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, 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.