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!