Saturday, February 28, 2009

worst run ever!

this blog is not for the faint of heart... you are forewarned.

today's run did not go as planned. today's run was really tough, in fact. today i experienced the absolute lowest point (thus far) of my running career.

i thought i had set myself up for success... last night a group of my fellow runners and i went out for a big pasta dinner, carb-loading in preparation for our 20 mile run this morning. good in theory...

laid out all my running gear last night... filled my water bottles, packed a warm sweater and some dry socks to change into at the end of the run, stocked up my running treats...

as we are supposed to consume about 100 calories worth of energy every 45 mins or so along the trail, i had purchased a number of different sport "fuel replenishers" to consume en route. i had had some trouble during past runs with a couple other kinds, most of which was based on them being sickly sweet, but some of which gave me stomach pains. so, had a new collection for today... all highly recommended by the running store staff, and other fellow TNT participants. good in theory...

hit the trails shortly after 8, after being brought to tears in the parking lot by the story of a fellow participant... the person in who's honour she is running died of leukemia on Wednesday.

tried out new treat #1 about 50 mins into the run ... sport jelly beans. gave me stomach pains. didn't eat any more.

tried out new treat #2 approximately 40 minutes later. tasted good, no stomach pains, yippeee.. found my new running energy supply. less than ten minutes later i was desperate for a pee, so i ducked off the trail to use the washroom at McDonalds. as i crossed the parking lot, i was doubled over by serious stomach pain and spasms... and without any warning or hint of possibility, spontaneously pooped my pants.

not exactly a high point in my day.

but, at least it happened just steps away from a washroom and not five miles down the trail.

went in, cleaned myself up, threw out my underwear... had a little cry, and then headed back out on the trail, feeling a little hollow and wobbly. and embarrassed. and kinda weepy still...

that was the half way point in my 20 miles.

i was too scared to eat any more of my lovely treats... so i drank a lot of gatorade and water, but without the extra energy i would normally get from the sickly sweet gels, or chewy treats... i totally crashed after 16 miles. still 4 miles from the parking lot where my warm clothes, my house keys, my ride, and yummy pizza and bananas and other post run delights were waiting for me.

i walked on for two more miles, until i hit the last water station... after walking that far i was no longer sweating. in fact, i was just cold and damp and out of energy. Coach Joe took one look at me and said, you're done for today.

i burst into tears. and said okay.

Coach Chip drove the two miles down to the water station to pick me up, and gave me the lecture on avoiding hypothermia... me nodding and shivering all the while.

i grabbed two slices of cold pizza and a couple bananas, signed myself in on the runners list, shivered my way into my friend Lori's car, and then struggled to take my wet clothes off so i could have a long hot shower when i got home.

nothing about today was easy. not much was very comfortable, not a whole lot would even qualify as particularly enjoyable...

but i got through it. and, better that it happens now than on race day.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

girl on fire...

i normally run around a 10:00 per mile pace... when we go out on our long runs i slow it down to around 10:40, maybe 11:00 with doing the 10:1 walk/run.

today we were scheduled to run just 5 miles (that would be 8 kms or so..). i'm still learning all the technical jargon for what it is we're doing... tempo runs, negative splits... stuff like that.

today we were to do a tempo run, which essentially means do a bit of a warm up run, then run a few miles at a pace that is faster than is comfortable, and then do a bit of a cool down at a slower pace to finish (i think)... so, i ran the first 2 miles at my usual 10 mile pace, and then just kept speeding up the treadmill until i was running (fairly comfortably!) at an 8:40 pace.

i ran 2 miles in 18 minutes :)

oh yes, it's true... the new orange shoes make me run as though my feet were on fire.

now, i'm knackered. but i feel good...

let's hope that is how i feel after our 20 mile (32 km) run on Saturday morning

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Feet! New Shoes :-)

I have long been a fan of Mizuno running shoes, and have worn their Wave Nirvana shoes for several generations now. A couple week ago, after my toenails turned purple, I went to get a new (and larger) pair... After all, I have logged a couple hundred miles on the old pair since I joined TNT in December... and, after all, the old pair just doesn't have enough room once my feet start to swell around the 12 mile mark. So, I got the newest version, the Wave Nirvana 5... they were so pretty, but when I got them home and took them for a run my feet hurt so badly that I had to stop running. And went back to wearing the old ones.

I exchanged them today for the last pair of last year's model (the Wave Nirvana 4) that the store had in stock... and let me tell you, they live up to their name. They are nirvana on my feet.

I've just come in from a run, and my toes are happy. My knees are happy. My hip that has been bothering me is happy... I'm happy.

My last pair were a demure blue. I might never have chosen the bright orange pair if given an alternative, but the colour is growing on me. They catch my eye as I run, and they remind me of flames. This inspires me to run as though my feet are on fire.... and that can only mean my times will get faster. Don't you think?

I'm not sure you have totally appreciated them in their fiery glory... here, look again.

Aren't they lovely?

Hip Hop (IHOP) Away!

(photo taken at IHOP's International Pancake Day by Brian Vaugh)

FUNdraising success! After a mere 12 hours of standing in the front lobby of a couple local IHOPs on International Pancake Day... sometimes with other TNT volunteers (like Kim and Lindsay in the photo) and sometimes on my own... that donation box contained over $1500 worth of donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

IHOPS all over the greater DC area were raising money for the LLS. Can't wait to hear what the over-all grand total was for donations raised yesterday.

In theory, the funds raised will be divided amongst the volunteers in a way that reflects how much time they spent fundraising yesterday. This means that, in theory, I should have about $750 applied to my fundraising efforts, which would push me over the top of my fundraising goal! Yippeeee! However, we won't find out until next week how it all gets divided up... so I shall wait til then to be elated.

In the mean time, it is a gloriously sunny day. Cold though... and I'm heading out for the five mile run I was scheduled to do yesterday, but couldn't because I was surrounded by pancakes.

ps. yes, my t-shirt does say "Cancer Sucks!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

eating like a runner...

now that i am running at least 20 miles each week (or more - this week it will be about 33 miles), i am ravenous most of the time. this has led to a burst of creativity in the kitchen.

one can only eat oatmeal with brown sugar so many times... so now i have it with walnuts, raspberries and honey... or peanut butter and mango... or strawberries, sunflower seeds and yogurt.

breakfast eggs are now rarely just eggs, but omelets full of veggies and cheese... or loads of fresh ginger... or feta and fresh mint. i bake bread every week just so we'll have good bread to have with eggs.

a lunch time sandwich is now never just a sandwich... it's a dagwood sandwich, full of cheeses and olives and sweet peppers and crunchy lettuce and hot pickles and stuff falling out the sides.

lunch time salads are salad extravaganzas... full of nuts and cheeses and seeds and herbs and fruit... and they're never small any more.

one can only eat pasta with tomato sauce so many times... now we're having it with sauteed butternut squash, hot chilis, asparagus and toasted pine nuts... or with chunks of feta cheese, garlic, fresh herbs and good olive oil.

we used to have left-overs for lunches... but now if there are left-overs they rarely make it past late evening snack time.

my sweetheart keeps telling me i'm spoiling him. but the truth is i'm being good to me. i'm eating like a runner.

has it been a week already?

Time flies when you have a canine companion...

He's gone home now though, and I shall miss his company.


My mom called during yesterday's morning run with the TNT group. We were chatting as I ran (slowly so I wouldn't puff too loudly in her ear)... She asked how far we were running and then laughed when I said it was an easy run of just ten miles today.

Whoever would have imagined I'd some day be saying those words?! Ten miles is an easy run!! That's 16 kms, people! That's almost a half marathon!

How ridiculous.

And how ridiculously proud of myself am I?


I took photos of my toenails for your viewing pleasure. I figured I'd best get them taken now before the nails fall off (like viewing the scarlet leaves come autumn, must take advantage of them while they last!). Now I just have to wait for my sweetheart to get home and download them to his computer, as I don't have the right software on mine.

So, you should be seeing them in all their purple blistery glory some time this week.
Lucky you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

more fun with a buddy...

in spite of my aching thighs, purple toes and creaking right hip... i've just come back from a run. i figured if little Bailey, whose legs are only a foot long (and he has just three of them at that!), is eager to get out there for a run with me then i should quit my whinging and get to it.

we walked up to the conservation area near our place... it's normally about a 15 minute walk to get there, with a few good hills to get the heart beating. but with sniffing and pee stops it took closer to half an hour to get there... the ducks in the pond were also a wild distraction, so running by the water was out of the question. but once we got up the hill to the manicured lawn and dormant flower beds it was smooth sailing.

we ran the brick trail loop twice, and then headed out to the main road for the quicker return home. as we ran, my legs slowly became more limber (thank goodness) and his tongue became more flappy. we stopped to chat with a couple guys waiting for a bus to talk about his three leggedness and how he manages.

i have lived here for almost six months now, and more people have talked to me on the street over the last three days than the previous six months combined. having a cute little running buddy is good on so many social levels.

so now, my legs are feeling looser and less achy... i feel invigorated and ready to fill the day.
Bailey, on the other hand, is flaked out on his bed... using his rawhide bone as a pillow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

29 km / 18 miles...

so, i was back to running with my old shoes this morning... a little worried about the potential for further damage to my toes, but it turned out okay. i have a repeat blister on one toe, but it's one that i'm going to lose the nail on anyway... so no big wup, as they say.

i felt surprisingly good running this morning, considering that i've been fighting off a cold for almost two weeks, and considering that i struggled a bit to finish 10 miles last week. but today, i'm feeling better... it was warmer, sunny and beautiful. we saw loads of flame red cardinals along the W&OD trail as we ran from Reston to Fairfax, Fairfax back to Reston, Reston to Herdon and back to Reston again.

i felt good up to about mile 14, then i started to get tired... and the last mile was a bit of a struggle, but i did it.

then i came home and took Bailey out for a walk... after i picked up the shredded remains of our mail (which he had eaten, including the latest movie from Netflix!)

it's probably good that he's here this week, as it meant i got out for a few short walks this afternoon and evening, and kept my stiffening legs from seizing up entirely. he does make it difficult to stretch though, with his sniffy nose in my face and climbing into my lap ...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

oh so sad...

my beautiful brand new running shoes that i bought yesterday really really hurt my feet!

i've been wearing Mizuno Wave Nirvana shoes for several reincarnations now, and have always loved them. and these felt good to start with... but about a mile and a half into this evening's run my feet started to hurt like crazy. the only difference between this pair and the last few that i've bought are whatever changes the company has made, and i went up a size to try to prevent the purple toenail effect that the current shoes have on runs longer than 12 miles.

i had hoped to have my new shoes broken in at least a little bit (three days of wearing about the house and at least one run) before my 18 mile/29 km run on Saturday morning. and now i'm going to have to go back tomorrow afternoon and try to find a pair that fits me better... and won't get to have a run in them before Saturday, in which case i'm wondering if i should stick to the old pair after all...

(sad face)

pom-pom squad

i have always been a sporadic runner...

enthusiastic for a few weeks or months, particularly if i have someone to run with... and then i get bored or distracted and stop running for a while (a few months, or a few years). then i come back to it, and the cycle starts all over again.

the only time i ever ran consistently was when my mom and i trained for the Marathon des Deux Rives (Quebec) in 2002. we ran the second half of the marathon, across the St Laurence River and into beautiful Vieux Quebec.

it was tough, but we did it and were enormously proud of ourselves...

then i moved to Paris and got into inline skating. running shoes went back in the closet.

but now that i'm running again, my mom's been incredibly supportive. she has started running again as well, with my cousin. she checks in regularly to see how the runs are going, and to cheer me on. and, she has supported my fundraising efforts too (thanks mom & dad... hope you win that new Mercedes-Benz!)... and now, with race day suddenly just an intimidating 6 weeks away... my mom and dad are looking into the possibility of coming down for the race.

even if they don't make it, i'm touched that they want to come, and that they are so supportive. imagine, my own personal cheering squad coming from Canada :-)
(i hope they do make it though!!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

more shout outs..

Once again, I would like to say a big thank you to my friend Ron, who is an absolute gem. He has been nothing but supportive since day one (in fact, Ron's part of the reason I decided to join Team In Training)... and most recently he used his personal blog to encourage people to support my fundraising efforts.

And I would like to say thank you to Ron's friend Kerry, who promptly made a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society via my TNT Fundraising page.

Your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

a little reminder

Feeling stiff and sore after yesterday's run, still having problems with my hip, looking at my running shoes and realizing that I really DO have to fork out the cash for a new pair, looking at my fundraising page and wondering if I'm ever going to reach my goal.... I thought I'd best remind myself why I am doing this.

I running to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society strives to find cures for Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkins disease and Myeloma, as well as improving the quality of life for patients and their families. LLS is making progress and a difference, and the five-year survival rates have risen significantly, but there's still so much more that needs to be done.

Every five minutes someone is diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. Every ten minutes, another child or adult is expected to die from one of these blood cancers. Lymphoma is the leading disease killer in men/women under the age of 35. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20.

And so, I'll put on my shoes this afternoon and head out for my run with those thoughts in my head. I'll find the money to go buy new shoes this week with those thoughts in my head. I'll brainstorm another fabulous fundraising idea with those thoughts in my head.

In those small ways, I can help the LLS to make a difference in someone's life.

(photo credit: Ron Carino ~ 2009 Kaiser SF Half Marathon)

Friday, February 6, 2009

shout outs...

just want to send out a few words of gratitude:

a big thank you to my uncle Chris for his generous donation...

$200 will fund a Family Support Group Program for one year, where comfort and support can be found and experiences can be shared among patients and family members, guided and mediated by a trained facilitator.


another big thank you to my friend Ron for his generous donation...

$100 will provide laboratory researchers with supplies and materials that are critical to carrying out their search for cures.


and a little thank you to my sweetheart for taking care of my tender tootsies this week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

when i'm out walking i strut my stuff...

So, I got these two little blisters on the tips of my second toes on Saturday. I've never had blisters there... They were a little sensitive, but no big deal.

That is, until I went snowboarding on Sunday. By the time I got my boots off at the end of the day, the toenail on my left foot was turning purple.. and the toenail on my right was threatening to pop off because the blister had grown so large underneath it.


I've done a little self-surgery... lanced the blisters and drained them (ew, gross!) and soaked them in an epsom salts bath. Sigh. Such a relief!

I am optimistic that I will achieve a full recovery. Hopefully before next Saturday's long run.