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About Me

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  1. I recently read my Top 5 Running Highlights of 2017 when searching for my yearly mileage history list. I was correct when I noted in that post that 2017 would be hard to top! My 2018 running wasn't quite what I wanted, but I have a lot to be thankful for. My Instagram Top 9 wasn't far off! My Highlights Were: With 3,047 miles, I ran my highest yearly mileage ever, surpassing my 2017 mileage by 4 miles (the 2017 mileage was a huge yearly mileage PR). I had 8 weeks of mileage in the 80s, which before this year I had only done for 1 week, in 2017. All other "normal" training weeks were in the 60s-70s; the weeks that were not that high were when I was tapering, recovering, injured, or returning from injury - the majority of those when I was healthy were in the 50s, but several were big fat zeros when I was injured. I am pretty pumped that I managed a yearly mileage PR with 8 weeks of downtime, and I know I can improve it next year if I don't get injured. I counted my AlterG treadmill miles in this total, which feels a little like cheating, but I did run the distance so I'm keeping them (my outside miles are around 160 less). I ran a huge 10K PR. Everything really came together for the Plaza 10K even though I did not rest for it or do any 10K-specific training. Although I was extremely disappointed that my fall season was cut short, I am so thankful that I got this race in before I got injured. I was thrilled to better my track best on a rolling road course, but more importantly it really showed me how well my body responded to consistent higher mileage training (higher mileage is all relative, I know 70-80 is nothing for some but it is the most I've ever done). I'd been targeting running a 36:59 10K for over a year, but I really never thought I'd be able to run a 36:34 on the road. I ran two solid marathons. Although I did not accomplish my time goal in Houston, it was a great experience and I'm glad I went for it. I am proud to say that my complete bonk/bad day marathon there was a 2:54. Grandma's wasn't what I dreamed of when I selected the race, but based on how terrible I felt for most of the build up, I am proud that I pulled off a 2:49:08, my second fastest marathon. I sure hope I have more in me as far as marathon PRs go, but regardless I sure enjoy the training process and the races! I set two Missouri single age state records, in the half marathon at Rock the Parkway and the 12K at the Big 12 12K. Neither are great times, but they are currently the best a 37-year-old female in Missouri has managed. I bombed nearly every run in the months leading up to those races, so even though I don't think I ran good times, I do think I ran really well compared to how I was performing in training. I persisted. In February, March, and April I had an illness and a slump (which was extra hard since I was coming off of several break-through performances in fall 2017), but I raced beyond what my training said I should have in everything I raced for the first 6 months of the year. I was injured in September, but I did everything I could to strengthen my weaknesses and to return to training. I learned. I learned how much consistent mileage helps my race times. I learned to be more cautious about running when sick, and about running and racing on potential injuries. I re-learned just how much I love the sport and how empty I feel without it. I learned that my running friends mean the world to me. I re-prioritized. My biggest goal is to run for the rest of my life. This is more important than any PR. That doesn't mean my Big Goal (2:45:00 marathon) has changed, just that it's decidedly second on the list, at best. I was more thankful. I still have a ways to go in this arena, but I did better. I've always been pretty bad about wanting more and more, in running and in other aspects of my life. Looking back, I haven't appreciated many milestones and PRs because I was already onto my next goal. The first time I broke 3:00 in the marathon, I left the finish chute ecstatic but also thinking, "I can run faster." I distinctly remember waiting for my flight at the Phoenix airport following my break-through 2:49 marathon emailing my coach saying I wanted to train for a 2:45, instead of relishing in the post-race high. I wasn't nearly as happy about my 2:47 at CIM as I should have been, because it wasn't "enough" compared to a very specific cut-off time. I regret that I didn't savor those moments, but this year I found more joy in my performance at Grandma's Marathon than in any of those marathons, even though it wasn't a PR. I really let myself ride a high after my PR at the Plaza 10K. I do want more, but if I never get more I will still find great joy in the process. I am more thankful than ever now. I helped others. Whenever someone tells me that I helped them, I am reminded why I was given my passion for running. I typically don't realize I'm doing it, but whether it's by answering running questions, giving training advice, encouraging others, inviting someone to join our group runs, listening to my friends when we run together, helping my local running club, or making individualized training schedules for friends free of charge, I have opportunities to give back often. That has to be why God made me a runner. I know I'll remember all of the people that running has brought into my life more than I'll remember any PR; however... Bring on 2019 training blocks and goal races! I have a long way to go to get back to my best fitness, but I'm ready to try!
  2. Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether to toe the line or DNS. It can be even harder to know when a DNF would be the best call. I now know I should have made the first choice about the Indy Women’s Half Marathon, but if I had to start the race again I would have made the second choice, pride and other considerations aside. But I’m getting ahead of myself... Expo fun After I PRed at the Plaza 10K at the beginning of the month, I felt really good about trying for a half PR in Indy. Typically I don’t have to slow down much from a 10K to a half; last year my differential between the 2017 Plaza 10K and the 2017 Indy Women’s half was 8 seconds/mile. To hit my big goal time of sub-1:20 at Indy, I could slow down about 14 seconds/mile from what I ran at this year's Plaza. I felt really good about going for that, and thought if the weather was good and I could get in a fast pack that 1:18:59 would be realistic. Starting about 10 days before the race, I felt a niggle in my calf (another post coming with full details about this). Initially it was too tiny to even worry about, and loosened up after a few blocks or at most a mile into my runs, but 6 days before the race it started getting worse and I started worrying. I did not enjoy my runs like usual during race week, because I was worried that my body was betraying me. I also had a short but intense stomach bug on Tuesday during race week that certainly didn’t do my recovery or body as a whole any favors. I had ART for my calf twice during race week, hoping for relief. I really vacillated on whether or not I should start the race, and had pretty much backed out, but the lightened up mileage of race week had me feeling like a race horse and I became optimistic that I could race and then take a few days off afterward to address the issue. On Thursday morning I told my parents my decision to race, since they were traveling to my home that day to leave for Indy with me on Friday morning. When I went in for ART on Thursday evening my coach told me he did not think racing on it would make it worse or that it would jeopardize CIM in any way, so I felt validated in my decision. He didn’t even think I’d need time off afterward as I expressed. He said it was a minor strain to my peroneus longus, a stabilizing muscle on the outside of the calf. I also rationalized it away by deciding that if this turned into a season-ending injury, I would be happy that I went to Indy to go for a PR because I might never get to my current fitness level again. Worst case scenario, I wanted a last hurrah. Throughout this time, my instincts were screaming at me: “Don’t do it! This is a bad idea!” I wouldn’t listen; I told myself I would power through the pain, mind over matter. I was honored to be featured as one of the Five Women to Watch in the race, but this honor also greatly contributed to my stubbornness about a DNS. I was already printed in the race program; what a loser I would be for pulling out last-minute. The weather forecast was also perfect for racing, at 50* and light wind (bad weather would have made pulling out much easier). This was NOT the photo I submitted to be published, & IS the worst photo of me from the 2017 event...not sure what happened there, but it disappointed me Starting photo from 2017 - can you find me? Posing with bib #3 My sweet mom My sweet dad Race morning my calf hurt on my warm up, but I was used to the feeling from the week before. It wasn’t terrible and I figured I’m just power through. Prior to this race, I'd never really tried to race with an injury so didn't know the reality of your body simply not allowing it to happen, no matter what your mind says. As the race started, adrenaline took over, and I told myself, “See, you’ll be fine.” I could tell I was running tentatively but thought maybe it would warm up more and I could speed up then; I wanted to go out conservatively and negative split anyhow. I felt like I was in my own little world, just me and my calf, not like I was in a race; although I knew by mile 3 I’d moved up to 5th place in the all women's field. I looked at my first 3 splits and then stopped checking them, disheartened, because my leg wasn't working right. Trying to stay optimistic pre-race Start By mile 4 I was limping. I couldn’t focus on racing or the women ahead of me; all I could think about was my leg. I tried changing my stride slightly, varied my foot-strike, anything for some relief, but nothing helped. I went back and forth between telling myself “this was a terrible idea” and “you’re going to be just fine, it’s just getting warmed up, just don't think about it.” My body was fine otherwise; I wasn't putting out a race effort, which was discouraging. I kept telling myself to toughen up; to just power through. Mind over matter. Make that leg work; force it to feel normal. I made it through the halfway turn around in a solid 5th place. I knew by that point that my sought after PR was for sure out the window, but I hoped I could stay in the top 5. By mile 7 I was becoming increasingly concerned about my calf, and by mile 8 I was truly dragging my left leg along. My body kept saying, “just stop” but my mind wouldn’t listen. I thought about my seeded race ranking. I thought about my parents who’d traveled to watch me. I thought about how this could be my last run for awhile...what if this was my last race ever?! Mid-race By mile 10 I was truly worried my leg was going to give out with each step. My body begged me to stop, and my mind acquiesced that I would if I couldn’t hang on to a top 10 spot. I stumbled along, and a slight decline in mile 11 truly made my leg scream (had this course not been so flat I would certainly not have finished). At mile 12 I was still in 5th but I could tell someone was coming up on me. I knew I’d have no response when I was passed. She blew by me like I was standing still, and I figured several more were coming, but there was nothing I could do, and I was so close I knew I'd finish even if I crawled it in. Effort-wise I felt like I was out for an easy run, but my leg was shooting pain and wouldn’t move any faster. My positive splits told the story of my increasing discomfort. I was so relieved to see the finish line ahead; I was going to make it in. It's funny how adrenaline carried me to the line but not a step farther. I had no idea what my time would be, but it didn’t matter at that point. I crossed in 1:24:18 and immediately broke into tears. If I’d just had an off day and run this time it would have been quite disappointing, but it wouldn’t have shaken me in my pursuit of a marathon PR; my recent 10Ks showed me my fitness was at an all-time high. I cried because at that moment I was certain my season was over. I got my last hurrah race but I couldn’t show my fitness in it. I was too stubborn to quit but not stubborn enough to over-ride my own body; I couldn’t force my leg to be okay. Exactly how I felt photo 1 Exactly how I felt photo 2 Finally! Hindsight is 20/20, and I should have listened to my own body and head instead of what others told me. The whole week my gut told me no. I prayed about it and thought God told me no. I did it anyway. I was wrong. But I also didn’t know until I knew, and by then the damage was done. Post-race I couldn't walk without holding onto someone or something. My cool down mileage wasn’t an option, and my dad ended up walking to the car and coming back to pick me up. To add injury to injury, my poor mom tripped and fell while trying to get from the start to a spot a few blocks away where we would later run by. She scraped and bruised her face, broke her glasses, and bruised up her knee and body. I was just sick about this happening to her; I felt like it was all my fault for not staying at home in Missouri like I clearly should have. Instead of having fun in Indy post-race, we headed home since we both couldn't really walk. Most of the top 10, in no particular order Winnings We both visited the med tent for ice! I’m thankful I was able to finish, even though I shouldn’t have. I’m thankful I held on to 6th (video of the awards here; official results here). Happiness is based on happenings, but joy is based on Jesus. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t very unhappy, but I am aiming to choose joy. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9 Going from running 80 miles a week to 0 is a huge mind-trip, but I know that is what I have to do until I'm pain-free. I’m not going to do anything to risk permanent damage. As much as I want to run CIM 2018 in 2:44:59, I want to run for the rest of my life so much more. The good news is that I've had significant improvements every day post-race, and no longer fear that this is season-ending (plus I was able to go to work on Monday then walk across the Missouri State campus to teach on Tuesday, both of which I'd been quite concerned about!). I didn't know I shouldn't have run until I did...now, I know. Post-race meal at Texas Roadhouse Fitting rest stop on the drive to the race 2 days after the race while I was on the spin bike my cat knocked my award on my workout room floor...it felt sadly symbolic
  3. This guy is the source of my misery. I think I hate him. Hello and happy hump day to you! My July running results are in and I finished with 96 miles, down 1 mile from June. Why didn’t I run 4 more and get an even 100?! I started August off with a 6 mile run that included 4 pretty fast miles. The splits were 7:21, 7:13. 7:19 and 7:17. I’m happy with those times, but a little unhappy with just how hard I had to work to get them. Back in November, I was dropping 10 mile tempos at slightly better paces than today’s and with relative ease. Yes, the weather was substantially better, but still. I know this is crying over spilled milk (or torn Achilles tendons), but it’s really hard not to have negative feelings about losing what I’d worked so hard to gain. I’m progressing and I know that. I have great friends that are encouraging me and pushing me to get back. I want to race and I don’t want to race. I know there’s joy to be found in just showing up and experiencing races, but that’s not how I’ve been wired. I need to compete. I compete with other runners. I compete with myself. I PR or blow up trying. I can’t compete with last year Randy right now and it frustrates me. I’m hoping that some of you can relate and maybe you’ll know what to say. For now, I’ll keep grinding. I’ll keep waking up before 5am and swimming through the swampfest that is summertime. I’m sure a time will come when I don’t have to work so hard for a fast pace. I haven’t lost hope yet. Thanks for letting me whine and complain. It’s good to have a place to do that. Maybe I can compare myself to 6 months ago me instead. I’m WAY faster than that guy! Do you even run, Bro?
  4. Hello and good morning! I didn’t plan on posting anything today, but I have stuff on the brain and I need advice. My post title song will probably be in my head (and your heads) all day now. I hope I don’t sing it where I can be heard. The reason for today’s title is related to where I am with my Achilles recovery and my relationship with running. I’m having good days and I’m having bad ones. I have runs where I feel almost normal and there’s pep in my step and no limit to how many miles I feel like I can run. I also have runs where I look down at my watch and say, “that can’t be right.” Fortunately, none of the runs involve any pain associated with my injury. Last week, after one of those “good” runs, I started to think seriously about a training plan. A marathon training plan at that. Sounds good Randy, just skip over those silly half marathons and get right to it. Sink or swim, baby. So this morning I had one of those “not so good” runs. I felt like I was giving plenty of effort. My heart rate was up nice and high. My watch told me otherwise. The idea of working on a training plan didn’t seem quite so exciting anymore. I know for a fact that I’m caught up in the excitement of so many of the plans of my runner friends. People are signing up for their goal races and excitedly making plans. I’ve been there. It’s a great place to be. I want to be there, badly. I think maybe I want to be there so much that I’ll ignore any reasons not to be there. Once I start a training plan, I won’t quit it and I’ll rarely deviate. No matter what. Is that what I want? Is that what I really, really want?
  5. OK Loopsters, I wrote this late last week and once again I've slacked in sharing it with the Loop. Please forgive me. I hope you'll read it anyway. I have other posts since the last, but I don't want to unload them all at once. If you want to know more about weeks 17-19, look here. Happy Friday! Yes, I know it’s Thursday but it’s a Friday for me. I swear I’m not trying to rub it in everyone’s faces even though that’s EXACTLY what I seem to be doing. My bad. This week is my first official week where I get to run miles, as opposed to minutes. Tuesday was the first day of running miles since December 13th, I’ll always remember that date. At first, I wanted to run with people and kind of celebrate but then I decided that I just kind of wanted to be alone in the dark. Running has felt a little strange, but I think my form stayed pretty normal. My “baby calf” (that’s what I’ve named my weakened calf on the injured side) held up okay for the first mile but started to tire a little in the 2nd. My lungs haven’t felt the strain of distance running in quite sometime and that’s noticeable. None of that matters. I RAN 2 MILES. I really was that excited. I need to rewind a bit. On Saturday, there was a wedding! A great wedding at that. My friends Michael and Brooke (both runners) tied the knot and several of the running buddies were there to celebrate the day. I think we did a pretty great job of it. Runners are good, fun people. Robbie and I went Rocky IV. My darling wife (a non-runner, soccer player type) did a pretty good job of putting up with us. I think she had a good time too. We even danced (horribly, me at least). These pictures capture us well, I think. Okay, back to the running stuff. So last week, I said that I hoped to run with friends and have some coffee. Well, I did. Missed this more than I can say. This was a great run. Even my non-runner (soon to be runner) work buddy Cody aka Lil Code showed up. 3 miles was the longest he’d ever run and he did GREAT. I really didn’t have any trouble getting 3 miles done and even picked it up to a about a 6:40/mile pace for the last quarter mile or so. I got that sweet, sweet runner’s high. My baby calf is a little sore now, but it’s nowhere near my repaired tendon and feels completely like muscle fatigue. I look at it as feeding that baby calf until it grows into a strong bull. I mustered up the energy to train at lunch time and do some strength training. I still need to get these glutes firing! Well, that’s it for this week. Soon enough, I won’t be titling my posts with post Achilles surgery anything. I’ll have to get more creative. Hope you all have a great weekend, whenever it may start.
  6. Hello! This week’s title isn’t from a song and it isn’t from a movie. It doesn’t matter, BECAUSE I RAN!!!! It was only 4×1 minute intervals, but it was a runner’s high to the nth power! Pure joy. We’ll get to more of that, but I’ll also take the time to recap my week. Thursday night was the home opener for our hometown high A baseball team, the Lynchburg Hillcats. I was very happy to attend the game. I froze my butt off, but there isn’t much prettier than a ball park on a home opener. Friday, I ran 2 miles on an Alter G treadmill. It’s basically a treadmill with an isolated chamber below the waist that pressurizes to “lift you up” and reduce your effective body weight. If you’d like a better description, I posted about it last week (read here). That was a great experience, but I won’t be needing the Alter G anymore. On Saturday, I ran walked the Point of Honor 5k. My good friend and runemy Jeremy walked with me. Jeremy brought donuts, so we ate more than we burned off during the 5k. We stuck to Olympic race-walking rules and never once had both feet off of the ground. Jeremy managed to edge me out by 1 second. I think he meant to do that! The girls dominated, both the race AND the picture. It was really great to be out with the running community of Lynchburg again in a race environment. Walking wasn’t SO bad. Luckily, this might be the only race that I have to walk because….I RAN TODAY. We also went out for a little post race gathering, where there was beer, trash talk and plans for the running future. The tough guy look is for you, Preston Evans. So that covers most of the week, but I saved the best part for last. Today I had a physical therapy appointment and THEY LET ME RUN! I’m using a TruForm treadmill, which unlike most treadmills, doesn’t have a motor. You have to power it yourself like a hamster would. The good part is that it sort of forces you to run more with your glutes and hamstrings. The bad part is that it sort of forces you to run more with your glutes and hamstrings. img_3644 Share 0 0:00 / 0:17 HDEnable HD Quality Enable HD Quality Enable Fullscreen Mode Did I mention that I RAN?! I was allowed 4×1 minute intervals (as I said earlier), but they felt SO GOOD. I really didn’t struggle much at all with the fact that I had a torn achilles. Everything felt very natural. I managed to speed up to around a 7:00 mile pace and it felt great! It’s been 16 weeks, 4 days and now about 19 hours since the injury occurred. I’ve been staying positive and working hard all to build up to today. I’m as happy as I’ve been in a long time. I have so many people to thank (and God too). So many friends (both “real life” and “internet”) have said things to inspire me and to keep me focused. I thank you all so much. I don’t want to get all sappy, but you all mean a lot to me. My physical therapists have been amazing too. They inspired confidence and trust and they have been tough on me when I need it. I’m not done working yet. I have a 5 phase plan that started today and if all goes well, I’ll be through it in 2 weeks. Then I get to really run, but with mileage limitations. Based on today, I KNOW I’m going to crush what’s left to be done and get fully cleared for takeoff. Maybe I’ll see you at the next race.
  7. Sooooooo, I'll admit that I've been slacking in my Loop posts. I write my blog on https://runeatralph.wordpress.com/ and I sometimes neglect putting them here right away and then I don't want to bombard the Loops with WEEKS worth of injury talk all at once. So, if you'd like to read more, now you know where to go. Happy Friday, everyone! I know all Fridays are good Fridays, but this Friday is an especially Good Friday. Last week’s post title was a quote from the movie Rocky IV, but nobody responded. That’s too bad, because the prize was an ice cream cake. Well, better luck next time. Most (or all) of my post titles come from SOMETHING and sometimes somebody gets them but some have gone unnoticed or unanswered. I’ll list the answers now below: Week 14, 3/25/18 – Rocky IV Week 13, 3/16/18 – The Jerk Week 12, 3/9/18 – Tom Petty Week 11, 3/2/18 – Daft Punk (or Kanye West) Week 10, 2/22/18 – Guns N’ Roses Week 9, 2/15/18 – Weezer Week 8, 2/8/18 – Rage Against the Machine (or the movie Braveheart, I guess) There are more, but this is enough. I’m too lazy to finish all the way back to week 1. If you think you have a prize coming, have your people contact my people and we’ll figure it out (clearly I don’t really give prizes). As far as my injury goes, I feel great! I feel “normal” even. The biggest issue is stiffness when I wake up in the morning, or when I sit around for a while. I also have a tendency to get the “pins and needles” sleepy feeling a little quicker than the other foot. I’m pretty sure I can run right now. I’m also pretty sure that I won’t risk it until the PTs say the word. I’ll go full Ricky Bobby as soon as I’m told I can. My PT sessions are mostly workouts now, like the kinds of workouts that can make you sweat. Lots of ladder drills and lots of single leg balance type stuff. The Bosu is THE DEVIL. It’s amazing how much improvement can be made by just repeating things though. The first day on the Bosu I could barely handle a few seconds (even on my “good” leg) but now I’m managing 15 seconds or so on either leg. This week’s biggest milestone is that I can JUMP. I seem to favor my good leg a bit and I’m not sure why. I’m really not afraid. I trust my PTs and I trust my tendon. It’s either subconscious or my body is just used to being a bit one-legged. I’m still required to do 5 single leg heel raises that can achieve the same height as my other leg before I’m allowed to run. That’s coming soon, I know it to be true. Those boxes will all be checked off soon enough. I’ve loved wearing this shirt to keep me motivated. The bottom right 4 mile run is from my last run on December 13. I don’t even remember it because I didn’t think it was a significant run at the time. Who would have thought it would be my last one for several months? Lesson learned. Don’t take ANYTHING for granted. The shirt and its message have been part of my life for what feels like forever. I’m excited that soon it will simply be a souvenir from tougher times. Happy Easter, friends.
  8. Good morning! The title of this week’s post comes from a song (of course) that always has me thinking back to my Navy deployment days. It was quite popular overseas. This shirt should have at least one check mark now. The title of this week’s post is relevant because it’s about how I’m feeling right now. My PT is going very well. I think so. My PTs think so too. I’m able to do a few more things this week. I’m lifting weights more often. I’m rowing. I hit the pool. I even started using kettlebells for the last 2 weeks. I’m seriously getting my butt kicked with just basic kettlebell swings. There are a ton of benefits to doing them, that’s for sure. After just a few circuits, I’m a sweaty puddle on the floor. I’ll be back again someday. There have been several noticeable improvements to my overall fitness. I didn’t do before and after measurements of my guns or anything, but when I do my usual flex-off in the mirror they do look a little bigger (I don’t REALLY do that). My balance and stability seem better. Body weight exercises seem a bit easier. Way back when I first got hurt, I wrote that I would come back better and stronger. I’ll be honest when I tell you that there have been times during these 11 long weeks that I haven’t wasn’t so sure. I feel like I’ve passed through the worst of it and I see the beautiful light at the end of the tunnel. My confidence is growing every single week. The little exercises that were SO challenging are becoming easier and easier. My limp is just about gone, other than when I push a little hard at PT or at the gym. I signed up for a 5k in April! I have promised that I won’t get any sort of last minute competitive fire and overdo it. I will WALK it. I walked a 1/2 mile this morning on the treadmill to “get ready” for it. 🙂 Competitive fire. My confidence is so high right now. It’s not a matter of “if”. It’s a matter of “when”. My goal is seriously to PR within 6 months of being a full time runner again. It sounds aggressive and maybe it is. The way I see it, my body knows how to run and it knows what it takes to run hard. When this is all over, I’ll have spent many weeks improving the things that my body DIDN’T know how to do. Thanks again for all of the help you’ve given with advice and encouragement. It means a lot. I can’t say that enough. I do need help with one more thing…we need to figure out which race I’ll run to get my PR!
  9. Good morning! Today’s title is a tougher song from one of my favorite bands, maybe even my FAVORITE band. There will be some serious kudos for whoever comes up with it and I might even send a prize. WARNING: It might be something I find around the house. It’s been quite an eventful week. Driving is pretty much normal now, so Lynchburg no longer needs to live in fear. Rehab has gone well, although I have an infection at the incision. It isn’t gross, but it’s pretty red. I was given some antibiotics that aren’t quite doing the job, so I’ll be going back tomorrow for another look. My rehab consists mainly of standing on one leg, riding a bike with little to no resistance, sliding a towel around on the floor and then getting work done on it. I’m really lucky to have great PTs with their office at my work. My workouts have been pretty good. I’m actually getting stronger. I do lots of lifting using machines and I’m still hitting that armbike or sometimes the assault bike pretty hard. I’m working with a trainer to use kettle bells too! That started today and I’m very excited about strengthening my “posterior chain” as they say. Big milestone for this week: I was able to walk down the stairs like a normal person. Sounds trivial, but just a week ago it felt impossible. I REALLY miss what running does for me though. I can’t get the endorphins anywhere else. I can’t burn the calories anywhere else. I can’t feel that satisfaction anywhere else, and I can’t get my heart rate up anywhere else. I finally broke down and started dreaming about running. In the dream, I knew I’d been injured but was able to start running again. It felt great and so real! Sadly, when I woke up I forgot for just a split second that I couldn’t run. It was fun while it lasted. This is pretty much the dream. Not all is lost though. I got this amazing and awesome BibRave BOCO Gear hat in the mail as one of the many perks for being a BibRave Pro. What is that about you might ask? If you’re a runner and you like being involved with the running community, you like races and you like FREE STUFF, you can read about my take on it here. That hat is a cloud for my head. So soft. I’ve found other ways to be entertained while I can’t run. I still have beer. I don’t have a problem. YOU have a problem. The beer on the top left was an imperial stout infused with some pasilla chili. This beer actually had some KICK. I joked that it was like drinking your beer AND your wings. It was surprisingly good though. EvilTwin Brewing has several good products. The bottom left beer is my go to. It’s a nitro beer, so it’s creamy and thick, but this one isn’t dark like a Guinness. It’s more of a typical ale as most Americans are used to. It’s smooth and yummy. The growlers on the right were filled at my new favorite brewery, 3rd Street Brewing in Farmville, VA. They have great beers and a great atmosphere. When I’m able to run again, I plan to run on the High Bridge Trail and end my runs with a beer (or two). I got the Porter and the IPA this time. That joy is real. I also found one last beer that I brought back from my trip to run the Rehoboth Beach marathon. I guess I’d forgotten about it. My race went horribly, but I celebrated well. I met some great runners that are even better friends. The beer brought back memories of fun times. Dream running is pretty nice and for now, that’s all I’ve got. I’m working hard to get back to real running as soon as I can. I have great support from my friends and from my trainers/PTs. It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when”.
  10. Hello! I can’t believe it’s been 8 weeks. As you know, I’ve tried to stay optimistic and most of the time I have been. There have been long days and frustrations here and there, but for the most part I’ve done my best to find little goals and keep my head up. Two shoes! The little goals and milestones are nice, but today I hit a BIG ONE. I said bye bye bye to the boot…permanently. I didn’t really throw the boot away, because #1 that would be a waste of I don’t even know how much money I paid for that thing. Secondly, I might have bad days or setbacks and need it again. It’s going out to the car. Happy to see this view again. Speaking of the car….I drove today!!! I really missed driving. I’ve been like a 14 year old for the last 8 weeks. I needed rides everywhere. Thank you to everyone that shuttled me around. Of course this was the first place I went. It was a free coffee too! I tested out my driving ability before work by going out for a cup of coffee. Some of my running buddies were awesome enough to go for a run early enough to meet with me for coffee! I really do have some great people in my life. Speaking of great people in my life, I’m especially happy that my poor wife can quit having to change her life and schedule around to get me where I need (or want) to be. I took some ridicule from co-workers for this chair. I bought a kneeling chair! These things are supposed to help with posture and help keep your back right and your core engaged. I brought it in to use at work and so far I love it. My co-workers did not, but that’s ok. I’ll be laughing when they’re all hunched over (not really, maybe). I had an unexpected PT appointment today (my 2nd one for the week). Somebody canceled and I got squeezed in. I really can’t do much right now. We do some easy bike riding, some balancing and some sliding around on a towel with one foot. I also get a calf/Achilles rub down. Even that part hurts. I’m happy to get to work though. Every day of PT is another day closer to getting on a treadmill. To top everything off, today is my “Friday” Thursday (I have every other Friday off). Life is pretty good right about now.
  11. I’m starting this post at night, which isn’t my usual thing but my wife is having a girl’s night tonight and I’m just kind of sitting here alone so why not. I’ve been extremely optimistic for these first several weeks since my injury. That’s mainly because optimism seems to be embedded in my DNA, but also because I’m a firm believer that an optimistic healer is a fast healer. With January came many runners setting many goals. So many of you are committing to races and getting ready. So many of you are looking great while doing it. You’re crushing your training runs, you’re setting PRs. You’re excited for what you’re about to take on and you’re hopeful that you’ll succeed. I’m happy for all of you and enjoy seeing every bit of it, but also I don’t, and I’m not. This no running thing is taking its toll on me. I go to the gym and I see runners on the treadmill and I want to be one of them. My current choices are the armbike or riding the assault bike with one leg. Those aren’t running, that’s for sure. I really will be fine. There are sure to be ups and downs with this process. I don’t want any of you to stop talking to me about running. I love running and I love runners. Maybe I just need to whine a little. I’m also thinking about what running will be for me when I finally get back to it. Can I pick up where I left off? Can I still set PRs and chase Boston? Will I have to get used to being a fun runner? I know this is temporary and I know I’ll be back (at least somewhat). Recovery feels far away and uncertain tonight. Maybe a cup of coffee with my running friends tomorrow morning will be just what I need. Thanks for listening.
  12. Good morning! I wrote this one almost 2 weeks ago and forgot to post it here. I blame my work computer. Why can't it be loopsters.org friendly??? I titled last week’s post with a “Week 5” in it, then quickly realized that it had in fact only been 4 weeks. That was a temporary bummer. That happens to me every once in a while on a run where I somehow think I’ve run more miles than I have. That can be a bit of a mental obstacle. On the other hand, it’s awesome when you have less miles left than you think you do. I took out yet another heel insert to stretch out the tendon and only have one left! I’m getting used to the process and really didn’t have much pain this time around. That’s a plus. I’ve been going to the gym about 3 times a week. Lots of handbike. Soooooo much handbike. I’m lifting some weights too and that’s certainly something I can use. One thing I’m pretty excited about is that I’ll be incorporating TRX (the stuff with the straps) into my workouts. There’s a ton of stability and core strength involved and every runner can stand to improve those areas. They’ll help a ton with the progress of my rehab too. I received my BibRave stuff in the mail this week! It’s one of the perks of committing to staying involved with the running community as a BibRave Pro. I test and review gear for runners and run and review races (that part will have to come later). Anyone can sign up and get involved by reviewing races and connecting with other runners. It’s great to have the opinions of other runners when researching your next big race. Lastly, I’m still involved with my running buddies. They are STILL picking me up for coffee and checking in with me to make sure I haven’t lost my mind yet. I’m hanging in there hehe. My #1 runemy Robbie did an awesome thing for me and brought me a shirt that he had made for me yesterday. We were talking about staying motivated during my rehab and the idea came up. He went and did it for me. I’m looking forward to getting this tendon fixed and racing Robbie again. Well, that’s about it for this week (now last week). I’m STILL being positive and I’m setting the smallest of goals for myself. Maybe I should make a paper chain to lay out the milestones or something. How’s everybody else doing this week? Are you spending your winter running outside or hitting that treadmill?
  13. I forgot to put this up right away, so it's a little dated (like a week) but sadly most of it still applies. Hello! I’m so excited to post this and I just couldn’t wait until Saturday/Sunday when I usually update my recovery. However, I had my first appointment with the surgeon since the surgery way back on December 16th. I’ve been doing what I can in the gym at least 3 days a week. I started doing a little TRX, which is pretty hard on the core muscles. They are engaged most of the time while my feet are suspended in the straps. Hard. Work. I’m STILL hitting that armbike! Soon enough, I’ll be sporting some major runner’s arms. Bonus points for a fellow Navy guy. Wednesday I took my last insert out of my boot. It was great to walk around a little more normally with both of my legs close to the same length. That was nice. The stretchy pain that I had with the removal of the first two inserts didn’t happen the last two times. The inserts were tough. I couldn’t find a size 12.5 high heel for the other foot. Today was the doctor’s appointment. I was so excited to have news. Any news. Good. Bad. Anything. Usually, I have a million questions and then I totally blank when the time comes. This time, Jen and I remembered pretty much everything! Here’s a recap: I’m off the crutches! I do still need them a little, but I’m supposed to toughen up and quit them. I will. I got my referral for PT, which means it’s time to get to work! I can start swimming as soon as my incision scab goes bye bye. I get to take off my boot! For now, I can walk around the house without it but need to wear it outside for 2 more weeks. I can live with that. I can attempt to drive in 2 weeks! I’ll make it happen. Two legged showers! I didn’t even ask about running. I don’t even want to think about it. Right now, walking is SO awkward. It’s both physical AND mental. I don’t trust it and it’s still so stiff. It’s a really strange feeling to try and use something that has been destroyed and rebuilt. I get why the rehab process takes so long. I have a long way to go. Baby steps… For now, I’m continuing to set little goals and celebrate them. Today’s appointment was huge for me, so I celebrated by sitting around without a boot and drinking an amazing beer. Freeeeeeeeeeedooommmmmmmmm! I know I’m going to have tough weeks ahead. Not this week though.
  14. This week’s title inspiration is too easy. I think there’s more than one right answer as to where it comes from. After last week’s post, I wasn’t sure I was going to write about my progress every week. I didn’t think I’d have enough to write about. I wasn’t sure how motivated I’d be either. This Achilles recovery is a lot like a marathon itself. If I start thinking about how many weeks I have to go, it’s going to take forever. I have to take it one week at a time. I have to set little goals and find little things to be excited about. This week there has been some progress and with that some pain. The first part of my recovery involves keeping the tendon stabilized in a boot. The tendon is kept in short a position as possible and this is done by using heel inserts in my boot to raise my heel up around 4-5 inches. Each week, 1/4 of the insert is removed and this allows the tendon to slowly stretch out. That’s where the pain comes in… I took out the first part of the insert on Wednesday night. Prior to that, I was walking around fairly pain-free and taking Ibuprofen. That night, I needed the Percocet to get to sleep. I woke up about 4 hours later, exactly when the first pill wore off. I needed another one right away. That was the case for the first couple of nights. It’s better now, but next Wednesday is coming. I’m actually happy about this pain because it means I’m getting one step closer to getting to work on rehab. Now for the good parts: I walked a mile! This doesn’t sound like much, but walking a mile in my hilly neighborhood on crutches is no small feat. It was so awesome to post that to Strava. Not even the coldest cold could stop me. I went to the gym! I can use most of the weight lifting machines and I found the only machine that I can use for cardio…the arm bike! I used that thing for 30 minutes. My arms are going to mutate after all is said and done. I promised some before and after pics, so that we can see the changes. I’ll probably cheat and use some spray tan. I’m a pro on crutches now! I was like Bambi on ice when I first had to use them, but now I’d race anybody. I have some great people in my life. My family (especially my wife) are taking good care of me. They get me things and are understanding of the things that I can’t do. They aren’t letting me be TOO helpless and are challenging me to make progress. My co-workers drive me to and from work, come down to visit me, get my coffee and drink coffee with me when I can’t go to the usual hang out spot. My running friends make time to have coffee with me on Sunday mornings and even pick me up and take me home. I’m really blessed to have so many great people. A custom 1st floor office. I wear what I want now too. Then there’s the online running community. It’s amazing to feel so close to so many people that I’ve never met. The encouragement is amazing. I’m not sure what I’d do without you crazy people. For next week, one more insert is coming out. I plan to go to the gym all week long. I’m gonna hit that armbike hard. For now, I’ve gotta go grease up my biceps to get ready for that photo op. Eat your vitamins and say your prayers, Brother.
  15. Happy Friday! My watch told me it’s Friday, but I had no idea. First, name the band/song that inspired my post title and you get a prize. The prize isn’t an actual thing of course, it’s in the form of a tip of my cap and some kudos (not the delicious treat from my past, but “props” as the kids used to say). a It’s been 2 whole weeks since I had surgery on my busted Achilles tendon. 2 long, slow, restless, weeks. We can talk about the good news first. I was looked at on Tuesday and things look good so far. I finally got my sling/cast taken off and sutures taken out. I can kinda, sorta walk now! I still use the crutches, but more for assistance than to bear the full weight. Wanna see pictures? Of course you do. I’m now in a boot with a massive heel lift in it to keep my tendon as short as possible. The boot is full of cushions and straps that make me feel safe and cozy. The downside is that the boot is HEAVY. It’s certainly going to strengthen me up. This is my view most of the day. I’m doing my best to keep it elevated to get rid of that gross looking blood pooled up in my foot. I have my next appointment with the surgeon on 1/25. If I don’t do anything stupid between now and then, I should be cleared to get to work at the gym and with the PT to get back to running. The running is a long ways away, but I’m so excited to start the journey back to it. I keep visualizing those first miles. They’ll be the best miles of my life. There really isn’t a while ton of bad news. I do fight cabin fever much of the time and unfortunately there isn’t much I can do about it. I did leave the house yesterday to go see the new Star Wars movie (it’s AWESOME, by the way) and walk around the mall a bit. I like getting up and being as active as possible, but it does take a lot out of me currently. I have soooooo much work ahead of me. I’m trying to remind myself that everything I do (or don’t do) can work toward a better and speedier recovery. Resting, eating right, praying and other important pieces aren’t done at the gym but they are vital. The eating right part sure is tough, especially around the holidays. Santa and friends brought many treats and as tough as running around on crutches can be, it doesn’t burn nearly enough calories. Most importantly, I’ll stay optimistic. Optimistic people heal better. I don’t think I’ll be posting about this again until after the next appointment. There won’t be much to say. It’s going to be 4 more weeks of this. Once again I've been slacking on getting my posts to the Loop, so if you want the origin story go to https://runeatralph.wordpress.com/ and check it out. I didn't want to dump a bunch of posts on the Loop all at once.
  16. amarie2009

    Back at it

    Over a month since I wrote! I wasn’t even back to running at that point…The good news is – I am now! I’ve run up to 8 miles. Last Saturday was supposed to be 10 but with fresh snow on the ground, my coach didn’t want me to do more, and since she was actually running with me, I couldn’t “cheat” and run more. I’ve been released to return to normal training by the Chiropractor, but that still means increasing my miles carefully. Hopefully I’ll actually be able to do 10-12 on Saturday, but the bad news is I’ve caught a stomach bug. Last night I felt pretty gross until my stomach expelled my dinner – then I just felt kind of gross. Fortunately, I didn’t get the truly nasty stomach bug that’s going around and I slept well last night, and I stayed home from work today eating lightly all day. I did just tempt fate by eating a seasoned chicken breast and baked seasoned fries for supper. It would have been better to stick with really bland stuff, but I didn’t want another bowl of plain white rice or a banana or any of the other bland things I ate earlier today. Forest Park St. Louis Forest Park St. Louis Saturday’s run was one of those absolutely gorgeous winter runs with fresh snow clinging to all the trees in one of the best parks in St. Louis, Forest Park. It was fairly warm, especially compared to now and most of that snow actually melted before the day was over. I am still just so happy to be running pain free. I ran Christmas day and the day after out at my parents’ house. Christmas Day sunrise Christmas day, Ellie my sister’s dog was out running loose so I couldn’t go much past our property so she doesn’t get any ideas about taking off too far down the road. So I’d run out from our driveway not quite ½ a mile (which is how far we walk the dogs on leash, but about ¼ mile past the edge of our property) and turn around and run back. Ellie would follow, or rather, run way ahead – I’d yell to her when I turned around and then she’d come speeding by back toward home. She was having a great time, veering off to look for rabbits to chase then rejoining me. I wish I could run like her – so effortless, so fast. But I’m not sure even Meb or Shalane could keep up with her when she’s going full speed. (Our guess is that Ellie is part Greyhound or other speedy breed, part yellow lab, but she’s a rescue so we don’t know anything for sure) The day after Christmas I got out the door before Ellie was out and so I could run out farther. My plan was to run out 2 or so miles and turn around and come back. Just as I was reaching the 2 mile mark I was running past a house at the top of a hill, I heard an “alert” type of bark and looked back to see a dog running toward me. I don’t often curse, but I might have here. 9 times out of 10, the dogs out here aren’t a real threat, but I don’t want to find out. I was already past the property and the dog stopped long before it got to me, but now I had a problem. This is where I wanted to turn around, but obviously I wasn’t going to run right back past where that dog was. So I ran on toward town. Then once I was really sure the dog wasn’t lurking behind me I paused and pulled out my phone and called for rescue. My sister answered the house phone and said someone would come for me. So I kept running toward town. It would have been more interesting if I had kept going toward town till she caught up with me just to see how far I could get, but I turned around after I thought I was far enough out not to get back to where the dog had been. Sis pulls up with two dogs (ours) in the back seat and asks if it’s ok if we go into town so she can buy coffee. Having just been rescued I wasn’t going to argue (even though I was pretty sure I’d be freezing in a few minutes). I got a hot chocolate out of the deal besides so it worked out really well. My Christmas day running buddy Yesterday I chose not to brave the 2* temps and potentially icy sidewalks and ran on the treadmill. I only got 5.75 miles in during the hour the gym treadmills let you run, instead of the 7-8 I had on the plan. Since it turns out I was probably already getting sick it was good that I didn’t chill myself besides. Today I would have had a cross training day, but it ended up being a sick day. Tomorrow I expect to run 3 or so, probably outside partly so I don’t push to hard since I can’t stand to run an actual easy pace on the treadmill. It’s also supposed to be “warmer” with a low in the teens. I will be a bit undertrained in February for the Austin marathon, but if I get to the start line uninjured and it isn’t crazy hot, I should be able to finish. After 2 marathon fails in 2017, I will gladly take that. I’m still running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society via Team in Training. My other favorite running group.
  17. doug in co

    almost running again

    Thought I'd torn my calf muscle in August and stopped running to do rehab, prehab, stretching and strengthening, none of which had any effect by the end of October. A doctor friend at church mentioned he'd had endless calf muscle pulls and tears, all of which turned out to be caused by a back problem and the sciatic nerve malfunctioning. My sciatica has been going on since 2006 approximately, so I tend to just ignore that pain among the many others, which perhaps is not sensible. Next step was to foam roll everything every day and lie upon the Sacro Wedgy, which is about as much fun as it sounds. On the plus side, it did give my wife a good laugh. The foam roller found a very painful spot under the piriformis muscle, hm how interesting. I'm working my way through the back catalog of old Bond movies on Amazon Prime, in 20-minute episodes, while doing my time on the Wedgy each evening.. Connery, Craig, Moore, Brosnan, Dalton is my ranking. The older Connery has an elder-statesman look but the young Connery is a rogue and a scamp. Barbara Bach, married to Ringo Starr for the last several decades, is my favorite Bond girl.. A month of this reduced the sciatica pains considerably though the calf still aches and twitches a bit, thought it time to essay a run. The first run was slow but alright, no sudden cramps or pains. The second run was on a cold day, upper 20s, which provoked a very unpleasant asthma attack. After the last major attack I'd been on steroids for a week and had some wonderful swim workouts Powered by Prednisone. It's amazing how much easier it is when able to breathe. Some tightness and wheezing had been creeping up in the last few weeks. Luckily this attack didn't end in the ER, was able to control it with assorted inhalers and pills. Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 60s, hoping for an uneventful run/walk.. In other news the '98 minivan finally developed enough ailments that I wasn't prepared to fix it anymore. Hope this doesn't give my wife any ideas.. 280 000 miles, two bad inner CV joints, one bad oxygen sensor on the rear manifold, and an overdue timing belt change - all that adds up to about $2000 in mechanic fees, or several months of weekends for me. Gave it away to IOCC and started looking around. My older boy was sad, he used to call the van the Green Hornet, I don't want to know what he and his friends got up to in it. They believed the van was haunted.. when Ian used to drive it to school, they'd all go to lunch driving in the van, apparently it was always warm in there even in the depths of Denver winter. At least once the van made the run from school to Voodoo Donuts downtown and back, forty miles of traffic in a lunch hour.. hm. It was a good old van.
  18. amarie2009

    Pseudo Running

    Well, if you are a part of Loopville on facebook you already know – no marathon for me next weekend. After a foolish attempt at running on the treadmill 2 weeks ago (is that ONLY two weeks ago, three since I originally hurt myself? It feels like forever.) I set myself back to the beginning and I haven’t really run since. I’ve churned and churned away on the elliptical and gotten my “miles” in for Austin in February, but no actual running. Until a few days ago it still hurt some to walk, it wasn’t until Thanksgiving I even felt tempted to try running, because I knew it wouldn’t work. I had given myself the rule that I could not attempt to run until 2 days after I was first strongly tempted. That day was today. I warmed up thoroughly, with heel dips, leg swings in every plane and a mile on the oh so lovely elliptical (ok, I shouldn’t complain since it’s letting me pseudo run). I stepped on to the treadmill heart pounding already. I started to walk at a brisk pace. After a tenth of a mile I started to crank up the pace until I reached my easy pace and…after just a couple minutes I stopped. It was clear that I wasn’t going to settle in and be able to run pain free. It’s better. But not enough. So, I quit before I did damage to myself. Back to churning on the elliptical. It’s a cut back week for Austin, and I was meeting a friend and her family for brunch/lunch so I only got an hour’s worth in, but it’s something. It’s been very warm here and I did an hour or two of yard work yesterday, which I don’t think helped my foot, but didn’t make it obviously worse. But maybe if I hadn’t done that I’d have been able to run? It doesn’t matter. I did it, and it needed to be done. It’s still not done, but I have all winter assuming we don’t get some crazy snow that I haven’t seen in my lifetime. Snow here never lasts all that long. Generally a week at most. The leaves need mulching with the mower too, but I’m going to wait until after I’m running again to do that. The lawn will survive, I’ve skipped it altogether before, but it’s not a good thing.
  19. Jeff C.


    A long time ago… The four of us huddle in the dorm room, lights low, a single candle burns on the coffee table. The candle sits in a mountain of wax covering what was simply a Budweiser bottle just a few hours ago. Each of us digs at the candle, at the wax-mound with glowing hot paperclips. Heat the paperclip in the flickering flame, sculpt the wax; heat, sculpt, repeat. We’re stoned silly. And profoundly drunk—yet hyper-aware, attuned to our surroundings. Deafening music rattles the room. Screaming guitars, pounding bass. Each note dissected and analyzed. Our sharpened senses register the smallest nuances—the pulse, the electricity in the room. Our dilated pupils catch the slightest movements. All except for the half-full bottle of beer sharing a bookshelf with the stereo speaker. Ever-so-slowly, the bottle has vibrated its way to the edge of the shelf. It teeters. Eight eyes snap to attention, watching. The bottle tips, plunges to the carpeted floor. It hits just beyond parallel, spits out a splash of beer and bounces up straight. It lands squarely upright and sticks the landing. A small fizz of foam escapes from the neck. But barely enough to dampen the carpet. We dissolve into laughter. A half an hour later, it’s obvious the trip has climaxed. We begin the long process of sobering up. Wait. This story is about the other LSD. Runner’s LSD—Long, Slow Distance. The last time I ran fast was a year ago—during the first loop of the two-loop Big Elk Trail Marathon. I was well trained, fit, properly tapered, and mentally prepared. I attacked the first half—a brisk pace, everything according to plan. But then the heat picked up, and it picked me apart. The temperature took control. The second loop was more of a jog… or a walk. I’m not sure I’ve ever recovered. It took me weeks to get my legs back. By then, I’d settled into a plodding jog—sixty to ninety seconds off my pre-marathon pace. My running program stalled for the summer. Maintenance mode: one run per week. Out at sunrise each Saturday, the grass drenched with dew, pockets of chill still in the air, I’d jog off for an hours-long run. Slower and slower each week. Months later, for my October birthday, I checked an item off my bucket-list. I knocked out a 50K. Running at a pace I could sustain all day, I did just that: I ran all day—or most of it. My languid pace reinforced by achievement. That slightly sore heel I ignored all summer finally stepped from the shadows. Plantar fasciitis—a hobbling case. I took a break from running. Nothing until March, almost: In November, I ran my favorite season-ender. A rocky, hilly 15K in the foothills of the Appalachians. When the gun went off, the small crowd raced away from me. The men, the women, the seniors, even the children, they all set a pace I couldn’t match. Historically, I’m a mid-packer, occasionally an age-group winner. For the first time in my life, I lost a race. I came in last. My winter break is over. My foot is mostly healed, but I’m limiting my distance anyway. I’m capping my runs around five miles right now. When I started up again, I vowed to use this cautious, low-mileage period to work on speed. I planned to push my pace back down to a respectable clip. I’m not trying to win races, but I set myself a clear goal: don’t lose again. In the two months since I restarted running, I’ve focused on a couple of primary workouts. Tempo runs and hill repeats. These are my favorite ‘hard’ runs. Speedwork? No—I figured I’d put that off for a while. Here’s what I found: The running I’ve enjoyed the most this year is when I’m grinding up a long, relentless hill. As it turns out, I like running slowly. It relaxes me. I enjoy my runs more when I jog. I don’t mind running hard—many of my hills are tiring even to walk—I just don’t seem to like running fast anymore. My long, slow distance runs throughout last summer left me feeling peaceful, happy, maybe even intoxicated. I didn’t notice because I wasn’t paying attention. I gave up drug use decades ago, but I only quit drinking last year. Alcohol was an addiction that weighed heavily on me. There was no joy in it, it no longer relaxed me. Alcohol became something to fret over—it stressed me out. And a few months later, without realizing it, I replaced alcohol with distance—long, slow distance. My new drug. I won’t say that I’m done trying to push my pace; I might even attempt to train-up for another age-group medal someday. But for now, I’m done beating myself up over LSD. It’s become my favorite way to get a buzz.
  20. Hello again Loopsters! This is my first bloop in the loop reborn. It doesn’t look like I’ll manage to increase my writing on the new loop. But I’ll try…and try to be more interesting. (But this bloop doesn’t really accomplish that. More of a stream of consciousness about my recent training, and minor issues I’ve had) I am getting into the main part of training for St. Jude Memphis marathon. I’d love to go sub 4:30. That’s been my goal for how long now? It’s been more than a year since I completed a marathon. I’m feeling good but there’s been a couple set backs. A little more than a month ago I went to the chiropractor and mentioned that the side of my right heel hurt. He quickly determined that the real problem was in my calf. A quick press on a trigger point there confirmed it for me. Ow! My calf was super angry. I had a 6k race on that Saturday and he told me not to run before then. (So no running just for Thursday and Friday) He also said I should consider getting trigger point injections. I was not at all sure about that! My calf didn’t hurt except when someone pressed on the trigger points. But it was tight when I ran. After 2 days of rest the 6k went great (I placed 1st in my age group and was 9th woman overall – covered in my last real bloop on the old loop). My heel felt better by my follow up appointment the next week. I was even more unsure whether it was worth pursuing the trigger point injections, but they weren’t going to charge me more than the cost of a normal appointment, the heel felt better but the calf was still clearly very, very tight and angry. With such a tight timeline for my upcoming marathon, I don’t have time for injury so I went with it. Curiosity played a role too. For the next 4 weeks I went in once a week for the injections and massage. Each visit my calf got less tight and my heel pain was long gone. I still don’t know if I really needed the injections, but I do know they helped. I may very well have been fine without them, but I’m glad I didn’t take the chance. The other set back happed 2 weeks ago when just before I went to bed I started to feel really sick to my stomach. I went to bed feeling like I was going to have to get up again soon to…um, empty my stomach but I made it through the night (not sleep well at all, but without revisiting my supper). Tuesday morning I got up and still felt bad, but I got dressed hoping I’d feel better. I didn’t and just the walk to the bathroom left me all sweaty. Not good. Finally my stomach did give up. Ok, no workout, no run and no work. I spent the rest of the day on the couch, mostly sleeping and struggling to get water in. About 3pm I ate a little toast, and I had a small bowl of rice for supper but that’s all I ate. Wednesday I went to work, but still had no appetite. I managed to eat a little anyway. I went out after work to try to run. I made it 2 miles before my stomach started cramping and my legs said, nope, you are done for today. Gradually as the week went on I felt better, but my appetite didn’t come back at all even by Friday night before my scheduled 16 mile long run. I’d been eating so I figured I’d try and see what happened. I started running on Saturday and right from the very beginning my legs felt heavy. I hoped they would feel better as I went but they really didn’t. Finally at 11 miles in I called it a day. The following week was a cut back week, so I could attempt 16 again without getting behind on my plan. Finally Sunday night I actually felt hungry again. From there I did feel better. Last week I was able to all my runs in as planned. Attempt #2 at 16 went great – I even managed to run the last mile the fastest (something I’m doing to help simulate running the last mile of a race). I felt really good. Today’s run was great too. I’m feeling good, I hope I can keep this going. Sorry this bloop isn’t very interesting, and maybe kind of gross. Hopefully I’ll have more time to devote to the next one I write. And maybe there will be pictures…
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