Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not a happy camper

My race is this coming Saturday night. I had been looking forward to a rather busy week getting ready for the trip, celebrating my 10-year anniversary, getting in some QT with the kidlets, and working. Lo and behold, I woke up yesterday morning (Tuesday) with a slightly sore throat. It wasn't that bad. I took my daughter to school and decided to put off my 5-mile run until the evening. By the time I picked my daughter up from school in the afternoon, I was running a fever and my throat was really hurting. We drove straight to a walk-in clinic where I was diagnosed with strep throat. WHAT?????? This can't be happening.

My doctor sympathized with me. She said that plenty of fluids, rest and antibiotics should have me race-ready by Saturday. I certainly hope so. Today hasn't been a good day, but hopefully the meds will kick in soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I have a week and a half until my race, and lots of thoughts swirling in my head. I am not nervous about the race, but I find myself thinking about it (okay, obsessing) all the time.

Progress: What a great run yesterday! I ran 13 miles solo. I have been running with a friend for all of my long runs for the past couple of months, and I was beginning to doubt that I had the willpower to do it alone. Also, I had gone 4 days without running, and I was starting to worry that I was going to have trouble slogging through a long run. Yesterday took care of those doubts. I started running at 5:15. It was pitch-black outside, even with a nearly full moon. That was a little scary, so I changed up my route to stay in open areas with more street lights (areas I have been avoiding during the scorching sunlight). At mile 5, I stopped in a gas station to use the restroom and buy a water & power bar. When I emerged, the sun was coming up and I felt comfortable turning on my music. It was like starting a new run. More and more runners began showing up on the path, and it began to feel like the party was starting. I'm happy with the pace I maintained, finishing in 2:08. My race goal was 2:10, and I beat that without race-day adrenaline or outside motivation. It was so empowering!

Now onto the girly stuff: I have been obsessing on what to wear for my race. I have spent HOURS online looking up running clothes, but the cute stuff is just so expensive, and I have a hard time justifying a big purchase in this economy. I've been hoping that something I like will go on sale. Unfortunately, I have learned that when stuff goes on sale, the selection is size XXS or XL. There's a running store about 30 minutes away that had some beautiful stuff a few months ago, but they, too, have little to choose from in my size right now. I went to the Nike outlet on Sunday and thought I'd found something acceptable: hot pink shorts with a gray & hot pink sports bra. However, when I wore them on the above run, I learned two important things: (1) when you sweat in shorts that are anything other than black, it looks like you wet your pants, and (2) when you sweat in a light gray top, it becomes see-through. Back to square one. I may have to break the bank on this one.

Fuel: I have obsessed over what to eat & drink when running. Here's what I have found: I adore Smart Water. It has the electrolytes my body needs, and it is readily available and icy cold at any convenience store I may pass while training. Refreshment at its finest. Food has been tougher. I've tried Gu, Sports Beans, Power Bars, FRX, Fig Newtons, fruit chews, etc. The Power Bars have given me the best results (energy without stomach upset) but they taste a little like chocolate-flavored cardboard.

Next obsession (drum roll, please): The New Orleans Mardi Gras Rock n Roll Marathon! 26.2 miles of fun on February 13, 2011!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Paint It Black

This week marks a new milestone in my running career -- I have my first official runner's malady: The Black Toenail. After my 11-miler a couple weeks ago and my 12-miler this past Sunday, the second toe on my left foot felt a little numb. Numbness turned into mild discomfort, which turned into tenderness. When I removed the nail polish from that toenail, the toenail was a lovely shade of light purple and there was a distinct blister forming beneath.

According to running coach Jeff Galloway: "Almost everyone who runs gets a black toenail. Getting your first one is a sign that you've moved your training into a higher level." He said that the movement of running, of swinging the foot forward, forces blood into the toe region. The increased blood flow results in pressure in the area below the toenail. A couple broken capillaries will discolor the accumulated fluid, giving the toenail that tell-tale purply-black color. If the pressure is too great, the toenail will start to separate from what he calls the "toenail in training". Eventually, this toenail will fall off.

Fortunately, mine isn't very uncomfortable anymore. I've been able to drain the excess fluid without having to (eeek) drill a hole in my toenail and without much pain. Unfortunately, the darn thing is going to come off at some time, which will keep me far away from the pedicure chair out of sheer embarassment for awhile.