Monday, July 30, 2012

Two Left Feet

This post may be a little bit of a randomness post.


Thursday is always a fun night for me as I run with the Thursday night run group with the Frankfort/New Lenox bunch (I'm co-creator of this night's group).  It's always a fun time, especially when new faces show up to join us!

I wore my "Runner by day, ninja by night" shirt.

For the Thursday runs, I have to bring my clothes to work in the morning, change at work or on the train and head straight there from the train.  When I arrived, I went to change from my sandals to my gym shoes and noticed a problem.  I had two left shoes.  (They are the same shoe and I wear them both.  I wear one as an alternating run shoe and the other is older and I wear that if I need an extra shoe for something).

I'll admit, for a split second, I thought that maybe I could run with a left shoe on my right foot.  I quickly came to the realization that that was a stupid thought.  When others started showing up, I kept telling everyone that I couldn't run because I brought 2 left shoes.  I got the same response...laughing.  I asked a few people if they had any extra shoes in their car but they didn't.  Finally Kelly showed up.  I told her I had 2 left shoes, she laughed but then said she had an extra pair.  They were size 9's.  I am a size 9.5 but in running shoes, I wear a 10.  I tried them on and even though they were a little snug, I figured they would work. I only had to run 3 miles.  I was so glad I wasn't going to have to go all the way home and then run by myself!  Thanks Kelly for the shoes!

My 2 left shoes

Wearing Kelly's shoes

Apparently, I'm not stranger to not knowing how to dress to run or workout.  The Wednesday night prior to this Thursday run, I decided to take my run downtown for a change of scenery.  When I got to the lake (about 3/4+ of a mile from my work), I noticed I had put my shirt on inside out.  I thought about stripping it off right there and switching it, who cares about all the people around, but I didn't.  It really wasn't too noticeable and I didn't care much. 

I have also been to the gym with my pants inside out.  Last year, I was personal training with Mike and near the end of the session, he asks me, "Are your pants inside out?"  When I realized they were, he just could not stop laughing and endlessly teased me about it often!  However, that must not have been embarrassing enough because when Mike left that gym and I was personal training with Jordan, she asked me one day, "Are your pants inside out?"  I couldn't believe I had done it again!  Guess I need to pay more attention when I'm dressing!  (I once went to an old job with my shirt backwards).


I already gave my race recap on the Rock N Roll Half last weekend.  I did forget to mention one thing that I found amusing (irritating at the time).  Somewhere in the second half (I think I was on Michigan Avenue), I was running...slowly.  As I was running, someone came up next to me and passed me.  It was an older guy...speed walking.  He was walking faster than I was running!  Granted he was speed walking and looked like an advanced speed walker but still.  I wanted to trip him! lol.  Talk about bruising your ego!


Back in Feb/March, I signed up for my first sprint triathlon which is on August 5th.  I have to say, I had been pretty excited about it, especially getting into June!  I just knew I would have a great time!  I love all three sports involved.  Until I dislocated my shoulder.  As soon as that happened, I was 99% sure that I could definitely not do the triathlon.  I couldn't even move my shoulder.  As my shoulder was healing...and because I'm stubborn, that percentage went down to 95%.  I was 95% sure I could not do the triathlon...but I had 5% hope that maybe I could.  As my friends are all talking about their triathlons, it's becoming increasing harder to let it slip by.  I'm disappointed that I won't be participating.  I was really looking forward to it.  So this past Sunday, I thought that maybe I could head to the fitness center pool before my month membership that I signed up for in July expired.  I thought maybe I could just see how my shoulder felt.

As I'm laying on the couch thinking about it, I realized that I'm just not that stupid.  I can't go and swim.  I can't do it right now.  When I was at the doctor, he said there is a 30-90% chance of a re-dislocation.  Yes, that's a big range.  What that tells me is that everyone is different but that my chances of re injuring it, especially this early on, is great!  And if I dislocate it again, I have a huge chance that I will need surgery.  I had to put things into perspective on Sunday and realize that although I may be able to do the triathlon (I would only be swimming for maybe 10 minutes), that's far too much to put on my shoulder (literally) right now.  I have to remember that my main focus is the marathon.  There will be other triathlons next year.  So I sucked it up and went for a 13+ mile bike ride instead.  I'm so sad...but I'll get over it.  I may be stubborn...but I'm not that stupid.


Lastly, I had a few doctor appointments on Friday and Saturday.  Friday was the appointment with the sports medicine doctor for a follow up on my shoulder.  It's healing nicely.  He was impressed with my range of motion, although still not 100% perfect, not bad at all.

Saturday, I had moved up my appointment with my chiropractor (who I love!!) so she could check out my shoulder.  She did some work on it and then helped with some all over body adjustments and did work on my calf muscle and IT band.  I really needed that because after my shoulder injury, I completely forgot about stretching my legs.  She inflicts a lot of pain for such a little lady but my body always feels so much better after seeing her.

She said (when reviewing my shoulder) that I have biceps tendinitis, which makes sense because of the pain that I have sometimes that moves down my bicep muscle.  Of course she also said I had an elevated rib and gave me some adjustments (but you know with chiropractors...something always needs adjusting anyway).  All this is obviously from the injury to my shoulder.  She did some work on it and then gave me some bicep rehab exercises and some rotator cuff strengthening exercises to do.  I have to call the physical therapy place that I was referred to so I can check out how much that would cost.  The doctor said I wouldn't need much therapy, probably no more than 3 weeks.  I would just like to go 1 or 2 times to get some exercises.  I'll have to check into it first.  With the hospital copay of $150 for the ER visit, and the doctor copays, I'm feeling a little broke!

A funny thing about the chiropractor on Saturday.  Her four year old son was there (it's a husband/wife practice).  He's been around this his whole life and you can tell when you talk to him.  So as she was about to work on my calf, she told him to help with the other one.  He was rubbing the lotion stuff on it and using his elbow like she was doing!  It was so cute!!  He found a mole on the back of my knee that I have and pointed it out to his mom.  He told her I needed surgery!  She said it was just a mole and it was ok.  He was convinced that it was a serious issue..."No mom!  Look!  Feel it!  She needs surgery!!"  I needed surgery on something else according to the four year old.  In fact, I think my whole body is broken!  Thanks kid!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rock N Roll Half Marathon & Shoulder Review

This was my 6th year participating in the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon (formerly Chicago Distance Classic).  As I said before, I run this now to support my Charity group UPS for DownS.  We had the pasta dinner the Friday night before and had all the usual fun.

The Charity Runners after receiving our medals at the Pasta Dinner
Allison gave me my medal and we stopped for a photo op
I was a little more nervous to run this year because of my shoulder and barely slept the night before.  Actually, I'm always nervous to run any race, even a 5k, mainly because running is hard for me.  But no pain, no gain...right?  The night before, I had bought some KT Tape for my shoulder.  I have heard that if it's not put on right, there is no point in using it but I thought this way I had the option to use it.  Later that night, I watched the videos on how to use it and looked at the directions.  The problem was, I couldn't put it on myself, since it was my shoulder.

This run starts incredibly early (6:30 am) in hopes to beat the heat.  Maggie, Kelly and Kim were meeting at my house so we could carpool down there together.  I didn't really find anyone that wanted to attempt to put the tape on since they didn't want to do it wrong. I wasn't going to push the issue and figured I would be fine without it.  We met up with some of our Frankfort/New Lenox Run Group (aka F'N Runners, aka FNRC) and also met up with some fellow bloggers for some photo ops.  And for me, I ran over to my UPS for DownS charity tent to say hi and more photos!  Before leaving the UPS for DownS tent, one of the women there told me she was a physical therapist and if I could find some tape, she could tape my shoulder for me.  I told her I had some and she proceeded to tape my shoulder for stability.  The only problem was...I had put sunscreen on thinking I wouldn't be putting the tape on.  The tape won't stick if the skin is oily. But we tried it anyway.

F'N Runners Pre-Race

UPS for DownS Charity Runners
Taping my shoulder
She did a great job taping my shoulder but because of the sunscreen, it started coming off and I took it all the way off at mile 1.5.

I headed to the start line with Julie and Maggie.  While waiting for the race to start, we saw Nicole.  It was strange seeing Nicole in our corral as she is a super fast runner and usually in a speedier start corral, but it turns out she was running this half with a friend who was running her 52nd half marathon in 52 weeks!  And they had a goal time of about 2:45 (Yay!  I was finally possibly going to beat Nicole, which will never happen again! lol).

Me, Maggie and Nicole
The race started and I split from Maggie as I knew her pace was faster.  I wasn't sure how my shoulder would feel and was really nervous.  Julie and I hung together for a while and right at the start, we saw a guy with prosthetic legs running.  Seeing things like that just really make you stop and think (and makes you never want to complain again!).

I ran with Julie for the first 5 miles.  I could tell she was hanging with me if I stopped at a water stop and would look around if she didn't see me.  Running with her was making me run a little faster and I was holding a decent pace.  But when I hit about 3 miles, we turned a corner and started running from West to East and the sun was just straight at me.  It was starting to get difficult for me to maintain that pace and I didn't want to hold Julie back.  I told myself to run until mile 5 and then tell her to go ahead of me, which is what I did (Julie ended up finishing about 5-6 mins ahead of me).

I was actually on a PR pace but it was early and I could tell I was slipping a little bit.  I kept thinking about what someone said to be the day or two before, and I repeated this to myself several times during the run..."Remember the reasons you are running today."  My reasons for running today was not to PR.  After all, it was only 11 days after dislocating my shoulder and the first full day without wearing my sling.  The 3 reasons I was running that day and not just there cheering was because (sorry for the repeat) this half was the first half I ran in 2006, I was running for my charity, and I was running in memory of my friend Jason.  Remember why you are running Amanda!  This helped me tremendously not to get caught up in racing...and getting disappointed with my finish time.

So around mile 7, I started trying to have some fun.  I started slapping spectators hands.  I was running with a Chinese dragon (and stopped to take a photo).  I started chatting with people a little.  I was smiling more.  The fun lasted for me until about mile 9 (lol).  I think this might be why I missed lapping my mile 8 time (I had turned off auto lap prior to the race because the initial tunnel you go through always messes up the satellite!).  Also kind of funny because in my last post (and in my mind)...I said "I know how my shoulder feels after running 4 miles, but I won't know how it will feel after running 8."  And I missed mile 8 so I guess it felt fine!

Chinese Dragon Runners...Beat the Dragon
The people holding the dragon were from PF Changs.  Their shirts said "Beat the running dragon."  They had an extra person and would periodically switch the location of all the runners so someone always got a break.  It was pretty cool to see.

It was hot that day.  Luckily part way through, the clouds came out a little bit and there was a breeze.  Even though that felt better, I was feeling a little sluggish.  I stopped at every water station.  I stopped at every ice station.  These stops definitely slowed my time up but it didn't really matter much.  Although in all honesty, I really wanted to beat my time from the 13.1 Chicago Marathon in June, with an awful time of 2:29.  (If you remember, that half was when I was still incredibly iron deficient and it was extremely hot that day...and I ran/walked the last 8 miles).

I ran with the Chinese dragon off and on for the second half of the race (probably why there are no finishing photos of me!  The dragon was in the way of the photographers!!  The course was changed from the previous years and I wasn't too happy with the last 1/3 of the course.  It was boring and there were two nice size hills in the last 2 miles (I mean, Chicago is supposed to be flat!).  The hills were ramps on the highway we were running up.

But finish I did.  I got my medal.  I finished in 2:24.  Definitely not my best time but I put a good amount of effort into that run (without trying to hurt my arm).  It not an overall PR by far, but it's a half PR for the year.  Since overall PR'ing isn't my thing this year, I'll just work on improving my times from this year alone (PR'ing for the year).  Except the Chicago Marathon. That WILL be an overall PR!  I need to keep myself healthy and injury free to do it and I should be golden. 

My shoulder felt pretty good during the run.  I was actually able to "use" it a little during the run which I wasn't able to do during the training runs a few days before (when I just held it in place).  It felt a little sore at times and a little bit fatigued overall but I was happy with the way it felt.

I met up with my Charity Group, my FN Runner friends and my blogger friends for some more photos.

Bloggers Post-Race
F'N Runners Post-Race
Maggie and I at my Charity tent post race
My favorite thing to do after a run...lie down.  Although in all honesty, I was feeling a little sick from the heat and this made me feel better.


I'm a little disappointed that I hurt my shoulder because right before this, I had just started strength training and boot camp.  I am seeing the Orthopedic Dr on Friday for a follow-up and my Chiropractor on Saturday so she can assess things and I can start some physical therapy for it.  Overall my shoulder feels much better.  It's still sore and I will do something like pull my front door closed with it and a huge pain will just run right down my arm.  Putting on my workout clothes is still really hard and hurts my shoulder/arm...more than actually working out.  But it's all minor stuff.  I'm pretty happy with it's progress so far (it's been 2 full weeks today since the dislocation).  To be continued on the shoulder.

You can also read Kelly's, Maggie's, and Sara's Race Recap if you just can't get enough.  And you can find some of the other bloggers in the photo on their pages.  I'm too lazy to link any more up!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The "Right" Decision?

Making decisions for me are never easy.  I take after my mom in this regard. 

Friend: "Where do you want to go to eat?"
Me :"Doesn't matter."  or "I don't know."
Friend: "Would you like to eat at A, B or C?"
Me: "Anything is fine."

Movies, clothes, name it and I can't decide on it.  Now, I can make a decision sometimes...I'm actually a little better than my mom.  Some things are so trivial that I really don't care.  Some things I analyze to death and don't want to make a wrong decision.

That's what I'm struggling with right now.  Running the half marathon on Sunday.  Should I or shouldn't I.  Make a decision.  What's the right decision? 

That's the hard part.  There is no clear cut right decision.  So, let me walk you through a little of my thought process and then I will tell you what I'm thinking I might do.

You remember I dislocated my shoulder last Wednesday, right?  I didn't forget.  I'm still in a sling.  The doctor said 7-10 days. It's day 9 today.  It's still sore mostly in the mornings and when I'm trying to sleep at night.  It hurts to use it much, like changing my clothes.  But on average, it's much better than when I hurt it.

I have my favorite half marathon on Sunday.  This will be the 6th time I've run it (if I run it).  Starting in 2006, then every year since 2008.  I run it for 3 reasons...#1 - It was my first half marathon I ever ran. #2 - Starting in 2008, I started running it for my charity UPS for DownS (you can make a donation by visiting my fundraising page),  #3 - Also in 2008, my friend Jason was shot and killed the morning of this half marathon, so I run it for him too.  In my opinion, 3 very important reasons to run this half every year.  And it's also why I sign up for it the year before as soon as it is available to register.

Granted, it will be ok if I didn't run the half on Sunday.  I'm aware of that.  But inside I would feel disappointed.

My choices are the following:

- Don't run the half and rest up the shoulder so it recovers quicker.  I would still go to cheer on everyone.  After all, the Chicago Marathon is the priority.

- Run the half slowly with walk breaks if needed.  Assess the situation and if there is too much pain in the later miles, pull myself from the run.  Use this run as just another regular long run in your Marathon Training schedule and in no way try to PR it.  After all, you don't want to miss too many training miles or long runs.  After all, the Chicago Marathon is the priority.

Hm.....seems as though the Chicago Marathon is my priority.  In both scenarios.  So which is the "right" choice??  I was asked if I would actually be able to pull myself from the race if my shoulder was hurting too much.  The answer to that question was "yes".  I can because I DO know that the marathon is the priority.

I ran twice this week.  Wednesday I ran with run/walk intervals.  I ran slowly, about 10:45 min miles and with walk intervals, my avg pace was 12:00 per mile.  I ran 3+ miles.  I wanted to see how my shoulder felt after running.  It felt fine during and after, just a few sudden moments of pain down my arm when I moved it wrong.  I was really focusing on my posture and keeping my shoulders down while running.

I ran again on Thursday, 4+ miles.  I was planning on running slowly but because I was with people, I ended running faster than intended.  The first two miles were sub 10:00 pace (9:45 & 9:55).  I lost it in the 3rd mile and walked twice.  The fourth mile was about 10:16.  Again, my shoulder felt good.  It was just tired from the position I was holding it in.  It's not easy to run with only one arm helping with the momentum. 

Can I tell how I will feel running the half with only 2 training runs of 3 and 4 miles?  Absolutely not!  I'm fully aware of that.  What feels ok at mile 4 can feel really bad at mile 8!

My current decision:  I'm running the half on Sunday.  I'll start slowly.  I'll keep assessing my body and how I feel at every mile.  If I start to feel as though something doesn't feel quite right, I'll bring it to a walk. If it starts to feel worse, I'll pull myself from the run.  In no way will I try to PR this all.  I've always PR'd this half marathon so going in knowing I'm not going to is a switch for me!  But the good thing is that it's supposed to be hot and humid.  So when I don't PR, I won't have to "blame" the weather...I can just "blame" my shoulder.  Haha

Good luck to everyone running the Rock N Roll Half Marathon on Sunday!  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Story of a Trail Runner

Let me get everyone up to speed...

I ran, I fell, I dislocated my shoulder, it hurt like a son of a....  There, that about sums it up.

I was going to write a big ol' long story that no one really wants to read so I am going to try to condense the story a bit (after typing my's not condensed. Sorry).  Went running on an unfamiliar-to-me trail with a run friend after my 2nd free personal training session last Wednesday.  I wore new trail shoes on a new trail, because that sounds like a good plan!  Long story short, I tripped on our way back, completely wiped out (which I'm sure would have been hilarious had I been ok) and landed mostly on my front right side, putting most of the impact on my shoulder and hitting my cheek.  After eventually sitting up, I realized that I was not in fact ok and told my friend that I thought I dislocated my shoulder.  I then proceeded to ask him if he could just "pop it back in place."  I mean, they do it in movies all the time!  And I knew that when it was back in place, it would feel 100 times better. 

He tried very briefly to pop it back in but didn't want to hurt me so stopped.  He told me I would have to go to the hospital, which I just couldn't believe!  I've never been to the ER for myself (I've always driven other people there, ie. my dad). Vance and I had to walk at least 1/2 mile back to the car, which seemed like forever!  I think I apologized about 27 times for ruining his evening.  He kept telling me to stop apologizing because nothing was my fault and he was sorry I hurt myself.  I also noticed that my cheeks were wet from tears that I didn't know I had shed (probably from the pain).  I then told him I probably looked a real mess and he told me I looked fine (liar!!). Vance drove me to the hospital (and carried my purse, thanks for that) and helped me get checked in.  On my way there, I called my dad.  He asked if I was driving there and I said no.  He asked if I was running dad.  He asked where I was and when I told him I was in Joliet he said, "Wow! That's far!"  I apologized for hurting myself so far away from home!

Got to the ER and the woman checking me in asked what happened.  When I told her, she said, "Oh that's why you are all dirty" and I then apologized to her for being dirty (let's just say Vance thought that slightly amusing since I kept apologizing for everything).

They put me on a priority list, took x-rays and got me a room.  While one of the techs was taking me to my room, I told him that I was sorry (again apologizing) if I was being a baby but I never get hurt and I was trying really hard to not complain (I actually don't think I was complaining at all so I don't know where this came from and neither did the tech who told me I was doing great.)  That's when my priority ended as the doctor obviously didn't find me very urgent.  A nurse came in and cleaned off my face, arm and hand since I was all dirty from the fall. She left and after 2 hours from falling, I still had not seen the doctor.  The x-ray techs had told me they thought I may have broken something.  I was in good spirits in the beginning, joking with all the nurses and techs but after 2 hours of being in excruciating pain, it was getting to me mentally.  The nurse came back in and asked if the doctor had been in.  Tears welled in my eyes and I said no.  She asked if I needed pain meds and I started to cry (even though I was trying really hard not to) and said that would be great. She urgently said she would try to get in touch with the doctor so I could get something for the pain.

Still before my pain meds...around the time I was going to lose it.

The doctor finally came in right before I was to get my meds.  He said that I would have to wait until 1 am before I was able to get my shoulder relocated since I had a sip of water at 9 pm (and I had to wait 4 hours before they could give me the meds to relocate it).  I was in shock! I told him it was “only a tiny sip of water”.  He said maybe they could do it at midnight (it was about 10:30… now 3 hours after it happened).  He left and then came back in two minutes later and said he was going to try something in hopes that I wouldn’t have to wait that long.  He tried to put it back in place without any meds (which wasn’t bad actually)…I was willing for him to do anything to me if it meant I could get out of there sooner.  He tried for about 5 minutes but couldn’t get it in (that's what she said...sorry couldn't help it).  I thanked him for trying anyway.  I finally got the pain meds but honestly, I’m not sure they really did much of anything.  My dad also got there around the same time.  I felt a little better with my dad there because it at least gave me something else to focus on.

And for the sake of dragging this on even about 12:30 a.m., they started prepping me to knock me out and put me in the twilight state.  They rattled off all kinds of meds they were going to give me.  I didn't really pay much attention but when they left, my dad told me, "Some of those are the same drugs that killed Michael Jackson."  Thanks Dad...

I was absolutely thrilled when they were about to relocate my shown in the below photo my dad took....where did that smile come from (and no, I did not get that cocktail of drugs yet)??
Around 12:30 am...So happy to almost be done!
Seriously!  I had an IV, oxygen, etc...all for a dislocated shoulder??  I had no idea it would be so involved!

I was not so thrilled when the scene played out like this...A woman named Kathy came in to be the "muscle" and the doctor had her tie a sheet around my waist and her waist so she can pull me in that direction (opposite of the hurt arm).  The doctor then proceeded to tie a sheet around his waist and my right (hurt) arm...apparently to pull me in the other direction from the muscle lady.  I mean, it appeared as though they were going to want to rip my body in two!!  I started getting really nervous!

The nurse administered my cocktail of drugs and things got really dizzy.  The doctor asked where my favorite place to vacation was and I told him the beach.  He told me to think of being on the beach was over.  I heard them talking about a sling and looked down and there was a sling around my arm.  I never thought I went out at all!  I thought I was still looking at the same thing as before!  That's the great thing about that twilight don't remember.  You are awake but out of it and you forget everything!  It was so strange!  I asked my dad if they had done it already and he said yes.  I looked and didn't see the muscle woman Kathy and asked my dad if she left and he said yes.  I was done and as I came to, my shoulder felt 100 times better!  I was so relieved!!   I could shift in the hospital bed and not wince in pain!  The techs came in for another round of x-rays to make sure that there really were no broken bones.  Finally about 2:30 a.m., my dad and I got to leave.  My mom met us at my house and she had to help me take off my workout shirt and sports bra since I couldn't do it myself.  I couldn't sleep in my bed because the position was hard on my shoulder and slept on the couch waking every 45 minutes or so.  I also had to sleep with a pillow on my chest and my arm on the pillow.  It was the most tolerable way to position myself.


I took Thursday off of work since I got very little sleep and was in a lot of pain.  I also had to have my dad drive me back to Joliet to pick up my car which got left the night before. I went into work on Friday (which when my boss found out I was coming in...called me an animal, lol).  I knew I only had a half day for summer hours and that was really all I could take as I was in more pain than on Thursday.

Saturday, I had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor (I had seen him last December for my knee).  I go to him because he used to be a runner.  He had medical students with him that day and was quizzing them about my "condition".  It was kind of funny actually.  End result was the doctor advised me that I should stay in the sling about 7-10 days.  I asked him when he would think it would be ok to start running again and he said I could run whenever I wanted.  He said that he would recommend buying a bandage to tie around my arm and chest to keep my arm immobilized if I decided to run this week.  I then asked him about my half marathon on July 22nd.  I told him I was prepared to not run it if that's what he thought.  He told me the "dr. answer" was to not run.  But as a runner himself, he said he would do it.  He said it was up to me depending on how I felt and to take it easy.  Since this half is incredibly important to me for a couple reasons, even if I didn't run it, I would still go down there.

I then told him I had a triathlon on August 5th and I was figuring that was a no-go.  He said he didn't think it was a good idea because of the swimming (which I agreed).  He doesn't want me to be swimming and have my shoulder pop out in the middle of it.  He said if I wanted to do it, I would need a ton of rehab.  I have now pretty much crossed that off my to-do list and will have to plan another one next year.  I shall not be a triathlete this year but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

I'm off my pain meds and am only taking some Ibuprofen (usually in the mornings).  The nights are tough because my shoulder tends to hurt when I try to lay down (although I'm back to sleeping in a bed).  I also still wake up a million times during the night because trying to adjust while sleeping is usually painful.  Which means I'm really tired during the day.  It's getting better though so that's good.  It's hardest to do the normal every day things: dressing myself, eating, doing my hair, etc.  My sling arm is my right arm and I'm right handed and I think that's why it's so hard.  It's hard to type and write at work (and I have a desk job). 

I really can't complain at all though.  I was SO HAPPY that nothing was broken.  The doctor had come in after relocating my shoulder and gave me a thumbs up and said good news!  That really made me smile.  I'll need rehab after I get out of the sling.  I hurt this shoulder about 10-15 years ago and it was already not right from I'm guessing it will still not be right.  But many people deal with much worse than this.  I can still resume my running.  I don't need surgery (as of yet and hopefully never will).  A lot of people showed a lot of concern and I really appreciated it all.  

And now I can finally say I've been to the ER for myself!  (Not sure why I would want to but ...).  The one thing my friend told me after I fell was that I really wiped out good! I told him, if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it right!! 

Sporting my sling

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


There were a lot of PR's set last week!  Oh no, not be me!  And maybe not by you (although some of you kicked some serious butt in the heat)...but by Chicago's weather...and just about 90% of the country!  That was some hot stuff last week, huh??  Consecutive days in the 100's, 80-90% humidity, some strange and strong storms that produced high winds, heavy downpours and even hail (100 degrees + hail = weird).  My thoughts are...if the record is 102 and we are at 100, give me those extra few degrees and lets set a record!  I'm already incredibly hot and uncomfortable, let's at least get a record out of it, right??

Of course that meant some pretty uncomfortable and hot run days.  I usually never complain about running in the heat.  I usually like it.  But day after day of running when it was 95-102 degrees (temps when I was actually running) really took it's toll on me mentally.

I started out feeling badass running in the high temps. I took precautions: ran slower, walked, carried water, put ice in my shirt.  The next time I may have just said it's hot but I can do it.  After the 5th or 6th run, thinking about running in the heat made me want to cry (1st world runner meltdown! lol).  So much so, I was going to take it inside to treadmill it last Thursday, which would have been perfectly understandable and acceptable.  Last Thursday night, there was a fun run that Maggie was going to and I had been a "maybe" on.  But with the temps that day still in the 100's...this was my meltdown day where I could have cried at the thought of running in the heat again! lol.  But Maggie convinced me to go and we would run slow, which we did and I felt good after going.

I wore a new shirt that day...Maggie sells "I run with Fast Women" shirts and tanks and the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.  I finally ordered a tank but love the tee's so can't wait until I order one of those (and it's cool enough to wear).  Go to her blog to find out how to order a shirt.
After running 3 last Thursday with temps about 100.  Love my new tank!
I actually find nothing sexier than a sweaty runner!  Am I the only one??  I'm really serious too!

Anyway...this week has been much more tolerable weather-wise.  I'm sure you have all noticed it and are enjoying it just as much.  In fact, since last Saturday was still going to be incredibly hot, CARA cancelled all training runs.  At first I was a little upset!  I thought...way to leave us hanging!  We still have to run our long runs (mine being 10 miles).  But then I thought about it and Sunday was going to be cooler by a good 20 degrees, so I got a group together and we ran our long runs on Sunday.  I was as giddy as a little school girl to run on Sunday in the cooler temps!  It was raining at the start and still 80% humidity, but I didn't care one bit!  Yay to cooler and more tolerable temps!  Now only if the humidity would go down.  I guess I'm asking too much.

And just because I thought it was funny and almost made my mom pee from laughing so hard (true story)...when it's 100+ degrees outside and you have no air in your car (even though it's a convertible, it doesn't do much good in that kind of heat)...and you get off of work and have work pants on, what is the most logical thing to do??  Well tie a towel around your waist and drive with the top down home, of course!!

Infamous car temp pic. It was about 103 this day.
Hot look, right??

In other friend Kathy is letting me borrow her road bike for my upcoming sprint triathlon in August.  I was going to buy one but didn't want to spend a fortune and was having a hard time trying to get one from Craigslist.  This way, I can spend a little more time on getting a bike and not just rush to get one!  But I needed to test out her road bike a little first since it's completely different than a mountain bike.  Luckily Kathy and I are about the same height.  I tested her bike last night and LOVED it.  You can really pick up some speed on that thing!  But I mostly rode it cautiously as to not kill myself or someone else!  This will be so nice for the triathlon!

I also was trying to figure out what to wear for the swimming part.  I really would like a tri-top and some bike shorts to wear.  That would be perfect!  But it's hard for me to find the right tri-top (being slightly larger on the top) and again, didn't want to spend a fortune right now.  So I actually just went and bought a regular sport suit from Dicks Sporting Goods.  It was on sale.  It's practical and maybe  a little boring but I loved it because it fit really well and I have a hard time finding things that fit me well.  And it shows a little cleavage which never hurts since it draws attention away from the less flattering areas of my body.  It may be interesting to bike and run in it but I'll practice beforehand.  It shouldn't be bad for the short distance.  And since I never photograph myself in a swimsuit...why not do it and post it on a public online forum?
Ok I'm not a swimsuit model.  I'll just say...I have some Marilyn Monroe curves and be happy about that.
Lastly...if you or anyone you know what some really hideous looking couches that are perfect for slipcovers...I'm going to be selling my old ones.  I'm selling them pretty cheap and can get the measurements if you are interested.  Note:  My cat scratched up one part of the back side of the couch.



Scratch thanks to my cat (on the loveseat I believe)
Happy running!!  It's a cutback week for me and I live for these!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I almost can't believe this happened right now considering I just wrote a blog post on this two days ago.  First, I appreciate all the comments on my last post about my friend Jason.  It was a very spur of the moment post and I just wrote from my heart.

My friend Charlie posted a link on facebook to the Chicago Tribune where he found this story.  That guy that was acquitted in the murder of my friend Jason was gunned down on the West Side of Chicago in the early morning hours, most likely gang related.

I would never wish for anyone to be murdered.  I don't think two wrongs make a right.  I do know that I was angry when this guy was acquitted.  He walked out of the courtroom with a smile on his face.  I was happy that one guy was convicted but I never felt right that this guy was allowed to walk.  Happy.  Free.  Released to cause whatever other crimes he may commit.  Justice in my mind was half served.  I had to let the rest go.  There was nothing I could do about it.

Really all I have left to say in light of the murder of this guy that was originally acquitted... karma is a bitch.  What goes around comes around.  Am I happy that you were gunned down like my friend Jason??  I'm not happy for any of this.  

I'm just hoping that Jason got the justice he so deserved.  You are forever in our hearts.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Paying Respects

I had a completely different blog post planned to type but I can't write it.  You might have to excuse me for a minute as I go way off topic to pay respects to a friend of mine that was murdered almost 4 years ago.  I know, not the happiest of blog post topics.

I can't help but think about this right now (and for the past week).  My friend Jason was murdered on August 10, 2008.  So why am I thinking about this now?  Actually I think about this often, if not every week, at least every month for the last four years.  I'm also thinking about this right now because he was murdered on the same day as my second half marathon.  This half marathon was the Chicago Distance Classic (now known as the Rock N' Roll Half) which is normally in August but was moved to July this year.  So every year when I do this half, in my mind, I dedicate it to him.  I would like to tell you about how I met Jason through the time of his murder.

I met Jason in January 2001 when I started a new job in Downer's Grove.  This job was a marketing/advertising company and when they hired new people, they hired them in batches.  This company was about 400 people, with an average age of 24.  I was 21 when I started (so I was able to go to the bar every week with everyone else!  lol).  Jason and I were in the same training class of about 12 people.  We trained for about 2 weeks in a classroom type area and Jason and Charlie got placed behind me.  Needless to say, being new to a company and put in a room for 2 weeks with the same 12 people, the training classes always became very close!  Training classes stuck together, ate lunch together, went out for drinks together.  After the 2 weeks were up, we got placed in a certain area within the company.  I was placed in the research department and Jason was placed as an analyst.

That's how I met Jason (and Charlie).  There is one day that I specifically remember during training which  was probably how Jason, Charlie and I really became friends.  Jason and Charlie loved to tease me.  I'm an easy target and a lot of people like to tease me.  It was all in good fun and I didn't mind at all.  One day Jason and Charlie came into the training class.  Charlie told me that I cut him off trying to get to work.  He was messing with me of course, but they thought it was hysterical and they both just kept messing with me almost every day about cutting him off.

Jason was a partier.  He liked to have a good time.  He liked to go out and have more than a few drinks.  Every Thursday night, our training class (and new work friends in our departments) would go out for a drink.  It turned out that Jason and I lived only a mile from each other (we both lived with our parents), so if Jason drank too much, I gave him a ride home, and then a ride to work the next day.  It was also at this bar that we started watching the tv show Survivor.  Quickly, later on Jason and Charlie made an online competition with the show Surivor and we had friendly games on Survivor.  Jason made himself the "commissioner" of the game.  Just a fun, nerdy game that made the show more interesting.

Fast forward, I left this company in April of 2002.  I kept in contact with some friends there, including Jason, and would make visits.  One day, I emailed Jason at work and the email was returned.  He had left but I didn't actually have his current number or email.  About a year later, I was working downtown and I happened to run into Jason.  Now we both worked in the city and only about 2 blocks away!  I felt it was fate (because I'm nerdy and I had a crush on Jason).  We would go out to lunch every now and again.  I was never "best friends" with Jason so I didn't hang out with him on weekends or anything.  This was mostly the extent of our friendship...the survivor show, lunches and an occasional work week drink.

Fast forward again...I emailed Jason at work (did I never have a personal email for him??) and he was no longer working there.  I emailed Charlie and asked for Jason's current email.  He gave me a pizza place email (example:  I assumed Charlie was joking with me.  I got pissed off but didn't say anything to Charlie about it and never contacted this email address.  About 6 months later...I had a half marathon.

My second half marathon, the Chicago Distance Classic, on August 10, 2008.  This half marathon always starts really early, at 6:30 am.  I was meeting my charity group at about 6:00 am.  The next day I called off of work.  On that Monday, I went to my parent's house and checked my email.  It was about 8:30 am and I had an email from Charlie.  Charlie apologized for sending me an email about this but he didn't have my phone number.  He told me that Jason had been shot the morning before at about 5:25 am on the west side of Chicago (the morning of my half marathon).

Charlie was known (to me) as being a little meaner in the joke department and I felt as though I didn't get along with him as much as Jason.  I thought this was a mean joke.  I replied to Charlie, "If this is a joke, it's not funny!"  He told me he wouldn't joke about something like that and proceeded to tell me the details that he knew.  I was in utter shock.  This can't be right.  Who would want to shoot Jason?  I immediately called my dad, who knew Jason through the online Survivor game we had, and told him what I just found out and just started sobbing.  Jason was a clean cut, super nice guy.  I remember Jason as having this twinkle in his eye and always a smile on his face.  It was so unreal, I just couldn't take it.  I was about 3 miles away from Jason as I was driving to my half marathon.  At the time I just felt like maybe I could have done something!  If Jason could have called me, I could have taken him home.  It's unrealistic to think I could have done something but I was near the area!  If only...

Picture of Jason
I recorded every news station that was on for the next two days.  Every one was the same...about 5 seconds of Jason's story.  They were still looking for the murderers and they were only giving this story about 5 seconds!  I was so angry.  The only news program that had a good story was Channel 9 WGN news.  For as long as I had that satellite service, I never could delete this news program.  They said he was shot after taking a female friend home.  They had been to a wedding the night before and had been out.  He made sure she got home and was hailing a cab.  He was shot 3 times in the chest by what they assumed were gang members.  A case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time?

Jason funeral was miserable.  I couldn't stop crying.  I felt life was so unfair to take someone like Jason away from the world.  He was 29 years old, 1 week shy of turning 30.  He had just graduated with a masters and actually did just open a pizza place (that email was real, I didn't know!).  At the funeral, I was so angry at whoever did this!  I remember the priest saying that life wasn't always fair.  The priest said he knew we were all angry but that Jason wouldn't want us to live with this anger inside of us.  This anger would consume us and whoever did this to Jason would win!  We needed to forgive the situation and release the anger.  It helped.  It didn't make it easy and was extremely hard to try to let go of the anger, but emotionally it helped me.  I'll never forget that day or that week.

Long story short...6 months later, they made two arrests...2 gang members, a 17 year old and a 22 year old.  Just last year they had the trial.  The 17 year old was acquitted and the 22 year old was found guilty.  I have a lot to say on this but it's not going to do any good.

So needless to say, I never stop thinking about Jason.  I will walk downtown and think I see him. Jason had a classic look.  I still see that twinkle in his eye, I can still hear his laugh and see that smile.  Every year that Survivor is on, I think of Jason.  My parents and I still pick a person that we think will win the show and I always pick one for Jason.  The first season after Jason's death, I picked a person for him out of a hat, and his person won.  I felt like he was there playing the game with us.

The thing I took from this terrible tragedy was how short life really is.  Jason lived life to the fullest.  He was educated, started his own business, lived downtown, ran along the lake, had fun, was a great friend, was a great family member.  He had two young nephews that have to grow up without him.  It wasn't fair what happened to Jason.  I wish it never did.  But it did, and after that day, I vowed to try and live my life to the best of my ability.  If something is on my mind, I'll try to say it.  I try not to take life for granted.  You never know when this day will be your last.  Be kind to people.  Be someone that people will remember.

Like I said, Jason and I were only social friends.  Jason and Charlie were best friends.  Since this day, Charlie and I are much closer and I'm friends with Charlie's wife.  I also reconnected with a few other friends from that company that knew us both.  So Jason's death wasn't in vein.  I took so much from it.  I'll never stop thinking about Jason.  I'll never stop thinking of the message he left this world.  So as I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I'll forever be grateful to Jason for that message.  Here is to my upcoming half marathon that is always so much more to me than just another run.  I've run this half marathon every year since then.  It's THE most important run of my year, not for the time I might get but for the memory of my friend.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Long Run Pace

I've been thinking a lot about my long run pace.  I've seen various ideas about what you should run your long run in when training for a marathon: 30-45 seconds slower all the way up to 2 minutes slower than what you think your marathon pace is.

Today was no exception as Maggie posted a link on facebook to a blog from Jenny Hadfield who is a runner, author and married to The Penguin (John Bingham).  For quick reference, John is a runner and author who didn't start running until his 40's (if I remember correctly).  Anyway, Jenny wrote a blog post about "How to Calculate Your Long Run Pace".  In this post, Jenny writes that you should run based on how you feel, not based on numbers.  So one day, due to heat an humidity, you may feel running a long run at 10:30 pace is difficult, whereas the next week, you may feel perfectly comfortable running your long run at a 9:45 pace.  Long run pace is supposed to be an easy run where you can hold a conversation and is meant to build up the miles and time on your feet as well as let you test out fuel methods.  Kind of makes sense to me, actually.

Some people may think, "Amanda, you have run 2 marathons already.  You should know what you are supposed to do by now!"  Actually, I'm still learning.  It's no secret my last marathon did NOT go as well as I had hoped.  With all the injuries and with all my "mistakes" I made along the way, this time I'm trying to do things differently.  Smarter.  For both marathons, I trained with my 10 minute pace group, even if I didn't always hold the 10 minute pace.  For the first marathon, I trained with the Yankee Runners (through CARA) and met Kelly.  Kelly and I pretty much stuck together the entire training season because some of the members of the group where running too fast for us to maintain and some ran slower.  By running with Kelly, I was never alone (which always helped).  And neither one of us really had to wait for the other.  Most of the time, we always ran the same pace.  Now Kelly is a speed demon runner and well, never mind.  She isn't training for the marathon anyway. lol.
Back to the topic.  This year I was unsure what pace to run for my long runs.  Now that my injuries are cleared up (although I still monitor them to make sure I don't re-injure) and I've started taking care of my anemia issues, I'm running better.  However, with all the down time I had and the slower paces I was running, my pace definitely suffered.  I'm slowly building it back up.  So when I started training for this 3rd marathon in Chicago, I wasn't sure if I should run my long runs with my 10:00 pace group.  I was thinking my long runs should probably be a 10:30 pace (my short runs are between 9:30-10:00 on average). 
I had a discussion with my pace leader about it and she said to try it out with her and fall back if needed.  I missed the first two weeks of training because of other runs, so the week I finally met up with the group was the cutback week of 5 miles.  I can do 5 miles at a 10:00, not much of a problem.  Last week was 9 miles.  I decided once more to go with the 10:00 group for the 9 miles just to see how it goes and then make a final decision on pace. 
First of all, our 10:00 group is so large that they now have to split it up into intermediate (ones running longer miles) and novice (running the normal miles).  So some of my friends and my favorite pace leader are running in a separate group from me anyway!  Although, I realized I could run with them for half of it and turn around a little early.  Anyway, the 9 miles was a bit of a struggle at that pace.  It was hot and HUMID (87%).  I felt the pace leader was running a little fast (in these conditions, they should slow the pace a little).  I made the pace (or close to it) for the first 6 miles.  The last 3 miles were a struggle and I walked twice.  Luckily this week I had someone that I knew would be sticking with me even if I walked a little bit, but she isn't a regular at this group.
I shouldn't be running my long runs to just "be able to keep up" with the group, or be thinking that I can "make it until the next water stop".  I should be running comfortably.  And in this heat, a 10:00 minute pace for a long run is far from comfortable.  Plus, if I fall back from the group, chances are I'll be alone.  And when you have 6 miles left from a 16 miler and you have to finish alone and you are hot and tired and crabby, it would be miserable.
So what I think I will do this week with my long run of 10 miles is to start with the 10:30 pace group.  I'd rather finish stronger alone if I'm feeling good and end up running ahead than finish alone from the other group because I'm behind and tired.
Plus the pace leader of this group was someone that ran my first 16 miler with me because I couldn't run with the group.  You can read about it here.  So I have a soft spot for this pace leader Jim anyway.
I'm going to try 10:30 this week and see how it goes.  The heat has been brutal this summer (today is the 20th day this year in the 90's or above, and average for this time is normal 5 days).  So it's going to be hot ALL summer.  Better get used to it now!  I'll let you know how the 10:30 pace goes after this Saturday.  I miss my friends from the other pace group, but I'm training for a marathon, not going out to eat pizza. sounds good actually.
Speaking of weather...what is up with these crazy storms!!  100 degree temps, then 100 mile wind gusts and hail.  Thousands of people are without power.  My parents didn't have power for about half a day but I know other people are still without power.  I'm fortunate and generally don't have much problem with losing my power (knock on wood).
Have a great 4th!!  We get to leave work early today and have off tomorrow.  Very nice!

Monday, July 2, 2012

In other words...(non-running related)

(Beware...theraputic post to follow)...

I'm feeling in a "quotable" mood today (not sure exactly where these came from)... so maybe you feel like this...

"It’s okay. It’s okay to want someone you can’t have. It’s okay to want something more. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt, and it’s okay to stay mad at someone who hurt you. Believe it or not, it’s always going to be okay. That’s just how it works. Sometimes things don’t work out how you want them to, and most of the time, it seems like they never will. But eventually, everything is going to iron out some way or another. You just have to believe, keep your faith, and move on."

Or maybe you feel like this...

"Sometimes, we’re too into the moment to look at the big picture. We fail to see things in perspective because we’re too absorbed in what’s taking place at that very instance. The thing is we should face reality. Find ourselves from being lost in the moment and think about everything the way it is. Because sometimes being realistic can save us from pain and disappointment."

Or maybe like this???....

"It is completely normal to fear failure, to fear rejection, to fear the future, but it should never stop you from accomplishing a dream, making a friend, or confessing your love. Nothing is for certain and anything can happen. Isn’t that what makes life exciting? Not knowing what will happen next and even though people will tell you it is impossible, will point and laugh at your ways, and will crush your heart over and over again, you will continue to chase your dreams, make as many friends as possible, and pray that when you do find that special someone, they will blush for a moment, twiddle their thumbs, and look into your eyes and say, “I love you too.”

I saw all three of these quotes this morning.  And for some reason, they all made me stop and think. They all resonated with me in some way or the other.  The middle one was the one that really got to me.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in one minute detail that I fail to see the big picture. I fail to see how I'm reacting to something.  I tend to blame much of the way I'm thinking or feeling on the behaviors of others.  Sure, I may not agree with their reactions/behaviors but it doesn't matter. What matters is how "I" behave, how "I" react.  I can't change what others are going to do or say (or not do or not say).  This is my life and I need to live it the way I want to live it.  Sure, sometimes I wish things were different.  But I won't get anywhere by "wishing". 


Now with all that said...with my upcoming triathlon, I've been thinking a lot.  Uh oh...bad things happen when I think! 

I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a dare-devil, a risk-taker, and definitely not an extrovert or outgoing person.  I'm pretty shy.  I don't necessarily go out much (although that may be because I'm also cheap).  I don't have an enormously large group of friends, just some quality friends.  Most people like me but it was also said in my high school yearbooks that most people didn't really know me.  In fact, I got this in MOST of my high school yearbooks...

"I'm really glad I met you this year. Thanks for helping me with my algebra (pick a math class, I probably helped you in it).  You are a really nice and sweet person but you need to talk more!" 

It's true. About 75% of my yearbook is exactly like that!! 

But there are always things I've always done.  Even though I'm quiet, I realize you only live life once.  If I want to do something, I'll do it.  Sometimes I think about it, overanalyze it to death and debate if I should spend money on it...but I'm pretty fortunate for the things I've accomplished and also been crazy enough to scratch off the bucket list! 

I've been fortunate enough to...
- Have an amazing family
- Own my own home
- Have bought all of my cars myself
- Graduated college
- Go to Europe when I was 19
- Travel to many of the states
- Lose 90 pounds (and have kept at least 60 of it off)

I've been crazy enough to...
- Have gone skydiving twice
- Have gone bungee jumping
- Been parasailing
- Run a marathon (or two...)
- Sign up for a sprint triathlon (so excited!)

I can also change my own tire (although I don't like to), play the piano (badly), and drive a stick shift car.

I'm sure these are only a few things that I can think of momentarily.  One thing I'm most proud of myself?  I never give up.  Is something hard?  Did something not go as planned?  Did something upset me? 

Yes, sometimes I feel like giving up.  Yes, sometimes I'll just sit on the couch (in my car, on my bed) and cry like a little baby and sob until I fall asleep and then wake up with my eyes all red and puffy.  But, every day is a new day.  Every minute is a new minute. 

Life is not always easy. No one ever said it would be.  But the best things in life are when you have overcome an obstacle or acheive something you thought was impossible.  If everything was easy, would the outcome be as worth it?  Whether you are struggling at mile 8 of a marathon and have 18.2 miles left of this excruciating quad pain.  Whether you open yourself up to someone you like and things don't end up the way you want it to and you get hurt.  Whether you lose 90 pounds, gain 20-30 back and have to re-fight to lose it again (or at least maintain).

It's the fight that makes everything worth it.  It's what makes the victory sweeter.  It's what puts a smile on your face and tears in your eyes.  Fighting your way though the bad stuff hoping that you will find the good.  Nothing will ever be perfect.  Nothing ever really goes as planned.  But you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.  That's what life is all about.

Um...where the hell did this post come from???  Do you feel better?  Do I??  I guess that's still TBD.

HOWEVER...I do feel good about the fact that we get to leave at noon on July 3rd and have July 4th off!  I do feel good I have gotten to spend the last 3 weeks with my nephew before he has to go back to Ohio (I also feel good that he is considering going to college here!!) 

For the 4th of July, it's a tradition, I spend it with my family.  We used to see the fireworks in the hometown I grew up in but they cancelled them a few years ago. Since then, we have been going to the fireworks in my current hometown.  We actually have always walked (which generally takes 1/2 hour).  It's fun.  We act crazy.  We joke around.  We bring blankets.  The walking part is the BEST part. 

Have a safe, happy and healthy Fourth of July!