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 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 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 I stopped and look like you need a jello-shot? He said yes I 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 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 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 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 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 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:
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.
 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 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 escape from reality!