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:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Two more days!... (and some barfing)

There's nothing like a violent stomach bug to stimulate a hardcore house disinfecting session. And for some reason, with me, these intestinal extravaganzas always stimulate a blog post. I guess a part of me knows what the public wants: vomit and diarrhea. And believe me, beginning Friday afternoon, we had plenty of that to go around.

Actually, it probably goes back to Tuesday morning. Gabe woke up 'stinky' and I thought it was caused by the olive oil I used on his head the night before to try to get rid of his horrible cradle cap. (Non-parents: Google it. It's a thing. AND.... the olive oil, along with a follow up with coconut oil, worked!) We don't buy very fancy olive oil, so I thought maybe it went rancid. (Now, now, don't call social services: I DID wash his hair thoroughly after I massaged his scalp with the stuff, but olive oil does not go lightly into the night. Or the shampoo and down the drain.) So, I gave him another bath (holy change of routine Batman! He was NOT happy about this AM schedule switch) to try to blow out the stink. When I went upstairs to get his clothes for the day (and turned on the lamp for the first time) I found... barf all over his crib.

Ooops. Guess we know what made him so stinky.

But, he seemed to be feeling alright, if a little cranky about the bathtub sitch, so we chalked it up to something not sitting well from the night before and moved on with our day. And our week.

Upon reflection, he was pretty off for a couple of days after that behavior-wise. He wasn't loving his meals or snacks and he was easily upset. But, ya know, he's TWO so we all (including daycare) just figured he was being, well, TWO.

Cut to Friday morning. Elliott, almost 8 and almost-always Mr. Chirpy, was devastated when I asked him to go upstairs and turn off the lights before we left for school. He complained of a stomach ache (or a 'stomach egg' as he calls it) when we got to school. I chalked THAT up to his 9:00 bedtime (fairly recently extended from 8:00) and his continued pre-6:00 wake up time. Long week. "Late" nights. End of the school year changes of routine.... He was just overtired and emotional. Plus, he made it through the school day, so I was totally right.


Thank GOODNESS he got weepy Friday afternoon. Thank GOODNESS he said he just wanted an apple juice when I offered to buy him a snack on our dreadful-but-won't-we-be-glad-when-it's-done trek to get groceries after school. Thank GOODNESS I decided that maybe he was legitimately not feeling good....  Because instead of heading out for a long afternoon and evening in the car and in the stores, we went straight home whereupon he barfed. And barfed again. And spiked a wee fever. 

And as these things often do, midst my clean up of his puke and preparing dinner for the people at our house who were not currently coughing their cookies, I realized that I was a little off myself. I decided to skip dinner and focus on getting through the Gabe part of the evening. I ALMOST made it. But my intestines were ready to party just a bit before night-night. 

I won't go into additional details, but let's just say ALL of us had at least some form of this abominable abdominal party going on this weekend. Scott and I spent most Saturday swapping off who was up out of bed and who was on Gabe duty. The older kids were basically on their own: Elliott never leaving the couch, really, and Tommy - less disabled than the rest of us but mildly suffering - enjoying a Minecraft session beyond his wildest dreams. To be honest, I definitely had more un- or barely-conscious time than he did. This thing was just plain killer and sapped every ounce of life out of me. 

I hear Saturday was a brilliant day weather-wise, but I don't think any of the Giesslers could confirm that.

So, today we all woke up feeling whole lot better. Which is a good thing because from about 6:30 this morning until about an hour ago, we were in full-on de-germination mode. 

Thank goodness that's all behind us and we'll never have another stomach bug in this family. 

But, enough barf-o-rama talk. Let's focus on something that makes me feel less like barfing and more like doing back flips: I get to run in two days!! It's going to be epic. (Or it's going to be horrible). I am going to feel great. (Or I'm going to feel horrible). I am so ready. (Or I am so horribly un-ready).

It's actually hard to believe that the time has finally (legitimately) come. I had these visions of acquiring incredible abs and Michelle Obama-esque arms while my knee was being stupid and preventing me from running. Come to find out, you can't just order those suckers up from Amazon. You have to actually DO the damn push ups and planks. Who knew? So, while I am by no means completely out of shape, I am certainly not the specimen I had hoped I would be as I start up the running journey again. 

It's like I just met myself. Shoulda seen that coming.

Another important decision I have made: I have chosen my 40 mile challenge. I will be running Ghost Train Ultra Marathon on October 25 (and into the 26th, if I decide to be totally hard core and run long). Although I loved the idea of doing my 40-miler on March 15 with my friends and family all there for me - and basically for me alone. But, this race is perfect for this re-boot for many reasons:

a. It's only $50! (WHAT?!?! That's NOTHING for a race of this length). 
b. It's a flat-ish out and back 15 mile course.
c. Gu and fluids and stuff will be available every 3.5 miles, so I don't have to plan out my nutrition and hydration too much.
d. I have 30 hours to get it done, so even if I walk the whole way, I don't have to worry at all about pace. (Many runners are attempting to do 100 miles, hence the long race time)

Most excitingly:

e. I have MANY pals (mostly from my Reach the Beach adventure) running it with me!! Granted, we probably won't be running WITH each other for the most part, probably, but this out and back course assures us that we will be in touch frequently through out our prospective journeys.
I am completely distracted right now. The Tonys are on. If you missed Hugh Jackman hopping for 4-minutes straight, then I am very sorry for you. I gotta go now..... 

Hugh's OK.... But NPH is still my fave.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

June 10th

I made a half-ass'd confession to my physical therapist today: I confessed that I have been jogging.

(Let me digress: For the record, I don't like the word jogging. I find it diminishing to the act of running. But since I was holding back so much in the effort, hardly changing my respiratory rate, I don't feel like I can call it anything but jogging... 'cuz it wasn't walking and it sure as heck wasn't running... but don't let me hear you call what you do jogging, because I won't let you degrade yourself that way!)

Anyway,  back to my partial confession. In my defense, my decision to take some running-esque steps in the last week did not come without some tacit approval. I present to the court three incidents that lead me to believe it was time to take things up a notch. Officially.

1. Two weeks ago, my PT had me start doing 1-legged squats. The goal was to do them to about 60-degrees. He said, "When you can do 10 of these in a row without losing your balance, that will tell me you are ready to run." I pulled off more than 20 in a row. KA-CHING!

2. On Friday I had another follow-up with my surgeon.The physician's assistant came into the exam room first and, after talking to me and looking at my leg, said, "So, you are at 8 weeks. This is when you can start to do some easy, straight-line jogging." (Cue the choir of angels in my head!)

3. Just after that, the surgeon himself came in. He talked to me about my progress and examined my knee and then said, "The protocol for jogging and running after this surgery is 12 weeks, so you are almost there." (Cue the 'you lose' music from "The Price is Right" - "bum-bum-ba-dummmm-brrrrr"....) But, after I expressed my deep disappointment in that idea, he THEN said, "Well, if you are out walking and you DO decide to take a few jogging steps, you just need to be really careful..." (Blah, blah, blah. I stopped listening after that. The die was cast. I was taking things up a notch. Officially.)

Okay. So, I said I made a partial confession. And it really was. Because, REALLY, really, I have been doing some running-esque movement for kind of a while now. I just felt ready. I just felt strong enough. I just felt like NOT RUNNING was getting too easy... like maybe if I didn't start up again on some level, maybe I would lose my mojo completely and just not start up again.

When I made my partial confession (I never copped to running before this past Friday), my PT was not surprised. Being a runner and having experience with a long recovery during which he could not run at all, he completely understands where I am coming from. He reminded me, though, that I was playing a dangerous game. I have heard the things he said today dozens of times before, but for some reason, today they stuck with me.

Here's the thing: Coming back from ACL reconstruction takes a boatload of work from the patient. You have to be committed to strengthening and stretching (and hurting!) for months at a time. Your quad muscle, which you could swear was JUST there, basically disappears completely. It's about as useful as nipples on a man. And the capacity to bend and straighten your leg? Completely gone. You can't do it. You have to fight for every degree of flexion and extension. If you were any kind of athlete before the surgery, it's almost inconceivable that this useless limb is on your formerly powerful, capable body.

And that's the good news. Because that's what you CAN control.

But no matter how determined and focused and bad ass you are, the bad news is you don't get to control the pace at which your graft heals to your bones. Likewise - and this will come as a complete shock to many of you - you don't get to control the pace of the calendar so that the time of healing for said graft will move more swiftly. Who knew? Certainly not I.

What finally hit me today is that no matter how determined I am, no matter how hard I work, no matter how charming or pouty or witty or sassy or ANYTHING-y I am... I can't make the graft heal any faster than it's going to heal and I can't get any medical professional to sign off on my running before week 12 of my recovery.

I think I needed to hear someone say to me clearly, as my PT did today, "You, Phoebe, are doing great. You are going to be ready to go and if it were just a matter of strength, you could go NOW. But there's no way to be sure that the graft is healed and we don't want to be back here a year from now because you overused the ligament before it had a time to heal properly."

It's a sign of my overall immaturity that I was ready to give up a lifetime of healthy running so that I could get in a handful of slow miles before it was wise. I am done running and jogging for now. It's (now) so obviously not worth it. For now it's squats and hamstring curls and stretching and spinning on my bike... for 3 more weeks.

That's June 10th.

It's a Tuesday.

Anyone wanna go running?

And, just for fun... one of my co-workers introduced me to the App "ChatterKids" today. She is using it with students to help them creatively share the research they have done on different US states. Below you can see that I have used it to make myself giggle. (If you missed my schpeil about the AMR Prove It Challenge - check this post.) You gotta check it out!