Tuesday, August 16, 2016

We All Need a Push Now and Then

This is very hard for me to write because I am typically such a positive person that can motivate others so easily, but I have found myself in a funk and I am having an extremely hard time pulling out of it.
Im not sure how or when it began but it has been going on now for way too long.  I gained weight before my spinal fusion and during recovery and just haven't been disciplined or motivated enough to take it off.  I get super mad at myself because there are clothes that I want to fit in and just don't.  I know weight does not define someone and I know I am in great shape but I do feel best about myself when I am a little thinner.  I also know that in order for me to get thinner and stay thinner that my calorie intake must stay super low even with all the exercise and calorie burn I have.  It never has made sense to me that I can burn so many calories yet if I eat over 1400 a day then I either gain weight or stay the same. In the past I have found myself going to extremes to get rid of the calories that I put into my body and that essentially will only lead to more health issues down the road so I have to watch myself and be sure to keep myself from those impulses. I really believe most of the population men and women have some sort of eating disorder. Whether is it overeating, to not eating to binging and purging most of us have one or are fighting one.  I find it sad that society as a whole has taught us that our bodies and looks is who we are - sure we may say that we don't fall into that category but I would be willing to guess that very few of the population wake up and look into the mirror and honestly say to themselves "I love you...you are perfect just the way you are" We compare ourselves to other physical traits where if we want to even compare ourselves to others we should be comparing ourselves to those that are compassionate to others, giving to others, and loving to others and want to be more like them rather then have a body figure of Jennifer Anniston or Channing Tatum.
Currently my funk is not only weight and food related but fitness related.  I moved at the end of the year to Southern Utah and the summer is super hot....whoever says at least it's dry heat has no clue. When you step outside in the heat of the day it actually feels like you have stepped into a wood fire pizza over.....your eyes burn and your body feels on fire!  Granted I could get up and head out the door at 5am and go for a run or a hike and not be in the major heat but I am not an early morning person unless I am getting up at an event.  Work has me working most days from 2-10ish which I prefer because then I would have the mornings to bike, hike or run but with my lack of motivation I don't do it! I miss going to events every weekend or 2 out of 4 weekends a month like I did for a couple years but some sacrifices had to be made in order for me to move to this amazing place! The dog kenneling expenses are 5 times what I would pay in Portsmouth so that makes traveling hard, I sold my business and am currently working at a park for shit wages but I did want something to keep me busy some of the days...I will be leaving there right after Labor Day as I agreed to help them through their last super busy weekend.  No room for any growth there and for roughly $60 a day there is so much more I would rather be doing with my time and energy and can pinch pennies a little more and travel less to make things work.  All I need is a roof over my head and food for my body.
I think some of it is burn out and some of it is that I don't think I need to train to do an event.  I look back and think - damn in 2015 you could barely stand up due to your back. I finished 2014 with my 50th State marathon/ultra finish did the New Years Double Double, paced Mississippi Blues January 10th then ran First Light Marathon January 11th. When I got back from the Blues/First Light Double I had one more test on my spine and after that test I was unable to stand up at all for more then 30 seconds at a time without crying!  My first surgery was at the end of Feb and it took the pain away for 6 weeks.  We then knew I would have to have a 3 level spinal fusion....I was able to hike after the first surgery leading up to the fusion in June of 2014 but no running and actually my depression had gotten a little better.  I was depressed thinking that I would be 1-2 years without running but I was also hopeful that I would be out of pain.  I had the fusion in June of 2014 and even though that first week of recovery was like nothing I have even been through and I didnt see light at the end of the tunnel I was determined to come back!  The doc said walking was the best thing for recovery and that I did...I walked and walked and walked and took breaks in between and was walking so much before you knew it.  The doc said he knew I would recovery well and to just listen to my body and if it hurt don't do it.  3 months post spinal fusion I was doing a super hilly 20K called The Indian Run. Who does that shit??  I took it slow and easy but still how was I running/hiking a 20K technical trail just 3 months after a spinal fusion.  The following week was the Adams County Marathon.....being a 2 loop course I thought well I will do one loop and see how I feel and if I feel good I'll do another.  My friend Heather said she would hang with me for whatever distance I decided to do.  I felt really good after loop one and seeing some friends from out of town that I hadn't seen all year and being around the atmosphere of an actual event just made me feel like I was back!  Granted my time was a little over 6 hours but this course is a pretty hilly up and down course so I was pleasantly pleased, plus this was only like 16 weeks after major spine surgery and 37 or so weeks since I had ran a marathon and really ran any kind of distance.  I think doing these 2 events so soon afterwards and considering the NO training at all and feeling really good after totally has messed up my mindset.
I continued running events and ran a total of 5 half marathons and one I felt so good I ran it in 2:20 almost 4 months to the date of the spinal fusion. Granted thats not fast for some but a 2:20 not running much at all for 9 months and 2 spine surgeries leading up to it freaking blew me away!  From October to June of this year I really still couldn't get into training because now I  totally have that mindset that I am fucking super woman or something and training is totally over rated.  I continued to run events and completed the 1 20K 4 half marathons 11 marathons 1 50K 1 56 miles and 1 100K.....but I haven't ran since the Bear Lake Trifecta in June. These were all completed from August 2015 (3 months post fusion to June 2016)  These numbers are super low in comparison to what I did in 2013 and 2014 but I could go a month or so without running a lick and head out to a marathon or 50K or more and just do it and feel totally fine afterwards!  I have done some hiking and have really been busy trying to get my new house built and moved into - so this on top has helped create more great excuses in my mind.
Each afternoon and evening I go to bed with the intention that I will wake up early and go for a run...even if it is only 2-4 miles I tell myself that is better then nothing.  On the average when 6 out of the 7 mornings roll around my mind reminds my body that look what all you have done...you don't need to go out this morning....get some extra rest and you have to work till 10 or 10:30 tonight anyways you may as well finish getting things done at the new house.  The good news on that I did manage to get my house completely unpacked and really organized within the first couple days of moving in! So now I don't really have that excuse any longer.
I need some goals, I need to dream again and I just don't know where to begin. I want them to be fitness related.  Some have said after finishing their 50th state they felt like they had reached a huge accomplishment and got depressed because what would be next.....I was told this would happen after my first Ironman Triathlon.....well it didnt as I did 3 Ironman's and actually they were my very first marathons as well.  I did however get bored with triathlons after completely 3 ironman and thats when I decided I wanted to do an ultra. My goal of the 50 states never was a goal as when I thought about it I thought there is no damn way....maybe I will do a half in all 50 states.  That changed quickly after I finished my first 50 miler and of course I needed more so I had to try a 100miler!  In training for that I found it easier to sign up for events, whether it was a single marathon on a weekend or one on a Sat and one on a Sun....this kept my training in check and I couldn't convince myself that I had some laundry to do or I needed to clean the house since I was too far away to come home to do it.
I did set a goal to complete 100 marathons/ultras as I was leading up to my 50th State and things were actually set to be completed by May of 2015.....my spine issues put that on the back burner and I did choose to skip a couple events and repeated states because Hawaii for state 50 was the most important.  On Thursday June 9th in Wyoming I finished my 100th marathon/ultra at the Bear Lake Trifecta.  I did 101 the next day and decided to do the half on day 3.  Ever since this I have not been on a run longer then 3 miles and have done limited hiking, mostly due to the heat and work but I still can't get my mindset back.
I need to as I managed to get registered for one of the most exclusive events in the west called Canyon De Chelly which will take place October 8th.  I do have a marathon and half in Sept and a marathon the week before Canyon De Chelly but I have to figure out how to convince my head that I must get out and train for this event.
Not only do I need to convince myself that it needs to train, it needs to convince itself that enough is a enough. Stop eating the cookie dough the ice cream the pizza the amazing corn chips from Lins with mango salsa and all this crap food that taste so yummy but afterwards when you look in the mirror you ask yourself why the hell are you doing this!?  The easiest part is taking the weight off once you set your mind to it but the hardest part is keeping it off.  I still sometimes find myself comparing the current me to the me from 2002 and rationalize where I am now is still a huge jump in a positive healthy lifestyle but I also know I am more confident even for a person that lacks self esteem confidence on every level when I am about 20 pounds thinner.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

So much going on!

This is going to be one heck of an update.  I have not posted since September and so much has happened! I know my head will think faster then my fingers will be able to type and I will be all over the place as I normally am.
Lets go back to after feeling so good after the Adams County Marathon.... Full marathon 114 days after a L4-S1 Spinal Fusion....who woulda ever dreamed that possible.  So let the possibilities grow endlessly!  The following weekend October 4th; Heather, Jackie and I went and ran the Broke Mans Half Marathon....I felt really good during this event too but think I went a little too fast for it being so soon after surgery finishing in 2:20.  The next couple days I did have some aches but nothing that had me alarmed.
Then the next weekend we all heading to Northern Ohio where Jackie and I did the Towpath Marathon - Jackie did the half in which she qualified to be a Half Fanatic!!!! It was a very pretty course I got to run into my friend Joe and again I felt super finishing in a time of 5:36? Still not back to my normal speed but I will take it!!!
We took a break the next weekend then Heather and I found a marathon called Eastern Kentucky marathon which was only about an hour and a half drive away so we just drove the morning of the event.  This marathon promoted that it had the largest finisher medal.  Now I do love a nice finisher medal but its not all about that for me.  This things was crazy huge and heavy! I honestly think I like the cute and simple medals best.  Heather stayed with me this entire race and we had a super fun time. I got to see a couple of my maniac friends that I hadn't seen all year which was awesome! I started to feel like I was back and also feeling like I had not been laid up for 9 months!
After the EKY marathon I found a house in Hurricane Utah that I would rent.  I had to go ahead and pay for December rent since this is when it would be available knowing I could not move until after Christmas. It worked out really nice because on November 15th I was running the RnR Vegas and it is only a 2ish hour drive so I was able to at least physically see where I would be living before hand.
RnR Vegas - what can I say about this event! To start Kid Rock put on one hell of a pre show and trying to get motivated to run while listening to him put on a kick ass show was very tough!!! The race starts at 4:30 and I had already signed up for this before my surgeries and had talked to them about dropping to the half due to their 5 hour course time limit but I thought I may as well try for the full if I felt good.  I was able to start in an early corral but the weather was not as predicted! 40 mph winds came, rain and cold! It was miserable.  I knew about mile 6 that I was just going to do the half and I had no ego problems telling me this was not ok.  I didnt take that many photos on the course because the rain was so bad.  I had a great time meeting some new people and since I knew I was only going to do the half when a group of Texas gals saw I was running with Fireball they started calling me Fireball.  I had 4 on me so knew I didnt need them all and I convinced them to give one a taste. They debated for awhile thinking they should wait until they finished but I convinced them it would be ok.  One swig and their eyes lit up and they passed the bottle to each other in amazement of how great it tasted!!! I continued on the course and I was wearing my Team Beef jersey when I had my first heckler come upon me.  She was yelling "yeah go team beef murder all the cows,,, you cow murderer - good for you" I didnt waste my energy to saw anything back and all I could do is laugh.
The week after Vegas I went to Nashville to do The Flying Monkey...I was so excited to be able to do this this year because the past 3 years I have had other commitments and have been unable. I really worried I wouldn't be able to do it this year due to my surgeries but it all worked out!! I stayed with Cathie and Troy the night before and was so great to be able to catch up with them. Hard to believe I had not seen them since they ran with me when I finish my 50th State in Honolulu in December of 2014! We took an early start at the event and got to see so many folks that I have missed all year! I ran about half of the run with them and Troy's hip was bothering him and he had to go a little slower on the uphill and I had to go a little faster on the uphill or I would use my back too much so I went on.  The course was very hilly but beautiful!!
I didnt run any for the next couple weeks due to packing for the move and working on getting things together for the run I host the First Day of Winter Half/Full/50K but I was also signed up for California International Marathon on Dec 6th and I had to go!  My friend Nicole was there and introduced me to her friend Jerry who just wanted to party on the course......and all I can say about that is ....this is what we did! Super fun time - My friend Jenine was doing the event and she said her goal was to catch me! Around mile 22 she did! Just in time for us to find a bar serving Guinness. By this time Jerry and I had too many to even count along with shots and gin fizzes and wine! After we finished Jenine and I hung out a bit and got to visit.
The First Day of Winter run was another huge success for Portsmouth! This year is was held Sunday December 20th. I had one guy come from Japan to run his 685th marathon...a couple that came from Brazil, one from Canada and 22 other states represented!
We were leaving December 28th to drive a 17 foot Uhaul while towing a car carrier with my car on top 2105 miles to Hurricane Utah.  The northern route we decided against due to the Colorado Mountains driving the truck and snow so we opted for the southern route. This would add a couple hundred miles but safety was much more important! Tanner, the dogs and I headed on Monday the 28th.  There was a nasty snow storm that hit a couple days prior but it did not effect us and also Missouri received a ton of rain and flooding but our timing was perfect.  Some of the highways had high water when we went through but the day after we went through some of them were actually closed due to high waters! Timing was perfect.  It took us 3 days and we really had an uneventful time! Once we arrived we inflated an air mattress to sleep on since it was already late on the 3rd full night and got some decent sleep and got up to start unloading the truck in the morning. My realtor who I had been working with for a year and am still working with came and even helped Tanner unload! We then had time to go to the furniture store down the street to get a couch, table and things like that and they even delivered it that afternoon to us. For the next week it flew by! Tanner stayed until Jan 6th and we shopped for furniture and other necessities. We never had a single get on each others nerves time in the entire 10 days that we spent 24 hours a day each day together!
I took him to the airport on the 6th and then on the 8th I was flying out to pace Mississippi Blues on the 9th and run First Light the 10th. I flew into Dallas since it was so much cheaper and rode with my friends Bre and Andrew 6ish hours to Jackson...just because i hadn't had enough time traveling in a vehicle.
I was a little concerned but knew I would be ok because i had not ran a single block since CIM on Dec 6th and there was no way my base was built back up to par. I had made a commitment to pace and I wasn't going to back out on that. I had no business going as I wasn't even settled into my place nor where my poor dogs who had to go to the kennel...and the kennel here ...holy hell are they expensive!!!
I had a fun group with me while we ran Mississippi blues, we ended up about 15 min over our pace time but we had one of the runners fall into a hole while trying to cross a culvert to go to the bathroom. She went to the bathroom and was there for awhile before we could be sure she was ok and we all agreed we were not leaving her behind. We had all been together for 14 miles and someones well being is way more important then coming in at 6 hours. Our pace group wasn't a time that was going to qualify anyone for boston and with everyone feeling the same way we waited.  She felt bad because she knew our time was going to be off but I reassured her it was no big deal at all!! The weather for Blues was raining....and when I say raining it was pouring!! Then the thunder came and them warning us to be careful but we were not going to stop!! We all finished and then I took a quick shower and headed to Alabama with Clyde and Gary.
Cathie, Troy and I were going to run this one together and I felt like I should drop to the half and not risk any issues since I had not been running much.  The night before they almost had me convinced to just walk the full with them but then with Troys hip we all decided it was best for us all to just walk the half together.  We had a super time!!! Afterwards we grabbed some food and a shower and they brought me to the airport.  It was a long weekend of travel but I was glad I went and got to see everyone!
Now I am trying to get settled into my new location. I am loving every minute of it and have been exploring new trails.  I did decide to apply for a job at a State Park and got called in for an interview so will see what happens on Feb 11th.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Listening to the body can cause you to run a marathon by accident

This past weekend my friends Clyde and Kelly Shank decided to stop here and do the Adams County Marathon on their way home from MD to TX.  Heather had said she would hang with me for the run no matter how slow I went and no matter what distance I decided to do.  I had done 3 weekends where I did 12-13 ish miles on one day but during the week I've still been walking most of the time....not due to any pain just due to pure laziness.  The only pains I feel still remain in the right hamstring and upper ass.....its the same little pinch all day and night and no matter what I do it doesnt get better or worse.  It still doesnt radiate down the leg or foot any and it is not painful enough to require any pain medication....its just annoying to have a pain in your ass all the time.  I had Louvina my friend who is the race director put me in for the full even though I figured I would have to stop at the half.  I didnt have any goals and would not have had any disappointment at all if I had to stop at the half because honestly a half marathon 114 days after a 3 level spinal fusion is most likely unheard of as well.  I think sometimes there is something weird that goes on with my body the way things recovery....one day that may not be the case but the past couple years it has been and I will live like there is no tomorrow until that day knocks me completely down.

  Our minds are so powerful it is truly amazing.  Sometimes I do worry that my mind is so powerful that it somehow tells my body it is perfectly ok when its not? The only reason I say this is because the shit I have been able to do not only after this spinal fusion but back tracking back to the end of 2009 when I had the 3 micro fractures on my left knee then going for a year and a half with doctors telling me I would need a new knee if I would start running again...remember back then I also had only done a couple marathons!

Kelly and Clyde arrived friday afternoon so we got to spend the day together.  They came bearing hydration and nutrition so that I would be able to give 100% at the run on Saturday! ha..... I love these little airplane size bottles of booze....you just can't find them in Portsmouth Ohio like you can in Texas! They are perfect size to fit right in the little holders of a fuel belt....I think maybe those places were meant for gels but I think these work out best!

Race morning we got up early, Heather and Jackie drove to my house and Clyde and Kelly followed us since they would be heading back towards Texas after the run. I think the weeks leading up to this I was most excited one to see Clyde and Kelly and two the baked goods from Millers Bakery after the event!! CREAM HORNS and HOMEMADE PRETZELS.....those are the two items I was dreaming about.  They have so many other things too that will make you drool a little as you walk back and forth while you debate on what to get but my mind was set on just those items.  I have really been watching my food intake to get this weight off that I have gained during this whole spine ordeal. Trying not to worry too much about the number on the scale which is hard but how things fit and Im not into some clothes that I want to be into.
We got to the race with plenty of time to visit and had a maniac/fanatic/50 staters photo before hand. The race started about 15 minutes late due to some issues but I don't think anyone had a problem with it.  Kelly and Jackie were working an aid station near the half way part of each loop.  Heather and I got started and the weather was cloudy to start with chances of rain and temps about 60...so perfect running weather!!!  Im not sure how far into the run it started but a light misty rain came and pretty much stayed all day.  Sometimes it was heavier then others but no downpour.  When we got to Kelly and Jackie I told Heather we were half way to the half way if we were going to do the full....I was feeling really good, only issues is the hamstring and upper glute/hip pinch on that right side which like I have said I feel all the time. I still didnt care if I would drop to the half, I was just out having fun and listening to my body.  One thing about this course is it is very pretty scenery with all the horses we pass and hilly but not many guardrails to pop up your leg to stretch - I kept saying I wanted to do that at the next opportunity but that opportunity never really came.
After loop one I was still feeling really good and we just decided to keep on trucking and see how things go......Clyde was ahead of us by about a mile or so, so when we he hit the turn around and we were coming back to the turn around we passed each other.  Later he told me that he could see it in my eyes that I was feeling great and that I was going to do the full marathon. He was right!!!
During the second loop I decided to turn on my iPhone an play some music over the speaker and sing to entertain us.  A gal from Maryland that had come to run a 20 mile training run but decided she may as well just do the full ran into us.  She stayed with us for the course entertainment on and off for about 8 or so miles.  She was training for NYC marathon in November and is also planning on Vegas Half mid November.....I may have talked her into signing up for that full instead :-)...............
We finished with a time of 6:08 which honestly for that course being hilly isn't that bad. I can't believe I ran/walked the full and felt amazing!  I had doubts about doing the Full at Vegas because they have a 5 hour time limit but they do allow those to move to the sidewalk to finish in 6 hours but I have never seen them allow anything more then 6 hours.  Any given day I can run 6 hour marathons or for that matter a 5 hour cut off doesnt make me nervous  but not any given day after 2 spinal surgeries and one major one and not running a marathon since January 11th so this is why I had doubt for Vegas....I no longer have that doubt at all.....that course will not have the hills this one did ( i like hills) so I should be able to finish it in under 6 hours easily. Im not going to push it and just go out and have fun but I WILL beat the cut off but I also will listen to my body....if I feel any pain while running then I also have no problem dropping to the half.  Vegas is an evening run which will be different but Kid Rock will be playing an hour beforehand for us so that will be motivating!
I still don't think I have wrapped my mind around being able to finish with no issues what so ever.....even the next day I didnt feel like I ran 26.2 miles??  I do know that I felt at home again with all the runners and seeing some friends I haven't seen in awhile.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life Is Good

I haven't posted for awhile because I am just amazed with how good I feel.  I can't even comprehend that I had major surgery with pretty much a new titanium lumbar spine that connect to my sacrum 98 days ago??
Im still running by feel and not paying any attention to my watch so that it doesnt temp me to try to set any time goals....not that I ever was one to set time goals.
August 29th and September 7th I decided I was going to try to run/walk a half marathon distance. I had no time goal in my mind and a typical half takes me anywhere between 2:00 - 2:25 depending on what Im running and how many shenanigans I partake in while on a course.  These were not official Half Marathons just the distance...leaving my house and running up Rt 23 to the Highway Patrol Office and back....its just a tad more then 13.1 miles.  Now I did have in the back of my head that I would like to do this in under 3 hours but again I was not going to have my watch set to see the overall time so that I wouldn't push. I stopped a couple times to stretch when I needed to...walked a lot and just enjoyed being out there for some quality time.  On the 29th when I finished my time was 3:01:13...I was glad I didnt look at my watch because I probably would have skipped a stretch break or picked up the pace into a run instead of a walk and would have easily been under the 3 hour mark...but I feel like I needed those stretch breaks and the walking when I did. Nothing to prove just wanted to have no pains.  The 7th Heather came with me and we met up with Jackie and she went with us for about 9 of these miles. This was her longest for awhile.....this trip we were around 2:57 but again didnt look at my watch.  The first long one my feet got really tired....like they would feel when you're out there for a 50 miler...or I guess how they would feel for your first half or full marathon. The second trip my feet didnt get that tired feeling as bad.
Two days before the second 13.1 mile trip I decided to go ahead and run our local 5K.....Heather said she would do it with me and we were not going to look at our time because again...no pushing and no goal...just have fun and enjoy the atmosphere of a race.  I decided on the 5K over the 10K because I knew in the race atmosphere we all tend to get caught up in it and I may run a little harder then what I needed to be doing at this time.  We hit mile one and my watch does beep to tell me what each mile pace is and we were running a 9:45....shit it sure didnt feel like we were pushing that hard!!! My body  felt great...I was breathing a little heavy but kept pace and Heather would keep making sure nothing hurt and all was well and if I wanted to walk it was fine....I really wanted to run this entire 3.1 miles, I didnt care what pace but I wanted to run it all.  Mile 2 comes up and we are still under a 10 min mile...this one averaging 9:54....still body feeling good but my breathing at this pace has not returned....but it hasn't seen this pace in a long long time either. During the last mile we slowed the pace down a tad bit and crossed the finish line with a time of 30:30! Who does this shit!! I must be some sort of medical freak!!! I again was glad I did not have my watch set for overall time because if I knew I was 30 seconds slower then having a sub 30 min 5K 3 months and 1 day after a spinal fusion I think I would have kicked it up at the end instead of slowing down a tad.
After the 13.1 on the 7th I have only ran a couple of shorter runs, I have been getting my steps in each day and doing strength training as well.  Early this week on my FB page a post popped up about the Indian Run in Hocking Hills....for the past couple years I always heard great things about this run but I was always out of town doing events when it took place.  They have a 5K 10K 20K 40K and 60K.....I also read the 5 10 and 20K can start anytime between 9-11am so that meant I didnt have to get up at some God awful early hour and drive or find a place closer to spend the night. Its only about an hour and 20 minute drive too.  I knew Heather would love to do this and the price of only $25 even made it more appealing!! I quick message with the details to Heather and the next thing we knew we had both emailed each other a photo of our entry fee that we were mailing in!  We make a good team!! I had never been to Hocking Hills so had no idea what the course would be like. HOLY MOTHER HILL BALLS!!! Major Major climbing and long decents in the beginning made for some tired quads and painful lungs but it was a wonderful day and we had a blast!! We chose the 20K just over 12 miles....Some of the steep climbs really kicked my ass and Im usually a power hiker up hills but that was not expected out of me today and I honestly didnt even think they would have climbs like that! WOW......I kept moving forward each climb....even the one in the beginning that had to be over a mile long and 1000 plus feet of gain..I wanted so bad to stop and catch my breath but I knew I couldn't catch it even if I stopped so I may as well just keep moving forward.  Heather was loving it and she would stop and turn around to check on me and giggle and say Im enjoying the view....because Im usually the one way ahead on the climbing up where she kicks ass going down. The course was on some road and when it was on the trails they were beautiful.  Nicely shaded and we crossed a bridge that was above Old Mans Cave. I would like to return and hike out here and check out all the offering the park has.  The last couple miles was mostly walking....the trails started to have a lot of roots around and being tired I was a little nervous trying to maneuver my feet with all the roots in fear of falling and hurting my back. We were in no hurry at all....we kinda had a goal with it being trails and lots of climbing of 3:30 and came in in 3:08.  My garmin showed we had 3,819 feet of elevation gain and 3,428 feet of elevation loss!  WOW!
Next weekend is the Adams County Half Marathon and Marathon....Clyde and Kelly Shank are coming up - Kelly is going to volunteer with Jackie and Clyde Heather and I are going to run it. Clyde will run the full and Heather is going to run what ever I decide to run and hang with me. This course has a lot of hills too but after this weekends hills I think I will be ok....I worried about the downhill pounding on the spine and the uphill use of the lower back muscle to help you climb would bother me but so far everything is good.  The only issue I have and have had is the tightness in the right ass cheek.....there is still no nerve pain radiating down the leg and I don't think doing nothing will take it away and I don't think doing what Im doing will make it worse since it hasn't been getting worse just staying the same.  Part of me really wants to do the full but I won't push myself if after the half I have pains that are not normal marathon pains.
I would love to go to my next appointment with a marathon finisher shirt and medal for the Doc....I also can't wait to let him know that he is a hashtag :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

And the comeback begins

The past 2 Saturdays I have gone to the forest to do the fire road trail which is an 8 mile roundtrip course I have been doing for a couple of years. The first Saturday I decided to jog down a few of the hills and walk the uphills but listen to see how my body would react. The doctor did say I could start adding some running in in about 6 weeks and this was 11 days later so close enough to try??? I was with some friends and it actually felt really good. One friend was struggling to keep up so we decided just to stick with walking after a couple of downhills.  On August 11th I then decided to run the local 5K route that I have been walking a lot and just do a run/walk and again go by feel...nothing to prove no need to push. I ran that in 41:47 - not too bad only 68 days after major spinal surgery!! Afterwards I still felt pretty good. The only pains I have are some sciatica nerve pain in my right upper glute area and its not shooting pains down the leg nor does it pinch to make it hard to sit up and stand up. Doc says it could be a permanent nerve damage, could be residual pain, could be just a flare up. I will keep listening to  my body and not push to much. Next appointment is October 20th so if I am still having that discomfort he may do an MRI just to be sure nothing is still wrong. 
So back to my comeback..... The second Saturday...this time 2 friends and Andi my 4 legged running partner went out to the fire road trail....things felt amazing!! My friend that struggled the week before was doing awesome as well.....we ran the downhills power walked the uphills for the majority of the 8 miles. Towards the end there were a couple of the downhills that I decided maybe it wouldn't hurt just to walk them because I know going downhill is going to be more pounding anyways then just running on flat surface. After we finished we stopped for some ice cream. 
This week on Monday Tuesday and Thursday I ran/walked the bear run as well.  My goal for the week was to run under 40 minutes but not to push myself...so even though I set my garmin I would not look at it because I didn't want my head to tell my body to move faster I wanted my body to tell my body how to work. All three runs were under 40 minutes with two of them at 37!! I am trying to figure out if I am some sort of medical marvel or just a plain ass freak??? 
Today I was going to run/walk with Heather but after doing my upper body strength workout my nerve pinch was telling me maybe just to walk. So I was glad I listened and we did a nice 4 miles with a super nice clip and no nerve pain what so ever during the walk. 
My head and heart tells me its ready to do a marathon but I know not running one since January 11th and all the trama my spine and nerve endings were put thru it may be like starting over for awhile? All I can do is get out there and see what happens but remind myself to not push too much. Its also hard to believe that December 31 January 1 January 10 and January 11th I did a marathon each of those days!!! Wonder if my first one back is going to feel like the first marathon I ever did? Well I won't know that since my two marathons I ever did was after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles :-).....but I remember what I felt like after my first half marathon! I think we feel the same after each distance that is a milestone. I got to a point to where I no longer hurt even after a 50 miler or a 100K. Since I only have done one 100 miler I never got to a point of not hurting after that...I can't even imagine not hurting after that. 
Well I have rambled enough for today.....looking forward to tomorrows 8 miles in the forest and I have been biking a 50K each sunday and have been feeling good on the bike as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Life is journey

Life is a journey and if we didn't have set backs that we could pick ourselves back up from in order to start a new journey it would just be plain boring.
I had my follow up appointment on July 28th and knew I was going to be able to fly after that appointment so I had already made arrangements for my son and I to go to Vegas and Southern Utah.  I couldn't wait for him to see what I am so in love with!
 We arrived in Vegas on Wednesday evening and stayed for 2 nights....On Thursday we toured the Hoover Dam and that evening watched the amazing Blue Man Group!! We also played some penny slot and black jack and both of us cashed out ahead with about $150 each more!
On Friday morning we drove to Hurricane and met with a real estate agent Ive been working with for about 9 months and this time we were planning to check out the small town of Kanab. This was also our base for the next 5 nights. Kanab is home of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and only has about 4,000 folks but it is more centrally located to all the different National Parks and ranges about 10 degrees cooler in the summer then Hurricane but 20 degrees cooler in the winter. I liked one home but due to some differences in communication from the seller I started getting an uneasy feeling about it and went with my gut. It wasn't the one either.
Saturday we decided to try to drive down a sand road to a trail that would take us to dino tracks...the rental agent upgraded us to a Kia for an additional $278 and swore we would be fine. I told him exactly what the directions to get there said about needing a high clearance 4WD and he said this vehicle would be ok. Well we got 1.9 miles down the road which I still don't know how we got that far and the bottom of the car was completely under sand. Thank God I had met a local SAR guy Paul from the area before we had gone to Kanab and I had all his contact info or we could have been out there all day! We did keep a case of water in the car at all times in case anything would come up. Paul made it out in his truck and taught Tanner how to shovel the sand out from under the car and wheels so that we could get a chain around it and he could start pulling us out. I felt bad for Tanner but there was no way I was going to be able to get down there and shovel. It took some time and there was no hurry but we finally got out!!! We spent that day hiking local trails and checking out the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.
Sunday we drove to Willis Creek Slot Canyon...I love slot canyons and after my trip out there in April I decided I could be considered a Slot Canyon Junkie...I don't think I could ever tire of them!! Willis Creek Slot I read was a nice slot and good for beginners...not super technical and not much having to wedge through the slots or boulder climb to get to the other parts....this was perfect with my back still just shy of the 2 month mark and I really wanted Tanner to experience a slot canyon. We
had to leave fairly early to get there as we were watching the weather and rain was due in around 1pm. If it rains within so many miles of the vicinity you don't wanna be in a slot canyon due to flooding. When we arrived a couple other cars were there so that made me feel more at ease. Off we headed and in a short time down the slots we went! We caught up with the other groups that were down there with their children.  When we got to the end and turned around Tanner heard a rattle...and said what was that. We were told we would hear a rattle snake before we would see a rattle snake and sure enough we did!! It was so funny cause Tanner was a little worried about the rattle snakes and I kept telling him that the chances were so slim that we really would run across one and here we see it on the first real day of hiking. It rattled once, Tanner saw it and we stepped over the creek to move away....it kept slithering away from us all the while you could tell it was keeping an eye on us...and never again did it rattle. They must do one warning and then you move away and they move away. I did get a photo but I didn't try to take a selfie like the idiot on the news a couple weeks ago did.
Monday we drove to the Grand Canyon North Rim....this was both our first times here and we decided to hike down into the Canyon. Once we got tot the first check point we were told the next one has a water refill and a tunnel....we knew the trip up was going to be rough but also knew it would be worth it to keep going! It was starting to get pretty hot and mules were sharing the same trail....oh boy the smell of mule piss and shit lingered for a long time!!! This hike took us down about 1700 feet through switchbacks with view after view. We took out time and just enjoyed everything about it. At times I would just stop and tell Tanner to just listen.....listen to just nothing! The air is thinner, the sounds are just nature. My favorite photo came from some folks we met at the first check point...I wanted one of the two of us just looking out over the canyon, not posing just admiring its beauty. I know have this one framed in my family room.
Tuesday was all about Bryces Canyon.....I was there in April but only drove to the lookout points and admired the views. I was so excited because I wanted to hike down into the canyon and see the hoodoos all around me. The hike we had planned was a figure 8 loop that combined 3 of the top trails. It would be about 2000 feet of elevation change and we both knew it would be work but the payoff would be worth it.  We followed the directions from someones hiking post and did the Navajo Trail and connected into Peek A Boo loop....When we finished the Peek A Boo loop it was getting hot and there were no water refills on these trails at all? We then looked over the directions trying to see which way to the Queens Garden trail but something was off a little bit so we decided to start heading back up the navajo trail loop...We got in about 6 miles and it really was spectacular!.
Wednesday we drove back through Hurricane and I showed Tanner the house that I had placed a back up offer on in April but didn't get.  One of those things were timing is just right...at that time I didn't know I would be needing MAJOR back surgery so all things work out for a reason. He really liked the Hurricane area more then Kanab and felt I would be happier there because there is much more to do and its closer to some bigger cities. Even though its a little further to the north rim by an another hour then Kanab there is a 10 screen movie theatre not a one screen and there is plenty of food and grocery choices. When the timing is right it will happen.  I think my plans now are to try to find a place that will allow my dogs that is furnished after the first of the year and just rent on a monthly basis....I will be running my business remotely and have a place to store my furniture here if my home here sells. 2000 miles is a long way away to go alone after being in a town for almost 48 years so I want to be sure things run smooth with the business and I feel comfortable before making that huge leap. Hiking new trails every weekend will be amazing!!!
Now we are back home and I am able to start lifting some weights and adding in some other cardio. He told me on the 28th to wait about 6 more weeks before running but Im such a slow runner I had to give it a try today. My first mile was around 14 something....it takes awhile for the legs to get ready to move...they feel stiff easily and still tire quickly, the inner thighs and such feel weak as well but I know that will all come back. I had no goal today except to add some jogging in...whether it was pole to pole or flower pot to flower pot I wasn't going to push I was going to stay comfortable and be connected to how things felt. Mile 2 came out to be a 12:14 min mile...wow...I will take that being 2 months and 7 days after major spine surgery!! Mile 2 was a 12:41. I have no desire to beat my time at all...right now its about coming back slow and smart. I still feel the slight pinch in the right butt cheek and still no radiating down the leg and the inner thighs are really tight but will have to start stretching more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 24 Post L4 L5 S1 Spinal Fusion Checkup

Today was my first follow up with my Neurological Surgeon Dr Gregory Balturshot.  I was kinda hoping we would get to take X-rays and see my cool looking new titanium spine but he said he won't do that till the next appointment which will be July 28th. He asked how things were and I did tell him I hate to say because I don't wanna jinx things like the last time.  I told him that the area just about my butt but below the lower back all the way across still had a tenderness type pain that is best described as a burning.... I also have that same pain on the left side of the incision and I can feel it there more when I pull open a door, pick up a plate something weighted but not near 5-10 pounds which is my limit for lifting. It feels like muscular pain and he said that will go away.  I also told him my right hip had some sharp pains in the rear and he explained this could be from where my spine is not stabilized and my walking gait may have me kinda walking crooked...like one leg is slightly longer or shorter then the other but in time it will all get strong again and be fine. I then told him I feel best while I am walking and told him during the week of post surgery day 16-22 I walked 56 miles with the 3 previous days before my appointment I was doing a little over 10 each day. This is not at one time...this is spread out through the day and my longest walk is about 4 miles. He said he knew I would do well with this procedure and said as long as the walking is not hurting any and when I get tired I stop that I can continue. So then I asked....since I am a goal oriented person and while walking the couple days before I thought...hmmm wonder if he will let me try to walk a half marathon 13.1 miles each day but of course spread out throughout the day. He said YES!!! BUT....if it hurts don't push and if i get tired STOP! I agreed. Since I can't work because I am a gym owner and teach class and train clients and there is absolutely NO BLT...bending lifting twisting....which this is one abbreviation I would like to change because when I hear that I just want a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich!  I was also told I was allowed to swim and pool jog...but no EFX yet. I could try the indoor bike but if the push and pull of the legs bother me I should stop.
So today is actually day 25 and I started my goal of trying to do a half marathon each day and the pool is open on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays so today I was also going to try the pool. I go up and did my first morning walk....I am finding that around mile 2 ish that my feet and legs start to kinda ache....an ache that I felt after running my 100 miler. Once I stop and chill for a few then Im fine. I walked a little over 3 then went to the pool. I tried some laps and only did 250 meters because it made that area of my right hip hurt. I then decided to do some pool jogging and did a little in shallow and even though it takes some impact off I found I didn't want even that little bit of extra impact on my back so I took it to deep water running as well as frog kicks, flutter kicks and outward frog kicks so that I could work on some leg muscles that had not been worked. I did high knees I did heel to my rear and it all felt great! I then went to the swim blocks and did some pull ups and one arm pull ups just to have some upper body while even though I was lifting my body the water kept all the strains off my back. Since there is no impact with deep water aqua jogging my garmin won't pick up the distance but I stayed active in the pool for a little over 45 minutes. As soon as I was done Heather met me for my second walk of the day. Same thing here I noticed my feet and legs getting achy and we sat down on some stone under a tree for a bit and just let things calm down.
A couple hours later I was meeting Jackie for a walk and this time I decided instead of wearing socks and my hokas or asics I was going to wear no socks and my keen sandals....believe it or not we walked a little over 4 miles and my feet and legs didn't bother me at all. Im wondering if maybe where the nerves were so traumatized and they are trying to heel if the socks and the shoes keep them from breathing??? I don't know but Im going to walk in my Keen sandals in the morning and see if it feels ok again.  I did get my 13.1 miles in walking plus the 45 min in the pool which I would assume would be atleast another 2 miles...but my head had to see at least 13.1 on my garmin today - OCD - The pool is closed friday for the holiday but back open on monday so I will return. I may not be as obsessed and depending on how long I'm jogging in the pool maybe i will count it like a 20 ish min mile and allow it to count towards my 13.1.