Posts Tagged ‘illness & injury’

I’ve got the blues. Mississippi Blues Half Marathon Report

Date: January 9, 2016

Distance: 13.12

Location: Jackson, MS

Time: 2:41:16

Denise and I had plans to run the MS/AL back-to-back races last year but, as luck would have it, we were both injured so we weren’t able to run the series. Months ago, I signed up for both races again (Mississippi Blues and First Light), expecting that 2016 would work. Unfortunately, Denise is still rehabbing and wasn’t ready for the timing of these again. As much as I hated to do these by myself, I really didn’t want to forfeit the race entry fees AGAIN, and my Mobile hotel reservation was non-refundable so I decided to go ahead and knock these out by myself. This gave me the blues.

Getting There & Race Packets–To save money, I decided to use flight benefits to fly non-rev to these races. This plan worked getting there–as long as I got a bit creative since all of the SLC-ATL flights were oversold. (On Delta, one must fly through Atlanta in order to get to Jackson). To get there, I had to fly through San Diego, then Atlanta, then Jackson. A pretty circuitous route to take, but I couldn’t see any other options. That made for a very long travel day on Friday–the day before the race–and I arrived to the race expo with only minutes to spare before they closed. Still, I got there.MississippiBlues

The race packets, by the way, were nice. Not only did they include a solid, reusable tote bag, but–in honor of the race theme–they also included a B.B. King CD and a harmonica. Nice touch and very unique as far as race packets go. The race shirts, too, were a nice long-sleeved tech material. The race medals, too, were great.

The Race–The weather forecast warned of rain and possible thunderstorms which, unfortunately, turned out to be accurate. This really gave me the blues. Luckily, I had brought a throw-away rain poncho to wear as I was waiting for the race to start so I wouldn’t be drenched and freezing before the race started. Also, about three miles in, the rain started to subside. That was great for me, but the runners completing the full marathon were not as lucky because even more forceful rain–including lightning–arrived as almost all of them were still completing the course. We were warned ahead of time of possible race delays or even a cancellation if the lightening created dangerous conditions, but luckily, the race went on as scheduled for everyone.

The course was deceptively hilly, which I wasn’t expecting. The course map showed elevation changes of about 500 feet total, throughout the course, but there was a lot more up and down than I expected. That, too, gave me the blues. My race strategy, then, was to take things really easy–particularly since my training regimen included about 10% of the long runs I SHOULD have run in preparation for the race, but didn’t. I also didn’t want to be completely spent for the next day’s race.

While I started with a very defined run/walk strategy, that went out the window about four miles in when I pretty much started walked up the hills and through the aid stations but ran when the course was flat or downhill. I really liked that the course took us through the downtown area and some nice residential areas. That’s always a great way to see the local architecture and get a feel for the city.

I finished in a fairly respectable time, considering my lack of preparation, the race day conditions, and the course. Good race–definitely recommended. I was also particularly happy about the fact that the hotel was so close to the starting/finishing locations. That’s worth a lot.

Highlights–I wouldn’t say there was a lot of crowd support at this race, but that would be expected because of the weather. The people who were out cheering the runners, though, were among the best. A few people were having all-out parties on their front lawns as they watched the runners. One group even had a bonfire going and had set up a table–similar to an aid station–that offered free beer. I passed on that offer, but was amused nonetheless. A couple of other families offered donuts to runners as they passed by. One sign read, “Sorry for all the potholes–have a donut hole.” Clever.

Travel Between Races–I could have signed up for bus service that shuttled racers between the races, but I decided I really didn’t want to have to follow other people’s travel times so I rented a car and drove the three-and-a-half hours to Mobile. I really missed Denise during this part of the weekend. She’s always a great navigator and helps me decide when to listen to the navigation instructions offered by my phone and when to ignore them. We also use that travel time to talk and catch up. I missed that. I’m also really glad I decided to drop off my car in Mobile rather than return it back to Jackson. After driving that route once, I really didn’t want to do it again the very next day.

Race Etiquette/Tips–This race and the Mobile race the next day, prompted me to think a lot about how so many people have taken up running and are new to racing. I’m really happy about this because that means more and more people are seeing how enjoyable races can be. Because so many are new, however, it’s pretty clear they are still learning some generally accepted race protocols. Here’s what I wish everyone knew.

  1. Your race number goes somewhere on the FRONT of your body–not the back. It needs to be visible to race officials and photographers at all times during the race, otherwise they cannot identify you. This can be a little tricky when you dress in layers. In consideration of this, when I start with a top layer and expect to remove it at some point during the race, I will usually attach my race bib to my shorts or other race bottoms instead of my shirt.
  2. Be considerate of everyone else and keep your noise to yourself. That means: don’t have your headphones turned up so high everyone around you can identify the song and artist you are jamming out to. Even worse, don’t be that person who listens to music without headphones at all. No, we don’t all love your playlist selection. Please don’t share. Also in the “too noisy” category? Runners who wear bells on their shoes. Really? People do that? Yes. And it’s downright annoying.
  3. Not everyone likes conversation. Be mindful of the fact that while some people might appreciate your company and conversation during a race, others will find it irritating. If in doubt, ask or learn to read body language.
  4. Spectators and their pets are not there to receive unsolicited hugs or attention. For some reason, I see more and more runners who act like they are celebrities on stage–out there to greet their adoring fans–to the point where they feel a need to pet every dog they see or hug every child or person in uniform along the course in a much-too-enthusiastic way. I don’t know where this is coming from, but I’m pretty sure not all of the people (and pets) on the receiving end don’t enjoy it. A quick wave, smile, or “thank you” to volunteers along the course is a nice courtesy. An all-out hug may not be appreciated. You also don’t know how a dog might react to your invasion of his/her space.
  5. Signal your fellow runners when you are about to slow down or change course. When you stop running and decide to walk instead, remember there are people behind you still running who may trip over you or plow you over. Before you decide to abruptly change pace, move over to the side of the course and signal those behind you. The most common signal I see is a raised hand to indicate you are slowing down. To those of you who use some sort of “I’m getting out of your way and slowing down” signal–I thank you. (I know, as if I’m a fast runner and can’t possibly slow down in time). That’s rather funny.
  6. Don’t block the course. This applies to walkers who insist on walking right down the middle of the road, but even more so, this applies to pairs or groups of people. If you are walking two or three abreast, the middle of the course is NOT where you should be. In fact, some courses really aren’t good for walking in groups at all, depending on how wide the course is. Think about this when you go through aid stations too. Get your beverage and keep moving. You don’t want to make faster runners have to constantly swerve and dodge you and your pals.

Thanks for considering these etiquette tips. As more of us are sharing race courses, these are ways we can make the race experience a better one for everybody. Happy (friendly) running!

Appalachian Series, or “what kind of person uses vacation time to do this sh*t?”

Date: October 11-15, 2015

Distance: 13.1 + 13.1 +13.1 +13.1 

Location: West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolinamedal

This was the second race series I have completed with Mainly Marathons–the first one being the Independence Series this past spring. Touted as “the world’s best 5-day and 7-day multi-state races series,” I would have to say they certainly live up to that slogan.

In short, I would describe these races as being perfect for anyone who is trying to complete full marathons, half marathons, or 5K races in all fifty states–or for anyone who simply loves an excuse to travel and spend time with like-minded, friendly, race enthusiasts who care far less about finish times than they do about savoring the moment and celebrating friendships and shared experiences.

lot

First Day. Luckily, the rain quit the morning of the race and the weather stayed clear the rest of the week.

The entire race series–all seven days–also included the states of Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Fortunately, I had already completed races in GA and TN, and I plan to finish Alabama this coming January so I got to skip out on those. Plenty of other runners, however, savored all seven days of full marathons. Being around these folks makes me feel a bit like a slacker since I only did the half distance and I only did four of them.

West Virginia and Virginia

Nonetheless, for me that was plenty challenging. The first two races were both held in Bluefield, WV/VA–two consecutive days of running the same, hilly course. They counted as two separate states, however, because day one started in WV and day two started in VA. The park where we ran conveniently crossed the state border. I wasn’t sure how I would like running the same course two days in a row, but it was beautiful and that made it enjoyable. It was also, however, humid and hilly, and I think the hills contributed to me hurting my knee during the first day, despite my efforts to run much slower than normal (2:56:30). The knee thing surprised me since that was a completely new injury–one of the ligaments or tendons behind my knee on the outer edge started hurting quite a bit near the end.trail

My sore knee meant that I pretty much walked the entire second day (3:41:21) and hoped my ability to skip day three of the series (TN) would allow me to be good to go for day four after rest, ice, and ibuprofen.

Despite my sore knee being a bummer, day two brought me a very good present–my husband was able to fly out and join me for the rest of the week. I was really happy he was able to do that so he could see first-hand what these races are like and so we could spend some rare time together. His job requires constant travel so we really appreciate the times we are able to be together. Plus, I’m not gonna lie–having someone else to drive the 2-3 hours between races was a godsend.

The first evening he arrived, we even enjoyed a great “date night” with a fabulous dinner and movie in Morganton, NC. That made this week feel much more like a vacation.

North Carolina

As hoped, my knee felt much better by race #3. I was also pleasantly surprised that my ankle wasn’t giving me any grief, as that tends to be my nagging sore spot when I increase mileage. Day three, again, brought beautiful weather–sunny skies and no wind. This course, too, was very nice. All of the courses in this series were held at local parks with nicely paved running paths. Still, I took things easy (2:51:14), and even walked the entire last lap (about two miles) with my husband. That was really nice to be able to do. shirt

South Carolina

My last day was my favorite day. The course was easier and I felt really good. Still, after having run three previous races, my time was slower than usual, but I ended up finishing with my fastest time of the series: 2:43:25. For me, I’ve found that some combination of running and walking was best–particularly since I was having knee troubles earlier in the week. For this race, I ran .4, then walked .1 and kept up that pattern pretty much the whole way. It worked because I was able to finish without hurting, was satisfied with my time, and even had none of the usual quad soreness that I often get the next morning following any race. Success.

On a side note, congratulations to Mainly Marathons–this raced marked the 100th race of the races they have put on as part of a race series (they started these three years ago).

About out and backs. All of the races with Mainly Marathons are out-and-backs. At first, I thought, “how boring to run the same loop six or seven times.” What I have found, however, is the benefits of this set up far outweigh the negatives. Having a centralized check in point allows for a “base camp” at the start and finish. Base camp is where the timers are, where the water table is (you provide your own water bottle and they fill it up for you with your choice of water or Gatorade), where you can stash your gear (my outer layer almost always comes off about 1-2 miles in), and–perhaps most notably–it’s where the food truck is. An out-and-back course also means no one ever feels as though they are in last place and you get to see the same friendly, familiar faces time and time again and lots of nods, smiles, and “great jobs” are exchanged between runners throughout the race.

Oh, and the food. I wrote about my food amazement when I described the Independence series–the variety of food available to the runners is second to none. Thanks to Mainly Marathons, I’ve found that one of my favorite mid-race snacks is a quarter-sized peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with cinnamon raisin bread. And, awesome post-run fuel might include homemade blueberry pancakes, banana bread, brownies, quesadillas, or gourmet-styled grilled cheese sandwiches. Those offerings are in addition to chips, candies, and a plethora of other options.

As with last time, I embarked on this trip with the illusion of being able to easily drop a couple of pounds due to all the running I would be doing. Instead, these races make it quite possible to more than make up for your calorie burn. (Plus the post race burgers, Mexican food, and beers I indulged in didn’t help either). Oh, well. Vacation, right?

Inspirations. Another reason I like these races has to do with the people who manage them (the support crew is awesome) as are the people who run them. I’m particularly impressed with the folks who complete full marathons (26.2 miles) every day of the series–some who even do it in under four hours each day–while smiling and encouraging others along the way (thanks, Vincent).

I was also lucky to have met Sharon. Sharon and I shared a shuttle to the airport as we were picking up our rental cars prior to day one of the series. I learned that Sharon–who is in her seventies–has run full marathons on all seven continents and has almost reached her goal of completing full marathons in all fifty states–for the sixth time. The SIXTH time! 

Amazingly, there are others like Sharon. A lot of people drawn to these races have clearly been running almost their whole lives. I’m sure, like Vincent and Sharon, there are many more stories of similar accomplishments, based on the number of “seasoned” runners along the course who delight in talking about running. As I passed groups of people talking, I could hear they were almost always sharing running stories and talking about future race plans. That made me smile.

I’m much closer now. My goal to complete a half marathon in all fifty states is now even more within reach–only nine more states to go. Compared to Vincent and Sharon and the many others like them, however, I’m reminded that my goal is easy compared to what they have accomplished. I’m both inspired and humbled by them and the many others who shared their encouraging words with me this week. They have no idea how much their “Looking strong,” “Keep it up,” and “Good going” comments meant.

Perfectly stated.

Perfectly stated.

Missing my running pal. I missed my running partner, Denise, during this series. We ran the Independence Series together (and most of our other previous races as well), but the timing for her didn’t work out with this one. I’ll also need to catch up on four of the New England states without her this coming spring as she was able to do the New England Series this past August and I wasn’t able to tag along for that one. The New England Series will take place again this coming May.

Why do this? Not everyone will understand why I enjoy racing or why anyone would spend an entire week of vacation time to put themselves through a bit of pain, a lot of driving, a string of cheap hotels, and early morning wake up calls. For me, it has everything to do with the satisfaction I get from accomplishing goals, feeling stronger, and getting to hang out like-minded, positive people. We are all out there running (or walking) at our own pace without regard to finish times or prize money. We are there for the community, the excuse to travel to places we would otherwise never see, and we are out there running because we can.

Me time

Date: April 14, 2013

Distance: 9.93 miles (I know, I should have gone the few extra yards to make it an even ten).

Time: 1:57:53

_________________________________________________

me time

from Google images

It’s been so long since I’ve run, I’m surprised I could find my running shoes.

My week-long vacation in Hawaii put me in the “be lazy and enjoy the food and drinks” mindset that most vacations tend to do. And then, unfortunately, I was hit with a pretty bad cold right when I got back home which forced me to put off my runs and yoga sessions even further.

I’ll also admit that the past few days I felt well enough to resume my workouts but lacked motivation. “It’s too cold.” “It’s too dark.” “I’m too busy.” “I really need to (fill in blank) instead.” You get the idea.

Yesterday, I paid the price.

I was hit with a migraine headache–only the fifth or sixth one I’ve ever had–and I’m sure it was triggered by the fact that I haven’t been exercising and I decided it would be a good idea to eat three sugar-laden donuts.

Wake up call.

Put simply, I was reminded that I feel great when I am eating well and exercising regularly; I feel like crap when I don’t.

Just two days ago, I was talking with someone who shared with me that her doctor has told her she needs to lose weight and has instructed her to start exercising. While she acknowledged that would be a good idea, she said, “I’m just really busy and when I have to choose between exercise or ‘me time,’ I choose ‘me time.'”

Her comment sounded so odd to me because, to me, exercise IS “me time.” Going out for a run or attending a 90-minute yoga class often feels like an indulgence to me. It’s time when no one bothers me and when I am forced only to focus and breathe. Sure, I also know that exercising is good for me and I know it’s something I should do, but I also get so much reward from it. When I’m running or in a yoga class, I can’t do laundry, wash dishes, check email, pay bills, or whatever other mundane chores fill my daily life.

It’s all about mindset. If we look at exercising as a chore, we often avoid it. If we look at exercise as medicinal and therapeutic, we would find more reasons to fit it into our daily life.

I know, for me, running and yoga are my therapy and my medication. It’s not selfish for me to take the time to exercise–it’s absolutely essential to my well-being.

Cruel Nebraska

Date: October 13, 2013

Distance: 13.1 miles

Time: 2:34:27

The inaugural Monument Half Marathon in Scottsbluff, Nebraska was certainly memorable.

Denise with Scotts Bluff in the background–before the skies opened up.

Pros:

  • Very friendly volunteers and race organizers.
  • Amazing, plentiful swag that included such random items as an air freshener, a bag of pinto beans and a bean cookbook.
  • Hospitable hotel that even gave out its own race swag bag and provided a free, pre-race feast.
  • Nice course that included a portion of the Oregon Trail.
  • Ten hours of road trip, girl time with BFF, Nis.

Cons:

  • Worst race weather ever!
  • Denise’s calf pain during the race.

Several days before and after the race included cloud-free skies and warm temperatures, but the day of the race (of course) we were met with menacing clouds and winds. The winds were so high that I wasn’t even able to wear a hat because it kept blowing off of my head. The three hundred or so half marathoners gathered at the start and apprehensively looked to the sky, trying to predict what the day would bring. Following the singing of the National Anthem, we made our way towards a famous local landmark, Scotts Bluff–a large sandstone formation that served as a landmark and signal to pioneers who traveled along the Oregon Trail in the 1800s.

The first three miles of the course included the biggest incline of the whole race where we were greeted with (I’m guessing) 30 mph headwinds and the beginning of slight rainfall. The winds were so strong I couldn’t even hear my music through my headphones, despite the loud volume setting. Denise and I both knew from the beginning that this race would not bring PR times. We simply gritted our teeth, put our heads down, and forged ahead at a slower pace than normal, expecting things to get better once we made it to the top of the hill.

Me–windblown and soaked at the finish. Forcing a smile.

We enjoyed the next four our five miles after we were greeted with a gradual downhill descent, subsiding winds, no rain, and picturesque scenery along a gravel and dirt road with sandstone formations all around. At this point, our pace quickened and we realized that 2:20 was well within reach.

Until we hit about mile eight, that is.

Just past the mid-point of the race, Denise experienced severe cramping in her right calf. She was hurting to the point of saying she might not be able to finish. This has been a recent nagging injury for her that she only experiences on long runs and seems to be aggravated by cold and hills–which we were certainly experiencing.

I’m glad she was able to continue running the rest of the way. She did finish, and I’m amazed. I could tell she was in severe pain the whole rest of the race. To make things worse, at this point, the menacing clouds dumped torrents of rain and brought more winds until the end.

The finish line was a more welcome sight than it is at most races and the announcer read our names, where we were from, and announced to the sparse crowd of spectators that Denise and I had both just completed races in eighteen states.

When the race was over and volunteers removed our timing chips, handed us our medals and wrapped us in space blankets (thank goodness), I realized that I was so cold I couldn’t feel my fingers.

No dawdling in the food lines, looking for the free beer garden, chatting with other racers, or savoring the moment for us–we immediately made our way to the parking lot and drove as quickly as we could to the hotel which promised hot showers and dry clothes.

Nebraska is over. Thank you, God.

The first messages I received from Denise after getting home? She’s got a doctor appointment scheduled and she’s found two back-to-back races in neighboring states the weekend of May 4th and 5th.

That’s my girl.

The Big Easy

Date: March 4, 201

Distance: 13.1 miles

Time: 2:36:01

If I had to sum up my New Orleans weekend in a few words, I would need to make sure to include: Bourbon Street, new friends, Jon Bon Jovi, mechanical bulls, jambalaya, zydeco, three card poker, blisters created BEFORE the race, a couple of phrases I really shouldn’t repeat in a blog that my parents and kids can see, and Krystal Burger. Oh, yeah, and there was also a race thrown in there somewhere.

The much-anticipated girls’ weekend started on Thursday when I saw my friend, Caree, and her friend, Ryndee as our travel itineraries merged at the Salt Lake City International Airport.

During our relatively brief flight to Los Angeles, we lightheartedly chatted about our upcoming weekend and our families, and then seamlessly transitioned into discussions that new acquaintances generally don’t share on airplanes. When I saw how easily we started talking about topics that are usually reserved for only the closest of friends, I knew right away that this would be no ordinary weekend.

Our hotel was conveniently located on the corner of Canal and Bourbon—the edge of the French Quarter, and we wasted no time getting out to explore. None of us had been to New Orleans before, and Caree quickly dubbed it, “Las Vegas on steroids.”  Yes, everything you may have heard about the French Quarter is true. I’ll let you ponder that statement on your own.

After delayed flights, missed connections, and thousands of extra flight miles added to Denise and Debbie’s travel plans, they both finally arrived at about midnight and we gave them a limited tour of the French Quarter and a re-cap of our adventures that included Caree riding a mechanical bull, and not remembering the next morning that she did until we showed her the video and photos to prove it. The evening ended at three a.m. and we capped it off with my first taste of Krystal Burger—a restaurant we would visit the next night as well due to its convenient location so near our hotel and its 24-hour availability. Yes, I blew two months of dieting in one weekend.

I can’t possibly capture our experiences in the French Quarter in writing, but I can say we all enjoyed a fairly complete New Orleans experience without compromising our morals or our marriages—and that’s not something everyone we saw on Bourbon Street could say.

Denise and I have been friends for over twenty-five years, but I had never met Debbie before. She is a co-worker of Denise’s and, as I happily learned, is a distant cousin of mine. Small world. I had run races with Denise and Caree before, but not Ryndee and Debbie. It was so fun to get to know them and after this weekend, I have made two new friends for life.

The race—our excuse to all meet up in New Orleans—was great. Caree completed the full marathon (she is my hero) and the rest of us ran the half. The weather was perfect—clear skies, only a slight wind, and nice racing temperatures—50 degrees at the start, and climbing to 70 later in the day.

I had to remove my new orthotics at about mile five because my feet still aren’t completely used to them and my calves and arches were starting to get sore. After I took those out of my shoes, took a Gu at about mile six, and started listening to music at about mile seven, there was no stopping us. It felt so great to run on that fast, flat, lower-than-sea level course surrounded by 20,000 other runners, live bands, cheer squads, and other spectators cheering us on. I may pay the price over the next few days, but it felt so good to run, I really saw no reason not to—especially since my foot has been feeling so good and I was taped up really well.

Neither Ryndee nor I had been able to complete our intended training plans for the race due to our respective medical issues, and we ended up running the race together the whole way. We were perfectly matched for this race—we both had to walk at times, and then wanted to run at times—pretty much at the same pace the whole way until she kicked it into high gear at the end and finished about three minutes ahead of me. Even though we ran the race at a slower pace than what we are capable of had we properly trained, we finished strong.

Ryndee’s personal journey is not mine to tell, but I will say that after I learned what she has been through over the past year, I was incredibly proud of her and happy to think that this race must have felt triumphant. Denise and Debbie both had great race times, and Caree’s full marathon finish was amazing too. I think everyone was happy with their race results.

Following the race, we all met near the stage where a really great Zydeco band played and I enjoyed a post-run sampling of jambalaya. Certainly appropriate for a race in New Orleans.

I had to leave after the race to shower, pack, and catch my flight back home. The rest of the gang stayed behind for one more night of carousing. I’m not sure I could have gone out for a third night, especially after completing a 13.1 mile race. I’m sure the rest of the girls mustered up the energy to do so, however, and I can’t wait to hear their stories.

Many people run races with particular causes in mind or in support of various charities. This race benefitted the American Cancer Society, which I was so glad to support. The five of us girls also used this race to remember and honor Sherry Arnold. If you aren’t aware of Sherry’s story, she was a teacher from Sydney, Montana, who was brutally murdered recently during an early morning run. The men who murdered her were high on drugs and simply thought it would be a good idea to go out and kill someone that day. Her death was senseless and incredibly sad on so many levels. You may read more about her story here.

All being runners from Montana, we thought that wearing signs in her honor would be one small way we would express our condolences to her family and even though we didn’t personally know her, we feel a connection to her. We can relate to her as a mother, as a wife, and feel sad for her family’s loss. Ryndee and I were glad that a few people ran up to us during the race to ask us about our signs or to let us know that they knew of Sherry’s story.

I had many opportunities over the weekend to think about some of the “big picture” things in life and death. I also thought a lot about my husband, my children, and my friends. I cherish all of the people in my life who give me such support and encouragement. So many kind, generous people make my life’s journey filled with joy and gratitude. You know who you are and I thank you.

___________________________________________

March 30, 2012 update…Ryndee was featured in her local newspaper, which also includes a group shot of our NOLA running gang. 

April 23, 2012 update…Article about Montana runner who honored Sherry during the Boston Marathon.

Walk this way

This blog has become more about “illness and injury” than “race reports” lately.

Always looking for an excuse to post a picture of ST. (ew.com)

Booooring. (Sorry).

Soon, though, I will post a race report. That’s because I received encouraging news at the podiatrist/surgeon’s office today.

Here’s what I learned.

1. Surgery is not recommended at this time. (Yay).

2. I CAN complete the New Orleans race as long as I walk. (Another yay).

3. Workouts cannot include running yet, but can include elliptical, recumbent bike, walking, yoga, and weight lifting. (I can deal).

4. The fact that I walk around my house barefoot all the time is bad. My doctor says that wearing high-heeled shoes would be better for my tendons than going barefoot. Really?! Instead, I’ve been directed to wear my running shoes with inserts until my custom orthotics are made (see #5).

5. Yep, I need custom-made orthotic inserts. No surprise there. I have high arches and have never been able to find well-fitting shoes.

Happy that I have been given the okay to complete the New Orleans race. This is the second time I’ve registered for this race and I want to finally cross Louisiana off my list, dammit.

Hopefully, wearing custom orthotics and changing my running form once I get the go ahead to start running again, will return me to racing form soon enough.

Until I get to run, I’ll just have to “walk this way…”

Control freak

Image

Google images

I’m a planner. And as much as I would like to embrace exuberant spontaneity and be more like Jim Carrey’s character in “Yes Man” who takes on the challenge of agreeing to every opportunity that is presented to him, I’m more of a “not now” or a “let me think about it” person. I often respond with a tentative, “we’ll see.”

For me, I receive a great deal of comfort in predictability and having control (or at least having the illusion of control) over my surroundings and my future plans.

Following the unexpected loss of our baby almost two years ago, my need for control went into hyper drive. That experience certainly reminded me that I am NOT in control and outcomes are often unpredictable. That tragedy prompted me to seek as many ways as possible to feel in control and in charge. I planned my schedule and everyone else’s schedules in far more detail then normal. I kept lists for not only groceries, but for everything. I made detailed meal lists. I obsessed over the family chore list. I made lists for virtually everything and then I felt crushed when the best laid plans failed to play out as I envisioned.

I’m better now. I’d like to think I’m more realistic and more aware of my obsessive/compulsive need to be in charge. I hope my family would agree that I’ve tempered that character flaw of mine, but some days I would be afraid to ask for their opinions. I know, and my family knows, that I’ll always be a control freak to some extent.

I suppose that’s why my fifty-states goal is one I so readily embraced. It gives me the opportunity to have a goal that requires making plans, following lists (training schedules), and having control over whether or not I meet my stated goals. Every day I complete a scheduled workout or every time I get to cross one more state off my list, I feel an almost addictive sense of accomplishment.

Being injured and unable to run makes me feel out of control. Again.

I don’t know how long it will take me to recover. I don’t know when I’ll be able to start running again. I don’t know when I’ll be able to complete a race again. This experience is yet another reminder that I am NOT in control and I must have the humility and patience to let someone else be in control. I need to see how the next few weeks play out without forcing my will. For me, that’s asking a lot.