Friday, November 30, 2007

Home Sweet Home - Part 1

What a week. It was fun, and exhausting and as always, I am so happy to be home.
Turkey day went great. We had family over to our house for dinner, so I was busy cleaning, packing, baking, and then entertaining until about 9pm when I finally zipped up my suitcase.
The flight to Seattle went great. I actually landed 30mins early. When does that happen? Apparently not too often, but more on that later.
My friend Shelby's finance' picked me up and I was in their apartment hugging my friend by noon. Her mom was in town, so we all walked thru Green Lake over to a bar & grill for lunch and a couple of beers.

Jeez, I forgot what COLD was like. On the walk back I could see my breath and my nose was cold and rosy....

A couple hours later we heard from my other college friend and roomy, Erin. She was in town for Thanksgiving so of course we had to meet up with her as well. Erin & her husband Vince rented a hotel in downtown Seattle so they could meet up with us & not have to worry about driving back to her parents that night. Plus it was also a nice evening out for them without the kids!
We met up in Upper Queen Anne for happy hour drinks and dinner. With Apple Cup (WSU vs UofW), Sonics game & the Macy's star lighting Seattle was going to be a mess!
After a couple of drinks it was just like old times. Laughing and reminiscing and well.. just being immature. Poor Vince was stuck with us for the night..
this photo was taking of shelb, erin & I last year at our mini college reunion
This was erin & shelb last Saturday. See what I mean by some things never change?

Several hours later, after drinks and beers and sushi and some saki, Erin & Vince turned in & Shelby and I met up with her finance and another college buddy Brenda.
I love these trips where I get to see so many of my friends!
It was a late night and I was dead. I'm not sure my head even hit the pillow before I was asleep.
Saturday my friend Marcy was coming into town... She was another college roommate who lives in Camas, Wa now (outside of Vancouver). She drove over to see me, aren't I special? :-) She got into town about 11:30 and we headed downtown to meet Erin & Vince for lunch at Ivars on the waterfront. Oh, I love their clam chowder....
It was great, we had a table of 8 all dressed in our Cougar gear. Of course we were in UofW turf so we were 'booed' several times. But we didn't care, we were about to put them in their place come kick off time!
Marcy & I headed over to the race expo to pick up my packet. We walked around endlessly looking for an ear warmer for me, and finally met up with Carrie & her family. Unsuccessful with the ear warmer we walked up to Nike Town and found a great one, and we were on our way to my uncles house for the night. We made it just in time for the football game so we parked ourselves in his living room and watched until half time. And, I was also surprised by HER
.... my surrogate doggy for the night.
We waited for my uncle Gary to get home, which happened to be half time, so we headed to Renton for some pasta dinner. About an hour later we were finally there. Gary had a WEE bit too much to drink with his buddies and forgot how to get there. Bless Marcy's heart for not kicking him out of the car and running him over! We finally made it to the restaurant where we sat in the bar to watch the game, enjoy a great meal and bottle of wine...
And most importantly watch the COUGS kick the Huskies ASS!! Much to the rest of the bars dismay, we were one happy group.... And uncle Gary bought our dinner thanks to his bet against the Cougs :-)

....The race report is up next!! Stay tuned. Also, I think Erin took more pics, so I'll upload them when she sends them over!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

what do you WEAR when...

It's been 85 degrees at home.... and you are traveling somewhere where the race forecast is:

Believe it or not, I actually do own some cold weather running stuff. Before I lived the fabulous work from home life, I used to get up in the dark, cold winter and run before work when it was sometimes, rare as they were, in the 30's.

I even did a race in Tucson that was the day after a SNOW storm in Arizona. Race start temp was 39degs. Finish 45degs. I started the race in tights, long sport top, long sleeve top, coat, hat, gloves, and ear wrap. I ended in tights & long sport top....

BUT, I was running HARD. My HR was in the 170s-180...

So, what I'm not sure about this Sunday is 1. It's been SO warm here the coolest I have run in is maybe 55degs? 2. The humidity - when it's cold, doesn't that make it COLDER vs the heat/humidity? 3. I plan on sherpa-ing for Carrie, so I'm not "racing" - I don't expect my HR to be super high?

It's been over 7 years since I have lived in that cold... so I'm just not sure! Any suggestions on how 37degs and 70% humidity FEELS?

The best news - they took the rain off the forecast. I so wish I was healthy and could RUN this race with ideal conditions! I have a feeling that helping Carrie out will be just as rewarding though.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving! Thanks to all for your continued support and amazing words throughout this year.

Now, it's off to start my day.... with "bubba day"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Things I've done before turning 30

As I mentioned before, I'm turning 30. Very soon. And, apparently, it is supposed to be a BIG deal. But, I really don't see it as that. I see it as another day... another number, and I still think I'm 25.

So, I decided to reflect some and take note of some of the things I've done, seen and accomplished in the past 10 years, all before the age of 30.... In no particular order, here are a few of them!

  • Met the love of my life and got married him on an island far away... and alone.. well besides the random other vacationers...

  • Learned there is more to life than a savvy career of climbing the corporate ladder, and most importantly, that it was NOT for me

  • I've been lucky enough to find a job that is perfect for me. I am happy and content, and most of all blessed

  • Raised 2 crazy breed puppies from 7 weeks old. They are my babies, my pride and joy

  • First in my family (immediate) to graduate with a bachelors degree

  • Completed 4 Stand Alone Marathons, several half marathons, triathlons, half ironmans....

  • Became an Ironman

  • Learned a lot about what a true friend is, and filled my life with them

  • Because of this, I feel I have become a better friend, a better person

  • Left my hometown of Spokane, WA after college graduation to move to Phoenix. No job. No money. I've never looked back...

  • Traveled. I have so much more to see, but I've been all over the US, to Europe, Antigua, Belize....

  • Donated. I've raised thousands of dollars for several charities. My first marathon was for (UCP) United Cerebral Palsy, my last marathon raised money for the Erin Kimbal Foundation

  • I've overcome injury, and surgery and sickness. I will not be defeated. I am strong

  • I've been stung by a stingray and visited the Red Cross in Mexico

  • I've been rescued by lifeguards in LA, caught in a rip tide

I can't wait to see what the next 10 years send my way!!! :-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is it really almost December?

Is everyone noticing the Christmas decorations all over? Is it really almost December? Is it REALLY almost the end of the year? Where on earth did this year go. I swear, it has been the fastest, craziest, most exciting year yet.....

This weekend S & I spent most of our time moving my stuff into my new office.... It's ALMOST there, just a couple cables to finish moving around, and then attaching my book shelf to the wall.

The kids have decided they think the new futon is the COOLEST dog bed ever. Abby & Baxter are sound asleep next to each other on it. I so need to get some REAL dog beds. I wish they weren't so damn cute. My "GET OFF" "YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED UP THERE" lasted, oh, about 2 minutes.... I have no control in this house.

It's a quick short week for me. Thursday we are having my family over for Thanksgiving, then Friday early morning I am on a plane to Seattle. It's going to be a mini-reunion with some friends. Carrie will be there for the race, and I will also be seeing 3 of my college friends/roommates.

Friday I will be meeting up with a couple of them for dinner/drinks/catching up, then Saturday another friend is driving over from Vancouver to hang out with me. Sunday is the race, and it also happens to be Carrie's birthday (what a way to do up your first big run race, huh?), then Monday morning I am on another flight to Boston for work....

I'm a little worried about my legs for this race. I did manage to get in a 5mile run on Saturday, and I did not have any IT band pain.... until the next day that is. My leg was REALLY hurting.

I've decided that after this race I am going to take 3 weeks off of running. It is going to be the hardest thing for me.... I know as soon as it feels good, I'm going to want to get out there on the road. I just need to keep telling myself it's for the better, and I can't end up like before. Can.Not!

The Daniel trainer workouts are going well. I'm still sore from Thursday, if that tells you anything. Apparently a couple of months off & training for a marathon are not exactly the best way to keep your strength. Oops. But, I'm still going for more torture today, and hopefully Wed am as well.

Shane & I made a pretty cool "Christmas present" purchase yesterday. Since we will be at our Mexico house for SIXTEEN days this year, we REALLY REALLY wanted to get a Kayak. The dolphins are all over this time of year and they come so close to the shore you could almost reach them! So.... We bought and are bringing THIS down there with us?!?

How cool is that?

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it... Hopefully this will help burn some of the um.... adult beverages calories off!! :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

jumped the gun a little...

I'm thinking my "road to recovery" post was a little premature.. Unfortunately.

While, my neck is still healing fantastically, my IT band is still well, the same. I've had little to NO pain in my neck and arms. Some Saturday, but I slept funny and we were running around all day long and picking up boxes, etc. I actually felt great again in the am.

Now, my IT band is another story. Saturday I was able to do 45mins with Shane & the dogs. It was great. Not 100%, I could still feel some tugging, but no stopping me pain. I stopped and stretched a couple of times and it was fine.

Later that night my knee started catching a bit more...

I took Sunday off, well from normal exercises, Shane & I were busy building my new office (A.K.A. the spare bedroom) and normal weekend cleaning. I'll share pictures of that when it's actually finished. Which includes another trip to IKEA to exchange the futon cover because I decided it's not going to work out..... Have you all been to IKEA? IT's like going into Toys R US on Black Friday. Times 150..... It's a day trip.

But enough on that.

So, yesterday morning I woke up. I should have known better. My left IT was catching as soon as I got out of bed. I rolled, iced and decided I was running anyway. I just shorter loops close to my house so I didn't get stuck too far out, but if it didn't hurt I could go as far as allowed. I actually had a few moments where I thought... Hey, I might get in an hour today! But, then after about 20 or so mins, I could feel pain. Again, not the stop me in my tracks pain like several weeks ago. But, something is wrong pain..... I had it off and on for the next 15mins.

I was frustrated. I am angry. I'm worried about CDA. I am worried about Ragnar Relay.

I started to throw a temper tantrum. Over IM. To my wonderful friend. It started out something like, "I am NEVER running a STAND ALONE marathon AGAIN!".....

She listened, and responded and tried to come up with solutions (shoes, orthotics, YOGA), of which I shot every single one down....

Cause, I am bitter. I am angry, and most of all I am an expert on this damn injury. I started to feel sorry for myself and think about the "why me" aspects. But then... I finally came to my senses.

I know that everyone has challenges. Every one's are different. I was just comparing my challenge to people who don't have the same one. People who can train and race and do all the things that I want to do with out injury or pain or something...

But deep down, deep down I know that they too have something. Something they are challenged by, and frustrated by, and angered by.

So, I knocked myself out of my pity part (for the most part) and realized how lucky I am. I have my best friend and husband. I have all of my friends, and family and kids.

So, pretty much other than my stupid stupid injured body. I've got it all.

My new 'plan' is to do the half marathon in Seattle WITH my friend Carrie. It is her first race. her first time ever doing this distance. I will walk/run with her. I'll get her water from the aid stations and take pictures and have fun.

And, after that. I am taking 3 weeks off from running. I'm doing everything I can to get my strengthening in twice a week.

I will slowly build my running back up while we are in Mexico in December.

And, today.... today I am riding Mini Me.

Thanks for listening...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Road to Recovery... I think

I wanted to give an update about my Neck Injury/Progress.... Oh, and the IT band seems to be getting better.

I babied it like crazy last week, and did a lot more walking than running. I walked 10miles, ran 9.5. On Sunday I was able to do 3.5miles by shortening my stride. It was the best run of the 3, and had no pain after the run. I am hoping to do either 3.5 or 4 tomorrow as well.... I just don't want to lock it up again...

On Monday I had my 3rd and final Epidural Injection. My first one was on October 8th, and they are done in a serious of 3 every two weeks.

The idea is that the each injection basically works of the last. The steroids are supposed to have more of an effect each time. Fortunately, I think it's working. Although the 3rd one has not had enough time to really change anything yet, the first two have really seemed to help.

The first injection was the most painful. It took 3 days before I was not in a LOT of pain. I couldn't turn my neck, or bend it forward or backward. It was a consistent throb. My arms were also throbbing... Then about 5 days later, the arm pain subsided, and I also had a couple of neck-pain free days.

Unfortunately, that didn't last... I would say that my neck pain decreased about 20%, and arm pain about 60%

Then after injection 2 the recovery was much better. I was moving around on day 2 much better, still hurting from the injection and had restricted mobility, but nothing like the first.

3 days later I was able to go for an easy bike ride.

Week 4, or 1 week after the second injection I had a lot more progress. I had virtually no arm pain.. just a little bit when my neck got really tight, AND best of all, I was able to do 3 swims that week.

My arm pain was about 90% better, and neck pain about 60%.

So - I'm really hoping that once the steroids have time to settle in and to their work, my arm pain will be 100% better, and neck pain close to that. I'm sure I will always have to work with the tight neck, and possibly have chiropractic treatments, but I really really hope that I don't have a flare up like this again.

I know that my C-spine has some permanent, degenerative issues.... but I'm still hopeful.

So, this has been quite a journey. So far in 4 weeks I have:

Accumulated (so far) about $1000 in medical bills...
*NOT slept....
**When I do sleep, I wake up about every 2 hours to go to the bathroom
***... I think because the steroids make me retain fluids it all day long, then for some cruel reason want me to get it out all at once!
****Broken out in hives
*****Had a new found appreciation for people who are always HOT, because I've been DYING lately.. and I'm normally VERY cold.
******Lost my appetite, with the exception of a week long binge (and I'm talking SERIOUS binge) on crappy Halloween Candy, and a couple random ravenous days...
*******Regained my love of veggies. I can't get enough of them
********Lost ~6lbs - go figure. Eat candy, don't sleep, don't work out much.... Jeez, why didn't I come up with THAT strategy before?
*********Organized my closet, my pantry, my desk....

and........ FOUND THE END OF THE INTERNET (thanks to Momo)

Thanks to all for your support and good wishes, I'm really hoping this is the end of the pain and new beginning to my IM 08 training!

A special thanks to my friend Sara for helping me find a medical solution for all of this, and referring me to Dr. Rubin...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I thought 30 was the new 20?

So this whole turning 30 thing hasn't really been a big deal to me. But, it seems like EVERYONE else seems to think it should be. That, or they are just plain old being mean.

For instance, the other day I got a nice little letter in the mail from my Health Insurance Provider that basically said,

"Thank you for spending God awful amounts of money with us each year to get the very minimal coverage. As a reward for that we have decided to, once again screw you over. We see that you are reaching a new milestone in your life. You are getting old. You are going to start falling apart, therfore, you will pay for it. You have reaching the OLD lady bracket and as of Jan 1, 2008 you will now be giving us your life savings, because, again... You.Are.Old."

Thank you."

Ok.. so that might not be EXACTLY what the letter said, but it was something like that....

In some ways I don't feel like I'm this age. When I'm asked my age, I swear a lot of times I have to really think about it, because naturally I want to say like 25. I don't know why.

I moved to Arizona when I was 22. I don't feel like I've been here for enough time to already be 30.

I met Shane when I was 23. Have I really known him for that long? It seems like just yesterday he got me drunk and tried to take advantage of me :-)

I remember my MOM wearing a shirt that said 29 and holding. I was 6. And I remember it. Could I really be HER age now?

Hmmm.. Well, like I said. I just don't really think it's THAT big of a deal. Part in the fact that I don't FEEL like I'm old. And, it helps that most the people I hang out with are older than me.

But then again... I do kinda act old.

I stay at home and watch movies on the weekends.
I go to bed at 9pm
I wake up sometimes when it's still dark.
Sleeping past 7am is SO sleeping in
I no longer drink cheap beer, or cheap anything for that matter...

HOWEVER, it seems that my friends are intent on telling me how bad everything gets when you turn 30.

You get adult acne (ugh, hello that happened to me at 28)
Your metabolism slows WAYYYY down (again, happened at 2)
Everything hurts (hello, have you read my blog.... heard my medical history... I'm SO way ahead of THAT one)
It takes soooo much longer to get back into shape (DUH)
You need more sleep (hmmm, not sure about this one)

I'm pretty sure the list goes on. Thing is, I just don't believe it. Or, it's not that I don't believe it, I just feel like all of these things happened already to me. An early bloomer, if you will.

I mean, I feel like I did everything early. I went to college already starting the party burnout, so by the time I was a senior, ugh, hello... I was so close to being DONE. Most of my friends were just getting started... and some are still performing.

My body started changing at 25. I've had more injuries than anyone deserves to have in a lifetime.....

I just refuse to believe things can get worse. Besides. I look at my girlfriends who are all 34+ and they look and act like they are in their 20s. They are mature, beautiful and strong women. They have great skin, and great bodies and great health.

So, I've decided to ignore them.... and everyone else who wants to rain on my parade. Who cares about stupid age. It's just a number, right?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

At Soma

You would think we could actually look at the camera... er... not...

Thanks to Nat for the picture! You can't see, but I was sporting one of the over-priced, but adorable tanks from gypsyrunner. "My running partner has four legs"

Oh, and of course I HAD to have the one that says "I run for wine."....... It's like these people KNOW me or something....