NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A new chapter, another project.

3 months
I'm sitting here contemplating the juxtaposition of planning for a 50-mile run and a new situation in my life.  My daughter, who has been in an abusive marriage, is leaving the marriage and coming here from Dallas.  She'll be staying with us until she gets on her feet.

I mentioned my daughter once, briefly, a long time ago.  I mentioned how worried I was because she weighed 230 pounds.  She texted me on Sunday to let me know that she had weighed herself and now weighed 270 lbs.  She said that it was the first time she had weighed herself in a long time, and the shock of the number made her cry.  "I can't stop crying.  I'm a hippo, mom, how did I ever let it get this bad?"

As many probably know, there are a lot of ways that one can "let it get that bad," and they all converged on my only daughter.  She was raised by her father from age 12 to 19.  He is a simple man who doesn't waste time on high-fallutin' things like nutrition.  My daughter had gotten very big once before, around age 16, and so I had her come live with me for a year, since I'd always retained legal custody.  I didn't make her exercise, and I didn't control her eating.  It's just that we didn't have a lot of stuff around that was junk food.  We don't keep it in the house. 

Age 2
She was highly resistant to learning about nutrition.  She was not an easy teenager.  However, just living with us, that time in her teens, she lost 60 pounds in less than a year.  Then she went back to Dallas to live with her father.  

Age 3, with big
brother Sweetface
She has some sense.  She never got into drugs, and she hasn't had any children yet, so at age 23, she's one up on me already.  Her marriage right after high school was most likely based on the notion that, at 230 pounds, someone wanted to marry her, so she married, about three years ago.  It quickly deteriorated into an abusive marriage.  She tried once to move to another town, but the people she moved in with weren't incredibly reliable, and themselves became abusive, so she wound up going back to her husband to "try again".  

The stress, I would imagine, was not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.  My daughter told me some time back that the area in which they lived was not the kind of place where a woman walks alone, so she drove everywhere.  That didn't help with the weight either.
Age 11: An impromptu family portrait
taken in Dallas.

I watched, from a distance, to try to ascertain when she was serious about leaving him.  I had left an abusive marriage when I was 21.  I went home to my parents temporarily to get back on my feet, and so now, is she. 

It's jarring to realize that my only daughter, who is one inch shorter than me, weighs 120 lbs more than I do.  She texted me and asked me if I would walk with her to help her lose weight.  I texted her and told her that we were going to walk a lot when she got here.  I figure that's the safest way to go until she's lost about 70 lbs.  I told her to go to a running shoe store and get her gait analyzed for some well-cushioned road shoes, and if she couldn't afford a pair, to write down their suggestions.  
2009: Me at 170 lbs, herself at 230.
Here, of course, she will walk with me, just a short distance at first, but then eventually longer.  I have no illusions of turning her into an ultra runner.  I'm just trying to help her avoid diabetes.  In a few exchanges, I realize that she has no idea how to read food labels, so I'm investigating basic-level books on nutrition.

I plan to take pictures of her progress, but I don't know if I'll post them.  Perhaps after a lot of progress has been made.   

If anyone has suggestions for making this "project" easier, I welcome them.  

...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Things I like

Dear Diary,

So, well, the RD for Rocky decided that since it wasn't posted ahead of time, he wasn't going to enforce the headphones rule.  He did make a point about courtesy, and not yielding the path, which I totally agree with.  Still: music.  Happy.

DP and I joke about this person who is consistently negative.  This person complains constantly about every little thing in a mean-spirited way, and frankly, I'm stunned she hasn't given herself a heart attack yet.  DP refers to this person as "a cranky old man" even though she isn't that old.    

It would be easy to rummage through some of my blog/diary entries and get the impression that I'm a negative person because I use this as a way to complain, whine, and bitch at times.  In truth, I'm actually a pretty cheerful person.  There's a lot that makes me happy.  I had a rough beginning, as an adult, and so there's a lot of things I don't take for granted.  There are things that I smile about nearly every day, certainly at least once a week, and here is a short, and by no means complete, list:

  1. I love it when I put my key in my car, turn it, and it starts.  That still makes me happy.   I also love it when I flip a switch and lights come on.
  2. I enjoy watching kids, even the ones having meltdowns.  It's interesting.  I feel bad for the parents, but for now: Hmm.  Interesting.  I had a kid in my office last week have a meltdown, complete with banging on the door and screaming HELP when his mother wouldn't let him leave my office.  She was exhausted.  His tiny sister was holding her hands over her ears.  I was intrigued, and taking notes on the meltdown. Hmm.
  3. I love my house.  When I walk in and see the mountains out the back windows, I feel like the luckiest person alive to live here.  It's like living in a blind all the time, or one of those nature centers where they have tinted glass so you can sit in them and watch the birds nearby.
  4. I love that moment in a morning run when I come up over a hill on a trail, and it's not quite sunrise yet, but the city is spread out beneath me, with lights still on.
  5. I love that my clothes go on easily these days.
  6. I love diet mountain dew mixed with diet cran-grape juice. I drink it all day. Yeah, it's full of chemicals, but I like chemicals.  I detox over the weekends.
  7. I love that nearly any piece of information can be found on the Internet nowdays.  I'm slowly purging my house of old textbooks, cookbooks, and other reference works as a result, opening up more space.  If I have a power or internet failure, I could call DP, who has an iPhone, and once she lectures me on how many times I've mocked her iPhone, she'll give me information I need.
  8. I love my friends.  They funny, smart, interesting, motivated.  I'm amazed I get to call them my friends. 
  9.  Of course it goes without saying, of all of them, I love Sweet Baboo the most.  He's kind, funny, smart, and he takes good care of me, all my anxious, hyper, asthmatic bits.  Best of all, we often think the same things at the same time, which is handy.
  10. I love New Mexico.  I love the arid, sweeping vistas; starry skies, and painted cliffs and mesas.  It's spoiled me, I think.  I go to other runs that are beautiful, and I'm all, meh, pretty, but so is my back yard.  Only Colorado impresses me more, but I don't want to live there. 
  11. I love Albuquerque.  I have my pick of places to run: through the woods next to a river,  or up a trail to the top of a mountain, or through hills, or through hills and woods, or just through the city on a bike path - all of these within 15 miles of home.
  12. I love my dog.  I'm not a dog person, but I like her, all smelly, licky, wiggly parts of her.  She loves me back, even when I'm not in the best mood.
  13. I love my mailbox. For nearly 20 years, I just had community mailboxes, but now I have my very own mailbox, with a little red flag and everything.  It's true.  Bliss!
  14. I love that they have curbside recycling here.
  15. I love moments when a kid stops by my office grinning, and says, hey, remember me?  I'm discharging soon! and I have to squint and try to remember the kid because they are so totally different from the angry, profane kid that I met three months' earlier who screamed at their parents in my office, or who was slouched in a chair in the psych ward of the local hospital.
  16. In fact, I love just about everything about my job.  I feel needed.  I feel respected.  I feel like what I do matters. I have an office, and a convenient parking space, and a Walgreens across the street, and a good sushi restaurant nearby.  What else do you need?
  17. I love the turmeric-colored scarf that Baboo bought me on one of his trips.  It would be impossible to explain how much I love this scarf. I never wear this color, but this scarf, I wear it as often as I can without becoming that woman who, you know, she always wears that orange scarf.










...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dammit!

Just got a note today from the race director of the Rocky Racoon.

Dear Rocky Raccoon Trail Runner,

I wanted to send you a note with the major 

details, and also some things you just need to know. 
 I'll go through a few of my pet peeves first, then 
get into the major race details.

1) NO HEADPHONES, IPODS, or any other electronic 

device that plays music is allowed to be attached to you 
while you run. I WILL DISQUALIFY ANY PERSON 
CAUGHT WEARING ONE.



I call bullshit. This "pet peeve" was nowhere on their website, and as of this post, still isn't. C'mon folks.  It's not like there's scenery we're missing.


This issues is a non-issue with most RDs these days.  I'd have not trained for this if I had known it was an issue for this RD.  Twelve hours is a long damned time for me to be lost in my thoughts.  I am not a chatty cathy when I'm running.  


I've had race directors say that this is a safety issue, when parts of the race are in heavily trafficked areas. This race is inside a state park.  I just have to assume that someone finds them annoying.  When I googled SITE:TEJASTRAILS.COM HEADPHONES what I found were a couple of race reports from previous years where people talked about putting on their headphones.   Eight this is a brand new rule, or other people have been ignoring it.


I'm going to start writing ultra race directors in the future and asking about this.  If they say no headphones, I'm not paying a race fee, not training for, and not doing their race.  I can understand that some people find them annoying, but I find lots of things annoying, so what?  I don't expect that my absense will make much impact, but it will make me feel better.

That said, maybe some day I'll direct a race.  If I did, maybe I could ban things that annoy me:

* Really skinny-legged guys in baggy shorts
* People who are unnecessarily cheerful late into the race
* Ham sandwiches.  Seriously.  Ham?  When did that become a race food?

I've heard people say that it gives others an "unfair advantage" although this was never completely explained to me.  Seriously?  Well, then, as race director, my new rules to make everything fair would be:

* No caffein
* No ibuprofen
* Bring your own food
* Random UAs
* People with BMIs higher than 25 get a head start.

And then, about a week before the race, I'll send out one mass email that says

ALL RUNNERS MUST WEAR AT LEAST EIGHT DIFFERENT COLORS.

Right?

Sigh.

Whiiiiiiine....

  ...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dear Diary,


13.  Here is a graph of the year I've spent in WeightWatchers.  My weight loss has slowed quite a bit.  Of course, I don't know how much less I'm willing to eat, so maybe I'll just need to be happy where I am.

12.  Sunday, I made Green Chile Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas.  This is one of those ubiquitous dishes in New Mexico, kind of like lasagna, that is hard to screw up. The basic ingredients for mine are:

12 corn tortillas, torn into fourths
.75 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
.75 cups shredded nonfat cheddar
6 to 8 shredded, cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts (not like with a shredder, but just pulled apart.)
a can of green enchilada sauce,
4 small cans of green chile (or fresh frozen roasted chile, if you can get it)
1 can healthy request cream of chicken soup
1 cup. non-fat sour cream
1 can black beans
1 can of black sliced olives, if you want them.

So.  I mix the black beans, olives, and the green chile together in one bowl, sour cream and chicken soup in another bowl, and then layer it in a crockpot like this:

1/4 of the enchilada sauce
1/4 of the torn tortillas
1/4 of the chile/black bean mixture
1/4 of the chicken
1/4 of the sour cream/soup mixture
1/4 of the cheese

and so on, all the way up to the top.  Cook on low about, oh, 4 hours.  Not too much more or it gets gooey.  Still tastes good, though.  Sweet Baboo loves me just a little bit more when I make this stuff.  If I screwed it up, just ask.  Don't scream.

11.  Sweet Baboo has worked out another training plan for me, starting after Rocky, which is in less than two weeks TWO WEEKS and it builds up to the May of Insanity, which involves two back-to-back marathons, two weekends in a row, and then two weeks later a 50K, and then what may possibly be the Big Horn 50K in June (maybe).

My fantasy garden.  These are all low-water plants.  
10.  2011 my goals at home are to do things to use less electricity and use less water.  To that end, we're planning to put in some sun-blocking interior roller shades along the south-east wall of the house because the sun shines in it for long periods of time and really heats things up.

9. Another big goal is to take out most or all of the grass in the front yard.  It's ridiculous to have grass in a place that gets 9 inches of rain a year.  Plus, it has to be mowed.  I'm planning to take out the grass and put in xeriscaping.

I grew up in the south.  Lawns are boring.

8.  I have a broken oven.  I rarely use it.  Right now, it provides storage for a very nice portable oven.  I'm getting a teflon liner for it.
Not having an oven, by the way, removes you from the obligation of providing large-scale dinners all by yourself.  I mean, you can't cook a turkey in a toaster oven, right?  (Although for two, you can cook a very nice turkey breast).

7.  I found out that some of my textbooks are worth money through Amazon's textbook buy-back program, so sold them back and I'm ordering some new cookbooks, to give me ideas.

Once I've gotten some good ideas out of them, then I usually sell them back and make up my own recipes.

6.  This past week, Sweet Baboo was listening to a training CD on treating anxiety disorders.  I overheard the woman on the tape talk about how anxiety-provoking it was to be in the lunch room, because you could drop the tray and then everyone would look at you, or laugh at you.

Pfft.  Really? Really? That's where you go to?  Lightweight.  There are WAY more horrible things that could happen to you from dropping your tray.
  • The fork could fly up and hit you in the eye.
  • Some acid-based food item could hit you in the eye. Or salt.
  • You could slip on something from the tray and fall, breaking your coccyx.  
  • You could ruin all your food and not have anything to eat for the rest of the day.  
  • You could break some dishes and be required to pay for it. 
  • You could slip and fall and cut your wrist, bleeding to death.
Of course, when I shared this with Sweet Baboo he thought it was a hoot.  The rest of you: Bow before me.  I am the QUEEN of anxiety.

I figure as long as I can laugh about it, I'm doing okay.  

7.  Also planning on using my slow cooker more often.  I'm getting a timer for it since I'm gone 10 hours a day, usually.  I'm selling all my old vegan cookbooks as a lot on ebay.  Most of them rely pretty heavily on soy, which you're not supposed to eat if you have an impaired thyroid.

6.  I'm planning my drop bags for Rocky. I'm allowed to place a drop bag(s) at the start/finish for each loop.  So I'm working on that.  I'll be working on making instructions for myself.  Everything from "make sure you change your socks here" to, "you're awesome!  way to go!" At the end, I'll curl up in a sleeping bag and wait for Baboo.

5.   I'll be doing three 16 and 2/3 mile loops.  My goal is to finish it in under 14 hours.  12 hours is my fantasy goal.  I figure the first two laps are daylight, and the last one it might be getting dark.  So at night I'll need a headlamp, and maybe a clean, dry, l/s shirt.  The big challenge is going to be the roots.  I was told by JJ, who accompanied me to the finish at Ghost Town, that it used to be a much nicer course but the mountain bikers have just torn it up.  Lots of erosion, and the result is lots of exposed roots. 4. Monday was the night.  THE night.  It was the night I went to class, and saw people I haven't seen in nearly a year. Again, I got the comments about the lost weight.  I never get tired of that!  And again, I got one whispered, sidelong comment, You're okay, right?  You haven't been sick?  I like that one too. No, I haven't had chemotherapy.  No, I don't have a wasting disease.  
3.  There are hints of spring in the air.  Okay, maybe not in the air, that's just wishful thinking.  But the days are getting longer.  Totally stoked.  Soon, I'll be able to run more in the evenings.  I don't know what it is about the dark and cold, but I hate running in it. I'll run in the dark, and maybe in the cold, but cold + dark, well, no.  

2.  Mailbag: No, I haven't considered a wheat allergy.  I'm wary of that but not closed-minded.  My asthma was fully under control until I (twice in a row) took 12-hour sudafed before laying down to sleep.  I think that did something to me starting with stuff building up in my chest over night, not moving out.  I think I had some inflammation in my airway.  But it seems to be clearing up. Also, I think that since our winter has been extra dry, that is a problem.  So I've started humidifying the air, and that's helped, too.

1.  I'm taking a class in clinical supervision  It's pretty cool.  See, in the past, anything having to do with leadership made me break out in hives.  I've avoided it.  TOO much responsibility.  Bleh.  But then again, maybe it's time I grew up, and looked into this whole leadership thing.  Maybe I'll try it on, and see how it fits.  Could be too big, or too small, but maybe it will fit. It's pretty scary, doing something that I might not be good at, right?  Right.  It's almost as scary as toeing the start line of a mountain 50k, where I might fail.  But so what?  As my friend Holly used to say, what are they going to do, take away my birthday?...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The 2011 Sandia Snowshoe Slog.

Me and Mo.  The only time I see Mo is
before I start or after I finish, when she's 
long done and all refreshed.  She's crazy fast.
Dear Diary,

Yesterday, I "ran" the Sandia Snowshoe race.

I wrote about this when I did it the first time and finished it in 1:17.  It's a 5K.  On big slippery clown feet.

In 2009, I had bad IT band stuff and it was sandwiched in between Bandera and Ghost Town, where I DNFd.  I didn't go.

 In 2010, it was called on account of snow.  No, I am not making that up.  So this year, they had it, and a bunch of my New Mexico Outlaws peeps were there.

I dressed in a Buff Band babushka.  I hadn't put on the snowshoes since 2008, and wasn't sure how to put them on again.  I have RedFeather racing snowshoes, which is pretty damned funny considering it takes an hour or more for me to do these 3.2 in them.  That's, like, a 19-minute mile.  Of course, I have the same size of showshoes as Dread Pirate, and I outweigh her by a good 15-20 pounds.  Luckily, the snow was pretty hard and crunchy.

Being as I was actually trained for this, and was 30 pounds lighter this time, I figured to do better, even given my crappy asthma stuff going on.  I wore a neoprene face nose mask thing, which rocks for asthmatics in very cold dry air.

The first mile kicks ass.   It's mostly downhill.  The loop course drops down about 300 feet.  You don't even notice the whole lack of oxygen thing.  I found out how deep the snow was the only time I fell over - I put my hand down to stop myself and it went in all the way past my elbow.

The second mile: not to much. This is when it turns and starts to head back up the hill.

The third mile: well, you Hate. Everybody.  especially the spry elderly people with walking sticks that can hike on snowshoes way faster than you can.  It's tempting to trip them, but don't.  It's not nice.  And there's witnesses.

One thing to the guy that kept stopping to sit down and rest and then shouting "on your left" so that everyone would step aside after every single rest when he started blazing down the trail again: The reason I didn't move the third time you did this is because I was tired, and when I'm tired I'm a bit of a bitch.  Learn to pace yourself better next time.

Ahem.

Ninja snow-shoe warriors: DP and me.
Like all Outlaws, she was done far
ahead of me.     
As exhausted as I was a week after my last ultra, I did it 17 minutes faster than last time I did it.  I believe I was the last of the Outlaws to finish.  But then, the other Outlaws didn't run 38.5 miles less than a week prior, so suck it.

This is a cool little race.  It was freezing-ass cold up at 10,000 feet and the wind was blowing, but there was donut holes, hot coffee, and cheese.  There was other stuff, too, but hey: DONUT HOLES. HOT COFFEE.  CHEESE.

Totally worth the breathlessness, freezing cold, and hard 5K hike.  Mind you, I knew this would be hard.  I did it, as always, to challenge myself.

Later, I made sweet potato and red bean chipotle chili.  And tater tots.  I ate it in front of a crackling fire, watching The Lake House with my Sweet Baboo.  Feel free to hate me.

Life should be an adventure.  If it's not, go figure out how to make it one.  Right now.  Adventures aren't easy, and sometimes they aren't fun.  Sometimes, even the short ones, you go into knowing that they are hard.  But then you look back on them and feel satisfied, and worthy of whatever awful thing you decide to eat afterward.

"There is a limit to how much the body can endure.  Go find it."

...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You can't spell mental hospital without ENCOPRETIC. Thurs-er-Tuesday 13.

Dear Diary,


13.  I think I'm going to switch back to Thursday Thirteen.  I start my final semester of school tomorrow, and I have classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.  I'm going to be busy those days.  I figure to do an hour-long run between work and classes. Otherwise, I might stop at the Y, which is next to my school, and do dreadmill work. 

12.  The day after Ghost Town, my deltoids were screamin'. I've gotten into the habit of holding my arms up and in front of me, and at Ghost Town, I carried two ultimate direction hand-helds instead of wearing a pack. As a result: today I can barely lift my arms.  Owwww.

11. But.  It was otherwise successful.  I wore my spibelt, which held my gels, e-caps, and chapstick and my bib number was pinned to it.  At each bag drop I reloaded the gels.

My spibelt.
Each handheld has a pocket with a zipper. One held my asthma rescue inhaler, and the other held empty gel packs (trash).  It worked splendidly.  I traveled light.


10.  I also got a pair of these: 
Yaktrax Pro.  There was a bout 4-6 inches of snow on part of the course.   These little beauties saved me from a thousand little microslips that might have resulted in a tweaked muscle.  I used them on a mostly snow-covered 2.5 mile spur.

9.  I watched the premier of "Heavy"  on A&E.  It's kind of interesting.  Not what I thought,  but I love that Jodi kicked her negative mother out of the house.   You go, girl. 

8.  I read recently in Marathon and Beyond that icing for longer than 10 minutes after a long run causes blood vessels to dilate, and that increases blood flow to the area, speeding recovery.  I'd heard that icing was good but never knew why. So one of my plans for my back-to-back marathon doubles in May is to hit the pool after each marathon with flippers and kick up and down the pool for a while, ice bath if I can.  Active recovery.  We'll see how that works.

7.  When I came home from work on Monday, I stepped on the scale.  According to Tanita, I'm bloated. It shows I'm very well hydrated, more so than usual, and up about a pound and a half.  I usually am after a big run, no surprise there.  Tomorrow I'll make like a racehorse and come back down.  

6.  But what else did I notice?  Well, my weight is steady, between 150 and 152, and the sun set later today.  The days are getting longer.  My weight has stayed steady, and the days are getting longer.  STOKED!!!!

5.  Oh, and Pee Ess: Baboo's weight has held steady too. As I may have mentioned before, we gain and lose together.  This is the first winter that we didn't turn into the pudge twins. He's at about 205ish.  I predict this to be the year that he earns the nickname "slim".  

4.  There is a person where I work that parks like s/he has no depth perception.  I'm going to leave a note on the windshield soon, I swear.  Or maybe I'll just take a picture with my camera phone, and have it posted here.  I can also print this off and leave it on their windshield.  Parking gets very scarce at work, and I think that if you're going to park like an asshole, maybe someone should call you on it. 


Finishing Ghost Town 1/16/11
(picture stolen from Kelly)
Baboo is directly to my right. 
 3.  I'll be spending the next three weeks doing easy, gentle, flat runs on dirt to help the Achilles continue healing.  It barely whispered to me at Ghost Town.  Ice, walk.  Ice, walk.  

2.  Words I added to my work computer dictionary this week: Vyvance, encopretic, cheeking, tricotillomania, deescalating, schizoaffective. 

1.  Favorite things that teenagers say (and I hear this often):  I don't believe in medications, like for depression and stuff, because they're artificial and you never know how they might affect you.  But you know pot, it's safe, and it's natural.  It doesn't cause permanant brain damage the way alchol and other drugs do. 

...

Monday, January 17, 2011

The 6th (and final) running of the Ghost Town 38.5

Dear Diary,

Last year, I talked about how the town of Hillsboro, NM haaaaaates runners.  So, this year we stayed at the Lakeview RV park out by I25, which has KOA cabins that are just the funnest bit of nostalgia you can get for $25 a night.  Electricity, heat, A/C, bring your own linens.  They have great showers.  I recommend them highly.


Now, due to the town's outright hostility toward this race and some people who confronted Susan about various aspects of the race, there has amassed over the year a number of rules regarding ones conduct.  

Things one can do to get disqualified and/or banned:
  • Have anyone you know or are related to run any part of the course on the day of the race.
  • Complain about the course, race organization, or any part of the event, even jokingly, since these comments are sometimes reported.
  • Run on the wrong side of the road.
  • Run on the correct side of the road, but angle in toward the finish instead of making a right turn across the street from the finish line.
  • The Ghost Town 38.5 course map and profile.
  • Make any comments to the RD or her husband about continuing the race.  
There's more, but you get the idea.  Things were getting tense.  So this year, Susan announced that this was the last year of the Ghost Town 38.5.  I wasn't planning on doing it this year, but since it was possibly the last year, EVAR, I decided to go do it.  


Last year my finishing time was 11:16.  This race has a special spot in Sweet Baboo's heart because it was his first ultra.  Less than 9 months after he ran his first 5k, he ran his first ultra.  Because he is - say it with me now - a freak.

I was pretty stoked about this race because of the weight loss and stuff, but also worried about my achilles.  In fact, I had been favoring that leg quite a bit, and when climbing, I had been leading with my other leg (my left) so much so that when it was clear that I didn't need to do that any more, I suffered.

Whatever muscles lift your leg for climbing steps had weakened a bit while I was favoring it, and so I wound up with a sharp pain right in the front where my right leg bends.  It started around mile 20 and by 30 it was almost unbearable.

But that wasn't the dumbest thing I did, oh, no.

I talked last month about having trouble coughing at Tucson, which I assumed was a cold, and it was, sorta.

But then at yesterday's run I had the same aching chest, but since this was a harder run, I got an extra bonus: breathlessness.

That alone would have not done me in, but for some reason campfires are very popular with race volunteers - woody, smoky ones - so that at one aid station, I had to change shoes from road to trail and while doing so, was completely enveloped in smoke.  A couple more instances like that, and I was done in.  My asthma was in full swing and it wasn't letting up.

I slowed down dramatically on the way back from the turnaround at mile 20-point-something, because I couldn't get on top of my breath.  I couldn't catch it, I just couldn't.

Ghost Town 38.5 elevation profile
Now around mile 28ish, right before the last long (2 mile) climb, I'd decided I was done.  This was it.  I just couldn't breathe.  I needed to get a ride and get hooked up to a nebulizer, stat.  I'd used the crap out of my inhaler, but it wasn't making a dent.  I came up on a guy named JJ and he asked how I was doing, and I mumbled something about how I was going to quit soon, and in the true tradition of ultrarunning and ultrarunners, he proceeded to distract me from this idea by having me power-walk with him, running the downhills.

JJ is in his 70s, retired, and hundred-milers are his hobby.  The Ghost Town 38.5 is his last long run before his taper for the Rocky Raccoon in three weeks.  I told him about my Achilles (which, by the way, had bothered me very minimally during this race, although it is a bit swollen) and he said, simply, "you need to stretch your hamstrings more...they're too tight".  Why didn't I think of that?  I mean, it makes sense.  My Achilles started acting up after doing two marathons and a half marathon in the same 90-day period, and I never did stretch after that.  A gentle Achilles' stretch, to be sure, but hamstrings - that also makes total sense.

I thanked JJ several times for hanging with me because by mile 34, I was so breathless ALL I could was powerwalk at that point.  He said, "oh, no problem, you're helping me meet my goal of finishing this and expending as little energy as possible," which is code for, your slow ass is helping me not have to work hard at all.

Sweet Baboo's Mobel sleeves.  Dragons.  Very butch.
I can't find a picture of the sleeves I got.  
Baboo's finishing time, by the way, was 6 hours and 40 minutes.  Yes.  He finished, drove back to the campground, showered, dried off, then came back to Hillsboro to hang out and watch me finish.  Leisurely.

The finishing prize was Moeben sleeves!!  When we finished, I went back to KOA and showered, and me and Sweet Baboo got foot-longs at Subway.

After we arrived back in ABQ, I hooked up my old nebulizer machine and then coughed up a lot of crap.  That's when it hit me: at both runs I had taken 12-hour pseudofed before going to sleep.  However its mechanism - and I don't promise to know anything about this shit; I can tell you have antidepressants work but not this stuff - it caused an enormous amount of congestion in my chest.  The fires and dust didn't help, but I could have tolerated them without an airpipe full of junk.

Anyway.  It's 4 am and I'm up eating a bean and cheese burrito and a glass of chocolate milk.  It's awesome.

Next up: Rocky Raccoon 50-miler, in three weeks.  Where, you may recall,


I walked the entire race last time due to IT band syndrome.  This year, I'm planning to run most of it.  I've heard that's actually a bit faster. 

...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Random shit.

Dear Diary, 


First all, can I just say that I LOVE the new Allstate Mahem GPS commercial?





 Now every time I see someone trip and fall or screw up something, I want to shout out RECALCULATING!!  


Yesterday Sweet Baboo discovered that the diet mountain dew I've been drinking with diet cranberry all week is not diet mt dew, it is regular mountain dew.  I did not mean for this to happen.

Shit.  Shit, shit, shit.  I immediately went into a tailspin of worry and desperately trying to calculate how many calories I'd drank unwittingly.

*Relax,* my calm self said.  *You're carb loading, remember?"*

Yeah, well, I only get to use that excuse for so long, I thought, worriedly.

And then I ate two pieces of fried fish with tartar sauce, and two servings of potatoes, because I'm complex.  Oh, and popcorn.

Thursday and Friday, I'll wear flats ONLY to get my Achilles nice and stretched out (okay, some heel cups in my Keens) and eat a LOT of carbs.  I have not felt my Achilles all week long.  Tomorrow night, I'll do a quick, short, flat gentle jog.  2 miles, tops.

Worry, worry, worry, worry.  I've been swamped at work, which is good, because it's taken my mind off worrying about Ghost Town this weekend.  This is, apparently, our busy time of year - our being the psychiatric hospital where I work.  What's up with that?  Are kids all blowing out over the holidays?

When I worry, I get scattered and disorganized, and Himself pointed out in his usual gentle, patient way that I was--oh, how did he put it--kind of spread out all over the place.  For those of you who do not speak the language of the subtle man, this is genteel for, your shit is all over the house.  Because I happen to speak genteel, I picked it up. Well, most of it anyway.  Okay.  Maybe half.

I go back to school next week, three classes a week.

In my continuous quest to buy shoes I couldn't wear when I was a teacher, I bought new shoes this week. They are cheap, fun ones with impossibly high heels.  

I also bought these rainboots:
Seriously, how could I not?  Even though I live in the desert, I mean, sometimes it rains.

Today, I was pulled for a random urinalysis at work.  Again.  I blew 90 minutes going across town, peeing in a cup, and then returning to work.  What. The. Hell.  They used to use a lab across the street from work, but then changed it to one that was less expensive.  I hope that they save enough to make up for not having an employee working for 90 minutes, instead of the 20 it used to take to go across the street, pee in a cup and come back.  And on the way there, needing to go, but not able to go, I hit ever damned pothole and speed bump.

Oh, also, when I'm nervous, I talk or write a lot, and use lots of commas.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that i'm nervous.  It's been a long time that I've been nervous about finishing an event less than 50 miles.  But for the past month, I've been doing short, short runs because of achilles stuff.  I have this fear now that in the past month, I've completely lost all my base, and won't be able to be on my feet longer than 20 miles.  And/Or I'll be in immense amounts of pain.
Mmmm.

I need something chocolate.

....

...

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Week Before Ghost Town: Tuesday Twelve.

Dear Diary,

This little piggy ate Nutella dipped in animal
crackers and went *urp* all the way home.
12.  Things I looked up in WW After I ate them this week: Nutella, chee-tohs.  Tres Leches cake.
Nutella.  Oh, my. Well, it's my sister-in-laws fault.  She asks me to babysit, and has jars of this stuff just sitting there, in the cabinet. Found it by accident, I did. No really.
But after I looked it up, oh, my, god.  I might as well be eating solid oreo filling.  How on earth do they tell people that it's part of a healthy breakfast?  Puh-lease.

11. After a whole year, would it surprise anyone that I'm settling in at work?  It's like they've accepted that I'm sticking around, and now they joke with me good natured-ly.  I feel comfortable there.

10.  Lurking.  De-lurking day is either last week or this one.  I haven't figured out which.  Either way, say Hi.

9. Coach Baboo said that he figures that if I get 50 miles a week that would be good.  That breaks down to working my way up to weekend doubles, at least 20 miles each on Sunday/Saturday, leaving 10 miles during the week. 
BUT. Since I'm not doing the doubles yet, then I have to run more during the week.

I need to figure out a way to run for an hour at work then clean up fast . Any ideas?  I've mapped out a route near where I work that is mainly a residential street, and I can change in my office.  I did a dry run this week.  I need some way to clean up and be able to see people.  Without making them pass out I"MNOTSAYINGTHATISMELL.  Remember, I am a delicate flower.  I'm just saying that fresh is good, but fresher is better.

8.  Sweet baboo told me this week that my ass looked great.  Can you believe that?  You see why I married him?  He just said that, spontaneously.  I didn't even ask.  He didn't even have to say it; he was already going to get lucky.

7. This past week, I pissed off a lawyer, a social worker, a probation officer, in one day, all over one kid.  I've got enough friends. Don't need any more.

6.  Saturday I headed out on a 20-mile run, but around mile 10 the ache in my Achilles, which I've tentatively diagnosed with Achilles tendonosis, began talking to me.  Sharply.  It said, "you will walk up those hills, missy."  I cut the run short at 12 miles.  Crap.  I put my Achilles on a bag of frozen corn, and then consoled myself with some well-earned cake.  New this week: it has a creaky feeling, like rope that has been stretched to far.  So for the rest of the week: no running, lots of protein, gentle stretching, and heel cups in my flats.

yep.  Sharp pain when running uphill.  So, yeah.  I walk uphill, and can jog flats as long as I keep my stride short and my feet under me.  So the Ghost Town this weekend: I won't be breaking any speed records.

kawai, neh?
5.  I was so proud of myself on Friday.  On payday I treat myself to lunch.  I was just about to go to a local super buffet called Golden Corral when, without thinking, I walked away from car and walked over to a local (and very good) sushi place instead.  I had "Snow White Roll" which is about as fattening as sushi gets, but still pretty healthy.
I spent twice as much, ate about 1/3 as much as I would have at the Super Feed, but it was pretty, and quiet, and better for me.  I also had green tea and miso soup.  *Pats self on the back*.

4.  The RD for Ghost Town starts sending out weekly emails a couple months in advance of the race.  A month before, it becomes daily.  Then it becomes 4 to 6 a day.  These are not short emails.  Often they are a page-longer or more.  Kinda looking forward to putting those behind me.  Why?  Because if you don't read each and every single one, and miss a detail, and mess up, then it's all, well didn't you read the email?


The email?  Well, which of the forty was I supposed to have read to get this piece of information?  I have a job, after all.

3.  I was asked earlier this week what my plan for losing weight is over the winter, given that my training has slowed down dramatically.  Well, I don't have a plan for losing weight over the winter.  My plan is to maintain my weight over the winter.  This time last year, I was 178 lbs, and that's when I joined Weight-Watchers.  Today I am holding steady at 150, which is where I've been for 6 months.  I'm doing pretty good, I think.

2.  And I feel good.  I get that I'm different.  My clothes are smaller, and still need to be taken in.  I feel that I am smaller when I go up stairs.

I just can't see it; does that make sense?  When I look in the mirror I see the same me that I was a year ago.  I'm caught off guard when people who haven't seen me express surprise.  And I know it's just me, because when I see my reflection unexpectedly I see how smaller I am.  But when I'm expecting it, I still see just plain, big ole' me.  There's gotta be a pill for that.

1.  I'll get lots of that next week - I'll be in class with fellow SocialWork students I haven't seen since last spring.

There will be much surprise, and ego-stroking.  Ohhhh, yeah.  I live for that *gasp* OMG, Misty, did you lose weight?  
me: *blushing* huh?  Oh, I guess.  A little.
Yep, I'm manipulative, alright.  Gotta use all that therapy school for something, right?

I shall enjoy it. >:-)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2011: THE YEAR OF UNBRIDLED OPTIMISM, and the dawn of the Tuesday Twelve

Dear Diary,

12: Saturday, 1/1/11, I got up to do a 20-mile run, and it was eleven degrees out. I thought that a particularly cruel joke.

But...I had put on a pound or two during the tween Xmas and Newyears fest known as "Eat all you can", so I headed out in 3 wicking shirts, a cycling jacket, fleece hat, neoprene face mask, gloves, thermal tights--everything a different color, looking not unlike a big sloppy and very gay ninja.

11.  For the record, eleven degrees is some pretty miserable shit.  You get that little layer of moist sweat going while you run, and you don't get to stop, because if you do, even indoors, you immediately become chil-l-l-l-l-l-led.

10: Fueling your race: FAIL. My first 6.5 miles Saturday was to run to DP's house, where I had jokingly asked ahead of time if there would be bacon.  When I got there, her beloved put down a plate in front of me

"What is this?"
"It's English Bacon," said DP's beloved, who is from Scotland.  English bacon is like little tiny pork chops.  I ate pieces repeatedly until it occurred to me that perhaps the reason the plate was in the middle of the table was because it was for the whole family.  >Whoops<.  I stopped eating it and looked away when the Mr. questioned the children on how much they had eaten.  La-la-laaaaaah.....

It didn't make me faster.  In fact, along with the accompanying sausage, and toast with butter, it may have weighed me down.  A bit.

9. THIS is my heritage, btw.  I joined ancestry.com during 2009 and played with it for a while, and hoped for something more exotic, but no: English.  Period.  Which means my heiritage is unhealthy, fatty meaty food, syntax and grammar rules routinely broken, bad teeth, and very dry humor.

8: So.  I was so distracted by the fantastic bacon that I forgot to drink my gatorade and refill my bottle.  I draink one bottle over 13 miles, got carb depleted, and DP had to wait for me quite a number of times.

DP, as Ninja Warrior of the West.
I landed at the 4-mile Egg Nog Jog tired, a bit dizzy, dehydrated, with the pain in my leg becoming very annoying.  And it was still ass-biting cold. 

<-- DP looked all sleek, like a real ninja.

7: I skipped the egg nog and took a short nap in a car instead. After the run, we all went over to another friend's house for beans, pasole, and baked goods.  After THAT, I went home, to a warm doggie, hot bath, and nap, not necessarily in that order.

6. After THAT, himself wanted pizza.  I got myself a family-sized salad with greens, blue cheese, chicken, and walnuts with lowfat ranch. Mmmm. They provided paper plates, serving forks, and 4 forks for me...ADORABLE!  I guess some people share their family-sized salad or something.  Well, I shared the family plate of bacon--I wasn't sharing this. I ate half of it for dinner and then finished the rest the next day by heating it up and having it with some egg beaters.

5.  Himself got many Lowes' gift cards for presents, and will also get a big fat signing-bonus from the guard this year.  Aside from paying off bills, a project is to make the house more energy efficient and water efficient and secure.  I promise to bore you as much as possible with details on this.  For instance, redoing the front yard.  I'm looking for clean ways to get rid of well-established grass, if anyone has any ideas.

4. I know that 2011 is going to be better.  (It has to be.)  I predict a kick-ass year full of wonder and joy.  I do. I refuse to be convinced otherwise.  This time last year I was 25 pounds heavier, depressed, anxious, and had lost a lot of fitness.  I'm already starting the year ahead.

3.  For one thing, I will be eligible for the independently licensed therapist license this year, which means a raise and greater job prospects.

2.  Rather than "resolutions" I've made a to-do list, which includes some of the things I put in my earlier post about plans for 2011, as well as stuff like, clean out the spare room.  Nothing about being a better, kinder, more patient person, blah blah blah.  Just a cleaner one, fitter one, and maybe a saner one.

1.  Two weeks to the final Ghost Town 38.5 - I signed up for this because it's the last year she's having it, so why not.  I'm worried about the achy spot above my achilles, but when I take diclofenac, it feels way better, and I really wanted to try to do this run faster.  So, we'll see.