July 2006 Archives

Even more flooding...this is amazing. Tucson is in the desert; the last few years we've been in a drought and received less than our normal 12 inches of rain per year. For some reason, the last few days a high pressure has been stuck in the southeast, forcing an uncommon weather pattern for summer - a stalled low-pressure system over us (I think I'm describing this correctly, please correct me if I'm wrong!). Here's a great explanation. Every night around 2 a.m., the rain starts, and it pours inches upon inches in the mountains and surrounding areas. By 8 a.m., the rain has stopped, but our normally dry washes are raging. Now that the ground is saturated, the rivers have actually topped the record charts. The bridges at Dodge and Campbell spanning the Rillito were closed today, as were a few bridges across the Santa Cruz river. A house in Marana fell into the Santa Cruz, and the families in the remaining houses in the area were evacuated. Earlier today, the Rillito was flowing at 30,000 to 35,000 cfs, a bigger flow than both the 1993 and 1983 floods, which were a big deal! Surprisingly, we are still in a drought, even with this rain. Here's another link, this one has some neat photos of the floods on the lower right side.

Sabino Canyon's road washed out. You have GOT to watch THIS. It's a pop-up video, so if your pop-up blocker is on, temporarily allow pop-ups so you can see awesome videa of where I spend most of my time running. We took this photo Saturday morning on Sabino Canyon road, on the bridge over Rattlesnake Creek that no longer exists:
Rattlesnake Canyon trail next to the flooding Rattlesnake creek
(If that link above doesn't work, go here and click on "Sabino Canyon Bridge Washed Out" over on the right side in the playlist column.)

Last Friday, Johnny and Ash went to Sabino Canyon. They unknowingly made it into the news (Johnny's back as the reporter talks about a "jogger headed up the roads with a baby stoller"), and also ended up racing flash floods. They didn't beat them this time - it's a story I'll let Johnny tell. Let's just say they are safe, but I wasn't too happy to hear the story.

On a running note, I thoroughly enjoyed our trail running group's annual potluck on Saturday night. There's nothing more fun than spending a few hours with fellow ultrarunners, hearing stories on this year's races: Badwater, Hardrock, Tahoe Rim Trail 100, etc. Got some more info on upcoming local races - the Soul Ride/Run is cancelled! (Sarah, this means I won't be racing on the weekend of Oct. 21, are you still planning your trip to Tucson?) We had fun reviewing the upcoming season's schedule. Johnny will be directing a run this year, which will be fun. I learned that Joyce (Hi Joyce!) reads my blog, and is also going to be up at Javelina Jundred - her husband will be running it as his first 100 (I'm pretty sure that's what she said). We'll have a Tucson camp, what fun! I got to touch base with OP50's RD. I also got some great training notes, and encouragment to "just ask" regarding training (thanks Bob, I'm holding you to that). What stood out in the training discussion: run less (don't worry about reaching 75 mpw leading up to OP50), cross-train more. I learned that a woman in group won Leadville 100 on 60 mpw. Only 60 mpw! That surprised me. Quality vs. quantity...I will be experimenting with that on this training cycle. Chase (who finished WS100 this year) suggested more cross training and strength training. With no Soul Run in October, I'm not sure how I'm going to prep for OP50 in March. I'm starting to think about it...rolling ideas around in my head...

I was surprised that my legs hurt more than my abs yesterday; however, today, my abs hurt more. A whopping three miles, and it hurt! So I probably won't run tomorrow morning, but on Wednesday morning instead. I'm planning on using the gym a lot more this time around. It's cooler, I don't have to worry about the heat, I can do cross-training and strength training.

I ran!!!
Angie's first post-surgery run!

We woke up this morning to another day of rain. It was gorgeous. Johnny's been following the water gauges along the washes here in Tucson, and realized Sabino Canyon was at 8000 cfu (or whatever that term is) - which is absolutely RAGING! So we went out for Starbucks, then headed over to see the Rillito River (where the water from Sabino empties, and also where we do much of our running along the River Path). It was bank-to-bank, 9 feet deep, holy shit. I've lived in Tucson on and off for about 15 years, and the only other time I saw the Rillito like this was back in the early nineties, when El Nino gave us three 100-year storms in a row.

Rillito River looking toward the new Alvernon Bridge

So of course, we found ourselves headed to Sabino. We were in our flip-flops, and decided we wanted to really enjoy it. We headed home, changed into running clothes and shoes, grabbed the stroller and headed back to Sabino.

Gigantic tiered waterfall coming down from the Blackett's Ridge Plateau

Waterfalls were pouring off the cliffs, the water was raging so loudly, and mist shrouded the canyon walls. It was fanstastic.

Rattlesnake Canyon trail next to the flooding Rattlesnake creek

Ash fell asleep, and I tried to run on the way in, but kept having to stop to enjoy the flooding. I also got side stitches (I don't think the pain was from my incisions...), so breaks were welcome. It kept raining on us the whole time, thank goodness our stroller has a rain hood! A news crew was filming the waterfalls and floods, and we ran into friends from school/playground. We had to turn around at the first bridge crossing, because the water was so high, there was no way across!

Duh

We headed back, and I ran most of it (at least it felt like it). Johnny got some pics, Ash woke up, and we enjoyed the rest of the way back. Running felt great. I had to hold my tummy to keep things from jiggling, and I went pretty slowly, but it felt so good to be back out there again. I need to stretch and start making sure I hydrate correctly. I think I'm ready to start (slowly) training again. Yay!

Angie's first post-surgery run (notice she has to hold her tummy)

The rest of the photo album is here.

Imperfection

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I've been busy these last few months trying to accommodate everyone else's needs. Rearranging my thought patterns, my desires, my wants, my needs to meet my perceptions of others' expectations. I've been putting out my "extendable ears" (think Harry Potter) to try and gauge people's thoughts or perceptions of me. I haven't been bringing my needs to the table. I haven't been using my integrity as my guide to life, my map and compass. I've been ignoring me. Ignoring my Voice. I've been putting pressure on me to be a specific kind of person that I think other people want me to be - and who I can't be. The result? I fell like I can't do anything right. I'm failing at it.

I've been thinking that I am doing everything to the best of my ability, and yet I am hearing (perceiving/interpreting) "You are wrong!" continuously. I wrote in my journal this morning, "There's no benefit. There's no use staying, trying. I'm just no use. No help. I sacrifice, move, accommodate, change, try, put forth effort and I don't see a match on the other side. I only hear (perceive/interpret) blame, unworthiness and more demands to change."

What if I fail? What does that mean? What's wrong with failing? Why am I so scared of it? So scared that I'd rather leave a situation than fail it? What if I'm not perfect? What if I make "wrong" choices, even with the best of intentions?

Does it mean I am a hypocrite? Does it mean I am wrong, dumb, an idiot, incapable? Does it mean I am worthless? Of no value?

Screw that!

I decided today that even if I do fail, I am still going to hold myself in high esteem. Because we all have stretch marks ("imperfections"). We all are human. None of us is perfect - nor will we EVER be.

I heard an interesting saying today: “Perfectionism lies in our imperfection.” Put another way, “It is our imperfection that makes us perfect.”

So I decided I was perfect, just the way I am – warts, failures, anger, depression and all, regardless of what anyone else thinks (or what I think they think).

We're all going to have "bad" days. Weeks. Months. We'll all forget how to stay in touch with our "pink fuzzy." (See left sidebar for pink fuzzy definition. We all have it. Mine just happens to be a pink fuzzy.)

I decided to withdraw my "extendable ears" because the only person whose opinion matters to me is mine. I can still have confidence in me even if I'm not perfect, or don't "measure up" to my perceptions of someone else's standards. I can still value me, even if I am afraid that others don't. I decided that I'm damn proud of my stretch marks, warts and shortcomings. That's how I got my spunk and determination. How I learn. Who I am.

How do I want to be treated? With understanding and compassion. Therefore, I will treat myself that way.

(And just because I have decided to accept who I am right now does not mean I won't improve myself. I like the challenge and adventure of seeing if I can attain the "next level" or rise above or evolve. That doesn't mean I'm wrong or worthless right now. It just means that I can see a better way of doing things. And I think that's a good thing.)

Imperfection

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I've been busy these last few months trying to accommodate everyone else's needs. Rearranging my thought patterns, my desires, my wants, my needs to meet my perceptions of others' expectations. I've been putting out my "extendable ears" (think Harry Potter) to try and gauge people's thoughts or perceptions of me. I haven't been bringing my needs to the table. I haven't been using my integrity as my guide to life, my map and compass. I've been ignoring me. Ignoring my Voice. I've been putting pressure on me to be a specific kind of person that I think other people want me to be - and who I can't be. The result? I fell like I can't do anything right. I'm failing at it.

I've been thinking that I am doing everything to the best of my ability, and yet I am hearing (perceiving/interpreting) "You are wrong!" continuously. I wrote in my journal this morning, "There's no benefit. There's no use staying, trying. I'm just no use. No help. I sacrifice, move, accommodate, change, try, put forth effort and I don't see a match on the other side. I only hear (perceive/interpret) blame, unworthiness and more demands to change."

What if I fail? What does that mean? What's wrong with failing? Why am I so scared of it? So scared that I'd rather leave a situation than fail it? What if I'm not perfect? What if I make "wrong" choices, even with the best of intentions?

Does it mean I am a hypocrite? Does it mean I am wrong, dumb, an idiot, incapable? Does it mean I am worthless? Of no value?

Screw that!

I decided today that even if I do fail, I am still going to hold myself in high esteem. Because we all have stretch marks ("imperfections"). We all are human. None of us is perfect - nor will we EVER be.

I heard an interesting saying today: “Perfectionism lies in our imperfection.” Put another way, “It is our imperfection that makes us perfect.”

So I decided I was perfect, just the way I am – warts, failures, anger, depression and all, regardless of what anyone else thinks (or what I think they think).

We're all going to have "bad" days. Weeks. Months. We'll all forget how to stay in touch with our "pink fuzzy." (See left sidebar for pink fuzzy definition. We all have it. Mine just happens to be a pink fuzzy.)

I decided to withdraw my "extendable ears" because the only person whose opinion matters to me is mine. I can still have confidence in me even if I'm not perfect, or don't "measure up" to my perceptions of someone else's standards. I can still value me, even if I am afraid that others don't. I decided that I'm damn proud of my stretch marks, warts and shortcomings. That's how I got my spunk and determination. How I learn. Who I am.

How do I want to be treated? With understanding and compassion. Therefore, I will treat myself that way.

(And just because I have decided to accept who I am right now does not mean I won't improve myself. I like the challenge and adventure of seeing if I can attain the "next level" or rise above or evolve. That doesn't mean I'm wrong or worthless right now. It just means that I can see a better way of doing things. And I think that's a good thing.)

My dream race...

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Well, I didn't take a walk this weekend, but I think I'll be ready to take a run this upcoming weekend...

I did some research, and found a few races that I am intrigued by:
Moab's Alpine to Slickrock 50 miler
Grand Teton Races
Mt. Hood PCT 50 miler

I also really enjoyed the photos I've seen of the Tahoe Rim Trail races.

I've decided I don't ever want to do Badwater. That much pavement, in that heat, for that long...no way. I admire those who can, and enjoy watching the progress, but me do it? Never! (Now, that doesn't mean I won't crew Rob or Johnny when they do it...)

As far as the "big" 100 mile races go, I don't know that I'd want to do any of them...(sacrilige, I know!) Unless of course, I'm going for the Grand Slam. That'd be pretty cool.

Of course, the first step to all of this is to finish recovering from surgery :) It's good to dream!
__
Update: I forgot to add that my fear of gaining 20 lbs while recovering? Non-existant. I've lost weight. I'm sure it's all muscle I've lost, but seeing the scale in the 120s for the first time in 11 years was pretty amazing.

Shake your hips!

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Ash dancing in his new clothes

(It looks like it's not there, but if you click the space where it should be (where the red x is), you'll get the video.) I took the video with the camera in the vertical position, but it uploaded in horizontal, so Ash appears a little squished. But you'll get the (cute) point :)

Still haven't taken my walk this weekend, and I'm cranky. Don't know if the two are related...

I think you all had a great idea. On August 12, I'll put up a "potluck post" and you all can "bring" virtual foodstuff to my party! Even better if you actually make what you "bring" and enjoy it with your family. It'll be a virtual party to welcome back my freedom of choice in foods. Say hello to variety!

I'm starting to sketch out my training plan for OP50. Taking a look at the group's trail running schedule, and starting to fit in the rest of my training from there. I'm getting excited about it. I'm ready to start thinking about running again. I need something to put my focus on. Otherwise, Ash and Johnny are going to feel nagged to death!

Tomorrow marks the start of the Badwater Webcast! Follow those few hardy souls (including a Tucson ultrarunner from my trail running group) as they brave 120+ degree F temperatures to run 135 miles from Death Valley to Whitney Portal. Scott Jurek is going for sub-24 this year, unheard of! (Olga just reminded me that Lisa Smith-Batchen is going for the double this year, whew!)

I'm also starting to think about a dream race. Julie Berg (Who, btw, is my hero. When she started running ultras, she finished dead last, like I did. But she's trained hard, and just signed a contract to be sponsored by Inov-8! That's my dream, to train well enough to be sponsored. She shows it can be done :) ) Anyway, she wrote a great article in this month's UltraRunning magazine about the Superior 50k, and her first sentence asked if you have a place where you just "love to run." I realized that I didn't have a favorite place to run. Johnny and I discussed this at length yesterday afternoon, and I realized that my favorite place to run is any trail I haven't been on yet. I wondered why I could go to Starbucks and repeatedly savor a maple oat nut scone, but couldn't savor even one trail I've already seen? Then I realized I do have one trail I adore, and that's the trail to and above Seven Falls in Bear Canyon. But then I started thinking about races... Right now, I've been choosing races just because they are close by. If I had a chance to run any kind of race, anywhere, what race would be just spectacular to run? I'm not sure. I want a dream race, though.

What's your favorite place to run? What's your dream race?

Javalina Jundred

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No, I'm not doing a 100 miler this year, as much as I'd like to :) I'm so very excited because Olga is coming to Arizona again, yay! I think we'll have a blast crewing/pacing at Javalina Jundred. Now if only we can get Rob out here...

How hot is it? Crazy Hot! (this is Johnny. I think I wrote my post in a confusing way and/or people aren't reading it all the way. 91 degrees is not hot here; it's been over 100 almost every day for a couple of months now. I'm trying to say that our tap water runs at 91 degrees in the summer. I didn't think many people would know that.)

Congrats to ultrachick Nattie for being my 10,000th visitor. I'm so glad it wasn't a spammer or someone googling obscene phrases :)

I'm ready to get out and walk this weekend. I'm also starting to get my food groove on. Making healthier choices, and noticing the feeling of satisfaction that comes from a day of healthy eating.

And to mark the end of my recovery and beginning of training for OP50, I am throwing a "hello" party - to say hello to all those foods I couldn't eat for so long!

Hello Invite

This morning, Johnnny asked me how I was feeling. When I said, "tired," he responded, "well, that's better than feeling sore!" That's for sure. Yay, I'm healing!

I've worked two eight-hour days in a row, and was feeling well enough tonight to put away laundry, do the dishes, make dinner and then do dinner dishes. But I am really really tired now. In a good way.

I decided to see how I'd feel if I ate my "gallbladder diet" way today. My stomach and mid-section felt much better than on the days where I crammed myself full of fatty foods. What a nice result! Yesterday, I checked Arby's off the list, in addition to the shake (mmm, jamocha shake...). It was quite delicious, but I was ready to eat more healthfully today. I'm glad I am feeling that desire to eat healthfully. I was starting to get scared that I wouldn't.

Thanks for all your guys' support on my last post. It really means a lot to me to hear that other people have the same difficulty, fears, desires...and success! I'm very much looking forward to running again; I know that will help. Ginger Breadman brought up a point regarding emotional issues tied to eating issues. Before I was diagnosed with gallbladder disease, I was addicted to fatty foods. Food was my comfort, my friend. French fries never told me I was worthless. Ice cream existed to remind me of pleasure. Cheese gave me security - it would always be there, always make me happy, always put a smile on my face. I got unconditional love from yummy, fatty foods. In the last 18 months, I've learned how to give myself unconditional love. I've learned that I am worthy and valid and valuable. I've learned that I have so many more resources to help me live my life that are healthy (like ultrarunning!). I can feel the old habits and coping mechanisims trying to come back. My brain wants to slide back into those old grooves. Now, I have to make a concsious choice to not reach for the block of cheese or the bowl of ice cream or the french fries or the pizza. There won't be an uncontrollable pain radiating throughout my torso to tell me I made the wrong choice. There will only be my knowledge that I chose to eat something that, if I eat too much, can hurt me in a much more subtle, long-term way. Hurt my arteries. Make my body larger and more difficult to manuever on the trails. Make me more susceptible to illness. This means I have to build a new groove in my brain, new habits. Reinforce the grooves I built during gallbladder disease. Reinforce the knowledge I gained - I learned that fatty food does not offer me unconditional love; it only offers me poison and death (eating a lot of it in the long-term).

It's like a pendulum - first, I overate fatty foods. Then, with gallbladder disease, I under-ate fatty foods. Now it's time for me to learn how to moderately eat fatty foods.

On a sort-of different note, since my surgery, I have not wanted to drink my normal coffee in the morning. I used to drink a 20 oz. half-caf with fat-free half-and-half and peppermint Torani syrup every morning. I've tried a couple of times, but the caffeine doesn't feel good, and it bloats my tummy. I'm finding that I can actually function in the morning withOUT caffeine, wow. I'm still drinking a diet at lunch each day, and that gives a nice boost for the afternoon. Who knew, surgery = breaking addiction to caffeine...very strange....

Woo hoo, I moved my body today!

Ash and Angie head up the trail

I'm sure my doctor would be horrified to know that I hiked 1.2 miles with 300 vertical feet of elevation gain today. To me, that's nothing. Well, normally, not nothing, anyway. Today - whew! Today it was plenty. I thought we'd head out for about .5 to .8 of a mile round trip. I didn't quite expect to double that :)

Daddy and Ash enjoy the view

It was beautiful. Windy, cool, sunny, trees. Ash hiked all by himself. He ran pretty much the whole way down, and whined the whole way back up. I told him the "I think I can" train story. He seemed to like that, so we chugged up the hill (it was a down-and-back), "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." And he did!

Ash and Mama make their way down the stairs

My tummy did okay. I kept a hand on it most of the way down. Down was harder than up. I was shaky, and could tell I was at altitude. I've been off the pain pills for a few days now, so it was just the Ibuprofen, which does seem to help. I was exhausted at the finish. I pretty much dozed almost the whole way home. I'm still tired!

Ash holds on to Mama to get up the hill

For the rest of the pictures (and some incredible views of the Santa Catalina Mountains here in Tucson where Johnny and I do most of our running), check out our photo album. (UPDATE: I just realized that many runs on my wish list are visible in the scenic, view shots, including Cathedral Peak, Mt. Wrightson, Tanque Verde Ridge and Agua Caliente.)

It's been exciting these last few days. I've eaten pizza, cheesy breadsticks, chinese food (tofu with broccoli, an eggroll and fried rice!), specially made just-for-me cinnamon chocolate scones (thank you Kiera!!!), and I had cheese on my Subway sandwich today for the first time in over 18 months. Cheese on my sandwich! Will wonders never cease. I still have IHOP (country griddle cakes, here I come!), Starbucks maple oat scone, someplace like Applebee's for a giant hamburger and fries and a shake!, cake - real cake!, Carl's Jr. and Arby's on the list.

Of course, this has brought on major guilt. Eating fat! When I was skinny before, I did it unhealthfully. I would starve myself, eating only a bagel and a half-bowl of cereal each day. Every now and then, I couldn't resist a buttermilk donut. About once a month, I'd binge on Taco Bell chilitos. Of course, my weight would creep back up. I did this starting at about 13 years old, by eating cereal for dinner. By the time I was fiften, I was down to a half-bagel and a half-bowl of cereal each day and 118 pounds. By the time I met Johnny at 17, I was at about 125. My weight gain started then and rose up to 215 pounds six years later. I lost 30 pounds one winter, but gained back a few, so that when I became pregnant with Ash, I was at 195. I got up to 235 pounds at nine months, and lost my pregancy weight in a week. I spent two years at a stable 195 before I was diagnosed with gallbladder disease. I lost 70 pounds in 18 months (50 in six months, an additional 15 the next six months, and five the last six months), to reach 130 this summer, pre-surgery.

I've never maintained a healthy weight in a healthy way in my life.

I'm scared.

I'm not sure how!

I thought it'd be easy to go back to my "regularly scheduled programming" of low-fat and fat-free foods. Really, this last week, I've craved lower-fat versions of food stuffs. My body prefers the "lighter" versions of food. It just feels better. But then I walk into the restaurant and realize I can actually choose WHATEVER I WANT from the menu, and so I do. Which, of course, after 18 months of absolutely no fat, means I choose the unhealthiest items. (That pizza I mentioned earlier? With extra cheese.)

So I have a new habit to learn. A new groove to forge. A new challenge. Ooo, I like that - a challenge. Can I do it? That's how I got myself to do my first ultra. I wasn't sure I could. Okay, I like this. Can I do it? Can Angie maintain a healthy weight in a healthy way for the first time in her life???

Dear Running,

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I've missed you.

It's been four long weeks since my last long run. Four weeks since I last felt my footsteps falling on the trail, moving my body forward, ever forward, hurtling through the trees. Flying down the hills, only to plod up the next one. Four weeks since I felt the wind coursing through my hair, filling up my lungs. Four weeks since I felt my heart pounding, filling my ears with the sound of life.

I remember the sun glinting off the lake, illuminating the green leaves of the forest surrounding me. I remember running through the peaceful hollow, with brown and red leaves covering the ground and birds quietly chirping in the rain's aftermath. I remember going faster and faster on our last six miles together. A negative split at the end of 32 miles!

I remember other times we spent together. When we ran 50k for the first time - the exhileration of finishing, even at a hobble. When we spent six hours in the 100 degree F temperatures - I was only able to finish the last three miles of that run because of the cold dip I took in the stream. When we finished an entire group trail run for the first time - I had so many highs and lows as we climbed and danced around Wasson Peak. When I was a one-eyed runner. And all the times we spent on the River Path - that's "our" place, you know. I can't go there without thinking of you, and how much fun we've had in conversations with Paki, or chasing the cyclists, or ducking out of rollerbladers' way.

No matter the temperature, weather or time of day, you always had time for me.

I'm coming back soon. So very soon. And when I do, we have two new goals. Do you think we can do it? Do you think we can run 50 miles in one day? 75 miles in one week? I know what your answer will be: of course. I think it will be easier this time. I'm coming off a great, long rest. You know that achy gallbladder I had? It's gone now too. That means we might be able to go farther in less pain - and with less worries about how I fuel! I'm looking forward to spending more time with you. On the trails, on the River Path. I want to run from Sabino Canyon to the top of Mt. Lemmon. I want to run up Agua Caliente hill. I want to run up Tanque Verde Ridge. I want to run!

In the meantime, I am trying to keep myself busy by watching Hardrock 100 live this weekend, and reading many many many many many many many many blogs. I'm having some difficulty, but I've decided to focus on what I want, on all the positive things. Like you. I miss you.

See you soon!
Love,
Angie

I had the follow up appointment with my doctor today. He scolded me when he found out I was already back at work this week. "Two weeks, Angie!" he said. "I tell my patients two weeks recovery time!" I decided he probably didn't need to know I drove myself over to his office (ouch, that hurt my tummy!). Okay, fine. I woke up this morning feeling awfully exhausted, so I won't go back to work this week. He told me my gallbladder was in very bad condition - acute cholecystitis with gallstones. The gallbladder was inflamed, swollen, hard and flopped over. Basically, I used it all up and then some!

Congratulations to someone who's ISP location is Los Angeles for being my 10,000th visitor! At 9:10 last night, they clicked over to my site from ultrachick's and spent 46 minutes hanging out. If you know who you are, please step forward, I'd like to know who my 10,000th visitor was, woo hoo!

RobbRunner has come up with a brilliant idea: Virtual Running Blog Awards! Go over to his site to let him know you are interested (all y'all need to do that!), and give him any additional ideas for categories that you can think of! Go, now, what are you waiting for!!!

Okay, to continue last night's conversation, Michelle - Johnny thinks you were spot on about the meds. He noticed that I was acting strangely since I've been on them, and rests assured that I'll go back to normal once I'm off them. I've been offering apologies where I can, and in the other situations, trying to just understand and have compassion (that is SORELY lacking in my life right now). I really appreciate everyone's comments, it is *so* nice to know that I am not the only one! I'd like to clarify for Rob - I do say what I mean all the time. My core values are honesty and integrity. I believe it is very important to use my voice and speak up. I just usually review how I want to say what I want to say before I speak, so that then I can have confidence knowing I spoke my honest truth in a way I can stand behind. And I still get caught up in the struggle of worrying about what other people think, other people's perceptions and interpretations! I'm learning to 'check in' with the other person, learning to make sure I'm not interpreting an interpretation on their end. Oy, it's so complicated! I have to take a step back, breathe and have compassion for myself. Now that I'm writing about all this, I'm wondering what my sanity is in speaking without thinking...(of course, like Michelle and Johnny say, it could be the meds. maybe.)

Do you ever just open your mouth and out tumbles exactly what you were thinking...in exactly the way you did *not* mean it???

I feel like that's all I've been doing these last two days.

I try to think before I speak. I try to evaluate what I am saying, how it could affect the other party, how it could affect me. I try to think of all possible interpretations and misinterpretations before I let loose. But it's not working.

The guilt swamps me. My stomach churns. I want to sink into the ground. Even better, sink into my bed, curled up under the covers, hoping no one finds me for a decade.

I'm glad I have enough courage to ask questions when I don't understand something, or state facts when they are otherwise misrepresented. But I don't like the fallout. Or more specifically, I don't like my perception of what the fallout could be.

I don't like thinking of what others must think of what I've said or done. I don't like reviewing my words or actions and realizing my thoughts were not conveyed in a pleasing manner. Pleasing to whom? I don't know. I don't like reviewing my words or actions and realizing my thoughts were not conveyed in the most specific, yet tactful, manner.

I'm human. I make mistakes. I say things wrong. I make assumptions based on misinterpretations. I have to remind myself that that's okay.

'Cause it sure doesn't feel okay.

At work...

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And doing relatively well. (I'm at lunch, don't worry, I'm not blogging on my bosses time, no way!)

My tummy sort of aches, but it's okay. I had a cough attack this morning, YOUCH!!!!

Yesterday after work, I pretty much crashed. I'm sure I'll do the same today.

I'm really hungry today.

Yesterday, an article I was interviewed for was published in the sports section of our local morning paper - cool! The reporter was having a tough time finding other runners who heat train, and I pointed him in the direction of our trail running group via another reporter. He found Bruce, yay! Bruce is doing Badwater this year, how awesome is that!!! I was excited to see the story.

Taking bets: who is going to run first, Jessica or me? :)

My quads and my brain are ready to run, but my gut sure isn't! I'm having fun reading new blogs (I've added some new ones in the last week to my blogroll - it's over on the left side of my blog).

I'm getting excited about training for Old Pueblo 50m! I'm also excited about the Javelina Jundred, coming up in November. It's up in Phoenix, and Johnny and I are going to go up to either volunteer or crew/pace a friend (depending on if this friend decides to do it). It'll be fun either way!

Details

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The boys are up on Mt. Lemmon, and I'm supposed to be reading and/or napping. But I drank caffeine this morning (for the first time since the surgery) and my attention span is non-existent. My VCR chose this morning to stop working. I've been playing around on the computer, looking for various blog templates and I've also been attempting to create a new header. Yeah, didn't work. I'm not an artist. I can't use paintshop pro. I tried to make a cake, and it turned out really really crappy. The bread machine is almost done creating a loaf from the ingredients I put in three hours ago...let's hope that turned out okay. I did the dishes this morning, and the clean laundry sitting in my room is calling to me. Geez, can you tell I don't like to take it easy? But my abdomen is telling me I need to relax. I probably really should nap, but I just can't. So you all get an epic blog post instead.

I wanted to write out all the details of my surgery as a story, but once again, that short attention span won't let me. Here are a few of the things that are still ringing inside my head from the experience:

Spencer was a nice nurse who got my IV hooked up in the pre-op room. He joked with me and had a very reassuring presence.

I really liked Dr. Brick, the anesthesiolgist, because her Asian-American/New York accent was so melodic to listen to, and she loved running at Sabino Canyon, just like I do. Plus she went nuts over the fact that I lost weight on the anti-Aktins diet.

I hated waiting for so long, so hungry, for the surgery to start. I highly recommend getting a morning surgery!

As they wheeled me into the operating room, I remember seeing major metal appliances and a gian metal light (not turned on) before I conked out. I'm pretty sure I said something along the lines of "giant metal aliens!" a la Chicken Little.

When I awoke after the surgery, it was bad. I was shivering; I couldn't stop shivering. My body was convulsing. It was scary and didn't feel good at all. I didn't want to wake up. I think I knew where I was, but I was a little confused about why I was so cold. All I could tell the nurses was, "I'm cold. So cold." They wheeled me out of there rather quickly. It seemed like too quickly, but that meant I got to see my mom sooner.

When they brought me back out to the room where I awaited surgery, my mama was there waiting for me. I pointed to me headed a few times, and she got the point - she came over and began rubbing my head. She must have done that for hours. One of my favorite memories from childhood is her rubbing my head while I slept during the night church service.

I had no vomiting at all. I got pretty dizzy when I tried to sit up the first time, and when I tried to stand for the first time. So I just went right back down to horizontal. But still, the nurses all said I bounced back really quickly.

There was an odd blonde nurse who was a riot, and I really enjoyed. She was so strange! But she snuck my mom into the pre-op room, and made me laugh when she was taking me there and back.

I have really loved the napping I've done during recovery. Really truly loved it. I'm not normally a nap kind of person, but it has been fantastic these last few days.

I've heard lots of questions regarding keeping my gallbladder. So many, in fact, I had the following conversation with a nurse the day before my surgery:
Nurse: do you have any more questions for me?
Me: well, I have kind of a strange one...what exactly happens with my gallbladder after they take it out?
Nurse: um, well, they take it, and, um, biopsy it.
Me: oh.
Nurse: I don't know if it's required by law, but I suppose they could take just a portion to biopsy. Why? Did you want to keep it?! [somewhat incredulously]
Me: oh, I just have about 10 friends wondering about keeping it in a jar.
Nurse: um, I suppose if you really wanted to do that, I could look into it. But...
Me: uh, no worries.
Both of us: burst into laughter

I had fun watching Running on the Sun, a documentary on Badwater. Kind of cool, since this year's Badwater is in just a couple short weeks, and someone from our trail running group will be participating. Fun!

I also watched Failure to Launch, which had some funny moments (had to hold my gut to keep it from hurting while I laughed), part of Mary Poppins (with Ash, fun!) and before the surgery, I watched the Family Stone, which was good (even though it had Sarah Jessica Parker in it). Read a few novels so far, and would like to read some more (if my attention span would last a little longer...).

I'll be going in to work for a few hours tomorrow morning, then hopefully for most of the day on Wednesday. I don't know what I'm going to wear - I don't have any nice, loose clothing! It's all comfortable, but cut close to my body. Hmph.

I'm hoping to be off the painkillers by Friday.

The loaf of bread just finished, and it looks like it actually turned out (the first thing today, woo hoo!).

I've had my chocolate milk (yummy), and other than the Taco Bell and a few bites of some donuts, I've eaten very healthy. I've received many comments about making sure I don't over do it, and want to reassure everyone that I won't! I felt ready to take my gallbladder out, because I am ready to handle making sure I stay healthy all by myself, without my gallbladder or something else beyond my control calling the shots. I'm going to eat some fatty foods in this next month, because it's been so long - if I don't allow myself to eat these foods in moderation over the next little while, I'll end up binging on them and gaining all 70 lbs back - which is NOT the point! So, my strategy is to give myself the freedom to eat fatty foods in moderation in this next little while, without guilt. Then, it'll be back to my regular eating habits (which I've pretty much stuck to since the surgery anyway, it just feels better). Training for a 50-miler will definitely help keep the pounds at bay!

My new goal in life: to stay healthy and to develop as an ultrarunner. I don't have to spend my extra energy on a sick gallbladder, on making sure that wherever I go there is food I can eat. I don't have to worry about the aid stations anymore. I can focus now - focus on training, on eating what I want (without uncontrollable repurcussions).

I've already begun to look at training. I'm going to continue to walk each day, as I have been, to get myself back into the swing of things. Once I feel stronger, I'll try a run. Not sure when exactly that will be...

I'm pretty sure I had more to say, but I can't think of it.

Have fun, run strong, run long!

After two years...

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Angie's first real post-surgery meal...

Taco Bell.

Cheese.

Wow.

When the doctor came out to talk to my mom about the surgery, he told her that I had “a VERY sick gallbladder” (he said that twice). Wow! I got more details from the anesthesiologist (we bonded over love of running and Sabino Canyon) later – it was very inflamed and soft. So it wasn’t all in my head (like I was afraid of) and the part of me that thought all my extra energy was going to my gallbladder was right! It really was sick!

Surgery went well. They said I wasn’t a typical gallbladder patient. They were surprised at how well I bounced back, and also what a heathy weight I was at (most gallbladder patients are overweight – which is why they need the surgery in the first place, since obesity is the number one cause of gallbladder problems). When I explained that I used to weigh 70 pounds more (back when I was diagnosed), they were shocked. The anesthesiologist was especially shocked when she heard how I did it – all carbs, all the time.

I couldn’t sleep this morning (just not tired), so it’s 5:45 and I’m awake. Johnny and Ash are sleeping. I’m a little nauseous and definitely sore, so I took a vicodin, which should take effect shortly. I wanted chocolate milk and low-fat ice cream, but the nurses told me “no dairy” until tonight or tomorrow. Oh well.

Oh man, after they drugged me, they wheeled me into the surgery room and the only thing I remember is how metal and alien-like everything looked. I’m sure I said something before I conked out.

And that STORM yesterday!!!! I can’t even begin to describe what it was like to drive to St. Joe’s in the flooded streets of Tucson. Kept trying to find another, drier way, but every street was flooded – even the large ones!! And the water was up over the edges of the sidewalks. Real flooding. It was sort of scary. But fun. Took my mind off things!

Michelle sent me a card (thank you Michelle!!!) that I really loved. The front says, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the rist it took to blossom." -Anais Nin That is so powerful to me! (plus the card is pink :) )

I want to give a shout-out to all my homies in da hood who have given me such love and support: Elaine (miss goddess of estrogen) for lending me the Jesus figurine (running gag in our office - when something breaks, bring the Jesus over); Paki for making me run one last time, for giving me big hugs before I left and listening to my incoherent rambling late last night after the surgery while she was at a ballgame; Kiera for an awesome recovery T-shirt (picture to come soon) and great books/dvd/videos to borrow while recovering in addition to good recommendations for authors/books; Olga, for a great conversation last week that helped alleviate my fears and for promising that she's coming out for OP50; Michelle for the "surprise" card (she e-mailed Johnny for our address so she could surprise me, but I always read Johnny's mail! Hey, it doesn't help that he set his e-mail account as our homepage) and also for giving me all the details I needed to know about gallbladder surgery; my mama for coming down from Mesa to help out so Johnny and Ash didn't have to wait for 9 hours in the hospital and also for the hours of rubbing my head she gave me last night as I woke up; my boss for giving me a great pep talk using running metaphors (think of the finish line!) before I left for surgery; my boys for all their love and support; Kimmy, who offered unlimited support this weekend if I needed anything; Laura, for giving me lots of surgery info and offering a good-luck angel; and all my coworkers for such great support. Oh YEAH - AND all of YOU for all your support and encouragement!!!

Whew! My tummy hurts, so I'm off to the couch to rest.

Ang's Surg

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Angie is done with surgery,but her mom hasn't seen her yet. The doc said she did well and her gallbladder was definitely sick. Hopefully she'll be home within 2 hours.

On the way to the hospital we got the biggest monsoon rain that I can remember. Every street was a river. Speedway Blvd, a six lane city street was over a foot deep all the way across for almost a mile, with just the outside lanes being flooded for the rest of the road. Our car now has a check engine light on and wouldn't take gas in the tank (kept spitting it back out at me as I tried to fill it up).

Ang just called and said she is hungry! Woo hoo! But she can only eat liquid food tonight :(

UPDATE: She's home after a long time, but doing well. Ate a little ramen soup and drank some juice, then went to bed. She was starting to hurt after she laid down on her back, so I asked her if she could lay on her side. She could lay on one side and it felt better. She is asleep now. She'll be online tomorrow. goodnight, johnny

My last run...

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...with my gallbladder. (See previous entry number one and entry number two for the backstory.)

It was humid, way muggy. But I did it. For the first time in two weeks, I pulled myself out of bed at 5 a.m., brushed my teeth, put in my contacts, found running clothes, filled up my water bottle and headed to Paki's.

Now that I am sitting here writing this, I am thinking I should have continued running a bit more over the last couple of weeks. Of course, that's with three ibuprofen taking effect.

We headed out, not sure how long we'd be out there. Paki said that even if all we do is one mile, it's significant. I decided to eat a gel before this run, because the last couple of runs I didn't - and I got side stitches and didn't feel particularly good. We ended up going for only 1.5 miles in 20 minutes, because of the humidity. I was finding it hard to breathe, and well, I'm just lazy right now. Okay, technically, I'm not lazy - it's just that all the extra energy I have is going toward my gallbladder. That's my hypothesis anyway.

So I'm a little bummed that I ate 150 calories for a whopping 20 minutes slow run, but I think that was better than not.

We talked about the surgery, how my mom is coming down for it, how I'm telling Ash about it (waiting until tomorrow, then letting him know that Mama's going to the doctor to get her gallbladder fixed - he knows my gallbladder's been hurting), what I'm going to do tomorrow while I'm tired, hungry, cranky, hungry, tired, hungry and waiting for the surgery. We talked about how she got to see John Corbett last night, and even meet him backstage (apparently he's not a particularly great singer - he's a much better actor - but he's doing these concerts for charity, and boy! is he cute).

We passed the horses, and I thought about how this was it - my last run with my gallbladder. I want to honor my gallbladder for the function it used to perform, but no longer can. I almost feel as though it's telling me, enough is enough. You have put me through years of pain, and I am ready to go to rest. Well, gallbladder, I'm ready to put you to rest. Thank you for helping me gain control back in my life, thank you for teaching me how to treat my body with kindness and care, thank you for showing me that I can eat healthy and still survive - not just survive, but thrive! Thank you, and namaste.
___
UPDATE
Just got word from the doctor that I have to stop eating 9 hours prior to the surgery, which means a cutoff time of 7:00 tomorrow morning, instead of midnight, WOO HOO!!!!!

Dear Paki,

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You had to go and use the “last run with the GB” argument. You know how I am about “last” this or that. Damn you!

Plus you posted.

So fine.

I’ll be there. 5:30 a.m. Your place.

*sigh* My last run with my gallbladder. It'll be my farewell tour.

(PS to everyone else - go read today's earlier enty complete with Paki's response.)

I'm sore!

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We took a spur-of-the-moment trip to my family's house in Mesa for the fourth of July, which also happens to be my nephew's birthday. We had a blast, spending the day in the pool and having a birthday celebration. But I am so SORE now! I don't spend a lot of time in pools (water in general - I hate swimming*), and trying to move my body through the water just really used muscles I am so *not* used to using.

We went to a park to watch the fireworks, but 30,000 new homes have been erected in the last 12 months, obstructing what used to be an excellent view of the best fireworks show in the area. About 3/4 of the way through, a few of us found a pretty good view between two houses and a lightpost.

Ash stayed up so late last night, he slept in for the first time ever - he woke up at EIGHT O'CLOCK this morning. That is absolutely unheard of in our house. I woke up just a few minutes before he did. Now, because he is my alarm clock, I was late for work (oops). But I got to sleep in!

Thanks for all the well-wishes (and the movie recommendations). I woke up thinking, "the day after tomorrow." Wow, that's so soon. I am still nervous. I know I should be fine, but I just have trust issues. They will knock me out, and then what? I don't know, cuz I won't be awake!!!

I am going to make sure I won't overdo it after I heal up - part of this is knowing I am ready to take over keeping myself healthy (and not depending on something I couldn't control - my gallbladder - to keep me in line). I know I can do it now. So I'll have my "hello" party to get it out of my system (fat! I can eat fat!), then go back to my regularly scheduled programming. Oh, and training for MY FIRST 50 MILER!!!

Paki was really laying on the guilt this morning for me to go running with her tomorrow morning, one last time before my surgery. I whined, I complained, I whined some more. Then I told her that if she would actually post a comment to my blog (the previous comments from her were me cutting and pasting her thoughts from an e-mail into a comment), then I'll go running with her. She just laughed, so stay tuned...

*Why I will never be a triathlete: as a child, my mom enrolled me in YMCA swimming lessons. At the end of each course, the teacher handed out certificates that said, "Congratulations! You've moved on to the ___ class!" The classes went from Polliwog (beginner) up to Minnow (advanced). At the end of my first polliwog course, mine said, "Congrats! You've moved on to Polliwog course!" At the end of my second polliwog course, my certificate read, "Congrats! You've moved on to Polliwog course!" At the end of my third polliwog course, it read, "Congrats! You've moved on to Polliwog course!" Yeah, I quit swimming after that.

Preparations

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I inadvertently contributed to Mike not reaching 100 miles last week by inviting Kiera to the movies. Oops, sorry! But we had a blast. It was nice to get out and forget about my gallbladder for awhile.

Still no running, and the gallbladder is still aching pretty much continuously. Can't wait for it to come out. I thought I'd have more so-long farewell posts that would need to come out, but not yet. I'm just ready for it to be gone.

Got some good book recommendations from Kiera, and my Netflix queue is ready as well (although the "friends" feature E (aka goddessofestrogen) and I were trying to set up isn't working...). Still need to make a stop by the library as well as Bookmans.

Decided that instead of having a "goodbye" party, I'll have a "hello" party. So instead of saying goodbye to my gallbladder the night before with a party, I'll throw a giant bash once I'm healed, and everyone will bring all the kinds of food I haven't been able to eat for the last 18 months. Pizza, ice cream, FRENCH FRIES! I'm even going to beg my mom to come down and cook my favorite childhood meal of tacos and burritos. Yummy.

I'm terrified of the surgery.

12 hours of sleep

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Thank you Johnny!

I fell asleep early last night, and woke up 12 hours later, feeling much better. Waking up to fresh Starbucks coffee and a low-fat coffee cake courtesy of my beautiful boys also helped. I was supposed to go running with Kiera and Lisa this morning at Sabino Canyon, but my gallbladder felt really really yucky last night, so I cancelled. Apparently (hmm...how much should I divulge? Kiera might kill me...), they had an adventure without me this morning :)

The surgery is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The doctor's office told me I am supposed to not eat or drink anything from midnight the night before. MIDNIGHT THE NIGHT BEFORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is going to be the MOST. MISERABLE. DAY. EVER. I'm going to talk to them next week - maybe the midnight before is a standard for morning surgeries. I sure hope I'll get to eat later. I'll set my alarm for like 4:30 a.m. to make sure I get up and eat something.

Without cable, Johnny suggested we join Netflix, so I can have movies to watch next weekend while I'm recuperating. Yay! Johnny is being so awesomely supportive during all this - because of the timing on the surgery, he isn't going to Colorado for Hardrock now. I told him to go, but he looked at me like I was crazy. "As if you could take care of Ash for a week while recovering from surgery. Have you lost your mind?!"

Running this week? I don't know. Depends on how my gallbladder feels. It is so achy. We'll see what happens.

(PS regarding my last post, Monica is *not* my gallbladder. Just thought I'd clarify that. Because it sort of sounds like it. I'm saying goodbye to two separate things in that post. Monica and my gallbladder.)

********UPDATE***********
Johnny got his hair cut!
Here's the before picture:
Johnny, Dad and Ash
(he's the "cave man")
Here's the after picture:
Johnny's new haircut
(what a cutie pie!)
And here's that pic of Ash on his new bike that I said I'd post awhile ago:
Ash's new bike

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