Tuesday, November 25, 2014

(Eventually)... The Agony of De-Finger

About a week and a half ago I decided my next post - whenever I got to it - was going to be "A Love Letter to Community Theater".  To sum up: Playing the Cat in the Hat in Seussical was definitely a role-of-a-lifetime and possibly the one I was best suited for: run around like a maniac, make a huge mess, cause trouble, improv at will, and basically have a blast. Oh, and sing a whole lot but not anything that has to sound real pretty or like you know what you are doing. OK! Sounds great. Audiences were fantastic. Elliott was a model theater citizen AND a joy to watch on stage - so they tell me. And it was one of those beautiful occasions when the people you encouraged to come to the show really, truly had a BLAST and left feeling joyful and entertained. Ka-ching.

Being a dork during the entre' act.

E in one of his MANY roles: The Elephant Bird. Stole.The.Show!

A small taste of the amazing set and costumes.


But Seussical was SO three days ago. So, then I decided the title of my next post HAD to be "Why I Hate 5Ks and Will Surely Keep Doing Them Anyway". See, one of the people I harangued  into coming to the show was my BRF, Lauren, who made the trek from 3 hours away in Vermont. She was happy to come but also suggested we might do the local 5K on Saturday, too, cuz, ya know... BRF is Best RUNNING Friend. As fate would have it, I also got my first-ever FAN LETTER after the first weekend of shows from a little boy who was going to be at the race. That sealed the deal. I decided to run the race. It was about 2 degrees outside (or 25 degrees, but there WAS a wind chill factor) and it was ALL UPHILL (there was one series of hills but I REALLY didn't enjoy them) and there were rabid dogs all along the course. (No, there weren't.) ANYWAY, Lauren SAID she was going to run conservatively but promptly took off like a bat outta hell and taunted me to join her. I was not in any shape to keep her pace but it DID get into my head enough that I had a pretty good race. Still, 5Ks are HORRIBLE and I HATE them. But then they are over pretty quickly and you get amnesia and surely find yourself doing another one soon enough....

The boy in front wrote me the 'fan' letter. It was his 9th birthday. He had hoped to meet Elliott. So, we showed up with the hat, a card signed by the cast and crew and a Seussical pin for him. If he and Elliott ran the kids' 2K as fast as they talked they would have broken world records! SO sweet....!

Lauren won our age group and I managed to squeak out 3rd. Woo hoo! All the frigid temps were worth it when we were able to sit with some coffee and baked goods afterward. 


But people can only take SO much running talk so as of yesterday this post was DEFINITELY going to be "Running Out of Limbs to Injure". Cuz on Sunday I woke up with an "Old Lady Shoulder". I literally could not raise it up without help from my other arm. It was freakish. Blessedly, the flute player in Seussical is also my chiropractor (gotta love small town livin'!) and she set me straight so I could get through the show. But, then Monday (yesterday) it was TERRIBLE. I couldn't even open a door knob with my right arm. Forget about trying to pick up Gabe or do something as skillful as shift my car from Park to Reverse. (One of the few occasions on which I am thankful I don't drive a stick shift!!) It was a lot better today but I had already managed to squeeze in an appointment with my PT guy. The verdict? I slouch. And I sit for long periods at my lap top with my arms out too far from my body and my eye gaze too low. (As I am doing right now, as a matter of fact!) He thinks the problem has built up over a long period and probably an awkward position in Saturday night's sleep was the last straw. As long as it doesn't bother me to swing my arms (which, as of tonight, it doesn't) I am good to run. I just need to ice it once a day and do a few stretching exercises. I'll get some strength training stuff in the coming weeks to help keep this problem at bay. Hopefully for ever....

But no, NONE of those things are what this post is about  because TONIGHT we had a somewhat epic tragedy/comedy play out. It features our hero, Elliott, and his nemesis, wooden train tracks. It seems that Elliott has, in the past, taken to sticking his fingers in the round spaces in the toy tracks. You know, the slot where the knobby thing fits in to connect the next track? Previously this has always worked out OK for him. Apparently, sometime between the LAST time he did that and tonight, his finger got wider.

The poor kid came into the dining room and, trying to remain calm, started to cry. "It doesn't hurt, I just can't get it off!" And this wasn't just any track, It was a BRIDGE, so we are talking wood and a lot of made-in-China's best plastic around it. Here's what we tried:

1. Cold water. (It would reduce the swelling and the thing would come right off.... Nope.)
2. Soap. (Scrub it up a little and it will slide right off.... Nope.)
3. Butter. (Rub that greasy goodness on there real thick. It will slip right off... Nope.)
4. Panic. (This is the point when Elliott started to freak, on and off. That also did not help get it off).
5. Ice. (See #1. Nope).
6. Get the plastic off and hope that would make the wood easier to separate at the place his finger was stuck. Got some off but not all of it. Hurt E too much to keep trying it, so... Nope.
7. Hammer and flat head screw driver. (Scott tried to "chisel" the major section of the bridge away so we would at least be dealing with a smaller object. That was too much vibration for E. He started freaking out again. So, NOPE.)
8. Hand saw. This was LITERALLY Elliott's idea. I think Scott and I were both thinking it would really put him over the edge if we tried it. But, after a few attempts, starts and stops, the major section of the bridge was removed and we were just left with a small section. At this point Scott used his finger as a 'safety' so E knew that Scott would stop cutting long before he hit E's flesh. When he got close enough, I was able to break the wood and release the finger.

Sadly, this was all a little too alarming to poor E at the time to document it photographically. I WISH it was on video. Maybe a reenactment is in order.

Or not. Yeah. Probably not.

So, that's enough excitement at our house for now. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Runner Breaks: Perspective

It's been, as usual, a long time since I've written. The mid-late fall at our house is like a three-ring circus, and two of the rings are usually major musical theater productions. This season has been no exception. Before I go into the shameless self-promotion section of this post, I guess I ought to do a  brief update on my running.

I recovered enough from my stupid calf strain to participate in the 15 mile race that was attached to the Ghost Train Ultra marathon. The weekend was exactly what I needed it to be: a wee break from motherhood, a re- or first-ever connection with running friends, ample but not excessive travel time, and fantastic weather. I won't even attempt to do a play-by-play of the weekend since it is so far out of my brain. The mighty band of Vermont Badass Ultrababes that were kind enough to include me in their merriment ROCKED their perspective races. From 30 miles - 100 miles, I am fairly certain that each of them achieved at least one of their goals. (We runners never go out without an A, B, and C goal, ya know? So there's always a taste of success!) I was very inspired  by them and think I may dip my toe back into the ultra arena next spring after Boston. Maybe.

The 15 mile race was Sunday morning so the folks shooting for 100 miles had been running for almost 24 hours when we started. One of my goals (don't ask me if it was A, B, or C) was to just be exceptionally supportive of all of them. I have no idea how it might feel to keep your body in motion for over 24 hours straight, so my hollering to them as I went by them (coming or going... the course was out and back) may have been completing annoying or completely appreciated. The good thing about having fresh legs compared to those that have already done 90+ miles is that you aren't around for long to find out and can just assume you were just what they needed or wanted at that moment.
A short bridge I found to be way too scary for a person running on through the night. Good thing I wasn't running through the night!

Amazing VT runners. So. Freaking. Amazing.

My BRF, Lauren, had a foot injury and couldn't run either. She was a LEGIT hero and went out and did 15 miles of walking in the middle of night with some of the baddest of asses. I was sound asleep at the Hampton Inn, for the record!

I pulled a Phoebe and planned to run the course and not race it.... but then of course I raced it. Not 100%. When I met up with the Vermont Badasses who were still at it I stopped and walked with them for a bit. Oh, and there was one desperate port-a-potty stop at about mile 5... but by the end I was really gunning for the finish line. It was a gorgeous day, an insanely beautiful course, and it felt so freaking good to let loose with some speed. I was as sore as after my last marathon the next couple of days, but it was worth it.

Then, of course, after the race, I got home and faced the reality of my husband and I being part of two major musical theater productions: he is directing the high school's The Sound of Music and I am The Cat in the Hat in our community theater's production of Seussical the Musical. Elliott is also in Seussical. His show is this weekend. (I saw it last night. SO good!) My show opens next weekend. If you have ever been part of a show you know how the last couple of weeks go. It's just nuts. Plus exhaustion. Plus stress. All in all, a good time!!
We are keeping the costumes and sets a secret to enhance the "wow" factor when the curtain opens, though I kinda wish we weren't. They are so.freaking.amazing. It's going to be a great show, despite the narrator... (me).

I am, therefore, not even worrying about running. I am purely going for when-I-feel-I-can mental health runs. This week that happened to only be Monday morning and today. Today I got a bit of a bonus in because I ran 5 miles to the theater clean up (gotta scrub those toilets before the audience comes!) and then ran the 5 miles home. It was exactly what I needed. I am going to keep running (or not running) however it suits me until the show is over. Then I will look around and see if any holiday-themed races strike my fancy/fit my calendar & budget. Otherwise, I am hitting Boston training pretty hard come late December.

It's so obvious - yet comical - how it is to take a break from running when it's a conscience choice:

"Yup, too much other stuff going on... stuff that I WANT to do and ENJOY. I am going to lay off the runs for now."

Compare that to my other recent and heartbreaking breaks from running caused by not-my-fault and then TOTALLY-my-fault injuries:

"I am losing my mind. I can't function without running. I may commit manslaughter if I can't run. WHY DO THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE LIKE ME?!?!?!?"

Yup, Totally obvious. And, as far as my personality is concerned, totally unavoidable. Oh, well.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

500th!

Hey, Wow! This is my 500th post! That's pretty cool. Especially since I have been blog-slacking to the extreme lately. I wonder when or if I will ever go back and re-read these things. Yeah, probably exactly one minute after some horrific virus strikes Google and everything I've written is irretrievable. Shudder.

I write today after so long a break because of a couple of unrelated happy occurrences. Well, if you believe in such things, it's possible they are cosmically-related, but whatever. Don't go consulting your crystals about it or anything.

The first thing is that my dear friend Kathleen ran her first 5K today! 'What's so great about that?' you may ask. Well, many things.

I have known Kathleen for just over 10 years. (She started out as a theater acquaintance so it's easy to keep track of when I met her: we were doing Annie Get Your Gun and Tommy was just a few months old). Shortly after we met and just before we became really good friends, she had knee replacement surgery. Because of this, whenever talk of running came up she was very supportive of me and my pursuit  but was clear about herself: Can't run. Knee replacement. Not possible.

Then, of course, there is the small matter of Kathleen facing a little thing called CANCER back in 2011. Ummm, yeah. And she did not get that friendly kind of cancer where you have a little tidbit removed and a teaspoon of chemo and then you're good to go. She had knock-you-on-your-ass, scare-the-crap-out-of-you, surgery-and-chemo-from-hell, with-a-side-order-of-pulmonary-embolism for added excitement. It is not an exaggeration to say that Kathleen thought she was going to die. And while all of us who love her never spoke of it, there were many moments when we wondered, too.

Of course, Kath would jump in here and dispute, "Well, you can't call what I did really RUNNING.... Lots of people who started in waves after us caught up to us... " Yadda yadda yadda. Typical denial from a lady who deserve some Horn Tootin'! She trained hard for this event. She started out just walking the dog and then trying to run a bit as she went along. Then she got on the Couch to 5K plan. And then she made it 3 miles with some walk breaks. And THEN, last week, I got a message from her saying she RAN the WHOLE THREE MILES. That is so huge. For anyone. But for her, that is like Neil Patrick Harris Hosting the Tonys Again Huge! (Legend - wait for it - dary!)

I did my due diligence and FB stalked her enough to share these pictures. (God bless that Journalism degree. I am a pro!)

Stranger on the Left had a the perfect sign for Kathleen on the right... (who is stranger  than most but not A stranger to me!)

Kathleen's friend, Barbara, ran with her. I didn't dare commit to the event, given my bad run of luck lately. (RUN of luck... HA!)
Knowing Kathleen was cranking out a personal goal this morning was not, however, enough to inspire my lazy butt. I say lazy, but I guess after the week we had here I had a reasonable excuse. All three boys were sick this week. And not in that convenient-but-challenging all at once way. It went like this;

Monday - Gabe wakes with major boogs and fever. I stay home with him.
Tuesday - Gabe still has fever. Scott stays home with him.
Wednesday - Everyone wakes up healthy. Yay! Off we go to school.
Wednesday afternoon - Call from daycare. Gabe's fever's  back. Drat.
Wednesday night - Gabe cracks his chin open and Scott takes him to ER. (I am at play rehearsal at the time). No stitches. Just exceptional stress and steri-strips.
Thursday - Gabe is OK but Tommy wakes up with a fever. I stay home with Tommy and Gabe because, ya know, bashed open chin and fever yesterday....
Friday - Tommy still has fever. Scott stays home with Tom. And, bonus, it's Scott's birthday. So that's fun!
Saturday - Everyone is feeling OK. Woo hoo. Getting some stuff done around the house, putting away the outdoor furniture... and, uh oh. Elliott doesn't look so good. Yup. Elliott has a fever.

My running has been going OK. I've come to grips with not doing the Ultra in a couple of weeks and I will happily just enjoying my time with my running pals and being their Athletic Supporter. I am focused on Boston 2015. And I reaaalllly wanted to get in a double digit run today. It would be my first since August. But ggggaaaaawd I was so mentally exhausted from the week. And gaaawwwwwdddd I just had no give-a-damns left.

Then, the phone rang. And it was Kathleen. And she told me about her run and I thought, yeah, I need to go do that 10 miles.

So I did. Of course, of all the hilly routes I could take around here, my unplanning feet took me on the hilliest. So I trotted along at a decent pace, listening to podcasts, contemplating the universe. (That is, if you think that contemplating the fact that I knew we had no chocolate chips NOR chocolate milk ingredients in the house is equivalent to contemplating the universe...)

Thanks and big congrats to you, Kathleen! And if you do another one, remember the Age Old Rule: "Run if can. Walk if you must. But always, always, pee yourself a little."

P.S. Everyone think BQ thoughts for the great Sarah Bowen Shea tomorrow. She is one of THEE mother runners from Another Mother Runner and she is poised to do amazing things in the morning. West coast time... so don't get your fast thoughts in too early.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

April 20, 2015

It's Thursday afternoon and I home. I have some weird combination of headache, nausea and exhaustion. Took the kids to school and tried to work but I was going to be very ineffective and very unhappy, so I drove home. (Driving makes my nausea way worse...) I went to my bed and did not get up until about 2:30. I still feel horrible and that dry piece of toast I just ate - because a girl should not live in Tums alone - is really seeming like a bad idea.

So this is not exactly the physical and emotional space I hoped to be in when I got THIS news:


I haven't received the email yet but I saw from an FB link that they were sending the notices today so I took a shot. Racers need to run 1:02 faster than their gender/age group qualifying time to get in. So, I was actually in a really good place with about 4:50 to spare.

I should be calling everyone and shouting from the rooftops. I should be imagining the finish line. I should be reserving a hotel room.

But instead, I think I am going to go vomit. Ugh.

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....