Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Run for Desmond

"The answer to the big questions in running is the same as the answer to the big questions in life: Do the best with what you've got." - George Sheehan

That was my mantra as I headed out Saturday morning for my first outdoor run since the Shamrock 15K on March 16.

Dr. Judy told me to run 3 miles this weekend, so of course I found a little race! I'm addicted :) The I Run for Desmond Autism Awareness 5K Fun Run/Walk looked like the perfect event for me. Casual, near home, right on the bike path. And it raised money for the CFT Elementary School special education department. OH - and there were cupcakes at the end :)
Brad and I rode bikes to the start for a little warmup. Then the run started with two laps around a big, muddy field. Normally that would be great fun, but the extremely uneven ground was not a good thing for my poor inflamed Achilles.

But I decided to keep running to see what happened. Man, am I out of running shape. I ran faster than I had planned, but I was sucking wind hardcore! And my form felt really sloppy and awkward. I'm hoping that comes back quickly.

I finished with a little kick and then thought I might die ;)
My tendon was definitely mad at me, but the pain didn't linger into Sunday. I take that as a good sign. I also think most of the irritation was from the mud bog rather than from the actual run.

These were bright white when I started:
Exactly 3.1 miles at a 9:41 average. That was actually really fast considering the 3 laps around the field (we also finished with a lap). That mud was easily 8 inches deep in spots.
Mom also loves a good race and signed up at the last minute. I LOVE that she's been adding some running to her walks. And she always runs the finish! Go Mom, go!
I had a wee bit of a freakout after the race. I was so hoping that my foot would do well and I could start ramping up my mileage and hopefully still run some of the races I have planned for May and June. At the time, it seemed impossible.

But I've since run small bits on the treadmill (nice and smooth - no uneven terrain) and have been pain-free. With Judy's blessing, I'm going to push my threshold and see how high I can get my mileage over the coming weeks.

I'm signed up for the Hippie Chick Half next weekend. No way can I do 13.1, but I plan to drop back to the quarter marathon and walk/run it the best I can. That will be a good indicator of whether I should cut back or keep pushing.

Wish me luck! If you're the praying type, I would appreciate your prayers for my healing and also for my sanity ;)

Early-morning bike ride

With my injury, I've been focusing on other activities to keep in shape. I love riding my bike, and with this week's amazing weather, I couldn't resist a morning ride!
I hit the road about 6 a.m., just before the ball of fire crested the horizon:
I swung by Dad's house, and we took off to the west. Most traffic was moving east toward the freeway, so we had the roads to ourselves.

When the sun did poke up, we adjusted our route to avoid sleepy, sun-blinded drivers. Safety first!

Unfortunately, I had to get to work or I would have stayed out. Dumb jobs - always getting in the way of fun :)
I managed 10 miles before grabbing a quick shower and a short ride to THS. What a way to start the day!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy 94th Birthday, Grandpa!

The McKee clan gathered Sunday at Friendsview to celebrate Grandpa's 94th birthday!
The official day is another week away, but we had a little early party to honor the family patriarch.

Everyone was able to be there except cousin Charis who is away at college.
We ate great food and enjoyed this chocolate-and-vanilla ice cream cake! YUMMO!
Grandpa looked good and was in great spirits.
He first said there wouldn't be too many more of these. But then he asked if we'd come back and do it again in 6 years. HECK, YEAH!

Happy birthday, Grandpa :)

Poked and prodded

I've been dealing with insertional Achilles tendonitis for 10 weeks now. I've been doing everything suggested, including acupuncture and cupping once a week. Last week's session:
Then she did cupping and really "went for it" this time. Check out the marks! That one really dark one still shows on my leg a week later!
This week is going to be shorts/skirt weather. I guess it will be a conversation piece :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

No. 21

Eryn was reading Sidney Sheldon's Morning, Noon and Night on the train to Seattle. She said it was slow - the mystery hadn't yet been revealed, though she was far into the book. Then all of the sudden her eyes got big and she said, "Ooh - there it is!"

She flew through it and said I HAD to read it.

It did start a little slow, but as soon as that twist hit, I knew what she was talking about. I couldn't put it down. In fact, I read about three-quarters of it in one sitting this weekend.

I haven't read a book with that many surprise twists in a while! It was very good. Now I need to find more Sheldon books and see if they are all that good :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter bonnets

Brad's cousins Mike and Aj hosted Easter brunch this year in McMinnville. Besides the awesome food, they often plan a fun activity, and this year was Easter bonnets.

Aj provided blank caps and woven hats and a huge pile of crafty things to attach to the hats. We supplied the creativity.

Back row: Mike, Aj, Deborah, Donna, Steve, Barbara
Front row: me, Brad, Jordan, Allison
We had lots of fun making cute, fun and crazy hats.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

3 miles!

The doc told me to run a little this week so I did 2 miles Friday morning and 2 miles again Sunday morning. It was way harder than it should have been, but nothing hurt. So I decided to do more today.

First things first: I cranked up Colbert Report on the Roku. Then I warmed up with some walking before running a very slow 2 miles. I took a short walk break and decided to try 1 more mile.
My lower calf was tightening by the time I stopped to cool down. But no real pain! (other than my major sucking wind!)

This was happening right outside the garage door:
I have acupuncture this afternoon. Hopefully Judy will give me the OK to run a little more :) :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

I love this

This speaks to the heart of this injured runner :)

No. 20

No. 20, King Dork by Frank Portman, was another one I grabbed from the in box at the THS library.

This young-adult book was different from others I've read because it was written from a boy's perspective. He and his buddy are trying to survive being tormented in school. He also starts investigating his father's mysterious death. 

The book is amusing and provided a couple good chuckles. I especially enjoyed the ever-changing band names and instrumentation. However, the mystery never resolves, and that kinda sucks. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

Matthew 28: 5-7

Saturday, April 19, 2014

2 miles

My acupuncturist asked if I was going to run this week. I told her I'd do whatever she told me to do. I was thrilled when she suggested I try a mile or 2 later in the week!!

So Friday morning I laced up my shoes and jumped on the treadmill. 

I started by walking .25 miles. Then I sped up to a slow run. Everything felt OK, so I hit the "faster" button at the quarter mile. And again. And again. 

I still felt good after 1 mile running, so I kept going. I sped up at each quarter mile and ran a total of 2 before walking another .25 mile.

I was huffing and puffing and sooo sweaty. Out of shape! But it felt so great. Then I celebrated by icing and taking advil :) 

 The tendon still feels good, so I plan to try again before church Sunday!! :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Beauty - 4/17/14

The beauty is sure easier to see some days, isn't it?!? But it's there on the bad days, too - you just have to look a little harder.

A warm, rainy bike ride to work.
A body that's strong enough for biking and pool jogging.
Friends who understand and support.
The co-workers who get it. 
Spring storms and evening clearing.
Maundy Thursday service at NFC.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Arbor Day

Some of our CE2 kiddos spent the day celebrating Arbor Day by planting trees in the rain with Tigard's mayor!

Volunteer hours + exercise + team building + helping the Earth = awesome!

Proud of their hard work. I wish I could have joined them :)

Being injured SUCKS

Very fortunately, I've been injury free most of my life, including the past few years of increased running. Hardly any nagging aches and pains to slow me down.

I'm proud to be strong - and ready to go on any adventure thrown my way.

But all that changed during a glorious February snowstorm.
I was snowbound with nothing to do but laze around. I was at the very end of my half-marathon training cycle, so I took full advantage of my treadmill to do a pace run, a long run and my final speedwork - 21 miles in all. In between workouts, I sat in my PJs, read a couple books and watched Netflix.

I was very excited by my complete lethargy interspersed with intense workouts. But I think that might have been a mistake.
As I worked through Sunday's 10 x 400 intervals, I started to feel a hot spot on my heel. I thought I was getting a blister, but by the end, it had turned into a little pain in my left Achilles. I'd been feeling calf tightness for a while, and I think I pushed it too far :(

I stretched, rolled, iced, Aleved and rested, assuming that a little TLC would take care of it. I did cross training all week and then did a little test run to see how it felt. Not fixed.
My target half marathon was that next weekend, and I decided to go for it, ready to pull back (or out) if needed. My tendon hurt a bit as I ran the Heart Breaker Half, but it did not worsen. No harm done, I guess.
I continued my self treatments and cross training with just a couple short test runs between. Then two weeks after Heart Breaker came the Lincoln City Half. Again, I ran ready to pull back or out and came out no worse for the wear. This time I got taped up by Dr. Dan:
Two weeks later: Shamrock Run 15K. I ran that hilly race hard, felt my tendon some and, once again, didn't come out any worse.

Now I'm in a down time with no racing for almost two months. I've been cross training like a fiend, walking, hiking, biking, aqua jogging, strength training, ellipticalling and stair climbing. I've been getting IASTYM from Dr. Dan and now acupuncture (including cupping) with Judy.
And I'm trying really hard to keep a good attitude. But it's really difficult when I see everyone out running in the gorgeous spring weather and I'm stuck on the indoor bike. I'm feeling my running fitness slip away, and I'm sad. I'm turning down chances to get out and do fun activities, and it super sucks. I was contemplating another stab at the Portland Marathon this fall, but that's out of the question now.

The suckiest part is that my pain is very, very minor. I would absolutely run through it - but it's my understanding that Achilles injuries can become major problems if left untreated. I don't want this to turn into a lifelong issue.

The good news is that Judy told me to try running a mile or two later this week and see what happens. Cautiously optimistic :)

I have four races, including my first relay, coming up in May and June. Even if I can start running again soon, getting back up to half-marathon shape will take some time. *Sigh* Being injured sucks.

Hitting the pool today at lunch - yay for aqua jogging :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Birthday girl

Happy birthday to one of my favorite people to sweat with!
I hope it's a great day, Connie!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014


My view on my ride to work this morning:
I took a few minutes to bask in the beauty :)

Big birthday surprise

So Dad's birthday celebration didn't end with Thursday's bike/movie/pizza/cake adventure.

He knew that Mom was taking him for the weekend to Seattle for some Mariners games. What he didn't know was that we were joining them - along with a whole bunch of family friends!

Brad, Eryn and I rode the afternoon train to Seattle and sneaked into the stadium seats behind Dad. Then came friends Mojdah, Leslie and Lynn. He looked so confused as he saw us.
It was a great game (though very cold!) - and we won!
Saturday, we all met up for birthday lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory.
Dad was surprised to see the ladies again (he thought we all said farewell Friday night) - and then came the Mortier clan: Bruce, Teresa, Tera, Reed, Cameron, Eryn and Bailey!

It was SO fun to pull this one over on him! We've been working on it for months, and we got him good :)

Eryn and I had to play bells at church Sunday, so we hopped another train for home while the others all went to the ballpark. Mom and Dad stayed over for Sunday's game, too.

Thanks for everyone who helped pull off the surprise :)