Sunday, December 30, 2018

Catch up for 2018

Last time I checked in I had just completed the Crazy Desert 50k.  Well somehow in the mean time I also got in on the lottery for the Marine Corps Marathon, was chosen as an ambassador for Noxgear and also had my little Goat's Goodies fitness headband business take off!  It's been crazy!

April consisted of resting a little. May was pretty uneventful too except for the Team Beef Retreat down in Conroe. That was so much fun.  If you have ever thought about becoming a member of the Beef Team Athletes, you totally should. Lots of great friends and support!
These 2 getting me in trouble at the Beef Retreat.

June was a month of watching Stuart race as he geared up for cross country season.
Look who placed at his 5k!

July found me running a 25k in Fort Worth starting at 10pm because Jackie thought that would be fun and a few weeks later at Estes Park on a weeklong church youth group camp that was life changing.
Hell's Half Acre 25k -- hell definitely is an appropriate word choice

Estes Park Youth Camp #sofun

August we were in Colorado again for family vacation before school officially started!
My FIL lives so close I could run to Garden of the Gods! 

Seven Falls with the family!

This fall we have just been busy juggling basketball schedules, Chase's work, Mavs games ( since Chase became a Ball Kid),  and a trip to DC for the Marine Corps Marathon.

Marine Corps was one of the coolest races ever.  I totally want to go back and run that one again.  I wasn't in the right mindset this year when I did it.  With the sudden passing of my aunt and time spent at the hospital with her the week before, I just wasn't mentally all there.  I would love to go back and run it and truly enjoy it for all the awesomeness that it is, but 2018 was not the year to do that.
Marine Corps Marathon -- Finished..Thank goodness!

I came back from Marine Corps and immediately wound up in the ortho's office because my foot, which had been nagging me for about 2 months after long runs, killed me the last 4 miles of the race. I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my left foot.  It sucks...I've been 53 days with no running but have been able to do Camp Gladiator in a very modified way.  At least I have that!

I have thought about making some fitness goals for 2019 - but I think my main goal is to just enjoy working out and appreciating the fact that I can.  The last two years I have been through a couple of set backs with knee surgery and a stress fracture, so in 2019 I vow to listen to my body and just enjoy the run and the fact that I can.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Crazy Desert 50K

So, I don't even know how we decided to do this race....I'm still trying to figure that one out, but I am so glad that I did it!  My first and last 50k was 7 years ago way back in November of 2011 when Libby, Corina, Fiona, and I ran Rocky Raccoon 50K in Huntsville.  I've run one other ultra distance in between - a 50 miler at Grasslands in Decatur in 2014.  Other than that, a marathon here and there.

So Tracy and Amara and I had decided to go do Crazy Desert.  It would be Tracy's first ultra and Amara's first trail race and first distance over a half marathon (she is her own kind of crazy --why do you think I like her ;-)

We drove out to San Angelo the day before and had dinner. 
Headed out west...

The morning of the race was gorgeous. We knew the weather was going to be warm.  It was supposed to hit a high of 87, but it wound up hitting a high of 90. The trail was totally exposed - no shade at all. Most of it was very runnable and fast but there was a good section on the second half of the loop that consisted of a lot of loose rocks. 
Race start...

Earlier in the week, I had realized that if I could run the race in less than double what the overall 50k winner did it in, I could qualify again for Pike's Peak without having to run a road half marathon.  So that became my goal.  I did a bunch of number crunching and the fastest this course had been run in years past was 4 hours.  That meant I had to do it in 8 hours to qualify - give or take depending on the lead runner on race day.  That was do-able.

I had a couple of friends that were both watching the leaderboard to let me know when the lead runner came through off his first loop to give me an idea of what I was up against.  He came in at 1:45!!! Holy cow....I knew that put him on pace for a 3:30 50K...which would mean I would need a 7 hour 50k and that was going to happen because a) I was not that fast and b) it was starting to really get hot.  So I decided to forget it and just run.  

I finished my first 15 mile loop with a 3:15 and realized I might not be totally out of it yet, so I took off on my second loop somewhat hopeful.  I switched my run/walk intervals from 5:1's used on my first loop to 2:1's...I was doing good, feeling strong.  I hit the first aid station 1t 18.5 - filled my water bottles again ( this had to be done at EVERY aid station because it was so hot), got my buff ice cold with water, poured cold ice water over my head, drank some coke and ate some pickles and took off. My goal with aid stations was in and out - no dilly dallying...I didn't want to waste any time.  

Off I go to the far aid station that was 4.5 miles the time I get there, I had finished both of my water bottles and also refilled at a random faucet I found in the middle of the desert by a horse trough of water.  I didn't care...I was so thirsty and at that point had 2 more miles until I hit an aid station.  So in 4.5 miles, I had 3 water bottles!  

After hitting that aid station, I realized the lead runner had just come in and his time was 3:56!  He slowed down in the heat on that second loop too!  So I knew I had 6 miles to go at this point and a little over 2 hours to do it in to get my time I needed. I had it in the bag!  

And then....

I got lost...

or at least I thought I was lost.  

It turns out I was actually off course my first loop (along with several other 50k'ers. We got onto the 100k course at some point and never realized it.)  The second loop I was actually on course, but nothing looked familiar and the course markings were gone. I came to an intersection of trails with 3 options  - left, right, straight.  Straight was blocked with sticks...neither left nor right had any markings...since I hadn't seen flags in a while, and had a gut feeling this was wrong since I hadn't seen this before, I turned around and went back.    

I could feel the time moving in slow motion. I knew if I didn't get it figured out quick, I could easily lose that qualifying time.  I started backtracking.  I was hot, I was lost, I was down to one water bottle, and I had no idea where I was because no one was around, and my phone had just died. 

I came upon another runner and told him the predicament. He said none of it looked right to him either, and when he went up to the intersection I had been at, he told me he had no idea.  We both started going back trying to figure out what we had done wrong.  Eventually, we met up with another group who had a runner in it that knew the course because he is from there. We followed him, and at the turn he took a right. I asked him how I would have known to do that, and he said if you didn't know - you wouldn't.  

I don't know if the cows jacked with the course markings or what because the rest of the course was very well marked.  I had just spent 40 minutes figuring out where I was and added a mile to my distance.  By then, it was getting super hot.  Eventually, I tried to run more with the encouragement of Faith and made it about a mile with intervals and started getting nauseous and cold chills and decided it wasn't worth pushing it to make myself sick.  Faith was feeling sick too so we both decided to slow down.

Long story short, I missed the qualifying time by 15 minutes...40 minutes spent thinking I'm lost.  

Not gonna sucked...

But I realized I had several goals for that day...

  1. Not die ----- guess who is still alive so I can check that off
  2. Finish ------ brought home a medal so I am counting that off too
  3. PR ---- did that 8 minutes...could have done much better, but I'm focusing on the fact that it was a PR..  
  4. 8 hour 50K --- didn't meet that time goal - could have, but didn't
  5. Qualify for Pike's Peak -- nope

So all in all, I am happy with the outcome.  The best part is - I feel great!  Trails agree so much more with my knees and hips than roads do.  Road running kills me.  This weekend brought back my love of two things 1- trail running and 2 - going long.  

I think my favorite part about the long distance is that it's not easy, but that is what makes it worth it.  It's freaking hard.  Did I want to quit? Yes.  Did I want to cry? Yes   But realizing that running is so much more mental than it is physical at that point is the key.  I knew ahead of time I would get to a low point...but I also knew it would pass if I just gave it a few minutes...and it did...

I'm so grateful for the adventures running allows me. I am so thankful for my husband and kids for letting me do it and the friends who run with me or support me from afar when they aren't there.  I'm grateful for my knee being strong as ever 10 months after surgery.  

I'm just still on my runner's high.....

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The year I didn't expect...

Well, it has been so long since I have checked in!

This year didn't go as expected. I can't say that I was a bad year, because it wasn't. Sometimes life just throws you a curve ball and you have to learn to roll with it.

For over a year, I was dealing with significant knee pain in my left knee. I had been to orthos left and right and had 2 different doctors tell me it was fine that I just had a little arthritis in my left knee and to "take 3 Aleve a day and that should help it."  Well, that wasn't going to happen. I'm scared to death of taking any type of medication on a regular basis because of how hard Depakote is on my liver, and I have to take that daily for my epilepsy. So, if any dr thought I was going to add 3 Aleve to that, he was mistaken.

I went to Dr. Chad, a friend and wonderful chiropractor, at Lifestyle Wellness in Plano. I've gone to him for years and and taken the kids too.  Needless to say I valued his opinion.  He had mentioned I was losing range of motion in my knee, and he worked on it with a couple sessions of Graston and then told me he thought I needed another opinion from other orthopedic doctors.  He didn't think he could help me.

It had gotten to the point that running was so painful every single time I ran that it wasn't even fun anymore, and of course this was 6 days before we left for our Ragnar Relay in Luckenbach with 11 other ladies to run about 200 miles across Texas. Perfect timing...
Dirty Dozen

I wound up dropping to the lowest mileage possible for that race, which was about 15 miles and my knee was swollen the size of a cantaloupe and unable to bend as we sat in Luckenbach and had a cold beer at the finish line that weekend.  That was when I knew.  It was April 1st.

I came home from that race, and after asking around from friends, found an ortho that came highly recommended.  He informed me I had zero cartilage under the left side of my kneecap because of the way that my kneecap tracked.  He recommended a lateral release and a clean out of my knee if necessary once he got in there.  There was also the thought that I could have a meniscus tear on top of everything else.  He recommended surgery.

I was a nervous wreck.  I was 43 and having knee surgery. So many thoughts ran through my head. What if I never run again even though he said I would?  What if it hurts?  What if I go crazy waiting for it to heal?  What if, what if, what if....

In the 3 weeks between the dr appt and the surgery, I met a girl at our MRTT event that had a lateral release a few years ago and was running fine.  I took that as a sign that I would be okay.  So I took a deep breath and just went with it.

May 3rd (a month after finishing Ragnar) I had knee surgery.  After surgery, he told me I had the knee of a 60 year old - boy he knows how to make a girl feel special!  He fixed the small meniscus tear, cut the ligament on the left side of the knee to release the knee cap, cleaned out under the knee, and also did a microfracture into the bone marrow to hopefully regenerate some new cartilage.  I was home by noon with whole new knee! To celebrate surgery being over, I ordered a new Tstar Running Skirt on the way home, no joke...totally a good reason to order a skirt!
Before and after surgery

The fun was just beginning.  The next day (and I can admit this to people now because at the time everyone thought I was crazy for walking so soon) I was up before the rest of the family and I walked down the street by myself.  It was only a 1/3 of a mile and it was slow. I didn't tell my husband for a while, but I wanted to get moving.
Suck on that gizzard knee.

Day one.

Totally normal to walk in this down the neighborhood street.

Walk on Day 2!  
Two days after surgery I made it twice that far and walked the dogs with the boys. It was slow, but it was progress. I also went in that day and made them take off all the bandages so I could at least bathe! I didn't have a physical therapist appointment until the next Monday and there was no way I was waiting that long to get clean!

I wound up walking 26 miles for the month of May. Baby steps!

Two weeks after surgery I registered for a triathlon that was at the end of August.  I wanted to do one at the end of July, but my partner in crime, Catherine, talked me down and told me to shoot for August. So I registered for the Old College Tri. It would be my first race since knee surgery - even though to this point, I had only walked a distance of .76 miles at a time. What in the world was I thinking?

I slowly got back on my bike while Stuart ran and was biking small distances starting May 31. I decided to kick off June with swimming!  After 4 weeks of stitches,  I could now get in the water since they were gone.  I couldn't use my legs though. So I swam everything with a pull buoy between my legs and only used my arms. I didn't care - pull is my favorite anyway and I was one step closer to training...for something....anything...

 A little swollen but whatever...
The month of June I continued to do what I could.  I wound up walking 60 miles that month and my biking and swimming continued to increase. June 11 I rode 16 miles on my tri bike and realized that if I could find someone to run a triathlon, I could do a relay!  So I did what comes next.  I registered for a triathlon relay and convinced my kids it would be fun.  Chase would swim, I would ride, Stuart would run.  Well come race day in July, Stuart was injured so Kelly subbed in for the team 3 Amigos and ran for us!  We got 1st place in the relay division! What a way to come back!
Team 3 Amigos with Coach Stuart
My tens unit friend at PT
I was still making progress slowly but surely.  Every check in with the dr. went well, and he was super impressed with how well it was coming along. I was going to physical therapy three times a week which was a beating, but I needed it.  I had to take care of this knee if I wanted to get back to where I was able to do what I wanted.  I loved my physical therapists too, so that helped.  It took me a while to find a place I liked. The first physical therapist I went to the week after surgery told me I would never run or do CG again...nothing on concrete basically. So when I mentioned to her that I could run trails then, she told me no because that surface was even more unstable and would cause me issues.  I left in tears...but that's a whole other story...

I had asked the dr at my 8 week check up when I could start running. I knew I wasn't ready, my knee wasn't anywhere near ready I could feel that, but I wanted an idea. I mean I had a race coming up...bwahahaha.  He had told me 12 weeks which would have technically been July 26th, but I didn't have an appointment until July 31st.  So I decided since technically it had been 12 weeks, I would run on the 26th. I started out with walking a mile, running a mile, walking a mile...then I did 2 the day of the appointment I was up to 3 running miles and feeling encouraged.

Pretty good for 12 weeks post op
As July came to a close and August  began, I began to focus more on my running.  I knew that I could swim and bike the distances for this triathlon, the run was what I hadn't trained for - and yes, it was a short sprint triathlon, but I wanted to do well. I didn't want to just do it.  I secretly wanted to win the Athena division, but I didn't want to say that out loud.  But yes, I did have goals.

Race day was August 20th and I was so excited. You would have thought it was my first triathlon. I'm sure Catherine probably wanted to kill me as we drove to Denton.  My friends Lorie and Deidre were doing that race as their first triathlon, so that was super exciting too!

1st place Athena!

Athenas and Cara! 

Since then, I have been slowly back on track and getting in to the groove of things.  I did quit going to Camp Gladiator which was a super tough decision, but I was having to make so many modifications with all the lunges and squats, it just wasn't fun anymore and my knee still hurt afterwards.  I have continued to do everything else and just recently joined a gym with some super fun classes with my friends Elaine and Cheryl.

I ran my first half marathon a few weeks ago, and while it wasn't the pace I used to be able to hold, it was my pace and my time.  I have learned through this whole process, that the whole point of exercise and running is not to "Just Do It", but to really enjoy it, embrace it, and be thankful that you can.  I've learned patience and been humbled.  I've had so many friends that have run with me, walked with me, brought me meals after surgery, texted me, brought gifts...I'm just so thankful for each and everyone of you. 

It's taken me time to process all this and figure it out, but I wouldn't change anything over the past year.  My knee feels good. I'm not discouraged any more and have a whole new outlook on working out.  

Always look for the positive!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Goals check in!

So at the beginning of January I made some goals and I wanted to check in at the end of the month to update how things went and reevaluate.

Goal 1 - Blog once a month.  Done! That was pretty easy and I really enjoyed it. I have had this blog for a few years now and  I really keep it more for my accountability and so I can remember how the races go.

Goal 2- Foam roll/lacrosse ball every day I work out.  I did really well on this one too. There were a few days I didn't get it done, but for the two weeks going in to the marathon I was diligent and good about it.  The week and a half after the marathon I didn't do any exercise just trying to shake the sinus infection that would not go away so there was no foam rolling or lacrosse balling, but I started running again a few days again and I could tell I probably should have kept up with it because my body is super tight.

Goal 3 - Drop one CG and add in a Bikram yoga.  I did for the first two weeks and after that I switched to a runner's yoga on the internet site DoYogaWithMe. I used the video for runner's IT Band because mine was so tight. I love that website.

Goal 4 - Hit 200 check in's at CG.  Done!  My sweet friend, Sheryl, even came and let EJ kick her butt that day too.
EJ enjoys kicking our butts way too much...Look at that smile of his after basically killing me...
So not too bad on goals for January.  Now on to February!

Goal 1 - Continue with the blog at least once a month! ( I really enjoyed this last month.)

Goal 2 - Track my food every day on MyFitnessPal app. 

Goal 3 - 2 CG's a week with one yoga session via DoYogaWithMe website.

Goal 4 - Finish knitting the ponytail hats for people!  AGH! 

Do you have any goals for February?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Miracle Match Marathon Madness

3 days before race day...

I'm not going to lie....I'm excited about this race because of who I will be with - Tracy, Kim, DK, Lynnette, Elaine, Elizabeth, and probably more friends that I don't even know are running yet.

I'm going in to this knowing it probably is not going to feel good at all. My IT bands are super tight and everything from my butt down to my  knees is sore and tight.  My left knee that has been giving me problems since this summer has decided to flare up this week....Awesome...Dr. Chad told me to foam roll at least twice a day until race day. So I am following his orders hoping it's not too late!

Man, after reading what I just wrote I sound super negative about this race! Ugh - I am not in a negative mindset - I am just trying to make realistic goals and go in to it with a mindset that will help me not get crazy in my head when I realize I am not running my fastest marathon. I am actually expecting this to be my slowest but who knows. If I can just keep up with Tracy and Kim, I will be in good shape.

Marathon chicks. Love these girls!
Now just gotta keep up with them for 26 miles.
If I can do that, I'm sure to get an ab workout from
laughing the whole time!

2 days before race day...

Well, I couldn't sleep last night - the culprit...sinus congestion...Ugh..Seriously...Luckily my 14 year old who has been sick all week with strep and bronchitis finally woke up feeling fine!  Went to CVS Minute Clinic this afternoon running a slight fever and got the confirmation of sinus infection.  Hopefully amoxicillin will kick in quick - I've got a marathon to run!

1 day before race day...

Wound up not going to Stuart's double header football games this morning, because he wasn't feeling well. Thank goodness. It gave me more time to sleep. Went back to bed after my alarm and woke up at 9:30.  I finished packing and went to Kroger and grabbed some snacks. I have to take these antibiotics with food so I don't want to be without something to eat.(That's my excuse at least.)

Tracy and Kim picked me up at 1:00 and we headed down to packet pick up and the hotel in Waco.

I got shot gun.  I started calling that seat on Wednesday!
Had to visit the horse statues near the finish line.

Dinner with Dk, Elaine, and Lynnette the night before!

Once we got all checked in, we walked over and checked out the start/finish and the bridge where we would run across at the end.  We got our packets and came back and rested a bit before heading to dinner with Elaine, DK, and Lynnette.  We hit up Buzzard Billy's or Swampy's as DK called it...same/same...It was great. I had a great burger because...duh, Team Beef...I was starving.

Afterwards, we all headed home wishing each other good luck. Elaine was running the ultra - yes, 31 miles of that nonsense, Dk was running the half (she's the smartest of the group), and the rest of us were doing the full for some unknown reason...oh yeh, because Tracy wanted to do a marathon...that's right...hee hee...I'm totally blaming this one on Tracy...and Lynnette for that matter...Lynnette and Elaine were doing the early 5:30 start so we knew we wouldn't see them until the finish line the next day.

We got back to the hotel and went to bed...after laying everything out for in the morning. 
Flat Tracy, Flat Alicia, Flat Kim ready to race...
I didn't get much sleep because I couldn't breathe with my sinus infection and if I was able to breathe I apparently had had plenty to hydrate with because I was in the bathroom about 150 times...stupid...

Race Day!!!

The weather forecast was 50's and super high 25 mph winds and 50 mph gusts was what we saw on the news app.  The wind was insane...This was one day I wish I had long enough hair to pull back in to a ponytail instead of fighting with it the whole trip.

So up we got - ready and packed up to leave in the car (since we couldn't get a late check out). We walked over to the race start and found DK.
Race start!
So off we go! Dk ran with us for the first 5.5 miles until the marathon course turned off from the half.  We ran through the Baylor campus and all around the football stadium. Man, what a nice venue Baylor has! No wonder it's expensive, but I digress... 
On one of the ramps coming back from the stadium.

Hey hottie...pic courtesy of DK
This was about mile 6 right after we left DK. This was my view until about mile 15....
I was already feeling crappy before we even left DK. I just felt like I was working so much harder than I should have been.  We weren't going fast, my body should not be this tired by mile 3.  I'm assuming that was from being sick.  I tried to keep a positive outlook.  Tracy and Kim were so strong and I was really struggling.  I kept trying to fall back enough where they would forget about me and I could disappear and catch a ride back...but they wouldn't...I might have even gotten a little grouchy a few times and told them to go on, that I would be fine. ( I so wanted them to leave me so I could stop. I did NOT want to go 20 more miles feeling like that - the worst part was knowing that I was the reason Tracy was having to slow down on her first marathon when she was so ready for it.)   I promptly got yelled at by Kim. Those of you that know Kim know that she yells at you when she loves you.  She told me to shut up and stop being stupid...This is why I love sugar coating...just stop your whining...stop the BS and let's go...I kind of wanted to punch her at the same time...bwahahahahaha...but she scares me...

So on we behind these two just doing my thing.  I thought of what my friend Corina told me many years mile at a time...don't think of it as anything bigger...So I just kept telling myself...get to mile 9...mile 10....mile was working....

By mile 14, the wind was insane and it was about this time Tracy started complaining of her stomach hurting.  After that, I was finally able to keep up.  We hit a stretch of the road around mile 16 that I remember from the last time I ran this race. That was the stretch of road where it got hard...and it was flat, but there was nothing really to look at and it was was just running through a city street. Tracy started struggling a little more there and we just ran together and talked and took one mile at a time.  
Mile 16 on the stupid road...

It was also about this time that Tracy started complaining of swelling...her hands and her feet were bothering her.  None of the aid stations had any salt or endurolytes.  She was a trooper though and kept on trucking.

Kim and I had just said how it wasn't that hilly and I even mentioned they must have changed the course because the hills were gone...That was mile 20...and I should have been struck by lightening for saying that...because instead of a route was a memory fail...we just hadn't gotten to the steep hills yet...there was no change of route...holy moly...
Yeh miles 18-20...spoke WAY too soon...

A little after mile 20...I knew then I was wrong...
and more hills...
So we power walked a lot...We had to...We were spent.  Around mile 22, before we hit the aid station, Tracy broke out her CG pigeon stretch pose....

Hey sexy...
So after that, they came and checked on us about every 5 minutes to make sure Tracy was okay. Which she totally was, she was just stretching...but it was pretty funny.  We tried to come up with some scenarios where we would switch bibs, so the next time they came back they would be looking for me or Kim and we could complain of a different malady...hee hee...

Diva and her kettle corn...

The mile 22 aid station were so happy to see us that when Kim commented on their kettle corn, they gave her the whole rest of the bag...which she carried at least another mile to the next aid station...and ate the whole thing...It was also about this time we facetimed our friend Sheryl, I figured she could provide us with a few laughs as we were suffering...she was perfect!

We finally got to mile 24...Jacob's ladder...

Eating a jalapeno at the bottom 
100 stairs to the top...

Up we go...
The stairs actually make my legs feel better after we had done them.  At the top, they had beer, sweet tea, and endurolytes. So we made Tracy take a couple of those and then we were off.  2.2 miles left...

We ran more the last two miles than we had in a long time. It was flat and we were ready to be done. We were able to stick with our intervals and everything. Those steps really helped.

Mile 25
I totally missed this sign.  It was comment a few years back on Facebook to the Miracle Match RD when she asked why people signed up for the race...and the "friend" I am referring to is my pal DK.  This is all her fault. I would have never come down here 3 years ago to do this race if it weren't for her...and now I'm back...
Finish Line! Done!

I didn't die!

Love the medal...especially the ladder add on for doing Jacob's ladder!

My new favorite shirt!
So all in all a great weekend spent with wonderful friends.  I wish I could have had more time with Elaine and Lynnette and DK. Hopefully soon!

A few things I have learned (been reminded of) from this race -

1) I can do things way harder than I think I can. I would have quit if Tracy and Kim would have left me, I didn't think I could finish. 

2) Never give up on yourself.

3) Push through - it will be worth it.

4) Laugh a lot.

5) I have the best friends (except when they turn the light off on me when I am in the shower and put their starburst trash in my bed at night) other than that, they are pretty cool