Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, McKenna!

So, I promised the updates on the next post, here it is. Yes, I realize I just posted like 10 minutes ago, but this is important. One of my honorees has turned TEN today! Happy Birthday, McKenna!

This young lady is truly remarkable, having gone through not one, but two (count 'em, two!) bone marrow transplants. The last one took place in August and (unfortunately) she's having a little trouble these days. She's on the oscillator now and getting help with her breathing, which means that she's sedated for her birthday. In my opinion, this just means she should have an even bigger party when she gets off of that thing. In the meantime, let's mobilize some hopes and prayers for McKenna. If you want, post them here and I will pass the good wishes on to her and her family.

Double Digits!

Well, here's some exciting news. I have officially hit double digits! After the blues of last weeks blah, blah running, my training has once again kicked in and I ran...(drumroll please)... 10 MILES! (One is not supposed to use caps on websites, the theory being that the reader will feel like s/he is being shouted at, but...why not shout? TEN MILES!!!)

Wow! Okay, just published this accidentally (in all the excitement). Ten miles is a long way and I must say that I was really feeling it on Saturday afternoon and evening, all stiffness and the like. A friend of mine, who has run many of these things, warned me on Sat night that I would probably be feeling it even worse on Sunday. Fortunately, that did not happen. In fact, I felt pretty normal/fine on Sunday. All the good training? All the good stretching? Who knows? Anyway, I'm doing pretty well.

As I noted earlier, I'm probably developing a little hip bursitis, but my running buddies have been giving me some IT band stretches that seem to have helped that out. Also, the knees are a wee bit sore on stairs (up), but I suspect that is to be expected. I'll need to hit the gym for some quad work (tonight) and a run. I'm still a bit dismayed by my slowness, but I may work some light speedwork into the training. Not really pushing things, but running on the treadmill to improve my pace, maybe get up to an unimpressive 10 minute mile or something.

Fundraising has slowed a bit, to be honest. I'm at about $1800 (+/- some cash donations), so a big decision is in store here. I have to turn in my paperwork for Disney by 5pm on Friday if we want to do that so the big question is: will I be able to make up the remaining two grand? Hard to say; I'll have to talk to Kathleen as well, see where she's at and if she and Sage will be able to afford Disney World in January (I'm told this is peak season). Can we do it?

If not, there's always Austin and that is not so bad. For one thing, Austin is a cool city. Also, the marathon is not until mid February, which means another whole month to get ready. I'm quite enjoying this training process, so it wouldn't be a bad thing. Mostly, though, I think I'm going to leave it to Kathleen and see what she wants to do. I'll let my reading public know when she decides... :)

Next time: Mileage update, Updates on Ann and McKenna, Marathon location information. Talk to you soon!

Monday, October 22, 2007


So, I haven't gone running yet today because the weather has been a little nasty here today and, combined with work, it's been a bit inconvenient. But I'll head out tonight when I get home. What happened to early morning running? Well, it's 53 degrees out right now (but icky - blustery), so I figured it would be okay to let the run slide to later in the day. But I am not in the mood. So, it's not just a weather thing, it is also psychological. Must run early in the day to get it over with so I will not have it hanging over me ALL DAY LONG. All was okay, though. Had a big thing at work to finish, so it was nice to get in early (during running time) and finish some stuff off.

I'm going to get a mileage report to you all pretty quickly, but this has been a pretty easy week so far. We had a stepback this week and the group run was only 6 miles on Saturday, which felt easy when I did it (though I went home and collapsed when I was through and pretty useless for the rest of the day - can't quite figure out why). And Thursday's run (first day back from NY), was gross and hot and muggy. So apparently, nothing about the weather makes me happy.

To be honest, I think I'm hitting a dry spell here. I need some kind of encouragement, perhaps a rich benefactor to make that $2000 that I'm still short for Disney? Or maybe just a rah, rah...blah, blah, blah... Whatever, I don't even have the energy to write this entry. Now I have to go run . Oh well...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So much to tell...

Well, I feel a little guilty because I have been on vacation and haven't been blogging like I normally would. I have, however, been running so I guess that's what's important here. Okay, so I told you all that I would be in New York state this week and indeed I am. A landscape with many hills which made me quite nervous for the long run this week. So, while 'tis true that the hills are numerous (I am told by the knowledgeable one that these are actually carved out valleys and ridges from ancient glaciers, not hills per se), the biggest challenge comes from another geographic anomaly of the area -- the rain.

So, my first 5 mile run last Thursday was a wet one. I slogged 5 miles through a fairly steady rain - no electrical storm, just rain - and was good and soaked when it was over. When I realized what I was going to have to do, I was sort of freaked out. I only had shorts and a long-sleeved tee (thankfully not cotton) and I thought I might just freeze (did I mention that it was in the mid-40s?). Nevertheless, I just decided to suck it up and got out there and did my thing. Not too many hills on this run because it turns out that most of the town is in a fairly flat valley. Only when I got to the edge of town did I find myself going up a rather steep hill (running all the way! hooray!), getting to the top of the ridge and seeing what might have been some rather fabulous fall colors, if not for the aforementioned steady downpour.

Anyway, much to my surprise, the run went pretty well. Yes, my shoes were soaked when I was done, and I wasn't able to go on Friday morning as a result (I had planned a three-miler), but I felt remarkably good afterward. No soreness or anything. Almost like I was getting a nice cool massage all along. Very weird... And then to Saturday, the day of the long run. Saturday was 9 miles and, despite my surprisingly positive experience with the 5 mile rain/run, I was happy that it was a fairly nice day (partly sunny and low fifties for the run).

Things have begun to fall into something of a pattern with these runs. For instance, I think I can say fairly definitively that it is much harder to run three miles than it is to run five or six. After three miles, my body suddenly feels like its accepted the fact that this is what is happening and everything just feels easier. Breathing gets easier, joints seem looser, muscles seem warmer... And it's almost like clockwork: 30 minutes of running then -- boom! Is that endorphins? I don't really know. From what I've read, it's supposed to feel like a kind of high and this is not so much a "high" as it is a "this-doesn't-feel-horrible-anymore" kind of feeling. That said, this more relaxed state only lasted another four miles or so (to mile 7, or so) and then I can say that I started to feel it again. The last two miles were not so much a struggle, but they were definitely "felt" by me. I would like to say that so far I've been able to steadily run all of these distances without walking. Perhaps that is what being obsessive about the training will do.

So anyway, I was a bit stiff afterward, but not horribly so. By the next day, I was fine. Yesterday I ran another three miles (all hard fought and horrible - ran 5 minutes at the end just to get past that bad feeling) and today I will run five. That's the other nice thing about being up here in New York. I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to do the running that will prevent heatstroke. I can pretty much go whenever. So, I thought I would update the blog and do some other work (for work - I know, I'm on vacation), and get the run in this afternoon.

Alas, my break ends all too soon tomorrow and it's back to Texas for me.

Monday, October 8, 2007

8 Mile...

So this would be the time when I could throw in a hip reference to Eminem, if I knew anything about him other than that he once starred in an autobiographical movie that happened to have the same title as this post. My only impression of him is one that paints him as vaguely misogynistic (though he apparently has an "important voice" that has been lauded by some free-thinking intellectuals. I'm pretty free-thinking myself, I guess. But I don't respond well to so much anger, especially when women are the target...

Oops, off on a tangent there. Okay, so 8 miles today! Hooray! I got up pretty early(6am) to make this run work as Tyler was muy humid this weekend and hit the road before the sun came up, about 6:30. Overall, the run lasted 90 minutes and I stopped at a gas station about halfway through to buy a bottle of water and replace some fluids. Boy did I need it! My clothes were soaked by the time I was finished, but I did it. Again, I was really surprised by the fact that I could do it. Is it all the training? I mean, I've been pretty rigorous, but - still - I'm surprised! 8 miles. That's two weeks in a row of personal bests (in terms of distance - and time I guess as I've never run such a distance in any time). Next week it is 9 miles and I'll be in upstate New York to do it. Should be cooler, but the twist in this next run is going to be the hills. Oh yes, that country is filled with hills, so even though I might have gotten over my wariness had I been ramping up again in a place familiar to me, I'm going to be scared all over! Hopefully I can sleep better about it this week than I did last week.

Did I mention something about the March of Dimes? I think so. I was talking to my sister last week about the March of Dimes and how anything is possible and telling her that stuff like this (Team in Training) is great because it is a little something that all of us can do. Just like all those kids helping fund the cure for polio, culminating in Joseph Salk's vaccine in 1955.

Not everyone knows that the March of Dimes did this because the organization, as we know it, has moved on to other things, like funding the study and cure of birth defects. But this is such a great story because it shows that raising money and funding research really can make a difference. Think of all those kids who did not have to lie in an iron lung, or be paralyzed for the rest of their lives. Now think of all those kids in chemo, getting bone marrow transplants, radiation, etc. Come on! Let's cure this stupid disease!

P.S. Don't you just love blogging? I can just ramble on and on and on... Hope nobody got whiplash from the rapidly changing subjects! :)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Stretching Clinic and Other Good Things

Hi all,

So I haven't done my long run yet and it is 5pm on a Saturday...feels weird but I guess this is what happens when I have to work. The plan is to do the long run (8 miles) tomorrow morning - EARLY! Also, I'll have to figure out where/how I'm going to work some H20 into the run. This is the problem with doing the long runs solo - no built in water stations and I'll have to fend for myself (sigh).

Even though I didn't get to run today, I did go to the stretching clinic this morning at 7:30 am before work with other team members. It was given by a doctor who is actually the national trainer for the Team in Training coaches. She just "happens" to live here in Tyler - go figure! Anyway, she's a sports medicine doc and a marathoner/ultramarathoner who gave us some pretty good advice about running and staying injury free. I think the first thing that I'm going to do is buy some ice packs so that I can do some anticipatory icing.

Fortunately, she told me that the leg tingling (pins and needles sensation that we often get from sitting awkwardly) that I used to get in my legs probably came from shoes that were too tight. Also, she told me that my crackly knees were nothing to worry about, though my lifelong dream to become a CIA covert, special agent (ala Sydney Bristow) has been dashed (big sigh). Anyway, lots of good advice about stretching, range of motion, muscle balance, etc. Wow, somedays I'm really suprised by what I'm doing. Perhaps this whole experience will make me a "runner". I used to run once-upon-a-time, but I do not know if that made me a runner, per se. I just successfully did a regimen of running 3-4 miles, 4-5 times a week for a few months and was able to lose a whole lotta wait (which seems to have crept back on, partially at least).

But I want to be a real runner. I just have this feeling that this is supposed to be me. Now, if I were just running to get into shape, things would be a lot easier. I'd do my little bit, I wouldn't have to raise funds (grrr....) and I'd look like a supermodel (hah! not!). But I'm not just getting in shape, I'm curing cancer. To cure cancer, I have to raise funds (hooray - at $1600!) and I have to run loooooooooong. Doing a marathon is not the most efficient way to lose weight, but it does require my heart and soul, now spread out to all the cancer fighters, survivors, and families (like mine) of those who have lost someone. If my heart and soul become a part of this, well -- maybe that makes me a real runner. I guess we'll see.

Next post - a report on the 8 miler and the March of Dimes

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mileage Report!

So, since Sunday I have run 4 hot, sticky miles (Tuesday morning) and 4 considerably less steamy miles (this morning). I had to skip Monday morning as I was on a flight from Minneapolis to Dallas and the flight attendants tend to frown on jogging in the aisle, but since I ran some extra mileage on Sunday and want to get out for 2 miles tomorrow, I suspect all will be fine. I'm supposed to run 8 miles on Saturday (!) and I will not be in nice, cool Minnesota to do it. Furthermore, I have to work on Saturday morning, so I'm going to have to do it on my own (probably Sunday), without the team water stops, etc. I'm thinking I'll just tuck a dollar or two into my shoe and stop for a water at a store about halfway through. Otherwise, if any Tyler readers know of a trail with fountains, please tell me where it is! :)

Now for the news you have all been waiting for: Total Miles! Drum roll, please...
61 miles since training started! I can barely believe it. Now we'll have to have a little blogger party when I hit the first hundred (perhaps I'll go buy some new running shoes, I'm going to need them anyway). So, hooray!

So anyway, ciao for now!