Category Archives: The Journey

Hello me. It’s me again. You can subdue, but never tame me.

To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like. – Unknown

Bless me runners, for I have sinned. My last blog entry was two and a half months ago.  Has it really been that long?  Damn you, Mick Jagger, you liar! Time is NOT on my side!

Yes, I’ve been absent.  Worse than absent, I have not been training as I should have been.  To quote Michael Keaton in Batman, my life is really… complex.  Without going into details, I have some rather crappy health issues, some life issues and a lot of time that I just can’t get back.   All this amounts to a derailed plan and a need to accept that and move forward anyway, challenges be damned.

One thing that I learned the last time I dared to attempt to run is that if you step in a giant steaming pile or three, you can fuss and get upset because it’s on your favorite running shoes or you can just keep on running because it’s going to wear off eventually anyway.  I tend to choose the latter in case you were wondering about that.

So where does that leave me and Go Geek Go besides just as far away from being ready for a marathon as we were in October? Well, it leaves us at training for a half marathon and accepting that we may very well be walking some of it rather than running it.   There’s no shame in that.  It’s not ideal but it’s neither giving up nor giving in – it’s moving ahead.

I love my Vibrams.  They tend to make the calves ache quite a bit more in the beginning.  Wowsers.  That’s an understatement! But I love the foot strike and the motion changes as well as the feeling of my feet closer to the pavement.  They still draw some stares and people aren’t too sure what to think if they haven’t seen them before.  But hey, staring at my feet is a lot less rude than staring at my um…oh nevermind.

I’ve cut most of the junk out of my diet that still existed in it.  No more white sugar, white flour and white rice. Gone. Seriously.  And I’m working towards this 13.1 mile half way point in my journey.  So if you are still hanging around, checking in on me, well, thanks for believing in me.  Get ready for the rest of the story.

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Is this hell or am I dreaming?

If we do not rise to the challenge of our unique capacity to shape our lives, to seek the kinds of growth that we find individually fulfilling, then we can have no security: we will live in a world of sham, in which our selves are determined by the will of others, in which we will be constantly buffeted and increasingly isolated by the changes round us. — Nena O’Neil

So it’s been a while since I posted.  We’ve been busy getting used to our beautiful monkey feet.  And yes, they are all that they say they are and then some.  I LOVE my Vibrams.

Other than that, the news on the running front, I am grounded.  I have a serious issue with neck pain that I believe to be a pinched nerve that has me struggling to get through the days.  Running is out.  I am hoping to get on the road by the end of the week.

March 21…it’s just around the corner.  Got to get on with getting on.

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Gorilla Feetz? I haz ’em!

Gorilla FeetzAren’t they purty?

We did it.  Go Geek Go and I purchased our Vibram Five Fingers AKA Gorilla Feetz this morning.  Mine are a lovely shade of lavender and grey.  He has the TRUE Gorilla Feetz – all in black.  Now we’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

Well, almost…

The instructions that come with this unique footwear suggests wearing them for 1-2 hours a day for at least the first week.  Srsly?  Actually yes.

I am a barefoot baby.  The only time I wear shoes is if I’m going outside or going somewhere that requires footwear.  I love shoes, but I don’t particularly care for having my feet encased in what often feels like medieval torture instruments.  Even with all this time spent barefoot, it’s not quite the same as being barefoot all the time and building up the the strength of your feet and legs.

Did you realize that there are 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments in each foot?  And every day we wear shoes to do things like run, we are robbing ourselves of the true strength and balance our unshod feet can provide us.  This is controversial for some reason – probably because of how much companies like Nike and Reebok have invested in shoes.  It’s silly because shoes are needed.  It’s not like the world is going to go barefoot.  But seriously – shoes just aren’t needed for running.

After wearing my new footwear for a while, I can tell you without a doubt that I feel the difference – not only in my feet but in my legs.  There are different muscles being worked.  My balance is different.  I feel a bit achey because of it.  Freaking fantastic! No, seriously. That’s fantastic. It’s exactly what needs to be happening right now. It means I’m being set back to a natural carriage and more natural movement.   W00T!

Go Geek Go and I will continue breaking in our new footwear.  The first run ought to be interesting. I’ll let you know.

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Gorilla Feetz & Me

Some are born mad. Some remain so. — Samuel Beckett

vibram_five_fingers Clearly I’ve lost my mind.

Tomorrow morning bright and early, Go Geek Go and I are leaving to drive 2 hours to pick up some Vibram Five Fingers footwear.  It’s bad enough I’m getting up early on a Sunday, getting into a small vehicle and driving two hours (attn Go Geek Go — coffee is required).  But to then plunk down my hard earned money on a pair of monkey’s feet is adding salt to the gaping wound!

The last go around with this running thing, I was plagued with injuries – tendinitis, shin splints, and mystery pains that made running very miserable.  In the middle of one run my feet hurt so bad I took off my shoes and ran the rest of the distance barefoot.  It felt good.  My calves ached a bit more than I was happy with, but it felt good to run without my feet laced up and restricted.  After that  toyed with the idea of barefooting it.  Everything I found fell into two camps – huge proponent or huge detractor.  There wasn’t a middle ground, no single person who said, “maybe”.

The more I read, the more I was convinced that this was the way to go.  I was never able to prove my theory because I never ran the marathon.  I was, however, shunned into silence by people who laughed at the “idiocy” of running barefoot.  I would have been stupid to even try, I was told.

This time, I’m not concerned about what people think or what they say about my stupidity.  I know my body mechanics and I know how I run.  I am comfortable with the research I have seen and the information I have gathered.  I am ready to do this thing.  I just hope that the Vibram Five Fingers footwear is comfortable enough for me to use.  I like the idea of some protection for my feet without binding me and limiting my movement.

So off we go tomorrow to investigate the fit and feel of my new funny footwear.  One step at a time…that’s how you get to the race.

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Weather and Running

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet. — Roger Miller

cat___wet_close_up

Let me start by saying I don’t think there is such thing as running weather.  For the sake of argument however, I will share my perfect running weather.  If you can find a day that is clear or at least not raining, cool (between 40-55), and not humid, I could call that “running weather”.  It’s also “sleep in weather” but we’ll talk about that later.

I don’t like training in the summer, so it’s a relief that the inner masochist in me decided to start this quest in the fall. I was relieved until I woke up this morning to a day filled with rain.  Running in the rain sucks.

As I burrowed deeper into the bedding I heard this warning: “You’re going to be running in this weather you like it or not.  Winter’s coming, you know.”

WTH? Where did that come from?  Oh, that’s right.  Inner Running Shrew.  Bizzatch.

Reality check – I’m going to be running in “weather”.  Double the pleasure, double the fun. Not.

For short runs I can manage the treadmill, but more than 10 miles? Oh no. That won’t happen. I’d rather /wrist than do 10 miles on a treadmill.  So I guess I’ll have to suck it up and deal with the weather.

Today’s Link

Today’s link is to a Running.com article on stretching.  Some folks debate the necessity for stretching. I have issues with tendinitis so stretching is a must.  Learn to stretch by Hal Higdon.

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Misery loves company but I run alone

Being solitary is being alone well:  being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your won presence rather than of the absence of others.  Because solitude is an achievement.

— Alice Koller

Flashback: Morning Rush Hour Coffee Clutch Runners

With children your mornings are no longer scheduled and planned. They are a carny-inspired house of mirrors attraction filled to the rafters with “I forgot”, “I need”, and “Oh shit!”   So like so many other days I was late, only this day I was at risk of missing an early meeting scheduled for me by an E-Suite admin.  And as luck would have it, I was on a life-trajectory that intersected with THEM.

You’ve seen THEM, haven’t you?  The Coffee Clutch Runners?  If you’re not familiar with them, they are 30-to-40 something moms who get together after the kids have gotten on the school bus and their husbands have trudged into the office to run while they gossip.  They are outfitted in the latest running gear in this seasons colors, perfectly coiffed and perfectly made up.  Yes, made up.  Because we know that running in public during daylight hours requires full waterproof coverage.

As I drove through the neighborhood, I kept seeing this flash of neon and paisley through the trees.  When I got a little further down the road I groaned after coming to the aneurysm-inducing realization that there was a Bedazzled Bevy of Boobs stretched 5 wide, running with traffic, dead ahead.  Visions of flying silicone and hair extensions danced in my head.  I had to keep myself entertained with the horrible yet amusing scenes playing out in my mind because they were immovable. They wouldn’t move over. They wouldn’t split up. And they didn’t give a damn that I was late for work. Continue reading

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Keep Your Hands Inside the Ride

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. — William Jennings Bryan

Flashback: The Corral

I remember drowning in a seemingly endless sea of humanity on a slightly chilly April morning.  Some were giddy, chatting as if they had been alone on a deserted island for 25 years, 187 days,6 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds.  Others were plugged into their iPods, oblivious to the busy buzzy babblers.

I was wondering if there were taxi stands along the route.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 01:05 AM
Dear Run Geek Run,

Congratulations! You are now registered….

Wait…what? How the hell did that happen?

No matter how much I’d like to say that what you read above was an attempt at humor, I cannot. It was after many hours of prayer (that I’d regain my reason), meditation (an attempt to exorcise my brain of What if?) and tears (because I was convinced I’d lost my one-fingered grip on sanity) that I calmly and methodically clicked the Submit button to register for the next big race.

Submit. How ironic.

It may seem odd to those who don’t know me that I started writing about this yesterday and only a few hours later I was registered for a major race.   It’s not odd.  It’s how I roll.  If I don’t put myself out there, if I don’t hold myself accountable in a very tangible way, I will convince myself that I was “having a moment” and “this too shall pass”.  Even with What if? nagging me I would have found a way to ignore the beastie for at least a while longer.

No such luck, Buttercup.  Suck it up and move along.  There’s nothing to see here but future blisters and the hint of the possibility of shin splints and tendinitis! W00T!

To add to my accountability factor I enlisted the support services of someone whose journey has inspired and awed me.  Known affectionately as the Iron Pol, Tom knows about pain, suffering, failure and success and he knows about the first journey.  Our paths converged again earlier this year after being out of contact for several years.  I am now convinced that this was a sign, a divine intervention, a giant clue-stick to the side of the head.

My last two accountability factor raising actions were to create this blog (so I have somewhere to bitch, piss and moan about how much running sucks) and to put the link into the Twitter stream.  Check, double-check.  My fate is sealed.  I am now fully accountable.

Next stop – engagement.

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