Friday, September 30, 2011

Spiced Pumpkin Loaf

You know you want some!

I'm glad I procrastinated, because my second batch was tweaked to my preferences. The first close-to-original-recipe one was good, but it gave me a chance to think about it for a while. I can almost never find a recipe I want to make and follow the instructions 100%. I always have an idea or opinion and I hate to waste an opportunity. Listen, people. Baking is not scary. I promise. People say that baking is more of a science and that ingredients, especially the ratios of certain wet and dry ones, can't be messed with. Not true to an extent. There are certainly things that are finicky. Have I made a souffle? No. Popovers? Nuh-uh. Does the husband make pie crust so good I don't care to even try? Yessir! Cakes, cookies and quick-breads? No problem!

Also, feel free to tweak/omit spices. I used all of these because I had them readily available. Same thing with the molasses. You can use regular molasses or leave them out. Regular all-purpose flour would be fine too, but I use all of my normal stuff in the last batch. See? Flexibility. No biggie.

Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
dash of cardamom
1 15oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 cup of chopped pecans, plus 1/4 cup chopped for topping
turbinado sugar for topping (I used a coarse vanilla sugar that I got at William's Sonoma)

Preheat oven to 350º

Grease 9 X 5 baking pan with butter and then dust with flour.

Mix dry ingredients, flour through cardamom, in one bowl. Make sure to whisk it pretty well. I hate nothing more in a cake than a lump of baking soda. BLEH!

Mix pumpkin, oil, eggs, sugar and molasses in a separate larger bowl until smooth.

Fold in dry mixture until just incorporated and then add 1 cup of pecans.

Add to pan and top with sugar and the rest of the pecans.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't be like me and get so excited that your boss called to say you don't have to work on Saturday ("yeaaaah..I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Saturday...." Office Space? Anyone?) that you miss the timer and cook it for an hour. Guess what? It was still good!

Also, don't go to refill your champagne glass (no occasion...just broke into one of the extras we had at my parent's house that they made us take back up to Boston) with such gusto that you explode it all over your counter. The counter you just cleaned.

Try to wait long enough to eat it that you don't burn your face off. I recommend topping with cream cheese or butter.

Quick Update

I keep promising I'll update more and then don't. My bad! I'm not sure what I was thinking being like, "hey...I work full time and am adding a really intense training schedule to my life. Let's write a blog too! Also: take lots of naps." The naps win.

Hello. My name is Jillian and I love naps.

The day after my last post, on the 19th, I saw a guy who does sports massage. My trainer mentioned this being a good idea a while ago, but at this point she told me to go right home, call him and make an appointment for that week. Also, that she was friends with him and would know if I did not do this. Hahaa...again, she knows me pretty well. She knows I hate new/unknown situations. It turns out he's also a personal trainer who had worked at my gym, so that was nice. I kind of already knew who he was and that he was really nice. Then, when I called him, I found out he works out of his home and works one block from me! Anyway, he asked a lot of great questions about what I was experiencing, my training and my background and I was pretty excited to meet up.

I cannot even tell you the world of difference he made. I only went for a lower leg massage/stretching and it worked out every issue I had, between the work he did (in 30 minutes!) and the stretching tips he gave me. He also gave me a lacrosse ball and showed me how to find knots/pressure points and release them. I went from being a little depressed and thinking I had a chronic problem that would not allow me to work as hard as I wanted to, to having an easy workable solution. I had been having ankle pain for a while that would always initially start at the outer edge of my foot, often at the midpoint. I had a suspicion that it was the peroneal tendon because that's where it inserts on the bone (this is where I tell you not to self-diagnose). There has never been any trauma to that area, but the last time I ignored it, it bruised and swelled like I had fallen on it. A trip to the doctor showed nothing and I didn't push investigating it further, thinking it was a one time deal. What he found during the massage was that I had tight soleus muscles and most likely tight deeper muscles. The muscles that attach to the peroneal tendon. I mentioned my suspicion and he really felt the tight muscles were the cause. It made a lot of sense. I always noticed my lowed calf muscles would get tight and then the next day my foot would hurt. Well, after seeing him and taking his tips I felt completely better.

That week of training was great! I was doing my usual strength and running routine. I had my first long run since I hurt my foot Labor Day weekend. 11 miles last Friday. For some reason I psyched myself out and got super nervous. If I failed to stay uninjured on this run, I would likely be told not to attempt this Sunday's and would have to run my race with 9 miles being my strongest long one. I had super bad stomach cramps and could not mentally get there. It was also really warm and the air was like soup. It was disgusting. While I barely ran a sub 11 minute pace and my goal was to run it at my 10:42 goal, I was happy that I struggled through, didn't have any pain and still did ok. Although, it did allow for some room for the crazy brain troll to march around and tell me I was still too slow to take myself as seriously as I do. I hate that guy. I never started to improve until I did start getting serious about it.

The next day was a 5 miler. It was actually ok, but I was tired from work. The day after, Sunday, was a 5k. Not the best planning, but my parents, husband and I had been planning on it since last year's and I really enjoy it. I hindsight, I realized I woke up feeling kind of funny. I brushed it off to allergies and not sleeping well. Oh, and running 16 miles in two days after an injury and a big break. I ran a 32:20 which is an official 10 second PR, but it's 4 (FOUR!!!) minutes slower than I did in practice. I pretended to be happy, but since people kept on reminding me that it suddenly got sunny and hot (about 80) and that I was having stomach problems, they probably knew I was lying. The last 1.1 miles was a blur of a stomach cramp so bad that it made me dizzy. Also, I gagged really bad at the finish line. Gross. Oh well! Is it fall yet? Two years ago it was 41 and dry at the start of the half marathon. This year may be high 60s and rainy. No! I want mid 50s and crisp!

The best part of all of that was that my legs felt like I did absolutely nothing all weekend. I was sure I'd be sore and tight after all of that. 19 miles in 3 days! Before training I didn't run that in a week on a regular basis. I was actually second guessing myself that I didn't push myself hard enough, but I knew that wasn't the case. I had finally figured out what was going on with my legs. I stretched, foam rolled and used the lacrosse ball every day. It was my nighttime-tv-floor routine!

The bad news? I felt weird because I was coming down with a cold that would knock me on my butt! I saw my trainer Monday and after that I was a mess. I missed my 5 miler Tues and my last set of 400s on Thursday. Thursday I worked 6am until they sent me home at 1 and then slept until 7pm. I woke up when my husband came home and then went back to bed at 11. I slept the entire night until he got up at 7. I'm normally a terrible sleeper, so I was REALLY tired. Today I saw my trainer again and she had me do about half of the 400s and some weights. Then I saw the massage guy again and felt like a million bucks later. Anyone in this area who wants his info, let me know!

Also, can I say that I feel like a super productive grown up because, not only did I get my cracked windshield and shredded wipers replaced on Monday, but I actually remembered to get my car inspected before the sticker expired. I mean...not that I've ever forgotten before...and gotten a ticket from the meter maid...

This week: 3 miles tomorrow, 12 miles Sunday, strength Monday and a few easy runs early in the week. I'll see massage guy Monday or Wednesday and then...dun, dun, DUNNNNN next Sunday the 9th is race day!

Up next: Spiced Pumpkin Bread. I will be working on this immediately since I cannot have slice #2 until I have posted the recipe!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fueled by Roxy's

What an amazing day yesterday was! All I knew was that we planned on going to the SoWa Open Market to get some food from the food trucks (FOOOOOD TRUUUUUCKS!!!! - that's how my brain says it when it sees them) and maybe wander around the indoor vintage market. After that I had the big test of a 5 miler at race pace or faster (10:42). My last and fastest 5 mile race was last summer in 58:45 or an 11:45 pace. I killed myself to get under the hour/12 minute mile pace that I had been stuck at. I hoped I could do better this time, since my trainer is trying to get me to a 10:42 pace for 13.1 miles!

I decided to do an afternoon run since it was a Sunday and going to be relatively cool all day. I also enjoy afternoon runs more. While I was drinking my coffee I found that the Triathlon Sprint World Championships were on Universal Sports. I love triathlons. I am completely obsessed with the Ironman, particularly Kona. Imagine what it's like to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Hard right? But now instead, its a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon. A WHOLE 26.2 mile marathon! To go to Kona? You have to pretty much win your age group in a previous Ironman. You might be able to come in 2nd or 3rd depending on how many people race in your age group and if people decline, but it's that serious and real mortal people do it. Trust me! Go to Universal's page and see when the Hawaii/World Championships are on. They are doing reruns frequently because the 2011 championship is coming up. They also usually do a bunch of them in a row on New Years Day. That's when I first caught the coverage and was hooked. They don't just show the race, they feature stories on the elites and special racers. The second group is what's really touching. There are cancer survivors, a nun, a guy who is 85, people recovering from horrific accidents, you name it. It's amazing and very real. Some of them don't make all the cutoffs and they show the tears with the triumphs.

When that was over, we made our way down to the market for some Roxy's Grilled Cheese. Maybe food from some other trucks, but Roxy's was first priority. Apparently it was for some other people too!

The line is longer than it looks and an hour or so later it was double this!

Getting closer! How cute is this truck? I just want to squeeze it! We got the Mighty Rib grilled cheese with short rib, fontina and caramelized onions. Holy cow! That was a good sandwich. We also got the poutine made with sausage gravy. We shared both of these, so I'm going to pretend I didn't eat much of either. Does it help if I didn't have breakfast?

If you love food trucks as much as I do, you may have been watching the Great Food Truck Race that Roxy's was competing on. There was definitely an air of excitement around the truck yesterday, but judging by the food we had, it was well deserved. I won't say how the series is panning out to avoid a spoiler. All of the guys were there yesterday and just as friendly and hard working as you see on tv. I can't wait to go back! Next time I will be getting the Green Muenster unless they have a special I want. The special on Sunday looked amazing, but had duck in it. I want to like duck, but just haven't managed to convince myself. Not more than I like short ribs, anyway.

We wandered around and around for a while. I wasn't really feeling like shopping even though I had wanted to go shopping there for a while. The Husband was curious about the Go Fish food truck so we went over to see.

He ended up wanting to get the Fried Haddock Sandwich. Again, holy cow. I wish I wasn't too full to manage more than a couple of bites. This is, hands down, the best fried fish sandwich I have ever had. The line was a bit slow, but it was all forgotten after getting our food. I'd happily stand in line for it again.

Of course, since I didn't feel like shopping, The Husband did. After being dragged around for a while, I went home, crashed on the bed and took an hour nap. I love naps! Once I got the quilt lines off of my face, I went out for my 5 miles and he came with me.

It was really nice out, low 60s and no humidity. I was so thankful I had healed enough to run in the weather I had been waiting so long for! I felt good at the beginning, but my foot did start to ache after about a mile. I kind of knew it was probably in my head at this point, mentally told it to bug off and it did. After that we took off. He runs much faster than I do, but I noticed I was keeping a pace where he was able to still run comfortably. If I slow down, he has to shuffle. We got to 1.5 miles in 15 minutes and I felt really good. I started to wonder if I could keep it up for all 5. I knew I could run 3 faster, so why not? As my trainer says, what am I saving it for? We got to the turn around at 2.5 miles in just under 25 minutes and I knew that if I did that with a big uphill, I could keep up the pace with a downhill on the way back. I got to 4 at about 39:40. I was going to do it! I wanted to quit, but seriously, it was 9 or 10 more minutes! The last mile hurt. A lot. It's on cement sidewalks and involves dodging distracted pedestrians and running up a hill for the last 1/4 mile. I saw The Husband looking back like he was trying to pull me along and I dug in. We got to the top (somehow I passed him, but probably because the sidewalk was so crowded) in 49:47! Earlier, I wasn't sure if my food truck lunch was the best choice, but I guess it agreed with me!

One year ago I just wanted to run 5 miles at a sub 12 minute pace. Now I ran a sub 10. I almost didn't believe it. I don't say this to brag. I'm super proud and excited that it's finally happening, but mostly, I want you know that that it can happen. You just have to stick with it. You have to be willing to be uncomfortable. It doesn't mean to hurt yourself, be careful, but to get out of your physical AND mental comfort zone. I never knew how to push myself until this year. Yes, having a trainer made a huge difference, but you can do it on your own. Just make it a test. Can you run that 400 faster? Even just by 0.1mph? What about when you are trying to get a mile or two down at a faster pace and at the point when your lungs burn and your legs feel heavy, when you'd normally stop, can you go for one more minute? Just one...maybe two? You may really surprise yourself.

After I went home...the Kona Ironman was on! Yay! I got to relax, watch the coverage and then the new episode of the Food Truck Race. After that, I went to bed and read some magazines before falling asleep. It was just such a nice relaxing day. It was such a relief to run more than a mile of two without pain.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Oh, hi...(injury update)

Last Sunday was my first run since hurting my foot. It went ok. I'd give it a C+ if it had to get a grade. I was supposed to do 3 miles and stopped at 2. A mile in, my foot felt "weird." After two it was sore again. I limped the mile home and waved for the second time at the two nice men who alway sit on their stoop on Westland with their dogs on Sundays and say, "hi, runner girl!" or "nice day for a run, run one for us!" Haha. They're actually really nice, and it makes my day.

It was an amazingly crisp, bright blue day. Just like it was on the 11th 10 years ago. I won't get into it any further since, a week later many of us must be relieved to be beyond the anniversary. I will say that even hurt, I was grateful. There was just such a clarity to last Sunday. As I walked home I felt like I was finally 100% in the current moment. Everything felt, looked and sounded different. I'm healthy, have my family and friends and my job. What do I really have to complain about? A sore foot? Put some ice on it!

I did my bike training and some short runs. After I got home Sunday, I realized that my foot had immediately stopped hurting. That was a first. Previously, once it started up, it had stayed that way. As of now, almost a week later, I have managed a few 3 and 4 mile runs without pain. Tomorrow is 5. Three weeks from tomorrow is the race. I'm half excited and half terrified. My goal pace is 10:42. That is extremely ambitious, based on previous race paces (although maybe not so much on current practice race paces). It ended up I told my trainer it was my "crazy ambitious pie-in-the-sky goal pace" and then she was like, "okay here is 12 weeks based on something you think is unrealistic, but I am here to prove you wrong." Okay, she didn't say that, but that's the general theme. I really can't question her. She knows me so well that sometimes (a lot of times) she knows stuff about me I don't. 

So anyway. #1 I am a total liar for promising you posts about various trips and recipes and then holding out. I wiiiiiiilll... #2 darn it....what was #2?! I'll keep you posted on the training? Or something?

Anyway, the rest of the year looks like:

10/9 - BAA Half Marathon!
Maybe a 10K for fun the week after. It's for firefighters and they're pretty awesome, so...
A Thanksgiving Turkey trot or two.
A Jingle Bell run or two.

The End! Of 2011 anyway.

Next year (like how I'm already thinking of next year when this year is so far from done?)...there is a little devil (you know who you are!) birdie on my shoulder that is suggesting a triathlon. Not sitting on the couch watching hours of the Kona Ironman World Championships and crying, not talking about how much I want to do a tri, not petting the bikes in every sporting goods store I go into. Actually. Doing. One. Based on the results I've had from cross training the past few weeks, and the fact that I actually want to do one but was too consumed by the half to really commit, it's something to think about. A sprint tri that is.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Injury workout week

Well, I started this week majorly bummed. I couldn't walk without pain, never mind work out or run. I texted my trainer on Monday to let her know and when we met on Wednesday, we revised my plan.

Monday I was supposed to do strength on my own while in Maine. I did what I could, but a lot of what I had been assigned put too much pressure on my sore left foot.

Tuesday was supposed to be an easy run, but I knew a 13 hour day on my feet at work would be more than I could deal with without running after. I was right and we both agreed ahead of time that I would go home, ice and rest.

Wednesday I saw her for strength and she assigned me some work on the stationary bike and elliptical. After our session, I did 5 min hard, 5 min easy for a total of 60 minutes on the bike.

Thursday after work, I spent 30 minutes looking for a blasted parking space and went to do 40 on the bike, 1 minute sprint, 1 minutes rest. At this point my butt was KILLING me. Not a fan of the bike...

Friday was another session with my trainer and 60 minutes on the elliptical. I had to set the resistance to 15 and the incline to whatever my foot could tolerate. Honestly, it sucked. 15 at a 1 incline made my left calf tingle, but I worked through it. I had been feeling better being on it as the week went on.

Today I worked again and only felt pain sporadically. Today it was more tightness making my foot ache than the minor injury I suffered last weekend. I was supposed to do a hill program on the bike, but I realized at about 5pm that it was Saturday and the gym closes at 8. I work until 7 and would have exactly 15 minutes to work out once I got there IF I found a parking space right away. I texted trainer and offered to try and easy run, but she suggested against it since I was on  my feel all day.

Tomorrow I am getting up early to do my first run in 8 days. I'm doing 3 easy miles around a track to see how I feel. I almost wrote "I have to do", but I don't. I WANT to. As much as I complain about not wanting to go out some days, I can't take it when I'm forced to the sidelines. Tomorrow is a sad, sad anniversary for our country and I am profoundly grateful that I have back what I need to help cope. I plan to finish early enough to finally watch some of the coverage that I have been avoiding on tv for the last week. It still hurts so much to watch, even for someone who didn't personally know a single person who was lost. If it's not the only one, there are very few days that I recall with such an amazing clarity.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Last week recap

Oh hi there...I know, I know. I'm fired! Wait, can you fire me from my own blog? I realize it's been 7 days. Here's what I've been up to while we left summer...

in our wake. HA! Get it?...Wake?...

Do I hear groaning?! 

I'm sorry but all of you are going to have to deal with it. One big thing that happened is the The Husband has resumed grad school and The Bird (more on him in a bit) doesn't get my humor like he does. Not that he thinks it's funny, just that he says, "I GET it..." after I elbow him and say "heh heh" about fifteen times.

Bye, bye driving out onto the beach...

Anyway, don't hate me, but I am kind of looking forward to fall. It's like a reset button. I feel more like New Years Eve is on Labor Day and the New Year starts today. Maybe it's because, if you add the years from pre-school up through my second degree together, I've been in school for 23 years. TWENTY THREE! That's many years that began right about now. Who doesn't love the smell of pencil shavings? Oh hey, now would be a time to give a shout out to all of my teacher friends who have recently gone back (some just got kids in today). You rock! I truly know the effort that goes into teaching. Really! For those of you that don't know me well, it might have even been my first degree. Ha. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.


The hurricane came through and we were spared here in our teeny little apartment. Many huge trees went down in the city, one right behind our apartment, but we didn't even lose power. I am very thankful that the worst of it for me was being really scared for a few hours of the trees banging our window and the sound of our skylight sounding like someone was trying to vacuum it out. Many people I know were without power for an entire week, had their homes damaged, lost possessions. The little sister of a friend had a close call when her car was swept off the road in an unexpected flash flood in western MA and she held onto a tree for 4 hours while waiting for the fire department. She is one tough cookie and I'm so happy she is ok! My aunt, in central VT, has to drive wayyyy around to get to work and I'm sure many places she loves won't ever look the same. Who knows when it will get better for all of them up there. When hurricane season winds down here, snow will start. Please be safe! Same for all of you in other areas of the world (hello person who checks in from Germany!). 

Ok. I'm off my soapbox. Really, I'm not a weather paranoid person, but I am fascinated with storms. The Husband made me walk to a restaurant at the end of the hurricane just to pry me away from The Weather Channel. More evidence in "Jillian is really 80."

Workouts....oh boy-eeeee....

Last Sunday was supposed to be a 10K. Since there wasn't one I wanted to do, I was instructed to pick my favorite route and just run it like I was racing. Then the hurricane hit. I paced my apartment feeling enormously guilty that I wasn't running. The hurricane wasn't all that bad here, but the wind would gust every once in a while, and the sound of the 4 story tree being ripped out of the ground of back was quite eerie! Each time I was about to be like "F it! I'm going!" the news would show a huge tree that had just fallen on one of my routes. It was pretty crazy, but each time I though, "ok, well I'll just run here instead," the news would show that exact place. Yeah...I probably watched too much news that day.  But I was safe and wouldn't know without hindsight that I may have been ok if I went out.

Monday I was supposed to have strength, but my trainer decided she wanted to do intervals on the deadtreadmill. I had managed to smash the back of my right calf just above the achilles on Saturday and it made walking hurt a little. It was swollen, but not exactly bruised. Running was the last thing I wanted to do. I ended up doing 400, 400, 800, 400, 400, 800. For once I kept my 400 pace at or above 7mph the whole time and barely dipped below that for the 800. I even finished my last 800 at 7.8! At one point, my trainer was super excited at how much faster I was and how paces I hated before, for being uncomfortable, were not pretty normal for me. I used to run a 2:05 400 and the have to slow wayyyy down. It was the exception. Now it's kind of normal for me. I love it! I never thought I'd be comfortable at that pace. Is it fast in general? No. Is it fast and the result of a lot of sweat and tears for someone who routinely ran a 5mph pace? Sure is! I did a little bit of strength after and that was it. I made sure to ice my shins when I got home: 

You know you're a runner pride yourself in your ability to prop up ice packs in your freezer to form a curve that matches your shin bone. That takes a lot of shin splints my friend. Now, please meet: Saltybird! He is 17, loves my husand more than me (even though he's really my pet) and likes to crawl up on my toes with his creepy, creepy bird feet. Also, blocks the Red Sox game. Maybe when he starts saying more than swear words and screaming his own name, he can guest blog. was one of those days that happen so when you have a routinely annoying day you can be like, "Oh, well at least it's not like TUESDAY..." I got home at 9pm. I started at 6am. I was exhausted and it was too late to run 4 miles anywhere near where I live that late. The rest of the night went: shower, food, faceplant.

Wednesday (after agonizing for 12 hours over telling my trainer I skipped the run) I had more strength training. She was understanding, but also worried about making my mileage without killing me. This week we're in right now has a total of 27 miles. If I missed any days last week, I'd be almost 10 miles below what I'm doing this week and risking injury with the jump. So I also had to run 4 miles Wed. I took it slow, focused on form and was fine.

Thursday was intervals. I took them a little slower because I was concerned about the multiple days of running I was doing in a row. Most were around 2:15.

Friday. 9 miles. Dun dun DUNNNN!!! I wasn't so much nervous and just really not feeling like taking 90-120 minutes to run before I had to pack for our long weekend away. Pack AND leave the house alone to pick up The Husband at school. I have MAJOR problems getting out of the house when we're leaving for more than a day. I have this dread that I will leave something on, plugged in, running that will burn the apartment down or that the bird will be able to escape. So I need to check everything at least 15 million times. The run went well. It was a breezy, sunny 68º. Miles 1-2 were the usual internal screamfest of, "quit...quit...quit, quit, quit, QUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTT". It takes a log time to get into my grove... 3-6 we're great and I ran the fastest then. 7 was painful because my hip flexors felt like someone had been punching them. At 8 I could "smell the barn" and picked it up just so I could be back sooner. I'm super proud of mile 9. I am someone who never runs a two loop (or more) run. I will never do that second loop! I just don't have the willpower. I run a big loop or an out and back because, before I know it, I'm halfway through and I have to turn around complete the run to get home! I couldn't find the place where I was supposed to exit my loop and run a 1/2 mile our and 1/2 mile back to add a mile onto last week's 8 mile loop. I was SO annoyed! I decided to run my 8 mile loop and at the end run the 1/2 mile path in the park and then back. Super risky because the path is way to close to home. I did it and I ran it at about an 11:20 pace. Not super speedy at all, but I was REALLY trying to not run myself into the ground. I'm also proud that I couldn't even get that as a 5 mile race pace last year and it's this years easy long run pace.

It all comes at a cost though. This weekend we went away to visit family in Maine and I had one short run to do. It was supposed to be a "shake out" easy run after doing my 9. It was pretty, easy and scenic (minus a killer hill) and I felt good. Until about 5 hours later. I was walking around Camden and my left foot started to feel weird. Then tight. Then it HURT. Sometimes my feet will get little stabs of pain that come from nowhere and then go away completely. This didn't, this felt exactly like what my right foot felt like when I was doing half marathon #1. Right before I kept running on it and ended up with a swollen black and blue foot and ankle. (Don't run through pain!) I couldn't believe it. I stretch. I listen to my body. I take rest days. I ice. I strength train with my trainer in a very strategic manner to fix the imbalances that have caused pain before. Why? What else should I have done? Is this it? Game over? I refuse to give up but I refuse to hurt myself. After HM #1 I couldnt run for months and, wouldn't you know, life handed me a basket of things I could have used running to work through. It couldn't have come at a worse time. It would be like someone not being able to use a trusty journal to work out their feelings. I needed to run. I needed to do something so unlike my old self, because one day in  2006 I found myself standing in a park, staring at runners and knowing I had to. If you were around me this weekend and I seemed sad or far away. This is where my mind has been.

I still owe all of you a couple of posts. Two fun ones (my trip from this weekend and a recipe) and two more serious ones. The serious ones are 2008-the fateful half marathon at the end of 09 and then 2010 to now. 2009 will obviously end in an injury, which I will get into then. I know a lot more about what my deal is now, thanks to doctor visits and trial and error. I have some major tightness in my calves and my quads and its causing a chain reaction down my leg to pull on tendons in my foot. The tendons inset on the calf muscle on the outer portion of my leg and then loop down around my outer ankle and attach to my outer foot about halfway down the side. Then pain is just as it's always been, right in the middle of the outer edge of my foot. All the tension is just pulling on it and I didn't get to it before it hurt me. I'm hoping a few days of rest, ice and working the knots out will help. The race is 5 weeks from this past Sunday and I have no idea how this will pan out.