Thursday, January 31, 2008

FREE RACE SHIRTS - 9 on the 9th

It's time for free race shirts, people. Did you think I had forgotten??

9 on the 9th Sweetheart Shuffle* is coming up fast and there's a fresh new crop of pacers and free shirts to decorate your blog (and some old Man Steak favorites). You could also order any of these that you like at Zazzle or anywhere else that makes custom shirts. Feel free to use the logo (made for us by the lovely and talented Gretchen at heArt a day .) These are for your blog decorating and paintshopping pleasure. Help yourself to as many as you like and do with them what you will.

* 9 on the 9th is a virtual race for running bloggers. Run 9 miles on the 9th of February (any time from the 7th to the 10th is fine), write a race report on your blog and let me know your time and link to your report. Full official race results will follow. See our first virtual race.

He's our favorite Man Steak Pacer and he's back by popular demand. His name is Rothelle. Let it rrrroll off your tongue.

I don't know what I was thinking, maybe something about that Christmas Tree from Charlie Brown? Will someone give this guy a home?

Cutie Curly Boy is back.

New Baldy Man Steak. I predict he will be the hot new favorite.

If you like skinny and smoldering eyes... (in a malnurished sort of way)

Now she's pretty cute

Not only will she pace you, she'll sing the soundtrack from FAME, "I'm gonna live forever."

I think this is the same girl but I had to post our first GIRL STEAK. Holy cow, I want to look like that!

Oh my. I'm putting my head on that body...

It's Not a Tumor

I never thought I had a tumor, but I just had to use that line. The good news is that the tests showed I do not have any of the long-term debilitating illnesses that we needed to rule out. Such drama!

I most likely have the adult form of Fifth Disease, which is pretty much just a common virus that kids get this time of year. In adults in can manifest with headache (which I had for 3 days last week), mild cold symptoms and joint swelling and pain. I wasn't too worried about the other alternatives since I fit the presentation so well, but I'm still glad to have the test results and know that this should hopefully be fairly short-lived.

My joint swelling is almost gone but I do still have some pain in the joints and have found that if I overdo, the pain flares up some. I think typing flared up my wrists, so I'm going to try to back off today. I'm still down about 5 lbs but anxious to get back to the workouts as it is harder to make progress in this state! I was thinking I would start with some ab work today.

Thanks to everybody for your well-wishes, prayers, and, oh yeah, comments about my picture. Okay, it wasn't ACTUALLY me, I do have a lot of wrinkles, but thank you Chia, for pointing out that I have way better hair. :D

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tomorrow I'll Run

Apparently Vanilla snuck in and snapped a picture of me in my misery. I'll get you for this....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Yes, nearly every joint

I've had a lot to say but not the gumption to say it...

I have had some strange illness, a headache for 3 or 4 days that was bad enough to keep me from exercising, followed by lots of joint pain in the middle of the night Saturday. Nearly every joint in my body is swollen and hurts. I look and feel 80 ( and even the 80 year olds may resent that ). It's bad when it even hurts to hold the remote.

I'll check back with more, but I am hoping it is the adult version of Fifth's Disease, which your kids have probably had at some point or other. The alternatives, that I hope will be ruled out with some blood tests, are not so benign.

I hope to be back soon with tales to tell...

Miss you all.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Some Advice for New Runners

This post written to link to the Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday. Topic: Basics of Running.

I don't know that I have a lot of great advice for new runners. I am a new runner myself, one that is terribly slow, one that falters, one that still struggles both with motivation occasionally, and with physical things that can keep me from being someone who can run daily. However, I did train all summer and complete a half marathon, maybe I learned a couple things that I could share.

Don't look too far ahead on the schedule, take one day at a time and have faith in the plan you have laid out. Not all the runs are going to be fun, and some will even get you down, but if you keep on the schedule, it will get you there in the end. You won't believe when you are doing 3 and 4 milers that you will ever be able to do that 10 miler, but you will. Eventually you will. I did it. You can do it too!!

Keep telling yourself that the crappy runs make you stronger. Also, try to figure out why it might have been crappy. Mine were usually due to not being hydrated enough. For some reason it seems to be something that can slip my mind or get minimized. I learned that lesson over and over. Crappy runs will happen, you need to be prepared for that. If you are in it for the long haul, you will have to learn what you can from them, then put them behind and move on with a positive attitude. I often went back to Bingham's Courage to Start whenever my attitude faltered. Having something like this that makes you feel good about why you are doing this can be very helpful.

Bring your club along to beat back the uglies when they occur. This is my metaphor for handling the negative thoughts that seem to be inevitable. I don't know how I'll do Sunday's run, I must have been crazy thinking I could be a runner, I'm sure I'll be the slowest person at the race, and on and on. These will probably happen (although I am pretty negative so maybe I get this kind of thing more than most people) and you will need to combat them on the fly. Counter with the week's mileage or your latest blood pressure reading or the fact that most people are home on the couch or whatever it takes to beat those bad boys back.

Core work and cross training can make you a stronger runner. I didn't take this advice very well and learned that with a weak core, I had lots of aches and pains and it might even be the reason I had injuries. I kept hearing it over and over from doctors, advanced runners, books, etc. It just isn't something that got me very excited to do and took me awhile to "hear" but I've finally decided I have to take this seriously. It's so easy to get caught up with the running and the advances you are making, and you CAN run without doing this, I've just decided that doing it makes more sense for me.

Remember why you are doing this. I wanted to be a runner and improve my fitness and try to build myself a great healthy body. It's easy to get wrapped up in races and schedules and get down about being so slow. I am one of the slowest people out there and sometimes that can be really hard to swallow. There aren't too many things that I am this bad at! :D However, I have to remind myself that my mission here isn't to win or even to be fast. I'd love to be, but it doesn't seem to be happening. But, I am running, I am improving fitness, and I am building a stronger, healthier body. Those all sound like successes and it's important for me to keep that in mind.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Beware of Rug Burns

Sunday ~
Snuck off to the gym for 40 min elliptical and 20 minutes toning.
Had company to watch football but still did reasonably well on the diet. Lots of sushi and veggies.
May have had at least my share of wine, though. :D

Monday ~
4 miles at the gym ~ 49:44

Plank ~ only about 90 seconds. Maybe 120 was an anomaly... Beware of rug burns on your elbows. Bummer. And, yes, I mean from doing the plank.
Great day on the diet if I can just get to bed without eating anything else.

Down about 4.5 so far. . .

Friday, January 18, 2008

Holy Quest for Six Pack Abs, Batman

I did that stupid stair climber torture device and it still told me I have lower than normal VO2 max. Jerk face. I stuck with him for 30 minutes anyway. I got off and went right into toning and weights. That's when the unbelievable occurred. I positioned myself just so on the mat so I could see the clock.
Plank position commence................................................................

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Polar Bear Run

Tuesday ~
Treadmill run
3 miles ~ 37:21 ~ 12:27
Food lifestyle change (IT'S NOT A DIET) is going strong.

Wednesday ~
Polar Bear Run
3 miles ~ around 32 minutes? probably more... I don't run that fast!!

Remember this beautiful lake? Yeah. That was October. I went back there today to run with Art and Amy. I've never met Art, I honestly thought he might be a figment of Amy's imagination. :D He's living and breathing and he's actually quite funny and fun.

The conversation to decide to go has been hilarious. "It's supposed to be cold. Are we still going or should we postpone a week?" "WE HAVE TO GO!" "It will allow me to say, 'I'm not fat, just layered.'" "Do you think we could all just fit on my treadmill?" "Can you say POLAR BEARS?" "Does anyone mind an inch of snow?" "It's snowing like a banshee, this is going to be fun!"

It's freezing cold and snowing like crazy, but we're all dying to get a decent run in and to do it together, plus I wanted to see if Art was real. We all got to the lake in good time. Guess what, there are other crazy runners there too and some families out on the ice skating. That's just weird to see! Amy snapped a quick pic and off we went. Had to shuffle a little in the spots that had ice under the snow, but for the most part, it was pretty good. We had snow all over us, even in our eyelashes. I felt like a kid out playing!!

Great conversation, great company, great fun. Let's see, topics of conversation ranged from: little kids are stinky, do your kids sleep in your bed? a drop shipment of Viagra and a few others!! I probably would never have gone in the first place but they also kept me going at about 2.25 - 2.5 when I wanted to quit. The last .5 felt great. Yeah for friends that run. We need to do this more often.

My favorite line of the evening? "Now Nancy, is that LIPSTICK you are wearing?" :D

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Epiphany

It all started last week as I began to talk to hub about the possibility of going to Tucson to see my Aunt and do the Bingham Oro Valley half marathon race there in March. We started talking about me getting ready to do a half that quickly. I think I could do it, in fact I know I could (I'm planning to do 9 on the 9th of February), but again, it would be training to "make it through" a race, probably not much more.

It takes a lot of time and energy not just during but after I run. I have a lot of recovery on the feet and general body as the miles escalate and try to be "okay" but it usually takes somewhat of a toll. And it is even hard for me to cross train because my feet need rest in between running days. Hub is totally supportive of me going if that is what I want to do but also starts to have one of those heart to hearts.....

Do I just want to be a runner or is it the fitness/health/weight benefits of running that I really want? Is it really doing for me what I need it to do? Well, I want to be a runner because it feels cool, sounds cool, is challenging and rewarding, and does a lot for my head, BUT, all of this is because I want to get back to skinny me, you know, RunnerBody. My mom has type 2 diabetes so I have plenty of non-vain reasons -- real risks -- to be as lean as possible. And after the biggest, runningest year of my life, with lots of running milestones, I realize, it just isn't cutting it. In fact I am heavier than I started the year. If I were making gradual progress, the story might be different, but UP in weight?

Foot Guy and PT Guy both said, I might just be a 3 day a week runner with this body.... It's pretty hard to make fitness or running gains or poundage losses if that is ALL you are doing.

We go on to talk about the weight we both need to lose. We are always trying off and on, but we cheat a lot. And really, that just doesn't work for me. I can eat what I want if I don't mind being 160 but not if I want to be under 150. I used to weigh 150 for high school and college, but slowly made my way to 160. I got serious and dieted and worked out like crazy getting to 130. It was difficult to maintain and I went up and down a couple times. I think I was about 140 when we got married but then came kids. I seem to settle in the 160's unless I work pretty hard. I did manage to get back to 146 a couple of years ago for a trip to Hawaii and stayed around 150 for quite awhile, so it isn't like my post kids chances of being less are just gone, maybe just a little harder to accomplish now.

Anyway, after all this running, I am back to 160. I blamed it on the non-stop eating all over Italy, but really it has been an on-going thing. I take a challenge or be good for a few days and get to 156 or so, but then I'm off the wagon and go right back up. Every time I go back up, some of the clothes fit, I think I am dressing "smart" and delude myself that I really don't look "THAT bad." Then something happens and I realize, I really do look THAT bad.

And, I can't deny the numbers any longer. The running has not gotten me to RunnerBody. I do believe I have built muscle, hell, not everyone does a 1 minute plank, but I've still got a long way to go on the core and strengthening and definitely on the weight. I'll never forget a quote from an article I read about getting six pack abs. Anyone can have them, but to show them off you've got to be lean as well. They can't be covered in a layer of chub. I think it is time to de-chub....

Hub tells me the gym is having a fitness and weight loss challenge and he is willing to do it with me. We decide to do it and find out more details as we investigate. The Meredith Publishing Corp, which is responsible for countless magazines and books and happens to be located in lovely Des Moines, is doing research for a fitness and weight loss book they want to put out later this year. The challenge is sponsered by them and involves diet and fitness regimens you can use or not, weigh in and measurements, before and after pics (OMG!!) and prize money to the winners -- all through our gym.

We did our before and after pics, front and back, to take to the weigh in. I. was. mortified. How long have I been miss fun-loving with the larger than a house back-side? OMG, I need action. NOW. Seriously. This is so bad. I have been carrying the picture around in a folder in case I try to delude myself again. (and it does not resemble the lady with the branch having an epiphany, it is nearly as scary as fun-loving cartoon lady.) My hub asked if I was going to post the picture. It is so bad, I seriously can't fathom it unless there is an absolutely amazing RunnerBody after to go next to it.

So, I am going to try running 3 times per week, but with a lot of cardio cross training and lots of weight training. And, major lifestyle changes with the intake. Major. It won't be fun, but apparently I've already had more than my share.

I did cardio (35 min) + weights on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ran on Thursday.

Friday off.

Saturday weights and toning.

Sunday cardio (40 min) + weights. (I did a 70 second plank!! The side ones still kill me though.)

Wish me luck. My challenge start was 161 and I weighed 156 on that scale on Sunday. If I can get some weight off and keep it off, then maybe I can handle some race preparation a little better.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Run on the Strip

What a fun place to run!! Out the door of the Flamingo. I did the "Garmin pose" for about 3 minutes trying to locate satellites. People were wondering, but I'm certainly not the most peculiar thing on the sidewalk. :D
Up the strip, Ceaser's mall and Ceaser's Palace on the left, followed by the Mirage and Treasure Island.
The Palazzo and the Venetian on my right. That Venetian facade really looks like the Duomo in Venice. We'll be going back there later to walk around. Before the Venetian I ran through a cute little open air market with lots of bags and bling and spotted a CSI Las Vegas Tshirt. I was fairly pleased at the uninterrupted path for the most part. At one point, I had to climb a big set of stairs to go up and over the street. I did a Rocky at the top, but wow, that winded me a bit.

Fashion Show is a cool mall with a giant jumbotron outside and that space ship looking overhang. Music there and also fun music when I passed Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

I went 1.33 before I turned back. 2.66 miles total. This was a really slow run, because I did have to stop a few times for traffic and to loosen my laces. However, it was very satisfying to be traveling and still be exercising. Also, very fun to get away from the poker table and really SEE some sites. I've been here a few times, but I always enjoy looking around a bit. One really nice improvement I noticed is that EACH way, I saw at least 10 cops on bikes. I told 2 at the end of my run that it was really nice to see their presence all up and down the strip. Also spotted a Shabu Shabu restaurant that I never would have if I hadn't run. We may try it later.
Off to the showers and then back for more poker.


Not so good: flight delayed, sun setting as we arrived at hotel around 4:30.

Pretty good: did pretty make it to Las Vegas eventually, did well on the diet today AND worked out at the Flamingo gym when we arrived.

2 miles ~ 24:20
.5 miles ~ walking
1 mile ~ some weird skater thing that looked like a stairstepper but actually included sort of a side to side gliding motion. Very strange.
Not so good: I hated the view in all those mirrors. I have definitely been in so much denial.

Pretty good: I rocked some planks and did some weights.
Very cool: my sprint wireless card. just installed.

Fan-freaking tastic: THE POKER. I sat down with $100 (hubby spotted me so it wasn't even like it was my money! Well, I guess it still is.... anyway, I just left the tables with $413!!!!) I managed to get a royal flush in clubs that paid $150 on the high hand. Played very respectably the rest of the evening and managed to have some good luck.

The fireworks are either for the hand or for the enormous flutter that was going on in my chest as the hand unfolded. I thought people might actually be able to see my heart beating, I was so excited to see that last card.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Leaving for Las Vegas

I had quite an eye opening evening regarding my future running plans, level of fitness and the direction I would like to/need to take. I plan to post in more detail regarding the epiphany in the coming days. Let's just say it involves a "before" picture. OMG.
Worked out today at the gym.
25 minutes on a killer stair climber. (The first 5 min was a 'fitness test' ~ It said my VO2 max was below normal.) Jerk.
1 minute plank. :D
Various leg and stomach machines and toning exercises. I'm guessing I will be sore. And that's a good thing.

Off to pack for Las Vegas. Did I mention poker?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Is it bad if you feel like a sausage?

I simply have to have a schedule. Another weekend of no running has transpired. Without a plan, I am hopeless. (unlike Wendy who runs 40 - 45 a week with no plan!!) I'm someone who sometimes needs to rest my feet between runs, unfortunately, rest can turn into hiatus. Here is the plan. I'm going to try to follow something like 3,4,3,5 or 3,4,3,6 for the next week or two and then get something more solid in place. I have some plans to pour over and make some decisions, but even this should help. Run today, and tomorrow and also try to run in Las Vegas. Love of my life Gadget Guy is going to CES for work (Wed, Thur, Fri), I get to tag along. I can't wait. I love Vegas. I'm going to play lots of poker and run like a runner. Did I mention poker?

Mile 1 ~ 13:16
Mile 2 ~ 12:27
Mile 3 ~ 12:45
.55 ~ 6:56 (12:42)
3.55miles ~ 45:24 ~ 12:47 pace

At 3.2 I was going to stop. I wanted to do 3 and I was planning to walk the last huge hill but a runner came toward me. How can I stop as a runner is approaching? I decided to keep going and high five him, "Thanks, you kept me going!" Runner, "All Right!"

In the category of strange attire, I received a new short sleeve technical shirt for Christmas. It is the strangest shaped, smallest Large shirt I have ever seen. I wore it today under a sweatshirt. It is very long and skinny and resembles a sausage casing, me the stuffing. It also has a slightly higher neck than I am used to, just adding to the sausage look. By one mile it was riding up around my ribs. I decided I wasn't going to keep pulling it down but it did have me thinking,
"my waist is usually my skinny part"
"thank goodness I have on a sweatshirt"
"I feel like a sausage when I pull it down"
"if I let it go, I wonder just how far it will ride up"
"would a good goal be to have it fit normally or is that even possible with this shirt"
"talk about censored attire"
"I can't wait to run in Vegas. And, play poker. I'm so not taking this shirt."

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Good Reminder

Before I set some goals, some things to think about. My gift to you from Anthony Robbins.

Each New Year brings change:
  • New Commitments to your health.
  • Renewed dedication to the people you love.
  • New focus on how to spend your time.
These changes can sometimes feel frustrating, if not overwhelming at times. As you work to accomplish more in less time, don't lose sight of that you are in this world for a reason -- a magnificent one. Remember you set the rules for yourself. You are limited by nothing. It's time to create a masterpiece. It's time to celebrate and give more of yourself.

The 12 Tenets for Conscious Living in the New Year. You may just ponder these or one could change your life.

Live a life of service.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others. Mahatma Ghandi

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
We need lots of love to forgive but we need much more humility to ask for forgiveness. Mother Theresa

Be Kind.
Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be Remarkable.
Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you'll land among the stars. Les Brown

Seek Unity.
Interdependence is and ought to be as much an ideal of man as self sufficiency. Mahatma Ghandi

Strive for Wisdom.
Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. Immanuel Kant

Be Grateful.
When you are grateful, fears disappear and abundance appears. Tony Robbins

Think Critically.
The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. Albert Einstein

Be Brave.

You must do the thing you think you cannot. Eleanor Roosevelt

Be Humble.
Do you wish people to think well of you? Don't speak well of yourself. Blaise Pascal

Be Creative.
A creative person is motivated by the desire to achieve not by the desire to beat others. Ayn Rand

Be Present.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne Frank

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Can you say CAUCUS??

Picture by Brian Sawyer from Reuters

Watch for me on TV. I might be difficult to pick out since I am leaving the Cavegirl get up at home. But, I bet I'll be one of the younger ones. * hee hee *

I'll be doing my civic duty making sure you all get the right candidate!! :D

3 easy miles yesterday -- slowed it down to complete all 3 with no walking.
(yes it is possible to run even slower than I normally do.)
That's okay. That's where I am today.

And tonight, I'll be at CAUCUS EXTRAVAGANZA.
Update: HUGE HUGE turn-out!! I could not believe the people on both sides of the aisle. (old veterans of the process were saying at least 4x the people over last time at my site, although I don't think the news supported that number across the whole state.) I guess that goes to show you that when no clear front runner or incumbent is involved, people get out there. Iowa has spoken. I found it all so interesting and intriguing. Whether you like that it was here or not, it certainly was cool to be a part of it. I came within feet of a candidate and enjoyed just seeing all the national media coverage from downtown Des Moines. So cool!! BTW, Huckabee was the only candidate that mentioned marathons in his speech. :D

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Before 2007, I was a runner girl wanna-be, an on again, off again runner, dieter, and work out girl who had run a few 5ks. I started off the year really no different. This may be longer than some other recaps but I think it will do me good to write about it and look back, learn and re-motivate. This is first and fore most, for me, but you are welcome to read it if you have the time.

January and February (approximately 75 miles??)
I started off in January and February being pretty serious about a total body workout regimen which included cardio, weight machines and some toning exercises. I logged more "steps" on the company wellness website than ever. I had used Favorite Run to track mileage when I just went out for a run, but did not use it for mileage that occurred as part of working out. I began to see noticeable results and become a fitness mag junky.

March and April (maybe 30 miles???)
These months included the good fortune of some award trips that will never be forgotten. Running was forgotten but the trips were fabulous. We went to Palm Springs and Italy. Unfortunately the forgotten resolve to be fit and have six pack abs, as well as the loads of pasta and nonstop eating all over Italy led to some unwanted pounds that I have struggled with the rest of the year. I realize that I had the bulk of the bulk off but let go of it here, and then spent the remainder of the year heavier than I wanted to be.

There are many amazing memories of pizza by the Grand Canal, sleeper trains, take out delivered via moped, fountains, Coliseum, ruins, St. Peter in Chains, the Vatican and the beautiful private estate where our gala was held. However, one of my favorite memories is taking an article from Runner's World that gives you running routes from different cities and basically following it on an adventure with my husband at the crack of dawn. Unforgettable. (not truly a run, but ranks right up there as one of my favorite routes and experiences of 2007).

May (14 miles) and June ( 37.4 miles)
The poundage led to me trying to run again and hubby coming up with the grand idea of following the Nonrunner's Guide together. I trained to get ready for the schedule and actually logged some miles with the onset of planned regular running. - my attempt to be Regular Runner Girl and Marathon Girl.

July (77.5 miles) and August (101.7 miles)
These months were spent in a total zone, both hubby and I following the training schedule despite travel, rain, or busy schedules. We experimented with all the gear and nutrition and hydration and lived and breathed it for awhile. Hubby started this blog for me and I was opened up to a new world of friends and support!!

July included major accomplishments, dedicated running while on a business trip, first 7 miler, first 8 miler and one amazing run that taught me so much. I realized that negative thoughts will flow if you let them, but you can beat them back if you want to. By the end of the run, I was beating the uglies back with a club and Cavegirl was born. People all over the net (well okay, a few of my nearest and dearest blogging buddies) :D have borrowed the club on numerous occasions to beat back self doubt and nasty negative self talk. Amy, this is a favorite run for sure!

The best part is I have a lot of trouble with negativity in my personal life and this (and running in general) started to teach me that I can change it. You can see references to this in the tag line of my blog and is primarly why I don’t change it. I work at it literally every day and thankfully found a man/saint who will put up with me and even love me on this journey.

August brought our first 14 miler which proceeded to derail both of us. Weird that it happened in the same week. Curt's heel and my feet pretty much exploded, he had to stop and I had to cut way back. We both sought out professionals with limited to some success. I kept on somewhat of a schedule but reluctantly let go of the Full Mary dream for October 21st. It was difficult, but we did feel a sense of accomplishment that we had come so far and were starting to feel like runners. Some of the best times were spent on the porch with the kids waiting for each other to return and cheer for the latest long run accomplishment.

September (88.3 miles)
I met blogging buddies, Amy and Tom, and found immediate friendships and support from both. I ran my first longer than 5k race (Capital Pursuit), a 10 miler in a fast crowd, and it was absolutely unforgettable -- heartbreaking in a way to realize just how far at the back of the pack I would be but incredible to experience and showed me what I might be made of. Thanks, Tom, for the encouragement to do this race, and wonderful race crew family for keeping me company behind the cop car. :D I tried to hold on to the precious base despite constant nagging hip pain and feet that would blow up when I ran long, but basked in the memory of that 10 miler where I held a constant 12 pace and kept my spirits up.

October (49.8 miles)
I relied on the base I had built to run the Des Moines IMT Half Marathon and I will certainly never forget the feeling of accomplishment. It was amazing although I still felt like a fish out of water and ended up at the way back of the pack with the old gals, the old men and the big girls. Sadly, I think I am one of the latter. I did finish in under 3 hours which had been a goal. My feet held out somewhat well, but my hip continued to hurt.

October also included another favorite run. Tom and Amy opened Runner’s Lounge and we had a celebratory jaunt around a favorite lake. Cavegirl was spotted and even made the Des Moines Register later as she greeted fellow blogger friend, Bowulf. I also made a lackluster showing at Race for the Cure 5k.

November (15.8)

The big plunge in mileage with nothing on the schedule and the hip still nagging. I did have some accomplishments as I ramped up physical therapy and core work and the feet actually started to improve with orthotics but the hip issue continues. I had one amazing plank when it really counted! I decided I better get a race on the calendar pronto to keep some mileage up but still the miles suffered.

December (20 miles)
I hung in there to race and host 8 on the 8th and had an absolute ball, both realizing I could still do the miles and putting together the race results. Travel (fabulous award trip to NYC) and holiday chaos ensued, then a major back spasm put me out of commission for 2 - 3 weeks (doing laundry of all things!). Physical Therapy and mileage went to hell in a handbasket. I tried to salvage my dignity with a couple runs at the end of the month while my back was healing, but they showed me just how far I have slipped.

I also realized that I really really need to have a training schedule and something on the calendar. I promptly came up with 9 on the 9th (of February): Sweetheart Shuffle, another Virtual Race for ME and ALL OF YOU :D. (Thank you Curtis for indulging me the amount of time that this takes to put together. He knows how much the running means to me and how much fun the creative side is for me to exercise as well.)

Oh yeah, and as if I wasn't already feeling old and questioning myself, I turned 40. With the decline in miles and the increase in holiday eating, the weight is as high as it has been this year. In a way, I finish the year how I started it, on again, off again, sporadic dieting…

So, admittedly some defeats, but also some major accomplishments. Two longer races under my belt, orthotics to help my feet, more miles than I have ever done, great friends met, uncovered a positive attitude that I didn't know I had and tried to parlay it into other areas of my life. I think this gives me somewhere around 510 miles for the year... and several realizations:

1. I am capable of being a runner
2. I still have a long way to go
3. I can still let it slip away even after working like a dog to build a base
4. Travel can throw me off if I don't have a schedule
5. My body is very efficient at storing energy….I can’t keep eating everything I want

6. I can run a HM for sure, maybe more - for now I am HALF MARATHON GIRL
7. I love blogging and running, both have done so much for me

I have a lot of work to do in 2008, but it can be really great if I seize the opportunity, both in running and in personal things. 40/2008 will be what I make it.