Tag Archives: running

Ding Dong Merrily!

Ding Dong Merrily!


Christmas is over.  But it was packed, and I deliberately stepped away from the keyboard for the week (although my mother might disagree with that!)  There are just times I want to be experiencing things and not documenting them.  That’s also why I’m terrible at taking pictures.  I don’t want to see the world through a tiny square of glass.  But now I’m home and back at a keyboard, so here’s the holiday rundown!

This was our year to go down to Virginia for the holiday.  We’ve started alternating between going there and going up to the cabin.  It’s getting harder for Mom to make the trip, but we don’t want to miss out on seeing her, so this seemed to be a good compromise.  Plus then we can alternate which of my siblings we spend it with as well!  And I was very happy that I was able to talk Nikki into coming down with us this year.  She doesn’t always like being pried out of her cozy nest, but we all love her company and in the end she usually has a good time, so I was really glad when she agreed to come.  She’s also more likely to stay awake while riding shotgun, unlike my kids! (Or me…)

Launch time was 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.  I didn’t want to waste a whole day on travelling and being tired from travelling, so I left work a little early and by the time Hero got home from school, we had the car all loaded and were ready to go.  The timing worked well, as we were out of the range of any major city centers by the time rush hour hit.  It’s about a 7 hour drive from my house to Blacksburg, but it’s all highway driving, so in general it’s easy.  This trip a little less so, as it was foggy from Harrisburg all the way down, truly biblically at some points.  But our halfway point provided us not only with gas but also with Five Guys for dinner, so it was all good.  We pulled in at Mom’s just before 11, unloaded and crashed.

Wednesday was grocery shopping and some errands.  First, though, Hero and I went out together for a training run.  We were running a 5k on Thursday and wanted to get a feel for the terrain.  Well, the terrain was BRUTAL.  I thought we were hilly around here, but that was nothing compared to the trail near Mom’s place.  Hero and I almost came to blows at one point.  It didn’t help that she’d left her good running shoes at home, and the sneakers she had were terrible for running.  Finally, both of us frustrated, I told her to start walking back but I was going to go out for another fifteen minutes.  Which wasn’t easy.  I walked a lot more of it than I like to admit, and it didn’t give me confidence as to how I’d do the next day.  By the time I caught up with Hero, we’d both had a chance to calm down and were able to talk things through.  We came to the understanding that what I think of as coaching comes off to her as nagging, and that for both our sakes, we’d be better off running the race at our own pace the next day and there was no lack of love in not running together together.  We got back and showered (did I mention the humidity?  Because OMG the humidity!) and then went erranding.  First stop ended up being Goodwill to try and find her a better pair of shoes.  We did score a decent pair of Skechers for $3, and I found a fabulous bundt pan for $2!  What do you need a bundt pan for, you might ask!  Well, I’d just found this recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes using my favorite of their doughs.  Finding that pan just seemed to be demanding that I make this, so we added the ingredients to the shopping list.  Then we went looking for the yarn and fabric store I’d found out about through the Ravellenic Games, only to find they’d closed their Blacksburg store and were reopening in the new year down the road in Christiansburg.  So no yarn for me.  Phooey.

Grocery shopping was a hoot.  It was me, Mom, Nikki and Hero and OMG, we talked ourselves into so much stuff!  Good wine and cheese, egg nog and heavy cream and an ENORMOUS beef roast that is our holiday tradition.  We filled three grocery totes and a couple of bags.  But we would be eating well!  Once we got home, we unloaded everything and I started on the cake/bread/thing.  The dough had to sit for several hours and the cranberries for at least 8.  By then it was naps and dinner and watching way too many episode of Alaskan homesteader shows, my mom’s current go-to TV viewing.  But we were all in bed pretty early (a pattern for the week.  I think Mom started getting offended by how early we all go to bed.  We can’t all stay up until midnight every night like she does!)

Christmas eve was a whirlwind!  We had to be up early for brunch at my sister’s.  She and her husband have a great apartment on the campus at Tech where they’re faculty advisors, so they invited all their friends and us for brunch.  There was a bit of excitement with the catering, but it worked out in the end, and their friends were all really nice, and thankfully for this introvert they were all extroverts, so I could stand in a corner talking to Nikki and someone would come over and join us instead of me having to awkwardly work my way into a conversation.  We hung out there until about 11:30 and helped clean up before getting changed and heading over for the race.

So this race.  I’d found out about it online.  It’s the Frosty 5k that the local running store sponsors every year.  Rachel is a triathlete, but she’d never run this, so I thought it might be fun to run together, even though I knew she would smoke me.  Hero wanted to run, too, since she’s been doing the 5k training almost as long as I have.  She’s had respiratory problems, though, that have kept her from finishing.  We finally got her diagnosed two weeks ago with exercise induced asthma and got her an inhaler, although she hasn’t really had a chance to train with the improved breathing.  No matter.  This was just for fun, right?  Yeah, I’m not competitive at all.

Christmas eve… was not frosty. It was in the 60s, and it had been raining the whole afternoon and night before, so the sign in area/finish line was a muddy swamp. But the sky had cleared by the time we got there and got checked in, and there were pugs in elf costumes, so all was well, right?

We all started out together, but I didn’t see my sister once during the race. Hero and I hung together about a quarter mile (and up one brutal hill) before I headed out at my own pace. It wasn’t too bad. A couple of steep spots, but it seemed to be mostly downhill. I kept a good pace, and really only walked in spots where everyone else was walking, too, so I didn’t feel like so much of a slacker. Hit the water stop at the mile 2 marker and felt pretty good.

That’s when I ran into THE HILL.

Rachel had warned us about the hills, of course.  But I was thinking in Pennsylvania terms.  This… Yeah, calling it a hill was a vast understatement. It was easily a 45 degree vertical climb and it went on for three quarters of a mile! But of course starting into it, you can’t see that. I figured I’d run halfway up and then walk. Got to what I thought was halfway and realized that I wasn’t even close to the top. Which was probably why everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was walking. No one was even trying to run that beast! Bummed about my time, I hiked up to the top along with everyone else. Thankfully once we got up there, we could just make out the hi-vis jackets of the staff at the finish line through the trees, so I started running again.

Morgan was waiting as the path came out of the trees, and the high five he gave me was just the adrenaline boost I needed to get me through to the end. That last bit splashing through the mud wasn’t fun, but I was able to pour it on in time to see the clock as I crossed the line read 33:20. !!!! That was two and a half MINUTES faster than my first 5k back in June! Despite the hills! But no time for that! I raced back to the point where Morgan had met me to wait for Hero and just made it! She was struggling about as much as I had been, but using my new-found knowledge of the high five, I gave her a power boost, and Xander had another one for her closer to the finish line. She finished in 36:40, just under two minutes slower than my first race. Considering she hasn’t finished her 5k training, and did all that training with a respiratory deficit, she did amazingly!


As we were walking back to the car, she made a comment about “next time”. I think I’ve got her!

We went home and washed the mud off and just kind of putzed around for the afternoon.  I made dinner, finished the cake, screwed up some knitting and by 9:30 was ready for bed.  But we weren’t done.  Everyone filled their assigned stockings with much sneaking and angst about there not being enough room in the sock.  Mom needed whipped cream but was too tired to use the hand mixer and didn’t want to be bothered getting out her Kitchenaid.  Well, what’s the point of having a Kitchenaid if not for making whipped cream?  So I got it out and 5 minutes later we had whipped cream you could walk on.  Yum!  I was halfway into bed when I realized we hadn’t put the presents under the tree.  Back out I went with the bags of goodies.  Finally, FINALLY at about a quarter past 11 I was able to crawl into bed and pass out.

I was one of the first ones awake Christmas morning.

The problem with teenagers is they stop being excited to wake up early on Christmas.  It was almost 9:30 before we roused everyone and started on stockings.  Between stockings and tree presents, everyone had a good haul, just the right balance of clothes and stuff.  I got a couple of homesteading/DIY books, a Fitbit (ooooh, stats!), some running gear, a GC to Knitpicks and a couple more for clothes.  Yay!  Matt, Rachel and Uly joined us for dinner.


They brought fake snowballs, which were awesome but led to a couple of falls and arguments.  Of course it was raining again, so we couldn’t kick the kids outside to burn it off.  One more reason snow is better than rain!  And the bread/cake/thing came out good!  Drier than I would have liked, so next time I might not bake it quite as long, but the flavor was very nice.


Saturday was recovery day.  We got all the clean-up we could done (crowding 6 people into a two bedroom apartment leads to some inescapable disorder), and then Mom sent me and Nikki off to cash in my gift cards.  I got two pairs of slacks (size 8!), and silky blouse and this blazer that I swear is made out of sweatshirt material and flannel and may be my most favorite piece of clothing ever!  And everything was 50% off, so when I went over my GC amount, I didn’t feel bad about paying the extra.  The running shop was just across the parking lot, so we stopped in to get our final results from the race as well.  Then home for lunch and we went back out to Old Navy to return one of Hero’s gifts (white top, too small and too transparent) and spend some of our gift cards.  It was pretty zooish, with all the returns and the huge after-Christmas sale, but we all scored some goodies.  Hero came out best, as she found the last of these sleeveless running hoodies that they only had the display version of.  But it was in her size and looks phenomenal on her!  Plus she’s all about the hoods and can wear this over just about anything, so it’s the perfect article of clothing for her.  Once we got home, we had naps and dinner and started packing up for the trip home.

Sunday was back to reality.  Mom took us out for breakfast to her local place that serves beignets, which I had never had.  They were delicious!  Once we got home, it was a race to load the car and make sure we didn’t forget anything (we almost forgot our Christmas angel!)  But we did pretty well and were on the road by 10.  Slightly longer trip this time, as we had to take Nikki home on the way.  Of course it was beautiful and warm all the way up through VA and to the PA line, but almost as soon as we crossed into PA, the fog hit, and then the rain.  *sigh*  We dropped her off in Philly around 4 and were home by 5:30.  The worst traffic we saw the whole way home was around Philly, especially passing King of Prussia (everyone leaving the mall) and coming out of Philly to head north.  Once we got home, we actually did get the car all unloaded in record time, and then I ordered Chinese food, because there was no way I was cooking after all that.

And I was in bed by 7.  Bliss!

Run, You Fools!

Run, You Fools!

I am back on the road.

I got out of my boot the first week in October and into an ankle brace.  Hallelujah!  I was cleared right away to drive, walk, bike, basically everything except running.  The doctor said I wouldn’t be running until after my follow-up in mid November. *sigh*  But I did get a prescription for physical therapy, so at least I’d have something to focus on.

There was no way I was driving into the city 2-3 days a week for PT.  I knew there was a PT practice at the Y, but I’d never been impressed with them when I worked at the Y and I knew their hours were weird.  I pass another place, the Physical Wellness and Therapy Center, on my way to and from work, and it had good reviews, so I decided to try them.

Best. Decision. Ever.

I had no idea what to expect as I’d never been to PT before.  When I went in, a little nervous as I am in any new situation, right away I was made to feel welcome.  Every staff member introduced themselves by name and remembered mine.  Amazing what a difference that made in making me feel like a person and not a patient.  Mike was my primary therapist, and he was great.  Never talked down to me or dumbed things down.  And he didn’t yell at me for the exercises I was already doing, even the wrong ones.  He put me through some basics and set me up with my exercises at home, including some of the ones I was already doing.  So I wasn’t entirely off base!  The other nice thing they did was schedule me for a week’s worth of appointments at a time.  I decided to do twice a week, to line up with Mike’s schedule and to save me some money, since it was going to cost me $20 a visit!

So Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings, I went dutifully, got worked and massaged, iced and electrically stimulated (that part was fun!)  I was diligent at home with my exercises and stared walking 3 times a week. Mike was impressed with my progress, and two weeks ago, I got permission to start back running SLOWLY.

The next night I started reworking my Couch to 5k training.  The only time I still have to wear my ankle brace is when I run, so I got strapped up and out I went.

God, it felt good!

I’ve lost a lot.  I started with week 2 instead of going all the way back to the beginning, and that was kind of easy.  I pushed myself on the freeform runs, half and half, but otherwise, week 2 was very doable.  Week 3 was…harder.  3 freeform runs, one for 5 minutes at the beginning and 2 8 minute back to back runs at the end.  I was fine with the running drills, but the freeforms were brutal.  The app breaks them down into 2 minute chunks, so I run until I can’t anymore and then walk until the next check-in. It’s not pretty, but I’m getting through it.

I was discharged from physical therapy on Saturday.  Mike didn’t even have me go through my whole workout, just got me warmed up, massaged, taught me a new balance exercise to build up the sensation in my feet, answered a bunch of my questions and sent me on my way.  Yay!  And now that I’m almost halfway through the C25k, I think it’s time to go back to the running club.  Double yay!  For someone who’s totally not a joiner, I have really missed running with that group.  I don’t want to overdo things, so I’ll only go on Saturday mornings and stick to a slow pace, starting with 30/60 second drills.  That way I’ll still be able to do the C25K drills on my regular schedule without risking overtraining.  Then in January, once I’m solidly back to running, I can start back to the Thursday night group runs.  And start thinking about what I want to train for next year.  10k?  Or *gasp* half marathon?  Yeah, I know.  I’ve lost my mind.  I guess I’m okay with that.

While I’m out running, my brain wanders.  I keep hoping it will wander somewhere useful like a new book idea, but at the moment it seems to have decided that I should lead a C25K training for the club in the spring.  I’d use the Zombies Run schedule that I’m doing for my training (only without all the interesting zombie parts), modified to break up week 8 into two weeks, as both Hero and I found that last week a little too intense.  Other than that, I like the development pace of the ZR training, and then people could use the app for days they have to miss.  I don’t know what kind of liability issues leading a training like that might involve, so I’ll talk to the coordinator and see what he thinks.

In the meantime, I’m shopping for new running shoes.  This shouldn’t be so damn hard.  I’ve been running in a pair of Brooks Adrenalines that I got put into by the local running store 3 years ago when I first tried C25K.  So no brainer, I got the same shoes this time.  Except running shoes change models faster than college text book editions, so the new shoes don’t feel AT ALL like the older ones.  The soles are harder with almost no give.  And they were tight.  Thankfully I ordered from Zappo’s, so they’re easy to send back, which I have done in exchange for a wider size.  Except I made one critical error in judgement.  I ordered a new pair (Asics) before I returned the first pair.  Theoretically, there was a logic to that, in that I could then compare them to each other.  In reality, it’s an excuse to have TWO pairs of running shoes.  Except I don’t like the Asics, either.  For exactly the same reasons.  So they’re going back, too, and I’ll get a wider size of those as well.  Once I finally settle on a pair (or two), I’m taking them all to the running store to see if I still need the arch inserts they gave me back then.  With the weight loss and change in activity, I’m not sure I do, or at least not as strong as I’ve been wearing.  In fact, I think the ones I have may have contributed to my broken ankle, overcompensating so far it made my foot roll.  I may need something, as it feels like my arch isn’t making contact when I run without them, but I don’t think I need the full orthotic.

But whatever I end up with, my primary requirement has been met.

Asics Brooks








My shoes have to be colorful enough that I’m happy putting them on.  Morgan thinks they’re gaudy.  I think he has no soul.




Injury is isolating.  I’ve been feeling pretty lonely lately.

It’s been 4 weeks since I broke my ankle.  4 weeks of being dependent, of being confined, of being uncomfortable, and, honestly, of feeling sorry for myself.  I think I’ve actually felt worse with this than I did through most of my cancer therapy.  Which really is pathetic.  I’ve been very fortunate.  People have been very kind and generous with their time.  Eileen and Jess from work have been giving me rides every day so I haven’t had to work from home.  Eric took me to run errands last weekend, and Nikki came up this past weekend to drive me around as well.  Which I appreciate more than they’ll know.

But it’s hard to be dependent.  I can’t do everything I want to when I want to.  There’s stuff that is fine to wait until after I’m driving again, like taking Morgan clothes shopping, but I hate having to (gods, that boy needs new pants!)  I’m trying to buy a new bike, but I have to see if the seller will deliver it since I can’t go get it.  It’s just INCONVENIENT, and that’s almost worse, because you get aggravated even though you know it’s not that important.

The worst is at night.  Sleeping with the boot on is a pain, as there’s really only one position you can sleep in, on your back, preferably with the foot elevated.  If it’s not elevated, my knee tends to lock and hurt.  But I’m a stomach/side sleeper, so I’m in and out all night.  Last night was cold enough to be under the covers, but I couldn’t because of the boot.  I woke up at 4 and couldn’t get comfortable, so that was it for me.  Which is probably why this post is so whiny.  I’m tired, I’m uncomfortable, and I’m frustrated.

One more week.

Getting the Boot

Getting the Boot

I should have realized that doing that epic running post was just asking for trouble.

As those of you who follow me on Twitter or know me in real life know, my running took a turn for the dramatic on Sunday.


As I said in my running post, I’ve started doing 6-7 mile runs on Sunday to build my endurance.  The first one had not gone great, mostly because of the route I took.  Not sure how it ended up being all uphill, but it honestly was.  So I mapped out a different route, one which went down to the high school, past almost all of Hero’s friends houses so I could properly embarrass her, then back through almost-country and into town.  I knew this route from driving it a number of times and having run part of it with the running club.  It was hilly, but they were up AND down, so I thought it would work.

The first thing I did was swap the arches out of my old running shoes into my new ones.  I liked the new ones, but they just didn’t have enough arch support for my feet, and with my overpronation issues, I figured I needed them for that as well.  Put them on and they felt good, so yay!  Fashionable runner!

I got all my apps set up and running, then started walking my warm-up.  It was about 75 degrees and 70% humidity, so not bad at all.  Started running at my usual spot.  As always, it took a while to get in the groove of the run, but the Zombies, Run! episode was really engaging (it was the last episode of season 1, so big doings!) and the route worked well.  I didn’t like running at the high school just because there was no shade, but I was there less than 5 minutes, so it’s certainly doable.  Everything felt good.  The country stretch was pretty, running past all the tall corn in the quiet of a Sunday morning.  I like Sunday mornings.  No one’s in a hurry to get anywhere.

My app told me I had done 5 miles in about 56 minutes.  It usually gives me credit for a faster run than I’m doing, but still, that told me in general my pace was pretty good.  I felt strong.  Confident.  Just had a mile and a half to go, and then I could get on with the day.  Take the kids back to school shopping.  Clean the house.  Maybe do some of the work on the shed I need to.

The next thing I know, I’m face down in the middle of the street.

I didn’t trip.  I keep saying I stepped off a curb, but it wasn’t really even much of a curb.  It was one of those ADA ramps they put on sidewalk corners.  Zero entry.  I’ve had to practically vault much higher curbs on other runs. And yet, when I stepped from the concrete onto the asphalt, my right foot rolled right as my body weight shifted left, and down I went.

I’ve had falls like this a lot.  Ever since I got reactive arthritis as a teenager, my knees and ankles have always been a bit weak.  Every once in a while one of them will just go, “Nope!” and down I go.  But I’ve never had it happen at speed before, and with all my weight coming down on the foot that was turning.  I heard that sucker pop and knew I was in trouble.

I picked up my glasses and dragged myself back to the curb to evaluate.  A runner and a car stopped to see if I needed help, but I waved them off, as I didn’t know how bad it was.  Stubborn me figured I could just carefully walk home.  It wasn’t that far, after all.  My first mistake was taking my shoe off.

My second mistake was walking half a mile with no shoe on.

By the time I got almost to Main Street, I was seeing black swarms in front of my eyes, which is usually a sign that I’m about to pass out.  So I found a stoop and sat.  I realized I was only about a block from one of the earlier mentioned Hero’s friends homes, so I called Hero to see if they were home that weekend.  They weren’t.  None of her friends whose parents I knew were in town.  The people I knew from the running club were all out of town, too, and I didn’t have anyone’s number anyway.  So I asked Hero if she would ride her bike down so she could at least walk back with me. (It only just now occurred to me I could have sat on her bike and one footed it home.  Oh well.)  Then, left with no choice, I called Eric to see if he could take me to the urgent care center.  Thankfully he could, and asked if I wanted him to pick me up where I was now.  I told him Hero was on the way, but if he wanted to come the route we’d be going home just in case, he could.  After I got of the phone with him, I thought, well, I don’t want them to miss me, so I’ll just hobble to the corner.

I made it to the next house.  Surrendering all pride at that point, I called him to come get me.

Hero showed up, and she blessedly brought a water bottle with her.  I tend not to carry one on my runs as I’m well hydrated going into them and am not usually out long enough to need them (plus I hate carrying anything).  So that was a blessing and secured her position as my favorite daughter.  (hush.)  Eric got there about 10 minutes later, we went back to the house to get my checkbook and wallet, and off we went to urgent care.

On later reflection, I wish I had gone to the ER instead, but at this point I figured it was just a sprain and no big deal.  But I’d never had a sprain before and didn’t know what to expect.  And there usually isn’t a long wait at the urgent care center, so there I was.  They got me checked in and back in about 5 minutes, and within 10 I was on the x-ray table.  By then my ankle was huge.


The staff were all very kind, but the doctor who finally saw me hardly talked to me at all.  He didn’t even give me any instructions until I asked pointed questions.  But the nurse who brought me my aircast was very nice and helpful.  Take it easy, elevate it, ice it, yadda yadda.  By 11:30, I was home.

Well, I still had that list of things to do, so.  After lunch I took a nap, and then I took Xander and Hero to 2nd Avenue to do clothes shopping.  It had to get done, and I could do it all leaning on a shopping cart, so I did.  I gave them a budget of $50 each and a couple of things they HAD to get (picture day outfit especially, since their picture day is the first Thursday of school) and set them loose.  Well, set Hero loose.  I went with Xander to help him pick some things out.  The score of the day was all his, though.  A beautiful black long sleeve dress shirt that fit him gorgeously.  He got compliments from 5 different people waiting in line at the dressing rooms!  He got all his back to school clothes (although he could use another pair of dress slacks) and even a pair of shoes for under his budget.  Hero didn’t do as well, but she got a couple of nice pieces.  She doesn’t need as many clothes, as her drawers are overflowing.  Once we get those purged, we’ll have a better sense of what she still needs.

I got a cane.  It was only $2.50.

Then we went to the dollar store for the bare minimum in school supplies.  There was no point in buying a lot until I know what they really need.  So they got paper and pens or mechanical pencils, depending on their preferences, pencil bags, a couple of other knick nacks.

I got a couple of ace bandages.  The aircasts are proven in studies to be better than compression bandages, but both together are even better, so I was going to use both.  Knowledge, and how to get it.  One of the perks of my day job.  Then we went home, where I had Hero help me make dinner.  I sat and chopped, she handled the stove part and made the muffins.  Then I took my pain meds and crashed.  Thank you, hydrocodone!

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and didn’t sleep well with the cast and the pain, so I called out from work on Monday.  Slept a lot, iced and elevated it, and made a comfrey poultice that I wore for a couple of hours.  I’ve seen that stuff work miracles, so I figured a boost couldn’t hurt as long as I did the mainstream therapies along side.  All was going well until that evening when I got a call from the urgent care center.

They’d found at least two breaks in my foot.  I needed to come in and get splinted, and then I’d need to see an orthopedist.

Well, shit.

I automatically went to my go to source for all my medical needs, and lo and behold, Penn Medicine ortho does same day appointments.  Even though it was Sunday evening, I filled out the request form figuring I’d get a call first thing in the morning, and politely declined the urgent care center’s offer to splint it for me.  It didn’t make sense to pay to have them do something that would just get undone and presumably done better the next day.


Tuesday I heard from Penn via email.  My phone number hadn’t come through on my request, so could I call in?  I did.  And the rage started.  The receptionist I was talking to said she could get me an appointment on Friday.  For a broken foot.  Seriously?  She knew nothing about the same day service, and kept giving me the standard line of she couldn’t override the doctors’ schedules.  I understand scheduling, honey, I’ve done it myself.  But I also know for emergencies, you can find time to squeeze me in.  “I can get you seen in Cherry Hill today.”  Seriously?  “The only other place I have any openings today is in Exton.”  Fine, send me to fucking Exton.  Yeah, it’s just as far and inconvenient, but at least there isn’t a bridge.  “You’ll need to bring your x-rays.”  I lost it at that point.  You’re one of the most advanced care centers in the region, if not the country, with your own very impressive imaging centers, I can’t freakin’ DRIVE, and you need me to bring x-rays from a Podunk care center?  Honestly??  She got an earful, poor thing.  I know she was just doing her job, but I was too hurting and frustrated to care at that point.  She went away for a few minutes, and when she came back, lo and behold, she had an appointment for me downtown that afternoon.  I’d still have to get my x-rays, though.  Fine, I’d manage.

I’d already been in touch with Deb about giving me a ride.  She had another commitment at noon, but she could at least take me to get my x-rays and get me down there.  I figured even if I had to camp out in the waiting area for a couple of hours, I could read or knit or take a nap, so long as I was there, and I could get myself home.  The bus stopped right outside the office that would take me to the station, and presumably I’d be in some sort of a cast by then.  Deb’s driving karma held out, though, and it took an hour and a half to get downtown.  Midday on a Tuesday.  What the hell, people?  I felt guilty about keeping her so late, but she felt bad about not being able to stay, so the guilt balanced out.  And I only had to wait about 45 minutes.


The center was very nice.  The building is right across from where I’d worked for the National Board of Medical Examiners, and hadn’t even existed until a year ago.  That area is building up so fast, it’s astonishing.  For me the nice thing about going to Penn is that even though I was new to the practice, I didn’t have to fill out a ton of paperwork because I’m already in their system.  I still had to wait until my appointment time, but that was fine.  They got me back about 1:30, and it went pretty quickly from there.  The resident was able to show me the break.  It’s pretty straight across the bottom of my fibula.  What urgent care thought was two breaks actually seems to be two ends of the same break.  The doctor said that it was actually in a good spot, that that low the joint isn’t as unstable and doesn’t open up.  Almost all of these kinds of breaks heal just fine.  I did mess up probably all three ligaments attached to it, but we’ll worry about those after the break heals.  I got prescribed a CAM boot and told to come back in 4 weeks for more x-rays and to discuss rehab.  The nice thing is this doctor is a sports medicine doc, so he’ll know how to get me back running.  Oh, but no driving for the next 4 weeks.

That’s the part that’s going to suck.  Never mind that we can’t do the day trip to Assateague now.  More important is no grocery shopping and I won’t be able to drive Xander to school for his first couple of weeks of high school.  When I told him he would have to ride the bus, he said, “Can’t I just ride my bike?”  So he’s going to do that.  I’m sending him and Hero to test ride it this weekend and to find the bike racks.  I’d like to get him a rack for the back of his bike so it’s easier for him to carry his backpack, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford that before school starts.  Thank ghod we got their back to school basics done!


So this is Fred, my live-in companion for the next month.  We’re getting along better than I’d expected, certainly better than I got on with the boot for plantar fasciitis a couple years ago.  I’m actually relatively comfortable sleeping in it, although that may be the pain meds.  I have an oddball pair (trio?) of handknit socks I’m wearing under it in rotation to keep the smell down, and I’m figuring out what shoes to wear on the left foot to balance out the height of the boot.  No more flip flops for me!  Several of my co-workers have been incredibly generous about driving me to work with them, so I’m back in the office on schedule, which makes me feel a little more human (and the air conditioning doesn’t hurt!)  I’m easing into the new normal.

I’m just glad I didn’t pay for any of those races already…

Running Around

Running Around

I wanted to do a run report, as I know it’s been a while, but I couldn’t remember the last time I’d posted on it.  So I went back to the blog and checked.  Holy crow, it was back in JUNE.  I didn’t even tell you about my race!  Lots of developments since then.

But first, the race!


It was a gorgeous evening.  First time in weeks that it wasn’t disgustingly humid.  It was still 83 degrees, but without the humidity, it was pretty comfortable.  I dragged all the kids along (support your family, dammit!), which they were okay with, especially once they saw all the freebies!  We went from having almost no water bottles to having almost too many.  Although with teenagers, there’s not really such a thing as too many.  There were a LOT of people there.  1,500 registered racers.


They started us in waves, so by the time the slow part of the race got over the start line, the clock had already been running almost three minutes.  Which probably made me run a little too fast at the start, but I got it under control before the first mile.  Learned I suck at drinking and running, so I’ll just walk through water stops in the future.  But I was pleased!  I ran the whole thing, no walks, although I did have to push myself a bit the third mile.  And I sprinted the last 100 yards or so, which felt good!


I found the kids (who had missed my impressive finish) and we went to find my time.  33:56, which for a first time I thought was pretty good!  Even if I was 86th in my division… That was a pace time of 10:56, so I now have a baseline time to shoot for.

Afterwards I was entitled to free food, but I felt nauseous even thinking about it.  Next time, though, I’ll get the food and just give it to the kids.  I paid for it, someone should eat it!  We headed home for a shower and some serious stretches, and I started thinking about my next races.

But then vacation season hit, and my running fizzled.  Between the heat and humidity and the time demands of getting ready for the trips and then the actual trips, I went from running 4 times a week to running twice if I was lucky.  I did run the one morning at Assateague, but my images of running in DC got scuttled by distance and cowardice.  One thing that did help, though, was the formation of the Lansdale Area Running Club.  Just before the race, I saw a post on the local Patch talking about the first meeting of this new running club, starting at the Starbucks about a mile from our house.  Hero and I went out to see what’s the what, and it was GREAT.


They were a really nice, small group of people of all levels, very supportive and encouraging.  I’m not the best runner in the group, but I’m not the worst, either.  Since then, I’ve gone every Saturday we’ve been home, and the group has been growing steadily.  Last week, we started doing Thursday evening runs sponsored by the local microbrewery with free drinks afterwards!  The cherry cider last week was nummy, but this week I’m trying the blackberry mead!  And the best thing is it’s half a mile from the house, so I can walk!  All in all, it’s been a great motivator.

That said, my times have sucked.  I know it’s the weather, but if I can get under a 12 minute mile, I’m doing well.  Not what you want to see 2 months after getting under 11.  It’s been so hard, though, with the humidity and all, that I’ve switched to doing run/walks.  It hasn’t really helped or hurt my pace any, but it has helped me get all the way through a run.  I can’t wait until fall and cooler temps.  I ought to fly!  I have started doing 6-7 mile run/walks on Sundays, just to start increasing my endurance.  They aren’t pretty.  I need to work on my routes.  But I’m doing them, and that ain’t nothing.

As for upcoming races, I’m not really signed up for anything at the moment.  I’m tempted to run/walk a 10k that’s a fundraiser for a nearby rail trail on Labor Day (i’m a sucker for rail trails), and there are a couple in September and October sponsored by the college.  The one I’m guarantee doing is the 8k associated with the Philadelphia Marathon in November.  I think a couple of us from the running club are doing that.  It’s not until November, so I’ll have plenty of time to get used to the weather and get my endurance up.  I’d like to be able to straight run it.  I don’t mind run/walking longer distances, but I want to be able to run 5 miles without walking.  Not a big goal, but there you are.

Oh, and I got new running shoes for almost nothing on eBay.  I just need the inserts for them and I’ll be a little more stylin’ on the road!

Run Report

Run Report

More than just running, though!

I made it through the week 8 redo on my 5k training.  Hero was really struggling with her week 6 training, so she redid that week and I went out with her a couple of times to do it and then tacked on an extra 20 minute run, which seemed to do the trick.  Rather than redoing the day 2 training like I’d planned, at the end of the week I went straight to the 5k run.  I very carefully mapped out a new route, got the distance perfect, and went out and DID IT.  I only walked once for about 45 seconds and had one long road crossing, but I think that pretty much counts as mission accomplished.  And even with those pauses, I still had an almost perfectly steady 11:30 minute/mile pace.  So I’m really happy with that!  That was last Monday, June 8th (recorded here for posterity!)

I lasted exactly one run before I crumpled and started running the full Zombies Run! app.

Hero’s doing better.  She was struggling with a head cold and female issues, so she wisely decided to redo week 6, and did it slowly.  By the end, she was running most of all her free runs.  She started Week 7, but on the second day got a bad pain in her hip and had to stop.  I think she’s just not stretching enough, so I walked her through some, including the IT band stretch I just learned and which has saved my life, and made sure she was holding them long enough.  She’s going to give it another stab today or tomorrow.

Since I finished the 5k training, my runs haven’t gone well.  To be fair, the heat and humidity here has been ungodly, and I was still running in the evening.  But now that the kids are out of school and I don’t have to get them moving in the morning, I can go out and run then instead.  Did that for the first time on Tuesday, and it wasn’t bad.  I only ended up walking 3 minutes or so out of 48, AND I found out that the route I’ve been doing wasn’t 3.2 miles, but 4.1.  And my pace is still consistent at 11:30, so in reality, I’m doing a lot better than I thought I was!  I’ve got this new route tweaked to where I like it, so I think that will be my regular run, in either direction, and then I’ll work on building distance/time from that.  And hey, I only have to add 12 minutes instead of 25 like I’d expected!

I finally got signed up for my races.  I’ll be doing the Tex-Mex 5k next Wednesday evening.  I’ve got it mapped out, and it looks pretty doable.  The worst of the hills are in the first half of the route, so I can get them out of the way no problem.  I’m tempted to go try running it in advance, but no, I’ll just keep on keeping on.  I also signed up for a virtual run/walk, the Sherlock Run.  I’ll admit, I’m doing it mostly for the medal (because it’s awesome!)

Sherlock run medal

But it also raises money for rescue dogs, which is always a good thing.  I signed up for the 22.1 mile challenge, which fortunately you don’t have to do all at once.  I should finish earning it with the Tex-Mex run, so two medals for the work of one!!  (Although I don’t think I get a medal for Tex-Mex. Oh well.)

I haven’t given up on the cycling, either.  I’m not getting much riding in this week because of getting ready for the trip.  I’m not comfortable riding early or late, as I don’t have my lights rigged up yet.  But once we get back, next week I’ll get back to alternate days with the running.  I’m already improving.  In exploring what I thought would be a 7 mile route, I got lost and ended up going 10, and aside from one monstrous hill, I didn’t have too much trouble.  I do need to get the bike looked at, as the front derailleur isn’t shifting to the lowest gear.  Hopefully that’s a quick and easy fix, though.  Xander’s decided to be my riding buddy for his summer activity.  So we have to get his bike in shape (the weld blew on his front gears) and make sure he knows the rules of riding on the road.  Then we’ll start doing distances and see how he does.  I’m not sure if we’ll actually ride together together, as he likes to go pretty fast, but that’s good.  Once we know what he can do, maybe we’ll see about hooking him up with a local ride club.

I know all this fitness stuff has really taken hold, though.  It’s become so automatic that when I get off my routine, I get twitchy.  Last night, I kept feeling like I was forgetting to do something, even though I’d already run for the day.  Today is worse, as it’s a rest day and I can’t run (I refuse to tempt injury.  I’m at risk enough as it is!).  I’m so looking forward to tomorrow morning, it’s not even funny.  Me, looking forward to running.  IN THE MORNING.  That’s just…deeply wrong somehow.

Doesn’t stop me from doing it, though.




Saturday was not exciting, as I mostly spent it doing housework.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  Hero and I got up early in the morning and went out to watch the Kugel Ball Run, the local 5k race to support our YMCA.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn how to actually run a race besides the mechanics of running itself.  Hero’s had a couple of frustrating weeks with her 5k training (sickness, TMI troubles, scheduling issues) and I think was heading towards giving it up, so I also hoped she’d get a little inspiration from it.

The race took off at 8:30, but we got there closer to 8.  I got to see some of the folks I had worked with at the Y, which was nice, since I don’t get up there very often anymore.  We watched people signing in and warming up, and I got to explain a bit about the difference between passive and active stretching as people were running and hopping and swinging their legs around.  Then we went and grabbed some breakfast at the local bakery before heading over to the starting line.

There was a LOT of variety in the runners!  A bunch of kids younger than Hero, some folks a lot older than me, a couple of people running with strollers, some really serious runners with their big old running watches and a lot of people just using their phones.  I got to point out different kinds of shoes to her, and there was even one barefoot runner, which got her very excited!  We talked to one of the runners about the timing chips, and we listened to the announcements about how the timing worked.  I saw a bunch of runners using kinesio tape, so we talked about that some, too, even though it’s still a big mystery to me how it works.

Almost before we knew it, and without much fanfare, the race started, and I think Hero was a little surprised at how slowly everyone was running.  This is something I’ve been trying to reinforce with her, that distance running, at least at the point we’re at, isn’t about speed, it’s about being able to finish.  She admitted that she’s a little messed up because of gym class at school, where they just finished doing the timed mile and the teachers were really pushing speed.  Seeing over 100 people putting into practice everything I’d been telling her may have helped.  What does Mom know, after all!

We had 20 minutes or so before the first runners crossed the line, so we went and wandered through the farmers market to see if there was anything good this week.  Silly, there’s always something good, but I was broke, so we didn’t get anything.  We checked out the vendors setting up on Main Street for Lansdale Day, the big annual event the race is part of, and then headed over to the finish line.  I had to take Hero’s phone away from her as the runners started arriving, as she would have spent all her time reading Tumblr rather than watching the race.  But it was eye opening for both of us, I think.  The fastest runners came in at about 25 minutes, but the bulk of the pack was around the 32-35 minute mark.  That made me feel pretty good, as that was about where I thought my pace was, so I knew I wouldn’t embarrass myself when I do my race!  And the runners didn’t come in in the order I would have thought.  The young Marine came in a lot further back than I thought she would, and one of the stroller runners a lot earlier.  One of the kids was in the first 10 to cross the line.  So again, educational for me and inspirational (I hope!) for Hero.

That night she asked me to run with her, to help her with her pace.  We ran some of the route the race took, and she seemed to do a lot better.  I peeled off after her second 7 minute run and did 20 minutes on my own without stopping.  But I wouldn’t have my big test until Monday.

Zombies Don’t Like Fast Food

Zombies Don’t Like Fast Food

Which doesn’t mean they won’t still eat me.  But it won’t be as easy!

I’ve made it through the whole of the Zombies, Run! 5k training app.  This is a great app, and I totally credit it for getting this non-runner within spitting distance of being able to run a full 5k.  I’m not quite there.  I still need to stop 3 or 4 times during a 30 minute run for longer than I’d like.  Honestly, I think the last week of the training should have been two weeks, one with 20 minute runs and drills, then one with 2 days of 10 minute/3 minute run walk drills and the final 5k day.  The last day also kind of peters out, by necessity, as they need to allow for different people’s different paces.  But the story ends 10 minutes before the run time ends, and I wasn’t sure when to stop.  Fortunately I’d seen some people complain about this, so I knew to keep going.  I was close by the end of the story, about 2.8 miles, but I was totally out of steam at that point.  So I’m redoing week 8 over two weeks to build up my endurance.  I know there’s nothing wrong with run/walks, but I want to at least be able to run half an hour without stopping.  I think I’m close.  I went out with Hero on Sunday to see how she’s doing, so I did most of her 45 minute training (she was finishing Week 6) and a 20 minute free run on my own where I only stopped to walk once, so yeah, I’m really close.

Looking ahead, I’m running my first official 5k on the 24th, so I’ll have a little time to lock in my endurance.  I told Hero I’d wait for her before I start the regular ZR app, so one way or another, I’ll start that after the 24th.  From there I want to start building to an hour run.  That will take me to the end of August and should hopefully have me running 5 miles.  Then I’ll go into maintenance for the fall and winter, and we’ll see where spring finds me.  Hopefully ready to be training for and running 10ks.  I’m also going to do some more 5k runs this summer, mostly just for the fun (and the swag!)  I would love to do a color run, and I’d like to do a mud run, but I don’t think that’s happening this year.  Next year, though, definitely!  We’re going to be down in Blacksburg for Christmas this year, and they have a 5k on Christmas Eve, so I told my sister the triathlete that Hero and I want to run it.  Don’t know if Rachel will run it with us, but that would be fun if she did, even though we’d be holding her waaaaay back!  I’ve also been looking at virtual races, which could suck down a lot of cash really fast.  But if I limit myself to one a month, that should help get me through the winter.

Move it!

Move it!

The other thing I’m getting under control is my exercise.  As in, since Thanksgiving, there’s been a decided lack of it.  There’s been plenty of cleaning and schlepping and snow shovelling, but not anything focused.  I almost scared myself at Writers Weekend when the first night I WANTED to do calisthenics.  And did them.  So good sign: my body WANTS to be active.  Time to get moving.

Started easy with getting back to daily walking.  Well, when I say daily… Between appointments and illness and having to make up time, it’s been more like 3 times a week, but still, that’s better than it was.  The cemetary next to work has finally dried out enough for my co-worker and I to be able to get to the road through it without too much squishing through the dirt, so as many lunch times as we can manage, we get out there and do half an hour.  It’s pretty hilly, so it’s a good work out.  The building also has a half mile walking path, but they have it covered in this mulch that’s cut too big, so it gives under your feet like beach sand when you try to walk on it.  I’m hoping when they resurface it for the year (that’s the other problem with it, it all washes away) that they’ll get a finer, more compact mulch so we can mix up our walking routes.

In addition to that, I’m making another attempt at Couch to 5K.  I still don’t like running, but it’s still the easiest excercise for me to do, as I don’t need to go anywhere special to do it safely like I would for swimming or biking, and I don’t need any special equipment.  So hopefully this will be my gateway activity to those others.  I still want to start randoneurring, but I’m no where near there yet.  For now, running.  I got a different app this time, and I think it’s a good one.  I’m trying the Zombies, Run! 5k trainer, and I really like it.  First off, the training cycle isn’t as punishing as the standard C25K app that I tried.  The first week is 15 second sprints rather than 1 minute, so I can actually get through them.  I think the second week is as well, along with some added stretching.  Granted being 120 pounds lighter than last time helps, too, but I’m two days into it and feel pretty good.  I even actually ran during the free run/walk cool down period both days!  I also like the gamification a lot.  It’s a British-based company that makes it, so most of the voices are British or Brits doing American (not badly, but recognizably), so I described it to Nikki as being like taking part in a Doctor Who radio play episode.  The story is engaging, and I honestly think it helps having a real-sounding person encouraging me over a flat, automatic reminder.  Not too many zombies yet, but enough to get the heart racing once in a while!  So yeah, if you’re looking to start running, I recommend this app.

The other thing really helping me is my playlist.  It’s not big, but it’s almost all girl power, attitude songs with a strong, steady beat.

That Man by Caro Emerald
Shake the Room by Gamu
I’m the One That’s Cool by The Guild
Back to Me by Kathleen Edwards
Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall
Box of Secrets by Zarif
I Want You Back by the Jackson Five
Cherry Bomb by the Runaways

I need to add some ELO to this mix as well.  And if you know anything that fits these styles, let me know!  Music is not my thing, so I’ll always take recommendations!

Last time I tried this, I never got off Day One after six weeks of working at it.  Again, I was 120 pounds heavier, but nevertheless, I feel a lot more optimistic that I can get through the whole thing this time!  If I don’t have to repeat any days, I’ll finish the 8 week training on June 2.  Not sure what my reward will be for completing, but it will be something good!  Aside from the regular Zombies, Run app, so I can keep going!