Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eh, Maybe It IS Broken

For the record, I hurt my foot six days ago. What I thought was just an indentation above the second toe has spent today becoming a dark bruise.

Nothing has hurt that particular place, so I guess it's possible that I cracked my metatarsal and the bruise (which doesn't hurt) is perhaps just the blood seeping out of the bone and pooling in the next area over.

Kinda like an overeager application of glue to fill in the break. Maybe if I massage the bruise, it'll dissolve a little faster.

Just as long as I don't touch the tender base of my big toe. :D

If it's a break, it isn't a bad one, anyway. Flexing my foot does hurt pretty badly, but I haven't had that nauseating rotten feeling I've gotten before with a broken toe.

On the brighter side, at least my dog was outside when it happened. He missed the full volume of my screaming, so he didn't feel it necessary to hide under my bed thinking he was in trouble.

Oh My Freakin' Toe!

My legs have finally stopped hurting... So much. Lol. Actually, the reason I'm still off my feet isn't my lower legs. It's my foot. The tendon over my big toe is still so swollen and tender that it looks like the next toe has a serious depression sunken into it.

Oh, did I fail to mention how accident prone I am? In this case, my clumsiness isn't to blame, however. As I was setting down the heating pad I bought to use on my hip last Sunday, a 15-pound stoneware pan decided to kamikaze, corner down, on top of my foot.

Yeah, ouch.

It's been so swollen, bruised, and sore that I can't wear my running shoes. Too much pressure on the big toe tendon. I think I was lucky not to actually break my toe, but bending that sucker upwards still hurts pretty badly.

Yeah, I know, poor baby. It'll heal like everything else does. But I'm getting a little impatient.

Stuck in the starting gate by a dodgy hip and a busted toe! Well, the weak hip flexors should explain a few things to some people, such as why I was never able to do a roundhouse kick in karate. And a few other things. Lol

43 marathons in 51 days. Eddie Izzard, a comedian and actor with no prior experience in long distance running, and not at the peak of fitness, ran 43 marathons in 51 days with just five weeks of training immediately before that.

He did it for Sport Relief in the UK, and ran a total of 1100 miles in that time.

Despite rain, cold, killer drivers on busy roads with no shoulder, losing toenails, a weird gait, and extreme blisters, his daily injuries didn't stop him from completing every single run. It is recommended to take a month of rest after a marathon. He took one rest day a week after six days of marathons. And he's 47 years old.

Wow. I'm thoroughly impressed. And disgusted with myself that I'm such a recurrent failure. If he can do that, why can't I do the little bit I'm trying to accomplish? Well, he did have support. A small crew of people including a sports therapist.

Me? I've got people asking about my race time and saying "at least you finished" and asking why I haven't become instantly thin since I've started running. No questions about the training program I'm using, or anything else. Not interested in the process, just demanding excellent and immediate results.

I've heard it all before. I've even been grounded for six weeks after making a B on a weekly quiz instead of an A. (I missed one question on a ten-question quiz, if you were wondering.). Oh, not just grounded. That wasn't enough, was it? Sentenced to clean the bathroom every day on my hands and knees, specifically on that ceramic tile floor. And not once any help offered in studying for a single test so that I could make an A.

But I guess I deserved such a severe double punishment for that B, only discovered after someone went snooping in a note one of my friends had written me. I'm sure EVERY parent who loves their child does that to them, right?

I remember a specific voiced disappointment that my sister and I weren't the valedictorian and salutatorian of our graduating class. Considering that I'm a year younger, was I supposed to not only skip a grade but become second in the class simultaneously? Or at least first in my own class?

All the while complaining LOUDLY over the once-yearly request for a poster board to complete a class project. (Subtext: stop bothering me to help you once a year by taking you to buy school supplies.) I think they cost, what, 15 cents when I was in high school? Every year the same complaint, aren't we too OLD to be doing projects in school? I guess I was supposed to be wildly successful despite all of the deliberate obstacles being continually put in front of me.

So... Extreme results expected with ZERO actual support. Talk about being a self-made person. It seems I continue to be a disappointment. I hear about it all the time.

Well, maybe if I had been able to focus on my schoolwork instead of having to hold a job all that time, I could have done better, hmm? Unfortunately, 3:15-3:45 each day before work was NOT enough time to do a fantastic job with high school homework.

So it's probably no wonder that every setback in running makes me lose heart and faith that I can do any better.

I've got another new running book that supposedly tells why you should take a substantial amount of time off from racing after your last race disaster, but of course, I can't find it. *sigh*. I'm not sure if I'm going to run next month in the one I ran last year. I just don't think I'll do more than be a dismal failure. Again.

To say that I need a trainer is a vast understatement. But I need one that understands the point of all this is for me to become a light and lean runner, rather than a short stocky woman. I don't know that anybody local even knows how to do that for me.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sleeping Life Away

I slept for four hours when I came home from work. Staying awake just wasn't something I could face anymore. There's nobody I can talk to, so I'm trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. Several people have made it plain they don't want my company, and they damn well don't want to be bothered with listening to me, so I'm taking the necessary steps to give them what they want. My absence.

Sleeping is better anyway. My pain doesn't follow me there yet, and the worst I've had to deal with lately in my dreams were the knife-teethed vengeful spirits someone asked me to drive out of their new apartment. In my dream, it had become overdone for certain people to get lots of attention by claiming they lived in haunted houses and then hiring ghost hunters to clear the spirits out. I thought the whole thing was bs, so I did a little air-clearing routine I know of with sage leaves, which made the occupants happy.

Except that when I walked past a mirrored closet door, I could see these angry specters reaching for me and I could feel those razor sharp teeth biting into my back and shoulders.

What everyone actually disbelieved was actually there, with the intent to kill me. They had big hollow eye sockets. I remember that I calmly stepped away from the mirrors and I woke up, unafraid.

It's a metaphor, of course. The ghosts may be people I know are talking about me and backbiting me all the time. They might also indicate that I feel trapped in my life, mirror that it is, watching others actually be alive. Maybe it's a warning not to give in to the bad thoughts I've had swirling around me for a while now, like a whirlpool with a monster at the bottom.

Whatever the case, I don't feel like I'm really here anymore. Like one of those ghosts.

I had to stop my running again because each day since Saturday's 5k, the edema in my legs has gotten worse. My foot is too bruised to wear running shoes without passive pain just from the instep sitting on top. (A stoneware pan fell on it and nearly broke my big toe.) My hip still hurts and I'm fighting to walk straight.

But who cares, anyway?

My family knew I was going to be in a race right here in town.... I wished just one of them had come for me. I got that lonely feeling like I did last year when I was dropped off at my doorstep after surgery, and left alone but for one visit the day after.

I happened to be out of it on pain meds at the time, because I took too much too soon. I couldn't help that -- I was on pain meds already when I misdosed myself. It could have gotten really interesting.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Post Mortem

Today as I've tried to walk, I've discovered... I can. My hip still hurts awfully from yesterday (likely a hip flexor strain from running on cambered roads) but the pain when I walk has gone down from a tear-inducing 9 out of 10 to about a 7. Ooh, I may be healing. :)

I don't have shin splints today, but they often take a few days of repeated abuse to show up.

My calves. Oh my calves. Lol. They felt like knotted rocks last night so I kept flexing them gently to keep the muscles stretched as best I could. They didn't hurt; they were just a little hard and stiff. Today, they're a bit sore when I walk. Which means, of course, that gentle stretching and walking are probably best.

Hip PAIN means I have to rest my hip.
Sore calves mean I need to stretch and walk the soreness out.

So who do I make happy here? Looks like the hip wins and I stretch my calves carefully all day while sitting with my legs straight out so as not to stress the hip.

My calves just weren't used to the impact of normal heel-strike running so yesterday was a bit of a shock to them and I know their response today is to rebuild the damaged parts of the muscle tissue, which hurts. Think of PacMan chomping away the damaged tissues before new ones are built. A little owwie.

Running and losing weight is going to be an uphill battle for me, apparently. I'm going to have to get a better mental game and keep it running the show. I just can't concentrate when there are 100 other people in the immediate vicinity, and I'm worrying about how fast they can run, when they'll pull ahead, if I can catch up, and what they're thinking of me, which is ridiculous. I'm just not used to any of this yet. How long will it take me?

***chirp, chirp***

Ah, the telltale chirping of the crickets in the usual silence that accompanies absolutely nothing in the way of interaction with a real person reading my blog... Bueller? Bueller...? Nobody ever wants to chat about any of this, and still, the counter goes on. Lol

My breath is rattling in my chest every time I exhale, though, and that really bothers me. Sore ribs and abs too, but that's just from running and breathing in panic mode. I had a fight to control my breathing yesterday, and I knew better than to let it happen in the first place. But the rattling... That disturbs me. For me, that's a sign that the little post-run cough I picked yesterday could easily turn into bronchitis. I'm very prone to it, a fact my all-smokers family has failed to be concerned about my entire life.

If I can continue my training and improve, I might run in that same race next year just out of spite. This change of heart brought to you by ... Pancakes and low-calorie syrup. :)

Tossed on my Head

Right at the moment I want to quit trying to run. I do. Really unpleasant experiences make me quit doing things. I'm afraid it may take over my desire to run.

I stopped feeling sympathy for giving students rides home on cold, rainy nights after that favor sent me to the hospital, torn and bloody from said student's dog. I love dogs, but now I'm terrified of large dogs. I just don't want them around me. For a while, this dislike extended to all dogs, a fact that my own poor dog had to deal with. She worked hard to get my trust back.

I used to enjoy riding horses, not that I had many opportunities to do so. Until that day I was thrown off a horse, landed on my head, and got a concussion. I'm not scared of horses, exactly. I've just discovered an intense dislike for the beasts. I don't know why I ever thought I liked them in the first place and I'll probably never ride one again.

Certain other things I've done, some recently, have caused me to develop an aversion to them as well. It was that bad.

I'm thinking about letting go of some relationships that apparently weren't meant to be. I spend too much time wondering what I did wrong, why I'm never good enough, and if it's too much to ask to keep in touch. I say relationships rather than friendships, because the former is a more casual term. For a relationship to be a friendship, there has to be a mutual interest in that bond.

I think I've overstepped my bounds, because some of my friends think of me as more of an annoying acquaintance who won't leave them alone. Realizing that feels like having a concussion all over again, complete with the resounding impact to my jaw. Maybe if I slip back into the shadows, my retreat and escape won't be so pathetically obvious.

Ooh, somebody got sucker-punched for believing. Again. That same somebody needs to understand that dreams rate right up there with fairy tales. Neither one will ever come true, baby. Take your pills and maybe you'll end up someplace where those fantasies can play out, because it's not gonna happen here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Gu Makes Cocktails?!

A few weeks ago I tried some Gu Roctane - Island Nectars flavor.

And it repelled me. I wasn't expecting it to taste like THAT! I definitely hoped at that moment that other Gu gels didn't taste so freaky.

Turns out that after market research, Gu decided to make a Mai-Tai flavored Roctane. Island Nectars it is. Lol

http://frayedlaces.blogspot.com/2010/09/gu-all-about-it.html

I'm not sure if I will try it again, though I understand that knowing what the secret flavor is will make it more palatable.

By the way, you can stop rolling your eyes. I know that for a piddly little 5k, gels aren't exactly necessary. Unless you get tired fast and still want to finish, like me. Energy is gonna be a problem until I burn this extra weight off me.

But you know, I have a little bit of faith that I'm already making beneficial changes to my system. I've noticed changes in my cardio capacity. From what I've read, it takes only a month to start improving. Muscles take about six months to improve, and the skeletal structure takes six months to a year to acclimate and respond to training demands.

Demands. Right now it seems like my idea of training demands would be more of a strongly suggestive whisper to real athletes. But I'm giving it all I can.

I just don't want to be this "me" anymore. That's why I'm doing this. She's been pretty disappointing. If I were a Warcraft character, you'd probably delete me to make space for your new Pandaren monk toon.

2nd 5k Finished

Well, I did it. I ran in my second 5k and finished dead last. :). No, I'm not happy about it, but it is kinda funny. I'm the one who made sure nobody else had to come in last. It's probably going to provide some catty people with great fuel for insulting me behind my back. Or even to my face. Screw them anyway.

Energy wasn't the problem, although I started out way too fast, just trying to keep up with everyone else. I couldn't catch my breath. I injured my hip before I hit the halfway point. I'm lying down with ice on it and ibuprofen attempting to help it.

Now I don't want you to think that's an excuse for such a poor showing. The fact is, they were just faster than me. Better shape, of course, that's understood. It's difficult to run fast when you are in poor shape.

I'm 40 pounds overweight. I'm not in shape to do more than finish, though I was hoping there would be a few people less prepared than me who would finish behind me. Is that bad of me?

I'm still not sure what was with the two in front of me wearing Halloween costumes. Crayon red hair (maybe a wig?), crazy mismatched socks, and a long black cape.

You know you're doing poorly when the truck with flashing blue lights that is there to monitor the runners from the back passes you and stays ahead of you for most of the race. That made me think they were impatient for the stragglers to hurry up, and it made me feel absolutely defeated after the first half mile.

Then I saw traffic getting backed up along the route, though one lady did cheer at me while she was waiting. :).

Still, I couldn't help feeling by the halfway point that I was inconveniencing half of the town.

When I finally did turn back onto the block toward the finish line, I saw all of those people waiting for me to hurry up and get my slow self across the finish line, and it made me want to give up right there. However, a few people did cheer for me as I finished and that took some of the sting away. Some. Lol

My hair, apparently, was bulletproof today. It stayed EXACTLY as I had put it up. I guess I found the perfect combination of barrettes, hair gel, and hairspray to make it a non-factor of aggravation. Running tights and a t-shirt were warm enough for 52 degrees and 10 mph winds, fortunately. No irritation from tugging my bunching shorts because I wore the tights. They didn't slip down on me like I had worried, but I was wearing cotton underwear so that they would be less likely to slide.

Had my shoes just right and didn't have to think about how I was planting my feet. I just let my natural gait take over. I did manage to get gel all over the side of my shirt, but nobody seemed to notice.

My new UnderArmour running bra worked great, once I tightened the rib band enough (as tight as it would go -- I may drop a size before long). On that, I actually get to make it the smallest band size and it fits. Yay for not straining the size. Betcha if I ran in that with no shirt, I could seriously outdo some of the other ladies lol. (It's actually a nice enough looking bra that it could be a running top by itself.) I think a small bosom is extremely helpful for being a fast runner. But I'd win the wet t-shirt contest. Yep.

I was barely "there" as it was. A few students said hi, a couple of adults said hi, and for the most part, I played with my phone to hide how nervous I was about being alone in the crowd with nobody to talk to. I didn't win a door prize, but it seemed like poor sportsmanship for me to just leave while they were giving out prizes to the winners, so I stayed.

I played on my phone, geek that I am. I was really uncomfortable there by myself, but what could I do about it anyway?

I don't know if I'm due for a round of intensified shin splints. Gosh, I hope not. I'm trying to not favor my right hip, but every step I take makes me wince. I can hear what a doctor would say: "As heavy as you are, you should know better than to try to run."

And I have realized, finally, that running is the only exercise that actually makes me lose weight. So it seems that I will just have to accept my two steps forward, one step back method of weight-loss-by-running.

*sigh*. I just weighed myself. Apparently I gained four pounds this week because I couldn't run. Either that, or my attempts to stay hydrated did their usual damage and I'm retaining fluid. I wonder if that had any bearing on my sluggishness this morning. You see, my self-confidence is extremely fickle and relies on infusions of good things happening to me in order to have any decent self-esteem. This week has effectively been shot to hell.

On the brighter side, my Nike app tells me that was my fastest 5k ever, and it is nearly four minutes faster than my time on my previous race. I ran the first mile in 12:38. Not bad, but that pace was too much for me to maintain and it wore me out fast.

I'm going to go take a nice warm shower and hope it helps me with my coughing. :) And then I'm going to try to get a consolation snuggle from my dog. I may have to bribe him.

Despite my phony upbeat attitude about all this, I'm getting depressed. That may be physiological, but it will shock no one if I admit a big part of it is psychological. It's 4:34 pm. I think I'm gonna write this day off and go to sleep. I'll see you on Sunday.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

So How Do I Feel?

Well, my shins ached yesterday. I elevated them a lot, tried to stretch a little, and attempted to walk and stand right all day long, but I caught myself trying to stand on the outside edges of my feet again.

Two hours daily of patrolling the cafeteria isn't helping my healing, and I can't get out of it. Oh well. I'm having trouble sleeping at night too. It took a double dose of melatonin to make me sleepy last night. So I'm back to afternoon naps, for hours at a time, and still tired at bedtime, but not sleepy.

I know, it seems like my naps are sabotaging my sleeping at night, but this round started with no naps at all. I'm just so tired when I get home I have to sleep right then.

Massage time today. I hope it helps my owwies so they will stop plaguing me by Saturday morning.

I realize I'm spending a lot of time lately talking like I'm a "real runner." I'm a real BEGINNING runner. Lol. Very beginner. I'm doing this without a coach, out of shape and middle aged, in the South where heat and humidity were challenges when I began my solo and self-guided training. I've been doing a lot of reading. That's about all I've got, along with a 5k, recurrent shin splints, and nearly three months of training.

It's not an easy position to begin from. But I want to be able to enjoy running, without excessive pain. I want to lose weight, and running is the only exercise that has showed any effect on that effort.

I know that if I persist carefully, even I can do this. Because a 5k isn't really all that great of a distance if you can run most of the way. If you can manage the breathing without panicking, and get your legs strong enough, you can do this.

I did it, with NO training, no warm up, no cool down, in shorts, late November, a lot heavier than I am now. and in the wrong kind of shoes, running the wrong way, and about to be hit with a nasty cold that very afternoon. I did it. So it is do-able. Just a bite at a time.

Oddly enough, it has made me crave healthy food. Lol.

Back later... Lunch break is over.

My shins are still aching a little bit (hopefully, that is healing damage that I will stop causing over and over), and my calves are a little sore. So I'm taking it easy this week, not running before the race, and elevating my shins as often as possible. This actually makes them hurt, and I don't know why, but maybe it's a beneficial owwie, since I'm already prone to lower leg edema.

Another good reason to get my legs in good running shape -- better circulation should mean less edema.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wrong... All This Time?

Oh noooooes.....

I read something today about the proper way for a runner's foot to hit he ground:

"The most natural foot strike when running distance is to land first on the outer rear portion of the heel and then let the foot roll forward and inward until push off from the forefoot."

Well... I've been trying to land midfoot, because I read that was recommended. And no matter how I plant my midfoot, it winds up hurting. Shin splints!

I get pigeon-toed, according to my brother. My nephew watched me run (after I tried to correct my tiptoe running that a friend had already noted), and he said I'm still running on my toes. Actually, it's more like the balls of my feet, but I can understand why it looks like I'm on my toes to him.

Still, my way ain't working for me.

When I was a kid, I was a fairly fast runner, and I did it by running on my toes. Nobody ever told me the right way to run -- they just said GO! and I took off running, eventually learning not to waste time by letting my whole foot hit the ground. Lol.

And this was wrong, but being a very flexible child, I never felt any foot or leg pain. As an adult, I tried to run again, on my tiptoes (old habits die hard, even after 30 years have passed), and I quickly developed shin splints. Again. It also happened when I tried to run at age 25. *sigh* I'm just not as flexible as I was at the age of 12.

Tonight I decided to test two things. First, I wanted to do a very short amount of running up and down my street and see if it made my shins hurt even worse tomorrow. Second, I bought I'd try that "natural" heel strike and see how it felt.

Well, it didn't take much of an effort to jog a little bit that way. I mean, I didn't really have to think about it and it didn't hurt my shins as I was doing it. It was just a little test.

All I could think was, "That took less effort than trying to correctly plant my feet in mid striking. Oh no... Have I been stupidly running the wrong way all this time, injuring myself unnecessarily, when it could have been less torture?"

Tomorrow will tell me, I hope. I hope I'm onto a better way for me to run. Because if it hurts this much all the time, I've gotta be doing something wrong!

I've never had anyone coach me on how to run. They never did more with us in running at school than make us run a mile once a year for the President's Physical Fitness awards, which I never got. Lol I was in good shape back then. Just not elite shape. I was fit for a kid that played manhunt with my neighbors in the summertime, but I was not in athletic shape. I wasn't allowed to become an athlete, but I wanted to be on the track team. :)

Nobody teaches kids how to run unless they are athletes or the kids of coaches. :). Just the way it is, and too darn bad that it doesn't come naturally.

So it's up to me (unless I can find a running coach) to figure it out on my own. And I intend to. :). Wish me luck?

Oh, GRATE.

I thought about explaining in my previous post that the "Black Dog" is a metaphor for depression, but then I realized someone might think I was referring to my dog who does NOT nip at heels. He's a great comfort, but he's no substitute for a human relationship.

Once again dealing with shin splints as I utilize new, properly fitted running shoes. It's a disappointment, because it means I have to back off on my training, just when I was making strides toward increased cardio endurance and starting to lose pounds that I need to get rid of.

I suppose I've answered my own question: no, I can't run every other day. It'll have to be every third day.

I hope I can do that much. I feel like Sisyphus. My boulder is pretty darn heavy.

Two steps forward, one step back. Is it impossible for me to strengthen my lower legs for running while I'm overweight? Tremendous catch-22.

It's Tuesday. I haven't run since Saturday. My shins still have they stinging pain like I was kicked by someone wearing boots. *sigh*

Okay, you want some gratitude? My new running gear came in today, and it fits. 360 degrees of reflectivity in my all-weather running tights and they are a little loose in the waist. I hope they don't fall! My running bra came in. Looks like it'll fit. My running jacket came in, too, and the color called "zone" is a shade of plum that I love. It fits my chest, and I have hopes that some day soon, it will look flattering on me while it keeps the rain off. I'm grateful my order was correctly sized.

And yet that does nothing to alleviate my frustration with being sidelined on my training YET again. So yes, I'm grateful that my running gear fits though I won't be wearing it for a while.

Did you ever notice how easy it is to tell the downhearted they should be grateful while you are happy, yet it is hard to be grateful when you yourself are at the lowest of the low? Food for thought, if you're gonna preach. Walk in my shoes because you don't have a clue how they feel.

Should I be grateful for my shin splints?

Of course not. I'm just praying a little for my healing, but the lion's share of my prayers have to go for people in more serious need of help.

I'm grateful that the week of my dog's illness seems to have finally passed, and the hydrocortisone shot that hurt him so acutely has healed his raw rear end. He still trembled with when I looked at the thick, scabby healed skin, but let me rub and scratch it a little so that the dead skin flaked off. I'm sure it was nice to relieve some of the tightness above his tail.

Every little bit counts. Hopefully the other scab will release soon and he can start regrowing hair. I'm grateful my dog is better; not really grateful about his suffering. Ultimately, I have to take the blame because he shouldn't have had fleas at all.

I'm grateful that I can walk, therefore aggravating my shin splints with each new step. So much for healing. Be thankful for pain that makes you know you're alive!!! Are you kidding me? Can't I be thankful instead for a life that makes me happy for solid, close relationships with people? It's what I want. I don't think it's unreasonable to want to be loved. Let's face it. Even I know that I deserve to be loved. Even you know that.

Happy people's insistence that I be grateful, well, it grates on my nerves.

I mean, really?
Have you listened to your own sermon?
And more importantly...

Could you sprinkle me with some of that fairy dust that hit you?

I'm grateful that I have friends who have such gratitude for their own blessings that they will understand this is just an expression of my frustration that they don't really understand me.

I'll tell you what I'm grateful for. Frozen silver dollar pancakes. I've been craving pancakes for weeks, and never made it to either IHOP or Perkins to get any. Let's call them dinner tonight. Bonus points if you can get em sprinkled with that fairy dust, thankssomuch. ;)

I'm probably not as grateful and thankful as I should be for grated Parmesan cheese. Truly, shredded is better. GRATEd is just dry, pungent, and powdered. Try the shredded. You'll be GRATEful that you did.

Y'know... I'm aware that my thoughts and my feelings don't matter to anyone but me. Never have. Never will. Some who read this are just gawkers who use it as gossip fuel. It's just the caliber of their character.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Black Dog Nipping my Heels

I woke up with all my joints aching this morning. It didn't help that my dog woke me up at 4:30 am, a full hour early, wanting to go outside. Somewhere in the dark I hit my hand pretty hard, but it was already aching, so that didn't make things any better.

Hips, knees, hands, feet, elbows, back, shoulders, neck. And I get to sit out in 48 degree weather to supervise children walking on the track. I think they have decided its too cold to be walking, though. Half of them wouldn't come out. The majority of the rest are heading in early for breakfast. Lol

That's a good indicator that we won't be doing this much longer this year. They don't want to be out in the cold, especially for no reward. I don't want to be out in the cold and it's part of my job.

I'll be honest. I'm depressed. Not just a little blue, but full-fledged slipping under the water depressed. Yes, there are reasons for it, and nothing I can do about those reasons. There's rarely anything I can do to affect any outcomes in my life. I'm taking the Adam Ant approach and trying to manage it with clean living, exercise, and NO drugs.

Problem is, the things that I could use to occupy myself are activities I can no longer summon an interest in. I just want to go to sleep and not have to wake up again. Waking up in so much pain this morning hasn't helped my mood, either.

I tried distracting myself by going shopping with my brother yesterday. The only craft and fabric store within 75 miles open on a Sunday, and there I was, wandering the aisles, lost and confused about why I wanted to shop there in the first place.

I bought a skein of yarn because a girl in a store asked me to knit her a hat. I was scared because I don't think I can knit. I picked up needles and yarn to try and discovered that my hands remember just fine how to knit, though I've never completed anything beyond a sweater, hats, and a balaclava. Oh sure, I started a cabled sweater, but I gave it up when I realized just how fat cables would make me look. :(.

I should practice making baby sweaters and booties, but making baby stuff makes me even sadder, because I'm likely never going to be able to have children.

Sad. Just getting sadder and lonelier, and I know that admitting it makes a lot of people decide to abandon me entirely. How dare I be sad about being alone for the last twenty years? Why, don't you know there are starving children in China and people in unhappy marriages who would LOVE to be alone forever? Be grateful for what you have! Which is... Solitude?

Lies. Nobody really wants to be alone. And nobody wants to be with that lonely person who is such a drag.

It's almost five pm. I could go to sleep now. On the other hand, someone could spend some time with me and I could fake a good mood long enough to start to believe it myself. Actually, no faking is required. Most people who spend time with me raise my spirits from their company alone.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Me and My Salty Skin

Once again, my run tonight confirmed that I'm a salty sweater. Yep, I had salt crystals all over my skin. Even behind my ears and on my scalp. Not the usual clean skin and hair feeling I like, really. Gritty, powdery, salty.

And I'm only going for three miles at this time. I have found that when I have noticeably salty skin after a run, I'm also a bit dizzy. Hmm. Just like in Italy. Dizzy, drinking lots of water, walking around in a stone-covered city for entire days. Soaking wet clothes that dried grittily. Next time I go to a hot place that requires hours of walking, I'm taking powdered Gatorade.

Tonight I made the mistake of running when all I had eaten for the day was basically a protein bar, a small Pepsi, and a few Cheetos. I'd truly intended to eat some oatmeal to start my day but I overslept. It's the last Saturday of my week off and I felt like I needed a couple of extra hours to regrow some cells in my legs. So I slept as late as I wanted to.

Believe me, if I had anyone to look forward to seeing, I'd have gotten up. But it was just going to be me and my dog, so we snuggled and slept in. I think he benefited from it too. He perked back up today - the fleas are hopefully gone and his raw places look like they are rapidly healing.

Well, this probably means that the energy gels I've started using wont hurt me, with regard to their sodium content. I did start today with a Gu mandarin orange gel and topped it off with some Jelly Belly Sport Beans.

Note: mandarin orange Gu tasted like Delsym cough syrup to me. Bearable, but not yummy. Roctane pineapple was repeatable. Roctane island nectar was kinda weird, but I wasn't expecting that taste for my first taste of Gu. I might need to give that one another try.

I think my supplements are the only thing that kept me running tonight. Or trudging, more appropriately. It felt like a trudge when I got to the middle running segment.

5 minutes walking
5 minutes running
3 walking
6 running (seemed interminable but I was doggedly determined)
3 walking
5 running
5 walking

Yep, I ran every minute I was told to and still felt like my time was crummy. Lets face it, even though my Nike + app shows my running segments in the green zone, I'm not going to be happy until I can run the whole darn thing in the green zone. I won't be satisfied until I can run at a competitive pace. *sigh*

The Gu seemed to keep me fueled enough to keep going, but I did have trouble keeping a good pace toward the end. My jog slowed to a shuffle.

Oh the things I've learned as an overweight middle aged woman learning to do (short) distance running for the first time in her life.

If the zombies take over, we are all screwed. Except for maybe the successful distance runners. They'll be okay, but notice I'm not including myself in their ranks just yet. I'm currently in the rank of .... Wannabe.

I fear I have to lose 40 more pounds (putting me at my goal weight) before I see a real improvement in my pace. But if I can improve my pace enough to comfortably run longer distances, I'd lose weight a little faster. :D Quite the catch-22 I'm in. I'm just gonna have to be patient while I burn off an ounce at a time.

Maybe I should be careful and just aim to get trim and fit by the time I go to Ireland in 2014. Ah, it would be lovely to see it with someone special.

A lot can happen in two years. Someone might actually see something worthwhile in me by then. It's too bad I can't just make the good person who has always been on the inside show up on the outside. The outside has to be covered in flash and falseness to get any attention.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dream Memories

What triggers a thought within a dream as a memory? This happened to me last night in a dream, wandering around the UTM campus that didn't exist the same way when I was an undergrad and living on campus.

In my dream, I was heading down to a track to run. It was somewhere in one of the south-end parking lots by the dorms. Not the old dorms, but the new ones. There were still two of the old dorms standing, not having met the wrecking ball yet. I was a little confused navigating the buildings, because I knew I should know my way around, but so much was unfamiliar to me.

Somewhere along the way I got lost and ran into a classmate whose name I couldn't remember, but she acted as though we knew each other very well, and that I had previously agreed to help her in a campus Christmas tree decorating contest. Yeah. During Fall Break.

For some reason, I was pushing around a law mower with a weird boxed top on it. When I opened the top, bags of sand, gravel, and potting soil spilled out and I actually remembered having out them in there in the middle of a project.

Strange, because I don't have a push mower with a storage box on top and I'm sure no such thing exists. But I REMEMBERED it within the dream. I thought, "Oh yeah, how did I forget about that??"

Oddly enough, I could NOT remember which dorm I lived in right then. I got lost. I couldn't figure out the keys or the elevator system in the new dorms. Someone else had to decipher my keys and then I remembered I was in Ellington Hall... Which looked very different. I was a little distressed about my lack of memory and worried about what else I'd forgotten.

Likely I've forgotten that I planned to work on my flower bed and herb garden this week. I need another course of stones, some gravel, some sand, and some dirt. See how that works? LOL I feel fortunate I wasn't carting twenty something stones in the box on the mower as well.

Trust Regained?

A couple of days have passed since I took my dog to the vet with fever. As of today, he seems fever-free. Yay for my baby!

However, he has absolutely distrusted me ever since. Probably because I took him someplace where they stuck him with needles and poked things in his butt. I can't blame him there.

He stayed on the kitchen floor on a mat, not even in his bed. He wouldn't accept treats, and when I tried to lure him for some cuddles, no strings attached, he scuttled away and his from me.

Last night he showed a little interest in the soup I was having for supper, so I gave him some. Aha! Then he wanted a little more. Still, he didn't want to go outside by himself and he didn't want to be cuddled and petted.

Bedtime came and I was surprised that he came to the bedroom where he crunched up a couple of milk bones, but still didn't want to sleep on the bed. He did curl up on a pair of my sweatpants on the floor though. I guess he wanted to be close to my scent, but able to hide under the bed quickly if necessary.

I woke up early this morning to find him snuggled against me in the bed, so I talked to him and petted him awhile until he finally burrowed happily under the comforter.

I suppose that was his way of saying that he forgives me for letting someone hurt him. He doesn't seem to be biting at his raw places anymore, so maybe there are no more fleas to torment him. He DID do an awful lot of ear-twitching up until today, which means that he was itching like crazy and wanted to bite, but was fighting the impulse with all his might.

A few lazy ear scratches with his back leg this morning and he actually seemed interested in going outside alone today. Hopefully, he's over the lethargy that Advantage Multi always causes him. I hate putting it on him, but it is the only flea treatment I've ever tried that works for him.

It was lovely to see him sleeping sprawled out over the comforter this morning, relaxed and peaceful, snuggled where he could feel me beside him. :). And rabbit-kick me a few times when he thought he could get away with it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Breaking the Leash

It's been said, "If you love something, set it free." If you keep someone around just to keep using them, why be surprised when they are hell-bent to break the leash?

Tightening your chokehold on them won't do anything beneficial; you'll just end up with a dead pet on your hands.

Be sure not to treat humans like servants, or pets. Even animals have free will to a certain extent. Shouldn't a human be allowed that trait as well?

Once Upon A Time

Being the kind of girl who still wishes for a happy ending, I really enjoy the show Once Upon A Time. It's captivating how the episodes tie together many of the fairy tales I loved as a little girl and give them a slightly modern spin. The costumes (for the Enchanted Forest) are absolutely gorgeous and make me wish I had a Halloween party to wear one to. :)

I still have a strong desire to sew a long black velvety cloak for myself. In an alternate life, I'd still love to have been a costume designer. But a girl can't effectively support herself in a dried-up small southern town that way. I can't even get my hands on any decent fabrics.

I also have a collection of fairy tales in my living room. Yes, I still love them that much. :)

Anyway, if one pays attention while watching the episodes, there are lots of Easter eggs to be found. For example, I just saw a very pointed (Ha ha ha) reference to Bambi -- his father was standing at the side of the road and turned his head with that huge rack toward the approaching carriage.

Disney-backed as the show is, I'm happy that they stuck with the gruesome nature of the original fairy tales. I always hated the sanitized happy endings with the way Disney changed things.

"The Little Mermaid" for example, is fairly tragic. She commits suicide rather than murder the prince she loves with his new bride, in order to reclaim her remaining years without having a soul. She doesn't have any friends. She will only live 300 years anyway. The Sea Witch literally cuts out her tongue and she is in excruciating pain with every step she takes on legs. All this sacrifice for the love of one man who throws her over for a lying little wench, because she can't speak and tell the truth.

Still, though there is no happy ending to the fairy tale, she is given the hope to earn a soul after she is dead, by becoming a sort of guardian angel to good and bad children all over the planet. It's just a hope of redemption, because in life, nothing is guaranteed. Especially not happy endings.

I used to think about her when I had a choice to be a really bad kid and chose not to. I didn't want anyone like her having to waste their tears over me.

If you want to see the show, season 1 is currently on Netflix, and the beginning of season 2 is on the ABC website still. Catch up, if you have an adventurous or romantic facet to your personality. :). I do, but if you call me on it, I'll deny it. Romantic thoughts do not serve me in my lonely solitary life.

Some of the plot points are really amusing, such as the fact that Red Riding Hood is the town floozy, and the identity of the Big Bad Wolf.

The Evil Queen's backstory makes her almost a sympathetic character. You might not feel sorry for her, but you can understand why she is the way she is, and realize that you could very easily fall into her shoes. Who wouldn't be twisted by her life? Snow White isn't even the simpering weakling you would expect her to be.

My favorite story arcs so far:

August Booth, the stranger who rides into the "locked" town on a motorcycle. Wow, he's a hot one. ;)

Rumplestiltzken's backstory - currently my favorite character. There's a sad reason for all that deviousness and evil.

Jiminy & how his horrible childhood leads him to become a conscience-wielding cricket.

Gepetto & how Pinocchio finally becomes a real boy, a protector, and horrifyingly begins to turn back to wood. I'm still wondering what happened to him after he disappeared from the room where he has completely turned to wood... But still blinking.

And Prince Charming's epic fail faceplant. Lol. Totally awesome. :) I just find him uninspiring as a leading man. August and the Mad Hatter appealed to me lots more. August is mysterious and the Hatter is apparently really into tying women up.

Ahem. Forget I said that. Lol. It's probably because he's kinda weird and desperate and has crazy dark hair.

Guest Post?

Tonight wasn't the first time I got a comment on my blog, gushing about reading it every day and wanting to know if they could do guest posts.

Really? Come on, don't tell me I sound THAT stupid.

Sure, I'll give some random stranger access to my account so they can do what? Tell everybody what is on my mind? That's the point of all this writing... I don't have anyone to talk to so I sound things out in written form.

Proof? How many legitimate comments have there ever been on here - ten, maybe? So somebody comes across a post I've made, bleeps the counter. It doesn't typically mean enough to them to respond about it -- hence the one-sided conversation.

Kinda like my relationships with a lot of people. One-sided. I have to keep making the efforts myself to maintain contact until they want me to do something for them. It's a pretty lonely life and I often wonder what it would be like to have other people in it with me. Here's to those folks who used to be friends with me. May they have all they think they are entitled to.

Laughable. It's just another phishing attempt. One of them didn't even speak passable English. If someone wanted to write a blog, they're easy enough to set up, anyway.

In this case, flattery will get you nothing but a marked and scornful distrust. Sure, hit on my blog if you want. But my days of being someone else's unfed marketing dog are over.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It Wasn't the Roctane, LOL

The Gu Roctane Gel I've been trying out wasn't the culprit for my gurgly tummy. (And the pineapple flavor is actually pretty tasty, though I could pass on the stickiness and the bright yellow color.)

What time of year is it? Apple cider time! I love real apple cider. Not the silly clear apple juice pass offs, but real, tangy, cloudy, honest to goodness cider.

While apple juice causes a lot of people intestinal "distress", I've never had a problem with it.

Perhaps all the fiber in my favorite apple cider caused the problem? :D. Oops. Lol.

I've just got to remember not to drink several glasses in a day's time, no matter how much I love the stuff. ;)

Illusion

Sometimes I think that the reassuring things people tell me about my "life" and how it is going, are just to help me bide my time more gently until I understand that I'm not going to ever have the life that I want. :) I know, sometimes they're just trying to be kind. They know my expectations are really low, and the hopes I cling to are really not difficult to achieve. Ive been told many times in the past that i should raise my standards.

Nevertheless, we all know I'm bound to fail no matter what I do. The illusion that things will ever work out for me is tissue-thin and just as fragile.

I guess I'm feeling pretty sad for a few reasons. And I'm worried about my dog. He's still got fever and now he has bitten his flea bitten areas bloody. :(. He feels so bad. I'm going to go get some hydrocortisone cream.

Vet Visit for My Poor Baby

I took my dog to the vet today, thinking he was overdue for his shots. Thankfully, he's not due for them until December.

However... I suspected he was feverish all night. His belly was too warm and he kept burrowing under the comforter and then coming out panting. I turned off the heat hoping it would help cool him, and left the bedroom open so he could have water all night, knowing he would make a huge mess somewhere.

And he did. Oh well.

He must not have slept because when I woke, the poor fella looked exhausted, and his haunches and heels were bitten raw and bloody.

The vet blood-tested him and everything came back negative. Fever was from an allergic reaction to his flea bites. So he got a steroid shot for his itchiness, medicated shampoo for healing, and Advantage Multi, though he gets lethargic for a couple days after getting it.

He was still biting when I brought him home, so I sprayed him with antiseptic. Revenge: he immediately rubbed it across my pillow and the place where I sleep!

Gear to Keep Going

Tomorrow I'll be running for segments of five and six minutes each. I'm a little nervous. :).

However, something became clear to me yesterday when I ran.

I had decided to stay strictly with the recovery times (walking) set up in my training plan and see how hard it would be to pick up the following running segment. I didn't have any trouble after all, and I actually was breathing a little more easily on the longer segments. I never had to fight for my breath.

So I hope this means it is getting easier. I also hope I won't be doing any more breath-struggling, but that might be a bit much to ask. Still, I have my hopes, and maybe my lungs are getting stronger as I go.

As motivation, last night I ordered some running tights, a new running bra, and a running jacket. Yeah, expensive, but imagine what it would have cost me if I'd gotten Nike stuff. They want $80 for their freaking t-shirts! UnderArmour is definitely more my price, though I'd love to see a sale. Lol. I'm hoping it all fits. I measured. But I'm not sure how I'll feel about an athletic-cut jacket. It'll be tight.

One thing for sure though: my shorts are getting on my nerves, bunching up worse than ever, and it'll soon be too cold to run in shorts anyway. So I need the tights. I might be able to get away with sweatpants, but I know my chubby thighs are entering the winter chafing zone. They rub, then they chafe, they get raw, then they bleed.

I'd like to avoid that, so please do not snicker if you happen to see me in my tights. Lol. If they fit me.

Bra? Obvious. I need more than one.

Jacket. Well, I don't have a decent jacket of my own. Any millionaires out there wanna buy me one? :). My preferences are really inexpensive!



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dread...

I can't wait for the day when I don't dread my upcoming run, but actually look forward to it. :). Feeling some serious dread right now, but that could be because I woke up from a nap with my stomach punishing me for eating red meat last night.

Darn it, I gave about half of my steak to my nephew and literally had a serving the size of a deck of cards left. Had a baked potato, a piece of bread, and a very yummy salad too.

So why the gurgly tummy? I doubt the Roctane I tried two days ago is to blame. Could be I had the stomach bug that's been going around. I'd have thought that Fall Break would help stop the spread of THAT. Maybe just hormones again. Sometimes they really do a number on me. They spike and fall just like my blood sugar.

Aargh. Men have it so easy without this brew of hormone freakout poison that comes along every month. It would be the ideal curse to toss on their snide little heads. :)

Okay, I will admit that there are some who would benefit more from hugs and TLC than hormone overdose.

But they won't admit it or accept it unless they are ill.

1 Year Tumor Free

A year ago I had a sizable tumor (looked like a golf ball) removed from my neck, just under the front of my jaw. It was benign, fortunately, and discrete, which my surgeon told me made it easy to remove in one piece.

I was going to make a joke about removing it all in one lump sum, but I figured that would just sound lame.

He was actually my third medical opinion on the subject. One doctor said he didn't want to speculate, better see a specialist. Ooh, didn't sound good. The second doctor said it was without a doubt a thyroid tumor. The third doctor did a biopsy in his office (ouch, my eyes watered) and said the lab tests couldn't identify it. Could be nothing, could be something, and it was up to me what to do about it.

Well, with something that disfiguring and large still growing, I opted for surgery.

The points are:

It's gone.
It looked freaky.
It could have been cancer so I wanted it out.
It was in a place where nerves and blood flow could be impinged if it stayed.
I could feel it when I swallowed.
Kids and adults were asking what that big lump in my neck was. (Thanks so much for adding to my insecurity!) Funny that they don't ask about the scar. ;)

My ENT offered to do another biopsy, but knew I wanted it out. Well, wouldn't you? If he had nicked my carotid while he was there, it's not like I'd have survived the surgery, so what was there to be afraid of? I was afraid it might be cancer. So I'm relieved that it wasn't. And I'm glad I didn't need any help while I was recovering.

By myself, business as usual, except for that one time my brother checked on me and he said my eyes were glazed over from my pain medicine. LOL

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Holding My Amphipod

I bought an Amphipod handheld thermal water bottle with an attached strap / pocket. Only one problem: I have small hands that just can't wrap around that bottle, even though it is only a 12 ounce bottle. (Picture 1) I'll drop it if I try.

I did finally realize that I neither want to nor have to wrap my hand around the bottle ... Just the strap. :). Picture 2 shows where I wrap my thumb and picture three shows the bottle not falling, even though my hand is loose and not truly holding onto the bottle.

Just wanted to share. :). The pictures I've seen of other women using them all show their hands wrapped around the bottle, and I couldn't relax my hand that way.

PS - tomorrow is an anniversary for me. :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fastest 5k

Wait for it, wait for it... I broke my own records today! Fastest 1k (8:14) and fastest 5k (45:40). Okay, so that's not exactly a record, and last year when I ran my first 5k I ran it in 45:12 I wasn't using that app... BUT you also have to consider that I added distance today, as well as the time I ran without stopping. There were two five minute segments of nonstop running in the mix today. Three, five, five, and three. I never dropped back down to a walk during my run times.

Okay, so maybe I'm the only one proud of my efforts there. Lol. Even the slowest runner is still lapping the people sitting on the couch. How does it feel to be outdone by a woman with all the grace of a pregnant yak?

I was officially fitted for running shoes yesterday, so I wore them to run in today. Asics Cumulus 13. Yeah, the outgoing model, but they felt best on me. I think i did try the 14s on but liked the 13s better. They were nice and cushy, though I think I may have laced them too tight, as the toes on my right foot went numb. Lol

Still, I could feel a difference in my legs. There was still some straining going on, but nothing like I felt before. :). My legs aren't killing me right now. Yaaaayyyy! Tomorrow will be the test. Sore? Achy? Burning shin pain?

I tried out an Amphipod Smart View Plus armband for my iPhone, and I was able to leave it in the Otterbox with no problem. There are even ports to run the headphone plug through while the holder is zipped. I'd taken the armband out and run my SpiBelt thru sideways so that I could wear my phone on my waist, and it was a great solution for me.

I tried Gu Roctane Gel before I ran, with 2x caffeine... It really worked! I wasn't fatigued. Had just enough energy to go on. The taste was sticky and salty though. Lol. Now I know why my boss likes the vanilla ones. Haha. Bet it covers the saltiness better than the fruit flavors. Still, they've gotta be handier than Sport Beans during a run! Must experiment further with Gu.

I also bought an Amphipod thermal handheld water bottle. That was VERY useful. I didn't have to actually hold the bottle and it held just enough water for my dry throat issues. :)

I bought reflector bands too, but I was running on the track in the daylight, so I didn't need them.

Those longer run segments were hard, but there was NO way today I was going to give up on them. Besides... Those segments are just going to get longer every day now until I finish the program at 35 minutes of nonstop running. This is what it takes to build endurance. I have to stick with it because I've already exceeded my prior nonstop run times.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cold, Rain, and Meltdown

I didn't run today either. It's about 40 degrees out. Also rainy. Also spent eight hours watching someone try to fix my washer, at his demand. He hurt my feelings early on, and I never quite recovered.

I'm obviously still very much a doormat to be stomped on, so if you're looking for someone to emotionally crush, I'm your girl. It's easy to do and I never forget. On the other hand, if you want to be kind to me and make me believe you actually care about me, I just might die of shock.

If I believed you. It's been too long. I've grown tired of waiting for everyone else to get their shit together. They all "need time". I've given twenty two years to the effort. Enough.

I weight and measured myself today, with not-so-encouraging results. My weight is down four pounds from a few days ago, when it really should be up by about ten pounds of bloating this week. Four pounds isn't bad for a week... If I can believe that. If the other ten don't show up suddenly.

My biceps are an inch smaller. That's good. They needed to shrink. My calves are the same size, though toning up. My thighs are an inch bigger, but a lot firmer, which means I'm going to be one of those short women running around with big muscular thighs. I've feared that since I was a little girl, but it hardly matters when nobody is checking out my legs anyway.

My hips are an inch smaller and my ankles, while not measured, are both smaller and differently shaped than before. More... Cut. Well, I've always had nice ankles. I've just never heard of any man being into ankles, so what is the point?

And now it gets cold and wet, and I'm not free to do anything until long after nightfall. *sigh*. I also don't have any cold weather running gear yet, so I have to go an hour away to a real sporting goods store and find some. I worry about inhaling all that cold damp air though. I've already been coughing on the cooler nights and I don't want to end up with pneumonia yet again this year.

Is there a mask or neck gaiter or something I can wear to warm my breath, or do I have to knit myself a ski mask this year? I suppose I'll pick up in what I need as I go, but I'm bound to get sick and suffer from the cold in the meantime.

I had a meltdown today, which started out of someone else's sheer refusal to understand that "everything isn't about you." The gasoline on the fire of my self-immolation was my raging hormones, but I didn't discover that for several hours. If you aren't a woman, you couldn't possibly understand how horrifying it can be. I'm still not over my desire to look for sharp objects tonight.

I'm not crazy, but males can't understand what happens in the bloodstream each month. The closest they ever get is taking steroids, and that psycho-aggressive behavior always ended up hurting me (physically) anyway. Abusive? Doesn't quite do the rage they take out on you true justice. Been there. Had that. Next one gets the Willie Nelson Treatment.

All of this I get to suffer every single month and I still can't have children. And I'm getting pretty darn tired of a world set up for men to get what they want and women to provide it. Forget it. You're never getting maid service out of me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Resignation Thoughts

With the cold damp weather rolling in, my right leg is aching tonight. I couldn't have run outside tonight anyway, first because the high school had a football game scheduled on the track that I use, and then lightning came along to complicate both their game and any hope I had for an outdoor run tonight.

But I'm at the hospital, visiting someone who has really good grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. I can't say more than that at this point.

I know that the pain I'm feeling right now is a sign of healing, so I think an extra day of rest will benefit me. Besides, I get annoyed that my mileage on the treadmill is much less than on an outside surface. Those miles are important to me! I managed a 5k the other night. :). Which means... I'm focusing on improving my endurance. Might as well put all my energy into running, rather than *other* physical activities that just end with me getting hurt. Just another game I don't think I want to participate in anymore. Why play when I always lose, even though more than one person participating could be happy with the outcome?

Someone told me a while back "Sometimes you have to LET THEM WIN the game, even if you're a better player, or they won't play with you anymore." We were literally talking about playing a game at the time, but I wonder why nobody ever thought about letting me win occasionally? It seems I always have to beat my head against a brick wall, playing at maximum difficulty, of course.

Obviously, I'm not speaking of an actual game in which there must always be a loser. It's a metaphor for something else I dare not mention.

I've always suspected that it is part of God's plan to make me as hard and unyielding as that brick wall. Sometimes it doesn't seem worthwhile to hold onto any softness inside as I feel parts of me turning to stone.

Today was the last day before a weeklong holiday, so the clientele were insanely hyped up. My time sheet was called into question for the extra hours I work outside of my contract, and I got the impression I was not expected to request pay for the hour extra each week I was asked to spend in previous years, compiling statistical information. Maybe it was a misunderstanding. But I do not want to be the cause of any problems, so I will not finish the job.

I merely needed clarification that that particular service I'd provided before was no longer needed. Just tell me what you want me to do, within reason, and I will do my job as I am paid to do it. I've been expected to cover more than my hired job in some respects lately, and expected to do something that would put my license at risk.

Before it becomes a matter of stress and aggravation for me, I'm seriously considering resigning from that extra work. I didn't get the courtesy of being spoken to face to face when there was a question I could easily clarify; I had to seek it out myself. Seems like I'm just being regarded as a low-level "worker" instead of a professional with a Master's Degree. Surely that wasn't intentional...

So I'm thinking about simplifying the matter. I could use an extra hour of sleep each morning. I could get some things done if I come home at the end of my contracted work day instead of staying an extra (static-filled) hour-and-a-half on multiple days.

I could do some landscaping and improve the value of my property.

I could go back to writing.

I could get the Christmas gifts I want to make completed in time.

I could spend more time with my family.

I could start painting again.

I could catch up on the long-overdue painting needed inside my house.

I could spend more time at the gym, since I currently don't have enough time to do so.

I could even rework my curriculum and find some useful resources for my class.

Just the thought of getting up for work AFTER dawn and not coming home in the dark appeals greatly to me.

So many reasons to quit; and only one I can think of to stay. Unfortunately, the reason for staying is NOT enjoying the extra hours I've been putting in.

You should do what you love, right? I'd love to have my extra hours back for my own use. Maybe I'll just do that. I'm sure they won't have any trouble replacing me. :) Right?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Going with the Goo

Before I forget how well tonight's run went for me...

I wasn't happy to find that I had arrived at the track on another football-field-painting evening, but it IS their track and field.  On the other hand, though I would prefer the ability to fly as my superpower, it is actually invisibility.  It comes in handy when you look less like a gazelle running, and more like a pregnant yak.

So... I decided to try some of the gel energy supplements that are available locally. (There are three choices.  Three.)  Tonight's experiment was with the black cherry flavored Clif Bloks.  They were like Jello Jigglers without the brightness.  They tasted exactly like the brown rice syrup used to sweeten them.  I didn't notice any black cherry.  Maybe mine were expired and a little stale.  They were sticky and thick, and I was dismayed with the first bite to find that I had to swallow THREE of them for a 100 calorie serving of energy! The recommendation that they be chased with water was spot on.  I didn't relish the thought of having that flavor in my mouth for 45 minutes.  Yuuuck.

Okay, they weren't THAT bad, but I would have preferred something more candy-flavored.  Like my gummy vitamins!  Those are awesome.  :)  And possibly just a little too tempting at times.  Yes, I was one of those kids who would secretly OD on Flintstones' vitamins just because I liked the taste.

To give the Bloks the benefit of the doubt, I bought a strawberry-flavored package of them to try on my next run.  They're undoubtedly fresher, right? Surely that's gotta count for something more than a molasses flavor?

Everything I've been reading tells me that Gu Gels will probably be the next thing I need to try, because of flavor and consistency.  If I have to chew something while I'm out of breath, I'll choke.  It won't be pretty.

I never quite hit the wall tonight, and I never became truly fatigued.  In fact, by the time my cooldown came, I was walking significantly faster than my warmup walk had been, and it was a lot easier.  I felt a little energy boost.  Maybe next time I'll try whatever gel I'm using earlier.

Though I didn't hit the breathing (okay, suffocation) wall tonight, I have to admit it's because I "cheated" when I felt it coming.  After the first run of 3 minutes, I added another minute and a half to my walk segment. It helped so much.  It was definitely a frustration-saving tactic.  After the second run, which was 4 minutes, I added a minute to my recovery walk and realized I was going to make it after all.  I had my breathing under control, and it almost didn't hurt my legs while I ran.  Yay.

The second 4 minute run and the final 3 minute run weren't a problem after all, which is a wonder and a wonderful thing.  Tonight began my week 4 of training, and I'm pleased with how it went.  I highly recommend waiting until Autumn if you are having trouble with beginning training in the heat and humidity of the South.  It's like breathing in very thick water.  You may die.  If you don't die, you will likely wish you WERE dead.  So take it from me, and take it easy on yourself -- don't begin training yourself to run when the low temp for the day in your area is 85 and the humidity is 85%.  What you think is an endorphin rush ends up being near-heatstroke!  My shin splints might have saved my hide in August when they forced me to get off my feet for a month.

I felt like smiling when I finished running tonight.  I was actually happy and had a lot more energy.  (Was that the gooey blok I ate, or increased oxygen?)

I weighed myself before I ran, and I'm down two pounds.  It's probably just a fluid fluctuation, but I'm going to pretend it's actual fat loss and let that buoy me for a while.  Maybe it'll keep dropping off me.  If it does, I'll run faster as I get lighter, and then I can run more to get lighter.  See how that works?  :)  Still... I won't expect to see any drastic results... Maybe gradual results over the next 6 months.  Yeah, that's reasonable enough to NOT cause extreme disappointment and a mood crash.

I don't know if I'm getting thinner, really, or if I look like I'm getting thinner, but by all means, if you see me and I do look thinner, TELL ME.  Please?  :)  My pants are getting loose on me again, but I need to hear other people's point of view on how much better I'm looking.  Though if all you want to say is in the nature of criticism, I'll say that you keep that to yourself.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Running Against the Wind

Last night I decided to run a day early, eliminating one of the two days I had put between my runs for rest, hopefully to allow enough healing time that my shin splints wouldn't continue to be a problem.

It was chilly and very windy, so half of the run, I was fighting an unpleasant head wind. That wore me out in a hurry, despite my slowing down to take it easy.

My run progression was two minutes of running, then three, three again, then two. The first leg was kind of tough, but I hit the VO2 wall and thought I was going to suffocate before I got my breath back. So I paused my training program during the walk segment and put in another minute and a half of walking, and began my second three minute run.

That one went fine, but I was doing some drill sergeant coaching in my head to keep going. I'm pretty sure it's just a carbon dioxide buildup I'm having trouble expelling, and getting past that point will make the rest of my run less breathless and help me get stronger.

I accepted that my leg muscles need weight lifting to get stronger, so I went to the gym right after my run. I figured that my legs would be a little sore today from running anyway, so what soreness the weightlifting caused would probably blend in anyway.

So far so good, nothing new or unusual except a little stinging in my shinbones. (Wearing my compression sleeves!) However, delayed onset muscle soreness usually hits between 24 and 48 hours AFTER the run, so tomorrow just might hurt. :(

Yes, I've been studying. Lol. Reading lots of books on running and even one on anatomy and physiology.

I chatted with my boss today about (what I perceived as) the ridiculousness of my running a half marathon in the spring. He said I can do it. Yikes. Lol Ah, but he did tell me he uses energy gels when he runs and that makes it seem okay for me to use them too. Lol.

I don't know why I think of them as steroids rather than nutritional supplements. They are just carbs, potassium, and electrolytes. He orders them in bulk. So there's an option. :). I do get really tired in the middle of my runs, which aren't really long enough to cause such tiredness.

Part of me worries about the calorie count -- after all, I AM trying to lose weight. On the other hand, I won't lose any weight if I can't get past these little training runs and into some real distance. It shouldn't hurt to try a few gels, I suppose. It's worth a test.

I can handle the pain in my legs because I know that will eventually go away as my legs strengthen. And now, for the most part, I realize it is just temporary while I'm running. Since I've been paying attention to my under pronation tendency, my shins aren't killing me for days after my runs. Just a few little owwies. The pain means that the rebuilding process is underway.

I have noticed my Zensah shin sleeves do give my legs a massaging sensation. :). They were definitely worth the money. Last night I needed my hoodie, but I really think that sweatpants would chafe my thighs in a hurry. Floppy-legged shorts are becoming an annoyance. I need some running tights, though I hesitate to be seen wearing them outside of running time. Lol. I also wonder if Zensah tights would even fit me. I'm a bit wary of their sizing in tights, because I'm kinda chubby.

Breathing in cold air will be a problem too, as it gets colder, so I need to do some shopping. Some kind of running tights. Loose pants will chafe me tender inner thighs. Equals BAD. A technical shirt, because cotton tee shirts are going to become uncomfortable before long. Chafing again. A lightweight snug jacket. Some kind of face mask to warm my breath so I don't start my asthmatic wheezing again like I did last night in the cold air and this summer in the humidity. And of course... A properly fitted pair of running shoes.