Saturday, August 28, 2010

70 Days till Two Cities

Post marathon, we have developed a predictable series of events. There's the one week of no activity, a recovery week. By the weekend, we are going crazy, wanting to head out on a run, wondering what our body will think about it. We opt for a hike with the kids instead. Week 2, we venture out on a few 5 milers, maybe throw an 8 in the mix just to see how the legs respond. By the end of week 2, this conversation has become inevitable :

"Honey, we have to get something on the calender."
"Yeah, I know. When we don't have anything to train for we could easily start packing on the pounds again."
"I know, I feel so gross"
"Me too. Lets pick out our next marathon."

You may have noticed the list of upcoming races that appeared on the left of the screen.....a result of the above conversation. We have a few 5k's in the mix, some for personal reasons and some for the kids. A trail run or two are also in the mix, something we always want to do more of! We had planned on running the Malibu Marathon, but dropped it due to travel expenses and a hefty $135 registration fee. Although I was specific about not wanting to run a podunk, whole in the wall marathon, Brian sold me on Two Cities. Why? I like free stuff and slightly downhill courses. Check out what $75 will get you :

Your Race Fee Includes:

  • Personalized Bib (Register by Oct 15)
  • Long-sleeve male and female technical Event Shirt
  • Custom Finisher's Medallion
  • Finisher's Sweatshirt
  • Post-Race HOT Breakfast
  • Our signature ice cream sundae!
  • Marathon participants will receive a FREE 2010 runner's hat. Half-marathoners can purchase our 2010 runner's hat at our 2-day Health Expo.
  • Free Massage
  • Michelob Ultra Beer Garden! Each participant, 21 and over, receives a Free Beer!
  • Chrono-track disposable Chip-Timing
  • Goody Bag stuffed with samples
  • Time Splits called out at each mile
  • 17 water/Gatorade stations
  • 8 First-Aid stations along the course
  • 2 GU energy gel stations along the course
  • Awards Ceremony with live band
  • On-Line Results immediately after race.
  • Results Newspaper by mail.
  • 2-day SPOC Health and Fitness Expo featuring Ultra-Marathon man Dean Karnazes
  • Lots of Entertainment along the course!
  • All-You-Can-Eat Pasta Buffet! - $15 adult. $8 for 12 and under
Did you catch that? All we have to do is run 26.2 miles and we get a free shirt, sweatshirt, hat, medal, massage, entertainment....couldn't buy that for $70!! Besides the fact we get to have another priceless experience together, and get to spend the next 70 days focused on a goal, moving forward and not backwards! With a little research, come to find out it is a very well put together event, with some unheard of perks for the runners.
So with that, tonight we will do the always exciting act of printing out the new training schedule and posting it on the fridge. We are at week 7 of 16, starting with long run at 13 and working up from there. Our bodies know how to handle the mileage now, and I know personally from San Fran what I am capable of under painful, less than ideal circumstances, so I am not worried about completing it, or being able to keep pushing. I really want to focus in on the nutritional aspect of training more this time. I want to constantly ask myself if what I am eating will help make me stronger, or hurt my progress. I expect a lot out of my body, and I want to make sure I am fueling it the best possible way. I also want to focus in on getting in my four cross training workouts a week. The stronger I feel, the more I enjoy running.
I should also mention with our run last night, we crossed over the amazing 1000 mile mark since the last week of December, 2009. 1000 miles in 8 months, our feet carried us 1000 miles....hard to comprehend.
Alright, so there you go, an update on our running life.
Happy Running, have a good last half of the weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Celebrating Nancy's Journey

I was half way through my workout today and I realized what date it was. August 26, 2010. Most of us wont remember today. We wont remember anything special, nothing exciting. Business as usual, just another day.
Not if you are my friend Nancy. Today is her last Chemo treatment. As I said in the beginning of this process, she is an amazingly strong lady. I know she does not feel that way at moments, but she is. She has been so brave. She has shared with her friends and family those moments we may have wondered about. What if one day I have cancer? What does it feel like? What happens? What are the treatments like? Are there glue on eyebrows? How do you go about buying wigs? What is it like to have a port put in? How do the drugs feel as they go in the IV? She has shared her emotions during those amazing moments when friends and family rallied for her. How she felt when her co-workers had numerous cookie sales at work to raise money for her medical expenses. How much it has meant to have her mom by her side at her treatments, and at home. How much her husband has meant to her during this process. How much her congregation has meant to her.
She has posted a glimpse into her next year, what appointments will be looking like, when radiation will begin. She knows she has a ways to go before this is all over with, and will be starting her radiation in September. The projected end date to it all being June 16, 2011.
But with the end of each treatment, the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter, the end is in sight! It's about 9:30 now, her last treatment will either begin shortly or already has. Today is the last time she'll have to pick out her chair, where she'll be for a few hours, keeping her self busy, no doubt with her mom by her side. And as she said, however bad the side effects, however bad she feels, its the last time she has to do it!
Brian and I ran the Komen for the Cure last year. At the time, it meant a lot to him, as his mom was going through treatment for Breast Cancer. I felt a bit out of place, in a sea of pink. There were women all around us, some were survivors, some were clearly undergoing treatment, some were running in honor of sisters, mothers, friends, and family members who fought with all their heart but lost their battles. It was emotional, but not personal.
This year, my daughters and I will run for Nancy. I don't' think she could ever know how much she has meant to me over the years, especially in my childhood. Her home was a safe place for my sister and I to be. She had no way of knowing what all was going on in my little world, there was a lot she didn't' know and still may not. Her home was the highlight of my life. In those early years, pre elementary school age, I thought she lived in a castle. She had a huge old house, with a huge closet full of shoes for my sister and I to wear around her room. She listened to "real music", not country. One of her fav at the time was George Michael, and her house was the only place we got to listen to him. She would help my sis and I slide down the stairs on whatever slippery objects we could find, while her mom was in the kitchen cooking liver. She taught us how to use the sewing machine and I can't tell you how many needles we broke! We played countless games of Clue, which was the neatest thing at the time. She had cats, which we thought were neat, although the cat litter was in the bathroom under the sink...not so neat. For a while, her grandma lived with them, and I remember thinking she was this neat, older creature. And the patio full of bird seed and birds, the neat old shed full of her dads projects. Her dad wasn't' around a lot that I remember, but I do remember being fascinated by him. He was a gruff teddy bear type, very raspy voice, smelled smokey, had dark mechanic hands, but had a gentleness, and a twinkle in his eyes, and a huge personality. My sis and I would often pretend to be sick so Nancy could come over and watch us. She knew, but never told our secret! She would bring over some project, sometimes laying out quilt squares all over our living room floor. After a day of playing and hanging out with the coolest teenager we knew, I remember about 3:30 she would remind us that we were supposed to be sick....we would settle down and put on our sick faces just in time for mom to get home at 4. She will never really know what an important role in my childhood she played. And she's always been there through out my life. She has always kept in touch, some how remembering anniversaries and sending home made cards, emailing...despite the fact that we haven't' actually seen each other in many years.
I have hated that she has had to go through having cancer, and all the things associated with that. I hate more the feeling that there is nothing I can really do. But I will do the one thing I can do. I consider it an honor and a privileged to run for Nancy. The girls and I will be wearing our pink, and running our hearts out!
Love you, sis!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Day of First and Third Grade

My girls, who were never going to be old enough to go to school, started 1st and 3rd grade today. It is amazing how time has flown by. The one thing you hear most as a young, new parent is to enjoy it because it flies by. So true.....
This is the first year Em hasn't had a character back pack....a sign she is getting too old. She didn't want to wear anything cutesy, opting for an old pair of shorts and a shirt she picked out at Target. We had been keeping an eye on sales, and she had 2 shirts she knew she wanted, that is all she wanted, 2 cute shirts with animals on them. We compromised on the hair, she wanted a ponytail, I wanted to put a ribbon in it.
Sophie is our drama queen. Her outfit was very planned out, there was a bit of drama as the leggings she wanted, and we bought, weren't capri's like she thought, they were full length. Imagine the horror. Then, her shoes didn't' feel right, so we went through a few pairs of shoes this morning. She loves her new socks, but "they feel a bit too big"...I cringe at those words as I know it could turn into an obsession, tears, hating all just never know. She was nervous about not knowing anyone in her class and not having friends and was on the verge of tears all morning. As we were walking up to the school, she pinched her finger in her backpack handle and it started bleeding and the world nearly ended. She held it together, though.
Brian went with Emma to her class and I went w/Sophie. Both girls got to where they needed to be, found some friends, and with that, life was good, and another year begins. Em had homework tonight, she couldn't wait to get home to her room and her new desk and get it done. She is such a big girl these days! We ended the day with a stop at the yogurt shop and Subway for dinner, kids were in bed by 6:45, exhausted!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

See Jane Run Leftover Nugget

Some friends were camping and went to start the fire with a paper that was left in camp. Surprise!! There we were!! A photographer had taken a picture of the family before the See Jane Run Half Marathon. I didn't give much thought to where the picture ended up, but it ended up in a newspaper, the East Bay's Parent's Press. This was June 5, 2010. It was both my and my sister in law's (and many other of my sisters : ) first "official" half marathon, Emma and Spencer's first 5k road race, and Sophie, Myles, and Audrey ran the kids mile. It was an awesome day for us all.

San Francisco Marathon

Brian and my "running story" has been featured on the San Fran Marathon website.
Someday soon I will write about how surreal it is to be considered an athlete, runner....marathon runner. How unimaginable it is to click on the San Francisco Marathon website and see our picture, read our story.... I try to live in the moment when I run, soak up every second so that it will seem real, but with out fail, when the pain fades away, so does the reality of the accomplishment.
Anyway, I feel this turning into a long post, so I will end it for now. Click the logo above.

Friday, August 13, 2010

While Papa Was Away......

The kids were kept at play.....

Monday we started off with a bike ride/run, then went to the craft store to pick up some projects for the week. But for behavior reasons, we waited until Tuesday to do those : )Monday night was all about staying up late watching the Teen Choice awards.
Tuesday was craft day and meeting day. The kids painted ceramic figures and then glued them to wood bases which they also painted. There were also boxes they picked out, which got painted, too. Wednesday was movie day. We went to the $1 movie and then the arcade, which we never do and is quite the treat! We had planned on a hike, but it was a whopping 58 degrees out, so we postponed the hike and went to the yogurt shop instead(where yogurt is 40 cents an ounce and we all eat for under $9!). We came home and for some reason I decide to undertake a huge project. I moved a large, heavy hutch/desk from our bedroom into Emma's room. It involved unhooking various routers, cable boxes, tv's, hard drives...other random computerish things that I don't' even really know what they do, but I took pics of all the cables and what they were attached to and was able to re hook everything back up when all was said and done. Emma loves her 'new room' and all the nooks and crannies to stash her valuables so that Myles can't reach them. After that...more painting for the kids. I picked up some canvas's for $2 each and they had a blast splatter painting those! Wednesday night was spent snuggled in watching So You Think You Can Dance.
Thursday we got the house cleaned up for papa's return. Then, we headed out on the promised hike. I was so glad we decided to wait a day as it was a stunningly beautiful day! One of those days that the colors all seem brighter and more vivid. We started off in the high 70's and finished up in the mid 80's. It was a warm hike, little shade, but we had done this one before many times, and the chickens did great! Nature was out and about everywhere. We saw deer, gophers, lizards, and of course, turkey vultures. It's about a 5 mile hike, but w/a bit of elevation gain. Myles handled it like a champ for a almost 4 year old. He didn't ask me to hold him, which is a first. I would ask from time to time if he was ok and he would say, "yeah, but my legs hurt", or sometimes "my feet hurt", but even with that, he was having fun the whole time. We cut down to the reservoir trail when Soph and Myles started to get a bit pink and we were on the last half of the water. There was still about a mile to go after we got down to lake level.
After "refueling" at the bottom on their favorite foods (they are 3,6,and 8, just hiked 5 miles, and deserve some 'kid food') they attempted to play at the park, but everyones batteries were running low. So...we headed to the yogurt shop again...I know, 2 days in a row, right?? But it was needed. We cooled down, relaxed for a few minutes, then headed home for naps. We got home about 3:30 and the kids slept until 7 ish. I puttered, making sure the house was sparkling for papa's return. Finished up some laundry, did some random wife/mom stuff. Once the kids were up, we had dinner, watched the finale So You Think You Can Dance, then headed out to the back yard w/chairs and blankets. We settled in to watch the meteor shower until about 11:45. The kids saw a few, but its a bit like fishing, have to just be patient and wait....we saw about 6 in almost 2 hours. We'll try again tonight if they make it up that late again! We headed to get Brian from BART at midnight, got him home near 1 this morning.
So, I have to say, after the first day, time started to go by quick. I really enjoyed these past few days with the kids. It sort of morphed into just enjoying my time with them, the last week before school activities resume, and I don't' see them all day. I love my family, and am happy Brian's home!
I am anxious to get back into some sort of a running routine as it wasn't a priority this week. Hoping to get a few good runs in this weekend!
There are tons more pics from the week here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hubby is Away

You may have noticed that the hubby and I do everything together. Really, everything. Grocery shopping, going to get gas, paying the rent, getting healthy, running.....whatever it is, however routine and mundane, it's funner because we do it together.
After 9/11 happened, I hated that he worked in San Fran. It's only about 40 minutes away, but it's a train ride on BART, through the Trans BayTube, a walk of a few blocks in the city, and a day in a high rise away...plenty of opportunity for something to happen to him. I was thrilled when his office moved to our town in the East Bay and he was only a 5 mile, 30 minute bike ride away! Not only did it, in my mind, mean he was safer during the day,(if he would stop having bike accidents, this would be true!) but it meant we could see each other during the day.
Whats the point? The point is that when he's away I am a bit lost. He's about as away as he could get from CA. He flew into Providence, RI this morning and will be there until Thursday. Today he drove to Wallkill and took a tour, and was driving by Patterson to take a few pictures. He is excited to be back on the east coast, I can hear it in his voice. I know he treasures his days living in NY, and I am happy he has this opportunity to go on his works dime as we could never afford it.
That said, the idea of him taking BART into the airport, two different plane rides, and driving around on the east coast, then taking 2 planes home, and another BART ride.....I could probably use a drink and some CALMS but I'm on full parental duty, so that's not an option.
Plus, everything I do here feels wrong. The kids and I went for a run this morning...didn't feel right to be doing that w/the kids and not have him with us. Then we went to Target, wrong again, we never go w/o him. CVS, wrong. Craft store, wrong. Telling the kids they were in trouble when papa gets home tonight, wrong. I stayed up till midnight last night studying for tomorrows meeting because the room just didn't' feel right......that could have been because there were 3 kids asleep at the foot of the bed, though.
Anyways, cry me a river, I know. Some of you have hubbies who travel all the time and this probably sounds ridiculous to you. I'm just not used to it, at all.
Hubby, if you read this, I love you! Since I'm not there to back seat drive for you, please drive safe!! The chickens say 'Hi papa!'

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Zensah Leg Sleeves

So I wore them during my workout and felt a night and day difference from the last workout. Made it through all cardio w/no pain. In fact, I had to stop myself from doing more as I wanted to save some for a run. Brian was up for a run, even after his fight with the pavement this morning. So, I ran 5 miles w/hubby after working out and felt great. Some pain, but definitely not as much as our last run. It felt really good, and we shaved minutes off our previous time. I was able to all out sprint the last few blocks and really put it to the test and it felt great. I wore them all day, left them on after the run. Came home and iced the calf, with the sleeves on still. Wore them under my pants later in the day. Took them off about an hour ago and still feel good. Pretty amazing!

"Papa, you have some blood"

I am half asleep when Brian leaves for work. He comes in, gives me a smooch, and leaves. Usually the girls are up, and Myles and I are asleep still. I hate when I am groggy, and I think I hear Brian in the house after I am pretty sure he already smooched me and left. It's never good, and has happened more than once now. I roll over and think "maybe I should get up and figure out what's going on" when I hear Sophie say, "Papa, you have some blood".
The reason it's never good for him to be home after he's left is that he rides his bike 5 miles each way to work. So if he's back home after he's set out on a ride....I know something hasn't gone right. I need him to act it out for me as I can't quite get what happened, but there was a shifting issue, and he was stopped at a red light, in traffic. When it turned green, he gave it his all to get moving w/traffic, but something happened w/the chain, and while the bike never moved, he endoed and face planted. Traffic stopped for him so he could get up and walk across 2 lanes to the side walk. This is what I saw when he walked into the bedroom......On the right is his elbow, which now matches his other elbow from the last time I had a groggy morning similar to today's. Above is his knee. There was more blood from things like fingers and hands, and major tire tread up the back of his calf that I tried to clean off, but it wouldn't budge. He got cleaned up and changed and I drove him into work, although his face was still oozing when I dropped him off. I am thinking he will feel like a truck hit him by lunchtime, but if not, we will run. He has a business trip to the east coast next week and we are both wondering what his face will be looking like, poor guy.

Calf Update

Well, it hurts still, so that's not great.
I've only gotten one 5 miler done on it since the marathon. We took a week off, then headed out on Monday. It was still sore, but by mile 2 the pain was increasing, which wasn't great. It seemed better if I didn't fully push off on it, so that got me to the end of 5 miles, but isn't a long term solution.
I've done 2 workouts on it, and for the most part it is ok. Some of the cardio is painful, like Plie hops, jumping jacks, jump rope....and I feel it during lunges, but not as bad. So what does it feel like? Um, hard to describe, but here's an attempt. It is sore, like just a tired, overused muscle sore, all the time. But there is also a lot of movement going on in there. Like twitchiness, popcorn, worms wiggling under the skin feeling?? Very strange stuff. This is mostly in one area, where I have veins that most the time look normal, but when I exercise they pop out. The veins are a concern because after the marathon I had a very small, hard, painful knot in one of the veins. Like rock hard. You could see it from the surface, and even to just run my finger over the skin was extremely painful. Brian did some research and rattled off some name for it, said to keep it up, heat compresses, and compression and it should go away in a few days. I had been keeping it up with ice a few times a day, didn't have any way of keeping compression on the area, and didn't want to use heat...yes, I am stubborn. But it did go away, now it just hurts in the general area of the veins.
I keep thinking I just strained it. Running on it after it had cramped like that wasn't genius. It obviously didn't' help it any. Maybe just take a running break for another week and see how it feels??? But, then the more I read, the more compression of some sort seems to be the way to go. Vein, and calf pain are common in the land of running. A lot of calf pain is just unexplainable calf pain. The one thing I read over and over again that helps is either compression socks, or leg sleeves. I see these both all the time out on the trail and in races. Brands like Zoot, Zensah, CEP, and many others are made specifically for running and Triathlon. So, we ventured down to Sports Basement. I tried on some socks, and a leg sleeve. The sock was a knit material, which I didn't love, and the sleeve seemed a bit short, so I got nothing. I really wanted a brand that I had at least heard of, read reviews of, and that was known in the 'running world'. Zensah fit those criteria, and we ended up last night at Road Runner Sports where they had an excellent selection of socks and sleeves. They also carry Moeben arm sleeves which are very hard to find in store, so that was a neat find. Anyways, I tried on a few things, in a few colors, and ended up with these. At one point I had a pink one on one leg, and black on the other. Pink looked soo girly, and black looked more hard I went with black. Hopefully these will do the trick. If they don't' alleviate the pain, at least they will help w/the veins. The plan was to test them out on our lunch time run, a 5 miler from Brian's office, but after his accident this morning, I am not sure how he's going to feel by noon. Either way, whenever I do wear them for the first time, I will let you know what I think of them.