Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The spontaneously semi planned finish of a marathon or ultra in all 50 States

me in 2002
I have been debating how to write this for a week or so now because I like to talk about the entire trip that I was on during a run but I decided to make this post just about my unexpected journey in finishing a marathon or ultra in all 50 states...then I will post only about our Hawaii trip.

For those that don't know me in 2002 that photo in the Nebraska sweatshirt was me! I had finally kicked a 3 pack a day smoking habit but had not began the other part of healthier living yet.  It wasn't until shortly after my birthday at the end of February 2003 when I saw myself next to a couple friends and I was twice there size that I decided enough was enough.  I lost about 90 plus pounds by watching what I was eating and I started exercising and lifting weights. I found losing was the easy part....keeping it off was much harder!! I had also learned this once before in 1998 when I lost about 80 pounds but immediately gained it back plus a few more.  I was not going to let this happen again so I decided that I needed to come up with different goals to keep me motivated and working out. I started biking and swimming and attempting to run. Boy do I remember the first time I ran a complete mile without having to stop and walk once!!! Heck I remember when I ran my first TWO BLOCKS without having to stop and walk!! I always enjoyed swimming and had done some century bike rides in the past....long past but I had done them....so I started researching triathlons. I discovered there was events called sprint triathlons....these were only about a half mile swim, 12 mile bike and a 5K run....sure I can do this!!! I ran into an old friend from school days at the local gym and convinced her we both could do these- she was already a runner and swam but wasnt into biking yet. Soon we were signed up for every sprint triathlon in 2004 that was within reasonable driving distance. Our first one wasn't as "easy" as we expected and even being swimmers throughout our lifetime, myself even certified in SCUBA...we both panicked in the water and doggy paddled, side stroked and laughed and cussed the entire way until we finished that swim!! We exited the water laughing and cussing about that was not what we expected as we casually walked to the transition area to get out our bikes for a "short" 12 mile ride....we then said to each other - opps we are in a race...lets get to our bikes. After the bikes it was off to the 5K run...wow that was weird...we had never trained to run after biking and learned that day we need to do this more often. We did finish and I tell this story because this was the beginning of my "obsession" some may call it?
By the end of 2004 I was running my first Half marathon with my friend Ginny Sturgill...we did the Columbus Marathon as a relay...I did the first half and she did the second half. I believe my longest run was maybe 2 9 milers....I will never forget the last several miles of this run when I would stop at the water stops...I felt if I stopped I would not be able to start going again and so eventually I just had to keep on shufflin to get done. Oh my did it hurt when I was done and then I had to wait for 2 hours for Ginny to finish. After that half marathon I never would have dreamed I would do any distance longer then that!!!  When the 2004 season ended we were already looking at goals for the next year....we had to bump it up a knotch so we continued with some sprint distance but also jumped into the Olympic Distance and did 3 of those that year. By 2005 we were ready to try the 70.3 triathlon distance...this was 1.2 mile swim 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. Throughout the past couple years we met folks doing this crazy distance and were just in awe....and those that were doing FULL distance of 140.6 miles well that was just beyond reach!!! We signed up for a half in September of that year and low and behold we did it!!! Shortly after my left shoulder ended up having problems with swimming so I finally had it checked and I had tore my bicep tendon and labral tendon so I had to have surgery....the doctor put in 4 anchors and found a large bone spur that was shaved down and also pulled the ball/socket back together. This recovery sucked but I had it done in November so I had the winter off to recover. During the recovery all I could do is work on my schedule of what I wanted to do the next year.
2007 rolls around and I decide we are ready to attempt a FULL IRONMAN!!! 2.4 miles swim 112 miles of biking then a full marathon 26.2 miles of running!!! I had never even done a marathon until this!!! We signed up for Ironman Louisville because it was the first year and it was fairly close. About 2.5 weeks before the event I had some bleeding in a place that was not pleasant and had it looked at from a friend sister that was a nurse at urgent care.  It was a saddle sore that was bleeding and they gave me some ointment...however the next morning I awoke to the area being the size of my fist! I immediatly went to my female doctor and he had to lance it and stick some drainage tubes and sent me home with some antibiotics....the next morning I could not get my right leg to move out of the bed and was immediately admitted to the hospital and placed in isolation - I had MRSA Staph infection.....I was hooked up on IV's - nobody could come in without a gown and mask, they would change the medicine in the IV's every couple hours as they did not know what drugs would work for the strain I had so they kept changing them until the results came back 2-3 days later and they kept pumping me with those antibiotics.  That was scary!!!! I was released the Saturday before Ironman Louisville....8 days before. I had 2 other friends doing the event and I took my stuff and promised my folks and Doctor that I would not do the event.....however I told myself and my folks the day before that if I can sit on my bike I will attempt it.  And so I did - This was my first ever marathon too!!! I had about 1 mile left to go in the run (walk) and they came and took my chip- I was out of time...they told me I could continue or I could get in the truck and I said there is no way I will quit....there was a group of about 10 others around me....all had their chips taken but all of us decided to keep truckin. I finished the event about 30 minutes too late for an "official" finish but they did give me a finisher medal...I knew I wasn't an "Ironman" yet even though I finished the distance I did not finish in the allocated time so it kinda didn't count.  I did the best I could and when you do the best you can you have to be thrilled with that!
2008 comes along and it was time for redemption....I did the American Triple T which is a local event that consist of 4 events...friday night is a super small sprint tri saturday AM is an Olympic distance tri Saturday Afternoon at 3pm is another Olympic distance Tri and Sunday is a Half Ironman....all in the hills of the Little Smokies! I also did a couple other Half Ironman Triathlon and then complete Ironman Florida! My first official finish of a Ironman as well as my first official finish in a marathon since it was at the end of the event!
2009 I decide I am going to do Louisville again and this time I was doing it with Janus Charities...a Charity group that you were able to chose the charity you would like to fundraise for and if you were one of the top 5 fundraiser they would also give your charity moneys!! I chose one close to heart...the Steven A Hunter Foundation http://www.stevenshopefund.org/ With the help of the community I raised $14,000 good enough for 4th place and Janus graciously gave an additional $4,000 to the fund! Beside Ironman Louisville I did do two stand alone marathons for the first time this year...I did Myrtle Beach in Feb of the year and also was selected in the lottery for the Nike Womens Marathon in San Francisco. I stated seeing info about ultra running and boy I wanted to try this!!! 50 Miles or 100 Miles!!! Wouldnt that be freaking cool!!!! After the Nike marathon I was having lots of pain in my left knee. I am the type that will not see a Doctor unless conditions interfere with my daily living and it was getting to become an issue. I had the knee scoped in December of 2009 and they found that 3 of the 4 compartments were pretty much bone on bone so he performed 3 microfractures,,,,this is where they drill holes in the area to try to get new cartilage to grow. Recovery was very frustrating, I biked pretty much immediately with the seat high and eventually started on the AMT and EFX. After months I was trying to run but the pain in the patella was excruciating - We tried an unloader brace but eventually was told if I continue to run then I would most likely need a new knee within a couple years. I ended up going to  other doctors for other opinions with the same outcome. After Doc 3 the very next day was the drawing for the NYC marathon and I had entered!! Of course I did get selected.  2010 was a recovery year but I was determined to get back. I did some triathlons, sprint, olympic and even a half, I also did one half marathon and I did walk the NYC marathon. In 2011 my right foot which was the opposite side of the knee was causing issues, issues to were I would have to crawl to the bathroom at night, finally that was diagnosed as Tarsel Tunnel, surgery was suppose to happen but the chance of fixing the issue was only 50% chance and it would require 1 month in a cast and 2 months in a boot and I was going to come back no matter what any doctor told me!!! I had seen people running without one of their legs, I was reading about folks running long distances the day after chemo-was I going to let these doctors tell me I can't do something?? There are no guarantees....I may need a new knee but heck I may not even be here in 2 years to have to have one!!! By 2011 I saw one last Doctor....he looked over all my MRI's, surgery photos etc and he said "I will not tell you NOT to run and I do NOT see a new knee within the next 2 years but I will say if you run you should try to keep it to a couple times a week and only about 3-4 miles each time." That's all I needed to hear and by the end of the week I had found my first 50 mile run that I was going to attempt!!! It was called Labor Of Love in Henderson NV. It had a 24 hour time limit!! I could do this!!! I did buy trip insurance just in case case.  I had put on about 20 pounds of the 90 I had lost in 2003 and I decided to get serious about getting that off and so I did...I took off that 20 plus another 15 and believe it or not the tarsel tunnel got better!!! Or I just adjusted to the pain???  I leaned how to block the pain in my knee and at times it would swell and even bruise where the bones would rub.
I knew I needed to sign up for events to keep me running longer distances so that I could train for the 50 miler, I also knew if I didnt sign up for events then I would not stay out there by myself running these long distance in the cold of the winter. That winter fortunately was very mild but I did do my first 50K in January of 2012, a COLD nighttime marathon also in January in Indianapolis, and 3 other full marathons leading up to the 50 miler. On April 21st I did my first 50 mile run!!!  I had also learned that if you do a marathon distance or more in at least 10 states you qualify for the 50 States Marathon Club. I had done 5 marathons including the ironman's in 2008 and 2009 and just the first half of 2012 I had now done a 50K 4 marathons and a 50 miler and all were in different states so I actually was qualified for the 50 states club!!! I then decided cool....I think I can do a marathon in all 50 states by the time I am 50........I was 44 so I had 6 years to do 40 more states....I stared researching my last state at this time...and I found one that happened the weekend of my birthday called Cowtown in TX...I also found that on my 50th Birthday it would be ON my birthday. Well.....things didn't happen that way.  By the end of 2012 I had learned of another group called Marathon Maniacs
http://marathonmaniacs.com/
I also learned about double marathons/ultras where you do a marathon or ultra on one day and do another the very next day!!! FUN STUFF -  I had finished 3 50K's TWO 50 Milers...I got into the oldest 50 miler in the US called JFK50 (named for John F Kennedy) http://www.jfk50mile.org/History/Default.aspx and 10 marathons - Crazy as it sounded I waited by my computer on the day that the Umstead 100 mile ultra marathon registration opened because they sell out in a matter of minutes......It was meant to be because I got in!!! It was schedule for April 6 2013 so I now had my 2013 mostly planned starting it off with a 50 miler on the island of St Croix in the US Virgin Islands. That winter was not as forgiving as the winter before so I did do a lot more traveling to the southern states for double marathon training for the Umstead 100 miler. I was meeting the same folks at each event and truly formed a new edition to family....my running family! I finsihed Umstead 100 and I was on top of the world. It hurt and it hurt bad but I wanted more. I discovered a company called Mainly Marathons http://mainlymarathons.com/ This company is owned by an amazing man named Clint Burleson. He puts on series of marathons on consecutive days in adjoining states....Now I thought this is cool and major crazy!!! So I signed up for the one called Center of the Nations....here I could knock off 5 states out west in 5 days! It is here where I honestly can say family ties were made. I met the most amazing people and made the best friendships that continue today.The 5 in 5 days was nothing like I expected....I never once went to bed or woke up thinking damn I have to go run another marathon...instead I woke up with a WHOO HOOO I GET to go run with all my new friends. My 2013 ended with 21 marathons, 4 50K's 3 50 milers and 1 100 miler. I thought to myself what in the world can I do in 2014.....I then started to see how my states were adding up and discovered that I could finish in June of 2015 if all went as planned. I would do CO/KS together with mainly marathons in the spring of 2015 and then finish in Kona in June of 2015......again....it didn't happen this way.
I was having trouble with my right shoulder this time and it came to a point where I could no longer get my clothes on and off comfortably so off I had to go to the Doctor....damn...now the right bicep tendon is torn and I had to have 2 anchors put in.....as I told the Doc lets schedule it right away because in 3.5 weeks I have a series of 6 marathons in 7 days and then I have a lot more on tap for the rest of the year. The look on his face was priceless but he knows me well. I said it is perfect timing since I do have 3.5 weeks until my next event so I will have that time to start recovering.
 I did have to wear the sling and power walk the majority of the 6 marathons but I finished them. These 6 were in the New England States and my son Tanner got to travel along....he got to meet all my friends I run all over the place with and after that week he finally "got it" he realized why mom runs so much and saw how much fun we all have.  He was learning about the marathon maniacs and started asking me questions about things he was hearing like how many "stars" do I have.....stars is a way the marathon maniacs credit folks for different accomplishments....I told I knew I had 8 because last time I logged in it showed 8 but I didn't know when I got them- I never really pay attention to those details...I just sign up for events and have a great time and complete them.
He started checking my stats because folks were talking about 10 stars...this is the highest level you can achieve as a maniac. So during the traveling he started counting up the different states I had done and the period of time they were done in and found that if I did 32 states in 365 days I would reach 10 stars....he then discovered that if I finish the Storm the Dam in Kansas that would get me to my 10th star! I get asked all the time how many marathons or ultras I have done and I can honestly say I don't know unless I look on my results page where they are all listed and count them up. I didn't know which state was number what until I had 5 left...then I knew what state I was on. I know I will know what number 99 and 100 will be when that time comes and it will probably be next summer. It is not a "goal" and it will happen when it happens. I could get it done a lot faster if I wanted to back out of some 24 hour events and ultras but I would much rather enjoy the events then chase numbers. In looking I have done 81 marathons distances up to one 100 miler....with 76 of these being from January 2012 through December 2014.

For many years my cousin Maggi Apel and her husband Matt were stationed in Colorado Springs and out their window was a view of Pikes Peak - I would always admire those photos and I knew of the Pikes Peak marathon well before the days of me even thinking of running but I always though how cool would it be to climb that mountain and one day I will!! I then read a couple places that it is considered one of the toughest marathons in the World but I thought yeah right...they are just saying that...kinda like Warrior Dash and Spartan races are the "toughest" races in the world - I knew Pikes Peak Marathon usually sold out fast and it really wasn't on my radar for my 50 states journey but one evening before going to bed I made the mistake of checking my face book one last time and I read my friends Scott Sunday's post that Pikes Peak was still open however it was 98% full!! I had a qualifying time and I ran downstairs without any thought and accidentally signed up! Oh - and I do NOT recommend Pikes Peak for someone chasing their 50 states as your Colorado Marathons -Ok...so now I have CO scheduled so I won't be doing the CO/KS together in spring of 2015 so I need to find a Kansas marathon. This I did and my friend Heather Waugh and I drove 12 hours to do Storm the Dam Marathon!!!  I was still recovering from my shoulder surgery and could not use my right arm...this was a muddy mess of a race where we had to pull ourselves up several mud slopes...at one point I wondered how in the world I would finish the second loop with my right arm- then I would remind myself if I didn't finish this I wouldn't get the 10th star and I also knew that I would be as smart as I possible could be when I am running and try to really listen to my body to not do more damage- I pulled through and I did finish!! I don't know whether it was from this event or not but after I returned home my shoulder was still hurting so he did a test by injecting dye and a MRI and found the rotator cuff was now torn.....IT is STILL torn because Im not doing that surgery again until I HAVE TO!

So now back to the states......I now had all states scheduled or completed except for Hawaii...I didnt wanna wait until June now and I really wanted my son to be able to go who is a Junior at University of Cincinnati so which Hawaii can I do???? HONOLULU!!! It is December 14th and his finals are the week before so if he could take any early he could go!!! I signed up and waited to book flight for awhile for him to check with professors and he decided he could not go...(of course he never checked cause at that age they kinda know it all) I went ahead and booked and I was going to finish state 50 with just my running friends. 2 and half weeks before I was heading to OK ad AR for a double and stayed with him at his apartment, the night before he tells me that his finals are over and he can go! WOW I was thrilled but also nervous with airfare that close and would the same flight be available- To my pleasant surprise his airfare was $20 less then mine and we got on all the same flights. My folks then decided they would get him the ticket as a Christmas Present....it actually feels like a present to us both!!
I had another friend Jim Collins that was finishing his second time around the 50 states in Honolulu and also my great friend Troy and Cathie Johnson who have ran 221 marathons together- I was a little concerned because I hadn't ran in about 3 weeks...I have been fighting some depression due to the conditions with my back and hip (NO IT'S NOT FROM RUNNING!) I have had physical therapy, several injection one to the sciatica and one to the SI at this point with no relief and even though I do feel much better and less pain when I run - it is hard to get myself out there on a typical day to do it because I get into this poor me mode.
The weather for the race was actually perfect....it was a light rain most of the day with some heavier rains sporadically and light winds with a few gusts but nothing unbearable. I think without the rain and winds it would have been tough with the heat. Cathie, Troy and I ran the entire run together and had a blast!!! I had taken a surfing lesson the friday before the event and Chris my surfing instructor was waiting for me at mile 20 with a stella in a plastic bottle for me to take along with me.
 Tanner was waiting at the finish with my 50 states finisher shirt and it was so cool seeing how big of a smile he had!!! It really didnt feel any different then any other events? Im not sure if it is because it was kinda an unplanned goal and one that finished much faster then when I started thinking it out? I just know I'm ready for the New Years Eve and New Years Day Double Double Event.  Through out this blog are different write ups about most of the states I have been to - I usually type fast, nor do I prof read so read at your own risk. It is more for me to recollect later and for my son if he choses to.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock"

This is going to be a lot of ramblings as my mind is just a mess and can't seem to grasp all this pain. I have never felt so weak, so "un tough" in my life. Somethings gotta give and soon.
Tuesday while shopping for the First Day of Winter Half/Full/50K that I am hosting on December 21st with my mom the pain was so bad I was just trying to lean into the shopping cart to get the pressure off whatever is pinching whichever nerve that is being pinched and would just break into tears. I am at a loss? I hate to wake up because I know as soon as I step out of the bed the numbness in the toes and the right side of my anterior side of my leg will be pins and needles and my lower hip/glute area will be unbearable pain for the next 6 or so hours until I have enough pain meds in me to finally take a little of the edge off.
Today's appointment was to do EMG's to make sure there is no permanent nerve damage- I asked if any of this could be related to the tarsel tunnel that was diagnosed in 2011 and he said that nerve issue run down not up so my hopes of that were shot down. The tarsel tunnel is still there and has not advanced (even though the doctors wanted to do surgery on that years ago I refused because it is only a 50% chance of fixing the issue with 3 months in a cast and boot) I do not feel the kind of pain like I use to from the tarsel tunnel  but the kind of pain and pins and needles I face and have been facing for quite sometime is something I have never experienced and do not wish it upon anyone.  We did find during the EMG's that there is no permanent nerve damage that shows up so that is something that I will take as a positive.
After the EMGs we discussed what can we try next? He seems to feel this is a back issue and not a hip issue even though there is stuff wrong with both parts as reported on the MRI's but he explained a hip issues will not lead to the pins and needles that I have felt for 24/7 for the past 8 plus weeks now or the pain that is beyond words that I feel in my hip and glute.  We have tried a shot in the sciatica....did nothing.....two weeks later we tried a shot into the SI joint.....again nothing. So discussing what's next aside from there is nothing else he can try we chose to try an injection into the L4. Injections are done on Wednesdays and we leave next Wednesday for Hawaii where I will finish my achievement of running a marathon/ultra in all 50 states!! So the injection will have to be for the Wednesday I return. My biggest worry is how in the world am I going to function while I am not running and enjoy my time with my son. The pain pills don't take the edge off until I have had 2-3 during the day and I can get into a position on the couch and the pain level drops to where I don't wanna cry. The worse part about pain like this is it can be so easy to get addicted to pain killers due to the unbearable pain that is felt and people take and take the pain pills just to get a smidge of relief. We did decide to jump up to a stronger medication to have with me in Hawaii but I try to not take anything until I am into tears....which lately has not been often.  He also feels the tear that is next to the L4 where the spinal stenosis is is most likely the culprit....he knows how I feel about surgery and it scares the hell out of me. I don't have time to be down for back surgery! I don't want someone cutting on my back and my spine! What if they slip and I get paralyzed? So many thoughts but also what are the odds of it working.....I want 90 percent or above but don't think I will even get that. So far I have tried to just brush off that option and the look I got today about what is the next step I could tell that a referral to a surgeon was probably next if the L4 injection gives no relief. So when I asked what is next and that I really can't imagine surgery on my back and I got the look I said I pretty much have to learn to live with it? There is no way I can live with this pain so I pray and pray that the L4 injection will help on December 17th!!! If it doesn't I guess I will have to consider what to do next.
I know I have said over and over that I want to take off 15 ish pounds that I have put on in the past 2 years-I get depressed with all that's going on and then eat crap and then feel worse for doing it. I also justify that I am healthy because who can go run a marathon every Saturday and Sunday and not be fit...which is true but I also feel better in my other clothes...I feel better when my shirts fit a little different. I then justify that I am still 85 pounds lighter then I was in 2002...but now I have to tell myself - Before surgery is even an option you MUST try to take off 15 pounds and see if it relieves any of the pressure that is on whatever nerve that is causing so much pain.  The doctor does not see an issue with my weight and did not recommend that I need to lose weight but when I gave him my thoughts and analogy of weight on a nerve etc I then asked if he thought it would relieve any pressure and he said it is possible - anything's possible...so I think I really need to try this as an option as well....and if I tell myself doing so could lighten up the pain a bit it is worth the try!!
The reality is nothing can fix what is wrong with my body but we just need to find something to take the pain away.  I do not have an injury that can be fixed. I have degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, arthritis and conditions that can not be reversed. What we are looking for is what is causing the pinched nerve that is keeping my foot,calf and outer anterior area numb.....what can help relieve the pain that causes tears multiple times a day in my hip, back and glute area. What can allow me to get into my car without having to crawl into it. How can I lift my leg without tears to put on my shoes and socks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Arkansas / Oklahoma Double......States 48 and 49

The Wednesday before the run I had the shot in the SI Joint....again - it was
 not as painful as I expected however it didn't help either. I drove to Cincinnati on Thursday to stay with my son and he and I were going to get some Christmas shopping done and go to dinner as soon as he got out of class. While we were at dinner he said to me...."what day do you leave for Hawaii" and I told him Wednesday December 10th and he then informed me that he thinks his finals are finished on Tuesday so he would be able to go.  I was so excited but also had to remind him that "I TOLD YOU SO" all through the summer before classes even began, and if they were not over by then if he simply emailed the professors and asked to take them earlier odds were favorable. I didn't harp on that point but I did have to make it. So now Im thinking - not quite 3 weeks out....how much is airfare going to be! I was pleasantly surprised that his ticket was actually about $20 less then
 mine.  I was able to book all the same flights but our seats are just close, I
am hoping someone will trade with us.  He will have to drive to Columbus right after class on that Tuesday and we will fly out early am on Wednesday.
Now to this weekend, i stayed at Tanner's apartment and he said he would get up and drive me to the airport Friday morning...yes it meant leaving his apartment at 4:15 am! He wanted to have my car for the weekend too and it would save on airport parking cost. I flew into Springfield MO and had a 2 hour drive to Cotter AR.  The weather all week had been calling for pretty much 100% chance of rain. On race morning the weather then started to look like it would hold off until around noon or 1:00pm.
The start and finish was about a mile apart and the run took place on a road that travels along the White River- It was cloudy to start but temps were in the high 40's and windy. It was an out and back twice- I made it to the half way mark and then the rains came. It got windier and I was getting cold.  I passed an aid station and asked one of the volunteers if they had an extra trash bag and the guy working the station was wearing one and gave that one to me. The volunteers were great and aid stations were nicely placed but there wasnt any type of crowd support except for the aid stations....and no beer stations! It continued to rain and the winds would kick in and I was glad to have that trash bag! I hadn't been running much and knew I was doing a double so didnt want to go to hard but also wanted to get done at a decent time so I could make the 4 hour drive and get to packet pick up for Rt 66 before it closed at 6pm.  I also thought if I go faster I will get dry quicker but then I would remind myself I was driving for 4 hours so wouldn't be able to stretch and after the run on Sunday I would be flying home that night.  My hamstring,hip, glute on the right side would get a little tight so I would try to kick it up to stretch it out, as I did this my toes, calf and anterior tibialus would immediately turn to pins and needles. I hate this!!! So onward I would run so that I could wake it up. There was about 4 miles left and the rain had stopped and you could see a little bit of sunshine behind the clouds so I ditched the garbage bag....I jinxed that one!!! Within 10-15 minutes the rain and winds came back stronger then ever.  I started to run 2 utilities poles to 1 utility pole until I got it done. I got on the shuttle right away and got back to the starting line and grabbed some dry clothes. They said the shower was just around the corner and I had a few extra minutes to spare to grab a quick one but I went around the corner to 5-6 different doors and never found the shower. I found a restroom off the gym and changed into something dry. They had some pizza and sandwiches so I grabbed a bite to eat and took it with me and off I headed to Tulsa.
The drive to Tulsa was in the pouring rain...it rained so hard at times it was hard to see out the front windshield.  My clothes were drenched so I decided to crack the windows in the car and turn the heat on high and full blast and placed my wet clothes on the dashboard to dry. I thought I can deal with the smell to get them dry because I could only imagine what they would smell like after being in my suitcase until Sunday night!
I made it to the pack pick up in plenty of time, stopped and got my marathon maniac corner wrist band as there was a special tent for maniacs and 50 staters at this event.  I then stopped over at the 50 states booth to see Clyde, Kelly, Steve and some others.  I didn't stay long because I was so ready for a shower and just wanted to stretch my legs.
The start of the race was walking distance from the hotel and this race again finished at a different location then the start.  This race didnt start until 8am so it was nice to be able to rest a little bit extra.
Weather forecast was calling for rain again here all week but it looked like it was going to totally stay
away for the day! It was however cloudy and the humidity was 90 percent! I was hot and thankful that I brought a singlet to wear.
In the beginning of the race I come upon a guy running in the lampshade from A Christmas Story...I ran ahead and jumped off to the side to get his photo...this was awesome!! I guess he has been running it the past couple years.  I knew by mile 4 this run was going to be a blast when I came upon the first aid station with amazing jello shots....I grabbed two and they were strong but in a tasty way.  Wasn't long after and I saw some folks out in their front yards with red solo cups, I have learned that when folks are in their front yard drinking from a red solo cup during a marathon this typically means they have beer somewhere....I have also learned if you ask they love to share it with runners!! I got my first can of Miller Light here and found that even though running with a can of beer still foams off the top it is not near as heady as a bottle...After 2 shots and a beer I could feel a buzz already, I am sure it was due to the high humidity levels and some dehydration going on. I was also hurting some from yesterday's run so I was glad to see up ahead another jello shot station!! They also had cherry bombs here. I drank a cherry bomb and grabbed 2 more jello-shots. I wanted a spare because I didn't know what the second half of the course was going to bring. I had a jello-shot and stuck the other in my pocket and ran on. About a mile or so later I came upon a guy who was really struggling and trying to do some stretching....so I stopped and said...you look like you need a jello-shot? He said yes I do...so I grabbed my spare out of my pocket and told him I took an extra at the last station for emergencies and I think this is an emergency....he agreed and thanked me as he ate the shot.
Up ahead were some other folks drinking from their red solo cups and I stopped and said "where is the cooler?" One of they guys pointed to another and they acted surprised by what I asked and then I had to say in plain terms..."where is the beer?" The girls then giggled and said on the back of the truck...would you like one and I answers please!! Here I got a bottle of Coors light....this is when I made the realization about drinking and running from a bottle verses drinking and running from a can.
The humidity and wetness did cause my arms to start chaffing and the Vaseline was not doing the trick. I had brought my marathon maniacs head buff and finally had the bright idea to pull that on the arm that was feeling the worse and tuck it under my bra for an instant sleeve!! It helped!!!
I never remember what mile is what and heck anymore I don't even wear my Garmin...but it was really cool when we got to the Rt 66 sign!  On the second half there were quite a few folks set up with beer stations and I would just drink the baby cup instead of asking for a full one...by now I was feeling a good buzz and it was helping the time go by much faster. At a blue moon station I ran into my friend Dennis and we chatted for awhile - he was on a run walk ratio and I was on my own run walk ratio- the whenever I feel like running I ran when I didnt I walked. The foot and areas with pins and needles tend to be prevalent when I walk but I also wasn't able to run as much as I hoped. Before I knew it the sign to take the Center of the Universe detour was in front of me...signs counting it down...400 Feet...200 feet ahead then the turn sign. It was only .30 miles extra to take it and you received a little coin and a nice big glass of ice cold beer from a beer wagon at that turn around.  After the detour there was just about a mile to go. The hotels offered 3pm check outs for runners which was amazing!! However, being an 8am start time and having ran a 5:10 the day before and all the pains I have been in and was in I really worried about making it back to the hotel in time...plus we had to find the race shuttle to get us back.  I finished and was honestly shocked that I finished in 5:49. Not a good time but considering the circumstances I wasn't expecting that. I did go through the finish line quickly and headed to the marathon maniac area to get my maniac medal...i didnt go into the special area because the shuttle was there ready to go and I really wanted to be able to shower before heading to the airport.  It all worked out perfect, got the hotel, showered headed to the airport and had plenty of time to grab a wonderful buffalo chicken sandwich and boarded to Atlanta then onto Cincinnati. I arrived at 11:30pm and Tanner came over and picked me up...he surprised me with my favorite Beach Club from Jimmy Johns.  We got back to his apartment and stayed up talking for an hour or so and I needed to get a count on my race I am hosting on Dec 21st so that I could call and order the age group awards and stop and pick them up at the amish place on the way home the next morning.
I can't believe that I have now finished 49 States!!! Plus DC....plus US Virgin Islands - I still don't know how many total marathons/ultras I have ran without looking though. 2.5 weeks and all 50 will be done! WOW!!!




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

All Trials until we can find some relief

I was going to wait to type something until after tomorrow's procedure but decided to go ahead and update now and can do again tomorrow. Last Wednesday I had a spinal epidural into my sciatica to see if that could help relieve any of this consistent pain in the back,hip and glutes and numbness of the foot and that sometimes goes into the calf, achilles and shin area.  The injection actually was not too bad....I had a 10mg valium an hour before which really didnt do much but was to help with the anxiety, I got into the surgery room and they had me on the table on my back and rubbed that red shit all over my back. An xray tech had to line up the xray machine and the Doctor injected the needle (which I am glad I didnt see!!) into the middle of my lower back and then on into the sciatica nerve. I felt a small tingle as it hit the nerve and the procedure was done before I knew it.  The next morning I still had pain in the my lower hip and my foot was still numb and tingling but I did manage to put my shoes and socks on without crying for the first time in a couple of weeks. I also did not have to crawl into the car but had a shot of pain that goes down my leg into my foot when I did sit. I was kinda excited even though my pain level was only down a couple levels it was down...progress??? No....the next am I did put my shoes and socks on without a tear but had to crawl into my car with a big ouch scream when I turn myself to sit. Now it's been almost a week.....I am sleeping with socks on for only less thing to have to do in the mornings and my hip,back,leg foot hurts when I put my socks on but I am still not crying....sometimes I want to but I am not going to allow myself back to that point!!
Today I went back to the Doc for more options.  With so many things on the MRI's and paper it's kinda going to be trial and see what works. I trust my Doctor Terry with my life so what ever he recommends I will do. He doesnt just read the MRI papers, he looks at the actual MRI screens and watches for other issues the radiologist may have missed etc. He does still feel like treating the back before moving to the hip due to the foot still being asleep and the achilles and calf having the pins and needles and cold feeling. So tomorrow now I will go in with the same routine but this time he will go into the spine and find the sacrialic joint and inject there....I know that this is going to hurt! I asked him how bad it is going to hurt and he kinda looked up at me with hesitation trying to come up with a comforting answer and I just started to laugh and said it's gonna hurt like hell isn't it. He giggled too and of course told me some say its not bad some say it hurts....After that injection I will be running White River AR Marathon on Saturday and then Rt 66 Marathon in OK on Sunday....I will say again...once I start running I do feel better - it's all the other times I wanna crawl in a hole! So after the injection we will see if that helps at all but also will do EMGS on my nerves on Dec 4th. I really should be a study patient for some new Doctor out there!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chickamaugua Battlefield Marathon - Georgia - State 47!

Getting closer to finishing all 50 States.....kinda surreal as it was not really a goal but became one when I started wanting to run long distance events and needed marathons for training. This is going to be short and to the point so I dont forget to write a little something about the event. The drive to Fort Oglethorpe Georgia was only about 6 ish hours so wasn't a bad drive at all.  I arrived and went to the church for packet pickup and found a panera bread to grab a bagel for Breakfast. I had totally forgotten to pack and gels and at the expo the place selling gu said there would be plenty on the course so I didn't purchase any. I did however grab an extra cinnamon raisin bagel at a grocery and put a couple pieces in a small zip lock baggie to pack in my waist belt as an in case case and was glad I did....there was no gel on the course but there was bananas and some sort of strange liquid product in a packet a little larger then Gu's- I can not for the life of me remember what they were but I do know they were not that good...the texture was kinda applesaucy and were a company I had never heard of. The first time I tried one it was a quick taste and that was it....I stuck with my 3 tiny bagel pieces I had packed and a small little banana from another place. I found myself later getting a little hungry and sucked one down as fast as possible so it didnt touch my tongue. Now back to the beginning.....I decided to drive because the shuttles from the race to the hotels did not return until 1:30 and the hotel only offered late check out until 1:00. With the event starting at 7:30am I knew it would depend on the traffic if I would make it back to shower or not before having to drive back home 6ish hours.  I thought if I left the hotel early enough I could get a decent parking spot so that would give me a better chance of getting back in time but the traffic getting to the race was unreal. This isnt a huge event either...maybe a couple hundred for all the distances but the traffic on the main road leading to the battlefield was bumper to bumper and not moving. Folks were sneaking around and trying to pull in front, typically in traffic I will let folks in but when there is only so many free parking spot near the race site Wait your Damn turn!! After not moving for almost 30 minutes I saw a church across the street where lots of folks were pulling into park so I switched lanes and headed that way. It cost $5 to park and was about a half mile or so walk to the start of the race but the church allowed you to stay warm inside and use their potties!! Totally worth the $5!!! I ran into my friend
Larry Wasson and George Boxley at the church. Larry and I walked over to the start together and it wasnt long after the cannon fired and off we went.  This was a 2 loop course for the marathon with a couple loops around other areas but was very easy to follow.  It ran on the roads mostly inside the battlefield and their were monuments representing different states and generals and such that fought the battle.  There was so much history and it was a beautiful place.  The weather started out chilly but soon the sun was out full and became a super pleasant day for 26.2 miles!!  I know there were many times where I would look out across the battlefield seeing the cannons and all and just try to imagine what took place in that exact location I was running.  I started searching the monuments for as many OHIO ones that I could find and took photos of about 5 that I found. I never was a history buff or did I listen in school much when it came to history but I had never heard of the Chickmaugua battle....even though the State of Ohio was involved I don't know if maybe we were not taught about it because it is further to the South or if I just wasnt paying attention.
I havent been running with my Garmin now for quite some time - I knew what time it was but wasnt calculating pace or anything like that. When I finished I had about 15 minutes to get to the hotel and take a shower before heading home so the choice was do I grab some pizza and soup and kick back and enjoy the food and the park afterwards or do I hurry and try to get to my room for a shower before driving home....I chose to eat first.  I walked back to the car and got to the hotel at 1:06....I walked up the steps to my room on the 2nd floor hoping the card would work but nope it was invalid.....so I headed to the lobby where the lady from the night before that checked me in was and I proceeded to the public restroom with towel and a change of clothes. The reason I bring this up is because she said they were doing something new by extending the check out to 1pm and I showed her where the shuttles don't even return until 1:30? She didnt seem to get it. I also told her a lot of hotels will have one room open for runners to shower - she didnt seem to get what i was saying about that either. So I went into the restroom and started running the water, washing my face, and other body parts in the sink.....I took my hair out of the pony tail and it was wet from sweat so I loved that when I brushed it out and it was wet it had the look of just being washed :) I packed my nasty clothes in a bag and walked on out with my towel draped over my shoulder....yes I was trying to have an attitude like you goofball...wouldnt you rather want someone to shower in a dirty room then in your hotel lobby sink ha. When I was walking out she asked how was your run? And I smiled and said it was great and I wanted to say and so was my shower in your sink but I didnt- ha



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Running Conditions NOT Running Injuries

We all have "conditions" that cause pain during running just like we do in everyday life, this is why I call these pain conditions, not injuries. Shit happens and shit happens because it's life NOT because we went running. We can get knee pain, foot pain, back pain, hip pain, breaks and sprains just by getting off the couch and walking across the room.  It is very hard for a runner to have these conditions and be able to talk about it because the general response we get is - oh you did that running, or see what running does to you, you shouldn't run so much.
I have been having some hip/hamstring and right side of the body issues now for a couple years. I recall right before Umstead being so worried that right hamstring and hip area was going to cause me major issues while running the 100 miler when in fact it never bothered me once, it was my left IT Band that acted up. Maybe the hamstring and hip did hurt but the pain for the IT Band was more intense therefore I didnt feel the other? I always say - if something hurts keep going cause it won't be long and something else will hurt more so you will forget about that pain.
About a month ago I posted about my hip MRI results, I went ahead and had a shot in the bursa sac with no relief but refused to have the intravenous injection because I knew it wouldn't fix the issues but just hopefully relieve some pain. I want to be fixed!
The pain became more intense - I tried making an appointment with the Physical Therapist only to never have the receptionist call to set it up....now after 4 calls and still no appointment I am frustrated with that approach and no longer even trust that company to work on me.
Several weeks ago I had a lumbar MRI - Here are those results:
FINDINGS:
Moderate degenerative facet arthritis at L4-L5 with grade 1 or mild degenerative
anterolisthesis be is edematous signal changes within the posterior elements of
L4 and L5 associated with the moderate facet arthritis. Combination of
hypertrophic facet arthritis thickening of the ligamentum flavum posterior disc
osteophytic ridging with a posterior annular tear and degenerative listhesis
contribute towards moderate spinal canal narrowing and moderate flattening of
the lateral recesses the neural foramina are mild to moderately narrowed.
At L5-S1 is mild underlying congenital spinal canal narrowing with mild to
degenerative disc disease with mild flattening of the thecal sac and lateral
recesses. No large focal disc herniation.
 IMPRESSION:
 Moderate degenerative disc disease.
 Moderate facet arthritis most apparent at L4-L5.
 Underlying congenital spinal canal stenosis.
 No compression fractures and no pathological marrow replacement
  degenerative marrow edema.
 Moderate narrowing of the spinal canal at L4-L5 and 5/1. Some flattening of the
lateral recesses
So now we have lots more "conditions" but not really sure what approach to take or if it is the back, the hip or both are causing all this pain and numbing down my right leg. My right foot has not totally returned to "normal" (no pins and needles) since Marine Corp Marathon which was 10 days ago.
I still honestly feel better when I am running but I have gotten myself in this sort of depression and I don't feel like going out for a run....I don't feel like being in town running where locals people honk, freaky guys wolf whistle and all the construction going on and dust flying everywhere.  I don't know if its a "runners high" that makes me feel less pain while I run or if my analogy is correct when I think I feel better when I run due to having constant turnover of my legs which alleviates that constant pressure that is placed on the nerves that are being pinched by something when I sit, stand, lay or walk?
On Sunday my friend Tiffany went and we ran out at Earl Thomas Conley park where I am putting on the First Day Of Winter Half/Full/50K on December 21st and we ran 8 miles...it felt fantastic! At one point I stopped to walk for a few and immediately my right foot started feeling the pins and needles so we started to run again and within a few seconds I felt better. I also felt good being away from the cars, the horns, the chatter, the rubber neckers and sorts.
Today I had another appointment with another Dr. I agreed we would do the spinal epidural injection to see if that would help relieve some pain. I trust this Dr. a lot and respect his opinions and options so that makes me more comfortable going into this procedure. I will have this done next Weds afternoon, I asked how long I would have to wait to run and he said about 24 hours then asked, do you honestly think you would listen if I told you differently. He knows I am going to do it anyways, but I think also if it was to be so detrimental that I not run he does know I would listen....(I think I would?) The good thing is that weekend I have decided against Bills Badass 50K so am going to take it easy, then have the double with Arkansas and Oklahoma the following weekend.
This weekend is Georgia for Chickamaugua Battlefield marathon, I would have had Georgia done except for last year the 100K got cancelled about 12 miles into it due to a blizzard. I have heard great things about Chickamaugua and am looking forward to running in a new place.....my escape from reality!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marine Corp Marathon 2014


A couple of days before leaving for DC my mom and I found my fathers Marine Dog Tags from when he was in the Marine Reserve from 1961-1968 or 1969. He went through Basic Training but they never called him back in to do his weekend warrior things or anything else. Kinda lost in the shuffle.  Good thing because

Geoff was born in 1966 and me in 1968 so who knows if we would be here today and he married to mom if things were different. Anyways...I put his dog tags on my Umstead 100 necklace I always wear but they clanked with each other too much and I knew that would drive me insane...so I found a simple ball chain necklace in my drawer and wore only his dog tag for the run.  I left Saturday morning to drive 8 ish hours and stayed with my friend Nicole and her husband Brett. Another friend of hers from high school was running Sarah
and she and her fiance Albert were staying as well. We had a couple beers and headed to this awesome place for sandwiches. I got to bed early because I knew i would be tossing and turning and even though the race does not start until 7:55am in order to get parking or even take the metro you must leave early. Albert stayed in bed and took the metro over later, we left shortly after 5am and where they are in the service we were able to park on the base and was a short walk to the start. We hung out in the car for a couple hours just resting then headed through security and stopped off for a quick potty trip and got into the start line right as the hand cycles were starting. There were about a dozen paratroopers jumping and in one group they were several jumping with the flag! Then the ospreys did a fly over and they were amazing! I already felt myself starting to get emotional just
watching our flags being flown in the sky.
 I knew I wouldnt be able to keep up with Nicole and Brett but Sarah and I stayed together for a couple miles.
I kept hearing BEAT THE BRIDGE...you must be at the bridge which is mile 20 by a certain time. They said typically in order to beat the bridge you must be able to hold a 14 min mile or less for the first 20 miles, however those that start in the back of the race and this race does not have timed corrals will be a little less then that due to the amount of time it takes to get to the start.  I really wasnt worried about not beating the bridge and we started in the back of the race, taking us I believe about 10 minutes to get to the start line.
 I dont remember what mile we were on but I came across my friend and hero Steve Bozeman. I met Steve at JFK50 two years ago and got to see him again last year. This is one amazing man and athlete.  Not only a running of marathons and ultras he has done the Double Ironman (4.8 mile swim 224 mile bike and 52.4 mile run 16 times) After meeting him at JFK in 2012 I thought someday I really wanna try a Double Ironman! He has also received two Purple Hearts for combat wounds as well as 18 Air Medals for meritorious achievement and is as humble as they come! I knew it was him from the back and came upon him and got to say hello...I decided to run ahead a little and stand to the side to get a photo of he and his friend as they ran with the flags. Funny too how the word facebook has become part of our daily conversations...he said facebook me with that one Jennifer :)
Sarah dropped off a little while after that to catch up with me a couple miles later. I had just dropped to either a 3 to 1 run walk or a 2 to 1 walk ratio and we got to run together for a little bit but it became a little too much for her. This was her 4th marathon and had not done one since last year. The temperature was super warm and sunny for the time of the year and I think that played a toll on many. Reading the FB post on the marine marathon page there has been so much talk about how hard the course was and how many people didnt get the times that they had planned or wanted. I kinda found it comical as I don't think I have ever had a time goal or time plan at hand...I just go out have fun and take it as it comes!  If I worried myself with a time goal I would be totally stressed out and not having fun!
I came upon what is known as the Blue Mile...here are signs of fallen soldiers with their photos and memorial - then there are folks lines up holding the American Flag and seeing all this I started to hyperventilate and my emotions were taking over. I found myself looking to the right into the river just to get my barring's back but had to keep looking away. It is so sad to see all those young soldiers photos that gave their life in order for me to have freedom.
As we came into a park area and onto that running trail to the right was the river. There was a lady and her male friend making screwdrivers but they just offered a drink...I took a swig and didnt care about cooties or anything...heck there was enough vodka in that to kill off any germs.  Just ahead a house boat came driving by and the man was holding up a sign that said KICK ASS! This was awesome!!! There were a lot of great signs on this trail and reading them kept me entertained for the entire time. There was a fire boat I believe is what they are called- it was putting on a great water show spitting water out in all directions.  I don't recall seeing one of these in person before and I found it pretty darn cool.  I am terrible when it
comes to remembering what mile was what during these events but I know it was super hot out there and I found myself cramping, I usually don't cramp during runs and I even took a small water from some folks handing them out and refilling at the aid stations so that I had water on me most of the time. I also recall after I BEAT THE BRIDGE my entire right leg and side went totally numb....this really scared me with all the hip,back and foot issues happening with it and running seems to be the only time I am not feeling pain. It scared me to where it has me questioning if I really cant feel the pain while I am running or if I have merely just taught myself how to ignore the pain with my "running highs"  It took a couple minutes of rubbing and mind games to get the feeling back and I just continued on with a slog and walk. My foot never really recovered and still today is totally pins and needles. My calves seized up after the run and I tried to drink as much as I could to rehydrate myself. I got in line for a jacket and met up with Nicole and Brett and shortly after Sarah and Albert found us and we headed back to Nicoles. I took an amazing shower and Nicole had a glass of cold chocolate milk waiting for me when I got out. That was the best chocolate milk in my life and was so needed! I got on the road and headed home. I did have to drive without my shoes on as my feet continued to try to cramp up if I wore them.  I had a super weekend and decided to get into the lottery again in hopes to
get in next year!
I am suppose to do Marshall Marathon this weekend but am considering taking a rest as I don't want to risk not finishing my 50 states. The next weekend is Georgia, one week off then AR and OK double and then Hawaii Dec 14th.  I also have other events in the midst but the most important right now are these 4. I had a lumbar MRI done yesterday and the results from that came in today so am waiting to hear from my Doctor about putting together the back/spine issues with the Hip MRI results as well as the tarsal tunnel syndrome from 2011. And for any haters out there....THESE ISSUES ARE NOT DUE TO RUNNING....SHIT HAPPENS!!!







Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2 Days 2 More States and Lots of New Beers


 This was the weekend to knock off States 45 and 46. I flew into Kansas City Mo on friday and headed to the expo for my packet and my friend Larry's as he wasn't going to make it in time. I also was doing the I-35 Challenge so I had to check into that booth. The I-35 Challenge was simply a challenge they created for those running both events whether it be half's or full's and you got an extra shirt and another metal. I usually and in and out of expos fast as I have so much stuff that I really don't need anything but here they had a booth set up to make screen printed shirts on the spot. You picked your style then you picked what you wanted to have printed on the front back or both. I picked out this shirt
 they called game day which is oversized and super comfy.  I was up early to fly out so I grabbed a sandwich for an early super and was in bed by 8:30 which was 9:30 my time zone.  I slept pretty good and woke up the next morning and brought my bag down to the front desk to check as they only had late check out at noon....I tried to turn my gar garmin and it was dead so I took it back to my bag. I heard the cut off was a strict 6 hour cut off and I really thought i would be close to 6 hours, I had only ran a couple times in the past 3 weeks and was running Iowa the next day so all I wanted to do was finish in time. The event was much larger then I expected and thought there is no way Im gonna find Larry for our Pre Race Photo but sure enough there he was! Always a pleasure. We chatted for a bit and the race started and off I went. I actually felt really good and had no watch and no way to watch pace but in reality it didn't matter as long as I got in within 6 hours.  Larry and another friend said the trick they heard was to be at the 13.1 mile mark in 3 hours and they will let you finish within reason...I knew that wouldn't be an issue as I usually am faster the first half then the last.  The town was so gorgeous....so many fountains and they were all colored blue for the Royals since they were heading to the World Series. We ran through one area of the
town with some amazing homes!
 One section overlooked a waterway and the changing colors of the trees along this route added to the stunning landscape. There was one huge house with mostly glass windows for the front and the pillsbury doughboy was staring out the window....on up the road across the street was another house with a giant clown peaking at you....I co couldn't et a good shot of the clown being across the roadway but it was actually kinda creepy.  Around mile 13 there was a couple men sitting along the course watching the boring parade going by and their cooler was opened with about 8 Bud lights on ice....so I said thank you and grabbed one and headed down the road. It was tough drinking it with the foam spewing from the spout but I drank it fast and just enjoyed the journey. Folks running and watching got a great kick out of as I heard over and over I like your style! Or from runners How can you drink that? My stomach has learned to handle it plus I do go out super hard I just go out to have fun. I notice everything!  I finished that beer in about a mile and continued on. It caught me by surprise how hilly the course was...I guess thinking of Kansas City Mo with tornados you think flatlands. I don't mind the hills at all...I actually like the change of elevation to use different muscles during the course of the day. Arriving at mile 19 was a Second Presbyterian church handing out water and gatorade - at the end of the table was 2 men drinking some Samuel Adams and I said oh thats what I need a beer....they said here ya go and poured a cup about half full, they asked if I was doing Des Moines the next day, they noticed my umstead necklace and asked about it and we just had a great little visit.  I got to around the mile 23 mark and noticed a new sign I had not seen at any other events and loved it!! "Mortuary ahead....look alive!" I tried to take my own photo in front of it but was not successful and a spectator noticed and came over and snapped one for me. Believe it or not I finished this race in 4:59??? All that goofing around and still a sun 5? I headed back to the hotel and changed clothes in the lobby restroom and headed to Des Moines. It was about 180 mile drive not real exciting but wasnt bad either. The weather was absolutely perfect, clear skies, light winds and around 60 degrees. When I arrived in Des Moines I checked into the hotel first, took a shower then headed to grab my packet and check in again at the I35 booth. Tanner was messaging me about different places to go eat and I chose Fongs Pizza. It was a good choice! I was looking forward to Sunday morning run because Cheri and Jeff Linwood were going to be here and I havent seen them since New England series. We found each other at the start a
 and ran together for the first 4 or so miles. At mile 4 was the first alcohol I spotted.....2 older ladies making mimosas- heck yeah...so I stopped and grabbed one....met another runner here and we ran together telling some stories while we drank our drink....it was kinda bad placement for this as it was on a long downhill, so when we were trying to run downhill with our mimosas the beverage was spilling out and getting our hands sticky...we decided to walk down the hill and drink it up. I got to around mile 9 and there was a

couple of guys at a turn cheering us on and drinking some beers..what else do you do on a sunday when you are stuck because your neighborhood streets are closed down for most of the morning and day. I asked them if I could have one and they looked at me funny and said sure but it's glass...so I said yes and it's a beer...I won't be dropping a beer! They opened it and off I ran.  The trick is you have to drink it pretty quick to keep the head from foaming out the top of the bottle. This beer was called All Day Pale Ale - first time I have had that and I

 really liked it. Actually I don't drink often because I usually do things to the extreme and that included drinking if I'm out on the town. I finished this one and was on a part of the course that was split by landscape in the center. On the opposite side of the road I saw and heard some guys pouring beer and stating this is the only Sam Adams on the course...they didnt see me with my bottle in hand. Just past them I was finished and I left the empty on the ground where some musicians were playing, I couldnt find and garbage containers.  I was calculating in my head how far I had to go till I got back to the guys with the beer and figured it was at least 3 miles...so I had something to look forward to. I wasn't at all worried about my time for the event as I knew there was a 7 hour cut off- It was around mile 14 and there was no more Sam Adams but they had a Pale Ale called
 Boulevard, another beer I had not had since I really don't just have a beer with dinner or at home sitting around in the evening. They had some smaller cups full and I took one and thanked them and said oh just a baby beer and they asked if I wanted a full and of course I said yes...but I also said with hesitation - lets pour a quarter of it in this cup (after I drank that) because the last bottle a couple miles ago kept foaming so bad and I found myself having to keep blowing the head off...then i went on to say I dont recall ever running a marathon and blowing so much head. Yes I thought that was the funniest thing ever and they also got a giggle. So off I go...beer 2 for the day and 1 mimosa - after I finished this one I was going down a hill searching for a place to throw the bottle away and now I come across 3 couples in their front yard at the edge of the street...I asked if I could leave
 the empty with them and they all laughed and one said here...you want a refill and handed me one called a caraboo....it was about half full...perfect but boy was it strong. I drank it pretty quick because it was so strong and by now I am starting to have a buzz...I put my headset on one ear and started singing and just checking out the town. The course moved onto a trail system through a park and ahead of me I noticed a couple with some ruk sacs on and I wanted to catch up to them and see what they were training for.  As I approached I noticed they gal reaching in her pack and then taking her hand and kinda covering her face and she was lighting a cigarette! Awesome...this gal is running with a backpack smoking a cigarette and I am really buzzed!! I had to get a photo of this! I run up to her and said I've had a couple beverages and have a buzz but always
 post play by plays on my FB page of my running adventures...can I take your photo with you smoking and she said sure! Do you need another beer? What do you think we carry in our sacs? We carry our own! My new bestfriend! Her husband took our photo and we chatted for a few and I took off. This was probably around mile 18 or 19 because when we left the park it was mile 20.
 I don't remember which mile but it was before the half way mark we got to run the 400 meter track at Drake University and there was a camera set up and we could see ourself right before we exited on the big screen..I thought that was a nice little touch.
I finished day 2 in 5:25 which completely surprised me as well- 1 mimosa, 4 beers, 2 strands of beads collected on the course and one leigh!  I had a blast out there this weekend. The hotel had a 2pm check out and the run started at 8 so my goal was to get done in around 6 hours so that I didnt hold the hotel house keepers up too long. Got my shower and went to another place my son told me about called zombie burger...the burger was pretty good but the unicorn zombie milkshake was amazing!!! Vanilla ice cream, marshmallow cream topped with fruity pebbles!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

That Weekend didn't turn out as planned

Last weekend I was scheduled to run the Run Like a Girl Half marathon on Saturday in Columbus Ohio then a couple hour drive to Findlay for the Red White and Blue Marathon on Sunday then 4 hour drive home after.  My friend Heather had planned to do this with  me and we also persuaded another friend to sign up for both 10K's. The day before Heather let me know that she could not do Findlay due to some family issues and we have always said Family comes before a run.....Our friend Louvina signed up 2 nights before. So now we were figuring out logistics and I drove up and stayed at my brothers the night before and they were going to drive up the day of the Run Like a Girl, meet me for their packets my sis in law picked up and Heather would drive back and Louvina would go on with me to Findlay.  Several months ago my friend who also works at my gym agreed on the weekends that Im gone for just a night or two he would come take my dog in and out so I would not have to take her to the kennel....my mother always keeps my little guy but Andi is still too big and wild for her.  Around 8pm I messaged my friend to check on Andi and he informed me that he had some hip issues the day before and had spent the day in Urgent Care and now was unable to take care of Andi due to having crutches and driving a stick shift. I hate that he was hurt but it was soooo frustrating that I didnt leave town till almost 4pm on Friday and all this started on Thursday so there was plenty of time to let me know to take her to the kennel. UGGGGG So.....now I am trying to figure out what to do....do I leave now and skip Saturdays run also or just cancel Findlay and Run like a FAST girl Saturday to get home asap. This is the decision I made...I decided to run cancel Findlay...I wouldnt have time and it would be stupid to drive home after the half take Andi to the Kennel then drive 4 hours to Findlay to run it Sunday and 4 hours back after and then get home in time to pick her up at the kennel. I went to bed still stressed and just upset that this could have been brought to my attention so much sooner and I wouldnt have to worry but who knows..maybe I just wasnt suppose to run Findlay?
I woke up Saturday am to a message from Louvina with a photo of her foot in a ACE bandage saying I will find out monday if it's broken....
I got there early because I just couldn't sleep and wanted to get a decent parking spot on the street instead of the garages and I succeeded! It was FREEZING!!!! Yes I checked the weather and the weekend was going to be sunny and high of 57 degrees - perfect running conditions. I only packed short sleeve shirts cause once I get moving I get hot pretty fast. It was cloudy, windy and in the upper 30's????  Around 7:15 I got a message from Heather that said her bed felt too good so she was not driving up.
I decided to run this run naked - no garmin- no watch - I don't typically run half marathons and just decided I would just run and not stress by having a watch on and thinking about getting home to Andi. As soon as the race started it began to sprinkle some. The winds were bitter cold and we were about at mile 5 and it began to SLEET!!! Big time SLEET! Crazy crazy for a sunny high of 57 degrees day.  My hamstring and hip area was hurting that morning but once I start running the hip stops.....my hamstring did not and it traveled all the way into my calf. I did stop and stretch the calf at one water station and then told myself just keep going and get this done and you can stretch it later. It really felt like a huge knot was on it.
With about 4 miles left to go the SLEET came back again with a headwind that almost brought you to a complete stop. I was freezing!!! Even though I was hot and I did get really sweaty now with the bitter cold wind trying to blow me down I thought I would become a block of ice. I saw mile marker 12 and I thought ok...just kick it in and be done....I was feeling like I was running a decent pace but my calf was sooo damn sore that I just didnt have that finish kick in me. When I got to the finish line I couldnt tell what my time was because the Halfers started about 12 minutes after the 5 and 10K runners but it looked very close to what my half PR was.....ofcourse I wasnt even sure what my Half PR was but knew it was just over 2 hours because I always think if I do more Half's I bet I could break 2 hours.  When I got home I looked up my half PR time and it was 2:02:14 from the Cap City Half in May 4th of 2013 which was 4 weeks after Umstead 100. Results went online for this half and I came in at 2:03:29.....see if I would have worn a watch maybe I would have PRed....I doubt that though cause I never can remember what my PR times are without looking.  My calf continued to hurt for days!! I tried foam rolling and stretching and still 5 days later it is tender but not like it was...I think it could have been from taking a new pair of Newtons straight out of the box....I have done this with lots of other shoes for even longer distance but then again Newtons do make you run more on the forefront causing the calf to work more

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Medical things creating some blahs

I wanted to post about the latest MRI results since I finally had my hip, hamstring area checked out a couple weeks ago.  This is the same area that I worried would bother me back in April of 2013 during umstead 100, the same area that had me purchase a Tempur-Pedic mattress on 3 years same as cash and just paid it off about 4months ago- but I purchased the mattress because the hip pain when sleeping was so intense. Massage, deep deep massage and even a couple trip against my judgement to the chiro quaker but nothing has helped.  The past 6 months though the pain has extended into the front of where the hip meets and it just throbs when I sit, stand, lay or walk.  It extend to the back of the hip into the hamstring and up to the lower back and feels like there is also a pinched nerve. My foot will go to sleep on many occasions . Now rewind to 2011 when I was still dealing with all the Doctors telling me I would never run again due to my left knee and then being diagnosed with Tarsel Tunnel in this right foot (the same side of the hip opposite of the knee) I do not have the major discomforts or the crawling to the bathroom each night like I did for so long with the Tarsel Tunnel and after I refused that surgery due to the success rate and recovery time and process I lost about 25 or pounds and I truly believe the excess weight and pressure off that pinch nerve in the tarsel tunnel helped that.  Sorry if this report jumps around everywhere but Im trying to grasp it all in my head at the same time and I believe I have a few answers and conclusions of my own.
So 2 weeks ago I finally had the MRI done on the hip....this was brought up to the Doctor during my last shoulder visit when I made the decision to NOT have the rotator cuff that tore during the recovery of having the bicep tendon re attached fixed. I was having sooo much pain from the hip and was taking the pain medication I had for my elbow just to try to function and it barely takes the edge off the hip!
So here we go with all the medical wording and MRI results readings

PROCEDURE:
MRI RT HIP WITHOUT - 73721

CLINICAL:
CONTRACTURE OF JOINT OF PELVIC REGION/THIGH 

COMPARISON:
There are no recent comparison exams available at the time of dictation.

FINDINGS:
There is no evidence of acute osseous injury or avascular necrosis. There is mottled marrow signal. There is a sclerotic lesion in the posterior aspect of the intertrochanteric region and 1 in the left femoral head, which may represent bone islands. A 4 mm cartilage defect is seen on the lateral aspect of the right femoral head (sagittal image 21), near the margin of the articular surface. A small bubble is seen at the anterior aspect of the right femoral neck, not in the usual location at the head that is usually seen in femoral acetabular impingement. The femoral heads articulate with the acetabuli in a normal relationship. There is a physiologic amount of fluid in the joint. A small amount of fluid is also seen in the right iliopsoas bursa. There is mild inflammation in the greater trochanteric bursa bilaterally.

No acute soft tissue injury. There is chronic bilateral hamstring tendinopathy. The tendons about the hip are otherwise intact. 

The fat planes surrounding the sciatic nerves are intact. Mild increased signal is seen in the sciatic nerves bilaterally.

There is tear of the anterior aspect of the right acetabular labrum. The lateral aspect the labrum is degenerated and frayed.

There is no sizable inguinal hernia. There is no deep pelvic mass identified. A small amount of free fluid is seen in the pelvis. There is a 2.1 cm cyst in the left ovary. There is a 1.3 cm fibroid in the uterus which protrudes into the endometrium.

IMPRESSION:
1. Tear of the anterior and lateral aspects of the right acetabular labrum.
2. Bilateral mild greater trochanteric bursitis.
3. Mild chondromalacia of the lateral aspect the right femoral head.
4. Small amount of free fluid in the pelvis.
5. Submucosal uterine fibroid. Correlation for history of abnormal bleeding is recommended.
6. Sclerotic lesion in the right intertrochanteric region and left femoral head may be bone islands. Correlation with radiographs is recommended.

___________________________
Electronically signed by: Settonni, Loretta M.D.
Date/time: 09-16-2014, 08:53 AM

I had a follow up appointment with my doctor and we discussed the anterior and acetabular labrum tears and he suggested we could have a scope done, however there are not a lot of Doctors that preform the scope and I had already told him no surgery no matter what the findings were. Let me stress before anyone starts to judge THIS IS NOT A RESULT OF RUNNING!!!!! PEOPLE JUST HAVE SHIT HAPPEN TO THEM!!!!!
His other suggestion was to have a intravenous hip injection, again nobody around here does that so they would have to bring someone in from KDMC out of Kentucky.
I will not find out what needs done with the ovarian cyst until October 14th....but maybe the old tale is true about women who run......"You're uterus is going to fall out" sorry couldnt resist that one!
I now know the hamstring does have some issues and they just called it bilateral tendinopathy- this could explain the tightness in the hamstring and that pain I have had for the past couple years but neither of the Doctors that I have gone to with these results have touched that area yet.......Since my local Doc didnt bring up anything to me about the cyst the hamstring the recommendation of a radiograph and when I asked about some of the other stuff this report listed ( I could pull it up on the patient portal before going in ) but when I asked the response I received was oh..I dont know - I didnt read it all just the top part. Oppps. So I decided to wait and go see the folks in New Albany, the Doctor that was number 4 when I was having all the opinions with my knee from the end of 2009 to middle of 2011, he is the only one that said "I wont tell you not to run, but I would suggest just a couple days a week and build up to a couple miles during these runs" He also did NOT see a new knee in my near future like the other 3. After hearing that I signed up for my first 50 miler!!! So off I head with my Hip test to New Albany. He felt the tears in the labrum were being caused because i have some hip degeneration and going into scope them in reality they would prolly tear again due to the degeneration ( arthur starting)  He did go ahead and do an injection in the bursa sac on the right side of the hip and that has now been a week, this has not helped so now we are in the process of setting up an appointment to do the intravenous injection into the joint. Uggg not looking forward to that. Once we find out the actual source of the pain then we can see how to treat things. The injection will not fix things but will hopefully help take some of the imflamation and reduce the fluids that are present.
So my thinking also is this.....since my hip DOES NOT HURT WHILE I AM RUNNING.....yes you read that correct - it only hurts when i sit, stand, lay or walk. I dont know if it is due to my mind blocking pain so well but I have another analogy. I think there is an impingement either on the hip, sciatica or some area that is causing the pounding pain, the shooting pains down the entire back of the leg and putting the foot to sleep. I believe it DOES NOT HURT while I am running due to the fact that there is a quick step turn over so my weight it not on the ground or sitting in a chair or laying in a bed in the same position with the same amount of weight. So now I have to tell myself that in order to find out if possibly I take off 15 pounds that that excess weight that is hitting the nerve it could possibly help as well?
The hard part is I have not been motivated during the week for my short runs, instead just doing my marathons etc that I travel too. Once I get moving outside I feel better but I just get tired of seeing the same folks driving by me and the trashy men honking and wolf whistling at me. Then that creates the self pities and I sit here and eat crap food and lots of crap food. I was never really a candy eater and have no idea why I have been on a candy kick. I think since November of last year I have said ok....tomorrow I will start watching what im eating and keep track.....I do start that and do great all day until evening comes around...then I go get crap.