Life as we know it

Our family adventures

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Endurance lacking!

Well… as I started running again last week after my injury and being sick, I thought the endurance was still there. It is, but not like I thought. I’ve been sticking to shorter distances lately and those were fine. But running 10 miles today was tough!

I wanted to get a 10-mile run in before the Lake Monona 20K (12.42 miles) on Saturday. And I was fine until around mile 7, when I started getting tired and sore. So I don’t quite know what to expect on Saturday, when I’ll run almost 2 and a half miles further.

I’m still easing back into running and I’m not really sure what my mileage should be. I hope to run 5-6 miles Thursday, which will put me at 19 to 20 for the week, not counting the race. My main focus is going to be running a 12- or 13-mile long run each of the next two weeks before I taper. I’m still not quite sure what the taper is supposed to consist of.

I think I just have to get used to feeling some soreness in the balls of my feet because of the orthotics. I don’t know if maybe thats changed my running form a little too, probably why I’ve been sore. I hope that foot soreness will go away when I get the custom orthotics. All during my run I was so afraid that it was the neuroma getting aggravated. So far, it hasn’t come back, but I still wonder occasionally. I don’t know if that worry will ever go away.

Last night I signed up for the 10K event at the Madison Marathon. Its the week before my marathon and I’m excited to run it. It will give me a taste of the marathon atmosphere too. Maybe the full marathon I eventually run in will be the Madison Marathon, one of these years.

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Back to the half

So I’ve been putting off writing this post, as if its not official until I write about it. But I have switched my event registration to the half marathon. If this neuroma had reared its ugly head just one or two weeks earlier, maybe I would have been left with enough training time. But right now there just isn’t enough time and I think if I pushed to stay with the full, I will either end up hurt, or hating running all together.

I don’t want to get hurt and I don’t want to hate running!

I just got too far behind to safely log all the miles I had left. I had long runs left of 16, 18 and 20 miles. And I recently found out the long run is only supposed to be one-third of your total miles for the week. Considering I got myself into this injury mess from overtraining in the first place, it really is an easy decision to make to switch back to the half. But that doesn’t mean I like it.

There were so many reasons to switch, and not many to stick with the full, but I will admit I am still a bit disappointed I wasn’t able to stay with the full. But at the same time, the half is still a great accomplishment and it doesn’t change my fundraising focus.

On the fundraising, this week I’m all about my garage sale. I’m doing it on Friday in conjunction with our neighborhood garage sale. I don’t have time to do it Saturday though. I might do it again the following weekend if I still have a lot left at the end of this one.

I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I only have about $950 left to raise. Its so surreal to me that I’ve almost made it. I was stuck at only $900 raised for a long time, or at least it seemed like a long time. Now $950 is all I have left!

A little more than a month out, I am itching to get to the starting line. The neuroma is fine and I expect to get my custom orthotics this week. I am more confident every run though.

The Lake Monona 20K is on Saturday, which is why I can’t have the garage sale that day. I’m a little nervous since between my injury and being sick I haven’t logged a ton of miles lately. I ran 4.5 miles yesterday though, and I’m hoping to run 10 miles tomorrow and 6 or so Thursday. Hopefully that will get me ready enough!

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Remembering Adam Nickel

I never actually met Adam Nickel. The closest I came to meeting him was an email he sent to us about cool things we could do to change the look of our donation web pages. He was really busy with school and training for the marathon in Arkansas. The one time he came to a group run was the one time I missed.

Adam was my teammate. We were both training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and raising money to help cure blood cancers. Adam was an avid runner and passionate about this cause, just like me.

He is my inspiration. Others are inspired by me, and I am inspired by him. I only wish I could have raised the money as quickly as he did because then I could raise even more!

Adam died after finishing the Little Rock Marathon. Autopsy reports showed a heart condition that couldn’t have been pre-screened along with electrolyte imbalance. An article I read said his adrenaline kept him going for the race and once he stopped, it all stopped.

Shortly before that marathon, Adam had already reached his fundraising goal for the marathon. He was running it in honor of his grandmother, who died of lymphoma.

I didn’t write much about his death, simply because I didn’t know him. But it did affect me. Of course, being a first time runner, its intimidating to be confronted with the news of a runner dying after a race. And it hit home even more that we were connected even though we never actually met.

This weekend is the Crazylegs Classic here in Madison. Its a huge 8K (5 mile) race and 2 mile walk that is a fundraiser for the UW athletic department. I have read that Crazylegs was Adam’s favorite race. Last year Doug and I did the walk and I understand why that would be anyone’s favorite. Its a lot of fun and you can’t beat finishing in Camp Randall Stadium.

Doug and I would be participating, but we’re going out of town. A team was organized to honor Adam, and I would really love to be part of that team to help honor him. Its so sad to see young lives cut short. Especially when they’re taking part in activities that are supposed to improve their health, not take it away. It was just his time I guess. But we will honor him in San Diego too.

So good luck to the Crazylegs runners! Have fun on Saturday!

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Gaining confidence

Had a short run today because I had lots to do. But the good news is I’m gaining confidence that these orthotics are the answer to my foot problems. I started getting nervous after my run on Monday because I felt new discomfort in my feet, especially the right foot because of the pad. Well, I think its just my feet getting used to having something in the shoe! And my foot hits the ground differently now, which is what’s supposed to happen. I freaked out a little but, but when I realized the discomfort I have isn’t the neuroma, I calmed down a little bit.

The good news is I think the orthotics are enough to treat this problem. I hope getting used to the custom orthotics is as quick!

So the theme of my life these days is busy busy busy. Thursday I need to get my oil changed and buy a present for my best friend’s wedding, which is this weekend. I also need to decide if I will go to my spin class or fit in another run. I had thought running two days in a row wasn’t a real good idea, but now that the orthotics feel OK, I don’t see why I couldn’t run again tomorrow. Its just a matter of time which will work better. I think spin class will just because its earlier. I don’t get up at 9 am to run. I probably should as it gets warmer, but for now I’m not.

The hotel we’re staying at this weekend does not have a gym. Thats kind of surprising, as all hotels have gyms these days. It does have a pool though. I would like to get some sort of exercise this weekend, so maybe swimming will be it. Or perhaps I could try the streets of Danville. This is assuming I get up early enough on Saturday.

If I don’t run tomorrow, I’ll do my long run on Sunday night. I don’t like waiting until the evening though because that makes it less likely I actually will do it.

I don’t have much else to report. I’m heading into the home stretch! I have just over $1,200 left to raise. If you haven’t donated yet, would you?

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Another good run, but now I worry

I ran 6 beautiful miles in the warm sun this afternoon. I was pretty tired by the end, but overall a great run. But, note to self: Don’t wear shorts again until I purchase some body glide!

A great run, followed by worry. I’m worried the neuroma pain will come back. I was worried on Saturday too. I don’t know how long I will worry like this. Its a paranoia that I’m afraid to get up and walk around for fear I will feel the neuroma pain! Am I crazy?

Complicating the problem is the blister I have from wearing the pad in my shoe. I walk differently when I have a blister, unfortunately. And other areas of my foot hurt, so whenever I feel anything, I quickly scan to make sure its not the neuroma.

Maybe I’m getting a little neurotic over this, but I just can’t stop. What I’m especailly afraid of is what will happen if the pain does come back. I’m wearing the generic orthotics right now, so maybe I just won’t worry until I get the custom orthotics? Who knows, maybe a neuroma is just something that will flare every so often and I just need to learn how to manage it.

Another funny thing I’m finding as I ease back into running… I can run the distances still. But my body is reacting like it did at the beginning of training. So that means I am both starving and sleepy as I write this. Before my break I only got hungry and sleepy like this when I ran 12 miles or more. Now apparently it will be every time! My legs are also sore! I don’t know if I’ll be able to do a short run Wednesday and then long run Thursday. But thats how I have to do it because of going out of town this weekend, so we’ll see.

I just wrapped up a fantastic fundraising week, raising $635! My total is now $2,455. I sure hope that momentum continues! Its been incredible. I am starting to see the light at the end of the fundraising tunnel! The light at the end of the training tunnel is still kind of dim though. Only six weeks to go!

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Back on the road

Even though I’m still a bit under the weather and my asthma is still bothering me and I only slept four hours last night, I still went to my team in training group run this morning bright and early at 7 am! It was a bit of a struggle to start out but overall I’m happy with what I was able to accomplish after a week and a half off.

Even though it was supposed to rain all day and it was threatening rain as I was on my way to the meeting place, the rain held off! It was drizzling a bit before we started but it went away and the sun even came out during the run! It was sunny and warm for the rest of the day!

I think I did really well at keeping my expectations low. I was hoping to run 4 to 6 miles today. I had no illusion of running 16 or even 10 after a week and a half off, and with new things in my shoes.

So anyway, I was hoping to run 4 to 6 miles, but I thought I could maybe push it to 8. Well, my good friend Dan and I ran 7.5 miles! For the run we had two TNT alumni who met us every three miles or so on the course to give us water and gatorade and help us out. So once we made it to the support car at 7.5, we just hitched a ride back to our cars!

We did the Lake Monona loop today. I was kind of bummed I couldn’t do the whole thing, but I’ll be back. I’ll actually be back for the Lake Monona 20K race in two weeks. But just the half of the loop we did was awesome. Madison really has some truly amazing outdoor spaces.

I am happy to report I have no pain from the neuroma. I didn’t expect pain during the run. I figured if I would have pain it would have been this evening. Well, my arch is a little painful from having this orthotic and pad in my shoe, but no neuroma pain!! Hopefully it will stay this way and the orthotics will be all I need!

I did develop a small blister from the pad though, but I kind of expected it. Actually, I’m kind of glad I got it because a small part of me wanted to keep running.

I’m a little sore, but not too bad. Like I said earlier, no neuroma. But I did feel a twinge in my right achilles this afternoon. Now that I’m running again I need to work on disciplining myself to sufficiently stretch the achilles before and after my run and even at other times of the day.

I won’t try to run tomorrow though. I won’t have time. I’ll go back on Monday.

After the run I intended to head straight home to get some naptime in before Doug and I went to the UW spring football game. But instead I enjoyed eating bagals and hanging out with the other runners as they finished! I stayed an extra hour or so and sacrificed my naptime, which has really affected the rest of my day, since I only slept four hours the night before! But I’m glad I stayed. I really wish more people came to the group runs. I know it can’t be helped, people are busy. I really have enjoyed getting to know the other participants though. I’d like to think I’ve even made a few friends!

Now that I’m back on the road, I’m feeling really optimistic. I’m thinking about how to structure my last six weeks of training, and if I will stay with the full or go to the half. I’m getting back from a week and a half off, so I’m not going to run 16 miles next week. I’m thinking I’ll go for a 10- to 12-mile long run. I’ve got 16, 18, and 20 miles left for long runs. I can get all three in if I go with a two-week taper. I had been thinking about a three-week taper just because I was getting so run down with my injury issues and things. But I’ve had a week and a half off, so maybe that was just what I needed! The other option would be to do 16- and 18-mile long runs, with a three-week taper, and call that good for the full marathon. Or I could split the difference and do 17- and 20-mile long runs along with a three-week taper. I don’t know.

I’m changing my mind about this all the time. Obviously, it depends on my orthotics taking care of the neuroma. If they don’t work and I need to take more time off for more treatment, no full marathon. I will also need to determine if my body is up to the training. I don’t know that yet.

Long story short, I’m going to give myself a week and then decide.

Depending on which event, I’m already thinking about fall marathons. It would be something in state, or perhaps an easy weekend drive. But the other variable is when Doug and I start our family!

What I do know is this will not be my only marathon. I will run another one, I just don’t know when. Thats pretty much the reason I did TNT now. I figured if I waited, we’re going to start our family, or I’ll just be otherwise busy. And I was in the right place for it in January. I waited five years to be in the right place.

This is a long entry, because I also have some great fundraising news to share! I was getting really discouraged about fundraising. Its happened a lot, actually. But right around recommitment things kinda stopped coming, around the last two weeks in March. Well, even after I sent reminder letters I didn’t get much. But I guess there was just a bit more lag time than I expected. Checks have been coming in the mail every other day or so. And some people who had promised to donate, but had to wait, donated. And my dad handed out some letters at work, and those people who don’t even know me donated! And I started sharing with more people, and more people I don’t know really well are donating too!

Well, my fundraising has now totally turned a corner! At the beginning of April, I had raised around $1,300. Well, as of this evening, my total is $2,325! I am just floored when I look at my numbers now. Especially when I realize that I’ve raised $1,000 in just the last three to four weeks. I am definitely more encouraged and I am totally confident that I will make my goal. Who knows? I might even surpass it! But I’m going to concentrate on reaching it for now.

No matter which event I run, I am a hero. Dan says this all the time. And I’m starting to believe it! The half marathon is still a great accomplishment. And regardless of the event, I’m going to raise $3,800 or more to help cure blood cancers! Team in training is close to, or has already raised its one billionth dollar. And I helped.

This experience has taught me that I really can do anything. Yeah, when your growing up, all the people tell you that, but this experience has taken me out of my comfort zone in so many ways and I truly believe that statement now. It definitely takes this kind of experience to really learn this. And I’m definitely becoming a better person for it.

I can do ANYTHING!!

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Its a neuroma, but the news is good!

So I had no reason to be nervous today! I do have a neuroma, but the podiatrist made it sound much less frightening than everything I had read about it!

In discussing my options with the doctor, I decided to get fitted for some custom orthotics. That was pretty cool because she made plaster casts of my feet! Of course I knew thats what was involved, but it was still cool to actually do it. I have some generic orthotics for now, and it will take two to three weeks to make the custom ones. I’ll get them in early May I think, hopefully plenty of time to determine if they help the neuroma and to get used to wearing them.

So anyway, in addition to the orthotics, I have these pads to stick on them. The pads and orthotics are supposed to take the pressure off that area of the foot. Hopefully that will be all the treatment that I need. If thats not enough, the next option is cortizone shots, which I have heard are not too pleasant.

The neuroma may or may not go away. But the orthotics are supposed to reduce the pressure so it doesn’t get any worse. Thats fine with me if it works!

One thing I learned from the doctor is that running shoes, or athletic shoes in general, likely do not cause neuromas. Its the high heels with tight toe areas that are usually to blame. Since I never wear heels, it was just the repetitive hitting my feet on the ground. So for now I will try to run a little on my current shoes. Hopefully I can save the money in the next few weeks to get a new pair of shoes a few weeks before the marathon though.

Right now with the generic orthotics, my feet feel pretty good. The pad on my right foot has taken some getting used to. I wanted to try and run a little this afternoon, but I decided that wouldn’t be a good idea. But I am getting up bright and early to attend the TNT group run tomorrow! The group is running 16 miles, but I won’t be. I haven’t run in a week and a half and I don’t know how my feet will feel once I am running!

There’s also the nagging thought of I’m still not 100 percent sure which event I will end up running. I have definitely had a dose of optimism today that maybe I could still do the full. And I’m sure I could. Its just a question of how much time I have left and what I can handle. I’m going to see how things go this week. There’s also the possibility that the orthotics won’t help the neuroma. I certainly hope this won’t be the case, but it is possible.

But I am definitely leaning toward the half. In fact, last night I looked up fall marathons in the region to maybe be my next training possibility. There are a number of possibilities as to when I do my next marathon, but I think it is very likely there WILL be a second one!