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

Saturday, April 26, 2008

On The Road Again

Jamey has told us that he doesn't want us running any organized races until after May. I can understand his reasoning, because when you're running in a race, there's that competitive factor that insidiously creeps into your thinking. And it does affect your running. You'll push yourself more than normal and the possibility exists for overuse and injury to occur because of it.

But when Romie brought a flyer home from work a few weeks ago for the YMCA of Van Wert County 5K Race to be held on April 26th, I kind of wanted to do it. At that point, I was already running/walking at least two miles or more during my 30-minute workouts, so what was one more mile? I'd just use the 5K as my training for that day.

I talked to Ashley and Kerrie about it at work and they both said they wanted to do it too. So last week, I got us signed up and paid the $10 entry fee. We'd agreed that if nothing else, we'd have a t-shirt, even if we ended up not doing it.

Last night, I spoke with Kerrie on the phone and she told me she wasn't going to be able to run the 5K with me. Ashley had already told me on Wednesday that she couldn't either, so now I was on my own. I'd had a pretty exhausting day yesterday and when I woke up this morning, I hurt all over and it was cold and windy and I decided I wasn't going to do the race either.

I lounged around until about 11:00, then got dressed so I could go pick up our t-shirts before the race started. Somewhere around 11:07, I decided I would go ahead and just run. Why not? I needed to run today anyway.

But I went about this all wrong. I hadn't run since Monday. I hadn't done anything since Monday, except for working in the garden. I'd had nothing to eat or drink. I wasn't entirely convinced that running the 5K was a smart thing to do. Mentally, I was wishy-washy about it. But I opened a jar of peanut butter and shoved a big scoop of it in my mouth, grabbed a couple of granola bars and a bottle of water and headed out the door.

The race started at 12:00 at the entrance to Camp Clay on Liberty-Union Road west of Van Wert. We went south to Old Tile Factory Road and turned west. O.M.G. There were 30-mph headwinds as we tried to cover that mile and so many horrible thoughts went through my mind at that point - "What the heck was I thinking?" "I have NO business doing this." "I want to just go over to the side of the road and sit in the ditch right now." "Oh please, let a car come by and pick me up."

Then I started to think rationally. I ran for a couple of minutes, then walked a couple until I caught my breath. Ran a couple, walked a couple. In the two places where there were trees and a house to break the wind a little, I tried to take advantage of that and I ran. I knew once I got to the corner and could turn, it would be easier running.

I turned the corner at Richey Road and now the wind was blowing from my left. This was a great improvement and I ran more like I'm used to running. At the halfway point, they had a water station set up and I stopped for about 15 seconds and drank a little water. I finished that half-mile stretch of road by running/walking, then turned the corner and headed east on Tumbleson Road.

Now the wind was at my back! I was good and warmed up by this point and it actually felt good running. I set a goal for myself of running that entire mile without stopping. I'd not ever run a full mile straight before, but with the help of that wind, I thought I could do it and I did. That brought me back to Liberty-Union Road and the home stretch.

I continued to run the couple tenths of a mile to the entrance, where I turned right again and headed toward the finish line.
The last tenth started out with a slight incline and I walked a little bit of that, but wanted to finish by running. That was much more difficult than I ever expected - running that last little bit. As I crossed the finish line, I was given a tongue depressor with the number 47 on it. That let me know that I was 47th overall. The time on my watch showed 33:20. (My official time was 33:11 - I didn't stop my watch right away when I crossed the finish line.)

I walked up to the building where everyone was congregating, eating snacks and drinking water and waiting for the results. Most of the people there had been running for awhile and many of them knew each other. I did see and talk to several people that I knew and I was surprised to learn that they were runners.

Time for the race results and awards! They started with the youngest age group and worked their way up to the oldest. The top two male and female runners in each age group were awarded a medal and there were also awards for the top two male and female runners overall.

No one was more shocked and excited than I was when they called my name for placing second in my age group. I'd won a medal! I thought I was going to cry. Before the race, I told several people that I didn't care if I didn't win a thing (and didn't expect to). I just wanted to finish without collapsing. But I have just enough of that competitive spirit in me that deep down I really was hoping I could win one of those medals. Being 50 years old didn't hurt, because there weren't that many female runners aged 50-59.

So, Jamey, while I know you're not happy with me right now and I fully expect to receive a tongue-lashing from you, for the moment I'm going to bask in the glow of my medal.

Two months ago, I can guarantee you I would have laughed in anyone's face if they'd told me I would be running in a 5K race, let alone coming home with a medal.
Runner's high? You bet.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

See Kylee Not Run

I've been bad. I've not run since Monday night. This is a horribly busy time for me. When the weather is nice, as it has been for awhile now, I work like a crazy person in the gardens. We've got big ones and are in the process of expanding several of them. There are several projects we're working on, too. And of course, Jenna's wedding in four weeks.

Last night after work, neither Kerrie nor Ashley was able to stay and run and when I got home, I got busy with outside projects and I didn't stop with them until after dark. By then, I was exhausted.

The same thing happened tonight. I worked outside all day, digging out grass so I could make a dry bed that will hopefully help with the flooding that occurs there whenever we get heavy rains. And after I got it dug, I shoveled rock and hauled it from the back of our property up to the house and put it in the bed.

I won't be able to run tomorrow either because Mom and I are driving to Columbus to pick up plants for the Smiley Park Children's Garden and we'll be gone all day. That means I won't be running until Saturday - five days since the last time I've run. That's the longest time I've ever gone without running.

I may not have run and I missed group training tonight, but let me tell you this - removing sod and leveling compacted clay soil, as well as shoveling and hauling stone, is GREAT for strengthening those core muscles.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Tricking the Terrain

I got a phone call from Jenna earlier today, and she wanted to know if I was going to run after group training tonight. She lives just nine-tenths of a mile from the Ash Center where we train and I'd mentioned running to her place after training last week. She's getting married on May 17th and she's decided she would look better in her wedding dress if she lost five pounds. So she suggested I drive over and we'd run together.

She was a super athlete in high school (basketball, softball, golf) and played golf for all four years at Manchester College. She's got a slim, very athletic build and is one of those natural athletes that can do almost any sport well. She didn't get that from me. She's now employed as an athletic trainer and I know she goes through phases of working out, but apparently not recently.

After group training tonight, which consisted of walking/running for five minutes then two rounds of station core exercises, I drove to Jenna's. We walked the short distance to Wildwood Park, then started running. I'm at the end of week 7, where we run 7:00, walk 3:00, and repeat two more times for a total of 30 minutes.

Wildwood Park is an idyllic city neighborhood in Fort Wayne, at least as far as I'm concerned. Most of the homes there are unique, oozing with character and class, and are surrounded by lots of trees and beautiful landscaping. There are even rolling hills and the streets aren't laid out in grid squares, instead meandering and winding in and around and through.

We started our run and as we moved along, I expressed my concern to Jenna about those hills. I've not run on anything but flat terrain because that's all we have where I live. And when I say flat, I mean flat. Like a tabletop. She assured me there was a way to get around the hills. Her former roommate, Mel, was a runner and she had it all figured out how to run on the flat or downhill parts and take the walking breaks on the uphill parts.

About halfway through the second 7-minute run, Jenna hurt her ankle. She's had problems with it before, but it had been a few years, so she was surprised that it bothered her today. She tried to go easy on it, but had to stop and walk and even that was fairly painful. She felt bad that she couldn't run with me and I felt bad that I couldn't slow down for her. I told her to just rest and I would run a ways then turn around and come back to her.

I did end up having to run up one hill, and it was at the end of the third and final run. Could it have come at a worse time??? But I pressed onward and upward and met back up with Jenna and we walked back to her place.

The change of scenery helped the 30 minutes fly by. The magnolias were in bloom at about every other house and the weather was just about perfect, too, with temperatures in the low 70s with sunny blue skies. I think I'll try to do this as much as possible after group training and hopefully Jenna's ankle won't give her permanent trouble.

I've found that I'm not all that winded anymore after running and can even talk while running. It's just amazing to me how good this feels (most of the time) and also how far I've come in just eight weeks. There's still much work to be done, but I now feel confident that what once seemed impossible is actually doable.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Running By Moonlight

When I got up this morning, I was so stiff and sore that I wasn't sure what I was going to be able to do today, running aside. We'd planned a moonlight "stroll" for tonight, which was to include our son-in-law, Adam.

We worked all day outside in the yard, planting and cleaning the yard and gardens and I wasn't feeling much better by the end of the day than I had at the start. I still had to clean the house for Jenna's bridal shower tomorrow afternoon, but planned to do the bulk of that job in the morning.

I was so dirty from working outside that Romie suggested I take a bath even though I'd get sweaty if we did our planned run. That was a really good move, not only because indeed I did need a good clean-up, but the soaking in the hot water did much to temporarily relieve the soreness I was feeling.

When I got out of the tub, I felt pretty good and got dressed in running clothes. Adam and Kara arrived a short time later, and around 10:00 p.m., Romie, Adam and I took to the road.


It was good in so many ways. Let me set the scene for you... The temperature was around 70° and there was no wind. We don't live on a heavily traveled road, and in the half hour that we were out there, we didn't have a single car go by.

It was so quiet that the only sounds were those of our six feet padding rhythmically along and our exhalations keeping time with our feet. Off in the distance we could hear a chorus of spring peepers.
Stars dotted the black sky and there were only a few clouds streaking across, made visible only because of the nearly full moon. The spring night air smelled good and was enhanced by the fact that our neighbor had mowed his yard that afternoon.

We ran for 11 minutes, then walked for three. We started running again and it felt so good that I challenged Adam to go another 11 minutes without stopping to walk, instead of the 7 minutes that was the recommended time to be running at this point in the training schedule. Romie was taking it easy since this was his first time out after taking some time off to allow the pain in his hips to subside.

When the 11 minutes was up, I was still feeling pretty good, so I asked Adam if he wanted to go another minute longer. I think I could have talked him into running around the mile square if I'd wanted to. We stopped at 12 and walked our way back to the house.

We all agreed that we loved running like this on a beautiful warm spring night, with the moon lighting our way. I think we'll be doing this again!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Happy Spring!

I didn't intend on missing group training tonight, but it happened that way. Romie was whining about me going with him to Van Wert to help pick out materials for a couple of projects we're doing here. Since those projects are for me, I thought I'd better indulge him and go along.

The weather is absolutely fabulous. Summer-like. The high for today was 75° and it was sunny with a light breeze. It just doesn't get any better than this! I worked in the garden most of the day and got a lot done. Then this evening, around 9:30, we both came in for the night, after planting a magnolia tree by moonlight.

I suggested that we go for a moonlight run, but Romie was just too tired, so we have that planned for tomorrow night. Our older daughter and her husband are coming to spend the night because our younger daughter's bridal shower is here on Saturday. Adam has started training too (inspired by ME!) and he's going to run with us. Should be fun!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Conversation With Self

Worked all day instead of just the afternoon. Ashley is gone for the week and Kerrie couldn't stay to run. Worked in the garden when I got home from work. Beautiful day, but kept putting off running...

Some days are like this. I can find every excuse in the world not to run. It doesn't matter if the weather is perfect (which it was) or that I've got the energy to run (which I did). I just didn't want to run, so I had to do some self-talking.

I don't want to run.
But it's your day to run.
I know, but I don't want to.
If you don't, you'll fall behind with your training and your stamina.
Yeah, I know, but I still don't want to run.
Yeah, I know, but you still have to.

It's a losing battle with my Self, this arguing about running. So I just did it. I had put it off so long that it was dark outside and I had to run on the treadmill, and that's a whole other thing. Ever since Jamey told me that my running 25 minutes on the treadmill converted to about 10-15 minutes of outside running, I've been in competition with my Self.

I had another conversation with my Self about how long to run on the treadmill without stopping. I had set the speed at 4.5 mph and started running. I told my Self that I'd run two 15-minute runs. As I got near the 15-minute mark, I felt really good, so I kept going. When I got to 20 minutes, I decided I might as well try for 25 minutes again. And that's when I told my Self that I needed to run at least 26 minutes, because as I said in the previous paragraph, I'm competing with my Self.

So I ran 27 minutes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Drill Sergeant

The last several times in group training, Jamey has put us through drills. You hear a lot of complaining about some of them and we tease Jamey that he's mean and sadistic, and while that may be true, (just kidding, Jamey!), we know that he knows what's best for us. He's just trying to help us build up core strength and strong legs which will help us achieve the level of fitness we need to run 13.1 miles in September.

We started out running tonight, before the drills, and I ran the entire ten minutes straight, without stopping. It felt good. Then we did two circuits of drills, and by the time we were finishing up with those, my blood sugar was taking a dive. I was shaky and I wanted food NOW.

I worked out this session in new shoes that I had bought on Saturday. They're New Balance 661 running shoes that I bought at Kohl's for a great price. They were originally $64.99, marked down to $44.99, plus I had a 30% off coupon, making the final price $31.49.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Oprah's Big Give

As part of Oprah's Big Give, Fort Wayne Trails was given $10,000 to try and turn it into much more. The Fort Wayne area met the challenge and turned it into over $1,000,000, and the celebration was held today at Headwaters Park. Our running group was a part of the celebration, by being at both the Indian Trails location in the morning and at Headwaters Park in the afternoon.

L-R: Terry, Kevin, Me, Barb, and Monique

In the morning, a member of our running group - Barb - was interviewed by the Oprah filming crew. They were present at Headwaters Park, too, where over 3000 people joined in the fun. A local band played, prizes were given, a belly dancing troupe performed, kids got their faces painted, and there was food and other freebies handed out by various organizations that had table displays set up.

Indiana News Center's Mary Collins emceed the event, which included Mayor Tom Henry speaking and issuing a proclamation for the day. But the real crowd pleasers were Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy and several of the Colts players, including Bob Sanders.

Even though the day was ugly weather-wise, with temperatures in the 30s and rain then snow, the turnout was great and spirits high.

The events here in Fort Wayne will be highlighted on Oprah's Big Give on Sunday, April 20th, at 8:00 p.m. on local ABC affiliate, WPTA-TV Channel 21. (Note the NEW TIME.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It Was a Day

For the first time since we started training, I missed a group session today. It was a strange and busy day, starting out by getting up when it was still dark outside. I'm a night owl and unless I have to work in the morning or go somewhere early, I rarely see the sunrise.

The reason I was up early today (5:00 a.m.) was because Mary Collins and Jamey were on the morning news, which runs from 5:00-7:00 a.m., giving running tips and talking about our group. Kevin, one of my fellow runners, was on also, sharing his thoughts about what we're doing and how it's already helped him.

Then at 9:00, I got a phone call from our vet. Yesterday, I'd taken the latest addition to our cat family - Barney - to be neutered and immunized. Before they would do the surgery today, they did a test for FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus). Unfortunately, it was positive for the virus, so I gave permission for Barney to be put to sleep.

Barney was a stray brown tabby that had been making our place his home for several months, and while we didn't need another cat, his affectionate manner would have made him a welcome member of the family.

I had to make a trip to Van Wert that didn't get me home until after 3:00, and there were several things that I needed to get done so I opted to forgo group training. It was a running day today, but since it was pouring down rain, I ran on the treadmill in the basement instead of outside.

It's been several weeks since I last ran on the treadmill, because we've had such nice weather. I prefer to run outside, even though it's a little tougher on my legs. The scenery changes as I make my way down the road, plus Romie can run with me.
I set the speed on the treadmill at 4.4 mph and off I went.

I decided I wouldn't look at my watch until I started to feel a little winded or tired. Time went by as I jogged along, watching the evening news. Hmmmm...surely five minutes had passed... Nope. Eight minutes. I still felt really good, so I kept going. The next time I looked at my watch, I had run fifteen minutes and I still felt pretty good!

By this time, it was as if I were in a trance, on automatic pilot. I didn't want to stop, and as I reached 21 minutes, I was starting to breathe a little harder and the sweat started rolling down my face. My legs still felt pretty good and no hip joint pain at all! When my watch said 25 minutes, I stopped running and walked for awhile to cool down before hopping off the treadmill. Heart rate at the end: 138.

Wow. I would have never guessed today's run would go like that at all. Not after three straight days of crummy runs. Now I know that running on the treadmill is easier than running outside on the road, but I can also remember when running three minutes on the treadmill was a real killer. And I can remember when Jenna told me she runs 20 minutes on the treadmill and I wanted to slap her.

So take THAT, Jenna! LOL.

(Run 6 minutes, walk 2 minutes) x 3
+ Run 6 minutes = 30 minutes

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Struggling a Little

Last night at group training, we walked/ran for about ten minutes, then spent the rest of the time doing the various exercises at several stations around the gym. For some we used equipment, and for some we didn't. Some were new moves, some we had done before. I enjoy these and I was REALLY happy that Jamey didn't have us doing those blasted push-ups. I can't do them anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter.

Today, I thought about doing my running before I started working outside in the gardens, but since I like gardening better than running, I put my gloves on and got to work. BAD MOVE.
You'd think I'd learn, after my experience on Sunday, but no. I did remember to eat today, though.

About 6:00, I put my running shoes on and headed out. Romie's taking the week off from running, to try to give his hip joints a break, so he rode his bicycle beside me. He attempted to be my timekeeper, but he kept giving me the wrong times. I know this because I had my watch on too, and was keeping track of the time myself. I fussed at him about this, and he protested, "I'm only off by 15 seconds or so."

Only 15 seconds? When you're gasping for air and your thighs are burning and your hip joints are hurting, fifteen seconds might as well be another minute. I'm not sure why my hip joints were hurting, but they were. Both of them. And I just couldn't seem to get enough oxygen to keep me going. I kept getting dizzy, too.

So, I did what I could, which was to run as long as I could, then walk a couple of minutes and run again. That was 4:30 when I started out, then my times fell
drastically after that. There were times of 3:00, 2:20, 1:20, 2:00, and even one that barely made a minute. *sigh*

This makes three times in a row that I've had a bad running day. But I'm hopeful that this is just one of those bumps in the road and the next time I run (tomorrow), it will go better.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Our Fearless Leader!

Our running group is being trained by Dr. Jamey Gordon, owner of Fort Wayne Physical Therapy. Now if we aren't fortunate enough that we're being trained by a physical therapist, Jamey is also a runner. He does

Today, while Romie and I were outside planting shrubs and cleaning up the gardens, Jamey was in St. Louis running 26.2 miles. He did a darn good job of it, too. Out of nearly 10,000 runners, he placed 957th, putting him in the top 10% of all runners. Out of the 4246 male runners, he placed 698th, which places him in the top 16%. Great job, Jamey!

We have group training tomorrow, and I doubt Jamey wants to hear about how much of a struggle it was for both Romie and me when we ran today. But it was. When we got done, Romie said to me, "That was not fun at all." I wholeheartedly agreed.

Romie's been having hip pain, both sides. My legs were just tired and I didn't breathe well. We both only managed one five-minute run - the third one out of the four. The other three runs were broken up into running two or three minutes, walking a minute, then finishing out running so that the running part equaled five minutes.

For me, it probably didn't help much that by 5:00 p.m., when we started our run, the only thing I'd had to eat all day was two oatmeal raisin cookies. Nor the fact that I'd just spent five hours working in the gardens. I didn't forgo eating on purpose, I just was busy and didn't think about it. Serves me right that I had difficulty, but I don't know what's up with Romie's hip pain. He's going to take a few days off to see if the pain goes away.

This too shall pass.

Friday, April 4, 2008


Another successful running day...

Run 5:00, walk 2:30
Run 5:00, walk 2:30
Run 5:00, walk 2:30
Run 5:00, walk 2:30

It was a little tougher today than Wednesday, but I pushed myself and completed each run in pretty good shape. The weather was a downer when we started out. It was 45° and misting rain, but by the time we finished, that felt good.

When I'm starting to struggle during a run, I present myself with mini challenges. I look at what's ahead on the course and set a goal of getting to a landmark, such as the dead tree. Or the end of the cemetery fence. Or the pothole. And when I reach that, I set another goal. I do that until I am at the end of my minutes.

Works for me!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It's Magic!

Last week, during group training, a couple of my fellow runners mentioned that they were starting to feel it coming together. In their words, they were "getting their groove on." I stood there thinking, "Whatever that means," because I sure wasn't feeling any of that.

Each and every day that I have attempted running, it has been a struggle. Mentally, for sure, because of how I hate exercise and running most of all. And physically, my body is protesting. Sometimes it's my legs - burning and heavy and tight. Sometimes it's my lungs - burning and inadequate. Sometimes it's muscular - just plain painful, every step of the way. And sometimes it's all three, as was the case last Saturday.

Then came Monday, March 31st. What a great day. Running felt good. I felt good. It was all good. And I was sure it was a fluke.

Tonight after work, Ashley, Kerrie and I ran together. According to the running schedule, we were to run 5:00, walk 2:30, and repeat three more times for a total of 30 minutes. I wasn't sure how it would go, since I'd been struggling just to run three minutes without stopping, up until Monday.

Today was just about a perfect day - right around 50° and sunny, with a light breeze. We headed out, Kerrie and I on the heels of our young and energetic leader, Ashley. She's our timekeeper and she may or may not tell us the correct time we have left when we're running, depending on how we're struggling. She's good at messing with your mind.

But lo and behold, I was able to do all four five-minute runs without dying. Since it's always a full week since the last time Ashley has seen me run, she can see improvement (or not) from one week to the next. She was amazed at how much better I was doing. "You've made a drastic improvement!" she told me.

It's as if a magical switch has been thrown and my body has decided to get with the program. It feels different and I can't tell you how much that has changed how I think about things. I now have an incredible amount of confidence that I will continue to improve and that by September, I will be in pretty good shape for the half-marathon.

Maybe runners aren't as crazy as I thought, after all.