Thursday, December 29, 2011

RIP #RWRunStreak

I killed the streak the day after Christmas. Up until we got home from my parents’ house at 9 pm in the rain, I still thought I might squeeze in a mile to keep it going, but no dice. The #RWRunStreak was originally supposed to go through New Year’s Day, but I feel like Thanksgiving-Christmas was a pretty good run.

photo (8)

It was time. 33 days was a good run (haha, get it?), but I really did want to take a week off entirely of running before I start marathon training. I’m pressing the reset button for fresh legs, tight hips, and little knee niggles. If I had a little bit more time off of work this week, I would love to spend it hiking or walking or lifting weights during the time I normally spend running. Instead, I took Monday and Tuesday completely off (so much time to get ready in the morning!), spin class Wednesday, off Thursday, and BodyPump Friday.


I’m super-impressed by my run graph. The #RWRunStreak included 2 8-milers, a few interval sessions, and a lot of easy runs. It was not derailed by my 30-hour trip to Texas (where I seriously contemplated if I could run a mile in the airport terminal) or not having done laundry or bad weather. So, I’m bummed that I didn’t/chose not to complete the full challenge, but I’m impressed with what I did.

After the first of the year, I think I’m going to shut this blog down and work on incorporating more running chat into Cook, Pray, Love. Keeping up with 2 blogs is more than I’m able to do at this point in time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Run Fast for Your Mother, Run Fast for Your Father

I just got back from vacation here:


Palm trees! Sun! Flat runs at sea level! Okay, so it was one run in the 4 days I was gone, even though I had scheduled two.

A week ago this past Friday, I had one of the best runs of my life. I didn’t want to go out and run. It was one of those gray, kind of damp 50-degree days where I couldn’t ever get warm. I ate too much for lunch and needed to run that afternoon. I wanted to cocoon on the couch and not do anything. I wanted to feel sorry for my lazy self and eat candy bars. Not run 6-8 miles.

But then I thought about a patient I had met that morning. 7 years old and the doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do. 7 years old and he told his mom that he was “ready to go” and that he was looking forward to seeing his grandfather. I shed tears over my black bean soup at lunch with my husband relating that story. So I decided to run for him. 7 years old, 7 miles that he would never run.

I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door. It was perfect running weather despite my inability to warm up earlier that day. The fall leaves crunched beneath my feet. The sun tried to peak out from the dense clouds. I tore down my regular path, and it felt easy. One mile for every year of his life, for little boys who shouldn’t be dying, for his parents and brother who I would serve communion to on Sunday. I prayed and ran and thanked God for the blood pumping through my healthy heart and lungs and legs as I powered up hills. I cried and sang along to music. I felt like I could keep going forever except that I was getting a little thirsty so I ended it at 7. Lucky number 7.

That run I hadn’t wanted to do? One of the best I’ve ever had. I felt lighter, all of my joy and sadness released through the pavement.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I haven’t been entirely truthful about what’s been going on with me, but since it nearly had me on the verge of tears a couple of times, it’s probably important.

It started with some shin splint-type pain in my left leg shortly after the Women’s Half Marathon. I immediately freaked out knowing that I had the Middle Half coming up. I rested but not really. I took Advil. I iced and foam-rolled. It got better enough that I ran 7 miles the Monday of Middle Half without too much pain, and I made it through the race with minimal discomfort. However, I could tell that my right leg was overcompensating.


Then I developed a hacking cough. First it was only in the morning and at night. Then I started coughing during the day. Then I bruised a rib (right side this time), which was also aggravated by the Middle Half. Don’t I look like I’m having fun?


The Sunday after the Middle Half, I treated myself to a pedicure, and I got some of the extras including the sea salt scrub. The guy doing the pedicure was scrubbing the heck out of my legs but in a hurt-so-good way, that I didn’t really think about it. That night, I slept in my Zensah calf sleeves. When I woke up on Monday morning, my lower legs were red & itchy. It turned out that I had quite the case of folliculitis. I will definitely spare you all pictures, but my legs were hideous. Even more than a week later, I still look like I had a bad bout of poison ivy.

Later on Monday I was at work (where two other staff members had called in), and I started feeling clammy and feverish and completely lost my appetite. With no one else around, I tried to push through the rest of the day. On my way home, I stopped by Walgreens to get some Benadryl, took some, and promptly changed into my pajamas and went to bed. Of course, my doctor husband was out of town. I woke up at 9 pm feeling horrible, drank some Gatorade, talked to my mom and my husband, and went back to sleep. I made it through a presentation the next morning but left work that afternoon. I had a 102-degree fever for a few days, and I rarely get sick. Fortunately, the antibiotics I got seemed to work their magic quickly, and I was okay to return to work on Thursday. But I have rarely been taken out that thoroughly by an illness.


Thursday was my first run since Middle Half, and I did 4 miles around the greenway at about an 11-minute pace, though my heart rate was so high, you would’ve thought I was racing it. Slowly but surely, I’ve been recuperating. I’ve diagnosed my shin issue as being related to my weak hips that are allowing my left leg to overpronate. Between rolling out my calves with The Stick (thanks Abby!), taking Advil, and doing some hip strengthening exercises, I’m almost as good as new.

It’s been hard for me to ACTUALLY listen to my body and be patient with it as I recover from sickness and injury. I want my body to do what I want it to do rather than what it is capable of at this time. It’s also disrupted my enjoyment of running. When running is painful, it’s incredibly frustrating and saddening. I was feeling really burned out. So I’m shelving speedwork and tempo runs for a while and am just going to run fun miles with my mom or my husband or by myself. And I’m going to try not to care if those miles are slower than I would like. By the end of October, I’m hoping to have run 850 miles this year, which means November and December will be 75 mile months, and that is totally doable to reach my 1000 miles for the year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To Marathon or Not To Marathon

That is the question.

I’ve been running regularly for over a year. This calendar year, I’ve averaged 15-25 miles a week. I’ve completed 3 (hopefully 4 by noon on Saturday) half marathons.

But am I ready to make the leap?


This is the one that’s on my mind. May 6, 2012. I would start training around the first of the year, and there’s a scheduled meet-up of an online women’s running group I’m a part of, so I would definitely have company.


  • Training in the winter means that I don’t have to get up a 5 am to get my runs in before it’s 8000 degrees with 100% humidity.
  • Joe has shown interest in the half, so we could potentially do some parts of training runs together.
  • Training groups for Country Music Marathon in Nashville tend to start up around that time as well, so I could look forward to group runs.


  • Time - I work 6 days a week and am on house-call every other weekend. Getting called to a death in the middle of a 16-mile run is not ideal.
  • Training in the winter is cold and potentially rainy and/or sleet-y and sometimes dark.
  • What if I get injured?
  • Running a marathon is hard.

Other things:

  • It seems like everyone is doing it, and after Chicago, reading people’s race recaps is so inspiring.
  • It would be a real test of my mental and physical strength, for better or for worse.

Help, please? Encouragement? Warnings? How to prepare to run a marathon?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Race Re-cap Part 3: The Race

Saturday came bright and early…and chilly. It was perfect running weather, but that nip in the air wasn’t quite as welcome standing around. I went back and forth between wearing a tank top and a short-sleeved shirt and came down on the tank top. My mom and her neighbor showed up shortly before 6, and we were on our way.


We nabbed a sweet parking spot, which meant we didn’t have to wait in the interminable gear check line to ditch our jackets. So we did our pre-race business where I ran into two of my husband’s co-workers.


Downtown was beautiful, even if we were a little chilly. I had a feeling it was going to be a great race. My mom and I discussed our plan. We wanted to have fun and take pictures…but we also lined up in front of the 2:15 pacer with the goal of keeping him behind us.


At the start with the Pinnacle building on the left and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on the right. Jo Dee Messina did a bang-up job singing the National Anthem, and we were off. It was a true wave start, and we were in the 3rd corral, so we scooted up to the start line and were given the go ahead. The first mile was slow because we were weaving in and out of people and trying not to trip on the potholes along 2nd Ave. 10:15 pace at the 1st mile marker.


I remarked that I had actually looked up what a sub-2:10 pace would be the morning of the race, you know, just for fun. In case you’re curious, it’s a 9:56 pace. 2nd mile – 9:19 pace. Hmm, how did that happen? We should probably slow down a touch. We headed into and out of Centennial Park and up and over some not-so-nice hills with our pace holding steady around 9:50. Most of the aid stations had people dressed up and cheering, and the bands were great. The men in the group I occasionally run with had planned their Saturday run so that they intersected with the race and cheered us on.


We hit the out-and-back portion of the course just in time to see the first runner heading back downtown. I knew I would start feeling better after five miles, and I was right on. I hit my stride and felt awesome up and down Belmont Blvd. It was also motivating to see everyone else. I took a Gu close to the turnaround. Miles 6-7 got a little speedy under 9:40. Once I hit mile 8, I felt confident that I wouldn’t die. My mom kept telling me to go ahead, that she didn’t want to keep me from my PR, but I would pull ahead for a little while and she’d catch up again.


We ran together up Music Row to the statue at Musica, and I was feeling pretty good so I pushed the pace a bit back into downtown. Mile 9 – 9:30. Mile 10 – 9:33. We ran down Broadway, and I remarked to a woman I was running with that I could really use a beer. Then we hit the big hill up 2nd Ave to the bridge over the river. I stopped to walk through the aid station and then picked it up again.

Miles 12-13 were a mental battle. We were so close to the finish line downtown but had to cross the river and go around LP Field before finishing. I had spent the whole race dreading the Korean Vets bridge back into downtown. When I hit mile 12, my mom told me to go again, but I could hardly feel my legs. We got to the bridge, and, like everyone else around me, I started to walk. My mom pulled up beside me and coached me into starting to run again. Little steps up and over the bridge. Somehow, mile 13 was the fastest mile of the race at 9:10.


Right now is when I start thinking, “Where the EFF is the finish line?” Finally, we turned a corner, and there it was so I tried to kick it in. Garmin time (and what ended up being official chip time):


Pretty solid PR for a race I was not planning to PR.


Joe was at the finish to take a bunch of pictures of me and my shiny medal.


Despite the hills, I really like this race. It’s got a good energy and is well-organized. It’s the perfect size to where there is crowd support, and you’re never alone. The volunteers were super enthusiastic, dressing up in costumes and dancing and cheering for all the runners. I was very happy with how it went, but I was ready to get to breakfast.


Happy running and racing, fellow WHM runners! It’s been a pleasure being your official blogger. Keep reading for my next running adventures.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Race Re-Cap Part 2: The Night Before

Remember all my taper rules guidelines? Those kind of went out the window on Friday. It ended up being a crazy busy day at the hospital. Several codes, lots of tears, and trekking around the hospital trying to find a family meant quite a bit of time on my feet. It was a great chaplaincy day, which means it was pretty emotionally and physically exhausting. When the clock hit 5, I headed downtown to the WHM Expo to pick up my packet. Even though it had been raining that morning, it miraculously cleared up and was a beautiful day. Very promising for race day.


This year, the expo was in a much larger space making it a lot easier to navigate. There might’ve been a lot of people there, but it didn’t feel crowded. I got my number, my shirt, and my goodie bag and went to find my WHM contact to snag my official blogger goodies. Because she forgot my things in her hotel room, we went on a little shopping spree in the WHM store, and I left with a magnet, water bottle, tech shirt, cotton t-shirt, and hat. Fun stuff!


All of the volunteers were great and made the process so smooth. I wandered through the expo and purchased a sports bra for my mom and two more Bondi bands for myself. There were all sorts of vendors, and I scored even more gratis goodies, including a tiara which I plan on wearing on my birthday in a few weeks. Even though I had a long day, being at the expo helped pump me up for the race the next day. Everyone looked like they were already having a blast.


Having consulted with Joe, I had a pre-race hankering for pizza, so I called in an order and went to pick it up. By the time I got home, I was ready to collapse and in need of a glass of wine, even though it was a taper guideline no-no. I just made sure to drink a lot of water as well. I debriefed my day with Joe and then we settled into watch some season 5 of Dexter. Vigilante serial killer dramas help me sleep better.


With the help of the cat, I laid out my clothes & accessories for the next day so that I wouldn’t disturb H’s beauty sleep banging around the bedroom at 5 am on a Saturday. He appreciates that. Then I tucked myself into bed while visions of finishers’ medals danced in my head.

To be continued…

Monday, September 26, 2011

Race Re-cap Part 1: The Numbers

(Because I want to focus on a number of different aspects of the race, this is going to be a several part race re-cap.)


50: Degrees at the start


3043: Bib number


13.1 (+ some tangent junk): Miles run


25: Number of times I said I wasn’t going to race WHM because it wasn’t my goal race and the course is too hilly

1: Times I looked up what a sub-2:10 pace would be

2:07:28: Official chip time

2:11:50: Previous PR


1: Number of seconds I beat my mom by

3: times she told me to “go ahead” only to catch up with me again


1: happy and exhausted official WHM blogger