Monday, December 3, 2012

6 weeks and counting

It feels like I have been training for this race forever, and I really mean FOREVER.  It's been a gradual buildup in miles and the longest training plan I have ever followed.  I've usually stuck to 16 week plans for marathons and 9-10 week plans for halfs.  But because of the intensity of running a half marathon and then getting up the next day and running a full, I found a plan and have pretty much stuck to it.  This plan is 28 weeks (so it really has felt like forever).  When I started the first few weeks of the plan it was early July, hot, humid and "long runs" were 3 miles long.  Twenty-two weeks in and somehow I've managed to run a number of back to back short long runs followed by long long runs.  Last weekend I managed a 10 miler before work on Friday and a 22 miler on Saturday.  My first reaction was "Holy Crap!  I'm really going to do this."  I was exhausted, but shockingly two days later (today) I found the ambition to get out for a 4 mile run and felt pretty good.  I know I still have a ways to go (7+ more miles), but I'm so close and I'm feeling okay.  It really is shocking how the body learns to adapt to the abuse.

So here I am, knowing I only have one more back to back long run--almost 3 weeks away.  Winter has left for the moment and even though I know it will return (probably tomorrow actually) I also know I can make this happen.

Six weeks left . . . what a journey this has been and I still have more to do.  I'm ready.  I can do this.

Friday, November 9, 2012

the Lake

Yesterday morning was one of those rare mornings in which my entire run was in the dark and there was very little wind.  I decided to run along the Lake, one of my favorite places to run.  I had to get up early to fit my 8.5 miler in before returning home for the usual weekday morning hustle and bustle and was looking to just get the run completed before today's 20 miler.

Approximately a mile in, I knew this run was going to be different.  I wasn't feeling all that awesome or all that horrible and the weather was kind of ho hum, but the moment I spotted the ore ship docked in the lower harbor I just had a different feeling about the day.  It was lit up like the biggest Christmas tree I had ever seen and the spotlight was shining across the harbor to the light at the end of the break wall.  I could see the beam of light as it stretched across the harbor and everything was so still and quiet.  It was early enough that I had almost the entire route to myself--I only saw 2 walkers and a dozen or so cars the entire time I was out there.  It was so calm that there were no waves and the Lake was practically a sheet of glass.  That spotlight reflected on the harbor in an eerily kind of mirror.  As I rounded the corner by the coast guard station I could no longer see the ship or it's beacon above the Lake.  I ran on for another mile and a half until I turned around to head home.  Immediately upon turning around I could see the ship (to my surprise) and quickly realized it had already left port.  Then I noticed that I could see a glow on the horizon, which was another ship.  I could not see the lights of town and the upper harbor dock was behind me.  Suddenly I had a sense of what it must have been like to be or live along this great lake 100 years ago.  No sound of a car, no sound of people, not even the sound of the Lake.  I couldn't really see the Lake at that point because it was so dark.  It was just me, the darkness and knowing this beautiful lake was out there under that big ship.  Within the next mile and a half the ship had moved so far offshore that I could barely see the glow of its lights and within the next half mile it was gone.  Just like that, in less than an hour that spotlight was gone and the ship had moved on.

I'm not sure how to describe the feeling I had from the experience.  Most people would just say it was a ship on the Lake . . . wow (likely with sarcasm).  And I'm not really looking for a metaphor from the experience but quite honestly it was beautiful and peaceful and kind of awe-inspiring.  In short, just what I needed to start the day and a big reminder of why I love to run so much.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm back!

Did I mention that I hadn't taken 4 weeks off from running in a row other than the weeks after each of my children were born?  Being injured was tough for me and I did not take it well.  Needless to say, when the doctor told me to take 4 weeks off I cut it short by a day or two (really, it was only a day or two) and didn't exactly go back at it as slowly as I'm sure he wanted me to.

Which leads me to today.  After a couple of mostly comfortable runs I decided to keep at it.  After 18 days of "keeping at it" I decided to run the Fox Cities 1/2.  I signed up for it a couple weeks before the injury and Sunday was supposed to be a 13 mile training run for Goofy's and since I was feeling pretty good on my runs I thought I would take it easy and see what I could do.

Race day arrived and I was nervous . . . much more nervous than I usually am before a race!  I kept telling myself it was time to see what I was made of, but deep down I was worried that I couldn't do it.  Was it because I had only been back for 2 1/2 weeks?  Was it because my longest run in 2 months was a 9 miler only 8 days prior?  Really, I just wanted to finish to prove to myself that I could do it.  I knew I could run a 1/2; I've run almost a dozen over the last few years.  But could I run a 1/2 with the limited training in the final weeks?  Was I tough enough, mentally and physically, to pull it off?  Would my injury rear its ugly head mid-race?

Well, I'm happy to report that all went well.  My husband and I started off together slowly.  I was mostly hoping just to finish, but I also wanted to do so with respect.  I wanted to run the entire race and I wanted to be under an 11:30/mile pace.  The first few miles hovered around an 11:00/mile pace, which was comfortable.  By mile 6, we were speeding up, but I still felt good.  By mile 11, I knew I would be okay and the last 1.1 miles were my fastest of the race (by quite a bit).  I have to admit I was giddy at the finish and I knew I had my mojo back!

Now it's time to train for Goofy's.  I have 3 1/2 months and a lot of injury-free miles to cover.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Time keeps moving on

It's been awhile since I've landed at my blog.  My biggest hang up has the the inability to run.  It all started with a great backpacking trip and a run 3 days after returning home.  Two miles into that run, it hurt a little and then a lot.  I just had to get home . . . hoping it was just shin splints.  Four weeks and 2 doctor appointments later (and an x-ray to be on the safe side) and it was determined that I needed to take some time off, might have a stress fracture although I was told it was unlikely, and that it was probably some tendinitis.  So, for the first time in my life I missed a race I had signed up for and watched all the racers run by without me.

For only the 3rd time in 10 years I took more than a week off from running (and the other two times were after giving birth to my two children), and almost 9 years since I had an injury.  It's unbelievable how stressed out all of this made me and how bad I was jonesing for a run.  Yes, I could ride my bike and I was allowed to swim (although I probably would have drowned if I had tried), but it just doesn't compare to the release and the great workout of a run.

So after 4 week without a run, I gave it a try last week.  It was ugly and painful, but not in the leg-hurting kind of way.  So, I tried again a few days later.  Leg still felt good and I actually felt like I was running again.  It's not real shocking how much my stress level has gone down the last few days also.

I'm hoping this means I'm back, but only time will tell . . .

Monday, July 2, 2012


I tried something today I haven't done in 5 years, I ran without my heart rate monitor on.  When I started running I never wore it.  Really at that point, I just wanted to get from point A to B back to A without dying, passing out, thorwing up, having an asthma attack or embarrassing myself in some really major way (which I have done more than once, by the way).  I had no idea what a heart rate monitor was or why anyone would ever use it.

But then 5 years later I found myself pregnant with my first child and my doctor told me I could run as long as I kept my heart rate low enough.  Thus, the search for a reliable heart rate monitor.  I will admit it was weird at first and I found myself checking it quite regularly . . . say every minute or so.  But over time, it became second nature to know it was there and to only check it when going up hills or doing something else that made me think maybe, just maybe, I should slow down from my already snails-pace.  I always liked to track my miles also, so I ended up wearing my Polar watch/HR monitor along with an old-school, early-edition Garmin (which was huge, slow and bulky).  A few years back I upgraded to a Garmin thanks to my wonderful husband who bought it for me for an anniversary gift.  This was a great upgrade, allowing me to have my HR, mileage, pace, etc. available at all times.  And so it came to be that I never went for a run without having all of that information at my fingertips.

Until today, when I realized about 30 seconds into my run that I had forgotten to put the HR strap on.  I almost went home to get it but really, was it all that necessary?  I'm happy to report that my run went fine.  I tried to judge my effort by how I was feeling, which was a little difficult due to the heat, but overall it was a successful run.  It felt kind of liberating to not have it, like I was in control of my run instead of the little computer attached to my wrist.  I typically forgo other electronics (such as an iPod) while running, other than to carry my cell phone in case of emergency.  And I think going forward I'm going to try to leave the HR strap at home a little more often.

Monday, June 18, 2012

New goals, bigger ambitions

More than two months after registration opened, we finally signed up to run Goofy's Marathon and a Half.  It was my idea and I've been thinking about how I really feel the need to do this for so long that it's kind of hard to believe we've actually committed ourselves to the race.  Holy wah!  I can't believe we've signed up for this race.  I'm excited for it, but I have to admit that it is intimidating!
We found a training program online.  It is a 28 week program, and starts in 12 days.  Because I'm running at least one half marathon between now and then (and hopefully two half marathons) I won't really start the official "training" program until after those races as I will be training for those races and then jump into that training program after I complete the halfs.  This will leave me with 16 weeks to devote to training exclusively for Goofy's but I should have a great base going into it at the 12-week mark (I hope!).

On another note I am trying a new training program for the half(s) coming up this fall.  I started last weekend and it is quite aggressive.  I'm not that I will be able to complete each workout as called for, but I'm going to give it my best shot.  If I can complete it, stay healthy and not have any more unexpected medical issues I'm really hopeful that I can PR, even if I can't break 2 hours.

Okay, seriously . . . I really can't believe I'm going to run a half marathon and then a marathon the very next day . . .  I know many wouldn't agree, but this is going to be fun!

Friday, June 1, 2012


Today was a celebration of sorts.  My cold had progressed enough that I felt good to run.  And I received some good news this morning at my doctor's appointment.  While my tests all came back consistent with SLL, the percentage of abnormal cells is small enough that my doctor has not "officially" diagnosed me as having SLL.  That doesn't mean everything is normal or that I will never get it at some point in the future, but there's nothing that says for sure that I will get it either.  This is not at all what I expected after my conversation with her two weeks ago, and to be quite honest, took a huge weight off my shoulders.  My first thought was "Oh praise God!  I'm going to make every moment count--spending time with my family, running, biking, eating yummy food!"
I decided to get out for a run with my most willing companion, our 10 year old yellow lab, and was so happy to get out into the quiet woods for an hour to celebrate the good news!  We've gotten some rain this week and I was amazed by the height of the weeds, the brightness of the leaves and wildflowers, and echo of the woodpecker going about his business.  It was a cool, crisp, sunny day and I was happy to finish so I could get home and see my family.

I have a few runs planned for later in the summer, but am contemplating a few random races between now and then depending on how I'm feeling, how much free time I have and how much ambition I can muster.  For now, however, I'm thrilled to be able to run as if life is normal, because well . . . at the moment it is.

Monday, May 28, 2012


It should have been a great race for me.  The temps were around 55, nearing 60 at the finish and the humidity seemed manageable.  My husband was willing to slow down and run with me to try to encourage me when I got tired.

But, it just wasn't my day.  I'm not sure if it's the stress of everything that's been going on, the fact that I'm getting older, the allergens in the air or just plain one of those days but I wasn't able to breathe well at the start and my lungs never opened up.  Deep down, I knew going in that I probably wasn't going to break 2 hours in this half.  I just never felt like I was running my tempo runs at a fast enough sustained pace.  That said, I only ended up 1-2 seconds per mile off last year's pace at this race and only about 10 seconds per mile off my PR pace.  This translates to a race in which I came within 2 1/2 minutes of my PR so in the end I was quite pleased.

That doesn't mean that I'm still not hoping to break 2 hours this year.  I have my sights set on Appleton in September, where I came within 24 seconds of my PR last year.  But it also means I have to figure out how to tweak my training a bit and convince my doctors that I don't need any surgeries, biopsies, CT scans or anything else that screws up my training weeks or my mental state.

As all good training programs ending with a successful race should be celebrated, we went out to dinner at The Boathouse, a fabulous restaurant where I had one of the better restaurant meals of my life.  It was a fitting celebration of the race and of our 7th wedding anniversary.  Now that we're home I'm taking a day or two off and then hitting the trails for a few weeks before I start the training program all over again for Marquette and hopefully Appleton 2 weeks later.  Bring on the summer running, I'm ready!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Suckin' it up

For future reference, I hope I don't have to have bone marrow biopsies on a regular basis going forward.  While it was not the most painful thing I have ever had, it ranks up there pretty high.  And 5 days later, I can still feel a "bruise" when I run.  By the way, do you know how they get the needle into the bone to do such a biopsy?  They SCREW it in!  No, bone cannot be numbed and yes you really feel it.

Considering that I had the biopy just over a week before my race, I was determined to get out for a run the next day.  Between the "bruise" feeling every time I took a step and mother nature (it was 85 degrees out) I had to cut my run short for the first time in a very long time.  I didn't regret it one bit, but I was disappointed that I didn't have it in me to "suck it up" and push through.  Two days later I went out for an easy 3 miler, which was almost as miserable.  Of course, by the time I got home from that run it was back into the 80s.

I'm hoping it's the heat and not the soreness, the stress of it all or something else going on.  Somehow it seems so important to me to push through all of this and keep running as if nothing is going on.  Or maybe I'm trying to run from everything that is going on.  Either way, it seems like my life (or at least my sanity) depend on pretending like I'm training for a race like I would any other year.  I'm not sure how this will translate come race day.  But in 5 days I will find out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The "C" word

I guess it's official.  Earlier today I was diagnosed with SLL (Small lymphocytic lymphoma).  This is a form of cancer that presents in the lymph nodes and often presents with CLL (Chronic lymphocytic leukemia) which presents in the blood.  My blood work is normal, however it is rare for someone to have SLL without also having CLL.  According to my doctor, only 5% of SLL/CLL patients only have SLL.  Her best guess is that I have stage II (this is not the same staging as other cancers).  So tomorrow starts yet another round of testing to more accurately determine staging and to determine if there is any bone marrow involvement (bone marrow makes new blood cells so if I have bone marrow involvement I will likely develop CLL at some point in the future).

The first test on the roster is a bone marrow biopsy tomorrow, which the doctor admitted is painful "for a few seconds".  She says I shouldn't run later tomorrow but that I should be fine the next day.

Next week I have to have two CT scans (they can't do both the same day because it is too much contrast dye all at once--why does that scare me just as much?) so they can determine if I have enlarged lymph nodes anywhere else in my body.

Additionally, I have to have a ton of blood work done so they can do DNA testing on my blood to determine if I have an aggressive, fast acting, need treatment right now kind of SLL or if I have the typical slow-developing, may live 8 to 10 to 25 years without needing any treatment kind.  I am so desperately hoping for the typical slow-developing, may never need treatment kind but I'm trying to not get my hopes up.  Even the best possible news at this point still results in me having cancer.  Oh, and did I mention that there is no cure for this cancer?  That's right, no cure.  The absolute best I can hope for is a lifetime of having it but not having to be treated for it.  I know that doesn't sound so bad, compared to the alternative, but that doesn't mean that it is good.

The hardest part right now is trying to figure out what all of this means.  The average age of diagnosis for CLL/SLL is 65.  The average patient is a man.  I am neither of these things.  For more information on SLL see here:
The average life expectancy is 8-10 years, which is good for a 65 year old man, but pretty crappy for a 39 year old woman with 2 kids under the age of 5.  Which leads me to question if that life expectancy doesn't really apply for a 39 year old because I have a significantly longer life expectancy to begin with based on my younger age.  Or does that not matter at all?

All I know for sure is that it took everything I had to not completely lose it in the doctor's office today.  And that the first thing I did when I left, was run.  I ran hard, and fast and to the point of wanting to puke.  When I was done, I no longer had to work to hold back the tears and I felt like somehow I could find a way to deal with all of this.  I'm still freaking out, but at the moment I'm too tired from my run to do anything about it.

This has caused me to starting thinking about the important things in life.  What if I find out I only have 5 years to live?  What do I feel I need to do in that time period?  This list will be coming soon and I will probably continue to add to it, even if I'm told I probably have 25 years.  Crap . . . 25 years . . . that barely gets me to retirement.  Fu#@!

I need to get out.  I need to run, hard and long.  This is so not what I intended for this blog . . . so not where I saw things going when I started writing a month ago.  I will continue to run . . . I will survive damn it . . . there is no other alternative.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A bad combination

14.5 mile run . . 80 degrees and sunny . . . May 11 in a climate that rarely hits 80 during high summer months.  This was not a good a good combination for my longest training run for my upcoming race.  I haven't felt this bad on a long run in a long time.  Starting around mile 3 I just wanted to be done.  All I could think about was being done.  Somehow I sucked it up and completed my run, with a decent pace, but too high of a heart rate.  I drank 2 1/2 times as much water as usual and was still dehydrated.  It probably didn't help that I had to cram 45 miles into 6 days because of the timing of my prior long run.  But I was reminded that I can find a way to do it even when miserable, even when I just want to quit.
I'm also reminded how quickly winter becomes spring and how schizophrenic the weather can be around here.  Two years ago this same weekend I ran a 22 miler in snow and sleet with the temperature hovering around 25.  I kept thinking about that Friday and as much as I don't want to see snow in May, I would have preferred it at that point.  That said, I'm now on my final countdown to race day.  My last long run is in the books, I have one hard week left and then a taper week.  Two weeks from today the race will be complete and I'll start training for my next race in September.  It's hard to believe that during the first weekend of summer (Memorial Day) I'll already be counting down until the last weekend of summer (Labor Day).  It's a pretty short period of time up here, but well worth the wait.  Run on friends, it will be winter again before you know it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A sign

Yesterday I decided to try my weekly long run.  I was about 60 hours post-op and while still swollen and sore at the site of the surgery, otherwise felt pretty good.  I ventured out around 5:30 a.m. for my first 14 miler since last fall and was quickly rewarded for my efforts.  Within the first mile I noticed the sun peaking up over Lake Superior with a bright orange glow . . . the beauty of the lights pushing its way through the towers of the ore dock out over the Lake.  The geese were honking and the dandelions that had gone to seed created a white haze just over the grass.  It was a cloudy morning so I was treated to bright orange and pink streaks across the sky and felt somehow that it was a sign.  I wouldn't necessarily call it a religious moment, but somehow I just felt that God was telling me it's going to be okay.  I don't normally get "deep" while running so don't expect this to be the tone of the rest of this blog, but at that moment I felt some peace.

The remainder of the run was pleasant:  comfortable temperatures with  the rain holding off until after I was done, a dozen deer at Presque Isle (a few close enough that I could have reached out and touched), a couple of mallards in a small stream behind the high school, a woodpecker pecking away, little traffic and for the most part the bike path all to myself.  Really, it doesn't get much better than that.

I would say that the sign was accurate in that if nothing else I successfully, comfortably, and at a decent pace even, completed the 14 miles.  Yes, I was sore.  But I did it.  And that made me quite happy.

Friday, May 4, 2012


It would appear that I survived the surgery.  Well, actually that's probably a bit understated since I seem to have come out of it with nothing more than a 1 inch-ish cut, a few stitches and now (being less than 24 hours later) some mild pain and some crazy dizziness.  I attribute the dizziness to the pain medication I took before bed last night (I should have known better than to take two pills as directed), but the upside is that I have not taken any pain medication in 12 hours and am feeling pretty good . . . other than that annoying dizziness thing.  Definitely not up for running my 14 miler today, but I'm hopeful that maybe tomorrow or Sunday I'll be ready.  In reality, if it wasn't for the dizziness I would be at work right now and would be carrying on with life pretty much as usual.  Or at least, as "usual" as I could knowing that I have to wait a number of days before I find out if all of this was was to confirm that I have nothing or that there is a problem after all.

I've been lucky enough since the biopsy to be able to run pain-free and despite the schizophrenic weather we've been having, running has mostly been great.  I've had to carefully plan my runs around this surgery so that I didn't miss much training and was able to work everything in earlier in the week except for my long run.  It's hard to believe that the race is three weeks from tomorrow and that despite everything going on medically I feel like I'm ready.  It's a good reminder of how far I've come in the last ten years and how my personality refuses to allow anything to get in the way of my goals and plans.

That said, I have to face the reality that this is not the race in which I will break 2:00, and likely I won't PR either, but that's okay.  Right now I'm just happy knowing I've been able to persevere through all of this testing and plan my training around it and keep putting one foot in front of the other day after day.  I've also been reminded how lucky I am to live where I do.  There are many reasons, but I don't want to go on and on and on so I'll stick with the one reason why I even mentioned it.  I am so blessed to live in sucha beautiful place!  I was running my favorite trail run earlier this week and stopped in the middle of the trail for a moment and looked up.  This is a bit rare for me as I tend to watch the trail and I'm afraid of heights so I tend to not look around too much on certain parts of the trail.  So I looked up (after I had come to a complete stand-still, by the way) and took in the view and it was amazing.  I had forgotten that when my legs were screaming from all the uphill and downhill action, that meant that the view was of the deep-wooded hills, gorges and river a couple hundred feet below.  It was so peaceful and perfect and I realized that I need to stop more often to enjoy it rather than just pushing through my run.  Maybe next time I'll remember to bring a camera . . .

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Continuing to move

Since my biopsy I've run approximately 29 miles.  Some have been hard miles and some have been easy but as always they've helped me deal with the stress of what is going on.  My favorite miles are long slow runs and trail runs.  The trails here are gorgeous, even in the early spring (yes, it is still early spring here) when very little has bloomed and the woods are mostly brown.  It's quiet . . . I mostly have the trails to myself.  Yesterday, I saw three "white flags"--the telltale signs of spooking deer.  And, nothing beats the zen of running on rocky, rooty, hilly trails and having all thoughts focused on staying on your feet and off your butt!

I met with the surgeon today who explained that based on the results of my biopsy they aren't really worried about breast cancer (which is what I thought was the concern) but instead there is a concern that I might have chronic lymphocytic leukemia as the abnormalities are consistent with that disease.  I keep getting reassurances that it is very unlikely that anything is actually wrong with me, but just in case they need to find out.  My "google" research shows that if it is cll, it is uncurable but that I could go decades before ever needing treatment.  I'm still hopeful that this is just another blip in the chain of all of my weird medical test results that mean nothing (I have a lot of them).

So May 3 is the magic date.  I will be having a minor surgery--but I'll only be getting a local, not being put under anesthesia which makes me happy and the cut will be small per the surgeon.  He plans to remove exactly one lymph node and stitch me back up.  He said I should be back to work the next day and my question of when I could run again was answered in a way that provided me some humor:  "If it was me I would probably run later that day, but since you're the patient and I'm the doctor I should probably tell you to wait until the next day before running."  Yes, I definitely picked the right surgeon.  He is, after all, the founder of the Marquette 50mile/50k and runs faster, further and likely more often then me.  I had expressed my time goal for my upcoming 1/2 Marathon and before the consultation ended he was giving me training advice.  That's the first time in weeks that I've come out of a doctor appointment feeling better than I went in, even with the possibility of having cll.

To end the day, I do what I often do . . . I went and ran with my 10 year old lab.  It seems to be helping as I actually feel calm and peaceful this evening and ready to take on the next round of testing.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Short-lived good news

As it turns out, preliminary results don't mean a whole lot . . .  Less than 48 hours after receiving the good news I received a call that the additional testing showed abnormalities in 4% of the cells taken from my lymph nodes.  Apparently the professionals can't tell if the abnormalities are cancerous (breast, lymphoma or something else), something else entirely or nothing.  Tuesday I meet with a surgeon to schedule a "minor" surgery to have one or more lymph nodes removed.  That is the only way to determine whether the abnormalities are cancerous or not.  I haven't been able to determine how long surgery is going to keep me from work, running and getting on with a normal life.  (Am I really talking about "normal life" when there's a possibility I may have cancer?)  In my grand optimism, I'm hoping it will be less than a week.  I'm also trying to figure out how to tell the surgeon that I can't have the surgery until the first week of June so that I can run the Bayshore 1/2 Marathon Memorial Day weekend.  Considering that he is the founder of a local 50mile/50k trail race somehow I think I might be able to convince him that waiting a few extra weeks won't make a difference in the long run.

So what did I do a mere 2 hours after getting the news?  I ran of course.  What else was I supposed to do?  I was at a point where I thought I could run.  I was at least 48 hours out from the biopsy.  And to be honest, I really need to burn some stress and growing despair that something might be seriously wrong with me.  I've logged almost 20 miles in the 48 hours since getting the news and am currently feeling a bit more at peace with this whole situation.

I'm not sure what the future brings, but at least for now I live to run another day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ready to move forward (Part II)

Only a few short hours after the "torture fest" and I've already received the call.  Preliminarily, all looks good, but I have to admit it's always nerve-wracking to see your doctor's phone number come up on the caller ID at 6pm the same day the testing occurred.  Thankfully it's just a sign of a great doctor who knew I'd be worried until I had an answer.  The answer--no cancer detected and the cells showed no abnormalities.  Yippee!

Now I just have to get rid of the pain in my left armpit, where the doctor hit a muscle, and wait 48 hours and I can get back to threshold repeats, hill repeats and my previously scheduled 12 mile run later this week.  As the saying goes . . . on with the show!

Ready to move forward

So I had the biopsy this morning.  Actually, I had two biopsies and two aspirations this morning.  This was much more than I expected as it was only supposed to be a biopsy of my left axilla (lymph node), but after an ultrasound the Dr. decided to do both sides to make sure she got a good sample.  I'm not sore yet, but considering that I had about 5 needles stuck in each armpit (not including the Lanacane) and she hit a muscle at one point (that I definitely felt!) I'm pretty sure I will be hurting pretty soon.

I've been a bit freaked out about this even though I know that most likely nothing is wrong.  I've been working really hard to convince myself that all is okay--to the point of following my training plan obsessively since I found out I needed the procedure.  This resulted in me running yesterday when the weather was miserable and I don't regret it as it helped calm the nerves a bit.  Still hard to believe I found the ambition to get out for a trail run after 4-5 hours of heavy rain, then sleet, then snow as the temperature dropped from 42 to 27.  Oh, and there was a nice 20-40 MPH wind coming off Lake Superior.  The trails were wet, muddy and snow covered while the snow continued to pelt me the face.  It was kind of hard to worry about whether there is something seriously wrong when I had to concentrate so hard just to make sure I stayed on my feet and off my butt.
So it left me wondering . . . am I crazy?  Or are other runners as dedicated (obsessed) as I am?  I recognized early on that running provides stress relief that I can't find anywhere else and that has been a huge motivation for me.  I'm on hold for 48 hours because of the biopsy but then hopefully back to normal training and back to normal life.

I'm probably crazy since I'm already counting the hours before I can lace up again, but if makes me normal in the rest of my life that's good . . . right?!?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The beginning

I guess this isn't really the beginning as I started running just over 10 years ago, but heck there's no time like the present for adding another dimension, right?

The title of my blog "Running to Live" is the result of my obsessive need to run, as much and as often as reasonably possible so that I can give myself the best odds possible of living long enough to see my kids grow up.  It's a morbid thought, I know.  But it's fitting since I originally started running (in 2002) so that I could run a Komen 5k to honor my mom, then a recent breast cancer survivor.  For some reason running stuck (despite growing up being about as inactive as possible).  Sadly, just over 3 years ago my mom died after a brief fight with pancreatic cancer.  I was pregnant with my son at the time but swore that I would run 100 miles for each year of her life to honor her.  She was 65 so that was a pretty big feat for a small business owner with a baby on the way and an 18 month old (at that time).  Three years later I've knocked off 2,400 miles with 4,100 to go.

This is the year I will turn 40, yep the big 4-0!  When my wonderful husband, Chad, asked me what I'd like to do to celebrate I knew it had to be something active.  So, I suggested a backpacking trip since it's been a few years since we've been able to get out and a trip to the Disney Marathon.  Jokingly I suggested we run Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge ( together since symbolically it's almost 40 miles over two days.  I was fairly certain he would laugh at me because even though he is a runner also it seems a bit crazy to attempt something like this.  Instead, he agreed and we started making plans.  Registration opened yesterday and we were going to sign up right away, as we have been waiting for registration to open for 2 months now.  However, in a twist of fate the results of a recent medical test require me to undergo a breast biopsy next week and we've decided to wait until the results are back before making the commitment just in case the results are not what we hope they will be.

In the meantime, I continue to run . . . for me . . . for stress relief . . . for a bit of time to myself . . . but most importantly to live.