Saturday, September 30, 2006

Marathon Eve

Today is what I like to refer to as my-gut-is-a-ball-of-knotted-anxiety-and-I-think-I-need-to-puke-day. I believe others call it pre-race day. Six of one, half dozen of another.

There was a generous amount of milling around today. Multiple trips to Starbucks, strolling town, a final walk through the Expo, and meeting up with walking peeps from the internet. Dana and I met up for a few minutes this morning with BayCityWalker before meeting Sarah from The Walking Site message forum for lunch. And only minutes ago I waddled out of our hotel room to a room two doors down to meet Jennifer from the same forum. In my jammies no much for first impressions.

The big event of the day was taking a marathon course bus tour with 47 others including Dana, Steve, my sister Barb and brother-in-law John, Jeanine, a high school classmate, and Jeanine's friend whose name has slipped my mind momentarily but only because it's too cluttered with obsessive night before the race insanity. The course is beautifully flat for blissfully long stretches with only a couple easy slow inclines with the exception of what I like to affectionately refer to as Hell Hill, the 1/2 mile incline leading up to the St. John's Bridge that greets us between mile 16-17. Brutal. Scary. Not nice. The bus barely made it up the hills so what does that say about my chances?

My overall assessment of the course route is it's LONG. 26.2 miles is, for the uninformed, a really really long way to run, walk, or as I shall no doubt personally experience, crawl. I was sort of hoping there was a chance of talking the marathon volunteer who led the tour into giving me my finishing shirt at the end of the bus ride given that I had technically completed the marathon route. No chance. Apparently they're sticklers around here on the infinitesimal details. La-dee-dah.

And now, after a Whole Foods dinner in the hotel room, an hour spent filling my pockets and spreading out my clothes, I'm now down to little else to do but complete a final ice session on my ankle before going to bed.

Someone told me today that the goal of any first-time marathoner should be to finish the marathon on the same day it started. There's a chance.

I hope.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Marathon Mojo

Okay campers, this is the REAL deal! We have got a marathon happening here in downtown Portland! After picking up Dana at the airport we went to lunch it up on 23rd Street, and by the way, if you have never been but are planning to come to Portland, 23rd is a must-do. That and the Pearl and Hawthorne and Sellwood and all the other cool, eclectic, steller Portland neighborhoods that go on ad infinitum. Grew up here, moved away from here, but love it love it love it here.

With lunch rapidly consumed we headed to the Hilton Executive Towers to get settled into our room (17th floor and oh, what a view!) before heading over to the Hilton Hotel kitty corner where the Expo is being held. The official goodies and ventor freebies are sweeeet. Participants get a high quality nylon clinch bag in dark blue with the Portland Marathon Logo, plus really nice 11x17 color posters, a full-color souvenir program filled with personal stories, race details and a really thorough mileage breakdown of what to expect throughout the race. In addition, the bag was filled with all the usual stuff and by the time I finished making my round of the Expo it was splitting at the seams.

  • Handfuls of Listerine Breath Strips - So we don't offend any of the spectators with our obscene GU breath?
  • Packets of Extra-Strength BenGay Pain Patches - Do they know something I don't know?
  • Snickers Energy Bars - Can you honestly say that without a smirk on your face? It gives me a major flashback everytime to the old Paula Poundstone routine, "When it comes about oh, two p.m. and you'e got that nagging hunger pokin' at ya, pokin' at ya..."
  • Foil packets of powdered hydration drinks, sun block lotion, and anti-chafing creme
  • One packet of raw brown sugar - Is this the Pillsbury Bake-Off or a marathon?
  • Sample copies of half a dozen magazines from Walk About to Prevention, and enough paper and cardboard advertisments to line the entire 26.2 mile course end to end four times.

In other words, I'm in marathon-junk heaven! In addition I've already managed to lay down about 50 bills on a set of 2006 Marathon pins, a stack of "Walker Girl" bumperstickers, and a sleeveless black tee shirt with the "Quitting Is Not An Option: Portland Marathon" logo. For the uninformed and unexperienced among you, walking ain't cheap, but it sure is fun!

By the way, one of my favorite sights at the Expo? Watching a bunch of folks standing around an energy bar sample table, tasting teeny-tiny bits of flavored bars pierced through with toothpicks. They were listening to the "Energy Bar Specialist" with such serious intention, and the toothpicks with nutty-chewy-fruity microscopic tidbits were held motionless inches from their lips in eager anticipation. It all seemed so familiar, so deja vu-ish and then I made the mental connection. Last week's wine tasting adventure. Swirl, sniff, taste. There was something a little pretentious about that whole wine class by the Bay experience. Today's energy bar taste-off in a hotel basement was just downright funny.

Almost as funny as Phatgirl registering for the Clydesdale / Bonnydale division. Those would be the divisions for the slightly rotund, men / women. That I'm in the top weight division (women 180+) comes as no shocking revelation and while it's a little goofy I reasoned I stand a good chance of placing in my division since I can't imagine there are going to be hordes of Phatgirls out there, and placing, my little running and walking babies, is placing. Details are unimportant.

Oh, and by the way, you can spot who is in Portland to be in the marathon a mile away. First clue. Their universal marathon apparel. Running shorts, sports cap, running shoes, and a finishing tee-shirt from some other marathon, triathalon, ultra-marathon, 10K race, or 5K fun run representing every corner of the country and beyond. Second clue. A water bottle. Third clue. Freak-ishly healthy, svelte-like-a-model women and muscular, lean-as-the-other-white-meat men. I'd hate them if I didn't admire them. Jealously consumes me. But why talk about being thin when you can talk about dinner?

Dana and I ended the evening with a really wonderful one up at the Chart House Restaurant, formerly known as Hillvilla to us long-time Portlandians. The restaurant has a suck-the-air-out-of-your-lungs view overlooking the city with the Williamette River in the foreground, evergreen trees covering every speck of land not taken up by the city scape, and Mt. St. Helens and Mount Hood in the background against a blue sky that faded to pink as the sun set. Stunning as always. The third most breathtaking sight of the evening, after Dana and the scenic view just described was my dinner. I ordered something called a Crab, Mango, and Alvocado Stack and that's what it was, exactly. A perfectly cylindrical pile with chunks of alvocado on the bottom, mango salsa in the middle, and an overly generous (if there could be such a thing which there can't!) portion of fresh crab on the top, surrounded by a thin pool of olive oil flecked with bits of fresh basil. They didn't muddy up the flavors with a lot of seasonings or goo but allowed each layer to express it's true self simply and deliciously. The combination was fresh, light and about as yummy as anything I've ever eaten, a virtual love fest on a plate.

Back to the marathon. The half-marathon I participated in this summer from Napa to Sonoma had a field limited to 2000, but at the Portland Marathon there are 2500 registered W-A-L-K-E-R-S alone. Total there are 7000 runners and walkers with an additional 4500 volunteers. I can't imagine what the start is going to be like apart of claustrophobically crowded, but one thing I know is that the mojo is going to be thick and I'm gonna grab all I can and hope it carries me to the finish!

11:20 p.m. I'm taking the ice off my foot, the hot laptop off my lap and heading to bed where a cozy comforter and my favorite pillow from home await me. But first, another episode of Grey's Anatomy...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Three Days and Counting

I feel upbeat. Relieved. Hopeful. I have a strategy that I think might take me to the finish line. Follow along.

The 350 miles I've logged onto my Garmin since the middle of April show an overall average pace of 14:30 per mile. Not bad for a little ol' walkin' phatgirl and I hope to shave another minute off my average over the next year. With my current average pace in mind I had been aiming for a marathon pace range of 14:30-15:00 and the two 20 milers gave me confidence that I could pull that off, with the caveat of confronting the unknown miles between 21 and 26.

Add in the new development with my foot or more specifically the major muscle group running from toe to knee. When I walk at my current average pace I put added stress on the muscles because my foot fall tends to strike the ground more forcefully. I'm not a dainty walker. A few miles of that the other day and as reported earlier, my injuries were aggravated and the pain at a level I don't think I could have managed through 26 miles.

Over the past couple days I've noticed that when I walk around the house, to the car, from car to coffee shop, from coffee shop to newspaper stand, my foot feels fine. When I intentionally walk faster to evaluate how it's doing it's the big ouch. And so my thought is this, that if I keep my pace to a 16 minute mile pace my foot fall will remain gentle, my foot won't be jarred, and my odds of reaching the finish line will be increased.

A 16 minute mile was my average pace when I began training in January and it's been a real kick to shave off 2 minutes or more off over the months. So granted, it's a little disappointing emotionally and mentally to go back to my starting pace for the marathon but when I weigh going my current average pace and hoping I can walk through the pain versus going my average starting pace and increasing the possibility of not only finishing but finishing without being miserable, I'm going with Door Number Two, Monty.

AND I still have 2 full days to ice, elevate, massage, medicate and after visiting Portland friends earlier this afternoon I now have Traumeel, a homeopathic ointment to add to my regime. I don't know if the ointment can actually help with the inflamation but if you told me spitting in the wind while spinning a plate on my head would help, I'd be spitting and spinning.

I've been working on hydrating the past couple days and because my diet tends to be fairly low carb, I've been minimally increasing my carbs each evening with a baked potato or brown rice. I'm not intending a pre-race carbo-load since my natural inclination is to overdo and I don't want to be waddling excessively at the starting signal.

For those of you with no life and a cell phone you can track my progress in the marathon. The Portland Marathon will have chip mats located at the start, 10K, half-marathon, 20 mile and finish markers. By going to you can set up your cell phone to receive text updates each time I cross a mat. You just need to know my name (Anita Cadonau-Huseby) and my bib number (225). If I walk a 16 minute pace that means I'll cross each at the following times:

  • Start - 7:00 a.m.
  • 10 K - 8:40 a.m.
  • Half-marathon - 10:30 a.m.
  • 20 miler - 12:20 p.m.
  • Finish - 2:00 p.m.

Here's hoping!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Four and Counting...

That's right. Four and no more.

Today has been a thrilling, non-stop, rock your world, action-packed day what with icing my ankle, popping Alleve, and watching nearly nine hours of Grey's Anatomy. The upshot is that while my brain has turned to toast, my ankle seems to be improving. This is a good thing.

Seriously, that's all I've done all day. Nearly 12 hours on the couch and so unless you crave a written narration of two seasons worth of character development on Grey's then I've got nothing more to add and so I sign off and bid you good night. My blue scrub wearing peeps await.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Wasted Life in Pixels

As if my life isn't already consumed with enough boobtube time, I've now fallen head first into Grey's Anatomy. I've been following Run, Momma, Run and have been equally mystified that not only does the woman not have TIVO and no doubt still listens to The Best of Chicago on 8-Track, but intrigued by her obsession with yet another handsome-male-doctor-sassy-female-resident series. On a lark, a whim, an off-chance, I popped over to Itunes and downloaded Season 1 and 2 onto my Video Ipod. Over the past two nights I've spent nearly nine hours glued to a 2x2.5 inch color screen squinting my brains out as Derek and Meredith flash pure adorability in each other's direction and even now I'm salivating as I think of the remaining 27 episodes of Season 2 that are waiting for me.

Darn that momma!
I do not need this. Why?

Shows on Phatgirl's Viewing Screen
  • 60 Minutes
  • 20/20
  • 48 Hours Mystery
  • Dateline NBC
  • Top Chef
  • Project Runway
  • Queer Eye
  • Little People, Big World
  • Miami Ink
  • Law and Order
  • Law and Order: Criminal Intent
  • Law and Order: SVU
  • Antique Roadshow
  • POV
  • Food Network Challenge and Specials
  • Road Tasted
  • Ace of Cakes
  • The Next Food Network Star
  • Iron Chef and Iron Chef America
  • Everyday Italian
  • Unwrapped
  • Throwdown with Bobby Flay
  • A Cook's Tour
  • The Office
  • Survivor: Cook Island
  • Amazing Race 10
  • Inside the Actor's Studio
  • Workout
  • Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Intervention
  • Kidnapped
  • Real World
  • Property Ladder
  • Flip That House
  • Million Dollar Listing
  • Celebrity Poker Showdown (I watch for the comic genuis of Dave Foley!)
Channels Phatgirl Closely Monitors
  • The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC)
  • Bravo
  • TLC
  • A & E
  • Sundance
  • The Food Network
  • History Channel
  • HGTV
Wow. Having it all written out like that makes it look like I have no life beyond television.

Oh well. Too bad. So sad. I can't sit around here moaning about it all night when Season 2 awaits.

Five and Counting

This is the view from where I sit with my desperately-needy-for-attention leg being presently pampered with compression socks, two bags of ice and a side dish of anti-inflammatory medication coursing through my system. This is Tuesday. The marathon is on Sunday. Last check, that leaves me five days to mend. Here's the two minute cliff-notes on what led to this little predicament.

Friday. September 15. My second 20 mile walk. At mile 10 the beginnings of a blister began on my left foot. In an attempt to cushion the blister I compensated by developing an unnatural foot strike that strained the major muscle group that begins under the big toe, moves up the center point of the top of the foot and then takes a curve left toward the outer calf and up the leg. Go to if you need more precise directions. At mile 14 the discomfort set in and by mile 18 I wanted my mommy or strong mind-altering drugs that would prevent me from caring about what was happening at ankle level. Mommy or drugs. Whatever I can get my hands on first. These are my two default choices when pain, emotional or physical, is acutely present.

In the nine days that followed my LSD (which is anything but S when accompanied by my sister who wouldn't know S if it hobbled up and wacked her on the behind) I didn't go on any training walks at all. Instead my left foot was iced and simmered, electrically shocked, topically cortisoned, massaged and stretched by the physical therapist. Hurray, improvement! The swelling reduced, the soreness eased, and the stiffness loosened.

Yesterday I went to the physical therapist for a final visit before heading up to Portland in the evening. Following the appointment I went on a four mile walk. At mile 2 (13:50 mpm) the ankle began to tigthen. At mile 3 (14:05 mpm) it felt like it was being gripped by a vise. After waddling through mile 4 at a snail-burning pace of 18:00 mpm, I was back to the physical therapist for an unplanned appointment and an equally unplanned lecture.

I've worked with two separate physical therapists in the office, Maria and Derek. Casual, easy-going, well-trained and qualified. Good people aside from their 'no-whining' rule which they'll eventually relinquish once I wear them down. In addition, there's someone else in the office, an older refinely-dressed gentleman who apparently thinks he knows everything just because there's a Dr. in front of his name. Whatever. So Maria, whom only minutes before I really really liked before she decided to rally the forces, called Dr. Mr. Smartypants over for a consultation, at which time he made the suggestion that I reconsider walking in the marathon.

Reflecting back, I believe that's pretty much the same moment when I noticed a swarm of pigs flying by outside the office window. I didn't mention the pigs to Dr. Mr. Smartypants nor the loud "Are you out of your Hippocrates-loving mind?!" imploding in my cerebral cortex but instead I smiled warmly (or was it patronizingly?) and using words limited to two syllables so as to heighten the odds of comprehension said "That's. Not. An. Op-tion." He countered back with a continuation of the original Mighty Dr. to Lowly Patient lecture but by that time all I could hear was "Blah-blah-blah. Blah. Blah-blah-blah-blah."

Insert disclaimer here. I'm not actually so cynical or disrespectul concerning medical professionals. In reality everyone at the physical therapy office, from the receptionist to the aforementioned Dr. Mr. Smartypants are professional, warm, and really wonderful. My quips are solely about increasing blogger-tainment value for if I'm not amusing, how can I keep you from abandoning me?

So, these are the facts which have me bouncing back and forth between being upbeat or downcast, optimistic or pessimistic, half-full or half-empty, ying or yang, salt or peppa'.

Yes, I'm concerned that this crazy foot thing is going to keep me from my singularly-focused goal of the past nine months, a goal that I've worked toward and obsessed about nearly every day. I'm anxious about how my foot is doing at every particular moment and how it will be on Sunday morning? Will I be able to finish the marathon? Will I have to concede somewhere on the road and if so, where? How far can I go? I'm frustrated this is getting in the way of those last leisurely tapering walks I fanticized about nearly as much as I did the actual race, and of taking a little away from the full-throttle fun and excitement of race week. And I'm worried that if things don't get better this is never going to happen for me because I have no intention of dedicating the same amount of time and energy in the future to train for another full marathon. Half, yes. Full, nevah. In the eloquent rhetoric of contemporary culture, this sucks!

But given all that, there's no need to hide sharp implements or position trampolines under the windows of every tall building because the concern, anxiety, frustration and worry are way in the background of my overactive mind. What has the bigger part of my emotional energy is the Doris Day serenity that 'what will be will be.' I'm going to do the very best I can do to nurse my foot back to good health and on Sunday morning whatever I have is what I have and that's what I'll worth with. I'm grateful that this is the biggest problem I have to deal with today in a world filled with uncertainties about things that are far more life-threatening and dream-shattering than possibly not being able to finish a long walk on a Sunday morning. I'm excited about meeting online walking friends for the first time and cheering them on to reach their goal and of participating in all the pre-marathon hubbub. I'm so appreciative of all the support and encouragement that's been lavished on me over these months leading up to Sunday, and I'm proud of what I've achieved in even getting to this place in the first place.

My intention and plan is to finish every single step of the marathon but if I have to say "uncle" somewhere out on the road, I'll be content knowing that I did everything I could do. How can you give more than your best?

In other words, I embrace my inner Polly Anna while releasing my inner Eeyore. Besides, the photo above is a very real view from where I sit but so is the photo to really, how can a girl complain too much when something this stunning is right outside the window?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I Don't Speak Mandarin

As I mentioned in an earlier entry I took my walking shorts to the nearby dry cleaners to have an additional five mesh pocket panel sewn onto the front waistband, a panel of pockets that I removed from another pair of so-tight-I-would-pass-out-wearing-them-and-look-like-a-doofus-in-the-process shorts. The seamstress who had sewn the other panel of pockets perfectly on the back of the waistband wasn't there so I attempted to communicate my wishes in English to another employee who speaks English minimally. Despite my initial impression that she wasn't really grasping what I was requesting be done, she continued to nod and say enthusiastically, "Oh yes," and so I left my shorts and pockets confidently in her care. Yesterday I went to the dry cleaners to pick up my shorts. The pockets were sewn on just where I wanted them. There was just one small problem, perhaps so insignificant that I shouldn't even mention it but it seems the pockets, all five of them, were sewn onto the front of my shorts...shut.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wine Whining

My taste runs along the line of Diet Coke and iced espresso. I don't like wine. Red or white, it makes no different. Simply put, it's icky. Two buck Chuck from Trader Joes or a thirty dollar bottle of Chardonnay from Napa Valley all taste the same to me; a taste somewhere between apple vinegar and cat pee. Cat pee, by the way, is an actual descriptive used by some wine experts for Riesling. A master sommelier will look at you with a straight face, describe the underlying fragrance of an expensive German Riesling as being reminiscent of cat pee, and then sell you a bottle of it for 25 dollars. Oh yeh, by all means, charge it to my account Jacques.

Be it noted, my Dana enjoys wine. She not only likes to drink wine on rare occasions but is completely fascinated by the wine-making process from vineyard to bottle. She reads books about wine. She browses through the wine section of the grocery store and wine shops like a kid in a candy store. Okay, like me in a candy store but that's not the point. She knows the variety of grapes that go into a particular wine and the regions where those grapes are grown. In other words, she's a smarty pants about the fermented juice of the crushed grape and while I. DON'T. GET. IT. I'm more than glad to cheer her on in her interests as she does with mine, those including my collection of Pez Candy Dispensers (over 300 at last count) and training for a marathon.

What this means is that I do winey things with Dana and try not to whine while doing them. I'm more successful sometimes than I am at other times. By winey things I'm talking day trips to Napa Valley to visit local wineries and attending a Wine Festival in Mendocino County where I played the role of official purse carrier while she engaged in conversations with vineyardians or whatever you call those people in terminology that sailed right over my pretty little head. We even trekked to Sears recently to purchase a small wine refrigerator that now hums contentedly full at the end of our garage which I fear will accidently be mounted on the front of my bumper one day when I pull the car in too quickly or too wearily. But rather than dwelling on a future calamity, let's refocus on the big wine happening of last night that saw me accompanying my beloved to an evening class at the Ferry Building in San Francisco entitled "Wine Tasting Technique Deconstructed."

Let it be noted for the record that I was allowed to attend but only on the condition that when sipping the wine I didn't scrunch up my face after each sip, mimic the motion of vomiting followed by exaggerated and forced gulping sounds as though it were poison (or cat pee) being introduced into my system, and conclude the performance by muttering in loud disgust "Yuck, it takes just like vinegar!" I have apparently done this. Often. In public. For reasons that are beyond me, Dana doesn't find this type of behavior charming, and all the while I thought I was a real cutiepie doing the mock gag routine. Next thing I'm going to find out is that baby talk is a real turn-off and then what will I have left with which to woo her?

Seriously, it was a truly delightful evening, and I would say that even if Dana didn't read my blog regularly. That a good report will contribute to sustaining domestic harmony within our household is not influencing me in any way whatsoever.

Okay, now I'm serious. Last night was a beautiful and comfortably warm evening and the class was held in a rather elegant conference room on the second floor of the Ferry Building with an entire wall of full length windows overlooking the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island and all the standard yet spectacular sights that make San Francisco the stunning city on the bay that it is. The master sommelier who led the class was an interesting guy and despite finding the whole spitting into a bucket thing nauseatingly gross, he was entertaining and quite funny. Funny in an intentional way, not in a "we're all laughing at you but you don't get the joke" kind of way.

We learned how to identify and describe the various components of wine from acidity to tannin, from woody to fruity, and ironically I received some of the most genuine praise of the evening from said master sommelier when I described the fragrance of Chateau Gravas Sauternes, Bordeaux 2003 as being like that of fresh Tupperware. Obviously I have a nack at this whole booze biz. So what if I don't drink, don't like to drink, don't wanna drink.

And so we swirled and stiffed and sipped, and I'm happy to report that wine that smells like cat pee doesn't necessarily taste like cat pee. I still found it's taste to be inarguably icky but at least I wasn't looking under the table for a nearby litter box. Okay, but here's the funny thing and I'm sorry but this is so funny to me that I have to dwell on it a little longer. There's an entire room of upscale people who have paid handsomely to attend this wine offering. They've traveled into the city from the 'burbs to make a night of it, probably with plans to go to a fancy-schmanzy dinner afterwards as their attire would have indicated, not that Dana and I felt underdressed in our blue jeans and teeshirts, mind you. So here you have it, a roomful of people held captive as a master sommelier instructs them to all lift each glass in progression, swirl it and sniff it while they thoughtfully explore and articulate the fragrance of the wine. "This one has a citrus undertone...a hint of black currant...a delicate floral bouquet...the ever-so distant suggestion of dark chocolate." I'm fine with these. Truly I am. But the other smells that were brought to mind with each whif of the wine and noted verbally were, and I could not make this up if I tried, cat pee, the thick scent of petroleum, the plastic coating on disposable diapers, fingernail polish remover, musty rot, wet earth, and yes, I'm proud to say, fresh Tupperware. They identify these fragrances as wafting up from their wine glasses, they articulate it as such and then, they drink it.

Does anyone else find it uproariously bizarre that the very thing one would describe as smelling like gasoline or damp dirt in one minute is sipped the next minute followed by a contented sigh of decadent delight? Maybe it's just me but I kept thinking of how someone will gulp or eat something horrible, tell you it's the worse thing they've ever tasted in their entire life and then holding it in front of your face say "Here, taste it." Obviously I'm lacking in culture since I'm simply not all that interested in taking a sip of cat pee scented wine anymore than I am of taking a big old sip of milk 2 weeks after it's expiration date. Call me crazy.

I conclude by offering you a few photos that are evocative of what I've already articulated so eloquently.

The three photos below, in order, are as follows:

  1. My wine tasting glasses at the start of the evening.
  2. My wine tasting glasses at the conclusion of the evening. (The empty glass on the far right being that of the one that tasted like liquid vanilla sugar)
  3. Dana's wine tasting glasses at the conclusion of the evening.

I will allow the evidence to speak for itself.

T'was the Week Before the Marathon...

I'm taking taper time to a whole new level and I gotta tell you, it's pretty sweet! In fact, I'm thinking tapering is nearly as rewarding after months of increasingly long training walks as is crossing the finish line on race day. Okay, that's not true. Nothing will be as sweet as crossing the finish line. I was just trying to make a point. Point made but at the cost of a narrative digression. Reverse engines.

I was actually headed in this direction, that being that I haven't done any training walks since my final LSD last Friday because I'm still dealing with Triple S (swelling, soreness, stiffness) in my ankle. I'm usually a quick healer, a compliment medical personnel have often given to me as though I have anything to do with my recuperative tendencies, so I'm surprised by the little progress that's going on here. Regardless, I'm going to plow through a measely 4 miler tomorrow because I can't stand the thought of a total week's mileage of 0. Ouch! My ego just whined in agony. I'm going to follow that up with a final physical therapy appointment on Monday morning and then it's off to Portland for a week where I plan to put in 2-3 miles every day up until THE day. THE day. My stomach just dropped. Excitement. Nervousness. Anticipation. Anxiety. This Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. I'll be able to say "Next week at this time I'll have crossed the finish line." Consider my mind officially blown. You were here when it happened.

It's true that I'm not particularly thrilled that I'm going into marathon week with a widgey ankle but I'm not discouraged or too concerned about it either since it's not going to prevent me from walking across the starting line or the finish line. It just means the journey between the two might be a little less comfortable than I would prefer but hey, the good news is that if my ankle is sore enough I'll hardly notice my aching back, my sore calves, my swollen hands, my thirst, my full bladder, my stiff knees, the heat, the hills, and the fact that my sister will no doubt be fresh as a daisy going into mile 23 while I'm whining, limping, and auditioning for the lead role in "The Anguished Phatgirl." I invite anyone standing on the sidelines to slap her if they notice her dancing to her Ipod at any point in the marathon. It's SO annoying and if I didn't love her so much I'd despise her!

That's why I'm attempting to even the playing field. I know I can't get as fast as my sister by next Sunday so I've taken action to slow her down with random shipments of cookies, chocolates, and other phat-producing foods yet to be delivered to said sister's front door. Seriously, I read an article just today in the new issue of Runner's World Magazine. It seems the experts are now recommending sugar-stuffing and fat-filling in addition to carbo-loading. It makes for a more well-rounded athlete. Seriously Sis. I'm not kidding. Eat. You'll go faster. Trust me.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Loose Ends

Perfect Phatgirl Shorts

I heard about these great compression shorts from RaceReady that had a strip of five mesh pockets sewn just under the back waist band. Five pockets! How could I not order them and yet imagine my surprise when the men's XXL fit me about as generously as would a pair of hot pants from Malibu Barbie's Island Summer collection. Not to be defeated I purchased a pair of big bike shorts from Aerotech Designs, removed the strip of pockets from the size baby butt shorts and had them sewn onto the back of the size rotund rump shorts and presto-chango, a perfect pair of phatgirl pants with plenty o' pockets! I took them on a test run on my last 20 minus 1 miler training walk and they were awesome! The pockets held several Cyromax Energy Gels, a small pack of Kleenex, a Larabar, and my cell phone.

Just imagine how beyond perfect they're going to be after I sew yet another strip of the pockets onto the front of them! Even as I type they are in the care and keeping of the local dry cleaners. Just enough additional pockets for my digital camera, earphones for my Ipod Nano, several wads of hydration chewing gum, and my emergency kit including blister pads, safety pins, and a couple tablets of Alleve. A plethora of pockets! Oh joy oh bliss!

Cytomax Energy Gel versus Clif Bar Shot Bloks

After a fair amount of experimentation, I'm leaning toward Clif Shot Bloks for the marathon instead of the Cytomax Energy Gel I've been using through most of my training.

The Cytomax Energy Gel is limited to two flavors (orange and vanilla) but both are pleasant tasting enough and the orange has the bonus of a caffeine jolt. Not much variety to speak of but when I'm dragging at mile 18 I don't even have the mental capacity to choose between Wild Berry Blast with French Toffee Cream and Chocolate Fudge Chocolate Chip Mint Crunch. I'm in a marathon people, not standing in line at Ben and Jerry's! The other downside to the Energy Gel is the same as it is with every brand, namely I'm a messy eater and I'd feel like a major goof ball licking my sticky fingers in front of the throngs of spectators six or seven random souls that remain on the sidelines.

When it comes to the Shot Bloks there's a lot to be desired in the firm gelatin texture and the flavors have a bit of a medicinal aftertaste to them. In other words, visions of Bill Cosby holding a J-E-L-L-O box don't dance through your head. In their favor there are more flavor options and two of them, orange and black cherry contain caffeine. I would imagine in warm or hot weather they'd get a little sticky themselves but in cool weather they're easy to handle. Three bloks equals one energy gel and takes up about the same space in my precious pockets so I'm going with Clif Shot Bloks.

With all the free advertising in this entry for RaceReady, Aerotech Design, Clif Shot Bloks, and Cytomax Energy Gel I'd think I'd be offered at least one endorsement contract. DId I happen to mention I'm wearing a Nike Dri-Fit teeshirt and Brooks running shoes...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Oh Happy Day!

This morning began with a physical therapy appointment. It seems my inflamed tendons and swollen stiff ankle is nothing more than the by-product of a 1/4-inch blister on the bottom of my foot. At mile 10 I began to feel the blister coming on and apparently to cushion it, I nconsciously held back my foot drop, creating an unnatural strain to the major muscle group running from the toe up the leg. In an attempt to avoid a minor discomfort, a more significant problem developed. There's a metaphorical life lesson somewhere in there but I'm simply too superficial today to foray into deep thoughts so let's hold on to it for another day, another dollar.

Back to my foot. After an hour of massage, alternating hot and cold water plunges (swirling hot water good, ice water bad), topical cortisone treatment, and electrial circuits, my ankle remains swollen yet sufficiently pampered. The good news is that it will be fine in time for the marathon in less than two weeks. The better news is that on order of my physical therapist I'm to limit myself to shorter walks until that time. "Oh heck, no more long walks? Oh well, doctor knows best" said phatgirl beaming from ear to ear.

I think I'm a marathon-related hypochondriac. In the weeks prior to my first half-marathon this summer I went through a series of back to back health issues including a miserable cold with accompanying tuberular-sounding cough, a strained back that grounded me for nearly a week, and a particular brutal battle with the Evil Twins. In recent weeks it's been a strained acheilles tendon, a recurring bladder infection, ongoing back aches and now the inflammed tendon on the upper foot. I get so anxious in the weeks prior to the event that something will happen to keep me from participating that I might very well be psyching myself into the aches and pains. I shudder to think that phatgirl is a wooseypants worrier but admitting the problem is the first step so there you go. Admission made.

With less time spent walking there's more time for binge shopping at REI and the local runner store. My booty for the day includes Second Skin Blister Pads in varying sizes, double-layer running socks (can you really ever have too many?), Orange-flavored Shot Blocks, a water bottle with an ergonomically-correct hand strap, and sundry other items that I could well live without but that somehow made me feel more sporty simply by virtue of buying them. I'm broke but I'm sporty. Whatever works.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


8:32 p.m.
I'm in shock. With only 13 days remaining until the Portland Marathon, I received an email minutes ago from my sister asking if I was interested in registering for the Long Beach "Run the Beach" Marathon or Half-Marathon taking place on October 15. That would be October 15 of 2006. If you don't have a calendar readily available, that's t-h-i-s year, or more precisely 27 days from today or exactly 14 days after the Portland Marathon. Only days ago she said something about being relieved that the Portland Marathon would be over soon because she was done with the long training walks. Done. Finito. Over and out.

I never saw my sister's side into insanity coming and I'm not sure what I'm suppose to do. Do I call 9-1-1? Do I call Mom? Is this the kind of thing that requires an intervention with a trained facilitator? Was I wrong to respond in email that I thought she was a crazy wacko?

8:49 p.m.
I just checked my email again. Another note from my sister. This time she's asking if not the Long Beach Marathon, how about the Seattle Marathon at the end of the year. 26.2 miles in northwest winter weather on Thanksgiving weekend. On one hand it makes sense; justification for carbo-loading at Thanksgiving dinner. And yet that seems an extreme measure even for my sister. No. There remains no doubt. My beloved sister has snapped. I will always cherish the memories I shared with her when she was in her right mind. Or perhaps she never was.

I'm calling Mom.

9:15 p.m.
Whew. I'm relieved to report my sister hasn't lost her loose bag of marbles after all. In her third installment the truth has come out. She had a pavement burning 11:53 minute mile today. In her words, that is her "PB" and she's psyched about it. PB. She even knows the lingo. Okay. I'm impressed. I'll admit it. And proud. Yeh, that too. Okay, and jealous. There. I said it.

Oh. I just had a thought. While Barb was here this last weekend we watched the DVD "Running on the Sun," a documentary on the Badwater Ultramarathon, 135 miles through Death Valley in July.

You don't think.....she wouldn't consider.....nah.....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

One Mile Short but Close Enough...

The absence of phatgirl blog entries this week was due to life. Contrary to what you might have been led to believe I actually have one, a life that is, complete with a relationship, commitments, household chores, and a career and this week they all converged in rapid succession to curtail my loquacious blogtifications. But on a lazy Saturday afternoon I've carved out a chunk of time for blogging and I return as sassy as ever!

On Monday I logged up four miles on the dreadmill in a cycle of 120 seconds at 4.3 mph, 60 seconds at 4.6 mph, 60 seconds at 5.00 mph, 120 seconds at 4.3 mph, 60 seconds at 4.6 mph, 60 seconds at 5.00 mph, 120 seconds at 4.3 mph, 60 seconds at 4.6 mph, 60 seconds at 5.00 mph, 120 seconds at 4.3...wash, rinse, repeat. Mostly walking, some jogging, lots of sweating. It felt good despite the lack of nature and the overabundance of recirculated air.

Tuesday was work, more work, and then some work to cap off the day. No training, unless walking to the office from the car and from the office to the corner coffee shop counts for interval work. No? Oh well.

Wednesday morning had Dana and I scurrying through housecleaning chores in preparation for my sister Barb and bother-in-law John's arrival that afternoon so Barb and I could do our last 20 mile training walk together before D-Day. That would be "Done Day" as in we are so done with walking so much for so long! If you've never done long-distance training, let me explain how things break down. Walking one hour is a stroll in the park, walking two hours is a solid work out, walking three hours is a major accomplishment, walking four hours is exhaustingly rewarding, but walking five hours is just insane. My no like it.

Not only that but my sister and I have arrived at the collective realization that between marathon registrations, multiple pairs of racing shoes, assorted walking clothes, Garmins, Ipod Nanos, Gu, Glide, and travel expenses, this walking is no bargain-basement priced activity! If you'd like to make a financial donation to support Phatgirl and Sister, operators are standing by now to accept your call.

After a Thursday dinner involving carbo-loading, an activity for which my sister and I have been preparing since childhood, we headed out Friday morning at 6:30 for our 20-miler. After an hour commute by car and rapid transit, we arrived in San Francisco on an absolutely perfect day! Clear skies, calm wind, cool temperatures. Our course was essentially a big loop beginning at the Ferry Building, taking us across the Golden Gate Bridge and back again, with a few side excursions along the way. A highlight of the walk was being met at mile 14 by Steve of BayCityWalker fame who had graciously waited for more than an hour to join us for the last part of the walk. We realized as we were getting close to our finish point at the Ferry Building that we were one mile short of our 20 mile walk but after nearly five hours of walking with only two GUs in our bellies, lunch sounded far more compelling than wandering in circles until our Garmins pronounced 20 miles, so 19 miles and the FINAL long walk before the marathon was done! Over and out!

In terms of how my body held up I'm happy, grateful, and relieved to report my lower back did better than ever (I stopped regularly for quick preventative stretches) and the Evil Twins were on their best behavior since I made the shift into double-digit mileage walks. This is all good news!

The not good news is that with the old and familiar aches and pains in check, my left foot rebelled on two fronts. The first was a tenderness on the bottom pad between my big toe and its next door neighbor that developed by the end of the day into a small squishy blister, possibly the result of breaking in my new Brooks on their first long walk. So said Steve and who am I to argue with "the man"?

The other problem was a growing soreness and stiffness on the front of my ankle, just above where my shoelaces tie together. Both these problems combined made the last four miles downright physically miserable though I still enjoyed the pleasure of the company of Sis and Steve. The blister is just a blister and ergo no big deal. The other problem is a little more concerning since today the area is swollen with some redness and remains sore and stiff. I'm sure it's going to be fine but it's still a bit disconcerting all the same and so it's ice until Monday morning when I get in touch with my physical therapist. Worse case scenario is that my over all marathon time will be slower than anticipated, I'll be walking with the added support of one of my nordic poles, and my sister will be forced to endure an entirely new level of whining unprecedented to date.

And speaking of my sister, let it be noted that she looks as fresh and strong at mile 18 as she looks at mile 1 and could no doubt maintain a ridiculously brisk pace for the entire distance. All of this makes for a rather combustable combination of admiration and irritation in my gut. I love her dearly and yet in a deep, dark, shadowy corner of my inner being I want to slip glue in her Gu.

In the next two weeks that remain, I'm going to tamper down a little more than my original training schedule outlined, keeping my walks to 3 and 4 miles at a time, doing more stretches, and eliminating the final 12 mile tempo walk altogether so that everything that needs to heal has time to heal. That's my plan Stan.

Friday, September 08, 2006

On the Road Again

Today was the first honest-to-goodness training walk in a week. 9 miles at a 14:19 pace accomplished in 3 laps around the hilly reservoir on a surprisingly cold day which maketh me thinketh my favorite season of the year is gloriously around the corner. I adore fall, or pum'kin season as we call it in our household. Shorter days, cold mornings, leaves in autumn colors, and sweatshirts. As much as I love teeshirts and cargo shorts, I'm ready to snuggle myself up in jeans and sweatshirts. And flannel jammies at bedtime naturally.

As I'm reading the painfully mundane content above that mysteriously detoured from my training report to autumn to my preferred bedwear, I can't help but reflect with amusement at Dana's question of the other day, "After the marathon is over, what are you going to write about on your blog?" As if I would ever be at a loss for words. Silly girl. Adorable but oh so naive when it comes to the limitless bounds of my banality. Need proof? Follow along with me if you're brave enough...

Tonight I grilled up sliced eggplant, onions, and hamburger patties that I'd stuffed with a little salami and a touch of cheddar cheese, thus negating any benefits I might have reaped from the extra super lean beef I had purchased at top dollar. It's Friday. That's my excuse for indulging in salami and I'm sticking by it, but if I may offer a ray of hope on my nutritional commitments, I used two slices of the dry grilled eggplant in favorite of bread. No refined flour. No mayo. In a just world refraining from overly-processed grain and Best Foods should cancel out the salami and cheese. This is not a just world.

For dessert, I binged on my favorite blog sites and I savored every bite! I totally love your blogs, reports on your training, stories about your family or lives, and yes, even your useless but entertaining and on occasion hysterically funny entries, but I do have one teeny-weeny issue I need to share with you. I must speak my truth, not only for my personal growth but because honesty is essential for our ongoing relationship. Though the truth is sometimes painful, I know you would want it no other way. I, on the other hand, do indeed want it another way so if I annoy you or have said something to step on your adorable little sport toes, please, for the sake of our ever-deepening relationship, keep it to yourself. I don't wanna hear it. I'll take it personally and then that will ruin everything!

Okay, now back to you. It can't always be about me, most of the time is understandable, but not all of the time. So what's with the music videos that start up automatically on your blog? I mean, hey, it's your blog and you have a right to do anything you want to do. Set your hair on fire, jump from the nearest rooftop into a children's wading pool filled with anchor worms, or wear pink taffeta with tiffany lace and I'll defend your right to do so. All I'm asking is that you would make playing the music video on your site an option for visitors (particularly loyal ones like myself) rather than forcing us to listen to your horrendous distinctive taste in current musical trends and exposing innocent wanderers to images of people shaking parts of their body that physiologically shouldn't be able to shake in that way. Please receive this information in the spirit in which it is given. It's all about the love.

So, how's that for proof of truly inconsequential verbosity? I told you so.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Pockets At Last!

After nearly a week of motionless existence, I finally got my rumpus out of the house yesterday to put in 3 quick miles and some rather brutal but brief hill work on the dreadmill at the local 24-Hour Fitness. I thought a little hill work was in order given the .53 mile 150 foot ascent that leads up to the St. John's Bridge at mile 17 in the Portland Marathon. That should be so fun, particularly given the timely insertion of the dreadhill right before mile 18 when I'll no doubt be in peak physical condition...for a door knob maybe.

Notify Runner's World Magazine, my marathon apparel has finally come together. I've decided to double up on the shorts, with compression cycling shorts under loose fit Nike training shorts. The goal here is two-fold. Follow my logical if you will. Were I to wear the loose fit Nike Training shorts alone I'd have the benefit of the two ample pockets and the breezy comfort of dri-fit fabric but would fall victim to the malady of inner thigh creep up, and if I wear the tight cycling shorts with the longer inseam alone I avoid fabric bunch up at the crotch but am left with no pockets to hold my essentials. Ergo, double up. The upside is that I've gained two pockets and freedom from the humiliation of ITCU. The downside are the extra seconds added to my time at every portapotty. The gain in pockets and salvaged pride is worth giving up my chance to shatter the marathon course record. Ahhh...and I could'a been a contender.

The best news of all is that my endless quest to find a cycling jersey with the coveted three pockets has ended! For weeks I've had nil to nada good fortune in finding a jersey that fit my plentiful phatgirl frame. While I normally wear a large in a man's tee-shirt, these cycling jerseys are a different breed altogether with their tight elastic waist and slinky fabric, but I finally found a company called Aerotech Designs that makes great cycling jerseys for the queen-size princess that I am. Because it's a man style jersey the shoulder span is too wide (though perfect should I ever make the change from walking to body building) and it's a little too long, but finally a company that says loose fit actually means loose fit, and what that means is I have pockets! Five yummy gloriously wonderful spacious pockets! Commence the happy dance!

Now we must confront the new dilemma before us, and you know what it is. What am I going to put in all those pockets?!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sugar-Free, Guilt-Free

This is my insanely lazy cat Tweety. She and I are just alike. At the present hour I'm just a lazy bumpkin laying on the couch with my laptop, my fifth appendage, heating up my belly. Since my 20 miler last Thursday I have literally done nothing in terms of training apart from a slow three mile stroll with Dana on Monday around the reservoir, which really had nothing to do with training and everything to do with enjoying a beautiful day outside with my wife. That I even mention the three mile stroll bespeaks of my desperate attempt to name any physical activity at all. Next I'll be counting bending down to unlace my shoes as a set of leg squats. Whatever relieves my guilt...

Between January and March of this year I recorded walking 107 miles on loose scraps of paper stuck into a folder. Since mid-April when I upscaled technologically to my prized Garmin 305, I've logged just over 288 miles in 70 hours at an average pace of 14:28 mpm. Let it be noted, this doesn't include dreadmill mileage or those few training walks when I left my Garmin at home in a futile attempt to not obsess over pace. Everything in me wants to estimate those unrecorded walks since January at 100 miles but that would no doubt be an exaggeration right out of the pit so give me credit for 50 unrecorded miles as a compromise and we'll call it even. Added to that, between now and the Portland Marathon on October 1, I have 90 more miles of training walks to tag on to the grand total, bringing the grand total of accumulated training miles since January until marathon day to 535 miles. 535 miles to complete a marathon of 26.2 miles.

Even as I'm amazed by the numbers, I'm more than aware that compared to most runners, joggers, racewalkers, and walkers who've been completing for years, my accumulation of miles are a relative drop in the bucket to their training and my pace a snail crawl to the way they tear up the course. As of today my walking hero Steve has chalked up 832 miles this year and there are racewalking folks over at message boards who can smoke the roads at paces of 10-12 mpm.

But here's the thing, I don't compare my accomplishments to others, at least most days since that's an emotional mudslide waiting to suck me under. Instead, I compare my accomplishments to Phatgirl, Version 2005, and let me assure you that last year's Phatgirl model never walked further or faster than she had to to get where she needed to as soon as she had to. So when I see 535 miles and an average of 14:28 for 288 of those miles, I am certifiably thrilled and proud. And maybe I won't ever walk as far as Steve or as fast as my message board pals but there's a really good chance that the 2007 Phatgirl Model will leave my stats in the dust and if she does I'll be the first one to admit she's a better woman that I.

So maybe I'm not such a lazy bumpkin after all. I'll put on my sneakers and walking shorts again tomorrow but tonight I'm just going to lay here on the couch, watch some mindless tv, blogtificate, and eat a sugar-free popsicle without a shred of guilt.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Can Full of Feathers

This morning's scripture passage (Mark 7) recounts a time when the super-religious called Jesus on the behavior of his disciples because they'd been seen eating without performing the required ritual of washing their hands. The purpose of the ritual wasn't for the sake of hygiene but holiness and they wanted Jesus to admit his disciples had flubbed up. Instead, Jesus jumps at the chance to point out that God cares little about whether a person performs external rituals and traditions but instead God places value on what flows from a person's heart. If the heart isn't centered on God, then it doesn't matter how well a person goes through the external motions of religion.

During the children's lesson I presented the kids with a shiny aluminum can with the label removed. We spent some time wondering what might be inside the label-less can until I pulled the original label from a bag and placed it around the can. Pineapple rings. The outside of the can tells us what's inside the can. Or does it?

That's when I pulled off the can's poptop lid to reveal the contents but instead of pineapple rings the can was filled with brightly-colored bird feathers! I might not be able to impress the masses but I know how to dazzle five year olds! I went on to tell the children that God doesn't care if we say all the right words in church, or if we sing the songs on tune or if we put money in the offering basket. That's just the stuff we do on the outside. Instead, God cares about our hearts. Is there love in our heart? Kindness? Goodness? Forgiveness? Compassion? It's the inside of who we are that God values and that we are to value in each other and not the outside. That's what I told them anyway, but I suspect they didn't hear a word because their full and undivided attention was focused on red, blue, yellow and green feathers.

That was my God application this morning and this afternoon brings us to my phatgirlwalking analogy.

There's nothing about me that looks like an athlete. I'm a middle-aged, chubby woman without a visible muscle anywhere on my person. I don't dress in sporty athletic wear. I can't run. I detest jogging. I don't own a gym bag and at this particular minute am clueless as to the location of my gym membership card.

But open me up and there's a pile of feathers! I'm competitive, motivated and passionate about my goal of walking a marathon. I get a high when I walk further than I've ever walked before. Even when my back is throbbing I'm thrilled with the sense of accomplishment in achieving the next goal on the journey. I tend my blisters with pride rather than annoyance. I daydream about the start of the race and the finish and smile to myself like a cheshire cat. I'm hungry.

Outside I may look like a phatgirlnapping but inside I'm pure athlete. So are you Darlin', so are you! Don't doubt it!

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's Dana's Fault

Dana and I share in household chores. Dana vacuums. I polish the wood and shine the glass. Dana cleans the cat box. I scrub the toilets. Dana takes out the garbage. I keep the patio clean and the plants watered. Dana keeps us supplied with medications, toiletries and grooming products. I buy the groceries and organize the kitchen. Dana makes the coffee. I drink the coffee.

While there are those rare occasions when I'll take out the garbage or Dana will scrub the toilets, there is one set of tasks that we never exchange. I do the cooking. Dana does the laundry. I'm the chef. She's the laundress. It's a system that works for us.
Don't mess with what works.

That's why I'm returning home tomorrow with a pink bra. I didn't pack a pink bra when I packed my suitcase for my trip to Portland. I packed a white one, and it was a white bra that went into the washing machine with my red walking shirt but it was a wet pink bra I found plastered on the washing machine drum twenty minutes later.

It's not my fault and I want that on the public record. Dana alone is responsible. The reason is because she's instituted a hard-line rule that whenever I come to Portland to visit my mom I'm to return home with clean clothes. She knows I don't do laundry, that I shouldn't do laundry and yet she doesn't want to open my suitcase and find dirty clothes mingling with clean ones. Therefore, knowing what she knows about me and about my limitations she's setting me up for failure.

It's not that I'm careless when it comes to laundry. I just think...well, I think differently. I know it's more common to think in terms of washing whites with whites and colors with colors but that's so uncreative. It also edges on political incorrectness as far as I'm concerned. And so I've developed my own system for determining what clothing to wash together. It's a simple system and I share this laundry tip soundbyte with you.

"Wear together. Wash together."

Write it down. Remember it. Use it. Especially if you like pink. And if you don't like pink...blame Dana.

The Morning After the Day Before

This entry is for the thousands upon thousands of you in the blogosphere who are this very morning plagued with worry over how I'm feeling after my 20 miler yesterday.

It's 8:30 a.m. and I just woke up. I haven't slept in this late, without benefit of medication, for as long as I can remember, and certainly for as long as I've had two cats who believe in the entire household rising before dawn to greet the day.

It appears however, that while I slept someone entered my mom's home where I'm staying, crept up the stairs, managed to unlock the guest bedroom where I lay peacefully sleeping, and proceeded to wallop the living daylights out of my legs and feet with something akin to a Fred Flintstone caveman stick.

After a shower and breakfast, I'm out the door to REI to check into a bike shirt with all those nifty pockets on the back and to the Running Store to discuss "the situation" hithertoknown as my aching feet.

Mid-Afternoon Update

This afternoon I'm definitely feeling like a ph(f)atgirl. Two bicyle shops and not a bike jersey that came close to fitting the contours of my generous hips, which leads me to the timeless question, is it really necessary to have a full-length mirror in the dressing room? It's enough to make you want to eat cake.

But not to be defeated I came home, plunked my chubby cheeks onto the chair in front of computer and was able to locate some loose-fit XXL bike jerseys at some specialty store...something like "Bart's Big Bottom Bike Shirts." Anywhooo, I ordered several from XXL to XXXL and will see what happens when UPS knocks on my door. Just in case, hide Sara Lee and her cake.

On the shoe front, I've sadly forsaken my three beloved pairs of Asics Gel DS Trainers XI for a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6 running shoes. I'm hoping with a little more padding between my tender piddy pats and the pavement and more side support my feet and back will rejoice rather than recoil. I originally went with the running flats when I was planning to incorporate racewalking and needed full flexibility for the foot roll but as it turns out, racewalking is on hold for later in my training. It's all about getting through the marathon and then refocusing on shorter distances and training that incorporates more speed over endurance work.

And I'm just kidding about the cake. Now donuts....