getting ready

i guess i’m doing RAGNAR! ok! and NOT the van version! we’re doing the northwoods trail ragnar race in wisconsin, so we’ll camp in one spot and then run three loops each, a 7, 4, and 3 mile loop. it’s actually 15.2 miles total.

i got my trail running shoes, and this weekend i’m going to start getting out to the st john’s trails (if my stomach cooperates). i’m not entirely sure i’ll be good at this. i wonder if i can bring some trail stick things? i need to buy some anyway for my lake superior trail hike eventually.

ugh! check out that elevation change on the red loop! ack! 

Screen shot 2017-07-28 at 9.46.23 PM

get your iron!

let me tell you about iron supplements. 

now, i don’t know if it’s the iron itself or a placebo effect, but i started taking iron pills a couple weeks ago and my running time has gotten better and the time running has gotten better, too. i have a lot less fatigue while running; for the past few months my muscles have just been blah while running. 

so i did some research on fatigue while running, and the first thing that came up was iron deficiency. women runners are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including heel strikes while running! who knew. i tried out the iron supplements, and off i went. 

anyway, that’s a running update for you!

what’s goin on!

thunderstorms woke me up this morning, so i was awake about an hour earlier than i wanted to be. so now i’m sitting on my couch in my log cabin living room watching a weather front come in and listening to the wind in the trees.

have i mentioned how much i like my new house?

anyway, some life updates for everyone.


i’ve been getting really fatigued lately while i’m running, and i’ve gone from “this is tolerable” to “this is miserable.” i did some research online, and it seems like i might have low iron, which apparently is a common thing for women who run. so i have started taking some iron supplements, and i actually might go in to the doctor to get my iron levels tested. in the meantime, we’ll see if the three days of supplements i’ve been taking affect my run tonight.

oh, and i guess i’m running a ragnar race. :/


summertime is always a little less hectic at work, which is nice. it’s a time when i can focus on things that’ve been sitting on my desk for months and work on bigger projects. i’m also working 4 10-hour days, so i’ve got a 3-day weekend every weekend. unfortunately, i always feel rushed in the evenings – i get home at 6:30, try to eat supper right aways so i have some time to digest before i go on a 45-min run and get in before sunset (i run on a 55-mph highway, so that’s almost imperative). i don’t want to eat supper late in the day, so that’s what hanging me up there. not sure what the answer is. 

one thing that’s happening that’s kind of cool is i’m helping present on an eorientation project we did at a national conference in washington dc. so this wednesday, i’m flying out to DC for four days. we’ll go to some of the conference, but we’ll also make sure we see some of the big stuff – monuments, smithsonian stuff, museums, etc. i’ve never been out there, so this will be exciting!

(actually, i’ve never been east of indiana [thanks liz], so this will be a real departure from my regular vacay destinations [westward ho!])


garden is blowing up! i love that it’s RIGHT THERE and it’s LARGE and i have tons of stuff in it. probably too much. we’ll see how the squash does. i planted four potato plants just because i like the occasional potato from the garden, but i don’t really keep them over winter. 

let’s see, what else: broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, cukes, peppers, onions. butternut squash and pie pumpkins. that’s a lot. oh! and green beans. we’ll see how it all does. i’ve already got to get in there with my tiller to get rid of weeds.

i also got rid of my two “cemetery” trees that were next to the house. last fall, an ice storm pretty much ripped them in half and they were dead. i was like “ugh, where am i gonna find a chainsaw,” when i was out for a run and heard/saw (haha) my neighbors two doors down chainsawing in their backyard. i came back and they had moved to the front. i introduced myself and asked about some chainsaw services. they happily agreed! he even pulled out the stumps with his truck, which helped a TON. 

took them to the city compost and now i’ve planted two lilacs in their places. MUCH better.

(i also got two raspberry bushes while i was at the nursery and planted those on the end of the garden. excited for that!)

that’s all i’ve got. i might try to blog about DC, but we’ll see how tired i am at the end of the days. the weather front is closer, but it’s still rumbling thunder, so i’m not sure how long this will take. we need the rain, though! 

top ten running things to think about

so we know starting running is hard. 

here’s 10 things to think about when you’re starting running, or even if you’re a seasoned runner, i guess, and need a refresher? 

  1. shoes: always always get good shoes. spend the cash. your feet will thank you. your ankles will thank you. your knees will thank you. your hips will thank you. your brain will thank you because it isn’t thinking about how awful all those things are feeling. 
  2. if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: regarding shoes. i have flat feet. and heel spurs. and plantar fasciitis. three-ish years ago i decided to go see a podiatrist. until that point, i’d been wearing walk-fit inserts in my shoes, which were doing ok, but the foot wasn’t 100%. first the podiatrist gave me custom inserts, which had NO arch support. went back, and he gave me a cortisone shot, which lasted maybe 6 months when i started getting weird shooting pains down my foot that turned my second toe numb. went back, got a second cortisone shot, which helped for about 2 weeks, then my foot was just a mess. the shot had obliterated my heel’s fat pad. finally saw a podiatrist again up here in STC, who sent me to physical therapy. 11 sessions later, my foot is about 80% to capacity (and feeling sooo much better in the mornings). but i was still getting those shooting pains to the numb toe. WHAT THE HECK, FOOT. i tried different shoes, different lacing, different socks, etc. nothing. finally, i went back to the walk-fit insert. HALLELUJAH. no more shooting pains. we’re back to square one, but that’s ok.
  3. underwear: hefty in the ladies department? get a good bra. yes, you’ll spend more on it than you would on a $10 sports bra at walmart, but it will support the ladies, and you won’t have to worry about things bouncing around and causing pain. also, GET A FITTING.
  4. speed: this isn’t a land race! unless you’re training to win the boston marathon, there’s no reason to kill yourself. the only person you’re in a competition with is yourself, so take it slow and easy. you can add speed, but do so gradually. i feel like this is half the reason people quit: you try to run so fast right out of the gate, that there’s no way it can be enjoyable. really, slow down. you’ll be able to run farther distances, too, before you pass out.
  5. stretch!: stretch out a little bit before running, but not too much. then stretch a ton after running. i make the mistake of forgetting to stretch after races, and then i can’t move for the next three days. 
  6. your toes: you will get callouses, blisters, broken nails. keep your nails trimmed short. make sure your shoes’ toeboxes are wide enough. if you feel something rubbing your toe in your sock while you’re out on a run, stop and get it out of there! you’re just inviting a blister. one time i was out and felt a piece of dirt/sand between my toes and didn’t think it would be a big deal. i had to wear a huge bandaid on my toe for the next two weeks til the blister subsided.
  7. the suck: some days it will suck. huge suck. other days it will be fantabulous. persevere through the suck and enjoy the crap out of the awesome days. 
  8. the fat girl: if you were like me and 260 lbs. when you start running, there is a phobia of people watching you jiggle around the track. when i started, i went to the track at 10 p.m. to decrease the amount of people who saw me. now i don’t care who sees me, but i certainly don’t make eye contact with anyone driving past me. i haven’t gotten any catcalls, so i think i’m in a weird sweet spot where i’m not skinny enough for guys to yell things at me but not fat enough for the same guys to yell different things at me. 
  9. wave: while drivers are usually jerks, other runners, walkers, and bikers aren’t, for the most part. pass someone on the trail? wave! even if you see someone across the street puffing away like you are, do the runner’s wave: left hand up and a really breathy hi.
  10. for heaven’s sake, keep it up!: like i said before, the only person you are really in competition with is yourself. running is not a team sport (well, most of the time not a team sport). YOU have to want this. YOU are doing this for YOU. you’re gonna hate it sometimes and question why you keep dragging out those shoes. but then you’re plodding along and get to kick your way through a big pile of leaves in the fall. or you run past a giant lilac bush in the spring. or you see a fantastic sunset. or it’s the perfect temperature and humidity for a run. or you get a personal best time. (usually those last two happen on the same day.) but really the best part to keep it up is because you know you’re doing something halfway decent for yourself, and at the end of the day, sitting on your couch eating that slice of chocolate mousse pie, you know you’ve earned it.

how to run a half marathon


after three months of training, the day for the half marathon was upon us last weekend. well, i trained for three months. i can’t speak for liz.

i’d run 10 miles at the most. that 10 miles was… not bad…but not awesome. i knew i could do it. i was relatively unscathed afterward. and they say that you can run 1/3-1/2 more of the distance than what you’d trained for. so i was (supposedly) good. 

the day before, i ate. a lot.

the morning of, i ate. a muffin. and used the bathroom. (no runner’s trots for me.)

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.15.43 PMthe time came. we started our half marathon. 13.1 miles.

we decided the best way to accomplish this was to walk a little bit each mile, so we ranranranranwalksranranranranwalked. liz took a picture at each mile marker. 

so things were going pretty well. it takes a couple miles to warm up, and after three miles it just becomes a blur, but then after about 7 (for me, anyway), things start to get hurty. after 9 miles they get really hurty, especially below the waist.  after 10, the bra starts chafing, and i have to make an effort to hold my arms away from my sides as i run to let the cool air flow over my chafed arms. at 11 miles, we stopped to stretch out the calves – OMG.

at this point, all those runners who’d been running fast then walking then running fast then walking were running really slowly. so liz’s and my “slow and steady wins the race” attitude passed all those losers. (said she who came in 112th out of 137.)

and then…the wall. the last mile was just torture. my hamstring quit on me. i took a minute at a street sign to stretch it out, and i barely got my leg 8 inches off the ground before it screamed at me to send it to guantanamo because that would’ve been less torturous than what i was putting it through now. after a couple kicks, it barely loosened up, but mind over matter, right?


we walked a little bit, then decided it was time to run; it was mostly downhill at this point anyway, and the end was near.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.22.46 PM


liz decided she needed to sprint the last stretch, so she finished 10 seconds ahead of me, but i said screw it; as long as i finish running, i’ll be good.

and finish we did. 

so why did we do it? like i’ve said before, because, well, we can!


then after that? i ate a lot.

the day after? i ate a lot. 

today? i ran again.

a break

running-shoes-planatr-fasciitis_cb3ct5after dealing with some weird pain in my foot that my heel spur resides in, i finally got in to the podiatrist this afternoon. after i explained to him what was going on, he said it was time for another cortisone shot. so now i’m laid up for about a week and keeping off my foot until the shot kicks in*. 

i figured now was the time to do this, if i was going to do it before my half marathon. this still gives me a good five weeks before the half to keep on running. i feel like i’m nowhere near close to being able to run 13 miles, but dagnabit, i’m gonna do it. i really think that walking a little bit each mile will help a ton with the tightened up muscles i experienced at the end of my 7-mile run. not quite sure why, but anything over five miles just feels like torture on my lower half. my breathing is fine; my heartrate is fine; i feel like my upper half could definitely go the distance, but my weight resides below my waist, so that’s holding back my upper half. boo!

so, i’m taking a break. i’ll use the exercise bike to keep my legs in shape and maybe do some meditative yoga/yoga lite to hopefully keep limber. then hopefully by the end of the week, i’ll be ready to rock 8 miles.

* he did say that when the shots start to lose their efficacy after a month to two months, then it’s time to look at surgery to remove the spur. i wish it would just be gone. πŸ™

the foot’s a game

i’ve been having trouble with my heel spur again -_-

i’ve had heel spur/plantar fasciitis issues for a while, and last summer i got a cortisone shot in my heel. it’s been glorious! no pain in the mornings, i can walk on my foot like a normal person, nothing is weird.

then a couple weeks ago, i noticed as i ran downhill, i got a sharp, shooting pain straight up from my heel to the base of my toes, right down the middle of my foot. uh-oh. the past couple runs have been tough for my foot after about 3 miles, and when you’re training to run 13 miles, 3 miles is really not a lot. 

i have new shoes. i have orthotics. i got some kinesiology tape to tape up my foot. i have an ankle wrap i can use as a last resort (it cuts off circulation). i am almost tempted to get reshot with cortisone, but that’ll put me out of commission for at least a week. 

less than two months to the half marathon! come on, foot, can you make it??


my half marathon training is 12 weeks long, but i’ve given myself an additional 2-3 weeks to get it done. so far i’ve been on task and completed two weeks, which were a 3m-2m-3m rest rest 4m rest. next up we go to 3.5m-2m-3.5m rest rest 5m for a couple weeks. and so on.

a half marathon is a little more than 13 miles, and my schedule has me running just 10 miles the week before. at that point, i’m sure another three miles is just peanuts, but i added the extra couple weeks so that i could ramp it up to maybe 12 miles the week before the race. 

in other news, i might die at this thing. i’m not confident i can do it.

but, in other other news, i got NEW SHOES, which is like running on pillows, and a new sports bra, which is like when you’ve worn the same old bra for two years and you finally get a new one in the correct size. GLORIOUS. also, it converts into a racerback, which is nice. 

i’ve got the equipment (besides my space-cat running pants) and i’ve got the program. do i have the motivation?

(as an aside, i’ve also decided it would be wise to lose maybe 20 lbs before the race since it’s easier to run when you’re lighter. so far i haven’t seen a lot of progress on that front, but i’m guessing when i start running 20+ miles a week, the pounds might slide off easier. or i’ll just eat more pancakes since i’ve burned 3000 calories/week. who knows.)


the light

when i leave work these days, the sun is still far enough above the horizon to make my heart say, “yay!” i love the extra light we start getting at the end of december. already it seems like there is so much extra light that i should be out planting or doing something in the evenings instead of hermitting myself in my house.

today was warm – i think the high was around 45ΒΊ. that’s enough to make me go stir crazy and to remind myself “oh! that’s right! eventually this ends!” so this afternoon i went for a run outside. i did wear a little too much headgear and i was sweating by the end, but overall i wore the right amount of clothing for the run (sometimes i end up not wearing enough and my skin is cold to the touch and bright red when i strip off my sweaty clothing).  

it wasn’t a bad run, but it wasn’t a great run. i was running entirely too fast for the first run outside in two or three months. i heard runkeeper give my pace after five minutes and was completely surprised that i was keeping it around a 12 minute mile (i was expecting a 13-minute mile). (as an aside, it’s awesome to have runkeeper back in my regular phone without having to switch sims and hope that the app doesn’t crash before i get done.) after i got up to an average pace of 12:05 after two miles, i tried to slow down a bit. it sort of worked, but not really.

i took a look at the long-term forecast, and it looks like the temp is heading downward again, but it’s nice to have a moment of respite to remind oneself of how it was and how it will be. 

here’s to more light in the days!

the right equipment

i know i could run with just myself, my clothes, and my shoes. i know i don’t need all the fancy accoutrement that runners have with them (i don’t count underwear and shoes as fancy). but i like to listen to music while i run. and on long runs, i need that dumb fanny pack to carry water and electrolytes for long runs. 

what does this mean? this means i have gone through a LOT of headphones to find ones that work. i’ve used the apple brand (which sophie likes to eat), skull candy, cheapo in-ear, cheapo over-the-ear, not-so-cheapo (but still inexpensive) over-the-ear. 

NOTHING is as good as a pair of big ol’ headphones (over-the-WHOLE-ear), but i’ve found that the over-the-ear ‘phones work well. 

but that dang cord. 

i’ve always wanted to try out a pair of bluetooth to see if it’s worth the fuss. so when one of my amazon review groups had a pair up for grabs, oh boy did i grab. i got a decent pair for a pretty reduced price so i could review them.

after i charged the ‘phones, they were pretty easy to sync with my phone. much easier than trying to sync the selfie stick we got at work! unfortunately for my poor iphone 4s, the gps is bad, so i had to turn off the sync with that and sync with the 3gs to go for my run tonight. it synced just as easily. instead of putting my armband, i shoved my phone in my running fanny pack and took off. 

it was a bit choppy at first, but once i got into my running groove and got my pack placement figured out (it’s always such a pain to get situated), it worked like a charm. they have a little flap that sticks in your ear above the earbud that helps to keep it in place, which is nice because i always have problems with just earbuds tending to fall out.

it was nice to not have a cord flopping around in front of my shirt and it was nice to not have to mess around with that armband! i think that was the best part of this! now, granted, if i’m going for a short run, i’ll still wear the armband, but anything is better than nothing!

 i still want to test it out with my iphone 4S, since it’s possible the bluetooth on the 3Gs is just a little bit on the crappy side.