Friday, July 2, 2010

Four Mile Run - 7/1/10

Unfortunately, my poor little running Blog has turned into a "how to battle cancer" dissertation. Therefore, today, I'm going to merge the two subject matters (since they are inseparable any way) into one post and see what happens, lol.

On Thursday, 6/24/10, I finished the last of 10 sessions of radiation treatments to my left hip in an effort to ease some of the pain that has been intensifying over the last few months. I'm happy to say I "graduated," as everyone in the radiation office says, with honors. I received several hugs and well wishes, and then I was asked to ring the hand bell (it's a tradition) before I left the office. Everyone who heard the ringing of the bell clapped for me. That was pretty cool!

I have a rather uncomfortable burn in the groin area, which has turned dark. The dead skin has started to peel away. At least my pantie lines no longer rub the area annoyingly raw any more. Also, because the radiation beams penetrate the hip area, my gastrointestinal tract seems to have been effected. Elimination has been difficult, but even that appears to be clearing up and returning to normal. Too much information, I know, lol. Other than that, I'm no worse for the wear. The good news is that the pain has eased up, and the radiologist says that over the next few weeks it will probably get even better. He also told me that, more than likely, I will not have to return to have that area radiated again. Of course, if there are new areas at a later date that start to give me problems, he can radiate those areas as well. Needless to say, I am a satisfied customer.

With the increased pain, I had really been neglecting my running. I had been pulled for time at the Another Dam 50K in Englewood, OH on 6/5/10. This is a race that I had finished easily in the past. Since then I had not run a step. I had been doing some short walks here and there for sanity reasons, but I was not training. I cancelled my trip to the Moonlight Boogie 50 Miler the weekend after AD50K, because I didn't feel like I could make the intermediate cut-off of 40 miles in 10 hours. I have become that slow. My walk is closer to 3 mph than 4 mph, and my running pace, if you want to call it that, is around 3.5-4 mph at my fastest. I have a lot of work to do.

I also withdrew my registration for the Viaduct Trail 100 Miler on 8/7/10. Even with a month of solid training, I would not be in shape to complete a 100 miles. I really wanted to go back and redeem myself from last year, but there is a long wait list to get into this race, so I wanted to withdraw early enough to give another runner a chance to get in and to make travel arrangements. I'm still planning to return to the Heartland 100 Miler in October and the Mother Road 100 Miler in November. Three months is not a lot of training, but I'm hoping that I still have some muscle memory going on in my legs. I'll have to scramble around for some marathons/ultramarathons in August and September to supplement my training, but I think I can pull this off.

It wasn't that I didn't want to run. I did. I truly did. It's just that the pain, the fatigue, the hot flashes, and the breathing issues were sucking out the fun of the run. Even some of my walks were labored, causing me to question why I was even trying. My issues had just been going on for far too long, wearing me down, and I was getting discouraged. But the radiation treatments have given me hope. My mind has been energized, and it is pushing my body to follow. With less pain, I can actually engage my hips on the run. I hadn't been able to do that since June of 2007, when I first noticed that the little aches and pains in my hips and back were getting worse. When I noticed that the radiation treatments were working, I decided that I would restart "running" on July 1, 2010.

My seasonal part-time job for this year ended on 6/29/10. Working two jobs is exhausting, even without the fatigue from the anemia. Needless to say, I've been a zombie for the last 3 months. But with only my regular full-time job now, I can get in the bed at a decent hour and feel a little better on a day-to-day basis. Over the next few weeks, I have committed to working some extra hours to try and complete some lingering projects, but that's still less hours a week than having a part-time job. The good thing is that by the time I leave my office, the temperature is bearable, and the traffic in the downtown area is tolerable.

It has been hot for weeks now, but yesterday was the coolest day of the summer with very little humidity. It was like Mother Nature was calling me back to the run, and I answered that call. I packed my running gear and took my duffel bag to the office with me. Our parking lots are about a mile from my office. Even though we have shuttle service, in the 14 years that I've worked my current job, I have taken the shuttle probably twice. If I drive to work, I always walk to and from the office. You'd be surprised how many people are standing in line for the shuttle, even when the weather is perfect for walking. Some days when I have extra time, I leave my Tiburon at home, and I walk to and from work, which according to Mapquest is only 4.93 miles each way. I'll be incorporating some of those walks into my training over the next several months.

I am woefully out of condition, so yesterday's run was a short four miler to judge how much damage has been done. No matter how slow, I wanted to sustain the run with no walk breaks. My downtown four miler starts with a mile around the Bicentennial Mall, a scenic park-like exhibit of Tennessee history. The Farmer's Market is next to the Mall, and the Capitol is across the street from the Mall. I have run up the many steps to the Capitol (picture me as Rocky, running up the steps of the Art Museum in Philadelphia), but today, I would take it easy and run the gradual hill around the Capitol. Well . . . this gradual hill is not easy when you're out of shape, lol. My heart was beating like it would explode from my chest, but I made it to the top without stopping. A red light held me at a stand still while I caught my breath. I remembered the days when a red light meant I would jog in place until it was my turn to go. Today, I would not push my luck, lol. I stood there and recuperated and then took off running again.

I turned left to climb the easier hill up to the YMCA and then turned right to run across the Church Street Bridge. I always watch the trains lined up on the tracks below the bridge. At the end of the bridge is the building for NES (Nashville Electric Service). A left turn from here heads toward West End Blvd. This is the first street that the Country Music Marathon runs along. I then pass the famous Union Station Hotel and the Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators and where many concerts are held. I always enjoy this little stretch because it's basically down hill for almost a mile. I tried to push the pace a little here, but I was struggling with my leg turn-over. I was choppy at best, when I used to be as smooth as butter along this section. I'll get that back. I know I will. My hips were engaged, but just not at 100%, and the bouncing of my upper body was not as bad as it's been. I could tell that my hips were sharing the weight, because I wasn't leaning toward the side of least resistance. Damn, that radiation had done wonders for my hips!

I made a left turn to go pass the Convention Center and head up a long steep hill. It was dusk dark, and happy hour at the downtown bars, restaurants, and clubs was nearly over. It's always fun to see those a little too happy trying to climb this hill. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me how I could run up this hill when they could barely walk it. Today, it was a slow run, but I was definitely running up the hill. I was huffing, puffing, and sweating a little just to prove that I was working. And it felt good. It felt really good. I passed a group surrounding one guy sitting on the curb as they waited for the traffic light to change. I overheard his friends tell him that they were going to take him to the hotel as they pulled him to his feet. Too much happy hour, I thought, lol. Almost to the top and another group was waiting for their companion to catch his breath before going on, but I kept moving. I wanted to stop and catch my breath, too, but I would wait until the next traffic light, lol.

I turned right and ran right by my office building, the L&C Tower. With 31 floors, years ago, this was the tallest building in Nashville, but it has since lost its status and has been replaced by the AT&T (formerly BellSouth) building. Locals affectionately call it the "Bat Building". I am now running a slight one mile down hill back to my car in the parking lot, passing Music City Central, our relatively new dispatch area for the Metro Buses, and the Municipal Auditorium, where I've attended many, many concerts in the past. It has been a good run. I am tired. It has taken a solid hour to run my favorite four miler, but that's okay. I now have an idea of the amount of work that needs to be done. It's unpaid but fun work. And it looks like I'll be starting from scratch almost, but I have to do it. In the past, this four miler was an easy day (i.e., the day after a weekend marathon or ultra), and I've run this four miler in sub-40 minutes for years. That's not fast either, but right now, that's lightning speed for me. I'll get that back, too. It will take some time, but I'll run that easily again.

The Rattlesnake 50K, one of my favorites, is on July 10. I will not be ready for it, and I'm still on the fence about whether to go or not. The 10 climbs will kill me if I'm not prepared. I need to be able to run the down hills to make up time to be able to finish under the 10 hour cut-off. I've never been able to run the up hills in that race, but I have power-hiked those bad boys with a vengeance, something I can't do nine days from now. On July 17 is the Big Bear Lake 12-Hour. I'll definitely go to that race and put in as many miles as I can.

It's Friday, and the day before a long, holiday weekend. It's quiet in the office as a lot of my co-workers are making it a 4-day weekend. I'll work about 10 hours today, and hopefully get a lot of work done on a few projects, and then head out for another run. Maybe I'll do my 6 miler today, lol. That will incorporate the Schermerhorn, home of the Nashville Symphony, and the Walking Bridge to the Tennessee Titans' Stadium. It's another cool summer day today. Mother Nature wants me to join her. I can't wait.


  1. Yes! This is a turnaround from your last post. You're back. I'm glad.

  2. *hugs and hello!* Sorry to hear things have been stressy for you, but glad to read about you feeling perkier and looking ahead again now. I've had some minor health stuff going on the last couple of months, and my own training has been very much back and forth this summer...gonna try to get on an even balance and start working toward some 50K-50Mile races this fall...still considering when and where to attempt my first 100.