19 weeks to 13.1 miles

I / We live in The South. Like the Really South South.
Our high temperatures this week are supposed to be in the upper 80s/lower 90s. And yes, there will be humidity. And to answer the age old question “Is it the heat or the humidity?” I have to go with “Yes, yes it is.”
Sunday’s after church, early afternoon run in the lower-80s-with-humidity weather convinced us both that it was time to dust off the early morning hours on our alarm clocks and return to our 5 am run schedule.

So there we were, HCRP and I, up and out the door before the sun was even considering making an appearance.
It was cool but humid.
Which beats hot and humid.

Today marks the first time I’ve run with truly sore leg muscles. And can I just say “Ouch!”?!
OUCH!
And did you know that sore muscles make your legs weigh more? It’s true. They do.
I blame my Incredible, Amazing, Brilliant Chiropractor’s partner for recommending that I do the Hamstring/Quad Roll on one of those Amazing Evil Foam Rollers which I did after Sunday’s run.
Please Note: I do not hold me in any shape, form, or fashion responsible for following this advice. Only him for giving it.
I will further hold HCRP responsible for tomorrow’s pain since he recommended I use The Amazing Evil Foam Roller every day. I could learn not to like the ‘C’ part of HCRP. I’m just sayin’ . . .

Endomondo says the run went like this:
2.06 miles
24 minutes, 13 seconds
Average Speed: 11:44 min/mile
Max Speed: 8.35 min/mile (I’m pretty sure that was going up a hill.)
Calories burned: 314 (I am absolutely certain they cheated me on that!)
And it looked like this:

The only walking intervals I did were because of lungs, not legs, and at the end of those 2.06 miles I felt great with Z-E-R-O twinges, tweaks, or any other ‘talk’ from Ye Olde Knee!

We got back home, stretched, sat on non-porous furniture surfaces drinking water, and pouring sweat (hence the non-porous seating choices) for a few minutes before getting on with business of getting ready for work.

Standing in the bathroom, it hit me: I am absolutely going to be able to complete The Air Force Half-Marathon in September! I have more than enough time to add the miles to my long runs, increase my cardio endurance, and be ready to do that half! Shoot, the courses we’ll be running in and around our subdivision on Tuesdays and Thursdays are a hill-training dream!

I will, now that I’m past it, admit that I was starting to think my running days were over, that the most I’d ever do was jog ‘part of’ a 5K, and that my dream of finishing a half as a runner was just that: a dream. Of the ‘unrealized’ variety.
Every time I would “try to get back out there” only to end up with searing pain shooting through my knee followed by yet another week(s) “off” from running, and having to wear that oh-so-sexy knee brace it did nothing but deepen that fear and make it harder and harder to “try it again” because it is incredibly difficult to run when you’re holding your breath waiting for The Pain to come out of nowhere with That One Step.
I have no words for my gratitude and relief to have finished this run twinge and pain free!

And so.
I’ve mapped out Thursday’s three mile run around (and up and down) the subdivision and on Saturday I’ll burn another four on The Greenline. And the Saturday after that that four will become five, and so on and so on until I cross that 13.1 mile Finish Line in Columbus Dayton, Ohio!

Oh, and if you’re looking for a great half-marathon to run c’mon down to Memphis in December and join us for The St. Jude Half Marathon! Registration opened today and it fills up quick so register early!

One more mile under the laces

Okay, technically 3.04 miles. And I ran (most of) them in 42 minutes and 47 seconds.
But it was one mile further than my last run.

I was insufficiently hydrated.
It was hot and fairly muggy.
Both of which combined to make it a not particularly pretty run.
But it was a run, and I did it.
And finished with only minor twinging in Ye Olde Knee which had me walking more of my three miles than I had originally intended.
Also, looking at the map from my Endomondo profile, I am apparently incapable of running a straight line.

HCRP and I have decided that it’s time for us to shift our schedule and begin getting up at Are You Serious o’clock ay em in order to beat (and by ‘beat’ I mean avoid) the heat. That starts tomorrow.

“If you really want to expand your passion for a thing – become a part of someone else embracing that passion.” Me
I posted that on Facebook last week after observing my best friend’s growing enthusiasm for running. And it’s true.
Yesterday as I was running I was listening (again) to Jillian Michaels’ Unlimited.
Say what you will about her style as a trainer – she gets results.
Say what you will about her as a person – again she gets results.
Say what you will about “self-help” books – I’ll probably agree – that isn’t really what this is.
Well it is.
But not in that touchy-feely, rainbows and bunny farts kinda way. She’s pretty direct (which I am inclined to like) and doesn’t pull a lot of punches.
I have the audiobook (much easier to listen to it while running that way) and the actual, hardcopy book. I’ve listened to the audiobook twice-and-a-half times and it’s time to stop listening and start actually working my way through it.

Anyway, I said all that to say this: I realized yesterday that if I could design My Perfect Day it would begin with a run and include working with other people to help them embrace their passion for wellness, fitness, and running in particular.
Of course – at least in my mind – to have any real credibility I need to have a few more miles under my laces. Specifically 13.1 of them run in succession on the same day.
And I need training.
And certification.

But for now I have A Dream.
I have to come up with The Plan to make it A Goal.
After that it becomes A Reality.
As Jillian so aptly puts it: A Dream is like saying “I’m going northeast on my vacation.” A goal is when you say “I’m going to see The Statue of Liberty on my vacation.”

For now, putting it Out There here is scary enough for a Monday.

Miles 2 – Pain 0 – No More Treadmills!

Ran two miles tonight.
Ran it in 1/4 mile intervals.
Finished with no knee pain.

Rewind to Saturday afternoon when there was substantial pain after not even a 1.5 mile run on a treadmill and I was afraid running any further wasn’t going to happen.  Again.  Ever.
Upon consultation with a runner friend who is also a trainer I learned that (often) when one has become accustomed to road running (ING not ER) switching back to treadmill running can exacerbate things like oh . . . say . . . RUNNER’S KNEE!

So I spent the weekend back with my friendly Mueller knee band, spent Monday and Tuesday laid out with some god-awful, streppish-stomach-bug-mutation virus that’s going around down here in Dixie, and after work today – and no twinges, pings, dings, or otherwise negative indicators from Ye Olde Knee – headed to our favorite running trail to do  two miles in quarter mile intervals at the end of which everything was A-Okay!

My reason for being on a treadmill Saturday morning was well-founded.  I’m working with my BFF in her desire to start running.  We’re following the same training program that got me started running last summer.  It’s slow, gradual, and fool-proof.
If starting out on a treadmill is what’s best for her I’ll just have to avoid the temptation to ‘bust a move’ and stick to walking beside her instead of running.  Then again, with her long-term goal being finishing a 5K she may want to go ahead and transition to road running sooner rather than later.  Heat/Temperature is a consideration for her, so we’ll have to see what works best.

Meanwhile back at the trail . . . I got my two in today!
Saturday’s goal is three and I might just expand one of those intervals to a full half mile.

It just feels so freakin’ good to be running again!
It feels good to think that my half-marathon in September is actually going to happen! 

P.S. To any of my co-workers who are wondering what happened to that “I’m going home after work and going straight to bed!”  Well . . . Running happened.  That’s what.  NOW I’m going to bed!

One Mile – No Pain – I’ll Take It

When last I laced up my trusty Asics (except they were Brooks which didn’t work out so well for me not that there’s anything wrong with Brooks) it was fifty-one days ago.  In those fifty-one days I learned a lot.
I learned that I really am A Runner because not running drove me crazy and made me cranky and somewhat resentful of HCRP when he ran.
I learned just how much running that half-marathon last month meant to me when I sat and cried for a few minutes after I heard the starting siren go off.
I learned that if you don’t listen to your body when it whispers, you will listen to it when it screams.  Repeatedly.
I learned to be so attuned to a single, non-reproductive part of my body that I could detect non-visible swelling.

Today I learned that starting slow and taking it easy really is the best way to get back into a thing.
I set out to run a mile.  Walk 1/4 mile, run 1/4 mile, walk 1/4 mile, run 1/4 mile.  That was my plan.
HCRP and I got to our favorite running place, stretched, and away we went!  Okay, “away” he went.  Away I walked.  Chanting my mantra of “Healthy. Strong.  Resilient.” with every step.  I’m not gonna lie and say that there wasn’t an itty-bitty, teeny-weeny, nearly-audible voice in the back of my brain whispering “But what if it hurts when we start the running part?”  I shushed her with The Mantra and when I hit the 1/4 mile point of my intended course I took that first running step.
Then the second.
And the third.
And there was no pain.
So I stopped counting and kept running.
The spirit was ecstatic.
The legs were good with it.
The lungs were okay.
At the 1/2 mile it was turn, repeat.
And it felt gooooood!  So much so that there was the brief, fleeting thought of “Ya’ know, I could always turn around and go back and do this again!”
The legs were all about it.
The logical part of my brain objected.
The lungs had its back.
So we all stopped, stretched, and waited on HCRP to finish his three miles.
Day One Back In The Running!
Wednesday we expand to 1.5. 

And since we’re counting days and all . . . As of today I have 152 days to be ready, prepared, and trained for My First Half Marathon – The USAF Half Marathon.
Based on everything I’ve learned – I can totally do this!

And so it comes to this

Alternate Title: How cute, harmless looking little flats kept me from getting back to running.

I got my first pair of Real Heels the Christmas I was fourteen years old.
These weren’t glorified Mary Jane Slingbacks with a minuscule wedge ‘heel’.
These were Heels.  Black, pointy-toed, nearly-stiletto slim, three inch Heels.
And I.  Was.  Smitten.
In the years that followed I became a connoisseur of Heels.  By my early forties I had a veritable reputation and had attained Consultant/Rockstar Heel Wearing status among my peers.  People asked my opinion about Heels.  People gave me Heels they “couldn’t” wear.  I accepted their gifts  but not – at times – without a touch of pity as I took possession of My New Babies.
When my best friend was diagnosed with MS and realized her Heel Wearing Days were behind her it was me she called to come over and go through her shoes with her, and it was to me that she entrusted many pair of beautiful, slender-heeled pumps and sandals.  I was to be her Proxy Heel Wearer.  And I did so.  But there was always a trace of guilt when I’d wear a pair from my Lisa Collection.

And then, I took up running.
At first I believed I could strike a balance between My Two Lovahs.  If I only wore Real Heels on Sundays to church when I wasn’t really on my feet much, and maybe out to dinner with HCRP when I wasn’t really on my feet much, I could totally satisfy both of them: Fitness and Vanity.
That lasted about two weeks.
Then the Calf Cramps came to town. (Awesome garage band name isn’t it?  “Ladies and Gentlemen – The Calf Cramps!)   And The Heels – even the Lisa collection – Had. To. Go.  I sent them to a good home.  A dear, sweet, heel-loving, and not mid-forty year old newbie runner friend at church.  And with that
 I resigned myself to a future filled with cute flats, and little (I’m talking less than 2″) kitten-heeled slides and what-passes-for pumps.

Spring springs and it’s time to unpack the Spring/Summer clothes and shoes.  And everything is peachie-keen.  After all, as I’m putting on all those clothes that have been stored since last October things are too big, too bigger, and too biggest.  I’m talkin’ fall off without being unbuttoned/unzipped too big.  It’s awesome!
Until this past weekend.
Saturday night HCRP and I went out to grab dinner and go see a friend play and sing at a Songwriter’s Night at a local coffee house.  It was a beautiful, summer-like night so I broke out my favorite pair of summer sandals.  They’re flats – like nearly barefooted flats – and all cute and hippie-strappy, and I’ve had them forever and they just make me happy to wear.
Sunday I broke out my cute, pink, kitten-heeled slides to wear to Church after which we had to run a couple errands.  And by 1:30 My Left Knee was screaming.
Yes, that Left Knee.
The one I’ve been rehabbing from Runner’s Knee since February!
The one I’ve been following Chiropractor’s Orders about the care and rehabbing of.
The one that had, after two weeks of aerobic pace walking and strength training, been pain free for the entire two weeks.
Until Sunday it was pain free.  Sunday it went back to being un-pain free.
Monday it was more un-pain free.  Which meant no getting back to running.
Tuesday it was even more un-pain free.
And early on in all of this un-pain free-ness I knew exactly what had happened.  Cute little flats and low, kitten-heeled slides with zero cushion, shock absorption, or support.  Apparently this little knee of mine requires cushion and shock absorption lest it decide to get all tweaked and un-pain free.
And on Wednesday when I saw The Incredible, Amazing, Super-Genius Chiro Doc he agreed with my assessment of the cause of the un-pain free-ness.

Which brings me to the title of this post.

Remember when I said I gave away “all my heels”?
Well maybe I lied just a tiny bit.
I did keep one pair.
I kept these.
These are my Red Bandolino Pumps.
These are fairly representative of My Heels. High, sleek, sexy, and very powerful feeling.
I love and adore these shoes.  Moreover, my husband loves and adores these shoes.
I haven’t worn them in months, but I do reserve the right to wear them for a special night out and most assuredly one where I don’t walk further than ten feet at a time.


These are the cute little kitten-heeled slides that were the undoing of my knee Sunday.

These are what I walked out of Payless wearing and was deeply grateful to have found in my size.

For contrast, here are the three side by side by side.
I’m going to need a moment of silence to grieve.
And to accept my heel-free, well-cushioned future.

PREPARING to Embrace The Caveman

Well.
We haven’t begun the Paleo Diet thing quite yet simply because that takes a lot more planning and preparation than I had originally realized!

Cleaning out the pantry? That was a breeze.
Being fully prepared to make the meals and have the snacks on hand and ready to roll? Not so easy-breezy.
Tonight I’m going to make up a meal plan and a shopping list and Sunday Morning it’s back to The Stone Age for us!

I’ve been back walking (other than to and from the car and around the office and house) and doing strength training for a week now with zero complaint or opposition from Ye Olde Knee.
Which means that Monday I can start back running!
Slowly and for short distances to begin with.
But running nonetheless.

I’ve learned quite a bit about . . . well . . . a lot of things really while I’ve been recovering and recuperating from this injury.  But mostly these things:

  • I have learned that if one doesn’t listen to one’s body when said body whispers about something being not right, one will listen when the body screams.
  • I have learned that those bodies – given the time and attention they need to actually heal themselves – are amazingly resilient (and eventually forgiving) things.
  • I have learned that you really won’t “Lose all my progress in a week!”
  • I have learned that running (probably any fitness practice but running is my thing) is a lot more of a mental thing than I had given it credit for.
  • And I have learned that running (again, probably any fitness practice) truly does change every aspect of your life. It changes how you eat, how you sleep, how you think about things. I catch myself saying things like “This neighborhood would be a great place for a run!” or “Oh now this would SUCK to run!” The difference generally comes down to hills.

Finally I know that I am so looking forward to the breathing hard and sweating that only a good run produces!

Embracing The Caveman

It is a well-known fact that most overweight people who take up running do so not just for the joy of wearing out $100+ pairs of shoes and collecting Race Bibs. No, we are also looking for what I call the Happy Side Effect of weight loss.
Okay, I was/am.
So was/is HCRP.
And, to a certain degree we’ve each attained a level of success in that pursuit. I guess when you run enough miles pursuing something eventually you’re going to catch up with it!

My Left Knee (why does that sound like the really bad title of a really bad runner’s memoir?) has finally had enough rest, elevation, stretching, icing, rolling on a foam roller, braces, knee bands, and generally anything-but-running that it is now accepting of moderate exercise.
Wednesday we hit the gym to begin adding strength training to our overall program which had been The Plan all along once we/he finished that first Half. I backed off the amount of weight on the leg machines and did only one set and all was well.
Thursday we headed to our favorite outdoor running venue where I walked once around the 1.6 mile track at one of the lakes with a friend while Rich ran it twice. That little bit of walking it once wisdom was thanks to my friend saying “Uhhh… No.” when I asked “Should we go around again?” in what probably sounded the way eager puppies sound in people’s heads when they stand there wagging their tails with tennis balls in their mouths. I have smart friends. Don’t get me wrong, everything wasn’t all okey-dokey and rarin’ to run.  I was feeling notsomuch twinges at the end of the once-around, but definitely a little bit of stiffness and mild inflammation in the tendon by the end of the walk. But no actual pain and this morning everything is a-okay in Kneeville.
Tonight we’re back to the gym for (still modified for me) strength training, and tomorrow while Rich runs three times around the lake I’ll walk once and a quarter then turn around and head back to sit, soak in the sunshine, and read a good book.

But back to the topic of today’s post.
So HCRP and I have been running along, following The Runner’s World Runner’s Diet and dropping a pound or two one week then gaining it right back the next. Oh, yeah, I had that fabulous six pound weight loss of a couple posts back but I gotta be honest and say that was basically dumb luck + the generosity of my metabolism staying ramped up even when I wasn’t able to run + the fact that in not running my apetite has reduced itself to crap. (On the up side: I have been eating breakfast most of the days since making Meus Amplitudo Mea Culpa). But really, we haven’t been getting the consistent results we’ve been wanting.

Being a big believer in the old adage about the definition of insanity being continuing to do the same thing but expecting different results, I started poking around Ye Olde Worlde Wide Web for alternatives that blend weight loss and what I like to call Fueling The Machine. As I was doing this poking a Facebook post of a friend who is a fitness machine (martial arts, running, body building – and does he have the results to show for it!) about starting the Paleolithic Diet a few weeks back towards the end of dropping his body fat percentage. Of course at the time I read his post (which accompanied a picture of a ginormous t-bone steak and half a plate of broccoli) I thought “All well and good for you Carnivore!” and dismissed this as an undoable for me since I don’t eat meat. (Actually, tomorrow it will be one year to the day since I stopped eating meat. Happy No-Meativersary to me!)
But the phrase “Paleo Diet” kept swirling around in my brain. Which led to the following thoughtversation. (Don’t you love how I just make up words? I need to become some kind of spokesperson for a society or association of word makeruppers like my friend Terri Lee is the spokesperson for Butt Falling Off Syndrome or BFOS. I digress . . . Which is another societation I could be spokesperson for. The Nationally Associated Society for Compulsive Digressors – NASCD. We need a poster. And a logo. Wait, I did it again… See?!)
Dang it. Where was I?
*scrolls back up*
Caveman eating without eating meat . . .
Runners need carbs . . .
Oh. Right.
The Thoughtversation.
Me: That Paleo Diet thing does sound interesting.
My Brain (MB): Yes, yes it does. For a CARNIVORE!
Me: True. But I do still eat fish, eggs, and dairy.
MB: Fine. Google it.
Me: Fine! I will!
GoogleGoogleGoogle
Me: Ah HA!
MB: What?
Me: Look! That No Meat Athlete Guy says it can be done. And he is HARD CORE Vegetarian. He might even be Vegan.
MB: Okay fine. But what about that “Runners need carbs” thing?
Me: Vegetables and Fruits are carbs. Ask Atkins people. They practically break out in hives at the sight of anything vegetablier than lettuce!
MB: Atkins people eat more than lettuce.
Me: Whatever. Not an option.
MoreGoogleGoogleGoogle
Me: Hey. You. Brain. Check this out. Written by a Runner for Runners on a Runner’s Magazine Website! HA!
MB: That’s one article.
Me: Oh yeah? *insert googling sounds* Well look at this: The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Dr. Loren Cordain. One of the guys the vegetarian runner dude had dinner with.  And it’s not “one article” it’s a BOOK!
MB: Huh. Well. Well huh.
Me: That’s all you’ve got? Look dude (yes, MB is sometimes a ‘dude’) I’m willing to try this. Obviously what we’ve been doing isn’t really working. And if I’m going to be able to train for a half-marathon without incurring any future knee injuries, and HCRP is going to be able to shave that nineteen minutes off his half-marathon time it seems to me that one of the biggest obstacles is the extra weight we are each lugging around. This isn’t necessarily a “weight loss” diet per se, but I can’t help but think that dropping grain-based carbs and dairy from our diets might help a little in that direction. Besides, Dr. Jeff has been none-too-subtle in his “go gluten free” messages and what better way to maybe kindasorta go along with that ‘nudge’ without actually going along with it than to do the same thing with a different label? Huh? This way we get the same benefits and results without him being able to come and say “I told you so!” because really, we didn’t do what he told. We did something different. Entirely.
MB: Well. Okay there is that. It’ll be like the Certs of dietary changes: Two, two, two benefits in one!
Me: You have entirely too many 70s references readily available.
MB: You’re the one who watched all that television as a child.
Me: I have Googling to do.
So after all that I ended up with the aforelinked book by Dr. Cordain and the The Paleo Diet Cookbook notsomuch because I need ideas for cooking – I love coming up with interesting and creative uses for food all on my own – but because, well, it was a reasonable excuse reason to buy a new cookbook!

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be going through our pantry, fridge, and freezer(s) and strafing all the grains and grain-based foods. (I’m not throwing them away, but one of my co-workers is gonna love me every time she makes spaghetti with whole grain noodles for the next six months!) And tomorrow evening I’ll be making up a menu and shopping list. I’m pretty much going to ‘automate’ our breakfasts and lunches and get creative with dinner.

For me it’s going to be a matter of just not eating pasta, bread, and potatoes and upping the vegetable and fruit quotient. There are a few – very few – staples of my diet I’ll have to find a new ‘source’ for. Such as yogurt. I’m hoping our local Whole Foods stocks the So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt because yogurt is a huge breakfast component for me.
HCRP may struggle a little more with the absence of bread, rice, and pasta but I’m pretty confident in the end results I expect us to see and that going a long way towards offsetting that struggle.
And yes, once this has become a habituated dietary pattern for us there will be allowances for occasional ‘cheats’. But honestly, based on everything I’ve read from people who have gone this route and stayed on it, I think we’ll find that we don’t necessarily miss all that grainy goodness as much as we might anticipate on the front end.

But today and tomorrow?
Oh honey, we’re goin’ out with a bang!
And a bagel.
And probably cookies.