“Anyone can do it.”

While on the bus back from the WDW Marathon Expo, I overheard an interesting conversation.

The man behind us was talking to another guy about the upcoming races and how he got started.

To paraphrase:

“I was at a DVC Welcome Home member event and Jeff Galloway was there.  Now, I had no idea who this guy was, but I listened to him and chatted with him a bit afterwards, just to be polite.  When he asked if I was a runner, I laughed and said ‘Clearly not.  Do I look like a runner?’  But he said ‘Anyone can do it,’ and then gave me tips on how to start.  And now the kids and I do 5ks together.”

I thought it was a really neat story.  I think this guy was doing the 10k as well, and maybe the half marathon, but here was someone who never thought he could do it, because he didn’t fit the stereotypical image of a runner, and now he’s out there running with his kids.  And the fact that he got his kids active is probably the best part of all.

At Disney races especially, you see a lot of people who “don’t look like runners.”  Heck, I certainly don’t look like a runner.  Of course, you also see people who are clearly runners.  But it’s pretty awesome to go to a race and see all body types.  I’m not going to tell you that running is going to immediately make you skinny, but even if you don’t lose a single pound, you’re healthier for getting out there.  And endorphins rock.

Plus the bragging rights are pretty awesome.  “Oh, yeah, I ran that 10k last weekend.”





Looking Forward

So we had a snow day yesterday.  Well, a telework day in my case.  But we have snow!  I measured it at 6 inches in my front yard last night when it was still coming down.  I shoveled twice (very carefully due to my stitches) and am going to have to dig out my car at some point today because it got plowed in.  Hooray.

So as you can probably guess, I’m taking another telework day.  I figured, it was offered, so why not take it.  It’s been nice to be able to keep my leg elevated.  (It doesn’t hurt, but since it’s right on the back of my knee, a straight leg is much more comfortable than a bent leg.)  And while I trust myself driving on the gross roads, I don’t trust anyone else around here.  Seriously, a few flurries and people go insane.

I am finding myself going a little bit stir crazy though, not from being home, but from the inability to workout.  On telework days, I usually take a long lunch for a good workout.  It’s the perfect break.  But I’m not allowed to do anything til after the stitches are out and the wound is checked on Friday.  On some level, I’m enjoying the free time.  But I am starting to worry about fitness lost.  I keep telling myself that I ran a marathon a week and a half ago and am supposed to be resting anyway.

Then I realize how stiff I am from 45 minutes of shoveling.  Not a good sign.

But I don’t have anything big coming up that I need to be trained for.  Princess Half Marathon, but I can drag my body through that if need be.  Triathlons don’t start again til June, so there’s plenty of time to train there.  Which is good, since I’ve not been in the pool or on my bike in months.

However, I took advantage of the break and made a solid training schedule for the next couple of months.  Nothing too harsh, and it’s designed around my life so on days when I know I will miss workouts, I didn’t schedule anything. I don’t know if I’m looking forward to starting it or dreading it!

Who knew being lazy was hard?

You know what I’m not good at?  Resting.

After Thursday’s procedure, I’m supposed to be resting and letting my leg heal.

(Side note – when I finally took the bandage off and looked at it, no wonder it hurt!  I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t an inch long incision with four stitches in it.)

I’m not good at this resting thing.  I haven’t worked out, but I’ve also not been sitting on the couch all day.  Instead, what I find myself doing is walking around a bit too much, but babying my wounded leg, so the other leg ends up aching.  Probably not what I’m supposed to be doing.

The incision still looks good, though the stitches pull sometimes when I walk, which is why I think it’s bugging me.  Yesterday, it got a bit red, but I think I just overdid it, as today it looks fine.  That’ll show me, right?

I never just sit around and watch tv or try to be lazy.  I’m always up doing something.  And that’s why this resting and healing is so tough.  It was easier when it hurt, but now that the pain is gone, I feel like I should be doing things!

(I did plan my training plan through June and finished most of my tax return and paid bills, so I guess that counts for something.)

But all in all, I can’t complain.  Today, Mom had successful surgery to remove what’s left of her tumor as well as some lymph nodes following the completion of her chemotherapy, and my darling friend Erin gave birth to her first son.  January 20 is a good day.

Mole removal. Sexy, I know.

Yesterday, I had the non-cancerous but still not awesome mole removed from my leg.  It was on the back of my knee, so the good news was that there was zero chance of me watching the surgery.  The bad news is that it’s in a crappy location of skin that pulls so it kind of hurts today.

But it wasn’t that bad.  Honestly, the worst part is that it hurts today.

So for those of you facing the same thing, or avoiding going to the dermatologist for a skin check because you’re worried about those kinds of things, here’s how it went.

I got to the office and opted to change into shorts rather than lay there in a paper gown and then have to put pants on over a wound.  They called me smart.  I laid on my stomach on the table and the doctor numbed me up.  I honestly didn’t really feel any of this, possibly because of the location, or possibly because my experience being numbed up has always been for dental work, where it feels like they’re sticking long needles all the way into my brain.  Either way, no big deal.

The doc left and I played on my phone for a bit, then she came back and started work.  What did she do?  No idea.  I felt some pressure and some wiping, and at one point, she asked me if I was touching any metal on the table, which I thought was weird, but I’m guessing she was cauterizing something and didn’t want to risk electrocuting me.  (Note, I was wearing metal, and I guess the point was no grounded metal.  No clue.)  I was nervous so we all kept chatting through the procedure (about triathlons mostly, and I told her that one of the volunteer jobs at an Ironman is to slather sunscreen on strangers, which, being a dermatologist, she appreciated).

I could tell when the stitches started because of the difference in the pulling, but again, I couldn’t really feel it at the site, just the movement of the skin around it.  And she was done.

I have to go back next Friday to have the stitches removed.  I can’t workout til after that, and I can’t go to the pool til the stitches are out either.  But the lack of working out is due to the location, not the procedure itself.  If it were my arm, the situation would be different.  I have to keep it dry for about 24 hours, then I can shower like normal, but no baths.  I have to keep it covered and moist with Vaseline or something along those lines.   I also have three days of antibiotics to take, just in case.

And that’s it.  Like I said, it hurts today, but only when it moves.  That makes sense.  Pulling on a wound is never pleasant.  All in all, not bad.  I haven’t looked at it, and will probably have to at some point, unfortunately.  The idea of stitches squicks me out completely, but not as much as cancer.  So the procedure?  Worth it.

Disney Marathon Weekend Recap Part 2 (The Marathon)

The day before the marathon, I wanted to rest my legs as much as possible.  Not a ton of walking around at the parks, just some relaxing to make sure that I was ready.  Boring, but worth it.

Race morning dawned and the weather was awesome.  When I started stalking the forecast ten days out, Sunday was predicted to be very, very hot.  But as the days got closer, the forecast got better and better.  I think ultimately, the low was predicted to be 52 and the high 71.  Still a bit warm, but much better than last year.  I thought that maybe I could have a good race.  Perhaps even hit 6:30.

I bundled up in my throwaway gear and headed out.  It wasn’t too cool yet (the coolest part of the night is typically right before the sun rises), but it was humid.  So the sunrise would be good and bad – good because it would burn off the fog but bad because it’s a glowy ball of fire intent on roasting my skin.

Chilled with friends at the Family Reunion Area, then headed over to the corrals.  I headed over early to hit the portapotties, which was so worth the stop.  No lines!  Made it to the corral and plopped down for the eternal wait.  This year, Disney added corrals to try to ease congestion.  Last year, there were corrals A-H.  This year, we had corrals A-P (if I’m remembering correctly).  Each corral was much smaller.  I was in corral M.  For the first time ever at a Disney race, I could see the screen so I had an idea of what was going on up on stage with the announcers.  I know they annoy some, but at least their patter takes away from the boredom.  Plus once the race started, it was nice to see the other corrals go off.  With a few minutes between each, it took a while.  I didn’t start til around 45 minutes after the initial gun.

The always lovely Angie joined me in the corral and we ran together for a while.  We were attempting a 1:1 pace, and my goal was simply to stay under the 16 minute mile pace.  I wanted to stay under 15, but the crowding wasn’t going to allow that.  That’s right, it was still pretty crowded with walkers.  I have nothing against walkers, but when the course is that narrow, it’s just tough to find a spot to run. In the first 7 miles, I gained 7 tenths of a mile according to my Garmin, mostly due to darting around people (I know GPS isn’t fully accurate, but that’s a lot to gain in 7 miles, so I’d say I was doing a lot of people dodging).

Poor Angie was nursing an injury, so we parted ways in Animal Kingdom.  I considered stopping to ride Everest, but I was feeling good so decided to continue on.  I picked up speed at this point and the middle 10 miles of the race were pretty great.  I started to see a PR in my future.  Not that that was going to be a challenge.

Or so I thought.

Around mile 17, my feet started to hurt.  The bottoms of my feet, mostly.  I could feel blisters forming on my little toes, which naturally roll under my feet.  So those blister no matter what I do on runs over 15 miles or so (blister powder and Injinji socks are my usual solutions).  But the soles of my feet started to really burn.

And with the heat pounding down from the cloudless sky and radiating off of the road, I just started to melt down.

I went through a huge range of emotions, from anger to frustration to wanting to quit.  But I knew I couldn’t quit.  I had less than ten miles to go.  I could finish.  So I just kept up the slog.  By around mile 20 or 21 (I haven’t looked at my mile splits yet), I was resigned to walking.  I was walking at a decent clip, but still just walking.

I came to a conclusion during these miles.  This was my second marathon.  And I still really wasn’t enjoying it.  I didn’t enjoy the training and I certainly wasn’t enjoying the race.  So I decided to take marathons off the table for the near future.

Finally making it into Hollywood Studios was a great feeling because I knew I was nearing the finish.  And that’s where I ran into Shirisha, who was running her first marathon as part of the Dopey Challenge (5k, 10k, half, and full).  She had walked the entire race and was clearly going to finish, but had decided that maybe marathons weren’t for her.  She commented that doing Dopey probably wasn’t the best way to do her first marathon.  I disagreed – after all, if she had known how tough the marathon was going to be, would she have signed up for Dopey in the first place?

So we chatted and then parted ways as she stopped for a photo at the entrance to Epcot.

Now I was finally almost there.  I hobbled along, wanting to stop for a frozen alcoholic drink but not wanting to stop for fear I wouldn’t start again.

And I hobbled and hobbled.  I did manage to run through the finish, however, and high-fived Minnie and Mickey, as all good Disney runners try to do.  And I made it.  Marathon number two complete.

PR?  Nope.  2 minutes slower than last year.  Not that I cared. I was just glad to be DONE!

I grabbed some ice and went to the Family Reunion area to meet up with friends and ice the soles of my feet.  They just ached.  And my feet were blistered in weird ways.  I had blisters on the outside of both heels and on the side of my left foot, near the ball of the foot.  I have never blistered like this before, and I’m not sure why.  I wore the same shoes I wore on my 20 miler, and they’re about midway through the typical life I get from them.  But man, they were some fancy blisters.  It’s now Thursday, and they’re still here, though not as painful.  Just gnarly.

I spent the rest of the day hobbling around, not from muscle soreness, just from blister soreness.  I think my ice bath really helped that one.

I’m not disappointed in my finish at all.  I powered through and didn’t give up.  On one hand, I’m frustrated that my training pace wasn’t at all reflected in my race pace.  On the other hand, I know my training could have been better.

I’m also confident that I have no desire to do a marathon for a while, though that’s something I was saying during training as well.  I’ve been saying for years that I want to do the Disney marathon in 2016, since it will fall on my 35th birthday.  I’m not sure that’s something I want to do anymore, but I don’t have to make that decision until April of 2015, so it’s nothing to worry about now.

For now, I’m going to focus on half marathons and figure out a triathlon training plan for this summer’s season.  Maybe I’m just not built for marathons.  And that’s okay.

Besides, I got the medal to prove that I did it.  I don’t need another one, right?