Friday, January 23, 2015

what's up with 2015

Wow, time sure flies by! I can't believe we are nearing the end of January already!!  Yes, I've been running, and even doing some cross-training.  It's been a good month!  I've set some goals for myself, and also joined a few fun challenges.

First the challenges:
1. Run 50 miles during January.  I'm gearing up to begin marathon training the first week in February, so I started doing my base training in December.  But I'm lazy. So when I saw the Minneapolis Running January Miles Challenge I decided to join. Options were 50, 100 or 150.  I knew I wasn't up for a 100 mile month yet, but 50 was totally doable. I have just over 10 miles left to reach my goal. Easy peasy!

2. January Plank a Day challenge with Eat Drink and Be Skinny.  Front plank and two side planks each day.  Four levels of difficulty.  I'm a wuss and remain at level 2 BUT... I am now able to hold 60 second planks (for a total of 3 minutes!) AND I have done it every day so far!

3. Run 100 days in 2015 Challenge. I forget who it's with!! Anyway, I'm sure I can meet this challenge and just thought it would be a fun one to participate in. I know I signed up for it someplace - probably on that bookface thing - but frankly can't remember. You know I'm going to be 50 soon, right? Yeah. So I guess I have cut my aging brain some slack.

My gratitude jar
1. Practice gratitude.  I'm learning a lot about personal resiliency and how it affects day to day life.  One great tool to enhance resiliency is to practice gratitude.  I have a jar next to my bed, along with colored pens and paper. Each night, I write down things that happened during the day for which I am grateful.  Could be cooking a meal with the husband, sharing a laugh with one of the grunions, going for a run with a friend, seeing a beautiful sunrise...... whatever made me feel good that day.  The plan is to do that throughout the year, watch the notes pile up in the jar, and then on December 31, read and relive all the wonderful things I saw, did and experienced during 2015.

2. Take better care of myself. 2014 sucked, and I had a few stressful years before that.  I think my overall stress led to injury.  In 2015, my plan is to take better care of myself, mentally, physically and spiritually. Eat better, sleep better, nourish relationships..... you get the idea.  Not only can I help myself, but hopefully, I can do something good for others as well.

3. Run two marathons in 2015.  Because I'm turning 50! Grandma's in June, and if I can get in, Twin Cities in October.  Fingers crossed that the arthritis doesn't make training unbearable.  This is somewhat uncharted territory for me now.  I haven't run further than a half marathon in a couple of years, and I have to say, a couple of those were pretty damn painful. Of course, I wasn't training much either, but since I had signed up to run and if I was feeling pretty good that day, I figured what the hell, I may as well!  Probably not super smart on my part, but whatever. I like the mental challenge just as much as the physical.

So that's what's up for me so far for 2015.  I have a 10k race tomorrow (the Securian Winter Run) which I'm looking forward to.  I've done the 5k a couple of times. It's a nice hilly course in downtown St. Paul. Looks like the weather is going to be gorgeous too - 38 degrees!! Makes me wonder if I should wear capris...... I'm a Minnesota girl, ya know.  I'll run in shorts if it's over 45 degrees.  

I'll let you know how the race goes. If you're racing, or running, or setting goals or otherwise challenging yourself, tell me about it! I'd love to hear what others are up to.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

feels like starting over

Hi there peeps!  I bet you thought you were never going to hear from me again!   Am I right?

Despite not writing a single blog post in 2014, I never actually left, and I didn't stop running, I just wasn't documenting my running failures on the blogosphere for all to see.

2014 wasn't a great year for me personally.  Yep, I'm still dealing with my arthritis pain. In early 2014, I started having episodes of vertigo, and let me tell you, having the world spin around you can really screw things up! I have to say though, it can also make running a lot more interesting. The cause?  Could be hormonal, could be migraine related..... who knows?? I tried the PT route (hoping it was benign positional vertigo, but no such luck), had an MRI and am no closer to an answer. So now my world view is tilted from time to time.

But by far the worst and saddest thing that happened in 2014 was that my dad died.

My dad and me 1965.
It was a long summer for him, starting with a full cardiac arrest on July 15th. He recovered from that, but began a long downward spiral health-wise. 11 hospitalizations from July to October. It was a really tough time for him. His heart was not functioning well and he had other complications that proved impossible for his team of doctors to solve.

In late October, he, along with my mom, made the difficult decision to enter into hospice care, and he went home on October 30. He died 7 days later on November 6 at 6:45 a.m.  He spent the week surrounded by family and friends. Gracious, kind and loving until the end, he didn't complain at all about any of his pains or just the f-ing unfairness of it all.  I am so grateful that I was able to care for him during his final week and was with him when he died. It was such a gift to have that time with him. 
And here we are again! June 2014.

He was an amazing man and I'm lucky to have been his daughter.  I miss him every day.

But, back to the siren call of running (because that is the focus of this blog)..... Running was always waiting for me, making me feel envious when I saw people running, whispering to "C'mon out!"  It kept calling to me through the year. I ran when I could, but it certainly wasn't on a regular basis. I had signed up for races and ended up running them despite sometimes having done NO training runs at all. (Maybe I'll write about some of the races in upcoming posts.  I had some pretty great experiences and crossed paths with some fabulous fellow runners!)  Sometimes running brought a feeling of comfort, and other times it just felt really, really good to go out and make myself feel like crap.

Running is kind of like the old friend that you haven't seen for years and years, but when you get together, it's like you haven't spent a day apart (well, except for the wheezing from being so horrifically out of shape.)  I've missed my friend, and I'm ready to spend time with that friend again.  Like, on a regular basis. So I don't have to wheeze so much.

On another note, did I mention that I'm turning 50 this year? 
Five zero.
As in, fifty YEARS.

How the hell did THAT happen??
I know, I second at a time.

Anywhoo....... since I'm turning 50, I thought I'd scare myself a little. So I signed up for Grandma's again.  Then I thought I would scare myself more.  I'm signing up for the Twin Cities marathon when registration opens on February 3rd. Fingers crossed that I can get in!! If that doesn't work out for me, I'm going to find another fish to fry.  I'm going to try to keep up on my blog this year, if for no other reason than to document "The year that I turned 50!"  As part of my legacy, you know. (Cuz I'm sure that some day, my kids will be interested in my ongoing quest for the perfect sports bra...... how I perfected the snot rocket during the winter of 2015..... and other fascinating aspects of running while middle-aged.)  I'm also going to finds ways to honor my dad throughout the year. I may or may not document those activities here....

So that's where things are for me right now.  Hope you are all doing well.  Here's to a happy, healthy 2015. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

running's my favorite

Hey peeps! Long time, no blog.

So, I've been trucking along, loving our new house, walking a lot, working even more, running a few races and trying to resist the siren call of gluten-filled goodies.

Did I mention that I got a 5k PR with my non-running, non-training plan? No? I haven't mentioned that yet?  Well.......

I got a PR! It was in the Women Run the Cities 5k. (I was signed up for the 10 mile but I downgraded due to my joints, blah, blah, blah....) Anywhoo, I have no idea how the hell it happened but I'll take it. Look, here's a picture!

I've run some other races too, a few trail races, some new ones I haven't run before.... all with the goal of having fun, seeing running friends and finishing.

Here's a little collage of my running exploits since my last post.  (Ok, maybe "collage" isn't exactly the right word; its more of a collection of photos.) Here goes!

Women Rock 10k in August. Yeah, it's another race that I downgraded in distance, but whatever. At least I got out there!

Muscle Milk Woodsy. My favorite trail race. The hills of Murphy Hanrehan park kick my ass every time!

Monster Dash 10 Mile.  I loved this woman's shirt! 

Salomon Autumn Trail Series #4. I'm digging the trail races.

Urban Wildland 5k. It was the husband's first sub-30 5k!

Run for the Apples 5 mile run through an apple orchard. I met all these women on the internet. Seriously.  I love the internet!

Before and after at the Monster Dash 10 mile. Yes, those are turkeys on our heads. And I got to wear the skull arm sleeves that I couldn't wear last year. Bonus!  

As another bonus, the friend that I ran with (and who purchased our awesome turkey hats) is a midwife. So I knew that if my uterus fell out mid-race, I'd have a professional by my side, and would suffer no ill effects.  Plus, she's an absolute blast and one of my favorite people in the world, so I knew it would be a fun 10 miles.

Speaking of the midwife - she invited me to run the Fargo Marathon with her next spring.  My response? I did what any rational, reasonable person who has been backing off on distances all year would do - I signed up for the marathon.  

I never said I was smart.  What can I say?  Running's my favorite!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

graduations and moving and skin cancer, oh my!

Yep, life has been kind of busy lately.  Here's a brief synopsis:

DD with her diploma.  Yep, she has a shaved
head. Why?  Because she can. Gotta love her!
The husband and I (along with my wonderful mama) traveled to Arizona to see Darling Daughter (the oldest of our five kids) graduate from college. Exciting for her, but dang, that makes me feel old. Two weeks after graduation she moved to Washington State. She's still sorting out what she wants to do with her life. She's a smart kid and she'll do just fine. And her being in Washington State gives me a great excuse to visit the Pacific Northwest!

We have one (Sweet Step-Son #2) graduating from high school this year as well. That leaves us with one bird left in the nest - Darling Step-Daughter will be the focus of allllllllll our love and attention until she graduates from high school three years from now. Lucky girl!

Which leads us to topic #2: Moving
I'm excited to move but am really going to miss my porch!
Since we are down to one kid, we are downsizing and moving to be closer to DSD. We put our house on the market and after three weeks of house showing hell, we sold it. House buying angst: We found a house that we liked very early on in the process (a week or so before putting our house on the market), and made an offer (contingent on our house selling). Of course, it was a multiple offer situation so our contingent offer, while not being completely rejected, was not accepted either. DSD loved the house so much that she wrote a very sweet letter to the owners, describing how it was the first house we'd looked at that we could actually see ourselves living in, and that she was so excited to have her dad back in the city, and asking them to please accept our offer..... One of the sweetest letters ever!

Wonder of wonders, the day we found out we had an offer on our house, we also found out the deal on the house had fallen through and the sellers accepted our original offer without a counter! Talk about a crazy, fast-moving day! So now we are packing, getting rid of items (interested in a free piano, anyone??) and arranging for the big move on July 1st.

No tidy lead-in to topic #3.
Remember that I am a pasty-skinned, fair-haired Irish lass?  And remember my melanoma scare from two years ago?  Well, I went to my dermatologist for my annual head-to-toe skin check and had noted a couple of sketchy-looking spots on my skin.  Long story short, in April I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. (NOT melanoma, thank God.) Two spots: one on my back (which was cut out) and one on my finger (which was frozen off - the spot, not the finger.)  Last week I had my follow up appointment with my dermatologist, and it seems that the spot on my back (which was "narrowly excised," meaning, cut really close to the edges of the tumor) doesn't want to go down without a fight.  So now I'm doing 6 weeks of a chemo cream to fry it off of my skin. On the upside, if you have to get skin cancer, this is definitely the one to get. It's more of a pain in the ass than anything else. I was already kind of a nut job about sunscreen so now I'll be even worse....

So yeah, this is supposed to be a RUNNING blog, right? And how much running have I done in the last couple of months? Not a lot. (If you recall, I was also recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and have been dealing with some serious joint pain.) I skipped the Green Bay Marathon in May, and just yesterday transferred my bib for today's Minneapolis Half Marathon to another runner. That sucks.

But....... I have been following a gluten free diet for a couple of months now, and I'm happy to report that it does seem to be helping my joints! I've also continued with walking 2-3 miles most days, started a weekly yoga class at work (Vinyasa flow which kicks my ass every time), and have been doing a plank a day and a progressive crunch challenge. (as of May 31st  - 152 planks and 2320 crunches since January 1st!)  So today I downloaded a training plan from for the half marathon I have coming up in August.  It's a beginner plan and seems like it might just be doable....... baby steps to get me back in the saddle, right?? Yee Haw!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

say a little prayer

For all of us.... but especially for those who were and are in the middle of it all.

Such a sad day with much suffering and innocence lost....

Friday, March 29, 2013

back in a sec.....

I'm not ignoring my blog, really.  I've been busy doing this stuff....

Getting a Pedicure!  Sadly, since I haven't been running all that much, all my toenails are intact.  I only get a pedi when I'm going on vacation.  Which is exactly what I did!

Letting my trail shoes explore new terrain.

Seeing wildlife!  I think they're really pterodactyls.

Running (yes, RUNNING!!) with my sister-in-law from Indiana.  

Hiking, too!

Running here.  

And running here.  It did not suck.

Seeing views like this.

Hanging here. This also did not suck.

Letting my feet go to their happy place.

Seeing more wildlife - that brown blob is a manatee!

And spending quality time with my honey.

I'll be back soon!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

it ain't heavy, it's my bread

Had I known this I would have
given up gluten years ago. #cellulite
When we last left our intrepid heroine, she informed us that she had received the dual diagnosis of, "You're old, and you have arthritis."  We have been on pins and needles waiting to hear what she is going to do to combat that devastating combination!

Nora will stop referring to herself in the third person now.

A pan of what we thought was gluten free lasagna.
That was before I discovered sausage does indeed
contain gluten. Dammit - so close to being gluten free!!
After Dr. Wonderful told me I'm old and have arthritis, I asked about the possibility of a gluten sensitivity.

He said it was really not likely.

Hearing his opinion made me decide to try going gluten free for a month or so and see if there was any improvement.

I started at lunch last Saturday (had to do some shopping first!) and it really hasn't been too bad.  It's a learning curve for me, however. Things I thought were gluten free are not, and I ate them in the last week so I guess I haven't been truly gluten FREE, more like gluten frugal.

Part of my gluten-free lunch one day this week:
salad with honey-dijon dressing, and for dessert,
Annie's Vanilla & Cocoa Bunny Cookies and
chocolate covered pretzels.  The other part was
the lasagna with gluten failure.  
So I've been doing lots of research and trying to sort out what I can and can't eat.  It's been an education. Many soups have gluten in the broth. It's used a filler in all kinds of food so you really have to look at labels. I found tasty treats at Trader Joe's, and turns out there is an excellent GF store a few miles from our house. And Cub Foods has a surprisingly huge selection of GF foods!  Also surprising - the cost of GF bread products. And some of the loaves could serve as effective door stops.  Holy crap, I swear they weigh about 10 pounds, and so far, I haven't found a bread product that can be used to make a sandwich. If they're not toasted, they're pretty disgusting. I'm sure there's something out there that will work; the search will continue.  But hear this: If my GF experiment works, I'm going to learn to make my own bread. I could go broke trying to satisfy my carb whore tendencies.

Even more crushing news: I found out that envelope glue contains gluten. (Stamps too!)  Such a disappointment! First I had to come to grips with the fact that the occupation of "Hand Model" would never be listed on my resume. Now I have to give up the dream of appearing on "My Freaky/Disgusting/Attention-Seeking Habit" and showcasing my compulsion to lick 5000 envelopes a day???? This sucks!!  I'm never going to be famous.

Annnnnyyyyywhoooo.....Allow me to say goodbye to a few of my gluten-filled friends I can no longer hang with:

  • Oreos
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Grey Goose Vodka
  • Oreos
  • Cottage cheese
  • Clif bars
  • Chocolate Malt-O-Meal
  • Oreos
  • Boca burgers
  • Steel cut oatmeal
  • Did I mention Oreos?

But the friend to whom I most hate to say goodbye?


That's going to be a tough one. (If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how much I adore my sippin' tequila.)

But I adore running even more so if this experiment works, it will be well worth it.