Friday, April 29, 2011

Faith, worry and perspective

I am nervous. Four weeks ago, if you had asked me how I felt about the half marathon, I would have been beaming from ear to ear, full of confidence that I will not only finish, but I will finish with an average pace of about 12 minutes per mile. Since then, I have fallen apart. I have traveled quite a bit and have been dealing with this stupid calf pain for the entire month of April. It all began with the long run on my birthday, April 2.

It was 80 degrees and windy that day. I ran 6 miles before I realized that the last one was all up hill. My legs were cashed and my face was stinging from the sun and sweat. I took a left and headed for home, finishing at 6.6 miles. Four tenths of a mile short of the goal.

April 10 was the next long run and I was so excited to run the full 7 with what seemed like ease, only with a little bit of a calf cramp. I really thought I could have done more that day.

April 17, my calf cramp never went away during the week and was getting worse. Like a constant sore muscle, but I was determined to push through. At mile 7, my running buddy, Lisa Z. said her toes were asleep and were killing her, so we walked the last little bit straight back to the cars. We said we'd to 8 the following week.

April 24 Lisa and I met again, and I was telling her of how painful my calf was. It was bordering on excruciating. I walked with caution so I wasn't sure how well I could run. The answer was 2.5 miles after a week of rest. We walked 2.5 back to the car. Disappointed, discouraged, and just down right pissed off.

I am going to see my doctor on Tuesday. But I think I am on the mend. After extensive internet research and a facebook cry for help to my runner friends, the verdict was that I was dehydrated and wasn't getting all the nutrients I needed. So with a focus on MORE water (and for those of you who know about my water rationing, that's out the window! I am up to almost 2 gallons a day now), yogurt, spinach, lots of fresh fruits and veggies and of course the multivitamin. Oh, and cross training. I had been lackadaisical about that. And stretching...lots and lots of stretching several times a day. It seems to be getting better. Using the foam roller to roll out the muscle soreness also seems to be helping. But it's my right leg (the one that's had 5 or 6 knee surgeries) so I don't mess around with it too much. I want to make sure that I am not doing more harm than good to my body. I don't really want to have to have a leg transplant! (that's a joke!)

But even with all my last minute revelations, I am behind. WAY behind. I have lost enough conditioning, that my morning 5 mile run yesterday was more of a run/walk. Tomorrow I am set to run 8 miles by myself. And I am so much better when I can run with someone. Regardless, I have 15 days, 21 hours, 50 minutes and 54 seconds to figure out how I will finish 13.1 miles.

And then I found this at the bottom of a friend's unrelated email this morning:
"There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever."
Mohandas Gandhi

My goal for the Colfax marathon was never to be the fastest. It was to finish, even if I have to walk/run the entire thing. And I am not doing it for the sake of doing it, I am doing it for all the people I love who have been touched by cancer in some way, shape, or form.

I am doing this for Keith. For Uncle Jerry. For Bubba. For Granddad. I have faith that God will allow me to finish what I started, so long as I remember why I started in the first place. When you become selfish is when you lose faith. When you lose faith, you lose direction and perspective.

It will all be OK. Even if I don't meet my fundraiser goal, I am at least helping in a way that I can help.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I know I have blogged about how much I love this house! And I also know I've blogged about how much I hate my allergies. This is our first spring in this home and I am so totally in love with our back yard. But the love-hate relationship continues:

This is love. Our flowering pretty trees and our neighbor's twinkling Aspen tree with a perfect blue sky backdrop. And it all makes me so happy.

The flowers on this tree are incredible. They are the most beautiful color of pinkish-purple and the fragrance reminds me of lilacs and roses. Maybe if the two made a tree, this could be it?

But with beautiful flowers with such an incredible, almost intoxicating fragrance comes pollen. Stupid pollen. Leaving a yellow film on the patio furniture, making my nose run and eyes itch. Thanks for the tease, oh pollen you dog you.

Oh, and with that less-than-awesome pollen come these not-so-little fellas:

I am 35 and have never been stung by a bee. I have no idea what would happen if I did, but I snapped this picture and got the heck out of there! As soon as I spotted that little buzzer, I found about 100 more just like him. I am pretty sure my skin is not as appealing as that flower, but I didn't stick around long enough to find out!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Daily Grind

I am a sucker for a good routine. And when I fall out of routine, everything around me falls apart too. The last month or so has me completely out of whack! And it doesn't show sign of slowing for the spring season. I never thought I'd actually say this, but I sure hope these bankers start golfing soon. My phone will quiet and ad hoc projects will slow. I am very much looking forward to the start of the summer season.

My half marathon is only 19 days away and I have some scary news. I can't run. It began as what I thought was a cramp in my right calf. And it's turned in to what I am terrified is something much more serious. I haven't been able to run more than a couple miles before I have to stop. It's difficult to run 13.1 miles if you can't run 3. I have an appointment to see my orthopedic surgeon, but can't get in until May 3. This week my focus is on extra water, and some vitamins to make sure I don't wash out too much of the good stuff. As much cross training as I can handle, and more stretching that most humans do in a lifetime. I really need to kick this. Pun intended.

So, Lisa K., as you graduate, I am worried that I am failing. Hopefully resting last week and then changing this up this week will be just what I need to get back to where I was. I appreciate any crossed fingers and/or toes for me :-)

I will post more later in the week. For now, I just need try and clear my desk a little today!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Terrifying Realization

I am 35. But that's not the terrifying part.

I have been blessed, my whole life, by having "young" parents. It's not that my parents are any younger than my friends parents. In fact, my parents are actually older than many of my friends' parents. And when I say "young" I am not necessarily referring to age.

See, my parents look FANTASTIC for being almost mid-60's (sorry to out your secret, mom!). But it's true. With youthful appearances and a busy life, my mom and dad have remained young at heart. And because of that, I take certain youthful things for granted.

When I think about aging, I use my Dad as my benchmark. There are so many physical similarities between the two of us that I pretty much know how old I will be when a physical attribute starts to fall apart. The way I see it, I won't have to worry about gray hair for another 25 years or so.

WRONG. I have found the stray gray from time to time, and have often though the hair was gray when in reality is was just blond. Until today. Remember when I colored my hair darker? I like it. A lot. And that was several months ago. It should have washed out by now, so my stylist says this color is really close to my natural color, and I LOVE it. But I couldn't help but notice that the darker hair made my eyebrows look lighter.

Today, I was putting a little makeup on and noticed that not only do my eyebrows look even lighter than I remember, but they also seem to be shiny in places. And the shine wasn't makeup or lotion. It was gray. GRAY EYEBROWS PEOPLE!!! Can you believe it? I have some gray eyebrows.

Sigh. So, while I continue to deny that I am in my mid-thirties, I will now embrace that, perhaps, just maybe, I inherited my dad's amazing curls but not the longevity of being brunette.

I am, after all, 35.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Once a trooper, now a troll

I could go on and on about how last week. The fun I had, the things I learned and the people I spent time with, but I won't. I will keep this one short and to the point.

The first two days in Florida were spent in team meetings. While helpful and informative, it was also a great time for the 8 of us that work from four different states to have some face time. Two of our Minnesota girls were a little under the weather. One with strep throat and the other with what seemed like a really bad cold. They sat on either side of me and I didn't think much of it. Neither felt well, but the gal with the cold was pretty drugged up on DayQuil and was very mindful of trying hard to not contaminate the rest of us...which I greatly appreciated.

All week long, I kept thinking "wow, what troopers to run with the big dogs when you aren't feeling well." Today I am thinking, "those darn trolls should have stayed under their respective bridges!"

I have been feeling like I was on a boat since last Wednesday. And, I've been struggling with my allergies for a few weeks now. Yesterday, the sore throat began as the dizziness got worse. I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor.

The good news: My blood pressure was 110/70 and my pulse was 60. Those are FANTASTIC numbers. I can't wait for my physical to see how my cholesterol has changed...hopefully for the better...since I started running and have dropped a few pounds!

The bad news: I have a sinus infection, strep throat and benign vertigo. Sweet. But, with an arsenal of drugs, I should be on the mend in no time.

I am a little disappointed that I missed my run this morning but I'd hate to push my body over the edge and make things worse. A few extra days of rest won't hurt too much, right? Besides, I only got one mid-week run in last week, and on Sunday Lisa and I ran 7 miles in 1:25:40. That's a new personal per-mile best!! Until last week, our runs didn't have more than one 12 minute mile. Sunday, only 1 mile was over 12 and the rest were under! WOOOO HOOOOO!!! That's progress!

It's days like this that I am so grateful to work from home. No need for a sick day. I just take a nap if I need one and get right back to work.

Monday, April 11, 2011

all smiles

For the past 14 years, my employer, Marquis, has hosted a client conference in various locations across the country. Kicking off last week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, we hosted 200 clients for four days (and a day and a half of employee meetings). While it is never fun to be away from home for that long, I have to say, this was the best Marquis conference I have attended. Not only were the educational sessions timely and extremely useful for me and our clients, but the evening events were pretty amazing.

I was in Florida for 6 days, which was enough to remind me why I love beach vacations. On Monday morning, I had just enough time to watch the sun come up over the Atlantic Ocean as I ran 4.5 miles along the beach. (Vanilla Ice fans, I ran the A1A-Beachfront Avenue!). And Thursday afternoon I had a 45 minute break to sit in the sun and shade with a cold beer near the pool with some old friends. It was enough time to decompress and soak up enough vitamin D to keep the vacation bug at bay until July (I hope.)

Wednesday evening, we chartered a yacht (which was really just a big boat, nothing really fancy) and took the clients on a 4 hour cruise up and down the intercoastal waterway. Under drawbridges and past "Millionaire Row" where the houses are worth more than my salary in a lifetime. Pretty amazing. During the trip, the Goodyear Blimp was out and about and all I had was my mediocre iPhone camera. So I snapped a quick photo.

The only down side to the trip: The cooties I caught. It started out as allergies before I even went to FL. While I was there, my allergies were a little better...or so I thought. They were just different. So, with a lack of sleep, a little congestion, oversensitivity to boat movement and a 5 hour flight home, it seems as though I came home with Vertigo. And it is MISERABLE.

If I am going to feel like I am on a rocking boat I would prefer to have sunshine, humidity, sunscreen and a good book...oh, and water too. Water would be nice. All in all, it was a perfect end cap to my 35th birthday, which I must say, was one of the best birthdays I've had in a long time. Just me and Chris, a perfect day and a perfect dinner.

And I would like to nominate my husband for "Husband of the Year." He gave me a beautiful vase of red, white and purple tulips (my favorite flowers in the world!) on my birthday which was the day before I left. While I was gone, he went to the flower shop to get extra plant food so they would last until I got home. And while I was gone, every morning when he got up, he sent me a text message with a picture of my flowers and told me how much he loved and missed me. Really sweet.