Thursday, August 23, 2012

"I thought that was a pager" post

Location: Tuesday Track practice.  Usually we run on the track, but that day we did a temp run on the nearby path.

Time: I just finished running a 3-mile temp run and was talking to some of the other guys that had finished before me.  There were still many runners out on the path, since the suggested run was 6 miles.

The following conversation took place between me and another runner, Ed.

Ed: Are you ready for school to start?
Me: I am, I'm looking forward to new students.
Ed:  When I first met you, I thought you were really smart and a doctor.
Me:  Really?  Why?
Ed: I thought your insulin pump was a page.  I thought, "wow, she must be on call A LOT because she wears her pager all of the time.
Me: Laughing
Ed:  Then, I realized it was your insulin pump.
Me: And you realized I was a teacher, not a doctor.
Ed: I did.  Do they still have pagers?

This led to another conversation with many of the other guys about pagers.

I guess that beats the conversation that  I had with a mother today where she told me she didn't think I looked old enough to be her daughter's teacher.  Oh well...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

School, Students, Running, Biking

Remember when I said I was going to try to post every day in August?  Well, that was an epic fail.  I realized that posting every day felt more like a job than something fun.  Along with a few other reasons, like moving, traveling, and another school year starting, I stopped.

The first official day of school starts tomorrow.  However, today was "meet the teacher day."  It is one of my favorite days of school because I get to meet all of my students and their parents for the upcoming school year, while getting to see many of my students from previous years.  Out of the 30 students in my homeroom, 19 are the youngest, many from a long line of siblings.  I counted and have taught 11 of their siblings, which made me feel old.  

Although I greatly enjoyed meeting every student, my favorite moment of the day was when one of my favorite students from last year, along with her mom and sister, stopped by my room.  Don't ever let teachers tell you differently - we have our favorites no matter what we say.  However, my first impression of my homeroom this year indicates that they will be a good class.  We'll see how they do with my dictatorship-like demeanor tomorrow.

On the running front, I completed my first track workout since May.  I'm in better shape than I thought.  I also signed up to do a 100 mile bike ride this weekend.  The goal?  To finish.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Signed Up

I won't be running the Chicago Marathon this year, but I will be participating in it.

I'll be working at Aid Station #2, which is run by my running club.  

I plan on giving out water as opposed to Gatorade.  I would prefer to not get covered in a sticky substance at 8 AM.  Luckily, one of my friends is the one in charge so I don't think I'll have a problem getting a spot on the water line.  

I am looking forward to seeing all of the runners - the elite runners, those who are running in Corral J, and everyone in between.  Since I am working aid station #2, I finish pretty early.  A few of us will then go to mile 20 or so on the course to cheer for other runners in our club.  From my experience last year, this is where the race is challenging, especially for a 1st time marathoner.  I consider volunteering a small way to give back to others and the sport of running, which has given so much to me.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I enjoy reading, but it seems like I spend less and less time doing it now.  I read some not-so-great books in the Spring, which impacted my enthusiasm to read.  However, I recently started to read this book:

I have about 50 pages left to go, but it is a great book.  I don't want to give away any of it in case you decide to read it, but I will say that it makes me appreciate my freedom and the great outdoors even more.  If you are looking for something relatively easy to read, I would recommend this book.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Colorado Trip - Post #5

On the final day of my trip to Colorado we hiked to see the Colorado Monument.  This hike was about 6 miles, and although it was uphill on the way there, it was no comparison to the Mount Garfield hike from the previous day.  This one was much, much easier.

Doesn't this look like it came out of a magazine?

I had a great time in Colorado.  As with any time I travel west, when I get back to the boring Midwest I want to pack up my belongings and move there.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sidewalk: 1; Me:0

Saturday I set out to run 3 miles in the morning.  I usually only run early on Sunday mornings, but due to a variety of things, I ran that morning.  I was unusually tired, but didn't think a whole lot of it.  My blood sugar was practically perfect before I left, and left my place Garminless and watch-less.  I had no idea my pace, which was surprisingly nice.

I got to the 1.5 mile turn around spot, and continued back to home.  As usual, I turned onto my street at the 2.5 mile mark.  I passed a car, thinking I have 1/2 mile left.  Then, I fell.  And it hurt.  As I went down, I thought, "make your right knee go first.  Try to avoid the left hitting the ground."  For the most part, I was successful.  My right knee has a gigantic scab and huge bruises around it, while my left has 2 small cuts.  My right hand is also bruised and has a nice cut.

After I fell, I stayed on the ground for a moment.  I have never fallen before while running.  I thought of the Morgan Uceny, who fell on the track during the 1500 at the Olympics.  Granted, I was doing a small three mile run in my neighborhood while she was running in a far more superior race, but I can say falling hurts.

I proceeded to get up, and walked a minute before running again and finishing those 3 miles.  I was happy to be done and attempted to stop the bleeding, but was unsuccessful.

Am I embarrassed that I fell?  No, not really.  It is something that was bound to happen, and it finally did.  I  just wish I wasn't quite so sore.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dr. Queenie

Thursday night I went to my running club's weekly run.  I hadn't been there since June, and was happy to be back.  It was pouring rain when I got there, which meant running on the path would be more like an obstacle course than a regular run.  I had a great run,  a wonderful 5 mile trek on the path at an easy 9-minute average.

After our runs, we always socialize.  The fast guys got back and were asking if I saw another doctor, or "Are you getting your advice from Dr. Google or Dr. (insert my real name here)?"  I had to laugh.

I stated that I was not going to see another doctor right now.  My knee has been doing great, I've been feeling good, even though rather out of shape which is understandable.  Dr. Google told me to strengthen my hamstrings, quads and glutes, which is what I did all July and am continuing to do in August.

When one of the runner's asked what the real doctor told me, I said surgery.  He then replied, "I would just doctor myself or find someone who tells me something I want to hear instead."

I am not having surgery, and everyone in the group I was with understood why, knowing that if they were in the same position they wouldn't go for surgery either.  Plus, how much do doctor's really know about sports injuries like this?  Yes, they can look at my x-ray and MRI results and tell me what is wrong, but they don't really know the pain (or lack thereof).  They can only speculate.

One thing i've realized is that I know myself better than any doctor ever could or will.  Sure, my endocrinologist is helpful and I find his advice useful, but still, I am the one that ultimately makes the changes with my insulin.  The sports medicine doctor can tell me what is wrong with my knee, but doesn't know everything.

Doctors are resources, people who can tell us what is wrong.  They can make suggestions based on their observations, but they do not live with the condition every single day like I do.  I will continue to doctor myself until I need more information.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Colorado Trip - Post #3

By Saturday afternoon, I was tired.  Hiking up Mount Garfield was tiring and after our stop to get peaches and cherries, we went back to my brother's house to nap.  I don't remember the last time I took a nap was, but this nap was needed.  After waking up, having dinner, playing with the dog, it was time to go to the Gong-athon.

What is a gong-athon?  It was a 2.5 mile trail run/walk organized by his running club.  After each lap, you recorded the time you finished and then got to bang the gong to let everyone know you just finished another lap.  The event started at 7 PM, but we got there more at 9 or so.  Our first lap was walked with other people, and I tried my hardest to figure out the course.  However, everything looked the same: sandy and beige.  There were orange flags marking the path, but at some points they were so far apart and we had trouble finding the correct path.

We ended up walking the first lap, running the second, and running most of the third with some walking at the end.  We finished around midnight because after each lap we talked with the people at the start.  By that time, I was tired.  Colorado is an hour behind Chicago, so I felt like it was 1 AM, a time I don't see too often.

We went back to his house, ate yet again, and then I went to bed.  The next morning we got up and went hiking again...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Colorado Trip - Post #2

Saturday morning we decided to hike Mount Garfield.

That is Mount Garfield in the distance.  I still can't believe I made it to the top, without ever having hiked one step in my life.  

My brother had warned me that it would be tough, not only due to the elevation, but also the steepness of the first mile.  When we got out of the car, I looked up and was ready for the adventure.  

The view from the parking lot

Within the first 5 minutes of the hike I was huffing and puffing.  I know I am not in incredible shape by any means right now, but I think I am in decent shape.  This hike proved that elevation makes a huge difference.  Here I am, gasping for air, while my brother is barely breathing, like we are taking a stroll in the park.  Luckily, he was kind enough to stop multiple times on our way to the top.

I didn't know what 2,000' looked like until this trip.  We don't have hills in the Midwest.

Views on the way up.

Looking down below.  You can see the cars on Interstate 70.

Horse shit, passed on our way to the top.

The view from the top.  You could see for miles.

This stone is at the very top of Mount Garfield.

One more picture. 

It took us about 2.5 hours for the entire hike, including our multiple stops for pictures, hydrating, and eating Shot Bloks for low blood sugar.  When we finished, we were both thirsty and I was hungry.  We went to a fruit stand in Palisade to get cherries and peaches, and then got beverages nearby to rehydrate.

The day was far from over.  That night we participated in a gong-a-thon which involved more running and hiking...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Colorado Trip - Post #1

Last Friday morning I packed my bags and headed to the airport in Iowa to end up in Colorado later that day.  I flew from Iowa to Chicago to Dallas/Fort Worth to Colorado because it was cheaper than flying from Chicago by $200, a significant amount in my mind.  

I arrived in Colorado early evening and had a nice, relaxing night.  Before the trip, one thing I was somewhat concerned with was my brother's dog.  I do not like animals, especially dogs.  However, I can now say I've met a dog that I like.  His name is Buddha and he is the best dog in the world.  

Buddha loves people that pet him, human food, especially tortilla chips, and follows directions to "sit" as well as "sit pretty."  He is also too fat to jump on people, but can wag his tail with great might.  Best.  Dog.  Ever.

Saturday morning we got up and went on a 4 mile hike to the top of Mount Garfield.  

I hiked to the top of this mountain, and was mighty proud of myself for making it all the way.  That was only the start of the day... 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Best of Sky Mall

I was in Colorado this past weekend, flying out on Friday and coming back on Monday.  One of my favorite things to do while on a plane is look at Sky Mall magazine.  Do people actually order items from it?  Below are the three best items from the magazine:

Would you like to get rid of stress in your life?  Try on this silver helmet and watch the stress dissolve before your eyes.  Plus, it is only $79.95...what a deal!

Do you need to decorate a tree in your yard?  Now, you can get one to wear a hat from your favorite team. I find it rather disturbing.  

Do you want to be comfortable and fashionable at the same time?  You must buy these jeans.  They look like rugged jeans, complete with a hold in the knee, on the outside but are actually sweatpants.  Personally, they remind me of MC Hammer-type pants a bit.  Plus, if you buy them you get them for even chapter - less than $20 a pair.  

Would you buy anything from Sky Mall?  Or, have you seen any quality products like the ones above in the magazine?

On a side note, Matthais Steiner, the diabetic weight lifter from Germany, competed today.  He dropped the bar on his neck and had to be escorted off of the area.  However, he isn't seriously hurt so that is good.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Deceptiveness of Weight

Weight.  One word brings up a lot of emotions in many different people, primarily women.

Last weekend I was on a bike ride with a few other runner friends.  We stopped halfway through our 40-mile ride to eat lunch.  While we were deciding what to order, the issue of weight came up.  Now, I've overheard multiple weight conversations in the running club before and taken part of my fair share, and every time I leave thinking the same thing.  Much of weight is based on height.

My friend commented at lunch that she did not want to lose any weight, and really, could not afford to.  She currently weights 127 pounds.  Another friend chimed in that she currently weights 124 pounds, and is happy with it.  She used to weight 128 pounds but once she started running she lost a few pounds and have kept it off.  I attributed to the conversation by saying that I, too, was happy with my weight.

"You are so thin.  You must weigh less than us."  I hear this a lot.  People think because I am tall and fairly thin, I must not weigh much.  However, a lot of weight is related to height.  I wanted to see how related the two were, so I went to a BMI calculator to plug in some numbers.

To review, if you are underweight your BMI is under 18.5.  Normal weight is 18.5 to 24.9.  Overweight is considered 25-29.9 and obese is 30 or greater.

At my current height (6'1")and weight, my BMI is 19.1, which is in the normal, healthy range.

If I was 6'3" (like my sister), and my current weight, my BMI would be 18.1, and underweight.

If I was 5'9", my BMI would be 21.4, and still normal weight.

If I was 5'5", like my first friend mentioned above, my BMI would be 24.1, which is still normal.

If I was 5'4", like my second friend mentioned above, my BMI would be 24.9, the highest normal.

Here is the problem with talking about weight: if people ask what I weigh, I will share the information.  I'm happy with how much I weigh.  But whenever I share that number, the response is almost always the same:

"There is NO WAY you could weigh that much!"

Yes, I do.  From my informal research done on Google, it seems as though 2 pounds per inch  is an appropriate measure to use.  Therefore, I am 8 inches taller than my first friend.  Since 8 x 2 = 16, that means I could subtract 16 from my current weight to get a weight at her height.  When I did this, the end result was 129 pounds.  It is fairly odd to think what I would be like if I was that short.  I think I was that height in 5th grade.  She, on the other hand, could never imagine being my height, either.

Anyway you look at it, weight and height are correlated.  Numbers are just that - numbers.  I feel like weight should be measured in an alternate way to avoid confusion in the future.

You turn...weigh in...

Is weight deceptive?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Favorite Running Websites

Everyone has their favorite website or websites.  I can't tell you how many times I use Google or some form of it on an everyday basis.  Many people are a fan of the Runners World website.  While I has a subscription to their magazine, I don't go on their website often.  As a matter of fact, it is typically the last place I go when I need to find a running-related answer I have.  Below are my favorite websites by category.

Best for Finding a Race: lets you search for races in specific states, by distance and date.  It has the most comprehensive list of races.

Runner-Up: lists everything going on in the Chicagoland area.  It is, by far, the best Chicago running, triathlon, and other sports race webite.  All areas of the country should have a website like this.

Best for Information on the Boston Marathon:  This page on CoolRunnning has answered just about every question I had.  

Best Race Results Website: Athlinks wins by far.  The systematic part of me loves how you can easily bring up any distance you've run, or look at races in certain years and even how you placed in races.  I also enjoy the fact that you can look up and see how other people have done.  I may or may not have spent time looking at other results....

Runner-Up: lets you search for your marathon results by year.  They will tell you if your race was a BQ or not, too.  

These are just a few of my favorite websites.  Do you have a favorite?

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I love the Olympics.  I can remember when they were held in Atlanta in 1996 and getting up every morning wanting to watch whatever sport was televised.  Even if they were doing boat racing, I'd still want to watch, which is saying something because it is not the most eventful sport.  As a matter of fact, I don't even know the technical term for the sport.

As a person who likes to both watch and compete in sports, it makes sense that I would enjoy the olympics.  However, I like the sappy, inspirational stories just as much as the actual competition.  When NBC highlights a specific athlete, bringing to light where they grew up, or where they train, or how much poverty they had to overcome always inspires me.

After watching the opening ceremony and seeing the various athletes from all of the countries, and analyzing all of the unique wardrobe choices, I became interested in some of the facts surrounding the games.  I found out:

There is one athlete with type 1 diabetes playing at the games in London:

  • German weightlifter Matthias Steiner, who weighs a whopping 320 pounds yet only 6'0" tall 
    • He says that before exercising he tests his blood sugar and eats something
    • Was named German Sportsman of the Year in 2008
    • He competed for Austria at the games in 2004
    • Was diagnosed with diabetes at 18 and takes shots
    • Had to get a letter from a doctor stating he had diabetes to give to the International Olympic Committee in reference to doping check
    • Why do I feel like this picture should be on "America's Most Wanted" and not on the London 2012 website?

Most people associate diabetic Olympics athletes with Gary Hall, not Matthias Steiner.  Perhaps he'll make a name for himself in London.  He lifts on August 7th if you'd like to watch.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Reviewing July

I am so happy July is over because that means running can resume.  This is my lowest mileage month since when I was in junior high.  July's totals included:

6 miles of running (I ran on July 1st)
378 miles on the bike 
132 miles on the elliptical 
41 miles walking
10 weight lifting sessions
4 miles on the stair stepper machine

 I realized how true this sign is during the month:

July started with tears and ended with optimism.  In the middle there was anger, doubt, and determination. 

I realized I made some mistakes in my training.  Running 4 marathons in 1 year, when one is an ultra marathon relay, is not the smartest idea, especially is you have never run a marathon before.  It is when I started to feel a little bit invincible that I broke.  Healing a broken body is hard, but perhaps the hardest part of an injury is the mental part.  Healing my spirit was the hardest.  It wasn't until I had my MRI done that I accepted my injury, formulated a plan, and walked away with determination that I will succeed.  

I may not meet all of the goals I set for myself in 2012, but I think I have the ability to meet at least one more.  

I won't meet goal #1: Stay injury free

I can still meet goal #3: Run a 1:40 half marathon

I can possibly meet goal #2: run a a sub 20-minute 5k

Here's to a successful, injury-free August of many happy miles.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I'm packing my bags and leaving on a plane tomorrow morning.  Where am I going???

I'm going to Colorado for the weekend to visit my brother.  I've never been there and am pretty stoked about my trip.  It will be short - Friday through Monday - and I'll be running in the mountains.  

After my trip is done, it will mean that I have traveled to 22 of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.  I've been to:

  1. California
  2. Colorado
  3. Georgia
  4. Illinois
  5. Indiana
  6. Iowa
  7. Kansas
  8. Kentucky
  9. Maryland
  10. Michigan
  11. Minnesota
  12. Mississippi
  13. Missouri
  14. Montana
  15. North Dakota
  16. Ohio
  17. Pennsylvania
  18. South Dakota
  19. Tennessee
  20. Virginia
  21. Washington
  22. (Washington, D.C.)
  23. Wisconsin
Can other people still recite all of the states in alphabetical order?  "Fifty, nifty United States from 13 original colonies..."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Happiest Run

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought was "today I get to go running!"  I've been looking forward to this day for the past month and was excited.  However, I was also nervous.  What if my knee still hurt?  How out of shape am I?  What if I won't be able to run 3 miles?  In the end, all of those doubts got pushed out of my thought process when I laced up my new Newtons.

Yes, my socks match my shoes.  I'm a nerd like that.  They also matched my shirt.  

I wanted to make sure my Garmin still worked so I attempted to load the satellites before I drove to my favorite path to run.  They eventually loaded, but it took a while.

Once the satellites were ready to go, I started off in my favorite direction.  It felt so good to be running again, to be on the path and see other runners and cyclists and feel the sun.  I felt so happy and free and that all was right in the world.  The first 1.5 miles went quickly, and soon enough I turned around to head back in the opposite direction.  I started to feel a little tired near the end, and can tell I have not run in a month.  But, mostly I felt strong and optimistic.  When I was done, I reviewed my splits and was amazed at what I saw:

I didn't feel like I was going nearly that fast.  

I'm happy to be back, and look forward to many, many more happy miles in August.