Happy National Running Day 2017!

This is another excellent way to celebration National Running Day.

Happy National Running Day!  This year I celebrated by going for a run in Central Park!  That’s right, I’m finally back in the park after my broken ankle sidelined me for a year.

 

I also officially graduated myself from the Couch to 5K program, because even though I’m only in week 7 of the 9 week program, I’ve been able to cover 3.1 miles three times now.  The last few C25K workouts are just continuous jogging for 25 minutes anyway, so it didn’t make sense to go back down to long (3 minute) walk breaks.  Thanks, C25K, for getting me back out there, though!

Oh god, run!

Since I’m no longer using the C25K app, I tried the “Zombies, Run” app today for the first time!  If you’re not familiar with the app, it basically narrates a story by playing short clips of people talking to you as if you’re running through a post-apocalyptic zombie-filled world… and occasionally you get chased by zombies so you have to speed up or lose items you virtually “gather” along the way.  I really enjoyed the first episode (especially the British radio announcer) but the zombies scared me exactly like I feared they would, and I ran too fast and was nervous.  Luckily, I was going downhill, so I escaped the zombies and ran the fastest mile (by far) that I’ve run in over a year.  Even better, you can turn the zombie chase feature off, which I think I’ll do because I’m just too agitated by stuff like that.  (Says the girl who would have heart palpitations playing the “PAWS” typing test game in elementary school as she watched the cat’s paw prints slowly chase her text across the screen…) (By the way I looked everywhere online for that game and can’t find it.)

The zombies seriously scared me – in contrast, my first mile was 11:40!

It’s also only 22 short weeks until the NYC Marathon!  I even signed up for the NYRR virtual trainer because I really want my hand held for this race.  And since Nike hasn’t offered me their Tesla pacer car (yet), I needed to look for other support.  Luckily the cute PT is also offering me help along the way (and telling me to stretch my quads and hamstrings to reduce knee pain – who knew?!).

 

If you missed running today, Global Running Day is coming up next Wednesday!  Hope to see you out there!

 

Did you notice NYRR doesn’t celebrate National Running Day anymore?  How did you celebrate National Running Day?  Did you ever play the PAWS typing game in school?  Share in the comments!

Anniversaries & Graduations

Today is the 1-year anniversary of when I broke my ankle (I didn’t know I broke it until much later).  And while I’m not anywhere near where I want to be, running-wise, at least I’m running a little again, and for that I’m very thankful.  In fact, today my knees hurt more than my ankle, which made me feel almost normal again.  😉

 

It’s also springtime and graduation time, both of which make me think about how fleeting everything is (death and change everywhere).  So just remember that wherever you are in your running journey (or school or career or Netflix marathon session), it will change whether you like it or not, so enjoy the moment if it’s good, and take comfort in the knowledge that it will change if it sucks.  I also recommend eating an ice cream cone, because they are delicious.

 

It’s also Mother’s Day today – Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  Did you remember to call your mom today?   What’s the best Mother’s Day present?  Does your mom run?  Share in the comments!

The Things You See While Running

We’re all familiar with Pizza Rat, right?  Well, lest you think it’s all prosaic sunshine and flowers when you go for a run in NYC, sometimes you spot a true miracle of nature.  Today I was lucky enough to witness nature at its finest:  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rat Rat.

 

Rat Rat also reminded me of that dog in the Frontline Gold commercial, except Rat Ran never figured out how to get his treat through the fence.

 

Beautiful day!

#blessed

 

What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen on a run?  What do you like on your pizza?  Have you ever eaten rat?  Share in the comments!

Hello, New Age Group!

Ridiculous unicorn hats are perfect for birthdays… or anytime, really.

Any runner can tell you that the only good best part about getting older is entering a new age group – which I did this week!  Hello and congratulations to the 40-45 group, as I will now be bringing down your average!

 

I also got some amazing running gifts for this big birthday – a Garmin 935 (!!!), a snazzy (and fast-looking) pair of Under Armor running sunglasses, and a gift certificate to Jackrabbit!  The running stuff makes me so happy because it shows my friends and family haven’t given up on my running, despite the seemingly endless break, and because I’m finally able to use running swag again!

Yes, this was at the end of my run – not even two miles!  😐

The Garmin Forerunner 935 deserves a full separate review but since I’m not so good with tech, and because there are many other, much better and more detailed reviews out there, I’ll just say this watch does everything (including give you text and email alerts from your phone just like an iWatch) and it magically synced with my couch to 5K app without me even telling it to (it vibrated and gave me the run/walk alerts just like the app, so I could conceivably run without headphones now).  I might turn 50 before I discover all the things this watch can do.

Pretty sunglasses 🙂

I start week 4 of Couch to 5K on Monday – they bump you up to a full five (5!) minutes of running.  My ankle is holding up ok, but my knees and the rest of me are a little upset I’ve gone back to this running thing.  Shhh, nobody tell my joints I’ve hit 40 (but I think they already know).

 

And if you want to watch Nike’s attempt to break the 2-hour marathon, you can stream it live tonight on Runner’s World (it starts at 11:45 pm EST or 8:45 PST).  The only bet I’ll make is that I’ll be asleep before we know the result.

 

How do you celebrate your milestone birthdays?  How many birthday cakes are too many for a single birthday?  Do you think we’ll ever break 2 hours in the marathon, and if so, when?  Share in the comments!

Couch to 5K – Finally “Running” Again

April showers bring April flowers.

11 months after breaking my ankle, I’ve finally started running again (for real this time, I hope, knock wood!).  The best part has been seeing all the beautiful spring flowers!

Last week I started the Couch to 5K program (using the free app).  The first week has you walk for 5 minutes, then run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds for eight repetitions, followed by another 5 minutes of walking.  The entire workout is only 30 minutes, which I appreciated more than I’d like to admit.  The timer (a bell plus a woman’s voice telling you to “start running” or “begin walking“) keeps me honest as I ease back into this whole running thing again after so long.  I’m basically starting over as a runner, only this time I’m 13 years older and have a deep-seated fear of breaking my ankle again.  On the plus side I know which flavors of Gu I like and I have all sorts of gear.  I feel like such a poser heading out in my bright tights and fancy shoes and running belt for my 60 seconds of jogging!  Maybe bringing all the snacks is overkill?  Nah…

 

I’m doing the second week now, which has bumped me up to a full 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking (but only six repetitions of each, so it’s still only 20 minutes long).  The saddest thing is that I really feel those additional 30 seconds of running.  If you saw me out there with my slow trot and constant starting and stopping, you’d be more likely to suggest I take up knitting than try running the NYC Marathon in 27 weeks.

Even this squirrel is skeptical.

I hope there are no more 11-month tapers in my future, and that running nonstop for 30 minutes doesn’t ever seem like an insurmountable goal again, because all this not running has really put a damper on my fun-times candy-consumption.  My Garmin also seems to have given up the ghost during this long time off.  Time to buy a new watch?

 

Do you have any GPS & heart rate watch recommendations?  Have you ever taken a year off from running?  Did you score any good deals on Easter candy?  Share in the comments!

I got into the NYC Marathon!

It already has!

I was just finishing my dinner when my email dinged – I checked and my stomach dropped – I got into the NYC marathon lottery!  Hooooooo boy…  I did not see that coming.

 

First, apologies for the incredibly long break in posting.  I still can’t run due to injury, so I haven’t been in the running mindset, so this blog has been gathering as much dust as my running shoes.  I was going to write a post about what I have been doing besides running, but I kept putting that off because, well, it is profoundly uninteresting.  I’ve been resting a lot, and walking a little, and just started rowing and going to the gym again, but then I played tourist in this beautiful weather we’ve been having and overdid it, compressing my ankle and causing pain and swelling, helping keep my PT busy and my running shoes dusty.

 

On a lark, I applied for the NYC Marathon lottery two weeks ago – the last day they accepted applications.  The odds of a local resident getting selected for the lottery were only about 23%.  Well, apparently I am one of the 23%, because I got in!  (You might remember I was only 2 races away from qualifying last year, but I couldn’t make it because of the injury.)

 

I really didn’t think I’d get selected, and I was okay with that.  I still can’t even run a block, so the idea of running a marathon seems farfetched.  But I also rationalized that if I did get in, it might be a good way to test the waters – I ran the NYC Marathon in 2005 (good lord, has it really already been 12 years?!), so there would be no pressure to finish for my 50 States quest, plus it’s a local race so I wouldn’t have the added expense and stress of travel and hotel.  But now I’m realizing it’s only 8 months away, which seems so so so very soon to learn how to run 26.2 miles.

It’s making my stomach do flips, that’s for sure.

 

So, I just won probably the worst lottery in the world and I paid $255 for the privilege.  As the immortal Forrest Gump(‘s momma) said, “stupid is as stupid does.”  I guess I’m back to being a stupid runner, even without the running!  Huzzah!

 

Did you get into the 2017 NYC Marathon?  Have you ever won any sort of lottery or prize?  How much would you pay to not have to run the NYC Marathon?  Share in the comments!

2016 Year in Review

It feels like I have more range of motion now, but the photos don’t really show it…

There’s a bit of poetic symmetry (is that a thing?) in that 2015 was the best year ever and 2016 was the worst.  If you’ve been living in the woods this year and missed all the happenings, first, I’m jealous, and second, you can watch this trailer to catch up on what 2016 was like:

That was basically my year, but throw in a sprained ankle, a broken fibula, multiple weeks on crutches (spread across multiple months), multiple weeks in a aircast boot, a cortisone shot deep into my joint, and general declining health and a total loss of fitness, and that’s my 2016.

 

Before my injury, I was doing almost a marathon per month (the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson, the Little Rock Marathon in Arkansas, the Garmin Marathon in Olathe, Kansas, and the Delaware Marathon in Wilmington), and I was convinced that 2016 would be the “Year of Ugly Medals.”  Sadly, it just became the “Year of Ugly.”

 

I still don’t know when (if?!) I’ll ever run again, let alone run a marathon.  But I really, really, really, truly, madly, deeply hope that 2017 is better than 2016.  It isn’t a high bar, but if 2016 has taught me anything, it’s that almost anything horrible can happen.  🙁

 

Luckily, there are only a couple more days left in 2016 (plus one extra leap second), and poetic symmetry (it’s now a thing) indicates 2017 will be a good year.  I wish all of you health and happiness and health in the New Year!  (Health twice because it’s so important.)

 

How was your 2016?  Are you super glad it’s almost over?  Did you make any resolutions for the New Year?  Share in the comments!

Gift Guide for Runners Who Can’t – 2016

Get well soon bitmoji

Holiday gift guides for runners are as ubiquitous as Christmas Carols after Thanksgiving… and generally about as unique.  Heck, even my guide from 2013 is pretty standard (cough boring cough cough).  In 2014 I focused on cheaper “dupes,” and in 2015 I tried to highlight more unusual offerings, but generally it’s always been a gift guide for active runners, or for people who at least pretend they’re going to run sometime.  Soon.  Maybe after New Year’s.

 

But what about all those bajillions of runners who get injured and can’t run?  I know you’re out there, and I know you still like junk, so this year, 2016 (The Worst Year EverTM), I’m offering a gift guide for the runner who can’t.  (Specifically for the runner who can’t run, but maybe also who just can’t in general.)

 

fracture cast boot shoe coverA Darco Shoe ($9.50 to $20).  Or an Aircast Boot ($65 to $75).  Or a cover to keep the germies off their floor (tall ($29) or short ($10)). Your (severely) injured runner probably already has at least one of these items prescribed to them by a doctor, but they might want an extra to wear inside, or at the very least they’ll want a foot cover thing to wear inside so they don’t track all the grossness from the outside world into their private cocoon fortress of rehabilitation (aka their tiny apartment).  An extra canister of Lysol wipes might also be appreciated.

 

 

hbo-netflix-hulu-amazonA subscription to Netflix, or HBO NOW, Amazon, or Hulu (Varies, generally about $8 to $15/month).  Because right now TV is their best friend, after you for getting them more TV.

 

 

 

Calm meditation backgroundA subscription to meditation apps like Headspace ($95/year with chocolate) or Calm ($60/year).  They might need this even more than the TV.  For what it’s worth, I’ve only tried the free trial of both apps and prefer the woman’s voice in Calm infinitely more than the man’s voice on Headspace, but online reviews say Headspace offers more comprehensive guided meditations (and comes with chocolate).  So, I’d say try the free versions and see which you (or they) prefer, or maybe they’re hardcore and can stick to a meditation program without hand-holding apps.

 

 

couch tableA couch table ($20) or remote control holder ($13).  If your injured runner is literally stuck on the couch all day, they will create a little nest of items they need within reach.  Help them feather this weird little nest of snacks and tissues and magazines and lip balm with this sad table and/or couch pouch.  What’s even sadder?  Those cookies don’t come with that table.

 

 

 

cashmere-travel-wrap-in-greyAn expensive cashmere travel wrap from White & Warren ($209 to $350).  A runner definitely couldn’t or shouldn’t run in this, but it would go great with their couch and some ice cream.  (It’s also great for flights to all their future races when they’re better, or to wrap up in when they need a cozy nap after long runs.  It’s also unisex!  And it comes in many, many colors!  Have I convinced you yet that this scarf/blanket is worth $300?  No?  Well then, fleece blankets are on sale at Old Navy for $5, normally a whopping $10.)

 

 

 

adidas superstars

Adidas Superstars ($80) or other fashion sneakers (varies).  Runners have soooo many pairs of running shoes.  The interwebs and the KardashianHadids tell me sneakers have become fashionable, but only the cute impractical sneakers, not Frankensteinen Hoka One Ones.  I always feel a little guilty buying sneakers I can’t run in, since I already own so many sneakers and it’s a waste if they’re not functional, right?  But if your runner can’t run, it doesn’t matter! Get them some fun fashion sneakers that are not appropriate for running and they can finally enjoy them guilt and run-free.

 

 

betsey johnson pom pom glovesBetsey Johnson Pom Pom Gloves. (At Macy’s, regularly $32, on sale for $22.40, with code “FRIEND” only $15.68!) These aren’t running gloves, and look like they’d be quite impractical for running or even life in general if you ever want to put your hands in your pockets or keep your fingertips warm, but damn do they appeal to the 14-year-old girl in me.  The male equivalent would be… what?  I’m not sure, but probably these.

 

 

vrai-oro-trillian-diamond-necklaceDainty gold jewelry from Stone & Strand or Vrai & Oro (Varies, $50 to $$$).  I mean, one could run in it, but it looks better while not running so people can admire it for longer.

 

 

 

secure double walled electric kettleTea and Sympathy (Free, almost).  While I didn’t love talking about my injury, I did appreciate it when friends would check in, and I appreciated it even more when they’d stop by my prison cell apartment or made plans to see me that I could handle (e.g. at a nearby bar or restaurant, or planned an activity where I didn’t have to walk – like sitting on a park bench listening to a podcast together, or going to a movie theater with full reclining seats).  Even just encouraging your injured runner to crutch around the block if they’ve been inside all day will help them shake off the funk of watching TV nonstop and worrying they’ll never run again.  I have to say that those outings were the best presents I received this year, even if they weren’t intended as presents.  If you literally want tea and are in the market for a water boiler (aka “kettle”), I really like this one from Amazon.  It’s lined in stainless steel (thus avoiding any plastic taste or fear of shattered glass), boils quickly, and is only $32.  You deserve the upgrade for being such a good friend.

 

What do I want for Christmas 2016?  A non-broken ankle, a non-ruined body, and the last 8 months of my life back.  Not possible?  Then I guess chocolate.  Or that cute guy from PT.

 

What do you buy yourself when you’re injured?  What’s the best present you gave or received this year?  What do you want for Christmas?  Share in the comments!

Rocket City Marathon Video from 2015

A big expo for a small race!

A big expo for a small race!

The Rocket City Marathon is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this weekend, and while of course I won’t be there, I did run it last year and wrote about it here.  I also made this video back then.  I meant to post it ages ago but I was somehow still too shy to post a public video to YouTube.  For some reason, I’m over that now, so here it is!

 

It’s about 2 minutes long and I used a GoPro template, keeping the “GoPro” tags at the beginning and end as a joke since nothing in the video is extreme (except for the dunk into the fish pond where I risked catching salmonella from all the duck poop).

 

 

I hadn’t watched it since last year, and it was a fun/painful reminder of healthier times (although I didn’t do particularly well at that race).  It’s also an embarrassing reminder of how little I’ve used my GoPro since then, both because I haven’t done anything GoPro-worthy and because I find taking footage and then editing it to be exceedingly time consuming and difficult for me.

 

I wish all the runners this year luck and good weather, and I’m sorry to hear they switched the venue of the pasta dinner from the space center to the art museum, because honestly that was the best part of the whole race!

 

Have you ever made a GoPro video?  Do your videos tend to end up in a black hole on your computer?  What’s your favorite online video?  Share in the comments!

The Ankle Injury Continues

Mini nightmare on a sterile drape.

Mini nightmare on a sterile drape.

I haven’t been writing much here because there’s not much to say since I’m not running, and what there is to say just depresses me so I just don’t bother.  For those just tuning in, I sprained/broke my ankle on May 14th, 2016, and am still dealing with it now in December.  There have been a few new developments since my last update, so here they are:

 

  1. I stayed in the boot for 5 full weeks before going back to the doctors at HSS for a follow-up appointment.  My entire right side is now atrophied, and I basically forgot how to walk.
  2. At my follow-up, I got a cortisone injection (!) in my ankle.  It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten a cortisone shot.  As a needle-phobe, it wasn’t fun, mostly because my mind kept replaying how they explained the procedure – the doctor would “manipulate the joint and hold it in place” while the assistant would “drive the needle deep into the joint to inject the fluid.”  Yipes.  My ankle felt really bloated and stiff after the injection, and as soon as the painkiller wore off it started to really hurt the rest of the evening, but after about 9 hours the pain started to diminish and after a few days I felt like it was about what it was like before I ever got the injection.  So… meh?
  3. But in the weeks since I haven’t had my nightly swelling!  So ultimately I think it helped!  (I still have an overall thickness in my injured ankle that might never go away – yep, I officially have a cankle.)  And I know cortisone shots wear off, but the doctor said it might be the only thing I need to get back to normal… Yeah, it doesn’t make total sense to me, either, but in this one case I hope the doctor is right.  Otherwise he said I could get surgery to remove the scar tissue, but ugh I hope I don’t need that.
  4. I stopped wearing the boot after the injection, and have finally started walking around the city a bit.  The first time I rode the subway to midtown and ran some errands I felt like I had just been released from jail.  There were some snowflakes in the air and I bought chocolates and a hot cup of meatballs from a meatball shop and it was like the greatest moment of my life.
  5. I just started my third (!) round of PT with yet another physical therapist.  This place doesn’t take my insurance so I’m paying a bajillion dollars out-of-pocket for the therapy, but it’s more private and you get one-on-one attention for each 45 minute session (vs Professional PT where it was an open free-for-all).  It’s not as convenient as Professional and there aren’t any cute guys there, but I think the therapist is good and I hope she can fix my broken and withered flabby body.
  6. I missed my 6th marathon yesterday (the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon), and it was the last marathon (and race) that I had signed up for before my injury.  So now I have nothing on my calendar, which is good and bad.  Good that I won’t be missing any more races I pre-paid for, bad that I don’t know when (if?!?) I’ll ever get back to running.  I’m also feeling disturbingly ambivalent about running.  A part of me still wants to get right back to it, but a new part of me is really just meh and blah about the whole thing.  It just seems like so much work!  And I’m so tired.  And doing nothing is so easy.  (And I do mean nothing.  I’m not even cross-training right now.)  I totally get the whole non-running culture now.  Bring on the meatballs.

 

How was your fall running season?  What have I missed in the world of running recently?  Are you excited for the Westworld season finale tonight, or are you more devastated that it means no more Westworld for a long time?  Share in the comments!