Friday, December 23, 2011

A Bloody Mary Christmas

Today's Miles: 1.5 miles....still on restriction and it sucks.

For many people, the Christmas holiday season is THE time of the year they look forward to most. As I age, I'm feeling the reverse of that.

Sad, huh?

I'm not a Scrooge. Or at least I hope I'm not. It's just that I don't get all giddy about Christmas anymore.

I honestly think it started several years back when my Grandmother died a couple of weeks before Christmas. She was the first person that I was really close to that I lost. That was a HORRIBLE Christmas. Then a couple of years ago, I had to put my beloved Tuff down the week before Christmas. Again....another HORRIBLE Christmas, for me at least.

So, for me, the week going into Christmas is actually kind of sad. Full of painful memories.

Couple that with insane people with pepper spray and guns trying to get that gift for their child, because nothing says "I love you" and "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" as much as "I had to fight off 30 other people for this only-one-left-in-the-store-piece-of-crap-toy-you'll-be-bored-with-in-3-weeks with pepper spray". But I did it all for you baby, because you're so special that you deserve to have a mom in jail for the holidays! 

This is why I do ALL of my Christmas shopping on-line. Seriously. I have NO desire to fight the crowds, literally. I hate shopping on any given day of the week, but avoid it like the plague from Thanksgiving until the New Year. I'd rather pay shipping costs that equal or exceed the cost of the gift. Not to mention I'm super lazy and love having stuff delivered to ME rather than me go and GET it. It also has a lot to do with having a job that keeps you on the road all.of.the.time. (I'm fairly certain that by next year, I will be paying Amazon to gift wrap all of those gifts too!)

Another reason I went into this holiday season wanting to yank out all of Santa's beard hair was because I actually had to travel the day before Christmas Eve.

I'm lucky enough to have our family close by and the furthest we travel is less than 50 miles to gluttony. There should be a national law about how far you are allowed to travel for the holidays. No one should have to go further than 100 miles. If your relatives live further than that...too bad. Skype them.

I, against my better judgement, spent the week prior to Christmas working in Pennsylvania, making up for the week I spent on the couch with the flu earlier in the month. This meant that I had to drive from the northern part of Virginia to Knoxville down Interstate 81 on Friday, December 23. I do not know how I survived. Actually, I do not know how all of the people around me survived. This is why I do not carry....I'm afraid I'll actually use a gun if I have it with me.

For unexplainable reasons, we traveled down the interstate in herds. There would be about 20-30 cars per herd....grouped together like a herd of wildebeest in alligator infested waters. You weren't allowed to leave your herd....or you'd die.

But no one wanted to actually be in a "herd." They did everything possible to break free from the herd - passing on the shoulder, riding bumpers trying to push people out of the way, drafting the car in front and trying to pass it on the turn, taking exit & entrance ramps at lightning speed to jump out ahead. But they just couldn't break free.

To give you a better picture of how insane and how dangerous this drive was.....Imagine having about 5 old ladies out on a Sunday the middle of Bristol Motor Speedway during a NASCAR race.

At one point, I actually got off of the interstate and went SHOPPING because I couldn't handle the stress of driving anymore.

That's when I saw Best Buy....

There really are no words. There are only questions.

Please note the print under Sparkle Ceramic Detailer......"Easily creates Edward's textured style in seconds"

Who the crap is buying this stuff?

Gotta Run....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A south of the border recipe

Today's Miles: nada....still under a 3 mile max rule from ole' Dr. Foot

I'm normally not a recipe blogger.

But. Oh. My. Shut. The. Front. Door. These were SO good, I just had to share. And Mark has a migraine so I'm being quiet & playing on the internet all evening.

If you're looking for a little Southwest, set your mouth on fire, low calorie you go!!

Southwestern Egg Rolls

1 boneless skinless chicken breast fillet
1 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper (about 1/4 of medium pepper)
2 Tbsp minced green onion (about 3 onion ends)
1/3 C frozen corn
1/4 C canned black beans, rinsed & drained
2 Tbsp frozen spinach, thawed & drained (if you get the bag kind you don't have to thaw!)
2 Tbsp diced jalapeno peppers (if you don't want it HOT, reduce this to 1 Tbsp)
1/2 Tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 tspn cumin
1/2 tspn chili powder
1/4 tspn salt
dash cayenne pepper (omit if you don't like it HOT)
3/4 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or some kind of Mexican blend or cheddar...whatever)
7" tortillas (I got the high fiber "healthier" kind with about 70 cal per tortilla)

Avocado-ranch dipping sauce

1/4 C smashed, fresh avocado (about half of an avocado)
1/4 C mayonnaise (I used Light Hellmann's)
1/4 C sour cream (I used light or reduced fat)
1 Tbsp buttermilk (I used skim milk)
1 1/2 tspn white vinegar
1/8 tspn salt
1/8 tspn dried parsley
1/8 tspn onion powder
dash dried dill weed
dash garlic powder
dash pepper

So, before I go further - know this....I don't "measure" anything when cooking (I do weigh it for calorie calculations). I eyeball everything. A 1/4 C is about a small palm full for dry stuff, and 2 heaping kitchen tablespoons of creamy stuff. 1/3 cup is about a full palm full. I just threw in some chunks of frozen spinach out of the bag without thawing (Gasp!! The horror!!). I used a kitchen tablespoon to get out the canned peppers (so I may be over 2 Tbsp!). 1/8 tspn is a big pinch. A dash is a small pinch. 1/2 tsp is 3 big pinches.

Preheat oven to 350F

Grill your chicken breast with just a little salt & pepper for seasoning. Don't feel like firing up a grill for one chicken? Throw a few more on there to eat later this week, or double this recipe. Or be lazy & just use a George Foreman Grill like I did. I'm not going to tell you how long to cook it because every time some recipe tells me "4 minutes per side" or some crap like always takes more or less. Cook your chicken until it is done. Use a meat thermometer if you have to...don't ask me the temperature. I just cook until done. 

While your chicken's grilling...chop up your pepper & onions. Measure (if you must) other ingredients except the cheese and throw them in a bowl.

Heat your 1 Tbsp of EVOO in a large skillet (about one swirl around your pan) on medium-high heat. Saute the red pepper & onion for a couple of minutes until tender.

(If your chicken still isn't done at this point - take your pepper/onion off of the heat & skip ahead to make the dipping sauce. Come back to this point when your chicken is cooked and cool enough to cut up.)

Dice cooked chicken into small cubes. Throw it in the skillet with the pepper & onion. Add all of that other stuff you put in a bowl. Cook & stir. Cook & stir. Make sure the spinach separates & incorporates throughout the dish. About 5-6 minutes. When heated through, take off of the stove and throw in the cheese. Mix it up so the cheese will be melted throughout.

Here's where I diverted from the original recipe. It had you heating the tortillas in the microwave with a moist cloth, making your tortillas and freezing the suckers overnight!!! As if I had read that far into the recipe to know I was suppose to start this shit the night before!!??? Besides, I'm hungry at this point! They also wanted me to heat 4-6 Cups of oil to deep fry these suckers in!! First of all, what am I going to do with 4-6 Cups of used oil when I get done making these? I don't just let oil sit around. And secondly, I don't want all of those added calories!! But by all means - if you want to freeze them and deep fry them tomorrow, knock yourself out!

Take a tortilla in your left hand. Just kidding. You can use your right hand. Use a regular spoon and put a couple of scoops in the tortilla. Fold one side over, tuck the ends in, and roll it closed. Lay it flap down on a baking sheet (which you may/may not want to spray with oil prior to doing this. I use non-stick Reynolds so I don't have sticking issues. Or clean up!!)

Make as many as you want. 2 is good for me for a meal. I just put the rest in the fridge and bake them as I need them.

Stick 'em in the oven for 5 minutes on each side.

So...if you haven't made the dipping sauce yet....get started.

Take your 1/2 of an avocado and mash it up with a fork. Then combine all the other stuff with it. The sauce is a little runny. I like it that way so that it gets all in my roll when I dip it. If you prefer a creamer sauce, then by all means, add some more sour cream. But you may have to tweak the spices a bit.

So for me with the lower calorie tortillas and using stuff like light mayo, light sour cream & skim milk, 2 rolls plus enough sauce to douse the flames off of my tongue was about 395 calories.

Not bad....


Gotta run....

Monday, December 12, 2011

You can eat fried chicken and still lose weight!

Today's Miles: 1 mile. 

I ran today!! I ran today!!!

I'm seriously way over excited about running a whole mile today! But it's been 36 days. 36 very long and very difficult days.

In my running absence, I've had A LOT of time to think about running. What I want to do differently, better. With such a long hiatus, I'm basically starting all over again. So, I might as well do it better this time (and maybe reduce injuries along the way).

One thing I completely lacked in my running/training programs was cross training. I'd bear an elliptical in a hotel gym if the treadmill was out, but ellipticals don't really count as cross training in my book. I'm talking about weight-bearing exercises. Whether that be lifting weights or doing power yoga.

I never really committed to it before. I always had a day of "Rest or Cross-train" on my calendar.

I always chose rest. 

I occasionally did some yoga, but that was rare. So, my new goal is to seriously include cross training in my running program. I know I'll benefit from it. I know it will make my run stronger and easier.

So why am I just now coming to this conclusion?

Who knows. But one thing I must do first is put together a workout 'portfolio' that can be done without weights (because the TSA looks at you suspiciously if you carry a 10 lb barbell in your carry-on) and anywhere (because I'm cheap and won't join a gym, and I need to be able to do it while traveling).

Another thing I've been doing again recently is calorie counting. I decided to do this again for a few reasons:

1) even though I was no longer training for a half appetite didn't get the memo

2) my weight has been fairly stable for a year, and that's been okay, but I'd like to drop a few more pounds

3) writing down how many calories are in something and adding it up at the end of the day is accountability. It's also scary, liberating, shocking and depressing. (Did you know a medium curly fry at Arby's has 600 calories in it. So sad. Curly fries are my favorite kind of fry.)

Here's an example of my meals for the last two days.

Sunday 12-11-11
Trop 50 OJ                                               50
Bacon, onion, cheese omelet                     266
Homemade apple cider donut                    87
PB&J sandwich                                         340
fruit bar popsicle                                        25
4 Krystals w/ cheese                                  640
large french fry                                           380
Weight Watchers frozen latte bar                90
Homemade apple cider donut                     72

For a grand total of                                     1925

Monday 12-12-11
Oatmeal                                                   120
with almonds                                            24
with blueberries                                        17
TacoBell Fresco Steak Soft Taco             150
TacoBell cinnamon twists                          150
Homemade apple cider donut                    79
Homemade fried chicken                           185
macaroni & cheese                                    144
green beans                                               31

For a grand total of                                   900

Funny thing is this...half as many calories today than yesterday, and I'm no hungrier today than I was yesterday.

I try to shoot for a total day's caloric intake of about 1300-1400. I have found that is the range at which I lose weight. Less than about 1000 calories, and I'm starving (except for today for some reason). More than that, I get nothing. My guess is my maintenance level caloric intake (no gain, no loss) is somewhere around 1600-1700. This is where most people go wrong....they believe it's 2000 calories. For an adult, active man, maybe. For an adult, active woman, not likely (unless she is doing some serious exercise program).

But the thing is this....I'm not beating myself up over Sunday's numbers. I felt like making an omelet Sunday morning and Mark wanted bacon. And we've both been sick and cooped up in the house, and I was craving Krystal's last night (don't judge happens). So what if it was 500 over what I had intended?

I even ate out fast food two days in a row! I was out with a bunch of appointments today and needed food on the run.

Guess what?


However, today I made smarter choices. Tomorrow I will try as well. I've lost weight before by doing this, and I will again. I know it won't come off fast - and I don't want it too. That's not sustainable. That's not healthy.

Here's the thing people. It's not about depriving yourself. It's not about denying yourself. (I made fried chicken for Pete's sake! I didn't eat the whole chicken breast, but I didn't want the whole thing! I ate a boat load of green beans to fill me up first.)

It's about being ACCOUNTABLE to yourself. To tell yourself "Well, that didn't quite work out like I had thought. Maybe next time." versus "You failed. You'll never do it."

If you want a donut. Eat a donut (I highly recommend apple cider donuts). If you want fried chicken. Eat fried chicken.

But take responsibility for it.

Gotta run.....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dr. Jack Daniels will see you now.

Today's miles: none...still...none.

So, last week I was at my wits end wanting to run, but not running despite my mental state because I was trying to let my foot heal. But Friday was the day...the "Do or Die Day"...the "Make it or Break it Day".

In other words, it was an appointment with my foot doctor....whom I was going to tell because he obviously has no idea what he's doing with utmost respect and authority, that I was going to start running again because Not running was Not helping my foot. His response was to shoot my foot up with Cortisone.

Well. That didn't turn out like I thought.

This is the second or third time I've had a Cortisone injection in my foot. The first two lasted for 3 months and 6 weeks. Somehow this makes my doctor optimistic? Me...not so much. I go back in 4 weeks for another injection. If that doesn't help....he suggests surgery....I suggest...another foot doctor.

But, he did give me the clearance to start running again.....1 mile, three times a week. Then if I didn't have pain, I could increase the next week to 1.5 miles, three times a week. But I could not exceed that until I saw him again in 4 weeks.

I'm all excited when I leave the doctor's office......'I GET TO RUN AGAIN, I GET TO RUN AGAIN!' I even started planning out my Monday to 'fit in' my 1 mile run and enjoy every minute of it.

Then I woke up on Sunday with a very sore throat. I thought it was from snoring heavy breathing while sleeping the night before. The 'run down' feeling came later. Sometime late Sunday night...the beast was unleashed.

Waking up sweating like a pig in line at a barbeque.
A headache that makes a migraine seem like a welcomed diversion.
A throat that feels like I swallowed a porcupine marinated in habanero sauce.
Body aches that could only come from my husband running over me repeatedly with a dump truck.

Death never looked so good on me.

My Monday run was cancelled. My trip to Kentucky was cancelled. The only thing I have accomplished other than this blog is hours of uninteresting entertainment on Facebook and Pinterest. Even Jon Stewart has lost his his appeal.

This morning, things were not looking better. Thinking that maybe this wasn't just going to 'run it's course,' I called the doctor, which of course required a visit and a swab for a Strep test.

So, it's not Strep. Thankfully.

Official diagnosis: The crud. It's going around.

Official prescription: Go home and take some ibuprofen every 5-6 hours. Eat lots of popsicles and take a snort of whiskey every 4-5 hours.

Seriously. My doctor just prescribed whiskey.

Gotta run...time for nap #86 since Sunday...

Monday, November 21, 2011

I want off this ride. NOW!

Today's miles: zero. zip. zilch. nada. none. nothing.

If someone asked me to describe me, I'd probably include the phrase "even-kiln." I don't typically get too excited. I don't like drama. I'm slow to anger. I'm not over-emotional.

If you've known me all of my life, you may be horse laughing right now. But, if you've been in contact with me for the last 3 years, you'd know I've changed...a lot. I've mellowed out. A LOT. I'm chilling. A LOT. I just don't let things get to me anymore.

And no....I've not taken up smoking pot. But I might.

What I did take up that has mellowed me out; has allowed me to take infuriating situations and put them in perspective; has allowed me to deal with sorrow and sadness without losing running. Ever had that feeling - "I just want to run away!" I did. Literally. And it has been such a God-send.

There have been so many times where I've been frustrated, tired, angry, sad, depressed, and even over-joyed that a quick run, a hard run, a long-slow run put everything into perspective. Or at least it pulled the rawness out of the situation and allowed me to stand back and look at it with less emotion.

But right now, my release has been released. It's been 2 weeks of no running (except for that short ill-advised 2 miler..Shhhh!). I'm trying to let my foot heal.

A side trip.......If you do not have plantar fasciitis, get on your knees right now and start thanking the good Lord above. And if you do not have PF, then you can't begin to understand what it let's try this....

1) In the morning, when you wake up, instead of putting your feet on the floor and walking to the bathroom....jump out of bed and land on a butcher knife, pointed straight up, into your heel. Then proceed to collapse on the floor and crawl to the bathroom.
2) After you sit at your desk or on the couch for about 2 hours, repeat the above steps.
3) After you walk a bit, the pain will subside....only to return as a gate-alerting chronic pain in your foot if you walk for too long.
4) From your heel all the way to your toes, there is a constant ache.

And in my friend JV's words...."I've got PF like a MF."

And just some more FYI:
5) You can NEVER go barefoot around the house. I've contemplated showering in my orthotic house shoes.
6) Throw away every pair of cute, sexy, high-heel shoes you've ever owned. You can not wear them. Even the not-so-sexy high heels won't work. Not even to church. I now wear my North Face hikers, Clark's slip-ons and running shoes everywhere....even to church. They go so well with a skirt, don't you think?

What can you do for it?
  • sleep in a boot (check)
  • wear custom orthotics (check)
  • stretch, stretch, stretch, ice, ice, ice (check)
  • physical therapy (check)
  • stop running (check)
So, I'm at the end of the list. I'm not running, and it's not helping.

Back to the point of this story. So, I'm not running for what should be obvious reasons now. And what is only obvious to my poor, loving husband, the produce manager at Kroger's and a young lady at McDonald's on Broadway is that not running is wreaking total havoc on my emotional state.

I'm no longer even-kiln. My kiln has boiled over and exploded.

Last night was a fight with Mark, and I can't even begin to explain why.

This morning, I nearly cried talking to my chiro about the toll not running is taking on me.

I had a COMPLETE meltdown....I'm talking crying, snot blowing, 'I can't breathe'-type of meltdown... in Kroger's because they didn't have any butternut squash. And the produce manager tried to console me and tell me that you can basically use any squash as a substitute.....but exactly how do you make Butternut Squash Bisque without the KEY INGREDIENT??!!

Then there was the poor girl at McDonald's that forgot my Hot Mustard sauce. I asked for 3 things.
1) a 6-piece chicken McNugget
2) Hot Mustard Sauce
3) a large unsweet tea
The result of her amnesia was me flying into a rage over nugget sauce.

I've never been bi-polar and do not know anyone that is bi-polar, but I feel like my emotions are gaining frequent flyer miles traveling from the North pole to the South pole. This is the worst emotional roller coaster I've ever been on. I do not like roller coasters of any kind. Period.

And just be fore-warned.....please do not patronize me by simply saying..."Just find another exercise." You will not like the results. Just ask the girl in McDonald's.

7 days.

In 7 days, if I do not see improvement in my foot, I will run again. Why not? If not running is not helping, then at least if I'm running, my foot will be hurting for a reason.

And I might be able to keep myself out of jail and not get banned from any more stores in Knoxville.

Gotta run....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The things I think about.

Today's Miles: Shhhh... I ran 2. 

Don't tell Dr. Gipson. I've decided to run 2 days a week. This morning it was hard and glorious all at the same time!

What ever happened to Arsenio Hall? Remember him. He had that show back in the...was it early 90's? He totally cracked me up! Remember that segment "Things that make you go Hmmmm?". I guess if he were on TV today, it would be "Things that make you go Really?" or "Seriously?" or "WTH?" Wouldn't quite have the same ring to it.

But I randomly thought of Arsenio this morning.

I heard an advertisement on TV while getting ready.....FannieMae is supporting an event called "Hope for the Homeless."

If you didn't catch all of that.....

FANNIEMAE is sponsoring the following event....."HOPE FOR THE HOMELESS."

Please tell me that someone else finds that totally absurd.

The second time I thought of Aresnio today involved a casual conversation with one of my dealers while on a long ride to a customer's location. The discussion started with high school coaches teaching his son that "winning is everything and losing is for losers" type of attitude. His wrestling coach even told the kids that they needed to "Get off your momma's tit and go tell your mommas 'Go F yourself'. I told my momma that when I was your age and I'm better off for it. If you want to be like me, you better go tell your momma to 'F off'."

Are you sitting there with your mouth open?? Me too. My first thought was if I had told my momma to go F herself....I'm sure it would have been me that would've gotten F'ed and to this day my body would not have been found.

Then the discussion led into the negativity of most people in the world today. It's all about me. It's all about winning. If you don't agree 100% with me, you are wrong. Everything is presented as an emergency of epic proportions and blown out of proportion most of the time. (Which is why I don't watch the news but once a week.)

Then the discussion led into how can the world just chill out? What ever happened to World Peace and Love? Why can't people just be happier? Do they choose to be angry, sad, bitter, everybody's out to get me?

Then we figured it out. Want the world to be a better place? Do you really want world peace? Do you want everyone around you to be just a little bit happier all the time?

Maybe we should all start smoking pot. Or lace the water supply with pot. Instead of pot-brownies....How about pot-Aquafina?


But my luck, half of the population would have a paranoid reaction to the pot and think everyone's out to get them.....

Crap!.....We're back where we started.

Got any suggestions?

Gotta run.....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A life of not running...

It's been over a week since my last run.

Granted...that last run was rather long. And I did kick some arse. But that was a week ago.

I promised my foot doctor that I'd take a week off from running after the race. So I did.

This is what I've learned from a week of not running.

1) Not running sucks!

It's one thing to skip a workout b/c I've been on the road for 8 hrs or working for 14 hrs or just feel run down and crappy. It's another thing to not run b/c you've been TOLD not to. I don't like to be TOLD to do or not do anything. Plus 'not running' makes me feel guilty and lazy. The first couple of days after the 1/2 marathon, I was o.k. with not running. I mean....geez....I just ran 13.1 miles at my-fastest-long-distance-pace-ever! So a few days of no-running were acceptable. But by Wednesday, I started feeling it. Lost. Hopeless. Depressed. Weird. Penned up. That feeling just festered.

Dr. Gipson made me promise to take a week off. I needed to let my foot heal a bit and then start seriously rehabing...find an alternative for awhile and some cross-training. I'm sure he'd be perfectly fine with me never running again...I, however, will not be.

2) Not running does NOT make my foot feel better.

So, this week of no-running was to let my foot heal? Isn't that what the oh-so-smart guy with the M.D. behind his name told me???  


Okay, sorry for the loud-blog-voice. I just had to get that out. Shew...I feel a little better.

Seriously though!? I've had more foot pain, swelling, random muscle cramping, etc. since I stopped running. What's up with that crap?? When does the healing begin? Did I miss that bus?

3) Pumpkin cheesecake is either heaven in a box....or the devil in a box. I've not decided yet.

I spent most of last fall trying to perfect a pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Sadly, it never came.They were too cake-y, too dense, not enough pumpkin, not creamy enough, not light enough, etc.

However, I had the pleasure of dining at a hole-in-the-wall diner in Rural Retreat, VA last fall. And behold, they had pumpkin cheesecake for if I could pass that up. After my mouth had a miniature orgasm and I slid off the booth into the floor in a daze, I mustard up enough strength to beg the waitress for the recipe. I told her my plight of trying to find a pumpkin cheesecake recipe that would give me that reaction! She leaned in like she was going to tell me her great-granny's secret recipe that shouldn't be shared outside of family under threat of disown-ment and dismemberment and ever so softly whispered...."Sam's Club."

If you are a cheesecake lover. If you are a lover of everything pumpkin. Then stop reading this blog, throw your computer down, grab your keys and get in your car.....don't stop to put on make-up or fix your hair, and go ahead and pee in your pants if you just can't hold it, and this is a one-time pass in which you are allowed to wear your pajamas in like a bat-outta-hell  to Sam's Club. If you are not a member, kidnap the person walking in the door in front of you (or just walk really close behind them and smile/nod at the greeter as you walk in Sam's with your new mom/grandma/dad/grandpa/aunt/cousin/uncle/brother/whatever). Knock people out of the way. Run over them if you have too! Apparently, they only sell these just before Thanksgiving (they did NOT have them last year AFTER Thanksgiving).

I only got two, because I have no self control and could not be held responsible for the 30 lbs I would gain on my backside.  

(Plus it was really my Mom that purchased them for me when she saw them on Friday and called me. (I've got the BEST mom in the world!!) I only ordered 2 because 10 sounded.... a little much?)

Mark & I devoured one in less than 3 days. The other is in the freezer. And I'm in Virginia. Dreaming about cheesecake.

So, this is what I have to look forward to without running.....feeling depressed & lost, with an incredibly painful foot, a large ass to match that pain and cheesecake stuck in my hair.

I miss running.

Gotta run....I wished.

Monday, November 7, 2011

And Now for the Rest of the Story...

Sorry for leaving everyone on pins & needles from that last post….I couldn’t leave out everything from Friday. I mean, Really?….who goes into a big race after an episode of traveling with the Griswold’s? Me. That’s who.

And before we begin.....go get yourself a snack and something to drink....

So, where I left off was arriving at the community center in an anxiety meltdown. It’s important to remember at this point that I’m in Murphy, NC. Think Mayberry. And only 100 people signed up for the 1/2 marathon.

Mark and I get out of the truck to incredibly loud 80’s rock music. Seriously. I'm talking "Loud enough to wake the dead" people….or at least the ENTIRE town of Murphy at 6:30 a.m. Nice.

Megan and I find each other before the race….as if that were a hard task, considering… It was incredible to see an old friend again. We chatted and got caught up a little before the race. We were both nervous. Me for obvious reasons, her for not having a consistent training program prior to this. We talked a bit about goal times. I was going for 2:50. I would be thrilled with 2:40. I really didn’t think my foot would stand for anything more than that.

Megan on the other hand has completed a couple of 1/2 marathons in less than 2:20 or something like that. I forget exactly how fast she said because I was horse laughing on the inside knowing I could never run that fast even without injuries!! Regardless of how fast/slow I went, I wanted Megan to do her best and not be slowed down by me. 
Megan looks warm. I look like I'm going for a swim?

At 7:15 everyone starts heading outside. We follow because we have no idea where the start line is…except across the road....somewhere. 

Did I mention it is still DARK! And it’s still incredibly FOGGY!!

We (about 75 of us) are standing at the start line trying not to freeze our butts off while the race director goes into a diatribe about inaugural race, sponsors, safety, sponsors, blah, blah, blah. Enough already. I’m doing some butt-kicks and high knees to get warm and stretch out some more. Blah, Blah. Bounce up and down a little…..

OH SHIT! What was that? What was that sudden sharp pain in my left foot? 

Stop bouncing. Assess. Don’t think about it….STOP thinking about it… 

BAM!! And we’re off.

Did I mention it’s DARK and FOGGY? Which made the first 2 miles scary because you couldn’t see your foot placement. I probably went a little slower than I’d hoped because I was afraid I’d twist an ankle, but I have no idea how fast I’m going because it’s DARK!!! About 1.5 miles in, Megan pulled out. I tried to keep her in sight for several more miles….which was hard because it was FOGGY!!

How foggy was it? It was so foggy that dew occasionally appeared on my eyelashes. So foggy that my outer shirt (thank goodness I went with two) got wet first, BEFORE I sweated in my undershirt. So foggy that you couldn’t see the end of the freaking hills….which probably wasn't a bad thing after all.

Let’s take a break and discuss those hills for a moment….

Here’s the elevation chart if you’re interested.

Had they posted this chart on their website, I would have NEVER signed up for this. This makes the Knoxville Hilly Half seem ridiculously easy. Let’s see, that’s about 10 significant hills. And it’s not just the UPHILLS that kill a runner, check out the downhills!! 

If you’re interested in grades, let me break that down for you….
UP:              2.4% for .2 miles
DOWN:       - 9% for .26 miles
UP:              9% for .16 miles
DOWN:       - 4.4% for .3 miles
UP:              3.2% for .54 miles
DOWN:      - 6.3% for .21 miles
UP:              3.1% for .66 miles
DOWN:      - 2.4% for .74 miles
UP:              4.4% for .41 miles
DOWN:      - 4.3% for .41 miles
UP:              5.8% for .23 miles
DOWN:      - 4% for .2 miles
UP:              3.4% for .48 miles
DOWN:      - 7.6% for .37 miles
UP:              6.2% for .27 miles
UP AGAIN: 4.9% for .13 miles
DOWN:       2.5% for .77 miles
UP:              6.8% for .15 miles
UP SOME MORE: 9.5% for .11 miles
DOWN:       5.1% for .27 miles

That didn’t include all of the inclines, but you get the point!

With each hill, I simply put my head down and kept running. I couldn't see the top through the fog anyway. I ran by feel mostly….which scared me because most times when I do this…I slow to a crawl. But I figured out early in this race that ‘hilly’ was the word for the day.

About Mile 5, I could no longer see Megan. I hoped she was having a stellar day (and secretly hoping she was cussing these hills as much as I was).

I’m so glad Mark was there to catch Megan’s finish as well as mine! She did fantastic! And she’s secretly cussing me right now for posting this picture I’m sure. But seeing she’s running a little cocked makes me feel a little better about how hard it was for me!

I was afraid to look at my watch and know my pace. I felt like I was going fairly slow. Like a typical "Long, Slow Run Speed", not "Race Speed". Having visual confirmation of that would make me feel like I was failing. 

So, I decided to run based on how I was feeling. I’ve never done this before. I’m a running-tech-junkie. I have to know how fast/slow I’m going and make a decision to speed up/slow down and if I’m not running as fast as I should, then I let myself down.

But today, I decided that was okay…given this course and my injury issues….I changed my goal….

Simply finish. That’s what I wanted today. Cross the finish line. Anything more than that is icing on the cake.

I picked out a lady in front of me wearing bright purple shorts running a good pace. I made the decision to keep up with her. Surely if she pulled out I’d see those shorts! I didn’t look at my watch again for a LONG time. I had no idea how fast or slow we were going, but I was going to keep up.

I caught up with her at a water station at 6 miles. I introduced myself and thanked her for pacing me. We ran together for 5 miles. We were the only two in sight. I’m so thankful for my new running mate Nicki from Cleveland, TN. She was a life saver. Literally!

This open road course (with moving traffic) went through the rural communities (small, narrow, winding roads) of Murphy, NC….If that’s not giving you a good enough picture of how rural of an area we were in….just. one. word….


Seriously. We would run, sometimes up to 2 miles, without seeing ANYONE!! Maybe pass a house or two. But no cars, no race volunteers en route except at hydration stations and ONLY at intersections that require you to turn off the road you are currently traveling. I can't tell you how many times I wondered if we were on the right road. And did I mention it was FOGGY??!! It was like running through a horror movie at times.

At one point, a white truck passed us. Then, it went back the other way. Then, 4 minutes later, it passed us again and pulled off to the side of the road ahead of us at what looked to be an abandoned building. We both instantly got nervous. Nicki says “I’m so glad you are here because if I were by myself, I just might turn around and run the other way.” My response, “This does look a little bit like Deliverance country and this fog isn’t helping much.” We both laugh nervously and continue running…..a bit faster.

Nicki and I also learned that in rural communities, people do not believe in fencing or leashing their HUGE dogs. We met several along this course, and all I had to offer up were Jelly Beans….

....hmmm, or my new running mate?

Some were just friendly old dogs checking out the fresh meat new comers. But others, not so much. I even sent a state trooper back on the course to go check on these two young boys (11 years old…yes you read that right…11 YEARS OLD) running the race. 

After 10 miles, Nicki started fading a bit. I kept looking back to check on her and yell some encouraging words. I struggled with slowing up to let her catch me but thought….I’m feeling GREAT to be this far in. I can’t slow down now.

Let’s assess…my foot really isn’t hurting. Seriously. I’ve always felt it about 8 miles out. I’ve been crippled at 6 miles with it. But to feel….nothing? I typically think I could beat a turtle in a race, but at this point I’m thinking the turtle has crossed the finish line and has made it to Myrtle Beach. Oh well….just keep running this race like you have. I’ve been snacking on my Jelly Beans, drinking nothing but Gatorade at each of the hydration stations, walking through the hydration stations, but no other walking. I’m tackling these uphills and not letting them defeat me. I was using the downhills to pull some speed. So, I’m good. Win, lose or draw….I’m glad I’m here.

At this point, I’m also getting COLD. Until now, my two shirt strategy paid off. The outer shirt had kept the heavy-foggy-dew off of me. But at this point, I’ve sweated through both shirts. The dew on my eyelashes has turned to frost. I can’t feel my finger tips, but if I put my gloves back on they’ll get all sweaty again. (I cannot stand to have clammy hands trapped inside of gloves.) My hat is soaked and now my ears can feel the cold-sweat-covered-hat. 

At 12 miles, I was starting to feel it. My quads were burning thanks to those downhills, my hams were tight and tired. But that little voice inside of me kept saying “You’ve got this. Just finish it! Just 1 more mile to go.”

And one really bad hill according to some pre-race reports. Last hydration station and up the hill.

I’m thinking “Okay, this hill is bad, but no worse than the rest of the course. Sucks that it’s at the end. But what were those guys flipping about.” I even yelled back at Nicki “Come on Nicki! This is it! This isn’t so bad! We’ve got this conquered!” Then I realized how wrong I was. 

I saw it.

And. It. Saw. Me.

It laughed at me.

And I said, Holy Shit.

That’s the only hill I walked on this course. I could have just as easily taken a Mountain Climber stance and gotten up that hill in as much time. “Who designed this course!? Are they masochists? I hope they’re having a blast!” 

The only good thing about that hill….was the downhill!! I started flying!! At one point, I was going so fast I thought I’d trip or my quads would completely break. There were speed bumps on that hill!! So I slowed a bit coming down. Nothing like rolling across the finish line to make a statement!

At the bottom of the hill, I saw the sign ahead that said 13 miles. I looked at my watch….2:26….WHAT THE HELL??? NO WAY????  


That’s when something divine kicked in. 

I say divine because I don’t know where it came from, but I started sprinting. SPRINTING!! At one point according to my Garmin, I was running a 6:26 pace!!! Until now, the only way I could run a 6:26 pace, even for a short distance, was if my ass were literally on fire! And after 13 miles?? I'm simply not capable of that!?

I never saw Mark. I heard Megan yelling something. I just kept running….rather Sprinting!! My foot was not liking this level of acceleration. That’s the first time it really reared its ugly head. I’m certain there were daggers driving into my quads at this point. My hamstrings and calves were tight. I knew if I could just make it around that corner….I’d be done!


I forgot there’s about another 25 yards after the corner. My knees nearly buckled. But this little voice in my head said 


I realize now that my extra head band and snot rag make me look like I have a tail!

And there it is....official chip time...


That’s 45 minutes faster than my last 1/2 marathon! And it’s 22 minutes faster than my goal time!!!
I still can’t believe it!! Not in my wildest dreams!! Not on a course like that!!

Sorry Mark cut you off Megan!

Megan says she didn’t have the best half of her life….
Official Chip Time: 2:22:54.1

But you know, for someone that had a haphazard training schedule just after moving across country with two boys and getting a whole new life started….I think she did AWESOME!!! I never would have run a half without training like I did. I’m so impressed with her!! I’d love to see what she’d do with a training schedule….leave me in her dust I’m sure!!

Afterward some water, muffins and bananas...

We were treated to a full body, fully free, and incredibly cold…massage.

I was soaking wet with sweat! I even impressed Megan with my sweating skills! We were shivering. Poor Megan didn’t get a blanket! But it was worth every second. I’m certain the lack of significant pain in my foot is due to this young lady working on my left leg diligently!

That’s not a smile on my face.

Megan and I enjoyed a soak in the hotel hot tub (which I hope they put extra chlorine in after we left….Eeewwww). Then a quick shower. Then a wonderful lunch where we got to catch up.

Before I end…I must mention my wonderful husband who not only has put up with my training. He drove my tired butt to NC in the dark, along winding mountain roads. Got up before dawn and showed an incredible amount of support. Took pictures. Kept my jacket inside of his jacket to keep it warm. Put my shoes inside his jacket while I was getting a massage to keep them warm. Took pictures. Let me and Megan catch up and took us out to a wonderful lunch. Then, drove my tired butt home. I can never say “Thank You” enough for all that he does for me! I love you Mark!!  You are simply incredible!!


Wow! I still can’t believe it. I gave more than I ever thought was in me. No tears this time. Just smiles. And mentally jumping up and down like a school girl….but not literally. My. Legs. Are. Dead. And I love it!

Gotta run….just kidding…