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Plantar Fishy-what?? July 12, 2014

Ah, this blog has become such a litany of woes, I might as well just re-name it “I’m Getting Old, Falling Apart and Whining About It.” Seriously, though. Really?

No sooner had I gotten over the bummershock of having a faulty thyroid, than I began waking up with excruciating, hobble-inducing, holding-onto-walls heel pain. It had started out as a dull ache which I not very brightly ignored. Then while we were on our lovely vacation in San Miguel de Allende, which involved miles of tromping around on picturesque cobblestone streets, lo and behold it worsened every day. I think my foot liked those pretty streets very much.

Plantar fasciitis. OW.

And it pretty much put me off walking except when absolutely necessary, and running, like ever. WAHHH!

More travel happened. A long weekend in Louisiana for an amazing family reunion. Boatloads of crab (no exaggeration at all!). Ten thousand percent humidity. Aching heel. No movement. Pathetic thyroid. All this adding up to… more weight gain, overall bummedeness, etc.

More travel. Back to California, and straight to Pact Camp.  Intense emotions, busy days. NO time to deal with anything. But along the way, I’ve been picking up suggestions and ideas from fellow PF sufferers. Rub your foot with a metal spoon. Icing. Dansko clogs. Splints.

But now I’ve been home a few days, and I’m re-grouping. One great thing that happened while I was zigzagging around the country is that Carla favorite a tweet that said something about The Sock.

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Then, shortly after, Frank answered.

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I clicked on the link for the Sock. I watched the video. It was designed by a physical therapist! My people! I sure liked the IDEA of a sock rather than a rigid splint, which I knew would drive me insane within minutes. I read a ton of enthusiastic reviews, and then I ordered.

It arrived yesterday. I put it on before I went to bed. I already had a feeling that keeping my ankle/foot at a 90 degree angle, even if in a flexy sort of way, would be radical. I like to sleep on my stomach or my side, and my feet are pretty much in high-ballerina position all night. Yes, my heel cord was getting SUPER tight.

I didn’t apply it super tightly. I’d read warnings about numb toes and such, if it was too tight. I didn’t want to freak out myself or my toes.

I woke up this morning. The proof is in the STANDING UP, which is normally when I double over from pain and have to grab at the bedpost to stay upright. And then I hop to the bathroom on one foot. It’s not nice.

But this morning — I had the dull ache, but it was equal to what I normally feel after hours of walking around. It was GREATLY improved.

I have been so very discouraged and bummed about this, I didn’t want to write about it until I felt at least a glimmer of hope. Well, it’s glimmering. Here’s to turning a corner and having no new parts fall apart for a while.

I’ve been trying not to feel too sorry for myself when I see friends out and running or walking 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, triathlons every weekend. But I tell myself, I’ll be back. And now I think I might even believe it, a little bit.

image from Clipartbest.com

 

The Long Road Back February 22, 2014

Filed under: challenge,exercise,injury,lessons learned,running — Susan @ 8:00 pm

photo credit: Unsplash/Sylwia Bartyzel

Last night, I had a dream about trying to do a triathlon. It was a short, “fun” triathlon and I recall that maybe I just showed up, hoping to participate. But I couldn’t find any of my gear. I had to leave the course and run into a nearby apartment building and run up 3 flights of stairs to some random apartment to get my running shoes, or bike helmet or something. Then I came back down and I couldn’t find my bike. Where are the bikes? I asked frantically. I could see the very last, slow runners coming in to the finish. Someone said, the bikes were “over by the lake” wherever that was. Somewhere out of sight. I realized, with a sinking feeling, that I did not have my act together and even if I found my bike and the lake I would never finish in time. My friend, who had finished the race, showed me the “medal” which turned out to be a piece of tacky plastic like one would get from a gum ball machine. The whole thing made me wake up sad.

Sometimes I see photos of my prior teammates working out, training for marathons and triathlons and big rides and such and I can’t believe that that used to be me, training hard six days a week. These days I am feeling pretty bad-ass if I can accomplish a short little half-walk half run. I’ve been back to Couch to 5k, but it’s a very slow process and nothing like it was the first time.

The GOOD news is (in case this turns into a total whine fest!) that I’m both getting physical therapy (2x a week, which is helping SO MUCH) and have also returned to seeing patients as a physical therapist. It’s a little surreal, but it feels good to be out and about in my little car, in this beautiful weather (sorry, non-Californians) and helping people in their homes. I am so awed by my own PT who has crazy mad skills and has helped me have the first pain-free run I’ve had in almost a year. So YAY for that.

I’m moving my focus back toward writing again, and that also feels really good. I have a book coming out with SheBooks in the near future (believe me, you’ll hear all about it!) and next week I’m traveling up to Seattle for a writers’ conference. SUPER BIG YAY!

I’m still here. I’m walking around, and every so often I even break into a little jog ;-). I’m going to be trying to figure out my upcoming races – I would love to do the Oakland Running Festival and See Jane Run this year. Anyone else??

 

 

The San Francisco Hot Chocolate 5k (Race Recap) January 16, 2014

it was a hot chocolate party

it was a hot chocolate party

Yesterday was the first official race I’d done since last June (See Jane Run). I was excited, I was nervous, I was happy. I started myself on the couch-to-5k program again a few weeks ago, and as of this week I’m up to Week four. I told myself I’d just go at whatever pace felt comfortable, and I just wanted to finish and celebrate being back in the (sort of) running world again.

I was a Hot Chocolate Ambassador for this one, meaning they sponsored my race registration (thanks Hot Choco folks!). I have to say, for someone living in the East Bay, this was one darned inconvenient race. First of all, there was no same-day packet pickup, so all race packets needed to be picked up at the San Francisco Presidio Sports Basement beforehand. All I can say is, it’s a good thing I am still not back to my job yet! I LOVE Sports Basement the store, and the Presidio is absolutely gorgeous, but MAN, it is not an easy place to get to. I was giving it directions from THREE separate GPS devices (two apps plus my car) and not ONE of them could locate the store correctly. Fail. I kept driving PAST it or OVER it on the freeway. So, that was a pain. Once inside the store, though, the place was teeming with Hot Chocolate volunteers and there were virtually no lines. I was able to present race information for a dozen people and get EVERYone’s goodie bag. BTW, the goodie bags were AWESOME.

pile o goodie bags!

pile o goodie bags!

The biggest item (aside from chocolate!) in the goodie bag was this fantastic fleece HOODIE complete with thumb holes. So great for a chilly January day. So much better than the (hardly ever used) stack of coupons and protein bars that come in most goodie bags…

The race folks also sent out a dozen emails warning us to NOT park in or near the race, and to take these shuttles, but there were no East Bay shuttles (cough: for next time, please) and BART trains did not start running until half an hour after the start of the race. So it was a real trick getting over twelve East Bay runners over to the park for start time.

It was emotional starting the night before, setting up my pre-race pile. I hadn’t done that in so long, and it is such a beloved ritual.

pre-race pile

pre-race pile

One of our Team in Training honorees, Justin, recently passed away. This was such a heartbreak for our team. Justin came out at the start (and end) of many of our race trainings and he was so inspiring and encouraging and… relentless. I was so so sad to hear about this loss of such a good young guy. His memorial service was yesterday also, so I made sure to wear our team shirt with his name on it, and this run was in his honor.

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I couldn’t sleep well all night. I kept waking up about every hour, worried about sleeping through my alarm. Four-thirty came soon enough and I got up, ate my traditional whole wheat English muffin + peanut butter, and then went to pick up Lily for our carpool. It felt so great to be picking her up in the pre-dawn hours again! So many times we did this during our triathlon training, and it made me feel all emotional and nostalgic.

We met up with Annie, Lisa and Mary for our carpool and then headed over to the city. My friend Caroline had posted a welcome sign (Happy Running, Susan & Friends!) on her garage door. Awww! We could see lots of people on the streets all headed to the park. One last stop at Starbucks for hot coffee and bathroom, and we were off! I was toting my big inflatable gold “5” with me. (for my fifth year of running and 5th healthaversary!)

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The race itself was BIG. I had no idea how big it would be, but they announced something like 10,000 runners. Pretty awesome! I lined up in the last corral which was the one that allowed walking. There were LOTS of people there!

Corral E/Start line

Corral E/Start line

I had that nervous happy butterfly feeling when we inched toward the start line. Then the air horn went off, and we start shuffling off! It was one of the most crowded races I’ve been at – similar to Bay to Breakers – and the road we were on  was so narrow, we could not help going pretty slow. I hung with Lily, Mary and Lisa (her first race! Ever!) and we got nice and warmed up until the course spread out and then we did a little bit of slow-running intervals. There were a few loops so we got to pass the faster runners going the opposite way on a few occasions. That’s always inspiring and exciting.

Mary, Lisa & Lily at the start!

Mary, Lisa & Lily at the start!

This race had some rolling hills – some flats – going through Golden Gate park, which I LOVE. For the first three-four years I lived in San Francisco, I was always just a few blocks away from the park. I spent a lot of time in there, getting lost in the trees and paths. It felt like coming home.

We did alternating jogging and walking, whatever felt right. (mostly depended on up or down hills!) It felt like a push from my regular workouts, but also not painful. Julie and Anne met us right at the the finish line and urged us to push through the last bit. It felt good to do a little sprint but then I was panting! In a few minutes, Lisa and Mary came through. It was so exciting to see Lisa cross her first finish line!

Woo hooo! First finish line ever!

Woo hooo! First finish line ever!

Victory chocolate! We had little chocolate fondue cups with bananas (ergh) and other stuff to dip in. Marshmallows, mmmm.

hot chocolate fondue, mmm

hot chocolate fondue, mmm

We took a bunch of photos, met up with the whole group.

 

It's @sarahlou1976!

It’s @sarahlou1976!

Team Weight Watchers!

Team Weight Watchers!

George, who had been my first mentee when I was a mentor for Team in Training, is now a traithlon mentor himself, as well as training for his first 50-mile ultra marathon race. BEAST, George! So happy to see him again.

Triathlon Team reunited!

Triathlon Team reunited!

All in all, I was really happy to return with this sweet not-so-little race. I was really glad to be surrounded by friends. After all that happened in the latter part of 2013, this felt like a great way to start the year. Yay for chocolate and running!

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My 5th Healthaversary is Coming: Hot Chocolate 5k with me! December 15, 2013

hot-chocolate-logoEvery January, I reflect back on January 2009, when I first started this blog. I think about how I felt back then. Scared, unhealthy, hopeless. And how far I’ve come. Even with this recent injury, I always knew that I had a core of well being inside that wasn’t going to go away even if I couldn’t do much.

This coming January will be my 5th healthaversary. Five years! And I’m going to celebrate in two ways. One, I’m going to participate in the Hot Chocolate 5k on January 12th in San Francisco. I would LOVE to have as many friends doing it with me. A hot chocolate party! It comes in both 5k and 15k distances. And the “swag bag” is crazy awesome – it’s actually a fleece jacket! What!

2013-HC-this-is-your-goodie-bag_WITH-sizing-chartI’ll also be hosting my traditional walk-to-the-labyrinth and brunch at another time, but I realllly wanted to do something “5-ish” for this special five year commemoration. After the ordeal I went through this fall, I am more grateful than ever for my health. This will be the first 5k since my injury. I am hopeful and optimistic that I will be able to complete the 5k, most likely walking. That pesky hip injury I was dealing with BEFORE my ruptured disc? It’s talking to me again (sigh).

So please please please sign up! 15k or 5k, your choice. You can run like a gazelle or waddle like a wombat (that’ll be me). It’s probably going to be chillyish but we will have some cozy fleece! And hot cocoa! It will be a big, beautiful, Foodie McBody Party. No running necessary! (but it’s certainly allowed and encouraged if you like running)

PRICES ARE GOING UP DECEMBER 30th so please take advantage of the early pricing. If you use the code FOODFOODMUG, you will also get a free hot chocolatey mug on race day. Yay swag!

PRP-Snack-Tray

And…. Ta-da!! As an official Hot Chocolate Blogger, I have been authorized to give away one FREE RACE REGISTRATION!

This has been a really amazing five years. The most challenging, exciting, incredible five years of my life. I’m ready to celebrate.  Join me!

If you want a chance to be the recipient of this free registration, leave me a comment here below and tell me FIVE THINGS that keep you healthy! Also, follow the Hot Chocolate 15/5k on Twitter and Facebook to get all the sweet details.

And the winner of the race registration is… JULES!! Congrats, Jules, I’ll be sending you your registration code. Can’t wait to see you (and everyone else!) out there on January 12th!

HCSANFRANCISCO500X500

 

Race Recap: My 3rd See Jane Run 5k! June 12, 2013

Yes, I was pretty cranky going into this race. I had originally registered to do the half marathon. I was feeling injured and tired of being injured. It was promising to be a really hot day. All of this was hard to shake in the week coming up to the race.  But a few days before, my fabulous co-worker/buddy Stacey texted me about the race packet pickup and expo. If there’s one thing I love, it’s race packet pickup. I don’t know why. I love the excitement and anticipation building. I love the expo and all the cool stuff that is being given away or sold. I kind of love it all.

It always helps to share these experiences with other people. Race packet pickup, especially with someone who has never done a race before, can be pretty darned fun. This was no exception. It was by far the smallest race expo I have ever been to (yes, the smallest. It was in a tent!) but it was also one of the best. It had a large percentage of chocolate booths including this one by OCHO (stands for Organic Chocolate and NO they are not a sponsor of mine but I’d love them to be- oh my goodness the deliciousness!).

yes please OCHO Organic Chocolate!

yes please OCHO Organic Chocolate!

The official race shirts this year were lime green and pretty sweet. I love the V-neck. But I also got to pick up a bonus See Jane Run SuperJane Ambassador shirt as well and that was nice tooooo. AND… a bunch of my terrific Weight Watchers Wednesday night meeting members had organized to get a special T-shirt made with all our names on the back. Island Girls! (because our meeting and the race is on an island! Alameda!) By that night I was in a total quandary about what to wear to the race. The tech shirt was the most comfortable and fit the best, but the SuperJane one was an honor and very special, AND the Island Girls one was, well…. EXTRA special.

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choices, choices….

My other running buddy Sofia texted me the night before to ask if I wanted to carpool to the race in the morning. You know what? It’s ALWAYS a good idea to carpool. Because it is so nice to arrive with someone, to share the buzz and specialness about getting up early to do this thing. It’s fun to drive around in circles for an hour looking for a parking space  arrive to the race venue, watching other people walking that you know are also going to your same race.

Our meeting spot was the Extremely Conveniently Located home of one of my WW members who lives across the street from the park where the Start Line was. Everyone was wearing their pink Island Girls shirts, so I knew I had made the right choice.

Wednesday night WWers ROCK.

Wednesday night WWers ROCK.

Being with this group of women made me feel so happy. These are my peeps! The tropical looking gal in the grass skirt is Tammy, my meeting room receptionist and all around fabulous pal. She is the best staff person a WW leader could ever ask for. The BEST. She signed up at the last minute and it was so awesome to have her there with us. All of the people in this picture have lost between 25-100+ lbs and transformed their lives and health. They all lift me up, motivate and inspire me. For most of them, it was their very first organized race.

When everyone arrived we walked over to the park where they were doing warmups and the Half Marathoners were getting ready to start. At this point I was just feeling absolute relief that I was not going to be attempting any 13.1 mile run. Just YES this was the right decision. I was not hurting but I knew that 5k was going to be juuuuuuust right. Right before they took off, I spotted Stacey who was looking so ready and excited. Her first race, and it was a half marathon! Go girl. So proud of her!

Then I saw on Twitter that my pal Pubsgal was volunteering at the registration table. Poor gal had injured herself the night before but she still showed up to help out at the race (YAY). We got to hug and celebrate our 4 year meetaversary! (4 yrs ago at this very race)

Meetaversary!

Meetaversary!

Then the 5k crowd got ready to start. They had some nice signs up so it would start in waves (never did this in such a small race, other than triathlon swims, and it was LOVELY and smooth and… so smart). I put myself in the 12-15 mile group which I was expecting. My plan was that I would do what felt the most comfortable, whether that meant walking, walk-run intervals, or running. I thought I’d start out running slow and see how it felt. As it turned out, it felt just fine. This race is so sweet and relaxed and supportive. I just ran at my own nice pace. I wasn’t pushing and I wasn’t really totally taking it easy. It was perfect. It was hot though, so even at mile 1 I was glad to see that hydration station. I took a cup of each. The Gatorade was like 200% concentration though and undrinkable. Toss!

I don’t know. It seemed to go by really fast. It was totally flat (my favorite) and along the waterfront (beautiful) and it just felt friendly and great. One of the huuuuge unexpected highlights of the race was when someone came running up beside me and called out, “Is that Foodie McBody?!” I was like, “Um, yes…” It was a blog reader! Recognizing me!! (hiya Lynette!!!) She said she recognized the BACK OF MY HEAD from my blog. Whaaat? That completely blew me away and also made me laugh. What a fun moment. I also got TOTALLY excited when I saw someone wearing a bright green Fitbloggin‘ shirt. (which is coming up in a couple of weeks! YEEEEHHHHHAH!)

It’s an out-and-back course, so I got to pass most everyone I knew going the opposite direction either in front or in back. I just ran at my own pace. I was feeling pretty relaxed.

Then before I knew it I was near the finish and I heard my name – Sofia! who had finished before me. There’s nothing like hearing your name being called in the finish chute. It was so motivating for me. I pumped it up and sprinted through the end. (then of course had to walk around in circles a bit so I didn’t keel over) It was HOT. I had a cute little medal (THANK YOU SEE JANE RUN for giving bling to 5kers! It means the world especially to first timers!)

Feelin pretty darn good

Then I got to cheer all the others coming in. I was screaming with excitement and feeling so proud of each and every one of them.

Two bionic knees and she crossed in hula style!

Two bionic knees and she crossed in hula style!

One of the best things about a SJR race is that they are so fantastically supportive AND they give you champagne and chocolate at the end. Sofia and I had a little photo op with the See’s Candy lady. Love that outfit. Can I work there? I want a bow tie like that.

"Great Race, Now Go Eat Chocolate!"

“Great Race, Now Go Eat Chocolate!”

I did a costume change into my See Jane Run Ambassador shirt, and met up with fellow SJR SuperJane and race buddy Christine. I love seeing her at races!

SUPERJANE Ambassadors! Yeah!

SUPERJANE Ambassadors! Yeah!

I thought it was going to take my coworker buddy Stacey around two and a half hours to finish the half. She told me she ran “slow.” But then I got a text from her at the two-hour mark and she was already in line getting her champagne! Speedy bunny! (sub-2 hour half/ What?!?!)

Her first race, her first half marathon! ROCKSTAR.

Her first race, her first half marathon! ROCKSTAR.

All in all, this race which I had been semi-dreading and kind of glum about, turned out to be one of the very best races ever. It reminded me that it’s not about distance or time.  It’s about community, and encouraging others, about being inspired and having fun.

Rockin' those medals - FINISHERS!

Rockin’ those medals – FINISHERS!

After I checked my results, I was astounded to find that I had come within ONE SECOND of my PR for the 5k. Given all of my nontraining and injured state, that was pretty encouraging. Now I’m really excited about doing the See Jane Tri in October. My goal is to do the same – to have fun, to be active, to be part of an encouraging and supportive community. I’m soooo glad I did this race and so happy to be a Jane.

 

I’m A (Slightly Hobbled) SuperJane! June 3, 2013

me and Kerina, SJR social media star!

me and Kerina, SJR social media star!

A few months ago, I was thrilled and honored to be nominated as a SuperJane, aka an ambassador for See Jane Run. This was such a fantastic thing for me, because I have loved and adored SJR ever since I ran in my second 5k back in 2009. There’s nothing more joyous and celebratory than getting a champagne flute and chocolate at the finish line of a race! (I also love SJR for awarding medals for a 5k race – THAT is so awesome and validating)

Me and Pubsgal, See Jane Run 2009

Me and Pubsgal, See Jane Run 2009

I was so excited to do my first SJR Half Marathon coming up this Saturday. But ever since March, my hip has been getting more and more zingy/painful. I think that I may be finally getting down to the bottom of what is causing this pain (should have final news by next week), but it has meant a serious curtailment of my training. This has been really disappointing.

I have finally had to come to grips with the fact that I’m either going to be doing the See Jane Run 5k verrry slowly this weekend (walk/jog), or I’m going to be a cheerleader. Which is prety cool in and of itself. There’s nothing like cheering on other runners, especially beginning runners. My second See Jane Run, last year, was also really special because I was able to run with my friend Mary, who was doing her very first race. This race is one of the friendliest, well organized and encouraging races for women of all abilities, speeds and sizes. Which is why I love them.

Me and Mary (her first race!), See Jane Run 2012

For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling kind of glum about not being able to do the half marathon like I had planned. I then spent a fair amount of time feeling like SJR had made a complete mistake in asking me to be, of all things, a “Super Jane.” But then I took a look at their manifesto and it brought a lump to my throat and smile to my face.

manifesto

A bunch of members from my Weight Watchers meeting have gotten all excited about participating in the race this weekend. They’ve designed a group T-shirt and are all full of enthusiasm. For most of them, it is their first race. I am so happy for them and will be so thrilled to be at this event with them. It’s okay that I’m not running at my best pace. It’s okay that I’m not going to do the half marathon (this time). Some of them will be walking. I will  hang with them and have a rockin’ good time. This is what being a Jane is all about.

It will be a beautiful day. Bring on the bubbly and chocolate!

 

 

Running and Candlelight for Boston April 20, 2013

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So, the exhale after such a tough, painful, exhausting and wrenching week. I started this post yesterday but it feels so much different writing it now, today. Of course there is still ongoing grief and healing ahead, but still. Whew.

On Thursday, I attended a run and candlelight vigil for Boston, the Boston Marathon bombing victims, the runners and spectators, the whole community, well all of us. It was co-organized by See Jane Run and the Oakland Running Festival, two organizations that I love and feel so connected to. I have run two See Jane Run 5k races here and here, and am registered to run in their half marathon in June (and hopefully the See Jane Tri in September also!).  I have also participated in the Oakland Running Festival three times: the marathon relay, the 5k and the half marathon. They are like my “home” races and I feel such affection for them.

It was fitting that the 3-mile run start at the See Jane Run store and finish at Snow Park, where the Oakland Running Festival began and end. I was not so sure that I’d be running any or much of it. Until the day before, my hip had been really, really bothering me, ever since the Oakland half. I tried to get a physical therapy appointment but there was nothing available until the end of May. I was sort of resigned to the fact that I’d be walking, or maybe jogging super-slow.

I took an Ibuprofen before I left the house. By the time I got to the start of the event, I was actually feeling pretty good; ie., pain-free. Shock. There were hundreds of people milling about in front of the store. Most people were wearing blue and yellow, the Boston Marathon colors.

photo credit: Christine Wong

photo credit: Christine Wong

I actually arrived there about one minute before the run began. Before I could get my bearings, people took off. At first we had been told that we would be running on sidewalks only, but there were so many of us, it turns out we got to run down College Avenue for quite a ways, and there was a police car escort complete with flashing lights. I was running with my buddy/coworker/boss Stacey, and I realized I would have to keep up a slow running pace if I was going to stay ahead of the police car. I didn’t want to get swept for the first time in my life! If we were going to stay in the middle of the street (as opposed to on the sidewalk) we were going to have to run. I figured I would go as long as I was able, then I’d slow down, walk, or hit the sidewalk.

the last runners ahead of the sweep car :-)

the last runners ahead of the sweep car :-)

And here’s the thing. That moment never happened. When we turned from College Avenue onto Broadway, everyone pretty much got on the sidewalk. The police car stayed nearby and actually blocked all the intersections so we could cross them.  Stacey kept asking me how I was doing. I was sort of amazed that I was doing just fine. My hip wasn’t hurting! And suddenly I thought, maybe this was just the therapy I needed: RUNNING. Because walking has been none too comfortable in the past couple of weeks.  It was fun running with another physical therapist as we discussed the possibilities of having tendinitis vs trochanteric bursitis or whatever. But the best part was that it was NOT acting up during this run!

I actually hadn’t anticipated running much, or at all. I was wearing a big clunky backpack thing that I had loaded up with my wallet, jacket, a bunch of Runners United to Remember race bib printouts, some packaging tape and safety pins and a pair of scissors. This would have been fine to amble along in, but running.. not so much. Hah. Awkward.

me and my little boss

me and my little boss

Three miles felt just right. We got to Snow Park just as it was getting dark. There weren’t enough candles to go around (how awesome that there were way more people than had been anticipated), but a woman near us was handing out little blue clip lights, and she gave us each one. (thank you nice person!) It was really nice that the neighborhood Trader Joe’s for donating bottles of water. Much needed.

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A minister from First Presbyterian Church of Oakland stood on a bench and spoke some comforting and inspiring words. It was so moving. She led an interfaith prayer, my favorite kind. As we were dispersing, I saw another little knot of people gathered around someone who was leading a cheer for Boston. Turns out it was my coach Al from Team in Training. It was so good to see him and give him a team hug.

After the run, we carpooled back to the starting point. Convenient that See Jane Run is located just steps away from Zachary’s pizza. :-) I hadn’t had Zachary’s stuffed spinach and mushroom pizza in like… years. There were lots of other runners in there (great minds, etc).  There were a few of the Boston Marathon runners in there (who, unlike us, had run round trip six miles!). We were going to buy them a pitcher of beer but, being marathon runners, all they were drinking was water. ;-)

All in all, it was a really uplifting and moving event. I was happy to be part of it. I wonder if the positive nature of it had something to do with the miraculous healing of my hip. One never knows!

Later , exciting to see that we were on the news! (see us running at the very back o the pack, 1:43 mark – you can see my crazy bouncing backpack!)

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Thanks again to See Jane Run and Oakland Running Festival for putting together such a meaningful and uplifting community event. We needed it.

 

Finish Line Heartbreak (for Boston) April 15, 2013

Boston. Oh Boston. Boston MARATHON. The finish line of the Boston Marathon. Seriously? Really? I’m shocked and hurting and outraged and upset. And taking it very personally.

The finish line is… oh, I can’t even describe it. It’s that place of such overwhelming emotion. Every single time, no matter how long or short the race, no matter how painless or excruciating, how much of a struggle it was or how joyful. Because that finish line is the exact spot of DAMN. YOU DID THIS.  You finished the thing you set out to do.

I’ve shed many a tear at finish lines. I’ve renewed belief in myself at finish lines. I’ve shocked and stunned myself. I’ve been heart-explodingly moved by the support of team, friends and family at finish lines. I’ve cheered others on and screamed and jumped and cried on their behalf. At the Oakland Running Festival a few weeks ago, the race was organized so that the half marathon starters got to see the 5k race finishers right before we lined up to begin. It was so exciting. The adrenaline, the joy, the YEAHHHHH! Of the people who crossed that line – sprinting or dragging themselves. It was wonderful to be there and a very energizing way to start our own race. To me, finish lines are sacred spots where amazing, miraculous things happen.

So the bomb attacks at the finish line of today’s Boston Marathon hit me right in the heart. I read this on Twitter.

I agree that bomb attacks anywhere in the world are terrible and tragic. And I also agree that having this experience in our own midst is a way that maybe we can wake up to the fact that many people in the world have to live with this on a regular or daily basis.

And yet, this feels very personal. Someone intentionally set out to hurt runners, and runners’ loved ones (spectators), and race volunteers and other people close to the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

It’s as if someone had specifically targeted a conference full of physical therapists, or writers, or adopted people. Or my family. Yeah, this was like targeting my family.

I didn’t ever have plans or dreams to actually run the Boston Marathon myself. It is an elite event for runners who are much faster than me, and 1) I don’t think I could ever qualify; and 2) I also don’t think a full marathon is in my cards. But I have such profound admiration for so many of my friends who have qualified, and who were indeed running today. I was especially thinking of my Weight Watchers leader-colleague buddy Dani, whom I met at Fitbloggin’ last year.

holding up our blinking ActiveLinks!

holding up our blinking ActiveLinks!

She has had such an amazing transformation in such a short time, and I am so inspired by her and proud of her. Just this morning I saw this awesome photo of her posing by the Boston finish line. It gave me goosebumps.

Dani Finish

photo credit: Dani Holmes-Kirk

In the afternoon I started peeking at Facebook and Twitter, hoping to see a photo of her victorious finish. But then I started seeing posts, like “My <3 is with Boston” and “So sad about the #bostonmarathon” and was like… whaaaaa? I soon found out.

It really is too distressing, to upsetting to comprehend. For a while I was completely frantic trying to find out news of her safety, as well as the status of one of my old college friends and his wife. All were accounted for. What a relief. But the tragedy. Incredible. Dani’s wife, who was standing just a few feet from the explosion, wrote this frightening blog post about her experience.

The idea is for people who are part of (or who stand with) the running community, to wear a race shirt tomorrow. Or running shoes. Or ANYthing to show support. Blue and yellow anything, which are the colors of the Boston Marathon. I’ll be wearing this.

Oakland-to-Boston love

Oakland-to-Boston love

 

Improv Workouts from Beach to Forest April 13, 2013

Filed under: exercise,hiking,injury,running,walking,writing — Susan @ 4:03 pm

I’ve been traveling for the past couple of weeks. Working out has been severely curtailed, although I’ve tried to keep up with the minimum of “twenty minutes of something- anything!” as much as possible. I feel my body sort of weakening.

I got on a plane just a few days after finishing the Oakland half. My hip was already feeling pretty wonky. But then sitting on a plane for 6+ hours, then sitting in a car for another day, then a bunch of writing – and more sitting – it’s been orthopedically tough. I have only really had one run since I left California on March 28th- a shivery cold run in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

Brrrrr. But pretty.

Brrrrr. But pretty.

Since then, a few hikes and many beach walks. The first beach walks on soft sand were kind of excruciatingly painful for that hip.

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I tried to get an appointment with the local physical therapist but that didn’t work out. I ended up going to a sports store, one of the few little shops open during the winter season. Near the front door, a wire basket with a sign “Used Softballs $1.” That was pretty much one of the best one-dollar investments I ever made. I brought that baby home and rolled the heck out of my hip. OWIIIIEEEE. But good owie. Necessary owie. The ball rolling has made a huge difference. After the softball sessions, the beach walks ended up being a lot less painful.

Insert under hip, and ROLL. Ow! Yay!

Insert under hip, and ROLL. Ow! Yay!

This week I’ve made a complete change of scene – back to California. I had one day at home and I was so glad to get back onto my “home” trail a few blocks from my house. Ahhhh.

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Then on Thursday, I relocated to a friend’s remote cabin/barn/cathedral in the woods. Kind of amazing. We are miles from anywhere. The forest here is stunningly peaceful, beautiful. Yesterday I took a hike and explored around. Today I took another one. I was feeling like, this is nice, but it’s just not ENOUGH. I found a little clearing and did a bunch of 100-set invisible jumpropes on the soft pine needle floor. It was really cushy and comfortable. I worked up a tiny little sweat. I hike along a deserted logging road. Did I mention there is nobody around here for miles and miles? I took off my shirt. Because of that. The sun felt so nice.

Little trees growing in the road

Little trees growing in the road

I am not normally someone who walks around in a sports bra. Yeah, you can do that if you are young and buff and such, but not if you are an over-50 somewhat mushy, haven’t-done-weights-in-too-long kinda gal. I poked at my upper arms as I walked. This did not make me happy. I picked up some thick branches that were almost logs. Maybe 5-10 lbs or so. I lifted and pressed as I walked. That felt good. I put it down and did some more invisible jumpropes. I did some hill repeats, carrying the log thing. I was having fun jumping and hauling logs around in the woods in my sports bra. Hahaha.

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I got back to the cabin (after getting just semi-lost and bushwacking my way back) and felt better about my level of activity today. It was fun, improvising it up out there in the forest.

I’m looking forward to getting back home next week. To doing some night swimming at the pool with my buddy Lily. To getting back to seeing my trainer now and and again.  To having some fun at a Nia class.To working my way back up to another half marathon in June.

Traveling is good. It brings you out of yourself and the dailiness of it all, to seeing things in a new way. I’m grateful for my forest workout today, for feeling free under the trees and the sun.

 

Race Recap: 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon January 22, 2013

IMG_0308I know that I’m wayyy behind on my blogging. I still want to post about my New Year’s Day 10k race, and my 4th Healthaversary. But while things are still fresh in my head I want to do my race recap for my 3rd half marathon and 2nd Tinker Bell race.

This race was really a do-over for Junior and me. Last year, she and I and Juniorette came down to Disneyland for the Inaugural Tinkerbell race, but she got really sick and in the end, only Juniorette and I got to run the race. So I promised her we’d come back and do it together this year.

The nice thing about doing the same race multiple times, is that you learn things the first time that either work or don’t. We learned that we most definitely wanted to repeat staying at the hotel which is basically a few hundred feet away from the Start AND the Finish lines. That works. Yay!

We got to town in plenty of time to go to the Expo. That was a great thing, because last year I got in late and didn’t get to go. I kind of love race expos.

I got to meet the awesome Jeff Galloway and buy his book. He’s so encouraging and inspiring. I figured I’d better read it, since I’m already more than halfway to 100 years old. ;-)

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IMG_0225We looked around at tons of sparkly skirts and wings and stuff, but nothing really grabbed us as THE perfect outfit for Tinkerbell. So in the end we decided we liked the official race shirt enough to make that our race outfit. After the Expo we went to downtown Disney to find something for dinner. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to eat. The classic “carb loading” pasta dinner didn’t feel really like what I wanted. So we ended up with tilapia, Brussells sprouts (with bacon!) and a soft egg.  It was insanely yummy but not too filling.

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Then we found a few carbs for dessert :-)

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We set our alarms for 3:30am. (o boy!) Amazingly, we were able to fall asleep pretty quickly – before 10:00pm anyway -and the wakeup call came early enough. It was not really all that painful to wake up and get dressed. We were pretty excited.

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I had brought a ton of warm clothes to wear to the start line, but in the end we just decided to go with our race shirts. We went downstairs and right in front of the hotel, there was the start line. PERFECT LOCATION.

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I gave Junior a hug and she took off for Corral B (the fast people) and I headed back to E. (the END!) It wasn’t quite as cold as I remembered last year being, or nearly as cold as the New Year’s day 10k.

Back in the End, we could see the fireworks going off. That was exciting. But then we waited. And waited. We could sense the D, C and B groups taking off. FINALLY it was our turn – probably after 5:30am. We’d been out there for almost an hour.

First, we wound through Disney California and Disneyland Parks. It was pretty cool. The “Mickey Wheel” and the water-light show was all lit up and beautiful.

IMG_0270One of the things I loved about going through the parks was seeing all the Disney employees out there cheering us on. They were awesome, and so encouraging and enthusiastic. Big Mickey hands everywhere!

IMG_0323I’d say that the first five miles went pretty well. I didn’t feel super springy and awesome, but I didn’t feel bad either. It just felt pretty easy and relaxed. It was exciting to be going through Disneyland and seeing all the sights. I didn’t stand in any lines to get photos with any of the characters. I got pretty excited when I saw Mary Poppins though.

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Running through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle as the sun was coming up, and past the holiday lights of It’s a Small World were pretty great.

So. Around Mile 7, the front of my left ankle (tibialis anterior tendon, which has plagued me in the past) started hurting. And my stomach was feeling kind of bad. In fact, I was hungry. SUPER hungry. I had had some oatmeal at 4:30am, but that felt like an eon ago. I suddenly got it in my head, I have almost halfway to go. In other words, I have to do what I JUST DID. It seemed kind of impossible. I was feeling a little down. I pulled out my Mickey Mouse pretzels (saltzed pretzels is one of my “must haves” during a race, and I forgot to bring my own from home this time).

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I ate some of them, but I think they had been in the hotel gift shop for a long time. They weren’t stellar. I was still hungry. Or something. I remembered that my buddies Ayala and Becky, from my TNT Triathlon Team, were running too. I wondered if they were anywhere near me. I pulled out my phone and texted Ayala. Where are u? I am between mile 7-8.

I really needed something at that moment. I was feeling pretty bleak. Not HOPELESS, but not awesome. I think my actual physical discomfort was in the 3-out-of-10 range, but my mental distress was about at an 8. I was freaking out a little bit inside. I was worried, what if it gets worse? How am I going to deal with 5-6 more miles of THIS? I was starting to unravel a little.

After the mile 8 marker, it was Gu time! Volunteers were handing out packets of Vanilla and Mocha. I really needed that blast of energy. I felt a little bit better.  Around mile 9, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Ayala! and Becky! I almost cried from joy. Ayala had been my buddy at the Wildflower Triathlon and she is truly one of the sweetest, most encouraging people I know. She kept me going during so many of the tough trainings last year.

We ran together for a while and by the time I was ready to take off again, I was feeling like a new person. I perked up and started paying more attention to the people around me. I saw this guy up ahead running in a suit. I wondered, is that for real? Why a suit? What kind of costume is that?? And then I caught up with him and… it was Walt Disney! Hahaha. Great.

"Cryogenics does wonders!" he said.

“Cryogenics does wonders!” he said.

A little bit further up, I saw a lovely trio. Peter Pan and Tinker Bell were taking turns pushing Captain Hook in a wheelchair. They all looked super chipper and glad to be together. I loved them. Captain Hook grinned and said, “Arr!” when I took their picture.

IMG_0319I had told Ayala and Becky that I wanted to take a picture together with them at the 10 mile mark, but when I got there suddenly I was feeling perkier than I had the whole race. I felt like I just couldn’t stop. I also knew that if I stopped or slowed down I might not be able to start up again.

Around this time I got a couple of worried text messages from Mr. McBody and Junior. He had been tracking my progress online. Apparently my 5k time was realllllly slow, and then for some reason my 10k marker didn’t show up. So like 2 hours had gone by and they’d heard nothing from me. (I heard all about this yesterday) I hadn’t heard their texting coming through my earbuds because I had decided to go the no-music route. (partly because the course was so entertaining I didn’t need it, and partly because I wanted to save my phone battery)

I sent them this picture as reassurance.

IMG_0282I remember a lot of the mile 10-13.1 from my other (two!) half marathons. During my first, the Las Vegas Half, I was pretty much dying at mile 11. I mean dying. I was in AWFUL pain and not sure I would make it. And at last year’s Tinkerbell, the last couple miles were the hardest.

This is the first half marathon where the last couple of miles felt the strongest and best. After I passed the ten mile mark, I knew I could do it. I relaxed. I stopped freaking out.

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After mile 12, I was definitely on a mission. I wanted to get as close to the 3 hour mark as I could. My last year’s time had been 3:16 and I just wanted to shave as much time off of that as possible. Normally, my run pace for long races (and even for short races) is what most people would call ambling along.

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But when I knew I just had a mile and a handful to go, I suddenly got determine. I started RUNNING.

game face!

game face!

Pretty soon the finish line was in sight (although – not happy! they moved it about 200 yards further from last year. Psych!). I saw Junior standing by the fence waving. And then I was through and I had my medal.

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I found Junior. She had finished over an hour ahead of me (2 hours 45 seconds, my little rockstar!) and had had a great race.

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Pretty soon I found Ayala and Becky. I was so happy to see them! They had really contributed to my big turning point near mile 9.

IMG_0309Junior and I decided to wait in the long line for the free massage tent. It turned out to be utterly and completely worth it!

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We were pretty pumped full of endorphins at that point, feeling good, and hungry.

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Junior was craving fajitas so we went to a Mexican restaurant in downtown Disney and enjoyed mass quantities of guacamole.

IMG_0313THEN it was time for a nice long nap.

IMG_0315We had bought all-day Park Hopper tickets, but in all honesty, there was no way we felt like hopping any parks. Happily, I was able to sell the tickets to a friend who is returning for the Disney Marathon in September. Whew.

So we went to the pool and soaked in the hot tub and lay in the SUN (wow! how awesome!).

IMG_0322All in all, it was a sweeeet race and a sweet weekend. I loved spending it with my girl. We had a great time and I was overall really pleased with how it went. Now I’m feeling pretty excited for the Oakland Half Marathon coming up in March, and…. looks like I will be doing the See Jane Run half with my dear Shannon in June!

 

 
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