But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31

Monday, October 6, 2008

One Week Post-Race

It was strange to see myself on the Indiana's News Center Fort4Fitness commercial all last week. And I've lost count of how many people have told me they saw me on TV, either the day of the race or in the commercial.

So now it's been more than a week since the race and I've not walked more than a mile or so on any given day and even that was just a couple of times. I didn't intend for it to be that way. It just happened.

I can see the value of having a goal. Without a goal, there is no purpose to anything. We set goals for ourselves all the time, whether they be tiny or gigantic. I think it's just the way we humans are made. We seem to need that carrot dangling in front of us all the time in order to accomplish anything.

My friend Diana is going to hold me accountable to my walking though. We're scheduled for a get-together at the Greenway this weekend, where we plan to do 10 miles - so she says. We'll see!

It's hard for me still, this not being able to run. I think if I knew that all I could do forever was walk, I might be okay with it, but since I know that at some point in the future I'll be able to run again, somehow walking just doesn't hold the appeal to me. Yet, I have to stay in shape somehow so that when the day comes that I am allowed to run, I'll be ready for it. My next eye exam is December 2nd and I'm hoping that I get the okay at that time.

I'm having second thoughts about doing the Fort4Fitness half-marathon next year. I'm happy that I have managed to get myself in pretty good physical condition over the course of this past spring and summer, but I don't really have the desire right now to work towards another long-distance race. Maybe I'll feel differently when next spring comes along.

I do still want to keep working on that 5K distance though.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Many of us from the training group gathered at Linda's last night for a post-race party. Words were not in short supply as we recounted our experiences not only of race day, but of the entire experience of training for it.

It was obvious that while we shared this common bond and had similar feelings and experiences, we also had those that were unique to each one of us. I think I was most touched by Rhonda's story, as she likened falling into Jamey's arms at the end of the race as a glimpse of what it will be like as we enter heaven. Not that we ran the fastest or best, but that we ran the race, with the guidance of our leader, who didn't expect perfection. He accepted our weaknesses, never giving up on any of us, and gave us a "Well done" when we finished.

Though not everyone that was in the group was there physically, all were in our thoughts as we reminisced about "the early days." Days when we thought running even a mile without stopping was just not going to happen. Oh, we'd come SO far...

Jamey talked with us about the possibility of each of us doing some group training of our own in preparation for next year's race. He would guide us and groups would meet with him from time to time, but we would be the weekly leader of our own groups of runners. We're to think about this and get back to him, as planning for next year's race will begin soon.

We had a great meal of Mexican Pile-up, tossed salad with strawberries and poppy seed dressing, and cake.

It was rather hard to say goodbye when the evening was over, as we knew we'd accomplished the goal that brought total strangers together, but we left knowing that close friendships had been formed and it wasn't the end. I hope we do stay in touch, because we all were a big part of each other's lives for the last seven months. We know things about each other that...well...never mind. ;-)

Front L-R: Barb, Linda, Rhonda, Me
Middle: Esther, LeeAnn, Margaret, Terry, Bill
Back: Kevin, Monique, Jamey, Roger

Words of Inspiration

"Believe in yourself. Dare to be remarkable"
- inscribed on a bracelet given to me by
my mom the morning of the race

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Day I Walked 13.1 Miles

4:00 AM
Alarm went off. Got into a hot bath to get the muscles loosened up. Got dressed. Hair and makeup fixed.

4:30 AM
Ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Drank a Fresca.

5:00 AM
My groupies arrived and we headed to Fort Wayne.

6:00 AM
We parked in the parking garage and walked to the Start line, where Channel 21's Jeff Bowman (cameraman) and Mary Collins (news anchor) were ready for broadcasting.

Seven months ago, I would never have believed I would be standing on a street corner in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, at 6:30 in the morning, excited at the prospect of walking 13.1 miles as fast as I can walk it. I wanted to be running it, but at my eye doctor appointment yesterday, I got the no-no for that.

As members of our training group trickled in, we were all smiles and ready to go. We'd been through so much as a group - moaning and groaning as Jamey put us through our paces, sweating as we used muscles we didn't know we had, encouraging each other in the down times and rejoicing with each other over the many milestones we passed along the way. Now we were putting all of that together as we prepared to walk/run either 4 miles or the full 13.1 mile half-marathon in the first ever Fort4Fitness event.

The race registration reached its limit of 2000 for the half-marathon and another 1000 for the 4-mile weeks before and next year those numbers will be doubled. I have no doubt they will reach that, given the comments heard after today's race.

Mary began her coverage of the race at 6:30, and she interviewed our group somewhere around 6:50. She didn't talk to each of us, but I was one of them she did. I don't recall a single thing she asked me or what I said, with all the excitement coursing through my veins; I just hope it was somewhat intelligible.

We did some stretches, then headed to our starting areas. We were to place ourselves in the corral that corresponded with our expected pace. My walking partner Diana and I guessed at 12:00 minute miles, although I knew that was probably optimistic. It didn't really matter being that far back, because the serious runners were yards in front of us anyway. It turned out that most of the rest of our training group started at this point, too.

The crowd started to move forward and in a few minutes, we passed the starting point.

We wore timing chips on our shoes and as we passed over the starting line, the blue pads detected our chips and recorded our official start time.

There were large crowds lining both sides of Main Street as we headed west, just as the sun was coming up.
My family and some friends that were there to support me were sporting yellow t-shirts, designed by our older daughter Kara.

Jim, a friend from Chicago, had brought a large orange sunflower so I would be able to find them along the route. I have to say that helped a lot, as I looked ahead several times on the route for that sunflower, knowing there would be smiling faces and cheers of encouragement when I got to it.

For about three miles of the race, the 4-milers and the half-marathoners shared the same route, but then the two groups split, after going through historic West Central neighborhood and rounding through Swinney Park. We headed north at that point, and I wouldn't see my groupies until the end of the race. They had taken a donut break before attempting to meet me around mile eight and they missed me. I have to say that I missed them, too, as I was expecting to see them somewhere around that point.

I didn't begin to take advantage of the water/Gatorade that was offered until halfway through the course, wanting to stay hydrated, yet not wanting to have to take time out for a bathroom break either.

We went by the beautiful University of Saint Francis campus. I especially enjoyed the scene to our left as we passed the Bass Mansion overlooking the lake.

We then headed north towards Franke Park and I was glad to get to the port-a-potties. That took a minute or two, which would prove to be just enough to prevent us from meeting our time goal. :-(

All along the route, there was so much encouragement from those that lived along the route and those that made an effort to be there to cheer us along. The police department did a great job of patrolling the streets that had been blocked off and they also shouted out encouragement to us as we passed by them.

There were several people that had cow bells they rang as we went by, and one woman in particular moved along the route as we progressed and whooped it up with her well wishes. We saw her several times.

Somewhere around the 12-mile mark, my right thigh began to cramp up. I tried to relax it as I took my steps forward, which required a lot of concentration, but it didn't help a whole lot. I felt myself falling behind the pace and no matter how hard I tried to make my legs move faster, I just couldn't. I almost felt like I was walking in slow motion. I tried to ignore it, knowing we were nearing the end.

At this point, we met up with Bill, one of the members of my training group. As we rounded the last corner, Diana's brother met us, having finished about an hour before us and he went the final .4 of a mile with us. Also at this point, I encouraged Diana to go ahead and run in for the finish, which she did, although being the sweetheart she is, she was reluctant to do so.

I was never so glad to see that finish line up ahead and even happier as I saw my family and friends along both sides of the route. At this point, there were even more people cheering as I finished, since my first name was on my bib and there weren't that many people coming in around me. That felt great as I approached the blue mats at the finish.

Once I was over the line, Mary Collins was there to give me a hug and the emotions just came rushing out. Mary was crying and then I was crying and I just don't think I can find the words to express how all of that felt. Mary said to me, "You did it! I wish you could have seen the look on your face as you came to the finish line. You were beaming!" I was. I don't know which hurt worse - my legs or my cheeks from smiling so much.

Jamey then came and hugged me too and at that point I just collapsed into his arms. Had he not been holding me up, I would have been on the ground, because my legs just gave way.

Romie then came up from behind and he held me and told me how proud he was of me, followed by the rest of my family and friends. It was just such a great moment! I'm actually tearing up as I write this.

I went on to the tent beyond, where they cut my timing chip off my shoe and I received my medal. Then I got an apple, a bagel, and some pretzels, along with a bottle of water - all provided free by the race committee. It all tasted wonderful.

In that last mile of the race, we had passed near the Perfection Baking Company and we talked about how the smell of bread baking was making all of us very hungry.

Mary was interviewing each member of our training group as we finished, and once again, I don't recall a lot of what I said, but I do remember that it was hard to talk. I was quite emotional, my voice was cracking, and it was just hard to put things into words at that point.

I remember I commented on how our training group made all the difference in the world in my meeting this goal. I told her if you have even just one person to go through it with you, it helps immensely. I would have quit twenty times had it not been for the group.

Barb and I walked past the Healthy Food Expo booths, where many Ft. Wayne restaurants offered food for sale. Past those, at the east end of Freimann Square, was a tent where the official times were posted. I finished the 13.1 miles in 3:02:02. Not bad, for walking. That gave me a pace of 13:54 per mile or about 4¼ mph. I'm capable of walking faster than that, but to maintain a faster pace for thirteen miles is another thing altogether.

Now that it's over, I'm not sure I realize fully what it is that I accomplished just yet. It doesn't seem like such a big deal, yet 13.1 miles is about how far it would be from our house to Van Wert. Walking or running to Van Wert just seems ridiculous, yet that's in effect what I did. Maybe I'll realize it more in a few days.

I'm asked if I'll keep running. I didn't think so a few weeks ago, but Romie and I talked and we want to run a couple of miles three or four times a week to stay in shape enough to do some 5Ks together. And after doing this half-marathon and not being able to run it, I really think I want to do it again next year and hopefully run it. Kara has told me she and Adam want to do it next year, so we'll likely make it a family affair. We'll encourage Jenna and Joe to join us.

I've learned a lot about myself through all this. You can do things you don't think you can, if you do them in the right way and you have people to encourage you along the way. I'll try to be more of an encourager to others, now that I know what it takes to get from Point A to Point B.

One of the reasons I signed up for this was to hopefully find a way to improve my fibromyalgia pain and fatigue. As far as the pain is concerned, I don't feel that it helped in that respect, although an unrelated hip pain that I'd experienced for about three years disappeared shortly after I began training and hasn't returned. (Yay!) But I haven't had many of those "totally wiped out" fatigued days that I had so many of before I did this.

No doubt my cardio-pulmonary condition is greatly improved and I know my muscle tone is 200% better than it's been in decades. You just can't train like that and not experience a dramatic effect. I didn't gain or lose any weight throughout this, but Jamey didn't think I'd experience much of a change in that respect, other than perhaps a slight weight gain as I built up muscle.

I spent the rest of race day taking it easy for the most part. I was incredibly sore all over and walking was pretty painful. On Sunday, it was a little bit worse, but Romie and I took a leisurely walk of a little over a mile to help prevent more stiffness and soreness. I still limped a little, with my right hip joint and thigh muscles giving me the most problems. That was where I experienced the cramping during the race.

This morning, things were better. No more limping, and the soreness has diminished to a very specific couple of spots, mainly my gluteals. (That's butt cheeks, in case you don't know.) I know it will only get better and rather quickly I would imagine. It was worth every bit of it though. I will schedule a full massage later today for sometime this week with a gift certificate given to me on Mother's Day this year by Kara and Adam. That will feel wonderful!

I want to say a big thank you to those of you who have followed along, giving encouragement via comments on this blog or by e-mail or personal encounters. You have no idea how much each and every one of them meant to me. You all were an important part of my experience.

I also want to thank Mary and Jamey for choosing me to be a part of this very special training group. Not only would I not have done this without you and them, but I've made some great friends that I will stay in contact with long after this race is history. I know that I was given an incredible opportunity and I don't take that lightly. Thank you.

There will be a party at Linda's tonight for our group and it will be fun to talk and compare notes about our experience. I can't wait to hear what everyone has to say about their own personal journey. Everyone has a story!


Edited to add: Mary's interview with me can be seen on the Channel 21 web site here. Scroll down the page and click on my name and the interview video will begin.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Night Before the Big Race

I worked this morning, then had my eye doctor's appointment in the afternoon. While I was hoping my report would be that I could once again run, I was told that it wouldn't be in the best interest of my eye for me to do that. So I'll walk it.

This evening, Fort4Fitness festivities began with the Health Fair being held at the Allen County Public Library. Various health-related businesses and organizations were set up in the halls and under a tent outside.

We walked around a little bit, and ran into some familiar faces - people that I wasn't aware of that were running this thing. I also spoke with Jamey and a few of my fellow group runners, a couple of which I hadn't seen in awhile. We had looks of trepidation, calm, excitement - pretty much the gamut of emotions showed on our faces and in our conversations.

This is it and now I'm off to bed to try and get a few hours of sleep before the alarm goes off at 4:00 a.m.


Well. Here we are, just 24 hours away from race day. This time was so far off when we started this thing in February that it seemed like it was a day that would never come. But the reality is that for the past seven months, we have been training for September 27th - a day that we will for the first time in our lives, run/walk 13.1 miles. A half-marathon.

It's been hard work. Just as difficult as the physical aspect of it has been the mental. I can't say how many times I thought, "My body is willing, but the flesh is weak." There were times when I just didn't want to run even one mile, let alone the four or five that was on the schedule. I cried a few times, knowing that wasn't going to get me down the road any further. Still, I needed the release that the tears brought. Then it was back to business.

As Channel 21 News revs up for coverage of the weekend's events, I'm getting excited. I've been asked if I'm nervous. I'm not - not at all. I am looking forward to being with 3000 of my closest friends, hoofing it around some of the best parts of Ft. Wayne on a beautiful fall day. I'm grateful for the opportunity that was given to me and thankful for all the wonderful support I've received.

I don't know that I'll ever be a runner, but I now know that I can be if I want to be. I ran three 5Ks this spring and summer and I enjoyed them all. I never thought I would say that, though I've always liked the feeling of being totally spent, totally exhausted, sweat and all, and that's what it feels like after running 3.1 miles. I had some measure of success doing those - two firsts and one second in my age group - and a real feeling of accomplishment, mainly because I never thought I could ever or WOULD ever do such a thing. Right now, I won't rule out running just enough to stay in shape to do a few of those next summer. Just a couple of miles a few times a week would do it. We'll see...

I've been asked if I "feel better" (physically) because of all this. In some ways, yes. Undoubtedly, my body is in much better condition. I feel the firmer muscle tone just about everywhere, not just in my legs. When I was actively running, my cardio was fabulous, with my resting heart rate running in the high 40s, down from my usual 55. So the benefits of regular exercise have been proven by me. And shortly after I began training, the hip pain I'd experienced for about three years disappeared and hasn't returned.

Is it enough to keep me doing it? Well...knowing myself, I'm not making any promises, but I know it's been hard work and I'd hate to lose all that progress just by being a slug all winter. If I don't run, I'll certainly do something on a regular basis to stay in condition. For me to want to do that is a real accomplishment in and of itself. You have no idea how much I have always hated exercise and have never done it before now.

So, just 24 hours until the gun goes off, signifying the start of the race, the adrenalin is already pumping. Tonight, I'll be downtown at the Health Fair, picking up my race packet and participating at the Channel 21 Indiana News Center booth. I plan to soak up the fun and hopefully will get a decent night's sleep tonight, if I can relax enough for that to happen.

The news station will be providing coverage starting at 6:30 tomorrow morning. The race begins at 7:30. Information can be found here regarding all aspects of the weekend events, including race results.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


This morning was just about perfect for a nice, long walk and that's exactly what I did. This time, Diana drove over here and we walked to Paulding. We had to take some quirky turns to make the distance total 10 miles, but that just made the walk that much more interesting.

We passed the reservoir, the fairgrounds, the nation's first county Carnegie Library, and the first house Romie and I lived in after we got married. We shouldn't have gone by the fairgrounds because the Flat Rock Festival was going on and the traffic was horrible. It isn't a whole lot better to deal with on foot than it is in a vehicle.

Romie met us at Subway, where we picked up lunch and brought it back home to eat. When we finished, my thighs and hips were aching and the second toe on my left foot felt like the toenail was going to fall off, but by the time we got home, my legs didn't hurt anymore. In fact, I felt pretty good.

We'd completed the ten miles in exactly 2.5 hours and we hadn't walked it particularly fast. So we both decided we could do the 13.1 on Saturday in just under three hours. That's what we're going to try anyway!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm 51 years old today. If you'd told me a year ago that I would be running or walking a half-marathon at this age, I wouldn't have believed you. Yet that's what's in store for me in just eight days. And I actually signed up for this by choice.

It's a good thing. (So says Martha.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Walking Through Johnny Appleseed Park

We had training tonight at a new location on River Greenway. We met behind Wizard Stadium and took off towards the west through Johnny Appleseed Park. It's so named because not only did John Chapman travel through this area, he is buried at this park.

The Greenway follows the river through this wooded area on the north side of Ft. Wayne and is just as great a place to train as it is in New Haven. There were seven of us altogether, and we walked/ran four miles. I walked alongside Linda while she ran and amazingly enough, I was able to keep up. This is not to say so much that Linda runs slowly, but that I walk very fast.

I walked the four miles in 50 minutes. This actually was encouraging to me, knowing that I could keep up with some runners. I always have walked fast and yes, I was pushing it tonight, but that's what I've been doing while training. Even though I'm walking this thing, I don't want to be the last to come in.

I left the training session feeling better about things.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I've Met My Match

I've been working at University Park Research a few days recently, and there are some of my co-workers there that are going to do the half-marathon on the 27th, too. One of them - Diana - asked me to come walk with her and today was the day. I drove to her house in the afternoon and we walked the country roads of northern Allen county.

Though I walk about as fast as anyone I know, Diana walks faster. Oh my. And she made it look like she could go even faster. She's even about my size. No longer legs or anything.

We chatted non-stop and it made the time and distance (7 miles) go very quickly. We laughed about how on race day we'd probably get to the end and say, "What? That was 13 miles already?"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Timing Is Everything

Since Labor Day is on a Monday and that's our usual training day, we switched it to Wednesday this week, again at Moser Park in New Haven. I got there around 5:10 and no one was there. It wouldn't be the first time that I missed a message about time and place, so I figured I was late.

I started out on the trail, walking my fastest, hoping I'd catch up to the group, if they'd started out at 5:00. Since I was walking and they were running, it was more likely that I'd meet them on their way back. I'd gone nearly two miles, which is the turnaround point for us, and no training group. It started to get dark and was thundering, so then maybe I thought I'd missed a message that training was canceled due to an approaching storm.

I turned around, and walked quickly back to Moser Park, just as it started to sprinkle. It was there that I saw our group. The meeting time was 5:30, not 5:00, and they'd sat under the pavilion talking, not running. While they were talking, I was walking, completing four miles in 53 minutes. Jamey said it wasn't bad and that I'd do just fine come race day.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Controlling the Urge

Now that I've had to alter my training strategy, I've found that I have to change my way of thinking as well. Last night I fast-walked two miles just to see how long it would take me. I thought I could walk faster than I did - 4 miles per hour - but even at that, Romie couldn't keep up with me.

The hard part wasn't the way I pushed myself to go faster, but that I had to stop myself from breaking into a run. I guess someone telling you that you can't do something just makes you want to do it all the more. I just wanted to go FASTER! Running would have felt good.

This evening, Romie and I set out on our bikes and rode eight miles. At times, we were moving along at a good pace of 14 mph, but then we turned a corner and the wind was in our faces at a good clip and we dropped back to 2.5 mph! It was a good workout though and my legs were feeling it for awhile afterward.

I've received some encouraging e-mails and messages from fellow runners and friends. I appreciate that and they further bolster my resolve to do this, come hell or high water.

"I am so sorry to hear about your eye problem. I have lived vicariously through your blogs... You were always my inspiration to keep going, because reading your blog was much the same way I felt when you were suffering, but when you had your triumphs, it was wonderful, and it made me feel like I had to keep going. Just know that I am proud of you, and keep us posted on your progress."


"I have to admit that your blog made me think--a lot--about how I really shouldn't complain and that I should be much more motivated and that I should surround my brain with happy thoughts rather than critical thoughts.

I cannot even imagine walking 13.1 miles, Kylee. I admire your tenacity and your positive attitude and your determination. You are a far better person than I. I admire your spirit. I shall include you and your vision in my prayers."

Those are just a couple that I received, and really, how can I help but have a little more spring to my step after reading things like that? These are just proof how encouragement and communication between runners and those who support them can help. People who don't run can't imagine even thinking of doing what we're doing, but only when you've trained for it do you really understand what a big undertaking it is, and messages like these mean a LOT.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity that this has been for me. I've learned much about myself and my body and my health. I have already done things that I never dreamed I would do. I could never have imagined these words would ever have come out of my mouth:

"I think I'll just run three miles tonight."


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

It's no secret that I've been struggling with my running in the last few weeks and I've done a sufficient amount of whining to cause some people to wonder if I'd last until September 27th. But there was never any question as to whether I would be doing the half-marathon. It was just an issue of the manner in which I would be doing it.

I never expected to run the entire thing without stopping. I've played around with various plans such as running 10 minutes (about a mile), walking for a minute, running another 10 minutes, walking a minute, etc. But no matter how I end up doing it, the end result will be the same. I will cover 13.1 miles in a single effort.

It's been a blessing that I've not experienced injury this entire time and very little soreness. That's a testament to Jamey's excellent plan of attack with people who have never run before. Nice and easy does it.

About a month ago, I jokingly said if someone gave me an out, I'd take it in a heartbeat. On the other hand, I also said I would be really upset if something happened late in the game to prevent me from doing the 13.1, such as getting the flu, having an injury, or the like.

But I sure never figured on this...

Yesterday, I was working in the garden and I brushed a clinging spider away from the right side of my face. I'm always running into a web and having tiny ones dangle there in front of me. But this one wouldn't go away no matter how much I tried to wipe it away. I'd developed a floater in my eye.

I've had them on occasion before, but they never lasted too long or were this large. This was annoying because every time I looked this way or that, the 'spider' followed my line of sight. By evening, I still hadn't become accustomed to it and told myself if it was still there by morning, I'd call our optometrist.

This morning, it was still there, and I recalled how for the last couple of weeks, I'd noticed seeing a "ring of light" when I walked upstairs in the dark to go to bed. These two things combined made me call the office and they wanted me to be seen today.

I've just returned from there, and what I have is a posterior vitreous detachment, which isn't all that uncommon to people in their 50s and older. Usually it's not significant, but it can be an early sign of retinal detachment. After a very thorough examination, I am to return to have it checked in four weeks, then again at three and six months. Follow-up is important.

What this means in regard to my running is that I'm not supposed to do it. At least not until I'm rechecked in four weeks. (No heavy lifting either, or anything that would affect the pressure in my eye.) While the chances of this being a further problem are slim, they do exist and my optometrist takes the "better safe than sorry" approach.

My appointment is for Friday, September 26th, the day before The Big Day. I may get the okay to run then (or not), but even if I do, I won't be able to train via running, in the remaining time until the race.


So...how to find the silver lining in this? Here's my plan: Terry remarked that when he ran a 5K a couple of weeks ago that there were some girls who fast-walked the race and they walked as fast as he ran. I noticed as I walked next to him during group training a week ago that I could do the same. I can fast-walk the 13.1!

Even better, if at my appointment the day before the race, I get the okay to run, even though I will not have been able to train by running in the weeks before the race, I should be able to run some of it. As further training, I'm going to be riding my bike on the days I'm not fast-walking. At least my legs will stay in shape, if not so much my cardio.

So while this isn't what I expected would happen and I wish it hadn't, where there's a will, there's a way. I will do the 13.1 miles on September 27th. It's just going to take me a little longer.

As a friend put it, "Down, but not out!"

*Yes, that's a photograph of my eye, taken by my optometrist earlier this year at my routine eye exam.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bad Girl, Me

I have not run in a week. My excuses?

Tuesday - not supposed to run since I ran four miles on Monday.

Wednesday - spent all day on the road to Cleveland and back.

Thursday - worked in Fort Wayne and went shopping afterwards.

Friday - worked in the gardens all day because I was supposed to have a visitor (who ended up not coming) who has never seen the gardens and they were a mess after being too busy to tend to them. Was then too exhausted to run.

Saturday - just didn't want to.

Sunday - ditto.

Five weeks left until race day. Today is the day I get back on track. Group training tonight.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chasing Monique

Group training tonight was at the easternmost starting point of River Greenway. This is where I used to run with Ashley after work. It's a lovely place, with the trail meandering through the shady woods and following the Maumee River. With the hot temperatures we've been having, shade is a good thing!

Our group has seemed to dwindle down to just a handful, but I hope it's just that most of us just can't make it to group training. Tonight, it was Kevin, Linda, Bill, Monique, Terry, Margaret, me, and of course Jamey. Jamey assured us that most of us were still on board, although several have opted to run the four-mile course on September 27th.

While it's tempting to downgrade my goal, at this point I can't see me doing that. I signed up for the half-marathon and that's what I want to do. It might take me forever and a day to complete it, but that's okay. If I do any less, I will let myself down and regret it for a very long time.

Margaret and Linda couldn't stay to run, but the rest of us headed out. Monique, Jamey and I ended up running together until Jamey had to turn around at the one-mile mark and return back to the park, due to other obligations. We'd gotten a late start.
Monique and I decided we would do four miles, so we kept going until we reached the two-mile mark, then turned around and headed back to Moser Park.

Shortly after the turn, I had to stop and walk a bit, so Monique stopped too, even though she didn't need the break. We eventually caught up to Terry, who was doing two miles since he'd already run earlier that day. I stopped running and walked alongside Terry for a bit while Monique continued on.

When I took up running again, I could still see Monique up ahead and decided I would try and keep running at least enough to keep her in view, if not catch up to her. Catch up to Monique? HA! She's the "natural runner" in our group.

We all made it back to the pavilion and did our stretches. We talked about staying in touch after the race is over in September and even discussed doing a team triathlon! Bill's a swimmer, Monique's the runner, and I would bike it. Sounds like fun!

But back to the task at hand...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

There's Hope

In my search to add more silver to my lining, I think I found some. After exchanging several e-mails with Jamey (our trainer) and several in my running group, I think I'm once again in a frame of mind to continue onward toward completing the half-marathon next month.

He said we were supposed to feel fatigued at this point. (I do vaguely remember him saying that way back at the beginning.) As far as my body aching all the time goes, even some of that is normal. But since my heart rate has been higher as of late, this indicates that it's taking my body longer to recover from the training I'm doing, so he suggested I take it easy for a few days, then get back at it by running shorter distances for awhile.

The entire group got an e-mail from him last night, encouraging all of us to keep at it. He also reminded us that it doesn't matter if we WALK the entire 13.1 miles, our goal is just to finish. Come to think of it, walking that far is something I would never think I could do all in one day. However, I don't envision walking most of it.

We're so close now to the end. Apparently, there have been some of our group that have dropped out altogether, either due to injuries or some other reason. I hate hearing that. Even though I have felt like quitting, that has never been an option for me personally. Jamey has offered the option of doing the 4-mile Run/Walk that will also be going on that day, but for me, to do anything less than the 13.1 will be letting myself down. And barring injury or illness, that's just what I'll be doing, whether I run mostly or walk mostly.

And speaking of injury or illness, I will really be upset if I get all the way to September 27th and something prevents me from doing this race. That would really bite.

So, I'm cutting myself some slack since I'm allowed to, and this evening Romie and I walked. He didn't walk as far as I did, since he worked all day and then installed our new dishwasher AND he still hasn't been released from the doctor following his heart catheterization. I covered a little over three miles, which is the distance I was supposed to run. I did run a little - just half a mile - and fast-walked the rest of it. It took me a little less than 45 minutes to do that, which really isn't that bad.

My legs were tired and tingly all over when I finished, but I recovered much more quickly. It will be interesting to see what my heart rate is tomorrow morning. This morning it was 56, which is nearly ten points higher than it had been running. I don't know that I expect a huge change, but I hope it's lower when I check it tomorrow.

I feel grateful that I haven't experienced any injuries yet and I hope I don't. There are several in our group that have, and I feel bad for them. Some are attempting to run again after taking some time off and they have my utmost respect. If I had an injury, I don't know if I would have the determination to keep going like they have.

So I'm done with all the gloom and doom and I'm going to keep going and I WILL run on September 27th - and walk, too! That doesn't mean it will ever get easier, but I've been through much worse, and I'll make it through this, too.

Thanks to those of my fellow runners that have offered encouragement and empathy, and of course, Jamey, who always has words of wisdom. As he said to me last night -

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Ever since I ran the Matthew 25 5K on July 19th, my running has been a real struggle. Not a single run - not even the short ones - has felt good. I don't know what the problem is. And in recent days, not only has the run not felt good, but I haven't felt good long after the run is history.

I ran four miles last night, as per my schedule, and couldn't move when I got done. Romie massaged my legs really well and I was in bed well before my normal bedtime. I found it difficult to get out of bed this morning and as I've tried to get busy with all the work I need to do here, both inside the house and out, I find each step painful and difficult. It didn't feel like this a few weeks ago when I ran four miles.

This feels just like I felt a lot of the time last winter, when my fibromyalgia was in full force. Is that what this is? Maybe. And what do I do about it? I don't want to fall behind in my running, not with the half-marathon just six short weeks away. But I can't move. Ask me to run a tenth of a mile right now and I absolutely could not do it.

I want to quit, and have for some time now, but I won't.
I'm not a quitter. But this does not feel good. I can't imagine that anyone who likes running would keep putting themselves through this if they felt like this. If so, that just solidifies my opinion that runners are a special sort of crazy.

People always say, "Listen to what your body is telling you." Well, my body is telling me, "Alright already! Enough is enough!" There's a reason for this, but I'm not sure what it is and that's frustrating. If it were a temporary kind of pain and fatigue, that would be one thing, but it's lasted a very long time now. While I try to keep my whining to a minimum, and have refrained from expressing negative thoughts I've had recently, I've reached my limit and well, there it is.

Some of us have discussed how none of us have been runners before and if we'd really wanted to be "real" runners, we would have been before this point in our lives. So why did we willingly apply for this in the first place? I don't think any of us realized just how tough this was going to get. You don't know what you don't know.

For me, it was that I wanted to go through the training to get in better physical condition. I'm there now. I can tell. My body looks different and feels different. My heart rate runs in the high 40s, which is down from my normal heart rate of around 55. My three-year hip joint pain hasn't shown itself in months. But I never dreamed that this training would get this tough at this point.

When the goals were shorter, say three miles or so, that seemed doable. It was something that we couldn't imagine doing when we started, but as we worked our way towards that level, it did seem within reach. But now that the goals are bigger and longer (and tougher), doubts have crept in as to whether we would actually be able to do the 13.1 miles.

I'm sure I can go 13.1 miles, but how much of it will be spent running is another thing altogether. No one says we have to run it the entire way and I can assure you that I won't. But I'd like to run most of it.

Am I inspired by Terry, who at 68 is the oldest member of our group and has kept right up with the schedule and maintains a good attitude? You bet. But that doesn't make it any easier. In fact, it makes me wonder - what's wrong with me? If this is just a "wall" or a normal phase I'm going through, both mentally and physically, then fine. I'll wait it out. But I sure wish it would hurry up and skedaddle. It's just about gotten me down for the count.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere ...

... and I didn't drink enough. How do I know? I ran seven miles Sunday evening, but the next day my butt and everything above and below it was dragging. I worked, and all I really wanted to do was find a couch and plant myself on it. I kept going and my co-workers were none the wiser, but I was very glad when the day was over.

I worked today too, so I spent last night at Jenna and Joe's where I put my jammies on right after I got there and after eating some supper, I never moved from the couch until I woke up at 10:30 and went up to bed.

I had a raging headache and on Jenna's advice had been drinking water all evening, but I could tell it was going to take awhile before my fluids were sufficiently replenished. When I woke this morning, I still had the headache.

More water.

I talked with Dr. Milliman at work, who is also a runner, and he said too that it was probably dehydration that caused my lingering fatigue, soreness, and the headache. He's been there and done that, and recommended a couple of drinks that have helped him when he's running the longer distances - Accelerade and Endurox R4.

It can't hurt to try either or both, in addition to drinking more water. I sure learned my lesson about staying hydrated though. Dehydration is no fun at all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Seven. Finally.

We were gone all weekend, starting Friday afternoon, and I knew that I wouldn't get any running in. That seven-mile run just kept nagging me. No matter how busy we were or what we were doing, it just kept popping into my thoughts and I knew the only way to get it out was to just do it.

Sunday, after we returned home at 3:30, I was pretty tired, so I laid down for a nap. Two hours later, I woke up and started stretching a bit and tried to get into the proper frame of mind that would allow me to do the seven.

I started out, not quite sure which route I would take. I first went north, but after just one-tenth of a mile of the 20 mph winds in my face, I quickly turned around. I turned east at the first intersection and decided to keep going that way for a few miles. Though I didn't relish the idea of running into the wind, my aunt and uncle's house was about three-quarters of a mile north and I decided I would take a bathroom break there. Besides, I hadn't seen them in awhile and knew they would be surprised to see me show up unexpectedly.

I was right. While I needed to make my break short, I ended up staying about half an hour, most of which was spent on their living room floor stretching all the while that we talked. Finally, I said to them, "I hate to pee and run, but I need to keep moving." They laughed, wished me luck, and I was back on my way.

At that point, I had just two more miles to go. I was 3.5 miles from home, so I called Romie and told him I was heading south for two miles and for him to come with the car and pick me up in about 20 minutes. He got there in ten and let the car coast beside me for the last mile.

I was never more glad to get in that car and get home, where I promptly showered and collapsed. I was totally spent. I'm glad I reached seven, but that means next weekend, I'm to do eight.

This running stuff isn't for wimps, that's for sure.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

'Round the Square

Time for a regularly scheduled four-miler. I decided to go around the square, which is usually four miles, but the two possible squares we live on are either 3.8 miles or 4.1 miles, due to a jog in the road. I chose the 3.8 and added .2 once I got all the way around. Romie had figured out how much further I needed to go awhile back when he was on his bike.

Since he can't run or ride at the moment, I was on my own. I took the iPod, which helps, but from time to time it stops and won't start again until I stop running for just a bit. I'm not sure what the problem is, but it's annoying.

I struggled to finish the four. I don't know why this seemed so hard. My running seems to be taking big steps backwards.


Monday, August 4, 2008

The Spirit Is Willing . . .

...but the legs (and lungs and stomach) are weak. I wanted to knock off that 7-mile run tonight. I had been planning for it all day at work. I was really psyched for it. The day had been cooler, even raining a bit, and when I got home, I changed into my running attire and got ready for the road.

The plan was to run to the Grange and back (2.8 miles) and then all the way around the square (an additional 3.8 miles). An additional short run to the edge of the northern neighbor's property and back would put me right at seven. Piece of cake.

. . .

By the time I got just one mile from home, my plan had started to fall apart. My chest felt heavy, my legs were dragging, and sweat was already dripping down my forehead, through my eyebrows, into my eyes. Sweat stings.

I got to the Grange and turned back towards home. I'd already walked some, which is unusual for me at this point in the game. I struggled to run even five minutes at a time without stopping to walk. I began to wonder if I would even make it back home. Walking.

But once I got there and had put in 2.8 miles, I figured I might as well make it an even 3.0, but once I finished that, I was finished period. My clothes were soaked through with sweat, my face was hot, my head was throbbing, and my legs threatened to throw me to the ground.

Now just why couldn't I go more than that? I wanted to, I really did! I had visualized my running the course I'd set for myself and what I had seen was so far from the reality.

There will be better days than today for running. Each day presents a new opportunity to reach a goal, no matter how large or small. Besides, running three miles is better than running no miles.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's On Your iPod?

Roundabout by Yes


Happy by Amy Grant


You Can't Lose a Broken Heart by k.d. lang and Tony Bennett


More Than a Feeling by Boston


It's My Life by The Animals


Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones


At Seventeen by Janis Ian


Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin


It Don't Matter To Me by Bread


Ventura Highway by America


4.8 miles

By the way, just what are "alligator lizards in the air" anyway?


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On the News

Tomorrow morning, our training group will be formally introduced to the public on WPTA-TV Channel 21 (Fort Wayne, IN), the ABC affiliate. Mary Collins will be the host and some of us will be interviewed during the short segment. It should be airing around 6:30 a.m.

Monday, July 28, 2008

After a Race

For some reason, in the week or so after I've run a race, I just don't want to run much. I can't figure out why that is, but I've noticed it every single time. And after Wednesday night's six-miler, my desire didn't improve. But I'm determined to see this thing through, so somehow I'll keep pushing myself toward the half-marathon goal.

Jamey had told us early on that we would encounter a hurdle right around the 5-6 mile mark - that we would struggle to run more, once we reached that distance. So I'm guessing that's what I'm experiencing right now. Hopefully, I'll get over it soon and it won't be so difficult.

One of the questions that I'm asked most often regarding this running venture is if I'll continue to run after the half-marathon. Right now I'd say yes, but not anything more than two or three miles at a time, three times a week. I can run three miles in 30 minutes or less and that's a good length of time for a workout. That also would keep me in shape for an occasional 5K race. I do enjoy running those!

I'm not sure what I'll do once winter gets here. I don't enjoy running on the treadmill, but I may have to do that. There's a health center fifteen miles away, and I'm considering joining that for the winter months.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I need to worry about just getting out there to run on a regular basis NOW so that I'll be ready to run 13.1 miles in just two months.

I ran two miles last night, which took me exactly 20 minutes. Tonight, Romie and I power-cycled around the square at 12 mph, which is twice as fast as I run, and was a pretty good workout for my legs. Tomorrow, I'll run again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Six Miserable Miles

Time for some whine, me thinks. Maybe some wine, too. Throw some cheese at me too, while you're at it.

Last night was the first time I'd run since the 5K on Saturday. Even now, after a good night's sleep, my recollection of a certain 75 minutes last evening doesn't make the list of all-time favorite experiences. It's on that other list.

I'd not yet run the six-miler that was on our training schedule (ten days ago), so I decided last night was the night. We'd had a beautiful, cooler summer day and the evening was just about perfect for running. Romie accompanied me on his bike to verify mileage, although where we live, that's usually not necessary, with the roads being laid out in mile squares.

First mile: Looking good. Breathing well. Legs moving fine. I can do this.

Second mile: Oh, look! A deer! How pretty. Starting to get a sideache, for only the second time ever in this whole running adventure.

Third mile: Sideache turns into severe abdominal pain. Anticipating reaching the home of friends at the end of the mile so I can use the lady's room.

Halfway point: Friends aren't home. Well, now what?

Fourth mile: 2½ miles from home, not a living being in sight except for Romie. Cornfield to the right.

*skip this part*

Fifth mile: Getting dark now. Walking as much as running. Enjoying the lightning bugs. Dreaming about taking a shower. Thinking of stopping short of six miles by turning into driveway as I go by it on the way to the last corner.

Sixth mile: Corner isn't that far away. Can walk back to house. Decide to go for it.

Okay, so I ran/walked the six miles, but it wasn't pretty and it wasn't fun. I had thoughts of chucking this whole thing altogether. I won't ever be able to do 13.1 miles all at once. How do these people DO this??

They must be insane. I must be, too.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Matthew 25 Health/Dental Clinic 5K Race

I really wanted to do this race since I'm a dental hygienist and have treated some of the patients from the Matthew 25 Clinic over the years. The office where I used to work took referrals from the clinic now and then. Plus, I knew Dr. Phillip O'Shaughnessy, in whose memory the race is held.

There was a 10K race that started at 7:30 and a 5K that started at 8:30. For a moment, I'd considered running the 10K but thought better of it and after the way things went today, I was so glad I hadn't chosen to run the 10K. It was one of those "off" days as far as running goes.

Jenna lives not far from Foster Park, where the race was held, so she drove over and was the official photographer and support team for her mom. It was the first time that anyone had ever come to see me run a race and I was so glad she was there.

A few familiar faces were in the large crowd, but that didn't surprise me, given the dental community that I've been a part of for so many years and this being a benefit for the clinic. I ran into Dr. Milliman, who just this week became a dad to a little girl with his wife Kim. I had talked with him and Kim earlier this year, shortly after beginning training. They both run and had offered encouragement to me.

I checked in, got my runner number attached to my shirt and the timing chip put on my shoe, then did some stretches. We lined up at the start and the gun went off. We weren't given much warning, so when it went off, it startled me a bit.

The first five minutes or so of running is always the worst for me. My legs don't want to move. Once I get into a good breathing rhythm, everything else usually falls into place though and then it's almost like I'm on automatic pilot. But today, that just didn't happen.

My legs got adjusted, but my breathing never really did. I noticed I was breathing at a faster rate than normal, maybe because of the humidity.

The first mile went by at the usual rate, but the next two seemed twice as long as they were. I kept looking ahead to see where the runners ahead of me were, and if they'd made a turn yet, but it seemed like we just kept getting further and further away from the start line. I knew we were going to have to run all that way back eventually.

About three-quarters of the way through the race, I came up by a young woman and I heard her say, "Hey!" I looked over and it was Caitlyn, my patient that I'd had a couple of months ago that I also encountered while running in New Haven on the Greenway. She and her sister were running, as well as her mom. We chatted a little bit, then she hung back to wait on her sister while I went on.
Shortly after that, I could see the blue pads of the finish line ahead and what a welcome sight!

As I neared it, there was one runner ahead of me, and I decided I would try to beat him to the finish. I did accomplish that and unbeknownst to me, Jenna caught that sequence with the camera.

I was so intent on passing him that I didn't notice the young lady down on her hands and knees a few yards from the finish, vomiting. I saw her later after the race and she was just fine.

I have to say that I understood perfectly why she got sick like that. After I crossed the finish, I had to lie down flat on the ground or I was going to do the same thing. I had started to feel it the last half-mile or so. It only took a minute or two of laying there before the wave of nausea went away.

Jenna and I walked up to the pavilion to await the race results and to find Caitlyn and her family. We found them and we discussed how we thought the race went.
We listened to the awards being given and when they came to Female 50-60 and they announced that I had gotten first in that age group, I was absolutely shocked. I didn't feel like I'd had a good run.

My goal for today was to run it faster than I had before and to do it in under 30:00. I accomplished the first - I ran it 20 seconds faster than I ran the Canal Days 5K - but at 30:15, I went over the 30-minute mark. Oh well. A goal for the next time!