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"Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose." ~C. S. Lewis


Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Annnnd scene

Alrighty then. Talk about taking the wind out of one’s sails. Or literally the wind out of my lungs. Thinking I can just power through a measly little flu and turns out, not so much. Seemed like I could wake up in a day or two and get back to running, planning and organizing next steps in my journey. And then it comes to a screeching halt. And I finally had to admit some sense of defeat and head to the doctor.

Severe asthmatic bronchitis. That’s a fun one. Apparently if you have bronchitis and it’s not treated it becomes asthmatic bronchitis. And while he’s proud of me for coming in when I did because I could have this turn into real pneumonia, this still sucks big time. For lack of a more eloquent phrasing. I’ve never had bronchitis before. But I do have a special outlook on my lungs so I’m acutely aware of any issues pertaining to them. Not for nothing, a lot of people who’ve had sarcoid end up having compromised lungs and those who die have usually died from complications from pneumonia. Now, I don’t think that’s going to happen to me, not now or 50 years from now but it certainly gave me pause while waiting for a plethora of prescriptions.

See, lungs are pretty much required when it comes to running. It’s a big part of the victory I’ve felt in this little running career of mine. Being able to expand my lung capacity and build upon the good work has always been important and key to me and my success. And funny thing is, I know, after reading about it, that one way to heal from asthmatic bronchitis is to do cardio once this is under control to keep lungs strong. But of all the things this could’ve turned into, it’s almost funny (to me) that it’s something that brings attention back to my lungs when, when for the most part I’ve been operating with 100% of their ability. So. This is a bit of a setback for the ol’ running.

Yes, I asked the doctor when I could start running again. He said about a week but it’s going to be slow going. And I’ll be coughing for weeks. I mean, I’ve already cancelled a week’s worth of appointments, events and engagements as well as a 5k race up till now and now, I’ve cancelled a much looked-forward-to conference in SoCal and another bunch of lunches so I can be ready for a 10 day trip in 10 days. Ah well. This is me taking care of myself. Trying not to get too down about it, not look at the momentum stopper as anything more than a couple weeks need to take care of myself and then raring to go again. Just that I went to the doctor at all is an improvement.

What’s funny is I was just taking stock last night while watching the Grammys. Two years ago I distinctly remember watching the Grammys in a hotel room in NOLA, hours after my PR of 1:44 and just two races into my epic 11 in ’11 journey. On a particular high and excitement over what I’d accomplished and what was to come, what was possible. What a difference a couple years make. I was in such a different space then. Hopeful and open but also dancing for others and defeating myself, unknowingly on a long journey determining what integrity means to me. It was before things got super wacky schedule wise in 2011. And then flash forward to last year’s Grammys and I’m sitting alone, dazed and broken in San Francisco, just days away from driving to WA. I’d completed the 11 odyssey, already had one half for 2012 under my belt and yet felt as far away from where I am supposed to be and who I am supposed to be then ever. 2011 had nearly destroyed me but I did everything in my power to not let anyone know. For whatever reason, the last three Grammys have become a random marker for me and so I took a moment and took it in. (I don’t remember the 2010 Grammys and I can’t imagine it was an especially fabulous moment for me anyway.) I also think it’s interesting that nothing but me stopped me from running this time last year, I and my soul was down and depressed and couldn’t get moving to save my life but technically was physically healthy to do so. This time, the spirit was willing but the body, not.

So there I sat, coughing up a storm and missing half the acts because of it and marveling at all the changes and also not-changes of the last couple years. Wondering when I’d be able to take a deep breath again, literally and figuratively. And I have my answer because I was a good girl and went to the doctor.

Take  minute, take a short shallow breath for now, and take care of myself. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, I feel like crap and my lungs hurt and I’m exhausted and this is apparently going to take a long bit for me to recover. It’s the last thing I wanted, I was so turning the chapter on 2012, welcoming 2013 with open arms. I had four straight months planned out that at least one of those events I’d planned would lead to my next big step – it had to, it must! And now stuck in neutral for a hot minute. I wish I could say I’m itching to get going, but realistically, given how I feel, I’m not there yet. I guess that will be my first sign, when I’m ancy to get moving and have the energy to execute. But. For now. It’s take good care of these ever-important lungs, get them fully healed and build back up, stronger than ever. I may reconsider the flu shot next year…

(not to self: when reading this in the future, remember you were not only foggy and dazed from eight+ days of being sick but also newly on narcotics and z-pack and therefore possibly incapable of a coherent writing sample.)

PostHeaderIcon Well that’s a first

Sitting here in bed, trying not to move so as to provoke another coughing attack and realizing right now, right this minute I’d be running in a race. Wow. I’d have picked up a packet with my number and enjoyed that sense of pre-race anticipation, gotten some good sleep and risen early in the morning for my routine. And pinned on my number in a habit I’ve come to do so effortlessly and set out to run as fast as I can in a short little 5k I signed up for last month. It wasn’t anything big, just 3.1 miles. And just in Seattle. But it was something to keep me “honest” in terms of training up to now and a goal to hit while waiting for my next half – which isn’t until April. So I was looking forward to it. Sure, I wondered if all the effort a race requires before during and after was worth it for 3.1 miles, even though yes, that’s a lot for others. In fact, there are programs designed specifically for people to get off the couch and do their first 5k.

Ah, I remember my first 5k. In Reno in 1998 I think. Maybe earlier. Was staying in Tahoe and drove into town just for that. It felt like a long race at the time. And it was, it was a lot to get up for. And I did it and it felt great. So I’m not disparaging the distance of 5k at all, it’s more, I’m so used to that efforts I make being for a much longer distance that I did hesitate before signing up. But, again, having something to train for and be held accountable for in my running seemed like a good idea and it looked like a super fun lighthearted event, which would be good for me to.

And in all my running in LA, I was thinking “oh, this will be a breeze, it will be fun!” this 5k on Feb 9. So yes, I was looking forward to it. Even if I had to take the week off from running because I’ve suddenly come down with a doozy of a flu. So Tuesday I didn’t run, the first full day of feeling rotten. Wednesday I didn’t run and felt incredible awful. Thursday no run and I had the now-laughable thought out loud that I might still run this morning. You know, shuffle my way through it to still have the experience of it all.

Friday while feeling a wee better but still feeling extraordinarily run down, with pared down lungs and attacks of wooziness, I made the decision that no, it was not even remotely in my best interest to take on the 5k. Hell, right now the idea of taking a walk around the block seems rough. And I wouldn’t do this run no matter what the distance, and maybe it feels a little more acceptable because it is the shorter race, I don’t know. But I know I can’t do it. I shouldn’t do it. And I didn’t do it. Damn, it feels weird.

I’ve run races after strep throat, I’ve run races in freezing weather, I’ve run races in downpours, I’ve run races with a concussion, I’ve run races with a back and neck injury, I’ve run races with shinsplints, I’ve run races with left foot issues, I’ve run races with right hip pain, I’ve run races on the first day of my period, I’ve run races in stagnant humid heat, I’ve run races in dry blazing sun, I’ve run races with tears streaming down my face, I’ve run races in turmoil, I’ve run races in extreme heartache, I’ve run races angry and sad and confused, I’ve run races jetlagged, I’ve run races hungover, I’ve run races exhausted, I’ve run races with food poisoning, I’ve run races on massive antibiotics, I’ve run races with and inflamed right rotator cuff and shoulder, I’ve run races with heartburn, I’ve run races in all kinds and through all kinds of circumstances courtesy of my body and/or the surroundings. I have never not run a race for any of these reasons.

And yet, here I sit. Taking care of myself. Coming off one of the worst flues I’ve succumbed to in years. Days of in and out of fevers, delirium (it’s debatable whether that’s subsided at all or not), complete exhaustion and such massive lung and bronchial activity I thought I had bronchitis and pneumonia. Couple of coughing fits I thought I might not recover from because I couldn’t get my breath and I ended up coughing up lovely bits of blood. So yeah, it’s a doozy and yes, it was a good thing I didn’t try to push for the race. I mean, I’ve been determined a thousand times and pushed through a thousand things to get to and through a race or even a training run. But this. Even as much as I like to overcome, this I know I would be doing myself a disservice and then some. I’ve been canceling things left and right all week and probably will be doing so for another week, just to take care of myself. This is nothing to mess with.

And oh, my lungs. Those precious organs. They are always in the back of my mind. My running keeps them healthy and they are what fuels how my runs go. It wasn’t just my joints that made doctors tell me I’d might not ever run again, it was my lungs too. Compromised. Lots of things you can still do, but any sport that requires great lung capacity, no. Not so much. But, again, being determined, I know I’ve enhanced what my lungs are capable of by how I’ve trained and the breathwork I do for running and the way I do push myself. So this acute flu really has highlighted yet again the preciousness of my lungs and I’m just hoping this recovery doesn’t take too long, that the beating my lungs and body has taken this last week does draw out for much longer and I have the bounce back I’m looking for. Sure, being sick can color the outlook on any number of aspects of life and the idea of, in a sense, starting over (it’s only been a week but…) and building up again is quite a task especially when traveling so much. But. I know I can and I know I will.

It’s just. Wow. I’ve never so completely given over to not doing a race. And I know I had to, to take care of myself and even just that I had no capacity or ability to, but still. This is a first. And hopefully a one and done, not to be repeated.

Happy Race Day, runners! Cheering for you, there in spirit!

PostHeaderIcon A feverish perspective

As I sit here, laid up in bed with a 102 fever and either the flu or some sort of acute bronchitis, I ponder this current state of inactivity. It’s brutal, this illness. Started out losing my voice a few days ago, not realizing it was the beginning of this. Really, I thought it was a subconscious reaction to a tough couple days of incidents with friends and my not using my full voice to communicate and having my body/mind connection demonstrate that. I mean, maybe I should  be flattered that some people think I’m strong enough for them to dump their crap on me, instead of taking ownership themselves, or to make me the bad guy in a situation to shift the story, but nonetheless having one day where someone you’re just beginning to trust again switch from one commitment to a complete “I’m out” without warning and within 15 minutes of communications is jarring and confusing to the next day someone sharing all that’s going on with them in an emotionally charged meeting and doing everything you can to hold the space for them to be ok and not scream a thousand times out loud in an effort to clear things up to meeting up with a longtime friend who decides they’re going to crush your newfound peace and momentum because they just don’t understand it.

So here I sit, just wanting the pain in my head, throat and chest to go away, the pressure from the chest up to subside and the fever to reduce. I haven’t felt like this is a long time. Logically I can only imagine that in this crazy flu season, a flight I was on also had someone on that was highly contagious or it could just generally be all the travel. But it hit me like a ton of bricks, the cough, the loss of voice, then the aches and chills and various pain points. And I was so looking forward to getting somewhere for 10 days and working out consistently again and running consistently again. And writing about it – and writing about all the running I did do in LA while I was there. Really pushing myself a few times and being able to embrace other areas and other methods of getting the miles in. (20 miles in last three mornings there alone!)

But. Sometimes the body says no, no more. No letting other people take out their frustrations on you, no crazy travel and schedule, no trying to do everything to get yourself moving forward and then taking on other’s reactions to your good work,when you’re just doing the best you can. And that’s what’s happening now. I’m woman-down. Down for the count. And at the moment, that’s ok.

Meaning, I know soon I will lament the break, if you will, I’ve taken from running – or rather, that I have to take, not exactly a choice –  and working out. Because as noted before, it isn’t about what I look like or how it appears to others – technically, for example, I’ve lost weight because so sick and body’s fighting so hard but I don’t feel great. I know how strong I like to feel, that my core is engaged and healthy, inside to out, outside to in. So, no, can’t say I’m looking forward to the rebuild – even if it’s a short one and doesn’t take long at all. Yes, I know I’ll bounce back quickly – or at least I’m assuming whatever this is will not keep me down for the count for weeks like others. I won’t let it happen. That said, I wasn’t planning a break right now, especially knowing my upcoming travel schedule which can have a tendency to disrupt certain health routines.

And I’m going to be okay with that. I’m just going to – gasp – take care of me. Get my rest, let the emotions flow and not bottle them up from a very rough couple days with people in my life, take my vitamins and whatever else and drink tea and eat healthy and sleep some more. And hopefully in a couple days, I feel back to myself, back to running and finding both my legs and my voice again.

PostHeaderIcon Me 1 Time 0

So there you have it. The teeniest amount of trepidation for my venture back into running yesterday, probably more curiosity than anything. Of course the new shoes helped get me excited – at this point I don’t know one runner who doesn’t get a little extra excited to run when donning a new hat/shorts/shirt/shoes and even socks. Luckily most of those items are fairly inexpensive, compared with other sports.

I procrastinate a bit – honestly, the mini trepidation I have is: what if I’m wrong, what if taking off three weeks cause I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with the squeezing of my lungs running at mile high actually sets me back further than I thought? What if I’m starting off where I did back in April after taking eight weeks off? Impossible I think, because it’s only been three weeks AND in those three weeks I maintained a helluva base. Or at least I think so.

A long pre-workout, psyching myself up and off I go. First 300 yards I’m just not sure how it feels, or how it will unfold. Plus I’m distracting (purposefully planned) myself with possible new music, scrolling through songs that work, ones that don’t. And about 10 minutes in, I realize I’m feeling good. I mean, real good. No, my lungs didn’t go buh bye while in the mountains (in fact, dare I say the first few runs at near-sea level will be lovely because I was sucking wind for so long? don’t some professionals specifically train at high altitude? yep), nor did any part of my body break down or give me trouble.

None. Felt strong, testing out various strides in my new shoes and feeling above average. Turns out that foundation work and all I put into it paid off handsomely. Plus not carrying around even an extra five to eight pounds of muscle (or you know, fat) makes for a better cleaner run. Just felt good to breathe in deeply, move my arms and turn over my legs one step at a time. And while I may have given myself permission to walk, just in case and a la getting back into it in April, I didn’t need too. Full 25 minute run, 75% effort (that’s pretty strong for the uninitiated – in training you rarely if ever go 100%, save that) and pulled myself almost effortlessly up the hills.

Makes me wonder why I wonder sometimes if I’m a runner. It’s a never ending dialogue and given my alleged chatticathiness, you can only imagine how that dialogue goes. For real though, it’s never too late to start again and be even better than before. That goes for running too…

PostHeaderIcon Run for fun? What? Who, me?

For the first time in just about two years I ran today for fun. Nothing to train for, nothing to prep for, nothing I’m timing myself for. Sure, it’s my first post-race run, so it’s still completely tied to what I did Sunday in Miami. But I ran to run. I ran because I love running and I want to remember that, always. Why I did this in the first place. What running means to me. The simplicity of a good run, period. I don’t have a race in two weeks so I have a long run now, or a race in a week so I’m tapering, or a race in three so I’m recovering but quickly, nor am I doing sprint training to shave time or endurance training to build foundation. I’m running because I have a passion for it. I’ve always had a passion for it, for 15 years, but something about these last two years gave it focus in a way it hadn’t had before, a consistency. This isn’t some fly by night interest or something I’m attempting once and moving on – I run because I love it and I race because it gives it a unique kind of focus – all of which I crave.

How to measure what this run is, how to decide how hard to run, how to identify what I need to work on? Oh, right, how about I just run. To run. Because I can. I’m lucky in that I’ve discovered an invigorated passion for running. And right now, I want to rediscover what got me from being a runner, to an occasional competitor in an occasional race to a 16 halfs in 1.5 years competitor. I’ve had the good fortune to dive fully into these races, and now I get to take a small break to just…run.

Sure, I have a goal set in mind for 2012, which I’m organizing now. And I have some ideas and I have some, many, things I’d love to change about this year’s schedule and race experiences. But right now, I’m running. So, I lace on my new Newton runners – holy wow these things are light! – and get out the door, do one last run along the path I’ve used in LA for so many training runs. And I feel light, I feel unburdened, unrestricted, free. To run. Because I can. Because I want to. Not because I have to. I’m in control here – not giving over control to someone or something else and to intimidated to say anything or make a change – I’m running because I want to. Yes, there’s a sense of order in training, a schedule to follow, rules to adhere to with best efforts, but at the end of the day, it’s all my choice, no one’s telling me to run or not run, to train or not train. I like the solitude of the sport and the training – I have no fear of that, and I also love the connection, when made, to other runners about it all. The support I’ve received throughout this wild ride has been thrilling and inspirational and so incredibly fun. I can’t wait to determine the best way to give back all that running and the running community has given to me.

So I went for a run to remember why I started running in the first place, even with the ghost of the Miami race right there. “Why I Run!” if you will. To wrap my head around all these races, to get my head in a “next steps” place, to enjoy the feel of the run, the music, the new shoes, the sun on my face, the sweat on my neck, the strength of my legs. And since I can’t help it – yes, I ran that training run, that lap, that 4.5 miles, faster than any time before. Ha!

I can’t wait to go another run. Along the coast in NorCal, along the water, an endurance run that puts a smile on my face. Sure, I have a race in my mind that’s not too far away, but right now, it’s time to take a few minutes to enjoy the 11 in ’11 and spend the rest of the month playing with my stride, sprints, my gail, my form, my music, my shoes and just run, because I’m fortunate enough to be able to run. Simply to run. Blessed and happy indeed.

PostHeaderIcon Fall down 10 times, get up 11

How to reflect on the final of 11 half marathons? My initial reactions right after the race, the one’s after a day of processing, where they’re at now, a couple days post race? No real idea where to start this one. Admittedly a little subdued at the moment – taking it all in, sitting on a plane back to the West Coast from my final race. Final. Race. Of the year. I did it, I did them all. This has been an incredible year and I’m sure there will be more reflection on it all, but first I should do my due diligence to review race #11 on it’s own.

Ah, the excitement, the “go get ’em!” texts and emails and FB posts, the nervous energy, the inability to sleep, the comfort in my upcoming routine, the apprehension about “what now? never mind, think about that later”, the curiosity of the course and upcoming experience. Went through it all the night before. And for an East Coast race, got about the standard four hours of sleep, then up and at it – a little odd when two family members are in the room and you try to be quiet making coffee (oh that was a long week sans coffee) and getting dressed to hit the gym for an hour, warming up pre-race. Even get a five minute quiet moment on the roof of the motel, the moon peeking out behind some clouds, a few stars still in the sky and I reflect on it all, say hi to my dad, and ask him to come run “with” me today. I get a feeling he’s with me.

All going according to plan, feeling excitement, even playing “Eye Of The Tiger” while in the gym solo, getting excited to pull it all together. And feeling solid. LA was the October 30 race where it felt like it was coming back, I was coming back, my legs were solid and I could do not only the whole race but push myself to a good time. Was excited about the so-called “flat and fast” course and starting it off with my dear friend Marcie.

The short 15 minutes walk full of bouncy energy is just what I need – My Race Ragz race shirt on, my sis and mom each wearing theirs and the sun starting to come up. In fact, just over the ocean it starts to turn orange and blue sky opening up over us. I’m feeling a few emotions come over me as I realize the enormity, for me, of what I’ve done and what I’m about to do. As my friend Dana said – it’s one thing to say you’re doing this, it’s another to follow through and do it. I’m defying the odds in a sense. So many times this year it seemed to make better sense to give in or give up, and with some pretty damn good reasons, but I didn’t. I didn’t give in, and I didn’t give up. And I didn’t on this race either.

I find Marcie in corral three and some big teary hugs are exchanged with my family looking on. Big hugs to family and time to put my game face on. It feels good. I feel good. I can’t wait to get going. It’s been a little distracting these last few days for me, but I put that out of my head and enjoy the idea of just frickin running for a while. About 13.1 miles. As I’m moving forward in my corral 2, after the first one goes and we’re getting ready to be called, I see a penny on the ground, and it’s heads up (my superstition about the penny goes like this: pennies are good, pick them up for good luck if they’re heads up, and if tails up, flip it over for someone later to get the good luck heads up penny. Plus my uncle thinks pennies are relatives saying hi…) and I get excited. It’s a good sign. And you’re always looking for good signs in races. Heads up penny in my gear pocket of my little shorts and off I go.

Crap it’s warm. I mean stagnant air warm. Was windy at 6am, not so much at 7. Hmmm. This’ll be interesting. Ok, let’s go. Damn. Wow, humid. Was excited to have had some relatively good weather races, including low heat/humidity in Chicago, low heat in Sonoma and such an early race in Maui that the heat/humidity were fine too. This may come back to haunt me….

Yeah, I had a few tears to start the race. I mean, I was doing it. My family was with me, Marcie was right behind me, I set a crazy goal and despite “perhaps too many?” naysayers and downplayers and so much life (personal and professional, no stone unturned) crap these last two years and five years ago doctors telling me I wouldn’t run again (dudes, may I remind you I have not only run again, I did 11 half marathons this year, and 16 in less than two years. Boo yah!) and I’m fucking doing it. I was a little overwhelmed, and happy, and excited, and in awe and trying to take it all in and also trying to concentrate on being in the moment and also trying to just be in THIS race and and and

Holy crap I’m sweating big time and not sure I’ve even hit the first mile marker. What? Oy. And what is this cotton mouth I’m experiencing? What the what? Ugh. Yuck, this sucks. Hmmm, I will power through every damn mile if I have too. I’m going for breaking 1:50 at least. How about a PR? Or 2nd to PR of this year? I mean, it’s coming back, it feels right, I’m mentally and physically tougher than I’ve been, right? And maybe the humidity is good for my legs, keeping my whole form relaxed from the get go.

Why does everyone seem to be running in slow motion? It looks like we’re all running in molasses. This is weird. Hmm, this could be a long race. I will not walk. I will run the whole race. I will shuffle if I have to. Why am I having this conversation with myself at mile two?

Ok, quick bathroom break at mile three. Damn. Thought I’d planned this all out better, timed it like I usually do. Apparently not. Ok. Deal.

And then.

The wheels fell off.

Mile Four.

Tossed. My. Cookies. On a bridge, on a hill. And for runners, you know you’re not tossing much. To jump into the TMI category full force, it’s more of a trickle spittle disgustingness you try not to get on yourself and then some super fun dry heaving. YAY! Fun!

Hi, body? You there? So, legs feeling pretty good even though hip is annoyed and I know it will shake out soon. Overall, pretty happy. So WILL YOU GET IT THE F TOGETHER INTERNALLY PLEASE???? Thank you, thank you very much.

Body, wait, where you going? Body, come back?

Nope, this will be it. This will be my race. Biting off mile by mile, step by step. Gritting like I’ve never gritted before. Succumbing to some serious issues throughout the race, knowing I’m not alone but unwilling to give up altogether, unwilling to give up the dream time until I absolutely must. I know what I’m capable of, I know what I can do, and I’m willing to pass out at the finish line and throw up if I have to to leave it all, ALL, out on the course. Dammit, this isn’t even close to the race I was expecting or feeling it would be or anything. And no, not much comfort in seeing others struggling too – later in the day I would hear over and over how tough it was for everyone, but I still wanted more.

And then the wheezing starts. The lung pain. Fuck. Now I’m scared. Stop it, get in the moment. This ain’t “it” coming back, we’re not going there. Every step you take, every goddamn step you throw forward, you are winning. If you have to crawl across the finish line, you will. You won’t be the first, you won’t be the last.

Shit, I’m disappointing people. So many cheering me on, thinking I’m “wonder woman” hoping I’ll get my PR, I’m so strong, I have to finish on the best note. Keep going. Grab a gel, grab some water. Why are you walking? Ok, concede you’re still moving forward, you can still do this. One step at a time. Goddamn it’s hot – I feel weird, not exactly overheated but overwrought, lightheaded, can’t get a breath. Keep going. This is your race alone, don’t compare to other races, and you’re definition of leaving it all on the course – this is it. There is nothing more you can do – cry, puke, pee, poop, pass out, whatever it takes, you’re doing it. And yes, look wistfully but not seriously at the med tents you pass. You don’t need that. You really don’t.

Wow the dialogue in my head is epic and unreal. I’m VERY glad I don’t have a tape recorder in there. Oh look, a vibrant half rainbow in the distance, how beautiful! Another good sign! I needed that. Enjoy it.

Mile seven my lungs tried to jump out of my chest. Don’t panic. No anxiety. In the moment. Try to find some semblance of your form, some semblance of racing. Ok, sure, maybe you’re walking to prolong the race, since it’s the last one, and to prolong the race you prolong the overall experience? Haha – nice try, but sure!

Mile eight – hello spectacular rainstorm, thundershower! WOW. Kind of amazingly cool actually. Cooled me down, but also a fun experience to have. I mean, some serious rain showers *drenching* all of us over the bridge. Soaked. Completely. Running through instant puddles. Distraction from pain, discomfort, disconcerting sluggishness. Cool addition. I’ll take it.

Seriously, at this point not just taking it mile by mile or two miles by two miles – this is a true in-the-moment gut it out. Love my shirt. Love my hat. Love my music. Love my guts. Love my tears. Love my legs. Love my feet. Love my knees. Love my head and wherever the hell it’s at. Owning this even if I have to go down swinging. GAWD though it’s SO not what I thought this race was going to be like. Holy instant expectation shifter. Suddenly breaking 1:50 is less important, let’s break 1:55, ok, damn, let’s just break 2:00. When was the last time you ran over 2? First competitive half you broke 2 for run’s sake. Hmmm. There’s at least five different kinds of runners in my head talking at me. Oy.

Hi, little old lady shuffling next to me. Oh, wait, I believe it would be more accurate to say you are passing me. Uphill. Fantastic.

Ok, last two miles. Wheels came off miles ago. Just hang the f on, my dear. You can do, oh, or not. Walk. Fine. Be that way. I’m apparently at war now with my body and mind. Funny thing is…my legs and shoulder feel fantastic, I mean, aside from feeling like I’m running in mud. Dry mud. Up to my neck. Clearly not alone since everyone else is too?

Water. Carbboom (yum at least?) and water. Cytomax. Trying to stave off assessing the race before I’m crossing the finish line. Do. Not. Give. Up. Do. Not. Give. In. Prove them wrong, prove the doctors wrong, prove yourself right. You can do this. Hell, ok, time out. No, I mean, finish time out of the mind. Just run. Smile and run. Because you can run, because you love to run, remember? That a girl. Feels good don’t it. No, I don’t care how fast you’re going. Or slow. You’re running. You love this. It’s nice. Ah, there you go. Settle down. None of it matters anymore, just this step in this moment, the sun on your face, sunglasses on, some familiar and some new tunes, the ability to be here, blessed and grateful for the opportunity.

Hello mile 12! Lovely to see you! And old man (bet it’s someone’s dad) on the right hand corner as you turn is high fiving people. So I take a few steps to my right and get a perfect high five. I needed that. I even got a few chills on my arm for the human contact, that in-the-moment support. Thanks, dude. You were meant to be there. Bet you gave a shot in the arm to a lot of tired overwrought runners.

Why is mile 12 three miles long? Oh. Just feels that way? Hmmm, might have something to do with 15 miles an hour HEADWIND. Seriously? Now? When I’m numb to whatever the hell happened this race and if I have to collapse and be rolled over the finish line I will? Ok. Fine. I see your challenge of this fantabulously ill-timed headwind and not only will I keep going, I will keep running. In your wind tunnel, through dry mud and molasses, with about as much nausea as I’ve ever sustained for this long a run, through lightheadedness and delirium, through seized up lungs that have yet to release, through sopping wet shoes from your little shower, I will keep running. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Mantra. Over and over. Counting eight steps and repeat. Bringing it in for a finish. Seriously, I still think mile 12 was longer.

Final push, stronger, faster, upright, back straight, tears pricking my eyes, head held high, pass a few folks, determined, no matter what to finish strong and PROUD. Dig deep. You got it in you.

Finish line is on the beach, in the sand, dodge a few holes and hear my name over the loudspeaker. I did it. I crossed. I’m wheezing like hell. I’m woozy. Stumbling and hand out for medal. Stagger to the right side and drop to my knees, holding onto the fence. I can’t move. I’m crying, I’m unsteady, my lungs hate me, I’m immediately hard on myself about the finish time. How could I? How could I not x y z? I look up to the sun and down a cool bottle of water, looking around for my family.

I see them, but suddenly embarrassment and shame washes over me. I failed. No I didn’t. I ran them all. But I didn’t kick ass in this one, I didn’t run like a rock star. I wasn’t wonder woman. I want to just stay in the photo line, head down and not have to walk out and have the final time be a reality.

But I do, I, as always, face it head on and move forward, even if stupendously hard on myself. Mom and sis on the side, big hug from them both as I collapse in exhaustion and tears. “You did it” they whisper. “We’re so proud of you” they say. “You beat it, all of it, you did 11, take that in” they remind me. Deep breath, or as deep as I can do. Searing pain in my lungs. Boo.

Cross through the rest of the post-race pieces and meet up with family and Marcie to take it all in. Lots of hugs, high fives and suddenly a constant murmur through all racing crowd of how difficult that race was, how humid, how warm, how much harder than expected. I have no choice but to take that in. Ok. Walk to the ocean to stand at the waves, and again, take it in, all of it, the whole year. Shhhh. Let it wash over me like the waves in front of us.

Meet up with a few vendors, say thank you, so great to meet you and see you throughout the season. Lots of congratulations, well dones, what’s next year and more. Happy to tell Newton boys I ran all 11 in their superior product. It’s fun, this part, not really yet fully owning the time-disaster (in my mind.) A slow walk back, eager to compare notes with Marcie and talk through the course, the experience, the little things seen along the way only a fellow runner can appreciate in the moment.

Time for a rest. Time to take it in. I take a short nap and have the moment, right when you wake up when you don’t remember where you are or what you’re doing or what just happened – remember those mornings after a breakup or death or fight or diagnosis or crash or getting in trouble or morning of a test or bad news – and for one brief perfect moment it hasn’t hit yet and then it comes rushing back, yeah, that happened. Had that sensation for this race experience after the nap.

But I did it. I did all 11 half marathons. Are you kidding me? That’s what I need to celebrate, that’s what I need to own, build on and love. And some fabulous insight came my way – core temperature. Mine was out of sight at the start of the race, due to the heat (hadn’t yet dealt with it ALL year so no true experience of it to learn from) and the fact that my body was saying, based on my body clock, “what, we’re working out a 2am and a half marathon at 4am? ok, catch up quick” and heated me up maybe a bit more too, adding to the corp temp. Once that went beyond what I could control and regulate, all systems shut down, no matter how much I’d come back, no matter how much I trained for this, wanted it, dreamed about it, visualized it, prepared for it. It just shut down. Wish that rain storm had been the first mile, that might have helped. Regardless, I learned SO much from this race and can apply to the next season. And I’m coming, slowly, to terms with the disappointment of how I wanted to finish time-wise. In fact, it might be my worst time of all 11 races. And, gulp…that’s ok.

Because I set out to run 11 and I ran 11. Period. That I ran so many as fast as I did is motivation for the next race. And not getting the time I wanted on this one has just so very inspired me and invigorated me in a way I never expected. I want that imagined time, and I’m going to get it.

In the meantime, I’m soaking this whole year in, continuing to process it, and learning to truly enjoy it. I live to run, I run because I can, and I love to run. Thank you Miami, this too will stick with me, as all the others. 11 in ’11, on December 11. Lucky number indeed.

PostHeaderIcon Mahalo Maui, another story to add

“Sometimes PR has nothing to do with time, but what you conquer inside.”

Having tried to start writing this post a half dozen times since the Maui race took place, I’m finally doing it. It’s not that I didn’t have a lot to share, it’s just my feelings on the race kept shifting, changing and it was hard to pin down how and where to start. And that hasn’t changed, so this post is, at this moment at 11am on September 26, my view of it. If I wrote again in a day or a week, it would again be different. That’s one of the glorious things about this (mostly) real-time blog, that I’m not just going to look back and try to remember, but actually get to record as it comes. At some point, I still have to recollect the five seminal race experiences of 2010…that’s coming up.

There’s no doubt Maui was a bittersweet place for me to do a race, and back in May when I switched from Tahoe on September 25 to Maui September 18 due to a client’s schedule, I knew it might be tough, but I also seemingly have no problem throwing myself into the face of difficulty and pushing through. Granted, as evidenced by the last two months of stress and stress-related health crap, that’s not always the best or gentlest way to treat myself. Sure, being tough is admirable, and it’s my go-to move, my default, my I-can’t-help-it back straight stiff upper lip soldier on, but so is knowing when to rest, knowing when to ask for help, knowing how to take care of yourself, knowing how to be vulnerable. So I thought coming to Maui would be, at the very least, a beautiful place to run, and a serene place to recalibrate.

Plus I have so much family history related to the islands, with my mom having grown up there as a little girl, and family vacations, few but powerful, to have my connection to island style and culture be from only one source. That said, when the proverbial, and frankly it didn’t feel just proverbial, bus came careening around the corner one day before I took off, I was nearly resisting the idea of going, not sure I had the strength to deal on my own in such a powerful place. And all this coming on top of not even knowing how the run would go, considering I hadn’t run since Chicago and was battling physical, and then therefore mental, obstacles already.

The nice thing about traveling to the islands is the happy mood of everyone on the plane – who wouldn’t be? Not for nothing, it is a little odd in this race-travel case to be solo, but a little mood music on the plane and island snacks, and you’re well on your way. Landing and making my way to Kaanapali, I felt a heavy heart, a tightness in my chest, a lump in my throat, and elephant in the shuttle – whatever you want to call it, it was palpable. But I keep going. It’s what I do – I learned it from something… Oh yeah, I learned it from all the running.

Who doesn’t love arriving three hours earlier too, in a place like this? Hotel’s not ready, so a stroll along the beach and shedding of clothes to enjoy the warmth, an early lunch and quick making of friends at Hula Grill sets the tone for the day. It’s, as always, fun to travel for these, and get a chance to share this project with others – always met with interest, enthusiasm and support. Staring at the ocean for an afternoon settles me in a little bit and I breathe it all in. Noticing there are quite a few people who take this race very seriously – there’s islanders who travel all over just the islands and think this is one of the best races. You can find someone who loves to run just about anywhere.

Decided the next morning to zipline since it’s been a while that I’ve jumped out of a plane. Yes, it’s true, it’s not AS excited but it’s still adrenaline inducing, awakening and supremely beautiful in the mountains of Maui. Got my heart racing in the right way, to get excited for the race the next day. And then…the expo. Never fails to get me going again. This one couldn’t be more Hawaiian-themed – local artisans everywhere and the scents and beauty of them all add a special something to the building energy of the race.

Got to connect with Natural Heat Hawaii, which is an incredible product that takes the handwarmers of old and has created an incredible product with versatile uses, because you can use it as hot or cold therapy, got myself a new http://www.efxusa.com/ performance bracelet, since I’m starting to like their design better than Power Balance. Still don’t know if this stuff really works, but I’m banking on the mental advantage. Speaking of, picked up a sweet little lightweight Phiten titanium running necklace too. Again, easy mental advantage, and this race…I needed it.

All afternoon I’m getting prepared for the race, jumping in the ocean and trying to calm my body down – it’s really hitting me that I haven’t run a step in a month. Wow. I feel almost like I don’t remember the last month, for a variety of reasons. How did this happen? How good is my foundation? How strong is my foundation? Will my legs hold up? Will I be so sore afterward I won’t be able to move? How much of my normal pre-race ritual to I engage in, or can my body handle it? I hunker down and fall asleep quickly.

Race morning – up early and seemingly ready to go. I make sure to have some nourishment, but not as much as normal, and start getting ready. I’m really questioning if this is a good idea, but I got nothing to lose at this point, so may as well go try it, see what it’s like. And then I get a little nervous too. And then, I get a text that settle me down perfectly “don’t be nervous about today. just go out and have fun – use the first 10 miles to get a feel for the engine, get a handle on it, and then leave it all out on the course the last three.” Or something like that. It got my head on straight about what I could and should do out there and set me in the right direction. Plus it’s always nice to get pre-race encouragement texts!

I head on out and it’s pitch black. Completely. It’s a 5:30am start on Maui and that’s what you get. And it was awesome. I’ve rarely, if ever, run under the stars. And never started a race under the stars. It’s beautiful and peaceful. Everyone around is chill and happy. And I decide not quite yet to start the music when the race starts – initially it’s because you need all your senses when running in the dark to be able to navigate the feet in front of you and not trip. Not all that well lit, but that’s ok, and no one in race-time corrals, but that’s ok, and it’s a small race (3200 people) and that’s even better. And the benefit to no music is, once we get up along the ocean’s edge, the sound of the waves along the beach and rocks, combined with the shuffling of the first few miles of runners finding their stride. It’s quiet – the quietest race start I’ve ever had. And it’s awesome.

We head into Lahaina and Front Street and the sun is starting to rise and then the roosters start their morning routine. And I can hear it all, and just start to get a sense of what my legs are doing, and can do. Wow. This feels pretty damn good. It’s AWESOME to be out here again. Holy wow. I’m actually having to restrain myself from just going to the side and opening up to long fast strides – because I still have 11, 10, 9 miles to go. Must pace myself. And I don’t want to miss these views.

And then the memories come fast and furious, overwhelming like waves of the ocean, threatening to envelope me. Wow. I remember all of them, all the sweet sweet memories. Are they real? Do you remember? Maybe it’s not real, maybe it never was, maybe my brain, in it’s near-anarobic state is playing tricks on me. Maybe in order to concentrate on my running, to not fall over, I should just start my music, consciously direct my heart in another direction and run forward.

So I do. And then I notice the one big thing that I’ve lost in the last month of not running. Sure my core is softer than I’d like, and my legs aren’t as strong, nor are my shoulders, but they’re there, and they’re working and making it happen. But. My lungs. Dear little lungs. Where oh where did you go? My hard fought anarobic threshold level, my expanded VO2 max – poof, gone. Then the struggle sets in. Less max means less oxygen in lungs and pumping through body, which means fatigue sets in earlier and legs tire sooner. Oh. My. God. Hello mile six, why aren’t you mile 12? Oh boy, talk about getting a feel for the engine. This one is sputtering. Most struggle during a race in years. Just one month of no training and this? Yeah, this is how it happens. But. I also know I can get it back just as quickly, right?

Before the turnaround spot, I see a guy I saw at the Hula Grill on Friday afternoon. I thought he looked like an NBA player I can’t place and was curious about him. Then I see him miles ahead of me, probably in 10th place overall, 7th for guys, looking fast and casual. And he’s pushing a jogging stroller. Dude. Seriously, you’re making everyone look bad! Kidding, it was actually totally inspirational, made an impact on me and it’s an image that has stuck with me since.

I hit the turnaround and realize I still have half way to go. Half way. Almost seven more miles. I was feeling good around mile four, happy and settling into a run. And now, oof. Going for it, but not sure how the hell I’m supposed to keep going, aside from the few energy Sharkies I have with me. Then a few miles more and I start some serious lightheadedness and new-to-me breath issues, extremely fatiguing body parts and I say to myself “yeah, just go ahead a walk a few.” So I spent the last few miles running and walking, walking and running. I never have done that, but suddenly the only thing that matters to me is actually finishing the race. That’s it. I don’t care my time, I don’t care about the training, I don’t care about other races, I don’t care about other people I was pacing with flying by me (every time I run again, I pass them, as soon I walk again, they pass me), I just want to finish. But holy wow does my body feel weird. I almost wish I was hooked up to a machine just to see all the crazy shit going on inside and how it was affecting my run.

And I keep going. Sometimes I can’t run more than a quarter mile without having to walk. I sometimes just want to run for a whole song. Or just make it to that next water station. I know something’s off. I don’t know quite what it is, and I keep going, promising myself as soon as my body is truly healthy again, I’m back on the training train I’ve missed so much, I’m back out there making it happen, I’m recommitted in a way I haven’t been to pushing myself to where *I* want to be, where I want to go. This isn’t about comparing myself to others, this is about going after what I want and striving to be my ultimate best.

At one point, with literally just under two miles to go (a place in a race I’d normally NEVER consider, nor would have to consider, walking), I have to slow to walk again. And a runner pats me on the shoulder, claps and says “c’mon, you can do this, let’s go!” and not in that “I’m a boot camp coach and you’re a scum runner” way, but in the truly generous way runners support each other, pulling for one another in a situation like this. And so I pick up the pace again and run alongside him, or near him, for almost a mile. Thank you, kind soul, whoever you were. You helped me so much. And yes, running is SO mental. SO very mental, especially during a race – the mantras and conversations you have with yourself. I half believe that most runners would be committed voluntarily if the tapes in their heads during a race were played back live.

One mile to go. I’m now entertaining the idea of crawling. No joke. Hard to take a breath therefore hard to keep the legs going forward. Mind is all over the place, starting to feel delirious. All the water stops, I’ve taken and drank more than usual, and just wanted to lay down. I know full well this isn’t normal, but with the final left turn and the finish line in sight (wow, it still looks so far away), I keep moving. Trying to savor any strength left to dig up and run strong home. And I do, even while there’s a shadow of myself crawling next to me, I make it. I grab a water bottle and then ohhhhhh. Oh, this isn’t a post-race high. No ma’am. And this isn’t normal wobbling and spots in my line of sight. This isn’t something to fuck with either.

I tuck my tail and look up for a first aid sign, and there’s the best little medical tent in the world. My humbled self walks in, eyes blinking, unable to focus, can’t get a breath, unable to shake the feeling in my head and a woman walks over to me with cup of Powerade and says “are you okay?” and I say “I’m feeling really light headed, I don’t think…” and next thing I know, I’m awake again, lying on a makeshift gurney in the med tent, fabulous little IV in my left arm, taking in tons of fluids, and some sweet and not too worried faces looking at me. HI! Turns out I was, as they said “severely dehydrated and overwrought” after the race. I lay there for about 45 minutes, taken care of in what has to be the best med tent ever (it’s Maui!), taking in fluids, having my vitals checked every 10 minutes and making conversation, or trying to. The overwrought-ness leads to some tears as well, just overwhelmed by having the whole experience of this travel and this race and this body. They finally let me go after some reassurances of taking it easy and I walk slowly, but almost steadily out, shaking my head at the puncture wound on my left arm – that’s a race first for sure! I head back to my room, chill in the AC, and eventually find my way to the ocean for some salt water therapy, not entirely pleased with the race, but also proud of myself for yet again, doing it, against all odds, all on my own, pushing through and forward.

I let go on whatever “time” I had for the race and just got the sense for yes, this is still what I love, this is what I need and deserve to be doing and achieving. I have two races left, and a few months of training for them. While Maui was, in so many ways, an excruciating race and experience, it was also a stunning, healing, inspiring setting in which it all took place.

Mahalo, and then some, Maui – you are an Ipo for supporting me as you did. The miracle isn’t that I finished, it’s that I had the courage to start.

PostHeaderIcon What NOT running does

I was going to title this entry “Going Soft” but I refuse to buy into that entirely so just went for straightforward instead. Even if I am a little, it is completely temporary.

Yeah, so I haven’t run since Chicago’s race. August 14. I write this on September 13. That’s the first I’ve really seen that written out or fully acknowledged the passage of time. That’s a long time. Especially for me. Wow. And what has it brought me? I’m still working on that, actually. Taking time to make some observations about that kind of time off, the hopeful benefits and perhaps some pitfalls to it.

Here’s what I do know, and am banking on:
Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce. – Unknown

Ok, so yes, I got some training sessions in, some pretty decent strength training, a little core work, but not even close to what I’m used to doing or used to supplementing serious mileage each week. And after weeks of doctors and trying to figure things out, and too many weeks of antibiotics that turned out to be 90% unnecessary and ended up doing some short term harm and finding out – SURPRISE, it’s kind of stress related. So what does THAT bring up? Hmm, last doc actually said “hey, I need you to get back to running, that’s your thing, that’s what will help move you forward” and so it goes that’s what I’m doing. As in, race #9 this weekend.

Say what? Well, that will REALLY test the solidity of the foundation I’ve created for my running – both physically and mentally. And yes, my goal is to not just finish but really run the whole time – why not? This is my release. This is my next step. This is my dream. I remain committed. I am determined to follow through and make good on my word. To myself if no one else.

So why didn’t I run when it can sometimes act as my stress release? Did not running actually contribute MORE to the stress I was experiencing? Was it some kind of weird cycle that fed off itself? My body was down for the count and then the monkey mind set in – I can’t get out and utilize my body the way I know how, and create the peaceful space for my mind to work, and then the spiral of not getting the release from running or a hard training, and the toll that takes mentally and emotionally, and if I could just get out and DO something and on and on and on. There were a couple weeks, looking back now, I wasn’t really thinking that straight, and not trusting as much as I should have or could have.

But having the goal of these races, and even just the goal of running again, and the bubbling desire building each day and week got me through those couple of tough weeks when I even entertained the idea of not running, not doing races and possibly having to make major shifts in my physical lifestyle (see above, the monkey mind – it really wasn’t ever that dire, I don’t think, to where everything would change that dramatically, but in the moment, it was hard to see around the corner with this more true perspective.) WOW am I grateful to have set these goals in motion this year and to have the fortitude, even in the darker times, to persevere and, gulp, trust.

True, I seriously considered not doing the September race, considering some replacement in November, or even not finishing out the last three races, since I’d originally planned the last three to be serious ass-kicking, and no matter what I do in the next five days, Maui will be a very different race compared to any other because I have not been doing any maintenance. And sometimes I thought, well, I paid the race entry fee, but the flight is all miles so which motivates? I’ve already paid so I should just go or it’s miles I can transfer so just push it out. In the end, I’m glad I’m going, I’m glad I’ve recommitted. In fact, it’s the commitment of these races, committing to myself this goal and this commitment to physical and mental and emotional self that brings back the trust, in myself.

Trust that my body can do it, trust that my mind can do it, trust that I can do it. I’m actually looking forward to the challenge of this weekend’s race, how I can and will push through and make it part of the lore of all the race stories and journey this year. And what it can ultimately lead to. I don’t give up, I don’t give in – not in the long run, even if it requires an incredibly unexpected and unplanned for break that will not, in the end, break me or my goals. I shift my expectations for this race, but not the ultimate goal of finishing, and being proud of the results.

And I forgive myself for the break, for all the places I allowed my mind to go, for dipping a toe into the waters of giving up or giving in and yet finally backing away, forgive my body for any strides it needs to make to come back to form. Monkey mind got me there too – been thinking I’ve taken 20 steps back, but have gotten a couple glimpses recently it’s more like five steps back, which is more than completely surmountable. It’s a welcome new challenge in fact.

And so in honor of self-forgiveness and the next race in taking place in Maui, I’m practicing a little ho’oponopono – I’m sorry, I forgive you, I love you, Thank you. Mahalo.

P.S. Thank you to those handful of friends who’ve reached out to me in the last 24 hours to inquire about my blog, writing and running and checking to see if I’m ok, and when the hell I’m getting back out there in both writing and running. Thank you, it means a lot and was just the kick in the but I needed to find the always right-there inspiration. The support means more than you know.

PostHeaderIcon True confession

Delay in writing because…I haven’t run in two+ weeks. Not since Chicago’s race. Wow that was hard to write.

It’s cracking me. The short of it is felled by some as-yet mysterious internal issues, overseen by some fantastic doctors, but no answers yet, multiple course of treatment and an extraordinary amount of frustration, helplessness, fear and annoyance on my part. Tired of dealin, tired of not being able to run right now. And yet knowing this is one time to not push through to the other side like, in my opinion, most physical issues are. And since running is as much mental as physical, too much time in le noggin and not enough release via running makes me run the gamut of emotions from sad, defeated, frustrated, bummed, anxious, scared, impatient and more. One step forward, one step back? Two steps forward, one step back? One step forward, two steps back? Damn weird little dance I got going on.

I DO NOT want to give this whole project up, let go of this dream and the next – I have no doubt I will run again, that’s not the fear. 11 in ’11 I will not give up, or take my eye off that goal. But when can I go again, when will I get back on that horse? Or more accurately: slip on those socks, tie up those shoes, legs through the shorts, running bra strapped on, running tank loosely over, pull my hair back tight and fit my running hat on, eat a few energy gels/bars/chews, do a few active stretches, scroll through a few playlists, push ear pieces in, turn music on, wrap sunglasses around and step into the sun. This is what I think about every day right now, am craving every hour, am salivating at the thought to get back out there. This is where the mental fortitude learning from so many years of running and so many races is such a benefit and carries one straight through these unexpected hurdles.

Not that I ever did before, but more than ever I would and will never take running, or being active or pushing my body further past what I thought it could do and celebrating every victorious step, for granted or the ability to do so or create the time and energy to engage. I fall asleep dreaming of the sun on my face and shoulders, my arms pumping, my back straight, my core lean, my legs strong underneath me, stretching out for a long stride and the path steadying my feet and wake up with renewed inspiration to get me and my life back.

I love Conan O’Brien’s speech from Dartmouth in June, and this excerpt continues to stay with me. “In 2000, I told graduates to not be afraid to fail, and I still believe that. But today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.” (there’s a lot of good nuggets in his speech)

C’mon body – heal thyself so we can work in unison again together, joyfully pushing the boundaries physically and mentally, gearing up for the last three (of this year…) races of 11 in ’11, finishing strong, finishing happy, savoring the moment and maybe peering past the finish lines to what lies ahead.

PostHeaderIcon Look for what you like

Struggling a bit this week, so looking for what I like, the good, and to be grateful for:
Coming in 38th in my division, out of 1,841 for the San Diego race. Yeah. Right on. Aside from 11, 8 is my other lucky number, and continues to be, apparently: coming in 8th (out of 274) and 38th. I’ll take 38th in a field of 1,841, hell yeah!

Finished the race while battling the beginning of the onset of food poisoning. AND still placing 38th, clocking in at 1:46:50.

Marriott in San Diego SUPER awesome about “taking care” of me per the food poisoning, which room service caused. Way to own it. And thanks.

Recovering somewhat quickly (ok, a little discombobulated for a few days) from said food poisoning and race to have a near full week of training, just two days off. Gotta get back on this particular horse quickly as next race is in two weeks – as in, my taper week is in a week.

I like Saltines. A lot.

First actual run since race and food poisoning – tiring, fatigued, and a wee nervous… What if my body has a Pavlovian response to running i.e. faux-food poisoning post-run? Didn’t happen. Thankfully. Will soldier on.

Found a few good ‘new’ songs to run to, can’t stop listening to solid music. Makes me content.

In one week got these two compliments from friends, about advice I’d shared with them “you’re words had a profound effect on me, and have stayed with me since that night” and “your logic and your emails made all the difference” both followed with thank yous. Thank YOU, I needed to hear that. We all need to know we make a difference/have an effect, matter to someone, even just one person. Especially when you’re struggling or having a tough time understanding life, for whatever reason(s).

Healing progress on the right hip labram and right rotator cuff issue. Being proactive in a number of ways and it’s paying off. Yay. This week is helpful and I commit to continuing on the progress so the Seattle race is successful, fun, and enjoyable.

Excitement for the Seattle race, a few days in the ol’ hometown and connecting with good friends.

A lot to be grateful for, a lot to like.