Prediction Run winner, 2 years running

 

I don’t like to brag, but please indulge me today as I do so. I rarely get the opportunity. 🙂

If you’ve read Suzy & Spice for at least a year, you know that last New Year’s Day I brought home the trophy in the women’s division of the New Year’s Day Resolution/Prediction Less than 4 Mile Fun Run/Walk. It means I predicted, closer than any other female in the event, the time it would take me to finish. (I predicted 50 minutes and finished in 50:17.3.)

What’s funny is that I hadn’t gone there to participate – I was there for Bruce. I saw some friends there, and they talked me into signing up at the last possible minute (I had just gotten back into walking/running a few weeks earlier, after being lazy for 10 years). I merely ball-parked a number to put on the registration sheet. You’ll have to read my 1/1/11 post – “How to win a race without really trying” – for the full irony. (I hope it makes you laugh.)

Leading to this year’s run, many of us had been complaining on Facebook that participating would keep us from going to church – or at least keep us from going to church on time, or going to church smelling good. (After all, people have to sit next to you …)

I debated and debated, and finally – late Saturday, after an incredibly great run along the course with my sweetie – that I would enter, would go to church sweaty and stinky and would just have to warn people not to get too close. I would have to miss the post-run awards ceremony, but since it’s a “fun run” it wouldn’t be a big deal, right? (Saturday evening, I had forgotten the sweatiness factor and foolishly made plans to have lunch with Mom after church, so that forced me to go home and shower; I couldn’t embarrass my mom by sitting at a restaurant sweaty and stinky. And I was only 10 minutes late for church.)

Saturday’s run was only my third time out since my Aug. 11 knee surgery. The surgeon wouldn’t let me walk or run for “three or four months,” so I had gotten lazy (and gained back some of the weight I had lost). I had done one walk in November (my knee hurt a lot), one 30-minute jog on the hotel’s treadmill on Christmas morning in Oklahoma (my knee didn’t hurt at all) and then Saturday’s Prediction Run course with Bruce (my knee hurt some, but so little that I silently said to myself, “I’m back!”).

So I entered, and again I predicted 50 minutes. After all, I had been off most of the past 4 1/2 months, so I knew my time wouldn’t have increased much, if any. (Plus we timed our run Saturday and had some idea how fast I could do it.)

Ringleader and timing master Ken must have been reading our Facebook posts, because once the last two people (a dad and daughter who – yes! – were slower than I was) crossed the finish line, the awards “ceremony” began.

And, once again, somehow I managed to take home the women’s trophy. My 50-minute prediction was off by about 18 seconds, only this year I was 18 seconds faster than my predicted time! Woohoo!

Do you realize than an 18-seconds-faster finish means I took more than half a minute off my time (remember, I was 17 seconds slower than predicted last year)? That may not seem like a big deal to you, but I hadn’t entered a race/run since my May 7 emergency-room visit for plantar fasciitis. (Yeah, you can read about that, too, by clicking here.) Granted, it was a flatter course this year, but I’ll take what I can get.

So please enjoy this moment with me, because I am not likely to have another one for 366 days (remember, 2012 is a leap year).

Some parting thoughts:

  • The prediction run is the only time I ever have or ever will beat my sweet – and really fast – friend Betsy Tucker in a running competition (sorry, Bets), because speed is not the issue; predicting your speed is. Bruce and I have been there to cheer her on as she has taken home awards and broken state records this past year. Today she and her husband cheered for me!
  • Thanks go to Cindy for helping me win this morning. She talked about not being competitive, so I took advantage of that (sorry, Cindy). I asked what she had predicted, and when she said 48 minutes, my competitive spirit kicked in. She just wanted to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the sweetness of being out there (we talked about how richly God had blessed us with the gorgeous scenery along the river and with the good health to be out enjoying it). I, on the other hand, shared that I didn’t start out to run competitively but that it sure was nice to win the trophy last year. So when she said 48 minutes, and I knew my prediction was 50 minutes, my goal was to be sure I was never more than 1 minute 59 seconds behind her. (It takes only one person and one fraction of a second to beat you, and there were no age divisions – just one male and one female winner.) I admit it, friends: I’m competitive.
  • Last year I received a “real” trophy, but, as you can see from the photo, this year’s trophy was a bit goofy and whimsical. I absolutely love it! Ken and Michelle, keep up the good work! (More on them in a future post.)

See you back in this space one year from today. I hope I have a goofy trophy to show you.

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Dear Nike

Dear Nike,

I don’t know how to break this to you gently, so I’m just going to be blunt:

Our 10-year love affair has hit a bump. I’m sorry to tell you this, but my feet have cheated on you. I have cheatin’ feet.

It started innocently enough. I needed new shoes to help with my plantar fasciitis problem and my crunchy knee. I went to the Runner’s World website, clicked on the Running Shoe Finder and took the quiz (apparently women’s magazines aren’t the only ones with compatibility quizzes).

After submitting my answers to several questions (Are you male or female? How high are your arches? What are your motion mechanics?), I got a list of suggestions, including the news that I needed stability, which you had not been providing enough of over the years. This was a bit of a surprise, but not entirely: I had been leaning a bit in the wrong direction (overpronating) for several months, possibly even years. It was inevitable that I would get hurt.

I don’t blame you entirely. It was a combination of things.

First, I hadn’t been in tune with my true needs. I was surprised to discover recently that I have high arches. I had always believed I was “normal” in that area, so I had never tried to deal with my issues. Turns out I needed better, more rigid arch support. I thought all I needed was a soft place to land (extra cushioning) with minimal support, and this is what you had given me all these years. I can’t exactly blame you for not providing what I didn’t know I needed.

Second, some of my needs have changed. When I began looking for you 10 years ago, the store clerk (or, as I prefer to call him, “the matchmaker”) suggested I try your women’s Air Pegasus model, which was for “heavier runners” (or, as I prefer to call us, “full-figured gals”). I felt the love immediately. As you gently caressed my feet, I knew this was a match made in Runners Heaven. And you weren’t bad on the eyes, either; the physical attraction was undeniable. White and black with a red swoosh. Ooh, baby!

But that was then. This is now.

I’m more mature now, and lighter. The extra cushioning is nice, but I need more from a shoe.

And there was my husband to think about. You might assume that he urged me to be faithful, but he did not. I had tried on a few models in a local store – brands I did not even want to look at, much less allow to touch my feet – but I kept longing for you. Nevertheless, he wanted me to keep an open mind, to be sure I had exhausted all local options.

I had already found a better, younger version of you online – one that offered cushioning and support. And even though the Running Shoe Finder helped me narrow my choices to one or two, that was a virtual store. I needed to try on a few real pairs before deciding, especially since this was such a big decision for my physical (and, yes, emotional) well-being, not to mention our checkbook.

You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that the one I had ultimately chosen online was … you again. A cushiony, more supportive version of the shoe you used to be. I had even virtual-chatted with a guy at the Road Runner Sports website. (Those guys are like the Dr. Ruth of athletic gear. They help you find true compatibility. True love to last a lifetime – or at least a few months, until the shoes wear out.)

I asked him the difference between the model he suggested, the Nike Zoom Equalon+ 4, and a similar model in another brand that I had been looking at, albeit reluctantly. I didn’t really want to stray from you, the one I had loved for more than a decade, but my husband/coach sometimes has to talk sense into me. I couldn’t try on the Equalon, and I had tried on some other brands that seemed to fit my needs.

But Dr. Ruth-guy had me sold on the Equalon; he said it was equivalent to the other model except that the Equalon had more cushioning. Support and extra cushioning! The total package!

But, alas, there was the third thing: a sale at the local store.

My husband, who’s also my coach (and my real true love), went with me and watched me run each time I tried a new pair. Because the store didn’t have my chosen shoe (you), he watched as the other brands corrected my overpronation. Nevertheless, he said I should think about it some more. He even urged me to ask the clerk to order last year’s model of the one that seemed to be the best fit (the older model was $40 cheaper, and I was under no obligation to buy it). A few days later, the store clerk called. My order had arrived.

I tried on the shoe. It felt good, it offered stability and … it was good looking.

I can’t say it looked better than you in every way – I’ve grown to love your happy little swoosh over the years – but it was narrower. It made my wide boats look like … well, normal girl feet. And it has stabilized my gait. Not that the online version of you wouldn’t have done the same thing. But I couldn’t be sure of that. A relationship that begins online is risky.

So, Nike, I have cheated. I’m sorry I’ve strayed. But I have a feeling our love affair isn’t over – if you’ll take me back someday. Because someday money won’t be such an issue. I will still be frugal, but I’ll be better able to make the choices I want to make when it comes to my feet. I know you will offer me a soft place to land again (and again). And the stability I need.

Thanks for the memories, but don’t think it’s over for good.

I’ll be back.

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You say torn meniscus; I say crunchy knee

It’s official: My crunchy knee requires surgery. It will be minor, outpatient and supposedly quick. I’ll be off work Thursday and Friday (Aug. 11-12) and should be back to my routine by Monday. The doc said I’d need crutches for a few days, and I’ll have to undergo some post-surgery physical therapy, but I should be back to normal (and running!) within a few weeks.

People, I wanted to do the Dance of Joy right there in the doctor’s office! (I didn’t, mainly because I didn’t want to embarrass Bruce. Like it would faze him.)

This means my training for the 2012 Olympic trials won’t be on hold for much longer.* And those running-shoe deals they’ve been after me to sign? Well, the shoe companies will just have to duke it out for my much-sought-after endorsement. There have been so many calls, I’ve had to change my phone number. 🙂

Yes, this is very good news. Penciling in my new training schedule now …

Oh, yeah, you may be wondering about the surgeon’s diagnosis. Of course the official diagnosis by my primary-care physician is Crunchy Knee, but the surgeon came up with his fancy new term from some medical book or something: torn meniscus. Sounds like a made-up term, doesn’t it? I bet he got it off some quack website.

Nevertheless, that’s the term we’re going with, unofficially (I’m humoring him by going along with it). So in three weeks he’ll go in with an arthroscope and clean out the area around the injury. He’ll trim off the torn part of the “meniscus” and take out any floating pieces, if there are any. The surgery is called a “meniscectomy.” Supposedly. According to the surgeon’s alleged medical research.

Apparently this diagnosis and the resulting surgery have gained popularity. You can even read about them on reputable websites such as WebMD. So, rather than trying to ’splain, I’ll just let you click here and read about it for yourself. Some clever person was even commissioned to draw pictures of what the “meniscus” looks like.

So the weeks and months of wondering and fretting are over. My crunchy knee can be fixed, and I will run again (Lord willin’).

Woo hoo!

*Lest you think I’m already under the influence of anesthesia and thus delusional, please be assured that I am merely giddy with excitement that my orthopedic surgeon did not give my burgeoning running career the same death sentence my primary-care doc pronounced two weeks ago. Yes, I am over the top (don’t worry; I’ll come back down to earth tomorrow). I like my orthopedic surgeon! Even if he does make up medical terminology.

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Hope springs eternal

The orthopedic surgeon scheduled an MRI for Monday morning (the X-rays this morning didn’t tell him what he needed to know).

He said I may not have to give up running, depending on what the specific problem is. It may be a tear in the meniscus, or it may be this or that, blah, blah, blah. (The only part I heard was that I might be able to run again after the problem is treated.)

I’ll update you again after Monday’s MRI: 8 a.m. – first thing in the morning!

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Just a misunderstanding

I’ve been thinking about this knee thing. (You knew I wouldn’t be able to let it go, right?)

Since the doc told me a week ago that I should stop running, and to walk only on non-hilly surfaces, I’ve been sticking to walking, mostly (only about 1 percent running – really).

But … after a frustrating few days of trying to stay in the flattish parts of my neighborhood, I started doing the 4-Mile Class route again – walking (mostly).

And it really hasn’t bothered my knee (much).

So this morning as I was on my way home, trudging down the overpass over the bayou, a realization hit me: I totally misunderstood my doctor the other day.

She didn’t tell me not to run in hills. She said not to run in heels!

Well, every smart girl knows that! So, really, I’m ahead of the game. I never run in heels. In fact, I haven’t even worn heels in more than a decade, since the last time I had a bout with plantar fasciitis, was diagnosed with bone spurs and spent $200 on a pair of custom orthotics that got tossed out with my old running shoes last year (they didn’t help much, anyway). So I can keep walking in hills. Why didn’t I realize this before?

I’m so relieved.

It was all just a misunderstanding.

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I’m back

I’m back.

I mean that in an I’m-over-my-pity-party kind of way.

Last week, after my doc told me I should stop running (she didn’t say I had to stop, merely that I should stop), I had a meltdown.

My appointment was Tuesday afternoon – my lunch break. After leaving her office, instead of heading to Subway – my usual lunchtime haunt – I headed to Wendy’s. Not good.

Not good because I went for the wrong reason: I felt sorry for myself. I took on a so-what attitude after getting the news. I ate a cheeseburger and fries, and I didn’t even enjoy it that much, partly because the burger was dry and partly because I felt guilty. An occasional indulgence is fine, but only if you’ve planned it and decided it’s an okay fraction of an otherwise healthy diet. Not because you’re trying to drown your sorrows.

Thank God the doctor didn’t tell me I had cancer. I mean, let’s put this in perspective for a minute. She didn’t give me a death sentence, but that’s how I acted for three or four days. Like someone had stolen my best friend and demanded a ransom too high to pay.

What she said to me wasn’t unreasonable, but my response was surprisingly unreasonable. It probably didn’t help that I had started off my week tired (after a three-day holiday weekend). I am a completely different person when I’ve had a good night’s sleep. I can be unreasonable when I haven’t.

She told me not to run, and not to walk on hills. Wednesday morning I tried to walk a modified version of my typical route (the racecourse of the White River 4-Mile Classic). It has hills. (We love hills. Normally.)

Do you have any idea how stressful it is to carve a new course that’s flat out of a familiar one that has hills? I can’t even tell you what exact route I created; I just wandered around the flattish parts of the route, avoiding the steepest section of North Heights, the entire “Craig Mountain” (Craig Street) and the hilly part of Hill Street. I didn’t even look at the overpass (well, yes, I did, but I didn’t approach it). I retraveled some areas of the route because I still wanted to get my 4.5 miles in (that includes the trek from my house to the racecourse and back again).

By the time I was finished, I was exhausted – mentally, if not physically.

I had started the day physically tired, probably because of my mental state. I just felt as though I had no energy. I felt like I used to feel when I was depressed 15 years ago. Ick.

Because of my pity party, and the fact that our group was still training on the Lyon College route (the Army National Guard 5K was Saturday, and we won’t even go into how I felt for not participating), I didn’t work out with the group Tuesday or Thursday nights and I didn’t walk Thursday morning by myself. But because I knew my weigh-in was Friday morning and I had indulged in ice cream Wednesday night, I walked Friday morning. Those times I did walk last week, I just didn’t feel like doing it, but I did it anyway. I felt like someone had taken the wind out of my sails. Each workout was an effort, so unlike the other times when I actually enjoyed being out there.

But I knew I had to keep truckin’ because it is so easy to get out of the habit, and I don’t want to end up right back where I was – overweight and feeling heavy in body and spirit.

So Friday’s weigh-in was a bit of a relief because I found out that I hadn’t gained weight. I lost 0.4 pounds for a total of 21. (I deserve to have gained after the self-centered week I had.) The happy part of it is that it means I maintained my 20-pound loss for a week and could have a reward. But instead of the $18 chin-up bar or the Runner’s World subscription that I had planned to get, I went to Hastings and browsed the books. I found one by a favorite author and psychologist who was key to my overcoming that long-ago depression I mentioned. (And it cost less than $10.) It’s called God’s Love Letters To You: A 40-Day Devotional Experience by Larry Crabb.

I needed a good spiritual boost.

Saturday morning I decided to do my typical route, hills and all. It didn’t hurt anything. Much.

When I was finished, I felt better. Then Bruce and I went to the Army National Guard race, and I watched several of my friends take trophies or medals. I was bummed, but I didn’t dwell on it all day (only part of the day).

This morning I did my typical route again, and not only did I start off feeling great (physically and mentally), I was happy again as I walked. The hills didn’t even seem that bad.

When I was finished, I had that same feeling of accomplishment that I’ve experienced over and over for the past few months. I was back.

Feelings are so untrustworthy. I’m glad to know that God doesn’t abandon us when we take our focus off Him. He doesn’t let us hang in the wind; He’s always there. Sometimes we just don’t recognize it because we’re too busy focusing on ourselves.

I think He’s allowing me to experience these feelings, though, so I’ll understand that He is the only One I can truly count on. I can’t count on my feelings. I can’t count on my body. I can’t count on the weather. I can just count on Him.

I’m back, but He never left.

Thank God.

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Diagnosis: Crunchy Knee

I am not normal.

(You knew that already.)

This afternoon I went to my primary-care physician to have her take a look at my right knee, which has been bothering me for two to three years but has gotten worse since I began running again in November. It has had noticeable swelling for several months, and it “crunches” when I bend it, especially when I climb stairs (this has been true since before I started running). I had been waiting until after July 1 to see a doctor about it so that my insurer couldn’t accuse me of having a pre-existing condition before my one-year waiting period was up. (It happened to Bruce last year, and we’re still paying the denied claims.)

The doctor had me move my knee back and forth while she held onto it, and she said she felt it “crunch.” Her diagnosis: Crunchy Knee. I don’t know what she wrote in my chart, but Crunchy Knee is what she told her staff.

I like her.

Except for this: She told me I should stop running. I told her I’m registered for a 5K this Saturday. She said maybe I could walk it. Then, dad-gum it, as an afterthought she asked, “Is the course flat?” Uh … that would be NO. In fact, it’s quite hilly (we love hills, remember?).

She would forgo the race, she said, not even walk it. And, in fact, she would find a less jarring type of exercise. Permanently. At “our age,” we should find something that’s easier on our aged joints and bones. (This is hard for a 48-year-old woman to hear, especially when she finally has gotten serious about fitness and weight loss. And is in a Biggest Loser competition at work.)

The doc made me an appointment with a local orthopedist, who will probably order an MRI before possibly going in with a scope to “clean it out,” if that course of action is indicated. (We’ll wait for him to determine what’s necessary, but she was just sayin’.)

My emotions when I left her office were varied. Nothing too strong – I think I was in a state of shock, or denial. I’m still in a mild state of shock.

Here’s why I’m pretty sure I’m not normal:

Any normal person – after writing the $30 check for the office visit copay, having her vital signs recorded and telling her doctor that her knee “crunches” when she bends it – would have expected her physician to reply, in essence, “Stop doing bouncy exercises that make your knee worse.” Even temporarily.

Any physician worth her expensive medical-school degree would have said that, and she would have been correct in doing so. Any normal person would have thought this was sensible advice. After all, the expectation of sensible advice and treatment is why we make appointments with our physicians in the first place. (That, and unnecessary antibiotics.)

And when I called Bruce to break the disturbing news, he was not surprised. My mother was not surprised.

Why am I the only one who was surprised?

I am not normal. I live in my own little fantasy world. A world in which pounding on the pavement every day and causing an injured knee to get worse (not to mention the foot with plantar fasciitis) makes perfect sense, because the runner has come to love the sport in a way she never expected. At age 48.

I don’t want to stop running.

In the little scenario I had fantasized about in the weeks leading to today’s exam, the doctor was going to send me to a specialist, who would take some images of my knee, possibly slice it open and fix the problem. (I was even going to ask if I could watch. My brother watched his knee surgery.) Then (not before the specialist visit, but after; not before Saturday’s 5K, but after) I would forgo running for a few weeks (six at the most) and be better and faster than ever when the knee had healed. Super Suzy in stability shoes.

My doctor had a different scenario.

But, hey, maybe there’s hope. Maybe my aging doctor (she’s probably in her 50s), who had to give up tennis and has aches and pains she didn’t have in her 20s, is the one who’s not normal. Maybe she’s just bitter and doesn’t want me to have any fun. Or lose any more weight. Or win the Biggest Loser.

Maybe the orthopedist is more realistic. And not bitter because he had to give up his favorite sport. And understands how I have come to love running.

Yes. He’ll be more reasonable.

He’s going to take one look at my 20.6-pounds-smaller self, smile at me and say, “We’ll fix you right up, and by the weekend you can go back to your running schedule! Here, have some heavy narcotics!”

I’m not normal.

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20 pounds and then some

Before I get to today’s news about me (it’s always about me, right?), I want to give a special shout out to Chelsea Willis, a young Batesville woman who has won two gold medals this week in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. (She won golds in the 400- and 800-meter relays.) Way to go, Chelsea! You are showing us what can be accomplished with hard work and determination, and you are making Arkansas proud.

Today at our weigh-in at work, the scale showed a 2-pound loss. Finally! The past two Fridays I had lost less than a pound and was a bit frustrated. When we began the first Biggest Loser contest in February, I didn’t care whether I won or lost – I just wanted to have the accountability. By the end, when I had been in the lead for a few weeks, I wanted to win it (and I did). Now, in this second go-round, I definitely have become competitive about it. But I’m really just competing with myself – I have no idea how anyone else is doing, except for one co-worker who recently started sharing her successes with me. She has lost about 22 or 23 pounds to my 20.6, but she had more to start with so my percentages are better. And Biggest Loser is about percentage, not actual pounds.

So, back to the exciting news of the day: I’ve met my 20-pound goal, and then some – a total of 20.6 pounds, to be precise (and we all know I like to be precise).

Of course I have to maintain the 20-pound loss for a week before I can reward myself (in case it was a fluke, or some kind of scale malfunction, or I pig out next week and gain 6 pounds). I’ve changed my reward from a pair of sandals (more expensive than my new idea, plus I’m not sure my injured foot is ready for wedge sandals yet). I can get a six-month subscription to Runner’s World magazine for $9.97, so that will be my reward. I’m told the Sara Low Memorial 5K (Sept. 10 in Batesville) will be featured in the August issue.

(In case you don’t know, Sara was a Batesville High School grad and a flight attendant for American Airlines. She was on the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center on 9/11. One of her high school running buddies, Mindy, co-founded the 5K in her honor five years ago. This year is the 10th anniversary of 9/11, so my guess is that the Runner’s World feature will focus on that. It would be nice to read of other memorial races relating to 9/11.)

Thursday evening Bruce and I went to a planning meeting for the Sara Low race. If you’re looking for a way to contribute to the local running community, let me tell you we need volunteers for this race. Post a comment letting me know you’d like to help, or e-mail Ken McSpadden at macandmichelle@sbcglobal.net).

I would love to run the Sara Low race, but we’ll have to see. Despite the fact that I still have a bum foot and my right knee is a mess, I’ve still been running (I’m registered for next Saturday’s Army National Guard 5K at Lyon College, the route we’ve been training on for the past three weeks), but I have an appointment Tuesday to get my knee examined. (No news on when I will get my head examined.) If my doc sends me to a specialist, and that specialist recommends knee surgery, I won’t be able to run the Sept. 10 race. Bruce and I will be traveling in early August, so any potential surgery would have to wait until after that. This would put me out of commission in September, I assume.

Despite how crazy the thought might have been eight months ago (just before I started exercising again), I really have come to appreciate running in a way I never did before.

I have to admit it’s a love-hate relationship, but mostly love:

  • I love the health benefits (my foot and knee problems notwithstanding), and I love the feeling I get when I’m finished, or when I’m about to be finished. I love that I’ve learned to push through pain and discomfort – although it could be argued that I haven’t had much to challenge me in that area; I’ve never run more than a 4-mile course, I’ve never had to run on ice, etc., etc. I love the sense of accomplishment, even when what I’ve accomplished is minuscule. I love seeing the progress I’ve made, even when it’s slow and barely noticeable. I love how it has helped me to shed more than 20 pounds in less than five months.
  • I love being outdoors, even when it’s hot, humid, cold, dry, wet or wild. I haven’t told you, but I got caught in the thunderstorm that popped up early Tuesday morning. I was up on Main Street when the wind started blowing hard, headed back home when the rain started coming down hard, and really hustling when the gravel and dust from the overpass started flying into my eyes. It was kinda scary and kind of exhilarating at the same time. (Yes, I know, I’m a lunatic.) The next morning a lady I see each day around 6:15 slowed her car, rolled down the window and said, “I was kinda worried about you yesterday morning in that storm.” I didn’t tell her, but I sure wouldn’t have turned down a ride home if she had offered it. I see and wave at some of the same nice folks driving (or walking or biking) by me every morning on my route, and I would have felt safe hitching a ride with her – at least safer than I felt in the storm!
  • I love, love, love the time I have to myself out on the streets of Batesville as the sun is coming up. Is there a more perfect time to talk to the Creator of the universe than when a new day is dawning?
  • I love that Bruce and I are working out together and growing closer because of it. I love that he has a team to coach and feels a sense of purpose that he lacked before we moved to Batesville. He really loves coaching the ladies, and they (we) really love him. Plus, I get the added benefit of having a live-in running coach! (So far the positives have far outweighed the negatives.) Check out Bruce’s blog for his running tips and encouragement.

I can’t think of much I hate about running right now, except maybe that I still don’t have much lung capacity despite the speed (albeit small) that I’ve gained (an indicator of increased fitness, so you’d think I could breathe better by now, darn it!). Several months ago Coach Bruce told me I might never have the lung capacity I long for. I’ve had respiratory issues, mostly mild but still nagging, for much of my life, so it’s just hard, hard, hard to breathe when I run. I guess time will tell whether I can ever run an entire race without walking. Argh!

But mostly my relationship with running is love.

And today I celebrate it because it has been a large contributor to my weight loss.

Did I mention that I reached my 20-pound goal today? I did? Good. Also remember that I started walking/running in mid-November, added the healthy-eating component in February but didn’t get serious about it until April 5. It has taken me nearly three months to achieve a 20-pound loss, but that’s okay. In fact, it’s appropriate – a healthy way to do it, mentally and physically.

Remember that when you tell yourself you can’t do it. When you don’t see any progress, or you see so little change on the scale – or in your breathing, or the tightness of your pants, or your blood pressure or cholesterol or triglycerides – remember that baby steps will get you where you want to go if you’re patient.

Remember, friends, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

 

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Suzy’s skillet supper

This is what I made for dinner tonight.

Yes, I need to come up with a less-Denny’s-sounding name for it, but it’s almost bedtime. I’ll worry about that tomorrow. In fact, the only reason I’m posting this tonight is that I’ll forget the ingredients if I don’t record them now.

My favorite thing about this skillet pasta dish is that I was able to use a couple of items from my own back yard: fresh basil and cherry tomatoes. Also, most of the ingredients were what I just happened to have on hand (I bought the broccoli, the spinach and the bell pepper over the weekend, and I opened my fridge and cupboards for the rest).

So here is the jumbly, hurried version of the recipe – for now. I’m going to let you figure out your own amounts, partly because I didn’t measure anything and partly because I’m about to go to bed. Also, I’ll clean it up and post it on my new Recipes page when I get a chance. (I haven’t formally announced it, but I created a page just for recipes; see RECIPES tab above.)

Suzy’s Skillet Supper

  • Whole-grain penne rigate pasta (or whatever kind you prefer)
  • Olive oil
  • A dash of chicken broth
  • Boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Fresh garlic (lots)
  • Red bell pepper
  • White onion
  • Fresh broccoli
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook everything but the cheese in a big ol’ skillet, saving the spinach and the basil until nearly the end, dish it up, grate the cheese on top, and devour.

Serves a family of four, or Bruce and one small child.

Bon appetit, and good night!

 

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