me, so I again went through my garment bag and any possible luggage I might have taken.  No.  Did I leave TWO BRAS at the hotel?  How is that possible?

Then I started getting freaked out.  Why my FAVORITE bras?  Where could they be?  This is where my imagination started getting the best of me.  Bear with me on this one.

Meet the creepy guy I was sure was living in my basement.

It all made sense.  I do laundry in the basement.  We have a fridge in the basement, and we store our beer there.  There is a man-cave type room in half of the basement.  There are LOTS of places to hide in our basement.  Therefore, there is a creepy troll-like guy living in my basement who stole my bras.

I am insane, but not stupid, so I didn't share my discovery with anyone else in my household, but I started poking around (during daylight hours only).  Nothing.

A few weeks ago, I was putting away my laundry, and I had trouble closing the drawer, so I pulled it out of the dresser, and VOILA!!!  Both bras were caught between the drawer and the dresser, and the underwire was preventing the drawers from closing.  Somehow they had slipped back there, and I just kept closing the drawer on them.  In the meantime, I had purchased MORE bras, so now I have. .  .well a lot.  I have learned to lay them flat in a large drawer instead of cupping them up in a smaller underwear drawer.  I have also finally, truly exhaled because I now know that there is no creepy guy living in my basement.

I'm pretty sure.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Exercises for the Injured Runner or How I Spend My Mornings While I Can't Run

It has been eleven weeks since I broke my foot in a stupid walnut accident.  One of my greatest fears during this time was that I would gain lots of weight.  See, I have a problem with food.  My problem with food is that I love it, all of it.  Except for you, mushrooms.  I hate you.

Anyway, my orthopedist had put the nix on any type of cardio and any exercise that involved moving my foot.  This was problematic in that I still like to eat, but I don't like the idea of gaining back the forty-plus pounds I lost about eight years ago.  I looked at my arsenal of torture devices exercise equipment and I came up with a regimen.

I started with the 30-day ab challenge, but I couldn't do the planks.  No worries, there is enough pain and suffering without them.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am doing the ab challenge.

I simultaneously completed the 30 day pushup challenge, but I did it on my knees.

What I mostly do is light lifting (five pound weights) with the exercise ball.  I found this great webpage that has pictures and explanations for the ball.  I choose two exercises per area of concentration (abs, back, shoulders, biceps, legs, triceps).  I like this option because I can watch tv while I'm doing it.  It's a lot easier to do ab exercises when Angel is on tv at five in the morning.

When the orthopedist gave me the go-ahead for swimming and aqua jogging, I did that twice a week.

Now I can do most exercises that don't involve running or slamming my foot against things (like kick boxing or dancing).  I look forward to walking, but the cold weather has kicked in, and while I feel comfortable running at 5 in the morning, I don't feel comfortable walking at that time.  The zombies can't catch me if I run, but they might catch me if I'm walking.  My walking solution is Leslie Sansone's DVDs.  Now, I HATE Leslie Sansone, but she does have walking programs with pacing times.  Right now I feel comfortable walking two miles at a time.  After that, I worry that I am hurting my foot.

This is one of the DVDs I own.  It allows me to walk in place at home.  I don't own a dreadmill.

I tried some light yoga, but I don't think the pressure is good for my foot, so when I want to do yoga, I do the 20 minute Rodney Yee session.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I do forward bends.

This DVD has five practices, and I choose #1. Power Foundation because I can practice on my back or in a sitting position, and I still get a great stretch.

I look forward to getting the all-clear from the orthopedist, but in the meantime, this is what I can do.  I have noticed that the weight lifting and exercise ball work has really helped me to maintain/gain some muscle tone, and I initially lost weight after being injured.  I hope that I can keep it off, but honestly, eating is a constant battle for me.

If you ever find yourself in a running slump, or God forbid you get injured, check out these options; they can keep you fit and healthy until you are back on track.

P.S.  Today my exercise will be traipsing around the neighborhood in the freezing cold for Trick or Treat.  Yay!  I hope the neighbors have beer. . .

P.P.S.  My daughter said to me as we were about to leave for Trick or Treat, "Maybe you can go as a drunk, bitter, injured runner."

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Monday, October 14, 2013

6 Weeks More

And there you have it.  My x-ray says that the foot is still broken, although it is slowly healing.  This time the orthopedist tried to put a positive spin on it, which I appreciate, since last time I ended up sobbing like a baby.

Thinking Positively:

1.  I don't need to go back to the boot, and the insert Bill lent me is working nicely.  (@Bill:   I told her, Bill does for me what you can't.  I don't think that came out right.)

2.  I can do any exercise that doesn't involve high impact.  This means walking, aqua jogging, swimming, and YOGA!!!!

3.  Life could be worse; I could have a stinkbug infestation.

This is EXACTLY what I don't want to see around my house.  The little buggers have been crawling into our garage entry keypad and freaking out the kids.

The Bummer:

1.  If the foot doesn't heal in six weeks, I may have to have surgery.  Doctor says that she has only had to do this twice.  With my luck. . .

2.  I was hoping to sign up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon, which takes place at the end of April.  I still might be able to run it, but I'll have to wait and see, and we all know what happens to prices (and open spots) when runners wait.


In the meantime, I will continue to be the cheerful, grin-and-bear-it, uplifting blogger you have grown to know and love. . .as long as the booze holds out.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

And That Is How I Didn't Realize I Solicited Free Medical Advice.

My running peeps aren't just in my running life; we are band parents and Girl Scout parents.  Last Thursday I was at my daughter's band concert (Flutes represent!) with Deidre and Teresa, and in between band sets, Deidre's husband Bill asked about my foot.  Bill fits people with prosthetic limbs, so I was actually going for a really tasteless joke about asking him for a new foot when I told him that my foot still hurts.  Bill started talking to me, and then the band director started talking, so I looked at Bill's mouth, and I was all, "Yeah!  Uh huh!  Oh!  Ok," while he was talking  to me.  I didn't really hear a word he said, but I assumed he was telling me what kind of insert to get.  At that point I decided that I was going to go back to wearing the boot until I get my x-ray (on Monday).

Let me just say now that the looking-at-the-speaker-and-making-positive-noises has never backfired on me.  Until now.

This is EXACTLY how I look when someone tells me I can't run the half marathon.

On Saturday, Deidre texted me:  Bill wants you to stop over so he can fit you with an insert.

Me:  ?  Um, ok?  (Now I'm thinking, what insert?)

Then it hit me.  I had accidentally solicited free medical advice because I was pretending I heard what he said.  I felt awful.

Me:  OMG.  I totally did not realize what Bill was saying at the concert; I was just pretending I did.  I would NEVER ask someone to take care of me outside his/her practice.  I was only going to ask him to fit me for a new foot.  I. AM. SO. SORRY.  

Deidre:  (Basically) Whatever.  Come over.

Bill gave me an insert for my running shoes, and he explained that it was just as good as the boot, but without stabilizing the ankle (which I do not need).  He said that I would either feel no pain in two days, or it wouldn't change anything (in which case he could still fit me with a new foot).

That night I chaperoned the Homecoming dance.  I was wearing a beautiful black dress. . . with my running shoes.  Later I found out that a student came into school on Monday laughing about the "dumb girl in a dress and running shoes."  I appreciate that he called me a girl, but I am NOT DUMB.  Anyway, I felt awful at the end of the night, but that may have been the twerking that I can NOT UNSEE NO MATTER HOW HARD I CONCENTRATE ON CUTE PUPPIES AND SUNFLOWERS.

Sunday was a recovery day, and Monday was back to school, so when Deidre texted me to ask me how I felt, I truthfully said I felt the same, but now I was too scared to take out the insert before my doctor's appointment.  Tuesday was crazy-busy, but ten minutes before bedtime, I realized that my foot hadn't hurt ALL DAY.

I think the next time I see Bill, I am going to kiss him on the mouth.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Back to the Pool!

I'm back to aqua jogging, and I hope it's a good idea.  My orthopedist had told me as of three weeks ago that I could go in the pool as long as I don't touch bottom.  I waited an extra week just to be sure.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I make a perfect 4 in aqua jogging!

The first time I tried aqua jogging, I thought it was mind-numbingly boring, especially since I can't listen to music while I do it.  This time I feel different about the whole thing.  I have been very stressed lately, and I thought that my mind would be racing while I was in the pool.  That's one of the reasons why I like music while I run; it drowns out the scary Voices in my head.  (Read this post for further explanations about what goes on inside my head.  Spooky!)

As I drove to the pool at five in the morning, I made a list of things I should be working over in my mind.  Then I added some hypothetical challenges to my day that I anticipated having to overcome.  What I actually thought about when I got in the pool was. . . nothing.  I just kind of zoned.  It was actually very relaxing.

It started when I was trying to pay attention to my foot to see if there was any pain during pool time.  Then I decided to use the opportunity to work on my running gait.  Before my injury, my coach was encouraging me to practice a mid-foot strike without taking huge steps.  I focused on making my legs look like the Road Runner's, a blurry circle.  This is surprisingly difficult on a track but easy enough in a pool.

This is exactly how I SHOULD look when I'm working on my gait, but the reality is  that I probably look like the coyote, tongue and all, when I run.
I now know how people can take more than five minutes to "scan their bodies for information," something that I used to think was bizarre.  I was continually thinking about my legs, feet, and arm motions as I ran.  It made for a quick forty minutes.

I'm seeing the orthopedist on Columbus Day, and I'm hoping for good news!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Akron Marathon 2013

Saturday was the Akron Marathon, and it was a glorious day to run.  The temperature started in the 50's, and it never got hotter than 73 before noon.  The race started at 7:00, so the half marathon runners were in really comfortable temperatures, and the full marathon runners didn't get too hot either.

Full confession:  I had a meltdown before the race.  I had a team dinner with the Towpath Turtles, and although I was worried about how I would handle it, I actually had a great time.  Then the next day everything hit me--HARD.  I would not be running this race.  I would not be running for a while.  I am wearing running shoes and I can't run.  It's unfair and stupid.

That day at work ended in a semi-stressful way, and I sobbed my way home.  Of course, it wasn't about work at all; I realized right away why I was crying.  When I got home I had just enough time to plaster some makeup over my tear stains, and then I headed for Parent/Teacher conferences.  Then I came home and broke down again.  This is how I looked:

Ok, this was bound to happen; it was just a matter of when.  I got through it.  I realize that I have tiny problems, more specifically one teeny-tiny broken bone.  On Saturday morning, the kids and I walked about a mile to the Blue Line where we cheered on runners right before the big hill on the marathon route.  I got to see David and Heather, who were doing the Full-Mary, and Meralee, who was doing the Turtle relay.  What I DIDN'T see was that Meralie was literally carrying me on her back:

Meralie had this sign on her back the whole time!  I am so touched that Flat Stephani got to be a part of the Turtle Relay!  This is one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me, and it makes me feel awesome.  Thank you Meralie; you exemplify the Turtle spirit, unlike my Grumpy Turtle above.

I have already requested my status to change from "deferred" to "registered" for the 2014 Akron Marathon.  I'm going to kick that half marathon in the behind.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wearing Shoes (2 of them!)

Guess who is wearing two shoes?

This is EXACTLY how I look when I have matching feet!

The orthopedist told me that I could stop wearing the boot as of last week, but I was too scared to take it off.  I don't feel entirely healed.  Also, I wondered if the doctor knows how much I have to move around.  Anyway, I figured that I can't be TOO healed, so I kept the boot for one more week.

Then I started thinking that maybe I need to walk in shoes (the doctor told me to always wear my sweet running shoes) to strengthen the bones and ligaments of the foot.  I dunno.  All I do know is that I am SO HAPPY to be out of the boot and in shoes.

Today the Towpath Turtles did their relay practice.  This is where we support our relay team for the Akron Marathon by choosing to run legs of the race with our members.  It's a fun way to taper for the race, and it's a good way to cheer on the relay runners.

This has been an awful year for injuries.  I'm out with a broken foot, Deb has stress fractures on her femur and is on crutches, and poor Rosie fractured her femur at the finish line of the Natatorium 5k last week.  Ladies, I know your heartbreak (although I know I can't begin to match your physical pain).  We will recover from these setbacks, and we will be stronger than ever.  I promise.

Turtles and TORN members, I will be thinking about you this week as you go crazy with tapering, and I will be at a location on the course to cheer you on next week.

Fear the Turtle!

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fear the Turtle!

Today the Towpath Turtles ran the Natatorium 5k.  This is a fun course, fast and flat.  Of course, if you've read my previous post, you know that by "fun" I mean that you feel great when you are stuffing your face after the race.  If you are "having fun" while actually running a 5k, then you aren't running hard enough!

I wasn't at this race today, but I have been cheering on my Turtle peeps by sending them good running vibes.  Of course, I am also stalking their facebook pages to get the results.  It looks like the Turtles represented in the Nat!

Congratulations to Shelby!

Way to go, Kathy!

The motto on our club shirt says, "Fear the Turtle," and I really like it because deep down I would love to believe that there is SOMEBODY who comes to the race, sees us, and thinks, "Oh crap.  The Turtles are here.  There goes my place in my age group."  Of course, that is a horrible thought, and I guarantee you that nobody else in the Turtles thinks that way; I am the token meanie.   A more appropriate slogan might be, "Be Inspired by the Turtle."  I ABSOLUTELY hope that there are people at the races or on the road who look at us and think, "Wow, if they can do this, maybe I can."

Do you think you are too old to run?  We've got mothers, fathers, and grandmothers of all ages running with the Turtles, and they are having a ball.

Do you think you don't have the body of a runner?  What is that anyway?  Many of the Turtles don't look the way we envision runners, but I assure you that we ARE runners.

Do you worry that you are the one person in the world that won't be able to experience the fun of running and the thrill of a runner's high because you aren't worthy, aren't capable, or just CAN'T?  No?  Good.  I'm sure it's just me.  The Towpath Turtles helped me to overcome that kind of negativity.  Besides, you can't NOT have fun in the middle of the long run.  The goofiness has to emerge at some point.  We've had our fair share of weirdness on the Towpath; it takes the form of top-of-your-lungs singing, train-whistling through tunnels (guilty), acrobatics and surprising stunts, and REALLY dorky jokes.

Do you think you wouldn't do well in a running club?  You might surprise yourself.

Believe me, these Turtles are worthy of emulation.  A healthy dose of fear certainly wouldn't hurt our egos, though!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fall for Running. . . without Running

Fall is coming; I can feel it in the cool night breeze on my skin when I read in bed with the windows open.  I can smell it in the morning air (when I can smell at all--allergy season starts again).  Fall is my favorite season; it's one of the reasons I moved back to Ohio.  I get to see beautiful scenery like this:

Fall is the Blue Line Run, the Akron Half Marathon, the Columbus Hot Chocolate, the Buckeye Half Marathon.  Fall is gorgeous Sunday morning long runs where the Towpath Turtles run farther than they ever thought possible.  Fall is hill repeats and track workouts after school.

I am doing none of these things this year.

I am still here, though, and I am enjoying these things vicariously through my friends and my fellow running bloggers.  I love your posts and your pictures.  I read the blogs and I close my eyes and think, "My time will come.  I will be patient."

Yesterday the kids and I manned a water stop with some other club members on the Akron Blue Line Run, which is a test run for the Akron Marathon.  My son was so excited to see all the runners ("We have more customers!" he shouted each time he saw a group), and he loved pointing out which cooler contained water and which had Gatorade.  That boy is going to be my runner.  My daughter will take more convincing.

I loved seeing people I know in the running community.  I loved the high fives and the sweaty hugs.  I am still a runner; I'm just not running right now.

My time will come.  I will be patient.

Perspective} fitness friends

Friday, August 30, 2013

It's Not Good.

Let me apologize to you in advance: this is not a happy post.  I just returned from the orthopedist.  I'm really disappointed.

Hold still; this won't hurt a bit.

Ok, it's not that bad, but I'm pretty upset.  The doctor said that the fracture is still visible after four weeks of being in the boot.  I have at least two more weeks in the boot, and I'm not allowed to do ANY exercise involving my foot.

Me:  What about yoga?

Doctor:  Well, you could. . .no.

Me:  Aqua jogging?  I promise I won't touch the bottom of the pool.

Doctor:  No.  That will keep you from healing.  In fact, that will lead to surgery.

Me:  Swimming?

Doctor:  Uh-uh.

Me:  Can I run the Akron Marathon at the end of September?

Doctor:  Oh God, no!  That was never in the cards!  You need WEEKS before you can even start PT.  You won't even be able to think about running until November.

At that point I started fiddling with my boot so she couldn't see the tears in my eyes.

I realize that I have first-world problems.  I do.  I came home to my family basically telling me to Suck-it-up-Buttercup-and-take-care-of-us, and I just don't think I can today.  Jesus, I've been trying to be a ray of sunshine for weeks now; I need a day to mourn.
1.  I can't run the race I look forward to the most during the year, the Akron Half Marathon.
2.  I already paid for my bib, so I lost my money.
3.  I won't be able to run the Columbus Hot Chocolate, which is my only destination race.
4.  Running was my stress therapy.  I am having a difficult time keeping my head together.  I have been miserable since I broke my foot.  I don't know if I can continue like this for another two months.

I'm telling you this because people have been so kind, asking about my foot and wishing me well.  I hope to be able to overcome this setback, but right now I see black clouds.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Keeping the Faith

The only good thing about this broken foot is that today I was in the supermarket and a cute guy asked me about it and then we compared injuries and healing time.  He looked exactly like this:

I have an appointment with the orthopedist this Friday, which will mark almost four weeks of healing.  I'm wearing the boot whenever I have to put weight on the foot, and I am doing all my exercises, including aqua jogging.  Think good thoughts for me!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Aqua Jogging It

Today marks two weeks since I broke my foot.  Click here if you wonder how I did it.  A broken metatarsal is no reason to slack on my training.  Today I am on Day 13 of the 30-Day Ab Challenge (60 sit-ups, 75 crunches, 40 leg raises, 50 seconds plank) and Day 9 of the 30-Day Push-up Challenge (23 push-ups).  I also use an exercise ball to do back, arm, chest, and shoulder strengthening exercises, but I know it's not enough.  If I expect to run the Akron Half Marathon at the end of September, I've got to keep up the endurance.

Enter aqua jogging.   Aqua jogging is perfect for me because I wear a flotation belt when I do it, so my broken foot can't touch the pool bottom.  Check out this demonstration video:

One big disadvantage to aqua jogging is that it is boring as hell.  Luckily for me, my friend Shannon has agreed to do it with me 2-3 times a week.  We tried it out last Friday, and even though I was "running" as quickly as I could, I didn't feel the cardiovascular workout the way I do when I run; however, my legs felt a bit wobbly when I got out of the pool.

I am in week 2 of my broken foot; my appointment is at the end of August.  I'm really hoping the orthopedist will give me the go ahead at that point.

Good thoughts good thoughts good thoughts good thoughts good thoughts

Sunday, August 11, 2013

SuperFanning It

Today was a significant race for the Towpath Turtles, the Perfect 10 Miler.  They have already run eleven miles on the long, slow run, but as we all know, racing is different.

Here we are AFTER the race, looking pretty. . .pretty badass, that is.
I was incredibly frustrated because I was supposed to run this race, and well, you know what happened.  The course is largely fast and flat (with a little hill at the end for some added torment), and I had planned to really push myself as a practice run for the Akron Half Marathon.  Needless to say, events did not go as planned, but I really wanted to be there. . .as a SuperFan.

One thing that makes our running club different is that we celebrate all runners.  That means that we cheer for everyone, and we cheer to the end.  Lauren and I met the Turtles before the race to wish them luck, then we drove to the midpoint of the race and cheered EVERY RUNNER who passed us.  Then we drove to the end to cheer everyone through the chute.  There were other supporters there who didn't seem to do much supporting.  They stood around silently while Lauren and I lost our voices hooting, hollering, joking with runners, promising beer and cookies at the end (we were lying about the beer) and uvulating every time we saw a Turtle.  No link here, folks, look it up if you don't know what it means.  Shannon was down the course from us doing the same thing, plus she had a cowbell (I have a fever . . for more cowbell).

It really was a lot of fun.  So many runners thanked us or laughed or smiled at us, and I remembered what it feels like when someone, ANYONE, acknowledges me in a race.

So far I have been able to SuperFan one race and volunteer twice for the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run.  Each time I have given my time and effort, I have received a return that was greater than my investment.  In the case of Burning River, that is literally true: I arrived with nothing and left three hours later with a watermelon, a case of ginger ale, and two jugs of water.  Anyway, you know what  I mean.

Well done today, Towpath Turtles!  You rocked the 10 Miler!

This is Shannon and me, with one good pair of legs between us!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Anything to Heal

Today I had my first Reiki session.  The link tells you a bit about Reiki.  I bought a coupon from Groupon to Iuventus Spa in Hudson.  I had never done this before, and I was curious to try it.  What better time than when I have a broken foot and I am already desperate?

The session was much more than a relaxing laying-on-of-hands.  It was very emotional for me.  I did several exercises to unblock some memories and the feelings just came pouring out.  Bring Kleenex if you go.  What I liked about it was that I felt very safe, and I was able to not only express my emotions, but I had specific tasks to do during the session to bring myself safely through the feelings and to a better emotional state at the end.  I feel better, but I think I'm going to need a few more days to process those feelings.

I truly believe that if I find a way to unblock the way I repress the negativity around me, I will stop injuring myself in stupid ways.  Health isn't always just about eating right and exercising; there is a lot of psychological and spiritual stuff that needs to happen, too.

Even though I am in a boot, and I am out of commission for 4-6 weeks, I can't ignore the physical stuff.  I have re-started the 30 day ab challenge (because I value my life, I won't be including the kids this time), and I have started the 30-day pushup challenge, as well as adding some glute and thigh exercises to my morning.  I am going to ask my school's recreation center if I can buy a temporary pass so I can do some swimming or aqua jogging before school.

I am really motivated to heal.  I want to run in the Akron Half Marathon, but I will be cutting it very close.  I realize that I might not have a PR, but I will be happy to run again with my peeps.

Here is a screenshot of the 30-day ab challenge.  Want to join me?
See those abs?  That's EXACTLY like me.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


There are so many ways to approach the title of this post. . .

It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining, it was 63 degrees--every necessary component for a successful eleven mile run with the Turtles.

"Look out for these nuts," Renee said.  "They are treacherous."    The nuts were covering the side of the road, slippery little suckers.  As soon as Renee warned us, I stepped on one and my right foot rolled in.  I saved myself from outright falling, but I knew as soon as I stopped that something was very wrong.


"Nuts!"  I said.  Ok, at this point if you know me at all, you know that I didn't say that, but hey, what if a kid is reading this?  I tentatively started walking, and the pain was intense.  Maybe you've stumbled or overextended a muscle and you knew that you would be ok in a few minutes?  Yeah, that wasn't me.  I KNEW that I had jacked myself up.  Again.

I told my fellow Turtles (who were kind enough to offer to run for a car for me) that I'd be able to make it to my own car (which was over two miles away).  They looked at me like I was nuts, and I realized that they were right when I limped to Szalay's Farm Market about a third of a mile away.  There was no way I could walk to my car.  I borrowed a cell phone from a kind couple on the Towpath ("What?" they said.  "You don't even own a cell phone?  That's nuts!"), and called my husband, who already thinks I'm. . . well, you know.

One trip to the emergency room later, and I know I'm going to go. . . batty (see what I did there?) from not running for two weeks AGAIN.  My foot is broken.

The good news is that the emergency room doctor thinks I'll be able to run in a couple weeks, but I have to see an orthopedic doctor right away to make sure I don't need surgery.

The bad news is that I already paid for the Perfect 10-Miler for next Sunday.

The good news is that this is my chance to be a SuperFan for the Turtles in the race next Sunday.

The bad news is that without running away from trouble, I may be driving those I love. . .


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Kicks!

It was well-past time to buy new shoes.  I bought my last pair of shoes in NOVEMBER 2012, people.  Just since January I have put over 550 miles on them.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Some runners will tell you that you should change every 500 miles; some say 300.  Either way, I screwed up.

Yesterday I set out to rectify my mistake.  My store of choice is Second Sole because it is closest to my house and I have had wonderful, spiritual experiences every time I've gone there--no joke.  This time I brought my old shoes with me (my last rookie mistake was NOT bringing my old shoes), but I didn't bring my running socks to try on a new pair.  Duh.  I guess I thought that I would be getting the same shoes, just newer.  So, Dear Readers, you now have learned two lessons so far from my rookie shoe-buying mistakes: bring your shoes, and bring your socks.

Anyway, the store has a bin where you can borrow socks that approximate the thickness of your own socks, so it wasn't that big of a deal.  The "borrowing socks" were much better than my own socks, by the way.

The salesman asked me how many miles I'm putting in a week, and when told him 20-30, he responded, "Wow, that's a lot!"  Extra points for making me feel like a badass!  He took my shoes to the back and came back with these:

Saucony Guide 6

These were a size 10--a half-size larger than my regular Saucony size (which is still a half-size larger than some of my other shoes).  The salesman said, "I looked at the wear on your shoes, and I think they are too small for you in the toe box, especially for the amount of miles you are putting in.  Try these on, and we'll see if they are better for you."  Be still, my beating heart!  Did he actually analyze my old shoes?

Ok, here is a reality check.  When I looked at the Guide 6 reviews on Saucony's website, I noticed that the number one comment was that everyone had to go up a half-size.  I'm pretty sure the salesguy automatically brings everyone a half-size larger, but because I am a narcissist and an optimist, I am going to believe that he DID look at the wear on my shoes and think about my needs.  I love you, Second Sole.

I took my beautiful, bright shoes on the running path this morning for four hilly miles.  I was a little worried about the size because I felt that my old shoes would sometimes rub in the heel.  Notice the special ankle-lock tie on the left shoe.  The shoes felt lighter (the website says they are lighter), and they felt more cushiony and less stiff than my previous shoes.  They felt like I had already broken them in.  I didn't have any blisters or soreness during or after the run, so I'm going to tentatively say the Guide 6 is a win.  The real test will be the long run on Sunday.

What do you think of Saucony?  Have you tried the Guide 6?  Do you notice a difference from the Guide 5?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

ALWAYS Pack Your Running Gear!

The title of this blog is the moral of the story, so I will repeat it up front:  ALWAYS pack your running gear.  Always.

This week was the family vacation in New York City.  We rented an apartment in Weehawken, New Jersey, which is an awesome town on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel.  I could go on and on about how fabulous this location is, but I don't want you to find my secret apartment because then I'll never get in as cheaply as we did this year.

Anyway.  Before leaving, I debated about packing my running gear.  Is it worth the extra room in the suitcase?  I knew that I would be walking for miles and miles in the city each day, so I wondered whether I would be motivated enough to get up early and run.  Also, I wasn't familiar with the area where we stayed, so I didn't know if I would be safe running alone or not.  In the end, I decided that I didn't need to pack my running gear.

I am an idiot.

This is part of the running path that is DIRECTLY IN FRONT of my apartment.  On the river.  SMH.

Every day I woke up before my family and looked out at the myriad runners on that path, and every day I cursed myself.  As a result of my stupidity, I haven't run in nine days.  Never again.  I will always make room for my running gear.

Tomorrow I intend to punish myself on the run.  Tempo run, anyone?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I Have a Guardian Angel

When I was in my late twenties, my best friend Paige and I visited a psychic.

"You have a guardian angel," she said.  "Her name is Carol Anne."  Paige was taking notes for my session, and she immediately started writing, "Run to the light, Carol Anne!" while I tried to choke back my laughter.  "She's doesn't like Poltergeist jokes," the psychic said sternly, "and she's telling me that you spelled her name wrong."  Oops.

They're he-ere!

Let me say it loudly right now, "Thank you, Carol Anne!  Thank you soooo much!"  I will never use your name in the context of a cult horror film again because tonight you probably saved my life.

Jill and I were running my favorite 10-mile route; it is the former "Blue Line" run from the Akron Marathon, so-named because the runners follow a painted blue line on the road.
This is what the blue line run looks like in some parts of Akron.

Twenty seconds after we turned a corner, there was a t-bone car crash in the exact spot where we had previously run.  It was horrible.  Neither Jill nor I had a phone, but luckily a woman walking with her baby did have one, and after I promised to keep an eye on the baby, she called 911 and investigated the crash to give as much detail as possible.  I saw four of the victims; one was a small child, but she seemed to be ok.  The other victims looked horrible.  Within minutes many medical personnel stopped to help, and then the police and EMT's arrived.

When we realized that there was nothing more we could do (after telling arriving cars to turn around and go back), we decided to continue the run.  We had about six more miles to go.  My arms and legs were shaking, and no matter how much Jill and I tried to shake it off, my mind kept going back to the crash and the woman with the cell phone who said, "Twenty seconds slower, and you would have been right in that."

I am praying for those people tonight.  I am thanking Carol Anne, God, and any other forces in the Universe that pushed my ass a little faster down that blue line today.  I am a grateful runner.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Strip: Las Vegas, that is

I just returned from a six-day conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It was my first time in Vegas, and boy, was it enlightening!  I had two main concerns about my running in Vegas:

1.  I couldn't pack a bunch of running gear.  How would I get by on two bras, two pairs of socks, two shirts, and running shoes?

After some thought, I decided to try to wash my running clothes in the bathtub and hang them there.  Luckily for me, my roomie said this would not gross her out.  Just today I found out that there is a laundry soap (I think it's Tide) designed to hand wash in the sink.  Too bad--I used bath soap.  It worked ok; I was able to rinse out most of the horrible stink.  Problem #1 solved!

2.  I knew I would be keeping late hours (the conference usually started at 7 am and finished around 11 pm with networking activities), so how would I be able to work out on very little sleep?

This is exactly how I look after only 4 hours of sleep.

After the first night, I went to the gym at the Venetian and ran four miles on the treadmill.  I HATE the treadmill.  Then I had to complete part of the 30-day ab challenge.  The second day I did the elliptical, since I had never tried it before.  The elliptical is for coordinated people, so I had NO BUSINESS trying it.  The third day I ran on the Strip, and that was AWESOME!

The Bellagio

New York, New York


Looking down the Strip

After Day 3 of workouts, I was D.O.N.E.  I wanted to run the Strip again, but I was getting less than three hours of sleep a night.  Plus, I ditched the 30-day ab challenge, which means I have to start over on Monday.

Also, another interesting point:  While I was running the Strip, a bike policeman pulled up beside me and said, "You may not want to go as far and and hard as you usually do because you're probably not used to the smoke."  He was absolutely right.  Cigarette smoke is EVERYWHERE in Vegas.  Really, it's the only fault I can find with Las Vegas.

Today I  suffered for neglecting my workouts by running nine miles with the Turtles.  We had to run the Bike and Hike because the floods in our area shut down the Towpath.  There was no flooding in Vegas, btw.

I leave you with a tip I learned from fellow-Turtle Rosie today.  End a hot run with a washcloth soaked in ice and sprayed with aromatherapy spray.  Heaven!