Monday Memories, part five

click here for part 1
click here for part 2
click here for part 3
click here for part 4

Eventually, we began to talk about going back to school. I was improving and would be discharged from therapy within a few weeks.

My therapists, my parents, and I met with two administrators from my high school – Mike Jeffers, who at that time was a vice-principal, and Faye Alvested, who was a school counselor.

I suppose you should understand that I was (and still am!) a geek, in every way imaginable. I was enrolled in every advanced/honors class possible. As I recall, I was taking college Calculus 101, college Physics 101, college prep English, dual high school-college credit American History, American government, elective British Literature, and Senior Journalism (which allowed me to work on the staff of our high school newspaper). In addition to the high school credits, those classes included 16 college credit hours.

When I went back to school, I wanted to return to those advanced classes. I can’t explain why. I suppose, since I’d always been an honors student, that was all I knew. I also didn’t want to quit the classes I’d already begun.

Privately, the therapists had told me that they did not think I would succeed in college, that I would be very lucky if I graduated high school. I don’t remember exactly what was said in those meetings, but I know those words were hard to shake.

When we met – myself, my parents, the therapists, Mr. Jeffers, and Ms. Alvested – the therapists strongly pushed that the only class I would take should be the American government class. Due to a change in state law, and because I’d pushed myself so hard during the first three years of high school, that was the only remaining class that was required for me to get a high school diploma. The other classes, they said, would be too hard for me, and I shouldn’t try because I would only be disappointed when I failed.

Because of the brain injury, I was now disabled, and I would need a special plan to provide for my new deficits. This would be either an IEP plan or a 504 plan. The differences between an IEP and 504 plan are complicated, but in my situation it basically came down to college. An IEP plan would end after my graduation. A 504 plan would allow me to have additional services in college.

The therapists, who needless to say felt I should not go to college, pushed for the IEP plan. Hard.

Mr. Jeffers and Ms. Alvested pushed back. I got a 504 plan.

I owe a lot to Mr. Jeffers and Ms. Alvested. They didn’t have to stick up for me. Legally speaking, they had every right to push me into taking only the American government class. They didn’t. They pushed right back against the therapists, so to speak. They suggested that I resume my class schedule, exactly as it had been, and if any of the classes became too much for me, I could visit Ms. Alvested at any time and they would give me a withdraw/pass.

The therapists didn’t like that, but there was nothing they could do about it.

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Monday Memories, part 4

click here for part 1
click here for part 2
click here for part 3

Coming home, to the only house I’d ever known, focused me in a way nothing else could. In the hospital, I didn’t know where I was. I believed I was in other states and even other countries. When I saw my home, I knew exactly where I was.

I went to outpatient rehab every day. Each morning, one of my parents would take me to the rehab facility. Depending on the whims of the insurance company, I would stay for either a half a day or a full day. I received physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

The physical therapy strengthened my body enough that I was able to walk with the aid of a cane. Later, my therapist took away my cane and I began walking independently. We did a LOT of balance exercises, because my sense of balance was affected by the accident. She would ask me to balance on a low balance beam, then balance on one foot, then balance on one foot with my eyes closed. It wasn’t easy!

The occupational therapy worked on improving my fine motor skills and my hand-eye coordination. I spent hours in front of a light board, punching buttons as they lit up. My arm had been in a sling, due to the broken collarbone. Someone (I don’t remember who – probably a doctor) took away the sling after a few weeks, but I still tended to hold my arm against my abdomen as if was still in the sling. It hurt when I moved it! The occupational therapist gave me a couple of tiny dumbbells and made me do lots of simple arm exercises to strengthen my arm.

I still don’t understand the speech therapy. I guess it had to do with improving my ability to communicate, as I had no trouble talking. After the accident, I had to re-learn a lot of things, including just about everything I’d learned in school (math, science, history, and so on). But that wasn’t what we did in speech therapy. My mother remembers me complaining about being forced to play some extremely simple computer games, for no identifiable purpose.

Meanwhile, my parents went over all the things I needed to know for school at home. I had forgotten everything, from how to add 2+2 to the year the founders signed the Declaration of Independence (1776). Once I was reminded, the information came back quickly, but my parents re-taught me everything.

One of my few leisure activities during this time was playing card games on the computer. If I could’ve, I think would’ve played Freecell for hours on end. In hindsight, I think this proved to be an important tool in healing my brain. Playing card games makes you think, strategize, and plan – all skills that are useful for a damaged brain.

I don’t remember a whole lot about this period, but I do remember being constantly tired. Because of the accident, I was sleeping 10-12 hours a night. I went to therapy, studied, and slept. And that was it. My body was still recovering, and everything was a challenge.

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R4TW recap

This morning, I awoke early for Run 4 the World. I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. I ate breakfast (mistake – more on that later), and at about 8:30, my parents and I left for the run.

We went to Lowenstein Park in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. My cousin, who was organizing the run, had reserved a picnic shelter, where he and his family were waiting. It was a SMALL group, a total of only 13 people and one dog. It wasn’t until the run was over that my cousin explained why the group was so small – his organization had determined that smaller runs were easier to reproduce internationally. That’s fine, though I will say I think I would have enjoyed the run a lot more if that had been communicated in advance.

It was cool this morning – just a little over 40 degrees. The big dip in temperature was a big adjustment. I wore shorts and a tech tee, with a track suit on top before and after the race to keep me warm.

Before the race, we stood around the picnic shelter waiting for everyone to arrive. (Not that it took long.) It was right at this time that Paul Lamb commented on my post from yesterday. Thanks, Paul! Your timing was outstanding, and your encouragement meant a lot!

The park has a somewhat looping path that is a little under one mile long. With none of the traditional race paraphernalia (start/finish lines, air horn, etc.), we all just kind of took off at the same time. My mother and one of my cousin’s friends stayed at the picnic shelter to hand out water bottles and to keep an eye on my cousin’s three kids.

I started the race wayyyyy too fast. Within a quarter-mile, I was sucking air, while my brain was yelling “too fast! too fast!” I slowed down as best I could and tried to get my pace back under control. I willed my heartbeat to slow down!

The first half-mile or so was a bit cold, as I anticipated. Once I was moving, I warmed up and felt better.

For whatever reason, I expected this park to be flat. It was not. The hills were not huge – there couldn’t have been more than a 0.5% or 1% change in the grade, but it was enough that I noticed, and long enough to be difficult.

Once I’d found my pace, the first half of the race went smoothly. It was a lovely park, and we weren’t alone. There were other runners, plus at least three or four dog-walkers. A few families with young children were enjoying the playground. There was one family that had come to the park with a photographer, and they visited several places around the park to take family photos. Several times, I saw them posing on the path ahead of me and slowed down, but they were incredibly kind and always waved me through!

I need to mention here that I usually don’t eat breakfast before I run. Usually, my schedule works such that I eat after I run. Today, though, that just didn’t work, and I ate a banana and peanut butter before I left home. I was afraid that I would need something to carry me through until lunch. Mistake! At about the 35 minute mark, my stomach cramped terribly! It hurt!!! I ran through the cramp, but it was HARD and my pace fell apart. Eventually the cramp eased and the pain went away – but after a few minutes it came back. For the remainder of the run, I was struggling to just keep going.

Finally, with only two or three minutes left in the run, I got to another of those hills and just couldn’t run another step. I walked the last bit, then collapsed in the picnic shelter.

Afterward, we sat around and talked for a few minutes about Operation Mobilization (the organziation sponsoring R4TW) and their work with sports missions around the world. There was a platter of Chikin’Minis from Chick-Fil-A, a tray of cookies from one of the grocery stores, and a few pounds of bananas. I couldn’t eat for a few minutes – my upset stomach was NOT happy. Finally I was able to eat a little, and drink some water, without feeling too bad.

Overall I ran 3.92 miles in one hour. It was an interesting experience. It was definitely a great way to start a Saturday morning, and it’s a lot more fun to look back on it now that I understand the organization’s goals for the run.

(Yes, I’m publishing this after midnight. I napped after the run, and now my schedule’s off!)

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weekly wrap-up, 10-3-14 and prepping for tomorrow’s run

This has been a good week – fairly laid-back and very enjoyable.

On Monday morning, I decided to pick up my favorite puppy and take her for a walk.

photo (23)

This is Sadie, refusing to hold still!

We went to the Little Blue Trace Trail. It was warm, and I didn’t want to let Sadie get too dehydrated, so I challenged myself to power-walk the distance and focus on improving my form. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my pace was quite consistent – 16:53 until the end of the run, when I slowed a bit to 16:59.

We walked 3.24 miles, and I was also surprised to discover that it turned out to be a moderately challenging workout. Though I’d expected a moderately lazy workout, my legs were a little bit tired. It wasn’t the same ‘tired’ that I get from a long run, not even close, but I could tell that I’d worked. (I was also a little bit dehydrated – gotta work on that!)

It’s been awhile since I visited the Little Blue Trace Trail, and I’d forgotten how pleasant it is. The trail is made of crushed gravel, which feels much better on your legs/knees than my usual asphalt. It runs more-or-less parallel to the Little Blue River, and for the most part it’s set back from the roads, so it’s filled with nature. You’re running on a white gravel trail, with green grass on either side of you, trees, birds, grasshoppers – nature. And that’s just really pleasant.

I saw FOUR caterpillars, all different colors, during my walk:

photo (24) photo (25) photo (26) photo (27)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to squeeze in another run on Wednesday, 2.57 miles. It was just a run to my faux track, a few laps around, and then home – not nearly as nice as the Little Blue Trace, but it works.

Yesterday and today have been rest days for tomorrow’s run. Fall has arrived with a vengeance, and the temperature took quite a dive last night. Tonight, it’s predicted that we’ll get close to freezing temperatures, and tomorrow morning the temperature is forecasted to be around 45 degrees Fahrenheit during the run. I can’t say that I’m real happy about the timing of this temperature swing – since I’ve been training in 70-degree weather, I’m not sure how my body will respond to the cool. I was originally planning on wearing my pink tank top and black shorts (one of my favorite running outfits!) tomorrow, but with the cool weather I suspect I’ll need something warmer. Perhaps one of my short-sleeve technical shirts with a pair of shorts and my knee-high compression socks? I have a couple of long-sleeve cotton tees, but I really don’t want to wear long sleeves during the race. Of course, I’ll bring a track suit to wear before and after.

So be it. I’ll try to update tomorrow afternoon.

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Monday Memories, part three

click here for part one
click here for part two

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t remember the hospital. Some people have asked me if I had dreams while I was in my coma. If I did, I don’t remember them. Some people have asked me what it felt like to wake up from my coma. I don’t know any more about that than you.

My first few days in the hospital were stressful for everyone except me. I was blissfully unconscious and did not know that there were doctors and nurses around me every day, injecting me with this or that medicine, putting tubes in just about every orifice in my body, adding another IV line. I got some pretty hard-core drugs – painkillers, anesthetics, the kind of prescription drugs you can only get if you’re really sick.

At this time, my only sister was living in Southeast Asia and working with a nonprofit organization. My mother convinced her not to drop everything and board the next flight home, but she was only able to get information through periodic emails from my parents. I cannot imagine how helpless she felt.

My condition improved and worsened like a yo-yo. It changed on a daily and sometimes even hourly basis. After a few days, I was diagnosed with a bad case of pneumonia – a little-known side effect of the ventilator. Antibiotics were added to my IV.

My mother sat with me during the day, and my father sat with me at night. Between their “shifts”, they would send email updates to my sister and to my extended family, none of whom lived in the same city as us. (Remember, this was before Facebook!)

The doctors tried, numerous times, to wean me off the ventilator, but without success. After eleven days, they told my parents that they would try one last time to wean me off the ventilator, but if they were unsuccessful, they would need to perform a tracheotomy – that is, they would have to cut a hole in my neck to provide long-term access to my airway.

The stars aligned, so to speak. Withdrawing the ventilator provided just the right amount of stimulation to wake me from my coma. It was NOT a “Hollywood” scene. According to my mother, I opened my eyes, looked around the room, and appeared to be very confused. I’m pretty severely nearsighted, and I imagine that would have added to my confusion.

Truman Medical Center was, and still is, arguably the best hospital in Kansas City for traumatic injuries. However, this hospital was not one of our insurance’s “approved” hospitals. After I’d been in the ICU for a couple of days, the insurance company wanted to move me to another hospital. The doctors were not in favor of moving me, but there wasn’t much they could do about it. However, this was in the middle of November, and Thanksgiving was coming soon. Because of the upcoming holiday, none of the other hospitals would take a new patient, and I stayed at TMC.

My parents celebrated Thanksgiving with take-out meals from Country Kitchen in my hospital room.

I remained in the ICU for a few more days, then was transferred to the general surgical floor. I was becoming more and more responsive, but still wasn’t totally “with it”. Likely because I didn’t remember the accident, I didn’t understand that I was in the hospital. From day to day and even hour to hour, I would believe that I was somewhere else in the world, and no one could convince me otherwise. At various times, I believed I was in Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia, among other places. I even believed, for a time, that I was in Paris. Because of my confusion, I could not be left alone, and one of my parents had to stay with me at all times to make sure I didn’t pull out my IV or the feeding tube in my nose.

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weekly wrap-up, 9-28-14 – long runs, happiness, and upcoming events

This has been a good week. A bit topsy-turvy, I suppose, but good!

On Monday morning, I received an email alerting me of a publishing credential (Remains of the U-Boats’ Watery Reign). Always a great way to start the week! I ran 3.62 very happy miles in 53:12. The sun was out, and it was just a fantastic run.

I wound up skipping my workout on Tuesday. Bad Melinda! :) I got a last-minute call asking me to participate in a focus group downtown, and that wound up taking a big chunk out of my day. Since it was a cross-training day, I didn’t push it.

Wednesday’s run was also good. 3.13 miles in 46:51. There was a little bit of rain during this run – a steady rain, but not enough that I would consider it a downpour. It was really the perfect amount of rain, just enough to cool me off but not so much that I was running through puddles or chafing excessively.

Thursday’s run, though, was tough. From the moment I woke up, I was struggling to having the ambition to just walk out the door and run. I wanted to run, but it was so hard to convince myself to run! Once I got out there, my legs just were not in it. I slogged through 3.7 miles, but it felt awful.

I took Friday off. Double-bad Melinda. After the lousy run on Thursday, I just couldn’t find the enthusiasm to exercise.

On Saturday, I was planning a long run, and honestly I was pretty determined beforehand to make it a good run. After I’d had the crummy run, I just knew I needed a strong run. The sun was shining, the temperature was moderate, and I was stubborn.

I cannot explain it. Something took over my legs. I just let my legs set my pace, running based on how I felt. It was like I had wings.

I ran 6.65 miles in 1:32:26 – only 13:54/mile. At some points, my pace got as fast as sub-10:00. It was just incredible.

photo (22)

at the halfway point of my amazing long run! woohoo!

Now I will add, the last mile or mile and a half turned out to be pretty difficult. On the one hand, I knew my pace was out of this world, and I was wondering if I could hang on long enough to finish with a strong pace. On the other hand, I hadn’t brought a bottle of water (when will I learn?), and I was VERY dehydrated. I had a serious case of cotton-mouth, and my dry lips were stuck to my dry gums.

But I did hold on, long enough to get home and get a glass of water. :) My legs were exhausted, but I felt fantastic. I’m so excited by this.

On Friday, I got a reminder message about R4TW, which is coming up NEXT SATURDAY, October 4. Where does the time go? It’s one more reason to be glad that Saturday’s run went so well. I’m already nervous about running around people I know – I don’t need to worry about my pace, too. Anonymity doesn’t get enough credit, y’all!

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Monday Memories, part two

click here for part one

In the emergency room, I was greeted by the controlled chaos of trauma management. I was intubated, and a ventilator took over the responsibility of breathing for me.

I was in really bad shape. Remember how I said I’d gone from “a little responsive” to “not at all responsive”? In medical terms, I was a “GCS 3” – ranking a 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. 3 is s as bad as it gets. On the Glasgow Coma Scale, there is no “2”. You are a 3, or you are dead. Once you are a  GCS 3, statistically speaking, there is an 80-96% likelihood that you will either die or be catastrophically brain damaged.

My clothes were cut off me with a what must’ve been a brutally sharp pair of scissors – they cut right through my tough leather belt and my heavy winter coat. I’m a modest person, and if I had been conscious, I assure you I would have been mortified.

It was around this time that I was first identified. I’ve never been a fan of purses and was not carrying one on this night. Instead, my wallet (including my drivers license) was tucked into my pocket. With my clothes removed, they could finally retrieve the wallet. At the same time, one of the residents removed the class ring from my right hand and read the name inscribed on the inside. Surprisingly, she had gone to high school with my older sister, and recognized my name.

A CT scan of my head and spine diagnosed a severe traumatic brain injury. During the accident, my brain had been thrown forward, striking the inside of my skull and shearing the blood vessels of the dura mater and arachnid mater, two of the membranes surrounding the brain. The bleeding created pressure against the tender nerve endings in my brain. This was why I was unresponsive. This bleeding was monitored; if it did not resolve itself, quickly, they would have to perform brain surgery, opening the skull to remove the blood and allow the brain to swell freely.

My spine, thankfully, was uninjured. There was suspicion that I had internal abdominal injuries, but CT scans and x-rays showed that, miraculously, my internal organs were fine. The CT scans also showed that I had a form of mildly collapsed lungs resulting in reduced oxygen exchange.

Further x-rays diagnosed a broken collarbone with torn ligaments (a “distal clavicular fracture with grade 3 acromioclavicular separation”), probably caused by my seat belt. My nose was pretty badly broken (“bilateral nasal fracture”), which probably happened when my head hit the steering wheel (I had a steering-wheel bruise across my face to confirm it). I had bruises all over my body. Below my left eye, a significant laceration was bleeding profusely and required multiple stitches to close.

Specialists from all over the hospital were brought in to treat each of the injuries: a neurosurgeon, of course, to treat the brain injury; an orthopedic surgeon to treat the broken collarbone; a maxilla-facial surgeon to treat the broken nose; a plastic surgeon to stitch the cut under my eye; and, just for good measure, two general surgeons, two residents, one attending physician, and a daily gaggle of medical students. (It WAS a teaching hospital, after all.)

My parents were contacted, and in the wee hours of the morning, I was moved to the surgical ICU.

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weekly wrap-up, 9-21-14

This has been another good week. Not easy, but for the most part, I’ve accomplished my goals.

Monday morning was overcast, rainy, and just overall dreary. I was determined to run, and I didn’t really want to leave my phone at home again, so I wrapped it in a plastic sandwich bag to protect it from the rain. Worked like a charm – kept the phone dry, but I still got lots of feedback from my Nike+ app. I ran 3.61 very easy miles.

photo (21)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plastic bags also make instant photo softeners

Monday proved to be a sign of the week to come. I woke up Tuesday morning to the sound of rain pounding on the side of my house, and I spent at least ten minutes lying in bed and thinking of all the reasons why this would be a good day to skip my workout. But skip I did not – I cross-trained for 30 minutes with the Sworkit app.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, we had a big thunderstorm roll through – what my father would call “a real gullywasher”. I was awakened at about 4am by (loud!) thunder and lightning, and I never really got back to sleep. My shoulder was sore, probably a combination of yesterday’s cross training plus sleeping on it funny, and I really wanted to take an ibuprofen (but I refuse take pain meds before I run). So when I went for my run Wednesday, I was extra tired and extra grumpy. My “plan” called for intervals. I wasn’t feeling very strong, but I tried to push myself and, to my surprise, I was largely successful. I rana 2.55 miles with a sub-15:00 pace and felt very strong by the time I was done. My shoulder was still sore but felt much better.

Thursday was… weird. That’s the only way I can describe it. I overslept – no surprise since I’d slept so poorly the night before. Between that and some late morning plans that I couldn’t change, I had less time than usual, and instead of running 40-50 minutes, I knew I would have to aim closer to 30. Since I was running shorter, I decided to push myself a little more, and… I guess I ran a really good tempo run. I’ve said before that I’m terrible at pacing, and I’ve NEVER understood how to find your tempo run pace, but I ran 2.62 miles at a 13:51 pace. At a CONSISTENT 13:51 pace – not speeding up and slowing down, but consistently at a pace between 12:00 and 14:00 (which for me, is pretty consistent). Suffice it to say I was pretty flabbergasted. My legs never stop surprising me.

On Friday, I cross-trained for 30 minutes with the Sworkit app.

Now. If you have a weak stomach, or if you are a guy who is grossed out by girl stuff, stop reading now.

After my Friday workout, I started my period. I am one of the lucky ones who gets brutal cramps, and it just sucks all the energy out of me. I’m not exactly training “for” anything – I mean, I’m training to get back in shape, and I’m committed to do this one-hour run in October, but I’m not really training for a particular race.

So I gave myself a day off. If I was really pushing myself to train for a half marathon or marathon, I probably would’ve tried to do something, but truth be told I don’t think my body would have held up for 6 miles. I would’ve been lucky to finish 3.

However, it does seem like this is not the first time that my cycle has been preceded by a really awesome run.  How strange! I’ve been researching the effect of women’s menstrual cycles on running, and the only conclusion I can find is that there are no conclusions. Everyone is affected differently!

Tomorrow I should be able to resume my training schedule. The run on October 4 is basically a fun run. You have to run for one hour, and their gimmick is that people will be participating all over the world, and they will add together all the miles/kilometers run. If it’s 40,000km, that is the circumference of the earth, so we will have run around the world, yay. For me, four miles (6.4km) should be easy. 4.5 miles (7.2km) will be challenging. 5 miles (8k) would be awesome but is probably just out of reach for me right now!

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Monday Memories, part one

I suppose “memories” is a misnomer. My accident defined a big part of my life, and yet I don’t actually remember it.

The first part of this story is easy to tell. I’ve told it before. I don’t remember any of this – I know this story because others have told me about it. I’ve read the police report and the hospital chart. I have amnesia. Not the “made-for-tv-movie” kind, where I remember nothing from before the accident and everything from after. The memories closest to the accident – most of my adolescence – are gone, although I remember my childhood well enough. The weeks after the accident are gone too, and the months after are fuzzy. It’s easy to tell this story, because it might as well have happened to someone else.

But it didn’t happen to someone else. It happened to me.

I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. My life was pretty close to perfect. I grew up in Independence, MO, a large suburban community outside Kansas City, Missouri. High school was almost over. I was smart, and I was among a group of about a dozen students (out of 400- plus in my class) competing for valedictorian. I had already been accepted to my “safety-safety school” (the school I would go to if I didn’t get accepted to my safety school), plus they’d offered me a significant scholarship. I wasn’t really concerned about getting accepted to the school of my choice, since I had fantastic grades and test scores.

On the evening of Wednesday, November 8, I drove to another nearby town to visit friends. Late that evening, I pulled onto an interstate to drive home. The weather was poor that night. The first ice storm of the year would ultimately cover the area with a half-inch of ice.

At 10:30 pm, according to the police report, I hit a patch of black ice and lost control. My car plowed into the 18-wheel semi ahead of me.

My torso was thrown forward. I was wearing my seat belt, thankfully – otherwise I surely would have been thrown through the windshield and onto the interstate. My head hit the steering wheel and possibly also the windshield. I fell unconscious, probably as soon as my head hit the steering wheel, although it’s possible that I remained conscious for a few minutes afterward. At some point I quit breathing.

Someone called 911. The police and fire departments, as well as an ambulance, responded. The police wound up closing down the interstate entirely due to the treacherous conditions. My car was crumpled around me, and the fire department had to use the hydraulic rescue tool known as the “Jaws of Life” to extricate me. When they were through, the car was reduced to scrap metal.

It took thirty minutes to extricate me. My condition got worse. I went from “unconscious but a little bit responsive” to “unconscious and unresponsive”. When I was removed from the car, I was placed on a backboard and in a cervical collar, with an ambu-bag forcing air into my lungs. The EMTs strongly recommended that I be transported to the hospital via air ambulance, but the weather had continued to worsen, and the helicopter pilots felt it would be unsafe for them to take off. I was transported to Truman Medical Center via ground ambulance.

stay tuned for more…

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weekend wrap-up, 9-14-14

This week has been (somewhat surprisingly) great.

This is my first “official” week in the workout plan that I put together for September. I know I need to get into the best shape possible before R4TW on October 4, and I knew that the only way this could happen would be if I moved my workouts to the morning.

I am not, by nature, a morning person. By extension, I’m not a morning exerciser. For most of my running career, I’ve been a midday runner, and since I already work odd hours, it worked for me. But right now, just with everything else going on in my life, I knew I would have to get over myself, roll out of bed, and exercise.

photo (15)Monday began well. I rolled out of bed, dressed, forced a bit of cheerfulness, and headed out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo (16)On that day, I ran through a park adjacent to an elementary school near my house. I was greeted by Chocolate the Beanie Baby Moose sitting on the sidewalk…

 

 

 

photo (17)…and a souvenir Barry Bonds baseball in the grass. I took both items to the front office of the elementary school and gave them to a secretary to put in the lost and found. I’m sure someone is missing them.

I ran 3.1 miles in 48:54. Pretty slow, but a nice way to work out my legs.

 

On Tuesday, I cross-trained for 30 minutes. I used an app called Sworkit, which led me through several body-weight strengthening moves. I’m currently working on a full review of this app, but suffice it to say, I am very pleased with it.

On Wednesday, when I first opened the door, it was COLD! Not frigid, but the temperature had very suddenly dropped down into the upper 40s and 50s, and I was definitely surprised. There was enough drizzle and rain that I decided to leave my iPhone at home, and I ran without any music. I’m guessing I ran about two miles.

photo (18)On Thursday, the rain had left but it was still pretty chilly. I was extra-grumpy when I rolled out of bed, and really did NOT feel like running! I seriously considered staying home. I got dressed and forced myself out the door for a run – and I’m glad I did! Yes, it was cool and overcast, but I ran 3.6 miles at a 14:48 pace, which was pleasantly surprising!

 

On Friday, I cross-trained for 30 min with the Sworkit app. Again, I was very pleased with it. It’s not running, but I worked up a good sweat and stretched my muscles.

photo (20)Saturday is the one day of the week that I can manage an afternoon run. After a light lunch, I ran 6.3 miles. This run was really quite glorious. The sun was shining. There was very little breeze. The temperature had warmed up, just a bit, to 60 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect running weather!

 

 

 

 

photo (19)I saw this woolly bear caterpillar while I was out, crawling along a decorative retaining wall. He’s thick and dark-colored. According to the old wives’ tale, this means a bad winter. Boo.

 

 

 

 

 

As I always do when I’m running long, I tried to hold myself back in the first few miles. I didn’t want to run too fast and burn out. Around the halfway point, I realized that my pace was a bit faster than I anticipated, and the thought occurred to me that I just might be able to push my pace a little bit on the last half of this run. Still, I didn’t want to push too hard and burn out. I was one mile from home when I realized I could reach a sub-15:30 pace if I pushed this last mile. I was exhausted, but I did it anyway, and I am SO SO pleased that I clocked in at 15:23!

Finally, today is Sunday, and that means REST DAY! I’m writing, relaxing, and getting myself ready for what I hope will be another great week. What about you?

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