Thursday, December 31, 2009

I would run 500 miles...

Okay, so I haven't blogged in a while. The news hasn't been great, but it does look like things are looking up. Wil has been blogging about his foot, and his wonky sesamoid bones (poor baby!).

Yesterday, Wil asked me point blank: "Have you been running?" Busted! I have indeed been sneaking in a few runs when I can. See, it's important that Wil rest his foot for us to have the best chance on finishing the distances on race weekend. But it was also important to me to try and hit my goal of 500 Nike+ miles in 2009. I was really close -- I needed just over 18 miles as of Saturday night, so I got in an 11-miler on Monday, a 5.5-miler on Tuesday, and needed under 2 miles to hit 500. So before heading north to the naked lady spa, I went for a quick run around Green Lake. It wasn't the fastest run, nor the strongest, but it was fun to complete my goal today.

The path wasn't very crowded -- but there was a surprising amount of nature out. I think I saw three ravens, if that's even remotely possible. They were way bigger than just crows. Of course I saw a lot of crows (a murder of crows?). And I saw two great blue herons. And then there was the limping raccoon, that worried me a little. Hopefully he just hangs out at the lake until he feels better.

2009 has been a great, if challenging year. We ran our first marathon, a couple of half marathons, and have trained hard for the Goofy challenge. Hopefully we're up to it!

Not sure what 2010 will bring. First we just need to get through the next two weeks. Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Turns out that I'm a Genetic Freak & a broken one at that!!!

Went to the sports Doc this morning and got x-rays…

Turns out that I'm a Genetic Freak & a broken one at that!!! (Thanks to Mum or Dad for the freaky mutation one of you passed down to me… :-))

My sesamoid bones are fig 8 shaped instead of being straight. The one in my right foot has snapped in half at the weak point.

Sport Doc said the broken bone has probably fractured & fixed several times throughout my life, (this explains the similar pain I had just before and during the Portland Half Marathon, which went away so I wrote it off as 'one of those things').

Nothing can be done, but no further damage will be done (other than continuing with ice baths and anti-inflammatory stuff). I have been referred to a different sports clinic next Tuesday to get a custom foot bed/strapping which will hopefully ease the amount of pain I have to endure during the races…

But one this is for sure; there is gonna be 40 miles of pain ahead!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Well the Doc and the Physio gave some positive news.

This morning I went to see my Doctor (at 7.10am, I am impressed that we are able to get an appointment that early). And following that I went to see a physio to work out the best way to get around the foot pain problem (and to address/prevent it from reoccurring)

Without my prompting the Doctor came up the the diagnosis of some bruising around the bones and the seamoiditis that I had thought sounded likely. And while it means I should hold off running for as long as is possible it does mean that as long as I can put up with any pain on race-day then I will not be doing myself any permanent damage. But I should defiantly consider doing as much walking during the race as is feasible.

We rushed out to see Toni the Physio (who luckily had a cancellation at 8am) we did get there a little late (oops sorry). She did a full analysis of the problem and tracked it back to a number of issues with how I carry myself, and the types of warm-up/warm-down and stretches that we do. My muscles are a little too tight in various places. This in turn leads to my feet, knees (and legs in general) not being a sideways flexible as would be desired.

All of this makes total sense as I currently tend to run or cycle for exercise, which is a very push pull without much of a sideways release of tension.

We went through a number of exercises which I need to do each day, and a whole new set of stretches and jiggles to release the straight line tension and therefore free up my feet to do their jobs in all directions and therefore not putting as much stress on the same repetitive tension building movements.

I also need to soak my feet in ice water for three ten minute stretches up to three times a day to reduce the swelling on and around the two little useless bones which seem to be causing the problems.

All in all a very positive morning, which was well needed after my last few days of gloomy doom feeling about the whole thing. The relief makes me feel like bursting out in tears right now, but still I need to bear in mind that this isn't going to be easy.

I need to keep up the exercises and stretches; missing out on the long runs, while taking it easy over the next few weeks, means I won't be fully prepared for the races. Races which will, more than likely, involve a lot more foot/toe pain than desired, but at least it will only be painful and not damaging...

I know that it's not good to wish your life away, but at this point I really can't wait until these three weeks are done, and there is no 39.3 mile obstacle looming.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Running sucks, and my Foot sucks!!! :-(

Well here we are three weeks from race-day, and I have a foot which I can hardly run on. And it Sucks!!!

On the long run last weekend my foot started to feel a bit odd, but bearable. I figured we're getting old, and have been doing quite a lot of long runs, so with 800 foot falls per foot per mile that's quite a bit of beating for the old plates of meat.

On Monday my right foot felt bad even just when walking and positively hurt when I ran (I was only running to see if would hurt, and it did). Dull achy pain between the ball of my foot and my big toe which escalates into a sharp stabbing pain when I push down with my toe (again 800 pushdowns per mile that's quite a lot of sharp pains to put up with, and while ibuprofen helped with the ache it did little to nothing for the stabbing...)

Decided rest was a good idea so didn't run on Tuesday or Thursday (granted Thursday was more from having a tiny little hangover for most of the day and just looking forward to getting home and to lie on the sofa.) Then Saturday came, and I needed to do some gift wrapping and christmas prep, and didn't think a rest would be a bad idea as it still hurt just to walk/trot short distances... :-(

I did make a doctors appointment on Thursday, without really having much of a clue what the doctor would say other than "if it hurts to run on it, then don't run on it". From looking around it sounds like the generic metatarsalgia or worse (and if you read the causes, more probably) Sesamoiditis . Neither of which are really going to mean that all is right in three weeks. However, my Doctor is great, she is a runner, who has given both of us decent advice in the past so I figure a visit is a good idea.

I started having a bit of a panic last night, as in three weeks I have to complete not only a half marathon, but a full one the day after, and I can't do that I don't keep up the training. So decided that I was going to run today, and spike my run with painkillers.

Well three miles in and the pain was there but bearable, so bearable that I stopped 'thinking' about my footfalls, this was good. (plus I was enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse book I was listening to).

Then we hit three and a half miles and pain just shot through me I had to stop, and had that horrible, "Have I just made things a thousand times worse" feeling. Tried running again, and really couldn't without huge worry that I was potentially doing more damage. Walking was uncomfortable, but not too bad. So we decided to turn around and walk back.

Sunny was great while I was having my little tantrum, as I really don't want this to be happening right now.

Last year would have been worse, as it was our first marathon and I would have been heartbroken to have another hurdle when we already weren't sure if we could do it. Completing a marathon was an aim I had set and I was really driven to complete.

Where as this year, we know we can do mentally, cardio-wise and leg/body muscle-wise. But now here's an irritation, which will make the whole thing very unpleasant. We can still complete both races, but (as we discussed on my walk of shame home today) maybe we have to reconsider how things are done; maybe we have to really conserve ourselves for the big race.
Walking the half marathon won't be a problem within the timescales. Not sure that it would be much fun, but we could do it with ease.

That would mean that for the full marathon, we could run as far as I could manage. I am really hoping that, with rest and race day excitement (and enough ibuprofen) , todays three miles would be stretched to at least thirteen. then a brisk walk for ten miles before a three mile trot to the end.

Yes it would mean we will be even slower than we'd hoped, but it still should mean that we'll see the finish lines and wear the medals...

(I do feel horrible to be a bit broken at a time where I want to be at my best, but we deal with the cards we are dealt I guess..)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

10 Miler

Wil's foot is still really hurting, so I didn't want him to run today. I'd even rather he stay in tomorrow and do cardio on the bike trainer downstairs. So I did a solo 10-miler around the Cheshiahud loop in the cool drizzle. I've never been very good at pacing myself -- Wil is the one with the good, steady pace. So the first few miles I either ran too fast and felt sick, or I ran too slowly. Looking at my run on Nike+, what is usually a smooth line is an ekg of chaos. Oh well. I also felt strangely anxious about the run. Would I be able to complete it without Wil? I also got strangely bored.

A few amusing distractions: saw three different women twice around the loop; each time we smiled and waved. Also decided to try the mint chocolate Gu rather than the chocolate Hammer Gel. It's much denser than Hammer Gel -- more like frosting. It tasted great, but was hard to wash down. So I'll stick with the old standard.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Ran on the treadmill at work this morning in anticipation of a long day. This time Nike+ captured my 5.5 miles, though with some strange troughs in the pace. (Maybe I really did dork out at some point?) Anyway, I got some miles under my sensor. :)

Make fun of me if you must, but I know at least some of you understand the question "If I run 8 miles but Nike+ doesn't add it to my totals, did I really run?"

This has been the longest "week" in the history of my worklife. At least today felt productive, if LOOOOONG.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Got up, bundled up, and braved the cold weather for an 8-mile run today. We wanted to try the same route we started on last week, when it was so cold we cut our 18-mile run down to 9 miles -- because Wil likes the idea of getting a chunk of mileage done before we head out on the Burke Gilman towards the U District... and because we've got a 20-miler scheduled for next week.

Again, the run down to Golden Gardens was fine -- it was just that, upon turning around, we had a headwind blowing off the water that was bitterly cold. We ran on the trail side of the road this week, rather than directly along the water, but it didn't really help much. So we'll see how it goes next week.

Feeling a little grouchy because my Nike+ sensor -- though it read the run, gave me a result, etc., didn't seem to "save" the run... bearing no record of it, and therefore it didn't add to my mileage for the year. I'm still quite a ways from my 500 miles in 09 goal (with the sensor), so today's 8 would have been useful. Oh well, we'll see how it goes... the important thing, of course, is that I ran it and felt okay. :)

(Must admit that I have a bit of pain in my right leg... perhaps from too much skipping yesterday?)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Girls on the Run 5K!

Woke up early and happy to see that there was no snow this morning -- because today was the Girls on the Run 5K! Bundled up and headed over to Seward Park, which, I'm ashamed to admit, I had never really visited. I mean, we once rode our bikes there on a Cascade group ride. And in the Danskin tri, the running course took us close to that point. And in the Rock and Roll 1/2, we ran down the hill and turned past the entrance. But I'd never really entered the park. It's glorious -- sort of an inverted Green Lake -- a little thumb of land in the midst of a large lake. The running track takes you along the beach, and then (to get the distance), there's a hill up into an interior loop. Then back down and a nice flat run along the water to the finish. Very nice!

Gathered with coaches, other running buddies, and our girls in the FREEZING COLD. The girls were given hand warmers, thankfully, so I didn't have to worry about my buddy getting TOO cold. I recognized Morgan by her rainbow gloves. She gave me a hug and we did the warmup stretches together. I met her mom, very sweet brother, great aunt, and grandmother. Nice to see that she had a lot of support. Coach Carmen had tiaras for the girls to decorate... I loved that Morgan didn't want to make a tiara. Not her style at all.

As we walked to the starting line, Morgan said that it didn't matter if she came in first or came in last -- that the important part is just going out and having fun. (Go girl!) The organizers had balloon arches at the start and finish -- nice touch. It was a little crowded right at the start, but we were able to keep up a pretty good clip, alternating between running, skipping, and walking. We actually ran more that I thought we would -- certainly more than in the practice 5K. We talked about Christmas, her new kittens (they got three!), camping, books, how pretty it was there, and even running. I told her the "leave nothing in the tank" story, which she liked.

She was getting pretty tired at the end of the run, and said she wasn't sure she had very much in the tank. But we decided to sprint from the 3-mile mark to the 3.1-mile finish line. She took off pell mell -- really fast! -- but we remembered to smile and wave at her family as we sprinted past.

Her family were very sweet, even her 13-year old brother who ran up to her and said "I'm so proud of you!" That made me almost want to cry. Hooray for sweet boys! Coach Carmen gave Morgan her very cool medal and bracelet that they made with the beads they earned in the program.

We stood and cheered until everyone finished, which was great. Then I said goodbye to Morgan and her family, along with the other running buddies and coaches. It was a really nice event, with lots of cheering. Oh, and the goody bags were better than the ones we'll get at Disney World. Ha!

Another nice touch -- everyone was given bib number 1. Sweet!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

pre-work treadmill

I knew I wouldn't fit a run in after work, so I ran in the morning on the treadmill at the work gym. It was pretty quiet -- one guy on a treadmill, the very dedicated lady on the stairmaster, a guy lifting free weights, and, later, a woman on the elliptical. No television, no talking, just the sound of the machines. Ahhh.

Warmed up for 5, then ran 55, then cooled down for 5. Managed to squeeze out 6.36 miles overall. Got a funny "note" from Joan Benoit Samuelson; "Congratulations! You've just recorded your fastest mile." But I figure that's because I have a new sensor so every run is a new distance, a new speed, etc.

Next run ... the Girls on the Run 5K! Where I'll be doing more skipping than running... perhaps in the snow?!?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

treadmill are okay when it's freezing outside

Wil and went to the gym after work and ran on the treadmill in the hottest room in the world. Still, I sure felt loose after 20 minutes! Felt nice and steady, and very pleased at the end of the run. 5+50+5.

Monday, December 7, 2009

An Icy Run Cut Short

L Yesterday's run was officially horrible.

I tend to be warmer so underdress (and Sunny, rather sensibly, tends be colder so makes sure she is warmly dressed). I was so happy yesterday that she had a 'spare' fleece vest.

The 18 miler was going to be mentally challenging, but well within our fitness level, so I thought that a nice run up to Sunset park, then take the road route down to Golden Gardens, and out until the path turns into beach. Then back along the Burke Gilman, through the missing link til we hit Fred Myer (often our starting place) and then an out and back on the Burke Gilman proper.

The run down to Golden Gardens was great, and in my mind it felt like a pre-amble to the 'proper' run (even better mentally). Calculations/guestimates, started make it look like we would hit 8 miles as we got to our usual Start point. Meaning just a 5 mile out and a 5 mile back, Yay!!! No further than the University district!!! Superb!!! Mentally the run was no long going to be any challenge at all.

And then we hit the end of path/beginning of beach and turned around.

I hadn't noticed any wind so far, as we had been running with it. We turned around, and the wind off the sound was icy. Really icy. Saturday's run was cold and icy underfoot, but the bright sun had kept us warmed up, on Sunday there was no sun just a thick blanket of cloud.

Still, no worries we would just run through it, then after about a mile I had a sharp (skin level) pain in my chest. I wondered whether I had somehow cut myself, and how I could possibly have. We got to a walk break and I checked, there was no cut. A brief one minute walk with no pain, then started to run, and there was the pain again.

I noticed that it wasn't a cut, it was the sweat patch on the front of my jersey which was being pushed against my skin and was painfully biting cold. I felt the cold of my skin even through gloved hands. Still I figured I would warm up. (Mentally this run was getting harder again, as I started over analyzing what points of my body were the most cold).

I was wearing a single layer jersey and a double layer pair of shorts, my legs were starting to turn a bluey red. Hmmm... Not good. Having to hold my shirt away from my chest to avoid scalpel-like pain.. Not good. Pain where any moisture was on my face… Not good.

At that point I found myself shivering while running, again, not good..

not good + not good + not good + not good = mentally really bad.

And at that point I started wondering whether we should stop at Kavu where I could buy a shirt/vest to keep on running. That would be a waste of money; we could easily detour back up to the house adding two miles and thus shortening the out and back (as the run was basically a right angled triangle with the out and back at the right angle.)

We talked and at that point decided that it would be an even more sensible idea to run home and abandon the rest of the run. Our faces were feeling chapped and sucking in the cold air wasn't feeling good.

Sunny gave me her fleece vest, which was fantastic, and quickly stopped my shivering. At this point I was getting a bit too keen to get back to a warm house and into a warm shower. So I kept losing track of my pace and racing off. We decided that a steep hill would be the best way of being slightly sheltered from the wind and the uphill would help to get warm blood to our iciest bits…

The whole run home I was feeling guilty that I had robbed a layer from Sunny and her preparedness L. But super thankful for that extra layer (and she reassured me that her body heat wasn't too uncomfortable.)

We got home in good time. Stretched inside, stretching felt odd, as muscles weren't 'warmed-up' even after 9 miles of running.

Today I checked the hour by hour weather for yesterday. 34F (just 1 Celsius), then at the time of our run there was a peak in the wind speed (so maybe on our run down to the beach there really hadn't been any wind). The wind speed went from 5 mph to 17, (which I don't think we got the full brunt of). Either way that would have been static speed. We were moving at 6 mph into it. So let's put a realistic estimate of 15 mph windspeed while running.

The BBC wind chill table puts the actual temp (inc wind chill) as below freezing, between -2.5c and -4.8c (27.5F and 23.36F) (The table doesn't have a figure for 1c just 0c and 2c). And that's not accounting for the drop in temp from the wind coming straight off the water.

Brrrrrr… Not the sort of temp to be outside in a pair of shorts and a sweat dampened tech jersey.

I feel really bad about abandoning a run, but figure that at least we were sensible, and no-one got hypothermia...

Lesson learned – It's time to layer up and wear running tights (and maybe even a neck/face gater) for long runs. And shift short runs to the dreaded treadmill.

congratulations Lindsay!

Woke up to the news that Lindsay shattered her PR to finish the Las Vegas Rock and Roll half marathon in 2:15:09! Way to go girlfriend!!!!! We're so proud of you!!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


It's really cold here. Okay, not Antarctica cold or anything like that, but cold. Went for our 7-mile run on Saturday, which was okay, but turned back early on our planned 18-miler today when the wind and the cold conspired against us. So today was only about 9 miles. I'd rather short our run than get hypothermia any day.

One nice thing I noticed on these runs this weekend is how friendly the (few) other runners seem. Everyone smiles and waves. I mean, I never wave or smile at other runners. I'm too focused on just getting my miles in and not tripping on the broken sidewalks of Ballard. (ha!) But everyone is waving, saying hi, smiling... no, wait, maybe that's just the rictus of cold...

One less nice thing I noticed -- spending over an hour outside makes your face hurt. I have a windburn/chapped cheeks/whatever on my face. I'm sure there is something one can do to help soothe this? Let's just say I am going to look awesome for the next few days.

Finally, super big ups to my girlfriends Lindsay, Jen, Melinda, and Brenda, for running the Las Vegas Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon this morning -- I have total race envy! Next year I have sworn to run in an Elvis outfit. Hold me to this. :)

So... not the greatest start to this month's running. I take some comfort in hearing from others in Goofy training that they're in training funks as well. I'm writing this down -- NEVER AGAIN. After January, no matter what happens, I will not do another Goofy's challenge in Florida. It's too far to go, it's the wrong time of year for us northern types, and the half+full back to back is, well, Goofy. I don't regret signing up for it, and it will be just absurd enough to do this crazy thing, but it's just not for me.

I'm not ruling out another marathon -- I would still love to run the NYC Marathon, maybe even the Chicago Marathon -- because I love the idea of a big-city, big-crowd race. (I would also love to run the London Marathon, but that's just not going to happen.) But I think that next year -- unless we get in to the NYC Marathon -- I'd like to focus on the half marathon. It's a very nice, very do-able distance. In the working list of events for post-Goofy 2010, I've plotted out 4 half marathons (Eugene, Seattle RnR, Disneyland, Vegas), a couple of big local runs, and maybe even a triathlon (we'll see). It just seems more... sensible...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009