Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ragnar Relay Del Sol- Team Rock Solid for Solid Rock

A little more than one week before Ragnar Relay Del Sol, I joined a team of complete strangers. Having run many Ragnars with strangers, I wasn't worried about it.  I knew 30ish hours with other runners could only end in friendship.

Ragnar Del Sol runs from Wickenburg, to Buckeye, back up to Surprise and Cave Creek, over to Fountain Hills and down to Tempe.  Lots of miles, laughs, food and in and out of the van.

The team captain, Kevin, was a Ragnar virgin and I worried about over stepping my boundaries. I've learned some things over my 12 Ragnars, team and van captain experiences and wanted to share but not be overbearing.  I can be a control freak at times, especially about 'the spreadsheet' and runners paces.  It's important to me that during the race to have an idea of when someone is expected to come in.  This helps the other runners and the other van to know when they will be running.  I've had some horror stories (like the gal who ran 12 min miles but said she would run 8:30's).

Kev, despite the fact of being a CPA (which are usually anal control freaks), was quite relaxed.  The relaxed disposition could have something to do with the fact he had a stent put in only the month before.  It was ok though since we had a doctor with a complete pharmacy on board.  Kevin is going to get a huge doctor bill from Doctor Gary for the 30 hour continual monitoring and the double time billing for all the questions I asked him and the eye liner re-application I required of Doctor Gary.

Our team name was Rock Solid for Solid Rock and we were raising money for Alice Coopers youth center Solid Rock.  The best part about running for this team were the incredibly awesome long sleeves shirts and the black eye liner I got to wear to mimic Alice Cooper.  In the middle of the night I would sneak up on people wearing my orange lit hair, black eyes and say ~SPOOKY~.  Seeing their reaction was priceless.

Rather than continue my ramble, here are pictures from the race.

Will and Gary actually listening to the safety briefing.  All I remember is the gal ATTEMPTING to be funny and talking about violating someone. (It wasn't that funny at all)

Lee (wearing bib 242) is runner #1 and starts the race in Wickenburg.  Only 200 miles to go!
Lee is off to a good start 
No, no, no…don't let someone pass you.  Trip them.
Lee's doppleganger.  The van made the mistake of thinking this runner was Lee (because of the grey shirt) and from that point we called him Lee's twin.
Lee hands off to Kevin.  I think he was worried we would miss seeing him out there so he wore the brightest colors he could find.
Vulture City graveyard from 1860.  Exchange 3
Ott ready to run his leg.
Hang loose
Kev explains for lunch he'd love to eat 1/2 a turkey. Heck, if you could also have an accordion player that would be the highlight of the day.
Out of everyone, Gary was the most consistent runner.  He was right on his pace for each of the runs (the rest of us got slower and slower)
Hey dad!  I'm flying!  I'm running 7:42's!

Sunrise at exchange 24

Yep, I look just like Alice Cooper

Will, Lee and Gary (awesome father and sons picture)

There's nothing like seeing the 12th runner coming across the bridge and finishing the race.

Stephanie bailed out the team joining at the last minute and ran our team in. 

Jordan, Ott, Gary, Russ, John, Stephen, Kim, Lee, Kev,
Stephanie, Lee, Justin and me (Christina)

Thanks 'Rock Solid for Solid Rock' for an awesome time. I had a blast!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ugh....Back to Work

Ack! Tomorrow I head back to work.  Three weeks off of work after carpal tunnel hand surgery and I don't feel ready.  The lists of things I wanted to do, the peace of relaxation after being bored and the organization of the closets didn't happen.  Time went so fast and unfortunately much of the beginning of it I couldn't do much because of my hand.  

On the topic of my hand, it is healing quite well albeit very stiff and uncomfortable in the morning.  It is still challenging to hand write but typing is pretty good. Was three weeks off long enough?  Tomorrow will tell. 

So now that my "vacation" is done, what's next? First I need to get into a routine again.  Maybe with a routine and my lists I can feel sane.  Oh, scratch that...that's a fluffy concept that doesn't seem to really exist.  I'm hoping to get into a running routine, an evening reroutine of attempting to be productive and stay up on paperwork (famous last words spoken every year.) 

What do you do to stay balanced?  To prioritize and keep up with the never ending tasks? 

I'm off to make dinner, feed the kitties and ponder what my first day back shall bring.

Happy running!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Gap: An Inspirational Video by Ira Glass

Over a year ago I received a camera for my birthday and I've been practicing on improving my photography. However, the image conjured in my mind doesn't equate to the finished image on my computer screen.  This gap leads to disappointment.  This video is timely since just this morning I thought maybe I should put the camera aside. But if I did that, I would ignore the killer instinct, wouldn't improve or lessen The Gap.

While the video targets creative people, it applies to runners too. The desire to get better yet having the inevitable disappointment.

Enjoy this video by Ira Glass.
THE GAP by Ira Glass from frohlocke on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fat Cells Screaming STOP! First Run After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

I can always tell when I've had a long break from running.  I itch all over when I run.  My thighs, stomach, butt, arms... everything itches. I figure that's due to the fat cells being jiggled, not enjoying it one bit and screaming STOP!

I went for my first run after carpal tunnel surgery and my fat cells got quite comfortable in the 7 day running break and jiggled till they itched.  What didn't itch, hurt or feel numb was my hand.  Prior to surgery after 1.5 miles my right hand felt numb; so my 4 mile run was a good test and there was no numbness.

I knew prior to the surgery I was underestimating the discomfort and I was right, it hurt much more than I expected. I thought I would be able to write with a pen, work on the computer, take pictures and work on my taxes the day after surgery. It took a week before I felt I could actually write and type on the computer (although using the mouse with the left hand is still more comfortable).  I did take pictures over the weekend and took frequent breaks and learned to move the zoom with my left hand instead of the right.

One thing that surprised me and got me lots of compassion is the bruising and the swelling.  The first two days after surgery I had to keep my hand held above my heart to reduce the swelling and blood flowing into the fingers. Even though I followed doctors orders, the fingers still swelled and each day became more purple until it looked like I hadn't washed my hand for a month.
The area above the bandage changed coloring and looks bruised
If you're reading this blog because you're contemplating surgery, here's what I can tell you about post surgery:

  • Running and sleeping is without the numbness. I've heard this from other people that the relief from the discomfort from the carpal tunnel is immediate. It's just the surgery that hurts.
  • It's surgery. Don't fool yourself and think because it's a common surgery it's not going to hurt. It's still surgery and it still hurts.
  • My doctor said I could go back to work the next day or he could give me up to 6 weeks off.  I opted for three weeks off.  There is no way I could have used a computer or written with a pen the day after. After one week I'm feeling well enough to write and can type. Using the mouse is uncomfortable but lower on my arm instead of on the incision. I'm hopeful that after 3 weeks I'll feel relaxed and have some projects and my taxes done. I'll be a new person with a working right hand.
  • Each day there is more movement with the fingers and not too many things aggravate it. I can open doors now( I didn't have the strength or ability to grab a door knob the first 5 days), dressing myself is better but pulling up my pants is still a delicate situation. I have to re-position my hands a lot to prevent discomfort or twisting my hand wrong.  I haven't tried putting my bra on myself yet but will try tomorrow.
  • I kept my bandage till the 8th day and it didn't hurt to take it off. It was so wonderful showering without a plastic bag and rubberband over my hand.
  • The incision area is still going to hurt for awhile.  My doctor said that it'll probably be a couple months before I can do a pushup without feeling it.  Considering I'm not a giant fan of pushups anyways, I'm not heart broken to hold off on them.
  • Milk it for all it's worth.  I haven't had to make dinner or wash the dishes in a week and I think I can get another week out of it.
A big thanks to my sweetie for taking care of me, making my meals, doing the dishes and helping me out.  

Happy Running!

Monday, January 20, 2014

What does carpal tunnel have to do with running?

What the heck does carpal tunnel have to do with running.  In my case, it was the running that lead me to the discovery I have carpal tunnel.

It started a number of years ago.  I remember telling my coach Dean with RxRunning, on my long runs my right hand falls asleep.  Dean said check your shoulders/arms-I'm probably running tense.  I figured that as well and would shake out my arms or run like Frankenstein with my hands at my side. Gradually it got worse and I'd use my left hand to get to my water bottles on my belt and some days working Garmin and pressing buttons just wouldn't happen.  What used to take 6 miles for the tingly feeling became 3 miles then 1.5 miles. 

Two years ago I asked my doctor about the numbness while running and while sleeping and she put in an order for an xray... it's probably a pinched nerve in the neck she said.  I blew off the xray because why should money be spent on a pinched nerve.  Pinched nerves unpinch themselves, right? Last year when it started getting worse I asked again and this time went for the xray. No pinched never in the neck and so the next step was a neurologist. I almost blew that off.  Why go to a neurologist because of my hand? Luckily I didn't listen to myself and after nerve tests with the neurologist, he confirmed his suspicion, I have carpal tunnel.

A year later, after meeting with two surgeons, (the first one was arrogant and told me I couldn't run for 10 days), I  am having carpal tunnel surgery tomorrow.  I can't run for a week because I can't get the incision and stitches wet.  I'm wondering how I can challenge that...can I hike instead? Elliptical?  

So you see, carpal tunnel has everything to do with running.  Not being able to get to my water bottles and work my garmin is enough misery to go under the knife and have the surgery.  Now hopefully I'll also get my mojo and speed back.

Happy running!