Monday, November 10, 2014

For Sadie Pants

Sadie Pants Marty. 2001-2014
I had always thought that animals come into our lives somewhat randomly. We go to the pound or look at pictures on a website and choose them almost arbitrarily. Someone once told me that they thought animals chose us, and the animals that I've had the good fortune to share my life with have made me a believer. 

Sadie, aka Hope, 2001
Sadie was named Hope when I first found her on the internet in 2001. I think these were the days of the cable modem, so it took a concerted effort on my part to hunt her down. She was from a bad part of Modesto and part of a large litter. Her SPCA picture captivated me, but it was the actual meeting of this little butterball that convinced me she was the one for me, even as her brothers and sisters tried very hard to convince me they were the better choice. The name Hope didn't seem to fit, though I now see the beauty in it. I named her after lyrics in a Dr. Dre song I was listening to on the drive home: "...and get to mackin with this bitch named Sadie, she used to be the homeboy's lady." It stuck.
Sadie enjoyed a long life of adventure. I lived in Knights Landing, CA when I first got her and she had a large yard and acres and acres of farmland to cruise around on our daily walks. She developed a hatred for chickens after she was terrorized by the mean-as-shit roosters that the previous tenants had left behind at the house I was renting. Many chickens would be sacrificed for those roosters' hijinx. I hope never again in my life to ask someone, "how can I reimburse you for your chicken?"         

Sadie had many companions over the years. She loved kitties. Well, she ate a few too, but she loved
Sadie and Astro, 2001
the ones that I loved. She also had her doggie companions. Astro, a world-renowned, pig-hunting Catahoula, was unfortunately a short-lived partner. He died when she was about 6 months old but no doubt taught her quite a few important details about being a dog.  

The love of her life was a coonhound named Buddy. He was the most loving dog I have ever had the pleasure to meet and a perfect, low key, companion for her. Sadie liked very few dogs, but Buddy was love at first sight. They shared the better part of nine years together and were only separated when Buddy became suddenly ill with a sickness that took his life in 2011.
Sadie and Buddy, 2002. The day I brought Buddy home for Sadie.
Logan and Sadie, 2011.
After Buddy went, I knew that I needed another companion for Sadie. I wanted another Coonhound and found Logan on the internet (how I find all of my dogs). The Genius and I drove all the way to Yreka to meet him and adopted him on the spot. I was terribly nervous about whether this little guy would be welcomed by Sadie, given that she really didn't get along with many other dogs. Maybe this wasn't love at first sight, but they got along very well. Logan added years to her life, I am sure. Because I have a thing for hounds, I adopted a third dog in 2012 to bring me very close to the edge of "crazy dog lady". This one has been a handful, but I am glad that she chose me when she did so she had a chance to learn from Sadie and bring some puppy energy into Sadie's last years. One of my favorite pass times was watching Sadie and Bella spar in that fun dog way that they do--full of pomp and circumstance and lots of great puppy noises.   

Logan, Sadie, and Bella. 2012. Where do the people sleep?

Sadie has been a part of my life for so long, it is hard to imagine it without her. In fact, as I was watching her sleep in the sun yesterday, I realized that she has been the basis for numerous major life decisions during the last 13 years. 

I chose the house I currently live in for its proximity to the American River and the opportunity to take daily walks with Sadie and Buddy. I wasn't a runner back then, and am now incredibly grateful for them guiding me to this gorgeous spot so I can now run along the river too.

The dog van. 2004.

I bought Sadie and Buddy a Vanagon for Christmas one year so we could travel around California camping in style. Of course, she was my litmus test for people too. If Sadie didn't like someone, I knew something was wrong. Then there were the numerous small decisions I made every day, always with her best interest in mind.

Unlike my two hound dogs, Sadie never ran much with me. I didn't become a runner until later in her life, and we had a routine of walking, not running, twice a day down by the river. Ironically, as she got older, she ran more with me. I didn't want her to feel left out after I would run the youngins, so I would take her on a leisurely 1-2 mile dog jog afterward. We were able to run together up until about a year ago when arthritis in her back made it uncomfortable.

Coach T
Some of you may recall a few years back when Sadie became my coach for a while. It was in response to Ryan Hall's announcement that he was being coached by God. I figured I could then be coached by Dog. She wanted to be called Coach T, for Tuner Pants, because that's the name she liked best.  She was a hard ass and ultimately, we had to end the coach-athlete relationship. Her training methods were unorthodox, always about running for treats and chasing after things. She didn't really understand the concept of intervals. Run them into the ground was her method.

I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to work from home these last two years, especially in these last couple of months. To be able to spend so much time with her in her final months was priceless. She was my office companion. She would hobble into the office at around 9 or so and flop down in the middle of the floor, sprawled out like a rug. There she remained all day long unless something outside needed her attention.

I struggled mightily with the question of when/if to put her down. I believe that death is a natural part of life and was so worried about robbing her of a natural process that she needed to go through to pass from this world. I absolutely did not want to do it out of convenience for me. I tried the best I could to respect her needs. Deep in my soul, I knew that I could not let her suffer unnecessarily and would choose the option to have her put to sleep to spare her hurting.

That day came today. Saturday night was a horrible night for her. She woke in the middle of the night and was clearly in pain. I upped her pain meds until she finally quieted. I had a race to run on Sunday and really, really, really did not want to leave her. I had made a commitment to my team that I would run the race and did not want to leave them short a runner, so I went. I ran thinking about her every step and cried the whole way. I ran past the finish line straight to my car and drove back to her. Though she was doing much better all day, and ate lots and lots of doggie treats, she had another horrible night last night and I knew it was time.

We enjoyed a few more hours this morning, sitting in the sun in the back yard, with me staring at all those spots, trying to memorize every last one of them before never seeing them again and her nose actively sniffing the scents of her domain for the last time. The Genius and I were holding and petting her when she went very peacefully. I plan to take her cremated remains, along with Buddy's, up to Fiske Peak and let them be carried by the wind into the wonderful canyon below where we spent so many Thanksgivings.

And so I go back to a favorite book of mine by Pam Houston called Sight Hound when mourning my loss. It's about the intersection of dog and people love, and I always draw comfort from this quote of hers about her dog, Dante:    
"What I didn’t understand then, what I couldn’t have understood until I watched him breathe his last breath, is that nothing could take him away from me, not cancer, not an amputation, and not even sodium phenobarbital; that only in his dying could I truly understand the way I would have him forever, the way I’d had him forever all along, the way I will see him, whenever I need him, running across that big green pasture into my arms."

I love you Sadie Pants.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

CIM minus

From the title of this post you can probably already tell what's coming: I'm not running CIM. Why? Because I'm scheduled for surgery on December 2nd.

When I had my first surgery to remove my fibroid baby in August, the surgeon was able to scrape about 80% of it out. The doc told me that, for many women, this was sufficient to resolve their problems and suggested a wait-and-see approach. I did not want to wait and see whether my hemorrhaging resumed and asked him to schedule the second surgery to remove the rest. I waited for about a month and finally got a call from scheduling offering me the December 2nd date. I told them that I had a marathon 5 days later and couldn't take the date. They said they would see if they could find something else.

A month went by with no calls from Kaiser. I was fine with this because I wasn't having any symptoms. A little over a week ago, that changed. I was back in hemorrhagic hell for about 5 days and missed a race because of it. I realized that I needed to take the surgery date that was available. I have also asked to have the inside of my uterus cauterized (called ablation) so I never bleed again--or at least for several years. Because I was able to get my blood levels up after the surgery, this episode didn't take much out of me. However, I definitely felt the impact. It is absolutely stunning how good I feel with higher hemoglobin levels. I vow to never let them drop again!

In case you're counting, this is the 5th time I've started training for and not been able to run a marathon in the last 12 months. It is frustrating, but each training cycle I have gotten a little stronger. I had some of the best training of my life in the last couple of months and that fitness does not go away overnight. As long as I keep training, it will carry right over to the next race.

The lovely Napa Valley Marathon course.
My current plan is to run the Napa Valley Marathon on March 1st, which seems fitting since it's sponsored by Kaiser. It's a great race and fast course, though the only time I've run it was in 2006--the year that there was a 15 mph headwind and freezing rain the entire way (it's a point to point course). A headwind is unusual for that race, so I am hoping the weather will be more favorable this time around. They've also had tailwind years. Fingers crossed for that!

I worked my way up to 20 mile runs with 10-13 miles at marathon pace before all of this went down, and I was feeling really strong. I am reducing the mileage of my longer runs now (though maintaining my overall training volume) and getting back to some speedier running before I launch back into marathon training in a few weeks. I'm hoping to get a fast half marathon and 5k out of my current fitness in the next month. Keeping my fingers crossed that my body cooperates.

A little hip niggle over the last couple of weeks scared me back into doing my rehab work. When I'm feeling good, I tend to forget the weaknesses in my right side that need constant attention. I have been doing tons of strength work these last several months, but as the PT noted, I am using the same compensations in that training as in my running and making everything else strong while my poor glute is neglected. Focused exercises are the name of the game. The niggle went away and I've noticed some improvement in my right side strength. It was also a good reminder to me to roll both sides of my body equally. My left side tends to be tighter than the right, but the left side never hurts. I tend to roll the side that hurts more than the other and that just exacerbates the problem leaving my left side tight and loosening up an already mobile right side.      

Speaking of rolling, if you haven't seen this guy before, you should check him out. His name is Enso, and he works miracles. All those little discs are adjustable. Painful genius.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

CIM minus 10 weeks: aiming high

Weekly summary:

70 miles
1 speed workout: 5 x 1000m/3 min recovery (3:26 ave.) + 6 x 200m/200m recovery (34 sec ave.)
1 long run: 20 miles moderate (7:05 pace)
6 hours strength training (3 x hot pilates, 1 x kettlebells, 1 x barre, 1 x bikini butt) 

This has been an interesting week in a number of ways. I was anxious in the first half of the week about the speed workout I had lined up for Wednesday. I haven't run many speed workouts in the past several months and the last attempt (3 weeks ago) went really badly. For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you are aware that, relatively speaking, I am much faster at the longer races. For example, my marathon PR equates to a 16:57 5k, but I have only barely broken 18:00 for that distance at my fittest. The main reason for this disparity is that I don't practice at 5k pace. I started running as a marathoner and have focused on that distance at the exclusion of all others. I am very comfortable with the discomfort of running a lot of marathon paced miles but am very uncomfortable holding 5k pace. That's why I was anxious.

My paces for this workout were also very ambitious. 5:24 pace is fast for me, but I wanted to give it a shot. I asked the Genius if he wanted to do the workout with me and maybe help pace me for some of it. Thankfully, he agreed. I'm not sure I could have pushed myself that hard without help. I was pretty sure I could hold 83 second quarters for this workout and that was my goal, even though my training plan called for 81. My fastest 1000m workout ever averaged 3:35. So, this would be new territory. I wondered whether I had ever really pushed myself in an interval workout and I really wanted to try to do that here.

We started off the first 1000 and I was right on The Genius' heels. Despite getting a slight tingling feeling in my fingers at the end, it felt reasonable. First 1000m = 3:22 (81 sec/400m). We jogged the 3 minutes (which is a long time) and started again. This time, I started to fall behind my pacer. I felt like I was going backwards fast. I didn't look at my watch, but he pulled away from me in the last 200m and I started to feel heavy-legged and tingly as I tried to keep up. Second 1000m = 3:22. The Genius was speeding up, which made me feel better. However, I also realized the signs of oxygen debt coming on too early in this workout and decided to dial it back a bit. I ran the next three 1000m repeats in 3:30-3:31. I didn't take my splits during the repeat for these but just tried to concentrate on holding a hard but steady pace. I was happy that the early fast intervals didn't compromise the final miles of this workout. I felt good at the end. I finished the last 200m of the last repeat with a very strong mind repeating my new mantra, 2-4-2, to myself as I pushed it to the line. We finished this workout with some fast 200s. I ran all of them in 34-35 seconds and they felt great. 

Much like the threshold pace run last week, this workout was a huge confidence booster for me. I lack confidence at the shorter distances so this was a really important training experience. To know that I can push myself and even start out too fast and still hold it together was big. 

I had a straight up, easy to moderate paced long run of 20 miles on Saturday and wanted to try to get my legs a bit tired before that run so I could work on running long on tired legs. So far, my mileage for this cycle hasn't taken me to a point where I experience muscle fatigue during my runs. I decided instead to use strength training to tire my legs out before this long run and see how that felt. I did back to back classes at P2O Hot Pilates on Friday night taking Bethany's Kettlebells and Barre classes. These were great workouts and my legs did feel pretty tired. I want to add a caveat to this experiment, and say I would never tire myself out with strength work the day before a hard workout (meaning a workout with faster paces in it). In fact, I try to "protect my workouts" by doing easy strength work two days before a planned workout and none the day before. Last week's botched midweek workout taught me an important lesson about how long it takes me to recover from strength work. 
I met my speedy friend, Juliet, again this weekend for the first 10 miles of my long run. She needed to be home early so we started at 5:15 a.m. I am always willing to wake up super early on the weekend to meet a good friend and training partner! We negative split that first 10 and had a great run. I was able to lose my headlamp at the halfway point and take in another dose of Generation Ucan before heading back out for the second half. I also negative split that 10 miles and averaged 6:37 pace for the last 5 miles. My legs did feel tired at the end, but they were still very capable of running fast. The bonus of starting so early was that I was done by 8:00 a.m.!

I had someone mention on Facebook that she thought it was great that I was putting my goals out there so boldly. My goal of running 2:42:XX is absolutely a stretch goal for me, but I believe I can run that time if everything comes together. It is absolutely a gamble to put it out there in the world though--telling people that I am trying to do this huge thing. What if I fail? Will people think I was stupid for trying? While I risk taking a hit to the ego if I come up short, I think putting my big goals out there will help me more than hurt me. Every time I tell someone I am trying to run 2:42 for a marathon, it makes that goal a little more real. It keeps me honest in workouts and even in my strength training where I use my mantra of 2-4-2 when I start to shake in the last few reps in a tough class. It is becoming part of my psyche right now. I am gaining that mental focus that I remember developing before I ran my qualifier in Chicago. 

Running healthy again has given me perspective. The last 9 months of health problems kindled a fire inside me that is helping me accomplish extraordinary things in this training cycle. I am running faster than I ever have and am challenging myself in new ways. It is both exciting and scary. I never want to experience health problems like that again, but I am grateful for the perspective it has given me.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

CIM minus 11 weeks: the reality show

Weekly summary:
61 miles
1 missed workout
1 long run: 19 miles w/ 4.5 miles easy + 2 miles T (LT pace) + 5.5 easy + 2 x 2 T pace w/2 min jog + 2.5 E
6 hours strength training

This training week was both marginal and spectacular for me. It was marginal because I missed a workout. That is such a hard thing to deal with emotionally, especially when it is due to stupidity (on my part). The spectacular part was the long run I did get in. I am pretty sure this one counts as a breakthrough workout. I had planned to run 65 miles this week, so I came close to that. All in all, I would put this week in the plus column.

I missed the workout because I was testing my limits with strength training. I started adding serious strength work into my exercise regime about 6 months ago. It started with a couple of months of hot yoga and then I found P2O Hot Pilates in Midtown Sacramento and knew I'd found a the right place. I have been training there for 4 months now. I started gradually taking a variety of classes but no more than 2 per week. I worked my way up to 3 and then 4 per week within a couple of months. Now, I do 4-6 workouts per week. These are mostly hour long classes and they are hard--the hardest strength classes I've ever taken.

This week, I was feeling ambitious and decided to double up on Monday with a kettlebells and hot pilates class followed by a 6 mile run with our run group. I think that would have been okay had I not done hot pilates and a bikini butt class the two days prior. On Tuesday, I was feeling pretty worked. By Wednesday, my planned workout day, I knew I wasn't going to be able to deliver anything close to fast running, so I just ran easy. I thought I would postpone the workout to Thursday, but work got in the way of that. So, there I was, on Friday with a workout to do. I got my new training plan from Jack and the Saturday long run meant I wasn't running anything fast on Friday. I bit the bullet and let the midweek workout go and decided to focus my energy on having a great workout Saturday.

I was lucky enough to convince a friend to meet me for the warm up of this workout, but she needed to meet at 5:30 a.m. Having someone to meet and getting the workout done early were way more important than sleeping in on a Saturday. My friend is 4 months pregnant and amazingly fit. She pushed me for the first 4.5 miles!! After we parted ways, I put in my headphones and took off at T pace. On my training schedule, my T pace has been 5:54 for over a month now, but I have not been able to hit that pace. The last few weeks, I've flirted with it, but never nailed it. I didn't intend to do it on Saturday either. I have been treating my target paces as something to work toward as I become fitter.

It was completely dark out when I started my speed work, and I was able to just get a nice rhythm going. I decided I would only look at my pace at the 1/2 mile markers. I hit the first one and saw 2:54 as my split. I thought, "this is going to be a long day" realizing I was really pushing the pace early. I split the first mile in 5:51 and the second in 5:55 (hilly mile). I now had 5+ miles to think about those next 4 miles at T pace. My legs were feeling a little tired from the barre class I had taken the night before.

With 13 miles on my legs I started the next 2 miles and split that in 11:46! I was so excited, I was actually running my goal T pace at the end of this long run. The last 2 miles weren't nearly as pretty, but I still split 11:52. I then jogged back to my car, pretty pumped about what had just gone down. I love the breakthrough workouts. You never know when they'll happen, but they always do when you're putting in the work and taking care of the machine.

I definitely need to keep playing with the strength schedule to find the ideal mix to compliment and not detract from my running workouts, which have to be the priority. I tell my athletes to "protect their workouts" which means don't do a super hard strength workout the day before a hard running workout or try to run off of 4 hours of sleep. Treat your workouts like races. I think I have given an example here of what happens when you don't! The key to experimentation of this kind is not pushing yourself so far that you can't recover from any mistakes you might make. The smart decision I made was not doing the running workout midweek after I had cooked my body. Had I done that, I might have pushed myself over the edge into injurious territory or overtraining. Neither pops up immediately, so I'm not out of the woods.          

There is no doubt that the strength work I am doing is making me a faster runner. I have never been able to hit paces like I did this week in a long run like that, not even during my build up to my fastest marathons. Get your strength work in, listen to your body and make smart decisions! These are the lessons to be learned from this week.

On Saturday, I took those Oiselle Distance Shorts for a ride and earned my coffee! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The build up to CIM

It is official. I am entered in the Cal International Marathon to be held on 7 December 2014.  This will be my 7th time running CIM and my 21st marathon. Did I mention that 7 is my lucky number? Kismet.

I have decided to update this blog much more frequently as I build up to the marathon--posting about my training and racing each week as well as the little things that I am doing to stay healthy and strong. If my past marathon training is any indication of how this one will go, it should be an interesting ride.

I am finally feeling healthy enough to make a run at an Olympic Trials Qualifier in this race, and that is exciting. However, so many things have to come together to make that happen. I have had magical days before and will continue to push myself in training and believe that I can achieve this big goal.

Please, join me for the ride. Eleven weeks and counting...

Thanks, Lindy, for posting this! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Four weeks post-surgery and a win!

Wings out. My debut race as a Oiselle runner and I won!
I am really happy to finally be able to report that I am cured. After months and months of seemingly endless posts about my struggle with out-of-control uterine fibroids and my anemic state, I am sure you are happy to get this news. No more posts about bleeding and lady parts.

Well, maybe one last bit. I was cured with a procedure called hysteroscopic resectioning. In this procedure, you are put completely out while a skilled surgeon sticks a device fitted with a camera and laser up your va-jay-jay and whittles away at the fibroid growing inside the uterus. The laser cauterizes as it goes so there's no risk of excessive bleeding. My fibroid was occupying the whole space, so there was a lot of work to do. In fact, they were only able to remove 80% of my fibroid baby before I became borderline hyponatremic. That's the risk of the procedure. The fluids they pump inside the uterus to keep things flushed out start to get absorbed by the body and at some point the electrolyte balance in the blood is compromised to a dangerous level. I knew ahead of time it was unlikely that they would be able to get it all in this first try, but was assured what they did get would still solve my problem.

I doubted this but have to say I now believe. I am 4 weeks post surgery and training like a mad woman again. It took a couple of weeks to stop bleeding completely, so my blood levels are still recovering, but, lifestyle wise, I am blissfully normal again. One odd thing that occurred within a day of the surgery was a return of massive energy and cognitive clarity. I have found nothing on the interwebs that can explain this. I was still taking the same (damn) hormones (massive dose of progestin) at that point so this had to be from the lack of fibroid. The only thing I can surmise is that the little bastard was stealing my energy. It makes sense physiologically that growing one huge ass muscle (fibroids are all muscle) inside the body over a very short time period would require a lot of nutrients and energy. So, my body must have been directing a lot my energy to it. Think about it. I was basically growing a bicep inside my uterus.

The surgery was a breeze. I was recovered in two days. I ran 13 miles three days after surgery and have not looked back. My training has gone really well too, though I am trying to be very cautious about not overdoing it. It is really easy with this much energy to want to ramp up fast and push myself too hard. 

My race shoes had Schwings! Thanks to Christina for the photo from mile 10.

I ran a race on Sunday. Well, I won a race on Sunday! It was thrilling to feel strong again. This race was the Buffalo Stampede 10 miler and it was my first race running for Oiselle. I have run this race numerous times and actually won it once before in 2010, just before my PR marathon in Chicago. My workouts leading up to the race were mixed. I caught a cold the weekend before (lack of sleep does it to me every time!) but still had a great long run workout of 17 with 2 x 2 miles at lactate threshold (T) pace, then 5 miles easy and another 2 x 1 mile at T pace. My last T mile was 5:50 and I knew I was on a roll. 

Midweek was another story. The cold was fully embedded in my sinuses and I couldn't breathe. I did a track workout of 5 x 1200m and had to cut the third one to 800m because of the breathing issues. I was barely holding the pace I had run for my 15th mile on Saturday! Did I panic? Nope. I wish I could recall who wrote this: "you can't fake a good workout". You can have bad workouts, but there is no questioning your fitness if you have a good one. So, I clung to my Saturday workout for confidence in my fitness and let the track workout go.

On Sunday, I was excited to see one of my Impala teammates at the starting line. She and I have always been really well matched in fitness and have battled at the line on numerous occasions. I love racing with her because I know we will push each other. What I wanted from this race was a hard effort and a strong finish. I have never finished strong in this race. I always die the last 3 miles. We ran together for the first 8.5-9 miles, in and out of a pack of boys and it was great. Our first mile was my slowest, and we negative split the race. At mile 9 or so, I saw The Genius with our hounds on the side of the road. This gave me a huge boost, especially as I heard my girl Bella start hound barking at me as I passed by. She was telling me to go. So I did. I had a lot of kick left and used it to get myself to that finish line as fast as possible. Megan is a fierce competitor so once I kicked, I knew I couldn't let up. I felt so strong rounding the corner and pushing myself through to the finish. My last mile was my fastest by about 15 seconds per mile.
Me and the Genius. And our shy dogs. Thanks for the picture, Maria!

I ran 1:02:23. This is not close to my PR, but I wasn't racing for time. I ran my goal marathon pace, and it felt good to feel so confident at that pace for 10 miles three months out from my goal race. 

My legs have felt amazingly strong lately in workouts and in this race. While I was dealing with my fibroid issues, I hunkered down and concentrated on my strength training. That has paid off. I have mentioned before that I go to (and am a run coach for) a Hot Pilates Studio in town called P2O and the strength work has made all the difference. I take 4-6 classes a week there, which is a lot more strength work than I've ever done. I love the hot pilates class, and that's what I do more than anything else. I am also a fan of the kettlebell classes for heavier lifting and TRX. I don't let these workouts interfere with my running workouts and use the "keep your hard days hard and your easy days easy" philosophy. I was very proud of the group of runners from the Studio at the race for pushing themselves and accomplishing their goals too!

I wore the Hoka Cliftons in my race on Sunday and I really liked them. I debated about this and did my track workout on Wednesday in my Lunaracers as a comparison. However, I didn't notice that it was a very tired pair. I grabbed the wrong ones from the shoe box and they were dead! Big mistake! I ended up dealing with a calf/tibialis/achilles problem the rest of the week and was nervous about that impacting my race. With some good self-PT and focused rolling, I didn't feel it at all in the race. It actually feels much better after having raced. That's a good sign! The Hokas definitely take some getting used to. My only concern with the Hokas is that I won't be able to go back to the lightweight, less cushioned shoes after wearing them exclusively. As long as Hoka sticks around, I guess that's not a problem.

The outlook for CIM is good this year! I am looking forward to the next 3 months of hard training and a few long races to test my fitness along the way. After having to pull out of my last three planned marathons, I am very excited for this one! 

I am mostly excited to be living a normal life again. In looking back on what I endured and how much it affected my life, I am not sure how I got through it in one piece. It was a wild ride but I am happy it is behind me. Thanks for your support along the way!              

Did I mention I won a pile of poop?
First place wins a pile of buffalo poo!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

So many good things to share

Despite the setbacks I am having in my running due to my health problems, there are so many things going right at this moment, that I can't possibly be bummed out.

First, I am pleased to announce that I am now representing a fantastic company, Oiselle. This company first caught my eye when they sponsored one of my favorite runners, Lauren Fleshman. They are a group of strong, outspoken women who provide awesome support for female athletes of all levels. I love that they have opened up the team to more runners and are able to support so many athletes despite being such a small company. I saw this as a chance to be part of something that is wonderful.    

Our fun running group last Sunday!
Second, I have partnered with a local studio, P2O Hot Pilates, to help with their running program. I joined this studio on an introductory offer and fell in love with the family atmosphere and the work ethic of the instructors and members. These classes are no joke and are fantastic for developing strength and mobility in runners! I love that they offer a free organized running program that is open to all levels and even non-members. The owners want to encourage running in their community, and I am excited to be a part of that! I am currently leading the runs on Thursday a.m. at 5:30 and Sunday a.m. at 7:00, both from Big Lots at 8700 La Riviera Dr. We head to the bike trail and have a lot of fun. Please feel free to join us for a run!

Third, my businesses are doing really well right now. I am enjoying an amazing explosion in my ecological consulting business. I love the work that I'm doing, all of which is supporting the conservation of biodiversity in California and beyond. I care so much about this work and am grateful I am able to make a living doing what I love. It's also wonderful working for myself. I was pretty freaked out at first about the challenges of starting my own business and all of the hardships that come along with that. I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy and fun it has been. Even with the health issues and medical expenses, I am able to make it work. My coaching business is also thriving, with athletes doing really well all around the country. It is an honor to help them and watch them work hard and reap the rewards of that hard work. That is why I love coaching.        

Finally, it wouldn't be an RAF blog post without a health update. I know it seems weird that I am so public about something that is so personal and really unflattering. This blog has always been about honesty and sharing information and experiences with others in hopes that it will somehow help. The messages I receive from women who are either going through this same thing or know someone who is confirm that my openness is helping others, and that's what it's all about.

This week confirmed that I made the right decision to postpone my marathon until December. My health issues reemerged at an alarming level this week, and I have become even more anemic, yet again. The good news is that I am working on the things that I can: overall strength and running speed. My endurance is not good at all, but I can do speed work without a problem. As always, once the spigot shuts off, I will be able to get my blood levels up and will be back where I left off.

I had a hysteroscopy (scope inside my uterus) last week and confirmed that my big daddy fibroid is in fact occupying my entire uterus and is stuck inside the lining. I have a picture of this guy on my refrigerator. My friends who saw the picture started seeing fibroids in everything: banana muffins, emoticons. I will spare the rest of you that torture. So, the fibroid I have can't be removed surgically without taking everything with it. What they can do, and I go in for a surgical consult tomorrow, is shave away at the fibroid a little at a time. This supposedly will reduce the hemorrhaging. That's the hope, anyway. I may need to go in a few times to get this big guy shaved down, but the recovery time is a matter of hours rather than weeks with this procedure. Totally worth a try. I will look forward to losing a few pounds as well with the removal of this little ball of muscle!

I am proud that I have held my ground and fought the doctors who were ready to yank out my useless uterus, telling me I had no other options. I may be on my 4th OB/GYN, but I now have doctors telling me that I have some great options available and they are actually treating me as if I have a choice. In the end, I may end up having a hysterectomy, but nobody should be pressured into that decision. There are so many other options out there, and we deserve to at least hear about them!!!

So, all good things. Give good stuff to the world, and good stuff will come back to you!