November 2006 Archives

Help!

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Okay, I think I've fixed the error that was popping up for y'all. You should now be able to comment. Let me know if not. Thanks!

But first: my experiment
BEFORE
ANGIE8

So I was at the pharmacy last night, picking up a prescription, and you know, the hair care aisle is right there. I found myself wandering down, eyeing the hair color. Total impulse buy...
AFTER
RedHead1

RedHead2

RedHead3

Okay, on to my plea for help:
I’ve been foam rolling, I’ve been stretching, I’ve been using Ibuprofen, I’ve been using the Stick. I’ve rested, I’ve iced, I’ve soaked in a hot bath.

Nothing is working.

If anything, my knee is getting worse.

Granted, a 16.2 mile hike on a sore knee isn’t exactly resting, but I’m still pretty surprised at how much it hurt. I climbed a flight of stairs yesterday (I’m still pretty sore, that was a funny sight!), and when I descended, my knee was hurting. One measly flight of stairs!

Help.

What do I do? If this persists, I won’t be able to run OP50 in March; I won’t be able to train. I won’t be able to run Twin Peaks 50k in February. I won’t be able to lose the 10 or so pounds (and too many inches!) I’ve gained in the last few months. I won’t be able to kick ass anymore. I won’t be a tough ultrarunner.

I’m out of ideas on how to rehabilitate this. I’d like to go to a doctor, but I’d want it to be a doctor who knows running/runners, and won’t just tell me to never run again. How do I find a doctor like that? Anyone in Tucson know of a doctor I could see?

In the meantime, I need to start some serious cross-training. I now have a bike (loaned indefinitely) that I am starting to ride (bike safety class tonight and Saturday, yay!). I have a hard time with the gym – so boring, plus it’s like 20 minutes away, which is a 40 minute round trip – too long! I won’t be able to keep that up. Yoga? In my tiny studio? Maybe I can make that work.

I need advice, ideas, suggestions, help. Please!!!

Adventure on Rincon Peak

| 17 Comments

Wow, what an incredible day yesterday!

ViewBackside
A view out the backside of the Rincon Mountains

I was supposed to meet my friend Jon at 7 am for a hike up Rincon Peak, the second highest peak in the Rincon Mountains (where I have not done much hiking/running), a hike of 16.2 miles and over 4200 vertical feet of elevation change. I showed up at his house and he hadn't even gotten out of bed yet. Once he woke up, I was hungry, so he made a scrambled egg breakfast, then he had to pack, then I realized my camelback was leaking horrendously, then we finally packed up his old Saab and headed out of town.

38 miles later, we found the 16 mile long dirt road to the trailhead. Only one spot was a little worrisome - a pond in the middle of the road. After testing it to see how deep it was, we headed through. The car only bottomed out once, over a rock. It was fun to watch the peak as we got closer and closer.

JonTesting
Jon testing the water

Finally, at 11:27 a.m. (late start!!!), we headed up into the mountains.

SeedPod
A gorgeous seed pod we found along the route

The views were gorgeous, the trail was rocky but awesome. Up, up, up we climbed. From grasslands to oaks to junipers to pines and more. The terrain kept changing, the views got more and more spectacular, and I got more and more tired. We made it to Happy Valley Saddle, and checked the time. We were pretty sure we'd end in the dark, but decided to keep going to the peak. We were there; we had to bag the peak! Along the way, we found a working headlamp that someone had left behind. The trail register at the beginning had shown that no one was climbing the mountain today, so we decided "finders keepers". I had not brought my head lamp for the trip, so we decided it was an omen - we had to keep going, since now we both had head lamps to finish with!

ForestAng
I loved this forest

The trail got steeper and steeper. We laughed at how the trail was turning into a New England trail - straight up the mountain! It was getting colder and colder. I stopped to put on a long-sleeve shirt, and Jon kept my pack for the last stretch (he claimed it kept him warmer; who am I to complain!). We scrambled up over the rocks and finally summitted, 3 hours and 49 minutes after we started.

TheSummit
The cairn on the top of the peak

We hung out on top for about 45 minutes, taking tons of pictures, making art with rocks, eating and getting really really cold. Finally, we decided we needed to head down.

IMadeIt
I made it!

ClimbingJon2Jon climbing along a fun wall on the peak

RockArt
Rock art

WarmAng
Me trying to keep warm out of the wind

My knee had been hurting since the Thanksgiving race (and after the race, when I was in the shower and somehow tweaked it), and I wore my ITB strap on the way up. It didn't seem to help much. We headed down the steep stuff, and my knee started hurting pretty badly. I had to go pretty slow, which bummed me out. I still thought we could beat the dark! But not with how my knee was hurting.

So, down, down, down we went. Flatter or more gradual inclines were much faster and felt better on my knee. I even got a little bit of running in. Jon's legs were just about shot as we reached the saddle and began the 4.4 mile descent to the car. Somewhere in this section of a granite garden, I landed wrong on my knee, and incredible pain just shot through my leg. I had to stop. I was almost in tears, but told myself, "I will not cry!" I kept going gingerly, and mostly did okay. The flatter it got, the better, but all I had to do was land off just a little, and the intense pain would come back. I've had knee issues for awhile, and I'm used to dull pain, but this was different - this was intense and stopped me in my tracks. I'm a little worried about it, so I'm not running at all this week.

Sunset
Sunset

Sure enough, dark descended before we reached the car, so the head lamps came in handy. Much to Jon's chagrin, we did not run into any bears or mountain lions (although we did see coatimundi, and I almost stepped on a tarantula).

Tarantula
Jon playing with the tarantula

It was a beautiful, peaceful night, and I really enjoyed hiking along the flat creek bottom with the stars overhead and crickets chirping. It was rejuvenating (especially since my knee wasn't hurting so much). 3 hours after we left the peak, we were back at the car. The drive out was much quicker, and we picked up pizza for dinner (mmm, nothing like a good pizza following a wicked hike!). What a great fall day!

SummitAng
Me at the summit, woo hoo!

update: drum roll please....this is my 200th post!

Holy Shittake Mushrooms!

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I SET A PR!!!!!!!!!!

I RAN SUB-10-MINUTE MILES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!

I ran 9:41/mile. OMG.
RunLikeAGirlThxgiving
Our team of five fantastic women met at 8 a.m. at Reid Park to run the annual Thanksgiving Day Cross-Country Classic, as team "Run Like a Girl" powered by caffeine and chocolate :)

Our families stayed on the sidelines, cheering us on, as we took off with 400 other women, elbowing our way across the grass. The course meandered through the park, up and over numerous small hills, through washes and over hay bales. My favoriate part of the two-loop course was running up a steep hill, then flying down the back side, over three hay bales and two gigantic water jumps. Spectators lined this part of the course to cheer everyone on (and laugh when we fell or got wet). The first water jump I cleared, and then I decided I wanted to get my new shoes good and dirty, so I just ran through the rest.

At the first mile marker, when I clicked my watch and saw 10 minutes on the display, I was a little puzzled. I figured I just took off faster than I should have, so I made sure to moderate my pace. Or at least, it felt that like. I focused on my breath, reassuring myself that it was only 3 miles, so it'd be okay if I pushed it. The second mile marker showed 9 something on the display. I was really confused now, and figured the course must be short. I kept up the pace, feeling great. Passing people and getting passed - it was a fun, wide-open course. I lept over a hay bale and heard two women behind me - "Wow, she looked like a gazelle!" The woman sort of misprounounced it, though that her companion replied, "A gazelle or Gisele? Cuz if she looks like Gisele, she's just hot." I smiled and thought, "I'll take Gisele!" (Sure, I'm about a foot short and 50 lbs over her weight, but still...)

I rounded the corner to the finish and tried to find a kick. I was a little naseous and didn't sprint as much as I should have, and as I crossed the line, the clocked ticked from 30:01 to 30:02. Two seconds! I could have shaved TWO SECONDS off my time and broke 30 minutes!! Geez. But I was so happy to have come that close - I never thought it'd be possible.

The results show my time as 30:10. I supposed that by the time I got through the chute, that was my time, but I'm sticking with 30:02! :) I checked with Mike to verify the course - is it known for being a short course? - and he confirmed that the length was good. Sweet!!!!!

Ash and I watched the guys go through the hay bales and water jumps and cheered Mike on. We hung out with the team and a friend who stopped by, then Ash played on the playground, and finally, it was time to head home to get ready to go to Mesa to hang with my family. Thanksgiving with my boisterous, loud, fun, loving family was an overwhelming blast of love, exactly what I needed, although I need to run today! I ate too much!

Heading back to Tucson tomorrow morning, and possibly camping Saturday night. Should be fun!

Of Cycling and Running...

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So I was going to ride my bike to work today - for the first time. I've been eyeing it every time I walk out of my house. Oh look! There's my bike! As I walk along to my car...

So this morning, I went looking for my saddlebags, to pack my running gear (wanted to run at lunch), and couldn’t find them. Oh well, I’ll just pack up my backpack. Get packed, ready to go, head out the door.

Both tires are flat.

Dammit! I run back inside and search for my pump. Nowhere to be found. I think I left the pump in the same place as my saddlebags – my sister’s car, which is up in Mesa!

Argh.

At least I get to go pick them up this weekend. I was so psyched too. I was ready, man!

Sigh.

I went for my 15 miler on Sunday - it was fanTAStic. I did the first 5 miles in an hour - on a trail! It's a PR! (Have I mentioned how slow I am? I usually average 16 to 20 min miles on trails.) Then it was up, up, up and over Wasson Peak, then a beautiful 2.5 miles flying down a ridge on a glorious trail through golden grasses. The last 2.7 miles of uneven staircase-like trail totally shot my legs, though. Miserable! I spent the last half-mile encouraging myself - "c'mon, you can do it. Quarter mile to go. C'mon, almost there. Good job, fantastic Ang. C'mon honey almost there." By the end, I was speaking this quite loudly and got a few funny stares! :) The best part? Yesterday and today, I am barely sore! Now that is truly amazing. What was different that would have caused the longest run in months to be so non-sore-making? Was it the new shoes? Wonderful cooldown? Lots of stretching? Good rest on Sunday afternoon? That run was 50% longer than my previous longest (since the surgery)!

So I was thinking about doing Pemberton 50k, until I realized the the Twin Peaks ultras are either the same weekend or within a week or two - oops! I have to do Twin Peaks!!! Jess, I'll be signing up shortly.

Thanks to everyone for your comments on my blog-o-versary post!!! It was good to hear from old friends and meet new friends. I'm thankful for you all! Happy Thanksgiving!

Blog-o-versary Celebration!

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I totally missed my blog-o-versary! It was Nov. 10 that I began my online journal of gallbladder disease, family, incessant ramblings and, oh yeah, running! It's been an interesting year, full of ups and downs, peaks and valleys, ebbs and flows. Incredible changes in my life, but one thing has remained - running. I've enjoyed spending time with all you folks, both the ones who leave comments, as well as the silent lurkers.

So let's celebrate! Leave a comment and let me know who you are - yes, even you silent folks! - how you found me - what keeps you coming back for more. I don't have nearly as many readers as I used to (sporadic posts and less time to comment to others brings fewer visitors), but for those of you still hanging out with me, I'd love to hear from you.

Oh yeah - and I got new shoes! Took 'em out for a 2.5 miler yesterday and a 5.5 miler this morning. Yummy, good. Can't wait to take 'em out on Sunday for 15 miles through the Tucson Mountains - get rid of that shiny white newness!

Another Week in Review

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I keep putting one foot in front of the other...sometimes I come to an aid station, and there is beauty and hope and life and smiling faces, and other times the sun is beating down and I am sweating and wondering how I will keep going forward and I am trying to find the "go" button inside but it's nowhere to be found and I don't know what I'm going to do.

Saturday night was an aid station - a wonderfully awesome time spent with a new friend. Sunday morning, a joyous run on the top of a chilly mountain, weaving in and out of the Wilderness of Rocks.

This morning...ah, this morning. It's dark out and I'm not sure where I'm going. I'm tired and sore and exhausted and sad and happy and hopeful all rolled into one. I am wondering how I will continue to move forward, juggling work and paying the bills and getting my car tuned up and cleaning the house and taking care of my son. Wondering where to go and what to do, knowing I need to find the go button and feeling lost as to how to go about finding it but knowing I will find it, and soon. Contemplating questions, knowing the answers will come in time.

I ran close to 20 miles this week. Tuesday morning, an enjoyable 5.5ish mile run with good company followed by warm Starbucks coffee on a cold morning - mmm, nothing better! Tuesday night was "cross-training" - bowling followed by a great dinner (and fantastic dessert). No running Wednesday morning, and I had more "cross-training" Wednesday night - watching Kiera and Mike's kids. Thursday brought a nice short lunchtime run with Paki, and discussion on whether we should do the Tucson HM or PF Chang's Rock and Roll HM. (the answer's in: no go on the Tucson HM - which leaves the weekend open for Vegas..., and we'll do PF Chang's Rock and Roll in January - which means I get to meet up with a bunch of you bloggers!) Thursday evening was a fun time down on 4th Ave - I discovered a new band I absolutely love, Mellowdrone, and I had three beers *gasp!* on a work night! Which of course meant no running Friday morning. My dad came into town on Saturday, and we had fun sword-fighting at the park, until we broke Ash's swords (oops) (three-foot long foam swords - awesome!).

All that combined with my 9.6 miles on Sunday equaled running happiness. Well, I should have gotten out Friday morning or at lunch, but it was still a pretty good week. Next week should bring miles in about the mid-20s. Hmm, after writing this, I'm feeling better already! Peaks and valleys...just a part of life. Have a peaceful week!

Week in Review

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I'm sore today!

Week in review:
Monday - rest, fun dinner and conversation with a friend, then walk around for some time (an hour?)

Tuesday - Halloween! Win 2nd place in costume contest for wrapping myself in foil and going as "leftovers." Spend the rest of the day in "gas station attendant" costume. Trick-or-treat with Spiderman (aka Ash), two Hello Kitty butterflies and one bat. Eat a little candy, but not much.

Wednesday - run 3.3 hot, lonely miles at lunch, thinking of a friend in Kuwait who was doing the same thing at the same time (well, I don't know if he was hot or lonely, but he was running at the same time). Also contemplate challenge thrown down by said friend - get in enough shape in the next month to kick his ass upon his return. What motivation!

Thursday - run 2 miles at lunch with Paki. Ahh, now that's what life is about. Get horrible haircut, then get haircut fixed (sigh, much better). Have nice evening with Johnny.

Friday - pizza party at lunch for a friend moving back to Chicago. Hill repeats at the park in birkenstocks with Ash. Ouch. Have fun at a concert at the school Johnny student teaches at with Johnny and Ash, laughing at how into it Ash gets. Send and receive multiple texts from Kiera, who is off for a cruise for a week. Volunteer to watch her kids so Mike can run.

Saturday - four miles pushing the stroller on dirt and pavement roads with hills. Walk about a mile with Ash on trails, contributing to the trail running group's trail work by throwing sand around. Go to children's museum to make sugar skulls and a mask for the All Souls Procession. Go to a friends house with Ash, so he can play on a tree fort and with chickens. Smile at how much he giggles while playing with a balloon. Eat yummy steak dinner, then walk around for an hour. Stay up waaay too late.

Sunday - late start to 7.5 mile run up Sabino Canyon road to check out the damage (road is finally open, woo hoo!). Push too hard on first two miles, walk most of last 1.75 up to top. Run down, stopping to walk about .25 mile up a hill near the end. Marvel at how my knee is feeling better. Enjoy the satisfaction of a great run. Stretch. Shower off and pick up Ash to go to All Souls Procession. Walk around downtown for about 2 to 3 miles with Johnny, Ash and jogging stroller. Get in people's way. Marvel at giant cool costumes. Laugh with Ash (he LOVED it). Crash at home and finally sleep.

Totals:
Running: 12.8 miles
Walking: 9ish miles
Fun: too much to quantify!

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