Thursday, November 27, 2014

who's with me?

everything about this is so incredibly inspiring.  before watching this i never thought i'd run an ultra longer than a 50K (which is coming up for me in may 2015).  now tho'... i'm inspired!  the journey is calling my name.  anyone else?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

screw shoes

it's that time of year again.  we got our first sticking snowfall overnight.  i ran at lapham this morning and was slippin' and slidin' all over the place.  it took me a minute to realize that it was because i was running in shoes with no screws.

so this post is about that.

last year i put screws in my shoes that were near death.  then i ran in those for the duration of the winter in 2013 and tossed them at the end of the season... no harm no foul.  worked great, costs pennies, and is easy peasy lemon squeezy.  here's how you can do it too:

i used 3/8" hex screws which i bought from home depot for a little over a buck a bag.  i think there were 8 in a bag so i bought two bags.  there are several "how to's" out there where a lot more screws are used but i found that seven per shoe were enough for me.  i placed the screws near the outside of the shoe (see image) so that i wasn't actually landing on them, and that is where it seemed the shoes were the thickest.   i recommend trying this before going out and spending $$ on yak traks or some other device that might not work as well, might be heavier than you expect, and certainly won't be as cheap.  also... it is notable that i didn't lose any screws on a couple hundred winter miles in 2013.  i believe that it is common place to lose some at some point so i'm pretty happy that i didn't lose any.  i think this is because i didn't pre-drill the holes.  i just screwed the screws in, and while it might have been a little more difficult to get them in the shoes i think it's why they didn't fall out all winter.
seven screws per shoe

my friend jeff's various screw patterns in different shoes

so... try it out.  if it doesn't work... you've only spent a couple of bucks.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

ischemic gut? show of hands!

so last monday i had a colonoscopy because of what happened at lakefront.

i want to take a moment to write a little commentary on the state of healthcare in the united states.  i went in for this procedure at 8am.  i sat in the waiting room for 30 minutes before someone took me back to a room where i was stripped of all the clothing and items that make me a person and put in a gown, robe, and booties that make me look just like every other sick person in the hospital.  just a number essentially.  then i was taken into a room that had a bed.  i was put in the bed, given an iv, given a wristband, asked a few questions, and then left there facing a window with my back to all the goings ons for an hour and 40 minutes.  at that point a woman came in, asked my name, and wheeled me to a different room and left me there.  i waited there another 30 minutes by myself before someone came in and told me what the hell was going on.  about 10 minutes after that the doctor, nurse, other doctor, and whomever else was part of the procedure came in.  i felt very invisible the whole time and it sucked.  it leaves a person feeling very vulnerable being all naked in a bed with some crappy little gown and thin blanket covering them.  it was lame and i hated it.  it is everything that is wrong with our healthcare system.  people are meaningful and important.  what is happening to them in a hospital is meaningful and important and while i understand that the healthcare workers are doing just that... working.  they could also treat the patients like human beings and not things on a conveyor belt.  </>rant

so i had to have this colonoscopy because i was experiencing a concerning amount of bleeding from my rectum after my marathon.  in hindsight (no pun intended) it is entirely because i was dehydrated and under fueled.  a doctor i work with informed me that it is likely i was suffering from ischemic gut.  this affliction is compounded by the fact that my migraine medication (topamax) has the unfortunate side effect of diarrhea which certainly doesn't help things.  runners trots has nothin' on me!  basically they found after my colonoscopy that i have a beautiful, pristine, problem free colon... my intestines are lovely... perfection really.  i was given the diagnosis of a whole lot of nothing at all wrong with me.  i was also told to try taking in some fiber.  um, ok.  thanks for nothing.

what i probably looked like 'cept i wasn't wearing
underpants or drooling or bald or homer.
nothing like having a camera shoved up one's arse and wiggled around for no good reason.  the funny part of the colonoscopy story is that they basically roofie you so you don't remember the procedure.  i remember the nurse pushing the medication into my iv.  i remember it hurting and burning and being incredibly uncomfortable.  i remember the tech telling me to turn onto my left side.  then i remember ABSOLUTELY NOTHING until i'm watching this HUGE TV OF MY COLON.

this is a reenactment of the one-sided conversation that ensued:

doctor 1 to doctor 2: "take a sample right there."
me: "no! do NOT take a sample right there! now look!  you made me bleed!"

i don't recall if anyone responded to me.

doctor 1 to doctor 2:  "take a sample there."
me: "no!  don't take another sample! you made me bleed again!"

then i remember nothing until they're asking me if it's ok to call my husband.  then i remember my husband being there and the nurse giving him some directions that i don't remember.  then i remember doctor 2 telling me that i was right and they found nothing.  that i'm perfectly healthy.

while i'm happy about that i'm also thinking that is super lame and stupid because it doesn't solve my problem.

so what is ischemic (is-KEY-mik) gut?  glad you asked... ischemic gut aka ischemic colitis is a sudden swelling of part or all of the intestine that occurs when there is a temporary lost of or reduction in blood flow.  there are innumerable things that can cause this including exercise (although it's supposedly uncommon).  strenuous physical activities, such as long distance running or cycling, have been reported to lead to colonic ischemia, presumably by physiologic shunting caused by mesenteric vasoconstriction and intravascular volume depletion from dehydration.  (SEE dehydration! that's totally my problem!)  basically, when you're running your blood flow is diverted from other parts of your body... um, like your legs (duh).  effectively cutting off flow to the intestines to get blood down to the legs... but then when the blood redistributes back to the intestines shit gets real (pun intended)...  and not in a good way.

in hindsight (which is always 20/20) the fact that i didn't consume all of the water in my water bottle as well as the fact that i stopped taking in supplemental nutrition at or around mile 7 is EXACTLY why my body freaked out.  i didn't even realize that i had almost a full water bottle until i finished!  it was cool out so i wasn't sweating much and didn't realize that i was barely drinking anything.  plus... i felt FINE until mile 13.  add to that i consumed way too much caffeine and it was a recipe for disaster.

i think i'll start the fiber regime soon.  i'll keep ya posted on how that's all working out.  since i'm not training right now i'm really only running around 25-30 miles a week and keeping it to 3 days a week.  2 short and 1 long run.  i'd like to run more but my work schedule is just not allowing it right now.  i just gave my notice at the temp job i've been working for the past 2 months and i start a new job on the 24th.  i'm super excited about it!  i will have stable work hours then and hopefully will get my running schedule back on track.  i get a one hour lunch and am wondering if i can pull off a runch a couple times a week but i'm not sure i'll be able to.  might not be good to be all sweaty and gross, but we'll see.  maybe i can pull it off once a week for 2-3 miles.

and that's all i have to say about that.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Milwaukee Beer Run 5K & .05K

Milwaukee Beer Run 5K & .05K - November 2, 2014
time = 24.35
pace = 7:55
placed 3 in my age group (40-44) out of 131
placed 13 in women out of 1061
placed 48 overall out of 1542

i want to preface this by saying that the course ran long.  turns out that the race organizers (via twitter) said that they made it long for "safety" at the turn around.  what a crock of shit.  the turn around went off the path onto a gravel chunk around some trees and back onto the path.  i've run the striders half that past 2 years and they have a turn around right on the path with no issue so i'm not sure what this race thought might be the issue with safety... makes me wonder if these people are even runners?  my garmin said 3.31 which puts my pace at 7:26 and considering my splits were 7:09, 7:31, and 7:35... i'm going with that.  i'm not buying the 7:55.  that's straight bullshit.  why this matters to me?  well, because i'm hyper-competetive.

bib and mug goodness

so... the race.  i'll say nice stuff first because there's not a whole lot to say:  the best thing about this race is that they gave out a hoodie and a beer mug!  that alone was worth the race fee.  even though i don't drink beer the mug is pretty great and it's cool that i have a mug that commemorates a race i've done.  estabrook park is pretty, and all things considered the day was perfect for racing.

i am disappointed that they didn't have age group awards.  this is a draw for me in that part of the reason i run races is for the recognition.  it's a hold over from my childhood (probably) and some serious psychobabble garbage but whateves... i like to be recognized for my accomplishments.  running is hard and (in my opinion) running a 5K FAST is REALLY hard.  i want it to be noted that i've tried to do that.  gosh... seriously not enough attention as a child... lol!

so THAT was a bummer.  the second bummer was that it was cold out.  i was really hoping that it would still be sorta warm given that it was 70 degrees only 2 weeks ago.  no dice... it was 35 degrees as we were sitting in the car waiting for the race.  it may have been in the mid-40s by the start.  the third bummer was that i was running this on a totally empty stomach because i am having a colonoscopy tomorrow and can have nothing solid today.  sucks.

at the start of the race there was confusion about where we were supposed to be.  the .05K went first and there were people milling all over the course so no one seemed to really know what was going on.  once those "racers" took off then the rest of the runners seemed to figure out what was going on and got out of the way.  after that was done then the 5K runners began lining up.  the organizers decided to do waves.
the people standing in front of me
8min mile and under first wave.  unfortunately people didn't listen and i was standing behind 3 people who were absolutely not running an 8min mile or faster.  i guess that's par for the course tho'... at the end kellie told me the same thing happened to her and she was stuck behind a whole group of people who she couldn't get around and she ended up missing her PR by 2 minutes or something ridiculously tiny like that!  it really doesn't take much...

kellie and i - happy finishers
another thing i noticed was that the volunteers at the water station were just standing there... they weren't handing out the water to anyone.  maybe they weren't instructed on how to do this?  i thought that was surprising... they must have gotten the hang of it because after the turn around they were doing it.  or maybe they were told not to do it until after people started heading back?  either way... poorly organized and disappointing.

the course was pretty unremarkable.  it was an out and back on the oak leaf trail.  pretty much following the same course as the striders half.  i like the out and backs only because you can see who's ahead of you.  other than that not so much.  this race i was really annoyed by the out and back because the runners on the way out were running 4-5 deep and edging us on the way back off the trail.  i actually yelled at a few of them to move over.  probably because i was finding it so challenging to continue running at a fast pace and with no nutrition to speak of.  i was getting more and more irritable by the second.  to say that i enjoyed this race would be a low down dirty lie.

this race left much to be desired.  i will not be running it again.

i suppose it is as much my fault as it is the race's for why i didn't enjoy it.  a race like this is going to draw non-runners and that will explain the lack of etiquette on the course with the 4-5 deep run/walkers as well as the starting in the wrong corrals and not caring about it.

i guess i take my running too seriously to run races like these.  if i'm going to pay for a race then i want to get out of it what i want to get out of it.  i'm just not a fun run kind of runner.