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

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!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Greenway Goodness

Romie had his yearly skin cancer exam in Fort Wayne today, so I suggested when that was done that we go to Moser Park in New Haven so I could do my running on the Greenway. He hasn't been running much lately, so he put his bike in the van and after his appointment was over, we headed over there.

At 4:30 in the afternoon, it's close to being the hottest time of the day, so I was glad for the shaded trails. It didn't take me too long to get into a good rhythm and before I knew it, I'd reached the two-mile mark on the trail and turned around to go back into New Haven.

Shortly after turning around, I met another runner coming at me whom I'd passed early in my run. This time I asked him how far he was running, to which he replied, "Thirteen miles." I told him I was going to do that in September and he said, "So am I. See you there!" That entire conversation took place without either of us missing a step and both of us yelling to be heard as the distance between us grew longer.

When we'd completed the four miles - me running and Romie cycling - I felt like I could have run another mile or two, and maybe I should have, but I've got to run a 5K on Saturday, so I didn't want to take a chance of overdoing it so soon before a race.

It's days like this that make me really glad I'm doing this running thing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Does Hiking Count?

We spent the weekend in Hocking Hills (Ohio) attending LilyFest on Friday and hiking all over the Hocking State Park. The Hocking Hills are the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and have many beautiful caves and waterfalls, with the most well-known being Old Man's Cave and Cedar Falls.

On Saturday, we hiked from Old Man's Cave to Cedar Falls and back, which is a part of the Buckeye Trail. It's not a flat hike and you need to be careful, or you might fall. I know this from firsthand experience. The soil there contains a lot of sand and this sand on trails that are heavily rock-infested can make for an accident waiting to happen. I didn't have to wait too long, falling on Saturday morning, after slipping on a sand-covered rock and landing with my backside on that rock. Ouch!

At the end of the day, we had hiked about seven miles and it wasn't flat ground, so I allowed myself a by and I didn't run the six miles that were on the schedule. Sunday was spend taking a leisurely time of heading home, with several stops along the way, and by the time we got home, I just wanted to plop on the couch, so I did.

As Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Another Goal Met

Early in this venture, I set one of my goals as running from our house to my home town. It's not a huge goal, and I kind of forgot about it until I tried to figure out some different ways of meeting my mileage. When you live smack dab in the middle of farm country, telephone poles and expansive fields can get boring.

So tonight I suggested to Romie that we run to town. He hasn't been running much so he wasn't very excited about this idea, but I'd worked it all out in my mind ahead of time.

We have a tandem bicycle so I thought Romie could ride the tandem alongside me while I ran, and once I'd completed my required four miles, then we could ride home together. He liked it, so off we went.

It was hot and a little breezy, but none of that seemed to bother me. The wheat was golden and smelled yummy. The farmers would be cutting it soon.

I figured it was 3.2 miles from our house to the old train track bed on the west edge of town.
Once I made it to town, I kept running for a few blocks, trying to decide if I wanted to go further or not. I was hot and tired and Romie mentioned that he wanted to try running, so we traded places.

He ran for about a mile and a half, then we rode the rest of the way back home together on the tandem.
Now that this goal has been met, I need to set a new one: run to town and back. That would be a little over 10K (6.2 miles).

I've temporarily gone back to wearing the first pair of running shoes I bought because that little blister I developed over the weekend still bothers me when I wear the shoes that I was wearing when I got it. Socks matter.

Monday, July 7, 2008

True Confessions

We had group training tonight and I just had to get something off my chest. I felt guilty about it and just needed to confess. I'm not sure if confessing it did a whole lot for me, but I just felt the need for full disclosure.

I haven't done a single core strengthening exercise since we last did them in group training at the ASH Centre. That was a very long time ago. I don't mind doing them, so I'm not sure why I'm not doing them.

Maybe it's because my running seems to be going fine without them. Maybe it's because I'm a very active gardener with multiple large gardens, and I do a lot of lunging and stretching and believe me, my core gets a pretty good workout. Maybe it's because the gardening tires me out, especially in this heat, and I don't have the energy to do those exercises.

The truth is I just got out of the habit and you know how hard it is to get back into a routine once you've broken it several days in a row. The rest of the truth is that this has been my problem my whole life when it comes to exercise. Even when I find a form of exercise that I like a little bit, for some reason, it tends to go by the wayside pretty early on. In fact, I can't believe I've actually stuck with this half-marathon thing.

Up until a month ago, if I had been given an "out" with this thing, I would have taken it, I think. Although when it comes right down to it, I'd feel guilty if I didn't see this opportunity that's been given to me all the way through to the end. It would feel sort of like stealing. Stealing an opportunity that someone else could have been given.

So I keep going - struggling at times - because it's for my own good and because Jamie has given so much of his time and expertise to expertly lead us through this. I never could have done this any other way.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lost in Michigan

We were invited to my brother- and sister-in-law's lake home today. Sort of a "4th on the 5th" kind of holiday celebration. Romie suggested I wait and run my five miles up there, since it would be a different location and the scenery might help me make it through the run.

It's about a 90-minute drive to Long Lake near Reading, Michigan, so we started out early and geocached our way up there. We also stopped to see the farm where my parents used to live just outside Reading. I remembered seeing it as a child once, but I never lived there. They only lived there a year and that was before I was born.

Once we arrived at the lake, we visited a little bit, then around 4:00 Romie and his sister got on their bikes while I put on my running shoes. Joan said it was about five miles around the lake, so I decided to take that route for my running today. Joan went a little ways with us and gave us directions for the rest of the way, then she headed back to get food ready.

Southern Michigan does have some rolling hills, and for someone who's used to running on tabletop flat terrain, even a little hill presents a challenge and requires more exertion. I tried to run up every little hill I encountered and only walked a short distance as I neared the top of a couple of them.
The first real challenge for me though, was running to the end of Long Lake Road. They don't call it Long Lake for nothin'!

With the little hills, as I got to the top of each one and looked ahead, I directed my gaze toward the left side of the road, looking for the next road where I would turn left. But all I kept seeing was another little hilltop ahead. WHERE WAS THAT NEXT ROAD??? For some reason, making a turn motivates me and fools me into thinking I'm closer to the end of the run than I sometimes am.

Finally, there it was. We made the turn and this leg was much shorter than the last and when I got about three miles into my run, we stopped at a small store so I could get something to drink and go to the bathroom. I thought I'd get water, but decided on a Diet Coke. I drank three-quarters of the can, handed it to Romie and we continued on our way.

We made the next turn, which after a small discussion decided it was the wrong one, so we backtracked out to the road and continued on. Detour = .2 mile. On Blair Road, we once again found that it was another long, straight run. I reached five miles and was glad to stop and walk, because with a quarter-mile left to go, my right butt cheek started getting really tight and sore again.

Now I'd completed the five miles, but looking ahead, we saw no road that turned left. We walked/rode some more and up ahead we saw a road, but we could also see that it was quite some distance before it got remotely close to the lake, so after another discussion, we turned back and hoped that a family member back at the house would come looking for us. At this point, we'd been gone about an hour and a half, well past the time and mileage we should have been back to the house.

We got back to the dead end road where we'd made our first mistake and Romie rode ahead to ask if we could get to our final destination via that road, while I took pictures of wildflowers. No, we'd been on the right road in the first place and yes, it was more than five miles around the lake.

There was a kind group of people we talked with and asked if we could use their phone to call for rescue, but they insisted on taking us back themselves. Such nice people they were!
As we drove up, brother-in-law Butch had just headed out to look for us.

Everyone was pretty well done eating, but thankfully, they saved some food for us. We took a boat ride later and enjoyed chatting with family, some of whom we hadn't seen in quite some time.

Regarding the run - it wasn't really that bad, even though a good deal of the time I was running on gravel or sand, and there were those hills. I got my first blister of my running career, thanks to my poor choice of really low ankle socks, which allowed my shoe to rub on the underside of my ankle. There was lots to distract me however, so it made it go much faster and I wasn't as tired as I thought I might be when I was finished. In the end, I had run five miles and walked over two more. I hope running six miles next weekend goes this well.

P.S. After I got home, I put the route around Long Lake on Google maps just to see how long it actually was: 6.6 miles. "About five miles" apparently is an arbitrary distance...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Out In the Country

This was one of those days where I just kept putting things off and when 8:30 rolled around, I knew it was now or never. I missed a running day somehow this week and needed to run a four-miler before attempting five miles on Saturday. Romie stuck his head in the door and asked, "Are you running tonight?" and I went upstairs and changed clothes, put my shoes on, got myself psyched for running and we were off.

I tried to focus on things other than the running and how far I had yet to go before completing four miles and this is what I noticed:

* The smell of ripening wheat - It's pleasing enough just to look at those "amber waves of grain", but the smell is pretty darn good too.

* Two deer leaping through the bean field - We see deer on a regular basis here, but somehow it's different when you don't have a windshield between you and them. Later, on the way back home at about the 3-mile mark, we saw another one leap-frogging its way through the three-foot tall wheat. First we'd see it, then we wouldn't, then we'd see it again, then we wouldn't. It was the picture of grace.

* Wild roses - They are in full bloom right now at the edges of the woods and along the ditch banks. As a flower lover, it makes me smile when I see their beautiful bubble gum pinkness.

* The cardinal's song - Probably the most recognizable song of all the birds here, except for the Killdeer. The cardinal is our state bird and no wonder - we have lots of them. Red is my favorite color and I like that in a bird.

* A glorious sunset - I hope I never take for granted the oodles of beautiful sunsets we see here. Living out in the flat, open land like we do, there is nothing to get in the way of the shades of oranges, pinks, reds, violets, and yellows that make up a Midwestern sunset. No photo I take can even begin to capture the sky above the western horizon as I run towards it.

* No traffic - It took us 46 minutes to run four miles tonight and during that time, not a single car went by. Once we ran from the cluster of houses where we live, there were only two houses located on the rest of the way. There is something strangely calming about that kind of solitude. Alone, yet not.

I only stopped to walk for two minutes during the run tonight. It was a good run.

Whenever I need to leave it all behind
Or feel the need to get away
I find a quiet place, far from the human race
Out in the country.

Before the breathin' air is gone
Before the sun is just a bright spot in the nighttime
Out where the rivers like to run
I stand alone and take back somethin' worth rememberin'

Whenever I feel them closing in on me
Or need a bit of room to move
When life becomes too fast, I find relief at last
Out in the country...

~ Three Dog Night

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Keepin' On Keepin' On

I'm just running right along now. I've missed a day here and there, but for the most part I'm keeping up with the running schedule. I've had several days of running two or three miles and last weekend, it was four again. This coming weekend, it will increase to five miles.

It's not been all that difficult, but I'm finding that my butt cheeks are feeling tight and sore at times. I keep trying to stretch them out and it hasn't become unbearable, but I can't seem to overcome it altogether.
I've been checking my pulse in the mornings and it stays right at 46-50, so my body seems to be adjusting to the increased distances.

We didn't meet as a group this week, so it will have been three weeks since I've seen the group when we get together next Monday. I wonder how everyone else is faring.