Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Almost Marathon Time!

Thanks to I Love To Run on Facebook.
"No one has any guarantee of being physically intact at this time tomorrow. So whining about a run is like whining about having too much money. Every drop of sweat from every run is a gift. Never complain about running." - Matt Judge 

Never have I believed words more, especially over the past couple of months. I can't say that training for a marathon is the most difficult thing I've ever done, but it certainly is up there. I was feeling great when I started way back in October. I had just run a 10k with my sister in Boston, and was excited to get my training underway. As I looked back over my entries on Daily Mile, I really messed up my legs trying to find new shoes. Plus training around the holidays is NEVER easy. I had to have surgery on my gums too- which put me on the couch for a good week, then another week of short running until my mouth was completely healed. AND I have been trying to get my business up and running. It was a crazy time from November through Christmas.

Yes, these are excuses. However, they took their toll, so by the time January came around, my legs were ready to fight back. By fight back, I mean my knee started tweaking to the point where I couldn't go more than 4 or 5 miles without pain, and then had to limp home on my long runs. Then I had a brace that didn't work for running, and my ankle took on the brunt of my leg and THAT started to hurt. By this point I was just miserable, and starting to really worry about this 26.2 thing I signed up for.

In desperation I went and had a running analysis done, and was fitted for shoes. That actually was a good move, because I found a pair that actually feel pretty good (however I had to change the insoles). I tried rock tape, but that wasn't enough support for my knee. The biggest problem was I kept running. Cardio-wise I'm fine. If I had no leg pain I could run 50 miles. By now I had major shin splints up my leg and needed an ankle brace to keep from moving so much. It had gotten to the point where I called Katie one day and completely broke down. I was ready to quit. There would be other marathons, and I wanted another chance to try rather than blow out my knee and never be able to try again. 

My friend Kimber pointed out the obvious- why don't I do cross training? I hate doing anything other than running. I don't like to ride a bike, or use the elliptical at the gym. I only want to run. But I had to get over that, and started only using the elliptical twice a week, and then my long run on the weekends. Kimber also reminded me that the time limit for the marathon can be done in a fast walk. That combined with running would keep me in the race (they actually check your time at the halfway point, and if you're not at a 14 1/2 mile/hr pace they stop you).

Armed (legged?) with a better knee brace, I started applying this running/speed walking technique, along with continuing cross training. At the same time, I was making sure to keep weight training to strengthen the rest of my body and core, and of course my frenemie the foam roller on my hips and legs. This past weekend was my best long run- still slow but I managed 15 miles. The next day I had just some minor muscle soreness, but my knee and my ankle were fine. Today at the gym I had to talk myself out of running, and still use the elliptical. I feel that good. It's amazing what your body can do when you take care of it.

I'm really glad I didn't decide to quit. I backed off and adjusted to heal as much as I can while still training. It seems to be working. I am so confident I can complete this marathon, I wish it was this weekend! 

My problems are so minor compared to the person who can't run (or do any activity) because of a bigger injury or illness. Still, it really blew my self-confidence for quite some time, the feeling that I can't do it. The feeling that I'm not physically able to do it. The feeling that I've failed without even trying. 

Running is a gift. Next weekend I'll run The Lost Dutchman Marathon. I'll be as ready as I'm going to be, and confident that I have done all I can. I will remember my journey and reflect on it as I'm running. I will be nervous about how fast I run the first half because of the time restriction, and hope that doesn't push me too hard too soon. It is what it is. All I know is I deserve the chance to try. 

Running is a gift. These past few months have taught me that I can't take that for granted.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why I can't stand warm temperatures

View of the Superstitions from
the edge of my neighborhood,
when it was a high of 45.
 I bitch about warm weather ALL THE TIME. Basically, any time the sun is out, I'm going to be unhappy. We just had a freeze here for about a week, and the highs were in the 40's. It was the best weather, and I got to listen to everyone else in the valley complain for awhile.

View two days later when the high
was 70 degrees. 
Heat is gross. It hits 70 in the valley and it feels 10-15 degrees warmer than that. I sweat. OTHERS sweat. I get headaches. I can't run as well when it's warm. I physically feel bad when the temps are warmer. As you can see from the pictures, as soon as the temps rise, the air pressure increases, and it pushes all the crap in the air down. And we breathe it. Even on nice days Bret and I can rarely have our windows open, because we get scratchy throats.  This is just January too! In summer, throw in dust storms and 40 MORE degrees. It's why I escape to the east coast whenever I can over the summers. Even their 90 degrees and 90% humidity is more tolerable than the desert heat. The sun just isn't as intense as it is here.

The only time 70-80 degrees temps are tolerable in the desert is when it was 100+ for months before. I hope there are a few more cooler temps left in this season, because I'm all ready looking forward to next winter!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hi, I'm Dani, and I have a parking problem.

Just a scratch. Or ten.
I do many stupid things. Everyone pretty much hears about all of them, since I'm such an outspoken person online. The latest was backing out of the garage and scraping the side of my van on the side, also slightly damaging the trim of the garage. Hey- at least the door still works!

Anyway, I was thinking about parking, and how many times I've had a costly issue. I really do suck at it, and what I discovered while having this trip down memory lane is that every time it happened, I was IN A VAN. You would think after 20+ years I would learn, or at least own a smaller vehicle!

* 1990. The place? Slide Rock, Sedona. Yes, this newly-driving 18-year-old, with a van full of her fellow tired teen friends, forgot that there was a concrete divider separating the parking spaces. So instead of backing out, I went forward. And stopped. Then continued moving forward, grimacing at the scraping sound underneath us. I almost made it home free too, until my foster Dad came in from outside the next day and asked, "why is the license plate bent?"

It's not as bad as it looks. Really!
* 2004 (I think). The place? San Diego, CA. My sister Katie and I were there for our friend Tasha's baby shower. Katie had rented a van. She was also pregnant at the time. The one time she asks me to drive, the van is in a parking garage next to one of those big concrete supports. You guessed it- scraped the side backing out. 

*2006. The place? DT Tempe. I was meeting someone for lunch, and parked my new van where? THE PARKING GARAGE. Well, I parked it after I went too wide turning and hit the concrete support next to the space. That one we just left alone, and were very lucky it wasn't noticed when we traded it for the current one.

This time though, not so lucky. Personally I don't really care how it looks, but I guess at some point we'll get rid of it and it needs to look ok. Bret didn't like my Sharpie idea, so tomorrow I will go get an estimate, and keep my fingers crossed that if it comes out under our deductible, that it's WAY under. 

Obviously, I need to stop driving altogether. Or just hire a valet. Maybe this guy is available? He's got enough money, he would totally work for free, right?

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Buh-bye, 2012. You were good to us.

My Christmas Dinner Fortune Cookie:
"Consume Less, Share More, Enjoy Life."
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe time merrily being merry. The last couple of years we had decided to go paperless in our yearly Christmas Holiday Letter. This year it seemed more difficult to get to. This isn't necessarily due to being lazy or even too busy. I found myself wondering why I was doing it. Then I put my ego in check. (No, Dani, not EVERYONE follows every single thing you post on Facebook, and not everyone you would send this too is even on Facebook! Get over yourself, lady.) So let us commence the yearly family brag!

Sam (as she likes to be known now) is 12 going-on complete stereotypical teen girl. She is the one who reminds me the most of myself at her age, and with 80's colors and clothing being back in style, it just hits me harder. Bright pants, big curls in her hair, and her favorite boy-band all over her bedroom wall (for her it is One Direction, for me it was Duran Duran). She also entered middle-school this year, and now I have both kids in the same place- thank goodness! I was worried after so many years of Montessori the transition to a more rigorous education would be a problem, but she did just fine, and continues to shine in the classroom as well as outside of it. She is looking forward to trying her hand at archery in the spring, and hopefully getting to the 1D Store in NYC sometime this year (that's the above-mentioned boy band).

Allison, now 15 and a sophomore in High School, could pretty much just live on her own at this point. Well, if she had a car and a job. She has always been the independent one, and at times it is really hard to forget she is still so young. Now that she has reached 15 and 6 months, there is a drivers manual lying around somewhere. She also continues to excel in her studies, and now the focus is beginning to turn to where she might end up for college. On top of school she is still playing soccer (and scoring some goals for the team!), and also keeping her steady archer's arm. A new development this year is a boyfriend, which I think has been a little harder on Bret than me. He's a wonderful young man, and it often reminds me of Bret and myself way back when.

Bret continues to work for Intel, and has also kept up the continuing education planning for other employees. He has been teaching and attending classes this year too. There has been a lot of discussion this year about making some changes, as he really wants to do something more fulfilling, or even switch places with me and stay at home for awhile. He also received a small bite from the athletic bug, and participated in his first Sprint-Triathlon this past April. He achieved his goal-time, and it was a lot of fun to see him accomplish this feat! I don't think he's interested in doing more, but I secretly hope he does.

As for myself, I always have 50 things going on at once, and 2012 was no exception. I ran another half-marathon, a couple of 5k's, the yearly Pat's Run with the family, and a 10k in Boston with my foster-sister Katie, who also joined us for Pat's Run. April was actually a big month. Not only did Bret run his tri, and we had more people join us for Pat's Run, I also turned 40. For the most part, I absolutely loved saying goodbye to another decade. I did a 40-to-40 blog series, had a roller skating party, and saw the musical American Idiot. I also led the organizing committee for TechPhx, which was a first for me (I was always on the committee but never leading). That was a great experience, and I look forward to doing it again this year. I also found myself looking for a job this year, which didn't work out so well. So I decided to start my own business! It's been so busy I put my political podcast on hiatus for the time-being, but one of the wonderful things about podcasting is you can pick it back up whenever you want!

As a family, it wasn't a big travel year. We managed to spend a nice weekend up at the family cabin with Bret's parents, and spent a week in Boston over fall break. The girls did more traveling on their own- they went off to Iowa to visit their Nanas in July, which was Sam's first flight sans parents. She loved it! Right after that, Allison went off to spend a week with Bret's sister in San Francisco. Though I am sad we didn't make our summer trek to the east coast, I am glad the girls did some exploring on their own. We also stayed home for Christmas too- my brother Henry and his family joined us for the holiday! It was great meeting his 4 daughters for the first time, and getting to know all of them better. We don't see them very often, so it made for a very special holiday.

So that is it. 2012 in a few paragraphs. I don't make resolutions, but I do enjoy looking back and seeing what a good year it has been for the Cutler Clan. I always try to be grateful for what we have, and not sweating the small stuff... too much. I'm not big on resolutions, but I do hope that you take each day of 2013 in stride, so you can also look back and smile at all you've accomplished come the end of the year!