Monday, October 31, 2011

MCM10k Recap

I am really not a super huge fan of adult Halloween activities. I'm kind of over the spending lots of money to put together a silly outfit last minute. I'm really not that creative, and if I'm going out I want to be comfortable. Luckily I got sick the weekend before Halloween this year (thanks arm!) and I signed up for the MCM10k in DC the weekend of Halloween (ok so Halloween wasn't on a weekend but you get my point). This meant I got to skip all Halloween partying and I didn't have to dress up at all!

Luckily, for me, my sissy moved to DC last year so I had a place to stay for free and I got to hang out with sissy and her hubby all weekend. We did fun stuff like attend Truckerboo to eat all kinds of tasty food (Takorean might be the best invention in the history of food), visit the Air and Space museum to see the shuttle (turns out that they have the faux space shuttle, no wonder the heat shield looked fake!), shopped for some darn cute (and warm) clothes.

I got a fancy new iPhone with Siri a few weeks ago. Like a good packer, I asked Siri about the weather in DC as I was trying to pick out my outfit for the big race. It said that it would be in the 60's so I packed 3 outfits with varying weights of clothing so I could choose the day of. Then that stupid crappy Halloween snow storm hit (which knocked out power to my house, but I wasn't here for it!) and the forecast for race day dropped from 60 to 30...

So we went to outlet mall and I went crazy at Old Navy, Adidas, and Nike buying cold weather running clothes. Ok, so maybe I bought a few short sleeve shirts too...

This one was only $5!!

Runners Have the Best Buns, love it!

I also bought matching shirts for my mom and I to wear in an upcoming half marathon, cheesy, I know, but it's something we do and they were only $6 each at the Nike outlet! I picked up some super cheap compression running tights from Old Navy and a fleece shirt, hat, and gloves that I wouldn't feel guilty throwing away (ok, so maybe I did feel guilty about ditching clothes on the side of the road and ended up carrying everything to the finish line with me). I also found this crazy half top thing at Adidas....

I went with the thought that it was meant to be a sports bra with sleeves so I treated it as such on race day. I will say that it is a darn tight sports bra! I got a size bigger than I normally get and barely had enough room for the ladies (TMI?). I did end up loving this thing. I like having sleeves for running but I don't have a flat belly so full length tops tend to roll up when I run so this was the perfect solution! I wish I had gotten 2 since they were on the sale rack! The day of the race I ended up wearing all new clothing except my socks and all worked out pretty well.

Now for the actual race recap. The race started in the middle of DC and ended in Virginia so the organizers suggested taking public transportation to avoid parking issues. My sister lives close to a Metro stop so this all worked out well for us. We gave ourselves an extra 45 minutes to get to the race so we'd have time to check our bags and get lined up. I was nervous about standing in the cold but I was equally nervous about not getting there on time. We were about 5 minutes out the door (my fault) and had issues buying Metro passes but we made it on the Metro with time to spare. Some poor marathon runner got on at the same time as us and was totally lost (and late), we tried to point her in the right direction, I hope she made it. Then we hit a delay. I started to get nervous. Sissy and hubby were only really running the race for my moral support and didn't care so much about their time so they offered to check my bag for me so I wouldn't be late for the gun. We jumped off the Metro and got up to the start line (about 10 feet from the Metro entrance) literally 2 minutes before the gun went off. Sissy and hubby took care of my stuff and got in line at the back while I weaseled my way into the middle of the pack. The timing couldn't have been better but my nerves had almost gotten the best of me!

The race was actually pretty nice. The course wasn't too bad, we ran past the Pentagon and the 9/11 memorial, which was pretty cool. It did have one major drawback....

I never really understood these signs. I guess because every time I've ever been on an icy bridge the rest of the road was already icy. This was not the case on race day! The only warning I got was watching runners in front of me inexplicably collapse in the middle of the road when they hit icy patches! There were several overpasses during the race. After learning my lesson on the first overpass (my tailbone still hurts), I was forced to slow down to avoid another injury. One poor lady was even lying in the middle of the road motionless on the first overpass (at least she got medical attention from some pretty attractive Marines!). Other than that my only issue with the race was the temperature. I have cold weather induced asthma and stupidly left my inhaler at home thinking I wouldn't need it for the race so the rest of the time was a struggle to keep running and not give into the temptation to walk. Oh and the last 0.2 miles is this ridiculously steep hill. I'm not really sure what they are trying to prove but knowing that I will never sign up for the real Marine Corps Marathon (same finish line)!! It ended up being my slowest 10k ever which I attribute to the slow overpasses and asthma issues. It was still a super fun weekend and I'm equipped with a whole new set of cold weather running clothes!

Now, I need to stay motivated for the Space Coast Half Marathon in 3 weeks!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Banana Babies

The arm is healing...I think...I'm down from 12 Advil a day to 4 so that's a sign of improvement, right? We'll find out tomorrow at Dr appointment #3 (I can hear the rejoicing at the insurance company...cha ching!).

The last 2 days have been food success! About 1600 calories each day AND I went to the gym today. Granted, it was only for 15 minutes and I walked on the treadmill but it was at a 3.0 incline! Tomorrow I'll go more but today I was exhausted (I'm convinced that I'm burning more calories fighting infection) and I didn't want to get sicker from trying too hard...yeah...that's it. Well that and I didn't want to spread my germs to everyone else in the gym and I only have 1 bandage so it can't get too sweaty because I wear it to work too! Hopefully I'll get good news tomorrow (or I'll have to start on IV antibiotics!!!!). My dream outcome is that the Dr will say that she can finally drain it and I'll be done for good.

I tried to take a picture of it because I know you're all interested but, surprisingly, it's really hard to take a picture of your right elbow when you're a's hoping for good news tomorrow! I have a 10k this weekend!!!

Oh PS I started this post to talk about my first Banana Baby. It was amazing. Who knew that a frozen banana covered in chocolate would taste so good for so little calories!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Maybe I'll Run Tomorrow?

Well it's been 4 days since I was diagnosed with the unknown skin infection. Turns out that it might not be staph after all because it developed into the ever so lovely bullseye that is associated with Lyme Disease. Luckily(?) my new drugs can be used to treat Staph AND Lyme Disease. Did I win the drug lottery or what?!

Well I've decided that I don't want to wait for any stupid blood test to tell me what I have. I've been told that if you really have Lyme Disease you get all achy and stuff in your muscles when you try to exercise. Sooo...since I've eaten nothing but chinese food, pizza, burritos, and cupcakes since Tuesday night and haven't really lifted a finger (or arm...get it? haha...) since Tuesday I'm clearly going to start losing that weight loss challenge thing if I don't get off my duff and exercise (and stop wallowing in self least I've avoided ice cream so far this time!!).

Tomorrow's big experiment is to go for a run...until my arm starts to hurt...we'll see how far I make it. Any suggestions for stuff I can do that doesn't rely on my arms/elbows?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Hidden Evil Lurking in Your Gym

How many of you have gone to the gym, used a piece of equipment (ie: a treadmill), and haven't wiped it down after you used it because "you didn't sweat on it" or just felt lazy. Don't be afraid to admit it, I've done it...the "I didn't sweat on it excuse" I've always wiped down equipment I felt that I've sweat on.

Some gyms put out spray bottles and paper towels everywhere making it hard to avoid wiping down the equipment. Some gyms don't put out ANYTHING. There are many reasons why you should wipe down your equipment...

1. It's flu season, do I really need to say more? I got on a bike at the gym on Monday and found a handful of cough drop wrappers in the cup holder. Gross much? The fact that they were in the cup holder made me wonder if the last person to use the bike had wiped it down after...
2. Swapping sweat is like swapping many other bodily fluids we'd rather not think about swapping with strangers. You might not think your sweat is gross but I'm sure someone else does.
3. Stomach viruses can linger on things you touch for hours. This means that if you have any virus lurking in you (and you might not even know it) can end up on that "start" button on the treadmill. The one you didn't think you needed to wipe down because, hey, you're clean, right?
4. Here's the real kicker. STAPH! You've all heard the urban legends of people getting MRSA from unclean gym equipment. While MRSA seriously sucks, it's not the only type of staph lurking at your local gym.

In case you didn't figure it out by now...I had an unfortunate run in with staph in the hotel gym over the weekend. I went on this awesome trip to Texas last weekend. I work on a small part of a much bigger program and last weekend I had the opportunity to see the whole product put together. It was pretty freaking amazing because I work on some really cool stuff. While I was there my dad and I went to the gym at the hotel every morning. On the last dad my dad noted that the gym was pretty nasty. There was nothing around to sanitize the equipment after using it.

I've had this habit of rubbing my elbows when I get nervous/bored/whatever and I'm sure there were many times over the weekend that I did this. I got home from work Monday night and noticed that I had a small itchy bump on my elbow. I didn't really think much of it...I get them sometimes but they go away. I woke up Tuesday morning to the feeling that someone was stabbing me in the elbow. Thinking it was just a zit or something I went to work. As the day progressed the elbow hurt more and more and my excitement for being at work was steadily decreasing...I had been trying to get in 12+ hour days all week because I had a lot to get done but I thew in the towel after 9 hours and went home, ate everything in sight, and then proceeded to hug the toilet for the next few hours. I looked at my elbow before going to bed and it had started to look like I was growing a nipple on my was a little disturbing.

What does that look like to you??

By Wednesday morning half of my arm was red and angry looking and it felt like someone was trying to saw my arm off, I couldn't eat or drink, and I had the worst headache everrrrr. Off to the doctor I went (I don't want even want to think about that bill, thanks super stellar health insurance!!! that's sarcasm folks). Has anyone figured out what was on my arm? If you guessed Staph you'd be right! Since I am allergic to at least 50% of everything on the planet I was allergic to the top 2 choices for antibiotics used to treat Staph. I picked up my meds and dutifully ate a meal when I took the first dose (since they said to take it with food) and some pain killers. The headache went away for a few hours until everything decided to come back up. Take Wednesday and repeat for Thursday (because I'm allergic to the meds!) and you have a summary of my week so far! I called the doctor about the violent reactions to the meds and all I got in return was an automated phone call to tell me I have an appointment for Monday. Super useful! I did find that if I eat a ton of greasy food I can at least keep the food down and only be super nauseous for a few hours...not so useful for the diet game at work, especially since I haven't been to the gym since Monday.

The upside is that I got so bored at home that I tackled some light cleaning around my house. I tried the bathroom this morning but passed out so I tackled the mountain of laundry in the guestroom today and the pile of mail in the's a start!

Moral of the story. I will always wipe down my gym equipment before AND after use!! You can't trust anyone at the gym!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Good News Friday?

Despite having a less than stellar week I am going to focus on the two positive events that took place in the last two days...

1. I went to see a real Sports Medicine Orthopedist that specializes in foot injuries yesterday. She took another X-Ray of my foot and said she didn't see any sign of a bone healing which means...drum roll please...I NEVER HAD A STRESS FRACTURE!!! While it is slightly annoying that I had to deal with the possessed boot for so long, it also meant that I can start running again next week! That's right, the injury is Peroneal Tendonitis. Which means I get to take some happy happy pain killers anti inflamatories and do some physical therapy and be back on the treadmill (at a reduces speed/distance/incline) and work my way back up to where I was. AND I should be able to compete in my half marathon Thanksgiving weekend, especially because it's 100% FLAT so I won't have any issues with hills taking me out at mile 9!

2. Work is on a health kick so they started an optional weightloss challenge today called 10 in 10. The goal is to lose 10% of your weight in 10 weeks. You compete in teams and there are fabulous prizes at the end of the rainbow in addition to the obvious added bonus of weightloss. Today was weigh in day for the beginning of the challenge and the health coach lady said I only need to loose 8 pounds to be in the healthy weight range which is a lot less than I thought I needed to lose! And my base calories needed "just to get out of bed in the morning" is MORE than what my goal had been for my daily calorie consumption! So I can eat more food every day! And every time I go to the gym I'll be loosing weight. WOO HOO! Now that the devil boot is gone I should be at the gym TONS!

That's all for now folks. My boss is getting married tomorrow so that should be interesting...I'm also going apple picking in the morning which can only mean 1 thing...LOTS OF APPLEY BAKED GOODS IN THE NEAR FUTURE!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Updates and Giveaways

So after my half marathon I went back into the boot...


I swear this thing is possessed by the devil. The second I put it on I start taking pity on myself and start trying to convince myself that it's ok to eat whatever I want and not work out, because it's not worth working out if I can't run...duh. I was determined not to let this happen this time around with the boot (last time I let myself eat ice cream EVERY DAY and I only made it to the gym for strength or biking maybe twice a week!!). But I put it on yesterday and before I could even make it to my car I started thinking that I should get 800 calorie Starbucks for breakfast instead of my 300 calorie planned breakfast!! But I made it through the day with only consuming about 1500 calories and I made it to the gym! Today was the total opposite. I went to the doctor this morning and she totally freaked me out and it was pouring rain and by the time I walked from the parking lot into work my boot was soaked. So I went to 1 meeting and then just left work...and got Chipotle for lunch! I really wanted ice cream too but Haywards wasn't open yet. Luckily by the time I got home I was way to lazy to go back out into the rain for ice cream. But then I found a box of Jr Mints and a bag of Twizzlers and my day just went downhill from there. I ate a lot, tried to work from home, fell asleep for 3 hours, woke up and didn't go to the gym...horrible day.

Really, is there anything better than Coffee Oreo ice cream???

But this HAS to end at the end of the week. Work is starting a contest to lose 10% of your body weight in 10 weeks. A little lofty of a goal but I'm going to sign up for it. I certainly need an extra source of motivation and there are prizes!! So I'll be updating as I make progress with that soon!

And speaking of prizes, head on over to Gourmet Runner, she is giving away a RoadID!! All real runners have a RoadID, so head on over there for a chance to win one for free!

Race Review: Applefest Half Marathon!

Back when I was training to run a marathon in November I signed up for a bunch of races to match my training plan. I lucked out and found a half marathon just down the road form me AND it offered all you can eat apple crisp at the end! I was very excited about this race as I read about it on as one of the best half marathons in New England. And then I messed up my foot.

Who wouldn't run for all you can eat apple crisp??

I took the boot off a few weeks ago, ran a little, ran a 5k, ran a little more but nothing really more than a 5k. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to compete in this half marathon. I know, it was probably a bad idea since I hadn't really trained for it but I figured I could walk it if I needed to.

Well as the day drew closer and I actually looked at the race website, I found out that they don't allow walkers because everyone had to finish in less than 3 hours (poo). But I did it anyway.

Stupidly, I didn't do any type of course research. The website warned of "rolling hills" throughout the race course but I figured I could handle them. I met up with a friend on race day and she told me that the beginning of the race was pretty nice, a few up hills but it was a net downhill at the beginning, then there were a few crappy hills towards the end. That's when I started to get nervous...

I didn't have ANY clue what to expect for my pace of the race since I hadn't really run in 2 months. I picked 10:40 min/mile since that is about what I ran at my fastest half marathon and I was running sub 10min/miles before I hurt my foot.

I showed up to the race a few hours early, hung out with my friend, checked into the "filly" aka fat kid division and waited for the race. The race started at 10am which kind of annoyed me since I didn't know how to prep foodwise. I didn't want to eat too much for fear of tummy troubles during the race (a race which only offered potties at mile 6.5 for the relay racers!) but I also didn't want to be STARRRVING half way into the race since I knew it was going to take me 2+ hours to finish the darn thing. So I had a bagel at 8AM figuring it would give me time to digest before the race and brought some Gu Chomps along for energy during the race. It was not enough! By mile 10 my stomach was rumbling and by the time I finished I thought I was going to puke I was so hungry! I'll have to work on that for next time.

So actual race summary. They were very well organized, check in was quick and home base was at a high school. They opened up the gym for check in and milling around pre race which was good considering it was raining outside. They spread out the portapotties well so there wasn't a HUGE line at any one area. The starting line was a little cramped but that was ok since the race was limited to 1200 people. I lined up a few minutes before the start and set my Garmin to a 10:20 pace figuring that if I could keep that pace in the beginning I'd had a little bit of buffer at the end for the treacherous hills.

The gun went off and I was OFF (well after the first 500 people started in front of me). Once I got through the pack I was cruising, attacking hills left and right and totally maximizing the downhills (I'm learning!). I checked my Garmin a few times and I was kicking butt! Under 10 min miles. This totally gave me motivation to keep running through the rain and the hills. As I got farther in the race it became more and more of a mind game. I told myself I wasn't going to walk on any uphills until I was at least halfway through the race and my awesome time kept me going. I was on track to cut 20 minutes off of my half marathon PR! I was going to finish in under 2 hours if I could keep up my pace!! And then it started pouring around mile POURING RAIN!! Misting/drizzling is fine because it cools you down and your feet stay pretty dry. Once it started pouring my feet got soaked and I started to blister. Then around mile 9 I hit the hill from H-E-double hockey sticks. You start up this steep but short hill, manageable...and then you turn the corner, expecting it to flatten out but it was just steeper and longer!!!

That's when I gave up and started to walk. This was my fatal mistake in the race. Once you slow down in a race when you've been keeping up a great pace, it is hard to get back to the running. And even harder if you are taking on challenging hills. The next 1.5-2 miles was allllll uphill. By the time I reached flat ground again my feet and calves were toast and I was hungry. I was determined to finish and since I had been kicking butt for most of the race I could walk and still come in close to my half marathon PR time. I wanted my finishers medal!! And finish I did!

It's a bottle opener too! To help dull the pain...?

I ended up finishing in 2:25ish, 7 minutes slower than my best time which I was still pretty proud of considering my lack of training for the past 8 weeks (the boot sucks out all of my motivation to exercise and eat well). What sucks though is that during the race I totally screwed up my feet. Huge blisters all over the bottoms and in my attempts to continue to make forward progress and avoid making the blisters worse I reinjured the stress fracture in my foot.

SOOOOO back in the boot for another 8 weeks, which means I'll be in it pretty much up until the time of my next half marathon (which used to be the full marathon I was training for...). So who knows what will happen. I still really want to run it and it's flat and I certainly proved my lungs and heart can handle it after spending time in the boot. But the big question is whether or not the foot can handle it. I think I'm going to break down and go to the doctor and figure this out for real.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Applefest Sneak Peak

Full update to come soon, but here is a little preview...the course elevation map courtesy of my Garmin :)