Thursday, August 31, 2006

20 Miles Walked / 2 Yards Crawled to the Car

It's done! 20 miles!

The Place

The People

  • Walkers: My sister Barb and Phatgirl
  • Supreme Support Team: Barb's husband John
The Pace

  • 14:41 minutes per mile pace in 4 hours and 53 minutes.

The Prize:

  • A stunning day with comfortable temperatures in the 60's - 70's.
  • Scenery that included farmland with corn crops, pumpkin patches, apple orchards and pastures of sheep and horses. Country roads lined with wild blackberry bushes. Tree-covered mountains in the distance and houseboats on the river's edge. (View photos of Sauvie Island)
  • An absolutely flat-as-a-pancake 20 mile route primarily on roads with little traffic.
  • The company of my sister Barb that provided plenty of conversation, a surplus of laughter, and well gosh, I love you Sissy even if you don't believe the excesses of my verbosity and how I over-saturate my stories with a plethora of adjectives.
  • The support of my brother-in-law John who was always just down the road waiting with another bottle of ice water.
  • The most extraordinarily delicious cheese sandwich I have ever had in my entire life after the walk. Just bread and cheese but it was magical.
  • Finishing 20 miles. Me. Anita. 20 miles. Get outta town!

The Pain Per Mile:

  • Mile 1 through 9: Everything felt great. No pain to report.
  • Mile 10: Predictable lower back pain kicks in that's annoying but tolerable.
  • Mile 14: The Evil Twin Toes chime in to announce their arrival and full participation in today's event. My big toes however, are strong and healthy.
  • Mile 16: Lower back pain has progressed to certifiable pain requiring frequent stops to stretch. Massive quantities of whining ensues. The soles and bridge of both feet begin to swell, no doubt cheered on by the Evil Twin Toes. My hooves are hurting. My left elbow feels fantastic!
  • Mile 18: Minor leg pain. Back pain has spread to sides of the back and I switch to shallow breathing to minimize discomfort. Each foot weighs 121 pounds and are the size of pickel barrels. My left ear lob is in perfect condition.
  • Mile 19: Back pain has traveled up and around right shoulder creating sharp pains around the front of arm. My feet should be surgically removed. I want my Mommy. My nose is ready to take on another six miles.

The Aftermath, Six Hours Later:

  • My back is a little stiff but there's no pain.
  • The Evil Twin toes are as ugly as three-week old lunch meat but after some draining and soaking they've gone back into hiberation until the next 20 miler.
  • General but minimal stiffness in my legs.
  • The soles of my feet are still so tender walking has been reduced to hobbling and shuffling with overtones of wincing.


Yes you. Dana just called to tell me she talked with you on the phone. She said you told her you read my blog and so how can I not take the opportunity, as long as I have your attention, to tell you how much you are loved, how greatly you are missed, and how today as in all the days that have come before and all those that will follow, you are near in my heart and always in my prayers. Count on it. Safe bet.

Dana and I and you and Ben will always have Provincetown. That was a God-thing if ever I've known one, and it will always make me smile.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hero of the Hour

Without a question today's all-time great superstar in my book and on my blog is BayCityWalker, hitherto referred to as Steve. Today Steve plugged in his first of two 20-milers in preparation for our shared goal of the Portland Marathon on October 1. Walking 20 miles is frankly a big fat hairy deal for anyone but when you're talkin' about walkin' that distance with a little thing like...oh, severe asthma, then your accomplishment is truly remarkable! This moves someone out of the "Good for you!" zone into the "You are freaking amazing and I admire the heck out of you!" solar system. Kudos my man, kudos!

I've read an article here or there and seen a blog or two that reflect a negative attitude a small portion of runners have toward walkers participating in their events, but lucky you, you stumbled onto my blog and so now you have the honor of reading my opinion on the matter and it goes something like this; if someone crawls on their hands and knees across the finish line or if they only go half the distance but they gave it their best and they've worked hard to do it, then slap a medal on them and call them a champion. It's about doing what you can do, giving your heart to it, and going all the way and for that matter, who is anyone to say that someone's best isn't good enough?

That's my opinion, and here's my experience, based on my vast and illustrious walking career, all nine months and one half-marathon of it. I've found that runners who resent walkers are more the exception than the rule.

After 12 country miles I finally turned onto the curbed main road to pound out the last 1.10 miles that led to the town square and the finish line. Unprepared for the brutal heat, dehydrated and cranky as a napless toddler at Disneyland my brisk little pace had melted into a wimpy little shuffle. With all the runners, joggers, and racewalkers having crossed the finish line long before, the only spectators remaining to cheer were the hearty, faithful few waiting for a friend or loved one at the end of the pack and yes, there they wife Dana and two friends, Melody and Steve.

And the runners.

Those who had already finished the race were now heading back on the sidewalk in the opposite direction toward their cars or hotels, finishing medals gleaming around their necks, and as they passed this weary pathetic walker, reading my name on my personalized racing bib, they would call out individually or in groups, "Keep going Anita, you're almost there." "Way to go, the finish is just ahead Anita." "You've done it, congratulations Anita!" I tell you the truth, I get teary even now telling you. I would have been satisfied feeling like a kid sister tagging along with her older sibling among all the other participants but the genuine support they showered on me in those last yards made me feel like I belonged. Like I was one of them.

And so far I've experienced that same sense of camaraderie among bloggers, whether walkers or runners. We're all doing something we love, we're pushing ourselves to reach our goals and along the way we're cheering each other on. A chunky phatgirl trying to reach a crazy goal before 50 slaps her upside the head. A guy with severe asthma and the determination of a mule. A mom who was clearly not born to run but who runs anyway and on occasion wears her clothes inside out. A man who juggles while he runs in races because apparenty just running isn't quite enough. I love how different we are. I love how much the same we are.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Different Life



Monday, August 28, 2006

Mommie(s) and Me Time

I'm getting to the point in my marathon training where I find myself relating all too well to the question, "Is this baby ever going to come?" Listen all you mommies out there, I admit to having never been pregnant but don't push me in front of the momma train for not knowing what I'm talking about! I've been around enough of you over the years, not only my circle of friends who were pregnant more often than not, but in more than 20 years of working with young families I've been up close and personal with "you kind of people," and so what I'm about to say is a first-hand account based on historical proof.
In the beginning of pregnancy, those lucky enough to avoid the throws of morning sickness (crackers anyone?) glow with the wonder of the new life growing in their belly. They radiant motherhood, and wax eloquent over all things maternal. And sometimes, if you listen close enough, you can even hear a pregnant woman purr with contentment. Seriously.

And then, it happens. When it happens is different from woman to woman. But for all of them there comes that moment when they are simply done being pregnant. Be honest here. Have you ever heard an overdue pregnant woman say "I'm loving this so much, I hope the baby is a few more weeks late."? Not a chance! No, at some point, and understandably so, the glow fades and the dialogue moves away from the wonders of new life to "I want the baby out now! I want my body back now! I want to see my toes! I'm tired of peeing every fifteen minutes! Is this baby ever going to come?"

Okay, fine. You are the exception. You radianted and beamed with sublime delight through the appearance of the placenta. If that's the case, then let's just say I'm talking about them, those other mommies, not you.

Can you believe how I digressed?

My point was and still is....I think....that in January when I began training for the marathon I was wacked out with excitement. I'd pop out of bed before the alarm went off to get out on my walk. I'd savor every word of Runner's World Magazine. I tended my blisters like trophies, and sweat stains on my sports bra and shirt made me burst with pride. I was training for a marathon and one day I would be an honest-to-goodness marathoner. Me. One of the 1%. Any discomfort in body or inconvenience in time was worth it for the reward that would come at the end.

Today I caught a glimpse of it happening. "I'm done. I just want the marathon to be here. These LSD's are getting too L. I'm tired of scraping fungus off my two snarly toes. I want to hit the snooze button three times like in the old days. I don't want to take multiple showers every day. I want to drink water when I'm thirsty and not to hydrate hydrate hydrate!" [Please note, to accurately capture the emotional angst of the previous quotation it must be read in a whine.]

Even though I'm not ready for the marathon, I'm ready for the marathon. I'm ready to stand among thousands of runners and fellow walkers instead of heading out with me, myself, and I every day as the entire field of participants. I'm ready to wave to cheering crowds on the sidelines rather than ducking a water bottle hurled out of a car window by bored teenagers. A cup of water waiting for me every two miles would be a nice break from hefting a two liter hydration system around on my back. And it would be a real treat to receive a finisher's medal at the end of the marathon instead of completing a walk to find a fresh fur ball waiting for me on the entry way carpet.

Thirty-three days until the marathon. Two 20-milers, one more 12-mile tempo. A handful each of six-milers, three-milers, and five-milers. Then the big day. I'm at the point where I need to keep this in perspective. All my efforts are leading me to the chance to do something I would have never imagined possible a few short years ago. It's not going to matter that my back was killing me on one of my LSD days in June when my wife is telling me she's proud of me at the finish line, and walking through a blister or two will be forgotten when I reach my goal of being in a marathon.

In a funny sort of way that I hadn't thought about when I first started tapping out this entry, all of this has really been about giving birth to something after all...a dream, a new beginning, a fresh start. I'll try to remember that tomorrow morning when I hear the alarm ringing through my last seconds of foggy sleep. And who knows, I might just purr. Seriously.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jesus, Gin, and a Cat Bowl

More on the title in a minute.

I recently owned up to not doing much in the way of training on the weekends. Please note, that should have read "not doing anything in the way of training on the weekends." It's nice to have two days in a row where I'm not searching the house for my Garmin or untangling my Ipod headphone cords or taking multiple showers in a day. The theme for Saturdays is playing with Dana and whatever else happens on Sunday, you can be sure getting to church is center and front. This weekend was no exception and so this means all I have to blog about is a) spending a beautiful day in San Francisco with my wife Dana and b) shared insights from Sunday's sermon. So if you have a problem with homosexuality or religion or the interplay of both, then read no further. You have been warned.

Saturday morning was a stellar day. Dana and I headed out early to hitch a ride on BART to San Francisco, riding mass transit with a herd of orange and black clad Giants fans. [Blogger's note: All lesbians do not love sports. As proof I had to check with Dana as to whether the Giants were a baseball or football team.] Our first stop was at the Ferry Building Marketplace which is a total San Francisco experience. Located on the Embarcadero/Water Front, this old train station was converted years ago into a beautiful closed marketplace with dozens of little food and specialty shops lining both sides of the main hall. On Saturdays, both outside the front of the building and on the pier behind it a sprawling farmer's market is added into the equation. Fresh flowers, brilliantly colored produce, artisan breads, art utilizing every conceivable and inconceivable medium and trinkets a'plenty fill the white canvas covered stalls. My top four picks for shops in the Ferry Building: Cowgirl Creamery's Artisan Cheese Shop, Stonehouse California Oil Company (the Lisbon Lemon Olive Oil is outstanding!), Recchiuti Confections (I don't eat chocolate but phatgirl still appreciates looking at it) and of course, Peet's Coffee and Tea Shop.

After escaping through the usual Saturday morning swarm of tourists, we walked .74 miles (mileage consciousness is a known symptom associated with marathon training) down the road for lunch at Fog City Diner where Dana ordered a bowl of their incredible whole clam and choizo chowder and a frittata while I dived fork first into the omelette special of the day filled with cheddar cheese and veggies with a side of heirloom tomatoes on the side. Oh. Yum.

After walking waddling back down to the Ferry Building we proceeded to join the swarm to do a little shopping that had us hauling home via mass transit one bottle of aged and oh, so sweet balsamic vinegar, three bottles of oil (procini truffle oil, the above mentioned Lisbon Lemon olive oil, and a tart organic olive oil), and three bottles of wine for my amateur little sommelier. It was a glorious day in the city and with the Golden Gate Bridge gleaming, the bay filled with sailboats, and the dearest woman in the world on my arm, it was just another time like so many times before it when I was filled with gratitude for living where I live and loving who I love. Gratitudes abound.

On Sunday morning the scripture reading for the day was from John 6. The passage is full of mystery and miracles but the part that struck me comes late in the chapter when it tells how a large number of Jesus' followers became so upset with his claim to be the bread of life sent by God that they walked away. Apparently he was just pushing this whole Son of God thing a little too far, even for those who had been close to him through all the miracles he had performed and the incredible insights of God he had revealed. This last little revelation was frankly, just over the top, and so they left. This is when Jesus turns to the twelve, his inner posse' and asks "Do you want to go too?" and without a pause written into the text, Peter, one of the twelve responds, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

I never really heard the sermon this morning. How the pastor rounded out the passage never penetrated my ears because Peter's question was stuck in my heart. "To whom would we go?" Were Jesus to ask the same of me, I would only ditto Peter's response. "There is no other place for me to go, no one else for me to follow but you." Peter's question and declaration are my own.

And that's my dilemma; to remain faithfully with Jesus while finding myself in a strained and awkward relationship with the church that gathers in his name. In recent years I've encountered some profoundly troubling situations within the church, and by church I don't mean four walls and a steeple. I mean church as a wider body, as a living, breathing community committed to faith and the living out of that faith in the world. Living it out through love, compassion, generosity, peacemaking, social justice, and the valuing of all of creation. Simple stuff. Jesus stuff.

I've always believed the church could be a dynamic source for positive transformation in the world and yet in recent years I've come to wonder if the greater need for transformation isn't within the church itself. After a lifetime of being intimately connected to the life of the church I've become gravely disappointed in those who have been called to lead it and disillusioned over private actions that fall tragically short of public words. The inconsistency has broken my heart and worn out edges of my spirit. I haven't given up on the church entirely but I'm more wary of her than trusting. Our relationship isn't the same as it once was.

For the first time in my adult life my monthly paycheck doesn't come from a local church. For the first time in my adult life, my Saturday nights are free of last minute preparations and Sunday mornings unfold slowly rather than in a hurried rhythm. I go to church but I'm not the one unlocking its doors, or flicking on the lights, or checking to be sure the thermostat is set properly. I go to the table to receive the bread and the cup, but I seldom break the bread or bless the cup anymore. I don't have any regrets. I know I made the only choice I could but it doesn't lighten the grief any at what's been lost.

There's a quote by author Anne Lamott that goes something like this: "Sometimes the church is enough to make Jesus want to drink gin from a cat bowl." At one time in my life I would have found those words flippant and irreverant. Today I find them poignant and holy.

Church. Jesus. Often they're no more alike than apples and oranges. Sorry to say...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Songs for Strolling

Feel free to click on this amazingly altered image to go through what tunes are playing on Phatgirl's Ipod Nano. Most of the time I walk to a wide-range of music including Christian, R&B, Motown, Rock, Pop, and a little Alternative, but I enjoy a heavy dose of NPR now and again. Some of my favorite NPR series are Driveway Moments, Food, Hidden Kitchens, On Words with John Ciardi, Present at the Creation, Religion, This I Believe, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! and from PBS, Bill Moyers: On Faith and Reason. My current audiobook playing is Dean Koontz' "The Husband." I just finished the audiobook version of Steve Martin's comedic essays "Pure Drivel" that had me laughing enough that I began to draw concerned glances from passerbys.


Fantabulous Friday

This has been one of those cozy, sweet, sublime days that just make a phatgirl wanna give God a little cheer. You go God! The day started with a brisk six miles around the reservoir at a 14:04 pace. With a low fog cover, it was downright chilly on the exposed side of the walk where the wind blows off the water and smacks you right up side the head. Fortunately most of the 2.70 mile loop has plenty of trees to offer shelter to the walkers and runners from both wind and sun. It was my first chance to begin breaking in the shoes I bought for the marathon and by the end of the walk I felt the first squish of a blister on the side of my heel but before I could get too upset a peppy little puppy with three legs bounded past me with his owner and I figured with all my limbs present and accounted for there was no need to get my shorts in a bunch and whine about a widdle blister.

With the clock ticking on the marathon it's that time. Yes, time to begin obsessing about what I'm going to wear. Because I'd love nothing better than avoiding the whole fuel belt thing, I was hoping to find a pair of lightweight cargo pants with plenty-o pockets. After an unsuccessful outing to the local running store (where they specialize in microscopic shorts with 3 inch inseams designed for widdle biddy bodies) I trotted my softly rounded rubenesque body over to Big-5 Sporting Goods and found me a pair of big girl shorts. While I'm sacrificing the dri-fit fabric of my favorite Nike training shorts, I'm gaining all the pockets I crave and then some. Toss in a 9-inch inseam, top it with a Life Is Good Good Tech Tee and I'm just about as happy as I can be. Simple pleasures. Gotta love em.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen...I Hope!

At this point counting down to the marathon is less about the number of days as to the number of miles between now and when I step up to the starting line. Between now and then I have 131 training miles to walk. That includes two 20 milers, two tempo 12 milers and a stack of short walks of 3 and 6 miles. The marathon is in sight and the Evil Twin Toes have chimed in with one last hurrah!

For the past six months these two rebellious bad boys (located next to the big toes of each foot) have kicked up a fuss with random blisters and a really attractive, supremely annoying white fungus. In retaliation I've scraped, soaked, trimmed, hacked, popped, drained, medicated, wrapped and cursed them. One night in total frustration I snipped the nails right down to the nail bed, tore out the fugus and thought the matter was settled. Foolish, foolish phatgirl. They've responded aggressively with one final assault following yesterday's 18 miler and in response I hold in my hot little hands a teeny weeny vial of 155.00 fungus-busting medication. It seems my insurance company has a fungi-exemption clause but it will be worth a few less cool-max teeshirts if I can get this whooped by the marathon.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

95, 040 Feet of Fun

I was out the door this morning at 6:00 a.m. and returned 4:19:08 later having walked 18 miles at a 14:23 pace. I was a little surprised by the pace in a good way. The entire route was as flat as one could hope for and since most of my shorter walks are primarily hills it seems my body was thanking me for level terra firma.

Thankful that is until my body was jolted into the awareness that this wasn't going to be a short walk and then the lower back and feet decided to join forces for a grand assault on my initial stellar pace.

Mile 1---------= 14:00
Mile 2---------= 13:57
Mile 3---------= 13:54
Mile 4---------= 13:50
Mile 5---------= 13:51
Mile 6---------= 13:57
Mile 7---------= 14:12
Mile 8---------= 14:43
Mile 9---------= 14:06
Mile 10- ---=--- 14:07
Mile 11 ---------14:18
Mile 12--------- 14:31
Mile 13--------- 14:38
Mile 14------ -- 14:54
Mile 15------- - 15:04
Mile 16----- --- 14:54
Mile 17----=--- 15:01
Mile 18------- - 15:02

As I said, I'm happy with the overall time since my goal for the marathon is a 15:00 mpm but I'm concerned about the escalation of time as the miles ticked by. When I walk my first 20 miler next week I'm going to be extremely dilligent about averaging between 14:30-15:00 from the start to see if I can maintain a more consistent pace overall.

18 miles is the longest distance I've ever walked and given that I think I'm feeling relatively fine one hour later. My piddy pats are sore on the bottom but no blisters. My calves are a wee bit stiff as are my feet in general but going through a series of stretches for the rest of the day and tomorrow should get everything back to normal. And I'm tired but I think that's less from the 18 miles and more from getting up so crazy early in the morning to pound the pavement.

I kept a mental inventory of how I was feeling along the course and at mile 10 my lower back started doing it's thang and so for the remaining miles I had to briefly stop once or twice every mile to bend down and slowly stretch. I pop Advil or Alleve before heading out on a long walk, and when I'm being a good phatgirl I get to the gym to focus on back strengthening movements. The problem is that after years of essentially carrying a second person on my frame I did some signficiant damage to the lower discs, but if the only lasting effects I have after years of abusing my body is some general soreness and tightness when walking further than I ever imagined I would be able to, I'm more grateful than grumbling.

I drank most of the Smart Water in my 2-liter camel back on the walk along with a large water bottle I bought midpoint at Whole Paycheck Whole Foods. In terms of food fuel, I popped one Cyromax Energy Gel at mile 8 and a second one at mile 11. I probably could have started those earlier and taken in an additional one or two but I'm still trying to figure out when to use them. Up to now I've been waiting until it seems as though I'm walking as fast as I can through a field of molasses in snowshoes. I probably should set specific points in the mileage to take in a Gel regardless of how I feel. I would imagine one too many would be better overall than one too few.

All things considered I'm really happy with my accomplishment, which has made me generally grateful about everything...the mild weather, all the people on the walking trail who smiled or said "good morning," the pleasure of listening to good tunes and a good book on my Ipod, the stunning crepe myrtles that lined the path, the cool bath and ice cold Lime Diet Coke waiting for me at home, the nice lunch with my wife on the patio of our favorite restaurant, the chance to read a half dozen new entries in some of my favorite blogs within the last few minutes, and that my body is working with me and not against me to do something I would have never dreamed possible. How blessed I am.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Half or the Whole

Based on the assumption that all body parts will be functioning at peak preformance on Wednesday I'm going to take another shot at 18 miles. Rather than trekking over to San Francisco and turning a simple walk into the Lewis & Clark expedition, I'm opting to stay close to home and utilize the Iron Horse Trail that cuts a 24.50 mile, primarily flat, paved trail through our county. What this means is I walk out the front door of our home, turn left at the end of the driveway, walk a straight line for 9 miles, pivot 180 degrees, and return home. No need for bread crumbs to find my way back home.

A few days ago I blogged that on impulse I'd registered online in the wee hours of the night for the Eugene Oregon Marathon set for April but I've decided that after the Portland Marathon I'm going to redirect my focus toward half-marathons, resulting in a double registration (and fee) for Eugene.

Theoretically full marathons are more alluring since half of anything seems less fulfilling than the whole of something, i.e. eating an entire pizza pie versus half a pizza pie. However, after eight months of training I've gained an insight I feel compelled to share; that being that there's a significant difference between training for a full marathon and eating a whole pizza pie. Perhaps that would account for the difference between the 1% of the population that have completed a marathon versus the approximate 93% of the population that have consumed, at one time in their life, an entire pizza.

Realistically, the LSD training for a marathon of 16, 18, and 20 miles have been overwhelming to me, not only in terms of hedging them into my schedule but as much as I love walking, trekking those distances alone can be tedious even with great views and a tune-packed Ipod. When I'm looking ahead to something that's ultimately tedious then my motivation to get out the door decreases exponentially to the increased mileage. That's not to say I don't feel an incredible sense of accomplishment in all this because considering where I started and where I am, this is all just beyond amazing for me. I just want to find a way to continue to push myself and continue to enjoy it because if I enjoy it I'll continue to do it. There's some profound enlightened truth.

For that reason, and I'm just thinking out loud here, if I stay with half-marathons, there are some benefits to reap. First, even my longest walks of 12-13 miles will stay under three hours which would be a great help with time management. Second, how amazing it is to say this, but 12-13 mile LSD walks are an en-joy-able distance that leave me feeling strong at the end. Third, with less emphasis placed on endurance I can get back to focusing more on improving my pace, and ideally I'd like to get one more Dave McGovern Racewalking Clinic under my belt so I can begin augmenting my walking with spurts of racewalking. If that happens and I could get my pace within a 12 minute mile pace then I could begin to look at participating in 5 and 10 K events.

Just future thoughts. For now I have one goal in front of me and that's the Portland Marathon and that alone will get me out of bed on Wednesday for another stab at 18 miles.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Simple and Simply Fantastic Life

My intention was to walk an unscheduled six miles yesterday to make up for the miles I missed on Friday's 18-mile LSD. Didn't happen. Didn't happen today either. And I know better. The weekends never pan out for walking, primarily because I'd rather spend the two days with my beloved than spend it alone on the road. It's a simple question of priorities and while I truly love walking, I love spending the weekends uninterupted with Dana even more. Decision made.

And it's been a great weekend. A lazy one. A simple A delightful one. Strolling through the local farmer's market on Saturday morning, buying a kitchen rug in the afternoon, grilling fresh salmon and white corn for dinner, watching television into the night, going to church on Sunday morning, a walk through town in the afternoon and now home again to blog in my favorite Nike shorts with my "Why run when you can walk really fast?" teeshirt while my sweetiepie plays "TumbleBug" on her laptop near me on the couch. Such a life I live. Grateful. Grateful. Grateful. Or as we said in church this morning, "Thanks be to God!" Indeed and amen.

On Saturday's shopping expedition I artfully manuveured accidently wandered into the local running store where I snagged two more pairs of Asics Gel DS Trainers XI, the finest shoes for phatgirl's piddy-pats. Since I began training Asics are the only shoes that have worked for me; spacious toe boxes, light-weight, flexible, and comfortable. For a while I was opting for the Gel Racers but they were so light that it was almost like wearing slippers which is great when I'm walking across the kitchen floor but less appealing when trekking over sizzling summer pavement. I normally go with men's Trainers because of the added width and it doesn't hurt that the men's comes in red that compliments my red and black walking clothes as opposed to the annoying orange detailing the women's version. I hate orange. The color, not the fruit. I have no strong feelings about orange as a fruit, but just don't get me started on kumquats.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Certifiably Bummed

Let me just get it out right from the start before I lose my courage. I didn't complete my scheduled 18-mile LSD today. Dog-gone-it! Dad-gum-it! Shoot!

This was not in my plan book. I'd been looking ahead to this LSD all week, obsessively plotting the route that was going to take me through nine miles of Bay area wonder I'd never seen before except from the blur of a car window. My clothes were laid out last night on the dining room table along with 2 GU's, a cheese sandwich, and all the required sundries I never use but always take for any and every emergency that could conceivably occur, and my camel back was filled with Smart Water and chillin' in the fridge.

I was showered, dressed, nutrionally fueled, and out of the house by 6:30 this morning. I caught rapid transit into San Francisco and the soles of my sneakers were tapping a steady cadence on the pavement by 8:00 a.m. around the Embarcadero. I was pumped. The weather was San Francisco perfection, chilly with a fog so low and thick it left a cool mist on my skin. I felt great. Even the "evil twin" toes were on their best behavior. Life was good.

For the first 7 miles I was holding a comfortable and oh so pleasing 14:30 pace. "This is going to be a great day," I'm thinking. "I'm actually going to kick out 18 miles," I preened. These observations, by the way, were part of my internal dialogue and not in my out loud voice.

And then something happened. What had been a distant feeling all morning kicked my butt just as I was preparing to begin the second half of the route. Let's just keep this short and sweet. . .a bladder infection. For the next 3 miles my only goal in walking, the only thought that occupied my head, the singular purpose of my existence, was simply to get to the next rest stop down the road, always requiring a long line behind gaggles, herds, and flocks of tourists.

Over the months I've been able to push through sore feet, blistered toes, aching backs, misbehaving shins, rebellious skin chaffing, and tight neck muscles but this one got me. At 12.36 miles at a 14:50 pace I called it a day and called a cab. Now I sit drinking cranberry juice while my internal drama queen is regally ensconched on her throne.

Tomorrow I'm walking an unscheduled 6 miles. While I fully realize that a 12.36 walk and 6 mile walk won't have the same benefit for my marathon training as a full 18 mile LSD, those 6 miles are mine and I'm going to get them. But first I need to get to the bathroom.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Back on Track

With the Portland Marathon still weeks away, it seem seem a bit premature to be planning my change of wardrobe at the 25 mile marker but with pre-washing, line-drying and ironing, a phatgirl doesn't want to get caught short on time. Oh, by the way, having never been in a marathon I'm assuming there's a wardrobe change before the grand finish. Yes?

Today I followed through on my guilt-cleansing course of action and combined yesterday's avoided 3 mile walk with today's scheduled 5 miles for the accumulated total of 8 miles at a 14:09 pace. I was pleased with the pace since it was the best average time I've had on the Lafayette Reservoir loop.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Three Mile Avoidance Issues

I love grilling almost as much as walking and if I do say so myself, I wield a mighty skilled pair of tongs. Tonight's jantar consisted of grilled asparagus, onions, eggplant, red and yellow peppers, salmon and roasted red baby potatoes. As my wife says, "Yum, two hands on the belly." For the curious among you jantar is Portugese for dinner. You too can impress strangers and friends with a plethora of random foreign language references. The wonders of online language to language translators. How erevu I am. That's Swahili. Look it up.

So, back on topic. I put in my scheduled 6 miles yesterday but somehow I've managed to avoid putting in the puny little 3 miles scheduled for today, so now it's looking like 8 miles tomorrow instead of the scheduled 5 miles. This is both a demonstration of my ability to add small numbers in my head and re-arrange life in the continuing pursuit to excel in the art of procrastination.

While I didn't walk today, I've spent a disproportionate amount of the day obsessing about my upcoming 18 miler on Friday which should actually count for some kind of mental marathon training all from the comfort of the couch. BayCityWalker not only plotted the course but pounded the walk out this morning himself. He is indeed the man. So here's the route I'm planning for Friday along with directions.

  • Go East on 100 Market to Ferry Street Building
  • Continue on Embarcadero Street passing Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Merge left onto Jefferson at Wharf, passing the Cannery and Ghiradelli Square
  • Follow shoreline at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and proceed up hill overlooking Fort Mason
  • Walk trail bordering Fort Mason and continue straight onto Beach Street
  • Turn right on Marina Blvd
  • Go straight from Marina Blvd into Crissy Field at Old Mason Street
  • Follow Old Mason Street to Crissy Field Warming Hut
  • Turn sharp left onto Long Ave
  • Right on Lincoln Blvd
  • Lincoln Blvd becomes El Camino Del Mar Street (turn left when El Camino Del Mar intersects with El Camino Del Mar)
  • Continue on El Camino Del Mar Street passing Lincoln Park Golf Course and Seals Rock State Beach
  • Turn right on Point Lobos Avenue passing Cliff House
  • Point Lobos Avenue turns into Great Hwy following coastline
  • Left on Fulton Street with Golden Gate Park on south side
  • Right on Stanyon Drive running parallel with east edge of Golden Gate Park
  • Left on Oak Street
  • Right on Divisadero Street
  • Fork left onto Castro Street
  • Turn left on Market Street
  • Return to 100 Market to start

Friday, August 11, 2006

16 Miles

Okay, that was fun! 16.10 miles in 3:57:07 at an average pace of 14:41 minutes per mile. Here's the course map and the stats, and if you tap on the photo above you'll see a few more photos from my walking adventure.

I took BART over to the city and began walking from the Ferry Building at 8:00 a.m. My route took me down the Embarcadero, past Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, the Cannery, and Ghiradelli Square. Later on the return loop this stretch would be packed with tourists forcing me to walk between the parked cars and traffic but this early in the morning the streets were all but empty which made for a really lovely walk.

After skirting around the bay near Aquatic Park it was up the hill, and I do mean H-I-L-L, overlooking Fort Mason and then down around the Fort to the Marina area and a long stretch that provided a perfect San Francisco landscape of docked sailboats in the foreground with the Golden Bridge topped with fog in the horizon. The only downer on this leg of the route was the smell. . .and it wasn't me! Seriously, I don't know if it was sewage lines or rotting steamy fish at the water's edge but it was nasty and lasted far longer than one could hold their breath. I know because I tried. Oh, how I tried.

Next up was Crissy Field where I opted to stay near the water's edge rather than on the main road which resulted in several stops to empty the random pebbles that crept into my shoes from the graveled pathway. However, with my brand-new and might I add amazing elastic shoe laces I just slipped them off and on in seconds without needing to stumble around with the laces. I'm buying them for all my running shoes. I walked past the road leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge and on to Fort Point that's immediately under the bridge and then looped back to head up the hill. Again, for the sake of accuracy it's necessary to emphasis the hill was a H-I-L-L.

The fog was still holding tight and the breeze had a chill crossing over the GGBridge but by the time I reached the reststop on the Marin County side I was warm enough to discard the extra layer of teeshirt I had on, eat half of a cheese sandwich and loop back for the Ferry Building, a ride on BART and home.

I was pleased by how strong I felt through the first 13 miles and then "the evil twins" (toes next to the big toes) started into their old behaviors and for the last three miles the foremost thought occupying my mind was "ow!" but now that they've been pampered and their blister caps removed, all is well. I feel fine. . .grrrreat in fact! Perhaps that's because I'm laying flat on the couch with the laptop on my stomach and an iced espresso and the remote within reach.

I'm just sore enough that walking an 18-mile LSD next Friday sounds a little overwhelming but good enough that walking an 18-mile LSD next Friday sounds very possible.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Walking Daze

No walking today but somehow I managed to think about it all day, beginning with full disclosure to Dana this morning of my midnight impulse to register for the Eugene Marathon. She was gracious as always with a serving of perplexed on the side due to the fact that she was the woman at the half-marathon finish line only weeks ago who heard me proclaim with firm resolve, :::pant, pant::: "I will never ever do anything like this again! What was I thinking?!" :::suck air, gasp:::

Back to today. By 9:00 a.m. I was at the library where I fully intended to spend the day preparing for my guest preaching gig on Sunday but by 1:00 p.m. I couldn't stand it any longer and headed off to the local running store to try on runner's shorts, all of which were ridiculously short for someone who is plagued with inner-thigh creepitis. I still managed to leave with five pairs of double-layer cool-max socks and elastic shoelaces. Essentials.

Okay, focus focus focus. Now it's late afternoon and I still have no sermon outline, but not to worry. I'll do the grocery shopping for dinner, finish the laundry, sort through a small stack of emails from work and then get right back to my notes.

Except . . . I have a 14-miler tomorrow and because I need to head out by 6:30 a.m. to catch BART into San Francisco I should probably take a few minutes just to pull my things together. Once my walking stuff is ready for the morning then I can concentrate on the sermon without any distractions. As I blog, our dining room table is covered with all my walking provisions which took numerous trips upstairs, to the garage, and around in circles to accumulate.

Strange. How did it get to be dinner time so soon?

Dinner is done. The dishes are in the dishwasher. Everything is laid out for tomorrow including the cheese sandwich cut in quarters and individually wrapped in cellophane that I thought might be a good snack for the road. Unpack my hip bag. Remove one Gu. Re-arrange contents allowing for cheese sandwich. Alrighty then. Now it's time to wrap my mind and heart around Sunday's sermon.

Except. . .it would sure be nice to have some new tunes for my Ipod. . .and my blog. . .

Okay, this it is. It's nearly 9:00 p.m. If I just hunker down for a couple hours I'll have a solid handle on the theme and structure. Just a couple hours without any distractions. No problem.

Weak at Midnight

I have yet to complete my first marathon but only five minutes ago I registered for a second one, the Inaugural Eugene (OR) Marathon, "Running in the Footsteps of Legends" to be held on Sunday, April 29, 2007. I know not to have my credit card within reach and QVC on the television after midnight. I'm too vulnerable. Now apparently it seems I need to stay away from all things marathony in the wee hours. I just couldn't help it. I have a good excuse. At least I'm hoping that's how it will sound at 7:00 in the morning when I tell my wife. Oh boy.

So here's my reasoning. I lived in Eugene between 1994-1999 and after riding my bike over all the long flat tree-shaded paved trails that ran along the river's edge, and knowing that Eugene is a runner's mecca (don't forget, Eugene is the home of PRE, Steve Prefontaine) there's just no way this first-ever marathon isn't going to kick and rock! And the best news yet, even though the runners are going to smoke the course, there's a ridiculously generous 9 hour limit on the marathon and they're welcoming walkers. If none of that is enough reason to register, then consider this...there are bound to be some a-mazing tie-dyed hipslickandcool training tech shirts! We're talking about Eugene, Oregon were there are as many patchouli-scented 60's hippies and hippie-wannabes per capita as in the Haight in San Francisco.

The merchandise isn't available on the official website yet, but I have my credit card near by when it is. Until then....I guess it's QVC.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Treadmill Schmeadmill

Jeanne of Not Born to Run fame recently waxed poetic about her deep loathing for dreadmills treadmills. I concur enthusiastically and offer this video as visual evidence of perhaps the only worthwhile usage for these diabolical machines of rubberized, metalized, artificial speed.

While it would have been cooler to have walked my 5.5 miles this morning in an air-conditioned gym on the above mentioned treadzilla, it was worth enduring higher than preferred temperatures to enjoy a beautiful double-loop around the reservoir and spotting two stunning blue herons parading in an open field near the water's edge. [Blogger's disclaimer: I've avoided providing specific details on the temperature provided as to prevent being called a whimpy whoosypants by any East Coast and Mid-west running maniacs.] My pace was intentionally slow as I'm hoping for a 15 mpm pace in the marathon and I need to get some idea of how that pace feels before my scheduled 14 miler this Friday.

Mile 1..........14:51
Mile 2..........14:28
Mile 3..........14:22
Mile 4..........14:11
Mile 5..........14:36
Mile .05.........7.30

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

All About Dana

It's come to my attention, in gentle but persistent fashion, that I've failed to this point to make any more than a passing reference to my wife Dana and so whilst she sleeps, it's time to make things right.

Dana and I met in August 1999, began dating in January 2000, filed for domestic partnership in the summer of 2001, jumped through legal hoops to join our last names with the humble but much revered hyphen in the autumn of that same year, were married in a church wedding on April 6 2002, and applied for and received our marriage license from San Francisco City Hall on February 15 2004 which was subsequently ruled invalid by some folks who seem to be under the impression that there's something about our relationship that threatens their relationship, the institution of marriage, family values, modern society, democracy, the ozone layer and the rain forests of Brazil. I feel a rant coming on which is causing me to digress horribly from the point of this particular post.

Dana. She's the point. I adore her. Right now there is no human being I know who is more loving, compassionate, thoughtful, supportive, endearing, funny, wise, and beautiful than she. I thought the very same thing yesterday and I would bet my stack of beloved running shoes and my Garmin 305 with heart rate monitor that I'll feel the same thing tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. Sure thing. Done deal. Case closed.

Since the day I began training last January for the upcoming Portland Marathon, Dana couldn't have offered me more encouragement and support had she sprouted cheerleader pom-poms out of the palm of each hand. For example, this evening. I walked a mere 3 miles and still, she told me she was proud of me for going out there and following through on my training. She tells me that often...that she's proud of me. If a Gentile can be vaklempt, then consider it done at this very moment.

Not many people know this but when I finished the Napa to Sonoma half-marathon in July it wasn't because I was adequately trained, incredibly determined, deeply motivated or desperately hungry to reach my goal. When I wanted to quit because it was too hot and I was too slow and too sore and too discouraged, I kept going for one reason. Dana was at the finish line. She was waiting for me and as over-the-top-gaggy-sweet as this might sound, after six years together, I wanted to see her more than anything. More than the finish line or the shiny finishing medal or a bottle of ice cold water. I wanted to turn the last corner, see her melt-my-heart-everytime-smile, hear her cheering on the sidelines, and know that smile and all the cheering was for me alone. I'm just that selfish.

And I did turn the corner....and she was there smiling and cheering....and it was all for me...and in that moment I knew I already had the greatest prize of all. I've known it all along.

So here you go my dear one. While you were sleeping the one who loves you madly, deeply, and truly said as much on an insignificant little blog read sporadically by a few random wandering souls. Consider this my way of "shouting it from the mountaintops" which I would happily do if I only weren't so tired from today's walk in the heat. Rain check, perhaps?

And by the way, I'm proud of you too.

Sneaker Love

I have a walking box in our garage overflowing with my stuff. Important stuff. Necessary stuff. Glide, sunscreen, insoles, rain gear, sun visors, cool-max hats, hydration tablets, reflective night vest, water bottles, a Narvaro camel back, a collection of Ipod headphones ranging in style from ear plugs to ear muffs, assorted fanny packs and sundry belly bags. I love my box of walking essentials.

And then there are the running shoes. My wonderful wonderful Asics running shoes. Wide toe box, soft insides, flexible, light, and oh, so snappy looking. Note the bottom yellow-trimmed pair with matching toe holes testifying to a meager and failed attempt at minimizing the pain caused by the "evil twins." After months of trying everything I finally cut both nails down to the nail bed. Ugly but functional. And in the right circles, quite impressive. I only wish I'd come to the nail extraction solution prior to taking an exacto-knife to brand-new sneaks! Don't ask me what I was thinking. Apparently there was a mental lapse and how disturbing to think I was armed with a sharp implement at the time.

This afternoon was a three-mile walk I had intended to keep in the low 13:00's range but with 90 degree weather busting my chops, I'm content with the 13:41 mpm average I claimed as my own.

And yes, I'm all too aware that only yesterday I was all smug about walking in the morning dressed in a heavy fleece jacket. Just know this, gloating is no more attractive on you than it was on me so ease up and spread the love.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday's Get a Bad Rap

By 7:40 this morning I was well into my stretches on a crispy cold fog-covered day at Lafayette Reservoir, dressed in shorts, a tee, my sneaks, and offering a mea culpa accompanied with a pinch of gloat to those walking/running/surviving in hellish humid climates, a heavy fleece jacket. If it makes you feel any better, I shed the jacket after the first of two loops but I promise I won't mention I was a little chilled on the second loop. Oh, was that my out loud voice?

I walked 5.50 miles at an average pace of 14:09 with the wa-hoo factor being that mile 1 was 14:35 with every mile that followed a little quicker than the mile before. Negative splits makes me weep.

The walk was rewarding not only in negative splits but in the great people who were walking the loop at the same time; the two African-American women dressed in gorgeous bright colors with matching straw hats who yelled "Go! Go! Go!" as I hooved by, the young man with the dog, the moms with obligatory babies goo-ing and coo-ing in strollers, the thin blonde woman who was doing the walk/run combo that I eventually passed and never saw again (insert big grin here even though the reality is she probably stopped to sit by the shore for a while to contemplate her last marathon PR), the kids at the "Rough-It Day Camp" who pointed in my direction when I walked by in my "Where the Wild Things Are" teeshirt, and the assorted and miscellaneous men, women, and children who offered a "Good morning," a generous smile, or a tip of the hat in greeting.

Today, Monday, August 7th is a good day indeed.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Little History

Let's get back to the topic of my weight. I know you've been waiting for the gory details.

The first time I went to Weight Watchers was in sixth grade. In the first week I gained two pounds. The "scale lady" was a bit perplexed since apparently the idea was that I was suppose to lose weight, not gain weight. It seemed to restore her faith in the miracle of Weight Watchers when I mentioned innocently that I had eaten two jars of pickles; pickles being an "unlimited food" like yellow mustard and beef boullion cubes. Yum. Surely the two pounds only reflected water retention from the high intake of salt and next week I would be sure to see a big weight loss.

The problem was I hadn't eaten any pickles at all. In actuality I had eaten one pound of salt water taffy every night for a week; candy I was suppose to be selling as a fundraiser for my church youth group. Let's do the math. Seven nights + One pound of candy = Seven pounds of candy. I learned a valuable lesson. Candy fundraisers and Weight Watchers do not mix.

That was my first attempt at weight loss. The following 30 plus years would look something like this in bullet points:

  • Countless attempts at Weight Watchers. They have a plaque in their corporate office with my name on it for "Most Likely to Pay The One-Time Start Up Fee Again and Again and Again."
  • Jenny Craig, Nutrisystems, and a whole bunch of other weight loss programs that the years and pounds have erased from my memory.
  • Metracal and Sego Diet Food. The first liquid diets in a can.
  • Ayds. Those yummy chewable caramel appetite suppressants. The directions said "Eat two 30 minutes before a meal with a glass of water." What the directions didn't say was "Eat an entire box at once," but I found that when I did, it really curbed my appetite. Warning: Do not try this at home.
  • Optifast Liquid Diet. For forty days I drank nasty tasting thick mock-chocolate swill, ate n-o-t-h-i-n-g and had my blood pressure monitored once a week. Oh yes, and I also poured over every food and recipe magazine I could get my hands on while salivating copiously. Food porno.
  • The Yogurt Diet, The Grapefruit Diet, and The Melon Diet. The name says it all.
  • The Hi-Protein Diet, The Lo-Protein Diet, The Hi-Carb Diet, The No-Carb Diet, The No-Carb Hi-Protein No-Fat Hi-Fiber I-Am-Going-To-Lose-My-Freaking-Mind-And-Kill-Everyone-Before-I-Do Diet.
Every diet worked, but there was a certain progression that would follow without exception. It went something like this - go on a diet, lose some weight, stop the diet, return to old way of eating, gain the weight I originally lost, gain a little bit more, go on a diet, and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat... 180, 165, 192, 172, 215, 201, 256...

On May 8, 1999, at the age of 40-something I came to the stark realization that the best that all my attempts at a solution had gotten me was a crazy head and a 325 pound body. That morning I walked into a room filled with people just like me, found a chair with my name on it (metaphorically), and have never left. It's a program of anonymity so I'm not saying anything - - - click here but don't tell them I sent you.

Since that day I've never been on a diet again since historically a diet is something I do for a short time to lose weight so that I can start eating again like I was before I went on the diet. Over the last seven years I've had a plan of eating, a plan that I can live with for the rest of my life. My plan of eating or food plan looks something like this:
4 ounces protein
6-8 ounces fruit
1/3 cup oatbran
1 tablespoon fat

4 ounces protein
2 cups or 14 ounces of veggies
1 tablespoon fat

4 ounces protein
3 cups or 21 ounces of veggies
1 tablespoon fat

Three meals a day, nothing in between. Okay, revise that. Four shots of espresso on ice with a splash of lo-fat milk once, sometimes twice a day, and during my LSD walks (over 8 miles) I eat a Larabar around mile 6. Why a Larabar? No sugar. No flour. Just nuts, dates, and natural flavorings. It's not a snack. It's fuel.

That's the other thing. In seven years I haven't eaten any sugar, honey, molasses, white flour, and only trace amounts of rice and potatoes. These are the foods I don't eat because if I eat a little, I crave a lot. If I don't eat them, I'm free from them.

You'd think eating this way I could lose more weight but for the past four years I've been in a holding pattern somewhere between 185 and 200. Never more, never less. I can be on vacation, eating in restaurants and having less control of my food in terms of quantity and ingredients, but not gain any weight. I can follow my food plan precisely, walk miles a week, cross-train a couple times and have the stomach flu on top of it all, but not lose any weight.

Frustrated? Nah, not really. I'm grateful. Grateful for a quality of life I never thought I'd ever experience when I was 325 pounds. Hopeful that if I continue to eat healthy and moderately, and give my body the exercise and rest it needs, the scales will eventually move downward, and as I've said, I want it to for the sake of improving my walking endurance and speed. How do I make it happen? Heck, if I know but between now and the Portland Marathon on October 1, here's what I'm committed to doing to giving myself the best chance of losing a bit of the excess baggage I don't want to cart around for 26.2 miles:

  1. Continue to follow my food plan and follow it in reality and not in theory.
  2. Drink more water.
  3. Get enough rest.
  4. Continue with my training schedule (Mondays - 5/6 miles, Wednesday - 3/4 miles - Fridays - LSD).
  5. Core training 2/3 times a week.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Cadence Cadet

All it will take is one simple click on the captured image below to take you to 60 seconds of one of the cutest baby girls on the planet in her "Lord of the Dance" audition tape.

Who is the baby girl?
My great-niece
Who is the director, camera man and production crew?
My "head-over-heels-in-love-with-his-daughter" nephew
Why show the video on my blog?
If she was your great-niece, wouldn't you do the same?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Walking Around...and Around....and Around...

This morning I walked a trio of loops around Lafayette Reservoir plus a series of fartleks. Put it all together it added up to 10 miles at a satisfying and comfortable 14:31 mpm average with negative splits on the back half. I ain't complaining. In fact, I had such a good time I was nearly giddy heading into the final loop.

It's been said a person needs to love to walk to walk. It's not about the next race, or how far you walk or where you walk or what destination you'll reach at the end of your's walking for walking's sake and I'm grateful to the bone that I walked those miles today because if I wouldn't have walked, I would have missed. . .

  • A crisp cool morning sheltered by low-laying fog before the heat of the day presses in.
  • Exchanging "Good Morning"' and a smile with strangers who passed me on the path.
  • Three deer grazing in tall grass.
  • An elderly couple strolling arm in arm with their heads held close so they could hear each other's words.
  • Young moms with their children and old men with their dogs.
  • A flock of red-winged sparrows.
  • The giggles and squeals of a herd/gaggle/swarm of young children at outdoor day camp.
  • The strength of my legs and the sweat on my neck.
  • Ice cold water waiting in my car at the end of each loop.
  • Calling my sister only to discover we were walking our 10 milers at the same time six hundred miles apart from each other.

It was a great day for a walk.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Two Words Update

Cue the orchestra to begin the "Halleluah Chorus."
Signal dancers to enter stage left to commence the happy dance!
Free drinks for the house!

I just returned from the physical therapist and the report is that I'm looking at a strained achilles tendon but not achilles tendonitis and after an hour of stretches, and alternating between hot water and ice water, he sent me out the door with a big rubber band, an appointment card for next week, and a nod to continue training for the marathon!

To my pacing peeps on the walkingfaster email list and on the message boards at The Walking Site, thank you thank you thank you for your high tolerance to extreme levels of whining while at the same time dispensing generous amounts of encouragement and the wisdom of your experience. Brandon, you aren't only a star, you're a sweetheart!

Word out and sneakers on, Anita is hitting the road!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Two Words

  1. Achilles.
  2. Tendonitis.

Put them together and they spell givemeabreak! After two days of alternating between denial and misery, I hobbled into the podiatrist's office to hand over two twenty dollar bills for a diagnosis, a fistful of anti-inflammatory medication and a perscription for a round of physical therapy that begins tomorrow in the a.m.

I didn't allocate time for achilles tendonitis in my marathon training schedule. Silly me.

I don't know what this all means in the long-run long-walk but for the time being I've been stripped of my running flats and water bottle until further notice. I'm hoping to be able to go on a 10 mile long slow distance walk Friday but between the frown that suggestion produced on the face of my podiatrist and the ache in my heel, that might be more fantastical than hopeful but my fingers are crossed and my sneakers are by the door...just in case.

What does a phatgirl do when she can't go walking?

  1. Pout extensively. Worry. Obsess.
  2. Spend two hours reading the blogs of runners and walkers. Top favorites? Not Born to Run, 21st Century Mom, and BayCityWalker.
  3. Spend an equal chunk of time hovering on the Walking Site message boards.
  4. Trim my toe nails, including the complete removal of toe nails from both "This little piggy stayed home" toes (collectively known as "the evil twins").
  5. Watch my entire archive of television on my Tivo Now Playing List including "The Actor's Studio," "Workout," "48 Hour Mystery," "Nightmares and Dreamscapes," "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," and I'm sorry, "Big Brother: All-Stars."
  6. Post my Tivo Now Playing List on my blog as though anyone in this world or beyond could care less.
  7. Read two chapters of "Leaving Church" by Barbara Brown Taylor. Spectacular.
  8. Ordered two pairs of black shorts with pockets from RaceReady. I continue the eternal quest to find a good pair of walking shorts with a long inseam and pockets. To have pockets in my walking shorts is my holy grail.

I began the morning with my daily trip to Peets Coffee and Tea Shop where they start pulling my shots before I reach the counter. Make that my usual...four shots, four Splendas and a 1/3 cup low-fat milk in a large cup of ice. Beverage bliss overdrive. Outside at one of the umbrella-shaded tables sat five people dressed in sneakers, shorts, tees, sunglasses, and visors. Walkers. My peeps. I was instantly gripped with a craving to go on a long, long walk with my running flat rolling across the pavement, arms swinging to a brisk pace matching the beat of the tunes humming through my Ipod earbuds, and a water bottle riding on my left hip. Walk. Life. Good. Yum. I love walking and even more than that, I love that I love walking!