Monday, June 29, 2009

WalkerRuns is Busted

I won't be running the marathon. Long story short-- tendonitis in my hamstring has gotten bad enough to prevent me from running much. PT is helping a little, but still pretty painful, and not worth risking further injury.

Call me if you want more details. I'll write more about it soon-- just kinda bummed out about it right now and trying to find other things to think about.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fresh Blood

I had a nice run last night (yay). I ran with my co-worker Lisa who's been learning to run (using the Couch-to-5k plan) and is doing her first 5k this weekend. It was a big run for her-- 30 minutes.

It was awesome to run with a non-marathoner for a change-- someone to help put things in perspective and remind me how far I've come in the last few years. I remember clearly when a 30 min run was a huge accomplishment. When a 5k was really pushing the limits of what I could do. It made me stop and appreciate what I've accomplished with my training this spring. To even think that I can attempt 20 miles this weekend is huge, and I need to take time to be proud of that, to live in the moment, not to just be thinking of it as another step towards the ultimate goal. Doing so takes a little of the pressure off.

Oh, and it was raining, which was really nice. There's something about running through the forest in a light spring rain that feels so cleansing and natural. A great way to wash away the stress and expectations that I've been hanging on myself.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Run Report

The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals
-Hal Higdon, famous marathon coach

This weekend was a step-down, just 8 miles. It was tough, though. I was just so tired. Tired from a 40 mile bike ride the day before. Tired of having my (fill in the blank with whatever body part you'd like) hurt. Tired of wondering if my body is actually going to hold up for this. Tired of not enjoying my run.

There I was on one of my favorite trails, on a beautiful Sunday morning, and I wasn't appreciating it at all, because I was running through there, not taking time to stop and enjoy the scenery, to smell the forest. So I just sat down on a log and cried. I just let it out, whatever pent up stress and worry was in there. Not a big sobby cry, just a little weep. But it felt good to just stop. To not have to run. To enjoy the smell of the trees. And then to get up and finish my run.

It felt good to have that little moment, and I felt stronger for the rest of my run. But apparently I didn't get it all out of my system. I got home and made myself and egg sandwich, and was barely able to keep my head up while eating it. I just wanted to crumple up and sleep forever. Jim was waiting for me to eat and change so we could go ride horses. I told him I needed 5 minutes to lay down. So I plopped my legs up the wall and took a few deep breaths... and started to cry again. It was just all too much. I needed rest badly. So he went on without me, and I stayed on the floor with an ice pack and watched Biggest Loser re-runs for an hour or so, and cried some more.

And then I was better. He came back and picked me up, and went for a great ride. And then I came home and had a relaxing evening at home, watched a light-hearted movie, ate lots of good food, and was in bed by 9.

It amazes me how emotional this training has been. I don't quite understand it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


As I mentioned in my last post, my music really helped give me some much-needed energy on my long run this past weekend. And, I recently got a cool cd in the mail from Cathy that has lots of good tunes for running.

My plan for the marathon is to run the first half or so without music, so that I can enjoy the sounds of others' footsteps and breathing, as well as the birds that will be singing that morning, the fans shouting encouraging words (if there are any fans up and out in the country at 6am). But I'll have my music with me so that when things start to get tougher and I'm less interested in talking, I can pop in my earbuds and get some fresh energy thru music.

I currently have about 40 songs on my mp3 player. You can now enjoy a subset of these tunes as you read my blog-- further bringing you in to the WalkerRuns experience! The Playlist at the bottom of this page will play songs from my running mix in random order-- you can play with it to change the settings, etc. Have fun with it.

Some of my running mix songs are upbeat, hip-hop songs that make me want to turn my legs over faster. Some are slow and thoughtful, helping me to reflect on the cool experience I'm having. Some remind me specifically of some of you or of specific times in my life that have been really great. These really seem to be the best-- for instance, every time Closer to Fine comes on, I think of Robyn, and can feel her good thoughts, and know that she's running with me in spirit. And "Stronger" takes me back to rockin' out with Amy on the way to ski the OSCR; the song gives me a little bit of her "can do" spirit.

I'd like to add more songs to my mix for marathon day, and I need your help. It's okay that you can't run with me on July 12. But, you can run with me in spirit by dedicating a song to my mix. Just do it like you did with radio dedications back in middle school (if you grew up in the '80's, don't even pretend like you never did that!)!

Leave a comment here telling me what song you think I'd like to hear-- so that when it comes on during my run I'll get some good energy from you! (If you're technologically impaired, call me or email me and tell me what song it is.) I'll download the song and add it to my mix for marathon day.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Good Advice

Another long run down.... 18 miles yesterday. It was pretty great, really. Not easy, but not impossible. Of course there were some aches and pains along the way, but nothing serious. Luckily my stomach issues have cleared up; my stomach still wasn't HAPPY about running, but it didn't revolt, either. Oh, and my second toes on both feet are less than thrilled-- one is especially bruised/blistered, and I'll likely lose that nail. And for a while I had a sore/tight spot in between my shoulder blades, but I did some stretching and consciously tried to relax my upper body, and that seemed to work.

I hooked up with a couple of gals that I haven't run with before, and talked with them from miles 4-ish to 10-ish. We were all going at a pretty similar pace, so it was nice to have some company. For the last several miles we weren't really into talking, but still stayed pretty close together for the rest of the run.

The last few miles took some mental strength. I gave myself rewards-- walk breaks every mile or so. And I found energy in my music (a special thanks to Cathy for sending me some new running tunes!!!). I noticed that my moods and energy levels really changed quickly-- I'd find some gumption when a new song would come on, but after a few minutes, I'd be tired again. But then a new song would come on, and I'd get a little perk again.

So, it was a successful run. I learned a little more about what it takes to just keep on going. I got another huge confidence boost knowing that I can go that far. But I was very ready to be done when I got back to the start point. The following 20 minutes of cool-down were actually more painful than the running. And actually for the next several hours my body was basically in shock-- it didn't want to eat, didn't want to stretch, or walk around, or sit in a tub of cold water (though I did all of those things).

So I can kind of imagine, but can't fully grasp, what the full marathon is going to feel like. I don't know if I can imagine going another 8.2 miles! I mean, that's about an hour and a half more. Where is that energy going to come from?!? What kinds of sensations/emotions is that going to evoke?

I called Robyn, who's been my best friend since we were 12, and who's run several marathons and 1/2 Ironman triathlons, and who's been my inspiration and source of wisdom/experience, and left a message to the effect of my ponderings above. Here's her email response:

Congrats on making it through your 18 mile run!! That's HUGE. Here's what I thought when I heard you say "I'm not really sure how in the world I will be able to run another 8.2 miles":

1. I suspect that you will get through the first 10 miles of the race purely on adrenaline. You'll be so excited and ready that it will take you that long to really settle in. That's a quick 10 miles down before you know it.

2. Yes, this is going to be hard. You knew that when you signed up. In fact, that's part of the reason you signed up. You wanted to experience the hard. The last 6 miles will be particularly difficult. Find a way to be o.k. with that NOW.

3. I encourage you to invite the pain in. The pain you will feel will be your signal that THIS is what you signed up for, THIS is why you're doing this, THIS is why so many other people do not do this, THIS is why crossing that finish line will feel so, so, so good. The pain tells you that NOW you are running a marathon. Get clear on your reasons. They are what will get you through the pain.

4. Walk breaks are your friend in your first marathon. Think relentless forward motion. Consider walking before you NEED to so that you will WANT to run longer in the latter part of the race. Focus on your goal: Crossing that finish line. Period. Walk breaks take nothing away from that goal.

5. When you find yourself getting cranky (and there's a very high chance that you will be cranky at some point.) , remember what you can control: Do you need to eat? Do you need to drink? Do you need to walk? Do you need to refocus your form? Do you need to go external and focus on the crowd, etc? Do you need to go internal and focus on a mantra? These are all things within your control that will keep you moving forward.

I have no doubt that you can do this. It will be one of the hardest, but one of the simplest things you will ever do: Just keep moving.


Thanks for the advice! You're right-- I want to know what hard is. I want to explore just how strong I can be. This will be a great opportunity to do that.

I'll be writing out my invitions to the race here soon, and will make sure to extend a special one to PAIN. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

TOTALLY Unrelated to Marathon Training

(but interesting anyway):
When I'm not training (which, really is like 99% of my life, though I think about training way more often than that!), I spend a good bit of time (say, oh about 8 hours a day) sitting at my desk.

Yesterday I was doing just that, quietly working on comments on a land use plan. I heard a faint rustling from above. And, since anything can distract me when I'm trying to think hard, I took a moment to rhetorically ponder "What was that?" But I quickly re-focused, back to my work. Then I heard the rustling again-- little scratching noises from above. It became louder and more persistent, sounding like it was coming from the air vent that's above my desk. I looked up a few times, but saw nothing.

Then a few minutes later some debris floated down onto my keyboard and desk from above. I looked up once again, and there he was-- a squirrel!

Apparently he's trapped in the ducts of our central air system. I called our admin. assistant and said, "Hey Addi, who should I call if there's a squirrel in the air system?"

"Oh my gosh!," she replied, "A squirrel?! What are you going to do?"

"Uh, I called you," I said, stating the obvious. That was the extent of my plan.

So she called the building maintenance guy Larry, who apparently called Animal Control. This was yesterday afternoon.

A little while ago I returned to my office after being out for a few hours, and noticed paint chips, duct insulation-type material (probably asbestos, as this building is really old), and other non-manmade materials (if you get my drift) scattered about my desk. Apparently my visitor had returned.

My boss decided he should get involved, use his Department Head status to help expedite the action plan. So here's his letter to Maintenance:

The squirrels are, as we speak, shoving "stuff" through the ceiling vents onto Carly's computer and desk on the second floor. Her office is becoming uninhabitable to humans. Anything we can do to speed up Animal Control? Or should I just bring in a .45 automatic and ventilate the ceiling (after evacuating the third floor, of course)?

This could be an opportunity to show off my wildlife capture & handling techniques. Too bad most of my experience is in trapping large carnivores in remote mountainous settings.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What goes up...

... must come back down.

After a few weeks of enjoying a Runner's High, I had a yucky run Sunday and have felt kinda cruddy since.

According to my schedule, I was supposed to run just 6 miles on Sunday. But I was feeling pretty good, decently rested, muscles felt good, and so I decided to run 12 miles with the Advanced Marathon Plan folks. My justification was something along the lines of 12 is still shorter than 16 or 18, so it's a bit of a break, not increasing my distance from last week, and thus giving me a bit of a rest week and since I missed the 14 miler a few weeks ago, it sure wouldn't hurt to do 12 this weekend and we're running the trails on up into the Rattlesnake Recreation area, and so it'll be a fun route and totally gorgeous, so I want to run farther.

All good rationale. And I felt decently good for the first 4-5 miles (except for being bummed that Patricia wasn't there to run with (turns out she showed up late)). But around 5 miles in my stomach started feeling yucky. And continued to feel bad the rest of the run.

Which began a whole host of other issues to whine about, including (but not limited to) the following thoughts:

this trail's really rocky and uneven and I'm not used to this and my hips are getting sore and ow, I just stepped on another damn rock! and who the hell puts trails in rocky places anyway?

it's 9:30 in the morning and already friggin hot; we should start our runs earlier; who are the whiny crybabies who don't want to get up early on a Sunday morning so we don't have to run in the heat?

I could just get up and run by myself earlier; not like I'm running with anybody right now anyway, 'cause they're all faster than me

why do I do this anyway? so I can get constantly reminded of how slow I am? why am I so slow? how come I can't run faster? how do those other people run so much faster? this sucks.

i'm cranky. i'm having a bad run. i hate having bad runs, they make me cranky. maybe i'll listen to music to cheer me up (turn on music; flip through several songs) all these songs are stupid. i'll just listen to the birds. oh wait, no good birds anymore becuase it's too damn hot, and all i can hear is my breath and my footsteps running over these stupid rocks anyway.

crap, I have to poo again. third time on this run (fourth time for the day), and I used all my tp on the first one. so yay, more wiping with leaves. did I mention that this run sucks?

I hope Anders isn't still waiting there at the 3 mile mark with the aid station. I'm so far behind everyone, it's embarassing. I'm always one of the last ones, which is bad enough, but I'm especially slow today what with my poo breaks, rolling my ankle on a stupid rock and having to walk for a while, having to walk up the stupid hills 'cause they're kicking my butt, and having to walk down the other side 'cause running down jostles my stomach too bad and makes it more upset. yeah, I hope he's given up and gone on back to the trailhead.

oh but he better still be there, I want some cold water.

okay, there he is. (grab some water, say thanks for waiting, continue on) just 3 more miles to go. that's not far. no big deal, Self, you can do that. oh, but if someone were to offer me a ride back to my car, I'd totally take it.

oh really? would you? is that what training for a race is all about-- getting a ride when things get tough? why don't you quit whining and dig down and find some guts and keep on running.

oh, I have guts. they're about to come right up. Yeah, I think I'd feel better if I could puke. at least then I wouldn't feel so bad about being whiny, I'd have a legitimate reason for feeling like a wuss.

(no puking occurs, but I contine to walk/run the remaining 3 miles, feeling like crud the whole way) okay, almost back. go grab some snacks and chat with the other runners. oh, but look, they're all leaving right as I get here. probabaly better-- now I don't have to pretend I like running.

Ah, what the mind can do when the body is slightly unhappy. And vice versa, in a very circular way that's hard to discern which is driving which.

All I know is that the run sucked. But an hour after I finished it, I was at the running store turning in my Marathon Registration Form and money.

Yep, I'm sick.

No really, I am kinda sick... my tummy's still not really happy. I left work early yesterday and went home and slept a lot, and I still don't feel great today. Not bad, but not great. Like I have a little bug that I'm fighting. (is it a bug, or is it the Grumpy Worm?)

Who knows. Luckily, in my world of Funky Fysics, what goes down must eventually come back up. So hopefully I'll be able to get fully rested and recovered this week, and be ready to rock out 18 miles (on a gravel road, not a rocky trail) this coming Sunday.