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pros and cons: a list about weight loss

pros and cons: a list about weight loss

this morning i stepped on the scale and saw a number i haven’t seen since 1999. 20 years ago!! i also just bought two pairs of pants that are size 12. i have only worn a size 12 once in my life, when i was 13 years old. (granted, 1993 size 12 was probably like today’s size 16, but i’ll take it.)

(i’ve done a few dietbets in the past 6 months or so, and now i’m down a total of 80 lbs. i’ve lost about 20 over the past 4 months.)(and made about $30 from the dietbets.)

so yeah, there are the pros to losing some junk in my trunk (and running as part of it):

  1. it’s easier to find clothes that look nice
  2. clothes fit better
  3. i fit into chairs better (not great yet, but better)
  4. when i cross my legs, my leg isn’t sticking way out in the middle of the room
  5. my leg muscles are pretty intense these days
  6. my cholesterol levels are super awesome
  7. my triglycerides levels are also pretty awesome

but it isn’t all butterflies and sunshine and kittens and unicorns. there are downsides to being overweight and then losing it. and i guess some of these apply to people who haven’t been overweight ever, too.

  1. the flabby skin is getting out of control. something about subcutaneous fat or some such. i need to google it and how to deal with it. i know part of it is age, too, which sucks because i can’t do anything about that. obviously the skin was more taut when there was more fat underneath it, but now it’s just hanging out. literally, in some cases.
  2. fat was a good face filler. my smile parentheses wrinkles were non-existent, but when i lost weight, they appeared. this is apparently a common thing among people who’ve lost a lot of weight.
  3. i’m a side sleeper most of the time, and when i snuggle up and put my legs together, my knee bones rub against each other. no fat there to keep the bones from knocking together.
  4. same on the butt bones when sitting on hard surfaces at a certain angle.
  5. i am COLD(er). COLD ALL THE TIME.
  6. i read a great quote in a book today about running and weight. the gist of it: if you were fat as a kid, as an adult you are either fat or scared of being fat. i remember the first time i had to take extended time off running (2 weeks for an injury). i was terrified i was going to gain back all the weight i’d lost – 40 lbs in 2 weeks, which would never happen. the struggle over weight anxiety is real, folks!
a run in the woods

a run in the woods

i’m thinking of getting some snowshoes, if only so i can go for an easy-ish walk through the woods at st. john’s. mid-winter treadmill blahs are never easy, especially when a person knows that running through the woods is only 5 mere months away.

a run in the woods starts with a forecast. if it hasn’t been rainy lately, it’s a good day for a run in the woods. a lot of rain means a lot of the low spots on the trails are filled with muddy water. even on not-so-rainy weeks, the low spots can still be muddy and hard to navigate with the muck.

st. john’s is about 5 miles from my house, so i hop in my car and take the short drive to park outside the prep school. take the fob off my keychain and stick it in my pocket. grab the can of OFF i keep in my car and spray down my exposed limbs, clothes, and top of my head. lock the car, then walk out on the asphalt road that runs through a cavern of trees to the freeway’s walking bridge. on my right is the stone gate.

i take a moment at the edge of the woods to stretch out my hips by swinging my legs back and forth, side to side. in the springtime, the trail is covered with old leaves that survived the winter; in summer, the trail is mostly dirt, the leaves having been desiccated; and in fall, sometimes the yellow leaves are so thick on the ground, it’s hard to know where the trail is.

my headphones go in and i take off into the woods, down the hill that greets me first thing. it’s a pleasant way to start the run. it gets harder.

the first half mile of my run, the lake peeps at me through the trees – teasing me with thoughts of paddleboarding. but i carry on and the trail gets a little harder.

hills go up and down, some a little rougher than others. sometimes there are divots hidden under brush. there is a series of hills i call the goldilocks – the first starts off ok, the second is a little harder, and the third is a bear (so to speak). toward the end of my 3-mile loop, there are two sections that are similar in grade and look, and i sometimes get confused as to how much i have left. on my 5-mile loop, there is a beast of a hill. going up or down is a challenge.

the mosquitoes are a challenge. if i forget to spray down with deet, i have a swarm of bugs following me and clinging to my skin. if the deet’s been sprayed, there is still a cloud, but they tend to stay off. however, if i stop for a moment at mile two (right before goldilocks), the mosquitoes take their chance and congregate. at this point, a lot of the bug spray has sweated off, and they strike while the iron’s hot. i have a lot of bug bites in the summertime.

it’s always wonderful thing, though, to be out in the trees running through them. the critters are out there, as are other people. summer is quiet, which is nice. once school starts in the fall, there are plenty of people out on the trails. one time i was out while the ROTC was doing some sort of training, and a creepy dude wasn’t moving except for his eyes were watching me like i was a russian operative. i said hi and he barely said hi back.

on the back part of my loop past the logging clearing, you can hear the traffic on the freeway, which cuts its way through the campus’ woods. then you loop a little bit away on a causeway next to a small lake with a swamp on the other side. in the spring, the view is breathtaking, and the call of the frogs overwhelm the hum of I-94.

my most common loop is the almost-4-mile. it ends with a rough patch, where i have to work to make it up the hill that greeted me on the run so pleasantly. and it ends back at the stone gate.

sometimes i stop at the gate; sometimes i hoof it across the road to finish up 4 miles on the other side; sometimes i take it easy and run back to my car on the asphalt.

i stretch out on the grass next to my car. i always stretch, but trail running uses different leg muscles than treadmill or road running, so i make sure to spend some extra time. then i grab my beach towel that stays permanently in my car, spread it on my front seat, and get in to drive home. i always have a bottle of water with me for the drive home, and at this point, the sun is generally close to setting.

it’s always a good day for a run in the woods.

now, running in the woods at night?

that’s a different story.

TBT: c2 5k edition

TBT: c2 5k edition

this month marks SEVEN YEARS (!!!) since i started running. barring some injuries and vacations to high altitudes, i’ve consistently run the past seven years.

let’s do a throwback to 2011’s trip to the black hills with the fam.

five months after this pic was taken, i started running regularly at the fieldhouse at st. ben’s.

and, as my dad said, i’ll never be a sprinter! but, starting running was hard. it was probably one of the harder things i’ve done in my life, especially since it was from scratch. i’d run off and on during the summer of 1998, but it never really got into a groove with the breathing.

breathing was the worst part, followed by the ambition to keep at it, then trailed by the fact that muscles started to hurt. oh god, the breathing. it took probably 2 months for my breathing to get into a groove. and once that breathing was under control, i knew it was time for easy street.

i will say this: the muscle part was never really a barrier; in fact, i think i got off pretty easy with how little my leg muscles hurt. i could have had shin splints, and i never did. i wrapped my knees for a while, and my hips hurt for a couple weeks, but overall, muscles were good. now i’ve got calves of steel. (that’s about the only steely muscles i have, unfortunately. wish i had buns of steel but the junky trunk is real).

i don’t know how i kept going. i could have easily quit and resumed my lifestyle of slothdom. but maybe it was a challenge – sort of like how i run long distances, not because i want to win a race, but because i want to prove i can do it. the first time i ran a mile non-stop was glorious. i stretched out on the wrestling mat in the corner and was just giddy with myself.

i’ve battled plantar fasciitis in my right heel, a bad cortisone shot in that heel, three rounds of PT on it. i severely sprained it at ragnar 2017 and screwed up the tendons, and now the top of that foot’s not doing great because i’ve been trying to correct my gait. i just have to be ok with the fact that that foot will never be like the left, unfortunately.

i’ve lost 75 pounds! and my triglycerides are fantastic, despite still eating a bunch of bad food. my cholesterol levels decreased into levels that my doc said they didn’t even register on the bottom of the scale. i can attest to running as a healthy alternative to sitting on the couch.

winter means treadmill running, which sucks, but it makes summertime outdoor running that much more enjoyable. there are days when i wonder why i even put on my shoes, then there are days when i would be fine with two miles, aim for three, and actually run four (those are few and far between). i just recently ran my fastest 5k, another exhilarating moment.

i’ve run three half marathons and two ragnars. a marathon will probably never be on my plate, as my joints and muscles just don’t like running more than 8 miles. and that’s quite all right! if you’d asked me 10 years ago if i’d ever run 13 miles, i’d’ve laughed in your face.

and i’m still slow. i mean, you’d think after 7 years, i’d be a little speedier, but it’s OKAY to run slow. i want to enjoy the run and not kill myself. i think that’s 90% of why people quit running after trying it out. you don’t have to run a 10-minute mile right out of the gate. you don’t even have to run it after 7 years. my fastest 5k time? it was an 11:34-minute mile. that was FANTASTIC. i normally run a 12-12:30-minute mile.

so here’s to another 7 years of running. i didn’t think i’d still be running after 7 years, but now i’m invested. i hope my knees hold up, my foot works itself out, and my bunion chills out (good grief my feet). in the grand scheme of things, i’d rather have some bad joints than a heart attack.

here’s 2015 with my green lady!

ragnar part deux

ragnar part deux

at least this year i knew what to expect for trails!

#constantvigilance

i made it out of ragnar northwoods major injury free. i only fell twice, one of which was pretty hard, but my feet are intact, and that’s what was super important.

i went up thursday night where i met up with liz, abby, and art, and we went to the site to set up a tent and claim our spot. then we came back into wausau and slept overnight at a hotel 😀 i didn’t sleep too well – there was a shaft of light coming in the window, and it’s always weird sleeping with someone else in bed. but we were WARM, and we got a hot breakfast out of the deal and a place to park our cars for carpooling.

the downside to this year’s ragnar was that it was really cold. it wasn’t bad running weather – in fact, the cold is nice for running. but after you’re done running, your muscles are all warmed up and then you’re sitting in the 45º weather that’s seeping into your bones. your clothes are also soaked in sweat, so you have to change out of them as quickly as possible to prevent getting too many chills.

my first run was on the yellow trail, about 5 miles. i was doing really well, telling myself to pick up my feet, watch out for roots and rocks, and keep my eyes on the ground. CONSTANT VIGILANCE. a bridge (one of those short ones that goes over a slight gulley where water can gather after a storm) was coming up with a caution sign on it, but i was so concerned with how narrow the bridge was that i didn’t concern myself with getting onto the bridge. i don’t know if i tripped over the plank or slipped on the plank, but down i went, trying to keep my feet under me but failing. and flailing! i banged my right thigh on the edge of the wood planks and landed on my back on the grass, slamming the back of my head into the ground.

huzzah! my feet were ok. i walked for about a quarter mile to see if i had any dizziness or confusion from the head slam, but i seemed to be ok. off i went. my thigh started to hurt, but i expected that, and on i went to finish up the 5 mile. i managed to shave 12 minutes off last year’s time!

afterward i spent too much time in the village with liz when i should have booked it back to the tent to change out of my clothes. i think that was the first sign that the cold was going to get me!

and i should have eaten more. i don’t know why but i don’t eat enough food at ragnar. that happened last year, too. i tried to take a nap (fail), then got up to do some yoga in front of the tent to stretch out and warm up.

my green 3-mile run was in the dark a little before 9 and relatively drama free. i didn’t have anyone to run with like last year (boo) but i fell on my knee about halfway through and just plowed on. weirdly there are a lot of roots on this trail, but i felt like a lot of it was downhill, so that was good. i felt like i should’ve finished it in 40 minutes, but DANG IT it took me 47 minutes which is still annoying to me.

i hoofed it back to camp to change out of my clothes asap and try to warm up. i ate a snack (should’ve eaten more) and went to my cot to try to sleep.

AND COULDN’T. i tried. i sort of dozed, i had earplugs in but they only half worked. i got cold even in 3 layers and my 30º sleeping bag. i started shivering and eventually i got out of bed and walked to the bathroom (i caught the portapotties right after they were cleaned – huzzah!) and back, then picked up a couple handwarmers and stuck one my feet and one in my pants to get warmed up. i think i maybe slept a total of 30 minutes, if that? didn’t help that my stomach started rumbling because i was hungry and i couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed again in the cold.

then my alarm went off at 4 p.m. for the red loop. UGH what a crapfest. i got dressed under my sleeping bag (thank GOD i had the foresight to put my clothes in the bag with me), then rolled out to try to choke some food down while i was too anxious to even think. (why was i anxious?? i rolled my ankle hardcore on last year’s red loop. i didn’t want a repeat and kept thinking about it.)

liz left off at 4am for her yellow loop, so i headed down around 4:40, almost got there, then turned around because i forgot to take ibuprofin. what a disaster that could’ve been. between my bruise and just running in general, it could’ve gotten uber hurty. got back and waited for her to roll in.

it was still dark when i took off around 5:15ish. we were 45 minutes ahead of last year; i took off at 6 last year, just as the sun was starting to make an appearance. i really do like how the red loop goes if i’m not worried about my rolled ankle! because guess what? i made it through with no falls! i walked all the technical stuff and kept my eyes on the ground. i repeated to myself PICK UP YOUR FEET LOSER over and over. the sun started coming up as i made it through the first technical section, then about mile 5 i was able to turn off my lamps. for a while i was pacing two other gals through the tech section, but i stopped when we crossed a road so i could eat a gel. i made a stop at the water tent (always nice to take a couple breaks), then finished up on the wide section of the trail with the morning sun! that red loop is actually quite nice as long as you don’t push yourself through the technical crap (unless you’re a mountain goat like those ultrarunners).

i only shaved off three minutes from last year’s time, but i was a lot more tired this year, and hangry during the run. i also walked probably the same amount – i didn’t want to fall or wrench my ankle again. i ALSO took one for the team and ran during the coldest part of the event. afterward i practically ran to the tent to get out of my clothes and into some dry ones so i could eat and sit in my sleeping bag in the sun. i spent probably 3 hours warming up.

on the way home, i had to stop for a snooze at a rest area, but i got home, took a shower, and then slept 11 hours last night. and now i’m ready for another nap. for supper i’m getting something really good (not sure what yet).

here’s my giant bruise from falling off the bridge.

NOTE: next year (if next year), i think i’ll try running in my road shoes. i feel like the lugs on my trail shoes catch on the roots.

prepping for RAGNAR

prepping for RAGNAR

HOO BOY only two more days til i leave for ragnar!

is it concerning when the thing i’m concerned the least about is the running? haha!

things i’m having weird anxiety about:

  1. injury (with good reason)
  2. dressing for my long run (39º predicted during it)
  3. thunderstorms thursday night

i find it odd that two of these are weather related. after last year’s weather, anything is welcome, let me tell you. i’ll take thunderstorms and cold over 99º heat indices.

anyway, now that i’ve got my anxieties out of the way, i went shopping today and picked up batteries, a book, some food (cheese, yogurt, coffee creamer, etc.). tomorrow i’ve got to pack! i’m also thinking about making some apple crisp.

things i’m looking forward to:

  1. setting up my hammock and lying in it with my new sleeping bag, reading a book
  2. volunteering on the course and cheering people on
  3. redeeming myself on my 4.5-miler
  4. leaving afterward and finding a place to get hot food
  5. a shower when i get home
  6. GETTING THROUGH INJURY FREE

i went on my last pre-ragnar run tonight, just two miles but at a sub-12 pace. time to treat my feet nice for the next couple days.

NOT HAPPENING THIS YEAR, FOOT.

food…blog?

food…blog?

in august i tried out dietbet, where you bet money against yourself to lose weight. the pot is split at the end among those who win. i worked like a crazy person to lose 8 lbs, and i did it! i won $12 on top of the initial $35, too!

that said, the dietbet has ended and i’ve been eating like a normal person again (for me, that means too much, generally *eyeroll for myself*). and so today i decided to bump up my training for ragnar, which is in THREE WEEKS.

this morning around 11:30 i went out for a 3-mile road run. it was humid out, my worst enemy, but i finished with a decentish time. then 7 hours later, i headed out to st. john’s for a trail run for 8 miles, which i smashed, considering how i’ve done on long trail runs recently.

thank goodness i’ve been able to eat food to support my running!

anyway, i kind of wanted to continue the dietbet because it’s a good motivator, but i need to take a break in september. i need to eat more than net 1300 calories a day to run well, and i can’t let my teammates down after last year!! but october’s coming, and i can probably try out another dietbet, just in time for the holidays!

speaking of ragnar, after last year’s awful 4 mile and debilitating ankle sprain that i ran all of the red loop on, i have been taking preventative measures out on the trail. both my knees are taped/braced up, and i wear a heavy duty brace on my right foot (problem foot to begin with). i’m also planning on going to PT for my that foot in hopes that it will get a little more resilient.

I WILL CRUSH YOU RAGNAR. CRUSH. YOU.*

*i probably won’t, but it’s a nice thought.

running anxiety

running anxiety

i haven’t run much this week. it’s been humid, humid, and more humid. which wouldn’t be so bad if it were 70º outside, bit it’s been 80s-90s, and that’s just a recipe for disaster. so i’ve been taking a short running break.

i get runner’s world in the mail, and this month’s has an article on running anxiety and what can cause it. one reason is because of the time you need to put into it; another is a nagging injury and how it might be affected. and a third is thinking about your time.

i’ve always had some weird anxiety when i start off for a run; when i get into it, i’m generally ok. and it’s always been related to my time and how well i’m going to do. usually in the first 20 seconds i can tell if a run is going to be ok or bad. i had a run on monday that i knew in 5 seconds that it was not going to be a good run, and it wasn’t. i ran one mile and walked home. but overall, i haven’t had many runs like that lately.

what i’ve had to do is tell myself that it doesn’t matter how well i do on a run as long as i’m out there running. so what if i run a 13-min mile? i ran for 5 of them. the best thing that helped with that was shut off the speed prompts on runkeeper. i still get a notification every half mile on my runkeeper app, but i no longer know how fast i’m running.

and maybe it’s time i take a break from runkeeper. at this point, i know my routes and where i need to run to to hit certain mileage. are the prompts needed? do i really need to log my outdoor miles on runkeeper? is the distraction of a phone needed? if a person runs 6 miles with no phone, does it really happen? perhaps it’s time for an experiment of running without a device to see if it’s the device that’s causing the anxiety.

my short running break won’t last long; ragnar approaches and i am probably signing up for a couple races between then and now. and this upcoming week promises to be very runnable, with lows in the high 50s. now i’m not sure if that means i’m heading out my door with my road shoes or if i’m driving over to st. john’s to head out on the trail, but i know it means i’ll be logging some miles. whether or not i bring my phone with me is another matter.

problem afoot

problem afoot

so i think i’m going to run the earth day half marathon again this year, and i’ll need to start training as soon as i get back from arizona in february. two weeks after the half, i’m doing a half relay with liz, and then of course RAGNAR in september.
but my problem foot is still a problem. i think the giant sprain back at last year’s ragnar really did it in, and even though the outside of foot is pretty good now, i must’ve overcompensated with the inside and so it’s just wreaking havoc.
well, i’m gonna see if i can get back into foot physical therapy to fix that. gotta do that soon.
AND on top of that, i have hallux rigidus (?) on my OTHER foot, which is really annoying, because i’d like at least ONE functional foot. it’s like a bunion but on top of your big toe joint, not the side. and i think it’s due to how my new shoes’ inside structure falls on my big toe joint. the top of the lacing structure is placed differently than my old shoes. so i’ve got to figure that out. 
GOOD GRIEF. thanks for listening to my toe woes. 

how to go to a ragnar!

how to go to a ragnar!

“run the ragnar,” liz said. “it’ll be fun,” liz said. 
well, she was right. it was fun, despite my complaining and the ankle issue and the heat. 
the 9-mile forest is four hours from my house, so i left after work on thursday to head over into the cheese state of wisconsin. i chose to go the slightly longer route because of rush hour, and in doing so, wondered if everyone in the state of wisconsin drives 50 in a 55. 
i got to the campground just as dusk was settling in, and the line of cars to get in was not too long (not as long as when liz had come earlier that day). 
the logistics of driving in and out was a little odd, but i made it to my drop off point, where i dropped all my gear and liz and lindsay picked it up. then i drove a windy road two miles east and parked in a giant field. (and somehow got away with not paying for parking!)
there was a shuttle back to the campground, then i hopped out. 

  1. portapotties everywhere. there were lines of them in various places all over the event, and they got cleaned out regularly. they ran out of TP more than once, so a couple times i went i had to BYOTP. but generally, i was impressed with the toilet situation
  2. the runners’ village was packed and hot. this is where the runners’ station was, where the teams relayed in and out, and there was a coffee/hot chocolate station as well. you could buy beer, pizza, sandwiches, gear, and visit the medic tent (which i did). 
  3. the tenting was like none i’d seen before! each team had a 20’x20′ space to put all their tents and gear. liz scored a spot that was a little farther out from the noise, so it was a little bit of hike, but well worth it. the tenting situation was a good way to figure out what sort of tent a person should buy, that’s for sure! and to see the different setups was really cool. one team brought a rug, others brought comfy chairs, some brought hammocks, one team had one of those projection lights that threw fairy lights into the trees. 
  4. the tattoos were awesome. i loved seeing all the leg tattoos. 
  5. shirts were also awesome (including my “running sucks” and “but did you die though” shirts). i liked this one:
    il_570xN.1259384306_57ck
  6. the trees, the trees. i just like hanging out in the trees. 
  7. the energy. there’s something about hanging out with 2000 people who are there for the same reason you are. we are all commiserating with each other over the heat and the lack of TP, then telling each other to make sure to try the pizza and to carb up. 

and then like that – – it’s done. you’ve beaten dehydration and lived through a mild injury, and it’s time to go home. 
the leaving process was much more frantic and weird than coming in. maybe it’s because we’re all tired and ready to be done. but we hauled all our stuff down to the drop off site, then a few of our people started walking toward the parking lot instead of waiting in the 100 people+ line for the shuttle. they got picked up by some people heading that way and drove back to pack it all up and head home. 
and then it was a four-hour drive home after getting 10 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours and sitting in my own stinky sweat for just as long. but there’s a sense of satisfaction for having done what others call crazy: for training for the run and then getting another race under my belt. 
and so i washed off the sweat as soon as i got home, standing under my hot shower for as long as i could stand. then lying down on my bed was the highlight of my month. and now i’m sitting here a week later, waiting for my ankle to move past the pain point so i can get out on the trail again while the temperatures hold and the light maintains. 
until next year.

how (not) to run a ragnar*

how (not) to run a ragnar*

i trained diligently for the ragnar northwood trail run i ran last weekend.
i bought trail shoes after hours of research. i ran on the trails at st. john’s for a month and a half before the race, dodging rocks, fallen logs, and rivets, and running up hills that i didn’t want to run up.
the two weekends before the run, i tried a couple variations of the distances so i’d know which order to run in. the first try, i did the seven mile-loop first, and the following loops were horrible because my legs were no good. the second, i kept my 7-mile for last and it was good.
i ran at night on the trails, my headlamp bobbing along. nighttime 4-mile was my jam: i regularly ran a 12:30-minute or less mile. 
i thought i was ready.
i thought wrong. 

before the storm. it looks so peaceful.
before the storm. it looks so peaceful.

the first indication that this was going to be rough was the 10-day forecast: 80s and humid with a heat index in the mid 90s. sure, we’d be in the forest, but that doesn’t make the humidity go away. 
second was my first loop, the 4-mile. it should’ve been fantastic. instead, it was so hot that i got mildly dehydrated even though i was drinking water nonstop. second, my stomach was upset because of my water sloshing around. and third: no running on the st. john’s trails could have prepared me for the trails that were in the 9-mile forest. 
the st. john’s trails are old logging roads scattered with rocks, gravel, tree branches, the occasional rain rut, and regular inclines and declines. 
the 9-mile forest trails are bike trails full of rocks, tree roots everywhere you look, and switchbacks instead of a steady upward climb. and bike trails? there’s no way your foot is landing solidly. a bike trail is carved into the ground like a U.
when i ran at st. john’s, i’d have to pay attention most of the time, but i could take a break now and then to take in the scenery. at 9-mile, there is NO taking your eyes off the road. ever. it is 100% vigilance. 
so my 4-mile sucked. (actually, it was closer to 5 miles.) i fell once during the run, scraping up my hand a little bit and possibly ruining liz’s water bottle. i was so disappointed in it.
but i was slightly vindicated with my 3-mile run, which i headed out on around 9 p.m. it was cooler, the sun was down, and i ran in a group with two other women: an ultramarathoner and an iron man finisher. for their history in running, they were running a pretty slow pace; it was a little bit slower than i would have run if i’d been alone. but slow was good at this point. i didn’t fall once – only a couple wobbly moments, and i finished the 3 mile in 50 minutes. a normal 3-mile for me is about 36 minutes, but we stopped to let runners go past, and i helped the ultra get some kleenex out of her pack to clean up her hand. so my pace was probably 13.5-minute mile when i think about it. 
then i went back to the tent and tried my darnedest to get some sleep because the 7 mile (really 8) started in the wee hours of the morning and i needed to carb/caffeine up before heading out on that one.
liz rolled in from her 4-mile a little after 6 a.m., when the sun was just starting to grey up the sky. i clipped on the bib belt, turned on my headlamp and knuckle lights, and headed out.
the first quarter mile of all loops is the same: they ease you into it with a wide, easy grass path. SO IT WOULD SEEM. not even close to the red trail veer off, my ankle, which had been a little wobbly to begin with on this run, gave out, and i rolled it massively on the right side. down i went. 
got up, tested it out. i thought about turning around right there and finding someone else to finish my loop, but i felt like that was a giant cop out. so i started running. and it was reasonably ok. 
until i got to the technical part.
here’s the thing about running on a newly rolled ankle: it wants to keep rolling. and rolling. and rolling. every time i tried to run on the technical part of the trails, which was rocks, rocks, rocks everywhere, my right ankle would turn out and cause more pain. i was so irritated with my stupid, weak ankles (still am, actually). 
finally, i gave up and decided to walk during the technical part of the trails, and when it evened out to flat areas, i would run. ok.
meanwhile, the sun came up and lightened up the landscape. the leaves looked great among tall pine trees. the temperature was probably the best of the entire time we were there. i had trained weeks for this. and i had a bum ankle. 
i stopped for everyone who needed to get past me so they could get past. at the water station, i stopped to fill my water bottle and eat a gel pack. i asked the volunteer what would happen if i needed a ride. then i took a couple more drinks and filled my bottle again. procrastinated, pretty much. then headed out. 
the last mile or so of the red trail was pretty even, flat, and wide, which was such a relief. i walked up all the hills, but ran as best i could on the rest of the trail. as i pulled in to the last quarter mile, it was such a great feeling to know the end was near. i’m REALLY glad i finished it, even though it ruined my ankle. 
quinn was cheering for me as i pulled in to the runners’ station, and i handed off the bib belt, ready to head back to camp to pass out. quinn took off like a bullet (really, she was the fastest of the team. good thing, too!)
i checked the time as i left the runners’ station – 8:20. i had finished nearly 8 miles, walking technical parts, running on a bum ankle, stopping for every tom, dick, and harry who had to pass me, and taking a prolonged water break, in 2 hours and 10 minutes. that’s about a 16:30-minute pace. i can’t walk that pace. i ran that almost-8 mile at a faster pace than my 4 mile.
i knew that if i had gone slower, my teammates would have had to run in hot weather, and i think that pressure made me book it as best i could. this is why i don’t play team sports.
i got back to camp and unwrapped my ankle. (i had taken precautions, even! i had taped up my foot along my heel, then tape around my ankle, then an ace bandage over that. and STILL.) the ankle looked like a golf ball and progressively got worse through the day. i had a giant goose-egg on my shin, which i don’t remember getting. it must’ve happened one of the times i rolled my ankle and the pain in the foot was too much to register the shin pain. elevation and ice were the name of the rest of the day. 
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this is actually not that bad. the next day i looked like i had elephant foot.

today, the swelling’s gone down, and i have bruises all over my legs and feet. the past couple days, my other leg’s muscles were killing me due to overcompensating for the bum leg.
but i’m getting antsy to get out running again. the weather is perfect for running, and the light is leaving us quickly; time is getting short for outdoor runs. and now that i know what a trail could be like, i am not complaining one iota about the st. john’s trails. i have the shoes. i have the ambition. i just need to get that ankle moving again. 
*next post i will talk about what the ragnar event is like.