Not a *real* race report...

Suffice it to say, taking 11/11 in my AG (finish time 1:32:06) doesn't have me real eager to relive the experience.  High humidity (Avg. 87%, high 94%) + asthma = recipe for shitty 15k race.  I had expected to easily be under 1:30.  This race felt like Riverbank Run "lite."  9.3 miles of asthma attack, rather than 15.5.

On the upside: I did PR (barely...and my last 15k was in March on a brutal course covered in 6" of fresh snow and ice on rural backroads--yesterday's course was mostly flat), my right knee felt fine (still does this AM), and I got to meet two of my RA buddies--Mike "Power of Q" and Tony "Mulks."  Definitely two of the nicest runners I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  I can't wait to run races with those boys in the future.  Perhaps CRIM, next year...?

After the race we went over to my MIL's place for a day of hanging out with some of DH's co-workers and their kids (8 blonde kids running around...looked like a family reunion).  That was a lot of fun, but when we arrived home at 9pm I was nearly shaking with exhaustion.  I slept very poorly...restless, shallow sleep.  I'm feelin' pretty rough today.

Gotta go get my abs and quad workout in, then shower (after I finish this mug of much-needed coffee).  Derek is on his weekly JDRF team ride and they are expecting to do 50 miles.  After he is home and showered we will go back over to MIL's to head over to see Wall•E with my MIL and DS (he stayed with grandma last night).


No worse for wear

I did my first run this week last night--7 miles.  Felt pretty good.  My knee feels about the same as before...not bad, not great.  Just mostly stiff and a little bit tender, but not stabbing pains or anything...more like little twinges.  Not sure the 3 days off really did me any good, but they certainly didn't hurt.  If my knee got no worse I could probably run the actual marathon just fine--of course I say this having never actually run more than 16 miles in a single run.  Heh.

I'm still going to keep at the quad strengthening work as much as possible...on all non-running days and on some easier run days, too.  After the Chronicle Seaway 15k this Sat. I will also start trying the (gulp) P90X leg workout...oh, I think I'm gonna have some serious DOMS from that stuff.

Taking today off, except for abs and leg work, then an easy run tomorrow before I go pick up my race packet.  Hopefully the weather holds out for race day.  There is a 50% chance of random T-storms.  I really hope we don't run into that.  I've been looking forward to this race for a long time and meeting some Running Ahead friends.  I guess if the race is cancelled for electrical storms that we can go out for breakfast, but that would be a shame to not all actually get to RACE together....


Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

I haven't run for the past 3 days--in hopes of getting my right knee to behave a bit better.  Yesterday it felt iffy off-and-on, but today feels pretty good.  Just to be safe I ordered a Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap, since I have read a lot of recommendations.  It won't "cure" my kneecap tracking issues, but it should help it to track better while I strengthen my quads (which should get the kneecap tracking smoothly, again).  I have a strap that goes below my knee that helps a great deal, but this strap system that applies support to the tendons above and below the knee is supposed to be of added benefit, especially to women who may deal with "Q-angle" issues.

Yesterday I had a really enjoyable 11+ mile bike ride on my POS old mountain bike.  So nice to go faster than 5.5-6mph for a change!  I'll be in the market for a new saddle pretty soon, though.  The girly bits go numb almost as soon as I get on the bike.  I have a feeling that once DS is old enough for a junior mountain bike that my running days will be numbered--or I will be limiting my races to HMs and 25ks, since I'll be spending more time in the saddle and less on my feet.  It would be really nice to do some biking with the boys as a family in the future.  I give it 2-3 years before we're doing that.

I just opened a Twitter account, today.  I'm not entirely sure that I "get" it...but I'm pretty gifted with the random, stream-of-consciousness commentary, which seems to be the object of the service.  We'll see if it's worth the time and effort.

Not about running...

...but well worth a blog entry.  I have seen this photo in a couple of places, but the added ICHCB text adds a little bit of gentle humor to the image.  Perhaps a just as fitting, though less funny caption for the bittersweet image would be 
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

Years ago I read Out of Harm's Way, a beautiful biography about Terri Crisp, who has made it her life's work to rescue animals stranded and lost during natural disasters.  She eventually founded Noah's Wish, a non-profit organization with the mission of saving and comforting pets who have been separated from their people during tragic events like what we are currently witnessing in the midwest flooding.

I hope that there never comes a day when I am separated from my beloved kitties by natural disaster, but should such a tragedy ever occur, it's comforting to know that there are people and organizations at work helping to care for hungry, terrified, and lost family pets until their people can come back and re-claim them and take them safely home.


Lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer

Ok, well the lazy part is true enough...and maybe the crazy bit, too. Today is day 1 of 3-days-of-no-running. So far, so good. Sunday is usually a rest/X-train day, anyhow, so I typically don't run on Sundays (in large part because Sunday is generally DH's JDRF group training ride day for most of the Summer months).

I've done little more today than laundry and sorting through my tiny closet a bit. I have a few running tops and things that I think I will toss on eBay--stuff I've worn once or twice and found not to fit well. If something doesn't fit and/or chafes anywhere it tends to find its way to the bottom of the closet shelves, never to see the light of day again. If I'm not going to wear the stuff I might as well try to get a few bucks for it and have it benefit someone else's fitness pursuits.

Tomorrow I will do my ab workout and some quad work. I'm really going to do my best to not be on my feet too much in the next couple of days--anything to rest the legs and get my dumb knee to finally heal. Tues. I'll probably try to get a nice ride on my bike in while DS is at day camp. Probably won't be a long ride...partly because overdoing it won't help the knee, but also because my bike seat seems to have a 1-hour limit before my girly-bits check out (actually, that happens a lot sooner than the 1 hour mark) and my ass starts screaming. I definitely need a new seat.

I need a new pair of shorts, too. I have a nice pair of Cannondale shorts with a 4-5" inseam that fit nicely, but have no leg-grippers, so they tend do the the same deal that EVERY pair of compression shorts does on me...ride right up and leave my inner thigh open for chafing (hmmm...perhaps I should throw those babies up on eBay, too). I've heard good things about the Pearl Izumi Sugar shorts and I really like my PI Splice compression shorts without chamois for running (also have leg-grippers, so they stay put)...plus the price is sweet on those Sugar shorts. $45 for chamois shorts can't be beat.

Weds. I hope to get in a 6-7 mile run...we'll see how the knee tolerates things. That distance should be fine. Then I'll rest/X-train on Thurs., easy run with Vikki on Friday (she's doing the 5k on Sat.), pick up my race packet, then Chronicle Seaway Run 15k Sat. AM.

Yesterday was fun. We hit DH's company picnic for a couple of hours...ate too damned much, then we came home and I got a 6 miler in. Ran in mostly sunny conditions with the most bizarre little downpour for about a quarter mile. It didn't even rain at home--talk about an isolated "storm."



As much as I hate to do it, I already need to deviate a bit from my cobbled-together marathon training schedule. Next week I will be taking Sun. through Tues. off from running to rest my dumb kneecap and work more on strengthening my quads. So rather than lacing on the running shoes for 3 days I will be biking and doing a variety of exercises to make stronger the support muscles in charge of keeping my patella on track. I have my fingers and toes crossed that this does the trick, as my knee is getting no better with running + quad work. Getting no worse, either, but I really need to be rid of the discomfort, cracking, and stiffness that keeps coming and going unless I want to be completely sidelined from the race and risk damaging my knee permanently.

So instead of running ~28 miles I'll likely be doing closer to 18-20. Next week is a cut-back week, anyhow, so it probably won't make a huge difference in fitness, long-term. And I guess it's better to get these stupid issues out of the way now, rather than a month or less before the big day.

Did my first 5 miler in my new wear-test shoes. Pretty nice shoe, though it is definitely too long. Instead of an 8B I would need a 7.5D, for certain. I think I still prefer my NB 903s, though. The new shoe is less flexible and I like a shoe with a really gentle forefoot.

Checked the tracking for my new iPod Shuffle...I was so impressed that it shipped--with engraving--less than 24 hours after I ordered it. Then I noticed that it is in China. But it's still predicted to be here by next Tues., so that's still really fast.

Tomorrow is DH's company picnic (food, kids games and activities, food, ice cream, food, cotton candy, food...). That should be fun...so much for weight loss--ha! :p


Shufflin' Along...

In my latest episode of gear-whorin' I finally broke-down and ordered a new iPod Shuffle.  I already have a perfectly good 2nd gen. Nano that is not even 1.5 years new, but that sucker is sometimes literally a thorn in my side.  The belt-clip carrier thingie works fine with most of my snugger-waisted, sturdier pants and tights--the sorts of bottoms I wear for Winter, but in the Summer I mostly don the running skirts, which almost all have fairly loose, lightweight, low-rise waists that don't hold items like cell phones and Mp3 players well at all...these devices flop around until they invariably fall off.

A month or so ago I decided to give an arm-band carrier a try.  I've always thought they looked like something that would prove to be annoying, but given that so many people wear them, I figured maybe they knew something I didn't.  Turns out my original suspicions were pretty much spot-on.  They are miserable.

I purchased one that is neoprene and machine-washable.  Very important, as I sweat like a horse (this is no exaggeration--my best friend has a long history of raising and training horses and the first time she ran with me she was shocked and appalled by my volume of sweat.  I usually look like someone dumped a gallon bucket on my head after a typical one hour Summer run).

Oh, and did I mention that neoprene doesn't breathe?  Yick.  So my arm ends up all slimy under the arm band.  Aaaannndd it chafes.  Even Body Glide doesn't help this all that much.

So for the past few months I have been lusting over the Shuffle.  And since my beloved Sennheiser MX 75 sport headphones are starting to bite the dust (and they have a $10 rebate offer when one sends in an old pair of headphones) it seemed time to "pull the trigger" on the Shuffle, as well.

I ordered the (Product) Red™ version, since the price is the same and a portion of the sale goes to benefit an AIDS charity.  And I like red. :)

Bonus: Apple does free engraving, so my new iPod will have "zoom-zoom" inscribed. :D

Favor for a friend...

This one's for you, Purdey:

I am going to be running the Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 24hr ultra marathon in Oct 2009 in aid of the Down's Syndrome Association. 

My aims are to:

1. Raise £10,000 for the Down's Syndrome Association
2. Run over 100 miles in 24hrs.

My nephew, George, (gorgeous George as I call him) has Down's and I wanted to do something special to help families with Down's.

I would be really, really grateful if you might consider sponsoring me/donating. Even small amounts will add up.


It is very, very easy:


If you feel that it is appropriate, I would be in your eternal debt if you would forward the link to your friends, family and acquaintances - I need as wide an audience as possible!

Thank you so much for your time!


I only wish our US dollar went futher.  Good luck with your fundraising, Tom! :)


Gear Whore's Dream!

Ha, I had a package from UPS at the door that I figured was the Father's Day gift I ordered for did that has taken forever to get here. Nope...return addy is NB R&D--woot, I gots me another wear test, baby! :D

And the coolest part is it's a shoe I was planning to try in the future, anyhow...now I get to try it for free, so if I don't like it it's no loss. I send it back to NB the end of next month, anyhow.

The shoe is the new neutral "midfoot strike" model that they've been working on (800MF). Butt ugly, but kind of an intriguing idea. For some strange reason they sent me the 8B. Normally I wear an 8D. Were I to buy this shoe I'd go with a 7.5D. The fit is kind of similar to the NB 903 lightweight stability trainer...long and roomy.

I haven't run in the shoe, yet (plan to throw them on for a 5 miler on Thurs.), but the initial feel on my foot is very soft--though I'm not sure it's going to be flexible enough for me to love. Time will tell.

Today I did an easy 5 miler with DS (while he rode along on his bike).  Right knee felt fabulous, even without my patella strap for support...shins were a teeny bit sore for the first couple of miles, but I'm still adapting a bit to wearing shoes with no medial post for stability on some shorter runs.  I may or may not be able to go fully neutral, but for short runs I do fine.

An hour or two after my run my right knee started complaining a bit...$%#$%^&.  Seriously.  I can go 2-3 days without so much as a twinge, then out of nowhere it will bother me, again.  No clicking or popping or pain for days, now it's a little tender and clicking a little when I bend and then straighten.  Gah.  Tomorrow is my long run for the week, so hopefully it won't be a problem.  

I'll be happy to get through this week, then next week is a scale-back week before my 15k race on Sat. 6/28.  I may suck it up and take off 2-3 days in a row and concentrate strictly on quad work--perhaps even subbing some long bike rides for my runs.  Damn, I need a new saddle that doesn't make my butt bones pissed at me, too.  And I gotta figure out what happened to my cleated shoes so that I can use my clipless pedals.  I swear I had tracked them down a month ago--DH even claims he saw them.  Now they are nowhere to be found in the house.  We think maybe they found their way into the garage...?

The most annoying thing about this all is that I went almost a full year without more than an occasional bad run here and there...just normal stuff, not "injuries," per se.  Then with just weeks before I start marathon training I get this chronic knee crap.  Hopefully I can get it to heal.  I am almost certain that my main issue is the weak quads, since almost as soon as I started hitting those the knee felt better.  Then last week I was lax with the quad work (since I had houseguests) and things started to flare-up again.  I guess it's better that I figure these things out early in training, instead of in the middle.

Lungs seem OK.  I think the Advair 250/50 is working well.  I still deal with some shortness-of-breath stuff, but not like before...I think now it's mostly just having small, inefficient lungs.  The lower humidity certainly helps.  Today it was in the low-60s and tomorrow is predicted to be mid-5os...great day for a long run (just hoping my knee agrees)!



Peer Pressure

I've seen the following running meme on a couple of different blogs, so figured it would be fun to complete it, as well. :)

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
I think 10 years ago was around the same time that I tried to pick up running, again (I had been a mediocre sprinter--100, 2o0, relays--in HS), but this was pre-internet (and pre Couch-to-5k) and I didn't realize that there were actually BOOKS about running for beginners.  I kept trying to go out and crank out 2 miles or so off of no fitness.  Needless to say it didn't work all that well.  I also didn't know anything about proper footwear and ran in whatever random pair of Nike Air trainers I had...same shoes I wore for yard work, walking, and at the gym.  I was plagued by shin splints and shit-fer-lungs and pretty much gave up after a couple of weeks.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?
This is tough...I have had some really great races.  My "best" may also be one that was on the most challenging course.  It was a 15k back in March the morning after an awful snowy, icy blizzard.  The course was slick and super hilly (at least for this area), but having spent the entire Winter maintaining ~30 miles/week 100% OUTDOORS during a particularly brutal Winter in MI really proved to be an advantage for me.  I placed 3/7 in my AG and ended up with my first and only (so far) medal.

I think this may be a 2-way tie between a 10k last Summer (Grand Haven Coast Guard Fest Run) in miserably hot weather...not nearly enough water on the course and they ran out of water at the finish--and I was nowhere near the back of the pack, but still had to buy water from a vending machine.  How lame is it for an OLD race to not be prepared.  I'm much more forgiving when relatively new races aren't adequately prepared, but this race is almost always a HOT one.  And it's at least 25 years old, too.  The previous year it had issues, too (mostly in the form of a poorly marked course), so I won't be making the mistake of registering for that one again.

My other worst was this year's Fifth-Third Bank Riverbank Run 25k, aka the 15.5 mile asthma attack.  Just a few days after this race I got in to see my PCP and was diagnosed with mild/moderate persistent asthma, an "upgrade" from my previous "exercise-induced" variety.  I still PRd this race, but was about 6 minutes slower than I expected to be, given training and my prior half marathon PR.  A gal I have raced with before and beaten by at least a few minutes in every race we've done was under my goal time, so I know it would have happened with a healthy set of lungs.

3. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?
I think the best is simply run more, run slower.  There's definitely something to this.  I recently ran a 5k under super humid conditions and lung issues...but I still finished 10/31 in my AG and about 3.5 minutes faster than my very first 5k on 15 miles or so/week.  Had I been in better health I'm certain that time would have been well over a 4 minute difference, which is pretty substantial over the course of only 3.1 miles.  I still don't do a lot of speed work, but simply increasing my mileage and being consistent has gone a long way towards making my race times drop with each passing year.

Hmmm...not sure what the worst would be.  What works for one runner doesn't work for all, so even advice that might not be "best" for me might be great for someone else.  Maybe the worst was the shoe guy who put me in a moderate stability shoe when I really only needed mild stability--but the difference there is subtle and it's perhaps not something that would be easy to detect during a brief gait assessment.

4. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
• I can cross one eye independent of the other
• I'm the first "runner" in the family (my brother runs, but mostly just for fitness, doesn't really train for races...some might call him a "jogger" *gasps*)
• I love snooping to find my Christmas presents
• I don't know the meaning of the word boredom...I'm happy as a proverbial clam doing nothing at all for hours on end.  There's no excuse for boredom with the Internet.

Week 2...Phew!

That was rough.  I got my 8 miles in, but it was slow and arduous.  Most of my runs this past week have been pretty miserable--stiff, sluggish, sore...rough lungs (the higher humidity lately hasn't helped that matter).  My shins, in particular, have been crabby--along with my still twitchy right knee.  Although yesterday I had a relatively nice 5 miler.  It was sort of a rarity in recent weeks.  I think most of my issues this past week are due to inadequate sleep while my mom and nephew visited (up too late, awake too early, lots of running around).  Sleep quantity/quality is definitely a major factor in my run quality.  

35 miles logged this week.  38 scheduled for next week, then a scale-back week right before the Chronicle Seaway Run 15k on the 28th.

Speaking of my Asthma, earlier this week I saw my PCP and since a month of Advair 100/50 has not made me essentially "symptom-free" he is upping my dose to the 250/50 (250mg of the steroid component--same steroid in Flonase nasal spray, which has really done a world of good for my allergies).  We'll try me for a month on this and then see where to go from there.  I think the 500/50 is the highest dose, but I can't imagine needing that.  At least I would hope not.  The steroid can have some side-effects and I already feel like I'm ingesting and inhaling a pharmacy every day between the nasal spray, allergy pills, bronchodilator inhaler, and inhaled steroid/bronchodilator.

*collapses in a heap*

Woke at 5:30 this morning to take my mom and nephew to the Badger ferry for their trip back to Cheeseland.  We had a really nice 5+ days with them.  Our trip on Thurs. to Michigan's Adventure amusement park was definitely the highlight of the holiday.  We had a blast!  Dane and Damon "enjoyed" their first rides on roller coasters (smaller, less aggressive coasters).  

Well, Damon was completely enamored...Dane was pretty unnerved.  Kind of funny, since Damon is small and often on the timid side and Dane can be pretty fearless, at times, but roles were reversed for the day.  Poor Damon was too short to go on many of the rides, though.  Now his mom has a great way to bribe him to eat well.  He needs to put on 3" to qualify for most of the rides (Dane is about 4" taller, even though he's only 7 months older), so perhaps he'll be there by next Summer.  Both boys were big fans of the water slides that use 1 or 2 person tubes, too.

We're pretty certain we'll be buying season passes for next year, since Dane really enjoyed himself and we're only about 15 minutes from the park.  By then he might be a bit more confident about riding some of the bigger coasters with mom, too.  Derek doesn't like coasters that have big drops and I LOVE the huge wooden one there that does this.

In addition to the amusement/water park trip we also took the boys to an unglazed pottery place to make Father's Day gifts.  And yesterday we finished the week with a showing of Kung Fu Panda (2 thumbs up!) and dinner at Logan's.  Mmm...peanuts!

When we weren't doing fun activities away from home Dane and Damon were pretty much in Transformers mode...watching the movie or playacting with their action figures.

Dane is a little blue today.  He and Damon really had a fun week with minimal bickering.  Too bad that big lake separates us.

I've still managed to get my runs in for the week.  I just have one 8 miler to do today to round out my 35 miles.  My knee is still bugging me off-and-on, but I've done no quad-strengthening work in a week (tough to do when the boys were underfoot in the living room and we were running around so much), so I need to get back to doing that consistently.  Derek is also going to get my old mtn. bike back in working order so that I can use that for cross-training.


1 down...17 to go!

Last night I finished my first week of marathon training with a nice 7 miler to round out a 33 mile week.  Knee is feeling pretty OK, but I need to keep making myself do my quad work at least 2x/week, since I know that the patella issues could flare-up completely at random in the future.  Hopefully in the next couple of weeks my bike will be ready to go, too (DH need to get a new rear wheel for it and do some other tweaking and prep stuff to make it rideable...I also want to look at a new seat or at least adjust my existing seat to prevent the almost instant numbness and pain "down there").  I'd much rather do quad-strengthening in the form of bike rides than lunges in the living room.

For yesterday's run I wore my new neutral NB 826 shoes for the second time, too.  They really fit well and I had no substantial biomechanical issues while running.  I feel maybe the slightest bit of tenderness in my shins, but I've had a bit of this off-and-on in the past week or so for some strange reason, even in my regular light stability shoes, so I'm not sure if it's related to the lack of medial post.  I think I'm just having an off week.  

Last night I also had another funny encounter with cocky teenagers while on my run.  A couple of middle school aged boys were out on their BMX bikes on the rail trail and asked me "are you jogging?"  My reply, "well, I'd call it running...I am going 7 miles."  Loved the bug-eyed expression on their faces and my ability to render adolescents utterly speechless.  Heck, up until 2 years ago the thought of running more than 2-3 miles seemed entirely perplexing and abnormal to me...something only wacko hyper-athletic types did.  Now anything less than 10 is an easy, "short" run.

It's still super humid here.  We had major storms through the area last night dumping several inches of rain.  Luckily we're on a pretty high spot of land, but there were areas in the region that experienced flooding and incredible lightning.  This coming week should be nicer--both in terms of lower temps and humidity.  Yay for my lungs!  Hopefully we can find a day to hit the nearby water/amusement park with my mom and nephew, too.


Pop Quiz!

Question: Is the air we breathe a gas or a solid?

Answer: Solid.

If you answered "gas" you'd be wrong.  Ok, so that was a bit of a trick question.  In some places the air is a gas, but not in MI...at least not at the moment.

This is some rough weather for asthmatics.  Breathing can be tough enough, even with well-controlled asthma, but this insane humidity has me struggling.  I have a 7 miler on the schedule for today...this could be rough.  I just have to accept that the next few months will likely have me running significantly slower than normal, due to heat and sultry air.  I should probably start taking my inhaler with me on ALL runs, too--not just the longer/harder ones.

Yesterday I had a pretty exciting run.  Just as I was preparing to stretch and get out the door a storm blew in fast.  I whipped through my stretching and got out the door just as it started to rain...and lightning was a little too close for comfort.  But, typical of MI weather, 5 minutes later it had passed and I managed 5 miles without any risk of electrocution.  An hour after I returned another storm came through.  

Looks like this will be pretty much the state of our weather for about the next week, which is kinda crummy, as my mom and nephew will be here.  We had hoped to do a day at a nearby water/amusement park, but that plan may be ditched in favor of a trip to a museum and/or other indoor activities.

I did get to wear a new article of running apparel yesterday, though.  I have been searching for compression shorts that don't creep-up, since the point is to have something to cover my chubby inner-thigh area and prevent chafing.  I love my running skirts with "bum-hugger" briefs built-in and they are great for anything up to a HM, but after that the Body Glide always seems to wear off and the "chub rub" starts.  OW.  Not really ideal for training for or running a marathon, obviously.

I stumbled upon these Pearl Izumi Splice Sport Shorts just as I was about to give up searching.  Wore them for the first time yesterday and they are absolutely perfect...6" inseam, big zip pocket across the lumbar area (as well as an internal key pocket), and drawstring waist.  And the MOST important feature: leg grippers!  They are very similar to the PI cycling shorts that my hubby loves, only sans-chamois.  I have a pair of heavy thermal PI tights that I didn't really like for running (not enough stretch, pilled-up in the crotch area after very few miles), but these are far and away a better product.

I do still have about an inch of chubble that squishes out below the bottom of the leg, but it's minimal and Body Glide should be enough to keep that area from getting too raw.  Losing 10#s will work wonders, too.  I've decided that if I really like these shorts and lose enough weight to fit into the next size down that I will reward myself with a pair that has orange trim and a matching top, and that would likely be my marathon "uniform."

Back to cleaning house...our houseguests arrive tomorrow evening and we have a ton of work to do in preparation (I need to mop the downstairs and steam vac the upstairs...which is not all that practical when it's so humid...nothing is gonna dry), plus I still have that run to get in (gonna wear my new shorts, again).  Really looking forward to their visit...I rarely drink bloody marys, but when my mom's around that's our adult beverage of choice.  So I have to hit the store for hot V-8, vodka, and spicy olives, too.... :D


What doesn't kill us...

Phew, I survived yesterday's run.  12 of the longest miles ever.  Partly because I picked a seriously dull out-and-back (the one advantage is it's a rail-trail, so I can kind of zone out and not worry about getting over on the shoulder to avoid cars), but mostly because my right knee was pretty angry.  I'm starting to think it was as much due to recent kneecap tracking issues as it was to weather-related arthritis (I've had this since puberty, particularly in my right knee).  

Tues. night my right knee was really stiff and sore, after feeling pretty good for almost a week.  And my left knee wasn't entirely right, either.  Even with my patella strap my right knee was pretty miserable for the duration of my run, but by a few hours later wasn't feeling too bad.  Today it's feeling much better--and a HUGE storm front blew through.  So I'm really suspicious that the issue were as much weather-related as anything else.  At least I hope that's the case.  Kicking-off my first week of official marathon training STILL feeling a bit injured is less than optimal.  Hopefully this week will be the exception in terms of health and run quality for me...otherwise it's gonna be a LONG 18 weeks of work leading up to race day.  Right now I would be thrilled to pieces to simply make it to the start line in good shape.  I'm not too concerned with any time goal at this point.

Today was a rest day, which is just as well.  It pretty much rained all day and once the rain let up it left serious humidity in its wake.  Kind of like trying to breath jello.  At least with less pollen in the air it is clear jello, and not jello with fruit. ;)

Tomorrow I have a 5 miler planned (originally was to be a hill workout, but I won't be messing with any sort of speedwork or hills until the knee issue is fully healed), then 7 on Sat.  Tomorrow is also DS's last day of 1st grade--a half day at a beach near his school.  It's going to be a somewhat bittersweet occasion.  

We have come to adore Dane's teacher.  And the really cool part of his Montessori school is the kids get to have the same teacher 2 years in a row, if they wish (since the grades are combined, 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8).  We were really thrilled that Dane would have Mrs. Stephanie for a second year--as was he.

But when her letter came home last week announcing that she would be leaving to spend time with her family we understood.  She has 2 small kids and a younger brother who is battling liver cancer.  It's a cancer that we are all too familiar with, as it was the same cancer responsible for DH's dad's untimely death, as well as the passing of a friend's young husband 2 weeks after they were wed.  It is a truly vicious cancer that essentially has no cure.  So there was no way that we could ever begrudge Stephanie from taking the most of what time she has to be with her teenage brother.  

We are very fortunate to live near her, though.  While Dane's school is a half hour away, his teacher coincidentally lives about 5 minutes from us.  So she and I are already planning to get the kids together some this Summer.  Her son is preschool age, so he's several years younger than Dane, but he adores Dane and they have had a blast playing together when Dane has done afterschool program and his teacher's son has been in the building as his mom finishes up in the classroom at the end of the school day.


One run down...

And a whole bunch more to go.  But my first run of 18 weeks of training for my first marathon went well.  I did 5 milers in a brand new pair of shoes.

I had a good 5 miles, especially in a completely new model of shoe.  These New Balance 826s are not all that terribly different than my lightweight NB 902/903s, but are a neutral shoe, rather than mild stability.  I'm not convinced I need the medial post in my shoes, so now's as good a time as any to give a different sort of shoe a try.  I have several months to narrow-down my race shoe preference in the meantime.  Until then I will continue to rotate my 2 pairs of 902s with my 903s and the new 826s.  I figure I'll have a good idea what shoe I'll want to wear race-day by the time I need to replace one of the pairs.  I'll likely end up selling my 2 unworn pair of 902s (purchased when the shoe was first discontinued and I wasn't yet sure I'd love the 903s as much) on eBay, since there are still quite a few people paying top-dollar for the 902 (and wide shoes are particularly tough to find).

Speaking of eBay, at least one of the items I currently have listed is selling--woot!

My troublesome right knee is still a little "off."  Not enough to slow me down much, but definitely enough that I am a bit more conscious of both knees.  I'm already bored doing the quad/hip-strengthening exercises, but I do them to try to improve the knee situation (still clicking and popping some, still a bit stiff).  I definitely want to get my decade-old Schwinn mountain bike back on the road...that's a much preferable means of making my quads stronger while we have such great weather.  Plus I get the added benefit of a good aerobic workout...perfect cross-straining for a runner.

So DH is planning to replace my wobbly rear wheel and swap the knobby tires with slick ones, since my miles will all be done on paved roads.  Now I just need to find a new saddle (one that doesn't make my girly-bits scream in pain and go numb a mile down the road) and dig out my chamois shorts, cleated shoes and gloves.  I'm kind of nervous about messing with clipless pedals, again, though.  It's been a while and I wasn't exactly graceful/skilled using them.  I had at least one infamous fall when I first tried them that involved me at a complete stop and unable to disengage..."shit, shit, shit shit..." *fall-down-go-boom*