Boob. Breakdowns. Broken Body. Baggage. Ballpark Pretzels and Broad Street.

Part 3 of 4. I know I said 3 parts, but geez, some times I run long. I talk a lot. Imagine that.

The continuing saga:

My husband takes off with our son to back track through the airport in hopes of finding the lost bunny. I go to stand in the whereismybagpleasetellmeyouhaveit line.

Before anyone says JACK: “You should know better and carry on your essentials” I DID. I carried on my son’s. I am a Mom. His stuff outranks mine. PERIOD. So thanks, but no thanks, for all the unsolicited advice and scolding I received.

I was soon ushered into a closet office by agent “A” I know her name, saw it on the nametag. But I refuse to throw someone under the bus. The monotone “Name”, “Address” questions were asked of me. I said out loud (mind you calmly) trying to wrap my head around a lost bag that had 2 hours to get from Plane A to Plane B, my husband and son’s bags made it, why didn’t mine? I said to A “I know you had nothing to do with this, I am just tired, but I don’t understand why my bag didn’t make it and that there is no tracking information on my bag?”

A gives me the “talk to the hand” body position and eyes wide “Honey, your energy is like whoa. You were not discriminated against. Your bag was one of 100 lost today. We don’t have a computer system that can tell us where your bag is.” * Insert scratching record sound here * Breathe. If I am number 100, 99 before me have probably ripped her a new one. Not her fault. I hear my son behind me bawling over his lost bunny.   I will not fall apart I will not fall apart I will not fall apart….tears in 3…2…1….

I got dizzy; my hearing went into a tunnel. What did she say about my energy? My bag was one of many lost today? Was I told to talk to the hand? I had mentally prepared for “I am sorry for the inconvenience” or “we’ll try to locate your bag” um…anything other than “Honey, your energy is like…whoa ”. A, honey, it’s called taper.

I stood there. In shock as a piece of paper was shoved in my face. “If we find your bag we’ll call you”. I have known a lot of people who have had lost bags on other airlines, including myself. They were given bare minimum toiletry kit to get them through the night and typically some sort of apology for inconvenience. I was given a piece of paper and a “do not call us, we’ll call you”. No apology just a gettheheckoutofmyface.

I try to be positive in social media. I do. There are enough “oh boo hoo’s” out there. I was exhausted and frustrated and said something on Facebook and Twitter.

Screenshot_2014-05-16-16-58-51-1

Well…my Twitter family (especially Mug and CinCin) came out guns blazing to my rescue. So much so a Southwest employee out of Dallas, TX saw the activity and contacted me. He took ownership of my lost bag. Wow. This is the Southwest I know, but geez…he is in TX???? Not even remotely close. But he took it, and ran with it.   I heard from no one locally. The only communication I had was from my new Twitter buddy. Thank you @SouthwestRob.

Luckily we were staying with family, I was able to sponge off them to have enough to be able to take a shower and snag some of my niece’s clothes to sleep in.   I started putting Plan B together in my head for race day. I had my IRC shirt I was wearing and most importantly my shoes. I would need GenUCAN, shorts, a sweatband and socks. I sent a quick text to a friend.   “You do realize if my bag is not found, I will be racing…. in pink.”   For anyone who knows me, they know that my message was met with maniacal laughter. I don’t “do” pink. I like it on other people, love when a bada$$ athlete wears it, but you know, me personally, not so much.

A quick trip to Target, a local running store (YAY for GenUCAN), and the expo, I collected the bare minimum to get me through to race day. Many thanks to my brother and sister in law Bill and Lisa who served as my taxi and nieces Jennifer and Jessica who loaned me their shirts, sweatshirts and PJ’s.

Thank you local teammates Neeli and Kristin who were giving me addresses and locations to find GenUCAN and offering to bring things to me. A huge thank you to Fairmont Running Company for giving me the local running club’s discount.   The running community is something else, a great big huge supportive family. Group hug.

My phone rang around 7pm. My bag had been found and was out for delivery, estimated arrival 10pm.   A humorous text conversation with a highly caffeinated delivery guy by the name of PJ, my bag was delivered, safe and sound shortly after midnight.

TYRBAG

I collapsed face first on the bed, and slept, like a rock.  I want my pretzel.

Boob. Breakdowns. Broken Body. Ballpark Pretzels…no wait BAGGAGE. Broad Street.

And so the story continues with part 2 of 3…. 

2012. Breakdowns.

I was late to the race. I wasn’t able to connect with my pacer. I was so focused I missed the cake lady on her corner. I did hear her yelling, people later told me this year it was red velvet cake, and she was sharing. Dang.

I also missed my husband and brother in law at mile 9. I crossed the finish crying. No. I was a sobbing, blubbering mess. I had not PR’d. Had not reached All American. First thing said to me by the first person I talked to after the race was “where did you go wrong?” I was crushed. I had “friends” turn on me saying they wanted no part of someone who could not succeed. One of the most painful days of my running career, ever. However, if you talked to my son, he would tell you I won.

Race recap of 2012 can be read in its entirety:

https://coachkristie.com/2012/05/09/2012-blue-cross-broad-street-run/

Mile9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013. Broken Body

We decided not to travel to Philly in 2013. I still entered the race, the first year of the new lottery system, and gained entry. Whew. I was able to defer to 2014. Thank goodness as my body fell APART in 2013.

What happened in 2013:

https://coachkristie.com/2013/10/18/back-into-the-ring/

neckoween

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014. Ballpark Pretzels will have to wait. BAGGAGE.

So. Here we are. Boobs still in tact. Breakdowns, over. Long gone are my 8 minute miles. Forget All American for right now, it is about rebuilding and being able to run again.

Broken body, recovering? Kinda sorta. Coach Rebecca and I have been rebuilding me slowly and carefully. My body has good weeks and bad weeks with recovery. Thankfully the fatigue and pain is completely gone. In the last few weeks before the race there were a couple set backs.

Set back #1:                       ******BREAKING NEWS*******

Dear friends and family it is with a sad and heavy heart that I announce the passing of my dear trusty treadmill. 7 years and over 11,000 miles, it was given the dreaded “it’ll be cheaper to replace it than fix it” diagnosis. It served me well. BUT RIGHT BEFORE A RACE???? SERIOUSLY? Ok, spoiled me, I have a gym membership. The gym is open 24/7/365. The treadmills there shut off at 60 minutes.   #spoiledtreadmillrunnerproblems.

Yes, I can hear several people saying “Uh, HELLO?! Run outside?”. Hi, let me introduce myself, I am Coach Kristie, we obviously have not met….

Set back #2:

In the 2-3 (?) weeks leading up to the race I was experiencing this crazy thing with my leg.   I could run 30 minutes and then my glute would lock up and make my leg go peg straight. Think Pirate. ARRRGGGGHHHH. Makes for an interesting quick dismount on a moving treadmill. Back up and punt, I could get on an elliptical without this happening.   I was getting nervous. Didn’t tell anyone how nervous I was, but I was at near panic. You see Broad Street is a big, fast, race. You can read on the website, they are not exactly walker friendly.   Strategy was to enjoy the race and finish. Strategy change, it was to finish and not get pulled off the course. New plan: run as long as I could and walk through aid stations.

A visit to my chiropractor in the days before we were to fly out to Philly resulted in a diagnosis and solution to my “peg leg”.   My chiropractor discovered an adhesion in my neck blocking nerve signals to my leg. He taught me a vascular release that I could do while running to stop the peg leg. He also taught me a lymphatic release I could also do while running that would help drain the lactic acid from my psoas. My psoas was causing my glute to lock and my leg to rotate outward. Lots of stretching and yoga was encouraged. Cobra and Pigeon pose are my friends.   He had me practice the releases so he could make sure I had it down. This is what I feel like when I am doing them:

rubheadpattummy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uneventful travel with on time or early flights and seamless layovers we arrive in Philadelphia. Exhausted, we have been up and traveling since o’dark thirty, mind you, with an energizer bunny of a 7 year old. We were so ready to see family and settle in for the night. As we sit and watch the suitcases circle around baggage claim, an unsettling feeling hits me. My husband and son have their bags. Where is mine? There are only 2 to 3 left going around and around and around.

I will not freak out I will not freak out I will not freak out I will not freak out

At the exact moment I am being flagged into the “lost baggage” reporting zone my son completely starts crying and freaking out as he has somewhere from plane to here, he dropped “hoppy” his stuffed bunny he received from the Easter bunny.

Long travel day + lost bag + taper madness + freaking out child = Mommy is about to lose her sh&t. It is all I can do to keep it together. I can feel myself falling apart at the seams. I tell myself. It is Southwest Airlines. They are KNOWN for fantastic customer service. It will be ok.   It will. Breathe……..

Boob. Breakdowns. Broken Body. Ballpark Pretzels. Broad Street.

Broad Street 10 Miler Race Recap- Part I of 3

2011: 1:24:05          Div. 163          Overall 5334

2012:   1:26:02        Div. 284          Overall 8977

2013:   Deferred

2014: 2:00:46          Div. 1657        Overall 30,950

2011. Boob

The untold story of 2011 Broad Street.

Yep. You heard me right. For those who know and those who don’t, I am a breast cancer survivor. I was lucky for it to be caught very early. After a successful lumpectomy, I was left, well…looking like a shark took a hunk out of me. I lived with it for years. Finally had reconstruction in 2010.

The day before leaving for Broad Street to run this race for the first time, I woke up with something missing. HOLY CRAP where did my boob go!!!!????? Yep. There she blows, GONE. Imagine adding this into the mix with taper madness. Fun huh? Not so much.

I have a “sockerstition”. I run with a new pair of experia socks every race day. This day, I wore 2. Thank you Thorlos for protecting my feet, and yes, filling in (literally) for one of the “girls” who decided to back out of this race last minute.

The course is alive with spectators, musicians. My favorite memory was of a woman (if you read the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum novels, picture Lula) standing on the side of the road holding a GIGANTIC chocolate cake and a fork. She was screaming at the runners “Y’ALL RUNNIN’!!!! I GOT CAKE!!!!” The next fond memory was of my husband and brother in law cheering for me at mile 9.

Had a blast running this. It was instantly my favorite race. It wasn’t until I returned home from the race and someone sent me a message telling me “DUDE, you were almost a USATF All American, you should go for it!” . So. I decided to go for it.

Picture below is just before the start of the 2011 race. Stay tuned for Race Recap Part 2 of 3.

QUIT STARING AT MY SOCKS!!!!!

 

Beat It!

The Comeback Coach

I have had a lot of sincere inquiries as to my progress on rebuilding myself. So here you go.

For those who know, and who don’t, 2013 was quite possibly one of the most challenging years I have ever had. I lost my Mom and best friend to Lung Cancer, I had a mass removed from my sinus cavity and unexpected emergency spine surgery. The whole year tried me emotionally and physically well beyond my limits. Physically my sacrifice was my most cherished gift, my gift of the run.

Let me translate. I can run again, finally. But it used to be easy, really easy. Now, most days it is a fight. It is hard.   Some days, my legs just don’t work and I just, well, can’t. I have had to start over as if I just started running.

At first it hurt. I cried. A lot. I threw things. I used to look at a 1 hour run and in my head and I would say “easy peasy 6 mile or more run in zone 2”. Now, I am thrilled for close to 4-5, or even being able to run the full hour without walking.

My favorite race is the Philadelphia Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Mile Run. I have a lot of family there, the Rocky soundtrack blares and the spectators are just second to none, and hello there is a soft, huge, ballpark Phillies special pretzel at the finish. I have run it twice. My best time was 1:24:00. I will be toeing the start line for the third time in a couple weeks. My run is not what it once was. It will get there again, but the healing process is slow.   I hope to finish before the cutoff of 2:30:00.   That is a far cry from 1:24:00. Shoot, my ½ Marathon PR is 2:03.

I am 10lbs from my “normal” weight, thank you surgery, 15lbs from “game face” weight. I keep getting snide remarks and have had a few people ask me “when are you due?”. The best one “You’re a Coach? Shouldn’t you be thinner?” People are mean. Some thrive on other’s setbacks. If I have been that for someone to keep them from bullying someone else, I am happy. But you know where I am right now? To be bluntly honest, I am happier than I have been in years. YEARS.

I am healthy. Pain free. I am in remission from cancer since Aug of 2009. My son is growing like a weed and thriving in school. He is my mini me and I love him more than is humanly possible. My husband is handsome, brave, and (TMI) flat sexy. I am a LUCKY woman.   I am a Coach of and a member of a badass team of coaches and athletes at Team PRS FIT.   How many people can incorporate their passion into their career? Only the lucky ones for sure, and I am one of them.

As a Coach, I trust the process. So as an athlete, I trust the process. Coach Rebecca is rebuilding me slowly and carefully. I have to listen to my body very carefully. Some times it whispers, some times it screams, but I listen.

People ask me when I am planning my “comeback”.   I don’t know, my body will tell me. But I will tell you this. There is one thing that has made a comeback, my love of running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training in the heat- tips to be smart and safe

IMG_7253-1Summer is fast approaching, days getting longer, and temperatures will begin to rise.  Training in the heat is inevitable and in some cases practically unavoidable (I live in Las Vegas where heat is “normal”).  If you are faced with training in the heat there are a few things to consider keeping yourself cool and safe while training.

The sun is at it highest point between the hours of 10am and 4pm. It is best to avoid these times. Always wear sunscreen and reapply. Wear white or light UV protective clothing (the Coolibar cooling fitness shirt is a perfect example) to reflect the sun’s rays.  Dark colors absorb the heat. Wear a hat and UV protective sunglasses.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Know your sweat loss rate.  Weigh yourself before and after a workout to know how much sweat you lose and replenish with this amount as well as taking in electrolyte sports drink during activity. Cramping is a sign of mineral loss so make sure you are taking in an electrolyte sports drink to keep you hydrated and replenish minerals lost in sweat.

Help keep the body cool by pouring cold water over pulse points in the wrist and back of the neck.  Also pouring over the top of the head.  A majority of the body’s heat is released through the top of the head.  That being said if wearing a hat be sure to wear a ventilated one so heat can escape and is not trapped.  There are cooling neckbands you can wear.  In extreme heat situations I have frozen wristbands and worn them and continued to pour water over them. The absorbent nature keeping the cool water on my pulse points.  I have participated in extreme heat races and they have provided ice towels and cooling stations.

Be aware of warning signs of heat stress and have an emergency plan in place (carry a phone, wear an ID bracelet with emergency contact information).

Warning signs of heat stress and heat related illnesses (dehydration, hypernatremia, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps) include but are not limited to: muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion, cold and/or clammy skin, fainting, fast or weak pulse, hot red dry or moist skin, and even unconsciousness.

Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with playing it 100% safe and taking your training indoors.  You won’t skip a beat in your training and you can train safely without worry sun damage and heat related stress and illnesses.

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun

 

*this post can also be found on the Coolibar Sun Protection blog, an original article written by me for Coolibar UV Protection clothing*

 

 

Why I prefer *gasp* the treadmill

Runner treadmill ILLUS.jpgI have a reputation for being the “Treadmill Queen”.  I wouldn’t call myself a Queen; Court Jester would be more accurate.  When it comes to the treadmill go ahead and prepare to call me freak, sick, strange, crazy, whatever name you should choose but in all honesty I prefer to run on the treadmill.

There.  I said it, the “anti” runner statement.  But it is true.  On a brisk 40-50 degree day (“perfect” running weather) you will find me on the treadmill.  Shoot, pretty much most of my runs, you will find me on the treadmill.

In an attempt to get 99% of the running community to take a glimpse into my alter universe I will provide you with the multitude of reasons as to why I personally prefer to run on the treadmill, in no particular order:

  1. No dogs off leashes.  Well, there is one.  But he snoozes on the yoga mat beside the treadmill and the worst thing he does is pass gas.  I have been chased over walls, had ankles and the back of my leg bitten by all shapes and sizes of dogs, cats and oh I live in the desert…. don’t get me started on Coyotes.
  2. No stoplights.
  3. No rattlesnakes.
  4. The nearest bathroom is 3 feet away, it is clean, not a bush or tree that I hope is wide enough to hide me, has toilet paper stocked (well, that can remain to be seen as I am the only female in my house, but at least I know where the spare rolls are kept), it also has really pretty smelling soap in there.  BONUS.
  5. I can wear a sports bra and shorts and not worry about looking like a busted can ‘o biscuits hanging out everywhere in the land of Cirque performers.
  6. No cars.
  7. No motorcycles.
  8. No creepers that seem to be lapping the block over, and over, and over, and over. Shudder
  9. No random poles, stop signs, light posts that jump in front of me and crash into me.  I mean really?  The nerve.
  10. No rocks or other objects to trip over.  Or the desert hare that ran in front of me with comedic timing and ended up getting punted.  Let me tell you something so cute can REALLY give a mean stink eye.
  11. I like to run light.  The treadmill holds my water bottles, cell phone, fuel, snot rocket towel, HR monitor watch, and sweat towel.
  12. Can’t step in poop.
  13. Temperature and climate control.
  14. I can watch TV or a movie if I want.  I never have, but I could if I wanted.
  15. If I take it to the puke zone the trashcan is next to the treadmill or refer to #4.
  16. I listen to my iPod and don’t have to worry about hearing my surroundings, I can get lost in my music.  I can also sing out loud without crazy looks, well, unless the family is home.
  17. I can control my pace, timed surges, etc. without OCD checking my wrist.  Just a quick glance at the dash and touch of a button.
  18. If my clothes are stained, don’t match, ugly, stinky, only person to bother is me, and or refer to #1 the dog with gas that sleeps on the yoga mat.
  19. I can control my elevation gain.
  20. Sun safe!  Sunscreen not needed.
  21. I can’t get lost.
  22. No chance of accidental bug ingestion.
  23. Can’t get pooped on by a bird or have one crash into my head (yes this has happened to me twice).
  24. I can completely zone out and not have to be aware of my surroundings.  I solve the world’s problems in my head.  And well, think of blog posts like this one….
  25. When my son was a newborn and my husband worked graveyard shift and slept during the day we did not have a fancy stroller, it was my only way to regain sanity.  Without it for MANY years no treadmill, no run.  For anyone who calls the treadmill the “dreadmill” I want them to be faced with the harsh reality that if they want to run THE ONLY way they CAN is on the treadmill. How quickly they will appreciate the treadmill.

Do not get me wrong.  I love to run outside, in nature.  The sights, the sounds, the smells.  But given a choice I will take the treadmill thank you.

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Scratch

Scratch n:  a point at the beginning of a project at which nothing has been done ahead of time (built from -)

For those of you who have been following my less than stellar 2013 race year, this post will make sense, for those of you who have not, I suggest a minimum of going back to blog post “Back in the Ring” and starting from there to catch you up with things.

On to “Scratch”:

I was very fortunate to be released well ahead of schedule by my neurosurgeon, with the limited ability to run and bike.  Earlier he had predicted March as my release date.  Having a healthy foundation proved to be to my advantage aiding in my speedy recovery.  I am still limited, and tire out easily.  I am expected to have a full release at some point in February.

Being an active and strong person this has been a humbling experience.  During recovery one of the hardest things I am dealing with are the daily living activity restrictions.  I was always the one who carried the case of copier paper in from the office supply, the 50lb bag of dog food, played sports with my son and carried him up the stairs at night.  That was the me everyone knew.  Recently I was doing the family grocery shopping and realized I could not finish as many of the things I could not lift into the cart.  Something that used to be so easy, a case of water bottles, I was forbidden to lift.

That day at he grocery store I had a close run-in with a “suspicious” person in the parking lot.  I had the sobering realization that had something happened, for the first time I would not be able to run away, or defend myself like I had been able to do in the past.  When I got home I sat in the car in the garage, and cried.

I am very well aware this new normal is still so much better than the intense and constant pain I was in pre-surgery.  I had no quality of life.  However, it still is very difficult mentally to deal with and accept. I still struggle with it daily.

In the days after being released I had an intense focus on doing as the surgeon instructed and slowly got back into running and biking.  Again, with limitations, but I will take some over none. I was not going to jeopardize my recovery.  I want to be the “strong Mommy” again as my son used to call me.

When I was released to run, I knew  I was no longer the athlete I once was.  I wasn’t even a glimmer.   I went back and looked through my training logs and found I was where I was in 2009 when I started officially training, from the beginning.  From scratch.

I read through those logs from 2009.  I saw one common thing staring out at me from the pages, I was HAPPY.  Truly and completely happy.  I enjoyed running.  It wasn’t about speed, or distance or time.  I was excited just to get up and run.   There was something refreshing about everything being new.  No expectations, no pressure.  It was all for the fun and joy of it.  Reading through the logs reminded me what this thing called “the run” was about.

2013 has been a tragic, trying, disappointing, and stressful year.  I regret to say there has not been a lot of joy in 2013.  Among all the things that happened, the most significant where having serious unexpected health problems and losing my Mom.  I found out who true friends were, I found out who supported me and who wanted to see me fail.  I also found out, most importantly, who I was, and what I wanted out of life.  A reboot of priorities you could say.

Am I the athlete I once was? No.  Will I ever be again? Only time will tell.  Am I going to plan a “comeback”?  I don’t know.  Am I going to plan a 2014 race calendar?  No. Do I have a renewed appreciation of the run?  Absolutely.    One thing I do know is this- I am a new runner/athlete again.  I am going to focus on what I can do, not what I can’t.  I am going to rebuild myself, with patience, the finest “ingredients”, smile, and enjoy every step of the way-

from scratch.

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