Friday, October 28, 2011

Five For Friday

Happy Friday everyone! 

1)  Support a runner AND a great cause!  My brother-in-law's cousin, Shanna, is running the NYC marathon in 9 days and raising money for her children's schools in the process.  Go here and read about Shanna's running and fundraising efforts.

Run Shanna!
She's almost made it to her goal, any support would be greatly appreciated!

2) Two half marathons that I want to run next year are opening up registration on 11/1 and both will likely sell out quickly.  The Hippie Chick half marathon in May, which I wrote about here, and then the Vancouver Lake half in January - which I haven't run before but it's being held the day after my 42nd birthday and I think that's a sign that I should run it, yes? And only a $35 entry fee - yes please! After two DNS half marathons this fall due to my plantar fasciitis, I'm a little gun shy on registering again - but don't want to miss out on the action come spring (when my foot WILL be feeling better...positive thinking people...).  I think I'm just going to take the plunge and register.  Hopefully everything will fall into place and I'll be able to run both of them.

3) On the Christmas List (in case any family members are reading!):

From Lucy - love this shirt.  I love Lucy stuff and this looks perfect for colder weather running. 

4) Due to a short, late summer here in the PacNW I have a ton of tomatoes that never got ripe.  So this weekend I'll be making Green Tomato Salsa.  Love not letting stuff go to waste, and Green Tomato Salsa works great not only as a salsa, but also as a relish on sandwiches.  Super yummy.

5) On the docket for the weekend:  above mentioned salsa making, 2 kiddo soccer games, 1 kiddo birthday party and a kiddo halloween party (which means I also have to finish up 2 kiddo halloween costumes!).  I don't remember being this busy as a child.  Maybe that's because my mom knew how to say NO!  Gotta work on that.

Happy Friday everyone - thanks for reading!
Fitness Friday Blog Hop

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

blah blah blah

I woke up this morning feeling blah.  Maybe because it's been beautiful out and I haven't been able to run.  Maybe because I watched a(nother) half marathon pass me by with a DNS (hello Run Like Hell...and goodbye...).  I went to the pool to "run" this morning and my heart wasn't in the workout at all - I had a hard time concentrating on my intervals and kept looking longingly over at the hot tub area wishing that I could just sit in it and relax for an hour.  Maybe it's just one of those days.  Who knows.  I just felt off...yucky. 

I went home and got through the flurry of getting everyone fed, dressed and ready to go.  As I was driving my daughter to preschool I caught a glimpse of the sky in the rear view mirror.  The sun was just starting to rise and the sky was changing color.  Instead of continuing on the road to school, I took a quick left and drove to the top of the hill where we sat and watched this:

sunrise over Mt. Hood
 I know everyone has days like this.  With the not running thing, lately I've had quite a few - lots of thoughts swirling around in this head and not all of them positive.  But taking the time to watch this beautiful sunrise was a good reminder to snap out of it.  See the beauty out there and just appreciate the day.  I'm telling you, Mother Nature got it right y'all - she's good.

I went back to PT yesterday for my 2nd round of ASTYM.  I've done absolutely NO impact bearing exercises, but my foot all of a sudden got achy again.  We discussed this and decided that it's probably because I'm not stretching regularly enough, so we're going to see if implementing more will make it go away again.  At the end of last week my foot actually felt really good for the first time in a while.

My leg still looks beautiful after my 2nd round of ASTYM yesterday...

I figure since I live in Portland people probably just think my leg has a tattoo sleeve, so at least they aren't thinking I'm a battered woman.

This weekend I get to try to run on a treadmill, 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking which I can do for as long as I don't feel any pain.  Hopefully it will feel good.

And on a completely unrelated note, but I just think it's funny, here's a convo with my (4 year old) daughter, yesterday:

Daughter:  "Mom, I don't like you - you're not a nice Mommy". (I can't remember why she said this, she's in this phase right now of saying this whenever I say no to anything). 
Me:  "Ok, well I LOVE you".
Daughter:  "Wait Santa watching?"
Me:  "Yes, always".
Daughter:  "Actually, you're SUCH A GOOD Mama!  I love you A LOT!".

Whatever it takes people, whatever it takes...

Friday, October 21, 2011


Yesterday my son's school held a jog-a-thon as the school's fundraiser for the year.  We are really lucky that this is the only fundraiser that the school has to do - the community support is great, and the donations that are raised are enough for the year.  This year as a special treat they had Blaze, the Portland Trail Blazer's mascot, come out and run a little bit with the kids.  We are huge Blazer fans in our household, so Owen got all decked out in his Blazer gear in anticipation of the day:

Head to toe Blazers
 Each class ran for around 30 minutes, and Owen ran 2.6 miles in that time!  Woot!  He did great!  Every time I saw him he was running - I was so proud of him.  He ran 13 laps (on this track 5 laps is a mile) and he really seemed to enjoy himself too, which is the most important thing.

It was a great day and the kids were super excited to meet Blaze:

and do a little running with him:

I especially love that the fundraiser was fitness related and didn't involve selling candy or other treats that aren't necessarily healthy.  It was a great way to promote physical activity AND raise money for our school. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Torture at the PT

Yesterday I went to physical therapy to come up with a plan to get rid of my plantar fasciitis.  The PT and I talked pretty extensively about my running history, goals going forward and also, of course, the plantar fasciitis, symptoms and such.   He did strength tests to determine if I had any weaknesses in my ankles, knees or hips, and hellooo weak hips!  I guess they are super weak...who knew?

After his assessment, he decided that my weak hip doesn't hold my leg/knee in correct alignment which then causes my foot to overpronate and that is what is causing the plantar fasciitis (did you follow that?).    So now I have a nifty print-out of hip strengthening exercises to do daily as well as twice weekly PT appointments for the next 3 weeks.  Hopefully we've figured out the cause of the PF and if I can get my hip stronger, it won't keep coming back.

Next up was a nifty form of torture therapy called "ASTYM".  The hip exercises will help prevent the PF from returning, but this therapy supposedly will promote healing in my foot now.  Basically, the PT took this plastic tool that looks like a flat ice cream scoop and SCRAPED AND SCRAPED it up and down my leg.  The idea is that it will break up scar tissue and stimulate healing.  Oh so painful, so so so so painful.  This is why my doctor cackled when he told me it would be uncomfortable - clearly he is evil.  When he was scraping on the arch of my foot I could actually hear popping sounds of the tissue breaking up. 

The PT said I "might" have some bruising.  Um yeah...

holy bruises batman!
Lucky me, I get to have this done two more times!  If it will get me running again it will be worth it.

In other news I found a new pool that has early morning hours so I can get my super fun pool running done at the crack ass of dawn just like when I was road running!  This morning after getting in the pool at 5am I was greeted by Ron who wanted to discuss his knee injury, my foot injury, his grandchildren..all while I was trying to do an interval workout.  I need to get a waterproof Ipod!  Ron did make up for all of it though by asking me if I was a college student....I think Ron's eyes might be as bad as his knees...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quick update

Just a quick update - I went to the doctor yesterday for X-rays.  Good news that it IS just plantar fasciitis, not a stress fracture or anything else.  So he prescribed physical therapy starting today, twice a week for three weeks.  He kind of cackled and said they would do something called ASTYM on my foot, which he said would be uncomfortable.  So, we'll see how that goes.  I'll post more after my appointment this afternoon.

Congrats to all the racers this past weekend!  I love reading all the race recaps! 
You all RAWK!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Do as I say...

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who was debating whether or not she should do a 10 mile long run when her knee has been a little tender AND her longest run in a while was six miles.  My sage advice to her was not to do it, followed up with "the goal is to be able to keep running.  If you run the 10 and hurt yourself you won't be able to run at all".  Aren't I smart?  Such good advice I spew out...

On Wednesday I went out to do some speed training on this little route in my neighborhood.  The plan was to warm up for a mile and then do 2 mile repeats at around 7:00 pace with 1/2 mile jogs in between.  About 3/4 through my second fast mile I felt kind sharp pain in my foot.  REALLY sharp.  It hurt to run on it.   So, since you all know how wise I am you don't even have to ask what I did - I stopped, right?  Wrong - I finished the mile AND jogged another mile to cooldown and then limped my way back home.  Why?  Because that was what was on my schedule.  Now my foot pretty much just hurts period. 

I feel like banging my head against a wall.  NOT because I'm frustrated with the injury (well, partly because of that) but mostly because I am my own worst enemy.  Obviously, I should have stopped running when I felt pain - but if I'm really honest, I shouldn't have been running at all.  My foot wasn't 100% when I started.  I really shouldn't have even done my last two long runs.  I haven't had a completely pain free run in a while. I just want to run so badly I get through the runs and when they are finished I pretend like all is well. 

But, reality is smacking me in the face (or foot!), and I'm going to have to surrender to it.  I have a doctor's appointment set up for Monday where I'll get some xrays done to make sure I'm not dealing with anything else besides PF.  Then I'm fully prepared to hear - and I've even decided already - that I'm going to have to stop running for a while.  In my mind I've settled on hanging it up for a month, but we'll see what the Dr. says and go from there.

Anyone else find it ironic that I start a blog called "Just Keep Running" and promptly become unable to run?  Maybe I should rename it:  Just Keep {thinking about} running?  Just keep {pool} running? Suggestions are welcome! :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekend happenings

On Saturday morning, M and I had 10 miles on our schedule and I was going to have a busy day with both kids having their first soccer games of the season (at different times of the day about 3 hours apart, of course).  This was not only the first game of the season, but also my daughter's first sport she's ever participated in.  So it was a big event, and I wanted to be able to focus on that without worrying about getting the run super early morning run it was....

We love photos at 5am (love my extra chins).
 We ran out on the Springwater Trail - which is a really flat (aka better for my foot) and paved trail close to where we live.  We've run here a lot and I have always felt safe - but at 5am it was pitch black and there are no lights since the trail winds through the countryside for the most part.  Plus, there are usually lots of other runners/bikers out there, but apparently not that early in the morning.  We decided to do a 2.5 mile out and back in each direction from the car so we wouldn't get too far away from where we started.  I don't know if that really was any safer, but it made us feel more comfortable while we were running.

The morning was perfect - nice and cool, and we ended with pretty skies looking like this:

And our customary treat afterwards (coffee is pretty essential after a 5am 10 miler!):

Ran home, changed (no time for a shower even -yes, looking good) and ran back out the door with these goofballs to witness their soccer debuts:
 And of course, the first soccer game of the season deserves a special treat (milkshakes! yum!):
my kids will not ever pose normally for a picture...
Between soccer games we shopped for Brian's 39th birthday which is on Monday.   Home around 3pm, showered (thank goodness), threw together a pear crisp (this recipe - soooo not healthy....sooooooo good!) and went to a friend's home for an early dinner party at 5.  Home by 9pm - whew!  Busy day, but really fun.

Sunday morning was marathon day!  As I mentioned, I was volunteering at the marathon with some friends and it was just uh.may.zing.  First off, our shift didn't start until 9am, so I got to sleep until a normal hour!  Yippee!  M and I picked up our friend Been and we headed over to our volunteer spot at Mile 21 where we met up with another friend, Steve.

Right after we got there we saw the lead runners going through.  Obviously I've never seen them while running in a race, so it was pretty cool to witness how fast they were still running at mile 21 of a marathon!  Crazy.   Shortly afterward the throngs of runners started to come through.  So many people - all shapes, sizes, paces and abilities.  It was so inspiring.  Just knowing that every runner had a different journey that lead them to this race, I alternated between tearing up and laughing.  I had the best time. 

Mile 21 volunteers!
Our job was to pass out Ultima to the runners and encourage them as much as possible.  M was lucky to get an extra special job:
Holding the Ultima sign and the Vasaline tub - she was the Ultima luber...
Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the runners because we were pretty busy the entire time passing out drinks.  In a way, watching them all made me wish I was running - but it also made me think that I'd like to get involved in the organizing side of races at some level as maybe that's something to look into a little more.

Runners are awesome - so many of them thanked US for being out there, which was super nice but I was more than happy to give back to the sport, and specifically this race, because it really has given me a lot the last few years.  I definitely would encourage anyone to volunteer at a race - it's a very gratifying experience.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Volunteering - PDX Marathon!

This Sunday I am volunteering at the Portland Marathon!  For the last two years I have run the marathon, and I'm so excited this year to be able to "give back" a little bit to the running community and cheer on the runners as they push to complete the race.

I'm volunteering at Mile 21.  I chose this spot because I know that this is where I always started to need a little more support and encouragement.  I'm super excited.

The weather forecast is calling for morning showers, but (as of right now, at least) they are expecting them to taper off by 9am.  So, except for the super fasties, it shouldn't rain for the entire event like it did last year.  Rain isn't the best for the runners, but I bet most would take it over heat any day.  Volunteering in the rain probably isn't as fun either - but hey, we're Oregonians, we're used to liquid sunshine!

If you are running the race and/or know someone who is, let me know and I'll try to give them an extra "woo-hoo!!" as they are running by.  My friend Christine is running this Sunday and it will be her FIRST marathon!  I'm so excited to see her complete her goal.

Good luck to anyone racing Portland, or any other races this weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Reading about Steve Jobs life and death yesterday, these two quotes resonated with me: 

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. ... Stay hungry. Stay foolish." --Stanford University Commencement, 2005

"That's been one of my mantras -- focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."-- BusinessWeek interview, May 1998

Think simply, follow your heart, stay hungry, stay foolish. RIP Steve.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You complete me...

I was bitching about discussing my foot injury with a non-running friend the other day - moaning that I miss the long runs of marathon training and relaying my hopes that I can get this PF under control for good. After proclaiming that she doesn’t think running is that good for you anyway (?), she asked me why I just didn’t take six months off running to let my foot heal and "give my body a break".

I’m pretty sure I gave her a look that shot daggers - and mentally I came up with a billion reasons why I would never willingly do this (because seriously, it’s crazy talk, right?) – and then I remembered manners and mumbled something like “well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that” and we moved on. But her comment stuck with me for a while afterwards.

Her question wasn’t completely off base. It’s not like she suggested I quit running all together – just take an extended period of time off to allow complete healing. So why was the instant response I felt so defensive, so defiant?

It’s because running isn’t just something I do – it’s a pretty integral part of who I am.

Running is my stress release, my confidant, my social connection, my sanity and my sense of accomplishment. Each step has counseled me through many problems, been with me when I wanted to think, when I wanted to escape and when I wanted to shout with joy. Running fits in everywhere in my life.

Of course I have other outlets that somewhat serve these purposes as well, but running is the one thing that constantly delivers. A bad day running is usually better than any day without it. Without running I feel a bit lost, a little less than myself. 

So take six months off?  No thanks. I'll keep working through this.  I'll remember to appreciate the runs I can do now, and look forward to the longer ones down the road.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Back to the pool...

So my big plan to alleviate my plantar fasciitis is in motion, and I'm feeling good about it.  It is HARD to take a step back and not run as much.  I so so so miss the long runs of marathon training.  I want to be out there on the road.  But, if I want to "just keep running" for the long haul, I guess I have to be patient and smart about things in the short term....sigh.

This morning I went to the pool for an hour of pool running.  This injury first developed after I ran the Vancouver Marathon and I had been going to the pool twice a week while it was healing.  I quit going when my training ramped up to get ready for Hood to Coast.  So today I got to see all my old pool buddies again.  They go to the pool to "workout" taking the water exercise classes.  I say that with quotes because from what I can tell it is really just a social hour...they just tread water and chat - they don't even bother to look at the poor instructor standing on the side of the pool giving them instructions!  I got a few "oh, we haven't seen you in a while", and "you run faster than I swim!", and my favorite that I hear over and over, "aren't you tired yet?".  Everyone is always very friendly and hey, they make me feel like a youngster, so I'll take it!

I get my pool workouts from this training plan by Pete Pfitzinger.  This is what I did today: 
5 min warm-up
3 sets of 7x1:30 hard
(30 sec easy recovery)
(2 min easy btwn sets)
5 min cooldown

Total workout = 56 min

Pool running is hard for two reasons - first, you REALLY have to concentrate to get a good workout, and second, it's really boring - back and forth in the same section of the pool over and over...oy.  You can't just coast or zone out, you really have to push it to feel like it's working.  It's very effective though if you work hard at it.  At one point I felt a twinge in my hamstring and I thought how embarrassing it would be to pull a muscle running in the pool! 

Anyway, by replacing my Monday run with the pool run I give my foot 3 days (Sunday -Tuesday) to recover from the longer run on Saturday.  I think this will help...or I hope it will...fingers crossed.

On a totally unrelated note - this goes in the WTF category...

A Footloose remake? Why? Why? Why? Is nothing sacred?

Plantar Fasciitis & Weekend run

As I've mentioned (and mentioned and mentioned), I have plantar fasciitis - and reading other blogs it sounds like many other runners do too.  I thought I had mine somewhat under control, so I kind of slacked off on treatment and it's flaired up again.  I think the nature of this injury is that it will reappear unless I vigilantly take care of it.  These are a few of the things I'm doing to (hopefully) get it under control:

Taping my foot.  Plantar Fasciitis is an injury to the arch of the foot.  Inflamation leads to little micro tears in the arch  (the pain is felt in the heel, but the damage is actually in the arch) and taping the foot gives the arch support so that these tears don't occur.

Here's how I tape my foot.  You need two types of tape - rigid strapping tape and multi-purpose cover tape.

First I take the white multi-purpose tape and wrap it around the side of the foot.  Wrap from just above the arch on the inside of the foot around to the same place on the other side.  This tape just provides protection from the more rigid tape you apply next:

View from inside of foot.
Here's what it looks like from the bottom of the foot:
Next, take the rigid tape and cut off 3 strips that will go from the inside of your foot to the other side across the arch, like this:
Start on the inside and pull under foot to the other side.

 Repeat this with two more pieces of tape so that the whole bottom of your foot is covered.  Like this:

Then you want to take a a final piece of the rigid tape to wrap along the top of these pieces around the foot to hold the whole thing together.

The end result should look something like this:
From the bottom

Arch side
 I literally keep the tape on all the time.  I find that it really helps to support my foot, and when my foot isn't warmed up yet it prevents those painful first steps that so often happen with PF.  I re-tape before each run.  Plus, it's super fashionable - see?  Here's me in Lake Tahoe this summer:

If you look closely, you can see my foot is the beach...

It's hard to be this sexy - don't be a hater.
Equipment.  I use these high tech tools to combat PF:
Frozen water bottle

golf ball (duh!)
I roll my foot on the frozen water bottle every night to reduce inflamation.  And I roll my foot on the golf ball every single morning before I get up.  My husband jokes that I'm getting my motor running while I sit on the side of my bed rolling my foot on a golf ball.  During the day the foot gets warmed up and loose, but as you sleep it tightens up - so the first step you take with PF is often painful because the arch of the foot is literally tearing.  Rolling on the golf ball helps to get the blood circulating in the foot and minimizes or eliminates the tearing.   The tape also helps to prevent this.

Run Flat.  Running hills apparently aggravates PF, so minimizing hill running is beneficial.  This is kind of hard for me, seeing how I basically live at the bottom of a hill and getting out of my neighborhood is a climb - but I try my best.  I'm also trading one road running session for a pool running session each week, so hopefully that will help.

Limit running.  This is probably a no brainer, but I'm hoping that if I'm very dilligent in the other things I mentioned above I won't have to limit running too much!

What about you?  Any other remedies for getting rid of Plantar Fasciitis? I'd love to hear any new suggestions!

This weekend Michelle and I went out to the Springwater Trail with another friend, Robin, to do a 6 mile run.  It was perfect running weather - cool but NOT raining.  The trail is pretty, and it's nice and flat, so I thought it would be good for my foot to do our run out there. 

Really love super close ups at 7am!

The trail is pretty and we saw lots of bunnies and also lots of slugs (ick).  I posed at pretty little bridges like this...

I attempted to snap a picture of Michelle and Robin, but it's blurry because I am a crappy photographer....
Luckily for me, Michelle is better...

It was a good run.  My foot is feeling better now than it did last week, so I'm hopeful that the changes I have made in my training will help out.

Tomorrow I am pool running!  I haven't gone since July, and I'm sure the blue haired ladies at the pool have missed me...

Thanks for reading!