Wednesday, January 23, 2008

38 Days To The Marathon

I recently started taking a yoga class at the YMCA. Jim and Bonnie teach it and there are about 22 people who go. A few weeks ago I got a little over zealous and pulled a muscle in my upper thigh, so I have been very careful now. I don't need another injury to slow my training down, since the marathon is in 38 days! I can't believe it! I can't wait!! Yoga is very relaxing, it's a great way to stretch before running. I usually go running right after yoga but I had a client meeting me at the shop at 10:30. She hasn't shown up....grrr... (I have a machine embroidery business I run from small shop beside my house.)

Yesterday I ran 3 miles to the gym, did a quickie upper body workout and attempted to run back home. I mostly walked it. I don't think I warmed up well enough because my knees were killing me. They felt sore and tight from below the kneecap to just above it. They're fine today. Tomorrow I'm planning on a longer run. I'll do 5.5 miles, then on Saturday I'm going to do 14.6 miles. I FINALLY got a watch with a timer (took me this long to find one with pink on it) Now I need to learn how to set it. I've been getting the hang of 10 minute miles and now I find out I need to get it to 12 minute miles. My heart wants to go faster but my head (and my trainer) tell me to slow it down. I need to learn how to conserve energy to finish the marathon. I understand and agree with the philosophy but I want to be fast. It's a major struggle not to just let it loose and fly that first mile. Tomorrow I'll try the 12 minute mile, but I won't like it....HA!!! That'll take me over an hour. I wonder if I pick a day to JUST run fast, if that will quench my need for speed? Hmmm....I'll see some runners tomorrow night, I'll have to ask around.

Thursday night my husband and I are going to see "Spirit Of A Marathon" at the cinema. It's a one time showing based on the book. We bought the tickets weeks ago. I'm really looking forward to seeing it. I'll post a review sometime on Friday...

Monday, January 21, 2008

LaMarque 5K

I woke up at 5:30am the morning of the run. Originally I was going to run TO the race, run the race and run home. That would have been 14.6 miles and I was curious to see how long it would take me. Anyway, my leg was already throbbing and I wasn't even out of bed. I also had worked the night before and didn't get to bed until after 1am. I got up and did some stretching, walking around the house, seeing if I'd be able to pull off the mind over matter thing. I knew I couldn't do 14.6 miles that day. I was certain I could do the 5K, though probably slow. I figured I'd give it a shot. I know I will be in some degree of pain in the marathon, I thought I'd use this opportunity to see how I'd handle it running. 5K is a relatively short run, I had finished it in 31 minutes a couple weeks ago. I had nothing to lose.

I arrived and picked up my packet. I ran a slow jog back to my car to put the packet away. My leg felt a lot like it did when I pulled that muscle a few weeks ago. I stretched some more and did a quick paced walk out to the starting line. I told myself I'd use this race to pace myself, not to win, because although I was tired and sore, I refused to miss this race. So I walked to the starting line to chat with some people.

The people I met Saturday made it worth going to the race for. Even if I hadn't run. I love being around these people and hearing their stories. I just can't get enough. I have a little plan growing in my mind about this very topic, not sure yet how to produce it. More on that another day.

When Joan yelled "GO" we were off and running. I told myself to go slow, breath and pace myself for a 10 minute mile. I put the ache in my leg from my mind, concentrating on breathing. As I passed by mile marker 1, I heard "9 MINUTES 7 SECONDS" Cool, right where I should be. At the second mile marker I heard "18 MINUTES 40 something SECONDS"....hmmmm, not bad, not bad. If I kept this pace I'd finish at about 28 minutes. Oooooh, I'd LOVE that. But during the 3rd mile I knew I was slowing. My leg did hurt and I was tired. I hope Jim isn't reading this part because even though I KNOW I should have walked it out, I kept going. I put his voice out of my mind and ran anyway.

KIM: I really should do a 30 second power walk.

SELF: Yes Kim, you should.

KIM: But I'm falling behind!!

SELF: I'm tellin' Jim as soon as I see him!

KIM: C'mon...let's just go for it! He won't ever know if you keep your big mouth shut for once!

SELF: No!! I'm walk it out!

KIM: Lalalalala...I see your mouth moving but all I hear is blah, blah, blah

And so I kept going. At mile marker 3, I heard "27 MINUTES 10 SECONDS" I still had .2 to go. I clenched my teeth and took off. Once again Marie was right behind me yelling "GO FOR IT KIM!!!!!!" So she's the reason I didn't power walk, if you are reading this Jim. It really is all her fault. I was just about to power walk. anyway, for MARIE'S sake, I took off. My leg was screaming with every landing. I ran anyway. I was getting closer, I could see the finish line. Left, right, left, right...breath innnnn, breath outttttt.....almost there. Across that finish line I flew, came in at 30 minutes, 52 seconds. I still beat my last 5K time by 1 minute. And that's with a sore leg and 4 hours sleep. Someone handed me a water, I looked over and found my husband and my 2 youngest kids, Emily and Robby. It always feels so good to see them after a race.

We went up to the tent to chat, eat and see everyone receive their awards. I didn't think I'd placed this time, but I still wanted to see everyone get their prizes. Ed and Joan Morgan did a phenomenal job getting the race together. The vendors, the awards, and the overall atmosphere they helped create makes these races so much fun. That and the priceless looks on the faces of my husband and son when they found out there was PIZZA! Even funnier when they found out it was FREE! I couldn't stop My two guys love pizza!!!! Even better was Abbe's Donuts was there. Emily and I had a Boston cream donut that was like heaven. As I licked the chocolate off my finger, I looked around and saw everyone eating apples and bananas. NOT ME!!! LOL Give me a donut anyday.....hahahaha!!

Ed was yelling out the names of the women 40-45 who placed up to 6th place. As he began to give name #6, he said "and 6th place goes to a very special friend of ours, Kim Cusick!!" Tears came to my eyes at that moment. I know I'm a mushball, but I think that moment meant more to me than the pretty green ribbon Joan handed to me with a great big hug. Joan and Ed are two very special people. I'm lucky to know them both.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Story (long post)

I started this post talking about waking up on the morning of the LaMarque Run, but it's turned into my story. I wasn't planning on being this personal but since I was bitten by the dog I've found myself reflecting so much. I've met some wonderful people since I started running and many have asked what got me started. I usually just say I went to the gym and met Jim the wellness coach and blurted out my desire to do a marathon. I've only told 2 people part of the story I'm telling here. It's not a big deal really, but it's a big deal to me.

When I woke up on Saturday morning at 5:30 for this race, I almost went back to sleep. I worked until 12:30am Friday night, didn't even get to sleep until about an hour after that. My leg was throbbing and I wasn't even out of bed. I lay there thinking about all the people I've talked to over the months. The injuries they've had and races and goals they'd missed. Having to learn which pains to treat with rest, which were part of conditioning. My doctor told me that, yes, this bite will be painful, but I would not hurt it worse by running. I'm going to jump back 2 years and give out a little info on how I got to where I am now.

I had ignored some pains a couple years ago, not realizing I had two serious problems going on. I had been having lower abdominal pain off and on since my son was born, about 9 years ago. It usually ached all the time, sometimes it hurt a lot and other times I'd be on the couch all day. Most of the time I'd ignore it and take some Tylenol. I never mentioned this to my doctor, don't ask me why. By the time I moved to Florida, it was getting worse. Sharper pains lasting longer. I still ignored it for 2 years. My husband told me to go see the doctor, I put it off. Finally I stopped telling him when it hurt. I was busy, I had "stuff" to do. Around the end of August 2005, I was getting headaches. They didn't feel like migraines so I started taking Excederine, twice a day. I was not feeling well at all. I wasn't eating either. I didn't have an appetite so I didn't notice this either. I had a few bites of food here and there, nothing substantial. Within 2 weeks I was only getting dressed on the days I had to work, otherwise I was in jammies on the couch. I was in constant pain by that point. One day, late in Sept I was having a great day, feeling a lot better and decided to walk over to get the kids from school. It's just 2 streets over. I got dressed and off I went. Half way there I realized I had to hold my pants up. They were falling off! I knew I weighed about 148 back in August, this was weird but I felt kinda good about it. When I got home I hopped on the scale. I weighed around 125. I was THRILLED! But'd THAT happen??? My husband told me to go to the doctor. I shrugged it off and went on with my life. But by the end of Sept it got even worse. I could barely stand straight. My throat hurt, stomach hurt, my head was pounding. I went to the doctor. I love my doctor. He's very gentle, he has a relaxed personality that just puts people at ease. He's kinda cute too...LOL!!!! Anyway....I told him what I just wrote here. He looked in my throat, it was very red, he touched my stomach and I almost hit the ceiling. It hurt so bad. There was not a spot on my abdomen that he could touch without hurting me. I was also down to about 118 by then. The doc told me to stop the Excederine, he gave me some Nexium saying it probably damaged my digestive system. He also sent me for bloodwork. Something came back questionable and he called me with an appointment to see 2 specialists. My doctor told me the bloodwork showed something abnormal and he wanted an upper and lower GI series (OH YAY).The other doctor I'd be seeing was an oncologist. I know exactly what an oncologist is. I lost one of my Grandmothers to cancer in 1993. She had breast cancer twice, 20 years apart and we lost her to lung cancer. Still makes me cry, I miss her so much. My other Grandmother had uterine cancer 11 years ago. She had a hysterectomy and I'm very, very lucky to still have her today. She is cancer free!

I listened to my doctor on the phone, he said not to worry, the doctor I was seeing was the best and would take care of everything. I pretty much was silent (which does not happen often) and the next day I saw this new doctor. When he came in, I just cried quietly. I was so scared. He calmed me and said he wanted to check my abdomen. He pressed and it still hurt everywhere. He said my pancreas was enlarged, my uterus was enlarged and with the blood work he got from my doctor, he wanted me to see a gyno and he took more bloodwork. 2 days later, I was having an ultrasound at the gyno. My uterus was as big as a 4-5 month pregnancy. There were masses in there. He told me he wanted to do a hysterectomy the next day. I would keep my ovaries though. I freaked. I said no. I wanted to talk to my doctor first. I made the appointment for the surgery a week away and went home to call my doctor. My doctor told me if I were his wife or Mother, he would want me to have the hysterectomy. Ok then. I trust my doctor.

During all this I saw a GI doc. He explained the Excederine was aspirin based and I had taken too much. It didn't help that I took it on an empty stomach too. The GI series was scheduled the day before the hysterectomy.

So the results of both procedures pretty much came back all at once. NO CANCER! And the bloodwork even came back all normal. Turns out I had poisoned my pancreas from too much Excederine, burned my entire GI tract along with it and I had Adometriosis, which is another form of Endometriosis. By now I weighed 101 lbs. I had to start eating with small amounts 4-6 times a day. Eventually I could eat normally again and now I've gained about 25 lbs back. My stomach still hurts now and then. I have had a couple days that kept me from running but nothing too bad. I'm an expert at ignoring most The bulk of the recovery process from the surgery and the stomach/pancreatitis took a good 4 months. By the end of January, I was a whole new woman. I look back sometimes and I can't believe I lived with so much pain for so long. I see how lucky I was that it wasn't cancer.

Now for the part that lead me to running...

I heard somehow, somewhere, that Disney was doing a marathon for cancer. I had 3 reasons why I wanted to be a part of that marathon. I lost one Grandmother, I have another Grandmother who was a survivor and for myself because I got a scare and was lucky enough not to have had cancer. I told my husband about the marathon, I didn't give the reasons, just said I wanted to run a marathon in September, this was April. He laughed. The dirty rat!!!! LOL I told my daughter Kerri. She laughed. Hmmmmm....I told my other daughter Kirstin. She was rolling on the floor laughing. I was not amused, however.

KIM: I don't see what's so funny guys.

BOBBY: You don't even walk to the mailbox Kimmy (he calls me Kimmy when he's trying to tell me something I won't like but still be affectionate)

KIM: Yes I do. It's at the end of the driveway. (but I thought about how I really pull up to the mailbox when I come home, instead of parking the car and walking down the driveway)

KERRI: Mom, you used to drive to Karen's house when we lived in Plymouth.

KIM: Yeah, well Emily was an infant and I had a lot of stuff to carry.

KIRSTIN: Mom, she lived across the street, and she had a daycare. You only had Emily and a diaper bag.

KIM: Yeah, whatever....(but I knew they were right)

Ok, so it's been determined that I'm not the most active person in the family. Or in Florida. But I'll admit their reaction, though justified, made me give it up. Meanwhile, Bobby kept mentioning that I should join the YMCA. He'd been working out for a while (and was looking HOT may I add) Finally one day last October on his day off he took me to the YMCA to find out about joining. I met Lynn and Kelly at the desk, they talked to me about the classes offered and the weight room. They told me after I signed up, the wellness coach would show me the equipment and tell me how to use it all, etc. I came back the next day by myself and signed up. I walked into the gym and met Jim, who did explain everything to me and that's was when he asked me if I had any goals.....the whole time I was telling him I wanted to get in shape and have more energy, the marathon was on the tip of my tongue. I thought to myself, "this man does not know me, I wonder if HE would laugh if I said I wanted to run a marathon?" I took a deep breath and kind of blurted it out. He did not laugh. In fact, he said I had time to train for the Grouper Run in March! He had no idea what he had given me. That one little spark of confidence resurfaced in that instant. He told me the runner's club meets on Friday mornings at 10:15 and invited me to run. I thought I'd better tell him I don't really exercise much. Or at all. Ever. He didn't even hear that. He said if I really wanted to do it, I could. By the time I got home, the spark was a bonfire. I was on a mission. I was going to run a marathon. Jim said I could, and I believed him. Most of the time.

I have had many, many days where my self confidence took a plane to California. Any negative comments would set me back. When I was feeling that way, I'd mention it to Jim and he'd immediately remind me I had the power to do anything. His favorite saying is "You are your own captain". That works for me, I love being the boss!!! So now when I'm feeling like I can't do it, or I don't feel like doing it, I tell myself the captain never abandons the ship. The captain takes responsibility for the ship in smooth sailing AND during a storm. Just like me. My body is my ship and I'm taking it to Sarasota in March to run in that marathon.