Thursday, April 30, 2009

Smells Like...Poop Trees

The path I take while running is the sidewalk that surrounds the neighborhood I live in. Now that Spring has sprung, supposedly, the trees that are planted on the easement are in full bloom. They look beautiful and I have always admired the gorgeous white flowers when I drove by them during this time of year.

The appreciation has come to a screeching halt.

While running past these trees the other day I smelled something. It was a smelly smell that smelled like...well...poop. Manure. Number 2. You know what I'm talking about. So I mention the fact that my olfactory unit was being assaulted by this smell to Alicia who was bouncing along next to me in her sprightly fashion. She says to me: "It's the trees."


Yes, the trees that I had been envious of for years. The trees that look like they are draped with delicate snow and shiver beautifully in the wind are actually POOP SCENTED. As we ran down the sidewalk the smell was almost overwhelming. In my mind I was thanking my lucky stars that we did not plant one of these trees in front of our house because I would be forced to take a chainsaw to it and dance around it's dismembered body...while I plugged my nose of course.

I think the smell actually hurt my time running. Either that or it helped my time because I started running faster to get past the trees. I'm really not sure.

I'm also not totally sure what the "technical" name for the Poop Tree is...I think they might be Bradford Pear Trees but don't quote me on that. They stink...literally and you can quote me on that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh, My Soles Sing

Yep. Got me some new shoes. I took them for a 2 mile test run last night.

I could still feel my toes after I finished the run. What a difference a pair of shoes make! The rest of my body was screaming in agony and I think my right lung collapsed a little bit but my feet were rockin' the house...or the sidewalk, whatever. Running in warmer weather was a bit challenging and I felt like I had been dipped in vegetable oil by the time I was done. It was enough to make me want to crawl out of my skin. Ick.

In all seriousness, good running shoes that are properly sized should be the first investment for anyone who decides to start running. I cannot believe the difference in the way my body feels. It's not just my disgustingly wide, flat feet that felt the improvement but my back and knees and even my shins felt better than they have in previous runs. I really wish I hadn't waited for so long to get them. It's my fear of was my lack of money.

My fearless friend, Alicia, just might be investing in a pair of tiny running shoes to match her tiny, sprightly body this weekend. That means I'm going to the running store. Again. Oh, the socks and the water bottles. I'm losing my mind slowly, people.

Now I suppose I have no excuse but to add distance to my run. I still have to be able to run a little more than another mile on top of the 2 that I can currently/barely run. I think I'm going to let my body get used to the idea of 2 miles though for the time being. I'm also going to add some weight training on the days I don't run. I really want to tighten up the jiggly mess that is my abdomen because it's just downright depressing. I can't blame it on my baby anymore-she's going to be 6 in June! In the may call me: Jigglypuff.

Monday, April 27, 2009

1 Foot, 2 Foot, Flat Foot, Wide Foot

Did you get the play on the children's book title above? Hmm?

Moving on...I got new shoes this weekend. To the joy of my feet, especially my baby toenail, I got fitted for real, honest-to-goodness, running shoes. I went to an actual running store where the wonderful staff is knowledgeable about all things running. Running Fit in Ann Arbor, Michigan is the place that I went for this foot themed goodness. If you look to your right, you'll notice I listed them on my 'Good Stuff to Read' list.

Oh, the places I'll go now that I have the soles that my battered feet have been crying out for! I'll go here and there...I'll go anywhere! I can run with a mouse, I can run by my house...Ok, enough with the Dr. Seuss-isms. I have never been fitted for shoes like I was fitted for shoes there. First, the girl who helped me asked me to remove my shoes and roll up my pant cuffs...*insert eyebrow raise*...okie dokie. She then asked me to walk away from her in a straight line and then back towards her. Now, I am completely intrigued as to just why she wants me to do this but of course I comply and walk the walk. After I complete my strutting as requested she looks at me with no effort in trying to mask her amusement and announces, "You really don't have any arches at all, do you??"...she's smiling openly now and obviously trying not to laugh. I smile and shrug all the while cursing all the years that I've worn flip flops which have caused me to ruin my arches. Then it gets even more strange...she doesn't ask me which shoes I want to try on, she doesn't ask me what brand I like, she doesn't even ask me what freaking color I like! She disappears and brings out a few boxes of shoes and says, "Let's try these first." Well, wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am.

Now, according to the shoe goddess that is helping to prepare my tootsies for running, each shoe type/brand has a different type of arch support, width, and cushioning. It's very important to wear the proper shoe for your foot type or you'll die while running. No, I'm kidding, you just risk injury and at the very least, you're toenails could fall off. Wait, that happens sometimes anyhow if you train for marathons and other longer events...which I do not have to worry about since I'm not able to run past 2 miles at this point.

Thank goodness I can keep my toenails for now.

After several pairs of shoes and her proclaiming at one point, "You have REALLY wide feet, too." *sigh* I find my oasis, my soul mate in the form of shoes...Asics Foundation 8 running shoes. They give me arch support, they don't pinch my toes or the tops of my feet and they're pretty spiffy looking too considering I didn't even get to pick out the color. They don't even make my "Fred Flintstone" feet look so "Fred Flintstone-y".

I also picked up some Body Glide and some postcards for a couple of other 5K's. I know that you want to know what Body Glide is...Google it. This is the stuff that will keep my thighs from bursting into flames from rubbing together. Try not to focus on that. Seriously. Also, I can sense the concern you have for me in reaction to me picking up information about more running events. I truly think that it may have been a moment of temporary insanity. I mean, the smell of the new shoes, the wall o' runnin' socks, the multiple flavors of GU (again, Google it) stacked neatly on a shelf...and don't get me started on the fancy water bottles. It was merely an environmental reaction. I'm fine now. I think.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I ran 2 miles.

Without stopping.

Just now.

I mean, at one point I was "running" so slowly that I might as well have been walking.

I may actually be able to walk faster than I was running during that last 1/2 mile...


I'm schweaty.

I hurt.

I definitely need new shoes because I think my baby toenail is getting loose.


But at least you can't smell me from where you are.

Things could be worse.


10 Out Of 10 People Agree...

Anyone who has read anything that I've written over the past month or so knows that I love to whine. About everything. The physical pain of running is no fun for me. I've never been a strong runner. My legs are short and when running with other people that have average length legs I have to take about 2 strides to their 1. Place me with a running partner any taller than average and there is just no way that I can keep up without falling over from a massive coronary. It's helpful when I'm wallowing in my self-pity to remind myself why I'm doing this.

I have more than one person who inspires me to keep on keepin' on. Of course there's Rose, ever optimistic and uplifting throughout her battle and my original inspiration to run in this event. Then there's Carrie, young and beautiful and overwhelmingly brave. One of my closest friends, Missy, had to put her goal of having a family to get treatment for cancer. She emerged with a wonderful sense of humor and a beautiful baby boy. As I stop to think about the people that have touched my life on one level or another I realize just how many have been attacked by this monstrous disease. I wonder if they ever stopped to feel sorry for themselves? If anyone is entitled to do that, cancer victims are surely one group that has earned that luxury.

There are strangers that I see in public that wear pink ribbons for themselves or a loved one. I've seen women and children that wear a scarf to protect a head that is missing hair. I wonder what their stories are. I hurt for them and their family. I think about all of the people who have had close calls with cancer. I've felt the fear when a friend tells me that they don't know what it is but "the test results will be back next week". I've felt the rush of relief when those results are negative and the grief when they aren't. This disease blows. I'm running so that hopefully my daughter doesn't have to go through the awful anxiety that this causes.


Have no fear, my sarcasm is merely on a union ordered lunch...It will be back in 30 minutes. Hey, don't laugh, those union standards are strict...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hello, My Name Is: Swampfoot

The most wonderful part of living in Michigan isn't the potholes, the year-round construction, or the fact that at any time most of our pocket change is Canadian...the most wonderful thing about Michigan is the weather. Yep. During most weeks it can and will and does rain, snow, reach 80 degrees, and just for fun, we may get some fog. See, I've lived in this grand, mitten-shaped state for all of my 31 years and I've never had the intelligence to move someplace more...balanced weather-wise. That doesn't mean that I don't get upset or even mind-numbingly angry when we have 70 degree weather one day and freezing rain the next. Running to me is torturous enough without added environmental large, bottomless puddles.

I'm dedicated though; die hard!

It was during last night's run that I realized very quickly that my shoes are not even close to being waterproof...and I look like a drunken hobo when I run on grass trying to avoid above mentioned puddles. Luckily, I had on proper socks or my feet would have been a blistering mess. I kept going though and finished my second 1 1/2 mile run.

Ah, Michigan...America's soggy, left hand.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Got Attacked by a Bird

Yes, I was attacked by not just one birdie but TWO blood thirsty, maniacal birds on Saturday. No, it wasn't while I was running and technically, they didn't "attack" me in the literal sense of the word but the title of this pulled you in, didn't it? Don't roll your eyes at me...I'm crying out for attention here, people. So there I was minding my own business, sitting in the sunshine on Alicia's (yes, Alicia the Sprite's) back porch on Saturday when out of nowhere two insane birds that were clearly fighting with each other fell on my arm. I was already feeling guilty about the fact that I was avoiding running in favor of sloth and a glass of red wine. It was like the running gods sent an avian warning to me in the form of these birds. I showed them though; I didn't heed their warning and decided to eat their cousin, fried chicken, for dinner instead of strapping on my running shoes. I'm a weak person. Do not fear though, my loyal readers (reader? Mom?), I ran a full 1 1/2 miles on Sunday, outdoors. I'm proud to say all 7,920 feet of my run was completely bird-free from both flying and fried varieties.

You don't seem impressed by this fact.

Let me tell you that this is the FIRST time I've ever ran 1 1/2 miles, outside, in my life. EVER. Yes, I ran that distance on the treadmill, aka The Hated One, but that doesn't really count, does it? It's good exercise and all that but running out in the elements really proves something. It, it proves that I'm safe for almost the first half of this 5K because I will not need the volunteers to administer CPR, an oxygen mask, or call me a taxi cab. It's a good thing that they won't have to call a taxi for me too because this run is in Petersburg where there are 3 bars and 3 churches within 1 mile of each other but no cabs. Seriously. I think after all this is over with I'd rather have a bar than a cab anyhow.

*The birds that did a fly-by on me were Grackles. Even the name sounds mean. Just look at the picture of that one above...that is a face that should strike fear into hearts everywhere. Does anyone remember 'The Birds'?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fear And His Friend, Self-Doubt

For must of us, starting something new is frightening. I have a certain comfort zone as I'm sure most others have also and when I breach the boundaries of it I tend to get nervous. When I made the decision to start training for a running event I knew that I was stepping outside the area in which I was cozy and warm and into territory I have always considered one of my worst nightmares. Even though I've been questioning my sanity since the minute I made this decision to train to run I've never really been struck with too much fear. Last night I was minding my own business when out of nowhere I realized that I had less that 100 days until this 5K to get my butt ready. If you don't believe me, check out my countdown clock over there on the right. Do you see it? Yep, that's less than 100 days-eek. The farthest I've run is 1 1/2 miles and I'm supposed to be able to make it 3.1 miles without stopping?!? This is where I'm going to write out my fears and tell myself why they are absolutely ridiculous (hopefully, I'll listen to myself.)

Fear: What if I'm not ready?
Why this is ridiculous: I've given myself more than enough time to train for this event, I have taken it at a pace that a 96 year old woman with no toes could handle just to be sure I don't injure myself and I have my family and friends support(not to mention one great sports bra.). Hey, don't laugh, you have no idea how uncomfortable a bad sports bra can be. *shudder*

Fear: What if I fail?
Why this is ridiculous: I seem to be repeating myself...see answer above.

Fear: What if I'm the last person to finish the 5K?
Why this is ridiculous: Actually, this is just reality. I'll just be happy to finish the 5K. Beggars can't be choosers and all that junk.

Fear: How high was I when I made the decision that not only would I do this but that I could do this?
Why this is ridiculous: People twice my age with no legs have finished marathons...that's 26 odd miles! I am a perfectly healthy woman that is capable of running a little over 3 miles.

Fear: Can I actually be high while running this 5K?
Why this is ridiculous: If I take enough Advil that may not be a bad plan actually...

Fear: I will humiliate myself in front of my hometown and old classmates if I have to be resuscitated by the volunteer fire department.
Why this is ridiculous: I've known most of these people since I was born. I've done enough in that time to completely humiliate myself for years to come-why should I worry about running in front of them? This is minor compared to the time I fell out of a pyramid when I was a freshman cheerleader at the first pep assembly of the front of the entire school...Yeah, I think I'm good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This Is Just A Test...

I took a short hiatus from running not by choice but because I think that I caught the slowpainfuldeath virus. Have you heard of it? It starts off as a harmless tickle in the throat, which turns into a tolerable sore throat, that turns into the most excruciatingly painful sore throat EVER. Then it takes the rest of the body down in the form of aching joints, sleeplessness and finally, oh this is the BEST part, nausea followed by yarking my guts out for a full 24 hours. So, you'll have to pardon the fact that I have not been my chipper self. I'm rarely sick and it's even more rare for me to be so sick I'm stuck in bed not able or willing to move. I was on such a good streak as far as running goes before I was struck down with the virus from Hell that I'm a bit concerned about how I'm going to do tonight after not running for 5 days. Not to mention my back and feet are rejoicing at all the endless rest time they've been given. I can practically hear them saying: "Hey, we thought you were serious about all that running mumbo jumbo! We forgive you, now pass the popcorn." They are going to be very annoyed when they realize that this was a temporary pause in my new way of life. Oh well, I haven't had to use massive doses of Advil in DAYS I was kind of missing trying to gag down those little painkilling pills. I may be facing a complete mutiny by my body but I'm running tonight...this is more important than some minor muscle aches and pains.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Running Nowhere

I had to run on the treadmill last night because of the wind and snow and cold...did I mention it's April?!? Welcome to Michigan my home sweet home. It's less than a week away from Easter and almost 3 weeks into "Spring" and there is snow on the ground here. So have pity on me when I wimp out and run on the treadmill aka sweater dryer. At least I ran. I wanted to sit on the couch and doze instead. Will my lazy bone ever stop all the complaining? I'm really not sure. I did run an 11 minute mile which is pretty good in my mind. Considering the fact that 3 weeks ago exercise to me was standing up while cooking dinner and now I'm running a full mile without stopping; you betcha it's pretty darn good! I think that the absolute worst part about running on a treadmill is how painfully aware I am that I'm truly just running nowhere. It's very eerie when you realize you are mimicking one of those little hamsters running in a wheel. Seriously, where is the fun in that? At least when I run outside the scenery changes...beige house, car, sidewalk, gray house, dog, beige house...With the treadmill, I stare at the same thing the entire time: white wall. Snooze. The danger in the monotony is the fact that I'm not as graceful as I fancy myself to be. This means that I trip. A lot. Over nothing. In a matter of 20 minutes on the treadmill I managed to trip about 3 times. This leads me to believe that running on the treadmill is hazardous to my health. I have these horrible visions of me falling and being flung across the room like a Muppet. I know what you're thinking: "You don't have to worry about that if you wear the safety thing that shuts off the treadmill if it becomes detached." Blah, blah, blah. I wear it but that doesn't stop me from thinking that my treadmill could malfunction causing me to Muppet myself across the basement. Don't judge me. Tonight, it's off to the races again only I'll be running outside AND I'm adding some more distance. Bring it on.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Vision of the Future

Eye of the Tiger

There's something to be said about repetition. I'm going on 3 weeks of running 3-4x a week. I was not seeing progress the way I had hoped I would see it. My idea of progress was to be able to run a complete mile without some part of my body begging me to throw myself in front of a passing car and just put it out of it's misery. Today was my break through didn't exactly happen the way I had envisioned it but it was still pretty cool. I did my typical warm up walk and get this-I didn't stop once to walk. Not one time. I didn't complain to Alicia the Sprite about a stitch in my side or the wind or the fact that my kneecaps seriously are considering a permanent separation from my body. To top it off I truly felt that I could keep running and not die. Yay! I actually did what I would call a "happy dance" at the end of Alicia's driveway not caring who would see me or what they would think. Well, come to think of it, I have several strange dances that I do and I never care what anyone thinks...but back to the point at hand; I am making progress. Yes, it's baby step progress I know but I'm headed in the right direction still. I can see a faint glimmer of hope at the end of this's far off in the distance but it's there just the same. The next time I run I'm adding some more distance. I love this quote that I found:

"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try."

I have no idea who penned it but it's something I try to tell myself every time things aren't going so well for me the last oh, almost 3 weeks(with the exception of the most recent run.) I may never be huge fan of running but who knows? Stranger things have happened. Kind of like my "happy dance" at the end of my running partner's driveway.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Running Against The Wind

I went out and purchased some new insoles for my running shoes. This is big news for me because my running shoes are at least 3 years old. Luckily, there hasn't been a whole lot of running done in my running shoes to really matter all that much. Still, I figured it would be a good temporary fix to purchase some replacement athletic insoles. Oh, Dr. Scholl, you big liar you! You promised cushioning and shock avoidance for my knees and back. You would think with the title "Dr." that you could trust the above mentioned insoles to do the job. No, you can't by the way just in case you were still wondering. To top it off, I got to run into what felt like gale force winds, uphill on the last 1/4 mile of the run. I'm pretty sure my ears were bleeding at this point and for the next hour or so I was semi-deaf in my right ear. Note to self: The next time we decide to take a mile jaunt around the neighborhood when it's windy and cold-WEAR SOME FREAKING EARMUFFS! I'm going to take solace in the fact that 1 minute and some odd seconds were shaved off of my running time. That's both good news and bad news...the good news is that I ran more/faster and the bad news is that I need to add time and/or distance to the next run. I was informed by someone who runs on regular basis and has ran actual marathons to "Keep up the good'll be hooked in no time!" I'm not sure if she meant 'hooked' as in 'hooked up to life support' or 'hooked on running' this rate I'm starting to think it's going to be the first option.