Monday, November 29, 2004

Physical Therapy

My doctor wants me to do physical therapy because, I guess, he thinks I got the fracture in my shin because of shin splints. Last Wednesday I had my first PT appointment. My PT's name is Mike. He was REALLY a good PT; probably the best I have ever been to. He did the usual history and then made we walk up and down the hallway like 7 times. Then he had me lay on my stomach and he messed around with my ankles and calves to see what biomechanical problems I might have. None seen. Then he started giving me exercises. I've got to do toe raises, and rubber band exercises, and these ones where you stand on telephone books and lower your heel down without shaking all over the place. Then Mike had me lay on the table again, on my side, and asked me to keep my leg up and not to let him push it down. BOOM! My upper leg slammed into my lower leg. Same thing on the other side. Mike has concluded that my leg troubles are probably because I have no gluteus minimus (hip) muscles. So now I have more exercises to do for my hip muscles. I've been doing these exercises now for about 4 days and I am so sore.

I've kinda fallen off my dieting and exercising bandwagon the last two weeks. Last week I only worked out twice. I swam on Monday and took a spinning class on Wednesday. This week I'm going to get back into it. No more snacking. No more chocolate. No more alcohol. I'm planning on swimming Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, spin on Thursday, and swim on Friday and Saturday. One more week before I can begin using the Elliptical machine and two more weeks before I can begin running again.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Another Three Weeks

Darn it! I went to the doctor today for my four week check-up on my stress fractured leg. I was hoping to not have to wear the aircast anymore and could return to running. Instead I left the appointment being "weened" off the aircast for the next week and I cannot return to running for another three weeks. REALLY FRUSTRATING! I also have to do some physical therapy for shin splints, I guess to strengthen so I don't get another stress fracture. I guess I'm allowed to be biking because the doctor asked me if I was biking. Uh, no. You told me not to bike. So, I guess I'm going to start combining biking into my exercise. I'm allowed to start using the elliptical machine in two weeks but only for 10 minutes every other day. Guess I will not be running the Turkey Trot on Thursday.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Reach The Beach

After each big "event" we do, our running group usually does write-ups about our experience. Andy posted the other day and wanted me to blog my write-up from the Reach the Beach Relay we did in September. Be's long.

Reach the Beach 2004
A few weeks ago Dad told me that I might have the opportunity to go to Portland to run the Hood to Coast Relay. Unfortunately that didn't pan out and honestly I was a bit disappointed. Then out of the blue Andy e-mailed me the week before Reach the Beach Relay and asked me if I'd like to join the team. I was ecstatic. Dad gave me some last minute tips on packing and told me a little bit about the race and what to expect.
Thursday morning we met at the airport for our 11:30 flight. I wrestled my luggage through the airports in Columbus, Detroit, and Manchester. Maybe it would have been smarter just to bring one duffel bag? In Manchester we rented vans and headed out to find a grocery store. I am so thankful I live in a big town with big grocery stores on every corner. These little corner markets are so hard to find what you're looking for. Not that I had any idea what I was looking for anyway. :) After the grocery store we went to the Olive Garden for dinner. Yummy! Then it was about an hour drive up to Brenton Woods to stay at the Profile Deluxe. We split up into pairs for rooms and then Mandy gave us all team shirts. Of course, mind said Bob and was about a million sizes too big. He he he!
After check-in we went up to the Brenton Woods ski area to check in our team, get our packets, and drink some free beer. Then we came back to the motel and walked across the street to the little bar. As we walked across the parking lot, the person inside unplugged the "Open" sign. Greg went up and talked to the people and then they let us inside. I guess they thought we were a bunch of kids! We spent a few hours over there just relaxing and shooting some pool with the locals. Then it was time for bed.
In the morning we went to this little hole-in-the-wall for breakfast that reminded me a lot of my grandparents' house in Kentucky. It was warm enough when we returned from breakfast to take a dip in the pool, although Nancy, Bridget, and Andy were the only ones who did. At about 12:30 we headed up to the ski resort to start our race.
At the race site, we got our team picture taken. That girl was definitely not a professional. I think I could have taken a picture as good as she did. We watched the 1:00 wave start. Then it was Junior's turn to head straight up the mountain. And when I say straight up, it was straight up. You could see people walking up the hill; it was just too steep to run. Junior actually said he walked a lot more, but pretended to be running by moving his arms in a running motion. He he he! The descent down the hill was as steep as the climb up. Junior looked like Mandy when he ws running down the hill...his arms were flailing everywhere.
Greg took the baton next, then Brian Grinnell, and so forth. I think it started to rain when Bridget was running and it didn't stop for a long time. I was the 12th runner; the last to go in the rotation. My first run was at about 9:00 at night and it was pitch black and it was raining. The route took me through a park and the vans could not follow me. It was so dark that even having a headlamp didn't help. I would put the lamp on my head, then hold it in my hand, then back on my head, then in my hand. Eventually I just clipped it onto the waist of my shorts to run the rest of the race. Although this leg was not hilly compared to everyone else's it was quite difficult because of how dark it was. It wasn't until the last half-mile that there were lines on the road. I spent most of this leg running in the middle of the road because I couldn't tell where the edge of the road was. After my rotation, our van went to McDonald's to get some dinner at about 10:00pm.
McDonald's had never tasted so good but soon I would regret the decision to eat it. Our van took a shortcut to the next double-van exchange at a technical school. Most of the people in our van went inside the school to try to get some sleep. I decided to stay in the van to get some sleep since everyone else went inside. I think I did get a little sleep, but when I woke up my stomach was hurting and I felt like I was going to get sick. I got out of the van to go inside the school to the restrooms. As I was waiting in line the janitor came in and said the well had gone dry and that we had to use the port-a-johns. Great! Ever had the runs in the dark in a port-a-john? This was not fun. I was pissing out my ass, it was dark, it was pouring down rain, and the race was nowhere close to being finished. I was not having fun and I was very vocal about it. I just wanted to go home! Dad gave me some Immodium and I crawled back in the van as Steve started the rotation for our van. I tried to get some sleep as we traveled between the stops. My stomach began to feel better as we approached my rotation and I decided to stick with the race.
My second run was at about 5:45am and it was starting to get lighter outside. Early on in this leg I got passed by a girl like I was standing still. I felt like I was doing a pretty good clip, but she blew by me. I passed a few people and then caught up to this guy I had been tailing since the start of the race. He said to me, "Pretty good pace." I was like, "Yeah." He just ran beside me for quite a while. Then he said, "Woah, there you go." And I took off in front of him. He said to me, "I'm just going to stay right on your tail for a while." I was like, "Okay!" And then he fell quite a ways back. Guess he didn't tail me for very long?! He he he! I made a left-hand turn and then went up a short hill. I passed two guys who were running together and they asked me if I was showing off. I said no. They said they were impressed so I said that I was showing off. There was another guy a short ways in front of them who was walking up the hill. When he heard me coming he started running again, but I blew by him. I must admit I get quite a thrill out of passing guys. I like being a woman who can kick ass. As I came into the finish line there was a police officer directing runners. He was facing me and he told me to get over to the right. Ummmm, I was on the right. I think he wanted me to get over to his right. Dumb ass!
Our van had finished their rotation and headed off on a short cut to the next double-van exchange. I tried to get some more sleep but Steve kept knocking my feet off his arm rest and Andy got lost so Nancy and Steve spent a good amount of time fighting over the map and giggling about how lost we were. This rest stop was good to get some food and get some rest. I used Dad's cell phone to call Dave. There was a message on the phone from Mom asking us if it was raining. Ha! Was it raining? Give me a break!
We had been told it was supposed to stop raining by noon, but noon came and went and it was still pouring. We were into our final rotation and the other van was following us now and cheering us on. This rotation consisted mostly of short legs and required some quick moving vans. Andy's run went through the middle of a town and we were caught in traffic. We didn't know if we were going to be able to beat Andy to the exchange zone. We did and Andy handed off to Nancy. She too had a short leg and we had to hop in the van right away. Andy decided to take a victory lap at this exchange and we had to yell at him to get in the van because Nancy's leg was short. Except, it wasn't short. It was almost a whole mile longer than indicated on the paper.
As we approached the final handoff, it was still pouring outside and the wind was really strong down by the ocean. I took the baton and by a miracle of God it stopped raining. I ran along the seashore blowing by other runners and other support vans. Each one of my teammates got out and cheered and some even made a tunnel for me to run through. I turned left, ran through a puddle, and there was the finish line. We finished together as a team, got our medals, and ate a warm meal. Together we went through 200 miles of aches and pains, huge weather swings, stomachaches, little sleep, little food, damn cell phones, and lots of fun.
After the race we checked into the Sea Spiral Motel and got some hot showers and dry clothes. I watched the football game with my dad and Rich, but I think all three of us spent more time watching the insides of our eyelids than the actual football game. We had some pizza and watched Cops right out our front window. I'm still cracking up about Nathan saying, "First of all, shut up" with his East Coast accent. I went to bed about 9:00pm and we were off to the airport the next morning.
People have asked me about this trip and what I thought of it. I think it's really hard to explain. It should have been totally miserable being cooped up in a van with no food or sleep, cranky people (including myself), and pouring down rain for 24 hours. But, there ws some sort of peace about the event that I can't really explain. Running goes far beyond exercise for me. It's sort of a meditation that puts me into a different world that few can understand. This weekend was a long meditation. We were out in the middle of nowhere with hundreds of runners doing the same things we were. It was peaceful and satisfying and I just might have to do it again. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

NAHS Track and Field

In addition to my busy schedule of being a full-time engineer, training for marathons, and trying to start my own photography business, I also am an assistant track coach for New Albany High School. This will be my fourth year coaching. I personally coach the distance events: 800, 1600, 3200, and the 4X800 relay. Since the time I went to high school at New Albany our track team has grown from 14 members (12 girls, 2 boys when I was a sophomore) to 75 members in 2004. We have come long strides (no pun intended) in the last four years. My first year coaching I didn't have anyone qualify for regionals and usually it was the distance kids who the ones NOT contributing to the team score. Last year it was the distance kids who were the main factors in the team scores. In addition we had the girls 4X800 relay, 2 girls in the 1600, and one girl in the 3200 qualify for regionals. The boys had a district champion in the 1600. This past fall our girls cross country team qualified to state and our boys qualified to regionals. So, I'm quite looking forward to track season.

Track season "officially" starts in March, but winter training will start in January. I'll keep y'all posted about our track season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

How in the World?

I talked to Big Jelly over e-mail today. Mostly I was talking to him about his car because I really want one and he works for Honda and he offered to bring me a brochure to one of the training runs. I told him I wouldn't be running any time soon because of my stress fracture. He asked me about it...blah, blah, blah...then told me if I did any cross training. I used to run six days a week but since my first stress fracture I cut the running down to five. I used to swim with my training but when I switched to training with my dad the swimming didn't fit into my schedule nearly as well. When I got the second stress fracture my doctor recommended that I replace one of my runs with a cross training activity like a spinning class. In my mind, I just couldn't figure out how to replace a run with cross training? How are you supposed to get the miles in? To me, the miles are very important. So back to Big Jelly. He told me that he only runs three days a week and cycles the other days. Huh? Let me tell you a little more about Big Jelly. Fun guy, serious runner. He just completed the Columbus Marathon is just over three hours and will be going down to Dallas in a few weeks to do another marathon. How can he be that fast and only run three days a week? Makes me think.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Running Group

When I tell people that I'm a runner and that I spend hours every Saturday doing a long run, I immediately get this response..."How do you run for that long? That's so boring!" Here's the thing...whoever trains for a marathon by him/herself is crazy. I have never trained by myself. That's why running is not boring to me; it's social. When I started, I trained with a group called Marathoner-in-Training headed up by Premier Sports. I trained with them until I qualified for Boston, then I started training with my dad and his group. The group I train with now is an eclectic bunch of folks. Andy, who is the unofficial leader, can tell any joke with a serious face and during most of the year rides his bike instead of drives a car. Bridget is what my mom might call a "Forgetful Jones." Bridget tends to show up right at the last minute and always forgets something like her shoes or wears her shorts backwards. She has also stepped on a bird while running. Ha ha! Nancy is the speed demon and loves to eat. Junior (Brian) is the lazy one. He and his wife Mandy were both runners in college and are expecting their first child. They're also moving to Cleveland so I don't know how much we'll see them anymore. Andrea is the newbie of the group. She and I do a lot of running together and do a lot of talking while we're running. I'm sure people wish we'd just shut up. Daryl is a certified meteorologist and knows everything about every sport. Big Jelly is just pure comedy. During the Boston Marathon he ran with a camera and stopped and took pictures of himself along the route. He also ate fried chicken and drank a beer during the race. There are more that come and go and each of them have a unique personality. I'll try to post a picture sometime.

Friday, November 12, 2004

A somewhat brief background on this runner's world

My name's Meredith, and I'm addicted to running. It started about 3-1/2 years ago when I graduated college. I was bored so I decided to run my first marathon. I had grown up around running as my dad has about 18 marathons under his belt and my mom has walked a marathon. My first marathon was the Chicago Marathon in 2001. I finished in 4:24. I ran the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati in May 2002. My finish time was 3:57. My most recent marathon I finished was the 2003 Columbus Marathon, where I finished in 3:39:18 and qualified for Boston. I did not get to run the 2004 Boston Marathon, however, because I got a stress fracture in my fourth metatarsal of my right foot six weeks before the race. I had to take off 10 weeks. This past October I was scheduled to run the Columbus Marathon but pain in my shin caused me to drop out of the race before mile 3. I found out a few days later I had yet another stress fracture in my left tibia. Right now I wear an aircast and I do swimming as my aerobic activity. I should be able to return to running hopefully by the end of the month or the beginning of December. My next goal is to run Boston this April.

I have kept a journal of my running since I started training for my first marathon in May 2001. Since the new "explosion" of blogging, I have been wanting to do this journal online and have others experience my ups and downs of running and training. Please feel free to post your comments.