Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Definition of a runner…revised

dawn-068I used to be a runner and though I was never very fast I did accomplish most of my running goals, met a lot of great people, had fun (mostly) and didn’t gain (much) weight.  Used to be are the operative words here.  Most of you know I was training for a half marathon last summer and early fall when I sustained a stress fracture to my foot.   I haven’t really run since last October.  It has begun to occur to me that it will soon be October again and if I don’t get moving I’ll have been a nonrunner for a whole year!  So I’ve been going out sporadically, running a mile from my house using the “run a minute, walk a minute” method in an attempt to avoid injury.

The problem is that my one mile “runs” are slower than I used to walk a mile.  This is disheartening.  So much energy expended for so little distance covered in such a slow time.  I know that running is all a mental game, and here I am beating myself up because I can’t immediately do the things I did five years ago when I was in marathon shape.  I know I need to get over what I used to be able to do and just enjoy what I can do now.  For instance here’s what I saw on my one mile run/walk:

  • A doe contentedly munching something along the side of the road. When I rounded the corner in my speedy, silent, efficient way…wait..oh yea, that was how I USED to run… ahem…when I slogged my way around the corner huffing and puffing, feet skidding on the gravel she glanced up and gracefully bounded away into the golden green woods.
  • The two yellow horses at the end of the road, my turn around point, looked up from their feeding to watch me as I sped by.  Bored they went back to their breakfast as soon as I turned around.
  • I stopped (HEY!  It was during one of my WALK breaks, OK?!) to pick a perfect wild black raspberry that had been growing along the side of the road.  After eating it I wondered about the numerous dogs that are walked along this road and whether or not one of them might have…well…I distracted myself by the beginning of the next minute of running.

My mile was, for the first time since I began to run again this summer, 12 seconds faster than my fastest walked mile of years gone by!  HEY!  So OK, I’m not ever going to be speedy, but I never was speedy, and today I was speedier than I was last week.  Accomplishment!

Then I took a 3 minute cool down walk and saw:

  • A little green heron sitting in the dead branches of a big cottonwood tree.  I heard the familiar screeching behind me and saw two more flying.  The one in the tree stretched out his neck to watch the two that were flying.  I wonder if the one in the tree was the youngster of the other two, waiting for dinner.  While I watched the flying ones never attempted to land in the tree, so who knows.
  • The family of Canadian geese, mom and dad and two little ones that are all grown up.  This is the family that so defiantly defended their nest in the neighbor’s driveway last spring.  Guess they made it!
  • A male bluebird swooping low over another neighbor’s yard in a search for tasty bugs, the sun glowing on his back.
  • A little rabbit hopping across the road in front of me.  We haven’t seen many rabbits this year, and we’ve heard a red fox in the backyard at night.  Correlation?
  • The usual jumble of jays, finches, woodpeckers, robins, cardinals all flying around and singing on this fine Sunday morning.

When I got home it was obvious Katie was mad at me by her sulky face when I walked in the door, and by the fact that my pajama bottoms were in the middle of the living room slightly the worse for being chewed on. I’m sure she meant to say “Welcome home Mom!  Good job on getting out there and getting that mile done!”

Of course that’s what she meant.



Didn't eat the cake

I worked till 9 tonight at one of the branch libraries. As soon as I arrived one of the other Library Assistants pointed out the chocolate cake in the office. Said I should have a slice. It looked good.  But I didn’t eat the chocolate cake.

I haven’t run since last October when I fractured my foot. I’ve done nothing, it seems, but eat and gain weight. It has to stop somewhere. Might as well be at the chocolate cake.

Tomorrow morning I’ll go for a walk. Yep. That’s what I’ll do. Even if it IS raining. And tonight I absolutely will not go check the freezer to see if that ice cream that’s calling my name is still there. Will not.   Though ice cream is way better than chocolate cake.

Not going there.




So…my suspicions were confirmed last night when my doctor’s office finally called with the bone scan results. Yep it’s a stress fracture, most likely happened during my long training runs. Double drats. I went today and got the boot. I’m unclear if I’m supposed to wear it during sleep or just when I’m walking. I guess I should get some better instructions. Anyway, it’s been less than 12 hours and I already hate it. I also don’t know how long I have to wear it, as in weeks, months, forever. I think I’ll call the doctor’s office tomorrow and get some more information.
Meanwhile, Katie barks at it, barks at the plastic bag I wear over it to keep my toes dry in the rain when she wants to go out, and is sad because we can’t go to the park and run around. I’m sad too. But really glad I didn’t have the news before my wonderful weekend!



I got up this morning without the alarm way before sunrise. I had my stuff all organized in the breakfast room, I ate breakfast, stretched, drank water, worried, and got on the road for the 8 a.m. race by 6:00. I was ready for the Brooksie! But you know how on your way to the airport you compulsively check that you have your tickets, your ID? OK, maybe you don’t, but I do. I’m about 20 minutes into my 30-40 minute drive to the race start when I reach over into the passenger seat to check. Hat? Got it. Gloves? Got ’em. Race number to be pinned on the front of my shirt? ? ? Race number? RACE NUMBER??? My fingers couldn’t confirm it was there, yet I know it was in the pile of stuff I dumped on the passenger seat when I left the house. Wasn’t it? I stopped at the next exit, pulled into a gas station and searched the car. No race number.

I had time, if I hurried to drive back, grab it off of the table where I was sure it was, and get back to the parking lot before they closed it and make the race. Maybe. So I headed back home, speeding all the way. Ran into the house, startling husband who was just up to get ready to go to work, and the race number was NOT ON THE TABLE! We searched the car again. We searched the house. The whole house, even places I hadn’t been this morning. No number. Eventually it got to be too late for me to even make the start of the race. So sadly, at 8:00 a.m., when the race began I was watching the sun tip my trees in golden light and feeling very sad.

In retrospect I know I could have run without the number. The paper timing chip attached to my shoe had my number on it. And if I hadn’t checked the seat while driving I would have arrived at the race, not found my number, and run anyway. But I really thought I had time to scoop it up and still get back. On the other hand, maybe this was a way to make me not run the race which might have done additional damage to my foot. Once I sat down I realized it still hurts. Tomorrow I will call my doctor and make an appointment to see if it has a stress fracture. Meanwhile I am very very disappointed. I have never not run a race after training so hard. It was a beautiful day for a race (despite the cool start temperatures) and a beautiful course. And it was the inaugural race, which is always cool to be involved with.

Double drats!

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OK, I'm awake

The Brooksie Way half marathon is this morning. It starts at 8, I’ve been awake since 4. Not that unusual for race morning, to be awake early like this. I have my morning routine figured out, what to eat, what to wear. Did I mention it’s 36 degrees out? And I’m wearing shorts and a long sleeved technical shirt, designed to wick away sweat? What sweat? Wish me luck…

More later.


Worried about my foot

The half marathon is this Sunday. Five days away. I think I may have broken something in my foot. Great. It started bothering me after my 12.5 mile training run, and now it aches all the time (except when I run?!). It especially hurts when I carry the dog, or put any extra weight on it, like standing on the toes of that foot. Why would I stand on one foot anyway? But you know what I mean. If I turn quickly and put more weight on that foot I know it’s hurting. At night just lying in bed it hurts. I need to get it looked at, but the thing is, if I do that I’m pretty sure I’m going to be told not to do the race Sunday. So I’m thinking about making an appointment for after the weekend. How stupid is that?


My last "long" training run before the half marathon–completed!

This morning I did the last long training run before the Brooksie half marathon (13.1 miles) which is a week from tomorrow. Today’s run was only 4 miles, so I elected to do it here at home rather than drive somewhere. I just had too much stuff to do around here to spend time (and gas) driving somewhere else to run. I could do a sort of flat (nothing around here is really flat) 4 miler that is two miles out and two miles back, or do my favorite, but very hilly four mile loop. Since the beginning of each of them heads out in the same direction I figured I’d let my feet decide which route when I got to the deciding corner. Turns out my feet wanted to do flat. So I did the run on a curving mostly paved course, but it had lots of traffic which is never very fun.

Mile one was mostly downhill. As I passed a local lake I could hear, but not see Canadian geese honking as they flew. The lake was shrouded in mist, with the morning sun trying to peek through. It was a pretty cool, literally, as it was only in the upper 50’s this morning. I did this mile in 4/1’s, running 4 minutes then walking a minute, then repeating.

Mile two was mostly uphill. It was on the part of the road that is paved, and more heavily traveled. I ran 3/1’s here, and spent a great deal of time on the gravel shoulder getting out of the way of traffic. On one curve I ended up getting even further from the road as a truck approaching not only wasn’t moving over, it was drifting toward the shoulder. As it got near me it’s right tire dropped down off the pavement onto the gravel and I scrambled for the hill. I saw the driver sort of grin at me as he went by, and I used a not politically correct term to describe him as I moved back onto the pavement after he was gone. As I was reaching the end of mile two, getting ready to turn around at the junction of another road I saw eight bicyclists coming toward me out of the fog. They whirred by and disappeared in the next bank of fog almost silently. As I turned around I realized there were four golfers on a green very near me. I hadn’t seen them as I was running. The fog made everything more silent, and things seemed to move almost in slow motion. I realized, however, that my white shirt and black shorts probably didn’t make me very visible in the fog, so I started mile three more vigilant. Maybe that grin on the truck driver’s face wasn’t really malicious, maybe it was shock and fear when he saw me. Might as well give him the benefit of the doubt.

Mile three was the reverse of mile 2, going downhill now, so I was back to 4/1’s. I still stayed mostly on the shoulder because I couldn’t see whether there were cars coming toward me. As I headed up the hill to the freeway overpass I saw three runners coming out of the fog toward me. They were running three abreast, talking and laughing, not paying attention. I waved, they waved back. I hope they had a safe run.

Mile four was totally uphill, so I did a 4/1, then a 3/1 and then a few minutes to complete the mile. I was almost home, about four houses away when a big dog leaped off of his porch and bounded toward me, growling and snarling. Fearful, I stopped running. Usually that gets them to stop, but not this one. He was circling me with his head down, still barking when I asked him rather loudly where the H&%* his people were. Turns out his person was about five feet away from me at the mailbox. She hadn’t noticed me, nor me her. She said SORRY about a hundred times, but GEEZE…she didn’t notice when her dog left the porch barking viciously? She couldn’t have called him off before I began to fear for my knees? Must have been something really interesting in the newspaper she was reading.

So anyway, the four miles are done. I’m worried about doing 13.1 next weekend. My right arch hurts. My left knee hurts. But it was a pretty good run, one of my best ones so far this comeback year. Guess it really does help to keep training. And to run in cool weather. But next time I’m running where there are no cars and no dogs. Fog is OK though.

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The long run

Today I did my last scheduled long run out at Kensington metropark prior to the Brooksie half marathon which will happen at the beginning of October. Though the training schedule said we were to do 14 miles, our trainers said that 10 would be plenty. Thank goodness! I had all sorts of plans about doing 12 or even 13.1, the actual distance of a half marathon. But I didn’t plan well enough and didn’t eat enough to go longer than 10. Getting 10 done was a major undertaking and by the time I got 9 miles in the rumbling of my stomach was louder than the plodding of my feet.

During the fifth mile I was trying to decide whether I should just turn around at the end of the 5th mile and run back to the car in order to get the 10 miles in, or whether I should head down Turtlehead Point, which would add 2 miles to the 8 mile loop around the lake. In the end I went out to Turtlehead, a peninsula that juts out into the lake. Out and back on that road gives you an additional 2 miles, but it’s very hilly. In order to get the total 2 additional miles you have to go out to the end of the point and then also take a quick jog up another hill and around a flagpole. The hills on Turtlehead point had already beaten the stuffing out of me and I almost skipped the additional little run around the pole. I’m glad I didn’t, because up at the top of that hill were the two sandhill cranes again! I got to within 5 feet, close enough to see the rust colored feathers in among their gray feathered backs. They are truly beautiful birds…and of course I didn’t have my camera! I swear, on Wednesday I am going back out there and WALK the entire 10 miles with my camera and see if I can find them again! Having gotten so close to them the last two times I’ve been there at the park, but not having a camera is very frustrating. Of course you know that if I go out there specifically looking for them they won’t be anywhere to be seen. But it’s worth a try. If I can walk by Wednesday that is. I’m already feeling the effects of the 10 mile run tonight. By Wednesday walking will be an adventure in itself.

So..since I don’t have any up close and personal pictures of the sandhill cranes at the park, here’s a couple pictures of Katie at a park this evening. We went out to work on our dog obedience (doggie school is tomorrow, have to get that homework done!). We also walked along a mowed path way back in the fields behind the path. We had fun. She’s so good when she wants to be. Here she is sitting patiently, waiting for me to call her:

And here she is after I called her…

…which is sort of equivalent to HER long run!

I was trying to get some photos of the sun shining on the high grasses this evening, but we were a few minutes too late. Another photo project to work on some other day. Meanwhile, Katie and I enjoyed our walk through the fields.

Till then, hope you are all enjoying the wonderful fall weather…

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Memories of a 12.5 mile run

So I’m still training for the Brooksie half marathon which is the first weekend in October. 13.1 miles. Yep. Still training. Ok, so I haven’t really run since the Crim 10 miler a couple of weeks ago. And this weekend we were scheduled to run our longest training run yet. 12.5 miles. Sure, since the Crim went so well (note comments about the Crim in a post dated August 23rd.) 12.5 should be no problem! (That was sarcasm.) So here, in no particular order are memories from my completed training run:

Going 2 miles out and 2 miles back to the car in order to get four miles out of the way merely caused me concern as to how in the world I was going to do another eight.

Putting band-aids on offending toes after the initial 4 miler, hoping to hobble through.

Watching a squirrel with some sort of nut as big as it’s head scamper across the path. He dug a hug hole and covered it up as I went by. Really, I wasn’t even THINKING about stealing it!

Seeing several swans on the other side of a bright blue lake.

Hearing a crow jeer at me as I started out on my 8 mile loop, having pushed my way through the first four miles already, and seriously considering that maybe I can’t do this.

Deciding that it was OK to do a minute of running on the 8 mile loop vs two minutes of running that I had attempted during the initial 4 miles. Whatever gets me around the lake.

Smiling when my one minute of running coincided with a nice downhill…and when my one minute of walking fit superbly into a annoying uphill.

Lots less smiling when my minute of running started at the base of a really big steep hill…and even less smiling that the stupid minute lasted almost all the way to the top!

Grateful to see the sun going under some clouds about mile 8.

Seeing a stump sticking up out of the water, and wondering if I had just seen it move out of the corner of my eye as I ran past. Turning my head I saw it was a great blue heron, with his neck folded up and his head tucked between his shoulder blades, standing in the water right next to the path. When he saw that I had him figured out, he unfolded his neck and moved very haughtily away, doing his best “I was SO not hiding from you!” imitation. Made me laugh.

Wondering if it was raining or was I just dripping sweat on myself about mile 10. It wasn’t raining.

Watching some geese out in the lake near an island. Standing knee deep in the water on one leg, they were sleeping with heads tucked under their wings. I was so very jealous because I so much wanted to be asleep myself there during mile 11.

Actively hating every single person on a bike that rode past me, as it looked like so much more fun than running. Except for the one guy straining to ride up a big hill that I was running down. Him I wasn’t so jealous of.

Smiling at the gentleman, older than me (really!) on roller blades who was zooming down a hill I was chugging up.

Waving at couples strolling along the beautiful lake, saying HI to other joggers as they approached, listening to myself breath and being glad I could.

And the best gift from this 12.5 mile run? Noooo…not finishing it…you were going to say that weren’t you! HA! The best gift was rounding a corner and seeing two sand hill cranes standing next to the path. I slowed down and walked (any excuse to stop running!) and eventually passed them. They weren’t much bothered by me. As I passed them one reached up with one foot and scratched his chin. They were the bike path width away from me. And where was my camera? Not on me, which was totally too bad! They were absolutely beautiful close up. The feathers on their chest glowed iridescently and the little red triangle on their head was beautiful. I’m sure they described me to their friends later as that rather large, loud thing in a sweaty shirt and shorts. So since I don’t have a picture of them from my run, here’s a photo of a pair of them that was taken by my brother at the beginning of August. We saw these on one of our trips down to Ann Arbor. Pretend it’s a closeup shot!


Taking it easy

Yesterday I ran a miserable, hot, humid, slow 10 mile race. Today, after a second night of not much sleep (pre-race jitters on Friday night, sheltie, thunderstorms and painful knees and toes Saturday night) I am pretty much wiped out. So today Katie and I are going to take a nap. Maybe we’ll go to the park and practice her homework. Maybe we’ll just sleep. Too early to tell at this point!