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My 8 Week Marathon

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

About 2 Ĺ weeks ago, I was carrying a 40 lb bag of water system salt to my softener tank. It had been raining on and off for several days, which is typical for a South Florida July. I stepped on a wooden deck, not realizing how slippery it was when my right foot slipped out from under me and I started falling over. On my way down I heard a pop, thought, ďUh oh, this is NOT good,Ē and then I hit the ground, thankfully on grass.

I knew it was bad, and my second thought was, ďThis is really going to screw up my running.Ē After rolling around moaning for a bit, I was finally able to think straight. I live on a dirt road with the houses spaced apart on just over an acre each, and there isnít a lot of traffic on my road. Although it was just before 5:00 p.m., I didnít think anyone would be coming by any time soon. I needed to get in the house and call my boyfriend to take me to a hospital.

There was no way that I could stand up, and I couldnít even crawl, so I half dragged, half scootched myself though the open garage and into the house. Thankfully, my cell phone was within reach. I laid on the cold, hard tile floor and called Ben, but just got his voice mail. I left a message knowing he always calls back within a few minutes. I wanted to get off the floor but could not seem to get positioned to pull myself up. While I was waiting I decided to call my next door neighbor who is a retired nurse to see if she could come over and help me to the couch. Although she is always home, I got her voice mail, too. I didnít bother to leave a message, and tried Ben again, but it went to voice mail again. I managed to reposition myself and got over to the couch. I texted Ben hoping that if he looked at his phone he would notice the text before noticing the missed calls. Finally a few minutes later he called and said he was on his way.

Ben arrived in about 30 minutes and we went to an urgent care. After some x-rays it was confirmed that I broke my ankle. The break occurred just above that little bone that sticks out on the outside of the ankle. They splinted me and told me to see an ortho ASAP.

That night I found an ortho that is covered under my insurance and I called the next morning and made an appointment for Thursday afternoon, two days later. It turned out that I could not see the ortho without a referral from my primary, but the primary would not give me one without seeing me, even though they received the medical report from the urgent care. I went to the primary the night before the ortho appointment, and then I spent all morning on Thursday calling the primary to confirm they sent the referral, the insurance company to make sure they received the referral and that they approved the appointment, and then the ortho to make sure they received the approval. Everything was completed by 11:00 a.m., and my appointment was for 2:30. Talk about cutting it close!

I went to the ortho and they looked at the x-rays I provided them from the urgent care. The doctor confirmed it was broken and said I would need to be in a cast for about 8 weeks. I was just glad I was finally getting a cast because the splint wasnít holding things together very well, and every time I moved it was pretty painful. The cast was better, although I was kind of surprised that the doctor didnít take another x-ray to confirm that the bone was healing correctly, even though the doctor told me that healing had already started. I asked about when I might be able to get in a boot, and I think he said maybe after 4-6 weeks. He further said that he wasnít sure my insurance would cover a boot, and if I wanted to pay for one myself it would be about $300.00.

I have another appointment with the ortho tomorrow to check the progress of healing. Two of my friends have been in boots, and they each loaned me one. I am taking them both to the ortho tomorrow to find out which boot would be better and when I can finally get into one. The cast gets really uncomfortable at times, especially when my ankle and foot swell. On top of that the weight of the cast is constantly pulling on my knee, hip and lower back making all of that hurt. I still have to keep it elevated, and anything longer than an hour not elevated makes it swell.

As the swelling goes down, I am also starting to feel the ancillary injuries in terms of either pulled tendon or muscle on the inside of the leg. I have had to put my foot down a couple of times when I have lost my balance on the crutches (I got a wheel chair but crutches are easier for some things), and the pain is not as bad as it was 2 weeks ago, so that is good.

I keep thinking about Scott Jurek when he broke his ankle about 40 miles into a 100 mile trail race (Western States I think?). He decided to keep going because he knew all the swelling would stabilize the joint. Honestly, that man is made of steel, because I would never in a million years be able to put weight on a broken ankle. I had respect for him before, but I found a whole new level of respect for him now!

I had just returned to Florida from Michigan a couple of days before this happened. I was in Michigan for a couple of weeks taking care of my Mom who is very ill. I went up there to give my brother and sister a break. Until I am back to walking around again, I wonít be able to help her, so they will have to able to handle things for at least a couple of months. I know they can do it, but they both have families of their own and itís hard for them. I also have been unemployed since February, and I have not been able to put 100% of my attention to job hunting since I have been traveling back and forth to Michigan every few weeks. My plan was when I got home to find a job, as well as finish my home office renovation project that I started a couple of months ago. While the renovation project is somewhat stymied, I can pick out the crown moulding and window trim, and install the window trim, even in my current condition.

On a positive note, I had some inflammation in my right toes from marathon training last fall. I continued to race through the winter, as I missed last yearís race season due to some minor health issues, and that injury never healed. I now have 8 weeks for that injury to heal as well. I am also able to spend more time focusing on the job hunt, and I am confident I will find something very soon. I will just need a chauffer to drive me to interviews and work until I get out of this cast, since I broke the right ankle and canít drive.

So I call this my 8 week marathon because I am finding that the mental challenge of being stuck in the house, unable to drive, and dependent on others (I am a very independent person so this is killing me!), is akin to the mental challenge of running 26.2 miles.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPTIMIST1948 7/24/2014 10:46PM

    I agree. Total mental challenge!

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    Hang in there - thinking of you

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MBSHAZZER 7/24/2014 2:49PM

    Carolyn, I knew this had happened, so now I know the whole story. I am so sorry you are dealing with this on top of all the other stuff you have going on. I did have to LOL that one of your first thoughts was about how this would impact your running!

I like how you are looking on the positive side. It's really too hot to run now anyway. Many people don't take enough of a break of let things really heal. Sometimes an externally imposed break for longer than you would take on your own is helpful with the healing process.

You might want to look into adding tart cherry juice extract into your diet. Seems to help with soft tissue issues. Won't be helpful for your ankle, but might help with the other aches and pains that come from being off kilter due to the injury.

speedy recovery!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/24/2014 2:06PM

    Wow, it does indeed take a lot of mental fortitude to get through this!


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MARGARITTM 7/24/2014 9:56AM

    Wow that stinks on many levels.... I hear ya on the injury - not running makes me grumpy (as I sit here with an ice pack on my (supposed/hopefully healed stress fracture.

Sorry about your Mom - been there before too. Take this time to regroup and Restart.

See you on the road soon!

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PMRUNNER 7/24/2014 7:49AM

    Oh no! Hoping for a full recovery!(and patience through the recovery too)

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JSTETSER 7/24/2014 6:11AM

    I hope that you find some good books and movies, and spend some time on the Spark.
I would really miss my runs, bikes and kayaks if I hurt myself.
Can you build up your upper body while healing!

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BHENDRICK2 7/23/2014 8:00PM

    man that sounds like really bad luck i hope things get better emoticon

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Trail Racing - What a Blast! (Pictures)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wow! I can't believe it's been over a year since I posted a blog. I will have to put a catch-up blog out soon, but in the meantime, here is a race report from my first (and recent) trail run.

I have been running for about 7 years now, and all of my races have been on the road. A few weeks ago, however, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to do a couple of trail races with her. I couldnít do both, so I chose the Citrus Trail in Inverness, Florida. Inverness is a small town about 30 minutes north of Tampa, surrounded by many lakes, springs, rivers, and preserves, and is known for diving with manatees in the winter months. It is a small Florida town, with huge 100+ year old oaks dripping with Spanish moss. There is still enough 1920s architecture to let you know it has been here a while, although shopping centers with the typical commercial stores and restaurants are starting to pop up. Judging by the number of doctorís offices I think there are a good number of retirees in this community.

This particular race offered distances for pretty much any runner Ė 4 miles, 10 miles, marathon, and a 50K (31 miles). Since I hadnít really run much since my back to back marathon/half marathon in early December, I opted for the 10 miler, as did my friend (she is training for a 100 mile ultra in August). I was really excited about this race, and even more pleased that it was really, really small Ė just over 100 competitors in total.

After driving about 3.5 hours from the West Palm Beach area, we arrived in Inverness, checked into our hotel, and then went to race check in. Check in was at race start, which was in a primitive campground in the Citrus Wildlife Management area. I was liking this already, as I am a HUGE lover of being outdoors and in the woods. I have run on dirt paths in the past, but I had no idea what to expect on this trail. We asked the race director about the conditions, and were told that it was mainly single track, nothing technical, but to be careful in places where the pine needles were thick, because that could get slippery. I was happy to hear that because I only have road shoes and didnít want to spend the money on trail shoes for just one race. We got our bibs, then walked the first part of the trail just to a feel for what we were in for. It seemed pretty easy, and it was starting to get dark, so we left.

Our next stop was to scope out a place for dinner. As we were driving into town, we agreed to bypass the commercial restaurants and asked the woman at the hotel check in for some recommendations. We were given the name of a couple of Italian restaurants. One was mainly pizza, so we skipped that one and checked out the other one. It looked good, so we went back to the hotel, cleaned up, and went back to the restaurant. The place was packed (a good sign), but the service was a bit slow. We ate and then went back to the hotel to get ready for the next morning.

Since this was a trail race, you really canít start in the dark. They also started the different distances off at different times. The 50K and marathoners went off at 7:30 and the 10 mile and 4 mile racers started at 8:15. Since we were about 10 minutes from the race start, we didnít have to rush and even had enough time to get the free hotel breakfast. I get ready pretty quickly, so I started taking things down to the car. On my way back in I stopped in the breakfast area to check out what looked agreeable for pre-race, and to grab a cup of coffee. There was an older couple (maybe late 40s to mid-50s) eating breakfast who were obviously dressed for a run and I recognized them from check in the day before. I stopped to chat. The woman told me that she loved trail running and felt that she was born to do this. The gentleman was a bit more sedate but I could tell he was getting pumped up, too. I found out they were doing the 50K. I wished them luck then went upstairs, grabbed the rest of our stuff, had a quick breakfast and left for the race.

The nice thing about racing in central to northern Florida in the winter is that the mornings are crisp Ė this morning was in the low 50s, which to me is pretty freakiní cold. My friend is really small with zero body fat, so she was freezing too. We sat in the car until about 15 minutes before race start then got out to warm up. Between the 10 mile and 4 mile race there were maybe 50 people. The race director counted down from 5 and then yelled GO, which was a nice change from the various canons, air horns, and rocket blast offs that I have become accustomed to.

I had read that I should expect to finish a 10 mile trail race about as fast as my fastest half marathon time, which was around 2:10. So 2:10 was my goal. I started off at an easy pace, and as I loped along, my left calf was starting to tighten, which has been my latest issue. There was a short, but slightly steep hill and it really complained when I started going up it, so I had to walk. I decided that I should probably walk the hills in order to ensure that I donít pull something mid run and that I also have some gas in the tank for later. That turned out to be a good approach because there were a LOT of hills on this trail Ė in fact it was almost constant up and down, although most of them were long and not very steep. Still, it takes it out of you. On the long not so steep hills, I ran as I felt comfortable, but walked the steeper ones.

Within the first mile I got ahead of a number of people, but most of the other folks were way ahead of me. I could occasionally see an orange shirt through the trees, but I was mostly alone. It was wonderful. The only downside to trail running is you really canít look around too much and you canít space out (which I tend to do when running alone), because you need to be aware of where you are putting your feet and what is coming up to trip you. That was fine. It was quiet, and other than my breathing I could only hear birds calling to each other.

The course was basically a big loop, but at about 3 miles, there was a .5 mile out and back, so I was able to see everyone who was ahead of me as they returned from the leg. I saw the woman from the hotel and she had a big smile on her face as she recognized me and said hello. The other person I noticed was the woman in the orange shirt, and it seemed I had gained on her (it turns out she missed the turn and had to go back so lost some time). I paused briefly at the turn around for the out and back to take a picture then got back to racing.

Once I came out of the out and back I could see that Orange Shirt was not as far ahead as before, and I thought I could catch her. She seemed to be slowing and walking more; she was definitely walking the hills as was I. Finally at Mile 5 I caught and passed her! I think she was in my age group, whoo hoo! As I passed her I could see a guy in a white shirt ahead, and I told her, ďIím going to get that guy.Ē He, too, was walking the hills, so it seemed as I would catch up to him as he was walking up a hill, he would start running at the top as I was walking up and I would lose him. Finally around Mile 7.5 I caught him up a hill Ė he had stopped to fiddle with his I-whatever and headphones. I guess music was more important than racing. Good for me!!!

Next, with about 2 miles left to go, I saw a man in a black shirt up ahead who was walking. I caught up to him and it was the gentleman from the hotel breakfast area who was doing the 50K. I needed to walk a bit so we chatted. I told him I saw his girlfriend earlier (she was about 10 minutes ahead of him), and that she had a smile on her face and a fire in her eye. He laughed and said how much she loves trail racing. He then said she was 58 and he was 73! Wow! They both looked so much younger!! I walked with him longer than I wanted, and while I enjoyed our chat, it threw me out of mental racing zone. I took off, but the last mile was bit tough and I had to really push it the last .5 mile.

As I was coming in I looked at my Garmin, which was 1:57: and change; final time 1:57:21. I was second in my age group, but they only gave medals to the first finishers in each age group, which is in 10 year increments. All in all, I was really happy with my time, since I came in 12 minutes faster than goal time.

I would highly recommend this race for a first-timer. I loved how small it is, how nice the course is, and how well it is run and organized. We were told over and over to be self-sufficient as there were only 2 aid stations. The course was superbly marked, although some of the 4 milers missed a turn and wound up doing 8 miles! For my race the stations were at mile 2.5 and 7. I ran with pack. I had 70 ounces of water in the bladder, 2 GUs, and one 8 oz bottle of Accelerade. That was perfect and I think I only used one GU, drank about 6-7 oz of the Accelerade, and probably 20 oz of water. It was cool throughout the race, and in the woods for 90% of the course, so I didnít sweat a lot.

After the race we wanted to eat, and found a super cool restaurant called The Hen House. They serve breakfast until late, but you can also get pot roast at 6:00 a.m. Again, this is a small business, and I am all for patronizing local businesses over chain stores when possible. I saw a number of senior citizens standing outside the place, and I told my friend that if there are seniors there, you can bet the food is decent and itís not expensive. I asked one of the women how was the food, and she said fabulous and itís cheap! She was right and I rest my case.

If anyone is thinking about doing a trail race, I would suggest researching the race beforehand to know what youíre getting into. You may need trail shoes and gaiters to keep the dirt and rocks out of your shoes. Florida doesnít really have difficult terrain, although I think I am going to eat those words in mid-April when I plan to do another one Ė the 15 mile distance at J.W. Corbett. Itís only 3miles from my house (almost NOTHING is 3 miles from my house), but I understand that you run through swamp water followed by sugar sand.

After this, you can bet that I will be adding 1 or 2 trail races to my annual racing repertoire.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 3/29/2014 11:03AM

    Great report, I enjoy trail running, have never trail raced before. Sounds like you found something to add to your repertoire!

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    Thanks. I just informed hubby that next season I might just attempt a 4 miler or the 10 miler.

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MNCYCLIST 3/28/2014 8:51AM

    Sounds awesome, I might look for a trail-race later this year!

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GARDENCHRIS 3/28/2014 8:00AM

    Glad you had a great time. emoticon

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TXPATRIOT 3/27/2014 11:15PM

    Very cool! Love the pictures!

Thanks for sharing.

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VONBLACKBIRD 3/27/2014 5:41PM

    How it and the write up...thanks.

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MBSHAZZER 3/27/2014 3:49PM

    What a great report! Sounds like an awesome introduction to trail running /racing. I love being outdoors, esp. in woods away from traffic and NOISE, but I would definitely trip over a root and permanently injure myself on a trail run! I trip over flat pavement on a regular basis as it is! LOL!

Enjoy the next several trail adventures!

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PASTAFARIAN 3/27/2014 3:42PM

    I enjoyed your report. But, while your words claim you are new to trail racing, your description sounds like you are a veteran. You did everything right! Pacing, hydration, hills, choosing the right distance, etc. Even your advice about shoes is good. Yes, some trail races are fine in road shoes. All depends on terrain and conditions.

I'm also a fan of small races. So glad you didn't mind being alone. That's always a special moment when you can be running alone in the middle of the woods (and someone else is waiting ahead with food)!

PS: Have you joined SP's trail running team?

Comment edited on: 3/27/2014 3:43:58 PM

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JAMIRBLAZE 3/27/2014 1:12PM

    I've just started running actual races (been running on and off for 6-7 years), so it's always nice to read a report of Florida races that aren't Disney sponsored - I'm in the Orlando area. Thanks for the write up.

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Pushing On Through HM Training

Monday, February 18, 2013

Last week I was a little concerned as I strained a calf muscle where it connects to the back of the knee. Every time I would stand up after sitting for a while, it hurt enough that I had to limp the first few steps. Once I would walk a few steps it felt fine, but a little tight. Running didnít seem to make it worse and I was trying to decide whether or not I should continue to run on it. Since running didn't make it worse, I thought I would push it a little to see what would happen afterward, but if it gave me any trouble I would stop, or if it got worse, I would lay off of it for a few days.

I was scheduled to do speedwork on Tuesday Ė 1 mile of warm up, 3 x 1 mile sprints, followed by 1 mile cool down. I decided to scrap the idea of any speed and just go out and run easy for no more than 4 miles. It turns out that I only had about 2 miles in me, which had me pretty discouraged. However, when I woke up on Wednesday, the knee felt much better! I figured doing a little was better than doing nothing at all or doing too much. I had a tempo run scheduled for Thursday, but decided to put it off until Friday to give it a little more rest.

By Friday it was probably 95% better, but I decided that since I had 10 miles scheduled for Sunday with only 1 day of rest in between, that I would only do 3 miles. My 3 miles were slower than I wanted them to be, but that was fine. I did them and my time wasnít horrible either. I had a nice run along the waterfront, and even though it was a little warm and humid, there was a light spritzy rain that kept things a little cooler than they would have been.

Usually the day before a long run of more than 10 miles, I like to take it easy and make sure I eat well. Well that didnít happen as we had an underwater hockey party Saturday afternoon, and I indulged in a small cheeseburger, some cheesy potatoes, 2 beers, a few chips and salsa a few bites of venison steak, sausage, and jerky (I like venison but I donít get it often), tossed salad, and fruit. I left the party around 5:00, and I knew I would be hungry later since I really didnít eat a lot, but the stuff I ate wasnít very healthy. On the way home I picked up a bunch of veggies and made a delicious vegetable soup that hit the spot later in the evening.

Living in Florida, I am used to running in 70+ degree weather and anything below that and I feel cold. As luck would have it, a cold front moved in Saturday evening, and I woke up to temps in the low 40s with a nice stiff wind and higher gusts. I putzed around for a couple of hours, not wanting to go out until the sun rose and warmed things up a bit, so it wasnít until after 10:00 that I left the house wearing 3 layers of clothes (a sleeveless tech shirt, a long sleeve tech shirt, and a windbreaker vest. I tied a knit ski cap with ear flaps on my head (and of course a pom pom on the top) and donned my fleece gloves. I had on long running pants (I wear these maybe 3 or 4 times a year). It was about 50 degrees. I laughed at myself because I thought if any of my family from Michigan saw me, they would think I was crazy for putting so many clothes on.

Regardless, the wind was biting and blew right through the clothes. The good thing was that the wind was coming from the north/northwest, and I my route had me going east for 5 miles and then back west. The first 2.5 miles wasnít bad because I had woods to my left which blocked most of the wind. The bad news was that I was sweating, and once I was running along the main road, there was nothing blocking the wind. But at least it was mostly at my back. The halfway point on this route is a grocery store, so I went in to fill up the water bottle and take a GU. The next 2.5 miles was tough as I had been sweating and was now running directly into the cold wind. I was chilled for about a mile but the wind was drying me off to some degree and it actually felt pretty good.

I did this run with a friend who is training for his first HM, and since I am pretty much starting over training myself, I wanted to keep it to no faster than a 12:00-11:30 pace. We started off at 12:30 which was good, and after a couple of miles we picked it up a bit. Coming back was a little slower at first, but we wound up with negative splits. I have been trying to teach my friend that he needs to slow down at the beginning of a distance race, because he will need something for the end. This was the longest he has ever run, and for most of the other distances longer than 3 or 4 miles he takes walk breaks. He usually runs those alone so itís easier for him to walk.

I usually like doing my long runs alone because I like the time to myself. However, I wanted to run this one with him because I wanted him to get a sense of what itís like to run a long distance without walk breaks and also what controlling your pace at the start will give you at the end. I knew he would pace me, and as long as he wasnít hurting I knew he wouldnít stop as long as I kept running. After the run he commented that he was glad he took it easier at the beginning. From his perspective he felt that the payoff would be that during the HM he would still be running in the higher miles as others started walking. I told him that it didnít matter what others were doing, just that he kept moving, but I guess if your goal is to run when others are walking thatís as good any goal!

I was pretty sore after the run, especially my right hip. I have had problems with it in the past, but this was pretty bad. Other parts of my legs were also hurting, so I think itís time for new shoes. I am only mildly sore today, but I havenít run 10 miles in over 6 months so some soreness is expected.

A couple of weeks earlier my friend learned the importance of fueling during long runs. He was doing an 8 mile run and only took a 16 oz bottle of water with him. I knew the run would take him over 1.5 hours and it was a warm and humid morning. Since he ocean swims every morning with his buddies, and didnít want to give that up, he left the house at 7:00 and ate a granola bar on the way to the beach. He then did a 1 mile swim, got a coffee, and drove back to the house and then started his run. He ate nothing else!

That morning I started my run while he was out swimming, and was almost done when I passed him as he was heading out. I saw that he didnít have much water and I felt concerned. I finished up my run, showered, and then grabbed a power bar and a bottle of water. I drove along the route and found him about 2 miles from home with barely a swig of water left and sweating profusely. He ate the bar and drank some water and said he couldnít believe how much better he felt. Since then he is more cognizant about fueling properly and taking enough water. I suspect the whole ďI donít need food or waterĒ to be a macho thing, but I think heís getting over that and becoming more sensible.

We talked a little bit about fueling and I told him that most people will take a gel at about the 6 mile mark and that's it. I pointed out to him that he is a calorie burning machine, so he may need to fuel around 4 miles and again around 8 or 9, but that's something that he needs to experiment around with during training. He IS listening and finally taking the training seriously, so I think he will have a good HM experience.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBSHAZZER 2/19/2013 11:20AM

    Ben is doing AWESOME!!! I am so impressed, but of course, he has the best trainer on hand to help him out! You have also made fantastic "strides" as well - sounds like you are almost completely back to normal. WTG!!! You guys are going to totally rock that HM!

BTW, I was so miserably cold on Sunday! It may be "warm" compared to the rest of the country, but we Floridians are not cut out for temps below 65*! We have too much other crap to put up with to contend with such nonsense!

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KAYOTIC 2/19/2013 10:04AM

    That's great that you can guide your friend through the training, and good for you for listening to your body, and taking rest when needed! Sounds like you are doing great!

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BILL60 2/19/2013 8:04AM

    Way to go and way to lend a hand to a friend. I'm sure he'll be helping others when the time comes.

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WINDSURFNERD 2/18/2013 11:20PM

    You are a great friend to guide your friend through his first HM. It sounds like your recovery is coming along, I hope you get stronger and stronger! As a Californian, I bundle up for a run when the temps are 50's or below...we are wimps! ;-)

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COOP9002 2/18/2013 2:22PM

    Awesome job on getting your run in spite of the challenges. A friend of mine who has ran a few marathons tells me that days like this build character. Blessings upon you as you get ready for your run.

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Catching Up - New Job, Future Plans, Meeting Dean Karnazes, and Back to Running

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The last time I wrote about running was in mid-December when I just about killed myself running 4 miles. I was coming off a 4 month medical issue during which I became anemic. During that time I could hardly make it through the day without needing a nap, but I was also working a contract position where I was commuting to San Juan, Puerto Rico every week and working 10-12 hour days. Feeling awful, working long hours, and living in a hotel is not much fun, let me tell you. Then when I came home on the weekends, I had just enough time to run a few errands, unpack, do laundry, and repack. On top of all of that I had this crazy, psycho boss who made everyoneís life miserable. I finally had enough and quit the project without another job Ė something I had never done in my life. I also had not quit a job since 1998 when I decided to finish by B.S. Degree full time.

As luck would have it (somehow I always get what I need when I need it), I landed a full time position at a mortgage company doing project management work. My background is in IT, and honestly the mortgage industry doesnít hold much interest for me, but I really need a steady income for a while and this pays pretty well. The morale in the company is not very good, and itís a real big brother culture, but I donít plan to stay here forever, and am taking the lead from another Sparker and formulating my Get Out of Corporate plan. My long term plan is to do race directing, and after planning and holding an ocean swim race last November, I decided I LOVE that work and thatís what I want to do. However, it takes time to grow a company, so I am adding 2 races to my portfolio this year, and have engaged the help of a friend to work on getting sponsors. She is pretty much retired but likes to do things on the side for extra money. She has experience in media, so I think she will do well with this. So now I am working a full time job and starting a company. I think I am going to be very busy this year!

However, I wonít be so busy that I canít fit in some training. I have continued to run, but have been slowly adding miles then adding days of running. I am up to 3 days a week now, with about 15-20 miles a week. I had been coming along slowly, feeling like I was never going to get my speed or endurance back, but I just kept at it. Then on New Yearís Eve day I went to watch some friends running a 24 hour race. It was held on Peanut Island, and the loop around the island is about a mile. The race was to see how many miles you could run. You can sign up for 6 hours, 12 hours or 24. Anyway, after talking to some people, I heard that Dean Karnazes was going to be at a race in Davie, which is west of Fort Lauderdale. I wanted to meet him, and another endurance running friend wanted to meet him, too, so we made it a girlís day out.

This particular race was also a 6 hour endurance race. We got there with about 2 hours to go, and we walked along the course in the opposite direction of the racers, cheering on the now tired racers and giving encouragement. Suddenly there was Dean! Then he was gone before we could say anything. We figured we would see him again, but he never came back around. We got to the starting point and were standing on the top of a hill (this race was held in an old garbage dump), and we could see Dean at the bottom walking towards a group of people sitting on a picnic table. We started our way down the hill and caught up to him as he was finishing his conversation with the people on the table.
We chatted a bit about running, and then he was nice enough to pose for pictures with us. So here I am with my new BFF. LOL!

Dean is a super nice, down to earth guy, so if you ever have a chance to meet him, you should. After meeting him and talking to him, I got a whole new second wind of motivation and even though I was still struggling with my endurance and speed, I found the strength to push through it and I finally got over what I felt was a major hurdle towards feeling like my old self again. I was so impressed with Dean that when I got home I downloaded his 50 Marathons in 50 Days book and am reading that now. So a big thank you to Dean! Itís interesting how you have no idea how you are influencing or motivating people, or how one simple gesture can make such a difference to someone!

So, I plan to do my first HM of the season at the end of March, a new race that is local. Of course it involves the biggest bridge around which is over the intracoastal. Itís so tall that itís fixed Ė in other words, itís not a drawbridge, so it has to be really high in order to accommodate boats to a certain height. I have done this bridge in triathlons (the finish the 10 mile bike with a pass over the bridge, a hairpin turn at the bottom and then back over. Then you start the run going over and back Ė a double whammy!), so I know what itís all about.

I now work near downtown West Palm Beach, and there are lighted, safe areas to run near there. I park in a lot across from the intracoastal, and from there I can either run south along the very wide, lighted sidewalk on Flagler along intracoastal with many other runners, cyclists, and roller bladers, or I can cross the bridge to Palm Beach which is about ľ mile from where I park. Palm Beach built a trail, also along the intracoastal, but itís much longer than the run along Flagler. Palm Beach is nice for several reasons. First, the trail has the water on one side, and mansions on the other. There is no vehicle traffic, so youíre not inhaling fumes. Also, there is a Publix grocery store at about the 1.5 mile mark, which is VERY convenient for bathrooms and a water refill. Plus if Iím hungry I can pick up a power bar. The down side is that although you do get some light from the homes and reflection from downtown off the water, there are some areas where itís pretty dark. Iím not really afraid of getting jumped Ė Iím more afraid of not seeing something on the path and twisting an ankle. I think I need to get some lights. Right now I slow down or walk.

I ran 7 miles after work on Thursday. It wasnít super speedy Ė 1:18, but I did pretty much have negative splits. Then last Sunday I went for a run with a friend. I planned to do 10, and he was doing 7, but my legs were feeling like lead, plus I kind of strained a calf muscle a few days earlier, so I decided to run with my friend near my house. We were just past the 2.5 mile mark, running in the street with some woods to our left and houses to the right. All of a sudden I heard growling and barking and turned around in time to see the gnashing teeth of TWO full grown German Shepherds within a few feet of us. We both stopped, did the Cesar Milan PSSSSSST! and used our water bottles to squirt them. They both stopped, but one kept barking. About a block away a woman popped out of the woods and called them back. I was furious and if I published on this blog what I yelled at her, I would probably be banned from Spark forever!

I was so mad I called the police. While we were waiting the woman appeared out the wood about 1/4 mile away with both dogs on a leash. She paused by her house (my friend had seen the dogs on previous runs and knew where they lived, and in fact saw at least one of the dogs escape her yard), and then she approached us. She was extremely apologetic and I told her too bad I already called the police. While we continued talking some more and I was calming down (the dogs were actually calm, too), my cellphone rang and it was Animal Care & Control. After talking with them a few minutes I canceled the call. I explained to the woman that if I ever saw her dogs off leash again that I would call the police and not cancel it next time. She said that the dogs had never done that before, they only bark at people who walk past the house. After we left, my friend had a theory that since she allowed the dogs to roam off leash in the woods they felt it was their territory and they were only protecting their territory. The problem was with the owner who didnít see that (I missed that point, too!), but the fact that she was wearing gloves in Florida and both dogs had pinch collars tells me that she has trouble handling them and they are a bit too powerful for her. At least they listened to her when she called them back. Honestly, they were doing nothing wrong Ė merely what they were bred to do, and I canít blame the dogs, but I do blame the owner.

Anyway after that my adrenaline was shot and after about 5.5 miles I was done. I shut off my Garmin, walked about 1/2 mile then turned it back on and finished the 7 miles. I was completely wiped out the rest of the day. I felt like I did when I had anemia. I just hope I donít have to deal with any big, loose, territorial dogs anytime soon. Iím just glad my friend was with me, as Iím not sure what would have happened if I had been alone against 2 German Shepherds. Maybe Iíll do next weekís long run on Palm Beach.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TIGGER622 2/13/2013 1:09PM

    wow big blog!!! kuddos to you for making your plan to get out of corporate america and on your own! i think race director is a great idea!!! and it will be a lot easier to stomach your current job knowing that you have a plan!!! also awesome 7 milers - i envy you - i am getting back into it and am having trouble finding more than 4 in me - and even that is a rarity. i would have been just as peeved at the owner of those 2 dogs - that is completely irresponsible!!! Keep up the good work and keep us posted!

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MBSHAZZER 2/13/2013 10:57AM

    Carolyn, so happy to hear that things are looking up for you! Sounds like the new gig is FAR better than what you've been dealing with lately, and I'm really glad that you have your medical situation under control too. You've also made amazing "strides" getting your running endurance right back up!

Is the HM the Singer Island one? I was thinking about that, but decided against it as I have too much other stuff going on. Enjoy it!

Also, super cool that you met Dean! I've heard he's a really cool, down to earth guy.

What a freaky experience with the dogs, too. No bad dogs, only bad owners.

Oh, and thanks for the comment on my blog - I can't believe your friend complained about avocados in the salad she was bringing home to the birds! LOL! People are crazy!

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BILL60 2/13/2013 7:40AM

    Glad your life is coming back together again. I too have problems with dogs at times. I have found that a strong and loud "NO" does the trick 95% pf the time. On the other 5%, I pray that I'm going downhill. Hang tough!!

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Six Sick Cats

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A few weeks ago I took the last of the indoor kitten to the Humane Society to get spayed. A couple of days after bringing them home, I noticed that Maui's incision didn't look right, so I took her back. They said it was herniated and needed additional surgery. The recovery from that surgery required that she be kept quiet for about a week. This meant no jumping on anything - she had to be confined. Since I have 7 indoor cats right now, even putting her in a separate room would be next to impossible, so they kept her.

When the week was up, I got her and brought her home on a Sunday. Almost immediately I noticed her coughing and sneezing - a couple of times right into the faces of the other cats. I was pretty upset that they gave me a sick cat to take home, so instead of taking her back to the humane society, I took her to my vet. Sure enough she had an upper respitory virus. They gave me some antibiotics to stave off any secondary bacterial infections and sent me home with instructions to keep her separate from the other cats, and to call if the others started showing symptoms. I felt terrible because she is a very social cat and had just spent a week in a cage at the humane society, and now she had to be kept by herself for another week. I did as I was instructed - she got her meds twice a day, and I spent a couple of hours a day with her just holding her when she felt bad and playing a little with her when she felt better.

As I was out of town for the Christmas holidays, a friend stayed at the house and took care of the cats. On Christmas Day she was allowed back with the other cats, but by then, I was told, several of the others were starting to show symptoms. Unfortunately the vet's office was closed and we couldn't get meds until yesterday. When I got home I was upset at how congested a couple of the cats are. We got antibiotics in everyone, and again this morning, and it's going to be quite a circus for the next week. One of my favorites, Mizuno (named after my running shoes), is really congested. I think he is going to need a trip to the vet.

Maui, who is now 99% recovered is tearing around the house wondering why no one wants to play with her. I just hope that no one gets worse, but since I am home right now, I will at least be able to keep an eye on them.

If anyone has any advice on how to make them feel more comfortable, I sure would be appreciative (and so would they).

On a positive note - I finally got a full time job and start on the 7th! The bonus is that there is no travel and the commute is about 1/2 hour from home, which is about as short a commute as i can expect in relation to where I live.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Congrats on the new job!! Sorry about the kitties.

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JLITT62 12/30/2012 5:42AM

    Never dealt with URIs myself, but I have a very sick cat so I feel for you!

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BILL60 12/28/2012 7:57AM

    That's a lot of cats.

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INDYCHX 12/27/2012 6:22PM

    Sorry I don't have any tips for the cats. Congrats on the job.

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KENWANNE2013 12/27/2012 5:16PM

    oh poor you. Having had one poorly pud lately, I know how exhausting and worrying it can be. My tips are:

a. Give each of them lots of love each day. Cats tend to withdraw when poorly, and it's good to let them rest, but they can also get into withdrawal out of habit, so keep them connected, even if it's just a brief stroke and a few words every few hours. If they dont want to be stroked, then just talk to them.

b. Look after yourself, and get lots of support. My vet explained that they pick up on how we're feeling and it can affect them quite deeply, so as part of getting them well, make sure you get lots of support and tlc for yourself, so you have lots of energy to help them recover.

c. Play with Maui, if you have to tend to the others a lot he'll feel left out, so playing with him will help keep him and you happy and energised.

d. I found posting on the Cat Lovers Forum was a life saver, it was so stress releasing just to be able to pour out my worries, and the support and tips I got really helped me and my furby to recover.

best wishes to you and your poorly family.

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FRANNIEDID 12/27/2012 12:56PM

    I don't know how to make them feel better but I will be thinking of you for sure! You are such a good cat mommy!

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BARBARASDIET 12/27/2012 12:54PM

    poor kitties

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VONBLACKBIRD 12/27/2012 12:05PM

    Congrats on the job and really dont' know what to tell you about your cats...just keep on doing what you are doing...loving them.

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GARDENCHRIS 12/27/2012 11:55AM

    that is not fun! cat vomit all over the place! ...

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MBSHAZZER 12/27/2012 11:48AM

    Sounds like a tongue twister! There is a special place for you in Kitteh Heaven - you are truly a feline guardian angel!

Glad to hear Maui is feeling better and I am wishing the others a speedy recovery!

And GREAT news on the job front! Very happy for you!

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EMMELINEE3 12/27/2012 9:58AM

    My vet has always instructed me that while are pets are sick to give low residue food to speed recovery time.

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DESERTDREAMERS 12/27/2012 9:56AM

    Sorry, no advice, but just hugs to you! I have 4 cats & 3 little dogs. Seems like one of them is always due for shots or a checkup.

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