Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Today's Miles: 0, Recovery day 

I am blessed to have inherited many things from my father’s side of the family….my wise-guy nature quick wit, my movie-star long eyelashes that rarely need mascara (my dad's a beauty!), my height (yes, I consider 5’2” to be perfect), my Hill-Butt, my ability to be late for everything no matter how much time I allow for getting there, and I’m sure there are many other things I could brag about. However, this is not about bragging. This is about the one genetic defect in my father’s line….FLAT FEET

When I say flat….I’m talking flatter than Kansas flat. Flatter than a 2’x6’ flat. Flatter than concrete flat. Like almost inverted arches flat.

F.... L.... A.... T.... kind-of flat.     
There are more problems that come with flat feet besides having a hard time finding flip flops that don’t rub your foot raw. I’ve finally learned that all of those years spent in some kind of splint, cast, surgery, rehab, torn muscle, random mystery pain (welcome to the club Amy!), etc. from my ankle to my hip have all stemmed from …. You guessed it… my father’s greatest gift. 

This has all hit home in within the last year or so of running and new foot pains and the need for old-lady orthotics. I even have orthotic house shoes. Seriously. They are that bad.

So recently, I’ve developed a pain on the backside of my ankle. After much procrastination deliberation and concern, I sought the help of a professional….my new foot doctor. My regular one just retired, which sucks because I really liked her. 

The diagnosis:      Posterior Tibial Tendonitis and Peroneal Tendonitis
The treatment:     Reduce mileage, wear an aircast for 4 weeks, run in an aircast for 4 weeks, physical therapy 2-3 times per week
My reaction:      Consult the best medical professional I know….the internet (sound familiar JV?)

  • I found a brace for athletes that will provide ankle stabilization while participating in sports. Check!
  • I found a pair of funky compression socks that will reduce the swelling and inflammation in my lower legs from running. Check!
  • Meet with my physical therapist on Friday armed with a plan & convince her I know what I’m doing. Uh…Check?!
Luckily she runs ½ marathons so she can relate. I informed her I had a 5K planned for Saturday and that it was important to me. After showing her my glorious plan and convincing her I knew what I was doing...I heard her say she said “wear the lace-up brace and compression socks, ice immediately afterward, rest for the remainder of the day, ice more, stretch several times and start the rehab come Sunday.” I like this chick!

I’m pretty sure it was more like….”I’m going to advise you to not run. But I know you will anyway.” But I didn’t really hear all of that part.

My new accessory - the lovely AirCast.
Saturday morning – The Day of Reckonin (aka....The Man Run)
  • Rise and shine at 6:00 a.m. 
  • Eat a good breakfast of French toast & a piece of bacon (will not do that again…belching bacon at 3 miles is nasty). 
  • Somehow show up late and barely get there before the end of packet pickup at 7:45a.m. So I’m a nervous wreck thinking I’m not going to get there in time, plus all of the crap going through my head anyway.
My FB post for Saturday morning before the race:

Despite this annoying get-up. I'm going to kick this 5K's ass. Or it will kick mine. Either way. Someone's going home limping!

I was ready….mentally if not physically. And I'm battling my head anyway!

Race results:
  • Chip time was 32:28 for a 10:27 pace
  • 15th out of 27 in my age group
  • 76th female overall
  • 233rd out of 419 finishers
 Am I happy with that? When I just look at the numbers…not so much.

But when I think about how I felt mentally, and how I felt pushed beyond my comfort zone….YES!!!!!
And when I look at my splits and the elevation profile of that course….even bigger YES!!!!!

Mile 2 was pretty much uphill. A BIG hill.

This may have not been the best course to overcome a mental block on Racing and achieve a PR…..

That's about an 8% average grade from mile 1 to 1.5. Doesn't sound so bad?? Go run the hill on the backside of UT Hospital up by the Vet School farm and by the helipad. Then come talk to me about steep!

Due to 'the hill' and the ankle, there were some walk breaks and my hopes of a PR were OUT the window. But I kept pushing myself. When all else failed...I kept running. And walking when needed. But guess what? Despite the hill and the ankle and the walking breaks, I beat my mental monster and got a PR!

Here’s a little Kristy racing history:
  • February - Strawberry Plains 10K    1:19:01  12:43 pace
  • March -      Knoxville ½ Marathon    3:13:40  14:47 pace
  • August -     Hotter-N-Hell 5K             37:29  12:03 pace 
  • May -        KTC Expo 5K                  32:58   10:37 pace
  • July -         Carter Mill 10K               1:08:39  11:03 pace
  • August       The Man Run 5K               32:38   10:27 pace

I would have loved to have gone 30 or sub-30. But given the circumstances, it was not going to happen. I do think if I had been injury free, it would have been about 31:00, and if the course had been flatter…maybe a sub-30? I think next year, the 5K's I chose will be based on the course....not the date!

So, who kicked who's arse yesterday??

We’ll just call it a draw.

Gotta run....well, probably not today. I'll put some miles in tomorrow morning.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I've been doing it wrong!!

Today's Miles: 8 miles - long, slow run

I was disappointed in my last race. I didn’t meet my time goal by over 2 minutes. I still met other goals, but I just missed my goal...BY TWO MINUTES!! I was so close! And I have been kicking myself in the teeth ever since. WHY?!

I have all kinds of excuses…it was hot, it was humid, it was hilly….oh cry me a river. And suddenly one day I realized what it was….I simply was not racing.

Does that sound stupid after I say “I ran a 10K or I ran a 10K race?” Well, of course it sounds a little stupid. My goal at that 10K was not “to just finish.” I had a time goal. In order to meet that time goal, I needed to push myself to get across that finish line in a certain time. I did not have time to be on cruise control. I needed to race….balls to the walls….throw down the gauntlet….kick it in overdrive and RACE.

But I alas…. I did not. Well, I did in the last mile. Every mile up to that last mile, I was holding back. It was like I was just on another long run. I may have pushed it up a little from a normal “long, slow run.” But I just don’t feel like I RACED. I kept telling myself…don’t push it too hard or you’ll flame out. Would I?

I’ve got to get it in my head that if I’m going to get faster and cross the finish line within a time goal…..I’ve got to RACE….for the ENTIRE RACE. I’ve got to be willing to lay it on the line and absolutely risk failing. I didn’t want to fail – and failure to me would be a DNF or bonking out before the end of the race and walking or limping in.

I’ve also realized that I haven’t been training to race! I’ve been training to RUN. I’ve been logging the miles. No doubt about that. I’ve been spending some time at the track on speed sessions. But I’ve not been running long sustained fast runs….tempo runs. So I’m altering my training plans to add in a tempo run with each cycle and we’ll see how this goes. Yesterday was my first real tempo run...and I surprised myself by running a 9:11 minute-mile. That's totally flipping HUGE for me!

The last thing I’ve realized is:

I didn’t take a risk because I didn’t want to fail…..and I feel like I failed anyway….

(Hmmmm, maybe this is a take-home lesson outside of racing too.)

So….now I’m itching to sign up for a 5K and let it flipping go. Lay it on the line and flat out run…RACE. Do I have it in me? Can I be that risk taker? Can I overcome my mental obstacles?

We shall see.

Gotta run....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stupid Redneck Boobs

Today's Miles: 6 x 400's
Running has become a part of me..a part of who I am. I don't know how I would describe myself without running. I may not be very good at it.....but it's always there. It helps me cope with stress, with depression, with happiness, with just about anything. It gives me time to myself, time to think, time to work out problems, time to completely zone out and be brain dead for awhile. It has become my constant.

What I have noticed, no matter where in this world I travel, there are 3 things that are constant. You’ll find these things EVERYWHERE!
  1. Stupid people 
  2. Rednecks 
  3. Booby bars
So, the first one is unfortunately obvious. Stupid people are everywhere. I wish that part of the population could be banished to an island. The Isle of Stupidity. Where they would be allowed to live out their lives, al-be-it shortened lives because most are too stupid to survive without the smart people, in peace and harmony with people of their own kind. You do realize that the only reason why they actually survive in the real world is because the smart people help them. 

Why were you standing on a limb and sawing it off of the tree at the same time? No worries....we're highly educated surgeons...we'll sew your arm back on.

Even though it is dangerous to text and drive, eat your supper, put on your makeup, watch a movie and play a board game with your 3 year old in the worries. We understand you're busy. You need to multi-task. We have super smart engineers that will develop a car that will avoid accidents for you.

The second one kind of shocked me. I always assumed Rednecks were Southern. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Rednecks. I can be one occasionally. So I’m not talking about your part-time Redneckers. I’m talking R.E.D.N.E.C.K. Those that would make the Dukes of Hazard seem tame, and give someone for Bo & Luke Duke to look up to. Those that embody every “You might be a Redneck…” joke ever thought of....and some the outside world has yet been exposed to. Those kinds of Rednecks. I’ve seen them EVERYWHERE. Detroit, Michigan. Green Bay, Wisconsin. St. Cloud, Minnesota. Waterloo, Ontario. Auburn, New York. Denver, Colorado. Places where you would not think you’d see Rednecks. I guess being a Redneck doesn’t mean you must be Southern – just as being Southern doesn’t automatically make you a Redneck.

The last one is the real shocker. You’ll find “Gentlemen’s” clubs everywhere. I think the only place I didn’t see one was in Banff, Alberta. And that may simply be because mountain lions could care less if you have boobs. Seriously. They are everywhere. I was driving through Pennsylvania Dutch country last year…..Picture this….rolling farm lands, fields of hay, large quaint farm houses – the kind that are large because the families have 15 kids, women wearing skirts & hair covers, men in long shirts and straw hats, no tractors or other farm equipment being used out in the field because everything is being pulled by mules and stock horses……I pass a caution sign for horses and buggies because I’m obviously in an area with many Amish and Mennonite families. The next sign I pass is for “Rick’s Gentlemen’s Club 1mile ahead turn left.” Is nothing sacred? A Titty Bar in Pennsylvania Dutch country?All I could think about was 1) was the parking lot full of horses & buggies? and 2) was some woman in a full dress dancing around a barn pole showing a little ankle or wrist? She let her hair down?

Next time you travel outside of your normal area – be on the lookout. I guarantee you’ll find these three things.

Gotta run…..

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Can I get a pasta I.V. with a side of garlic bread?

Today's Miles: 3 miles at an easy pace on the treadmill....'cause I overslept...again....and didn't beat the 90F.

Before I start rambling on....that's me....kicking ass and taking a skirt!

Not really. Just a few seconds after crossing the Carter Mill Splash 10K finish line.

I have figured out that the longer the distances, the longer recovery time I need. So I have switched from a traditional 7-day plan to a 10-day plan. Most plans are set on a weekly schedule. Long runs on weekends (when you have more time), track work-outs during the week, etc. You basically get an 8-12 week schedule to prepare for a race. And most weekly plans only give you 2 rest days a week which I have struggled with. So, I decided on a whim to try a 10-day plan….this means I only run every other day. Long runs could be on Mondays (which would suck), track sessions maybe on a Sunday (which would suck more), and it takes longer than 8 weeks to prep for a race (which sucks the most). But right now….I’m feeling it.

Today I only did 3 miles. A measly 3. Not because I wasn’t feeling it. It’s just that is what is written on my training plan….so therefore, that’s what I did. You must stick with The Plan.

I’m training for a 15K (that’s 9.32 miles) in September in Wears Valley. I’m a little excited….it’s a ramp-up for the inaugural Marble City Half Marathon (that’s 21K or 13.1 miles) in Knoxville on November 6. 

Seriously….I’m doing another half? But this time, I’m ready!... Maybe….. I mean I’ve done one already..…so surely, I can do another….. Right?..... Really? …… Have I lost my mind..…again??


One thing about distance running I have learned is the importance of proper fueling prior to and during long runs. Nothing like running 7 miles and completely bonking at mile 4. Water is essential, obviously. But electrolyte replacement is just as important! Your carb stores are only going to go for so long, and despite what most people think….runners are not carb-gluttons. We don’t sit around all day drowning ourselves in spaghetti and fettuccine and bread. Though it would be SOOO wonderful.

My other issue is I…AM…A…SWEATER!

There. I admitted it. When I say “I’m a sweater” I mean: I sweat in places that are not just embarrassing, it’s just downright disgusting. I have often looked down after a work-out, a hike or just standing around outside on a hot summer day and asked myself….did I just pee my pants?

Evidence of sweat problem....and why you shouldn't give my husband a camera!

Knowing this is important to my running performance and for keeping my salt levels in balance.

So….all of this is coming to a conclusion soon.

I’ve been playing around with some fueling sources. Not today…obviously because I only ran 3 measly miles. But I got a package today that sparked this conversation.

So let’s look at the choices…..only all natural choices of course!

First up at 12 o’clock is a thing called Chomps. They have the consistency of a sticky-but-not-as-chewy gummy bear. They tasted pretty good (watermelon I think). Weird texture in my mouth while running though. You kind-of chewed them up? Disadvantage #1: they are sticky! This makes them difficult to get out of the package, and not conducive to packing in a running belt. Disadvantage #2: about 3 hours after your run… get the runs. (You’re welcome!)

Second in line is left-over strawberry cake with coconut butter cream icing….made by an incredible little Greek place & little ole Greek lady in Cocke County (yes, you read that right...Greek....Cocke County) called CJ Popadops. This was from last Saturday. Yes, it takes me that long to eat a whole piece of cake! Advantage #1: YUMMY!!! Advantage #2: Convenient for pre-run fueling. Advantage #3: It's the only option on this plate made with real milk, eggs, flour, etc. Disadvantage #1: you can’t really put it in a running belt and take it with you. Disadvantage #2: about 3 miles in, you really regret the coconut when your belch brings up little pieces of coconut vomit surprises. (You’re welcome!)

Third base is my old stand-by……GU. It is exactly as it sounds and looks....GU. Like swallowing something from "The Blob". Pineapple is my new favorite!!! Advantages: great fueling, no weird gastric problems associated with it so far. Disadvantage #1: When you open the package…it’s all or nothing. You eat the entire packet or throw it away. You can’t take some GU now, run another mile and then take some more GU. You wind up with really sticky hands.

Enter my new fueling source up fourth…..Sports Beans. Look a little like Jelly Belly Jelly Beans? They should! That’s who makes them. They basically take a regular jelly bean….add some vitamins (sounds healthy, right?), some salt and some caffeine……then JACK THE PRICE UP!!! Yep, we runners are just suckers. Advantages: great flavors, easy to carry in a fuel belt, resealable package which means you can eat a little now and a few more in another mile, they fit in the treadmill cup holder..and I'm sure a few more. Disadvantage #1: If you’re running and your pouch opens up….you’ll leave a trail of jelly beans behind you……like the Easter Bunny pooping jelly beans. Disadvantage #2: Did I mention that they JACK THE PRICE UP!!! And the only place I can find them in town is in Turkey Creek…the other side of the world.

OR for your convenience, you can order them online…..which leads me to my package.

MY JELLY BELLYS CAME TODAY!!!! MY JELLY BELLYS CAME TODAY!!!! I’ve been waiting for days!!!!

But I’m wondering about carrying them in my fuel belt while running……

….they are apparently fragile? So...they're only good for spring and fall runs??

Gotta run….

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I wonder as I wander: Chapter 2

Today's Miles: 0 - it's a yoga day!

Why do dogs roll in dead stuff?

This is one characteristic of my canine kids I do not understand….their distinction between what smells good and what smells bad. If a dog’s nose is 10,000 times stronger than our own, then how-in-everything-that-is-holy can a dog possibly think that rolling on a dead, rotting, stinking turtle is better than the smell of Green Apple scented dog shampoo?

My beloved Tuff LOVED to take a bath. I swear that dog didn’t like to stink….too much. He enjoyed an occasional roll in rotten silage, but would hit the showers as often as I’d give him a bath.

Now I have two loving pups that LOATHE bath time. Mocha has finely given in and will…ahem…”behave” and let me bathe her, after I force her in the shower and years of disciplining her for trying to jump out. Rascal acts like I’m beating him with red hot irons! Doggy bath days are always a bad day in my house.

And the first chance they get after a bath (of course after I force them to stay in the house until they are completely dry), they are looking for any stinking patch in the field. I just gave the dogs a bath on Sunday. Guess what Rascal found last night....yep, you guessed it. And I got to watch. He flipped over and all 4 feet were wildly running in the air while he’s squirming like a worm on hot ashes. Jump up, make sure you’re still on the spot…and repeat…3 times. I couldn't yell at him because he looked like the happiest puppy on the planet!

After running and hunting in the hay field, there are some days they come home and I gag because they smell so bad….

So again I ask, if their nose is 10,000 times stronger than ours….why aren’t they gagging???? 

How can they walk up on something that instantly causes me to throw up, and instead think to themselves “I don’t know what this was, but God himself must have laid it right here so I would find it. And he has blessed me with this sweet fragrant gift, so I must roll in it until my entire body has been anointed in its oil. Then I will proudly prance in front of everyone so that they too can enjoy my heavenly perfume.” 

Who came up with this theory that their noses are more sensitive than ours?

Maybe that’s why we don’t eat poop. Our noses just simply aren’t strong enough to smell its sweet aroma… 

Thank You Lord for small blessings.

Gotta run…..