Thursday, March 31, 2011


Hey, everyone! I know, I haven't blogged here in forever. That's because I'm now blogging about running, and lots of other stuff, on my new blog, saltycrunchybitterfresh. Come join me over there, won't you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It's amazing what a complete disregard for speed is doing for my running. Working only on increasing distance, which I am doing very slowly, has allowed me to focus on other things while I log my target miles for the day. Like my form, for example.

When I first started running a year or so ago, I wanted to be one of those gazelle-like runners with long, powerful strides -- legs reaching out strong in front of me and stretching long behind me. Well, a couple of shinsplints and a jacked-up knee put the kibosh on that pretty quickly. My injuries forced me to do some actual research and I found out that I was going about it all wrong -- my stride was way too long and I was landing on my heel, which apparently is a no-no, especially for old broads with creaky joints. Like me.

I've been trying to pay more attention to my form ever since, but as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not a multitasker. Like, at all. If I'm trying to focus on distance and speed and interval times and whatever all at the same time, I am not only completely failing to do that, I also don't have any brain juice left for anything else.

So during my runs so far this month/year, with nothing to worry about but logging a set number of miles on any given day, I've really been trying to focus on my form -- taking shorter, lighter steps, and landing on my mid-foot instead of my heel. And I'm trying to watch my posture as well -- I tend to lean forward, tense my neck and shoulders, and sink too low in the hips when I'm tired or really trying to push. Fortunately the simple act of taking shorter steps and landing mid-foot seems to have corrected a lot of this already -- I've noticed that my back stays straighter and more upright and I don't swing my hips as much when I'm paying attention to what my feet are doing. As long as I remember to relax my upper body, I'm good to go!

I'm noticing a couple of benefits from doing this. One is that, as I had hoped, I'm not getting as much hip/knee/shin pain post-run as I was when my form was all sloppy and weird. The other is that I'm finding it much easier to get into the "zen" of running once I'm in the correct form. Maybe it's like that yoga thing where you pay attention to your breathing? I don't know, but when I'm taking those shorter, lighter steps and my back is straight and my shoulders are down where they belong instead of up around my ears, I kind of feel in the zone. I forget that I'm running and my mind just wanders, or I enjoy whatever music I'm listening to, and I don't think about how fast I'm running or how far I still have to go or what my time is.

Yes, that's right. When my form is correct, I am One with the Treadmill. Nirvana can't be far behind, right?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goal setting in one easy step

My running goal(s) for 2011 can be summed up in one word: DISTANCE.

I am not going to concern myself with speed at all this year. I do not have any races planned (though I certainly wouldn't pass up a 5K or three or twelve, if the right one(s) came along) so I have no real reason to work on speed right now anyway.

Instead, I'm going to work on increasing the distance that I can run easily. What I really really want to do -- my goal, specifically, for this year -- is to run a 10K. Not a 10K race, mind you. I just want to be able to run 6.2 miles easily, as a matter of course. By the end of this year, I want 10 kilometers to feel like nothing.

I'm definitely planning to run the Capitol 10K race in early 2012, and if I can get to the point where running a 10K is just another easy/average running day for me before the end of this year, I should be golden. I realize most runners would need way less than a year to prepare for a 10K race, but most runners don't have fibromyalgia, right? Right!

So yeah, the key word this year is DISTANCE. I'm going to earmark the entire year of 2011 for 10K training. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011: Bring it on!

Let's call December a wash, shall we? I think I ran maybe ... three times? Or four? During the whole month? That's pretty pathetic.

As a non-competitive runner, it's all too easy to let other things get in the way of my running. Fortunately being a non-competitive runner also makes it easy for me not to beat myself up over it. I didn't run much in December, because I was busy doing other things, and that's okay.

It's okay because I know I will run again, and soon. My legs are itching for it, and my lungs can't wait. I'm not going to worry about it too much until next week when everyone in my house is back at school and/or work, but then, then it will happen. I just know it.

I'm going to spend the last couple of days of our winter break finding some new music for my running playlist, and then on Tuesday when the kids are back at school and the husband is back at work (he works at home, but still) I'm going to hit the ground...

... wait for it ...


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Races on my mind

First, I feel like I should confess this right up front: I have not run at all this week so far. I have every intention of running tomorrow on the treadmill, hopefully for more than a mile (which is all I've been doing lately), but holiday shopping and decorating and baking have taken priority right now. And I'm okay with that; although as I was driving home from dropping my daughter at school this morning and saw how perfect the conditions were along my usual non-treadmill route, I felt a distinct pang. I wanted to be out there running! But I had an oral surgery appointment this morning (very minor procedure, but it did cut into my running schedule) so it was a no go. Sigh.

That being said, my head is full of race goals right now! There is a 5K coming up the day after Christmas that looks super fun -- the Zilker Holiday Tree 5K. I told my daughter about this one and she wants to run it with me, but it would be $50 for both of us together and I'm not sure that would fit into our holiday budget. Plus it's a trail race, which would probably kill my knees. And my allergies are terrible this time of year, so running through Zilker Park for 45 minutes or so is not the smartest idea ever. But the shirt is so cute! And it's not chip-timed -- it just has a clock at the finish. And I could run it with my best girl! Argh. Not sure what to do here. I have until next Friday to decide, if we want the reduced registration rate. Right now I'm 60% in favor, 40% opposed.

Looking much further ahead, I am still planning/hoping to run the Capitol 10K in 2012. Surely I can prepare for a 6.2-mile race by then? More than a year from now? I sure hope so. The Capitol 10K is kind of an iconic race here in Austin, and I would feel such a sense of accomplishment if I could legitimately wear that shirt! (Gee, this is beginning to sound like I'm just in it for the wardrobe. Maybe I should re-evaluate my priorities/motivation? Nah! Whatever works!)

Looking even further ahead than that... I'm not sure a full marathon is ever in my future, but I would really like to run a half-marathon someday. My son graduates high school in 2014, which will be 30 years after I graduated myself. Wouldn't it be awesome to run a half that year? Could I make the leap from 6.2 miles to 13.1 miles in two years? I think maybe I could if I really focused my efforts and didn't set a lofty finishing goal. There are several half-marathons going on all year long near here, so I haven't picked a specific race yet, but it's definitely a goal I'm keeping in mind.

And on the subject of half-marathons, I really REALLY want to run a Rock 'n' Roll half. Maybe in 2014, or maybe in 2016 when I turn 50. There's one in San Antonio every year, which would be pretty convenient from a travel standpoint. There's also one in New Orleans that coincides with Mardi Gras, wouldn't be completely out of the question travel-wise, and would no doubt be an absolute blast. And there's one in Nashville, where my brother and sister-in-law live. I would absolutely love to run that one if I could talk one or both of them into running it with me. Whatta ya say, Andy and Tav? Rock 'n' Roll half marathon in 2016? You guys up for it? I think it could be pretty awesome! If not, I'll plan on the San Antonio race and I'll treat myself to a margarita and some awesome Tex-Mex afterwards. Or the New Orleans race with a post-race sazerac and etouffee. Gotta replace those calories somehow, right?!

So yeah, no immediate races in my future (except maybe that Zilker one -- still deciding!) but keeping my eye on some long-term race goals is really fueling my motivation right now. Every time I get on the treadmill from now on, I'll just picture myself crossing the finish line at my first half-marathon!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


All of the conditions were right on Thanksgiving for me to have a fibromyalgia flare. I'd spent a lot of time standing in one place doing repetitive motions like peeling potatoes and chopping vegetables, I'd been hauling around heavy roasting pans and pots of gravy and whatnot, I'd over-indulged in rich food, and to top it off a massive cold front roared through at midday, dropping temperatures by more than 20 degrees in 20 minutes. If that's not a recipe for flare, I don't know what is!

But somehow, miraculously, I managed to avoid one. I'm not sure how it happened, but I am immensely grateful. (Maybe it was all the tryptophan? I ate a lot of turkey. Hmm.)

At any rate, I didn't run on Thursday but I had a couple of great (treadmill) runs Friday and Saturday! I did a mile on Friday and a mile and a half on Saturday, running hard both times because that's what my body wanted to do. I was completely exhausted by the end of each run and my hips were really feeling it, but in every other respect it felt great to just go all-out and work up a sweat.

I'm taking today off but already thinking about tomorrow's run! I'd like to work in a distance run sometime this week (for me, distance = anything over 2 miles). With no upcoming race to train for, I'll just have to see whether my legs feel like running hard or running easy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Well, that took longer than expected! Today is the first day I've laced up my running shoes since my 5K on the 7th. I was super sore the next day, but by the third day out I felt like I might be able to run again. Or my legs and hips felt that way, anyway -- the rest of me, not so much!

Unfortunately I came down with a wicked cold and cough just as I was recovering from the race. It started out feeling like allergies, which made sense because there is a bunch of stuff in the air right now that I'm allergic to and I was out running around in it (instead of on my treadmill) for 45 minutes, plus the time my husband and I spent at the pre- and post-race activities that morning. Within a couple of days post-race, though, it was pretty obvious it had morphed into a rotten cold. Ugh! Just my luck!

Anyway, after taking it very easy for a week, I'm finally feeling much better today so I hit the treadmill again. I only did one mile, and only ran about half of it (at a very easy pace). My right hip, which had really bothered me during the race, was a little bit twingey when I first got started, but by the time I'd finished my mile the hip was feeling great and so was I!

I don't have any other races on the horizon right now, but I am really happy to be running again! With the stress of the holidays, I know my treadmill is going to get a major workout over the next few months. I'm so grateful to have my climate-controlled, steps-away-from-the-bathroom, no-hills-unless-I-want-them treadmill at this time of year, although I certainly won't rule out some outdoor runs when the pollen levels aren't too bad.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Race report: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Austin 2010

Well, I did it! I ran my very first 5K! And I survived!

I was so nervous and excited about the race last night that I had a little bit of trouble sleeping. I guess it's a good thing I was only running a 5K instead of a marathon or something, eh? Fortunately I did remember to set my clock back by one hour last night, but when my alarm went off at 6:00 it still seemed awfully early to be getting up on a weekend. I downed some green tea, a couple of eggs and some whole-grain toast and then my husband and I hit the road at 7:00, leaving our sleeping teenagers and dog behind.

We ended up parking near the finish line and walking past it just as the first of the timed 5K runners were coming in. It was in the 40s (I was wearing the outfit you see below, complete with hat and gloves) but they were all absolutely dripping with sweat. That's when I started to get a little nervous and to wonder if I should have layered a little better, but then I reminded myself that these guys were finishing in approximately a third of the time it was going to take me to finish and were working a lot harder!

For the untimed racers there was a rolling start over a two-hour period, which was nice, except that there were a LOT of walkers and they were all over the road instead of staying to the right. I started out jogging kind of slow but I had to move up into the weeds several times to get around people. I felt pretty good about my start, though -- I wasn't getting too winded or feeling too sore.

At around the one-mile mark there was a company handing out ice cream! That was pretty cool. I didn't get any, though. I'm lactose intolerant so that wouldn't have been a good thing, especially with two-thirds of the race still left to go!

Somewhere before we hit the two-mile mark I started feeling it. My lower back, right hip and right sacroiliac joint had been kind of tweaky for the past couple of days; I did some yoga yesterday to try and work the kinks out, and it helped some, but not a lot. By mile two my right hip was feeling pretty crunchy and I knew I was going to have to walk more than run for the rest of the race. There were a lot of hills on this course and I don't do incline work at all when I'm on the treadmill (because it hurts my hips! oh, the irony) so I wasn't really prepared for them.

The two-mile mark is also where I took my first water break. Not long after that a group of guys wearing pink shorts and sparkly women's tops passed me carrying a boombox that was blaring Van Halen's "Panama". That made me laugh and gave me a little bit of a second wind, but I still tried to save my hip for the homestretch.

At around 2.5 miles, I started getting a little emotional for some reason. There were so many people walking and running around me that had the names of loved ones they had lost to breast cancer on their shirts. I started thinking about my mother-in-law, who lost her battle with the disease just a few months after my husband and I were married, and about the void her death left in the family. And I thought about my sister-in-law and how afraid we all were when she was diagnosed, and how she kicked cancer's butt, proving herself once again to be one of the strongest people I know. There was a radio station truck at that point along the course playing some sort of inspirational pop music, like the kind you hear on The Biggest Loser when everyone is crying, and that didn't help! So I slowed down a bit and took a little moment there, but then I kept trudging uphill toward the finish. And right after that some guy with a tiny little Pomeranian on a leash passed me, calling back to his dog that there was only half a mile left to go. Again, it kind of cracked me up and I started walking a little faster.

I had known from when we were walking past the finish that there was a turn in the course just before the three-mile mark. When I reached it I picked up my pace so I could jog it in across the finish line. There were so many people standing alongside the course, cheering us in. I spotted my husband but he didn't see me and didn't have the camera ready, so I had to work my way over to the edge of the pack and wave to get his attention. He ended up chasing me down with the camera to get some shots of me finishing. I was so happy to be crossing that finish line!

After the race I grabbed a bottle of water and a banana from the post-race tents and then my husband and I made our way back to our car. My right hip was hurting bad enough that I was limping by that point, but luckily he had some ibuprofin in the truck so I took a few of those on our way to our favorite breakfast spot. A lot of other people from our end of town must have run this race, because there were race shirts galore at the restaurant even though it was pretty far from the actual site of the race. After a couple of cups of decaf, some chicken-fried bacon and a big skillet breakfast I was feeling very little pain. But no shower has ever felt as good as the shower I took when we got home!

So that was it -- my first 5K! I'm so glad I was able to run this race. I was hoping to finish in 45 minutes and that was pretty much my exact time, so I am super happy about that. It was so inspiring to be around so many people whose lives had been touched by breast cancer. There were a lot of survivors walking and running the race and my hat is off to them.

I ran this race for my mother-in-law Phyllis, my sister-in-law Sue, my friend Jenny and my mom's friend Virginia. But I also ran it for me. If you had told me a few years ago, when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia and was in so much pain that I couldn't even walk to the mailbox without limping back, that someday I'd be running a 5K I would have laughed in your face. But today I did! I walked about two-thirds of it and ran about a third, and I finished in the time I was hoping for. Five whole kilometers! Me!

Thanks so much again to everyone who donated money and helped me blow right past my fundraising goal for this race, and to everyone who sent good wishes and words of encouragement. Special thanks to my husband for getting up early on his day off to serve as my chauffeur, photographer and pack mule, and to my parents for always encouraging me in everything I have ever wanted to do. There was a time when I never would have believed I could do something like this, and I couldn't have done it without you all!

Here I am jogging it in and laughing at my husband because he had to run to get ahead of me.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ready, steady, go!

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is tomorrow here in Austin -- my very first 5K race! I am as ready as I'll ever be. Allergies and fibromyalgia flares have kept me from training as much as I would have liked, but I think I'll do okay. I signed up for the untimed race so I can walk it if I have to. I would like to finish in 45 minutes, but if it takes me an hour then no biggie. I'm really running this race to raise money (which I have, thanks to my fabulous family and friends -- THANK YOU!!) and for the experience of being there with other people who care so much about this great cause.

As I've mentioned before, my sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor and she and my husband lost their beloved stepmother to the disease. My mother also has a dear friend who is a survivor, and I have a friend who is a few years younger than me who beat breast cancer a couple of years ago and is doing great. It is absolutely my honor to run (or walk, as the case may be) in celebration of all these amazing women!

I will be sure to check in sometime after the race and let you all know how I did. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Working on it

Well goodness, it's been almost a month since I've updated. Sorry about that! And I'm also sorry to say that I haven't been running or cross-training nearly as much as I would have liked during that time. A couple of weeks of severe allergies, a fibromyalgia flare, lack of sleep and an extremely busy schedule kept me away from my usual workouts, and once I fell out of the habit, it's been really hard to get back in. This is not good, especially since the Komen race is in two weeks! TWO WEEKS! Yikes! I guess it's a good thing I signed up for the untimed version, huh? I think I will probably end up walking a lot of it.

I'm having a really hard time carving out a running/workout schedule. I am a creature of habit and my habit has always been to run or work out in the mornings after dropping the last kid at school. For the past few weeks, though, my schedule hasn't allowed that so I just haven't been doing it at all, really. Maybe one or two mornings a week when I actually have the time, but that's it. I think I need to really sit down and think about finding another time of day that would work better more consistently. Not easy! Ever since school started we have just been crazy busy around here. I know I need to make my running a priority but it just seems like there are so many other things that need to be done with that time.

Oh well. Maybe what I really need is an attitude adjustment, but I don't think one is coming anytime soon!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Get your cross-training where you can

My husband and I have a treadmill in our house, and we absolutely love it. It's in the guest bedroom right now and since we only have guests maybe once every two years or so, we have visions of turning that room into a home gym complete with a weight machine and a stationary bike so that we can alternate the treadmill with other cross-training activities. But seeing as how we're not made of money, all that will have to wait for just a little while.

I've been using my Wii Fit sporadically for cross-training -- the yoga in particular was really helpful when I injured my knee a while back -- but it's kind of a pain to set it up and find the balance board and all of the little feet that keep it level (we do have a place for all of this stuff, but let's just say that with two teenagers in the house, there's no guarantee that it'll all be where it's supposed to be on any given day!) plus it seems to take forever to actually get to the exercises and there's a lot of downtime when switching from one to another.

So I decided to get a workout video, and the one I was hearing the most about was the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. It arrived in the mail the other day and holy cow, this thing is HARD! I had thought I was in pretty good shape, but I wasn't even able to keep up with Level One of this thing, and I was following the modified (for out-of-shape types) exercises! It's not that it's hard to follow at all -- the instructions are very clear and it's a high-quality video -- it's just that it is really a super-intense workout. The actual workout only lasts 20 minutes but you are constantly in motion and keeping your heart rate up for that entire time. My abs in particular were really sore for two days after my first workout!

I had my doubts as to whether I could truly cross-train while using an exercise video, but those doubts have evaporated. I am really looking forward to using this thing on the days I don't run. There are three levels to the workout but right now my short-term goal is just to get through Level One without needing a break!

I will post a full review of this product once I've worked my way up to Level Three, assuming that ever happens.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ups and downs (and I don't mean hills)

So here is my week in review, running-wise:

Had kind of a terrible morning and did not feel like running at all. Got on the treadmill anyway and once I got going, I felt great! I did about a mile and as I was doing my cool-down I thought, "You know, I'm not really ready to stop." So I ended up doing another mile and my attitude afterwards was 100% improved. This was proof to me that running is no longer just something I want to do, it's something I need to do! I am just a happier person when I've put in a good run.

Too busy to run. Not good!

I decided to map out (with CardioTrainer on my phone) a new route that was slightly longer than the 1.84-mile triangular route I had run the week before. I wasn't going to try to run it, just walk it in order to map it (there were trails involved so I couldn't drive it and map it that way). Well, about a third of the way into my planned route it became obvious that my GPS wasn't working again. This was so super frustrating and if I had been smart, I'd have picked up my pace and started running to get out my frustration. But I didn't; I just took a shorter route (walking) home, fiddling with my GPS settings and cursing under my breath the whole way. It was super humid out and it was also trash day in my neighborhood, so by the time I got home I was in a really foul mood, soaked to the skin with my nostrils still full of garbage smells. Not what you would call a good walk/run!

However, I did have a major highlight on Wednesday! I hopped on the computer when I got home and was going to write out my frustrations on Facebook when I saw that I had received a few donations to my Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. It turned out I had exceeded my fundraising goal by $30! It really helped put things in perspective to learn that while I was off having a miserable, short, frustrating walk my friends and family were rallying to the cause and helping support me in my upcoming race. So Wednesday ended up being a good day after all!

I gave myself a rest day and felt okay about it.

I made darn sure my GPS was working and set out once again to map a longer route around my neighborhood. I told myself I would walk it but decided I would see how I felt and run some of it if I wanted. I did end up running about a third of it, which felt great. I only ran the sidewalk/road portions and walked the trail portion, and it's a good thing I did because the trails were really washed out and rutted due to some flooding that we had in the neighborhood last week (courtesy of Tropical Storm Hermine, which dumped 15 inches of rain on us in a 24-hour period). I was slipping all over the place just walking it. While I was on the trail a woman about my age blew past me, light and nimble as a gazelle. Sometimes I wonder if other runners feel as weightless as they look! I am a healthy weight for my height but I definitely feel gravity pressing down on me when I run, especially outdoors in the humidity. Anyway, I was hoping this new route would be close to the 3-mile mark so I could use it for 5K training, and it turned out it was 2.7 miles. Not quite as far as I would have liked, but I think I can make up the extra distance by entering a different trailhead than the one I used this time. Oh, and I was able to maintain an overall pace of 14:22, even with all the walking I did on the trail!

So all in all, Friday's run/walk was pretty darn productive and I was feeling good about it. Then I came home and opened my email to find that my "big" 5K that I have been training for all this time had been canceled. It was to take place on a different trail system near here that received much more flood damage than we did, and the trails are just in awful shape right now so they can't do it. That was a little bit heartbreaking, to tell you the truth. I had been looking forward for months to my very first 5K, and this one was going to be perfect because it was happening right in my neighborhood and right after my birthday. Combine that with the fibromyalgia thing and it really felt like a significant milestone. Oh well!

So now I'm setting my sights on the Susan G. Komen race in November. I signed up for the untimed 5K and I'm looking forward to seeing how I do. I would kind of like to pick up another 5K before that, but all of the ones I've learned about in my area are taking place on weekends when we're just too busy to fit anything in.

This week was definitely full of ups and downs, but I am looking forward to next week. The Komen race is all roads and no trails, but I'd still like to work on my trail running a little bit and this will give me time to do it and still recover before the race in November. Onward and upward!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A nice surprise and a new running buddy

Yesterday morning I once again ran the route around my neighborhood that I had run last Friday, when my GPS didn't work. But this time it did! It turns out my wonky multi-block triangular route is 1.84 miles long. I was kind of surprised because I have been taking it way easy with my treadmill runs and am lucky to get to 1.5 miles including cool-down with those lately. Even more surprising was that I was able to maintain a pace of 14:20 while running (and walking, quite a bit) that 1.84 miles! I know that might not sound very fast, but that is a really good pace for me over that distance.

When I got home my hips were on fire (in the bad way) but my knees felt fine. I downed some ibuprofin with my post-run hydration and today my hips are totally pain-free. This has me feeling so confident about my upcoming 5K! I've been in a bit of a panic given the way my treadmill runs have been going, but now I really feel like I can do it. I'm also determined to get off the treadmill and get out on the sidewalks and trails more often from now on.

Speaking of which, I've acquired a new running buddy who will make all that sidewalk and trail running a lot more fun. His name is Rascal, and he is our new standard poodle puppy! We just brought him home on Saturday, after having put a deposit down with the breeder a few weeks before. (I am all about getting a mutt from the shelter, but my husband and kids have severe allergies so we had to go purebred/hypoallergenic this time.) He is too young to hit the road with me just yet, but I have high hopes that he'll be running and walking by my side in another year or so. Can't wait!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly (not necessarily in that order)

Let's start with the ugly: My kids went back to school on Tuesday of this week and I've been so busy buying last-minute school supplies and driving this kid here and that kid there and re-stocking our pantry and whatnot that I've had no time to run whatsoever. And it shows in my mood, big-time. I really need to do a better job of making time to run, even if it's at a weird time of day. I can take two or three showers a day if I need to, right? Sigh.

Now the good: I did get to run this morning! In fact, it was so nice and cool this morning (coolest morning since ... I don't know, May sometime?) that I hit the sidewalks in my 'hood for the first time ever. Well, I mean, I have walked on them before, but I've never run them. I live in the 'burbs and my neighborhood streets are not laid on on a grid; the "blocks" are all oddly shaped and wonky-sized and oblong and weird and huge. So I picked a route that would take me around a very big block. And it was mostly slightly downhill -- bonus! I am sure I looked like a dork with my two knee straps and my phone in an armband and my earbud cord poking out of my shirt (I stuff the excess cord in my bra when I run so I don't get tangled in it) and my water bottle strapped to one hand and the extremely slow pace with which I run, but I don't care. It was kind of nice to get out in the elements for a change, especially with the deliciously cool temperatures!

The bad: MY GPS DID NOT WORK, ARGH! I used the CardioTrainer app to keep track of my time and distance and to map my route, and it has worked for me before for walking the trails and stuff, but this time it completely failed. Did not record a single thing. I know, I am running for fun and not to be competitive, yadda yadda, but for my first time running that particular route I was really hoping to find out how far it was and what my pace was. Maybe the treadmill has spoiled me but I like to know how far and how fast I'm going, even when I'm just having fun with it and not trying to up my numbers. So I was super disappointed about that. I guess I will have to fiddle around with my GPS filter settings, or else find a new app. Anyone have a favorite running app for Android? Does RunKeeper have music integration? Because I need my music when I run! Lack of music integration is a definite deal-breaker.

And finally, one more good: So far I do not appear to have injured myself at all while running today! I was really nervous about that because I have only run on the treadmill since recovering from my knee injury a couple of months ago. Plus my first 5K is looming and I really don't want to blow out my knees and miss it, you know? On the other hand, the 5K course is on a trail that is partially crushed granite and partially sidewalk, so if I don't want to blow out my knees during the race then I will have to get used to that environment beforehand. Anyway, all seems well -- nothing hurt while I was running and nothing hurts now that I've stopped. Fingers crossed!

And this might be considered an ugly since I am hitting you up for money, but the money is not for me so I prefer to think of it as a good: Don't forget to sponsor me in the Susan G. Komen Run for the Cure! I am doing the untimed 5K in Austin on November 7th and I am running the race for my beloved sister-in-law, who is a breast cancer survivor. If 25 people give $5 each I will have met my goal of raising $125, which is enough to pay for one mammogram. Any amount you can give will help tremendously!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In for a penny, in for a pound

What do you do when you're five weeks out from your first 5K and you don't feel at all ready for it and you're kind of freaking out and wondering what the heck you were thinking? You sign up for another one that takes place a month and a half later!

Or maybe that's just me. But yep, that's what I did! I signed up to run my local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in November. Because I remembered that one of the other reasons I wanted to run, in addition to the ones I listed recently, was to participate in some charity runs and help raise money for causes close to my heart.

Breast cancer is definitely a cause close to my heart because several years ago my husband and his siblings lost their beloved step-mother to cancer that began in the breast. She died only a few months after our wedding. And not long after she passed, my husband's sister was diagnosed. My sister-in-law is one of the strongest people I know and I am very happy to say that she won her battle with breast cancer. When she told me recently that she had signed up for her local Susan G. Komen race, I went straight to the website and signed up for the one that's taking place in my town.

I am running the un-timed 5K race, because it turns out you don't have to be fast to raise money for cancer research and I really want to have fun with this one and enjoy being part of the experience. One thing I do need, though, is sponsors! I have set a goal to raise $125 by race day, which is November 7. I have a link in my right-hand sidebar where you can sponsor me, or you can just click here. If 25 people donate only $5 each, I will have reached my goal and raised enough money to pay for one woman in need to get a mammogram. That is one life that could be saved, and one family that might not have to lose their mother, sister, wife or daughter. Pretty amazing, huh?

So yeah. Two 5Ks in two months, running both with fibromyalgia. I may be an idiot, but at least my heart is in the right place!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mojo restored

When I first started running (after having walked religiously for a year) I didn't have much of a plan. I just wanted to run. I'd hop on the treadmill, cue up my fitness playlist, and if a song came on that made me want to run, I ran. When I got tired or the tempo changed or I just wasn't feeling it anymore, I dropped back to a walk. I'd do that until I got tired or until the clock forced me to jump in the shower and get on with my day, and that was it. That was my training plan.

Then I decided to run a 5K and felt like I should be doing "real" training -- interspersing speed intervals with distance work and whatnot. And that was fun at first. It made me feel like a real runner and forced me to push myself out of my comfort zone. However, the longer this went on (read: about a week)(I have the attention span of a gnat on meth, I swear) the more anxious it made me about my upcoming race. I kept thinking I should be progressing faster and hitting better numbers, and suddenly this whole running thing began to feel like WORK. And anyone who knows me knows that I am the furthest thing from a workaholic. In fact, I'm sort of allergic to anything resembling work.

With my recent medically induced hiatus and my unsuccessful attempt to jump back into hardcore training followed by two days of enforced rest (yesterday and the day before, just too busy), I've had a lot of time to reflect on why in the heck I'm doing this in the first place. I wanted to run because I wanted to run, period. For years I didn't think I could run with fibromyalgia, and I wanted to see if I could, and then I did, and I absolutely loved it. I wanted to run a 5K to prove to myself that I could, and I decided to publicly document my training leading up to the 5K to show other fibromyalgia sufferers that it was possible and to give them hope that someday they could be active again. My only goals when I first decided to run a 5K were to finish and to not be last. Then I started getting fancy ideas in my head about finishing under a certain time, and running mile-long stretches without stopping, and ... well, see above re: WORK. In short, it stopped being fun.

So today I got back on the treadmill. I left my phone, with its fitness apps and its amped-up playlist, on the charger and instead grabbed my old mp3 player with my original fitness playlist (a mix of classic rock, '80s dance tunes and all kinds of random stuff). I ran during the songs that made me feel like running and walked (and sang along, and snapped my fingers) during the songs that made me feel like walking. I didn't watch the clock or my distance or any of that -- I just ran (and walked). It was so much fun! That's why I started doing this. And, I've decided, that's how I want to keep doing it.

I'm still running the 5K. I know I can finish, and I really don't think I'll be last. But now I have a new goal: to have fun with it.

Speaking of fun, here were my two Laughs of the Day (or maybe Laughs of the Run would be more accurate):
  1. I did look at my time/distance when I was done, before turning off the treadmill, and it turned out I covered 1.8 miles in 31 minutes. That is a faster pace than any I ran the whole time I was doing my "real" training!
  2. Right toward the end of my cool-down, "Road to Nowhere" by The Talking Heads came on. While I was on the treadmill, which is literally a road to nowhere. Oh, the irony!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Not feeling it

So I'm back on the treadmill after my oral surgery hiatus and I seem to have lost my mojo a bit. Monday was my first day back at it and I ran intervals for 2 miles, yesterday I did a brisk 5 kilometer walk, and today I was not. feeling. it. At all. I ended up only running intervals for about three-fourths of a mile and then walking for a bit to cool down. Better than nothing, I guess, but not at all what you would call a good run!

Monday my right knee was a little twinge-y so I wore a patellofemoral strap and everything seemed fine. Tuesday it was my right hip that started feeling wonky around the two-mile mark, so I slowed my pace and stretched the heck out of it afterwards. Today the hip was fine, but my left shin was acting like shin splints were imminent. Argh! It's always something. And as I've said before, fibromyalgia amplifies the body's pain signals and sometimes makes non-pain sensations read as pain. So I never know if I have an actual tissue injury or if the fibromyalgia is taking some random soreness or muscle spasm and amping it up to eleven. Very frustrating!

My original plan was to do 2.5 miles of intervals today. It became obvious after half a mile that there was no way that would happen. In addition to my shin hurting (which came and went as I ran and feels fine now that I'm done) I just felt so sluggish and unmotivated and blah. Maybe that 5K walk yesterday was a bad idea, who knows? I spent most of my brief run arguing with myself about whether I should push through it and do my planned 2.5 miles, but in the end I decided to call it quits for the day. I reminded myself that even though I'm off the heavy-duty pain meds, my body is still recovering from something fairly traumatic and I probably just need a little more time to heal from that before I'm back to my usual form.

That's my story, and I'm sticking with it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Humming along

Everything is going pretty good this week, training-wise. I've been running intervals every other day and either walking or just resting altogether on the days in-between. Feels like very slow progress, but I've been able to add an extra running interval every day that I've done them, so I guess I am progressing!

I'm going to be taking a couple of days off, though, and I'm a little nervous about that. Today was a rest/easy day for me anyway, but tomorrow morning I'm having oral surgery so I'll be out tomorrow and probably Saturday, too. I'm pretty sure the treadmill falls under the heading of "heavy machinery" that I'm not supposed to operate while taking narcotic painkillers, and I don't relish the thought of being arrested for public intoxication if I attempt to hit the sidewalks/trails near my house! Besides, if you saw the way I careen around like a drunken emu while sober, you'd know that any attempt on my part at ambulation while under the influence is just a sprained ankle waiting to happen.

So yeah, a few days off makes me a little nervous. The thought of running this 5K in seven weeks, on a trail with a bunch of other people, in the heat and humidity, makes me a lot nervous! I think I've figured out why the trail busted up my knee a while back, though. In addition to side-to-side stabilization issues, I have to pick up my feet a lot more on the trail than I do on the treadmill. That translates to more impact on my knees. So within the next couple of weeks I'm going to head to the running store for some trail shoes and try some short trail runs while wearing knee straps on both knees (along with stretching, stretching, stretching). I've got to get acclimated to the trail somehow if I'm going to survive, much less finish, my 5K!

Talk to you all after the pain meds wear off!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Music is a huge part of my life and I love reading (hearing?) what other runners listen to while they run. To that end, I thought I would share my current running playlist. Some of the song titles are hyperlinks; if you click on them it will take you to an Amazon page where you can listen to a sample of the song and/or download the mp3 file. Fair warning: some of the lyrics are explicit.
I know some runners set up their playlists to match the pace at which they run, but I'm not that organized. I usually just listen to mine on shuffle and hit "skip" if the beat of the song isn't a close enough match for my pace. I'm not sure what it says about me that this list skews so heavily toward Rob Zombie and The Ramones, but there you go.

In actual running news, yesterday I did two miles again, alternating one minute of running and one minute of walking between my warm-up and cool-down (instead of 30 seconds of running and one minute of walking like I'd been doing). Holy cow, that kicked my ass. But it felt pretty great, too!

I'm taking today off, and tomorrow I'm back at it again. Flipping the calendar over to August this morning lit a fire under me -- my 5K is September 25. I'd better get moving!