Thursday, December 31, 2009
What's your New Years resolution? Over the years I have had several resolutions that I have stuck to like flys on a swatter. One year my resolution was to not eat chocolate, so for 4 years I gave it up! I am strong like that. If I make my mind up to do something, you can bet your sweet arse that I will do it. On New Years Eve in 1981, I decided to never have an alcoholic drink again. Guess what? Yes, you guessed it! I have never had any alcohol since. 28 years! I am especially proud of that one. This year will be like most other years. I want to be the healthiest I can be, run well and run strong, and live life to the fullest.
I hope you all have a resolution this year. Goals are important and they cause you to focus and be accountable for something. Happy New Year to all of my blogger friends. I have no idea how many people read this sometime boring read, but I hope I have inspired a few of you to get out and move your body in a healthy direction. Tomorrow morning when you get up it will be the first day of the rest of your life. Start it off with a bang! Live, Laugh, and Love, and then get your butt out the door! Here's to a great year!!
He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign."
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Wow, Christmas came and went so fast! All that stressing and it's already over. I had a wonderful Christmas and Santa brought me everything I asked for. I couldn't be happier. My youngest daughter Courtney turned 20 today. I can't believe that she is not a teenager anymore. We celebrated with family at her favorite Thai restaurant. Always lot's of fun.
I entered UTMB on December 23rd. I will be notified in a couple of weeks if I am in. I am a little bit nervous thinking of this race. It is a 103 miles and you have 46 hours to complete this mountainous race. It is a loop course around the Mont Blanc massif starting in France, south through Italy, north though Switzerland and back west into France for the finish. There is 31,000 ft. of total climbing. 1800' more than the 29029' of Mt. Everest! My goal for this race is just to finish it. I don't care about my time. I want to enjoy the journey and finish without sickness or injury. I will have to be very serious about my training and that is exciting.
I am doing well on my gluten free diet. I have not lost any weight, (I don't need to lose), but I feel so much better. I don't have that full feeling through my stomach like I did. I am giving it about a month. I hope that I see the results that I want in that time. I am hoping that the pain I have at night will lessen and I can sleep better. I also hope that my arthritis decreases too. Wow, I sound like a train wreck! All I really want is to be the healthiest I can be.
All my kids are home for the Holidays and that has been special. Caleb flies home tomorrow and Courtney goes back to school in January. Chelsea just moved home and Matt's son Lloyd is here too. I am going to miss Caleb and Courtney. Have a wonderful week, my blogger friends!
Face your Fears...........
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face...The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it... You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Today was an early morning run up to Bald Mountain. It was FREEZING! There was snow on the ground and the trees had a light dusting of powder. Suz and I both felt like shy-zah. Our legs felt like lead, our motivation to push, gone. We ended up running about 9 miles and then called it a day. I am glad that we got out together, though. It is nice to be out on the mountain before anyone else. I loved seeing all the animal prints in the snow and breathing deeply the cold morning air.
From the time I was a little kid, we had a game that went like this: On our way up to Lake Tahoe to ski, we would all anxiously watch for the first sighting of snow. Whoever saw the snow first, would yell out, "I'm the prettiest!" My sister and I, and my Mom, had so much fun doing this as my Dad and my brother just laughed at us. Today, on my way up the mountain for my run, seeing the snow covered trees for the first time, I whispered to myself, "I'm the prettiest". It made me feel warm inside :)
After a busy day I came home to a house filled with explosive diarrhea. Our 17 year old Aussie had let loose. No pun intended. I think she had been storing it up for a week. What a mess, I felt so sorry for her. She is getting so old and I keep thinking that her days are limited. So... after what seemed like forever, the mess was cleaned up and Courtney and I headed for Starbucks. Starbucks makes everything seem better.
My foot doctor told me that he could inject the fluid from a roosters comb into my toe for some lubrication. I am going to think on that one. My bad, "good toe", is feeling better, so maybe I will not need to inject chicken fluid into my body. The thought of that is kinda gross. Have a wonderful day!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
After the lottery, a small group of us went for a run. We started at Robie point and ran to the Hwy. 49 crossing and back. It was a great run and we shared a lot of laughs as usual. I got to meet and run with Amy, an amputee, who was selected in the lottery. She is so excited to run this spectacular race. She was quite an inspiration for all of us. Amy also only has one lung. She lost her leg and a lung to cancer years ago. I hope she has a great race.
"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still." Chinese proverb
Friday, December 4, 2009
From Scott Dunlaps blog
An Ode to the Lottery Gods
Oh, great lottery God
Those who control my destiny
You awesome powers who choose my fate
Who in one act of will, make me a participant in Western States, Miwok, Ironman Hawaii, Way Too Cool, or none of the above
Your gifts fills my life with adventure, my soul with new experience and friends, and my calendar with endless workouts that build perseverance and gratitude
I honor thy choice with this promise
To respect the event(s) you choose by living them fully
To train to the best of my ability, and put it on the line on the chosen day
To meet every smiling face at the start, at every aid station, and at the finish, and return those smiles with authentic appreciation
By taking pictures, retelling stories endlessly, so that your legends live on
Or perhaps to honor the gift of being chosen for none of the above
And be forced to seek new races and adventures to fill my soul in unexpected ways
I will respect your guidance, and the wisdom of your blessings
But please make it Western States ;-)
Good luck to everyone who is in the Western States 100 mile lottery. Tomorrow is the day in which we will celebrate or not. Either way, we will all have an opportunity to plan out our racing schedule for 2010.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
My kids are home! They rolled in at 2:30am after driving about 9 hours and I am so happy to see them. We all sat and visited with each other until about 3:45 and then I hit the hay until the alarm went off at 6am. I was suppose to meet Suz at Sugarloaf for an early morning run, but as I was leaving she called and canceled. I sat at the computer until 7:30, and then headed out for a run in my favorite park. I ran up to the top of the mountain and the sky was so blue and the morning so crisp. I overlooked my town and saw vineyards and pretty barns, I saw beautiful spacious homes and green meadows. I had to take a few minutes and just be quiet. I ran on, reflecting on all the things I am thankful for. I think the thing that I am so thankful for, is that of all the people I could be, I am so thankful for being who I am. I wouldn't want to trade me for anyone.
My run went great and I am so happy to live so close to a great place to run. As I was running, my good, "bad," toe, or is it my "bad," good toe, anyways, it was killing me. I ran along trying to decide if I should get another cortisone shot in it, or have it amputated. Whichever procedure is the least painful is the way I am going to go. Seriously.
I am going to include some pics from this mornings run with my sister, both sister's in law, and my friend, Karen. Have a Great Thanksgiving Day and don't eat too much pumpkin pie!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Yesterday Matt and I went to a wedding that was in a beautiful church in S.F. It is the same church that Marilyn Monroe was married in. I think it is called St. Peters and Paul. I felt like I was in Italy or somewhere very far away. The Architecture was just amazing.
For all of you that know me, you know that high heeled shoes are really not my thing. Combining fancy shoes and messed up toes creates a fiery reaction. By the time the wedding was over and we had walked to the parking garage, I was practically crawling. It was hysterical now that I am thinking about it. I am sure I looked ridiculous trying to walk across the busy streets with every step horribly painful. I tried to act casual, with a smile on my face, pretending I was on a runway. Did I say that I was in excruciating pain? Wow, I changed into my comfy shoes and jeans so fast that I am sure I broke some kind of record.
We then went to the Sports Basement and shopped around and then we went to Tamara's for a TEAM DIABLO party. It was so much fun visiting with all of my running friends and talking about our plans for 2010. Western States, Hardrock, Mont Blanc, San Diego, and Wasatch were just some of the races planned. We discussed some "epic" adventures we want to plan, like running some routes in Yosemite, Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. We even talked about a few stage races. So many trails so little time. We are all waiting until December 5th for the WS lottery to find out who is in and who is screwed for 2010 Western States. After the 5th we will make our plans.
Today was a short run with Wally and a relaxing Sunday. I hope you all had a weekend of comfortable shoes and soft trails.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I have totally sucked at blogging lately. It just hasn't been a priority, I guess. I hate to continually go to a favorite blog only to find that they have not updated anything. I am guilty as charged.
I have been back to work for a couple of weeks now. It's been nice to be back and see all of my friends and to do what I do best. Nursing. My running is going well, but I am still working on building up my speed and endurance after six weeks of no aerobic exercising. My toes feel really good. My big toe, which was not touched surgically is now one of my Achilles heel. It is really bugging me. My Doc says it has a lot of arthritis in it. Gosh, that sounds so old and decrepit doesn't it? Arthritis! Wow.
So today Suz and I ran my new found 12.6 mile run that has me all excited. We ran up the trails talking about life, cool people, new races, and nutrition. We never are at a loss for words when we are together. She is a great friend and I enjoy running with her so much. I had just gotten done telling her that I had not turned my bad ankle since I started back to running, when all of a sudden I turned my ankle and heard a loud crack. Crap. Five minutes later it happened again. Crap. My right ankle and my right big toe are really pissing me off these days. Maybe tomorrow will be a swim day. :)
Have any of you ever smelled ammonia in your perspiration after running? Every once in awhile I notice that horrible ammonia smell after my run. I looked it up today and it seems that when you release ammonia in your sweat you are dipping into your protein reserves and burning protein instead of carbos. I don't think we should be burning protein for fuel and I am wondering if it is because of my low carb diet. I have been trying to cut out breads, noodles and other "white stuff". I do feel better eating this way, but I guess I need to research this topic more.
So, it's late, I am working in the morning and I should take my ammonia smelling body, with my sore ankle and my messed up big toe, and hit the hay. I do want to say that 19 years ago today, my Dad went into the Hospital at age 60 and never came out. I thought about him today when I was driving home from my run. He wasn't able to join us for Thanksgiving and he died on Dec. 10th. I miss him everyday. I just felt like sharing that with you all.
"Even the fear of death is nothing compared to the fear of not having lived authentically and fully." Frances Moore Lappe
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Halloween started early for me with an 18 mile run, (stupid), and then a night of handing out candy and having a neighborhood Halloween party! We probably had over 2500 trick or treaters and that is not counting all the people who just come to check out the hood. The street was closed off to traffic which allowed 1000s of people to dance and celebrate Halloween. We hula hooped to a huge audience, we danced to Michael Jackson songs, we watched many skits in front yards, listened to a marching band, enjoyed a handcart regatta and ate. Every year it seems to get better! People come from all over to enjoy the neighborhood. What a blast we had. I hope you had a great time last night. We sure did.
Friday, October 30, 2009
I am back to running and loving life again. Six weeks without any cardio was really a bit much, but I feel like the break was good for me. My morning run was sweet and I felt quite renewed and my toes held up without too much discomfort. Y.E.S.!! I tried to stay focused during my down time and maintained my good eating habits and got leaner in the process. I am physically stronger and I feel like my diet is pretty good. I am trying to lean towards more of a Paleo diet and watching the amount of Gluten that I am ingesting. Experimenting with foods is fun and if I can sleep better and take away my body pain while trying to sleep, life will be even better. I also have some stomach issues that haunt me during my runs, (no pun intended), so maybe I can clear up that issue too.
My brother Wally and I were discussing being focused on our run today. It's funny that we can have all the tools to be the best we can be, but without focus you will not move forward. I am such a scatter-brain, but with my fitness and nutrition, I can remain focused. I am thankful that I am focused on at least one section of my life. I am always wondering what my gift is and if I really have one. I guess I can say the gift of gab and the ability to focus on my body are my two gifts. Hum..... well, better than nothing!
I enjoy reading posts from people who are involved in crossfit. I have never done it, but I hope to experience it one of these days. In the meantime, I am just a lurker and I get inspiration from reading about these crossfitters who thrive on being extraordinary. If everyone could do it, everyone might do it. There is no fun in being ordinary. That's what I like about being an ultrarunner. We are not ordinary runners! We are extraordinary!
While lurking on the Crossfit Portland Girls website, I came across this article about amazing women doing amazing things. It's an article about strong and powerful women. Beautiful women. I think you will agree that this article points to focused women too. Enjoy.
“If I were feeling a little more lawless, I’d gather all the copies of Cosmo and Seventeen, douse them in kerosene, and strike a match. I’d throw in reams of print ads from Calvin Klein and watch with delight as Kate Moss’ stick-thin image was reduced to carbon. I’d add copies of Shape and Runner’s World until the flames reached toward the heavens, and then I’d crank call the editorial desk at Muscle and Fitness until they stopped publishing pictures of women on steroids.I’d get the master tapes of America’s Next Top Model and dub over them with “Nasty Girls”, broadcasting the results on every television station in America. I’d skywrite “CrossFit.com” across the Boston skyline, and gently admonish the hoards of long distance runners trotting along the Charles River—with a bullhorn.I’d take every woman with mass media-induced ideals of beauty, and I’d show them what it really means to be beautiful. Beautiful women are strong and powerful. They are athletes, capable of every feat under the sun. They have muscles, borne of hard work and sweat. They gauge their self-worth through accomplishments, not by the numbers on the bathroom scale. They understand that muscle weighs more than fat, and they love the fact that designer jeans don’t fit over their well-developed quads. They know that high repetitions using light weights is a path to mediocrity, and “toning” is a complete and utter myth. They refuse to succumb to the marketers that prey on insecurity, leaving the pre-packaged diet dinners and fat-burning pills on the shelf to pass their expiration date.Beautiful women train with intensity. The derive self-image from the quality of their work and their ability to excel. They don’t wear makeup to the gym, and they wouldn’t be caught dead with a vinyl pink dumbbell. They move iron, they do pull-ups, they jump, sprint, punch, and kick, and they use the elliptical machine—as a place to hang their jump rope. They spend their weekends in sport, climbing walls, winning races, and running rivers. They laugh as they sprint circles around the unschooled, turning the image-obsessed into bench warmers. Beautiful women don’t care if they’re soaked in sweat and covered in dirt, if their nails are chipped or their hair out of place. They care only about quality of life. Beautiful women are happy, healthy, and strong, and they’re right there beside me, tossing conventional beauty on the ever-growing flames of what used to be.
By Jon Glisan
Friday, October 23, 2009
I read this article by Al Lyman with interest. He sheds some interesting light on the whys and why nots of running barefoot and some interesting facts about shoes and running performance.
Al Lyman is a nationally recognized coach, author, columnist and motivational speaker who coaches endurance athletes. His resume includes certifications from USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research and The National Strength and Conditioning Assoc. He is also an accomplished marathoner, 8x Ironman finisher and a 3x World Ironman finisher.
Running Shoes and Barefoot Running:
Musings From a Coach
Coach Al Lyman, CSCS
Among the most common questions I receive from runners are those asking about different brands and types of running shoes, and how differences in design affect form and function. With the increasing popularity of minimalist lightweight designs including Vibram’s 5-finger shoes (which mimic the feeling of being barefooted), as well as actual barefoot running, now is a good time to share some thoughts on shoes, form, and function. While I am not a biomechanist or shoe expert, I hope these musings that come from my own practical experience and study, are helpful. The questions I get usually follow similar themes: Is one shoe type or brand better than another? Should I try to change the way I run by changing to a different type of shoe? Should I be doing more barefoot running?
My first recollection of having given serious thought to differences in running shoe design and their specific relation to form, injury, and performance, was in 1991 while watching the World Cross Country Championships at Boston’s Franklin Park. The best runners in the world ran explosively and seemed to be extraordinarily resilient, despite wearing very little on their feet to protect them, or absorb impact stress. Since that time, the concepts surrounding how shoe design affects running performance and injury resistance for the average runner have been a constant in my own study and research. Fast forward to this year’s National Strength and Conditioning Association’s national conference in Las Vegas, where among the speakers I heard was well known PT and author, Gray Cook. Gray mentioned that after reading the book “Born to Run,” he was telling every runner he met to run barefooted exclusively. I sat there, somewhat stunned, at what I felt was a broad and perhaps haphazard recommendation, because I believed that while some runners could do well with barefooted running if they progressed smartly, many others who took his comments to heart might end up having more injuries, not less. They would inevitably try to do too much too soon, or suffer issues due to either a lack of running-specific functional / core strength or because of less-than “perfect” natural biomechanics.
That being said, I do believe many runners can benefit from integrating barefoot walking and running into their routine, as long as it is done in a controlled manner. I often program progressive barefoot workouts on the treadmill for athletes I coach, to help build lower-leg strength, dynamic flexibility, and also to help them make subtle adjustments to their form. Being barefooted is particularly helpful for runners who have a tendency to over stride. You simply can’t, when you don’t have the heel protection that a typical running shoe provides. These sessions involve subtle and progressive increases in grade, as well as backward walking and running to build balanced strength. Besides creating a new awareness of foot-strike, the ultimate benefit to these kinds of workouts is something we could all use more of: increased dynamic strength and flexibility, mobility, and resiliency of the lower leg and ankle, along with increased proprioceptive awareness and stronger intrinsic foot muscles.
Should you change the type of shoe you wear, or make wholesale changes to your run form based in part on shoe type? While the book, “Born to Run,” inspired Gray Cook to tell everyone they should immediately start running barefooted, I do NOT believe it is smart to do anything that results in an instant and/or arbitrary change in the way you run or the way your foot hits the ground, especially exclusively. Yes, there are things that each of us can do to improve or “tweak” our form, all of which could help us to become faster and more efficient, such as improving our posture, quickening our cadence, or driving our knee forward more while we drive our elbows back, to create more horizontal (not vertical) movements. Wholesale arbitrary changes however, are almost always a mistake, especially if done exclusively. The reason is simple and important: the way we move and run is a function of how we are uniquely put together as well as how our bodies have adapted to our daily lifestyle. Do we sit a lot and rarely stretch? Have we become immobile around the hips, lumber spine, and trunk? All of these factors dramatically impact how we move and function, and thus run.
o TIP: in my opinion, the single best way to improve running form is to improve your hip and ankle mobility, and develop a stronger core and run specific functional strength. These attributes will lead to shorter ground contact time (desirable), a natural, not forced increase in stride length (desirable), and a more stable pelvis during stance (desirable), all of which will improve your form and can reduce injury risk and improve efficiency and speed. While it could be argued that a mid-foot strike is optimal for efficient and fast running, and that more of the world’s best runners do land with a mid-foot strike, as of yet I know of no objective scientific evidence that says unequivocally that a mid-foot strike is “better” for ALL of us.
o TIP: when you run, you can focus on landing and thus loading your body UNDER your hips, which will result in better balance and less braking. When you do this, inevitably you will land more mid-foot. The key is how you get there, and how you define a heel vs. a mid-foot strike, as notice I used the word “load”. Very often we see good runners whose heel touches first, but they are not “loading” the stance leg with weight until the foot is beneath the hips. Conversely, loading the foot while it is out in front of your body, even slightly, can increase braking and impact stress. The best way to avoid doing this is to gradually work on increasing your cadence to 85-95 stride cycles-per-minute, improve hip mobility and flexibility, and integrate some short progressive periods of barefoot running. Be extremely cautious if you decide to go out and buy a minimalist shoe thinking you can change the way you run, just by wearing that shoe. Doing that may shock your body into moving a vastly different way, resulting in compensatory changes and increased stress on tissues that may not be ready to handle that stress. That could lead to a much higher risk of injury if you progress too quickly.
The same is true for barefoot running: a little can be beneficial – but a lot, especially progressed too fast, can end up causing injury, not preventing it. Most experts agree: only about 20% of the world’s running population have near ideal biomechanics and a neutral gait and can run barefooted or with a minimalist shoe without increased risk of injury.
The remaining 80% fall somewhere off of that “ideal” baseline and need to be smarter about how they progress with either shoes or barefooted running. Recently in a discussion I had with certified chiropractic sports physician and running injury expert, Kurt A. Strecker, DC, CCSP, he said: “minimalist shoes can often be a shock to the system.
Most of us don't spend our entire lives barefoot. We've worn shoes, often not good ones, our entire lives. I wouldn't run 26.2 miles without training and I don't think it's a good idea to ask the kinetic chain of the lower extremities and lumbar spine to absorb the loads imparted by running with minimal support or cushioning, without significant preparation.” Here are a few more TIPS that I hope help you in your search for the perfect shoe and stride: ·
How our feet impact the ground when we run involves different factors that are unique for each of us:
o Poor posture, which leads to poor skeletal stacking and muscular stress.
o Hip mobility or lack thereof, which greatly increases compensatory patterns and reduces your body’s ability to absorb and transfer energy via the stretch / shortening cycle.
o Lack of frontal plane (glute medius/hip rotator) balance and strength, which results in loss of stability and energy leaks.
o Poor flexibility or elasticity in the quads and hip flexors, which puts the pelvis out of neutral and creates compensations elsewhere which reduce efficiency. The point being, a change in foot wear or any other arbitrary change, without first addressing how strong and mobile your foundation is, is short sighted and may end up resulting in injury.
· Progressive barefoot walking and running can be beneficial for many runners if done in moderation and in a controlled, progressive manner. Yes, with short progressive periods of barefoot work on a treadmill, grass or trail, you can strengthen the lower legs and feet, develop more natural mechanics, and make your body more resilient. Just remember to be patient!
· If you use orthotics due to a biomechanical issue that was identified by a foot doctor or PT, you should continue to wear them, but at the same time continue strengthening your legs and feet and improve your hip mobility, with an eye toward hopefully needing less support from these devices as time goes on.
· Seek out a high quality running shoe store to purchase your shoes: My personal favorite is FLEET FEET SPORTS. Their staff is well trained and I like their approach to shoe fit. Remember, you usually get what you pay for.
· The road to faster, injury free running is paved with smart, diligent, progressive,patient, hard work. There is no easy way or quick fix to better running form, strength, mobility, or elasticity. Seek a path that avoids fads or quick fixes, and focus on established fundamentals. Become stronger, more mobile, more flexible, and train smart. In the end, you’ll run faster and be much happier.
· Lastly, get feedback from an expert by way of a video running form / gait analysis. For information or recommendations on how I can help you with this valuable service, email me at email@example.com. Thanks for reading, and best of luck!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I have taken a few days off from blogging as I have been frantically painting three large rooms in our house. I seriously have more paint on my face and clothes than are on the walls. Actually, the house looks amazing. It's exciting to do something I never thought I could do. If I ever lose my job I may have to try my hand at interior house painting. I am actually pretty good, if I have to say so myself.
Today marks the fifth week since my toe surgery. I have been wearing a blue post op shoe since my operation. It's not blue anymore, I take that back. I stepped into the painting tray a couple of days ago and it is now speckled and trashed out looking. Anyhoo, I was having my coffee this morning and it seemed like the perfect day to dump the speckled shoe and go for a swim. I called my Doctor and asked him what he thought. "Can I please swim?" "Can I please wear regular shoes?" Guess what he said? He gave me a big thumbs up!! So off I went to the pool and swam for 30 minutes. My toe felt weird and a little achy, but I was so happy to be out there. Tomorrow I am going to walk in the park and next week maybe I can try to jog. We'll see. Things are looking up for me in my neck of the woods. I have been hitting the gym and doing a lot of upper body strengthening. I can now do 5 pull ups x 3. I remember last year not being able to do one of them. :) So life is looking up for me and I am really thankful to be able to ease my way back to the trails. It will be 6 weeks by the time I can try out a slow run. I can't wait.
"If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." Vincent Van Gogh
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I have a secret I must confess: every once in awhile, especially since I have been laid up with an injury, I read POSTSECRET. Check it out if you want.
Today is a terribly rainy day with high winds. My toe is sore and I am feeling kinda blah today. I wish I could get out and feel the rain on my face, but it's just not going to happen. I think I am starting to feel a little sorry for myself. I am having my own secret pity party.
Last week, when I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed with my post recovery situation, I noticed a guy at the gym that I have seen many times before. He walks with a horrible limp and the sole of his right shoe is built up and taller than the left. He ambulates with a back and forth motion. Here I was feeling fed up with this ugly surgical shoe, my back aching and my heel throbbing, and I see him. He lives his life with this condition. He can not run. He has a very skinny right leg that will never be strong. He has lived and will live the rest of his life with this deformity. I realized how shallow I was that day. In a month I will be back to running and living my normal life. Soon, I will forget that I even had the surgery. On the other hand, this guy will continue on with a situation he can't control or change.
I had a choice to have this surgery. He does not get a choice. I am sorry that I am so shallow that I could even feel sadness for myself. Today, with the wind howling and the rain pelting down, I am thankful that I am whole and healthy. I am thankful for this downtime and for the life that I have.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
My upper body is going to look soooo good by the time I can run again........
I've been back at the gym and feeling strong. It's funny how strong I feel lifting weights when I am not running. I kinda feel like a superstar. Just kidding. Thursday, I go back to the Doctor to have my sutures out and hopefully get the dressing off of my foot. I can't wait. The bummer is that when I touch my toes through the bandages it feels like it has been burned and that it is RAW. I can't imagine wearing socks and shoes after Thurs. We will see.
On the running side of things. I do have to say that I miss running more than I thought I would. The downtime has been good in a lot of ways, but I find myself longing to run on the trails and I feel like I've got that horrible condition called FOMO. (Fear of missing out). So many of my friends have just finished some incredibly beautiful 100 milers and Suz is busy busting up the road in preparation for her first 24 hour run. Instead of running, I got hyper one day and tore the butt ugly wood paneling off of the wall in our family room. Now I am trying to figure out what to do with the wall that is covered in dried glue and lots of little holes. It's a project that is definitely keeping me busy. It's a project that I wouldn't have touched if I was busy running in the hills. Oh well.
Yesterday, Matt and I went up to the Silverado Country Club in Napa and relaxed poolside for a couple of hours with Wally and Angie and the kids. It was fun to be back up there, as I haven't been there since I was a kid. I felt really nostalgic remembering being there and all the fun we had when we were little. I thought about my Dad a lot yesterday. He has been gone for 20 years now.
Shawn, Matt and I went to a party tonight to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of our gym being opened. There was music, dancing and lot's of food and drink. It was really fun to see people we knew, and kind of sad to see how many people we did not know. I recognized a lot of people, but didn't know them to even strike up a conversation with. It was mostly a people watching party and sometimes those are the most fun of all.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable, and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. Eckhart Tolle
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Seriously, I am serious! Being laid up is a total drag. I am not a daytime TV person and I hate to say that I am getting up close and personal with Dr. Oz and Court tv. Life is a drag when you are caged up.
Yesterday I went to the Doctor expecting him to give me the okay to start swimming. But no, he redressed my foot and didn't take out the sutures and said, I'll see you in two weeks. Wow, two more weeks of bathing in a bathtub with my foot in the air! Two more weeks of no swimming, no driving, no nothin honey. Oh, well, it's all good. I am trying to keep a good attitude and suck it up.
On a positive note, my diet is going well. I am not on a diet, but my eating is doing well. I haven't had any cookies, cake, frozen yogurt, or bars since the 17th. I have cut way back on the amount of nuts I eat, too. That was getting totally out of hand. Nuts are healthy right? But 2-3 cups a day? Crazy! I need to start drinking more water because that is really a problem for me. I don't ever drink enough water so that is my next goal. I am also going to start doing pullups and some bicep curls just so that I don't start to feel like a marshmellow.
I am just one of those people who doesn't like to sit still. I thrive on movement. I am like a hamster on a wheel. Always moving, always distracted. I sound like a spaz, and I guess I probably am. Now I am a spaz in a cage. Picture that. It's not pretty.
I had this surgery for a reason and I feel good about that. I know that I will be stronger from this layoff as my body never gets any down time unless I am sick or injured. This layoff will do me good. I have some exciting running goal for 2010, and I will be thankful that I had my toes operated on during that 10th hour of a 100 mile race.
Have a great weekend people, and make sure and get your shoes dirty this weekend. I will be trying to NOT get my bandages dirty this weekend. Wow, what a bore!
The Three Complaint Rule
Practice the "three complaint rule." When it comes to complaining, you are allowed to complain about something three times. After that, either change your attitude, change your behavior, accept the situation, or move on (and stop complaining). Lucy MacDonald
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I am 5 days post op from foot surgery and things are going well. I feel good, but the staying down is a total drag. Tomorrow I see the Doc and hopefully I will get the dressings off and sutures and just maybe he will let me swim...I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
Up until the surgery, my running was going well. I was back to getting my diet on track and my motivation was returning. I can only think of this layoff as good. All my little aches and pains will have time to go away and my ankle is going to feel great as it has been just chillin in these dressings.
I heard the sad news yesterday about fellow ultra runner Dave Terry's unexpected death. I haven't heard what happened, but it is just a sad reminder to us all to live life to the fullest. Dave was 47 years old and a very fast runner from Oregon. He will be missed by all of his friends and the ultra running community.
"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not." (taken from Matt Erbelis, It Takes Time to be Good)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
This article from the New York Times is interesting to me. It should be to you also. In 2006 and 2007, I got Rhabdo during my Wasatch 100 race. Both years I was hospitalized for over a week. Eight people (reported), suffered from this condition after WS100 this year (2009). Erik Skaggs, winner of Wheres Waldo 100k, just got out of the hospital after finishing the race in record time. He has been acutely ill with Rhabdomyolysis suffering with acute renal failure. This is serious stuff, people. We can't live without our kidneys and living on dialysis is no walk in the park. As we say at the hospital regarding life on dialysis, "just shoot me". Seriously, I can't imagine living while on dialysis. That being said, I have totally switched to Tylenol during all my races if I need to take anything.
Phys Ed: Does Ibuprofen Help or Hurt During Exercise?By Gretchen Reynolds
Several years ago, David Nieman set out to study racers at the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile test of human stamina held annually in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The race directors had asked Nieman, a well-regarded physiologist and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the North Carolina Research Campus, to look at the stresses that the race places on the bodies of participants. Nieman and the race authorities had anticipated that the rigorous distance and altitude would affect runners’ immune systems and muscles, and they did. But one of Nieman’s other findings surprised everyone.
After looking at racers’ blood work, he determined that some of the ultramarathoners were supplying their own physiological stress, in tablet form. Those runners who’d popped over-the-counter ibuprofen pills before and during the race displayed significantly more inflammation and other markers of high immune system response afterward than the runners who hadn’t taken anti-inflammatories. The ibuprofen users also showed signs of mild kidney impairment and, both before and after the race, of low-level endotoxemia, a condition in which bacteria leak from the colon into the bloodstream.
These findings were “disturbing,” Nieman says, especially since “this wasn’t a minority of the racers.” Seven out of ten of the runners were using ibuprofen before and, in most cases, at regular intervals throughout the race, he says. “There was widespread use and very little understanding of the consequences.”
Athletes at all levels and in a wide variety of sports swear by their painkillers. A study published earlier this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that, at the 2008 Ironman Triathlon in Brazil, almost 60 percent of the racers reported using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers (or NSAIDs, which include ibuprofen) at some point in the three months before the event, with almost half downing pills during the race itself. In another study, about 13 percent of participants in a 2002 marathon in New Zealand had popped NSAIDs before the race. A study of professional Italian soccer players found that 86 percent used anti-inflammatories during the 2002-2003 season.
A wider-ranging look at all of the legal substances prescribed to players during the 2002 and 2006 Men’s World Cup tournaments worldwide found that more than half of these elite players were taking NSAIDS at least once during the tournament, with more than 10 percent using them before every match.
“For a lot of athletes, taking painkillers has become a ritual,” says Stuart Warden, an assistant professor and director of physical therapy research at Indiana University, who has extensively studied the physiological impacts of the drugs. “They put on their uniform” or pull on their running shoes and pop a few Advil. “It’s like candy” or Vitamin I, as some athletes refer to ibuprofen.
Why are so many active people swallowing so many painkillers?
One of the most common reasons cited by the triathletes in Brazil was “pain prevention.” Similarly, when the Western States runners were polled, most told the researchers that “they thought ibuprofen would get them through the pain and discomfort of the race,” Nieman says, “and would prevent soreness afterward.” But the latest research into the physiological effects of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs suggests that the drugs in fact, have the opposite effect. In a number of studies conducted both in the field and in human performance laboratories in recent years, NSAIDs did not lessen people’s perception of pain during activity or decrease muscle soreness later. “We had researchers at water stops” during the Western States event, Nieman says, asking the racers how the hours of exertion felt to them. “There was no difference between the runners using ibuprofen and those who weren’t. So the painkillers were not useful for reducing pain” during the long race, he says, and afterward, the runners using ibuprofen reported having legs that were just as sore as those who hadn’t used the drugs.
Moreover, Warden and other researchers have found that, in laboratory experiments on animal tissues, NSAIDs actually slowed the healing of injured muscles, tendons, ligament, and bones. “NSAIDs work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins,”substances that are involved in pain and also in the creation of collagen, Warden says. Collagen is the building block of most tissues. So fewer prostaglandins mean less collagen, “which inhibits the healing of tissue and bone injuries,” Warden says, including the micro-tears and other trauma to muscles and tissues that can occur after any strenuous workout or race.
The painkillers also blunt the body’s response to exercise at a deeper level. Normally, the stresses of exercise activate a particular molecular pathway that increases collagen, and leads, eventually, to creating denser bones and stronger tissues. If “you’re taking ibuprofen before every workout, you lessen this training response,” Warden says. Your bones don’t thicken and your tissues don’t strengthen as they should. They may be less able to withstand the next workout. In essence, the pills athletes take to reduce the chances that they’ll feel sore may increase the odds that they’ll wind up injured — and sore.
All of which has researchers concerned. Warden wrote in an editorial this year on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine that “there is no indication or rationale for the current prophylactic use of NSAIDs by athletes, and such ritual use represents misuse.”When, then, are ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory painkillers justified? “When you have inflammation and pain from an acute injury,” Warden says. “In that situation, NSAIDs are very effective.” But to take them “before every workout or match is a mistake.”
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
As Waistlines Widen, Brains Shrink
The obese and overweight have less neurological tissue, study finds
By Amanda Gardner
TUESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- For every excess pound piled on the body, the brain gets a little bit smaller.
That's the message from new research that found that elderly individuals who were obese or overweight had significantly less brain tissue than individuals of normal weight. 20179263
"The brains of obese people looked 16 years older than their healthy counterparts while [those of] overweight people looked 8 years older," said UCLA neuroscientist Paul Thompson, senior author of a study published online in Human Brain Mapping.
Much of the lost tissue was in the frontal and temporal lobe regions of the brain, the seat of decision-making and memory, among other things.
The findings could have serious implications for aging, overweight or obese individuals, including a heightened risk of Alzheimer's, the researchers said.
"We're all trying to protect our bodies and our brains from aging and this is just one factor that's accelerating that on top of all the other factors such as pollution, smoking, alcohol. We all lose some tissue as we get older and they're saying this is being accelerated," said Paul Sanberg, distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa.
According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, 30 percent of American adults 20 years and older -- more than 60 million people -- are now obese, while another 36 percent are considered overweight. Either condition puts you at a much higher risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease, as well as cognitive problems.
The findings seem to explain why heavier people are more prone to such cognitive conditions. "This is the first study to show physical evidence in the brain that connects overweight and obesity and cognitive decline," said Thompson, who is professor of neurology at UCLA and a member of the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.
The researchers studied brain images of 94 people in their 70s who had participated in an earlier study looking at cardiovascular health and cognition. None of the participants had dementia or other cognitive impairments. They were followed for five years, and any volunteers who developed cognitive symptoms were excluded from the study.
Clinically obese people had 8 percent less brain tissue, while the overweight had 4 percent less brain tissue compared to normal-weight individuals.
Dr. Jonathan Friedman, an associate professor of surgery and neuroscience and experimental therapeutics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine noted that the causal relationship here is not clear. Theoretically, he said, a smaller brain might mean appetite and weight-control centers of the brain are actually propelling the weight-gain process.
Thompson believes it may be a vicious cycle. "Each one is contributing to the other," he said. A person's genetics may be contributing to overeating and weight gain, which leads to less activity, which leads to a shortfall in the oxygen and nutrients that the brain needs to thrive and grow.
Overall, though, the findings really weren't surprising, added Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
"Obesity affects every system in your body. The body can't be splintered. It's completely linked. We are what we eat and we eat too much," he said. "The bottom line is that an obese, sedentary person is going to have a breakdown of every organ system, and that includes a greater chance of impotence and infertility and other things that people don't generally think are directly related to obesity."
Just one more reason to get out there and move. We must burn more calories than we take in. Simple math. Exercising allows us to burn calories and have fun at the same time. Give up the notion that you can be sedentary and still lose weight. Exercise teamed with good healthy eating burns fat and calories, improves circulation, defines muscles, builds strength, and detoxifies the body through sweating. Working out also tends to keep our junk food cravings at bay. It's a win-win situation. With that said, GET MOVING.
In efficient downhill running, gravity is your friend. More often than not however the body is unable to handle the momentum, and in many cases, is forced to put on the brakes to maintain control down the hill. Double whammy! This means a runner will miss out on the advantage of gravity, and will actually have to use some of their energy to fight the force that’s could be helping them downhill!
There are a few factors I believe that come into play during efficient downhill running. It’s not about a different style of running than when on flat ground. Think about it as maintaining your running mechanics and “keeping your legs under you” as long as you can at the highest speed you can handle. To do so you need proper running mechanics, key muscles activated, stability through your joints and strong, elastic muscles.
1. PROPER RUNNING MECHANICS
As in all running, the foundation of running efficiently downhill relies upon maintain tall posture and a strong circular motion of the legs underneath the body which means, in its simplest terms, lifting the knees out in front, footstriking directly beneath the body and then pulling the heel back around to start again. In general, I see many people running lower-leg dominant instead of from their hips, with minimal knee raise. This alone would greatly reduce the ability to keep up with momentum while running downhill and certainly make it necessary to ‘put on the brakes’ very early on.
2. ABS AND GLUTES ACTIVATING
In any type of movement, including running, the abdominals and the glutes are so important to both force production and overall control of the body. Activating and utilizing them properly throughout running mechanics gives the body much greater control over the legs. It also minimizes the impact on the quadriceps and knees that so often take most of the beating on downhill running. Having that control is pivotal in taking advantage of gravity and keeping control over the momentum, especially while having to avoid obstacles if on the trail. Be sure to integrate core strength and stability work along with glute activation exercises in your training.
3. JOINT STABILITY
Your ability to maintain stability through your spine, hips, knees and ankles during each step will be key to controlling you body’s direction and forward speed as you hit the ground. Having strong muscles surrounding the joints that can coordinate efficient movements between the hips, knees and ankles is key. To increase your joint stability, combine single and double leg strength and balance exercises that challenge both linear and lateral movements. Especially for extreme trail running, being able to be stable during those quick changes in direction is not only great for preventing injury, but helps with quickness and agility.
Elasticity is one of the most overlooked elements of endurance performance and I would consider it like icing on the cake for downhill running. “Think of your body as a pogo stick. The metal framework is analogous to your pillar and the springs are like your muscles. We want our bodies to be able to store and release energy powerfully, just like that pogo stick. [Elasticity] is like your body’s shocks and springs.” writes Mark Verstegen in the book Core Performance. You can also think of elasticity as how fast your body is capable of changing the direction of force. In tennis it might be a lateral move to get back across the court. In running it would be how quickly you can get your foot off the ground once it hits, ideally while scooping up all the force you hit with and bringing it all with you into your next stride. It is pivotal to being able to “keep your legs under you” as mentioned earlier. You can train the body to be elastic with explosive exercises, like jumps and bounds, and specific running drills. Opt for fewer reps and make perfect form a priority.
The following video of Chris McCormack enroute to his win at the 2008 Wildflower Long Course Triathlon exemplifies great downhill running. Chris and Eneko Llanos were shoulder to shoulder, both with incredible running form as they approached the final 2km downhill to the finish line. On the downhill Chris easily pulls away from Eneko to win. If you watch closely (pausing the video from time to time helps) you'll see Chris continue to keep his running form intact. He keeps his knees high which allow him to maintain his long running stride down the hill while Eneko's stride shortens. Eneko's knees are not getting as high, so as he extends his leg in his stride, his foot hits the ground sooner than it expects to and there's a bit of a braking effect and definite loss of momentum every stride. What's interesting is that in the video Chris describes his mindset as he's running down the hill in that race and he mentions "forgetting about his technique." Yet you can see that doesn't mean "let the technique go". It's called being "unconsciously competent" and I'd imagine in this case it's due to not to luck but perfect practice making perfect...
Practice smart. Here’s to free speed! Enjoy.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
I remember a hundred lovely lakes,
and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir
and cedar and poplar trees
The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk,
opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.
It has given me blessed release from care and worry
and the troubled thinking of our modern day.
It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful.
Whenever the pressure of our complex city life
thins my blood and benumbs my brain,
I seek relief in the trail;
and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn,
my cares fall from me
-I am happy.
Hamlin Garland-McClure's, February 1899
Tomorrow I am running with friends on Mt. Tam and the Marin Headlands. I am going to try out my new trail shoes. They are the Saucony Progrid Guide trail shoe. I hope they feel as good as they look. Good luck to everyone running the Headlands 50 and 100 mile trail race. I think it is going to be a BEAUTIFUL day for a race!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
My son Caleb and I decided several months ago that we would go backpacking in Yosemite in Aug. It was to be a Mother-Son bonding time. A great opportunity to spend 3 days together and just enjoy each other. I spent a lot of time talking to my good friend, Dan, an experienced backpacker and ultra runner, about what to expect and what to bring. I am a rookie at this. I have only backpacked twice before when the kids were little, and come to think about it, it really wasn't a backpacking trip at all. Well, we did backpack, but only a couple of miles and then we set up camp and did day hikes with the kids. Dan was kind enough to lend us his pack, bear canister, stove, and a pan. I bought a water filter and we were off!
When I couldn't get a wilderness permit for Yosemite, I decided that Kennedy Meadows out of Emmigrant Wilderness would be a perfect choice. We left at 4:30 am on Friday and drove 5 hours to the trail head. We unloaded our stuff (did I say heavy?), and began our hike anticipating going about 9 miles. We ended up finding the perfect camp site at about 8 miles and set up camp. A few others found their way to our perfect spot and asked if they could join us for dinner and conversation. Our new friend Ray told us everything about him self and we never even got to add to the conversation. Caleb and I had a lot of laughs over Backpacker Ray.
The next morning we got up early and left with a plan to hike about 9 miles. When we ran out of water at about 4 miles we had no choice except to keep moving. It was hot and the climbs over the granite were brutal. We continued on mile after mile to only find dried up creeks and brown stagnate water. We were getting desperate and kept moving. Finally after we had hiked over 18 miles, we found snow that was melting down a ravine and we carefully collected the drips. After filtering this cold water and drinking it, we enjoyed ourselves with stories of what each of us was secretly thinking as we trudged along. We camped high on a mountain above 9000 ft. and had a restless sleep with the wind howling and the night cold.
Sunday morning came and with only 7 miles to the car, we headed out. But not before we found out that we had run out of gas for the stove! We were both glad that we had hiked so many miles the day before, because it would have been a total bummer to not have food for Sunday night! Our original plan was to hike out Monday morning.
We had a great trip and it was so much fun to spend so much time with Caleb. We laughed and caught up on all kinds of subjects and I am so thankful for such an amazing child. I am excited to think of backpacking again!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Well, the time has come to except the fact that I need surgery. I've mentioned before that my feet just KILL me. I run long races and then suffer greatly with toes that just ache and hurt sooo bad, but I just suck it up because that is how I do it.
During TRT 50 mile, my 4th toe was degloved. Look up the word and be prepared to be grossed out. It hurt like heck and I have been cursing my feet ever since. Yesterday I went to the Doctor who took one look at my feet and said, rather rudely, OMG, those are some painful looking toes! Yeah, I was really embarrassed and I made it perfectly clear that surgery would have to wait until hell freezes over. After an extensive checkup, I felt quite convinced that surgery would definitely help me in the long run. Four of my toes need major work. Four out of five toes really suck, huh? What? I've got races to run, places to see. But then I think, you know what? I need surgery so I can run the races I want and see the places I seek. So there you have it, surgery it is. I don't know when, but it's looking like sooner than later. I will keep you posted.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Last Saturday, I toed the starting line of the TRT 50 mile. TRT 50 mile is a tough race. With heat and elevation, it always kicks my butt. Saturday was no exception. My training leading up to TRT was sucky. A 38 mile run at Western States ( I was pacing), and a 25 mile slow, time on my feet, kind of run at Lake Sonoma. That was it and it was not ideal. I was in 50k shape, but certainly not 50 mile shape. Especially this race.
My personal best time there was 10:31 and I struggle to repeat that time. I finished this year in 10:43. Ugh. Miles of bad stomach and mental torture were on the menu for me this year. It must be the altitude that makes running this race so hard for me. Oh, well. I am so happy that I am healthy and able to run at all. Fifty miles is a HELL of a long way no matter how you cut it. I'll take 10:43, no problem!
I am excited and motivated as I write this. I have 3 races that I am looking at that get my heart pumping. I need that. There is something about having a goal to run towards. I will let you know what they are as they become a reality. Two are 100 milers and one is a stage race. Woohoo!
On Friday, my son and I are going on a 3 day backpacking trip. We are going to have so much fun! We are both rookies at this, so I am keeping my toes and fingers crossed that everything will go smoothly. Whatever happens out there, I feel privileged to be able to spend time with a wonderful 23 year old!
Friday, July 17, 2009
In the adventure of life, there are those who live it vicariously and enjoy the ride in the safety of an arm chair. And that's good. There are those who have a few choices to realize an incredible and life changing experience, and though they don't repeat them, they carry with them a growth in personal philosophy for the rest of their lives. And there are those whom a taste is never enough. For whom the lust of adventure is nearly insatiable. The end of one adventure only signifies the beginning of another. Survivor Man