Saturday, October 17, 2015

mysterious human condition

so the mystery that is the human body has struck again.  since all these weird things have been going on with my body since 6/9/15 i've seen a few different doctors.  i saw the last one (a rheumatologist) the day after lakefront (10/5/15).  his purpose is to look deeper into body issues that are immune system related.    he examined me, exalted my excellent health (thank you running), and then told me i have some weird disease that effects the blood vessels in my fingers and toes causing them to spasm and not circulate the blood properly.

ERMAHGERD! what does this mean?!?   you may be asking... well, nothing really.  it means that my fingers and toes are freaking cold all the time. he seemed pretty excited to diagnose me with it.  he said that i'm fortunate because i'm a runner and that keeps my blood circulating better than most people with this disease.  so i guess if/when i ever stop running it could cause me some serious trouble.  the good news is that i have no plans of THAT ever happening so there's that.

after that he took pretty much all the blood in my body and then sent me on my way.  i was given the results the following monday night right after a huge tree fell on my car.  here's a couple of pictures of the huge tree on my car:

more about the tree later... so the results of my blood tests came back and basically THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME! what?  i mean... what?!?  the doctor said that he isn't sure what is causing my symptoms, but that he wouldn't rule out my birth control (which i have recently switched to two months prior to the onset of my symptoms).  i have yet to talk to my PCP about this because when i initially told him i believed it to be my birth control he shot that down immediately.  i may have also failed to mention that i saw an allergist the friday before lakefront and when i got those results back they showed that i am severely allergic to perch fish, cod fish, and dust mites... go figure. 

ok... the tree.  

so that monday night it was pretty windy, but only for seriously like 30 minutes.  in that short period of time a huge tree fell over in front of our house right onto our driveway and both my husband and my cars.  my car took the brunt of it and has since been totaled by our insurance company.  such a bummer.  going from no car payment to a car payment.  *sigh*...  the funny part (not haha funny) about this is no one heard it happen.  our neighbors went outside to walk the dog and saw the tree laying across our cars and were nice enough to come over and tell us.  then random neighbors for the next 1 1/2 came over to tell us about the tree.  one of our neighbors even went so far as to call the city to come take care of it.  it was, after all, a city tree that fell on our property.  they came quite promptly about 2 hours later and cut it off of our cars and hauled it away.

i guess the blessing is that if a tree wouldn't have taken out my car and i tried to trade it in i would have gotten next to nothing for it so this way i get a grip of cash to use as a downpayment for a new car.  silver lining... 
so that's what's been going on with me.  i got to run today.  just 3 miles but they were pain free.  my leg didn't feel exactly "normal", but i'll take painfree and abnormal over painful any day of the week. we'll see... i just want to run comfortably and happily.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

no running for 2 weeks... 8 days left.

so lakefront was on a sunday, i was off work the following monday (had to see the rheumatologist... more on that after i get the results back next week), back at work on tuesday and still pretty sore.

by wednesday i woke up no longer sore, but when i got out of bed my left shin (the one i've been having trouble with since the beginning of august) hurt pretty bad.  i figured i might want to call my PT and get some advice about when/if i should begin running again. i was told no running for 2 weeks.  *sigh*

 wisconsin orthopedic physical therapy.  i got in to see mike right away that day.  he needled my shin and i had (basically) immediate relief.  then he touched my calf.  ugh... the muscles of my right calf were so knotted up that he decided to needle those to the tune of around 5 needles.  not fun but it works so i'm really not complaining as much as i'm complaining.

then a few more days after that when i got up in the morning not only did my shin hurt but the pain extended down into the first joint of my second toe.  weird, i know.  so i called on friday to make an appointment with my trusty PT over at

so... what's a runner to do when a runner can't run?  "projects".

on friday i went out and decided i was going to do a bathroom "project".  we went to michael's and i bought some chalk paint (not to be confused with paint that is actually chalk or that chalkBOARD paint).  chalk paint is basically very flat paint that feels chalky to the touch.  i'm not going to say it turned out exactly as i envisioned but it turned out and that's better than what it looked like before.  plus... first time so there's that.

before... white with lavender doors on the shelf.  the walls are lavender too but that will change soon.

after... brown with "aged or weathered" areas where some blue is showing through.
natural lighting.

after... brown with "aged or weathered" areas where some blue is showing through.
unnatural lighting.

not only have i done this, but i've also put together my tentative 2016 race schedule... cuz... racing.

it looks something like this right now:

april - sweet home milwaukee 5K
may - ice age 50K
june - summerfest rock 'n sole 1/2
july - dances with dirt either the 1/2 again or the 50K - i'm undecided
august - maybe the strider's 1/2 or some 5K's instead
september - tosafest 5K, instep trail races 1/2 or full not sure, joe's run/walk/roll 5K
october - lakefront marathon (now my nemesis)

i need to get some 5K's in my mix.  i have found that when i was running primarily 5K's i was almost a minute faster per mile so i need to really focus on fitting some in.  once i switched to longer distances and coupled that with primarily trail... i got slower.  a lot slower, and we all know i want to be fast.

what races is everyone thinking about next season?  any fun 5K's that i don't know about?  tell me tell me!  i'm open to suggestions!

lastly,  i'll leave you with this goofy picture of me, my brother and sister. this is probably from the early 90's.  you're welcome.

why yes... my hair is navy blue thank you very much.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon - 26.2

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon - October 4, 2015
time = 4:01:45
pace = 9:14
7mi = 57:59 (2 min faster than last year)
13.1mi = 1:54:06 (30 sec faster than last year)
20mi = 2:55:57 (4 min & 3 sec slower than last year)
placed 40 in my age group (40-44) out of 167
placed 291 in women out of 1083
placed 899 overall out of 2281
link to strava data

to say that i'm disappointed with my results would be an accurate assessment.  i went into this race with three main goals and one final death march goal:
  1. to boston qualify
  2. to beat my time from last year
  3. to finish in 4:00 or under
  4. to finish at all
i started with the 3:40 pace group because there wasn't a 3:45 and i figured... what the hell?  i could bank some miles and then let them go if i felt that i couldn't keep up.  the weather was perfect!  50 degrees, overcast, and very little wind to speak of.   my shin felt really good the whole time so i was pleasantly surprised.  i was running really comfortably at this pace and holding my own... it was glorious!

at mile 6ish i knew that concordia was coming up and that i would need to use the bathroom so i picked up the pace in hopes of not losing my pace group when i inevitably stopped at mile 7.  unfortunately i did not put enough space between us before i sat down, and i lost my pace group. i'm not sure if that slowed me more mentally or physically.  i feel like losing them definitely effected my pace in that i tend to slow down when i get into my head.  at least when i'm following someone i keep up.  so after i lost them i slowed by a barely noticeable 20sec per mile.  while i could afford that... it certainly hurt me.  at mile 13 i stopped again for a bathroom break and to switch out my empty water bottle for a full one from my husband (as is evident by my mile 14 split).  it was really great to see my husband and son all the times i saw them along the course.  shortly after i saw my family i saw a few more friendly faces:  ami and todd.  it's really nice to see people you know when running a race.  it is encouraging.

at mile 18 i am still on par to finish ahead of schedule and ahead of last year's time.  not a boston qualifying time, but i can make goal 2... and this is when it all started going down hill.  my left hip started to really bother me.  it was becoming more and more painful with each passing mile beginning somewhere around 10.  by 18 it was a challenge to run normally and at the pace i had been holding.  so rather than let that get the best of me i started pulling over to the side and stretching my hip and walking a little here and there.  this significantly effected my pace.  by the time i hit 20mi i was trying not to cry.  i reassessed and gave up goal 2.  now it was a fight to the finish in under 4 hours.  i was playing mind games with myself... telling myself that 6mi is nothing.  i run that all the time... piece of cake.  i can do that in less than an hour.  little did i know that my body had other plans.

every time i would walk or want to walk i would tell myself that i should just run or keep running because then i will get there faster and be done faster and then i will be done altogether.  it's funny the things we tell ourselves when we are in pain to keep going.

i was making deals with myself.  bribing myself.  it was quite humorous.

the last 4-5 miles were brutal.  every time i would walk i would cry it would hurt so badly.  so i would start to run and that looked comical like a cross between that drunk squirrel that everyone posts on the internets and someone that shit their pants and is wearing shoes 3 sizes too small at the same time.  the inner dialog assessment of my body at that moment went something like this:

"man, my left hip hurts, the back of my right knee feels like there might be a tear, hmmmm what the hell is wrong with my left foot?  is it broken?  damn that hurts... why does my right foot hurt now?  what is going on... did i break my left foot?  what is going on with my ankles?  why do they feel like that?  are they giving out on me?  what the hell?!?  am i going to make it to the end of this thing?  it hurts more to walk so i'm not doing that if i can help it..."

and on i ran.  one mile left to go and i'm walking and decidedly NOT crying and the 4:00 pace group passes me.  fuckers.  i start my hobble run and hope it turns into more of a real run.  i am determined to run it in no matter how much it hurts.  i keep running as i watch person after person pass me.  as i watch 26.2 come and go i start cursing the course.  it is LONG goddamnit!  now i have to run .2 more!  i want to cry!

i come into the finisher shoot and there are so many people.  i really just want to be done so i can stop and my hip will stop screaming at me.  i just want to stop.  i see the clock... 4:01... damn.

so my last goal... the obvious one that there's no way i would fail at unless i broke a limb... just finish.

and so i did.

i am fortunate that i can run.  i am fortunate that i can accomplish the things that my body and mind allow me to accomplish.  i am so very proud of my accomplishment today even if i didn't quite hit the mark i was aiming for.

i look so much stronger than i feel in this
photo!  last 4-5 miles
not exactly sure but i think this was around mile 7
when i still felt pretty damn good
i look better than i thought here.
this is the last 4-5 miles

and... finished!  looking stronger than i
anticipated.  so happy to be done!

so much happier looking now that i'm done running