Tuesday, August 28, 2012

runner's stitch

On yesterday's run I got that old dreaded "runner's stitch."  You know...that pain in your side?  I hadn't had that since I was a kid.  I guess it comes with how much harder I'm trying to push myself to hustle.  

I Googled it (what did we ever do before the Google?) to find out the "why" and "how not to" about runner's stitch.  Seems it's a bit of a mystery.  Some think it comes from breathing too shallowly, which causes basically a cramp in the diaphragm.  Some think it's from one's guts bouncing around too much and pulling on the diaphragm in a specific way.  Some think it's from always exhaling on the same stride - say, the left foot, for example - and thus working the diaphragm in an uneven way.  What I get from this is it seems to be all about the diaphragm.  LOL   The only non-diaphragm answer I read was something about how running downhill might make it worse because it stresses the whole body in general more.  I actually LOVE running downhill...love feeling how it works in my butt and the front of my thighs.  I ain't giving up my running downhill.  And besides, the stitch happened on the flat part of my run.

The important thing here is not so much the cause but what to do about it, I say.

Possible tactics for dealing with it include intentional deep breathing BEFORE running, pursing one's lips to blow hard (like blowing a trumpet) AMIDST running, when the stitch sets in, being sure not to eat too much before running, and maybe pressing ones thumb into the pained area to help relieve the pain. 

So tomorrow I'll add some breathing stuff to my warmup routine, and will be ready to blow the imaginary trumpet if needed.

Won't THAT be cute?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

1,000 miles

Well, I hit my 1,000 mile mark last night on Wilma.  I hadn't planned for that before riding, but as I rode, I saw how close it was and...well...it was WORTH riding past dark to hit that mark.  

There is of course nothing inherently special about the number 1,000, any more than there is anything inherently special about the new year or my birthday or any other numbered item.  But I am definitely a person who stops to reflect when they hit, nonetheless.  

(I can almost HEAR Lulu pining, "What about ME?  What about MY miles?"  So...reminder...there were A LOT of Lulu miles in the same time frame as Wilma's 1,000.  Wilma's just the lucky bike that gets a speedometer.  LOL)

So what has happened in the 1,000 miles Wilma and I have done in 10 months minus winter?  

I have learned to love the hilly parts of the bike trail and learned to hold my own on one of the meanest streets in Rock Island.  Conquered steeps I thought were insurmountable.  Wiped countless bugs out of my eyes, snorted them out of my nose, and swallowed them without number.  Scared beavers, had showdowns with territorial hissing geese, and felt my heart jump in close encounters with deer.  Lost pounds and inches that I still won't bother quantifying.  Built leg muscles that I love to watch work.  Got my mind blown as God completely healed my life-long terror of heights.  Been laughed at, yelled at, cheered on, screamed at, honked at, and propositioned.  Battled carpal tunnel hands, an arthritic foot, and uhh saddle pain.  Gone from being passed by everyone on the trail to mostly holding my own position.  Gloried in standing on the pedals down hills and grunted while standing on the pedals up hills.  Soaked sweat clean through all the hair on my head and every stitch of clothing I had on too many times to count.  Fought headwinds for hours at a time.  Giggled like a child in the driving rain.  Talked to myself, silently and aloud.  Sung to myself, sometimes at the top of my lungs.  Talked to God, silently and aloud.  Laughed and joked and occasionally cried with Him.  Even rode with a friend a time or two.  Witnessed fights and lovers and drug deals and pranks and friendships.  Experienced the "thin places" where the barrier between physical and spiritual is almost not there at all.  Breathed so hard it made my throat sore.  Rode so hard it made my body sore.  Meandered at a pace barely moving.  Sat beside water and listened.  Smiled at passers by.  Got smiled at by passers by.  Got glared at by passers by.  Got stared thru as if invisible by passers by.  Felt judged by riders slicker than me.  Judged riders slicker than me.  Silently cheered fellow non-athletic types as I encountered them.  Prayed for what I saw in the natural and in the spirit for others along the way.  Watched seasons come and go.  Remembered long long ago.  Fought fantasies.  Made plans.  Abandoned plans.  Rewrote plans.  Surrendered my right to plan.  Dreamed of far far ahead.  Drifted in peace.  

Oh, there's more, but really how long am I gonna go on about how great it is to ride a bike?

If you don't have something this awesome in your life, whether it is riding a bike or something else...my prayer for you is that THIS is the year it opens up. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

just a little trash talk for your morning

Met with my old good friend Brady this morning...Brady Street Hill, that is.  Hadn't done that since the Bix.  

Just for the record:  IT'S STILL HUGE.

Just for the record:  I STILL OWNED IT.

I discovered this past weekend that I'm approaching the 1,000 mile mark on Wilma's speedometer (I had that installed in late October, 2011, which means I've used it for 10 months, 4 or so of which I did not ride AT ALL...and keep in mind, those miles don't count the ones I've ridden on Lulu...am I bragging?  MAYBE.)  

I intend to get to 1,000 before September 1.  

You should probably expect me to celebrate that in some ridiculous fashion, which will probably embarrass me.

Just sayin'...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

not a speed demon but hey, improvement!

I am continuing to have fun pushing myself on the morning runs - just seeing how fast I can make myself go.  While it's fun to move faster, I'm always acutely aware that my "fast" is everybody else's "yeah, right."  Put it this way:  the first time I watched the movie Jumanji, my favorite thing from it was the fat rhinoceros running at the back of the trampling herd - I totally related.  Everyone else runs like a leaping gazelle, and then I huff by 10 minutes later, making the earth shake with my footfalls.  I'm slow, people.  It's a fact.  While it bothers me less and less over time, it still just is what it is.  I am slow.  

BUT this morning I got a measure of my improvement on that:  near the far end of the bridge, I met a couple of ladies out walking for exercise.  After we met, I still ran something like maybe 200 feet in the opposite direction.  Then had to turn around and go UPhill, and this on a morning when the air weighed like a million pounds or something.  You cannot imagine how fun it was for me, later about 3/4 of the way back across the bridge, that I CAUGHT UP WITH AND PASSED those same ladies!  WOO HOO!  It has NEVER been true of me that I'm a danger of catching up with ANYBODY...even walkers.  

I ran even faster after passing them, just on the sheer adrenaline and thrill of it.  

Who knew running was gonna be this great?!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

notes from the freedom zone on love

Sunday while getting ready for church, I had to put 4 shirts in the "this is now too big for me" stack.  I had to pull down the "stuff waiting for me to shrink into it" bags from the top of the closet and investigate what might work.

This is not the point of my story.  But it's fun.

Friday I realized my dress belt is now so big it's purely decorative - can't do anything remotely like holding pants up anymore. 

This is not the point of my story.  But it's fun.

Saturday at a training I was attending, they served pizza and the lady next to me had one of my top favorite candies - peanut m&ms...in bulk.  I overindulged on both. BY A LOT. 

This was not the end of the world.  I just started over when I got home.  No condemnation.  

This morning in the shower I looked down at my legs and saw enough change to make my heart dance.  

For so long, "loving my body" has been primarily about CHOOSING love.  As in, doing the most loving things possible for it.  As in, speaking kindly to it and about it, regardless of the old garbage that WANTED to be spoken in hate.  As in, not giving up on it.  Not so much about FEELING love, though that has grown over time, for sure.

Isn't that the way love is, though?  In any setting?  We make it all about how we FEEL.  But really it is, at its core, what we DO.  

The feelings follow the choices.  And they rock.  

But they are not the point of this story. 

Just a few notes from the freedom zone.  If you haven't started your journey toward joining me here yet...why not?

much love


Thursday, August 9, 2012

running in the sparkly zone

I'm not focusing very well right now when I run.  I mean, I used to count off the seconds in my head and the minutes on my hands.  It was truly almost more than I could handle (yes, THAT is how non-functioning my brain can be before dawn...counting to 60 is a challenge!) but it helped keep me on pace.

Lately I keep forgetting to count, mostly due to a ridiculously happy bunch of thoughts that are keeping my head overcrowded.  Picture sparkles and hearts and big eyed bunnies and flowers and ponies and perky eared puppies and ethereal music and sunshines with happy faces on them and fireworks and pouncing kittens and you almost start to get a glimpse of the happy zone Karen's brain is in just now (we'll just say God and one other person are turning me into a smile factory lately...)  So how does one experience all that and still remember to count to 60?  I just don't. And apparently I don't care.

This could be a problem, as far as pacing, but it seems to be working itself out.  Sure, sometimes I get so busy thinking sparkly thoughts that I slow down to "not hardly running" mode...but I'm counteracting that with the occasional "Wheee!  Let's just sprint awhile!" bursts.  

And I'm still making it home right on time.  

Not gonna lie, it is FUN testing out what this body can do.  Let's just say my leg muscles and I are developing quite the affectionate relationship.  

Which just goes to prove, God can change me really any way He wants to at all.

Monday, August 6, 2012

stepping light and compression pants

If you've been hanging around the naked blog awhile, you might recall that when I started running (May 2011) I was immediately discouraged by the heaviness of my footsteps.  I felt like a heffalump plodding down the path.  BOOM.  BOOM.  BOOM.  I speculated about whether it would ever get better.  I felt self-conscious next to the lightly bouncing nubile wonders that practically floated by me along the path.  OY.

This morning, only a mere more-than-a-year-later, I was tickled to notice...I'm finally stepping a lot lighter!  YAY!  

But why?

Is it the fact that I'm so much lighter?  I mean...I still haven't weighed since that doctor appointment last fall and have no intention of doing so any time in the foreseeable future (cuz it's still only about letting God teach me to love my body, NOT about the scale, the measuring tape, or even the shape of my butt), but if I had to guess, I'd say I'm 80 pounds lighter than when I started all of this some 20 months ago.  So is it just less pounds of me to pound the pavement?

Is it that practice makes perfect and I've stayed the course?

I've been getting more and more in tune with my body - is it that?

Is it the incredible joy in me right now?  You don't even KNOW how many reasons I have to be smiling and bouncing lately...

Maybe all of those things, at least in part.  I don't know.  But I DO think that...believe it or not...my new pants helped.  You might recall that an anonymous friend decided she wanted to bless me with new running clothes for the Bix; the pants I chose are compression capris.  I didn't do that ON PURPOSE - it was just what the store was selling, and I was so happy not to feel like an overstuffed sausage in them that I bought 'em.  When I got home today, I was so blown away by how much lighter my step had been all run that I googled "benefits of compression pants."  Ummm.  They might have helped!  Go figure!  

So here's a big thanks and major props to my friend who blessed me...I know she reads...girl, you affected more than just my Bix!  THANK YOU!