Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vacation Woes

Vacation bites the big one. No one is having any fun here in Mexico. The beach has too much sand, there is not one stinking cloud in the sky, the drinks are too strong and the ocean breeze keeps turning the pages on my book before I am ready.


3:51 p.m. I sit here trying not to smell the stink of my armpits (after 9 hours on the beach), drinking a margarita on the rocks, my second drink of the day. I know! I should have had at least 49 drinks by now, but I think I am recovering a bit from the past two days.


Today I got up at 6 a.m. and staked out our chairs on the beach. I took a long run, this time with shoes. Yesterday I ran naked – no, not as in boobs flailing and children being scared – but naked as in no watch, no shoes. You could not wipe the grin off of my face – I am in Mexico! I am running on the beach barefoot! The world is my oyster… until my feet started to hurt and I realized I have some toughening to do:









That long, finger-like second toe took it the hardest.

Today I laced up my Brooks and felt no pain. I think in life there are few pleasures as wonderful as running on the beach, shoes or not.


We fly into Denver late tomorrow night and first thing Friday morning I will be flying out to Sidney, Montana for Sherry’s funeral. I will make I just in time since the service is at 2pm on Friday. My mom is going with me. We will stay for a couple of days so that we have some time to spend with the family out at her parent’s ranch.

I would be lying if I said I am not afraid of the grief that I will walk into. However, it means the world to be to be there, to be with my family and to honor Sherry in the way that is most important to her family. I still cannot quite fathom what has happened to her, and my greatest wish is that her family can find some peace and begin the long healing process after Friday’s service.

I will let you know how it goes.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hasta Mañana!

I am smiling from ear to ear. Yesterday's 10 mile trail run was flawless. I felt strong with no pain and I’m hoping/guessing I just needed a couple of days off. I am learning more and more about my limitations and taking care of myself.

What is not to like about Picture Rock Trail in Lyons, Colorado? 1,000 feet of climbing through peaceful mountain trails.

I didn’t balk when I had to stop three, yes three, times on the side of the trail to do some business (no picture available).

Joie, my running partner:  “What did you have for dinner last night?”

Me: “PB &J. Seriously. How potent can that really be? It’s my new colon cleanser. Peanut butter and smelly.”

My socks were loving me by the end of it all (yes, this is mud not blood or poop).


Tomorrow we leave for Mexico. It is much needed rest. We are coming off of a year of Ken being laid off and the tragic death of my cousin, Sherry. It is time to heal, drink margs (that’s what cool people call them) and just be together – the four of us.

The only tough thing about leaving is Lucky. My little energizer dog. He is sick. And, not just sick with the barfs. He has a huge mass in his lungs, pushing on his windpipe making him cough and gag. He does this a few times a day. I know he will likely be fine in my parent’s care for a few days, but I worry about the little guy.

I dread what our next few months might look like as his condition deteriorates. I know I will have to make the decision when the time comes to not let him suffer anymore. I hate that for him. I hate that for me. And, I hate that for my kids. He has been with us for nine years, our little one eyed tripod.


But, as the vet pointed out – our pets look to their owners to take care of them and to make them comfortable. Dogs are not afraid to die. When they can no longer do the things they love to do like eat, run, hump and (in Lucky’s case) BREATHE, the time has come.

It is a larger lesson about the cycle of life and loving who we have with us, when we have them with us. This, of course, applies to pets as well as to humans. So, I love him up as much as I can. I appreciate every second. I try not to miss him too much before he is already gone. And, my heart hurts. Loving a dog is simple, uncomplicated and true.

Have you lost a pet in the recent past?

Did you have to make the decision to end their life?

Hasta mañana, my friends. Pretty sure I will not be blogging from Mexico, so see you next week.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Over and Out

It’s a beautiful day here in the ugly west (this what our license plates say – Colorado: The Sh*thole State). The hills are calling me.  Injury gods be damned. Call me crazy, but I am over and out for a ten mile trail run.


I have taken the last two days completely off from anything and everything, which is no easy feat. Today I have no pain whatsoever. I had an excellent ART session with Matt on Wednesday. Even though he made hamburger out of my left hamstring (want cheese and pickles with that?), I do think it helped. Seems that my lower ham hock is so tight and ropey that the pain is radiating up to my ass and points beyond.

Today I will not be my usual overachieving and Type A self. I will calm down, take in the beauty of the trails and relax. I will keep my heart rate subtle and mellow. I will stop if I have pain. These are the promises I make to you and to myself. If they are broken, you will never know because I will not tell you. I never said this was a full disclosure blog.

Here is a dumb picture as I am getting ready to leave. I am showing you my “pole” skills. Yes in fact I do run in these slippers. I never heard that slippers led to injuries:


Here’s what I know: You all gave me some amazing insight and advice about my aches and pains. I read each and every comment and so did Matt. We talked about a lot of them. I think that wise people tend to acquire knowledge from many different sources, then filter out what works for them and what is true for them. I am trying to be wise. What works for Jenna Talia and Max C. Pads might not work for me. We are all so very different.

I am figuring this out. I am continuing to knock on doors. I will not give up on myself or on running. Some people might have injuries and think, “Oh, guess my body doesn’t want to do that, think I’ll start bowling.” Not me. This is what I love and I will find a way to do it, a way that my body agrees with.

May the running gods be with me today. And also with you.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sherry’s Body is Found

I feel I should write something about the developments in North Dakota today.

The FBI and local authorities believe they have found the remains of Sherry’s body outside of Williston, North Dakota. You may remember that this was where one of the men was arrested. The other had fled to South Dakota where he was picked up. The body has been sent to the state medical examiner in Missoula for formal identification.

A body brings much needed closure. In the physical sense, she comes home. I do not know how the family is reacting, I have not talked to them.

Yes, we knew she was dead. Yet, having a body somehow makes this so definite and real.

It all comes up to the surface: anger, bitterness, sadness, a sense of longing.

We don’t know the “whys” of why bad, horrible, ugly and unfair things happen. They just do. People have free will and do horrendous things. People have free will and do amazingly kind and compassionate things.

I go back to the dream I had the morning of the Virtual Run. Dreams can tell us so much if we choose to observe and listen. They are the key to our deepest selves. They are the stuff that gets unlocked in mysterious sleep. My dreams are never very clear, and I hardly ever remember a thing about them. Yet, on that morning, Sherry sat by me on a couch and whispered to me “Goodnight.” In the dream I knew she was dead yet knew she was with me. I knew she was saying “Goodbye and let go.” I woke up crying, yet peaceful. 


I have not seen Sherry in three years. Yet, she and I had a bond because we were alike in so many ways.  When I met her when I was ten, our connection was immediate. As much as I like people and have many friends, it’s rare to find someone  you instantaneously bond with. Her story could have easily been my story. Her story could easily have been all of our stories.

Something very eerie happened almost exactly a year before she went missing. I even blogged about it at the time. She sent me an email telling me about a run she had gone on after school. She had been sideswiped by a car and had lost her shoe. She was thrown to her knees. The driver sped off. After the police came, she found her shoe and ran the three miles home.  She wrote, “We runners can be kind of touched in the head. I am telling you this because I know you would have finished out the run too. You are just as hard core as I am.” She told me to “be careful out there because you never know what is coming.”

It is a haunting story in many ways.

This is who she was. Tough in spirit, kind in her heart and full of laughter (about farts nonetheless – you can see why she stole my heart).

Sherry Arnold 062505

Thank you for being with me in so many ways – your thoughts, your comments, your emails, your prayers, your generous donations, your willingness to come out and run in her memory. I know I am a broken record, but this community of ours has symbolized the power and unifying nature of goodness.  I love people.

That is all. She is gone, yet still with us in many ways. She is remembered. She is at peace.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

“Injury” Should Be a Four Letter Word

Yes it’s true. I’m in a crappy mood because body parts are hurting again. Just when I thought I was out of the woods, the same old pain is back. I am ready to just get my left hamstring and hip removed. Maybe my ass as well. Hamstringectomy, hipectomy and assectomy are the proper medical terms, I believe.

Makes me want to kick someone in the crotch.

It was all going so well. I have been running a steady 20-25 miles per week, mostly on trails, in preparation for the start of marathon training. I have not significantly increased my speed, frequency or duration. I am following the rules. This should not happen.

The pain is mostly in the “thutt” area (crease between the ass and the high hamstring – you could also call it a hamass). The pain radiates along the crease and into the groin area. Yes, I said groin. Please don’t be turned on. GROIN!!


This is me pointing to the pain area, not scratching my butt.

After going to every professional I can think of, I am back to square one. The treatments like ART and dry needling are very effective, but they are band-aids. Answers are what I want, but answers are what I do not have. Is it my biomechanics? How my foot strikes? An imbalance from when I hurt my hip? No one seems to be able to tell me.

Perhaps this is a minor and expected setback. Maybe a few days off with some icing, drinking, knitting, crying and stretching will cure what ails me. Of course with my history, I am super sensitive to injuries that sideline me for weeks and months.  In the back of my head I cannot face that it could be something more serious like yet another stress fracture. NO NO NO.

I am not going there. But, what I will say is that it is absolutely annoying, heartbreaking and mind-numbing when your body is not working with you. By the way, I do know there are starving children in Africa, so you don’t have to remind me of how insignificant my problem really is. 

Somehow I think it is my fault, yet I cannot for the life of me figure out what I’ve done wrong. You name it, I’ve done it:

Cross training
Strength building
Ample sleeping
Well balanced and nutritious eating
Mental strengthening
Gait analysis
Running on soft surfaces
Visits to PT, chiropractor, massage therapist
Time off
Bone Density testing (clear)

Maybe I’m trying too hard. You think? That list is ridiculous. You’d think I was training for the Olympics or something.  But, we all know we want to do what we love to do. I love to run. I love everything about it. It is not all of who I am, but it plays a huge part.

I have an ART session tomorrow with this guy, Miracle Matt. I am going to attempt a mellow trail run on Friday. We leave to go here on Sunday (Playa del Carmen, Mexico):

I will be too busy ingesting margaritas and perfecting my Spanish (más cervezas, por favor) to hurt myself worse.

In the meantime, I am finding things to laugh at like this picture a reader, Claire, sent me. She saw this hanging at shop in Galveston, Texas last week. No clue why she thought of me:


Clearly, them Texans like big panties. I’m sure the future holds even bigger skid marks. If I can’t run anymore I will change this blog to “Shut Up + Fart” or SUAF. I think it has a ring to it.

If you know how to cure me, tell me.

If you have something funny to make me laugh, tell me.

If you want to commiserate (because misery loves, adores, craves company), tell me.

SUAR (some days, SUAF).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Running: As Contagious as the Stomach Flu

Ever notice that running can be as contagious as the stomach flu? Once one person is projectile vomiting, everyone has to take part.

{I had a fun image to load here, but will skip it. Vomiting makes me sick}

I’ll go on a “toss-your-cookie” tangent for a moment: I remember one December many years ago – Sam was just a toddler. We had several couples over for a paella dinner, which I was cooking with my bare, ungloved and apparently germy hands. The day prior, Sam had had a stomach bug, but as we all know, toddlers move through puke fests as quickly as Lucky loses body parts.


Missing one leg, one eye, two balls. What’s next?

Anyway, about an hour after everyone left, Ken got really sick. Suffice it to say he will NEVER again eat paella or anything that remotely resembles this food.

Goodbye, my friend. We can’t hang out anymore.

I called all of the unfortunate souls who had been at the party to warn them. Everyone cheerfully assured me they were fine, no rumblings of anything. Paella had stayed the course and not made re-entry. Sweet! But, the next morning, about 36 hours post-paella consumption, every single person who was there called me to say they were violently ill. Both ENDS! I was the only person who did not get sick. No, it was not food poisoning. My food would never do that.

It seems these days that running is the equivalent of a paella fueled stomach bug. Think about it - How did you decide to run your first half or full marathon? Was it because someone you knew or could relate to had done it?

For me, I never even entertained the thought that I could run distance. It was just one of those huge and impressive things that other people did.  I wasn’t worthy and I certainly did not have what it took athletic-wise.

In July of 2008, I sat across from my friend, Clair, sipping chilled white wine on a roof-top patio overlooking Boulder, Colorado. Clair, a dear and long time friend, had just arrived from Virginia and told me she was training for her first half marathon. She looked fitter and happier than I had ever seen her. I could not wrap my head around the fact she was going to run 13.1 miles. What a stud! Good for her, I thought. I could never do that.


Clair and me at the Boulder 70.3 last year

Yet, something must have settled into my subconscious. One month later when I got a  postcard in the mail from Team in Training (TIT, as I call it) inviting me to train for my first marathon, I actually entertained the idea. Why? Because I knew if Clair could train and run far, I probably could too. And, I was right.


Rock ‘n Roll Phoenix - 2009

Running long distances takes heart, commitment, time, balls and discipline. Yet, running long distances is not reserved for only the fittest and the fastest. Barring special medical conditions, it can be for all of us if we want it.

The bottom line is, when we see someone who we consider to be “like us” - be it a friend, spouse, sister, aunt,  etc. – and that person has the guts to do something and they are successful, we suddenly realize we’ve got those guts too. Because, if they can do it, we can surely do it. The question becomes, “Why not me?”

I’m not saying all people get inspired to do great things by other people, but I do think that we get inspired by seeing “average” Joes and Jolynn’s taking risks and reaching great heights. It makes us know we can too. I could sing “Wind Beneath My Wings” right now, but I won’t.

Who gave you the bug?


Friday, March 16, 2012

Running On Clouds?

I was sent some shoes a few weeks ago from On Running. Huh? Never heard of them.

They were created by a Swiss engineer to help the runner to land softly and to push off as if running in track shoes. The shoe incorporates a unique rubber ring to help the runner do just that. I mean the Swatch Watch was such a hit and Switzerland is gorgeous (saw that on the Bachelor), so these shoes have to be winners, right?

The creators of the shoe say that more than 2/3 of runners eventually suffer some kind of minor or major injury (Hello! Glad to know I am slumming it with the majority!). Although existing running shoes are designed to absorb the vertical impact, the foot is exposed to both horizontal and vertical impact when running (who knew?). Supposedly, it is the horizontal impact that causes the most damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints, and that's what the On design addresses.

This model I got is the Cloud Surfer:

A recent prototype of the On Running Shoe - the final design will be unveiled in February,...

Freaky looking, huh? I think George Jetson had a pair of these.

Here are the specs:

  • Heel-toe drop: 6 mm
  • Weight: They weigh in at a hefty 390 grams or 13 ounces!!
  • Designed for neutral runners and light to moderate over-pronators

I have to be honest. I was skeptical about these shoes. The sole freaked me out. They seemed like they were trying too hard to scream, “Look at me! I am different! I am cool looking! Buy me!” I am injury prone, so I am very careful about my shoe choices. However,  I was drawn to the positive reviews, the low heel to toe drop, and the promise that running in them would be like running on the clouds where you could see rainbows and Ryan Gosling’s abs.

Yesterday I laced up and went out to run in these babies. It was my fourth run in these shoes. I’ve taken them on trails, on the treadmill, on pavement and on concrete for a total of about 25 miles.

On a side note, the picture below is proof that it is a VERY good thing that running skirts have boy shorts underneath. Otherwise this picture might be unsightly.


No, I am not naked in this picture below:


Don’t mind my sock line:


So what, you ask, is the verdict on the shoes? I like them because I like how they look and that is enough for me. Just kidding. But, that is something I would have said four years ago. See how much I have matured?


These took some getting used to. They are springy, and when you run, you can feel the fact that the sole is not solid – they almost feel squishy.  I wasn’t sure what to make of this in the beginning. But, by the second run, I was getting into my groove with these shoes. I started to like that they added some energy to my stride. I notice that with these shoes, probably more than any others I wear, I land softly, almost silently. Run with me and you’ll see (or hear!).

The inside of the shoe provides ample cushioning that is actually quite comfortable on the foot. The thing I noticed most about the shoes is that because the sole is so flexible, it gives way to however you land, if that make sense. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that wearing them is like running on clouds, but the landing is soft, almost bouncy.

After my run yesterday I told Ken that these shoes have now become some of my favorites in terms of comfort and the fact that the landing is so soft. My body feels really good after I run in these.

Sizing: I used the size chart on the website to find my size. Sizing is metric, so I needed to really put on my big girl pants to figure that one out. I did size up just a bit because this is what I do with all of my running shoes. I wear a US 9 running shoe and ordered a EUR 40. They fit perfectly.

Cost: $129.

Pros: Comfy, cushiony, give the illusion that you are peppy, very soft/silent landing. Also a nice transition to a lower heel to toe drop shoe if that is what you are looking for.

Cons: Price (yikes), durability (a sole like this does not seem like it will hold up for long given the fact that it is not solid), weight. Some “heavier” runners have said these shoes do not provide enough cushioning for them.

If interested, these shoes, mostly sold in Europe and Asia, can be purchased on Amazon, On Running or  Clever Training. Happy bouncing, just in time for Easter.

What shoes do you run in? Why did you choose these shoes? I’m currently in the Brooks Adrenaline (road) and the Brooks Cascadia (trail). I do some runs in shoes with lower heels like the Cloud Surfer and the Saucony Pro Grid. I would like to try the Brooks Pure line. Any feedback on those?

Do you rotate shoes? Yes, I naturally do because I run so much on trails.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

8th Grade Rocks!

My fitness presentation to the 8th graders today went well, or at least I thought it did. You’d have to ask them if you really want a true opinion. I personally had a blast. I love this age group. In fact, 8th grade was one of my favorite years, so maybe I am just trying to revisit my youth.

Truthfully, when I do stuff like this (which I hardly ever do, so I don’t know what I’m talking about), it really makes me think I want to be a teacher. I love the school and classroom environment. I love the kids. LOVE.

The only hard part about today was that I had to do four 30 minute presentations on the same thing, one after another. I was so sick of myself at the end and I’m sure the “real” teachers were even more sick of me. I wore a tech shirt with jeans and Danskos (not pictured), which I’m sure is a complete fitness fashion faux pas. But, I was trying to look half-fit, half-mom.


Hey look! A picture NOT taken on the stairs!

My goal for this presentation was to tell my own story and to encourage kids to be active, starting now. After I introduced myself, I showed this little video I made:

At the end of the video there was this exchange. Every.single. time.

Me: So, what is the point of the video? What is the message here?
Student: Uhh…to shut up and run?

Kids these days. Brilliant.

I let them know that it’s a habit to start early on. It doesn’t have to be running, bit can be Zumba or kickboxing or playing kick the can. Just move. Because it will level out your stress, it will provide you with health benefits. Trust me, you want to have this habit in place as you get older, fatter, etc. Some kids looked slightly glazed over, but I know I changed their lives. They just didn’t show it.

I only got in trouble a couple of times when I said something about drinking beer and eating nachos in college. Oh, and maybe that little part at the end of the video about the woman “not liking guys,” but Sam made me put that in there and I do everything he tells me.

I have no clue if they heard one thing I said beyond the fact that the fastest mile is 3:43 and that some ultra runners get their toenails removed. I also showed a picture of my Morton’s toe and that might have scarred them for life. But, I felt good about myself and I got the best feedback from Sam:

Mom, lots of kids loved it. They said you were awesome.

Plus, I get a Starbucks gift card for being there. I would eat my boogers for a Starbucks gift card. I am cheap that way.

If you are a teacher, tell me the truth: how do you like your job?

What was your favorite grade in school? Why?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Push Ups–Not the Bra Kind

You might have heard the rumor. No, not the one where if you Google “farting runner” a picture of my family comes up, although that might be true (It is true. Go try it. We are picture #4).

The rumor I’m talking about is that I did 235 push ups in boot camp class today. The whole world is talking about it. Right after they discuss the 6.8 magnitude earth quake in Japan, they are murmuring something about some girl….in Colorado….did you hear?……235 push ups.

I know, in the scheme of things, it’s really not that great. Big shit, you are probably thinking. But, I have never been one to deliberately do a lot of upper body strength building, so I was damn proud of myself. Plus, I love it when I notice new bulges on my body. Not in the from of tumors or fat pockets, but in the form of muscles!!


I know, not the biggest mass of muscle you’ve ever seen, but I am forty freaking five years old, so cut me some slack. You should see my ear drum muscle.

On a side note, one thing you NEVER EVER want to do is what I did last week. I had Ken take pictures of the backs of my legs so I could show you the bruises my PT left. In doing so, he got part of the bottom of my ass (Not accidently. If you ever ask your boyfriend or husband to take a picture of your body they are going to throw in some body part you never want photographed). I know I do not have the most perky ass around, but it was a mess of sag and old age. It depressed me for days. So, don’t ever do such a thing. Ever.

Tangent: Speaking of bulges (were we speaking of those?) Did you see Dolvett on The Biggest Loser last night? I love it when he brings out his sensitive side.

Another great thing about today is that this week kicks off my training plan for the Turkey Track Trail Marathon in June. It’s a 13 week plan because 13 is a lucky number. If you don’t believe me, just ask Taylor Swift. She writes that number on her hand before each concert and now she is famous and a bazillionaire. 13 clearly worked for her.

Anyway, I love having a plan. Do you? It makes me feel right again. This is going to be an interesting journey because it will take me to some new territory:

  • Most training will be on trails. I am SO excited for this part. My body seems to hold up better on the trails. Because it is really tough for me to not go all out when I run on the road, trails tend to reign me in and make me slow down. Plus, I have a love affair with the mountain and I have a love affair with running. Combine those two things and you make a really ugly baby. But, a really fun hobby.
  • I will be training for this race while simultaneously training for two triathlons: one sprint and one Olympic distance. These three races all happen in June. This means that I’m choosing to only run three days per week. Plus, the most successful marathon training cycle I’ve had (when I got my BQ) was when I ran three days per week. So, when all is said and done, it came out looking like this: (I just learned that running improves your eyesight - just 2.5 miles per day can cut your chances of cataracts! - which is a good thing if you are trying to read this).


This is only the marathon training part. Mileage is low, but I will be doing a ton of cross training. I have not added in the days I will swim and bike. I want to keep going to boot camp and yoga at least once per week, so it will be a tight squeeze. But, doable.

If this trail race goes well, I will be having visions of ultras in my future. Yes, I said it. Yes, I did. I said the “U” word and I don’t even mean Uranus.

Wish me luck - I’m off to take Emma to Justice for Girls where I will be over stimulated by loud boppy music, sequins and overly peppy cashiers. But, it’s 40% off everything, so maybe I can get that poncho with the glow in the dark peace sign that I’ve been eyeing.

Also, wish me luck because tomorrow I present a health unit on running/fitness to 200 eight graders. I am hoping to keep their interest so I’m throwing in a bit about farts and why sweat smells. We’ll see how it goes.

Are you a big fan of having a PLAN for your races?

Ever consider doing an ultra marathon or have you done one?


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fart in Yoga

A friend emailed me to say, “If you Google ‘fart in yoga’” look what comes up!

Yes, me. This was a post I did about someone ELSE who farted in yoga. Not me. But I am laughing my ass off that my picture comes up under that Google image search. What a legacy I have! I am also laughing my ass off that my friend was Googling “fart in yoga.” I have the BEST, most like minded and mature friends in entire universe. That is all I can say.


He Who Do Foreplay…

We’ve all heard the expression, “It’s the journey, not the destination that counts.” I think it was Emerson and maybe Aerosmith who first said it.

I’m here to take issue with that piece of wisdom. I’m here to stick up for the red-haired, ugly step-sister called “Destination” because she does count. In fact, she counts just as much as that hussy, “Journey.”

Let me explain. My 10 year old daughter spent the past six months preparing for a piano competition that was to occur last Saturday. Six months is like six years in 10 year old time. On Friday she came home from school sick. By Saturday she had a raging fever of 103.5. There was no way in hell she could perform – she could barely stand up. She has not had a sick day all year, and it killed me that it just happened to fall on the day of this event. All of her hard work, down the toilet.

As she lay on the couch in the throes of chills so bad they made her teeth chatter, she told me, “All of that practicing, all of that time, it was just wasted.” Hearing this made me cringe. On some level I knew it wasn’t wasted time, but on another level, I knew what it meant to have something by which to measure hard work. I understood the need to take all of that time, effort and energy and to apply it to an end result.

You see Emma is not one of these kids who is involved in every activity from finger painting to monkey bar competitions. At this point in her life, the only stuff she does out side of school is play the piano. Piano is to her what running is to me. It fills her up. It gives her something to work for. It is a way for her to measure her growth. It makes her a better person. She had put everything into this day.


I had to come up with a response to her and I had to do it quick. Because moms just want to make things better and because I like to relate all things back to me, I told her my own sob story.

“Emma, do you remember over a year ago when I spent all that time training for the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon? No? Well,  exactly 8 days before the race, I got hurt. Not the kind of hurt where you sit on an ice pack and take a couple of days off, but the kind of hurt where you are out of the game for weeks, where you are on crutches. I had to drop out of the race. It killed me.”

“I remember at first thinking that all of my training was a waste.  All of those miles, for what? But, then I realized that even though I couldn’t race, my efforts had still made me tougher. I had still spent time doing something I loved and getting stronger and better at it. You see, it’s not always about the end result. It’s about what you learn along the way. You are disappointed and that is okay. But, you realize there will be other races, other piano events. You make peace with it.”

I looked over at her – was she buying it?  She looked slightly relieved. Phew.

I knew this story somehow made her feel better, which was my goal. But, in my mind I felt kind of like a liar. Why? Because I actually do believe that it is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Yes, the journey is invaluable – it is infinitely important. Without the journey, we learn nothing, we don’t grow. But, without the ability to apply all of our efforts to that one end climax, we never get to measure what the journey has done for us. We never get to put the exclamation mark on the end of the sentence and say, “Hey I did that!”

I mean, really, would you go through all that foreplay if you didn’t think you were going to have the orgasm? That is the age-old question that the ancients ask themselves everyday. I think there is a Lao Tzu quote about it. “He who do foreplay, have orgasm!”

Let’s get real. In all of this talk about the damn journey and what we learn from it, let’s not pretend that the destination does not matter too. Because it does and it should. It matters that your hard work is recognized. It matters that you train for four months and get to cross the finish line. It matters that you throw up and eat pickles with peanut butter and nine months later have a baby. Can’t we learn along the way, but still have the destination be available to us? Why does it have to be one or the other?

It’s not like I’m going to go out and get a bumper sticker that says, “F*ck the journey, it’s all about the destination,” (I’d get beat up in Boulder if I did that), but I think you know what I mean. Having the accomplishment as a notch on your belt counts too, so give Destination the credit she deserves.

Update: Emma’s piano teacher just called – so many kids were sick they are going to allow them to play their pieces and do their sight reading and theory tests for the judge on Friday. So she gets a rain date after all!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why You Should Never Go Shopping with Me

Fart story #265 coming your way. #264 can be found HERE.

If you don’t like the flatulence subject matter, I’m sure you could find solace in a non-farting blog.  There are plenty out there. Or, just go listen to the Pussycat Doll song, “I Hate My Farts.” Seriously, the lyrics to that song are hysterical!

The Story:

Yesterday I went to the bottle store. The “bottle store” is what our family calls the liquor/alcohol/beer/wine store. When the kids were babies we started calling it  that. I think it was because we went there so often, we didn’t want our kids to think we were drunks. We would rather have them think we just really liked bottles. Huh? I know. Weird. But, don't pretend you don’t have these little odd things you do in your families too.

So, I’m in the bottle store stocking up on wine. I have such expensive taste that when the big bottle of Lindeman’s Bin Chardonnay goes on sale for $6.99, I have some serious stocking up to do. I whipped out my credit card to pay for the wine, but kept it in my cart for the cashier to scan (important detail). This is the cashier who always calls me “cutie,” and when I tell her (yes, her) to have a nice day, she always says “You betcha!” She is the best downhome cashier in the land.

I paid for my bottles and she asked if I wanted a box for all of them. Hell, yes. A box will make loading them into my car all the easier. Plus, who needs a million bottles rattling and clinking around in your car during the drive home? That is pet peeve #265.

Right as I told You Betcha Lady, “Yes, in fact, I would like a box,” I did an SBD (Silent But Deadly fart). It was so small. I can’t even explain to you how non-existent I thought it was. I mean, had I known it might have consequences, I would have just held it in. No harm, no foul. Plus, not like anyone was behind me. Yet (foreshadow).

You Betcha Lady went to grab a box. Then she came up behind me to put all the bottles that were in my cart in the box. DAMMIT! When I let the SBD slide, I had not anticipated that she would be coming out from behind the counter with the box and getting in my stink zone. I immediately reassured myself by thinking, “Oh, it’s not that bad.” That’s the weirdest thing about farts. The farter never thinks it’s as bad as the rest of the world.

You Betcha Lady put the box in my cart and yelled, “MAN, THESE BOXES STINK!”  I leaned in to smell the box, not feeling bad about blaming a box for what I had done. “Yes!”, I replied. “They do stink. Where have they been? By the dumpster??” She kind of shrugged. I said, “Oh, well! Have a nice day.” To which she replied (right on cue) “You betcha!” No stinky box gonna ruin her day.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Let Me Moon You

I had the most peaceful and amazing six mile run this morning.  I think part of what made it so incredible was that I woke up to this:


Nothing like watching the moon set!


This view at 6:00 a.m. set the tone for my day. Even the dog’s mess of runny turd all over the carpet did not phase me. WTF? Even the tough discussion I had with my daughter did not send me off balance. Huh? What is happening to me? It is not like me to be so damn reasonable and centered.

Back to the run. I tried not to focus on how ugly it was:

Even when yet another dog, not on a leash, charged at me, I didn’t lose my mind and crumble into a puddle of profanities. Okay, I might have dropped a couple f-bombs under my breath and wanted to punch someone in the balls, but I got over it.

The good news is that my body is no longer hurting. Yes, it gets tight at times, but that is different from that frustrating feeling when you know you are injured or semi-injured and you just can’t kick it. I am not sure what is doing the trick, but my gut tells me it is a combination of things:

  • Very small lift in my shoe to correct a leg length discrepancy.
  • Paying attention to form – two things specifically – quick turnover (180 steps per minute means less impact) and having that slight forward tilt so that my feet land under my center of gravity.
  • Strength work, especially for my core and lower body (ASS). Building up to having thunder thighs.
  • Consistently stretching and icing.
  • Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair at my computer – this has greatly helped my lower back and almost completely eliminated some sciatic pain.
  • Moving towards less of a heel drop shoe (very gradually).
  • Spending a lot of time on the trails vs. the road (the surface is more forgiving, but the biggest advantage for me is that the terrain is so varied, I don't step the same way every time. This gives my body a huge break).
  • When I do run on the road, not always running on the left. For the past two years I have stayed left and over time I think the camber of the road has messed me up a bit.
  • Recovery time to rest and refuel (protein within 30 minutes of a work out, hydrating well, sleeping enough at night).P1080058

My hip stress fracture occurred about 1 ½ years ago, but just because the fracture was healed did not mean I was healed. The entire left side of my body was jacked up. I needed to re-strengthen, to realign.

My confidence was also jacked up following the injury. These days I have become diligent about making sure I do inspirational reading every day. The reading is not necessarily about running, but about how to control my mind and my thoughts when they don’t serve me well. Every day I leave the house with an intention about how I want to approach the day. Today it was/is to focus on the positive, the gifts and to not give so much attention to the areas I think are lacking. 

I had this epiphany recently that it is possible to practice our minds just like we would practice to perform at a piano recital. We are consistent. We are patient. We do not enjoy every minute of it, but we press on because the outcome is worth it. There will be a day when we won't have to concentrate so hard on hitting certain notes. It will become habit.

Some thoughts this week that have served me well:

  • Trust. Stuff unfolds how it is meant to. Don’t force.
  • Experiment with not being so rigid about things. Let stuff go. Let them be imperfect. Sometimes it turns out a lot better that way.
  • Watch your inner critic. It is harsh. It lies to you. It’s mean sometimes. Don’t take that shit.
  • Follow your gut. You know what’s best for you. No one else can speak or dictate it for you.

In case none of this sounds like me, well I can be deep sometimes. But I’ll throw this in for good measure:



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Body Parts

Body parts really do change when we exercise. Since I started boot camp which involves 1,005 lunges and squats each class, I have noticed my thighs are growing. I also thinking all the trail running and climbing I’m doing is contributing to my jeans feeling tight on my thighs. I don’t yet look like this:

My wish is that that damn right arm of his was amputated so we could get the full effect of what it means to be one big muscle.

Phew. Sweating.

Anyway, when we start to get stronger, we don’t necessarily start to get smaller. We grow in muscle tone and volume. We need to be okay with this. I know many people who train for marathons end up gaining weight and are surprised. Not only has the number on the scale increased, but clothes start to fit differently.

I am taking my growing thighs as a sign of strength and fortitude. These are the legs that will carry me up and over mountains. They have to be strong to do that. These are the legs that will support my core and my ass and keep me healthy, hopefully injury free. These are the legs that will scream “I am STRONG,” as opposed to whispering, “I am kind of in shape.

This son of mine is also finding his own pubescent muscles starting to grow. And, no, I am not sure if he is trying out to be a cheerleader, but I do know that this pic somehow ended up on Facebook so it is fair game:


Speaking of growing, lately I have had the pleasure of watching a dear friend transform physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually as she trains for her first half marathon. I got this text from her this weekend after she ran 11 miles for the first time in her life (only 1 ½ years ago, she could barely run a block):


Those words perfectly sum up EXACTLY why I love running.

She is nice and gives me the credit, but the credit is all hers. Sure, maybe I believed in her before she believed in herself, but somewhere along the way she got behind herself. I know that running has transformed many of us, and all for the better.

So, if you are sitting around wondering if you can or should do it, knock it off. You can and you should. Now, go embrace those body parts that make you able to keep doing what you’re doing.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On Being Perfect...Or Not

If I can take the time to slow the eff down, I learn a lot from my children. Here was yesterday’s conversation with 10 year old Emma when I picked her up from school (don’t the best conversations happen in the car??):

Emma: Gertrude* wasn’t at school today. It was nice.
Me: Why was it nice? I thought you guys were friends.
Emma: We are friends. It was nice because she wasn’t there to…to…be so perfect.

I laughed out loud (LOL, but not LMFAO) because I could relate. I have been known to breathe a sigh of relief when the “perfect” person doesn’t show up too.

I know this girl, Gertrude. Emma perceives this kid as having it all: smarts, beauty, the “right” clothes. She is the girl all the boys like. She makes life seem effortless and easy. I can tell she unintentionally makes Emma feel inferior.

Me: (trying to be a supportive mom who says the “perfect” thing): Well, there are many pretty “perfect” things about you too.
Emma: But, I don’t want to be perfect. It’s boring. It’s not real.

BINGO!! She is my teacher disguised in a butterfly shirt, cropped pants and knock off Ugg boots. How the hell did she get to be so smart? How did she learn this at the age of 10? I’d like to say she learned it from me, but I doubt it.

As if the goal should ever be to be perfect. What an illusionary crock of shit. What looks like “perfect” to you or me is never what meets the eye. There is no “perfect” out there.

This is what gets so many of us in trouble: we compare ourselves with others. We under value ourselves. Just yesterday I had a  personal situation in my life that for some reason shook me to the core. It played on every insecurity I had. In fact, it punched me in the gut and blatantly reminded me that seeking external approval and praise will never ever fulfill me. I have to get behind myself. It sounds simple and very, very corny but I need to love who I am – imperfections and all. I swear that only by grasping and living this concept will I ever be free to be my best self. Told you it was corny.

Here are my top 6 reasons that being perfect sucks (I could do 5 or 10 reasons but that would be too “perfect”):

  1. It makes you inaccessible to people. They cannot relate to you when you do and say everything right. People connect more with people who they see as having vulnerabilities.
  2. It is boring. If you are perfect, what are you striving for?
  3. It is isolating. See point point #1.
  4. You’ll never have any good stories to tell on your blog because you never crap yourself, have a wardrobe malfunction or fart during a final exam.
  5. People just don’t like you that much. It’s annoying.
  6. It is too hard to keep up. If you are that pretty, athletic, popular, smart, etc. you have an image to uphold. It takes a lot of work and is damn stressful. I don’t know this for sure because I’ve never been perfect, but it’s my guess.

The ironic thing is that in all of our imperfection, we are actually just perfect. Now I’m talking out of my ass. But you know what I mean.

Now go have an imperfect day in your imperfect body, driving your imperfect car, picking your imperfect nose. It’s fun!



*Name has been changed to protect the very innocent, perfect ones.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lost Dog

Sunday morning I woke up to 35 ° temps at 6:00 a.m., which is balmy as hell for Colorado this time of year.  Time to hit the trails before a retreat I had scheduled for 11 a.m. in Boulder.

I love getting in my workouts first thing in the morning. Honestly, if I don't do them then, they are not going to happen. As the day progresses I will be sidetracked by anything from rearranging my sock door to finding a cure for cancer. I am very multi-facetted. Or scattered. You decide.

We tried a new trail at Hall Ranch called the Nighthawk Trail. Because of trail conditions, elevation gain, rocks, roots and animal shit, you never know what you will find on the trail. It is like trail roulette. As we started climbing, I quickly realized I wasn’t having that much fun because I couldn’t breathe and my heart rate was 350 bpm or something like that.


You can see the trail etched into the mountain. It may not look like much. Shut up. It is.

The climbing was relentless and the wind had kicked up. As we started to come into completely snow-packed trails at about 4 miles, we turned around. We did 8 miles in about 1 ½ hours. I felt a bit better about sucking wind when I got home and loaded my Garmin info. The climb was 1,437 feet over 4 miles, which means it was uphill. I’m funny.

I got home in enough time to throw dinner in the crockpot (pork carnitas – really good recipe), shower and head out for my retreat, which focused on meditation, slowing down and being present.  I was hoping I would come away enlightened, but I have a long way to go.

I love Boulder for many reasons, but reason #152 is that you are surrounded by ridiculous athletes who make you feel humbled, in awe and/or really inadequate. At the retreat it took me about 2 hours to realize I was sitting by this girl:

Darcy Africa. Ultra runner extraordinaire. She’s done about a million ultras and has won some of the most famous ultra races. I wanted to tell her I was tired from running 8 miles that morning, because I knew she would be very impressed. If you need some motivation this morning, go read this article about Darcy from Outside Magazine HERE.

Some things I find fascinating about Darcy:

  • She doesn’t run with a Garmin. She doesn’t focus on pace or distance, just time on the trails.
  • She does her speed work on a treadmill.
  • She trains alone for the most part and does not use pacers
  • She does not put in high mileage weeks. In fact, she says she’s never done a 100 mile week.
  • In training for the Hardrock 100, she ran up and down Mt. Sanitas in Boulder for 12 hours (it is a 3.3 mile up and down run with 1,500 foot gain in the first 1.5 miles).
  • She’s never done a road marathon

Darcy and I chatted a bit over lunch. I was glad to hear she has some butt pain too. She calls it “cranky butt.” We actually go to the same PT so I think (hope) I am on the right track.

Well, I’m off to get on the the trainer for an hour, shower, then head to a home visit in Denver. But before I go, check out this picture sent to me from a reader, Lindsey. She saw it at a gas station on her way to New Orleans for the marathon this weekend. If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know why this struck a chord with me (only he isn’t missing a right ear. Maybe I will remove that later today.).


What time of day do you prefer to workout? For me, it’s always morning.

What athlete inspires you the most? I have so many of them. I have the most respect for athletes like Darcy who have jobs and kids and marriage and still find the time to train and reach their goals.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Encounters of the Canine Kind

Yesterday morning Joie and I were running along a trail outside of Boulder minding our own business.

Teller Farms – Boulder

We were talking about what runners talk about: I have to pee. What’s for dinner? Is Ben the worst Bachelor ever? Did you bring toilet paper?

A woman was running towards us with an unleashed large dog. The dog looked friendly enough, but you never know. In my head I noted the lack of the leash, but didn’t think too much of it. As we neared the woman, her dog ran towards us, like he was going to run between the two of us. As he got closer, he charged Joie and jumped on her, growling like he was going to bite her. She sort of screamed and the woman called the dog and profusely apologized. We might have given our best “what the hell” looks.

This is a post-run re-enactment of the look. You should always cross your arms and sit on the stairs (where the self-timer works) when giving this sort of look. You could also wear your new Prana shirt that you are in love with and want to marry:


Here are further details of the DE (dog encounter):

  • Yes, there is a “Voice and Sight” regulation on this trail (dogs must be under voice command of owner at all times and be within sight. Dog must not have a history of charging or chasing people, other dogs or wildlife). There is no leash regulation unless the dog does not fit under the Voice and Sight regs. Which this dog clearly did not.
  • No, there were not may people on the trail this morning.
  • Yes, the runner saw us coming, but did not make any attempt to hold her dog.
  • No, Joie did not get hurt.

My guess is that if this dog charged us, it has charged others. Dog should have been on a leash. If the owner did not want the dog on a leash, she should have held onto him at least as we approached and ran by.

I love dogs. I love people running with their dogs. I do not love dogs who interfere with my running, threaten to harm me, hump me, smell my crotch or defecate on the trial and don’t clean it up.

I don’t run with my dog because he has three legs, one eye and his penis always hangs out (Embarrassing! Other dogs would make fun of him).

In the end, it was six glorious miles on a crisp winter’s day. The canine encounter was just a side note.

How about you? Any dog encounters while running? Do you run with your dog?


Friday, March 2, 2012

Shut Up, Punk!

I gave my nephews Shut Up + Run shirts for Christmas. What? It’s not like I’m trying to be pushy. They asked for the shirts. Really, they did.


So, today my brother tells me that my ten-year-old nephew was wearing the shirt this week when a school bully approached him.

Bully: “You better shut up and run or you’ll be sorry!” (very clever!)
Nephew: “Shut up, punk!”
Bully: Silent. Turns around. Walks away.

This story made me smile. I mean, who doesn’t like a tale about a bully getting put in their place?  That’s why I like that scene from “A Christmas Story” when Ralphie loses his shit and wails on the red-haired dude who had been harassing him forever. I also like that my nephew used the word “punk.” Think about it – this word just sums it up perfectly. It’s like you took “loser,” “asshole,” “lowlife” and “fart-face” and rolled it all up into one four letter word that won’t get you kicked out of school. PUNK.

When you stand up to a bully, you are taking a huge risk. You are putting your foot down and saying “no more,” but you are also inviting a swift kick in the ass. Your chances are decent that it will work in your favor. After all, bullies are really helpless, insecure and frightened turds who need to have power over others in order to feel okay. Hence, if you show them they have no power to scare you, they lose their balls. Sometimes.

I don’t know if that’s true. I made it up. Not like I teach Bullying 101 at the community college or anything. BTW -Bee tee dubs- since we speaking of bullies, I did love how there was no emphasis on Conda this week on the Biggest Loser. I think everyone has learned that she is Con-da a bad egg. Get it? Conda, kinda.

Yeah, yeah I know that we should all have professional mediators who come in and encourage the bully and the bullied to use “I-statements” in order to find resolution. “I really don’t feel good when you tell me you are going to kick my ass.” The bully and the bullied should pass a talking stick and sing Kumbaya. Whatever. And, I’m not making light of this bullying thing. I know it is serious business.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, except to say that getting behind ourselves is the best thing we can do. It doesn’t mean you have to risk life or limb, but it does mean that without confidence and belief in ourselves, we are nothing. It’s not enough to have others believe in us. We’ve got to tell it. We’ve got to exude it.  Shut up, PUNK.

Did you know Stand Up to Bullying Day is March 30?

I’m off to hit the trails before the snow moves in. If you are not sick of me yet, there is a (refurbished) article I wrote to be found at the online magazine, This Mother Can Run.

Was there ever a time you didn’t stand up for yourself and wish you had? Yes, once when I had started my first “real” job out of college and was waiting in line for the bus. I thought I was at the back of line but was at the front and some “professional” older man yelled at me in front of everyone. I was so stressed about my first day and didn’t even realize my mistake. I wish I had said something but I just cried.

What are your weekend plans? I’m doing a bit of entertaining for friends tonight and then on Sunday for my dad’s birthday. I’m hoping to throw in a long run on Sunday before a women’s retreat I’m attending. Oh yeah. I have kids. I might pay some attention to them too.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mystery of the Century

There have been many mysteries over the years, such as:

  • Why does our gynecologist leave the room when women undress?
  • If Wile E.Coyote had enough money to buy all that Acme crap, why couldn't he just buy dinner?
  • Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is?

But, perhaps the greatest mystery of all is – who sent me this damn book?


It came in the mail yesterday and unless I am taking too much Ambien before bed and getting up in the night and ordering crap off of the internet, I don’t think I bought this one for myself.

It is no secret: I love a good fart. Farts are wonderful because they are so multi-faceted. They can be thunderous, squeaky, or airy. Farts have en element of surprise that startles the farter and astounds those around him or her. Farts rock my world because people act all offended by them in public, but then they get in their cars and let them rip like there is no tomorrow. Bunch of hypocrites.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a good fart story if they are willing to share it. I have too many to name, but one of my favorite ones is this: I was a sophomore in college, sitting in a very small room taking an English literature final exam. I had one leg down and one leg hiked up onto the chair and bent. I was leaning on the desk, writing away, when this huge and loud fart unexpectedly flew out of my body. Pencils stopped moving, people stopped breathing. Heads turned towards me and eyes glared. I never missed a beat. I did not look up, kept writing, which automatically solidified my guilt. Every person called me out when we left the classroom. Then I did a keg stand and lost my virginity. Just kidding.

One of the BEST fart stories happened this summer when my friend Clair came to visit. Read it HERE.

The Book of Farts is small and portable enough that I can easily bring it to church, to the choir concerts, to race start lines, and to grandma’s house. This means I can instantaneously look up pertinent information about farting etiquette (don’t do it in a tent or elevator; do not ever fart at a fresh food counter, especially an organic one; do not fart in the bath if you are bathing with your lover). I can also reference types of farters immediately – “the incompetent farter” one who tries to fart but shits himself instead (aka the sharter) or “the kinetic farter” – one who farts while walking or running. This is a great recipe reference too, with such fart-inducing dishes as the Twelve Egg Omelet with Beer.

So, thank you, anonymous fart-book-sender!

What’s your best fart story? Don’t even pretend you don’t have one.