6/22-6/28 – A week in Review

29 06 2009

Okeeeyyy Dokeeeyyy — Well … this was an … um … week!

On my schedule page, I’ve given each month a general goal and I’ve truly fallen short of them up to this point. In updating, I realized that just before the end of the month, I’ve actually started them! Yippy Skip! The things I do when I’m not paying attention surely astound me!

This week starts a new schedule with the focus on getting the miles together for some long races starting in September. Ok – that sounds great, doesn’t it? That’s the polite way of stating “getting my s#%t together and getting the h#ll out of my own way while putting ME first!!!” Ok – maybe not, but that’s what I’m doing without being mean about it. Will be adding things every week. This week is as simple as possible.

Overall: Reasonably happy. Learning, growing, relaxing, and getting in the sneakers. Always a good thing! Mileage isn’t accurate because missing track workout …

Monday: First appointment with new Chiropractor for evaluation. Brought box of shoes with variety of insoles in them. I’m fairly skeptical with chiropractors and medical professionals mainly because I’m tired of spending money on things which appear to be very logical in the beginning, but are fluff & buff OR hearing how the best course of action isn’t exercise and paying attention to the problem but drugs and surgery or “just deal with it and stop exercising because you’re too old.” Too old my left sock!  Results will be in on Tuesday. Not going to the gym for weights until I’ve been evaluated.

Tuesday:Work, OK. Left early because of interview re: Clear Card issues here. Making up hours through the week. Got me thinking about things for me, etc. A handful of miles outside with Bailey, but not really what I’d call a workout. Overview appointment with Dr. Dokter (sp). It appears I’m ‘fixable’ and my legs are really out of alignment which has me putting more stress on the ligaments and tendons of my knee. This, along with my pronating, is causing me to spend more time on the outside of my right foot and toes which explains the new blistering problem and toe soreness. Dr. Dr. finds the racewalking flier I gave him fascinating and is paying more attention. Was able to print out my schedule for him and he’s got it in the file.  Really hot – did training sweating like a pig on the treadmill.
Knee at level 5 pain; middle of shoulders at level 4.  Miles: 4.70     60 minutes     Treadmill Random Hills

Wednesday: Work allowed for a very explosive Economy track workout. However, I didn’t get a chance to get it off the watch and into my log-book I write my weekly review to DMcG from and will be writing this weekly review from before it was stolen from a friend’s rental car in my gym bag. Ok, I could handle losing the gym bag – I need gym bags like holes in my head … but the watch was a real bummer. I know I stormed through the Economy workout with a full head of steam and a little aggression to deal with. The watch was a spare Garmin 205 … yeah, spare 205. A friend of mine was cleaning out his drawers and he had three 205’s … pardon me? Anyway, he gave me one of his spares to keep in my gym bag … and … now they’re gone. It was in his car, so I’m not concerned … however I would have thought someone who travels as much as he does, he’d remember to close the windows and lock the doors when leaving the car in a parking lot.

Thursday:It’s been entirely too hot in Denver and everywhere. I’m only in the rec center because I’m concerned about the heat and having to work out later. Ok – that’s what I’m saying and I’m sticking with it. I’ve also decided I *hate* cottonwood trees. No … not really. If I have to do treadmill work, I probably warm up better because I work on some exercises using the track. Englewood Rec is really quite nice.
Knee at level 5.5 pain;  Miles: 4.70     60 minutes     Treadmill Random Hills

Friday:Chiroand Housework! Great chat with Dr.Dr. We did the molds for new orthodics (sp. word cookies easier to type!) and it felt a lot … um … different than when I had them done the first time. There is a potential of taking the old ones and re-heating them to mold them for my feet now, but unsure what I want to do at this point. I’m just wanting to get going in the right direction. Left leg was a full inch off the right according to Dr. Dr. and he was able to get me back in line with an ecstatic “Sweeettt!!!” I must admit that it is nice to have a doc who is a little goofy and really enthusiastic. Middle of my shoulders not giving yet, but it’s going to happen. Slammed on time, so ended up back in the Englewood Rec Center this morning. A good thing, actually, because I could point out precisely where it hurt because I was only about 20 minutes off the treadmill when I saw him. He showed me how things worked on a muscle chart — I’ve seen this before, but he was also able to explain why my right foot rolls and hurts. I like he’s taking the time.
Knee at level 6 pain; right foot feeling slightly numb and little toe hurts like crazy.  Miles: 4.70     60 minutes     Treadmill Random Hills

Saturday: Upper d*#m hot – so I decided to really get working on the house, do some homework and go to the track when it cools off in the evening. Set up with a couple of runners to meet for my long day. They’ll be doing about 10 miles more than me, but after having problems last weekend, I’d like to have others out there, even if we’re all spaced out. One has a knee problem they’re just bracing and the other has a foot problem. Neither believe in chiropractic and both have teased me slightly for emptying my schedule and going for miles. Well, it’s great to see folks who live in other states, but I think I’m making the right decision. We’re meeting before they leave. Track was OK. I still feel like I’m loping to the side. Maybe I am, Maybe I’m not. I’ve got to be patient and keep going. Using the Garmin 205 just to keep track of things. Writing down *only* the amount of time per repeat:
To Do: Warm-up followed by 8×400
Lap 1:           2:41     
Lap 2:           2:40     Knee Level 4
Lap 3:           2:56     
Lap 4:           2:48     
Lap 5:           2:48     Knee Level 5; Not able to catch breath comfortably
Lap 6:           2:50   
Lap 7:           2:56    F*#king Cottonwood Trees!
Lap 8:            2:43

Sunday:Ok -had to start after 3 p.m. when it cooled off because friends decided it was too hot to run. Frustrating, but not much I can do. Actually, really got me torqued, but put that energy into cleaning. Walked a new-to-me route and started out in level 5 pain with it jumping up to level 7 just after 10 miles. Nice thing is that calf wasn’t really a player – just the tendon area. Maybe it’s localizing. I’m down with that. Really pissed off with the blistering of the bottom of my right foot. thought I’d collected more blood blisters! Callous on edge of right little toe has a brand new blister under it and can still see the remnant of the blood blister inside. EERRRFFFF!!!!  HOWEVER – I got out there and got going. If I have to pop on flip flops to get down the stairs, so be it! Shoulders came in to the equation this go around. Very hot and needed to tell myself I wasn’t going slowly but was trucking along on an easy day.  EASY Shepard … oh my … maybe I’m going from being a binary On/Off to a rheostat shade of whatever starting to internalize what training is … starting … Used Nathan hydration vest. Will pop a photo in on another entry.
Knee at level 5-7  pain; middle of shoulders at level 7.  Miles: 14 (Lookie DMcG … a full long day workout!)    3:10:00 minutes   

Stadium Stampede 40:18 … for a 5k … with a bright lining

22 06 2009

I really didn’t want to do this race. I didn’t want to do it not because of anything more severe than being rather pissed off with myself. Since I have held myself to rather high standards – impossibly high standards at times  – I just didn’t want to further embarrass myself after the disaster of See Jane Run. I’m very serious about how I was feeling, and even wrote DMcG to use that nightmare as my ground zero to build the next schedule from.

I’ve had a lot of things on my mind and my most frustrating, as you can easily imagine, has been that I’m just not seeming to get over this damn knee thing and it’s affecting everything … because I’m letting it. That and other stupid stresses that I simply have problems accepting because they make not only  my life more difficult but are only short-term fixes … I know a lot about short-term fixes … with my walking, let’s face it, I’ve been short-term fixing myself for the past year.

I have spent a lot of time talking with Jack and Jake (friends who study sports psychology and interst in nutrition etc) … and it’s been rough some of the things that I’ve found out … and hidden behind, but I’m really done with it. Determining “mind virus’ ” and wiring, rewriting and restarting … fine and niffy … but that doesn’t stop the freaking pain that crawls up my leg at very inopportune times and the feeling like I’ve got a mountain of rocks building between my shoulders.

So – a bit of a chat with Da Coach … surprising him by promising that I’ll try another long judged race mid-kicking myself patter … he’s chosen October … ok … let’s get me there … dumping everything out of my schedule pushing toward my September –> January races … ok – that took care of “taking action” on myself …

However, I did say I’d do the Stadium Stampede even though I didn’t want to.

The thing is I get to see Lynn and Mike Mc as they are a part of Huff & Puff (the race is for St. Joseph’s Hospital). KristEn B. came out of Wyoming for her first ‘real’ 5k in years. When I got up, I realized that wearing black would be a huge mistake and, for some reason, I tossed my little rescue inhaler in my tinsy gig bag.

The course for the Stadium race goes up and around the Invesco football stadium, down to the bike path, one way out, over a bridge, back on the other side of the Platte (?) river, little up to the stadium, around the warning track of the stadium, up over the speed bump to the finish line and you’re done. It was fun last year, but I was in better shape … kinda … ignoring pain more.

Problems started when putting the chip on my shoe. There was only one zip tie and, honestly, I didn’t toss my spares in my tiny gig bag. Didn’t think of it. I ended up lacing the thing into my shoe thinking “I hope I have no problems at the end.” I saw friends and it was noticed I wasn’t wearing my usual water belt. It was hot, but I could use the water from the aid stations if necessary. I was going to just have fun and leave it there.

KristEn and I wandered about together as I explained, more or less, how the race worked. She knew I’d be there at the end cheering her in, so there was no problem. Since they were starting walkers and runners at the same time, I wiggled my way in right behind Darla and Becky. I’d seen Bob in the beginning so I didn’t think I needed to have my bib marked again for spotting … but fortunately Becky noticed that the spot had fallen off and the girls pointed out where I could get another …

Um … two problems and the race hadn’t even started … Relax … have fun … your friends are going to be in front of you … you’re here because you paid for it and to shake things out.

Yeah … right.

No matter what I told myself, KristEn said that I get this slightly glassy hard eyed look when I need to get to the line. She’s seen it at both the stair climbs and said it was probably there at the Gorilla Run, but I’m in full mask! I didn’t think about it … but I guess she’s right.

I’d not really warmed up well at all and that mountain between my shoulders hurt. But I was NOT going to stress it …

Race starts with that up-hill around the Invesco Field. Last year, the runners and walkers started separately, so I wasn’t surrounded by a bunch of fast runners. Becky and I waved at Darla’s back and got going. I started feeling a strange feeling in my chest and told Becky to get in front of me. I spent the first 1/3 of the race staring at her back then didn’t see her until an hour or so after the end.

Going up and around, I was getting strangely winded. It bothered me and I looked at my watch (which I’ve turned off the pacing beeping to pay more attention to what I’m doing) and I was starting out too fast. Ok … slow down …

A couple of kilometers in (yeah, I’ve got the watch set to ‘mark’ kilometers — whatever you think about Garmin’s, I do just about everything solo, so I need some sort of guidepost.) I was really not feeling right. Legs were behaving, shoulders loosening up, but I felt like I was either stomping down hard on my right (the bad one) or not being able to lift up the left properly … I’ve been complaining about this feeling since mid October, but even after seeing a chiropractor for a bit, it didn’t seem like it was getting better.

The real problem happened when I got a huge lung full of cottonwood tree fuzzies. OH MY GOSH! That blew my mind and I kept walking, but was hacking. Ok – so this is the third thing, right? I knew I had to keep moving forward because … uh … my inhaler thingie … it was in Mike Mc’s truck.

QUIT GLARING AT THIS POST!!! I’ve already been soundly reprimanded! I just don’t think about carrying it because although I’ve had “near” attacks, I’ve been able to get myself together. Also, when I was living with the asthma attacks previously, the only thing that truly worked to get me calmed down and breathing were the Asthmacort (sp) cortisone inhalers and I really don’t want to go down that road again …. anyway, I can’t get a ‘script for it.

One of the many things Jack, Jake and I have been working on when my head starts to take me down the road of mentally beating myself up for no particularly good reason are incantations. Yeah – an old thing, but it’s what we used to do when I was skating or we were all running and cycling. It really is just self talk to break the pattern of whatever is going on. There’s a simple one that I have been using when I’m stuck on a treadmill because it’s to freaking hot out or I just need to force myself to do some miles — which I always feel better after doing, but with the other distractions, I literally … uh … forget!

Spitting out cottonwood fluffies, having a guy trip over the chunk of sidewalk that bit me last year and grab on to my shoulder to keep from landing on his face, and having a small child – no fooling – stop dead ahead of me AGAIN … I let my mind click in to my couple of incantations and thought “just finish this pup and cheer in your friends, Lizzy!” Leg felt ok … incantation … still feeling like I’m a limping water buffalo … stronger incantation … shoulders feeling good … incantation … smiling … 😉

Feet kept propelling me along. Even though I felt like I was lopsided, I think my form was pretty good. I was able to relax a bit as I was starting to be able to breathe a bit better and I felt like I’d picked up speed. No land speed records this race … just getting through uninjured. Ok … I’m down with that.

4 kilometers down … incantation …

Deep breath in and it went NOWHERE. I felt like the brick that I’d been toting with my legs had come to rest on my chest. Oh CRAP! What is going on here? Keep calm … inhaler in Mike’s truck … since this is part of a hospital, there’s probably good med at the end … end this series of bad races with a trip to the med tent … Ok … just finish … you’ll be fine.

Up the little hill to the stadium … I knew *exactly* where I was going … fixate on that … across the street … mind the railroad tracks … CRAP! Another guy didn’t mind his feet and nearly took me out … hit the cop instead … He was Ok … I guess I’m getting back to being me on the race — yelled to make sure he was OK … he said he just wanted to catch up to me! 😉 Just try Runner Boy … I know where my finish line is and I want there … uh now.

Runner Boy caught up to me as I was hugging the edge going into the stadium. You go through the back driveway, around the field – or straight across if you see the line – and then up through the other driveway, hard right and you’re done. I hacked and smiled as he said “Caught you!” I smiled again … hacked … and said “Try again” and somehow sped up. I knew I was FAR slower than any other 5k I’ve done in a very long time, but I was really happy that my leg was feeling ok. I was very concerned about the fact that I was finding it harder and harder to breathe …

Yes, Sports Fans, I was headding head first into my first full blown asthma attack in a number of years and not exactly happy about it! 

I passed a gal who had been jog/walking ahead of me for most of the race at the last few feet of the race. That push that I just do as a matter of course probably started to put me over the edge. I quickly scanned to see if I could spot Becky and just gasped for air and hacked. Ok – I could handle this … Just keep standing …

The kid who was to clip off the chip just stared at my foot. I started hacking and said “Could you please untie it?” Very stupid look on his face as he said “Uh – why?” I felt my heart rate just jump – and I usually have it pretty high when I race so that says something and the ability to breathe became less and less. I found myself folding over toward the ground. If there had been 100’s of people – or even 10 coming in with me, I could understand he needed to get to the next person, but I was in distress. My Fathers’ Genes came through as I said “FINE – I’LL GET IT!” as I ripped the thing out of my shoelaces … hacking “OK – WHERE IS MED???” With an even more stupid look than before “Uh … I donno.” He pointed me over to his friend and I gripped his arm so hard I probably drew blood, but I was starting to have my vision tunnel. He pointed to an ambulance. So Bambi here – one shoe untied – started to stumble over.

When I got there, it was empty. I couldn’t believe it — third time I’ve gotten to an ambulance and it’s been unmanned … I guess God thinks I can handle things. I kicked off my shoes so I didn’t trip and remembered the Huff & Puff area where my friends filled up their oxygen tanks. If I could get there, I’d be closer to the inhaler and maybe someone could keep an eye on me while I tried to get my lungs together.

I started over and two women spotted me. One worked for the event who had seen me hula-hooping previously and the other had come in about 5 minutes before me. I was starting to recover, but was looking at my heart rate which was still entirely too high … damn HRM watches! I think it was because I was truly scared more than the attack itself. Once over at Huff & Puff, a wonderful gal – I have forgotten her name, but she had a knee brace – took charge of me. She gave me the Evil Eye when I said my inhaler was in Mike’s truck and after an issue with finding a pure air tank for me (which would have been too strange), she had a rescue inhaler and had to practically force  me to take puffs and hold them as deeply as I could.
I know that I got moving before I probably should, but I wanted to get my inhaler in my pocket and little bag out of Mike’s truck. I also wanted to scream, but didn’t have the air to do it. I felt weak, light headed and frustrated because my leg had behaved more or less, I’d behaved by taking it slowly, and now my lungs took this time not to behave. CRAP IN A BASKET! I was not interested in feeling sorry for myself, I just wanted to go hide and beat my head against one of the supports of the freeway! But – I couldn’t do that … I had friends still out on the course and I wanted to cheer them in.
I got back under the covering of the Huff & Puff booth, showed the nice Nurse Lady that I had my inhaler and even took a deeeeeeeep hit off it smiling and she laughed. I also saw my friend Mike Blanchard and wanted to see how he’d done. As Darla commented as the race started – many of us were walking wounded. Michael had a problem with his back, but I knew that wouldn’t get in his way (it didn’t. He won the thing like Darla did for the women). He said “Lis – you’ve got to check out these Massage folks!” His animation was what I needed and I wandered into the expo area with him. I said I’d had the first asthma attack in a long time, and like he did when he said “DNF is better than DQ if you’re injured!” he reminded me that with all the water, this was a nasty year for allergies and the cottonwood trees got him too. I don’t usually think about allergies because what I’m allergic to you rarely find being a complication in a race.
Splut, splut, squish! We walked across the sopping wet grass to the Exercise/Chiropractic/Chair Massage folks … it wasn’t Colorado School of Massage where people were starting to gather. Mike left me in their capable hands and wandered away.
I stood, squishing into the mud wearing my socks, in front of Dr. Joshua Doktor — Seriously, Dr. Dr. – who towered over me by at least 6 inches … which is saying something as I wasn’t sinking that badly into the mud! I’m used to the “sales pitches” that happen at expos … heck, I’ve hawked friends’ businesses or places I’ve worked for over the years … but there was something different here. We started talking, and I seriously got the feeling that this wasn’t just another chiropractor who was trying to grow his practice with athletes, but someone who actually understood athletes and the mindset. That’s been a problem with me and doctors … I’m not interested in fluff & buff, meds, short-term fixes, or maintenance for forever. I’m a lot more proactive than most patients and am willing to do the work necessary and go through the pain because I want to be FIXED thanque-very-much!
I took his card and said I’d think about it as my turn with the chair massage happened. The poor gal tried to get in to my shoulder and asked if they’d done the electro-check on my neck … nope. Well, Dr. Dr. was free when I was done as was the machine … OOOHHHHH machines, programs, gadgets, data! … and he explained what he was doing. After the first reading, his comment made me think there was something a bit amiss, but I was far more concerned not with the long black lines but the short red one.
Dr. Dr. – “Have you had a car accident?”
Lizzy – “Yup. 20 years ago last May.”
Dr. Dr. – “Nothing more recent?”
Lizzy – “uh … just stress.”
Dr. Dr. – “ummm…” (calling his partner over)
Lizzy – “Uh … when do you want to see me?”
Dr. Dr. – “Um … Tomorrow morning.”
Lizzy – “Should I bring my shoes?”
Dr. Dr. – “Yup.”
We laughed. I told him I was concerned about the red line and he said “You’re little red line is ‘good’ the big long black ones are the problem!”
So … It’s appearing that why I went to this race was to have a few things kicked in to gear …
1. Carry the damn inhaler … short race, long race … I’m under a lot of stress while off-loading the crap of my past and moving forward AND there’s a boatload of crap in the air … carry the damn inhaler!
2. It’s time to get things properly repaired. Standing in front of him, Dr. Dr. noticed things that surprised me. He and his partner are interested in athletes … normal people too, but athletes who are interested in being the best they can be … and since they’re growing their practice, they’ve got the right attitude … not the stuffy doctor one.
So – the race was slow. I felt like a lumbering ox. I checked off another of my fears – panic and asthma attack of sorts at a race. I got to hang out with Becky and Darla for a bit. Becky and I frequented the Coors tent (regular and diet … what the heck, free) However, I was bummed that I didn’t get to see Lynn, Mike or KristEn come in – but KristEn knew there had to be something off because I would have been there … so it’s great to have friends … and now I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
I guess this means that any way I look at it … I win.
PS: KristEn and I finally got a chance to hang out. It was good to be around someone since I still didn’t feel right and was hacking here and there. We went to Brooklyn’s, which is probably the only place down there. Actually, not too bad … still covered in Cottonwood tree fuzzies through the open door. One of the barflies was trying to hook one or the other of us up with the bartender – a nice guy, but I’ve gone out with bartender/proprietors and I’m in the market to get me where I want to be, thanks! As we were the last two cars out of the parking lot, there was a question that we wouldn’t get out. I took the lead and we got out just fine … Thanks KristEn!

Finding the gem … and Changing a Motivational Pattern …

20 05 2009

journal 4When Doc (what we’ll just call my bud the Sports Psychologist) asked for all my journals and such for the last couple of years to see if there was a trend, I’m sure he wasn’t expecting the quantity that he got. He was probably assuming that he’d get a flash drive with everything on it, not several bound books and binders. I guess although I’ve worked with computers since 1982, I still don’t completely trust them. Probably has a lot to do with the nature of electronic media … I donno. Anyway, I sent him everything I had. That takes a lot of trust actually because I tend to flush out my brain through a pen … and, with any luck, seeing things on paper gives me direction or the potential of seeing how completely in error my viewpoint has been.

The interesting thing about what he did was he tallied up recurring themes and said that he was surprised to see such an even path … and a path that I’d already noticed in the personal journals.journal 1 Just the stupid stuff that I kept seeing as just out of my grip. He also noticed that there were many things that I obviously wanted to either streamline or just to feel like I had a “normal” life that I would increasingly be blown away by how they just wouldn’t materialize. The one that really made him laugh was my mailing address. I’ve had a PO Box downtown for years. It was OK when I used to take a bus nearby or worked downtown, but it’s gotten to be a bit of a drag over the years. In an effort to streamline home, I’ve been trying to shift bills and such from my PO Box to my physical address. This shouldn’t be a problem, right?

journal 2

In those journals, there are dates that things didn’t show … pre-race notification, bills etc … but it appeared things were getting better so I tried to have bills that *needed* to be paid *immediately* sent to the home address … health insurance, electric bill, etc … things that were not available on-line.  As things kind of exploded and I started really going through the copious piles of crap in the house, I didn’t think too much of it … that is until I got to the point where I was looking at finances carefully and noticed “Hum … did Kaiser ever send that direct withdrawal form?”

Heart sank. Called Kaiser this morning to find out that according to their records my mail had been returned. It appears that the postal carrier must have been putting it in the wrong box or something even though Kaiser, finally, had the address right. journal

What’s the definition of Insanity? Doing the same thing and hoping for a different outcome? Sigh. Ok … I know where I am with this now, and it is just a matter of regrouping … again. Of course, I’m concerned about getting re-accepted because of a lot of things, but most recently because I’ve actually been trying to be seen for my leg issue. I’m not sure if they’ll see that as a “pre-existing” condition and waiver it off. If that happens, I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do.

trainingAs Doc waded through my training journals, he noticed something really interesting when he mated the days to my personal journal. DMcG probably already knows this … as does everyone else BUT me … but my training is usually liked to how the rest of the world is going. When I was competing race->race->race, it was like the only thing I felt I could do right was race and it was the only time I felt alive … but I did note that there was a sinking feeling of almost anger and disgust mixed along with it. Where I’d once been able to just toss away the whatnot of the day and go out and enjoy even a mediocre training walk, I put so much pressure on myself to make everything work … and not really accept that training means TRAINING one’s body to be able to handle the challenges …

“Lizzy – you used to love your training simply because you could get away from stuff  and spend time with Bailey or exploring a new route. Time to get back there. As you well know, the rest of the crap is going to be waiting for you when you get back … so take it a piece at a time, and go forward. There’s only forward … backward is boring!”

training 2

Unlike paying bills or putting up with nonsense, training is something I get to do!!!!  I know DMcG’s been trying to plow this into my head … reminding me that training is my  time to spend time out, with the dog or whatever …. racing is something I get to do because I do have fun with it. I’ve never really set goals, I’m starting to get why … but part of my re-wiring situation is this … racing is the prize for training. 

Getting the finances straightened out mellows the house out.
Getting the masters in line starts the next phase of things.
Getting the crapola out of the house makes me comfy having friends over.

But … what I’m going with right now … is my new mantra … which I’m sure  DMcG will remind me when I don’t feel like training:

Racing is the Prize for Training!!!!!

Patching things right for life and racing … it’s in the mix … the “Grand” Catch-Up!

19 05 2009

Where HAS May gone? Okey Dokey:patchbay 2

I didn’t really realize how much so many things had drained me until April 23rd. I finally had to throw up my hands and start sorting in a very big way. When I started doing that, however, I saw how a lot of things fit together and could, together, be taken outside my personal “house” and dropped on the sidewalk waiting for the free garbage pick up in a steaming bag. Of course, clearing out the drek of the past and present aren’t quite this easy, but I see it all as personal house cleaning and it’s going to make it a more fun place to be … and me a stronger person … competitor … friend … etc.

It’s been coming for a long time. Several of us are doing a “me” year. It starts at different times, and has different lead ins. Mine was an insane year for 2008 and 2009 starting off being one of a heck of a lot of clean up … and learning about myself.

School: I was in a class that had an associated group project. Long and short, it’s done now. Want more information, I’ll tell ya privately. I know my part in the negatives and positives. I am, however, having to spend the summer doing the private parts of this class to clear an Incomplete. I’m not too worried, really, just find it all rather sad.

Finances: Such a special bit of hell.

Training: Well … another special bit of hell. Let’s face facts: for the first part of 2009 my training has spectacularly sucked. I took the requisite time off, and healed a great deal, but not completely. Every time I’ve gone out, it’s been a crap-shoot. This doesn’t help the old noggin when you’re not sure if you’re going to be able to get back from a training walk. I still train by myself. My times are so slow that I’m embarrassed to keep people back. I’m working with a friend of mine (next paragraph) who is trying to understand me and, more importantly, help me understand myself. My head is wired right now telling myself that I’ve done nothing well since San Jose – and when I look at my times and training … it’s right. Of course, somehow I blip over the variety of injuries I’ve had … because I see hiding behind an injury as a cop-out … and get reminded of that by not-s0-good-for-me people when I admit that I’m injured. Kind of a Catch .22 …

peacefulRedwood 50th: My high school turned 50 and there are several posts that will be finished soon about this. I really connected with some amazing people and realized a lot of things that I was probably ready to “get”. I also had the amazing fortune to meet up with a very old friend who is doing a great deal of study in the area of sports psychology. Through coffee, long drive and now e-mail and telephone, we’ve been trying to tease out my motivational issues. Interestingly enough, we owned some of the same reading material. He needed another case study, and in the case of me – he has one who is very interested in understanding not only her own motivation but lack of motivation.  The fact that I’ve had only a small handful of truly satisfying  workouts since before Disney, we had a lot to go forward with. The progress is really interesting mainly because, unlike those who just want to be told things to placate them, I demand understanding them. I’m so fed up with how things have been and being in my own way.  Since I’m more than remotely comfortable with trying things, but have the nasty ADD compulsiveness … we’ve got our work cut out.  A couple of really amazing insights have been made and they’re going to take time to weed out. Do it too fast, and it comes back 3-fold and do it too slow, and I’m not doing diddly! (I’m inherently lazy.)

I’ve said it before, and everyone knows it — sport is a mental thing as well as a physical one. I feel like I’ve had that Doubting Devil spending more time with the megaphone than the Actual Angel. Before June hits, my goal is to rip out as much of the crappy wiring as I can and patch things together creating internal harmony … from which to take on races, training and the rest of life. Ok- that’s an audio analogy. I was nicknamed the Princess of Patch Cables because I could not only quickly figure out what the problem was, but once I knew the lay-out of the patch bay – get signals around the room, through all sorts of effects boxes and the like, and back again quickly … thus making things more groovin’ withthe tune. If that still doesn’t make sense, I’m down with that … not many analog audio engineers out there anymore.

patchbay mess

Ok- this first picture is of a patch bay coming out of a unit. Simply put, the purpose of a patch bay is to get signals from one point to another and back again. The “off board” units are wired to holes on the patch bay. Life is made a great deal easier when not only is the patch bay properly labeled, but when things are being patched, they are easy to see. Now, I’m sure if you or I (or both) stood over this long enough, we could chase down how each cable was plugged in and figure out what’s going on.

In audio, a signal can be lost because of how it’s patched. Plugging in the wrong hole and whoops! Pot-Hole. Your signal is lost. The more patches there are, the messier things become … and if the cables aren’t easily chased … you lose a lot of time trying to figure out what in the blue blazes (could someone explain to me what a “blue blaze” is?) is going on.

AND that takes a lot of time … frustration … thought space … and such.

Even more interesting is as things are teased out, all sorts of other problems mask the very simple one … usually that someone messed up and no-body’s willing to say anything about it. It happens.  I know that I had pissed folks off in the past by walking up and saying “Ok – you want me to fix this?” and then pulling ALL the patches and starting over … I prefer not to do that … I prefer to learn from each mistake and not make it again.

The thing is this … sometimes we can’t learn from each mistake, because of extenuating circumstances. We think we’re the ones who really botched and can’t figure out how to get it straight …. and sometimes it truly is something someone else did … not when we were trying to patch but when the box was initially being wired.  Oooohhhhh!!!!

Once things are starting to make sense, then how do we make it work for us?patchbay Well – it takes being willing to look at the hard stuff and not be ashamed, but remember it’s a part of the whole being. Those things that we don’t want, but are in the wiring … well … the beauty of the patch bay is being able to get rid of things … just send it off to a place where it can’t hurt anymore … but make sure that it’s dealt with.

We can’t go and do a re-take. You truly can’t unlearn the hurts from others … whetheror not they had malice in their hearts. There are people who just want to put others in places where they can deal with them. I re-watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Dolores Umbridge kept yelling “I WILL HAVE ORDER!!” as she went along bringing all of Hogwarts (and if she could the Wizarding community) under her personal umbrella … truly believing that she was doing what was “right” for everyone … she was an evil old bat, but she truly believed in what she was doing to be right and there’s no changing that.

People do what they believe to be right and will bring the world under their own control … then enter people like me and many of you … we’re the “misfits” and dang the world would be a lot less interesting without us! I know that I spent a great deal of this life listening to others and trying to conform, but this amorphous cloud isn’t going to fit neatly in any box … been there, done that9-consumerrack … got the e-ticket ride!

The cool thing about a patch bay is that you get to link all sorts of cool things together and create an amazing sound. It might look complex, but it’s really simple. You don’t have to use absolutely every box … sometimes the simplest combinations work the best. However patched, everything works together to create harmony. That’s what I’m after. Like everyone, I’ve got a boatload of good and not-so-good life experiences, but they’re what make me up. I need to pull things together and bring it in to harmony … and good friends w/a lot of understanding … heck … I learn from all of you.

A friend of mine called me “brave” because I’m doing a lot of these changes in public. “Aren’t you afraid it’ll be used against you … your frailties and fears?” Yeah. And it’s not like it’s not happened when I was completely shut down. It’s not like it didn’t happen when I masochistically handed things on a silver platter. It’s not like it didn’t happen when I was angry and camping out on my pittypot. What is different now is that I’m bound and determined to keep moving forward and bring as many people along with me!

Where am I as May is coming to a close? Well … I’m realizing that it’s impossible to rip out all the patch cables, but it is possible to see where things are wired … and to patch around them. It’s going to take a lot of patience and hard work … and although I’ve been told I’ve got the patience of a saint at times (I’m afraid to ask which Saint!), I have little to none with myself. A Tibetan Monk friend of mine wrote from India saying that my lesson from Buddha is patience and my second one is accepting myself.

We all have our lives — things that get me, you might think “easy peasy” … things that get you, I might think “no sweat, Dude!”  I’m just done with the stuff that just seems to keep coming back like bad pennies (what is a “bad penny?” I don’t see any pennies as bad but things to make friends with since 100 of them make a dollar and that gets me closer to a cup of coffee or a treat for Miss Bailey Boo!) … so … it’s patch … or EQ them out … (Ok … for those engineers … patch out –> Graphic EQ –> return … did it work? more or less? Ok Graphic EQ –> Parametric EQ and NOTCH THAT PUPPY –> Return and hit the starting line of the race) I’m getting geeky again, hu?

The Cheerleader in shortsOh yeah – this is me in a high school cheerleading outfit I bought … when I finish the back post about Redwood, you’ll get the whole story. When I was at Redwood, I would have been petrified to have gotten in to a cheerleading outfit and run around at a huge event … but friends there said “Same old Lizzy Shepard! You’ve not changed! Always making us laugh.” Hu?

Well … my friend Mary, who had just gone through a terrible tragedy, was laughing … and REALLY laughing. As I was leaving a friend said “Lizzy – you got so many people laughing and smiling … with you! Only you could pull this off! Thank you!”

You know … Maybe I’ve already started re-wiring my patch bay. I’m starting to see that maybe life is how you patch it … and getting the mix right takes trial-and-error, and willingness to take a few risks … I’m up to the challenge …

What do you think?


Time to take off the training wheels

5 01 2009

It was a dark and stormy year …. (ah! Snoopy and Peanuts reference!)

I’ve been thinking over the last four or five months about how dependent I’ve become on my Garmin. Since I train alone and have been getting bored/depressed easily, I depend on it for straight distance. Whatever it says, I usually go about 1/8 mile further (unless I’m somehow back at the car). It’s only been about 1/10th of a mile off so …

I have, however, found myself depending on it screaming at me to get my pace where I’ve set it. This isn’t terrible some of the time, but I realized at the Turkey Trot, when I was using my everyday Timex, that I probably can hold pace better than I think I can. In fact, I don’t really hear it … and being that it beeps when I’m over or under a specific pace … beeps on the kilometer … beeps on the mile … but if I’m truly where I want to be – clicked into my own space … I don’t really hear it!

It’s nice to have on the track so I can pay attention to what my feet are doing (or not) and check in with myself and let the watch let me know the time or distance between intervals. There is, of course, a danger here if I wasn’t in the habit of counting every interval. My habit of counting intervals is a good one for counting laps and trusting the lap-counter in my head. The one on my wrist has usually been spot on, but it’s always nice to have a double check … and it keeps me, at least in the case of lap-counting, with a good habit installed.

I got this Garmin for the Heart Rate Monitor aspect of things. I’d like to learn more about this because it’s important. The thing about the Garmin, however, because it has so many bells and whistles, the battery does die with regularity … and at the wrong time. In fact, I was having so many problems charging my 205 that I was wearing 2 watches on my first marathon! The second watch was my Timex … and there was a problem with the chronograph on it, so it’s a good thing the Garmin didn’t die!

The problem I had with the Timex was that I had a lot of trouble seeing the time … ok that and the buttons were in completely different places than I’m used to … so I’m looking at another HRM investment … Probably the Polar w/o GPS. Why would I need another GPS? I already have one that works! I have no problem measuring out with the Garmin.

So – it was another Polar. Yes … I did say “another”. I have a one attached to my bike for when I was toying with doing double century rides. Yes – I truly am easily bored. The reason I stopped riding was after the last head injury, my balance has suffered. I shall, probably, have the clipless pedals that are on this bike replaced and get “lessons” from riding friends – but, let’s face facts … I hate changing tires on high pressure road bikes and Colorado is awash in goat heads just waiting for me to ride by. The only problem with my ancient Polar is that the HRM strap might never have even made it to Colorado when I moved out here and it’s a complete pain to get a new one.

Bailey got me a new Polar HRM for my Christmas Present. Gotta love the dog when she notices Runner’s Roost is having a 25% off sale! I’ve not really looked at it because of other things going on, but it should be interesting.

I’m still easily bored, however, even at the beautiful Englewood Recreation Center I’ve been going to. After a year of injuries, I’m having to behave myself. I do think this will be a good place for me, however, because I can walk in the pool to re-hab the ankle, knee and hips. The no-excuses ruling is in play here.

I started this post after coming in from a completely not satisfying race. Since then, I’ve had two more ice related slippage injuries and realized I’m headding into the Goofy in a position where I’ll have to power through it. I’m wanting to learn more about how to become more efficient with this sport that I’ve become addicted to and to power through my own laziness! Yes – I did say Laziness!

I’ve had a life-long problem with putting everything and everyone else before me. As I stare at me credit report (and grow incredibly depressed), I see how I’ve just been riding in the back car of the rollar coaster in so many ways. The back car is the one where people just get whipped through and have no idea what is coming along. The front car, however, is the fun one where you can see where you’re going and have fun with the ride. All it takes to move from the back car to the front one is paying attention and putting myself first … and taking off the training wheels that guide me from one place to the other.

So – the first step was to admit that I’m an Athlete – with a capital A. This means making the time for my workouts, training properly for my races and having fun with it all. This requires me putting me first, getting my life somewhat in order, and realizing that 90% of the people out there aren’t going to ever understand that I live below the poverty level and prefer to spend $80 on a pair of racing slicks that might last 400 miles if I’m lucky.

So – I’ll be wobbling around a little until I get my bearings … but there will be no stopping me once I do.