Thursday, October 30, 2008


I expected some soreness the day after my return to the gym because I hadn't been there for several weeks. Boy-o-boy was I right on that. Gotta' hate it when it hurts to life the arms up to brush hair. LOL. I went back again today and did a little better on the push-up front (10, 8, 5).

I don't think my arms will be too sore tomorrow. Which is good because...

The PT exercises are targetting the vastus medialis which is weak on my left leg and is contributing to the knee tracking issue. The initial strengthening exercises that I was given from PT didn't seem like they were too bad...until the next day. Today my muscle was quivering when I did the exercises. At least I know the correct muscle is being worked!

And it's a good thing I don't have PT tomorrow because...

Went in for my 2nd Euflexxa injection today. Each time this causes a bit of pain and swelling for about 24-48hrs. I don't think it hurts as much as it did last week at this time, but it's definately sore. Only one more injection to go.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PT and Other Stuff

Had my first PT appt this afternoon. I have two friends that are PTs, one is a runner, the other is a triathlete. As luck would have it, I got scheduled with the triathlete friend PT without even knowing it. Oh, happy day! Somebody who understands!!

First off, she confirmed that my left knee is tracking incorrectly. That was reassuring - a second opinion of the diagnosis. Then, she did some diagnostics to identify muscle imbalances that are causing it. That means we know what to work on to fix it. Yay!

I go back 2x per week starting next week. Between now and then, I have some stretches to do 4x per day and strengthening 2x per day. That should keep me busy.

And another milestone today - I went back to the gym for the first time in several weeks. Oh boy, I'm going to be sore tomorrow! One thing that struck me is how far back my push-ups regressed. I could only do 8, 8, then 5. Eeek!

A few of you kind souls have commented on my arms (bless you!). Since that's really the only part of my body that I'm happy with, I'm highly motivated to getting back to three sets of ~15-20 push-ups three times a week. I'll work that in with my knee exercises and make it a priority over the next month.

Talked to Run Coach today for the first time since Duke City. He was very encouraging. We talked a little about goals for next year, and he thinks it's good to start with 5K/10K and hold off to see how my knee does before going too far down the path of another half-marathon.

That's it for now. Hope everyone is doing well!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day Dreaming

With Duke City behind me, restricted activities for 3-4 weeks, I've been daydreaming about what I might do next.

This was actually prompted by Husband declaring a run goal of his own this week. He has announced that he doesn't want to run long, he wants to focus on a faster 5K. Cool, I think this is the first time he's had a goal other than "run to be healthy."

Of course this begs the question...what about me? What are my goals? For the most part, I haven't nailed down my own goals, but I've started thinking.

One big unknown is whether or not knee rehab will be successful.

If not, I think I can still do 5K runs, maybe 10Ks. My knee seems to be good up to about 5-6 miles. I could certainly join his quest for a faster 5K. There are lots of local 5Ks over the course of the year that we could sign up for. That would be fun.

However, if knee rehab works well, I think I'd like another attempt at the half-marathon distance. Maybe Unser this spring. I'm also intrigued by the Squash blossom half marathon in Gallup in September, a trail run.

On the triathlon front, I'm fairly certain that I'll stick to sprints again next year.

What about you? What are your goals/plans for next year? Have you figured them out yet or are you still daydreaming as well?

Friday, October 24, 2008

We interupt this training program...

...for a heavy dose of life.

Remember the mammo appt? I got called back because they found somthing abnormal. This was done at a different place than my past mammos and they didn't have access to my old films. It turns out that all they discovered was the same small benign mass/nodule that I've known about for 8-9 years and nothing more. However, it took another visit to radiology for diagnostic mammo and ultrasound to determine this. Yeah, that was a bit stressful.

We've also been in the thick of our tile project and have been "camping out" in the great room while our bedroom and office are in shambles. Wouldn't be such a big deal if my knee wasn't giving me trouble, but it's been difficult to get up off the mattress on the floor. Today *should* be the last day of this nonsense so we can start putting the house back together.

Because of the tiling project, I've been taking Bandit to daycare to get him out of the house while the contractors are here. When dropping him off on Tuesday, he lifted his leg to pee on something and there was blood! Poor dog. Vet thinks it's just a UTI, so he's on antibiotics now. If it comes back after antibiotics, he'll get more tests looking for something more serious.

As for the knee, I started Euflexxa treatment yesterday. I opted to skip cortisone, but accepted the sodium hyaluronate. I'll receive it over 3 injections spaced one week apart. There is clinical evidence that this makes an improvement over the long term; however, today my knee is slightly swollen and painful from the first injection as expected, but it does make me wonder if I made the right decision. Time will tell. Anyway, I'm on restricted actvities for the next 3-4 weeks. I'm also starting PT on Monday.

That's been my week. No training, but lots of life stuff.

Best wishes to everyone racing this weekend!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Turtle Photos

Me with a couple of speedy turtles after the race. I've mentioned before that these super tiny women make me feel HUGE.

More turtles. This must have been shortly after I left. I hung out with those two ladies for 45mins or so and then they walked off one direction and we went the other way. Based on the background, it seems they found others from our group right away and we did not. It's a real bummer that I missed this photo opportunity.

You can check out the official photos of Husband & I if you search for Duke City Marathon 2008, and find the place to click for photos, and enter bib 1218. I tried to include the link but was having trouble.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Duke City - Longer Version


I was excited when we got up Sunday morning. I’ve been very conservative with my training since the return to running hoping to preserve my knee. Until treatment is completed successfully, it isn’t a matter of *if* my knee will start hurting again, but *when*. My last few training runs were pain free. How many more miles would it be before the pain returned? That was the big unknown.

It was chilly when we arrived at the convention center, so we stayed inside as long as possible. Husband made a comment about how the race was going to suck; he’s never been a big fan of half marathons. When it was time to start, we ventured outside and soon we were on our way.

Miles 1-5

It was crowded at the start, but it started to thin out a bit by 1.5 miles. I found a pace that seemed maintainable and started picking people off in the crowd one by one. I felt invincible. The first time I looked at my Garmin was at 4 miles – 40:26 – holy smokes! I was well under my target pace of 10:30min/mi and feeling good. I was all smiles. This is the run I had trained for, and it was playing out better than I had imagined.

Miles 6-7

Shortly after mile 5, my smile was gone. Husband turned to me and asked “Are you okay?” No. I was not okay. Out of nowhere, my Stupid knee started hurting. How bad would it get? How fast would it go downhill? I slowed down a bit and started running on the dirt along the side of the bike path thinking that might help.

They had cameras at the turn around. I took another glance at my watch at the halfway point and smiled for the cameras because I had gone 6.55 miles in 1:07: 38. I'm very pleased with the 1st half of my race. I believed that I had it in me to PR if the knee didn’t get much worse.

Miles 8-11

Okay, so much for a PR, my knee was hurting a lot and I was going to have to deal with it. I started taking walk breaks and watched people that I had picked off earlier pass me back. Bleck!
The marathoners had started 45 mins ahead of the half, and it was during this stretch that we watched the lead marathon runners zooming by. I was hoping Coach would be the first one that I saw, but instead we saw some bushy haired barefoot guy. Coach was several minutes behind him. Then another barefoot guy; this one wearing a skirt!! What is up with that?!?!?

I told husband he could go on ahead. He said he was in no hurry and stayed with me. One of the Turtle Club members caught up with us. We ran together for a while. She was on track for a huge PR and quite pleased with her race. She rocked it, too.

Miles 12-13.1

My knee was ticked off and so was I. Walking hurt. I said something to Husband like "This definately isn't the finish I was hoping for" He then reminded me that he had predicted the race would suck; that made me laugh.

When we were rounded the last corner to the finish, Coach saw us and shouted for me to finish strong, so I gave it my best shot. I crossed the finish line with a scowl shouting something like “Freaking Knee!” Ummm, yeah, that probably didn’t make for a good finish photo.


I hobbled over to two running group members who had both had awesome races and were in good spirits. I should have a photo from that soon. Husband looked for food and was hoping to find massage tables.

Not-So-Happy Thoughts

* My main goal to finish without knee pain did not happen.
* It's frustrating that I’m back to limping when I walk.
* I’m probably done with running for the rest of the month.
* Those last two miles really sucked.

Happy Thoughts

* Husband ran with me even though he doesn’t like half-marathons. We crossed the finish line together. Husband rocks.
* My race got off to a great start. I had an amazing run for the 5 miles that my knee felt good.
* I achieved two of my three time goals despite a mediocre middle and a cruddy finish.
* I made new running friends through my running group...with turtles on the shirts!
* Other than my knee, I feel good.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Duke City - Short Version

Based on the goals I posted earlier in the week, I'd have to say that I'm a Not-So-Happy Finisher with Bunny Chaser and Second Chance bonus points.

The Not-So-Happy part is due to knee pain that started shortly after mile 5.

The graph from my Garmin says it all - the race started off really well for me with a fairly consistent pace for the first 5 miles. However, it went downhill fast once my knee started acting up. By the end, my knee was hurting even while I walked, and I was walking a lot.

Longer version later...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Turtle Tidbits

Last night was the last group run with my running group for 2008. Most of them will be there Sunday, but it was sad to say goodbye at the end of the run.

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but the group is called the Turtle Club. I think that may hve been what drew me to the group. That an the fact that we're being coached by an awesome athlete and really nice person.

As it turns out, there are really only two of us that qualify as turtles, but the name stuck anyway.

I'm thrilled that our group shirts have a turtle logo. I'll be wearing one of them (a white sleeveless) one under a long sleeve shirt at the race on Sunday. I expect to take off the long sleeves and tie it around my waist at some point during the race. I hope the turtle shows up in some race photos.

Coach started taking registrations for next year and I've already signed on to secure my spot. Now to figure out what to do with myself without the structure of the group during the off season...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Setting Goals

I can't believe Duke City is almost here. It's time to evaluate my goals for the race. After an Injured Runner DNF at Chips-n-Salsa, I can honestly say that my main goal is to be a Happy Finisher. If my knee holds up for 13.1 miles and nothing else goes wrong, I will consider it a resounding success.

Having said that, there will be bonus points added to my happy meter for various finish scenarios, but it's only bonus points.

Inner Rabbit Bonus: Finish with anything under 2:21:36 for a half marathon PR.
Second Chance Bonus: Achieve the goal I set last time and finish under 2:30.
Bunny Chaser Bonus: Anything under 2:36:58 for a course PR

Sunday, October 12, 2008

If at first you don't succeed...

"The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try." - Debbie Fields

I found a photo that a friend sent me from start of the Nike Human Race 10K back on 31-Aug. That was the Sunday before Chips-n-Salsa. I was running with pain from the start of this 10K, I think you can see it on my face. My knee was swollen and needed to be iced after the race. Even though I took an entire week of rest afterwards, it wasn't enough recovery. I DNF'd the Chips-n-Salsa half-marathon the following weekend and ended up taking three more weeks off running due to knee pain.

Today, a week prior to another half-marathon attempt, I ran along most of the same course as that Nike race. No pain this time. If I had a photo, you'd see a smile. I forgot to start my Garmin until we hit the first mile marker (d'oh!), but I captured the remaining 5.8 miles at an overall pace of 10:26. Rather amazing, as I thought I was doing 11min miles the whole way.

I definately feel better this time around. Will my knee hold up for a 13.1 finish on Sunday? Can't wait to find out. :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Knee news


"Patello-Femoral Syndrome - a condition caused by the patella not tracking properly. The patella normally rides in a groove on the femur. The patella is really a fulcrum - it gives leverage to the quadriceps. The quads are so named because they consist of four muscles. With PFS, you get an imbalance in these muscles - usually the lateral or outside muscle over-powers the inner medial muscle - and this pulls the patella out of it's normal groove. When the patella doesn't track properly in it's groove, it causes pain under the patella."

Suggested Treatment:

* Physical therapy to balance the quad muscles and realign knee tracking.
* Cortisone injections.


It's okay to run as long as it doesn't hurt. Don't be surprised if pain returns with running because the underlying condition is still present until treatment is completed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Regaining Confidence

Yesterday evening I did some structured speed work for the first time since injuring the knee. This was mostly a confidence building exercise. Workout plan was 4.5 miles total broken up as .75 mile warm up, 3x8min fast-steady with 2 min walk rest in between, .75 mile cool down.

My Garmin tells me that the fast paces were 8:45min/mi and the warm up/cool down was 11:28min/mi. I was actually shooting for ~9:15 for the fast paces so I guess I got a little over zealous. The knee held up well which gave me some much needed confidence for the upcoming half marathon.

My appt with the orthopedic is later this morning. I made the appt a month ago when it was swollen, sore, and making crunching noises; this is the soonest they could see me. Frustrating!! I thought about cancelling, but I think I'll take the opportunity to at least tell them what *was* going on and see if they have any insight.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend Highlights

Friday afternoon dermatology appt was interesting. He had me change out my shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, sunscreen to some super hypoallergenic stuff that you can't just pick up at the local store. My laundry detergent was on the approved list, but I had to remove the oxyclean. It's only been a few days and my skin is noticably better. Yay! Once the dry rashy itchy stuff is all cleared up, we'll try to figure out which of these products is/are the culprit.

Son's marching band performance was awesome Friday night, and was even better at the competition Saturday afternoon. It brought tears to my eyes. We had to leave before awards due to our hectic schedule for the day. What a bummer because they took first place in their division. Woot! Moving onto another competition next weekend.

Dropped off Daughter at her friends house so they could get all dolled up for Homecoming dance at friend's school. She must be studying in the school of Marcy bathroom shots, because this is the photo she sent to me when they were all ready to go. She's the one in the middle.

Son had rushed from Band competition back to school to prepare for the first show of the comedy troupe and that is where we went next. Parts of the show were quite funny, some parts I didn't "get" (guess it's a sign of my age). One of the sketches that they performed was written by him. He seemed to really enjoy it and was comforable on stage. Next performance is in January.

Our church is leaving the rented space and going portable for the foreseeable future. We'll be meeting in an elementary school. This means unloading before the service and reloading after the service into a large trailer. It's going to be "interesting." We had a practice portable service today and it seemed to go pretty well.

Admittedly, taking a nap wasn't on my schedule, but I was exhausted this afternoon and did just that. It was probably a good thing, because things are slowing down for me anytime soon...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Reflections from a Nine Mile Run

I feel so blessed to live in a place where I can head out my door and enjoy a peaceful, serene run.

Before I hit mile one, I'm out on the trail, following the ditch bank, and encountering everything that this rural residential village in New Mexico has to offer.

I grew up in Toledo, Ohio. It's a lot different there than it is here. Lots of houses. Tall trees and grass. Grey skies. More traffic. People are always seem to be in a hurry.

I wasn't a runner back then, but even if I was. I surely wouldn't find myself face-to-face with a llama out on a run, that's for sure.

I love running on the ditch bank. For one thing, the sand is nicer to my body than pavement. But I also enjoy watching the changes during the seasons.

The ditch doesn't always have water in it, but it does this time of year. It was a treat to find ducks swimming in it today.

When we first moved out here it was culture shock in many ways. My first impressions of New Mexico were blue skies that went on forever and the friendliest people I have ever met.

It took a while to get accustomed to the sand and gravel and lack of grass, but it quickly grew on me.

It seems like I always have to stop at least once on my long runs to let a horse go by. Today was no exception. In fact, I had to stop twice.

Not that it mattered that much to me. I'm never one to pass up the opportunity for a walk break especially if I happen to find a shady spot.

We don't get much color in the autumn, most plants and the leaves on the native trees turn yellow. I do miss the rich colors of autumn leaves back home.

I can't think of any activity that's better for both my mind and body than running. And what a great place to live for doing just that.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Organized Chaos

My life amounts to nothing short of organized chaos. It's amazing that I can get any traction on my workouts. Here's an example of what I'm up against:

Today (a work day):
* morning gym work
* Mammogram at noon
* Dr appt at 4pm
* make dinner to feed family before leaving for run group
* Run group 6:30
* make up lost work time in evening

* 8-9 mile long run morning
* 4pm dermotology appt across town
* fight traffic coming back
* 6:45pm band pregame performance
* dinner with husband (ahhhh)

* take down daughters existing bed
* morning "recycle everything" event
* early afternoon Band competition
* Daughter to Homecoming (at another school)
* Son's debut at evening comedy performance

* church practices going portable
* kids to church youth group

Monday (work day):
* gym or swim in morning
* Work from home afternoon for furniture delivery (new bed)
* feed family before leaving to run
* make up missed track workout in evening

Tuesday (work day):
* gym in early morning
* ortho appt (knee) FINALLY
* feed family
* run with group in evening
* make up lost work time in late evening

Wed (work day):
* run early morning
* morning appt at hospital cardiology for 24 hr Holter monitor (no showering for 24hrs)
* work late

I'm exhausted just thinking about it! I still need to get my car in for service and arrange with the contractors to do the tile installation. No wonder I feel pressed for time!