Friday, May 20, 2011

not to finish, or not to start at all?

I have a half-marathon coming up next Sunday. I will not finish the race -- I'm not trained for it, my ankle's not ready, and my goal for this race has been to reach the finish line happy and healthy, which will not happen if I attempt the full distance. aside from the fact that I signed up for this half-marathon in order to try out a training regime, and that's obviously gone out the window...I'm wondering, should I even bother to show up for the race at all?? I want to. it's a two-loop course so I could easily stop at mile 8...but I'm not sure I can even make it that far. which is heartbreaking in and of itself. :(

so. DNS, or DNF??

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

one month and one day

one month and one day after running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in my pink VFFs and thrashing my heel/foot/ankle/whatever...I ran again.


sure, it was only for a tenth of a mile. sure, I was really only running because the dog was excited and would otherwise have yanked my arm out of its socket. sure, my ankle twinged for a bit afterwards (faded after 4 blocks, never rose above the "twinge" level). and sure, I was in my flat unsupportive boots that I'd worn to work. but! I mother-effing ran, people.

maybe tomorrow I will try a real run -- of like .2 miles maybe! -- in running clothes and everything! (my next problem is quickly going to be one of finding new running shoes when I can't, yet. hrmm.)

also? I took the puppy out for a walk after work even though I just wanted to stuff food in my face and collapse on the couch. yay I got outside, yay goals!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


yesterday was a total fail, in terms of my primary monthly resolution (I actually did make some progress towards my tertiary). but! today is a new day, and while I won't go so far as to make new day's resolutions...I can resolve to be better about my monthly goals. watch me go!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

happy new month!

...just doesn't have quite the same ring as Happy New Year, does it?? ah well. it's a new month and I'm makin some resolutions!!

1. get outside. this is my main goal for the month. I like to keep my resolutions simple so I can remember them -- my new year's resolution last year was "finish what you started" and this year is "just be me." all of the below count as part of this goal:
  • take the dog for a walk
  • go for a hike! (with or without dog...)
  • hit some golf balls
  • jump on a friend's trampoline (after foot has fully healed)
  • hang out on the patio, with laptop or book if need be
  • take a different form of transportation to work -- walk or bike
see how I very carefully structured those so that I'm not relying on running to get me outside?? because I've started using my injured foot as an excuse, and despite sometimes feeling like running is everything, there are other ways to be active and get outside.

2. be an active participant. I have a bad habit of living on the periphery, and/or living vicariously, and the internet makes it so super easy to be that way. so here are the pieces of this goal:
  • blog more consistently
  • comment more consistently
  • decide whether it's time to take a break from twitter and/or Facebook
  • make plans to hang out with friends once a week...and not to watch HIMYM
3. track to-do's. I have several major projects going on right now, including a few at work, wedding planning, and health/fitness stuff including marathon training eep. in general I like to think I'm a really organized person, but I clearly haven't figured out a good system for tracking to-do's that works for me. yesterday I installed software that will make my phone talk to my computer (they're different OSes, it was hard, whiiiiiiine), so hopefully that will help. I give myself two weeks to try that, otherwise it's time to move to Things or OmniTrack.

yay goals! happy May!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

no no no no

still walking normally, for which I am super grateful. of course I went through a series of muscle aches as muscles I haven't used in a month got called back into action. and apparently flip-flops are a bad idea right now (too flat, no support), so I should be grateful for the return to cooler weather. and the excuse to wear my cute heels...?

I do really miss running though. and I am super tempted to push my recovery so I can get back out there. fortunately(?), my foot is having nothing of it. on Tuesday, I jogged across the street to catch the tail end of a green light, and regretted it for the next 20 minutes. come on, it's a friggin intersection! yesterday, I ran out of PetsMart to my car, and regretted that for a solid 2 miles -- kinda felt like I might throw up from the pain. oy. the instant I move from a walking gait to anything resembling jogging or running, my foot immediately pipes up with "no no no no no no running." grr! dumb foot!

I guess it's time to try the bike again. come on foot, work with me here!

Monday, April 25, 2011

it's the little things in life

I spent all day walking normally!!!!!!! there are not enough exclamation points in the world to express my joy. 22 days. I have been limping for 22 days.

for posterity's sake, I have to say that I was wearing heels (yes, they make me extra-freakishly-tall but omg all cute dress shoes are heels), which, with this injury, is a bit like cheating. tonight while I was cooking dinner in my stocking feet, I could feel the twinges in my ankle. but I was able to mostly walk normally even in socks. and completely unmedicated.

WOO to the freaking HOO!!!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

slow as a snail

...referring both to how quickly I can walk at this point (cry), and to how quickly my foot seems to be healing (more crying).

over the past two days, Wednesday and Thursday, my foot actually seemed to be getting worse. WHAT. it's been actively painful, versus the usual slight ache with occasional sharp pains when I step wrong. this has resulted in me calling off two workouts, eating a lot of crap, and generally being a crabby terrible no good very bad person to be around. the Handyman is pretty over it. hell, I am pretty over it!

however. after staying up ridiculously late last night trying to meet a paper deadline (which turns out not to be for another month, typo on the conference website FML), stepping really wrong on my way to bed after sitting stock-still at my desk for hours, then sleeping for like 11 hours (work from home FTW), I actually feel a wee tiny bit better today. gasp! I went down the stairs one foot per stair instead of the gimpy both-feet-on-each-stair that I've been doing for two weeks now...and I was halfway down the stairs before I noticed. I've even taken a couple of steps that felt almost-normal.

I've wondered whether I'd wake up one morning totally healed from this injury and walking perfectly normal again, or if it'd be this slow baby step progress, or if I'd have to consciously stop limping because I'm so used to it now.

please, please, please let this progress continue. and can we speed it up a little please? quick like a bunny? it is Easter weekend you know...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

no couch potato

the official diagnosis is that I sprained my foot. I don't buy it 100%, because Google says ;) that sprains are usually caused by twisting the foot unexpectedly, or running over uneven ground; while the road was slightly uneven in places at the Cherry Blossom 10M, I was watching my footing every step of the way (that's what ya get for wearing Vibrams), and don't recall a single twist or unexpectedly difficult landing. just straight forward, mile after mile. which really seems to me to be more like the recipe for a stress fracture.

I find myself comparing this "injury" to the time I somersaulted down a black diamond at Mt Hood Meadows in...hmm, 2005, maybe? I got xrays, was diagnosed as having a shin contusion with severe swelling, and told to ice, elevate, and stay the hell off it for at least a week. I was so so good about it...but also really really lonely. didn't help that the pain meds didn't touch the pain, but made me really really sleepy. I became a total couch potato. started a netflix account, watched a lot of Project Runway...and ate a lot of donuts. a lot.

one week turned into 2 turned into 4...after 2-ish weeks, the shin felt ok and I tried to go skiing again -- I was determined that this injury was not going to end my ski season -- but my leg had other thoughts. the moment I put the ski boot on, the leg said HELL NO, GTFO. so I went to the lodge and proceeded to get trashed while my friends skied the awesome corn.

since it was the back of my leg that was twinging at that point, I thought maybe I had a posterior contusion, which Google said ;) takes longer to heal. I was still limping at least 6 weeks post-fall. 6 months later I got another xray...which showed pronounced calcium deposits on my fibula. yeah. broken leg, misdiagnosed. I'm happy it healed well but I wish I'd known why it was taking so darn long to heal. so I am a little mistrustful of this diagnosis.

while I was on the couch healing my leg in '05, I dreamed of running. swore that I would train for a marathon after I healed...well here I am, 6 years later, and finally signed up for my first. and injured again. but so so happy that with this injury, this time around, I have no desire to watch endless tv or eat boxes and boxes of donuts. maybe it's the impending wedding/honeymoon that I want to look awesome for, maybe it's having actual goal races that I have already plunked down money for (see, told you I'd get over hating racing). but this time, I am at the gym trying out all the cardio options to see what works with the foot, and planning to get in a lot of lifting. BRING IT.

(but also, foot, please heal in the week that the dr said it would take...please?? swimming is so boring, I can't take it as my only cardio! if anyone has swimming drills to stave off the boredom, or instruction videos to improve my stroke, please share!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

still not running

or walking, for that matter. my ankle/heel is still really painful from the Cherry Blossom race. I'm going to get it x-rayed soon - the Handyman said last night that from the looks of the swelling (I had an unusually active day, trying to keep up with some colleagues walking to/from lunch), he thinks it's a stress fracture. I know he doesn't know bubcus but it still stressed me out to hear it. also, seriously?? I broke my foot by running on it??? lame.

I visited my mom this weekend and she made me use crutches while I was at least I got in a good upper body workout. sigh.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

race report: Cherry Blossom 10M

a race in two parts. or, the race in which the last 10% completely ruined the first 90% which is statistically unreasonable. or, why did I sign up for a half-marathon before completing this distance first?? at the end of the race, I was done with racing, and severely regretting the two I have on tap (Alexandria Half 5/29, Marine Corps Marathon 10/30). but I am getting ahead of myself.

the start was really cold. I am a big wuss about the cold. and the early. the Handyman is too -- he was wearing 4 pairs of pants :) and napped on the metro on the way there. I decided to keep my running jacket on and hand it off to him at some point along the course (good decision!). I had been planning to run with my mp3 player but the instructions seemed pretty strict about not bringing them, so I didn't...and was super pissed to see that nearly everyone in my corral had headphones on. grr!!! either enforce the rules or don't make the rule!

we thought this would be a fairly spectator-friendly race, since it loops around and back to the same 1-block area about 3 times. unfortunately the Handyman didn't get out there in time, and was totally blocked off from the runners. sadface! I don't know where he ended up, but I didn't see him until mile 5, which I knew would be my last chance to see him before the finish. I gratefully handed off my jacket, and headed on my way.

those first 5 miles were pretty great. I played the "follow that butt" game (plenty of butts to choose from! lots of people going at an excellent pace for me, just over 10m/m), watched my footing, breathed easy. was through the 5k in 32min, felt a little slow but hey we have a ways to go. I hit mile 5 at 52-ish min, and had as my dream goal to finish the 10 miles in 100 min, so told myself I needed to push it...and I hit mile 6 at 60:00. awesome. I planned to "drop the hammer" once I started the Hains Point loop.

I hate Hains Point. I do, I really do. I didn't like running it for the Jingle 10k, I didn't like cheering at it for MCM, and I really, really hated it this morning. I was super confused for most of it, and just could not remember whether or not we'd gotten to the turnaround point. for all 3 miles. not good.

at some point my right heel started hurting. this is a totally new pain to me, and I have no idea why it happened -- probably my gait was off, maybe because of some bursts of speed I put on to push through people-gaps? I think it started up quite a bit before Hains Point, but it got to be a serious problem in there, and I started limping. I tried to play follow-that-butt, play music in my head, tell myself I had less than a 5k to go, walked through 2 of the water stops, etc., and that all worked to some extent. but by the time I hit mile 9, I was near tears.

if anyone saw me past mile 9, it was not pretty. grimacing & cussing. and I felt really bad about it, I wanted to respond to the cheering, to push up that last hill, to kick it up to a sprint once I saw that finish line (why is it around a corner?? that's just mean!) and finish strong, but my heel just wouldn't let me. it said, "we have two speeds: this one, and stop. GTFO." the Handyman saw me finish and said I looked like I wasn't having much fun. I collapsed into his arms just past the finish line photographers (I think all of the photographers on the course missed me, which I hate because I do love an action shot, but I was always in the middle of the road and saw them too late to dodge to the side & get a pic snapped. I did manage to smile for finish-line posed photo, maybe it will come out ok but I will always see the tears in my eyes I think), and I wept, and told him I didn't want to walk anymore.

I'm actually still weepy. my heels hurts and I can't put weight on it. my left knee hurts too, so I've been scooting around our house on my butt. yeah.

so...I'm glad I ran it, I'm glad I tried this distance, the volunteers were super awesome especially out on Hains Point!, but I wouldn't do this race again. at this particular moment, I don't want to do any races ever again, but that will probably fade. I will admit to not being trained for this race distance, and that needs to not ever happen again (train right or take a DNS). oh and to add insult to injury, I stupidly went and looked up the "unofficial" results to see that gosh am I slow (bottom 30% overall). I did pass 708 people in the second half though (and got passed back by 393, which I would bet happened almost entirely in mile 9). bah, why do I even bother.

excuse me while I go mope. and ice my heel. *sigh*

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

self talk, randomized

so...I talk to myself. kind of a lot. mostly in my head...mostly. ;) when I'm running, this sometimes translates into a blog post. yesterday's run was full of random so I'm just gonna go bullet-point style!
  • when am I going to remember to wear a hat? [the head/cross-wind was crazy, and had my hair blowing into my face at every turn. this is what comes of being a treadmill runner -- I never really had to deal with wind before!]
  • I seem bound and determined to prove that I inherited my dad's iron stomach. I DO NOT HAVE AN IRON STOMACH! [I need to stop eating crap then immediately trying to run it off. either eat crap and don't run, or eat good foods then run. or, run hungry then eat crap. heh.]
  • wow, that is the first time ever that my knee hurt on a run. please please make it go away. [it was a weird hurt, too! lateral pain on the outside, felt like my knee was just going to give way every time I put weight on my left foot. I was hoping it was sympathy pain -- the Handyman is experiencing the exact same pains from hyperextending his knee last week. or perhaps I need all of my blogger friends to be healthy so I don't sympathy-pain off of them...I kid, I kid. I did KT Tape it last night and it seems to be all better today YAY.]
  • puppies! [one guy was throwing a stick for his dog...and was still at it when I came back 45 min later on my out-and-back. wowsers.]
  • my feet look ridiculous in two different-colored shoes. I'm glad I don't watch my feet while running, I'd get dizzy. why do the pink Vibrams look so much bigger?? [still debating over which shoes to wear for Sunday's Cherry Blossom 10M...for this run I wore one pink and one black Vibram, got hot spots + a blister on my big toes. next in the lineup is to have both feet in the pink but with Injinji or purple-stripes though??]
  • man I really do not understand how to run down steep downhills in my Vibrams. weird. should probably figure that one out before Sunday. have I not ever run a hilly race before? ah -- not in Vibrams...yikes!
  • OMG I FOUND A SECRET PASSAGEWAY! [so excited about this, because I can use it for my bike-commute. which, first time I did it, involved rolling over a dead animal, ew. but there's no shoulder on that particular road and it was either roll over roadkill roadkill. Maryland drivers are mean!]

Sunday, March 27, 2011

most ridiculous "injuries" ever

my wrists & arms are sore from waving my silly pom-poms, and my throat hurts from yelling my fool head off, while volunteering at the National Marathon yesterday.

did you see me?? I was around mile 11.5ish, where you turned off of H street and onto 13th. I had purple-and-white pom-poms and, near the end, some cowbells that an awesome cyclist brought us -- he had a backpack full of them! Several people joined me in cheering on the runners, most of whom were just passerbys and not there for any particular runner. Random and awesome! There were also two small girls who joined me late in the game, one of whom was blowing bubbles ("bubbles!!!" ala Nemo), and the other borrowed my pom-poms to do some very professional-looking cheerleading.

fun times, and 'grats to all the finishers! Now to prep for the Cherry Blossom 10M on Sunday...oy I'm so not ready. The Handyman worked his schedule so he could come cheer me on though, he's the bestest!! I'm also on the lookout for a spring half-marathon of my own, suggestions welcome!! Am thinking of the Alexandria Half, since the timing more-or-less works out...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

a fresh start

I love a fresh start. I love making New Year's Resolutions. Love the start of a new month, a new season. I think that one of the reasons I've pursued a career in academia is due in no small part to my love of a fresh new semester.

Today's fresh start is brought to you by my fiance the Handyman, who arrived in Maryland last night with our dog and two cats, having battled through hurricane-force winds, tornado watches, thunderstorms, and multiple mountain ranges in his 4-day drive from Oregon. I'm super happy to have our little family back together again after 6 months apart, and I shall commence inundating this blog with animal pictures immediately:

I know it'll take some adjustment and frustrations to get used to living all together again, but I also have this ridiculous idea that now that we're in a new place, perhaps this can be my chance to better train the animals...

Maybe I can train the kitten not to jump up onto the counters. Maybe I can finally get the puppy to understand "come" (this is the thing that keeps me from letting him off-leash when we're out & about, and worries me about dog parks...ok, that and "no, do not hump that lady, I don't care if you're bigger than she is!"...though the Handyman says the puppy has been much better about that since we got him fixed last summer). Maybe I will resist hand-feeding the puppy even when he does his "but look Mom, I'm sitting so good! see, I'll do it again!" ::raises butt up, sits again, wags tail:: (It's so cute. How can I resist that darn face??)

I'm also looking forward to getting back into the habit of going to the gym with the Handyman (and perhaps sticking to a training schedule??), getting up earlier, and of course walking the dog.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I have poison ivy. or a very bad reaction to a few spider bites. it's systemic. and I really can't think beyond the itching.

that is all.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

compare, contrast, and learn

my run today = best run ever. Probably because my last run, on Friday = worst run ever. Let's compare.

Friday's run:
  • new route, a slightly-longer 4.2mi run
  • in my Sauconys, because my calves have been giving me major grief when I run in the Vibrams
  • DDR playlist, because I think it makes me fast
  • too many layers, had the top shirt's sleeves pushed up for 3/4 of the run, and thought for a long while about just taking off the heavy shirt
  • possible headwind for the middle half
  • slow, slow, slow. I nearly cried when I saw the final averaged pace. did cry later that evening and the next day, but chalked it up to being a stressed out girl.
Today's run:
  • same route
  • in my Vibrams, because holy God my hip started acting up immediately on Friday, and dang it's debilitating when it does that; I've been uncomfortable and trying to un-tweak it ever since
  • T's playlist, with ruthless skipping around to the faster songs
  • in yoga pants + a short sleeve tech top, perfect for the cloudy-but-warm afternoon
  • fast. dropped almost a minute off of Friday's per-mile pace.
Yeah, really, I think it's just the speed that sold it for me. I spend a fair amount of time wishing I were fast, and being jealous of people who are, and wondering if I really have any right to call myself a runner when I am such a turtle. So earlier this year I drew up a training plan with speed workouts...but quickly determined that other than intervals on the treadmill, I hate speed work. To the point that those workouts nearly turned me off of running entirely. So I backed off, and am back to happily running blithely along. I will probably have to address the speed thing again at some point. But for now, I'm happy to put in some miles, and let the speed come as it may. (Of course, I say that, and then I'm all sad when I have a slow run, and ridiculously excited when I get a fast one.)

I am still not sure, though, what made the difference between Friday and today, and that's driving me a little batty. Let's see what I learned though:
  • don't run in worn out shoes. for heaven's sake, even T knew it was time to retire the Sauconys the instant I mentioned that my hip was acting up again. get new shoes (like the fancy minimalist ones at REI today??), or run solely in the Vibrams.
  • if it looks like it's going to rain, wear a hat. seriously, when are you going to learn this one? while it's true that you no longer live in the second-rainiest city in the US, dark clouds on the horizon, rain in the forecast, and a twitter feed full of rainy runs = hat. jeez.
  • trim T's playlist to just the faster songs. if you're digging a particular song, keep it on repeat. don't get mindlessly sucked into dragging your feet to a too-slow song. make a playlist for the St Paddy's 8k.
Oh yeah. I'm running an 8k in DC next weekend. I will be wearing pink Vibrams. And possibly this:

(actually since I'm trying to PR this race and am not sure I can run with a shamrock face, I might just wear this pre- and post-race)

Monday, February 14, 2011

butt status

my poor butt bones are soooooo sore from yesterday's spin. :( yet another argument in favor of getting a trainer. I mean, really. I spent a lot of time and a decent amount of money getting a bike seat that works for me. and if I hadn't just lost my camera I'd go out to the shed and take a picture of it, just to show that it looks nothing - nothing! - like the seats on a spin bike.

on second thought, it's ridiculously windy and dark outside, I'm totally not going out there for a picture. ;) fortunately I can access Amazon from the comfort of my couch, and have commenced adding trainers to my wishlist. heh.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

spinning a-c

my hip is still injured from last week's long run. :( I really really have to remember not to push mileage up that quickly. and start taking ibuprofin (doc's orders!) for what is almost-certainly bursitis in the hip. so I dragged my sorry butt to the gym and got on a spin bike for an hour. which translated to the set of songs on my mp3 player starting with the letter 'a' through the letter 'c'...turns out I have a lot of songs that start with 'ch', I nearly gave up. but then Kylie Minogue's Come Into My World came on, and that song always gets me going (plus it's a terrible cool-down song, ha) so...I made it!

and then...I had this:
monkey milkshake

yeah. I don't really have a good excuse for it. but I was starving and grumpy and sad and missing my sweetie and now I feel better. :)

during my spin I held a bunch of imaginary conversations in my head. sometimes replaying conversations that went wrong, but mostly saying things I'd never have the guts to say in real life. :) if only I had an indoor bike trainer, I could distract myself with fabulous bloggy updates or trashy tv or or or...!

speaking of: I honestly cannot decide whether or not to cancel my gym membership. I should. I've only gone once in the last month or so. but on days like today...I wouldn't have gotten a workout in otherwise. so really I should go to the gym more frequently...but I hate that gym. its parking issues, its tvs that are constantly and only tuned to sports channels, and most of all its stingy stinging showers. :( sigh.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

longest run to date

9 miles, along a pretty little trolley-to-trails route:
paved trail into the distance
sunshiney trail

in some gorgeous freaking weather that I dressed all wrong for. oh well. at least I got out there, before stuffing my face with Superbowl Sunday food om nom nom.
paved trail around the bend
idyllic. seriously, who doesn't want to run here!?!
I ran to my latest downloads of DDR songs, my other obsession of late (I'm pretty terrible at it but have made noticeable progress, plus two of my housemates are good enough to carry me). I thought I'd have to cycle through the songs (they're each pretty short, ~1.5mins), but my mp3 player froze for a decent portion of the run, boo. it's been acting up in the cold, might almost be time for a new one. I trudged (ran, jogged, wc) solidly through with the exception of photo-breaks, stopping to gingerly walk across the few supericy spots still on the trail, oh and gawking at this adorable little plane:
two-seater plane
so cute. and look, see the leftover spots of snow.

oh, can someone please explain this phenomenon to me?? I feels like it's an east-coast, maybe just Maryland, thing -- I saw the same thing around Druid Lake in Baltimore.

workout machines outside along the bike trail
exercise-playground equipment? wtf?
the final two miles, both hips were really burning - usually only the right one acts up. hopefully just a hamstring-stretching issue...?

Friday, February 04, 2011


little tip: don't cry while running. makes it really hard to breathe. :/

I actually don't usually think about much while running, really zone out. I hear about people who have the deep thoughts and I'm always tempted to try and use that time for...something useful. but the zoning out has its own uses, fortunately.

Monday, January 31, 2011

running with a camera

ducks on a partially frozen lake
duck bar

I do occasionally question my sanity. It's clearly too cold out to be running, and in fact big patches of my path were super icy. And yet...there I was.