Thursday, April 29, 2010

What's your story?

Hello followers!
Nothing new to report here, but I thought I'd make this week's blog about you. The Madison Marathon is just 4 weeks away and I want to hear how you're doing! Are you excited? Nervous? Both? Are you running a race for the first time or are you a pro? Will you run with friends or family? How's the training going?
Still benched, but I want to keep in touch. I am really looking forward to running again, but for now, I'm stress eating and losing sleep, so I hope you're all fairing better :)
Let's hear about it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Guest Blogger!

As I am sitting it out with these pesky shin splints, I asked my friend, Kari, to guest blog this week. Kari and I have known each other for three years now (Wow! I hadn't realized that until I just counted it out!) and she is the reason I started running, period. She talked me into my first 10K last winter and I've been hooked ever since. Kari is that runner who, no matter how tired she is, has a word of encouragement for every runner she meets on the course. She maintains hope for me even when I can't see that half marathon finish line. She is a mom with a full-time job who manages to work running into her life, which inspires me to no end. I could continue to gush, but you'll see what I mean. Without further ado, Kari's first blog post...

It would be an understatement if one were to say “Kari is not your proto-typical runner.” I, by no means, look or run like Suzy Favor Hamilton. I’m that runner out there that some may walk/run/bike by and wonder “is she gonna make it?” But you know what, I am out there! The day I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I was diagnosed with compartment syndrome in my right calf muscle. Those of you out there with this horrible syndrome feel my pain, for those of you who do not, imagine running along, singing your song and then some ninja in the bushes throws a knife into the meat of your calf. I am not exaggerating the pain at all, not one iota.

Fast forward, when my beautiful daughter was just over a year old and I was still struggling to shed baby weight I started to walk. I walked the 2008 Crazylegs and thought – this is the worst ever – who walks!?! I used to be a runner! (And to all you walkers out there – big ups to you, I do not have the patience to walk right now in my life, maybe later, when my knees tell me I can not run any more, I will wholly embrace the walk.) By mid-June of ’08 I was on the treadmill at Prairie Athletic Club cursing the waif runner next to me who just jumped off the treadmill with a huge runner’s high, I stepped up my speed and RAN! I ran for about 1 mile before my calf started to fire a little and I backed off immediately. From June on I was hooked again, I increased my time and speed slow and steady, trying to ward off the return of my calf pain…. I have been running ever since! I am training for my first ½ marathon in Green Bay since 2004 (previously have run four) and I ran eight miles this past Sunday. I was really freaked before my run because I had not run that distance since my daughter was born, and I was kind of psyching myself out….then my husband told me something really simple but true, “you can do it.” I thought about him the whole run. The way we juggle schedules and time with our daughter, travel days, etc. to fit in my runs, because he and I both know that I am so much happier when I get my runs in. I’m usually the person telling my friends (i.e. Jody, your usual blogger) that she can kick this race’s butt, that she is strong and can do it, but it was my turn to be encouraged.

I found myself again this past Sunday, and worked through my fears with the help of my husband and daughter’s encouraging words. To quote one of my fav running songs “I run for hope, I run to feel, I run for the truth for all that is real… I run for life.” My life is better because I run, I am a better person because I run, and I seem to rediscover myself in every run. I run so I can truly live.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Do whatever doesn't hurt...

...This sums up my first trip to Sports Medicine.
I was told I definitely have shin splints, but no one could say for sure whether or not I have a stress fracture. What does this mean for my half marathon? Not recommended.
I was given tons of stretches to do and was told to let pain be my guide in terms of exercise.
The whole situation is disappointing, but my doctor said something that actually made me feel a whole lot better.
"You've now experienced two of the most common injuries I see...welcome to the world of running!"
One thing this whole experience has shown me is how much I love getting outside for a run. If that is all I can take away from it for now (rather than a finishers medal), that's enough for me. I'll be back! Look out!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The verdict

It's been a while since I last wrote and I'm sorry to say: Outlook not so good.
I've been working away at the gym doing anything I can to stay in shape while I await my doctor's appointment Thursday, but I gotta say, whatever he says will not surprise me.
I had a Madison Marathon meeting yesterday with our medical team captain who is also a sports trainer. We were discussing injuries, so I mentioned mine. He asked me where I felt the pain, then pressed down on my ankle and asked if that hurt. "Ah! YES!" I said, surprised by the shot of pain. Was I surprised that he told me I would likely not be running a half marathon in 5 weeks? Not really. I, of course, need to go to a proper clinic (it's difficult to diagnose these things accurately over coffee at Panera), but it's looking like I'm going to have to sit this one out.
You know what, though? I'm totally okay with this. I was really disappointed at first, of course, as well as extremely frustrated, but I know this isn't the end. I've got the whole summer to recoup and have a go at a fall half marathon.
In the meantime, I'm going to be the best cheerleader you've ever seen! For all of you coming up on your first half or full marathon or for those of you working on your 50th, GOOD LUCK! I know I'll see some of you at our finish line in May (I'll be the one looking harried as I attempt to talk on a cell phone and on a walkie talkie) and I hope you enjoy the experience. I'll do my very best to make sure it's amazing and worthy of your efforts.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's diagnosis...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

If you can't say anything nice...

My friend Christine says my blog has been kind of a downer lately and I know it's true. I started this blog expecting to share more victories than defeats, but I've really struggled for the last few weeks. I don't want to sugar-coat my disappointment because this wouldn't be a real blog if I wasn't honest.
I got in my car tonight after an hour in the gym and felt totally defeated. Now more than ever I feel like this is not going to happen for least not in May. After 2 miles on the treadmill, I knew something was wrong with my ankle. I stopped to stretch some more, but the pain didn't go away. It felt like it was traveling up my leg into my shin. After about 10 minutes of stretching and rotating my ankle, I conceded and hopped on a bike. I think this is what the pain has been all along. I'm not sure it's shin splints at all.
I am scheduled to see the doc next week and we'll see what he says. Until then, I'll continue my biking and strength training, but with only 5 weeks to go, I may be out of the game.
I'm sorry if I sound like a Negative Nancy, but this is the true story of a wanna-be runner who is totally frustrated by the limits of her body.
No matter what happens, I know I'll get there some day and I won't give up on what has become the elusive half marathon. My honest-to-goodness best wishes to all of you who are in the home stretch of your training. I wish I could (and hope I still can) share in the victory with all of you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lost ground

I was really excited to get out on Saturday and run. Now that I knew my legs could take at least 2 miles, I decided to try for 3. My workout calendar says I should be at 6 by now, but I don't want to push it.
I headed out on a gorgeous day and took a deep breath, remembering what it was like to be outside again. It was a perfect day.
Throughout the run, I thought I must be going too fast. My breathing was heavy and my legs felt the same way. When I finished, I heard my iPod tell me I was actually running slower than I usually do. The magic of the Shamrock Shuffle is gone and I know it will be a slow climb back to that sweet spot, but I'm in this until the end. It was disappointing to finally feel the results of 3 weeks away from running, but I remember how it feels to be in the zone and I'll get there again!
What's important is that I'm out there doing it - no matter how fast (or not).
PS- I hope everyone had a great Easter! I ate way too much candy but that's half the fun, right?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Moving forward

After about 3 weeks off running (feels like 3 months), I decided to test the waters at the gym the other day. I was really scared. What if my leg still hurt and I found I was still side-lined? Even worse, what if my leg didn't hurt and I found out just how many miles I'd lost in the last few weeks? Only one way to find out - I hit the treadmill. Not my first choice, but I figured that if my leg gave out, I could just hop on the bike without having to call my husband to come pick me up somewhere! I was really cautious. I ran a mile, then stopped for a minute or two to stretch, then ran a second mile and stopped to stretch. I was really worried I'd push it too far too fast, so I finished the workout on a bike, but I felt like there was reason to hope!
I called my friend Kari as soon as I got home and she reminded me that moving forward is the most important thing. Maybe I won't be able to run the entire half, but as long as I don't stop, I'll know I didn't give up. This will be my first half, but not my last, no matter what!