Friday, November 27, 2009

Dead Beaver

Praise the Lord, I was able to run for the first time in over nine weeks yesterday. I was on cloud nine. It felt amazing. There is just nothing like it. And believe me I have tried it all: cycling, ellipticaling, swimming, walking. Running's just my thing. This is what I have to say about cross training (with the help of the internet):
  • It will never be running
  • You should choose workouts that are closest to running in terms of muscles used and aerobic systems taxed. Good options include elliptical trainers, cross-country ski machines, stationary bikes, and water running
  • It helps reduce injury by forcing you to run less and by balancing your weaker muscles with your stronger ones. It will also lessen the stress on your joints, which are often a sore spot for runners.
  • It helps build different muscles than running does, hopefully making you a better runner
  • You'll avoid getting bored with running. Bored with running, what? Are you high? Supposedly, running day after day will eventually burn out even the most hard-core runner. Cross-training gives runners a much-needed mental break from their sport, which is especially important for those training for long-distance events such as marathons.

For me I cross train so I can run. Bottom line. Running gives me a much needed mental break from cross training.

The only bad part about my run was I can only do 20 minutes right now. At the 20 minute mark (2.1 miles) I was just getting my groove on. I SO didn't want to stop. But this little voice inside my head was saying (don't look back you can never look back...what song is that?) "don't overdue it, you'll risk injury and then you'll be screwed," so I stopped and walked the rest of the way home. Walking sucks. I hate it.

I came home and made this Caramel Apple Pie from Cooking Light.

I love pie and this recipe was a winner. I also made Grandma Ball's homemade stuffing. It does not have any balls in it. Although one year I might add some just to see if anyone notices.

Today Ken and I ventured out for a bike ride. Ken thinks he's all cool in his snazzy new outfit.

Actually this outfit is extremely meaningful - the brother of one of Ken's friends died in a flying accident over the Everglades last year. He used to own a place called Saxy's Cafe in Aspen and was the father of three. He was only 37. Ken's friend had these jerseys and shorts made in his memory.

I am wearing the same old biking crap I've worn my whole life. My jersey has no sentimental meaning. Those shorts have more butt miles on them than my 2003 Explorer.

It was about 60 degrees, so no threat of repeating last weekend's fiasco.

We went for 20 miles, averaging 17.2 mph. My lady parts now hurt. Those areas are tender and get quite beat up on the bike. Am I the only one? I guess if I biked more things would toughen up.

Speaking of, I saw a dead baby beaver along the side of the road. Really, I did.

Drinking: Candy Cane Lane tea

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ever French Kissed Under the Mistletoe?

Here's what I'm thankful for - that I started keeping journals when I was 8 years old. Because looking back on these is the most hilarious thing of my life. I wrote this entry almost 29 years ago when I was 13 (dang, I'm old):

"My life is pretty decent. Matt M. is the man of my dreams at the moment. I've frenched him under the mistletoe and last night at the movie "Hurricane" I put my head on his shoulder when he sat by me. It was romantic. I can't help liking him. For Christmas I got some stuff called fart powder which you put in someone's drink or food and they're supposed to fart like THUNDER. I love Matt."

Not that much has changed. Except I married Ken, not Matt, and we don't french under the mistletoe. I still like fart powder.

Don't get all excited, but tomorrow is my running debut. Yes, tomorrow I will actually graduate from my walk/run sequence to running a full 20 minutes. This will be my first true run since the stress fracture 9 weeks and 4 days ago. It is cause for celebration. I can actually begin marathon training soon I hope. Christina has suggested Hal Higdon's program. Hell, if she used this to run her first marathon and did a 3:39 I'm sold.

And more cause for celebration is that there is a new book out called, "Rules for Runners: Everything a Runner Needs to Know and Then Some." It was written for me and I'll tell you why. It has such chapters as:



I'm pretty sure there also has to be a chapter about crapping your pants or some kind of toilet issue related to running. Running rules have to include something about poop/farts. I hope he talks about how to camouflage yourself as a bush along side of the road or how to clean yourself up with leaves when nature calls unexpectedly.

You can read an interview the the author, Mark Remy (Runner's World Executive Director), here.

Merry Thanksgiving to you all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yo Mama's So Dumb

Man, you guys are BQ'ing all over the place. Congrats to Mindful Living and Denise for showing us how it's done!

I, on the other hand, did not BQ this weekend. I had better things to do like watching Glee on TiVo and getting nearly frostbitten and hypothermic on a Sunday morning bike ride in the Colorado mountains.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Driving to the base of Left Hand Canyon and biking the 8 miles and 1,800 feet up to the small mountain town of Jamestown, CO. It also seemed like a good idea to go by myself, to put on only minimally warm gloves and layers and to not double check that my Garmin was charged. It seemed like a good idea to do these things when I have zero body fat and a history of poor circulation and Raynaud's Syndrome (Condition resulting in a particular series of discolorations of the fingers and/or the toes after exposure to changes in temperature -cold or hot - or emotional events).

Here is part of the road on a nice day in the summer with no snow:

I set out. It is much colder than I thought. There was no sun. Even if the sun was out, there is no sun in the canyon. There was snow on the ground. The river running alongside the road was frozen. I realized my Garmin was dead. I realized my bike computer wasn't working. I had no cell service. I felt chilly, but sure that I would warm up as I started climbing. And warm up I did. I felt phenomenal. No one else was out. The scenery was beautiful. There were wild pheasants walking around. It was still and quiet with just my breathing and the sound of my bike tires on the road.

I saw one guy riding down the canyon in the opposite direction. He had a scarf wrapped around his entire face. I was so warmed up by that time that I thought, "What's up with that guy. It's not that cold. Fool." (Cue foreshadow).

I continued up. The going was steep. I got to points where the road was covered in snow and where there were so many broken pieces of rock on the road that had fallen down the cliffs that I had to dodge around them. Finally, I see the sign for Jamestown: 6,929 ft. I've made it, now time for the payoff; the quick 8 miles downhill back to the warm car.

The minute I turned around and started to head down I started cussin'. The icy wind coming at me was bitterly and insanely cold. My toes and fingers immediately started to go numb (remember the Raynaud's?) but were also incredibly painful at the same time. Typically eight miles downhill on a bike goes by in a flash, but this felt in slow motion as my body was shaking from the cold and my extremities were in so much pain. It sucked. Once I got back to the car I cranked the heat, but when I got home my temp was 95 degrees. It took me at least 45 minutes in the hot shower to stop shaking and for my feet to return to their normal color.

I am just a dumb ass. Feel free to berate me and tell me I deserve what I got. Send me any second hand winter cycling gear you may have. Give me instructions on how to carry a flint with me and start a fire so I could thaw my hands and feet. Remind me that there are things called hand and foot warmers that you can buy for these such occasions. Feel free to call my kids and tell them theses jokes:

Yo mama’s so dumb she stole a free sample

Yo mama’s so dumb she stayed up all night studying for her blood test

You see, I am not bright enough to cycle. That is why I need to heal so I can run again.

The kids and I went to see the movie the Blindside after I thawed. I thought it was a lovely and touching story of giving and compassion. The only thing my son remembers from the movie is when Sandra Bullock yells to the guy behind her at the football game, "Hey crotch mouth!" I'm glad he got so much out of it.

Drinking: Yogi Detox Tea

What I should be doing instead of blogging: Writing a home study report for work

Friday, November 20, 2009

Up Close and Personal (video)

My first video message to you:

I have missed my calling. I think I should have my own talk show televised from the stairs of my house. It could be called "Live with Beth and Tripod."

There is something about taking charge, putting yourself in the driver's seat of your life, that makes you feel empowered. We've all been in that spot where we believe we are victims of our circumstances. We think, "Oh well, it will never get better than this. This crap I call my life is just my fate."

Wrong. But you have to be the right place for change and forward movement.

Now, let's apply this to me, because it is all about me, and my life is just that fascinating.

Eight weeks, five days, ten hours and 13 minutes ago I incurred a stress fracture in my cuboid bone. Never heard of the cuboid bone? Me neither. I don't think it's really a bone. Anyway, this has been my "story" for the past 2 months. I made it who I was. The girl who loves to run and couldn't run the race she'd been training for.

I read something yesterday that put things into perspective:

Events reveal people's characters; they don't determine them. If two people are hit by a bus and crippled for life, one will become a bitter shut-in; the other, the kind of warm, outgoing person whom everyone loves to be with. It's not about the bus. You have the chance to be the person you wish to be, until you die.

Are you a bitter shut-in?

Maybe I'll write a book called, "It's Not About the Bus."

And now I've GOT A PLAN.

Although I can't really start any "real" sort of running for a few more weeks, my goal is to do the Colorado Marathon on May 9. Working backwards from this date, I've come up with what my training will look like going forward (you can tell I am totally following the ten percent rule this time. I am going to worship this rule like my own personal Jesus, especially if it keeps me from injury). I hope to be an example of someone who started out really small (walk 2 mins, run 3 mins), and got really big (marathon).

Week one:
walk 2, run 3
walk 2, run 3
walk 1, run 4

Week two:
walk 1, run 4
run 20 mins @9 min/mile pace
run 20 mins @9 min/mile pace

Week three:
run 20 mins @9 min/mile pace
run 22 mins@9 min/mile pace
run 22 mins @9 min/mile pace

Week four:
run 22 mins @9 min/mile pace
run 25 mins @9 min/mile pace
run 25 mins @9 min/mile pace
run 25 mins @9 min/mile pace

Week five:
run 27 mins @9 min/mile pace
run 27 mins @9 min/mile pace
run 27 mins @9 min/mile pace
run 30 mins @9 min/mile pace

Week six:
run 30 mins @9 min/mile pace
run 30 mins @9 min/mile pace

From here I'll move onto a 14 week marathon training plan. Then I can work on increasing speed and getting back to where I was pre-injury. And by May 9, 2010, hopefully I'll be back to this:
Me running a race with my dress flowing in the wind. My kids cheering me on. The Rocky Mountains as my back drop. An iPod growing out of my left tit. My fists balled into sweating lumps. Photos stolen from Brightroom.

Yes, my plan looks kind of boring. Yes, it is very slow going. I am not a patient person. I don't do things gradually. But I have no choice.

What are you trying to be patient about today?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Thought I Was Done Lactating

The Rock 'n Roll San Antonio Marathon has come and gone. No, I didn't run. Don't you read anything I write? What do you have, like a blog roll of 60 blogs you like to skim?

I tried not to mope the whole time even when every person in the whole town was wearing a medal and a race shirt and doing the marathon shuffle. I did have my moments of general bitchiness and even broke down in tears when we saw the first marathoners come across the finish. I just kept thinking, "That should be me." Despite not being able to run the race, there were some pros to the trip:

Wearing this in the elevator as I came down from the pool I got lots of weird looks. It would seem I am the queen of all lactators:

Great scenery in the BBQ restaurant. Glad the crack decided to behave and stay put:

I taught my son to drink root beer the way you do in college (with your eyes closed in pure enjoyment):

I got to watch my mom experience her first porta potty (she usually just leaves a pile on the sidewalk):

Santa ended up running the race:

I got to see other Alamo (not the car rental place):

So you see, it wasn't all that bad. And in all seriousness, Ken (husband) and Julie (BFF) ran a great half marathon. Ken ran in 1:52, Julie in 1:36. They are studs. That's me in the middle. The one with no marathon bib, no medal:

The weekend was not without pitfalls.
  • I found out it is by far easier to run a marathon than to navigate your way across thousands of runners and closed roads to the finish line. We need to salute our supporters more.
  • My daughter, 8, got lost in the hotel for about 5 minutes and I had one of those mother freak out moments that no one likes to witness

  • Said daughter got sick and ended up with a urinary tract infection (thanks hot tub). We spent the morning in this lovely clinic in downtown San Antonio. I think I got a urinary tract infection myself just sitting there.

  • Some kid threw up behind me on the plane (vomiting is my very worst fear and gross out)

Other than that: perfection!!

Now it is time to look towards the future my friends!!! By January I will be training again. I'm thinking of running the Colorado Marathon in May. I just watched the movie, Ultra Marathon Man about when that Karno dude ran his 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states and then pulled some crap like running to Missouri the next day after he finished. Anyway, Karno made a good point:

"You have to keep moving forward. If you don't, you're stagnant and then you die."

I leave you with that. Don't die.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Check Out My Slit

I took my son for his 12 year old physical today. He got fondled. Did they do this when we were 12? I laugh at this questionnaire the kids have to fill out for the doctor. Questions like: what do you spend your money on? How do you get your money? How do your parents show you they are mad at you? It would be a great candid camera to have a kid answer: "I get my money from selling drugs and spend it on weapons. My parents show me they are mad at me by stealing my drug money."

Now onto running:

In my quest to bounce back from this stress fracture injury, I've been doing a lot of reading about how to be smart next time. Not that I was completely ignorant, but I constantly pushed myself to the point of crapping (sometimes under bridges, sometimes in bushes, sometimes, well I didn't make it), didn't cross train (except some yoga), ran back to back days all week long, didn't take my calcium, changed shoes just because I felt like it without making sure they were the best fit, raced and raced and raced and...well, I guess I was completely ignorant.

Here's what I have learned, fellow runners. I know most of you know this, but there is always room for a reminder:

  • Gradually increase distance, intensity and frequency. 10% rule. Don't increase any of these by more than 10% at a time. Big Fat Fail for me. I upped my speed and frequency and distance all at once. Right before I got injured I ran ten miles one day, 18 miles the next day (at marathon pace), 6 miles the next day (fast), then major major speed work (9x800). Then ouch, hey my foot hurts. No shit.

  • Be careful of excessive downhill running. I didn't do too bad on this one, but did the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon (all downhill in the Colorado mountains) then the next week ran the relay in Oregon.

  • Adequate rest between workouts. Total fail for me.

  • Fewer hard surface runs. I did okay on this one. Did lots of trails.

And just food for thought. Did you know 80% of running injuries are caused by too much of an increase in mileage?

I am going to make a confession here. Sometimes when I would read your blogs and hear of your long distances, fast times and PRs, I would feel the need to keep up. To push harder, rather than doing what was right for my body. Lesson learned. Be where you are.

Tomorrow is indeed another day. There is no telling if another injury awaits me in my future, but I'm going to work hard and diligently to avoid it. Trying to BQ after only running for the past year or so might have just been too much. I plan to be running for a very, very long time. I plan on running a marathon at the Great Wall of China. I want to run the Athens Marathon, following in the footsteps of Pheidippides and returning to the place where I went to high school. I want to do an ultra someday, running the famous Comrades 87km race in South Africa. I need to keep my body strong for all that I have in store for it. I am competing only against myself and I need to not compare, not judge, not let my ego take over.

What are your great future running plans? Where is your dream place to run a race? How will you take care of yourself to make sure you get there?

BTW, for all you inquiring minds, my cute new party dress is from Forever21. Yes, I know. I am 42. So I call it ForeverDouble21 and it's all good.

I close with a picture of me getting ready to see Wicked this weekend. What a wicked slit I have in my skirt, eh? Forever Double 21!!

PS: Check out this giveaway!

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Dress, New Attitude?

We're leaving for San Antonio on Friday. Leaving for the race I will not run. Leaving for the Boston qualifier marathon in which I will not BQ. In all honesty, I kind of wish we were not going. I thought by this point I would be at peace with not running the race and would feel inspired to cheer on Ken and Julie. While I am happy to be there with/for them, I am not at peace with not running. In fact I am at war with not running. I need to try to change my attitude.

To do so, I bought a new party dress. My stress fracture already feels better. I am so popular that I have two Christmas parties to attend. One with my husband. One with my friend who is getting divorced and didn't want to go alone. Okay, that doesn't qualify me as popular, but I'm trying.

The party dress is not too unlike my new running dress that I wore when I injured myself. I don't think it was the dresses' fault, however.

I wonder if I could run in my new party dress. Or party in my new running dress. It would look cute with thigh high boots I'm sure (better than those slippers).

Today I did my 20 minutes on the treadmill for a total of 16 minutes of walking and 4 minutes of running. I felt I should wear a sign telling everyone that it's not that I get tired after one minute but that I am injured. What an ego I have. Why do I even care? I think it is more about me telling myself that I could run further if I wanted. But instead I am making a choice to take care of myself.

Yes, yes I know. Baby steps. I bet a baby could run more than four minutes. I'm just saying.

I leave you with this video of my son jamming to AC/DC at his drum concert this weekend. Has nothing to do with running, but it makes me smile.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Now You're Just Teasing Me

I should be grateful that I went to the doctor yesterday and he told me I could run. I am seven weeks out from my stress fracture. This is what I've been waiting for, right? Yep, except that I had no clue how gradual it would be re-introducing running to my repertoire. As in:

3x per week, go out for 20 minutes, walk 4 minutes, run 1 minute, repeat

You know it and I know it. It is complete torture to a runner to be taunted with running one minute at a time. One minute!!! Are you kidding me? That's a bad joke. That's like letting Jamoosh, Vanilla and my husband watch only the first three seconds of this video. It's just an unfair tease.

It continues from there. I won't really be running until the end of December. Can't start training for any races until January. My advice to you: never get a stress fracture. It sucks. It takes forever to get on your feet again. If you have to get a stress fracture, get one in your finger or your cheekbone. That way you can still run.

Don't get me wrong. I see the big picture. I know I will be back soon. Just trying to be patient.

I made my son go with me today on my walk/run. Here I am before we left. I am smiling because I am going to run. For. One. Stinking. Minute:

I just wrote another article. This one is most appropriately on the topic of common running injuries. Not that I have that on the brain or anything.

BTW, thanks for all the feedback on whether to sell my marathon bib or not. I am chickening out. It's not worth it to me to take the chance of being forever hated and black balled by the RnR people. I'll just suck it up and hope I find $110 laying on the sidewalk in San Antonio.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nice Jugs

Just at the grocery store. The guy, Carl, bagging my groceries asks (referring to my milk and OJ) if I "want my jugs in a bag." Funny to hear Carl talking about my jugs. The little things really make my day.

It has been 45 days since my last run. But only 16 hours since my last glass of wine.

So, here's the big question. You all know I can't run San Antonio in 10 days due to my stress fracture. We are going anyway because Ken (husband) and Julie (BFF) are going to run the half. I emailed the Rock 'n' Roll people and told them about the injury and begged for a credit towards another RnR race. They politely, yet firmly, said "No." They did, however, say I could have my t-shirt from the marathon. Just what I want. Another cotton race shirt and one from a race I did not/could not run. A reminder of this whole fiasco. Basically a $110 t-shirt. If I wanted to pay that for a t-shirt I would go to Abercrombie and Fitch.

I am thinking this no credit business is really lame. I get that they have a no refund/credit policy since some people might just drop out cause they didn't train or decided not to run. Not me. I wanted to run. Was dying to run. Would practically cut off my left jug to run. Even offered a doctor's note to prove myself.

So, what do I do to get back at the RnR people? I post on craigslist that I want to sell my bib for $60. A good deal. There are quite a few other people trying to sell their bibs. I've gotten several responses. I realize, of course, that my name will be attached to and defined by whatever person - be it slow ass who runs a 6 hour marathon or speedy stud who runs a 3 hour marathon - runs in my name. I also realize I could qualify for Boston without even running if said person is a speedy stud. But, really, I could not and would not do that. WHEN I BQ, it will be on my own merits.

Back to my question that was started several paragraphs up there: have you ever sold a bib? I know it is frowned on greatly by the race folks. Ken also said I might get black listed/black balled from the RnR people if they found out and they wouldn't let me run future races. Could be, but I don't see them turning down any one's money. What would you do? Suck it up and lose the money or take your chances and sell the bib?

These are things making me happy today. I just booked our trip to Mexico for spring break (this place is awesome, by the way.) Son is back at school after only 3 days of illness. Candy cane and Gingerbread Spice teas are out in the grocery store. I might, might be able to run on Friday. Modern Family is on tonight. My jugs attracted the attention of the bagger at the grocery store.

Last year's trip to Mexico:

Happy hump day if you know what I mean.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Once a Runner

Well, child #1 is down with what seems to be H1N1. Thought we might escape, but no such luck. At least this illness was nice enough to wait until after his birthday and Halloween to hit. I hate it when my kids are sick. I worry like crazy. I know he'll get better, I know it will pass, but he's my baby (even if he is 12) and I worry. That's what us mamas do.

I went for my first road bike yesterday since the fated injury. Only did 15 miles, but it was windy with snow still on the ground and I just wasn't feeling it. I rode up towards the foothills. As I did the big turnaround to head home, this huge peleton of dudes screamed past me leaving me in the wake of their whooshing pedals and their talk about horse shit on the road. I was a lonely rider on a lonely road. I started counting the road kill and thinking that if I were a taxidermist, this would be an ideal way to gather my specimens. I kept a pretty good pace going the whole way (16-20 mph), really wanting to get and keep my rpms up.

What I found is: this bike ride made me miss running even more. In fact, I passed a runner along the lonely road and I longingly gazed in his direction - wishing it were me. My question to you is: what is it about running that does it for us? Really gives us that high? Cycling is challenging and speedy and there is no better place than Boulder County, CO to be on your bike. Yet, it is missing something for me. Maybe it's feeling my feet on the pavement, feeling grounded. Maybe it is that running seems so pure to me: no gear required, just me and my shoes (and a few articles of clothing). It is hard to put into words, but running bests everything else for me. Can you put it into words?

Today I got his book from the library. I've read so many of the running books, but not this one. Runner's World calls it, "the best book ever written about running." So, sit tight and I'll give a review here in a couple of days. If you've read it, let me know what you thought.

I also learned that there is a documentary on Dean Karnzes' book about running the 50 marathons in 50 days. It's appropriately called "Ultramarathon Man." I just ordered it from Netflix. I'm a total sucker for this kind of inspirational stuff. Here's a teaser.

Happy November. Happy it's already dark and it's only 4:45pm day.