Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloweenathon 5k Race Report

Yes, let's get that awkwardness out of the way, I was SUPPOSED to run the 10k race today, but I'm sorry to report that despite resting and coddling my leg I got the same pain as the other day, so I decided to cut my race at the 5k mark.  Sigh.  But you know what, I still had fun today and really enjoyed the race.  I gave Eric a reprieve from going to the race since the weather here was supposed to be really bad.  He's not felt well all week, so I didn't want him having to sit in the rain while I ran.

One of my long time friends reached out to me since she was running the race as well, and asked me if I wanted to carpool, so we decided to go together.  I have to brag on Erin a little bit here, she is the runner who I was supporting during the Rock and Roll Half.  She kept her training a secret except to a handful of us and worked very hard to run that half and was amazing!  She has continued running and working on her health and has lost 50 pounds!  I am so very proud of her, she's really been an inspiration.

I made Eric take a picture of me before I rushed out of the door, just to compare to myself last year.  As bad as I've been feeling about how I look lately, I definitely am happy with how nice my legs look, and I am obviously thinner than last year!

The weather here is supposed to be horrible and we were anticipating the worst.  The sky definitely was very ominous, and they were playing "Halloween" type sounds over the loud speakers (groans, screams, chains rattling).  It actually was pretty creepy!

The race was at a golf course this year, but it was a different gold course than last year so we actually had asphalt paths to run on, thank GOD!  Last year running in the mud and having soaked feet the entire time wasn't very fun.  Erin and I just decided to run together and not stress about pace or any of that, and while I rarely like running with people or chit chatting while I run, it was really nice to be able to catch up with her.  Erin and I are both crazy busy all the time and have gone shameful amounts of time without seeing one another, so we basically used that time to talk about everything going on.  As with most fun run type races, it wasn't really that organized and it wasn't the type of race where you're going to PR, so we just focused on running along and having fun.

I started out feeling twingy in my leg, and right before mile 3 I had full blown sharp pain with it, and it was the same type of pain as the other day.  I'd already remarked to Erin that I wish I'd signed up for the 5k, so it was almost like my leg was all like "meeeeeee too girl!"  I decided to just cut things at 3 miles and leave it be.

The rain that the weather people swore was going to happen held off thankfully, so we finished dry as can be (other than sweat!).  The medals this year were really nice, although I really liked the Grimm Reaper ones we got last year.  Uberthons really does give out nice, high quality medals though, even for us lowly 5k people!

So the best part was right after the race when I was walking along flapping my gums to Erin, then I looked up and my aunt and uncle were standing in front of me!!  I caused a scene because I screamed and threw my arms around my aunt, I was so shocked to see her.  She had coordinated with Eric to surprise me at the finish line, and their timing was perfect.  They hadn't even had coffee yet but still came out to see me, now that is real love people!!  We stood and chatted for a bit then all went our separate ways.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween tonight!  We are handing out candy tonight as we always do, and this year we decided to take it up a notch and get full sized candy bars, along with stickers for the little kids.  I also made Jell-O shots to hand to parents if they want them.  We're going to be THE house this year!  ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Good Run, Bad Run

Good run, bad run is not the name of a newly discovered Dr. Seuss book.  Oh no folks, it describes this week.

On Monday I had the most amazing, ego boosting run.  I posted a blip about it on Facebook, but basically I did a 3 miler at the library (I needed a change of scenery).  There were several noteworthy things about the run, one of the most important things being I wore LONG SLEEVES!!  You have no idea how excited I was about that, I love that feeling of needing to put on long sleeves, feeling cold at the start of the run and perfectly warm when you're done.  The change of scenery was nice too, I basically run in the same spot every time, and while it's perfect from a safety and convenience standpoint, I am so bored with it.  The library park has tons of ponds, cute ducks, geese and other wildlife so it is a very peaceful place to run.

So the entire run I felt like my heart was about to explode, and there were a few times I had to stop my watch just to catch my breath for 10 seconds at a time.  I was kind of "WTF" about it at first, but then suddenly realized that maybe it was because I was running faster so my heart was working harder.  For the rest of the run, I was pretty eager to get home and plug my Garmin in to see the stats and see what my pace was, which is a rare occurrence for me!  Sure enough, my eyes just about bugged out of my head when I saw that I was running sub-10 minute miles during my running intervals, and my overall average pace was 11:40.  (Total time was 34:58) I was so excited that you guys would have thought that I qualified for the Olympics!  I have never in my life run at that pace consistently so it truly was an achievement for me.  Not only that, but my body felt fantastic afterwards, even my foot.  Life is great right?

Side note:  I'm already caving about my hair....I don't think I can handle the grow out.  I don't mind it being short, it was just that I kind of miss it being long, but I don't miss it enough to where I'm willing to put up with looking like Don King all the time.

So last night I set out to do the 8 mile run on my schedule, and was very confident that based on Monday that I'd do great.  I figured my legs might be a little tired, but no matter, I'd just go slower.  My legs did indeed feel a bit tired, but nothing I wasn't used to really.  At first things were fine and there was really nothing noteworthy.  Then suddenly at mile 3, I got a burning pain right above my inner ankle on my right leg (always my effing right leg).  At first I thought it was a muscle thing so I stopped to rub it a little, and it was painfully sore to the touch.  I kept going and of course, the burning and pain started getting worse.  It felt exactly like the tendonitis that I got during the Portland Marathon, and I knew that it wasn't going to get any better if I kept going, so with many expletives and a painful walk back to the car I cut things at mile 4.  It burned and felt painful all last night, and still feels painful today.

I just give up at this point.  I know this sounds dramatic and crazy but I literally feel betrayed by my body.  Between my GI issues and all the crap with my feet and legs, I am just astounded at how much my body has just gone rogue this year.  I just feel like I get one thing resolved and something else goes wrong.  First it was my foot, then it was the adductor and now it's whatever asshole tendon this is.  Oh and let's not forget the major back issues in January.  I'm just flummoxed because I've never had injuries like this just constantly plague me.  I have literally changed nothing.  Same clothes, shoes, running spots, routine... nothing has changed.

Yes, I could bike, swim, crosstrain, go to PT and all this, that and the other.  (I bring it up because I know it's coming).  I just think back to 2010 when I hurt my foot and spent almost a thousand dollars by the time it was all said and done trying to diagnose and treat my foot, and NONE of it helped.  It finally came down to switching to minimalist shoes and that was the end of it.  I just truly believe based on my past that none of that stuff is really going to make a difference, especially because the little mini-injuries I get last a few days, goes away, then something else gets hurt, so what exactly am I treating at this point?  All I can do at this point is ice yet the newest bullshit injury, rest for the next couple of days and keep going.  Once this half marathon is done, I don't know...I do have that half in January and after that I may have to keep my running distance to 3-4 miles.  Doing halves is fun, getting the medals is fun, but this training season has soured me on long distances for life.  If I'm able to do the half in January, that will be a marathon and 4 half marathons under my belt.  I really don't feel like that's anything to be ashamed of were I to "retire" from long distance running.

Hilariously, and I was just talking with Eric about this, but this week was supposed to be my last full training week before tapering for the marathon.  My long run this week was supposed to be 20 miles.  All I can say is, thank every deity that exists that I had the common sense to drop to the half marathon next month because can you even IMAGINE?  I can't even make it 8 freaking miles apparently, much less 20.

The one positive thing is that when I plugged my Garmin in last night, all of my running intervals showed that I ran sub 12's on 2 of the miles and a sub 11 on the third mile.  I am getting faster and better, it's just so frustrating that my legs are not cooperating with the journey!

I am going to rest my leg for the rest of the week so that I can be completely fresh for my 10k on Saturday.  It's supposed to storm, so I actually told Eric that he doesn't have to come since it's going to be a bit of a shit show.  He's literally been to every race I've done (even the San Francisco half!) except one, so he's paid his dues at this point!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

All Aboard the Ouch Train to Cramp Town!

Sigh.  I had so planned on triumphantly writing about my 7 mile run today, but alas, my legs had other plans.  I set out yesterday and was only able to make it 4 miles due to leg cramps that started up early into the run and simply wouldn't go away.  Not adductor pain, just run of the mill calf cramps that clearly are going to be relentless.  I was mainly frustrated because I really was conscious yesterday of making sure that I got plenty of fluids all day, and even drank down a big coconut water.  I was pissy that I spent the calories on it and it didn't even help!

So this week I had two 4 milers, a 3 miler and a 7 miler on the schedule, so now I have to figure out when to do the 3 miler and when to do the 7.  I really want to get the 7 miler done tomorrow so that I'm not rushing Saturday, so I may ask my boss if I can come in early so that I can take a long lunch and do my run.  He likely won't care, which is why he's awesome.  The only reason I'm crunched for time is that Eric's friend Lee is in starting today, so we're going to be out and about, so I'm trying to squeeze my runs in when I can so that I'm not left out of the fun!  I will keep you guys posted, and hopefully I will have a 7 miler update for you guys tomorrow!

I have had issues with leg cramps ever since I've been running, and it really doesn't matter what distance it is.  Sometimes I can do a 12 mile run like it ain't no thang, but a 3 miler will feel like the world is hitting my calves with a mallet.  It is something I need to find a solution for, especially since I don't want to be taken down during a race.  I spent some time online this morning seeing what I could take that was somewhat natural, and that wasn't bananas since I hate bananas.  Many sites say that tomato juice works wonders for cramping, so I got a few cans at lunchtime today.  I swear I am turning into an old lady, because I actually LOVED the taste of it.  I remember having some when I was a kid and it was gross, but this was super tasty.  (Next thing you know I'll be drinking prune juice or something, which considering my issues...) I stashed some cans in my desk at work and am bringing home some cans, that way I'll be able to have access to it wherever I am.  I'm hoping if I have it 3 times a week or so, that will improve the cramping.

I also read oddly enough that yellow mustard can help leg cramps and that a lot of athletes use it mid-performance.  People don't know if it's the vinegar or the tumeric that help, but so many people were swearing by it that it's worth a shot.  I may or may not have jacked some mustard packets out of the work kitchen, so the next time I go for a run I'm going to stash a packet in my running pouch to see if it helps the next time.

And this isn't related to cramping in the least, but when I was shopping for the tomato juice, I found this tea I loved that I had kind of forgotten about.  I had never seen it in a store before, so I just about peed myself when I saw it.

Long ago at other hellhole job, Eric was off on a business trip in Seattle and I was at home nursing the plague.  He would always get me little presents when he was off on trips, and on that particular one came home with this tea.  Y'all.  If you are tea people, hop online and order this one, it is absolutely gorgeous.  It is somehow naturally sweet, super cinnamon-y and really orangey.  When you make it, it makes the whole room smell like cinnamon and oranges.  I just remember being so sick, having a sore throat and being so grateful for this tea that I literally went through a box in like 3 days.  We ordered it a few more times online then I kind of forgot about it.  I grabbed this box and wish I'd grabbed more, it's so heavenly!

On the random recipe front, I wanted to share a sandwich that I made last night, a beet melt:

So I know this won't be for everyone, because beets are one of those things people either love or want to set fire to.  I happen to love them even though the first time you go to the bathroom after eating beets, it trolls you into thinking you have some horrible cancer until you remember, "Oh yeah, beets".  We'll just leave it at that.

There is a brewery in Portland called Ecliptic Brewing, and while their beer is decent, I think the food is where it's at.  They have a beet melt sandwich on the menu that Eric was swearing by, and even though I was skeptical I tried it and was instantly in love!  It's basically roasted beets, thinly sliced apple, cheese and picked onions.  I decided to create it at home with a couple of swaps.  I used Swiss cheese (Ecliptic uses goat or cheddar), and sauerkraut instead of pickled onions.  I loved having the kraut instead of the onions, but I would definitely use a different kind of cheese next time.  The Swiss was just too mild, you really do need something with some tang to it to offset the earthiness of the beet and sweetness of the apple.  I think a smoked cheddar would be really nice in this.  Anyway, if you like that kind of thing, give it a whirl!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Respect The Goose

Yesterday was my first training run as a half marathoner, just an easy little four miler after work.  I just changed here at the office and ran around our business park, which is convenient, but I much prefer my usual running spot.  It's just a lot quieter and I don't have to constantly be on guard for cars, but at least it was easy.  Well other than my Garmin deciding to be an ass...

For the record, it was sunny and I was standing in an open area.  It took it like 5 minutes to find the satellites as I was standing there like a moron with my wrist held up in the air.

I feel like the summer is never going to end, and while yes I'm aware that it's fall, our weather has not gotten the memo.  It was SO warm out there, I would have put it at 75 degrees even though the weather said it was 67.  There's just no way it wasn't warmer than 67!  I could tell by my breathing that that humidity was high and my face felt like it was on fire.  On a physical front I am happy to report that my body felt good for the entire run, although my legs initially felt a little stiff, but loosened up after the first mile.  No adductor pain, no foot issues, it was just a good, basic run with no drama.  That's what we like right?

So there are a lot of Canadian geese around our office, which means a lot of Canadian goose shit on the sidewalk that I'm quite sure is caked in my running shoes.  I have thankfully never been attacked by a goose, but I am well aware that geese are mean, shady assholes so I try to give them a wide berth and respect so that I never have to check off "attacked by a goose" on my list of life events.  I was definitely getting the side eye from them yesterday, but they did leave me alone!

I finished in 50:28, and initially I thought that might have been a PR until I went and looked at some of my training logs and saw there were 4 milers I did that were a minute shorter.  Ah well, I still consider a sub hour to be pretty good!  It was the first time in a long time that I finished a run and felt so good physically and mentally.  I felt totally refreshed, relaxed and happy to get on with the evening.  The other positive part of running is that it completely suppresses my appetite, which sounds odd but it's totally true!  I ate my dinner (pulled pork, rice and salad) and was perfectly happy with it and full afterwards.  Since I had a lot of calories left over, I measured out a half cup of ice cream to enjoy while watching TV, and was satisfied after finishing that premeasured portion.  I already have all of my food logged today and budgeted for ice cream tonight too.  It's just a relief to feel stable and on track again, and like I'm doing things with purpose instead of feeling out of control.

On a side note, we're all going to be going on a rough journey together, because I decided to grow my hair out.  I have incredibly thick, curly hair that doesn't want to curl until it gets to a certain length, so it's going to be painful for me to deal with and you guys to look at.  ;)  Saddle up folks!

Tonight I'm going to do my 7 miler, and I'm hoping that it won't be too hot, but I'll deal with it regardless.  It will be good to get it out of the way and leave the shorter runs for Friday and Saturday.

So I have a good (or gross depending on your view) story about Molly from Monday night.  We got home from work and my plan was in place:  make dinner, do some grocery shopping, rush back home in time for the new Star Wars trailer then purchase advanced tickets to see it.  Molly had other plans for us because she is a psycho.  She has very bizarre bathroom habits that I won't detail too much since I don't want to risk oversharing, but she has this really annoying habit of only wanting to poop in 2 spots in the yard.  She absolutely refuses to poop anywhere other than these two spots, which can be an issue since we have to make sure we clean up those two spots at least once if not twice a day so she doesn't step in her own mess.  One of the spots happens to be next to one of my huge rose bushes, so when she went out and did her thing Monday, we heard her scream.  Turns out, because she's an idiot and likes to stick her face behind the bush while she is doing her sinful business, the bush ripped her ear.

You never realize how much your dog likes to shake their head until they have an ear that's bleeding like a villain in a Tarantino film.  I really hope we never have a reason to have forensics investigate our house, because there was blood everywhere.  Every time Molly shook her head it would tear the wound open even more and start gushing blood.  We were cleaning up blood spots on the wall higher than I am tall, and I am 5 foot 8.  The gross part was that splatter got on the kitchen table and possibly our dinner that I'd spent an hour making.  After 7 clean ups, a panicked attempt to cover the couch and the realization that tonight was going to be a carpet steam cleaning night, I finally sacrificed my Sublime t-shirt to create a bandage for her that made her look like a little old gypsy woman.

After cleaning up blood so many times, I finally had to leave the house before I lost it, and thankfully the grocery store I went to carried styptic powder for dogs so I was able to stop the bleeding finally at 3 hours later.  And don't feel too sorry for her, she had the nerve to beg for food and claw me until I petted her right after I got home!  The one bright spot of the night was that I walked in the door right before the Star Wars trailer played, so I didn't miss it!  And Eric went online early and the ticketing systems were open, so he was able to snag tickets for us for the 18th.  I am so excited!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Shifting Gears

Thank you all so much for your kindness the last few hours.  I've gotten a lot of nice messages from readers, friends and family over my decision to drop down to the half marathon this November.  It really helps to get everything out in the open.  I've been carrying around a lot of shame and anxiety for the last couple of months, it felt good to let it go and talk about it.  I feel like I can actually blog more that I've been real with you guys and I'm not having to dance around what's going on in my life.

I feel happier by the moment about my decision, and couldn't wait to get on the computer today to pull up my training plan and rework it to fit training and conditioning for the half.  I haven't felt this level of enthusiasm for quite awhile, and it is such a relief.  I'm not going to lie, seeing single digit numbers on my training plan makes me pretty happy!  My long run this week is 7 miles, and I am going to knock that out on Wednesday since our friend Lee is coming in to visit us this week, so that way I'll just have a short 4 miler on Saturday that I can knock out quickly so that I can go out sightseeing with the guys!

This change in plans is also what I need to get me back in the head space to focus on my nutrition, which has been absolutely atrocious since all of this has happened.  I've tried time and time again this month to recommit, but it's just been so stressful that it's easy to justify not tracking, eating a comforting dessert or having a drink or three to wind down from the stress.  Luckily I've only gained back about 5 pounds, but that's 5 pounds too many especially since I am in the 100s and want to stay there!  I tracked my food for today and plan on going grocery shopping tonight to have healthy options on hand for this week.  I feel so clear headed and calm today about everything, and I'm actually excited to get back on track and back to normal.

Our weekend was pretty busy, on Saturday after the whole run/breakdown drama we went to a longtime friend's house for his annual horror movie marathon party.  Will is adorably geeky about horror movies and Halloween, and every year he throws a fantastic party with a curated list of horror films, usually grouped by theme.  The party starts at 10:30 am (always kicked off with a Simpson's Treehouse of Horrors) and goes well until the wee hours of the morning.  I am not the biggest horror movie person and have to be careful about what I watch or I will have insane nightmares, but we go anyway lol.  We got there at about 2:30 and stayed until 6, and I managed to sit through half of Babadook, the entirety of The Town That Dreaded Sundown and half of The Purge all while eating my weight in Reese's pumpkins and 7 layer dip.  The theme of this year's evening movies was home invasions, so I noped right out of the night time movies since it was too realistic for me.  We had a great time and it was nice to catch up with Will since I hadn't seen him in awhile.

Sunday I had my shelter shift, which was a bit hectic due to the laundry and dishes.  I'm also a bit sad because I have a favorite there named Nelson who has yet to be adopted.  He is a giant pitbull with a giant head, so that probably hurts his chances, but he's incredibly sweet and smart.  I wish someone would take him home, he's such a good boy (I call him my pumpkin head baby boy when no one is around).  Hopefully the next time I go into the shelter he will have found a home.  That afternoon we did our annual pumpkin patch tradition, which is really more about me getting a caramel apple than it is getting pumpkins.  ;)  We had a great time, bought a ton of apples and I got my caramel apple.  Actually it was the lamer "apple nachos", which was just basically apple slices with caramel dip, but I suppose it got the job done.

After a nap and a nice dinner we went to a concert in Portland to see this punk band called Death.  There was a documentary done on them a year or so ago, titled A Band Called Death, and you REALLY should see it.  Basically it's these 3 black brothers from Detroit who had a punk band in the 70's that predated the Ramones, but since they refused to change their name, no one would sign them to a record deal.  They kind of quietly faded away, but then vinyl collectors discovered their album and they have had this cult following for the last few years and didn't even know about it!  The documentary is really fascinating, a fantastic story and also oddly very spiritual.  I highly recommend it even if you aren't necessarily the biggest music fan, because it's such a great human story.

The best part is?  Their music and this rediscovered album are pretty fantastic, and I've been digging it for over a year or so.  When I saw they were coming to Portland I was super excited, so we got tickets.  It's so much fun seeing bands in small clubs, which we rarely do.  It's just exciting to be close to the music, it's a whole different vibe and energy.  Death was fantastic, you can tell they are very humbled by the experience and are very happy to be playing their music.  I was so happy we went, even though it was WAY past my bedtime!

Well folks, that's it for now, but I will be keeping you posted throughout the week on my eating plans as well as my training plan!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Difficult, Necessary Announcement

So I have an announcement that may come as a bit of a shock, but I ask that you guys hear me out and be kind, especially since I'm also going to be talking about some very private, painful stuff going on in my life.  As of today, I made the decision to drop from the full marathon to just the half marathon in Seattle this November.  It was a very difficult, stressful decision that wasn't made lightly.  In fact, I had a complete breakdown yesterday at the thought of so publicly "failing" and potentially disappointing family, friends, readers and of course myself.  But in my heart I know it's the right decision, and though I am afraid of being a disappointment, the relief I felt when I finally decided to drop to the half far outweighs any fear or shame.

Since I have so publicly spoken about my running and made such a big deal of things, I felt it only fair to go more into detail about the "whys".  I am not looking for sympathy, I just think it may give you guys some insight into why I had to make this decision.

Part of what factored into my decision is my body.  It's no secret that my body has not held up as well during this training cycle as it has in past training.  I've fought plantar fasciitis, this adductor muscle, back issues and a host of other little aches and pains that have made training difficult.  I am 100% confident that my body can endure a half marathon, but I honestly am not optimistic over my chances on surviving a full.  But my injuries are a very small part of what factored into my decision.

I have given a very vague overview of the personal family troubles I am currently going through, and while I have been careful about keeping things very private  and vague, I think it's time for me to further elaborate about what is going on because I think it will help you understand where my head has been and why I came to the decision to drop down.  (Hopefully my family isn't mortified that I am about to share this, but I feel it's the right thing to do).  It is taking a LOT for me to tell you what I'm about to tell you, so again, please be kind.  I believe when I last spoke about this, I told you guys that we found out shocking things about a family member and that I was dealing with the decision of going no contact with them.  Well, the long and short of it, this family member is my dad.  I can't get super specific, but we found out that not only is my dad not the man we thought he was, but he has been living a double life that ain't exactly a good life.  Even if I did tell you specifics, you wouldn't believe me, it's that insane.  We originally thought it was a mental health crisis, but it's not, it's just apparently who he is.  It has been devastating, and it has gutted all of us.  The only way I can describe the experience is that it's like my dad died in a sudden accident, and frankly in some ways that would be easier for me and the family because we could understand that.  If someone dies in a car accident or cancer, you grasp the basic logic of that and there is a finality to it.  But this, there is nothing about it to understand, it is never ending, and we literally don't know what's going to happen day to day.  Sometimes it's hour to hour.  As of this week, my mother has officially filed for divorce, which was really the only option she had given the circumstances, but doesn't make it any less painful for her and for us.  They just celebrated their 50 year anniversary in August, if that gives you any idea of what an absolute shocking mindfuck this is.

For the past two months, I wake up not knowing what the day holds.  There have been days where I was terrified that the next phone call I was going to get was to tell me that my dad, my mom or both were dead if you get my drift.  There are days where that is still a legitimate concern.  This situation is the first thing I think of in the morning, and the last thing on my mind when I lay my head down at night.  I have been 100% focused on my family, which means countless texts a day and anywhere from 1-3 phone calls a day trying to help them through this.  It's what I have to do and I am happy to support my family, but there are days where it definitely is overwhelming and numbing.  On top of that, I am coping with the fact that my dad does not love his family, does not want us and really wants nothing to do with us.  My dad literally has no interest in talking to me and isn't bothered by not talking to me.  Some days I am able to deal with that, and some days I feel like a heartbroken 6 year old who simply doesn't understand what she did wrong.  I have done my best to have a stiff upper lip, and have frankly done too good of a job at it, because I have simply stuffed my feelings away until I simply snapped yesterday during what was supposed to be my long run.

My training has immensely suffered in this situation, simply because I don't know when I'm getting calls and have to help my family, and I am now officially under-trained for the marathon.  Lately I have run about once a week.  I have not run any further than 14 miles, which obviously is great for a half, but not so great for a marathon that is 6 weeks away.  My head and heart are not into the marathon anymore, and frankly, it is just one more thing I feel pressure over in my life.  Going out and running on Saturdays has filled me with anger and resentment, and thinking about the marathon fills me with dread.  Yesterday I made it to mile 3 and suddenly was like, "I don't want to do this."  Then I started sobbing on the sidewalk.  Then I rage vented to my ladies group and confessed to them what I've known deep down for a month...that I didn't want to do this marathon.  I went one more mile, and then officially quit.  I had a larger breakdown at home to Eric, and confessed it all.  How tired I was, how resentful I was, how scared I was of getting hurt but how I was scared people would think I was a loser and be disappointed in me.  I had a complete, hyperventilating breakdown for over an hour, and basically every feeling I'd stuffed away came to the surface at once.  So once I dried my tears, I knew I had decisions to make.

I had to think about why I signed up for the marathon and whether those reasons still existed, and if I was still running it for the right reasons.  I knew I could still do my best to train with the remaining weeks I had, but did I want to?  Was I having a bad day, or was this something else all together?  I thought about the last month, how angry I was every time I had to go run, how tired I felt, and how lately I NEVER feel good about myself when I finish.  During the summer when it was hell on earth, I was running and gutting out some of the worst weather, but finishing feeling like I could take on the world.  Now I start feeling defeated and finish feeling defeated despite making great improvements in my pace.  I had to admit that I am deeply, deeply depressed over everything that has happened and that I was clinging to this marathon not because I wanted to run it, but it was the last scrap of my old "normal" life before everything went to hell.  I was trying to pretend that my life is the same and that I could continue on like I wasn't under-trained and like my life wasn't falling apart.  I was also trying to wave the banner of "if I finish the marathon, it will prove to my dad that he can't defeat me!"  I finally realized I wasn't running this marathon anymore because of me, my health or any personal gain for myself.

I'm not going to lie, dropping to the half is like having a 2 ton weight lifted off of me.  I do have sadness and disappointment, because I wanted to be that person, the person who overcomes the odds and serves as a positive model for others.  While running a half marathon is a shit ton of work and a great of accomplishment, a tiny part of me feels like I'm taking the "easy" way out.  I hope that others don't see it like that, and I hope people keep reading me.  At the end of the day, I guess all it amounts to is that I'm running 13.1 less miles than we thought I would.   And at least now I won't have to worry about injury.  For the first time in awhile, I feel a flicker of enthusiasm for getting my training back on track, especially since I'm trained up to the half distance already.  Things are calming down and getting back to regular training runs is feasible.  I feel happiness and excitement for the trip to Seattle with my aunt, uncle and Eric because I love them all so much and I know we'll have a blast.  Most importantly, I don't feel dread the thought of running.  And that was what hurt me most of all, was that I did dread it.  Running has saved me in so many ways, and I never want it to be a point of resentment.  Feeling that pride, enthusiasm and warmth again feels good and right.

Anyway folks, sorry for the data dump, hopefully it was not too much family dramz, but I felt that I owed readers a bigger picture of why I'm doing the half as opposed to the full.  It's also some insight into why I haven't blogged much lately, because it's incredibly difficult to be all "tee hee, random things!" when this stuff is going on.  Thanks for listening/reading.

Monday, October 12, 2015

She's Got Legs (That Suck)

So if you are friends with my RTGW Facebook page, you know that I set out for my long run on Saturday and unfortunately didn't make it even close to my goal due to my adductor acting up again.  When I went out for my run I had two perimeters in mind.  1) I was going to set my Garmin for 16 miles, with the full understanding that there was no pressure to actually hit the 16 miles.  2) If I felt even a twinge of pain to stop immediately.  Not stopping last week was what got me in trouble.

So the beginning of the run went fine, I took things slower (I was doing sub 12 and sometimes sub 11 miles last week) and made sure that I stayed close to my car in case I did get in trouble.  I was hopeful by mile 4 that everything was going to be okay and that last week was a fluke since my legs were feeling great and I wasn't feeling anything out of the ordinary.  By mile 6 I was like cool, maybe I will hit this 16 mile goal, and I felt even more confident about the run.  So last week when the thing with my leg went down, it started by just feeling off, one of those things where you mentally go "hmm".  Then it felt like my muscle was itchy, as though there were bugs crawling on it, that is the best way I can describe it.  Then it was sore, then it felt like I was shot in the leg and I had to do the walk of shame back to my car.  So now that I've set you up....

At 7.5 miles my leg started to feel off.  Same leg, same spot.  My heart sank a little, but I kept going in the hopes that maybe it wasn't actually going to go through the same pattern as last week.  When I hit 8 miles, the muscle shifted from feeling off to that same bizarre itchy feeling, and I knew it wasn't going to go in a positive direction.  As my muscle steadily felt more itchy and then achy, I cut the run at 8.5 miles.    The good news is that I didn't have pain the rest of the day, which was the polar opposite of last weekend when I could barely walk for 2 days.  But the bad news is that apparently around the 7/8 mile mark, my adductor is going to act up, which obviously is terrifying at this stage of the game.  The frustrating part is that it doesn't feel sore even in the least at the moment, which is of course because I was smart enough to stop this time, but still.  I have no idea where this is coming from, I've never had issues with this muscle group in my life!

Many of you have asked me if I've seen or plan to see a PT, and honestly, probably not.  For one, I have a near pathological mistrust of doctors because I have had horrible experiences with doctors not helping me.  There was the foot doctor who told me that I was too overweight to run and that "running just isn't for you".  There was the general practitioner who looked at me with disgust and asked me if I'd ever thought about getting a breast reduction since they were huge and saggy. (Yes, this was a woman who did this).  And then recently the GI who I waited a month to see and paid a $50 copay, then poured my heart out to over my issues, only to be told to take Miralax.  Which I'd just finished telling him doesn't work despite several attempts on my part.  And there are many more stories than that.  Suffice to say, I basically have to be dying to go to a doctor and even then I go kicking and screaming.  My general experience is that they don't listen, are impatient and treat you as though you are stupid and I don't need to pay for that shit.  Secondly, any person I've known who does PT?  They're basically doing yoga stretches, which I can do in my own home for free.  I'm not trying to be stubborn about it, but I've just had too many experiences where the doctor takes the copay and then craps some nonsense out of their mouth that doesn't help.  Like the lady doctor a few months ago who told me that the reason I was having GI issues was because I eat apples.  Yes folks, eating apples makes you constipated apparently....Anyway, basically I've done my best and healed more efficiently when helping my damn self, so that's what I'm going to try to do here.

I'm reading more on adductor treatment and it sounds like the best course for treatment is trigger point therapy.  I am a huge believer in trigger point therapy and have that great pain management book at home, so I am going to try to aggressively massage this week, and then try for a long run again Saturday.  If I continue to have issues at the 8 mile mark, then I suppose I have some decisions to make.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Rock Hall Nominees, Eggy Oatmeal and Leg Updates

Rock Hall Nominees

Well, I am going to start off with the most exciting part of my post, yesterday the nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2016 were released, and it was a pretty fantastic list of people!  This year's list of nominees:
  • Chicago
  • Cheap Trick
  • Deep Purple
  • The Cars
  • Chaka Khan
  • Chic
  • The J.B.'s
  • Janet Jackson
  • Los Lobos
  • Steve Miller
  • N.W.A.
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • The Smiths
  • The Spinners
  • Yes
That's a really, really good list, in fact it's one of the first lists where Eric and I weren't groaning and moaning for two hours after its release.  Admittedly, I really do have to roll my eyes that they nominated Chic YET AGAIN, and Chaka Khan is...not really my scene.  Otherwise I'm very happy with the pool they chose this year and would be satisfied with just about any combination they choose for the final class.  If I had to pick my personal list to be inducted it would be Chicago, N.W.A., The Smiths, The Spinners and Los Lobos.  I did have Cheap Trick as a pick, but have since shifted a bit since there is a woeful little amount of great Latin artists in the Rock Hall.  But honestly, it's so hard to choose because there are so many great artists on the list.

Most people don't care about the Rock Hall, but it's totally our obsession so you will hear me talk about it from time to time.  Music is a huge part of my life and is very important to me, but I'm sure you gathered that from the amount of concerts we go to!  Anyway, this is now the voting stage, and the final class will be announced in December.  If you do like music and would like to vote on the people's ballot, you can do so here at the Rock Hall site.  When the final class is announced in December I will update you guys!

Injury Updates

My leg is finally feeling better but I'm not going to lie, Saturday and Sunday were pretty rough, to the point where I was scared that I'd done long term damage.  Monday and Tuesday were better but I was still sore.  From Wednesday on I haven't felt any pain, much to my relief!  I've decided that I am going to do a long run tomorrow, but I'm not going to try for a certain mileage.  I'm just going to try to run as long as my leg will allow me, though I would love to be able to hit 15 or 16 miles just so that I'm not woefully behind on training.  At the same time though, I am going to stop the instant I feel any pain, because with further reading, these adductor muscle injuries are nothing to play around with.  Literally the worst thing that can happen is that the muscle can tear away from your pubic bone, which sounds like 7 layers of NOPE.

The most upsetting part about this is that it's forced me to have to come up with alternate plans if it's something that continues to be an issue.  I've said all along that I will stick out this marathon no matter what, but Saturday was scary because it was the first time where I was like, "But what if I'm not given a choice whether I can stick it out?"  I had to acknowledge that if this is something terrible and only fixable by stopping, then I might have to change my plans, and that is so frightening and depressing.  To come this far only to have to stop is just not desirable, so I'm just going to try to think positive and hope that last week was a fluke.


So lately I have been rocking oatmeal for breakfast, which is really rare for me because I'm not the biggest oatmeal fan.  Monday I tried to do one of those refrigerator oats recipes, and while the general concept is something I can get behind, the recipe I used was so disgusting.  It required a whole tablespoon of honey, which my cook's brain knew was way too much, but I did it anyway.  It was so inedible and so sweet that I had to add a grip of hot water to it until it basically became an oatmeal drink.  Gross!

For the rest of the week though I've been doing the simplest thing in the world: a half cup of quick oats, a half cup plus a couple spoonfuls of almond milk, put it in a mason jar, microwave it at work for a minute.  That's it.  No salt, no sugar, a dash of cinnamon.  I've actually really enjoyed it, plus it's so mindless that even if I'm running late I can throw it together in 30 seconds.  I nuke it right in the jar so there's no extra dishes involved.

Today I decided to be weird and wild and crack an egg into my typical mixture this morning (minus the cinnamon!).  The one reason I don't like oatmeal is because I tend to get hungry really quickly when I don't eat a protein heavy breakfast, which is why I love scrambled eggs so much.  Carby things like oatmeal just leave me hungry by 10 am.  Anyway, I am a very weird person and will eat random bachelor type shit, so I reasoned that cracking an egg into my oatmeal would be a way to get an extra bit of protein, so I just went for it.   Same preparation and measurements, then I nuked it when I got to work.  I have to say, it was kind of awesome!  It was like putting a poached egg on top of the oatmeal.  I guess we'll see if it helps with the hunger issues and keeps me fuller a little longer.

Well I guess that's it for now, and I will update you guys after my run.  Hopefully I have good news to share!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

One Year

This is an unofficial anniversary of sorts, but today marks a year since I really decided to kick my ass into gear and get serious about my health.  I've been on the path so to speak since 2009, when I started out at a whopping 250 pounds, but most of those years were spent trying to force myself into one weird diet after the other instead of actually changing my habits or my life.  I lost some of the weight but stayed stuck around 240 pounds and just figured that I'd always be fat and there was really nothing I could do about it.  2014 was the year that everything changed for me though.  My husband was laid off  that January, and that threw our lives into a complete tailspin.  I left my one miserable job of 9 years, which was honestly the biggest cause of my weight gain and health issues, then went straight into a job at a winery.  The job wasn't miserable but the environment was, so between the low pay, the stress and the commute, I quit that bitch too.  For the first time since college probably I had to sit and ask myself, "What do you want out of life?"  And more importantly, "What DON'T you want out of life?"

I didn't want to be fat anymore.  I didn't want to spend another minute of my quickly disappearing 30's feeling ugly and horrible about myself.  I am young, and I wanted to feel young.  I wanted to be able to run better.  I wanted to live a life that celebrated the countless people and things that bring me joy, and to not give every ounce of energy to a job I hated.  I wanted to work to live, not the other way around, even if it meant making less money.  I wanted to feel confident, creative and at peace with myself again.  So for the rest of 2014 and up to present, those are the things I've been striving for.  And I've been basically hitting the mark and unlike U2, I've definitely been finding what I'm looking for.  (Sorry, couldn't resist).  I've bettered my life on a professional level, and now I have a job that suits my life and allows me to celebrate work/life balance.  But most importantly, I've lost a little over 30 pounds during this past year.  Could I have lost more in a year?  Probably.  Am I in a better place than I was in a year ago?  Hell yeah!

This was me in August of 2014 at a friend's wedding not long before I decided enough was enough, and it's one of the few full length pictures I can find of me in 2014.  I was fat, and I hated how I looked, and I remember feeling so frustrated that the person taking the picture of us was taking a full length one.  I hated not being able to hide or to just be able to have a picture taken from the neck up.  The discomfort in my face is pretty evident.

And this is me, taken just yesterday after a year of calorie counting, eating everything I want in moderation and only doing exercise that I enjoy.  30 pounds lighter and not afraid of a full length photo.  Or of showing my toilet brush.  Or the fact that I love Motley Crue.

I mainly cannot get over the difference in my face.  This is August 2014 vs about a month ago.

Losing 30 pounds has brought me so many little unexpected moments of joy and surprise.  The little burst of pride I feel when I move my leg a certain way and I see a really toned quad or calf muscle pop up.  Pulling up a pair of jeans without thinking, "I'm going to look like shit because there will be a giant fat roll everyone can see".  Taking a selfie and thinking "Oh wow, my eyes are bigger since my face is smaller...and they're pretty eyes."  Looking down at my Garmin and seeing my pace get faster as the pounds have dropped.  I smile more.  I laugh more.  I don't dread going out, because I have clothes that are cute and make me feel confident and not ashamed to be in public.  Eating is rarely a battle for me, because I don't feel guilty or ashamed anymore.  I eat what I want to eat, and I turn a deaf ear to all the fad diet trends.  I shrug at the naysayers who poo poo moderation.  Eating is pleasurable again, and I absolutely reward myself with food when I've done a tough workout.  I do what works for me, and that's really all there is to say about it.  There is no more justifying who I am or why I do what I do, and it's so freeing.  I feel so at peace with myself and how I live my life now that I can hardly believe that I'm not in a dream.

In full disclosure my life isn't perfect because I've lost weight, it doesn't work like that.  I still get bills every month.  I still get cut off in traffic.  I've got stretch marks out of the wazoo, and I'm sure when I'm at goal weigh I will have loose skin, because I've already got loose skin.  While my job is fantastic, it's still a job with typical job irritations.  Problems such as the family drama I am currently going through don't disappear because I'm thinner.  But all the issues, be they little or huge, are easier to bear because I like myself and feel good about myself.  Those little moments of joy are the things that make it possible for me to pick myself up when things are tough.

I've still got progress to make and weight to lose.  And it will happen, then I'll be on a journey of figuring out maintenance.  Hopefully that won't take another full year!  But I'm not stressed about it because I like the person who is sitting here and typing this blog post.  She looks pretty good right now.  She can look better and do better, and I know she will...but she's pretty cool now too.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Catch Up and Food Challenges

I feel like I've been falling behind on the blogging job lately!  I really miss blogging every day, especially since we've had a lot of cool stuff going on lately that I want to tell you guys about, but the only time I have to write really is at work and I figure that they might frown upon that.  ;)  But I figured I'd take a minute and catch you guys up.

1.  Eric's Birthday

Yes, my wonderful husband's birthday was last week and I didn't even mention it.  Shame on me, although Eric is so modest and likes to be so under the radar that he is fine without me mentioning it.  I did "out" him on Facebook since he's one of those people who doesn't put their birthdays up, so he did get a nice flood of messages from that.  We did the majority of the celebrating the day before, I took him out to a really nice dinner at this place called the Veritable Quandary, which I highly recommend if you are ever in Portland.  It is somewhat fancy pants, but stops at being full on snooty.  The vibe in there is elegant but while being warm and laid back, if that makes any sense.  We had a really nice meal complete with chocolate souffles that you have to order 40 minutes in advance, but are worth every bite!

Afterwards we went to see My Morning Jacket in concert, which was really awesome.  If you are not familiar with them, they are kind of this psychedelic rock band that I can best describe as Lynard Skynard meets the Pet Sounds/Smile era of the Beach Boys.  The lead singer Jim James looks like a crazy logger man/Muppet person yet somehow has this beautiful falsetto voice.  I posted a clip below of my favorite MMJ song (warning:  super long!) if you are interested in their sound.

2.  Portland Marathon and our Crazy Friend Kevin

Awhile back one of Eric's friends emailed us and asked if he could crash at our house since he was running the Portland marathon, and of course we said yes, so he arrived here on Saturday and left on Sunday afternoon.  When I married Eric, I was fortunate enough to get a huge network of cool, interesting friends along with him.  So many women seem to hate their husband's friends, but I am lucky enough to say that I love each and every one of his!  I had never actually met Kevin in person, though I have met his brother several times and we get along well, and I was especially excited to meet him because he is a runner.  But not a normal runner, like a crazy runner, and I mean that in the most affectionate way possible.  Kevin runs about a marathon a week, and I am not exaggerating in any way, he literally runs a marathon a week, sometimes two.  In fact he ran a marathon on Saturday, drove from Washington to our house, then ran the Portland marathon the next day.  I know, the fascia in my feet and everywhere else in my body shriveled up just thinking about the implications of that.  When we went to dinner on Saturday night I asked him how many marathons he's done, and it's in the 240 number.  He's done 42 or 43 just this year.  I literally don't know how he does it, I can barely train for this one without it being a huge production that may or may not end with me being crippled.

The flip side of this is that Kevin has traveled all over the world to do these marathons, and listening to his stories is really fascinating.  He did a marathon in Jordan recently and the Australian Outback right before that.  He's doing some stateside marathons the rest of the year (he has 2 marathons next weekend), and I can't remember if it's this year or next year, but he's doing the Antarctica Marathon.  I mean how utterly cool is that?  (no, literally, how bits and pieces are frozen just thinking about it).

Anyway it was fun to host him and I was like a worried mother hen making sure he had everything he needed to have a successful run, although I think he could endure just about anything at this point.  I prepared a brunch feast for when he got back:  sausage strata, hash browns, hot cinnamon bourbon apples and bacon.  And of course mimosas, because brunch without mimosas ain't brunch.  We all had a good time, though I am a little steamed because his medal was SO beautiful.  I am still bitter about that godawful medal I have from Portland that looks like I'm about to ride into the Crusades with King Richard.  Ah well.  Hopefully the one for Seattle is cool.

3.  October Nutrition Challenge

Being that this is a blog theoretically about being healthy, I have been completely neglectful in not posting about the nutrition challenge that my ladies group and I are doing for the month of October.  Each of us participating in the challenge set our own intentions for the month, because I feel like  while there are obvious healthy guidelines we should all follow, each person is different and has completely different needs and things to work on.  I challenged myself to log my food accurately every day, to eat fresh fruits or vegetables with every meal, limit myself to two alcoholic drinks a week and drink 80-100 ounces of water every day.  It's gone okay so far, I haven't been 100% but am definitely doing better than I was the past month.  I feel like I'm gradually crawling out of the hole I've been hiding in and slipping back into better habits.  Water is and always will be very difficult for me, not because I dislike it but because I get distracted and forget to drink any!  I've mainly been rocking hot tea in the mornings, which I am definitely counting.  Our other challenges, the Lovely Ladies Miles and the Star Wars activity streak are going well for me too.  It is astounding, but I have managed to be active every single day and not break my streak!  A lot of that is because I go with Eric and another coworker for 2 miles of walking every day, so that definitely gets me up and moving!

4.  Rock Hall Nominations Thursday!

If you've read me for any amount of time, you know that Eric and I are both obsessed with all things Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  We try to attend the induction ceremonies when we can and then for the rest of the year we speculate who is getting in next.  It gets like Def Con 10 levels of nerd in our house about it, and I think most of our friends usually regret making an innocent comment or asking an innocent question about the Rock Hall due to the fact that we'll go on for an hour about it.  Anyways, they are releasing the nominees on Thursday, which is always a big deal for us.  This year is a toss up as to who is getting in since there is no obvious front runner in the list of newly eligible artists.  Eric has a great music blog and wrote a nice piece on people he speculates may be nominated, if you care to read it.  Anyway, I will likely write a post with my two cents once the nominees are announced, which I'm sure you can't wait for!  ;)

5.  National Black Dog Day

So October 1st was National Black Dog Day, and as everyone knows, I've got a very diva like, pain in my neck black greyhound named Molly.  Black Dog (and cat!) Syndrome is definitely a thing, and the greyhound adoption agency actually asked us if we would have an issue adopting a black dog.  When I expressed the socially polite sentiment of "WTF", the coordinator told me they have tons of people tell them that they specifically do not want a black greyhound.  Idiots, like seriously don't even adopt an animal if you are that anal about the color.  Anyway, often when I am out walking Molly, people see a big black dog and immediately cross the street.  Sometimes this is handy when the person happens to be a creeper, but it also makes me sad because it makes absolutely no sense to me.  Molly is the 6th black dog I've ever owned, they've all been awesome and while I don't care either way, I think her black fur is so pretty!  She gleams in the sun, plus she kind of looks like Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, what isn't to like?

So I was going to take a cute selfie of Molly and I to post to social media with a heartfelt message about how black dogs are awesome, go adopt one, don't be some oddly racist person towards dogs, etc.  Except the problem is that as much as I think Molly is a diva, she thinks I'm a lame jackass when I try to take pictures of her.  I'm not kidding, the dog is so anti-photo that getting her to take one with me where she doesn't look like she's one of those sad, abused dogs from the "Arms of the Angel" ASPCA commercials is like an act of Congress.

I never could get her to look adorable and like an ambassador for adopting black dogs.  She's more like an ambassador for the fact that dogs can almost be human-like in their capacity to be a jerk who is ROLLING THEIR EYES at their owner.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Run Cut Short

So, today was not my day.  I set out for my 16 mile long run, and while I didn't expect it to be a New Year's Eve party, I felt like it was going to go pretty well.  I was well rested, the weather was crisp and beautiful, I had all my crap packed and ready to go the night before, etc.  And the first part of my run did go pretty well, although I was still feeling the same leg fatigue that I've been suffering with for the past few weeks.  Around mile 5 I started getting this odd twinge in my inner right thigh.  It was more annoying than painful, so I obviously kept going.  Despite feeling fatigued, I was enjoying all of the fall colors and the crunchy leaves all over the sidewalk, as well as how nice and cool the air was.  It was truly perfect running weather.

Which is why I started freaking out and getting pissed around mile 8, when this pain in my thigh started getting worse.  I stopped several times to stretch, I took walk breaks but it steadily started getting worse but I didn't want to stop since I only had about 6 miles left to go.  However, right around the beginning of mile 10, my leg sent up a "no bitch, seriously" SOS pain that just about sent me to my knees.  I stopped and leaned against a tree, and realized that I was done for the day.  There is pain that you can run through, and there is pain that is going to ruin you if you keep going.  Of course, I was about a mile away from the car, and let me tell you guys, that was a very long, painful walk back.  The pain just kept getting worse and worse, and I kept having to take breaks even from walking.  I genuinely started freaking out and wondering if this is going to be something I recover from, etc.  Plus there is nothing more rage inducing than being forced to stop a run, especially when I have to hit these higher mileage runs.

I did some Dr. Google research this afternoon and from what I'm seeing it looks like I likely have a strained adductor muscle or tendon.  Of course the treatment for it is freaking rest, which is exactly what I cannot afford to do at this point.

All during this training I've been telling Eric that I'm definitely done with full marathons after this, not because it's hard, but because I don't think my body can withstand another one.  Training for my first marathon was difficult from a mental and emotional standpoint, but that aspect is fine for me this time around.  Now it's the constant aching, the little minor pains, the plantar fasciitis flare ups and BS like this.  If you've ever seen the movie Black Swan, when I get up in the morning, it's like that scene where Natalie Portman is getting out of bed and cracking every single joint.  Everything on me cracks and pops now.  It's ironic that I had less injuries when I was really overweight!  Anyway, I will keep you guys posted.  Right now I'm still in a lot of pain but can at least get up and walk around.