Monday, March 31, 2008

Mondays or... Taper-Madness?

Today was not the best of days. I finished up getting some inspections uploaded on the computer when I got up this morning and was having coffee. I printed off my inspections for the day to go out for today's physical inspections. I get all my stuff in order, grab a granola bar, my travel cup of coffee, clipboard, paperwork, camera, and "Norma", my GPS, and go to head out the front door.

As I open the storm door, a wind gust catches the door like a spinnaker sail on a sail boat and rips the door out of my right hand, which in turn makes me drop everything in my left hand - clipboard, with camera, GPS, and coffee balanced atop. So I pick up Norma and my coffee mug, which is now broken, go in the house, pour the remaining coffee into another travel mug and rinse out the broken cup - don't ask me why since it was garbage at that point - and head back out to the car. I put in my first stop into my GPS, look about me in the car to make sure I have everything and, drive off to my first inspection about 30 miles away.

I arrive at my first destination and begin to diagram the home from the car and go to get my camera before I get out of the car and... whoalla! No camera! Grumble, grumble, grumble.... brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm... nothing. I have to drive back to my house to retrieve my camera, which I figured I left somewhere in the vicinity of our front porch and forgot to pick up after my little debackle trying to leave earlier. Sure enough, I get home and there it is in front of one of the middle bushes on the other side of where all my other items had landed.

So, camera retrieved, equipment check again, I head back to my first inspection. I get that one completed and then have to travel to Grosse Ile, an island in the Detroit River downriver from Detroit, for my next inspection. As I pull up to the next place, I note it is a newly constructed home as I had expected given I had a bit of difficulty in tracking down the address on my mapping program. Being a new home and springtime in Michigan with a recent heavy snow thaw, there was a vast supply of mud around the property. The homeowner happens to be there and I explain that I have to get photos and measurements of the exterior of the property to which he replies, "good luck with that".

I get the home measured and diagramed and my boots are just caked with mud to the point that each foot feels as though it weighs 10 pounds. Fortunately enough, there is a new, small drainage ditch with running water in it just in front of this property so I grab my snow brush from the car and go to the ditch and start scrubbing off and washing my boots as best I can to get the worst of the caked on mud off. This is working quite spledidly until, I bend over to get my right boot a little more and my camera falls out of my right coat pocket and into the water in the ditch. Anyone ever told you electronics and water don't mix? Well, they don't.

Back in the car, I try and dry out and blow out the water from the camera as best I can and fire her up to see what we have. The viewing screen came on momentarily, flickered three times and then, fade to black. I drive back home, two inspections completed in 3 hours and, 21 more to go.

I'm just trying to figure out if this is part of my "tapering madness" related to the race or, just a bad Monday? Bob (my boss), if you read this... sorry bout the camera and unproductive day.

Tomorrow will most definitely be better as I am attending the spring agency meetings at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, which will be very entertaining, followed by a tasty lunch. Then on to the 21 inspections I botched today. :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Catching Up - Warning: This Is A Long Post

Oh my gosh! I just looked at my little countdown tickermadoodle and I only have 14 days remaining till the marathon! Two weeks folks! It'll be here before I know it. I get squirrely thinking about how close it is. I wish I were in better physical shape than I presently am for it, but I kinda have to take things as they are. I've been reflecting on my less than perfect physical condition for running this race in relation to Cassy, who I am running this marathon in honor of. I've been wondering if it wasn't meant to be this way as just a small taste of what she has had to endure her whole life and, she's in her mid-30's now. I don't want sound as though I am diminishing her condition to my mere 6 1/2 months of running and a 26.2 mile race with some leg pain or in any way thinking what I am doing is comparative to what she's endured at all. She's always amazed me with her joyful spirit despite her circumstances. I wish I could be more like her.

Anyway, I didn't run either Friday or today on the heels of that miserable 8+ miles I did on Thursday. I'm a bit damaged right now so, I want to heal up as best I can again for now. I'm supposed to have two additional longish runs left in my training plan, the first 12 miles this weekend, and the last an 8 miler next weekend, however, I am very much playing things my ear in terms of what I think my body is, or is not as is the case, to do. I hate to keep speaking of it, but my leg is pretty sore today, even two days after my last run and much icing. So, there may not be any more long runs in my future before this race.

Well, I had a friend (who shall remain nameless, Tami Sue) tell me the other evening that I needed to update my blog, to which I replied, I have updated it twice. To which she responded, "yea, but that was just running stuff... I don't wanna read about that." So, in the interest of my friendship with Tami Sue...

We had a great time on our vacation in Pompano Beach, FL last week. We went with our friends, the Johnstons, Frank and Dianna (one of my running heros), and their daughter, Kallie, and friend Aloiya, along with our girls, Chelsea and Lindsey. We stayed in a two bedroom, two bath hotel-style condo, with a kitchen, dining area, living room, and laundry at the Wyndham Palm-Aire Resort pictured here. It was fabulous. It had 4 pools, 4 hot tubs, mini golf, work out room, golf course (though none of us golfed), and more amenities that I probably don't even know of. The resort was located about 5 miles west of the beach however, Wyndham had several other condo properties along the oceanfront that, as guests, we were able to make use of as well for access to the beach and could also use any of their facilities as well. I did manage to get 28 miles in or so in 5 runs while down there as well.

We had a bit of a hiccup on our trip down (we drove, as did Johnstons) in that when we arrived at our overnight hotel destination in northern Florida after driving for about 16 hours, the transmission went out in Johnston's van. That got taken care of, I got Johnstons and Aloiya over to where the van was fixed on Friday, came back to the hotel area and picked up Tammy and the girls at a local shopping center and we headed on down the rest of the way.

Saturday and Sunday we spent at the beach doing a lot of this type of stuff:

And a little of this as well:

On Monday, our family headed across Alligator Alley to the other side of the state to visit with my Aunt Heidi and Grandma in Cape Coral. Grandma moved down from Michigan to live with Heidi last October and is just loving it down there.

We had a nice visit and lunch with Grandma and Heidi on her beautiful enclosed patio with screened pool enclosure and then on our way back met up with the Johnstons in the Everglades for an airboat ride/tour. We were fortunate enough to see an alligator in the wild during the day, and Lindsey made a new friend:

Monday and Tuesday it was 89 degrees and beautiful. We hung out at the local beaches again on Tuesday and then on Wednesday we headed down the coast about a half hour to Miami and Miami Beach.

Our family gets a kick out of the show Miami Ink on TLC so, we swung by the shop, which recently moved up the block a few store-fronts and were surprised to see Yoji hanging out outside the shop. He graciously allowed us to get a few pics with him. Tammy was going to get a tattoo there, but she asked inside how much a small one would run - she considered a small palm tree the size of a half-dollar - and they said it would cost $250 - $300. Um... no thanks. I'll tat her up with a Sharpee myself. I've got art skilz... Gosh! Am I a TOTAL tourist in that pic or what?!?

We had a couple more incidents while at Miami Beach. The first while we were on South Beach. Frank is a firefighter in Toledo and an avid t-shirt trader wherever he travels so, in his quest for a Miami Beach Ocean Rescue (a division of their fire department) shirt we found ourselves up at the Ocean Rescue headquarters early in the afternoon to snag a couple of t-shirts. After conversing with a lieutenant in the office for awhile and getting our shirts, we thought we should stop at the public restroom on the side of the headquarters building before returning to our families down on the beach and packing it in for the day. Frank was barefoot so, I went in first cause the floors were, um, lets just say wet, and then when I came out he borrowed my flip flops and went in.

While I was waiting outside on the sidewalk, I heard what I first thought was a gunshot around the corner of the building about 50 feet away from me toward the steet side of the building away from the beach. I second-guessed myself and thought it must have been a firecracker or a cap gun or something of the sort. Moments later, an older man with a backpack jumps the railing on the outside of the sidewalk just to my right and runs into the bathroom saying only, "firecracker" as he passes by me. I mentally pat myself on the back thinking, "See, you were right. It was just a firecracker."

Frank comes out of the bathroom, he gives me my flip flops back as I ask him if he heard what I thought first sounded like a gunshot and he said he hadn't heard anything. Then, suddenly the dude that rushed by me with the backpack on emerges from the bathroom, without the backpack, and pushes past Frank on the sidewalk to which Frank says, "Excuse me sir", being the polite dude that he is. We don't think anything of this and start heading back to the cut into the beach.

When we get to the beach side of the cut, we hear and see several squad cars and Ocean Rescue vehicles busting butt north up the beach towards us converging on where we had just come from at the headquarters public bathrooms. We look at each other, wonder to ourselves what's up and, being the curious boys that we are, head back to the headquarters building about 300 feet away. Police and rescue units close in on the area and a black officer with weapon drawn is now on the sidewalk by the bathroom where I was just standing not 3 minutes earlier!

Come to find out, there was an argument between 4 homeless men across the street from the Ocean Rescue headquarters and, the dude that ran past me into the bathroom and then brushed past Frank on the sidewalk had just shot another man in the head! Whoa! We head back down the beach to tell the story to our waiting families and as we do, 5 news helicopters converge on the area above not 10 minutes post shooting. Talk about flys on, well, you know. Here is one of the news stories on it with a picture of the dude that ran past me and then again by Frank and I. Here is also one of the tv newscasts on the incident as well. The black officer you see in the newscast is the one Frank and I saw outside the bathroom with his gun drawn. Such excitement!

The other excitement was that we drove to Key Biscayne and then were on our way back to Miami Beach all in Johnston's van, with the nice new 3 year warrantied transmission, when Frank notices the battery light is on and that the voltage is dropping on the gauge. We parked around the corner from Miami Ink, left the van running thinking we might have enough time to see the shop/people/get pictures and get back to the van and high-tail it to the nearest auto service shop when the van pukes. Alternator.

We find out from the guys outside Miami Ink where the closest auto service place is, Frank starts hoofing it there, we get our pictures, buy some jumper cables at a hardware store across the steet, I get a kind Cuban dude to jump the van for a while in an effort to get it to the shop Frank is headed to, we all jump in, I take off, get about a block away around a corner and it pukes again. We ended up getting it towed back to Pompano Beach, Frank and I going with the tow driver, and the wives staying behind in Miami Beach with the girls at a pizza shop for dinner. We drop the van at a Sears Auto Center in Pompano, the tow driver drops us at the condo, I grab our car and drive the 37 miles back down to Miami Beach to cram all the ladies into the car for a cramped ride back to Pompano. More excitement than should be allowed in one day!

Thursday we hung around the condo pools and spas, with one last evening visit to the beach, before heading out Friday morning, after much prayer over our vehicles, for the ride back to Michigan.

So, that was our glorious, eventful, exciting, but very relaxing, awesome week of vacation in Florida with our great friends, the Johnstons who, incidentally, now have a VERY well-running van! ;-)

p.s. - Tami Sue - you better have read and enjoyed this ENTIRE post. I will have a quiz prepared for you the next time I see you sister! ;-)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Painful 8.75 Miles

I'm not gonna sugar-coat it, this run just hurt. Bad. I almost turned around after the first 1/4 mile I was hobbling so badly, but, me being the intelligent, stubborn, man that I am... didn't just run the 8 I was scheduled, but did an extra 3/4 of a mile as well. Duh. I'm feeling ok now, I iced right away after getting back and, as typical with prior runs, the pain does subside the longer into my run I go. It just started out worse than it has (about as worse as it has been) and didn't subside as much as it has recently. I do think I'll be ok and am fairly sure I should be able to complete the marathon, it's just not going to be pretty for the first 5 miles or so, or the end of the race. I am determined to get through it though. I know some runners will think I'm a knucklehead for proceeding (which would be true as I've always been a knucklehead), but I've put too much into this to not see it through and, I truly feel I can manage myself without damaging myself too badly. So here's the recap, and for those of you who like to check, you can see my log and comments here. Sorry for the drama. It's really not my style.


Miles: 8.75
Time: 1:23:07
Average Pace: 9:30/mile
Calories Burned: 1123

Hope everyone's having a splendid week.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Today's 5.25 Mile Run

Just a quick recap, my notes and splits are on my log entry here.

Miles: 5.25
Time: 47:02
Average pace: 8:58 min/mile
Calories burned: 720

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Stretch to the Finish

I was able to get a total of 28.6 miles over 5 runs while on vacation last week in sunny Florida. The weather was awesome, hanging out at the beach was awesome, the lack of agendas was awesome, the time with the family and dear friends was awesome, and the relaxation was awesome. I'll post some pics and adventures we had when I have more time. Hmm... I'm posting this at 12:50 a.m. because I just finished up getting household stuff nearly caught up and work itineraries lined up for the week... when the heck do I think I'm going to have more time?

Anyway, back to running. I have now entered week 16 of 18 in my training program which is now the "taper" phase of my training where my mileage systematically decreases till the marathon. To kick off my tapering period I ran a solid 21 mile long run yesterday morning (Monday) which is the last of the long, long runs I have to do. You can read the recap of my run and see my split times on my running log here. I wanted to be sure that I could solidly do a long, long run yet. Mission accomplished and, I don't feel too terribly bad physically and yesterday's run did wonders for my confidence and mental state toward the upcoming marathon. I must confess that I was thinking of Cassy a lot yesterday during my run and what she endures on a daily basis in terms or discomfort and pain which really pulled me through some of the more difficult periods of this long run. In fact, I started wondering that since I was running this race on her behalf that if the pain I have had isn't to be but a taste of what she has gone through for the majority of her life brought on through no activity of her own, unlike mine. Anyway Cass... we kicked some major butt yesterday and... I feel like we're now ready for this race, bum leg or not. So, bring it! ;-)

Off to bed now. I will try my best to get some vacation stuff up. We had such a wonderful time and the weather was splendid! Till we got home and had 9" of newly fallen snow. As Earl's step-daughter so brilliantly observed... we had a green Christmas and a white Easter.

Good night everyone...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bad News, Worse News, Good News, and Bad News?

Bad News:

I haven't run in 3 days and my leg is still bothering me post hefty-patient lift on Monday on an EMS (emergency medical service) call with the fire department. Combined with a lack of time and "stuff" cropping up, I just haven't been able to attempt one either in all honesty.

Worse News:

It's been an eventful couple of days with work, the wrapping up of Lindsey's basketball season, her fast pitch softball tryouts, Chelsea's ACT and Michigan Merit testing, and preparation to head down to Florida over the girls' spring break for vacation. I planned on getting up early this morning, wrapping up work by uploading my latest inspections for the first few hours of what is now yesterday, going for a run, and then preparing and packing for our trip with all the odds and ends errands that must be done and whatnot.

I sat at my office desk before my computer this morning at 6:00 a.m. and began uploading my inspections. My pager went off for an EMS/rescue call shortly after I started working. I pledged to remain at my desk to diligently finish my work and then would respond to any calls the remainder of the day once my work was done during the course of packing and whatnot. My pager went off a second time shortly thereafter for a second EMS/rescue call and I again held off bolting out the door as I normally would as I really needed to get my work done for my "real" job.

I had gotten about 3 - 5 inspections uploaded when my pager goes off for the third consecutive time within about 30 minutes now for a VERY familiar address. It was my in-law's house. I shoot out from behind my desk and tear into our bedroom where Tammy is getting ready to dress after showering and drying her hair. I advise her that the call is on her mom who has C.O.P.D. (emphysema), that she needs to stay calm, we dress and make haste out the door and run down to her parents' home two houses down from us. Mom is really struggling to breath and needs transported via ambulance to the ER. I ride in with her in the back of the ambulance and we spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon in the hospital while the staff works on getting her stabilized. She's stabilized and they move her up to the ICU floor for observation. Many prayers answered.

Good News:

Lindsey's basketball team won their game at Lincoln on Tuesday by a handy margin of something like 25 - 13 and then Wednesday knocked off Adrian 17 - 2 to go undefeated on the season with a 12 - 0 record! Congratulations Lindsey and Lady Bronco teamates on a spectacular season!

Following her final basketball game, Linds had the second day of her fast pitch softball tryouts and made the team. She'll be starting those practices when we return from spring break vacation.

Bad News:

Well, some of you may consider this good news. I will be taking a break from blogging while vacationing in Pompano Beach, Florida, with our friends, the Johnston's. Not looking forward to the drive right now, but am really looking forward to the rest and relaxation and... running on the beach! Thanks Floyds for taking Carsen into your home for us while we're gone. We really appreciate it and love you guys dearly!

I'll get back with y'all after Easter Sunday. I pray you have a most blessed Easter with your families and, for those of you who believe, rejoice in the sacrifice that was made for all mankind. "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15

Happy Easter.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Oh Yea... Running...

I'm pleased to say that I slowly was building my mileage back up this past week. Most of my runs start out painful, but ease up the further into them I get. I ran a wicked 6.25 miles Saturday in an effort to attempt my long run for the week which I was hoping to do 12 - 14. Alas, the driving wind and snow out of the north at 20 mph did me in. I could not see and my eyelids kept freezing shut on my way northward on Lewis Avenue so, I cut it short to the 6.25 miles. That was a crazy run in my sole-screwed winter trainers!

Today I went out in the morning for a long run. Again I had my sights set on 12 - 14 miles, but would shorten if necessary due to any increasing pain I may have experienced in my right leg. I started the run out with Tammy for about the first 1 1/2 miles. My leg hurt somewhat badly, but quickly subsided and, by the time I left her, it wasn't bothering me at all. The muscles in my legs were fatigued through the run, but I think that was primarily due to the prior day's run. I ended up doing 14 miles in 2:15:11 for an overall pace of 9:40/mile. Here's the link to my training log if you'd like to read it. I had a most wonderful note in the snow from Tammy when I got back to the place I dropped my water bottle for pick up later in my run at about mile 8 that said simply, "I love you!". That note really lifted my spirits and helped me through the rest of my run. I love that woman! I am feeling much better about my running and today's run was a great confidence boost to me.

Anyway, my leg post-run had been doing quite well and I had very little residual pain, even after not getting to ice it right away after the run and standing on it all day at the Bedford Business Association's Annual Trade Fair in the fire department's booth (pictured below with my Station Head Officer on my left and a brother from our District 2 station on my right - I'm stationed at District 1) until lifting a patient that went about 350 pounds on the stretcher to get ready to wheel her out to the ambulance on a call later in the day. GAH! That hurt! I told myself not to do it too, to let one of the other firefighters on scene lift her, but then I thought, "ahh, I'll be fine!". Not so much. Back to the frozen vegetable bag.

Other Random Pics

This is simply a railroad bridge over the Huron River in South Rockwood, Michigan. I thought it was quant.These are some of the beautiful old homes in some of the better old neighborhoods of downtown Detroit. It really isn't all ghetto-type neighborhoods as most people would probably conjure images of unfamiliar to this city. Not that they don't exist as well, as I've been in many of them - I think that is another reason I took up running! I just thought it would be cool for some of you, who would have negative images or impressions of Detroit, to see some of the beauty that is the City of Detroit. And then there is the, "Ya just don't see this everyday" pic of a dude towing a boat in Michigan the day after a winter storm?!? He's gonna waste all of his fishing time cutting a whole in the ice big enough to get his boat in!

The Best Snowman Ever!

I came across this most awesome snowman in my travels last Friday. I think it was in Shelby Township, Michigan. The kids/family that made this snowman deserve a blue ribbon! It had to have been around 7' tall and so perfectly round and cheerful-looking. It was the best snowman that I have ever seen!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Another 5.5 Miles and Another Bronco Victory

I got another 5.5 miles in this afternoon, which went about the same as yesterday's run. I'm taking tomorrow off and then plan on doing a 12 - 14 mile long run on Saturday. That run will be a telltale run for the rest of my training I kind of think. Leg feels ok tonight, residual pain, but nothing bad.

The Lady Broncos squeaked out a victory this afternoon at home against a very well-prepared, and much improved, Dexter team, 10 - 8. The girls couldn't get the offense going and again, had a lot of shots that just wouldn't fall for them. Thank goodness for their smothering defense, which salvaged the victory for them this afternoon. I think only one team this season has scored in the double digits against the Broncos ravenous defense.

The Lady Broncos are now 10 and 0 and gunning for a perfect season with only 2 games remaining next week! Good luck girls!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

5.5 Miles

I got back just a bit ago from a 5.5 mile run. It was ok. Quite painful starting out, but again, the pain subsides to tolerable the further I get into my run. I did run on the opposite side of the road to see if the pitch of the road was having any affect on my leg given the shoe wear issue Liz noted at Dave's Performance Footgear last Sunday. I felt ok post run, some pain, but bearable. I stretched and have been icing it till I go to our monthly fire department business meeting in a few minutes (I'm going smelly too!).

Here's the note and splits I put in my running log if you're interested. I'm going to try and do another 5ish miles tomorrow morning before heading into my friend, Vicki's, classroom to screw up her 4th graders. Hehehe.

On a side note, cause I don't feel like creating a separate post, The 7th Grade Lady Broncos are now 9 and 0 defeating Saline yesterday by a score of 24 - 5!! It really was much closer than the score would indicate as they went into the final period up only 6 - 5, but their stellar and stifling defense created a plethora of turnovers in the final period which catapulted the Broncos to the awesome victory! Am I full of it or what? Now, Mar, how many misspellings do I have in there with some of dem werds? I can haz speil cheque?

Have a lovely night everyone!

"I Got a Pretzel In My Head"

That quote is from the Cal Naughton Jr. character in Talladega Nights when Ricky Bobby - the Will Ferrell character - is making a comeback racing against his former teamate, Cal, following a bad crash. Cal's trying to psyche Ricky out using psychology and thinks that Ricky is using reverse psychology back on him and gets himself all confused to the extent that he says his mind's all twisted up like a pretzel and he says, "I got a pretzel in my head!"

Well, that's kinda how I feel about this marathon race at this point. I have totally lost confidence in myself and my body, I don't want to go out and do my run right now because I fear that I will just make my injuries worse again to the point that I can't run and won't be able to in the marathon and, am just generally psyching myself out. Every little ache and pain I feel now I think, "Oh my gosh! I'm not going to be able to make it to this race!" I was doing so well in my preparation for this race and now I feel as though I will just be going through the motions with the balance of training that I think I can do, which is NOT what the training plan I was following called for, and that it will not suffice. GAH!

So, thanks for reading/listening. I just needed to vent and rant for a bit. I have faith that my head will come around. I just need a few good runs without serious pain or better yet, diminishing pain, that will bolster my confidence. I just felt today that the week I took off to try and heal up a bit has totally gotten me off track and derailed my marathon now. That remains to be seen though so, I shouldn't count myself out before I even get to the starting line, which is the goal at this point.

On a lighter note, this is my favorite scene from that movie... a little language, youthful attitude, and sexual innuendo so, don't open it if there are kids around. This scene cracks me up! Levity needed!

It May Be March, But...

... winter is far from over here in Michigan. Two days ago it was 62 degrees. This morning, this was the view outside my home office window. It is quite beautiful and I love the way the snow is whisping over the edge of the roof outside my window. A new layered blanket of ice, snow, sleet, and then snow from yesterday afternoon and overnight. When I went to pick up Linds from school last evening returning for their away basketball game, the snowflakes were about the size of Rhode Island! School was cancelled today so, the girls will have to make up 1 school day in June at the end of the school year as of today. There is always the potential for more, even into April, as I recall them having a snow day in April just a few years ago.

It is quite beautiful out today so, I took a few pics for those of you who may not be tired of snow. Like my mom and dad who winter in the Rio Grande Valley of exteme southern Texas and like to tell us about the 90 degree temps they are having and how much time they are spending in the pool doing water aerobics and playing water volleyball. To that I say... every dog has it's day and even a blind squirrel finds a nut once and again. This blind squirrel will find his when we travel down to Pompano Beach, Florida a week from tomorrow. Yippee!

A pic of Chelsea's Barney-mobile blanketed in freshly fallen snow and ice.

Our humble snow-covered chalet from the east side. Tahoe tracks leaving the garage from Tammy going to work this morning.

Our humble snow-covered chalet from the west side. It looks as if someone frosted the roof of our house like a cake. Neat. The second window from the left is my office as seen looking out in the pic above. See what you're missing mom and dad. It is quite beautiful and very pristene. I wanted to get a picture of it before the snow was shoveled or tracked in. It's so clean and crisp looking. I do love it and would miss it were we to move to a warm yearly climate. Too bad you must have freezing temperatures in order to have snow.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Game On... For Now

This is the post I put on a thread on RA about my run this morning. So far, so good as far as how I'm feeling right now. I'm just going to take things nice and easy from here on out. Here's the post:

So, I got out this morning for an easy 4.5 miles after taking a full week off. My right lower leg still hurt, especially early in the run, but the pain eased up to discomfort further into the run beginning like at 1.25 miles. I ran at our local school track because it is flat and also has a rubberized surface. That was about 3 hours ago now and when I got home, I stretched and Saran-wrapped an ice bag to my lower leg for about 15 minutes, and I'm not having any pain to speak of while I walk around now. I'm going to taper back my training plan to 3 midweek runs of shorter lengths and then 1 long run on Saturday and try and coast into the marathon on April 13. I now have no time goal and will be looking to just finish the race upright provided my tapered back training can continue.

I'm thinkin' this likely is not a stress fracture either because I do not believe that the pain would lessen further into a run. More likely soft-tissue, like tendons inflamed from over use, which would make more sense. So, perhaps an easier running schedule at easier paces will see me through. Time will tell.

Testing the Waters

This turtle of a runner will be testing the waters today after a week off of no, none, notta, zip running. I must say, I am anxious. See, thing is I've already put in 695.10 miles which translates into 107 hours, 6 minutes, and 3 seconds out on the roads running in heat, rain, wind, sleet, ice, bitterly cold temps, and snow. That's quite an investment and, if my leg won't allow me to continue training for this April marathon and I have to take an extended period of time off to rehab it... I will have to start training all over again from square one for a fall or later marathon.

Again, don't get me wrong, if I can't do this race, I can't and I'll be ok with that. It's just that it would be a big disappointment to have come this far not to have all those runs and training time culminate into a successful first marathon. I am astonished at what I have accomplished in my training alone to date and very proud of myself for that, not to mention some of the conditions that I have accomplished some of these runs in this winter. A couple of years ago I would not have envisioned myself running a 10 mile race, let alone doing a 16 mile run in post snowstorm conditions!

If this morning's easy run goes ok, I will be cutting back on the days of running and miles in my training program to try and endure the rest of the plan enough to allow me to complete this race. Only time will tell however. I did go to our local running shop yesterday after church and consulted with Liz, who I found out yesterday attends our church with her family and I didn't even know it (we have a rather large congregation - around 2,000) at Dave's Performance Footgear. She re-evaluated my feet, foot strike and reviewed my situation. We did determine that I, and Tammy, need to change up our running routes more due to the camber/pitch of the roads we run on which may be contibuting to our leg issues. She suggested I do my long runs in my ASICS vs. the Mizunos since they are wearing better and more of a stability shoe where the Mizunos are neutral. No new shoes needed, which was good because we have to discretionary money to spend right now.

I'm going to Bedford's (our local school) track this morning to do my test-run, 4 or 5 miles depending on how I feel, because it is flat and also has a rubberized surface which will be less impact on my legs than running on the roads and shoulders around here. I'll let you know how things go...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Congratulations Sara and Ryan!!

My fellow RunningAHEAD (RA) marathoner in training friend, Sara, who is an amazing young woman I wrote about in this post, was proposed to this past Friday, Leap Day, and is now an amazing and engaged young woman. Her fiance, Ryan, planned the most incredible and romantic proposal surprise for Sara that you can read about here on her blog, Running from the Law. If you have a single romantic bone in your body you have to read Sara's details of this proposal because Ryan hit it out of the park and it will melt your heart! My heartiest congratulations to you both, Ryan and Sara! Ryan is an avid fly-fisherman and Sara recently posted about an annual fishing trip that Ryan took in which he caught the elusive "catch of a lifetime", but I'd say he just surpassed that catch. Again, congratulations my running and fishing friends! May your catch always remain fresh and your steps in this distance run they call marriage be light and easy. Blessings to you both!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


I have the privilege of singing a song tomorrow at CrossRoads by the Christian artist, Brandon Heath, titled "I'm Not Who I Was". When I first heard this tune I was totally enamored with it. I felt it spoke a great deal about the transformation that God has done in my own heart. Actually, I misunderstood the song thinking that he was singing about how God has changed the singer's character overall, which was completely representative of me and my life. I think there is some of that to the song, but overall the message is about harboring resentment and unforgiveness toward someone close to you for something they did to you that you haven't come to terms with and need to forgive them for. I think all of us probably experience this. One of my favorite practical preachers that I listen to when I can is Joyce Meyer and I recall her saying that resentment, anger, bitterness toward someone that has wronged you is like taking poison yourself and hoping the other person dies. Take a listen to the song linked above, I think you'll find meaning from it in your life as well.

Jesus said as He forgave us, so He expects us to forgive others. Don't carry the poison of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness in your heart, it will only serve to poison you and it crowds out the love that we're all meant to share with one another.