Sunday, April 16, 2017

19 Miles!

Today I had my 19 miler--a mileage I have not run since training for the Akron Marathon. It went surprisingly well.  Here are some pictures and some lessons I learned:

1. (Re)Learn to run by yourself.  This one is odd for me. When I first started running, I primarily ran alone. I loved running long, slow distances (as well as shorter runs) and races all by myself. Just me and my music. What can I say? I'm a rebel, Dottie, a loner.

 In the past two years, I have switched my focus to running long with groups or partners. In a way it was really good for me to be sociable. As I get older, I have less patience with others, and I often find it tiring to talk to other people when I don't have to do it. Such is the life of a teacher.

Anyway, I grew to love running long with others, but unfortunately, I also grew to depend on it. When I decided to train long with groups, I forgot the fundamental rule: People will not always come through when you need them to. (It's the same rule with running with music, by the way.) As long as you depend on people, you are always opening yourself up for a letdown. Now, this isn't a condemnation of anyone in particular; it's just a fact. For example, you might set up a long run at 8:30 AM with another runner, and she/he might wake up sick. It happens to all of us, and it is nobody's fault. That, however, will not help you when you realize that you didn't take your earbuds with you because you depended on conversation as your distraction.

I've had a few situations in the past month where my runs were partly alone. Mostly I have awesome friends who have "rescued" me by running a few miles here and there during the long runs, but I now realize that I have to stop depending on running with other people.

Today I ran the first ten miles of my long run alone, and it wasn't terrible, but it would have been so much better if I hadn't gotten out of the habit of running long alone.
Technically, I wasn't completely alone. Snappy here was on the Towpath cheering for me.  Or hoping to chew off my leg.

I need to get back to depending on myself, Peeps. After all, chances are really good that I'll be running alone for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon (unless you want to run with me?). I used to be so good by myself, and I need to get back there.

2.  Don't sit in an Epsom Salt bath immediately after your long run if you have ANY SUSPICIONS AT ALL  that you might have chafing anywhere in your nether regions.  'Nuff said.

Joy ran with me for the second part of my run: 9 miles. It has been a while since we were able to talk, and I really missed her, so we had a good time. We dodged a lot of snakes.

There were LOTS of these.
The weather was really hot, and by the end of the run, I looked like a salt lick. Joy was my savior, and I'm so grateful to her for saving my butt and getting me to finish 19 miles.

We finished at Lock 29.
I kind of screwed up my mileage plan for the marathon. Normally I should hit my 20 miler on April 30, three weeks before the race; however, I couldn't pass up a fabulous deal to run the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon on that day (for only $26.20!), so I had to decide whether I want to hit 20 miles before or after that. I've chosen the Sunday following the race, which will give me 2 weeks to taper. This is actually more than I normally schedule to taper, so I'm hoping this will all work out for me.

How is your training going, Peeps?

Do you prefer running solo or group running?

How long do you take to taper? Do you REALLY respect the taper?

I hope to see you in Cleveland. Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!s

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Flat Is Where It's At

I've focused a bit on hills lately, which is totally good for me in every way. . .

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run hills.  See that look of joy? See the little kids in lederhosen?  
But for my dial-back run this week, I wanted something flat and easy. And pretty.  And so I chose the Towpath. I did five miles myself for the first hour, and because I didn't bring my earbuds, I did it without music!

Views of the Cuyahoga River from the Towpath

I love running in Merriman Valley; it's so beautiful, and the Towpath never looks the same from day to day.

After my first five miles, I met up with Kristin for the next ten. We agreed that the purpose was to relax and chat. We certainly chatted.  It was a surprise to both of us when the turnaround seemed to come so quickly, and it was definitely a surprise to Kristin (who has never run that section of the Towpath before) when I told her that we were in the home stretch.

Of course we had to take a picture:

Shiny, happy people
As a bonus I saw some fellow Turtle alumni who were coming in as I was going out. Ladies, you were looking strong today!

The sun was shining, the weather was perfect, the company was fabulous. All in all, I give this run an A+.  Thank you, Kristin, for being so awesome; you made 15 miles feel like 2.

I am almost at the 20 mile point for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Peeps.  Won't you join me by registering here

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @itibrout!Tow

Monday, April 3, 2017

Hills and More Hills

I had a dilemma:

I had 18 miles to cover on Sunday, and it looked like I was going to run them alone until. . . Rachel came along. Rachel is another Cleveland Marathon Ambassador; you can check her out here.

What a happy coincidence that Rachel had to run 18 miles, too. . . except she wanted to start at 7:00 AM.  In Chagrin Falls, which is 40 minutes away from my house.

This is EXACTLY how I feel when I realize I need to get up before 5 AM to be ready for a long run on my day off.
At first I said no, but after watching Moana with my kids, I decided to call it an early night, and I told Rachel I'd meet her in the wee hours of the morning.

We did two loops of 9 miles. I liked the idea of doing these loops because it wasn't the same loop, and I got to stop by my car to eat a banana and consider a wardrobe change (which I didn't need after all). The hard part (besides getting up so early) was that both loops were ALL HILLS.  SO. MANY. HILLS.

This is EXACTLY how the hills looked.  Maybe.
It was so pretty running through Hunting Valley, and we decided to take some pictures of the river.

My morning view
It's difficult to find a good running partner without too much adjustment. There is so much to think about: pace, personality, stamina, training needs. I was really lucky because Rachel and I seemed to mesh pretty well, and we stayed strong for the full 18 miles of freaking hills. I'm really glad I gave the 7 AM call a chance.

We look pretty good for being about 6 miles from the finish.
Because I was on Spring Break, I put in some good miles this week. I actually got a nine-miler in midweek by running part of the Blue Line in reverse. It was a great way to shake up the routine. I ran 40 miles, and I'm still alive and thriving.  Not bad at all. Maybe I'll be ok in this marathon after all.

Will you join me, Peeps?  Register here for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  I promise we will have fun! Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Still Got It!

First, this has nothing to do with running. Thursday night my friends and I attended Puddles Pity Party at the Cleveland House of Blues, and this happened:

Best. Concert. EVER. I highly recommend you see him if he is in your area.

Second, I was worried that my foray into trail running would give me a sense of false confidence. That is, because I allow my self to walk any time I like on a trail, I worried that I would not be able to run on a flatter surface for an extended length of time. To test this theory, I decided to run 17 miles on the Towpath today (Sunday). The Burning River Goddesses have been so kind to me; they offered to either run the full 17 with me (Marta and Kelsie) or join me for part of the fun. Jen's husband Steve, who is an honorary Goddess and a rock star trail runner who is training for Burning River (the full Monty, folks), also offered to join me for the first 12 miles.

So it was that Steve, Marta, Kelsie, and I started from Lock 29 at 8 AM. I was worried that I would hold them back, and I told them all to leave me whenever they felt that they needed to. . .but they didn't. One of my big problems is that I CAN run a good mid-pack pace, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I SHOULD run that pace, especially on the long runs. My goal was to finish strong and feel good, and to accomplish that, I knew I had to run much more slowly than I normally would like to run.

We all had a great discussion on the Towpath, sometimes running fast and sometimes running slowly. I was wearing my Cleveland Ambassador long-sleeved tech shirt, and within two miles I was ROASTING, although I looked super cool.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm roasting, but I'm rocking a super cool shirt.
After 9.5 miles, we were back at Lock 29, where I ate a banana, changed into a short-sleeved shirt, and used the bathroom. Then we joined up with Jen and Tracy for the rest of the run.  I'm not going to say it was easy because it wasn't, but I really enjoyed my run with everyone.  We saw turtles, lots of turtles:

This was one log of four in that section--all full of turtles. 

And we talked and bitched and laughed.

At mile 16.9, I decided that the kick had to come now, and I actually picked up the pace and ran very quickly (I'm not going to say I sprinted because I didn't) to the end. Then I had .4 miles to walk as a cool down. I am very pleased with how I finished. I felt strong, and although I felt sore, I still think it was a good run.

I have a while until I need to hit my 20 miler. While talking it through with Jen today, I decided that I'm going to hover around these middle miles for a while, which is what I did when I trained for my first marathon. I would like to get to a point where I say, "Oh. It's only 16 miles." Maybe then my 20 miler won't feel as awful as it did when I ran it for the Akron Marathon.

How is your training? Have you registered for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon?  NO??? Well, you can register here today, or you can check out the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors to see who is giving away a race entry. Join me! You know you want to see how I handle running this marathon by myself (unless you want to run with me???).  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Don't Go Chasin' Waterfalls

Today I did 16 miles. I got up super early to run three miles along the canal at Bedford Reservation, and then I joined the Burning River Goddesses to do 13 more miles on the trails. Jen warned us that it would be an adventure. . .and that it was.

The adventure started with sucking mud in the first two miles. I almost lost my shoes, but curling my toes helped me to hang on. Then we got to run on the top of the valley, with a drop that was literally one foot to my left with nothing between me and oblivion. Then we hit the waterfalls:

Waterfall #1
Waterfall #2

Waterfall #3. I wish I could remember the names of these falls.
When we hit their halfway point (and my 10-mile point), there was a raging river that, according to Jen's map, we were supposed to cross. Really? Jen spent minutes looking at the river and trying to come up with a way to ford it while we took turns yelling, "We are NOT f---cking crossing that river, Jen."

This is the very shallow part of the river. You can still see whitecaps.
Jen gave it up for this time (with the promise of a crossing at a later time), and we headed  back to the car. This time we took a slightly different turn, and it led to a stream crossing that was more like a stream wading. It was about calf-deep for me (and deeper for Jen, who took a spill), and the water was bone-achingly freezing. This helped me to pick up my pace, as I couldn't feel my feet anymore.

While we paused at the river crossing, we took a picture:

Renee, Tracy, Marta, Jen, Me
All in all, I give Bedford Reservation a double thumbs-up. What a beautiful run! I can't wait to see it in fall!

How is your training going? Are you enjoying the increased mileage? Are you training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon? Join me there! Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Trails Are the Answer

I'm amping up the mileage, Peeps. Last week was a fallback week--13 miles. This week I intended to return to 16 miles, possibly do 17, but there was a weird parking problem.  All the trailhead parking lots were closed at 8:00, when I intended to put in possibly 5 miles before meeting up with Jen and Renee.  No matter. I diverted to an open place and managed to run 3 road miles before the official run.

It was cold, Peeps.  Really, really cold. I was thankful that I warmed up on the road, but it wasn't necessarily a fun moment while I did it.

Once I got on the trails I felt fine. It never really got warmer, but I run hot, and the trees protected us from wind, so I had a great time.
This was supposed to be a cool picture of the trails, but it turned out to be a picture of where I broke my ass falling down.

I tried some new fuel: GU Chomps, Strawberry.  I liked the taste, but they were super chewy and difficult to break down in my mouth. At one point I was worried that I would get them sucked into my windpipe and die. I bought a whole case of them, so I need to work this out.

I love running with Jen and Renee for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. They are English teachers, like me. When we bitch about life, we do it in iambic pentameter.

2. They are incredibly kind. When I explained my future dilemma of increasing my miles and getting in a 20 miler before the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, they immediately offered to split up and each run ten miles with me.

3. They don't mind if I talk or swear. They talk and swear.

4. If they think I'm a bitch or a freak, they haven't said so or shown it.

I am going through a bit of a stressful time  right now, so I feel super-lucky that these ladies have taken me in and shared their runs with me. Long runs for me get hard after 15 miles, and the fact that Jen and Renee knew this because of their own experiences and stepped in to help means everything to me. Thank you, Ladies. You are beautiful.

We were pretty thirsty on this trail run. Jen decided to go for the gross, yellow icicles. Renee knew better.
I have some time to increase my mileage before the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, so I'm not going to beat myself up about getting in 15 miles instead of the projected 17.  My long miles were originally for Shelby, and that isn't necessary anymore.

We all need the long miles for proper training, Peeps. It's much easier when you can run with friends. If you don't have any running friends, make some now! I guarantee it will change your running experiences for the better. If you do have running friends, thank them this week. We all love appreciation.

Whom will you thank this week?  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Magical Thinking

I believe in magical thinking. Call it what you want: prayer, visualization, meditation, voodoo. . .it's magic, and I believe it works. To this end, I have participated in some magical thinking lately:

1.  Achilles Tendon.

My Achilles Tendon has been bothering me since October. There are days when it is unbearable, and there are days where I don't even notice it. I spent months researching and doing strength training and stretches for my hamstrings and tendon, but it hasn't gotten better. I finally decided to find a chiropractor who specializes in Active Release Technique.

This is EXACTLY how my Achilles Tendon looks. Probably yours, too, by the way.
Active Release Technique basically uses deep muscle massage to help tendons and muscles that are strained or tight from overuse. My friend Ed, who is an amazing runner, convinced me that this would be the way to go, so I gave it a shot.

I had never visited a chiropractor before, but magical thinking, right? So far, I've had three sessions, and there isn't a magical cure, but I'm still hopeful.

2. K-Tape

This goes along with the Active Release Technique. I definitely think KTape is magical thinking, so it's a good thing I'm a believer.

3. Switching up the Routine

Not gonna lie, Peeps. I didn't post last week because I felt an overwhelming sense of metaphysical despair.  Shelby and I ran 16 miles, and each step felt like death to me. I just never got into a groove, and then I made the mistake of comparing that 16 miler to other 16 milers I have run. . .it just led to disgust with myself and life.

This week I got to roll back the miles a bit, and Shelby, feeling the same disgust, dumped me, so I decided to shake things up a bit. I messaged Jen and begged her to let me go trail running with her and her peeps. I went early and ran three road miles, and then I did ten miles with the Burning River Goddesses.  It was a trail I had never seen before, and I had a ton of fun.
Me, Renee, Jen.  See how happy we are?

 I felt much more positive about my training after a run through the forest with the sun shining through the trees, which leads me to number 4:

4.  Race Registration

I did it, Peeps; I pulled the trigger and registered for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! This will be my second marathon, and I'm feeling a bit unsure of myself, so SHOW ME SOME FREAKING LOVE ABOUT THIS!!! The first thing you can do is register here so you can run with me! I'll need all the support I can get, PLUS a lot of magical thinking.

What kinds of magical thinking are you using this week, Peeps? Clap your hands if you believe in fairies! Until then, run happy!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

And the Winner is. . .

Congratulations to Ron, the winner of a race entry to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Series!

Want an entry of your very own? You have two choices:

1. Register here
2. Follow the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors (info linked here). We each host a giveaway every week.  

May the odds be ever in your favor!

This week I finally got my mileage up past 30--33.5, to be exact. It helped that the weather is turning nicer. On Friday the weather wasn't so great (at 4:30 AM), so I ran on the treadmill. I decided to do intervals, something I haven't done in a while, and I FREAKING NAILED them! I have 12 sets scheduled in my watch, and after running the Akron Marathon, I lost my motivation to complete the sets, often punking out around set 8.  This time I did ALL 12 LIKE A BOSS!  So proud of myself.

Sunday Shelby and I ran 14 miles, and it was a beautiful day for a run.

Me before the run, rocking the Cleveland Marathon capris. I love these pants!

Shelby and me, post 14-miles. So glad it's over.
I feel really good about my training this week. I feel like I incorporated the right combinations of strength training, speedwork, and lsd running.  This week was a win!

Will the weather motivate you in your training? Will you join me in Cleveland in May?  I hope so. Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @itibrout!

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Giveaway!

This week I get to give away one entry to any one race in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon series!  I am so excited, Peeps.

As many of you already know, I am an ambassador for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. The lovely people in charge gave me a free entry and one to give to you, and that is exactly what I want to do this week. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I want to spread the love, Peeps.
I only say this because I am still on a runner's high after 12 miles this morning.
In the spirit of the season, I'd like to make LOVE the theme of this post.  Whom do you love?

I love. . .

1. My husband. He is a dufus, but he is MY dufus. And he bought me a phone charging cord today because I mentioned that mine is toast.
My husband: the Kabyle Chef

2. My kids. They are awesome even though they make me want to stick a screwdriver through my brain pan most days.

My son
My daughter

3.  Shelby. She runs with me on Sundays. She handles the long runs. When I tell her to f--ck off, she doesn't even blink.  She listens to me complain about my family, and she alternates between indulging me and telling me to get a grip on myself. I love you, Man.

One of our many pictures together. I have to run on Sundays because Shelby will be there.
Peeps, I love you, too. I love your comments, and I love your private messages. I love when you say that you read my blog (I have a huge ego, you know), and I feel like you are my friends.

Ok, that is enough. I can't take any more sweetness; I need to clean my teeth as it is. Let's get down to business. This giveaway opens at midnight, 2/14, and it closes at midnight, 2/21. Here are the rules:

1. If you already registered, don't enter. I can't reimburse you.
2. Entry is good for ONE race, not the series.
3. I received an entry (and some other swag) in exchange for writing about the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Nobody buys my opinions, however. Any thoughts on the race series are my own and do not represent the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.
4. I will contact the winner by email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't feel lucky today? You can register here for the race(s) of your choice.  Hurry, kids! Join me while you can! I don't want to be the only person complaining about training in the cold. Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter  @itibrout!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dial It Back

Not gonna lie, Peeps. I'm exhausted.

This is one of those weeks where I haven't wanted to do anything, but I had to do everything. I didn't want to go to work (although this was one of the funnest weeks I had planned this year), I didn't want to come home from work, I didn't want to shuttle my kids around, I didn't want to shop for, plan, or prepare meals of any kind, and I CERTAINLY didn't want to run.

My motto for the week
Of course I DID do all of those things, including running, but it was a struggle every. damned. step. of. the. way. Normally, I love to run; I look forward to it, and even when I don't immediately love it, I'm always happy after the second mile.  Not this week.  It seemed like I spent every second trying to talk myself out of running. Of course I did the other workouts in my weekly routine: weights and strength training, yoga, Zumba--but I didn't even really want to do those either.

People often say to me, "I would love to run, but I don't have time." We all know this is bullshit. What you don't have is motivation to make time. My running time (and all workout time, really) has to happen around the needs of everyone in my house, so guess what? I run at 4:30 in the morning.  It wasn't easy for me to decide to run so early, and there were times I wanted to cheat and tell myself I'd get it done after work, but I pushed on. Now my morning workout time is a habit, so even if I want to skip it (and OH BOY did I want to skip it this week), my body goes on autopilot and gets out of bed before the alarm. Most days this sets me up for a fabulous, energetic workday (until about 3:00).

This is EXACTLY how I look when I set myself up for a fabulous, energetic workday.
Today, I am the gravedigger from  Hamlet.

Here I am excited to play Horatio. I kind of wanted  to be the king or queen so I could die.
Then I could just lay on the floor for a long time. It was not "to be." See what I did there? 😜
The point of this post is this: Sometimes you've got to fake it 'til you make it. . .and sometimes you just have to keep fakin' it.

Don't want to run on the dreadmill?  Me neither.  Let's dial it back together, like I did on Friday and Saturday. On Friday I couldn't bring myself to go down into the cold basement to run on the treadmill, even with the promise of the 9th season of Dr. Who on DVD, so I stayed in the living room and popped in a Leslie Sansone walking DVD. I ran while she walked and talked (boy, does she talk), and I carried 2 lb. weights while I ran around the living room. On Saturday, I allowed myself to walk the first and last mile of my treadmill run.  Both workouts were less than optimal, but at least I got it done.

Today, luckily, was a dial-back week in the long run, too.  Shelby, Joy, and I ran the Covered Bridge Loop, which is eight miles of really pretty scenery around Hale Farm and Village.  I took our traditional pics:

The church in the Valley at Hale Farm
Our Covered Bridge selfie
I thought the run would be a breeze, but it wasn't.  You know what? I still made that run my bitch.

Sometimes a run is hard, and sometimes ALL the runs are hard, but perserverance is a cool thing. I know that I will feel better (with some rest and maybe pizza and wine), so I'm going to look forward to the next run.  Join me.

Have you registered yet for an event in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon series? Are you checking out the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors' pages?  Who has a giveaway this week?  How is the training going for you?  Feel free to gloat comment about your awesome runs.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Who's Your Ambassador?

Who is incredibly attractive, witty, talented, hard-working, has a fabulous smile, and. . .

NO!  Let me finish the question!!! We are not talking about Meryl!
Who is incredibly attractive, witty, talented, hard-working, has a fabulous smile, AND is a 2017 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador? Well, yes, it is true that I could be talking about ANY of the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors, . . .

DAMN, we are a good-looking bunch of runners!

BUT I'M NOT. It's me. I'm a 2017 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador!

Wait, that isn't very flattering.  Let me get a different picture.

No.  Just. NO.
This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm excited to be a Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador!
And excited to eat Mitchell's ice cream.

I am so lucky for this opportunity, Peeps. It's my third year, so hopefully I have a clue about what I'm doing this time around. I do know this: It is the 40th anniversary of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and to celebrate, anyone who runs the 10k, half marathon, or marathon will receive this bonus swag:

Look at this mighty cool keychain!

Check out this shirt!  I love it!

It's a big race, Peeps; anything can happen. Last year was the #mostClevelandraceever with hail, snow, ice, rain, and waterspouts. I'm excited to see the topper this year. I hear from Buffy Summers that there is a Hellmouth in Cleveland; maybe it will open up.

What am I running?  I'm going to hold off on answering that question. I have a plan, but it's a sneaky plan. I don't want to commit to anything yet. I will say this: I plan to run my butt off (there is a lot of butt to run off), have fun, and drink beer.  Join me by registering here.  

Wanna try your luck at a giveaway? My fellow ambassadors and I are taking turns each week with a free entry for one race in the series (I'll explain more about choices next week).  Follow us and take your chances!

Oh, my training?  You want to know what I did?  Well, today I ran twelve miles of Towpath with my running friend Shelby.  We were cold and miserable. I swore a lot.  It was great.

I look forward to running with you in Cleveland.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Takes the Piss Outta Me

Peeps, I had surgery one month ago today. I thought about whether I was going to write about it or not because it's not a comfortable, dinner-table conversation. My doctor told me that my life would change so much that I would write a book about him after I win my next marathon.

My doctor knows NOTHING about running.

He was right about the life-changing part, though.  The following topic may or may not be relevant to you as a runner. I suspect that many Mother Runners will know exactly what I am writing about. Today I ran ten miles with Shelby, and I did it pee-free. . .That's right; I didn't piss myself once!

I have been running for about five years now, but I have been a mother for over fourteen years. As many women know, childbirth can cause damage to your urethra, bringing about stress incontinence. This is why so many of us will NEVER jump on a trampoline. While I have managed to avoid the trampoline, I did not want to give up running just because I can't seem to control my bladder.  I tried every possible fix ranging from plugs to pads to drinking less water to changing the way I carry myself while running.  Nothing worked.

I invested in a LOT of these.

I tried these.

And I tried these.

For years I made do with incontinence pads, but when I started putting in more miles, especially in the heat, this became a real pain in the. . . well, you know. Chafing caused me to scream every time I took a post-run shower, and no amount of Glide or Vaseline could prevent it. I had scars; it hurt. It almost made me give up on running my first marathon.

See the big bulge on the back of my belt (I'm in the yellow)? That is an extra pad I had to carry with me in case I needed to change during the race. I look like I have a growth coming out of my butt cheek. 

It looks even worse here.

Finally, I went to see a doctor about my problem. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have done it if Dr. Apostolis' office wasn't just down the street from my house. Anyway, after a few tests he decided that I was a good candidate for a urethral sling. I was less-than-thrilled; I don't know what I thought he would do for me--wave a magic wand? give me some magic beans?--but I hadn't considered surgery. The deciding factor was what Dr. Apostolis told me when I asked him what would happen if I did nothing:

"Well," he said, "believe it or not, you have a very mild problem right now, so it must be very tempting to just bear it. Today it's just when you run; five years from now, you'll pee your pants when you sneeze or cough; ten years from now, it will happen when you laugh or just get up from a chair."  That is when he finished with the remark about writing a book about winning the marathon, which was so ridiculous it was cute, but I got the point: This was a quality of life decision. Three days before Christmas I went ahead with the surgery.

The procedure itself took about half an hour, and I was under general anesthesia for it. I woke up completely alert with very little pain (yay drugs!), and after proving I could urinate by myself, I was allowed to go home. The whole shebang-waiting, prepping, surgery, recovery, testing-took about four hours. I took pain killers for two days, and then I was fine.  Really fine. I spent the next week of vacation recovering--basically napping and walking laps around the mall.

Two weeks later I had my follow-up appointment, and the nurse-practitioner gave me the go-ahead to run and/or basically do all the stuff I did before. I was amazed. "Really? Just like that? I'm ok to run?" She nodded and that was that.

And that was how I ran ten miles in complete comfort today.  Thanks, Doctor Apostolis.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run 10 miles in complete comfort.

If you would like more information about stress incontinence or my surgery, feel free to email me at I know there are more of us who experience this problem, and I made myself vulnerable today so that I can let people know that there is hope.

I hope you run happy this week, Peeps!

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