Thursday, February 28, 2008

She gets it.

I don't want to forget to keep reading, and re-reading, Kristin Armstrong's blog. About a running friend who was sidelined with a disease, she wrote, "I have no doubt that Katie will regain her health and her strength...Sweetheart, in the meantime, you are not left out or left behind. You are simply pacing yourself. What I want to tell Katie, and anyone else out there struggling with injury, illness, delay, or disappointment of any kind is that even if you are healing or taking time off... you are still, and always, a runner."

She gets it.

Committed or obsessed?

Have to do 7 miles on the treadmill tonight. Not exactly looking forward to it, but couldn't get out of a meeting after school today and have to go to Spanish class, least I'm past the point of thinking not working out is an option. I used to obsess about whether I was really committed, whether I'd really made that mental switch to being in shape, whether it could be switched back if I slacked off. Slowly, I'm realizing I am committed, while also realizing that if I must take a day off (tomorrow, for instance), not all will be lost. There's a fine line between healthy obsession and unhealthy obsession. It's a good place to be.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Obsession

OK, Ironman is still lurking out there for me some day. But my latest, more attainable goal is actually a week-long cycling tour to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. I received the jerseys Jerry from Amgen said he'd get me...awesome. He sent a pair of shorts, a long sleeved jersey, a jacket, and a short sleeved jersey that was too big for me but that fits Fred perfectly. I felt like a total pro in the kit, and to top it off, it arrived the day after I got my bike back from the shop. All new Campy components, racing wheels...2.5 pounds lighter than before (my wallet quite a bit lighter still!). Of course, we also got 7 inches of snow the same day, so it's yet untested. But some of the clothes came from the Arthritis Foundation with a note from Amy, one of the VPs who's in charge of the California Coast Classic (, an 8 day tour to raise money and awareness of arthritis-related conditions. I had had no idea about it. I ran my first marathon, plus a half marathon later, with Joints in Motion, so I've raised money for them before, but to be able to do this cycling tour for the cause sounds amazing. I've become a little obsessed and have to call Amy this week to discuss. Fred would be on board too. Logistically I'll have to miss a week of school in September, not the best, but my administration would likely support it still. Of course, I may also be pregnant (if I don't chicken out, the goal is this summer), but barely, so that shouldn't make me too wobbly. Also, I'm having coffee with Susie from high school on Friday, who is going to convince me that being pregnant does not preclude fitness (her daughter Emily is about a year old now).

Thursday, February 14, 2008


by the Ironman bug. Will I? Won't be for a few years.....after a kid or 2...but...will I?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Blah. Tired today, even though it's the first day of NEVER COACHING AGAIN (again). The girls lost to Darien but it was a decent game. I will miss coaching the games, but not the practices...especially since this was the first season I really couldn't shoot, catch, or pass (my instinct when someone passes me the ball is now that of an uncoordinated 6-year-old: don't try to catch, try to deflect!). The girls were weirded out by the fact that my wrists don't bend (but I'm still a better shooter than most of them...sadly!).

Had 4 miles of speedwork on the schedule, but even though I did get my ass to the gym, it wasn't happening. I trudged through 2 miles, stretched, and promised to make up for it tomorrow.

Almost decided last night to fore go upgrading my bike components to make shifting and braking easier on the wrists. It would cost around $2000, the same price I paid for the bike 2 years ago. Fred is talking me into going for it. It's not really the money that is holding me back, it's just that I have this idea that as soon as we have kids (may start trying this summer...ack...) I will have no time to do anything. Fred promises me it won't be that way, he says there's no way I will let it...maybe he has more faith in me than I do sometimes.'s a lot to consider.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Urgh. I don't know why I bother, but I keep searching for info on the Internet about other athletes with RA. All I come up with are sites, blogs, or message boards filled with whiners. I am so mean. I have my days too, I know, but come on! Get over it! Your day might suck, but LIVE YOUR LIFE.

On a positive note, Amgen, who makes Enbrel (yay Enbrel!), sponsors a company cycling team. I contacted them about buying some of their cycling clothing, and the super cool guys who wrote back are trying to find me not only Amgen-logo cycling clothes, but jersey and shorts that actually have "Enbrel" blasted on them! Not sure what'll come of it, but I would be so proud to wear those if I got them...see, I'm not totally healthy, but I'm definitely not sick, and I am proud of being who I am despite what I have.

So where are the rest of the people like me??


Ran the Boston Buildup 20k this morning. Results aren't up yet but I think I broke a 9 min pace...barely. (Only 2 min faster than last year, but still...faster.) Kathy (my self-appointed coach) told me my goal was an 8:30 pace, I'd hoped for 8:40, but I think neither of us realized how hilly the course was. How is it possible for a course that ends where it started to be ALL UPHILL? OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but my IT band was killing by mile 8, and it wasn't the distance (did 12 last weekend) or the pace that did it, so must be that I need to train a LOT more on hills. Especially since Nashville is a hilly course. Uh-oh. I also have a nasty blister on my little toe. So I've been hobbling around this afternoon. Thing is, I don't mind that at all! Pain from pushing myself like this is wonderful...the fact that I COULD do this today is all that matters. (At least that's what I'm telling myself...if I'd run over an 8:59 pace I'd be lying if I said I didn't care. As it is, I think I made 8:57...)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I'm just happy to be able to run.

Did that 12-miler. It rocked. Took it slowish, I think a 9:30 pace, and took a 10-second walk break every 10 minutes. Never really did that before, even though many coaches recommend it for people like me (middle-of-the-packer). It helped immensely...mentally maybe more than anything. Instead of running for almost 2 hours, I felt like I was running for 10 minutes (but 12 me, it's different). Nice.

Went to the Runner's Roost today to check out their winter sale with Bea, got a cool shirt and a pair of capris. Bea was commenting on some feature in her iPod that tells her her pace, said she was running recently and it said her pace was 9:03 min/mi. That motivated her to run faster, and she said I should get this. My immediate reaction was no. Maybe my need to run faster, better, isn't there so much any more. I told her, "Right now, I'm just happy to be able to run at all. My perspective has changed." I don't know how true that really is...I do want to be faster. I'm running a 20k tomorrow (cold...) and I DO want to be faster...I want to run under an 8:40 pace (ok, 8:30). I won't be disappointed if I don't. Basically, I want to run comfortably hard, not uncomfortably hard. Mentally I'm not there. This is where I get this an excuse for not working harder, or is it OK to be content with what I've accomplished? At what point is it OK to say, "This is enough. I am content. I don't need more just to have more. I just need to be happy."??

At any rate, it is true. I AM happy just to be able to run, pain free (except for that nagging glute pain!). I don't want to lose that by making every run a goal, a time, a challenge. Sometimes a run is just a run. A way to be alive.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Where are the athletes with chronic disease????

A quick I just got a new laptop and have been playing on the Internet all day, mostly searching for other athletes with RA. Well, I am sure they are out there, but must just be as frustrated as I am that the only info/posts/blogs about RA seem to be by people who are...well, kind of depressing. Now, ok, I've been there. I've been in pain, unable to move, depressed, scared about the's not that I'm not sympathetic, and it's not that I don't realize I'm probably fairly lucky in the scheme of things. It's just that I'm not a typical RA sufferer, and I'm not a typical athlete, and I'd really like to find other people who understand my drive but also my limitations. Because it's frustrating to have to explain to my athlete friends why no, today I just can't lift, but tomorrow I might be just fine. Or no, today I'm not running, but yes, I still plan to kick ass in the next marathon.
Yeah, it's officially in my left ankle now. So I wear a brace there too. I could be a poster child for neoprene. Anyway, never did that Philly half...not the RA that stopped me (never!) but a horrible stomach virus. Dropped 7 pounds in 3 days of not eating. Adjusted RA meds, am on a maintenance dose of prednisone now (and for once I don't want to go off of it), and am fairly "normal." Well,the new normal. Most days now the ankle is ok. Not joint once affected ever seems to go back to perfect, there are mis-steps and accidental twists and turns that cause intense, but brief, pain. There is always swelling, and I don't like to look at it because...well, because it looks like it has RA. (Another reason to wear the brace, it covers it up.) Still, I am training to run the County Music Marathon in Nashville at the end of April (and my husband is training for the half...he runs hist first 5k tomorrow! I am sitting it out because I have to run a 12 miler tomorrow). I have an unexpected new "coach" who's taken it upon herself to set up my schedule, hold me accountable for the workouts, and convince me I can indeed break 4 hours ("No problem," she said last week as we did an 11 miler together. Ummm...ok.). Kathy is great...she is the Ironman mom of one of my nicest (and chattiest) students, and her support seems to be just what I need right now. So, here's to 12 tomorrow...was going to do it today but the ankle said, "Wait." Hopefully it didn't intend for me to wait long.