Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Hard Week, A Hard Run

This week was hard.  I could list my long litany of complaints, but that would take a long time and I just don't feel like it.  I was planning on doing short runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week.  But Monday was a holiday and we were having too much family fun.  I went on Tuesday.  The rest of the week too much was going on for running.  So, yesterday after only one short run this week, I ran 7.3 miles (ran/walked).  Now I am very tired.

My app told me that I was going 34mph at one point on the run.  Either it messed up or I've gotten a lot better at this running business.

This race is in three weeks.  I have so many mixed feelings right now.  Three weeks and I will be done!   But in order to be done, I have to run/walk 13.1 miles.  Today was my longest run and will be until the race.  I don't enjoy the running part.  I do enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dogs In Strollers

I cannot believe that I have been doing this running thing for three months now and I am still this bad at it.  When I saw the physical therapist last week, she told me that I should start "tapering down" since I was just a month away from the race.  I don't think she knows me well.  If I "taper down" much, I'll be going backwards.  She also told me to walk for 5-10 minutes to warm up before stretching.  I tried that tonight and had NO leg pain.  Amazing.  That was the first time in 8 years that I have exercised without pain in my right leg.

Unrelated, I really enjoy all the dogs on the walking track around the Rose Bowl.  I like the English bulldogs that sound like they are struggling more than I am.  I like the little dogs that look like any minute they are going to wind their leashes around their walker's legs.  My favorite are the dogs in strollers.  I count it a good run when I see one (and there usually is at least one).  These little dogs look so entitled and bored.  One day I passed a man pushing a stroller.  As I went past him, I saw in addition to the stroller he had a baby strapped to his chest.  I thought, "Oh, maybe it's twins," and as I looked back to see the baby in the stoller, I was surprised to see the other "baby" was a dog.  Tonight there was a woman pushing a rolly-walker thing with a dog wrapped in a blanket balanced in the middle.  What is with all these lazy dogs?  If I can run this with two legs (one of them not so great), surely these dogs could run with four legs.  Maybe I'll make an inspirational video for dogs, push them past the boundaries of their strollers.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

100 Miles!

Today I ran/walked my 100th mile.  I think that's pretty huge, but it was such a discouraging run today that it didn't feel monumental.  I still celebrated with some boba milk tea, which I have decided is an excellent recovery drink.  

It was hot today, almost 80 degrees.  In addition to it being rather warm, there was something in the air that was irritating my nose.  Breathing through my nose was painful/sneeze inducing, which meant I kept breathing through my mouth.  So my list of complaints for today's run:
  1. Too warm in the mid-day sun (the shaded areas were pleasant)
  2. My nose hurt
  3. My mouth got very dry because breathing through my nose hurt
  4. My fingers swelled (very strange for me)
  5. The ball of my right foot is sore
  6. My leg hurt (as usual)
On Thursday I went to see another medical professional to discuss my fat leg.  Matt had found a physical therapist who is certified in lymphedema treatment.  Lymphedema is similar in a lot of ways to my constant swelling, so she was about to offer some insight.  Of course that insight was not what I wanted to hear: "Your leg will always be like this.  Exercise and compression stockings can help, but not heal."

The good news is she is able to fit me for a prescription compression stocking (after I call my friendly, fast-talking doctor and get her to sign off on the referral).  It will be ugly, but having one that is the right size/strength is very helpful.

I'm exactly one month from this crazy race, three months into the training.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


When I was in elementary school, every year we would do a Math-A-Thon.  I loved them.  I was good at math.  We would gather pledges for how many math problems we would do, then work the problems.  I'm sure I never gathered very much money, but I always finished the whole workbook.  The money went to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  As I a kid, I knew that the money was going to help sick kids.

Last week my friend's five week old son was admitted to St. Jude's with cancer.  This is when I remembered the Math-A-Thons.  According to tradition (and Wikipedia) Saint Jude is "The Saint for the Hopeless and the Despaired." When St. Jude Children's Research Hospital opened in 1962, most childhood cancers were terminal.  Now, thanks to 50 years of painstaking researching, my friend's son has a chance.  20ish years ago when I was working those math problems, I had no idea that I would be funding research that would some day help someone dear to me.

The amazing thing about giving money to help others is you never know how that will affect you.  I'm working to raise money for Oasis India right now.  Oasis India is a anti-trafficking organization that works with local officials to find and end human trafficking.  Less than two years ago, Oasis was involved in a raid that rescued 300 kids.  These children, over a third of them under the age of three, were being forced to beg for money and beaten if they didn't bring back enough.  The babies were often drugged and used as a begging prop.  These children are 'the hopeless and the despaired.'  There are 27 million people worldwide being bought and sold like property.  If you can give to help continue the work of Oasis, please do (this is the link or use the button on the right).  Who knows, you may be helping someone you love.

Running News:

I ran 4.5 miles today (okay, ran with walking breaks).  Things I learned:

  • I run faster under overpasses because I've seen enough earthquake pictures to be scared of being under one during an earthquake
  • I run faster when a homeless man is cat calling
  • I like water fountains

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"The struggle for justice is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” --  

I saw this quote and liked it.  Gary Haugen is the president and CEO of International Justice Mission, "a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression" (quote from their website).  I am learning more and more why people use so many marathon analogies.  I have never been so aware of how every aspect of my life affects my physical endurance until now.  What I eat, drink, how much I sleep, what I wear...all of this plays a role in how well I run.  Seeking justice is much harder than running, requiring more training and mindfulness.  I like that I've been able to kind of combine the two.

I finished my longest run yet today: 5.4 miles.  Matt and the girls dropped me off by the Gamble House (as seen in Back to the Future, where Doc Brown lived in 1955).  From there it was about half a mile down the the Rose Bowl--and by down I mean all downhill.  That's a great way to start a run.  It's like flying.  I ran around the bowl, then stopped and got a drink and used the bathroom.  Going back up the hill was much less fun.

I felt proud of this run, not because it was fast or anything (it wasn't, except the first mile which was mostly downhill), but because I really, really didn't want to do it and I did it anyway.  I figured that if I can keep the pace that I had today for 13.1 miles, I should be able to finish in less than 3 hours.  When I signed up for the race, I had to tell them how much time I thought I would need to complete the course. I think I said three and a half hours.  My new goal is 2.5 hours, which might be a little hard (okay, maybe impossible, I just did the math).  At least now I'm pretty sure I'll be able to complete the course without the pace car picking me up.


Distance: 5.4 miles
Duration: 1:11 hour:min
Average Pace: 13:16 min/mile
Average Speed: 4.52 mph

Total miles: 89

Monday, January 7, 2013

Running for Freedom

As I was running tonight, I realized that it's been weeks since I've had to stop because of pain in my feet or shins.  I wore the compression stocking that doesn't fit as well, so I had to walk a few times when my leg started cramping.  This reminded me of how much less pain I've been experiencing.

I didn't crochet as I ran.  I let others be the L.A. crazy (like the bagpiper, the woman in black running in the street, and the woman pushing her dog in a stroller).  I'm nice like that.  I did run an extra half a mile.  And I walked two miles with the girls this afternoon running errands, which should count as at least seven miles with stroller resistance and seven year old resistance.

When I started this experiment in being athletic, I was mostly thinking of running those 13.1 miles (I won't leave off that tenth of a mile) as a means of raising money to help restore the lives of girls and women who have had so much taken from them.  I wanted to do this because for years I have heard stories of girls sold into slavery and have been able to do nothing about it.  Every once in a while I will see how wonderful and beautiful my daughters are and it will hit me how lucky I am, how lucky they are.  I think of the daughters who are sold, because their parents are tricked, desperate, or dead.  I run for my daughters, so they will learn to care, and for the daughters who have no one else to run for them.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Crocheting While Running, Not So Easy

Yesterday I decided to try a crochet run.  I thought by mixing something I enjoy with something I loathe, it might make a semi-enjoyable event.  I decided on crocheting instead of knitting because
  1. I've been crocheting much longer so it's easier for me and
  2. crochet hooks are blunt and would hurt less to fall upon.
I thought that making something with bulky yarn would be the easiest, but that presented a problem: how do I carry a huge skein of yarn?  Eleanor let me borrow one of her smaller bags, so I attached the yarn to my running belt thing (what holds my key and phone) and off I went.

Usually I run in the evenings, when it is already dark and much cooler.  I wasn't prepared for how warm it would be when I went yesterday.  Between sweating like crazy and trying to crochet, it was a very slow run/walk.  I was surprised at how self-conscience I was.  Generally I am more of an observer of L.A. crazy, yesterday I felt like a participant.  At least now all the other walkers, runners, bikers, skaters will have a story to tell of a very slow runner trying not to faint all the while crocheting.  At least I didn't fall on my face.  I'm not sure if I will try it again.  It did make the running more interesting.

As I was trying to crochet while running, I was wondering what I would do with what I crocheted.  I came up with the idea of giving it to the next person who sponsors me.  Just to make it fair and fun, anyone who donates to Oasis India this week will get a fun crocheted or knitted something, most likely not all crocheted while running.  It's a win-win-lose-win: girls in India are freed from brothels (win), you get something fun that I crocheted (win), I have to keep running (lose), but I get to crochet/knit (win).

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Running Through Horse Dung

It's been awhile.  Christmas made running hard and blogging impossible.  But tonight I finished my first run of the year, after a little over a week off.  It was not as bad as I thought it would be.

Yesterday was the Rose Parade, which means the city is still coming back together.  I run around the Rose Bowl (on a nice track).  Tents are still up from float decorating.  Barricades are still hanging out on the side of the road.  And best of all: horse dung is still on the road/running track.  Or at least that's what I like to imagine it is.  It could have just been mud/grass clippings tracked out by trucks.  I didn't stop to smell it.

I did not want to go running.  Three of my neighbors are training for the same race.  Every time I see them out running (which is way too often), I feel guilty and defeated.  I'm reminded that I am not a runner.  I'm not doing this for fun, but to challenge myself in a new and different way and to hopefully raise some money for a cause I deeply believe in.

Today I found myself wondering if it were possible to crochet or knit while running, a quick google search proved it to be possible, at least by one British woman.  I think I'm going to have to try that.  It would definitely make running through horse dung more enjoyable.