Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in review

And here we are at the end of 2017. In reading through last year's end of year post, it struck me that this time last year, my mother-in-law was still nominally living in her own home. We helped her get moved into a lovely apartment at an assisted living place, but unfortunately her health nose-dived. She's now fully moved into the nursing home side of that same facility. I was shocked at how quickly she lost strength and mobility.

At any rate, here are my answers to the usual end of year blog questions I’ve been doing for a few years now.

What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before? I’ve gotten way into running this year. My younger son and daughter-in-law have been avid runners for years, and both have encouraged me in my own running. This year, I ran in two races and placed second in my age group for both of them. The second race had a lot more participants so I’m really proud of that finish and of setting personal records in both the mile and the 5k.

Did anyone close to you give birth? Not this year.

Did anyone close to you die? I’ve got friends who are struggling with real health issues, and of course my MIL has had a lot of health challenges but no deaths.

Did you suffer illness or injury? Yes, I was diagnosed with melanoma is August.

What countries did you visit? Sadly, and again this year, none. Our travel has been family focused—we were able to go to Yuma with Jordan in May to see Ben, Jen and the kids after Ben returned from his deployment. We also travelled back to PA to attend a family wedding in October, which was a lot of fun. In November, we flew to Nashville to celebrate our older son’s engagement and meet our wonderful future daughter-in-law. And I’m so thankful that Ben and Jen graciously hosted us all at Thanksgiving.

What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017? I would love for both of us to be gainfully employed. And I’d like a completely clear scan in February when I see my dermatologist again.

What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? September 17. I managed to pull off a surprise birthday party for my mother—got her and my dad to travel here, got my sister in Colorado to travel here also, arranged for my brother and his wife to come to the party, and set up a Skype call with my sister in England. We had a blast, and I think my mother really enjoyed herself.
What was your biggest achievement of the year? At work, four of us managers got shuffled around—think of it as a corporate version of musical chairs only no one lost a chair. So my achievement is that I am in the new job . . . wasn’t what I wanted in the least, but hey, I remain gainfully employed.

What was the best thing you bought? This is really lame, but we both just got new tires and I’m ridiculously thrilled with them.

Where did most of your money go? We’re still on lock down; we’ve chosen to pay cash for Kent’s MBA (he will be done in March and graduate in May—so proud for him and also so excited we’re almost done with tuition), and we’ve bought plane tickets.

What did you get really excited about? I am so happy that Jordan has met an amazing woman and that she said yes when he proposed! They get married in March, and we can hardly wait.

What book(s) did you love this year? N. K. Jemisin’s third book in her Broken Earth series was released and wow, I loved it. I’m currently reading Nick Harkaway’s Gnomone, very kindly given to me by my friend Jeanne. It’s really good, and I’m savoring the reading of it.

What song will always remind you of 2017? Can’t go wrong with Justin Timberlake, at least not to me.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

And whew

I got this email yesterday (click the image if you can't read the text). The Hangover Half has been postponed until January 7 because of our extreme, life-threatening cold temperatures. So relieved.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Well crud

I grabbed this screen shot from Weather Underground around 10 this morning. As you can see, we've got extreme cold forecast for the weekend, and that's on top of the bitter cold we have right now (temp was 2F when I drove to work this morning). And don't forget the snow. It's only two inches but super slick.

I just checked the weather again and now the forecast calls for snow on Sunday (bad news for the trail for the half marathon) and the low Sunday night is -6. That's a minus sign.

Not liking my chances for running this half, I'll be honest. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Harder than it looks

When I was 32 and still a professional musician, I developed tendonitis in my right thumb from playing. I went to physical therapy, and my PT said you need to stop playing to let this heal up, otherwise it’s going to get a lot worse and you might not recover. I said well I’m in the middle of a lot of rehearsals and a bunch of concerts, I will see you in May (it was February).

And those concerts were the last I ever played.

My thumb did indeed get a lot worse. The tendonitis spread to the back of my hand, to my elbow and up to my shoulder. I couldn’t even sign my name on a check for about five months—I lost the grippy motion you need to hold a pen or pencil. I went to PT religiously, did all the rehab exercises, tried to play again and nope. Flat could not do it.

I still have issues with my right hand. My handwriting is so bad I can’t always read it. I’ve had to learn to use a mouse with my left hand so that I can give my right hand a break. It’s been 25 years and this is my normal now.

Patron saint for runners--
thanks Mom!
So I’m taking this piriformis issue seriously. I got a recommendation for a PT place that works with athletes and went for a screening last night. Holy cow that hurt. She did a piriformis release on both sides and that was incredibly painful. But it helped. She also gave me a couple of exercises and dynamic stretches to do. They hurt, but I can tell it’s not the “OMG stop you are damaging yourself” pain. I go back next week for a full evaluation.

In the meantime, I’ll hold off running until next Tuesday. That gives me a full week of no running. I’m still planning on running my half marathon, I know logically I have all the fitness and conditioning I need. But mentally it’s hard. I’ve also had to acknowledge I won’t meet the 200k distance challenge for December (I use Strava, which is sort of like FaceBook for runners and cyclists and you can sign up for all sorts of challenges every month). That’s hard too, because I hate not meeting those kinds of challenges.

But the reality is if I don’t stop and heal up, then I run the risk of a more serious injury. I’d like to think I learned something from that career ending injury 25 years ago

Sunday, December 17, 2017

In which I am learning about the mental side of running

A week ago, I ran in the local Jingle Bell 5k race and did pretty well. I set a new personal record for the mile (7:29) and a new personal record for the 5K (25:48)—I came in 91st overall, and second in my age group.

But because I’m not very experienced at racing, I also strained my left hamstring a bit. It’s been a bad enough strain that I cut back my running this week because otherwise I’m concerned I won’t be able to run in the half marathon on New Year’s Day.

And that’s the mental part. I know logically that I’m fit, I could run a half today (well assuming my hamstring cooperates) but mentally my brain says otherwise.

It’s been a real challenge not to get clenched over skipping days in my training plan. This week, I skipped Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and today. I’m going to try a short easy run tomorrow morning, but I’m deliberately taking a loop that will let me cut the run short if I’m still hurting.

Update on Monday: Well I ran a nice slow mile, and still had a fair amount of discomfort. I'll wait until Thursday to try again. 

On a happier note, here are some photos from the 5k last weekend.

Before the race--yes, we are in a cave.

I'm the female blur in the light blue shirt.

Yay, I did it!

Finisher's medal and age group medal

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

November has been a packed month for me, professionally and personally. After my trip to Corpus Christi for work, I headed to Orlando (also for work). Alas, the view from my hotel room looked onto a boring roof, and we were nowhere near the ocean. It was so humid and foggy that I couldn’t see through my running glasses and every attempt to wipe off the lenses when I ran only resulted in more blurry smears.

I got back from Orlando on Thursday, and Kent and I headed to Nashville the next day. My older son is engaged to a wonderful woman, and her folks threw an engagement party that Saturday. If we’re friends on Facebook, then you’ve seen this photo already—I love it. I also realized that compared to everyone else, I’m kind of short!

This past Saturday, we flew to San Diego, picked up Jordan and Amanda and drove to Yuma to be with Ben, Jen and the kids for Thanksgiving. It’s definitely different running in the desert. I run before the dawn breaks, so I’ve enjoyed seeing the stars here in the desert and then watching the sun come up as I finish my runs.

Now I’m sitting here on Thanksgiving Day, so grateful to be with my husband, sons, daughter-in-law, future daughter-in-law and grandkids. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October running recap (so I don’t forget)

Finisher's medal
  • Ran my first race in nine years
  • Got new running shoes—this is my first time wearing Saucony shoes (I got Kinvaras). They are ridiculously big but that’s what it took to not smash my toenails because I have long toes. But they are big everywhere else—heel to the ball of my foot, side to side and top to bottom. So I’ve got inserts in them to take up space, and I am wearing my thickest Baluga running socks just to take up some of that room. I’d love to find running shoes for narrow shallow feet with a long toe box but the current fashion is wider shoes with super wide toe boxes, and those just hurt my feet.
  • Ran my first ever 10 mile run. I was pretty pumped up about that.
  • Ended my mile a day streak on October 25 (I started on August 11). I ended it because (a) the streak was becoming the master of me, and (b) my son is right and I do need a rest day. 
  • Ran 114+ miles in October and had my most miles ever in one week (37.8).
  • I decided to run a half marathon. I would have loved to run it this month but I’m out of town for every local half in my area. So I am aiming for the Hangover Half on January 1. The only reason I would not run it is if it’s below 20F (I have some lung issues) or if we have a lot of snow and ice on the ground. I’m not interested in slipping and breaking any bones.