Saturday, September 13, 2014

No Go G-G-G-Ghost Train, Scoobs

Acceptance. I am working on it. I'm not sure what level of grief that is but I am working my way toward it.

What, you may ask, am I accepting? The short but unclear answer is The Inevitable. The short but with lots of unknowns answer is Giving Up on the Ultra for October 25.

I have not run in 2 1/2 weeks. Today I did one mile - on a track, so I would be sure the surface was best case scenario - and it ached the whole way. I could certainly have gone further. And 3-weeks-ago Phoebe definitely would have. But I have been in touch with my physical therapist - and my Grown Up Self - and knew that was just a big, fat, bad idea.

So, I pulled out of the Ghost Train Ultra. Even if my leg was 100% today running it was going to be truly excruciating at best, given that I have not been able to put in the hours and miles on the road that I really ought to. (Perhaps you have heard or can intuit that running 45 miles is a titch taxing and requires a bit of physical and mental preparation?) But knowing that even a slow, one miler was causing stress on my leg... Correction: a slow one miler after 2.5 weeks off PLUS tons of TLC in the form of foam rolling and stretching and icing and strengthening.... well,  you would have to  be as dumb as 4-weeks-ago Phoebe to think that was an OK plan.

I don't have a new plan right now. I don't even have a new PT appointment right now. Right now I have hotel reservations for the ultra and I plan to volunteer and cheer my ass off for the Badasses who are up to the challenge. My BRF, Lauren, will still give it a go for 30 miles and then she and I will think of something fun to drink, I mean DO, whenever I get off volunteer duty. I mean, it's basically now a girls weekend away without all the pesky chafing and blisters. Two of our pals are going for the full 100 miles so we will be there on Sunday to support them. 

But of course I am sad and mad and frustrated. When I got the green light from PT and the surgeon to do this I kind of thought it was just going to happen. Not that I wasn't going to have to work my ass off for it and not that there would not be struggles along the way. Hard work and struggles are what this whole thing is about. I just thought that I would get to the starting line. 

And now I'm not.

And so I'm sad.

And mad.

And frustrated.

BUT... I got a Facebook message today that took me back almost a year. It was from one of  my Pay it (40)ward friends. My husband's cousin, Kristen, actually. And here is what it said:

Hi Phoebe! Just wanted to send you a note- and this is a really long time coming, but time slips away from me so easily with everything going on.... I wanted to let you know that I elected to use your pay it forward to become a Big Sister for the BBBS program. However, I knew that my company has been struggling financially for a long time now, and so I've been riding it out to see what would happen. Just didn't want to sign up with a child and then find out I have to move for a new job! Sure enough, we had a layoff on August 12. However, it looks like the local job opportunities are plentiful enough that I will end up staying here, so that's what I'll be doing! I can't think of anything that reminds me more of you than helping to nourish kids and their futures, so I've been very much looking forward to using your seed money there. Thanks again and sorry it wasn't more timely for your actual bday!! Have a great weekend

Yeah. Remember Pay it (40)ward?! I almost didn't either.  Somehow I almost managed to forget about this big thing that I started planning last year and all of the great ideas and generous overtures people have made as part of The Plan. How timely that she wrote to me today. Partly because of my silly notion that running 40  miles for my 40th was not enough... And mostly because Kristen is a genuinely awesome human being, some kiddo in the greater Boston area is going to get some  serious 1:1 time with a smart, successful, interesting, caring adult. Yay, Universe! I needed this today!

I also get to try to get into Boston on Monday. If the Universe is giving me any signs at all they are all pointing to a big fat "NO", but here's  hoping that my qualifying time is enough. Last year's entrants had to qualify by a little over 2 minute faster than BQ and I qualified by 4:51 faster. I hope I hope I hope it's enough.

If you're a runner, I hope all of your body parts are treating you kinder than mine are treating me. Run on, dear friends! And run a few for me, please!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Opposite of Training Tips

I can't be sure what your fitness life is like. One of the interesting and ponder-ful things about writing a blog is you never know who will read it or when. So, I suppose it's feasible that you, dear reader, are Kara Goucher-esque in your knowledge and skill set when it comes to running. And, it's just as likely that you don't even know who Kara Goucher is.

I kid myself and like to believe that my Words of Wiz Dumb reach wide swaths of humanity. Therefore I will try to include something that leaves each consumer with 1990s NBC Saturday Morning Kids Show Shooting Star Rainbow "The More You Knoooow" musical interlude in their head. The opposite tips I share here are for everyone because, as you will see, they are completely obvious and actually do NOTHING to fill your brain bucket. They simply serve to remind you that this writer is, as always, a big dumb dope.

Opposite Tip 1: Ignore grievances from your body

The most important opposite tip I can offer, and really the one that encompasses all of the tips I will share, is to ignore the signals you get from your body. Especially if those signals come from the general region where you have fairly recently had major surgery. Just because your right calf is chatting you up on every single run does not mean you should lower your mileage or stick to flat, even ground for a while. Obviously you should focus on your ultimate goal  - an October ultra marathon in my instance - and ignore the long game. You've got miles to cover, girl,

Okay, even I am not really that dumb. To be fair to me, I didn't actual ignore the pain. In fact, when my calf started hurting I stretched and strength trained and iced it like a Star Physical Therapy Student. What I DIDN'T do was cut my mileage or put good thought into my routes.

Opposite Tip 2: When on vacation on Cape Cod, run fast, then far, then far, then fast again.

So, my chatty right calf was being dealt with in the best way I knew how (cough) and then it was time to hit the road for vacation. For me, this was the first time all summer when I had a grown up to child advantage. My mother- and father-in-law were there, my husband was there, I was there. That would be FOUR, FOUR glorious grown ups to take care of just THREE, THREE darling-but-in-need-of-supervision boys. A person just can't pass up this kind of child coverage. She's gotta run.

First day there we arrived around 1:30PM. I unpacked while the others hit the pool. Then, I stole away for a quick 4-miler on the roads. Had to shake off that drive and, let's face it, use the time I had.

Second morning I was up at 4:30AM to get in at least 2 1/2 hours.  Not a bad plan, but I wanted to keep off the main road as much as possible. I had mapped out a route that the Interweb told me was 'partially unpaved'. Okay. I can do that. Well, partially unpaved meant lots of sand (Hello, Cape Cod is near the ocean. Have you heard about this?!?) so it was quite a work out for my lower body. And did I mention my right calf was being a little cranky? It was a slow, slog with lots of hills but I was well-hydrated and gu'd and ultimately, I felt very badass and good when it was over.

One bog among many.
Third morning I was smart and slept in and only did about 3 miles. JUST KIDDING. I got up at 4:30AM and basically did the same route as the day before. I was thinking of the ultra and knew I just had to get miles in. Get miles in. Get miles in. Again, when it was over I was pooped but felt pretty good overall. Oh, my right calf was being a little bit difficult but, whatever.

Obviously on the fourth morning I slept in and rested because doing 15 miles of trails 2 days in a row and then running again would be ridiculous. JUST KIDDING! On the fourth morning I realized that if I covered just SIX more miles I would have covered 40 miles in 4 days of vacation. It was a no brainer. I hit the road (and stuck to the road because even  big dumb dummy like me knows that sandy trail was probably not a 3-days-in-a-row scenario.) But I didn't feel like just going out and doing 3 out and back. I changed my Strava app to Kilometers, warmed up for a KM and then did 'fast' for KM, 'slow' for a KM. I chugged off a 10K by 6:30 AM.

Then we packed up and came home. I left the Cape feeling like Superwoman wrapped in Bionicwoman with the brain of that chick who plays Blossom on The Big Bang Theory. Freaking brilliant.

My Two Dads and the young Bette Midler in Beaches, too. 

Opposite Tip 3: ABC - Always Be Cocky

When we returned from Cape Cod, I did take a day off from running. I attended to Cranky Calf by doing some (more) PiYo (Have you done PiYo? It's SO good! So hard! So good!! Google it. Do a YouTube video of it. You will see what I mean...) On Tuesday I intended to take advantage of the fact that I was not back to school yet. I was going to get up at 4:30 and do a slow 90 minute run. My alarm (on my phone) was on MUTE: NOT helpful! So I got up a little before 6 and did 4 miles instead.

The NEXT day I had the alarm properly set because I had staff meetings to attend and I was determined to get on the road for my 90 minutes. I hit the road and had a leisurely jaunt to 'town' for 4.5 miles and then turned around to home. I was 2 miles from home, about 6AM, when something in my calf went "pip". I say 'pip'  because 'snap' would definitely be an overstatement and even 'pop' is too big a word for it. It was not a painful 'pip' - the closest equivalent I can think of is like what it would feel like for bubble to pop under your skin. Just after the 'pip', though, I couldn't run. Could. Not. Run. I could hobble. I could pull off walking without out a limp when cars drove by (can't have people asking me if I need help!) but this sucker HURT. I called Scott a couple (6) times. I knew I could make it home but it would take me a LOOONNNNGGGG time to get there. He saw my calls when he got out of the shower and came to rescue me.

Opposite Tip 4: PANIC!

I was not sure exactly what I had done to myself. I was pretty sure I hadn't blown my Achilles  because it was still functioning. (My understanding with a torn Achilles is that your foot just kind of flops when it ruptures.) I have to say that I am proud that I shed no tears (of frustration or otherwise) over this. It was more of a dope slap situation. And I kept defending myself to myself and others: "But I was so smart! I strength trained! I stretched! I iced!" What I didn't do, of course, was cut my mileage at all and instead just kept ramping it up.

Actual Tip: Call your Trusty PT Who Understands You

I was able to get an appointment with Kevin, my PT who is a runner/triathlete and thereby, despite my insanity, gets me. I was able to get in the next afternoon and come to find out, and I hope you are sitting down, I ran too far. More specifically, I ran too far on 'technical' (I love that term for trails that are made for tripping you) surfaces. He confirmed that, yes, my calf hurts. He said it was a grade 1 or 2 muscle strain. He said I should  not run for at least 2 weeks. He did 'ice and stim' and an ultrasound to get the blood flow going. He said I need to live in my compression socks (a tough one since I have just one pair... EEEEEWWW!) and ice it, foam roll it and stretch it (though not too far).

 So, now I am not running. And I am not thrilled. But I can hardly be surprised. This October Ultra is going to be even slower than I thought. But, merrily we roll along. I hope all of YOUR parts are functioning at full capacity. And remember: Don't Do What Phoebe Does.

Just cuz their cute. (I swear the one on the left has not been drinking.... he's mid-blink, not mid-drink!)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Real-Live 10K! And a BRF run!

Yesterday  morning, I loaded up my running stroller with juice boxes, clementines, dum-dum lollipops, goldfish, raisins, toy trucks... oh, and my toddler.... to give the Moultonborough Pathway 10K a try. This is an annual 5 and 10K that supports the maintenance (and expansion, maybe?) of a great biking/walking/running lane in our neighboring town. The race, naturally, mostly takes place on this path, which is right along a semi-busy, VERY hilly, and definitely lovely road. Gabe and I had gone to scout things out on Thursday to make sure I wasn't biting off more than I could chew. It was a tough but do-able 4 miles so I decided to commit.

(A grateful shout out to my friend, Jerome, who threw out an invitation weeks and weeks ago to me to do this and then sent another inquiry earlier this week. I definitely would not have made this a priority if not for him, so thank you, Jerome, for the nudges!)

The race was quite small (not sure of the total number of runners but under 50, certainly. It started at a park that has a fantastic playground so Gabe was super happy to be heading there. I was really worried when it was time to hit the port-a-potty and starting line because I was sure he would protest LOUDLY. He didn't, blessedly, and instead ran adorably (and to great cheers from the assembled) ahead of the stroller to the starting line... and then beyond the starting line... and beyond the gate that blocks vehicles from coming in... and toward the main road. ZOINKS! He was really in the zone and loving the attention so in his 2-year-old brain, the way to keep the gravy train of adoration was to keep going. I am still, for  now, faster than he is so he was  not in any danger, but it was just another reminder that he is, at his core, still, like, two!

The race itself was mostly uneventful. I ran with Jerome for a big chunk of it. He was very kind and offered to push the stroller when the hills were insane. I - no shock - was super stubborn and consider the stroller push an integral part of maintaining the Bad Ass Mother Runner Mode, so I said no thanks. The worst hill, really, is the first one, and once you get over it (maybe .5 or.75 miles in?) you get a lovely, easy slope downhill. It truly makes you feel like you can fly after the battle getting up. The trouble with that, of course, is that you forget about the downhill you enjoyed and then you are going BACK and you are super tired and ready to just sit down and enjoy a nice Gin & Tonic (it was a very sunny morning and a G & T would have hit the spot nicely, I think, even though it was all of 9:30 AM....) Anyway, that gentle, long sloping downhill, becomes a never ending SLOG at the end of the race and, for me, it was ENDLESS.

I had the pleasure of a little company at that point (Jerome and I were not running together by then). A guy who had run the 5K with his 8-year-old daughter (she ROCKED it, by the way!) ran the 5K course again and was at the 5K turn around point when I got there. This was the thick of the infinite mountain back up so it was great to have someone to chat at me. I was not exactly going all out (I kept telling myself "this is a RUN, not a RACE") but I was pushing pretty hard, feeling pretty respectable in my effort. Then, as he was talking to me and matching my pace, I noticed his stride. He looked like he was standing still. Okay, not exactly, but he looked like a very fit person almost running in place to encourage a very un-fit person. It was the strangest damn thing! I was running really fast and he was barely jogging... yet we were going to the same speed. How is that possible?! Thankfully, I found this rather amusing as opposed to frustrating. It's ALLLLL relative.

So, I finished. I don't know my official time. I don't know my official place. I don't know my pace. The numbers I DO know are Gabe's: 3 (number of clementines); 1 (number of juice boxes); 4 (number of dum-dums). At some point I'm sure the organizers will post other data to their website and I'll know. I didn't stop my Stava app for almost a  minute after I was done, but when I did it said 1:01:28. It also said I ran 6.6 miles (OH, if only I lived in a Strava world where my pace and distances were so speedy and long!) BUT, I know for sure that it was a PR... cuz even though I've done plenty of races of various distances, I've never actually done a 10K. So, huzzah to that!

Post-race I got to see some friends for breakfast and Gabe, who was super tired, was actually mostly charming in the restaurant. The race gods were smiling on us!

Today I got to get in a 2-hour run with the world's greatest running buddy, Lauren. We did not listen to any GPS devices. We did not worry about pace or mileage. We just decided to meet at 5:30 and run until 7:30. I haven't seen her and months and months (she had the nerve to move back to Vermont last summer...) so it was a perfect chance to get caught up on kids and jobs and families and race goals and on and on. (Of course, now that I write this I can think of at least 50 more things I wanted to ask her about...) I did have my app going on my phone and was surprised (and annoyed, frankly) that we only went about 12 miles. It felt faster (and harder!) than that. But, we did plenty of hills and obviously the real point of the run was to just be together. Mission accomplished.

Finally, after a loooonnnggggg wait for them, I did eventually get  my 110% Compression Pants. The delivery was a nightmare but the customer service was off the charts amazing. They even sent me a hat and head gear (it's like a headband or kerchief or hat or neck warmer or... ANYTHING... depending on how you maneuver it) as a little 'sorry it was so hard to get your pants' gift. I highly recommend the company and suggest that if you are at all interested in recovery gear, you go with them. Yes, it's super expensive, but if you use it once a week, it will quickly become a no-brainer economy-wise. Plus.... no more ice baths!

Is that ice in your compression pants.... or is your fat just really rectangular?
Hope all your runs are just the right flavor of hard and rewarding....

Friday, July 25, 2014

It Hath Been Proven

WOWZA! This has been a long day. I would attempt to form coharant and interesting paragraphs but I don't think it's going to happen. So, here's my run/day by the numbers.

  • 0 = the number of children who slept at my house last night (WOO HOO! They stayed at camp with the hubs)
  • 4 = the time my alarm woke me up
  • 4:08 = the time I actually got up
  • 4.5 = the number of hours, more or less, that I slept last night
  • 7 = the hour at which I absolutely, positively, drop dead needed to be at my husband's camp to take over toddler duty
  • 0 = the amount of actual food I consumed before the run
  • 8-ish = the number of ounces of water I consumed before the run
  • 4:25 = the time I stepped out the door
  • 16 = the number of ounces of water I carried in my fuel belt
  • 16 = the number of ounces of Berry nuun I carried by hand for the first 1.5 miles where I dropped it off so that I could drink it at mile 11.5-ish
  • 0 = the number of minutes I should wait before I invest in a REAL hand-held water bottle. (Had one. Don't know where it ended up...)
  • 3 = the number of energy gels I carried (mocha flavor)
  • 2 = the number I actually consumed (miles 5 and 10)
  • 4 = the number of minutes into the run (approx) that my front-zipping sports bra busted and was therefore only clasped together at the very top
  • 32A = the measurement/reason the thing above was actually not a problem and I hardly noticed - though I did have a momentary freak out that it was going to screw up EVERYTHING!
  • 2.5 = the number of podcasts I listened to along the way (Pop Culture Happy Hour, Slate's Political Gabfest, & Ask Me Another). If you are a runner and you've never tried listening to podcasts while you are out and about, you ought to give it a try. There is EVERY conceivable genre and topic and when  you find the right ones, you really feel like you are on a group run full of people you enjoy. DO IT!
  • 0 = the number of pee breaks (bushes or actual toilets) I had to take. This was SHOCKING when I realized it.
  • 1 = the number of public bathrooms I ran by and into which I wanted to scoot to fill up my water bottle.
  • 1 = the number of public bathrooms I ran by and into which I wanted to scoot to fill up my water bottle that were STILL LOCKED because it was not even 6AM yet when I got there.
  • 55 = the temperature when I started my run, thus making the locked bathroom not such a huge deal since I was hardly over heating. The weather conditions were perfect, frankly.
  • 0 = the number of mean flies I encountered along the way. (Yet another miracle. They have been BEASTLY the last couple of weeks! Quite likely they were not awake yet when I was out.)
  • 30-ish = the number of Ghirardelli mini milk chocolate sea salt and almond squares I have eaten tonight.
  • 3,000-ish = the number of Ghirardelli mini milk chocolate sea salt and almond squares I WANTED to tonight.
  • 13.3 = the distance I ran, according to my device
  • 1.444 = the calories I burned, according to my device
  • 2:05:40 = the time it took me
  • 9:22 = my pace per mile (WAAAAY faster than the 10:00 I figured I would be running)
  • 6:30 = time on the clock when I stopped my device
  • 6:59 = time on the clock when I pulled into camp to take over toddler duty

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call a very productive and successful morning! Many of you already shouted out your love and support on social media today (cuz I been so shy about this event, right?) so thank you all for that! I will sleep well tonight.....and try to get in a short recovery run tomorrow while the boys eat lunch with Scott and camp. Cuz, ya know, ONWARD!!

P.S. Final number: 0 = the Fed Ex deliveries I received today. Drat! No Juggler Knickers for me yet! Maybe tomorrow.....
Rockin' the messy, unmade bed, towel head and delirious joy at about 6:45AM today! PROVED IT!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tomorrow I "Prove It"

Way way waaaayyyyy back in January(-ish)....

When I was running way way waaaaaaayyyyy farther than any normal human being ought to....

And I was blessed with way way waaaaayyyy  more luck and good health than any human rightly deserves.....

I signed up for the Another Mother Runner "Prove It" Challenge. This amazing community of runners came together to support each other as we trained for a 10K or a 1/2 marathon. Each Mama (or non-Mama, the group is not exclusive!) got access to support and camaraderie through suggested training plans, Strava (a GPS/tracking/social media app/website where we could commiserate), emails, coupons, Google hang outs.... Just, like, EVERYTHING! I connected with and received great encouragement on my crazy long, cold runs (remember, I was training for the 40 while most were training for 13.1 or 6.2). More importantly, these women were exceptionally empathic and supportive when I tore up my knee and saw all of the hard work crumble.

The idea was to run your goal race (either a 'real' race or a virtual one you do yourself) on or around Mother's Day. I never signed up for it but I figured I would jump into the Big Lake Half Marathon, which is always the day before Mother's Day. Then you could celebrate with a "Proved It" t-shirt and medal that participants received in the mail. Obviously, I was up to my eyeballs just trying to bend my knee 90 degrees and put full weight on my leg at the time I should  have been in the heart of training for this. So, I never "proved" anything. I have the t-shirt and medal hung near all of my get well cards and various doo-dads from El Disastero 2014. Below is a little "ChatterPix" video I made when the shirt came. I was trying to sound upbeat but I was, actually, fairly down about the whole thing.

(If you have an Apple device and you don't use ChatterPix, I am telling you... it is SO fun. And it's FREE! You gotta get it)


And tomorrow? I prove it!

It will not be easy. I have to get up at 4AM to get it done. (Scott is running a meeting at camp at 7AM sharp and, oddly, he doesn't think he will be able to do that with a squirmy 2 year old in tow. Huh!) I have to run it local. (Translation: I have to run it from home. Translation of translation: I have to run it on a LOT of hills).

It will not be fast. Suddenly 10 minute pace is Goldilocks. Okay by me.... just takes longer to churn this sucker out!

It will not be the last. The mileage just keeps getting higher from here in preparation for Ghost Train.

But you better believe that as soon as I am out of the shower tomorrow I am putting on that shirt and wearing it with as much pride as any race shirt I've ever had. Maybe more....

Finally, and almost as exciting to me as the thought of cranking out a 1/2 marathon by 7AM tomorrow, I am waiting anxiously for Fed Ex to deliver my 110% Compression Juggler Knickers. They should be here tomorrow (hurrah!) for my recovery. They are by far the most expensive piece of running gear I have ever invested in, except for maybe one pair of Brooks that I went nutty for. I am hoping that they are as amazing as everyone says they are. (Ice packs fit right in the pockets! Compression speeds muscle recovery! Plus, I mean, they are *H-O-T* lookin'!) My huge frustration for the moment is that tracking from Fed Ex shows that they have been SITTING in Connecticut (from North Carolina) since midnight on TUESDAY! Yes, I got free shipping, but c'mon! This seems like they are deliberately not delivering them just so I don't get the benefit I didn't pay for.
That's a stunt double butt. Wish it were mine!

And now, with less than 7 hours before I need to be heading out the door.... I gotta post this blog. Hope you can forgive all of the errors. There are certain to be many of them!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Too long

Some dear blog reader left a comment (read: nudge) yesterday letting me know that it had been a month since I had written a post. Out there in the universe, someone is actually LOOKING for these things? That's pretty sweet..... Or maybe creepy.... But I have settled on sweet.... But maybe...?... No. Definitely sweet.

So, wow. A month. Really? I mean, ONLY a month? It honestly feels like much longer. And I don't know where to begin. Certainly not at the beginning because there's a lot to cover. I guess I'll just try to hit the high notes, which might be interesting since I am a mezzo at best, and more a true alto everyday. (Vocal music humor. Does this lady's wit know no bounds?!?)

I am legit running again.As in, even my SURGEON says it's okay now. So I  am no longer running based on non-existent, non-verbal communication that I think my PT is trying to tell me. Come to find out, that guy just comes out and TELLS you what he thinks you should do. In fact, the surgeon has put a stamp of approval on my running the Ghost Train Ultra on October 25th. (His only contingency, literally, was that I have send him a photo for his 'success story' board. Can do, Doc!) So, that's the next big (nay, HUGE) thing. I am gunning to run the 15 mile out-and-back course 3 times so I cover my 40 miles for Pay it 40ward plus 5 miles penance for being dumb enough to go skiing.

And the running is going.... OK. I really can't complain. I am slower than dirt but so far my Type A has not destroyed my positive feelings about running. Before my last appointment with him the surgeon had assured PT that I would run and get sore and swollen when I started and then I would back off. So far my soreness is in places other than my surgical area. The areas that hurt are old friends who have always cranked on me a bit when I run. I am definitely more careful about things and have even purchased a "stick" to roll out the ouchies.

If I remembered/had time to type them up, I would have a hundred little chuckles about my post-ACL runs so far, but of course, I don't remember nor make the time. I will share that I was feeling UBER-victorious on Saturday afternoon and evening because I had done a 90 minute/9.3 mile run that morning. My longest post-surgical run (by 3 miles) and my first long run on my training plan for the ultra. Now, I don't discount the legitimacy of these self-congratulatory feelings. It was really something to be proud of, especially since it required me to sleep at camp and get out of bed at 4:30AM. But my ego shrunk about 7 sizes on Sunday morning when my workout reminder "ding'd" as I checked my email. On the schedule? THREE HOUR run.

Ummm. No. I did not take a 3 hour run on Sunday. I, in fact, had such a mom-fail day that I didn't even do any strength training or yoga or SQUAT diddly on Sunday. (Monday, though, I got out and did 8.4 and felt pretty good. Ego size boosted up about a quarter of a point.)

Elsewhere in life:

a. Husband is working and living at camp except for 24 hours a week. This living situation is worthy of an entire Blog in and of itself, but I will just say there are lots of good things about it. And then there's everything else....

b. I am teaching summer school 3 mornings a week. Quite possibly the world's perfect employment situation: not too much, not too little, every weekend's a 4 day weekend. Truly the Goldilocks of jobs.

c. The toddler is expanding his vocabulary rapidly based mainly on observations of his eldest brother. ("word," "that's sick!" and "what the heck?!"); The toddler is likewise being 5,001% more loving and hilarious... except when he is being 5000% more TANTRUM-y. (Good thing for that precious 1%, huh?) At least we are through the week or so of "I do not nap at home so screw you, Mom, I am not napping until September" part of the summer. (No, he doesn't say 'screw you.' Yet.)

d. Big brothers are walking a fine line between being best buddies and practically murdering each other. They have each discovered a few book series they love and are happy (almost EAGER) for the 30 minute required reading time after lunch every day. This doesn't sound like much but compared to previous times, this is borderline astounding. Big brothers will both be official campers for 3 weeks later this summer. Now THAT should be interesting...

e. Finally, we managed to get home for Camp Gungah (i.e. as many of the 8 siblings and 20 nieces and nephews as possible gather at my parents' house) the week of July 4th. Here's a peek at our float for the parade. The theme of the parade was 'songs' and we chose "You Are My Sunshine"...  Sweet, right? But with this crowd, we of course won first place for FUNNIEST! Ya had to  be there, but believe me... it was FUNNY!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

In the Books

Here's the false start I got on this blog on Tuesday night:

Like a kid on the night before Christmas - or maybe  more accurately the night before the first day of school - I was super anxious and excited to set my alarm for 4:30AM last night. Even though I knew my run was going to be very short, I had to give myself the extra time for a few reasons:

1. I needed to go somewhere straight and flat.
2. The closest place that is straight and flat is 10 minutes-ish away.
3. I needed to be back in the house by 6AM to start the day with the rest of Team Giessler
4. I needed wiggle room in case I hit the farthest point on the straight, flat trail and things went to hell and I had to walk back.

And then my husband put on season 2 of Orange in the New Black and it was all over from there. Can you blame me?! He and Elliott are off to the Legoland Discovery Center near Boston today in honor of E's 8th birthday tomorrow (WHAT?! EIGHT!?!?), Gabe is taking a nap (WHAT?! A NAP!?!? ON SUNDAY!?!?!), and Tom is in his Minecraft Glory (ummmm, not surprising) so I have a couple of minutes to rattle off the latest in my knee saga.

So, yes. I had a short, albeit longer than I expected, run on Tuesday morning. The reason it was more like 30 minutes than 20 was because I turned off the audio cues on my Strava because, frankly, I could not bear to hear what my pace was going to be. I used the stop watch feature on my regular watch and planned to turn around after 10 minutes. The trouble is, I didn't hit start when I thought I did. A 'bit' into the run I looked down and saw 5:12. That seemed reasonable but a little less than I expected. About five minutes later I looked down expecting to see 10:00 or so.... and instead saw 5:18. Oh. I was looking at the TIME OF DAY. So, no harm done. I ran about 15 minutes out instead of 10 and it was okay.

The run was fine. I trotted pretty slowly and enjoyed the not-too-hot, not-too-cold, pleasant summer-esque morning. My knee did not hurt at all, though my stupid lower back/hip pain of old did show up. ("Hello, Old Friend.")

Later than morning I had PT. Besides kicking my butt with new sadistic exercises involving resistance bands and balance balls (not at the same time), everything was good there, too. He took a look at my stride on the sidewalk out from and, as far as he could tell, I had no hitch in my giddy-up. This week we will use the Super Slow Mo camera and the treadmill so we will have an even better look at my stride. (I feel like this is the equivalent to have the dermatologist putting your face under the magnifying glass. Horrifying. But I'd much prefer the camera on my stride.)

I get a little twinge on the outside on my knee by mid-afternoon so I iced it that night. Next day? Fine and dandy and ready for some Jillian Michaels yoga. She's so BA.

I have promised that I will not run more than every-other-day and that I will not attempt anything approaching a long run until I have seem my surgeon or at least on till my PT has talked to him. I fully intend to follow that rule but I ALMOST broke it yesterday. The boys and Scott were heading to the beach down the road from us and I thought it was a good opportunity for me to get a run in. It is just over 1.5 miles away so I figured I would run past the beach and then turn around and head back to the parking lot at 30:00 or so. I gave Scott a bottle of water to keep in the car for me - it was pretty warm by New Hampshire standards. All was well and I trotted along, passing the guys on the beach. I waved at them but nobody was looking up when I went by. No big deal. When I calculated that I ought to, I turned around and headed back to the beach. Joke was on me: they were gone! I was confused and decided that Scott misunderstood my plan. (Maybe he thought I wanted HIM to be well-hydrated?!) I chalked it up to destiny, adjusted my big girl pants, and set my sights on home. Thankfully, it was only about 7 minutes later when Scott & boys went driving by. The beach was very breezy and the water was very cold, so they decided to head out sooner than later. They went to find me but did not realize I had turned onto my 'usual' road instead of going straight. I was thirsty and ran about 10 extra minutes  but otherwise it was not a problem.

Last night I had, for the first time since February 8th, that delicious total-body-exhaustion feeling caused by a good run during the day. I was delighted and horrified: delighted because I knew I truly worked and horrified because I had only done 40 minutes worth of work. It's going to quite a feat getting ready for 45 miles at the Ghost Train Ultra!

In other great news, I had a friend text me last night that she ran 2 miles without a walk break for the first time ever yesterday! She is doing Couch to 5K and, until a couple of months ago,  did not run at all because she had knee replacement surgery years ago. I'm sure there are plenty of people who hate workout posts on social media (Lord knows they have all un-friended me by now, I hope, rather than curse me!) but I love love love it. This stuff makes me completely and unreasonably happy. Yay, team!

GAWD. I am writing it and this post is boring even ME! So sorry. I think these will get more interesting as my runs get longer. But, here's a cute picture of Gabe from yesterday. So maybe it will make up for some of the droning: