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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's Official!

Jamey sent out an e-mail to the group to let us know that we could officially register for the Fort4Fitness Half-Marathon. Thanks to Indiana's News Center, Channel 21, the registration fee of $35 has been waived for us.

I'm registered! Woo hoooooooooooooo!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Four Miles!

As we are training by distance rather than time now, we are doing long runs on the weekends. I wasn't able to do mine yesterday, so today I ran the four miles that was on the schedule. Romie followed on the bicycle, since he's still having back issues, although they are much better.

I waited until evening to run - around 8:30 - which is a great time for me. It has cooled off by then and the wind has died down, making for a very pleasant way to spend the time running. Did I just say that? And did I just run four miles?


We have been training for nearly four months now and when I look back on how I was "back then," it is truly an amazing thing to behold.

I cannot stress how much this has helped me in so many ways. When I gotthe e-mail stating "Congratulations! You have been chosen..." my first thought was, "Oh crap. Now I have to do it. What was I thinking???" And in recent weeks, I now truly believe that I CAN run a half-marathon! This is HUGE!

I have hated exercise for DECADES. Can I say I like running? Ask me before I go out or in the first five minutes or so, and I'll say no. But ask me once I'm "in the groove" and I'll tell you how good it feels to be running. And when I'm finished with a run --- oh, if I could just bottle that and sell it, I'd be a rich woman. And I absolutely LOVE how my body feels! So fit and toned and healthy! It's really, really amazing, especially when I think that in 1999, I was told that it was a miracle I was even alive and that I might never walk again.

I am thankful to Jamey for donating his time and talents and professional services so that we can do this. We have to be a challenging group to deal with, and without Jamey, I'm sure that none of us would be where we are right now, wherever that is in the training process. The fact that Jamey believes in us has given me the confidence to stick with it, knowing if I quit, I was not being fair to myself or to anyone else who had hoped to be a part of our group. Outside of the race, I have met some wonderful people and have enjoyed the fellowship with them.

The four-mile run felt good, even though I'd not run since my Monday run with Kevin. I was tired by the time I was done, but that was understandable. Except for a three-minute bathroom break in the middle, I ran the entire four miles.

We're to run four miles next weekend too, then the distance will start increasing again, by a mile each week.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I lost my Wednesday running partner today. I work with Ashley, a 25-year-old ball of fire that amazes me with her energy. Was I like that 25 years ago? Yeah, she's half my age, and the same age as my younger daughter Jenna. But we get along great at work and on the running trails, in spite of the age difference.

But Ashley and I won't be running together anymore. I was let go from my job today. Not because I didn't do a good job (I was assured that I did) nor because I was hard to work with (my employer told me I always put a smile on his face because I was so upbeat and pleasant). No, it was because of reorganization, you could say. I work part-time and he wanted all full-time employees. He offered me full-time, but I declined. Two other part-time employees were also let go.

My work was a half-hour drive away, and as much as I'd like to, for me to make the trip in to run with Ashley isn't economically smart, with the price of gas being so high.

I was supposed to run three miles tonight, and I was all set to go down to the Greenway and do just that. I felt like it was going to be a good running day. But after taking a detour sitting on the other side of my employer's desk, I lost my enthusiasm and just headed home.

I'll miss running with Ashley, and I'll miss my job. Working half a day might seem trivial to some, but it provided me with spending money and I enjoyed my coworkers and my patients. It also kept me active in my profession. I'll still have the opportunity to sub for the remaining hygienists there, but it won't be the same.

This too shall pass...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Target Heart Rate

I worked this morning, and since we had group training at 5:00, I stayed in town. High gas prices, you know. ($4.15 a gallon, today) I took the opportunity to visit a new (to me) plant nursery, Arbor Farms, where I found a nice witch hazel tree. A few more errands completed and I headed to Aboite New Trails, where we train now.

A power nap sounded good, as I was about 45 minutes early, but then Kevin pulled into the parking lot and we decided to run. It was pretty warm, so we worked up a good sweat early. I ran two loops around Jorgensen's, which was 2.6 miles, I think. I walked just a little bit about halfway through.

Kevin and I were done by the time the rest of the group had arrived. Jamey is in North Carolina for the week with USA Baseball, so Brian was there, along with a few girls to answer any questions we had about target heart rate. I had missed that group session.

The Karvonen Formla can be used to determine your target heart rate, and in my case, works out like this:

Maximum Heart Rate = 220 minus 50 (my age) = 170
170 - 47 (Resting Heart Rate) = 127
127 x 65% (low end of heart rate zone) = 83
127 x 85% (high end of heart rate zone) = 108
83 + 47 = 130
108 + 47 = 155
Target heart rate zone = 130-155

We are to keep track of our heart rate first thing in the morning, about a minute after waking up. If we see a rise in this number, it indicates that our body is having to work harder to recover from our training and we need to cut back.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Running Between the Raindrops

We've had quite the summer of storms so far, and it's not even officially summer yet. You'd never know it by the temperatures. It's been unusually hot for June, and while I enjoy hot weather, this is ridiculous. And I definitely don't enjoy the severe storms that have been coming our way.

The National Weather Service says we are in for it again today, so I did something I usually don't do - I got up and ran my two miles first thing. I was done by 9:00. It had thundered and rained a little bit before that, but there was a break before the real storms were due to arrive, so I got out there and sweat a good one.

My run today was a little better than Monday's, but still, my legs seemed to be protesting a bit the entire run. My cardio-pulmonary system is working oh so efficiently, but my legs seem to be reluctant to get with the program lately. Past experience has taught me that this will pass, though.

I wasn't supposed to run at all today, but I missed running on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so I needed to run today. And now that I have, I can put that out of my mind until tomorrow, when I will run for three miles. Just like last Saturday, except that I'll be doing it alone, instead of with a hundred other people.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Two Long Miles

I missed group training tonight, but I ran two miles like I was supposed to. We'd had some strong storms roll through around supper time, but once I was sure they had moved eastward and there was no chance I would be struck by lightning, I started my run down the road.

The first five minutes of a run are the toughest for me. Right now I'm not having a hard time getting out there to run, which is a major accomplishment, but the first steps are not fun. My legs feel tired, heavy, and stiff. I stretch fairly well before I run, and that helps, but I can't wait until I'm warmed up and settled into a rhythm.

Tonight, I just never got settled in. The entire two miles was a struggle. I was breathing fine, but my legs just did not want to be doing what I wanted them to do, and I was glad when two miles were behind me.

Tomorrow is a 0-2 mile day, and I will be running two miles, because on Wednesday, when I'm supposed to run two miles, I'll be on a bus headed for Chicago Botanic Gardens. I'll get plenty of walking exercise that day, but no running.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

New Haven Canal Days 5K

A Rough Start...

Our air conditioning isn't in working order at the moment, so I slept on the couch in the cool basement last night. I'm not sure where Romie slept, because I fell asleep before he went to bed, but he's an early riser, unlike me.

Around 7:30, I awoke to the sound of someone banging on the back door.
I went upstairs to find Romie just outside the door, leaning over a garbage can, obviously in pain. I opened the door and asked him what was wrong. He'd been picking up sticks from the storm we'd had the night before and when he bent over, he hurt his back. He really hurt it.

He's had problems before, and rest and muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory drugs helped it. But this time was different. He just couldn't move his left leg without severe pain. It was almost as if he'd had a stroke. He tried to make it move, and he couldn't. He painfully got down on his hands and knees to crawl into the house and he pretty much had to drag his left leg along, moaning in pain the entire way.

We'd planned on running the New Haven 5K together this morning, but he obviously wasn't going to be running it now. I asked if he wanted me to take him to the ER, and he said no. I massaged his back for awhile and then asked if I should stay home with him. No, he wanted me to go ahead and run, and he was very disappointed that he couldn't run, too. This would have been his first 5K and his first race of any kind.

I got him all settled in on the family room floor after getting him some food and meds, then I left for New Haven. I called Jenna, who works for ONE (Orthopaedics Northeast) as an athletic trainer, and left a message for her to call him to see how he was and offer suggestions for what he could do.

The Race...

I got to New Haven High School around 9:15 and found Barb and Terry, who'd already picked up their t-shirts and were wearing their race numbers. Barb said to me, "Wait until you see what your number is." I guessed that maybe it was 13 and she said, "No..."

I walked over and the entrants were numbered alphabetically. Amazingly enough, no one running the race had a last name starting with the letter A, so my number was 1! I wonder if that gave me a little psychological boost? LOL.

Guen showed up a little bit later and Terry's wife Cindy took a couple of pictures of us before the race. We all stretched and then all the runners walked from the high school to the Lutheran church further north on Green Street, where the race would start. At 10:30, a whistle was blown and we were off!

We preceded the parade, so there were lots of people sitting in lawn chairs watching us run. As the race started, my primary thought to myself was, "You have to pace yourself. Don't go too fast." It's easy to do a jackrabbit start because so many other people do just that, and you get caught up in their momentum.

I very consciously had to slow myself down and before I knew it, I was at the back of the group. That was okay, because I merely wanted to maintain a slow, steady pace for the entire race. I had two goals: To run the entire race without stopping, and to improve on my time from the other 5K I'd run at the end of April (33:11).

The weather was absolutely perfect for running. Cloudy skies, light breeze, temperature around 70°. Once we finished running down Park Street and turned south onto Werling Drive, the number of spectators dropped dramatically. Now I could concentrate better on my running form, pace, and breathing.

I think my breathing rhythm has been a huge factor in the success and character of my runs. The faster I settle into a nice slow breathing rhythm, the better I feel about the whole thing. I don't get out of breath and my lungs don't burn and my heart doesn't feel like it's about to beat right out of my chest.

About halfway through the race, we passed a water station and a lady with a hose. I tried drinking my water and running at the same time, but that wasn't very successful, so I stopped long enough to drink two swallows of water, then passed through the water mist from the hose and got back on my way.

A couple of times I passed by some residents sitting in their driveways and I heard them yell out to me. I've worked in New Haven since 1977, so I know quite a few people who live there. One of my patients that I'd just treated about a month ago recognized me as I went by her house and she shouted to me, "Kylee! You're looking good! I'm so impressed!" What a boost that gave me!

A little over the two-mile mark, I encountered a young girl who was running her first race ever. We chatted a bit and offered encouragement to each other for the next half mile or so, then I went on ahead. I was feeling pretty good at this point, and decided to see if I could step up my pace without killing my legs. I didn't do an all-out sprint by any means, but did run a little faster all the way to the finish.

Barb was the next member of our group to come in, then Guen, then Terry. It was so fun when we all stood and talked about our experience. The feelings that showed on our faces were well understood by us - we'd finished, we'd done well, we'd done it together.

Terry joined his family, who was all there, while Barb, Guen and I walked around for a little bit before going back to the table to see what our times were. I'd accomplished my goals. I ran the entire race without stopping and took about 2½ minutes off my previous time, with a new personal best of 30:35. Next time, I'd like to get it under 30 minutes.

The winners in each age group were to receive certificates later in the mail. When we looked down through the official results, I saw that I'd won my age group (50-59 Female) and Barb came in second. As she said, we dominated our division! (We were our division...LOL) Terry won his age group, too.

I jokingly said as we were standing there, "I won my age group; I want a trophy, too!" The race's organizer reached around into a box and came up with a trophy! They'd had one extra. Then Barb said, "I got second," and he pulled the top half of a trophy (a female running figure) out of the box and handed it to her. It was a giggly moment.

What a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. You can't help but be energized by all those runners and to be able to run this race with some of my fellow Fort4Fitness trainees made it all the better. I just wish my hometown running partner had been there with us, too.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Shoes

Ashley and I had planned to run the New Haven Canal Days 5K course today after work, but my training schedule wouldn't allow it, so we drove to the River Greenway. The easternmost end of the trail system begins in Moser Park in New Haven, so that's where we always start when we run there.

The trail is marked every quarter-mile and it winds through woods, which was a definite advantage today. It was very humid and hot and I'm not used to running in that. I
don't run in that if I can help it. We both had good, uneventful runs.

After we parted ways, I headed west to the Three Rivers Running Company to see about getting a Fuel Belt. Because of a little problem I have when I run, Jamie said I need to watch my fluid intake prior to heading out for a run, and hydrate during my run. Since there are no water sources along the route I run when I'm at home, I need some way to carry water with me, and the Fuel Belt takes care of that. It does look rather dorky though.

When I first walked in the door, I noticed a sign announcing a shoe sale. Shoes? Sale? Lead me to 'em.

I talked with Casey and he recommended the Mizuno Wave Creation, which is a neutral running shoe. I pronate, so my inserts will go in these as well. When I bought my New Balance shoes in April, I didn't know that you were supposed to buy your running shoes half a size larger than normal. Now that we're running longer distances, I'm noticing the relative shortness of the New Balance shoes.

The Mizunos feel amazing and they were such a good price! They were originally $110, and were marked down to half off at $55.00. SOLD! I'll start wearing them for my shorter runs and break them in before wearing them for the long distances.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I had my yearly check-up at the doctor's office today. All went well and when the nurse checked my blood pressure, it was normal for me: 100/68. Then she read my pulse: 47. Normal for me is in the mid-50s. After she told me what it was, she asked, "Are you a runner?"

A smile washed across my face and I told her that yes, actually I was. It still doesn't feel natural to admit that I'm a runner. Yes, I run, but it's not really a way of life for me yet. I don't know if it every really will be, but time will tell.

If I don't end up being a runner after the half-marathon in September, I will do something to maintain this level of fitness that I will have achieved. It's been too much work to throw it all away. Cycling maybe, walking for sure. But maybe, just maybe, I will run.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Got Scolded. Sort of.

When I arrived at group training tonight - a little late, due to horrendous traffic through a couple of construction zones - Jamey made me go in front of the group and had them tell me what the running schedule was for today. Two miles. Not three or four. Two. No more.

Regardless of my having run two longer distances in the last week, I'll be more than happy to only run two miles! Especially when it's in the 80s and very humid!

When we began training, the goal was to run for 30 minutes by the end of May. I never thought I'd make that, but I have. Running for pretty much 30 minutes straight takes me a distance of nearly three miles, so I didn't think I was doing anything wrong by running the distances I did. In fact, last Wednesday, I did run just 30 minutes and went 2.8 miles.

But this week starts our transition to running by distance, not minutes. If it takes us 45 minutes to cover two miles, so be it. We're just to cover the assigned distance on the schedule and no more. There will be plenty of opportunity to run longer distances when we do one long run a week, on the weekends.

Our new running schedule:

*If you click on it, it will open a larger version.

We ran two miles at the Jorgenson YMCA, out on the Aboite New Trails, which is where we will be meeting as a group once a week from here on out. It was hot and humid and I sweat buckets. But the run itself went well for me. We did some chatting afterwards, then I drove home and finished up some gardening chores.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Doing Better

The last few times I've run, things have gone well. The experience has been pretty consistent:

  • · The hardest part is putting on the running shoes and putting one foot in front of another.
  • · I've learned to slow my natural running pace way down, especially at the beginning, until my legs get used to moving and supporting my weight as I move on down the road.
  • · I'm making a conscious effort to get into a breathing rhythm which seems to help get me into a running rhythm, too.
  • · Once I've got the breathing going and I concentrate on keeping my core stable and using my thighs more than my calves when pushing off, it's almost as if I'm a machine.

Tonight, after working in the garden most of the afternoon and attending a family graduation party (Congrats, Adrienne!), Romie and I decided to make a run. We started around 9:00 p.m., and it was perfect for running. It had been a pretty warm day (77° and sunny), but by this time of night, it's cooled off enough to make it pleasant.

We weren't sure how far we were going to go, or for how long, but we ran to the second stop sign north, which is about 1.3 miles, then turned around and ran back home. I continued on, because I wanted to run for the time I had run the 5K back in April, which was 33.11.

I was going to stop when my watch showed that time, but in order to make it easier to figure out the distance I had run, I wanted to go back to my starting point. When I got there, my watch said 36:30. I got in the car to see what I had run, and it was 3.3 miles. Except for a 30-second walk break at 14:30, I had run the entire distance, and it actually felt even better than when we'd run the 2.8 on Wednesday night.

Running seems to be becoming easier than I ever thought it would be. Oh, I know I'll still have some running days that don't go so well, but they're becoming fewer and farther between, and that's encouraging.