Out running


Change is inevitable. It happens each season. This week a cold wind came into Wisconsin and blew the warm falls days and sunshine away. Sadly, I started going to the gym and running on the dreadmill again. I really can’t complain. It has been a warm fall with hotter temperatures than this summer.

Usually we get our first few flurries by this time of year. It makes me remember my grandma. For the first little snowfall she would write the word flurries or put a F on her empty calendar like it was a huge event. I have a F on my calendar too. It reminds me when I need to give my pets their flea medicine. Seriously, what did you think it stands for??

The last time I ran outdoors, I took a few photos to show you how beautiful my running route is. It was probably a good time for a change anyway. People were getting to know my routine which can be a little disconcerting. It was always the same cars that almost hit me. People were starting to actually honk when I wore my ‘honk if you’re going to hit me’ shirt.

I had a great season with huge goals…My first 18 mile trail run weekend, my first Olympic triathlon, and my first Half Ironman. Plus I ran another marathon. I am thinking of cutting back though. I’m not going to decide for sure until January.

Three out of four races, I had to travel far enough from home to need a hotel room. Plus adding in all of the gear and race fees, it can be a pricey hobby. I will probably still race, but will cut back on the amount of races and the longer distances. I also might want to try other things like doing a Tough Mudder. Plus next summer, the local theater is planning on doing the show Cabaret which is heavy on dancing.

Running has a special place in my heart. I spoke to my trainer at the gym this week. I told him that my races went well but I was thinking of cutting back. I told him that I want to run for the long run. Running gives me time to process my life in a healthy way. I don’t want to over train, hate it, or get hurt. I want to enjoy this hobby as long as possible. Plus I want to do other things I enjoy like dancing, cross country skiing, or kickboxing without being locked in an always training box.

I just love to run. Who knows? I might be able to get outside a few more times this year before it snows. Wisconsin is a very beautiful place to run.


Half tri training

It is raining again..the temperature barely made it to 60 degrees..Will it be July this week or is it the beginning of April?

I could almost swim in my backyard puddles.

But I restrained myself and went to the gym instead.

My neighbors already think I am a little crazy anyway..

If I learned anything this month from the Olympic triathlon event, it was that I need to kick it up a few notches if I am ever going to finish the Half Iron.

Last week I spent a total of 3 hours swimming laps. All three days the pool was packed with kids (probably due to all of the rain). Twice I was waved down. “Hey lady…can I jump in right where you are swimming?” What?? Another kid waved me down to ask what time it was. I must have been giving off a please rescue me from doing another lap vibe or something.

I have come to the conclusion that I am not very coordinated. If I was I would not be into this triathlon and running crap. I would be a graceful dancer. I can barely walk without tripping on something. I cannot do the splits. Because I am athletic certainly does not mean that I am graceful or flexible by any means.

There is hope for everyone willing to take on this insanity!

I am a beginner swimmer in my 40’s! I find it a struggle to coordinate breathing, kicking, and moving my arms at the same time. I would probably look okay in the water if I was a dog. I heard it is really hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

I find myself resenting people that have been swimming since they were on the swim team in grade school. They complain about how horrible they are swimming but can complete it in half my time. Although I admit that I am guilty of saying similar things about running..

It took me over a year but I finally figured how to switch gears effectively on my bike. I don’t have the world’s greatest balance, but I am getting into the swing of it. This past weekend I logged about 45 miles on my bike and the weekend before 40. I had a hilly route all planned out. Then afterwards I told my family that I would be gone for a little while to retrace my route and ended up coming back almost an hour later.

I am not quite as afraid of speed on the bike and falling as I used to be. I bought the clip on biking shoes and they work great. I would recommend it highly. I haven’t fallen yet either.

I have been practicing my running too. Running is my strong suit. I am really good at outrunning things as well, my demons especially. It is funny because people are starting to seek me out to ask me for running advice. It took almost a decade of running for this to happen. Maybe I shouldn’t expect to be a great swimmer or biker overnight.

This past weekend I was tempted to sign up for a local half marathon. It was a small race so I knew that I could probably place. To tell you the truth, I am not a girl that is big into jewelry. But flash a couple of medals in my face and I am signing up for another race. It is not like I even end up wearing them for more than an hour after the race ends. Expensive bling for an hour of wear! Hey, don’t forget about the free banana!!

But I was good and did not sign up for another race just to have more time to focus on training for the Half Iron. I am big time into tapering and taking it easy the week before and after a big race. The first run after a big race, I feel like I’ve never ran before.

At this time, I think I will be able to complete the Half Iron. I have a lot of endurance and determination. It would absolutely crush me if I don’t finish. I am using that grueling Olympic triathlon as a learning tool. I am probably not doing everything right, but I am learning as I go.

I never in a million years thought I would be doing this 5 years ago.




Cabin chaos, part 1


Back in 1950, my great-grandparents bought a double lot on a quiet lake. The lake has been built up quite a bit since then and is not as quiet as it once was. But it is still beautiful. They built a cabin on the lake. When I was growing up, the only running water in the cabin was two sinks in the kitchen. We had an outhouse with a garage located between the cabin and the outhouse. There was also a boat house, a fish cleaning shack, and a screened in cook house with a long redwood table.

My family originally built a concrete retaining wall with stairs going down to the water in the center. It has since crumbled and shifted over time. The boat house was in bad shape and was torn down when I was a kid. The garage was the next building to go. The roof caved in and it housed bats. Every time that I had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, the bats would swoop down at me. I turned on the lights outside in an attempt to keep them away. When I had the lights on, the guys across the road would see me running to the outhouse and whistle at me. It probably didn’t help that I was screaming and flailing about while in little summer nightgowns. If I could make it past the bats and creepy guys, my next fear was always the wasps. How did people survive having to use an outhouse all the time??

Eventually the garage was torn down as well. There was a lot of junk inside. There also was an antique car from the early 1900’s that was in rough shape. A lot of times my family was too cheap to buy new stuff for the cabin, so they took up mismatching plates, silverware, etc..

This summer I am planning on swimming across the lake to prepare for the tri. I will probably not be biking or running up north though because at this time we do not have an easy way to bathe. I am afraid that stinking would be frowned upon and my family would no longer support my crazy fitness habits.

This is going to be a very short series telling some of the funniest stories.

Trying to tri

I bought a road bike today. There is no turning back now. I have to tri.

A few weeks ago, I got together with some running/tri friends. Compared to them, I am very inexperienced as a racer. I told them of my grandiose plan of running 20 miles every weekend. They asked if I was crazy. Yes, of course. Do you want to get hurt? No, I don’t! I decided to listen to their advice and scale back a little. Between the trio of triers, they have at least 50 marathons under their belt, multiple half irons, and an iron. So their advice was very credible. 

Guess I will have more time to write, right?

After finishing my first marathon in about six hours, I felt like a failure. I went into it with too high of expectations. I thought that I might qualify for the Boston. I got the crazy idea that if I train harder for this marathon, I will do better.  My friend said that she thought I had it in me to finish in under 4 hours if I train right. I think that might be a little too optimistic. However, with the exception of the marathon, I have been consistently finishing within the top 7 to 10% in my age category. I did my first half in 2:05 in less than ideal conditions. So maybe.

It didn’t help hurting my ankle 3 weeks before the marathon. 

It took me about two months to recover from the knee pain that happened during my first marathon. Maybe I was trying to overcompensate for an ankle that wasn’t totally healed. To be honest with you, I am a little nervous about running another marathon. Running has been going absolutely great, until this week. I have been feeling so stiff and my joints have been aching. I feel exhausted and seem to lack motivation. I have been keeping to my newly revised running schedule though. It has been a mild winter, so I was able to get outside and run a total of 24 miles this week. That’s good because my treadmill is starting to groan just as much as I am. I find running anything over 16 miles at one time to be excessively grueling. 

I guess I will have to run with it and see how my second marathon goes. 

This season I am signing up for a 5k, 10k, half, and full marathons. I am also signing up for my first tri. I am not sure how long I can keep going at this pace. I want to diversify a little so that I am able to keep exercising for the long run. The marathon will be my first race this season. Last year I spent the whole summer training. This summer I want to be like everyone else when they are not working. I want to sit on the beach, sip craft beer by the camp fire, and be out on the water. 

Oh wait, I just bought a bike. Now what did I get myself into??

Ending the holiday season

I didn’t tell anybody this earlier, but I started the new year off on the wrong foot. We had a couple of friends over for New Year’s Eve. Everything went well and the last people left at 1:30 AM. Paul and I finally made our way to bed around 2. At 6 AM, a noise woke me up. Somewhere between 2 and 6 AM, our furnace went out. The house temp was under 50 degrees. We ended up having someone come out at the crack of dawn on new year’s day receiving holiday pay to fix it. It was a rough start. 

Today we took down our Christmas tree. I put all of the decorations back in the crawl space and dug out all of my old journals. I don’t know how quick I will go through them to be honest with you. I always have a rough time this time of year with the lack of sunlight. Even though I take massive doses of vitamin D, my thoughts and emotions tend to be dark. Just thinking about the past can bring me down on the sunniest of days….so this month might be light and fluffy like the winter snow. Talking about the winter snow, Paul and I were able to get out and cross country ski for the first time on the skis that we bought last winter. What a workout! Sure made me feel out of shape, especially since we saw a friend of ours there and he did two laps to our one. 

Yesterday I told you that we were going to one last Christmas party at my uncle’s who happens to be a clean freak. Well, I am embarassed to say that it was me this year that made a mess. That’s right. After being at the party for about a half an hour, I cracked open a bottle of beer. I took 3 sips and proceeded to spill most of the bottle everywhere. It went down my shirt with a majority of it landing on my pants and their off white carpet. I greeted relatives coming to the party looking like I peed my pants. My uncle said I could leave behind some money for the carpet cleaning. I am glad he was just kidding. Or was he? He didn’t freak out though like the story I heard of when my cousins accidently knocked over his fish tank. Other than looking like a complete idiot, the party went well.

Our staff party a couple weeks ago went great too. We took our employees to a painting class. It was so much fun. And I didn’t suck at painting. I was happy to be average. Out of the four of us that went, not one single person between the ages of 30 and 52 ever painted on a canvas before. Checked that off my bucket list and would love to do it again. 

Other than that, I have been trying to upload a video of my daughter and I singing. I haven’t been successful at that. I will probably figure it out by July. Geez. We sang our Christmas songs at the party yesterday. Every year my aunt insists that we sing. My daughter moves people to tears with her singing. She wants to spend the summer singing and performing on tour. She is auditioning to do that next month. When my cousin heard that, she was bummed out because she wanted Angel to sing at her wedding this summer. Angel just sang at my brother’s wedding a few months back. Angel and I have very similar voices, except that hers is well trained and mine is not. I used to be the one asked to sing at weddings, now it is her. When did she become better than me??? She used to ask me for advice and now she tells me what to do. I listen to her because she is right, but can’t help but feel hurt that I am no longer wanted. I am happy that she has had so many opportunities that I didn’t.

Sometimes it is hard for me to accept this whole aging thing. 

Winter fitness forecast

Last year my husband and I bought cross country skis. We thought that it would be an excellent way to enjoy exercising outside in the cold snowy winter months. Running on icy snowy roads really isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. I did end up dusting off my treadmill last week. Not because of the snow, we haven’t had enough of that for my grandma to even write flurries on her calendar if she was still living. Last week brought about cool and very windy days. Even I am not crazy enough to run outside in the cold against 40 mph winds.

Last year we bought skis and didn’t get any snow. Really? Well, it figures. In the winter months, I cut back my running down to about 18 miles per week and let Jillian Michaels kick my butt an hour a week. I don’t have any races coming up until next May. I am planning on doing another marathon. Call me vain, but I love how I look all muscular, tone, and lean when I am training for a marathon. This time of year, who cares? I mean half of the month I don’t even bother to shave. I guess there are a few benefits to living in a cold climate.

I am really counting on snow to supplement my exercise routine. We really want to go cross country skiing this year. On average where I live we get a little over 50 inches (130 cm) of snow per season. Statistically speaking, we should be able to ski unless my buying skis last year gives me another year of bad luck regarding snowfall. Imagine if I bought a snowmobile?!? Geez.

My husband and I also depend on snowfall for our other form of exercise, snow shoveling. We have a moderately long driveway. All our neighbors hire someone with a snowplow or have a snow blower. We argue over who gets to shovel. Seriously, this doesn’t give us many sanity points with our neighbors. Yes, we are those fitness freaks. I am so happy that my husband and I are at similar fitness levels. We have so much of the world left to actively explore.

If running doesn’t kill me, it will make me stronger!

On my way home from work this past week, I followed a drunk driver. He was weaving all over the road, in and out of the ditch almost taking out some signs, just missing mailboxes and garbage bins. I felt anger towards the man in the truck as I thought of the school bus returning the little neighborhood kids meer minutes ago. Then it hit me. I wasn’t safe either. Neither were the other bikers or runners. 

At my last doctors appointment, I was told that I was in great shape. My already low cholesterol levels dropped 50 points. My blood pressure was low. I am the epitome of health (something I always remind the doctors of when I am sick). My weight was perfect. Absolutely everything was wonderful. I attributed this to all of my running. I thought the doctor would prescribe me cigarettes, liquor, and a sedentary lifestyle. Seriously, how else is she going to make money off of me?? Injury, well yes, I suppose there could be that. 

There is no doubt that running has made me stronger and healthier. But my anxious mind also thought about how it could kill me. Here are my 50 ways to kill a runner:

1. Getting mauled by a bear, wolf, or dog. 

2. Getting struck by lightening. 

3. Getting overheated. Warm running days don’t happen that often in WI, but when they do we are not prepared for it. 

4. Freezing to death. 

5. Sweating to death. 

6. Tripping over my own feet and hitting my head on the control panel of my treadmill. 

7. Getting struck in the head by flying debris. This could happen when a truck carrying rocks goes over a bump or when someone tosses a beer bottle out the window. This happens, I see all of the crap that you throw out your window. 

8. Dehydration. 

9. Drunk drivers. I try to run in the mornings to avoid this problem.  

10. Dark trails in the woods that happen to be next to a gun range. What? That is a homicide waiting to happen. 

11. Getting hit by a stray bullet. 

12. Getting attacked by a swarm of angry birds or bees. You never know about the birds and the bees. 

13. Delivery drivers, they are always in a hurry. 

14. Now that I think about it, maybe my mail carrier. She never smiles or waves. 

15. Getting caught in white out conditions from snow and getting lost or hit by a car. 

16. Getting hit by a car. 

17. Getting hit by a car!!

18. Getting hit by a car!!!  At least you have a chance of outrunning the rapist. 

19. Getting swept away by a tornado. 

20. Did I mention flash floods?

21. Slipping on ice and bumping my head. 

22. Those service truck guys who ask for directions. 

23. Electrocution from downed power lines. 

24. Running so fast that people don’t seem to see you. 

25. Items that fall from overhanging trees. 

26. Trying to save a cat from getting hit by a car and getting hit by a car. 

27. New drivers. 

28. Old drivers. 

29. Getting hit by a train. 

30. Getting an infection from all of the chaffing. 

31. Getting West Nile, malaria, or Lyme’s Disease from bugs attracted to a sweaty stinky body. 

32. A deadly sunburn. 

33. Being scared to death by a runner that sneaks up behind you. 

34. Choking on rehydration products. 

35. The smell of stinky sweaty running clothes is enough to kill someone alone. 

36. Getting hit by a school bus due to kids distracting the driver. 

37. Training for a marathon. 

38. Infected bloody toenails 

39. Getting pneumonia from running in the rain. 

40. Running in the dark. 

41. Running barefoot and stepping on dirty needles. 

42. Idiot drivers that are texting. 

43. Women who are doing their hair or makeup while driving because they are late for work again. 

44. New parents distracted by a crying baby or the kid who snuck out of his car seat again. 

45. Is there really nothing good on the radio people who veer the direction they are changing their radio station in. 

46. Did I tell you about the wooded trails?

47. Creepy guys in white unmarked vans. 

48. People so in love they can’t keep their eyes on the road. 

49. Falling over in exhaustion. 

50. Seriously, do you know hard it was coming up with 50 ways to kill a runner???

I used to think that running would prolong my life, but now I am not so sure. 

Cool, warmth

It has been a warm October. The jack ‘o lanterns that the kids carved at the harvest party earlier this month turned to squash. They rotted and melted like a witch getting doused in water. I am not complaining. It has allowed me to continue with my summer isn’t over delusion a little bit longer. My grandpa would have had his birthday earlier this month. Usually right around my grandpa’s birthday, my grandma would write flurries on her calendar when the first trace of snow swirled. Her calendar was completely empty except for the word flurries. Sometimes it’s the little things that I miss the most.

I haven’t had to change my running schedule at all due to the weather. I haven’t dusted off the treadmill yet either. Running this time of year does have its challenges though. Earlier this week I ran by a farmer harvesting his corn field. He spooked out a huge rabbit and it ran straight towards me. Difficult decisions ensued for that rabbit once he noticed me. There was nowhere for him to run.

Today I had my monthly 18 mile run. The last few miles were painful and hard to endure. Every muscle was screaming at me to stop. I made it though. It took me 2 months to recover from my knee pain from the marathon. I have been running the last 2 weeks relatively pain free. This gives me hope that next spring I can sign up for another marathon and beat the crap out of myself again. Whoo hoo!

Even my imagination runs

I took a couple of days off unintentionally, scrapped another blog idea, and just ended up being very busy on a “light” weekend. I ran 12 miles Saturday, stopped in for awhile at a church event, and then spent 4 hours moving stuff out of my grandma’s house. I have learned a few things, like not to run 12 miles and lift boxes for 4 hours. I did sleep good that night! Sunday ushered in the last sailboat ride for the season. The weather was perfect. 

Saturday’s run was average although something strange happened. There were 2 young guys (20’s) in a truck with a trailer behind it. They were at a stop sign when I ran by. The driver was checking me out. Then a half mile later they drove by me again and pulled to the side of the road a mile ahead. This worried me a little. Even though I run on the “busy” roads, it is still pretty rural and no one was around. How could I protect myself from 2 young muscular men if they meant harm? I imagined sinister conversation. “Let’s go get that runner and tie her up in the back of the trailer.” I was praying that they saw my gray hair. After 9 miles, I was a sitting duck. They ended up driving away before I got to them. Pffwhew. Maybe they were lost. Last night my friend was telling me how she was the only woman doing the trap shoot league. It was then that I decided that I want to add learning how to use a gun to my bucket list. I briefly announced my day dreams of running with a gun holstered to my hip or in the back of my running bra fighting off wild animals and predatory men. My husband said I would probably end up shooting myself. Sometimes my imagination runs wild too. 

I am still having some knee pain while running. I feel sore all over and my endurance has been pretty crappy lately. I started taking glucosamine chondroitin like my active brother who had the 2 knee surgeries. Also, like my dog. But if I start blogging about digging a hole to China or escaping my yard to get to my neighbor’s caged rabbits like my dog did while under the influence of this drug please let me know before it is too late. I have been wearing my brace. The only other thing it said to do is lose weight. I don’t even think my doctor would recommend that. I am probably now at the point of being underweight. People are now saying wow you lost a lot of weight. Are you ok? Even though I burn a lot of calories, I am not usually hungry. When I am really stressed, my body tells me not to eat. I could go all day without really noticing that I didn’t eat. Yesterday I ate too much and my acid reflux let me know. I associated eating with pain as a child. For months I barely ate. My parents threatened to take me to the doctor then. I wish they did. 

It has been almost a year since I have been diagnosed with acid reflux. Looking back, I knew I had it since childhood. The burning pain when I ate. The dentist asking me if I had acid reflux because it looked like acid was wearing down my teeth on one side probably from sleeping on that side. Of course it makes sense now. I have been taking Prilosec now for months supplementing it with liquid antacid and close to the max dosage of Tums. What happens when this no longer works? I mean really. My stress levels probably aren’t going down in the next 5 years. Even running is starting to be stressful. Maybe it is time to revisit my bucket list to add some just for fun items to it. Or book that winter trip to Florida. 

Bracing myself again

Today was a very humid day. I tried to get a run in before work, but was greeted by thunder and torrential downpours so I waited until my lunch break. After the holiday weekend, I spent a long day at work racing around putting out fires. I was able to get in a 6 mile run in though. It was a tough run. It seemed like my whole body hurt. My back, shoulder, wrist, right hip, and left knee were sore today. My knee hurt more than last week. If it doesn’t get better soon, I may make a doctor appointment. I always thought that running was a relatively cheap sport. What do you need really? My husband caused a big stir a couple years back by being a barefoot runner. Talk about cheap! He did spend a lot on bandages until his feet got tough as leather. He now runs with minimalist shoes which oddly enough never seem to wear out. Over the years, I have acquired more running gear. Plus money spent on races. Now if I end up having a running induced injury, I can see it being an expensive sport. 

It wasn’t like I did anything strenuous over the weekend to cause this pain. I watched the men do the heavy lifting. It was pretty nice giving unsolicited advice with my 2 little nieces next to me. It helped prevent unwanted responses. Lol. It is hard for me to stand and watch the men work. Here my dad is pushing 70. He gets winded walking across the room. I feel guilty standing by when I am in great shape. I asked Paul why I can’t help the guys. He said I complain too much. Oh, slow down. It’s too heavy. Sad thing is that he is probably right. So far all I’ve done is complain about everything that hurts. Whaaaaa. 

I haven’t been sleeping well either. Oh, insomnia, my nighttime companion. I recall sleeping well once over the last couple of weeks and it was drug induced. It was after I took meds for my crown. I have become used to being tired. About 2 decades ago I had a sleep test that said that I never go into a deep sleep, so I never feel rested. As a teen it took me forever to fall asleep and I didn’t stay asleep. Now I fall asleep pretty good, I just spend an hour or more awake at night and wake up early. Probably stress and hormones. I am going to try taking some melatonin tonight to see if I can sleep. I come from a long line of poor sleepers. My dad has severe sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. I always thought that my mom couldn’t sleep because of the kicking and snoring. After sleeping in different beds, my mom doesn’t sleep any better than I do. What a wicked bunch indeed. 

Sorry, it is just hard for me to feel physical pain without an exciting story to tell.  I am just getting old. It is hard to watch my body have limitations while watching my teens not motivated to do all that they can while they can. It is hard to focus at work who you have a sleep hangover without the fun the night before. The more sleep deprived I get, the moodier I become. I walk around like a irritable zombie. My IQ drops at least 2 standard deviations. 

Okay, enough with the pissing and moaning. I did decide that I want to do my first triathlon next summer. That is if I can still walk.