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Who’s Getting Sick Next?!?

I haven’t written much in a while because I haven’t run much in a while. After my last post about spilt milk, my running was going great but everything felt really crazy. The crazy still feels crazy but I’m finally getting used to our temporary living situation. Living in my mom’s house is a little strange without her and I miss her so much. Fortunately, she’s only a phone call away – in South Dakota!

She and her husband are enjoying some incredible sites like Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands and Crazy Horse. They even sent a video yesterday of bear cubs playing. 

We’ve been staying here (in Carmichael, California) since the start of June when we closed escrow on our old house and our new house pretty much simultaneously. We’re having some work done on the new house (new kitchen and master bathroom!!) and we’re waiting it out here instead of living through the mess. At first, we were all one awkward family living together in my parents’ house – until they left for their 6-week RV trip. So now I’m trying to settle into our new routine of summer camp, swim club and being without my husband most of the time (because he has a 100+ mile commute). It’s all good but strange and like most things, it’s taking some time to adjust.

Just when I thought I was going to get used to this routine, I got sick. 

Last week, we went to Alexandria, Virginia for our annual Strauss family reunion. For the past several years, my husband’s parents and siblings and their families have all converged on Alexandria for a few days of time together. It’s always really fun and I always come away exhausted but filled with love for my family-in-law.

This year’s trip started out rocky because my love was sick on the way out there. The traveling is always pretty tough because little kids just don’t handle travel very well. Having a sick Daddy too makes the experience nearly unbearable – or at least it did for us on this trip.

Things were going great. I got in 2 beautiful runs, too. I ran 6 miles on Friday evening along the beautiful Mt. Vernon trail (from near the Woodrow Wilson bridge toward Mt Vernon). The trail begins in Alexandria/Mt. Vernon at George Washington’s incredible Potomac-front estate and makes it way through numerous parks and landmarks along the Potomac and into Washington, DC. Friday morning, I ran another 12 miles on that trail – going from a similar location (at Belle Haven Park) toward DC. Earlier in the week, it had been extremely hot and humid but by the end of the week, the heat died down and we even got some rain. It rained on my Saturday morning run but I didn’t mind because it was beautiful. Here are some shots of that run:

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This is looking from Belle Haven Park in Alexandria north toward DC, the Woodrow Wilson bridge. Across the river is a brand new town called, “National Harbor, Maryland.”

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Now north of the bridge, this is the first marker for the waterfront walking path in downtown Alexandria.

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This is a wider pic of the same column, showing the bridge in the background. This was about 1.5 miles into my run.

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Some ducks in an inlet of the Potomac.

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This is Prince Street. I love seeing this street every time we go to Alexandria. It is “original” to the time of the colonial settlers. This street is not paved…it’s all real/loose cobblestones. 

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The homes on Prince Street have real gas lamps!

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And the architectural details, like the shutters, are all original or in period style. I think it’s simply beautiful.

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Way over there in the middle of the photo is the US Capitol!

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And this is a man named Alton Booth. I came across him as I was on the northbound portion of my run. I asked him if he knew where was the next bridge to cross over into DC. He said he wasn’t a local and we ended up running together (I never did find a bridge to cross into DC!). Alton and I ran about 4 miles together, chatting about our lives, families and politics. He’s a former US Army soldier who was in DC on business and brought his family along. They live in Fayetteville, NC now. Since I normally run alone, it was really nice to run along with him and chat. Alton, wherever you are…thanks for the great conversation and the company on my run!

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And here I am, back where I started, at Belle Haven park. After 12 miles in the rain, I felt like a million bucks!

Later that evening, a few of my really good friends came over for dinner – and joined our family circle for the evening. I was in heaven until…my throat started to feel a little sore.

The next day we had to fly home and I felt miserable. I took off the entire week from running. Now it’s Sunday again and I have a 17-mile run on my training plan. It’s going to be 100 degrees in a few minutes but I really want to hit the road today. So my sister and I are going to meet and run 3 miles. Wish me luck – I’ve got a half marathon in 2 weeks and my BIG RACE in 6!

 

 

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TMI, Over-sharing and The Post I’ve Been Too Embarrassed to Write

I’m pretty far behind on posting. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I guess I didn’t feel great enough about running to write. Things have been a little weird.

On Sunday, I completed the Walnut Creek International Half Marathon. It was also really cold and I just didn’t feel quite right. I was feeling very anxious about the upcoming week and couldn’t bounce out of my funk enough to really enjoy the race.

The holiday season is always a little crazy but add to it a half marathon and an elective surgery and things get really crazy.

My 39th birthday was on Tuesday, was it definitely the high point of this crazy time…it was absolutely lovely. I celebrated with a family dinner after the race on Saturday, with bubbly happy hour with the hubs at the Press Club in SF and then again with my mom and a close girlfriend at Alta CA, also in SF. All the events were lovely and my heart was full of gratitude and joy. Now I’m 39 and that really doesn’t feel bad at all.

The next morning, my husband’s alarm went off at 5am. A little stunned from getting home at midnight, I stumbled out of bed, pulled on my sweatpants and brushed my teeth. I stored my wedding ring in the jewelry box, threw on my coat and then waited patiently while he got a chai latte at Starbucks. We got to the hospital for check-in promptly at 6am and I was taken into prep for surgery very quickly.

You see, the biggest impediment (besides running slowly) to my BQ has been my post-babies bladder. To put it plainly, I “leak” a lot. It’s been humiliating to wear incontinence pads during my runs, hoping no one notices the huge thing and further hoping it doesn’t fail me. For a while, I used a crazy device called a pessary, which is a small silicone cup designed to hold all of the girly parts in the right spots, alleviating the pressure on the bladder.

Running is the worst culprit of leakage for me, but don’t get me laughing too hard and heaven help me if I have to sneeze! After a pessary-assisted run ending with pee streaming down both my legs, I determined that the pessary wasn’t working for me. I came home to my son and nephew (5 and 8, respectively) who said, “WHOA! You PEE when you RUN? I gotta tell my Dad!!” That was a low point.

I tried doing daily kegel exercises prescribed by my “pelvic health Physical Therapist”. I did 6 months of Pilates. Between running and Pilates, my body has transformed and I’ve been so excited to wear smaller sizes. But my bladder? No noticeable change…particularly when running.

So I spent the first day of my 40th year under general anesthesia having a “mid-urethral sling” surgery. I now have a piece of mesh tape holding my urethra into the proper position to enable my pelvic floor muscles to do their jobs. Apparently it’s pretty common that the urethra swells during the surgical procedure which makes it impossible to pee. In that event, you have to wear a catheter until the swelling goes down. Guess what? I’m in the unfortunate position of having to wear a catheter. Banner day…let me tell you. Here’s hoping I’m able to pee on Monday during my “Voiding Trial” appointment at the doctor’s office. If not? I’ll be sipping my Christmas eggnog with a rubber tube attached a leg bag. Upside? I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to pee.

So keep your fingers crossed! If all goes to plan, 6 weeks from now I’ll go back to running and start kicking ass toward qualifying for Boston.

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November in NorCal Doesn’t Suck

We had our first rain this week. It lasted about 2 1/2 days and we got over an inch. I was annoyed, although I managed to run when it wasn’t raining so it really didn’t cramp my style very much.

Today, however, the weather is beautiful. It’s not hot and it is chilly but it is magnificent outside. So I decided to do a trail run. The hubs wanted to take the little folks on a little hike so the plan was for me to run from home to Old Borges Ranch (about 3.5 miles) and meet them there. It seemed like a simple enough plan.

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My little muffin wasn’t sure she wanted me to go.

I got out the door and made a quick pit stop at John Muir Hospital (when I walked in, the receptionist looked me over and said, “Uhm, may I HELP you?” Apparently people don’t run into the hospital out of breath listening to headphones everyday.

Past the hospital, I immediately started up the Briones-Mt. Diablo Trail. This is a kind of secret spot with a huge hill climb, but a great payoff.

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What a view, right? This is super close to my house and still takes my breath away every time!
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I know, right? Awesome.

About 1.5 miles into my run, hubs called to tell me he was at Castle Rock, which isn’t far from Borges Ranch so I thought we’d be fine. Glad I stopped to take a few more pictures before panic set in.

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This should be a postcard from the town of serenity.

I tried to follow my “Map My Fitness” phone app to the road marked, “Castle Rock Rd.” I thought I was getting there when I saw a parking lot. Unfortunately, that parking lot was for Old Borges Ranch. It turns out that all trails point to the Ranch! The funnier part is that I was so convinced I was on the wrong trail that I turned a few times in order to land myself there. I even limboed myself through a barbed wire cattle fence. Pretty sure a couple of dudes on mountain bikes were surprised to watch that action!

All’s well that ends well (as my hubs said!) – he finally got reception enough to call me back and came out to the ranch to pick me up.

I love living in Northern California so much. Crystal clear blue skies and t-shirt weather in late November. As my Dad used to say, “It beats a sharp stick in the eye!”

My pace was super slow and the trail was very hilly but I was grateful for the fresh air, the alone time and the ride home at the end.

Tomorrow, my sister and I are going to do a test run of the toughest part of the Walnut Creek International Half Marathon course. Wish us luck – there will be hills, hills, hills!