Monday, June 30, 2008

Random thoughts while riding the bike

I have been staring at the same poster on the wall every time I come here. The girl in the picture has this blank look on her face, she isn't sweating at all and her hair and make up are perfect. If I were to look in the mirror right now, I would see a girl with messy hair, a red sweaty face, and a determined look in her eyes. I want to see that in a poster.

My ankle injury
has had me confined to training on the exercise bike at the gym for the past couple of weeks. My ankle is feeling better, but I am not running on it until I see the sports medicine doctor on July 7th. He is also an orthopedic surgeon, so this was the earliest he could see me. I am anxiously awaiting this date.

In the meantime, pedal pedal pedal! While Brian goes off to the beautiful green park to train with our team, I go to the sweaty, crowded myself. I stare at one point on the wall and pedal my ass off in hopes of building strong legs that will carry me through the long runs to come. Motivation has been a struggle for me, but I am pushing through it.

I would like to take this time to share with you the random thoughts I have while riding the bike:

"Why do people bathe in cologne or perfume before exercising? I would much rather smell b.o. than feel like I am working out in the perfume department at Macy's."

"I am grateful that I can still exercise, even if it isn't running."

"If I just look straight ahead and don't make eye contact, this creepy, hairy guy sitting on the bike backwards next to me won't talk to me."

"Soon, I will laugh about all the training I did on this bike. I will look back on it with fondness and a sense of satisfaction that I kept training even when I couldn't run"

Back on the bike tonight. Brian will be joining me to give his joints a little break. I am actually looking forward to tonight's training :-)

Thanks to all of you for your comments, thoughts and support. It is keeping me going and making me stronger.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A bit of a break to stop and smell the wine

My Team In Training Fund Raising Page: Make a difference here

Brian and I took a little time off from training and went to the central coast last weekend to celebrate our 2-year anniversary. We did a little wine tasting, a little soaking in the natural hot springs and a lot of chillin' at the beach.

We stayed at this great little motel on a hilltop the first night. It was a little hillbilly, but a lot of fun! I was briefly reminded of that movie "Vacancy", but I didn't let that stop me from enjoying the beautiful view and great conversation with my husband. The second night, we went to one of our favorite spots in the town where we got married, Avila Beach. Sycamore Springs Resort has private hot tubs on the balcony of every room. We soaked in the natural hot springs that poured right into our hot tub. It felt great after all we have been putting our bodies through.

The days were filled with playing on the beach and wine tasting.

I sunbathed on the sandstone rocks as the water splashed up. Brian went exploring in the little beach caves nearby. He helped some little boys find crabs in the rocks (they found a pretty big one!) We did a little shopping too. I got what I like to call, "my beach bum dress" at a little shop on the beach. Brian's search for flip flops yielded no results. We bought a couple of bottles of wine and enjoyed the sunsets.

On the last night, we camped on a beach about 20 minutes from civilization. We barbecued a delicious meal and lit a fire in our little fire pit. We have a pretty funny story from that night that I can't share here, but ask Brian. He tells it the best ;-) The next morning, we woke to some very hungry yellow jackets swarming around the campsite. They actually stole our breakfast from us! We left the campsite hungry, but happy that we survived.

We took about a week off from training, and went back to it on Wednesday. Brian went to run and I went to the gym. It felt good to get back.

This weekend, Brian's parents came into town to celebrate our anniversary with us. It was such a treat to have them there. They took us to a Moroccan restaurant for dinner. It was fun! We ate with our hands and enjoyed unique food. There was a belly dancer for entertainment. She was able to make her hips vibrate!

On Saturday, Brian and I got up at 5:30 am to train. I went to do the bike and he went to meet the team. When I came back from the gym, Brian's parents and I went to the team's training location to greet Brian as he finished his run. This was a big day for the team because we changed our location and everyone was doing a 6-mile trail run.

What a great day to have Brian's parents there! They got to meet everyone and see Brian run in, victorious. I wore my jersey and clapped for everyone as they came in from the run. It was great to see everyone. I had been away for a couple of weeks.

Next Saturday, they are doing an 8-mile run. I hope I am not falling too far behind. Every time they up the mileage, I feel a little worried that I may not catch up. One thing is certain, I am determined to run this marathon!

Remember, there is only one more month until the donation deadline. Please make your donations before August 1st! Donate here

Monday, June 9, 2008

"If You Are In Pain, Stop Running..."

These were my trainer, Brett's, words to me on Wednesday evening as we did our third mid-week group run. My ankle was hurting so bad, I was limping as I ran. Brett suggested that I run for 1 minute, walk for 3.

"You can't be serious,"
I thought. I slowed to a fast walk. Brett and I discussed the pain I was feeling in my ankle as everyone passed us. He said there is a difference between soreness and pain. "If you are in pain, stop running," he said. "It is still very early in the training process and you could injure yourself if you push it".

I turned and looked behind us.
"There's nobody behind us Brett," I said. I definitely wasn't the fastest one on the team, but LAST?" I felt like my mind was one entity and my body, another. I wanted to run and catch up to Brian so desperately. Every time I started to run, however, my ankle seemed to be defying my brain's command. Brett was very supportive, but firm. I didn't like it, but deep down I knew he was right.

My minute was up and I slowed to a walk again.
I thought 3 minutes was long when I ran it. It is even longer when I was forced to walk it. I walked for quite a while by myself. Brett had to check on the other team-mates. I'd like to say it was peaceful and enjoyable, but I was just concentrating on keeping the tears at bay. "I can't cry two Wednesdays in a row," I thought.

On the last stretch of the run, our other trainer, Cole found me bringing up the rear. He was great at keeping my spirits up. He shared some similar "war stories" with me about his trials during training in the past.

As we turned the corner, I saw Brian running toward me.
After he finished his run, he came back to be with me as I finished mine. It was so great to see his face. We walked together and talked about getting different shoes to help with the pain, and seeing a doctor. I was willing to try anything.

We went to see Brian's family over the weekend. It was a lot of fun. He went on a Saturday morning run while I stayed in and worked out on the stationary bike. It felt good to get my heart rate up! I don't want to lose the endurance that I've built up. On Sunday, I was limping again.

I began a daily regimen of ice and stretching. My ankle has been a little swollen and walking has become painful. I made an appointment to see a doctor for the following Tuesday (tomorrow). For the first time ever, I am excited to go to the doctor. As soon as I know what's wrong, I can start taking steps to fix it. All I want to do is run!!!

I suppose running a marathon is a good lesson in patience.

Overcoming Obstacles

Week 2 of training
brought obstacles and challenges which were anticipated, but not this early on.

Wednesday evening, we had our group run. I was still pretty sore from Saturday, but feeling optimistic. As we pulled up to the park, I realized I forgot my running watch. This is an essential part of my training because I am doing the run / walk method (run for 3 min, walk for 1 min). Brian loaned me his watch because he is used to running, so he runs for 8 min, walks for 1 min. He has less stops. We got there and everyone was ready to go (we were a little late because we were coming from work). Here is a recap of the events that followed:

Brian: (To the group) "Does anyone here run for 8 minutes, walk for 1? I need to pace with someone who has a watch"
Totally Hot Blond with amazing body: "I do"
Our Trainer, Cole: (To Brian) "What about your girlfriend?"
Me: (Two inches tall) "I'm his wife."

My husband, my bruised ego and I started running...
Brian normally runs with me for the first 3 minutes and then takes off when I do my first walk break. One minute into the run, my right calf cramps up. My right leg is not as strong as my left since my knee surgeries. In all the commotion, we forgot to stretch before running - BIG MISTAKE. I started limping, my outer self matching my inner wounded self. This is where my first tears were shed during training. I was so angry that I couldn't go faster, run harder, do better. I told Brian to go ahead without me, but he wouldn't leave my side. He stayed with me for the entire three miles. At the end of the run, my right ankle was pretty sore. I may not be the fastest yet, but I have the best husband.

On Saturday
We had our 7 AM group run. Today, Brett (our trainer) was going to time our mile and see how fast we run. We ran a mile to warm up and then ran our "timed mile". My ankle was still pretty sore from Wednesday. I ran through the pain and came in at 9 minutes 58 seconds for my timed mile. Brian smoked almost everyone with a time of 7:13.

We experienced our first group of Team In Training supporters on our run. There was the most adorable family next to our trail, about mid-way down, with a table full of snacks and little dixie cups filled with Gatorade. There was a young toddler clapping her hands and cheering with her parents as we ran by. She was precious! It definitely gave me fuel to keep going.

At the end of the day,
I was hobbling but happy. We did some stretching and went to breakfast. I am enjoying the unity of the team. It will surely come in handy when we get further down the road.

Brian and I are making nap time an essential part of our Saturday afternoons.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Our first week of training officially started on May 24th at 7 AM.

That's right, Brian and I dragged ourselves out of bed at 6 AM on a Saturday to go run in the rain!

Earlier that week, I began training on my own at the local park (North Hollywood park). One lap around the park is equal to one mile. I ran two laps each time. Here is a breakdown of the days:

Day one - Sunday, May 18th: Brian and I got up at 9 to run at the park. By the time we got there, it was SO HOT outside. We were sweating like crazy! I ran two laps using Brett's (our trainer) "run-walk" method. I was supposed to run for 3 minutes, walk for one, run for 3 minutes, walk for one. What I actually ended up doing was: run for 3 min, walk for 1, run for 3 min, walk for 2, run for 2 min, walk for 2, HUFF HUFF PUFF. I was cooked! I spent the rest of the day nursing a headache. Good lesson for hydration before running.

Day two - Wednesday, May 21st: I got up and ran in the morning before work. I had a MUCH better time of it. It was cooler outside because it was earlier. I was able to stick to the 3 min, 1 min method. I was winded, but feeling pretty good!

Day three - Thursday, May 22nd: This is our cross-training day. I went to the gym and rode the exercise bike. It was good. I am learning that I would much rather exercise outside, though. I felt pretty strong!

Day four - Saturday, May 24th: 6 AM on a Saturday?!? That's right. Brian and I got our asses out of bed and went to Balboa park in the rain for our first group training day. Brett taught us the proper way to run (on the toes rather than the heel). By the time we started to run, it stopped raining. We ran just over two miles. I felt great! I could tell my calves were taking a beating from this new running style. Running on your toes keeps your joints from hurting too much. This is the day I began walking like an old lady - hobble hobble.

(Above) Brian and I icing our legs after our first training day.

Stay tuned for week 2!