Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The day marathon training ended . . .

maybe . . .

Sunday I had scheduled 15 miles on my calendar.

Well, let me back up a little.

After a rocky start with marathon training in July between my family vacation and a conference taking up 2 weeks of the month I only ran 62 miles.  I decided in August I would do my best to make up for lost time and be as close to my training plan as I could be.  Which I mostly have succeeded at.  I've been about 3-5 miles behind my scheduled weekly mileage, but I was doing good.

I stayed on schedule for the Bridge of the Gods weekend.  But then the very next weekend happened and my family went camping, so I skipped 2 runs, including a long run of 15 miles.  And then my uncle died.  However, I came back from eastern WA on Saturday so was able to run 7 miles (I was supposed to do a pace run) and then 15 miles on Sunday.

My Saturday run started out okay. I ran uphill for the first couple miles and then was going downhill or flat. My first mile was 9.15 min/mile and the second one was 9.27 min/mile (my race pace is under 9.09 min/mile). The next 3 miles were under race pace, and I was excited because mapmyrun was telling me my average was under 9.09 min/mile. Then I made a decision that screwed my average.  I decided to go up a mile long hill.  I had calculated that if I stayed on the flat path I had planned, I would have more than 7 miles, and I didn't really want that, so instead of turning to avoid the hill, I ran straight up it.  And my last 2 miles were 9.49 and 10.49 min/miles.  Don't ask me why the last mile was 10.49, that was a slow upgrade with a half mile of gradual downgrade, and is usually my fastest.  I would guess I was just really tired from the fast pace in the middle of the run and the hill at the end.   My average pace ended up as a 9.24 min/mile which is a "good effort."

Because I was unable to run while camping (or just too lazy) I "had" to do 15 miles on Sunday in order to stay on any sort of marathon track.

After my half marathon 3 weeks ago, my left foot has been bothering me a little off and on with plantar faciitis pain.  My hip has been okay, but my foot has not.  Then the standing on the tall ships 2 weeks ago didn't help it, and I still planned to do 15 miles.

I don't know if it was the 7 miles the day before, or what, but as soon as I left my house I felt like turning around.  My left foot hurt and my right calf was tight.  I ran, but I really didn't want to.  I had looked on mapmyrun at August 2015 at a 15 mile run then to determine what route to take, and it was an easy one.  Uphill at the beginning but then after going down hill a little, flat for close to 13 miles, easy, right?

But no, my head was telling me how stupid this was.  I was thinking about the goals for this marathon, mainly that I want to be under 4 hours, and how that will never happen with my race pace runs not happening and my long runs feeling awful.  And I was thinking I can't.  I hurt. I want to quit.

So I stopped.  5 and a half miles in, full stop.  I called Damian.  After I told him I was tired and hurting, he says "what do you want me to do?"  And I said I just need someone to talk to me.  I think I was looking for him to say stop, come home.  He didn't, he said you'll regret it if you don't finish.  I told him the reasons why I wanted to run this marathon and that my goal will more than likely not happen.  He said so? you do it to prove that you still can.

I told him I was also doing it to be skinnier, I lost a bunch of weight in 2015 training the first time and I wanted to lose the weight I gained almost 2 years ago.  I said I know I'm not fat, I just want to be skinnier.  And he said, "Mom, you look great for your age." (Thanks Damian.) "I feel weird saying this outloud, but you look good, much better than other women your age.  You don't need to lose weight."

I told him that if I didn't do 15 miles today it meant that my marathon training was over.  There's no way I'd catch up with all the breaks I've had until now.  He said, go slow, finish it.  Decide tomorrow if you want to quit marathon training.  Train next year for your under 4 hour marathon, but finish this run.

I said okay, hung up, and walked.  Then started jogging slowly.  Then stopped again and text Damian.  "Nope. I'm done."  I turned around and started running again.  Immediately I felt lighter.  My foot didn't hurt as much, I didn't notice the tightness in my calf anymore.  So I text him again and said he didn't need to come pick me up, I'd run home.  I thought that from where I turned around I'd be about 10 miles total and I thought that'd be good enough, especially if I'm not running a marathon now.

Well, I got to mile 8 and realized I still had maybe 4 miles left of the run. And then I thought, why stop at 12?  What's 3 more miles?  I would have to run past my stopping point, but I've done that before, so I just kept running.  I was slow, but I was running.  My goals for my long runs are right around a 10 min/mile, but after mile 5 I never made it that fast again.  Other than mile 5 (which was a 12.32 min/mile) and mile 6 (which was 11.30 min/mile) I went to 10 and a half and progressively got slower for the rest of the run.

BUT I ran 15 miles.
Monday my entire left leg ached, from my arthritic hip to my plantar faciitis foot.  I was hobbling around like I broke my ankle or something.  But, marathon training may not be over. . . we shall see.

There are a couple lessons learned from this run . . . one, my son is amazing.  He simply is an awesome person and I'm so glad I can call him my son. 

Two . . . your head really does dictate what you can accomplish.  The entire first 5-6 miles my head was saying "I can't."  As soon as I turned around I felt better.  And then, at mile 8 when I decided to do 15 miles instead of 12, that got stuck in my head.  I began calculating how to get the 3 miles I had cut off in the middle done at the end, and my attitude went to "I can."  And I did.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Camping and a funeral

The very next weekend (August 17) after the Bridge of the Gods half my family had planned our annual family trip.  We have always taken this trip in February, but after our trip last year, we decided we wanted to do something in the summer.  We planned this trip almost a year ago, with my Mom still in the picture.  Both my Mom and my Dad wanted to go to a campground near where I live, Bayview State Park, and I grumbled about it for a year because it was so close to my home.  However, it was really nice, and I would totally do it again.

So my Dad went from Oregon, up the coast a little way to Long Beach, WA for a few days and then up to Bayview.  He did that because he didn't want to haul his 5th wheel to Oregon, back home and then to the coast 3 days later.  So his plan was to be gone for a total of 11 days.

Well, he came up to Bayview on Thursday and then to my house for dinner and back to the campground for the night.  My sister called me Friday morning and said that our Dad had called her and he had gotten a call from my cousin.  My cousin said that they realized they hadn't seen my uncle for several days so they went looking for him.  My Dad, cousin, and uncle all live within a 2 mile radius, and my Dad and uncle worked together on the farm until they retired 5 years ago. And after that they talked every day unless one of them was gone.

My cousin went to my uncle's house and found my uncle on the floor of his room, still alive, but he had been laying there for 2 days or so.  He went to the hospital and they discovered he had a heart attack.  Plus he was having trouble breathing on his own, and his kidneys weren't working.  My dad decided to go home Friday night.

My sisters and I were already camping and had paid for the sites we were in.  Plus, my dad had really wanted to do the "tall ships"  and had paid for us to tour them.  It was quite a journey to get where they were, and the tickets were nonrefundable, so even though my dad wasn't there, we went anyway.  Besides, we knew he'd ask us how it was and we couldn't tell him we skipped it.

It really wasn't what I was expecting, but it was fun.  It was a long day with Maddox being tired and whiny, but it was okay.

There were two ships and they "battled" each other.  It was different . . . another 2 hour tour.  =) (I know Gilligan's Island is a "3 hour tour" but it still ran through my head for the second week in a row.)

We spent Sunday morning at the campground, one of my sisters, the one that lives in eastern WA, decided to go home a day early.  My other sister, her husband, Chris, Maddox and I all piled into a car and went to Anacortes, where we discovered amazing donuts, but not much else. We got back into the car and went to LaConnor and went through a couple antique stores and walked along the river.  It was okay.

On Monday my Dad called. My uncle needed a pacemaker, but because his kidneys had stopped working they couldn't put one in.  So they started dialysis, unfortunately because he was so weak already his heart gave out and he died.

I was not close to my uncle, I liked him, but wasn't close.  My Dad however . . . well, he lost his wife and best friend/brother in less than 6 months of each other.  So on Thursday I went to eastern WA for his service.  I came back on Saturday.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Bridge of the Gods half marathon

I have a lot to post since I haven't written anything in almost 3 weeks.  A lot happened in August and I haven't been good at keeping up with writing here, so you are going to get at least 2 posts back to back. =)

August 10th I went to Cascade Locks, OR to run the Bridge of the Gods half marathon, which was hard!  I did not train for that race figuring that since my marathon training had my long run as 14 miles that week I would be fine.  Well, the Bridge of the Gods half is pretty hilly.  Well, this year the first half was, with long uphills.  I guess that the usual route is on trails in the hills, but last year there was a HUGE fire in that area (that residents are still angry about and talked about, some kids lit off some fireworks in the hills in September last year, during a very, very dry spell, and sparked a fire that burned 48,861 acres) that made the trail the route is usually on unusable still. If the route had been on those trails I don't know if I would have finished.

I mentioned the reasons why I did this race in my last post so I won't make this long post longer by rehashing it.  However, I will say it was my Mom's birthday, so I wrote on the back of my legs (or my Dad did). 

I met up with my high school friend at the start line and we talked about not wanting to hold each other up.  She said she was averaging about 9.30 min/miles and I mentioned that my most current long run was an average of about 9.45 min/mile (actually it was more like 9.50).  She said that sounded "heavenly."  She also said that she doesn't talk when she runs, and I said that was fine because I always run alone.  So we put an earbud in one of our ears and off we went . . . together. 

The start was going over the bridge which was pretty cool because it was a grate and you could see all the way to the river below (I have no issues with heights, by the way). 
Like I said, the first half was hilly, really just two long uphills (with corresponding downhills).  My friend has a different approach to hills than I do . . . I don't know if you remember my San Juan half experience last year where two guys walked up all the hills and then ran down them and still beat me by a decent margin.  Well, my friend had a similar strategy, slow uphill and speed up on the downhill.  This is not how I train, I always slow down on the downhill, not only am I afraid of hurting myself, but it's also when I recoup from the uphill.  Well, we were doing 8 and 8 and a half min/miles on the downhill.  I knew I was going too fast, but I thought I'd be okay.

I wasn't.  At about the 7 mile mark she got a few feet ahead of me and I just couldn't catch up.  Finally I embraced the slowness (my legs were killing me) and let her go without saying anything.  She would have slowed down if I had said something and I didn't want to hinder her.  I finished, but the last half was achingly slow.

I hadn't seen my friend since our high school graduation.  In fact, I use the term "friend" loosely.  While we were friendly in high school we didn't hang out or do anything together.  I graduated 23 years ago, and I haven't talked to her at all since then.  We follow each other on Facebook but that's it.  We had some time after the race to talk, and we discussed doing another race together.  One of those conversations that go like "That was fun, we should do it again." "Yes it was, we should totally run together again."

Cascade Locks is a tiny town.  I'm from a tiny town (well, a farm, but I went to school in a tiny town) and Cascade Locks may be smaller.  Well, looking at Google, it says it's population is 1,158 as of 2016 which is double my hometown (550), but it looks tiny.  My dad and I were going to "explore" the town after my race on Sunday, but when we went out on Saturday to get my packet we drove through the town and there was nothing to "explore." 

He really wanted to go on a sternwheel boat tour that they had there, so we did that on Saturday and that was a lot of fun.

That's my dad under the "C" on the top.
Maddox was pretty done with the boat by the time we got off, it was a 2 hour tour (I had the Gilligan's Island song in my head the whole time).  After we were done with the tour I picked up my packet and explored the finish line. 

On Sunday after my race, since there was nothing to explore, we went back to the campground and hung out there for the afternoon.  We stayed at a KOA, so there was a pool and bikes to rent.  My dad kept talking about having to rent the bikes, he thought the campground was expensive enough they could have offered the bikes for free.  Maddox had been asking to ride a bike all weekend, so I decided to rent one ($4 for a half hour) for him. 

He also had been enjoying the pool the entire weekend, so I spent some time in the pool with him and then lounged on a chair while he swam (floated, really).
There may or may not have been most of a bottle of
wine in this water bottle.

We did end up going out to dinner that evening.  And then we left Monday morning to go home, well, Maddox and I went home, my dad went to Long Beach, WA because the next week we had a family camping trip scheduled with my sisters in Bayview State Park (up near my house). 

Overall, it was a great trip.  I really enjoyed the time with my dad and I think Maddox had a blast, especially swimming. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018


I decided to do the Bridge of the Gods half marathon this weekend.  I talked to my dad about it and he sorta jumped on it.  I think he gets tired of being at home, so going away for a weekend appealed to him.  And I think it will help him with my Mom's birthday on Sunday.

I saw on Facebook a week ago a picture on an article of a couple people standing with their backs to the camera looking at a lake, they were wearing shorts and they had MOM written on the back of their calves (I don't even think it was an article about running or Mom's, but I can't remember and of course can't find it now).  It gave me the idea of doing that during my run on Sunday.  So, I'm going to write MOM on one leg and 8/12/1947-3/5/2018 on the other.  Maybe I'll get creative and use a heart for the O in Mom. . .  However, my Dad is the one that will have to write it, so we'll see.  =)

I say that getting away for a weekend appealed to my Dad, but we are also going camping the following week with my sisters, so it's not as if we have nothing planned.  But I really do think going somewhere other than their house for my Mom's birthday is good.

I've had a pretty emotional several weeks lately.  I have really been missing her.  This last Sunday marked 5 months, and I can't believe it's been so long and at the same time, I feel like I haven't seen her in forever.  I really, really miss her. . .

Enough of that . . .

On Saturday I went hiking with my sister.  We just went to a trail in the middle of a local town, but it was a nice little hike.  It ended up being about 4 1/2 miles and had some pretty good hills.  We talked a lot, some about my Mom, and it was really nice hanging out with her.  We haven't done anything, just the two of us, for awhile now.  

After our hike we got a pedicure.  Her husband knows someone (or she knows someone, I don't know) who got "metallic" polish, so we went to the place that was recommended and asked for metallic pedicures.  We didn't realize we were getting shellac on our toes, and then it didn't turn out "metallic."  When I got my nails done the next day at my regular place, she called it "cat eyes." It's pretty, but we paid double what we pay for a normal pedicure.  We both agree that while we like it, we won't be doing it again. 
This is what we asked for.
This is what we got.
Oh well, it's pretty . . .

So . . . running.  I'm feeling really good about my runs lately.  I did 12 miles on July 29th (which I wrote about) and last Sunday I did 8.  I'm still about a mile behind in my long runs, but I'm feeling good about catching up.  I don't really know why, but I felt the 8 mile run was harder than the 12 miles the week before.  Maybe it's just my body getting back into the swing of running so regularly again.  I wasn't being very consistent before this month.  In fact, in July I only ran a total of 62 miles.  Last year I ran 94 miles and in 2015 when I was training for my first marathon I ran 89 miles.  (Then last year I dropped way back in my mileage in August to "heal" my hip "issue" that I know now is unhealable.) 

This weekend I'll run 13 for the Bridge of the Gods run instead of the scheduled 14, but next week I'm thinking I'll run 15, which I'm supposed to run.  My weekly runs are still much lower than I'm supposed to be running.  Last week (if you count the hike with my sister) I ran 10 miles instead of the 12 I should have run (not counting the long run).  This week I'm hoping to get most of the weekly miles in.  I'm planning on running 6 (instead of 7) tonight.  And I'm haven't done a longer pace run.  The only pace runs I've done are 3 miles instead of the 6 I am supposed to.  Tonight I'm supposed to do 7 miles at race pace (that's under 9.09 min/mile) and I doubt I'll get it. . . I shouldn't have that mentality.

Last night I ran 4 miles in 80 degree weather.  I know, I know, there are people running in much hotter weather than that, but I'm not used to that.  I complain every year about how hot my evening runs are, and every year I don't wake up in the morning to do them.  This week I had my alarm set to go off at 4am two mornings in a row and I didn't get up. (It's just soooooo early!)  My entire run last night was done thinking about my neighbor's pool . . . so I text them as I was about to get home and asked if I could come fall into it.

That was the best swim I've had in years.  It felt sooooo heavenly.  And I didn't even care that my makeup was running down my face.  I went straight there after my run, took off my shoes and electronics and jumped in. It was amazing.  =)  I plan to do it again tonight.

Monday, July 30, 2018

12 miles

I heard a person at the courthouse (I work with the municipal court and have a cubicle there even though I don't work for the city) talk about The Bridge of the Gods run over the Washington/Oregon border, then the next day someone I know on facebook said they were going to do it.  So now I'm thinking about it.  However, it's on August 12th, which is my Mom's birthday.  I have been planning on spending that weekend with my Dad at his house, but I talked to him and he's going to look into campsites for his 5th wheel and maybe we'll spend my Mom's birthday there.  It may be a good distraction.  Besides, (this is super selfish) it's really hard to spend time at my parents' house nowadays. 

Well, I am continuing with marathon training.  I'm not sure if it's a great idea or not, but I'm doing it.

It's been very hot here (for western Washington).  We've had more above average days in July than in recorded history, and the last week has been 85 degrees and above (yesterday was 90 and above).  The average for this time of year is 77 degrees.  It makes it hard to go run.  I've been telling myself I'll run in the morning, but then I don't drag myself out of bed.  Last week I did do a run on Tuesday in the evening, but then couldn't get the gumption to go on Thursday.  I did go on Friday, but it was a late run.  I think I started at 8:30pm.  Saturday I ran on the treadmill.  That's been my Saturday normal lately.  Chris and Damian both work Saturdays now and I don't want to wait till they get home.  I set up 2 fans facing me, turn the airconditioner on and the ceiling fan, and it hasn't been too horrible.  Well, the treadmill is inherently horrible, but not too hot. 

Sunday remains my long run day.  2 weeks ago I ran 8 miles and was up really early, just woke up, :and was out the door by am.  Last week I ran 10 miles but didn't leave till 9am.  I don't think it was as hot last sunday as it was yesterday.  I wanted to get up early yesterday, but when my eyes opened at 5:15, I couldn't drag myself out of bed.  I didn't get up until 6:15, then I have to drink coffee and water and eat, so again it was almost 9 before I left.  By the time I got back my shirt felt like I had soaked it in a sink, it was so hot. 

But it was a good run. 

 Do you remember 3 years ago when I was chased by bees?  Well, I went on a new-to-me road yesterday and found that I was running next to a bunch of hives.  I calmly stopped (to take a picture) then started running again, saying outloud "I'm not here to hurt me, don't fly into me, please!"  Thankfully I did not get stung or "swarmed."
I have a (slightly irrational) fear of stepping on manholes and other covers on the sidewalk or road.  I passed this one, and thought, yep, that's why I don't step on them.  I'm afraid the lid won't be on tightly and I'll either fall into one or break my ankle. . . People laugh at me when I go for walks with them, but I'll be the one laughing if they fall through.  ; )

I am not doing good on pace runs.  In fact, the farthest pace run (under 9.09 min/mile average) is only 3 miles, and I'm supposed to be doing 6 miles.  I guess I just need to try one, but I know I'm slow and I'm scared of failing.  Last week I did 3 miles at an average of 9.03 min/mile and it just about killed me.  I'd rather do hills, but I'm not doing that either . . . If I want to break a 4 hour marathon I need to be working on speed.  =/  My 12 miler yesterday was actually spot on for a long run, but without the speed work, I won't get faster than that.  Last year, my last run in July (13 miles) averaged 9.28 min/mile and my 6 mile pace runs were under 9 min/miles (closer to 8:30 min/miles), but then I took 2 weeks off to heal my hip (who would have guessed it was arthritis) and never got back into the swing of marathon training, so became super slow. 

I guess we'll see how my August goes.  I should do a pace run this Saturday . . .

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

It's been awhile.

I haven't written anything in awhile.  I guess I haven't felt like I have anything to say.  Should I write just to put words down?  I don't know.  The last that I wrote talked about the arthritis in my hip and Pars Defect, well, it turns out I do not have Pars defect.  After my second x-ray I got a call from my doctor's office came back with different results.  I have a slight narrowing between two of my vertebrae that is natural aging, and no pars defect at all.  So that is good news.  Although, I really thought that the ache in my leg was due to a pinched nerve and the pars defect fit that nicely, but it's likely from the osteoarthritis forming in my hip.  =| 

I have been extremely unhappy with the doctor's office, they tell me I have a degenerative disease, that from everything I've read, can be slowed down with proper care, and yet they haven't told me anything about what I should do to receive "proper care."

I've been running, not as much as I should be if I'm going to run my last marathon this year, but I am working on it.  And I'm slow.  So slow.  I'm averaging close to 10 min miles even on my short runs, I would like to achieve an under 4 hour marathon before giving it up, but at this rate, it's not going to happen. 

I also had an epiphany a couple weeks ago.  Ragnar was happening, and it just so happens to run through my town (right by my old house), and I was at the store when it was going on and I saw several vans that were obviously part of it.  I thought, that is something I've wanted to do for years, so I need to do it.  I'm gonna have to quit doing the really long distance thing sooner or later (probably sooner than I'd like) so I my goal is to do it next year.  I know several people that have run it, so hopefully it won't be too hard to get into a group.

I've been plugging away at school.  I think that is probably a big reason I haven't written much.  I'm writing a lot for school.  I'm in my 3rd class (the first one being a short one that was an "Intro to Grad studies" type of class). 

We went on vacation the first week of July, which I'm sorta sad about because it's already over. 
We visited my Mom's grave, the first time Maddox was there,
on the way to the Lake.

Schoolwork on vacation sucks

My dad visited while we were there, his head
was getting sunburned so I put my hat on him

We were there over the 4th of July

Immediately after we came home I got sick.  I took some new antibiotics and those made me even sicker.  A week after coming home from vacation I went to Utah for a work conference.  It was fun, but not very relaxing.
I went on one hike while I was there.

I visited the Salt Lake on my last day.

Don't put your feet in really salty water if you
have a cut.  My toe hurt for hours afterwards

And I visited the Mormon temple
I also ordered custom decals for my car and my family.  I love it.  This is a tattoo that I got with 2 of my sisters and my Mom, so it now has even more meaning to me.
And that's the extent of my July.

Friday, June 15, 2018

A "hip issue"

I don't know if you remember my "hip issue" that I had last summer, well, I've never thought it totally went away, although my hip feels better, it hasn't been very flexible no matter how much I stretch it.  And I've had an ache in my thigh on the same side for a little while, which I attributed to my tight hips.  I just figured I had knots in my hip that were pressing on a nerve, so I've been "rolling" it with a lacrosse ball against a wall.

I decided I should get it looked at to make sure it wasn't something more serious.  I was thinking cancer.  So this week I went to the doctor and she ordered some x-rays on my leg.  Yesterday I heard back from the dr's office . . . my leg is fine.

However, the x-ray caught my hip and a small part of my lower back.  I have "mild osteoarthritis" in my hip.  And something called pars defect.  After lots of time on google, I discovered that pars defect is caused by a stress fracture in your lower back.  There is a thin bone that can be broken and if not treated right away it doesn't heal correctly.
The "spondylolsis" is just the fancy word for the stress fracture.  The "spondylolisthesis" is how it heals if not treated.  The biggest incident I remember, where I always said I "cracked my tailbone" was one time when Damian was very young, 3 or 4, and I was not with my husband.  He was in a timeout in his room and I was sitting at the top of the stairs listening to him cry.  I decided to sneak down the stairs and was trying to tiptoe, well, my toes missed the second from the top step and I went airborne and landed on the third from the bottom step on my backside.  I had just gotten a job and didn't have insurance, so I didn't go to the doctor.

Well, over time the vertebrae that was fractured starts to slip forward, which can cause all sorts of problems, including, you guessed it, a pinched nerve. 
The white line indicates the vertebrae
that has slipped forward. (not my x-ray)
The most common symptom is lower back pain, which I don't have, but according to what I've found online other symptoms are leg pain, numbness, and/or weakness. 

Anyway, what I've seen online for treatment is surgery if it's bad enough.  They would fuse my vertebrae together.  The good news about this is that (again according to the internet) full recovery is often achieved. 

So at this point, I don't know where I stand with all this information.  This is all stuff I found online.  I had to go back to get another x-ray on my back, the first one wasn't for my back, it was for my leg, it just happened to catch my lower back.  I went yesterday for that x-ray and I probably won't hear anything till next week.

And honestly, at this moment, I don't know whether to be more concerned with the pars defect or the arthritis.  If the pars defect can be fixed, then the arthritis is the more serious condition. That won't get better.  All of this will affect my running.  Which really has me depressed.