Monday, October 31, 2005

Still Not the Recap

This in my inbox this morning, from my trusty Morning Mantra*:

"Fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round - remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped."
- James Corbett

That pretty much describes yesterday. And now I feel inspired by myself!

*From Kristin Coach.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Not the Recap

Holy mother of God, you guys are the GREATEST!! I thought of every single one of you out there on the race, and had the great good fortune to have Noames and Bex jump in (Naomi at mile 15, so she just up and practically did a half, just for fun, and Bex at 20, halleluiah!). So those two fine ladies got to practically haul my butt kicking and screaming to the end. Without them, I'd still be out there! (I might have said a few, um, not so nice things to them, but I swear I didn't mean it!! Really!!) They are both amazing and I just hope one day I will be so willing to help a new runner.

Official finish: 6:30:40, and yes, of course, I'm a wee bit disappointed, since I was hoping for a 6 hour or less time, but ya know what? That marathon kicked my ass. It was HARD! And I'm not sure right now (as I sit with my feet on bags of frozen peas) why and when it got so hard. I know that sounds stupid, of course a marathon should be hard, but it just wasn't hard during the "pretend" one. So I want to figure that out.

The good news? No puking, no injuries, no injury-related problems--NOTHING!!! (Well, some serious chafing in some unmentionable, and frankly, WEIRD places, but that is minor. And my feet are on fire again, but not so bad as last time.) So, I am very thankful for that.

I honestly cannot tell you how much your good wishes mean (and meant) to me. I thought of each and every one of you out there, many, many times.

Signing off now.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thank You

It's been an amazing six months.

No matter what happens tomorrow, I hope I can allow myself to remember all those Saturday morning training runs, to remember how fantastic it felt to run long during the height of summer, and to rejoice that I actually completed this program, raised money for such a worthy cause, and learned a few life lessons along the way.

Of course, I want to finish tomorrow, and I want to finish strong, and I don't see any reason why I wouldn't be able to, unless I do something stupid, like eat or drink the wrong thing, not find the right metro stop, miss meeting up with my group, wear the wrong clothes, screw up my leg between now and tomorrow, or go out too fast or too slow. (I'm sure there are a few other little things that could go wrong, too, I'm just not obsessing about them at the moment.)

Bottom line: I loved training for this marathon. Even when it was an angst-filled pity party, I loved it. I have nothing but good memories of running along the National Mall, watching the sun rise over the Washington Monument, using the pit stop at Thompson's boat house, running past the Kennedy Center, watching the crew kids practice on the Potomac, running past the White House, having a freezing cold towel slapped around my neck by a thoughtful volunteer—right when I needed it!— and running along the Capital Crescent Trail, which is a ridiculously long way from where we start. I loved the heat. I loved being drenched in sweat from head to foot. I loved the ice baths afterward (did not!). I loved the fact that I did it.

So I hope that no matter how I do tomorrow, these are the memories that will stay with me, along with this blog and the amazing support you've given me and the friends I've made here. I'm constantly saying things like, "My friend, a. maria, just ran the S.F. marathon, and she ..." blah blah blah. Yeah, I call you my friends. And some of you, I don't even know your first names!! (My friend 21st C. Mom!!)

And (so this is going to start to sound like my Oscar-acceptance speech, but tough luck) my off-line friends as well. Thanks to all of you who not only donated money, but have been a constant source of encouragement, and advice, especially in my many moments of doubt. Special thanks to my work colleagues for putting up with my nonstop blathering about running, and then putting up with my many absences as I took off time for physical therapy and related appointments. You know who you are.

And many many thanks to those of you who helped me raise $1,900 ($200 over my goal!) with your incredibly generous donations for Whitman-Walker Clinic, (one of whom I have only met in cyberspace!):

Gary K.
Ed S.
Gregory C.
Andrea S.
Eileen M.
Virginia E.
Catherine G.
Judy C.
Hope B.
Hunter M.
Sanjay P.
Deirdre M.
Dw D.
Sangeeta A.
Doris U.
Rosy M.
Angela L.
Mary Ann Z.
Rhea B.
Drew L.
John M.
Jennifer L.
Winona M.
Ron S.
David K.
Shaiy K.
Renee D.
Rosy M. (yeah, twice!)
Lauren C.
Jess T.
Robert J.
Lara C.

And on that note, I've got to get my a** in gear and get ready for a marathon.

See ya at the finish!

Friday, October 28, 2005

My Head Hurts

I should be writing something profound right about now, but instead I am going to whine about how my head hurts and it's been hurting for two days and it HAS to stop before Sunday!! It's what I call a "loose brain" headache. When you stand up or change positions suddenly, your brains slosh around in your head, causing pain. Honest. I'm quite clear that this is a certified medical condition, no known cure. Alas.

I ran three miles yesterday morning, mostly to try out running in the semi-cold, and my legs felt like lead, so that was a bad experiment. But, my leg didn't hurt. Just my #@!$ head. I haven't done any weekly outdoor runs for a while, I've stuck to the elliptical. Well, last week I ran outdoors twice, but somehow it doesn't feel like it. This past month I have really eased up on pushing myself while running because I had this leg injury thing going on. As a result, I feel like 50 pounds heavier, and 10 times slower. So yesterday, I started with the "if onlies" ... if only I weighed 20 pounds less, I'd be faster, I wouldn't have hurt my leg, there would be world peace. Ya know?

In other news, I saw the orthopod one last time yesterday. (Can I please have a job where I make like $500 every 30 seconds??)

Actually, Dr. G. was very nice and encouraging in the 30 seconds it took him to examine me, and he wants me to bring him a photo of me at the finish (the walls of the clinic are covered with framed photos of world-class athletes and covergirl chicks with their signatures: "Thank you Dr. G, I could never have placed first in the Olympic quintathalon without your help!", so I guess if I bring in a photo, mine will go next to Miss Universe's). And rightfully so. Except for the 50 pound thing.

He said the clinic is going to have a booth at mile 10 and to come and see him. He wanted to know where mile 10 was. Me: "Um, don't know." He wanted to know my bib number. Me: "Um, don't know."

OK, I have barely looked at the map because it just freaks me out, so I'm planning to just follow the person in front of me. Marathon? What marathon? So, Dr. G. thinks I'm an idiot. Cuz it's hard to explain my whole denial thing in 30 seconds. Or even in a blog entry. I'm basically thinking of Sunday as just another training run, so please, have a heart and don't destroy my delusion.

Anyway, he pronounced me fit, and warned me strongly to NOT take any ibuprofen beforehand (advice I will ignore, cuz it worked before), and he said if something hurts out there, I should just push through because I'm not going to injure myself. So that was good (?), and encouraging, news.

And the physical therapy that I've been complaining nonstop about for the past three weeks? It worked. Really. Those gals know what they're doing. So I told Dr. G. that, and then the therapist came into the room and I told her that too. Wracking up the good karma for me!!

Today, I'm off to get my car inspected (it's overdue, and it will fail) and then off to the expo to buy stuff!! (a. maria, apparently no one on the East Coast has ever heard of biofreeze, but if they have it at the expo, I'm loading up with it, and then I'm going to cover my head with it to get rid of this freakin' frackin' headache!)

Tonight, I will chill to some running movie (I'm taking recommendations), and I will sleep and tomorrow I will likely just be nervous all day long.

Oh yeah, if you want you can sign up for race day alerts, delivered to your e-mail, or if you're crazy, your cell phone. My last name is McCann, and now you know all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My Morning Mantra*

"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."
- Earl Nightingale


*I get this inspirational (sometimes just tooo corny) "Morning Mantra" e-mailed to me every, well, morning! This was today's.
(From Kristin Coach.)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Fear and Awakening

First, good luck to Jon and a. maria in their marathons this weekend! I'm on the edge of my freakin' seat, waiting, and sending good thoughts their way. It's so funny, how before I embarked on this little journey, I was pretty much oblivious to marathon-ing. Even when it happened in front of my face. Like when I lived in Richmond? The Richmond marathon used to go right by my front door. I paid it no attention. Because not in my wildest dreams could I relate to those people running.

Ain't life funny.

Enough of that, let's get back to me.

First, I forgot to report that I not only ran two miles on Tuesday, with much trepidation, but on Thursday I ran three (slow) miles, no walking! But forget about no walking, the bigger triumph was over the fear of running.

Fear is a such an insidious thing. It creeps up on you. It holds you back. It creates a cycle of endless worry and anxiety. All of which feeds into your physical well-being. Fear is what I've been trying to beat back for the past few weeks, along with actual, real pain.

But last week, PT#2 told me that the only way to beat the fear of running was to get out there and do it. And that's apparently what I needed to hear in order for me to get out there and do it.

So here's today's eight-mile (my last with the training group) run recap:

It was spectacular. It was raining. It was beautiful. It was cold.

I ran. My leg did not hurt. I did not limp.

We ran our fastest eight miles to date (1:46; a 13:15 min. pace) (remember, it's run/walk, so yeah slow, but fast!). We ran a new route, the Haines Point loop:

Haines Point, D.C., in warmer days

past this statue, called "The Awakening:"

Which was quite apropos.

Because finally, by our final training run, I now have my very own group. Which means I have come a long way from here. Which means I have accepted the once strangers who are in my group, and who, though they may never be my close friends, I have actually come to enjoy and care about.

Because today I started out accidentally running with someone with whom I haven't run in a long while, and who, within the first mile or so, started making snide remarks about my injury, and my need to go fast, which is laughable, really, and who was just being generally negative.

Because today I left negativity behind.

Because today, instead of worrying and agonizing about this person's feelings, I did what I needed to do, which was was to just run.

Because today, I just left! No good-byes. No guilt. No anger (OK, a little anger, more like befuddlement though, mixed with confusion and defensiveness). With no pace group in sight, I just left, thinking I'd run the next seven miles by myself.

Because I just left.

I ran and ran and ran until I caught up with my group. And then I had one of the best runs of my nascent career.

Because I'm not afraid anymore.

Monday, October 17, 2005

On the Run

This just in: I, (me, Jeanne, Not Born to Run), ran this morning! Outside! For two miles!! In 25 minutes!! For the first time (not counting evil eight mile run in the rain) in two weeks! Or is it three!! I'm not sure!!!

I had a different PT yesterday; she was all "Why aren't you running outside? And you think you're going to run a marathon in two weeks?" Grrrr. I wish they'd get their stories straight, since the other PT, the imfamous PAT, said the opposite, um, just last week.

In any case, just yesterday, and then last night, and then again when I woke up this morning, I thought: "Hmm, my leg isn't killing me anymore. I can walk down stairs without searing pain. I'm not limping!"

So, with my PT's OK, off I went this morning, filled with something akin to terror. I shuffled/ran for two miles. It hurt a little bit but not too much. I kept thinking: "Can I possibly do this for 26 miles in 2 weeks?" I stretched before and again when I got back in, and so far, no ill affects. Tomorrow I'll hit the elliptical again, then try another run on Thursday. Our last long group run is Saturday, eight miles. Not sure what to do about that yet. This is definitely an exercise in one day at a time.

In other news just in: I've been tagged by a. maria, (whose marathon is coming up fast!).

Here are the rules...
1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or the closest one to it)
4. Post the text of your sentence in your blog along with these rules.
5. Tag five other people.

My 23rd post (is that some reference to the 23rd psalm?? Hmmm...): "And That's a Wrap!"

Fifth sentence:

Today's rest will ensure that I kill tomorrow night's 8K, or rather, 4.970969536-mile race, my very first.

See? It's always about rest with me. I've been resting my head off for the past three weeks.

Tagged next: Noames; Plods; Chris; Jack; and 21st Century Mom

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Day at the Races

While we're waiting for my total recovery, let's drop in on another sport.

But first, here's the update on this:
Um, turning interesting colors! Just be happy I didn't show you the photo I made NOD take of my a**. (And no, those are so not varicose veins.)

Today I spent 90 minutes on the elliptical, conquering six miles. Leg feels teensy tiny bit better.

But, now, without further ado, here are some happy photos from the Philadelphia Navy Day Regatta, which I drove to Philly to see on Saturday (that's the beautiful Schuykill River). Also, the race was 4000 meters, which I learned yesterday is 2.5 miles. (Sounds like cake, huh?):

See how the cox is practically on her back? Wait, it looks like ... she is!! She's sleeping!! That girl is a-sleep. Now there's my kind of sport! One you can sleep through! (hee hee, just kidding! Those coxes work their butts off.) Number One Daughter is right behind the cox. These girls were smokin'! This is what is called a "head" race, which means the boats in your race go out one after the other, and the winner is decided by time. So there's no one next to you to catch or pass. It's not quite as exciting. Also no results are posted yet, so let's just assume her boat won, OK?

So, that race above was at noon. This one was at 4 p.m. A lot of crew? Is standing around. A lot. Mom can't chill with the team ... ewwww, that's a big no-no! Anyway, coach wouldn't like it. So, mom took a nap. But back to NOD! At 4 p.m., NOD heads out with her 8 for her final race of the day. (Did I mention that NOD's day started at 8 a.m.? And finished at 7:30 p.m.? For two races (that she was in. At a river that is 15 minutes from her school? Yeah.)

NOD is such an imp! So many facial expressions!

Such a poker face, that one!

NOD! NOD!! I'm over HERE!! Sheesh!

Hmm, that's not a bad-looking coach. Ooops, wait, my camera is pointed the wrong direction!

Share the river with the geese, girls.

So there you have it. My race report for the weekend.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm Boring

Number One Daughter mentioned that my blog was getting, well, a little stale, especially since has heard every single story in vivid detail well before I commit it to the screen.

But she's right, which is why I haven't posted in what, three days? It is boring to read about an injury, nonstop. Too bad I have nothing more exciting to talk about—wait, there's always bell ringing!! (No, let's not go there again.) So, here's a quick update on my status:

Still seeing Physical Abuse Therapist (hey, let's call her P.A.T.!); might be helping, can't tell. Not allowed to run at all until I can do so pain-free. PAT says, in response to my plaintive, whiney cries of "will I be able to run this marathon on the 30th?," "Yes, knowing you. You might not run without pain, but you'll definitely do it."

Is that a compliment? OK, I'll take it.

Besides being booooriiiinnng, I haven't posted because PAT takes up 1 1/2 hours of my day, usually in the morning, requiring me to stay late at work (where I am now), and eating up all my precious blogging time. I've had to switch my workouts to after work too, so I just finished my 2nd elliptical session of the week. 3.86 miles in 55 minutes. Whooo-freakin'-dooo. I did the same workout on Tuesday and in 55 minutes, logged the exact same mileage. Freakish, huh.

And while we are on the subject of incredibly supportive running program reps, (??were we on that subject??), I thought I'd share part of an e-mail my AIDS Marathon Training Rep sent me, after I told him all my woes, and which e-mail made my day (although it doesn't say anything that all of you have not already said to me, one way or another):


Congrats on being strong enough to listen to your PT about not running until further notice. The idea here is to get you healed enough to run on race day. Having suffered ITBS myself in years past, I can tell you it just takes time, and running on it before it's ready is a sure fire way to keep you sidelined longer than had you not run as advised. It takes guts and self discipline to heed the advice this close to race day. Keep in mind there are no medals or Finisher's Certificates for any of your maintenance or training runs. Besides, even if you don't run another step until race day, you'll still do just fine. You've done all of your long runs. The rest are just gravy.

(He called me strong. Did you see that part??!)

I really totally just LOVE this man.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Is Eight the New 26?

While we are all waiting for results from Chicago (which, like an idiot, I kept checking yesterday thinking it was yesterday, despite all evidence to the contrary), I'll tell you a little story.

"Why did eight miles today feel harder than 26 did last Saturday?!?!?," I asked one of our coaches when I finally made it back to home base yesterday, 1 hour and 52 minutes after leaving . He said it takes one day to recover for every mile of the 26 you run. So, my feelings were normal. And, hence, the four-week taper.

It was raining yesterday. No, not raining. That would have been nice. Pouring. Buckets. Drenching, cold, miserable, non-stop rain. It started Friday night, in fact, dripping through the ceiling of my third floor condo (I live in a four-story building, so tell me how that is possible??!?!) Through the night, I had hoped it would lighten up by morning. By morning, as I drove to our practice site, through massive puddles threatening flooding, barely able to see out the window, I thought, it just has to lighten up by the time I get there.

It didn't.

Out of about 400 runners, maybe 30 showed up. Obviously, the 30 with no common sense. My group had dwindled to me and two others, and we were joined by a fourth runner from a much faster group, who was a delight to run with.

This would be my first actual running since last Saturday, so even though it was only eight miles, I was very apprehensive.

I wore my brace, but it didn't do it's magic this time. I went slow. And try as I might, my form was all screwy. I was limping while running, which was doing wonders for my left leg—the good one. I even asked someone to watch me and tell me how to stop it. All they could say is it looks like you are limping.

I told my group to go on without me after three miles.

I was a sorry sight. Soggy, glasses fogged up, splattered with mud, all alone, doing this gimpy running/limping thing. I kept trying to make myself not limp. I think I was limping partly out of fear of pain, not actual pain itself. Though fear of pain can definitely seem like pain, so it's hard to tell. I was running on sidewalks, through deep puddles, so I couldn't see what was beneath them, which was making me sick with worry that I would trip and really hurt myself.

I made it to the four-mile turnaround, and from four to five miles I took two extra walk breaks, contemplating my situation, and feeling very sorry for myself. Here I was at 9 a.m, on Independence Ave., in the middle of pouring rain, by myself, with four miles left to go. No money, and not a lot of options.

I ran/limped to mile five (around the Washington Monument) and then switched my watch to a 2:2 ratio, thinking that might help. And THEN what happened was,

I ran the rest of the way back to the start with no walking.

OK, it was a sloooooow run, but every time that two minutes beeped, telling me to walk, I thought, well, let's just see if I can run for two more minutes. And I'm telling you, at every beep I said the same thing: "Just run for two more minutes, then you can walk."

Am I one determined chick, or what??!

So you've seen the evidence that my PT is physically battering me. Here's my question: With less than three weeks to go to the marathon, is she doing me more damage? She's working on building strength, in addition to relaxing my ITB, but is that a reasonable goal in only three weeks? Or is she just leaving me in a weakened state after each session, legs and muscles too sore to run?

It makes me so mad when I think how I begged for PT more than three weeks ago; had we started then, I might have been finished now, and able to rest my legs. Now, I don't know what's best. I mentioned, again, to the PT, that I had only three weeks left, and got a lecture from her on how two sessions weren't going to cure anything, and how I had to do my part too, she couldn't do it all.

No s**t, really?


That's all I have to say about doing my part.

So, while we're waiting, (and btw, GREAT JOB DIANNA!), weigh in, and tell me what you think. I'm so close and I feel like everything is falling apart at the last minute.

The end.


Late addendum: p.s. Kudos also to Susan, who kicked ass and took names in her 1/2. Congrats!

Friday, October 07, 2005

It Hurts So Good

Uh, no it doesn't. It just hurts.

Jon recently described his experiences with ART (Active Release Techniques) as visiting the House o' Pain ... well Jon, I know what I like, and not only isn't it ART, it also isn't PT (metaphor breaking down here), in the form of deep-tissue "massage." Let's just say I've had more relaxing massages. Like I think if someone took me outside and beat me up? That would be more relaxing.

I've gone three times this week. The gal working on me—or rather, working me over—is about 14-years-old. And strong. Very very strong.

She does a deep-tissue massage of my ITB (which I'm still not sure is the problem) that is mind-blowingly, Lamaze-breathing-causingly painful, for several hours (about 15 minutes). To her credit though, she did tell me that more guys than gals end up crying from it (but we gals already knew that). Hearing that was some small comfort. Small.

The funny thing is, after the intense pain she inflicts I can actually walk better—my leg holds and doesn't buckle. Then we start the stretching and exercising, of which there are about 50 of each ("hold for 30 seconds, both sides, repeat"), followed by electrical stim and ice.


My "running" this week:
Tuesday: Elliptical: 50 minutes
Thursday: Elliptical: 45 minutes because I started out on the dreaded horrible treadmill for five minutes, and couldn't do it. My 14-year-old dominatrix physical therapist is discouraging me from runnning outdoors, but the dreadmill seems worse to me. Or has the potential to hurt worse. Or maybe I'm just scared of it.

And in between, I'm stretching my brains out. (OK, legs. ITB. Whatever. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to. OK??!!)

Anyway, I can feel the fitness leeching from my body. Tomorrow (Saturday) is one of our three last "taper" runs before the big M (although I've done nothing BUT taper): eight miles, outside.

So I'm gonna go for it, even though I've done no running since last Saturday's mind-blowing 26 miles. (Did I mention that I ran 26 miles?? Just checking.)

I have no idea if I even remember how to run.

Good luck to Susan tomorrow! And to everyone running Chicago—knock 'em dead.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Row, Like It's Your Job

I totally forgot while writing last night's OPUS, that Number One Daughter also had a race yesterday, her first of the season (God, I am worthless as a parent). The Head of the Ohio, in Pittsburgh, where her boat came in 6th (of 14) and 2nd (of 4). Don't ask me to explain, rowing is the most complicated sport on earth. Apparently that is a really good finish. Little NOD's eight came in at 16:08.119 (that would be 16 MINUTES). This is what they train for all year round and drive hundreds of miles to participate in, these sprints that no spectator can see without CIA-type binocs, and, if you sneeze, you missed it. Still, i like to go to them. (God, I am such a good parent!).

Don't think I didn't mention to my running partners yesterday that my daughter was in a race too, a race that would take oh, approximately 15 minutes, while her mother was busy killing herself for six hours!!

NOD turns 19 on Monday. Happy Birthday little NODDIE!

Saturday, October 01, 2005


(left): The End.

Ok, so whoever invented this method? Is. A. Genius. Thank you Mr. Galloway!

It was awesome and I kicked butt. (Well, in Jeanne's world, I kicked butt.)

Let's start Friday night. My friend, R., suggested I watch an inspirational movie, which I did: "Touching the Void." (You want ouch? Watch this movie. You have no idea.) Got to bed at 10:30 (little later than I'd hoped, but there was so much to prepare, it was really ridiculous.)

Got to the site at 6 a.m., half hour before I needed to, so I listened to a few tunes in the car (Midnight Oil, and Indigo Girls) til it was time to walk to the site. It was pitch black, the stars were still out. I peed in the bushes (you knew I would). I got up at 4:45 a.m. to do, you know, that other thing, which sadly, did not happen.

All the National AIDS Marathon Training Groups in D.C. (there are four sites, I think) came together for this pretend (ha ha, how many times can I say "pretend" when referring to a real, honest-to-God TWENTY-SIX mile run? We'll see), marathon, which took place outside of D.C., in East Falls Church, on the W &OD trail, which is a converted train track. (For you history buffs, see a Washington Post story about this 45-mile trail.)

My friend, R. God bless her, came to wish me well and see me off. She's responsible for me getting involved in all this nonsense. Thanks R.!!

The trail is long, straight, hilly, largely treeless, hot, hot hot, and not all that interesting, and oh yes, hilly. (Did I mention we've done zero hill workouts? Bad bad bad.)

Ok, here's the short version:

It took me 6 hours and 9 minutes. Which result, since I had planned on seven hours, I am thrilled with.

And even better, did my knee/thigh/calf hurt? They did not. Well, right leg hurt a bit during the first 2-3 miles, and my pace group, which I like to think I have had some small hand in training, kept asking me was I ok. How awesome is that. That, my friends, is the real victory (no, it's not really). Still. Nice. But after three miles? My leg was fine. (I did take ibuprofen beforehand, and then during, so that may have helped, but mostly it was that awesome brace, I think.)

So what did hurt, you ask? Around maybe mile 15, the soles of my feet started hurting. My shoes are ever-so-slightly too big; to compensate I tie my laces super-tight. Oh what a good idea.

We ran 2/walked 2 (minutes, not miles) for a long long long way. This was a training run and speed was most definitely discouraged. Fantastic support! We had tons of AIDS Marathon staff, plus tons of volunteers, riding bikes back and forth (it was a very busy trail), plus aid stops every two miles, and the volunteers all had a different "theme" at each aid station (don't ask me, I can't remember anything except one group wearing giant playing cards). Whatever; it was fun, water, gatorade, food was plentiful.

I hung at the back of our small pace group of seven people for quite awhile, running with W., a 50-ish gal with a few college-aged kids. She was struggling. She'd forgotten her water belt, so had to carry her bottle, plus had a clip on thing for her belt, which had to go on her shorts, since no water belt, and which was pulling her shorts down. Plus newish shoes. Ah, that's three too many things to cope with. Around mile 11 (?) she told me to go ahead, she just couldn't run anymore (my miles are all off, I have no idea what mile it really was.) By then, our pace group was long gone. Then, (oh, i love love love this part!!) I hooked up with a faster group (a minute per mile faster!) and they were doing a run 3/walk 2 ratio, and I hung on with them til I met up with my group again, around mile 14.

So I ran with my group, for oh I dunno, a few DAYS, and then about mile 21, I got my mojo back (which in my delirium, I called MO-HO—I told you, I am a nerd). And I took off (well, took off for me, remember, it's all relative) and left my group behind. They were walking up the hills, I was running up them!!

Look at me!!! I amazed myself. Because by this point, my dogs were a-barking. No, they weren't barking, they were howling and growling.

Around mile 23, I switched back to a 3/2 ratio, and kept it going, despite feet which now felt like they were literally on fire, when lo, suddenly, there was the finale, with a lovely balloon arch, and our coaches giving us medals!! (We all got medals, we are all heroes!!) and the best PB&J sandwiches I have ever had in my entire life.

I was second in my group to come in, the rest got there around 10 minutes later (am I bragging? oh give me my moment!)

I walked around, not out of breath AT ALL (thank you run/walk God!), and my knee still felt fine in its Cho-Pat brace. I literally could not believe how good I felt. Right up until someone suggested I lay down and raise my legs straight up against a tree, which I did, and then: ut-oh.

Imagine someone dousing the soles of your feet with gas and then lighting a match. OR, imagine you are frostbitten and come in to warm up. You know that feeling? Yeah, that, times 2,000. I almost cried, my soles hurt so bad. They were burning, like I didn't think I'd ever walk again, until some other wise person said, uh, maybe your shoes were laced too tight and your feet NEED blood, so put 'em down.

So, unlaced shoes, brought feet down and pain immediately lessened. Got home, took ice bath, took two bags of frozen peas which I attached to the bottom of my feet (necessity ... mother of invention, etc.), and settled down for a short 2-hour nap. Right now, at 11:30 p.m., they are still feeling like they have electric currents flowing thru them. Weird, and disconcerting, and yeah, a little painful. Time for Tylenol P.M.!

Plus, I went to dinner at a friend's house and managed to skip a step on his stairs, landing hard on my right leg. So, right leg is all fubar'd again (look it up, little ones). Am icing it like mad, and will see PT on Monday anyway. And oh yeah (cuz this post isn't long enough), I have an enormous bruise at the top of my right foot. Guess laces were a little tight. It's a big bruise. Large.

Moral #1: BUY NEW SHOES, cuz even though these are just four weeks old, they ain't working.

Moral #2? It was an amazing day, and I am so proud of myself, and right now I'm thinking, like WTF, I have to do this AGAIN in four weeks?? Aiyeeeee.

Here's my favorite shot, next to an aptly named creek bed:

See the sign? "Difficult Run."

Yeah. Coulda been a whole lot worse, though.

I'll stop now.