Monday, December 31, 2007

Here we go . . .

Most all of my favorite bloggers are doing posts about the end of 2007 and the rise of 2008. Last year I was wholly resistant to any sort of resolutions, I had a lifetime of failed ones behind me and it just seemed cruel to heap what was sure to be more failures upon my own head. Perhaps a committment to not setting myself up for failure WAS a victory of sorts for me. The endless cycle of failing to meet my own goals and then hating myself for it was crippling me. And it wasn't that I didn't know how to break my goals into baby steps, I did. But I would still talk myself into believing that they weren't important, that I didn't deserve them, and that none of it really mattered. And then the year would wear on and I'd internalize how worthless I was for abandoning goals which, objectively speaking, would have been good for me.

My resolutions were always centered on what I SHOULD be doing. Because I didn't think I could be happy until I was the person that I SHOULD be. A thin person. A fit person. An organized person who just straightens up and puts away and doesn't suffer from CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome - Someone who irons her clothes and NEVER NEVER fishes out something from the dirty clothes pile to wear if it doesn't smell. Someone who sends out Christmas cards and remembers birthdays with thoughtful homemade gifts. Someone who decorates appropriately and charmingly for each holiday. Someone who keeps frozen casseroles on hand for other people's tragedies. Someone who NEVER NEVER suggests a shorter book for her son to read at bedtime so that she can get back to the couch and mindless tv faster. Someone who reads for enlightenment and remembers to pray at the appointed times. Someone who doesn't go through the motions ever but always does things with intention and feeling and gratitude. Someone who loves her family unconditionally, even when they drive her mad, and shows her love and patience no matter what. Someone who doesn't get snarky and gossippy about other peoples misfortunes just because it makes herself feel a bit better knowing that other people struggle too. Because someone not at all like that doesn't DESERVE happiness. It's like in college when there was this REALLY REALLY cool class on the schedule and the description just embodied everything you were interested in and excited about but you couldn't take it without 15 horrible prerequisites or the special permission of the instructor.

So, here goes. I hereby give myself special permission. F*&K the prerequisites.

For 2008 I will laugh more. I will cry more. I'll wallow in chocolate fondue every now and then. I will try new restaurants. I will go dancing. I will make it to the finish line on March 30. I will make it to more movies and I will argue with my friends about them over coffee. I will buy myself some cute new clothes (actually, got a jump start on that yesterday). I will walk into more job interviews knowing that they'd be damn lucky to have me. I will plan my next tattoo just because I enjoy them. I will play more. I will focus on ridiculousness. I will not assume that my son's future is doomed and that I'm a terrible mother if he talks back to me. I will treat myself as I treat others. With tolerance and forgiveness. When I fail to do that, I will try again. I will live like the badass that I am.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Brought to you by the Number 5!

I didn't run yesterday (Friday). And I didn't get up in time to make it to the start of the 5 mile group run organized by bootcamp. It was too warm for my liking, about 98% humidity and I wasn't feeling it this morning, not even one little bit. But I just switched myself to "RUN" mode and did my best to alternatively ignore and silence the nagging little voice that kept telling me that maybe I'm just a 5K kinda girl and that a half marathon wouldn't be THAT cool to finish. I took a LONG time to get ready to head out the door which was my only concession to the voice's constant droning. I took my 4 mile route from home and modified it to make it a 5.3 mile loop. I finally got out the door and on my way. SLOWLY and HEAVILY and with a lot of unnecessary whining from that same voice through the first mile. It was not an easy run, but it was doable, into the second mile I realized that I would finish 5 miles and would walk the last .3 to cool down and stretch my legs. It would take me awhile but my conviction that it was definitely doable finally shut up the inner whiner.

Truth be told, even though I did do the Stone Mountain loop several weeks ago according to mapmyrun it was just about 4.8 so now I can honestly say, based on my frighteningly accurate new Garmin, that I have now really really run 5 miles. The last mile was a bit torturous but once you get past halfway it just seems tragic to stop so I just kept setting goals up ahead and then when I'd reach them I'd glance at the Garmin and see how much further I had to go. Just .8, just .45, just .3, just .22, just .15 etc. By the end I was checking when I passed every other mailbox. My breathing was fine, but my legs were DONE and I started walking as soon as that magic number 5 appeared.

The walking was DELICIOUS. My legs almost felt like they were purring as I slowly and languidly stretched them forward in long graceful strides. I think I'll try and build a little walking cool down into the end of my runs from now on.

I'm continuing to drop pounds, down by 12 now. Wearing a pair of denim crop pants that used to give me MAJOR muffin top but which now feel almost roomy. Take THAT Holiday Bulge. Really, I've been eating small quantities I guess, but I haven't been censoring what I eat. I've had my fair share of chocolate, I've been drinking moderately, I haven't been eating my veggies and I've been really having to work to get protein in with all the sugar and starch lying around the kitchen.
MMMMM, that reminds me, the pumpkin pie (with rum) is calling . . . .

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Running Girl

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I made out really well, got my Garmin Forerunner 205, some really cool North Face Running tights, an REI running top, wicking underwear, reflective safety stuff and some really sweet inspirational stuff. Santa brought my son the battery powered four wheeler he wanted so its been fun to watch him tooling around the back yard with the dogs alternately being chased and chasing it.

Yesterday I had an appointment with a new therapist. As my Aunt pointed out I really can't blog so much about how depressed I am and not expect my family to worry. So I'm bolstering my support network, leaning on my friends and mentally preparing myself for what I expect to be a challenging 2008. My new therapist's office is 2.08 miles from my front door. As I sat at work midday berating myself for not getting up early and running that morning it suddenly dawned on me that I could go home early and run to my therapy appointment! This was nothing short of an earth shattering realization. Running for fitness was an insane idea when I first contemplated it. How crazy would it be to run somewhere as a mode of transportation???? To use my feet as the ancients did, simply to propel myself from one location to another???? HOW COOL!!!! It is unfortunately an impractical choice a lot of the time, after this week my therapy appointments will be right before or right after work. But since no one was in my office anyway I could leave early enough to go home and do it this time, so I did.

I put on ALL my new running gear (right down to the underwear). The REI top seemed deceptively light weight but it actually turned out to be way too warm and by the time I got to her office I was soaked in sweat. She wisely has a smooth all leather couch and I sat on the edge of my seat (and I was feeling pretty riled up and manic anyway so I was comfortable there). The Garmin worked almost flawlessly. At one point early on it was showing that I was running faster than a 10 minute per mile pace when I knew I wasn't but it quickly righted itself and the rest of the time the information seemed very consistent with what I felt my effort was. I averaged an 11:56 per mile pace there and a 12:52 per mile pace on the return trip. I felt way too slow and heavy for all my fancy gear. The running tights and shirt actually looked really cute when I modeled them in front of the mirror and I was excited to wear them, but when I was running I had moments of fear that passers by were looking at me and shaking their heads about the poor fool who fancied herself enough of an athlete to warrant a bunch of gear but who really didn't deserve it.

I know, I know. Not helpful thought patterns. I'm working on it. Promise.

I believe I have a group long run this Saturday, will probably do another short one tomorrow. My legs are telling me to take it easy so I'm trying to listen. Hoping to hit REI again today for the post Christmas sale!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


It's Christmas Crazy at my house, just jumping on for a minute for a couple of quick updates. Finished my THIRD bootcamp on Friday. I only shaved 5 seconds off my run this time but it was seriously humid and I was struggling with that. I've also felt like I've slacked a bit this past month, I've gone consistently but if I'm honest with myself (and I'm starting to realize, what is the point of not being?) I've been going through the motions too often. So I was seriously afraid I would have slipped backwards. I was relieved to know I could squeak by anyway but I need to work on the psychology of it all. Surviving bootcamp is no longer satisfying enough for its own sake.

Anyhoo: my results were as follows -
Timed mile: 8:26
Pushups in 1 minute: 35 regular, 16 bent knee
Situps in 1 minute: 41
Tricep Dips in 1 minute: 30 regular, 13 facilitated

Saturday I ran the Virginia Highlands Christmas 5K, my first race of any size. My Aunt and my Mom (both visiting from out of town) and my husband and my son all came, my largest audience ever. Thanks guys! The running part of the race was great. I knew it was a very hilly course but as per usual, when I mentally am prepared for that it was no problem. I ran the entire course and maintained pace with a group of people who certainly looked much fitter than I feel until into the third mile when they managed to pull away a bit. Hills do slow me down, but they no longer psych me out in any way and I felt strong throughout the course.

Now for the whining. The race had 1000 runners, the start was on a very narrow street with cars parked on it. The organizers allowed dogs and there were several (not tons, but enough to be a real presence). When we moved to the start area I kept trying to get to the back, knowing that I was a slower runner and not wanting to be in anyone's way. HA. Apparently not many people agreed with that tactic. I ended up about 2/3 back from the front and when the race started the road in front of me was constantly blocked by big groups of walkers. It was really aggravating, it was probably a full minute before I could take even a jogging step and get to the starting line and I think it took me a good quarter mile of fighting traffic (including dodging the aforementioned dogs who did not look like they really enjoyed getting tripped over and jumping off onto the sidewalk to get around clusters of walkers). So I believe my time was artificially slow and I forgot to bring my cheapie stop watch to time myself which was frustrating. Also there were only 4 porta potties at the start, too few for a crowd that size in my opinion. At the end they only had cups of water instead of bottles, the food was demolished by the time I reached it, and I couldn't find trash cans anywhere. And they passed out shirts at the start but didn't have a shirt drop, even though the course wasn't a loop. I had been dropped off and had no where to put my shirt and didn't relish carrying it the entire course. I already had a jacket I knew I'd ultimately tie around my waist. So I had to borrow a race volunteers phone to call Clint to swing by and pick it up. This just seems like a pain on a point to point course where they specifically recommend that you park at the finish. Had I come alone and had to walk back to my car and back to the start, especially if I had arrived at a reasonable time before the race started instead of WAY too early I would have been more than annoyed about it. Wah! Whining done.

The course was challenging but interesting. True, I live in Atlanta but I only know the commercial sections of Virginia Highlands and the roads of the course were unfamiliar to me, very picturesque with lots of beautiful houses.

Ok, I mentioned to a few folks that Clint took some pics of me as I approached the finish line. I've just loaded them on the computer a few minutes ago and looked at them on the big screen. And I'm not posting them, at least for the moment. There is a certain way I feel when I run. Strong and svelte (if a little breathy). Checking out the closeups I experienced a bit of the body dysmorphia I've blogged about before. I looked strong enough, but not so svelte, quite a bit awkward, and my mouth gaping open like a freaking fish (not to mention my hair looks really bizarre with the way the wind was styling it). SMACK. Reality DOES bite. So for now, although I really appreciate Clint taking the pictures, I'm not ready to air them. I REALLY need a better jog bra, that is one thing that's clear. Any recommendations from other D+ girls out there?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Paper Trails

Ok, bear with me. I was cleaning out a folder and discovered this post I'd written some time ago in response to Kate Harding's post "The Fantasy of Being Thin." I think it was actually part of my Supa-Fly post but I had the feeling that post was already too long and so I cut this out and set it aside for another day. I then forgot all about it and stumbled on it today. A day where I happen to be suffering a full scale attack of Imposter Syndrome. I always think blogging is about being accountable to yourself by being accountable to others. But sometimes its just about reminding yourself that the worst days are NOT the only days. And they don't have to define you, even when there are a WHOLE LOT of them in a row. So here ya' go. And here I go. Cause I needed this today.

I have done this to myself so many times. For years I considered myself too fat to do anything TOO strenuous, which is why all my workout routines were focused on “easing into it”, “not overdoing it” and just hitting that minimum. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t know how or why my brain short circuited and failed to follow that logic when I started bootcamp but it took sort of jumping into the deep end of fitness to realize that I WASN’T too fat to be fit. And realizing that, my running goals have quickly become so much more important to me than my weight goals. And now, all of a sudden, I’m having crazy thoughts about cooking, and making major changes that will make me happier, and maybe even conquering my fear of bicycles. It’s frightening to stop resisting and go ahead and BECOME yourself, instead of just waiting for a magic process to make you thin and thereby bring you fulfillment in every facet of your life. Being too fat was never really the problem. The problem was my obsession with watching other people who fit my ideals of who I wanted to be (including being thin and athletic) and then berating myself for not being THEM. And when I tried to be like those people, I berated myself for being an IMPOSTER. Because I was really “fat” (even if I hid some of it in clever clothing choices), and lazy, and needy (even when I tried really really hard to prove to everyone that I wasn’t) and not at all capable or loveable or worthy. If everyone who THOUGHT they liked me REALLY knew me, then they’d realize what I faker I was.

I can’t fake bootcamp. I can’t fake running. If I can have a workout like I had this morning, then I’m reasonably fit. If I can run 4 miles, then I am a runner. And even I can’t tell myself I’m just an imposter. So maybe its time to watch myself for a change, and figure out what I’m like. Because I’m beginning to think that MAYBE I just might be a kinda cool chick who is overweight, and cute, sometimes sexy, sometimes industrious and sometimes lazy, and usually needy but occasionally skillful in knowing when to express that, and somewhat capable and loveable and worthy of living and experiencing as much as she desires from life.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


OK, stop, put down the phone, don't call 911. It's just that Sgt. Romeo (NOT HIS REAL NAME) made us do suicides this morning. A lot of them. And they are NOT my favorite thing. I also discovered that while I prefer it to be cold when I work out cause it helps me to not overheat, 27 degrees is a little TOO cold for my lungs so the asthma was definitely making itself known this morning. Ideally I'd like it to be between 35 and 55. If someone could make that happen consistently I'd really appreciate it. And doing sit ups on frozen ground is also NOT my favorite thing.

Anyway, I've officially hit the 10 lb mark on weight loss. I really think the weight I've lost over the past 3 days has probably not been healthily lost and I'll pay for it down the road. But it would be nice to stay here. I have a new goal, to get into a Size 10 suit that I've hung on to since high school because I love it so much even though I haven't fit into it since college sometime (that would be over a decade ago). It's navy, and classic, very tailored, with rhinestone buttons. I CAN actually get it on now, but it's got that whole bursting at the seams thing going on in the skirt so I'm not quite there yet.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I probably won't be posting as much over the holidays, all of the other stuff in my life has got me pretty wrapped up at the moment but I do want to stay accountable. Went to bootcamp on Friday and really enjoyed a fun workout that involved having a "wingman" and calling out lines from "Top Gun". Always a good way to start the day! Saturday morning I made it to the first of the Georgia Half Marathon training runs that OBC has organized. I did 3.4 miles in 40 minutes which gives me an average pace of 11:46 which I'm pleased with (although I was right at the back of the pack, by quite a bit).

I've been feeling a bit under the weather and loading up on cold medicine so I didn't make it this morning. I'll have to make it up with a run on my own sometime. I've dropped a bit more weight, but then it could just be because I'm feeling sick and not eating, which I know isn't healthy. Still, although I know its silly and probably just temporary I can't help but feel that little burst of glee every time those numbers go down.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Daddy's Girl

Today was Bring a Friend day, or, in my world, Bring My Daddy Day. The workout we did was called “Hook & Ladder” and with the formidable Brock leading it I felt kinda like I was fighting a 5 alarm fire. Run there! Quick! Turn around! Kick the curb! Jumping Jacks! Pushups! Now run there! FASTER FASTER! Now hop through the ladder! Quick now run over there! And do a wall sit for like EVAR! And a day!

WHEW! I told Dad that Bring a Friend day was usually a bit lighter. Afterwards I told him that I didn’t mean to lie to him. He was very good natured about it. Even said he wished he could sign up but he lives like an hour away. So there you have it Operation Bootcamp. Sell a franchise in or south of McDonough and he will come!

Dad totally rocked it. He was a fantastic sport about everything, not even balking at being asked to Karoke (it’s a grapevine like dance step) WITH jazz hands or being asked to skip or being asked to just run. A lot. He jumped into everything full tilt.

I’m a Daddy’s girl. My Dad has always been supportive of EVERYTHING I’ve tried or expressed an interest in. But I’ve always enjoyed at least trying to develop an interest or ability in the kinds of things he likes because it was just fun to hang out with him in his element. It started with model rockets. Then there were model other things. Air shows. Car racing (Dad drove the number 0 Karmengia while I screamed my head off from the pit). Motorcycle riding (FASTER DADDY FASTER). On roads AND off roads. Glider piloting. Parachuting (watching as a child, then trying it as an adult). Scuba diving. Go-Kart Racing (40 mph is FREAKING fast when you’re only an inch off the ground!). My Dad has opened the door to all of those experiences for me. I learned very early on that life is a big buffet and if you stick to what you know you’ll have a very boring meal.

But despite learning that early on, I lost sight of the fact that having an unhealthy body makes it difficult to get to the table, or carry your plate, or something. (ok maybe this metaphor isn’t holding up too well) but you get the idea. You start thinking that it was a good thing you did all those things when you were younger because it seems like you’re just headed downhill from there. And basically you get totally wrapped up in responsible life goals like finishing your education and getting your career off to a good start and buying a house and renovating a house and then you tick all those things off your list and you realize that now you’re basically waiting for death. Ok that sounds melodramatic but at times that’s how I was feeling. Just a few months ago.

So today, I got to invite Dad into my pre-dawn world. And I think I impressed the hell out of him. Which feels AWESOME. Because I know my Dad is already very proud of me for all the things I’ve done in my life, including accomplishing those responsible life goals. But this was special. I let him see that, for me, a whole lot of life that I had decided was just inaccessible is spread out before me again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sign Me UP!

Today I decided to enlist. This morning my ever versatile (and flexible!) boot camp instructors showed us what it was like to REALLY REALLY be in the army. Today, I ran in formation. While holding a rifle over my head. While singing cadences at the top of my lungs about how the Navy is for wimps and about how Army Rangers can dismantle gators with their bare hands. And while responding to commands to “FALL OUT” and drop and do 10 pushups and to “FALL IN” and reform our formation and continue running and then to sprint to the front of the pack and around the pack and back to the front all while the formation keeps moving forward. And A REAL HONEST TO GOODNESS RETIRED COLONEL ARMY RANGER GUY (Jojo’s Dad) jogged BACKWARDS next to us like it was NOTHIN!

So now I know how much FUN the army must be! And I was on such a high that I drove right over to the recruiting office!

Apparently though, I’m kinda old by army standards. And they have issues with poor eyesight and asthma. WHATEVAR!

Ok, its been a few hours. I guess I have to acknowledge that maybe it was actually a taste of Army LITE. Cause, technically speaking, we were only doing it for an hour. Not hours on end. And, if I must be honest, our rifles were really really lightweight. As in …… light as air. As in … Imaginary. And we didn’t even pretend to carry 30 lb packs on our backs. Or run through sand or jungle. Or get shot at.

But I definitely do not play enough pretend in my life and I TOTALLY need to remedy that because this morning REALLY REALLY was like the most fun I’ve had in WEEKS. (This may actually be kind of disturbing if I’d stop to think about it but I’m not going to disrupt this groove I’ve got going on!) I’ve had a stupid grin all day. Not only was my knee completely painless for the whole 3 miles but my shins and my calves were totally cool too. I hit that stride, I was keeping up with our pace setter just FINE! I was even able to encourage my formation partner who has a heart of steel and who tried her hardest to keep up. This is her first bootcamp and she reminds me a lot of me 3 months ago. And I tried my best to boost her here and there and I hope she knows how much she rocked it out! And I cracked a few jokes! And I shouted HOOAH with conviction and not a little pride.

Normally I don’t track mileage at boot camp because it doesn’t usually make sense but I did for this one because we did spend most of the hour in motion on a trackable route. If you check my training log you’ll see that our avg. pace seems slow but it included two stretching sessions, several push up breaks and a couple of side sprints that I didn’t track.

Looking forward to sharing this with my Dad tomorrow, I think he’ll really be amazed at how far his little bookworm has come!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On ice

Made it to bootcamp this morning, and had a great workout. I started off sort of gingerly, a bit afraid of my knee. It was still stiff but not as much as yesterday and it ended up performing like a champ! And I had a couple of cool revelations that had nothing to do with running.
1. I can now officially crab walk without major difficulty, and fairly quickly too! I do however refuse to sing "Under the Sea" while I'm doing it. Sorry Jojo!
2. I can now do rowboats the proper way, also fairly quickly (that's actually my secret plan of attack on all exercises that are hard, power through them as fast as possible so you don't have a chance to talk yourself into quitting. I know that isn't always an ideal approach!).
3. I can even do V-sits almost properly although I'm incapable of talking back to fellow campers who are marveling at my V-sit ability while I'm actually doing them. And laughing throws me off a bit.
4. I love planks. Not saying I want to do them all day, but they feel comfortable, like my body "fits" in that position.
5. Inchworms, squat jacks and other squatting/jumping exercises are not horrible anymore. I still hate burpees though. I think they will always be the brussel sprouts of exercise for me. Seriously, what possible purpose do brussel sprouts serve in this world? Being a southern girl I've even tried them fried. Nope. I will never force them on my child, ever. I will however endure 45 minutes (NOT KIDDING) of whining and "I'm dying . . . I'm choking . . ." tearful dramatics in order to bribe my child into eating 5 BABY CARROTS. Starting small . . . we'll get there! If only he could appreciate the fact that they weren't brussel sprouts!

After bootcamp was over, I did the exercises I read about for my inner quads. At first it felt really really easy, then that muscle would hit its wall like, ALL OF A SUDDEN and I just couldn't lift that leg again. It was kind of wierd. It didn't take long and I'm glad I just dropped to the ground and did them then, otherwise they probably wouldn't get done.

I'm icing now, not feeling any pain but I figure this just needs to be my routine so I don't get thrown off my training schedule again. In case anyone was wondering, my shins are doing great, but my calfs are sore as hell. But apparently that indicates that my gait is better now as sore calfs are normal, and MUCH more stretchable and resiliant than shins so that's good. I really think that shift is totally due to the Superfeet Insoles. Unfortunately the insoles are still giving me blisters inside my arch which is annoying but Jojo told me all about BodyGlide today . . . I'd like to meet the athlete that decided to use his or her "special" lubricant in a new way. Very very clever!

Getting pscyhed about my Dad coming to Bring a Friend day on Thursday! Go Dad! And now that I've proclaimed it to the world you can't back out!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just a quick 2 mile run . . . .

Ok, I was good on Saturday. Even though my knee wasn't bothering me AT ALL. I WANTED it to hurt a bit because then I would have felt better about missing the race. Honestly, had it been an intown race I might have gone but by the time I realized it wasn't hurting AT ALL (did I mention that?) it was too late to get to the start on time. With missing the race and other issues which I won't go into here, Saturday was completely exhausting and overwhelming emotionally. By Sunday morning I was such a torrent of just overwroughtness (I'm making that a word if it isn't one already) on the inside that I was worried about just exploding. I slept in. I went to church. Church was soothing but it wasn't enough and I still felt so tightly wound that I avoided actually speaking to anyone at church which kinda defeats the purpose of being part of a worship community. But hey, I did what I could handle at the time. When I got home I just had to run. HAD TO RUN. Or destroy something. I decided I'd run up my street to the end of it, which is exactly .5 miles from my front door. If my knee started bothering me I'd turn around and walk back. Not unreasonable. At the .5 mile point my knee was not bothering me, so I continued on my 2.3 mile route. It was actually pretty tough because my left leg muscles were still annoyed about Friday and so my left leg was just generally tight and achy (even after stretching) and it was the middle of the day, sunny, and in the upper 70's. NOT my favorite conditions. But it was just enough of a distance to mollify my inner demons and I felt SO much better when I was done.

The urgency I felt is what I imagine a drug addict feels looking for the next fix. I described it to my doctor this morning and she was so excited that I'm addicted to exercise. I'm excited too, although I still routinely step outside myself for a minute and don't recognize what I see. I have moments where I think so much of the last 3 months have been some sort of fantasy, or a waking day dream, or just an old fashioned dream I haven't woken up from yet like in a soap opera.

This morning I could not wake up, my alarm beeped extra long as I incorporated the sound into my dream instead of waking for it. My knee wasn't hurting per se but it felt very stiff and there is some pain when I bend it all the way. I always check the weather with my blackberry before I get out of bed and when I read that the humidity was 95% I bailed. I feel a little bad about it but I'm not beating myself up. I'm tired. Like bone tired all over through and through tired. I know bootcamp would have probably given me a burst of energy but it just didn't feel right this morning.

At the doctor I couldn't replicate the pain I felt on Friday, and the area that hurt then wasn't tender to her touch. What WAS tender to her touch was my IT Band. OUCH! I about jumped off the table when she pressed on it. So she diagnosed me with ITBS, gave me some material which included special stretches, and told me to continue icing and ibuprofen and listening to my body. I'm still concerned that I may be dealing with Chondromalacia (inflammation of the cartilage under the kneecap) based on the symptoms I had Friday but she pointed out that the treatment is essentially the same. I've done some more research and I also need to do some focused strengthening of the inner quad muscles. In running those muscles aren't developed as much and it creates an imbalance than can lead to or exacerbate both ITBS and Chondromalacia. Anyway, she did lots of manipulation of both knees and moved them around in some interesting ways. Both of them made some popping noises, the right more than the left, but there wasn't any pain associated with the noises and since it is on both sides she said it could just be the way I'm built but that I need to be mindful of it and come in immediately if I experience any locking of the joint.

On the positive side my blood pressure is finally down. Since I JUST started my new meds she wants me to come back in a few weeks to check in again and to make sure my bloodwork is still normal.

So, I'll keep looking forward, stop catastrophizing, and maybe learn to use a run/walk gait when I need to. Group Operation Bootcamp training for the Half starts this Saturday. I'm excited but also hoping I'm not the only slow one!

Friday, December 7, 2007


Betrayal. Yesterday, Thursday, I noticed, maybe two times, a sharp pain under my right kneecap. Each time as soon as I took my weight off my right leg it went away. And since it only happened twice in an hour that included a lot of sprinting I actually forgot about it later in the day.

Today it complained more loudly. I would still get several running steps in with no problem and then . . . randomly . . . WHAMMO and I’d gasp and take my weight off quickly. So I got slower and slower, putting that right foot down more and more gingerly and letting my left leg do most of the work. It’s pretty annoyed right now. . . I can imagine my two legs arguing like kids in the back seat. “So . . . you just had to go and do something nutty to get mom’s attention and now I’VE got to be the ‘good’ leg and hold this body together!”

I can’t slip much past my bootcamp instructors and they started asking me how I was doing. I finally confessed and Jojo started giving me modified options. Backpedaling when going uphill, lunge walking instead of jumping, that sort of thing. Then Heidi checked in. And got VERY STERN with me. I started to get all whiny…. “But there’s this 8K race tomorrow . . . and I just HAVE to run it!” And Heidi threatened to come to my house. She never said what she would do at my house (and since Heidi is really cool she’d certainly be welcome anytime) but it was implied that she would bodily keep me from going to the race. She told me about her friend who experienced a “random stabbing pain” in his knee and decided to “tough it out” and run a race. He ended up with 3 surgeries and lost his ability to run EVER AGAIN.

Ok, wait a second, I’M the catastrophizer around here! I have a doctor’s appointment already scheduled on Monday. I fantasized about getting into a doctor today and being told that I was just being silly but that turned out to not be possible. I’ve iced it and taken anti-inflammatories. I started thinking that maybe I could lay low, ice a lot, take a lot of pills and “just try” tomorrow. The next time I got up from my seat it started twinging while I was just walking. It clearly is trying to get its point across.

Despair. I feel like someone has kidnapped my puppy and is dangling him over a precipice. Running and bootcamp are really the ONLY things going well in my life right now. With everything else I’m mostly just putting on a good act. If this is something that will require me to stop running for more than just a few days I . . . . I don’t know. The road is the thread keeping me together at the moment. The fear of not being able to run is crushing me.

I know I jumped in the deep end. After years of inactivity I have put my muscles through some serious abuse for which they were wholly unprepared. I think I may have diagnosed myself through Dr. Google. If I’m right the treatment involves rest, then physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that guide and hold the kneecap. And it may be chronic, something I’ll battle from here on out. But I’ll keep doing the ice, and the anti-inflammatories, and the rest and I’ll give the Dr. her say on Monday. Not going to this race tomorrow makes me feel like I’m standing myself up at the prom. Not going to the race hurts as much, if not more so, than my knee. And I know its only one race. But I’m so afraid of the possibilities. I don’t want to see the beginning of the end.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Testing the Water

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading the blogs of some inspiring folks and fantasizing about other things I might be capable of doing someday. Some bloggers have come so far in so short a period that I’m compelled to back up to the start of the blog and read it from start to finish. I marvel at how unique and amazing they are and at the same time how like me they are in their fears and obsessions. And the doors in my mind just fly open. I did that with Half of Me (and I’m looking forward to her book in May) and now I’m doing it with Athena Diaries. I’ve read all of 2005 (where she started, like me, from a place where she avoided stairs and never exercised) and 2006 (which she ended with 20 sprint triathlons, 2 olympic distance triathlons, and 2 half ironman triathlons under her belt – in addition to some duathlons and assorted running races under her belt). WOW. Triathlons are officially really really cool and I officially am stating publicly that I want to do one . . . or more . . . someday. I have a tendency to get ahead of myself so I’ve faced the sobering fact that, thus far, my longest distance run was only 5 miles. Which is fine for a sprint tri, if I just skip the bike and the swim parts. And I’m scared of bikes. Well, not so much the bike itself as the fear of what bad things could happen to a person on a bike. And I don’t own a bike. And I’ve been on one exactly 10 minutes in the last 10 years and found it extremely uncomfortable in the saddle. And although I learned all the swimming strokes as a child and can still technically do them I have no access to an indoor Olympic sized pool and no place in the budget to purchase such access. And I should focus on my half in March, and on other races like that and maybe then on a full marathon before I complicate my life with the equipment and training schedule necessary for multisport racing.

But now I know that I’m not relegated to life behind a wall watching active people running away from me on the other side. And just about anything seems possible. And endurance sports appeal to me because from all of Athena’s race reports one thing that is really clear is that just finishing is really excellent, and respected, and there is lots of cheering. I know I will get faster but I just have a hunch that speed is not my game. But I can be dogged when I’m focused on something, and I’m not too pain sensitive (my husband will protest as he’s reading this but my freakout over cutting my finger on Thanksgiving was due to the idea of the knife cutting my skin…..I have a weird fear of all kinds of blades . . . not from the pain per se. And I did rise above and go on to cook a kick ass Thanksgiving dinner, something else I thought I couldn’t ever do).

In other news, I have a job, which really really really interferes with my other interests. I got stuck at said job till 4:45 am Wednesday morning (it was an off day for bootcamp so that was something at least) and was back up and working by 9:30 and worked a full day and just didn’t have it in me to run 2 miles on no sleep and very little food. So I’m a bit nervous about the fact that I haven’t run since Saturday and I won’t get the chance to run again until my race this Saturday. But that’s ok, I just want my number for my wall. I wish I could race every weekend but as I work on increasing distances the numbers don’t work out. Unless I could find one close enough to run to and run home from then maybe I could do it.

I drank more water than usual before bootcamp and ate a 140 calorie bar with 10g of protein and bootcamp went well. Instructor Deana was in charge and she is . . . . how shall I say . . . . INTENSE. I have no doubt I will hear her counting in my dreams tonight. We did 20/20/20 which involved 15 sets of sprinting, 100 pushups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats, 10 sets of various kinds of planks and assorted ab work, plus a jogging warm up and cool down. I wasn’t totally gung ho all the way through but I feel proud of how I did on some of the sprints (VERY middle of the pack, NOT so much back of the pack). And maintaining a plank is more restful now and less OMIGOSH MY BODY IS SHAKING SO HARD I CAN’T KEEP THIS UP than it used to be. My biggest problem was a wardrobe malfunction. My left breast decided it wanted to escape the confines of my bra and see the world. Or maybe it just wanted to punch me in the face and tell me to stop all this sprinting nonsense. Since I pretty much ignore the signals my legs are sending me to stop my body might just be getting creative in its attempts to communicate. I had to keep “adjusting” it back into the bra cup, luckily bootcampers are a tolerant group and no one called me out for it.

Still have received no CALL from my HAPPY HAPPY FUTURE. Looks like I’ll have to RSVP for the company holiday party after all.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Treading Water

Just feeling the urge to check in since it has been a few days but my mind has been drifting in and out of that dark twisty swampy place again and I hate to whine on my blog.

Saturday night I stayed up too late watching the Ironman Championship that I had recorded earlier in the day. I meant to just watch a few minutes to wind down but watched the entire 90 minutes because I couldn't tear myself away. I'm looking forward to my 8K this Saturday but I'm also starting to get excited about the bigger races I have coming up . . . the Christmas 5K in Virginia Highlands (1000 people), the St. Pete 10K in January (about 1200) and then the ING Georgia Half (15,000).
Sunday was my off day, and it was good but I missed church again which bugged me. I just HAD to sleep so I couldn't make the early service and I had too much planned for the afternoon to make the 10:30 service. So I'm feeling spiritually disconnected. I have been praying a lot more lately, especially while running, but I do really appreciate the ritual of church and without it I feel like something is missing. There is a St. Nick's event on Thursday which will include a eucharist so I don't have to wait until Sunday. I also got to make a quick appearance at Jojo's Birthday Brunch which was way cool. I don't think I KNOW as many people as Jojo had at her brunch, the girl is not ONLY bootylicious, she's popular too! And then it was off to see Santa at an event organized by my office. Clint was taking the pictures so I got to play elf/assistant and enjoy a few laughs at the foibles of small children. And then the grocery store. And then the day was like, OVER. *sigh*. I need some downtime, like a couple of days worth, not just a few hours where I feel like I should be doing something else.

Monday and Tuesday have been hellish at work. I'm drowning in ick cases that I don't like working on. I DO have cases I enjoy working on but several of my ick cases have had deadlines right on top of me all at once and its wearing me down. I got a nice reprieve in that I went to the Found v. Postsecret show on Monday night which was WAY COOL and very funny and moving all at the same time. I've added both sites to my favorites in the sidebar. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check them out. NOW. I'll wait.

On the training front I did bootcamp Monday and Tuesday. Tomorrow is an off day on the bootcamp schedule but you're supposed to do something in its place. My current plan is to run my 2.3 mile route from my house just to keep everything limber. This morning during bootcamp I was experiencing a lot of pain and promised myself I'd take tomorrow off, but now the pain is gone and I want to do it again. See Mom, I don't listen to myself any better than I listen to you when you tell me not to do something!

Speaking of the pain, I always have much more lower leg pain at bootcamp than I do when running outside of bootcamp. I used to think it was the difference between high intensity bursts that we often do at bootcamp and steady jogging that I do on my own. But we often jog in bootcamp too and this morning I deliberately held myself to a comfortable jogging pace (which also meant I wasn't running as far since I stayed at the back and avoided extra run backs) and I still hurt. The ONLY thing that is ALWAYS different between bootcamp and my other runs is that I never eat before bootcamp and I always eat before other runs, even if it is just a 150 calorie energy bar. I was not eating before bootcamp because I wanted to burn the maximum amount of fat, but maybe, especially since I frequently go to bed a little hungry, I'm just in pain because my body is underfueled? I also don't hydrate as much, I wake up, drink about 6-8 oz of water and go. I'm always afraid I'll have to pee, and the workout is less than an hour so I don't drink during it. Seriously, the difference in how I feel running on non-bootcamp days when I've had an energy bar or a bowl of kashi is like night and day. Any experienced people think this might be the missing link? I'll experiment by eating a little something Thursday morning.

Christmas is rushing towards us like a runaway train. Lets see, we know what our son's big present will be, but now how we'll pay for it. Other than that, I haven't even figured out where we hid the Christmas decorations when we moved. I think they're under the stairs. Behind the giant heavy piece of workout equipment that "conveniently" folds up for storage but not so conveniently weighs about 800 lbs so that you are done with your workout by the time you have pulled it out and broken your toe trying to unfold it. Oh, and I've thought about calling Merry Maids to do the final house clean before the relatives arrive as a present to myself but I haven't done that yet and I have NO idea what is a reasonable price for that sort of thing.

My own Christmas list bemuses me. Last year I wanted a robe, and a pair of boots. I got both (in fact I'm wearing the boots right now) and they were both very nice. This year my Christmas list includes a Garmin Forerunner 205, reflective running gear, running clothes (including wicking underwear . . . it sounds so dreamy!), and books like The Nonrunners Marathon Guide for Women and Slow, Fat Triathlete. What does everyone else want for Christmas or Hanukkah or the Holiday season?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Loop

Hit the loop at just after 6:30 am and ran through the sunrise. We talked about coming even earlier sometime, running the loop and then climbing the mountain in time for the sunrise. Apparently the park actually opens at 5:00 am for "Our Runners" as the gate attendant proudly told us. And sure enough there were clearly quite a few runners and walkers who had already been there a while. The loop was well lit and the Christmas lights along parts of it, the giant lit tree on top of the mountain, and the approaching dawn kept the atmosphere picturesque and atmospheric but never dark. The police circled the loop periodically as well and I felt very safe, now I know that I can do it alone, even early, if I need to.

Today I didn't need to though, because the Intrepid Katy was again by my side, despite the fact that she was due to skate in the Children's Healthcare Christmas Parade later in the morning. She and her dog were great company.

The hills were present as promised but I had been prepared for more than there were and, given the routes I've run around Candler Park and my neighborhood they really weren't a problem. We ran the whole way, and my shins did GREAT. The SuperFeet really seem to be working as promised, although I did get some nice blisters which I'm trusting will heal and not be repeated as I break the insoles in.

So far increasing the mileage is going smoothly. Next week is the Madison Christmas Rush 8K (another 5 miles) and then I'll be building up to 8 miles just before the 10K I plan to run MLK weekend. A half marathon is a little less than three times around Stone Mountain. I've got a way to go but the first loop went a lot smoother than I expected. For muscles that were so sorely neglected for most of their life, they are suprisingly forgiving and willing to step up and exceed my expectations now. The body is truly an amazing thing.

Oh yeah, one more thing, it took us right at an hour, so we were averaging about 12 minutes per mile, since I know we were much slower on some of the longer hills I feel great about that. I'll be very pleased with any time under 3 hours on my first Half, so far I seem to be on target!