Final Countdown

Well. Not final. To be fair, I might write again before all this is over. I just realized it’s been a few days since my last confession. So, here it it: 12 days to go. 33 miles to run. 2.75 miles a day if I wanted to run every single day. And I want to. But, I have obligations. For starters, I have a date with a certain New England football team on 12/24 in Foxborough. Could you see it? Excuse me, Mr. Brady, but I need to run around your football field 4+ times. Can you delay the game if I get a quad cramp? Um. No.
So, here is the plan:
12/21 6.5 miles
12/22 2.5 miles
12/23 6 miles
12/25 5? I’ll be at my sister-in-law’s for an all day brunch. Think they’ll miss me for an hour or so?
12/26 3
12/27 5
12/28 3
12/29 2

I am still (still!) telling myself I can’t do this. I am still waiting for the epic fail. My legs have been holding up and. And! And, I registered for St. Pat’s! So, there’s that. The game plan after 2016 is this: rest for a solid two weeks. In that time, develop a new yoga & strength training routine. Gradually add the run back into the mix. Sometime in late January-early February start training for Holyoke’s notorious hills. This year I have Millz by my side (aka speedy because he finished the Safe Passage 5k in 16 minutes. Yikes!). He’s never run longer than 3.1 miles and I don’t know his hill strategy, but I do know he’s fast!

Anyway. That’s that.

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Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago, I said this:
Not since high school have I run side by side with someone. I have wanted to. I invited someone who was supposedly training for the Leukemia Society’s half marathon and he turned me down. I challenged someone who wants to WALK a 13.1 miler, she chickened out. I’ve strode next to lots of someones at the Gerbil Cage, but side by side on treadmills are nowhere near the real thing of running side by side outside.
Thursday my sister and I ran. She’s trying to lose pregnancy belly fat and I’m trying to lose my fear of everything that strangles my psyche. Despite the fact I barely got any sleep the night before I got up at 5:30am to chase the early morning light around my sister’s island. If there was an emotion that permeated my brain that a.m. it was envy. She runs in the most beautiful place. How do I explain this? She runs on a dirt road that turns paved. She runs in the woods, through a still-sleepy town, along the shore line, past beautiful, sea-weathered cottages. She smells pines, fresh bread baking, island roses and the sharp ocean. She sees gulls and finches, butterflies and curled up cats, tiger lilies and seaweed covered shorelines. She hears fog horns, waves lapping and whispering trees. In the distance a horse calls and a dog answers. Birds sing continuously. She stops for water, plucks blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and even late blooming strawberries before moving on.
We promised no chatting but I couldn’t help commenting on cottages for sale, sleeping dogs on porches and classic lobster boats offshore. A bell buoy clanged in the distance and I could almost picture myself living here. I got so caught up in the fantasy that I forgot I was running.
4.5 miles later my sister announced, “I walk at the bricks” and true to her word she slowed to a walk where the sidewalk ended. As the sweat cooled on my back I marveled at how easy it had been to run on her island. How easy it had been to run with her. In high school she ran cross country. I ran away from physical activity. She has always been Miss Athlete, despite having two kids. I have always been Miss Bookwormslug. I never in a million years thought I would run with her…much less actually keep up.

Knee conversation – not a peep. Must be the huge shoes!

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Mexican Mayhem

Ever since I married into the family I have been a guest at my in-laws Italian Christmas party. Held every year on the Saturday before Christmas, the Italian side of the family gathers for feasting, cookie swapping and hooting over lucky scratch tickets. It’s a thing. It’s their thing. Now it has become my thing. Kisa and I will attempt to host, for the first time in history, The Party.
I am undaunted and unfazed by this turn of events. I’m approaching this party like I planned my wedding: by analyzing how it’s expected to go and doing it all backwards. My first dance was the last dance. My cake was a pie. My champagne toast was many Tuaca shots. I wore boots and a 13 horned hat. I did not throw my bouquet. I almost threw up from fear but ending up laughing outloud.

The Italian Christmas tradition is turning into Mexican Mayhem. We won’t be serving prime rib or swampy vegetables simmered too long. Instead we’ll have a buffet of mix and match fillers: chicken, beef, sofritas, shrimp, salsas, guacamole, rice and beans to fill tacos, burritos, quesadillas. A margarita bar and chili-chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake for dessert. Mustaches, sombreros, and holiday music south of the border style. That will teach ’em to nominate the Kisa and I to cook!

In other news (what else? Running!), here’s the lowdown: 71 miles to go. Covered so far this month:
12/1 = 6.55
12/4 = 9.15
12/6 = 7.00

I’m on track to finish this thing. I’m still not 100% confident and that makes me talk out loud. I ramble on about the numbers constantly. One thing I need to remind me & myself is not to rant too much around the Kisa. He thinks I’m obsessed. No. No, he doesn’t think. He knows I’m crazy. He watches my mouth and checks my eyes for lies. I know he’s looking for happiness; To make sure this is what I want & I’m psychologically sound doing it. Well, you know what ZZ Ward says, “‘Til the casket drops…’til my legs just break…” I’m going to keep going.

So. Having said all that. The agenda for this week: 6 tomorrow & 9 on Sunday. In between, baking Mexican shortbread and spicy sweet chocolate chip cookies to test. Buenas noches.

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Empty Words

The quick and the dirty: running on Peaks didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. That’s the bad news. The good news is that somehow, in some way, I am still on target to complete 1000 kilometers by December 31st IF I run three miles a day. I haven’t fallen apart completely. I haven’t given up completely. However, I’m still that zone of believing I can’t run 93 miles in 31 days. Is that, in some weird way, better than saying I can’t believe I can run 93 miles before January 1st? No matter how you say it I’m disbelieving.

Last Sunday, while the Patriots were almost pummeled by the Jets, I ran an even nine miles with New Guinea. Halfway through the run I thought I heard the tread cough. I can’t explain it. I definitely heard a thud and I pretty sure it came from below my feet. When it happened again I listened close to the motor. Was it going to seize? Was it struggling just as much as me and myself? Upon a closer listen I couldn’t tell. I kept running.

Last night on a six miler it happened again – at mile three. This time I convinced myself Guinea was ready to go. A weird thud like the backfire of an old jalopy, just not as loud. A muted bump in the tread. It took me another two miles to puzzle it all out. I mentioned in passing last post I’ve slowed my pace to preserve my legs. Well, my body has not adjusted to the slower speed at all. As a result I’m stepping on the housing unit of the motor. That’s the thud. I’m getting ahead of the belt and hitting the plastic casing. Duh. So dumb.

Anyway. I’m still shooting to finish this 1000k challenge. Really, I am. I finally figured out a plan for the rest of the year. This is what I need to do to make it work:

Dec 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, & 29 = 6.3 miles each
Dec 4, 11, 18, & 25 = 9 miles each

If I stick to this plan I will be left with one measly mile to go…on New Year’s Eve.

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Closing In

I am still not confident I will complete this 1000k challenge. Everyday I mentally play with the numbers and wonder for how long I can keep this up. My targeted average is still 2.8 miles a day from now until December 31st. If I can keep that up I will succeed. Notice I said IF i can keep that up. There is the thought fear that I can’t. Last night I ran 3.23 at a ridiculously slow pace. Through the night my body grew progressively achy and by 2am my hips were on fire. Lying there in the predawn hours listening to my hips sing I couldn’t imagine running the same distance later that same day. My body has since stopped bitching but that doesn’t make it easier to picture even two little miles with New Guinea.

But! But. But, I am closing in on my goal. I have epic arguments with myself over methods to the madness. Do I run six every other day in order to give myself rest? Do I need that rest? Or! Do I run three every single day and hope that half the time means half the damage?

Silver lining: thanksgiving on Peaks. I love, love, love running Peaks. Maybe I can put in a solid nine and close the gap a little more? Wouldn’t that be cool?

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This Just In

Quick update. Last night I gritted my teeth, swallowed my fear & to said to hell with it. Last night New Guinea and I went 3.3 miles with… no issues. That’s the yawn part. Running isn’t my monster right now. When I settle down for sleep is the ghost that haunts me right now. But. But! But, let me bask in the glory of going three point three first: Nose breathing for the first mile? Check. Finding a rhythm so I could close my eyes and lose myself after that first mile? Check. Inner voice not finding issues with feet, knees or hips? Check. Check. Check. I love it when the treadmill and I are on the same sentence, right down to the same frigging word. It has taken me over a year to get back the confidence to run blind with New Guinea – although Guinea is not so ‘new’ anymore. Even though I find outdoor running easier, the tread is definitely my good, good friend (as you right remember when I had to say goodbye to the Gerbil. I cried for days. I imagine I will be just as sad to lose Guinea one day.)

But anyway, I’m derailing…

Sleep. I need to say this. I was NOT kept awake by any twitching or tingling! Hooray for small miracles. If I listened carefully to my legs, and listen I did, I could hear electrical “jits” every once in a while. I likened them to distance thunder and fell asleep with no problem. I had weird dreams about gambling and a farm stand and a girl wanted to kiss me, but that’s a whole other story.

The plan is to run another three tonight. Since it will be too dark to venture outside by the time I get home it’s me, myself, moi and New Guinea!

Song of the run: don’t hate me: Roar by Katy P. I like how my feet match the beat during the chorus.

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Twitching

So. The last thing I said was I wanted to finish the 1000k challenge. My plantar fasciitis is barely a blip but now, now I have a new concern (insert eye roll here). The situation is this: I am running just fine. Last week I logged 22 miles (including a nine miler on Sunday at Ashley which was breathtaking) and DURING each run I was fine. The problem comes when I stop. No. That’s not entirely true. I am a little more achy than usual, but that’s not it. To be more accurate, the problem really starts when I lay down to go to sleep. All of a sudden my legs begin to twitch and tingle. It’s like restless leg syndrome on steroids. Like being electrocuted with teeny, weeny, tiny tasers. My hips catch on fire and I can’t get comfortable enough to save my sleep. My worst fear is that I have a pinched nerve and yet I can’t bring myself to see a doctor. I’m sure I’ll be told I’ve been over training and blah blah blah. Cue the Peanuts teacher voice…

Everything in my being is telling me & myself to stop running for a little while. We aren’t training for anything specific. I don’t have another race until March so why run so much? Why this silly 1000k challenge? I’ll tell you why. I’m in the top 10% out of 331,000 participants. I am 130 miles away from my goal. That’s a measly 2.8 miles a day. What has come over me? Why this competitive bullcrap? Normally I wouldn’t give a damn about being in the top anything percent so I have no idea why this matters.

A line from one of my favorite movies, “I’m standing on the platform at Limbo Central…”Or wait. Maybe I’m the one in Indecision City?

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Verdict

You aren’t going to believe this. I called it. Plantar fasciitis. In a nutshell. Strange because all the things to treat PF I already do. All the things to prevent PF I have been doing. Oh well. Silver lining: Just the fact that I have been given the all clear to run (with ice) is enough for me. Immediately after the verdict I raced home to New Guinea and ran 3.5

Moving forward here is what is on my plate for the rest of 2016: finish the 1000k challenge. I would have been in great shape had I ran at all last week or the week before or even finished the half I so wanted. But, I can’t waste breath bitching about the past. What’s done is done. Nothing left to do but salvage the rest of the challenge. For those of you keeping score, I am currently at 733k. I have 62 days left. Are you doing the math? It’s a little under three miles a day in order to complete the challenge. That sounds like nothing but we all know what happens when I run too many consecutive days so I’ll need to map this one out carefully. My off-the-cuff goal is five miles four times a week. You heard it here.

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What Will You Say?

Ever since I called to make the appointment I have been rehearsing my story. It goes a little something like this:

About a month ago I started trail running. On one run I almost collided with another runner & as a result came down hard on my left heel. It didn’t produce pain nor did it hurt a day after the run. However, a few days later I noticed an “ache” but nothing serious than that. I continued to train conservatively (40 miles over the next 19 days). If asked I would say pain never got higher than a 2-3 on a 10 point scale. I I didn’t worry about it. About 10 days before my half marathon (on 10/13 to be exact) I decided to stop running altogether. I still had the “ache” and I wanted my foot to heal whatever was going on before 10/23. I just wanted 13.1 to go well. Exactly one week later I experienced knee pain like nothing I had ever felt before. Pain to the point I could barely walk. I took the next  day off from work and rested, hoping to feel better by 10/23. I did, but not well enough to run and haven’t run since. That’s why I’m here. Please save my sanity. Please.

What will the verdict be? Did I bruise a bone way over a month ago? Did I fracture something? Is it as simple as plantar fasciitis? (Which, by the way, I have no idea what feels like, despite my Kisa’s diagnosis.) Will I get a boot? Will I get the all-clear to run? Red light? Green light? What will you say?

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My No is Your First Yes

So that wonky left foot I last wrote about? Still wonked. Despite the fact I put in another 37.25 miles since Monhegan I felt it was wonked enough that I should baby it a little before the half mara. A week ago Thursday I decided to stop running for a full week. I figured a solid week off from the run would be all the rest I needed. Really, all I wanted was a gentle three miler on the Friday before the race and I would be good…or so I thought. Exactly two days before my easy three my knee caught on fire. Pain to the point of limping. Out of nowhere hurt. Blindsided by blinding pain. What the hell was all I could think. Seriously. No running for a solid week and then this? I felt betrayed and bamboozled. A cruel joke was in the works. Three days before the half mara and now a knee issue. What the fukc? It was like a math equation completely out of proportion. How could I run almost 40 miles without an issue and then have pain after resting for a week?

On the Friday of the scheduled easy three I found myself taking the day off from work and RICEing my knee. Desperate measures. I had it in my head that this was nothing and like true nothing it wouldn’t exist on Sunday. I have never been a gambler but on this day I was betting the farm I would get better. I was convinced I would still run the half. Until. Until Kisa texted a sad tale. His employee wanted to run the Happy Half but couldn’t get in. Sold out. The only way he could enter is if someone else dropped out. Someone. Meaning me. Drop out. Swallowing my pride I said okay. I didn’t want to think it over. I chose to rip the bandage off and move on. I told Kisa, “Tell Too Tall. My no is your first yes.” Two days later to nail the pain home I went to watch Too Tall finish in my place.

So. The happy ending is this. Me & Myself don’t have a DNS on our record and. And! And, we are registered to run the happy half next year. This time around Too Tall was able to register as himself, and using my bib #, run his first half marathon (finishing in 2:20:14). It’s all good. Although, I’m getting emails about “my” pace and “my” photos but I’m okay with the confusion.

The postscript is I have an appointment for the wonky foot this Friday. I know the song: the ankle bone is connected to the leg bone. I get it. I know the knee pain is because of the foot issue. I’m just praying I don’t get the boot. That’s a first I don’t want!

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