Moral victories

Week 4 of marathon training and we’ve begun to ramp up our mileage…

Saturday’s training run was an 8 miler, which was quite a jump for me; I hadn’t run more than 4 miles since the 10K I ran in mid-March, when I had just recovered from my broken ankle–before a rib injury, migraines, and the cold from hell took me out of commission again and stopped my momentum cold. Needless to say, I was somewhat nervous about running this far, with my cardio still a bit iffy from all of the stops and starts of the past few months, but the whole point of training is to get our body slowly adjusted to the growing mileage, so I set aside the nerves and showed up for the run, hoping for the best.

It turned out that I had nothing to worry about. Sure, it took a while to warm up and I found myself a bit out of breath for the first mile or two, but soon enough, I was starting to get my wind, and thanks to my running partner, Leah, the miles breezed by quickly.

An hour and 31 minutes later, I had logged 8.11 miles (overachievers r us ;)) and was feeling pretty triumphant. Not only did I get all the miles in that I set out to run, but I felt strong and good at the end of the whole thing, which in itself is a victory after the last few months of health woes that I’ve had to endure.

Is it the start of my comeback? I sure hope so…

Thumbs up!

Thumbs up!

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There’s only one direction to go from here, and that’s up

Made a startling discovery tonight. I’m human (shh, try not to spread the word; I’ve got a reputation to uphold). Yes, the heat really did get to me and I had a really bad time trial–didn’t even finish all 12 laps around the track and had to stop at 10 because my stomach was not very happy near the end.

Ok, not the result I wanted. Far from it. Before I stopped, I was on track to finish the 5K in over 32 minutes–easily my worst time in three years and more than 4 minutes slower than last summer’s time trial. Ouch. But it happened and the earth didn’t swallow me whole. My ego is bruised (severely), but thankfully, the ego heals, albeit sometimes a little more slowly than we’d like :). And when it does heal, I will kick my own butt and beat last year’s time. If the heat cooperates this time, I might just do it, too.

But lest I feel too sorry for myself, the night ended on a very positive note, which put all of this into proper perspective. As tradition after track, we had one of our Honorees give a short, inspirational talk. Tonight, it was Honoree Todd’s turn to tell his story, and we heard his new addendum for the first time: 12 years after his initial diagnosis of cancer, he received the miraculous news that he’s now passed the time period in which they were sure his cancer would come out of remission and return. And this means that he is now in the very, very small minority of people with this type of cancer who is now unlikely to see a recurrence of it.

He is, essentially, cured.

A to the men.

Sucky time trials don’t really hold much weight compared to this, no?

How does the weather know when a time trial is coming up?

It’s time trial time once again, when the team runs a 5K all out to get broken up into pace groups that we’ll be in throughout the remainder of the season, to space out the runners on the trail. The process tends to be a little nerve-wracking, even to those of us who have done it many times before–let’s face it, most of us are perfectionists and want to outdo last season’s time, and I’m definitely no exception :).

And once again, it seems the weather knows exactly when we’re about to do a time trial, because the temperatures all of a sudden heated up just for the occasion. For the third (or is it the fourth?) straight summer, we look to have another scorcher on our hands just in time to do our time trial. Nothing like running all out in excessive heat and hoping you don’t pass out.

Wish me luck, folks–I shall report back with results when it is all done.

Wait, I thought this was the SUMMER team?

57 degrees, pouring down rain, runners dressed in rain-proof gear, tights, and long-sleeve shirts…

 

Is it really JUNE?

 

So it’s not exactly the kind of beginning to the summer season that most of us are used to… It’s not often that we’re giving advice to the newbies about how to dress in inclement weather and reassuring them that, despite rumors to the contrary, we will indeed NOT melt in the rain. Guaranteed. But it’s that kind of summer season so far, and I’m so proud of the team for not only showing up for today’s run, but actually braving the downpour and running 3-5 miles.

 

It just goes to show that the cause that brings us altogether is enough to awaken the crazy–er, I mean, the dedicated in all of us. So the next time it’s pouring down like this and you are in the comfort in your own home, snuggling in a blanket and sipping hot chocolate, think of us poor folk who are out there running in the name of kicking cancer’s ass.

 

And please save a room for us by the fireplace when we’re done :).

 

"Break out the umbrella, ella, ella..."

Break out the umbrella, ella, ella...

A less than stellar debut

Well the first run of the brand new season didn’t exactly go as I had hoped…

After an off-season spent battling various injuries and ailments (I’m talking to you, evil migraines), I was hoping to put the disappointment of the last few months behind me and get back to business doing what I love to do best: training for a marathon. Today was supposed to be my fresh start, my chance to wipe the slate clean of all of the things that have plagued me recently. So of course what happens? I go and get myself infected with a wicked cold virus.

But no matter. So I was a little down and out today (managing a meager 1.34 miles before finally, FINALLY listening to my body and stopping), but it’s the first day of a long season, and there will be plenty of opportunities to get in there and run (I sure hope :)). Besides, I still found a way to meet many of the new participants and give them a great TNT experience, and at the end of the day, that’s my job as volunteer staff.

I’ll get ’em the next time.

She’s at it again…

Y’all didn’t think I’d stay away, did you?

Summer approaches, which means I am once again gearing up for another season to train for a marathon. Marathon #5 will be on October 9, 2011 in Portland, OR, where I hope to beat Oprah Winfrey’s time of 4:29 set a new PR.

We all have to have something to shoot for :).

But most of all, I am back because we still haven’t come to that blessed day when we can say: There is a cure for cancer.

There is no cure yet. Yet. But as long as I am able, I will continue to put efforts into making sure that “yet” turns into “soon” and that “soon” turns into “now.” Just four days ago, I soberly marked the one year anniversary of my dear friend Brittanie Siobhan’s passing. Cancer robbed me of my friend, and that makes me angry and sad and determined that her fight not be in vain.

And so, I am back with Team In Training and back raising money. If you would like to help support my efforts, I would welcome your very generous donations–remember, no amount is too small! Simply visit http://pages.teamintraining.org/sj/portland11/jenkeepsrunning and help me make cancer cry like a little girl.

Back in the saddle again…

It’s been 9 weeks since my memorable (and not in a good way) trail race, where I fractured my ankle. I’m happy to report that I am finally back in the swing of things! I got the officially clearance 3 weeks ago to get back to running, albeit cautiously and watching for any signs whatsoever of pain or discomfort. Technically, I’m still another few weeks away from the bone and the ligaments being 100% healed, but I’m enough of the way there that I can resume all normal activity–one stupid move, however, and I could be back to being immobile faster than you can say, “setback.”

 

So I’ve been very conservative indeed and not running for more than 30-40 minutes at a time. I’m feeling no pain (yay!), but as I learned from this whole ordeal, apparently I can’t trust my pain sensors to tell me when I’m going too far–after all, I ran on a broken ankle at one point. I always thought of myself as having a very low tolerance for pain, but I’ve been told by several people now that I in fact have a very high tolerance. Hmm, I’m not sure whether I should be happy or scared about that ;).

 

In any case, I’m so happy to be back to doing the things I love. I didn’t realize just how much I missed it until I went on my first run and found myself tearing up–yes, actually tearing up. I feel very lucky to get to do these things: be active and use my body when there are so many others who would give just about anything for that chance. I definitely don’t take this blessing for granted, and I think that’s why I’m so determined to use that ability to do something good and make a difference.

 

Summer season for Team In Training is now just a little over three months away and I can hardly wait. It feels so good to be back in the game!