Sunday, October 28, 2012

Move over cumin, there's a new sheriff in town!

This stuff, Crofter's Just Fruit Spread is my saving grace this week on the elimination diet.  It's the end of day 14 and it's not getting any easier.  I looked up some recipes in the Almond Flour Cookbook because I was missing the routine of eating desert.  Who doesn't love dessert?  My husband eats 2 rounds of dessert each night and it was getting to be a challenge to find will-power every night during each round.  Generally, I think I have pretty good will-power, but think about it; 2 desserts a night x14 days = 28 sessions of dessert to watch.  It gets tough for me!  So I decided to try to make something out of the Almond Flour Cookbook and I found a recipe for raspberry bars.  The challenge was finding fruit spread that didn't have added sugar, cane juice, etc.  I finally found it and it didn't cost and arm and a leg.  Since I discovered this about a week ago, I have make these raspberry bars 3 times.  Now, I can sit on the couch and have dessert, just like I did before this detox began.  It makes me feel more normal and as though I am not giving something up that I routinely do.

Finished product, pure yum

Tomorrow marks the half way point.  I'm still just as committed however, I did think that this would get easier.  The other night I had 2 different dreams that I cheated.  In one dream, I ate a bag of Lays potato chips, the kind that come in the the yellow bag.  I hardly every eat potato chips.  Especially Lay's.  Then I woke up and went I fell back to sleep, I had a more vivid dream.  I dreamt that I knew I was cheating and although I was hesitant, I was all in, ready to eat forbidden foods.  And of all things, I ate a McDonald's fillet of fish and fries.  Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I stepped into a McDonald's or even considered doing so.  What does that mean?

I've lost another pound, I'm at 133 now.  My stomach is way less bloated and I do feel better. I like the idea of making my own food and generally enjoy it most day, however, spending so much time in the kitchen preparing for 1 meal gets tiring.  However, there are some easy and fast recipes on the Well Fed blog and Elena's Pantry website.

I got some new and amazing knives for the wedding which makes slicing and dicing so much easier and quicker.  However, there has been a price to pay, these suckers are SHARP.
Second thumb wound
Tonight I sliced my left thumb and last week I sliced my right one.  This one is pretty long and deep.  I need to get more savvy with these knives.

I think that if I were really training for something, this would be much much harder.  I'm still exercising about an hour a day but I think if I was training for a 100 miler, I would be going nuts.  But for now, this is great timing and a really great learning experience.

2 more weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cumin is my new best friend

Week 1 of the elimination is is OVER.  About 3 more to go. Since I've discovered the value of cumin, my meals are tasting better and better.  I pretty much have been putting it in everything.  Thanks to the recent comment on the last post, I've been tuned on to a new website;
Just tonight I made a variation of this recipe:
I couldn't find a good mango so I substituted with a tomato.  I even made the homemade mayo and Owen, who loves mayo, tasted it and thought it was so delicious that he put down his store bought mayo and used the homemade stuff.
My thoughts on this first week of detox are these.  I'm becoming less and less drawn to things I never usually eat or crave.  I have been to the grocery store every day this week and when I walk down aisles that have such food as pretzels, rice pudding, cheese, crackers and chips, I feel drawn to eat these things.  The cheese, crackers and chips are things I would usually eat  so I'm not that surprised that I am drawn to consume them,  But they are not things that I overindulge in, so I'm interested why it is these things I am wanting to inhale.  However, I rarely ever eat pretzels and rice pudding?????  Rice Pudding????  Basically, rice pudding is sugar and dairy.  And although it is delicious I can't remember the last time I actually ate some.  So my cravings are becoming less and less obvious, but they are still there.  I am getting used to spending more time grocery shopping, which I have never enjoyed, and cooking.  It just takes time and money to eat this way but it is worth it.  I feel lighter and cleaner.  I seem to feel satisfied after I finish a meal or snack and don't get hungry like I did the first day or two.  However, when I get hungry, it hits me quick.  This is when I really need to be prepared so I am not tempted to get into the chips and cheese that Owen is keeping for his own consumption in the cupboard.  I am enjoying trying new recipes and I have been baking some "sweet" things that have no sugar.  I am missing my maple syrup though however I am used to not having sugar in my coffee now. I don't know if I will go back to putting sugar in my coffee after this is done.
My weight is pretty much the same, I'm 134 now as compared with 135 last week.  I started exercising again, but an hour a day, if that.  So in terms of my energy level with exercise, I don't have an accurate reading on that one.  However, I do plan to ramp up the exercise a bit these next few weeks.
Overall, this has been a good experience thus far.  It really is a challenge, the "challenge" in 30 DAY CHALLENGE is no joke.  I am really glad that my co-worker decided to do this as well.  I felt like CHEATING so bad this weekend.  My mother-in-law had a birthday and everyone was eating homemade vanilla cake with butter cream frosting, one of my favorites.  They lit some candles and sang happy birthday then cut the cake.  Arg!  I really wanted some with some creamy coffee.  But, I brought some dates and I sat at the table with everyone and ate a few dates with my black coffee.  I thought about my co-worker and just couldn't cheat.  I'd recommend to anyone who is interesting in taking on the challenge to have some support, it has helped me.  Even if my husband is eating all the foods I want to eat right in front of me every day, he always asks me if it's ok to eat this or that in front of me.  I wonder what would happen if I said...NO!  Ha, just kidding, I would not say that!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Elimination Diet- 30 day Challange

I am lucky to have a good friend who is a nutritionist.  Her name is Deb and this is her website:
She is awesome.  She practices what she preaches, is very knowledgeable and is a kick ass athlete.  I went to her a while back with questions about my multiple digestive issues and she recommended I do the elimination diet for 30 days.  It sounded like a real challenge.  Even though I think I eat fairly healthy, the thought of eliminating sugar, dairy, grains and legumes seemed hard.  I was talking about this with a friend of mine at work and she said it sounded like something she needed to do as well,  So, as of Monday, October 15th, Roxanne and I have begun the elimination diet.
I stocked my fridge Sunday and made a big pan of roasted vegetables.  I cut up broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots and zucchini and tossed them in some olive oil with salt and pepper and roasted them at 400* for about an hour.
After the roasting
Also on Sunday, I ate a bunch of peanut butter, because it is one of my favorite foods ever and to be honest, I have eaten almost the entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting.  I was full for the rest of the day but it was so good I couldn't put it down.  Then I drank some wine and ate some chips and yada yada yada....just stuffing my face with all the things I wouldn't eat for 30 days.  
I weighed myself Monday morning and was 135 lbs.  I'm curious if my weight fluctuates.  However, I have not been running or exercising since the surgery last week so it;s not like I'm burning a ton of calories.
Monday went well although I did feel hungry.  So I got some beef at Whole Foods and toasted some acorn squash, pulled out the insides and stir fried the insides with the ground beef, garlic and kale.  It was pretty good actually and filled me up.  I only used half of the acorn squash so the other half I mixed with a few eggs, coconut flour, and garlic.  I made little pancakes with these and topped them with cucumber salsa.   

These were ok....I should of used less egg.   But I'm finding that I can't eat a ton of beef, chicken and turkey kinda of grosses me out and pork, well, pork is tough because although I love me some bacon, I just think of those cute and smart pigs and well, I just can't eat them.  So, I'm limited to eggs, fish, shellfish and beef for sources of substantial protein.
I went a little crazy the night I made the acorn squash pancakes and tested out my new food processor to shred carrots and apples to make Morning Glory Muffins which are awesome and filling.  
Trying out the food processor, it's incredible

20 mins away from hot muffins
We'll see what tomorrow brings.  This is a real challenge mostly because I don't know how to cook this way and make it taste good and fulfilling.  But I think it will be better with time and I am really interested in seeing this through and see how things manifest in the body.  
Stay tuned for more recipes and updates!

Friday, October 12, 2012


What more can I say?

Yep, it's true.  Owen and I got MARRIED!  It was truly the most fantastic day of my life!  How can I put into words the feeling of joining 2 lives into 1 with the love of my life!  it was a great party with family that came as far as New Jersey and friends that came from a wide variety of places in the US.  

My dad and I, a very special moment
Vows and ring exchange
I now pronounce you husband and wife!
Only 2 minutes of being a married couple, still smiling!
First dance!
Just a few photos of the parts of the ceremony and reception.  It was so much fun.  Everyone says you don't remember the actual day or the ceremony/reception.  I tried my hardest to just stay in the present and take everything in.  I feel I remember most of it! 

We got married on a Sunday and on Monday we hang up with out of town family and friends.  Later, we packed and got ready for our honeymoon, in Kauai!  Neither of us have been to Kauai before and we were excited about checking it out!  We arrived on a Tuesday and found our place to be more than what we had expected.  
This was the view from our condo.  Drinking coffee here every morning was fantastic!

See what I mean???  Fantastic!

O and A!?!?!!?  How did they know we were coming?
Our first full day was spend snorkeling on the north shore by Ke'e Beach and Tunnels.  One of the first things we saw was this O+A engraved in the rock on the beach.  Pretty cool.  We saw some colorful fish and were able to dive through the "tunnels" to check out the reefs and where some of the fish like to hang out.  We saw a Monk seal on the beach before I had done any reading about what you might expect on the beach and thought maybe it was injured.  I spent a bit of time wondering what to do, who to call and worrying about it.  Owen kept telling me that the seal was resting.  I couldn't let it go.  Then I saw some people putting some signs out surrounding the seal warning people not to touch or fed it b/c it is endangered and just taking a rest.  It would soon go back in the ocean.  Well, Owen was right, I was wrong and relieved that this cute seal was just sunning himself as we were.

The following day we decided to head out to Waimea Canyon.  We had read about a hike/run you could do to to get to the bottom of the canyon so we ventured out to try to find it.  We drove along a windy road for many miles that made us both car sick but eventually we found were we were headed.  There aren't a lot of signs in Kauai, most directions go by milepost markers.

Start of our first run as a MARRIED COUPLE!
Little Grand Canyon

Bottom of the canyon, mosquito-ville
Headed back up the canyon
We ran down to the bottom and on our way we saw a pack of small wild goat that moved with with such ease through the very technical terrain.  I was surprised how small they were, like the size of a small dog.  Honestly, when we got down the the canyon floor, it was a bit creepy and a lot like Deliverance, the movie.  We originally set out for a 12 mile out and back but we found we could not go on any longer, it was as if the trail disappeared and that was that.  So with that and the creepy factor, we called it good and headed back.  Once we got back to the car and headed down the windy road, we stopped at Jo-Jo's, the infamous Jo-Jo's for shaved ice.  This place is apparently the best place to get shaved ice on Kauai.  It was a shake with no windows inside and also reminded me of Deliverance, but the shaved ice was indeed delicious so we ate it and then hit the beach to cool off and take an afternoon nap on the warm sun.
The next we thought we'd do some boogie boarding.  There was a storm rolling in and the waves were getting bigger.  We decided that we would rather have a fun day boogie boarding that a really hard day **trying** to surf.  So we rented some boards and fins and off the beach we went.

It's all you need for fun in the waves
Coming in for a rest

We were out there for a while and then we took a rest.  It was about 4 PM and the waves were really ripping.  We decided to head out one more time.  I started going out and went to duck dive and WHAM-O, I don't know what happened, but I wound up in a world of hurt.  I thought for sure I broke something or tore my rotator cuff.  I got to the shore and grabbed my arm while thoughts swirled in my head future tripping that I broke or tore something and the honeymoon was over,,,,blah blah blah...
Owen brought me home and gave me some ice and Aleve.
Good pouty face
We wound up going to the Urgent Care and met a really funny Dr who shared the same birthday as me.  He told me sprained this and strained that and to wear a sling for a few weeks and then I would feel better.  
Nice Dr. who is the medical director for the Kauai marathon

The next day and the days remaining were still just as great as the ones before I hurt my shoulder.  I was on my honeymoon for crying out loud, so of course I'm going to have fun!
We saw see turtles the next day with Eric and Michelle Barnes who were also in Kauai, went to a fancy  restaurant, hiked/ran the Na Pali Coast trail and hung out on various beaches.  So, a bum shoulder didn't really impact the honeymoon, turns out.
Sea Turtle Beach, must have seen 10!  

Na Pali Coast trail waterfall

Na Pali Coast trail
More Na Pali Coast trail 

Beware, lots of people die on this trail!

The week in Kauai was amazing!  I would go back in a heart beat.  If anyone is thinking of going, we used this sign and it was true to it's word.  I totally recommend it. 
As for running?  Well, we ran here and there and since we've been back, we've been running here and there.  I just had surgery on Tuesday and I am healing up.  Should be back to some easy jogging next week.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the surgery works and I can run pain-free again.  The Dr said that if it didn't work, then the next step is to cut part of the nerve leaving my upper quad permanently numb.  I really hope that doesn't happen.  So I'll give it a while next week.  Also next week, I am start the 30 day elimination diet and I'll be documenting that.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Victories come in Unexpected Packages; CCC 2012

Cascade Crest 100 is done, completed.  I went into the run with loose expectations.  My training has been inconsistent but still focused.  Once I received the diagnosis, (see previous post) on my leg and learned that I am not doing any further damage to it by running....I decided I'd give CCC a go this year.  I have a bit of a battle going with CCC and so I didn't want another year to go by without facing the challenge of tackling CCC.  CCC 2009 was my first 100 and it was successful for me.  In 2010, I dropped and have always regretted it.  In 2011, I did not start b/c of the leg problems.  And this year I was lucky enough to get in and felt focused and motivated.  However, with inconsistent training and planning a WEDDING, I was feeling as though I need not put any pressure on myself and just run my best to my current abilities.  Who knows, I thought, I could surprise myself!  I was VERY lucky to have a pacer and crew this year as well.  And not just any pacer and crew, but the best ever I could ask for; Eric and Michelle Barnes and Steve Stoyles.

Owen was running his 5th consecutive CCC and was on track to get the silver belt buckle.  Also, he was running this one in memory of his dad who passed away 4/29/2012.  Owen's dad had been at every other CCC and so he dedicated this one to him.  He wore his dad's pin on his hat for the entire 100 miles!

Owen just before the start
And then we were off!  The Canadian and American anthems had been played and all the good lucks, hellos, and nice to see ya agains had been exchanged.  It truly is so good to see so many friends at the start of such a special event.
photo by Yitka Winn
We're off!
I started out slow as usual but by the time I got to the climb up Goat Peak, I was feeling warmed up and in a good space for the climb.  There is a lot of climbing in the first 20 miles that can be deceiving.  We all know the second half is difficult with the cardiac needles and Thorp Mt. but the first 20 miles have quite a bit of ascent as well.  I was feeling great.  Not pushing it too hard, just enjoying myself and talking to people, drinking a lot of water, eating at the aid stations and eating a gel every 30 mins just as I did at Umstead.  When I reached Tacoma Pass, mile 23, I saw Eric and crew.  They told me I was in 4th place.  I was surprised.  I looked at my watch and I had made fairly good time, about on pace as 2009.  I left that aid station and quickly came up to the 3rd place woman.  We exchanged hellos and I moved past her.  With a about 4 miles to go until the next big aid station, I caught up to the 2nd place woman, Missy.  We chatted and headed into Stampede Pass aid station (mile 33)  together.  At the point, Shawna Thompkins, last years winner and amazingly fast runner who would have won CCC came up to me and told me that she had dropped and that I had a chance to win, but to just run my own race and it'll all come together.  WOW, I was surprised and excited.  It was only mile 33, but I was feeling so good and as if I was reserving good energy for the second half and especially the last 20 miles.  So off I went with the support of Eric and the crew so happy to be running and feeling so good. I ran into Hyak, mile 53, with Missy and Chad from Vancouver, BC.  It was great running with them.  We had a good pace going but I was still feeling good.  We got to Ollalie Meadows, mile 47, and it was still light out.  I knew I was ahead of my 2009 times and was excited.  This year we had the rope section and the run through the tunnel.  That was pretty fun.

I got into Hyak and it was about 9:30PM, 11:30 hours of running so far and just 47 more miles to go, and with Eric pacing me and Michelle and Steve crewing, I knew I was in good hands.  Eric and I left Hyak at the same time Missy and her husband left.  So I was still in the running for a good place.  My stomach was a but wonky, but I figured that is usual.  I was drinking a ton of water and eating gels every 30 mins with extra food at the aid stations.  About 3 miles later I looked at my watch, it was time for another gel.  I opened up the package and tried to suck it down but my stomach wanted nothing to do with that.  I ate about half of it and turned to Eric and said, I don't think I can eat this, I feel sick.  So,  I just drank so water and continued to walk uphill.  I started feeling worse and worse and I could feel my pace slowing.  But every time I tried to exert myself, I thought I would throw up.  And soon I did.  I threw up a few times and figured that was it and I was good, I got it out.  Then a few miles later, I threw up a few more times.  When I got to the aid station at mile 63, I was still close to Missy and the 3rd place woman was just ahead of us.  So I was still in the mix and knew I would feel better but just told myself to be patient.  As we headed on the downhill to Lake Kachess, mile 68, I was feeling more and more sick.  I really could not eat anything.  I tried, but I couldn't get anything down. At the aid station, I tried to eat.  Michelle and Steve were there and were giving me good advise on what to try to eat and to take it easy to recover and try to get in some calories.  So I ate some animal crackers, soup, potato, etc.  Eric and I left there and within 200 yards, I was throwing all of that up.  Now I was getting a bit worried.  Without calories, how could I do this?  Eric reassured me that I just needed to recover and eat for the 5 miles of Trail from Hell.  Ok,,,,I'll try that.  Well, I must have pulled over 4,5 or 6 times to puke puke puke and puke again.  I was having a hard time getting up the climbs due to lack of energy/calories.  All that became important to me at the point was feeling better.  I knew my shot at a PR or top 3 was gone.  However, at this point, I felt so sick that all that mattered was getting through it and feeling better.  Eric was so kind.  He just sat with me as I puked with patience and kindness.  he kept reassuring me that I would feel better.  Whenever my breathing got out of control, he would stop and tell me to catch my breath.  I was moving so slow, a snails pace.  People we passing me left and right.  I was so out of it and then Eric suggested I lay down on the side on the trail in a space blanket to rest for 10-20 minutes.  At first I thought, no, let's keep going, but the more I got sick, the more I thought it was a good idea.  So I layed down in the dirt and feel asleep immediately.  Eric woke me up and said...let's try to make it to Mineral Creek aid station, mile 73.  He wold me we were about 2 miles away.  UGH, 2 miles!  I thought I could not do it, it was too far.  I stood up and within 1 minute was puking again.  I sat there and said to Eric, "Am I going to have to DNF here?"  He said, "That is your choice, but let's just try to make it to Mineral Creek".  Ok...I am going to try.  I knew I DID NOT WANT A DNF.  But seriously, running 2 miles felt like an eternity.  I sat there and had some words with Eric, he was just so supportive.  At this point Owen and his pacer passed us.  Poor Owen!  He was having respiratory problems and was suffering big time himself.  But I know him, he would continue as far as he could until and if he was pulled from the race.  They left.  Then some time later, Eric and I stood up and we moved forward.  And you know what, we made it.  Eric got me there with encouragement, patience and kindness.  We got there and Michelle and Steve were there.  I cannot express how lucky I was to have them there.  They nursed me back to life.  I had coke and broth and fell asleep again, for about 15 more minutes.  By now the sun was up.  So I said, ok, let's head out.  I was scared because I didn't think I would be able to exert myself and I would just continue to get sick.  But I had to see if I could do it.
We said goodbye to Michelle and Steve and headed up the hill.  I drank Dr. Pepper and tried to nibble on this or that and the next thing I know, we are at mile 80, No Name Ridge.  I was feeling optimistic that I was going to finish now.  We hit the cardiac needles and it was a **struggle** to say the least,  I had very little calories in me and exertion up the hills was tough.  We came up to Owen and his pacer. Owen had his hands on his knees and was catching his breath.  I knew he was going to have a tough 20 miles.  I rubbed his back and he told me to move on so we did.
Eric and I made it to through the needles and Thorp Mt.  It was so freaking hard.  I counted down the big climbs one at a time.  5-4-3-2-1.

Getting the yellow ticket at the top of Thorp Mt.

From this point on, it was just one step in front of the other and we moved onto French Cabin aid station, mile 88.  Only 12 more miles....only 12 more miles....  We headed down and then up and then ran some rolling hills, and walked, and caught breath....Poor Eric had hurt his leg somehow and was in some pain as well.  What a pair we were!
We made it to the last aid station, mile 96.  NO WAY!  I could not believe it.  Michelle and Steve were there.  They handed me a bottle, took my pack and said get going!  I looked at my watch and it said 28 hours and 4 minutes.  I turned to Eric and said,,,,let's try to get in under 29 hours.  So we ran, shuffled, walked, repeat until we hit the railroad tracks.  I cannot express the relief I felt that I had made it there.  It was by far the hardest thing I have done physically, mentally and emotionally, or at least that I can remember in a very long time.  I could not believe that #1) I was going to do it and #2) that it was almost over.  
Eric, always smiling and always positive, I couldn't ask for anyone better.

Just a few more steps and I am DONE
And what do you know, we crossed the finish line in 28 hours and 50 minutes.  All that suffering was over and all I could do was smile and be so tremendously grateful for Eric, Michelle and Steve, and all the other support I had along the way.
Could not be more thrilled

OMG! Relief!

Poor Eric, sore feet and a sore leg.
Owen finished in just under 31 hours and received the silver belt buckle.  He also had to pleasure and satisfaction of dedicating his race to his dad.

When I say that victories come in unexpected packages, I mean to say that I gained a great deal from participating and completing in CCC.  The first part of the race I was focused on a PR and a place in the top women.  But when that fell through the cracks, my race became about something else and I wanted to finish it.  Without the kindness and support of Eric, Michelle and Steve, I would have never been able to complete it.  I deepened friendships, deepened my sense of self and learned a new level of what it means to really dig deep.  I didn't know I had that in me and I am so grateful that I know now.  I hope some day I can reciprocate to Eric, Michelle and Steve.  

There were also a number of incredibly helpful and supportive people on the course.  Popping blisters, staying up all night, taking trash from runners, etc.  It's amazing that so many people come together to help others in accomplishing a goal.  Thank You Thank You Thank You....

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Meralgia Paresthetica- You are a BEAST!

For anyone that knows me in the running community, you've no doubt heard me complain about my dumb leg.  I've been complaining about this leg thing for over 2 years now, about 2-1/2 to be more precise.  I've been to see some Dr's, tried many many things to help my leg heal but to no avail.  I was never quite sure how to help myself as I was never able to receive any sort of diagnosis.  With CCC100 approaching quickly and realizing I am simply surviving 4 mile runs with lots of walking, I figured it was about time to try to beat this thing again.  I was seriously debating dropping CCC like I did last year, but without a plan of action, it felt whimsical.  I was out on a training run with some friends and someone suggested going to see a certain PT.  I had heard of this guy before so I thought, we'll what the hell, I've tried everything else thus far, maybe thing guy can shed some different light on this.  I made an appointment with a different sports medical Dr. thinking I would get a referral for PT and perhaps maybe she had a fresh vision of a possible diagnosis.  I spend about 30 minutes with her and she told me I have meralgia paresthetica.  What is that????  I had never heard of it.  She explained it to me and this is what it is:

Meralgia paresthetic is a disorder characterized by tinging, numbness and burning pain in the outer side of the thigh.  The disorder is caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.  It can lead to significant disability when the diagnosis and treatment is delayed or missed.  This condition is relatively common but it frequently mistaken for other disorders.  

She said she wanted to do one diagnostic test to make sure she was right. She saw the MRI I had done last year and saw that the hemangioma I had was the culprit of compression.  When I returned for my next visit, I had an ultra sound done.  She found the nerve, traced it up to the hemangioma and then pressed on the area.  I could feel the area where I generally have pain and the idea was that she would inject me with litacain which would release the nerve and then I would go out and run and see if I could reproduce the symptoms.  If I can't reproduce the symptoms then that is all the diagnostic testing she needs.  She could not shoot me up right near the hemangioma because most likely the hemangioma would be punctured and make me bleed in there so she opted to inject the litacain as close as she was able.  She thought that I might still feel some pain but mostly likely no in that area, but someplace else on my leg as the nerve was not being released right in the same spot it is compressed.  I had a 2 hour window period before the litacain injection wore off to get out and run, do burpees, stairs, hills, etc, anything that would generally bring me pain.  As I walked home to get my shorts and running shoes on, I was a bit nervous.  What if this is not it and I still don't know what is going on and have no solution?  I told myself to not get my hopes up.  I went out for a run and I did feel pain in other parts of my leg but not where I usually do.  I immediately felt more power in my leg and as though I had more range of motion, more strength.  It was amazing.  I did a bunch of burpees and jumps and still, no regular pain and much more power.  WOW...I felt optimistic again.  I report back to her this coming Monday and we go from there.  She thinks I will likely have to have surgery to remove the hemangioma.  It isn't an invasive surgery and the recovery time is just a few weeks.  I asked her the question that I was fearful of asking and to get an answer for....: am I doing more damage to myself by running with this?  She's not an impact injury, it a nerve disorder.  Phew.  I had really been battling myself with that concept.

So the question is, do I run CCC this year, less than 1 month away?  I feel so under trained, I don't have many miles on my legs.  I have been cross training, but I'm limited in the things I can do with that.  I told Owen this morning that I felt so out of shape and under trained and he told me something interesting.  He said, "You are as fit as you can be for an injured person."  I thought that was wise.  It's true.  I'm doing all I can to stay fit IN CASE I run CCC.  A good friend and someone who said he would pace me at CCC said, "let's do it! let's have fun!  My new motto is 'do cray shit because we can!'"  So, I think it's a go.  If I finish in 31 hours and 59 minutes, I'll consider that a success.  And who knows, I might feel good for some of the way.

After CCC is the wedding and honeymoon in Kauai.  I can hardly wait for both of those things!  They are rapidly approaching and it has been a packed summer wedding planning and such.  When I get back from the honeymoon, then I will have surgery and recovery while my new husband takes care of me post-op.  Thanks husband to be....

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sun Mountain 50- BEAUTIFUL!

Sun Mountain 50 miler, with 50K and 25K options, is another fabulous Rainshadow Running event.  I feel so lucky to live here in the Pacific Northwest and to have so many great race options, especially from Rainshadow Running.  Their events are always top notch! This race is held in Winthrop, WA; a place I love to visit.  However, I hardly ever make it there and so this was a great excuse to get out there.  We signed up way ahead of time which was good thing in the sense that we probably would have never made it there if we didn't.  This month has been absolutely crazy and fitting in time for a 50 miler seemed absurd.  BUT...we had signed up so we were going. 

The race was on a Sunday which gave us Saturday to get over there (about a 4 hour drive) and hang out.  Winthrop is a fun western town.  We didn't have much to time to explore, but we saw bunches of friends we hadn't seen in a while and so that was awesome.  It gave us a nice reprieve from the on-goings in Seattle.  Owen's dad, with whom he was quite close with, passed away on April 29th.  The funeral was held May14th and the Memorial is scheduled for the 26th of May.  We are moving at the end of this month and why not just throw in a 50 miler 4 hours away.  Sounds reasonable??
Sunday morning we all gathered at the start.  The 50 miler started at 7 AM and the 50k started at 10.  It was so fun seeing friends!  (ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY MATT HAGEN)
Sara Malcom, always good for a funny face

Gwen Scott and I all smiles right before the start

 I warmed up as usual to get things moving, boy do I feel my age in the morning sometimes!  Then we started promptly at 7.  James sent us on our way and everyone took off to the right, which was hilarious because the course actually went to the left.  There was some confusion and some laughs at the start that's for sure.
But within 30 seconds, we were all headed in the right direction.  I was excited about a day out on the trails and had no real idea of how long it might take to complete this particular 50 miler.  Last year the course was about 4 miles short because one of the markers was taken down and so that particular turn was missed.  This year, the course was perfectly marked, even a directionally challenged person like myself did not get lost. 


We got it right now

What can I say about the run?  It was beautiful, there were lots of flowers, the climbs were challenging, the trails were nice and bouncy, the course was really quite run-able.  I ran most of the day with Sara and Owen, probably 43-44 miles and then were got separated but still finished within 10 minutes about of one another.  The second to the last climb was up to the Sun Mountain Resort and around it.  Looks like a fabulous place to stay.  The very last climb at about mile 45 was tough.  It was long and quite steep and satisfying.  It led us to the top of Mt Patterson and then back down.  I thought the finish line was farther than it actually was, I love that.  I asked the woman who was pointing us runners in the direction we were to go and I asked her,; 'how much farther to the finish?' She respond, 'about 2 miles'.  So I was prepared for that mentally, but in fact I think it wasn't even a mile!  I love that!  I didn't need to eat that last gel I guess.  I wound up eating 19 gels total.  Foul, but it works!  I came in to the finish line in 8:41 and pretty happy with that time.  I think that might be a 50 miler PR for me! 

Beautiful course

A short ladder to climb over the barbed wire on the last descent

Coming down from the last climb

The view from coming down from the last climb

 On a whole other topic, my dad sent me this awesome little tidbit about dogs and I absolutely love it. My dog is a creature that I can learn a lot from.  In memory of Don Connell (Owen's dad) I thought I would post this for him.  In the 3+ years I knew him, I found him to be someone who tried hard to be the best person he could be.  I think the lessons we can learn from dog, (written below) are lessons that Don tried to live by. 

Don Connell

People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice. Dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.

Lessons from Dogs:

Live simply

Love generously

Care deeply

Speak kindly
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy

Take naps

Stretch before rising
Run, romp, and play daily

Thrive on attention and let people touch you

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk

Be loyal
Never pretend to be something you're not

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE...Getting back up is LIVING...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Reeling it in, at least trying to...

Umstead 100 was just about 3 weeks ago and recovery is slow going.  My diet is pretty much back to normal and my desire to return to my regular workout routine is there, but my legs are not.  I should say, my one leg is not.  I feel like Homer when I am running.
I've made some pretty dumb mistakes though during recovery so I have only myself to blame and more lessons to learn.  First big mistake was returning to my 5AM class 1 week after a 100M.  I specifically took it easy and hardly used any weight.  By Wednesday I was so sore I could barely walk, again.  So I took Thursday and Friday off from the class and did a short and pitiful run followed by a recovery swim.  Then on the weekend I did an easy run and some yoga.  I returned to my class, for the 2nd time, this week and was again conservative with the weights and I did indeed feel better and had a bit more pep.  But my running is still pitiful.  My right leg, the bum one, needs babying.  I can't make it on the 4 mile "dog jog" with Struth without stopping about every mile.  Usually I let Struth stop as much as he wants for the first 2 miles and then the last 2 miles we get into a steady groove.  But I am finding myself hoping he needs to make a pit stop for #1 or #2 so I can stop.  Oh boy.
I had a massage by the fabulous Leah on Wednesday and that felt awesome.  She said things were feeling good so I thought I was over the hump.  Yesterday, Thursday, I went to my 5AM class and found I was a weakling!  Before Umstead I was able to clean/jerk way more weight.  Now I can barely do much more than just the bar.  I was so pathetic that I could barely box jump too!  I could not get up on the box 2x during the workout and hit my shin in the same place each time.
This was just yesterday and today it looks even more rowdy.  Then, if I could be even more dumb, I met my friend at the trails for a 10 miler with Struth that same evening as the clean/jerk and box jump workout.  I was so pathetic!  I had a blast with Struth, but I could not even keep up with my friend so I let him go and Struth and I took it easy.  This morning I went swimming again.  Hoping for some trail running this weekend since it is supposed to be sunny and warm.  We'll see.
I am sure it'll come back but it seems like it's just taking a bit of time.  I was thinking this morning that as I was nearing the end of the training for Umstead and getting ready to taper off, I felt so ready to take it a bit easier.  I was feeling so tired from the training and perhaps getting a bit burned out.  The race went well and I was taking it easy and sleeping, hanging out with friends, eating ice cream and pizza, etc.  Then I felt ready to return to training and now that I am feeling a bit limited I realize how much I love to train (or am addicted to endorphins) and miss it.  That's a good thing and a good sign, so I'll take it.
In the meantime, Struth and I will take it easy on our runs.
Struth says.... take it easy, you are not spring chicken anymore!