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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Suck It Up Chicken Butt

I think I’m the biggest chicken I know.  Tomorrow I will have my four wisdom teeth extracted.  “Extracted” sounds like such a painful and dramatic word.  I’m a 45 year old control freak who has never been under anesthesia so the thought of being completely out like a light is making me nervous, anxious, scared, oh and a wee bit terrified.  I know it’s not like I’m experiencing some kind of life or death situation but still, I shudder at the thought of  4 teeth (that aren’t even poking through my gums, mind you) being extracted from my head.  Shudder. 

happy-teeth-clip-artClip art credit

I made the mistake of Googling “how does anesthesia work?” and apparently you’re pretty much in a coma.  Great.  I scheduled a little alone time, coma-style.  Then of course I had to read about the risks:  Suffocation, allergic reaction, organ failure, stroke and death.  No biggie.  I have a very active imagination (which has become my blood pressure’s worst enemy) and was able to come up with 20 other lovely “what-if” scenarios to enhance my freak out:

  1. What if the anesthesia makes me puke?  I haven’t puked in 28 years (impressive, right?)
  2. What if I’m so out of it, I try to hit on the oral surgeon?
  3. What if I try to hit on the nurse?
  4. What if I do something crazy stupid and my husband records me and puts it on YouTube?
  5. What if it hurts? 
  6. What if the pain meds make me sick?
  7. What if I become addicted to the meds?
  8. What if I’m so addicted to the meds I end up robbing a Rite Aid or Walgreens?
  9. What if the swelling never goes down?
  10. What if they severe a nerve and my face is paralyzed?
  11. What if I get an infection?
  12. What if I start hallucinating? 
  13. What if they get in there and accidentally crack a good tooth?
  14. What if I swallow my tongue?
  15. What if I’m belligerent or crazy when I wake up and the office puts a “crazy lady” notation in my file?
  16. What if I wake up and I start to tell embarrassing stories?
  17. What if I can’t breathe because my nose is stuffed up from allergies?
  18. What if I have to go to the bathroom during surgery?  Is that possible?
  19. What if my blood pressure is so high that something bursts internally?
  20. What if I’m worrying about all of this for nothing?

That’s the note I’ll end on.  I’m probably worrying about all of this for nothing.  I’ll just suck it up and think of it this way:  I’ll have a four day weekend, I’ll get to eat ice cream and pudding, my family will wait on me for a few days, I’ll be drugged for a couple days…Hey,  maybe this won’t be so bad after all!  But I’m still a chicken butt.

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So You’re Going to Run a Half Marathon Part 5 – The Day Of the Race

Greetings and welcome to the post I have fondly titled, “So You’re Going to Run a Half Marathon Part 5  – The Day of the Race.”  This is my fifth post in a series of I don’t know how many, about preparing for your first half marathon.  How many half marathons have I run, you ask?  One so far.  So with that nugget of information, understand I’m not claiming to be a running expert.  I’m just a new runner sharing information that I wish I would have known prior to training for and running my first half.

Before composing this post, I decided to wear my coveted Half Marathon shirt so while writing, I could relive my glory days.  OK, OK, my glory day.  It was a great day indeed!  I will not go into hard core details here but feel free to read my post about surviving my first half.  It’s about things I thought I did well, things I would do differently and helpful advice I received along the way.

Oh look, here’s my shirt:halfmarathonshirt.jpg

There are a lot of things to take into consideration on race day so what helped me maintain my sanity was to make a list a day or two before the race so I was totally ready to roll when I woke up on race day.

Let me be up front with you.  I am a planner and I mean Planner with a capital P.   I’m a nut job list maker and a freaky control freak so imagine the lists I had going on for this Half Marathon.  A training list, a food list, a vitamin list, an accessories list, a to-do list, a to-don’t list, you name it.

My “Things To Do the Night Before” list looked something like this:

  • Try on clothes – (just to make sure everything is there)
  • Take clothes off and set out for morning – (keep everything together so you’re not running around the house looking for your good luck socks…trust me)
  • Pin bib to shirt – (it’s a good thing I did the night before because I fussed with it for 15 minutes…don’t ask…I had placement issues)
  • Set alarm (wake up early enough to eat, digest, do your business…if ya know what I mean, hydrate, get dressed, drive to the race, walk around, take it all in and get pumped.  You don’t want to rush around the morning of your first half)
  • Set out breakfast items
  • Pack up all accessories – (the accessories deserve a list of their own)
  • Charge iPod/phone – (race day is NOT the day you want your device to run out of juice)
  • Remember to enjoy the day – (everyone says that but around mile 11 you might not be feeling the love…just keep going.  The love will come)

My “Essential Accessories For Race Day” list looked a lot like this:

  • Fanny pack (or ‘running belt’ for those of you not stuck in the 80’s like me)
  • Water
  • Gummy candy things, energy bar, (some people bring gels (like GU).   My body says boo to goo…makes me gag)
  • Chapstick
  • Tissue (I have gnarly allergies and need tissue…lots and lots of tissue)
  • Headband
  • Sun Visor
  • Arm Warmers
  • Jacket
  • Extra Safety pins (even though I pre-pinned my bib to my shirt, I brought extras just in case…that’s the planner in me)
  • Sunglasses
  • Keys
  • ID
  • Money for a beer after (not really).  Money for a taxi, just in case.
  • Fully charged iPod/phone/electronic device that plays music in your ears.
  • Watch

I know what you’re thinking.  I’m one of those people who over packs for a weekend get away.  Yes, I am, but I only bring the essentials and all the things I listed above were essential to me on race day.

You’ll have a lot on your mind before race day, so get a list together to help keep you on track. 

Another thing that is important is to make sure you have some cheerleaders at the finish line to cheer you on.  My husband and son were there with smiles and cheers and my son made a poster that read, “Way to go Mom.  You’re Beast!”  I’m not sure what that means but I think it’s a good thing and it made me smile extra hard at the finish line. That was the best feeling…to see the faces of people I love after a grueling run.  So be sure to invite some familiar and friendly faces to meet you at the finish!

Another thing I wish I knew is how anxious I would be the night before and morning of the race.  Part of my anxiety (other than the fact that I was about to subject my body to 13.1 miles of running) had to do with the fact that I was running this unfamiliar half marathon thing alone.  I was alone in a sea of  people.  Did that line choke you up just a little? Anyone?  Anyone?  🙂  Really, I was running without a buddy so it was kind of weird to be around so many people who were running the race with a friend, partner or group.  I quickly learned (well, it took me almost 3 hours) that by the time the finish line came around, most people were crossing it solo.  I started to feel less alone when I realized that everyone out there had the same goal…to cross that finish line!  It sounds corny but there is a camaraderie thing happening out there so my advice would be to enjoy it at the beginning, middle and end of the race. 

My last piece of advice would be to really do your research on preparing for your first half marathon.  There are very important factors to keep in mind:  What to eat/what not to eat, staying hydrated, cross training, stretching, the list goes on.  Here are some great websites that offer tons and tons of information:

Also search WordPress for running blogs.  There are so many bloggers out there who offer a wealth of information.   Some of my faves include:

Check them out if you are looking for interesting running experiences, knowledge, product reviews, amazing accomplishments, and difficult challenges…you name it!

Runners out there – anything you wish you would have known before running your first half marathon?

Puppy’s Plot to Push Me Over the Edge

I’m pretty sure my puppy is plotting to drive me absolutely bat $h!t crazy…Crazy enough to be taken somewhere far, far away where I can get the necessary help.  Sure, Finn is a cute little guy and for the most part fairly innocent looking, but I think when he is alone in his crate, he is busy plotting and planning his revenge on us humans. 

You might laugh and think puppies aren’t that smart but I have proof…Proof that Finn is trying to drive me crazy:

whippetcountersurfs  Exhibit A – Counter Surfing:  He constantly surfs our counter tops and I do not know how to stop it.  Any suggestions?  One night he even stole my dinner off the counter.   I was downstairs walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes and when I came back upstairs to eat dinner, imagine my surprise when dinner was missing…gone…vanished…poof?!?!  I did find two super happy dogs nearby so I knew Finn scored the goods with his super counter surfing skills and both he and Theron enjoyed my dinner.  Are dogs even supposed to like Taquitos?

 whippetbegging  Exhibit B – Begging at the Dinner Table:  Need I say more?  Even our adult whippet, Theron,  who is very sophisticated, partakes in the dinnertime begging.  She’s just smart enough not to get caught on film.

 whippetpapertowels  Exhibit C – Paper towel destruction:  This drives me crazy on two levels.  One, paper towels are not cheap.  Two, when he shreds them, pieces of paper towel end up all over the house and it’s a pain in the butt to pick them all up.  Notice Finn looking away like he has no idea why I’m so mad?

 whippettakesboot  Exhibit D – Stealing Boot Liners:  Sure, he loves chewing on the actual boot, but he finds a certain pleasure in carefully removing all the liners from our shoes and boots and hiding them making it impossible to wear said shoe or boot.  The fluffy boot liners are the best. Again, notice the smug look on his face?

 whippettreatstealer Exhibit E – Stealing Treats from Jacket Pocket:  Yep, he’s a thief.  I was sitting on the couch one day and he brought over a snack and ate it in front of me (like he was trying to make me jealous, whatever).  He left then came back with another one.  What???  Where are the treats coming from, anyway?  So I watched where the little bugger was going and he kept going back to my husband’s jacket where there is a secret snack stash in the pocket.  Guess what honey?  The snack stash is no longer a secret.

  whippetoncouch Exhibit F – Couch Hogging:  We do not have a lot of seating in our living room…Enough for the family which consists of 3 humans and two whippets.  But in order for all of us to fit on the two couches, there is some seating  strategy involved.  We all know where we belong on the couch…except for Finn here.  He basically took up the entire couch when he fell asleep one night so the rest of the family had to come up with a new seating strategy.  And another thing, what kind of dog sleeps like that anyway?

whippettongue Exhibit G – Mocking Me:  You may not be able to tell in this photo so let me explain.  This is a picture of a whippet puppy, Finn, trying to make me jealous by hugging my husband and then sticking his tongue out at me probably thinking, “Neener, neener old lady.  He loves me more than you.”

How could I not go crazy with all these puppy shenanigans taking place day in and day out?

 whippetinsnow2

Does your dog or puppy ever do things that drive you crazy?  Or are you too crazy about your dog to even notice?

So You’re Going to Run a Half Marathon Part 4 – The Mental Stuff

Welcome to Part 4 of my posts about prepping for your first half marathon.  My youngest sister, Amy, will be running her first half this year so I’m offering her oodles of advice since I just ran my first half last October and everything is still fresh in my mind!  Over the last few weeks I’ve covered these topics:

  1. Researching your first half marathon
  2. Getting a training plan in place
  3. Acquiring the necessary gear

Thank you to all the runners who have commented with your additional advice.  It is very much appreciated and I learn so much from you!

This week’s post is about the mental stuff.  This is the most intimidating topic for me because I don’t feel like a Mental Rock Star so this post will offer more perspective than advice.  I will save the advice for the pros whose accomplishments make them worthy of giving advice.  I’m just not there yet.  🙂

When you commit to running a half marathon, you have to mentally prepare and, like the physical preparation, it does not happen overnight.  When I decided to run a half marathon, I had a whole 2 weeks of running experience under my belt and I had to ask myself, “What is the longest race I can run that will not kill me?”  I thought that running  26.2 miles would for sure end in death so I decided not to die and went with running a half marathon.  I believed 13.1 miles surely wouldn’t kill me…and it didn’t.   So I made the decision, registered for the race, and committed to this thing called ‘training for a half marathon’. 

Truth be told, there were some things that I was not quite prepared for when it came to the mental components of my training:

  • Training time – I believe it’s very important to stick to your training schedule and sticking to a schedule takes time…A LOT of time.  It also takes a great deal of commitment so other things, like life, can get temporarily pushed aside.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not totally all-consuming but it can be if you let it.  Everyone’s priorities are different so before your training gets underway,  figure out how it will fit into your life and communicate that to your friends and family.  The last thing you want is for everyone to think you’re blowing them off.
  • Long runs and The Wall– As you continue to train, your long runs get…well, longer.  When I ran my first 11 mile long run there was a point when I actually wanted to stop and sit down and cry a little.  It was toward the end of the run, around mile 10, and I was ready to call it quits knowing I had only one mile to go.  I was doing okay physically but my mind kept whining, “This is hard.  I want a ride home.  I’m tired.  Why am I doing this?  This is stupid.  I’m dizzy.  My leg hurts.  I want to go home now.”   Maybe this is what ‘hitting the wall’ is about…when you get so tired and your body is so depleted of fuel that you feel like you can’t go on.   Here’s a great article from runnersworld.com titled, “Against the Wall – How to avoid hitting the notorious roadblock—and strategies for coping if you do.”  It offers some great advice on how to cope when you ‘hit the wall.’   I wish I had known this stuff before my half.  Keep in mind that there will be days when your runs are fantastic and there will be days when your runs just suck.  It’s ok to have a bad day.  It happens to everyone!  Just don’t get hung up on it.
  • Self-Talk – We all do it.  Talk to ourselves in our head.  Some of us, myself included, talk out loud to ourselves.  That’s ok too, although we may look a little on the crazy side….which is fine with me.  During my half marathon training, I would listen to a lot of music because I found that without any noise in my ears, I would do some self-talk that was counter-productive to accomplishing my running goal.  Some people thrive on visualization, meditation, mantras, etc. and that is what keeps them motivated during their runs.  Sadly, I am not one of those people and  I need distracters – music, audio books, a friend to run and talk with, those kinds of things.  Left alone in my own head, I start to complain to myself (see above example…“This is hard.  I want a ride home.  I’m tired….”).  I find this interesting because I’m not a complainer in “real life” so something about the physical/mental discomfort that comes with a long run makes me a whiner.  I figured out a solution though…I put things into perspective and remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, I should not be complaining about ANYTHING.  Life is good and I CAN run so I should be thankful and run like the wind, not like a whiney baby.  That usually does the trick.  Switch my mental focus to all things positive, not negative.

So, as far as mental stuff goes, be prepared to learn a few things about yourself and once you do, you’ll need to figure out what you’re going to do about it.  Surprisingly, this running thing can be just as mental as it is physical and it shouldn’t be any other way!

Runners, do you have any mental obstacles that you have learned to overcome?