Sometimes you just need to get away

Ever get so overwhelmed that you just shut down?

There’s so much to be done. You have no idea where to start, so you just don’t do anything.

Everything just piles up while you sit there immobilized, like a deer frozen in headlights.

deerUnless you snap out of it, there’s really only one way for it to end.

I’d like to say that I caught it in time, that I shook myself out of my stupor and started to figure things out and tackle what needed to be done.

But that’s not what happened.

jengaIt all just came crashing down.

I took a serene look at the rubble and debris settling around me and decided it felt like exactly the right time for a road trip. I packed up my car and headed to Boone.

I stopped at Starbucks and got my first pumpkin scone of the season. It was every bit as delicious as I remembered. I opened the windows and sang along with my iPod. A few hours later, I stopped for gas and almost bought a Reese’s pumpkin.

Oh yeah. Doin’ just exactly what I want. Imagine!!

But I resisted the mid-morning candy treat.

I’m glad I did, because when I got to Boone, I went straight to Melanie’s and had this awesome Caribbean tempeh sandwich.

IMG_20130913_114306_518It had pineapple and fresh jalapeños and a delicious jerk seasoning, and was the best thing I’d eaten for quite some time.

I went for a run on the Blue Ridge Parkway, changed into dry clothes and sat by the lake and read my book.

IMG_20130913_142913_189I laid back on the ground and gazed up at the bright blue sky beyond the tree tops.

IMG_20130913_145820_416After setting up camp for the night, I sat on a swing by the pond and watched the resident ducks.

IMG_20130913_190045_074I didn’t stress about work, or about marathon training.

It was almost 7 when I woke up the next morning. I NEVER sleep that late. I needed to be on the road by about 9:30 in order to make it to Durham for my niece Avery Jo’s 7th Birthday party.

So I had just enough time to break down the tent, shower, and make it back to Melanie’s for breakfast.

IMG_20130913_173737_823IMG_20130914_081246_718THE quintessential comfort meal for me. Multigrain pancakes with REAL butter and syrup, seasoned, grilled tempeh strips and hot coffee. It doesn’t get any better than that on a cold morning. Or any morning, really.

Melanie’s wasn’t busy, so I ended up having time for a quick stop at the Farmer’s market before leaving town.

IMG_20130914_085550_322I fell in love with a beautiful owl painted on reclaimed wood, but settled for some apples and concord grapes.

It was an indulgent trip, filled with things that make me happy.

The party in Durham was very pink.

IMG_20130914_152028_969I love that Birthday girl.

And then it was time to head back to Charlottesville and face the mess I’d walked away from.

I knew I’d need some energy to deal with THAT.


Not the healthiest energy source, but it sure was tasty.

And exactly what I needed after pancakes and birthday cake, I’m sure.

I promise I don’t always eat like this.

Between starting a new job and trying to qualify for Boston, and saying yes to too many things I felt like I should be able to do,  I had taken on much more than I was equipped to handle.

I wish I could do it all.

But I can’t.

And, just for the record, I am painfully aware that I am lucky to have the problems that I have.

It’s just one of the many things I feel incredibly guilty about.

But I still had a really nice weekend.


A week of just running

I ditched the training schedule this week. I was hoping that an easy, low-mileage week would help me get back to feeling normal.


3 mile trail run at Walnut Creek.

IMG_20130915_134650IMG_20130910_103930_933I ran naked and it felt good.

By naked, I mean without my Garmin.


4.17 miles at Monticello

I had to break out the headlamp this morning. It was dark!

One rabbit and two bullfrogs crossed my path while I was running.

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about me: one of my very first jobs was teaching swimming lessons to frogs (and  a few toads, but they didn’t seem to enjoy it as much). I was seven and I didn’t get paid, but all those frogs you see swimming around so gracefully? That was me.

frog3I also coached an imaginary girl’s high school track team from the back-back of my mom’s car. I had them follow behind us wherever we went. Those girls ran far! They could run all the way to Wareham and back. That was 10, maybe 15 miles.

In hindsight, I think it must have been a cross-country team, but I’m pretty sure I’d never heard of cross-country at the time. My girls didn’t just run far. They ran fast! It was before they built the interstate, but I’ll bet mom got that station wagon up to 40 miles an hour.

Can YOU run that fast?

Give me some frogs or an imaginary track team and I am one kick-ass coach.


2.72 miles around Price Lake (off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC)


This was my favorite place to run when I lived in Boone. It’s still pretty special. I thoroughly enjoyed this short run.


8 miles on Ridge Road.

IMG_20130915_084251_102It was a beautiful, crisp fall morning.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t help my pace much.

I’m afraid that after a week of drastically reduced mileage and nothing but easy runs, I’m still not feeling any better.


I’m not a basket case

I’m a complete basket case.


This is the thought I kept going back to during my long run last weekend.

I kept thinking of myself as a complete basket case because I felt like a frazzled mess. Could the pain in my shin that had kept me from running for a week really just be a symptom of my anxiety? Could anxiety be making me slow?

What a basket case.

And then, because it was a long run and I had a lot of time to think, I started to wonder where the term “basket case” came from and what it meant.

I took a History of the English Language course in college. It was one of my favorite classes.

But I had never thought about the term “basket case” before. I guess I always had some vague notion that it had something to do with having a case of nerves, or something.

When I got home, I did some research.

Apparently, the term can be traced back to WWI, when, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it was used to reference quadriplegic soldiers. A few years later it took on the more current and figurative meaning, “person emotionally unable to cope.”

I am so grateful to have all of my limbs, and I will not be referring to myself (or anybody else) as a basket case in the future. It seems inappropriate and kind of makes me want to cringe.

I was surprised to see that my 1997 paperback edition of The Merriam Webster Dictionary makes no mention of the figurative definition. The entry simply reads: “1: a person who has all four limbs amputated  2 : one that is totally incapacitated or inoperable”

Who knew?

Did you know where the term “basket case” came from?

SUP Yoga

Ever since I first heard about Stand Up Paddle board yoga, I’ve wanted to do it. In fact, the one time I was on a paddle board (during our Vermont vacation last summer) I tried a few poses.

My current Facebook profile picture is from that one time I was on a stand up paddle board over a year ago. I think that says something about how I felt about the experience…


You might remember that my shin is bothering me. Or, probably you forgot. I don’t like to talk about my ailments.

Anyway, whenever I am sidelined from running, I start looking for other things to do. Lately, I’ve been checking out all the yoga studios in town, which led me to the Opal Yoga website where I discovered a SUP yoga class. SUP yoga in Charlottesville!

I was so excited!

I registered for the Thursday morning class at Chris Greene Lake.

The morning of the class, I showed up early, because that’s just what I do.

Catherine, of Mango Yoga Adventures, was easy to find. She was the only one there with 3 paddle boards on the grass in front of her car.


I liked her right away. She was very down-to-earth and friendly and didn’t seem at all disappointed when I told her that I was far from an expert yogi.

She told me that she had done a full moon paddle at Beaver Creek last month and that she’s planning to do another one this month. I can’t even imagine how amazing that must be. I may have to sign up for that.

There was only one other lady registered for the Thursday morning class, so as soon as she arrived, and Catherine had explained some paddle boarding basics and safety, we headed out onto the lake.

1173648_183245161857720_679087523_nThe sun was out if full force, and it was HOT. The humidity wasn’t too bad, though. We paddled around for a while before stopping for the yoga session.

There were little tiny jellyfish EVERYWHERE. None of us had ever seen freshwater jellyfish before. They were about the size of a quarter and they were just undulating away beneath the surface of the very green water.

Before we started, Catherine mentioned that we were at the mercy of the wind and currents and that we might drift away from each other. She said if that happened, to just paddle back to the group.

998490_183245175191052_129952827_nBefore she said that, it wasn’t something that I’d thought about. Sure enough, though, as we were doing our sun salutations, I found myself slowly drifting into the trees along the shoreline.

I also found it strange to not be able to face the instructor. I am a visual person. I’m used to just watching and copying the yoga instructor. But today, the lake determined which direction I was facing, and it seemed to always be away from Catherine. It added a fun new dimension to have to follow verbal cues. It also made me painfully aware of how much I don’t know. Warrior I, or Warrior II. Which is which?

1174763_183245205191049_1932243202_n1173864_183245265191043_1551166070_nI love being outside.

Shavasana on a paddle board was amazing! I realized as I was lying there with my hands dangling lazily in the water beside my board, listening to the bird calls, that I have NEVER done Shavasana outside. Stillness is not something that comes naturally to me, but it is something that I could definitely use more of in my life.

We all jumped in the water to cool off before we paddled back to the shore.

I left feeling happy and grateful and calm. All of those wonderful yoga-ey feelings amplified by being not only outside, but outside AND on the water!

1176224_183245188524384_912308989_nSUP yoga is awesome.

Catherine takes pictures of each of her sessions and posts them on her Facebook page, which is such a wonderful perk! I am certainly grateful she does this. Blog posts are infinitely better with pictures 🙂

Marathon Training?? Week six


Scheduled rest day.


5 easy miles

10 lap swim as a warm-up
40 minutes of pool running
2 lap swim cool-down

It’s hard to see in this picture, but there is a tiny sliver of moon above the trees. It was a beautiful morning.

IMG_20130903_104232Pool running was a little better today. I think I figured out a way to keep a steady pace that’s not too easy or too hard. Although, I still don’t think I’m working as hard as I would be if I were running.

What it looked like when I got to the pool this morning:
IMG_20130903_060642_561What it looked like when I left:
IMG_20130903_070510_614It’s not running, but I really can’t complain. There are worse places to spend a Tuesday morning.


8-9 miles with 4 X 800 at 10K pace and 2 X 400 at 5K pace

First, can I just say that I am COMPLETELY bummed about missing my first scheduled track workout. I was really looking forward to it.

Can I also say that it’s a lot easier to get out of bed at 4:45 a.m. if I’m going for a run outside than it is if I’m just going to the gym.

I decided to test my shin with a short run on the treadmill. I was tired and the running felt hard, but my shin seemed (dare I say it?) better.

I ran 4 slow miles.

IMG_20130904_061512_457Then I went over to the bike and rode for 40 more minutes.

IMG_20130904_070508_617Am I the only one who gets absolutely drenched on the bike? I did 10 one minute sprints during the middle portion of my ride. I figured that would make a (lame!) substitute for my missed track workout.


5 easy miles

45 minute Strength for Runners Class (dress rehearsal for the class I’m supposed to be teaching on Monday, but that nobody has signed up for yet).

My shin seemed a little more achy today. Whether that is from my run yesterday or not, I have no idea.

1 1/2 hour SUP yoga class at Chris Greene Lake.

The class was awesome. By far the most fun I’ve had since we got back from Vacation!

Posts on the yoga class and Chris Green Lake are in the works.


Scheduled rest day


20 miles with the last 2 at marathon pace

~15.75 SLOW miles at White Hall Vineyard
10:30 pace

IMG_20130907_091346_433IMG_20130907_091411_889I don’t know exactly how far because my Garmin died. The battery doesn’t want to last for more than about an hour and half these days. I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

I wasn’t sure whether or not I would run at all today, but everyone I talked to (that would be Kurt and my mom) seemed to think I should just go ahead and do it.

My shin bothered me on and off for the first four miles or so, but then it seemed to get much better. I ended up feeling it again toward the end of my run, but it was more of an annoyance than actual pain.

The main problem I had was that, even with the nice cool weather, my pace was still painfully slow.

The marathon training group we run with consists mostly of people training for their first or second half or full marathon. I’m supposed to be training for my sixth marathon. I’d gotten used to being one of the faster runners in the group. Not anymore! Everybody was passing me. One guy even made a joke about the tortoise and the hare as he went by. Talk about a blow to the ego. I spent a good portion of today’s run just trying not to cry. Not because my shin hurt, but because after a month and a half of marathon training, I’m running slower than ever.

I looked back at my pace on this course from previous years, and, even in the heat of the summer, I was running it at a 9:30 pace. Today I ran a 10:30 pace.

I think I might have figured something out today, though. My body is smarter than my brain is. I have a feeling that the pain in my shin is just my body’s way of telling me it can’t take any more.

If my problem isn’t low iron (and I’ve been taking my supplements pretty regularly for three weeks, so that should have resolved by now) I’m thinking that I’m probably over trained. Or, I have some terrible (and most likely terminal) illness.

I don’t think my training schedule was too aggressive, I just think that I’ve been too stressed out and exhausted by life in general, that my body just isn’t recovering properly. The harder I train, the slower I get. Delightful.

I don’t know if I’ll be running a marathon this fall.

On a much happier note:

IMG_20130907_172706_557Long run days almost always end with ice cream.

Hmmmm… you don’t think that might have something to do with our big OL3P fail do you?


5 easy miles

45 minute swim

IMG_20130908_064302_935I much prefer swimming to pool running.

One thing.

1. Don’t buy anything. Ever.

I think this only applies to me. I have a problem spending money on things. It’s the opposite problem that affects most people. I really hate doing it.

I will hem and haw over something for hours, days or months and not be able to bring myself to actually fork over the cash to purchase it.

Every once in a while I actually do buy something. Inevitably, when I do this, it is a mistake. I soon realize that it doesn’t work or doesn’t fit or, as was the case with my most recent purchase, might KILL me.


Yep. Bought some compression sleeves because of my shin pain and not a week later, a link to THIS article shows up in my twitter feed. In case you don’t want to read the article, the gist is that compression sleeves (but not socks) increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (which is most often fatal).

So, just do yourself a favor and stop buying things.

Oh wait, I forgot. YOU can buy whatever you want. I’m the only one who is cursed when it comes to spending money. I will stop buying things.

*Just to clarify, my problem with purchasing things does not apply to groceries. I will spend obscene amounts of money on good, wholesome food. Nor does it apply to experiences. I don’t have much trouble spending money on races, or fun things to do. Just physical, non-edible things.

Marathon Training Week Five

Scheduled rest day


5 easy miles

5 easy miles around town before work
9:52 pace

I got my bathing suit and water belt out the night before, thinking that I should probably do some pool running until my shin feels better, but in the morning I grabbed my running clothes instead.

I felt my shin while I was running, but it didn’t hurt.

I stopped by Ragged Mountain Running Shop after work to look at compressions socks and sleeves and to talk to Mark about my shin and my inability to hit my training paces.

He seemed to be a little concerned that I might have a stress fracture, but said it’s more likely that I’m just fatigued from stress (life stress, not running stress). He told me to keep an eye on it and to stop running if it got any worse.

I ended up buying some swanky purple compression sleeves.

IMG_20130827_123619_847He also didn’t seem too concerned about my running paces. He said I might just not be there at this point in my training, but that didn’t necessarily mean that I wouldn’t be able to get there by November.

I left feeling a little more hopeful about my shin and my marathon time goal.

We’ll see.


8 easy miles with 8 hill pick ups

8.25 miles between the track and The Park with 8 hill pick ups
10:16 pace

I get home from work between 8:45 and 9pm on Tuesday nights, go straight to bed and am up at 4:40 am in order to get my 8 mile run in before work on Wednesdays.

As usual, I was tired. It wasn’t as bad as last week, though. I wasn’t completely soaked until the last mile and I felt okay during my hill repeats.

I felt my shin the whole time and it stressed me out, but it didn’t hurt. It’s so strange. I can’t feel it when I press on it. It doesn’t hurt when I jump, or point or flex my toe. It just kind of aches.


5 easy miles

5 easy miles in Hollymead before work
10:10 pace

2 circuits of:
20 squats (I’ve stopped doing jump squats because I can’t imagine that they’d be good for my shin)
15 push ups
15 single leg dead lifts (each leg)
1 minute plank with leg raises

I was excited because my shin seemed better when I woke up this morning. I barely felt it for the first two miles, but then it gradually seemed to get worse.

Afterwards, it ached on and off, and I found a definite sore spot, which completely freaked me out.

I spent a good two hours Googling “what does a tibial stress fracture feel like”. What did I learn? That I might have a stress fracture.

I am very displeased to report that I spent the afternoon feeling very sorry for myself and eating too much junk food. Well, trail mix, granola bars and dark chocolate, so not complete junk food. But definitely much more than I needed.

This only made me feel worse. I’ve learned this lesson before…


Scheduled rest day.
My hamstrings were pretty sore from yesterday’s dead lifts.
I went for a very slow 5 mile hike to Sherando Lake from the Blue Ridge Parkway.


10 miles with 2 X 4 miles at marathon pace

4.25 miles with 3 miles at attempted marathon pace
1 hour of pool running

I had been going back and forth on whether I should try to run, or just go straight to the pool. I decided to try the run, but to stop and go to the pool if my shin felt at all like I shouldn’t be running on it. Of course, I really couldn’t tell. It felt worse than it’s been feeling, but I wasn’t sure if that was just because I was obsessing over it or not. I changed my mind about twenty times, but I ended up taking the first chance I had to loop back to the start.

The good news is that I was very close to hitting marathon pace for the three miles that I ran (with hills and street lights and all) and it didn’t feel terribly hard. The bad news is I wasn’t able to finish the workout and I don’t know how long It’ll be before I can run again.

I had spent all day Thursday thinking that I wouldn’t be able to run any of my upcoming races. Right now, I’m able to run. If whatever injury I have is progressing, I want to stop running before I get to the point where I am unable to run. I honestly don’t know if I’m being overly cautious, but I REALLY don’t want to have to stop running for weeks or months!

I think pool running is crazy boring. I ended up having to do intervals because there is NO WAY that I could just do a steady pool run for an hour.

At least I was outside. I also had the entire pool to myself, which was nice.


4 easy miles

40 minutes (11.5 miles) on the bike at the gym

3 circuits of:
assisted pull-ups (starting with 2 reps and increasing assistance & # of reps each time)
15 sit ups (bicycle crunches second round, windshield wipers third round)
15 push ups (one hand on medicine ball switching hands each rep)
75 second plank with leg raises

IMG_20130901_170033I had planned to go to the pool again, but the thought of doing 40 more minutes of pool running was more than I could take.

I don’t hate the bike. It’s a distant second to running, but I can get into it if I have to 🙂

I’m really bummed to not be running.